Friday, 5 February 2016

A Year Without Dad

January is a big month to remember men in our lives who we love and miss so much.  My Pop passed away on the 25th, Aaron on the 26th and my Dad passed away a year ago on January 27th. 

We were still in Sydney on the 27th and we knew we wanted to go to the beach on Australia Day for anniversary of Aaron's death, but weren't sure what to do for the anniversary of Dad's death. I know I wanted to keep busy and Mum was with us, and I knew it would be an extra hard week and day for her, so we were hoping we could do something fun.

My brother Chrish suggested that we go to the Blue Mountains as we have been to Sydney so many times, but never to the Blue Mountains.  I thought it was a great idea, and he showed me the website for Scenic World the morning that we were going.   As soon as I saw what you could do there, I said we had better get moving as I knew it was going to be a full day.

Chrish lives in the western suburbs, so it was only about 45 minutes to get to Katoomba.  We headed off in our shorts and t-shirts as it had been really humid all week, but as we got closer to Katoomba the weather changed and it was actually quite cool.  We ended up stopping on the way, so that Mum could go and buy some leggings and a jumper, because she was so cold.  Poor Chrish had to ride his motorbike all week as we were using his car, and we felt sorry for him as he had to ride in the rain and cold weather. 

The only thing I really knew about the Blue Mountains was that there was a rock formation known as 'The Three Sisters'.  
 
We got our photo taken in front of it and of course I had to make Dad jokes about the three brothers standing in front of the three sisters.
The first thing we did was jump on the railway. 




It's the steepest railway in the world and it is 52 degrees down, so you have to hold onto the seat in front of you to stop from falling forward too far.  The funniest thing is they play Indiana Jones music as it starts off.


I don't think we realised how steep it was until we saw the railway from the bottom.
When we got to the bottom we enjoyed a short walk around the forest.



We then caught the cableway (cable car) back up to the top, before jumping on the Skyway which took us across from one cliff to the other. 


The coolest thing was that part of the floor was see through, so we could see the forest floor below us.

The scenery was amazing as you went across, so it was a pity that the trip was so short.

On the other side we went for a short walk and saw some incredible rock climbers, climbing down the massive cliffs. If you look closely you can see Chrish perched up on the ledge as he tried to get some photos of them going over.

We went for a walk to Katoomba Falls and Chrish and Jay had a great time climbing up them. Harri attempted it, and ended up with drenched feet.


When Chrish was trying to take photos of the rock climbers, he found two hats and this was one of them! It cracked us up and the boys had a great time taking turns wearing it for the rest of the day. 
Before we left we decided to go on the railway again, and this time the boys and Chrish wanted to go right up the front.

 We then ran around and jumped back on, to go up this time (backwards).
When we got back Mum and I made Dad's favourite for tea - roast lamb.  It turned out to be a lovely day and one that Dad would've loved.  The last year has gone so fast without him.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

4 Years

As crazy as it sounds, I'm grateful that Aaron passed away on Australia Day as it means we can spend the day with others as it's a public holiday. A lot of people also remember that it was the day he died, and it's nice to get so many lovely messages, comments, and texts from people letting us know they are thinking of him and us.

I like to keep as busy as possible on birthdays and anniversaries to make the day easier, so when I saw cheap flights to Sydney come up, we grabbed them a couple of months ago, knowing that it would mean that we would spend Australia Day and also the anniversary of Dad's death in Sydney with my brother Chrish, and also my Mum who was keen to come with us.

We had a lovely 9 days in Sydney, and the weather was typical Sydney weather with lots of thunder storms and showers at times, but we were blessed to have a beautiful sunny, hot day on Australia Day.  I knew I wanted to go to the beach on Australia Day, so I was so glad that it was a beautiful day.

I love Chrish's photos that he puts up on Instagram as he's always going somewhere new.  He recently put up a pic of a walk that he did to the lighthouse at Palm Beach (where they record Home and Away), and knew that's what I wanted to do on Australia Day.

I thought it was a good idea until we started walking up the steep hill in the hot sun.

Kobe drove my crazy by moaning the whole time as we walked to the top.

It was definitely worth the walk to the top though.




We were excited to see helicopters and light planes with banners flying behind them.  We thought for sure it would've said something like 'Happy Australia Day', but instead they were just advertising $2 Cornetto ice-creams and Coke.  We had to laugh that they were advertising Coke on Australia Day, when Pepsi was Aaron's favourite - he would've said it was very un-Australian!


After we sat the top for a while, and chatted to some of the locals, we were keen to get down to the beach to jump in the waves for Aaron.

Kobe was much happier going down, than going up!

We ate lunch at the surf club before heading to the beach.

 It was so nice to get down to the beach for a swim, after such a hot walk.


You can't tell from the photos, but the waves were so big and powerful, that it wasn't actually very safe to swim in there. We did swim between the flags, but Kobe kept getting knocked right down, and then dragged under.  We stuck very closely to the edge while the boys swam out a bit deeper with Chrish.

 Jalen hates swimming now, so it was a shock to see him actually get in (and enjoyed it!).   The water was so nice.



After we swam and played cricket for a little while (with some of the local boys who joined in) we then went around to the other side of the bay to go kayaking. Chrish now has two kayaks which was great, as a couple of us could go out together.








 We had to get Maccas for tea as that was Aaron's favourite.
Jalen has always like the singer Shannon Noll since he was on Australian Idol when he was little. He's not my type of singer, but Jay and his friends always go on about him and how he was robbed and should've won.  Chrish noticed during the week that he was going to be singing at a free Australia Day event in Penrith and as soon as Jay heard, he was so excited so I said we would go there after we went to the beach.

It was a great event with other acts as well, and even though I'm not into his music, he was great live, and he even sang Walting Matilda.   There was an autistic boy sitting next to us with his Mum the whole time.  I'm not sure what's cuter - Kobe singing along with 'Nollsie' or the Mum and the boy dancing together :)
 At the end of the event they had some awesome fireworks.
When we got back to Chrish's house the younger boys went to bed, and Chrish reminded us that we hadn't had any Pepsi for Aaron, so we made sure we had some before we went to bed.  I don't think he would've been impressed with it being in a Coke glass though!
Overall it was a nice day, even though it's a hard day. It was nice to have such beautiful weather and to get out and do something together that Aaron would've loved.   We miss him every single day and it's hard to believe that four years have already gone by without him here.
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