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.

Another Pizzeys Trip

Oh wow guys. We went up to Hervey Bay last weekend for my Mum’s aunty’s 90th birthday and it was so amazing to catch up with those rellies. They are just some of the best people in the world, and even though I only see them once a year (sometimes less!) it’s always good for my soul.

We made an impromptu trip out to Pizzeys on the Sunday, and the kids had an absolute ball.

I have spent the last 20 minutes looking for the blog post I thought I wrote about our trip to Pizzeys two years ago, but I can’t find it anywhere, and can’t believe I didn’t blog about it! So annoyed. So some background info: My mum’s family own some old fishing shacks along the Burrum River and the place is named after Jack Pizzey who founded the area (or something like that!?) and we have been going there since we were kids. We grew up fishing and crabbing and boating and swimming and just getting up to all kinds of fun and mischief with our “cousins” (second cousins once removed if you’re playing at home!) and now all of us cousins have had kids of our own, and so the adventures continue. I will blog about our trip from two years ago for my Flashback Friday post. Stay tuned!

Anyway, Chance was desperate to go fishing (“Mama, I was born to fish!”)

And the older boys took Darby under their wing and showed him the joy of Burger Rings fingers!

Quinny stayed pretty close to me as there were dogs around and she’s not a huge fan of dogs at the moment, and we all took turns following Julius around as well.

Quinny was also the only girl there. There are a lot of boys in this generation!

And they are really all just lovely. Even though it was an exhausting few hours, trying to keep track of Darby (the place is a death trap for an adventurous boy like him!!!) and leading Jules away from this and that, it was 100% worth it.

25 years of The Whitlams

When I was 20 years old, my big brother allowed me to accompany him to a Whitlams gig at The Arena in Brisbane. He was a HUGE fan, and I was just getting into their music. He gave me some rules to follow (bottom line: be cool and don’t embarrass him) and I had a fantastic time. I saw them a few more times over the next few years, but not since.

About two months ago, I had a hankering. I decided that I wanted to go to a Whitlams gig. I didn’t even know if they were touring, but after a quick Google search, I found out they were on their 25 year Anniversary tour. What luck!! As the Brisbane gig had already sold out, I looked further afield. I even considered going to Melbourne, Cairns, Townsville and Albury, and making a bit of a trip of it. But since I hadn’t weaned Julius as yet (still haven’t) I didn’t want to go too far. So I booked two tickets to the Gold Coast gig at Currumbin RSL.

My friend Nathan, visiting home from the UK for a bit, was keen to come along, so we grabbed a yummy RSL dinner and joined the cue to get in around 7pm. When the supporting acts started (Deborah Conway and Alex Lloyd – both brilliant) it occurred to me that the Whitlams might not actually come on stage until 10pm!! And I was already yawning!

Anyway, we were one of the first ones in, so we positioned ourselves right at the front, near the keyboard. Thankfully they came on around 9:30pm and I did perk right up immediately!

I was rather excited when Tim and the boys came out.

The energy they still have on stage, even after 25 years is so fantastic.

Yes I was this close!!!

They played all of my favourite songs (there aren’t many that aren’t my favourite!) and it was so much fun to sing along.

Even though I didn’t get home until 1am and couldn’t sleep for a while because of the  adrenaline and the ringing in my ears, it was totally worth it!

A Grumpy Birthday

Happy birthday to you Grumpy!

We celebrated (last Sunday!) with cheesecake, a bike ride, some model tank building, chocolate cake, and watching the Snoopy Movie together to top it all off. Not bad for a Sunday. Happy Birthday Dad. You truly are a wonderful Grumpy 🙂

Flashback Friday – Julius is ONE!

That’s right folks. Today I’m taking you back to the delivery room! Lucky you!

I don’t think I’ve shared the kids birth stories on this blog (g-rated obviously) but there is one thing I remember about Julius’ birth that I want to share. You see, the canulas they use in maternity are HUGE needles. In Mount Isa, Frith was introduced to the practice of using a tiny bit of local anaesthetic for any canulas he put in. Many nurses/midwives/doctors would say “why would you give them two needles when you can just give them one?” The thing is, for my last two births, they missed my veins and had to try for a second time anyway. Two needles. Two HUGE needles.

For J’s birth, a midwife put the canula in, and after an hour or so my hand started throbbing. When we looked down, we saw it had tissued and was swelling up. Frith just took charge, asked for a canulation kit and some local anaesthetic, and got to work on my other hand.

I remember a wave of love for him rushed over me in that moment. He had my back. He protected me, and he got the job done with no pain. I felt fearless after that, knowing he was by my side for another birth. It also filled me with pride to be married to such an amazing doctor.

That evening, just before 6pm, we welcomed our little bundle of deliciousness into the family.

This year has been near impossible, but the joy he has brought to our lives has no limits. He is our little treasure and we can’t wait to see what the next year will bring for us all. We love you Julius xxx

A (mostly) Happy Mothers Day

I don’t know what it is at the moment, but to be honest my kids are fighting a lot and it’s kind of driving me bananas. I’d like to say that I had a lovely day with the kids, but some of it was spent breaking up fights, putting Darby in time-out, dealing with name-calling, and trying to reason with a stubborn 5 year old.

There were, of course, moments of magic, and that’s what I will choose to focus on.

I had a rough night sleep at Aunty Liesel’s, with all the kids waking up during the night at different times, but after the older three awoke at 6:30am (sorry Josie!) Julius and I slept until after 9, so that totally counts as a sleep-in, right?? 🙂

We had a delicious breakfast of bacon and eggs and pancakes, topped off by the most delightful giggles and smiles from Julius, who has been a little under the weather, but really put on a show that had us all belly laughing. Thank God for babies.

We headed home for some “quiet time” (see above) and I requested prawn sangas for a late lunch, at which time I also had a glass of bubbly.

And gifts! Chance and Quinn chose this lovely bead to add to my bracelet

And of course the lovely mother’s day treats from school and kindy.

And this one from Darby. Hmmm…

My Mothers Day photo, 2018

Then Uncle Kristian (up for the family wedding on Saturday) and I took all but Julius down to the water front park for a play. Chance found a cardboard box, and Kristian posed the question “do you think we can slide down the grass on this?

Yes. Yes we can.

They had a great time with this activity until it was time to head home and say good bye to uncle Kristian. I made myself some prawn pasta while the kids had pumpkin soup, baked beans and vegemite toast while watching a movie.

A great end to a (mostly) lovely day.

Finding Joy

I’m ready to laugh again.

I was at my friend’s family picnic lunch yesterday, and one thing I noticed immediately was there was so much laughter. About silly things, fun things, funny stories, banter between cousins and aunties and uncles and siblings; just so much laughter.

I wanted in on it. But it was really hard.

I still sometimes feel as though, if I’m seen to be having fun, it dishonours my grief for Frith. I feel like I’m not supposed to be having too much fun, or laughing too hard, or playing too silly with the kids.

I feel like I’m a prisoner to my grief, but it’s also mostly self-inflicted.

I still miss Frith every moment of every single day. No one denies that.

I still love Frith with my whole heart, and I ache for him. No one thinks otherwise.

I still wish with my whole heart that he hadn’t left us so young, and that the kids still had him around. Everyone knows that.

But the sadness is eating me up inside. It strips my patience and makes me constantly cranky with the kids; it has taken away my ability to laugh loudly; it denies me a light-hearted conversation about my beautiful husband, because I feel I need to inject some sadness, just so people still know I’m hurting.

You know I am. I know I am. But I’m ready to have some laughs. Frith made us laugh so hard and so often. It’s time to bring those moments of joy back to life.

Solo week away

I’ve been trying to blog about my week away for over a week now, but I’ve been having some photo uploading issues. That and I’m addicted to The Crown. Moving on…

When the school holidays were fast approaching, I decided I really wanted to get away with the kids for a week, preferably with someone else on hand to help out. I then realised that Nanna’s 100th birthday fell on the middle Sunday of the school holidays, so if I was going to go away, it would have to be the Gold Coast. I jumped on line and found something fairly reasonably twice (reasonable after 2 glasses of wine on a Friday night if I’m being honest!) and just booked it.

So on the Friday in the middle of the school holidays, armed with my niece and brother-in-law (who drove the kombi), we set off down the coast.

I had rented a 3 bedroom townhouse on a canal in Elanora called Isle of Palms, and honestly, apart from being a bit on the small side, it was perfect. There was a lot of this:

Josie and Jacques only stayed until after the party on Sunday, and after that, it was just me and the kids, and my father-in-law 10 minutes away.

Even though I was a little apprehensive, part of me definitely wanted to know that I could do this whole “solo parenting” thing, so I went in armed with patience, loose plans, a positive attitude, and plenty of snacks, and gave it my best shot.

And you know what? We did all right. Better than all right. The place was just fantastic for the kids, and we got to spend a lot of time with “Poppy” (Frith’s Dad.) This was at our back door.

I did every evening on my own, and thanks to allowing them to watch TV every night while I put Jules to sleep, everything went really well and they were all out to it by 8:30pm each night. Which meant it was time for Commonwealth games watching with a glass of wine for me! Winning!

I was definitely exhausted by the time we were heading home, but I had booked in a sleep in for the Sunday morning, so I had that to look forward to. All in all an amazing week, and I would definitely go back to this place!

Nanna is 100

I’ll let the photos tell the story… (mostly…)

My kids just love running around with their cousins, and their cousins are incredibly loving and generous with their time and enthusiasm. Such a gift.

Jules taking Uncle Jacques for a walk (one of many!)

Cousin love (second cousins? I don’t know. They’re all cousins to me!)
Nathan and Chance just hanging out together. This was roughly the age gap between Frith and Nathan (nephew) when they were growing up. My heart swelled watching them together.
“Quinn can I please take a photo of you?”
“Yep hang on while I get ready.”
Such a poser!

We had such a lovely afternoon, and as Darby lay asleep in my arms at around 4pm, I counted many many blessings in my life. Family, cousins in particular; all of whom came into my life, or were brought into my life, because of my love for Frith. Although he wasn’t there that day, he was never far from all of our thoughts, and he certainly brought a smile to my face and warmed my heart on a few occasions. He truly is always with us.