Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Good news and a wake-up call

Last week Thursday I had my annual gynae appointment.

I was kept waiting for 40 minutes which does not impress me in the least, but that's not the point of this story.

When I eventually got into his rooms, this is how the conversation goes:

Him So how are you doing?

Me Fine

Him Is there anything you're worried about in your life?

Me (thinking) well, I'm 150% sure you don't want to hear about my business woes and my website that's constantly getting hacked. even my friends don't care

Me Um, a few things

Him Well, your blood results came back from the lab and your ____ levels are elevated.

Me (eyebrows shoot up) WHAT?!

Him Well, let's have a look and then we'll talk.

So he examined me, did my Pap smear, took blood pressure, checked b**bs, whatnot.... and he says, "oh, there's a cyst" (almost like a pleasant surprise - what's with that?!) when he scanned me "but otherwise you're a very healthy young lady".

(I'm loving how people call me, a 37-year-old, a young lady)

But that's good.

Anyway, so I put all my clothes back on and go have the chat.

On the bright side, the endo is under control.

So even though the birth control patches make me slightly pudgy, they are keeping the endo at bay which is FABULOUS.

I've had 4 gynaecological surgeries aside from the C-section and all of those were for endometriosis. Obviously I'm very keen to not have any more unnecessary surgeries if we can keep the endo at bay with birth control.

He feels the same as I do.

But here's the interesting thing.

Despite me thinking I'm all cool and being zen about this website/ business thing, my blood is telling another story.

Not only that, but that cyst is because of stress.

I'm quite amazed.

Amazed that there are all these other symptoms of things going on so there's no more pretending.

The cyst is not serious and will probably disappear again because those ____ levels are not crazy high, just elevated to above normal.

But I took that as a wake-up call.

I don't want other stuff going on in my body (we won't mention those other scary words!!!) when I can do something about the stress, for instance.

I need to relax more.

Last week Tuesday night I looked at my business to-do list for the week.

I'm very ambitious and love pushing myself hard to achieve. ALL self-imposed, of course.

But I thought, "I actually just want to read and relax tonight".

I had things to do though. What I did do is work out a new time schedule for the week.

I've cut down my business hours by one-third so I can build in more time to relax. And I'm taking a three-day weekend except for quick sales fulfillment that literally takes less than 5 minutes because I have my systems set up.

And since I made that decision last Tuesday, I tripled my weekly sales and got a new client.

Hmmm. Do you think God's trying to tell me something?

So that's it.

I'm going to still set my weekly goals (what is Marcia without goals?!) but once my allocated time is up for the week, then it's time to relax.

How well do you listen to your body?

Is this too woo-woo for you?

P.S. What do you think of the new blogger interface? Hmmm, I'm still finding my way around but I don't like that it looks like WP because I hate WP with a passion. One thing I'm loving is seeing how many page views vs comments I'm getting :) (the cry baby linky got 203 page views vs 18 comments)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Printable in many colours available here

1. Did you see I added my button as a favicon? I feel so "with it" it's sad :) If you don't know what a favicon is, it's that bute little thing that pops up on the top of the screen instead of the orange blogger sign.

2. Also the babies' ticker on the top is updated. Only 1 month, 3 weeks and 1 day late (I did it yesterday). I'm also now 37 :) and my profile's been updated a little bit. Slightly scared to say it but I do feel like we're mastering this parenting thing. Of course if I write that, we all know the kids will turn into monsters overnight LOL

3. I can't WAIT to start reading the Happiness Project. If you haven't committed yet, just do it. If something inside you is saying "yes", go for it!

4. If anyone else is wondering what washi tape is, read my comment on this post and... be prepared to shop!

5. I wrote about my stance on thank-you notes here.

6. And about random acts of kindness here (please leave a comment - that post is feeling very lonely).

7. I love, love, LOVE this post from my favourite superhero. I actually love it so much I've starred it and I think I've only starred about 10 items in the last year.

8. Previous post I starred along the same vein is this one. I particularly love the way she talks about online vs offline connecting. Hmmm. Still processing that one.

9. I'm going to a talk tonight called "shape the will without breaking the child". Laugh all you want - I love this stuff!

10. Confession - I'm a little bit addicted to all the back to school things I see all over the internet. So much so I kind-of feel like throwing a back to school party, just because :)

What are some of the things flying through your mind at the moment?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Kissing in front of your kids

Well, it's often the things I think are so innocent that are not!

Today I sent one of my pins to the girls in the office and said, "hopefully the kids will co-operate at our next photo shoot".

Source: None via Marcia on Pinterest

One person said, "that will NEVER happen with us" and I said, "why?"

She said, "we never kiss in front of them".

My colleague (a man) and I said together, "WHAT?!!!! NEVER???!!!!!"

"Never," she said.

And so it started.

It's not their don't need to kiss to show love and on and on.

I then said, "waitaminute, I don't mean full-on kissing" but that didn't make a lick of difference.

Another had joined the "healthy conversation" at this point and added that it's a cultural thing to not kiss in front of the kids.

It's a white thing to do so. On and on and on.

Oh my word!

That got me very hot under the collar.

I can't remember how it ended but I do know it was sudden - a rushing off to a meeting-type of sudden - and so later while I was waiting for my massage (new therapist didn't pitch!), I wondered if I'd offended colleague 2. Colleague 1 is like me and wouldn't even have blinked (a T) at the conflict.

I really love and value Colleague 1's different opinions generally, so I sent a text to apologise if I'd offended her in any way by my hot-headed opinions on "the kissing thing".

I got back a text saying something like, "absolutely not. I love our fearless debates." LOL

That's all fine but here's my stance:

  • I didn't grow up with PDA around me, except for us kissing my granny, and my father hugging us.
  • D & I are personally very huggy/ kissy with both the kids and each other. We kiss hello and good-bye and hug and kiss while we're waiting for the babies to finish their food in the kitchen :)
  • Yes, Kendra already gives us The Look to which we reply, "we are also allowed to kiss each other, not just you guys".
  • I want my kids to feel comfortable getting and giving affection at home so they don't go looking for it (esp K) elsewhere.

But enough about me.

How did you grow up and what goes on at your house?

PS No, physical touch is not my love language.

PPS Rebecca, did you figure out the pinning into the blog?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I think it's time, don't you?

I've been waiting and waiting for a book club guide from the author but I'm done waiting - let's do it!

Last time I mentioned it on my birthday post 3 weeks ago, Claudia had read it but Julia, Cat and Deanna were all interested in reading The Happiness Project along with me.

So are you in?

Let's start on 1 September.

Deanna and I are authors of my virtual book club blog but I do think we should all have a chance to write a post - maybe one post per chapter? - what do you think?

Leave a comment and let's get reading.

On a scale of 1 - 10, how happy are you right now?

P.S. Confession - I read the intro on my Kindle already :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Six on Saturday & 7 easy steps to make a mini scrapbook

1. Thank you so much for all the fabulous and challenging comments on the Nanny V post. D and I spoke a bit about it - not enough - so I haven't resolved it yet. BUT I chatted to her a bit today and lots of things were uncovered (not bad things). I don't mean to be secretive - it really is another post all on its own.

2. Kendra is going through a phase where she WAILS (emotional blackmail?) every time I say no to her. She had this going on a few months ago and thankfully snapped out of it but it's back. I want to flip my lid when it happens. It's literally, "no, Kendra, it's time to eat now" WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Thank goodness she' s cute but suggestions?

3. Tell me if this is weird but I'm a little bit (okay, a lot) in love with Connor's baby arms. It was a gorgeous, hot day today (the forecast said 26 but I'm convinced it was warmer; or it might be because I'm so starved of heat) and the kids were in short sleeves. And... I want to bite those gorgeous baby forearms.

4. Today we went to a lovely birthday party (my friend's twin girls). They had a horse there and despite much prepping by me, Kendra was Not Interested. At all. Connor couldn't wait to "ride horsey" and was in heaven for about 10 seconds before he said, "get off, Mummy" and that was that. One of the birthday twins, H, was so cute. The horse snorted on her hand and she went, "naughty horsey". I love it!

As you know, I love the people-watching - every parent is so different. Things that I can't relax about don't phase others and I suppose my constant "no sweets before you eat properly" amuse other parents. Love seeing all the differences though. Sharon and gorgeous Ava were there too.

They had a photographer there and I hope and pray she got one or two good ones of our kids.

5. I got TWO birthday presents on Friday (3 weeks later - I love it :)). One of them is the most beautiful gift ever. We all oohed and aahed at my desk and the others proclaimed it to be "so you". I agree. Thank you again, Julia, you made my day.

6. Now onto Thursday's crafting night.

Oh boy, did I ever underestimate how long it would take me to get going. One thing I did right was to focus on the main thing I wanted to get accomplished, my year in review book. My friend, R, the mother of the birthday twins, bought me a brag book and it has exactly 24 pages.

My intention is to have one picture summarising the month, or the feeling of the month, and then on the other side, a list of my monthly highlights. 12 months X 2 pages = perfect to use up the book.

I'm still not done with it!

I went through each of my monthly folders to see what I'd been taking pictures of and that mostly did it for me BUT I also need to go through my blog (this one) to see what else was going on - as you know, every significant thing can't always be photographed, like feelings breakthroughs.

Onward and upward.

Also, scrapbookers, do you just have all the pics on hand you want to scrap? Or do you plan everything, get photos printed, and then throw it all together.

I ask because I'm hugely impatient. Even now, I've selected pics Jan - Jul and am itching to just go get them printed even though I promised myself I would only print when I have 100 (it then costs R1,95 per print as opposed to R2,95 per print if less than 100)

6. I opened my big mouth on Thursday and promised to make a little something for our PA's granddaughter because she said she (granddaughter) would LOVE to do crafting with me (LOL - me!).

So even though it was late (in the evening - Simon and Garfunkel :)) on Thursday when I finally finished working on my year in review book, I quickly whipped up this little scrapbook for an 8-year-old girl.

7 easy steps to make a mini scrapbook
  1. Take 5 sheets of 12 X 12 paper and cut into 4 pieces so you have 20 small sheets.
  2. Cut out some cardboard for the front and back covers.
  3. Arrange the paper 1,2,3,4,5 between the covers.
  4. Use two binder rings (of course!)
  5. Attach a tag (I have a tag punch - I think this is my favourite together with the 2-inch circle punch) in a co-ordinating colour.
  6. Make the binder rings pretty with co-ordinating ribbon.
  7. Add some washi tape (anyone have any EASY tutorials (no curved surfaces as I'm challenged...) for washi tape?).
That's it!

I was very happy with it especially in the light of day but what do you think?

I'm linking this up to Lolly Jane - you've got to love a set of crafting twin girls who live next to each other :)

Also, my linky is still open - if you made something this last week, link up!

Over to you - share something with me that's going on in your life

PS I don't think K likes Simon and Garfunkel. I just pulled up the YouTube video of Late in the evening and I heard her tossing and turning :) So young and yet so fussy! What's your favourite Simon and Garfunkel song (Ginger - do you like them?)? Mine is Sounds of Silence.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Issues with Nanny V

Oh my word, where to start?!

When V started working for us, she started at 7. She used to arrive at 7:05, 7:10 and it then got later and later til she was starting at 7:30.

It was that way for a long time which was fine for us.

Our latest that we were comfortable with though.

Then it started getting later and later again until it was 7:45.

This is when D started getting seriously annoyed.

He says to me the one day that he's going to "sort this out and talk to V".

I heard the "sorting out".

He let her in, said good morning, and then "V, you know you need to be here by 7:30" and carried on talking about the kids.


I told him that that wouldn't even register on her scale as a "talking to" and sure enough, the behaviour continued.

While all this is going on, I noticed some very un-Marcia-like behaviour also starting to emerge.

I need to be home at 5.30 so she can leave but because she's been pitching up whenever, I'd started to linger at work, attending to emails, etc til 5.15, 5.20 (it takes me 20 - 25 mins to get home), and not phoning to say I'd be late.

It crept in in quite a subtle way - almost like a "well, she doesn't care so why should I?"

One day driving home I realised that this was unlike me and thought this is nonsense, I need to deal with it.

By the way, I'm normally not so passive with things but I'm a lot more forgiving where my children are concerned. The jury's still out on whether that's a good or bad thing.

So I got home and said, "V, we need to speak about your timekeeping."

This is how it affects D, this is how it affects me, but the most important part is this is how it affects the kids:
  • they're starving and crabby when you arrive
  • it's not fair to make them wait for food
  • they need interaction so they bug me while trying to get dressed for work and I snap at them - this is not how I want to parent, etc, etc.
She said that she can't leave her son alone to get to school (I agree!) so this (7:45) is the earliest she can get here. She said she would do better.

On the Monday (this was after the weekend) she said to me that I need to get someone else as she can't get here on time (by 7.30).

I told her that's not going to solve her problem because I'm convinced other employers will be harder on her as NO-ONE can afford to leave as late as I do.

I'm fortunate - I work for a really wonderful man who is very lenient as long as the work gets done. Still I don't want to abuse this privilege...

Also, if she can't find a job as a nanny (I don't think she'll be able to start at 8 am anywhere), she could get a job as a cleaner but the pay is much, much worse.

She can't sleep in (stay in our cottage on the property) because of her son.

She also mentioned something about possibly taking him back to Zimbabwe to stay with another sister but I don't think she was serious and I couldn't ask another mother to banish her son so that she can look after my kids! (I cringe on so many levels)

D and I had a think and a pray, and we decided it's more important to have V the person than to have a person at 7:30. The kids ADORE her, she adores them (or so I think) and they have a fabulous time together. Kendra gives hugs and kisses before she leaves, etc.

After all, it's just 15 minutes :) So we spoke to her and said we'll get up even earlier and dress the kids so that when she arrives all she has to do is do their food and they'll be able to eat at 8.

Fabulous plan, right?

Well, that lasted for a day or two and then the time crept even later.

If you're saying, "OH NO!" you're saying it with me!

She now arrives at 7.50, 7.55, 7.58.

My nerves are shot and D is over the edge :)

I was telling my friend with the twins, C, this story at lunch today and she had a brilliant idea.

"why don't you phone her son's school and find out what time parents can leave their kids there?"

Maybe it's not the real issue and she just doesn't want to work for you anymore.

Of course I can't imagine WHY anyone wouldn't want to take care of the cutest kids in the world but I agreed.

So I did.

Do you know what the lady said?

Lady at school "There is a security guard here from 6 as some kids arrive that early, but from 6:30 there are teachers here too"

Me - "so my nanny could technically bring her son at 6, but definitely at 6:30?"

Lady at school "Yes"

So now what?

When I managed people, we had a thing we used to say to test whether a problem was due to motivation or lack of skills.

"if someone held a gun to their head (I know, graphic), could the person do X?"

If yes, then it's a motivation thing. And much more difficult to resolve.

If no, then it's a skills/ training thing. And it's easy - send them on training, and then do some coaching til they do it fine.

This timekeeping with V is clearly a motivation thing IF there are no transport issues. And I don't think there are. We are not that far apart geographically and she should be able to get from his school to us very comfortably within an hour.

But what do you think?

What do you think I should do?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Virtual craft day link-up

We had a slogan during the World Cup that went, "Ke Nako" (it is here).

I almost feel like saying this about today. Ha!

I've been printing and getting things ready for my time tonight - even the children are excited and wanted to see "Mummy's stuff" :)

Some of my organising tips for crafting/ getting creative:
  1. set aside the time and keep it as if an appointment with a friend (like we're doing today or some of you, on the weekend)
  2. keep your stuff organised so you don't waste time looking for things. Either that or take out the stuff and set it aside (mine is on a table in my study)
  3. know exactly what you want to do (I've got two things but if they go quickly, then I'll sort photos too)
  4. turn off your cell phone and your email (I will listen to some business audios while I work but I always do this with a notebook on the side of my desk whenever I do non-computer work in the study)
Is the no cell phone/ email too radical for you?

Otherwise, are you in?

I thought we could all say what we want to work on to get us excited.

I'm going to start a 2011 album about ME and I haven't printed any pics but I will put the pics aside in a "to print" folder.

I also want to make more of those little books as gifts.... :) I plan to make 6 so watch out, you may get one!

And if there's still time, I'm going to finish July's photos (upload to blog, etc.) and upload the whole lot to Picasa.

PS Thanks to OneRadMother for the cute button.

PPS Also, do you like my notebook? I never used this because of the cover (and of course I bought it because it was on special) so now that it's prettied up, happy days! And with an M - can I just confess how addicted I am to monograms?!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Attention: Jhb readers

Louisa and I are having a picnic at the Botanical Gardens on Sat 10th Sept.

We'd like to extend the invitation to any of you who would like to join us.

This is not a fancy blogger meet-up with sponsorships and so it's all for free. Bring your own food/ kids if you want/ etc.

Who's in?

Leave a comment so I don't have to annoy the rest of the readers with the logistics and whatnot...

Thanks :)

Louisa, I can't wait to meet you and gorgeous Nicola.

Maybe I'm just a prude

I go to a Zumba class on Wed nights at the gym.

Well, that's the aim, anyway.

By the way, my medical aid sent me a rude letter to tell me I need to go 4 times by the end of Sept or I will revoke my membership so I have to get more diligent with this.

There's this thing they do in class - a move where your elbows are at right angles to your body and you pump your hands outwards (boom boom) while you do this move with your hips and bum.

Do you Zumba girls know the move I'm talking about?

For me it just feels so lewd.

I don't do it properly on purpose - I just do the arms.


You know what else I HATE about these dance classes?

When the instructors make you grab a partner and dance together.

I am HUGELY independent in these situations and hate 1) touching other sweaty people (I know what I feel and smell like...) 2) trying to dance with people who are all there for a laugh because I don't follow well and I need someone REALLY good to lead me.

What I really want to do when they say, "grab a partner" is hightail it out of there.

But I don't want to be rude (or miss out the rest of the lesson) so I look around and get the nearest good person.

There was a girl there tonight who just totally ignored the instructor and carried on dancing all by herself.

And she was really good so it's not like she was scared.

I admired her chutzpah tremendously so at a break in the class (drink water while he changes CDs) I told her, "I LOVE the way you're just doing your own thing".

She smiled and said, "you mean instead of playing along with these ridiculous games?"

We both laughed!

Good to know I'm not the only one who hates those partnering things.

Do you dance? Even if you don't, do you like partnering with people?

Let's just call it creating :)

notice the library tag on the left that my children ripped out of their book...

These are the two notebooks I made pretty for Cat :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday Titbits

Yesterday I was driving to work and I realised I'm happy.

Totally completely happy.

The sun was shining, I only had on two thin layers (yes!) and Billy Joel was singing in my car.

That was it.

Yes, it doesn't take very much to make me happy but I got to thinking how I'm sitting with the most money I've had in my account ever (remember we've just received bonuses at work and I'm putting off paying a thing so I can just sit and enjoy looking at it in my bank account for awhile :)) and the money's not making me happy.

Very weird having these thoughts in the City of Gold where most people are totally money hungry.

Also, I always used to argue with one of my ex-bosses who used to tell me money is not a motivator and I'd say Hogwash! Of course it is.

I still feel it's important because of what it represents (for me, freedom) but in itself, I guess he's right, it's not a motivator by itself.


And now that I've written about it, I will pay my tithe. Do you tithe?


My personal life is feeling ever so slightly out of balance.

Do you know how I know?

I start dropping the ball on things that are not normal for me. I'm actually working on the business slightly too much for my liking :)

Today I had to go to the hospital for blood tests so the gynae would have my results before my appt tomorrow.

Well, I searched high and low and couldn't find the thing he faxed me (I know! Faxes - so 90's :)).

I came to work, searched high and low here too and still couldn't find it.

So I printed off another one but had to move my appointment out so there'd be time for the lab to do the work first.

Thank goodness we have a nurse here who can take blood and send off to the lab (only 20 minutes out of my day).

My gynae is one of those who takes blood to check hormone levels at any routine check-up. It's good... but he wants two appts, one to do Pap and take bloods, and another for the results of either.

I got smart this year and told him I'd get my bloods done and will have one appt where he can do the Pap, check b**bs and give me results.

One consult fee :)

Have you been to the gynae yet this year? I have a friend who has it around the time of her birthday every year so she doesn't forget.


I won this on Monika Wright's blog.

I am BEYOND thrilled first, because I never win anything and second, because I only ever enter things that I really, really want (in the last two - three months, I've entered a stationery giveaway (Macaroon) and this one and one more on Allison's Little Lovelies site).

I found Monika's blog about 3 months ago when I first started getting obsessed/ passionate about notebooks/ mini albums, etc.

I love her stuff - if you like this sort of thing, go have a look. I used to not like scrapbooking-type stuff as everything felt too fussy for someone like me. Her style is not at all fussy but still gorgeous.

BTW, pure coincidence, on Thursday I'll be working on a little project with some free downloads from Monika's site.

Love the serendipity!

Are you ready for Thursday? Photos/ craft/ scrapbooking/ whatever?

Monday, August 22, 2011

On being conspicuous

Claudia has this linky thing going on about being conspicuous and so I decided to participate.

I'm not even a 10th of a writer like she is so this is not going to be all deep and meaningful :)

I felt the need to put in that disclaimer in case the people from her blog come to visit.

Right, moving on.


I have never had a problem standing out from the crowd.

I did ballet, modern, Spanish, etc, etc so was in the limelight from a really young age.

And, dare I say it, I loved it :)

I don't mind being the weird one wearing, driving, living the life most people don't want to wear, drive or live.

I like being different. And I love different and unique people.

I've also always stood out and been conspicuous for academics - again, no problem because these were all really positive experiences.

(Now I think I may have been hated by some kids because it all came so easily to me but at the time I was oblivious)

Then D and I met and married, and we had a bit of the being conspicuous because we're a mixed race couple.

Strangely, I got more looks being with him than I did with a previous Indian boyfriend and we REALLY had colour differences :) (I would link to his FB profile to show you but that just feels wrong LOL)

That didn't bother me though because it is what it is and I honestly felt that other people were silly for letting the race thing be an issue. We loved each other and that was that. Even in South Africa pre-1994 :)

However, when we were diagnosed with infertility, I hated it.

I hated not being able to do what millions of women do so easily.

I didn't want to be conspicuous in that way.

A negative way.

It was the first time in my life things didn't go easily or my way.

Who wants to be the 1 in 6, or whatever the stat is now?

As you all know, that particular story had a good ending.

And now despite not wanting to be negatively conspicuous, we are because we have twins.

We do get stopped by people especially when we have the babies (yes at 2!) in their pram. Somehow they don't attract the same attention running loose.

Also, Connor is now 8 cm taller than Kendra :)

But especially when people hear that we have twins, I become conspicuous.

I like being noticed in the "ooooh, twins! How do you do it?" way as it is hard work and nice to know that some people get it.

When it's in the "ooooh, twins! Are they natural or IVF twins, and isn't IVF expensive?" way, it's of the not-nice variety.

I'm very proud to have had the opportunity to live in a day and age where we could afford (with much savings, but still) IVF and have access to incredible doctors.

When people say that if you choose to have infertility treatment you're not in faith, I say HOGWASH.

Science can only get so far but then it's God all the way, baby!

So that's not good because who wants to discuss their less-than-stellar lady bits with complete strangers? I don't want to even discuss it with my gynae!

Anyway, this is all a bit of a ramble but I want to end by saying, if I had to endure being conspicuous even in a negative way for these two wonderful kids, then it has all been worth it.


How do you feel about being conspicuous? Do you like standing out from the crowd?

P.S. Click and read Claudia's Matt Damon Index post. As an aside, I'm very naughty because I always say to D that I feel SOOOO sorry for "the other one" (Ben Affleck) because he's the one that didn't make it big :)

PPS I do wonder how this will translate to my parenting my kids, especially Kendra, who is very sensitive, but that's a topic for another day.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Meeting blog friends

I must say, there's something strange about meeting bloggers you've been reading for awhile.

On the one hand, you're strangers but on the other hand, you're closer to them than some of your real life friends.

Very weird.

And so it was that I met Cat yesterday.

I will tell you that she was on my list (doesn't it sound ominous?) of people to meet since last year and (this is dorky, even for me) when I realised that we were going to meet up late in Aug and miss my 36 things list, I said, quite loud in the office, "oh NO!"

This plan has been set up for months now - I think June actually!

On my 36 things list, I had that I wanted to meet 3 bloggers. I did... but I had not been reading Gina and Laura when I met them at the photo workshop and my intention was actually to meet 3 bloggers whose blogs I already read.

We met at Bambanani and here it is, my second good children/ play spot. We're now sorted for venues both in the East and West of Jhb.


Lovely venue. Childminders were fantastic, food was good, lots of different areas for the kids, and not too far from us.

Okay, now that that's out of the way, onto the meeting.

Cat is an incredible mother - so centred and calm and loving. I loved watching her with her kids. In a non-weird way.

She was exactly how I imagined - down-to-earth, lovely and authentic. And she brought me a gift! I won't say what but it is a beautiful "acts of service" type of gift :) which I will take a pic of soon.

And the kids? GORGEOUS, all of them, and so well-mannered and independent.

(I feel very old when I talk about manners but hey, manners impress the heck out of me)

We had a lovely afternoon eating and taking pics and refereeing and occasionally running after one of mine (Connor).

I say occasionally because it was a family outing for us and Kendra was attached to D like a limpet.

We all loved the venue and even after Cat's family left, mine still ran around some more.

Will there be a next time?

I hope so because I would love that.

I'm getting quite a kick out of meeting South African bloggers - my first 3 were all US :)

Do you like meeting bloggers, or do you like to keep the sections of your life separate?

PS how was your weekend?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Things I never thought I'd hear myself say/ crafting

I really need to organise my craft and scrapbooking stuff!

But this is reality.

I did 6 notebooks this morning - pics to follow.... - and I need to get this stuff in an easier workflow - all into one drawer

Maybe all the punches, washi tape and fabric tape into one drawer with the scrapbook paper?

I will have to see.

Anyway, here's the news!

I follow Lolly Jane and I see they have an actual in-person craft night once a month in Arizona. How fun!

They provide kits and instructions and then the ladies get to it.

I thought of arranging a live thing but I don't want to be bothered with getting everyone on the same page and venue and worrying about money and people not pitching who have RSVPd yes and so on.


I'm going to be doing a virtual craft day on the last Thursday of every month for about an hour.

That's this Thursday 25th.

I'm telling you now so you can think about what you want to do and link up your projects when you're done.

The beauty of this is that each of us can do our own thing and cross things off those Pinterest lists :)

By the way, evening for SA/ Europe is very early the next morning for Australia/ New Zealand and lunch time for the US and Canada (we're currently 6 hours ahead of EST).

I have coaching every Thursday until 8:30 but after that is MY time!

Of course you can do your thing for longer, shorter, day before, etc. but for me, it's about having some set-aside time to dedicate to my creativity.

Remember, I'm not really crafty so if I have nothing to do, I'll organise photos and make collages :)

If there's anyone who can make a cute button, please speak up - I would love that!

Are you in?

How do you keep all your craft stuff organised?
Drawer, cupboard, ROOM? :)

PS thanks, Deanna, for showing me how to embed the Pinterest stuff straight into my blog :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Five bits of fabulousness on Friday


1. This morning a team member (the one who likes hours and hours of meetings) walked in with 4 bunches of roses for the 4 girls.

She said she's been stressed and a bit b*tchy and this was to make up for her behaviour. My one colleague said, "well, I haven't noticed a thing but can I still keep the flowers?" LOL to which I said, "ditto for me".

So now I have a beautiful bunch of yellow/ orange roses on my dining-room table.

2. Just before she walked in I had a delivery at work. Whenever I buy online I always get the stuff delivered to work - firstly, almost everything arrives quicker and if they need someone to collect it from the post office, we have people to do that, so it's super convenient. Anyway, I'm now the proud owner of two punches (I can't stop making rounded corners - it's addictive) and some more binder rings!

3. I made my book for the 30 days of lists today. It's not quite what I had in mind but I actually like the new version better. Who's in?

4. I had lunch with my dear friend, Roz, today. I have met my match in people who give good directions. She had to direct me to her work, and then to my hair appointment, and she gives FABULOUS directions. Exactly the way I like them - road names AND landmarks :)

It was so wonderful to chat and of course, time ran out just at that point you want to get some tea and talk some more.

I don't know why we haven't done this before because it only took me 8 minutes to get to her office from mine (okay, speeding a bit, but still).

5. I had my Brazilian Blow Dry today and someone asked before if it was a South African thing - no it's not - I read about it on a US blog for the first time! Very interesting experience. I bought my voucher on Wicount for R800 (they said it cost R2000) but I think they might have inflated their prices to make the new value seem cheaper. Anyway, it took two full hours (they warned me when I made my appointment) so I took my Karen Kingsbury with me and nearly finished my book after I planned blog posts on the organising blog for the next two weeks.

The guy who did my hair obviously tried to sell me the expensive products (shampoo R200; he said you can use normal conditioner) but I was very proud of myself for saying no and that I'd look around first and come back if I wanted theirs. I'm going to see if my hairdresser stocks similar for cheaper. I'm in no rush; I'm sure I could go a week without needing to wash my hair.

My hair looks stunning except for the grey roots showing (no time to colour hair as I was sick when I had time!) so I'm going to get D to take some pics. Even Kendra said to me when I got home, "Mummy pretty hair" - my words of affirmation girl :)

plus one more

6. Tomorrow I'm meeting someone I've wanted to meet for at least a year - Cat. I can't wait!

It feels kind-of like a date but yet not, since we're both open and honest on our blogs (and in the behind-the-scenes emails) and I do feel like I know her.

I'm taking D and the kids with me as we've wanted to check out this particular venue for ages and this is a good opportunity to do so.

What do you have planned for the weekend?

How was your Friday?

P.S. Unashamedly copying MandyE with fabulous five :) (Mandy, it won't let me link to your specific post)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's that time of the year

I've written before about how I'm not a fan of the dentist.

I tend to make the appointment and then forget about it (or block it out) until the day.

She's the best dentist in the world (if you're on my side of the world tell me and I'll give you her details) so she is usually fully booked a month out. (She is also gorgeous and has been in a Colgate ad).

Well, today was the day and I successfully blocked it out.

I usually mark off all the time in my calendar, including travel time so I never know the actual appointment time.

I make a note in the actual Outlook appt to tell me the correct time.

Somehow I have a love for 3 pm appts (all the kids ones are at 3pm) as they feel like I can still do a good morning's work and then it's just late enough to not have to go back to the office :)

Naturally I assumed that today's one was at 3 pm too.

Something (God?) just made me double-check once my meeting was out and when I saw the words "actual appt time 2:30" and it was 2.14 (I'm about 30 minutes away), I grabbed my gorgeous pink leather bag and RAN out of there.

When the boss has meetings in his office, he can see all the to and fro from his seat at his meeting table and I could see the puzzled expression as I FLEW past.

Tried to phone them twice to let them know I was running late as I ran down the stairs to the basement but they weren't answering their phone.

I was 10 minutes late and then still had to brush my teeth before she could look in my mouth.

Fortunately all is well. My teeth are good and I'm okay for another year.

We were saying that I've been going to her for at least 7 years. She was pregnant a year or two after I first saw her and her daughter is 6 now.

If you're wondering why I'm so conscientious even though I'm not a fan of dentists, it's because I vowed after my one and only root canal (pre-this Dr) that I would go every single year to prevent any serious stuff from happening.

So that's me.

Do you go to the dentist regularly? Do you actually enjoy it?

PS next week it's the gynae - oy!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Getting my craft on: party scrapbook 1

One of the things on my 37 things list is to do two crafty/creative projects a month.

I've done number 1 and thought I'd post the results:

Also, for those of you who are TRULY crafty, don't laugh - this is HUGE for me.

  • I bought a brag book at Clicks for R9,99.
  • Used some of the party printables for the front and back covers.
  • Printed TONS of pics from the party.
  • Arranged them in an order that made me happy.
  • Put in some of the leftover cupcake toppers and tented food tags.
  • Realised I still had space for about 6 pics.
  • Went back to the photo shop to print additional pics.
  • Rearranged a little bit more.
  • Called it a day.

Am VERY happy with the result.

I showed the people at work and (just goes to show what kind of people I work with) they were all SO enthusiastic and encouraging about my efforts that 3 of them want me to do their kids' party.

Um, no thanks :)

What do you think?

P.S. I'm linking this up to Ginger's scrapbooking linky, just for laughs!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blogging by candlelight/ precious 1:1 time

Our power went out 5 minutes before I got home from work.

The kids were howling because the milk was "ice cold" according to them.

My children drink room temperature milk, not warm, but in winter I warm it for 10 seconds in the microwave to take off the chill.

Well, they kept insisting - "warm it, Mummy, warm it". Just imagine that sentence shouted at you from two different directions at increasing volumes!

Have you ever tried explaining to a 2-year-old that no power means NOTHING works? No lights, no music, no microwave, nothing.

I eventually handed Connor a torch (flashlight) and he calmed down and stopped crying. Kendra soon followed suit and I was able to go around the house and light a gazillion candles.

Can you tell I'm geared up for power failures?

D's gone to get us Debonairs pizza and fill our flask (thermos) with boiling water at my friend, C's house. She lives in the same suburb but above the main street so if we're out, they're on.


He's back and we've eaten. And now I'm enjoying a hot mug of coffee. It's the small things in life, people.

He says to me, "C's girls were in the bath when I got there but it's VERRRRRY different from how it happens around here"

I asked how.

He says, "the bath was half full of water, they're in the bath together and eating ice-lollies"

Oh how I laughed. I could just picture it.

What are bath times like around your place?


Speaking of fun, I had the BEST time with my little guy this morning.

I prepped him for our appt because he does not have the best track record with doctors.

So I said, "Connor, we're going to see the doctor later. She's going to look in your ears and in your mouth."

He couldn't wait - I think it was more the prospect of going in the car than anything else.

And that he would be alone, not with Kendra.

Yes, she wailed when we left.

We had a lovely appointment (our Dr is Scottish with a gorgeous accent which alone is worth the consultation fee) and his sinuses are blocked but his ears and lungs were clear.

She was very impressed with his vocab - so was I! He talks FAR more when his sister isn't around and is also much better behaved. Hmmm.

He said, "hello Dr Petrie" and "thank you, Dr Petrie" and "bye, Dr Petrie" beautifully ----> proud mother moment.

Then we went to get the meds and as we were walking through the mall, I happened to glance over at Connor who wanted to "walk, Mummy" and saw our reflection in a shop window.

I melted.

Is there anything cuter than a little boy with his mother?

He charmed the pharmacist too and went to see the cleaning lady's mop (he is BIG friends with Nester, our cleaning lady, I think mainly because she has cool equipment like a vacuum cleaner, broom and mop).

There's something you should know about me.

If the mall gives 15 minutes free parking, I can be in and out in 15 minutes. Because I hate taking 16 or 17 minutes and having to pay R6.

As we exited Clicks, I found myself starting to rush to make the deadline.

Again I looked down at the cutest little boy.

He was looking around, staring into the windows and at the people and I just realised, it is not worth rushing him and missing this time (even though I was HOURS late for work) just for R6.

So I slowed down, took his little hand and we took a leisurely stroll towards the exit, pointing and chatting along the way.

Yes, we missed the cut-off by about 4 - 5 minutes but it was so very worth it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Balance, bonuses and my boy

taken from the office

can you see the white patches of sleet on the grass?

Four brave souls endured the cold (it is FREEZING here today - we even had some snow!) to come listen to me talk tonight.

My talk was on balance.

Here's my definition:

It's about spending the right (not equal) amount of time in the areas of your life that you've prioritised as important.

We had a fab time with some great insights and mindset changes.

They told me I have to talk about people-pleasing and how to say no next time :)


Today our boss was back so he could hand out our bonus letters.

I try to have no expectations of these things and therefore I'm never disappointed.

I see it as all free money because all that's in the contract is my monthly salary.

All that to say... it is MUCH better than I expected.


Will definitely have to do something exciting and book a holiday.


My boy is worse today.

He's been snotty since Thursday evening and seemed to get better.

I have a gripe with V in that she doesn't tell us if the kids are sick/ getting sick during the day.

I walked in at 5:25 to find him SCREAMING and he'd been doing this on and off the whole day when he wasn't sleeping.

We all know that's not Connor so why did I not get an SMS or phone call?

When I get home, it's too late to get him to a doctor so now all of us have to endure another night of broken sleep with a screaming toddler.

At 8 am sharp I'll be phoning for an appt and taking the boy to the doctor.

Poor little sausage. Crying with snot streaming down his face.

My tricks of giving him a "sweet" weren't even working so I had to wrestle a Panado into his mouth.


Back to the cold...

Someone told me today that this sudden, extreme cold (12 degrees today, 14 degrees tomorrow) means there'll be one last cold spell and then ... spring. And I'll be dressing my kids in shorts on 1 Sept.

We'll see about that!

I'm well enough not to need to stay home but I don't feel 100% there yet.

How was your Monday?

P.S. I have some more to talk about with the nanny situation but that'll have to be for another post. My (warm) bed is calling.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In which I again realise why I avoid the photos

I've just spent 3 hours sorting, compressing, organising and blogging photos.

And I'm not even totally done with July but I'm "done"!

Maybe I should explain my system?

(as an aside, developing and maintaining my system was on my 36 things list. I have a system and it works for my brain but I've been a slacker since March so I gave myself 0.5)
  1. I have a folder for 2011, and then for the months 01, 02, 03, etc
  2. I download and move the pics into their months
  3. here's where it gets exciting (not!)
  4. If there were "major events" (for me that means socials) I make a sub-folder for each of those. My April folder has Dullstroom, K&B wedding, LC visit. Just makes it easier for me to find things since that's how I think, in categories.
  5. Otherwise the pics all just lay loose in the folder. Are some of you twitching (MandyE?)?
  6. Then my new thing is I made a "to blog" sub-folder - this one has all the compressed pics.
  7. I take the compressed pics per blog post, paste them in an email and send to the children's blog, It just helps with the uploading as I have zero patience.
  8. While all that is happening, I'm deleting duds, etc.
  9. I then go into blogger and make sure they're in the right sequence, change the date since I'm ALWAYS late, and publish. If you're subscribed to that blog, I did 5 tonight and you'll see nothing for the next 3 - 4 weeks :)
  10. To make things even more interesting I also have a big folder for organising (that's for my organising blog) in the main 2011 folder, and I've recently added others called getting my craft on (with no less than 9 subfolders - yay - and that doesn't include July or Aug), recipes, courage, favourite pics 2011 (any arbitrary pics of shoes, birds, the sky, anything - I will say I hardly have pics of my kids there!) and up til the party, I had a Babies 12 - 24 months folder too (for 1 - 2 pics per month). Basically, my projects.
  11. In my general My Pictures folder, I also have other weird folders called Doors and windows (I'm obsessed - one of these fine days I'm going to make a nice collage of pretty doors and share it with you), Skies, Food and Around Jhb (do you want to see?)
  12. I don't do any editing except for making all the pics face the right way up and cropping out private parts (D and I made a boundary for our family that we wouldn't keep naked pics of the kids because who knows what might happen and if things get into people's hands...) in the bath pics.
  13. Sometimes if I'm lazy to make decisions (okay, a lot of the time) I will make a collage in Picasa. But that's the extent of it.
  14. If I feel like playing around (very rare) I love taking travel pics and making them black and white.
If you made it this far, you deserve to see some cuteness!

I love this pic of K

yes, blurry but I love the way she's laughing. Not many people see that side of her.

look at them trying to pretend they're not being naughty

notice Friday (teddy) and the dummy - C's BFFs (I actually hate that acronym)

Bottom line
with the photos

If I've gone through my stuff and the bad ones are deleted, I consider it a 5.

If I've put the ones I want to blog in another folder, that's a 7 or 8.

And if I actually send those pics to blogger or Wordpress drafts, that's a 10.

Those are my definitions for success with photos.

Notice no editing, no printing, no nothing else...

All this stuff seems to take forever. FOREVER. And I'm not even editing - I don't know how you guys do it with making stuff fancy.

What's your photo system look like? Do you use lots of folders? If yes, tell me some of your favourites/ weirdest ones.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


What's red, streaming and severely hampering my style?

My nose!

I woke this morning with a sore throat, streaming nose and blocked ears.

I'm a bit under the weather and am drugged to the hilt with Degoran and similar stuff.

Connor said to me, "Mummy, take tissue out" because I propped the tissue under my nose eventually and D said I looked a bit scary!

Hope you're having a good weekend.

P.S. (Mandy, I am no further with my weekend stuff :))

Friday, August 12, 2011

Five on Friday

Thank you all for participating in the cry baby linky - it's not too late if you haven't done yours yet.


banner I put up for D's birthday - don't you love it? I really wanted to leave it up forever...

1. I must admit I get very annoyed by "group blogs" (I don't know what the official name is) where there is nothing for ages and then more than 2 posts a day. Drives me batty and ensures that I just click "mark all as read". Is it just me or do you feel the same?

2. A lady I work very closely with was on leave for two weeks. I was in heaven as she's one of these "6 hours of meetings in a row" sort of people. She is clearly back because I went somewhere for 20 minutes and returned to about 8 meetings in my diary, two hours each. Ugh!

3. I'm a little ticked off. A long while ago there was a solicitation for people who wanted to write for a certain blog. I thought I could contribute and add a non-North American flair :) so I sent them not one, but two emails with links to some of my favourite posts and heard nothing. I've since seen all these new bloggers' posts in my reader and sadly, I'm feeling a little disgruntled and maybe even a bit jealous. I know I need to get over it but remember, I have problems letting go.

4. I realised last night I have somewhat of a problem. There are some cute crafty things I'm in the process of doing but I can't post them as I'm nearly 100% certain I'll gift some of these things to others. Does this then mean I need to do more than 2 in a month so I can have 2 to show you? Or am I over-analysing things?

5. We can't WAIT for our boss to get back from holiday on Monday. Strange statement? Not so much as we're all eagerly awaiting our bonus letters. The corporate grapevine is all aflutter as "everyone" has received theirs. The jury's out on whether we're getting good bonuses or bad ones. I am always grateful for anything as I see it as all FREE money. Although I did get a spectacularly good one last year. This is how they reward good performers

and now, what I did for me...


Well, last Sat was my birthday.

This is my birthday gift to me - pink genuine leather bag and green wallet. Also, love my Baggu bags.

I went to Zumba on Wed which was lovely if exhausting. I hold my breath every time while they scan my card to see whether my contract's been cancelled yet. I have to go twice a month and you guys know I don't... so clearly they're taking the average and I have 24 visits over the year.

Of course I took the day off on Monday and went to see a movie and did some other things.

This week I had to flex my boundary muscles twice - it wasn't the easiest thing to do but I felt great afterwards :)

How was your week?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cry baby linky

I have so much more crying baby pics (should I even be admitting this?!) but alas, my external hard drive is not displaying them properly.

Here we go... the first three have been on the blog before

Kendra - I'm sure I said "no" to something

Connor after getting into my food colouring - didn't want it washed off

glorious summer.... with cute babies in summer pjs

Connor pulling Kendra by the neckline

and then he starts crying and she yawns (bored with me?)

proper crying - also, I miss the days when they were both contained as I had a little visitor around 5 this morning. I dragged him into bed and he slept but of course, every time I moved, he goes, "Mummy, sore" if I bumped him.

this is classic Kendra - she can WAIL

and in the next minute, she's all sneaky smiles again

who knows what this was about?

So that's us.

Link up!

Otherwise, tell me what makes your baby/ies cry?


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