Life Lessons and Revelations

So I’ve done it again… it’s been a whole year since my last post!

We had another kid this year. Yup, really. A beautiful little girl, so by my count that’s 3 girls, which is a whole other level of insanity. (Poor Ben!)

Zoe (now a middle child!) Is essentially a normal 3 year old at this point. She is down to just a shunt in her head (that drains excess spinal fluid down to her bowel) and an MRI under general anaesthetic every 4 months (which have so far all been clear!) She is loving being a big sister, introducing Lily to any passing stranger that makes eye contact with her!

So, with the small amounts of spare time that I do get, I scroll rapidly through Facebook searching for any scraps of news – or gossip – that may interest me.

Other than the catastrophe that is the U.S. Presidential race, and the disaster that the Olympic Games are and will continue to be, I have mostly been following some great blogs. My favourite at the moment is a woman called Constance Hall.

Constance is quite the polarising figure. She is all at once the “Queen” of insanity, chaos, nudity and swearing. But also a huge supporter of individuality, family units, and loving the skin you are in. Personally, I love her total and complete honesty that makes her reader feel ok to be human. She makes it ok to feel like every once in a while I can have a day where no laundry, cleaning of homework is done, but instead we bake something terrible for the waistline and watch Frozen on repeat and I do not feel like I am failing my kids in any way.

Sometimes, us mums can get pretty judgy… I have to be honest I’ve found myself (on more than one occasion) reading an article and thinking to myself “what a terrible mother” or “what kind of person would do that to their child”

To be fair on my judgemental-ness, a lot of those times, the parent has put their child in some kind of danger which is just not ok under any circumstances!

But these other times, when it comes down to diet, religion, fitness, any personal choices really, we can get very het up about what we think is the right choice.

A very good example of this is the breastfeeding vs formula “debate”. I truly believe that this should not even be a debate. There is only one choice that is best for baby and mum. I bet you think you know which one I’d choose to promote… but you’d be wrong.

My personal view is that what’s best for baby and mother is… WHATEVER MUM DECIDES.

Whether breastfeeding or formula feeding, as long as bubs is getting nutrition, other mums can just stay out if it!

Discussion about recent research regarding the pros and cons of each should still definitely happen and be encouraged to happen more often, and events like the “Big Latch On” are wonderful opportunities for mums to show their support for each other.

It is the judging that needs to stop. We need to check our egos at the door. We all want what is best for our children and no matter what other decisions we make, we need to make a conscious decision to be supportive of our fellow mums. Only then will we be able to stop this cycle of judging and guilt.

Being a mother is the most rewarding, draining, loving, thankless, sweet and sour job you can do so why make it hard on other mums when you know how hard it is for you?

I have made a promise to myself to take every piece of advice I get from other mums as just that, advice, and I will do for my children as my heart and my head tell me.

If there’s one thing you can take from reading this, it is the same thing I learnt from Constance Hall, and that is: do what you can with what life hurls at you and don’t judge others for doing the same!

Peace, Love and Light Fellow Queens (and Kings!)

xox

Being The Fun Police

“Muuum, you’re never any fun!” Says my 5 year old to me on a regular basis.

Despite that fact that hours of my day are spent playing tea party with half dressed Barbies. Despite our Nail salon afternoons where I spend most of the time cleaning up spilt nail polish. Despite having watched Frozen, Tangled, and Ciinderella so many times I know the words to the script as well as every song! Despite taking her to the shops and wandering around the same store 300 times while she decides how to spend the $3 she eaned.

I like being girly and having a daughter that is old enough to start doing girly things with. However, despite all this, I am a mum first, so when it comes down to a choice between being cool or making sure her teeth are brushed properly. If I have to choose between being fun or making sure she goes to bed on time so that she gets enough sleep to handle the next school day, I’m going to choose being un-fun mum every time.

But I always have a moment of reflection, when my children are cared for by someone else for the day, and the person caring for them says, “you have such wonderfully behaved children” or “your girl has such good manners!” It is completely worth it. When we have a perfect morning getting ready for school and she gets her breakfast for herself, brushes her teeth without being asked and packs her backpack like a pro, I get to have my pat on the back moment, for me and for her. “Well done sweetie” I say to her, and to myself I say, “Well done no-fun mum! She’s learning!”

Because my position as their mother is not to be their friend and have fun all of the time, it is to ensure they grow up to be polite, caring, healthy human beings that can have a positive input on society. Children have enough friends to have fun with, they have enough aunts, uncles and grandparents to spoil them. My job is to make sure that with all the fun and the spoiling, my girl grows up to be a well-balanced young lady.

And if that means being the Fun-Police, well, just call me Chief!

Peace, Love and Light

xox

Bit Of Both

blog pic

I mentioned in my last post that I didn’t want to focus on the negatives in my blog, but so much has happened in the media over the last couple of weeks… some negative, and some positive, so here is a bit of both. To be honest with you, a lot of what has happened doesn’t even really matter, but it has become our bad habit as a collective to get super emotional about things that don’t even really affect our lives in any way.

I know that’s a bit of a bold statement to make but I feel that lately, social media has made us all (myself included) linger on things that a few years ago we might have said “that’s cool” or “oh dear, such a shame” and then moved on with our lives. Then on the other side, there a things that we really should be reading into and caring about that we ignore because we have become either unfeeling robots or maybe we are just immune to some stories affecting us because we’ve heard it all before.

Story 1: Caitlyn Jenner – a good news story gone bad

We all spent days, for some people weeks, obsessing over Caitlyn Jenner’s transformation. Yes she is brave for putting a very deeply personal story out there. Yes, she probably only shared her story for the money but WHO CARES!? If she did it for money or to help other men and women going through a similar thing, it doesn’t matter, IT HAS STILL HELPED! People do look up to her, just because you don’t, does not give you the right to call her or anyone with an opinion that is different to yours horrible names or insult others lifestyles. Her personal changes do not take away from her sporting career as Bruce plus, you have to admit she looks pretty spectacular!

What you do NOT have to do is resort to ignorant, bigoted name calling and swearing. Whether you think she deserved the bravery award or not, there is no need for that. Some of the conversations I have read over the last few weeks have given me a whole new vocabulary I never wanted or needed to know! There will always be people commenting on posts purely to get a rise out of people. There will always be one tightly wound religious person for every loose liberal person, that’s just how it is. Please, people, we are all humans… If you want to debate morality and beliefs that’s fine, that’s wonderful, that’s perfect. It’s exciting that we are in a place in our world where we can question belief systems and gender equality and all of those taboo subjects. We should be grateful of our freedom to express ourselves and respectful of everyone elses right to express themselves!

Story 2: TPPA – Good News & Bad News

The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is aiming to create a regional free trade agreement involving 12 Asia-Pacific countries, which on the surface could potentially be an amazing thing for New Zealand, however we know very little about the fine print of this agreement as it is still being discussed in secrecy and that is not ok. For a democratic society to function the government and the people running it need to be held accountable for their actions and I think sometimes the PM and his MPs forget that they are put in place to represent us not to decide for us how we feel and what we should be ALLOWED to have an opinion on. The people of NZ are finally clicking on to the fact that the TPPA is one of those things that we really should be caring about with protests happening in multiple cities around our country this week! If you want to know more try here and here.

Story 3: Chenery vs Harvey – a bad news story gone crazy

Here’s a quick run down. Crystal Chenery (a competitor on The Bachelor NZ) was on celebrity competition show “Dancing With The Stars” She gave a valiant effort and everyone that watched was very impressed by her skill. Unfortunately she came runner-up to the Simon “The Dad Bod” Barnett but she danced her booty off nonetheless.

Her placing second was not what has made the news however, nor is it Simons fantastic dancing, or the charities that these 2 generous celebrities gave up their time and copious amount of energy for. Nope, it was a photo (aimed at the Bachelor from Crystals season of The Bachelor NZ) of Crystal, doing the splits in mid-air, tweeted by Dom Harvey of The Edge radio station with a caption that went along the lines of “Showing Art what he missed out on.”

OH. THE. OUTRAGE.

People of Social Media Land, I say unto you……. HE’S A RADIO DJ! He’s paid to do stupid things and say stupid things to drum up interest, intrigue, hatred, love. Any feelings you have towards him means that he is doing his job perfectly! To those who have let their conversations escalate into hateful, spiteful arguments, I think you might be caring a little too much about something that has done the normal social media thing, molehill has officially become mountain.

It is an unfortunate fact that if you become famous in this day and age you are automatically subject to being harshly judged and ridiculed but that is how it happens. Especially if you make your way to fame or infamy through reality shows, it can be even worse, sadly for Crystal she was portrayed as a villain on The Bachelor NZ and so, anyone who watched the show and fell for its charms will already have Crystal painted in a negative light in their minds.

And to anyone who feels bullied on social media, not just Crystal. Please, go and talk the appropriate people. A lot of the ugliness and the honestly embarrassing nature of these situations can be avoided, and the issues can be resolved a lot more smoothly and with a lot less shame if people would just keep them out of social media. Twitter and Facebook are not an appropriate forum for dealing with these heavy issues.

Story 4: Lorde’s Post – A good news story to end with.

Whether you love or hate her music, you have to admit that Lorde is a good kiwi girl and has love in her heart. She is promoting a very good cause follow the link here and lets hope that more stories like these get out in the world so we can help our communities. We should all be looking for more opportunities to help the children of New Zealand, they are the future of this country after all.

The moral of these particular stories? Maybe to keep your eye on what’s truly important? Maybe to stop panicking about things that don’t affect you? Maybe next time you are letting yourself get wound up about a celebrity’s life, take a breath and think before you comment? With all the negativity in the world the best thing you can do is be positive. Say something nice, do a random act of kindness. Above all, have respect for others no matter what happens, and if you encounter nastiness respond with kindness.

NZ Students/Parents vs Teachers/Principals

I wanted to keep my blog positive, and I dont usually like commenting on things on facebook/online because it usually starts an angry argument with a lot of statements from uneducated or stubborn people, however this is something I feel very strongly about. I am making an exception as I am increasingly concerned about our school system when this sort of thing keeps happening.

In my day (which was NOT that long ago!) if your teacher or principal told you to take off non-uniform clothing or get your hair cut to get up to code, you did it. You’d get your formal education at school and your parents taught you the rest, it wasnt all up to the teachers who would never have been SUED if you missed out on a role in a play or a spot on a team… you’d just practice your arse off and try again the next year.
I am ashamed at the pathetic lack of respect educators are getting in this country.
I know for a fact my girls will learn at home that respecting teachers, principal and their fellow students is the only way to go because it is our responsibility as parents to TEACH them that.
If there is a school rule they don’t like they will be coming to me first, not splashing their issues all over social media to get their 2 minutes of fame.
It is not up to the schools to teach our children EVERYTHING, we as parents have responsibilities too and one of those responsibilities is to teach them when they get their feelings hurt the first step is not to sue but to work through it with dignity and respect for others.
Here are the stories to which I am referring:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11475962

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/10207087/Lucan-Battison-wins-long-hair-court-battle

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11473616

You can go ahead and comment and I will respect your opinion, if i do not agree we can debate it in a repectful manner as my parents taught me to respect others and my teachers taught me how to construct a proper argument.

Big Words

So, I have been asked many times for specifics about Zoe’s tumour and I am TERRIBLE at explaining so I thought I’d put together all the information I could.. dunno if itll be helpful but if it can help anyone then I’ve done my job!

On first googling, this is what you will find: Ependymomas, as their name implies, are glial tumors that exhibit ependymal differentiation. This group of neoplasms includes the following tumor categories: subependymoma (World Health Organization [WHO] grade I), myxopapillary ependymoma (WHO grade I), ependymoma (WHO grade II), and anaplastic ependymoma (WHO grade III). Ependymoblastoma, an aggressive embryonal tumor containing multilayered (ependymoblastic) rosettes in addition to primitive small round blue cells, is now considered a form of primitive neuroectodermal tumor of the central nervous system (CNS)

Here is a translation!

Ependymomal tumors are divided into four major types:

  • Subependymomas (grade I): Typically slow-growing tumors.

  • Myxopapillary ependymomas (grade I): Typically slow-growing tumors.

  • Ependymomas (grade II): (ZOE’S) The most common of the ependymal tumors. This type can be further divided into the following subtypes, including cellular ependymomas, papillary ependymomas, clear cell ependymomas, and tancytic ependymomas.

  • Anaplastic ependymomas (grade III): Typically faster-growing tumors.

Location: The various types of ependymomas appear in different locations within the brain and spinal column. Subependymomas usually appear near a ventricle. Myxopapillary ependymomas tend to occur in the lower part of the spinal column. Ependymomas are usually located along, within, or next to the ventricular system. Anaplastic ependymomas are most commonly found in the brain in adults and in the lower back part of the skull (posterior fossa) in children. They are rarely found in the spinal cord.

Description: Ependymomas are soft, grayish, or red tumors which may contain cysts or mineral calcifications.

Symptoms: Symptoms of an ependymoma are related to the location and size of the tumor. In babies, increased head size MAY be one of the first symptoms. Irritability, sleeplessness, and vomiting may develop as the tumor grows. In older children and adults, nausea, vomiting, and headache are the most common symptoms.

Incidence: Ependymomas are relatively rare tumors in adults, accounting for 2-3% of primary brain tumors. However, they are the sixth most common brain tumor in children. About 30% of pediatric ependymomas are diagnosed in children younger than 3 years of age.

Cause: Like many tumor types, the exact cause of ependymomas is not known.

Is ependymoma cancer? All grades of ependymoma tumors are considered cancer. Like other primary brain and spinal cord tumors, these cancers are different in that they tend not to spread to other parts of the body, but can recur and require treatment. As with other cancers – some can be cured but others cannot.

Treatment: The first step of ependymoma treatment is to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Radiation is usually recommended for older children and adults following surgery, in some cases even if the tumor was completely removed. The role of chemotherapy in treating newly diagnosed ependymomas is not clear. However, it may be used to treat tumors that have grown back after radiation therapy, or to delay radiation in infants and very young children.

Peace, Love & Light

xox

Credit where credit is due… websites i got all this from are:

http://www.abta.org/secure/ependymoma-brochure.pdf

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1744030-overview &

https://cern-foundation.org/?page_id=96

Part #2 – Wedding Bells!

So, We got married!
It was a fabulous day because what we wanted the most to happen, happened… everyone had such a good night!

My plans I mentioned in my first post kind of worked…. in that it was a DIY wedding that i did in between doing something else… only, it wasnt work! It was in between Chemo rounds!!

I have to say, having the wedding planning to come home to was kind of a God-Send!

We ended up compartmentalising our lives, when we were at the hospital, our whole focus was on getting through the round. When we were at home we tried as best we could to forget about hospital stuff.

So wedding planning was a big part of our lives, not just because the wedding was going to be a huge event but because it was a fabulous distraction for us!

A big part of why our day worked was our beautiful friends and family. Not just for them helping out with the arts and crafts, lending us stuff or the wedding or giving us their time… It was also our bridal party and close friends who made our hen/stag night and our big day so much fun and not even half as stressful as i thought it would be! So to you guys, i love you and I am so thankful to you!

I may post more about our day but for now, here are a few snaps care of our spectacular photographer Gemma.

Wishing Peace, Love and Light to you all.

Tiffany

Part #1: Zoe’s Story

So, It was the beginning of August 2014… sounds ominous doesnt it?
Zoe had, for some unknown reason, stopped using her left arm and after multiple doctors visits and xrays we were referred to Starship Childrens Hospital for a consultation.
So, we went down to Starship on the Monday morning. We expected that maybe she had a pulled elbow or a sprained arm or something that may have been easily fixed by a splint or cast… this wasnt the case! It took us a week of being in the ward before it actually clicked for us that we were in the Neuroservices ward!

We went through a few scans and many mornings of wee Zoe being nil by mouth and MAD AS HELL that we were not letting her have food and we got a result… there was a cyst in Zoes head the size of a baseball and it was pushing her brain out of the way. Not quite the pulled muscle we had been expecting huh?!

Zoe went in for surgery the next space they had and the cyst was removed. She was in HDU for a week we were informed that it was a Supratentorial Ependymoma. Then after another couple of weeks she was healed enough for us to make a decision as to whether to go straight for radiation, do chemtherapy then radiation, or wait and see. We chose to do chemotherapy before radiation which would give Zoe more time to let her brain heal and the cavity from the Tumour to cave in on itself so that there would be less of an area to radiate.
Zoe had 6 rounds of Chemo and 30 doses of radiation…. but that adventure is a whole other story….


As of MRIs taken in February, Zoes brain is going back to normal and she is regaining use of her left side. We are now home and we move on to part #2 of our story!

As usual, Peace, Light and Love to you all.

Tiffany

Finally, Post Number 2!

20150403_132356    20150403_132405

So, It’s actually been a whole year since my last post. (which i have now updated!!)

This is probably because A LOT has happened in the last 12 months and blogging kind of got put on the back burner!

I will explain everything… but i thought I might do it in parts as our lives got compartmentalised so I should probably do the same with our story.

Part #1: Is Zoe’s story, its the biggest and it is what set everything else in motion so her story deserves to be told first.

Part #2: Is our wedding story. Its a big part of our story too and it’s a pretty great story!

Part #3: Is all about the future. For which I have the highest hopes.

So tune in and you’ll get the whole story!

Peace, light and love to you all.

Tiffany

An Introduction

Engagement shoot   Tiff and Ben-656

Hi, I’m Tiffany.

I am an Ex-Sales/Merchandiser/Marketing/Administrator. I have 3 Kids. No, scratch that, 4 kids… one of whom I happen to be married to!

My wonderful Husband, Ben, is a Digital Animator, currently working from home. My eldest girl is 6 (going on 16!) our second is 3, she is the life of the party, and our youngest is just a couple of months old!

We live in a beautiful piece of paradise on the outskirts of Auckland, New Zealand. Our family is happy, healthy, loving, and COMPLETELY insane!

We are so blessed in so many ways, sometimes though, it feels like life isn’t going your way and its through browsing the internet that I find like-minded people and have one of those moments where I think “Oh I’m NOT the only one who does/feels that!” I hope for my blog to become that place people come to for inspiration, solace, or just a laugh. If I help just one person, then my job is done

So, this time last year, on top of working full time, I began planning our D.I.Y. wedding! We hit a snag… well, more than a snag(!), but you’ll have to read on to find out about that!! So planning a wedding became even more of an adventure than expected!!

The other thing that helps me escape when I feel as though I am slowly but surely losing my mind… is The Doctor. I am pretty sure that most of my blog will be reposts of all the Doctor Who excitement that takes over my life. (New season starts in December!!)

This blog will be about my journey from Ms. to Mrs. being crafty, loving your family while you have the chance, watching far too much TV, having a laugh and also about the “joys” of be a spouse & parent… stumbling through life trying to keep balance as I go along.

I hope you enjoy

Peace, Light and Love to you all.

Tiffany