Sunday, 21 December 2014

Visiting Santa

I'm lucky that Jalen still humours me and still visits Santa every year with Harri and Kobe.
Yesterday I remembered that we still hadn't gone to visit our favourite Santa, so we jumped in the car, hoping that we had the right time to see him.

He was there and it was so lovely to see him.  Every year he would remember Noah and would greet him by name, and I was sure that he was the real Santa, and not just Santa's helper.

We got such a beautiful surprise at Noah's funeral when a lovely old man came up to me. I didn't know him at all, but he said to me 'I'm Santa Claus'.  I then realised that he was the lovely Santa that we see every year. It touched me so much that he came to Noah's funeral.

He doesn't remember the boys, but as soon as we remind him they are Noah's brothers, he is so excited and lovely to them. He always asks me how I am going and I can tell he makes an extra special effort with them. 
It's crazy how you I don't notice the boys growing up, till I look back at old photos. 





 
2010
2012
2013
If only Santa could bring us what we are really wishing for. 

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Summer Holidays

We've had a really busy couple of weeks with school winding up for the year.  It was lovely to attend Jalen's school presentation night, and to see him announced as a member of the School Leadership Board for 2015.  He has already been busy having lots of meetings, and helping out at things at school, so I can see how busy he will be next year, but it will be great for him.


School finished on Thursday and I am happy that it's holidays as we are all very tired and need a break, but I will miss my EAL (English as an Additional Language) students a lot.  They have come so far this year, and have gone from just saying a few words in English and understanding just a little, to now having great conversations with me, and understanding most things that I say to them.

I can't believe that they've come from only understanding things if I showed them pictures, at the beginning of the year, to me having to tell them to be quiet and listen! :)  I feel so lucky to have been able to work with them.

The best part of the job is seeing them experience things they haven't before.   Before they came to Australia they had never swum before.   We were very lucky to be able to go swimming for a few sessions this term.   I love hearing them all yell 'Mrs King, look at me!!' as they show me the things they can do.

All of the students are Muslim, but their parents are happy for them to participate in Christmas activities at school.  The other day they asked me how many days it was until Christmas.  We worked it out together, and then they said 'and then Santa will come to our house with presents!?'.  I didn't know what to say at first, but then asked them if their families celebrate Christmas.  They said no, and I told them that Santa knows that they don't celebrate Christmas, so he won't go to their house. I reminded them of their special celebrations they have such as Eid and Ramadan and said that we don't celebrate on those days, so they get to have a special time then.   Luckily they were okay with that. 

When the kids first arrived they were so scared of animals, but they are getting used to them.  I loved seeing their smiling faces when we visited Kindergarten the other day to meet the teacher's new puppy.
My contract teaching them has finished, but I'm hoping that I will get another contract when school goes back.  I won't know till later in January and I'm very nervous as I wait to hear anything, but hope things will work out.  Because I am not yet a Permanent Replacement Teacher or a permanent teacher, I have to wait until all the permanent teachers and PRTs are placed before I can be offered a contract.   I'm hoping Aaron and Noah are up there pulling some strings for me.

For Christmas this year I have been saving up for a trampoline for the boys.  The boys have been loving jumping on trampolines at their friend's houses, especially when we stayed with my cousin Kristen and her family in Canberra, because they had a basketball ring on theirs.

Santa just brings small things to our house, and I didn't want to be working out how I was going to put it together on Christmas Eve, so when our missionaries from church asked me if there is anything they could do to help me, I knew exactly what they could do.  I bought the trampoline from a store on eBay and was very nervous that it may not arrive, but luckily it did, and the missionaries and our friend Aaron came around that same day, to put it together for us.
I don't think they knew what they were in for, as it took a lot longer than we thought, but they were making us laugh the whole time.  They're hilarious guys, and the boys love having them visit.   I'm doubting they'll ask me if they can help me again! ;)

The boys are very excited to have an early Christmas present, and are on it all the time. 

The basketball ring has already come loose thanks to them dunking on it, but luckily my brother Jared is very handy and has welded it together for them.  I told them no more dunking, and I think it's killing them!  It's great having something fun for them to do during the summer holidays, just in the backyard. 
We were all very happy on Thursday after school, as holidays had officially begun. 
The days are very long if we don't keep busy, so yesterday I dragged the boys out (they would actually be happy to stay home all day, every day).  We went up to Heritage Forest which has been done up a bit lately.
The boys were excited to go on the new flying fox there.  They loved the one we went on in Queensland, so it's nice to have one close by now.   This video cracks me up as Kobe almost flies into my phone!

Holidays are often hard, and especially when there's Aaron's birthday, Christmas and the anniversary of Aaron's death happening, but we are all happy to have a break, and hope to keep busy and have a lovely summer together. 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Four eyes!

Over the last five years or so, I have taken a lot of photos and spent a lot of time on the computer editing them.   I noticed that my eyes would get really sore after a while, but just put it down to too much time on the computer as I found my eyes always felt better if I didn't spend as much time on the computer.

In the last month I have had sore, watery, itchy eye.  I kept thinking it would settle down, but it just kept getting worse, so I ended up going to the chemist and asked the pharmacist if I could have some over the counter drops to help.  He said he could sell me some, but said he would prefer if I went up to the optometrist first, just to get my eyes checked, in case something was going on.

I told him it was just one eye, and I probably just had allergies or a touch of conjunctivitis or something, but he was really keen for me to get it checked, just in case.

I went to the optometrist and they were able to book me in for an eye examination straight away.  The whole time I kept saying 'I'm sure I don't need glasses...I've just got an allergy or something'.  As the exam went on and she kept asking me questions, I started to realise that I probably did need glasses.  The optometrist broke the news to me that I could do with glasses for reading, computer work, watching television and driving at night.  I was actually so shocked as I had no idea that things were so blurry, until she showed me how clear things could be.

She told me it was up to me, and that she could just keep the script there and I could come back any time to get glasses, but once I saw how clear things could be, I realised how much glasses would help me.

I was freaking out about having to choose a frame as I didn't have anyone with me to give me their opinion, but the lady working there was great, and knew what would suit me, and was good at trying different things when I would tell her what I did or didn't like.   The last pair she showed me were very bold, and I didn't think I would like them, until she took photos of me with four different pairs and showed me all four photos at once. 

As soon as I saw them I knew the frames I liked the best, and they are not at all what I thought I would choose.  I think Aaron would love them, as they look a lot like the ones he used to wear. 


 The optometrist said I also had an allergy, so I did need eye drops as well.  I went back to the chemist and the pharmacist saw me and said 'well?'.  I smiled and said 'I need some eye drops as I have an allergy'.  I wanted to stop there, but I laughed and said 'and I also need glasses!'.  He had a little chuckle and promised me he wasn't getting commission. 

When I came home and told the boys I had to get glasses, they thought it was hilarious!  When I went to pick them up the woman serving me told me they call them 'concentration glasses' and that she has hers for the same reason. She said she is now so used to wearing hers, and everything is so much clearer, so she just wears them all the time.  I've only had mine for two days, but I think I'm going to be the same.  It's a pain to have to take them on and off at different times, and I can't believe how much clearer everything is!  I actually can't believe that I didn't notice how blurry everything was.  I just put it down to being tired. 

The boys think they look good, but Jalen said he doesn't think he will ever get used to seeing me with glasses.  I told him it's the same for me and I can hardly look at myself in the mirror, because it just looks so weird.  I told him in a little while, we probably won't remember when I didn't have them. 

When I posted a pic of me wearing them on Instagram, my brother Chrish sent me a text with this photo.  He thinks he is hilarious, and now I'm being called Nana all the time.  I don't think he's saying that looking like Nana Mouskouri is a good thing, but maybe he is!? ;)   Some of the older girls from school told me that I look 'so pretty with those glasses on'.   They obviously need their eyes checked as well! ;)

It is so much better now that things are clear (even though I didn't realise things were blurry!).  I'm finding that I'm staying up longer watching TV because my eyes are not tired anymore.  I just assumed that I was tired, so would head to bed as my eyes would start stinging.  Now I can watch TV and go on the computer without my eyes aching.


I'm sure Aaron is having quite a laugh that I've joined the four eyes club. 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Memorial Awards

It's the time of year which is always hard, but also special as I get to give out memorial awards for Aaron and Noah at the boy's school and also Kings Meadows High School.  This week both schools had their end of year assemblies.

When Noah passed away, Aaron and I knew we wanted to donate a special end of year prize to a student at both schools.  At Punchbowl the award is the 'Noah King Friendship Award' and can be awarded to any student in the school, who shows special care and concern for others.  We felt it was important, because many kids can be recognised for academic, sporting or other achievements, but other qualities such as showing kindness are just as important. 

There were so many kids at the school who were always so kind to Noah, just because they wanted to be.  They didn't do it for recognition, or because they were asked to.  They were just beautiful kids who treated Noah like everyone else, and it meant a lot to us.  

This year the award went to a grade 6 boy - Corin Davis. I don't know Corin very well, but have been told by many of the teachers and also parents, and students what a lovely boy he is.   It's nice to know that someone so deserving won it again this year.
We've had a few days of sickness in our house, and Kobe had to stay home from school for a couple of days.  Luckily I didn't have to work on the day of the KMHS Presentation Assembly, and was planning on going along on my own to present the awards this year, but even though Kobe wasn't well enough for school, he was okay to come along with me and was great company.
The memorial award for Noah is for a Child Studies student who shows a genuine concern for children.  This year it went to Abbie Springer.  Abbie was there when I did my talk in their Child Studies this year, so it's nice to know that she knew a little bit about Noah, even though she never got to meet him.  

This year Aaron's memorial award went to Gareth Holt.  The award is for a grade 9 student who is hardworking, endeavors to do their best academically, is compassionate and has a love for all sports.  The teachers decided that these were all qualities that Aaron had, and things that he would love to see in any student. I was told by Aaron's good friend that he used to teach with, that Gareth was very deserving of the award this year, and from what I've heard about him I know Aaron would love him.

Gareth and his Mum told me that he had just started grade 7 a couple of weeks after Aaron passed away, so he didn't know Aaron, but was at his school memorial service.   I feel sad that no more students at the school will have met Aaron in person, but would've only heard about him. 

I'm glad that I have the opportunity to continue to donate the awards to both schools, so that both my boys can be remembered, and so that students can be rewarded for qualities which I know that Aaron and Noah would love.  

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Looking but not feeling like it

Four years ago I would beg Aaron to let us decorate our Christmas tree and house in mid November.  He would tell me to chill out and at least wait until the Saturday of our local Christmas parade.  It used to be such a fun day to decorate the tree together.  Aaron would crank out the Christmas carols, which he would listen to on his iPod for half of November and all of December.  
Now it is so different.  I dread the months of November to January and just wish I could avoid Christmas all together.  I now see people posting pictures of their Christmas tree on Facebook and Instagram before December and it makes me so sad to know that we would once do the same.
 
The first year after Aaron passed away we didn't put a tree up at all.   I got away with it because we were selling our house, and I told the boys that it would be easier to not have it up because we would have people coming to look at the house all the time.    Last year we put the tree up, but I put it up in our sunroom, which is a room we don't use at night time.  I knew if I put it up out there, I could avoid Christmas a  little bit because I wouldn't be looking at the tree every night. 
This year I feel strong enough to put the tree up in our lounge room, and the boys were excited to put it up on the 1st of December.  I try not to let the boys know how hard it is for me at this time of the year, and it's nice that they still get excited about it.


This year we went to the Christmas parade with our friends Gary and Lisa and their girls.  I had planned on taking the boys, but it was nice to meet them there.  
When Kobe saw Santa he called out 'hi Santa!! Have I been naughty or good!?'.  
A couple of weeks ago we had our school fair and another teacher and I ran a funny photo booth.  The boys and I had fun dressing up and kind of went with a Christmas theme, with a super hero and weird mask thrown in as well :)   Don't judge me for Kobe's 1D t-shirt! He won it at the fair and was so excited about it, and now wants to wear it everywhere!
Last night we went to an awesome 'Night in Bethlehem' at church.   Everyone had put so much work into it, and everything had been transformed into an amazing market place in Bethlehem.  We decided not to dress up this year, but Jay was a shepherd in the play.  
I wasn't dreading going to the activity, but as the night went on it just got hard.  It's still hard to see families together.  It's hard to sing Christmas carols and to hear how wonderful Christmas is, when you just feel so empty inside.   It's hard to hear how Christmas means spending time with family, when a third of your family are not here anymore.   I am grateful for the reason for the season and that's why I thought it would be nice to go to the activity last night,  but grief always hits me really hard, when I'm least expecting it.  It was a lovely night, but I just went home feeling so sad. 
After church today we went and decorated Aaron and Noah's graves for Christmas.  Aaron used to love Christmas so much, and we always have a laugh about how much he got into it.  I'm sure he loves seeing the Christmas things at his grave, especially his Hawthorn snow globe that a student gave him for Christmas one year. 
I've had comments on my blog and Instagram saying that Aaron and Noah wouldn't want me to feel sad and to dread the Christmas season, and I totally know that, but I can't help but struggle at this time of the year.  I always feel lonely, but this time of the year is a lonelier than usual.   I wish I could just look forward to Christmas, instead of wishing it away, and I'm sure at some stage that will happen, but it's still very hard.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Remembering 19 years

Last Saturday night I stayed up past midnight as Sunday was Aaron and my 19th wedding anniversary.  For some reason I just really wanted to stay up as the time ticked over to the 23rd November.   I went to bed feeling quite sad and really missing Aaron and wishing things were different. 

When I woke up on Sunday morning I actually felt okay.  The day turned out to be a lot easier than I imagined it was going to be.  We had a very busy day with things on after church, so we headed straight to the cemetery after church to have a little picnic at Aaron's grave.  Jalen put down the blanket right next to Aaron's grave, but I decided to move it right on top of his grave.  Some people do all they can to avoid stepping on top of graves, but I actually like plonking myself right on top of Aaron and Noah's graves at times. 

We took a photo with the timer on my phone and had a few laughs about the phone tipping over a few times, before we got a decent shot. 

When we got home from church there was a lovely surprise at my front door - some flowers and a beautiful card that said some lovely things.  I have no idea who it was from, but to whoever it was - thank you!
We then headed up to Aaron's Dad and Step Mum's house, as it was Aaron's Dad's birthday.  The boys love visiting Nanna and Pa - especially as they always have milo, biscuits and sometimes even a cake ready for them!  We love hearing Aaron's Dad tell stories about Aaron when he was little. 

During the week Kobe was upset that he hadn't had time to make me a card for 'Valentine's Day'.  I asked him what he meant and he said 'you know! When you and Dad got married!'.  I laughed and told him that it was called our anniversary.  He then got busy and made me a cute card, complete with two daiseys glued to the front. 

Inside it said 'To Mum.  We love you.  From Jalen, Harri, Kobe, Milly, Nanna and Pa'.  It made me laugh.  He has been asking me all week if I love it.   I told him that I did and that I'm sure that Dad would've loved it too.   My anniversary would've been so much happier if Aaron was here, but I'm grateful that the day wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. 


Sunday, 23 November 2014

19 Years

Nineteen years ago today Aaron and I were married.  
Oh the things I wish I could tell that 21 year old girl.  I knew that life wouldn't be easy, but I didn't expect it to be so hard.   After Noah was born, we knew how important it was to make the most of every day, but that didn't mean travelling the world or jumping out of a plane.  We just learnt to appreciate the little things in life.
We were grateful for healthy days and little smiles from Noah.  We knew it was a good day when we could all go out to do something as a family together.  The best days were when Noah was in a good mood, and looked happy and well.
When Noah passed away, the light in Aaron's eyes went away.  We were both grieving for our beautiful man and I knew we had a long road ahead of us.  We could now travel the world if we wanted, but it was the last thing we wanted to think about.  All we wanted was to have Noah back with us. 

I'm not sure whether I would like to know that I only had 111 days left with Aaron, after Noah passed away.  If I did I wonder if we would've done things differently.  I'm not sure that we would have, but I know without a doubt that I would've just held him more.  I would've told him more how much I loved him.   I would've told him more how proud I was of him.  I would've told him more what a great Dad he was.

We were blessed that Aaron was able to take some time off work after Noah passed away, and we got to spend a whole month together.   But that month was filled with a funeral, sorting out things at home, returning equipment and wondering how we were going to fill our days without caring for Noah. 
That month was filled with visiting the cemetery, and helping the boys through their own grief and trauma.

In many ways we were blessed that Aaron passsed away towards the end of summer holidays.  It wasn't the summer we planned or wanted, and it wasn't the same without Noah, but we were so blessed to spend every day together.    For the first time in over a decade, Aaron and I got to spend some time without any of the boys.  It was hard to actually be apart from them for the first time since Noah passed away, but we knew we needed some time together -  just the two of us.  I still smile when I think about how excited Aaron was to just have a couple of days together.  He cracked me up as he fist pumped as the boys drove away.   

I think that was kind of a turning point for us as we talked about how Noah would want us to be happy even though he wasn't there.   We talked about the things that we had to look forward to, that we couldn't do before.
 
Two weeks later Aaron passed away.  I was lucky to be married to my best friend for 16 years, but I just wish I had many, many more.
I received a message from an old friend this week, who said that he hoped for my happiness.  I'm doing okay and some days I feel like I'm doing well,  but I really don't feel like I'll ever feel truly happy until I'm with Aaron again.  I had 16 years with him on earth, and we've now been apart for almost 3.  I try to think every day that we are onother day closer to being together again, but I hate that we've been apart for so long, especially when it feels like it just happened yesterday.  

I am still asked a lot about getting remarried, but I have no desire to even think about another guy in that way, let alone get remarried (unless it was Hodgey! ;)  I still laugh with the boys about Aaron saying that if he ever died, that I couldn't find someone as hot as him anyway.   I still feel like we are married, and I actually still wear my wedding ring.   I actually think Aaron wouldn't mind if I got remarried, and probably would even want me to, but I still have no desire to. 

I hate being on my own, but I'd rather be on my own that be with someone who isn't Aaron.  I don't feel like a single Mum, because I'm not.  I'm now bringing up my boys on my own, but I have an amazing, funny, passionate husband who still influences us every day.   The boys talk about their Dad every day and we all try to live our lives to make Aaron and Noah proud of us.  At times we feel him around, and I wish we could feel him around more often, but I'm grateful for those moments when he lets us know that he isn't too far away. 
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