December has always been a special month to us; it was the month of December when my now husband took me on our 1st date to a Christmas ball, our song is a Christmas song and it has always been a fun time of year with our families riding steam trains, playing games, dancing, singing, eating lots and laughing!

I’ll be honest though, unlike other years, this Christmas hasn’t filled me with glee and excitement! I haven’t been looking forward to the season, I don’t have a Christmas list, I don’t even know where I want to be to celebrate it and I certainly don’t feel to be jolly one bit! Why or how could I when Christmas 2014 is supposed to be Poppy’s 1st Christmas? It was only what, 10 weeks or so ago I lost my child? Its all still so very raw.
This Christmas we would have been 5 instead of 4 and like the Christmas after Ethan I looked forward to it being so much more meaningful reading the Nativity whilst having a newborn in my arms! None of that is so and as a result  it really hurts, it’s a pile of rubbish and makes it VERY VERY easy to be become like scrooge and wish for all the joyous souls to just “naff off”!!! It’s lucky for the kids and other family members that I bought the majority of gifts back in September in anticipation that this would be a hard time.
I was hoping to get all gift buying done before December so that I could enjoy the season and spread “good tidings of great joy to all men” – Like other Christmas’ past I wish I could spread lots of cheer and good will to all around us through cookie drops, random acts of kindness and hosting parties, but when most days you fight through tears to feel a particle of Joy and function for your own fam its really not going to happen that way this year, not through lack of desire but more ability. Like I said, I don’t even have a “wish list” , those that know me will know this is extremely out of character too, but I can’t help but reflect on what the Grinch says at the end of the movie/Book:

“Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store
maybe, perhaps, Christmas means a little bit more”

I don’t really care what Christmas brings me as long as its not unbearable pain! I want this Christmas to focus more on how we feel and what we will do to make those feelings positive ones. I am a Christian so of course Christmas is far more than buying things from shops, I love carol singing, seeing the Nativities and reflecting on the birth of our Saviour… This is always a major part of our Christmas time. I know that it is through him I can and do feel moments of happiness and that as I think of Him that this yr it wont be as hard as it potentially seems!

They say that happiness is home made, which would suggest something we can have control over and that would begin at home…right? So what can I control? certainly not the grief and pain I feel, and not the heartache from seeing others celebrate their babies 1st Christmas’ but I can create opportunities for us to feel the Christmas spirit, have fun together and make memories, I can strive to set in place an experience that means that despite out loss Christmas can still be filled with Joy for us all!

The result is an advent calender of festive family activities, home made decorations and daily thoughts of Christ… I aim to centre our home on Him that his peace will sooth the pain…that doing activities together will help us appreciate what we DO have, laughing through the tears will help with healing and that the home made decorations will be special and fun and make our house more homely and as a result I hope that when we look back on this 1st Christmas without Poppy it won’t all be sad things or difficulty but that we did have reasons to feel great Joy,  that it was a special Christmas with special decorations! I cannot for once think so much of others, that’s not easy because its not natural to me, it may even seem selfish and not Christian at all but it is sacrifice enough to do the above and I know to do more than that would be placing too much on me. Its not to say I may not end up doing random acts of kindness but my only goals for December are to get through it and make it a joyful season for OUR family!

This week we made paper plate snowmen for a garland, card stock baubles and lolly stick snowflakes. Still to do are some paper chains, salt dough and cinnamon decorations.

I especially love the “picasso” inspired snowmen
crafts
We also started the season off with a festive trip to ‘Stockeld park‘ where the kids had a fab time in the enchanted forest and maze and we also all had a laugh trying to ice skate… Megan’s teeny ice skates were most adorable. On the way home he just HAD to call Grandma Smith and tell her and both of them are still talking and laughing about that talking tree and ‘ice skading’!
enchanted forest

ice skating

It was a great evening out together but seeing the lights and hearing Christmas music ached a little in my heart. I hope December will bring more fun days than hard days, I hope we continue to make for ourselves happy times and feel joy together this Christmas and I hope we can find positive ways to remember and include Poppy in our celebrations and festivities!

 

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So I have been working really hard this week on being a “crafy” mummy and actually putting some of many kids craft pins into action! We have been house bound as ive been trying to get Megs to use the Potty (currently to no avail but thats for another post) and with a sudden winter chill in the air it was perfect …or maybe stressful you decide!

The house looks like a fairy kingdom with all of the glitter dumped everywhere. On that subject, me and my control mentality told them more than once “don’t touch the glitter, use what mummy has already opened”! Ethan being Ethan thought he knew better and bit the glitter tube after a failed attempt of opening it by hand..RESULT??

Hello Sparkle chops – I told him his poo would be all shiny but he didn’t like that response either

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For a while I have wondered if grief can influence your ability to loose weight? I wondered if I was setting myself up for failure before even giving it a go! No not because I eat my feelings, though I do but I wondered if there were hormonal reasons too??
well after some research I found my suspicions to be true!! YES there is scientific evidence that says when we are stressed our body releases a hormone called cortisol which encourages out bodies to hold onto fat…WHHHAAAAATTTTTT (Im hoping at this point im not the only one in the world that never knew this)! It would explain why my weight loss seems to be at a snails pace and each week seems to set me not much closer to my goal despite the hard work. GEEEZZZ!!

For example this weeks weigh in – 164lb = 1lb lost – not amazing but not a gain! BOOOOOOMMMMM!

I did an excellent job at refraining from sugar this week – well until a completely rubbish beginning to the weekend and difficult and what seemed to be a VERY long Monday with the kids leading to eating more treats than planned and having it run into the “no sugar zone” – what can I say im a rebel!! But seriously the Ben and Jerrys did help and the revelation of hormonal effects of being under stress has made me ease up on myself! Im hoping for a less stressful week and more tightened sugar regulations!

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I did A LOT of outdoors stuff as a kid/teenager – hikes, bike rides, mountains, camping, cooking on fires, swimming in rivers, backpacking. It wasn’t all joyful and I can distinctly remember some horrendous hikes my dad dragged us on! But overall it was mint and full of fun as a family and adventures; it made me appreciate the beauty of England and enjoy my health and the world we live in, my sisters and I had lots of laughs and fun that we reflect on to this day. I think these memories are what drive me now my own kids are getting older to get them OUTSIDE and have some family adventures.

Forest school is a fairly new experience for us and something id never even heard of until a couple of years ago, but the more sessions we attend both through the kids Montessori school and also now “babes in the wood” I feel its something I want to incorporate into our weekly schedule and have as a part of my kids childhood and leaning experiences. It gets them outside and teaches them too in a controlled environment whilst they are small.

This morning was the perfect weather for forest school and also great timing to plant a tree (or 2)! We got on our wellies and trekked through the mud to a beautiful open field to meet with other families for the session. I had previously looked up what was on schedule today and the kids were very excited to plant a tree for poppy. Ethan choose a ‘silver birch’ and plonked it right in the middle of the bracon (much to Naths dismay as he was chief digger) and Megan choose to plant a cherry tree – “and den we eat da fruit all in our tummies”!!! We planted that one quite near the river…very picturesque. It was very special to do it as a family and also after a hard week it was a positive thing to help me in my grief, yup  it was certainly a fun family activity to do together and of course made more special as it was in remembrance of our baby poppy.
Once planted we hung wooden cookies with a little message and Ethan and Megan drew little pictures on the other side. It touched our hearts when Megs said “Poppy love me very much does she?” and Ethan “I drew this colourful picture for my baby Poppy sister”!! Once planted and tags hung we sat on logs around the fire with hot chocs and snacks! I love being outdoors as a family, seeing the kids explore, seeing them get muddy and learning and exploring together. I look forward to more forest school sessions and more outdoor adventures to bond together and be close to Poppy!

tree 1

tree 2

 

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