Sunday, 27 March 2016

The best anniversary of all

A year ago today we met our Baby boy. We'd seen photos of him and met his foster carers who told us about him. The social worker advised that we take lots of photos and take a small gift for him. We chose a toy bus.

The first meeting was for an hour. He wasn't too sure about us, but the foster carer said, "look it's Mummy and Daddy." He went over to get the photo book we had made for him. He pointed at our photos and smiled at us in recognition. We've since realised that he's very observant and has a really good memory.

He took to Hubbie straight away. They rolled around on the floor and played and it was just magical hearing his throaty little laugh. We gave him the toy bus and he rolled it along the floor. I lay on the floor while he rolled the bus and followed him into the hall. He looked back at me and made for the door. "Not today baby, we'll go out tomorrow."

At that point he'd spent more than half of his short life in foster care. He was attached to the foster family and they had prepared him to move on to his forever family - us. He had not long started walking. I felt sad that we had missed such a significant milestone, but knew there would be so many others.

Big Boy didn't come with us to the first meeting. He made me promise to take a lot of photos and to tell him everything about his new brother. Our social worker had also advised that I record the feelings and emotions at the time. I'm so glad I did this as there is so much to take in. 

Since that first meeting it's been one of the toughest years of our lives in so many ways, but it's also been amazing. We've had so many milestones and significant first times already. We are now a family of four and it feels just right. It's like he was always meant to be with us. 

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Behind the scenes of the London Museum Dash

Me, Penny and Nell pass the proud

Yesterday I took part in a full day London Museum Dash with these two awesome ladies. We took photos, we shared on social media and we walked. A lot. There is so much to tell and my brain can't quite cope just yet. Instead I was hoping to produce a funky infographic for you, but despite all the google searches promising, 'make an infographic in an hour,' the task has defeated me. Instead here are some of the stats from the day:

35,000 steps - that's how many we walked yesteday. Not allowing for all the walking to get there and to come home. Still, that's a lot.

30km  - is how far we travelled during the course of the challenge. Yep also a lot.

26 museums - we travelled to all corners of London to get as much variety as possible.

9 hours - in each other's company and not a cross word between us !

4 bonus stops - we even managed to visit a few museums that weren't on the plan. Just because.

Fun and games while dashing

4 bus journeys - admittedly two of them were unplanned (see below)

2 tube journeys - to cover the longest distances on the day. And to give us a rest :)

2 pairs of socks - I had a sock change halfway. A trick I've learned from previous challenges

1 broken phone - to my shame I dropped Penny's phone while social media-ing. She was very nice about the shattered screen. 

I almost missed stop - Call it tiredness, or brain fade, but we almost didn't make it to Tate Britain when the bus we were on sailed past. Thankfully an additional bus ride (or 2) and we were back on track.

Penny, Nell and I thank everyone who has already donated and it's not too late if you'd like to sponsor me:

Celebration deely boppers

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

I take thee, my children - the vows of parenting.

To have and to hold

The first day I held my children I knew that was it. From the moment held my newborn to the day I saw Baby Boy's photo. I knew these boys had my heart entirely.

From this day forth

Life is never the same again. That is it now - you can't stop being a parent now that you are - it's just not possible.

For better, for worse

The lovely times that my kids make a picture or give me a hug or a kiss for no reason other than 'I love you Mummy. Or the tantrums and the shouting and the sheer exhaustion of being with a tiny person I love and who seems to be doing everything he can to make me stop.

For richer, for poorer

When we are doing well and can spoil the boys they love it. When we have to make the best of it and have to be creative with fun things to do they do too.

In sickness and in health

When the boys are sick they want Mummy. I carry them as if they are babies again and lie down with them to help them sleep. When they are well and full of energy they prefer Daddy- he's fun, he plays and doesn't make excuses like, "I don't know how to play lightsabers and I can't remember the rules to Monopoly (even though all the Monopoly boards are mine)

To love and to cherish

It goes without saying, but I still say it all the time, I love my boys. I still embarrass them completely by kissing them when I drop them off and they pretend they don't like it. I cherish the moments when I go to check on them as they sleep and breathe deeply the joy that they are safe and beautiful and ours.

'til death us do part

I don't ever want to think about this, but I am doing all I can to ensure my boys grow to be independent, strong, responsible and loving men. That when I leave they will be equipped to take their places in the world as a force for good.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Review: Paw Patrol and Blaze and the Monster Machines DVDs out today.

With two boys aged 5 and 2 years it's not often I can find something that will entertain them both. One likes Lego and the other one just likes to throw it. One is keen on pushing cars around the house and the other one likes to draw them instead. When it comes to TV one likes watching teen shows and the other one prefers cartoons so it's great if I can find shows that they will both enjoy and that keep them busy while I do basic things like prepare food for them.

I first discovered Paw Patrol when Big Boy started to say, "Ryder Sir" and I had to ask what he was talking about. He explained that the pus all had important jobs in fire safety, rescuing others and generally being helpful. Of course Marshall is his favourite as he is still fascinated by fire officers. They both love watching the episodes together and with Baby Boy's new interest in all things pirate the new DVD Paw Patrol: Pups and the Pirate Treasure is right up his street. The DVD features 6 brand new episodes with the gang stumbling onto a secret cavern that was once a pirate’s hideout where they discover an incomplete treasure map. The adventure is on as the pups follow clues to find the missing map pieces, and eventually to a sunken pirate treasure!

Paw Patrol: Pups And The Pirate Treasure - 89 mins (1 disc) RRP: £9.99 Certificate: U Special Features: Video storybook: Pup, Pup and Away

The other show they both watch is Blaze and the Monster Machines and the new mini movie Blaze and the Monster Machines: Blaze of Glory sees the truck and his best pal AJ in a new adventure. Blaze is Axle City’s greatest hero, and champion of the racetrack! Whenever there’s trouble, he is the truck everyone turns to for help as he can do things no other truck can! With his special turbo powers and extraordinary knowledge Blaze is the fastest monster machine in town. Blaze knows everything about science, technology, engineering and maths. With his human driver and best pal AJ, when Starla the cowgirl truck loses a piston, the duo need your help to use force and speed to get to it before Crusher gets his greedy tires on it! This pre-school interactive adventure returns as you at home must help Blaze on his quest, by exploring the physics of how things move, tackling problems and discovering the component parts needed to make every day technologies work. Join Blaze and AJ as they Blaze into glory in the Monster Dome’s Championship Race, and learn some fun facts along the way.

Blaze And The Monster Machines: Blaze Of Glory - 64 mins (1 disc) RRP: £9.99 Certificate: U

My boys loved both of these DVDs and they have special features that make them an ideal gift for the Easter holidays. Not least if - like us - have long road trips so a DVD that keeps the kids amused is an essential. Both titles are out today so there's plenty of time to get them delivered for Easter.

Disclosure: We were sent review copies of both DVDs.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Travel, art and culture. It's all go with Team Honk.

I've been a bit under the weather this week and as a result I've been unable to do any of my usual things. I haven't been swimming, or walking as much as I usually do and I missed Clubbercise last night. I've also not felt up to blogging which is why I've been a bit quiet. I am resting up in order to be up to full strength for next week and my big plans with Team Honk. You might recall that in past years I've scootered round London to the locations on the Monopoly board dressed as a burglar - 'get out of jail - geddit ?

Last year was the most challenging when I took part in a 6 hour danceathon at Wembley Arena surrounded by fellow Honkers. I learned plenty of new dance moves and had a great time. It's always great fun raising money with Team Honk.

This year is no exception an on Saturday (19th March) I'm going to be joining the lovely Nell Heshram who came up with the idea of a museum dash and Penny Alexander who is one of the founders of Team Honk. Our aim is to visit as many museums in London as we can in one day. The museum dash is going to be full on and I suspect we won't get to take in much culture, but we'll do our best to share on social media as we go along. I need tonnes of energy for both days and more importantly sponsorship to help motivate me to keep going.

I've been very lucky that the lovely folks at Wayfair are sponsoring me as part of Team Honk for Sport relief and I'd like to equal their generous donation. If you can give anything that would be fantastic. If you can share my progress on social media as I take part on Saturday that would be brilliant.

Donate here: Swazi's Sightseeing at Speed

Share on Social media using the hashtags: #SR16 #teamhonk 

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Happy Mothering Sunday

I know people who say that Valentine's Day is a marketing thing and that it's just to encourage people to spend money. Similarly they might view Mothering Sunday as a ploy to part us from our money in the name of familial love. A day when florists and restaurants charge us a premium to treat our mothers. All the while the unspoken question is, why only be nice for one day of the year, etc. etc.

A lot of people were shocked when I told them that I wasn't spending the day with my sons. How could I possibly spend my one day of the year not being spoiled by them ? Well, Hubbie taking the boys to visit Grandma and letting me have the house to myself all day is my idea of 'me time.' Ok, it's far from relaxing - my fitbit has recorded 178 active minutes today, mostly from decluttering the house. However, it also gave me some space to think about certain people.

My Mum: I didn't see her today, but we spoke on the phone. When I went to Uni and left home for the first time we used to talk to each other every day. She would ask me at the end of every call, "Shall I call you tomorrow ?" as if checking that she wasn't being a nuisance. In the second year we spoke every week and by the third year I would call her as and when I remembered. It is only now that I am a mother myself that I realise how much that must have hurt her.

My Naniji: Mum's Mum - she died when Big Boy was being born. As Sikhs we believe in reincarnation and my sister and I often comment that they probably passed each other as he was coming and she was leaving. My beloved grandmother knew I was having a boy and she was delighted. She had been with us on the journey to become parents and knew how much it meant to us.  I like to think she is always watching over my sons. I know she is watching over me. 

Baby Boy's birth Mum: I don't know her, but I do think about how hard it must have been and continues to be for her. Not being with a child and then seeing reminders of how hallowed the status of motherhood is in all TV adverts and on every conceivable form of media. I talk about her being his 'First Mummy' in the hope that one day he will understand. I'm not going to remove her from history, that isn't right. Eventually he might think it's a bit special having a First Mummy and a Forever Mummy. 

Soraya's lovely Mum: So many people will be facing today without their mother for the first time. My gorgeous friend Soraya is one who has been on my mind more than most. The combination of sadness and poignancy in being a Mum who misses her Mum. All the time I've known Soraya she was a carer for her Mother. Even during her own diagnosis and subsequent treatment for cancer she continued to take care of her mother who had advancing dementia. I have never known anyone make as much personal sacrifice while also remaining humble and wonderful. Soraya you really are an inspiration my darling and I know that she is proud of you. 

To all those for whom today is a sad day for whatever reason - I've been thinking of you.

Here's a little something that made me smile - I hope it does the same for you :) 

Friday, 4 March 2016

What do I want for Mothering Sunday ?

  • Hubbie to pick up that sock that's been on the floor next to his side of the bed - it's been there almost a week !!
  • The boys to be in the same room and not fight as soon as I step out 
  • To drink a cup of tea from start to finish (if it's still hot that's just a bonus)
  • A lie in - an actual one. On fresh sheets, with no kids leaping on my head or kicking me out of my own bed
  • Just one day when I'm not clumsy and don't knock over a mug or spill a glass of water
  • Oh yeah, and world peace of course 

What's actually going to happen is that Hubbie is taking the boys to visit Grandma so I get to do whatever I want all day.

I might even achieve some of these if I'm lucky :)

My baby boy made this - I love it :)

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Give up chocolate ? Seriously ?

It's the first of March and for some reason that escapes me right now I signed up for Dechox 2016. The British Heart Foundation do amazing work and with the history of heart problems in my family it is a cause that I feel very close to. I've named the charity in my will as I feel so strongly about the value of what they do.

So strongly - in fact - that I'm giving up chocolate for this whole month and asking folks to sponsor this madness. You see I love chocolate so much that I don't just buy one bar I bulk purchase it:

I know I don't 'need' chocolate, but that's hardly the point. You've seen the name of this blog, I consume chocolate like it's a basic nutrient. For me it is. So I'm asking for some moral support from this guy: 

And some financial support from you guys: 

Please don't let this enormous personal sacrifice be in vain ! 
If you can sponsor me I'd be very grateful - my sponsorship page is here: Dechox 2016