Thank You, Thank you, Thank you

One of the fantastic things about working at a cake shop (apart from sampling the products!), is the fact I get to be a tiny part of many people’s joy that they have in buying a cake for themselves or someone else.

We have provided cakes for people to share with friends for morning tea, birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, weddings, christenings, even cakes to be used as props in marriage proposals.

I have had a few customers come in to get a cake to cheer up a friend in need, and then there at the cakes used to say

“Thank you”

Regardless, I love the stories that come with the cakes, the stories our customers have to share. I work with my husband, and I love that he understands that I am a bit of a chatterbox. I will often come out the back after serving a customer and he will say “How on earth did you get onto that topic while selling a cake?!”

Some days I feel my customers and I solve the problems of the world together, and I am mainly really thankful for the smiles on many of their faces, young and old as they leave the shop with a delicious treat.

This week a frail man in his 70s walked into the shop. He looked exhausted, but there was still a sparkle in his eyes.

He took a while to choose his cake, in the end he decided to go with two different cakes. We chatted as I served him.

He asked me if I could put a plaque on one, I told him that was not a problem.

“What shall it say?” I asked

“Thank you, Thank  you, Thank you” he replied.

I commented that it sounded like he was very grateful for something. This man went on to tell me that this Friday marks the end of his chemotherapy treatment, and he wanted to treat the nurses who had taken such great care of him over the past 7 months of his treatment, as well as showing them how very grateful he was for them and the wonderful job they do.

We talked further, I told him that his gesture would be sure to brighten these wonderful peoples day.

I then went on to say that I hoped he was doing something to treat himself too, to mark an important milestone in a huge battle he had just gone through, and a huge accomplishment in his own life.

“Oh yeah!” he replied ” I have big plans!”

“I am all set for Footy Grand Final night, that night my dog and I are going to celebrate by watching the footy and getting drunk together”

Not sure I am keen on getting dogs drunk, though my husband later suggested that perhaps he was referring to his wife (I surely hope not!), but I was happy to hear that what may be a typical Friday night for some will be a night that will mark a milestone for this brave man.

It will be a night to celebrate life, to celebrate winning a battle, and to know that despite all he has gone through, he did it, he got there, and for that, I am sure he has lots to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for

The Sign I got (On my Birthday)

I find most years my birthday is an anti climax.

I don’t know if it is that we put so much pressure on it to be “the perfect day”, or that as I get older the day that marks another year older just loses its child like excitement.

There were no expectations for my birthday this year.

It has been a really tough year so far.

This is what I looked like 4 months ago

Newly diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I felt like a shell of myself.

This photo is on my phone, I feel sad when I look at it I can see the sadness in my eyes.

I refuse to delete it as I want to see how far I have come from this day.

I did think I had come a long way, to the point that I skipped into the doctor’s surgery a month ago and told him I was ready to come off the anti depressants, life was looking up, I had worked through my issues, and it was time to do it alone.

“Too soon” he simply said as he shook his head.

Statistics say that those who go off their medication within the first six months are more likely to relapse soon after.

I spoke with him, proved how I was feeling so much better, and excited about what lay ahead for me. I agreed to continue my medication, but we both felt I was moving forward.

Then in the last few weeks I have gone backwards again.

That slow aching feeling in my chest.

The exhaustion that takes over.

The feeling of being out of my depth and overwhelmed.

Last night I broke down, I told my husband that I hated feeling like I was going “back there”.

I hate the feeling that I will always be in that hole, never digging myself out.

That is not going to happen, I look at that photo above and see how far I have come, even if it is only little steps, that lady is not me anymore.In fact as I type this my husband walked past the computer and said “holy shit, who is that?!”, a good sign to me.

But I move on………….

After an emotionally draining night, I decided to get up early today (on my birthday)  for a walk to blow the cobwebs out of my mind. I asked my daughter if she wanted to join me, she was excited to come along.

We walked, we talked, we pointed out gardens we liked, we smiled.

Then we came to some graffiti at a train bridge. It struck my heart

The words simply said :

“You can save yourself

I wished right there and then I had my camera to take a photo. I loved those words, so simply, so pure, and so true.

“I can save myself” I thought as we continued to walk.

A  block away a cat came bounding across the road, meowing and begging to be petted, we sat down and stroked it.

As we commenced to walk on, it lay down in the middle of the road, with a car fast approaching , I quickly picked it up and moved it off the road.

“You just saved that cat Mummy” Kiara said.

I can save myself AND cats !

So we walked the rest of our journey home, just as we almost reached the corner of our street, Kiara remembered what the day was and shouted “oh, Happy Birthday Mummy! I almost forgot!”

We got home, had breakfast, changed out of our sweaty clothes.

I decided to put on a nice dress, do my hair and wear some nice earrings it was my birthday after all! I felt good about myself, and happy with the start to my day.

I looked in the mirror.

I do have a way to go still.

There are many things I need to work on.

But I am happy to say that there is a big difference between that lady 4 months ago and the lady I am today.

That lady saved herself.

Out Of The Comfort Zone

It has been a big weekend.

Looking back over it now I realize there has been many moments of stepping out of my comfort zone.

I am happy about that.

Friday afternoon I treated the family to a lovely afternoon tea with our new tea set. I decided that it was time to stop worrying about serving little kids out of breakable cups, what is the worst that could happen?

One breaks?

Is that such a big deal?

We used my dear Gran’s table cloth as well. My Gran passed away years ago, but will always have a special place in my heart.

I have kept the table cloth for special moments, and decided that this should be one.

It felt like she was with us.

Saturday became a bit of a full on morning for me. I was tired and cranky and overwhelmed after staying up late the night before researching the net. We found out this week that my son needs and operation, nothing major, but one that will improve the quality of his life.

Problem is, the waiting period to see specialist is 2 months alone, with surgery not likely to happen till well into New Year.

We only want what is best for our kids.

Other issues have come up too, and all together I could feel the stress levels rising.

I was happy to go to work in the afternoon just to take my mind off things.I needed to talk to a friend, I needed to get out of the house.I organised to meet up with a lovely friend  that evening. She is also having a rough time, and we both needed to have a chat with each other.

We sat on the beach and talked, confided in each other, laughed, shared stories. I left feeling lighter, having a friend to talk to, whilst being soothed by the beautiful sea.

Most weekends I spend  mainly at home. Hubby works and it is sometimes just too hard to take the kids out, and there has been so much of late to do at home as well.

This morning was different, we headed off to the opening of a local business   Zoo To You new head quarters.

It was loads of fun, and a great atmosphere. I then took the plunge to hold a snake for the first time, now let me tell you snakes usually terrify me, but I decided to step out of the comfort zone, and it was actually enjoyable! It is amazing that the kids did not even hesitate to hold a snake, yet they have had me running for years whenever I am at a zoo.

We then wanted to try out our new face paints this afternoon, and after having a go doing the kids faces, my niece and the kids wanted to do mine. I would usually hesitate at this too, but decided to just let them go for it.

The paints made my face burn, and they ended up making me look like Satan, but it was fun, and the giggles and bonding was all worth it.

It was a weekend of ups and downs, highs and lows, but looking back now I realize it was mostly positive.

We had a weekend of  trying new things, having lots of fun, taking deep breaths and moving on.

Risks were taken, fears were faced, the comfort zone was stepped out of.

I am going to step out of more often I think.

I realize with getting a little uncomfortable, shaking up the routine and trying something new.

So much can be gained.

They Do Love Each Other!

My kids  the typical siblings who have a love/hate relationship, only lately it seems we are spending more time in the “hate” section and I am spending more moments wanting to lose my shit after multiple arguments between them.

They fight over toys, seating places at the dinner table, having a bath together, going into each others rooms,punch ups and name calling and much more.

I am left drained and exhausted at the end of the day, it feels some days they fight from sun up to sun down.

I know siblings fight, I know that even if they scream at each other how much they hate one another, there is still that deep down bond and love………. I just haven’t witnessed any of those tender moments for a while, until the other day.

Kiara made breakfast for Noah, and he praised her by saying she makes awesome food.

That made me smile.

Then at school pick up time there was a moment that had me in tears.

Kiara’s teacher gives out “clever sticks” ( coloured paddle pop sticks) for good work and behaviour in class. 5 clever sticks earns the child 1 sticker for their reward chart, after 5 stickers  they can pick something out of the rewards box. It takes 25 clever sticks to earn a reward, as you can imagine, this takes a while to earn.

I knew in the morning that Kiara was ready for a reward, and in the afternoon I found out that she decided to pick a toy car out the box to give to her brother. She told the teacher it was ” because we don’t play well together”.

As I picked her up from school, she ran to Noah to give him his gift.

Her selfless act brought tears to my eyes.

They really do love each other after all.

The little moments of renovating

Essentially you can say we have been renovating for years, not all in one go of course, just getting tasks done and then saving up for the next project.

I  know the “joy” of cooking on a camp stove in our gutted kitchen, or traipsing through torrential rain with a 2 year old whilst heavily pregnant to have a shower in the shed.

I know the frustration of not being able to get the thick layer of dust off of the floor and from underneath your feet. The feeling of dust even being carried into bed, the smell, taste and grotty feeling that comes with it.

Or the feeling that there is a non stop parade of tradesmen and their noise coming through our house.

This lot of renovations has been going on for 7 months.

It really has been a journey of blood, sweat and tears – literally.

I happened to be flicking through photos on my mobile phone today, and came across many documenting the “little moments of renovating”

I thought I would share them with you.

We still have a bit to do, odds and ends here, but the place is looking great, our dreams are coming true, our hard work is paying off.

A conversation in which someone mentions an upcoming renovation is giving me an involuntary shudder, that may still continue for a while, but I am very proud of all we have done, together, as a family.

This photo is from our house, looking out into our original carport, which we had enclosed in and made into a playroom for the kids.

For approximately 2 months, the only way into the back yard was to climb through this window. It was fun for a whole 2 days or so, the novelty soon wore off, and we all were sporting bruises on our knees.

I helped knock that wall down, and hold the ceiling panels up while my husband screwed them in (oh the aches of the arms!). I also helped lay the floor boards we finally put down. I am pretty impressed with myself, especially since I have never considered myself the least bit “handy”

It took approximately 5 months to get it to this stage of being plastered, it looked like a bomb site for a long time, I felt it was never going to get finished, but it is almost there now, at last!

Still a bit to do to the room, but I am so impressed with it, and find its an area to chill out for all of us, not just the kids.

Everyone helped, from painting, to drilling, we all got together as a team and got the little and big jobs done.

Biggest mention goes to my wonderful husband who works very long hours, and has spent pretty much most of his days off working on the renovations, he has been worn out and exhausted, but still pressed on.

The start of closing in what would one day become our bathroom, much longer process then imagined.

tiling commenced, 6 months later…. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Dirt, digging and torrential rain make for a huge mess!

I was sooo excited when Jamie put these cupboards together.

They still need to be moved into their permanent place, but it means that our lack of storage space is looking like a thing of the past!

A photo of the taps filling the bath tub up for the first of many times.

7 months after the renovations commenced the kids could finally have a bath without using numerous buckets to fill it.

I have enjoyed relaxing in there myself, and we joke our kids are the cleanest kids in town, they are pretty impressed with having a bathtub!

I always imagined a post about our renovations would be best filled with photos that look like they are from a home magazine, some beautiful, gleaming result, the thing is that only now, when we are finally nearing the finish line, the photos that are most important to me are the little moments, filled with the milestones and memories, of the joys and tears.

For months I organised catch ups with friends at their house or a park, feeling ashamed of how much mess and destruction lay around our house.

I would joke that they did not want to come visit me in our ” demolition zone”, now I wish that I had every person I know come over countless  times in the last 7 months, maybe then I could really let those who are close to us see how far we have come.

The truth is, while I am so pleased with what we have, I really am most proud of how far we have come.

Never did I ever imagine that in the midst of dust, dirt and destruction, I would really experience some very special moments with my little family, and while I am so glad that the major stages of our renovations are over, I am very grateful that we all pulled together as a team when we needed to the most.

These photos make me really see how far we have come.