10 years today

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I’ve already written my thousand words, so here’s a picture.

This is me.
A 10 year marriage, four children, nine house moves, countless wrinkles, many laughs and tears along the way. Trying not to take myself too seriously. A little bit fierce, a little bit bad-ass, but mostly soft and squishy in all the right places. Wearing my two favourite necklaces; one that Quinn made for me last year, and one that Frith bought from an antique shop in England a few years ago.

Some days ready to take on the world. Other days not so much.

This is my blog.
10 years of blogging, 1362 published posts, 77 drafts, countless photos and stories shared, all documented here forever.

Life has not turned out as I had planned, but I guess many people can say the same of their own lives. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe that’s the lesson I need to learn; things won’t always go to plan, but I have plenty of life left to live, and I plan to find my own meaning, to leave my own legacy of love and joy to our kids.

Who knows where I will be in 10 years time. More wrinkles (probably), four teenagers (nearly), hopefully settled in a house of my own… Who knows what the future holds for us. For any of us.

For now, I thank you for joining me on this journey. Whether you’ve been here from the start, (you know who you are!) have come and gone over the years, or have just joined me in the last 6-12 months. I thank you for reading, for sharing your own stories with me, and for encouraging me in my journey.

Here’s to the next 10 years 🙂

Flashback Friday

 I took the kids to the Redcliffe Show today. Well, I took Chance and Quinn. Good grief what an exercise in negotiation and teaching gratitude. Except that apparently gratitude can’t be taught. You just have to lead by example.

Three years ago, Frith’s Dad and I took Chance and Quinn and baby Darby to the Rocky show.

This is how that day ended. And it was pretty much the same today.

That’s why we did Family Lego Day the following year on show day. It was cheaper and heaps better.

Anyway, we are focusing on the positives!! I took Chance on the dodgems as requested! And this time I didn’t put my back out!

And Quinny and I hit up the Tea Cup ride! And this time I didn’t get sick!
The kids won crappy prizes in sideshow alley that disappointed them!
They drank red cordial slushies!!!

Just like three years ago!!

And Grumpy took them to look at the gemstones which was totally cute
Look. It was great. There were meltdowns and disappointments but the kids overall had a marvelous time and they are already talking about next year’s show. And so am I! I want to enter a few things into the show next year. If I remember… 🙂

Looking for the words

I’ve been sitting here in my cafe for almost an hour, and not much to show for it. I came here to write my blog post to celebrate 10 years of blogging, which will fall this Sunday. But I just can’t seem to find the words. I was going to do 10 days of sharing my favourite posts over the last decade, but I remember as a teenager, watching those flashback episodes of Seinfeld and Friends and I would always feel ripped-off.

I will tell you that my favourite blog post I’ve ever written was the 1000 words post, celebrating my 1000th blog post. It was in February 2016. Frith and I were in Melbourne for a week without the kids – we only had three then, and Darby was just over one year old. I read that post again just now and I’ve been floored by it. It is filled with such hope for our future; it tells me not to worry, and to trust Frith; it tells me I probably won’t have any more babies; it tells me that life for us together is just beginning.

If I’m to believe in signs, this is the third time I’ve been in my cafe where one of “our songs” has come on. The first time was this one, yesterday was this one, and today, Sam Smith is singing Latch. Every song, every reminder, every promise left hanging is such a kick in my guts at the moment.

The first of January was the worst day of my life, but for the first few months I was functioning fine; I had to for the kids. I had no choice, and I didn’t allow myself to fall apart. I’m starting to wonder if I have a choice in keeping it together anymore. Cracks are forming, my temper is shortening, patience is wavering, frustration is growing. I’m starting to say “it’s not fair” and “I can’t believe this is my life now” among other words.

I think one of the things I struggle with the most is being okay with people helping me. Frith and I were always the ones offering help to others, and accepting help was always hard for me. I don’t know why. It’s so crazy. I just feel enormous guilt over how much my parents do for me now (I haven’t done a load of washing in 6 months). Maybe I just have to keep in mind that this is a temporary situation; one day I will get back on my feet and be a bit more independent; I must remember that this is what families do for each other. I’ve never lived near family since having kids, so I don’t really know how it works.

Gosh what a dreary post on a dreary day. I might need to perk the hell up before school holidays start, otherwise it will be a long two weeks. Maybe another coffee will help….. 🙂

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.

The post about Pizzeys that never got written…

… until now!

Gosh I still cannot believe I didn’t write this post two years ago! I do recall at the time not having a lot of blogging mojo, so that might be what happened. It just occurred to me that I may have shared a few pics on fb but nothing on my blog! Anyway, here we are.

In April 2016 I met my dear friend Kate and her two gorgeous boys at Hervey Bay for the weekend, while Frith headed down to Rainbow Beach for our nephew’s 21st birthday camping weekend. Mum and Dad came up from Brizzie as well and stayed at Pizzeys, and we took a trip out there on one of the days. It was so nostalgic for me! We spent so many holidays here while I was growing up. For example, I think I would have been 11 or so (??) in this photo. The early 90s served me well as you can see!

The river is just so beautiful and while it has changed so much in 40 years, it has also remained the same.

I just love that we can come back here time and time again and pick up where we left off, with whomever happens to be around at the same time.

Dad is teaching Chance the importance of only keeping fish that we will eat, and how,  if you catch it, you have to clean it yourself. He’s slowly learning, and I’m so grateful to have Dad around to teach him these lessons.

Darby (18 months) and Quinny (3 years) checking out the catch of the day. And of course unable to both look up at the same time!!

Quinn getting her adventure on!

Darby and I enjoying the view together
And Darby getting up to mischief!
And I just noticed Darby is wearing the same shoes here as Jules was wearing on our visit to Pizzeys last weekend! Funny stuff!

Once the kids get a little older, I know it will be easier to take them for more than a few hours at a time, and I know they will treasure these times, and as they get older I hope they can appreciate such a simple, quiet, peaceful place that holds so many memories for so many of us.

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.

I’m just not ready

It’s been a really hard decision, but I’ve decided to postpone our trip to Rocky. I had planned to drive up and stay from the 4th to the 11th of July, but I have been feeling anxious and uneasy about it and once I gave myself permission to postpone it, I felt a weight lifted off my heart.

I’m just not ready to go back. And that’s okay. One day I will be ready, and I will know, and it will be for the right reasons.

I realised that a big part of my trip back was for other people; to let my Rockhampton “family” know that we are doing okay. But with Jules still so young, Darby so energetic, Quinn so fickle with her moods and Chance so aware of Frith’s death and it’s relation to Rockhampton, I just wasn’t ready to face it all.

I know everyone understands, and I know that I just have to work through the guilt of disappointing people, and I know the kids will be a bit sad, but there are plenty of things happening down and around here that I can now say yes to.

So if you’re around Brizzy for the school holidays, I have plenty of days free for a catch up! Let’s book something in 🙂

Today was a good day

Tuesdays are generally pretty good to be honest. They always start badly though, as our cleaner comes around 9am, which means we are doing last minute tidying up before we herd the kids off to school. Every Monday evening and Tuesday morning, without fail, I regret having a cleaner. It’s so much pressure to get the house tidy, even though I try and get the kids to do a tidy up every day. There’s always stuff to be put away, and the bench needs to be cleared.

But every Tuesday at midday, I am reminded of how wonderful it is to have nice clean floors and bathrooms and kitchen, and how grateful I am that we have someone who does it for us. So grateful. Sure, I could do it myself, but without the pressure of having to do the big tidy up, I would constantly put it off. It’s just the kind of person I am. And I’m okay with that 🙂

We spent this morning at a friend’s house, where I got to enjoy two hot cups of tea (bliss!!) and a sneaky melting moment, while our boys played. Then I came to my aforementioned clean house, and just hung out with Darby and Julius while they played. It was seriously relaxing and low key.

I then went to Quinn’s class at 2pm for their celebration of learning, where parents (or grandparents/significant adults etc) can come and do an activity with their kids. It was really lovely and my kids always get a kick out of having me in their classroom. I have the same for Chance tomorrow and we’re both looking forward to it.

Yesterday was not a good day. I was unwell with a tummy bug, and I had reached my pain threshold for my shoulder, so I headed to the doctor. I have a strong anti-inflammatory that I will try for a week before I look at doing anything else. By lunch time today it was actually starting to feel a bit better, which has definitely lifted my mood. The physical pain, on top of everything else, nearly tipped me over the edge.  Soooooo cranky!!

I can’t believe the kids finish term two next Friday. That is so crazy to me. It’s Frith’s birthday this Saturday which will be yet another first for us. We will be having a Lego building day with the family in his honour. I think it’s going to be all sorts of lovely and horrible, all rolled into one big day. If you believe in it, I feel a prayer or 37 would come in handy for us all this weekend.

But today was a good day, and for that I am grateful.

Flashback Friday

Happy 18th birthday to our sweet niece and cousin, Isabelle.

This was the night of Frith’s PhD graduation ceremony, July 2016. It pretty much summed him up as a human – he made sure his best mates were with him for the duration, he ate good food and drank a little too much, offended his siblings, but brought it home with some serious dancing with our nieces at the end. He may not have always been classy, but he was all class.

And our kids still love this song. It’s a Dadda song.

It’s a neeewwwww caaaarrrr!

I picked up my new Kia Carnival the day I went to see the Whitlams. When I say new, it’s a 2017 model that only got driven for a month during the Commonwealth games. So basically new.

The kids named her Spacey. Just like my friend’s car 20 years ago (couldn’t believe when they came up with that!)

It really is very roomy!! And Spacey!

And then I got some stripes, so we could stand out in a crowd. These cars are everywhere!!

And of course the inspiration behind the detailing. Just in case you’re new here 🙂

I’ve never owned anything like a new car – it’s amazing and terrifying! And of course the kids aren’t allowed to eat in it… for now. I know it won’t last but I’m certainly enjoying the novelty of some new wheels! Come for a drive some time!