Monday, April 30, 2012

Rainy Day Birthday Party....

As some of you may know this past weekend we just celebrated Cohen turning three with a birthday party. We had all sorts outdoor plans of fun ready to go, but what do you know, it rained like no body's business last week and even Saturday we were still having moments of torrential down pours. We were faced with prospect of cancelling for a fine weekend or roll with the punches and bring the party indoors. So if ever you're faced with the wet weather dilemma for a kids party and a house filled with family, friends and kid,s hopefully this will be helpful.

To save the day (and sanity, as well let's face it, it's true) we bought the outdoor plastic climbing set with slide/stairs inside and converted Sarah's room into a little mini play centre if you please, complete with porta cot convert to a ball pit and a activity centre for the wee little ones.

Cohen's room had loads of balloons in there and kids were welcomed to select toys to play with. Prior to the party, we put anything we really didn't want out away.
We also converted the garage into an art and craft area, I taped a really old blanket to the floor with packing tape, laid out glue, brushes, coloured pom poms, crayons, patty pans, cardboard templates and all sorts of other goodies. We also strung balloons across the garage and glow sticks to add to the party atmosphere, and let the kids go nuts.

Outdoors we strung balloons across the yard in case the rain held off and before the rain came back over the kids had a run outside playing chasie.

Overall I am really pleased how the afternoon went even though we had to make all these last minute changes. It was hectic for Ben and I attending to everyone inside, because we were packed in our dining and kitchen area. But honestly the main thing is the kids had an awesome time, not a single squabble with kids, they played well in three different area throughout the house we had set up, which actually allowed many parents to have a relaxed afternoon, without any worries.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Today you are three....


Last night I was feeling rather nostalgic, like many parents must feel when their child's birthday is imminent. I always spend time thinking about my children's birth and deliveries at these time. So last night I took to my personal Facebook wall (not something I do too much of these days with two blog Facebook pages) to share some thoughts with about 20 friends and family " liking" or commenting as I shared.

What follows is the status I posted last night and following comments, for privacy reasons for my friends and extended family I am referring to everyone in initials only.

This time 3 years ago Ben was finishing up giving me a massage when he heard the words "oh my waters just broke". We were on the cusp of meeting our first earthbound child, our son, and our lives were about to be further changed immeasurably forever.

GG commented - Nice memories Trudie. Very special.
I commented - CT you were here, witnessing my denial I was in labour.
I commented - Denial that this time I would have a sweet blessing to bring home. I realise now you were eager to reassure this mummy of yours, to get the show on the road, your earthbound life......two weeks early and keen as mustard.
AG commented - Ooh brings tears to the eyes.
CT commented - It's tomorrow though isn't it???
I commented - CT yes......this time 3 years ago you had just helped Ben get me in the car and waved us goodbye as we headed to hospital.
I commented - Two special angel souls guiding us through the night, waiting to deliver you to us.
Very eager and keen at 5.30am this morning, we only had time to grab our iPhones and get this quick snap.....he was shocked

Then this morning I posted this.....
Three years ago today at 4.16am we welcomed the most incredibly sweet boy Cohen John into our world. Happy Birthday baby, love you to the moon and stars.

I thanked friends and family for indulging me in my walk down memory lane last night. So many of my friends were witness to our heartbreak before Cohen and it was so nice to share my feelings last night, with them all and honour my sweet birthday boy.

Monday, April 23, 2012

For me, for him, my weekend.....

I have had another splendid weekend, with many things that have made it special and exciting. Saturday mornings here always means swimming lessons, which involves some logistical planning. Sarah being a mummy's girl needs for me to be out of sight and out of mind to have a relaxed lesson with daddy (their only one on one time each week). I'm missing out on seeing her confidence in the pool develop, but it does mean I get one on one time with Cohen during this time. So I usually take him to a nearby park in the area we live. On Saturday we were on our way to another park when the grasslands we were about to pass had a hot air balloon lingering closely above.

So I pulled into the car park, unbuckled Cohen and we ran off for a better view and to my excitement they were also coming down to land. We kept our distance, but once they had landed and were secured I was waved in with Cohen so he could have a close up look. Cohen was a little frightened by the size but I could tell he was in awe of it all at the same time. It was such a wonderful and unexpected surprise for our Saturday morning.

In other splendidness and of particular importance to me and "my" dreams and goals, I ventured out on the weekend selling some of my handmade wares and vintage collectibles and knick knacks. You can read about my day over at my other blog My Vintage Vow. I'm so pleased that I'm slowly tapping away at some major personal goals I've had for some time.
Exciting times. Exciting weekend, full of these splendours and more. Life is good.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Birthday party menu, the debate....

Cohen's 3rd birthday is next week and next weekend we are having his party. The party he told us he was having. I had some pretty big ideas for his party a few weeks ago, but with being sick for a week recently and Easter I just haven't followed through. Super fun invitations have turned into Facebook Event Invitations to friends and their kids, phone calls and text messages.

But with it being a little a over a week out to the party I'm trying to pull everything else together, make it look like I've been slaving for weeks planning this. I work well under pressure, I generally always have. So Ben and I have been discussing party food as the party is at 2pm. We figured it's after lunch and before dinner and if we put on mostly healthy food options parents perhaps wouldn't have to be so concerned if their kids fill up on food here and not eat dinner.

Yep this crazy curly hair boy is turning three

Ben and I are at odds with one another with the amount of food we should offer. I keep reminding him we have 9 kids at last count coming of various ages, some extra siblings, parents and some family members and friends. It's kind of got out of control, I know! But hey it's the first time hosting a kids birthday party here at home......we will learn from our mistakes I'm sure.

On my suggested menu is:
* Gow Gee Dumplings....either turkey or chicken. There are thirty Gow Gee wrappers in a pack and out of 500 grams of mince I could get ninety of them if I use three packs. Ben thinks sixty will be heaps, I don't think so.

* Organic sausage rolls.....organic sausages in puff pastry, cut up into snack size ones, I'm think I can get about sixty out of a pack of puff pastry. Ben is debating this with me too.

* Assorted sandwiches with healthy fillings....I'm thinking two loaves of bread. This option isn't being debated.

* Fruit and marshmallow kebabs....I haven't decided on amount yet.

And finally....
* Cake

Drinks haven't been considered much at this point but I am considering bottled water for the kids. We don't really do juice here. I'm a being stingy? Please help me, surely some of my readers are much more experienced in planning a three year olds birthday party. Am I way off the mark here, with amounts? Any suggestions? I'd appreciate feedback, I thought all my initial thoughts were all fine but now I'm doubting it since talking with Ben. So I'm going to hand it over to you all for advice.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Yesterday I cried.....

It's funny how just the other week I posted a Elle, Meg and Me update, about where I am in my healing and journey with my angel babes. I mentioned that between now and the end of May there might be moments with the girls fourth memorial coming up, where I might have some tough times.

Well something happened yesterday a trigger point was pushed and I had no warning, so yesterday I cried. You see I was awake at about 3am after putting Sarah back down in her cot after a feed where she had squirmed and squirmed so I hadn't been able to drift off to sleep again during the feed. Needing to tire myself again before trying to get more shut eye, I thought I would read on my iPad for 15mins or so and try make myself sleepy.

Sleepy I did not make myself, stressed, anxious and worried instead was the result. I had jumped on Facebook to see that our friends who have Little A, that I told you about here, who had surgery to remove half her brain, had been in an accident. You see Little A and family are still in Sydney under the care of the hospital, but were allowed to take her out on a day trip over the weekend. They were returning from what sounding like that most fabulous time they have had in ages (and without a doubt needed and deserved).

When.....

A "alleged" drunk driver who was swerving over the road hit them from behind resulting in Little A hitting her head and other passengers being injured. The driver who had collided with them apparently went on to have a collision with another car, and from reports totalled the other car. A day that had been loaded with much happiness, joy and smiles ended in a ambulance back to hospital, the same one they were trying to return to after their days leave with Little A.

So all I knew from this Facebook message was that they had an accident, that Little A had hit her head as a result and everyone would be kept posted. As you can imagine our friends Facebook wall went to meltdown with comments of concern.

Was Little A going to be ok? She and her family have been through so much and to have had major surgery where half her brain has been removed. Was this accident going to change everything? Was it going to change the positive results they had gotten since the surgery?

As a mum, a parent, a women a human being I started to worry. I'm a visual person by nature, it's a blessing and a curse. It's a curse since losing Elle and Meg because of my PTSD and flashbacks. I kept imagining and seeing in my mind our friend and her Little girl in that moment of impact and the instant horror and worry she would have for her daughter. A thousand things racing though her mind and then the question, how can we have been through all of this for this to now happen.......and to now have this worry?

It's hard to explain to others the intricacies of my PTSD and triggers (that are rooted in losing my girls and other life experiences and situations), but the best I can explain is that this news triggered a physical trigger of worry that was a reminder of the sort of worry I had when I was in hospital whilst pregnant with the girls. That worry, that dark cloud of what was happening to me, what was happening to them, that mothers worry. To be told everything is ok, and then......

Sorry it's hard for me to finish sentences sometimes, when I'm struggling for the words and I'm only getting pictures. Pictures in the mind, pictures that worry, but pictures that remind.

So yesterday I cried, because yesterday it hurt bad. I cried later feeding Sarah again and talking to Ben. I cried because it was hard. Then a little hand from a little body nestled at my breast, placed her hand gently upon on my nose. Elle and Meg I know you sent your brother and sister to us, I know you guide their spirits, just as you try to protect mine.

I cried yesterday girls, because I missed you.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

That moment in toddlerdom when....

I have never liked subscribing to the theory of the "Terrible Two's". Before Cohen hit two and even before he was born I had this belief that the "Terrible Two's" had more to do with a parents outlook in coping and dealing with this period of their child's development. Yes, I know, it was probably an ignorant and arrogant way of viewing things. But now that we are about to hit the big "3rd Birthday", I can declare "Terrible Two's" for the want of a better term like, "difficult development period in my emerging two your old" has and does exist.

I'm sure if you've been in the trenches with an emerging and growing two year old, you will of had days, weeks and even months where your thoughts wonder off to the future, aghast at the thought that all your efforts in raising your child until now will result in him being like this forever. Screaming, crying, meltdowns, tantrums, mine, mine, mine, it's mine, it's not fair, but why, pushing, biting, climbing, talking, talking, talking non-stop talking. Peeing, pooping everywhere, eating, non-stop eating, sibling rivalry, share, please share with your sister, pick me up, mummy, daddy, mummy, mummy, daddy, daddy, look at me, manners, where are your manners, listening, are you listening, what did I say?

You get the picture!

But there's a moment, and a glimmer when you say to yourself:
"It's going to be ok, we're doing a good job at this parenting gig".

Recently:
Sarah - *cry*
Cohen - it's ok baby, it's ok Sarah I still love you.

Recently:
Cohen - can I have Easter Eggs now?
Us - no, it's too early in the morning.
Cohen - but please I want to share them with everybody!

Recently:
Cohen - mummy!
Me - yes!
Cohen - hugs me and looks up whilst holding me says
"You are the sweetest girl in the whole world."

Recently:
Cohen: witnesses Sarah achieve a physical milestone, walks over to her, kisses her, wraps his arms around her and says "I'm proud of you Sarah".

Recently:
Cohen - I want to go say thank you to Mila (our next or neighbour and partner) for taking me for a walk (no prompting).

You get the picture!
It's all these little things, which are really all the the bigs things as parents we are hoping that are getting through.

Ahhh *exhale* I think we're going to be ok.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I'm guest posting come catch me over at......


Truth be known I was guest posting yesterday and I got carried away with Friday happenings here and forgot to share this exciting news.
So please pop on over and visit me over at Michelle's at Farmers Wifey, where she has launched a guest post series about:

See you over there.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Loving the Library: There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake

I don't know about your kids, but one thing that always goes down a treat here is a book with a crazy and silly storyline, sillier the better.
{Pic Source}
There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake
Author: Hazel Edwards
Illustrator: Deborah Niland
Publisher: Penguin Books

A story about an imaginary Hippo that can do what ever he likes. This imaginary Hippo can do everything that a little girl wishes she could. All those things a kid wishes they could do, she can't. She has to take a bath, the hippo takes a shower; when she has to go to bed, the hippo watches television on the roof.

What's great about this book:
Quite simply when it comes to young children the crazier a story is, the more ridiculous the antics of characters the better and the Hippo has that happening in this story.

Verdict:
A great, fun story, giggles just kept coming reading this one with Cohen, that's got to be a thumbs up.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Highlights...


I love this time of year, Easter break, for us there's no running around trying to squeeze everyone in the family into four days like Christmas is for one day. We have just had the most wonderful time these past four days. I didn't want it to end and have Ben back off to work today.

But there are always the memories and highlights:

* French Toast and Nutella cheekiness.
* Trains, planes and automobile fun.
* Like father, like son moments.

* Homemade Hot Cross Buns
* My special hot chocolate recipe.
* Ticking things off the odd jobs list.
* Gardening, new spaces.
* Water play and tea sets.

* Chocolate
* Family, friends and great neighbours.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

An Elle, Meg and Me update....

There have been a lot of changes here recently with the blog and more to come in good time, and as I get time. But the main reason I ever started this blog in the first place was to help me with my grief process after losing Elle & Meg. For those who are new to my blog Elle and Meg are my identical twin girls, they were my first pregnancy which tragically and traumatically resulted in the horrific loss of my darlings half way through the pregnancy.

We are coming up to their four year memorial next month, and I still occasionally have someone stumble across an old blog post about these events and leave me a comment or send me an email. So I thought I'd put a few words down and give you a glimpse into my world on this matters since its been awhile between those sort of posts.

One thing that will never change regarding this situation is that it will always suck. Having said that I am in a place these days where I can see all the blessings and opportunities I have in my life despite the tragedy. I'm careful to say I would swap my blessings for my girls, because two of the greatest blessings I have are Cohen and Sarah. To allow myself to sit in that feeling too long means I have to imagine a world and life without them, and honestly that is not a pain I want to fathom or experience.

My PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and OCD issues, are managed and under control, I don't know there will ever be a day they will be gone, but they are there. I do have flare ups, and I have had challenges in recent months. Flare ups come with lack of sleep, so if I have a week where things are rough with Sarah and it's been non-stop, I'm generally in for some difficulties. Stress, particularly stresses that come with my family can trigger episodes too. I have to be careful to manage contact and conversations with certain members of my family, but that is a whole other story of it's own......it's a complicated one and one I have vowed for my own ongoing sanity not go into here. Sometimes I get caught with a trigger or an episode and get frozen with flashbacks. It's been several months since a bad one, but the last one had me in a zoned out state in the shower with Sarah. When I had come out of it, it kind of scared me that I had lost myself for that time whilst this happened. In actual fact I was only in this state for 5mins or so, but still.....kind of dangerous with Sarah in shower with me.

Now having said all of the above, I'm actually doing really well. In fact I think I'm doing the best I have in a long time. I know and I am fully prepared that there might be some though days ahead through to the end of May with the girls fourth memorial day coming up. But it's jut that I might have tough days I may not, I don't expect to and I don't expect not to have tough times......it is just what it is and I'll ride whatever waves come or not.

Overall I am looking at my life despite my stress disorders as being in one of the best phases of my life yet, I have so much that I'm doing. I'm am inspired and being inspired by so much. I'm blessed with the most gorgeous earthbound children in Cohen and Sarah and Ben as their father and my husband. I'm living my dreams and hearts desires with my writing and creative desires and plans.......I'm pretty darned fulfilled if the truth be told. There isn't a day that goes by I don't think of my Elle and Meg, but it's because of them I can see how rich my life is right now.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Loving the Library: Rufus the Numbat....

It's rather convenient that we had borrowed this book recently as it has tied in well with Cohen's interest and talk about our recent visit to a wildlife park for a friends little boys birthday. Although we didn't see Numbats it adds to our conversations about Australian animals. She here I am with another great and unique suggestion for a read with your little ones featuring native fauna.
{image credit}
Author/illustrator: David Miller
Publisher: Ford Street

This is definitely a unique book, particularly in the way it has been illustrated with detailed paper sculpture. A minimal text storybook about Rufus the Numbat and what happens when he passes through a local town and the trouble he causes for the town people.

What is great about this book:
* introduces children to a lesser known Australian animal
* paper sculpture, it's really amazing need I say it again
* minimal text, allows pictures to tell the story and allows young readers to ask questions.

Verdict:
We certainly enjoyed this book, which was clear the first several times Cohen asked me to read it again. I do think the minimal text was lost on him, but the amazing use of paper sculpture illustrating this book had his eyes glued to the pages and asking questions which lead him to building his own stories about what he was taking in.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

When mum's sick.....

Sorry if the post title had you with thoughts or mental images of serious life threatening illnesses. That's certainly not what this post is about, its merely a post of my observations and ramblings coming out the other side of 4 odd days of a viral gastro type of horribleness. I started feeling unwell on Friday and wasted a weekend feeling blah and very un-engaging like over most things. But I have had plenty of time to think, ponder and question something I've often thought, pondered and questioned!

What are things like for you other mums when you're sick?

Over the years I've read studies that have noted that a mothers recovery with a sickness is often longer due to the constant demand we generally find ourselves under. Don't get me wrong I've got a loving a supportive husband in Ben, but when it comes down to our family dynamics, kids personalities, preferences, work commitments, business commitments and everything else I'm left to fly solo when I'm sick. You see Ben runs a business with his dad, dad's in the office and Ben's on the road every week day all day servicing clients. With the nature of their work and business it's very inflexible in these times of need like when I'm sick to call him in for reinforcement during the day. Nature of the beast I guess when you're in your own business. If I'm lucky and the stars are aligned (which is rarely) Ben will be able to shuffle partial workload to other days in the week and get home early to tend to me or family needs.

Due to family difficulties, health, work and business commitments and responsibilities we aren't in a position to call on family for a hand with the kids at these times either. If you're a stay at home mum, do you fly solo through sickness, even when you're literally death warmed up, because the sole breadwinner in the household just has to get out there day in day out. If you do, tell me what you do to get by, to cope, to manage the kids when it's just you and you're barely running on one cylinder. At the same time I'm left to wonder about those amazing mums out there who are single mums, I know your position is even harder when there isn't someone to walk in the door at the end of a working day to start their next shift looking after things on the home front.

As mums I know we have to get creative sometimes to find the peace, the calm, and finding a way to cope especially during difficult times. How do you make things work for you, when it's one of those times?
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