Friday, April 30, 2010

Exhausted

We're back and I'm tired.

The babies had a bit of a freak-out (due to them being overtired) during the last 30 minutes of our journey home (good thing they're so cute!) so the minute we arrived, I brought them in and got them settled while D unloaded the car and trailer.

When I eventually went out into our entrance hall/ dining room area, it looked like a bomb had gone off LOL.

I'm still not sure whether the rewards of going away outweigh the schlep of hauling practically the whole house with us. I dread to think what people who actually buy lots of baby stuff do. Do they take it ALL with them???

In the next week this is what's in store for me:

  • 3 nights (yes, THREE) of looking after the babies all by myself from 8 pm to 8 am as D has a launch thing at work. In a strange way I'm kind of looking forward to trying out some things with the sleep (!).
  • hosting a teleseminar that I still have to put together content and a handout for... I know the subject well though so it should take an hour of concentrated effort and I'll be done
  • work...
  • laundry laundry and more laundry
  • finish unpacking my and the babies' clothes (oh wait! V's coming for a few hours tomorrow - she can do the babies' clothes)
  • return trailer, camp cot and other assorted errands
  • downloading and sorting the gazillion photos (how often do you download and sort? how do you store them?)

I'll tell you more about the trip in the next few days but my bed is calling me....

P.S. Happy Birthday, Dee! Glad you had a fabulous day :)

P.P.S. 130 unread posts in my Google Reader! Jeepers - you guys have been busy busy busy! I had very limited time on the computer AND I had to use my sim card from my cell phone to connect to the internet so really just responded to email and did own blogging when I could.

P.P.P.S. Do you know I was so ambitious I took 3 half-read books with me? They are ALL still half read except one which is a bit further along. I am delusional!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Motherstyles - extraversion vs introversion?

The Lake District, England - May 2008


So, you all know I'm a bit of a Motherstyles evangelist since I read the book.

I gave you my highlights when I first posted about it but I want to go through each of the letters in a little more depth.

Your motherstyle is made up of 4 letters. I'll write separate posts about the other 3 letters in the weeks to come...

The first one is an E or I, for extraversion or introversion.

Basically, it's about where you get your energy.

Are you energised after spending lots of time with people or are you energised by having lots of alone time?

Do you turn outward or inward for your energy?

When I used to do assessments, I'd explain it like this - if you walk into a party and there are tons of people there, when you get home afterwards, are you pooped (drained) or are you "on a high"?

Sometimes we work against our natural style (which causes stress) because of work or other circumstances.

E.g. I work with a guy who is Very Senior. He's a natural introvert but because of his position, he has to do presentations regularly. He can do them and does them really well because of experience and practise but really doesn't enjoy it that much because of his natural style.

It's not who you WANT to be, but who you ARE. There is such freedom in being exactly who you are, don't you find?

In the book, they say we do our best mothering when we have energy so you need to know your energy source.

I'm an E so I need lots of interaction with people to be at my best. The book says Es need to realise that their family can't provide all they need.

I found this interesting - Is have to guard their energy very closely and tire out if they don't have lots of alone time during the day.

So true. D and I used to bicker about socials such a lot in the early days of our marriage (we're married 15 years today!). He'd quite honestly be happier never seeing anybody and I'd like to get together with others two, three times a month. Yes, he's an I.

Until we settled on this brilliant compromise - we do a "together" plan once a month but I can do lots of lunch plans with my friends as much as I'd like :) Win-win. I am energised and he is left alone, mostly.

That's why (if I have any real life friends reading) it takes us such a long time to make arrangements to get together with friends.

I also have a new thing I do - the coffee plan. D can deal with people in small doses :) so if we do a quick hour/ 90 minutes, he's much more likely to want to get together.

But back to the parenting thing. Here's what stood out for me:

A strength that I particularly relate to is being able to engage in casual conversation with children. I used to say "I'm good with children" and this is what I meant because I do get along with all kids (once they can talk :) - it's the babies I don't know what to do with :)

The struggle with Es that she mentions and that I found particularly hard is this - Es find it hard being at home with babies (no social interaction, etc.). So true. Probably one of the reasons why I couldn't WAIT to go back to work from my maternity leave. Also why I enjoy the babies so much more now that they're a bit more social :)

I want to say something else - apparently the style that is most "esteemed" by mothers (especially American ones) is ESFJ. That's because 55% of the population is ESFJ. So imagine the turmoil and guilt the rest of us feel!

So who do you think you are - E or I? And your hubby? Any other insights from your life?

P.S. Saffy asked me before if an I can be a good public speaker and I said YES! Barack Obama is an I and we all know he's a great orator.

Remember, it's where you get your energy and neither E nor I is better. It's just different.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Do babies have bad dreams?





So Kendra's been waking a couple of times (actually 3 - 5 times every night BEFORE 12!) the last two weeks or so.


The first couple of nights we rushed to her as we normally do to prevent the screaming from waking Connor.

When she'd only have 20 - 30 ml (one ounce), I finally twigged - she was not waking due to hunger.

The next night we'd wait (hard though it was) and hear if the cry was genuine. We found that sometimes (a lot actually) she'd simply scream out in her sleep and when we got to her cot she'd be fast asleep.

(the other night D was asleep, I was on the computer and she cried out 4 times, all of which was not a genuine wake-up cry)

Other times she'd cry like her little heart was breaking. Once we got to her, she calms down - it's like she just wants hugs in the middle of the night! As I write this, it sounds a bit like Kendra "working us" but I don't want to just dismiss it as drama queen tendencies LOL

Any ideas?


Do/ did your kids ever do this?


P.S. South Africans, do your cot bumpers have ties on the top and bottom? I am about to FLING theirs into the bin because the ones I have only have ties on the top and it looks SOOO untidy - driving me BATTY!

P.P.S. I realise cot bumpers are a controversial topic. That may well be but I do have them and would like to keep them :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I'm here

Goodness, look how late it is and it's my first time online today.

I'm actually quite proud of myself ;)

I'm writing this listening to my iTunes (Mandy - Barry Manilow version)
with a lovely cup of tea at my side.

Well, we only left an hour later than scheduled this morning which, for
us, is FANTASTIC!

Thing is... I can't believe the amount of babies' stuff we had to schlep
with us.

  • two campcots (pack and plays) and mattresses
    a tog bag FULL of linen
    a suitcase full of the babies' clothes
    another bag with nappies and toiletries
    another bag with microwave sterilizer, a gazillion bottles, formula and
    other kitchen stuff
    a cooler bag with all their food (no, I didn't stoop to Purity)
    still another bag with toys and teddies

that's all beside the babies, us, D's mum and our clothes and food.

I said to D that it is totally not worth being out of your comfort zone - it's been prep for a day or two whereas before, grab a suitcase, throw in some clothes and we were ready.

He said, "you'll see"...

Hmmm, don't know about that.

My friend, Natalie, said to me that it's not a holiday, it's a change of scenery!

Too true.

So we'll see - so far so good.

The babies are in their element as there's UNDERFLOOR heating here and lovely, plush carpets.

When we arrived, Kendra was off, exploring. It was actually really cute to see - this tiny little baby (she still looks like a newborn!) whizzing around the place.

She's already fallen while trying to stand... and screamed... so I figure the place has been christened!

Connor has also been squealing, making his gleeful (?) boy sounds and rolling around the place. He LOVED his bath so much - I let them have proper baths in the big bath - "swimming" like a little fish. TOO CUTE. I laughed so hard.

And now I have to write my weekly newsletter and then I can climb into this lovely comfortable bed with my book.

P.S. Happy Freedom Day. It's Freedom Day in South Africa, my favourite public holiday of all as freedom is my number 1 value. What's yours?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Overwhelmed


a SMALL part of what my dining room looked like last night -
notice my kicked-off shoes and my mug of tea :)



Do you ever feel like your brain is racing so much with all your things to do that you can't actually stop to think?

I told you how I forgot we're going on holiday TOMORROW so this weekend has been go go go when I've been here.

I was working at a client's house on Saturday (doing professional organising work - on Saturday I worked with her boys and we decluttered and organised ALL their clothes - it was GREAT!) and of course we had church and some errands yesterday so busy busy busy.

So when I was actually here that's all the time I had to work on this stuff.

Hence the overwhelm.

But then I had to do some self-coaching on myself and I did the first thing I always tell my clients - I made a list.

The list is now made and I've categorised it so after I finish writing this blog post, my computer stuff is done (except for this week's newsletter but I usually write that on a Monday night so will do so tonight) and I can get into the kitchen.

Kitchen area
  1. Cook chilli con carne
  2. Pack our food
  3. Pack babies' food
  4. Do laundry - whites
  5. Do laundry - colours

Bedrooms
  1. Pack babies' clothes
  2. Pack laptop (!!!) - hopefully the signal won't be too pathetic out in the sticks (compared to Jhb) and I can actually get some good blogging on.
  3. Pack my clothes

Out stuff
  1. Go to movies with D (we both took today off)
  2. Go buy D 15th anniversary present (I do know what I want to get - it's just the getting)
Thank goodness V is here to look after the babies!

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Travel

D & I on the roof of the Stirling Jail in Scotland


view from the jail - doesn't it look like a storybook?

Where has this month gone?!

My friend, Robynne, emailed me earlier this week to check when we'd be coming to collect the trailer we're borrowing for our holiday.

I said something like, "can we come on the weekend before we leave?"

She said, "you do realise that's THIS weekend?"

!!!

No, I hadn't.

Somehow I thought there was plenty of time to get our holiday organised.

I made a travel list last night for the babies (D and I have our own travel checklists - yes, it's nerdy, but it works) and have given it to Nanny V to start putting things aside.

Looks like the next few days will be busy busy busy.

Let's hope the babies like travel as much as their parents do.



my second meet-up with a blog friend -
Suzanne and I both travelled to SCOTLAND to meet up.
This is Loch Lomond


Stirling, Scotland -
I get such a kick out of this pic - it's 10 pm at night. NIGHT! We're not used to this in SA as it gets dark around 7pm; 8pm in Cape Town

The Forth of Firth - Edinburgh, Scotland
Another thing I get a kick out of - this time for how it sounds
What amazed me is people push their prams across this bridge that looks like a highway (motorway/ freeway)


the famous Wallace Memorial, taken from our B&B's window. Just to show you how uninformed I am... I'll confess that I'd never heard of it before we arrived in Scotland. No, I did not watch Braveheart :)
I must say, I have never, ever been as cold as I was in Scotland. Somehow that cold goes right into your bones. Brrrr.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Small pleasures

Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland - 2008

  • My new blog. Every time I click through, I smile. My new design makes me feel all grown-up and like a "real blogger". It's so pretty and clean and easy on the eye!
  • Clean bathrooms - what this says about me I don't know but I love cleaning (my) bathrooms. I cleaned the big one again on Sunday (after it had been cleaned on Saturday) because the maid doesn't do it like I like... and I'm too lazy to fire her and find another. *sigh*
  • Browsing crafty blogs - it can get crazy as in ...my computer shut down from all the links that I'd opened from just one blog, The Girl Creative
  • A bowl of warm, creamy pasta
  • Kendra's giggles
  • Feeling the crisp, cool winter air on my face
  • singing along to happy songs
  • Jumping into my warm bed with a hot mug of tea and my book
  • Comments on posts!
  • The sight and taste of green Granny Smith apples
  • Connor's boy sounds
  • My red handbags

What are your small pleasures?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I promised you a Wordless Wednesday

On my side I can't seem to view the view I uploaded of Kendra crawling - is it working for you?

Nevertheless, here are some good, old-fashioned pics of Connor taken at 8 months.

He's wearing a bodyvest that says, "mommy says I was worth the wait". Thank you again, Candice!

Doesn't he look cute?





About the house... we put in an offer higher than our original. This was as far as we were prepared to go based on the location. The estate agent phoned me tonight to tell me the offer wasn't accepted.

Fair enough.

I am totally fine as I really have had peace about it once we decided what to do. D feels a bit miffed... "does she want to sell or not?" and I must say, it felt good to be the calm one for a change :)

So looks like we stay put for a while which actually really pleases me as I wasn't looking forward to all that packing and unpacking... LOL

P.S. Kendra is 110% well (back to her spunky self) and Connor is about 80% there. He still has a bit of a cough but the nose has stopped running (thank goodness!).

Wordless Wednesday - Kendra crawling


video



taken about 6 weeks ago...(yes, I've been very lax)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Goosebumps

Last Thursday I had a really weird feeling all morning.

A feeling like someone might try and break into our house and do something to V or the kids.

I phoned home twice, both times to explain to V exactly where the panic buttons were (somehow we'd never covered that part before) in the case of any emergency so that the armed response company would pitch.

Fortunately, Nanny V is very patient with me :)

(By the way, this is standard fare for Johannesburg - everyone is security-conscious and we all pay a company a fee every month - ours is currently R385/ $53)

Anyway, the feeling didn't really go, but eventually one has to relinquish control so I prayed and that was it.

Nothing happened and I totally forgot about it.

Then on Sunday I sent a text to my friend, Natalie, asking about baby D and how was she doing otherwise?

Well, I had the biggest shock EVER when I read the return message.

They were fine BUT people had broken into their house on Thursday morning, taken everything - car, TV, jewellery, etc - and locked the maid in the bathroom.

It was HER that I was supposed to pray for.

Natalie and baby D had just gone for a walk when this whole thing went down and I'm so thankful for that because who knows what might have happened. As I said to her, she's looking particularly gorgeous these days :)

I am convinced that she and baby D are safe because God was looking out for them.

When I shared the story of Thursday with her, she said she had goosebumps.

Yes, it's inconvenient and a whole lot of insurance schlep but they are SAFE!

Praise God!

In a not-so-strange twist, when I bled at 26 weeks, I was freaking out, big time. Suddenly the next day I had Total Peace about the babies. Well, Natalie visited me that day while I was on (my version of) bed rest and told me that her cell group had prayed for me the previous evening that I'd have peace. I was SO touched!

I love stuff like this!

P.S. This is my post for Steadymom's challenge

The House

After all that excitement about the house, I've been very quiet.

Did anyone even notice?

We got valuations done, I set up a spreadsheet and we knew what we could offer.

We put in an offer on Thursday night, they countered with another offer and it's up to us right now - we could counter with something in between.

BUT now I don’t know.

It's not the number because all we could do is change the Offer To Purchase and structure it so that our house has to sell for x amount more (x being the amount we're increasing our offer to).

It's the principle. I have a feeling about that number and I do know if they don't accept that number then that house is not for us. Plain and simple.

But even going to that number is making me doubt.

I wonder if we could get a similar house closer to a very Fancy Suburb next to ours (the way it works is the nearer you are to the Fancy Suburb, the more your house is worth).

Also, there's a big street running through our suburb. Above that street up to a certain point houses also go for more.

Currently, we're below the main street but are fairly near Fancy Suburb.

Number 46 is above the main street (hence the gorgeous view) but much farther away from Fancy Suburb (probably 2 - 2,5 kilometres).

To put this all in context, we moved 3,2 km down the road 5 years ago and are now less than 1 km from Fancy Suburb.

It might seem like "so what?" but in these parts, it's a big deal. People actually ask "which part of ____ are you from?" LOL

I did some homework on Sunday afternoon and drove around looking at houses in the preferred area that were on show.

Saw a GORGEOUS home above the main street and right next to Fancy Suburb but .... R400,000 more than we can comfortably afford right now. As an aside, spent about 20 mins talking to the agent about my two IVFs. She had 5 miscarriages before having two boys (now 7 and 6).

My business is doing shocking at the moment (seriously, I'm not just being dramatic) so I can't count on any extra income other than our fixed salaries.

So the questions running around currently in my mind are:

  1. what if we can't find a house like this again? I do plan on staying for at least 5 years, preferably forever LOL
  2. should we wait 2 - 3 years when we actually do need that extra bedroom (when do you separate boy/ girl twins anyway?) and hope we find a perfect house then? we'll be earning more money (!) and will be able to afford "more" house.
  3. could we get a similar house nearer Fancy Suburb for a bit more money (but still be able to afford it)?
  4. am I just being sentimental because we saw this 5 years ago and it feels like destiny?

(Yes, I have prayed. God is being quiet on this one so having to follow the peace in my heart).

As for D... D is definitely certain we are not going above a certain price (what we could counter offer). But he has none of the angst - typical man - "if you want it, let's get it"

Goodness, I’m dramatic, aren’t i?

But please, what would you do???

Monday, April 19, 2010

Accepting and organising help with babies


The lovely laidback PJ (sooooo not like me which is why I love reading her blog LOL) is expecting twin girls and asked a question on her blog:

what helped you the most when family came to "help". Did they do dishes, diapers, feedings? Some of everything? and... how did you schedule it? Was it one parent at a time? Did you stagger them? Did it add to the stress of newborns, or did it help to alleviate stress?

It is infinitely more frustrating for me to have people around not doing anything (this is a big weakness of mine in that under stress I often see people as resources and not as people) than to be alone and do it all myself.

This is why some of my friends might remember me saying, "rather pay for a nanny/ maid so that you can boss them around without any guilt" LOL

I felt more frustrated in that first month alone with the babies because my mother was there but also I had to ask for help (another one of my big weaknesses).

Once the nanny started in September (babies were 8 weeks old), things calmed down a lot. She knew she was there to do x, y and z, and I didn't feel the slightest bit guilty about telling her what to do.

There are already some GREAT comments on her blog.

This is what I wrote:

Oh wow - what great comments.

My advice is to discuss with your hubby what kind of help you need and then clarify that with all your visitors right now.

This will change once the babies are there and you actually know what it's like (LOL) but at least the discussion has been opened.

This whole thing was a complete disaster for us which is why I speak from experience.

We ASSUMED my mother would know what to do - well, I moaned at my sister that she was doing nothing and my sister said she probably didn't want to interfere! So then we started saying, can you give K her bottle or please hold C while I do x.

For the next visit, I resorted to my normal bossy self. I did my menu plan and said I'll cook on these days, will you cook on these days?

And so on...

D's job was to boss his mother. She stays in the city but he would say, if you want to visit you have to do everything so had her changing, feeding, bathing, playing with babies. Even I *blushed* at the bolshiness!

All that to say this:

1. clarify expectations upfront
2. farm out things you're comfortable with (I did all their bottles myself because I'm a control freak) - like laundry and cooking
3. keep communicating
4. for other visitors, tell them to bring a meal or pick up muffins/ croissants on the way - then you don't have to worry about feeding them. Schedule visits around feeding time (if you're bottle feeding) so a visitor can feed a baby - they take forever in the beginning, not a 5-minute job like it is now

and above all else, they are YOUR babies. You're allowed to ask for what you need (sleep, etc) so that you enjoy them better.

I ended up making bottles up to 10 am (I still do so today) so that D and my mother could do the early morning and I could sleep in.

Email me for more specific things - I have TONS more but am already hogging comments.

Like have less clothes because it means less laundry! Forces you to not procrastinate and useful for "Oh, the babies are nearly out of babygrows, can you do a load?" LOL

P.S. What is your motherstyle? (my blog from Friday)

My question to all of you is similar but I want to know this -

What did you do that had the best results and what would you absolutely never, ever, ever do again?

Mine? I would definitely not assume that what we were thinking and what the visitor was thinking was the same thing with regards to "helping out with the babies".

I've realised since that what most people mean about "helping out" is holding a baby but STILL expecting us to "entertain" them (offer food and drinks and have us make it all).

What I now tell people is to be upfront and say, "please help yourself to tea/ coffee and muffins. I really need to get started with the laundry" or similar.

The best thing I did was make a list of meals and who cooks what, when. Eventually after about two weeks, my mother and I fell into a routine of me putting on the laundry and her hanging it out.

It happened because she thought using the tumble dryer was wasteful (true - but I was just trying to survive, not trying to be green or save money, and the tumble dryer was the quickest thing with the least amount of effort).

What did you do with close family visitors that had the best results and what would you absolutely never, ever, ever do again?

P.S. I loved a commenter's suggestion about getting grocery gift cards and handing out shopping lists with a gift card to people who offered help! BRILLIANT and gets them out the house for an hour or so :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I spoke too soon

My whole household is sick sick sick and I am tired of all the snot.

Seriously, I hated it before I had kids (and people said, just wait, it's different when it's your own kids...um, not so) and I still hate it.

So I sneak up on Connor (main culprit) and because he HATES me wiping his nose, shakes his head violently from side to side, all the while screaming.

Screaming!

Let me go back a bit.

They had their measles vaccinations on Thursday. The nurse said it presents flu-like symptoms in 10% of babies... I guess mine are the 10%.

Thursday night was seemingly normal but Friday saw both kids with blocked, stuffy noses and Connor coughing.

My kids have never been sick so this is new to us.

Kendra was fine the next day but Connor is still not great. And mornings are better than evenings though. I couldn't believe the happy, laughing, smiling baby this morning after the rough night. He obviously doesn't remember being a grumpy boy.

On Saturday I cancelled going to our Infertility Support Group because he wasn't eating, very niggly and wanted to be held all the time.

Which means... both D and I got his germs!

I took two Degoran on Friday night and last night I took one.

Of course their sleep has also not been great - worst is up until about 12 am and then it's okay until 5.

I even let the babies skip their baths yesterday which is a big deal for me (stop laughing). I never skip baths.

But here's the thing - we are ALL ill (K's probably doing the best, and then me) but D took himself off to bed this morning for about 3 hours. A mother's job never ends!

It felt like those days when I was on maternity leave where I'd be rushing between babies all the while in my pj's. Except I wasn't freaking out (that's a nice change).

I eventually got myself washed and dressed at 3! Only because I wanted to drive around looking at houses. Sundays are show house days in our suburb.

Only thing - while I was out, Connor refused to settle so he was basically awake for 4 hours straight (this boy MUST sleep after 2 - 2 1/2 hours) and turned into Crabby Connor with a side of Sick. He's now gone to bed without supper and only half a bottle.


Other than that, I had a good weekend.

I still have LOTS of things undone on my to-do list but that's okay.

Quite honestly, I'm questioning whether I actually want to do a Really Big Thing with lots of mini tasks. Decisions, decisions.


How was your weekend?

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Best Parenting Book Ever

I first read about Motherstyles by Janet Penley on Laura's blog and made a note of it.

When I was ready to place my next Kalahari.net order, I ordered it.

Well, it arrived about two weeks ago and I haven't stopped RAVING about it to everyone I meet. Everyone.

I'm so crazy I even managed to drag it into a meeting at work.

So now a colleague has also bought it and we quote bits at one another when we have a quiet moment :)

Crazy!

But seriously, this is The Best Parenting Book Ever.

It, together with Sister Lilian's parenting workshop, has set me free.

Whenever I buy a personality type book, I first flip to the summary to check myself out.

I'm ESTJ.






I'm a "How To" Mother!


(Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging)



Organized and comfortable being in charge, I know .how to. get things done, make things happen, and accomplish much on behalf of my children.



What's your mothering personality type? Take the MotherStyles quiz at FamilyEducation.com!



Immediately, I identified not just with the strengths but more with the struggles (Don't you love that? She doesn't say weaknesses, but struggles.)

So, from the book...

I'm the "how-to" mother.

"We're the mothers you like to carpool with. Not only are we on time, we organize the driving schedule for everyone else"

Strengths
  1. Organization and planning
  2. Teaching children practical skills for success
  3. Teaching children how to problem solve
  4. Social adeptness and people orientation

Right there already it explains why I'm not a newborn person and why I can't wait for real little people (who can reason!) - all of my 4 strengths would be great with older kids and the only one that is good now is organising and planning!

Now the struggles (I get a kick out of that every time - it's the small things in life)
  1. Sense of self
  2. Letting go
  3. Acceptance

I can write a blog post about each of those three things I have so much to say. But the major thing I want to say is this - it says I am frustrated when I can't make them eat their food or fall asleep on schedule.

!!!

There's a little box of tips for the ESTJ mother

  1. needs opportunities to feel competent separate from the job of mothering, e.g. paid and volunteer work, so that there are objective measures of her competence.
  2. needs a place where she can exercise her need for structure or a project that is "totally under control" - that's why I like some areas of the house to be totally organised and clean so that the kids' room and the lounge don't freak me out too much! And so on... I won't scare some of you with my need for control.

I'll write more about Motherstyles in the next couple of weeks but I wanted a start at the very least.

Do you know your Myers-Briggs type?

If not, here is a link to take the quiz - when you do, please let me know what your motherstyle is :)

P.S. Military Mama semi-cracked - I felt bad for the kids when they both woke as they'd had their measles vaccinations. Gave one milk bottle but then water all the way.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Military Mama

You all know my ongoing obsession with sleep.

The one good thing about being so obsessed is I analyse everything half to death... and then I try this and that until the situation improves.

So things are going great.... for Connor. He had that one night of waking 5 times before 12, we increased his daytime bottles the very next day and he has again been sleeping 11 - 12 hours at night.

Great!

I'm a genius :)

Now as for Kendra, we've always been a little more lenient with her because she had those feeding problems and is a lightweight.

But honestly, these days she eats more than Connor (real food) and drinks over 600 ml a day so now finally, I feel ready to get tough with her.

So she's been regressing, it seems to me, because from waking once at around 12, to waking at 10-ish and then just after midnight.

I think we had her wake about 3 times on Tuesday night and both D and I said yesterday morning, "what are we going to do about Kendra?"

That's the good thing about us - we analyse situations and try to fix IMMEDIATELY.

I said, "tonight nothing but water". My actual rule is no milk before 12.

D was game so the plan was set.

I must admit I may have rubbed my hands together in glee once or twice. I am bad!

She woke at 10.20 and I gave her a water bottle.

She then slept until about 12.15 and again I gave her the water bottle.

D said she woke properly (for milk) at about 3 am.

Which I am FINE about.

So we repeat tonight and for the next few nights until she realises she is NOT getting milk before 12, and then we'll push the time to 1, and then 2.

And even when we do give her milk, she gets the watered-down version until the "official wake-up time" of 6 am.

Just call me Military Mama :)


P.S. I have the Best Kids Ever. We went for their 9-month vaccinations today and it was MUCH worse in my imagination than the actual experience. They yelped when the needle went in and that was that. Now we wait... apparently 10% of children display flu-like symptoms up to 10 days afterwards.

P.P.S. I've been waiting to finish it entirely but I'm actually way too excited so tomorrow I'm going to start telling you about The Best Parenting Book Ever :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Presenting...my new blog layout and an almost Wordless Wed post

A big BIG thank you to Krystyn at Krizzy Designs for doing my new blog layout.

She was sooooo patient with me as I deliberated over fonts, colours, everything... and I am OVER THE MOON at how it all turned out.

I sometimes don't know what I want but I do know what I don't want! (also known as NO imagination - I have to see things)

And now onto today's post.


**************************

These kids are my children... no doubt about that because I LOVE corn on the cob. I used to buy these in droves (just for me) when I was first pregnant. I craved fruit and vegetables.


Kendra eating like a lady...


so dainty



and Connor, well, not!


that's it, my boy, get stuck in!



this is my favourite pic!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The easiest check-up yet







She is now done. So off she goes.

Last Wednesday D and I took the kids for their 9-month check-up.

We didn't realise how much they'd grown until we got there and the receptionists are all, "they are SO BIG", etc, etc.

I realised that it had been 3 months since the last doctor's visit.

The last time each of us had a baby in our arms because I can't stand the schlep of lugging a pram around for a few minutes - much easier to just grab a baby.

Also, much more fun to hold a warm, sweet-smelling baby. Even though they wriggle.

This time, D held Connor and I let Kendra loose so she crawled up and down the reception area. She was so fascinated with her reflection in the very clean floor tiles (much cleaner than my own kitchen, then again, it's a hospital).

We always do Kendra first (ladies first...) and once she'd been assessed, I let her loose again to crawl around to her heart's content. She loved it and it was great to be able to concentrate on Connor's assessment without a screaming, wriggly girl in my arms.

Apparently Dr S's office is full of interesting things to look at like door stoppers!

I really only had two things on my list - what a difference to my usual pages of notes (and I'm not even joking - aren't I fun?) - the food strike and why is K waking before 12?

We ran into my friend M at church this weekend. She told us that her daughter (who is 6 hours older than my two) had to have an MRI and when they had to sedate her, something weird happened with her lungs so the procedure was cancelled until they figure out what's going on.

I am so blessed to have healthy children.

Anyway, the point of all that? I said to D afterwards that Dr S must be thinking about me, "there are people with REAL issues and you're talking to me about a FOOD STRIKE?" as M also sees Dr S.

The very kind Dr S kept a straight face about the food strike and basically said that they go through all that and just to keep trying things. No great shakes.

About Kendra? "It's not that bad, is it?" about her waking before 12 at night.

And... actually it's not.

I again reminded him that ALL MY FRIENDS' KIDS are sleeping through and he said straight out, "people lie" and to stop concerning myself with all that.

About milestones and the things I'm actually NOT concerned about (strangely), C is a bit behind on his actual age which is not a problem as they were two months' prem.

K is ahead and will definitely be walking before a year.

He did tell us about some exercises to do with Connor to encourage him to start crawling - I think we did them one day and then Connor started the rocking. I don't know if it worked because his personality is such that when he's ready, he just DOES.

Next appointment is at 1 year. 1 YEAR! Goodness, that's scary.

Here are the stats:

Kendra

Weight...............................6.6 kg (still 80% of where she should be based on her birth weight)
Height................................70 cm (50th percentile for correct age!!!)
Head circumference....43.7 cm (also 50th percentile for correct age!!!)

What does that mean?

Kendra is very light but she's right where she should be on everything else. No surprise since the only time she's still is when she's eating or asleep. I wish I had her energy.

Connor

Weight...............................9.3 kg (50th percentile for correct age*)
Height................................74 cm (75th percentile for correct age)
Head circumference....43.7 cm (also 75th percentile for correct age)

*hmmm, getting a little bit tired of people saying, "but he's so big!". He is PERFECT for his actual age!

Connor is tall and has a head full of brains :)

P.S. This is my post for the 30-minute challenge

Monday, April 12, 2010

Comparisons

Pre-babies, I almost never compared myself with others.

I just don't care about the house you live in, car you drive, clothes you wear, etc, etc.

I'm also confident and happy enough with my looks, weight, intelligence, etc, etc. to not be concerned about others.

Until now.

At Saturday's Fertility Babies meeting I confessed to the group that I find myself comparing my babies with other kids A LOT. And my parenting skills with that of other parents.

It's more the second than the first actually.

A friend, K, said she was exactly the same until she had her daughter and then the comparison thing also started for her.

Isn't that strange?

I must tell you I don't like it one bit as it feels really strange, almost like I'm not me.

Is this what people who battle with self-confidence feel like?

I know I'm a good mother about 92% of the time (the % is just for Mandibula) and then the rest of the time I think things like:

  1. why am I such a slacker mother with this baby dedication thing?
  2. are my kids going to feel deprived because I don't buy toys?
  3. and so on

Gee, it's exhausting.

I know I should relax and let go, but HOW?

Seriously, how do you stop comparing?

The only thing that's worked for me is to tell myself, "my children are actually 2 months younger than their chronological age".

My friend, C, said to stop reading all those baby books :)

What are your suggestions?

These pics were taken on 18 March, nearly a month ago.

He started flinging himself around soon after this so it's no longer safe to leave him on any bed.




P.S. I actually wanted to write about last week's 9-month check-up at the paed but The Notebook is in the babies' bedroom and they're asleep.

P.P.S. C woke up 5 times before 12 last night but then thankfully slept until 5:30.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Welcome to the party!

Ultimate Blog Party 2010
I was blog hopping and found that there's a blog party happening.

Well, I decided to join right in so welcome to my party :)

Kick off your shoes and make yourself at home.

One of the things I LOVE is when people come visit and they do exactly that - kick off shoes, put their feet up or go into the kitchen and just make themselves tea/ coffee, etc.

Anyway...

I've been married to D for the last 15 years (will be exactly 15 years on 29th), mother of 9-month-old boy/ girl twins, I work a full-time job and run a business part-time, coaching and organising.

Thank goodness for the nanny!

Oh, and I'm in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Still trying to lose the last 2,6 kg of weight I picked up AFTER I reached my pre-pregnancy weight.

Love food (eating a chocolate muffin made by me with home-made plum jam from my friend, C's mom) - that explains the weight...

At parties I usually like to meet lots of people but then I end up talking "properly" to one or two by the time the party's over.

Tell me, what are you like at parties?


***********************


How strange - I actually feel like I've been at a party because I am EXHAUSTED today. Despite sleeping 11 uninterrupted hours.

Yesterday I hosted our Fertility Babies meeting - always GREAT to be around my friends, especially without babies to distract us :)

I learned that the most relaxed mothers don't read baby books and therefore don't know what their kids are supposed to be doing, or not doing!

What a concept! :)

I was a bit busy beforehand with food and whatnot but not so busy that the headache from hell needed to visit me.

It seemed like 15 minutes after the last person left the pounding in my head started.

I don't like taking tablets for just anything so I tried to wait it out... even went for a little sleep but nothing worked.

I felt so terrible I couldn't even eat.

That's how I know I'm not well.

D said he knew I wasn't well because the house was a mess (by my standards) and I wasn't even clearing up :)

I made all the bottles for the evening and went to bed. This time I took two tablets.

K decided to wake THREE times last night and D attended to her each time. Fortunately C slept through!!!

At least this morning when I woke at 7 the headache was gone and I was starving again, completely back to normal.

K met her first boyfriend at church this morning. They crawled toward each other and kissed before either of us could even react. That boy has tried to "steal" her rattle before - they do start young, don't they?

Speaking of Kendra, she's sitting on my lap (the boys are sleeping) and I can smell her stinky nappy so off I go! :)

Friday, April 09, 2010

Inauthentic

Have you seen that cute Top Mommy Blog button on the sidebar? ---->

I've been feeling icky about it for about a week now.

See, I saw this button on lots of blogs and thought, "cool! I'm an awesome person" (that's what all the marketing material tells me from people trying to sell me stuff :)); let me sign up.

So I did.

But I'm not made for sales, that much I do know. And looks like you have to beg people to vote for you. *shudder*

Bravely, I put a link to get votes on two of my posts but it just felt too salesy, too slimy.

And then a couple of days later I figured out why - it's because I blog to get rid of the noise in my head, for cheap therapy if you like, and quite honestly, whether I'm a top mommy blogger or not, I'm quite happy in my corner of the world, with all you lovely people.

Now before you think I'm all virtuous... I love competition as much as (actually, probably MORE than) the next person and of course there's a part of me who would love to be in the top 10.

But that's not what this is about.

So when I have some time tomorrow I'm going to do some blog maintenance and take that button down. You may have noticed I tried to install a new free background and it stuffed things up royally so lots of stuff is all over the place.

How do you feel about competition in the blogosphere?

P.S. My new blog is about 50% done.... I approved the header last night so apparently the rest is relatively easy. Can't WAIT to show you :)

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Shopping for me

It's no secret that I'm, well, frugal :)

In fact, one of the things I'm most proud of is that we live a really good life on really, really low salaries. We have always earned less than most of our friends but we have a good thing going because (1) we tithe and God does His bit and (2) I use wisdom

Mostly...

Now and again I like to break loose.

It's not very pretty because I go wild telling myself I deserve it, whatever IT might be.

And I justify it because I really don't get stuff all that often and I always do have the money - I never ever ever buy anything on credit.

So.

I went to buy Kendra a sleep sack.

The kids are moving around like CRAZY and since the house is cold, I'm super aware that if they escape their blankets, they'll freeze.

I do check on them once or twice while I'm still awake, up until 11 or 12, but then it's every man (or baby) for himself :)

Connor has a sleep sack from when he first started kicking off his blankets. I've started putting him in it again and wanted the same for Kendra.

Anyway, so I go in to buy ONE sleep sack (R100) and come out with R1 000 worth of things, clothes for me and the sleep sack.

I love the clothes I got though and wore one of the jackets to work the very next day.

(it was a beautiful grey, overcast day and I just felt like wearing "hot shot red")

Then yesterday I decided to go buy one of those cute 10-inch laptops - it is GORGEOUS. Note I didn't even say which model it is - Samsung. As I told the salesman, I am a woman - I go for CUTE. Oh, it has a built-in modem - so convenient.

Today I bought Microsoft Office 2007 and now I think I need to be done spending for a bit.

This is seriously crazy (for me).

Do you buy lots of clothes for yourself? What's your spending style?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Easter baskets & Baby dedications

"what? I'm not supposed to be moving around my cot?"


pretty smile
Connor just waking up - he is LOVING the colder weather and having a lovely two-hour nap every day.

"okay, dummy time"

Thank you so much for sharing your Easter traditions.

Wow - it varied a lot. I am sooo against clutter that I don't think I'd be doing Easter baskets EVEN if we lived in the US. Kind of like Sadia.

That said, I see an increasing trend of US traditions creeping into South African society. Not that it's wrong, just interesting. Like Halloween and the craziness about Christmas and now, of course, Easter.

I like the fact that we're a bit behind the US in most things commercial as hopefully, the children will only twig that they're deprived when they're, like 18 years old! LOL - I can only hope!


************************


Speaking of traditions, let's talk about baby christenings, baptisms, dedications, etc.

Whatever your flavour is according to your denomination, or lack thereof.

Let me tell you my story because quite honestly, I am steeped in indecision and this is not a nice place for me to be. I hate not taking action!

I go to a gigantic church (about 5 - 7 000 in the 3 services) which is perfect for us as not only is there a lot going on (I like lots of action remember), I can do my thing while still melting into the crowd and, last but by no means least, we feel we're meant to be exactly there.

So, at our church we dedicate babies. That means they call up the babies, you all go to the front and there's a bit of a message / sermon (5 - 10 minutes) and then they pray over them all at the same time (one prayer while the pastors lay their hands on the babies' heads) and off you go, dedicated. Oh, you do get a certificate afterwards.

I have issues with this.

It does stem from my infertility days because I remember some pastors saying things like "some of our members take church growth seriously" ha ha ha, which was good for a bit of a laugh but not for Super Sensitive Infertile Me.

When they'd announce that the next baby dedication would be at the second service on whichever weekend, I'd make sure to go to the first service. And so on.

I am not in the least bit ashamed or guilty because we all do what we need to to survive! And sorry to say this, but most Christians just don't get it - that no amount of praying will get you pregnant and you still have faith even if you choose IVF.

Now I'm on the other side of the fence.

I have these two gorgeous children that I'm so grateful for who STILL have not been dedicated.

Here are my issues:

I don't want a mass dedication as I feel like my babies are too special and too hard-fought for that (!) - being honest here :)

I would consider a private ceremony but our area pastors (we have tons throughout the church) haven't been at all involved with our pregnancy let alone since the babies have been born and I don't want one of those generic-type "these babies are a blessing from God" services.

We are both ordained pastors (I know - shock, horror!) but we haven't worked with real people for ages (we moved into other bits of church ministry - passion driven ministries) but it's weird to have us do our own babies' dedications.

D's mom is also a pastor but D says the POINT of having a baby dedication is to get people to the church and would the family really take it seriously with her doing it? Okay then.

But as I'm typing this, I had a brainwave. We have VERY GOOD friends (they're the type you phone at 3 am in the morning) who are pastors down in Cape Town (I know, what a hard life, in beautiful CT). Maybe I should check when they next plan to come up to Jhb and do it then?

Also, it seems I'm decidedly unsociable. Well, it's not that - it's the fact that too many people around the babies stress me out.

And I find I'm comparing myself with others - I know it's bad but I still do.

My friends have had big, glorious "affairs" for their little darlings and I've had squat. I know I'm a great mother (!) but I'm thinking, "what if this stuff is Important and Valuable to them and I couldn't be bothered?"

One of my friends, Intentional Natalie (I can't help calling her this - it's a sickness!!!) had something "small" for 20 people at her parents' home over Christmas - now that sounds doable to me.

I think my struggle is between what I want, what I don't want and what I can realistically do.

D? D just wants it done - the God bit, that is. He couldn't care less about the afterward.

When I said to him, "traditionally people have tea or lunch afterwards" he said, "why can't we just send them home?!" - you see what I have to work with?

So tell me, what do you think will be perfect for us?

And what did you do? I want to know about the ceremony, what the baby/ies wore, food, do people bring presents (Lord, NO, not more stuff!)? etc, etc.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

So, are you having any more?


Is it just me or do people ask you this question the MINUTE you have babies?

I know it's worse for people who have two of the same... far worse. Because I regularly get this


"OH, a BOY and a GIRL! How lovely! Now you're done!"


Done?

What's with that assumption anyway?

That you have to have one child of each gender?

My aim in life was never to have "one of each" :)

I used to say, "well I'd LOVE to have more children but don't have a spare R100 000 lying around for some MORE IVFs" - that shuts them up very quickly :)

Now I just say a resigned "yes" and try to smile politely - I read something on Sadia's blog once that people don't mean to be annoying or hurtful; it's usually unintentional so I do try to remember that.


Actually, when I was really young (!) I wanted four kids - I thought 4 was perfect.


Then time marched on (still didn't know I was infertile) and I thought, "okay, 3!"

And then two.


Then when I knew I was infertile, I used to pray, "oh God, PLEASE JUST GIVE ME ONE BABY!" (exactly like that - shouting and crying)

And He gave us two.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't want more - I just don't know if my old body would be able to do it. Or if I'd survive not sleeping again!

So, how many kids did you always want? And do you still feel the same way now? And do you get the questions too?


P.S. We had a discussion at work the other day and the girls were horrified when I said "4" until another one said "6" (in South Africa people generally have about 2 - 3)


P.P.S. This is my post for the 30-minute blog challenge

Monday, April 05, 2010

When it rains, it pours

Rainy view of The Westcliff, fancy, very expensive hotel near my work


We have tenants in a cottage on our property (very common in Johannesburg) and with all the heavy rains about 6 weeks ago, the cottage roof started leaking.

Not good.

Especially after I went to see and SMELLED it - yuck.

But we couldn't seem to get anyone to come out and give free quotes, and I am violently opposed to paying R500 just for a quote. Daylight robbery.

Finally we got a very professional company to come out, give the quote and since we were happy, we went ahead.

Oodles and oodles of cash later, everything is all sorted and I wanted to have the inside repainted.

Well, the tenants give me story after story - no, this weekend isn't suitable, my wife is sick, blah blah blah.

And then we had some more rain. And when I say rain, I mean RAIN.

Turns out it was a good thing we postponed the painting because the roof is leaking again.

There's also some he said, she said between the company and the tenants (I believe the company) as to where the leak is.

Bottom line, some of the leak is where it was repaired so they fixed it but another part is a new section of the roof.

We're not sure what to do because we don't have yet another R9000 to fix the roof. Well, we do but I don't want to clear out our savings account again.

That's 1.

Then

2. iron suddenly packs up one day last week. V comes to me and says "there was a spark" and the iron is dead. I phone D immediately to pick up a new iron and all is well.

3. vacuum cleaner is also dead. same story with spark... I suddenly got thinking "what if there's a short circuit somewhere" so we are replacing the vacuum cleaner and (3) getting an electrician in (I can't procrastinate on these things anymore because I have babies at home)

4. We got our house valued and we may be able to swing it. But am not a fan of the "may" so I want to paint everything in sight and make everything look gorgeous so it will sell on the high end of the scale.

I actually need to do some more number crunching based on the valuation, estate agent's commission and costs. I had two valuations and the one agent valued it R50 000 higher than the other. She's less experienced in this area though so the lower one is probably more accurate.

Also, I was chit-chatting with a colleague (I call it relationship building :)) who told me the bank we're currently bonded with has a special offer where they don't charge you any cancellation and bond registration costs if you do a subsequent bond with them too. Yippee! That's about R10 - R15 000 saved.

It's very strange for me to be moving this slow on the house thing. Usually by now (one week later) we'd have signed everything. But I'm really trying to do things slowly and I promised D that I'd THINK things through (I'm of the rush in and think later crowd) properly. Time to do an excel spreadsheet...

Back to the painting...

Today on my last day of our lovely four-day weekend, I'm going to be buying LOTS of paint. Fortunately I have a guy who does all our painting and he knows how we like things done - perfectly :) D has to go buy a vacuum cleaner - I don't care because I don't ever vacuum!

P.S. On Saturday night Connor slept right through from 7 pm (because we were out at our friends' house) right through until 7:15. Am pleased but not getting too excited!

P.P.S. Today is my fabulous boss's 40th birthday. And an ex-boyfriend's :)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

One of my favourite topics - food...



How ironic - as I type this, D's just told me that my kidney beans have just burned. I was planning to make chili con carne tomorrow. I'll have to substitute lentils and change it to a bolognaise sauce.

You see, I think something along the lines of, "I'll quickly go do ______ " and then I forget about my pot on the stove until I hear a sizzle or smell burn.

About 90% of the time I do remember to take a kitchen timer with me - that annoying ticking reminds me about my pot!

But not tonight - I wanted to check emails and got sidetracked.

At other times, I stay and organise something, ANYTHING, just to keep me put in the kitchen.


But enough about my kitchen woes...back to the question of the week:

I don't have a picky eater (D) - he is very easy to cook for. As long as there's a lot of whatever it is, he's happy. He doesn't eat cauliflower but does eat mostly everything even though he technically doesn't like vegetables.

His mother told me when we got married, "he doesn't know half of what goes into a meal. You just put the vegetables in and he won't know the difference".

Very true - he doesn't.

Hopefully Kendra and Connor will end up being good eaters?

(as an aside, the food strike seems to be over....C's been eating beautifully the last 3 - 4 days or so....)

When I'm short on time (um, 99% of the time) I cook quick and easy meals - from start to on the table in 30 minutes or less. I have a whole list that we like but my favourites to cook when I'm pressed for time are either a stirfry or a pasta dish.

Either that or I resort to one of my freezer meals. I like to have a good stash. I know when they're running low because the containers I store them in suddenly start piling up in my cupboard, hence the chili con carne.

One of my favourite go-to meals is anything to do with pasta.

My sister tells me I can do anything with pasta :) - it's true. I can generally take anything in the fridge and pantry and whip up a tasty pasta dish in all sorts of weird combinations that somehow make sense.

E.g. I've done a creamy, slightly spicy chicken pasta with pureed butternut stirred in. It is DELICIOUS.

I figure, "what's the worse that can happen?" and start tossing this and that into the pot LOL

The first night back after we've been away for a holiday (vacation) is usually pasta.

D loves most of what I cook (his only complaint sometimes is I make things that are "too healthy" - I then remind him that we have children he needs to be around for LOL) but his favourite meal is spaghetti bolognaise.

What do you cook when you're short on time?

P.S. Oh, I must add... I really really really hate take aways but if D had a choice, that's what we'd get. Very occasionally I cave but then it's because I'm really really really tired :)

And the winner is...

Doesn't it sound like the Oscars? LOL



The winner of the Organise your Home ecourse, valued at $47, is comment number 5 -

Donna!

who said...

Hi! I'm a newbie! So nice to "meet" you!

What a COOL prize! My biggest challenge is CLOTHES - we have too much! for me, hubby, the twins, the other grown sons - too much and it's all a clutter!

Donna, send me the email address you want to use for the e-course and I'll sign you up right away.

But wait!

I'm giving all my readers a 20% off discount voucher if you use code WELCOME at the checkout :)

Have fun and happy organising!

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