Saturday, 28 June 2014

Nursery Leavers trip to Drayton Manor

Yesterday, was J's nursery leavers trip, and they had chosen to go to Drayton manor, home of Thomas Land. Now, we are not Thomas fans in our house, but we were still excited. Daddy M was off, so he looked after S, so that I could take J and go on all the rides she wanted to without worrying about heights. However, it was raining on and off whilst we were getting ready, so despite the glorious weather for the week previously, we decided to gamble and take our winter coats. We were the first at nursery to wait for the coach, and the only ones with winter attire...  mummy was a tad nervous she would be carrying the coats, lunch and drinks.
 

After the 90minute coach drive, which had its own dramas due to a tired J after a restless night due to nightmares. We finally arrived, along with the heavy rain. Phew, the gamble paid off with the coats as they certainly were needed.
After dispersing from the nursery group to do our own things, J wanted to go on the first ride she saw. Drayton Manor isn't aimed at just pre-school children, but also thrill seekers, so I was relieved that the first ride she saw, was relatively calm. However we did get very wet, being swung around in the circle on a giant swing, along with high schoolers.
We then headed of to the pirate area, and rode on two pirate themed rides. Both again being filled with high school children. J was very nervous on one, as we were told there was a little drop whilst floating around in the dark. But this was all good fun, and J enjoyed it. It reminded us of a ride very similar in Disney World. And the rain soon eased. Then it was on to the carousel, and as Mummy didn't have S to worry about, I could ride along with J.
We then spotted Thomas Land, and headed inside, away from the swarms of teenagers. There were so many rides so close to each other, and not huge queues either, perfect, for a very eager J, who was darting from one to the other. She soon stopped at a ride that did a figure of eight with the various engines, and then straight onto a driving around a farm ride, where she got to pretend she was driving. These rides reminded me of two in particular at Gulliver's world in Warrington, but along the Thomas Theme, and a lot more modern.
 
 
Whilst looking around J spotted lots of bubbles, so went to explore, and bumped into the Fat Controller.
 
 
The time was getting on, and it was lunch time, J wanted to do one more ride before we stopped to eat, so we just picked a line, and it turned out to be the Thomas train ride queue. This was a great surprise, so we had lunch whilst riding the Thomas train to a much quieter area of the park. We have seen pictures of a Thomas on a train before, but this looked so realistic, rather than just painted on, it even had moving eyes. And steam when he stopped at the platform.
 
 
Whilst in the quieter area, there were plenty of animals to view, but J wasn't interested in that today, she wanted to ride the rides, which there weren't many at this end, however she did get to drive her own engine, at Terence's School of driving. And she was determined to try and crash into the lady helping another small child steer. Thankfully, there weren't any hits.
 
 
We then viewed a very large train set of Thomas in the exhibition centre, before then moving on to explore some more. We just missed the train back, so explored the other side. The outdoor play area was shut due to poor ground conditions, which I am guessing was due to the heavy rain in the morning. Next to the play area, was a dino trail, J enjoyed this as there was multiple choice questions, where you had to guess the answer... through this, she learnt what a herbivore, carnivore and a piscivore were.
 
After the dino trail, we caught Thomas back to the main area of Thomas land. And J wanted to do the Harold helicopters... there were no queues... what was going on?? When we visited Peppa pig World about 18months ago, the queues were ridiculous... was the rain putting people off? It still hadn't rained since the first morning heavy shower. So we made the most of it. The guy in charge, had a good way at telling us all to watch our heads, and made it seem like a great big happy family. And then we were off.... now I don't do heights, but if J could do, then I could, and whilst up in the helicopter, the rain came along with the thunder AND lightening... that sure put the scare factor into the ride..... thankfully the lightening was still a little way off....
 
 
Once we got safely back on the ground we moved onto the Rocking Bulstrode, which is an equivalent of a pirate ship that goes back and forth, but also spins a little too.... Whilst we were getting on this, the thunder and lighting was right above us, as there were no time delay between them both, but we were strapped in and couldn't go anywhere... The Bulstrode was filled, and we were all giggling like pre-schoolers, even us crazy mums. We all got off looking like drowned rats.... where we were sat down, our whole legs as well as bodies were saturated....
 
Whilst we were still so wet, we decided to stay out a little longer and get some pictures with the engines as the park was slowly getting disserted.



 
The rain then started to ease, so we went to find some more rides, and J soon spotted the Jeremy Jet ride...
 
 
after the jet ride, we noticed the rollercoaster for younger children, had NO queue what so ever, so jumped on.... poor J screamed the whole way down, and around, and clung on for dear life.... and then when we pulled into the station, it then went around again... poor J started to cry... but soon started to giggle on the 2nd run down.... I was cheeky and caught a snap shot of us on the wayout... but got a stern telling off..... but didn't get told to delete... so proof to Daddy M... I did go on a rollercoaster.... and yes it was aimed at small children....
 

 
J said she never wanted to go on the rollercoaster again, so we headed over to the Berty Bus ride which takes you in a circle vertically forwards and backwards... she enjoyed this so much, we stayed on for a 2nd go, especially as the rain picked up again.

We then got a text from the nursery saying they were bringing the collection time forward due to the bad weather... so we headed to the loo's and back to the coach... J was starting to get very cold at this point, even though her coat was more waterproof than mine, and she had waterproof trousers on.
Torrential rain, and I make her pose... evil mummy!
Once back at the coach, we stripped her out her waterproofs, and she was bone dry.... amazingly. Me however, my big heavy coat was stuck to me as the rain had seemed to have penetrated into the coat. We then had to wait another hour whilst we waited for one more family to arrive back on board. Then it was time to drive back in rush hour. This took 3.5hours..... to say the vodka and coke was calling me was an understatement.....
It was a great day out, and the rain meant we could get on more rides then anticipated. We completed Thomas Land, but there were much more to explore in Drayton Manor, so I would like to go back again.... but maybe drive myself so we aren't waiting for people that cant tell the time.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Living with Kidney Reflux... our story

My youngest daughter S, has Grade 3 Kidney Reflux. When we were trying to diagnose, and finally diagnosed, I was googling all the time, and didn't really find much on the topic. So thought I would blog about it.
 
  • Kidney Reflux or VUR (Vesico-ureteric reflux) is where the valves between the bladder and ureter is not working correctly. This can cause urine to go back into the ureters and travel back as far as the kidneys. If infected urine gets back to the kidneys, damage can be done.
I had all the normal ultrasounds throughout pregnancy, and they all came back normal, I even had a few more then the standard 12 and 20 week scan, as at the 20 week scan S was in a funny position so they couldn't get all the usual measurements they needed, so they bought us back for another scan. We also opted for a 4D scan for our 1 year wedding anniversary present with it being paper. Kidney Reflux is normally picked up at the scans, but S kidney problem was missed on all these occasions, so we thought nothing was wrong. And enjoyed the pregnancy as much as we could whilst suffering SPD.
 
The birth was relatively straight forward, albeit very quick, and I was discharged on the 6 hour turn around. Everything was just perfect. The health visitor came out and done her checks, and then left us to it, without any other visits planned until the various tests they needed in several days or a week. (I cant remember, I just remember it being a lot longer then with my 1st). However on day 3, I remember calling the health visitor out, as I knew something was wrong.  But didn't know exactly what. S was extremely irritable, and upset, and she would curl her whole body up, have a lot of vomit, and it was projectile,  and she just would not settle. For a 3 day old baby, this wasn't normal for us, J usually just fed, slept and pooped. The health visitor came out and put it down to colic, but she explained that didn't usually come in until 2weeks. So we started to pop Infacol into her feeds. (Colic medicine).
  • Colic is trapped wind, indigestion, or a sensitive stomach in babies. Causing frequent crying outbursts in an infant that seems to be fit and healthy.
Lying on her stomach eased the crying...
J suffered colic when she was a baby, so I didn't think it was colic, as in our experience, it was certain times of the day, whereas S was the majority of the time. Day or night. But we followed the advice, Infacol didn't seem to improve matters, so we started to use Gripe water. This was around the time there was a massive shortage due to a fire at the factory where it was made... and we were going through lots of it. It seemed to help her settle, and many times, Daddy would phone around ALL the chemists in the Wigan and Manchester area to find some, and clear the shelves. He bought the entire 5 bottles in one chemist, after driving 20 miles there and back 20 miles back again once. As no others closer had any.
The sickness and grouchiness continued, and I was constantly back and forth to the GP, I was kept being sent back home, "its colic, it will pass", "every child is different, this is just how your 2nd daughter is". I knew somehow, not sure why or how, but I knew it wasn't colic. I kept persevering, almost daily with both children in tow to the drs, and health visitor clinics, and then we finally got a different answer, its Gastro-Reflux. And she was prescribed some infant Gaviscon.
  • Gastro Reflux, is where the milk your baby has swallowed comes back up again. And they may suffer from heartburn with it.
The Gaviscon didn't help, but caused more problems (constipation), so we stopped that, and continued with the GP visits. She was then put on Ranitidine. They then tested her stool sample to see if she was allergic to the milk. This came back all normal too. No other answers could be given. I felt the GP was getting tired of us coming in all the time, so one day, she made the decision, that if what I was saying was correct, she needed to be down the hospital, so she sent us to A&E. Finally we were being taken seriously,
 
On arrival on hospital, they did all the usual tests, but also wanted a urine sample. They monitored her on A&E, but all the commotion and activity, kept her quiet and full of smiles.... why??? Finally we got a urine sample, and they tested it, and it came back positive for an infection. Finally, they found what was causing my baby so much pain. They prescribed us some antibiotics and sent us home.
The antibiotics caused more problems for such a small baby, and we found ourselves back in A&E with blood in her stools. So a different antibiotic was prescribed, and we were again sent on our way.
We seemed to have a happy baby, finally.
 
 
This lasted for about 5 days, then the grouchiness came back again. So we went back to the GP again, Another urine sample had to be done, and they couldn't give us answers straight away, so we had to wait for an answer before she was prescribed anything. A few days later, it was confirmed, she had another UTI. I started to doubt if I was changing her nappy correctly, how could she have this twice? It cleared up again, and at the end of the course, we had to do another urine sample, finally a clear, infection free sample. Which lasted another week. Due to the amount of urine infections she was referred to a paediatrician. The waiting list for this seemed to be months away, so after her next infection, we went to A&E to be treated, and got seen there and then, and got put on a prophylactic dose of antibiotics to stop any more infections before getting seen in a clinic. This worked!!!!!! No more infections.
After seeing the paediatrician in the clinic, tests were then scheduled. The first test was a MCUG she was 7 months... its taken 7 months to get her symptoms listened to, to finally get tested for proper diagnoses.
  • MCUG scan is a test where they insert a catheter a pump dye into the bladder, and XRAY type scan to see how well the bladder system works, and to pick up abnormality's.  MCUG can be explained better here
The doctor doing the test was great at explaining it to me. S kept hold of the dye for a while in her system before passing it, the doctor at the time reassured me, this is normal for a child who has Kidney Reflux, but couldn't go into more detail, as the results had to be taken back to S's doctor.
 
Once this test had been given, and it was confirmed, that our daughter did have Kidney Reflux. S was then reffered for another test. This test is called DMSA.
 
  • DMSA scan is where they inject a radioactive isotope in to her veins, and sent us home for several hours. We then went back and she was scanned for about 45 minutes. It is used to assess the position, size and damage of kidneys. DMSA can be explained in more detail here.
S didn't like this test as she had to remain very still, and not kick her little legs, and 8 month old child loves kicking their legs around don't they, so getting her to remain still for that long, was incredibly hard.
 
The results came back, She has Right ureteric reflux into the renal collecting system, and left sided reflux into the lower left ureter.
 
Finally they had the diagnosis they needed to stop it coming back. However these tests caused another infection, so her prophylaxis dose of antibiotic had to be changed to a much harsher antibiotic. Which she remains on now.
 
She has had one suspected UTI since then, and put on a course of antibiotics for a week. But it wasn't confirmed.
She has annual ultra sounds on her kidneys to make sure they are growing correctly. On her last ultra sound, she was able to keep the picture of her kidneys, and she was so proud of it.
 
It was all going well, and the last clinic appointment with the paediatrician they were talking about taking her off the antibiotic nightly dose. However, she now has another suspecting UTI. Two days ago, her balance and co-ordination started to go wrong, with constant falling over, and slipping down stairs, followed by a horrific smelling nappy the following morning. There were no other symptoms. No temperature, no constant crying. Doctor is suspecting it is a UTI, as her ears, and throat all seem fine, but her stomach was tender to touch. So she has been put on another course of antibiotics whilst they test.
It can take just one infection to cause damage. So we are keeping everything crossed, that we caught it early enough.
 
She is hoped to outgrow the reflux, but it doesn't look like she has yet.
 
When we go on holiday, we need to make sure she is covered under the insurance. Especially when we went to America... it took a while to get the all clear, but thank fully she was covered, leaving us to enjoy our holiday.
 
 
When we go away in the UK, we need to remember the antibiotics for her nightly dose. Once I forgot it on a trip to see family 260miles away, and I had to get an emergency doctors appointment with the family doctor. This proved difficult as she needed it that same day, and the antibiotic she needs usually has to be ordered in. Thankfully the Doctor slipped us in, and gave us a small amount to take us through the trip. Without even batting an eye lid. It is an extremely expensive drug, and the amount of doctors that usually try and put us on something else is alarming. (We have moved plenty of times, and it happens each and every new GP). The local chemist to my family, put an urgent call in, and we could pick it up before her bed time. So any infections were prevented.
 
The hardest part is keeping her hydrated. She doesn't like to drink, and its a challenge. Some days she can be like a fish, and others is a battle. So we often come up with smoothies for the smooth taste and textures... and bright colours....
 
Im sure she will carry on having more infections throughout her life, but I am hoping to be on the ball, and catch them early. I had no idea balance issues could be a sign of a UTI, but thankfully a friend did, and along with the one smelly nappy, that's what got us down to the doctors.
S didn't suffer with high temperatures either, not every child is a text book case. So trust your instincts. Thankfully I trusted mine, and so far we have saved her kidneys from damage. S only had the vomiting that we noticed originally, as she was too small to tell us any of the others.
 
Urine Infections symptoms can include:
burning sensation during urination
urinating more often than usual
abdominal pain
a high temperature
vomiting
reduced appetite or foul smelling urine
 
If untreated it could lead to kidney failure.... I am so glad its not left untreated!
 
 
 
 
Binky Linky

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Chocolate Fudge and Peanut Butter Brownies

This evening, it was the girls job to make pudding.... Chocolate Fudge and Peanut butter Brownies.... also known as chocolate cake in the eyes of S....

Again I Cheated... this is starting to become a regular occurrence now, I was once a cook from scratch mummy... but convenience is so much easier for the girls to get hands on. So I bought a ready made packet, and added the water, oil, and egg... to bowls for S to complete the first part of it....
 
 She was very keen to get cooking, especially as J wasn't around for the mixing...

 
She was too excited though... and dropped the egg....  priceless....

 
It was then time for the best bit in the eyes of the girls.... MIXING..... which in this case is turning the dial....
 
 
...it was then time for the girls to switch places, and J took over the more harder bit... greasing the tin.... now we wouldn't want any brownie stuck and left behind would we??
 
 ..then the big girl job of pouring it in, and swirling the peanut butter through, we used two heaped teaspoons for this, and J got a tad excited and started mixing it in, instead of swirling....
 
 
Then it was mummy's job of popping it in the oven for 20-25 minutes ..... cooling it and cutting it into the 16 portions...
 
What do you think? They look goooooooooddddd don't they?? They taste like heaven too. Well done girlies!! And Thank you Betty Crocker for another great buy....
 

 

Monday, 23 June 2014

WATERFIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well.... today has been another scorcher... but was weekly shop day as the cupboards were almost bare, and the bread going mouldy. Whilst I was doing the shopping list, S made a mess playing with the play rice... but that's another blog for another day... And J was at nursery all day. Whilst doing the weekly shop, I had a nosey at the summer toy range... and bought us all a water gun each... couldn't argue at £1 each.... J loved the thought of one yesterday at the pool, but unfortunately it was broken. Now daddy can even join in when he is not working. I also bought some water balloons....

I didn't set up all the balloons, as I didn't know how the girls would react with them... so I set up 3 to start, and the water guns... and set it up as a surprise for J, S already knew as she was with me when we set it up.. I caught J's reaction to finding them.... priceless...


They then started to throw the water balloons around.... and they kept bouncing.... made it more unpredictable if you were to get wet or not... but the 3 I set up went quick.... so the rest of the packet got made up too... ideal for a game of catch..... with a pre-schooler who isn't 100% at catching.... teehee, evil mummy.....

 
S just wanted to squeeze them, and see if she could pop them with her hands... she couldn't.. so ended up just throwing it...


They then got onto the water pistols....

 
but S only has little hands, and struggled a bit with the pistol... and J took full advantage!
So mummy came to S's rescue,  but J got two guns.... it was good fun, and I don't know who won, we all ended up pretty wet, but it cooled us down...

 
...and the girls have now had their "first official water fight".....
 
 
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Sunday, 22 June 2014

A pedalling...splashing...Sunday

Today Daddy M was working again, and the weather was glorious... after putting the first load of washing on the line early on, I was adamant to help clear the laundry pile that was getting silly. So I made the girls have an 'at home' morning again, with the promise of the parks paddling pool after lunch if they were good. Bribery works wonders....
This summer we are hoping to get J learning to ride her bike with no stabilisers. She has been on a balance bike since Christmas so she could build confidence again after doing to many steep turns on her push bike, and lots of grazed knees... I was on a mission to get her back on it... and today was a perfect day to do so... But first.. safety time... she was more then happy to put the helmet on...
 
 
...and then she was off... it was like there was never a problem with her cycling....
 
 
...she whizzed around and around the patio area, but really didn't like the grass... so after once up and back again, it was back to the patio....  S wanted a go too, so I got her trike out for her to play with...
 
 
..she was happily pushing her self along, and filling the back of the trike up with stones... until J got off her bike for the loo... then she wanted a go... but safety first....
 
 
she looked so serious when she was concentrating to move... but when it finally did move half a pedal... the excitement on her face was worth it..
 

 
...after all the hard work of pedalling, it was time for a mummy coffee break, and the girls little treat...
 
Chocolate biscuits probably weren't the best idea in the heat... J managed to get it everywhere....  whilst I was still enjoying my coffee, the girls entertained themselves by playing hide and seek between the patio doors...
 
 
.... it was then time for lunch, next load of washing out... then we were off to the park... our local park has an open air paddling pool, and it was very busy... much busier then last time we came in the rain... J wanted to pick some speed up on her bike, so we bought that along and had a little race up the flower beds...
 
Going, going... and she is coming back again!!
S waited patiently whilst J practised...
 
 
...then it was time for the paddling pool... I was very surprised there was room for us to set up base on the side as it was after lunch... so the girls were soon in the pool... well I say soon, S wanted me to go in with her first....
 
 
J was straight into the water... she is a true water baby/girl. And didn't come back to base unless it was for throwing water objects or a ball.... S on the other hand, was in and out, and crying at every splash.... in a communal paddling pool... that's what happens... and in the process of retrieving upset S.... I got well and truly soaked.... and I was in jeans.... and sat in the shade.... lets just say, I remained wet until I got home and changed!!!! Cooled me down though...
 
 
After retrieving S and letting her warm up, she was soon back in again, armed with a plastic cup to throw water back at the bigger kids that splash... and the bigger kids were very good about it, and not many splashed her back... J also found a broken water gun, and couldn't work out why it wouldn't work.
 
 
After about an hour, S was soon shivering... so it was time to get her dressed, whilst J splashed some more....
 
 
J didn't want to leave... but with the promise of an ice cream... she was soon dressed again...
 
 
They both chose the most multi-coloured ice cream topping they could... and then enjoyed every last drip of it.....
 
... it was a lovely day, new skills were learnt, and fun in the pool... who knew our small town had that? AND its free.... we shall be visiting plenty more throughout this summer.... and not in jeans.... and we will take Daddy too when he is not working...