15 April 2014

One Year Ago...

Today marks the day that, one year ago, Hayden came off his bike on the road on the way to school, ending up with a serious concussion and a smashed up face.

What a year we had. It was certainly a tough one - though there was the highlight of gorgeous Gryffen's arrival into our family. I am thankful that amid the hard slog of dragging my family through a concussion recovery and newborn arrival, I can testify to God's grace as He carried us through. I learned a lot last year and am really thankful for the lessons I learned as we muddled through.

Utmost is a sense of gratitude for my little family. How close we came to being fatherless! You just never know what's around the corner do you? Family time is very precious.

I have learned to be uber-productive. For quite a few months I was it: Chief Job-Doer. Everything that needed to be done needed to be done by me. Throw a few kids in the mix and I became excellent at getting ALL THE THINGS done in small snippets of time. I'm sure I do more with my time now than I ever did when I only had one or two children!

As I read back over all my blog posts from the time of Hayden's accident, I am reminded of how much I was blessed by being able to keep a positive attitude. It was a hard time, but I was able to see God's hand in the ways we were looked after and taken care of by Him and by the hands of those around us. We were given meals and treats, the kids were looked after, Elliot was taken to and from school, the ACC we really helpful, and school (Hayden's work) were incredibly supportive of both Hayden and me. I learned that our people, our community, are one of the biggest blessings in our lives. I had thought I already knew that, but to see everyone in action was both humbling and incredible.

One year later, we only have small reminders of Hayden's concussion: a positively disgusting scar on his chin (thankfully hidden mostly by his beard), a small one above his eye, a couple on his hands and arms, a few moments of forgetfulness, an occasional tendency to get overwhelmed in busy situations. We don't know if those last ones will be with Hayden forever, or if they will fade away over the next year or two.

Overall, it's very good to have last year behind us. I'm glad to have had it and for the lessons we learned, but I'll take a simple year now please! And yes, Hayden does still ride his bike - and I do tell him more often to be careful.

25 March 2014

On Happy Beginnings...

It's been a very long time since I wrote an update on my journey to finding my birth mother, B. I figured it was about time to sit down and bang it out! Would you like a quick recap? I was adopted at birth and in 2012 began the process of tracking down my birth-mother (for privacy, I refer to her as B - for Birth-mother), and you followed along my journey as I sent off the first letter and received the first reply! It was incredible.

I know the generally accepted nice thing about stories is the happy ending, but in this case the process of finding B has turned into a happy beginning. I found her - and it's WONDERFUL. Now we begin a new process of getting to know each other.

source L R

Since I last wrote about being in touch with B, we've talked on the phone a few times which has been so great. I was nervous at first - I somehow always find talking on the phone really awkward - but it's so easy to talk to B! We both agree that if we had all day we would certainly not run out of things to talk about. Hearing B's voice is pretty special. She has a smiley voice. :)

We've been exchanging letters as well as talking on the phone - though I'm a lot slower at replying, as anyone who knows me will verify! I still get the same thrill when I open the letterbox and see a letter from B as I did the very first time she wrote. Snail mail is really quite exciting! However, we are going to get set up with email soon so that we can correspond a bit more immediately. Letters are so lovely, but email is instant. :)


I was saying to Hayden the other day, now that I'm in touch with B and we're beginning to develop a relationship, I feel like this fundamental part of me has altered. My whole life up until now has involved knowing I was adopted but not knowing anything about who or where I came from. It's like I was a clean start; I had no generational family history behind me. Just me. Though I know and love the family history I have been given - because the family I'm a part of will always be my Family. Now though, I have answers and a place for my genetic family that were never there. And not just names, but real people, with the possibility of real, loving relationships.

It's hard to explain, particularly because I feel like however I express it I'll be expressing my loyalty in the wrong direction. Is it like when you get married, and your husband's family becomes your family too, and you love them? Maybe. Is it like when you have another baby and your heart expands to make room for the new one, without losing anything for the first one? Possibly.

Anyway, what it is at the moment, is fabulous. I'm so excited to have this amazing relationship with B who is just so lovely. We - me (especially me) and Hayden, and my parents and grandparents - are just so excited to meet her. I think it will be so surreal! Only a few months time! Later this year!! Squeeeeeee! I've heard that when you meet your birth mother you realise that she smells right... I'll give her a big whiff and let you know! ;)


Check out the Adoption & Me tab at the top of the page for the rest of the posts in this series.

(Also, I know I haven't yet answered any of the questions here on this post (where I asked for questions from you!) so I promise that's next on my list of adoption posts!)

13 March 2014

Backyard Camping

This morning we decided to forego our usual Thursday morning activities so that Mr Six Months Old And Changing His Napping Habits could have a good day of sleeping without being disturbed. The life of a poor fourth child is unfortunately one of being dragged out of bed to get somewhere - school, kindy - on time. So while Gryffen is sleeping and I am doing jobs (always more jobs to do!), I set the kids up on a backyard camping trip!

Rosie was given this sweet little pony tent a few Christmases ago, so we put it up in a shady spot and set up the camping chairs and a 'table' (the chilly bin!). A few treats and a cup of juice for morning tea and they were nicely occupied for oh, at least 10 minutes!

To be honest, it's been a bit of a rubbish week; I've felt grumpy for most of it, which unfortunately sets the tone for everyone round here, so there's been a fair amount of Temper to be dealt with from all corners. BUT we have a slow day today, hopefully followed by a good night's sleep, and things will start to improve. It's all about attitude isn't it?

In the meantime, I'm glad I snapped these pics of the middle two - it gives me hope that they might remember the fun times in between what feels like a lot of wading through mud! More coffee, anyone?

14 February 2014

Dear Sweetpea

Because I am a sappy, sentimental human, I cannot leave your passing unremarked.

Though I don't think you ever had an owner or a name, I called you Sweetpea. You would calm down and listen when I spoke it to you through the bars of the cage I needed to use to keep you safe.

For nearly 2 weeks I watched you take care of your six babies. You curled up with them at night, letting them suckle to fill their tummies. You went hunting for them; riffling through rubbish bags and bringing back stinky fish heads. You cleaned and groomed them.

I guess you were technically a 'pest', being a stray. I will miss you. I'm glad we made a tiny connection, even if it was as I took your babies from you, thinking to give them a better life. Rest well, Sweetpea, they have been loved and cared for in the way that was best for them.

You were a good Mama and your babies were beautiful.


03 February 2014

Crazy Cat Lady?

So, perhaps I'm turning into a crazy cat lady...

'My' Mama cat and her six little babies are still visiting Hotel de Deck (ie: sleeping on our deck at night. Though, with no food offered, it's not much of a hotel!) and the kids & I love looking out for them every morning to check if they've had a good warm sleep. I've just been online to try and figure out how old they are: I reckon 4-6 weeks.

They are the cutest little strays I ever did see!

I've been on the phone to the SPCA about what to do about them. I'm not feeding them and I figure they'll be able to fend for themselves - however, then will we have seven cats running around, with the possibility of LOTS MORE kittens next season? But the crazy-cat-lady in me can't bear the thought of trapping the little kitties, stressing their Mama out and breaking her little cat heart by separating them up and re-homing them! I'll wait for the cattery lady to call me back and see what the plan might be.

Until then, I'll keep sneakily leaving water out for them. Surely Hayden won't notice if there just happens to be a container outside that gets filled when I water the garden...? What a co-incidence... * wink wink *

27 January 2014

Our Christmas

Last year (already?!) we made the most of having my sister Sarah in the country for Christmas for the first time since 2010. Usually we do our own thing in the morning and then head over to hang out with family for lunch after church. 'This' year (2013) we made different plans. As soon as we woke up, we piled into the car in pyjamas and headed straight over to Mum and Paul's house, where Sarah was staying too. I had loaded up the kid's presents the night before - they were very surprised by my sneakiness!

Together we had a lovely time opening presents and eating our traditional Christmas breakfast of oven toasted croissants, smothered in fresh raspberry jam, yum yum!

Rosie opens Gryffen's presents for him

I was torn between wanting to enjoy watching the kids have a great time and wanting to capture it on the camera so we could look back and remember it long after the toys have all broken. Consequently, most of the photos are blurry blurry blurry! I figure a bad photo is still better than no photo at all.

The chaotic wrapping paper-strewn aftermath

We also had a lovely evening with Dad and Kathy on the Sunday before Christmas.

Christmas is one of my favourite days of the year. This year I really felt a sense of worship as I listened to my favourite Christmas hymns during December. Emmanuel, God with us. Amazing. I love to sing those beautiful songs with my church family in the morning and not only enjoy the Christmas-ness of them, but also the incredible beauty of the words. I LOVE to spend the entire rest of the day and evening with my extended family. I'm blessed to have two sides of a close-knit family, and whichever side we choose each year, we always have a super enjoyable day chatting and laughing and over-indulging in gooooooood food. Because what would a birthday celebration be without party food, right?

24 January 2014

Dental Therapists and Pirate Teeth

This week I have taken the three 'big' kids (actually, at 5, 4 and 2, they're all still little) to see the dental therapist. You'll notice we don't use 'dental nurse' anymore. I wonder when that changed?

They were very brave. Even Tristan (2) sat on my lap and opened his mouth for inspection, with only a little bit of coaxing. Rosie was very excited and, while Elliot was still on the chair, kept asking, "When can I sit on the chair?" She looked very cute in her ladybug 'helmet.'

At 5 years old they take the first x-rays, and it turned out Elliot had a couple of little holes forming in between his teeth, where toothbrushes don't reach. Enter the Pirate Tooth!

While it looks obvious-ish in his mouth, I've decided that this is a very good way to go about dentistry in childhood. In a previous life (pre-children), I used to be a Dental Assistant, so I have witnessed at close quarters the fear and abject terror of grown adults as they walk into the dental surgery. Anything that cuts out drilling, scraping, mouths full of fingers and instruments, and painful injections in childhood is a good thing in my book. Perhaps we'll be raising a generation of children who don't fear going to the dentist because they haven't been subjected to painful experiences there.

It's tempting to feel embarrassed that MY kid is the one with a 'fake' tooth (It's still there in all it's glory, just under the crown.). Like I should be ashamed that I let my son's teeth get holes. But you know what? Baby teeth are soft, and we do everything teeth-related right. (Apart from sometimes forgetting to brush in the morning after breakfast. We can do that better.) Instead, I will be proud that we regularly get our children's teeth checked and act when action is needed. Go Mama, go! Save the teeth!