Thankful Thursday: Cairns, Tropical Paradise

I live in Cairns and many of my friends and acquaintances that live in other places often tell me how lucky I am to be living in a place that is widely considered to be a Tropical Paradise.

I don’t deny it.  I am lucky.

I briefly lived in Melbourne for a couple of years because I wanted to experience something different.  But while I was there in the mostly-cold and the long commute to work (and morning sickness on the train – not fun) I longed for the warmth of home.

So when Miss O was less than two, we returned to Cairns.

The first reason was because I wanted to be closer to my family.  I wanted Miss O to know her Grandparents, her Aunt and Cousins.

The second reason – the breaking point  – was a child in Cranbourne being attacked in their own front yard. This horrified me.  Now I am not naive – I know that there are bad or opportunistic people everywhere – even Cairns – but I longed to be able to raise Miss O in a somewhat safer, more laid back environment.

So with the generous help of my mother and grandfather, I packed up all of our belongings and paid the $2000 for a removalist to moved all of our stuff back up to Cairns.  (And I don’t usually regret it unless I want to go to the shops at 2am and long for the 24 hour Coles and 24 hour Kmart that was so conveniently situated 5 minutes from my old home).

Since moving back to Cairns 8 years ago, I have put on 20 kilos (ugggh too scary too admit! Future post alert – new goal to lose 20 kilos) , produced 2 extra niblets, and have worked full time almost the entire time.  I don’t often get to spend a lot of quality time with my brood, something that I moan about a lot.

On Tuesday I took my brood down to the Cairns Esplanade so that Miss O could ride her new bicycle, and the boys could ride their scooters, before having a swim in the Free Esplanade Lagoon.

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We enjoyed the sun, the fresh air and the beautiful surroundings and I felt truly free, although I did whinge a bit about having to pay $1.00 per hour in the parking meter to park the car nearby.

Since then, over the last couple of days, I have been reading about Eden visiting Niger on behalf of World Vision.

Reading her posts, looking at the pictures, particularly the one she posted tonight about Zenouba the Starfish, makes me feel very sad, and very selfish.

Here I am, moaning about something as insignificant as paying $1.00 for the privilege of parking my car close to beautiful leisure facilities that I get to enjoy with my children for FREE, when in other parts of the world children like Zenouba go hungry and thirsty every day.

So Yeah, I feel very lucky.   And very thankful.

Thankful that I live in a part of the world that is free from oppression.  Thankful that my children have food on the table every night, and access to food and water, a loving home, a roof over their head, and luxuries like bicycles, scooters, music lessons, leisure activities and so much more.

And thankful that people like Eden, are brave enough to go to somewhere like Niger and tell us how it really is, so we can be thankful for what we have and make us aware of the things in our world that  really are important.

Linking Up With The Lovely Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday.

Learning to Ride

I have vague recollections about learning to ride my first bicycle without trainer wheels.

My mother says I kept getting cranky when I fell off and I would yell at the bike and chuck it to the ground.  Whilst I don’t remember this ( all I remember is the awesome feeling of freedom once I got going) my hubster says that he is not surprised. Hmmm….

Anyhow, luckily for Me, Miss O has a lot more grace.

We have wanting to get Miss O a bike for a while now, but due to finances its something that we have had to keep putting on the backburner.  Miss O turned ten at the end of February and my mother bought her a bike.  (Amazingly Generous!  I love my mum!)

Miss O has been so excited about getting a chance to ride it – but we had about almost a month of rain and busy schedules so the bike sat in the garage and Miss O would go into the garage just to stare at it longingly.

This weekend was the first weekend of the school holidays and we had some sun and free time so we decided we would take the opportunity to go down to the park with the kids and teach Miss O how to  ride.

Grandma had also bought her a super cute matching purple helmet, so first things first was to adjust the helmet, so it was secure and not too loose.

This was easier said than done. It was too loose, it was too tight, it was choking her… After a few tears and tantrums, and several goes, Miss O still wasn’t happy with the feeling of the helmet.

Hubster and I were pretty sure that we had it just right, so in the end we had to tell Miss O that the helmet was a dealbreaker.  Either she got used to the feeling of wearing the helmet, or she could get used to the feeling of the bike being in the garage forever.  Miss O agreed it was better to get used to the feeling of the helmet, and soon we were on our way to the park.

We started Miss O off on the grass to get the hang of balancing on the bike, pushing on the pedals with the right strength and gave her some push offs to get going.

Once she was able to stay upright for a few metres, we encouraged her to start using the path, and practice by herself so she could really get the hang of it.

I was so proud of my Miss O’s determination to keep trying until she got it right.  And she was so excited once she was doing it all by herself.  There were several “woo hooo!” moments.

I am so proud of my angel, I have made a movie trailer about it.

Lol, I know the video is corny (I make these a lot for the kids and my husband just groans).

But Miss O’s determination to succeed got me to thinking about those moments of truth in life.

When its hard.  When we don’t believe that we can do it.  When we are afraid we might fall.

These are the moments of truth. The moments that we need to overcome our fear and try.

If we fail, if we fall, so what?  We just need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start again.

We can all be champions in our own way.

And those “woo hoo!” moments are really worth it.

We all have to start somewhere.

Is there something you are too scared to try?