Tuesday, 27 March 2012

And the nominees are.....

Last week was a pretty good week in the Mckenzie household.

On Tuesday I was in Perth attending an award ceremony held by Scottish Association of Social Workers. I, along with her boss and one of the directors of Aberlour Childcare Trust had nominated Janet for an award because she is pretty damn special. Now, it takes a hell of a lot to impress me so when I say she is good, I truly mean it.

We had a lovely time but I have to say that although it was taking place in the Perth Concert Hall, it was a very low key affair so much so that it was held in the foyer! We had to ask for seats as all the seating around tables were taken and so we ended up sitting off to the side and we stuck out like a sore thumb.They did provide wine and canap├ęs which we were quite happy to consume.

Gill and Sheena

Thankfully the company more than made up for it and when the awards started, I struggled to hear what was being said as the speaker was standing on the stairs and not close enough to the microphone. This forced me to listen very carefully when the award for Residential Care Worker of the Year was called. I knew that Janet had done good when the speaker said "well done" to her after introducing her.

When it was announced that she had won the Highly Commended award, we whooped and hollered our appreciation. I was so so chuffed for her. Basically that makes her the 2nd best care worker in Scotland. A high accolade indeed.

Janet and her well deserved award

We celebrated at a place called the Bothy where we had a lovely meal, a few drinks and great conversation.

lovely food to be had here

Well done Janet, couldn't have been awarded to a nicer person.

Then two days later, it was Jack's birthday. My lovely boy was 14 so I had a birthday tea for him complete with cake (even though he is nil by mouth) cos although he can't eat it, we can!

Birthday Boy

Time to open presents!

and more....

Aww gee I think I need a lie down :)
We had a lovely time especially since he was so alert and interested which was absolutely lovely. He scored big time with lots of prezzies and money which I will save in his piggy bank til he needs something. I was totally exhausted after which was a wee reminder that I am still not back to normal after all the stress and trauma of the hospital.

Friday was a busy day, packing Jack's bag for respite as he was in for the weekend. Just as well as I had another award ceremony to attend.

This time it was in Elgin and it was the Moray Young Citizen of the Year Awards which Holly's school had nominated her for. I was over the moon and quite emotional about the nomination alone as she so deserves it. She has had to grow up fast being the sibling of someone with major health issues and she never resents the time I dedicate to him or the times that plans have had to change at the last minute as he has been ill or respite has been cancelled.

She still manages to keep up with her school work, hard as it is as studying in our house is not the easiest with all the comings and goings but she still manages. Last year she gave up her own birthday celebrations to take part in the Youth Outdoor Challenge at Badagouish with her team raising the most money in her school. On top of that she has had to hold the fort at home over these hard hard few months while Jack was so unwell, looking after the dogs, buying in food, paying bills, budgeting, fielding phone calls whilst at the same time dreading answering the phone in case that call came form me. She is on the sixth year leadership team, helps kids who are bullied and is in general just a very lovely girl.

I think I am biased but that was just some of the things that her teachers had written about her for the nomination.

Diz, goofy around!

Don't know what's going on here!

The evening turned out to be quite a posh affair and was held in a local hotel. Holly, Diz and I were met with a red carpet and non alcoholic cocktails which were delicious. The first round of awards were given out to children in primary schools and then we were treated to nibbles in the shape of little pots of noodles, buckets of wedges, chicken satay, chicken pakora and soup in shot glasses! Just when we thought we couldn't eat any more, they brought out miniature sweets in little cups and shot glasses accompanied by plates of cupcakes. Heaven!

Yummy cupcakes

Eat me!

Pudding in dainty cups

Holly, Kerrie and her parents

Other half of the table - Team Zambia who also won an award

Then more awards and finally the big one, Moray Young Citizen of the Year. Nominees names were called out and asked to stand while the speaker told us a little bit about them until there were only 3 names left, Holly being one of them and Kerrie, also from her school who was sitting next to her. The speaker explained that there were 2 Highly Commended Awards as well as the main one. The first name was called and then it was between Holly and Kerrie who were on the edge of their seats holding hands.

Kerrie's award

You could cut the tension with a knife. Then Kerrie's name was called and she went up to receive her award which only left Holly who could barely breathe by this time. When they shouted her name, myself and Diz high fived each other and we were whooping and hollering, fit to burst as Holly took to the stage. I was so unprepared that I didn't get a pic of her getting her award as I was so flustered and couldn't get my fingers to work the camera!

Woo hoo I got an award!

One for the wall me thinks

Holly  was quite tearful as they read out some of the lovely things that had been written about her and I could have hugged her half to death so chuffed was I.

All in all, a damn good week wouldn't you say?

Til next time my little gigglers.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

A day in the life of...

I can't believe that March is nearly over. It has been a manic few weeks. I seem to have so few hours in the day to myself and from the moment Jack gets home after school it's full on busy busy busy.

There are lots of changes going on. My overnight care for the month is now over and I am down to 4 nights a week which is ok and I think I will manage with that. I am losing my Crossroads carer Marion, who has been with us for the past 9 years because the contract was up for tender and it was won by another company.

Lots of changes at the respite unit Jack goes to as well for the same reason and I am sad to see that one of the Managers, Gill, is moving on too as another company have won the contract for the service, which was stupidly split into two separate contracts. Huge upheavals all round.

I will miss them both as they have been a huge part of our lives but they aren't leaving totally as I think of them as friends so they wont be getting away that easy!

Jack still continues to astound me. My boy has been up on his knees without support for the first time in over 3 years. When I get him out of his chair and onto the floor, I can no longer expect him to be in the same position for more than 5 mins as he has other ideas and makes his way around the room by rolling or pulling himself up onto his knees. It is a delight to watch but also very stressful as he is on continuous feed during the hours of 2pm to 7pm and so I have to chase him around the room, untangling him from his feed pump hoping and praying that he doesn't pull out his jejunoscopy tube which would be a disaster!

I could take the easy option and just leave him in his chair but who wants to sit in a chair for 5 hours?

This was Jack on Sunday. 1st time he's worn his protective helmet in 3 years!

It's Jack's birthday and he is 14 today. After what we have been through the last few months I can honestly say that I never thought he would make it to this day. He is such a fighter and the hero in my life.

Holly is delighted to have us both home. I knew things were back to normal when I walked out of my bedroom the other morning as she was walking out of the bathroom. She took one look at me and let out such a blood curling scream that I nearly pooped myself!!! As I hung onto the bedroom door, clutching my heart, she shouted at me for giving her a fright! Geez I know most people don't look good in the morning but surely I am not that hideous.

I swear that my children are trying to shorten my lifespan.

About half an hour later, I was nipping into the bathroom as Holly was heading down the stairs. Just for fun, I came to the bathroom door and let out a blood curdling scream to which Holly nearly jumped her own height (which is quite far, let me tell you), clutched her heart and promptly burst into tears! All I could do was howl with laughter while she ranted and raved about how NOT funny I was. I laughed so much, I cried and thank god I was close to the bathroom cos I laughed so hard I nearly peed myself!!!!

Aaaah revenge is just brilliant and highly entertaining don't you think???

I have been hobnobbing at one of two award ceremonies I am attending this week. Get me, eh? But I will save that for another post as I have a birthday tea to organise so I'd better get off my butt and get going!

Plus it's a beautiful day here in sunny sunny Scotland and I really should be out there enjoying it. Take care my little gigglers.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Set it free

On top of everything else I have been dealing with in the last 5 months I have also been dealing with the break up of my relationship with Friend with Perks.

I had hardly seen him while Jack was in hospital as he lives on the Islands and even when he was on the road in his lorry we never seemed to be in the same place at the same time.

Yes, we had lots of conversations on the phone and endless texts but going through all this with Jack made me realise that actually what I needed more than anything during that time was one of his amazing cuddles.


The less they were available to me the more I wanted them and by New Year Eve I had come to a decision.

I would rather be alone than hanker for someone who couldn't give me what I needed. It was a hard decision to make whilst I was already in the middle of turmoil but as you have already gathered by now, I don't do things by halves!

He has been part of my life for 7 years, cheering me on, lifting me up when I was down, making me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry, telling me how wonderful I was and he was always interested in what was happening in Holly and Jack's lives. He brought me back to life after a horrendous separation and divorce. I will always be grateful to him for that.

We were only meant to be friends with benefits but I crossed the line and fell in love. He loves me but he isn't able to give me what I need so I had to walk away. It hurts but I am ready for something more and if it comes along great but if it doesn't then so be it. If you love something, you have to set it free....right?


I am so sad because I know that I am not going to be able to be friends cos it hurts too much. Better to have a clean break.

I wish him all the best and I will always be glad that I knew him.

Monday, 5 March 2012

It's good to be home

It's great to be home but now exhaustion has set in.

I have had months of holding it all together and now I am starting to unravel. I cry at the drop of a hat, feel like I am walking through treacle and all this pent up anger I have over the treatment of Jack in Aberdeen is building up and has nowhere to go.

Until this weekend! I finally, with the help of Holly's boyfriend David, ripped out the built in wardrobes in my room and by Saturday evening I was on my knees with tiredness but I felt like like I had gotten rid of some of my angst! Job well done me thinks.

one of the built in wardrobes to come out

the other one is already out

David hard at work

Jack has been doing really well. We are having more good days than bad days and he is less tired. He has been going to school part time but today he is going in for the whole day and we will just see how it goes. The overnight carers are working out well but I did find it difficult at first having so many people in my house, coming and going. Once the month is up though, it should go down to 3-4 nights a week which will be better for me, I think.

This week Holly was nominated by her school for Moray Young Citizen of the Year. We were both over the moon. If she doesn't win, I don't really care as the nomination itself is immense!

Jack and Holly together again

On Thursday, Holly and I took the train to Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh where we attended the subject specific open day. She met some of the students who are going to be on her course and some of the lecturers too. I felt much happier once I had seen where she is going to live and study and it seemed a very safe place to be.

We were both very quiet on the way home as reality was kicking in, knowing that in just a few months she will be away. I will miss her so very much but in the meantime I am going to cherish every moment with my lovely girl.

It's Jack's 14th birthday this month and Holly's 18th next month so I have two birthday parties that I need to get a move on and organise. Holly's will take place after her birthday as she has so much on in April what with the rehearsals and actual performance of Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat and studying for her exams.

I can't believe it's March already! Spring is definitely in the air and the nights are getting lighter which I absolutely love.

Hope all is well in your world my little gigglers.

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