Weekend Wonders

I think I’m still recovering from a very eventful weekend, and it’s Thursday, so we are already preparing for the next weekend!! Darby’s Godfather, Uncle Felix came up from Orange on Friday morning to Monday evening, and it was jam-packed with goodness!

It’s always a good time when Uncle Felix visits, like this time, and this time among others, in the past.

I had been making a to-do list for us to work on, with bits and pieces around the house that needed to be done. I bought my first power drill (woot woot!!) and in between making snacks for the kids, eating good food and drinking Prosecco, we got so much done!

Of course, there was plenty of time to play!

Friday night is always movie night!!

We hit the op-shop together on Saturday, for old time’s sake, and instead of the kids pestering me about buying crap, I directed them to Felix. Let’s just say he made a sizeable donation to Lifeline that morning, and our toy boxes are a little more full…

We had an awesome afternoon at home, after Uncle Jacques and Chance rode their bikes, and Felix ran, from Mum and Dad’s place. It’s about 10km and the weather was perfection!!

On Sunday we went to church in the morning, then headed up to Maroochydore to visit Felix’s family who were staying up at Cotton Tree. The weather was just as incredible, and the kids had two big swims in the pool, and we had a trip to the playground.

Felix’s Ouma then took us all out to dinner at an amazing Japanese restaurant at around 6pm, and the food was great, but the company was even better.

The kids were so well behaved. Honestly I was really blown away. There were only a few brain-farts during the day, and zero meltdowns which, after being awake and racing around ALL DAY, was a bloody miracle! The kids passed out in the car as we left at 7:15 and we got to listen to our own music and chat all the way home.

The next morning we took Julius’ new wheels, thanks to his Fairy Godmother Hayley, for a spin on the school drop-off.

And got through another bunch of stuff while we only had the two younger boys. When it was time to say goodbye that afternoon, the kids were so sad, but we are already planning a trip to visit Felix and his beautiful wife and baby girl in Orange in a few months.

I was pretty sad to see him go as well. Now more than ever, it is so incredibly important for me to fill my kids’ lives with amazing male role models, and I’m so fortunate to have people like Felix, as well as Uncle Jacques and Cousin Nathan (and others!!) who are such a wonderful influence and presence in their lives.

Until next time!!!

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 🙂

Together again

It’s hard to believe neither of them are with us anymore. This year has been so cruel.

I’m sure they have found each other in the afterlife and have so much to talk about. Two brilliant minds with full knowledge of the universe. Can you even imagine?

It doesn’t make it easier for us left behind though.

Gentlemen, you are so loved and so missed. We promise to take care of each other, until we meet again.

Etienne Foottit ~ October 1986 – July 2018

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 🙂

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.

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.

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.

You let her go

I don’t believe in ghosts. I don’t believe in mediums or psychics. I don’t believe in fortune tellers.

I do believe in God. And I do believe in signs.

I’ve brought my laptop down to my new favourite cafe which is at Woody Point, while my nanny (who is a friend) is at home with the boys. This is the second time I’ve done this. My last two blog posts were written here.

When I arrived, I ordered my standard coffee, which many of you know by now is a small soy cap. It occurred to me that Frith actually put me onto ordering cappuccinos. He always liked to eat the froth and chocolate off the top before hitting up the coffee underneath. He took his time, and he would judge the coffee on the amount and texture of froth.

Our favourite cafe in Wangaratta uses actual chocolate shavings as sprinkles.

This was Frith’s 30th with a very baby Chanbe. See those sprinkles!!??

SONY DSC

Anyway my point is, I used to order soy flat whites. And not long after we got together, I changed my coffee order to caps. And funnily enough, my froth was always better than his. He often had froth envy.

I looked on the lunch menu today and saw they had a beef brisket sandwich with caramelized onions on sourdough toast. I’ve just listed three of Frith’s favourite foods, and they are all combined here. He only ever cooked two briskets in his life and they were both the best meals I’ve ever had. Hands down.

One was in Rocky (September 2015)

And one in Cairns just last November.

This is what Frith would have ordered at this cafe, and he wouldn’t have been disappointed in the least. I don’t normally like to order things that I can (and do) make at home (I never order pulled pork because quite frankly mine is the best). I ordered it without a second thought and it was absolutely on par with Frith’s.

But here’s the thing. As the meal was placed on my table, the next song to come on was “Let her go“. When Frith drove our car full of stuff down from Mount Isa to Rocky, this song was on his playlist, and he told me after that trip, that when he heard it, he got really really sad and missed me a lot. It wasn’t often he would say things like this to me. He was very free with “I love yous” and “you’re so pretty” but telling me that he missed me was a rare thing.

It was nice and I always remembered that, especially when I hear that song. So in a way, I had lunch with Frith today. He was with me in spirit. And it was nice.

38 today

This is not exactly how I planned to celebrate my birthday this year. Not even close. But with these four rascals vying for a spot on my lap, and being surrounded by my cousins and family, it wasn’t bad at all. Thank you everyone. This was the first of many firsts without Frith. And it was made easier with your love and support.

I’m heading to Rocky first thing tomorrow morning until Saturday evening. I feel that reality is about to hit. I can’t prepare myself for it other than getting my village ready up there to catch me when I fall. And what a village it is. Thank God I have them. See you soon guys. It’s going to be rough xxx