Saturday, 27 April 2019

School Holidays

We are just about to finish two weeks of school holidays and about to start Term 2 at school.  We've had a really relaxing break and didn't really plan on doing anything at all except sleeping in and doing things close to home.  It sounds like we are keeping Burger Junkie in business as we went there to celebrate being on school holidays. It was nice to have Jay home for a week a half because of the Easter break. 
We spent the Easter weekend at my Mum's house and decided to try our hand at fishing.  We used to always fish with Aaron off the jetty every summer, but we haven't done it since he passed away.  We had no cue what we were doing, so we did what everyone does when they have no idea about something and googled it :) Mum's house is just up the road for a jetty, and it was obviously a very popular spot as there were so many people fishing there. 
On the first day we tried fishing with lures and Jay and Kobe both caught a couple of little ones.  They were very excited! 
Everyone that was fishing around us were having more luck with bait, so the second day we tried that.  We were cracking ourselves up as we were getting little nibbles all the time and losing our bait, but not catching anything.   Kobe finally caught a small one and we had everyone laughing around us, as we were trying to get it off the hook and back in the water and were squealing. 
Harri almost pulled up a crab, but it got off on the last second. 
On Easter Sunday we went to visit my brothers and their families as they were camping near Deloraine.  We weren't keen on camping all weekend with them, especially as Mum wasn't well and wasn't up to camping.   It was nice to go and visit them for the afternoon and evening and to have a beautiful pot roast cooked over the coals with them.     
Harri really loved fishing even though he didn't catch anything, so he was excited to try fishing at the river.  
 The water was freezing, but that didn't stop Kobe going in with his cousins.
It's always nice to slow down and feel like 'just a mum' again when it's holidays.  When I'm working full time I feel like I never have enough time with the boys.  We are lucky that Kobe's school is close to our house, so we often go over there to play basketball.  I always love seeing Noah's memorial garden.  

The weather was really nice during the first week and a half of school holidays, so we made the most of it and spent some time on the beach.  It wasn't warm enough to swim, but the boys had fun kicking the footy together and Milly was in heaven. 
One day Harri went to work with my Mum. She does inspections on accommodation where seasonal fruit pickers stay, and the person who usually goes with her couldn't do it one day.  Harri had a great time with her.  I'm sure that Mum must've shrunk! 
While Harri was with Mum, I took the opportunity to have a one on one date with Kobe.  He loves it when we spend time together, just the two of us.  It was a beautiful day, so we went for a walk on the beach and then he chose Bento for lunch. 
We've seen a couple of movies over the holidays - Shazam and Avengers Endgame. Kobe was so excited to go and see Avengers again with Jalen for the second time.
Over the holidays I had a big clean out of the boys clothes, and while I was on a roll I decided to finally pull out Aaron's clothes from boxes in the garage. 

Harri had been asking me about Aaron's clothes recently because he knew that he would have some cool sports tops that he wanted to check out.  We had all of his favourite t-shirts made into a quilt by my cousin Toni just after he passed away, and I put away all of his geurnseys and jerseys into a blanket box in my bedroom, but the rest of his clothes I just packed away in the garage.  It was strange pulling them all out again, as there were so many memories when I saw particular items of his clothes.
 I ended up washing them all, and  the boys chose what they wanted to keep, I put some of it away again (the things that really reminded me of Aaron) and then dropped the rest off to be donated.  I thought I would feel sad getting rid of most of his clothes, but I was okay as I had kept what really meant the most to us and it's been so nice seeing the boys wear Aaron's clothes around.

It was the strangest feeling after I had washed his clothes and had chosen which ones I was going to keep, that I just felt like I could've folded them and put them away in our cupboard like nothing had ever happened.  It was like the last seven years hadn't happened and he was really still here.
I'm glad that  I finally got that job done, and that the boys are now able to wear some of Aaron's things. I'm sure he's loving seeing them in his Denver Broncos hoodie and Chicago Bulls t-shirts.

It's been so nice having two weeks to rejuvenate, sleep in, catch up on Netflix and spend time together.   I'm actually looking forward to getting back to work as being busy is good for me.  Sometimes when I'm not busy I find that I get really down as the days can be long without Aaron here.  I'm sure in a few weeks I'll be wishing it was school holidays again though!

Term 1

The year is going so fast and most of the time I think that we haven't really done anything, but as I was planning on doing a blog post I was going through photos on my phone and it reminded me of lots of things I had forgotten about.  This year Harri is in Grade 9 and Kobe is in Grade 5.  Neither of them were looking forward to going back to school after summer holidays and neither was I as it's always so nice to have no routine and to not be racing around all the time.   
Kobe has two lovely female teachers this year.  He's never really loved school, so it's nice to hear him say that he's enjoying school a lot this year. He's never really been away from me at all, and has always been anxious about sleeping anywhere away from me, so even though he was excited that he got to go on camp this year, he was really anxious about it as well.   On the morning that they left for camp he had a bit of a cry, but I knew that he would be fine once he got on the bus with his friends.
It was lovely to get messages from his teachers during camp, and seeing photos of him having fun.  Kobe's camp was at Camp Banksia at Port Sorell, and he was very excited that Uncle Eden and Auntie Steph and his cousins came to visit him there one night.
The house felt very empty with just Harri and I home for a couple of nights on our own, but we made the most of it.  Harri got to choose where he wanted to go out for tea, so he chose Burger Junkie.
Harri has been kept busy at school last term as he was asked to help out as a student leader at a few Primary School Athletics Carnivals.  He likes to help out (probably because it means he doesn't have to go to school for the day and gets to hang out with his mates!) and doesn't mind that he has to catch up on work at home. 

The week after Kobe went to camp,  Harri went on a Grade 9 camp to Bakers Beach.  He was annoyed that he couldn't do all the activities as his foot was still very sore but he had a great time.  They slept in tents and had to do all their own cooking.  He shared a tent with his friend Joe. 

Kobe got to choose where we went out for tea while Harri was at camp, and he chose Kosaten which is a cool Japanese restaurant which we both love.  You order the food on an iPad and then the food is delivered to you on a 'train' which comes to your table.  It's lots of fun and the food is really good.
Before Jay headed off to Uni we met Johnathon who was visiting Tasmania from the USA.  He is a friend of a family I started following on Instagram a few years ago after their son Mitchell passed away, and he started following us on Instagram about the same time.  It was lovely to meet in person and to be hand delivered a gift from Mitchell's parents Chris and Natalie.  Johnathon took us out for dinner to our favourite places to eat, that he also wanted to try (Burger Junkie and Kosaten again!) and we had fun showing him around the Gorge.
While we were at the Gorge we ran into Alison. It was lovely to see her as she now lives in Melbourne, so we don't see each other very often.  We had a laugh about how much taller Harri is than her now.  He's definitely grown a lot since she first started working for us all those years ago.
In March we all did Run for a Wish or walk for a wish in my case! Harri wasn't able to do it because of his foot, but came along to support us.
The boys were very excited when footy season started back up again.  We went along to the pre season game with Mum to watch Hawthorn V Richmond. 
About a month ago I saw a call out on Facebook for anyone who was wanting to be a part of a new Hawthorn advertisement that they were filming.  Kobe and I thought it would be fun to go along and his friend Kobe and his family were also there.  We had to pretend we were walking into the stadium with a crowd of people and then pretend that we were sitting in the stands cheering.  
The ad has just started being shown on TV every night because there's a game coming up and we were excited to see that we made the cut! We are all walking in together at about 38 seconds and then Karen and I are waving our scarves at the end.

It was lovely to catch up with Parker a month ago, who was also visiting from the USA and to meet his wife Madeline.
It seems like we've caught up with lots of people who are visiting from the USA over the last few months.  My brother in law Alex was 'home' from Illinois for a few days as he was working in Tassie.  We wish his whole family could've been with him, but it was nice to catch up for a few hours as we had a family dinner together.
This term has flown by and it's hard to believe we are a quarter of the way through the year already.  As much as I wasn't keen on going back to work after the summer holidays, I always love it once I'm there.  I work with some beautiful students and colleagues and they make me look forward to going to work every day.   It was a really busy term, so we were all glad when it was school holidays again, even if it was just for two weeks.

Out of Action

Harri has had a hard start to the year with getting an injury in his foot not long after school started for the year.  One day while I was at work he sent me a message to tell me that he had hurt his foot.  He's always getting injuries through playing sport, so I didn't think much of it but he kept complaining about it for a couple of days.  He said he was playing basketball at school with his mates, and as he started walking back to go to class he felt a pain in his foot.

We went to the doctor and he said that it was either tendinitis or a stress fracture.  He was hoping that it was 'just' tendinitis and said if it was, that it would feel better in a few days if he rested it.  Harri was told he couldn't play any sport, but Harri could hardly walk without any pain, so he already knew that sport was definitely out.
It didn't feel any better, so we went back to the doctor and had an X-ray done which didn't show  anything, which is apparently common when you have a stress fracture, because it doesn't show up until it starts healing.   After chatting with one of the head doctors at the surgery, they decided to avoid a bone density scan and MRI because of the cost as it was presenting as a stress fracture, and either way the treatment would be the same.  They sent us to a guy who makes orthotics and he discovered that Harri has a condition called hallux rigidis which is when your toes are really stiff. He said that because his toes aren't very flexible it puts pressure into his foot, which would've caused the stress fracture.  He asked to see my toes and I also have the same problem, so it's obviously a genetic condition. 

He said that making him some orthotics would help with the problem with his toes.  He used the orthotics for a week to see if that would help it to heal, but his foot wasn't getting any better.  So the guy who made the orthotics for him, decided it was time for a moon boot so that his foot could actually have a chance at healing. 
He said that once it healed then the orthotics should help to avoid it happening again. By this stage Harri was actually keen to get into the moon boot as he had so much pain for so many weeks, and was keen to start feeling normal again.
After a couple of weeks in the moon boot his foot started to feel much better.  Because he hadn't played sport for about 6-7 weeks he was really nervous about getting back into it again, and knew that he wouldn't be able to just start playing basketball again at the level he is used to.  We decided to go to a physio who we had been told was great with basketball injuries, and he gave him a lot of different exercises to do to strengthen up his feet, toes and ankles and to get his fitness back up again.
The physio agreed that he couldn't just go straight back into playing basketball, but had a plan of getting him back into it safely.  We've now had two physio appointments and he's still got another week or so of sitting out,  but he's so happy that he can start getting back into it soon.

It's been a long 11 weeks or so, especially as Harri loves his sport so much.   He's found it really hard to not be as active as he's used to.  Hopefully he can start playing basketball again in the next couple of weeks and he won't have to stress about it happening again. 

Mum to a Uni Student

The year is flying by and we are just about to finish two weeks of school holidays so I thought it was time to catch up on my blog.  I feel like not much has happened this year, but then at the same time so much has happened as Jalen has moved down to Hobart to go to University, and we've entered another stage. 
When Aaron died I couldn't help but to think about the future and wonder how I would be able to cope as a single mum, and how I would give the boys everything they needed including the option of going to Uni.  I always knew there would be a time when I would have to work full time so that I could provide for the boys, and it's hard to believe that that time is already here.  I've been working full time for over two years now, but when I began working full time it was always because I knew that it was the only way I could give the boys what they deserved, especially as they've had to grow up without their Dad.

Going into this new stage has been scary, exciting and sad all at the same time.  I'm so excited that Jay gets to study something that he's so passionate about (he's doing Bachelor of Media) but it's also been really scary because we've entered another stage. It was really stressful applying for accommodation, working out how and if we could afford it, moving him down there and getting used to not having him around all the time, and of course we were sad that he wouldn't be at home all the time anymore.

We were lucky that everything fell into place and he was accepted to live at Christ College.  On the day that he moved down he drove down in his car with Erin and we also went down to help settle him in. 
His accommodation is dorm style and he gets his own single room, shares a bathroom with others on his floor and also shares a kitchenette on his floor.  If he wants to cook there is a huge commercial kitchen in another building, and there's also a cafĂ© on site which sells really good meals at a good price.

Jay lives on the top floor and has an amazing view out of his window of the river.

I'm so glad that he got his Ps just before he had to go down, as he's really needed to have a car down there. His classes aren't on the main campus, so he's had to very quickly learn how to drive around Hobart.  I'm still shocked that he only just got his licence and now he's driving around Hobart.  He's just recently got a job at McDonalds at Sandy Bay.  He only has a couple of classes on campus this semester and a couple online.  It's been a good way to ease him into Uni as it's meant that he's been able to come home most weekends and works during the week.  It's been nice having him home a lot this semester as it doesn't really feel like he's moved away just yet.  We know that there will be a time when he'll be down there a lot more, so we are making the most of him being able to come home a lot while we can.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Our Sydney Summer

Every summer we head to Sydney with my Mum to stay with my brother Chrish and this year we went for the longest time we have ever spent at once, being up there for 12 days.   We have been many times now and always have our favourite things to do.  As soon as we arrived we headed to Wet n Wild to cool down as it was 42 degrees celcius!   
We went about four times as we bought season passes again.  We don't even worry about going on any of the big rides anymore, but usually just go to cool down in the wave pool, go on the racers, float around the lagoon and do a couple of rides that don't usually have a big line up. 
We always do our favourite things in Sydney every time we are there,  but I was keen to see if there was a new place we hadn't been that would be fun. Chrish told me about a place called Bents Basin which was a great swimming hole so we took the kayaks there and went swimming.  It was amazing! 
The water was incredibly warm, even where it was deep.  I swam all the way to the other end with Mum, while the boys kayaked there.  At the other end was some really cool rapids and rocks which we sat in.  The boys loved jumping off the cliffs (although it was just a little bit scary for Kobe and he decided not to do it. 
We went to a lot of concerts last year but Jay was really excited about booking tickets to see Bastille as they're his favourite band.  Unfortunately the week before the concert (which was supposed to be last September) they postponed the concert until January.   Luckily we hadn't booked our flights to Sydney for January yet, so we were able to plan our trip to Sydney around the new date for the concert.  Kobe was really upset that he couldn't come to the concert as it was only for 13 years and older.  Mum and Kobe had a great night together anyway and bought lots of treats and watched movies together.  

I promised Kobe we would send him photos and videos all night as he loves Bastille as well.  Jay got all of us into them as he plays their music in the car all the time.   I knew their song Pompei from the radio but didn't know any others.  When he played me their song 'Good Grief' I really started liking them as well. 

When I booked the tickets I was stressing as I was told they were all standing tickets.  Being an old woman I didn't think I'd cope very well standing all night, but just thought I'd deal with it.  The concert was at the Big Top in Luna Park so we went a bit earlier and had tea there before going in. 
When we went in I saw lots of people going upstairs where there were seats! I asked the security guard about it and he said anyone over 18 could sit upstairs.  The boys were keen to get a spot up close to the stage, so I left them there together and enjoyed sitting upstairs on my own.  It was a win/win for the three of us. I kept texting them in between the support acts to see if they were okay and they were fine and loving it, and I was loving having a seat.  I was lucky to be right in the second row and no one sat in front of me so I had a great view. 

They played Good Grief as their first song.  This was my view from my seat upstairs. It was a small venue which made it quite intimate. 

During their song Flaws the lead singer actually walked through the crowd and then came upstairs! He was so close to me and the boys said they could see me when he came up.  They were very jealous that I got so close. 
Happier is probably one of their more well known songs. This is Jay and Harri's view from where they were standing. 
Pompei was their last song.  
It was an awesome concert and Jay and Harri both said it was their favourite one yet. 
Mum went and spent a few days in Mudgee with our friends Gail and Phillip.  On the days she was there Chrish was at work for two of those days.   One day we caught the train to the city and then the ferry to Manly for lunch and a swim.  
We were very disappointed to hear that there were blue bottles around.  The life guards kept warning people on the microphone but there were still hundreds of people swimming.  Harri, Kobe and I braved it for a little swim but we didn't stay in very long. 
The boys were excited that there were three Big Bash cricket matches on while we were up there.  I was quite proud of myself working out how to get to the SCG on public transport. I would much rather catch public transport than drive up there.  
Kobe was definitely the odd one out with his Hurricanes top on! He was excited to be able to watch them play a game in Sydney. 
Chrish had an RDO while we were there (and Mum was in Mudgee) so we decided to go to Palm Beach (aka Summer Bay - it's the home of the TV show Home and Away).  We walked up to the light house first.  The views are incredible!
When we got back down to the bay we checked out the 'diner' and 'Alf's Bait Shop' before going for a swim. 
Jay didn't tell the rest of us that we were doing the band cover shot! ;) 

When Mum came back from Mudgee we decided to go to Bondi.  It is always so busy but Harri is obsessed with it and always wants to go there.

The waves are always massive at Bondi and we had a great time in the water.  This video of Kobe almost knocking some ladies over, cracks me up every time I see it. 
Aaron died on Australia Day and we always try to make it a fun day instead of just a sad day, so this year we decided to stay in Sydney longer than usual because I wanted to experience the Australia Day fireworks on Sydney Harbour for the first time.  The morning of Australia Day we decided to go to Wet n Wild first as it was a really hot day. 
They had a thong throwing competition for Australia Day which we all decided to enter for some fun.   Kobe and Harri shocked us and both won their heats for their age groups!  They both won a free snow cone.  
 They were both in the grand final and we didn't think at all they would win, but Harri did!
 The aim was to get the thong the closest to the target, rather than distance.
Harri was excited to win a bag of goodies including a Wet n Wild towel, meal voucher and drink bottle.
 After Wet n Wild we caught the train into the city for the fireworks.
Chrish knew a good spot to sit up on the hill close to the Opera House, but this year they blocked it all off.  So we went back down to Circular Quay and found a great spot to sit right in front of a stage near the harbour bridge, that was set up for the night.  There were volunteers everywhere giving out Australian and aboriginal flags. 
Outside the Opera House was a ticketed concert, but we could hear it all around the harbour and it was also being played on huge screens.  There was a huge screen right near the stage we sat at, and the concert was televised.  Some of the concert cut over to our stage and we got to see the aboriginal band Yothu Yindi, as well as the children's choir sing the national anthem in an aboriginal language and also English.   
Yothu Yindi were awesome. 
The whole night was absolutely amazing. There were jet skis, ferries, tall ships and people on jet packs on the harbour which were moving in time with the music.  There were also jets flying overhead letting off fireworks and fireworks going off all night with different songs. 
It was amazing night and I'm so glad that we stayed up longer for it.  I think everyone in Australia needs to experience Australia Day on Sydney harbour.  

I felt so proud to be an Aussie when they were singing the national anthem and there was a huge grand finale of fireworks during it. 

 It was so busy with thousands of people catching trains home afterwards. 
On our last day we went to our first ever NBL game.   It was the Sydney Kings v Perth Wildcats so of course we had to go for the Sydney Kings :)
They didn't win but it was a lot of fun.  We loved the atmosphere and it felt very American with all the entertainment, music and cheerleaders.

We had a great time but were glad to get back home.  Sydney is always a lot of fun, but it is also so hot and busy. It's always nice to get back home to laid back Tassie. Thanks for having us again Chrish and thanks to Alice and Erin for house and dog sitting for us.
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