Monday, January 31, 2011

20, 80 and 20 again

When C & K were little babies (non-crawling), we basically only heard about 20% of the message on any given Sunday at church, for months on end.

At the time, it felt like going to church was a waste of time and I said something like this on FB once. A colleague in the US said something which stuck with me - "you have to keep going because it's about keeping the habit going and starting the babies on the right foot".

Fantastic - that encouraged me. And then it got better - TONS better. We were getting to hear 85 - 80% of the message every week - bliss!

I guess I thought that the difficult stage was over...ha!

I'm not sure exactly when it happened - probably the last two months or so but it's been bad again.

And we work with their schedule and are super-prepared except for the one week after our holidays when we forgot toys and Connor ran around stealing all the other kids' toys... but let's not go there!

We go to the second service which starts at 10:30. They nap in the mornings at home and the minute they wake, we fly off to church.

They stay in the pram until the praise and worship is nearly over and then Kendra starts telling me she's hungry.

They now do the twin thing so Connor also jumps on the bandwagon and is suddenly also hungry.

So we feed them their snack in the pram (usually stewed apples, plain yoghurt and a Provita or two) and then let them loose.

This is the problem - they see other kids' juice/ chips/ sweets/ toys and it is all too exciting so must explore and investigate. Also, people like the door open so to a toddler, that spells freedom. And of course, even though our kids are relatively well-behaved, I still don't want them annoying other people and keeping them from hearing the message.

After all, the purpose is to hear the Word, not so?

And so we're back to 20%.

Our kids were marginally better behaved in church this week than last week - but still... within 5 minutes I'm hot and bothered running around after them - I don't even bother taking my Bible anymore as I don't even get to take it out. I'm relying on snippets and trusting that the Word will not return void and that somewhere VERY deep inside, there's something taking root :)

But this has got me thinking I need to maybe try to take them to children's church again.

I tried a few months ago (I don't think I told you that) and the caregivers (!) did not meet with D's or my approval. I became one of those people and even wrote to the pastor in charge (casually, via a message on Facebook :)) and things were still the same the following week.

Now they are walking they'd be in another class so maybe it's time to try again? My one church friend told me today she also wants to try leave her girl but she's scared (that one is very clingy) of the screaming... so I said, "let's do it together".

Safety in numbers and all that jazz.

Also, this could be a lovely slow transition to being with other kids...

For those who go to church, what's the situation with your kids? Do they stay with you, go to children's church, or what? Any tips?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Etsy, blog browsings and my menu for the week

Last night I was bad again and busy reading blogs til 11:40.

I blame it on etsy.

That's another of my naughty things that I do.... I browse etsy and sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) buy things.

At the moment I have 4 orders on their way to me - my courage necklace, a gorgeous art print, some bags (to keep things organised in your bigger handbag) and some other necklaces - I haven't decided if I will keep those or give as gifts yet.

Anyway, so the lady I ordered the art print from wrote me a beautiful email when she was ready to ship my order. I, of course, LOVE little notes and so I was DELIGHTED.

I saved her links to browse when I had more time.

Which was yesterday.

So I happily spent a few hours getting to know her and her daughters and before I knew it, 11:40.

In my browsings (I read tons of decorating blogs to delight my senses without having to spend the $) I found the most gorgeous little French cottage - I have bookmarked the link and am busy "selling" D on the idea to go spend a week there. After all, we have our newly renewed passports and the world's our oyster. Babysitting? Well, I will have to factor in the cost of flying my mother up to help V.
Go look - is that not delightful?

And now, my menu for the week.

Monday
Stirfried beef, veggies with leftover macaroni (made a delicious healthy version of macaroni cheese with cottage cheese and carrots - kids and D all loved it)

Tuesday
Baked potato, bolognaise sauce and salad

Wednesday
Potato lentil curry, rice and broccoli

Thursday
Fertility babies group
(I'm told we are having) chicken lasagne
D - * apricot chicken and rice/ peas

Friday
Burgers and salad

* Apricot chicken is the easiest dish on the planet :)

Ingredients
800g - 1 kg chicken pieces - skinless but with bones (I buy thighs)
1 packet brown onion soup
1 can apricots (our standard cans are 410 g) - I buy WeighLess apricots, any will do

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Rinse chicken and place in an oven dish.
I spray any casserole dishes with Spray and Cook beforehand to make washing up easier (remember I don't have a dishwasher - yes, indeed, the last person on the planet).
Sprinkle the brown onion soup liberally all over the chicken pieces. If you want to get all fancy you can do both sides but I don't find it necessary.
Pour the apricots with juice all over the chicken.
(it looks like a mess but be patient...)

Bake for about 30 - 45 mins (I think the official time is 40 minutes - my oven is very hot) - it will bubble and smell delicious.

Serve with rice and a green veggie (the green is important so it looks pretty with the orange-yellow apricots :)). I like broccoli, D likes peas. To each his own.

They will think you're a rock star and meanwhile, it's so easy. I told my sister about this recipe and now she and her hubby also think I'm a rock star :)

That makes two meals for me and D alone, otherwise 1 meal for all 4 of us plus someone gets leftovers for lunch.

Tell me how you like it if you make it.

After I hit publish, I will painstakingly plot out the rest of my meals on my spreadsheet to make sure I'm eating enough proteins and veggies every day (my downfall :))

How was your weekend? Louisa and Hayley, are you all moved in?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Generosity and abundance - slightly woo-woo


We have a team meeting every two weeks over lunch so Wonderful Boss buys us lunch.

I was in his office when our PA came in to tell him how much it was going to be and to get the money.

He gave her the money and another R40 for a tip.

That is double what he should have tipped so she told him, "no, R10 is enough".

He then compromised and said, "okay, R20".

I then piped up and said, "you don't have to solve SA's economy single-handedly".

He laughed and said that he feels like he should reward people doing an honest day's work.

And... they rely on tips so what's the harm?

"True," I said, but it was too late as the PA had long since left.

I was telling D this story and he said, "WB should continue doing what is in his heart because his generosity is creating the abundance in his life"

!

I thought about it and it is true.

What do you think?

Besides being extremely intelligent (he hired me, after all :)) and a wonderful boss, his open hand creates lots of flow of finances in his life.

I am only now slightly above average (let's say a 6 - 6.5) on the generosity scale but there is still a ton I could learn from him in this area.

Where do you fall on the generosity scale?

P.S. Full disclosure - for many years I would say I was a 2

P.P.S. I don't believe this has anything to do with how much money you have. I've met "poor" people who are very generous with their time, homes, selves and very wealthy people who are very, very mingy :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Family stuff - is this weird?


As you know our goal is two dates a month.

We have V coming in on one Saturday afternoon and D’s mom coming in on one Sunday afternoon a month.

Aside from that, she also “visits the twins” (as she calls it) on one Thursday a month.

Yesterday was that Thursday.

When I got home yesterday, I asked V what time she arrived – 1.30.

What time did she leave? 2.15

Yes, you read right – a whole 45 minutes.

She drives 45 minutes to get to our house, and another 45 minutes back. All to spend 45 minutes there.

Last time she spent an hour there.

I know they’re my kids so it’s normal for me to think they’re the cutest things ever but surely it’s weird for a grandmother to only want to see her grandkids for 2 hours and 45 minutes a month.

We bump into one another maybe 1 in every 3 weeks at church, literally for a minute, as we’re always late and she goes to the early service. There is time for a quick kiss and a hello.

I actually initiated this Thursday visit as I thought the children don’t know their grandmother that well and I feel they should, especially since one of them actually lives in the same city.

D thought it was a good idea and mentioned to his mom.

But what if we didn’t suggest it?

(D asked her this morning if she felt she had a nice time yesterday and she says, “yes, lovely, they’re growing so quickly”. Well, yes, when you only see them every 2 weeks, they do look gigantic the next time

Tell me, please, are my expectations unrealistic? Or is there perhaps something else I’m not thinking of?

P.S. Pics still from the beach shoot :) I love that 2nd one of D & Connor.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The best part about yoga today


was having it end!

Seriously.

I went with the best of attitudes and enthusiasm and it is just not for me.

I got confused and when I looked at my watch and saw it was 1 pm, I got so happy that it was over and then realised the class only started at 12:30.

Damn!

At the start of the class, the instructor said she really needs to have two classes - one for beginners and one intermediate, only thing is the beginners don't come back.

Maybe they're all like me?

The minute it was over I raced to the loos to get dressed and get out of there.

It just so happens that C, my friend with the twins, was also in the class and said through the door that they were leaving.

Her colleague, also an ex-colleague of mine, said, "so are you coming back next week?"

And I said, "definitely not!"

*crazy laughter*

I then emerged from the loo, dressed, and explained that I have now been to two yoga classes in my life and it is just not for me.

First one in 2003 when I first joined the gym and I thought that maybe things had changed (within me) in the 8 years and I'd be different.

Nope, still not for me.

Although something interesting happened.

At the end of the class, we lay on the floor while she did a "guided meditation" and if you're me, your mind starts wandering and thinking...

And I got all emotional - don't ask me why but for you yoga people, is this normal?

So I took one good thing out of that class - I maybe need to have more moments of stillness in my life.

Otherwise, why am I getting so emotional after just a few moments of quietness in my life?

Hmmm...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How quickly I fall off the wagon


I was doing so well with the being diligent about computer time and then I just relapsed.

Last night, despite my better judgement, I stayed up reading blogs for HOURS.

Literally.

The thing is I justify it because I work so well.

I have my list and I do all my tasks for the business, focussed and like a machine.

A passionate machine, but a machine nonetheless. :)

And then I relax and stop taking note of the time, or using my timer.

Which meant that I bypassed my computer cut-off (10 pm) by two hours last night. Yip, 12 am. With day 2 of a course today.

The previous 3 - 4 nights it was 11:15 - 11:30.

Just as bad.

Imagine how bad it would be if I were on FB all the time!

I've just created a time log in Excel and I'm tracking my time from today.

Tonight I'll spend about 3.5 hours on the computer in total but nearly 2 hours of that was blogging on the professional blog and I'll only be 15 minutes over cut-off after I press Publish Post.

How do you stay disciplined? Or is the computer not a big thing for you?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cute and sassy 18-month-olds

After their baths but before bottles and bed, the babies stand at their cots facing one another and jibber jabber (with some real words thrown in).

Connor then pulls Kendra's dummy from her mouth and gives her his one. At least he's sharing.

When I come in and see this going on, I like to right the wrongs so I go, "Connor, give Kendra's dummy to her" and he holds it out and then as she's reaching for it, he jerks his hand back and runs to the furthest end of his cot, giggling like crazy.

Naughty but it's funny so I laugh. And I laugh very easily (especially at naughtiness) so I can't even stop myself.

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

Then Connor seems to have this minimalist bend going on.

They both have a duvet, a receiving blanket and a fleece baby blanket at the bottom of their cots, a pillow to sleep on and two decorative pillows. Aside from all of that, there is a puppy with pink/ blue paws and nose, a pink/ blue teddy bear and a brown teddy bear each. Plus those lovey things which they don't care one bit about.

The beige and brown teddies are called Thursday and Friday.


They got them from very close friends of ours for their baby dedication. The day after the baby dedication, I said to Kendra, "what's this teddy's name?" and she said something that (to me) sounded like Thursday. And Thursday has had that name ever since. Of course then I named Connor's one Friday.

Thursday and Friday are proving very useful in getting them to lie down and sleep instead of jumping around their cots.

I just say things like, "Connor, Friday told me he's waiting for a big hug from you." And so on.

Or "give Thursday a hug, Kendra. Good girl! Now let's put Thursday next to you so you can both go to sleep".

And miraculously, it works!


Anyway, back to Connor. In the mornings when we come into their bedroom, he's thrown EVERYTHING either onto the floor or into Kendra's cot. He likes nothing in his cot but the fitted sheet and his dummy. It's crazy!

Poor Kendra can hardly be seen with all those animals and pillows in her bed!

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

Yesterday I came home from work and V was bathing Connor.

We don't do both babies at the same time - they're too squirmy and my rule is "rather take double the time than have a dead baby!"

So V contains Kendra in her cot and gives her books to read with the music on.

It's actually very sweet.

I went into the bedroom to say "hi" and immediately she starts telling me to put her shoes back on (because she loves taking them off - it's the sound of the velcro, I think) and to pass her cap to her.

I said, "Kendra, you can at least say, "hello Mummy"" and without missing a beat, she says, "hello Mummy" - oh my word - TOO SWEET!

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

One more...

Today V was changing Kendra and I took out a new book to distract him. Otherwise he also wants lotion.

I saw that there were two TINY bees on one of the pages so I said, "Connor, can you see the bees? Where are the bees?"

He goes, "there. there" but I want him to point (mean mom) so I said, "show me with your finger" and he gets all exasperated, "THERE! THERE!" jabbing at the bees with his finger.

V and I both burst out laughing!

18 months old and full of sass :) I love it.



Pics from our beach photoshoot in PE with Ian Fairley (except for the bears - pic by me!)


P.S. On Friday when I wrote that I had to tell you about all Connor's naughtiness, there were 3 incidents and I can now only remember the first one. I really need to start keeping a notebook nearby.

P.P.S. As I type this, it is raining outside my window. Heaven!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Expectations & weigh less

I specifically wrote that post last night because I've been thinking a lot about expectations.

How days like birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas can be less than because of our expectations.

Or rather, my expectations.

I build the occasion up in my mind so that when the actual day happens it is nowhere near what I wanted it to be and I'm disappointed.

Well, I'm tired of living with disappointment so I'd prefer to expect almost nothing, just lots of ordinary moments.

I've also been known to expect people to treat me the way I treat them, which of course, doesn't happen.

I've been thinking how I actually have FABULOUS days all the time and I need to celebrate them more.

I do think one of my good qualities is that I can see the bright side in almost any situation and I do that, but I need to do it with the special occasions too.

My friend, Nat, had a birthday earlier this month and when I phoned her (just for you, Mandy P) to wish her a happy birthday, she said she's been LOVING her birthday.

People phoning the whole day, interrupting her lunch with her hubby, etc. Having a ball.

I remember thinking, "now that's how it should be" and so I think this year I will celebrate if just one person remembers me.



Then, in other news, today was session 2 with the personal trainer.

And... it went much better. That could either mean I'm getting used to working so hard or it wasn't as sore because we worked on different areas of the body.

Either way, it's all good.

He also weighed me and his scale is a horribly lying one. Then again, it was 3:45 and I'd already eaten quite a bit today.

However, no excuses.

I've decided that I'm not working so hard at the gym only to mess things up here at home by being all loosey goosey with my food.

Don't you love that word?!

So at supper time, I hauled out my Weigh-Less file to check portion sizes (always my issue) and weighed exactly 140 g of pasta to have with my healthy bolognaise sauce (with lentils).

And I'll be planning my meals properly from now onwards, like I used to when I very successfully lost 5 kg on WL.

My spreadsheet is ready and waiting :)

The "funny" thing is last time my start weight was 59 and I ended on 54. This time I'll be happy with 59 and very happy with 56 - 57.

How perspective changes things!

How was your Monday?

P.S. I'm on a course at work for two days and I haven't done the pre-work but on the bright side, my inbox is empty and I'm good at making things up on the spur of the moment. Should be fun.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ordinary, simple pleasures

I had one of the best weekends.

"Wow, what happened?" you might ask.

Nothing spectacular, just small, simple pleasures.

MandyE and I have often spoken about how the ordinary can be so fabulous sometimes because it's what you've dreamed of for so long. Normal, family stuff, nothing exciting, just pleasure in the ordinary.

1. just finished supper of home-made vegetable and lentil soup with buttered garlic bread. Mmmmm.
2. yesterday for lunch, we ALL had baked beans on toast, one of my favourite cold weather lunches. First time for the kids and they loved it. Connor is apparently a boy who relishes his food like his mother as he is also doing the "mmmm" thing. Too sweet to see in an 18-month-old.
3. 1:1 shopping yesterday with Kendra for some shoes (still no winter clothes in the shops and we're having lots of cold weather) and some pretty office-type stuff as I decided "life is too short to not have a pretty workspace".
4. reading comments on some of the Mondo Beyondo threads. I love when a community of women support and inspire one another instead of the backbiting we seem to see so often.
5. being inspired by the Mondo Beyondo comments, especially by the sorts of people who are so different to me (artists, creatives, etc.).
6. doing my prompts and having aha moments as I wrote (typed) my initial Mondo Beyondo list. there is such freedom for a person like me to know that tomorrow I will print it (I purposely don't have a printer at home), put it in a beautiful blue envelope (I'm into prettying my life this year - more on another post) and forget about it. I know that half the power of creating awesomeness in your life is simply to write it down.
7. I have vision boards from years ago that I made and "forgot about" and they have come to pass.
8. an unexpected weekend sale popping into my inbox (I get most sales on a Wed or Thurs right after my newsletter goes out)
9. had a meeting after church with the pastor in charge of ministry work and I am officially starting my ministry in Feb. I'm starting to get excited about impacting real, live, in-the-flesh people again. For too long, it feels like I have been hiding behind my computer, blogging here and on the other blog.
10. had lunch at a coffee shop and used our fabric baby seats. I was stopped by several people asking "WHERE did you get those fabulous things?" (paraphrasing) but best of all, the babies behaved and we had a lovely lunch with everyone eating their food.
11. had a nearly 2 hour long nap this afternoon. Bliss. Connor did the same and was the happiest camper on the planet afterwards. Amazing what sleep will do.
12. hugging the babies' teddies, Thursday and Friday (that's their names), and pretending that they were telling K & C they really wanted to go sleep. Hey, it worked.
13. while I was typing this, Connor started talking in his sleep. Ba- ba- ba (like he's shooting someone?). D and I both burst out laughing.

What were your simple pleasures this weekend?


P.S. Pics taken at Lavendar Cafe in Port Elizabeth - taking pics like these is another of my simple pleasures

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Finances and Mondo goals

Gosh, aren't finances depressing?

You think you earn X amount and before you know it (and our "month" is only 2 days old as I get paid on the 20th), you have thousands gone...

Also, last month we overspent on our grocery budget by 75%.

Don't ask - I don't know how either. But I've told D we need to be a bit more vigilant about finishing food in the house before just buying more and more things.

On the bright side, everything now balances and all is good with the world.

I've decided to put it out there on my Mondo list that I want to pay off our bond this year.

Our bond was registered on 7 Jan 2006 (I don't know how I keep remembering such arbitrary dates...but I do) and so it is 5 years old.

Every time we buy a property (this is the 3rd) we set a goal to pay off the bond in 5 years. First one was "easy" because the bond was so small, second one we only stayed there 3.5 years but whittled a good chunk away and I think we would have done this one had it not been for the IVFs.

Nevertheless, that was the best R80-odd thousand we ever spent as we now have these beautiful children who make us laugh at their craziness every single day.


So I've worked the numbers and at first I thought if we could live very frugally with no "life", we could do it. But that's just not me.

Instead we will live semi-frugally (really just watch unnecessary expenses) but still go on a few holidays and I will work my BUTT off (in the gym and at work) and trust God for a fantastic bonus again this year plus TWO salary increases.

Why not, I say? I serve a Big God!

I like to use my bonus for travel but I'm also sensible and do put some away.

Do you know how scary it is to put this goal out there?

But this is what I meant when I chose COURAGE for my word of the year.

I never had problems believing in BIG DREAMS before and I need to start doing so again.

So watch this space - by 31 Dec 2011 our bond will be paid off. I'm not worrying about the how at the moment.

I get all fluttery on the inside just thinking about it - fantastic :)

Do you have any scary financial goals?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Torture for a purpose


I had my first session with the personal trainer today.

I thought he may go easy on me seeing as how it's only the start of our "relationship" but no.

Boy oh boy.

He seriously worked me hard.

Took no excuses and when I stopped before we'd reached 30 of something or other, made me start all over again.

I kept visualising my 54 kg self (my Mondo goal is only 57 kg), this pic in Kuala Lumpur and at one point I told him I'd be bringing a "thin" pic to put on the treadmill (I hate treadmills). I think he thought I was joking.

I am so not.

It's on my list for tomorrow to have a thin pic printed because seeing my skinny (for me) thighs will definitely motivate me to keep going.

This is Victoria Station in London - I was 56 kg under that jacket in May 2008 and had crept up to 59 after all the fertility meds in Oct/ Nov. So 59 is my pre-pregnancy weight but my goal is 57.

BTW, that luggage is for 3 weeks in the UK :)

The good news is... he says we should reach my goals in LESS THAN 3 months! That will make me very, very happy and I can't wait :)

I plan to book a mini photo shoot with Jeanette for just D and me in April - a funky, arty one in Newtown to celebrate our 16 years of marriage.

On another note, out of nowhere, the personal trainer says to me, "is your husband white?"

I was shocked* but blurted out, "yes.........how did you know?"

He says, "I just sensed"

What that means only he will know.

I was chatting to some clients today and I realised that D & I have only spent 1 night away from the babies (my birthday last year). They were horrified that we haven't escaped more :)

How many nights have you spent away from your babies/ kids, especially in the first two years?

P.S. * I am what we call coloured in SA. Basically mixed race. Both D and I honestly don't see our "differences" - we haven't ever had issues, even right at the beginning.

P.P.S. Tomorrow I need to write about some of Connor's naughtiness. And the bad thing is I just laugh which I don't think is the best thing in the world to do...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mondo Beyondo - small things that bring me joy

I mentioned before that I'm doing Mondo Beyondo.

I am loving it.

I like the structure of an outline and a plan to explore dreaming big. Most of all I love reading the comments on the private blog - these people write so beautifully.

Anyway, here is today's prompt for me (I'm a day behind since I get the stuff late afternoon because of being in South Africa - the others are just starting out their day).

What are some small things that bring you joy?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Second child syndrome

I have a friend with four kids.

They're all two years apart.

I used to tease her because child 1's photo was plastered everywhere in her home. Child 2, 3 and 4? Almost nothing.

She told me at the time that you obsess about the first one and then when the rest of them come along, you just totally relax about the rest... :)

And, of course, at the time I thought it was terrible but I'm doing it too!


Both of mine are "second children" with regard to lots of things - Connor walked first, Kendra says most words first, Connor can play properly with certain toys first, Kendra climbed first, Connor made a run for it first (oh, didn't I tell you? the door was left open the other day and V found Connor at my car "go car" - thank goodness for high walls in Jhb).

And so on.

I generally remember (generally is also a very loose term) to write down that first thing but my poor second child has no record of things.

Terrible.

I was thinking about the walking thing. I know K walked after Connor but when?!

Your guess is as good as mine.

My friend, Roz, is very good at recording everything about her girls and quite honestly, would be horrified at the lack of record-keeping that goes on around here.

The only thing I keep good records of are their weights and such at the paed appointments. And what they eat!

D & I were at a bookstore a few weeks ago and I saw the most beautiful 5-year baby books. I may still get them because they're 5 years in one and that appeals to the minimalist in me; I'm thinking about it. I browsed through them and thought, "I don't even know half these things" about my first this and my first that :)

It's not like I lack the skill or ability to keep good records. After all I write down plenty of other things. Somehow I just don't seem to be that interested - eek!



This blog is probably the best record of all the babies' milestones and development that I have, and it's not really a baby blog.

I once read a blog about a lady who kept a spiral notebook on her kitchen counter to jot things down that her kids did or said so she wouldn't forget. That's a great idea.

Where on the record-keeping spectrum are you with your kids? And what is your preferred method? Scrapbooks, journals, your blog? How do you keep track of it all?

P.S. I made an appointment at the paediatric nutritionist for the first week in Feb. It will have been 4 weeks since the other weigh-in so we should have a good idea of how things have been going.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Getting back in the swing of things

The whole of Jhb is certainly back at work now, judging from the traffic and the MILLIONS of emails from people wanting to discuss their business ideas.

Both yesterday and today I worked until just before 5.

Those who were reading in 2009 when I went back after my maternity leave will remember I had a deal with Wonderful Boss that I'd only work 6 hours a day (in the office) and then finish up at home later.

That worked so, so well but it's been getting later and later.

First, 2:30, then 3:00 for quite some time, then 3:30 since about September last year.

And now it's 4-ish up to 5.

Simply because I can't come home and work here while the kids are awake.

It is impossible.

They bang on the door and shout, "Mum-mum-mum" (C) and "Mummy" or "Mommy" (K, depending on her mood).

So, impossible to work.

And since they pay me to have my head in the game, I just prefer to work at work til done and then come home to clean, sweet-smelling, bathed babies.
We got about 8 - 10 white cotton babygrows for Connor from my friend Michelle in size 18 - 24 months and I love them - I have my baby back when he's in there. He can be a little guy walking around during the day but come 5:30 he's a baby again :)

So then I went out and bought about 6 pink babygrows for Kendra (months ago when she was peeing through everything).

Love the baby-ness.
Anyway, the point of all this is I've gotten lax since getting back after my leave (28 December onwards) because I realise I am faffing more at work and at home and I need to get my act together.

This is the good thing about coaching time management - I can get back on course quickly and I feel like I have to lead by example so I do, mostly.

I finally booked my sessions with the personal trainer (it still kills me to pay someone to torture me! but if he gets these 5 kg off, I will KISS him!) and paid him for the rest of January. I am cheap and hate wasting money so this will ensure I drag my butt to the gym.

Because of this, I will have to be super efficient again as I will be leaving work at 3:15 twice a week to "enjoy" the personal training.

I've also been very lazy in the evenings - for about 4 evenings over the last week, I've been at the computer til 11 - 11:30, and that has got to stop.

I need to be off the computer at 10 and put "read blogs" as the last thing on my computer to-do list instead of the first. *ahem*

How's your productivity been at work, (if you work outside the home - look at me being all PC) and at home on the computer?

P.S. Of my 10 goals for January, 4 are done!

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Our" first day at daycare

So Deanna is the only one who noticed how I just let slip a few weeks ago that my babies went to daycare :)

My nephew has been going since he was about 8 months old (now 3.5) and my sister mentioned to me while we were on holiday that the school was closing and he'd be going for a half day.

I joked and said, "can K and C go too?" and she said she'd phone the principal and see.

She phoned me back after 10 minutes and said yes.

Of course once it was a done deal, I panicked a little bit but I was brave and told D that I'd booked them in and they were going.

He is far more overprotective than I am (my friend Caren says D is a more nurturing "mother" than I am - ha!) and had many more concerns.

I said, "if it's good enough for K (nephew), it's good enough for our two".

And I was dreaming about actually having a bit of time off after 4 full days with the babies as I now know that the zen-ness only kicks in after 5 days (or at least that's how it was for us).

Time to eat warm food and drink a hot cup of tea/ coffee all the way through.

You know, things I took for granted before.

So we dropped them off shortly after 8 in the pouring rain (this holiday was terrible with all the rain but moving along).

Two teachers met us at the gate and were obviously expecting us as they said, "are these K's cousins, the twins (you guys know how I hate that!)?"

I entertained thoughts of hanging around a bit and letting them get used to the new environment but no, they like the break fast.

So you hand over your precious cargo and leave QUICKLY.

Surprisingly K was absolutely fine - started chatting to the teacher immediately - that girl makes me worry. Will she just go off with any friendly person????

But C screamed and wailed, and didn't want to let go of D. They told us to go and I left a business card with them and said we'd be in the area for breakfast and to please phone if things got out of hand and we'd come collect them.

We went to a lovely coffee shop where I wrote this post.

We had pretty hot chocolates


this is D's meal

and this was mine (ricotta hotcakes with honey and strawberries)

yes, it tasted every bit as good as it sounds. Mmmm.


While we waited for our food, I made some bookmarks and keyrings for some special people.

Some of the patrons looked at me strangely - is it weird to be all organised? I hate wasting time.

Anyway, while I was on holiday, I also decided to get my eyes re-tested and get some new frames. There was a special on at a local optometrist and I'd save about R1000 with all the stuff I usually do with my glasses (high refractive lenses, anti-reflex coating, hard coating).

So I went for my eye test (all in about 3 - 4 blocks) and D collected the kids.

When I finished, they were fast asleep in the car. Stressed out from being with all the other kids, poor things.

D told me when Connor saw him, he started crying again. It broke my heart. See, I'm not as cold as I seem.

K was fine and, as she usually is, happy to see him.

Apparently the teacher said that Connor calmed down after 10 minutes but every 20 minutes or so, he'd cry a little again. Terrible.

Even K (nephew) told my sister that they could hear Connor crying from their class :)

And that was their first (half) day of daycare.

But here's the thing.

The rest of that day and the next couple, Connor would freak out if D so much as disappeared from his line of vision.

"Daddy! Daddy!" in that little boy urgent voice.

And for weeks afterward, he still wants D around all the time but that could just be due to the fact that D's been at home with them for a whole month because of being sick.

So I dread to think what will happen when, one day in the very distant future, the kids go to daycare.
And the schools are clever in these parts. They charge much the same whether they go for a full day or a half day.

E.g. I investigated two local schools (18 months early because I'm a planner) and the one said R1900 for a full day and R1750 for a half day, and again R1600 for a full day and R1400 for a half day.

Those fees are per person per month.
I wonder how I'll know if it's right for them and they need to just suck it up, or if I'm pushing too much (my tendency is to push...).

I read about Cat's twin boys, one who cried so much last week the nanny had to go to the school to spend some time with him. The other one was perfectly fine.

This is not a new problem and it certainly won't be the last.

But oh, it is so difficult when they wail like that and you feel like your heart's breaking.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A little of this and a little of that

There was a whole discussion on a blog a good few weeks ago about how sweets (candy) are called different things in different countries.

Well, these are what we call fizzers and smarties :)

If some of you are thinking, "who cares?!" it's because I'm the type of person who LOVES seeing everyday things that happen in different countries (I always make a trip to a local supermarket when we travel to look at all the toiletries, breads, etc.).

I am easily amused.


In the things that make me stupid excited post, I mentioned my square purple bowls. I now present my new favourites :)

They go so beautifully with these plum plates that I've had for about 5 - 6 years. Mmmmm, see all the pepper? Another one of life's little pleasures.

While we're talking food, here's my menu for the week:

Mon
Pasta with chicken and broccoli

Tues
Chicken divan, rice and carrots

Wed
Tomato sausages with sweet potato bake, peas/ carrots
I have issues following recipes (I can't no matter how hard I try) so while this started out with good intentions from my Reluctant Entertainer book, it quickly morphed to whatever I felt like throwing in. (click to see bigger)

Thurs
Apricot chicken, rice and broccoli (I will blog the recipe for the apricot chicken maybe next week - I planned to do it now but the whole Picasa collage above took sweet forever and I have a date with my 3rd book of the month at 10 pm)

Friday
Burgers and salad

And last, but not least...

Here are the pics I was running around having printed yesterday. I did them tonight while D was bathing Connor. Kendra and I were having girl time playing with photos. I have a little "brag book" (I don't brag; it really is called that!) which she loves, so she pages through saying, "Daddy, Connor, Mommy/ Mummy, Kendra", and on and on. VERY cute!

here is the work-in-process pic (that little book with the flowers is the brag book)

this one is in the corridor outside the study - ignore bad pics. I only took them for proof!

this frame was my Christmas present at the infertility support group's end-of-year function. those are some of the beach pics.

and these are the last two. I decided the one of me is worthy to be printed so it can inspire me in person, not just for other people on my website :)


We've had some flood warnings but yesterday was beautiful weather (warm but not boiling hot) and today it has been raining pretty much the entire day.

Connor loves messing in the rain - I normally don't mind but not when we're going to church and I don't have spare clothes with me. Poor kid was whisked in and out of the car within seconds.

All the rain meant .... SOUP. I made a gigantic pot of very good soup. We all had some for lunch with garlic bread (us) and toast (them) and I took a bite of the toast because the melting butter smelt so good and I went, "MMMMM", like I normally do when I taste heaven.

Connor laughed like a crazy boy - apparently he likes his mother's sounds because when we were out shopping on Friday, I walked past a smoker and said, "ugh" at the smell and again, more crazy boy laughter.

So how has your weekend been?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Grocery shopping with twins & getting house things done

We'd run out of full cream and low-fat (2%) milk yesterday morning so since I had a half day's leave, it was my job to get milk on the way home.

By the way, the half day was not for fun - it was to relieve my MIL who came to babysit so that V could go renew her asylum papers.

Long story short, still not done but she has decided to just wait it out. Also the fine is R1000 because she's late - she waited the whole day to hear that.

Anyway, moving along.

I was called into a meeting unexpectedly (they forgot to invite me) so I was out 30 mins with everything I'd planned to do.

So I thought I'd go home, feed them lunch and then all 3 of us would go to the shops and since I was feeling all competent, why not do the weekly grocery shop anyway.

Big mistake.

I decided to forgo the pram and just pile the kids in the shopping trolley. One where a child is meant to sit, and the other amongst the groceries.

Very big mistake.

The child who shall remain nameless but is my climber was climbing on boxes of milk and squashing my breads, etc.

The other kept asking for water, I'd hand the bottle to that baby, only to have one sip taken and then the bottle being tossed around in the trolley.

And on and on.

In the midst of it, there was some cuteness with "hello, hello" to all the fellow shoppers, most of whom were very grumpy for a Friday afternoon (isn't everybody happy on a Friday?).

Eventually, I just decided this was a bad idea and made my way to the cashiers.

But not without the milk.

D had to make another short trip last night for fruit and vegetables.

I honestly don't think I'll be doing that again soon. Either that or next time it will be for one or two VERY essential items.

How do you guys with twins shop for groceries? Push pram and pull trolley?

The logistics boggle my mind. We've done it before but then I push babies and D pushes the trolley.

Today I was very productive, house-wise. I've decided I need to make a list of all these annoying things around the house and just get it done. It's now all done for the moment.
  1. I took measurements and went to see Michael, the guy around the corner, who will make me two 3-drawer wicker tables for my study. My desk has no drawers and so everything is organised but out in plain sight, and it's driving me nuts.
  2. I also had photos printed for 4 photo frames (in anticipation of my hooks arriving) that I bought just before Christmas.
  3. Jeanette (photographer) tells me I should have my canvases within the next couple of days.
  4. I am up to date with filing (since mid-October!) - good thing I don't keep much paper. Another good thing is when you have a low tolerance for clutter (I'm getting even more ruthless), you just toss, toss, TOSS. Heavenly! I have never had a moment of regret or looked for something I've thrown out, so it's all good.
After I hit publish, I'm going to cook supper and another meal for the week and then later I'll come download photos.

How do you tackle house stuff? Do you do it immediately, or do you have a list, or do you wait until it bugs you and then do it, like me?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Journalling my final reverb prompts


Edited to add:

Hey, it's National Delurking Day and I'd love to hear from you if you never comment.

Your comment seriously makes my day - I love it!

Tell me something about yourself, like what's your favourite movie/ love song/ blog/ book, or if you could live in another country for a year or two, where would you go and why? (money is no option - let's dream big!)

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

Confession - when I said on my last reverb post that this would probably take me til mid-Jan, I secretly thought, "aaah, I'm sure I will finish it sooner" and yet, here I am, at my self-imposed deadline.

Shame, I know nobody's interested in these posts but it's very therapeutic for me.

December 22 – Travel How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (Author: Tara Hunt)

Only 315 km to Clarens and 1100 km to PE.

I would like to do 4 trips total next year - a short overnight or weekend away with D (that's going to be our prep to leave the babies for a longer trip), a nice holiday with the babies for about 4 days, and then our overseas trip somewhere in Europe (where we don't need visas!) and then a nice long family holiday, maybe on the KZN north coast in Dec.

BTW, I'm not one to practise doing things. E.g. D likes to start getting up a little earlier as our leave ends. I sleep late right until work starts and just force myself to adapt on the day. Different styles.

What's your preferred option?


Lots of travel, just like I like it.

Although I also have a Mondo goal of paying off the house this year....scares me to even say it.

December 23 – New Name Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? (Author: Becca Wilcott)

I love the names Saskia and Maxine. They just sound sassy and full of strop. It would be fun to get into another character for a day. Almost like reinventing yourself, but just for a little bit.

BTW, all the answers to this prompt, everybody said, "oh, I love my name" and to that I say.... HOGWASH :)

December 24 Prompt – Everything’s OK What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead? (Author: Kate Inglis)
This happens such a lot with me but I need to learn to trust more. And let go.

Whenever I'm stressing about something, there's a really gentle reminder from God that things are always going to be okay. Always.

In the infertility years I seriously stressed about how we were going to pay for an IVF. (If you have nothing better to do, read the blog archives) And yet, when the time came, I changed my questions and God showed me lots of ways to have the money.

That's a money example - maybe it's for someone.

But it happens also with things that weigh heavy on my heart, like friendships. I just feel like "nobody loves me" and out of the blue, I'll get a lovely email or text that I need at that very moment, a gentle reminder that things are going to be okay.

Or with the business, when I think, "dear Lord, am I ever going to make decent money at this?", and a couple of orders will pop into my inbox or there'll be a request for coaching. I don't get very many enquiries which is how I've set it up but I do convert about 90% of those who email me.

So, incorporating that into this year? I need to stop when I start to get negative and just relax and trust, knowing that, as they always do, things will be fine.

December 25 – Photo – a present to yourself Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, etc.

while not the best pics in the world, I love these two taken by D because we were playing around and having fun and not many people get to see the playful side


and this is the one from the photo shoot that now graces all my business cards and website...

I love that I wore purple. It is my colour, or so I've been told. I feel confident, calm and centred in this pic. Hopefully it inspires confidence in other people that I know what I'm talking about.

She did a great job and the minute I lose the weight I want to, I'm booking another mini shoot for full-length pics in suits for my speaking pages, and I also want some pics of me in a tight black, long-sleeved t-shirt, sitting against something :)

December 26 – Soul Food What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul? (Author: Elise Marie Collins)

Mmmm, tamarind chicken. Yummy - made by my brother and then I ordered it at a Thai restaurant because I liked it so much. That one was also good but not as good as my brother's. My mouth is watering at the thought of the salty-sweetness :)

I asked D and he said my potato lentil curry - I love this man!

December 27 – Ordinary Joy Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? (Author: BrenĂ© Brown)

This kind of thing. Getting on the floor with the babies, chasing them around, hearing giggles and belly laughs and then also, the quiet talking to them. I love it - they are little PEOPLE.



December 28 – Achieve What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today. (Author: Tara [...]

The one thing I most want to achieve is to feel excited and raring to go like I used to. I feel kind of blah but I'm hoping it's just a phase so I'm doing my normal bit which is to persevere and read things that inspire me (like your blog, Julia) and take care of myself.

I have an inkling that it's because I'm holding back a bit to protect myself.

And then, on the list - to write a book. Now that I've put it out there a couple of times, I'm starting to get scared. Why? I have no idea - I have no problems writing and have 25 e-books out but I think it's the thought of an actual print book that people can critique. Eeek. Or that I will do this thing that means so much to me and nobody will care. I know that not many people care about the subject matter; I mean care that I've done this thing.

My goal this month (a mini-goal of course) is to decide on a topic. That's it. The deciding part of anything is always the most painful for me. Once I get there and have the clarity, I'm all systems go and I know I will churn out the content in no time at all.

I told D 3 weeks - ha! I do like to put pressure on myself but won't it be lovely to just nestle in for 3 - 4 weekends once the weather cools and write for hours on end each day with warm cups of tea. Mmmm. Can't wait.


December 29 – Defining Moment Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. (Author: Kathryn Fitzmaurice)

December 30 – Gift Prompt: Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year? (Author: Holly Root)

Little snippets of loveliness from so many of you reading.

Sometimes you leave sweet comments that mean such a lot and I do reply and thank you but I hope you know they mean the world to me even though on my side it may just seem like mere words.

I've seen on two blogs that comments really make their day. I'd venture to say that their love language is words of affirmation, as is one of mine.

And then there are the gifts which are so very precious to me - like when D sees I am tired, cross, stressed and makes me a cup of tea without me saying a word, or just getting a hug, or when Connor (my least affectionate child) comes to me without being prompted and does that thing with the lips that means he wants a kiss, or when Kendra who is Ms Independent, flings herself at me, nestles her head in my neck and gives me a lovely hug, with the sounds too. Mmmm. Lovely.

December 31 – Core Story What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.) (Author: Molly O’Neill)

This is an interesting prompt.

I have always been that girl encouraging and cheerleading others, sharing advice when needed, guiding, lovingly giving a kick in the pants :) and celebrating others' successes.

I used to have an A4 laminated piece of paper above my desk with, "I motivate and inspire people to reach their goals and live their potential". Maybe I need to put that piece of paper back. I'm sure it's somewhere.

Over the years I thought I'd moved away into organising and time management and business coaching.

This year I rebranded slightly and you know what?

I am still that girl. Time management is the way you will reach your goals and live your potential.

There is NOTHING (not even my kids) that thrills me more that to see people living their dreams.

I believe this is my purpose in life and the way that I do that is through speaking and coaching.

I mentioned before that I've signed up for Mondo Beyondo (see button on my left sidebar <---). Today's lesson was so, so beautiful - it left me teary as I'm realising once again the power of dreams and having those dreams fulfilled.

On one level I'm being inspired and on another level I'm so enjoying being in this community of honesty and authenticity.

One of my biggest fears is dying without having fulfilled my purpose. I don't want to settle. And so I will live courageously, encouraging, coaching, inspiring, motivating and hopefully impacting my corner of the world in a positive way.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sometimes I am very, very slow


this is me in Kuala Lumpur 4 years ago when I weighed 54 kg. That lovely tan is from laying around at the pool in Thailand :)

My usual thing is to go to gym twice a week. Some weeks I don't even make it twice.

I really need to up the ante so this weight can come off once and for all.

I don't think it's about motivation; it's about creating the time and space to set you up for success.

And that's what I'm trying to do.

We have a gym at work but the problem with that is I don't like to shower at work (I am very private and all the girls walk around na.ked, not me though) and you kind of have to after a lunch time class.

Oh, have I mentioned I only do classes? I find working out by myself very, very boring. I need the group energy and, dare I say it, competition, to spur me on.

Just last night, I went to my first class in over a month.

It was a Zumba class and there was a can-can song which I loved. I pretend I'm on stage and dance my heart out. It helps to push through the pain :)

Back to why I'm slow.

The only time I have to go to extra classes are either during the day or on the weekend.

So I've decided to join the gym at work and hire a personal trainer.

My intention is to do 2 sessions a week with him (at the end of the day so I can drive straight home and shower here), one class by myself at lunch (I'll have to run around with my towel for one day a week), and one to two classes at my regular gym.

So really it's just one day that will seriously inconvenience me but I will do it to reach my goals. I put up with IVFs, didn't I?

These are my goals for the next 3 months:
  1. build upper body strenth (my triceps are getting flabbier which has got to stop)
  2. reduce the abdomen, bum and thigh fat (I want muscles again and for my clothes to fit better)
  3. strengthen my back muscles (I have taken far too many Norflex over the last 2 - 3 months from picking up the kids) and increase flexibility - this is the class I'll do at the work gym by myself, Yoga. I don't have a good relationship with Yoga/ Pilates-type stuff but I will persevere
  4. strengthen my core
  5. increase my physical fitness (the two cardio dance classes should help here)
  6. lose some weight (I'm giving him my Mondo number - 57 - so he works for his money :))
I love how the weight is number 6, and I didn't even plan it like that!

I am taking this list with me later this afternoon when I go see him to set goals and work out my plan.

Do you have health and fitness goals?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Guess how many baby books I've read in the last 18 months?

18

and guess how many of those were about sleep?

6

I know, I'm shocked too!

While we're taking a walk down memory lane, this was the first night BOTH babies were home (2 Aug 2009). I cried when D called me to show me how he'd made up the babies' bed as this was what I'd dreamed of for so, so long. They are so tiny and so, so sweet.

Kendra in her Anne Geddes pose :)

this is one of my favourite pics of Connor - I LOVE it!

and he still pulls the pillow over his face. D and I were joking last night that he wants to block out his sister's chatter and just sleep!



But... I read 46 books last year - the lowest ever...

How many did you read?

I'm setting my goals low this year - only 60. Should be doable, right?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Connecting with Caren & social goals

Remember the photo shoot with Jeanette?

Well, my friend Caren loved it like I did, especially the location, so we agreed that we would walk around my work, take pics and then have lunch and chat.

That happened two Tuesdays ago and was fabulous.

I love seeing things through other people's eyes and honestly loved how much she also appreciated our gorgeous surroundings. I took my camera with me and even though I took much the same shots, it was interesting to see how it turned out afterwards.

I love these arches so much! SO MUCH!

And from the other end looking back up...

pic of Caren who told me she didn't want pics so I kind-of didn't take pics, right?

climbing up on walls to get the perfect pic

and that's me, taking pics in the lift (elevator)'s reflection


Caren sent me her pics and these are my favourites

love this angle - that's The Westcliff

LOVE this one of the lovely arches - I think because you can see the doors. Somehow I never include the doors (see above)

again, have never taken a pic like this and yet I walk past there a couple of times a week.

this was the pic taken of the Westcliff when Caren stood on that wall - worth jumping up there for the great view.



Caren, thanks for coming to have lunch with me. I loved our time together - let's do it again soon.

My goal this year regarding socials is much the same as last year - to meet up once with my friends and once with our friends (couple friends) every month for proper connecting time, not just quick social chit-chat.

Although...I'm not just making plans for the sake of crossing things off a list; these are people I really want to connect with.

I have to make social goals otherwise months pass without us seeing anyone and then there's a flurry of invites which stress me out.

This month, I plan to have lunch with Natalie on Thursday and then we're going to friends for lunch on 22nd (postponed from 8th due to all the sick men in our lives!).

Do you have social goals?

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