Sunday, 14 October 2018

7 Years

7 years sounds like a long time.  If someone said they had been in a relationship or married for 7 years I would be impressed - that's a long time.  If someone is in a job for 7 years you know that they must be pretty good at their job and hopefully love what they do.  If you have a child who is 7 years old it feels like they've been around forever, and you can't remember what life was like without them.

But when I say that Noah has now been gone for 7 years, it feels so different.  7 years of grief is a much different timeline to 7 years of anything I've ever experienced.  7 years feels like forever and it's hard to actually remember my old life now, but it also feels like yesterday.  It sounds like a long time that he's been gone, and I feel the pressure to feel 'okay' and to be 'over it' but the reality is very different.

It's much easier now in that I can go about my every day life and not have grief just sitting there all the time, but it's still hard.  I see families with children with disabilities and it reminds me of what life was like when he were here.  It was hard.  It was exhausting and it was stressful.  But it was also wonderful, and I wouldn't change it for anything.  I wish life was still 'hard' in that Noah was still here.  But now it's hard in a different way. 

During the week Jalen mentioned to me that he had been missing Noah a lot lately. It actually surprised me because the boys don't usually say that as they were so young when he died and Aaron's death often overshadows it.  As much as you don't want the boys to be sad, it was nice hearing that Jay still thinks about him and remembers the good times with him. He said that he had seen a disabled boy at work and it really made him think about him a lot.  They used to be so close, and during the week we talked about how upset Jay was the day that Noah passed away.

Facebook show memories from years past and it's been hard seeing photos of Noah's last week in hospital come up.  It brought back a lot of emotions again and the thing that really hit me was that Aaron and I were in it together. We were there through it all together and although it was hard - at least we had each other. 

I always wonder how different things would be Aaron didn't pass away as well, but I'll never know how different grief would feel if I were 'only' grieving for Noah.

I'm grateful that the anniversary of Noah's death falls in school holidays, as it means we can do something special on the day as a family.  Jalen took the day off work, and out of all of the days in the school holidays we had the most beautiful warm weather and decided to go to the beach.  We picked up Erin on the way and had hot chips for lunch, before heading to the beach.

We went to one of my favourite beaches. I love it because it has thousands of shells, but the boys don't love it as much as it means it's tricky to play cricket or kick the footy as you're running over shells all the time.
Erin and Jay found these beauties when they went for a walk. I love the pink and yellow one. 
We made Noah's name out of shells.
Kobe and Harri were very brave and went for a swim. It was Kobe's second swim of the season (he went for his first one the day we went to Bakers Beach with his cousins) and it was very fresh. 

We had the whole beach to ourselves till just before we left.

On the way home we picked up some monkey balloons and went to the cemetery to release them.  We didn't get there till about 5.30 pm and on the gates it said the gates shut at 5pm so I was in a panic that we were going to get locked in for the night! I'm sure they'll change the times now that daylight savings has started (which we are so happy about...bring on summer!).
We still miss you every day monkey.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

School Holidays

I'm not sure where this year has gone, and it's hard to believe that it's already the middle of October.  We've all had a really good year at school and Jay is working pretty much full time.  Harri has had a busy year at school being Vice Junior House Captain for Allen house, playing lots of sport and going on a Grade 8 trip to Melbourne. 
Harri has played footy for Thursday afternoon sport this year.  He has been so excited to be able to play at Kings Meadows High on Aaron's memorial oval.  Whenever he has played there they have been lovely in letting him be the captain for the day, and his teacher took a photo of the whole team there.   Aaron would absolutely love it. 
Harri has just started to do Parkrun again and is keen to improve his time. He gets frustrated with his knee which is often sore, because he's grown so fast.  Hopefully it'll continue to settle down with the stretches he is doing for it. 
I've had a good year at school so far.  It's exhausting working full time, but I'm very grateful to have full time work and to have a job which I absolutely love. The start of the year was pretty quiet, but last term we had a lot of 'new arrivals' come and it has become very busy over the last month or so.    My colleagues and I had fun dressing up for Book Week as Little Red Riding Hood, Grandma and the wolf.  We've also had Footy Colours Day and Wacky Wednesday in the last term. The kids love it when we get dressed up.  
 Harri and Kobe loved playing club basketball again this year.  Kobe's team were a very young team in U12s (Kobe is only 10 so they played against kids who were second year in that age group) and they didn't win many games, but they improved a lot and Kobe loved it.

Harri's team didn't make the finals but they had a pretty good year.  Harri struggled at the beginning of the season as it was his first year in U16s and he didn't have a lot of confidence, but he soon found it again and improved so much as the season went on.  So much so, that he won the award for Most Valuable Player on his team again this year.

We were all very tired at the end of term 3 and were really looking forward to school holidays.  We headed out to Mum's the first weekend to watch the AFL grand final, but Jay had to work so he stayed in town. 
 We watched the second half of the game at my cousin Toni's house, and at half time everyone played 'knock out' on their new basketball court.  It was lots of fun.
Working full time means it is impossible to fit in certain appointments like the dentist for the boys, so our first week we caught up with things that we never have time to do.
It was lovely to catch up with my friend Rachelle who grew up in Tassie, but now lives in Melbourne with her family. 
 My sister in law Becky brought the kids up for a week, so we went back out to Mums and caught up with them and my brother Eden and his family. 
One day we went with my sisters in law and the cousins to Bakers Beach.  Ezra was so cute and hung out with Harri all day and chatted away to him.
 It was such a beautiful day.
 Someone had built a little shelter before we arrived and the kids had a great time adding to it.

 There's always so many kangaroos there.
 Kobe was really excited to spend some time with his cousin Eamon.
 We loved staying at Mums and had some lovely walks down to the jetty near her house.
Jay had a day off work, so it meant we all got to go back out to my Mums for tea one night, while my brother Jared was up visiting.  It was so lovely to spend some time with Bridey who is now 6 months old.

 The kids had fun toasting marshmallows.
 Our last week of holidays have been spent catching up with friends for lunch and walks.

These holidays have been so nice as we've had some lovely weather, and it's been a good mix of catching up with family and friends and also having time to relax before school goes back next week.

The Possum Tree 2018

I'm wondering if this is the last year that I'll get to take a photo of my boys in front of 'the possum tree' (as Harri called it when he was little, instead of the blossom tree) as Jay will be away at Uni next year and I don't know how much longer I can convince the boys to do it.  They are very good and don't really complain about it, and just know that if they do it quickly it'll be over with :) 

I love seeing the changes in the boys, but it also makes me sad that my little boys have grown up so much and I wish that the four of them were still in the photos together. 

14th birthday in Sydney

This year is our last year with Jalen at home, so I decided that we would make the most of it and make lots of memories together.  I bought tickets to see Ed Sheeran and Pink and a couple of other concerts later in the year which Kobe and Harri are really excited about. 

After I had booked tickets for these concerts Jalen's favourite band - Bastille announced that they were coming to Australia to do two concerts.   I knew how spoilt (and lucky) the boys were this year to go to so many concerts, but I'd rather spend my money on experiences and creating memories than possessions that we don't need.  I also know it's going to cost a lot to keep Jay at Uni next year, so I keep telling the boys that this is the year for fun, and next year we are living off rice and beans ;)

I booked tickets to see Bastille in Sydney, and it worked out to be on the weekend of Harri's 14th birthday which he was happy about.   Just a week before the concert Bastille announced that they were postponing their Australian concerts!  I was frustrated as we had spent all that money on airfares and I had taken Leave Without Pay from work for a day, so we decided we would just go to Sydney anyway and have a fun weekend away.   Bastille said they would do their concerts in January instead, which is when we are usually in Sydney anyway.

The day before we left we went to see Nanna and Pa (Aaron's dad and step mum) and Harri loves rubbing it in that he is almost as tall as Pa now.
Harri loved getting off the plane in Sydney and seeing the GWS ads at the airport (as he now barracks for them). 
We went into the city and did some shopping (Harri was excited to have some birthday money to spend) and got an ice cream before catching the train to Chrish's house.

Harri was happy to have a cake from Woolies at Chrish's house that night.  We also went out for tea.
It had been a while since we had gone to Madame Tussaud's, so we decided to get a two attraction pass and went there and to the Sydney Sea Life Aquarium.  The boys were in a really fun mood and go really involved in interacting with the exhibits and it was lots of fun. 

They cracked me up as they were all keen to dress up and pretend they were on the catwalk.
We had way too much fun making Cosmopolitan magazine covers.

We spent a couple of hours in Madame Tussaud's but not as long in the aquarium - it was so busy. It was much bigger than we remembered it. We had gone with Aaron when I was pregnant with Kobe, and the year after Aaron died

On the way to the airport I wanted to go to La Perousse at Botany Bay National Park as Kobe had been learning about the First Fleet at school.  He was so excited to go there (even though we had been before, but it didn't mean anything to him then) but it started pouring with rain just before we got there. We did a mad dash to the sandstone cliffs, and all got back to the car saturated!
Chrish then did a detour on the way to the airport as we had some time to fill in. He took us to a really cool ten pin bowling place called Manhatten Superbowl. Inside it was retro themed with an old car, arcade games, an old 50s looking diner and a statue of Elvis Presley.  Aaron would've loved the Pepsi sign in there.
We were disappointed that we didn't get to see Bastille that weekend, but we ended up having a really fun weekend away anyway.
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