Monday 28 May 2012

Rosie's big day

A glorious weekend of sunshine was the perfect accompaniment to Rosie's Christening – which took place on Sunday. Thankfully the sun didn't arrive the previous weekend as I'm sure if it had, team 'Running for Rosie' wouldn't have had quite the same success!

Sunday's Christening was such a great day and a perfect way to say thanks for all we have been blessed with since the arrival of Rosie – sure, we've had some extremely difficult times but we've also seen many more positives, as this blog hopefully manages to portray. 

On a personal level, Sunday gave me the opportunity to reflect on just how much Rosie has enriched my life as a Dad. As my only daughter we do share a bond like no other I've ever experienced – she still manages to make me well-up with her smile alone! There are also the emotional hurdles I've had to face (and will continue to face), sometimes I've managed admirably, sometimes not so...but all the same they're unique experiences that constantly teach me about myself, whilst making me that little bit stronger and more appreciative for what's really important in life.  

The Christening was conducted by Rev. Mike Walsh at Heald Green United Reformed Church. It was simply perfect and appealed to every one of our guests, some of whom do, and some of whom don't 'believe'. Rather than a more traditional address, we sat and listened (with tear filled eyes) as Mike read out a letter that he'd written especially to Rosie. I have included this in the pictures below so you can appreciate how heartfelt and personal it is.

Rosie's very fortunate after being showered with lots of very generous gifts – which Karen enjoyed opening (I would have too had I got a look in!). We'd like to thank each and every one of you who helped make her big day so perfect for the whole family. 

A special thank you to Rosie's Godparents, Keith, Tricia and Shiobhan (Shiobhan also made the amazing cake!). Also big thanks to everyone at Heald Green URC for making us feel so welcome and for keeping the children entertained with plenty of fun and activities.

Sunday 20 May 2012

Running for Rosie 10k

Just a quick post, as I wanted to share some photo's from today.

WOW! What an amazing time we've all had, team 'Running for Rosie' joined some 40,000 runners in the biggest ever Manchester 10K today. Those months of training put in by my wonderful Mum and Sister finally came to fruition – they'd hoped to achieve a time of 1hr 10 minutes... well they totally smashed it with an official time of 1hr 4 mins 15secs! A quite remarkable achievement, we even hear that Mum (65) finished 70th out of all women and men in her age group – not bad at all for a first time runner!

The support we received from the crowd all the way from start to finish was just brilliant and I'm still smiling thinking about it. I had a great 'Tom-ism' moment too when the first few times people shouted, 'go on Thomas' I was thinking, who are they and how do they know my name? It's only there in big letters on the race number – I hadn't even realised!

We would all like to give a special thank you to everyone who has helped support our cause through encouragement and of course generous donations to the Running for Rosie fundraising page, at the time of writing this, we, or rather you all, have raised a huge £2323.86 (excluding gift aid) which is fantastic. The page will stay open for a month or two before we split the money between the two charities. Thanks to you all for your continued support in helping raise positive awareness for Down's syndrome. I'll leave the post now with a few shots from the day!

Mum not quite getting the hang of the idea!

Wednesday 16 May 2012

The Bending Bud

Well as I write, the BBC televised, 'Running For Rosie 10K' (okay, the Bupa Great Manchester Run) is only four days away! The epic training efforts of Mum and Erika will finally be rewarded on Sunday. They are really quite nervous about it, but I know they'll be absolutely fine and I'm really excited to share their euphoria when its done. I've been fearing a, 'bloke breakdown moment' when we all cross the line, such is my pride in what they are doing. Anyone who knows Erika will appreciate that running is probably the last thing she would ever suggest to do for charity, and, whilst my mum keeps fit through walking everywhere she is, at 65, taking up running for the first time since her school days. I've imagined the moment we all cross the line together over and over in my head and I'm more excited about this run than any previous runs I've done.

Rosie has played her part in all this too – quite apart from being the main inspiration for taking up the challenge in the first place, she has also been working on some limbering up exercises for us. This last couple of weeks she has been sitting up, then slowly (with her legs out in front) leaning forwards, so far forward that she is quite literally folded in two! It's remarkable just how bendy our Budlington is – a future gymnast in the making perhaps?

The pictures below show the stretching exercise I'm referring to and I'm sure you'll forgive the three of us for not even attempting it, or we'd definitely be calling the run off due to injury!

Rosie is off on her travels to London tomorrow to celebrate her cousin Olivia's first birthday but will be back on Sunday to cheer us on! So, as the house will be boys only for the next three days, I'm thinking indoor footy and pizza's may well be back on the agenda – get in!

There is still time to donate on the Running For Rosie page, however, as I've said all along, this run is as much about raising positive awareness for Down's syndrome as it is about fundraising for our chosen charities. I look forward to sharing a few pics from the run in the next post and shall sign off wishing my beautiful niece Olivia a very Happy first Birthday! x

Thursday 3 May 2012

Tiny dancer

I'm so pleased to be writing that things are finally getting back to some sort of normality, yes, Karen's back out with her friends tonight....again!

No sooner had I posted, 'In your own time eh love' before I had both my girls home from hospital. What a huge relief all-round – I can now stop boring friends on Facebook with constant 'Sats are too low' updates, and, from a logistical point of view its just great to settle down to the thing I sometimes catch myself moaning about – simple old 'day-to-day life'.

Each episode I've faced (and continue to face) since finding out Rosie has Down's syndrome helps me appreciate, more and more, the things that life gives so generously to me. I don't think I've ever been hugely materialistic, but equally, I would be lying if I didn't admit that I have, in the past, thought my shortfalls in life might be based upon material things like, cars, job title, etc. "should I have achieved this by now?" should I have that?" short, it's becoming more and more evident just how rich I really am with my family. Yes, yes, I can hear you all saying, "pass the bucket" but I'm being brutally honest (and I'm a tad ashamed) when I admit it's probably taken the arrival of Rosie and events taking me out of my 'comfort zone' to finally help me realise just how lucky I really am.

Anyway I digress! The change in Rosie since she's been out of hospital has been quite remarkable, most people pass comment on how her breathing sounds easier/better than ever, which in turn has given her another lease of the form of dancing! You may think I'm jumping the gun as she can't crawl, let alone walk yet, but believe me, this little bud has rhythm! I've posted a video below to try and show you – I've left the sound off as the background noise is too irritating but she was dancing to Paul Simon's 'You can call me Al'.

I've also included a (albeit poor quality) video of the moment we surprised Harry and Joe with the arrival of Rosie and Mummy. As you'll see from Rosie's reaction she wasn't as pleased to be away from the doting nurses! 

Finally I must not forget to thank all the staff of the 'Starlight Childrens Ward' at Wythenshawe Hospital for their tireless efforts in helping our Budlington get back on track.