This is where I leave you

I felt it appropriate to name my last blog post after my favourite movie.

I also wanted to post it on Feb 29. Bonus Day. Leap Day.

Yes, that’s right. This will be the final post for my beloved, My Brilliant Foot, the blog formally known as a Beer, a Whine and The Spirit.

This has not been an impulsive decision; I’ve been thinking about it for months. I have decided to finish up, based on my need, desire and readiness to keep moving forward with my life.

I’ve been planning this weekend for a few weeks now. When I realised Feb 29 was on a Saturday, I casually sidled up to Mum and asked if I could possibly have the whole weekend off from the kids. Mum being Mum made it happen, so I booked myself in to a hotel in Spring Hill for two nights, and here I am, writing my final blog post.

I began writing this blog on the 1st of July 2008, when Frith and I had just moved to Melbourne for him to begin his Degree in Medicine. We were newlyweds and the world was ours for the taking. Those early couple of years were filled with random musings, sharing our new life in Melbourne, our traveling adventures, our trips back to Brisbane and the like. It moved on to pregnancy news, then moving towns, then new baby news, then moving, another baby, moving, baby, move, baby….. you get the idea.

I dabbled in some creative writing here and there, but it was mostly all about documenting our lives, sharing the joys of having our children, and giving an insight into an unusual lifestyle.

So much of my life from the last 11+ years can be found in these pages. Sometimes I’ll be telling someone a story, and then I think “oh I blogged about that, I can show them photos.” Sometimes the kids will ask me something, and somewhere in the 1438 posts I’ve written, I can find the answer. Sometimes I even stumble upon posts I can’t recall writing at all, but love reading over. And quite often a post will pop up in a search I’m doing, and then another and another, and an hour later I’m still reading old stories I’ve written.

Obviously the last two years have centered mainly around losing Frith, and the impact that has had on me, on the kids, and on my family and friends. They have been some of the most raw posts I’ve written; often after a glass or three of wine, sometimes through tears blurring my vision, often with me wondering who is reading and if it will help anyone, or just me.

The content will always be here, like an old friend, and I can’t convey to you how important it has been for me these past 11 years and 8 months. It has been so therapeutic; cathartic; getting the words out of my head and onto the page. I have had several realisations as things have been pouring out of me, and often at the end of a post, I feel lighter, more clear, and better than when I started.

I love writing so much, I need it in my life, and this won’t be the last you hear from me :-). I do plan to keep writing, in a different format yet to be determined. I’m playing around with a few ideas at this stage, and I promise to keep you informed of any developments.

Finally I want to say thank you for reading. Some of you have been here from the start, others have joined along the way, some of you I’ve never even met. Thank you for your kind words of love and encouragement; thank you for sharing your own stories with me; thank you for relating to me and thank you for indulging me. It truly has been a gift that I will always be able to look back on; that the kids will be able to look back on, and that will always be a part of me.

See you soon.
Renae xx

10 things on the 10th

World Mental Health Day edition.

Well, it’s a random edition, but it just so happens to be World Mental Health Day today, which is timely really. You see, I’ve been struggling a lot lately, and I have most people fooled (unintentionally) that I’m doing quite well when I’m actually not. Come to think of it, and I’m just realising this as I type, the reason I can be so convincing, is that I’m at my best when I’m around people; others energise me, so it’s easy to “be okay” when I’m with other people. It’s the nights that are lonely and thought-provoking that can sink me. And it’s happened to me before.

My dear friend and Mental Health Awareness advocate, Kat, has been with me every step of the way, and includes my story as part of her public speaking engagements. She’s a bloody legend and is very open with her story.

Anyway, welcome to another random 10 on the 10th. Sorry I missed last month. I’ve been hiding in a non-writing hole.

1. Happy Birthday Uncle Felix! And happy birthday Erica for Sunday! You and your lovely family are such a blessing in our lives and we had the most wonderful time with you in Orange. (Also, happy birthday to my neighbour Shey for Friday and my Mum for Saturday!!! :-))

At the top of the Pinnacle in Orange
When you gotta go, you gotta go, and Darby always has to go!!!

2. Chance and Quinn and I, along with my nephew and his girlfriend, are heading to Melbourne today for PAX. (There were too many links to include!!) We will be there until next Tuesday, and Chance is just beside himself with excitement about all the video games! Quinn has, as usual, got her poker face on, but I’m sure we will find some fun stuff to do. Darby and Julius are staying with Mum and Dad while we are away (yes, I have the absolute best parents) and I think five nights is the longest I’ve been away so wish us all luck!!!

3. A few months ago now, I de-registered as a Marriage Celebrant. After the two most incredible weddings last year – one where I got to marry Frith’s best mate to his long time love, and the other where I got to marry my best friend Beth to her wonderful partner, I knew I was done. I was asked to do a couple more ceremonies but I just couldn’t bring myself to say yes, so I knew it was time. It was a fun run, but it’s time to find something new.

4. I had an allergy test done the other day, which required me to stop taking my antihistamines for five days beforehand. FIVE DAYS GUYS!! IN SPRINGTIME!!! It was so brutal. I was getting tested for a potential seafood allergy, as I had a reaction a few months ago to something that blew my face and sinuses up!

Form an orderly queue gentlemen!

I had the skin prick test done and luckily it came back all clear!!! Still doesn’t explain what I reacted to but I don’t care – I can eat prawns and crab, so that’s the main thing!

5. I joined The Bay Health Club (fancy name for “the gym”) and it’s the first lot of classes I’ve been doing that is even close to my beloved Fit Mums. I’m not expecting miracles, and I’m certainly not putting pressure on myself, but if I can make it three times a week, I’m super stoked. Bring on the guns!!

6. My absolute favourite thing to listen to on Spotify is the Ultimate Covers album. Even the kids know all the songs now. Winning!

7. I messaged my friend Kate the other day, saying that no matter what I do or plan for the kids, there’s always one who isn’t happy and how it was so frustrating. She came back with a different way of looking at things: “75% are happy. That’s a B+.” I’m happy with a B+.

8. My photo wall is coming along nicely. I have a whole lot of frames and a whole lot more photos to print, but yes, it’s coming along nicely.

9. I had some intentional self-care on Tuesday morning with Darby and Julius at my local coffee shop. And as a bonus, one of my school mum friends was there with her little boy so we had a nice little coffee break. The fact that Julius threw an epic tantrum on the way home and it took us 20 minutes to walk 150m, well, it’s all part of the fun, isn’t it? Lucky he’s so damn cute.

10. I visited my GP today, due to the aforementioned struggling, and it dawned on me that I really thought being on medication would be a much more temporary thing, and that once we decided what I should take, that would be it, and the dosage would be just so. I have been up and down on it since mid last year, and I’m still having to tinker. That’s the thing about the beast that is depression – there’s no fix-all solution; there are no easy answers, and having a good GP can literally make or break you.

Something I’ve been speaking to a new friend of mine about lately, is how we are both better at giving advice than taking advice, and we are particularly bad at following the advice we give others, even if it’s exactly relevant to us. I love being a person that people want to confide in; it makes me feel useful; so if you need to talk and you don’t know who to start with, send me a message. Or reach out to someone you trust. There’s always someone who has an idea of what your going through, and not feeling alone in your struggle is a big step.

“Happy” World Mental Health Day xxx

Hello self-pity, my old friend

You’re always there for me, aren’t you? Looming in the back of my mind; ready to rear your ugly head when the opportunity arises. You know your statements are justified; you know people would understand if I said aloud, what you say in a whisper.

This is so unfair

I shouldn’t have to do this alone 

This is such bullshit

I did not sign up for this

You greet me in the morning when I have no choice but to get up. You tell me to stay in bed and ignore the kids; you tell me that I deserve more sleep, and that it’s not my fault I’m a single parent. I did not sign up for this.

You wait until I’m ridiculously tired, or a bit dusty from the night before; when I’ve been up half the night while the kids, one by one make their way into my bed because they need to be near me, to feel safe and secure, until there’s only a tiny space left for me and I can’t get back to sleep. This is bullshit. 

You tap me on the shoulder as I’m looking around my messy house, the kids are fighting, while I have a mammoth to-do list to get through. I shouldn’t have to do this on my own. 

You see me lying alone in bed at night with no one to wrap their warm arms around me and kiss me on the head and tell me I’m doing a great job and that I’m such a good Mama and that even though the kids were a massive pain today, they are so lucky to have me. This is so unfair.

Sometimes you sneak up on me, like the crafty bastard you are, and silently sit next to me. Open a bottle of wine. You deserve it. 
You deserve a bit of happiness in your life. 
Chocolate? Sure! Have some of that too. You won’t regret it. I promise.

And sure, sometimes you win. In those lonely nights where the house is quiet and I’m done fighting you for the day. I let you sit next to me for a while. I let you in like a bad ex-boyfriend who I know is no good for me, but is better than being alone.

You make sure that I barely recognise the reflection in the mirror some days. The woman staring back at me is middle-aged, overweight, tired and defeated.

Some days.

But you know what, self pity? I have my village, and that’s why you, mostly, stay in the back of my thoughts where you belong. Sure, I know that if I let you take over, it would be understandable, but I worry that it would be a long, hard road back. So my village keeps you at bay. Yes, I still hear your whisper, but it will never become a roar with my family, friends and community doing their thing. And they do so bloody much.

Thank you village.

And ? self-pity.

Happy birthday my friend

Happy birthday to my friend Joyclyn.

I like being around you. I like our conversations, but I am just as happy to sit in silence with you, drinking tea. Though I don’t think that’s ever actually happened as we always have fun things to talk about.

I like that our conversations are (mainly) about ideas and life and experiences and dreams and fun things, not complaining about this that and the other.

You are fun, kind, interesting and capable. Time with you is always time well spent. I’m looking forward to that New BeGinnings cocktail on my deck some time, and more laughs and good chats over tea and freshly made olive bread.

The happiest of birthdays to you my friend. May the following year bring joy and surprises ❤️

Love, Renae xx

10 things on the 10th

10 things that are changing for us

1. I’m hoping to move is in to our new home early next week. It’s the first time I’ve lived on my own, as in the only adult in the house, in my life.

2. Chance is growing up, physically and emotionally, before my eyes. He is taking on more responsibility (most of the time) and really reveling in it.

3. Julius is such a chatterbox! Repeating everything he hears (not always a good thing, right Mum!!? ?)

4. Quinn seems to be having lots of power struggles at the moment; things need to be on her terms, and if they are not, you’ll know about it. Like she couldn’t open the door at the new house the other day and yelled at me for buying a house with such a heavy door. ?

5. On the flip side, she can be the most caring, gentle angel, wanting to help with Julius and just shower him with love. It’s a delicate balance (on a knife’s edge!!)

6. Darby is basically perfectly behaved when I’m not around. I try not to take it too personally… When he does make a bad choice that I pull him up on, his response these days is “that’s my bad”. Hysterical!! He is really coming in to his own as well, and we are already talking about how he will be in prep next year!! What?…

7. We are leaving our safety umbrella of mum and dad’s, but we are only a 12 minute drive away…

8. The kids have all been in the same bedroom together since we moved to Rockhampton over four years ago. At the new house, Chance and Quinn will share a room and Darby and Jules will share the other. And let’s be honest, I’ll be sharing with all of them. It’ll be interesting to see how they go!

9. Julius climbed out of his cot a few times last week, so I might be transitioning him to a big boy bed as soon as we get to the new house. Crazy, I know! Am I really ready for this??

10. Everything. Basically everything is changing again. New memories to be had in a new house, but it will all take some getting used to. Thanks for coming along for the ride. ❤️

10 things on the 10th

Random edition. I know there have a been a few random editions, and I guess it’s because that’s how my life is rolling at this time ?

1. I got ripped off on fb marketplace while trying to buy cool Bento-style lunch boxes for my kids. They took the money and ceased contact with me. Never happened before. What is wrong with people??

2. We had an awesome time at Wynnum today with the kids. They loved it!! And it was great catching up with a friend while we were out there.

3. Renovations are still going! Have had the floors sanded and polished and they look incredible. Looking at more like April at the earliest to move in.

4. I had been pretty low these last couple of months, and the last few weeks in particular. Thursday began with me almost not being able to drag my sad sorry self out of bed. Mum and dad obviously noticed and helped out even more. And then mum said to me, as I was crankily making a jam sandwich for Quinn that I knew she would barely touch, “maybe it’s time to put some music on?” And it helped. Gee it helped. Thanks Mum ❤️ I think I turned a tiny corner right then and there.

5. I’ve started seeing a new psychologist and I like her.

6. Chance is doing great after his surgery and I’d say is almost 100% better.

7. Watching My Kitchen Rules actually gave me anxiety the other evening, as the contestants were being so awful to each other!! I know it’s all heavily produced but it honestly made me ill.

8. I got to spend International Women’s Day with my uni girls. We met in our first year of uni, 20 years ago this month. It was the absolute best way to honour such an important day ?

9. I got to go out with a gorgeous bunch of ladies last night for dinner. So good!!

10. I’ve just discovered a new show on Netflix called After Life. It’s all Ricky Gervais and it’s crass and inappropriate and just what I need right now. ?

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…. 🙂

10 things on the 10th in 10

10 things I want to do in the next 10 years

1.  Learn to love my body at any shape or size

2.  Build a chicken coop in my new back yard and have chickens

3.  Grow fruit and veges and herbs, and establish a good compost system

4.  Travel to New Zealand with the kids for an adventure holiday

5.  Be fit and strong again

6.  Take the kids to the snow

7.  Travel to the US on my own

8.  Start a new and fulfilling career

9.  Be involved in a church community

10.  Be financially stable and savvy

Did you know I proposed?

Frith said yes, obviously, and 11 years ago today we were married. This is how we celebrated our 10th anniversary last year:

I know right? Delivered to the hospital with love. Actually, when I got there he was in theatre so he had it, warmed up, when he popped home for lunch. We planned to celebrate once we had moved to Toowoomba, as life was in a shambles with packing and moving at the time. 

So, yeah, in case you’re new around here, it was I who proposed to Frith. We used to frequent Cafe La Dolce Vita on Park Rd in Milton, and I put together an elaborate plan involving a few outside parties, to propose to him the night before his birthday.

He was planning to propose to me the following week at Day Camp, which is where we had met initially, 8 years before that. He still did that proposal and it was awesome. 

A few weeks ago, I found myself child free and in the vicinity of La Dolce Vita.

so I popped in and ordered an Italian Hot Chocolate.

It was as good as I remember. This was us setting up for our engagement party, August 2007.

And a photo Frith took of me on our honeymoon.

I had planned to have Chance and Darby’s combined birthday picnic today, perhaps to act as a bit of a distraction, but the universe had other plans: Chance came down with a fever yesterday and ended up throwing up in the afternoon, then Julius joined in at 9pm last night. I was worried it was contagious, so decided to pull the pin on the party. Chance still has fevers, but Jules is fine, as is everyone else, so we will just lay low today.

So happy anniversary to you Frith. I know you are with us in some way; you’ve got to be. It wouldn’t make sense for you to be missing seeing your kids grow up, on some level at least. Thank you for a marvelous 10 years of marriage. You have given me a lot of memories to fall back on when I’m particularly sad or mad with you for not being here. I miss you.