30 Day Writing Challenge – DAY 1

List 10 things that make you happy

1.  My husband.  Of course he makes me happy…  I wouldn’t have married him if he didn’t make me happy!

2.  Gning.  My eldest son.  His sparkling eyes, handsome face and beautiful personality.  He never fails to make me smile and / or laugh…  He is so intelligent too.  I have a feeling his intelligence is going to be his downfall when it comes to schooling; but that’s another topic.

3.  Donut.  My youngest son.  He may only be a baby (5 weeks and 2 days old), but he can already light up a room when entering.

4.  Chocolate.  I’m a woman…  What woman doesn’t love chocolate?

5.  Camping.  I mean real camping, in a tent – not caravanning, which some people say is camping (by the way, that’s called caravanning, NOT camping *rolls eyes*).  I’m talking about real camping too…  No electricity hook-ups, no laptops…  Believe me.  I used to know someone who took their laptops camping, and they had a blow-up settee and ‘port-a-loo’.  There’s just something about being under canvas in the middle of nowhere.  I guess it’s because it’s something that I have done since I was a baby (I was 3 months old when I first slept in a tent).

6.  Scotland.  It’s true that Scottish history is full of tragedy, but there is a certain romance to it too.  History, the clans, the music (especially bagpipes), the scenery of the Highlands…  People have said that I do have an obsession.  To be honest, I can’t deny that I have.

7.  Ancient Egypt.  It’s the Gods, Goddesses, culture, architecture…  I’m fascinated by the meanings behind the temples and tombs…  I would love to be able to read hieroglyphics too.

8.  Stonethwaite.  For those of you who are not in the know, Stonethwaite is a tiny hamlet, in the district of Borrowdale, in the Lake District.  The Lake District is a National Park in the county of Cumbria, in the north-west of England.  Stonethwaite valley campsite was the first place where I crawled.  The campsite is set on farmland, next to a wonderful stream, which is amazing to listen to when you’re drifting off to sleep.  Follow the water upstream, and you will eventually come to a little known secret…  The stream becomes surrounded with rocks, and if you are brave enough, the water is certainly deep enough to swim in.  I have done it many times, although I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have an immunity to cold water.

9.  Birds.  I am an Ornithologist.  To a certain extent.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not Bill Oddie, but I do know a tad about those feathered creatures.  I’ve kept birds all of my life – primarily zebra finches.  I have successfully bred them, and I did actually write a “keepers guide”, several years ago.

10.  Writing.  Whether it’s a short story, poem, review or blog post, writing has always made me smile.  The only problem I have (which long-term Insanely Normal followers will know) is that I suffer horrifically with writers block.  Meh.

So there’s my 10 things.  What are yours?

Introductions are long overdue

I think it’s about time that I introduced myself and my wonderful little family.

My name is Barbara.  I work as a Civil Servant, three days a week, and I also teach martial arts and self-defence in my own Kung Fu school.  I have lots of hobbies and interests.  So many, in fact, that when I reel them off to someone, they normally get fed up of listening ha ha.

I enjoy martial arts, dancing, travelling, camping, swimming, scuba diving, playing the bagpipes, reading, writing, playing on the xbox, crafting (jewellery and accessory making, cross-stitching), watching TV and films, listening to music (most genres), singing (even though I’m tone deaf – my little man appreciates it though ha ha) and, unbelievably, studying!  As I am not a student, I study off my own whim.  I enjoy improving my knowledge on Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, various places and the history of Scotland, and fitness techniques to assist in my martial arts school.  Some may say that I have a couple of unhealthy obsessions.  Thus being of Scotland and Ancient Egypt.  Quite a weird combination there, huh?  Oh!  I’m also an avid map reader.  I can look at a map for hours…  And yes, I am a woman…  And yes, I can read maps!  Wow!

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My husbands’ name is Michael.  We first met in primary school, at the age of 5 or 6.  All throughout our school life, we went to the same schools.  In some respects, we were even in the same classes, but we never spoke.  We ran in different circles, so why would we?  It wasn’t until 2005 when he messaged me on Friends Reunited, enquiring about the Kung Fu classes I held.  On 31 october 2009, we married.  The ceremony and dinner was an Autumn theme, and the party in the evening was Halloween themed.  Everyone was in fancy dress!

Michael works as a self-employed photographer.  He photographs anything from sitting portraits to full day weddings.  He has a rather extensive list of hobbies too…  Martial arts, photography, gaming, programming (on the PC for Android apps), travelling and camping. He also shares the unhealthy obsession of Scotland that I hold.

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On 12 September, 2011, a bouncing baby boy came into our lives.  William was a huge baby.  He was 10lb 8oz born!  My little squished face beauty.  After 30 and a half hours labour, my consultant decided that it was just too dangerous to continue, and I was rushed for an emergency section.  I was high as a kite due to all the gas & air I had been supping for 25 hours, and I really didn’t know what was going on.  I can, however, remember as clear as a bell when the surgeon held him up over the curtain, ‘congratulations, you’ve had a toddler – he’s come out wearing his school uniform and briefcase in hand…’  I took one look, burst into tears saying, “he’s not mine…  He’s Chinese…”  Bless.  William was huge!  He was bruised, swollen, and had a touch of jaundice.  Luckily, the jaundice cleared within 4 days.

My little man is 19 months old in two weeks.  I can’t believe where the time has gone.  Sometimes when I look at him, I still can’t believe that he’s here, and that he’s mine.  But on the other hand, I can’t remember what it was like before he came along.  I feel so blessed.

I would start listing his hobbies…  But being the age that he is, his list is not as extensive as mine or Michaels’.  Currently, William enjoys watching cbeebies (especially In the Night Garden), ‘splash splash’ time (baths), going out with his nanna and grandad, and general play.  He’s starting to grow out of the snuggling phase, but it’s still wonderful when he climbs up on your knee to give you kisses and cuddles.

This was taken when William was only 3 hours old…  Look at the face!  You can tell that I’m as high as the sky in the background 🙂

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And this photo was taken a couple of weeks ago.  Oh, how the time has gone…

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The Wait is Over

I’m a little late in posting this update, but everything has been a bit of a nightmare over the past couple of days.

Firstly, I am pleased to say that my husband’s surgery was a success.  They had to make one of the cuts wider that they wanted to, but the whole procedure was still classed as keyhole.  He returned home yesterday morning, grotty and in pain.  At least it’s over and done with now.  Happy birthday to my hubby!  But, I repeat, it’s over and done with now.

He was supposed to be able to remove the bandages today.  One (he has four in total) had peeled away under his t-shirt.  After a good look at it, it still looks a bit too ‘fresh’, so my first aid box came out so I could redress it.  That was the one that they had to open a bit more than they wanted too.  I said that we’ll try again later on this afternoon with two of the smaller wounds.  At least he can start to have a bit of fresh air hit the wounds to assist in the healing process.  As for the one I redressed, that just isn’t ready to be ‘naked’ yet.  The fourth is positioned in and just below his naval.  That’s the largest cut of all.  That won’t be ready to be uncovered for at least a few days, but I’ll have a look at that later too.

My hubby feels awful because he’s not been able to cuddle our 18-month old.  They said he would be ok to have our little man on his knee, but he us such a wriggler, and does tend to kick.  Playfully, of course.  But regardless, he feels guilty because he just can’t take the chance.

That all seems well and good, but what about this ‘nightmare’ I mentioned?

My little man isn’t well.

On Friday night, when my husband was in hospital, my beautiful baby boy woke up about 2:30am.  I thought it was his usual…  Wake up, cry, have a fight  with me to get him back to sleep…  But no.  This was something different.  It started off as the aforesaid, but then his breathing changed.  Next thing you know, he vomited all over the bed.  Obviously, because I didn’t expect it, I freaked out.  My little man…

He had seemed a bit off at dinner time, but I didn’t think too much about it because he can be a difficult eater.  He ate his supper with no problem, and was drinking normally, so I didn’t worry about it.

But he did.  When he was sick, he burst into tears and seemed to cower away from me.  I must have repeated “it doesn’t matter, baby” at least a hundred times, but he was still afraid.  I managed to strip the bed and get it in the wash, but instead of making the bed up again, I got the spare duvet and went into the living room to settle him on my recliner.

I’d just sat down when I decided to go and put the heating on…  Putting him on the floor, he began sobbing again.  When I got back into the living room, he looked at me with his beautiful, big, blue eyes and vomited again.  This time all over the carpet.  Three times…  I rushed him into the bathroom (we live in a bungalow), lifted the toilet seat and told him to spit (he’s just learned that after he brushes his teeth).  So the clean-up started again.  I decided to just change him into a vest this time in case it happened again.

By now it was about 4:45am.  I swept him up, lay him on my chest whilst in the recliner, covered us both with the duvet in the hope of getting at least an hours sleep.

To bring you up to date to now; he vomited on 5 occasions yesterday and had one bout of diarrhea.  Today he has had one horrific nappy first thing this morning, but he has had his breakfast and has managed to keep it down.  He has not vomited since 7pm last night.  Hopefully that was the last of it.  He’s still very docile today, but I would be too if I spent all day being poorly.

So, instead of me looking after my post surgery husband, I’m having to spend all my time nursing a once-rowdy, very poorly toddler.  Luckily enough that hubby can walk around and can make himself a drink…

There you go.  That’s been my last 48 hours.

The Waiting Game

For the past several years, my husband has been suffering with horrific pains around his stomach area.  There was one bout in January that he had it so bad that he actually said I needed to call an ambulance.  He’s never been one for hospitals, so I knew there was something really wrong.

At 3:05am, the ambulance came and took him away.  He ended up spending two nights in hospital.  However, it was a worrying, if not a positive result.  They had finally found the cause to his problems.  He had gall stones to the extent that they were becoming very troublesome, and he was told it could lead to future problems.  He had two options.  Medication for the rest of his life, or surgery to remove the gall bladder.

After a couple of hours of chatting, he decided that it would be best for surgery.  “Just to get it over and done with”, he said.

He’s in surgery today.  He was admitted at 7:30am this morning.  As far as I’m aware, he’s actually in surgery now.

We were told there’s a 97% chance that they can do the procedure via keyhole.  That means he may be able to come home either this evening or tomorrow morning.  If the procedure has to turn into the full open surgery, he’ll have a 20cm cut and will be in hospital for at least 5 days.  Fingers crossed it’s the keyhole.

I’m sure I’ll do an update soon.  Now it’s just the waiting game to find out when I can visit him…

One giant leap for mankind…

Space.  The final frontier.  The place that goes on and on and on and on…  Does it ever end?

Ok, so that last part was my own, but it’s a question that a lot of people have asked.  So what’s my point?

There is a competition being held throughout the UK at the moment by a shower gel company called Lynx.  The prize is to actually go into outer space.  It’s been a lifelong dream of my husband.  After constantly telling my husband to sign up for the competition, I had finally had enough and registered him for it myself yesterday.

So, can I please take a moment to ask you to click on the link and to click the “vote” button for him? Click here to vote

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