Posts Tagged ‘memories’

I was reading with Miss 8 tonight before my weekly violin teaching. She’d read her school reader earlier this afternoon, so we’d pulled out a book that I’d read when *I* was learning to read, a few decades ago. “The Hermit’s Purple Shirts”. I liked it, and so does Miss 8.
It was strange, to be listening to her read I book I’d read, so many years ago. The memories of then, combining with the memories that were created tonight… So precious.
Here’s hoping that you also had a great day, dear readers!
— Ceridwyn

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8482383303_d7900da0bb_mI like to think of myself as tough. Mentally. I know that I have me a pretty strong willpower. Physically? Not so much. Emotionally? Nah – I’m kinda a marshmallow, really, when I’m honest with myself…! But mentally? I know I’ve got “grit and determination” in spades. So when I first heard about ‘Tough Mudder’ I thought ‘Wow! That would be FANTASTIC!!!’

In their own words, “Tough Mudder events are hardcore 18-20 km obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie” and some more: “To get through mud, fire, ice-water, and 10,000 volts of electricity you’ll need teammates to pick you up when your spirits dip. To get over 3 m walls and through underground mud tunnels, you’ll need teammates to give you a boost and a push. Tough Mudders are team players who make sure no one gets left behind. To that end, all Mudders℠ are expected to uphold our ideals and exhibit teamwork and camaraderie both on the course and off it.” (Find out more here)

My opinions haven’t changed, even though I’ve looked into it quite a bit more. It’s tough. It’s muddy (remember Emu Gully, Jo?) and it’s a challenge-and-a-half. So I’m up for it. Circumstances have prevented me from forming a team for this year’s Sunshine Coast challenge in August, but apparently they’ve signed up for a 5 year contract, so I’m planning to be one of the first to register for the 2014 event.

Bring it on!!!!!

CC image courtesy DVIDSHUB at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dvids/8482383303/

Miss 5

Posted: January 15, 2013 in Life, momentous events
Tags: , , , ,

Miss 4 became Miss 5 today. She’s very very very excited about it, but also a little confused that her party isn’t happening today. And the concept of “everyone’s on holidays so we’ll wait until school goes back” *is* a little tricky to understand for someone who only starts school (and therefore has holidays) this year. Her big concern, when she woke up this morning, was that today would just be a ‘normally day’ (her words) like her Daddy’s birthday was yesterday (it was his first day back at work) and so she was trying to insist that today was NOT her birthday, but that her birthday would be the day that she had her party. Cute, huh?

Nevertheless, today is definitely her birthday, the day that, back in 2008, exhausted and in pain, I held her in my arms for the very first time. She looked like her big sister had, blue eyes and dark brown hair (which would later lighten to blonde) and she was SUCH a good baby, right from the get-go. She had an umbilical hernia, and a huge strawberry birthmark on one knee, and when the midwife saw her at her ten-day mark, she discovered that she was also slightly tongue-tied. (No wonder feeding her had been rather painful; she couldn’t latch properly!)

Still an’ all, those were wonderful days, and now they’re precious memories. Like today will be, I’m sure. She’s my middle child, my blondie with blue eyes, my cruisy kid, my clumsy yet giggle-a-minute, talk-under-water-with-a-mouthful-of-marbles kid. I love her to bits and am SOOOOOOO blessed to have her in my life.

Happy birthday, Miss 5!!!

Today is the last day of June. Today I’m finishing this #blogjune challenge, where I’ve tried diligently to blog every day. This was my second attempt at #blogjune, and I’m proud to say that I was a lot more consistent this year!

So, according to my calendar, I am one year older. I wonder however, whether or not it’s possible to measure if I am one year wiser?!

I certainly had a lot of new experiences this year. Since my last #blogjune, I have (in chronological-ish order):
Studied an elective outside the LIS sphere. I didn’t like it.
– Added six new clients to my new “Bloxham Marketing” business.
– Started, and finished, gymnastics lessons for Miss 7.
– Started, and have continued with, swimming lessons for Miss 7.
– Used the #blog12daysxmas challenge to start blogging regularly again.
Read so many Jane Austen novels that I initiated the #blog5daysAustenese challenge… and had four brave fellow bloggers join me in the journey!
Presented a 3 hour digital marketing presentation live on LEQ TV.
Plucked up enough courage to see if Mr 3 was autistic.
Had my daughter’s eyes tested, and sure enough Miss 7 now wears glasses for reading.
– Supported a good friend who was doctoring in New Guinea. We’d meet each other daily, online, and hold each other accountable in our Christian walks.

– Scored a HD in INN530 Online Information Services, courtesy of the truly wonderful @katiedatwork (still can’t believe that one. SOOOOOOOOOO majorly STOKED!!!!!!)

So… older? Yes. That bit’s inevitable. Wiser? I’m not so sure. I certainly hope so, though! And here ends the #blogjune challenge for another year. I wonder what will happen between this one and the 2013 version? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

Thanks for sharing this journey with me, dear readers. Your support is far more of an encouragement than you could ever know. You guys rock!!!

Grieving

Posted: June 21, 2012 in #blogjune
Tags: , , ,

Emotional alert. As in, for me. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
Okay…
So I tweeted last night that yesterday had been a teary day. And it was. Perhaps blogging about my reaction to the thought of my boy never learning to read opened the floodgates or something, but once it started, boy!!! It’s been hard to stop! I broke down in Mr 3’s Speech Therapy session; I bawled after my afternoon Skype to Hervey Bay; I snivelled through the rest of the evening; and although I went to bed *fairly* early (soon after 10) I was up again at 2 this morning, getting editorials finished and ad mockups created and responding to emails and so on and so forth. So yes, today was also a teary one- but at least I’m recognizing that lack of decent sleep has something to do with it, today!
So anyway, I think I’ve figured out the reason for my tears. I’m grieving.

I’m grieving for the life I had hoped that Mr 3 would have. I guess as parents we all have dreams for our kids… I had just never realised that what I had dreamt for him was unrealistic. That his life will be different to what I had imagined. So I’m mourning that loss. Reason number one.
I’m saddened that it is just me who mourns this. Because *he* will never know any different; he will never realize “what he’s missing” – if, indeed, the life I had envisaged ended up being ‘better’ than the one that he *will* have.
Reason number two.
Reason number three: embarrassment. How arrogant of me! As a Christian, I believe that God’s plans are perfect, for each of our lives, so the life He has planned for my little man is far better than anything I could ever come up with! So how arrogant is that, to have been thinking that the life he will have is somehow ‘less’ than what I had hoped / planned for!
Reason number four: embarrassed tears were engulfed by tears of shame. The reality of ‘this is how it is’ saddens me. Because the truth has hit (again) that no, he will *not* be going to Pre-Prep next year. And quite likely, he will *not* be going to Prep the following year. Which means more time at home with me… a good thing… and yet… I know that this means he’ll be more reliant on me for longer than I had anticipated. And again, I’m grieving. And this is where, truth be told, I am gutted. I’m gutted to realize that this is not the situation I want. I love my boy to bits, but I don’t actually *want* him to be dependent on me for so much, for so long! I’m a selfish creature; I can’t see how I will cope! I’m already exhausted from managing just the ECDP and the Speech Therapist into my crowded life; I know I should probably be adding in a weekly OT session, and be looking at Psych. appointments too… but I can’t see how it all can fit in to our lives. Seriously! And that shatters me, to think that I’d rather have him ‘be a “normal” child’ so that life would be easier on me. I tell you what – the self-reflections of my studies are *nothing* compared to what’s been in my head the past two days…

My post yesterday was about how Mr 3, my autistic son, sees the world differently. I shared a few examples – making a seesaw out of train tracks, playing both controls of a two-player playstation game, because his big sister was at school, and using the ‘word’ instead of the ‘picture’ to match cards in a Speech Therapy ‘game’.

I had a bit of response to this post – I apparently was nominated for ‘The Sunshine Award‘ (not that I know how this all works! But I’m extremely flattered, nonetheless! Thanks, butimbeautiful!); and on twitter I caused @jobeaz to *sniff* at what she thought was a ‘beautiful post’ and @gigglesigh to make the comment ‘different minds open your eyes to new things… new experiences’.

Her tweet made me stop and think. Yes, that’s so true. And I replied to this effect, hinting that I hadn’t always felt this way.

And then I thought that I’d like to explore this idea further in a blog post. So here ’tis.

I have always been a perfectionist. I’m smart, okay. Smart enough to realise that that last sentence sounds remarkably conceited, and I’ve just lost all but maybe two of my readers. But I’ll continue anyway, because I want to nut this out in my own head, and sometimes that’s easiest when I’m typing. So anyway…

Yes, I’m a perfectionist. I’m bossy. I know that I can get things done, and they’ll probably get done pretty well – if they get done *my* way. And Ghylene’s tweet made me realise that, you know what? I’m actually not entirely comfortable with “new things… new experiences”. I want things to be the best they can be, because I’m a perfectionist, and for that to happen, I need to be in control of it. Yes, I’m probably one of the biggest control freaks that you have ever met. Yes, I like ‘new things… new experiences’… but only on *my* terms.

So to *suddenly* (haha) have an autistic son has really thrown my world out-of-kilter. Suddenly I’m not in control – and, worse still, I’m aware of this fact. Suddenly I have a little body in my life who does things unexpectedly; and although the things that he does may often be those that society deems as ‘not appropriate’ (i.e. banshee screams accompanying tantrums where he loses any semblance of self-control) – reacting to these things as I would react to any other ‘normal’ child, by assuming that they are engaging in intentional misbehaviour, is also wrong. Because his reactions, although these may be ‘abnormal’ by   my / our / society’s standards? These reactions *are* normal for him. And that has been a difficult adjustment for my 37 year old brain to make.

A few months ago, when Mr 3 was officially diagnosed and I was on the biggest emotional roller coaster I’d ever been on, I was overwhelmed with the support I received from many, many, many, online friends. One such, sent me a link to a blog post written by another mum whose son had recently been diagnosed with autism. She wrote about how her life had substantially changed, overnight, without warning. She described it as planning a holiday to one country, (I think it was Greece?) but had ended up in another (Italy? from memory…). And how it took a huge amount of adjustment, but then she was able to reflect on the beauty that lay in the new path she’d found herself on.

I think that slowly, I’m starting to appreciate some aspects of my new path. It’s taking a while. I cry – like when Miss 7 identifies a storybook character as autistic – from the very first page – and she’s right (Wrong Way, a book about three duckings and their mother who tries to cope) – like when Mr 3 finally says ‘Bye, bye, Mummy”, in context, and gets it sounding almost recognisable, and I realise that he is just so darn far behind his peers because he’s almost 3 1/2 and children who’ve just turned 2 can speak more intelligibly – like right now, when I’m writing, thinking of my beautiful little boy and how I love him so much and want to protect him from all the crap that life can dish out…

Anyway, I just wanted to get that out there. I’m a perfectionist, and a control freak, and I need to change all that. Hopefully,  prayerfully, day by day, I am…

Viewpoints

Posted: June 4, 2012 in #blogjune, family anecdotes
Tags: , ,

I blogged yesterday about Mr 3’s ‘different’ viewpoint on life. I used to think that it was due to his gender that his thinking was so different to Miss 7 and Miss 4. But since his autism diagnosis a few months ago, I’ve been questionning whether it really *does* just come back to the fact that Hubby and I are parenting a son for the first time.
So I thought that today I might share some of these differences. Cute examples like when he took two bits of straight Thomas track, and instead of adding them to the track he was making, he joined them together to make a longer piece, put this over the bridge of one of his feet, then sang (his version of) See Saw Margery Dawe while seesawing the train-track back and forth over his foot.
Or a ‘focussed’ example, like I wrote about yesterday. Where he was fixated on being in a two player game on the PlayStation. Usually he plays these with Miss 7, but she was at school. Never mind; he used both controls at the same time.

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Sometimes he’d win against himself…

… at other times he’d lose.

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It didn’t matter though; he was happy!

And lastly, a quirky one that surprised even me. It was at his first ever Speech Therapy session, and his therapist Maria, was testing his comprehension. She pulled out a number of large square cards, each with a 3 x 3 pattern of squares on them (like in bingo, or in tic-tac-toe) and placed these on the table at which Mr 3 was sitting. One 9square card went directly in front of him; the others went into a small stack to one side. Each of the 9 squares showed a picture of an easily identifiable object – apple, ball, car, etc. My little man was then given a few individual cards, slightly smaller than a single square on the larger card. On each card was a picture, identical to the pictures on the 9square card on the table. The aim of the ‘game’ was to see if, once Maria had said the word, he could match the smaller card in his hand with the correct spot on the 9square card, and place his card on top of the correct picture on the larger card. So she said, “Apple. Can you find the apple? Put your card over the apple picture.” The square with the apple was the bottom centre square, and so we both expected him to put his small ‘apple’ card over the apple picture, centre place in the bottom row.

Mr 3, however, decided to turn his smaller cards over. He noticed that the card with the apple picture on it, had the word ‘apple’ on the underside. He then picked the 9square card up off the table, and noticed that its underside was also split into 9 squares, each containing the word of the picture. In the centre square of the bottom row was the same word, ‘apple’. So Mr 3 placed the 9square card down, word side facing up, and put his smaller ‘apple’ card (word side up) over the word ‘apple’, on the underside of the 9square card. I was gobsmacked. Maria, also, was rather surprised. “Well, I’ve never seen anybody do *that* before!’ she said.

Yep – that’s my boy! Sees the world differently. And that can be a good thing.

On this day…

Posted: April 25, 2012 in momentous events
Tags: , , ,

The time on my computer reads 1.00am. It is Wednesday the 25th of April, 2012. On this day, back in 1915, the ANZAC legend was created.


The clip above was from the Peter Weir movie, Gallipoli. (Unfortunately it was a bit buggy to embed properly, so I apologise if it doesn’t play for you. The link is at the bottom.) Below is a written account.

The original plan / what was MEANT to happen:

The ANZAC landing area was a broad, six kilometre stretch of beach from about a mile north of Gaba Tepe to a point near Fisherman’s Hut, north of Anzac Cove. It was officially designated “Z Beach”. (The five landing beaches at Helles were designated “S”, “V”, “W”, “X” and “Y Beach”). To attain surprise the landing would commence following moonset, about one hour before dawn.

The landing would begin with the arrival of a “covering” force to swiftly capture the area surrounding the landing zone and make it secure for the main force. The Australian 3rd Brigade was selected as the covering force. Three battalions were to seize the third ridge line as well as Gaba Tepe while the fourth battalion remained in reserve. Following the covering force, the Australian 2nd Brigade would land and move to the north, climbing to the summit of the main range at Hill 971 and protecting the left flank of the landing. The original plan called for the capture of Mal Tepe, halfway across the peninsula, on the first day but only if the landing was successful would this objective be pursued by the main force; the Australian 1st Brigade and the two brigades of the New Zealand and Australian Division.

The first wave of the covering force would come ashore from the cutters of three battleships which were to approach within five kilometres of the shore. The remaining waves of the covering force would be landed from seven destroyers which were to approach close in to the beach. The main force would land from transports.

What actually happened:

As the armada of Allied ships draw nearer, by 2.00 am it was spotted by various Ottoman observers who passed the information on to Maidos HQ. The 2nd Battalion of the 27th Infantry Regiment was ordered to be on the alert prepare for action to repel any troops landing on the shores.

The first troops to land were two companies of each of the 9th, 10th and 11th Battalions of the Australian 3rd Brigade. The companies embarked from three battleships. Each battleship dispatched four steamboats towing three row boats (launches and pinnaces)—a total of 48 boats.

The moon set at 3am and the battleships released the tows at 3.30am. Given the night was pitch dark, the tows headed due east and so relied on the battleships having been in the correct position when they were released. The journey of the tows became a shambles and numerous theories have been proposed to explain what went amiss. The southern-most tow kept a good course and was aimed correctly just north of Gaba Tepe but its commander found the neighbouring tows were heading northwards, leaving him isolated. He altered course to bring his tow closer and this may have caused a ripple effect as the other tows responded with a similar correction. As the shore was sighted, the headland of Ari Burnu became visible and some tows mistook this for Gaba Tepe and hence veered even further north.

For whatever reason, these first boats which were meant to land on a six kilometre front between Hell Spit and Gaba Tepe ended up concentrated about Ari Burnu, almost two and a half kilometres north of their intended landing area—in fact, in the landing area of the 2nd Brigade which was to follow. The area about Ari Burnu was defended by a single company of the 2nd Battalion, 27th Regiment, Ottoman 9th Division. The Australians began to come ashore at 4.30am. The first man to land was Cpl. Joseph Stratford #1179. 9th Btn. According to eyewitness reports, when he was waist deep in water, he disposed of most of his heavy equipment and charged towards the enemy, which cut him down in a hail of bullets.

The first troops to land were met by sporadic rifle and machine gun fire but casualties were relatively light. The 11th Battalion, which had landed just north of Ari Burnu, suffered the worst. The main enemy was confusion. The erratic course of the tows meant that the units had become intermingled. Officers were unsure where their units were or indeed where they themselves were; some thought that they had landed at Gaba Tepe. The geography was utterly unfamiliar and no objective could be identified.

Most of the troops of the 9th and 10th Battalions began to climb the first hill that confronted them, which unfortunately turned out to be the dead-end Plugge’s Plateau.

The time on my computer now reads 1.30am. It is Wednesday the 25th of April, 2012. On this day, back in 1915, the ANZAC legend was created. At this time on that fateful day, the men would have been looking out at the shoreline, using the last of the moonlight to memorise the distant shoreline. Fearing the moon setting, and impatient as well, so that the landing could be over. How many of them knew the circumstances that were turning against them? How many had any idea of just how bad it would be?

I am a proud Australian. Today is a very special day for me. I shall be posting this at 4.30am, the time that Corporal Joseph Stratford, the first Australian to land, was cut down while still waist deep in water, having not even made it to the sand. The first to die of 4,931 Australian casualties. It is my hope today that you, dear readers, may pause with me, and remember those who gave their lives for the liberties we enjoy today.

Lest We Forget.

Video courtesy Peter Weir’s 1991 film “Gallipoli”, uploaded to YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N87UwyRI1tk by fronteitaliana

‘Written account’ abbreviated from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landing_at_Anzac_Cove

CC Image courtesy louisemakesstuff at http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisemakesstuff/1185971424/

I’ve always been an early riser. In my pre-kid days, I was up and about at 6am. Since kids, it’s been an assortment of waking-or-being-woken, and at almost every variation of hour and minute possible. Now that Mr 2’s almost Mr 3 however, my night-time patterns are slowly returning to some semblance of pre-kid existence, in that the hours in between 10pm and 5am are generally kid-free. And I’m okay with that. Really. Those night-time feeds were a killer – but nothing compared to the 3am vomit cleanups. (Sorry if you’re reading this while eating or with a queasy stomach!)

But my kids are getting older – it was inevitable – and that’s good. It’s also sad. No longer does Miss 7 want to come and see me as soon as she wakes up – she hasn’t done this for years now. Miss 4 also seems to prefer talking to her sister, and playing in their room. Now it’s just Mr 2 who comes to visit Hubby and me upon waking. It’s probably the only thing that he does voluntarily to show love / affection / a desire to be close to me. So I’ll be sad to see him grow out of that.

But this morning was precious. Mr 2 didn’t just visit, he climbed into our bad at 5.32am, and then Miss 4 also decided to join us at 5.45. Miss 7 even paid us a brief visit, to ask if she could now go on the playstation, seeing as she was completely dressed in her correct school uniform (part of a deal we’d made last night) so Mr 2 accompanied her to the lounge room, and Miss 4 snuggled, giggled, and played with her Daddy and Mummy until we all got up at 6.

Precious. Oh so precious.

A couple of years ago, I was having trouble coping. It felt as though my life was one big pile of pressure, and there was no relief in sight. I felt that there wasn’t even any place in my own house that I could escape from the demands of others, or of my own (sometimes unreasonable) expectations of myself as a new mother, happy wife, and indifferent yet not-TOO-slack housekeeper.
So I snapped, and demanded Hubby buy me a chair. One of my own choosing, for my personal use ONLY.
(Plus, baby number three was unexpectedly on his way, and we’d given away my feeding chair with all the other baby stuff, after our second daughter had arrived.)
So I threw a right royal tantrum, and got *my* chair. Rule number one: it’s Mummy’s chair. No-one puts toys or books on it, and no one sits on it without asking first. Grown-ups included. Rule number two: never forget Rule number one.
I love my chair. I use it, and no one else does. It is wholly and solely, irrevocably, MINE and everyone knows it.
And I love it! My ‘special place’. Just for me.
My chair.