Thursday, 27 December 2018

Our Christmas

Christmas used to always be my favourite time of the year.  It was school holidays, summer and it was so fun to celebrate Christmas as a family.  But it just isn't the same now that Aaron, Noah and my Dad aren't here. I don't want my boys to dread Christmas like I do, so I try to make it fun for them still, and they all look forward to it.

Our Christmas season started late November as we went to the Christmas Parade.  December is crazy busy with end of year events going on, so we decided to put up our tree at the end of November while we had some time at home together.    This was the first year that Kobe didn't need someone to pick him up to put the star on.

Kobe has been begging (or bugging is probably the right word!) to make a gingerbread house.  I'm not a baker at all, so I compromised with a kit from Coles which he was so excited about.
 Kobe and Harri had fun putting it together one night.

In early December we went down to Glen Huon with my Mum, to spend the weekend with my brother Jared and his family for my nephew Jack's birthday.  It was good timing as they had their local Carols by Candlelight while we were there.  They were actually really good (especially for a little country town) and had amazing fireworks afterwards.  My niece Bridey has grown so much. She's such a cutie.

We always love visiting our favourite Santa who came to Noah's funeral.  He's such a lovely man and when he saw us walking up he said 'here comes the Kings!'. I never know if he's going to remember us, but surprises me every year.  He made us laugh when he was asking Jalen if he had his driver's licence and was saying how it's different these days and how Rudolf just does everything to pull the sleigh.
 One night while Erin was staying we went out and looked at some Christmas lights. 
On Christmas Eve we went to swap presents with Nanna and Pa (Aaron's step mum and dad).  They always spoil the boys.
All of my family were away this Christmas so Mum came and stayed with us and woke up at our house on Christmas Day which was nice.  On Christmas Eve we had our usual picnic in the lounge room and watched the Carols on TV.
Kobe was the first one awake on Christmas morning and didn't wake up until 7.15 am which was great.  We then woke everyone else up.

 We had a very easy lunch of seafood and salads.
 In the afternoon we went to the beach for a couple of hours with my cousin Tim and his wife Helene and her family who were down from the mainland, and also Erin and her Mum Cathy. It was fun to have a quick swim and play some cricket.
It's hard to feel merry when you are missing so many people, so I'm glad that Christmas is over so we can really enjoy summer holidays now.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018


Last Sunday would've been Aaron's 46th birthday.  I don't know if I should say it was his birthday, it would've been his birthday or it should've been his birthday.  It still is his birthday, but it seems strange to say it was his birthday, when he only got to celebrate 39 of them on earth and he's no longer here to celebrate them himself.  

I'm grateful for awesome friends who help me 'celebrate' his birthday every year.  Usually we have a BBQ first and then head to the cemetery, but this year Carols By Candlelight was on the same night, so we decided to have Pepsi at the cemetery and then go to the carols together.

It was lovely to have Simone's sister Collette and her family (who have been living in Sydney) join us this year, and Merilyn who is Simone's Mum .  My Mum also joined us this year.  We released balloons and then had Pepsi at Aaron's grave.

 These two are great friends and are always there for me.
Erin's Mum and Grandma met up with us at Carols By Candlelight. 
This year felt particularly hard and I'm not sure why.  In some ways it feels like 7 years is long enough for people to 'forget', but to me the grief is still very raw and overwhelming at times.  I'm grateful to those who haven't forgotten and made the effort to let me know by sending me photos of them having a Pepsi for Aaron on his birthday.

Friday, 21 December 2018

End of the School Year

I'm officially on summer holidays as of this afternoon, so the blog can stop being neglected for a little bit as I catch up on the last few months. 

The boys have kept me busy again this year with their sports.  Jalen has played social basketball this year at the YMCA with some mates as well this year, so all three played basketball.  Harri also joined Jay's team once his club basketball season was over and it was fun watching them play together.

After club basketball was over both Kobe and Harri joined school teams to play in the School Basketball Championships which ran over two different weekends.  Kobe's team did really well and were runners up in the grand final.  I think there were tears for two days after at different times as he kept saying 'I can't believe how close we were!'.
 He was excited to win a medal for being the runners up.
Harri's team played really well together.  A lot of the boys went through primary school together and have played basketball together for a long time which showed on the court.   Although they played so well, they also played against some really tough teams and came fourth overall. 
Kobe isn't really naturally sporty like Harri is, but he loves sport and will give anything a go.  He was excited to go in his first triathlon this year and was in a team with his friends Kobe and Heath.  My Kobe did the swimming leg and had a great time. 
 Kobe begged me to let him play futsal after the basketball season was over.  Luckily there was a spot for him on a team with a couple of friends from school.  About half way through the season he had a go at being goalie and was actually really good at it.  I think it was more stressful for me than for him, as there's so much pressure on you when you are goalie.

Sometimes he can be such a day dreamer, but when he's switched on and fired up he does really well.  They made it into the grand final and luckily he was switched on during that game! They were so excited to win the grand final and Kobe was so proud of himself for saving lots of goals. 

I'm proud of all my boys for different things, but I'm especially proud of Harri who has worked so hard at school this year.  In primary school he just cruised along and did what he needed to do, but in high school he's really been determined to do the best that he can.  I know it's because he's had so many awesome teachers who he's loved.  It's been great for him to have so many great male teachers who are great role models to him. 

Earlier in the year he received an Academic Excellence Award and last week he was presented with another one at the school's end of year presentation assembly. 

We will miss Mr Deane who is moving away.  He was one of his favourite teachers over the past two years.  When we took a similar photo last year, Harri was shorter than him!

I've had a really busy year working full time all year.  I absolutely love my job as an EAL teacher (English as an Additional Language) and feel so lucky to be in my dream job.  It's a job I had never imagined I would do, and didn't even know existed until about five years ago, but I feel like it's what I want to do forever. 

The students I teach are mostly from refugee backgrounds and they're amazing, beautiful children who have incredible stories about life in their home countries.  They're so resilient, happy, hard working, clever and grateful and I think many other children could learn a lot from them.

I've now been teaching at the same school for two and a half years (the longest I've even been at the same school) and am so happy to know that I'll be back there next year.  It's a very multicultural school (not usually the case in Tasmania) and around one third of the school come from a non-English speaking background.  I have loved learning about different cultures, religions and traditions and it makes me realise how sheltered and lucky we are in Tasmania.

Harri and Kobe are so happy to be on school holidays.  They've had a great year but we are all tired and ready for sleep ins and no routines. This was  on their last day of school - Kobe has finished grade 4 and Harri has finished grade 8.
I often get home from work late, but the boys are so good at home on their own. I love it when I walk in and all three of them are hanging out together.   Jay has been working a lot this year to save up money for a car, so it's not often that I walk in and see all three of them together.

We are really going to miss Jay so much next year when he moves away for uni.  I hate thinking about it too much.  It's so bittersweet as I'm so happy that he's ready to go and study what he loves, but I'm also going to miss having him around all the time.  We've become so close in the last 7 years as we've had to stick together to get through everything.  I'm just happy that he'll be in the same state.  We will just have to make the most of the next 6 weeks of summer holidays. 

Memorial Awards

It's that time of the year again when I donate and present memorial awards at the Punchbowl Primary School Celebration Night and the Kings Meadows High School Presentation Day Assembly. 

Sometimes I don't know the students who win the awards, so I was so excited to see the name on the award at the Punchbowl Celebration Night before the announcement.  Olivia is such a beautiful girl inside and out, so I was so happy that she won the Noah King Friendship Award this year. 

Afterwards I went up to chat to her and to take a photo together, and once we found her Mum and started talking about how great it was that she won it, Olivia became very emotional.  It was really touching to see how much it meant to her to win it.  
It felt really weird going back to Kings Meadows High this year as there are so many new teachers there now who didn't work with Aaron.  I'm sure it's going to eventually get to a stage where I don't know any of the teachers there  which makes me sad, but I'll continue to donate and present awards there as he loved his job as a teacher and it was such a huge part of his life.  

I used to visit the Child Studies class with Noah every year to talk about life with a child with a disability, and Aaron was the one who came up with the idea to donate a memorial award after he passed away, to go to a student in Child Studies.  This year the Noah King Memorial Award was won by Ruby Tatnell.  She told me afterwards that she really wants to work in Child Care which is lovely. 
The Aaron King Memorial Award was won by Makayla Bingley.  The award goes to a Grade 9 student who is hardworking, endeavours to do their best academically, is compassionate and has a love of all sports (the teachers believe these were qualities that Aaron had).  

Thursday, 20 December 2018

A Year of Concerts

After Aaron passed away I took Jay and Harri to their first concert which was Taylor Swift.  They didn't love her but they were amazed at her concert and said they wanted to go to more concerts.  Kobe was disappointed that he didn't get to come to that one, but he was too young to justify paying for a ticket, but I promised him when he got older we would go to more concerts.

Earlier in the year we saw Ed Sheeran in Melbourne and then in August we went to Pink.  Kobe kept saying he wanted to see Taylor Swift as he missed out when the boys went, so for his birthday I surprised him with tickets.  He was so excited and we had to wait a long time till the concert. 

Harri really loves Sam Smith (and so do all of us) and begged me to buy tickets to see him.  I told him we couldn't afford to go as we had gone to so many other concerts this year (which wasn't really lying) but I was just as keen to go as he was and you never know when he's going to tour again so I bought tickets in January this year, and held onto them until Harri's birthday in September.    Harri told me he would've given up seeing Ed Sheeran, Pink and Taylor Swift to go to Sam Smith and was even looking up tickets online for weeks, letting me know how many tickets were left.  In the end they were sold out so he thought we missed out.

That was until he opened up his birthday present. It was so fun to surprise him!

The Taylor Swift and Sam Smith concerts were two weeks apart in November and we went to Sydney for both of them. It's very handy having a brother who lives in Sydney!   The first concert was Taylor Swift.  Jay and Harri don't love her but said they still wanted to go as they knew the concert would be good. Chrish also joined us.

 I had heard a lot about the concert from friends who had seen her in the USA and it was just as good as I imagined.  Everyone got an wrist band that lit up as soon as the concert started.  For some songs they were all the same colour, other songs they were different colours and for one song it even looked like a snake moving around the arena.  They also flashed.  Half the fun was watching the lights!

I took heaps of videos. This was the opening of Taylor Swift.
We spent the weekend in Sydney and it was good timing as Sculptures by the Sea was on at Bondi.  I had heard lots about it, so it was great to go there in person. It was a really hot day and it was so busy with so many people there for the same things.   I have been bad at taking my good camera places lately, so I'm always grateful to Chrish who is our official photographer.

While we were having lunch a cute Chinese tourist asked if she could take a photo with Kobe.  She kept saying how cute she was and grabbed his face and said 'he's like a prince!'.  It cracked us up and we kept teasing Kobe for weeks about how 'cute he is, like a prince' and he didn't appreciate it!
Two weeks later we went back to see Sam Smith.  Chrish didn't want to come with us this time.  All of us were so excited to see Sam Smith as his voice is amazing.  I love that my boys like such a range of music. Kobe was just as excited to see Sam as the other boys and all of us were singing out hearts out. 

I don't know how it's possible but his voice sounds even more incredible in real life than on his albums.

The three boys all said that Sam Smith was their favourite concert of the year, and I also loved it but I love Pink's music so she was my favourite out of all the concerts we went to.
While we were in Sydney for Sam Smith there was a brand new Star Wars exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum on, so we decided to check that out as well.  The boys love Star Wars and Aaron would've also loved it.
 It had original costumes from the movies on display as well as other memorabilia.
 We also checked out the rest of the Powerhouse Museum which was really cool. There were lots of interactive displays and it had a whole Wiggles section!

The next day we went to Taronga Zoo. We hadn't been there for many years and Kobe couldn't remember going, so it was fun to go back.   The views are always amazing from the zoo.

 We loved the seal show and the orangutans.

The boys know how lucky they are to go to so many concerts and special places this year.  I keep telling them that it's not going to be like this every year, especially as Jay is going off to Uni next year but that also made me want to make more special memories with all three boys before he leaves home. 

It's nice when we do special things to hear them say thanks for taking them and how much they appreciate it.  In many ways I feel like I'm trying to fill their lives with fun memories to replace the traumatic and sad ones, and I don't know if I'm doing the right thing, but when I see them smiling and having something to look forward to it helps my heart to heal also. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...