Monday, 29 April 2013

Sesame Ellis

Since Aaron passed away I've had contact with a lot of different people.  So many people have been so kind to us, and every comment or message that we get means so much to us.  It reminds us that we aren't alone. 

One of my favourite photographers is Rachel Devine who has a website called Sesame Ellis.   She has an amazing list of clients including Target, Nikon, People Magazine, Betty Crocker and Ford Models.   She has also published books and had one of her photos on the cover of a magazine.    I have always oohed and aah ed over her beautiful photos of her gorgeous kids, and have admired her photos on her blog.

I don't actually remember how Rachel and I first made contact, but I think it may have been through Instagram.  I felt honoured that she would take the time to comment on my photos, because I looked up to her so much as a photographer. 

A few months ago Rachel let me know that she was coming on a holiday, touring Tasmania with her family.  Rachel is American, but lives in Melbourne with her family and they had never been to Tasmania before.  They had a jam packed week of driving from one end of the state to the other, and back again.

We only had one afternoon where we could meet up while she was in town, and unfortunately it was a night when I was running around with lots of jobs after school.  Even though we knew we would only have a short time together, we were still excited to be able to meet up.  They were touring around in a camper van, so we met them at the park that they were staying at for the night.

I hadn't told my boys about it until just before we went to meet them, as I knew there was a possibility that we wouldn't have time to meet.  On the way there I was telling the boys about how I knew Rachel and that she has a blog that I read. 

It was so strange but cool meeting them in real life.  I had seen literally hundreds of beautiful photos of them, so I felt like I was meeting someone famous! Rachel said it was the same when she saw my boys.   She had also been telling her kids that she knew me through my blog.  Unfortunately Harri was at a friend's house so couldn't come with us. 
Rachel and Alec's kids were just as cute in real life as in her photos.  Clover and Kieran are twins and are so different in looks and personality.
I told them that I could imagine just jumping in a camper van with the boys and touring around Australia.  It was always a dream of Aaron and mine to do that.  He wasn't into camping at all (we have never actually been camping as a family) but he said he could handle a camper van, as long as it had a TV :)

Rachel's oldest daughter Gemma is following in her Mum's footsteps and is already a talented photographer.  I joked with her that she and Harri would make a nice couple in the future as they are the same age, and that I should go and pick him up so she could meet him. I don't think she was very keen.  Kobe is the same age as the twins so we also joked that Clover and Kobe should get married, but I think she'll have to line up as he tells me that he now has four girlfriends! :)
 
It's crazy how events in my life has allowed me to have contact with people that I wouldn't have otherwise, and to meet people such as Rachel. Thank you Rachel for taking some time out of your holiday to meet up.  It meant a lot to me and hopefully you'll be back to Tasmania again sometime so we can spend longer together next time. 
 

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Lawn(ed) Cemetery

For fifteen months we have been visiting Aaron's grave and trying to pretty it up as much as possible, because even though it's a lawn cemetery, it is in a part of the cemetery where there is no lawn yet.  It's crazy to think that one day while we were at Noah's grave we commented about how awful it looked and how awful it would be to have to bury someone in that section.  It's still hard to believe that he's buried there. 

The workers at the cemetery are lovely and often come over to me when I'm at the cemetery and fill me in on what the plans are for both Noah's and Aaron's graves, so I knew that they were planning on putting the lawn seed down in Aaron's section during autumn. 

 Over a month ago we were excited to see that they were finally starting to level off the graves in Aaron's section.
We kept going back every day to see if there was any progress made, but it took another couple of weeks before they put down top soil and lawn seed.   After a little while we stopped going up and checking every day because there wasn't much happening as they were busy doing work in other sections.
 
I had so much on my mind when I was thinking about selling and moving house and I hated being at home, so I spent a lot of time at the cemetery in the months leading up to putting our old house on the market.   

Since moving into our new house we haven't been going to the cemetery as often.  We were surprised when we went for our weekly visit after church a few weeks ago, to see that they had finally put down some top soil. 
 
The person who had reserved the grave opposite Aaron's passed away just a few weeks ago, so now there is a fresh grave opposite him. 
 A week ago we went back and were excited to see little shoots of grass starting to pop up. 
We couldn't believe it today when we pulled up. It's amazing what a difference a week makes! The grass looks so beautiful and green.   We've had a great grass growing week, with some sunny days but also patches of rain. 
It looks so much nicer now without all the dirt and mounds of dirt on top of each grave.  It will be nice to take some flowers back up there now that I know they aren't going to be covered in dirt, dust or mud.
 As horrible as it is that Aaron actually has to have a grave, it's nice to have it looking so much nicer now. 

Friday, 26 April 2013

Lest We Forget

ANZAC Day hasn't felt the same since Pop passed away, but it's still a special day and we always make sure that we go to the ANZAC march, not only for Pop but for all those who fought for our country. 
We miss seeing Pop march.  He always marched so proudly and always made us smile with his bow tie.
This year Uncle Howard came down from Queensland to march with Pop's medals.  It was lovely to see him and Aunty Marilyn again. 

Checking out the ANZAC Day window display with Grandma.


Harri got very quiet and I knew he was upset about something and just assumed he was missing Aaron and Noah.  After the march he told me he was feeling sad because he was missing Pop.

Deloraine turned on the weather as usual and it started raining a little bit, just as the service started at the cenotaph.
I snapped a photo of Kobe who was being very reverent during one of the prayers. When he opened his eyes he saw that I was taking a photo and told me right off! He pointed his finger at me and told me that I should be shutting my eyes! Kobe was fascinated when I was telling him what ANZAC Day was about, and couldn't get his head around that people went to war, and that Pop was one of those who went.
My cute nephew Hugh and my cousin Ty's daughter, Nancy.  Her Mum, Sam was in labour last ANZAC Day and she was born the next day. 
It's so nice to see that there are still big crowds every year to the ANZAC march.  
 
After the march we headed out to the Raspberry Farm to have lunch with my extended family. Lots of us got together to catch up with Aunty Marilyn and Uncle Howard while they were down from Queensland.  Aunty Marilyn had brought down a lot of her old photos of Aaron and I from her albums for me to copy.  Some of them are classics, so I'll have to post them at some stage as the boys love seeing them.
We had a lovely lunch and the boys were excited they coud have waffles and pancakes for lunch.
We took up about half of the restaurant.
It was lovely to be together with family on such a special and important day. 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Firefighters

We are loving the new four term education system that Tasmania has started this year.  It's so nice to be on school holidays already.  We usually have a longer Easter holiday than we had this year, but then we don't usually have holidays until June.  To be already be on holidays at the end of April feels like a luxury. 

Holidays are really hard since Aaron passed away, because the days can be really long and the weeks seem to go on forever.  Easter turned out to be harder than I thought it would be, but I think it was because it was not only time off our normal routine, and also a special occasion.   I wasn't dreading these school holidays as much as I knew we were all ready for a break from school and work, and we are feeling really happy in our new home.

We've only been on holidays for a few days and have a week and a half to go, but we have been keeping busy and have our days planned out for the rest of the holidays.  As long as I have a plan about how we are going to fill our days I feel okay.   Today though our plans totally changed and it turned out to be the best day of our holidays so far.

Today we were in town and ran into our friend Erin who own the beautiful beach house that we spent time at during summer. She was working (she's a police officer) and told us that her husband Chris was also working (he is a firefighter) and would love to show the boys through the fire station if we wanted to go around before we came home.

When Jay was a lot younger our friend Mark had taken us on a tour.  Mark's wife Nicole was Noah's first carer who worked in our home.  We loved her so much and are still friends with them.  Jay couldn't remember going on the tour so it was fun to take the boys there today. It was also nice to see Mark as he was working.

The first thing we saw was the fire pole.  Kobe was being shy at first and didn't want to have a go, and said 'it's boring' which cracked us all up.  Mark joked that when he did the tour for Jalen that it wasn't boring, and it must've been Chris' tour that was boring Kobe.
He didn't think it was boring when he got to sit in the truck.   Chris showed the boys the difference between each truck and explained when they would use each one.   The boys kept talking about the bush fires we had seen on the news over summer.
Chris told us that the front passenger seat is where the boss sits. Kobe thought that was cool and kept saying 'I want to be the boss'. 
 
 Chris turned on the different sirens and put on the lights for them which was cool..
and a little loud.
He explained to the boys what all the buttons and hoses were for and how it all worked. There's so much to know and so much training that they have to continually do. 
We were lucky to catch them doing a drill just before we left, so we got to watch them using the hoses. 
Being there reminded me that I should change the batteries in our smoke alarms, especially since I had no clue when the previous owners of our house had changed them.  When I mentioned it Mark asked me how many alarms we have and where they are placed.  When I told him that we have just one in the hall outside our bedrooms, he asked if we would be home later in the day and said they would come around and put new smoke alarms that have batteries that last ten years in each of our bedrooms for us. 

A few hours later a fire truck pulled up with five firefighters who put in five new smoke alarms for us and also checked our power points to make sure that everything was safe.    How's that for service!  It feels good to know that we have new fire alarms which we don't have to worry about for ten years. 
We had a great day learning more about firefighting and it was also good that the boys became more aware of what they do and how important it is to know certain things like having a plan to get out during a fire, how to get out safely and to have working smoke alarms.  Obviously  you don't have to always plan your day out to have a good one.   Sometimes spur of the moment things are even better.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

I'm still 'weally' missing Daddy and Noah

A number of times each day I hear 'I'm 'weally' missing Daddy and Noah' from Kobe.  If he is upset over anything, it always turns back to 'I'm missing Daddy and Noah!'.  He goes through periods when he's really angry and he just kicks, and hits and screams at all of us, which is so stressful but probably a good thing, because at least he's expressing how he's feeling. 

Some days when we go to the cemetery he says he is too sad to get out and chooses to sit in the car and wait for me.  Other times he will get out and just sit quietly at Aaron and Noah's graves without saying anything.  It makes me sad that a four year old heart, has to be so sad already.
When he's really sad he often asks me to sing him a song at bedtime. Whenever I ask him what he wants me to sing it's always 'I'm a Child of God'.  I will sing it and then he looks at me and says 'I'm still 'weally' missing Daddy and Noah', like he thought me singing to him would just take those feelings away, but it hasn't.
One night Kobe was feeling particularly sad, but the next morning he was so happy.   He never gets out of bed on his own, but always calls out to me and I go and jump in his bed with him before he gets up.   He called out to me and I went into his room and he said 'I had a dream about Daddy last night! He was fishing with me'.  I told him how nice that sounded and then he looked at his photo next to his bed and exclaimed 'that's the dream I had!'.  He was so happy about it.

I feel sad to know that Kobe probably won't really remember Aaron and Noah as he gets older.  My brother Daniel passed away when I was six years old and I can hardly remember anything about him. I remember a couple of different things that happened on particular days, but I mostly remember the day that he died. It's crazy how the mind holds onto certain memories.

As much as I wish that Kobe would be able to really remember Aaron and Noah, rather than just relying on photos and videos to jog his memory, I'm also glad that he was young enough to really have what happened go over his head.   Luckily he was asleep when Aaron passed away because it was scary enough for Jay and Harri to see a little bit of what happened.

I hated having to tell him in the morning that Daddy had died, but he was too young to really get it and just said 'oh!? Are my cousins still here?' and was happy to just get up and go and play with them.  I'm so glad that he has happy memories of fishing with Aaron the day before he died, and not scary ones of the moment he died.   Hopefully he'll have a lot more dreams of Daddy that will help him feel like he's still close by.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Doing it for Dad {Hawks V Freo}

Footy season is back in full swing and I'm happy to say that Harri is back into it, big time.  Last year Harri still liked footy, but he kind of lost his enthusiasm for it.  Every time the footy was on TV or if we would go and watch it live, he would get really upset because he said it would 'make him think about Daddy'.

This year he says he still wishes that Aaron was here to watch it with him, but he is able to watch it without getting as upset.  Last year he hardly knew where each team was on the ladder.  This year he's totally obsessed with footy again.  He eats, breaths and sleeps footy and knows all the stats, where everyone is on the ladder and who is injured each week.

Yesterday we were excited to be able to go our first live game of the season with my Mum (other than the NAB cup) to watch the Hawks play Fremantle.  Apparently you can never have too many Hawks geurnseys. I pulled all of Aaron's out to decide which one to wear to the game. 

 I was surprised that Kobe was so excited about the game.  He is really starting to want to copy Harri with everything he does, including being into the footy.  He wanted to get all decked out in Hawks gear.  
He kept saying 'Daddy would love me in my Hawks stuff wouldn't he Mum?', 'Daddy would be watching us right now wouldn't he Mum!?'.
Jay would've preferred to have stayed at home, but I kept telling him that we were going together and were doing it for Dad.  I know Jay isn't into sport and especially not into footy, and I don't mind at all.   I just feel like footy and the Hawks were such a big part of Aaron's life, that I want to continue doing it together as family for him.  We have a family membership which means we have allocated seats at each game, so it would be silly to waste the membership and seats as well.  He pretended he was excited, just to be silly and make me laugh.  
  
But once the game started he hardly looked up from his phone (Aaron's phone which he inherited).
  
 I kept telling Jay that if he actually watched the game he would get into it, but he wasn't so sure.  At the end he did watch for a little bit and kept laughing at us screaming our heads off.  It was a great game with the Hawks winning.
Even before they won Kobe was singing the Hawks theme song - he cracked me up as he only knew half the words.   He makes me laugh so much. 




video

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 At the game a lady came up to us and asked if the boys wanted to get their photos taken to go on a pretend Hawk Talk magazine cover.  I looked at Harri and shook my head as I was thinking it would cost a bit, and had just spent way too much money on a new top for Harri as he grew out of his last one.   When she told us it was free, we jumped at the chance.  
The boys loved their magazine covers and I will frame them to put in their bedrooms.  
We are looking forward to going to some more live games this season (well most of us are!).
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