Thursday, 30 July 2015

Needing Some Time Out

It's ironic that as I've been preparing to speak at Time Out For Women in Sydney next weekend, that I feel like I need some time out, more than ever.    Preparing to speak at TOFW has drained me a lot as I once again get my story down to share.  Even though I live it every day, there's something about sharing it that makes things really hard all over again.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to share my story though as it means that Aaron and Noah aren't forgotten.  I always have a lot of people tell me I should write a book, but I really don't think I would ever have the emotional energy to do it, with everything else I have to do at the same time. If I could just go on a holiday for a year and write, then I think I could cope with it ;)

I'm feeling physically and emotionally run down, as I have so much going on at the moment,  and as much as I would love some real time out, I know next weekend won't really be that at all, but it will be a great experience and I'm looking forward to it (if I can get over the nerves of standing in front of thousands of people to speak!).

It's been exciting to have emails back and forth to the producer of the event, and to hear how the weekend will run.  I'm very excited about meeting the other presenters, and am especially excited to hear Sandra and David sing.  
I'm so grateful to my friend Alison who put together a introductory video which will be played before I speak.  We spent a couple of days filming and doing the voice over, and then she spent many hours putting it all together. Thanks Alison - you're a lifesaver!
The video tells our 'story' so that I don't have to spend time during my talk telling people my story. She has done a great job, and it makes me cry when I watch it, but is beautiful. I love that for some of it we are sitting in Noah's memorial garden at school.

During the week TOFW posted that they were running a competition for anyone who had registered to go to the event, to win breakfast with the presenters (I don't make the official list of presenters as I was added later as a 'local presenter'). 
My cheeky brother Chrish sent me this text when he saw it pop up on Facebook. 

I've been having a good laugh with some work colleagues at school, saying how this year has been very exciting with the Mother of the Year awards and now speaking at TOFW next weekend, and how boring life will be again when it's all over.  They've been joking about how I'll have to go on Dancing with the Stars or start up my own perfume line next or something ;) 

My friend Leanne (who was awarded the National Mother of the Year) is so thoughtful and kind and found this. It was so lovely of her to buy it for me and I love that it has the words 'Living Proof' in it, as that's the theme for TOFW this year. 
My beautiful friend Naomi and cousin Carli often send me cards for no particular reason, and it's been lovely to get beautiful cards from them wishing me well as I prepare to speak next weekend.  I need all the luck I can get as I'm definitely not a public speaker, so I hope the nerves won't get the better of me, and hopefully sharing our story will help someone, somehow.  Right now all I want is Aaron and Noah back, and I would give up all the excitement of the past year, to just have them here.  

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Light Fun

For a while I have wanted to get a light box as I thought it would be fun to put different words up to display at home, and thought it would also be great for school, as the kids could make different words on it.   I had my eye on one that they had at Kmart, but every time I would go in they would be sold out. 

Last week they happened to have a few in so I grabbed one and was excited to set it up. 
 The boys absolutely loved it and kept asking me if they could get one for their rooms.  They had heaps of fun changing the words on it the first night, and cracked me up when they put this on it the night that Hawks played against the Swans.
Yesterday I was at Kmart again and they had a heap back in, so I grabbed the boys one each for their bedrooms.  I set them up before they got home with 'I love you ...' on them and put them in their bedrooms as a surprise.  When they got home from school Harri went up to his room, and came down screaming 'thank you, thank you, thank you Mum!!' and was so excited about it as he ran downstairs with his. 
Kobe then burst into tears because he thought he didn't get one, so there was a couple of minutes of drama before he realised that he also had one!
Kobe took his up to his bedroom and within a few minutes he came down with this. He had changed the words :)
Jalen was excited about his, but before I could get a photo of him with it, he had changed the words! I had no idea what this meant and he kept saying 'I can't believe you don't know this quote!' (from The Emperors New Groove).  I'm obviously getting way too old to keep up with teenagers these days! ;)
This morning I walked Kobe's room and his light box was on the floor, with all the letters every where and he was no where to be seen. I asked him what he was doing with it and he said he was trying to write 'you've been the best Mum ever' but it only had 3 'E's so he couldn't do it.  And that's why he's my favourite! ;)
Kobe has been begging me for ages to make chocolate chip cookies.  I hate baking (another reason why I shouldn't have been 'Mother of the Year'!) so yesterday I promised him that we would make some today.  He cracked me up when he came out with this on his light box!
How could I say no!?
 Harri very quickly changed his to have names of his favourite soccer players.
This afternoon Kobe asked me where my letters were as he wanted another 'F'. I told him where they were and found this in his bedroom :)
It will be fun to see what else the boys  put on theirs, or if the novelty will wear off :)

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Holidays are Over

It wasn't long ago when I absolutely dreaded weekends and school holidays.  After Aaron passed away, the days were suddenly very long, so it meant that weekends and school holidays were extremely long and hard with Aaron and Noah around.

Now that I'm back teaching I absolutely hang out for a break, even though I'm only working part time.  I just find that it's still so hard to keep on top of everything and I'm always so tired, so now I hang out for weekends and holidays, rather than dread them.  The days can still be long if we don't keep busy, but it's just so nice to have a break to feel like we can breath a little again. 

We go back to school tomorrow after two weeks off, and I can't believe how fast the last two weeks went!  The first week we were busy helping Mum after she broke her arm, and this week we tried have some fun in between catching up on things at home.    I'm feeling a bit frantic with preparing to speak at Time Out For Women in Sydney in a few weeks, but luckily during the holidays I was able to get most of the preparation done for it. 

We were excited to go to my cousin's house for tea one night and catch up with them and my other cousin and her kids who were down from Canberra.  We spent some time with them in Canberra last year and since then the boys keep asking when we can go back. It was nice to see them all pick up where they left off. 
Harri has some really lovely friends from school, and one of them moved away to Victoria a couple of years ago.  Harri was excited to hear that Mia was coming down for the holidays, so we took a couple of his best friends to Airtime to catch up with her. 
Although it's winter and we've had some cool days, it's also been sunny, so we have made the most of it by getting outside when we can.  We had fun at Sliders one afternoon. 
Kobe absolutely cracks me up as he thinks he's such a dare devil holding on with one hand! He cracked me up when he yelled 'One hander! That's what I'm talking about mate!'. 
 There's nothing better than a $1 frozen coke (or sour apple for some!) for a treat. 
Kobe and Harri were very excited to have a sleepover at their cousin's house one night.  Jay and I had such a quiet night, and had a sneaky night of takeaway without them :)
We went back to Mum's later this week to stock her up with food and spend some time with her, and made the most of the lovely sunny day to have a play at the beach.
I can't believe that holidays are over and we are back to school already.  I'm already hanging out for the next holiday.

Saturday, 11 July 2015


Last Wednesday I got a text message while I was at work from my sister in law Steph.  She said that Mum had been helping clean my sister in law Becky's house (as my brother Jared and his family were moving down south) and had fallen and had broken her arm.  Steph was at the hospital with her, and wanted me to know what was happening. 

I felt awful that I was at work and couldn't help out, but knew there was nothing I could do anyway.  Mum later sent me a picture of the X-ray and it looked so bad! I felt terrible for her as I knew she must've been in a lot of pain - especially because they didn't even put plaster on it, and sent her home! 

My brother Jared and sister in law Becky and their family stayed with her over the weekend, and were telling me how much pain she was in and Becky said she will probably need some help for a while, especially as my sister in law steph was going to be away for a week or so.   My Mum's friend Barb came to stay for a night, and we were so glad that she had lots of people dropping off food, and visiting and checking that she was okay.   We couldn't get to Mum's until Tuesday and were anxious to get up there, as she said she couldn't even stand up from the toilet, or get out of bed as the pain was so bad.

On Sunday night she was alone for the first time since the break, so I was messaging her to see how she was doing.  She didn't sound right and said that her pain was back up to where it was when it was first broken, and that her arm was swelling up and bruising really badly.  It didn't sound right, and I said it sounded like she needed to go back to the hospital.  Next thing I know I get a message from her, saying that my cousin Toni (who lives across the road) was taking her to the hospital.  I felt bad for Toni as she's already done so much, but she really didn't mind at all, and I was so grateful to have contact with Toni all night who was keeping me up to date with what was going on.  

Poor Mum was in so much pain and they decided (finally!) to put a cast on it.  Toni was sending me photos of Mum who was sucking on the gas for the pain and made me swear that I wouldn't put it up on social media.  I told her to tell Mum it was going on Instagram, but I wasn't that mean :)
We were glad that we could head up on Tuesday to help her out.  On the way we stopped off to grab some fresh veggies from a stall on the side of the road.
I love these little stalls and we often grab a pumpkin or something else whenever we visit Mum (and Dad when he was here).
Poor Mum was in bed and was miserable and in so much pain still.  She said it was a lot better since the cast went on though (which is understandable!) and was able to get in and out of bed on her own, but was wincing in pain the whole time (she wasn't keen on me taking a photo, but she had no choice! :)  She was keen for me to help her in the shower, and to change her bedding.  I'm not sure whether the shower was worth it though, as she was in so much pain afterwards.

My brother Eden dropped around after he finished work, and the boys were so excited to have a kick of the footy with him.  He then took them in his work truck to play basketball at school.
The next day we went over to my cousin Toni's house to catch up with her and also my friend Sarah and her boys, who were up from Hobart.  It was so nice to have a laugh with the girls (and Mum was happy for us to go and have some fun).  Toni introduced us to some yummy herbal teas (I'm not usually a herbal tea fan) and we were joking that we need a sponsorship deal with the company, as they were so good.   Toni would be a great model for them :)
I had to leave early to take Mum to a doctors appointment, so I stole this photo that Sarah took of the boys all playing Twister together :) My cousin Carli's two older kids were also down, so it was very loud, but lots of fun.  Harri said that night 'I had the best day today' as he loved playing with everyone. 
The next day Mum had an appointment at the hospital.  She hadn't been in clothes all week (they had to cut off her clothes the day she broke her arm!) so it was a big event to get dressed and get out of the house!  She kept complaining about her outfit but she had to wear what was easy to get on and comfy.
The doctor showed us the X-ray from Sunday night, when she had to go back in again because she was in so much pain, and we compared it to her first one. It totally looks like it had broken again (the right one is the second X-ray).  It's no wonder she was in so much pain! She said it was moving around so much because they just had it in a sling.  The doctor said that he wants her to get a brace put on next week, which is a brace that they can adjust as the swelling goes down.
After we got back from her appointment, the boys and I went into Devonport to go to the movies.
We had heard a lot about 'Inside Out' and were looking forward to seeing it, and we weren't disappointed. It was such a good movie and was quite emotional (I won't say which boy cried).
 Afterwards we went to the Bluff for a play.
 The weather was actually quite mild and it didn't really feel like winter. 
The boys spotted the soccer field across the road, and begged to go over.  Luckily we had a ball in the car. 

Before we went  back to Mum's I was feeling a bit nostalgic and decided to show them where I went to college.  On the way there I told them that sometimes during our free periods we would walk to the beach or catch the bus to KFC (I should've lied and told them that all I did was study in the library!).  Harri then cracked me up as he very seriously asked 'was KFC invented in the old days Mum!?'. 

The entrance had changed a little, but it was crazy how much it still looked the same - even 25 years later! 

When I was at there my friends and I named ourselves 'the gutter girls' as we always sat on the gutter of the road near the grass.  Not the classiest of names, but I can assure you we weren't rolling around drunk in the gutter! This is us back in 1991 (I'm the one in the purple at the back with the lovely permed hair!).
I made my boys sit in the same spot that we would sit in, and had a laugh as I messaged this photo to a couple of my 'gutter girl' friends later that day.

It was really nice and relaxing at Mum's even though we were there to help her out. Her new home is so beautiful, and it felt like we were staying at a 5 star resort.  During the day it's so sunny and warm.  Jay's favourite spot is her hanging chair in the living room, where he spent most of the time!
Kobe absolutely LOVED her bathroom because he could watch ABC Kids in the bath! I think he spent at least an hour in there every day (and so did I!).
Mum was feeling so much better each day. She's still in a lot of pain, but is now able to get up and about more, and spent more time with us out of her room yesterday.
The boys were quite happy, until the internet stopped working, and then they all slowly went a bit crazy!
Yesterday we had to go back to Devonport so on the way home we went to Latrobe for quick visit to Reliquaire, which is a shop which is absolutely packed full of rooms and rooms of collectables.
The boys were freaked out by all the dolls, but loved the other rooms.
The mining room.

 Cheeky Jay was trying to say he was taller than me! I had to prove that he's not there...just yet!
We left Mum this morning, and it was nice to see how much more mobile she is. She's still getting quite a bit of pain, but it's getting better every day.   Mum loves a clean house, so we made sure we did all the housework before we left, and cooked up some food so she has enough meals for a week.  

There's a running joke in our family that my younger sister Nicki is the favourite daughter.  My Dad even admitted it to the nurses when he was in hospital just before he passed away - and cracked us all up because he then said 'but you're my favourite today Lee, because you're here!

We have been joking today on Facebook with my sister that I'm not just Mother of the Year (MOTY) but now also Daughter of the Year (DOTY) but can only claim it because Nicki is in Melbourne.   We were lucky that it's school holidays at the moment and could go and spend so much time with Mum, while she goes through the worst of it.

We were so grateful for our friends Pip and Ben who were able to have Milly while we stayed with Mum. We didn't think Mum would appreciate a very excited dog, jumping all around her with a broken arm.   Milly loves it at their house - especially as she has another dog to play with.   She was very excited to see us when we went to pick her up this afternoon. 

Hopefully Mum will cope okay on her own now, but it's nice to know that she has a lot of friends and family who are close by, who can check on her. 
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