February 2017Life Love and Hiccups: February 2017
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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

I Don't Want To EVER Have To Say Goodbye

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*** Please know that this post discusses the very sensitive issue of suicide and reader discretion is strongly advised***

I once knew a girl who was so lonely, lost, confused and unexplainably sad.

She was only sixteen and yet felt like she bore the weight of eighty or more years of living on her shoulders.

She didn't really want to say goodbye.... she just couldn't bear to carry the burden of her confusing pain anymore and although she was desperate for help from somebody, anybody... she just didn't know how to ask for it or where to even begin.

It all just seemed... too hard.

One day, she found herself so incredibly overwhelmed by it all and she just could not see the stars for the clouds and so she wrote some goodbyes to the people she loved, took some pills she found in her parent's bedside drawer and got into bed to wait for it to all .  just .  stop.

That girl is gone, I don't know her any more.

I don't not know her because she was successful in her attempt to end her life... no thankfully that wasn't how this particular situation played out.

I don't know her because she isn't that scared lost girl anymore. She is all grown up and happily married with three beautiful boys and surrounded by family and friends who love her and listen and care.

She is me, but I am no longer that girl.

In the past six or seven weeks, the world has said goodbye to 6 people within my immediate circle of friends and family.

SIX!!!

Six people whose loss has had an unbearable impact on their families and those who knew and loved them.

One of those losses was but a mere 16 year old boy.

I didn't know all six of them personally, some were friends of my friends and friends of my family members and yet I am so deeply saddened by their deaths and to be honest I am really struggling to come to terms with the age old question of... Why?

WHY?

Three of these people lost their lives following hard fought battles with various illnesses and disease.

That is so incredibly tragic.

Three lost their battles with themselves and took their own lives. All three of those were males, including a 16 year old boy who was a school friend of my niece.

That is beyond tragic.

It just doesn't make sense does it?

On one hand we have three people who were so desperate to live, to beat their disease and live their lives for as long as possible, and then, on the other, are three who clearly felt so lost inside for whatever reasons that they just couldn't hold on.

The thought of them shatters my heart into a million pieces.

When I look back at the 16 year old me crying in her room feeling so lonely and helpless, I want to hug her and tell her to just hold on.

I want to tell her that in the weeks and years to come, the things that seemed so huge and impossible to overcome back then, will be so insignificant that she may not even remember them.

I want to tell her to talk to her parents about how she is feeling, to talk to a friend, a stranger on the end of a phone line... anyone, just talk.

I want to tell her that it is ok to cry, that it's ok to make mistakes, and that you don't always need to be strong and brave.

I want her to know that sometimes just by talking, you can allow someone else to be strong and brave for you when you can't find the strength for yourself.

I want everyone who feels that sense of hopelessness to know this and to hear my words and feel my warm hug.

As a mother of three boys, my greatest fear is that they will ever find themselves feeling overwhelmed by fear or pain or internal battles.

My greatest fear is losing them, so much so that I can barely even whisper those words.

I don't ever want to EVER have to say goodbye to my children.

No parent should.

I want them to know that they can always talk to me and to their dad, about anything and that no matter what it is they may be feeling or any mistakes they have made, it will be OK... they are OK, we are OK.

I want them to know that they DO NOT need to man up.

They DO NOT need to hide their pain or their tears.

They DO NOT need to hide their feelings and fears.

No one should ever feel like they should have to do that.

Not ever!

Please you guys, make an extra effort tonight to talk to your kids, like really talk to them about their feelings and their fears and all the stuff that you might feel uncomfortable talking about, but is soooo important.

Encourage them to look out for their friends, and to talk to each other, especially the males because for some reason whether it be society conditioning them or not, our boys and our men often feel like they can't talk about how they are feeling or show their emotions and pain to others.

Talk to your brothers, your boyfriends and your husbands and make sure they are doing ok and not trying to carry too much on their shoulders.

Do this for them and for yourself and do it for everyone who wishes that they still had the chance to have that talk.

We need to be here for each other, to look out for each other and to remind each other that life is so very very precious and fragile...

Please, don't ever let go.

Please don't.



If you are thinking about suicide or experiencing a personal crisis - help is available.
No one needs to face their problems alone.

Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Just call 131114. PLEASE, just call.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Too Pooped To Pop - An Explanation of Sorts

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Can you believe that we are a hairs breath from being into March already...

MARCH you guys!

How the flip did that happen?

One minute we were on school holidays and the next... well the next I'm sitting here writing a blog post an lamenting how it is nearly bloody March!

I have been the worst blogger this year. THE WORST.

I have all the best intentions of blogging, I have had tons of ideas, a billion thoughts and a squillion projects on the go that I could share and yet... all you really have had from me this year so far is crickets and tumbleweeds.

I wonder every day what all my bloggy friends are up to and I ache to read and comment on all the blogs that I love to visit and yet I just haven't and I'm so sorry for that.

The truth is - I am tired.

I am soooo unbelievably tired right now and if it weren't for the fact that I have been working seven days a week (including at least a couple of nights a week too) since pretty much last October, I would seriously question if I was unwell.

I'm not unwell though thankfully... well not like properly unwell, although I copped a good old dose of the flu late last week which was pretty much like my body standing up on a podium and screaming into a loud speaker at me directly into my ear canal.... "SLOW DOWN YOU MORON".

The emotions of last year and what went on with my youngest son and school really took it's toll on me, more than I realised. Then the nerves and anxiety around him starting at a new school this year and one of my older ones starting at high school... well all of that anxiety chewed through a shitload of adrenalin and now that everything and everyone is settled and happy and peaceful once more my bucket of adrenalin is all dried up and I am finding myself a little too pooped to pop.

When I am tired like this, I get all emotional (read A LOT emotional) and I tend to withdraw from everything and everyone and hide away in my own little cocoon. I don't feel much like talking some days, which yes I know is VERY unlike me the verbal spewer, but I feel sort of raw and exposed and not wanting to put myself out there very much in case someone says something that sends me over the edge.

Someone asked me the other day at the studio "Are you ok Sonia, you look very tired" and I promptly burst into tears. BIG FAT irrational tears which made this poor woman recoil in horror and I could see the regret she had  over asking me that question literally dripping like sweat from her forehead.

I get it though, I'm not a pretty cryer!!!

The good news is I have finally found a gorgeous woman who I have hired to help me run the workshops, which means I will finally get at least one of my weekend days back and most of my nights too and the thought of that has me dancing on tables (all be it in my head only) and has given me a MUCH needed boost.

Anyway, blah blah blah... I just thought I would sort of explain what's been going on as I know I have worried some people lately with my radio silence and your kind and thoughtful messages and checking in on me has been unbelievably appreciated and well... I guess I just wanted to let you know that all is AOL and you can expect me to return to my normal program of relentless chatter very very soon.

How are you lot doing though?
Do you withdraw when you are tired too?
Do you have any magic cures or pick me ups I should know about?


Monday, 20 February 2017

A Dining Room Makeover on A Zero Budget

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Wednesday, 15 February 2017

"Rack Off" Chicken Little

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I'm not going to even attempt to deny it... I'm a good old fashioned the 'world is falling in' Chicken Little Drama Queen.

You know, the type who jumps to conclusions like - if you don't answer your phone when I call you, you must be like lying dead in a gutter or something?

Yup, that's me.

Hi!

I'm also known for these pearlers too..

Worrying that a one off giddy spell doesn't actually have anything to do with the fact I forgot to eat brekkie and lunch... nuh uh, I googled it and I totally have a very rare form of brain cancer or a genetic blood disorder or possibly both.

Stressing when I don't see your text message for a few days and then I respond and I don't hear back from you straight away, then that means that you hate me and you've probably already stuck eleventy billion pins into a lifelike voodoo doll you made of me.

Of course I'm not brave enough to do that because surely if I do I will make a fool of complete and utter fool of myself, or fail miserably or insert a zillion other lame excuses here.

I have spent SO MANY HOURS, every single day, every single week, EVERY FRICKING YEAR OF MY LIFE sweating the small stuff and making mountains out of nothing and not doing something because I'm too darn chicken... and I am over it.

SO over it.

I've allowed 'worry' and 'anxiety' to make themselves too damn comfortable around here so after a particularly frightening panic attack back at the beginning of this year, I made a decision to ditch my Drama Queen crown and sash once and for all and stop stressing so damn much.

Whilst I haven't yet mastered the finer details of this new goal of mine... I'm getting better at it.

I'm checking myself more frequently and asking myself "is what I am worrying about is worthy of a good worry?" or "does it even warrant a fart of a thought at all?"

I'm making a conscious effort to seriously consider "does this (whatever it may be) really matter?"

I'm challenging myself with "What is the worst that could happen" and "is the worst really all that bad?"

I am asking myself, often throughout the day... "Would I be bothering to spare even a single second of a thought about this if I were lying here on my death bed?"

And you know what?

At least four out of five times, my answer is no and so I tell Chicken Little to "Rack Off".

I'm not going to lie... it still feels kind of clunky at the moment and I have to consciously stop myself from going straight to disaster mode.

I guess you could say I am a work in progress, but regardless - I am really starting to like the freedom that not worrying about quite so much brings to me.

In future I plan on hugging more chickens rather than behaving like one.

Are you ready to tell Chicken Little to Rack off?
Are you an obsessive worrier?
Do you have a Drama Queen sitting on your shoulder?







Monday, 13 February 2017

This and That and Some Other Stuff

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Monday, Monday, Monday - why must you always come around so fast?

No joke, it's kinda like Friday arrives and we are all "yayyyyy - it's the best day of the week, let's celebrate", and then we all start dancing and before we get to the end of the song  BOOM... Monday sticks its head up and jealously announces "sucked in, I'm here now" to which we all eye roll and bail the party like someone just dropped a fart bomb the size of China...

Or something like that.

Thanks heavens that awful heat wave has left us here in Sydney for a while.

I just don't know that I could have coped with another day of that insane heat but my thoughts are very much with those who are still battling the combo of heat and fires and then the extreme opposite - the flooding in WA.

We live in a crazy country right?!

How have you been coping with the heat / rain? Are you stir crazy yet?

I got by with the help of the air con in the car (yes I totally begged OFFERED to drive our kids around), along with a couple of dozen packets of lemonade icy poles and a shitload of Coconut and Lychee Tim Tams.

Holy bat balls have you tasted those things?


Last week, Tim Tams organised for Jayde and I and some others to be picked up by some fancy pants cars and driven to a mystery destination.

Whilst we were tempted to shove our passports in our bags in the hope of being whisked off to somewhere, anywhere that was cooler than we were, we weren't disappointed when we arrived at the Messina Gelato HQ in Rosebery because HELLO GELATO!! Hello COLD gelato!!

So it seems that Tim Tam Biscuits and Messina Gelato have gone and hooked up and had themselves a love child.... or more like a whole gang of love children in the form of the most amazing gelato inspired Tim Tams including; Choc Mint, Salted Caramel & Vanilla, Coconut & Lychee and Black Forest.

To celebrate - we spent the night eating Tim Tams and Gelato, Drinking Tim Tam and Gelato, Making Tim Tams, and more eating of Tim Tam and Gelato inspired desserts.


Deadset you guys, they are SO good and after devouring basically a whole pack of Coconut & Lychee and Choc Mint I would consider myself well and truly qualified to say so.

In other news, I am so beyond happy to tell you that three weeks in now and Flynn is officially loving his new school. Strike up the band *inset double cartwheel fist bump here* I can breathe again.

We are soooo beyond stoked that he has settled in, and relived as I have spent quite a few nail biting nights questioning whether we did the right thing, but seeing him so happy now, well that makes us so happy too.

Speaking of happy things - a very special little four year old friend of ours who just so happens to be like the most happy little human on earth, is doing something very very awesome...


That little cutie up there is Minty - Jayde and Steve's daughter (Little Paper Lane) and not only does this little bubble of sunshine plan on marrying my middle son, she also loves to draw and make people happy. In fact she wants EVERYONE in the world to be happy.

Her heart is HUGE for such a little human and so Jayde and Steve have turned her drawing of a heart into a gift card and 100% of the proceeds of Minty's Heart Card go to Rafiki Mwema - an amazing charity founded by Anne-Marie & John Tipper and Sarah Rosborg that supports children in Africa who have been abused.

It would be awesome if you could support Minty's dream of making a difference. Go with your heart and buy a heart card here.

Ok enough of my rambling for the day - I need to get dinner served up so that I can sit down and watch Married at First Sight.

I know, I know, totally trashy train wreck TV.

Deliciously mind numbing trashy train wreck TV and I love it.

What have you been up to? Any news? 
What trashy Tv shows have you hooked at the moment?









Monday, 6 February 2017

We Are Getting There

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Well you guys, we are into week two of the new schools for two of our boys - a change of school for Flynn and high school for Sam.

I would like to say it has been all smooth sailing... but the truth is it hasn't, not for everyone anyway.

Sam is stoked, absolutely loving high school so far, loving meeting new people and loving feeling all mature and the like. Totally NOT what I expected from a kid with such extreme anxiety but hey... I am thrilled about it so I'll just quickly knock on some wood and move on if it's alright with you.

Flynn?

Ah Flynn, our little crystal and Kombi loving hippy child.

Our happy go lucky confident dude seems to have gone AWOL at the moment and has left in his place a teary lost little soul.

Monday last week saw him smiling from ear to ear after his first day and I was fist pumping about how easy it was and thanking the universe for giving us a much needed break.

But then you know how they say that you shouldn't brag too soon?

Yeah, well that! Beacuse as much as he loved day one... day two... NOT so much.

Day three saw the arrival of some pretty nasty pre school stomach aches, a case of the wobbly bottom lip and by the time we arrived at the gates of the school, the tears had well and truly set in.

With every tear that fell, I literally felt like my heart was being ripped out, chucked on the ground and stomped on.

I was trying really hard not too cry with him, really hard, but I hugged him harder and longer than usual.

Somehow I managed to hold it together and after kissing him goodbye, I put on the sunnies and bawled my way back to the car and all the way to work.

He misses his friends and he just feels a little awkward and out of place and... just lost. It's as simple as that... he just feels lost.

He really likes his new school, he thinks his teacher is pretty darn awesome and he says that all the kids are really friendly... he just misses his old friends and the familiarity he had walking into his old school every day.

By the end of last week, things were improving.

He found himself settling within a group of six awesome little dudes from his year and one who lives up the road from us. Actually, now that I think about it, 'awesome' is quite the understatement when it comes to describing those kids because after they came up to Flynn and I as we waited for the bell to ring and introduced themselves and asked Flynn to play, I could have hugged the guts out of each one of them.

Now, I need to get my brave on and organise some playdates with those kids. It's my turn to get all nervous ringing mums that I don't know and introducing myself.

Gah!!!

You never quite grow out of the nervousness do you?

It will get better, I know this.

It will get easier and he knows this.

He rated today a seven out of ten. That's a HUGE win in our opinion.

Bring on an 'eight' day.

It's coming right?

Have you guys changed your child's school? Or did you ever change yourself?
Any tips for any of us going through it or considering it? 
I would love to hear from you if you have any experience you could offer.



Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Off The Leash

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Brought to you by Nuffnang and Sydney Cycleways 

I’m not one of those helicopter kind of mums when it comes to our boys….

BAHAHAHA who am I kidding? I SO AM one of those helicopter mums and if I could wrap my kids up in a suit made out of extra thick padding and microchip them with a homing teleporter kind of thingamajig then I totally would.

I live in constant fear of something happening to one of my kids… don’t we all?

Even though I know that you can’t live like that… I sort of just do anyway, we probably all do.

If they are not at home and I hear sirens nearby I have to ring them to check that they are ok because what if that siren is for them?

We have had safety talks, stranger danger talks, respect your body talks, water safety talks, friendship talks and we have had the ‘scare the bejeezus’ out of them when it comes to drugs and alcohol talk.

There are certain things I and we (as in them) can have some control over when it comes to protecting them, you know diet, health, making smart choices and all that, but it’s the things we can’t control that scare the crap out of me - like accidents.

We are a bike family… ok wait, no, we don’t get around in leathers on Harleys and stuff. I mean we like to ride our bikes a lot - to the beach, the shops, friend's houses etc and even though the kids wear helmets and carry phones with them etc, I am terrified that when they are out riding on their bikes, they might forget to look, or other people on the road don’t do the right thing by them.

Next week, my youngest starts at a new school, one that is within bike riding distance and ever since the decision about the new school was made, he has been asking if he can ride his bike to his new school with some of the other neighbourhood kids.

WHAT THE?

No. Definitely NOT!

He is my BABY!!!

OK, he is nearly ten… but he will ALWAYS be my baby and as such I need to protect him in every way that is humanly possibly… right?

Despite the fact that every bit of my being was begging me to shout “OH HELL NO”, I actually squeaked out a “yes okay” instead and I have suffered from sweaty palms ever since.

I trust him… kinda.

He knows how to ride safely… sorta.

He is responsible… well kinda sorta.

Bike riding is such a good way for the kids to spend their downtime and it’s an awesome way to get around. Besides, it’s fun - don’t you remember the freedom you felt when you would ride off up the street on your trusty old bike? Just you and the bike and the road to adventure.

Yep, we needed some help to get him ready for this new found independence and me ready for this too for that matter.

Last weekend all five of us headed out to the Sydney Cycle Park at Alexandria for an afternoon of bike safety training and cycling around the city with Rob and Jules as our guides teaching us the dos and the don’ts and all the info we needed to know to keep our boys (and us for that matter) riding safely on the roads and Flynn safely to ride safely to and from school on his bike.

Did you know that anyone older than 12 is not allowed to ride their bike on the footpath unless it is a designated shared pedestrian and bike path?

I sure as hell didn’t and that information alone was enough to send me into hyperventilation city because I actually TELL my kids to ride on the footpath.

You can ride on the footpath if you are accompanying someone under 12 or carrying a child seat, but other than that - nah uh - you need to use separated cycleways and low trafficstreets, obeying the road rules and taking responsibility for your own safety and that of those you are sharing the road with.

HOLY SPITBALLS hold me.

The good news is, if you live in Sydney, our councils are working very hard to protect us bikies and provide as many separated cycleways and shared paths as possible. I’m pretty sure other states are doing the same too.

You can even hop online and download maps that show you the safest routes to take to where you want to go via your trusty pedal powered steed.

After a half hour classroom session learning the rules and then a couple of hours out riding on Sydney City roads practicing drills and the rules - I am breathing a lot easier about the whole riding to school thing.

I’m not quite ready to shut off the chopper engine just yet, but I am getting there and that’s a start.

My fellow Sydneysiders - I seriously encourage you to spend a couple of hours at the Sydney Park Cycling Centre with your family. You can take your own bikes, and for $20 bucks you can do a fourhour course designed to develop the skills and confidence required to be an effective bike rider.

TOTALLY WORTH every cent.

The courses run on weeknights and weekends and as well as parent and child courses and bike maintenance courses there are even ones dedicated to women only and rusty riders too.

I will be breathing a little easier as I send Flynn off on his bike to school knowing he has these news skills and knowledge under his helmet… although I’m not going to promise that I won’t be stalking him from about 50 metres back, you know, just to be sure.

We all have to start somewhere though.

For more information on the courses, cycle safety tips and maps etc, head over to the Sydney Cycleways website here.

Do your kids ride to school too?
At what age did you manage to release the reins?