Kite Fest 2019

Just over two years ago, Frith and I took the kids (the three that we had at the time – I just realised I must have been about 35 weeks pregnant with Julius!!!) to the Emu Park Kite Festival. I just found that blog post and had a read and it’s quite relevant to this one too!

I had pretty much resigned myself to taking the kids this year, though I wasn’t overly excited about it. Jacques took Chance and Quinn last year and had a great time, but this year I was going to be there, as well as Darby, and that just changes the dynamic, as well as the rules of the game of spending money.

But. I was smart enough this time to go in with a plan.

I told the kids that they had $25 each to spend, and when they ran out of money, that was it. Of course that meant absolutely nothing to Darby, but he ended up somehow sticking to his limit. Quinn had another $25 in her wallet from her birthday, and I said she could spend what she wanted. And Chance had an extra $5 in his wallet, so he could spend that too.

And it actually worked!!!! As usual, Chance wanted to find an awesome toy, and Quinn wanted to get her face painted, and they all wanted slushies – some things never change!!

We went to church this morning, took Julius to Gran and Grumpy’s for a sleep, headed down to Clontarf and met up with Uncle Jacques a little while later.

The weather looked a little ominous for most of the day, but thankfully the rain stayed away for our visit there. Chance was super helpful, taking care of Darby and holding his hand and pointing things out to him. It was incredibly sweet.

After cruising around for a while, and thankfully not being lured into rides, showbags, or “sideshow alley” we made our way over the the kids area to line up for face painting. While Quinn and I waited, Jacques took the boys around a bit, and they chose a few toys to buy and played at the jumping castle. Not far from where we were waiting, I spotted this entertainer on stilts.

I’m not going to lie. I kept looking around for Darby in his red hat, and waiting to see a blur of red streaking towards big bluey there and taking their legs out from under them. Not in a malicious way, but just for fun. Thankfully I was just being overly paranoid….

After a 45 minute wait, it was Quinn’s turn, and I’m sure you’ll agree it was worth it!!

You guys, face painting is not what it used to be, that’s for sure! That’s a stick-on horn that she got to keep as well. It was mesmerising! And she was so pleased 🙂

Even though they bought some dumb, overpriced toys, I really didn’t care one bit. They made all the choices themselves, and didn’t ask for extra money, or get disappointed about what was on offer. Chance and Darby bought Ninja swords (good grief…) and a few other bits and pieces, and they were happy to leave after a couple of hours.

We made our way home from Mum and Dad’s as this huge storm front was making its way over, and got home as it started raining but before it became torrential. It was a really soothing end to a super fun day.

Good Grief

Another book title I’ve contemplated along the way. It also comes from one of my favourite come strips of all time. The kids have been watching The  Peanuts Movie lately and I love that they are picking up lines from it. For instance, they frequently call each other “my sweet babboo” which I freaking love!  

So back to it. I know I’ve been a bit absent on the old blog lately. Where has this year gone! Ha ha. I know it’s only 27 days old, but there goes January, just like that. I gotta say, it started well, and if I’m honest, has been pretty up and down since. All to be expected, and my new normal it seems, but it still leaves me exhausted quite a bit. 

I wanted to catch you up on a few things! Like Christmas!!

What a wonderful day! I really wanted the focus to be on a few special gifts that were unwrapped and appreciated rather than just tossed aside for the next one and the next one etc etc. And we succeeded! And to be honest, as long as my cousins and my kid’s cousins are around, it’s always going to be a great day.

A few fun days away with Julius’ Fairy Godmother 🙂

And New Years!! SO much fun 🙂 (There were more celebrations after this, but I didn’t get many photos!! Ugh!)

And then I went away for a week with some incredibly gorgeous friends. It was just amazing. These people!!! And can you believe this photo?? All looking at the camera and all looking fabulous. I can’t even! What an achievement in itself!!

My birthday was wonderfully awesome and low-key and special. I used to be all about the big parties with heaps of people all at once, and it maybe just because I’m getting older (sheesh) or I just don’t need the big fuss anymore, but I really prefer to enjoy quality time with small groups of people these days. And yes, I’m already planning for my 40th next year 🙂

So many things coming up in the next week or two, including Chance and Quinn starting at their new school tomorrow, and Quinn turning six on Friday. After that, I’m hoping it will all be about getting the house ready to move into, hopefully by Easter. To be honest, part of me is super super keen to get in there and have our own space, but I am also really keen to have everything done and completed before that happens, so I’m in no great rush. When it’s done it’s done. 

So here we are in 2019. Who would have thought we would be where we are, but life just keeps on keeping on, and either we let it take us along, or we get left behind. The choice is ours, and more subconsciously I suppose, I’m choosing to keep on keeping on.

I refuse to be left behind.

What a great day

You know those situations where things don’t exactly go to plan, but you just decide you can’t do anything about it and just go with it? That was today. I had planned a birthday party in the park for Chance and Darby yesterday, but due to fevers and a spot of spew, decided to postpone to today, and hope for the best. And I got it!

We had such a nice, simple birthday celebration at home, with a big bowl of chips, a couple of cheeses and some Jatz, and a few plungers of coffee.* 

The boys are really into Super Mario at the moment, with Chance always choosing to be Mario, and Darby in love with Luigi, pronounced “Louie-Gee”. It’s the best! And easy to find inspiration for their cakes! I also found the hats and tashes on ebay, and just couldn’t resist!

I had so much fun making the cakes, (the 8 was my signature orange polenta cake with chocolate ganache, and the 4 was the best chocolate cake with chocolate icing – I’ve been making this for years and it’s best served at room temperature, for those playing at home) and it was nice to take my time with the decorating. I used pre-made royal icing (it’s the best!) and put it all together fairly easily. With a glass of bubbly and no interruptions, it was a great Saturday night in my books!

The boys were so happy with the end product. I hadn’t told them what I was doing, so it was so nice to see their faces when they saw them, though clearly, Darby has his poker face on here… 

My heart is so full as I type this and look at the photos. It was really exactly what I was hoping it would be – easy, relaxed, a few kids to play with, lots of adults around to help with the kids, (thank you in particular Nathan, Josie, Uncle Felix and Aunty Kate!!!!!) and very happy kids. In my present circumstances, what more could I possibly ask for?

And to top it off, Darby just came out and told me he had an itchy arm and can he have some cream on it. I put some Sudocrem on which I usually use when I change Julius’ nappy and he said “that’s butt cream.”

The perfect end to a marvelous day. 

*personally I had Aeropress with a good glug of Kahlua, but that’s just me 🙂

Fickle Feckers

Kids are tricky little creatures, aren’t they? Just when you think you’ve got them figured out, when you have a nice little routine happening, when you start to relax a bit, BOOM! Something happens that throws all that hard work straight out the window.

They don’t need to go to bed as early as their siblings anymore. Which is complicated when they all share a room and have an unrealistic idea of what “fair” is.

They get sick and take weeks to get over the night-time coughing.

They decide that bedtime is when they desperately need your undivided attention.

They suddenly develop a fear of the dark and need to come into your bed with you in the middle of the night. When there’s already two other kids in the bed with you.

They are ready to be weaned (read: I am ready to wean them) and need to be patted to sleep for 45 minutes, several times during the night.

See? Fickle I tell you.

It’s hard enough to roll with this punches under normal circumstances, but when you’ve already been punched in the guts and kicked in the shins, patience runs pretty fecking thin. Frith was always very patient with the kids, and would step in when he could see I was getting close to the end of my tether. And I would do the same for him, when he’d had a long day at work and was not up to the bedtime shenanigans.

Thank God (I seriously thank God) my parents are not only patient with the kids beyond belief, but they are eternally forgiving and supportive of me and my current short temper. I know that some days I crave a big yard and a house to call my own, but for the time being, this is exactly where the kids and I need to be.

Thanks Mum and Dad. Seriously.

A happy Easter

Gosh what a weekend. I’ll get straight to the photos.

I had a lazy start to good Friday, getting the opportunity to go back to bed for a sleep in (thanks Mum and Dad!) and not emerging until nearly 10am (woooooo!!) After a bit of coffee and colouring,

we then got set to watch the start of the Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race. From the comfort of our balcony. With snacks.

The kids got such a kick out of it!

Darby with his “noculars”

After some yummy lunch and some quiet time, we bundled the kids into the bike pram and scooters and…. headed across the road to “our beach”.

That’s mum and dad’s house up there on the far left. Next to the huge block of units.

So yeah, like I said. Our beach. Jules getting his squat on to build up those quads.

Gosh this kid loves any kind of water!!

And Quinn is never afraid to get a bit of dirt in the skirt! (or boardies in this case)

If Darby has a truck in his hand, the world is good.

And Chance always says he doesn’t want to go to the beach because he doesn’t like the salty water and sand, but once we get there, he’s right into it.

It sometimes feels like a lot of work getting the kids across the road to the beach, but it’s always worth it and they always have an amazing time.

We went for a sleepover at aunty Liesel’s house last night, which included a huge stacks-on, meat cooked on the BBQ, and a Lego hunt this morning, all of which Frith would have been proud of. Not many photos taken, as I just wanted to soak it all up.

Now there is faaaaaaar too much chocolate in the house for my lack of discipline at the moment, so I might take it upstairs for Mum and Dad to watch over. I can’t believe how much chocolate the kids put away today (okay, I can)!!

Even though I’m still finding it hard to find joy in my days, I always see it in my kids. They have fun. Every single day. I know it will come again for me, and in the mean time, I will feel snippets of it through them. They truly are gorgeous, spirited kids and I’m so blessed to call them mine.

Happy Birthday Quinny

I thought I’d better get into blogging about this before I do what I did last year and went months and months without the full debrief!

As Quinn’s birthday was looming, I took the steps to plan her birthday party. Last year was a huge affair with a jumping castle and loads of her friends, and ours, and it was a fantastic afternoon that continued on into the evening, as our gatherings always did.

This year was going to be a smaller affair, but it turned out bigger than I had planned. The weather didn’t cooperate with the coldest February day in years (on record?? Surely not) It was raining, windy and cold. And the party was at the local playground.

The good news is, we had the place to ourselves! The bad news was that the kids got soaked through within the first five minutes so were a little miserable on and off for the afternoon.

Quinn wanted a cake with ballerinas, Minnie Mouse, flowers and something else I can’t remember. I suggested a mermaid cupcake cake like this:

Bless her cotton socks she agreed, and was even excited about it! As was I! There was a slight transportation issue with the mermaid tail cupcakes…

But with extra icing and a metric tonne of sprinkles, no one was the wiser…

Ha ha. Nailed it! 🙂

The birthday girl was a little overwhelmed with all the fuss, and stayed close to her Mama. That was fine by me. I don’t often get lots of cuddles from my baby girl.

She was all smiles when it came to the cake.

Again, it’s not what we planned, but we were surrounded by some of the best people in our lives and for that I am grateful. Happy 5th Birthday to my Quinny. You have always been Dadda’s girl, and I know you miss him but his spirit lives in you. You are determined, caring, hilarious, and kind. You will always be our baby girl, even though you are growing up before my eyes. Your family love you so much and I know you will go on to do great things in your life. We will be there for you every step of the way.

Love, Mama  xxxxxxx

Unreal

In the past I’ve read about people who have found themselves in my position. Mothers who have lost their husband/partner, whether it be suddenly, unexpectedly, after a long illness; it’s irrelevant. They have been left to raise the kids on their own* and manage life without their beloved.

My heart has ached for these women; I have been brought to tears thinking about how their babies would no longer have their Dadda around; and I have struggled to understand in any way how they must be feeling after losing the love of their life.

Now that I have found myself in that very circumstance, all I can tell you is that it feels nothing like I could have imagined. It’s unreal. And not in the denial sense of the word. Not in a way that I can’t accept it. Just in the way that I never could have imagined. It’s a whole new world for us and it feels so incredibly strange.

My heart still aches for my kids and my guts still feel ill a lot of the time. I feel so sad that my kids won’t have Frith around to teach them the million things he should have. I’m devastated that our “til death do us part” was only 10 years of marriage. I cry for the unfairness that we won’t get to go on the crazy adventures we planned. I feel for  the interns and medical students and colleagues who respected Frith so deeply, and all that knowledge that won’t be taught by someone who was a born teacher. I feel sick at the thought of his parents losing a son; his siblings losing a brother, his friends losing a fantastic mate, and the world losing a damn splendid and unique human being.

I’ve had so many offers of help over the last 23 days, and it’s hard to think of things that people can “do” for me. But I’ve just thought of something. So here it is: Do something unique. Do something in a different way to everyone else. Do something outrageous. Do something unexpected. Do something kind. Teach someone something. Look up a crazy fact to bring up at your next dinner party. Download a full 20 minute episode of Adam Ruins Everything and tell me which one you watched (we’ve seen most of them). Then tell someone else about it. Buy something off Gumtree or at a garage sale or op shop instead of buying it new.

I’m not going to tell you cliches like “live every day like it’s your last” or ” you just never know when your life might change so appreciate every moment.” It’s unrealistic to live that way. But do something every week or month or year that’s just a bit different; see the world with Frith-coloured-lenses and try something new. He never did anything because “everybody else does it that way.” In fact he avoided doing what everyone else did. So branch out from the norm and let me know how you go.

One last thing. Listen to “Wake Me Up” by Avicii (sorry no link), listen to the words and think of Frith. He may not have been here for a long time but my goodness it was a good time.

Who needs an expensive baby carrier when a chesty Bonds will do? Just a suggestion 🙂

*I know I’m not even close to being “on my own” but in this context I mean as the sole parent.

38 today

This is not exactly how I planned to celebrate my birthday this year. Not even close. But with these four rascals vying for a spot on my lap, and being surrounded by my cousins and family, it wasn’t bad at all. Thank you everyone. This was the first of many firsts without Frith. And it was made easier with your love and support.

I’m heading to Rocky first thing tomorrow morning until Saturday evening. I feel that reality is about to hit. I can’t prepare myself for it other than getting my village ready up there to catch me when I fall. And what a village it is. Thank God I have them. See you soon guys. It’s going to be rough xxx

Our new normal

Life is currently very strange. My family and friends are nearby and for that I am grateful.

The kids and I have moved in with my parents at Woody Point for the time being. And not that it’s a bad thing, far from it, but it was not part of any kind of plan we ever had. The kids are keeping things “normal” for me and for that I am grateful.

We set up the kids bunk beds and toy cubes and they are surrounded by familiar things. We have the downstairs area of Mum and Dad’s to make our own, and for that I am grateful.

I’m feeling very conflicted at the moment. The sadness and fear and strangeness that washes over me regularly can be suffocating, but I’m not quite ready to deal with my new reality so I’ve been acknowledging, but also pushing those feelings aside. For now. In time and in space I will deal with things.

I’m heading to Rockhampton on Friday morning and staying for the night and most of Saturday. I want to have a chance to thank everyone up there for their love and support. I imagine it will be quite confronting as I haven’t been back there since this all happened and have almost separated myself from the events up there, in the safety of my family and friends down here.

I know I have so many wonderful friends to lean on up there, and for that I am grateful. In the midst of this tragedy, everyone has opened their arms and hearts and homes to our families and I want to say thank you. I’m still here. I’ll still be writing. Thank you for reading.