A new beginning

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Tomorrow my baby starts school

Where did that time go?

It seems to have flown faster than it did with my eldest, as she was home for an extra year, missing out on starting school the year before she did by a small 10 days.

There was a time in which I thought I would never get a full nights sleep again.

Changing nappies and dealing with teething babies seemed to go on forever……. and then it became a thing of the past.

People told me when both of my children were babies to remember that it did not last for long, it seemed like it was forever at the time, but now on the other side, I realize that it really was just a short window of mine and their lives.

I am thankful that Noah is excited about school, that makes this new beginning so much easier, and I am also very grateful that Kiara is excited about embarking into Grade 2.

A quick trip to the supermarket today to pick up some supplies for back to school lunch boxes soon became the social event of the month, with countless amounts of familiar faces in there. One fellow Mum confided that her son refuses to even talk about school, and other friends have told me that their little ones have been so anxious about this next step in life.

And it is a big step, for parents and kids.

Tomorrow is also a new beginning for me personally, as I set back to full time work.

Whilst I have had many part time jobs to assist with our family income in the years since becoming a Mum, including setting up our very own business with my husband. I have not had the opportunity to return to full time work until now.

I have been grateful for the time I got to spend with both of our children before they embarked into their schooling life, and I am so excited for both of them as they continue to grow and develop into unique, individual human beings.

It is going to be a big ride for us all this year, I am sure there is going to be many afternoons with exhausted family members, and a new routine to get into for all of us, not to mention the drama of getting Mr Noah to keep a pair of shoes on for an entire day!

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As we stand together on the precipice of a new beginning, I am both nervous and excited.

It only seems like yesterday that I held both those little people for the first time in my arms , and now I am sending the last one off to school.

In a way life is getting a little easier, but it is also getting a little harder (not to mention more expensive!)

Regardless, as we stand here together, I am not going to mourn the end of an era.

I am going to celebrate new beginnings.

I feel so very fortunate and grateful to have been such a huge part of my children’s first years, and I feel so proud to watch them continue to grow and prosper.

Tomorrow I will  probably shed a tear, but the tears will not just be sad ones.

There will be proud tears in my eyes, for my kids and us.

We made it.

To new beginnings.

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I can’t make you love me.

Life would be so different had my sister not passed away.

But she did.

There would be a teenage girl out there with a Mum to watch her graduate from school.

There would be a lady in her 60’s, who had not been made to Mother her Granddaughter.

Maybe her hate for the world would not be so strong.

Maybe she wouldn’t hate me.

I would still have a sister, she would have got to be a Mum for longer than 2 years.

She would have got to be an Aunty to my kids, a sister in law to my husband.

A sister to me.

But life does not always turn out to plan.

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My beautiful sisters body slipped from this world after a brave battle with cancer.

A toddler needed someone to care for her- My Mum took on that role. A hard one anyone would admit- no one wants to outlive their children, and no one expects to have to raise their own grandchild.

Life since my sister passed away became a roller coaster.

I grieved in private.

Mum grieved in public.

Neither way was the right way- but sometimes the fact we did things differently led to confusion with each other.

As the years went by, I met my husband, moved out of home- and out of my sharing role as caregiver to my niece.

We had her come for sleepovers, and tried to assist as best we could.

Little girls grow up into teenagers, with minds of their own.

Tensions soon rose, and an extra generation gap made things hard.

We offered to take my niece on, and into our home.

We thought we were helping, we thought we were giving them both a break, we thought we were going to allow Grandma and Granddaughter to work on being just that.

We thought wrong.

I was accused of kidnapping, of taking a teenager on in hope of making extra money.

I was degraded and put down and shut out.

I was belittled and yelled at.

It hurt.

It cut deep inside me.

I thought I was helping.

It seemed others felt differently.

I live in a fairly small town, and the words and whispers about what was being said about me got back to me regularly.

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I would be honest in saying some would hurt so much that they would leave me huddle in the corner for hours in a mess of tears.

I became depressed, and prone to panic attacks.

This was no ones fault- I had just been trying to be strong for too long.

After 8 months my niece ran away from our home- no goodbye, no “lets keep in touch”, no reasons.

It hurt.

It really did.

It especially hurt my two kids who loved and adored their cousin and did not understand why she no longer talked to them.

She moved to her Grandparents 2000 kms away.

She deleted me off Facebook, stopped following me on Instagram and ceased all contact.

This was almost a year ago.

2 weeks ago she came back for a short visit to see some friends and attend a party.

I heard from other people.

There was no phone call, no “lets catch up”, nothing.

It hurt.

It really did.

Meanwhile, my Mum is still painting me as the most negative person she knows.

She tells others that she attempts to contact me, and I shut her out- she doesn’t.

We attempted mediation.

4 hours of facilitated mediation was more of an excuse for the woman who brought me into the world to label every little minute detail of what she hates about me.

Some people are Motherless Mothers due to their Mum passing away.

I am a Motherless Mother because mine wants nothing to do with me.

I cant make her love me.

That makes me sad.

I worry about her health.

About never regaining a healthy relationship with her.

I worry that my kids have 4 Grandparents in close proximity, and not one is an active part of their lives.

There is a young Woman in the other side of the state either about to, or already having Graduated from school.

No doubt she will look stunning in her formal gown.

It will be a special night for her.

I held that girl when she was 2 hours old, changed her nappies, read her books and sung her songs to go to sleep.

She was a huge part of my life, and a little reminder of my sister who is no longer here.

It makes me sad that she does not want to be in my life anymore.

I can’t make her love me.

I worry about my Mum too, health problems, being lonely and of all the things left unsaid.

Time got to the point that I had to ask for respect.

I had to say I was worth more then being put down and ripped apart.

The comments still flow through the pathways to me.

For a long time I let them slide off my back, but at times, like now they hurt me.

The tears have flown a little too freely of late.

I cant help that it hurts,I cant make that stop.

I cant stop wondering how different things would be had my sister never passed away.

Oh how I wish she never left us- but she did, and I cannot change that.

I also wish I had a functional relationship with two very important people in my life.

But I don’t.

I just need to accept that I can’t make someone love me.

It hurts.

But it is real.

I can’t make you love me.

I wish I could.

But I can’t.

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The Reward Chart

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Being a parent is one huge roller coaster.

You think you have one area done and dusted: the sleepless nights, the teething, the toileting, a fear,a goal, and then BAM! another hurdle pops up in your way.

I have found Motherhood about learning and changing as my kids also learn and grow.

To be honest, at times it is bloody exhausting!

Of late my two have been bickering and fighting so much it has almost driven me insane!

That on top of the normal hurdles such as getting ready in time in the morning, or getting them to have a bath, brush their teeth, get ready for bed without asking a million times.

I am putting my hand up to say that parenting is damm tough at times.

It does not help when others try and tell you what you are doing wrong, rather than support you.

It was time to introduce a rewards chart into our home- we have had many before, and I have to be honest in saying they have just ended up falling to the wayside, or not working due to me not being so consistent, lets be honest, it adds another thing into the mix of modern day juggling.

Something had to happen though, and I was over losing my shit, so I decided to implement a behavior chart into our home again, but do it different this time.

Previously the kids would just get random ticks for great behavior, and when they collected a certain amount of ticks, they could pick something out of the rewards box.

On looking back at their completed charts, they could not remember exactly what the ticks were rewarded for, and purchasing enough rewards to fill a box ended up getting expensive, and most of it was crap that just broke anyhow.

So I decided to make it more clear and concise.

I found a great site with many templates here.

For my 7 year old daughter, I used the Hello Kitty template, and for my 4 year old son, we went with Spiderman.

I chose the template with 5 sections, and I broke them up in the link  below:

RESPECT:        * Respect for other people

                           * Respect for belongings

                           * Respect for different opinions

 

ACTION:           Doing all the daily actions I need to get organised eg: getting ready, brushing teeth, making bed, having meals, unpacking school bag, ready for dinner, bath time, bed time etc.

 

HELPING:      Helping Mum and Dad with chores

Such as cleaning up dishes, sweeping floor, hanging

out washing , getting van ready.

 

KINDNESS:        To myself and each other:

Understanding the we each make mistakes and be

Able to support each other and our differences.

 

BONUS!:    Get a tick for doing something awesome! 

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With 5 sections over 7 days, the kids have the opportunity to earn up to 35 ticks a week.

I have set out a goal of 25 ticks, and if they get to that goal, they can choose a coupon.

These include:

A trip to the park /beach/creek

A family picnic

A tea party

Make a cake

Arts and Crafts morning

Movie night

Half and hour of uninterrupted parent time with parent of choice

Lunch out

I have done up approximately 20 different coupons, and will be sure to change them up and add more as time goes on.

Different families would have different ideas for coupons.

I realize that I have been making too many empty threats.

We do go to the park and creek a bit, but now I am telling the kids they need to get their point in order to do this, and in some cases, they can use their coupons together for something extra fun, like a trip to the beach followed by lunch, or a tea party followed by a movie night.

We started the chart this week, and not once have we been late for school.

Teeth are cleaned before I have to ask twice.

The kids are running to get into bed on time for a bonus point,

And the school bags are being unpacked with lunch boxes put on the sink without asking!

I am hanging onto this for as long as it works, and I aim to be more consistent this time.

I feel less stressed, and the kids are enjoying working towards goals and cheer when they get points.

There is still fights – kids will be kids, but they are not enough to make me want to run away.

As I said, we are still in early days, but even if it only gives me a week reprieve, it is worth it!

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Added Note: Week 1 of the Reward Chart was completed today.

We have wiped off a few points over the week for some bad behavior, but I am proud to say both kids have earned at least 25 points each!

As a celebration for an awesome week one, I took the family out for morning tea.

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We still have loads to work on, and as we all know, no one is ever perfect, but the increase in great behavior in our house and the smiles on our kids faces for positive reinforcement has been great.

Fingers crossed now we continue on this path.

Have an awesome weekend all!

Alicia

Let us each walk our own individual paths.

I have been watching from a far lately, and as always, this has led me to do a bit of thinking – this time it is not that type of over thinking that ends up making problems that are not there.

Of recent times, I have constantly been presented with people giving opinions on how others live, or choices they make in life.

And you know what?

I’m a bit over it.

I am not going to sit here and pretend I am all high and mighty and that I have never done the same, but I do realize that is is pretty dumb.

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More often I am heard uttering the words “Different Strokes for Different Folks” and each time I say or think those words, I realize how true they really are.

It goes without saying that each and every one of us has a different path in life, with different goals, things we hold important and different ideals on how to live life the way we want to as individuals, or as a family group.

For the last few months I have been on the receiving end of these stupid questions and moments of people just not getting me, but deciding that they wont give up until I prove my views or decisions to them.

And you know what?

I don’t have to do that.

Yes we purchased a business, and yes we work many hours.

Yes it is hard, and right now life is a bit of an extreme juggling routine, that sometimes gets rather stressful.

Yes it means in school holidays they kids have frequented vacation care, and yes it would be awesome to take time off and just hang with friends over the holidays, but new businesses don’t work unless you do.

Yes money is tight when starting out, but our Profit and Loss margin is none of your bloody business.

Yes I am enjoying working for myself, and getting out in the sunshine daily, but no I am unable to guarantee you that this is what I will be doing for the rest of my life – right now that is of no importance to you or me.

Perhaps you think our families choice in life is not the right one, but we are not asking your opinion.

Yes I am a tad crazy to add a Business Course into an already tight mix, and perhaps doing my assignments at 11:30 pm, was not the wisest idea – I worked that one out when I proof read them in the light of day.

Yes I am tired and not quiet there when it comes to finally catching up with you and I am the first to admit I am a bit of a bore to be around at the moment, when the exhaustion kicks in, my usual chatty self shuts down.

No it does not mean that I do not value our friendship, or that I do not want to be around you.

It does mean that I am wanting to just chill with my little family and soak up some time with us all four together.

Yes, you probably are right that I should get a second job.

Paying the bills has been rather tight with a new business.

You know what though? If and when I do that, it is up to me.

No, we are not having any more kids, we love our two children and are happy with our family unit of 4. Even before becoming parents, we always pictured ourselves with two.

That does not mean if someone chooses to have 8 kids (or none)  that their choice is wrong.

Wow, I  really am blabbering here again, but my message is rather simple.

Let’s stop judging each other and our choices in life.

Just because someone else is doing something that you perhaps would not choose to do yourself.

IT DOES NOT MEAN IT IS WRONG!

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Chances are that person is judging themselves way more harshly then you ever will, and regardless, life is one huge wonderful challenge as it is, we really should be here to help each other out, not bring each other down with petty comments or judgments.

So I have made a decision, it is a pretty simple one.

Let us each walk our own individual paths.

We all have different ideals and goals in life. We all make different choices, and while I may not understand some that others make, as long as their life choices and pathways do not harm others, as long as they are happy with their choices, then I need to be happy for them.

Stop the judgment people.

Imagine how boring life would be if we all lived it exactly the  same?

Don’t Presume

As I sit here on a Friday evening, flitting between office work, laminating new price tags and getting myself organized for an early start for work tomorrow, I cannot seem to shake of this icky feeling that has been creeping up all day.

Hundreds of fellow franchise partners are currently kicking back in the middle of Australia, enjoying all that Uluru has to offer a the annual National conference.

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The day has been full of photos of the rock, of camel rides around the rock, of games and goody bags, of limousine rides from the airport and cocktails by the pool.

Right now they will be dining at a gorgeous outdoor buffet, and tomorrow will be once again filled to the brim with activities, and a formal Gala dinner.

But we are not there.

It’s funny how others like to presume why, because it was expensive, or out of our reach – it wasn’t, it was very cheap, cheaper than we will ever be able to travel there again.

I will tell you why we are not there.

Because no one will look after our kids.

This leads to another presumption.

That we must live in a different city to our family.

We don’t, the closest family member is approximately 200 metres  down the road from us.

We just do not have family members that wish to play an active roll in our lives.

They loved to tell us their opinions of our children’s names, or our parenting styles, the love to make comments to others about us, or complain about things that affect them.

But they play no active part in our lives.

It is amazing the Facebook profiles that display family members hugging up to and playing with our children, the ironic thing is that may be one out of a handful of times in which they have done that.

We have a new business, and with any business, it has been a lot of hard work, many days in a row.

People presume we have a team of babysitters on call.

We don’t.

We have taken the kids to events with us on the weekend, kept them out way past their bed time, or tag teamed with each other so one is at home with the kids and one at work.

And others presume that the fact we have a business means we have unlimited supplies of cash to get a babysitter at any price.

We don’t.

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Our business website and details mainly only show Jamie’s name, he was the only one who went to Sydney for the franchisee training course.

The franchise face book page ran hot that fortnight with photos of Jamie’s endless Barista training, and business training. The head of the company was photographed at the end of the training handing Jamie his certificates and gifts.

People think I was not there because I was not interested.

Purely, I could not go because no one would look after the kids.

Others presume that as individuals, we get plenty of “me time”

We don’t.

A recently single friend told me that only now she has become a single Mum, has she got so much more time to herself.

Ironic I know.

You see, like me, she had a husband whom worked long hours, leaving her to have main care of the kids.

Now she is single, people are offering assistance left, right and centre, and her ex has the kids at times too.

She has been on regular nights out, weekends away and even holidays.

I have been a Mum for 7 years and in that time have not had one whole child free weekend.

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Others presume that the fact our daughter has not filled in any names for the form for Grandparents day at school is because her Grandparents are deceased, or live miles away.

They don’t .

She has not even asked to bring any of them along.

They just don’t play a part in her or her brothers life.

People presume because Jamie and I have been together for so long, our journey has been easy.

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It hasn’t.

We have had our hurdles, and a lot of them, but we have stuck it out, and continued to grow.

It hasn’t been easy, in fact sometimes I have to say it has been bloody hard!

I bet you read this post and think I am a whinger.

A thankless/ungrateful whinger.

Perhaps I am.

Despite it all,

The missed chances, the hardships and hurdles.

I have one thing to be grateful for.

For being part of this awesome little gang of 4 people whom I get to call my family.

The way in which we have been treated, the things in which we regret, we get to make sure are not repeated.

While the unfortunate thing is too many people do not play an active part in these two gorgeous children’s lives.

I am so very grateful to be a part of theirs.

And while I moan and complain about the things we do not have in life, I never, ever, not once take for granted the fact that we were blessed enough to be parents to not one but two amazing little beings.

And when the tears are threatening to fall, and the dirty green eyed jealously monster comes out to play, and when I get away from Facebook so I can no longer play the “comparison game”, we take a moment to look at each other, and six simple words are said that make it all worthwhile .

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“At least we have each other”

And you know what?

That’s worth it all.

Kiki Koala

7 years ago life was full on with a little baby girl.

A little insomniac, colicky baby girl.

We named her Kiara, we had a few names to choose from, but when we uttered the name “Kiara” to her when she was freshly in our arms, she blinked.

To this day, and forever, we will tell her that she choose her name.

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On one of the many days that I was pacing the house attempting to calm my little screaming, overtired, upset girl, I found myself whispering “come on Kiki, it is all ok”

By the time my husband returned home, the name Kiki had stuck, and from that day forward, our little girl had a nickname.

Sometimes I found myself calling her “Kiki Koala”, after all, the cuddly Koala is  my all time favorite animal, and my little Kiki sure clung onto us like a Koala.

A friend overheard the new nickname and asked if I had heard of the Australian teddy, also named Kiki Koala.

I hadn’t, and as I was attempting to find something/ anything to help my now 6 month old sleep, and had also read that a baby can sometimes be comforted by their own teddy or blankie, I was desperate to see if I could find a said Kiki Koala in our town.

Turns out a soviner shop stocked them, and I raced in to purchase this beautiful, soft, pink Koala teddy.

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I hoped and prayed it would help in some way with the sleeping of my little Kiki.

It really didn’t help in that department, (though you wouldn’t tell by the photo above!)  but it was obvious that she liked this lovely new toy of hers.

image (3)Kiki Koala came on family holidays, outings, trips in the car.

She was hugged when Kiara felt sad, or tired, or hurt.

Before we knew it, Miss Kiara was a big sister to Noah, and Kiki Koala joined them on quiet movie days, or craft activities.

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As Miss Kiara grew, Kiki Koala faded with the many washes, and sagged a little more as time wore on.

She joined us camping, and on many other adventures.

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Everyone started calling Kiara “Kiki” too, friends, teachers, people who had just met her.

In fact, when a friend made her birthday cake, she didnt even ask, she just wrote “Kiki” on top.

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Kiara seemed to love Kiki Koala more and more each day if that was possible.

If she could not find Kiki at bed time, she would not go to bed until house wide search had found her.

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I love watching my big girl fast asleep cuddled up to her teddy.

She acts like she is all grown up, experimenting with jewelry and fashion, but I know she is still a little girl, my little girl who needs a teddy to hug up to at night, who will soothe her to sleep when she is tired, chase away those bad dreams and make her feel better when she is sick.

Kiki Koala was starting to look a bit old and tired.

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I searched the internet to find a new one.

The toy maker had gone out of business, and the new ones cost a fortune.

I left it for now.

Then this weekend something amazing happened.

We used our family locals pass to go to the zoo.

We enjoyed looking at all the amazing wildlife, including my favorite, the Koala’s

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Our Kiara had taken her wallet along with her, certain that there would be something in the zoo souvenir shop for her to spend the last of her birthday money on.

In we walked, and there we saw an amazing sight.

A Kiki Koala display, complete with various size and coloured teddies, books, pens, magnets, key rings, jewelry and more.

Squeals from my little girl left Japanese tourists looking around in alarm.

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She took time to look at each item, smiling with excitement the entire time.

In the end she choose a smaller Kiki Koala than her original and a necklace, bracelet and ring set.

We knew where to come back for Christmas pressies.

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Squeals and chatter of excitement came out of Kiara for the rest of the day. I knew she wasn’t just excited about finding a new “toy”. I know for her it was like finding a room filled with her old friend.

She even went to bed talking about how amazing it was to find a new Kiki Koala today.

I realized then that this little pink Koala has become so much more than a teddy over the past 7 years.

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It has been worn out and faded, the old one is a lot more rougher than the nice smooth new one, but Kiki Koala has become a friend, and a part of our family.

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Kiara got sauce on her new Kiki at lunch time, so she made her first trip to the wash and was still too wet at bedtime.

So old Kiki Koala took her routine spot, in her owners arms, ready to fight the nightmares, give the cuddles, and be there when my little girl wakes up in the morning, ready to face a new day.

Kiki Koala, I want to thank you.

For being more than a fluffy toy to my girl.

For filling her arms for years as she drifts to sleep.

For making her happy when she is sad.

For taking away the pain when she is hurt.

And most importantly, for being much more than any other teddy could be.

As I look through Kiaras photo albums, I see so many photos with you, this little pink Koala alongside her, facing life’s adventures together.

Thank you Kiki Koala for being one very special Koala, and most importantly, for being my little Kikis friend.

Dear Sister

Dear Sister,

I have been thinking about you a lot lately.

Recently I placed a frame photo of you and me in the kitchen, it has brought with it a range of memories and emotions.

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I have found myself shedding silent tears over that photo.

The reminders of what we were, who you were as a person, and who you were yet to become, as well as the person you never got to be.

Our kitchen, like many others is often a busy place, and I have smiled at this photo as well, while I wait for the kettle to boil, or while you catch my eye in the early morning rush of emptying the dishwasher as fast as I can.

I find myself smiling at you a lot.

I like that.

Our lounge room also has a reminder of you, the tapestry you made for me as the very last present you ever gave me, sunflowers, my favorite flower. You were always so good at long stitch, and it passed some of your time while you were in hospital.

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It seems a bit old fashioned to some, but it hangs there,  pride of place to remind me of you. (I am so sorry about the cob web on the top right hand corner, I shall remove that at once!)

Each and every time I look at it, I think of you. (the tapestry, not the cobweb that is!)

Right now, my kids are watching tv, with your work of art looking over them, they are oblivious to the fact that a part of Aunty Tamina is in the room with them.

I took them to the cemetery to visit your grave recently, they put wild flowers on your headstone, without having to be told, they were very respectful about it, the photo I quickly snapped brings tears to my eyes when I look at it now.

I do not think of you as  being there in that cemetery, I prefer to think of your soul being released and free, and you living around us, and in our memories of you.

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Noah does not understand death, he thinks his Aunty Tamina lives in a different country and that one day we will save up the airfare to go visit you.

You would have been an amazing Aunty, my kids would have loved you so much, after all they love you anyhow having never even met you, they know you are an important person.

Do you remember those matching duck necklaces we had? Kiara found mine and wears it all the time.

I tried to keep it away and special, but think it is meant to be worn. I think of us whenever she wears it, it is old and worn, but it is nice that a part of our childhood together lives on. She knows it is special.

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It has now been over 14 years since you passed away.

It took a few years for me to be able to talk about you without bursting into tears. This is a sign of healing, though there will always be a bit of a wound in my heart, open from the day you left us.

I have been spending a bit of time at Doctors and specialists lately. I have been rather sick, nothing life threatening, just a reduction of the quality of my life.

Last week, the specialist asked me to go over my family history, suddenly a lump appeared in my throat when it came to talking about you.

I think about how over Doctors surgeries I am, and the thought of being poked and prodded, then I think of how much more you had to endure then me, the months in hospitals, the surgeries and needles, the sickness and pain, and all in the end being told despite this, despite all they put you through, it was never enough to save you.

Man you must have been pissed off with the hand you had been dealt in life.

Sometimes I just feel fucking outraged at the unfairness of it all.

Days I feel like screaming at the top of my lungs

FUCK YOU CANCER!!!!

Unfortunately millions of other people in the world feel like screaming the same words with me.

14 years on, it just does not seem like we are any closer to a cure, I hope I am wrong, I hope one is just around the corner.

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One of the hardest things is being asked about my family, if I have any brothers or sisters, and what they are doing now.

There is no nice way to say “I have a sister, she is dead”

Then people say “oh, you are an only child then?”

I’m not an only child, to say that means you never existed, and  that is just not true.

I wish you never left, I wish you could have stayed, but I feel so blessed to have even got to spend 18 years with you in my life.

Man you were brave.

Gosh I admire you.

Oh how I miss you,

Every, single day.

Loving you Always,

Little Sis xoxo

Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained

“Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained”, 4 words that I have been heard saying many times lately.

Jamie and I recently purchased our very own business, we became franchisees with a Mobile Coffee Van franchise.

Anyone who thinks it is easy to work towards your dreams are wrong.

It has been a lot of hard work, many hours filling in documents with the bank, conversing with  suppliers, setting up the van, getting our selves organised  and don’t get me even started on getting my head around the book work!

I am a self confessed over thinker, and the thoughts of what could go wrong by purchasing a business could very easily snowball if I let them, so this time I decided once we had done our research to not over think, for once, to just dive in, that was the first of many times that I was heard uttering the words ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’.

As anyone setting up a business would know, it’s hard work, stressful and draining at times, but it is worth it.

One of the main reasons behind our choice to do our own thing, was the opportunity for more family time together. At the age of 4, Noah cannot remember a time which we had regular weekends together as a family.

With Jamie working every weekend, and Kiara in grade 1, she only got to spend time with her Daddy on school holidays.

Jamie was overworked and stressed to the max, and I just craved some time, any time together.

Kiara cried happy tears when we told her that she would get to spend weekends with Daddy at last, in fact even now, over  a month into our new life, squeals of delight can still be heard around the house on a Saturday morning when the kids realize that Daddy will be home for yet another weekend!

I wont deny that it is tough, that we have found a whole new definition to the meaning of ‘exhaustion’, but at last it is happy exhaustion, the knowledge that slowly, our hard work is going to pay off.

We have met some lovely customers, and I am more then happy to go to work with the knowledge that excellent coffee is on tap.

I love the vibe of happiness and excitement that greets us when we arrive at a workplace, ready to provide people with much needed refreshments and a chat.

I love witnessing friends shouting a mate a coffee.

I love working with my husband , although in the interest in being honest, we have had a few little tiffs already.

I love that we are both finished in time to pick the kids up together, and that one of us is not walking in at dinner time.

Original plans were for me to continue at my second job to assist with bills, but that unfortunately did not work out.

Many nights are spent doing things for the business when the kids have gone to bed, but that is to be expected.

It’s been lots of hard work, some have already told us we wont be successful, they just give us more fire in our belly’s  to prove them wrong.

The house is trashed, the washing pile grows, we fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day and right now we owe the bank ore money then we ever had in our lives, but you know what?

We are happy.

We are loving having so much more time together as a family,

We love that we are growing our own little business,

That we hope to watch our hard work pay off, both at home and at work.

We  continue to chant the words

“Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained”

I will fight for you

To my Children,

I am not perfect, no one is, and I am well aware of my emotional moments and lack of energy of late.

Mummy is not so well, and some days feel like a real battle.

The recent school holidays were a tad full on. As we know, one night right as Daddy walked through the door, home from work, with dinner ready on the table, I walked out.

A day of constant arguing with each other, and with me, of misbehaving, of back chat and bad manners and stressful moments, I felt my blood boiling, and my tether having been reached to its end. I picked up my car keys, told you all I was done and walked out.

Bad planning on my behalf, with no shoes, food splattered, sweat stained clothes, I was in no state to go treat myself to a coffee and cake as I would have liked…… so I did the groceries.

It was the break I needed.

We all hugged and apologized when I returned home, and while some days feel like a real battle between us , I want to let you know one thing.

I will always fight for you

You have both had moments in your life where I have found myself going to numerous doctors, until I would find one who would listen to me, and assist with your health issues.

Noah, as a baby, it took 6 doctors, and me crying all over the last one before we got to the bottom of your health dramas.

Kiara, we had to stand up for you so much when we found that the amount of glue you had in your ears had made you profoundly deaf, thankfully we finally were able to get grommets put in your ears, and have never looked back since.

No matter what life throws your way,

I will fight for you

Kids, I know you think I am mean when I tell you to pour your own drink, or get your own snack, when you ask me to do it for you.

I want you to learn to be independent, to do things for yourself and not think I am just your slave.

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Kiara, when you say you don’t want to go to school because someone is teasing you, I suggest ways in which you can handle it yourself, and keep a close eye that it is not getting out of hand.

I do not immediately step in, because I want you to learn early how to avoid conflict and resolve  situations, as one day you will be a teenager at your first job, and I will not be able to stand in for you then and fight your battles.

By teaching you to stand up for yourself and believe in yourself.

I am fighting for you

If there are areas that you both struggle in, and you need help, I will get it for you.

I am your Mum, I love you unconditionally, and want what is best for you.

I will fight for you

I am not here to make your life easy, just to guide you along it’s path, so some days you will wonder why I am not doing more for you, I just want you to know, I am not here to live your life, and some times you need to be the one to do the learning, just know, no matter how hard things get,

I am always here, fighting for you, and alongside you

I hope this week you saw some examples of how I am willing to fight for you.

Kiara, you had your cross country on Thursday, you had been looking forward to the day.

I stood at the starting line with you, prepared to take some photos, when you hugged me tight and tears poured down your face.

I asked what was wrong, and you told me you were too scared to run, you begged me to take you home, and your tears had turned into loud sobs by this stage.

There was no way I was taking you home, and I knew you would be upset when you realized you had not run the race, so without a thought, I threw my inappropriate shoes off, attempted to tuck my long, loose pants up, and prepared to run with you, holding your hand the whole way.

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I fought your battle with you

It was hard, damm hard.

2 days later, my calf muscles are still aching, and my feet are scarred from all those prickles I stood on.

We laughed along the way,

I was not feeling so well that day, and the pressure of running left me feeling rather ill for a good few hours, but it was all worth it,

Just to fight for you

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You were overjoyed when I picked you up from school that day to tell me that your sports team had won.

 I reminded you that by participating, you had contributed to their win, getting them a point for just completing the race.

That made you smile.

And Noah, this week

I have fought for you too

Despite being constantly told to stop mucking up at bath time, you both continue to run wild in there.

The day that we all predicted came.

You fell over in there while slipping and sliding and split you chin open.

I wanted to yell “I told you this would happen”, to both you, and your sister,

But I saw the fear in your eyes as the blood poured out.

Instead I held a towel to your cut, and hugged you close, letting you know

I would fight for you

I found a medical centre open, and got you in there, another emergency meant we had to wait a while.

Daddy met us there after his late shift.

I held your hand and whispered calm words as the Doctor glued your chin back together.

You looked so frightened.

I was there to let you know

I am always fighting for you

You have added a scar to your bank of scars, and we finally were able to get you and your sister home to bed, you chin will be better soon, and the Doctor was so lovely, despite being kept back at work well after his finish time.

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Kids, you need to know something, I know I seem cranky at times, I am emotional and drained, and doing my best.

I love you, even when life seems so tough.

I will fight for you

Mummy and Daddy have just purchased a new business  with one of the main factors for the purchase being the increase of family time it will allow us to have.

We are fighting for you

Know no matter what battles you have to fight in life, no matter what mountains you need to climb.

I am here, right beside you, every step of the way,

because, as your Mummy, I promise, every single day

I will fight for you

xoxo

Everything to Everyone = Exhaustion

I have a confession.

I am exhausted.

Physically, Emotionally, Mentally………. I’m exhausted.

After mountains of paperwork, legal assistance, and personal research, we were are  delighted to have the bank approval our loan application for our very own business.

It is by no means the first business we have looked at purchasing, but it is definitely one that ticks all the right boxes for us.

The price was feasible for us, the hours mean my husband will FINALLY be home on weekends, and it is small enough that we will not have to employ anyone else. The franchise we are becoming part of is also a very supportive, wonderful team, which really appealed to us.

I am happy, I really do have a good feeling about this, but that does not stop my anxiety and the subsequent sleepless nights with me laying wide awake in bed thinking “What the F*#k have we done! OMG, that is a lot of money to borrow, FAR OUT!!!!!!!”

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Training in Sydney – some 3000 km away from our home town, and while I did all my research in order to attempt to attend along with my husband, I have now admitted defeat.

With no one to look after our kids for the week of training, I even researched taking them with us and getting child care down there. The tally of that situation was rather expensive as you can imagine!

A lovely friend offered to help, but with her kids as well, she would have a total of 5 children to look after, and a seemingly impossible school/kindy drop off situation, with all our kids spread across town.

I have to admit, I find myself a bit jealous of my husband.

He is originally from NSW, and his training trip coincides quite well with an old friends going away party, an opportunity for him to see many people from his teenage years.

He will also be trained in every aspect of our new business, including Barista training from a champion Barista – and here is the part in which I tell you my husband does not drink coffee!

I on the other hand love the stuff, and with the knowledge that he will be getting five star training at making something he doesn’t even drink is full on.

In among all this excitement, Miss 6 gets a chest infection, Mr 4 becomes ill and I get a sinus infection.

The anniversary of my sisters death also comes up, and as with every year, I think I am doing ok at last as the date approaches, but the actual day leaves me feeling flat and drained, and as with every year, those silent tears begin to fall, out of nowhere, unannounced.

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We got ourselves an awesome deal on a local second hand site for a great computer desk and office chair for our new business, but with a very small house, I end up having to move some of the kids toys around, in order to claim a little nook in the house for the desk.

I am exhausted after all the moving and tidying, vacuuming and sorting, but the desk looks great, and I am picturing what little things I can do to make it a bit better………… then the kids overtake it with their toys filling every spare surface of it, and make it as their own counter for their shop game. With toys spread out near it, my little professional space does not look so professional for long.

It is school holidays and the kids will not stop fighting, with little patience to start with, I feel my stress levels soaring through the roof.

Yet another day being spent at home, when I just want to escape……… somewhere, anywhere.

Then I walk into this:

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My kids cuddled up together, playing a game and showing some kindness towards each other for a change.

I made sure I complimented them on their lovely behavior.

So the paperwork continues, and the list of things to be done grows.

The house is a mess, my mind is fried.

But I WILL get there.

I’m stressed and anxious, confused and exhausted, but in among it all, I remind myself that nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I could do with a mini vacation, someone else to look after the kids and a moment to myself, but that is not going to happen, so instead, I am being a little more gentle on myself.

Reminding myself that I am only human.

And looking towards all the great things and goals life has to offer us right now.

I will get there, slowly.