Friday, April 24, 2015

What a week!


Sheesh - this has been a hard week.


Also a very long week.
  • family stuff
  • applying for Grade 1 stuff
  • work stuff
  • friendship stuff

I worked very late tonight (til nearly 8). My first time at the office that late (on the bright side, it only took me 26 minutes to get home!) - I rather like the fact that today is the anniversary of the day I worked at the old job for the last time. I remember skipping out of there :)

Even though I'm working like a dog at the moment, I still love my job, so there's that. I do wish everything wouldn't happen all at once though.



I had big plans to do the actual journalling on my Project Life but I actually don't even want to think and put two thoughts together!!

So I'm off to bed with my book and tea, always tea :)

What's up with you? How's work going? What are you reading? 

PS I'm reading a book called How to bake a man or similar and I'm thinking of abandoning it because I don't even CARE about the protagonist and I'm already 25% in!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Parenting advice from my friend, MandyE

I bet you thought I'd stopped this series :)

Nope!

This week's advice is from my other friend, Mandy.

This Mandy and the other Mandy drove (!) to meet up with me (and have holidays) in Charlotte, NC in 2012, and it was fabulous. We really need to make a plan again soonish.

Click to go see super adorable photos of the 4 kids. Be prepared for extreme cuteness! Mandy's kids were 3 and Mandy E's kids were 3.5.

Anyway, moving on.

Here are MandyE's top 3 parenting tips:



1.  Expose your children to lots of different types of food, early and often.  

I don't know if I just got lucky in this department, or if my approach really had something to do with our girls having very adventurous palates, but I am so grateful that they eat the same food we eat, and they really enjoy it.  I started the girls on "people food" (not baby food) when they were a year old.  I made a very conscious effort to serve them as wide a variety of fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, stews, and casseroles as I could.  It wasn't long before I began to spice things the way we eat as a family.  The girls didn't always take to a new food the first time (or two or three) that I served it.  I once read it could take up to 10 times trying a new food for a child to accept it.  I always kept that in mind and kept plugging away.

I never make a big deal out of eating or not eating.  My mantra is, "This is what we're having for supper as a family."  I don't do special orders.  Usually the girls eat very well.  I don't praise them for it.  I might say, "I'm glad you enjoyed this meal.  The mushrooms are my very favorite part.  What's your favorite ingredient?"  If they don't eat, I don't scold them.  It's their choice, but they don't get another option.

We talk a lot about why we eat the types of food we do.  I involve the girls in shopping for our groceries, and they love to browse through cookbooks with me.  I hope I'm teaching them a healthy appreciation for food.  And it's a wonderful pleasure for me to enjoy a savory meal as a family of four!


2.  Never let 'em see you sweat.

This goes back to the days of dealing with two-year old tantrums, and I still (do my best to) follow this logic.  I try really hard not to let the girls know that something they're doing / not doing bothers me.  We have rules at our house, and if you break those rules, there are consequences.  I try to illustrate to them that it's their behavior driving the consequences...NOT how their behavior makes me feel.  I think this approach has resulted in less emotional drama at our house, and it forces me to keep my emotions in check, too.


(And to end on a lighter note...)

the hills are alive..... (this pic looks fake it's so beautiful!)

3.  Sing lots of songs.

When our girls were infants, I made up a song that spelled their names.  They could barely speak before they were spelling their names themselves!  That's how the girls learned the days of the week, the months of the year, the colors in the rainbow, and how "the perfect way to end the day is with nice clean teeth!" among many other things.  I'm NO singer by a long stretch, but this makes learning so much fun.  And if someone is in a sour mood, I start singing a silly song, and 9 times out of 10, they're joining in before I know it.

I adore Mandy's tips!

I've observed Mandy in action (in a non-weird way) and I can definitely tell you she has at least three parenting super-powers:

  1. she's instilled impeccable manners in those girls (I still remember them calling me Miss Marcia - the cuteness is too much!)
  2. she treats her girls with respect (as the people they are) and genuine care, and they in turn treat each other and others the same way. In Charlotte, I teased that she was the Pied Piper. Both sets of twins were glued to her side (if only I wasn't so lazy, I'd go get my external hard drive to find what I call the Pied Piper photos).
  3. Anyone who's had the opportunity to interact with Mandy knows she is such an encouragement and so generous of spirit. I'm honoured to call her my friend and when I see an email pop into my box, I start smiling in anticipation because I can't wait to read her words. The girls are the same way - they praise each other and I'm sure they do the same with other people too. Such a good trait to foster in our young ones - it's the kindness that people will remember a long time.
love you, Miss Mandy

Which was your favourite tip?
Which is the most challenging one for you?
 
(my favourite tip is the eating one! what can I say? I'm the same way about food, except one of mine still doesn't eat curry!)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday musings of the frantically busy kind


Well, work should hopefully be easing off a little soon, just a little, but I do hope I'm not tempting Murphy...

Today I had my last 8:00 am meeting and enough of us on the committee moaned about it that it's now been switched to 11:00. YES! I don't know what possesses people to make meetings at 8 am!


So we had to go through the whole rigmarole of the school thing again, applying for Grade 1. I can tell you I'm so over forms... and I didn't even complete the forms :)

We have to hand them in tomorrow and we don't have certified copies of two of the requirements, ones the school provides, so I hope they'll still accept them despite that!



In other news, I've been spending a frightful amount of money at the hardware store, on paint! I nearly fainted when the man said R1300 a tub. Seriously? Yes, seriously. So I hope and pray I love the colour when it's up and on the wall.... otherwise I'm going to have to grow to love it because a painter plus all that paint and supplies = A LOT OF MONEY.


I know we've just come back from holidays but D and I are heading off again soon to celebrate our 20-year anniversary. Yes!

Years ago, when I imagined 20 years, I considered a vow renewal on the beach, then a party at my old work campus, then a big trip but then I left that job and now I hardly have any leave, but just watch out, NEXT year, we are going to have to do something super awesome.

I can't imagine how some people always seem to be taking leave? I'm always happy to take unpaid leave... 

Still, time away is always good and it will be a milestone for the kids too - first time they've slept out for 2 consecutive nights :o


Kendra had her first solo sleepover the other weekend and had a BALL! Spoiled by Granny. They both loved it.

Connor was devastated at first but then he told me about 4 things he wanted to do that were special for him (one of them was having a walk just with me - I know, my heart melted), and we had a lovely evening. I made him his favourite supper and we had lots of fun.


And that's me - basically caught up!

What's happening in your life?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Connor sick

A few weeks ago Connor was a little bit sick.

We always know immediately because he says things like, "I don't feel like eating. Can you please pack my food away for tomorrow?" (BLESS!) and "can I please go lie down on the couch?" (he never wants to miss the action so this lets him be there but still resting).

This was the day I took Kendra to the girls' party so when I got back, D and K went to church while I stayed in with Connor.

I grabbed one photo of the two of them together, and then took a few pics of him alone.







Shame, poor thing.

However, he was right as rain the next day and I had a little bit of that out-of-sorts sickness later that week. Like it would almost be better to vomit instead of feeling kind-of nauseaus the whole time.

Mine lasted about 24 hours too.

I always feel like being home from work is so wasted because I couldn't even read in bed; I was OUT for the count.

When was your last sick day?

Monday, April 13, 2015

I'm still alive

Just popping in to quickly say "hi" and that I'm still alive, just super busy.



Sarah from BioGirl wrote a sentence a week or two back that I loved. She said she has a rule that she needs to post photos about her life within a week of it happening.

Fabulous idea!

I need to start doing that.


Anyway, I'm busy editing 31 March photos so I can get March off my computer because it's running superrrrrrr slow.

Also, my big camera is in for a service (its first service!) and I'm missing it so much. On the bright side, time to catch up!

But how are you doing...really?

PS these photos are for Mrs FF who thinks I only wear blue nail polish :) (I'm not helping my cause...clearly!)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Grab a cuppa - here's some fantastic reading for the weekend

I have two feedly accounts - one for home and one for work. The work one is for stuff I just read and skim - no further action is required. The home one is where I need to click through to read the full post (99% of blogs are blocked at work) or I need to comment (so all the personal blogs) or if they have podcasts I'm not subscribed to.

Anyway, that's a very long-winded way of saying because of this doubling up scenario, I have a TON of posts I want to share with you, so let's do this.



1. on how reading some blogs can make some women feel inadequate

my favourite quote from the blog post...

"if a blog is making you feel inadequate rather than inspired, it is totally okay to admit that you’re not strong enough to handle it.  Stop reading that blog and spend your internet time consuming material that fuels you and brings you joy instead".

I don't have this with lifestyle/ parenting/ photo blogs, but I do get like this with business stuff. There's a lady who started her online coaching thing the exact same month as I did. She is uber successful and here I am, still struggling to fill an 8-person workshop.

On that, I'm actually wondering whether it's time to let go.

not K's hands; they belong to some random child at a party

2. What's your organising style?

A post I wrote late last year for another blog and forgot to share here. When you've figured yours out, please comment and tell me about your style.



3. a fascinating read on spatial synthesia

This is definitely the most interesting read. I think I have a very mild form of synthesia - with numbers and some random things. Connor might have a bit of this going on because he told me the other day how his one finger was sad, and I remember thinking I used to think the same as a child. It's the way the finger looks.
  


4. We always read parenting posts from mothers, but here's one from a new dad. Honest and a wonderful read!



5. Speaking of parenting, here's a post on parenting as an introvert. I was fascinated because my D is an introvert. Right below that post, there's one on parenting as an extrovert :)




And that's it, folks!

Which is your favourite link?
What do you have planned for the weekend?

I'm going to finish a podcast and then jump into bed with my book and a big mug of hot tea :)

PS if listening is more your thing, I spoke about my 5 favourite podcasts on the Organising Queen blog today. Enjoy!
 

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Work, holidays and the Easter weekend

I am so incredibly busy at work it's crazy. I also put up my hand for a project and.............. people had done nothing for about 8 months so I'm working my butt off to still meet deliverables by June.

Isn't that charming?

We should be 5... and we're 3 so every time emails come around with "can someone take this?" we all just ignore the email til I eventually cave. Flip. Anyway, things are looking up - another person starts in May :)

I keep chanting to myself, "what's the worse that can happen if I drop a few balls? They can fire me". And so what? So amazing to have perspective :)


In the midst of all this crazy, schools broke up and a very strange thing happened: I found myself taking out the bread and lunch boxes that evening before I realised it was SCHOOL HOLIDAYS.

Sadly, I don't have to make lunch anymore.

Even more sad, the kids seem to have left their ears at school.

(they received excellent reports, by the way)


At some point in the work crazy, I got a bee in my bonnet (I saw a blog post somewhere where they used the phrase "wild hair") that we needed to go on holiday. You know, easing stress by cramming work meant for 12 days into 8 days. Sane things like that.

Anyway, the woman's email came through one night when I was answering emails on the ipad, D was there, we had a quick chat and boom, boom, a holiday was booked.

Flip!

I take months (years!) to decide on a paint colour and a holiday is decided upon in minutes.


Fortunately the boss approved this sudden leave and it was sorted.

We had a lovely 5 days away last week - pics to follow - I've just finished the set before we left.

I think we need to book the next one pronto so I can have something to look forward to.

Interesting/ scary aside - I overheard the kids talking and they seem to think "holiday" means "vacation". Connor was telling Kendra that maybe we will take them to England for the next holiday. HA! Never :)

They were so moany/ whiny about walking down ONE street in Pilgrim's Rest and I stopped all of us to say, "THIS means we will NEVER be able to go to a city because you need to WALK".

Right...


And now we're back! Two loads of laundry done; many more to go (waiting for Nanny S).

We waited til we got back to buy Easter eggs and there was literally nothing in the shops except a few boxes of marshmallow eggs. CNA had a few chocolate bunnies which I bought. D says this was a bad plan; I can't think of a better one for avoiding the chocolate for me, and keeping the excess with the kids at bay. (No offence to any of you who went wild; if I wasn't on Weigh-Less, I may have done the same)


And now, back to work. Let's Do This.

But first, how have you been doing? Did you/ are you going away on holidays?
How was the Easter weekend?

Monday, April 06, 2015

How easy it is to fall of the blogging bandwagon


Amazing how easy it is to continue to not blog daily once you start!

Once a habit is broken, it takes such mental reserves to get that habit back.

A boss of mine started running about 4 years into the time I worked for him. I thought it was a fad seeing as he was not a healthy-type person (!) so a few months later he made a comment and I said something like, "oh, you're still running?" and he said, "Marsh, the only thing keeping me going sometimes is knowing how incredibly hard it is to come back from a relapse".

I totally get that.

But I still don't see myself blogging daily anymore.

We've spoken some about the reasons for that.

But also there's this thing I never fully understood til now but it's something my friend Natalie said once or twice - I don't want to have to go onto Facebook or your blog to find out what's going on in your life. Just tell me.

Love that!


Still, let me catch you up quickly on the last few weeks :)


We went to see Michael Buble in concert. Man, it was awesome. AWESOME. He is so naughty and fun, and was a great entertainer.

He had a support act called Naturally 7 and they were AMAZING. I now follow them on Instagram :)

Something interesting about the concert - the last time we were at that venue was at the Rod Stewart on 6 Dec 2008, the day of my trigger shot to get the twins!

Too crazy to think about, imagining those days.


It was pouring with rain and I was so glad the concert was inside! When we were at Bruce Springsteen last year, it was also pouring with rain... on us. I'm too old, or comfortable, or boring but going to a concert in the rain is just not my idea of fun.


So, a great many of you are also not blogging as much as you used to (except Laura). What's going on? Was it easy to fall off your blogging bandwagon?

(Blogging is still not dead!)

I'm working on a habit at the moment and I can't believe it's been 15 days and counting.....

Let me hit 21 days and I'll tell you about it.

Meanwhile, I think I'm going to buy the audio version of Gretchen Rubin's book. I'm quite addicted to these 4 tendencies.

Have you taken the free quiz? What's your tendency?
(I'm looking at you, Se7en!)

Thursday, April 02, 2015

A year ago...


 






I res.igned from my job.

Absolute best decision ever - I highly recommend it!

I'm feeling some of those feelings because last year this stuff all happened around Easter, and this weekend is the Easter weekend.

8 days

the farewell

4 days

One day left

The last day

All I can say in reading all those posts again is this - life is way too short to take that kind of thing again.

Life is not meant to be peachy all the time but there are different degrees of stress, and I'm sorry but work situations like that are not something I'm ever going to put up with again. Ever.

I now know I can live off less than a third of my current salary and, not that I want to put that to the test, it's really nice to know that. Non-desperation is a wonderful thing and brings an amazing feeling of freedom.

How have you guys been doing?

And how is this year comparing to last year the same time? Cat had a shoulder op a year ago, a lot of you had newborns, etc.

Let's chat in the comments.

PS all pics from my last photowalk on the old work campus

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Banned from my camera

I've mentioned that we have a goal to go on 52 walks this year.

Do you know how many times I was allowed to take the big camera?

3 out of 13 times!

That is terrible!!!

I'm going to have to make a deal with Connor especially now that I have a door project :) Maybe I withhold the stationery til we're back from a walk with the camera?

Otherwise I'm going to have to start posting the iphone pics... which feels less than stellar.

But here you go, photowalk 6, with Big Camera pics.











Are you going on any walks?
Do your kids ban you from taking cameras?

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