Courage shown…lessons learnt!

Friday was a long time coming. After hearing about cross-country for the past 4 years, Bailey was finally old enough to compete. At Runcorn Heights, the first time for a student to compete in cross-country is the year they turn 9. Bay has been waiting in anticipation for so long to take on this challenge. He couldn’t wait to start training for it. Due to my work commitments and Bay’s music commitments, he wasn’t able to get to school for the scheduled training sessions, so he trained with me.

We’ve had a ball training together. It’s been so awesome teaching him about something that is my passion. It’s also been a great time to bond and spend quality time together. I’m just so proud of how far he has come with his perseverance and determination. He really inspires me:)

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When we started training together 6 weeks ago, Bay was in quite a bad way. His anxiety was overwhelming and his motor and vocal tics were at their peak. Watching him struggle each day was breaking our hearts and we were doing everything we could to keep him calm and happy. At times cross-country training brought out the best and worst in him depending on his state of mind. But when he was focused he was amazing. To date his longest tun without stopping is 3k and his fastest km is 5.16 mins…am so chuffed for him:)

This past week leading up to cross-country has been a trying one. Anxiety started kicking in early in the week as he was worried that he wouldn’t know where to run. He was worried that he would get lost – which is his biggest fear in life! But once he was reassured by his PE teacher who walked the course with him, he started to settle. Then two mouth ulcers formed in his mouth and the morning of the cross-country he woke with a sore throat.

My whole speech to him all week was “mate it doesn’t matter where you place as long as you do your very best and have FUN!” That is my mantra for everything!!! He had his little heart set on age champion – dreams are free right?!? We all wished things like this didn’t we?!? Bay puts so much pressure on himself to be the best. It’s great to be passionate and have goals, but I worry that he misses the fun of it all!!

His race wasn’t until after morning tea at 11.30 – it was such a hot and humid day, really it was too hot for cross-country! He sat very quiet and patiently watching all the races before him. He was taking it ALL in. As he lined up on the line, the tallest 9-year-old by far, his face told the story! He wanted it soooo bad. The gun went off and all you saw was my son and his bright watermelon shoes shoot off like a canon. The first thing I thought was “not too fast Bay!!”

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He led for a fair bit of the race but the speed he started with was starting to punish him at the half way mark. Mum saw him with about 300m to go and he was hurting. As I stood at the finishing line waiting for the brightness of his shoes to catch my eye, three other boys came round the corner one by one. I was worried Bay was collapsed somewhere on the course but alas, he was still upright. As he ran the last 100m he had two boys right on his coattails, but he never gave up and pumped those legs to cross the line and receive 4th place…that’s when he did collapse….He was pale. He was delirious. He ended up vomiting. He ran that race with every bit of fighting fibre of his being and he did us bloody proud!

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Once he came back to earth and was back to being coherent, we debriefed the race. I told him how proud I was of him for never giving up. I know what running pain, stitches and heat exhaustion is like. It’s so easy just to stop and walk, it’s the hardest thing to keep going and push through that pain and he did! We spoke about the art of long distance running and how you have to pace yourself and not go out so hard and even though we trained to pace and sprint at the end, I think nerves may have gotten the better of him! Although he didn’t say it out loud, I could tell he was disappointed, but after lots of encouragement and praise from so many people, Bay went to bed that night feeling very proud of himself and super happy that Cunningham won the cross-country carnival!!!

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An added bonus was having his older cousin KB as vice captain:)

As his mother, and a running mother as well, this whole experience has left me inspired. If my son can push through that pain he did on Friday, I’ll always be able to as well. So when I set out to complete my 17k yesterday morning, there were times where I was hurting, but thinking of Bay helped me to push through and take over 2 mins off my 17k pb! Kids are inspiring…no mater what age or ability they have, they really are courageous little human beings!!

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Whatever Will I Do?!?!

From the moment I wake to the moment I go to bed at night, my day is full of busyness and endless parenting responsibilities. I feed kids, prepare them for school, fill out forms for school, make and take them to appointments. I take them to school, pick them up from school, help them with homework, cook dinner, make sure the house is clean, grocery shop, wash our clothes, get them to their extra curricular activities and teach two days a week! Each day is different with the intension of the same outcome – making sure we’re happy!

I love my life, I really do. Some days are hard, some days are simple, some days I wouldn’t want to repeat, but I truly feel blessed for what I have! I’m so use to running around like a chook with its head cut off. I’m so use to having someone hanging off me or calling out mum for the 100th time that day. There are moments where I get so tired I just want 5 minutes of peace and I do get that – at night from 7.30 when all kids are asleep that is my time of peace! And of course every kilometre I run helps me to regain and regather my thoughts to start my day. I’m so use to going and going and going I find it hard to STOP!

Then when I get the chance to stop and do something for myself, I flounder. I sit, think and wonder “what are the kids doing?!?” I wander around looking at things the kids would like. As I write this blog I’m on MY OWN on a plane to Melbourne for two hours, where I will spend the next 48 hours without one of my children in the same state as I let alone next to me. Whatever will I do?!? Mums always wish for this time and I don’t know about you but when I’m given it, I struggle to be without my children. After a day at work I can’t wait to get home to the kids!!

It’s been a while since I went away by myself, but this time I feel different and I think it’s because the kids are all that bit older. Normally I start to feel anxious the day before and the morning of leaving them. In the past I’ve almost talked myself out of doing this type of thing and it’s always my husband saying “just go and enjoy yourself!” Well there was no anxiety this time and for the first time ever I was just excited!!!!…..

I’m now back on the plane and I must say although we’ve had a fabulous weekend, I’m extremely excited to have my babies wrap their arms around me. I’ve missed their sweet little kisses and I love yous. I’ve missed the way they make me laugh and our insightful conversations. I know they’ve been loved and nurtured by their father all weekend, but I have wondered…”I wonder what the girl’s hair looks like?!?” lol!

This weekend has been a huge confidence booster for me when it comes to taking time out for myself. I never felt selfish and I didn’t feel less about myself as a mother. We are allowed to have these moments and not feel guilty and what a moment it was! The main reason for this weekend was to see Dirty Dancing. It was our birthday present from mum and dad – the best birthday present ever! The show was unbelievably amazing. Just like the movie – music, lines, costumes and all. And Johnny…well lets just say we had Hungry Eyes for him!

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After the show we went to the crown casino and ate the most amazing buffet. 2 hours of food, chatting and laughing – what more could a girl want and with the most amazing women…my mum, sisters and aunty. No one had any luck on the gambling side, but that’s ok:)!

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This morning we were up and out early so we could head back into the city to compete in the Run for Kids 5.4km race. I’ve been running for 3 and a half years now and this was my first official event. My aim was to run 5k in sub 24 minutes. This was no easy feat as I battled hundreds and hundreds of people, prams, scooters, bottle neck hills and drink stations, but to my excitement I reached 5km in 23.56 and ran the total course of 5.4km in 24.42…what a thrill!!!! This run also brought home how lucky I am to have 3 healthy children. Many people competed in this event today to honour their loved ones. It was quite emotional seeing photos and dates printed on their shirts in remembrance of their babies.

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Our last stop for the day was the always famous Queen Victoria Markets. I must say they aren’t as good as they use to be and I only walked away with a bracelet and something for the kids…my favourite part was my corn on the cob:/ Next Melbourne trip WILL involve a lot more shopping:)

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Melbourne is a great place to visit and we were able to see quite a bit of the city this weekend. I’ve been many times, but it’s always great to see new places and try new things. And of course the main reason we go is to see my beautiful sister and her family. It’s always great to see them as it’s been quite a while since we have! And to top the weekend off the weather was amazing! Cold mornings and nights but sun shining days!

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As I’m half an hour off landing I will enjoy this last moment of time to myself. It has been nice to sleep more peacefully, toilet and shower without anyone barging in, finish a conversation and eat without getting indigestion. It’s been a full on start to this year and this weekend is something I’ve needed to recoup and move forward. I’m all of that now and with only 2 weeks until school holidays I’m ready – lets do this babies and then we have 2 weeks together!

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Come Up For Air….

It’s been a while since I put my heart on the line and disclosed feelings and thoughts that seldomly go through my head, but it’s been one of those months. You know those months where you feel like your drowning in the pressures of life. The ones where everything in your life has steered off track and it takes all your strength not to have a nervous breakdown…but I’m here to say I lived it, I survived it as I’ve finally come up for air!

February..where do I start?!?

February is always the busiest month of the year for us. It’s the beginning of a new school year which encompasses settling the kids in with a new teacher and class mates and this year in particular was bigger than ever as we established new routines. Thankfully Sienna, who has taken months to settle for the past couple of years, started grade 2 so bravely that she hasn’t caused me a worry in the world…this time it’s been Bailey and Mia.

20150308-200344.jpg If you are a regular follower of my blog, you would know that my son was diagnosed with severe anxiety and a motor and vocal tic late last year. This hasn’t caused any problems for him at school until this year. He still manages to keep his anxiety under control at school, but his tics have become so obvious now that they are evident at school. This lead to an early appointment back to our paediatrician who is now referring Bay to a neurologist to rule out any neurological issues.

Meetings back and forth at the school with Bay’s teacher and the Deputy has now seen him settle in quite well. I’ve started him on magnesium as research has proven it to have a positive affect on people with Tourettes. Magnesium helps to decrease the severity in tics and so far I’m noticing some improvement. I also read an article this weekend where folinic acid and vitamin B12 helps reduce anxiety…I’m willing to give anything a try to help Bailey overcome his anxiety.

Then there’s Mia. Oh Mimsy where will you end up I constantly ask myself?!? Starting preschool for this little cherub has absolutely rocked her world. I thought Sienna’s separation anxiety was bad…Mia has taken it to a whole new level!!! It’s been so bad that she won’t sleep or leave my side when she’s with me. It’s taken 6 weeks, but the last two weeks has seen some positive feedback land in my lap! Although she still cries and frets each day she has to go, she is starting to settle better, interact with her peers and show her teachers what she is capable of. This is a far cry from crying all day, refusing to talk to her teacher and pining over me.

Amongst all of this there was some lovely moments spent when we tripped to the coast to spend time with my beautiful parents on their Palm Beach holiday. It was a shame though that I had to take my work laptop and work on reports that had a strict deadline – a teachers job is an endless job!!! But the reports got done and we always have a ball at our annual getaway with mum and dad!

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20150308-200719.jpg Then of course each February brings about my eldest and youngest’s birthdays. This year I made life a bit easier for myself and had a joint celebration with family. Each child had a cake of their choice and for their actual birthday they took cupcakes to school to share with their friends. I feel like I didn’t put the effort in I normally do for my children’s birthdays, but they were super happy and that’s the main thing.

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20150308-200849.jpg Add to this mix the demands my job plays at this time of year, a change in year levels after the first few weeks of school and a lot of things that played out at work that really made me question…why do I bother?!? Oh and did I mention I hit a car in all of this? And amongst all of this the kids sport started up as well as weekly visits to Bay’s therapist…oh and Kane is working massive hours to boot! One thing after the other was becoming a recipe for a meltdown….

I was spooked. I couldn’t shake the overwhelming feeling of a brick that sat on my head and every time I tried to come up for air, every time I tried to see the light and every time I tried to get the wheels back on my track it felt like another brick was being placed on my head! I kept telling myself “you’ll be right”…”just get through this month and then you’ll be able to breathe again.” I really surprised myself as I hadn’t felt like this for a very long time. I’ve always prided myself on leading a well-balanced life with my running being my therapy. Not once have I missed a kilometre planned out in all of this but I still had an uneasy feeling and I wasn’t feeling my happy self at all…what the hell was wrong with me?!?!

As I counciled myself, spoke to many friends and my dear mother…(although I didn’t bog mum down too much with my problems as she’s suffering a terrible knee problem at the moment) I realised what my problem really was….I’m mentally exhausted. Physically I can keep going and going and going, but with everything that’s going on, particularly with Bailey, I’m utterly mentally exhausted. Where things wouldn’t bother me, they did. Where my patience would be good they weren’t. I literally felt like I was having PMT for a whole month!!!!!!

All of this on the back-end of our overseas trip. I loved our holiday. But 3 massive weeks overseas with three kids under 8 after a huge year that was and since we’ve returned we’ve hit the ground running. We haven’t had that time to recoup and recharge like we normally do at the end of every year. But we knew this would be the case when we decided to go to the States. And I guess having an overseas holiday is like planning a wedding. You spend so long planning it, but the event is over in the blink of an eye. You are on the highest of highs and once it’s over you come crashing down.

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20150308-201056.jpg I’m happy to say now that February is over, the major crashing waves that kept rolling one on top of the other has returned to a semi-calmness or should I say the normal amount of busy and craziness that goes on day in and day out at this house. I have really disliked the way I’ve felt this past month and hope I don’t feel like this again. It’s taken a lot of mental strength and self-regulation to overcome the uneasy feeling that sat in the pit of my stomach for weeks, but I’m feeling back to my happy self again.

I’ve had to really dig deep this past month and tell myself that “I can do this!” on numerous occasions. I’ve drawn on the strength of the people who constantly surround me and make my life an awesome one and I’ve reminded myself constantly how lucky I am. I never gave up on myself. I rode the big wave and waited until it came back to a flat. I like flat…flat is good! I’m finally feeling grounded again and back to being the best I can be in all areas of my life!

I’m so use to dealing with one thing after another but for the first time in a while it was all becoming too much. I was fragile but I’ve built myself back together and after running 17k yesterday (my longest run to date) I’m ready to face the rest of the year!

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