Thursday, March 31, 2011

A few things and Weigh-Less

1. The night before last, our land-line rang at about 12.30 - 1 AM (so D tells me because I was kind of sleepwalking at the time). Apparently I jumped out of bed, lifted the phone without putting it to my ear, slammed it down and then took it off the hook. I then jumped back into bed.

I'm only slightly embarrassed that I didn't even bother to find out if it was a real call. But then again, I was totally unaware of even doing all that.


2. I have 3 back-to-back meetings later, a total of 5 hours of listening to people talk. I'm going to have to create toilet breaks to stay awake. Or do what I usually do, which is write lists of things to blog about. If I'm not actively participating (I prefer running them, actually), I get verrrrry bored.


3. Kyle (personal trainer) has resigned. I think there are issues there because the PTs keep getting switched around which is messing with MY goals. I feel like I lose a week every time I switch trainers because So I've emailed the manager.


4. I don't think I've lost a single gram over the last month and am seriously thinking of joining Weigh-Less. Scrap that - I've just phoned up the group leader in my area and I will be there on Saturday morning (eek!) for my first weigh-in. Again, paying money just kills me but I know the stuff and am not doing it .... sadly, I need to pay for accountability.


5. I'm going to do a blogging challenge, not on this one (it's already far too easy to post here daily), but on the organising blog, for the month of April. It's going to be interesting.... I'll post tomorrow on that blog but part of the blogging will be 19 random acts of kindness in honour of my friend's son who was murdered.


Can you believe we're 1/4 of the way through the year? My word, it's frightening!

So what's on your mind today? Tell me what you're wearing. Tell me something!

P.S. I'm wearing black pants, black sandals, a black & white shirt and my signature red leather bag.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Adventures in letting go

Remember another thing on my list of 36 is to learn to let go?

Yes, well, I'm doing well in some areas (business), okay in others (things that are not good for me) and quite badly in others (babies!!!).

Fortunately, I remembered my ESTJ profile in the Motherstyles book said exactly this so I take comfort in that fact. That I'm not too weird. After all, 6% of women have this style. I just googled and it's the 2nd most common MALE style. Hmmm.


But back to the babies.

I have now "let go" four times:

1. When we took them to daycare for those 3 hours in December
2 - 4 Leaving them in the children's ministry at church

So after this post, D and I started thinking.

I will admit that I pushed a LOT.

But finally we decided that we needed to start letting the kids go to children's church so we could go to big church and enjoy the message.

I especially felt like I needed it (because I'm ministering again through those talks I'm doing) and told D that if he was uncomfortable then we'd go to the family room in the morning and I'd have to make a single trek out to the church on Sunday evenings.

I don't think he was too keen on doing the bedtime routine by himself :) so he agreed to at least try.

"What's the worse that can happen?" - this is a sentence I use quite often actually................. :)

They have now been on 6, 20 and 27 March. On 13th the kids were sick as was D.

Day 1 was actually the easiest, maybe because there was only one other toddler there.

They screamed when we left but I felt okay because there were enough workers to each console a baby.

Day 2 was worse - lots more kids and lots more screaming. The workers distracted them with their snacks....

When I got there (I'm so impatient that I leave the main auditorium before the closing prayer and RACE towards my kids), they were walking around outside. The worker told me they only calm down when they're outside. LOL

Day 3 (this Sunday) was terrible. We started walking towards the room and they started freaking out.

OH MY WORD.

But this time D was very certain and sure so I went with it.

This is what we do well - the one is always normal when the other is not. It's been this way our entire married life and is really helpful so the whole thing doesn't collapse when we go through tough times.

We left them SCREAMING Mama and Daddy but D held my hand, we said our goodbyes and that we were going to church and off we went.

I could hear those screams echoing in my mind for a long time afterward.

Eventually, after Praise and Worship, I told D to please go check on them. I know I'm a little softer with this type of thing and I'd just take them and undo the previous weeks' training.

He returned and said they were fine. He peeked through the window and they were playing (Connor) and eating (Kendra) but were fine.

After the service (but again before the official closing) I was out of there like a rocket.

I think it must be funny to see me speed out of there (especially to those who knew me pre-kids) because I'm usually a big socialiser after church.

When I collected them, Connor was himself immediately but Kendra was super-clingy and kept asking, "where's Daddy?"

Poor things.

Or poor us!

I know intellectually that they will be okay in the long run and I keep telling myself, "no-one's kids have psychological issues because they're left in children's church for 1.5 hours" but my word, it's hard to let go.

As I always do, I tried to rate myself on a scale of 1 - 10. I think I'm a 2 now. I was probably a -3 at first :)

Where are you on the letting go scale? And how do you guys do it with the daycare thing?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Passionately inspired by the "youth"

I'm working on something here at work, something we all have no clue about :)

That's the fun of working in business development - you're not expected to have all the answers.

Anyway, we thought of someone who was working in the same space we want to get into, but in a different industry and called him in to have a meeting with us.

Meeting one was more of a fact-finding mission but meeting two....

Well, that meeting was fabulous. I've become a bit jaded working in this space because everyone thinks they have the Next Big Business Idea and they don't.

I was SO inspired by this young man with such good business sense and fantastic ideas. And passion!

I even took some notes for my business!

He arrived with 3 of his business colleagues, all so young with not a wrinkle between them, and they were all so self-confident and sure of themselves, without being arrogant.

I loved it.

Yes, I felt like a granny as I'm sure I'm nearly double the age of most of them :) but LOVED interacting with them and learning from them.


Then something else came to mind.

When we were in PE in December, D went to see a movie one night and I stayed behind to babysit.

I had a shower and because I don't dry myself (I air dry - does anyone else do this), I sat around in my towel for about 20 minutes, flipping through the channels and came across the Ms South Africa pageant.

Now I generally don't watch this kind of fluff but it was the interview stages which is being done very naturally these days, out in an adventure setting, and also, I quite like to poke fun at the girls. I'm terrible but really, world peace?

So I was very pleasantly surprised by one of the girls.

She was studying in Cape Town (in my view, the city of friendly people) and was a greenie, but a good greenie. She was busy studying something to do with eco-friendly buildings (B.Sc Property Science - I have a feeling that if they'd had this kind of thing "in my day" I would have done it too) and had started a library of green books for primary school kids.

Well, this girl had passion and I was transfixed.

I used to be her!

When I was at Rhodes, I was a green activist in as much as you could do in 1992. In those days, it was a big deal to have a recyclable bag :)

This girl was passionate not only about green buildings and about the earth, but just about life.

I was like that - full of big dreams and changing the world, making a difference.

Okay, I still have that but it's been tempered with a good old dose of cynicism and reality.

But I sat there in the hotel, with my fluffy white towel, thinking about this girl, out there doing these things.

So what happened to us?

I know I'm not the only one who was like that at 18.

I also know life happens and we get on with it but don't you want some of that get up and go back?

Or don't you care about these things?

I told myself after that meeting with the first guy that I really need to remain open-minded and retain some youthful enthusiasm.

And remember that 18-year-old girl at Rhodes who thought she could do anything.

Because I still can.

Monday, March 28, 2011

5 things I'm tired of... and your inner rebel




1. my car smelling stuffy. I usually leave the driver's window open about 10 cm but then my CD holder full of CDs was stolen about 6 weeks ago while parked in our work's basement and so no more open window. Of course the cameras are not in the part of the basement where my car was parked. Grrrrr. I was too traumatised to even blog about it - my beloved Rod Stewart, Air Supply, The Plain Truth, Billy Joel, etc. Most of it was on iTunes though so I sat one night and created new CDs for my car. I had to replace one though.

2. up and down weather. please just get cold and stay cold.

3. things not put back in their places. Look at my self-restraint - I could write a whole blog post but am choosing to only use a few sentences on this one. I am fanatical about my cupboards because I have nearly zero storage in my house so everything has a place, ONE place. And when I come home and things are just shoved anywhere, I about lose it. I keep decluttering but I'm THIS close to just tossing all the plastics in the kitchen so I have neat cupboards. Somehow I don't think that will do it.

4. feeling tired. I really need to start switching off the computer at 10 again so I can get to bed and sleep.

5. telling people how to find the bathroom. We're open plan and there is a meeting room near my desk so if anyone comes out of this meeting room, they stop at my desk to ask where the bathroom is. I am just this side of polite but really, inside I feel like sticking up a sign that says "walk down the passage, turn left and keep going til you see the signs". If you know me, you know that's not me, so just imagine how many times a day I get asked about the darn bathroom.

Oooh, that felt good.

My post today is inspired by this post. This is one of those blogs I follow and never comment on but this time I commented and I was number 300. Today when I checked to link up, there were 848 comments. WOW - I would peqrmanently twitch from all those unread items :)

I first found Kelle Hampton's blog when I clicked over from a link on another blog I follow. Leah and I had the exact same due date (2 Sept 2009) and were both crazy paranoid throughout the pregnancy - I think she was a bit worse than I was though :)


Anyway, on that same post, Kelle said when she doesn't feel like doing something, she has to find the energy from DEEP within (I sure can relate) and calls on her "inner badass" (her words, not mine).

She named hers Betty and I'll share with you today that I name my inner rebel Maxine.

I just love that name - so full of moxie, fire and passion.

*roar*

Now this sign makes me laugh every time I see it. Have you ever driven down the road thinking, "you know what I need? I really need smooth tar!"

I'm laughing again just thinking about it. Crazy!


So what are the things you're tired of today (hopefully writing them out gets rid of it) and what's your inner rebel called?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My first infertility talk

Notice how I say "first" because I expect there to be many more :)

Speaking of which, if anyone knows of a church group or moms group in the Jhb area, I am willing to come share my story of hope, encouragement, inspiration and beating the odds (that's my slant, not so much the infertility bit).

So K, the group leader, told me that I could take as long as I liked after I said to her on Facebook, "20 minutes?!!! I could talk for 3 hours"

I took 40 minutes.

I tried to take 30 minutes but there was just far too much to share.

Also, when I talk, I check reactions to some of what I'm saying and I sensed that some girls needed to hear more about the "I am not alone" and all the emotional side of it. And about the "having a plan or something to focus on" part of it. Maybe that's a control freak thing? :)

So I went with that.

Turns out to have been a good idea because I've already received LOVELY emails from 3 of them about how valuable it was to hear me talk about it.

Interestingly, there were 3 of us that were "old members", all with twins. Two of them used donor eggs and it was so right that they were there because 4 of the new girls have been told they need donor eggs.

It was very encouraging to them to see actual donor egg success stories, plus our one same sex gal who is pregnant at the moment and looks all kinds of gorgeous.

There was also one girl who was a bit upset because the eggs they did ICSI on (they split hers and did half ICSI and let the other half fertilise "normally") were the only eggs that fertilised, and those two embryos were the ones transferred.

She said, "what good can come of ICSI'd eggs?" (too funny)

And I whipped out a pic of my two and said, "these babies came from ICSI'd eggs" LOL

She was so glad to see you don't get a more inferior embryo and that they do work!

There was also a lady there who said she's not infertile (has 3 kids) but feels like her purpose in life is to pray and encourage women like us. Bring it on! So she's been praying when people go through cycles and is texting them to check on them, etc.

Anyway, so I felt that the talk happened beautifully, just as if everyone who was there was meant to be there.

So special! And I was reminded yet again that this kind of support is so vital and so, so needed because even though we know the stats, this whole infertility thing is shrouded in secrecy so everybody going through it feels alone.

How was your Saturday?

P.S. Julia asked about Monday's talk at the church on organising kids . Also went beautifully and I'm doing an abbreviated version for my list on Thursday via teleseminar. If you want to sign up for that one, email me.

Friday, March 25, 2011

This week's me time

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Last week when I participated in the 52 weeks challenge, I went to visit each of the people above me in the linky thing and someone said something about taking a day off work just because.

Hmmm.

I liked that idea and because I'd had such a busy weekend, I decided to do the same.

We have this automated leave application system at work - you put in your leave online and it sends a message to your line manager to approve it.

I like the efficiency but I don't like that it has removed the connection and talking part of it.

So if he's in the office, I tell him when I want to take leave and then do the online thing.

This week I chased after him and told him I wanted to take a half day's leave and sorry for the short notice.

He says, "oh, Marcia, what's wrong?"

I said, "oh nothing, I just need some time off because I'm knackered AND I had a busy weekend".

He laughed.

Anyway, the leave was approved and this afternoon I escaped to come home.

Did some quick shopping on the way home, played with the babies and then holed up in my study when they went for their nap and for an hour afterwards.

I've mentioned to one or two people behind the scenes of the blog that my friend's son's death has really thrown me - it's felt like "what is the point of ANYTHING?" and I've been stuck.

I had a look at my diary (daily planner) and I have NOTHING in there since I heard the news. Literally empty pages for three weeks.

Yes, I've been plodding along but if I stop to think more than 3 seconds, all the emotion comes flooding to the fore and I start crying again.

Yesterday was 4 weeks since his death and on Sunday in church, the message was about leaving hurts in the past and moving on.

Of course that really spoke to me and I decided to take some small action steps today.

I planned out my goals for April - June, did detailed planning for April (the book will now be written in May), did more planning on some teleseminars I plan to do over the next 3 months and it was good.

It's amazing for me (I don't know why it still amazes me because I know this is what happens) how creativity comes and how ideas just FLOW when I get organised with my planning first.

I'd originally planned to read and do nothing but I really do function best in an ordered environment, especially when my mind is organised :) so doing my goals was best for me today.

Other than today, I had the photo workshop on Monday, a massage on Tuesday... and tea with my lovely friend, Natalie on Wednesday to talk Mondo. Julia, you are on my list - we'll have some virtual tea soon and also talk Mondo. And on Thursday, I declared email bankruptcy :)

That's it from my side.

What did you do for yourself this week?

PS tomorrow is my first infertility talk. I only have 20 minutes but I'm prepared to talk very fast :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Declaring email bankruptcy

I have 177 blog comments to reply to from 6 March.

That's on this blog (I have a rule where they go into a special folder); I haven't even counted the ones on the organising blog.

I like to reply to each one if there's an email address (most of you have now linked your emails - thank goodness) but am afraid I need to declare email bankruptcy for my own sanity.

So I'm asking you to please bear with me; I'll answer any outright questions but otherwise know that I LOVE your comments but I just can't get to them right now.

Let's start fresh next week, shall we?

Do you reply to each and every comment?

the photo workshop

Part 1 here

So I finally arrived at the workshop venue.

To my surprise and delight, I was one of 3 late people!

One of the ladies looked as frazzled as I imagine I looked.

I grabbed some lunch and found a seat.

By some strange coincidence, I was one of two people with a point and shoot camera. We were both at a 2nd table while the rest were at table number 1.


Have I mentioned that I didn’t buy the fancy camera after all?

I felt too rushed and I really hate wasting money, especially with my number 1 financial goal being to pay off my bond this year. I felt like there were too many things to still research and think about, and it would be better for me to take my time.

That made me feel a little bit out, as well as not having my kid (s) there.

But very soon I was SO glad I’d followed my instinct of leaving mine behind because the kids wanted to show their mothers their crafts and I don’t know how those other ladies concentrated. They obviously have super powers of focus.

We went through the technical stuff (f.stop, ISO and such) and then did rules of composition and her personal tips of taking photos with kids.

I don’t like giving much away in blog posts (or emails) because I feel you need to go and experience it all. It’s not fair to the expert to have someone blog about the whole thing and have you miss out on her brilliance by being there. (I talk like this in real life – promise)

But I will say this – I realized again why I like workshops. It’s an opportunity to physically do the thing instead of just reading about it on a photo blog. I read tons of photo blogs and had seen a lot of these things but it’s not the same til you DO it for yourself.

So while she was talking I was taking tons of pics of my pencil bag, notebook, trees, the baby in front of me, practicing my “standard” settings vs fiddling with the new settings.




I never have much time to fiddle and I loved it.

I could then see the difference in the pics. Always fantastic.

After all the explaining, the mothers got to practice on their kids and I tagged along and took pics of random kids. I actually found it a lot easier trying to get pics of other kids rather than my own - maybe because the emotion is less and it's all about capturing the story, or the cuteness?

I don’t know if they’re any good technically but these are some of my favourites. Some looked terrible but hey, I was trying framing and whatnot! The beauty of digital is the delete key.

love her smile


then I told her I loved her husky, sexy voice and she laughed and smiled some more :)


this little guy told me how to climb a tree and that he's very good at climbing. I agree; don't you?


he is very sure-footed!


On Jeanette's website, there's a pic of me standing on the trampoline. I was taking pics of two cuties - this little one and another with GORGEOUS curls


Once I start moving and sitting/ lying on grass, sand, etc. I get into it.


And that was that – I can now cross off another item on my 36 things list.

I do think most of us (in Jhb esp) who take pics of our kids and other randomness should go attend a workshop, except if you’re already fairly professional and are happy with your pics. I’m not happy with blur and hopefully I’ll get less of it now. And a couple of more interesting pics.

Have you ever attended a photo workshop? Do you plan to?

P.S. I have some GORGEOUS pics of other people's kids but I'm not comfortable putting their faces on the web without the parents' permission so all you get are feet :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How I got very, very lost trying to tick things off my life list

I’ve mentioned before that I am Not Good with maps.

That’s an understatement – I am TERRIBLE. I literally have to highlight the way in the map book and turn it every which way to get to a destination.

(no, I don’t own a GPS and I can’t imagine why I’d want to pay at least 15 times the price of a map book, even with my atrocious map-reading skills, or lack thereof)

So Jeanette (photographer) emailed a Google map to us and I clicked in to ask Google for directions.

Big mistake!

When I read through the directions, they didn’t make sense to me intuitively but it’s Google, after all :)

I set off and at the point where Google stuffed up (Joyce street off Malibongwe), I pulled into a garage to ask directions.

The guy seemed very certain and so I set off following his directions.

Two traffic lights and I’d see the road I was looking for.

He lied.

I drove past six traffic lights and then pulled over to phone Jeanette whose phone was on voicemail.

I retraced my steps and found another garage where I asked another man who was not very helpful.

At that point I got into my car and had a conversation/ argument with myself.

I was so lost, couldn’t find out where I was on the map, nor where I had to go and everything inside of me and I mean everything (except for 10% who has “attend a photography workshop” on my 36 things list) was screaming to just go home.

I didn't care about losing the money, I hate being late, I hate being lost and I was in a terrible mood, “Why me? Why is no one else this useless with directions?”

I may have even shed a tear or two in frustration.

And then I prayed and asked God to PLEASE let SOMEONE in this place know where I need to go.

Jeanette then returned my call.

I had NO idea what she was saying (I don’t know that area AT all) but I dutifully wrote down everything, inside hoping for the best.

And then Dear Philip appeared. He’d probably been filling another car with petrol when I first asked the other useless people.

That was so God. If it was the movies, the music would have changed, etc.

I told him what I was looking for and he said he knew exactly how to get me there.

He told me once, I repeated it to him and then we both repeated the directions together.

I thanked him profusely and I was off. (In the Amazing Race, the Americans usually hug these people and D and I laugh, but now I know why – immense gratitude).

I followed his directions exactly, saw the boat place on the corner which both he and Jeanette mentioned and I drove into the place.

20 minutes late!

For a time management coach!!!!

(to be continued…)

Where are you on the directions scale? 1 is terrible and 10 is "I hardly need a map; I just figure it out as I go"

P.S. I love GOOD directions in words. When people email me, I copy and paste them into a Word doc, enlarge to 20 point, number them (so I can remember I was on number 5) and print. I then keep on the passenger seat next to me. And yes, I have a folder called Directions with all the people who have ever emailed their directions to me and also directions to our house, from all parts of Jhb :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I really hope this is a once-off event

Today I had a hectic day at work.

I still have a long to-do list but I was proud of myself for leaving (even though I was twitching at the thought of those items. do you twitch when you have a long to-do list?) and going for a massage AND a workout with Kyle.

(I skipped Friday's session because I felt like my body was starting to get sick).

So, driving home, I was all relaxed and the good kind of sore, and I made an evening to-do list at the traffic lights.

And then I got home.

My children were SO GLAD to see me and we had some fun for a bit until they had to go sleep.

The wailing then started.

Connor screamed and screamed, "Mama, Mama, Mama".

(imagine that over and over and over again, in a little boy's voice, shrieked at a really loud volume)

(then imagine his sister also starting to cry, this time in sympathy - they love doing the twin crying thing)

I went in, picked him up, calmed him down and as I was putting him down again (my hands holding him over the cot, his feet still suspended in the air), he starts the screaming again.

D then had a bash.

And so it continued.

We left him for a bit and it would quiet for maybe 2 minutes before he started again.

Gosh, 30 minutes is long when the screaming is that intense.

I needed to cook supper, bake sweet potato muffins (new recipe) and write my newsletter so delegated the Connor-monitoring to D.

Eventually I twigged.

Maybe he keeps screaming for me because he missed me.

Yesterday I left at 12:20 (mid-day) for the photo workshop, saw them for a minute as our cars passed one another at 6:30 pm and then I had 40 minutes with them this morning before I had to go to work.

He is a quality time child so I thought, "okay, let's see if this love languages stuff works".

I broke all my rules and fetched him out of the bedroom to come sit at the kitchen table with me and chat while I finished cooking supper, packing lunch, etc. (my normal evening routine).

D was Mr Cranky Pants about this - he is even more rigid than I am sometimes - but I'd read a beautiful blog today about cherishing the moments and other such inspiring cheesy things and so I said to D, "what is the alternative to the bedtime antics ? not having a gorgeous, cuddly boy? I'll take some extra hugs and cuddles any day".

I think I convinced him. At least a little bit.

Connor then came to play with puzzles in the study while D and I had our supper (our dining room is right outside their bedroom and we didn't want his jabbering waking Kendra - we don't normally eat in the study).

Eventually at around 9, I asked him if he was ready to go sleep. He looked up with those big, brown eyes and told me he wanted milk which in Connor-speak, is "yes, please, I'm ready to go to bed now".

Another rule broken but hey, 100 ml of milk never killed anyone.

So off he went to bed with his little love tank full.

Aaaawwww.

D says it could also be a new separation anxiety thing because yesterday and today (D took the day off to recover from the long weekend!), Kendra would not let him out of her sight and apparently had some crying fits at SIL's house.

So my question to you, is there a separation anxiety thing that happens around 20 months?

PS I know I still need to blog part 3 of the love languages. It was on my list for tonight until this happened and now I'm off to bed, one hour past computer cut-off.

Blogger meet-up

Hmmm, is anyone interested in a Jhb/ Pretoria blogger meet-up?

In about a month or two?


PS my life is hectic so it takes some time for weekends or we could do a weeknight sooner?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Quick Monday musings

First off, thank you SO MUCH to all of you for commenting on the infertility group post. Seriously - you guys are fabulous and thanks to you, my talk is now 3 hours long instead of 1 hour :)

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I was thinking about my friend from Rhodes that we had lunch with on Saturday and remembering why we get along so well.

Back in the Rhodes days, D used to call us a "bless me, bless you" club as he says the two of us are always telling each other nice things.

On Saturday, she told me in the first 15 minutes how lovely my skin is looking (even better than normal, she said!), and how much weight I've lost because look at how trim my tummy is :) LOVE HER!

Seriously, I can finally feel my jeans are loose, so much so that I turned over the waistband to keep it up properly. And these are a 34.... :)


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I went to the photography workshop today. It deserves its own post so I will tell you more during the week.

The plan initially (when D said, "yes, go!" because I was conflicted leaving the kids for 5 whole hours plus a talk in the evening) was for D and the kids to drop me, go spend quality time with his mom and then collect me.

MIL said she's busy with D's sister in Pretoria so I said I'd obviously drive myself.

I phoned about half way through to check on the babies and............ he tells me he decided to go to Pretoria for a visit.

I freaked.

I don't like the idea of my children all over the place if I'm not with them.

Irrational, I know, but hey, baby steps!

However, the workshop ended early, I chatted a bit and then drove home.

I was here at 4:20 (expected to only be here at about 5:40) and have now spent 1.5 glorious hours ALONE in my house.

It has been divine.

I had a hot cup of tea with caramel marie biscuits (can you imagine how much faster I'd reach my goals if I never cheated?!) without nagging babies wanting some too.

I'm all caught up on my emails and the house is reasonably tidy - I gave myself 10 minutes and that was that.

D phoned at 5:47 to say they're just about to leave which means I won't see the babies before I have to leave at 6:20 so I said hello to them again.

Now I'm going to watch the Bold and the Beautiful (!) while I pack my bag, eat and then go talk to a group about organising your children.

Can't wait!

Tell me about your "bless me, bless you" friend or about your Monday.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Oh crikey, I only have one week to put this together

So I'm doing a talk at the infertility support group next Sat. This is me stepping out and being courageous.

Also, I promised God years ago that if He got me through the craziness of infertility, I would speak of His goodness.

And so this is talk number 1.

If it goes well, I will tell you and hopefully we can get this thing rolling (I use the word "thing" very loosely as I have no idea what's ahead but am open to opportunities).

Somehow this date has arrived so quickly.

I've started planning my talk but here's what I want to ask you:

What should I be sure to include in my talk?

(D said "hello" and "thank you for listening")

It's supposed to inspire the new people (girls who don't have babies).

If you were listening to my story live and in-person, what would you most like to hear?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I fired a client & me time

Despite one or two emotional things (like Mondo), I had a great week...after Monday.
  • The babies are healthy again - gosh, is there anything better?
  • Two recruitment agents contacted me about applying for jobs and the best? I happily declined because I'm already earning far more per month than what those companies are willing to pay. Even without the salary thing, this does WONDERS for my self-confidence!

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Some of the things I did for me:
  • I went to the fantastic Love Languages workshop
  • I had my hair done on Thursday
  • Today my tank is full as we went to visit an old friend for lunch (she and I stood next to each other in Chem Lab 19 years ago and that's how we became friends. today, neither of us is doing anything to do with chemistry, unless you count mixing bottles of formula :))
  • I fired a client
Okay, more on the client thing.


this is not this particular client - this is an old pic I found on this computer - in fact, this lady was a GEM to work with

My intention is to work with people who value my expertise and respect my time and energy. This person clearly didn't (she's been 10 and 15 minutes late for telephone sessions) and stood me up twice, the second time without texting or emailing.

My policy is to reschedule if more than 24 hours' notice has been given, or if the reason is valid like sickness, etc. but if no cancellation, then no refund or rescheduling.

I'm very reasonable and so to be 100% fair, I have offered to do 20 mins of her 45-min session but if she is not prompt, then that's it.

There is just something about boundaries that's good for you and good for other people and by tiptoeing around it, I'm not doing me or her any favours :)

So that's what I did for me.

What did you do for yourself this week? Or what are you doing for yourself this weekend?

P.S. It's a public holiday in SA on Monday (Human Rights Day) so we have a long weekend but I have TONS to do. After I hit publish, I have to prepare my talk for Monday night and then assemble 4 travel journal kits.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Getting my craft on - elastic books

these elastic books are inspired by Aimee

What you need

  • Postcards or other project board (I liked the idea of finally using postcards I've been keeping)
  • Blank or lined paper
  • Elastic band (I happened to have coloured ones so I co-ordinated the colours with the postcards


How to make them

  • Fold the postcard in half
  • Choose about 5 - 10 sheets of paper per book. Fold in half and make sure the paper will fit neatly inside the postcard.
  • Use your fingers (I don't have fancy "tools") and rub the folds in.
  • Place inside the folded postcard.
  • Stretch an elastic band along the spine and fold close.
  • Ta da - as easy as that you are done.

this postcard is from a penpal I had AGES ago, from Slovenia

I'd bought a pack of index CARDS and when I opened the pack, the CARDS were actually paper. Faxed them a complaint and of course, they didn't respond. This is me "letting go" and using the paper for something else.



How to use them

  • I gave some to our PA to take all the coffee orders in meetings :)
  • I keep one in the car to make notes while driving (well, at the traffic lights)
  • One lives in my handbag
  • One lives in the kitchen so we can make quick notes
  • Give them to your kids (Kendra loves to also have a "book" like Mummy)

When you've finished writing on all the paper, if your postcard is still looking good (my first one looked well-used), you should just add more paper.

Very green of me, don't you think? :)


There was a thing going around some South African blogs (BTW, people reading my blog are about 3:1 American: South African. There are also Russians!) at the start of the year where each person would send 5 handmade items to the first 5 commenters, and those 5 would in turn give to 5 commenters each.

Of course, I'm not crafty so I didn't comment on anyone's blog.

But... when I reach 100 followers, I promise to send some things to 5 commenters. These cute little books plus a couple of other things (I need to still discover and figure out how to make other stuff). I do make bookmarks, keyrings and handbag charms.

I think my main muse is paper... when I was tiny (5 or 6), I used to say I wanted to work in a paper factory. I still love paper and notebooks today. In fact, I have serious issues.

Who else is in love with paper?

Let's just imagine, shall we? What would you handmake and pass along?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How can you tell your primary love language?


This is part 2 of the love languages posts. I think there's going to be a part 3 too... because I still haven't got to the children!

The 5 love languages are words of affirmation, gifts, physical touch, acts of service and quality time.

When I'd speak to women, they'd always tell me (well, in 90% of the cases) that their husband's love language was physical touch, because of the s*x.

I thought the same of D :)

In the book, Dr Gary Chapman shared some examples of how to know if this is your husband's love language.

"If you were having all the s*x in the world, but you didn't do x (the other 4 languages), would your husband still feel loved?"

Our answer is no.

In fact, in bed yesterday morning (it felt really decadent being in bed while the kids were up and awake, eating their breakfast with V before I went to work), we decided that D's primary love language is words of affirmation and second is quality time.

I had them the other way around because he's always nagging me to come watch TV/ a movie with him :)

D's number 5 is acts of service so I know it's a BIG deal when he does something for me.

Yesterday I asked him to proof-read our wills. Normally I have to nag for at least 3 weeks before he will do anything paperwork but when I got home, they were both done! Probably because we spent those 45 minutes talking and having quality time. :)

If you're using a love language to your spouse and it's not their main one, they won't feel loved no matter how well you do that love language.

E.g. if your love language is not gifts and you keep getting the biggest and the best, it will have no impact.

Which brings me to the next point:

A good indicator of your love language is the thing that you always do for other people.

How do you express love most easily?

Those touchy-feely people who hug and kiss everyone, even those they've just met? Probably physical touch :)

I'm working on a Big Project with someone whose love language I'm sure is physical touch. We meet with all sorts of people all the time - partners, ad agency, research people, etc. and she's all kissy and huggy when we all meet and get to a meeting.

They then want to kiss me too and I just hang back. Very funny to watch, I'm sure, but I'm also straightforward so I just grab an arm or shoulder to be slightly more personal than a handshake, but still not do the kissy thing. What do you do?
So my love languages, as first guessed by Julia in comment number 1 (I was super-impressed) are words of affirmation and acts of service.

MandyH got my first 3 in order. Again, impressed! Apparently most of you know me really well.


My friend, Natalie, thought that I had gifts in there somewhere (because of how much I love doing 29 gifts) when we discussed it ages ago so I asked the workshop lady and she said gifts and acts of service could sometimes be mixed up. There is a fine line but generally making things for people (cards, etc.) are acts of service.

At the workshop, the lady did a very powerful exercise. Well, it was powerful for me.

She asked these questions of us. We didn't have to answer in the group but just quietly to ourselves.

What made you feel loved as a child? or

What would have made you feel loved as a child?

Well, I can't remember feeling loved very much as a child so I went to the next question and this was my answer, "to have been told I love you and I'm proud of you".

I have never heard that from my mother and my father has said I love you about 3 times in my life, all of them in the last 4 - 6 years, but that's it.

Answering this question is a clue to your primary love language.

So for me, words of affirmation.

I know that it's very easy for me to genuinely compliment other people and to speak words of encouragement to them. I do it without even thinking about it.

People with this love language love unsolicited compliments that are specific (not just a "great job") but on the other hand, also get really hurt through words or lack of them.

When our love tanks are empty, we ask for approval, like "what do you think of my new dress? Do you like this? Do you think I did a good job? etc."

I cringe because I can relate so, so much.

Acts of service - I love doing things for other people and being helpful and of service.

Now here's something she said I loved!

Love that is asked for is of lower value than love offered.

So if I have to beg D to make me a cup of tea (this doesn't happen by the way) and he then makes it, it means less than when I'm working and he just brings me a mug of tea spontaneously.

When our love tanks are empty in this area, we usually complain like "do you think I'm your maid? why can't you do ________? " (usually nagging about stuff around the house or on the to do list)

With friends we say things like, "why don't they ever bother to do ____? Why must I always be the one to _____?"

Again, I cringe as I can now see why I feel resentful when people don't reciprocate in ways I think they should.

I suppose my love tank was just empty.

I asked D if he thinks it's weird to ask all my friends what their love language is so I can be a better friend to them. He thinks I'm crazy.

What do you think?

P.S. Now that you know my primary love language is words of affirmation, you can see how much I love comments :) I love, love, LOVE hearing from you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The 5 love languages... for children

Last night I attended a workshop on the 5 love languages for children.

Remember I read the original love languages book a few weeks ago, just making it my 5th book for Feb?

Anyway, I thought it was fabulous.

I'd come across the love languages before and while I had a general idea of why it was a good idea to know yours and your partner's language, the book just added SO MUCH more to my understanding.
  • how, within your love language, like with any language, there are dialects
  • even if you have an idea of which your main two languages are, how to tell for sure which one is number 1 and which is number 2
  • why it's so important that you speak to your partner's love language and more importantly, how you can get along better as a result
Anyway, I'd been trying to go to this workshop for about 6 months (I'm on her newsletter) and in a fit of desperation, I booked (just) me on it and asked D to babysit.

I was the only single person there, aside from 8 other couples, 7 of them husband and wife teams and one set of friends (one of them a very loud woman).

Aside from seriously feeling out (I don't normally) and jealous (because they had babysitters!), I loved it.

I got my money's worth in the first 15 minutes.

This lady charged R160 per person - I would have charged R400 - R500. The information was that valuable.

Interestingly, this lady read the book, was passionate about it, started sharing with fellow mothers at her kids' school. They asked her to do a workshop here and there for friends and friends of friends, and so her business was born.

She now does a number of parenting courses.

I was thinking, "hey, that could be me with Motherstyles" :)

Back to the love languages...

They do say that you'll be able to tell your child's love language for sure by age 5 but that if you watch carefully, you can figure it out before then.

I've mentioned on this blog before that Connor's is quality time and Kendra's is words of affirmation. I now think Kendra's is 1) physical touch and 2) words of affirmation.

There is honestly too much too share so I'll write one more post but for now, do you know what your love language is?

Here you go - take the assessment.





Can you guess what my two love languages are?

Share yours in the comments.

P.S. My very favourite maker of posters,Aimee Dolich, is having a spring sale. I can thoroughly recommend her work and her fantastic service as I own two of her things. BTW, everyone in my team is jealous of my "courage" print and every single time I glance over at it, I smile. The words just speak directly to my soul. Go check out her blog and her etsy site. I've spent MANY happy hours being inspired over there.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thoughts on Mondo Beyondo

So Mondo Beyondo finished about a month ago.

After that first burst of enthusiasm, I hit a wall on a particular day and couldn't seem to move past that until about two weeks later when I spoke to a coach friend who had also done Mondo last year and got stuck in that exact same place.

Hmmm.

Anyway, I then got moving again, caught up and kind of stayed with it for the rest of the course.

I do feel I lost out during my "hitting a wall" period as everyone was all lovey-dovey and supportive on the forums and I was................stuck.

I finished the course about a week later but it was rushed just to finish and tick it off the list rather than a true engagement with the process.

Then again, I'm bad at letting things sit... unless I haven't quite figured something out. Then I happily sit with the issue.

The weird thing is going from these literally 50 updates a day (from people posting on the forum) to nothing is quite the shock and then suddenly you forget you ever did Mondo.

When we did our lists earlier in the course we were told to write it out and seal it in an envelope.

I quite liked this idea and I honoured my dreams by putting it in a gorgeous, bright blue envelope with the date on it.

The following week we were to open the envelope, spot trends, and start taking small action steps.

That was when I was stuck so I didn't bother but I did a quick scan of my list (which I'd typed) and noticed it was 1/3 travel, 1/3 achievement and 1/3 quality of life (live simpler, etc.) stuff.

They had said when we wrote our lists that if we do nothing else, we are half way there.

I know this to be true because I've even written an article about how when you just write down your goals, you're half way there.

It's the intention, you see. And intention brings focus.

Just yesterday I got to work and there was a post on the forum!

From someone who said they were WEEKS behind and was anyone in the same place.

When I clicked over, I saw pages and pages of similar comments.

Wow.

So this has stirred up the Mondo in me.

I must tell you something else too - one of the last exercises was to reach out to people and meet fellow dreamers face-to-face.

I breathed deeply and put out a note on Facebook.

Not one person even said anything encouraging, let alone that they were a dreamer.

(I know, my issues)

If I'd read that on someone's status, I would have said something like, "well, I haven't done MB but YES, let's do some dreaming and goal-getting together".

But nothing.

So yes, I'm disillusioned.

I sometimes feel cursed by the way that I am in a world that is SO not like me.

And then I remember that I'm fearfully and wonderfully made.

Then I go back again to feeling very sorry for myself :)

And then I remember that people who think and do things differently are 1 in 10.

And so on and so on.

I'm not quite sure what the point of this post is - I suppose I just wanted to journal a bit.

But... if by any chance, there is someone out there reading this who wants to do some MB dreaming together even if you didn't do the official MB, will you comment or email me?

I do feel like I need to put myself out there and be vulnerable just one more time before I cross this off my list.

I really am okay if there is no-one of like mind because my bright blue envelope winks at me when I reach into my file organiser thing on my desk and I'm reminded, very gently, that there are dreams in there that will come to pass if I'm open to the opportunities around me.

A quick vent

This morning I walked into the office, dump my bags (yes, I have two - normal handbag and work bag with food, etc.) on my desk and walked into the pause area to get my water and cereal bowl.

What do I see?

Piles of dishes from yesterday.

Freak!

The dishes get done on an hourly basis here (there are tons of us on this floor so the coffee mugs pile up quickly) so clearly haven't been done for ages.

When I peeked into the sink, I saw my cereal bowl from yesterday.

!!!

I storm back into the office and ask them (nicely), "does anyone know why the dishes haven't been done since yesterday?"

Someone mutters that Lizzy is off sick (our usual cleaning lady) which then means they get someone else to attend to the dishes.

Just thinking about the germs makes me twitch!

When I checked if anyone had logged a call, they look at me like I'm crazy.

So I did it.

My company makes is SO easy to get things sorted here. We only need to fire off an email to Helpdesk and everything under the sun will get taken care of - IT, building stuff, catering stuff, everything. If you don't like emailing, you can phone an EASY, 4-digit extension number. It's a one-stop shop.

How hard is it to write a one-liner to the helpdesk?!

Yesterday I sent another email for the table in our boardroom - leg is broken.

Blackhuff posted last week about how people don't take the initiative to report things that aren't working and keep relying on others like her.

Well, here's my comment:

I am that person who has to do the notifying.

But I have decided ENOUGH. At work yesterday a guy asked me, is our aircon working? I said it is but not properly (it’s set a bit too high). He says, “aren’t you the one who usually gets these things fixed?” I said, “yes, but there’s nothing stopping any of you from picking up the phone and reporting it (they make it SO easy here at work and yet………) because I’ve decided I’m going to stop doing things for everyone” SILENCE!
:)

Really, this nonsense (laziness) gets me mad!!!

And it's not just my team. The other day when I took the stairs to the basement where I park, I noticed the light was out in the little area just before the stairs.

For TWO whole days.

Until I used my cell phone right there and then to phone and report it.

I mean, really!

Anyway, thanks for reading my vent.

What do you want to vent about this morning?

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's raining, it's pouring

It's currently 15 degrees here in Johannesburg with an expected high of 24.

I'm very happy except for all the crazies on the roads.

There are accidents galore.

I live a mere 9.78 km from work (just for you, Mandy) and I encountered 3 accidents on my way. And I don't even travel on any highways.

Fortunately I leave very late (due to screaming, still sick kids) so the worst of the accidents had been cleared away from the oncoming traffic.

It's apparently the case all over Jhb.

Our PA stays in the south, left home at 6.30 and got to work at 9.00.

Yip, 2.5 hours to travel about 25 kms.

Another colleague just popped by my desk.

Another 2.5 hour commute this time from the north (Bryanston).

I've decided to stop talking about the House of Sick because it's depressing me but let's just say my yogisip trick didn't work this morning!

Hope you're having a fabulous day :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

House of Sick & Sunday senses



These are the mosaics I mentioned this week.


Today was much like yesterday.

Connor did his normal wailing and thrashing and not taking his medicine. I don't see the point - it seems like half of it (at least) ends up spit out.

I eventually left and went to a shopping centre up the road to get some sandals for Connor (his feet have very suddenly grown and he has only one pair that now fits properly - he had 4).

No sandals in his size but I got some backpacks for them and some storage containers which I used to organise my desk drawers while they had their afternoon nap.

I also had a bright idea while out.

I needed to get some Yogi-Sips! They are filling and easy to drink so even if they (Connor) didn't eat, that would help to settle the stomach for the medicine.

When I got home I had an even brighter idea which I tested and worked perfectly. At least for today.

I put his meds in the yogisip and he slurped it all down!

YAYYYYY!

We did the same at supper and he only left about 25 ml with cough syrup in it. So at least he has 99% of what he needs inside him.

Kendra was sweet as pie. She does that "good twin" thing so well when Connor is acting up. Woke up 40 minutes before Connor and played with me in the study all that time - too sweet. She

Mmmm, Sunday senses.


Sight
Bin full of decluttered paper (love it!), messy desk where a container I've made pretty with scrapbook paper is drying, notebooks, photo frames, etc. I will tidy up as soon as I post this. Oh and TONS of paint swatches.

Taste
Chicken, kidney beans pasta salad - yum! And a lovely mug of tea.

Smell
Glue - see "sight"

Touch
Keyboard (obviously), open windows (yes, it's STILL hot - yesterday was 30 degrees! I seriously can't wait for the cold weather.)

Hear
Blessed silence (the babies are in bed!) punctuated by neighbour noises (we have new neighbours who seem to be "entertainers" - oh the joys - I hope these socials will not be happening every weekend!



The hecticness that is my life should start slowing down after the 21st. Can't wait.

Until then I have the following to look forward to: 2 workouts with Kyle, a photography workshop, a Love Languages workshop, an organising talk (which I still need to prepare) and lots of good times with (hopefully) healthy babies.

What are you looking forward to this week?

P.S. I just realised that I did 16 of the 19 things on my list for this weekend. That's the one positive part of being stuck inside with sick kids :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Frustration with meds and eating, and ME time while camera shopping

I was standing near the end of the queue when God was handing out patience and so I have already had enough of sick, crabby kids.

Yes, already.

They cry at the slightest thing which normally doesn't bother me but they are also not eating.

And that is freaking me out.

All the medication says "with food" so as a result, today Connor got his morning meds at ..............11:20!

Speaking of Connor, he has now decided that he does not like to take medicine.

We have to administer it two by two, one person holding him and another forcing his mouth open and squeezing the syringe.

As a result, K is doing much better and is eating a tiny bit again although my fridge is full of half-eaten meals (no, I don't just throw it out - I try again).

Because of this no-eating thing, we have broken all our rules:
  • I caught myself bribing Connor earlier (I'll take you in the car if you'll finish your food - he was not swayed one bit)
  • D gave him a Provita in his cot (a big no-no)
  • Offering everything under the sun (about 6 different choices) just in case something appeals. Apparently only raisins, peas and pasta cooked but with no sauces on it will do.
Hopefully it will not be hard to get back to normal when they're well.

Do you have kids who hate taking medicine? How do you do it? Seriously - I need tips!


As a result of that, I had to escape the madness after lunch when they had a nap.

(Hey, that's one good thing - they go to sleep easily, even during the day)

Photobucket

This week, I did a couple of things for my own self-care:

1) put the kids in children's church last weekend (I need to post on that) and went to big church
2) cancelled a supper with a friend so I could finish my work and take care of myself (I had some sniffles but I needed to be 100% well the next day for the work function)
3) spent some time last night organising my desk and doing some paper crafts
4) today I went to do grocery shopping by myself (D normally does it but is sick). While I was at the mall, I picked up some paint swatches (I am in love with the idea of painted furniture after reading one too many home and decor blogs - I want the chest of drawers in my bedroom painted a lovely light olive green and another piece a bright turquoise... let's see if I'm brave enough) and went to look at some cameras.

Talking more about the cameras...

I've decided that cameras are very expensive and it's even more difficult to choose what to get. So I'm stuck between getting a bridge camera (had never heard of these before today) and an SLR.

I like the Samsung NX10 and the Canon 500 D (both R6300 and they come with an assortment of things - either lenses, memory card, bag, whatnot).

Any tips on camera shopping?

P.S. Wherever I go, I will not go to the one store because the girl was VERY condescending. That's another post because I've had some shocking customer service experiences lately.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Diagnosis - tonsillitis and bronchitis

V and I took the babies to the doctor yesterday.

They were crazy kids, crying and wailing when she tried to examine them, poor things.

The doc and her 5th year medical student assistant (this girl looked about 16 and so I realised that I'm getting old!) were amazed at how much K & C are talking.

I never quite know what to say in response to these things and I don't want to discount their talking by being dismissive, so I just say, "er, yes, they do talk quite a bit".

They must have been comfortable with the doctor because they're usually a bit quiet when they meet people for the first time.

We got their prescriptions and I took them all straight home (all 400 m down the road - literally! I checked my odometer) because the babies were getting cranky and needed to nap.

Here's the part where I think I'm oh-so-clever.

I checked the medicine in the fridge against the prescription and saw that we had 3 of the 6 things they needed!

Yay - and enough to last them through this whole bout of illness.

D has a really selective memory and I always freak out when he buys duplicate bottles of medicine because

a) I hate wasting money
b) you can't return medicine
c) I hate finding place to store unnecessary things

He does this regularly for his own stuff and has done the same with the babies, at least twice.

Don't you think it's a good idea to keep an inventory of medicines with you? I think it's a fantastic idea!

So I only spent R475 on medicines.

(I say only to cheer myself up.)

Here's the part that relates to the shopping.

I needed to get back to work for 3 back-to-back meetings (in the end, I skipped the first to prepare a presentation for the 2nd one) so I faxed through the prescription and went to collect it after work.

Big mistake.

Next time I'll just go in the middle of the day.

People are so rude, the shops are so full and it is just Not Fun.

Since I was there, I took all the cans of Nutren Jr on the shelf, all 8 of them. R5 off per can since last time. Don't sneeze at that - we go through a can every 2 - 2.5 days so that's almost an extra can (free) for the month.

Last night Kendra vomited twice before 9 pm (and she calls ME to come see to her!) because she had a high temperature again (38.6!).

Today they're looking better but the noses are still pouring.

*sigh*

And you know how I hate cancelling appointments but I'm afraid I will have to cancel a lunch date with good friends of ours. I can't very well welcome them into The House of Sick as D has also succumbed to the illness.

On the bright side, maybe I can escape for an hour or so tomorrow to do some errands.

What do you have planned for the weekend?

P.S. This is the post I had to retype that blogger lost yesterday. I hope I learn from my mistake and copy before hitting publish post!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Blogger just ate my post

And I'm sitting here clicking "drafts" and "published" hoping it published or saved.

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Very frustrated ... and it was a fairly long one, as is my custom.

Will have to retype tomorrow.

But here's the question I had for you -

what do you do when you run out of things between grocery shopping trips?

Do you make a separate trip, or just make do?

(I make do and was reminded again today exactly why I don't go to the shops mid-week)

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Kyle, coaching and sick babies

So I have yet ANOTHER personal trainer.

My beloved Sara has been moved to Pretoria (would anyone like to hire her to whip you into shape?) and I have to start again with a new guy.

When I heard his name was Kyle, my first question to Sara was, "is he hot?" and then we both collapsed into giggles.

Oh, the joys of having a female PT!

But yes, he is hot (not my type though) so I expect his diary will be filling up quickly.

The girls at my work always bemoan the fact that this place never employs any good eye candy for women.

Tee hee.

There have been 2 hotties employed over the last couple of months though - both unavailable, I'm told by my more connected work buddies.

So Kyle just about killed me yesterday. We worked on my upper body, including the muscles that support the b**bs. I'll let you know if I see any improvement in the perkiness arena.

I honestly think these people think I'm joking but I can barely move my arms today. I tried to slide open a credenza (do you call them that in the US?) and oh! the PAIN!

I do like the fact that he doesn't take my "nonsense" and pushes me way beyond what I think I'm capable of.

If I wasn't before, I now am thoroughly convinced - I need to pay someone to make me work out properly otherwise it just won't get done.

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

Then I've had the pleasure of coaching two delightful women recently. It's this type of person who makes me feel slightly guilty that I get paid for having so much fun.

One was a tester session that I'm very happy with as I can see she is determined, very strong and ready to take massive action in her life.

I LOVE this type of person. She reads this blog too :)

The other client session happened last night - a first session with a new client and I already love her.

We honestly had a fantastic time setting out her goals and action plans and how she's going to move forward in this next stage of her life.

Here's the strange thing - at one part of the conversation, she said everything that I've been feeling for a long time.

Very weird to have your own feelings echoed back to you, in a Canadian accent :)

I love when I'm coached through my coaching.

******************************
Chasing chickens (I wish I were joking)


Kendra and me


water fun

I think my babies picked up something at the party on Sat.

Well, Kendra, to be precise.

But now she's given it to Connor and a bit to me (I can't wait to get home at 10 tonight - have a work thing to go to out in the sticks (Chartwell) first, and then take my beloved Degoran).

We told them, "no kissing!" but they don't listen.

So they're running around with runny noses (gross! but K can at least blow her own nose), coughing and signing, "sore! sore" while pointing to their throats (I love baby sign language) and not eating much food.

Last night they woke at about midnight, I gave them some medicine and then they were up and wanted to play. They were so cute I almost couldn't stand it but I resisted, was good and put the light out and told them to go sleep.

They chatted for awhile and then quietened down.

So cute (like BIG KIDS!).

There are 3 of you who read this blog who have sick kids besides mine. What is going on? Change of season?

What do you envision when you hear "Kyle, Personal trainer"? :)

P.S. New posts on the Crazy Love blog - follow along if you're interested in God-type posts :)

P.P.S. Pray I don't get lost tonight!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Gift etiquette - what would you do?



Speaking of parties, I remembered something I've been meaning to ask you for awhile.

My kids got beautiful mosaics for their 1st birthday party with their names on them. Kendra's one is a butterfly and Connor has a turtle.

These gorgeous things are still in the cot drawer since that day because of one reason -

Connor's name is spelt wrong, with an E instead of an O.

(if it had been me, I would have double-checked the spelling before making the things)

Normally I am meticulous about spelling and such things..... D is even worse. He is a writer and is understandably fussy about spelling and grammar. Let's not even get started on butchering the apostrophe!
Do you know for MANY years I had issues about putting anything "out there" in writing (articles, newsletters and such) because I know he's a million times better than me? I'm over that now - I know that my sentences are encouraging to the people on my list and inspiring them to take action. That's what it's about for me.
Straight after the party, I suggested to D that we contact the person and ask them if there was a way to turn that E into an O with minimal effort and he was horrified at my forthrightness!

The giver is on his side of the family so I left it and thankfully, has only been to our house once since then.

You know me - I like things neatly sorted out and ticked off on a list so these open loops drive me nuts.

Anyway, am I being ridiculous? Should I just put them up? What do we tell Connor one day? What would YOU do?

Monday, March 07, 2011

What's your party style?

We went to a 2nd birthday party on Saturday (my friend with the twins :) - this was last year's party) and I'd decided to use those formula cans as part of their gift.

I'm not sure if she reads this blog (she's never said anything to me) but I didn't want to post the pics of the cans before then just in case.

The party was lovely - I think just enough people for a nice vibe but not too busy.

There were two people from the infertility support group besides us, with babies. I realised we're not going to be able to call them babies for much longer! Great to catch up just a little bit since we hardly see each other these days, something I'm not really happy about but oh well... boundaries and all that jazz.

I love how my friend flows with her style and doesn't try to do what other people are doing - e.g. there were no decorations, no party packs, just lots of food and toys for the kids to play with.

D and I spoke about it and he says, "that's why her parties feel so authentic!"

Apparently it reminds him of the way things used to be :)

I'm still thinking about my party style and will blog on this when I've figured it out - some things I am crystal clear on, others not so much.

I love balloons and a Happy Birthday banner (that I'm not negotiable on), enough food and party packs.

I also decided after last year that either I need to delegate the photos properly (and I come across as a control freak when I do this because people don't take enough pictures of the details - D is the only one who would do it properly but since he's a participant, he can't be photographer too) or hire a photographer.

So I have hired our fabulous photographer and at the very least, we will have good photos.

I also really loved a friend's girls' party as she got her photographer to take pics of every person there - I thought that was a really lovely touch and that pic of me and the babies is now framed in their room.

I had a whole discussion about party packs with two colleagues the other day - the one guy said he doesn't have a party every year for his kids (6 and 3) because he can't afford the party packs.

I was like, "what on EARTH do you put in them?"

Apparently he is paying R50 per party pack ($7) because of all the stuff inside which I said was a ridiculous waste of money and I could do cheaper for him LOL

Our other colleague said, "China City, my friend!" but I agreed that I don't like things that will break in 2 minutes.

Anyway, what are your non-negotiables at parties you host and what's your take on party packs?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Does this time-out thing really work for all kids?




So last week I mentioned in the PS that D attended a talk on disciplining toddlers.

This lady has a whole list of disciplines, starting with time-out in the same room, then time-out in the bathroom, and so on, until smacking.

D loved the talk and shared most of it with me, including the fact that I'm a Sergeant Major. Hmmm.

In this instance, that's a good thing.

Anyway...

We've been doing the time-out thing.

Kendra sits quietly on the floor and is a model for time-out.

So I think since she doesn't seem in the least bit affected (it's like you've said "come sit next to me on the bed" or something equally silly), it may not be working.

Straight afterwards, we remind her why she is in time-out (this afternoon for not listening to Mummy) and then she needs to go do what she didn't want to do earlier.

Right.

Moving on.

Connor, on the other hand, FREAKS out.

I have not put him in time-out yet because I can't stand the screaming.

D puts him in time-out and the crying starts.

"Dada! Dada! Dada! " - at a really high pitch scream.

It is TERRIBLE.

This afternoon I teared up because I was in the lounge and Connor started his, "Dada, Dada" and then he saw me so he goes, "Mama, Mama, Mama" and starts coming toward me with tears streaming down his face.

He is distraught.

And yet I'm not supposed to reach out and take him because he's in time-out.

Then D got cross because I just sat there and didn't put him back where he was supposed to be sitting.

*sigh*

So my question is, does this time-out thing work for all sorts of kids?

If you use it, did you adapt slightly according to your children's personalities?


Please - I need tips - before I go over the edge.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Getting my craft on: making formula cans pretty



Right.

So you've all been very patient for the whole week and finally I can show you my formula cans.

These are the small cans as this brand is only sold in these tiny cans.

What you need
  • thick gift wrap or scrapbooking paper
  • project board
  • glue stick
  • art and craft glue
  • scissors
  • cute ribbons
  • tags (optional)
  • wet cloth

How I did mine

  1. I washed out the cans and let them air dry thoroughly.
  2. I then measured the length of the can and cut a strip of project board as the paper I wanted to use for the vibrant, bright colours was too thin and you could see the boring formula stuff through the paper. An A4 sheet is about 2 cm too short so I had to cut some extra project board to completely cover the tin.
  3. Glue the gift wrap to the project board with Pritt (glue stick) and leave about 4 cm extra to cover all the joins.
  4. Then glue the board to the can with Bostik Art and Craft white glue. Don't be stingy - use lots of glue.
  5. Start in one section and carefully affix the board to the can, making sure it goes on straight. Your hands will get a bit messy but that's what the wet cloth is for.
  6. Neatly cut off the end of the paper and seal with some glue.
  7. Once dry (about 5 minutes), tie a contrasting coloured ribbon around the can, add a tag if you wish, and make a bow.
  8. You can decorate however you like - I like quick and easy.

What I'm using these for:
  • the babies' gazillion spoons
  • art tubs for gifts
  • cookie mix in a jar (one of my friends is getting one next week when they come over for lunch)
  • pen and pencil jar (if the tin noise irritates you, put a couple of tissues on the bottom to mask the noise)
  • pot plants

What other ideas do you have?

P.S. Please also post what you've been doing in craft land and link up to my post (please also put your link in the comments so we can all come see).


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