Until we meet again….

Tears are rolling…
Our hearts our broken…
Yesterday we lost a great lady…Gloria Holpen – my darling nana!

She was a loving wife to my grandad, mother to my mother and uncles and was ‘nana’ to 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. She was a mother in law, a sister, an aunty and a true friend to anyone she met. She was loving, she was loyal…one of the greatest women I’ve been privileged to have in my life!

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5 weeks ago nana was rushed to hospital when she fell ill with a stomach obstruction. We were told to prepare for the worst then, but through her pure strength and determination, nana recovered and was ready to be discharged when a spot became available in a nursing home. Then last thursday unexpectedly, nana took a turn for the worst and started vomitting…another stomach obstruction, this time worse, this time there was nothing the medical professionals could do. Sadly nana was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease 5 years ago and now that she was in the late stages of this horrible debilitating disease, her bowel and gut system was paralysing and she was unable to eat or drink. We were told last weekend that nana only had a couple of days to live. She lasted 8 days.

We were shocked to say the least. We knew that she may be at risk of another obstruction, but months or years down the track…not weeks;( When the realisation came to knowledge that nana would need to be cared for in a nursing home, that was hard enough to stomach at first, but we accepted that and my mother worked so hard doing everything she had to do to find nana a nursing home placement and now instead of getting nana ready to move, we are busy planning her funeral. It just seems so wrong;(

In her final days, most of the family were able to spend time with nana, comforting her when she was in pain, holding her hand when she seemed scared and whispering in her ear how much we loved her and that she needed to be brave. This past week has been gut wrenching. Watching my grandad in his final days with his wife of over 60 years was nothing short of torture! Seeing how distraught my mum was at the thought of never seeing her mother again. We’ve cried an ocean of tears, but the most uplifting part of this week has been the realisation of how powerful family love can be.

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The hospital staff were amazed at how long nana held on for. For an 80-year-old women to last 8 days without food or water showed how strong and courageous nana really was. And although nana had many loved ones waiting for her on the other side, she knew she was leaving so much behind! The closeness and love our family shares started way back when nana and grandad started their own family…nana has left this legacy behind and as a family we will keep this going.

How do you say goodbye to someone who has been there for every stage of your life?

As I close my eyes I remember so many precious moments with nana. Her gorgeous smile, her laugh, her beautiful blue eyes and how she always had the ability to put a smile on my face. I’ll treasure the safe and secure feeling I always had when in my nana’s presence and to say I won’t have that again is something I’m trying to come to terms with.

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This week will be tough for everyone. Even though many tears are still to be shed, we are determined to make sure nana’s funeral is a celebration of her life and the amazing lady she was. When nana’s time on earth came to end on June 1st at 11.15am, heaven gained a special angel who will be there to watch over us every step of our ways. So for now nana it isn’t goodbye, rather until we meet again…..

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I’ve Watched…..

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Throughout my life I’ve been blessed with being able to watch and learn from a wonderful women who I will always call my nana!

Over the years…
I’ve watched my nana love and care for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren as her natural instinct of mothering has always been impeccable.
I’ve watched her love and nurture grandad like the fantastic loyal wife she’s always been.
I’ve watched her give her opinion with a strong view as nana always liked a good debat.
I’ve watched her laugh so hard till she almost wet herself as nana always had a great sense of humour.
I’ve watched her cry at many different situations as she always held her emotions on her sleeve.
I’ve watched her grieve as we’ve lost love ones along the way.
I’ve watched her support us with everything we’ve ever been involved in from our sporting events to our academic achievements.
I’ve watched her play many games of bingo…some she won and some she walked away with the poops!
I’ve watched her make gollywogs, croquet blankets and baskets as nana loved her sewing creations.
I’ve watched her sing and dance at concerts as nana was a groover!
I’ve watched her work her magic in the kitchen whether it be on a roast or bangers and mash as nana was a great cook!
I’ve watched my nana embrace her natural beauty as she never pieced her ears, never coloured her hair and would only ever wear her signature pink lipstick…we tried so hard over the years to get her to shave her legs, so a tattoo was definitely out of the question lol!
I’ve watched her enjoy many cups of tea, coffee and slices of cake as that’s what nana loved to do.
I’ve watched her relish in the company of all of her family as family was her life!
I’ve watched her say goodbye to her family home of 50 years and move two doors up from me – this I will always cherish!
I’ve watched the thrill all her grand babies have brought to her over the years of their developments.
I’ve watched her at her absolute best and her absolute worst.

For a long time now, I’ve watched my dear nana struggle like none of us would know how to. I’ve watched her cry in pain and I’ve watched how determined she was not to let the pain defeat her as she never winged and always had room for her beautiful smile. I’ve watched my devoted grandfather care for her and keep her comfortable at home for as long as he possibly could and this was accompanied by the dedication of my wonderful mother.

In her final days I watched my nana fight with the strength I’ve never seen from a single soul. I watched my family shed tears for the lady who has always been the glue that holds our family together. I watched my grandad’s heart break as he told her he loved her and we would be ok. I watched my nana hold onto dear life until she felt we were going to be ok because nana always put everyone else before herself.

Now that my dear nana is dancing in the meadows of heaven with other loved ones, I will forever live in peace knowing that she will be watching over us all. Our family has another angel now who has left behind a legacy that we will continue to uphold during our days.

I love you forever nana…you will always be my inspiration – today is not goodbye, rather until we meet again xoxoxoxo!

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A Year of Maintenance!

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This time last year I had very little winter clothes coming into the cooler months! I had just reached my goal weight after losing around 13kgs in 6 months through eating healthy (basically cutting out the crap) and exercising (mainly running)! I’m happy to say that a year later I have plenty of winter clothes to choose from and they all still fit as I’ve maintained my goal weight!

Like anything losing it really is the easy part, it’s the maintenance part that can be challenging. It’s funny how the power of our mind is the key to all of this. When losing weight your mindset is quite different to when you are maintaining. You go from being very strict with yourself to relaxing a little and treating yourself a bit here and a bit there, but if not managed well, this can be the start of where weight creeps back on! Then you can go the other extreme and become obsessed to the point where you lose too much weight and start to look too thin – not healthy ….trust me I know I’ve been there and it’s not nice!

Last year after getting to my goal weight I lost a bit more and a bit more and then before I knew I was struck down with a terrible gastro bug for days which left me looking very unhealthy and very sick looking! I learnt a lot from all of that! It taught me to get myself at a weight where I have some reserves. Getting down to a weight that is too thin for your height is like living on the edge. You may look healthy and trim but what reserves do you have if you get sick?? It took me months to build my body fat and muscle back to where it was. But I did and a year later I feel fitter, stronger and healthier than I’ve ever been!

I still maintain a heathy eating diet. My rule to myself is be sensible Monday-Friday and enjoy my favourite treats on the weekend! I love eating healthy so to me it’s not a chore but a way of life. Just like my running. It’s not a chore it’s a part of my day to day routine and without it I wouldn’t be able to achieve what I do in a week! My exercise program at the moment for winter consists of 3 runs (approx 18-20km) a week and 2 walks. My way of life that I chose to live is what works for me. I think it’s important that when losing weight and maintaining it, you have to;
1. want to do it
2. find what works for you in the way of food and exercise
3. be consistent with whatever you chose
4. believe in yourself!

Anyone can lose weight and become fit. But the way we do it is completely individualised. We are who we are and we are all individuals breathing the same oxygen, but no one can force you to do something that you don’t want to do…only YOU can be the one to make the decision:) I believe before training your eating habits and body, you have to train your mind, because if your mind isn’t at it’s best nothing else will be!

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Results are in!

Last month I set myself a new running challenge. As running has been my chosen exercise for the past 18 months, I’ve found myself to have many ups as downs with it. I love to run, but it’s one of those exercises that I find myself becoming a little bored with every now and again. But once I tweak my routine or route a bit, I get a new lease of life for a while and I’m all good!

My latest challenge I set for myself has been the best one yet! You can read all about from my post 4 Week Challenge! I’m happy to say I completed it last weekend and am stoked with how I went! It’s amazing just by changing a few things in my weekly running routine and having a positive attitude towards it how much I’ve improved! Just in that month I set PBS for my 1,2,3,9 and 10kms!!!! And my most rewarding achievement of all was running 10km in the 50s!!!!!!

Here is a list of my results over the 4 weeks….
4 week challenge
Week 1 –
5km -25.40
Sprint session (4x1km with 1 minute rest between) – 4.08(pb), 4.45, 4.39, 4.44
10km – hill run 52.53

Week 2-
5km – 25.14
3km (sprint session) – 14.03 – 4.28(1km), 9.17(2km)
10km – flat run 50.42 (pb) – best achievement by far!!!

Week 3 –
5km – 24.57
sprint session (4 x 1km with a 1 minute rest) – 4.10, 4.42, 4.34, 4.40
10km – hill run 52.42

Week 4 –
5km – 24.39
3km – 13.53 (pb)- 4.23, 9.13
10km – flat run 51.55

My 4 week challenge now leaves my running PBS at….
Running PBs
1km 4.25 – sprinting only 1km 4.08
2km 9.15
3km 13.53
4km 18.47
5km 24.02
6km 29.36
7km 35.40
8km 40.57
9km 46.00
10km 50.42
10km hill run 51.10

I’m so stoked with how I’ve gone!!! And am even more stoked with running my 10km hill run yesterday morning in 51.10!!!! If you know my area that is Warrigal, Padstow, Mains and Beenleigh rds there are some challenging spots that’s for sure!!!

Where to from here?? Well for starters I DISLIKE winter and and the only good thing that comes with it is the fashion and those beautiful crystal blue skies!! So my challenge to myself now is to get through winter by maintaining one 10km run per week, one sprint session and a light run session per week as well. There isn’t enough light in the day to exercise on my two work days so they will be my days off and the other 5 days will be for my 3 running sessions and 2 walks with my beautiful babies!

We’ve hit the hard time of the year now where the weather is cold and the days are shorter, but this is where we have to dig deeper and force ourself not to lose sight of our goals and to just keep going….

Remember all you have to do is put your shoes on and start…the rest will fall into place:) and before you know it you’re hot, sweaty and the thought of your nice warm bed is a thing of the past:)!

Here’s to surviving winter….:)

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Why I am so blessed….

33 years ago, when I was placed in my mother’s arms, my life was blessed….

I’ve been so lucky to have been born to the most beautiful, caring, selfless and patient mother that I know, love and admire. I’m so blessed to not only have a great mother but someone I can truly call my best friend. From a little girl, teenager, young women to a mother, my mum has always nurtured, supported and helped me wherever possible and I’m in ore of what she does for our family! Mum isn’t the only women who I’ve been blessed with, my nana is like a second mum to me and to have two great women to lead the way in life, I am forever grateful!

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Mum and nana have taught me to be the mum I am today….
They’ve taught me to sacrifice, nurture, love and the like. They’ve taught me the true meaning of being a mother and have always been there for advice and encouragement. My children adore their great-grandmother, and ‘nanny’ – well let’s just say when the going gets tough, they cry out “I want my nanny!!!”

I’ve also been blessed with two wonderful sisters who as a little one they helped care and nurture me, but as adults we are now best friends and have been there every step of the way for each other in times of happiness and in sorrow. We love each other’s children like our own and long for our ladies nights together.

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And my most recent blessing in life is meeting my wonderful husband who helped me create the biggest blessing in my life…my 3 angels! Becoming a mum to Bailey, Sienna and Mia has changed the way I think, they way I feel, the way I love. I didn’t think I could possibly love anyone as much as I love my three children and just thinking about that brings a tear to my eye and fills my heart with joy!

So on this Mother’s Day, I want to thank all the beautiful ladies in my life…my mum, my nanas, my sisters, aunties, cousins and friends! I hope you’ve been showered with the love we all deserve as there is no love quite like a Mother’s love:)!

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So how did you spend the day? This was my day in highlight….

Mother’s Day for me started on Friday when Sienna’s prep class put on an afternoon tea music concert. It was just as beautiful as Bailey’s two years ago. Sienna was so adorable as she sang songs to me and served me afternoon tea:)

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Then yesterday I was treated like a queen – breakfast in bed, I stayed in bed until 9am reading books with the kids and playing games on the iPad. We had a beautiful visit to our local playground and we’re caught in pouring rain on the way home…2 adults running with three kids on bikes must have looked pretty funny lol! The day was topped off by a beautiful dinner cooked by Kane…and he even did the dishes:)

Today has been spent doing the things I love the most…10km run, kisses and cuddles while opening my presents, watching Bailey and Kaleb play footy. We had a great visit with nana who looked a million dollars today and had such a sparkle in her eye as the flowers kept rolling in. As I type, my wonderful husband is preparing roast meat for dinner with my family and I’m cuddling a scared Mia (from the electric knife lol) and keeping an eye on a very sick
Sienna:(…but hey that’s what Mother’s do!

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Another great Mother’s Day…one of my favourite days of the year:)

Shopping….Toddler Style!

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It’s been so long now since I shopped without a child, I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like!!!

Shopping pre-children:
Those were the days when I would rock up at Garden City and leisurely take my time to find a carpark and I wouldn’t care where I parked as long as I found one. I’d fix my clothes up so they were nice and neat, have a quick look at my hair in the mirror and then I’d be slowly on my way to the opening doors. As I walked through the doors I would grin to myself and ask “where to first!”

I would then go from store to store seeking out the things I was looking for, pouncing on any bargain I could find. I would go through every rack if necessary and sometimes spend up to half an hour in one store! I’d have a chat to people in the que and strike up a conversation with the sales assistant as I had all the time in the world! I would take a breather after a couple of hours and have a nice quiet bite to eat and drink and once I’d finished, I continue on my shopping way until I’d gone to every conceivable shop that may have what I was looking for…oh that’s right most times I didn’t go for a purpose I’d go just because I could and LOVED it so much!!!!!!

My how life changes once you become a mum! At first when I only had one child things didn’t change much at all, the only difference was I was pushing a pram and had to stop at a parent’s room to feed and change every couple of hours. But then your baby grows and doesn’t want to be pushed in a pram all day and then learns to talk and tells you exactly what their thoughts are about shopping! Then one child turns into two and in my case three and the only time shopping is at all appealing is when it’s done on the internet! But as challenging as taking kids to the shops can be sometimes, I’ve never stopped going shopping, I just make it really routined and quick!

Shopping post children:
Oh how my head is in a different space at the shops now! Before a shopping trip I now have everything down pat. A list of what I want to buy, before I leave I’ve already thought about where I’m going to park and in which order I will get around. I make sure I have plenty of food and drinks for the kids and my phone is charged!!!! I try and get there as early as I can so I know I won’t spend long finding a car park and once I’m through the doors of the shopping centre, I’m like a greyhound who’s been let out of the cage! People must look at me and think – Geeze what’s the rush! Ummm the fact that I only have a small window of opportunity until all hell could break loose!!! I’m a women on a mission and mission it is trying to squeeze a pram into a clothes shop and dodge all the rides that seem to be every five metres!!!!!! I generally always know now what I want so very little time is spent in one store and because I need to be home by 12 to put Mia down for her nap so she is awake for school pick up, it leaves very little time for a pit stop!

Mia and I ventured to Garden City this morning to start Mother’s Day Shopping. I don’t often go to big shopping centres anymore as we have lots of little ones around our area that are sufficient and only go to big ones when I need something specific. As I ‘tried’ to browse a few shops while passing food, pulling little sticky fingers away from pretty dresses, answering “soon” for the tenth time after being asked “Mia hope out mummy!”, telling Mia the scary man would come if she kept screaming out to me (mean I know but it works lol), I suddenly started thinking how shopping has gone from a leisure activity to a chore lol!

But I seriously wouldn’t have it any other way! Now that it’s just Mia and I who venture to the shops while Bay and Sie are at school, we are in a good routine. I always make Mia stay in her pram or trolley for as long as I can which is about one to one and half hours depending on how much food I’ve brought and once I’m finished I always let her walk for the last part and if there is a little playground and she’s been awesome, she gets a 15 min play. I bring food from home for small shops and when I need to get a heap of things done at the bigger shopping centres I take a lollipop for her:) and grocery shopping days she gets her two cherrios and is always allowed a coin to put in the dog at the end – god bless that dog at woolies:)….it’s the small things in a toddler’s life that go a long way!

Shopping with a toddler or kids in general can be taxing but like anything, if a routine is established with set rules and consistency is applied, it can be quite a pleasurable experience. I only try and go to the shops once a week and I make sure I choose times that I know they’ll be less tired. Although shopping on your own is by far easier, I love that I have someone to chat to while I’m shopping and when the day comes when I have them all in school and I’m left to the freedom of browsing on my own, I’m sure I’ll love it, but have many times when my heart breaks a little that they aren’t there by my side…..because by then I would have been shopping with at least one or two children in tow (except for school holidays) for 10 years!!!!!!

Shopping with a toddler doesn’t do my head in, homework with a 7 year old on the other hand…a topic for a future blog post!

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My partner in crime:)

Time Machine….

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Is it just me or does anyone else wish they had a time machine that would take them back to a special memory or moment in time that was once lived?

This past week has got me thinking a lot about my past and all the wonderful memories that have been made. I’ve closed my eyes several times this week and imagined times when I was little, times with all of my loved ones, times when I was at school, times when I made netball teams, times at high school and even as recent as the time when I first became a mum. All these memories make me smile and have help shape the person I am today!

The most fondest of memories I’ve been playing over and over in my head recently are ones with my dear nana:) If you are a regular follower of my blog, you would know that my nana has been living with Parkinson’s Disease for the past 4 years and just of late has really deteriorated. The most recent mishap has caused nana to be hospitalised. Up until last week nana was living at home and being cared for by my grandad with the help of my wonderful mother, Blue Care nurses and staff and of course all of us would pitch in and help where it was needed. But regrettably the time has now come for nana to go into a nursing home….this breaks my heart even typing this;(

I’m 33 years of age and have had my nana for that whole time…but somehow it only feels like 5 minutes and I would do anything to go back in time and relive all the wonderful times we’ve shared together. My grandparents are more than just that…they have been second parents to us girls and I’ve been so lucky for the past 8 years having them live two doors down from us:) I already miss being able to pop in and say hello to nana, taping on her window after a run, beeping the horn when I drive past and just knowing that she is so close by…this is how I feel…I can’t even imagine how my poor granddad feels;( How do you move forward when your life as you’ve always known it is no longer? 60 plus years of marriage and living together to suddenly not having that anymore;(…it makes me sick every time I think about it. My heart breaks more and more each day for the beautiful couple who love each other dearly and have spent three-quarters of their life together.

How things can change in a short time. No less than a week ago nana was at home and in a good routine. We knew that the time was getting closer to nana needing full-time care by professionals, but that doesn’t soften the blow any. It’s taken this turn of events to kick the decision into overdrive and it’s really hit everyone hard. I only said to mum the other day…”how did we get to this point!” even though nana is 80 it just doesn’t seem right and we’re not ready…but will we really ever be?? I just can’t comprehend how such a vibrant intelligent women has been dealt such a cruel blow and instead of my grandparents enjoying the ‘retirement’ part of their lives where they should be enjoying cups of coffee out on lunch dates, grandad has to watch his wife fight hard everyday through pain and discomfort!

But I am so happy to say that nana had an endoscopy today and the reason why she was rushed to hospital has sorted itself out…what a legend this women is! A true inspiration to anyone who knows her. It was only a week ago that we didnt know what was going to happen to nana and the worst case scenario was devastating everyone. She still has a road ahead of her to be able to be discharged from hospital and then the beginning of a new chapter will begin…but as hard as it will be, as the strong family unit we are, we will all make sure the transition will be as good as can be for both nana and grandad!

It is certainly times like this I’d love a time machine to go back in time and relive all the great times I’ve shared with both nana and grandad…forever those times will be fond memories and the times spent with them both now will always be cherished!

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This photo just oozes true love:)