Then and Now

Mia and Darby in April 2015. Darby is about 4 months old and Mia is about 2 days old!!

And this was Mia and Darby yesterday 🙂

I know I keep banging on about it, but I love having friends in our life who have kids around the same age as our kids, and that they are growing up together and creating these memories together. It’s so special and it will be such a big support for the kids and I in the years to come.

And since then, the family have welcomed another baby into their family, which makes four for them and four for us! Now to try and get a photo of the eight of them together…. 🙂

Happy 6th Birthday Quinn

Our baby girl is certainly not a baby anymore! 

Quinn started her birthday week at their new school, and it went wonderfully well. (Huge sigh of relief from me!!!) She and Chance both made new friends and some of the mums even came and introduced themselves to me which I really appreciated. And yes, the uniforms for the new school are almost identical to their old school. 

All the kids actually slept in a little on Friday, and once everyone was up, Chance hid Quinn’s three gifts to find and unwrap. She is a very grateful person, no matter the gift (or no gift) which makes me very happy 🙂

She took cupcakes to have with her classmates which were well received.

And we had a little cake with a few people on the Friday night. We were supposed to have fish and chips and cake at the park, but as usual, my rainmaker baby ensured that wasn’t going to happen!! Just like the last three years on her birthday!!

For Quinn’s birthday last year, I had the crazy idea that I needed to invite all the people, and even though it was so amazing having my people surrounding us with love, it was not what Quinn wanted. So this year she invited three of her friends from school last year, and their mums and one younger brother stayed, and we had a super low-key day at home.

It was the absolute best!! They ate food, opened presents, made beaded bracelets and keyrings, ate cake, jumped on the trampoline and finished off with a movie. Exactly what she wanted. She was thrilled. And she liked the cake too. 🙂

I thought it looked kind of dodgy, but it was my orange polenta cake with sour cream ganache (I didn’t have normal cream so I googled sour cream and it’s a thing!!) and my goodness it is the most freaking delicious cake ever. Even gluten free!! 

What a year it has been for you Quinn. You talk about Dadda all the time and you are keeping his memory beautiful and pure and alive. You remember so much and I hope you always hold the love he had for you, close to your heart.

I’m so proud of you, and even though we clash a bit, with you being so strong-willed, I hope I can learn to be more patient with you, and to not take your outbursts so personally. I know it’s not about me; it’s about you exploring the world around you, and testing the limits. I promise to always be here with a safe, warm hug. I love you so much. 

Love, Mama xxxxxxxxx

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.

Kintsugi

Kintsugi is the name of a Japanese art form and philosophy. In the art of Kintsugi, cracked and broken pottery is repaired with lacquer, mixed with powdered gold. As a philosophy, the breakage is seen as our most vulnerable point in life. The repairs are not disguised but highlighted to signify something that is fully healed and stronger. The repaired piece of pottery has strong core values, which is used as a metaphor for life, to not skip the struggles but to embrace it, by showing where your character is built. 

My beautiful cousin Emma gave me an early birthday present, and a lovely card explaining these black and gold hearts. I’m not sure that I’m fully healed, or that I will ever be, but I guess that’s the point. The cracks in my life are golden, they will always show, and I’ll never try and hide them.

Shock took the first half of my year, and I feel medication took the second half.

Don’t get me wrong. I needed both of these things, in precisely measured doses at these times, but it’s hard to look back at my year and not feel as though it was taken from me.

There are pockets of the year that are a mystery to me. I know I was living day to day, sometimes hour to hour or moment to moment, but months seem to have vanished.

I certainly have a lot of paperwork and paid bills to show for my year. I also have kids who are all a year older, and a few more wrinkles and several stress kilos added to my body, so the year definitely happened.

A friend asked me last week if I thought I had gone through the whole grieving process. Intellectually, yes I have. Emotionally? I’m on my way, as I’ve been working on it. I have time for that. There is no hurry. The golden cracks aren’t going anywhere.

I have made efforts this year to work through things, with counselors and psychologists. I am learning that I don’t need to make everyone happy; that my job is to work on my own happiness, as well as my kids. I’ve mostly come to terms with the lack of answers I will ever have. The coping strategies I used last year (mainly food and booze) are not long-term solutions, and I’m looking forward to backing off on those this year, and rediscovering other things that make me happy instead. 

This time last year, my world had fallen apart, but thanks to family and friends, I have started to rebuild. I look forward to 2019. It’s going to be a-okay.

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 🙂

Trying to remember all the things

I fear my memories of Frith are fading.

I was trying to think of one of our silly jokes that we used to always do, and I can’t remember the punch line. It’s really frustrating me.

We used to do this other joke where one of us would say something like “want some chicken?” and the other would say “you’re a chicken”. It works with many things. “Have you seen my mouse pad?” “You’re a mouse pad.” See? So dumb and so versatile.

Once when we were unpacking after one of our moves, Frith asked me what was in the box I was unpacking. I said “Crafty shit” and he said “you’re a crafty shit.” Oh my gosh I couldn’t stop laughing. It still makes me smile as I type this.

That was a running gag between us for years. Anytime I was crafting, Frith would say “what are you doing” and I’d say “crafty shit” and he’d say “you’re a crafty shit.” And from then on, whenever we moved, I would label the box of craft with “crafty shit.” This was before the kids could read, thankfully 🙂

Whenever the kids asked Frith what he was doing, regardless of what he was doing, he would reply “making a sandwich”. The funny thing was, he pretty much never made any sandwiches, but on the rare occasion he ever did, the kids would be cluey enough to catch him out, and ask him. I try and do that too. When the kids ask me what I’m doing, I try and remember to respond with “making a sandwich”.

I’m finding myself desperately trying to remember all our silly bits and inside jokes. They are getting harder to recall. I’ve been writing them down as much as possible, but I know I won’t remember them all. And it seems the harder I try to remember, the more the memories elude me.

I just hope that they come back to me in other situations, in the years to come. I hope that I can be transported back to a memory with him; a sweet moment, captured in time by a dumb, off the cuff remark, that is in the depths of my heart, waiting to resurface, and to give me a little smile.

My four in onesies

Ooh my heart ❤️

Look I’m not going to lie. I can’t believe it’s been over 2 weeks since my last blog post, and this is a quick-fix for that. I was going to blog about The Whitlams song but I ended up just putting a post up on fb because it was the easy option at the time.

My back is still annoying and niggly, and I’m really needing to get moving again which is being delayed, but I’m getting treatment and it’s slowly coming good. Julius’ burn is healing very well and his “sleeve” doesn’t seem to worry him much. He has to wear it every day, with a break for a couple hours, for at least a few months. What a friggin’ champ. Can you imagine any of my other kids being okay and not whingey about it if it were them??? Or me??? Nopey nope nope.

The last two weekends saw me at two of the best weddings of my life, hands down, in every way. The first was a country wedding at the bride’s family farm for one of Frith’s best mates. It may have helped that I had four child-free nights, an 11-hour stretch of sleep, and adult conversations. But I think it was most likely all the wedding feels.

The second, on the weekend just gone, was for my dear friend of over 25 years, Beth, who married the love of her life, in their back yard at their beautiful house.

Both weddings had so many gorgeous, personal touches, and there was just so much love everywhere. I also met some new people and had some great conversations. I still find it tricky to know whether a) they know about Frith; b) I should tell them about Frith; c) if I mention Frith in conversation, which I often do, where it will lead… It’s hard to navigate sometimes, but honestly, everyone is always so supportive and loving and caring, so I needn’t worry too much. It’s just the balance of the time vs the place vs the circumstances, you know? There’s never a good time, but I also don’t want to hide that part of my life away if someone asks.

Anyway. Hello tangent!

I will give a more thorough report on both weddings, with photos, very soon, but in the mean time, I’m still here, still tap-tap-typing away 🙂

Remember the time

There have been many stages to my grief this year. First there was shock, followed by a long period of numbness, overlapped by sadness, with some frustration, pity and bewilderment thrown in. If I’m honest, I’ve allowed myself a lot of sadness for my kids, and not a lot for myself. It’s been too hard.

There has been a lot of anger in my heart lately. A lot. It has definitely taken over the sadness; perhaps as a coping strategy. Self preservation of you will.

But tonight I allowed myself to remember some things about Frith, that I only I ever got to experience. I allowed myself to remember times when he was running late for work, all dressed up in his vest and tie and boots, me in my daggy pjs and dressing gown, hair all over the place. He would say goodbye to me, and I’d give him the biggest, longest, lingering kiss. It would stop  him in his tracks; he would be in a trance (yes, I was that good) and say “hmmmm can I stay here with you all day?”

I allowed myself to remember the quiet moments with the kids, when he didn’t know I was listening; his soft words, his cuddles, the endless number of stories he would read, or the countless times he would read Fox in Sox. He knew it by heart.

It was his birthday on Saturday. He would have turned 37. We had a family day filled with potjie, Lego, music, wine, a fire pit, movies, pjs, a skateboard, lemonade, lollies, Savanna Cider, and cheesecake. In case you don’t know, Frith hated cheesecake. But we all love it, and we all have our own memories of trying to make him like cheesecake over the years 🙂

Here was our day. Lego before…

Ice cold Savannas
Cousin cuddles around the fire
The skateboard
Brotherly love
The Lego, finished, hours later
Amazing beef cheek potjie!! Served with polenta. Thanks Ma!
The cheesecake (there was also home-made sticky date pudding and orange polenta cake that were, quite frankly, outstanding!!)
I know I’m allowed to be angry, and sad, and everything in between. But I also know it’s nice to remember some good times for myself, and not just remind the kids of all the wonderful things he used to do for them, and with them. He did a lot for me. We did a lot together. He loved me. And I need to remind myself of that every day, to keep his memory alive. And perhaps to help soften the anger that is sitting in my heart.