Happy Birthday And Welcome Baby!

Our family welcomed a new member last week!
My brother’s new baby, E, was born on January 10th 2013. He weighed 2.86kg and he is just so beautiful and so perfect. We went to meet him the day after he was born and we were all quite smitten.

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its a dreadful picture because I forgot to check my settings before attempting a photo in the dark ward

It was a bit of an up and down day though… We were so happy and excited to be able to welcome baby E into our lives and our hearts, but we still hurt so much from the loss of E’s big brother, Nathan. And it is so heart sore that E will never know him.

Baby E does have a really sweet big brother who is very proud of his new title! Almost 6 year old J is so cute and so smart, and my Glugster and I are his godparents!
He visited us this weekend past without his mommy for the first time and we had so much fun! We baked cupcakes, the boys swam, he played with the puppy, he played PS2 with his cousin the knucklehead, and he got to know the knucklehead’s beardie, Spike.
He loved the baking part- cracking eggs like a pro- but the decorating isn’t the best part for him. He’s a right little fish too- he’ll swim all day if you let him! And he thinks his big cousin D is just awesome!

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We’re really glad he’s happy to spend time with us without his mommy because we love having him around, and there’s a lot we want to do like take him to Sci-Bono (at the end of the month) and the zoo! And of course spending time with him gives his mommy a break and focuses some attention on him which is important when there’s a new baby competing for the spotlight and mommy’s time at home.

 

 

Annual Sibling Supper, Number Eleven!

On Friday night it was once again time for our annual Sibling Supper, where my three siblings and I get together for a bit of a Christmas celebration.
Since we’re all grown ups with our own families, we don’t always get to spend Christmas together. And because our family is a big one, we decided several years ago that we won’t all buy gifts for everyone in our “clan” because it gets insanely expensive.

So we have a “Sibling Supper” instead, and this year was our eleventh one!

Now, as a bit of a disclaimer, bear in mind when you read about our Christmas party and see pictures of our gifts- given and received- that taste is relative. Something I consider hideous may be seen as simply GAWjiss by someone else. By no means do we want to insult anyone’s taste when we label our gifts as horrendous and/ or kitsch. In fact, over the years we have each received something we actually rather liked, that was considered dreadful by the sibling who gave it away!
The funniest part is trying to explain the presence of these, um… atrocities… *coff* in your house for the following year! Some people like it, some people say they like it because they don’t know what to say, and some people flat ignore it rather than question it!

By ways of an explanation, here are the “rules” for the gifts we give:

  1. Give the most kitsch, kak, useless, ugly thing possible!
  2. The aim is not to splurge “money-wise”, cheap and nasty is the catch phrase.
  3. Size doesn’t matter.
  4. You then have to display the item you receive, in your house until it is replaced the following year with a new one.
  5. You may not “display” the item in the toilet window behind the curtains- it has to be prominently visible.
  6. If it breaks it has to be mended and put back on display, and it may not “get lost”.

I was looking back over the history of our sibling suppers, and by some miracle it seems I have never been the recipient of one of my brother’s dreadful gifts! My sister B has got her last SIX gifts from da Bruvva, sister C has received hers equally from the rest of us, and da Bruvva has also received gifts from all three of his sisters, but more from me than from sister B and sister C.
As a result, I received da Bruvva’s gift by default this year, and our mommy darling decided how the other three gifts were handed out- sister B and sister C switched gifts and da Bruvva and I switched gifts. That way it was still a random draw, but we didn’t pull names out of a Christmas stocking.

Sister C was our host this year, and she set a pretty table with candles and nuts to crack, and she served a delicious roast chicken with sister B’s rice and veggies and my salad. Da Bruvva brought ice cream for dessert and once again we didn’t get to the pudding, and for a starter of sorts I took along stuffed eggs and I made a salad.

We had great fun reminiscing and chatting as the chicken was carved and dinner served, and then we did the gift swop! Much hilarity ensued, and my gift (which da Bruvva got) was unanimously voted the worst which made me the winner!

Then we played Buzz on the PS2! It was so much fun! The characters you can choose from are very comical and we discovered that when the winner of each round is announced you can animate your character by pushing the buttons on your controller!

Super Nathan’s Birthday Is Coming Up…

I got this from my mom (I don’t know where she got it):

The first year after the loss of a child is like walking in a maze with no outlet. You look for answers and ways to stop the pain. Each day is a struggle to get through the intense anxiety and depression. 
Creating rituals in order to remember their child on special days will help the parents deal with their grief. Celebrating their child’s birthday gives recently bereaved parents & family a chance to focus on happier times for a while, rather than the pain of their loss.

This Saturday would have been my sweet little dude’s eighth birthday…

Its been really hard to think about it because in the past we would have been making plans for a celebration and hiring a jumping castle and making arrangements for him to spend a weekend with his daddy so we could all see him and make a fuss of him. He loved his birthday parties.

We are still getting together as a family this weekend, to remember our Nathan and celebrate his remarkable life.

If you would like to celebrate with us, wherever you are, we are going to be releasing balloons at 2pm with messages and memories tied to them or written on them.

It is three months to the day since we lost our boy.

I miss him so very much.

Yesterday Was Fathers Day…

For years I approached this particular day with very mixed feelings, as you can see by my 20052006 and 2007 blog posts… I haven’t actually blogged about fathers day since then! This year it was a particularly strange occasion… I am almost glad we didn’t get together to celebrate it like we usually do…

Yesterday, my many friends who have lost their daddy darlings were also on my mind and in my prayers. I have no words for you.

As a daughter I love Fathers Day! I have an incredible daddy darling! My daddy darling loves his children, and he loves his grandchildren. He’ll drop everything and come running should we need “rescuing” of any kind. I didn’t get to see him this year because he and my mommy darling were both home sick with some kind of flu, but we usually try to do something together as a family every year. It was strange not seeing him this year. He has been so much better in the last few months than he has been in a couple of years! He is actually picking up weight and his Peritoneal Dialysis is going so well that he only has to do the procedure every 8 hours now! Miraculously, his kidney function has actually improved a wee bit! Dialysing every 8 hours gives my dad time between dialysis sessions to enjoy a day out without worrying about cutting his visit short to dash home to do dialysis! Its wonderful to see him more like himself.

Happy Fathers Day to you my daddy darling! 

As a sibling, my heart broke for da Bruvva this year. Just two months ago, he lost his seven year old son Nathan in a car accident. I can’t imagine losing my son. And I can’t imagine having to go through any kind of special occasion without my boy.

da Bruvva, I hope this Fathers Day wasn’t too terrible for you…

As a single mother who had no contact with her son’s biological father, I didn’t look forward to Fathers Day. It meant my son would have to take part in activities at school and nursery school and church related to Fathers Day- making gifts and cards for a daddy he didn’t have. Listening to people wax lyrical about how special dads are and how they are to be celebrated. Some of his teachers used their heads and let him make something for his grampa instead, but every year it meant explaining it to someone. As a single mother I was chief cook and bottle washer, exam revision and homework helper,  advocate and ally, sports fan, supporter, disciplinarian, the go-to person, the organiser, the driver, the breadwinner, the mom and the “dad”. I wouldn’t change a thing, my son was my life, but I have said it before and I will say it again- single parenthood is not to be taken lightly! It sounds like a small thing, but having to answer your child and other people’s questions leaves special occasions tainted with angst.

My son is now lucky enough to have a wonderful stepdad. And he has contact with his biological father on occasion. And he has my family, filled with fabulous examples of what a daddy is supposed to be like. And I have many friends who are wonderful fathers to their children.

Happy Fathers Day to you, my Glugster and to my BILs B and D

And last but not least, happy Fathers Day to my single mom friends!

You are braver than most can comprehend!

Mom, cupcake maven, AD/HD champion, wedding planner, guide-dog puppy raiser and tattooed cat slave… come play on my roller coaster!

Our 2011 Annual Sibling Christmas Party

This year was our 10th annual sibling Christmas party!! I can’t believe we’ve been doing this for 10 years already!

For those who are new to my scene, my brother and my two sisters and I have a little party around Christmas time every year. We very seldom get to spend Christmas together as a family since we’re married or involved and we have to share Christmas with other family, so we started a new tradition.

It’s a meal that we all contribute to and share, and unlike previous years this year we had a brunch. It was sister B’s turn to play host. The host decorates the dinner table and usually provides a meat dish. The rest of us contribute veggies, starters, salad, dessert and so on, taking turns every year to make something different. I did the dessert this year and took a pineapple cheesecake with me! Then when the food is ready we reminisce and giggle and catch up on each others’ lives a little, and we trade gifts… and that is where it gets entertaining!

Because we now only buy Christmas presents for the children in our family to try and keep the costs down, we decided to use our annual sibling party as an occasion to trade gifts.

We now spend months searching for the most horrendous, kitsch, ugly, impractical piece of bric-a-brac we can possibly find, and wrap it up as a gift. We then pull names out of a hat to exchange these gifts, and open them one by one. The rule is then that you have to display your gift, in your house, where it can be seen by anyone and everyone. You may not hide it away, and if it breaks you have to fix it. After a year, you get a new gift and you can do what you like with the old one!

Now, as a bit of a disclaimer, bear in mind when you see pictures of our gifts- given and received- that taste is relative. Something I consider hideous may be seen as just gawjiss by someone else. By no means do we want to insult anyone’s taste when we label our gifts as horrendous. In fact, over the years we have each received something we actually rather liked that was considered dreadful by the sibling who gave it away! The funniest part is trying to explain the presence of these atrocities in your house! Some people like it, some people say they like it because they don’t know what to say, and some people flat ignore it rather than question it!

the floating trophy

the gifts under sister B’s tree

I pulled sister C’s name out of the hat and got this plaster of Paris, moulded and painted, harvest themed wreath…

Sister B pulled da Bruvva’s name out of the hat and got this frame-mounted 40 year old spark plug!

sister C pulled sister B’s  name out of the hat and was, erm… rewarded with this doll, whose umbrella skirt pops up into a stand.

da Bruvva pulled my name out of the hat and got the gift I found, a little fairy whose skirt forms a bowl.

Sister B won the floating trophy for the best worst gift this year!

Here are the links to the sibling suppers held in 2010, 2009, 2008,20072006 and 2005.