Lung Infection & Lupus – Worrying About My Baby Brother

I’ve been worrying about my baby brother over the weekend. Most of you will know from some of my posts and tweets Alex is a big part of my life so to get a panicky call from him on Saturday and hearing him seriously struggling to breath left me worrying, A LOT. As well as struggling to breath he’s had these strange ring rashes appear which look very much like Lupus.

Alex had tried and struggled to go to his nearest shop and rung me worried, he didn’t want to walk to the hospital ‘in case it was a waste of time’. He suggested waiting until the morning..  So I put my Mummy voice on and insisted at the very least he call 111 for some advice.

Panicking

As soon as I put my phone down I began to panic, Alex doesn’t have the greatest immune system and has weak lungs from being born prematurely, he also suffers from Asthma. Temperatures were below 0 and I was worried he would get worse but luckily he did what he was told and called 111. An ambulance was sent out to him and the paramedics decided he needed to go to hospital. His heart rate and irregular breathing was concerning them so they insisted he was wheeled to the ambulance instead of walking which he wasn’t too impressed with.

He text me to let me know he was waiting for the ambulance then understandably I didn’t hear from him for over an hour. I spent the entire time unable to concentrate on anything, constantly checking my phone for an update. Eventually Alex let me know he had bloods taken and had ‘things put all over his chest’ (ECG) and he was scared. I tried to distract him whilst he waited, chatting about a documentary I was watching on the London Graveyard’s by London Liverpool Street Station.

After some rambling back and forth he eventually got his results. It turned out Alex has a lung infection and suspected Lupus. He called me as he walked home, struggling to breathe. Hearing him so vulnerable, crying from the pain, being so scared alone was horrible, I just wanted to be there and give him a hug. He was given antibiotics for the lung infection and his NHS number (At last!!!!) so he can finally register with a GP and get a referral to a dermatologist to confirm the suspected lupus.

The two major symptoms are joint and muscle pain and an extreme tiredness that won’t go away no matter how much you rest.

Rashes, depression, anaemia, feverishness, headaches, possible hair loss and mouth ulcers may all be part of the pattern of lupus.

Noticeably, whilst the two major symptoms are invariably present, people with lupus can differ greatly in their symptoms and how the illness can affect them – life-threatening for a few, very mild for some.

We are all extremely worried about his health, he has had all the symptoms that point to lupus for a while now. This worried me just as much as the lung infection. He is my baby brother and I hate that I couldn’t be there with him. Not having a car is becoming more and more stressful, things like this happen and I’m left helplessly worrying instead of being there to look after him. I’ve always tried to look out for my baby brother, I remember holding his tiny little hand through the incubator for the first time. He was so tiny and fragile and spent a long time in NICU so when he finally came home I couldn’t leave him alone.

I fed him & changed him as a baby, I taught him his first words, how to read and write. He learnt his first colours from a song I made up with a row of coloured teddies over his bouncer. Red teddy, yellow teddy, green teddy, blue! He may be my baby brother but I guess in a way he’s always been my baby too which is why I’m so protective of him. To me he’s just like the girls, he’s a huge part of my world and I always feel the need to care for him so times like this are extremely tough.

Brother & Sister forever

Alex and I had an unusual childhood, he was in care from 7/8 years old but this has never stopped us having a strong relationship. We have only lost contact once for a few months when I left home and went into a women’s refuge, I didn’t have any contact details for him but eventually we sorted it and contact resumed. When I had Eva he had been sectioned and was in hospital after several suicide attempts. I knew I had to jump in some how and bring some normality back to his life so I arranged home visits, had visits from Social services etc. to ensure our flat was safe for him.

Since then we have kept in regular contact and gone through a lot together, I know he almost see’s me as a mum to him too and with him not talking to ‘her’ right now means I am pretty much all he has, knowing that and not being there was so difficult. We were brought up to avoid Dr’s and Hospital’s, terrified that anything and everything would end in needles.. no wonder I had a needle phobia! Knowing he was sat in the same A&E room where he sat as a child being told off for having a broken leg worried me, he’s also overdosed several times and ended up there too. He suffers from PTSD and I was terrified this would set him off but distracting him did seem to help.

Going forward

I’m hoping the antibiotics help and his lung infection goes away. I’ll be focusing on getting over to him as much as I possibly can over the next few weeks to help get him registered at a GP. We also need to get his referral for a dermatologist to find out if he does have Lupus and what we can do to keep him as healthy as possible. Lupus is extremely complicated and Alex is understandably terrified as he has no clue what’s going on. He’s had so many of the symptoms that it really is worrying but I intend to look after my baby brother as much as possible!

Have you ever been in a similar situation? Do you know anything about Lupus that may help? Please do leave a comment if you have any experience with Lupus.

My Medication Review

My medication review was this morning. Knowing I have pain clinic next week I decided I really needed to focus more in my mental health. My anxiety has been through the roof lately and I’ve struggled to brain.. a lot!

I was completely honest about how I’ve been feeling and I was basically given 2 options.

1. Be referred to a psychiatrist so I can be put in stronger medication as I’m already on such a low dose. (Something I’d prefer to avoid if possible)

2. Refer myself to the therapy centre above the surgery.

I decided to go upstairs and refer myself for therapy. I recieved a call later in the afternoon going over how I feel, my symptoms and my mental health history. Once I had finished the questionnaire the lady suggested referring me for CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).

I panicked but decided I need to do something because I hate struggling so much. I hate feeling like I can’t do anything right and I’m useless. I hate not being able to go out without panicking. I hate being invited somewhere and feeling like its just out of politeness. I want to enjoy things & believe in myself a little bit more. I know it may not help fully but if it can calm me down even slightly I might not be such an anti-social stresshead!

I spoke to my brother about it this evening and he told me he went through a CBT course and mentioned it made him feel patronised at first but after a few sessions it did help change his way of thinking. I’m hoping it can help me too and I’m also glad for the heads up as I think I might have struggled to continue if the first few sessions don’t seem to help.

I now have to wait for a call when an appointment is free to start the CBT. I’ve no idea how long that will be but I’m hoping it’s not too long.

As I said I have pain clinic on Tuesday too. Whilst the Gabapentin has helped massively I am still struggling. I’m still feeling those electric bolts through my legs, pain in my hips & back. Now it’s getting much colder my ribs hurt too so I need to bring all of this up and see if they can suggest anything that may help.

I’m quite exhausted after today but I’m glad in between all of it I still managed to join the Mr & Izzy at the pub. Our favourite pub is always quiet & we know the regulars. Sometimes I do mire than smile politely and say hi too. Today wasn’t one of those days but it was nice to be acknowledged and left alone to enjoy being outside of these walls.

I now want to hide away for a few days though. It’s been a very hectic, peopley, emotional day with too many phone calls & talking to ‘important people’. I’ve gone over a lot of my past in a 20 minute phone call which has left my head hurting a bit aswell as admitting my crazy is getting too crazy.

I decided to write and publish this before I decide it isn’t worth it as I usually do but now I’m off to curl up and feel sorry for myself because I hurt all over and feel so cold!

Have you tried CBT? Did it help at all? I’m honestly quite nervous about it all and would love some feedback!

I Just Can’t Brain Some Days

Do you ever have those ‘I can’t brain today’ days? I do quite regularly and it can be very stressful.

My mind wanders.. I’ve no idea where it wander’s to at times but I just can’t focus and feel useless. I find myself just staring blankly at things. Sometimes the smallest of things causes it, other times I just wake up like it.

I struggle to word, I struggle to write, I struggle to adult, I just can’t brain at all. I’m aware of what’s going on around me but struggle to interact. I’ll be scrolling through twitter but have absolutely no idea what to say or if it’s ‘ok’ to comment on something.

It’s frustrating and I get annoyed with myself but I just have to let it pass and try to ride it out. My chest hurts and I have awful dizzy spells. I struggle to interact with people and probably come across a bit moody at times because of it. Some days I just can’t brain and figure out what to say or do. I stress about having to do anything.

The last month or so has been full of ups and downs for me, as I’m sure it has for many others so I’ve been struggling to brain a little more than normal. Forgetting to go to my medication review and running out of tablets for a day or 2 knocked me a bit but luckily I braved a phone call to my GP surgery. I was quite distressed on the phone to my GP surgery where I had missed an appointment but the receptionist could obviously tell. An emergency prescription was arranged to be collected from the chemist around 11am which the Mr got for me. I was also booked in for my medication review which is tomorrow!

Even though I managed the call and everything turned out ok, my chest still hurt when I put the phone down. I still had to try and breathe slowly to try and keep myself calm and stop everything going fuzzy. I hate feeling like this and not being able to stop it.

I’m jumping at everything, something falling, loud noises, something moving near me unexpectedly. I feel stressed at the slightest of things, a mess, something I’ve forgotten, feeling lazy when I’m in so much pain I neglect the few things I need to get done around the flat. The worst part is knowing it is all so irrational. I get so frustrated with myself for it which just makes things even worse and I just can’t brain some days!

Do you struggle to brain some days too? How to you manage it?

 

I can't brain today

 

 

 

Back To Normality After Christmas

After a hectic few week’s thing’s are finally getting back to normality after Christmas. I’ve been much quieter than planned on the blog so thought I’d write a quick catch up post. We had a brilliant one this year and were on top of the girl’s presents thanks to starting early and picking up a few bargains along the way.

The lead up

 

The lead up to Christmas was very busy especially with the Mr painting characters on the walls for the girls including Olaf (don’t mention the body 😉) , Gingerbread man  and an elf! The girls absolutely loved them and I personally don’t want the gingerbread man to go!

 


There was plenty of last minute buying and panicking about the Mr’s present which luckily a very good friend (you know who you are!) helped me out with. So the Mr at least had a few beers to go along with a top I bought him instead of nothing.. good job really since he got me a Microsoft Surface 3!!!! Admittedly I still feel guilty & going to order him another box of beers for him next payday from Beer52, as I said I would for Christmas but ran out of time!

Santa visit

We visited Santa with Alex (my brother) on Christmas eve again this year. Carrying on the tradition we started last year. Although I forgot to pre-book so we had almost a 2 hour wait it wasn’t too bad. We chatted inline with a mum and her son Oscar after we watched him so she could grab McDonald’s for them to eat whilst they waited. They helped keep the girls chatting to stop the boredom. We also took pictures with the big bears that came round to entertain those queueing. The girls and Alex also ended up with a HUGE stash of candy canes as they all had to go and Izzy was being cheeky and cute haha!

Christmas Morning

 

Christmas morning we had a 30 min wait for my brother to arrive. Well once the girls were eventually awake the Mr and I were up rather early so it wasn’t too bad! The girls couldn’t wait to see their Uncle Alex and make sure he joined in. They all opened their stockings then took a quick break to eat some more chocolate before moving onto bigger presents. They were all over the moon with their gifts which was lovely to see. My jaw was on the floor though when I realised my blogging life was about to become a whole lot easier. Thanks to the Mr buying me a Microsoft surface pro 3! 

Normality after Christmas

We had a delicious Christmas Dinner cooked by the Mr with all the usual yummy stuff! We all ended up in a food coma and wanting bed quite soon after! My brother spent most of the day saying how happy he was and how the day had given him a sense of normality and family life. It was brilliant spending the day with him and spoiling him along with the girls. He joined us again to see in the New Year and again couldn’t stop saying how happy he was. It’s really hit him how well he has done over the last year. He’s turned his life around with a little bit of help and knowing he does have family who really do love & care about him.

Coming to an end

So all in all it’s been a fabulous time but as always very tiring with all the running around & cleaning. As the holidays came to an end Izzy was quite ill and had a few sofa days. Eva began to misbehave quite a bit over the last few days which has made me feel quite low. Luckily she is back to school today and normality has returned.. fingers crossed so does her good behaviour!

How was your Christmas? Are you relieved to get back to routine or wishing it was Christmas every day?

Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2017

It’s time to look at the things I’m looking forward to in 2017 having looked back on 2016 and what I had looked forward to for 2016! I don’t do new year resolutions, diets, quitting things etc.. but I hope to achieve at least half of the list below

2017

1. Continuing to grow the blog – I’ve learnt a lot over the last year and got chatting to some absolutely awesome bloggers! It’s lovely to see so many bloggers willing to help each other and I hope I can help other bloggers too as I grow. I’ve put a lot more time into the blog this year and plan to put even more time & effort in over the coming year. Plus with the Microsoft surface pro 3 the Mr got me things have become even easier!

surfacdpro3

2. Attend a blogging event! – I know.. Even with my anxiety I want to attend an event even just a small one & meet a few bloggers even though the idea of actually getting ready and going terrifies me! 🙈😂 After meeting Martyn I really want to meet other bloggers especially Tracey (my online mummy 😉) amongst others!

martynandboys.jpg

3. Organizing a Mad Hatters Tea Party for Eva’s 7th birthday! Having seems Alice in wonderland this year Eva wants a crazy tea party sooo much and I’m determined to do that since last year wasn’t as great as planned! If you have any tips let me know!

a-mad-tea-party-alice-1

4 Help my brother find a job. It’s something he’s been wanting for a while, he’s worked before & was a supervisor in a pottery factory for quite some time so he is more than capable we just need to write him up a good CV and build his confidence a little more.

5. Continue learning to crochet! I’m slowly getting the hang of new stitches and tend to make up most of my patterns as I go 🙈 but it works and gives me some time to myself & a cool way to come up with gifts!

6. Do a lot more with the girls,they’ve missed out on a lot due to financial restrictions and my health & mental health getting in the way. I want them to get out more and have lots of fun!

7. Have at least one night out with the Mr child-free. It’s an extremely rare occurrance so I’m determined to get out for an evening and have a meal and a drink alone. Aswell as the Thurrock beer festival of course! 😉

8.Watch more films with the girls! We are slowly working on this as I’ve not seen a lot of the well known kids films myself haha!

 

Wht are you looking forward to in 2017? Do you have any goals or resolutions set?

My Year In Reflection 2016

I decided to write my year in reflection after a tweet from Martyn on my ’10 Things I’m looking forward to in 2016′ post and decided to do what he suggested and see how 2016 went.

Looking back on 2016..

1. I did have my steroid injection’s back in march and after a week of hell I had 2 good weeks, so it was decided this wasn’t enough. Instead I started on Gabapentin. Whilst I’m still having bad days they do help massively!

2. The Easter holidays went well but unfortunately with my back not improving and my anxiety & depression becoming harder to cope with, I wasn’t able to take the girls out to do much. There were few trips until out until the Summer but we did replant Eva’s mini rainforest from her weekend box!

3. We went out for a lovely meal to celebrate Eva’s birthday this year with friends as we couldn’t quite manage to cover a full day out but she enjoyed herself and had decided where to go etc. I was quite stressed with my ESA assessment being booked for Eva’s birthday so I had a pretty exhausting week.

4.The summer holidays were brilliant and we did manage a few days out to place like Wat Tyler Country Park and Southend On Sea as well as attending some local events like the Big lunch that is held at Grays Town Park once a year.. which I took a ton of pictures of then forgot to blog about it!

5. Izzy had a brilliant birthday at home with a few close friends visiting and we celebrated my brothers 21st too. I eventually managed to escape for a few drinks a few days after my birthday too!


6. I have spent a lot more time with my brother this year. He has gone through some huge changes and I am so damn proud of him! There were times I wondered if we’d reach the point we are at now but he has completely turned his life around. We now see each other 6 times a month minimum having Family Dinner’s with him once a fortnight. We are slowly turning his flat into a home and he is slowly getting into a routine with everything and some days adults better than me!

7. Although I’ve pretty much given up on the knitting I have had a lot of fun learning to crochet this year. Starting with headbands and bags, dolls clothes & now blankets and a new project in the works. I have to say I feel really pleased with myself for this, it’s something I’ve learnt that is calming & gives me a bit of me time. I also feel a sense of achievement each time I finish a project, especially with the girls reactions!

8.  I think it’s safe to say I have slowly grown the blog this year. I’ve moved from .wordpress.com to .com. I’ve also just found out my DA score has gone from 1 to 16, 2 months after moving over. I’m not entirely sure how DA works but I’m told it’s a good first jump so I’m happy!

9. I have definitely managed to work with a lot more brands and had a chance to review some awesome product’s. Also testing out apps like Mobicip to help keep the girls safe on their tablets. The Mr even got an awesome box of beer from Beer52 to review just before Christmas! The girls got some lovely books and the super cute Itty Bitty’s too!

10. Although I have learnt to manage my pain much better than this time last year I do still struggle at times & over do it.. I guess that’s something that won’t change. There’s always something going on and it doesn’t take much these days for me to over do it unfortunately!

Did you get to do any of the things you were looking forward to in 2016?

 

Relentless Accident & Eva’s New Scarf

I had a Relentless accident last week.

Knocking a full can of relentless all over my wool (new & used) and all over my latest WIP’s.

I felt devastated and angry, upset and annoyed with myself. I had ruined Eva’s scarf and all the wools Izzy had chosen for her blanket..

Some of you may have seen a little bit of my melt down on Twitter. I was having one of those moments when you turn into a child again screaming & crying and blaming myself for being so stupid for having a relentless accident, not only did I lose my WIP’s & wool but an entire can (minus one sip) too!

Luckily the lovely Tracey from Hooks & Dragon kept me chatting, giving me tips when I was thinking about washing and drying it all & helping me calm back down. I went from a screaming crying mess to just a sad one!

Eventually between my meltdowns and stomping around to try and find a way to fix it all the Mr suggested I just replace all the wool instead of trying to clean it. To anyone else they would have just said yes but me? I went off again about how I couldn’t do that because it costs MONEY! You know, the thing I seriously HATE spending. especially if it’s on stuff for me.

Eventually I gave in.. after all it’s technically for the girls not me since I’m making thing’s for them!

 

A few days later I finally managed to get out and buy a few new balls of wool.. I only picked up four colours as I figured I can pick up one or 2 more each week until I build my stash back up again.

A relentless accident means new wool

One of the balls was a replacement for Eva’s scarf. A pastel, mostly pink multicoloured wool from the QD Paintbox range. I love how it works up and can’t wait to get it finished!

Eva's Scarf

What do you think so far? I’m considering adding something on.. Maybe a flower? Any (easy) suggestions?? 

Making A Grown Up Blogger Decision

I have no idea what I'm doing

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog over the last week.. And I have some news.. I made a bit of a grown up blogger decision, with a fair bit of pushing from Tracey from One Frazzled Mum and Phil from Public Void Apps .. I’ve gone self hosted & moved over to relentlesslypurple.com!

I’ve still got a LOT to learn about this website stuff but I am remembering little bits & pieces and learning as I go and I seriously can’t thank Phil & Tracey enough for their help

I’m still looking for THE theme and keep tweaking things and changing my mind but I’m so impatient and excited I just couldn’t wait to share it with you all!

So what do you think so far? Do you have any tips or improvements you think I should make? Any theme suggestions? My site is for my reader’s and I am a bit of a noob haha! Providing it has some purple I’m happy 😉

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

 

 

Sunshine Bloggers Award

I know some people aren’t keen on The Sunshine Bloggers Award or these types of posts in general but I enjoy doing them & reading other peoples answers so when I saw a tweet from Sarah who blogs at Mum&Mor letting me know she had nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger’s award I couldn’t wait to get started! So here’s my answers.. 

  1. What is your favourite food? I always used to say Chinese.. Whilst it is still up there I now eat such a huge variety of meals it’s pretty hard to choose! At the moment I’d probably go for BBQ pulled chicken wraps with spicy rice & nacho cheese ridged wedges smothered in Nando’s peri-peri salt! My favourite seems to be changing weekly though.. Haha!
  2. The first object to your right is your weapon during a zombie invasion. What is the weapon and how screwed are you? A cup of tea..I’m sure I’ll be fine.. At least I’ll get my caffeine fix?
  3. What is your favourite social media platform and how many followers do you have on it? Twitter of course! I have just over 3100 followers at the moment and absolutely love chatting to anyone.. I’m slowly getting less awkward and slowly learning to converse in under 140 characters haha!
  4. What bad things have you experienced during blogging? Losing my blogging mojo has to be the worst. I’ve had very few bad experiences so far even on my first blog apart from feeling I’m not ‘good enough’. I’ve realised though that the blogging world is HUGE and as long as i am happy doing my own thing that’s all that matters.
  5. What good things have you experienced during blogging? I’ve found some amazing people to chat to who have helped me through the rough days without even knowing it. Sometimes chatting helps a lot! I find blogging a great stress relief as I can get everything off my chest & if someone reads & relates that is brilliant.. If not I’ve still got it out there instead of holding it in.
  6. If you could be an animal for a day, what animal would you be and why? Definitely a dog.. Who wouldn’t want to be mans best friend!? Playing and getting cuddles all day looks awesome!
  7. You may choose one special ability out of two: living forever or being able to fly. Which one do you choose and why? I’d go for the ability to fly every time. No way would I want to live forever. At least if I can fly I can get to my brothers a lot more & get so much more done!
  8. What is the best day out you have ever experienced? Wow.. That’s a tough one.. Most of my days out have been spoilt in some way.. I’d probably go with my day out at Wat Tyler when we met up with my brother too it was a lovely day until my so called friend turned it into a very stressful day. Up until then Eva was over the moon getting a bit of freedom as long as she stayed within the limits I had set, watching my brother play with the girls in a place we had been to as kids ourselves was lovely and I can’t wait to go again!
  9. Which film has made you cry the most? Green Mile! One of my absolute favourites but the tears come on full blast near the end. Don’t tell people though as I don’t get emotional watching films.. Apart from this one!
  10. What is your ultimate pet-peeve and why? People who eat with their mouths WIDE open.. Like come on seriously.. If I wanted to see it I’d ask.. Bleurgh!

I’m nominating this lot to answer the question’s I’ve set below:

  1. Tracey – OneFrazzledMum
  2. Tracey – HooksandDragon
  3. Martyn – InsideMartynsThoughts
  4. Jo – FirstTimeValleyMam
  5. Al – OMGitsagirl

The rules are simple. Answer my questions below on a new blog post of yours, and then nominate another 5 bloggers for the Sunshine Blogger Awards.

  1. What makes your blog unique and stand out from the crowd?
  2. What’s your dream job?
  3. Your officially a superhero.. How does your costume look?
  4. Who is your favourite author?
  5. What is your dream car?
  6. How do you ‘chill’?
  7. Outside of blogging what are your top 3 things to do?
  8. What is the cutest thing you’ve seen/heard this week?
  9. Are you looking forward to Christmas or dreading it?
  10. Where’s your favourite place to be?

If your taking part make sure to tweet me when your post goes live so I can give it some love & shares too!


Family Dinners

To most people sit down family dinners is the norm. To my brother & I it’s something quite new, awkward, yet exciting.

Growing up it was rarely done, don’t get me wrong we did sit down occasionally, even at a table but it never felt like a family meal.. You know where you all sit chatting pleasantly, passing things around to each other, laughing and joking. Instead it was generally quite stressful and awkward.

My brother had a few more sit down meals than me growing up, whilst in children’s homes he says it was fun chatting to the other kids but not the same as a family dinner, in foster homes it was awkward sitting with a family he barely knew so he wasn’t keen on them and like me struggled with eating in other peoples homes in general.

So of course we HAVE to change that and with the Mr always happy to play chef we worked out the Sunday between our pay day and Alex’s pay day was the perfect day to turn into our family day. We started the weekend before last with a lovely beef roast as my brother hadn’t had a proper roast in over 5 YEARS! I know right, how disgusting is that!? Well that was quickly changed and we had an absolutely amazing day!

My favourite – Uncle Alex reading Jungle Jam to his Nieces 😍💜

With Alex around to keep the girls occupied it was much easier for the Mr and I to get on with bits in the kitchen & having a quick tidy up so it was also lovely for us that it was less stressful. We all worked together getting everything ready to sit down as we have no dinner table so instead we use the girls small tables & Alex decided he was more comfortable eating at the Mr’s desk.

Normally Alex is as awkward as I was a few years ago when it comes to eating around others but this time he was really relaxed, stopping every now & then to have a chat and it was just a lovely day & meal all round. My brother was really grateful which was lovely but sad at the same time.. I felt guilty thinking how many of his favourite meals he hasn’t had since I last cooked them when he was around 6/7. 

After chatting to Alex this Thursday and finding out how much our family dinner day had meant to him and how comfortable he really felt, I couldn’t wait for today! Hearing how it gave him a sense of normality & being part of a family rather than an outsider looking in honestly nearly had me in tears, I had to keep tidying to hide them.

Family Dinners

I’m calling him at 10.30am to make sure he’s awake and then once he’s ready the girls are going to come with me to meet him at the bus station. We are having Chicken Tikka Masala tonight and will be working through all his favourites letting Alex pick what he wants each time. It’s definitely something we will be continuing so I need to really get a wiggle on finding a decent table with 5/6 chairs so we can really do it properly!

Do you have sit down family meals? Is it something you all enjoy? Who decides what your eating? Also.. Any budget table and chair recommendations?