Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lest you think I have it all together

I've been feeling very out of sorts lately due to a number of reasons:
  1. The babies' one-year birthday next week reminds me of my birthday coming up (our goal of 36 weeks was a day before mine) and I'll be 36. 36! I can't believe it. I still feel so young :)
  2. It's the last day of June today so half the year is gone... which leads me to look at my goals and see where I'm at.
  3. And just a general feeling of uncertainty.
I'm the type of person who can deal with things once they're clear and out there. I just don't deal well with uncertainty and lack of focus/ vision/ clarity.

It's my J :)

Turning 36

This is like my turning 35 because last year was a blur of getting pregnant, staying pregnant, NICU, and the newborn stage.

When I turned 30, I really felt like I was on the brink of something big. Little did I know it was infertility!

I'd done so well work-wise and when I got to this company, I was also earmarked as a top performer, had a chat with CEO, etc, etc.

What on earth happened?

I don't know. But my salary is not benchmarked and that tells me they don't value me.

I stay because I'm in a comfort zone and I love my boss. I know that I'll not find his awesomeness again soon and I have such FREEDOM here.

Interestingly enough, I'm enjoying my actual work so much more these days because I told him I have no problem making decisions and taking control, he just needs to let me free. And he has, so I'm doing my thing, making deals where I'm comfortable, doing more presentations, etc, etc.

The only thing is the money. And like I told my friend Roz last night, it's not about the money as I live quite comfortably on my (low) salary. As you know, I'm frugal :)

It's about what the money represents - the fact that I'm obviously not valued. Which leads to a self-confidence issue.

I don't even have the answers to this. I'm praying for guidance and I bought The Workplace today so will have a good look later.

My business

I need to change some things but I don't know what.

There are some obvious things... I realised when I did my last organising project with a client that I don't want to be away from my babies (I felt sort of resentful being in the client's house thinking, "I want to be home with the babies") so that's it - the last home project.

I've also delegated all the stuff I hate doing - loading my newsletters, website stuff, etc. and thank God I now have a fabulous new VA - and am already enjoying working with her so much.

Then there are some not-so-obvious things.

I want to zero in more and only do work I'm REALLY passionate about (I know that involves time management and speaking!). I've booked a laser coaching session (3 hours!) with a business and marketing coach for mid-July so we can hone in on my unique brilliance and cut out all the rest of the stuff I do, one of which will definitely be the in-home professional organising.

By the way, some of you may think I should just stop the business. To be honest, I was tempted earlier this year but I LOVE helping people in this way. And I'm good at it. And I've been doing it for nearly 8 years. It's part of what makes me "me". I've also realised that a happier me is a better parent.

And then parenting

I still don't know how everyone knows what to do with their babies. I am clueless!

Examples...

In chatting to a friend, I realised that I needed to drop a bottle during the day and start sippy cups. So we worked on that and now they only have 3 bottles during the day.

I asked Deanna about the transition to sippy cups, she wrote a lovely blog post and I followed it to the T. They now take that lunch-time bottle in the sippy cup as well as any water.

The nurse said they shouldn't be having a bottle at night, and now they (mostly) aren't. She had to tell me how to do it though.

If I didn't have Annabel Karmel, I wouldn't have a clue about the food either.

But this stuff is not instinctive for me.

I need instructions and a how-to and then I do. What did people do before Google?

That's why I'm so regimented when something works. Because it works! I'm all about results.

The crying it out didn't work for us so I stopped. The very slow watering down of bottles did, so that's what we do.

Apparently my kids don't like very quick changes (Connor), just like their daddy.

But seriously, how do you know all these things?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Flirting

Our new Salton wall heater for the babies’ room was sporting a beautiful crack down the middle so we had to get another one.

We went to a gigantic hardware store near our house and put the kids in proper grocery trolley for the first time.

(The trolley in Sunday’s post is from Macro - I was DELIGHTED when I saw it – had to have them in it and take some cute twin pics. It’s actually meant for bigger kids because we had to strap them in and put some blankets around them so they wouldn’t slide around but anyway, anything for the pics)

Connor sat in the front and Kendra stood in the back the entire time. We wheeled it v e r y slowly so she wouldn’t be thrown loose. That girl has a grip and a half though.

Anyway, the point of all this is Kendra has learned to flirt.

I don’t know WHERE she picked this up but she is doing this thing where she cocks her head and smiles at people. She likes men with beards the most though (D has a little beard).

It is HILARIOUS but also a bit worrying!

Connor is still my sulky teenager and only smiles if he is TRULY delighted – going outside, seeing cool lights, in the bath, etc.

On Sunday we went for lunch with very good friends of ours.

He is very much like D – tall, dark hair and beard, specs and the same calm demeanor and Kendra was SMITTEN.

Smiling, flirting, talking.

After she got used to the new environment, she crawled to him and was happily with him for hours.

Can I just say how lovely it is to have a house with absolutely no clutter? The only thing we had to move was the vegetable rack with potatoes in the kitchen. It was actually so relaxing to be there aside from the fabulous company.

Connor was doing his own thing… crawling around. Suddenly he looked at Jana, gave her the Biggest Smile Ever and then that was it. They were buddies.

Freaky!

J & P told us that they’ll be happy to babysit anytime. We might just take them up on it J

Do you go out often without kids? What do you do for babysitting or do you take your baby/ies with you?

P.S. My brother was up here for a few days and we had our 3rd free babysitting session, this time on a Saturday night. It’s a big thing for us because D’s mom only drives during the day (Jhb…crime…etc.) and so we’ve only asked her to look after the babies twice before.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A day in my life


I was going to post about my weekend but...this is such a fabulous prompt on the multiples blog that I can't resist.

* What is your schedule like? Do you work outside the home or stay home with the kids?

I work outside the home and I run a coaching business part-time. I happen to have a really good arrangement at work where I work in the office for 6 hours and then finish up at home when the babies are in bed. That's not always necessary because I'm highly productive (I coach time management for busy women LOL) and most days get everything done at work. At home, that's another matter altogether.

So, typical day.

7.20 wake when nanny arrives (babies are babbling away in their cots but D gives them morning bottles and plays with them/ changes nappies, etc.)

Faff around until about 7.45 - 8.00 and then start getting ready for work. Depending on time of first meeting I leave at either 8:00 or 8:30 (I prefer 8.30) as it takes me 25 minutes to drive to work and another 5 to walk from my parking space to my desk.

I set up everything the night before (all babies' things, notes to nanny, my lunch bag, work bag and even my clothes) as I'm USELESS in the mornings (see late wake-up) so I literally have to get dressed and go (less than 30 mins usually).

9:00 - 3:00/ 3:30 (if meeting I don't want to miss) - work - meetings, clients, bringing people together to get things done, etc, etc. Office chit-chat (love this!), Facebook and reading blogs over lunch.

3:30 most days - home - play with babies

4:00 - 5:00 babies' supper time & baths (I don't get involved as Nanny V handles it all perfectly - aren't you proud of me for not intervening? - in fact she gets more food down them than I do) so I check and respond to my business email, write my newsletter, do business stuff. I usually hear something cute happening during bath time so I dash around the corner with my camera and they stop doing the cute thing 90% of the time LOL

5:00 - 6:00 Nanny Viola leaves at 5 pm and I put them to bed with their bottles, tuck them in, pray with them, tell them I'll see them AFTER 6 in the morning (I believe in speaking in faith) and marvel at how sweet they are (is there anything better than a clean, sweet-smelling baby? I thought it was all like this before I had babies. Ha!).

6:00 - 6:30 - The Bold and The Beautiful plus a cup of tea ("me time" plus planning - I write my to-do list for the evening)

6:30 - 7:45 - gym on two nights

7:45 - 8:00 - heat food and have supper (these are the days I have my freezer meals)

8:00 - 9:00 - shower, make bottles for the next day, notes for V, take out/ cook food for the babies, pack lunch bag, etc. (while D's at the gym - we swop over on the same gym night), tidy house, etc.

9:00 - 10:30 - time with D/ business stuff/ work emails/ blogging

10:30 - 11:00 choose clothes, tidy desk, to-do list for next day

11:00 - 12:00 - reading and bed


On weekends

We are VERY relaxed and loosely follow the schedule. I basically give us an hour to do everything (e.g. during the week they have breakfast at 8 sharp; on weekends it's sometime between 8 & 9) related to meals. We usually end up very late... like tonight, they only went to sleep at 7 instead of before 6.

We usually only do one out-of-the-house trip a day although on Sundays we often do church and something else (today, lunch at a friend's house).

I'm not very structured with doing "activities" with the babies like reading, playing, etc. I let them get on with it and do whatever. Actually, I need to write a blog about this as I'm a major slacker mother.

On the non-gym nights I have time to work on and in the business more - client appointments, hosting teleseminars, etc.

D and I also eat earlier, together at 7:00 or as close to 7 as possible.

* Do you follow it very closely?

I like the babies to stay on schedule as closely as possible. For me, I have certain things I need to do daily and I'm flexible when in the evening they happen but they usually do happen.

* How much (or how little?) "help" do you have?

Well, of course, D participates fully with house and babies (that was our agreement when we got married - if we both work, we both work at home too. Did you have agreements before you married?) and I have our fabulous nanny, Viola.

Absolutely no family here on my side and D's live so far we have to make a "plan" to get MIL to babysit.

* What chores do you do on a daily basis?

Decluttering, restoring the house to order, cleaning the kitchen. I cook about 2 - 3 times a week and freeze the leftovers so that there are always meals in the freezer.

V does the babies' laundry daily and I do ours twice a week (one load each day). Have I mentioned that laundry is my worst?!

* Do you get any "me" time on an average day? What do you do then?

Definitely get me time! The B&B at 6 and my blogging time. Even if I just take 10 - 15 minutes to read with a cup of tea.

* What is your favorite part of each day?

Coming home and hearing the babies race to the door to meet me with big smiles. Connor's bath time is another favourite (he is a FISH!) and putting the babies to bed.

* What is your least favorite part of each day?

Babies' lunch and supper as I have an independent little boy who wants to feed himself and then takes FOREVER to eat.

* Are you able to make time for all the things that you want/need to fit in? If you could fit it all in, what else would you do?

Usually, yes.

As I said earlier, I coach time management and I believe 100% that I have to walk the talk if I teach these principles to my clients.

On days when I get overwhelmed/ lazy/ demotivated, I self-coach.... "if I were coaching me, what would I tell myself?" and I do it, usually :)

But if I had MORE time, I'd read more. I used to read for pleasure (because of course, I do read boring business cases and legal agreements at work) for hours a day but of course now I manage about an hour and some days I'm so tired I only manage 30 minutes.

What about your day?

Also, did anything shock you? Or is there anything you want to ask about?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Something light for the weekend

I found this little meme on an Australian blog. I stumbled upon some birthday pics and stayed for a while, as you do.

1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

New York City, without a doubt. In fact, NYC is on my life list. Otherwise, another big city like Sydney.

2. What is your favourite band?

Not really a band but I do love anything Rod Stewart. My favourite Christian band is Third Day. Their music is raw, honest and takes me right into the presence of God.

3. If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be?

Mmmm, either Oprah because I love talking and asking people questions (can you tell?!) or Nigella but on a day when she's filming a show (cooking all that yummy food and talking about "beautiful blood-red tomatoes").

4. Concert or Broadway show?

Broadway, baby! I can even do a version of "New York, New York", Liza Minelli style :)

I love the song and dance and am all about the sparkle. I said for many, many years before I figured I wasn't quite talented enough that I'd like to be a professional dancer.

Confession - I'm thinking of taking up Spanish dancing again for fun. I don't think I'm busy enough LOL. I also LOVE the passion and I was very good at it in high school . Ole!

Still have my castanets above my desk.

5. Theme song for your life?

Beautiful Day - U2

Is it just me or do you also start thinking about Ally McBeal and those bony little shoulders of hers when you think "theme song"?

6. Would you choose a fancy dinner at a nice restaurant or a picnic in the park?

Fancy dinner. But not too fancy as I like wholesome food with good portions and some very fancy places just don't feed you enough :)

7. Favourite place to shop?

Hmmmm. Lately, Etsy. But my standard favourites are stationery stores - I'm a stationery junkie and quite unashamed.



8. Favourite movie?

My best friend's wedding. I can be blue and within minutes of watching I'm HOWLING. LOVE it.

Also Spanglish, The Holiday and Something's gotta give.


I'm tagging the following bloggers:

Deanna, Heather, Saffy, Cat, Rebecca and Shelby

No pressure but I'd love to read your answers :)

What's your favourite movie and why?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Motherstyles - are you a T or an F?

the beginnings of my new vision board

The third section of your personality style is T vs F, thinking vs feeling.

As always, it's not to say that if you're a T, you have no feelings and if you're an F, you don't use your brain LOL

All it means is that when you make decisions, one part takes priority over the other. You have a certain preference.

When I used to teach these workshops at the church, I'd ask people to cross their arms on their chests.

In fact, why don't you go ahead and do just that? I'll wait.

Now reverse the crossing.

Where your hand went over, put it under, and so on....

Again, I'll wait.

When you try to reverse the crossing you CAN do it but it takes concentration and a lot of thought.

Same with decision-making.

There's one way that's your preference and that's automatic to you (the first way you crossed your arms) and another way that is not as natural (when you "forced" yourself to fold your arms the other way).

So, T vs F.

Thinking moms are about getting their kids to be independent while Feeling moms are more natural sympathisers.

An example in the book is this:

If your child falls while playing, the Feeling mom rushes in to comfort while the Thinking mom gives the child space and lets them get over it themselves.

To an F, a T will seem heartless and cold and to a T, an F might seem like they molly-coddle :)

The book says that a major difference between the two types is the way they deal with boundaries.

Gosh! Boundaries are one of my favourite subjects in the world (and it's one of my most popular articles every single month in the article directories).

A T mom sees very clear boundaries between herself and her children. She sees her kids as separate from herself.

Boundaries between people are very blurred with the F mom. This mom battles to give her kids emotional distance.

The T gives her kids independence and the F is more loving.

Now here's the part I found most interesting as a T:
  • Most F moms found motherhood very natural in the early days when kids are more dependent on them and enjoyed caring for very young kids the most.
  • The T moms feel like they hit their stride as their kids age because children are more rational and independent.
I have a friend with 2 teenagers and a tween (going on 30!) and she's always said to me she LOVED the baby days. The hardest part for her was letting them grow up :) - now I know definitely an F (there are other things too...)

Conflict is another major area of difference between the two types.

F types thrive on harmony and therefore will avoid conflict at all costs as they don't want hurt feelings.

T types are objective and have the ability to be direct so they don't mind dealing with the tough issues to achieve a fair and just result.

Soooo true.

Aha moments for me

  • Competence is to the T what harmony is to the F. Validation of my competence is core to me and that's why I should do something apart from mothering to take care of me.
  • In the working world T's are seen as very "male" and female T types often come across as unfeeling! So, so true. This is something I work on all the time with people who do work for me.
The T tends to be a stricter parent, firm with boundaries and encouraging independence. Both D and I are T's - poor kids.

Examples
  • car seats
  • crying
  • no rocking to sleep (my mother phoned me yesterday around their bedtime and asked if they were asleep. I said I didn't know because "I put them down, tuck them in, say goodnight and leave". She was horrified!)

Now for the fun part - the discussion :)

What are you and what is your hubby? How can you see the T or F playing out in your life or as a parent?

P.S. Please click the Motherstyles label for the other parts to this series of posts.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How do you stay on top of the photos?


Last night I spent almost two hours organising photos from months 8 – 11 and making photo CDs for the family.

It is exhausting and is probably the least organised part of my life.

I must confess that it was worse when we were taking pics from two cameras.

Now we’ve restricted ourselves to one camera so that at least when I download, it’s all there in one place.

I am so behind with my Project 365 blog, I fear I may never catch up again.

I don’t know how some of you do it – up to date all the time and up on blogs/ Facebook on time, not weeks or months later!

I do know I make too big a thing of it in my head and if I actually just sat down and downloaded and organized and copied to my “to blog” folder (do you have a “to blog” folder?) once a week, it would take 15 – 20 minutes.

But that’s me. I download only every 2 – 3 weeks or so unless I desperately want a pic from the camera.

I keep thinking, “cool, I’m up to date” and then 3 months pass and I’m back to square one.

So this time I want to fix it before it gets to that state again. I’ll have to trick myself and play games with my timer to get me moving.


Please share your tips. Do you live with that cable in your handbag or what?


P.S. I read this FANTASTIC post yesterday – I became a mom and lost myself – go read and no prizes for seeing which comment’s mine! LOL

P.P.S. This is my newest lazy organising trick - photo collages :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My little soccer babies with their vuvuzelas

P.S. This is what we do with them when they wake up - put their jeans over their babygrows so they don't dirty them. Doesn't K look cute with her "sleep sack cape"?

P.P.S. Thanks for all the great comments on the gift-giving post yesterday. Keep them coming :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gifts for children's birthdays

I innocently said something here at work and EVERYONE was up in arms.

Who knew that this was such a heated topic???

Someone said that her son had a bicycle and a _______ and a ________ (I don't even know what all those things were), to which someone else said, "you spoil him!" and she answered and said he got all those things as gifts.

As if there was nothing she could do about it.

So then I said the thing that started mini World War 3, "but surely you can ask people to buy what he DOES need?"

Well, four of them let me have it. LOL

  • if you tell me to buy clothes, I'll deliberately buy toys (stroppy sort of person - no surprise)

  • I'll buy whatever I want; it's a gesture from my heart (she buys good gifts anyway so she would buy appropriate gifts :)

  • I could NEVER tell people what to buy
  • and one just laughed - she doesn't believe her kids need gifts :)

When they calmed down, we were able to have a nice conversation about it.

I think maybe my friends and family are just weird? Although I honestly never thought it was strange to ask what to get as gifts!

If I don't have a clear idea of exactly what I want to get (sometimes I have such a clear YES about something, it's easy), I ask what the kids need or want and get that.

And my family definitely does this.

Sometimes they disregard the ideas and do their own thing (especially D's sister as she thinks I'm a bit boring :)) which is fine.

But at least there's some idea.


Thing is now that I'm a parent I know what a big schlep it is to exchange clothes for the right size or season so I don't mind giving a gift voucher to the store so the parent can pick something in the right size that the child doesn't already have.

A friend (the same one who asked about the car seats :)) asked about pressies for the kids and I only had one specification - nothing from a particular store. I have nothing against the clothes IF they're the right size and the right season. But to exchange something there is SUCH a mission, it's just not worth it.

I decided that life is too short for me to sacrifice time with my babies to stand in a shop for 20 - 30 minutes because of onerous procedures with exchanging sizes and whatnot.

I'm not exaggerating as this is exactly what I did last week and it was not a once-off.

I sometimes think I'm going to be the most boring mother ever.

My dream is for my kids to grow up clutter-free and have experiences instead of stuff for gifts.

I cottoned onto the ideas of experiences a few years back and they are now my favourite gifts - massages, supper, breakfast, lunch, horseback riding and elephant rides (for my mother), etc.

I want D and I to do joint zipline (flying fox) experiences for our birthdays and when the babies are older, we'll choose stuff they can do too.

So do you just buy gifts? What kind of gifts do you like to get? And do people ask you what to get?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Let's pretend you're all car seat consultants

First a confession...

I have a thing where anything cited as "scientific" and "proven" and that quotes "statistics" is The Law for me :)

So those ads where they show the dirt disintegrating make me go out and buy whatever cleaning product it is.

Am I the only weirdo gullible-to-marketing junkie out there?


Now that my disclaimer/ confession is out of the way, let's talk car seats...

So they say your child must be rear-facing and therefore I'm a rear-facing Nazi (like the Noise Nazi)?

My babies used to SCREAM in the beginning and I was like "scream all you want, you'll be rear-facing and that's the end of it"

Some of you are thinking, "you are a terrible mother!" So sue me - this is one place where happily, I just don't care what people think! :)

I've seen two people that I know with non-rear facing car seats and they said, "but the babies cry when I put the seat the other way" and I said, "they'll get over it" LOL

Seriously, I'm a bit dramatic but as I say to the nanny, "I'd rather have a screaming child than a dead one" (about car seats, leaving baby unattended in baths, etc. ) and I am not about to have the guilt plus the dead child.

Okay, moving along.

Our current car seats say 0 - 15 kg but Connor is a tall boy and his legs are starting to look a bit squashed even though he's only 10.18 kg.

But squashed he will be until at least a year because I read somewhere they have to stay rear-facing until they're a year. (you saw the pic of Kendra in the previous post where I took the pic from the boot/ trunk)

Is this right?

What's the rule?

I'm asking for my dear friend, R, who has a BIG BOY. He is bigger than Kendra (okay, some of you are saying, isn't everyone? Ha ha ha) and he's only 6 months.

So she wants to move him to a forward-facing seat since he's squashed in the current baby seat.

Of course Google can tell you all sorts of things but I want to know from my car seat consultants (all of YOU), when do you move them around?

What if they're tall babies and look uncomfortable?

P.S. This question has just gone on my list for the paed at their one-year appt.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Our first father's day

Well, the non-crafty card was a hit!

I had it balanced on top of his mug ready with his coffee and sugar for his morning cup of coffee.

He seriously loved it, and loved it even more when I told him the story behind the card.

He nearly fell over but (wisely) didn't say anything when I told him to go enjoy his coffee in bed and I'd feed both babies breakfast (we usually do all the meals together unless one isn't there).

We're not into presents as such but we are into food (!) so yesterday V babysat and I took D for a nice lunch (he had grilled kingklip which was DELICIOUS and I had fettucine alfredo). Yes, it is a bit weird to go for a Father's Day lunch without the babies but as he said, it'll be a real treat to enjoy a meal without having to (1) shovel it down and (2) be able to talk to one another.

Connor's got this new thing (the last two weekends) where he doesn't want to have his morning nap AND he is also not sleeping in the car. Before, if they didn't nap at home before we had to leave for church (10:10), then they'd definitely fall asleep in the car.

No sleep = cranky Connor

Thankfully Kendra pops right off the minute we start moving - it's actually really sweet.


So church was good but C's crankiness was increasing . Thank God he fell asleep about half way home and because we wanted him to sleep as long as possible, we stopped at a shopping centre (D had to exchange something) and I stayed in the car until they woke.

Home for lunch and back out for our lunch. BUT the 25-minute sleep clearly wasn't enough because he was Crankypants with a capital C.

We had to eat very quickly (D was wise to have his proper lunch yesterday) and got him home where he had a proper nap.

Then the madness of supper, bath and bedtime - my favourite time of day. I love Connor in the bath (I laugh so much and it seems to excite him more) I have never seen anyone that passionate about water!
And Kendra is just too sweet and girly once she's in her pajamas and sleep sack. She looks like a little marshmallow every night, dressed in pink.

BTW, for those who asked, no, we don't have central heating... It's portable heaters all the way which do diddly squat in these old houses (big rooms, high ceilings and terrible to heat).

I asked D how his first father's day was and he says he loved it "obviously I could do with less of the Connor crankiness but it was great" LOL

So how was your weekend?


P.S. The two-hour computer limit is working well even though I've actually only come in under on one out of the four days. I'm working on some projects so once those are out of the way (end of this week) it should be easier. I'm a lot more focussed when I'm on here and best of all, my house looks better.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Our first "crafty" project

Well, I had this bright idea of making a Father's Day card for D with the babies' handprints on the inside.

I tried to paint on their hands with washable paint. Didn't work - the paintbrush was so small and I have extremely squirmy babies. So I had the second bright idea - food colouring.

I put some blue food colouring (the only one I had because I used to make bath goodies in the days when I had lots of time on my hands) in a bit of water.

V dipped their hands and I pressed the hands onto the project board.

Messy but, well, let's call it authentic.

The liquid evaporated and... you can hardly see their hands.

But best of all, my babies are now sporting lovely blue hands. The colouring didn't quite come off despite vigorous washing.

*sigh*

This is why you should not attempt to be Crafty Mom if you know that's not where your strengths lie :)

What, if anything, are you doing for Father's Day?

Edited to add pics




So how do you know so-and-so?

We went to a birthday party on Saturday last week.

It was SOOOOOOO lovely and a bit strange all at the same time.

You see, we only know these people through our shared IVF.

We met them on retrieval day, LOVED them, and then we were both there on transfer day.

This was IVF 1 and of the three of us, they were the successful ones. She only had 2 eggs but clearly they were good eggs as they survived to day 3 and they transferred both. One of them implanted and she was pregnant with a little girl.

The thing is... they're both deaf.

Obviously they caught our attention because of this and I must say, the staff at the fertility clinic were so kind to them and treated their "disability" with dignity and made sure to maintain their self-esteem at all times. Tapped them on the shoulder, made sure they were looking before talking and then didn't do that thing where they over-emphasise their words or shout louder.

He is the Most Devoted Husband I have ever seen which always gets you points in my book (I don't get guys who try to be "cool").

We started keeping in touch first through email and then through Facebook. And then through the months of baby-ness.

We keep saying we should get together (and I'm the type of person who won't say something like that if I don't really mean it) and never do it.

So when they invited my two to their baby's birthday party, I thought, "excellent!"

Well, we pitched up (late - we got lost) and there's a note on the intecom saying to send a missed call to their cell phone (because obviously they can't hear).

After waiting and trying for 5 minutes, I had the bright idea to ring a neighbour's unit and the nice young man let me in.

They were so surprised and pleased to see us - they thought we weren't coming.

We'd agreed on FB that she'd make sure one of their family would "look after us" because we can't sign (only no, sleep and milk :)) and they did.

Their house is rigged so everytime the baby monitor goes off, a light goes on in the living area. Cool!

The party was so lovely, both sets of family was friendly, their baby is gorgeous, happy, friendly and content, and we all praised Vitalab because without them, none of us would have these babies. (They're going back for another one soon)


they loved this plastic thing with the balls (I need to get some of these balls)

a smile for her brother

Connor
"this is mine and you're not taking it"

one of the other kids trying to escape (is it wrong how much I love that they can't?!) and an aerial view of my babies' heads
I think I'm laughing with Connor while Kendra tries to escape
"no such luck, missy" (I noticed I keep calling her "missy" - what's with that?!)
It was very strange every time someone asked us, "so how do you know T & E?" and I'd say, "oh, we did our IVFs together, only thing theirs worked, ours didn't so we had to go back for round 2" ............... LOL

Good thing I'm not shy.

Robynne, my kids loved all the people (I think they're getting more sociable), Kendra especially, and we didn't even have to look after them very much because everybody else wanted to hold them or play with them.

look how tall she's getting!
(she doesn't even weigh enough to properly fit 3 - 6 months but those long legs mean I have to buy 6 - 12 months)

P.S. The pics give you a guess as to what we've decided on their bday party theme. Mandy P, you're not allowed to guess but as for the rest, have at it!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

1.5 degrees Celsius

That's what my car's thermometer said on the way to work this morning.

And this wasn't even early because I was very, very late (9:00 am).

It is FREEZING in Johannesburg as we're smack bang in the midst of a cold spell.

Normally I love the cold weather but it's another matter altogether with babies.

Although we took them out yesterday because it's better to be in our warm car (with the sun streaming through the windows) than in our cold house!

South African houses are not made for the cold so that means we have a heater in each bedroom.

Last night we gave the babies hot baths and then dressed them in a gazillion layers of clothes:
  • long-sleeved body vests
  • normal long-sleeved vests over that
  • plus leggings
  • inside babygrows
  • and then inside their sleepsacks
They're now sleeping under their quilts and have another 3 - 4 blankets on top.

And still they have these cold little hands.

Cute, but cold.

We had the heater on in the babies' room the whole night with a bowl of water to keep the air moist.

D and I slept with our electric blankets on...

We have a lovely, open plan living area that's COLD in winter normally and now is positively freezing.

We can't leave the heaters on when they're awake because of course, it's dangerous to little fingers and exploring, curious minds (as you know, Connor loves lights).

So it's going to be interesting...

What do your babies sleep in, in winter?

P.S. I didn't allow myself to post last night as I'd already exceeded my 2 hours because of some things I had to do for the business (will reveal new website soon!).

P.P.S. It's like a morgue today at work because South Africa lost 3 -0 to Uruguay last night :(

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Dentist

I survived!

A touch melodramatic maybe but if you're okay with needles, you won't quite appreciate my terror.

I hate them.

And therefore I hate dentists. Says she who had 2 IVFs and a gazillion needles in my tummy!

Although I must add that my current dentist is The Best Dentist Ever.

My first dentist moved to Australia and I had to find another so I phoned around to find another. When I phoned this particular practice, I whispered to the receptionist, "Hi, I'm a big baby and I actually hate dentists so I need the nicest, gentlest dentist you have."

She immediately said, "oh, that'll be Dr S" who is indeed lovely.

She's gorgeous, young, calm and so nice I didn't even hate her when she was pregnant TWICE during the last 4 years. While I was going through infertility.

Anyway, so I hadn't been for TWO years due to IVFs, pregnancy and then the babies.

And amazingly, my teeth are still perfect. She said it's amazing but the pregnancy doesn't seem to have affected my teeth.

So no work needed. Yay!

I was in and out in about 15 minutes, and that includes x-rays and time checking them out.

What's worse for you? Dentist or gynae?

For me, definitely dentist :)

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

In other news, I think I'm spending too much time on the computer!

How do I know this?

Because again, I'm not getting all my reading done.

Last month my goal was 5 and I finished 4.

This month, my goal is still 5 and so far I've finished 1 (about 20 pages left and I'll be done with number 2). We're already half way through the month!

See?

Last night my goal was to be off the computer by 10 pm. I got off at 10.20 and was in bed at 10.50. Read until 11.30 and then light's off.

40 minutes a night (that was a good night as it was early for me) is not going to do it.

So I need to get living more and computing less :)

My goal is no more than 2 hours on the computer a day (from home).

How much time do you spend on the computer a day?

And now it's 8.45 pm and I'm committing to get off here by 9:30 after checking my newsletter and then a quick run-through of the content I'm talking about tomorrow (yay! so excited that my bags are already packed with handouts and whatnot.

Monday, June 14, 2010

500 posts and a long, long list

I can't believe it - these last 100 posts have FLOWN by.


And post 400 was only on 3 March!

When I was going through that electricity thing and I had that headache, I realised that things need to change around here.

1. We gave notice to the tenants so at least we'll know that any future electricity usage is all ours.

2. I'm going to stop worrying about my business - nothing has changed and I am still excellent at what I do (I do know this deep down) even though my marketing is not yielding the results I want.

3. I also decided that I need to relax more so I've hired a new virtual assistant.

I've had two so far - first one was great but went through some personal stuff and as a result, wasn't doing my work on time, etc, etc. I technically am owed about 10 hours' work but I chose to just let it all go and close the loop. Keep the relationship and all that jazz.

Second one was okay, but worked much slower which is not good for me (I like things done yesterday!) and if he doesn't know what's going on, doesn't ask but avoids the conflict so I thought to give him one last chance.

I made a manual of how to do my weekly newsletter, emailed him and asked him if he could commit to do this piece of work on a weekly basis with a 24 - 36-hour turnaround.

No answer in 2 days so I decided that was that.

I put out my work on a freelance site and was INUNDATED with job applicants. Took some time last week filtering through the responses but decided on 3 people. 1 of those didn't get back to me within 48 hours so again is out (I have to be tough because otherwise it's not helping me as the task falls right back to me again) and so I am testing the other two.

One has direct experience with the system I use so she will do this week's one. I've given the other one another boring task and I'll use those to check their attention to detail, speed, accuracy and learning curve.

It's been a big investment in time doing the manual, finding suitable candidates, etc. but I know it will free up lots of time in the weeks and months to come.

Strange or not-so-strange thing - the minute I decided that I need to stop worrying about all this and that I am still fabulous (!), I got an email booking me for an event on Wed and a meeting request to discuss a joint venture - both for SPEAKING.

Did I not say that I wanted to speak more this year???

I am very, very excited about Wednesday's talk.

It's going to be a busy, busy week - we celebrate Youth Day on Wednesday so it's a public holiday.
This week's must do items
  1. Go to gym twice (skipped one last week because of Sex and the City)
  2. Phone exterminator (I have crawling insects in my kitchen and I've tried everything to get rid of them but nothing's working so even though I hate "wasting" money, these suckers must die!)
  3. Dental appointment on Tuesday *gulp* (hate the dentist - it's that needle thing)
  4. Write newsletter and send to VA
  5. Finalise talk for Wed (it's 80% done)
  6. Prepare personal development items for work
  7. Write copy for new website - more on this later...
What's on your must-do list this week?

P.S. I decided on the birthday theme. It's kind of a secret for now (I need to see whether things are easy to get or not) but hopefully, we are good to go.

P.P.S. That is the colour of my bedroom wall. Now you can see why I had to take the red bags and stash them out of sight. What colour would you say it is?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Food update and 11-month stats


So the babies were 11 months old last Monday.

I was all excited to go see Sister Carla to ask her about Connor's on and off food strike.

"My concern is keeping a fine balance because I want him to get enough nutritious food but also I don't want eating / mealtimes to become an issue.

And...

The more seasoned mothers among you will be nodding your heads ... but there is nothing wrong with him.

She said he is trying to assert his independence (with a control freak mother) and is very clearly showing when he's had enough (he purses his lips and shakes his head no, no, NO!).

She suggested a couple of things:

  1. have a choice available for meals and always start with the healthier choice (my Annabel Karmel meals - do you know I am still cooking them once a week?!) and then have the back-up ready (Provita and peanut butter/ toast with cottage cheese).
  2. don't force the issue - when he says no, it's no.
  3. let him start feeding himself - OY! (she said it's normal that half the food ends up on him, the chair, the floor but it is all normal and there's no other way for him to learn - double OY!)

Kendra has no problems but they do this sympathetic crying thing so when he starts acting up, she'll start too.

There was a small concern with K getting enough milk because she doesn't really care for milk and with them having 3 meals and 2 snacks, she's happy to not have a lot.

Apparently you count milk and milk products - I hadn't been counting in the yoghurt and the milk we use to make their cereal - so there is NO problems. They both get well over 500 ml a day.

With the sleeping, ha! She very nicely told me that they definitely don't need to have any bottles at night (try telling them!) and if we don't want problems later on, we'd best do some sleep training.

Those words send TERROR into my heart.

But I told D and we decided that we'd do it the wussy way - by weakening their bottles even more. So now at night they get 50 ml of formula and 100 ml of water. Connor accepted it for a couple of nights but then SCREAMED on night 3. I had to steel myself to not go get him a proper bottle by chanting, "he doesn't need this bottle!" because I can't bear the sound of the crying.

Tonight is night 7 and then we're going to weaken even more.

Over the 6 days, they've both slept through once and on the other 5 nights they only woke once, usually around 4 (after 10 hours sleep), but last night it was 1.30 (I think that's due to the party they went to yesterday).

As for the eating, I'm a little hesitant to write this but I think we're over the hurdle for the moment because that very night at supper, he ate beautifully with V feeding him and then even fed himself properly for the first time (with a spoon!). He's repeated this at every lunch and supper so it was definitely that he wanted to feed himself.

Now, the stats:

Connor weighs 10.18 kg (22,4 pounds) and Kendra weighs 7.45 kg (16.4 pounds). The gap is narrowing. At 9 months there was a 2,9 kg difference in their weight; now there's only 2,72.

So that's it - all is good.

Only thing - next month they need more injections.


How was your week last week? What do you have planned for this week?

P.S. I need to tell you what I realised after the electricity headache and what I'm doing to get a new, improved, streamlined life (!)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Honest scrap award


Shelby, thank you for my Honest Scrap award.

I'm so pleased but now you know I suck at doing these timeously because I always have TONS to talk about.

So… here's how this works. By accepting the award, I have to post 10 things about myself. Since this blog is mostly about the boys, it shouldn't be hard to find 10 things you don't all already know about me.

Nevertheless, here are 10 things you don't yet know about me.
  1. I can't sleep in sleepshirts. They have to be proper pajamas with tops and bottoms, and preferably flannel in winter.
  2. While we're talking about sleep, I have a thing for slippers. I think I have about 5 pairs, 2 I'm using and 3 new pairs, "spare" in cupboard.
  3. I have very, very, very curly hair that drives me absolutely batty. If I could have straight hair, I'd do it in a heartbeat. The weird thing is whenever I leave it to do its thing, people actually like it.
  4. I consciously made a choice to stop doing all the "social director" stuff at work - birthday gifts, baby showers, etc. - because I didn't want to be seen as only good enough for that kind of thing.
  5. I love, love, love John Grisham's "The Painted House". It is SO UNLIKE any of his other books (which I also enjoy) but somehow, this book just does it for me.
  6. When I like something, I buy it in all the colours they have that suit me :) That's why you'll see I wear the same type of top in about 7 different colours.
  7. I honestly, seriously, no-jokes have a problem in that I can't seem to stop buying journals and notebooks.
  8. I stopped wearing heels when I started work at this company 5 years ago and it is virtually impossible for me to balance in them anymore. I bought that skirt I mentioned a few months ago and the other day, well, I nearly twisted my ankles in my heels. On the bright side, my legs looked good!
  9. My massage therapist told me to get a mole on my back checked out as it "looks funny" and the best is... they can only see me in November. I told them, "if it's cancerous, I may be dead by then" LOL (I don't really think it is, which is why I'm making stupid jokes).
  10. I only watch happy movies. D calls them formulaic. My thing is ... life is tough already, I want to feel good and positive when I go to the movies.

Hmmm, I tag Dee (who found out this week she's having TRIPLETS), Rebecca, and whoever else wants to play along.

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup Fever unites South Africa


I don't even like soccer (!) but I love, love, LOVE the vibe in the country at the moment.

The World Cup is uniting young and old, rich and poor, black and white, fans and non-fans alike.

This morning driving to work, I was sporting my soccer jersey, South African scarf and of course, my car is also "dressed" in mirror socks and has a South African flag.

I was stopped at a red traffic light and a young man walked in front of my car with "purpose".

Normally I'd be ready to react just in case he might have wanted to smash and grab something (the reality of poverty in our country) but... today we smiled at each other and did "thumbs up".
We are united because we love our country!

I LOVE IT.

Then I got to work and they've dressed the building!

We've had flags up since the "100 days to go" event but the lifts (elevators) are decorated, there are soccer ball bean bags everywhere and soccer ball lanterns.


I can't stop smiling.

I LOVE IT!








Thursday, June 10, 2010

They're just not that into me

Well, I just had the most enlightening conversation with an HR person.

I applied for a role that was maybe a bit too senior (at the time I thought, "what's the worse that can happen?") and my application was unsuccessful.

The HR person and I met so she could give me feedback.

Bottom line, the reasons they rejected me are the very things I'm extremely strong on - quality management.

Gosh, I was gobsmacked.

Anyone who has ever worked with me knows what I'm like.

But whatever. I accept that all of my previous roles were not quality management roles, per se.

I expected my application to be unsuccessful but thought it might bring me to their attention for something else within the team...

I wanted to title this post "devastated" but thought that's a bit dramatic considering I used that word to describe my feelings after my first failed IVF.

But it's clear that they're just not that into me.

This rejection thing gets old very quickly.

The sad (and encouraging) thing is it seems my wonderful boss is the only one who sees my potential here and that is disheartening to me.

I really, really need to move but my work self-confidence is so low that I find myself questioning whether I can do "outputs" when I read through job specs.

You should know that I don't have a problem with self-confidence normally - this is So Unlike Me.

I usually feel like any company would be lucky to get me.

I heard Mike Murdock speak once and he said something so profound I've never forgotten it - "everybody is a genius somewhere. A fish is a genius in water. When you find the right environment, you'll be a genius there"

Firmly believe that.

I've seen people who were not performing in a particular role move to something else and FLOURISH.

I guess I need to find the right environment for me.

*sigh*

Are you in your perfect environment at the moment?

P.S. Wow, looks like you really like talking about birthday parties :) I LOVED all the comments. Mandy P, thanks - you really, really clarified my thinking - will email you....

P.P.S. Went to see Sex and the City 2 with my friend last night (it was great, we are going to do more girl stuff together) and Shelby, I loved it. I enjoyed it much more than the first one. Strangely, I hated the TV series.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Birthday parties

As you all know, I don't like a lot of fuss and bother.

D and I debated for AGES on whether to even have a party for the babies but then I figured - WE deserve a party to celebrate surviving the first year, or at very least, the newborn stage :)

We went to one of the party shops to have a look (totally by accident, on the way to buying paint for the bedroom!) and I actually got excited because they make things so easy these days.

The themes are all beautiful so the party planning is easy because you get tablecloths, serviettes (napkins), paper plates, etc. but what do one-year-old kids know about themes or parties?

Is there a point to having a theme when they're so young?

Also, there's the not-so-small matter of having a girl and a boy, so nothing can be too girly or boyish.

What do you feed the kids considering most are babies?

(My children are banned from sugar until they're two... yip, I'm that kind of mother)

I do like the idea of a party venue so MY house doesn't get messed up but I do feel it's overkill for 1-year-olds?

Also I have that annoying bill from the City of Jhb for R9 881 so don't feel like I want to spend much on a party - it just feels irresponsible.

I do know I want
  • two cakes - any ideas???
  • two sets of singing Happy Birthday
  • a Happy Birthday banner
  • balloons

that's all I'm sure of!

I love the idea of party packs but....... again, they're 1. Do you just do for older kids who have a clue???

What ideas do you have for me? What do you feed them and what am I not thinking about?

P.S. I see invitations are a big thing in the blog world. Here we send a text message :) or an email! What do you do?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

How do you define friendship?

Last week when I wrote about my friend there were tons of good questions and talking points in the comments.

I thought I'd write about some of my feelings around friendship.

My best, best friends have always challenged me.

D is my very best friend and he challenges me continually (in fact, he was the only guy who could stand up to me and was strong enough to not feel threatened by my independence...).

Apparently he needs this too and I provide it in spades! He told me that his one serious girlfriend before me was too wishy-washy (ha! that's the last thing anyone would call me).

In a strange twist of fate, I actually met her in London two years ago. Very weird and afterwards I kept saying to him, "I can't BELIEVE you went out with HER". Nothing wrong with the girl just soooooooo not D.

Moving on.

I wrote before about my friend who, after I had the babies so suddenly, challenged my thinking in that I actually got to experience some of labour, waters breaking, and so on, something she never ever had.

I love that because I'd never thought of it like that.

One more.

I have two friends who are the exact opposite of me in personality type :) We do share very similar values though. They always, always say things like "well, have you considered x?" and usually it's a NO!

I love the different perspectives.

These are things I use to define a good friendship:
  • honesty (I think you know how I feel about being authentic and honest :) and I really do believe when you start truly being honest (in love) it deepens your friendship)
  • communication and true connection
  • reciprocity (of care and attention)
  • loyalty
  • support through good times and bad
  • consistency - contact not only when life is brilliant or when life is terrible, but through both

I also think there's a disconnect when your definition and someone else's definition don't mesh.

It's easy to sometimes say "oh, that was just for a season" and sometimes it's very clear like when you work together and really only spoke work stuff, one of you moves jobs and your only commonality is gone.

But most times I think it's different expectations, different values, other things.

Maybe you genuinely have different circumstances now.

I remember reading a bit of a sad post on a blog a few months ago - infertile girl now has baby and friends no longer read or comment on blog.

You know what? I get that. I totally do.

That's why I started the Fertility Babies group because it's not fair to ask someone to be totally happy when you have what they so desperately want.

Or maybe I'm just not that evolved but there were MANY, many times I couldn't STAND to see a pregnant woman.

I have lots of different categories of friends:
  • friends you can call at 3 am in the morning
  • couple friends (D & I both get along with both of them)
  • girl friends (to do girl stuff like shop and coffee and watch chick flicks)
  • infertile friends :)
  • blog friends
  • business friends (who I can safely tell how my business is going and where I'm battling, and who do the same right back at me)
  • and so on

Anyway, back to you.

What is your definition of friendship?

BTW, nothing is right or wrong - it's about what suits the people involved.

How do you know know when it's time to move on? And practically, how do you do so?
A friend said to me on Saturday that she makes very clean breaks - totally cuts off people - unfriends on FB, unfollows on Twitter, deletes name from cell phone, etc. Gosh, that's a bit extreme for me but then again I have a problem letting go. I will say I was like that with old boyfriends although I am FB friends with one guy!

Monday, June 07, 2010

If it's not one thing, it's another

I've alluded to this before but looks like we have some food issues.

They've stopped being good eaters.

The main culprit is Connor but Kendra has her moments too.

So today, being their 11-month birthday, I've booked an appointment with Sister Carla and I am armed with all my questions.

It'll also be nice to get them weighed.

At the birthday party on Saturday when I held one of the babies, it occurred to me that he could very possibly be heavier than Kendra (he is 5 1/2 months and she's 11!).

It's not an issue to me anymore simply because she is so active - crawling, pulling up, cruising along furniture, etc.

she loves the vacuum cleaner


But I am keen to see what she weighs as she eats more than her brother does these days.

Okay, back to the eating.

They both LOVE cereals. We give them oats and Maltabella (Purity) mostly and only baby cereal when they have a really, really bad food day.

(I'm very strict with food and I don't cave easily)

They eat fruits and even eat it like we do (chunk of apple and orange).

And yoghurt - well, they are clearly my kids because they LOVE plain Greek yoghurt. LOVE IT.

Kendra

Has become very interested in what's IN the food, so if any food falls from the spoon, she uses those tiny baby fingers (and they're minute!) to pick up the lentils, carrots, etc. one by one.

No problem but...... she's so focussed that she won't eat while she's otherwise engaged.

So eating takes forever and some days she just feels like she has "had it" and won't even open her mouth.

She's not the main problem.

Connor on the other hand has good days very rarely but mostly his new thing is he doesn't like food.

He will have toast with anything, fruit, yoghurt and cereal. So he is getting something in him.

But I have this crazy notion that his diet needs to be balanced and nutritious.

And he won't eat my beloved Annabel Karmel meals.

I think it's because he wants to feed himself and doesn't want baby mush. Even though it's technically not baby mush.

I've even started cooking things like butternut and lentil risotto so that no pureeing is necessary. He does eat this type of meal better and of course, anything with a cheese sauce.

V made them a fish in a cheesy white sauce a few weeks ago which Connor loved so that's the new thing - fish twice a week for him.

Actually now that I'm typing this out it really doesn't seem that bad.

Although... I can't see how we're ever going to get them off bottles (Heather, you're a rock star!) if they don't start eating properly.

Maybe I just lack patience?

Honestly these kids are so cute and lovable that those 20 minutes 3 times a day try my patience to no end.


(I've taught Kendra to kiss (I know, I know, most mothers teach their kids useful things like animals, colours and whatnot - I teach my kids how to kiss!) and it is the cutest, wettest thing ever. Connor also kisses but we're working on not biting while we kiss :))

I have a confession - I purposely give V the more difficult things to feed them (the proper, nutritious meals) because she's much better at getting them to eat. On the weekends I'm a slacker mother - I only try one proper meal and if they don't want it, I've decided life is too short to fight with babies so then it's cereal, toast, fruit, yoghurt - easy stuff.

I have another confession. Six weeks ago I had to start buying Purity prunes because my poor boy battles with constipation.

What are your food concerns or confessions?

Do you think I'm worried about nothing? Or is this cause for concern?

my "sulky teenager"


Swimming is serious business

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Finally, they're dedicated

An amazing thing happened once I got clear on what I wanted for the baby dedication.

I started to get excited!

I don't know if it was excitement about the actual dedication, getting it done, seeing friends or what.

But I realised something then (a mere week ago).

That I have to do what's right for me and stop thinking about all the shoulds.

The day finally arrived and it was perfect (for us).

  • babies dressed in normal clothes (still cute, but normal clothes)
  • 10 adults plus the babies
  • catered food which was very very good (sent home doggy bags with guests)
  • bought cupcakes (plus my SIL also made some very pretty ones that were gone before I could even get out the camera)
  • only about 10 pics taken in total
  • my MIL did the dedication (and it was SO the right thing to do - she again said how honoured she was and I may have even teared up a bit) so short, sweet and to the point
  • babies were very well-behaved, a bit shell-shocked (Robz, exactly like yesterday!) but... no screaming
  • but the main thing...God was here
I had a chance to spend quality, one-on-one time with my friends and family which is something I love to do (yes, I'm an "E" but have that intimacy outlier which craves true connection).

So that's it! Done!


Next up is the babies' first birthday party and then I can relax for a whole year :)

Yesterday we went to our third birthday party (the first twins from the infertility group turned two) which I was not keen on only because we left late and there was traffic to high heaven.

Very glad I went - got to see my friends and best of all, NO milestones or mummy bragging talk! LOL

Do you have personal "policies" about birthday parties? Do you accept everything you're invited to (if you're free)?

Let me tell you why I ask.

D and I like LOTS of down-time. Because I'm so busy during the week I like lazy, lazy weekends. And this month alone we could have 7 socials on weekends which is way too much for me so I've decided not to go to one of them.

I asked D, "what are our rules?"

We had rules in the pre-preg days of no more than 3 nights out during the work week - we were in ministry then and it got really busy. If you don't watch out, you can get burnt out FAST.

First thing D said was, "does it mean if someone invites us that we have to invite them".

Gosh, I don't know - I don't think so but who knows. I'm sure there's some mother etiquette I break all the time. Then again, it's so boring to follow all the rules, isn't it? I do like being a bit edgy.

One thing I do know - I will not be at my children's beck and call socially :)

So we're thinking through our "rules" for the weekends.

But please share yours!

Otherwise, how was your weekend?


P.S. The electricity account might be valid... based on one person's email to me. Would still love to hear from the other Jhb people (or is this like a "what's your salary?" question - top secret???)

P.P.S. Too lazy to download pics

Friday, June 04, 2010

So, yesterday


I had a terrible day even though there weren't many terrible things that happened.

Does that make any sense?

Seriously, this electricity thing threw me for a loop.

I'm actually doing that marketing thing and saying "R9 881" instead of "R10 000" because it makes me freak out less but it's just the same, isn't it?

I even cried a bit.

And then had the start of a headache...

How I know when I really need help....... I journal :)

I'm not the journalling sort but somehow I needed to get the noise out of my head so I wrote 4 PAGES of mind noise.

When D got home, I was watching The Bold and The Beautiful.

He took one look at me and said, "have you been crying?"

Yes.

I just handed him the journal and said, "read".

So he did. And then announced that he's worried about me.

This is not me, to not have any fight.

I've just come from a meeting with my boss and client and while the boys went for a quick loo break, I phoned a friend because we are going to a woman's thing tomorrow at church (no, it's not that friend, it's M whose baby was also in NICU) and needed to finalise times and so on.

My wonderful boss heard me say to M, "I was crying yesterday" blah blah and said, "Marcia, what's wrong?"

Gave him a quick low-down. He thought it was the money I was freaked about.

It is and it isn't.

I will HAPPILY pay what I'm supposed to but I don't trust their systems and no matter what we do, nothing happens that's supposed to. I don't know that they've charged me properly.

Back to yesterday.

Shortly after the B & B ended and D & I spoke, the headache increased in its throbbing and intensity and it was all I could do to undress, get into pj's and into bed (probably around 7pm).

Similar to this headache I had.

Woke around 1 pm for Connor and then slept through until 8pm (yes, I was very late for work).

There's no good end to this post.

D and I decided to give the tenants notice so we can be 100% sure that it's just us generating any electricity usage and we'll be paying the amount off til they recon our account.

If that amount is valid, I am going to have a nervous breakdown... I can't bear the thought of my lovely (restored) savings account paying for ELECTRICITY.

Jhb people - what do you pay for electricity these days? I assume you have "normal" accounts and that your meters are actually read.

P.S. It's the babies' dedication on Sunday. I'm looking forward to seeing my friends!

P.P.S. Connor's turned into a sulky teenager so I'm adding some happy pics of him to remember the baby he used to be :)


Thursday, June 03, 2010

As if there isn't enough chaos in my life...

We got handed over to lawyers by the City of Johannesburg.

!

I received a text message on my phone, flipped out (seriously) and within minutes I was on the phone to them. While I'm on the phone, I email my husband and he calmly replies, "yes, I know, they emailed a letter to me".

He likes to pretend he doesn't have a personal life at work so he simply sent the letter to our home email.

Grrr.

Despite the nice man on the phone assuring me that Nolan (City of Jhb rep) would call me back that day, I should have known better.

I am still waiting for Nolan's call ... this all went down on Monday.

The amount of money they want from us is R2900, not too bad in the grand scheme of things (about 3 X what our bill should be).

I don't mind paying it (as I told the nice man - he really was VERY nice probably because he could tell I was THIS close to the edge) but I want to know that it is my actual bill and the amount is valid.

Our account went into "discrepancy" last year (letter is dated 3 Dec) and we were told to keep paying (which I have been doing) and they'd let us know when it was sorted out.

By "sorted out" they meant that an actual person would come read the meter and submit the actual readings so the account could be reconciled.

Real, live persons have been to our home FOUR times in the 7 months but not one of those readings is on their system.

We have also had absolutely NO communication from them since that letter in Dec.

Can you see why I'm cross?

The letter says they're going to disconnect our electricity if it's not paid by Sunday (what on earth?!), which really means Friday.

I wanted to know if my latest payment is included in the R3000 so D phoned CoJ last night. This person tells him the balance is actually R8200.

Yes, friends, I FLIPPED!

So guess where D is today? Queuing in Jorissen Street (City Centre) to try and sort this thing out.

Normally he hates all this admin/ drama and I do it all but last night he got home and said, "we have to sort this out; we have BABIES!"

On the one hand it is sad, sad, SAD that he only cares about this nonsense now... but whatever the reason, he's sorting it out so my blood pressure will remain normal for another day or so...


P.S. All this rubbish cropping up means I don't have time to post my to-do list for June and how I did on all that stuff in May. And I want to do my life list too.

Work is busy, I'm interviewing for a new team PA plus I work very closely with a guy from the UK who flies out for two weeks a month (this week and next) so busy busy busy with meetings galore.

P.P.S. My friend and I are going to see Sex and the City next week. I decided I'll be honest if she then tries to make a couple plan - she knows me well enough - and say something like "D says it's probably best if the two of us go for coffee, etc. otherwise it's going to be YEARS before we get together"

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Sleep update!

Sadia and I were writing emails behind the scenes and she said it seemed like I'm not as bothered by the babies' sleep anymore.

That's true!

They're 5 days away from 11 months and every month it does actually get better.

Of course I never DREAMED I'd wait this long for my precious sleep. Why do people lie about this stuff?

Once you actually start talking about it, it seems like 7 out of 10 people at work are not sleeping because of small children.

Just today I spoke to a lady at work who asked after the twins (we'd chatted before about my infertility when we were about to embark on IVF2) and I said, "just 4 months ago we were still waking up 3 times a night PER BABY".

She went white and was horrified. Maybe at the thought of twins?

(I also happen to know she's about to start IVF for number 2 - a little birdie told me)

At the weekend I read through my goals inside my wardrobe and under "babies" I had 5 points and all 4 are done except for "sleeping through the night".

The sad thing as I said to D was that I honestly believed the hype from other mothers - "oh it will happen at 12 weeks" then "at 6 months" and so on.

And then I'd hope every month - maybe by 7 months? 8 months?

!

Sister Lilian's workshop calmed me down but I'd by lying if I said I was 100% fine with them not sleeping through as I believe it should happen (12 hours a night).

However, these days it doesn't bother me as much.

You know how I know that?

I looked on the summary page of The Notebook and saw I hadn't even bothered to complete it for about 10 days.

Seems Sister Lilian was right - if you stop focusing on the bad stuff, you stop the stressing about it.

But being the type of person I am, I then did all my calculations and whatnot.

I just did the last bit to round out the month and...

Kendra
  • slept through twice
  • woke twice per night three times
  • and only woke once the rest of the month

Connor
  • slept through four times
  • woke twice per night twice
  • and only woke once the rest of the month

The once a night wakes are very late - from 3:30 - 4:30 - which, as you know, is 10 - 11 hours from their last feed as mine go to sleep early so I can relax at 6pm sharp with a mug of tea and The Bold and The Beautiful.

It's the small things in life.

They have stabilised a lot. And I'm very grateful because I get about 7 hours sleep a night.

What's the deal with this sympathy crying though?

When one wakes crying, 95% of the time the other wakes too and starts crying. Why????

They do this sympathy crying during the day too.

Kendra more so than Connor but he does it too.

At first I was confused but now I just laugh at them. And I try to ignore the sympathy crier.

I know, mother-of-the-year material :)

But sometimes they do stop so it does work.

Back to middle-of-the-night feeds...

With the sympathy crying/ waking, we're so sleepy we just plop a bottle in the other's mouth too.

I have these fancy plans of just putting a dummy back in. But it only works when I'm properly awake. All bets are off once we go to bed.

And not to be Pollyanna-ish about it, but really, how can I complain about getting up for 10 minutes a night to pop a bottle in two babies' mouths and get the next set ready?

I do complain when I don't fall asleep in a flash again though.

I realise again and again that food has little to do with sleep as there have been days when the babies refused their meals and still slept exactly the same as the days when they eat really well.

I know no-one else's angels eat badly but this is our new thing, just to keep us on our toes. A whole 'nother post.

P.S. Let's pretend I didn't write this post as I don't want to jinx things now that they're 90% there.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

10 foodie things that make me happy

I love food.

Love it!

So when I saw this on Saffy's blog, I decided I had to post :)

And I'm doing mine the same as she did - focussing on food.

1. Pasta

The quickest meal in the world. My sister even says I can do anything with pasta. And now even the babies eat pasta. Win-win :)

My favourite go-to comfort food is anything creamy but a good tomato and chilli pasta will also do nicely, especially when it's cold.

2. Tomatoes

Don't tomatoes just make your heart sing? Oh I LOVE tomatoes in ANY food.

3. Garlic

Oh, garlic, my friend in the fight against flu during winter. But also, mmm, garlic, tomatoes, pasta.......

4. Cottage cheese

Is there anything better than wholewheat toast with cottage cheese and a cup of tomato soup? One of my favourite lunches and a firm winter favourite. I also add cottage cheese to my creamy pastas to make the cheese part a bit healthier...

5. Bread

I love any bread. Garlic bread, focaccia, my standard day-to-day bread, wholewheat low GI, italian bread, etc.

Have I told you my bread story?

Once when I was at pre-school (I think I was 4) the teacher said, "brown bread isn't healthy" and when I got home I announced that I no longer eat white bread. They had to go out and buy brown bread for me and because I'm such a stubborn person (wonder where Kendra gets that?), I refused to eat brown bread ever again. When I moved out to go to university at 17, they started eating white bread again.

That kind of nonsense won't be happening in my house :)

6. Avocado

Avocado is one of those things like cottage cheese. Love it on wholewheat toast with lots of pepper and a bit of salt.

I wrote before how the children are not crazy about avo (clearly they're crazy!) but my friend Nat told me to mix it with banana (still haven't done so!).

7. Spare ribs

Love spare ribs, well... sparingly. Not because of the taste but because I need to be in the mood to get my hands dirty. And this goes without saying, I need to be with people I don't mind seeing me with sauce all over my mouth.

8. Apples

I love, love, love apples. But only Granny Smith ones. I have an apple with me 95% of the time (my pastor used to tease me that where you see a bottle of water and an apple, you'd find me - true)

Any dessert with apple is a sure winner - apple crumble, apple pie, apple and cinnamon muffins, apple danishes............

9. Chicken lentil curry

My favourite food ever. Seriously. I love it. My mother makes my favourite one and it's always the one dish I request when we go home or if she comes to visit. And then I stash the leftovers so no-one else can get at it. LOL


10. Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate

Boring it may be, but still my favourite chocolate. I don't know if it's because I grew up on Cadbury's (the factory in SA is in PE)?

I never quite twigged but the same chocolate tastes different around the world and I'm proud to announce that ours is the best!

What I don't eat!

Guess what? I don't eat sushi! Apparently that's weird but it is what it is.

I also don't eat peas or liquorice. Or raw onion. Or green peppers.

What don't you eat that other people find weird?

P.S. This is my post for Steadymom

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