Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Looking back...

I know it wont be the same for everyone, but for us, on the whole 2013 was a good year. This time last year, I was announcing my pregnancy, Ella was just taking her first steps alone and the house was in absolute chaos as we renovated the downstairs rooms.

Now we have a 7 month old baby, a walking/talking/signing whirlwind of a little girl and a house that's now a home.  And all that via hard work, too many sleepless nights and a lot of tears and laughter (in almost equal measure!).





A year in pictures...


12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days condensed into just 12 snapshots.... It's been good looking back at 2013.  Choosing and looking through all the pictures from the past year got me thinking.  If I could choose just one picture to sum up 2013, which one would it be? 

It's strange to think that one captured moment could define an entire year.  This year, it was an easy one to pick out from the hundreds I had to choose from.  In fact, I knew as soon as I'd posed myself the question which one it would be.  For me, it doesn't just represent 2013 - it's a split second that defines so much more and one that I'll remember forever... 

It's that first cuddle between two special sisters.  A big sister who literally grew up overnight and a little sister who seemed instantly content in the arms of her sibling.  I took many pictures of Ella and Lucy's introduction but this one is my favourite.  It's not perfect in many ways -no smiles, Ella's hair is a mess, Lucy is asleep... but the look on Ella's face sums up the old saying perfectly...

'A picture is worth a thousand words'

What picture would you choose to sum up your year?

2013 on the blog...

I finally got around to writing Ella's feeding story - it's the post on the blog that I've received the most comments and feedback on.  It's good that sharing our story is having a positive impact and giving hope to others.  I wish I'd been able to read other people's stories and experiences when we were going through all the struggles in the early days with Ella.

In March we raised a lot of money for our local DS support group during Down's Syndrome awareness week.  It was all with help from a lot of you and your odd socks - thank you again for your pictures, time and donations!

  
I was honoured to be part of raising awareness when asked by Mencap to take part in their Learning Disability Week - you can read my 'Superheroes' post here



A Different View is also now linked with the NHS choices initiative - 'Talk Health'.  They publish all my posts so that they are available to anyone wanting to find out more about Down's Syndrome.  That could be a student, health professional or, more crucially a new parent or parent to be.  

It was also a lovely surprise for the blog to be recently featured on the Down Syndrome Centre (Ireland) website. A big thank you - you can read their feature here

So, very briefly, that was our 2013.  And we can only hope at this point that 2014 will be another good year.  We already know we have some challenges ahead of us in the coming year - all helps to keep life interesting!  

Happy New Year everyone xx 






Monday, 9 December 2013

Now I am 3!

So, now she's 3... How did that happen?! 


She has achieved so much this last year and shows no signs of stopping.  She's gone from taking one or two solo steps just after her 2nd birthday to now running round the house asking to be chased and tickled.  Her speech has come on so much and she continues to use Makaton, learning new signs and words all the time.  

Most importantly, this year she's become a big sister to Lucy - which has been a massive step forward for all of us, as a family.  Ella has grown up so much and it's clear that both our girls adore each other...


With every year that passes, she continues to amaze us. I look back to her first days, sleepy and jaundiced in her special care incubator.  A heart defect, feeding problems and very little positivity or words of encouragement from medical staff.  We were told her development would be slower than children with Down's Syndrome who didn't have heart defects and I got a tut and a head tilt from the consultant when I said we hadn't had any pre-natal screening.  

I'm glad we are rational, pragmatic people and that we paid little attention to their predictions. We had the support and positivity of our family, friends and each other to get us through. It was up to us to give her the opportunity to reach her potential (whatever that was going to be) - and if we, as her parents didn't believe in her then nobody else was going to.   

Being a mum has been the hardest job I've ever had.  But I look back on how hard it's been and know that I am a better person because of these last three years.  I've said it before, but Ella really has bettered any expectation of the child I imagined I would have.  The rewards of being her mum and watching her develop, learn and grow I can't put into words.  She's a wonderful teacher, makes us proud everyday and has a world of possibilities waiting for her. 

You can tell she is three - overnight, she's become very defiant, independent and very quick tempered - we've left the 'terrible two's' behind and most definitely have a 'threenager' on our hands....!

To Ella, who is still unaware of what a birthday is, the actual 'big day' was to her just like any other.  Except there was a big pink balloon to play with and presents to open (she's certainly got the hang of what a present is!)...


We celebrated Ella's birthday with family this year.  A lovely reason for both families (and all 4 generations) to get together.  She was well and truly spoilt - lots of presents, loved having everyone around and her favourite person 'Mr Tumble' made several appearances throughout the celebrations... She also loved being sung to and having the candles blown out - we had to sing happy birthday 4 or 5 times!


Mr Tumble cake


Spotty bag 




After the weekend family celebrations, we had a birthday trip to National Children's Museum 'EUREKA'.  I've been wanting to go for ages now - I have fond memories of visiting when I was younger both with my mum and with school.  The museum is great - like a giant kids playground that all ages can enjoy.  The highlights for Ella were the mini high street (complete with bank, supermarket and post office) where she loved filling her mini shopping trolley with food and then proceeded to do a 'trolley dash' around most of the ground floor area... 


I was pleased to see that my favourite part of Eureka was still there, although it's been recently updated.  The interactive, sensory exhibit 'All About Me' -which is a walk through of the human body, incorporating all the senses, bodily functions, our health - including dentists chair and equipment (plus a giant set of teeth!), a pregnant woman complete with moving bump and ultrasound, body scanner, the importance of excercise and (Ella's favourite) the chance to hold your own baby clinic...


Just like Granny!

Luckily the exhibit was fairly quiet, as Ella took quite a liking to the doll provided and insisted on taking it with us as we explored the gallery...


Lucy enjoyed herself too, especially the tactile, sensory exhibits. And Ella had a ball dancing to the music in the sound booth...



I was also on the look out as we explored, for a little boy called Jack.  I heard all about Jack via the Huddersfield Down's Syndrome Support Group (HDSSG) on Twitter. When Eureka re-developed the All About Me exhibit, they wanted it to echo the diversity of our society and represent the people and families they hoped would visit the museum. As part of this vision, they asked Jack who has Down's Syndrome to model for the project. A massive thumbs up for inclusion. I was worried due to Ella's random approach to looking around that we would miss him, but we did see him dancing and on the feature wall outside the exhibit...

(Picture from HDSSG website)

We had a lovely few hours and will definitely be using our annual pass again as there was too much to see and do in just one visit. 

Happy Birthday little Bean (stop growing up so fast please! xx)










Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Sister Act...(Sisters #2)

Ella's become really wary of the camera (once again) and isn't up for having her photo taken at the moment.  I've tried a few times to get a picture of Ella and Lucy together, that's half decent and finally managed it yesterday.... 

Have some bubbles Lucy

No, I won't stand still...

Getting bored now

AAAaaaaaagggghhhh!!!!!

Eventually...





Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Thief!

We are lucky in that getting Ella to eat fruit and vegetables has never been an issue.  Not something I once thought I'd be saying after all her early feeding problems.

She's a little fruit bat who will choose blueberries or carrot sticks over cakes and biscuits any day. Her favourite fruit is bananas - she will eat one or two a day.  We always have a healthy banana pile on top of the fridge (and there's always a panic when we're running low!)...

So, tonight I was getting everything ready for Ella's tea - the fish fingers were in the oven, the potatoes boiling on the hob and the broccoli was sat on the work top waiting to be cooked. 

Or so I thought...


Our little veggie fiend had seen her prize, thieved the broccoli and was stood innocently munching it, wrapper still attached as Ian entered the kitchen.

She wouldn't be parted with it and wandered off into the living room crunching as she went...




We can only hope that Lucy is as easy to please with food as her sister.  She's had her first tastes and introduction to a spoon this past week.  I'll start baby led weaning once she's got the hand to mouth action sorted (it's so nearly there!).  She's definitely getting the hang of it now, can't wait to get her going properly...


I'll leave you with one last picture of our broccoli bandit...

What do you mean its only one of my 5-a-day?!

Happy Tuesday everyone xx




Friday, 11 October 2013

Welcoming autumn

We've had some lovely weekend day trips to my mums recently.  Trying to squeeze as many days out in the garden as we can before the cold weather sets in.  It'll soon be time for warm clothes, hot chocolates, autumn colours, Frosty mornings, Halloween and (dared I say it) Christmas!


A couple of weeks ago, we watched the post harvest field behind my mums house get sown with next years crop.  We will have to wait and see what will grow, but Ella certainly enjoyed watching the tractor - 'tattor' - as it got closer and closer to the garden fence...




She's become a real little parrot recently and will make an attempt at almost any word you challenge her with.  She's mastered the 's' sound this past week which has opened up a whole new world of words to her.  We now get a lovely 'yes' with a clear 's' on the end.  She made me smile when I bought her a new pair of boots for the winter as she exclaimed 'boots' when I tried them on her. She's doing really well with her speech and tries very hard but I do find that I am the only one who understands the majority of what she says/signs.  Even Ian has to ask for interpretation and she does get frustrated if she's not being understood (especially when she's tired). But as she gets more practise at talking and learns new speech sounds, she is becoming more understandable.  She's now able to add in parts of words she has had to leave out before as she couldn't get her tongue around them.  

Anyway, the two most important words that any toddler learns have the most impact are 'more' and 'no' which she perfected the art of very early on!

We are now continuing to practise blowing through her mouth, which is having mixed results. This comes in useful for sounds such as 'v' and 'f'.  She's not great at it yet - all the air comes out her nose instead of her mouth but we keep trying.   






Lucy is doing fab and has turned into a really smiley baby and I'm enjoying having two girls a lot.  I haven't worried about her weight, feeding, routine etc - very different to the early months with Ella but I'll write more about that soon.  She's started teething but no signs of them appearing any time soon.  Not rolling but seems desperate to sit and loves being able to see whats going on - she's a very typical nosey little girl!


A couple of weeks later, we enjoyed a stroll in the woods behind my mums house.  Again the weather was lovely and we even managed to pick some of the last of the seasons blackberries.  Ella is still not great at walking for any distance and needs reassurance in new situations, especially outside.  She walked a short way but soon realised there were plenty of people she could 'hitch a lift' with!  She managed to explore the undergrowth, leaves, pine cones, trees and made friends with a few dogs along the way too...










Just as I am learning to be a mum to two little people, Ella is learning and adapting in her role as big sister as Lucy grows and becomes more alert and interactive.  She still loves holding her, frequently asking for a cuddle and then shoving you right away as soon as you've laid Lucy in her arms.  She's very independent and currently enjoys pointing out Lucy's features - 'eyes' (finger in eye) - 'hair' (bash on the head).  She also loves doing round and round the garden and this little piggy with her too.  Lucy doesn't always enjoy this - here are a few good pictures and a few outtakes too!...

Ella signing 'sister' (tap your nose twice with a bent index finger)


Love

No Lucy's were harmed in the taking of these pictures!

Happy weekend everyone xx









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