Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Usually I don't do New Years Resolutions but these two things have been on my mind for awhile. I'm not going to make them resolutions because that will just set me up for failure in the first week - instead I am making them my goals for the year.

1.  I need to read the bible more.

I have gotten slack in my bible reading habits - partly because I have been having a bit of a stand off with God over the events of 2012.  I am angry that I have been left with the consequences of other peoples actions.  Life has gone on relatively unchanged for all the people involved in Murray's brain injury - even Murray himself doesn't have full insight into his injury.  I have been left to pick up the pieces.  Having a stand off with God is pointless though.  It's like cutting off your own oxygen supply.  Praying and reading the bible is a lifeline - one that I need to grab hold of firmly - without it I'll drown.  Without it I have been drowning.  Holding on tightly to God is my only hope for getting through this.

2. I need to worry less.

Many of you will know from previous New Years posts that I am not a fan of New Year as it usually fills me with worry about what might happen in the coming 12 months (see here for 2012s worries, here for 2011 and here for 2010 if you need proof!).  Seriously though - no amount of worrying about what might happen could have prepared me for what actually happened after Ashlea's transplant so this year I'm not going to bother with the worrying!

Truth be told ANYTHING could happen!  To any of us!  At any time!  Worrying that bad things might happen doesn't prevent them from happening - so as much as possible I'm going to just take each day as it comes - and try to keep my head above water - while clinging to my lifeline.

Anyone else doing resolutions?

{Writing Prompt}

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Boxing Day

The relatives (as much as we love them) have gone home.

The fridge is full of leftovers.

The kids are occupied with new toys.

The cricket is on the tele.

What more could you want?

(That's the first wicket of the day falling in the background - anyone who is watching will know how early in the day I was gorging on leftover Christmas pudding).

Aussie Wordless Wednesday

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Christmas excitement is reaching fever pitch in our house - the girls have been counting down for ages. Ashlea is so much more aware of everything this year - the first thing she asked me this morning was:

Is it Christmas Eve?
Is the slayer coming tonight?
(We are hoping she meant the sleigh - is the sleigh coming tonight?)

I hope you all have a great day tomorrow and that the sleigh brings you lots of goodies.

Friday, December 21, 2012

All I Want For Christmas Is...

My Two Front Teeth!

Seriously though - we have been so well looked after that there is nothing we need this Christmas.  We have been given a food hamper from Murray's work, several envelopes stuffed with cash, as well as bags of presents for the children to open.  People's generosity has been overwhelming - we are very thankful.

In other news some of you will know that Baby Duck has been sick this week with high fevers, headaches and other random symptoms that have made it hard to work out what is going on. She is currently on anti-biotics 'just in case' and will have more follow up next week.  I am hoping she will start improving soon as I really don't want to go back to the hospital - when you're contagious you're not allowed in the Renal Treatment Centre and have to go via ED instead. We've already lost too many hours to that place this week!

Just in case it turns out to be contagious I have wrapped all the Christmas presents earlier than normal - I would hate for Santa's work to be effected :)

Don't forget - it's not too late to get a Christmas Newsletter if you want one - just email me at alisona (at) aanet (dot) com (dot) au.  I'm not publishing it on the blog this year - snail mail only!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Best Job Ever

If anyone is thinking of a career change here is a suggestion for you - be the Santa at a Special Needs Christmas Party - you will be so loved.  There won't be anyone pulling your beard or suggesting you're 'not real'.  There will just be pure, unadulterated joy!

This is Santa and Mrs Claus at the Bear Cottage party - they are particularly special.  Many of the children they visit would not otherwise get to sit with Santa due to the severity of their illness or disability.  For some children it might be their last Christmas.  Santa and Mrs Claus treat all the children so beautifully.  Giving out the gifts takes an age as every child gets just as much time as they need with Santa - there is no rush, no stares, just love.

Aussie Wordless Wednesday

Monday, December 17, 2012

Reflections {Writing Prompt}

How do I reflect on the past year?

So much has happened this year that I don't really want to reflect on - that I don't yet know how to reflect on.  I don't even know yet what to think about it all.

In the last year Ashlea has acquired a new kidney;

Murray has acquired a brain injury;

Audrey has flourished at school;

Emma has acquired an anxiety disorder.

How do I reflect on a year of such extreme highs and lows?

I really have no words.

What I do know is this.  Heaven is coming.  It's going to be so much better than the extreme high of Ashlea's successful transplant that it will more than make up for the extreme low that is brain injury and anxiety.

Other than that I've got nothing.

{Ellen Stumbo - writing prompt}

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A bit of fun...

Ashlea's Vision Ed teacher made this for fun.

Even though it is just a bit of fun I find it kind of mesmerising. I know it's just an animation but it gives a little glimpse of 'what could have been' - imagine if Ashlea could really move like that!

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Christmas Memory {writing prompt}

I love Christmas.  I have so many fun memories of Christmas as a child - the excitement, the fun, the presents!

As an adult the memory that is clearest in my mind comes from Christmas 2006 - our first Christmas together as a family of five. Ashlea had come home from hospital in September but we hadn't made it to church as a whole family until Christmas.  I can remember us all going on Christmas Eve and being so thankful for God's goodness to us in letting us keep Ashlea.  I was still traumatised by our NICU experience so I was hyper aware of just how precious it was that we were all together as a family for Christmas.  It could have been a very different Christmas for us that year.

Every year at Christmas I still remember that first year we were a family of five.  For me Christmas is now a special reminder that every day we have with our children is so precious.  Every Christmas celebrated together as a family is something to be treasured.  You never know what is around the corner or how many Christmases you will get with the people you love.  The irony is that this year again it could have been a very different Christmas for us.

My Christmas memories told through Santa photos...

2006 - No Santa photo - too stressful to take
twins and a 2 year old to see Santa!!

2007 - I'm sure the girls sat on Santa's knee at the RIDBC
party but I obviously have lost the photo!

2008 - Santa - at the CPA party in 40 degree heat

2009 - Santa - RIDBC party
2010 - Oops - No sign of Santa

2011 - In which Santa looks
murderously at my children...

2012 - Our FIRST shopping centre Santa photo.
The entire shop was watching by the time we were
finished but it's pretty good don't you think!!

And speaking of Christmas - the annual Christmas newsletter is currently in production.  Who would like a copy?  We are going old school this year and only doing a snail mail version - email me your address if you want a copy:  alisona (at) aanet (dot) com (dot) au

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Dreamnight

Last week we went to Dreamnight at the Zoo.  It was such a good night - we had a ball and got to do so many fun things, like:

Feed the baby giraffe - look at that tongue!

Cuddle a giant 'duck'

Squeeze a snake (she really did give it a squeeze!)
Remind Santa to bring a Dodo

See the new exhibits

And meet our favourite characters
From our favourite movie

And some other randoms she'd never heard of...
Thanks Dreamnight!

What a great night!  I don't even know who is responsible for organising Dreamnight - but a big thank you must go to the Childrens Hospital who enabled us to attend and to all the staff at the zoo who volunteered their time to make sure we all had a great experience.

Aussie Wordless Wednesday

Monday, December 10, 2012

An Award for Audrey...

It was the end of year presentation day at school today and Audrey represented the family by receiving the award for enthusiastic participation in music.  She is very proud.

It's so tricky as a parent - I want to celebrate Audrey's award but I don't want to make Emma and Ashlea feel bad for not getting one - not that Ashlea cares, but Emma notices that Audrey always gets awards and she doesn't.  Audrey really does need to be celebrated though.  She is my 'easiest' child and can so easily get overlooked among her noisy sisters.  I would love to claim some sort of credit for her good behaviour but I can't - it's just her nature.  Not only has Audrey managed to keep up in kindergarten this year despite being a micro-prem and having had a challenging year at home - listen to what her teacher wrote on her report:
Audrey is socially aware with a mature disposition, which enables her to resolve conflict with great diplomacy.  She is a quiet but popular student who is responsible and considerate.  Her selfless attitude and ability to share and care is notable in one so young.
It's the first time a school report has brought a happy tear to my eye!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Wish Granted

Ashlea's spa has arrived!
It was a tight squeeze but we got it in...

Thank you so much to the Starlight Foundation for making this possible.  Ashlea loves her spa. The first words out of her mouth today were:

It's a spa day!

A lot of children choose holidays or experiences for their wish but holidays and experiences tend to freak Ashlea out.  A spa is perfect for her as she loves being in the water and it is also a great source of therapy. Mostly though it is FUN - and not just for Ashlea but for the whole family. It is something we can all enjoy for years to come.

Thank you so much to Starlight (and all those who donate to Starlight) and thank you to Chris Dalby from HotSpring Spas at Bella Vista.

If anyone has any spare change this Christmas please consider donating to the Starlight Foundation.  They are currently trying to raise $1 million in order to grant 154 wishes before Christmas.  We are just one example of how much joy a wish can bring to a sick child.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: More Milestones!

Who can resist the cuteness of these two???

Yesterday Ashlea and her school friend Jack partied hard at the Variety Special Children's Christmas Party.  This is the first party that Ashlea has really gotten into and enjoyed (her hands only stayed on her ears for 10 minutes) without even the hint of a meltdown.

She couldn't wait to sit on Santa's knee and could have sat there chatting to him all day - although I think he was a little perplexed by her request for a Dodo for Christmas.

After the party Jack came back to our place to hang out for awhile.  When Ashlea found out he was coming over she was so excited.  One of her friends was coming to play. It was beyond gorgeous to see them playing together.  Even though we have had plenty of kids come over to play before this was the first time one of Ashlea's friends had come just to play with her.  She was thrilled and has been talking about it ever since.  My mummy-heart was filled to bursting to see her playing with her friend.  

Linking up with Trish's Wordless Wednesday - although I'm not very good at the wordless part :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

When I See You Smile {Writing Prompt}

Seriously - this week's writing topic is too easy - just look at this smile!  What's not to love???

When I see you smile - I smile. 
When I see you happy - I am happy. 
And when you laugh - what a delicious sound - I can't help but laugh too. 
I remember your very first smile.  It was September 2006 and you were 9 weeks corrected age (22 weeks actual) and had been home from hospital all of 4 days. You were lying beside Audrey and I was talking to you both when you gave us a hint of a smile.  It only lasted a few seconds but oh how it gave us hope.   
Maybe you knew who we were?   
Maybe you were happy in spite of everything you had been through?   
It was the first time you indicated that you were 'in there' after all those months in hospital.  
Early smiles - Dec 06 - 8 months actual / 5 months corrected

The best thing about your smile is that you do it every day.  It is a very rare day when you don't have at least one smile - and most days you have hundreds.  And seeing as your smile makes me smile this means that every single day - no matter what else is going on in my adult world - I have a reason to smile.