Thursday, 12 February 2015

Happiness Photo Challenge Week 4

Week 4 Happiness Photo Challenge: 

Week four and we are still here having fun sharing our happy moments. 

It has been a great support to have a window into other people's happy moments in their day. So often we can get bogged down in the craziness of each day & it really lifts my spirits to pause, snap and share those moments of happiness.... Yes even if it's just a cuppa! 

So here are my photos from week four: 

Day 22 - I was so tired, so my lovely husband told me to go and rest. I slept for a few hours!! A bit longer than I think he thought I would be! 

Day 23 - Sunday roast cooked by the hubby!! Delicious, warming, comforting, family time! 

Day 24 - Hubby and I escaped for the night. Spa, birthday celebrations, massages, dinner, champagne, fun, bubbles!! A wonderful time out, something I feel is so important. 

Day 25 - I thought I'd treat myself to a late Christmas present. 

Day 26 - Spending time with my oldest daughter whilst helping her with her homework. Precious bonding moments. 

Day 27 - Feet up, hour to myself. Delicious treat! One of my favourite cakes! 

Day 28 - Today is a song. The family and I danced around the kitchen & living room to Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars. Lots of fun!! 

So that's the end of week four, if you would like to join us please link up your pictures using the #takingcare100. 

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Week 3 Happiness Photo Challenge

Week three and we are still going strong. A handful of adopters have been posting their pictures using the #takingcare100 to show how they have been caring for themselves whilst having fun. 

In this post I will do a roundup of week 3, reflecting over the happy and positive moments that have brought a smile to my face. 

Here we go... 

Day 15 - There is no other way to kick start the week than with a coffee & cake. This was a nice and relaxing couple of hours spent with the hubby and three of our children in one of our favourite cafes. 

Day 16 - Whilst shopping in a busy shopping centre with four children this was a very welcome break. 

Day 17 - Monday's always seem to be challenging for some reason. Not sure if it's the fact that family members are all doing different activities and it unsettles the girls or if it's settling back into routines. Or maybe it's both.. Either way this glass of wine was very much needed!


Day 18 - Time spent with a lovely mummy friend. Quality time supporting each other. I decided to take better care of myself and swapped a cake for vegetable soup and was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was! 

Day 19 - With the busyness of having four children I don't always get as many cuddles with my oldest two daughters as I would like. It was lovely to take this moment with one of my daughters when she was so tired & upset and needed her mommy. 

Day 20 - Whilst walking to playgroup with my youngest two it was lovely to get caught up in a snow shower. If you look closely you can see the flakes. 

Day 21 - Hubby & I don't get to spend as much quality time together as we would like, so it was lovely to go to a work function for the evening. We had a nice time catching up with people, eating yummy food & drinking wine. 

79 days to go... If you fancy joining us it would be great to have you on board. Just link up your photos on social media using the #takingcare100. 

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Happiness Photo Challenge Week 2

Well, it's week two of the photo challenge and I have to say I am still enjoying capturing moments of happiness and sharing them with others.

The focus is on having a bit of fun each day whilst taking care of ourselves.. taking a photo of it & sharing it with other adopters using the #Takingcare100. 

I have been posting my pics on Twitter each day, but I thought it would be nice to do a weekly round up of my moments of happiness and share them on my blog....

So here we go for the second time...

Day Eight - My lovely friend & neighbour and I went for coffee and cake. We chatted away for a couple of hours catching up with each others' lives. It was mentioned that a lot of my pictures are based on food. I couldn't help but laugh at the fact that doing this photo challenge has made me realise how much food is at the heart of our family - I think we are all slightly obsessed with it.

For the rest of the week I have tried to find other things that make me happy, to prove that I don't just eat to make me smile!

Day Nine - On Sunday we went to watch my husband play basketball. Sad to say they lost but they tried hard and I was proud of my hubby who scored some hoops. It was the first time that the kids had seen their dad play basketball and I think overall they enjoyed it. I guess it was another family bonding moment. I think we will go as a family and watch more games in the future, so much so that I ordered my youngest a little basketball kit - can't wait for it to arrive.

Day Ten - Following a stressful morning with one of my children I decided to have a little treat. I guess this is a photo of more food but I chose dark chocolate to try and cut out a few calories.

Day Eleven - My kids often drive me crazy, however they all have very caring and sweet aspects to their personalities. I often find myself smiling at their kindness towards each other. Watching one of my daughters entertain my son while I cracked on with the dinner brought a smile to my face and meant I could get things done.

Day Twelve - I visited my friend and her two children. My friend's son was eager to show me his toys and amongst them was this till. You may be thinking that it's a strange choice of photo, however, seeing this brought back childhood memories for me. I think I played with it more than he did!

Day Thirteen - Whilst cleaning out my daughters school bag I found this. She suddenly jumped up and said 'Mommy I made this for you at Christmas'. She read it out loud to me and I felt my heart warm. She can be so loving and kind.

Day Fourteen - It's Friday - say no more! Cocktails for hubby and I.

Reflecting back over the week it's great to see some moments that have brought me happiness and to know it's not all about food. I have great friends and family to share these moments with.

So only 86 more days to go!! I'm loving the challenge & enjoy meeting with other adopters over social media to share these moments. 

If you would like to join us please link your pictures up via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, The Adoption Social site or your blog using the #TakingCare100

Friday, 16 January 2015

Happiness Photo Challenge Week 1

Over the last seven days I have been taking part in the 100 day happiness photo challenge. 

The focus is on having a bit of fun each day whilst taking care of ourselves.. taking a photo of it & sharing it with other adopters using the #Takingcare100. 

I have been posting my pics on Twitter each day, but I thought it would be nice to do a weekly round up of my moments of happiness and share them on my blog....

So here we go...

Day one -  Hubby brought me breakfast in bed. Great way to start the day. 
Loved to wake up to this: 

Day two - My husband treated me to this beautiful gift. This lovely charm definitely brought a smile to my face for the day. 

Day three - My lovely sister painted my nails & covered me in jewellery tattoos. I love being pampered! 

Day four - Whilst the kids were in nursery my friend & I sneaked away for a naughty treat! Chocolate will bring a smile to my face in any situation! 

Day five - I love my food & all day spaghetti bologinse was on my mind.. I couldn't wait to tuck in! 

Day six - After school we had great fun putting on some funny songs & dancing around the kitchen whilst learning the four times table. It's in these moments that I feel as though I bond with my daughters. 

Day seven - This morning I took some time out and went to my local Pilates class. I love mixing together alone time, fitness & relaxation! 

Reflecting back over the week it's great to see some moments that have brought me happiness. Makes me realise what makes me feel happy & content. 

So only 93 more days to go!! I'm loving the challenge & enjoy meeting with other adopters over social media to share these moments. 

If you would like to join us please link your pictures up via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, The Adoption Social site or your blog using the #TakingCare100 

Friday, 9 January 2015

Happiness Photo Challenge

Just before Christmas my fellow blogger 'The Family of 5' organised a 31-day photo challenge for families that are connected with adoption. If you wish to see what we got up to, you can view the pics at #FO5Photo. The idea was to think about ways that us adopters take care of ourselves on a daily basis, whilst having a bit of fun too!

It was really popular and I felt as though it brought some of us adopters together as we shared in the small things that we use to care for ourselves and bring us a bit of joy and comfort.

So myself and a couple of adopters have thought about doing a 100-day challenge. The idea is to take a picture a day for 100 days of something that makes you happy. It could be anything, something big or something small. Maybe a cake, maybe a cup of coffee, or a picture of your favourite pet.

 So we can all see and share in each others happiness the hashtag #TakingCare100 has been thought of. So each time you post a picture be sure to use the above hashtag.

At the end of the 100 days it would be lovely to look back over the pictures and see how we have cared for ourselves over that time period and be able to smile at some of the fun we have had either on our own or with our family and friends. 

There is no start or finish date so join in as and when you can and if you miss a day (or two) just jump straight back in and carry on.

It would be great to have as many people linked to adoption as possible to join in so if you can please share, re-tweet or forward this post on to raise awareness that would be most appreciated.

Thank you & I look forward to seeing your pictures!

Expectations vs Reality

When I saw that The Adoption Social theme for this week is 'Expectations' it struck a cord with me immediately. I always seem to have an ideology of how I would like something to be, whether that's the taste of a takeaway, a night out, my relationships or my parenting abilities. The word expectations has been banded around our house for the last two years. It has been a word that I have been dragging around in my thoughts for awhile and it has virtually sapped the life out of me.

What do I mean?

I mean the high, extremely high and unrealistic expectations that I have consciously and sub-consciously set for myself and for my family.

Let me explain....

During the assessment process I answered all (or most) of the Social Workers questions with perfect textbook answers, genuinely feeling as though I would be a wonderful and understanding adoptive mother, who would be able to connect the dots between our children's pasts, their behaviour, age and present circumstances and then be able to give a therapeutic and caring response. Regardless of the sort of day that I'd had, what mood I was in or how much I had on.

How wrong was I?!

I have struggled, and to be honest I am still struggling, with the fact that I cannot do it all, stay calm, deliver a therapeutic response whilst looking like I've brushed my hair and applied some mascara.

I cannot prepare breakfast, supervise three children eating while feeding anther one, clean up, feed the dog and check that he has had a wee, bath the baby, clean two sets of teeth while checking that my youngest daughter is brushing all of her teeth and not just her front ones and then get out of the house on time.

To then come home from the school run (which practically finishes me off for the day), prepare the tea, oversee homework, play and then orgainse three children to get ready for bed, whilst propping a bottle in the little ones mouth to then get all four into bed!

Some days I gain reassurance from my mommy friends who give me a hug, thrust a cup of coffee in my direction and tell me "it's okay, I understand." The knowledge that I am not alone in my expectations and then disappointments leads me to think that I am not completely bonkers and I must be on the right path somehow! 

Not only do I expect a lot from myself but I have noticed that I also expect a lot from my daughters. I often find myself asking too much from them, mainly in terms of their behaviour. I often hear myself spluttering the words 'eat your dinner nicely', 'stop being silly', 'why have you done that' ... the list could go on and on!! No sooner than the words have left my lips do I think, Oh just relax they are only young, it's not the end of the world, let them be kids.

Round and round I go with my thoughts focused on 'my expectations', trying to strike the balance.

Over the two years that the girls have been with us I think I have got slowly better at lowering my expectations, so this leads me to expect that things can only get better! Right? Maybe I need a plan? A vehicle that will help me to continue to lower my expectations, laugh more, relax more, enjoy more.

I am determined to not stay in this place of expecting too much for forever. I have a few things up my sleeve that I am going to try to see if it helps me to take a step back and relax. If they work I will be sure to blog about them to pass on my new found pearls of wisdom.....

Thanks for reading... 

This post was written for the #WASO, the theme this week was 'Expectations'.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Thief in the night...

Your advice, fellow adopters, would be much appreciated. I'm struggling to get my head around a problem that has cropped up in our family over the last few months...

We moved our two eldest daughter's (aged 7 & 6) bedroom downstairs. They seemed happy to move, liked the decoration and enjoy sharing a room. Since moving them we have periodically noticed that food has gone missing. When I say food, it is mostly sweets, chocolates and biscuits. We don't have much in the house but at certain times, Easter, birthdays and Christmas time we, like most families, stock up!

We spoke to our post adoption social worker about this and she felt that it was most likely due to our daughters past (lack of consistent meals) and it was a learnt survival behaviour that perhaps during times of stress she would demonstrate. Fine! I can understand that and carry bags of empathy for a child who has not known where or what their next meal will be and why should they trust the next set of adults who come along? However, our daughter has been with us for nearly two years and of course my husband and I (and other family members and friends) have fed her three meals a day, not to mention all the treats and snacks in between. Before living with us she enjoyed the same routine for two years in foster care. So why does she still feel the need to take whatever grabs her fancy? We have tried talking to her about the issue but she closes down and is not able to answer. I have tried to monitor the situation and can not find a link between changes, hunger, anxiety, stress, good or bad days.

Our Social Worker suggested leaving out some food for our daughter to eat in the morning when she woke so she would not have to wait for us to give her breakfast. I left an apple (a fruit she enjoys) on the kitchen worktop and told her to help herself if she so desired. The following morning I came down to find her eating the apple. As I went to pour her cereal she went to throw the apple in the bin. This led me to believe that she is not taking food due to hunger as surely she would have wanted to finish the apple before beginning her cereal. Later on that same morning I found that she had taken some Skittles which were on the side. Again, this guided my thoughts to her wanting certain foods rather than her being hungry.During the rest of the day she will usually choose healthy items for pudding, i.e. an apple or grapes, rather than the cake or sweets that the other children ask for. Yet the food she is stealing is always junk food.

Not only have we tried to talk to her and reassure her we, against our Social Worker's advice, have punished her too (no treats or TV). Some of you may disagree with this but when you are at the end of your tether and are desperate you will try pretty much anything. Despite all of this though, this morning two boiled sweets had gone missing again. After a couple of hours she admitted to taking the sweets and we had a cuddle whilst I tried to label her feelings and behaviour to help her understand and to see if she could help me to learn. 

The reason I am writing this now is because despite our best efforts and involving our social worker she is still taking items that she shouldn't be. I would welcome help from adopters or professionals who have experienced the same or similar and have found a way to help their children.