It’s been outstanding… #MadBlogAwards

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So.

A friend, or two, say you should start blogging and you think about it for a while and you think that maybe you will.

You write about the first words a daughter says and how it feels when wasp larvae eat the caterpillars and there are a lot of Hama Beads and an awful lot of crafts. You do projects and sticking and somewhere along the line you start a business (which grows from £600 a month to £600,000 a year) and sometimes you write about that too and how much you love being back to packing parcels 4 days after a c-section that cost you three pints of blood and a fair chunk of your sanity.

You write about children with cleft palates.

And children with Aspergers.

And what it’s like to home educate for 13 years of your life. (And how it feels when you stop).

And what it is like when one of your children, already trying your patience with eczema and asthma, has a brush with death thanks to chicken pox.

And you make a lot of Fimo models.

And the friends that you started with keep commenting and people join along the way because (amazingly) the olden days of blogging aren’t actually 2010 at all, but 2003/4/5/6/7/8/9 – and back then there weren’t many blogs and so people read the ones there were.

And then life tumbles down around your feet and you can’t write about it in public, even though that would heal you more than anything else. And a combination of birth trauma and tough times and building a business that is too big to handle make writing anything much quite hard. You fumble your way through  caesarean recovery and VBAC’s and overcoming the sense of failure I felt.

Plus, you have depression and you find it difficult to talk about because when you do people say “but you have the perfect life, why can’t you just be happy?” because you feel quite inadequate and failing enough without people making you feel inadequate because you can’t just be happy all the time.

And then life gets better. And you can take a look at who you are again.

You fight the bullies who were Badman, Balls and Brown and the NSPCC and kept home education safe.
And then it all crashes down. And everything that matters no longer matters because a boy is born and he dies and nothing. NOTHING. can ever be right again.

Our baby died.

And I wrote – here – because I had no idea what to do with all the love and pain that choked the breath out of me each day.

But.

Life goes on. And it did.

Home educating. Dealing with children who suddenly decide to hormonally destroy their own thyroid. More operations. The most terrifying pregnancy ever.

And another little boy.

All here. On the blog.

And life goes on. You try to raise some money for children who deserve better and find yourself responsible for 11 children in Niger (we need more sponsors, feel free to volunteer).

And one day… one day… you see a tweet and you read that a baby girl has died and (because if you can’t do it now, what was the point of anything?) you put out your hand and do your best to lead a mother from the mouth of darkness, through the black and out again. One day.

 

And somehow you find yourself stood on a stage, one of ten women who have raised money and changed lives and made people laugh and made them cry and think a bit more and it all ends, once the winner (Jennie, I’m so proud of you) is announced, one of nine women deservedly clutching one of these.

54a88460223511e383f522000a1f9016_7Thanks to Dear Beautiful Boy for this photo.

The audience stood up. They clapped. They cried. For all of us.

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It was amazing. And Jennie and I finally met, which was emotional – but incredible.

In the end though, it all comes down to the people who weren’t there.

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These people.

Freddie and Mummy

Freddie.

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And this. My family and the women and men and children who are like my family who have been there every step of the way for me.

***

The MadBlogAwards 2013 was an amazing event. I had a wonderful time from when I met with women I really love to spend time with at lunch to having a walk with SoftThistle through Kensington Gardens, to my entire evening and time spent with Jennie, to being invited on stage both to present and receive an award, to hours of giggling with the incredible (double winner) Mammywoo and the extremely tired but very clever Sally Whittle and Lindy.
Thank you @madblogawards & @parentdish_UK, an amazing night. So proud to have been part of this category. Well done @edspire
I thought it was exactly right that Jennie won our category but it was incredibly sensitive, thoughtful and just ‘right’ that all ten of us received a trophy too.

Thank you for that.

Just for a moment, I’m going to allow myself to be outstanding.

#madblogawards close tomorrow – please vote for some fab blogs!

Tomrrow is the closing date for the MAD Blog Awards, the very last chance to vote for Patch of Puddles in the two categories you can vote for it in.

I’ve just done mine. I didn’t vote for myself (at least, I don’t think I did!) but I wanted to tell you some of the great blogs that I struggled to choose between, love reading, have got to know the writers of or just generally admire the sticking power of.

I tell a lie, according to the email I just got, I gave myself one vote. Oops.. :roll:

In no particular order, you could do worse than add the following to your RSS feed.

MammyWoo – we are up against each other in Post of the Year but gods I admire her. Gutsy and hilariously funny, she will make you weep and snort all at once.

Northern Mum – most relieved not to be up against her this year in a voted category. I love her to bits and don’t mind at all that she beat me last year. *cough* very funny with a knack for a comic turn of phrase. (Bit odd, admittedly… But you can’t argue with a woman prepared to occupy my son with glimpses of cleavage).

Pregnancy and Baby has it covered, in my humble opinion, between Me, the Man and the Baby and SAHMumLovingit. They were the only two I could cope with reading while I was pregnant, so no offence to anyone else. I’m not quite back to baby blogs yet :) all the other ones I’ve read in the last year have been of the ‘make you cry’ variety.

I had a tough time choosing nominations, never mind votes, between Science Sparks, The Imagination Tree, Red Ted Art and Littlesheep Learning.

I’ve called a little in love with The Boy and Me too and highly recommend you check her out and her 366 project too.

I’m up against Slugs on the Refrigerator in Blog of the Year, so good karma for me if you vote for her in craft ;) I did :)

I think IamTypecast and LoveAllBlogs deserve a look for helpful and innovative blogs, as does GeekisNewChic and her other blog MummyTips, DorkyMum and Baby Budgeting.

Ps, if you haven’t found it yet and you have an iPad, get FeeddlerPro to read blogs on. It’s fabulous :) (and that isn’t sponsored!)

Give it some love (blogging about blogging).

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I do try not to.

But this has been an awesome (to quote Josie) week.

I was included in a round up of educational posts, proving beyond doubt that cakes on plates is the way forward and I should be Minister for Maths. (There is no point telling me you have to be good at maths for such a job, look at the chancellors we’ve had.

I have been included in a political round up (ha…ha…ah… falls off chair!) for my post on smacking and the realities of slightly failed parenting. A post I expected to get pilloried by the way and have been remarkably cheered to discover I’m not the only crap parent in town ;)

I got to guest post at the Tots100 on not taking blogging too seriously ( :lol: present post excepted ;) )and it’s possible if you visit them at 10am tomorrow you might find yourself in my Ten at 10 picks of the week too :)

PoP reached the dizzy heights of NUMBER THIRTEEN on the ebuzzing parenting rankings.

But best of all, so exciting that I may actually pop and call myself a small exploded splodge of excitement…..

Mum and Dad Blog Awards 2012Patch of Puddles made it to the final 5 in no less than THREE categories of the Mad Blog Awards – Blog of the Year, Blog Post of the Year and Most Inspirational.

Obviously I’m gutted not to be in Thrifty or Fashion ;) ;)

And I have cute new little cloud SOcial Media button – thank you Tim :lol: :D

Thank you so much if you nominated me and.. ahem, could you go and vote for me now too? It’ll only take a moment. The form has drop down boxes and everything.

I’m chuffed to pieces. Thank you again.

(Now go vote… I’m up against flipping Northern Mum again and she wiped the floor with me last year :roll: )

Thank you and please.

I’ve had so much encouragement and support through this blog over the years and none more than in the last two years and the last two months. If ever there was a roller coaster of a life, we’ve lived it. Two years ago I thought I would never be happy again. It’s a different sort of happy, but I am, thank goodness.

What I owe my sanity to though,alongside my sister, my husband and my friends are all the people who kept me going here. From mothers of other lost babies, to home educators from my past and present, business owners I’ve known as we grew the world of online retail together to parent bloggers I have got to know in the last year. And more. It’s been amazing and being able to talk has allowed me to get through it. I’ve read every comment, even when life was too overwhelming to write back.

If I could tell the world one thing, it would be ‘never say nothing to a parent who lost a child in case you say the wrong thing. Be mindful of your words, but even saying you are sorry for their loss will help’. To everyone who has read and wondered whether to comment, I promise every last time someone took the time to type some words helped.

Last year I was lucky enough to make the final 5 in two categories of the MAD Blog Awards. I got to go to the ceremony which was brilliant and I loved it. Being in the ‘Most Inspiring’ and ‘Best Family Life’ categories truly encouraged me to be better at both those things. Blog land has exploded so much this year that I doubt I will get the same chance but just this once I will ask you if you would spare a moment to vote. Each vote counts as only the top 4 go through on votes to the final.

This year I have a nomination in blog of the year, pregnancy, baby, best writer, school days, home, inspirational, family life and small business (I think.. thank you, I’m very touched to be in so many!). If I could nominate myself (which I won’t) I would make this my post of the year Second because it marked a moment of ending one part of our life and beginning another.

MAD Blog Awards 2012

There are hundreds of fabulous blogs to dip into on the news page of the site. I so wanted round up my favourites but I’m not getting time. But if you have a minute, I would love you to vote for Patch of Puddles.

Thank you.

This is the VERY LAST beg for VOTES!!! And why.

Voting closes for the MAD Blog Awards in 10 hours time, at 9pm on Friday 17th June. After that I promise not to ask again but just for today, if you like my blog and know people who might (or who have an email address quite frankly!) would you ask them to click on this badge and vote for Path of Puddles in the Best Family Life and Most Inspiring Blog categories?

Pretty please?

MAD Blog Awards 2011Patch of Puddles is 9 years worth of family life, through births of children, the death of a child, home educating, going to school, coming home again, moving house 5 times, setting up a business in a cupboard and moving it out to a 3000sq foot unit. We’ve done home owning, renting, debts and savings, we’ve done redundancy and striking out on our own, we’ve brought a marriage back from the brink, coped with autism and cleft lips and palates and eczema and asthma and milk intolerances and nut allergies and grief and fear and pain and getting back up again. We’ve faced disability and cerebral palsy and made our choices and lived with them. And grief, dear universe, we’ve done grief.

I don’t think there is more to family life we could cram in. I think winning an award for making it through would be amazing; it’s all here, in the greys and blacks and glorious technicolour of life. And always in yellow, green and white.

Please take a moment to vote for the Puddle Duck Family. Thank you.