Saturday, 30 August 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge

How funny is the ice bucket challenge that is going around at the moment!? In Australia the ALS ice bucket challenge is known as the MND ice bucket challenge.  It's such a fun way to raise money and awareness for such a great cause, and some people have decided to use it to raise money for other causes.  I've heard a few people complain about the ice bucket challenge, but I think it's such a great way to raise awareness (I actually had never really heard of ALS before now), raise money and have fun and some laughs while doing it.    Hopefully everyone who is doing it, is actually donating to a good cause as well, whether it be ALS/MND or some other cause.

I first saw the ice bucket challenge a couple of months ago, when some people in Australia were doing it to raise money for my cousin Lanai's son - Lindsay.   He has a brain tumour and has needed a lot of money to pay for treatment in the USA, because medicinal marijuana is not yet legal in Australia.  He has had some amazing results being on treatment in the USA, and it's so hard for them and the whole family emotionally, financially and physically to keep going back and forth for treatment.  They were recently on the TV show 60 Minutes and you can watch it and read more about it here.  Before Lindsay was diagnosed I would've been totally against legalising it, but since his diagnosis I have learnt so much about how it can help so many people, and hope that anyone who is not sure about it, would also take the time to learn more about it. 

Lanai and Lindsay's friends who did the ice bucket challenge raised enough money to pay for a ticket for Lindsay to return to the USA again for treatment.
I was nominated about a month ago (thanks Kym...not!) and was under the impression that if you didn't do that ice bucket challenge, that you had to donate instead.  Hopefully people who are doing it are donating as well.  I thought that it was probably more beneficial if I made a donation, so I did that instead, even though the boys have been begging me to do the challenge, because they wanted to have a good laugh.

My boys have been hanging out to be nominated to do it, especially after a couple of teachers did it at school.  Finally this week they were nominated and couldn't wait to do it. 

Here are the videos of my boys doing their challenge.

Kobe cracked us up as he looked like he was about to cry, but acted all tough like he was fine with it :)

They each did it separately and then wanted to do it again, so Alison dumped a bucket over all of them at once, but surprised them as it was actually warm water :)

Friday, 22 August 2014

Kobe's Superhero

I'm not usually one to buy something on the spur of the moment, but I couldn't resist these t-shirts when I saw them in town today.   I saw them and tried to walk straight past, but couldn't help but turn around to get one.  I couldn't decide which one, so Kobe ended up with both of them.
I don't do sponsored or paid posts on my blog, but I wouldn't say no to Target sending me a voucher or something for promoting their cute t-shirts which are very hard to resist, especially if you are a widow of someone who is very much loved and missed by his boys ;) :)    Aaron is definitely their superhero and I couldn't have found a more perfect t-shirt.   
Kobe loves the t-shirts and said that 'Daddy would love them' too :)

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Book Week

I have a love/hate for book week - because it's stressful trying to sort out what the boys are going to wear, and I am not creative at all.  I can't sew and even though we have a huge bag of dress ups, the boys are never happy to wear whatever we have in it.  I also love it because it's so fun to see all the kids dressed up at school for the day. 

This year the theme was 'connect to reading' and the kids had to explain who they were and how they connect with that character.  Kobe was going to wear his footy gear at first, and that would've been easy to connect to, but then he decided he was going to be a pirate.  I have no idea how he connects to a pirate, but I didn't care and was just glad that he had a costume :) Luckily he could still fit into the pirate costume I bought for him last year.   

Harri had no idea what he was going to be, until I reminded him that he had basketball gear and he is obsessed with playing basketball. Thanks goodness that was an easy costume to come up with!

While I was going through the costume bag, I came across the hospital gown and cap that Aaron used to wear when he would be 'Docta Steve'.   I searched through Noah's special box and found the stethoscope we used to use on him, and went dressed as a Doctor.  I got a lot of comments from people who know about 'Docta Steve' that I was Docta Steve's wife :)    I said that I could connect with a Doctor because I'm always putting bandaids on Kobe.
If it isn't stressful enough working out what costumes the boys are going to wear, as well as myself, this year I had to scrape together six other outfits from my EAL students.  I didn't want them to feel left out if their classmates were dressed up, and I knew they wouldn't have anything at home.  I had some lovely school Mums and a friend, drop off bags of girl dress ups so that they could choose what they wanted to wear.  One of the boys chickened out, but it was nice to see them all dressed up and having so much fun. 

A few of the other teachers got dressed up as well. My friend Jacky dressed up as 'Where's Wally's' girlfriend.  Aaron actually used to teach Jacky, so it's been fun to hear about the days when she was one of his Prefects and how he would help her out.   He would love that we are teaching together now.  
Thank goodness Book Week is over for another year.  I wonder how many more years I can talk the boys into being a pirate and basketball player!? ;)

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Our Therapy Dog

Time is such a strange thing - it can go so slowly, but fly at the same time.  It's so hard to believe it's almost three years since Noah passed away.  Three years! That sounds like forever, and it also feels like forever since Noah and Aaron were here, but it doesn't feel like they have been gone for three years. 

When I look back and think about all the things that have happened over the past three years, I'm proud of where we've come.  It's been really hard, and it still is, but we are doing okay.  We are probably doing more than okay, considering what we've been through.   We have done so much in the last three years, and one thing Aaron would definitely be loving, and also laughing about is that we have a dog. 

It's now been a year since we got Milly.  I swear that every day I look at her and still can't believe we have a dog! The biggest dog hater has a dog! I've turned into a dog appreciator.  I still don't think I can say that I love dogs, but I do get why people do. I'm just not an animal person. I do love Milly, but still think that having a dog is a pain at times.  I just hate that we can't just pack up and go somewhere without having to wonder what we will do with Milly (thanks Alison for always being our dog sitter) and hate all the gross stuff that goes along with having a dog which don't even need mentioning.

At least a couple of times a week Jay will say to me how much he loves Milly and how grateful he is that we have her.  He says he doesn't know what he would do without her, and I can see how good she has been for all of us.   I have no doubt that the boys wouldn't be doing as well as they are, if we didn't have Milly. 

When I considered getting a dog, I was worried that I would end up doing all the work and of course it has ended up that way.  I know I could pester the boys to do more, but it's just easier to do it myself and she really isn't hard to look after.

I love that she doesn't shed and I think that's the only way I would ever cope with a dog.  The downfall is that she needs trimming regularly, and being a single Mum (and a cheapskate)  I would much rather do it myself, than pay someone every six weeks to trim her.   It's such a big job as I don't want to shave her (I figure why buy a cute dog if they look like a skinned rat half the time?!) so it takes over an hour to trim her with scissors, as I like to let her off her lead now and then so she can have a run, as I don't want to make trimming day too traumatic for her.
Aaron was always very affectionate so when Milly follows me around day and night, I joke with Jay that Milly reminds me of his Dad.   She is obsessed with me and has to be right where I am. If she's sitting near me, she has to have her head laying on my leg.  It is nice to have her around on my day off work.  She loves keeping me company, and I feel guilty if I have to go out and do jobs all day. 

If I finish work early, Milly is so excited to see me and can't wait to get inside to follow me around all afternoon.  She knows when school is about to finish as our street gets busy with cars, and she will stare out the window, waiting for the boys to come home.
She loves playing with the boys and will bait them to run around the lounge room with her.  She will jump at them and wait fort them to chase her and will then go crazy for the next ten minutes.  The other night I videod them as they were playing, and couldn't stop laughing.  I hate my voice and laugh, but it was too funny not to share.
Getting a dog was definitely one of those hard and big decisions I have had to make in the last three years, but it has been a good one.   She has been the best therapy for all of us.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

The boy's new Dad

A couple of weeks ago Kobe told me that he had a double Luke Hodge footy card.  He said that I should have it because I love Hodgey and I could put it in my bedroom near my photos of Daddy and Noah.  I laughed and joked that it was a great idea, since Hodgey is going to be his new Dad one day (I'm sure that he would marry me if he wasn't already happily married...right!?).

Harri was not happy with my little joke and said 'Mum!!  You know that Dad can hear everything you say, so you shouldn't say that!'.  I reminded Harri that Dad loved Hodgey as much as I do, and that I'm sure he would love him to be their new Dad.  He wasn't at all convinced :)

Yesterday a friend who is an aide in Kobe's class at school, told me that Kobe had to tell the class things about himself, because he has been the leader this week.  He got up and said 'I have a dog called Milly, I like Hawthorn and Harri is obsessed with Hawthorn, and Mum wants to marry Luke Hodge'.  They had quite the laugh about that!

P.S: I don't do sponsors or paid posts on my blog but I'm very happy to promote my brother Eden's building business. He has decided to branch out and join the world wide web and now has an awesome website, and also has a page on Facebook.   

If you are after a great builder in northern Tasmania then check out his sites.  Even if you aren't in northern Tassie, still check them out :) He has built some beautiful houses and is building my parent's new home at the moment.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The Positive Side

Last week Tasmania had some severe storms.  We aren't used to big storms like they get in other parts of Australia, but it reminded us a lot of the cyclone that we experienced in Queensland last year.  The winds were so strong one night that none of us could sleep.  Kobe ended up in bed with me, and I was awake for hours listening to the house rattle.

I really wasn't worried about it at all, as I thought our house was pretty strong so I went off to work the next morning having a little laugh about our garden arch which had been blown over during the night.  I was going to make a joke about it on Instagram and say that we had a casualty from the storm, but forgot about doing it (sorry about the dodgy photos off my phone).

As soon as I got to work I got a phone call from Jalen who I had just dropped off.  The power was off at school and all the kids were being sent home.  Because the winds were so strong, none of the students were allowed to walk home.  I couldn't pick him up, so he had to wait to get a lift home.  Later in the morning I rang to check to see if he had made it home, and he was at home and he told me that one of our outside windows which was part of a back patio was broken.

I told him not to stress because it could be fixed, and said that I would come and check on it at lunch time.  When I got home I could see why he was so stressed.    The winds were still strong that it was even scary running home, because I was worried that I was going to get hit on the head by a tree.   Many trees had come down at school and we had heard that there had been a fatality.   The window had been blown right out of the frame and the movement had caused all the glass in it to crack. 
Our friend Alison was at the house with Jay which was great, because he was pretty stressed.  We went outside to see if we could somehow (by a miracle!) get it back into place.  I kicked it a few times before I decided it was way too dangerous, as every time I would get it in a little, the wind would catch it again and it would just fly further out.  I had to leave and go back to work (as school was actually sending students home early as it just wasn't safe to be at school), so I had to leave Jay and Alison at home to deal with it. 

I knew Jay was really stressed about it, and I was worried it was going to flip right around and smash into my windows in the sunroom and break those as well. There was nothing that we could do at that time to fix it, because the wind was just too strong and wasn't going to die down any time soon. 

I told Jay to just get busy doing something to keep his mind off it as much as possible, and to know that the worst that could happen is that we would have a few broken windows, and if and when that happens, we would just deal with it.   I reminded him that it could be worse and hoped that he could not stress about it too much while I was gone. 
About ten minutes later I found out from Alison that the window just flipped right off and fell to the ground, with the glass intact! I actually didn't care at all that it had fallen down, but was just relieved that it was now down and didn't end up breaking any of our sunroom windows. 

Earlier this year I switched insurance companies and have been worried about how they would be, because they were a lot cheaper than the previous company I was with.  Since the window was damaged I have had many phone calls from them, they sent someone to clear it away straight away and have had three visits from people sent by the company to deal with it.  It's going to take a little while till it is fixed, but I told the guy who was sent by the insurance company today how I was just so glad that we didn't have any more damage. 

He actually seemed surprised that I was 'happy' about it and said 'it's good you can see the positive side' and I told him that it could've been a lot worse and really we were very lucky.  It's a pain as I  have to pay an excess to get it fixed, but really that's the least of my worries.  What I've learnt over the past three years is that things like broken windows really don't matter. 

People die.   People get killed by trees falling on them.  People have heart attacks right before your eyes.  That's hard.  I can deal with a broken window any day. 

Sunday, 27 July 2014

'Long weekend' in Melbourne

I find that having something to look forward to helps a lot so when the AFL fixture came out at the beginning of the year, I looked at the games to see what would be a good game to take the boys to on the mainland this year.  I knew that the games between Sydney and Hawks would be big ones, and I was lucky to get cheap flights to take the boys to both the games - first in Sydney in May and then cheap flights came up for the game last night in Melbourne.  

Having my brother Christian in Sydney and sister Nicki in Melbourne is handy as it means we can have a nice cheap holiday as long as we can get cheap flights, and can catch up with them as well.  Having Fridays off work is great as it means we can have a long weekend and make the most of it.  I don't think having a day off school now and then hurts the boys, when they are getting to experience different things.

We flew to Melbourne after school on Thursday and stayed with my sister and her family.  My niece Maddi was so excited to see Jalen as she loves watching his videos on his YouTube channel. She is his little fan, and keeps asking him to do a shout out to her on one of his videos.  When we arrived she was watching his videos and was so excited to see him.
On Friday we got to see Maddi and Alex's classrooms at school. They were so excited to have us at their school and to show us their classrooms.  My EAL kids that I teach really stand out at school, but at Maddi and Alex's school probably half or more of the class are from backgrounds other than Australia.  
After we dropped them off we headed to the Scienceworks museum with Nicki and my nephew Linc.
We went there last year and ever since Kobe has been begging to go back.   I was glad that we did, as there were a lot of new things since we went last time.  The new exhibit was to do with the future. 
There was a room where you could choose which kind of music or sounds to make, and then people had to press buttons according to what mood they felt.  The colours of the room would then change according to the mood. 
 There were a lot of interactive exhibits which the boys loved.
 They loved making their own car for the future. 
 Jalen loved the sci-fi section. 
 Harri was excited to see the interactive sports section was still there. 
 Kobe couldn't wait to get to the kids section as there is so much to see and do. 
We have been in touch with one of our favourite missionaries - Elder Hosman since he was transferred from Tasmania.  We caught up with him in Melbourne in December, so we emailed to see if he was close to Nicki's area to see if we could catch up quickly while we were there.  We were glad to hear that he wasn't far away and organised to meet up to have lunch at a shopping centre.  He let me know that Sister Vermuelen was also in his area.  We loved her so much and she even spent Christmas morning last year with us, so we were so excited to hear that we could also meet up with her.
Elder Hosman had a lovely companion - Elder Davis who is going home to the USA in a few weeks.  The boys loved having arm wrestles with them. 
It was so lovely to see both of them and to meet their companions. We loved having them in our home so often, and their weekly visits really brightened our day, so catching up with them was like catching up with my own kids.   We loved having the Elders visit because the boys love having some older males in the house again, and I loved having some girly company when the Sisters would visit. 
We just had to take a few selfies before we said goodbye :) 

It's always sad to say goodbye, and we knew this was probably the last time we would see them before they go back home to the USA and South Africa.  It'll be great to be able to stay in contact via Skype and Facebook though once they're home.  At the moment they are only allowed to email family and friends once a week, so we usually just send snail mail every couple of months because they don't have a lot of time to read emails.
Yesterday morning Nicki and Alex took us to an awesome place called Watermarc.  It has pools and a tipping bucket area, which is very similar to our Aquatic Centre we have here, but it also has two awesome indoor water slides (photo taken from their website).   Once you pay the entry free you can go on the slides as many times as you want. 
The bigger slide was called Tantrum Alley and is similar to the rides at Wet 'n' Wild and 'White Water World' on the gold coast where you fly down a tunnel, and then up the sides, but it is a much smaller version and is all indoor.  It was really fun as part of it was dark.  It was the first 'big' ride that Harri has been brave enough to go on and he freaked a little the first time (especially as he was flying down in the dark, backwards!) but he loved it and went on it many times during the day. 

Kobe was tall enough to go on the bigger slide and absolutely loved it. It was a tube slide which was also dark in places, and was very long and very fast. 
We had a great morning and had fun going on with Nicki and Alex and the kids too.  Poor Linc was sad because he was too short to go on the big slides.
Yesterday afternoon we spent a few hours in the city before heading to the MCG to go to the footy.  When we got to the city we saw a homeless man begging and it really upset Harri.  As soon as he saw him he looked so worried. I asked him what was wrong and he said he wished that everyone had a home.  I told him that we could give him some food or some money, and Harri burst into tears and said 'I just want you to give him your whole credit card, but you can't do that can you!?'. 
Harri was so sad he refused to get in this photo with the boys. 
He cheered up after a little while and the boys had fun going to their favourite shop in the city - which is a massive EB Games store.  There was a new section downstairs which the boys freaked out about - they are all obsessed with the Pop Vinyl figurines and have just started collecting them, so they so excited about how many were there. I let them choose one each and it took them forever to work out which one they wanted. 
We met up with Nicki and Alex and squeezed onto a tram to go to the MCG. 
Whenever I'm in Melbourne I think about how much Aaron used to love it there. 
Nicki got us awesome seats - three rows from the front up near the goals. 
Before the game Harri thought he would be funny and went up to the Sydney mascot and pretended he was going to give him a high five, but then pulled his hand away.  Everyone around us was cracking up, and a hawthorn supporter a couple of rows behind us yelled to him 'that was awesome mate! You deserve a high five for that!' and reached over and gave him a high five.   Harri loved that he kept everyone entertained and it reminded me so much of something Aaron would've done on one of his school footy trips, to get his students laughing. 
Whoever was in the Hawka costume was hilarious.  He was dancing and posing, and pretending to shoot the swan.  He had us laughing so much. 
It was a very exciting game and it was fun to be up so close. 
I told the boys that if anyone of them marked the ball I would give them $50.  I knew my money would be safe, but started worrying when the ball would come towards us!
It's so fun to see the boys get into the game so much.  Harri had me laughing the whole time as he commentated the whole game and got very excited whenever Hawthorn got a goal.  Even Jay was loving it and was screaming as much as we were.  The result was much better this time, with Hawthorn winning by 10 points.
We got home this morning and are all very tired.  It was worth it though to have such a fun weekend away.   I bribed Kobe into jumping into bed with me this afternoon to have a '10 minute' nap as I knew he was very tired.  He didn't want to, but I told him it would just be ten minutes and that he could have a chocolate when he woke up.  Three and a half hours later he woke up and asked for his chocolate :)

Thanks Nicki and Alex for such a fun weekend, and Alison for looking after Milly for us.  The boys were very happy to get home to her today, and she has been following us around since we walked in the door.

p.s: Hello to the lady who said hello on the plane.  It's always fun when people say hello and say that they read my blog, even when we don't know them. 
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