The last one

This is my last blog post.

To say that this has been coming for a while would be an understatement. I have started and deleted this so many times that I have now lost count.
Truth be told, this is a bit sad for me.
I have loved this outlet, writing these stories. I have loved the connections it has given me, the common ground, the joy.
It has given me a voice when sometimes in motherhood, you can feel so unheard.
It gave me a hobby on the days where my brain was crying out for something other than nursery rhymes and picture books.
But by far the most important thing it gave me was a way to document these years. These precious years that will one day be a blurred memory, I have so many of them written down on paper and for that I am so pleased.

I am thankful every day that I get to have my life with these children, more than anything I want them to know that they brought the biggest light to my life and the love I have for them is unlike any love I will ever know again.
The stories I have written over the last few years, albeit some poking fun, and some complaining, have all been for them. And I can only hope that one day they will see them and know how much I loved sharing these years at home.

Yes, the stories, they are mostly about Leo. (I see that now that I have transferred them all to file) But I started this blog as a stay at home mum to one child. It has seen me grow from that first-time mum to now, someone who has basically been pregnant or feeding for the last five years straight. My life for the last five years has been all about them, and even if I haven’t had the time to make public the endless stories about how hilarious Maisie is or how whole Posy has made our family feel, it doesn’t mean I haven’t written them.
So now is a time for those secret stories. Not because I like keeping secrets, or I feel like we need to, just because what I have to say, I feel I have said it all before. While my girls might like to read one day just how much I loved watching them sleep and how perfect they made the world seem by the exhaling of a deep and perfect baby sigh, you all don’t need to read that for the um-teenth time, nor do I feel like I need to share it.

While I once had the time to sit and ponder at my computer, now I feel my time is more importantly spent elsewhere.

Thank you for allowing me to share my family with you. Allowing me to share my thoughts and in this and many cases, my ramblings.
Since the beginning, I was always amazed in how many people it allowed me to connect with and it has truly been a privilege. I love this blog, it is something that I have always been extremely proud of and I have loved writing it. The love I have for writing will always be here, continually jotting notes in my phone or on my computer, little poems for the kids, love notes, and rants, only now they will be just for us, or, in some cases, just for me.

Thank you,
Jess  xx.

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And just like that, we are coming back…

We moved at the beginning of last year, wanting to see how this went, wanting to see how we would go. Away from our families, away from our comfort zones, our little family on our next big adventure. We started our adventure excited, and, until this day, we have truly made the most of living by the beach.
Our kids are well and truly beach kids, Leo would happily spend his days kicking the footy and laying in the sand, Maisie in the amongst the waves, and little Posy watching it all from the comfort of her tent. We have tried our hardest to keep busy, to go and find new places, to give our children the best opportunities, to find shells, explore rockpools, eat fish and chips and ice-cream all along the South Coast. We have had the most amazing time, we feel lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country and I know that the memory of our time here will be treasured forever.

Knowing all this and knowing how much our children love it here may make what I am about to write seem a bit odd but, as much as we love it here, it is now time to go home.

If living here has taught me anything it is that we are the type of people, I am the type of person, that needs my people around me. Home sick is something I thought I could never be as a grown woman, but I think that’s what it was.
We have kept busy, yes, because we love the ocean and it will forever be the place that brings me the most peace, but we kept busy to distract from the fact that we had no one to go visit. No one who would be popping around, no one to mind the kids while Duncan and I needed a much needed catch up, no Grandparents or Aunts and Uncles for our kids to be offloaded to. We had a new baby, children that missed the people that they used to see so often, we had created this amazing lifestyle but we felt alone.
We missed what we had taken for granted in the past. I noticed how happy I was when my sisters would come and how sad I was when they would leave, I spent my time looking forward to the next visit or when we would be going home next.
We were living in arguably one of the most beautiful places that you could be and the only place I wanted to be was where I used to be, closer to our families. So we are doing what will give us the greatest happiness, and that is, getting out of here.

In saying that, I will miss it. I will miss the beach, the sense of freedom it brings. I will miss the sound of the waves, I will miss the water.
I will never and would never regret the decision we made to move here, I will always look back on this time with happy memories, this is where we brought our third little baby home, this is where our big kids learned to love the sea, this is where Leo started preschool. Our time here, although parts of it sad and lonely, was mostly wonderful. It was a chance that not many people get to have, a grown-up gap year, before we enter the world of big school, regimen, routine. Where we would have dinner early just so we could spend evenings at the beach or weekends driving to different towns just so we can build a sandcastle on a different stretch of sand. I will forever be grateful that we took the initial leap and moved, our life for the last year has basically been a holiday and our children have the most fortunate lifestyle because of it. But if being away has taught us anything it is that for us, family, being close to those we love, will always trump lifestyle.

So, let the packing begin! The thought of another interstate move with now three little ones is making me want to run for the hills, but I know this time this is it. This will be our last move, (at least last change of town move), we are moving home to grow up, to start saving towards our forever home, to be closer to our support, and, most importantly, to give our children the utmost wonderful opportunity to grow up surrounded the ones that are most important, our families.

Look out Shepparton, the Moodie’s are coming!

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The last one of 2017

What a year we have had.
For us it has been like no other. A new town, a new lifestyle, preschool and a new baby. Never would I have imagined that in 2013 when I was having Leo that in four years this is where we would be, our little family complete and our life in a completely different state.

As I have eluded to in previous posts this year, this has been a big one for us, but I am quickly learning that as we get older and as our children reach new stages every year is “a big one”. There is always something happening, there is always something coming up, we move towards new stages and say goodbye to old ones quicker than we may be ready to.
2017 has been a year of reflection for me, maybe it was the beachy air, being home with the children, or being away from all the people we love. Whatever it was, all my reflection has lead me to three simple conclusions. Time passes, things change and our children grow, we cannot slow it and nor would we want to stop it, it just makes being present in the moments so very important.
Blink and you’ll miss it.

Our little family is still adjusting to the changes that happened in 2017, we are still working out the intricacies of functioning as a five, I am still telling people we have “just moved here” and Leo has only, in the last few months, gotten used to the idea of going to preschool. Posy is no longer the newborn that I think of her as and Maisie is a running and jumping little chatterbox, things are changing, constantly. In a way it’s scary how quick it is all going.

But instead of focusing on the past and how quickly time is stealing my babies from me I thought I would end the year on this, a resolution if you will. Next year will be our year for adventure, to explore and to enjoy these little people as much as we can while we have them all to ourselves. It will be our last year before a certain someone goes off to school and I plan on making the most of it…even if he drives me a little bit bonkers sometimes!!

So Happy New Year everyone and I hope that your 2018 is filled with wonderful moments that you will treasure for years to come xx

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For the birthday boy

It is Leo’s fourth birthday on Monday, just ask him he will tell you.

Four years ago I was waiting, not so patiently, for our baby to come, not knowing who he was or how much he would change our lives. His due date came and went, November 6, it was Melbourne Cup Day that year and I was so sure that would be the day. I hung on to that date my whole pregnancy, convinced we would have our baby by then. Then Cup Day came and went, the days after the Cup came and went and I started to think that this was it, I was just going to be pregnant forever (not really but anyone who has gone over in pregnancy knows what I am talking about). A week after his due date he came in to this world, our big, bald, baby boy.
We knew nothing about being parents. We had never been around babies, I still remember driving home from the hospital in disbelief that they actually let us take him home, that we were responsible, that he was ours.

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We learnt on the job, like most new parents we were thrown in the deep end and we had one choice, to sink or swim. We had our moments, the times where we would look at each other, not knowing what the hell we were doing, so much of his quirks we accepted as normal and it wasn’t until we had our girls that we realized maybe they weren’t so ‘normal’ more just what Leo did. Like the way he fed like he would never eat again, or the way he would vomit ALL THE TIME, with me carrying him around a constant vomit cloth draped over my shoulder, that slight stench following me everywhere. I didn’t know any different. I thought all babies spat up that much, I thought all babies wolfed down their food, I thought all babies dribbled so much they needed at least four changes of clothes a day, but that was just my baby and it was just how he was.

I look at him now and his baby-ness is well and truly gone. That once big and round head has grown a mop of curls which have now all been chopped off because “he likes it short”, his solid little body that was once so heavy, chubby and permanently attached to my hip is now long and spindly, he jumps and he hops and he doesn’t need carrying anymore. He talks, all the time he talks. The boy who was once so shy that the slightest bit of communication from a stranger would warrant his head to firmly bury itself into my legs now answers back and elaborates. He tells stories, he recites things that he has learned, he wants to know how to spell everything, he drives me crazy and he is wonderful.

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This past year in particular he has gone from a toddler to a boy, a little kid.
Tall, cheeky, clever and creative.
He has started preschool, he has become a big brother once again and despite him once telling me he wouldn’t be able to handle another sister he is handling it perfectly. He sings, he dances, he is obsessed with Taylor Swift and he loves drawing rainbows with our names written all around them.
He is still learning to catch and kick a footy, he still struggles to say the ‘S’ sound when it is at the start of a word and he still tells me he doesn’t have friends only teachers at school.
I was once so worried about him all the time. Will this shy boy ever survive anywhere without me? What will he be like when I am not there to comfort him? When he doesn’t have my leg to hide into? Will anyone else ever see how clever and funny he is or will he always be covered in this blanket of shyness?
Then he came out of his shell. He went from a shy 3-year-old to a confident 4-year-old, he is completely different and I am no longer worried. I know he will be just fine.

In many ways, he was our learner baby. The one we practiced on. The one that taught us what worked for us, that taught us that babies don’t follow a textbook or anyone else’s pattern but their own.
He was the reason for much frustration, self-doubt, googling, love, joy and laughter.
He was the one that taught us to be parents, that taught me what it was to be someone’s Mum. He may have only been here four years, but he has shaped who I am, he is a huge part of the reason I am who I am today.

Four years ago I had no idea what amazing chapter I was about to enter into. Now I could never imagine my life without that chapter.
Leo James you changed who we are, you made our lives wonderful and you were the beginning of this wonderful little tribe that we have collected. I will always be grateful that you chose us to be your parents, I will always love the sound of your little sister yelling out “LEO JAMES MOODIE” when she is playing with you and I promise I will always try to appreciate your inquisitive mind, even when your questions are far past the knowledge of my own.

The week of their birthdays I always get sentimental. I think of their birth, I think of my baby, who they were, what they liked, how they have changed, how they have grown.
Ultimately as each birthday passes the same realization seems to hit me every time, these years are going too quickly. I can’t help but feel I just want to bottle it up and remember it all because something tells me I will look back on these as the best years of my life.

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October 15: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

When I was pregnant with Posy, I began writing a small series of letters.
‘Letters to the Mum who…’ and it was all letters to mothers who were going through different aspects of motherhood, from conception all the way through to pregnancy and motherhood. I don’t know what will happen with this series of letters, my dream of turning them into a book is far-fetched and the chances of them forever being stored on my computer, I know, is much more realistic.
But today, there is one letter that I wanted to share with you all.

It is the one letter in the series that I did not write because I am lucky enough to have no experience on the topic.
That topic is Pregnancy Loss.
Today, October 15th is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, so I have asked my beautiful friend Tanya if I could share the letter she so kindly wrote for my series.
In the time that I have known Tanya I have been lucky enough to have two babies while she has lost more than one. I am amazed by Tanya and her strength, my heart has broken for her on more than one occasion and I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to have gone through the heart ache and break that she has been through over the past few years.

I asked Tanya if she would write a letter to the Mum who has lost a baby from the perspective of a Mum who has. I wanted to share this today in memory of all the lost angels, know that they aren’t forgotten and maybe, just maybe, it will help someone who is tragically going through the heartache of pregnancy loss.

Thank you to Tanya for letting me share, you are an amazing Mum and wonderful friend xx

To the Mum who has lost a baby from a Mum who has,

I’m so sorry for your loss.

I’ve been where you are now, and I can tell you that, like all pain in life, it eases with time.

Everyone deals with grief in different ways, so there’s no certain way you should feel right now. You may cry, you may cry a lot. You might feel angry or even cheated. You could just feel numb. You may feel that you want to try again right away, or you may be too scared to try again for some time. Either way is okay.

You might have excitedly told the world about your pregnancy and now have to either explain that it didn’t work out, or hide away and hope people forgot you were pregnant in the first place.

Maybe you haven’t shared your news with anyone but your partner yet, and now you feel as though you have to suffer in silence, alone in your thoughts, having to put on a brave face and pretend you’re okay.

You may want to talk about it. It’s okay if you do, you might find it healing. Maybe you want people to know that although you hadn’t known your baby for long, you were already ridiculously attached to them. You’ve probably already spoken to your baby as you gently rubbed your tummy. You’ve probably already thought about names and wondered what they might look like. You may have even purchased its first outfit and gushed over how tiny it was. Maybe you’ve given your baby a nickname and have been lovingly referring to it every day since you discovered you were pregnant. You’ve most likely had long chats with your partner about this baby’s future, how they’ll fit into your family and practical things like what you might need to buy.

Maybe you won’t want to talk about your loss. That’s okay too. Maybe it hurts too much to think about and you wish you could just forget that it ever happened. Referring to your baby by name just makes it feel all too real and painful. Maybe you didn’t let yourself get too attached in the first place as you were scared that this might happen. Maybe it’s happened before, so you think you should be accustomed to the pain. On the outside, you want to move on, but on the inside your heart is aching.

It’s possible that you still look and feel pregnant and you wish so badly that the symptoms would go away. Sometimes it takes longer for the body to realise what the heart and mind already knows.

Whether you discovered your miscarriage through a regular ultrasound and heard those dreaded words “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat” before having to go through surgery, or you suffered through a ‘natural’ miscarriage and experienced more pain and bleeding than you ever thought possible, there’s no easy way to lose something that you already loved so much.

At some stage, you’re probably going to have someone categorise your loss as though it shouldn’t hurt as much if you weren’t far into the pregnancy, saying things like ‘at least you weren’t far along’ or ‘it was only an early loss’ like your level of grief should be less. But regardless of the gestation, you’re not just losing a baby, you’ve also lost all the hopes and dreams you had for that baby’s future. Don’t let these comments control your feelings, grieve as much as you need to.

It’s such a personal experience, I can’t tell you how to feel, but make sure you look after yourself and do what you need to do to get through this. Take time off if you need, put your feet up and read a trashy mag or binge on Netflix and chocolate. Talk if you want to talk and cry if you want to cry. The pain will ease eventually, but you’ll never forget what you lost.

Personally, I like to talk about my lost angels. They each have names and my partner and I refer to them regularly and quietly remember their birthdays. Each of them has their own special keepsake to remind me of them. Sometimes thinking about them makes me feel sad, but I also like to think of them as my guardian angels, guiding me through life and watching over those that I love.

From one grieving Mumma to another, I pray that you’re blessed with your rainbow baby soon.

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