Springtime planting with the family

Springtime planting with the family

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Hey everyone,

It is finally springtime! and hopefully, that means we will have some nicer weather! I love looking at all the blossoms on the tree this time of year, it always looks so beautiful. Spring is such a colourful season and it is my favourite season of all!

It was time for us plant all our seeds and grow our veggies and herbs. We bought all our seeds from Bunnings this year and they were not expensive at all. I love the fact that when its time to harvest it all, you no longer have to buy those particular vegetables from the supermarket for a while, and that is definitely a big money saver there! We didn’t plant carrots this year, they are only $1-$2 to buy. As a family tradition every year we plant all our veggies and herbs together. The children chose what seeds they wanted to plant and all had their own plant pot. My husband and I told them how to place the seeds in their pots and they all done a fantastic job! I find that learning all about gardening is very educational for the children too.  They love watching everything grow! Although it was a muddy affair we all had so much fun!

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This year we have planted;

  • Thyme
  • Mint
  • Snowpeas
  • Capsicum
  • chilli
  • Shallots
  • Spring onions
  • Cucumber
  • Strawberries
  • Basil
  • Chives
  • parsley
  • Dwarf beans

My husband will be heading up the mountain just behind our backyard this weekend to plant a whole heap of corn. I can’t wait for everything to grow it is going to look so amazing. I will definitely take some more pictures as they grow.

 

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Here is a gardening tip for you all;

Buy some cheap soil from Bunnings and mix it with small amounts of fertilizer and use that as a dressing for the garden bed before you plant your seedlings, make sure you do this a couple of weeks before you plant your seeds.

Happy gardening!

Claire  – XX

 

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When do I find time for housework?

When do I find time for housework?

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Hey everyone,

I have been asked many times on how I manage to fit in housework on top of homeschooling the children, blogging and managing eleven of us every single day. Well, friends, I start my day with a few coffees because as you know coffee is life!

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We have our breakfast around 7 am and then we start our homeschooling from 8.45am till 1.30pm then we stop for our lunch and then we do our sports in the garden. Usually around this time, my 7 month old and 19-month-old are having their afternoon naps. While all the kids are happy and playing outside, this is when I dedicate my time to doing the housework. The first thing I do while everyone is playing is washing up the plates and cups from lunch, and then I take a load of washing out to the washing line and get the girls to help me hang and take down the washing. I usually do 1- 2 loads of washing a day, this, however, could change if someone has had an accident or been unwell. a couple of years ago we bought a huge Samsung bubble washing machine it is probably one of the biggest machines on the market We have a heat pump dryer to dry clothes that we need quickly, but since the spring weather has been nice I have been making the most of it and hanging up the clothes. The girls love to help me sort and fold the washing and help me put away in the afternoon.

I have an awesome dishwasher, however, a few have broken down over the years which has been unfortunate, but to be honest, I would be lost without my dishwasher! It has been a huge lifesaver for me over the last few years. I  however still wash some things up because as you know not everything can go in the dishwasher. I load the dishwasher 1-2 times a day and I usually fill it up before bed ready to be put on in the morning. I am usually awake before everyone else in the morning making baby, bottles and huge amounts of coffee so this works out well for me. I try to prepare dinner and lunch early in the day as well so that I can get on with other household things.  sometimes I enjoy making a quick fruit salad with yoghurt and honey in the morning. it is a beautiful spring/summer lunch for the kids. We always try to be creative and have a different variety of foods.

My husband is also very supportive and always helps around the house when he can. I feel incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful man like him in my life. He vacuums the house for me, I, of course, do my fair share of vacuuming throughout the day too because you know kids can be messy! When the kids go to bed at night that is usually when I like to clean the bathroom and clean the kitchen floor, I know that might sound crazy? But it is nice and quiet around that time and I  can do this without any interruptions. Not every day runs as smoothly as I have explained to you all! We have our days where nothing goes to plan, or something is broken, or the kids are unwell. Our days might sound busy and crazy to you,  but honestly, it isn’t! Well ok… sometimes it is haha,  but I find if you have a good routine in place then everything should run smoothly.

The other reason that everything works out so well in our household is that we all work as a team. Teamwork is so important in a very busy household!

In our house, we have full hands,  full hearts, and we are always full of love and hugs. I feel incredibly blessed with this life I’m living

If you have any other questions for me then don’t hesitate to ask anytime. I am always available for a chat.

Claire xx

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How do we budget & do we meal plan?

How do we budget & do we meal plan?

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We are a family of 11 people so it is very important to shop around and find the best deals!
I must admit I do love a good bargain!
The first thing id like to say is that we shop at Aldi. We do our grocery shopping once a fortnight and we set a budget of $450 for everything. Petrol money is kept separate.
I always write a list of everything I need and hopefully that means I don’t forget anything!
I do sometimes wander over to Coles and Woolworths to see if they have any special deals on.
I like to meal plan for the fortnight. I think it is very important to meal plan when possible especially since in our house there are 11 people to feed!
Two nights a week we have fish nights, or we make a huge cheese omelette! We also like to have a taco Tuesday, curries on Thursdays, or spaghetti bolognese, stews etc… and on busier days we have pizza nights, pie nights etc.. and on occasion, we buy a takeaway.
I have lots of meal ideas that I would be willing to do another blog post about so look out for that in the near future.
Since I have been on the keto diet I have been eating different things to everyone else.
When we shop at Aldi, we buy 48 litres worth of UHT and fresh milk, we also buy the cheaper mince. I believe it is called 3-star mince. You can make so many different meals with mince. The possibilities are endless!
we buy 4-6 loaves of bread to last the fortnight. The sister’s of charity visit us once a week and give us beautiful fresh bread, I often share the bread with friends and family too.
We don’t tend to buy sugary things and often are looking for healthier alternatives.
I have found a great fizzy drink alternative is either the Nexba branded drinks, or soda/sparkling water with a dash of lemon, or lime. It is a big winner with the children!
We save money by not buying too many luxuries and finding the best deals. We buy biscuits for treats and it’s always a winner with our children. We sometimes buy chocolates for the children, but we hardly ever buy lollies.
We have 8 hens and 2 ducks, and we never need to buy eggs
Another good way to save money is opening up a Christmas club account with your bank, it does not let you withdraw the money till November. We try to put $100-$150 in the account once a fortnight.
We also save money for holiday’s by adding some money into a savings account each month
If we need something we buy it.
If we want something we save up for it
We are not penny pinchers, and we are not big spenders either.
We always make it work no matter what!
No one ever goes without so I believe our budget and planning works well for us
We do sometimes shop at Costco to see what’s on special, and we often buy a really big pork and cut it in half, and cook 1 half for Sunday roast, and then use the other half the following Sunday, so you basically get 2 meals out of it!
Costco is also great for when your hosting family parties. their birthday cakes are huge and very great value for money
Another good idea is to buy 1-2 whole chickens and cook them up and it lasts for over 2 meals.
If you want to save money on petrol then I recommend going to your nearest Costco store and buying your fuel there. I have found that other service stations to be really expensive lately.
We shop around for the best insurance policies. We have an awesome deal over at Saint George Bank for our vehicles, and home and contents insurances. We bank with service one for our mortgage and main accounts, and so far we have found them the best bank to deal with. They also are very good to bank with if you have a larger family as they won’t discriminate against you, or your family situation. They are always very helpful.
It is not easy having a large family, but if you’re smart and budget well then you can absolutely make it work
Please let me know if you have any more questions, I will be very happy to answer them for you
Thanks for reading
Claire Xo

 

The worst day of my life – 17/06/2016

The worst day of my life – 17/06/2016

 

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I find this very hard to talk about,

On Friday 17th June 2016 at 11.20 am, my daughter and I were driving to town to go shopping when an idiotic driver was driving really fast in the middle of the road on a bend, it was also a very wet day. He/she caused us to swerve and lose control of our car which then caused us to roll 4 times before we hit a tree in a ditch! we landed the car on its side We were trapped for 20 minutes before anyone noticed 😦

In case your wondering the other car did not stop, they just drove off, and we never found them again!

The most frighting part is when you realize you no longer have control of your car. You just freeze and think “we’re going to die!

It happened so quickly! I felt so woozy!

The first thing I did was turn the car off and reach my hand out to my daughter as she was screaming and in complete shock. We were both very frightened. My daughter kept crying out saying is the baby in your tummy OK mummy? For anyone that did not know I was 6.5 weeks pregnant when the accident occurred

While trying to keep my daughter calm, I unstrapped myself from the driver’s side to grab my mobile which was in my handbag on the passenger side of the car. I rang the emergency services. My daughter and I were both severely shaken. A nice tradie drove by and stopped and took over on the phone. He stayed with us until the emergency services arrived, not long after that, my husband came too. My daughter was checked over at the scene and was not injured but just in shock. I was taken to the hospital and checked over. The doctors said I suffered whiplash and bruising. Thank God we are both okay! The doctors said I have whiplash and was also bruised up one side of my body. My unborn baby was also safe and I felt so relieved. Emotionally it will take time to get over the trauma of what happened especially as the driver who caused this never stopped! I was told by doctors that within 6 months I would no longer suffer from neck and back pain! He was wrong! It’s been 2 years and I still suffer from pain.I, however, do not like to complain because the other alternation is that I may not have been here to tell you my story!

I started driving 2 weeks after my accident. It was very scary, but over time I gained my confidence back. I still get nervous, but I know it will get better. When I drive now I am always extra cautious

Stay safe everyone!

Claire

xxx

 

Hospital drama! Before and after my son was born

Hospital drama! Before and after my son was born

Please See the letter we sent to the hospital below that explains what a horrendous experience we endured.

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To whom this may concern,

Please accept this statement as a formal complaint relating to how I was treated during my labour and delivery on 14th February 2018.

Firstly I was told my entire pregnancy that I was high risk because I was having my ninth child and that because I had a history of preterm labour and postpartum haemorrhage that they would be keeping a close eye on me.

I strongly believe that hospital failed their duty of care towards me during this time whilst I was in labour.

I was also told that as soon as my first contraction started that I was to head straight to hospital where there could keep a close eye on me. I rang the hospital and told them I was in labour around 1 am on the 14th of February. I was 38 weeks gestation. The midwife advised me to go in and get checked. Since we live an hour from the hospital we decided to load everyone into our vehicle and head to the hospital. First, we dropped out children to my mother in laws home.

We arrived at the delivery suite around 3.30am. I was internally checked a couple of times by midwives and a doctor.

I was in a lot of pain, but it was irregular and continued to be irregular the whole way through.

I was checked for dilation twice in the few hours I spent there that morning, but they had established that not much had progressed during that time. I explained to them that I have had an irregular labour before right up until I have delivered my previous babies but they didn’t appear concerned. At that point, I was 2cm dilated and was verbally told by a midwife I would be kept in hospital.

The doctor decided around 9.30am that I should go home. We explained to them that we didn’t think this would be a good idea because of how far we lived from the hospital and that we had other children to organize. We told them that my Mother in law was looking after our children and that we could go there but it would not have been an ideal situation.

My husband and I left the hospital and went to the local shopping centre because there was no way we were going home. I was walking around in agony for an hour or so. I felt embarrassed as I knew people were looking. We headed back to my mother in laws place but had only stopped there for twenty minutes until we decided we would go back to the hospital again as my pain had got much worst. We rang the hospital and told them we would be back in very soon.

I felt silly ringing because of how some of the midwives made me feel. I, however, was concerned and trusted my instincts and went back.

Once we arrived at the hospital again. I was checked a couple of times over a few hours. I had only dilated a little more to 2 and a half cm. The doctors and nurses once again told us ‘we must leave’ and that I must ‘try and sleep!

At this point, I was very stressed, emotional and overtired due to lack of sleep and began to cry. My husband clearly distressed at how I was being treated, put his foot down and told the hospital that this is ridiculous!! ‘why should we go home when you know that we live so far away?

We also reminded them that this is my ninth pregnancy and that things can change very quickly. They knew this information due to the medical history that I have laboured quickly in the past. The doctor seemed disgruntled and went away for a short while. When they/ she came back they /she said they had ‘twisted a few arms’ and said it ‘wasn’t easy’. They said we can stay at the residences across the road from the hospital, it, however, costs $60 a night.

We reluctantly agreed and arrangements were made to go over there.

Before we left the midwives had said I needed rest so they told me to take a sleeping tablet and strong pain relief which they had provided. We made our way over to the residency. We got to our room. It was basic, with 2 beds, and tea and coffee making facilities. It was not overly clean. There was a shared bathroom, but it was down the corridor. It was one of the hottest days (35 degrees ++)of the year and without air conditioning, labouring in the heat was extremely difficult and tiring. There was a small fan in the room but it was not very powerful. My husband had to keep wetting towels with cold water to keep me cool. Every time I had a contraction I needed to go the bathroom, and because the bathroom was down the corridor, passed several other rooms, my husband had to walk me down there every single time because I kept contracting whilst I was walking, and I felt light headed due to the medication I was taking.

Please understand that the residency is not suitable for a woman to labour in, especially in 35+ degree heat! No woman should have to labour in such an environment as that! Especially with a fully equipped state of the art Maternity unit just meters away. It is just not suitable! I should have been allowed at the hospital!

My husband had found a wheelchair with a wonky wheel and was wheeling me around in circles around the hospital for about one hour. We were angry, tired, fed up and felt humiliated and bullied into the position we found ourselves in! The entire experience was horrific.

Despite the medication I took I still could not sleep. I was too hot and in unbearable pain at this point. I truly felt my labour had progressed and I could feel the pressure from the baby’s head. My husband, now very concerned for me rang the delivery suite and told them that I could no longer cope with the pain and thought it was best we headed back over. My husband was worried they if we didn’t leave soon he could be delivering the baby himself!

Their response was that they are very busy at the moment and that if we headed back now we would be waiting in the tea room with everyone else who was also waiting. We thought this was terrible, and so my husband said to the midwife “what is Calvary hospitals status at the moment” Can we go there? Their response was that they could not possibly say what their status was or how busy they may be! Then they put the phone down on my husband. Which was incredibly rude!

After the phone call, we felt really uncomfortable about going back. We felt like we had just been fobbed off! Again lacking in the duty of care department!

My husband wheeled me around in the wheelchair for another hour! I cried in pain at every movement. At this point, I’m over exhausted and also very frightened because I didn’t know if the hospital were going to see me and deliver my baby on time! I felt like they did not care and I also was made to feel like I was a nuisance to them! As I said we left it an hour until we headed back. My husband then wheeled me over to the delivery suite.

We got to the front desk. I was in floods of tears, and in extreme pain at this point. I remember the front desk ringing someone and telling them how distressed I was. However, this did not seem to matter as I was told to go and sit in the tea room and wait with everyone else who was also waiting. My husband wheeled me down there. My contractions were very intense at this point, and I screamed in agony with every contraction that came. My whole body was tired!

The people who were waiting were very distressed seeing me in this way. I felt bad but couldn’t cope at this point! The people who were waiting in the tea room prompted my husband to take me back down to the front desk again. He raced me down to the front desk only for them to say again, to go wait in the tea room! My husband wheeled me down to the tea room again, but we moved outside to the decking area where it was a little quieter and out of everyone’s way!

We did not feel welcome at all!

We were out on the deck for ten minutes before someone came to take us to a delivery room. I had three intense contractions in those ten minutes that I waited.

When we finally got to the delivery room I was examined. They were searching for my cervix, but all they could feel was the bag of waters and the baby’s head. I basically I had no cervix left!! Dilation was well and truly done!! It probably finished an hour prior when I felt the immense pressure of the baby’s head.

Had they fobbed me off and longer my husband would have delivered our son for sure! Within 30 minutes of being in the delivery room our son was born on February 14th at 11.30pm.

I cannot fault the actual midwives who delivered my baby as they were absolutely fantastic!

An hour after our son was born he had some breathing difficulties and had to go up to NICU for further tests and some breathing assistance.

I was told that because our son had gone up to NICU I could go to postnatal and I would be able to stay a couple of days. I headed to postnatal but unfortunately was sent packing in less 10 hours after delivery.

Every time midwives and doctors changeover I was told different information every single time and you have to understand that this is very frustrating and disheartening. One would say you will stay and the other you have to go. Very poor communication and extremely inconsistent.

The hospital knew of our situation and how far we lived but didn’t make any effort to make things easier for us. We apparently didn’t qualify for the Ronald MacDonald house because we didn’t live over 100 Kilometres away!

Our son spent 7 days in the NICU, and we spent 7 days travelling up and down the hospital several times a day visiting our son.

On the night before he came home, they let me ‘ room in’ with my son to which I was very thankful for but really wished it was offered earlier.

We are Thankful that my Son and I are doing well now but we are however very unhappy with how we were treated during this time.

I can see that the hospital does not have enough beds and that your staff are under serious pressure. The’ in and out’ policy you currently have is not helping anyone. In fact, I believe it is both physically and emotionally damaging to people who the hospital has a duty of care to help (Mothers and Babies). Please change this policy before it gets even worse for expectant mothers, fathers and babies.

I hope to hear from someone soon in relation to this matter

Regards

Claire

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They had since replied to me and apologized for what happened and have promised to make big changes. I do accept their apology, and I guess we will have to wait and see if they keep their word. The way the parents are treated is unacceptable and things must change!

Claire

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My weight loss journey: and the keto diet explained

My weight loss journey: and the keto diet explained

 

originally posted July 30th 2018- #repostJBP_08072018_Hooker_033

Ten weeks ago I decided that I needed to make a big change and have a healthier lifestyle.

I had not long given birth to my ninth child, my first son, and I was not feeling my best!

I needed to change my eating habits. I knew this was going to be a difficult task, especially since my eating habits had been bad for over 12 years!

I felt miserable, fat, and unattractive. It’s sad I know! but unless I made a change I feared that the reasons I mention above would spiral out of control!

I wanted to set a better example for my family. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could make this change.

My husband and I did a lot of research on what the best diet plan would be, and we came across the Keto diet.

The keto diet is a low carb, high fat, low sugar, moderate protein diet. See this link that explains the keto diet in full https://people.com/food/keto-diet-foods-meal-plan-facts/

We researched the diet a lot and decided to go ahead and give it a good old go. It is not easy, to begin with, that’s for sure.

Here is everything I learned about the diet so far.

I had to cut out all wheat products, rice, pasta, milk, and anything that was really high in carbs and sugars. At first, I thought this was terrible, but after a while, I found there were some great alternatives out there. Natural sweeteners are great alternatives for sugar, but make sure you buy the natural ones and not the artificial ones. I recommend Stevia. The great thing about natural sweeteners is that you only need a small amount when using this product.

You can still have bacon and eggs, and cheese on this diet which is a big win in my eyes!

Stick to lean meats, grass-fed is preferred. Cauliflower, broccoli, capsicum, and zucchini are the best vegetables to have on the keto diet. Check out the keto food pyramid here which explains in more details about which foods are suitable on this particular diet,

Keto Food Pyramid

Your milk alternatives are almond milk, coconut milk, pouring cream or thickened cream. Pouring cream actually makes your morning coffee taste so much better

Your flour alternatives are pretty much any nut-based flour, but I love to use almond meal or coconut flour. For all bread lovers out there don’t get too sad there are plenty of keto bread recipes out there to keep you happy check out these ones here:

Keto Mozzarella Dough Bagels

Our Favorite Keto Bread Recipe After 3 Years on Keto!

90 Second Almond Flour Keto Bread

You can make a sugar free chocolate guilt-free mousse with cocoa powder, thickened cream, natural sweetener or a dash of vanilla extract. Here is a slightly different recipe to the one I make. I have to say it looks pretty delicious.

https://ketodietapp.com/Blog/lchf/5-minute-keto-chocolate-mousse.

After my first 7 days on this diet and cutting out all the carbohydrates I lost 4.5 kilos. I guess it was mostly water weight, but I could instantly see the difference around my face. I was totally shocked! I felt really happy.

The next few weeks were steady. I was loosing 500 grams to 1 kilo a week, and some weeks I was losing 1-3 kilos.

I weigh myself once a week, and I measure myself with a tape measure once or twice a month!

There have been times where I have eaten the wrong thing. I am only human after all. What I can say though is as the weeks go by your body adjusts to the diet, and your whole mindset completely changes. You completely train your body and mind into thinking a different way. It really does get easier. I can promise you that for sure. If you do so happen to eat the wrong thing then expect to get a bad stomach ache, and from experience, I can tell you that the pain you go through is totally not worth it!

It is recommended you track your foods, macros on this diet. I, however, have not done this, but I do recommend it to anyone who would like to give this diet a go. There is plenty of apps that help you track your foods.

I have had highs and lows on this diet, but mostly highs for sure! I have seen the results and it has been unbelievable.

I am proud of myself for sticking to this diet

No more excuses from me that’s for sure. Being a busy young mum of 9 won’t stop me from achieving my weight loss goal

I have lost almost 14 kilos in 10 weeks! I have 20 kilos to lose. I hope to achieve this goal by Christmas. I will keep you all updated for sure

I am very proud of myself for making these big changes to my life

I feel so amazing, and I feel so much more energetic!

Love Claire

Xx

 

My sister and I

My sister and I

Growing up things were pretty tough for a while. My mother was a single mother looking after young children, including my sister who has Down syndrome. It was not an easy task for her. I always thought my mother was so amazing and I believe she bought us up well. My sister needed, 24-7 care which proved to be difficult at times. We still managed and I helped wherever I could. There were times when my sister run away in the middle of the night, while we were sleeping, and end up in the local MacDonald’s eating someone’s burger, and there were times when she would run away to the police station and drink tea and eat biscuits with them having a jolly old time, and also trying on all the policeman’s hats. There were times when she would throw herself on the ground when we were out in public and sit there for a couple hours without budging. She was very stubborn indeed!. There were times when she would run up to strangers out in public and hug and kiss them, which took many of them by surprise as you can only imagine?, a lot of people were very understanding which was nice to see, but some people were not so kind, but maybe it’s because they didn’t understand what was wrong with her?. There were times when my sister had no fear and would ride her toy bike down the stairs, not realizing she would hurt herself. My sister is an affectionate person and her personality is infectious and amazing and incredibly loving. I can’t also forget the time when she managed to drink an entire bottle of aromatherapy oil whilst at school, which saw her take a trip to the hospital, which she loved, and of course, she was absolutely fine!. Another memory I had growing up was when my sister had found some keys that were hidden out of anyone’s reach, she had unlocked a cupboard and got some hair clippers out and started shaving away at her hair, and by the way, the Clippers had no guard on it!. Needless to say, her hair was a complete and utter mess, but my sister kept looking in the mirror and telling everyone how nice her new hairstyle was! My mother and I were not impressed! Don’t worry though it eventually grew back, but oh boy! That was a huge shock to the system! Growing up I never really understood what Down syndrome meant and to be honest that never really bothered me as I loved my sister so much, and to me she was special and one of a kind. I realized she was different from a young age, but I never once questioned it!. I also thought about how blessed I was to have someone so special and unique in my life. Even though she was older than me, I still felt like the big sister and took care of her as much as I possibly could. Our bond was one of a kind and unbreakable. I will never forget about all the amazing and fun times we shared together. We certainly laughed a lot. I have so many happy memories stored in my heart that I will cherish forever. I really enjoyed growing and spending time with my sister. She means the absolute world to me.

Although we shared many happy times together, there was also some very sad and difficult times as well. During my time in primary and secondary school I was severely bullied all because I had a sister with Down syndrome. I often cried a lot especially in primary school as I was still learning and still so young, and I could not understand why so many young children like me could be so horrible to me about my sister who I loved so much. Because of the bullying and all the hurt it caused me, it started to affect my learning to the point where I had to have a classroom assistant with me in almost all of my lessons which did benefit me greatly, but at that time I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb! Because I was getting special treatment and everyone knew it!. This only made the name-calling much worst. I often thought to myself, how can a young child the same age as me have so much hate for someone because they have a sister who is different, where did all this hate come from?, and who taught them to say such things?. When I got two years five and six the name-calling was unbearable, and other children would say things like, ” Look at Claire she is a div or a spastic just like her sister!. ” Look at Claire she need’s assistance in the classroom because she is stupid like her sister! Some of you may wonder how did so many of my so-called classmates know that I had a sister with Down syndrome?. The simple answer is, for quite some time my mother was a single mother so my sister had to come everywhere with us, and there was this one time when I was in nursery, my mother and my sister dropped me off. I was feeling a little sad about going to school that day, so my mum had to come in for a short while till I settled. I remember all my classmates were sitting on the floor waiting to get the day started, and my sister the character that she sits herself on the ground next to all my classmates. She wanted to spend the day with me and all my classmates!. When it was time to go, my sister made a bit of a fuss, which didn’t go unnoticed!, there was definitely a lot of giggles. You will be surprised what people can remember and use against you later on in life!. The only other explanation I have as to how people knew that I had a sister with Do syndrome, is that some of my classmates lived fairly close to my house and would see my sister out and about, and maybe that is how the rumors spread about my sister? I was almost at the end of year six, I couldn’t wait to leave and start a new school. I was so hurt by all the bullying. After all, it had affected my learning and my school attendance. I still had my nerves and was not sure what the future had in store for me. My mum told me we are going for a meeting at the school today to have a meeting about your transition to secondary school, and at the time, I was not sure what that meant?. In the meeting it was discussed that since I had a classroom assistant throughout my primary school years, and seeing how well it had benefited me, they thought it would be in my best interest to have it throughout secondary school as well. As you can imagine I was not happy about this, because of all the bullying I had received previously. What made things more difficult for me was that I knew that some of the bullies were also going to the same secondary school as me, so I really did not see this going well for me. I started secondary school. I was nervous. The older kids were so big compared to me. At first, it started out well, I was enjoying my time at school, and I was making new friends. But once my classroom assistant came back to help me. The bullying started again too, only this time the name-calling was much worst!. It was horrifying! And incredibly hurtful. I will not tell you the names they used, as they were absolutely disgusting, and should never ever be repeated ! This again affected by learning and ability to make new friends, and my school attendance took a hit as well. I remember trying to tell my teachers about the bullying, but they told me I was just being dramatic, and I was to ignore it. Because I had learning difficulties, I ended up in the classes with other children who were there because they were so naughty and did not want to learn. I could never concentrate! All I wanted to do was learn and get on with my work, but I found it so difficult. I did not enjoy those times. A couple of years passed at school and although it was not perfect still, I started to rise above it all, and try to get on with my learning as good as I could. I was still bullied for all sorts of things, but I tried to ignore it and get on with my school life. Eventually the bullying eased, but was still happening from time to time. During my time at school we moved house a few times. I remember we used to live on quite a busy housing estate, it was a little rough there but the houses were beautiful. I enjoyed living there and made some friends there. Unfortunately there were some very unfriendly people on the estate to, and once again they had seen my sister and had started mimicking how she walked and talked. They would also shout out disgusting names to. While it was mostly children who said and did these nasty things, there was also a few young adults to who were guilty of bullying too. I remember one day, I had enough, this young girl came up to me and started saying horrible things about my sister! I felt so angry, so I slapped her face and then I run off home. On one hand I had stuck up for myself, but then on the other hand, I had used violence to show my anger, and I certainly was not proud of that. From that very day, I had realized that violence is never the answer no matter how angry you are. You should never bring yourself down to the same level as the bully. I grew stronger over time and learned to ignore the bullies. Always remember bullying is Never ok no matter what! And if you, or someone you know is experiencing this, then please speak up!

I have so many happy memories that I shared with my sister growing up. I really enjoyed helping her get ready and doing her hair and makeup, nails, and choosing her clothes for her. I felt like a little hairdresser and a little beautician. I really enjoyed those moments with my sister and helping her feel special. In my eyes, she was already special, but her face glowed when we shared these times together and I could see how happy she was, and that was the best feeling in the world. I really enjoyed playing games with my sister. We enjoyed singing and dancing together, she would always laugh at me when I sang or danced. Her favourite music was the band steps, she would always have it playing so loudly in her bedroom on either her television or her cod player. It was so loud that you could not even hear yourself think! But it was what she loved the most. I enjoyed the hugs she gave me when I was sad, or when I was not feeling well, or when she had not seen me for a little while. When I was unwell She pretended she was my nurse and that she was going to make me all better, she loved to play doctors and nurses. I really love listening to my sister talking me through her week about the activities she had participated in. My sister loves to swim, sing, dance, and she loves to go horse riding, bowling, and she often goes to the day centre to do her arts and crafts. Her social calendar tends to be really busy, and she is always doing something that she enjoys which makes me really happy. I love it when my sister tells me about the holidays she has been on. My sister loves to go to Butlins, and she loves a good disco where she can have a sing and a dance. My sister has nothing but happy memories to tell me which is absolutely amazing. She is full of love, laughs and happiness, and that I believe is a very good place to be. I really enjoyed going shopping with my mum and my sister. My sister would love looking at the clothes and especially the sweets and the chocolate, and let’s face it who doesn’t? When random people walked by, she would smile from ear to ear and shout hello to them all. I really think my sister made a lot of people’s day’s a lot brighter by giving them a big smile and greeting them. Maybe I am biased? , but I have always felt that, when my sister enters a room, she instantly makes it a lot brighter and happier and that is what I love most about her. My sister always made my mum and I giggle when we went to pizza hut or any other restaurant, and she would be saying hello to everyone, especially the waiters, she also liked to boss them around and tell them to hurry up with her drink and food. People who are close to me, and have met my sister over the years, have instantly fallen in love with her character and her charm, and they have always told me that whenever they have spent time with us, it has always been memorable, and happy and that it will be something they never forget, and they will cherish those times for many years to come. To hear these comments from people I know truly feels my heart with so much joy. I believe that God puts special people, like my sister on this earth, to help make our world a better place and to help fill our hearts with love and happiness, and to show us that we should love one another no matter what! I have shared so many great memories with my sister over the years and there is far too many to write down and there is some I want to keep personally to myself. We have certainly had so many amazing and unforgettable time’s together. Despite what people may think about my sister, I always tell them that I enjoyed growing up with my sister, and although we had difficult times, we never once felt she was a burden on us. Instead, she filled our hearts with joy, and lots of love, and lots of laughter, and that indeed is something very special. I was so happy that I could have those special moments with her. Always remember that just because someone is different to you, it does not make them any less human than you.

The definition of Down syndrome (DS), also known as Trilogy 21, is a condition in which a person is born with an extra chromosome. Chromosomes contain hundreds, or even thousands, of genes. Genes carry the information that determines your traits (features or characteristics passed on to you from your parents). With Down syndrome, the extra chromosome causes delays in the way a child develops, mentally and physically. The physical features and medical problems associated with Down syndrome can vary widely from child to child. While some kids with DS need a lot of medical attention, others lead healthy lives. Normally, at the time of conception, a baby inherits genetic information from its parents in the form of 46 chromosomes: 23 from the mother and 23 from the father. In most cases of Down syndrome, a child gets an extra chromosome 21 — for a total of 47 chromosomes instead of 46. It’s this extra genetic material that causes the physical features and developmental delays associated with Down syndrome. Although no one knows for sure why DS happens and there’s no way to prevent the chromosomal error that causes it, scientists do know that women age 35 and older have a significantly higher risk of having a child with the condition. At age 30, for example, a woman has about a 1 in 1,000 chance of conceiving a child with DS. Those odds increase to about 1 in 400 by age 35. By 40 the risk rises to about 1 in 100. Children with Down syndrome tend to share certain physical features such as a flat facial profile, an upward slant to the eyes, small ears, and a protruding tongue. I can tell you that, my sister’s tongue was rather long, as she was always sticking her tongue out at you! Low muscle tone (called hypotonic) is also characteristic of children with DS, and babies, in particular, may seem especially “floppy.” Though this can and often does improve over time, most children with DS typically reach developmental milestones — like sitting up, crawling, and walking — later than other kids. I always noticed how floppy and flexible my sister was, she could wrap both legs around her neck and sit like it for ages, and it would not hurt her one bit! At birth, children with DS are usually of average size, but they tend to grow at a slower rate and remain smaller than their peers. Down syndrome affects children’s ability to learn in different ways, but most have mild to moderate intellectual impairment. Kids with DS can and do learn, and are capable of developing skills throughout their lives. They simply reach goals at a different pace — which is why it’s important not to compare a child with DS against typically developing siblings or even other children with the condition. Children with DS have a wide range of abilities, and there’s no way to tell at birth what they will be capable of as they grow up. Everyone has the very own unique traits and personality. While some kids with DS have no significant health problems, others may experience a host of medical issues that require extra care. Approximately half of all children with DS also have problems with hearing and vision. Hearing loss can be related to fluid build-up in the inner ear or to structural problems of the ear itself. My sister Kerry goes having hearing issues and soon will need hearing aids to assist her with her hearing. While there are many medical issues that can be linked with down syndrome, it does not affect all people who have downs syndrome. There is no reason why they cannot lead long and healthy lives, and if medical issues exist, then there are medical treatments out there to assist with that. My sister has never been able to read and write, but can do simple drawings, and even do her name on dot to dot. She loves art’s and craft’s and really loves her music. There is one particular thing that amazes me about my sister, and that is her amazing memory, she and can talk you through her whole week, sometimes her month in very good detail. I firmly believe, that you, or I, could not do such a thing! I’m not sure about you, but I sometimes do not even remember what I did the day before! Although my sister has Down syndrome and has had some small health issues in the past. I believe that she has been incredibly blessed, and done remarkably well so far in her 34 years of life. I am so proud of her and her achievements in life! My sister Kerry is an incredible human being!

What I learned from my experience growing up was that you should never take anyone for granted, and you should love everyone no matter what. Always remember that all life is precious. Cherish all your memories and speak of them to your loved ones as much as possible. Even though I had hard times growing up, I definitely had so much happier times, because when I spent time with my sister, I instantly forgot all about those sad and horrible moments. I never once questioned why my sister was different, when I was growing up, an explanation was never needed Family is so dear to me. I love my family with everything I have Always told your family how much you love and care about them Hug them tight to Love Claire xoxox