A Tumble In Paradise Leads to an Extended Holiday

I’ve not blogged much, but then I’ve never really felt like anything has been important enough to blog about. Until our recent holiday…

We went away for a short family holiday and to see my family last week. I had found cheap flights and snagged some reasonable accommodation at a hotel that was central to the beach and shops. It would be a total of four nights away. We swam in the pool, met up with family, had ice cream in the afternoons and pancakes for breakfast. The sun was shining and we were all relaxed and happy. We were having so much fun.

On the third day, I went shopping with my mum and sister. I took my little girl, leaving the boys to have a fun day with their dad. On my way to the shops my husband called me. He said “I’ve had a fall and it’s pretty bad”, then he had to go because someone from the hotel had arrived to help him up. He later explained to me that he had slipped as he was getting out of the spa by the pool. His leg went out in front of him and his body folded on top of it, then he fell down the four steps. A lady by the pool phoned the hotel reception for help and she had her fifteen-year old daughter get back in the pool to supervise our boys who are a little too confident in the water. My husband was finally able to put a tiny bit of weight on his leg and iced it for the rest of our holiday. It improved slightly with the help of the ice and pain killers and we saw the specialist upon our arrival back in Sydney.

After a few days of treatment the specialist was not happy with his progress and referred him for an MRI. That was when we discovered his hamstring was not simply pulled or torn, but had been ripped clean from the bone (“hamstring avulsion”). It is likely that he will need surgery to reattach it, and then months of extensive and painful rehab.

My husband is the sole bread winner. We have three children and live with his elderly parents. Thankfully we don’t have a mortgage to worry about, but we still have many mouths to feed and bills to pay. I foresee this Christmas as being a simple one. I’ve already started reading up on saving money and surviving Christmas on a small budget. It’s going to be a hard slog and I’m sure there are going to be medical bills coming out of our ears. But you know what? I’m really excited to get to spend the next 6-12 months with my husband. He has always worked so hard, taking on shift work and having a different schedule to the rest of the family. In the past, this has made things difficult for us as we have had to carefully plan for our paths to cross for simple things such as going for a run without a pram, or helping me with a big grocery shop. We have maintained Wednesdays as our kind of date day, but that still meant he woke up at lunch time and then I had to pick up the kids from school by 3.00. But now? Now he’s here beside me. Yes, he will be in pain. Yes, he will feel down about being less mobile, but we can do it together. We WILL get through this. And I’m looking forward to being blessed enough to spend time with my husband. This will be our second honeymoon.

Any suggestions for low budget meal planning and how to stop this shopaholic from going anywhere near any sales would be welcome!

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TOP FIVE THINGS I’VE LEARNT THESE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

These holidays I have been making the effort to get my kids out of the house as much as possible. There’s a great new water play park near our place so we’ve walked down to that a few times, done some shopping, visited friends, had friends over for a play. We’ve been really busy, which is great because I am incapable of sitting around at home all day every day. I have, however, learnt a few lessons during the school holidays.

1 – Do NOT take all three of your children to the local pools.

Until a few weeks ago, my two boys aged six and four were terrified of the water. We’ve been through years of swimming lessons which have resulted in them fake vomiting on the side of the pool, waking up crying every morning asking with big, wet, puppy dog eyes “Is it swimming today?” and when they were younger, claw marks down mummy’s back and chest from a toddler trying to scratch their way out of the pool. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super proud of my kids overcoming their fear of water, but they are now fearless little people. Fearless kamikaze children are NOT what you want to be watching slowly creeping their way towards the deep end of the pool while you’re trying to breastfeed a newborn. So lesson learnt – only go to the pool when hubby doesn’t have to work.

2 – Do NOT take ANY kids to the water play park in Darling Harbour on a busy summer’s day.

That place is like one giant MOVING Where’s Wally picture. You can blink and lose a child. Even when I dress my children in the brightest stripes, which I often find make it easier to find them, there is still no way to spot them. Hundreds of moving children and water DO NOT MIX. Don’t do it if you value your sanity.

3 – Do a toy cull with your children.

I’ve not done this one yet but it’s on my list. My kids have been seriously spoilt, as they do each year, but they also learn to let go of older toys. Most of the time I remove the things they no longer play with and donate/give them away or throw them out while they’re not home, but this time my six-year-old will help. I’m hoping the pain from the wailing “I WAAAANT THAAAAT!” is outweighed by him learning where everything goes so that he has some direction come pack-up time. I’m sure he’ll still blame any mess on his little brother, but it’s worth a shot, right?

4 – Do NOT leave uni essays until the last minute.

I always have the best intentions and aim to have my uni assessments started way ahead of time. What I really do is procrastinate, write-up the cover page, procrastinate some more, check the formatting … Skim through the novel again, stick some post-it notes in a few pages, vacuum the house, check the formatting again … You get the idea. This always results in me sitting up until half an hour before the due date, frantically typing away then submitting without proofing. I honestly think this is where my best work comes from, but it’s not a pleasant process and I become an evil, snappy, cranky MUMSTER. There’s my new year’s resolution right there – I will NOT leave my work until the eleventh hour. Wish me luck on that one. Actually, I have one cover page to check over right now, yet here I am …

5 – Enjoy your children.

The holidays will be over before we know it. I want to look back at the end of my holidays and know I’ve spent time with my children. I want to know I’ve shared some laughs, helped them to the next level on Knack (the PS4 game) a few times, shared a special meal or two with them, watched a movie with them, and just generally made memories. And along the same lines, take many photos. These memories when our children are young will be gone in the blink of an eye. I like to make photo albums every year or two. I order them online and they are printed and shipped out to me. So far I have four, and they are my most prized possessions. If my house went up in flames, they would be the first thing I’d grab after my children. We all take photos and they get uploaded to social media, or they get saved to a hard drive. But what do we then do with them? I choose my absolute favourites and compile an album. They are such beautiful things to look at after time has passed. I highly recommend it.

So there you go – the top five things I’ve learnt from these school holidays. I know I’ll make it to the end, where another phase of my life begins. I will have two children in school, no daycare fees, and subsequently only one location to drop children off at. Bring on 2015. May we all make beautiful memories and live happy healthy lives.