World Prematurity Awareness Day

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Today is World Prematurity Awareness Day, a day to stop and think about those babies born too soon. I write about prematurity regularly on this blog and work hard to support Bliss and the fabulous work they do supporting premature … Continue reading 

Blog Gems – Breastfeeding Premature Twins

Tandem Twin Feeds!

In January 2010 my fiancé, David, and I started our fifth cycle of ICSI in the hope of getting pregnant and having a baby of our own. We were starting to wonder if IVF was ever going to work for … Continue reading 

When I Grow Up

When I was just a little girl,
I asked my mother,
What will I be?
Will I be pretty?
Will I be rich?
Here’s what she said to me …

From an early age I dreamed of being; never being any one set thing but each thing related to words. And now when I think about those childhood ambitions many of them remain the same to this day. I would still like to be an actress, a journalist, an English and Drama teacher. Added now to my list are the White House Press Secretary and my one childhood pipe dream, a professional ice skater, like my childhood heroine Katarina Witt.

So here in more detail are the things I would most like to be when I grow up.

Ice Skater
When I was younger I lived in Germany and I used to love watching ice skating on television. My favourite skater was Katarina Witt. She was a hugely successful skater and was jut gorgeous to watch. I loved her grace, her elegance, her costumes!! I loved watching her colour and creativity and sparkle on the screen. I used to dream of being just like her. In reality when I went ice skating as a child I had to hang on to the sides of the rink so as not to fall over. An ice dancer I was never going to be!

Actress
I tried so hard to make this dream come true. I was in every possible school production, I studied GCSE Drama and A Level Theatre Studies, I joined local drama groups and when we moved to areas that did not have a drama group then from as young as 9 I woud start one. Drama was and is my thing! I would have given anything to be a professional actress. When I was a child I was desperate to join Anna Scher Theatre School. I worshipped her and wrote her letters. I am fairly sure that she replied too. I also went through a phase of wanting to go to The Italia Conti Academy, none of this was possible as by this time we were living in Germany. I wrote to the BBC too and asked if I could be an extra. I also told the BBC about a book I liked that should be made into a TV series and I even offered to play the leading role myself. I was desperate! As I got older I realised that I needed to make the best of my amateur experiences as a professional role was probably not ever going to be mine.

Writer / Journalist
I tried hard to achieve this goal too. I was editor of our class magazine at school as a pupil and also ran the school newspaper as a teacher. At university I wrote short pieces for the TES and had an interview for ATL. In my late teens I had an interview for a job as a local news reader on BFBS Radio in Germany. They were very impressed with me at the interview but I was too young for the role. I loved the interview though, choosing what news needed to be given the highest priority and makng headlones and reading them out over the air. Such a great experience, I would have loved that job! Now as a blogger I am developing my writing skills and I also write articles about Zu3D for my fiance. I would like to write a book one day. I have been writing stories and poems for as long as I can remember. It is something that I find very easy, something that I love to do. Perhaps an educational children’s book will be in the offing one day.

English and Drama Teacher
I am half way to this one already as a primary teacher and literacy subject leader but when my own children go to school I would like to work as a secondary school English teacher. I want to be like Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. That is my dream job. That is the dream I am going to strive to achieve next and I cannot wait!!

White House Press Secretary
This is my fantasy dream job after becoming a little obsessed with The West Wing. I think I could be a good Press Secretary, I would love to give it a try!! I love the patriotism and passion in The West Wing. I am not American but The West Wing makes me want to serve at the pleasure of the President. Of President Bartlett anyway!

So there you have it, what I would be, if I could be, should I ever ever grow up.

Please hop on over to Manana Mama who is hosting this week’s listography to explore other people’s hopes, dreams and fantasies.

Things to be Happy About

H.A.P.P.Y

A clear and bright blue sky
The sun casting diamonds on the ocean
Warm sand between my toes
Crisp morning air
Reaching a summit
Running or rolling down a grassy hill
Cocktails
Friendship
Loud music
Great lyrics
Making lists
Crossing things off lists
Hot chocolate with cream
Christmas
Advent
What ifs
Just imagines
Happy ever afters
Baby smiles
Little giggles
Belly laughs
Playtime
Bedtime
Cold sheets
Cuddles
Fresh linen
Blossom
Wordplay
David
Family
New inspirations
Ideas that work
Teaching
Learning
Exploring
Remembering
Esther
William
Beginning
Ending
Dancing under the stars
Sleeping beneath the moon
Toasted marshmallows
Buttered crumpets
Campfires and songs
Fine food
Chocolate wine
Trust
Loyalty
Spontaneity
Peace
Flowery dresses
Floaty skirts
Plaits and ringlets
Tumbling tresses
A good book
A funny film
Great company
Solitude
Understanding
Respect
Curiosity
Belief
Celebration
Giving gifts
Making cards
Writing poetry
Creation
Imagination
Hardwork
Fun
Dream making
Goal getting
Faith
Destiny
Love

I could go on and on!

This is in response to Lauren @ RealhousewifeofSuffolk who has started a Things to be Happy About MeMe. How could I resist joining in, it is always so nice to think happy thoughts. You have just read some of mine, why not hop on over to Lauren and share some of yours?

World Book Day – The Silver Sword

The Silver Sword is a book that has stayed with me all of my life, or at least since I first discovered it in primary school when it was read to me by my teacher, Mrs Foster.

The Silver Sword is a story based upon true fact that touches my heart every time I read it.
It is an inspirational story of tremendous courage, hope and determination in a terrible situation. It is the tale of four children’s struggle to stay alive as they journey through war-torn Europe, during the years of Nazi occupation.
This is a book that I will definitely hare with my own children and one that I have used in my teaching with children from Years 5 and 6. As well as being a story to share for its own sake it can also be a powerful text to use as part of a literacy or history lesson.
Personally I would incorporate the novel into a half term topic about war and conflict focusing on children and refugees. I believe that this would enhance the children’s understanding of the setting of the story, time and place, and help them to empathise with the characters and their situation. It would also give opportunity for looking at war poetry and other related texts such as When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and I Am David, two of my other most favourite books!!
I believe that The Silver Sword is a strong story, appealing to both boys and girls. I also feel that it is a novel that children can become really involved with and feel passionate about as the main characters are the same age as them and share similar likes and dislikes. They can really try to put themselves in their shoes.
At different points in the story children can further their understanding of and empathy for the characters by using hot-seating. One person would assume the role of a character from the novel and the other children would ask them questions about how they are feeling at a certain time, what are their fears, their worries, their thoughts about the other children and characters in the book. This would be a good way of considering what happened to Edek before the other s find him and or to Jan before he finds the others, or to the mother. It helps to enhance the understanding and enjoyment of the story by encouraging children to really read between the lines and think what could have happened based on what they already know about the novel and the war situation. It also helps to ask children o try to relate what they are reading to their own lives in some way, perhaps through emotions and feelings. When have you felt sad and lonely? Who is your best friend and why? If you had a treasure box like Jan’s what three objects would you put into it and why?
This book lends itself to being a platform for discussions about refugees and children’s experiences of war. It would be interesting to work with different charities such as The Red Cross to really develop understanding and compassion in this area.
On a creative note it would be good practice to watch the television serialisation of The Silver Sword, with children at home or at school, and notice and discuss any points that are different from the book. This would include evaluating the performances of the actors playing the main characters. Is it well cast? Do the characters loo as you imagined them to? Who would you cast in each role?
With my own children at home and pupils at school I would ask them, at the end of each reading session, to make a prediction of what they think might happen next in the story. Anticipating what might happen next in a text is an important part of reading, it is how we link what we know, what we think and what we have read together. It helps us to make sense of what we are reading and it uses imagination and creative thought.
I believe that as well as being great to read The Silver Sword provides a springboard form which many forms of writing can be launched (or sprung! ) – diaries, letters, stories, poems, reports, recounts, information texts, arguments and many more. The book has strong characters and a good plot with some chapters that could potentially lead to very powerful, creative interpretation, particularly Chapter 27, The Storm.
This book gets me so excited!
English is a subject that I have always been passionate about and I hope that through this passion, my knowledge of children’s literature and my ability to meet educational objectives through that literature, I will be able to inspire my own children and the pupils that I teach in my classroom to love English and books just as I do.
The story of The Silver Sword takes children on the journey of The Balicki Family but it is also a very personal journey where it is possible to discover many new ideas, new words, new thoughts and new inspirations. I truly believe that children take something from every story they read that moves them a little further on in their journey of discovering exactly who they are and what they want to be.
On this World Book Day 2011 I recommend this book as a winner with children aged 9 – 99.
Every journey begins with a single step so perhaps reading The Silver Sword could be yours.

I Believe

I believe in me

I am strong, I will fight for what I believe in

I am love, I cannot love you more

I am warmth, I beam with love and pride

I am loyalty, I will always be by your side

I listen

I learn

I am for keeps

I believe that I will always be here

I believe in you

You are our protector, you hold us in your arms

You are our provider, of all things big and small

You are our comforter, you are always by our side

You are our entertainer, you make us laugh, smile, sing and dance

You are our centre, in everything we see, think and do

I want to keep you

I believe you will always be here

I believe in them

The future

The sunshine of our day

Our inspiration

The reason

Our heartbeats

Our love

Can we keep them?

So tiny, so precious?

I believe they will always be here

I believe in us

Our unit

Our team

Our family

Our fortress

I believe in us

Together

One future

One destiny

One dream

Four heartbeats

Four souls

Can we keep them?

Will we be here?

I believe in us

Together

Entwined

Entangled

I believe that for all time we will always be here

I believe …

Please visit Sleep for the Weak to see what others have come up with for this week’s writing workshop about belief.

Writing Workshop

I Am What I Am!

Mummy Beadzoid has tagged me and asked me to ‘Fill in the Blanks’ and explain a little about who I am.

So here goes …

I am a worrier.  I have always been a worrier for as long as I can remember.  And the thing that I worry about most is what other people think about me.  Pathetic, I know.  I worry about what people think about what I wear, what I do and how I do things.  I worry about what kind of teacher I am, what kind of parent I am, what kind of blogger I am!  I let these worries impact on what I do.  It leads to a lot of loneliness actually and to an inability to really be myself in front of others.  Very few people know the real me, I do not let people close.  A fear of ridicule, a fear of rejection.  I can come across as rude to some people, I know, but it is not rudeness, it is shyness.  People find this hard to believe as I am confident on a stage or when teaching a group of children but among a group of my peers this confidence leaves me.  Deserts me and lets me down.  This worry is quite a handicap for me.  It leads to irrational thinking and over reactions to silly situations.  Sometimes it is like an out of body experience as I emotionally react to a situation I am telling myself to stop.  But I can’t! This worry causes me stress but I cannot stop it.  I should be able to but I can’t.  I am a worrier and it is something about myself that I hate.

The bravest thing I have ever done is have abdominal surgery whilst 26 weeks pregnant with my twins.  Although this is not something that I chose to do, I had no choice, I have never been so scared in all my life.  David and I had tried for so long to get pregnant, we had come so far in this twin pregnancy and we were about to lose everything because of me, because of my body.  I was letting him down.  I was letting his parents down, my parents.  I was letting down our children, before they had even been born.  From being admitted to hospital to being cut open took 3 days.  3 days of tests and assessments, pain killers, blood, vomit and terror.  David was far braver than me, he did not know if any of us were going to survive, no one seemed to know what was wrong or what should be done.  I told him that if it was a choice between me and the babies then I wanted to be the one to die.  It was awful but worse for David as my recollection of those days is blurred and I know for him the memories are still very clear.  After the operation I was in hospital for 7 days recovering.  I was heavily pregnant.  My bump had been cut from top to bottom to allow the surgeon to save my twisted bowel without disturbing the babies.  I could not eat, I was on oxygen.  David had to help me in a way a husband should never have to help his wife, let alone fiance to fiancee.  I was so swollen with water retention I could barely sit, stand or walk.  I had to fight on to get fit and well for the babies.  When I was discharged on the 21st July I did not expect to go to hospital again until October but in spite of my best efforts and those of all the doctors the babies were born on the 24th July 2010 at 27 weeks plus 3.  I am so sorry babies that I was not able to keep you safe inside me for longer x I will always feel sad about that.

I feel prettiest when I forget to worry about what other people think. 

Something that keeps me awake at night is my son, William.  Bless him. Born at 27 weeks, now 7 months, there is nothing my little man likes more than Mummy’s milk.  Every 2 – 3 hours right around the clock.  I always complain about this but actually I love feeding him and will miss it so much when this special time is gone.  But it does mean a severe and prolonged lack of sleep. 

My favourite meal is fajitas.  David and I started eating fajitas regulalrly when we started IVF as a good way of eating lots of vegetables.  When I make fajitas they are filled to bursting with veg – peppers, onions, mushrooms, chillies, tomatoes, spinach.  We have lots of different varieties of mushroom and they are really filling and flavoursome.  We started IVF in January 2009 and we still eat fajitas at least once a week even now.  Yum – Yum!

The way to my heart is to surprise me.  Tell me something nice, make me laugh, write me a story, cook me a meal.  Be thoughtful and kind and spontaneous.  Treat me in some way, make me smile.  Show that you have been thinking about me enough to plan a surprise no matter how small.  Do this and my heart will be yours x

I would like to be thinner.  Since starting IVF and being pregnant I have gained over a stone in weight.  It is coming off slowly but I still have a way to go before our wedding in September.  I am struggling to lose weight and tone my stomach because of the scars from surgery.  I will keep working at it and hope that by September I will be somewhere near to where I used to be in tone and weight.  If not, well, I have two beautiful babies to show for it, and at the end of the day, I am alive.

This is me, I am what I am.

Thank you Mummy Beadzoid for the questions x

Lord of the Rings … Again!

This week I am joining Metal Mummy in her Movie MeMe.  She has asked us what is our film of the 21st century, our film of the decade?

For me, there can only be one!

There are a few 21st century films that I have enjoyed but for me none come close to The Lord of the Rings as I mentioned in my Listography post last week.

My favourite of all the films, to David’s dismay, is The Fellowship of the Ring.  I know that it has the least action and the least effects but it tells the story so well and introduces each of the characters in detail.  I think that the film is so well cast and the actors really complement each other particularly those playing Frodo and Sam.  This is a tale of friendship, of courage, of determination and strength, of loyalty, of love.

This is a film with it all.  Magic, humour, romance, intrigue and great one liners!  I love the script, the language from the book is just beautiful.  The sets and scenery are breathtaking and the music tells a story all of its own whilst perfectly blending with the words and actions.

I am not a great film buff or reviewer.  I do not watch a lot of television or many movies but I do read a lot of books and for me what makes a great film is where the translation from the page to the screen is true and meaningfuk.  It has to work on a personal level for me and this film really does.

And being a Mummy of premature twins, this film of the 21st century provides the best quote of all time:

Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.

Why not pop over to Metal Mummy’s Movie MeMe for some passionate beautifully written movie recommendations.  Popcorn at the ready!

Listography – My Perfect Day

I am so thankful to have this to do today as I am having the worst few days ever with Esther and William, well William really.  He is teething with a temperature and refusing to eat or sleep.  I love him with  all my heart but he is exhausting at the moment as he is often inconsolable.  David works from home and is getting increasingly stressed that he is needed to help with the babies rather than focus all his attentions on his work.  I think we are both nearing breaking point, so taking 5 minutes (albeit with William in my arms!) to ponder on what would be a perfect day for me right now is a really rather nice thing to do.

What would make my perfect day right now?

1 – I would wake up to a warm, sunny morning.  The babies would wake smiling in their cot and we would go downstairs where I would put them down to play on the lawn whilst I got a breakfast of coffee, orange juice, fruit and croissants.  I would sit in the warmth of the sun and watch my children playing happily together.  It would be quiet apart from their beautiful coos and babbles.  There would be periods of warm hazy silence.

2 – The postman would deliver a letter from my sister telling me that she is pregnant and that she is moving home from Australia not just to the UK but to Kent where we will be sisters, friends and neighbours and our children will grow up knowing each other like cousins should.

3 – I would have lunch in a cafe courtyard in the sun and enjoy drinking wine and eating finger foods with good adult conversation with a group of friends.  We would laugh and joke and be playful.  We would discuss and debate.  We would not notice the sun beginning to set and day turning to night.  It would be wonderful.

4 – I would go to a salon and have a relaxing back massage, facial with Indian head massage and have my hair cut and styled.  I would take a lovely outfit with me to the salon and would dress there ready for an evening out.

5 – The evening would be with all my family and friends together at a function rather like a wedding reception with good music and good food.  There would be dancing to cheesy music.  There would be fun and frolicks and laughter. Lots of laughter.  Everyone would be loving the company of everyone else.  It would be riotous and yet so peaceful. Like being home!

And if there were just one impossible thing that I could make happen right now, I would like to go to 167 Grange Road for a cup of tea, a game of scrabble and a cuddle with my Nan.  Because I miss her so much even now, everyday.  That would be a perfect day.

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