Thursday, 27 February 2014

Always Their Hero

Jalen and I have been talking a lot about Aaron lately, and what kind of teacher he was at school.  We both say that it's hard to imagine him teaching, but we know that he taught his students more in a few years, than many teachers could teach them in their whole teaching career. 

When the grade 10s from Kings Meadows High School left school last year, they asked if they could have a mention of Aaron on their leavers t-shirts, as he was their grade leader when he passed away.   The t-shirt had the student's names on it and then 'fond memories Mr King' at the bottom.  I thought it was so lovely that they wanted to include him on their t-shirt, so I was very surprised when I got a message from a past student at the end of last year, asking for permission to design a hoodie to be made in memory of Aaron.  

Some of the students really wanted to have something more to remember him and their year group, so I was blown away when I saw the design.   He had included everything Aaron loved - Hawthorn, the Chicago Bulls, his school house Tamar (the green socks and headband), Kings Meadows High School shorts and his favourite number.   Aaron would've loved it so much. 
I ordered one for myself and was excited to get it yesterday.  They look so good.  
I hate that it's been so long since he has been here, and even my memories of him are starting to fade, so I worry that others will forget him.  It's so nice to know that his students still love and miss him, even two years later. 

Jay and I have said how amazing it is that students would want to do something so special to remember him, and how it goes to show what an impact he had on their lives. I hope that I can teach like he did - not only the curriculum, but I hope I can have an impact on their lives, even years after I have 'taught' them.  

Thank you Emerson for designing it and organising it for everyone.  You did an amazing job and he would love it so much.  

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Hawk Stalk 2014

The boys are so excited that footy season is back.  It has been a big weekend of stalking seeing the Hawks as it's been their Community Camp weekend in Tasmania.  Last Thursday we headed to their training session, which was held the day before they played their NAB cup game against the Kangaroos.
The weather was terrible, which was great for us as it meant there was hardly anyone at the training session.  Harri was so excited to be able to buy the latest book about their Premiership last year, and got the captain Alistair Clarkson to sign it for him.  We were excited to see a photo of him signing it for him, on Hawthorn's Instagram feed later that night.

'Clarko' was so lovely to the boys and came out for a photo.  He asked Kobe what grade he was in at school and Kobe said 'I'm not in any grade! I'm in Prep!'.
Harri was so excited about getting the book signed, and couldn't wait for the players to finish training to see if he could get them to sign it too.

There was literally about thirty people at the training which was great, as it meant we got photos and autographs with all of the players.  Of course I was the most excited about Hodgey :)   Cyril Rioli cracked us up as he did a great photo bomb. 

The boys love Bradley Hill so it was exciting to get a photo with him.

Jarryd Roughead was friendly and asked how we were going, so I was smiling away as he signed Harri's book, while a photographer from The Examiner newspaper took a photo of us without me knowing.  Afterwards he came up to us and asked us for our names and I thought it may be a small photo in the back pages with the sport news. 
The next morning I was shocked to see this massive photo on the front page of the paper!  Lots of kids at school have been saying 'I saw you in the paper Mrs King!'.
Harri was so excited to get so many autographs in his new book. 
The next night we went to watch the NAB cup game against the Kangaroos with Mum. 
It's so fun listening to Kobe during the game.  He is so into it and knows all the players and if he isn't sure of one of them he yells out to Harri (who always has the footy record) 'who is number .....?'. 

Grandma and Jay were having a great laugh about the runners..
It was fun to to go a night game as we usually have day games at Aurora. 

The Hawks won easily.  We can't wait until the first game of the season back at Aurora.  
Over the weekend the boys loved to be able to hang out with the Hawks in town.  Harri said that Jack Gunston is his favourite player since Buddy left, so he was so excited to get his photo taken with him.  We told Jack that he was Harri's favourite player and then Kobe said 'and mine!' which cracked Jack up.  He told him that he calls him 'Jacko' :)
Jay has always loved Josh Gibson and he is always so great with the kids.  

Yesterday four of the players came to school as part of their Community Camp.  Hawthorn had arranged it with me a year ago through the lovely ladies who work as part of the community program.  The boys had been so excited about it and couldn't wait to see who turned up.  They were excited to see that Sam Mitchell was one of them.  Sam Grimley, Kurt Heathley and Angus Litherland also came. The boys met the at the office with me.  
The grade 3s and 4s got to have a short clinic with the players and Sam Mitchell kept cracking jokes and introduced himself as Buddy Franklin.  Most of the kids didn't know how to take it, as they knew that they had this famous football player in front of them, but those who were big Hawks fans would laugh and tell him he was Sam Mitchell.  He then introduced the other guys as different players and the kids would call them those names all the time and Sam would laugh. Sam was also being cheeky and kept pressing the announcement button at school and said 'thanks for having the Hawthorn football club in your school' over the speakers as they left.   The grade 5s and 6s were so excited when he put his face up to their classroom window.

Harri loved hanging out with the players again.  They have been very spoilt with seeing the Hawks so much over the past week.  We know how lucky we are in Tassie to be able to get up close and personal with our favourite footy players.
I have been feeling pretty good lately, but over the weekend it has hit me again how hard it is without Aaron here.  It's time like this when I really miss him, because he loved doing this kind of thing.  I'm sure Aaron would be proud of our first effort of Hawk Stalk 2014.  I just wish so much that he was here to do it with us. 

Saturday, 22 February 2014

A year or seven

Harri and Kobe have been counting down to today, because it's Milly's birthday.  We got her when she was just over five months old, so her birthday has come around really fast.  Kobe can't get his head around human years versus dog years.  Harri keeps rubbing it into him that Milly is actually older than he is now, but Kobe keeps asking me if Milly is still one, and when I say she is he is relieved, as he wants to be the older one.

I still can't believe that we actually have a dog, but am glad that we got her.  She drives me crazy at times, but it's so lovely to see the boys with her and to have company. 

Kobe kept saying that we had to get her a present, have a cake and sing her happy birthday.  He was so excited that it was her birthday and this morning when he first saw her he was all over her saying 'happy birthday Milly!'.  Then all day he kept saying that it looked like she had grown. 

We decided to go and do something that Milly would love, so we went for a drive to a beach which isn't far away so we could throw the ball to her and she could play in the water.

The last time we were at the beach we had to drag Milly in the water, and she wasn't at all keen to be in there. This time she went in willingly and had lots of fun playing in the water with the boys. I'm not sure if it's because there are no waves at this beach, or if she's just used to it, but it was nice seeing her have so much fun. 

On your birthday you are allowed to jump up at the tea table and you won't get in trouble. She thought it was great :)
It's so nice to hear the boys say how much they love her.  Jalen still tells me all the time, how much she has helped him.  I joked that for her birthday we were going to take her back to her family, but the boys didn't think that was a good idea.  I guess we are keeping her then :)

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

I'm never going to stop missing Daddy

At the end of last year things were pretty settled for all of us.  The boys were all happy at school and dealing with their grief really well.  School holidays changed things a lot, and even a few weeks into school, Harri and Kobe are still really struggling a lot with their grief.   Bed time is really hard and there are lots of tears,  and both boys want to sleep in my room.

Harri has been feeling so anxious lately and last night he came out of bed crying, saying that he doesn't want anyone else to die in our family, and if I died then he would be really, really sad and would have to go live with Grandma and Grandpa (don't take it personally Mum and Dad :).

I literally hear from Kobe 'I miss Daddy so much' about twenty times a day.  We always have a cuddle and a talk about it, and he goes off and comes back about half an hour later saying 'I'm still really missing Daddy! When am I ever going to stop missing Daddy and Noah?'.  

Because Kobe has been so sad lately, he keeps coming to me saying 'I'm never, ever going to stop missing Daddy and Noah' and just seems so down that he's not feeling any better.  The other night when I put him to bed he cried and said 'I miss Daddy so much, but I can't really remember what he sounds like'.  Some nights he is just so sad that I just let him sleep in bed with me.
One day he came home from school saying how much he was missing Daddy.  The next day he came home and told me he wasn't missing Daddy that day, but he kept seeing Noah's garden at school and it made him think of him, and now he was missing Noah. 

Harri has been so sad, and coming out of bed every night crying.  Just after Noah passed away he started sleep walking a lot.  As things settled down the sleep walking stopped, but he has started sleep walking again.  He comes into my room and says weird things, and I tell him to get into bed with me and the next morning he wakes up and can't remember how he got there. 

He has become quite anxious about things that never bothered him before, and doesn't want to get out of the car at the cemetery.
The boys have been hanging out for 'Rainbows' to start up again at school, as it helped them both so much last year.  Rainbows started again today and last night Harri asked me if it was okay to cry when he was at Rainbows, because last year he felt like crying sometimes but he was trying to be brave.  I told him that crying was a good thing and that he could cry if he felt like it and that the lady who ran Rainbows wouldn't mind at all.

I reminded Kobe yesterday that Rainbows was starting and he said 'oh great! I can't wait for Rainbows because it will make me stop missing Daddy'.  I asked him how it stops him missing Daddy and he said 'because we talk about that our Dads have died'.    After school today he was so disappointed that he went to Rainbows, but was still feeling sad. 

I reminded him that he was going to miss Daddy all the time, but he wouldn't always feel so sad and hopefully he will start to feel happier again soon.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Valentine's Gifts

Aaron and I never really made a fuss about Valentine's Day, but some years Aaron would come home with a bunch of flowers on Valentine's Day, and then I would feel terrible that I didn't get him anything.  He also proposed to me on Valentine's Day, so I guess he was romantic at times :)  The last two Valentine's Days had been really hard, but this year it was a lot easier. I wasn't dreading it like I had the last two years..

It was lovely though to get home to a beautiful bunch of flowers on my doorstep from two beautiful friends - Naomi from Seven Cherubs and Naomi.  They are sister in laws so they both have the same surname - how cool is that!  They are so kind and thoughtful, and it was so nice to know that they were thinking of me. The flowers are gorgeous.

When I got home from work there was a box of chocolates left at the door for me.  I have no idea who they're from, but joked with the boys that they were probably from Hodgey, or a secret admirer ;)

It was a beautiful surprise and they didn't last long with the boys sharing them with me.   Kobe thought they may be from my friend Simone, but I'd rather believe they really are from Hodgey ;)  Thank you to whoever dropped them off.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Hanging onto summer

We are obviously busy at school and work as it's almost been a week since I've blogged.  I'm absolutely loving my new job as an EAL teacher and I love the kids I'm working with.  I'm feeling so busy as I'm trying to get things organised at work and spending a lot of extra time on doing things for school, but it's a 'good' busy because I'm enjoying it so much and it's keeping my mind on something.  It's so nice to have a job that I love again, and it makes things a lot easier to cope with.

The boys have settled into school well, but I'm surprised that they are all really struggling right now with their grief. I thought that once school started things would settle down, but they actually seem to be worse. They are all happy at school, but I think the changes with new teachers and classes has caused them all a bit of stress.  There are lots of tears at the moment and I have gone back to sharing my bed some nights.
All the boys were really sad and tired at the end of our first week back at school, so I decided that we were going to go and have some fun so we went swimming, had Maccas for tea and were excited to go to Cold Rock, as it was their opening day in Launceston.  They thought it was the best night ever.
We are still having warm days, but the nights are getting cooler and I can feel summer slipping away.  Even though we are all exhausted after work and school, I don't want to waste the beautiful weather, so we have been going for lots of swims after school and on the weekend. 

All the swimming has made Kobe so confident in the water and he's swimming so well.  He is so proud of himself and keeps saying that he taught himself to swim and tells me that I didn't help him at all :)
On the weekend we had fun swimming at a local river with Alison and my Aunty Deidre and Uncle Kim and their grandsons.  It reminded us so much of my Pop's river where we spent so much time growing up.
We will hopefully have a lot more hot days before the warm weather really slips away, as we are all finding swimming so therapeutic.  I'm not at all ready for summer to end just yet.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Back to School

It's been a very busy week with all of us going back to school.  I started back on Monday, Harri and Kobe started yesterday, and Jalen started back today.  The boys had two days at home on their own, while I was at work.  I had been talking a lot to them about how things are going to get busy again once I start working, and how they need to remember to help me more around the house, as I can't do everything on my own.

I was shocked to get home after my first day back at work to an absolutely spotless house (definitely not the way I left it in the morning) and this note and chocolate on my bed! I couldn't believe that the boys had done all the house work and they were so proud of themselves and happy to show me what they had done.  The next day I noticed Jay getting the clothes off the line without me asking him.  My boys are far from perfect (some days I want to strangle them!) but it meant so much to me to know that they realised how much it would mean to me if they helped out around the house more.  I doubt it'll last all year, but at least it's a good start. 
Kobe is so excited to be going to school full time.  I know that if I wasn't working I would probably feel really sad, because we love having days at home together, but I'm happy for both of us since I have work to keep me busy.  I have been stirring him for weeks asking what I'm going to do without him and he looks at me like I'm crazy and says 'you'll see me at work Mum!!'.  I then ask him what I'm going to do without him to have sushi dates with, and he says 'we can go on Saturday' :) 

We have had lovely long sleep ins all summer holidays, so I knew we would be struggling to get back into the school routine again, but Kobe was up nice and early and was dressed before everyone. He couldn't wait to get to school.  Apparently his bottom lip started quivering just as class started, and he was ready to have a bit of a cry, but once class got started he settled and was happy and has been ever since.    He is in a Prep/1 class.

Harri was also very excited about starting school.  He is in grade 4 this year and is so excited about his new teacher.   He loves school so much and loves to do his best, so I know he will have a great year.  He has been very teary the last few weeks, and especially the last couple of days.  He is missing Aaron and Noah a lot. I think he is the same as me as he just wants to come home and tell Aaron about his day.  It's all those little things that you miss the most.

It was so nice to be able to walk the boys to school and drop them off in their classes, and then start work.  I couldn't wait for the students to start at school.  I was so excited to see the kids I am teaching English to, and they have surprised me with how much English they have remembered and learnt over the summer holidays.

They are the most beautiful kids, and are just so happy.   They are all still very quiet and are not confident in initiating conversations, but amaze me with how much they have learnt in just six months.  It's fun as we try to communicate with each other and learn from each other.  I often ask them what the word for something is in Farsi, and they laugh and love telling me what it is.    I am so happy to be teaching them and think I have the best job ever.

I'm also working on Fridays back at Noah's old (special) school Newstead Heights .  It will be strange but great to go back and work there as a teacher, rather than a Teacher Aide.  I'm excited to see the kids regularly again.   I feel very lucky to be able to work at two schools, and to be working with such special kids at both schools.   I hate not being able to come home to tell Aaron about my day. There's just so much I want to talk to him about, and I know he would understand my excitement, because he loved teaching so much.  I hope he's watching and is happy that I'm teaching again.
On the first day I was out in the playground and saw Harri and Kobe finding each other to play with.  I'm not sure how long it'll last, but Kobe is so excited to tell me that he has played with Harri and his friends both days.   Kobe is so excited that he's allowed to go and play anywhere he wants in the big playground! It's such a change from the little yard in Kinder.  Today Kobe told me he had the 'worst day ever' as he couldn't find his friends to play with, and he finally found Harri and then the bell went. 
Jay isn't quite as excited as his brothers about going back to school, but he wasn't dreading it either.  Grade 7 was hard for him in many ways, but last year things started to settle down a lot and he actually started to enjoy school in the end.  It's nice to see him happy to go to school, and to hear him say that he wants to try to do well.  He has also started 'seminary' this year, which is a scripture study class which is held every morning at church before school and is for students from grades 9-12.  He has only been a couple of days, but thinks he is going to enjoy it, and it's nice to see his friends from church each morning.  They all go to different schools around town, so it's nice they can see each other every day, and not just on Sunday.
After seeing a cute video on Rachel's blog here, I thought it was a lovely idea to do at the beginning of the school year each year, to see how the boys have changed.  This was my interview with the boys about how they were all feeling about starting school.  I hope it's going to be a great year at school for all of us.
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