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.

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.

Happy 10 years

10 years ago, I married this man.

I could not have known then, that he would take me on such a unique and extraordinary journey. Our life is like no one else’s I know.

He makes me laugh, and has certainly made me cry. But he gets me. He’s not afraid to have the hard conversations. He’s not afraid to be completely honest with me, even if it’s hard in the short term. He knows that, no matter what, we will always find our way back.

We both know that we are in this together; for the long run, and that it may take time, but we always work things out. We are stronger for those hard times. We have been tested and we have come through.

We drive each other crazy with our quirks, but we accept the other just as they are. We know we are not everyone’s cup of tea, but we don’t need to be. He is my soy cappuccino and I am his Rum and Rooibos.

Here are 11 things after 11 years together, 10 of them married, that you may not know.

11 years together
Officially got together 26th November 2006.

10 years of marriage
Married 1st December 2007 (engaged June 2007)

9 houses
Mission House (Toowong), Newman College (Melbourne), Wangaratta (unit), Mount Beauty, Wangaratta (house), Townsville, Ingham, Mount Isa, Rockhampton.

8 car seats
In each car!

7 years as parents
The journey began with Chance on the 27th November, 2010, right before our three year wedding anniversary.

6 hospital jobs
Wangaratta (as a student), Mount Beauty (student), Townsville, Ingham, Mount Isa, Rockhampton.

5 Days of Day Camp 1999
It took for Hubs to know I was the one. It took my slightly longer but when I knew, I knew.

4 kids
Chance (27/11/10), Quinn 1/2/13), Darby (7/12/14), Julius (18/5/17)

3 different cars
Kombi, Falcon station wagon, Land cruiser. And we still have the Kombi and Cruiser!

(I’m 4 days overdue with Darby in the below photo. We went out for our anniversary dinner. He was born 6 days later!)

2 people 
Just me and him.

1 marriage
Happily Ever After.

Homeward bound

We are having the best last day of our holiday. Yesterday was a long hard slog of driving with the first 450km done between 9am and 4.30pm then we visited friends in Ayr before hitting the road again at 7.30pm to do the last 300km to Mackay. Somehow we did that in 3 straight hours and arrived at our lovely motel at 10.30pm. The kids had been asleep for hours so we were all awake until midnight but that’s fine. Everyone slept well until nearly 7 and I put ABC for kids on while Hubs and I dozed until 8. Then it was into the pool for a while before walking a block down to the Mackay water park.

A friend had told me how great it was so I always had this planned for our last day. You guys, it was so awesome. And huge! This is only one part of it!

There was a cafe on site which I was a little skeptical about but Mama needed a coffee.

After drinking Shane’s lovely brew for the last week I wasn’t expecting much from this one but this was so fantastic! Strong and hot. Just how I like my coffee. And my man.

Sorry. Got a bit side tracked there… ?❤❤❤

We planned to have brekky somewhere and the menu looked pretty good – they specialised in pancakes and had eggs Benny and even a burger for Frith so I thought why not!

Why not indeed.

Darby’s reaction when this came out was “is it my birthday!!???”

You could order 2 pancakes for $5.90 and then add whatever you want. Chance got strawberry jam and bacon. This load of bacon was $1.50.

My eggs Benny was absolutely perfect in every way. Mmmmmmm crispy bacon.

And the burger? Hubs couldn’t finish it! And it was only $12! I think he would have been able to eat it at dinner with a beer or two perhaps ☺

We got all that delicious food and two (more) coffees for under $50. Such an amazing brunch and no need for more food for the day. Coffee, yes.

If you are ever near Mackay it is well worth the visit. And it’s just off the highway so a very easy detour.

Now we’re on the final leg of our trip home and I’m feeling very content and full of goodness. There is a long to do list waiting for me at home, but for now, I have my world in the kombi, the clouds are keeping the drive cool, and the tunes are good. It’s a sweet life.

What a view

When we started talking about how to renovate this house two years ago, this is EXACTLY what I had in mind. Beautiful deck with our beautiful view that I can enjoy while preparing food for family and friends.

This is potato salad prepared in “Nanny’s potato salad bowl” and Nanny’s serving spoon with Quinn Maria pretending not to notice I was taking a photo.

I’m going to miss our beautiful house and neighbours more than you know. Pancakes on the deck with my world.

10 things on the 10th

Random edition

1. Quinn spilled some of her chocolate ice cream on her foot last night while watching our Friday night movie. I thought I had cleaned it all up. This morning the kids were running around and she scraped her foot and insisted it was bleeding and that she needed a band-aid. I was busy with Julius and (knowing it wasn’t serious by the lack of screaming and “the tone”) I asked Chance to get the band-aid she was asking for. When I went in a few minutes later, I saw that the “blood” was actually the “chocolate ice cream” from last night. She was adamant. I let her put her two band-aids on and called it a win.

2. We were chatting to our neighbour who has some time off next week and was trying to decide where to travel to. We suggested a few places, when Hubs chimed it. “You know what the best holiday I’ve had in the last five years has been?” A few things sprang to mind for me – the week in Melbs without the kids being at the top of my list. His answer? “The last two weeks here at home.” I almost burst. It was just the loveliest thing to hear.

3. I don’t want Hubs to go back to work, like ever. I can honestly say that the last two weeks have, in fact, been two of the best weeks of our family life. He has been his usual superstar Dadness, doing the school run every morning and afternoon, parenting Quinn and Darby for the rest of the day, taking the kids to the playground after school, and just generally doing anything and everything I ask of him. I know that in the first few weeks of having a baby that a lot of Dads are “expected” to do these things, and maybe it’s nothing special, but honestly it’s times like these that I know I chose the right man to spend my life with. And look, of course he has driven me absolutely crazy at times with his ways of doing things, but that’s life isn’t it!? I know I have driven him equally crazy, but at the end of every day, there are cuddles and kisses and loving words, and that’s what matters the most.

4. The phrase “Mama we need you” is never a good thing for me to hear.

5. I really want to grow herbs but I know that my laziness and apathy towards any kind of plant-related matters will always be my downfall.

6. Darby’s toilet training is going surprisingly and exceptionally well. We have been nappy-free (except for nap and sleep time) for a week with only one accident. Compared to Chance’s toilet-training experience, (aka disaster on my part) the thought of which brings a twitch to my eye, this is a breeze. Fingers crossed!

Captain Underpants in all his glory, with two of his “poo toys” (Gups from Octonauts)

7. It’s getting “cold” up here. Ha ha ha.

8. Chance had told me that it was “dress like a Pirate day” at school on Friday, but it wasn’t until 11:30am on Friday that I saw the email (from the day before) reminding me about it. He hadn’t dressed like a pirate and I felt really bad that I hadn’t remembered. So I decided to take his pirate shirt in, and “be his hero” (inspired by this post from Kelly at Be a Fun Mum) and the smile on his face was totally worth it.

Don’t have a photo of pirate day, but here’s a cute photo of Chance and Darby playing the “cuddle game”.

9. People without kids just don’t get what it’s like to have kids, and that is okay. It’s really okay. I’ve finally come to a place of peace about that. I know I didn’t get it until we had Chance, even though I thought I would understand, and I don’t know what it’s like to parent a teenager (yet), even though I have kids of my own. I guess it’s true of any life circumstances; until you experience it first hand, it’s hard to know exactly what it’s like.

10. Aaaaaaaaaah my baby Julius. I am so in love with this little man. I said to Hubs the other day that I wondered if it would still be such a big deal for me when it’s baby number four, and it just totally is. I cannot get enough of his little face and tiny feet and baby hands and lamby-cry. I am just so bat-shit crazy in love with him. I stare at him and wonder; will he be like either of his brothers, who are so incredibly different from each other? Will he be like his sister? His Dadda? What will he pick up from me? Or will he just be completely different from all of us? I’m just in awe of this gorgeous little beauty that Hubs and I brought into the world. It’s nice to feel that feeling all over again, I have to say.

Aaaaah marriage

What an interesting beast. Two people meet, they lust after one another, they fall in love, they can’t imagine ever being angered or pissed off by this person, they get married and WHAM! Reality hits. And it bites.

Now obviously this scenario isn’t true for all couples. Obviously some couples piss each other off much earlier than that.

When Hubs and I got together I remember (and now cringe) genuinely looking at my friends who had been in long term relationships and who were now in that comfortable stage and thinking “I’m so glad we are different.” (Sorry guys!) But here’s the kicker. We’re not. Hubs pisses me off all the time and, I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m no picnic to live with either.

And I totally get why marriages don’t last. (Freudian slip there – I actually typed “laugh” instead of last! Oh boy…) Marriage is haaaaaaaaaard work and unless you are both 100% committed, you’ve got no chance. It’s impossible for both parties to be 100% committed all the time, at the same time as well so I guess there’s just always got to be some desire and commitment to stay together.

And it’s the little things isn’t it? The day to day stuff that, if you don’t accept, will drive you out the door.

Take right now for instance. There is something that Hubs is doing right now that should have already been done but he didn’t want to do earlier and now there is a deadline (9am tomorrow) that is has to be done by. But pointing this out to him adds absolutely no value to our marriage. He knows it. I know it. To say anything would be petty and piss him off. So instead, I’ve done all my evening jobs, poured him an ice cold cider (it’s a laboring job he’s doing for our ensuite) and am drowning out the noise of the compact drill with the sound of satisfaction for taking the high road. And Adele.

It’s something I’m working on – not pointing out his flaws. I used to do it a lot, thinking I was being helpful by suggesting ways he could be more organised or be more tidy. And it’s something he’s never really done to me. I’m hopelessly flawed but he doesn’t try to fix me. He delights in my quirks because they make me who I am.

So in the grand scheme of things, tonight’s quirk matters not. What matters is how we deal with it. And the best way? Every time? Hands down?

Is with kindness. Good old fashioned, sometimes over the top kindness. On that note I might go and see if he needs another cider.

A lesson I need to learn

I am not a control freak by any means. Well I don’t think I am. But when it comes to things around the house, I am definitely, and to me detriment, of the opinion that if I don’t do it myself it won’t be done properly,  which will in turn make more work for me so I should just do it myself to begin with.

For the love of my sanity I need to let that go. Hubs and I have a deal that he offers to clean the kitchen each night and I accept when I really need it. Except it’s been literally months since I have taken him up on the offer because he doesn’t do it the way I want him to.

Who cares?????!!!! Done beats perfect, right? Right??? Good grief Charlie Brown!

I am going to have to start not only accepting help but asking for it when baby time draws closer. I’m already struggling to keep up with the vacuuming so when my darling Chance was desperate to help me vacuum today I took him up on his offer. Sure it took twice as long and since I was the one picking everything up off the floor it was actually more work for me, but I want to get the kids involved in the upkeep if the house.

I’m not the only one living here so I should not be the only one keeping it clean and tidy. And Hubs needs to lead by example so next time he offers I’ll be saying yes please.

And I will not find something else to do other than plonk myself on the couch. And blog.

10 things on the 10th

10 things about me that I’m sure drive Hubs crazy

1. I change my mind. A lot. Sometimes mid-sentence.
Sometimes we will have decided on a certain course of action, and then I’ll go away and decide that we should do it a different way, and sometimes maybe I forget to tell him about the new plan. Ha ha. Lucky for him, I changed my mind about having another baby. (He always wanted 4 or 5 or +++ but I had to come around.)

2. I ask him to do numerous tasks and expect them all to be done at once.
An example – I’ll ask him to upload some photos to the computer, and get a movie ready for the kids for Friday family movie night, and to take the rubbish downstairs, and to help Chance tidy up the Lego. Then 10 minutes later I’ll ask if he’s done.

3. I rush him.
I have this unrealistic expectation and desire that I arrive at everything “on time”. Even if there is no real “on time”. Hubs has taken to asking me “is it possible to be late for this event?” ie is there even a starting time? He has very little sense of urgency or concept of time and I know that he hates to be rushed for no good reason.

4. I complain a lot about the heat. And being tired all the time. And lots of other things.
I’m really working on my complaining. As in, I’m trying to not complain so damn much. It’s a waste of breath, it’s counter-productive and it changes nothing. It also exacerbates the situation – if I complain I’m tired instead of just getting on with things, I feel more tired, and so on.

5. I have a tendency to overreact to things sometimes.
I’m kind of a “react now, think after” kind of girl. Instead of taking a moment to evaluate, I have a tendency towards the dramatics.

6. I get cranky.
Sometimes my mood can change very quickly (I currently blame hormones!!) and Hubs is like “ummm what the heck just happened?” Then I have to try and snap out of it. Something I don’t like to do!

7. I hang my bags on the backs of chairs.
This one is just funny. Even though Hubs isn’t the tidiest Hubs in the world, he has organised piles of things and he hates things hanging on the backs of chairs/on door handles/on curtain rods. Ha ha. I’m such a shocker for this one.

8. When I tidy up I don’t necessarily put things exactly where they should go – I’m more of a stuff ‘n go kind a gal. Hey, it works for me!

9. I sometimes undercook his toast.
This one is a funny one. He told me after we had only been together for a few months, when I had made him a piece of “warm bread” as he describes it now, that he likes his toast cooked more, and that he’d rather tell me now (then) than have undercooked toast for the rest of his life. Sometimes I do it just to stir him…

10. I can sometimes be over-sensitive to my needs and very insensitive to his.
I always considered myself a very sensitive person, but I do know I can be very sensitive to my own needs and feelings and disregard others. Something I have definitely worked on over the years.

I’m lucky he’s such a patient man!