Sunday, 6 October 2019

The Possum Tree 2019

Same tree. New year. 

I'm not sure if we almost missed the blossoms on 'the possum (blossom) tree' this year, or if they were still developing. It's hard to tell as sometimes we catch them when they're pink and other times they are white. 

Check out the height difference in Harri this year! It's ridiculous how much he's grown. 


 2013 - 
just after I caved and got Milly
Smiling but their hearts were broken

September Birthdays

Our birthdays are over for another year as Kobe and my birthdays are in June and Jay and Harri's birthdays are both in September.  Harri's birthday was on Father's Day this year, which was probably a good thing because it was a distraction from Father's Day, as we just wanted Harri to have a happy day. 

The day Harri's birthday we went to visit Aaron's Dad to wish him a happy Father's Day.
Harri has really been struggling since Milly died, so he wasn't really looking forward to his birthday. It's hard watching the boys grieve all over again, after all they've been through.  I suggested that he plan something with his friends for his birthday, but he said he didn't feel like anything.  I was glad when he asked if he could go and watch his friends play in their football grand final, as I knew that would help him have a happier birthday.

The four of us went out for dinner, and he chose to go to Hogs Breath. I love it when the boys choose to go there for their birthday dinner, as they get a free meal during their birthday month with the VIP cards that we have.  
Harri said he was happy with a cake bought from the supermarket, and asked for lollies on the top, so I decorated it with Maltesers which he loves. Aaron was always the cake maker, so I try to avoid the stress of doing special cakes if I can.  It's so much easier now the boys are older. 

Harri has now lived more of  his life without his Dad, than he had with him.   Despite it being almost 8 years since Aaron died, Harri finds it harder now than he did when he was younger, as he understands more now what it would mean to have Aaron here, and just wishes that Aaron were here to spend time with.  They are SO alike and if Aaron were still here, there would be so much banter about sport, music, clothes and shoes. 
I'm feeling very old, now that I have an 11, 15 AND 20 year old!  How can that be possible!? Unlike Harri, Jay was really looking forward to his birthday and kept joking how old he was because he was turning 20.  He also wanted to go to Hogs Breath for tea, and Erin joined us. 
The boys thought it was hilarious when 'Hogster' started walking around and I was surprised they agreed to a photo with him! 
Jay's birthday cake request was also easy - a chocolate ripple cake.  
Although I hate that they're growing up so quickly, I love their ages right now.  I'm lucky that they're such good 'boys' (most of the time).  I know Aaron would be very proud of them.  I wish he were here to be a part of their lives.

Term 3

We've just finished a crazy, busy term 3 at school and are so happy to have a couple of weeks of school holidays, before an even busier term 4 begins. 

When I haven't seen friends for a while and they ask me how I'm going and how work is, I always tell them how much I love work.  I look forward to going to work every day as I work with amazing people, love my school, and love my students and seeing them progress and learn English. 

I think that only working four days a week would be perfect, as it would give me more time to get things done at home, but I'm so grateful that I have full time work, and I also like being at school five days a week, as I get to teach my students right across the week  and don't have to play catch up after a 'day off'.

But it always means that the house is never really clean, the garden is always a mess and I play catch up on the weekends and school holidays.  But that's life as a single mum and being able to work full time takes away other stress, so I'm grateful that I don't have to worry about having enough paid work.  

This term I did a seven week professional learning course - TYCEMC (Teaching Young Children in English in Multilingual Contexts).   It was on Wednesday evenings for 3 and a half hours after school and didn't finish until 6.30 pm.  It was a lot of work as a part of the course is doing readings and between module activities, which you then had to reflect on and submit.  There was no time limit of when we could hand these in, but I hate having things hanging over my head to do, so I worked hard to get it all done within the same week if I could.  I'm so glad that it's over and it'll feel like I have a bit more of a life next term (once learning plans for my students are written).

My job is so interesting as I'm teaching children from so many different countries and cultures.  Some of the Prep classes at school  have been doing work on different foods, and I was lucky to be invited to help out at to their multicultural food day (I usually only teach the grade 3-6 EAL students).  

Some of the mums of our EAL students came in and cooked beautiful food from their countries.  The students then sat down and had a lovely meal together.    We had lentil soup and flat bread from Sudan, momos and homemade tomato sauce from Bhutan/Nepal and rice paper rolls from Vietnam.  
It's always a special treat when one of my students brings in freshly cooked food from home.  One day one of my boys brought in some home made samosas for me, which were still hot. That was the best before school snack, recess and lunch ever! 
After school has been busy with the end of season for club basketball for both Harri and Kobe.  Harri had a tough year as he was out with his injury for about a quarter of the season.  He was so happy to finally be able to start playing and really enjoyed his team this year.  They didn't win many games as they were in a tough division 1.  
His team got to participate in some community events, including an exhibition match before a Tornadoes game, and playing against the Chilli FM radio hosts at the opening of an awesome new park that we have in our city - Riverbend Park. 
I was the team manager for Harri's team this year, so they made me get in their photo at the Devils presentation night.
As well as club basketball, Harri has also participated in a couple of state weekend tournaments with Launceston Lightening this year.

Now that club basketball is over, Harri has started playing after school basketball for his school, just one day a week.  He tells me that after school cricket is just about to start up.  I don't mind that he has sport year round as it's good for him to keep active.  He's loved playing footy this year at school and was asked to be the captain on the day that they played on the 'Aaron King Oval' at Kings Meadows High.  He was very emotional about the whole thing and I knew that Aaron would love that he was playing there and was the captain that day. 

Harri has done so well at school again this year.  He works really hard to get good marks and received an Academic Excellence award and Letter of Commendation again last term. 

He has some good friends at school and it's nice seeing some of the boys that he went to primary school with, get awards as well.
Kobe has loved basketball this year.  He played in division 2 which is great for him, as it gives him a lot of confidence and there's not as much pressure, so he can relax and have lots of fun.   He was lucky to have a great coach (thanks Abbi!) who is also his Assistant Principal at school, so she knows a lot of the boys well. 

They didn't lose a game all year, and had one draw.  Kobe was so excited to win their grand final, and had a little cheer squad come along to watch, which was lovely.

Kobe is my only boy who has ever really said he doesn't enjoy school.   I don't think it's that he doesn't enjoy school, he just doesn't enjoy hard work! He complains all the time that he doesn't want to go, but I know when he's there he enjoys it. 

This was his last year for the Swimming and Water Safety program which he's happy about.  As I work full time I miss out on seeing my boys do lots of things at school, but I was lucky to be able to go and watch him swim a couple of times, and he loved having me there.
We've really enjoyed going to watch lots of basketball matches this year including the Tornadoes and Southern Huskies games.   Unfortunately the Southern Huskies are no longer going to be playing,  but we hope that Tassie may get an NBL team soon. It was great being able to watch an NBL games in Tassie a few weeks ago when they did the NBL Blitz in Tasmania. We watched Brisbane Bullets play Adelaide 36ers. It was fun being able to meet the players afterwards.   Kobe also had some of the Bullets players come to his school, and he was lucky to be given a tank top.

It hasn't all just been basketball this year.  We've also loved going to watch Hawthorn play live.  Aaron's dad has come to a couple of games with us this year, but chose not to come to a couple as the days were really cold and windy.  It's always fun when Tim and Helene are there with us.  Helene goes for Brisbane Lions so she loved seeing them beat Hawthorn in Tassie.

On the last day of school all three of us had our school's Footy Colours Day.  I always have to explain  to my students what 'Footy Colours Day' is for and show them some pictures of AFL football and the geurnseys and scarves from each team.  I have a lot of old Hawthorn scarves which I let my students borrow for the day, and I also put a call out on Facebook and Instagram to see if anyone else had some old scarves that they would be happy to donate to our students to wear. 

A very generous Instagram follower dropped off 18 scarves and in the end I had about 40 scarves and 6 old geurnseys for my students to borrow and they were all Hawthorn!   The students were so excited to dress up in footy colours and it made me laugh to see most of the EAL students in Hawthorn colours.  The Assistant Principal did mention some brain washing happening, but I told him that they all just know the best team!

We had to do the 'footy pose' before we went to school :)
Jay is back and forth to Uni in Hobart as he comes home for the weekend every couple of weeks or so.   He's really enjoyed being in Hobart and has enjoyed Uni and has been studying hard.  He could come home a lot more,  but chooses to stay down so he can concentrate on just studying, so that when he's  home on weekends he doesn't have to worry about school work. 

We were so sad when he moved down there, and it felt like the year would go so slow, but he's actually going to be finished in another month, and will then be home for a few months before starting his second year at Uni.  We are used to him being away, and I talk to him every day as I drive home from work (on the bluetooth of course!).   It'll be nice to have him home for the summer though. 

Jay's uni holidays are different to our school holidays, so we haven't seen him at all these holidays yet.  We have one more week before we have to head back, and as much as I don't think I'll be ready to go back, I know that the next term is going to fly, and it'll be summer holidays before we know it.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Goodbye Milly

I don't even know how to start this blog post, except to say that it's hard to understand why life can throw so much at you.  Yesterday we had to say goodbye to our beautiful dog Milly.  It's hard to believe it, even as I write about it.  

I've never been a dog person, even though my family had dogs when I was growing up.  Aaron always wanted a dog, but we just had too much to deal with when Noah was alive, so we never really seriously talked about getting one.

When Aaron passed away, the boys really started putting the pressure on me to get one, and I knew that it would help all of us with out grief, so I surprised them with Milly about 18 months after Aaron died. I will never forget that day, and the joy on the boy's faces when they realised that we were getting a puppy.  I love watching the video of their shock and excitement.   Harri especially, was over the moon.   She was so tiny and cute when we got her.
There's no doubt that she helped us through our darkest and hardest years.  We were still grieving, but she brought some joy back into our home and hearts.   This was our first night with her.  Alison helped me pull off the awesome surprise.

I'm still not a log lover, but I was definitely a Milly lover.  She really became one of the family,  It was so nice to have the boys smiling again.

Having Milly meant that the boys didn't come home to an empty home after school.  It also meant that it didn't matter what kind of day you had, she'd still want to be around you and knew when you needed some extra love.

We all had our own special relationship with her.  Every morning she would sit on the end of Kobe's bed until he woke up. 
Harri was the one who would take her for walks and would play with her the most. 
Milly loved hanging out with Jay in his room at night. 
Milly followed me everywhere I went. If I went to the loo she would push her way in.  If I was in the bath, she would sit outside the door waiting for me to come out.  If I got up from the couch, she would follow me.  She was my walking buddy when no one else would want to walk, and she was the one who would give me cuddles whenever I needed them. 
Milly recently had a fun six weeks hanging out with my Mum's dog Josie, while my Mum went on a holiday to the USA.  They loved being together and the house was a little bit crazy with two dogs running around, wrestling, fighting over food and treats and playing all day.  
While Josie was with us Milly seemed fine, except Kobe told me that one day after school she was shaking a lot.  When I got home she was totally fine - running around as usual, so I just assumed that she had been shivering and maybe wasn't feeling well. 

When Josie left, Milly all of a sudden seemed very quiet and down.  I even googled if dogs could get depression as she stopped jumping up when we would get home and stopped wanting to eat and drink very much.  I could get her to eat barbecue chicken which was her favourite, but nothing else.  When I took her for a walk, she would walk very slowly and it was like she didn't want to go.  She stopped sitting under the table when we were eating dinner, and stopped wanting to hang out and didn't follow me around the house as much.  

Some days she was better than others, and she would meet me at the door when I got home, and other days she would just sit there looking at me.  I was getting really worried as it just seemed like it was more than her feeling down about Josie going, but it just all happened as soon as Josie left. 

I took her to the vet, and they said she had a sore back (maybe from all the playing with Josie) and also a very red throat.  She was put on antibiotics and an anti inflammatory and the next day she seemed a little more like the old Milly. It only lasted a day and then she went down hill again, and didn't want to eat her favourite treats or chicken. 

One night when I got home from work I called her, to see how she was, as I had been getting worried.  She came to me and wagged her tail, but was walking really funny and then started falling to the side as she was walking.  I coaxed her outside to go outside to the toilet and then when she was walking back up the stairs, she kept falling into the wall.  It freaked me out and when I rang the vet, they said to bring her up straight away. 

She didn't want to walk to the car and I had to carry her into the vet. She could stand and walk, but just couldn't seem to coordinate things properly.  The vet checked her over and said she wasn't responding very well, when she shined the torch in her eyes.  She was really spaced out and like she was there, but not completely. The vet said it could be something like Addison's disease and wanted to keep her in the animal hospital overnight and run blood tests. The blood tests came back mostly okay - nothing to worry about.  They then said they would keep her on a drip overnight to see if she could improve once she was re hydrated. 

They rang the next morning and said there wasn't much improvement, and they were thinking she may have meningitis and would start treating her for that.  We tried to go and visit her the following evening but unfortunately they were too busy in the hospital for us to go and see her.  Jalen had come home from Uni that afternoon to spend the weekend at home, so I'm glad he was with us.  They said she was walking a little better, but she was still very spaced out and there wasn't much improvement yet. They told me I would get a call about 9 am the next morning, but the vet rang at 7.30 am and told me she had taken a turn for the worse. 

When the nurse came in at 4.30 am she was having constant seizures. They gave her meds which controlled the seizures, but once the meds wore off they came back. He told me that they thought she had a brain tumour, as she wasn't responding to the other treatment and it would explain why one side of her body wasn't working well.  He told me they would continue the treatment they were giving her, but I needed to be prepared to probably have to say goodbye to her that day.  Looking back now, I wonder whether she had seizure when Kobe was home with her.  

I went into see her and she was being so well looked after, but looked terrible. Her temp was really high so they were cooling her down with wet towels and a fan. She was lying on her side and was seizing the whole time.  Her eyes were open, but she really wasn't there.  It was awful to see and I knew straight away that we couldn't let her go on like that.  I was a sobbing mess in the waiting room, and couldn't believe that I was crying in public over a dog, but also knew that everyone there totally got it.  I don't think I ever cried like that in public after Aaron and Noah died.  It just broke my heart that she had brought us so much joy, and now we were going through so much pain again. 

I came home and picked up the boys, and we all went up together to say goodbye.  A lady who was there with her dog, had seen me crying and could see all the boys were crying too. She came over and rubbed me on my arm and said she didn't know what was happening, but she was sorry.  It was really lovely of her. 
I knew it was important for the boys to see her so sick, as they would then know that we had made the right decision as there was nothing else we could do for her.  We were all sobbing and just really couldn't believe what was happening.  The nurses and vets were so kind.  They let us spend as much time as we wanted with her beforehand, but it was horrible as she was seizing the whole time, so we knew we didn't want to drag it out. 

We were grateful that once the vet gave her the medication, that she drifted off very quickly and peacefully. It was nice to be able to spend some time with her afterwards as she wasn't seizing any longer.  
We are all devastated and really can't believe it's happened.  Three weeks ago she was totally 'fine' and now she's gone. I wonder whether having Josie here kept her going for longer than she would've otherwise. We all keep saying how sad we feel for Josie as she won't have her playmate anymore.

Last night we all went between sobbing, being okay for a while and then sobbing again. The house feels so sad and empty without her.  I don't know if I could go through all this again. I got her to cheer all of us up, and we thought we would have her for 12 years or more, but now we are grieving all over again.  Maybe one day I'll think about getting a dog again, and the boys are all saying they want to, but for now I just can't even think about it.

Thank you for making our lives brighter Milza.  I hope that Aaron and Noah are up there playing fetch with you.  We will never forget you and the joy you brought us.

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