Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How we celebrated our one-year anniversary with nanny V

Today we celebrate one year with V.

D wrote her a lovely thank-you card - all true - about how much we appreciate her and we wouldn't have been able to do it without her.

I had one of those professional pics printed, put it in a nice photo frame and wrapped it.

Today was her first day back after all the Home Affairs drama.

Well, you should have heard the squeal when she opened her gift.

She loved it.


Yesterday D's mum looked after the babies in the morning and D took another half day to look after them in the afternoon. She said she LOVED her time with the babie.

I worked since I have that filming thing on Thursday... which is stressing me out, by the way. I have to keep reminding myself that it's going to be awesome when it is over, and then again when it airs. It will be fabulous on my media page as I'm going to market it until kingdom come. There's no way you can buy this kind of credibility. And hopefully it leads to TONS of speaking engagements since I am now ready with my new website :)

We applied for our new passports today - no, we're not planning a trip per se. It's just that I believe you need to be ready when Flight Centre sends out those emails I can't seem to resist. When I'm emotionally weak, I just delete them without opening otherwise I'd be booking holidays to South America. There's just something about using a credit card that doesn't feel like real money...

Anyway, the passport place is close to where MIL works and lives so I scored some points by phoning her and inviting her to lunch with us.

At which point things went a bit sour as D decided to talk about the Christmas plans and we were told they are our kids so it's our job to run around after them (true) and we shouldn't be lazy. Which is when I jumped in and said, we are definitely not lazy.

D is very all or nothing so he's like "well, that's it - we just won't go to functions" so I had to calm him down and say we'll think about it. Oy, family!

We then raced off to see Eat Pray Love and ... it was disappointing but that's because I read the book. No book has ever lived up to the movie, except for hunky John Cusack in Runaway Jury. Feel free to disagree :)

I loved the part in the movie where she said to her friend that she had a box under her bed of clippings, brochures, etc. of places she wanted to travel. I can relate.

Are you always passport-ready? Last year when I was pregnant, we planned a trip to Ireland and a week later we were off. Love it!

I went to gym this evening (new class and very good workout - the guy was new so I was showing off again - will be very sore tomorrow) and did stirfry for supper so am feeling very virtuous.

And now I need to go finish book number 7 for November, a lovely Irish book :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

How infertility messed me up emotionally

I've shared often on this blog how I'm not a girly-girl.

Not in clothes and certainly not in the groups of women friends normal women have.

I'm very friendly and can chat with anyone but at school and at varsity I had 2 - 3 close friends that I shared things with, and that was that.

Aside from being dumped by two friends, I haven't had any real friend drama, I think because I used to have a thick skin.

Friend 1 dumped me because I told her her boyfriend was cheating on her. She is now married to him and I have NO doubt he's still cheating on her but let's move on.

Friend 2 dumped me for no apparent reason. She dumped everyone, seriously everyone, family and all her friends because she went a bit psycho. This was my best friend at university, who stayed two doors down in the res (residence) from me.

Other than that, no issues.

Then I became infertile.

Suddenly I had all these feelings going on inside that I couldn't really talk to anyone about, not even D. As a man he felt a smidgeon of it but certainly nothing like the way I felt my body was broken, I was a failure, etc.

Slowly I learned the "infertile nod".

That's when you tentatively start chatting about things, get to the subject of children, and you both have a knowing that you're both infertile.

You test the waters and give each other the "infertile nod".

That's what happened with "my friend with the twins", C, and I.

We worked together, became friendly, got chatting and discovered we both wanted children desperately.

C dragged me to the infertility support group promising "we don't ever have to go back if they're weird".

Because I was scared of opening up, of sharing how I really felt, of being vulnerable in a room full of strangers.

That first time, I still thought everybody was a bit weird but they seemed so at ease with their stories that I was willing to come back one more time.

Until I was there every single time, except when I was travelling.

And I got more and more comfortable with sharing, with opening up, with becoming vulnerable.

I like to think I made a lot of really good friends in that group.

All that opening up made it easy for me to share my story with anyone who needed a bit of encouragement (not just at the group).

You'd think that was good news now that I wasn't as closed-off emotionally.

But you'd be wrong.

I'm still open and vulnerable but I feel like all my friends have crossed over the river of infertility and are safe and dry on the other side, well-adjusted.

Almost like they opened a little box in their heart, let their feelings out while they were waiting, and now they've locked the little boxes in their hearts and everything's safe and well again.

And me? Well, I'm this open, gaping, emotional mess.

I value connection and, while this is hard for me to say, I'm not getting what I need.

There I said it.

I was praying about this a few weeks ago and God reminded me that He is enough for me.

I know that, a bit too intellectually, but... I do know that.

Still, I need people too; talking back to God is not always as fun :)

Then I prayed again - this time that He would send a special someone into my life to meet my friendship needs. Or change relationships. Whatever He feels like doing.

So I wait...

And that is yet another way infertility messed me up emotionally.

For anybody who battled to have a baby, how has infertility messed you up?


P.S. I've just signed up for Mondo Beyondo. This is going on my Mondo list. There's a special today only, for just $49. Is anybody going to join me in January?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Let's talk Christmas presents


On Thursday the photographer dropped off our DVDs at my work presented like this:

I was absolutely delighted and told her that I have to take a pic before opening it. In retrospect, I should have opened in front of her so she could hear my squeals of glee.

Look - a lovely letter from her, beautiful mint-green tissue paper and then the DVDs. Oh, I was in heaven! It made my day - presentation is SO important to me.

Anyway, back to the topic!

I was reading a thread on a forum where they were doing a Secret Santa and the weirdest thing was 95% of the people said they don't like bath goodies - foam bath, shower gels, lotions, etc.

It's strange because that's ALL you see in the shops. And I thought, "I'm sure other women like these things".

I used to be much easier to buy for but these days I like clutter-free or things I will DEFINITELY use so have become "very difficult", as D says. So much so I sometimes prefer nothing.

By the way, I actually call D "D" and the kids have started also calling him "D". Very cute but then I started saying, "he's Daddy to you" :)

Anyway, I pulled a friend's name for our work Secret Santa, someone who is seemingly easy to buy for as she is always very enthusiastic and grateful, but then again, you never really know... So I got her a framed mirror for her house.

At worst, I absolutely love it and will happily take it for me and get her a gift voucher if she doesn't like it.

One of my best gifts ever was a set of prints that have sayings on them like "you are awesome" and "you rock" and "you are more amazing than you know". My friend sent me this set for my birthday last year. She bought it straight from an etsy seller and got it sent directly to me. I loved my stuff but didn't know who to thank for MONTHS. One day she asked, "did you ever get those prints I sent you?" and the mystery was solved. LOL

For another birthday yet another friend bought me a photo frame and wrote me a beautiful card. I love love LOVE the card so I cut it out and put it in that very same frame which has sat on my desk ever since. This is the same friend who took me out for supper for my birthday so we could connect. See, she gets me!

My favourite baby gifts were 1) food from Robynne :) and 2) our friend, Will, came over and cooked a lovely vegetarial meal for us one evening - FANTASTIC!

Meaningful things mean the world to me.

So my love language is 1) acts of service and then 2) words of affirmation.

You'd think my family who are supposed to know me best would know me best but no.... so I dread Christmas gift time because I am Super Bad at pretending to love something I don't love. I don't need much and would rather they not buy than waste money buying more stuff. The things I do buy are hugely unexciting like trips to the hairdresser or massage therapist :)

I love experience gifts, consumable gifts and a really heartfelt note. (That's probably why I write in each Christmas card)

When I was more into "stuff" I hated getting things for the house. I felt like it's MY birthday, I want things for ME! :)

Okay, so back to you.

Do you know your love language? If yes, what is it?

And then what type of gifts do you LOVE LOVE LOVE, and what do you really not like?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The situation with Nanny V is just getting worse

Some background for MandyH and my other US blog friends....

Because of the political/ economic situation in Zimbabwe, we have TONS (about 4 million - I have the research at work) of Zimbabweans here in South Africa. V is one of them.

It's far better for them to work here and send money home than to try eke out a paltry existence in Zimbabwe. As far as I can tell, it's only the very very rich who are okay in Zim at the moment.

Before, they needed to go to our Home Affairs (government dept) to apply for asylum status every 6 months. That has been happening and was a process that worked, if a bit inconvenient.

The government recently decided to let these Zimbabweans apply for a proper work permit if they had a proper job, etc, etc. So THIS is what V's busy doing.

This process, once the application is in, takes about a month, so she needs to give this whole thing a month to be processed.

bottom line - if any Zimbabwean is caught without the correct papers and is in the country on 1 Jan, they will be deported.

As it is, I have NO faith in our very inefficient government processes (except for my local dept of transport where I renew my car's licence annually - fantastic service) so I'm not even convinced this will happen in time.

We all know I can't do without V so we have to suck it up and take leave from work to look after the babies.

And now... V phoned us about an hour ago to say......... they've been told to come back again on Monday. Monday will be day 3 of being there from 4 am, queuing in the hot sun and being at the mercy of authority, all for a lousy piece of paper.

This is such rubbish and I'm going crazy.

I'm going to have to suck it up tomorrow and phone Wonderful Boss for a nice chat because I'll have to take yet another half day on Monday.

I already told D we can't possibly take the entire day off on Tuesday as planned and then, if this TV interview pans out (a producer phoned me on Thursday to make a date for this Thursday to interview me as a time management expert for a lifestyle programme), I'm not in on Thursday too, possibly the worse day to have this interview as I'm now triple booked with normal meeting and a workshop I really want to attend and have tentatively accepted (this means I was going to run in an out for an hour here and there).

I have a rule though - when the media calls, just say yes. You never know. I had to suck it up and get photographed last year when the babies were 4 weeks old and I still had the big preggy belly.

Gosh, I just want V back at work so we can go work.

It's ridiculous, I know, but I feel cross with her. Somehow, irrationally I suppose, I feel like she's not trying hard enough. And yet who in their right minds would WANT to spend 3 days in a government building?!

If you're still reading, thank you for listening.

Oh, in other news, I "decorated" for Christmas. I write "decorated" in inverted commas because it's all very minimal, Marcia-style. I should take pics but I'm too lazy. I'm going to try and get book number 7 in for this month since I have 3 whole days.

This morning I was super motivated and ran 4 errands in an hour - bought my Secret Santa gift for work, bought new nose pads for my specs, returned some things, printed a few photos and I also asked a man to make me a wicker set of drawers to organise our CDs and DVDs because I'd just had enough of the mess and the kids getting into everything.

That felt really good!

And now to cheer me up, here's some pics of my gorgeous kids.

What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, November 26, 2010

We are SO ready to give V a raise

Well, last night nanny V sent me a text saying that they'd been told to come back to Home Affairs today to complete the work permit application process.

D and I were dismayed.

Another day off work to look after the kids! And barely caught up from yesterday's half day.

This time, he told me, he'd take the early shift and I could have the horrible afternoon shift.

And it was indeed horrible. I thought he was being overly dramatic but no...


Connor is on the mend so was mostly a good boy. By that I mean relatively compliant, not too boisterous and not too much crying.

Kendra, on the other hand, was all kinds of emotional and cried at literally the slightest thing.

"Baby, wait til I change Connor's nappy"

WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

"I have to fill the water filter jug before I can pour more water for you"

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

I'm sure the neighbours thought I was killing her!

I was EXHAUSTED.

I really don't mind the running around after kids. It's this emotional stuff that gets me.

The only thing that seemed to keep Kendra reasonably happy was playing outside in the garden.

I'd done a load of laundry as I have a new cleaning lady (thank the Lord) coming tomorrow so while I hung out the wet laundry, they were messing around with the grass, soil, etc. They looked so happy I let them stay for a long time just so I could clean up the kitchen a bit.

How V does it every day with these two is a miracle.

We did super quick baths - nearly like the real baby days - and into pajamas.

D walked in that door at about 5:45 and I said, "pray with them and put them to bed".

And then I had a coaching appointment.

Fortunately the lady is new and we had lots to talk about and for me to keep my mind occupied.

On Tuesday V will have been with us ONE WHOLE YEAR. Do you think she finagled day 2 to get us to appreciate her?

I'm only joking - she is the sweetest person with not a mean bone in her body.

D and I have taken this Tuesday off to go renew our passports (remember, I intend to travel alone with him before I turn 37) and then we're doing a movie and lunch. I think we deserve it after these two days.

And then two weeks til we're on leave. I'm a lot scared of being alone with these two on holiday but hey, that's what having kids is all about. We will somehow cope.

Speaking of holidays, D's sister wants us to come sleep over for Christmas and rent a 2nd camp cot for the babies. I said to D, "definitely not. not after the last time" so now we're "thinking" and will let them know.

D hates confrontation but I told him he has got to tell them that it is SO MUCH HARDER to look after our babies at other people's houses and these are the things that would help, and then list them. Maybe they just don't think to offer to help feed, change, etc.

What would you do about the Christmas thing?

P.S. Dee, I will post it during the weekend. I didn't feel like more emotionally draining stuff today :)

P.P.S. I'm in love with the photos and can't resist posting some every day. Sorry!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

How could I resist jumping on the thanksgiving bandwagon?!.


We don't have Thanksgiving in South Africa but we're very thankful for freedom (April 27) and our heritage (Sept 24) and all the lovely public holidays we get. And affordable labour!

Speaking of which, today our lovely V pictured above had to go sort out her work permits and so D and I each took a half day to look after the babies. We were going to let her do it when she takes leave in December but it takes a month (my English friend told me the same story with her permit) and they may be detained if from 1 Jan they are not in possession of a valid work permit.

Needless to say, we cannot do without our V so we made a plan.


It worked out quite well because Connor's had diarrhoea and had TWO baths in the dead of night as he woke up screaming because the poo was everywhere.

I'll leave you to imagine the detail...

They both had a lovely long morning nap (2 hrs 15 and 2 hrs 30) and then we went to the pharmacy to get something for him as I'm not anxious to repeat the midnight baths.

When Connor woke, he told me "go go go" and I said, "where do you want to go, Baby?"

He said, "Daddy!" - TOO SWEET! (D melted when I emailed him)


This afternoon, the lovely Jeanette delivered the DVDs of our photoshoot. It was so beautifully presented that I'm in heaven!

The pics are MORE than I expected, in terms of awesomeness and quantity. And I love, love, LOVE that the 5th person in the shoot was the location :) I'm the type of person who naturally gushes about things I love and so anybody and their dog has been told to book a photoshoot with her :)

Are you still reading?

Last but not least, I want to thank you, my readers. I'm not much for talking without anybody listening (as you'll see if you ever meet me in person) so I love that I get to engage and connect with you, especially when you leave me comments. They really, really make my day and I'm very thankful that you choose to take a few seconds to encourage me.

Thank you!

Okay, you get to vote.

Which do you want to read next? Update on baby sign language, Christmas and Christmas presents, or How infertility messed me up emotionally

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Spanking

I'm dipping my toes into the controversial subject of spanking.

I personally was spanked when I was growing up (I don't think very much so it obviously did what it was intended to do) and I didn't know any different.

Also there's the whole spare the rod and spoil the child thing from the Bible.

So I thought, "obviously we will spank".

This was in the days when I thought having kids was going to be easy.

Ha!

Then I started watching Dr Phil and heard his view which is that you need to find your child's currency and that spanking teaches kids that it's okay to hit others.

Again I reserved judgement since we had no kids.

Well, along came the kids and recently, the discipline thing reared its ugly head.

I have smacked the hand of both C and K once or twice after saying my firm "no" and removing the kids/ distractions/ etc. didn't work.

I think it's more the shock value than anything that stopped the behaviour (something like pulling sister's hair).

D then smacked C's hand a few days later and he smacked D back!

Glad I wasn't there because I know it's wrong but I would have laughed.

But what do you do?

Do you have the patience of a saint because I don't?!

Yesterday I got food spat at me by a very naughty K after faffing around with her food for ages with V (she seriously was in top form and I can't abide disrespect) and good thing my hands were busy so I got up, closed the dish and went to put it in the fridge so that I was walking away.

I do know the difference between playfulness and disrespect with my K, just by the way.

Anyway, please tell me what you do to discipline your kids, how you feel about spanking or not, and why you feel strongly either way. As you know, this is a safe place to share respectfully.

Another question for those with nannies which could also apply to those who have other people (moms/ MIL looking after your babies). I'm asking you what my friend (who spanks) asked me - do you allow your nanny to discipline your kid/s? What are your instructions to her?

Honestly, I'm clueless since D & I haven't decided. V does know my hot buttons (disrespect and I don't give in, ever) and I've told her to never, ever, ever give into the tantrums - she needs to leave the child thrashing around on the floor and walk away. So far so good :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Are you SURE you're not pregnant?

Since I'm never sick and they also know I'm not flaky, the question I got asked the most at work today was, "are you SURE you're not pregnant?"

Grrr.

I don't know about others but I am SO sure I'm not pregnant it's not even funny.

Although... the only things I can eat (it seems) are things I used to eat when I was pregnant with the babies - very bland food, fruit and vegetables (as God made them, not smothered in butter/ sugar), nothing oily or creamy.

We had a baby shower for another of our team today. It's actually ridiculous that in a team of 12 people with 4 men, 1 has just come back from maternity leave, 1 has just had a baby and another is about to have her baby.

3 out of 8 is good!

But if I hadn't had these two I would seriously have been dying inside every single day at work the last year.

Anyway, at the baby shower which was at 12:30, there were cream cakes (I never have eaten cream - I know I'm weird), muffins and assorted other things, none of which looked appetising to me except the plain salted Lays. I love plain salted anything but only usually crave it when my blood pressure is super low (90/50ish).

So I had some.

And about 30 minutes later I thought I was going to hurl right there in my bin.

Queasy stomach like a washing machine.

On the bright side, I worked like crazy to get my important things done just in case it got worse.

It hasn't and I had a very healthy supper tonight - Sharon, cottage pie using lentils instead of minced meat with lots of veggies, and no salt or butter in the mashed potato.

Not that I want this to continue but I checked the scale this morning and I'm down a kilo (2.2 pounds) since Saturday. Yay!

I am so tired of being less than 100% - you realise very quickly how much you normally get done and I'm used to my high amounts of energy.

V's been a star (as usual) and has had to take up the slack for me yesterday and today with me being too weak to dress the (wriggling) babies.

In other news, we have part 4 of the strat tomorrow at The West.cliff. Yes, we like to drag out our strat process.

I am going early to take pictures of the views. It is MAGNIFICENT up there - truly breathtaking.

It's that pink building on the hill. This pic was taken from my office on a sunny day.


and this one was taken in the gorgeous rain :)


At strat 3 last week, we did a values exercise. We had to do our personal values (go click that link - I can't believe only 1 person commented!), current team values and future team values. Very enlightening and lots of fun as we debated things like innovation vs thought-leadership.

I asked my boss what was on his list and he said he'd send them to me. He didn't so I reminded him today. We have 4 personal values in common - I think that's quite remarkable from a list of about 75 values.
Do you want to know what they are?

Fairness, Authenticity, Courage and Excellence

And that's me for tonight. Tomorrow I want to talk about spanking ;)

But how are you doing? What are you looking forward to this week?

Monday, November 22, 2010

A lovely day

Doesn't that sound like a Joanna Trollope novel?!

Today I took a sick day - my first "normal" sick day in 5 and a half years.

I have been off sick before but only for the laparoscopies/ laparotomies which doesn't really count, does it?

Anyway, it was lovely.

Despite the light-headedness.

  • I finished 3 books. Before you're amazed by my super-fast reading skills, I was 20 pages into one, 20 pages away from the end of another and about 40% through the third, so I'd say I read 2 books. All non-fiction.
  • I played on the floor with the babies. Because of the light-headedness. And because that's what I do so they can crawl all over me.
  • Went to get my hair blowdried. That was a necessity. The hairdresser is a block away and strangely enough, I was fine driving.
  • Wrote out a few Christmas cards.
  • Logged onto work and did about an hour's work (which would have taken 2 hours in the office)
  • Cooked!
  • Wrote my newsletter
All in all, a good day.

D came home from work pooped from looking after me and the babies this weekend and was fast asleep at 9:30 :)

Now onto the reading...


I mentioned last Wednesday that I was reading two blog books.

Sippy Cups are not for Chardonnay - Stefanie Wilder-Taylor


I found this book honest and refreshing and, of course, funny. After she wrote this one, she went on to have twins. One of which had TONS of problems. I read her blog for awhile but at that stage we were worried about Kendra's eating and reading this one fuelled by crazy. So I stopped. Maybe I should start again?

It sucked and then I cried - Heather Armstrong

This is the famous Dooce's book. I honestly don't recommend it. I found it rambly and most of the book seemed to have absolutely no point. Like I couldn't tell what the point was of telling a particular story. Maybe it's just me?

Did any of you read either of these and what did you think?

P.S. Thanks to those 3 books, I've already reached my reading goal for the month. Go me!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It just got a lot more interesting around here

Today Kendra learned to climb onto the couch. A milestone I'm not too keen on.

What that means is that she then feels the need to toss anything (like cushions) that are not pleasing to her.

My lounge looked like a train wreck but more important, there are going to be little girls falling off couches and beds, bleeding and screaming.

We skipped the idea of church as I started feeling really bad and didn't want to be responsible for Kendra in my state.

How do other people do this?

So D gave them their snack and took them out for about 2 hours so I could sleep. He loved his time with the babies and I was suitably jealous :)

Oh, I am a tiny bit better as in I've taken two Imodium and have no more runs BUT my tummy feels SO queasy if I even just walk to the loo. Tonight D had to bring me the bottles, Vidaylin, milk and a tray so I could prepare their bottles from the comfort of my bed.

Today I ate an orange, an apple, a yogi-sip, 3 forkfuls of pasta and about 5 spoons of All bran flakes. Oh, and about 2 L of water.

D is being a star - he is FANTASTIC when I'm sick. Really he is. I'm a bad patient though because I hate being under par and I just lay down feeling sorry for myself :)

If I still feel the same tomorrow, he says I need to go see the doctor. I hate going to doctors but I'll do anything to feel better. I will even get a jab in the bum!

Hope your Sunday was more interesting than mine!

I haven't been this sick ever

Yesterday morning we went to the panto (just D & me). We arrived just as it started and socialised a bit at the end.

D and I both have a history in performing. He majored in drama and acted/ directed from high school and through his 4-year B. Journ. I danced for 13 years - ballet, spanish and modern and performed in the PE Youth Ballet.

So we love that live theatre thing. There is NOTHING like that feel of anticipation and butterflies before the show and then doing your thing with audience feedback.

Hmm, maybe that's why I love speaking so much. Same type of thing.

Anyway, my friend, Eve, performed for a living and she actually performed in two of the pantos over the last couple of years.

Do you know what?

She voluntarily left that type of work to take a more stable office job so that she could do the infertility treatments and have a baby. Okay, now she has twin boys but still! Yesterday I realised what a sacrifice it must have been.

Eve, if you're reading, you are a ROCK star!!!


While we were doing the babies' food and baths, I started feeling a little queasy so the minute we put them down, I went to lie down and read.

Fell asleep for about an hour and woke feeling really hot.

I went to the loo and called for D to bring me a bucket.

For once, he did it immediately and I vomited.

In twelve hours I vomited about 10 times.

It was terrible. I hate vomiting and have only vomited three times in the last 10 years, once in prep for surgery and the second time, 5 years ago after eating bad salmon. The third was the day I had the babies. That was a quick one.

I'm probably melodramatic but I honestly just wanted to die. I hate that feeling of being out of control and really, waking from sleep to vomit is the pits!

On the bright side, I got it all in the bucket every time. It's the small things...

Today I've had a glass of water. After an hour it remained in me so I had an orange (all I could stomach).

And now I have diarrhoea.

Not the most pleasant thing in the world but I'll take it over vomiting any day.

So D is taking Connor to church and Kendra will stay with me (and hopefully, behave).

Wish me well!

How was your Saturday?

P.S. I still don't know what the cause is.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I love this group

Last night we had our Infertility Support Group Christmas party and this is how it was fabulous:
  1. connecting with old friends (our table had only people with babies so we could speak freely about babies) and "my friend with the twins", C, travelled with me
  2. seeing all the new girls (I've often felt that the reason the group works is that there's a constant influx of new girls)
  3. finding out a new girl came all the way from DURBAN (700 km away) just for the group
  4. food (of course!)
  5. seeing how C (host) and her hubby are SUCH a good match - I LOVE IT!
  6. frank conversations like this one...

I'd barely arrived when my one old friend (who is, I think, the only one who does not yet have a baby from the "old gang") asks me, "how do you and D have time for s*x with the babies?"

I love this group!

Then followed a whole conversation about tiredness, how men and women are different and a realisation that we really do not do "it" enough and how something so quick can mean so much to a man :)

I'd forgotten how open and honest these girls can be.

Since I've never been a girly girl with lots of close girlfriends, please tell me - is it just us that are so used to speaking about infertility and everything else (s*x), or do girls do this?

P.S. I need to write about this some more but let's keep this one upbeat and I'll do another post!

P.P.S. Go read this post and then comment number 1 and 3. That was me two years ago.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmas cards

Guess what I started doing today?

Writing out Christmas cards!

Crazy - it's still November :)

I have purposed not to buy any more Christmas cards until the current stash is done.

I have so many I could probably do this year and next year before running out!

I like to write a personal message in each and every card so it takes sweet forever. I feel if you don't write something different for each person, then what is the point?

(please feel free to disagree with me)

To cut down the time though, I make sure I get in the mood by thinking good thoughts and then I batch write.

As a guideline, I've just done 6 in about 15 - 20 minutes.

Do you do Christmas cards? If yes, how do you do them?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Photography - how I got my mojo back

I am quite passionate about photography.

Not in the way that I must have the best camera, etc. but in that I appreciate a good photo and I can see the beauty in weird things, like a different angle, the way food looks on a plate, when a handbag is slouched just so, etc.

In those cases, I have to grab my camera to try and capture it.

To many this is weird.

I'm okay with that; I quite like being the person taking pics of the food, trees and skies and not necessarily of the people.

I know that with some help my pics could be a lot better and I have this belief that you should know your equipment well and learn all you can on it before upgrading.

I don't believe that a good camera is the only thing that improves the quality of the pics. I think it takes a good eye, technique, subjects that co-operate, etc.

Since I'm too lazy to actually read the manual of my pink little Sony Cybershot, I read blogs.

Have you read your camera's manual?

Recently there was a lovely series on a blog - 1 a day for a month - where the lady wrote about different aspects of photography.

I'll keep it real and tell you that I was hellishly demotivated after that. That's not strictly true - I was demotivated at day 3 already.

It was just way too technical for me. And I got an A in Physics.

But I learned a few things like the official name for the striking pics I love, called the rule of thirds. And she did end off by saying that it's more important to live in the moment than get the perfect shot. Which has always been my philosophy.

In fact, sometimes I actually start going for my camera and instead choose to just stay still, in the moment, and enjoy the babies.

Claudia started a series too but more for people like me where she said really simple things like "make sure your background is good". That's the kind of thing I can do.

Anyway, I got motivated again by something that happened on our strat. We watched a DVD on possibility thinking by a National Geographic photographer.

Here's what he said that spoke to me:

  1. the difference between good and great is millimetres. Get closer than you think.
  2. keep shooting even when you think you're done. do one more. it may be The One.
  3. always see the possibility in everything
  4. what's the very best the shot has to offer? even if it looks like it's going to be terrible, look for the beauty. It's often just a change in perspective.
We'd had lunch straight before this DVD and I'd tried to take some pics as I normally do but everything was wrong - the light was horrible, shadows everywhere, nothing was being framed properly, etc, etc. Ugh!

We then had a breakaway session about 30 minutes after watching the DVD and I decided to take my camera outside again.

Amazing.

This time I thought, "look for the beauty" and wow, I took some pics that I really liked.

Turns out that's the kind of photography lessons that do it for me.

Here are my pics from that day.

palm trees always make me think about holidays

boredom

trying to work

engaged again

now she's bored

wouldn't it be nice to just relax and bask in the sun?

leaves

Do you know how to use your camera properly? Any tips for me to make learning about this stuff FUN?


P.S. Rebecca, I'm reading "It sucked and then I cried" (Dooce) and "The gifts of imperfection" - Brene Brown :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

650 & 18

I have been blogging such a lot that I bypassed 600 posts without even noticing and this is actually my 650th post.

!

I clearly have PLENTY to say.

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

Anyway, there are only 18 days left before I go on leave.



I'm trying not to think about that too much in case I get some travelling with twins anxiety.

We've booked our rental car (thanks, Eve), hotel accommodation, camp cots and plane tickets.

Here's the scary thing.

We haven't even left and already we've paid R10 648 just on those 4 items and people, it could have been R17 251 without all my Vitality discounts, Eve's tip about the cheaper car hire, and me asking for a twin discount at the camp cot rental place.

Are you shocked? I am!

I'm trying not to think about it. Lalalalala (that's what bonuses are for, right?!)

I'm going to have to get used to driving and renting self-catering accommodation because there's no way we can keep doing this.

In these 18 days I have to get all my work stuff done, all of us packed, send a list of things to my family to buy, take a day's leave so V can get her papers sorted out (I told D I am not doing both days just because I'm the mother), take some more time off to renew my passport (I am serious about travelling internationally with D before I turn 37), write business blogs for when I'm on leave. I will post "live" on this blog :)

Doesn't it make you tired just reading it?

Now imagine me!

So we'll go on leave for two weeks and then I love, love, LOVE being at work betwen Christmas and New Year. You only work half days because no-one's there to disturb you and you don't have to actually put in for the leave :)

Also, since everyone is on holiday, the city is so empty, there's parking galore, no traffic, it's like Jhb heaven.

But then... D and I want to take 3 days when V's back in January to do our own thing, almost like extended dates. I can't WAIT.

What are your plans for December?


This is Connor being naughty - he can now open the fridge and freezer and once opened, he tosses out anything that is not to his satisfaction, like all the carefully packaged and frozen meals for him and his sister. D is looking for the key so we can lock the fridge.

Then he decided he didn't like the wallpaper border and pulled it off the wall. So now they have boring, plain, brown walls again.


On the bright side, Kendra is being ultra cute. This is what I meant by one child being the control and one doing whatever he or she wants.



P.S. Yesterday I blogged how Kendra had been dry for 3 days and.........I jinxed it. Last night at 11-ish, she was soaked through again. *sigh*

P.P.S. I want to talk about Christmas gifts later this week...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Panto decision & mother conflicts


Thank you all for the TONS of valuable opinions on the pantomime issue. I value every single comment (on every post, by the way) and am very thankful.

I really thought about it and was leaning towards not taking them when something happened yesterday that reinforced it for me.

When I was playing on the bed with Connor, there was a clap of thunder and he literally FLEW across the bed into my arms; he got such a fright.

The cuddle was lovely but I immediately felt so bad for him that the loud noise made him so scared.

So.... no panto for them just yet.

D and I will go alone, V will watch them and we will rush home afterwards to enjoy our gorgeous babies.





Now, today.

I had a strat again today from 8:30 - 5:30 and the plan was to leave home at 8:00 latest.

I have a thing about being late for work things, as in, I do not want to be a "typical" mother who is not taken seriously because it's "the kids this, and the kids that"

So I'm never late for early meetings.

Well, there was a taxi strike today so V was late and the minute she arrived, I started rushing around to get done. I was going to be 5 minutes later but that would still make me arrive on time.

Until I rushed out of my room and pulled the door shut on Connor's fingers.

I know, I know, Mother of the Year.

There was a moment's silence and then WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Oh my word, I felt terrible.

But remember I'm a J and I have values of achievement and accomplishment :)

My instinct was to just hand him over to V and race to work BUT............ I suddenly thought, "hold on, what is MOST important here? Being on time or being there for my little boy"

And so I sat down for 5 minutes with Connor on my lap and gave him lots of cuddles while he sobbed and sobbed.

When D heard this story, he said, "and Connor played it for all its worth" :)

I ended up being 10 minutes late but I felt better for having taken those 5 minutes with the boy.

Of course, when I phoned home at lunch time, V told me that Connor only cried for a few more minutes after I left :)

And that was today!


P.S. Katherine, thanks for telling me about Huggies Gold. I went to get some on Friday and Kendra's been dry for 3 nights in a row which makes me very, very happy :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Feeling hot, hot, hot

That's literally hot, not sexy hot.

Yesterday was 32 degrees Celsius in Johannesburg and today was not much better.

The only reason I didn''t have a headache is I'd had about a litre of water by 12 and carried on drinking water throughout the afternoon.

We went to a first birthday party yesterday afternoon but before that, we decided to split up (one baby each) and run a quick errand. I took Kendra and D took Connor.

When we left at 11:45 it was 29 degrees. When we returned at 12:50 it was 32 degrees. 35 in Pretoria (I don't know how they cope!)

We both LOVED our one-on-one time - D says Connor was smiling and flirting with all the ladies in the 3 shops he visited.

Kendra didn't flirt but she pointed out every shoe and light she could find.

The party was out in the general direction of my MIL's house and D had the bright idea to visit her beforehand. I also thought it was a good idea in theory but I am more of a time realist.

I'd planned to leave home at 1:45 for the 2:30 party.

We left at 1:39 with D still thinking we'd pop around to the MIL first.

I thought he was crazy but I said, "let's see when we're closer" - we got to the offramp at 2:15 which would mean we'd get to her house at 2:20 and then have to leave 3 mins later to get to the party on time.

Fortunately he also saw it my way.

As it turns out we were 10 minutes early, something that has never happened with the babies.

LOVE this milestone :)

It was such a lovely party - Caren did all the details so beautifully - everything in red and white, even down to offering red juice, water and Sprite to keep with the theme :) I think the size of the party was just right (C, how many big people and kids were there?)


The birthday twins were a bit grumpy, we think due to feeling overwhelmed. I am not surprised - I would be too if I was a baby. I also think the heat played a huge part.

My two were crazy busy, mainly Connor who had decided not to have an afternoon nap on the way over, and tried to steal the other kids' dummies, etc. Oy!

It was lovely spending time with them (congrats C & A on surviving year one!) and with other friends and best of all, I met the fabulous babysitting friend who is all sorts of thoughtful, helpful and organised!

Shockingly, I took only 2 pics intentionally the entire afternoon (actually, not-so-shocking as we were chasing after our kids) and then when we sang for the birthday babies, I snapped away with one hand while holding onto Connor.

Look at the glint in A (dad)'s eye - the little boy has EXACTLY the same glint (not in my pic) - I love it!



This time we can see Caren''s lovely face & little S :)

and this one is my favourite pic of the day - I posted it on my project 365 blog called "mother love" :) I love the way Roz is looking at E.

Today my kids finished my entire glass of water at Ocean Basket, all through a straw. I think straws are magic :) They started drinking from a straw yesterday, first my Yogisip and then an UNDILUTED box of juice at the party (their first). Yes, I am very strict.

Connor once again decided that "sleep is for babies" and didn't want to have an afternoon nap. Of course they then get like drunk people, banging into things, etc. and he (1) fell off the bed with me right there but a split second too late (mother of the year) and (2) bounced his head on the wall while jumping on my bed.

So he was fed, bathed and in bed by 5:30 as we couldn't take it any more :)

And now I'm off to bed. I'm determined to get back to my "off the computer by 10 pm" self-imposed rule so that I get my reading time in.

What were you up to this weekend? How are your kids doing?

Favourite movie?



I had to quickly participate in the question of the week at Multiples and More.

First, because I love Friends (go read the M&M post) and secondly, because I love, love, LOVE my favourite movie :)

I'm not all fancy-fancy with movies - my needs are very simple - it needs to have a positive outcome and make me laugh. If there's food in it and a beautiful house, even better.

So, without further ado, here is my favourite movie ever...

My Best Friend's Wedding!

I have it on DVD and if I'm ever in a REAL funk, I go straight to my favourite part, play it, LAUGH like crazy and most things are right with the world again.

It makes me laugh, I get her desperation and craziness and I love, love, LOVE the bit at the end. Makes me cry/ laugh every time :)

What is your favourite movie?
And why?

P.S. This is not my actual post for today - I will post about the weekend tonight :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Square peg in a round hole

Do you also do this?

Read a comment somewhere, find it interesting, click, click, click and before you know it, you're trawling the person's archives?

That's how I found this fantastic post about how Joburg stole her work-life balance.

This is exactly how I feel about the consumerism in Joburg.

I feel like a fish out of water sometimes because I don't buy into buying the biggest and best cars (I also am a bit "green"), buying new houses just because, wearing the latest clothes,having the latest accessories, etc, etc.

And it seems everyone else is!

Tamara also wrote this in her post:

In fact, if you're not busy in Joburg, people might think there's something wrong with you. Busyness and stress are worn as badges of honour here.

Again, absolutely true.

I don't like busy and I LOVE work-life balance. When I say things to this effect in meetings or casual conversations, people look at me like I'm crazy.

What? You mean you PURPOSELY design your life and weekends?

Oh yes I do!

I love simplicity and

I wonder sometimes if it's because I'm originally from the coast?

Or maybe I'm just different from the majority of people?

My new website is going to reflect the new me. Actually it's not a new me, it's just bringing that part of me to the fore.

Yes, it will annoy people and they will unsubscribe but at least the right people will know immediately that I am for them and they are for me.

Anyway....

Is there any place in your life (not just literally) where you feel like a square peg in a round hole?

Share :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's pantomime time

I am undecided whether to take our 16-month-old twins to the pantomime.

Some background first:

My company buys out the entire theatre for two shows on a Saturday so that everyone can go to the panto.

In the years before babies, D and I used to go and enjoy the show. I did not enjoy the social aspect as I was infertile.

One year I remember running out of there and bursting into tears at seeing all the happy families.

Another year I had to cancel at the last minute because my laparoscopy was suddenly booked for the Friday before.

Last year was, of course, crazy - I can't even remember what I did the first four months, so panto was NOT high on my priority list.

The strange thing is I know I sent out a weekly newsletter, I was coaching one or two clients, I only hope I made sense because it feels like I was on auto-pilot but not consciously there.

Does anyone relate?

Anyway, back to the panto.

So, according to the company, ANY child can go, no matter what age.

I've heard all sorts of opinions.

  • I asked on Twitter and Cat told me the theatres have a "no under 3s rule".
  • Another FB friend and former client said her son went at 17 months and was fine.
  • I suppose I will feel weird being there if the kids aren't with me. Especially since we do actually now have kids.
  • D is not keen on taking the kids as he "wants to enjoy the performance".

Just to spice things up, or clarify my thinking, I thought I'd ask you guys too.

So, would you take the kids? Should I?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Here's where the talking is NOT good

Yesterday Connor was in the bath and I was playing with Kendra.

I needed to pee urgently so I dragged her into the bedroom, closed the door so V doesn't see my business :) and went.

She'd crawled to the bathroom while I was pulling up my pants and do you know what happened next?

She points to my abdomen (where I've said I always look 12 - 14 weeks pregnant) and says, "BALLOON"

Balloon!

My baby girl just told me I'm fat! I wanted to say, "it's because of having 5 ops to have you two!" but thought better of it.

Good thing she's cute!

One of my coaching goals for the week is to get up to date with my work so best I get to it :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

123 blog readers' MBTI profiles aka Motherstyles fun

So, I went back through all my motherstyles posts and looked through the comments.

Anyone who left their motherstyle profile is linked below. Some only left one or two letters (Deanna & Cat come to mind) and I vaguely remember Heather saying she's ESTJ in other conversations before I started posting on motherstyles.

If I've missed you, leave a comment and I'll go in and edit to link you up. Look at all the I's :)

Here's the link to take the quiz

ESTJ
me
HeatherNicole

ESFJ
Sam
Mommy Esq
ZAmom

ENFJ
Sadia

ENTJ
Rebecca


ISFJ
Mandy

INFJ
Mandy P
MandyE
Dee

ISTJ
LauraC
Veronica

ISTP
Jayme
INFP
Andrea
Susan

INTJ
Claudia
Saffy
Rachel

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Tuesday tidbits and delights

Wicklow, Ireland, 2009

It is a lovely, overcast, rainy day (temperatures between 21 and 23 degrees). The babies love rain like their mother and do baby sign language and sound effects (courtesy of their father) which is cute, cute, cute! I truly enjoy in this weather so again I took "the road less travelled" and drove a lovely scenic route to work. I am easily delighted by small things. If I wasn't such a wuss, I'd have taken some photos of the beauty all around...

I forgot to write about Crowded House. How could I?! Crowded House was super fantastic. We saw them 17 years ago (makes me feel old!) and enjoyed them just the same. The difference was this time we sat (we are too old for the standing sorts of concerts) and people waved their cell phones instead of lighters :) I have only just taken the Best of Crowded House CD out of my player in the car. Am I the only one who prepares for concerts? I listen to the CDs in the weeks before and, to squeeze the last little drop of joy out of the concert, again during the week after.

I love the internet. Deanna posted about the problem with finding high chairs at eating places, something that's been bugging me too (I even posted on a forum about it) and Mandy posted a link. I went to look, LOVED the stuff and promptly ordered two. I emailed Mandy to tell her and since she shops there (in real life :)) I then told the seller who it was that referred me. I love all the connection and business going on, making the world truly a smaller place.

Speaking about forums, I haven't been on for a bit because there was some fighting going on the last time I was there and it all makes me very uncomfortable, to tell you the truth. And you know I have no problem with conflict. It's just that I don't understand why the apparent anonymity of the internet makes people feel so free to be hurtful towards other people. Do you go on forums? Do you find it a safe place?

Speaking about Deanna, I was tickled pink when Deanna commented and said she'd never heard of the phrase "pigeon pair" :) Must be a UK English thing.

About the nappies... Kendra had a day or two of dryness when we put her in her proper size 3 Pampers at night but since then has been soaked. I have reduced her water at supper and her bedtime bottle is now only 100 ml (poor thing) and still soaked. So today I go to ToysRUs to try another brand (huge for me!) to see if there's any difference.

And then, last but not least, these two pics (taken in Clarens) absolutely delight me. I don't quite know why but I love them. I think it's the colours, slight weirdness and I can imagine having a good old chat with someone sitting there.

Monday, November 08, 2010

3 am friends

Despite all the journalling on the weekend, my tank is full today.

We had lunch with my "princess" friend who has mellowed a lot due to her very lovely and relaxed husband (I believe we get together with our spouses to complement us). She is as straightforward as ever and we laughed lots, shared about serious things, just spilling our hearts.

There's just something about knowing someone forever (I met her in the Feb of the year I met D - 1992 - so she and I go back about 3 months longer... 18 years!), we spent holidays together, we have seen each other with the morning "look", she stayed at my parents' house, and at our first flats/ apartments.

You just get down to the nitty gritty without needing a lot of icebreaker time. Right?

A very special time and as it turns out, our kids are 2 weeks apart. He is also not walking.

She "confessed" relief when I told her mine are also not walking as she feels such pressure from everyone else.

She wants to leave her son with us so I can train him to go sleep early like my kids because he's up late - joke, because of course I don't need any extra kids to train :)

That was Saturday.

Yesterday, we went over to have lunch with some 3am friends of ours. The food was outstanding (she always cooks my favourite things) and the company even better.

I have a term I call "3 am friends" for people you could phone at 3 am and they'd jump out of bed and come help you if you were in need. We don't have many of these - this is couple 1 of 3 and we love them all dearly.

We don't see each other nearly as much as we'd like to see each other but when we do get together, oh boy, we get talking and yesterday was no exception.

Only the kids prevented us from staying longer... :)

Do you have 3 am friends? Have you ever had to call on them?


My work colleague laughed this morning when I said in response to her "how was the weekend?" question that I had a fantastic time with two sets of friends, one of them 3am friends :)

P.S. I had such a good time I even forgot to take out my camera!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Old hurts (2)


Continuation of yesterday's part 1

Anyway, the PA and sidekick then started with the insubordination towards me. I did what I could. Eventually we gave them a written warning which stayed on their files for 6 months.

I'd also been wanting a change work-wise and started applying for positions internally.

The quality of my work had not dropped during all this time (if it had to happen now, I think it may affect me more since I'm a lot softer inside) but I did feel that somehow I couldn't quite fix the relationships with the bosses (I felt like they thought I was not a team player because I stood up for that girl).

Nothing was said to me though.

Eventually a job came up, I was well suited to it, was the right sort of person and I got offered the job.

I accepted it and while we were negotiating start dates, the new boss said something like, "Current boss said they've earmarked PA to take over your role so I don't think it's going to be a problem to move on 1 Feb".

I was floored for a number of reasons:
  • a bit insulted that a PA was going to take over my admin manager job (pride!)
  • VERY HURT that they'd canoodled behind my back (I'm so transparent that just the thought of it makes me cringe, even now)
I felt then like there'd been this whole conspiracy to get me out of the department, like the new job was engineered just for me (weird things happen in corporate - the job may have needed to be done but they could have written the job spec with me in mind, with all my qualifications, experience, skillsets, etc. so I would be the "perfect" person and get it) just so PA could be head honcho without me there.

That was hurt number 1.

And then when I actually left the dept, they didn't even throw me a farewell which still brings tears to my eyes right now as I'm typing this. It is standard to do that and we'd always done it for anyone else. The PA was in charge of the event stuff so I'm sure she played a big part in this .

It made me feel like everything I'd done there in my 5 years meant nothing to them.

That's hurt number 2.

I stayed in the new department for 3 months and then left to come to my current company. That is not part of this story.

Those people treated me better in 3 months than the other people did in 5 years. They threw me a beautiful farewell. Not 1 of my old team pitched or tried to do anything for me.

Hurt number 3.

So I left that company with very mixed feelings, mostly a lot of hurt but excitement at the new job.

I thought I'd put all of it behind me.

I had made sure to block common friends from my facebook and I happily haven't thought of her for years and years.

But now? I think God's trying to tell me it's time to let go of these old hurts.

She works at one of our partner companies and they've just moved onto our premises (we have 3 buildings - they're in the furthest one from me) so this is all coming back to me.

And "my friend with the twins" works at the same company and reports to her.

We had lunch yesterday and I said to her afterwards, "I need to work out my issues because this is hampering my freedom".

I love going to that building, beautiful views, good canteen, etc. and now I don't want to go up there because I may run into the PA.

She (my friend) has not seen any sign of what I experienced (and many others - it's not just me - I'm just telling my side of the story, because the victimisation and craziness continued long after I'd left) and I'm sure she doubts the intensity of the story. I think I would too if I didn't know how honest and objective I normally am.

I'd asked D before, "could she have changed?" and he says straight out, "no way. she's two-faced".

But my friend said, "life is too short for all this drama" and I agree. Intellectually.

I know I should move on but how?

I honestly thought I was over it but I get stomach cramps thinking of running into her.

That time was so, so painful for me.

I asked D last night how I should do this and he said, "in your own time, when you're ready".

The thing is, all of us have meetings across the 3 buildings and it's a matter of time before I run into her.

I'm self-aware enough to know that I'd prefer the first meeting to be on my terms.

What are your suggestions?

By the way, I don't for a minute blame the PA for all the hurts. I know the bosses had lots to do with it and everyone has free will. Anyone of the remaining staff could have chosen differently and, in fact, one did.

P.S. Gosh, if you're still reading, congratulations and thank you for listening to me talk.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Old hurts (1)



This is me journalling...

I like to think that if you know me even a little bit, you know what type of person I am.

I can honestly say I don't get into issues with people but there is one person I have issues with.

We worked together at my previous company - she was PA to the big boss and my boss, and I was the admin manager.

While she didn't report to me, I was senior and if her two bosses weren't in, she had to ask me if she wanted to leave early, come in late, etc. Since it was a sales division and those two were often playing golf and entertaining brokers, I was, in essence, almost a 3rd boss.

We started off well enough, not best friends, but friendly enough. The same way I'm friendly with most people.

When I first started there I worked on my own and after about 7 months, I was promoted and had 2 staff reporting to me.

There was a slight change as the girls in the office realised I'm not on their level (well, I never was but the promotion further reinforced it) but still friendly enough.

One of the girls was then victimised.

At that point I stayed out of everything and just did my job. I must say it was easy because I had a separate office and only came into the main open-plan office for tea/ lunch/ photocopying, etc.

That girl left because it was terrible coming to work every day. When she said hello, they'd ignore her. When she asked a business question, they'd ignore her and she'd be forced to scramble, look up files and such to get the same information someone could just have answered her about.

Terrible.

So after she left, I took on her job while they looked for a suitable replacement. As well as doing my own job.

I loved it because I was learning, I was busy, I got to deal with difficult people (brokers) so I was challenged and I excelled.

By the end of the year I was again promoted. Clearly the bosses thought so too as I got my biggest % increase of my whole life.

I also got the rest of the office girls reporting to me, except for the PA.

So this was fine except that the PA was the ringleader. She was excellent at stirring and manipulating and leading the pack.

They'd employed a replacement for the other girl and I'd stopped doing the extra work just before my promotion.

At first (for a good year or so) things with this other girl were fine and then the victimisation started again.

This time it was one of my staff and I don't allow nonsense like that.

Something else had also happened. My fantastic boss who employed me emigrated to Australia (!) and they got in someone who I thought I would get along famously with (we worked well together when I didn't report to him) but in fact, didn't.

This guy was seriously manipulated by the PA and her sidekick. I actually told him once (in a joking way) but he could not see it.

These two basically wanted the girl out and started magnifying every little mistake and making mountains out of molehills, getting her into trouble more than she could do anything right.

She definitely wasn't without fault. She made mistakes but then again, as I later told HR, if my every move was under a microscope and I had people LOOKING for me to make one wrong move, even I (and I used to have fantastic attention to detail) would start making mistakes like that.

I stood up for her, tried to be as objective as possible but eventually 6 people against 2 just don't work. Especially when 2 of those 6 are more senior than you are.

It was going downhill fast and eventually she cracked and resigned cold. As she said to me, "no job is worth this emotional abuse". I agreed with her.

Fortunately she is fabulous (I had told her this many times before but when you're in a terrible situation you can't see it) and got a new job a month or so later.

She is still there today and is a top performer.

That just goes to show how everyone is a genius in the right place. (Mike Murdock)

Stay tuned...part 2 to follow tomorrow...


Friday, November 05, 2010

Pigeon pair



I'm writing this one in response to Roz's post (no point in linking - I get annoyed when people link to private blogs, don't you?) this morning.

Roz wrote about how annoyed she gets when people keep asking if they're going to try again for a boy since they have twin girls.

I get that.

First off, I always said I didn't mind what my two were because all I wanted was A baby. I already felt like I hit the jackpot getting TWO. No matter what sex those two were.

And that was me being 100% honest.

Still, when the doctor said one was a boy and he wasn't sure about the other, I still didn't mind having two boys (in hindsight I do actually think boys are easier) but I did say to D, "if they're both boys, we may have to do another IVF to see if we can have a girl" because I wanted to experience both a girl and a boy.

Okay, God knew what he was doing and gave me both at once because you all know I do not do well with the newborn stage and will never have babies again (emotionally I can't do IVF again and also financially - older eggs will probably mean more than 1 go and I just can't!) and also, I was thinking with the rose-tinted glassses of twin romance.

So I hit the jackpot twice - TWO babies and a girl and a boy.

And it seems lots of people feel the same because we get stopped quite a lot, as you do with twins, and get comments about "how lucky" we are to have a "pigeon pair" because "now you're finished".

And that bugs me too.

Because I don't like people assuming that just because we have a girl and a boy, that necessarily completes things for me.

Yes, I am happy with my family but hey, if I get given a 12-month-old baby, I will be over the moon. LOL

So I say things like, "yes, we are VERY blessed, but we would have been very happy with girls or boys".

Because that is the truth.

Is it important to you to have one (or more) of each gender?

P.S. Pic taken on 21 November last year. I canNOT believe they were that tiny or that I was that thin! I never ever ever thought I'd say this but maybe there's something to being that sleep deprived....... :)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

And this is why I love coaching/ nablopomo

I just finished a session with my coaching client.

We were planning her book launch.

Since she's been coaching with me, she wrote and finished her book. It's busy being printed right now and the book launch is in early Dec.

I am so proud of her.

Best of all, she says, "I now know I have lots more books inside of me."

There's another thing that has me smiling from ear to ear.

Our friend, D, he of excellent hospitality, is a wonderful illustrator. I hooked them up a few months ago and he's done all the illustrations for her book too.

It gives me such a kick to hear about this book being printed with TWO of my favourite people getting to cross goals off their life lists by having this book in print.

I LOVE IT!

Do you ever think about writing a book? What would your book be about?

P.S. This is the second client who I've coached to get their books written. The first was a novel; this one is non-fiction. Somehow the creative sorts are attracted to me?

I am so inspired by my clients that I've decided to write my first book next year. I'm thinking something about organising or time management. Aren't I specific? :) Anyway, look out... :)

P.P.S. I posted every day last month and so I decided to do Nablopomo this month. Who's in?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

So, October and 36 things

  • I'm almost a little scared to say this out loud but I think I have a system for the photos. Only thing is, just like email, if you leave it for one session, it's out of hand again.
  • Booked the beach holiday accommodation and have arranged car seats and camp cots. Still haven't booked the car rental or figured out how we're going to get all of us to the airport. Do we leave the car there? What did the rest of you with twins do?
  • I went to gym 6 times in October - this is a record because I've been really slack - and am climbing stairs every day at work. The more meetings I have, the more stairs I have to climb since our meeting rooms are all on the ground floor. Lost 0.5 kg.
  • I read my 5 books.
  • We had our fabulous photo shoot. TONS of people are booking with her after seeing our pics which delights me to no end.
  • Gift-giving is going well. I want to add something in there though - to give some gifts to me - the gifts of rest and relaxation. I'm the type of person who, 90% of the time, won't relax until all the "work" is done. I've now started lazing more - on Sunday morning at 9 am I jumped back into bed with my book - with TONS of work still to do before leaving for church - it was heavenly. The babies were napping, if anyone's wondering.
  • I guess this is also part of letting go. But look how good I'm getting.
These two thought it was Christmas. Notice how beautifully they "work" together to mess in my cupboards. I thought it was cute so I let them be.

  • I have been simplifying my business too. I've deleted TONS of products off my site. Somehow I don't feel so bad not making sales now I have just 4 - very weird. I'm busy with a sleek new design (we finally have a banner I'm happy with) and it will hopefully be really clear what I do and who I'm for. I'm quite happy not to be for everyone. Before it would upset me when people didn't "get" me but now I know there are only a certain number of people who value my services, pay gladly and will get the results (and more) that they're after.
  • I had the blog coaching session (not for this blog) and while it wasn't wholly encouraging (basically too few readers to make serious money), there are some things I can do which I've paid someone to implement for me. My motto is, if I can't do it myself within 20 mins, I outsource.
  • Am doing well with the lunches with friends (see previous post) - the crazy holiday season is helping things along.
  • I've been getting my hair done at least twice a month and also the massages. In fact, I'm going later this afternoon. The good thing is we have a massage therapist (and an ATM) right here at work, so no excuses!
  • My pastor approached me to start doing talks on organising for women at the church and I am all for it! We are ironing out the frequency and so on but looks like that will start either end of this year or next year.

Do you make monthly lists? Who needs help with things on their lists? I am willing to help you.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Hospitality and entertaining


I realised on Sunday morning that we suck at hospitality.

D's mother babysat while we went to see Crowded House (more on that later) and unbeknown to me, he told her to come early.

So that's my excuse.

I wasn't expecting her at 3:10 but still, I hadn't put out towels or prepared her supper.

Terrible!

At least the guest bedroom is always neat and tidy.

It's not like me and I said to D that since the babies, we are actually no longer good hosts. He says he doesn't think we were ever good :)

I don't think we were ever fantastic like our friends D & V who really are the most brilliant hosts ever.

For me hospitality is about thoughtfulness and making people feel welcome and at home. They do this in spades.

We felt so taken care of the entire time we stayed with them.

Then there's the other thing - entertaining.

Let's just say I have some issues with entertaining :) I'm not the best cook in the world but I do set a good table which is the most fun for me, and of course, the talking.

I love having deep, meaningful conversations with our friends. And laughing like crazy people about silly things.

Connecting.

I stumbled across a blog called the Reluctant Entertainer recently and she talks about letting go of perfectionism about the house, the food, the table, etc. and just focussing on the people aspect.

I thought, "I can do this" and so I took action and invited an "easy guest" for lunch, my friend, Natalie. That went well.

I ordered Sandy's book too and it arrived yesterday. In all its glossy yumminess :) (there is nothing quite like the smell and feel of a new book)

I'm hoping I will let go of more and more perfectionism around entertaining in a house that's not 100% clean.

Now here's the thing - I have a not-so-easy guest this weekend for lunch. It's an old, old friend but she's a bit of a princess :)

I say that lovingly since I've been telling her this since we were both 17 years old at university.

How do you overcome that spirit of reluctant entertaining when you have a prissy guest?

I don't know. I will just do my thing and too bad if she doesn't like the food.

Are you a good host? Do you enjoy entertaining or is it stressful for you because of perfectionism? Any tips for reluctant entertainers like me?

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