Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Today's Phone Call

Today I had a phone meeting with the psychologist at Kaiden's school. Not something you really want to have to do, but in this case I initiated it.

Our old foe, Asperger's Syndrome, has raised it's ugly head again.

I really wish it would just go away. But as that's not going to happen, we need to learn to let it come in, make itself comfortable and then entice it to sit quietly in the corner and play Xbox or something, so Kaiden can just get on with his life.

His recent exam results in English were poor. To say the least. And I know it's not his fault. He tried hard. Boy, did he try hard.

And I know he studied, because I studied right there along with him. He even worked himself out a study timetable in the two weeks leading up to exams. Finally my influence is rubbing off! My boy is slowing becoming organised!!!

But the English exam results were bad. In the hour he had to write he didn't even manage half a page. He knew what he needed to write, that's not the problem.

It's all there in his head, he just can't seem to get it from his brain, down his arm, through his hand, into the pen and onto the page. Somewhere along the line it gets blocked, and comes out ........very........very.......slowly.

What he does produce is really good, and if he had hours and hours to do the exam, I know he would ace it.

Hence my call to the school psychologist today.

Long story short is that certain kids can get an extension of 10 mins or so per hour, but for Kaiden this is nowhere near enough extra time. So the psych will give him a hand writing test just to see what speed he does write at, and we will then take it from there.

We have also begun to practice writing at home, which won't solve the problem but may help it become more automatic in some regards. I've turned to Google to try to find other ways to help him, but with no luck so far.

I really want to help him, he wants help, has asked for help and I feel terrible that I can't wave a magic wand and fix it all for him.

This is one time I can't just give him a hug and kiss it better like I did when he was little.

Being a mother can be so heart-breaking at times.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tonight

It's about time for me to pull myself together and be a good little blogger again. This break was needed, as too much was going on in my head, and it's been hard enough to organise the most basic of things,let alone find time and clarity to write anything.

But all is good again, life goes on and I'm feeling more on top of things. I hope I didn't just jinx myself by saying that!

So much has been happening lately, but now is not the time to write it all out as I'm determined to get an early night. It seems no matter how much sleep I get, I still feel tired lately. And it certainly didn't help being woken at 3am by the neighbour's house alarm going off. Luckily it was a false alarm, but it went for 15 noisy minutes, right outside our bedroom window. Nothing like being woken with a start in the middle of a freezing night.

And the weather has been so cold, it was -0.6 oC the other morning, people were scraping ice off their cars before they could drive. It was the second coldest night in Perth in recorded history. Brrrr. We're not set up for cold here, we just have one gas heater in the main living area and that's it. And the days aren't that warm either. I love winter but am almost ready for summer again now.

Gee, with everything that has been going on lately, of all the thing to write about, I ramble on about the weather. I think that means I should just take myself off to bed for that early night I need.

Good night all.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Funeral

This past week or so life has been filled with a tumult of emotions and feelings.

Nanny's funeral went well. As far as funerals go that is.

All went as it should. It was a gathering of her family and friends, who celebrated her life and all that she was.

Followed by a kick ass party that she would of loved. I could almost see her sitting there at the table, glass of red wine in hand, bantering cheekily with everyone.

I read a poem at the funeral, and I accomplished my hope of making it through the reading without crying. A few deep breathes were needed, but I didn't cry.

The most emotional moment was the playing of Unchained Melody by the Rightous Brothers, one of Nanny's favourite songs. An emotion provoking song at the best of times.

But the sadness I felt was inadverdantly relieved by two lovely old people sitting behind me during the service. Not that they knew it though.

Photos of Nanny were being played throughout the service, and at one point the couple behind me, were commenting on how Nanny looked when she was a young woman.

Right in the middle of a very moving speech, they were whispering VERY LOUDLY. I think they may have needed to adjust their hearing aids.

"Gwen looked very healthy when she was younger, didn't she?"

"Yes, she always did have a bit of flesh on her bones back then."

The fact that these two were having such a conversation, at such a time, really tickled my funny bone.

I turned to my sister-in-law sitting next to me, who had also heard (as had most of the 5 surrounding rows). I looked at Mel, and she looked at me, and then we actually started to laugh.

Shoulders shaking, with tears of sorrow and mirth running down our cheeks we lent against each other and silently laughed and laughed.

In the middle of my grandmother's funeral.

Oh, I'm going straight to hell for this one.

But if Nanny had been there, I know she would have laughed with us.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

This Morning

6am.

Or in other words - the middle of the night.

I stumble into Charlie's room after hearing his usual wake up mama routine.

As I walk in he stands up in his cot, stretches out his hands and states in an imperious tone :

"I get up now".

I'm surprised he didn't add the word 'slave' to then end of that sentence when addressing me like that.

But the novelty of having a not quite 2 year old boss me around using the language skills of a 3 year old, meant that my response was, of course :

"Yes, your Highness".

I love that he can verbalise more at this age than Kaiden and Corey ever could. It gives such an insight into what he's thinking and how he's thinking that I would otherwise never get.

Observing the inner workings of a toddler mind can be fascinating.

If not a little disturbing at times.

But it definitely provides lots of laughs around here.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Adjustment

This weekend has been quite a nice weekend considering the cloud hanging over us at the moment.

It was a quiet weekend spent at home, pottering around, relaxing and doing the things I love to do best.

But every now and then in quiet moments, sadder thoughts intruded.

Nanny is gone. I won't have the chance to talk to her again. The chance to hear her pithy take on the world, to hear stories of when she was young, her time in the Army during the war and most of all to laugh with her again.

The sense of loss when I let myself think on this is difficult to deal with. So I try not to think of it too much.

Just try to get on with life, accepting the void that is left behind. And adjusting my life around it.

And I can only imagine how my Grandy is feeling right now. My heart goes out to him. Having to cope with losing your wife of 65 years is incomprehensible to me.

I'll be seeing Grandy tomorrow, going with him to his and Nanny's house for the first time since she passed. He's been staying with my Aunty for now. An outfit to dress Nanny in for the funeral needs to be chosen. I imagine tomorrow will be quite difficult for him.

The funeral is on Thursday and I've been asked to speak during the service. I really hope I don't cry, I want to be able to get out what I need to say without any stupid tears from me upsetting anyone.

I gave Kaiden & Corey the choice of coming to the funeral and they've both asked to come. It will be the first funeral they've attended so I hope they cope alright with the emotion that such a time provokes.

I apologise for the gloomy post. Hopefully life will regain a sense of normality for me again soon.

A new normality. Adjusted to cope with the void that the death of a loved one leaves.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Farewell

This morning my Nanny passed away.

My Dad's mother. She had been slowly fading for many months now. She was 88.

Nanny was one of the most amazing women I've known. Always active and of very strong character. She loved painting. making jewellery, any craft really. She loved her monthly outing with the pensioner club to the casino to play the pokie machines. And she had the best sense of humor.

And we both had an almost obsessive fondness for prawns. I'm sad that we didn't get to take our latest trip out for lunch to eat prawns together as we had been talking about. Although in my heart of hearts, I knew she would never be well enough for that to actually happen again.

I want to cry.

But also, I don't.

To me death is a sad thing, yes, but also it is part of life. Her suffering is now ended. Her body pained her. Her tiredness was overwhelming her.

Only a few weeks ago she had told me she was ready to go.

Followed by a cheeky comment about the muscly workmen she could see out of her hospital window.

I believe in some way our energies are never truly gone. We will always be a part of this earth. Nanny will always be with me, same as my beloved Grandpop and Grandma who have passed on, are also.

My late Grandpop wrote the following poem, and at times like this I take great comfort from his wise words.


Love & Friendship Never Dies

For whom do we weep when a friend passes on?
Do we cry for ourselves, or the one who has gone?

If the good book is right, then now is the time
when he has just entered a much sunnier climb.

So the tears we cry are not for our friend
but for ourselves, still awaiting the same end.

We should thank God that we were able to share
so much time with that person now sleeping up there.

So dry up those tears, get it off of your chest
and think of the good times spent with the friend now at rest.

For he will remain with us in so many ways,
his memory will live on for the rest of your days.

So get on with your living, for you'll find every day
that he's still part of your life in a mysterious way.

The odd spoken word, or the sound of a song,
will trigger that memory your whole life long.

Your life was happy when you were able to share
and will be again, when you meet him up there.

------------------------------------------------

Farewell Nanny.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The beginning.

So where was I? Oh yes. Simple Living.

To me living simply means many things. It's actually quite hard to articulate what it means to me, but some of the things I would like to achieve from living simply are :

  1. Finding ways to reduce dependence on modern technology and conveniences.
  2. Living in harmony with our Earth. Being Green in other words.
  3. Improving our health through healthy eating and exercise.
  4. Reducing stress, and increasing joy in my home.
  5. Finding peace in myself.

As I previously wrote I've been letting this idea simmer in my brain for a little while to see what naturally progresses.

I didn't want to make a huge list of things I could do to live more simply. A list implies to me that I have to do it all, that it needs to be done perfectly, to almost force things to happen.

No, this time I want it to evolve naturally, step by little step, in the hope that whatever happens will stick. As an idea takes form in my mind of a new way to achieve one of my aims, then I will just let it happen when the time feels right. I guess I just don't want to feel overwhelmed by all the possibilities.

And right now it feels right to revamp the food issue.



I want to buy everything that I can fresh, local and organic. No more supermarket fruit and vegetables pumped full of steroids, kept in cold storage for months then going rotten within 2 days of buying it.

It has been the convenience factor that has kept me buying fruit, vegetables, eggs, milk, meat etc at the supermarket. Shopping for a three week period for 5 people (including 2 ravenous teenage boys), with a toddler in tow is hard enough without going to multiple shops to accomplish this. I usually end up with 2 trolleys worth of stuff so I need the bigger boys to come with me each time also. It can be such a chore to do the shopping. But maybe breaking it up into smaller runs to a couple of different shops may actually be less stressful (hey I can achieve two of my aims at the same time!).

So next shopping trip I'm going to the local farmers market, stocking up on fabulous fresh, healthy and tasty food, and only then buying what other things I need from the supermarket to supplement this.

Not only do I want to start buying organic and fresher I want to change the way we eat also. Although we usually only eat a limited amount of processed food, I would like to find ways to cut down further on that front. I do cook from scratch most nights, no frozen or packaged foods generally. I also bake a lot of cakes, muffins and biscuits rather than buy pre-made ones (home baked treats are not only healthier but also a cheaper way to fill the bellies of my ever hungry boys). But I'm sure there are many more ways I can amend our diet.



I shall now bid you adieu for this evening. I'm off to search Google for a few new food ideas. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Long Weekend

It's Tuesday right?

For some reason I keep thinking it's Thursday.

Sometimes I thinks it's still Monday. I think I'm lucky to know my own name at this point.

But my excuse you see is we had a public holiday here yesterday (Monday) for Western Australia's Foundation Day.

At least I think that was the reason for the day off.

Does anyone actually really know the reason for most of our public holidays? All most people know is that it's a day off work.

Here in Perth we don't really 'celebrate' most of the Public Holidays. The only big one that people make an effort for is Australia Day in January, when people decorate their homes and cars with the Aussie Flag. And take part in the big three Aussie traditions :

1. Sitting around outside and having a barbeque in the middle of the sweltering heat (usually around 40 C on Australia Day). Stupid tradition really.

2. Drink lots of icy cold beer. Usually in an effort to cool down in said heat. (The upside of not being a big drinker is that I get to have a laugh at the tipsy people making a fool of themselves and wake up feeling clear headed the next day).

3. Spend the rest of the day lazing in the pool in a further effort to keep cool.

So how did I spend my Public Holiday you may ask. I got up at 6am with Charlie, got him ready for the day, did a couple of loads of washing, a few hours worth of work, some more housework, then had my Dad and step mother Mela come for a visit.

A bit quiet compared to the Australia Day celebrations.

Then at 4pm I picked Kaiden up from his latest Army camp. He was filthy dirty, extra tired and recovering from some cold nights in the bush.

He had completed a long weekend of Advance Survival training and I'm glad it was him and not me.

The first night they were kept awake till 4am, allowed to rest for 2 hours then up and at 'em for the day. They had to build a shelter out of branches and leaves as well as cook and eat a variety of 'exotic' meats including crocodile, kangaroo, ox tongue and brains to name a few.

Then as they weren't allowed sleeping bags, he spent a very cold night (4 C) in his shelter. He said he was lucky to have half an hours sleep as he spent the night cold and shivering.

Now I don't know if I'm being an over protective mother, but keeping 14 year olds going for three days on limited sleep then make them spend the nights in a self built shelter unprotected from the cold, seems a bit excessive.

Just saying.

Main thing is he passed the Advanced Survival course - he survived.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The I'm Too Tired to Think of Anything To Write So Here Are Some Photos Post

Photos are from Corey's recent soccer game.



Which they won.

Yay!




Just like they've won every game so far this season.

Top of the Ladder.

Bigger yay!




And I'll be watching them win another game tomorrow.

As long as I didn't just jinx it.

Oh no.




Oh, and be thankful that I narrowed it down to 6 photos.

I took 250 photos of the game that day.




I'm not kidding. I really did take 250.

So choosing only 6 was hard.




Actually a lot of them were out of focus or were photos of a sort of Corey-like shape on the other very distant side of the field. So it wasn't THAT hard to only find a few good ones.

But I did stop myself from posting my top 50 or so.

I'm thoughtful like that.

Your welcome.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Way of the Warrior (well in a suburban mother of three puffing for breath sort of way)

Right now my mind is alert and ready for action.

Hiiii-yaaaaaahhhh!!!!!

I suprised you with my stealth and aggression, didn't I?

Stealth, power, focus etc etc.

Yep that's my mind, down to a tee.

Unfortunately I can't say the same about my body right now.

I'm lucky that I can keep my head upright and get my fingers moving in order to type this post.

Yep, I just go back from a martial arts session. And boy was it a doozie.

Just for a laugh (that's my laugh), Corey came along and joined in the adult session with me tonight, as he hadn't been able to make it to the 10 -14 yr old sessions at all this week.

But I didn't get to laugh at him after all. He did really well and kept up with everyone. Even though it was a killer night.

The instuctor was determined to make us all work.

And sweat.

And beg for mercy.

Well, maybe not that far. But close.

I paired up with my boy for most of the night but that was a big mistake. Being in the position where your 12 year old son throws kicks and punches at you? Not one I'd recommend.

At one stage Corey was holding the kick shield for me as I did different kicks and every now and then he was supposed to swing it at my head so I could perform a cover move.

It seems that the term 'every now and then' obviously means 'every 3 seconds' to Corey. He was having way too much fun swinging a hard kick shield at my head!

I think he was just enjoying the chance to get me back for a long list of grudges he must be holding.

After tonight I'm not sure if him coming to my sessions is such a good idea. Purely for his own sake of course. I couldn't subject him to such errr.....hard training again. Ahem!

Each week there are two types of sessions.

The 'A' night is technique night where we learn all our new stuff and put it into practice. And the 'B' nights are fitness training nights.... and you guessed it - tonight was most definitely a 'B' night!!!

When I went on Tuesday to the technique night we were told we had to make up our own Free Form display lasting 20 seconds that included kicks, punches and grabs that we had learned so far.

And we had to give it a name.

20 seconds is actually longer than it sounds when you have to start breaking it down movement by movement, but I found this quite fun and within 24hrs had my routine worked out. It's actually closer to 30 seconds but I don't want to drop anything from it. I wonder if I get bonus points for extra length? Ha - not likely. Those instructors aren't that generous.

The hard part I found, was naming it.

I didn't want a cliched type of name or anything to obvious, or too airy fairy. Or too stupid and have everyone laugh or think I'm an idiot.

It had to be perfect and also reflect 'me' and the routine.

Hmmmmm..... it's actually really hard to come up with a name that I'll be happy to shout out in front of everyone.

I tried lots of different names. None of them sounded right. But I was determined to find the PERFECT name (hello familiar perfectionist personality trait that I'm trying to overcome).

In the end I thought 'how about I give it a Japanese name' and there began a marathon trawl of the internet for translations and suitable options. Thank goodness for Google. So many to choose from but again none of them quite right.

I kept looking and looking and looking until finally success. I found it.

I think.

Unless I change my mind on it later.

Oh, and I hope the translation is correct.

Nintai-ryoku.

It means perseverance.

Appropriate huh?