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Lensbaby Velvet 56

Following on from my ‘Milestone‘ post earlier this week, my husband has been asking me for ages what I wanted for my birthday. I decided that I wanted to be selfish and have something I wanted rather than needed so after lots of research I decided on a new lens and it arrived this morning! The lensbaby Velvet 56  looks and feels sturdy and allows you to be really creative in producing abstract shots. My first love photography wise (after my grandchildren of course)  is macro shots of flowers (often dead ones 🙂 ).

So although its a cold January day with very little around I’ve been ‘playing today. It’s a fairly steep learning curve and using manual focus needs more concentration but after just a few hours I’m hooked! I need to experiment a bit more but can’t wait for frosty mornings followed by spring flowers

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The one below has been edited very quickly with ‘Formulas app’

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Jane x

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Milestones

I have a milestone birthday coming up this month. I’m at the age where the poem claiming ‘I shall wear purple’ is pertinent. I’m OK with the wrinkles and the grey hairs, I’m even OK with the number of tablets I have to take before I get out of bed. I’m learning to say no – life is too short to do the things I no longer want to do. I’m working hard on being kind and supporting others when I can. My grandma always said ‘a little bit of help is worth a lot of pity’ and it’s something that has always resonated with me.
I hope I’m showing my grandchildren that kindness and love are what matters. Last week LJ climbed onto my knee, flung her arms round me and said ‘I love you mamma’- it brought tears to my eyes. Tommy is a loving little boy who gives the best cuddles ever but is growing up far too quickly. They are my focus, the future.
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There have been times in my life when events have meant I’ve been down – miscarriages, death of my eldest son, mum’s dementia and death BUT my friends and family have always been there to pick me up.
When you reach a milestone I think you should stop and take stock, look at what you have and learn to appreciate it.
I’ve learnt:
Grandchildren are the world’s best tonic (so much easier than your own children as you don’t have any rules to impose 🙂 )
Telling people you love them is important – yes they know but it helps sometimes to actually hear the words.
It’s OK to be out of sorts or scared but make sure you say – your friends will know there is something wrong but you sometimes have to say you need help. Likewise be aware of your friends and if they need you.
Enjoy the simple things – kicking leaves in the park costs nothing but brings such huge smiles.

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I am of an age where my standards are non negotiable: love, kindness, honesty, decent coffee, flat shoes and lots and lots of hugs – #moonandback
Jane x
aka Granny from Barnsley with a camera (which again is non negotiable 🙂 )

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National Poetry Day – Dementia

poem RZWe lost mum a couple of years ago now but she had lived with dementia for several years before that. As it’s national poetry day I decided to share a poem I’d written.

 

Dementia

You know your first name

But not your surname

You know where you feel safe

But don’t know your address.

You recognise your husband

But not your children.

You eat the food you are given

But don’t know what you like to eat.

You know when you are uncomfortable

But don’t know when you want to go to the toilet.

You watch the TV

But have no idea what programme you have just watched.

You smile when you are shown a baby

But have no idea he’s your great grandson.

You drink tea

But don’t know if you take sugar.

 

 

You are alive

But you are not living

 

Letting go -have we done enough…

At the age of 4 years and 1 month Tommy D started school 3 weeks ago. To say I was worried would be a massive understatement. I would no longer be able to soften the harsh stares and deflect questions about his arm, all I could do was hope we had done enough in giving him the skills to deal with things himself. Then I’d remember he’s only 4 and another wave of fear would wash over me. Would the school work with us or insist he conformed – would they smother him with kindness and thereby halt his progress by doing everything for him or would they follow our lead?
I had many sleepless nights but stepping back and trying to be objective ( not an easy task for a grandma) I could see that Tommy had grown in confidence. On a recent visit to feed the ducks he and LJ were running ahead – I shouted for him to slow down and wait. His response- ‘it’s only a hill mamma it will be fine’ I let them go and they obviously both fell over! BUT they laughed, dusted themselves off and carried on running.
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There have been times recently when Tommy has said ‘I think I need a little bit of help with this’ and has directed me to hold a parcel still whilst he pulls the tab to open it. Over the Summer he met lots of other children with limb differences through our charity LimbBo Foundation, so he knows there are others just like him but as September drew nearer there were still nagging doubts.
We built school up as exciting and held our breath as his first day arrived! The following are the posts written by my daughter in law following his first two days – tears of relief tears of pride and breathe!
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I’v realised how amazing my boy is so this morning I sent him to school for his first day , spent all day worrying. Normally I don’t but big schools a big day for any kid ,never mind a limb different kid. Trying to make friends but having to explain his arm to a lot of new people . I’v seen how older children behave with Tommy in the past (it wasn’t very nice) so today’s been the first day out of his little bubble he’s had for the past 3 years . I was definitely very nervous . Coming home we asked how his day was ,he was quiet but said what he had done, said he had made a friend called Alfie and he had a good day. So we got home and I thought  do I ask the dreaded question . So I did “ So Tommy at school did any boys or girls say anything about your arm” “yes mummy they said why is my arm been cut off” yes I was expecting that but I didn’t expect Tommy’s response “I said I was born like this ,when I was a baby” then he said quietly I’m special and smiled  he makes me so proud, well done my big boy 
So day two at school for Tommy … I have gained a accident form and lost a jumper  on the plus side his teacher said today she sat , watching the kids with Tommy and his arm . She said he made her nearly cry . She’s decided he’s doing an amazing job explaining and he’s so confident, he’s doing such a good job she’s stepping back and letting him explain
I’m so pleased we chose this school, the staff work with us, they now understand how much Tommy can do for himself. I was over the moon to hear the Senco say she was out of her depth as Tommy was the first limb different child they had come into contact with and would take her lead from us and other specialists such as OH.
Yesterday Tommy ran into school holding hands with his new friend Grace. His water bottle slipped from under his little arm but Grace just picked it up and tucked it back again. Kids are just wonderful aren’t they?
The fears have been abated for now, Tommy loves school especially the wheelbarrows and the bricks, he comes home full of sounds he’s learnt and covered in the remains of his lunch. Long may his smiles continue.
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Tommy and LJ walk home from school

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Jewellery for LimbBo Foundation

Those of you who know me well are used to seeing me ‘play’ with a variety of creative ideas. I love trying anything new be it making baby shoes or freezing flowers, I’ll give it a go. My latest addiction is ‘Acrylic pouring’ – this is so so messy and so amazingly therapeutic. You can’t completely control your result and you never know what you are going to get.

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I was introduced to this art form by a wonderful friend Pamela Sanders – check out her page – she is way out of my league as an artist but she’s a great teacher (Kingstone friends she’s also Sharon’s sister!)

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My other loves are my gorgeous grandchildren (Tommy, LJ and Joseph just make me smile). Again, if you follow me you will know that Tommy is the inspiration behind  the  LimbBo Foundation which we formed to raise awareness of limb differences and support these children and their families. In an attempt to combine my loves I’m making jewellery using acrylic pouring and hoping to sell these necklaces and bracelets to donate the profits   to Limbbo. Some of my friends were kind enough to say they might be interested – hence this post.

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Each necklace is completely unique (I couldn’t make two the same even if I tried!)

They are £10 each plus £1 postage but I can reduce the price if you buy more than one. There are various ‘colour ranges’, Earth tones, Black and white, brights, pink and grey … all come with a soft suede type fastening/string  in a variety of colours – I just add which colour I think works but am happy to add a specific colour if you wish.

If you are one of my Barnsley friends, I’ll throw in a free coffee and biscuit if you want to come and have a look 🙂

Please message me if you are interested either on here or via twitter/instagram @janeh271

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I gave the limbBo mums one of these at our meet up last week – thanks to Bianca for allowing me to use her photo.

Her’s my amazing Tommy D making his own painting which has pride of place on my kitchen wall.

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Hope to chat to some of you soon. x

LimbBo Foundation meet up

museumMy eyes won’t stop dripping – is the phrase Tommy uses to explain to me why he’s crying. Well my eyes have been really dripping this week. I am so proud of my little inspiration and his sister ( his parents make me cry too!). A group of limb different children and their families showed us what positive thinking, love, and a bit of ingenuity can do. Watching two 4 year olds high five one another with their ‘little arms’, seeing children with one hand swinging on apparatus, watching fireman bend down and hold hoses so these children can do it themselves. Laughter, friendships formed, questions asked, hopes and fears shared. People giving up their time to share their experiences, genuine smiles from complete strangers as opposed to the stares we sometimes get. We were loud, proud and not easy to miss. These children had ‘found their tribe’ and it showed in the beams on their faces.
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Reading feedback on the day led to even more eye dripping.
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We thanked blue watch at Parkway @syfr for making our children feel special, for playing with them ( not to mention all thoughtful touches – a fire engine from the emergency museuem in Sheffield driven by a volunteer – Bob, so they could have a ride in a real fire engine, sweets to take with them to see Paw Patrol, not to mention the bag of doughnuts and cookies that appeared in the middle of the afternoon ( think that was Ljs favourite bit) ) for making them giggle, just priceless to watch.
All of this captured on video by Josh from Walnut Creative who have supported us since we formed LimbBo.

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My overriding feeling from the day was just the sheer kindness we were shown by everyone. It is so important for these limb different child and their siblings to realise that yes they are different but differences can be celebrated and not just seen as a problem. Tommy’s favourite saying is ‘I can do it’ and do you know what – he can.
LimbBo will continue us to grow, we will continue to spread our message – our book is available from our website, we continue to create 3 D printed arms, with support from Team Unlimbited and there will be more get togethers ( no Katie I still won’t go camping).
I’m making jewellery to raise funds – quick preview here and I’ll blog about that later this week – think Christmas presents everyone 😃its been an amazing 5 months so a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us so far x
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Life lessons from a 2 year old

My granddaughter LJ is my inspiration. She meets life head on and on her own terms. This morning we went to a pottery painting session. (Thank you @lescadeauxgifts )

The paints were a wonderful array of pastel colours in a circular palette. LJ started with one colour then decided that she wanted to use them all at once. She dipped her paint brush in each one and mixed – the resulting muddy brown may not have been my first choice but she was beaming. Covered her ‘bunny rabbit’ in it, clapped her hands and wandered off in search of another bun.

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I want to be #morelikeLJ

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My aims for this summer are:

  • Stop saying sorry
  • Remember I am not responsible for other people – I can support but ultimately they are responsible for themsleves
  • If I’m happy with something and I’ve done my best I’m not going to worry about what others might think.
  • I will plan my goals according to what I want to do (I’m 60 soon – surely almost ready for ‘I shall wear purple’)
  • Be kind – my grandmother taught me that and I aim to leave the same legacy to my 3 grandchildren.
  • If all else fails I will go and get another bun

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So this Summer I WILL be #morelikeLJ 

 

Growing up

Children don’t come with a manual. All children are unique and have their own strengths and areas where they need encouragement. We love them, we protect them and hopefully they thrive. We then have to give them the skills to cope on their own. My Tommy D is four next month and starts school in September. I’m heartbroken, he’s my Tommy, he’s too little, he’s too young … and breathe grandma! We’ve given him confidence, he’s been surrounded by love and now it’s almost time for him to be in situations where we can’t protect him from stares and occasional cruel or unthinking words.

We’ve been stressing the positives. We talk about his little arm and always have done but I think he now understands that he is ‘different’. Yesterday he said ‘LJ hasn’t got a little arm she’s got 2 big arms’.

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On one of his school visits a child asked what was wrong with his arm and his parent replied ‘he’s poorly’ – we don’t want him to think he’s ill or not normal so we stress how he can do anything but he has to find his own way to do it. My friend Nina (@musicmind) talks about #tommydcan and he really can, he’s inspirational. I think maybe we have overdone the positivity as on meeting new friends at the playground yesterday his opening gambit was ‘I’m Tommy, you want to see my little arm? Shall we build a tunnel’  Long may his confidence last.

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Nursery told us last week that when filling his water bottle another child had gone over to Tommy to do it for him. Tommy explained that ‘I can do it myself, I can use my little arm look’ I love his ‘can do’ attitude (just as well as he know we won’t do things for him that we know he is capable of doing himself)

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I’m heartened greatly by the young people I meet and those who have chosen to support LimbBo foundation (@lbofoundation) – Darton GCSE Art students who illustrated our book, the pupils at St Catherine’s in Sheffield where the student council are looking at our book and working out how to share it, Pupils at Hoyland Common primary who were amazed at the videos of Tommy and working out how his 3D printed arm works. Students at Flamborough Primary who have chosen LimbBo foundation as their Summer project. We want to spread the word that it’s OK to ask, that Tommy is ‘differently abled’ rather than ‘disabled’

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He is the most loving child and as his grandma (mamma) I’m incredibly proud of him and his little sister who I think will be lost when he starts school.

Until them remember #iftommycan then so can you 🙂

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Tommy’s story – the book

The LimbBo foundation continues to develop. 3D printed arms, a planned day out in August and a growing number of people following us and supporting us. 1 - 4

Our book is now in print!! Huge thanks to the year 10 GCSE group at Darton and my friend Amie, their teacher, for their illustrations, Photobox for agreeing to a bulk deal and various people who are ‘testing’ these out in schools.

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I took Tommy into Darton to deliver their copies and for 10 minutes we experienced what fame must feel like. Tommy’s photo has been literally plastered around school for weeks and so as we walked down the corridor (lunchtime – major error on my part!) pupils from all years ‘high fived’ Tommy or just shouted ‘Hiya Tommy’ – he was as bemused as I was but it was wonderful. We went into the Art room where Tommy was greeted with ‘his’ display – ‘Look Mamma it’s me’ – what a day – priceless. If we have done nothing else we have educated pupils here that Difference is OK and something to be embraced.

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The book is for sale on our website and hopefully we can get this into as many schools and nurseries as possible.

When we started this charity we had no idea how much support we would gain – friends, family, colleagues and people who were strangers a few weeks ago.

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A special warmth for me is that my son (who started the charity with his wife) was a pupil at the school where I taught so many of the people helping us are his friends, people I taught years ago – good to see the #Kingstonespirit lives on.

We have a lot of work to do but these are exciting times – if you want to follow us we are on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook too.

Jane x

 

Overwhelmed with kindness

Sometimes you know you need help. You know what your skill set is and, more importantly sometimes, what it isn’t. I have never been able to draw or paint – it’s one of the main reasons I took up photography.

The LimbBofoundation has come a long way in a short space of time and we have many projects ongoing. The book for children was an idea that we needed help to achieve. I’ve written the story and I have friends helping me to shape it. We put out an appeal for an artist to help us. Amie from Darton asked the question ‘why don’t you get pupils to illustrate it?’ Never one to miss out on an opportunity (and we love a good project!) I went into Darton College  to ask for help.

I was encouraged that the pupils all said yes of course we will help but had no idea what I would get. I left them with lots of photographs and the story outline.

I walked into Darton College today and burst into tears! Look what greeted me.

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Look how amazing and how thoughtful. A whole range of skills, ideas, understanding and a sea of smiling faces. These pupils are year 10! What can I say? Education is about educating the whole child – not a cliche in this case, these pupils have empathised and offered their skills. PicMonkey Collage

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I’m not sure yet how or where we will get this book edited – but I do know that we WILL.

(any offers of help gratefully received!) PicMonkey Collage2

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, often people will help willingly but don’t know what you need. Thank You Year 10 x