Have I yet mentioned that we moved house? Yeah. We moved.
Now I want you to put your imaginative hats on and wonder, how much material will a family of five have? Three kids, one of them a teenager, another a 4-year-old child and a 6-year-old. Add some extra with the additional medical needs of one of them, and those little bits that a growing Labrador puppy will have acquired. You might come to a close conclusion that there was quite a bit. Add some more baggage just to be on the safe side.
So, you can imagine the stress levels of two adults who are desperately trying to sort through all of it.
How to move it?
We were going to need some help on the actual moving day. We contacted our favourite moving company that we had used previously, and luckily they were able to book us in fairly soon.
The plan was to let the professionals handle all the furniture and other heavier objects that needed to be moved, and we would move the boxes and small things.
Who did we hire?
The company we used is called “WeMove“. We knew the founders as they handled one of our moves when they were only just starting out as a company. They really go above and beyond for what you expect a moving company to do – all of the team members that we’ve met have been not only polite but fun to be around; they make the stress levels lower down with laughter.
They are affordable.
Now, our financial situation has always been rather tough, but the wemove – people have always been courteous about it. As an example, first time we were about to hire them I told them straight up that we had a tight budget for how much we could pay them for. I was stressed about it, as I knew we could go no further than that and I was aware they charged for their services with hourly rates. What we could afford then equaled two hours worth of their work.
They accepted it and didn’t make a big deal out of it – and I didn’t expect to see them working as quickly as they did. They didn’t run, but they moved as fast as they could, moving our furniture from the old place to their van and strapped it in. Soon everything was packed up, driven to our new place and unloaded. It was all done within the time frame I had given.
It made me trust them.
They showed respect.
They were there to do a job well and quickly, even though working slower would (in theory) get them more money in their pockets. They play for the long haul, knowing that pleasantly surprised and happy customer is a customer won over for life.
We have now hired them three (3) times in total.
On our second move with them, the founders didn’t come to do the job personally themselves, but they sent us their lovely workmates who presented the same respect and work ethic to us than the founders themselves.
On our final move – this one – we had precisely the same experience than in the previous occasions. The teammates listened to our wishes, and they made it feel like everything is possible. It was no problem for them to go and complete a fridge-freezer swap for us. They took the fridge we had been using to Dan’s brother, and took the brothers fridge to our new place, with no complaints or weird looks to us at all. It was just part of their work day, no problems.
Would I recommend them?
Yes, I would.
My advice would be to be up and honest with them about what sort of a job you have in mind, and be as precise as possible about how much stuff you have that you would like them to help you with. The more they know, the better they can prepare for the job; so they will turn up with a vehicle that’s a right size for the job – not a small van for 5 bedroom all furniture move or their hugest vehicle to help you move out from your studio flat – and with right amount of work personnel.
They do have a handy tool for this online on their website here!
the whole team at wemove. You’ve made our moves so much easier to bare. I have written this blog post as a way to thank you for your kindness, hopefully reading this has brighten your day!
I had bought my laptop through Amazon, it was “certified refurbished”: secondhand laptop that had been fixed by someone who held Amazons approval for refurbishing laptops. I bought it with confidence, hoping it would last me years and years as its only job would be to provide me a blogging pathway. It did, without any apparent hiccups for couple of years.
One night as I was about to turn the beloved laptop off, it told me it needed to refresh itself with updates. That’s fine, I told it, just shut yourself down after you are done.
So it did.
It did it so well that it never woke up again. Next time I climbed up the stairs and got myself comfortable in my little hidey hole where I blogged, the laptop was off. I pushed the power button and nothing happened. Frowning, I checked the power lead, the plug and all the connections. Everything was attached to themselves as they should, but my black laptop still kept itself dark. I unattached the power cord and took off the laptops battery and clipped it back on again. I attached the cord and pressed the power button. Nothing.
I then contacted my in-house IT support – my partner Dan.
He did all that I had just done without getting a different result. That point I gave up on blogging for the night. The plan was to leave it charging overnight, just on the off chance that the laptop had just really drained all of its battery life out of itself.
In the morning, the little laptop was still lifeless. Dan took it downstairs to try whatever magical tricks he can do with all of his certified IT knowledge, and I trusted him to get it up and running in no time.
Even he could not get it to power up.
It wasn’t the battery, it wasn’t the leads – something had just happened to the internal organs of the device and it was undeniably dead.
It was a shock to me.
I stared at our bank account and wondered how on Earth would we be able to afford to buy another laptop, after all the money we’ve already used for moving house, furniture and even the bit that I have already done for Christmas. There was even more furniture that we are lacking and in definite need for, and it all would require some capital.
Could I go on without a computer?
Yes I could. I do have my smartphone and on that I could type out some blog posts if I needed to – it is not impossible, it is rather doable – but it is not as practical as doing it on a computer. Especially if you can touch type on the QWERTY keyboard like I do, with a speed of about 80 words a minute, typing with a smart phone is mind-numbingly slow.
I researched getting laptop through different financing options from several companies, comparing and making notes on what we could possibly afford with careful financial planning and what is definitely out of the question. In the midst of it we celebrated Halloween and as I posted photos of my beautiful kids in horrific costumes on social media I mentioned there about my dilemma, just on the off-chance someone had been waiting for a post update.
It didn’t even cross my mind…
Within minutes, I got a private message from my brother-in-laws girlfriend. She had a laptop that she no longer needed and she offered it to me. I was stunned. I sent many messages asking if she was really sure, if there was anyone else who she might want to keep the laptop for and I triple-checked if she really was certain about giving the laptop to me. She persisted.
On the same day, I was sitting with the brand new looking laptop in my possession and having coffee with my brother-in-law. The angel in disguise herself was at work.
Right now, I am already using that very same laptop to type out this blog post. I cannot express how lucky I feel, how grateful and … just speechless with gratitude.
I know there are nice people out there,
people willing to help out whenever they can. It just did not occur to me that someone might offer their laptop for me to use if I just mentioned I was in need of one.
Thinking about all this gives me a funny feeling in the bottom of my stomach, sort of warm, fuzzy tinkle. I feel… loved and supported. It makes me emotional and .. in a way embarrassed. That I was in a position that I needed help.
I know that if the roles were reversed, I would be there offering the help I was in place to give.
Have you noticed the same?
That you could offer to help someone without a second thought, full-heartedly and eagerly, but if you were the one receiving the help, you’d feel embarrassed, flustered?
Saying this, I am ever so grateful for my friend for doing this for me. It means a lot. With my whole heart,
Our family of 5 generate a lot of laundry. The washing machine needs to run at least once a day for me to be on top of the laundry game, and if I slack off or – like in this case, when the tumble dryer is out of the equation – the result is an enormous laundry pile.
It is autumn. In England. Even in “sunny Bournemouth” it does rain in autumn, so I couldn’t use our otdoor airer. I have an airer inside, but with the air circulation not being on the highest standards (in the old place), it takes up to two days for everything hanging to be dry.
Even with the most simplest maths, you can see how coming up to the moving day we were already facing shortages of fresh clothes and were avoiding the Mount Laundrest that was by our washing machine.
After we moved and Dan got the washing machine hooked on again,
the washing was singing its songs again with no problems at all. Without having a dryer or outdoor airer (and sunny days to go with it), we were hanging clothes on the radiators and the single airer we had. It didn’t take me long when I googled “launderettes near me”.
I found this little laundromat in Bear Cross that promised tidy space, tables and chairs to sit down on while waiting for your laundry and helpful staff. I was happy with that, so loaded with coins and three massive laundry baskets and a humongous bag full of dirty clothes and linen I found myself in the tidiest launderette I have ever seen. And I’ve seen many during my backpacking years!
The lady was helpful and lucky for me as a typical Finnish, she didn’t overindulge in small talk. She made me a cup of coffee and was happy to chat when I offered it, but she was as comfortable as I was to be sitting together in silence, minding our own business.
Business I did bring.
I had brought my laptop with me and hoped to do some blogging while the laundry was whirring away in the machines, but I was sooner ready than I expected. I had anticipated to spend a whole afternoon cramped up in a launderette, but all that laundry, including two duvets, took about two hours only to be washed and dried!
The lady of the house helped me fold the freshly washed laundry away which I was grateful about. Other times she busied herself cleaning the already pristine clean launderette when there was nothing else to do. For this I had no worries placing some of my damp clothes on the floor while sorting through them, the place was that clean! Considering I had just paid for them to be washed, mind you – it was not an inattentive act of mine.
At the time of visiting the pricing was as follows:
The big wash was £8, small £4.
Dryers: 50p for 5 minutes, £1 for 10 minutes.
You can use your own washing powder, though you can buy some there too separately.
As we still do not have a dryer,
it may just be that I need to nip to the launderette again. I have been doing the washing every day, so I am on it – but if I need to, I don’t mind going back to the Bear Cross Launderette again. I would even recommend it to a friend and you, who reads this blog post. If you need to wash your duvets or have a similar Mount Launderest at your home like I did, it could be worth spending couple quids at this launderette to get it sorted.
The launderette I went to can be found in
54 Anchor Rd, Bournemouth BH11 9HS Open every day from 7:30am – 8:00pm tel. : 01202 571344
This is not a paid collaborative blog post – if it was, it would have been mentioned at the very beginning of this blog post.
It so closely didn’t happen for us. The plan had been for Melody to run with me and Elisa to be pushed by Dan. On the day Melody woke up feeling poorly and ended up being sick, so she was out of the game.
Elisa wasn’t though.
Once I gathered my wits, I pushed her out of the house and onto a bus. I was determined to make it special mummy-daughter time then with Elisa.
I met up with the others close to the starting point and got our T-shirts on. There were a bunch of us running for the Dorset Children’s foundation – a varied group of kids with different difficulties and mobility issues. For many of them, you couldn’t see the struggles they have gone through to be there today, ready to run for the charity that gives so much back to them.
I didn’t know what to expect really – I had never done anything like this before. I didn’t have time to feel self-conscious though as my amazing daughter kept me present in the moment. She was so excited about the attention she got from our friends and people walking past: she was so happy to be out and about and meeting people. She kept me grounded, I didn’t even have time to feel nervous.
Then they started the countdown
It was time to go. First we were surrounded by people and I was conscious not to push into people with Elisa’s chair. Soon the faster runners had got distance to us and we had more space around us. I picked up speed – for Elisa’s delight.
Elisa turned out to be the best personal trainer ever. The faster I ran, the more she giggled.
Naturally I wanted to see her enjoying herself as much as possible, so I ended up pushing her faster and faster. I had her backpack on my back that had her emergency medications, syringes, hearing stuff and all the rest of it in it and on her wheelchair, I had her suction machine, saturation monitor, oxygen cylinder, feed pump and whatever else on.. Above all her wheelchair is not designed for such purpose as running. It is not the lightest or easiest to handle as you try to be agile and run, but those technicalities aside – I had fun. She had fun. I didn’t run the straight line with her but went for the uneven terrain where she would get the more exciting bumpy ride that I knew she would laugh at, and I curved the wheels like on a snakes path.
She loved it.
I got sweaty and red in a face quite quickly, but I had this silly grin plastered on my face that glowed from within. It came from seeing Elisa enjoying herself. It came from her laughter and excited posture. It came from the buzz around me, from all these kids running with their mums or dads, the audience cheering.
So many firsts…
She had been snickering and giggling the whole way, but all of a sudden she fell quiet. She had focused on the the crowd. I had pushed her near the audience and held her arm out, which resulted in her receiving a couple of high fives. It quieted her down.
As she has both hearing and visual impairment, touch has always been very important sense to her – not only we use tactile sign language called “Tassels” with her, but she gets so much comfort from cuddles and simple touches. So, to get high fives from strangers while being pushed in her wheelchair was another thrilling experience for her.
Then she heard the clapping.
She had her cochlear implants on during the whole race and when people were clapping for her, she closed her eyes and concentrated on it. Even though I could not properly see her face and all the emotions it was conveying while running, I saw concentration and awe.
Coming closer to the finish line
I was surprised to feel sad. Even though I had found it more tiring that I care to say to push her, I didn’t want this experience to end just yet. They announced Elisa’s name and how she was running for the Dorset Children’s Foundation when we crossed the finish line, and I was teary-eyed. I didn’t see anyone I knew immediately, but lovely event organisers took us to get our medals.
When she was handed the medal,
I found myself welling up with emotion. I managed to hold it in till she had got her “Finisher 2019” t-shirt and then a tear or two rolled down my cheek while I pretended to look for a way out with the wheelchair. I felt so proud of her. I know I was the one that did the sweating, but with everything we’ve gone through together, I had never imagined this moment – of her getting a medal for finishing a race in a marathon event.
Such an absurd idea!
When she was in NICU and we feared she might be brain-dead or when she almost died because of a nasty chest infection when she was 3 and was in medically induced coma in paediatric intensive care unit in Southampton… or even just 2 years ago when our daily routine of medications and feeds took 24/7 in a way that we had no rest at all, before we had sufficient support in place.. If then someone would have told me that in just few years she would be handed a medal for finishing a race in Bournemouth marathon event… I am not sure what I would have thought.
When we’ve only been concentrating on surviving for so long, doing something extra curriculum like this is so out of the hat crazy that it is hard to wrap my thoughts and feelings around it.
After I had found the others and exchanged couple of emotional words, I found refuge at a cafe in Lower Gardens. Once I had given Elisa her midday medications and put her lunch running through the gastrostomy tube, I just hugged her and cried. I cried of joy, pride and for the amazing experience we just had. I cannot even explain fully why I was crying. I was just so freaking emotional.
Want to see the DCF group run on a video?
Alex, who supports the DCF’s work, ran with our group of kids taking video and photos of us. Elisa loved him and posed for him every time he came close with his camera, and all the footage show the atmosphere – she was so happy to be there. By the beach, breathing in the salty sea air, feeling the wind and making Mum run. Most of the photos of us by the beach are from him!
This is his video:
Not to forget,
All the children that took part in our group “challenge” really overdid themselves and had fun. With that, through our donation page we’ve raised a staggering 1 622 pounds with Gift Aid! How amazing is that?
That all will go to Dorset Children’s Foundation “Accessible for All” initiative. Read more about it here.
I am not sure how much longer the donation page will be open for donations, but last time I checked, it still was. If you want to donate a pound or two after reading our experience, I would be so honoured if you did so in here: Kids Kilometre. It all goes for very good cause; it gives families like us opportunities to play together, to make family memories. Thanks to the Dorset Children’s Foundation Accessible for All initiative, that this money is raised for. The DCF does other important work too, check it all out from their website here.
Thank you – I’m just off to dry my tears away. Again.
The stomping foot, arms crossed, protesting lower lip. The crying and screaming, the trembling body. The lovely classic signs of a temper tantrum.
There are times when I find it extremely hilarious.
When we are not in a rush and we are not having a temper tantrum over wellies or sandals on a rainy day. On those situations the problem might be solved with a conspicuous
“I understand you, I hear you, I know you want the sandals but it’s raining outside and you don’t want your feet to get wet now, do you? No? I thought so, so let’s save the sandals for another day and we go and find your lovely Peppa Pig wellies now.”
If it only worked…
But then there are the most entertaining temper tantrums when the child herself forgets why they are stomping their foot. The very mood when anything you offer is thrown back at you with a solemn “no”.
Like the other night at bedtime.
We had just finished our routine of brush your teeth – bath – pyjamas – hair – and it was time to pick a book for bedtime story. All of a sudden I see my child protesting and trashing around on the bed.
“Do you want your teddy?” “No!” “Do you want your drink?” “No!” “Do you want the monkey book for bedtime story?” “No!” “The Gruffalo book?” “No!” “Do you want mummy hug?” “No!” “Daddy hug?” “No!” “Do you want a kiss?” “No!” “What would you like?” “No!” “What, you would like a ‘no’?” “No!” “Okay,” I inhale and shout as loud as I can master, knowing that Elisa’s night carer is just next door, “NO!!!!!” That startles her. She turns to stare at me. “Is that what you wanted?” I asked. “No…” She says and sniffs. “What would you like then?” “No.” “Another one? Really?” “No.” “Okay then… NO!!!” I shout and slam my hands on the bed too, for the effect. Melody can’t hide her smile. “Right, would you like to pick a book now?” “No.” “What, no book?” “No…” “What would you like?” Melody cracks another smile. “No..?” “Okay, last one…. You ready?” “No..” “NO!!!” I shout. She dissolves in laughter.
I gather my giggling child up in my arms and once she’s stopped laughing, I tell her we are going to lie down on the bed now. I knew that if she wanted a book at that point, she would tell me so – but I suspected the whole tantrum was caused by her being so tired. Without another protest, she settles down next to me.
“Mum?” Melody asks. “Yes, Melody?” “Cuddle me.” I wrap my arms tighter around her. “Melody?” “Yes, Mummy?” “Hug me.” “Okay okay…” and she wraps her slender arms around my neck. “Night night, Melody.” “Night night, Mummy.”
Couple more minutes, and she was fast asleep. I disentangle myself free and just watch her sleep, before I tiptoe back downstairs.
There is another Tantrum Tamer that I’ve used
Instead of explaining it, I just show you the video where I got the idea from.
On a video, Dad is holding a little girl in his arms. The girl is crying. Dad tells her that it’s his turn now and starts to wail himself. The girl stops sobbing and stares at his father (through the screen). Father stops crying and tells the girl it’s her turn to cry now. The girls answers with “no”. Dad takes couple more turns on crying, but the girl is done and doesn’t want to cry anymore.
Melody responds with “NO!” first, then runs to cover my mouth when I “cry”. She’s by then stopped crying herself, so we can have a conversation about what went wrong, why we were upset. Occasionally the conversations go horribly wrong and I find myself witnessing another tantrum… but after a couple of turns with “crying”, we usually do end up fixing the situation for real.
How do I solve the wellies versus sandals issue?
I am not so proud of this one.
Too many times we disagree about the clothing and instead of getting ready to go, we squabble over summer hats or woolly hats, lost socks and sun lotions or if she can bring whatever unpractical toy with her.
There was a time when she didn’t believe I would leave to go to nursery without her.
We had been trying to get ready, but disagreed on I-cant-even-remember-on-what, and I had used all the reasoning power I had and the situation was not resolving. So like a mature adult that I am, I said
“Well, if you are not doing what I ask you to do, I’m going without you.” I paused to see if that made a difference. It didn’t. “Okay then, bye bye, I’ll see you later!” I got up to my feet, walked to the door, opened it, stepped outside and closed the door. I heard the wailing scream immediately. I counted to three and opened the door. “Would you like to come with me?” “Yes please,” she sobbed and ran to my arms.
I had no problems getting her dressed the way I needed her, and she was the laughing usual self already on our way to the car.
If I struggle with the same issues now,
all I need to say “Okay, I can go without you then, bye bye” when she then hastily says “No noooo!” and runs to do what I need her to do and off we go.
(Needless to say, this is the very last resort – it would loose it’s magic if I overdid it. Also, I do not want my child to live in a constant fear that I would actually leave her behind [never]).
To warn anyone who sees me and Melody at a supermarket..
I am definitely one of those parents who will throw a “temper tantrum” on a floor just to shut their kid up. If she can do it, so can I.
So far, she’s been too good while shopping. Such a little angel helping me carry my shopping basket, getting my products for me and doing every little bit to help me where she can. But one day.. One day I will find myself on a floor pretending to have a temper tantrum.
As this blog is very fresh, I thought it would be quite appropriate to introduce myself a bit better. I dug out some odd 30 #gettoknowme questions and answered them.
In short, I am a mother of two and a step-mother for one teenager. My eldest child has complex medical needs. But what else is there about me?
1. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small village in Finland called Juankoski. The village and its surroundings had only about 5000 residents back then, so I grew up in a tiny community where everyone knew everyone.
2. Where do you currently live?
I am so fortunate to live in beautiful Bournemouth, United Kingdom. Not only because of the award-winning beach, but the whole package – the countryside girl in me is happy with the parks, woods and forests that Bournemouth has to offer me and my family, but also Bournemouth is buzzing town of 183,491 residents with so much to do!
3. How tall are you?
In common terms, I’m 165 centimetres tall, which is 5 foot 4 inches for the British.
4. Do you have any siblings?
I am so lucky to have two (2) amazing little sisters, who both live in Finland.
5. Funniest moment throughout high school?
One day me and my friends decided to give out free hugs for all that wanted them. We all wore signs on our chests proclaiming “free hugs!” and I remember how jittery I felt throughout the whole day. How excited, nervous and happy. Who would stop for a hug? I can’t remember any specific embrace, all I remember is the nerves of the day and the joy it brought myself!
6. What year were you born?
I was born on a Year of the Dragon – 1988.
7. Are you in/have you gone to college?
I did study Tourism and Hospitality Management in Jyväskylä’s University of Applied Sciences.
Interesting fact: Finnish education system differs from United Kingdom.
I started school when I was 7, as is usual for Finland. First 1-6 years are classed as primary school, then the next 7-9 years are “junior high school”. That makes me 15 to 16 year-old when I was done with the compulsory school. We don’t have any national exams during our compulsory schooling.
I chose to go to high school – or “upper secondary school” – which carried on for 3 years for me, making me 19 years old when I graduated. During the last year of high school we are given the option to partake in A-levels. It is not compulsory and you can graduate from high school without them, but usually people do take A-levels. So did I.
8. What is your favourite drink?
Coffee. White, no sugar, thanks!
9. You’re wearing perfume, what scent is it?
Sweet and floral.
10. Have you got children?
Yes, I am very proud mum of two beautiful children and even prouder step-mum for one amazing teenager.
To live happy and fulfilling, meaningful life. Along the way with the resources I have, I aim to change lives around me and the world for better too.
12. What is your biggest strength?
My determination. If I’ve decided on something, there is almost nothing you can do to change my mind. Just ask my partner Dan.
13. Have any books you read changed your life?
I wouldn’t say that they’ve changed my life per se, but influenced it with an encouraging hand. Such books would be “Big Magic” and “Eat Pray Love” from Elizabeth Gilbert, my favourite author. I love her in all podcasts I’ve heard her in too!
14. What is your favourite film?
Oh deary me. I’ve never liked this questions as there’s not ever been one film over all others. But I do love these films:
Avenger – films from Marvel.
Dance films like Dirty Dancing, Step up and Save the Last Dance.
Matrix – films
The first 6 Star Wars – films
15. What relative was important to you growing up & why?
My cousin and godmother. She was my penpal, even though she didn’t live far, and I had sleepovers at her place regularly from quite young age and even spend one summer at hers when I was already a grown-up. I had always felt that she was my confidant, my adult friend.
Now I’m so proud to be her youngest godmother.
16. Who are your favourite YouTubers?
I guess I show my age here… Even though I am aware of YouTubers and talk about them with Ruby, I do not follow any of them. The only YouTube channel I visit religiously is “Yoga with Adriene“. I love her videos and her easy way to giggle to herself, it has helped me to be less serious about doing yoga and making me to do it just for myself. Just like it should be, I guess.
17. Do you speak any languages and how well?
I’m native Finnish speaker and believe it or not, but at school English was the one subject I struggled the most.
In addition I studied Swedish. I understand it and I can form simple sentences, but I’m so rusty with it as I have not used it at all since school.
I have studied Russian, French and Italian on top of those, but I only remember some odd phrases. While I was in Greece I learned to read Greek and I do still remember some phrases. I’m sure it all would come back to me if I just practised.
18. Are you single or taken?
Sorry to be a smart ass but no-one has taken me. I fell in love with an English man and he loves me, so we choose to be together.
19. What is your favourite Netflix show?
The OA, which I’m so sad about that it has got cancelled! I also like the Black Mirror, Stranger Things and Friday Night Dinner.
20. Show us your songs tab on Spotify.
Sure, I guess the easiest way to show it would be sharing the link to the profile where you can see the stuff what I’ve been listening to. The Jellies on Plates and Baby Sharks are on heavy rotation during our nursery runs with Melody…
21. What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
Must be when I left to Australia on my own just after graduating from high school. I had not lived on my own yet, so I flew straight out from my parents nest to the other side of the world… And survived there for 2 years loving every minute of it.
23. Have you ever failed at anything and what did you learn?
A bigger scale fail would be failing to complete my education and graduating with a degree. I had it all planned out and I was supposed to continue my studies during the pregnancy and right after, I had my practical training places sorted out and I even had ideas for my thesis. Then Elisa was born prematurely and just like that studying was the last thing in my mind.
Years have flown by and I haven’t got back to it. I feel like I’ve failed – but I have learned to let it go. The world didn’t collapse even though I didn’t become a professional in hospitality management – and to be perfectly honest, I’m not quite sure if I would like to work at that sector anymore, unless I can tie it up with accessibility and disability somehow.
24. How many countries have you travelled to?
I used Traveltip.org’s website for making this map, but didn’t give the website any personal information, just saved the map once it had been generated.
Needless to say, I did most of my travelling before the kids, before my life was turned upside down.
25. Do you have any bad habits?
I don’t drink alcohol unless I go out, which happens rarely, and I don’t smoke anymore.
According to my waist line, I overindulge in food. My favourite treat is ice cream, especially Ben and Jerry’s, and I love chocolate. Those are though treats, not daily bad habits.
One daily bad habit would be not going to bed in time..
26. Do you have any pets? Show them!
My lovely labrador pup Freya, who is about 8 months old now.
That would be either the 101 days that Elisa spent in hospital continuously or when Elisa was fed through nasogastric tube and was attached to a feed pump 20 hours a day and struggled with reflux, which meant constant supervision. We had no support yet in place, and Melody was still a baby. I honestly don’t know how me and Dan survived those times…
28. What is one thing you wished people knew about you?
I suffer from depression and anxiety, which I am on medication for. It is entirely possible I might also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) looking at my past 7 years and all that has happened.
Sometimes I struggle when I’m out in a social situation, even with “safe” people who know me and my family. The anxiety hits and usually knocks me right out, making me quiet and “turned off”. I might smile, I might look at you, but wouldn’t say a thing. If I try to speak it might sound muffled and the sentences would be bad english – that’s me trying very hard to be polite and make my foggy panicky brain work.
It is not me being proud, funny or rude, it’s just me battling my inner-demons.
29. Tell us one thing about you that we wouldn’t know?
I am obsessed with notebooks : I love drawing and journaling. I even had to start an Instagram account just for my journaling stuff..
Freya arrived to our family in March 2019. It was made possible with rigorous saving up – we committed putting aside tiny amounts of money weekly in to a savings account for a very long time – and research.
In my teens I had had a dog, but ever since I moved to UK I haven’t had a furry friend of my own. It was almost a dull ache in my existence, not having the sound of four paws pounding next to me at all times.
As with Elisa’s complex needs,
I realised I could train the dog to help her. I looked into many breeds, trying to narrow the choice down to what we wanted and needed and what needs the breeds have.
My favourite breed is a shetland sheepdog – my previous dog was a sheltie. Even though I knew that breed very well, I crossed it out from the list. I wanted to teach the dog to help Elisa with her dystonic episodes by laying next to her and maybe even on top of her spasming arms, so the dog needed to be strong and heavy. Lightweight sheltie would have flown off Elisa once her forceful dystonia kicked in..
Taking everything into account,
we decided on a working type Labrador (read from Labradorsite.com about the two types of labradors). It would be agile enough to jump on Elisa when she’s on her wheelchair and strong enough to hold her down if needed – also the eagerness to please and learn were definite positives. I was aware of the negatives, the mouthing (the “need” to grab everything and anything and the constant chewing) and the endless energy, but I was ready to crack on and work with those in mind too.
When I went to see Freya,
I liked her curiosity and calmness. She didn’t yap like her brothers. She wasn’t shy and she was keen on examining me and Melody when we sat there on the floor getting to know the pups. She did mouth, but I had expected that anyway. She let me roll her around, didn’t protest or get anxious, and there I was sold. Freya seemed like the confident little addition that I wanted to have in our family.
After couple of more weeks, she came home and fell in love with Elisa almost instantly.
Freya has proved herself to be a sassy little lady, who only barks at neighbours cats and is endlessly interested in everyone. She loves cuddles and wants to be with her humans at all times.
Freya keeps testing my patience in daily basis,
and we have walked a long way together already – from learning out of the habit of mouthing to walking nicely on a lead. We are not perfect yet, but we are so getting there.
Above all, the kids love Freya.
Elisa is calmer around her – when Freya is close to Elisa, her dystonia seems to ease up. Melody has an “always-ready-to-play” playmate out of Freya – they’ve got the games of their own from the start.
Ruby is eager to teach Freya tricks.
Freya is my therapy dog. She calms me down when I feel anxious, and she is my pass to get outside for a long walk daily.
She is a dream come true. Not perfect, but we are all learning together.
So what does Dan think about the dog?
“Oh it’s alright. Whatever makes you happy, it makes me happy. No big deal.”
I do feel inferior talking about our holidays even though it was the best yet for us. We did not travel within UK or abroad , nor did we visit any museums or amusement parks. We didn’t go camping or glamping and we didn’t go to any festivals.
Such things are expected of the “best ever holiday”, right?
Even though we did not proceed on doing mentioned activities, we still did have the best summer we have had yet as a family.
So what did we do?
Monkey World with the DCF
The Dorset Children’s Foundation “DCF” funded a fun day at the ape rescue centre called Monkey World at the very start of the holidays. We were ecstatic – well, I was at least as I’ve never been and Melody was all keen to see chimpanzees!
We had a lovely day, never mind that Elisa slept through the whole thing. Maybe she dreamt of monkeys though?
Played Football with the DCF
These football sessions are such a safe place; there are footy related games for those who can and want to join in, but no-one is looked on badly if you decide to run around the hall playing chase with your Mum instead or have your very own game going on with a wheelchair football.
Neither are you judged if you happen to fall a victim to your emotions and have a temper tantrum.
There are only few opportunities where all parties of the family can join in the activity fully when one is physically disabled – it happens so easily that the disabled is on the sidelines or then the siblings.
These football sessions are for all; all of our three children love to join in the fun. Well, after all, this is “Accessible for All” Football arranged by the Dorset Children’s Foundation.
The DCF Fun Day
We only came for the afternoon part of the fun day – so we managed to get some lovely cake, then burned off those calories with playing indoor football and dancing to the beats of the amazing DJ Nose It !
Launch party of the DCFFC
As we already had been enjoying the football sessions arranged by the DCF, we were excited to attend the Family Fun Day that celebrated the launch of the new football team.
Can you spot Elisa and Ruby in one of the photos from the Dorset Echo’s news article? You can check it out here.
We went swimming at BH Live Leisure Centres
We do like the pool in Littledown. It is all wheelchair accessible and we go for a swim there every so often.
Our favourite Leisure Centre has to be the closest one to us though, but not because of it’s proximity. We love how the changing area for swimmers is an open area and so we can get changed as a family. The disabled changing facilities include an essential hoist, and there is a hoist to the warm pool too.
Mummy – Daughter – quality time with Elisa
It’s rare that I get to spend one on one time with Elisa. So on a day when Melody was in nursery, I took Elisa out. Just me and her.
Attended Julias House event called “Housemates”
Julia’s house arranges these events called “Housemates” during holidays and half-terms that are designed for the whole family. The events are relaxed, offering parents a chance to enjoy a cuppa and a chat with other parents when their children take part in supervised play.
Picnic at Moors Valley
Dan arranged to see a friend of ours at Moors Valley. We walked around the pond and then settled for a picnic.
Moments at home
How come was this the best summer holiday yet?
This is something any family with a child with complex medical needs will agree on.
This was best holiday yet, as we all stayed home. Elisa didn’t end up being admitted to hospital once. She was poorly with a tummy bug for couple of days, but that is so minor that is not even worth properly mentioning. Honestly – even as we lacked the confidence to book anything and make certain plans because of last years experiences, we ended up having the most active and loveliest time we’ve had during holidays. Happy, content time, as we were all healthy enough.
Isn’t that amazing?
Did you pay attention?
Most of the activities we enjoyed as a family were arranged and funded by charities like Julia’s house and the Dorset Children’s Foundation. Both of these charities are really close to my heart and our lives would be so much poorer in so many ways without them.
Which is why we are raising money for the Dorset Children’s Foundation.
Did you read about that here yet? Most importantly, if you could spare a quid or more, have you donated here?
Our new Facebook page is booming with new likes already – thank you so much for that! If you haven’t liked us yet, please do so here. If you are more of a Instagrammer, we do have an account there too here.
I have kept a public blog for more than 7 years and my children have always been known by nicknames in it.
Not anymore. My blog’s long term fans would have noticed a huge change in my blog since yesterday.
I am very proud of my children’s names.
Still, I wanted to hide them from the world. While I’m revealing so much of myself here I could not help but try to wrap my kids in with a fluffy anonymity blanket.
As I start blogging again,
I feel more connected to the local people, businesses and charities than I did before, and more than previously I do want to work with them and for them. I want to promote amazing charities and help to bring recognition for them, for all the hard work they do for families like mine. We already have let some of them use our kids real names in their leaflets and websites, and to prevent confusion, I’ve revised my nickname policy here in my blog.
My blog’s fans have known my eldest as “Elsa”.
Her real name is Elisa, pronounced like the name “Eliza”.
I had known for more than a year before Elisa was born, that my first child with Dan would be called Elisa. I didn’t want to have any “foreign” letters in her name to honour her Finnish background, as in Finnish letter z is hardly ever used. But Dan didn’t want the pronunciation that comes easiest with this spelling, so we went with “Eliza” with s.
My youngest has been known as “Anna” in the blog.
Her real name is Melody.
Melody loves her name, she promptly and proudly introduces herself to everyone whenever needed or not. Her name comes from a twin who sadly didn’t live very long – I didn’t even ever have the honour to meet her. I met her mum when I had been told the worst news possible; that my child, Elisa, might die. It was then that I bombed into Melodee’s mum, who knew exactly what I was going through. We have been friends ever since.
When I was expecting my youngest, we made name lists, and name Melody just kept popping up. It was the one that just felt right.
has always been known in the blog with her real name as according to her own wishes.
I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It appears protecting the names of my children had been a sort of a battle that I had been soldiering through… and I don’t have to do that anymore. Strange.
On the 5th of October 2019 I will be chasing after Melody, 3, while Dan will be pushing Elisa, 6, in her wheelchair. We have entered them to Bournemouth Marathon Festival’s “Kids Kilometre” -event and we’ve never done anything like it before.
We are raising money for a charity that has helped our whole family so much and keeps doing so every single week.
Why the Dorset Children’s Foundation?
As charities go, I have yet to find another charity that is as approachable and friendly as the Dorset Children’s Foundation. The charity supports local sick and disabled children by funding medical expenses, mobility equipment and therapies not covered by the NHS. They get to know the family as a whole and their approach is really hands on. Their mission is simple – “to provide what is needed for a better quality of life”.
They’ve helped us already in numerous ways.
Not only did they fund Elisa’s p-pod that is comfortable seating for home..
More than that, they’ve made us all active.
We didn’t even realise how isolated we were before we took part in the DCF events. We didn’t know any different, as Elisa has always been disabled and we’ve struggled with its knock-on effects from the day 1.
Thanks to our friend Emily and DCF’s co-founder Patsy, there are now weekly events for families like us to do different activities. As an example, we now go and play football weekly with the other DCF families.
Here is a video of us spending quality time with our children in different DCF events :
Not only Elisa is included in the activity with the rest of the family, but the siblings too. I cannot press enough how important this is; that the whole family is involved and feels safe and supported to take part in a way they can.
I’m sure you agree,
the Dorset Children’s Foundation is one small but mighty charity that changes lives within our community. It definitely has improved ours greatly.
You can learn more about the charity on their website here.