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Hipster Mum.

Hipster Mum.

So last week I got a new hip. A hip replacement to be exact. Yep. How old am I do you say? 37. Yep, a little young I know. Yep. Nod. I’ve had this operation on the horizon for a while now, and if you’ve been following me you would know that I’ve tried everything to avoid it, but have surrendered to the surgery. So last Thursday I checked in to hospital, got my gown and very sexy surgery undies on and went under the knife. In case you’ve missed it, here’s why….

About two years ago I woke up on holidays, post Christmas with terrible pain in my right hip. The result, I figured, of too much running around with a then two year old and a baby. I knew it wasn’t the late nights out dancing (heck, I can’t even remember what they are like!). After a few weeks of investigation I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who discovered a ‘labral tear’ in my cartilage (possibly from child birth) and more severely, an impingement in the bone which meant that every time I moved my hip in a certain way, the bone effectively wedged against the hip joint, meaning pain. So under the knife I went for an arthroscopy and repair to hopefully fix what is quite commonly presented amongst young Mothers who have previously participated in sport and intense exercise. Note at this point I was laughing because my teen years were jam packed with athletics, netball and competitive dancing, but clearly the lasting effects had lingered on many years after finishing up my ‘professional’ athletics career! 😉

Hip Replacement Hipster
However post surgery, I was to find that my surgeon had in fact discovered damage and a hip in such a state of disrepair that a total replacement presented as the only real solution to my problem. I balled my eyes out. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. A hip replacement? That is an ‘old’ person’s operation. I was 37 not 97. However my body didn’t feel like it was young. What he saw was severe Osteo Arthritis. The result of bad genetics (thanks Mum and Dad), and a combination of years of exercise, coupled with child birth and Motherhood. It had just tipped me over the edge.

You see my problem was mainly at night. During the day I could run around (not quite literally run around, but you know…more of the crazy Mum run around thing). I could walk, go to work and do most things, but if I ever wore heels, or stood for a long time, or walked a long way…which let’s face it as a Mum is always, then my nights would be met with great pain and throbbing. All night. Every night. To the point where I couldn’t bare going to bed without a hot water bottle and pain killers. I did physio, I did pilates. I tried to strengthen my muscles. However the realisation quickly settled in that the daunting prospect of a hip replacement was something that I was really going to have to consider. However as all families know, we were just to busy. I simply didn’t have ‘time’ for a hip replacement. When could I possibly fit it into our life with the prospect of 12 weeks recovery? My job, my husband’s job (and own business), my kids, MY KIDS, daycare, appointments. The need to rely on people. The stress it would put on my husband. On my family. It had already been an awful year following the loss of my Dad. I felt terrible. However as the months wore on, I knew that I needed to do it. And if I was going to do it, it had to be this year, before Christmas. I didn’t want to spend this, our first Christmas without my Dad and Nan in agony. I also didn’t want to have surgery next year when my Ella would be going through her prep transition. Finding time to have surgery and recover is almost impossible as a Mum, and something that almost made me put it off altogether. However the prospect of another year of pain and relying on pain meds meant that I knew I needed to do it. To be a good Mum, to be a good wife, daughter, sister, friend. I needed to take care of myself first so I could take care of those around me.

So it meant biting the bullet and getting it done. I’ve actually since discovered that hip replacement surgery is more common in your people than is commonly known. I guess there are a whole lot of people out there who are in a similar situation, but simply find it hard to find the time, and money to have the surgery they need.

Hip replacement Hipster Mum

So I’m day 5, at home. It’s hard, I will admit to rest and do nothing. I’m not used to it (hence this blog post). However I’m grateful that I have access to an amazing surgeon and team of professionals who will get me back to where I want to be. Pain free. I know it will take a while, but I’m so looking forward to being able to sleep without pain. I have two legs that are actually now the same length (my left was previously 1cm shorter than my  right) and I can already feel the healing nature of the pain. It’s better than the bone on bone kind that is for sure!

Thanks for all of your beautiful messages of love and support. I know that making the decision to take care of myself is the right one. I don’t know why, as Mum, we find that so hard sometimes. But we do. But this decision will mean happiness for me and that means my family. That can only be a good thing. You’ll see me running around in no time!

Onward and Upward as my beautiful Dad would say!

kate

 

 

Losing Dad, finding Hope

Losing Dad, finding Hope

Three weeks on from losing our beautiful Dad, things are really only now becoming real. He really did pass away. Suddenly. He really isn’t coming back. I can’t believe I’m even writing this. Only four months ago I wrote about losing my Nan, after 93 years. A long and happy life. My Dad’s life was incredibly happy. However it was cut too short. Dad passed away in his sleep, something everyone ‘wants’ to do. Except when it’s 30 years too early. It’s as though he has vanished, the world has deleted him. And yet he is still here. Every where, in every thing, every thought. Dad would hate this. He would hate to see his family suffering, asking why, living this reality each day. And yet I also know that Dad would be wanting us to live our lives. To be happy. To make the most of each and every day. After all, that is what he did.

losing dad

At Dad’s funeral, we included this beautiful poem in his mass booklet….

He is Gone – A Poem by David Harkins

You can shed tears that he is gone,

Or you can smile because he lived,

You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,

Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.

 

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him

Or you can be full of the love that you shared,

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,

Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

 

You can remember him and only that he is gone

Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on,

You can cry and close your mind be empty and turn your back,

Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes,

love and go on.

IMG_4840This was my Dad. Mark Patrick Sherlock. It’s hard to put into words a description of a Father who gave you the life of your dreams. He was not only the most amazing Dad, but he was a person we all wanted to be. Loving, kind, hard working, generous. Dad was a people person. It was actually very hard to find a photo of my Dad on his own. He smiled from ear to ear in each and every one. Dad created a life for us, that I hope I can create for my children. He epitomised happiness. He loved his job and worked with the RSL for over 30 years caring for those who have returned after serving for their country. He loved our Mum. Adored her. He gave her a ‘double kiss’ each time he said goodbye, and each time he came home. He travelled a great deal, and not matter where he was in the world, he would text Mum wishing her a good night…’don’t let the bed bugs bite’.

losing dad

When you lose your Dad, especially so suddenly you feel vulnerable. Bare. Exposed. The person who you knew would always protect you is no longer there. You have to grow up in an instant. You have to consider yourself an adult, who now has to rise to the occasion and ‘be’ the person they wanted you to be. Strong, brave, hopeful. Finding hope is hard at times like this. I hope we all can. I know we will with time.

As Fathers’ Day approaches, I’m feeling sad, scared, numb. I’m also feeling incredibly reflective, and so proud of the life he gave me, and the life he lived. Not everyone is able to say that their Father truly is their hero. I’m blessed that I can. My beautiful husband told me that he wants our children to love him the way we loved our Dad. Already I can see that they do, and my Dad would be proud of him.

So three weeks on after losing Dad, I am searching for hope. I’m searching for the things that can bring us comfort. The love of family and friends. The blessings of my children. The messages and memories shared from near and far. I hope they keep coming, they help more than you know. Grief is exhausting. People ask you how you are, but you don’t know how you are, or what to say. You know that people don’t know what to say either. You just put one foot in front of the other, and do your best. People say it gets easier with time. I hope so. I know it will. In the mean time we are surrounded by incredible support. In my previous post I talked about it ‘taking a village to raise a parent’. Well it also takes a village to help you when you lose one.

My fridge is covered in photos of our family. Of my Dad’s smile and his love of life. I want to keep him ever present in our thoughts and in our reality. He may not be here in body, but he is most definitely here in spirit. He is still my Dad. Always and forever. This brings me hope and a smile. We can close our eyes and pray that he will come back, or we can open our eyes and see all that he has left. A life of memories and love.

losing dad

 

losing dad

kate

 

Valentine’s Day from the Kids

Valentine’s Day from the Kids

Last year I shared some fabulous Valentine’s Day craft ideas for kids to create for their Dad, Mum, Grandparent and anyone whom they love! Last year Ella created this gorgeous LOVE canvas for her Dad, and not only did he absolutely love it, it was super cheap, easy to make and lots of fun too…

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There is simply nothing like receiving a gift of love on Valentine’s Day, but what could totally top that is a handmade gift from your child. This year, we have another little person to help make a gift for their Daddy and I can’t wait to see the look on their Dad’s face when he receives it. So with that, here are some of my fabulous finds from Pinterest for making something with your kids for someone they love. Each are linked to their original source on Pinterest.

From the bottom of my heart, to the tip of my toes..

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A simple, but oh so gorgeous photo..

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Nothing better than baby kisses..

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Salt Dough Footprints…

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52 things we love about you…

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I love you to pieces…

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Hands Down! You’re my hero…

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and probably my favourite….if you can be a little clever…

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So with that, take some time to make something small, but oh so precious for someone you love this Valentine’s Day. You can see some more ideas on my Pinterest Board Here.

kate

Bub Crawl

Bub Crawl

Today I’m sharing some happy milestones in the life of my little man. At just eight months he has recently mastered the commando crawl, sits himself up and has just acquired his fourth tooth thanks to an angry set of canines that have broken through. I’ve been looking back over our milestones with Ella and I have to say that whilst my little man has had his struggles, he is going gang busters in other areas.

His poor little brain has gone into overload. Crawling, sitting, teeth. It’s all happening. It’s funny that once your child learns the art of moving, they never stop. Ever so determined to get ‘that’ toy, he drags himself across the floor and proudly sits himself up when he reaches his target. There are so many things I’ve forgotten about this stage. The need to get everything out of reach, move things to the centre of the coffee table, keep the floors clean and ensure that you have lots of spare clothes on hand to change him after the endless dirt that appears down his front. I’d forgotten about the drool! The endless drool! The munching, on everything!!!

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I’d forgotten how frustrated they get..in the night when they wake, over and over. They sit themselves up and forget how to lay back down. They chew on everything. Think bite marks everywhere! Ella was a biter and chewed the side of her cot like a corn cob. The cute thing is Hudson is starting to add his own marks that are distinctive, and we can tell their ‘bites’ apart!

I’d forgotten how they pull themselves up onto everything. They beam with pride….

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I’d forgotten how dirty they get. How their fronts get covered in dirt and it makes you realise how unclean your floors are. Someone really should invent a Onsie mop!

However most of all, I’d forgotten how proud you feel when you see them sit up on their own. When you see them reach for that toy on their own. When you see them smile with that little toothy peg sticking out.

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Little milestones that make a big difference in their gorgeous lives.

Keep growing little man!

kate

Hudson heads home!

Hudson heads home!

It is with great love, joy and heartfelt gratitude that today we bring our Hudson home. Born four weeks early, as you know this meant that our little man had to stay a little longer in hospital to fatten up, develop some good habits and generally be a little stronger to be a bouncing baby boy in his own home. It has been quite a surreal couple of weeks, to say the least. His arrival caught us by surprise, and this also meant that our renovation deadline was smashed to pieces. I have so many people to thank, and so much I feel I need to say…

Any Mum will tell you that the moment you walk through your doors with your new baby is one of those moments you cherish forever. It’s the little things…sitting on your couch, cuddles in bed and just having a sense of privacy as you learn to live and love as a family in your own home. It was so incredibly hard leaving Hudson, particularly at night. After coming home, having dinner and putting Ella to bed, I felt a great emptiness knowing he wasn’t with us. One night I found myself saying to Dan that it sometimes felt like we hadn’t had a baby. I found it easier, knowing that the nurses and doctors at the Freemasons Epworth in Melbourne were some of the most caring, reassuring and loving people I had come across. It takes someone special to work with children, and I have come to believe that those who are dedicated enough to work with premature and sick babies are pure angels on earth. Words could never express my thanks. Towards the end of the nearly three weeks, I found it harder that I was missing out on those cuddles at home. I always knew that we were blessed and that Hudson’s plight was no where near as hard as some of the families that I had met in SCN. That said however, any parent who has to leave their child in hospital for any amount of time will know that it is heart braking. You feel so helpless and guilty. Your time is precious in at the hospital and those cuddles in between the strict feeding schedules go so quick. You also feel so torn between wanting to care for your new child, and also being there for your toddler. Having family and friends there to help has gotten us through.

Hudson Heads Home
Hudson Heads Home

We know how lucky we have been to have our wonderful family. Whether it be helping with Ella or simply sitting with us, we have been so blessed. Hudson is truly so lucky to have been born into a loving family, and into world where his parent’s friends have blessed him with so many play mates. Our friends have been wonderful. Whether you were there in person, over Facebook or as a Happy Ella After reader, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your messages of warmth, support and encouragement. You will never know the impact that a small text, email or message has had on us.

I’ll struggle to type the next paragraph as I thank the love of my life. Daniel, you are my soul mate, best friend and the most amazing Father I could ever hope for my children to have. There is not a day that goes by that I am forever grateful that you chose (for some whacky reason) to spend your life with me. I will never ever take you for granted, or feel anything but heartfelt thanks that you are by my side. You have worked so hard for your family, and whether it be renovating our home, playing with Ella, feeding Hudson or being there for me, you are simply amazing.  They say the best gift a Father can give to their children is to love their Mother. You give it to all of us in spades.

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Best Daddy on the planet!

To our baby boy. We want you to know how much we love you. We hope that your first few weeks in SCN have helped you grow strong and we hope that we can continue to give you everything you need. We hope that you know that we are always here for you, no matter what. We want you to laugh, love life and be happy. There have been so many people who have been thinking of you and praying for you over the last three weeks. We feel so lucky to have you in our life, and Ella is so looking forward to bossing you around. Whatever happens in life, we’ve got your back.

Cuddles galore
Cuddles galore

I’ve done a lot of crying today…pure tears of joy. We are so happy to have you home.

Love Mum and Dad xx

kate

When baby arrives…

When baby arrives…

With just under 5 weeks to go until our second baby is due, I am well and truly starting to think about their arrival. This week has seen my Braxton Hicks go to a new level, and I must admit that I’ve been a little ‘wary’ of the onset of early labour. We are planning on moving back into our house in in four weeks and I’m praying that the baby stays happy inside my tummy to give us time to move in and hopefully have at least one night in our new house. However as things don’t go to plan, I know that there isn’t much I can do to stop it!

That said, I’ve been thinking a lot about those first few hours and days after the baby arrives. With your first, it is such a blur. Depending on your labour you could be incredibly tired and drugged up. I gave birth after 16 hours and after some ‘help’ Ella arrived safe and well. I felt really groggy and exhausted and remember those first few days as though I was floating through a dream. Having no idea what I was doing, my emotions swung from complete excitement to shear terror. I remember feeling really scared being alone with her in my hospital room at 10pm on my first night. Scared, not of her, but of what I was meant to do. I was in a fair bit of pain and couldn’t sit up. Should I wake her? Feed? How do I feed? Change her nappy? What if I did something wrong? Would I get sleep? Would I be a good Mum? It was such a mixture of emotions.

This morning I read a beautiful article about a Mum cherishing a special moment with her new born child. A simple photo taken by her, alone with her new born baby in their hospital room. Titled ‘giving birth for the first time’, Lauren Jackman describes the simple pleasure she feels in looking back on this photo and the special time she shared alone with her baby in those first few hours. After Ella was born, I remember my family coming in, a few visitors fussing over us all and general excitement. I remember Dan staying with me until late at night at which time I sent him home to get a good rest. He always says it was the best sleep he ever had that night. I intend on doing that again!

What I felt most about this article however, was the fact that this time, I will cherish those first few hours a little more consciously than before. Knowing what to expect, and with all things hopefully going smoothly, I am looking forward to just being calm and still with my new little one, and enjoying them being here. Just to stop for a moment and enjoy the time, before the circus of going home begins. I cannot wait to hold this little one in my arms, and see my Husband become a Father all over again.

Looking back on this time with Ella, I smile as I remember what we must have been feeling when she arrived in this world….

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A couple of new parents, no idea what to do, but a whole lot of love to give…

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Our first night…she looks so peaceful in this shot!

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No words really needed to describe this shot…

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One of my favourites. Our little bundle all wrapped up…

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So all I need to do is to remember to remember to pack the camera, and we will be right!!! I hope you have lots of photos that bring you equal joy of the moment when your child arrived in this world. Incredible beyond words.

kate

 

New Giveaway! Tinybeans Photo Book!

New Giveaway! Tinybeans Photo Book!

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to review the beautiful Tinybeans Photo Books by creating one for Ella. If you missed the review, click here. If you are anything like me, you take hundreds of photos of your little ones, and if you are smart…use the Tinybeans App to store, keep track and share them with loved ones. The problem is, that even though we can flick through these snaps on our mobile devices, there is nothing quite like a printed book of photos. The team over at Tinybeans, have cleverly linked their app with the ability to create beautiful, personalised photo books. If you use the Tinybeans App, it is so simple to choose your favourite snaps, and have the book delivered directly to your front door!

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What is even better, is the fact that Tinybeans are giving Happy Ella After readers who use the Tinybeans App, the chance to win your own Photo Book filled with three months of your chosen memories. This is valued at over $50 Australian dollars, and includes postage direct to your door.

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If you know anyone who uses this sensational app, then please forward this giveaway on to them. It’t the perfect way to celebrate and hold onto the photos of your children. I can honestly say, I wouldn’t be able to function as a snap happy parent without this app, and the photo album has really brought them to life!

This competition is open to readers world wide. Entry is via Facebook, accessible through the link below. Entry into the competition is acceptance of the terms and conditions as set out in the app link. The giveaway will open Monday 17th March at 7am AEDST and will close on Monday 31st March at 6pm AEDST. As always, readers will need to ‘like’ both the Happy Ella After and Tinybeans Facebook pages. Entrants can also earn extra points by sharing what they love about Tinybeans in a comment below.

Good luck!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE TINY BEANS PHOTO BOOK COMPETITION!

kate