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As 2018 draws to a close, and with less than ??? days to go I’m getting really excited now about meeting my first grandchild….it’s not as if I wasn’t excited before…..LOL

I first learned that I had a grandchild on the way in May on the 12th to be exact. To say I was over the moon would be an understatement. The scan shows him as a tiny wee round dot…

As mentioned in a previous blog post I immediately downloaded the ovia app which allowed me to keep track of the baby’s progress. I started downloading the weekly progress images and in the space of 34 weeks baby has gone from the size of a poppy seed to a spagetti melon

….the progress of the size of his feet and hands has been the most fascinating of all, from a tiny tiny little hand you could barely see, his hands are now almost full size.

peanut is on the way, ovia app, first baby, first grandchild

progress from 8 weeks to 38 weeks

Not long after that amazing news, on 28th May, they, my daughter and her fiance got married…a joyful occasion that one day Peanut will be able to enjoy…..he was there ๐Ÿ™‚

getting married

Cรฉmanthe and Simon – married ๐Ÿ™‚

On the 28th June they had their first ultrasound and I got a picture of our wee Peanut ๐Ÿ™‚ What a beautiful baby ๐Ÿ™‚

ultrasound

28.06.2018 and yes, it’s a real baby ๐Ÿ™‚ Peanut is on the way

On the 9th July I had the sheer joy and incredulity of seeing baby on the big screen for myself. My daughter surprised me with a trip the the Ultrasound department where we not only got to see the wee bambino on the screen but got to hear the heartbeat for the first time. It was sheer magic.

20180709 ultrasound

2018.07.09 My first ultrasound view of Peanut, my grandson

As soon as we got home that afternoon I set about, with help from my son-in-law to get the nursery started ๐Ÿ™‚ It has all come together beautifully and a few weeks ago they completed the set up.

nursery

Peanut’s nursery

And on the 23rd July at the next ultrasound they announced the gender…. it’s a BOY!!! Hoorah! Oh my gosh, what an adventure this is going to be….a grandson. Oh joy! I immediately started planning our first Camino LOL

On the 13th August we enjoyed the treat of another ultrasound and 3D scan – baby is now getting bigger….baby is very active with a strong heartbeat…..all the bits are there and his organs; brain, heart, liver, kidneys etc are developing and show no health problems.

ultrasound, peanut is on the way

2018.08.13 hello Peanut ๐Ÿ™‚ – look how big you’ve grown

On the 4th September, while on a day trip to Canterbury, I got to feel Peanut kicking for the first time. Wowwww….totally awesome. I think the delight shows on my face.

the falstaff inn canterbury, walking the pilgrims way, the pilgrims way from winchester to canterbury

feeling my grandchild kicking for the first time

My daughter started keeping a record of the development of her belly and although a few weeks have been missed out, it’s been so amazing to see how her belly has grown and grown as baby gets bigger and bigger…

On the 13th September, with huge delight, she wore the ‘baby on board’ badge for the first time on a trip to London ๐Ÿ™‚baby on board, first baby

And I….starting off the very next day on 13 May, with a blanket for the pram and I haven’t stopped since….there are still 4 new little outfits waiting to be sewn up….

knitting for babies, baby layette

I got straight onto the knitting….started with a blanket

Over the months I knitted….more and more little items…bootees, cardigans and matinee jackets. It’s been so much fun creating these little items and dreaming about my grandson wearing them.

knitting for babies, baby layette

an absolute delight

Oh and let’s not forget the shopping…..I have bought loads of outfits and this baby has enough clothing to see him through from birth to 24 months as well as items beyond… right up until he is 5 years old. One of the best places I’ve bought clothes from has been off instagram from a lady who sells lovedB4 baby clothes…some of the most delightful little items you can imagine, many of them brand new, and all for next to nothing.

The 1st October brought another 3D scan and ultrasound…I could get used to this ๐Ÿ™‚

ultrasound scan

01.10.2018 baby Peanut growing bigger by the day

And another 3D scan and ultrasound on the 15th October with both sets of Grandparents.

ultrasound

2018.10.15 – 27 weeks – a beautiful little boy

The 3D scan and ultrasound was followed up with tea and cake with the in-laws and to our delight my daughter and her husband announced baby’s name; James Alexander aka Jamie. โค โค โค What a fantastic name.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter

Jamie

In October we went to a baby show in London..wow, so much stuff!! We bought various items and got some good bargains…..they also shopped for the pram.

25th October and another trip to London; my daughter was exhibiting in a photo exhibition. The whole family were there to support her.

photo exhibition

Jamie attends his first photo exhibition ๐Ÿ˜‰

On 10th November we had the Baby Shower….and delighted everyone with the news that it’s a BOY!! They had the event at a wonderful venue in Broadstairs and with family and friends gathered round, we had a fantastic day.

On the 5th December his first coin arrived; a commemorative coin for the 40th anniversary of The Snowman.

the snowman 40th anniversary coin

The Snowman; a commemorative coin. The little boy’s name in the story is…..James ๐Ÿ™‚

6th December brought a visit to Eastry to meet with a friend and I got to practice at being a Granny

babies

practising at being a Granny

On the 12th December we had a tour of the MLU unit at the hospital where she is due to give birth….but currently baby is in the breech position, same as Mummy was at term, so we are hoping and urging the little fella to turn head down as his Mummy would like to have her labour in the MLU (midwife led unit), but so long as he is breech, they have said no!! and she is not pleased!!

pregnancy

so pretty and colourful

And so the weeks have marched on. As Christmas neared Mummy’s belly filled out her Christmas jumper to perfection LOL

christmas jumper, pregnancy

filled that jumper to perfection

19 December and suddenly she is considered to be at ‘term’. Wow how did that happen so fast!! It is quite extraordinary to be the Mother of a daughter who is expecting her first baby. I feel so privileged and so very lucky.

knitting for babies, baby layette

week 37: the baby bump is big and beautiful

My daughter is now so heavy and cumbersome and has great difficulty with walking, sleeping and sitting, she’s suffering from heartburn and cramps….poor child, and is now very much looking forward to the birth and having her first baby in her arms. They are both excited and trepidatious, there is much still to be done.

We are now in week 38 and the ‘apparent’ due date is 5th or 7th January, depending on who we believe…but since neither of them are correct, baby will likely arrive a bit later. Mummy got more beautiful and Peanut got some little toys from Santa and more clothes LOL. I have a serious addiction to buying baby clothes; they are all sooooo cute.

week 38

with just days to go…week 38 and looking gorgeousย 

I started a tradition earlier in the year whilst on my pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury; postcards to Peanut. I sent a postcard from each of the towns and villages I passed through. This one is of St Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury.

postcards, first grandchild

postcards to Jamie

Since we are now literally just days away, I have bought a door bell alarm…the buzzer is next to her bed and the ding dong is next to mine!!! When she goes into labour all she has to do is press the buzzer and I shall be ‘on duty’!! LOL We chose the tune ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ since it is so sparky and chirpy….anything else and I’m liable to chuck it out the window.

And so we, Daddy, Mummy and Granny wait with bated breath for the day he is born ๐Ÿ™‚

My grandson, Jamie aka Peanut, is on the way!

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Gosh, I can hardly believe it’s already a month gone since my daughter and her husband had their baby shower and gender reveal party. Finally after what seemed like months, but in reality was only weeks, of waiting, we had the gender reveal.

My daughter and her husband hosted a Baby Shower on Saturday 10th November for close family and friends.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery broadstairs

The happy parents; Cรฉmanthe and Simon

They chose the delightful Helter Skelter Play Nursery in Broadstairs. It had a fantastic play area for the children ( and adults as it turned out), with slides, climbing ropes, plastic ball pool and many other wonderful play areas. Colourful is the name of the game at Helter Skelter…the walls are decorated in bright colourful paintings and children’s drawing adorn the walls.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery broadstairs

Helter Skelter Nursery, Broadstairs

We had a wonderful day with lots of laughter, a gathering of special people to share a special day of fun and good food.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery broadstairs

guests; family and friends

When the guests arrived they had to cast their vote on whether they thought it was a girl or a boy….interestingly it was a tie: 15 for a girl and 15 for a boy ๐Ÿ™‚ In the corner the gifts piled up; colourful and interesting bags and packages.baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery

Tea and cake was served, introductions made and soon there was a happy buzz of chatter and conversation…some of the adults had just about as much fun on the slides as the kids.

A fantastic spread of snacks, the food provided by the lovely ladies at Helter Skelter was scrumptious, colourful, varied and mindful of various diets and allergies. We all ate ourselves to satisfaction and no-one went hungry.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery broadstairs

an amazing spread

We had a face-painter which everyone loved, especially the grownups LOL

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery broadstairs

face painting

Teams were selected and given colour markers and plain white baby grows to decorate – a splendid array of colourful pictures onto baby grows.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter

baby grow decorating

The cake, a family affair, was baked by Daddy, iced by Granny, decorated by Mummy. The cake was cut by Emily and Matt…baby’s cousins ๐Ÿ™‚

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter

the cake ๐Ÿ™‚

And then it was time for the gender reveal……anddddd IT’S A BOY!!! hoorah….I have a grandson on the way ๐Ÿ™‚ ย Hoorah!! In just a few weeks, approx 3-4 (from today), I shall be the Granny to a wee baby boy!!

How absolutely marvellous is that. I am so excited to meet this baby boy, my Grandson. Daddy looks pleased and Mummy looks gleeful. ๐Ÿ™‚

The guests were asked to guess the baby’s name and nursery theme to win a prize.

The theme of the nursery….space!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter

the theme of space was inspired by this baby grow

The name reveal : James Alexander McKenzie-Hoult – forthwith to be known as Jamie……what a fantastic name for a boy, so strong. Of course I shall still call him Peanut….at least until he’s 21 LOL

The expectant parents received some absolutely wonderful gifts with a gorgeous array of wooden toys, cute books, much needed toiletries and nappies, some treats for Mum and some beautiful baby clothes.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter

some of the gorgeous gifts they received

We had a videographer, also a Jamie, there to capture the day for posterity and everyone agreed that it was a fantastic day and how delighted they were to share it with the happy Mum and Dad to be….and little Peanut, who will now be known as Jamie ๐Ÿ™‚

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery

Jamie ….. he already has my heart in the palm of his hand

 

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Besides all the fantastic information listed in this article…… “social skills:
Turn off your phones until kids are in bed to avoid digital distraction.”

https://faithit.com/silent-tragedy-affecting-todays-children-victoria-prooday/

That one sentence is the most important. So often you see kids driven to distraction /frustration/tears/anger because Mummy and Daddy are more interested in facebook than their kids.

A 100 % increase in suicides for age group 10-14??? That can be directly related to the advent of (not so) smart phones and (not very) social media.

Pay attention to your children. They are young for such a short space of time.

Its NOT the schools responsibility to instil the values needed for healthy children.

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Buying vegan foods and trying to avoid dairy products and palm oil as well as plastic packaging presents something of a challenge, and requires some inventiveness for preparing meals. I’m learning a whole new way of shopping and cooking.

These days shopping takes a bit longer than in the past….I spend a fair amount of time reading food labels. If it contains palm oil I have to look for an alternative…not always available. I recently had to bypass my favourite soups while shopping; Heinz cream of Tomato, cream of Mushroom and peas and lentils (contains dairy). Instead I bought mostly tins of plain ingredients and dried products and will make them myself, sans the ‘cream‘ of course. I made my first dhal for supper with basmati rice recently… Apparently it smelt delicious ๐Ÿ˜‹ ๐Ÿ˜‹

Despite it being the first time I had made dhal, it was actually really yummy. I had a look at a few recipes online and in my usual style, tossed in this, that and the next thing… pretty much whatever I could find in the cupboard in terms of spices…I also roasted some sweet potato wedges in olive oil and herbs which made a really interesting contrast to the dhal. My 2nd attempt wasn’t quite as successful and I burned the lentils coz I didn’t have sufficient water in the pot LOL I ate it anyway….waste not, want not and all that!!!

It’s been an interesting exercise to see how much of what I wanted/needed I could buy without buying anything in plastic. I think I was about 70% successful. It’s incredible difficult. Even if you buy something in a cardboard box, when you open it, the contents are usually packaged in plastic. urgh. So annoying.

Buying fresh fruit and vegetables is the aspect that confounds me the most….why on earth do the supermarkets still have to pack bananas, apples, oranges, broccoli, cucumber, cabbages, potatoes, peppers etc etc in plastic bags, trays or wrap. It’s COMPLETELY unnecessary and just adds more and more to the plastic pollution blighting our landfills and oceans. Apparently a number of brands have signed up to a pact to reduce plastic…..by 2025!!!! Why so far in the future? With 8 Millionย Tonnes Of Plasticย Dumped in the Sea every Year, that means an extra 56 million tons in the next 7 years!!!. There are so many alternatives available already that I’m pretty certain they could reduce their unnecessary plastic packaging immediately.

I was delighted to learn about The Clean Kilo, the UK’s largest zero-waste supermarket; A Gap in the Market.

I recently tried a different type of milk; Oatly and it’s delicious, even in my early morning tea. I’m trying to avoid soya products due to the destruction of the Brazilian rainforests, as well as palm oil due to the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests and the orangutans that live there. These forests are being torn down for palm oil, pulp and paper plantations threatening endangered species such as orangutans with extinction. It’s horrendous. “Without proper safeguards, the soybean industry is causing widespread deforestation and displacement of small farmers and indigenous peoples around the globe”.ย The EUโ€™s hunger for soy is causing destruction in Brazil.

Iโ€™m afraid I was largely ignorant of the ecological impact of my lifestyle. It was only after coming to the UK, and particularly more recently, that Iโ€™ve become aware. I do agree that the number of people, consumerism and materialism have played a massive role in the destruction of the planet. Sadly, I donโ€™t see that ending any time soon. But, lobbying to make changes, signing petitions and raising awareness by talking about it, as well as taking daily action will make a difference. Iโ€™m always reminded of the starfish on the beach. I believe that, although our actions are tiny, they do make a difference and they set an example that other people will follow. There are a number of brilliant initiatives taking place around the world that will collectively have an impact. Even grassroots initiatives like the people in Kenya who are collecting discarded flip-flops and creating beautiful artworks.ย  I feel for the 3rd world countries who donโ€™t have the same infrastructures we in the western world take for granted. I just fear that the large corporations are not making enough of an effort. Iโ€™m going to start writing to every large company in the UK and urge them to take stringent actions now, rather than phase it out byโ€ฆ. Whatever arbitrary date they come up with.

We really do have to take urgent action NOW. On a more personal note…..my first grandchild is on the way and I want to make sure I don’t leave a planet decimated because of my lifestyle. And a major plus is that I’m saving a lot of money, my shopping bill has reduced quite a lot coz I’m not buying as many products as I did before.

In case you missed my previous post on plastic pollution

 

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Day 3

Well what a day it was. The 3rd of 4 days of the Doula Course and turned out to be completely different to what I was anticipating or expecting. It was an emotional roller-coaster. I’d been surrounded by some amazing women and although it was an extraordinary day, I was emotionally shattered….in a good way. I was been surprised by some of the things people have said about me, how they see things I thought were well hidden. The exercises we did, that made us dig really deep and although in a safe space, it’s left us feeling very vulnerable…but safe.

Interestingly some of the women have said how doing this course has made them realise how unprepared they are for working in this field, and how they feel that perhaps its not for them, yet its left me feeling more empowered and ready to go (so to speak).

We also did some role playing (which I’ve always hated, and avoided at all costs), but weirdly I found it really easy to slip into another persona and surprised the group (apparently). It was actually good fun, and the prognosis is that I may appear to be all sweetness and light (uhmm really??) ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ but that I’m really good at shocking them with my ability to be someone else. Actually our group practically ended up on the floor with laughter (very inappropriate laughter) at some of the stuff that came out of my mouth ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ I actually threatened to send one client to hospital in an ambulance on a stretcher… In context of course. But it was hilarious. We were laughing so much that the facilitator came to find out what was going on and none of us could speak for laughing. They’re a brilliant group and its been truly enlightening. I love learning new stuff and exploring preconceptions and how our beliefs and values are shaped by society, expectations, outside influences and family dynamics. All good. But boy am I tired ๐Ÿ˜ด ๐Ÿ˜ด ๐Ÿ˜ด ready to sleep now. I didn’t even have the energy to watch Strictly Come Dancing. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

In case you missed the original blogย Thereโ€™s more to dying than meets the eye

 

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This is a very timely and useful article. It definitely pertains to me in that climate change and the effect that plastic is having on the oceans hasย  been causing extreme anxiety, especially since I learned that my daughter is expecting a baby…her first child; my first grandchild. Since her and her husband announced the baby’s pending arrival, my stress levels have gone up quite a lot #understatement

I’m doing as much as I can to negate my impact on the climate, but as they say in the article, individually we can only do so much. But if our governments are not taking responsibility or massive action then that in itself will cause more stress, and I can well imagine the scientists must be under extreme stress. Just the very fact that the UK government has allowed fracking to go ahead tells us the story of their interest in their citizens and community. Of course we know that they’re going to make money off it, and not necessarily for the public purse… #justsaying

There are people who will continue to deny it…. “Itโ€™s the people who donโ€™t seem bothered by environmental crisis who need therapy the most, to figure out why they are so numb and in denial,โ€™ he tells us.”

The article suggests joining local community based groups who are also environmental activists in order to keep sane. I have already joined a number of community groups on instagram and Facebook and its encouraging to see how much they are doing, it keeps me focused, as well as which I do what I can. But quite honestly, it does keep me awake at night ๐ŸŒƒ

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2018/10/18/climate-change-is-causing-ecoanxiety-and-damaging-our-mental-health-what-can-we-do-8047167/?ito=cbshare

Actions I already take

Converting to veganism – an ongoing process and I do fall down occasionally when it comes to dairy products, although I have now finally converted to soya milk in my tea. ๐Ÿ™‚

Saying no to plastic straws – I took a pledge nearly 2 years ago to never again use a plastic straw and I haven’t. Someone at a local coffee shop put a plastic straw in an avocado drink I was having and as my daughter said to the waitron “take it away before she goes into meltdown”. LOL

Saying no to plastic water bottles – I stopped this a long time ago. It’s bloody ridiculous to sell us water in plastic bottles that take thousands of litres to produce. We have tap water. We live in a 1st word country. We don’t draw water from an infected well. fck!! This is the one thing above all else that irks me the most.

Saying no to plastic bags – yup. makes sense. It’s seriously ironic that 3rd world countries like Rwanda, Kenya and Botswana as well as others have banned them. As usual the UK and USA and EU are WAY BEHIND.

Buying products in glass where available, even if its more expensive.

Buying products in cardboard where possible.

Not buying for fashion, but rather as I need it. Have you seen Stacey Dooley’s documentaries about the fashion industry?

Conserving water ๐Ÿ’ฆ and being mindful of my usage.

Changes made by others due to my persistent requests:

Our local milkshake bar changed from plastic straws to biodegradable.

Our local chip shop changed from polystyrene boxes to compostable.

As individuals there is so much we can do, without experiencing overwhelm. I love the #2minutecleanup campaign on instagram

I share the devastating images of dead seabirds and other sea creatures from @balloonsblow in facebook

I am constantly alert as to what more I can do to make a difference and reduce my carbon footprint, and mindful of what I buy and why I buy it.

I try and set an example by modifying my behaviour

I try to share information for others to be aware of the catastrophic effects our throw-away plastic lifestyle is having on the planet.

I realise that we can’t live a life completely without plastic in the immediate future, but we can drastically reduce our consumption of the product by avoiding it wherever possible. –ย I used the word consumption, because as you know, microscopic plastic fibres are now in our water supply and our food chain….even in salt.

Regards going vegan, I get mocked by family members who feel comfortable with sending me what they see as humorous images of what is tantamount to cruelty to animals. Friends come up with the old bullshit of vegetables having feelings too and how they feel pain. That is throwback to when people who were going vegan were regarded as nutters or veganism was considered a fad. Its not. Try watching ‘What The Health’ on Netflix then come talk to me again.

The biggest impact you can have on saving this planet for future generations is to cut back on plastic, stop buying bottled water and if you can’t become vegan, at least try being vegetarian or flexitarian.

 

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I am currently attending a course on becoming an End of Life Doula. It fits in with my job and is something I have been interested in for quite a few years. It has been a very interesting journey so far. As part of our homework for the 2nd part of the course this weekend, we had to complete a few exercises relative to what we learned/experienced at the first weekend, so the first place I started was at http://kristiewest.com/aboutkristiewest/

Kristie is a long-standing friend of mine and I have always admired her approach to life and death. We actually met at an event where her path in life changed course, and took her on the journey that was to lead her to where she is now, and to specialising in her field of expertise. I’d like to share this with you because I fully believe that what she shares can have a profound affect on how we view or approach death and grief.

The course I’m doing has so far been very interesting and surprisingly the first section didn’t actually deal with death at all, but rather about our, the participants, beliefs and values. The exercises we did all revolved around us, the potential Doula and about how we think of death and relate to people.

We delved into subjects like confidentiality, communication skills, about our attitudes, ethics and most importantly about our listening skills. We spoke abut the types of listening and then we had to share a story from our lives to one of the group while they practised effective listening as another person observed how they ‘listened’. We explored our ideas and again beliefs on a range of subjects from euthanasia, keeping secrets, involving family, about a dying person’s last wishes, rituals about the role we would take and what we would find acceptable in that role or not.

I’m looking forward to the this weekend where we participate in another 2 days of training.

 

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