Wednesday, 2 September 2015

a beach escape


After everything that had happened, hitting real life again was hard, and I struggled and stumbled through that first week after the services were done and everyone went 'back to normal'. It was jarring to try to align the past six months with this new and different life, especially as I was feeling utterly drained and 'tapped out' in every sense. It was rough, and we decided we needed to all get away for a bit of time out together. A little sunshine and ocean therapy combined with a good dose of quality family time was what we self-proscribed. We needed to rest, to reconnect, and recover from the past six months. I needed time to sit in silence, staring at the ocean and either think or just not think at all. I needed time with my precious family who I felt I had hardly had time or energy for lately, I wanted to be healed by their love and sweet company. I had missed them so much. The kids needed me too and I wanted to just hang out with them again, we had to break loose for a bit to get our groove back.

And so, we had five much-needed days by the beach at our beloved Kiama, our family holiday favourite. We did very little but sit on the sand, watch the kids play, splash along the shore, go for long walks and chill out together. We did, however, build an epic dam in a little stream, that was a fun family project! :) And I slept, I rested, I read, I prayed and I cried.  Mark, as always, supported me so much in all my messy emotion. I just felt weary to my bones, I guess grief can do that, huh? 

I didn't even take my camera out of our cabin, just no energy or inclination to do so (I know, shocking, huh?). But then, one afternoon Lily raced to the cabin and asked me to photograph her leaping from a high rock (!!??) so she could review her epic jump. And so I did, and snapped a few more shots while I was out there.

Our quiet, peaceful, happy/sad little week. It was just what we needed. So grateful for this little family of mine, love them to pieces xx


Brothers snacking together on the stoop.

A little quiet craft time with my lovely girl xx
Love being able to watch the kids play on the sand right from our cabin :)

The boy/dad who could fly?!!
This crazy, beautiful, ever-changing mess of teeth :) I love it. She is growing upppppp!


She looks before she leaps....



She dances like nobody's watching...













Snuggled up for the cutest game of hang man ever. Lily made Daddy guess her secret message :)




Thankful.


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

#highlightsreel // lowlights and love



This is life, our life. It keeps on rolling through ups and downs. We find joy in the darkness and bittersweet sorrow in our happiness. Somehow this mixture of joy and sorrow becomes a daily reminder of how tenuous and precious this life is. It makes me determined to be all the more purposeful in how we live it. Stark realities are a lingering reminder to our family of our hope and faith and assurance of things not seen. They give deeper meaning to the things we do. 

Although my joys are now forevermore tainted with sorrow, it makes me more grateful for them. 

That is the gift of grief, I suppose.

And so... here are our darkest days, mixed up, as they so often are, (particularly with small children!), with happy, light and sweet.



I found Eli busy at work creating a roadway of books. The path to literacy perhaps?
So cute! Not sure if he considers this endeavour worth the time it took him to pack 
them up again, however ;)
Allllll the way down the hall...
Decorating cupcakes, with quite substantial sampling going on...
We had our little buddies Finn and Harper over for a sleepover and disco. The
colourful streamers were a big hit! Eli was leaping for joy, haha.

Mark decided to make cupcakes as a special treat for the kids (awwww, bless him). The kids iced them, as you can see!
A sheet of pink fabric I had put out for play turned into the night's best game -
tug of war! Eli really put his back into it, heehee. My little strong man! 


Behind these scenes of fun and frivolity, which should never be far from life with children, was the reality of some of our very hardest days. 

My beloved step-father David passed away after his short and brutal fight with pancreatic cancer (I don't like the phrase 'fight with cancer', as it implies too much responsibility on the sufferer, but not sure what to replace it with?). Well, almost two months later and I'm still not yet ready to speak too much about it. Not sure if or when I will be. I have precious photos I took during this time I can hardly bear to look at, let alone share either. 

Instead, to mark this significant event in this, our online family record book, I will share a few photos I took of the beautiful view outside David's hospice room. These images were taken during the three days I stayed in his hospice room, his last days. Surreal, strange, beautiful, heart breaking days. In short breaks, I would step outside to breath some fresh air, soak up the view, pray and gather my strength for what was to come. 

The morning fog those last days was thick and heavy, lingering till well past lunchtime. A strange and rare weather pattern befitting of that surreal and precious time. I know I will always remember David whenever I see that hazy, lingering fog each winter. 

For three days we stood vigil at his bedside, awaiting that last precious breath, ready at last (can you ever be ready?) to send him home to glory and that perfect, perfect peace. For three days, I barely slept and sporadically ate and allowed my heart to crack open in a whole new way, as we nursed, and cared, and talked and waited. And then, he breathed his last and this beloved, dear man was gone from this fleeting life on earth. We grieve, but not without hope.

I miss him deeply.  





Hope floats.
In the midst of mist and grief, a little reminder pokes through - there is still life and joy to come.
The last morning, the heaviest fog...


After David passed, we moved through the exhausting, painful week between his passing and the various beautiful services we held to honour him. Then the very next day, my beautiful little tiger-man, Eli, turned five. And so, a birthday. Jarring, yes? From funerals to birthday parties in rapid succession, but that is how life is sometimes. And how could we deny this sweet little boy his celebration? If anyone, Eli is our ultimate reminder of the joy life also holds, my irrepressibly happy little man. So, we rallied to celebrate him as best we could.

We held a low key family dinner, and gave our all to make it a happy affair and my boy was indeed thrilled with what he had. And we will more than make up for a low key birthday with his (delayed) birthday party extravaganza coming up very shortly too (dragon themed!)! Yes, the party is two months delayed but as far as E is concerned, he wins as he gets two birthdays ;)

As hard as it is, as jarring as it can be, I'm so grateful for my children who remind me that life goes on, and there is always joy to be had.


Eli decorated his own 'Lego Cake'. Pretty epic, huh?? :) 
In awe.....
With much coaching and encouragement from my crafty friends, I made Eli his very own
Lego softie. I have never done something like this!! It was a big challenge for me, as
simple as it was. The stitching left a LOT to be desired, but the look of bliss on Eli's face
when he opened it made me so happy. He couldn't believe he had a Lego toy to snuggle
and that I had made it!? :) This little toy is seeped in extra love because I stitched 
him together while sitting at David's bedside in hospice. David smiled when I showed 
him what I was doing. He loved Eli so much... his favourite activity was swapping
funny Eli stories with other who knew him and his antics well :)
Lily trying on a very special outfit!
We gave our puzzle obsessive a new puzzle, and all enjoyed working on it together after dinner.
Lily as always put together her own very special bundle of crafts and cards for her beloved brother. She made these binoculars which were very well received :)
What a gift... she also decided to write a story dedicated to her brother. In her tiniest, neatest handwriting she worked for
three days over three big pages, while brother proudly and eagerly watching over.

Eli got an awesome beanbag for his birthday, and Lily felt she was missing out on a
cool chair, so decided to make her own special 'throne' out of a box - complete with
cup holder. Yep, pretty happy with herself!
Little Scientist. I found Lily with a piece of paper, labelling all these backyard finds. When I enquired what she was doing, she informed me she was trying to work out what the chickens' favourite snack food was. She was going to carefully present this sheet and see which one they ate first. Oh, my girl, you are so cuuuuuute :)
Translation: Twig, grass, big fat leaves, leaf, dry (jriye!) grass, flower petels, dry leaf.




What a mixed bag of photos and moments, huh? These are our days. And such is life.... such is life.