Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Unlucky to be lucky

We were very excited to hear that Hawthorn were coming to Tasmania with the cup.  We were looking forward to seeing them at the Silverdome, but were extra excited when we were asked if we would like to go along to a special event at Southern Cross this morning, with 'Give Me Five For Kids'. 

I kept reminding my boys about how lucky they are to get to go to something so special, because we knew there would be thousands at the silverdome, and that we probably wouldn't get near the players there.  There was only going to be a small group at Southern Cross. 

But then after I said that, it hit me how 'unlucky' my boys have been to be so 'lucky' to do special things.  It means so much to me, to know that people still think about them and realise how much they've been through, and offer them such special things.  It's so nice to see them smile and be so happy, and even though they have been unlucky, I never take these special experiences for granted, and hope they don't either.
 
During the morning the team were split into groups. The group that came for Give me Five for Kids were Brian Lake, Jordan Lewis, Puopolo, Cyril Rioli, Ben McEvoy, David Hale, Isaac Smith and Matthew Suckling (I can't believe I even know their names!!! Aaron would be SO proud of me!). 

The kids got to ask the players any questions they wanted, in front of a little crowd and television cameras.  Kobe asked them if they collect footy cards.  They joked that Isaac Smith collects all his own cards and then they asked Kobe if he does.  He said he did and I told them how he wants to buy a $40 Jarryd Roughead card off eBay, but how that's not happening.  Brain Lake told him he will have to save up his pocket money.   He was a very funny guy and had everyone laughing the whole time.

Harri asked them how they felt when the final siren went at the grand final, and Ben McEvoy told us how he was on the bench with Cyril Rioli when it went, and he went to hug him but Cyril gave him the 'big slip' and he didn't get a hug.  It made us all laugh.  Harri put up his hand to ask a second question, and we were very impressed that Brian Lake remembered his name and asked him what his question was.  He asked them when did they know that they had won the game, and Brian Lake joked that it was half way through the second quarter. 

After the questions there was a BBQ for everyone, and then the kids could go around and talk to the players and get autographs and photos.   Brian was really lovely and asked the boys who wanted to wear his medal.   Harri quickly volunteered!
Brian let us hold his medal for a little while.  It was very cool to see it up close in real life. 




The boys loved being able to go around and get autographs from the players.  They took their footy cards and Harri also had a book to sign. 


We loved Jordan Lewis' tattoo :)  

I couldn't resist taking a selfie with some of the boys :)
Hawthorn donated a guernsey to Give Me Five For Kids, and all the players that were there had signed it.  Tash, who had asked the boys to come along, asked me if I was going to the Silverdome, and wanted me to try to get some other players signatures on it, so that they could auction it off.  I told her I would get onto it for her, but wasn't sure if I could get many, because I knew there would be thousands of people there.

At the silverdome we bought some premiership merchandise and couldn't resist some brown and gold Krispy Kremes :)
 
It was fun to see the whole team together, and you could tell they were tired, but were still very happy to talk to the crowd for a while, and answer questions.   I was especially excited to see Hodgey, even from afar.
Some of the players came up at the end to sign autographs, but I was only able to grab one signature on the guernsey.  We have gotten to know people who work for Hawthorn over the years, and when I asked one of them if she could help get some autographs on the guernsey, and what it was for, she said that the boys and I could come back to the VIP event afterwards if we wanted, so I could get them. 

We were very excited, and very grateful that we could do something so special.  Mum and my nephew Lachie were also with us, so they were lucky to be able to come to it as well.  We are (not so) slowly brainwashing Lachie that Hawks are the team to barrack for!   He told us that on Saturday he was the only one going for Hawthorn, and I told him that he was obviously the only one going for the best team.
It was very cool to have access to the whole team, and to be able to see the last two cups that they have won.  I was so happy to have been able to get all their autographs on the geurnsey for Give Me Five For Kids, and hopefully it'll raise a lot of money for the hospital.

I hardly saw the boys as they went around on their own getting autographs.   Harri is so excited to have his geurnsey signed by the premiership team.
Kobe was really excited to get his photo taken with Matthew Spangher.  Matthew told Kobe he liked his t-shirt :)
Jack Gunston is his favourite player, so he couldn't wait to get his photo taken with him. 
The highlight of the day (okay actually the year!) was getting a selfie taken with Hodgey.  He is so lovely and was more than happy to.  It's blurry because I was just so excited!

It was a very exciting day, and it was so nice to see my boys so excited and happy.  I couldn't help but keep thinking about how much Aaron would've loved it.  I would give up all of these experiences to have him and Noah back.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Back to Back

I'm still shocked myself with how much I love watching footy since Aaron passed away.  I used to like it and would go along to the games, but now it's like Aaron's love of footy and especially Hawthorn has taken over me.

We were SO excited when Hawthorn got into the grand final last week, and couldn't help but laugh about how crazy it is that there have been three grand finals since Aaron passed away, and Hawthorn have bene in all three of them.  A lot of friends have been joking about how much of a pull Aaron must have up there.

Harri is so much like Aaron with his love for the footy.  He loves the lead up to the grand final with Brownlow, all the information about who has been selected in the teams and tells us all the stats about the teams and how many finals they've won all together, when it was the last time they won and who won the Norm Smith medal.  He was waiting all week for the grand final footy record to come out, and was so excited on Thursday morning to finally have it in his hands.
Jalen's school had their footy colours day this week, and let's just say he wasn't as thrilled about it as we were about our 'sports colours day'.   He just doesn't love footy like the rest of us.  He got into it by wearing his Hawks guernsey, but wasn't happy that they had to wear it over their school uniform.
Jay is the black sheep of the family when it comes to footy. He loves watching games live at the MCG, but doesn't really get into it like we do. He reminds me of what I was like before Aaron passed away.   I kind of knew a bit about the team and how they were going, and knew the bigger players in the team, but that was it.   Now I know exactly what's going on, and still can't believe that I know all the player's names. Aaron would be so impressed with me!

Mum and Dad came in for the weekend to watch the grand final with us, and we got in the mood by decorating the inside and outside of the house.  Kobe was so excited to put up posters in the lounge room.  It's just what Aaron would've done

Even Milly got in on the action. 

I wasn't very confident that Hawthorn could win two years in a row.  I knew they would put up a big fight, but thought that Sydney were going to beat us.  Kobe woke up yesterday morning and told me that he had a dream that it was Hawthorn 99, Sydney 0 and on the final siren Hodgey took a mark, and kicked a behind to win 100 to 0.   I joked on Facebook that Kobe had a premonition, but really didn't think we would even win it.

During the morning some friends dropped off these awesome cupcakes they made for us.  We loved them....except for the cheeky Swans one they slipped in!
We couldn't believe how well Hawthorn were playing, and that they were winning so much by at half time.  I still couldn't relax though because I just kept thinking Sydney would catch up and we would lose it.  It was good to get out at half time and rest my voice from all the screaming, and kick out some of the nervous energy.  Dad cracked me up because while we were walking out the door he said 'oh good, now I can relax a bit! Don't hurry back!'.
During the game I was getting a lot of messages from people, who were very excited for us that Hawthorn were playing so well.  Harri kept saying 'I wonder what Dad would be doing right now!?'.  I finally started to relax early in the last quarter, when I felt that Sydney couldn't catch up to us. 

It was so good when the final siren finally sounded!   We weren't sure that they could win back to back premierships, and never could've predicted that they would beat Sydney by 63 points.  I think I even heard Aaron cheering from Heaven! ;)   Last Saturday during family prayer Harri cracked us up because he prayed that Hawthorn would win the grand final and would win back to back premierships.  I couldn't help but burst out laughing and asked him after if Heavenly Father would really care about the football and if Hawthorn won, and he said 'of course he would!!!'. I guess He must barrack for the Hawks! ;)

Harri's teacher gave him this cardboard cup during the week, so he was so excited to write Hawthorn on it, when they won. 
We laughed about how Aaron would've gone to church today with all his Hawks gear on - socks, tie and probably even his guernsey under his suit jacket, so we decided to wear our Hawthorn scarves for him.  Harri put on his 2013 premiership medal on as well. 
I don't know this person that I am - getting so excited about a game of footy! I'm sure if Aaron was still here it would be a lot different, and I would probably be like Jay and would be happy just watching out of the corner of my eye.    I'm sure he's loving watching us get so into it, and it's nice to have something to love that makes us feel like Aaron is still close by.  

Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Possum Tree 2014

For the past nine years, I have taken my boys photo in front of the same tree and I was hoping to do the same this year.  They still humour me, by letting me take their photo there and I'm hoping they'll let their old Mum do it for many more years.   It's known to us as the 'Possum tree' because we used to call it the 'blossom tree' but Harri thought we were saying 'possum' so we stuck with it. 

I almost kicked myself today when I drove past one of our old houses, and saw that the tree out the front had already blossomed a while ago.  I just couldn't go past taking one this year, even though most of the blossoms have already gone.
2013
This was taken not long after we got Milly. I think I was still looking at her thinking 'what have I done!!?'. 
2012
The first 'possum tree' photo since Noah and Aaron passed away.  I really noticed how Harri was catching up to Jalen's height this year, but now Jay has started taking off again. 
2011
This photo was taken just a month before Noah passed away.  He wasn't well, but we had no idea what was coming.
 
 2010
Poor Noah was still using his wheelchair that was way too small for him, while we waited for funding for his new one. 
 
 2009
How cute were Harri and Kobe!?
 
 2008
Definitely not the best photo, but I remember thinking 'just don't drop Kobe!' as I quickly snapped it, and couldn't get a better one because Harri kept grizzing that the sun was in his eyes.  It's funny the things you remember.  
2007
Such cuties. I miss having them this small.
2006
I remember looking out our lounge room window, and seeing how pretty the tree was so I dragged the boys out for a photo.  Who would've thought that nine years later I would still be doing it! 
Hopefully next year I'll catch the tree when it's in full blossom.  I'm definitely slipping! I bet Aaron was laughing at me today when I was cursing myself for missing it!
 
It's so fun and also sad to look back and see how much the boys have changed and grown, and how our family has changed.  I feel like we are in a much better place right now than we were even a year ago, and it's hard to imagine if and how things will be different even in one more year, but I hope that this time next year, we can reflect back on a good year. 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Real Imprints

Last week a lovely woman contacted me.  She said she had read my blog and was wondering if I would be interested in sharing my story on their website - Real Imprints.  They created the website because they feel that each person's life and experiences can be used to bless another's.

When they asked me if I would like to share my 'story' I felt it was a privilege to.  Any time that I can talk about Aaron and Noah is a blessing, and it's nice to know that I can share our story, so that people don't forget that we are a family of six.  There's just one third of us not on earth right now.

It took me a while to write out my 'story' again, and it surprised me as to how hard it was to write about what has happened, even though I live through it every day.  When I type what has happened it just doesn't seem real.  It doesn't feel like Noah has been gone for almost three years.

Thank you Tasha and Lindsey for asking me to share my story.  I am grateful to know that Aaron and Noah are not being forgotten.

You can read my story on the Real Imprints website here or by clicking on the picture below.  


http://realimprints.org/tragedy-strikes-again-and-again/



Friday, 12 September 2014

15

15 years ago today I became a Mum. I can't say it was the happiest day of my life, because Jalen's birth was actually very long and traumatic (it even says so in his child health book!) but after I got over that,  I absolutely loved being a little family.   Aaron and I decided we wanted to wait a little while before we had kids.  We got married young and wanted to enjoy being a 'just' a married couple, before kids came along. We had almost four years on our own, and we didn't really know what hit us when Jay was born!
 
He was a very hard baby as he had reflux, but we just thought all babies were like that (because isn't that what babies do: eat, sleep and cry - a lot!?) so we just dealt with it the best way we knew how.  When he finallly 'grew out of it' we realised how much pain it had been causing him, and finally at 6 months of age he started to sleep through the night, after some advice from the Child Health Nurse and persistence from us.  
 
Those first six months were hard, but Jay has more than made up for those hard days and nights since then.  He's such a great kid and I have no doubt that he was meant to come to our family first.  He's always been sensitive and caring and such a great big brother to all of his brothers, but especially to Noah. 
You hear a lot of horror stories about teenagers, but I'm still waiting for Jay to turn into a horrible teenager ;) He's been through so much throughout his whole life, and especially in the last three years, but he makes me so proud with the way that he just keeps going and is still able to see the positive things in life, despite having days when he feels really down. 

I felt really sad on Harri's birthday, but Jay's birthday hasn't been as hard.  I think because he is so easy going about it, that it doesn't put as much stress on me.  Harri is not one to let you forget when his birthday is, but Jay hasn't talked as much about his.  He was so grateful for each and every present, and as he walked out the door to go to school this morning he yelled 'thanks for everything!'. 
He asked a couple of months ago if he could have a sleepover with his friends from school, and as much as I wanted to say no, I was happy that he wanted to have some fun with his friends, so tonight I have six of his friends sleeping over.   It's going to be a big night of pizza, junk food, video games and watching superhero movies.  I just hope I can sleep through it all. 
 
He actually has some lovely friends, three of them have been friends with him since Kindergarten.  
Nicole the awesome Cupcake Fairy offered to make him his cake, and he knew exactly what he wanted - an Agents of Shield cake with cupcakes around it with logos  of different superheroes.He absolutely loved it and Kobe said they're the best cakes in the 'whole, whole, whole whole world!!!.
I feel very lucky to have a kid as great as Jay.  He makes me laugh so much as he reminds me so much of Aaron.  Almost every day I say to him 'are you right Aaron!!?' as he does something that is exactly what Aaron would've done or said.  He has the same sense of humour as Aaron and is very quick witted.  He loves being compared to Aaron as I tell him about things that his Dad used to do.  It always makes him laugh.  
 It's hard to believe my baby is 15, and I wish I could just freeze time right now because I'm loving the age he is at.  He always asks me how my day has been, and isn't scared to show me affection, even in front of his mates.  It's been nice to have him come and visit me in my bedroom tonight, to thank me for letting his friends come over, and to see how appreciative of the things I have done for his birthday.    I'm so proud of him and I have no doubt that Aaron would be too. 

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Father's Day

September is a harder month than usual with two birthdays and Father's Day.  I haven't thought too much about Father's Day this year, but I couldn't help but think about it because Kobe has been talking about it for a couple of weeks.  For some reason he is really grieving a lot again the last couple of weeks, and keeps saying things like 'I love the photos of Daddy and Noah, but they just make me so sad' as he looks at them on the wall.  One morning he just kept crying and saying 'I just wish so much they didn't die'. 

At school his teacher told me they would decorating mugs for Father's Day and asked me what I wanted Kobe to do. I told her I would ask Kobe, and suggested that he could make it for Grandpa instead of Dad.  That upset him and he said he really wanted to make it for Dad, and that he wanted to take it to the cemetery for him.  I told him that I think that Daddy would love it, especially if we put some flowers in it for him, so that is what we did.  He was sure that Aaron would love the Hawks colours he put on it. 


We took it up yesterday, because we knew we wouldn't get to the cemetery today.  Kobe has been crying a lot all week, especially one night when he came home from school upset because he said a boy in his class said 'yeah your dad died!' as they were talking about Father's Day.  I told him that I'm sure the boy wasn't being mean about it - he was just saying it because he knew that his Dad had died, but he was so upset about it.  

At the cemetery he made me laugh because he was pretending he was playing football with Harri and they kept tackling each other.  It was nice to see him not so sad about Father's Day.   I'm sure Aaron would've loved it. 
We were very sad to see a fresh child's grave, right next to Noah.  I can't help but wonder how old they were and what happened.  I feel sick thinking about what his parents are probably going through right now. 

Today after church we had a Father's Day lunch at my brother Eden and his wife Steph's house.  It was a beautiful day.
Dad loved sitting out in the sun, watching all the kids kick the footy around. 


I couldn't help but to go back to Target to get another t-shirt that mentioned 'Dad' on it for Kobe.  He loves it.
 
On the way home we went to see the progress on my Mum and Dad's house, which my brother is building.  It's exciting to see it going up, and it will be nice for them to have some more space again. 

It is hard to hear lots of people talk about Father's Day when Aaron isn't here, but I'm grateful for kind friends who contacted me as they knew it may be a hard day.  I was actually feeling okay about it, until I saw families at church together, and then it hit me.  I just wish things were so different.
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