Tuesday, 29 April 2014

This ANZAC weekend , I organised our first ever New Zealand group meet-up in Rotorua, and wow - what an experience. So many wonderful people with so much knowledge and experience to share. We managed to get together 8 New Zealand families - as well as having the pleasure of the director of Nevus Support Australia, Michelle's company for the weekend.

I can't begin to tell you what it meant for us to speak face to face with other parents who have children with the same condition as our Olive, and to talk with those who are older and further along their path. I'm sure others can relate when I say there is something special in being able to talk with others in the same boat - whether it be rare condition like Olive has, or a heart defect, or another type of medical 'ailment', To be able to meet a bunch of beautiful people of various ages who have had such a similar road to the one you are on is both relaxing and overwhelming all at once.

Olive was the youngest person with CMN there, and the others ranged in ages up to 47. For me as a Mum, I found it really reassuring to see these brave and beautiful girls and women (there were no males with CMN there!) leading such a wonderful, fulfilling and normal life. Each one of them was an inspiration for me, and I feel they will be such a positive influence and great role models for Olive in years to come. There was such a delight in watching all the kids playing together so comfortably and getting along so well.

I got to learn about a whole bunch of medical procedures I had no idea about, and to learn of what the others did and didn't like about living with their nevus. I will admit, that for someone who is shy like myself, the whole aspect of meeting new people was a bit scary and I was quite anxious beforehand. But I needn't have been. They were such easy-going people and going by the feedback I have received, they each found it just as beneficial as us. I am so thankful that each family was so receptive to being open and honest with us all, just as we were with them, and that everyone was so interested in each other!

What a blessing to meet this many families in such a short span of Olive's life. Olive of course, was oblivious to most of it. She was more intent on running out of the pub door on Saturday night and screaming her way down the slide at the park we met at on Sunday. We got some gorgeous photos of everybody all together, and all of the kids had a blast.

In what can appear to be a 'negative' when your child is first born with such a distinctive difference, sometimes you can meet some of the most amazing people.

Here is my wee girl with her 'same same' friend, Haley, who also has a bathing trunk nevus.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

They say it take a village to raise children and though a lot of the time I feel like I'm all alone in this long haul, and no-one else could at all understand my sleep deprivation or how close I am teetering to the end of my tether, I actually have to agree wholeheartedly. I could never be without my village. With each stage of the kids lives, my village grows a bit more and involves more people - friends, teachers, new family. My village is something I value a lot and I lean on them heavily with my parenting -  it may be a phonecall to my Mum to tell her a funny thing one of the kids said, or a post on Facebook asking what other parents do in such and such situation, or perhaps even my Dad or my sister taking the kids overnight so we can have some time as a couple. Whatever the situation though, I am always aware that these are my 'guys'. And I have some damn good ones.

Today my youngest babe turns two. Two whole years since my little angel graced us with her presence. And she hasn't stopped. I had as many Facebook posts on my wall today wishing my little girl a happy birthday as I did on my birthday! And nobody even got a Facebook reminder! Haha. But honestly? That makes me feel blessed. It is not just me and my husband who love this child (and of course my other two!) infinitely, but our whole village. It inspires me to keep sharing things about my kids and to keep filling them with love.

I wont deny it, my kids do my head in. I lose it and yell, and go all banshee on them. I don't necessarily do things right - hell, a lot of the time I feel like I'm stumbling my way through this minefield of a parenting lark! Sometimes I feel I am too hard on them and other times I think I'm probably taking the easy way out. But we must be also doing a lot right, that works for them as people. I sure know we did today.

Olive woke up and had a smile on her face from that moment on. She was so excited about her approaching birthday that for the last few days she has been singing herself Happy Birthday and then clapping and yelling, 'Yaaaay!! My birfday!!'. She got a new easel for her birthday which was a hit with all the kids,  especially the chalk for the blackboard which apparently makes a good snack. We also gave her a new pink wagon, which was also a hit...until the big kids bowled Pop over with it while he was holding Olive. Whoops!

I spent the day doing her cake, which she had requested as 'two' and a 'pink one'. So that's what she got, a long with far too many sprinkles and lollies. We had a few meltdowns when she was told to wait for Grandma, pop and her aunties before she could eat it!
When we all sang her happy birthday, she grinned the entire song and mouthed along the words of Happy Birthday...to Olive.
My girl was thoroughly spoilt with gifts, attention, cuddles, kisses and love. You could see the pure joy on her face the whole time. It really was heart-meltingly-cute.

Two years gone since she busted into our lives with that charisma and radiant positive energy that she exudes and I wouldn't change her for the world.

Happy birthday my sweet Olive. xoxo

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

This blog is for Olive and while this post isn't directly about Olive, I wanted to post something about some people who are very important in her life. Her older siblings, Jaxon and Meisha. My big kids have been AMAZING since we had Olive. And not just cliché amazing, REAL amazing. I am so proud of the people they are - they are so accepting and comforting. They are confident and they are encouraging. I couldn't have asked for better people for Oli to look up to. Truly.

Jaxon is my 8 year old, as most people know. He is the most sensitive and caring wee boy I have ever met. He has an intuition when it comes to peoples feeling's and he is very good at being supportive and compassionate to people without being prompted. He likes to make people feel special, and when he does, he has this beautiful coy smile that he treats you with. Out of all of my babies, he was the biggest laugher. From a very young age, he would make us laugh with his infectious belly laugh and he still does. You can't help chuckling as well when you hear him chortling away.

Jax is a quiet boy a lot of the time and people mistake him for being shy. He is actually very confident. He doesn't think much of getting in front of an audience and performing. In fact, I think he quite thrives on it. At my mother in law's 60th birthday recently, they had a microphone for people to stand up and say something. Jax insisted on standing up there, in front of a room full of adults he barely knew, and he wished his Grandma a happy birthday. That kind of stuff? That makes my heart just beam with pride.

Jax is never slow to helping me with Olive and he takes good care of her when they play together. He has a good dose of common sense for a boy of his age and will not hesitate to call me if he feels there is any type of danger. He loves laughing at Olive and getting her to do silly things and make her laugh. He doesn't care if things are girly or pink, if it keeps his sister happy, he will do it.

Meisha, on the other hand, he is not quite so happy to help! lol. They are just 20 months apart in age so there is more sibling rivalry there. They are thick as thieves sometimes, and other times are at each other's throats.

She comes across as a shy quiet girl as well, and is actually a lot more shy than Jaxon. She has a wicked sense of humour and can be very clever in some of the pranks she has played on me (like locking me outside in my knickers and bra one morning while she stood there laughing her little head off!)!

My Meisha is a very competent child, she is excelling in her gymnastics class and she enjoys doing things that make her feel strong - climbing, running, lifting things etc. She obviously gets that from Eddie, not me!

Meisha also loves maths. A maths problem excites her and she loves being challenged into figuring out new ones. Meisha struggles a bit more with her reading, where Jax excels with his so often he will sit with her while I am busy doing dinner (or some other necessary but boring task) and help her with her reading. That is a delightful sight to a mother's eyes.

Meishy-moo is a beautiful girl (yes yes, all the looks from me haha!) and is often told so. She has gorgeous dark eyelashes with naturally blonded hair, and coupled with her lovely skin tone and her charming features, she really is a beauty.

Both Jaxon and Meisha have never moaned about Olive taking up time, or about Olive being different and having any different attention or treatment from anyone. They have always been on this road with us - enjoying the good times, knowing the sad times, and always always ALWAYS being right there for Olive. In every way.

I am so proud of my children. They truly are my biggest achievement. All three of them. Not only are they all stunners (haha, biased mother!) but  I am so pleased with the people they are already, and the more they blossom every day.