Friday, 22 February 2008

Today, at 10.30am, I am going to a funeral...

the funeral of a gorgeous 6 year old girl who was in Grade 1 at Bronte's school.

She died on Tuesday the 19th of February and had been battling cancer.

I didn't know her really or her mum and dad or little sister. I did, however, used to say hello when I saw her and marvel at this gorgeous girl who, everytime I saw her, had a smile on her face.

Her presence has affected our whole school community. Made it stronger. She will be so sorely missed.

The school has closed down for today so that teachers and families can attend. I am not taking any of my children but I will go, I feel that I need to. Don't want to though.

Please, have Aislinn and her family in your thoughts - it is a very hard road for them all.

"A luminous light remains where a beautiful soul has passed"
Antoine Boveua

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Zachary and Stan - What they did today and do every Sunday!!

Well, here they are - the two motorbike nuts in my family! Stan and Zachary.

Virtually every Sunday and just about every Thursday evening during daylight savings, Zed and Stan go to the 'track' and ride their Trials bikes. Notice they are TRAIL bikes - they are T R I A L bikes. These buggers have no seats (really not comfy!) and they have really low gearing which means they can go really really slow and can be controlled more easily.

The point of T R I A L S riding is skill and daring. Good balance is a must and nerves of steel are needed too. Trials riders rode over and through any and all obstacles. The object is to do this and NOT PUT YOUR FEET DOWN. This is bloody hard.

As said quite a few posts ago - Zachary is the Victorian Junior Trials Rider Champion of 2007. He has now moved up with the big guys into C grade.

Last week, he went into a trial competition doing C Grade for the first time officially and out of about 30 riders - he came 2nd! Mind you, I think what he loved most was that he beat his dear old dad Stan and soundly!!! He was thrilled about that.

Today is Stan and my 18th wedding anniversary (although it also marks the fact that we have been together for 25 years). The two of them went to the track for the morning only - normally they stay all day. I went along for an hour and snapped a few pictures and got them both showing off. Zachary took a big fall too - darn! I didn't get it on camera! He cut his elbow but he was brave. If he did it at home it would have been a different story but amongst all the men - well he was a lot braver than I thought he would be!

After the track, I dropped Bronte off at a birthday party and Stan, Samuel, Zachary and I headed into St. Kilda for the Street Festival. Had a really lovely time wandering the streets with thousands of other people!

We then picked up Bronte after 6pm and came home - all of us tired and ready for a snooze!

Today is also Kiah's birthday - she would have been 15. (For those who don't know - Kiah was my most loved dog who died last year). I miss her so much.

Anyway, enjoy the slide show of the two guys full of testosterone!

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Out my Kitchen window....

My gorgeous friend, Lynda, who has just moved to Cairo (lucky duck!) has a post on her blog asking people to post a photo of the view from their kitchen windows....

I wasn't going to do it because mine is not that spectacular but I do love looking out there - watching the trees swaying - so I thought 'what the heck!'.

Click on the photos to get a better idea...

For the first photo - I have put together two photos (which explains why it looks a bit weird). This is looking up toward the sky. The big 60+ year old gum tree that you can see to the left belongs to our lovely friend and surrogate grandmother, Joyce. I love to watch it in the wind. The birdlife it houses is fabulous.

Now I guess that I also need to explain that along the wall below my kitchen window is a large bike rack. You know, there are only 5 people in this family but I think, at last count we had 9 bikes? Of course, there are bikes for all different uses and this is where they are stored. The green bit at the bottom of the photo is actually the tarpaulin roof that tries (sometimes in vain) to protect them.

The second photo shows the view out the window if I look straight out and down. Here you can see parts of some of the bicycles...the freshly rained on concret (hooray!) and Jasper our cat - peeking through the fence at our next door neighbours.

Just about in line with the first bike's back wheel, that is where I found our darling, much missed dog, Kiah. She went to sleep there, listening to all of our family noise. I often look out there, hoping that I could see her face yet again.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

A big CATCH up post!!!

Oh my goodness! How the time has got away from me. I have not posted here since OCTOBER and I have so much to catch up on. I will try and do it concisely....

First of all - relating to my last post regarding my fabulous friend Simone....she has had her 4th round of Chemo. She has two more to go. She is feeling shithouse. Hates the whole process but is doing her darndest to get on with things. She hates how she feels now. It is so difficult for her, for her two gorgeous boys and her divine husband. Not to mention her super devoted mother Mimi. I see her every couple of days, talk for hours on the phone most days and try and keep her up to date on all the gossip at school. She loves that.

Since October last year we have had end of school, Christmas holidays and starting school again.

For Christmas we did the big 1500 plus kilometre car drive to the Sunshine Coast in QLD. We drive for a whole day, stop overnight at a caravan park and then drive the whole next day. We have plenty of things to keep the kids amused like the portable DVD player, iPods, Gameboys, puzzle books, books, lollies and food. So the trip is not too bad. We stay at Stan's mum's place in Kawana Waters and it is great. The kids love the girls that live next door and they are with them most days all day! Unfortunately it rained so much out of just on 4 weeks holiday we had about 4 days with no rain! Bummer.

Each time we go to QLD we do a 'World'. This year it was time for Wet n Wild. This was good but a little chilly! The photo above was taken there - if you look closely, Bronte's lips are blue!

The drive home was good. We stopped just outside Forster for the night and caught up with an internet buddy for a coffee. Then off to Sydney where we stayed two nights with my brother who lives in Rozelle. The kids got to spend time with their two littlest cousins, Jacob and Evie. Gorgeous kids!

Here they all are after we did the Bondi to Bronte Beach walk...which we all enjoyed so much. That little Evie who is about 18months old walked nearly ALL the way - took us forever!

Here is a photo of Bronte at Bronte Beach - loving the whole idea that a beach was named after HER or was SHE named after the beach? LOL

We arrived home, happy to see the house and Joyce again. Joyce missed us and organised a lovely meal for our return along with doing a general house clean and stocking the fridge with milk and stuff! Yay Joyce!

We had a week or so until the start of school. Had books to buy and cover, uniforms to buy and fees to pay. A few thousand buckeroonies later and we were ready!

Zachary started High School this year and is in Year 7. It hasn't gone smoothly

Poor bug was soooo nervous and anxious he wanted to vomit and he sat on the toilet for ages.

He absolutely hates change. Doesn't deal with it well at all and this is a massive one for him. He knows no one at this big school except for Samuel and it has hit him hard.

Last year on his orientation he had the hugest meltdown. I was flabbergasted and reduced to tears myself.

At orientation, we arrived in the hall just on time. I found the row he needed to sit in with his new classmates but there were basically no seats to be had unless he climbed over upteen kids. So, he wouldn't sit down. I said that's ok - just wait there until they call the class to go out etc. They called his class, I was please to see that he tagged on to the end of the line as they filed out. He walked past me and I was about to say good luck when he said 'follow me.' The class went one way out of the hall, he went the other and went down the back of the hall and sat behind some chairs - virtually in a ball.

Oh my GOD! There he was, tears rolling down his face saying I can't do this. I am not good at this stuff. I feel sick. I am going to vomit etc etc. I just didn't know what to do. I talked to him (but inside I was thinking 'I don't know where the class has gone - how will we find them') He was saying that he wanted to go home. I told him that wasn't an option. Anyway, I said I have to get someone to talk to you. He said no. I said yes. I went up the front to the Principal and told her what was happening. Of course, I looked tragic as I had tears rolling down my face! Anyway, she was lovely, told me to go and sit with him and that she would send someone over. A school counsellor came over. Tried to speak with him. And then told me that he would take him to his office and talk to him. I have probably never seen a sorrier sight than Zachary walking off with this man, he had his hat pulled down over his face and looked soooo small!

The school handled the situation well. So very caring and thoughtful. The principal came to me 20 mins later and said that he was ok. I saw the counsellor and he said that Zed wouldn't go into the classroom (I can see why - he would imagine 20 sets of eyes looking at him as he walked in and they would be able to tell that he'd been crying). So, the Year 7 co-ordinator worked out what boys in his class that also had no friends from their primary schools and called out two boys. Dalton and Aaron. They introduced Zed to the boys and then a year 8 boy who is a Peer support guy showed the 3 around the school. Finally the three joined in on a tour with a bigger group from their class and that was that. Traumatic but hurdle over.

I was so upset at his meltdown and was so happy that the school handled it they way they did.

Fast forward to Wednesday. Year 7's started a day earlier than the rest of the school. We tried not to talk about school too much in the weeks prior just small things. Talked about the boys that he met last year and how he should look for them etc.

Samuel, Bronte and I take him on his first day. Joyce wanted to come but I said no, too much. Stan wanted to come but I said no! Poor old Stan. Anyway, we are waiting downstairs of the school with teh 200+ other new Year 7 students and suddenly Zachary wells up. He takes me by the arm and we go to a quiet place and tears are falling and he says he can't do it. I was more stern this time and said, yes you can. Remember you enjoyed it last time etc. Anyway, it was time to go in the hall. We found his class row. He sits down. He looks so small. He has his school cap on. He is the only one in the whole room. He is blinking a lot. I can see he is trying to hold it together. He is taking lots of breaths. He pulls his cap further over his eyes. I think, lucky he has got that on to hide a little. A teacher goes towards him. He starts to panic. The teacher speaks to him and I can see that she is asking him to remove his cap. Oh no! I know what this will do to him. I know also that she asked him nicely and explained that it is for outdoors only. (I am good at lip reading! lol) So he removes it. He has nowhere to hide. The class is called to leave the hall. I think I have positioned myself well this time and he can just wave goodbye. The class leaves...he comes to me - again.

He is dissolving. No noise, just tears spilling over. He feels ill and it is much the same as last time. Straight away I say that I will take him to the principal. He comes with me, I tell her he has missed where his class has gone and she takes him - all smiles. He silently walks away, big bag on his back. I cry a little too.

I see the principal later in the coffee room. She tells me he is ok. I know he will be but gosh it is so so hard to see them go like that.

He comes home - happy enough - got 3 guys he hangs with - Dalton, Aaron and Keda. He likes them. Likes his teacher a lot too.


Yesterday, I am taking Samuel and him to school - it is Samuel's first day back. Zed is in the front seat, the other two in the back. I look over at him and he has tears. I ask if he is ok. He says he feels sick. I say you'll be ok. I am just dropping you guys off, I am not coming in at all. He asks me to come in but I say no. I do the drop off. He kisses me goodbye and looks kind of ok. He says he wants to vomit. I wave as cheerily as I could and off B and I go. I feel bad.

He gets home and has enjoyed it. His friend Aaron cried in class and he felt bad for him but he said it was good to see that others were upset too.

The next day, he and Samuel had to ride their bikes to school - it is only 3kms away. So he seems fine. Time to go, where is Zachary? I find him on my bed, tears. Come on Zachary - off you go. I feel sick he says. You'll be fine. And he was.

So, this week - there has been just one morning without tears. He says he likes school, likes his teachers etc but doesn't know why he feels so sick in the morning and cries. All we can do is encourage him and point out the positives each and every time. This parenting thing is hard!!!

Bronte and Samuel started the day after Zachary did - here are some photos....