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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell 2011

Sunset 31 December 2010 - Seacliff, SA
Will went from this...
to this...
to this.
Olivia went from this...
to this.
We lost our dear Benny
I lost my dear old Poppa
We did this..
I wore this...
And I got this...
This has been the most amazing year of my life. It was the year that I became myself.

It is imposible for me to recount all of the goodness that has occurred.

Two thousand and eleven...
- discovered a new way to love and be loved
- learning the art of constructive reflection
- letting go of unnecessary worries and past memories that influenced the not so good moments.
- creating new connections and friendships with people that I least expected too
- rediscovering my own interests and passions

Two thousand and twelve..
- make more time for loved ones
- continue with my own interests
- learn to say yes when I usually say no.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by my little page. It truly means so very much to me.

Happy New Year :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Olivia's Birth Story

I am one of those women that thinks pregnancy totally agrees with her, when in reality, it does not. I tend to remember the positives instead of the negatives, I guess it is a survival tactic the human brain creates in order for women to keep reproducing and populating the world. You see, most of the time, pregnancy is NOT a cake walk. It can have its moments of bliss and beauty but it can also have its not so blissful moments. With both pregnancies I was living in the moment, full of joy and happiness about the beautiful life growing inside me, glowing and expressing my happiness and wellness to anyone who listened. People would ask how I was going and I would say something along the lines of 'I am great, feeling really healthy and relaxed, pregnancy seems to agree with me'. When in reality I was riding on the highs of the hormones; having five hours of broken sleep, up and down going to the toilet, back ache, jumpy legs, heart burn, burning feet, sleeping with a fan angled at my feet ALL NIGHT LONG, constant nausea and vomiting which was causing me to be dehydrated and exhausted, low blood pressure, fainting, anaemia and Braxton Hicks contractions. Nine months since last giving birth, I can honestly say if I had to do it again, I would, no question about it.

My first pregnancy was OK. I do not really remember all of the details but is was a classic textbook nine month pregnancy. The only problem was lack of emotional preparedness, who is emotionally prepared to give birth anyway?! I was young, early twenties, and I missed my Mum. I did a lot of crying for her during the labour. William was a perfect seven hour labour, eight pounds seven ounces, a lot of pushing and gas. After all that, and a mighty big tear (sorry, over share), I was home the next day. I stumbled through the first year, as we all do. I taught myself how to be a mother, I was too proud to ask how.

I have always wanted more than one baby. I did not want my child to go through what I did, life without a sibling. So when Will was about fifteen months old I started to pester Keith about adding another little one to our little unit. He agreed but wanted to wait another six months. I was ready then and there, and I knew that it would be sooner rather than later. It did not take long, only six weeks or so. I was so overjoyed to be pregnant again, another babe on the way. I felt confident, and ready to be a mama of two. The first few months were fab, I was not as aware of the pregnancy like I was when I was pregnant with Will. I had little to no sickness and lots of energy to burn. I had a new and different kind of confidence, I felt like a woman, a sexy woman. Plus I could actually eat scrambled eggs without throwing up. WOO!! At fifteen weeks I was diagnosed with Pneumonia, it knocked me around for a good month or two but it was a good opportunity to focus on rest. I was feeling so totally different during this pregnancy, I was quietly confident that we were having a little girl. When we received conformation that we were indeed expecting a little bundle of girly goodness we were stoked.

I hit the heavily pregnant stage mid summer. Let me just say now, if I was to ever be pregnant again, (believe me that's a big IF), I will make damn sure that I am not 7 months plus in summer. The heat was exhausting, I was stuck indoors. As soon as I would do anything slightly strenuous I would literally pass out. It was happening on a daily basis, I could never keep myself hydrated enough. Poor Keith was expecting the daily calls to his office from his heavily pregnant fainting lady. Keith would knock off early sometimes and we would venture up to the hills to feed the horses. I loved to get out in to the country air, it would often be a few degrees cooler up there too. The horses were in a beautiful paddock with 360 degree views of the Fleurieu Peninsula and the Barossa Valley.

I would hop out of the car and go over to where Sammy and Benny were relaxing under the tree and lay down with them. There is something about laying down with horses I cannot describe, it is magic. The often comforted me when I was feeling a little bit down and out, they could sense Olivia and were very gentle. Many occasions I would actually faint under that big old tree, Keith totally unaware, thinking I was just laying down. I would eventually come around to find a big wet horse nose on my arm.

At thirty eight weeks, I was done, totally over it. I had a growth scan and was told that the baby would be late and BIG, they couldn't get an accurate picture so basically go home and wait it out. I left the hospital with Keith, got in the car and cried. I was emotionally and physically done. I pretty much gave up hope of ever having this baby, I just didn't care anymore. Within nine hours I was in the beginnings of early labour. I awoke in the very early hours of the morning. Keith had only just come to bed as he had been trying to catch up on work he had missed that week. I knew something was happening but believed it to be Braxton Hicks contractions again, after a steaming hot lavender bath the contractions were coming faster and running longer. I kept yelling, "I cant do this, I am not ready" We were both certain that this was a false alarm, only hours earlier the doctor had told us it would be a long wait for this babe to be engaged and ready to go.

We rang Dad at dawn, told him to come and take care of Will. The contractions were becoming intense and I felt like I had to push. Will was sound asleep in his cot, I was on all fours on the kitchen floor moaning like a cow. Keith rang dad again,
'Hi Robin, just wondering how long you will be?'
'Im nearly there. A few streets away'
'Tell him to hurry the fuck up!!' I hissed
We couldn't wait any longer, I was in the car and ready to go, we parked out front of the neighbours an waited for dad, two contractions later I told Keith to go, I couldn't wait, Dad was one street away. This baby was coming...fast.We got to the hospital in five minutes, I had three contractions walking from the front entrance to the women's assessment unit. A lovely midwife told me to just sit and relax and would be with me in a moment. Honey I don't have a moment!. I begged her to please give me something, I felt really tired and unwell and I did not think I could do this. I had zero energy, if it was going to be anything like my first labour then I was going to need a mighty big booster of energy. She took my hand and said, sweetheart you can't have anything, you are too far along however, I can give you some gas...THANK GOD FOR THE GAS! It totally calmed me down.

I was fully dilated and pushing, I let out a big deep groan and three midwives came running.
'Oh that sounded like a push,' they chirped. Duhh 
We were whisked upstairs to the delivery suits. On the way I had a little moment, I wasn't scared but I wanted my mummy. I felt like she was there with me, I had a sense of calm. It was dark as the wheeled me through the to the delivery suite. A midwife smiled sweetly at me as she rose from her desk, 'congratulations darling,' she said. I cried and smiled, I was going to be a Mummy again.

There was a back log of birthing mothers. Every suite was being used. I was wheeled into the most beautiful room you had ever seen. Couches a spa, a magnificent view of the hills. And a beautiful midwife named Jo, she had a sweet kind smile that put you at ease straight away. Thank goodness. She was perfect, I was in a safe place. I told Keith to relax, take it easy and I would let him know if I needed anything. He laughed and said righto.  I asked the midwife if she actually thought I was going to give birth that day, she said she couldn't guarantee. I laughed so hard, I couldn't believe it. You see my water had not broken yet, and to be honest I was still in total denial that I was actually in labour. I knew my body, I knew I could do this, I was going to prove to them that this was bloody happening. At that moment 8:05am, bang!!!. Literally a bang and a rush like a torrent of water out of an Indiana Jones movie, the water broke. Jo wasn't even ready, she was still getting prepped. Five minutes later the beautiful Olivia Frances arrived, all eight pounds and fourteen ounces of her (just like her big brother), thick black hair, a good set of lungs and ten days early.

After a shower and a snack we headed home. The four of us in the car in silence. Keith and I looked at each other and said together at the same time
'What the fuck!'

So do tell me your story. I love a good baby tale.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Girl

This is my youngest, Olivia Frances, affectionately known as 'The Girl'.

I still think she is only 5 months old, not almost 9 months.

She was born in April, arriving sooner than expected and nearly on the kitchen floor.

Admitted: 7.00am, Born: 8.10am, Discharged: 2.00pm ALL IN THE SAME DAY - CRAZY

She is sweet smelling. She has crazy hair. She does not like to go to sleep. She is a quiet achiever. She smiles all the time. She is going to be trouble when she grows up...we just know it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Baking Day

My girlfriends and I LOVE to bake; cakes, slices, muffins, biscuits, rolls, pies. You name it, we bake it!

Two of my oldest and dearest buds - Gabby and Vanessa - popped in yesterday to whip up some christmas treats to give to our loved ones as gifts. Armed with the latest issue of Donna Hay Magazine, a large and delicious chocolate cake, and a teapot filled with Earl Grey - we set to work.

My Story.

Many of you may have already ready this little tale over at BabyMac last week. 
It is my story, it is how I became the person I am today.
Here it is...if you want to have a little read :)

A little over a month ago, Beth asked me to share our love story. I was totally honored to share this not so average tale. It has been interesting process, reflecting on past memories, traveling back into those moments of wonder and passion. It is a little heart wrenching at times, but I would love to share this with you, it makes me the person I am and I would be humbled for you to take a few moments and have a read. This is my story and inspires me every single day. 

It is 2.47am and I am camped out on the lounge room floor, i’ve set up a makeshift bed of blankets and couch cushions. Olivia has woken with a nasty cold. The flickering night light illuminates the hallway in a faint golden glow. The only sounds I hear are a ticking clock and a running tap. My husband is cradling the coughing babe in his arms, hovering over the bathroom sink, rocking her back and forth, gently hushing her back to sleep as the water trickles down the drain. The soothing sounds of the water is the only thing to settle her. As I lay here in the darkness, I could not think of a better opportunity to start writing our love story, than right now. This single moment, in a haze of sleep deprivation and sickness, I could not love my husband more.
We are your average family. Mum (that’s me, Amelia), Dad (Keith), son (Will), daughter (Olivia), the cat (Puddie), and the horse (Sammy). We live in the ‘burbs, about five kilometers from Adelaide. The horse resides in a lovely paddock up in the hills, about a half hour drive away. Life is peachy, I am fortunate enough to stay at home, full time, with the kiddos. My days are spent snapping photos, baking, crafting, gardening, finger painting, and cleaning. Keith heads off to work each day in the city as a software engineer. Our weekends are filled with relaxing fun times; trips up to the hills to visit family and friends, and the horse of course, cooking scrumptious feasts for our loved ones, lazy days in the backyard pottering in the garden, playing music and exploring the neighborhood. We are simple people, we enjoy life and what each day has to offer. We believe in love, working hard, enjoying the time that we have with family and friends and getting out in to nature. Life with the two kids is pretty cruisey, it has it’s moments of utter chaos but it is manageable, and we think we are done with the breeding side of things.
Now I am only a spring chicken but I have to grow up fast. I guess I have always looked at a bigger picture, I have always been a dreamer and planner. Now, I certainly have not lived a ‘whole’ life yet, I am only in my twenties and I still have a lot more to learn and understand about the world and how it works. One thing I do understand is the power of love, more so now than ever before. I know for sure that every human being has the capability to truly love another human being. Often it is a long and winding road to find that certain person, many ups and many downs along the way. No doubt we have all had our fair share of heartbreak, arriving at those crossroads and deciding which way to go, wondering if you’ve made the right choice. The funny thing about love is, you can always find it. It may be someone, it may be something, it is a feeling, it is a moment. You just know. This is how I felt when I first met Keith, there was no way that I believe we would end up together, married with children. NEVER EVER. But there was a definite feeling there, one that will stay with me forever.
Before I start with the actual love story, I want to share a defining moment in my life, a moment that has made me the person I am today. At that moment, I made a choice to be everything I thought I would not be - a wife and a mother. This moment made me understand that love is love, it doesn’t matter who you are or who you love, if it’s real then it’s real. From this point on I understood that I must follow my heart in order to survive.
I am an only child, zero siblings, just me. I grew up in a loving family, slightly dysfunctional but loving none the less. I was always very close with my parents, able to talk about anything and everything. My Mum and I were super close, I totally respected her and everything she did. A gorgeous creature, with long black hair, mum was a fiery and independent woman, she was outspoken and a little wild. At twenty eight she would ride her motorbike to work, running one of the biggest emergency departments in the country. At thirty five she was a mother and a wife, by the time she was forty she was a full time hospital coordinator. Mum inspired me to be the best that I could be. She may not have been the typical mother, cooking dinners, baking birthday cakes, she was not into that sort of thing. She loved with all of her heart and soul and she worked hard to support our little family. The fourteenth of September, two thousand and five will forever be the moment that I became and adult, the moment I realized that life was precious, the moment I realized you need to follow your own path to happiness.
I was at work for the day when I had received a phone call. It was Mum, she had just finished her week of night duty and wanted to see if I could wake her up when I got home, usually around six thirty in the evening. She mentioned going to visit my grandmother later on that night and suggested that we have a simple dinner of take away pizza.
“Sure ma, no worries. I have to go, it’s super busy here”
“Love you darling”
“Love you Mummy”
I carried on with my busy day, serving coffees and making food. I finished up for the evening, and headed home. I don’t know if it was a sixth sense, or and inkling, but I knew that something was not right. I had that uneasy feeling in my stomach. Mum’s light was on so I thought she had woken early.  However, I soon realized that she had not woken at all, I knew as soon as I walked in to the room, she was gone. I ran, I ran so fast and so hard. I wanted to be sick, my body was shaking uncontrollably. I called the ambulance, I don’t know why but I guess it was the right thing to do. I was totally alone, Dad was on a business trip. I had no one. I laid in my bed clutching a photo of the two of us. I knew, but I still hoped for a miracle. She was 54, a mother, a wife, sister, daughter, best friend. I had to make those calls. Dad, my grandmother Bunga, Nana and Pop. Poor Dad had a work colleague drive him the five hour journey from Mt. Gambier to Carey Gully that night. My best mate and her mum arrived. They helped me with all of the formalities. They comforted me and wiped away my tears, her mum reminded me about the significance of this moment, Mum gave me life, now I was here to be there for her, in her death. 

From that point on, my life was different. Every belief, outlook, idea, and feeling was completely new and uncertain. I was an adult, I had to fight to live, I was totally responsible for myself and my actions. I was no longer that immature girl, the one who didn’t stand up for herself, the one who was a follower not a leader. I made a choice, right then and there, I was going to live my life the way that I wanted to live it. I was going to put my happiness before everything else. I had been seeing a guy for the past year, it was not a healthy relationship, I was sick and tired of playing the emotional desperate girl. I ended things and decided that relationships weren’t for me. I did not have the inner strength to deal with someone else's’ complications, my life was hard enough. I had reached a point where I felt the need to try and grasp an understanding of myself and where I wanted to go in my life. 
When I look back at those months after mum died, it is obvious that I was lost. I knew what I wanted, I wanted an uncomplicated life, I wanted to love and be loved, I wanted stability and children. I wanted to be happy. I had no idea how to go about finding this happiness. Slowly but surely life became a little easier, things had changed, the grief process had worked its way through my body and what felt like overnight, I had become that adult, I was ready for a new life. I don’t really understand how Keith and I came to be together. We still look at each other with wonder and amazement every single day. I swear there must have been another force at work, surely we would be the last two people in the world who would fall in love and live happily ever after. 
Keith is indeed the man I always dreamed of. He is the sort of bloke that likes to keep things simple, a very down to earth man who can have a conversation with anyone. He is incredibly humble, previous achievements go unmentioned, he does not like to brag about his past or the things he has done. He is so very encouraging, he believes in me even at times when I do not, he believes I can achieve anything. He can often see the bigger picture when I become too focused on  the minor detail. A sensitive soul who is easily affected by others around him, I love him more and more, each and every day. You see one thing that is different about Keith, is that he has had a full life before I was ever in the picture, before I was even born.

I remember the very early days, I was hesitant to share my joy, I was in love. I must admit it was lovely to keep the secret to ourselves, it was special and I believe it truly laid the foundation in the end. It helped us understand what it was that we were feeling, if it was a fairytale or not. Believe me it would have been a lot easier for us to forget about it and go our separate ways; I was not looking for love or a relationship, at all, and Keith was in the same boat, he is not a man who needs a woman in his life. In fact he had been single for years before I had come on the scene. I think he believed that his opportunity to love someone had been and gone, he had accepted a life with his dog, horses and guitar and I think he was pretty darn happy about that. Combine all of this with the two thousand two hundred and ninety two kilometers between us, it appeared that this relationship would not workout.
I was wrong, and soon enough I found myself explaining my feelings to my dad, he was pretty darn shocked but he already knew, he said he could see it in my eyes. It was the hours and hours I would spend on the phone each night to Keith that gave it away. He understood exactly how I felt and encouraged me to go and be happy. He said ‘love is the single most important thing in your life, you need love to survive’ this coming from a man who had lost his wife of twenty two years only eighteen months earlier. My grandmother, Bunga felt the same way, she has known Keith since he was a teenager, she loves him like he was her own. She told me to go and grab love with two hands, go and make it work, bugger everyone else.
So, six months after we decided to be together, I packed up my little car and drove the two thousand two hundred and ninety two kilometers from Carey Gully to Jimboomba. I wanted to start a new life, I was making my dreams a reality, I was following my heart. We spent two years in Queensland, we had a beautiful home and a beautiful new baby boy. I soon realized the stresses you go through as a new mum, let alone a new mum without a mother of her own. We decided that it would be best to move back to Adelaide, to be closer to my family. We packed up our lives with our six month old son and drove two cars, the entire contents of our home, the cat and our two horses all the way back to Carey Gully to start over. It was bloody hard but we have made it finally. Thanks to the support of all the mum bloggers out there, especially Beth. I feel like I now have a whole army of ‘mums’ and ‘sisters’ out there. Each of you inspire me to be the best I can be, I finally feel happiness and peace in my heart. I feel that I have created the life that I was meant to have, the life I think my Mum would have loved to have. 
The very moment I fell in love with Keith I was totally and utterly committed to him and our future, his future, for better or for worse. It will be five years this Friday since we committed to this relationship. We have been married for 7 weeks, and have two beautiful children together, I have two amazing step children and three beautiful step grandchildren (yes I am in my twenties!!!!) Love is love. Love is all the arguments, all the tears, all the hesitations, all the vomit, all the blood, all the sweat, all the anger, all the happiness, all the laughter, all the frustrations. It is everything. It is all I need and I wouldn’t bloody change it for anything.

So tell me, what's your story?

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Boy That Does Not Talk

So I have a question. How old was your child when he or she started talking? I mean properly talking, like more than yes, no, mum and dad.

My son Will is turning three in February and he still does not speak. I cannot tell you how heartbreaking and frustrating this is for me and for him. He can express himself quite well through animated grunts and finger pointing. He understands basic instructions, and gets the general gist of whatever it is you are saying. We were initially concerned that he may have had some sort of hearing damage but all the tests show perfect hearing. We have been seeing a speech therapist for the past few months and to be honest there has been little to no progress. In fact not even ONE word. I must admit he is not throwing as many tantrums, and he is able to express himself more than in the past. But I do feel as though I want to throw the towel in, a little bit deflated and over it, I was hoping for some kind of result by now.

I feel as though I have done something wrong. I know it is TOTALLY STUIPD of me to even think that but I cannot help it, I do. Maybe I didn't read enough books to him, maybe I didn't talk to him enough, maybe I was far to focussed on myself and my issues to get down on the floor and interact with him. Just a weeny part of me feels to blame. I feel as though lack of speech is holding him back from new things like toilet training, friendships and independence. I guess I have to remember that he is not even three yet, maybe I am putting too much pressure on him, maybe I am putting too much pressure on myself. I just wish I could hear his little voice.

Tell me, do you have any suggestions or stories to share?