Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Christmas over...Again.

Hi All,

Here's some pics which will hopefully make more sense after reading the text below!

Jack in his new Cub Scout uniform just after his Investiture.

Jack on his first air bed (tube) ride behind the speed (ski) boat. LOVING IT!!

Jack just about to go for his first ski lesson on the training bar besides Peta's boat. Dad was nervous!

Jack on his first jet ski ride!

Heading out for his first jet ski ride!

Nearly up!

Sorry! Had to put it in! Me getting up on the wake board at the training bar during my first wake board lesson! Jack was willing me to fall off so he would learn to water ski before I learnt to wake board! Hmmm....

Nearly up again!

He loved it and did manage to get up for a moment! Very proud Dad!

Well, hi All again,

Hoping everyone had a great Christmas and Happy New Year! It was generally pretty good here, although at times it felt like the first Christmas since Jen passed away and there were a few moments here and there. All to be expected I suppose. Last Christmas Eve was hard wrapping Santa pressies alone and at times I felt I couldn't do it, but we always get there, don't we? This Christmas Eve I thought was going to be easier as I had a few people staying and would have company for it all, but everyone crashed and headed to bed before it was all done, and there I was again, wrapping Santa pressies alone with vivid memories of Jen and I doing it two years ago! I survived again, wouldn't you know it!? Just needed a little moment outside and little chat to Jen in the moonlight and all was well. Jack had a great Christmas, a few quiet moments but generally just a great day. Jamie and his girlfriend, Makeo, came and stayed Christmas Eve, which was fantastic, as well as another friend, so Christmas morning was great fun.
The day itself was a little hectic! After Santa's deliveries were opened and other pressies distributed, it was off to my parents for an hour or so just before lunch (more pressies!) then the hour and a half drive down to Rosebud to Jen's Mum's (Sandra and Vaughan) and a terrific lunch and afternoon with the Darby family (Jen's maiden name - and more pressies!!!) It really was a great afternoon and Jack and I didn't feel like leaving but we were on a schedule. We had cut some roses from my Mum's garden and we took them to place on Jen's grave. We had a few minutes there but I have to say, I feel closer to Jen at the Palliative Care unit where Jen spent her last months (and Jack and I had dropped in there on the way to Rosebud. As soon as they saw Jack, we had 6-8 nurses and the cooks all running out to say hi and marvel at how much he has grown, etc!!! They were wonderful for Jen and they remain just absolute angels for Jack! we hadn't been there for months but they treated Jack (and I) like family and with such love!!)

Anyway, we headed back home (1 and half hours drive) and then packed and headed to the Gippsland Lakes, Paynesville specifically. (Look it up on Google Maps/Earth) The Lakes are beautiful and we will be staying here on and off for most of the school holidays (another 4 weeks yet) A friend of mine, Peta lives here and she teaches water skiing and wake boarding and lives on the Lakes themselves. It's an idyllic setting and we are having a ball! Jack has had a go at water skiing and managed to get up for a moment (similar for me with wake boarding) and he has been towed around on an air bed behind the speed boat and had a couple of rides on jet skis! He thinks it's Christmas all over again!

Last blog (or two blogs ago) I mentioned about going with Jack and Jamie (and a few others) to a Christmas Memorial service put on by Tobin Brothers, the funeral directors who did Jen's funeral. Well, we went and it was difficult at times but I'm glad we went, for a number of reasons. There was time in the service for family and friends of loved one's who had passed away to get up and say something if they wanted, and many did so. It was an emotional part of the service but Jack had decided he wanted to say something. For the two or three days previously he had been thinking about it and writing ideas down. I helped him put it together, but it was all his words and he typed it out. He asked if I would go up and stand with him and I did. Well, he made me prouder than I have ever been of him (and that, my friends, is saying something) I couldn't hold back the tears and neither could anyone else, but Jack delivered his short speech loudly and clearly and with expression and feeling. He didn't miss a beat and was so strong, yet expressive! It brought me completely undone! All I could do was hold him and try not to sniffle!!! Afterwards, many of the people there for other loved one's walked up to Jack, hugged him and told him how proud Mum would be of him. Jamie got to speak at Jen's funeral and I think Jack felt a little left out so this was his turn and he spoke so well. I was also rapt that Jamie was there to support Jack too. I'll add Jack's little speech at the end of this and some pictures of the last few weeks adventures.

There's lots more to tell (Jack has joined Cub Scouts and been away on his first camp, his school report was brilliant - other than talking too much (gets that from Jen!) and much more) but I will have to get to bed and leave it for another time.

So ends (almost) another diary entry!

Wishing you all a safe, happy and healthy 2011.

Love to all,

David. XOX
Here's Jack's speech:


Jennifer Ballantyne, my Mum, was the best Mum to me. I was shocked when, a year ago today, she died. Luckily I have strong memories of her today. For example, at Christmas I remember the way that from the first of December until Christmas she would have Christmas Carols playing all day, every day. I also remember that on Christmas Eve just before bed we would put glitter in the front yard so the reindeer would know where to land. I also remember lots of silly sayings that she used to say, like if I talked too much she would call me flabbergums.
During the rest of the year Mum would have other music on and she sometimes danced around the house with me, it was fun.

Mum was a fantastic person and you don’t know how much I miss her. I love you Mum.

Thank you.


  1. Hi David! I'm glad to hear you guys are enjoying the holiday break.

    Jack's speech floored me. He's an amazing little man.

    Happy New Year to you and yours.


  2. We love you, Jack. And Jamie. And oh, yes, of course David and all the rest whom Jen loved.

    Thinking about Jen today - please hug Jack and tell him that his mama is missed, even way over here in America.


  3. Oh David! What a beautiful post. It's so wonderful to hear the highlights of all that you are doing. I love that you are moving on, yet still honor Jen's memory in so many ways. Blessings and joy to you all in the New Year!

  4. David you and Jen have done such an amazing job with Jack - what an incredible young man. Thank you for posting and sharing that beautiful speech with us. Jen must be so proud, as are you. Hugs Lisa L.

  5. no words. v. hard to see a young boy grow up without his mum. i have a son close to his age. and i know how much he wants me to hug him tight each night. sigh. thank you for sharing. the pictures are great.

  6. I reiterate how thankful I am Jack has you for a father, David!!! He looks relaxed and happy! And that makes me smile. Keeping family close will help him adjust to life without Jen, although her spirit will live in your hearts forever! :)_

    Glad y'all are having a fun "summer" break. (That's so strange to me seeing how it's winter over here!!!) He's gonna love waterskiing once he get ths the hang of it! Enjoy your time off--and sleep in late!!!

    Happy New Year!!! :)

  7. Thanks everyone, again, for your messages and wishes. Jamie's birthday yesterday, so Jack and I are taking him out to a great pub around here called the Robin Hood Hotel for a counter meal tonight. Jen's best friend, Lee, and her husband are coming too as well as Jamie's girlfriend, Makeo. Jamie was 23 yesterday, growing up so fast!



  8. I have been thinking of Jen so much these days. How wonderful of you to keep us posted. Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job and life is good. My love to all of you. deb

  9. There's nothing quite like Christmas Holidays at the Lakes....I grew up in "The Valley" and remember many happy times there.....
    What a gorgeous boy Jack is, yes, David you must have been so very proud of him....you are getting from him what you and Jen have put into him......(does that make sense?).
    Thanks for keeping us updated....Happy New Year to you all and Many Happy (belated) Returns to Jamie.

  10. Still check in from time to time and always happy to see an update. :) Thanks for sharing all the great pictures, Jack's wonderful speech and all that's been going on. Always brings a tear to my eye, but in such a good way.
    All the best to you in 2011!
    Kristen in California

  11. Jack looks so grown up in his cub uniform, and so happy. His speech was wonderful - you must have been so proud. He is a credit to both you and Jen. I can't believe Jamie is 23 now.
    I love the lakes - we used to stay there regularly as kids. Good on you for getting up on the bar - it not as easy for we more mature folk! The kids just seem to pop up so easily on skis.
    Enjoy the rest of your break!

  12. Dear Jack,
    You're a beautiful boy, just the way your mother raised you with love and care. Jennifer will be always present in the lives of those she touched. She's special and she's in heaven.
    Love to you all.

  13. Great update on all of your summer adventures, David. I enjoyed catching up with you...and it's good to see the pics of you and Jack. Happy belated birthday to Jamie. (thanks for posting Jack's reading from the service)
    take care and sending love to you all...

  14. Hi David and Jack, just checking in and hoping you are ok over there. The flooding scenes from our US news look just frieghtening. We are praying for you.


  15. Gosh David, this post put a smile on my face and a few tears in my eyes. I'm sure Jen is smiling down from heaven...so happy her boys and you are doing so well. Thanks for keeping us updated.


  16. Thanks for the post, David! I love seeing the pictures and hearing about how things are going. I thought of Jen this year on the day she passed and I'm glad you and the boys were able to go to the funeral home - Jack's speech was so lovely - how proud of him you must be! Not easy but so healing, I'm sure.

    Kat said it so well above about Jen looking down from above and smiling from heaven - I'm sure she is! (I too go out and talk to the moonlight to those above).

    Thanks too for posting the pics of Jen and Jack - beautiful to see them together.

    Sending love across the continents... take good care and keep up the amazing work!
    Mill Valley, California

  17. it is always good to drop by here and find news, good news of you guys. it feels so good to me. it is so beautiful. thank you for keeping on sharing, thank you, again and again

  18. I bet your title really described your pretty exciting trip with your son. He looks adorable and so do you. You look good together. I'm pretty sure you guys had a marvelous time together.

  19. Just been thinking about you. Hope you are doing well. Hugs!!! Lisa L.

  20. Jack looks so grown up! Thanks for the updates. I still come by frequently to see if there are any.

  21. What a great dad you are David.Thanks for keeping this going and letting us see Jack. What a fine boy he is. Much love ,debi

  22. Hi there,

    I just found your blog and it was awesome. It looks like you had a great fun with your family's during the holidays. I also notice that your blog was wonderful too.. :):)

  23. Wow, Jack is growing so big.

    Glad things are going well. Still think of you guys often.

    Cindy in Canada

  24. Just popping in. Hoping that you are doing well, as is Jack. Thinking about Jenn. Lisa L.

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  26. Just checking in to say hello Jack and David. Hope all is well with you.

  27. Was thinking about y'all and hoping all is well down under!!! :)

  28. Thinking about you and wishing you a joyful and peaceful Christmas. Hugs Lisa L.

  29. Sending love to you David and our sweet Jack. The time has flown by. None of us will ever forget our Jen.We learned so much from her. Have a wonderful new year. My love,debi

  30. Thinking of you and Jack today! Hope you are all doing wonderfully.

  31. How wonderful to hear your news David and to hear that Jack amd Jaimie are doing so well! How proud Jen would be! You are doing such a wonderful job of it all. I know how much Jen loved her boys, you and her mom and family. I know she is smiling in heaven as we all remember her with so much love. Thank you so much for sharing your news. Have a wonderful holiday!

    Cat Bxx

  32. Been thinking of you all and Jan lately - would love to hear how you and the boys are David. Hope last year treated you all wonderfully and this year too of course!

  33. I didn't of doing that, glad you reminded us how important it is.

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  35. Been thinking of you. Maybe you could update on the boys. Thank you

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