Thursday, June 30, 2011

Decadent and slow

Yesterday I took only my 2nd sick day in my 6 years 2 months at this company, and in the last 10 - 11 years.

On Tuesday morning I was sneezing up a storm and had half-filled a bin with tissues (I know, gross!) and then I used up another packet in a meeting.

One guy said I should go home to rest and I said, "rest? with twins? it's more restful being here at work"

Which is true.

I cancelled personal training and that evening I was really feeling so blah and low-energy that I decided if I felt the same the next morning, I was going to actually use one of these sick days.

And so I did.

In the morning I wrote to my boss and one or two others, did email for about 90 minutes (work client stuff) and then took a Degoran and slept.

After reading some blogs in Google Reader and eating hot cross buns and tea, of course.

It felt so decadent because V was there with the kids and I was lazing (recovering) away in bed.

I slept for about 3 hours (in the middle of the day, no less) and woke feeling like a new woman.

I was much, MUCH better today so went back to work but again cancelled personal training.

In South Africa we get 30 sick days over a 3-year cycle but they don't accumulate. Once you've finished a cycle with your employer, your leave goes back to 0.

What's the situation where you live?


Then in other news, I forgot to mention...

I bought a slow cooker!

I've been kind-of wanting one for awhile.

Let me explain.

I've totally wanted one but didn't fancy it taking up precious counter space.

Last year when I wrote down my 36 things list and asked for help, MandyE sent me a pot roast in the crockpot recipe and was HORRIFIED to hear that I didn't have one.

At the time it was summer so no way was I going to give up precious counter space but I finally decided that we are DEEP in the heart of winter and it's time to get slow cooking.

So far I've made lentils, rice and butternut for the babies, which was perfect. And plain rice for us :)

I know, I'm so exciting.

Okay, so over to you.

I've googled recipes but Lord, there are so many I was overwhelmed.

What are your favourite crockpot/ slow cooker recipes? Please share - I need to use this thing a lot in the last 6 weeks of winter.

P.S. Look on the sidebar ----> can you see my values? Just something I whipped up with wordle the other day :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Outtakes? Or life?

These are pics D took at our photoshoot with Jeanette last year

As you can see I was still a Picasa collage-making novice :)

This is my life - for every half decent pic, there are at least 10 crazy pics.

What about you?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Travel adventures

We drive to the airport every single weekend because our church is very close.

What makes it bad is that we literally follow signs to the airport until the very, very last exit where you turn left to drive into the airport's drop-off zone or right to continue on the highway.

And the same thing happens going back home.

I literally have to tell myself, "keep on the road" because I so badly want to just take the exit and go buy a ticket to somewhere and go on a wild adventure.

Have you seen those movies where the person looks at the board and chooses a country and flight to go to?

Granted, they're usually on the run but still... it feels so exciting to be that spontaneous.

And then these emails don't help either.

Sometimes I'm strong and just delete them without even opening.

But other times like yesterday, I open the email and have a good old daydream about flying to some place new. I totally go to that place in my mind - my imagination doesn't let me down.

I was in a space like this about 6 weeks ago when I got a marketing email from a coach I follow about her event in Tucson, Arizona.

It was a really, really good price ($497 for the 2 days and an extra $200 for an extra day's certification) and if I lived in the US, it would be a "no-brainer" as we say in corporate. BTW, I actually hate that term...

But suddenly I thought, "why not?!"

Like I said, I was in that space and before I could think about it properly, I shot off an email to my old travel agent at Flight Centre to get prices.

And you know what? The only thing that put me off was the 15-hour flight (Jhb - Atlanta) and then the next 4-hour flight (Atlanta - Tucson).

I also asked her if there was enough time for a visa and there was, with days to spare.

It didn't end up working out because it just felt too rushed (yes, I went to Ireland with a week's notice but then I didn't need a visa, it was the last pre-babies trip, etc.).

But a wonderful thing has happened since - my mind is open.

Wide open to possibility.

Michael Hyatt then wrote about going to a Speaker's Conference, I clicked through and saw the next one is in Vail, Colorado in October.

Drool..... Colorado is on my life list...

Spouses can attend for a crazy cheap amount of money.

I still want to go to that conference but I want a couple more years of experience under my belt first.

And then my new coach and I were chatting last week and she happened to ask if I travel to international conferences.

I said that I hadn't but strangely enough, I'm now open to the idea and I felt like God's been slowly opening my mind to possibility.

She loved it - said she loved that she was part of the confirmation for me.

So here's the thing.

I'm declaring here and now that next year I'll be going to the She Speaks conference for Christian speakers and writers. I'm on their list and the minute bookings open (this year's one hasn't even happened!), I'm booking my place.

I plan for D and I to have a holiday around it and maybe do two weeks in the US.

What do you think? Am I mad?

And more importantly, do you also get wanderlust when the Flight Centre emails pop into your inbox, or you read about travel on the blogs?

PS Heather and I've decided to meet up in NYC - who else is keen?


PPS my colleague who sits right next to me is flying to Greece with his family tomorrow. I am jealous of the travel but not of sitting next to his 3-year-old toddler :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

On sewing and weekly inspiration

So, my current obsession with sewing and why it's so weird.

When I was in primary school (first 7 years of school here in SA), we had to do Needlework for three years - standards 3, 4 and 5. Age 10 - 12.

I liked some of the sewing but absolutely HATED knitting.

My mother knits and she knits beautifully - she made little jackets for my babies and used to make me beautiful jerseys that were the envy of the other kids.

I lack the knitting thing.

My hands would sweat, I'd get bored - it was just terrible and I remember many evenings CRYING (literally) over knitting that wasn't done, and then sitting up until all hours trying to finish it. I was just too slow.

I was a bit of a good girl so going to school with things undone was just never going to happen.

Sewing was a bit better. More instant gratification, I think.

I could sew buttons onto shirts then (and now) that will just NEVER in a million years come off.

The embroidery was also mildly satisfying but only because of the precision and the pretty colours, not actually the process of sewing.

Still I didn't do too badly but it was my worst subject ever.

We didn't have cute fabric and the styles of the things we made were just awful. Nothing like this cute dress.

So of course I vowed never to ever touch a knitting needle ever again. I'm proud to say that my resolve has not weakened in the 25 years since then.

As for sewing, I never willingly hand-stitch anything, except buttons, because I rock at those.

But while I was at high school, I did sew a bit on my granny's machine.

She sewed beautifully (my wedding dress, etc.) and I'd make easy but fun things - bags for the library, pencil cases, etc. You know, fun things.

These days if I need pants hemmed (actually I always need pants hemmed), I take them to a lady here at work who charges R35 ($5) per pair of pants.

I had two pairs of jeans done last week because they were falling off my soon-to-be skinny bum and dragging on the floor.

By the way, I said to this lady, "oh, I haven't seen you around much" and she said, "yes, I've been suffering from depression". Fabulous - not the depression bit but the fact that she is comfortable enough to admit it. The first person I've come across at work to say something like this. Because of that, I could encourage her and later pray for her and her family.
With all this blogging and online surfing and now Pinterest, it's been so easy to collect ideas of things to sew.

And the idea of sewing has not been a "no, I'll never" but more along a "maybe I should give it another bash".

My theory is that I have to break even on the money I spend for the machine for it to be deemed worthwhile.

So if I add up all the hemmed pants, cute bags, pillows, cute gifts, etc., once I reach break-even point, I can relax and take it easy.

I'm getting closer... yesterday there was one of R800 (on promotion), one of R1200 and then R5000 and upwards.

If I do it, I'll add some sewing things to my 37 things list. There are less than 6 weeks til my birthday!

Do you knit and/ or sew? What do you like/ not like about it? Did you have to take Needlework in school?

P.S. Go read this super fun 30 things list from Joy the Baker, just to inspire you

Sunday, June 26, 2011

So what do you do when it's ice cold in Jhb?

Yesterday my friend Caren and I had a family date.

Unfortunately we were meant to be at an outside play area and since it was literally FREEZING in Jhb, she didn't want to take her twins out and about in the cold.

This date has been planned for about 6 - 7 weeks and we were not about to cancel so the two of us decided to go shopping by ourselves :)

Because that's what we do in Jhb when the weather's bad - we shop.

Since I had to go to the other side of the world, D and I made an impromptu plan for him and the babies to visit MIL since she's one offramp away from where I had to be.

It worked out beautifully.

First I didn't get lost (I am clearly doing well with this directions thing) and then Caren and I got to shop in peace without babies/ husbands. The guys also had quality time with their kids.

* best thing I bought - my circle punch! I'd ordered one from a place near to me and am still waiting probably 5 weeks later. I was SOOO happy when I saw it, you have NO idea.

Caren and I had a great time and I got all the party stuff except serviettes which I got today
When I collected my family at MIL's house, she said, "you should go shopping with Caren more often so I can see my grandchildren".

Well, well, well.

Next time maybe D and I should drop kids and go for a nearby date?

After we fed and put them to bed (we skipped baths - it was just way too cold), I got stuck into playing with my circle punch and...

I am now done with the party favours. Yay!

They look very cute if I do say so myself :)

But who knew I'd 1) get excited about a circle punch and 2) find playing with it so satisfying?!

What did you do this weekend that was fun?

P.S. Today I went to go price sewing machines. No, I can't sew :) but I desperately want to make cute things. I figured with the free money coming my way, I should get one, right?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Getting my craft on - no-sew blankets


I saw these no-sew blankets on Barbara's blog years and years ago - we were far away from having children so I just mentally filed it away. (BTW, once you're there, look for recipes in the sidebar - I can recommend the Chicken Divan)

My children had quite a few fleece blankets when they were first born (this house is cold and we had prem kids...).

Now that they're bigger the blankets don't quite cover them and I've been using them to place over their legs when we read.

But then I had a bright idea.

I took two blankets, did the no-sew tying and voila, a big blanket that fits them again.

And the best part? It literally took about 5 - 10 minutes.

Granted, I'm not much of a measurer - I'm of the "winging it" club.

Here are the steps of the "tutorial" for what it's worth :)

Lay two blankets on top of one another, neatly so they fit and are easy to cut.

Start cutting even widths - I did mine about 2- 2.5 cm (1 inch) about 5 - 6 cm deep (2 inches).




(and that's when my camera died - more pics tonight once recharged)

The cutest part of me "crafting" was the kids' reactions.

They both wanted chairs at the dining room table and sat absolutely still watching me cut and then tie the ends closed.

When I was done, Kendra exclaimed, "pretty" so that made it all worth it.

Connor took his blanket and told me to put it on (drape it around him), and he then ran around the house with the blanket like a cape. Too cute.

I think they approve!

Some more no-sew fleece tutorials:

blanket

scarf

Isn't this easy?

What have you made lately?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Girls Night Out

So last night I got there with a great deal of ease, very unlike my usual style of getting lost.

Let me share my secret weapon with you - the doormen at the Hyatt in Rosebank.

They are fabulous - anytime I have to go to Rosebank I drive in there, circle around the roundabout and look a bit lost, and one of them comes out and helps me.

Last night I told him where I was going and he said without any hesitation, "turn left, turn left again, and you're there"

LOVE IT!

I intentionally left with plenty of time to spare in case I got lost but was about 15 minutes early.

I took out my laptop and cleared most of my emails (personal, never work).

Photobucket


And then the other 3 girls arrived.

Quite honestly I lost track of time and didn't even take one pic.

We were all so busy talking and eating and laughing and more talking and having fun.

We shared stories of laparoscopies, disobedient toddlers, cute things they're saying, sleep issues, party ideas, everything.

Fun fun fun.

It was exactly what my soul needed to recover from the awful day.

Thank you Caren, Natalie and Mandy for a fantastic evening!

If you're interested I had fettuccine with chicken, spinach and sundried tomatoes (yum), water (always) and a small triple chocolate brownie with tea. We all had the triple chocolate brownies.

Delicious!

What perks you up after an awful day?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Good thing I don't feel like this often

It's 5:11 pm and I'm at work in my gym clothes, stewing.

I'll be here for an hour and then go get dressed and meet our Fertility Babies group for supper.

I didn't drive all the way home as it's just a waste of time for such a short time.

Anyway.

I'm feeling very grumpy so hoping if I write about it, I'll feel better:
  1. Today the kids broke my specs. I woke to find Kendra clutching the arm of my specs with the rest of it by her feet. It's not really Kendra so I suspect Connor may have helped. Thank goodness the lenses weren't broken as I order super expensive ones with a gazillion fancy things - it kills me to pay it every time but at least they don't break easily.
  2. Stopped in at the optometrist on the way to work and it will only cost a couple of hundred rand ($30) to replace the arm. Thank goodness.
  3. Because of all this drama in the morning, I didn't have enough time to do all the things I'd planned and so am running behind with my work. Yes, I'm blogging. It's free therapy.
  4. The food we ordered for lunch in our team meeting was all wrong. They added mayonnaise to my sandwich which made it soggy (I always specify "no sauce") and I'm SUPER fussy about soggy food. I was starving (and we were in a meeting) so just had to eat.
  5. Then in the meeting, my boss (not so wonderful at the moment because I'm cross) announces that another person is now the lead on a project I've been involved in (you know which one, Mash). I technically don't mind - she has TONS more time to give it the attention it deserves - but I do mind not being told prior to the meeting. Actually I do mind a bit because it's one of my passions.
  6. So I'm seething the entire time - I'm not one to create drama in a meeting but I will give him a piece of my mind tomorrow. The pieces then fell into place because of a meeting we'd had earlier this week and I realised why she was so insistent about doing a particular piece of work on this project. I am still going to insist on doing it (I know you think I'm crazy) but I am even more super fussy about communication and I want to draft the internal communication on this thing.
  7. And then as if all of that is not enough, it's the day for the personal trainer. The only thing that made me go up there is the thought that I need to get this tension out of my body. And so I said not a word except for asking one or two questions about some new exercises and she kept saying, "what's wrong?" Valid question as usually we talk the whole time. I said, "there is just way too much going on for me to even start explaining"
  8. Feeling a bit nostalgic for what once was, and what I thought would still be. A friendship of mine has changed and I'm a bit very sad about that.

Now after all that, would you not feel grumpy?

I hope I cheer up soon (or can put on a smile) because otherwise I'm going to have a dreadful evening.

But how was YOUR day? Did you have a good one?

P.S. The one bright spot was I'm getting some free money from work :) Something about me being from a previously disadvantaged background. I don't care about all that but FREE MONEY. I need to take a trip and indulge myself a bit.

P.P.S Thanks for all your lovely comments on the manners post - there's some good stuff in the comments if you haven't subscribed. Dancing in the rain, I couldn't see the comment button when I tried to visit your blog but thanks so much for saying hello. I spent some time checking out all your crafty goodness :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Teaching kids good manners

proof that I've been organising photos - this one March 2011 - 20 months


Miss Jennifer is MandyE's babysitter.

I love all her stories about Miss Jennifer and most of all, I love the Southern thing about calling people Miss.

I asked Mandy once if they call everyone Miss this and that and she said that basically, this is how she was raised and that it's a sign of respect.

I love it.

There is nothing cuter to me than a child with good manners who says their please and thank-yous and is respectful to adults.

A colleague's 6-year-old son was in the office the other day and she had to go off to a meeting so the boy sat at her desk, occupying himself.

I offered him food (I always seem to want to feed people - what is that about?!) twice... just to make sure he wasn't just being polite by saying no, and I was so impressed by the quality of our interactions.

He was respectful, looked me in the face and answered nicely.

I told A the next day about this whole thing and she BEAMED she was so proud of him.

The reason why I made a point to tell her is that I know how hard she works on manners and how important it is to her.

Now here's for a big old generalisation.

I tend to think Afrikaans people are generally better at doing this greeting thing with their kids than English people.

This has been my experience!!!

A is Afrikaans and her boys have always called all of us in the office, "oom _____" and "tannie _______" (oom and tannie is Afrikaans for uncle and aunt)

Back to me.

I was raised to call adults/ friends of my parents Auntie and Uncle as a sign of respect and we never, ever called anyone by their first name.

D wasn't. He only called "real aunties" Auntie and if they were his mother's friends, he called them by their first names.

That would have been seen as a sign of disrespect in my world.

It just illustrates that there are different parenting styles!

I do think we're more relaxed these days and it is a bit cumbersome to keep referring to your own friends as Auntie this and that.

Or what do you think?

What do you do? Do you refer to your friends as Auntie for your kids, or do they call them by name?

PS so C, if you hear me refer to you as Auntie C on Sat, you'll know I'm trying out some parenting stuff :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

How to write your life list

Jayme asked a great question in the comments about what you put on your life list, etc. Julia then added to that so I thought I would answer those questions here.

When I put together my original life list, I answered these questions:
  • what have I always wanted to do?
  • where do I want to travel?
  • what experiences do I want to have?
  • what do I not want to regret?
Then as I see cool things on the internet, I add them on if they excite me or stir up my passion in any way.

Because this is my passion - helping people find the time to do these life list things - I had a quick browse on the internet looking for some good links which is less about me being altruistic but more about me being indulgent :)

First I went to my favourite life lister, Maggie Mason of Mighty Girl and found her post on how to write a list

My favourite part is number 10, this excerpt

"Make it your game. Your life list is a living document, and you make the rules. You can decide that the first rule of Life List is you don’t talk about Life List. You can add items to the list, or delete them, whenever you want. You may feel like you’ll never have 100 ideas, but once you do, you’re bound to think of more and wish you’d added them. And you should add them. Your objective isn’t to cross everything off, or hit the finish line, it’s to collect rich experiences for yourself." - Maggie Mason



I love what she says because that's exactly how I feel about goals.

Even if you don't get to cross all the things off, you are better for the striving.

Same thing with my 36 things list (see top of page). I won't have done some of those things but at least I had intention and focus over this last year.

I read LauraC's earlier this year and she said she crossed 18 things off her 36 things list.

But remember, if she hadn't made that list maybe those 18 wouldn't even be crossed off.

She's led a far richer life having had the list.

That's why I'm so passionate about people making lists.

I want you to live life full out and with passion. Dream big dreams and also some little ones :)

So please write your lists - just start. Even if there are only 10 things to start it off.

Keep your list with you in the car, next to your bed, in your handbag and keep adding to it as you think of new things.

One thing on my original list was to have children. :)

The yellow door is so representative for me of life list stuff as I took this pic in Ireland (Clonakilty) which was another thing on my life list. I was the crazy tourist taking pics of all the doors in Dublin.


here are some more links on life lists

Chookooloonks

Scarlet Lily

Have fun reading.

For those who are not into life lists, tell me why not. I am insanely curious :)

Otherwise, are you going to do one? Have I convinced you yet?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

70 minutes down, many more to go



So you know I have "write a book" on my Life List and also on my 2011 goals list.

I'm the type of person who, once I start, I can plough through but it's the getting clear in my head bit that is the worst part and then the starting.

Last week when I had my first session with my new coach, I told her that I want to focus on writing and speaking for the next while.

Last Sunday in church, the speaker said this: if you know God's given you a vision, pursue it fully.

I haven't been pursuing it as fully as I should. But not anymore.

And so the talk is prepped and ready for tomorrow night, and I've done 70 minutes (goal for this week - 120 minutes... but secretly I'm aiming for double that :)) of writing on the book.

Yay!

Onwards and upwards.

This is the beauty of working with a coach - accountability and support.

People say to me, "but you're motivated and you will get your stuff done. why do you need a coach?" Because I like to get things done FAST! :)

I said to Julia the other day that my biggest fear is not living up to my potential. It scares me to even think that.

And so I persevere.

As an aside, at the moment if I turn my head to the right, my spare bed is half full of party stuff and things to be put away but that is low priority compared to reaching my goals :)

Just a thought - maybe that's for someone reading?

Over to you. Share just one thing with me on your life list. (big, small, it doesn't matter)

P.S. I'm really SO excited about my 36 things list - click the top of the blog to read the updated version.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday sightings, also known as Featured Friday again late

This is actually my Feature Friday post, again late!

I looked in my Google Reader and saw tons and tons of the crafty/ home/ decor/ variety so I'm going to have to categorise them further so that I don't only pick 2 - 3 and forget lots of my other favourites.

Let's start with food blogs.

I love a good food blog with a story - I want to be transported and feel like I'm watching Nigella :)

I also love reading food blogs where the blogger clearly loves food and is not just posting recipes.

And good pics ALWAYS help - always.

So these are some of my favourites:

The Pioneer Woman - I was reading way back in the day long before she was as famous as she is now.

Things I still want to make - cinnamon rolls, chicken spaghetti and I'm trying these baked beans out tomorrow. I've got to start jazzing up my baked beans.

When I decided to start eating better, I unsubscribed from all the cooking blogs (to set up my environment for success) and the ones below are all new ones I'm folllowing but please go have a look and drool...

Joy the baker

The girl who ate everything (don't you love her blog name?!)

Bless this food (this is a girl who loves her food)

Two peas and their pod

and one I found on Friday, Skinny Taste. I've already bookmarked her skinny tuna noodle recipe.

I also have started putting together that recipe blog I spoke about before :)

I have a loose plan for all the food I plan to make "one day".

I pull out the recipe (if from a magazine) or print off the internet and stick it all in a folder in my kitchen.

Here's the thing - I put the date on the top and if about 6 months have passed and I haven't bothered yet, then clearly I'm not that into it.

So then I'll either write down the missing ingredients, go buy them and cook the thing (if it still looks good) or I'll toss the recipe.

I will say that I am more likely to try baking something than cooking it (because I can't follow a recipe exactly!) and I only tear out recipes that are quick and easy so chances are I already have the ingredients in my kitchen.

What are your favourite cooking and baking blogs? What's your favourite recipe? Do you like trying out new recipes? Do you have a plan for testing things out?

PS I've already decided that my 37 things list will include trying 2 new recipes a month - a cooking and a baking one. Can't wait!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Date afternoons, the next best thing

As you know we don't have anyone who can babysit the kids at night so we can't have date nights.

The next best thing is date afternoons.

Very 60-year-old couple thing to do but this is the life stage we're in right now.

So Nanny V comes to work on one Saturday a month and D's mom comes to babysit one Sunday a month, and we use those times as our date afternoons.

We usually go run an errand or two that we can't do with babies (look at furniture/ house stuff) and eat out in the Nanny V time, and go see a movie in the MIL time.

Today we were both off from work and Nanny V worked so we hung around til the kids went to nap and then took off.

By the way, these babies never sleep as long for us but with her they nap about 2 hours usually, today 3 hours!!!!

I have NO idea what she does to make them sleep that long.

Anyway, I first ran a quick errand by myself (D said he'd rather not come with me to stand in a bank queue - I can't think why :)) and went to close my three accounts at the red bank.

For my non-South African readers, there are 4 major banks in South Africa and they each have a separate colour - red, green, blue and turquoise.

I was with the red bank for 25 years and opened a new account with the turquoise bank two months ago, and have only just managed to find some time to officially close the accounts. I transferred everything out except the R1000 I'm supposed to keep in the one account.

I am quite sad because the service today was good, the best I've had in YEARS but way too late.

Moving on...

We tried to go to an early movie but D is a stickler and if the movie's been on for even 10 seconds, he will not watch it.

So walking through the mall while deciding where to have lunch, we run into some old friends of ours and stood talking right there for one hour!

I had a brainwave and phoned through our order to Mimmos so when we arrived it was ready, we ate quickly and then went to see the Lincoln Lawyer (based on Michael Connolly's book).

Michael Connolly is one of my favourite authors ever (I have not rated one of his books below an 8) and I actually even met him once.

You know how no-one looks like their bio photo?

Yes, well, there was this man at the table with us at the author breakfast and I was chatting away to other ladies who had never read him but came to the author breakfast (who does that anyway?!) about how excellent his books are (you know how passionate I get about things I love) and how you can get any of them and won't be disappointed, and on and on.

Anyway, then the lady starts the proceedings and says, "please put your hands together and welcome Michael Connolly" and THIS GUY stands up.

!

I nearly died as I quickly scanned my memory bank wondering if I'd said anything bad. D assured me that I was very complimentary and only wondered how he (MC) kept a straight face through all of that. Teehee.

So that's my "I met a famous person" story.

The movie was OUTSTANDING - go see - and we both loved it.

Photobucket

That's what I did for me this week - I took leave, spent some quality time with D and I may have also bought a couple of cute notebooks for me.

You can never be too rich, thin or have too many notebooks, right? :P)

And I'm so glad those bank accounts are closed because that's one less thing I have to keep on my mental to-do list.

What have you done for yourself this week?

P.S. I've just prepped my talk for Monday and have also done the handout so that's another 4 things off my list and a total of 7 out of 15 :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Control freak tendencies



doughnut muffins

Oh gosh, I just realised I have 3 weeks to try and shift some of this very stubborn weight before my babies' party.

You see, Jeanette is coming to take pics of the party.

Normally I would think this OTT but I regretted having a designated photographer last year because you can't be and document at the same time.

Also I liked the idea of having a professional as I like pics of details and non-posed shots and nobody else takes those kinds of pics except professionals. Of course I'm generalising like crazy...

And reason 3 - it's a "kill two birds with one stone" thing. Party gets documented properly and we get some family pics.

So I guess it'll be gym 3 times a week for the next 3 weeks.

Especially since I haven't been once this week. I think I'll have to drag myself on Sat morning.

Please will someone hold me accountable. I better tell my coach.

Also, I've just checked the gym's website and I think I'm going to a dance class on Sat morning.

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

Today is Youth Day in South Africa. We took it really easy today which was so good.

The babies and D went for a nap at 11:30 and after they all woke and we had lunch, I got dressed (yes, after 1!) and we went to our local mall where we did some shopping.

Something that is driving me up the wall is this - V doesn't tell me or write on the shopping list when something is running low.

Now remember I am usually at work so my time to do organising/ cleaning-type stuff is limited to very short periods of time on weekends.

Today I was sorting the laundry ready to run a load (with my little helper - she is so cute!) and found ............ the washing powder container empty. I can't let the laundry pile up because the thought of piles and piles of dirty washing makes me twitch, so this was the main reason for us going shopping.

As an aside, pre-babies I was TOTALLY on top of the house. I did a proper menu plan every week, shopping list according to that, emptied out freezer at least once a month (I don't like "old food") by getting resourceful and creative with cooking, I organised different sections of my home every week and knew exactly how much of anything there was in my house.

Of course afterwards, that was just not possible. There is another person here more than I am, and a cleaning lady one day a week and my time at home is spent with the babies while they're awake.

But I had to let go otherwise I would have gone crazy frantically trying to keep control of it all.

And mostly it works.

I'm mostly unfrazzled and the house is clean and organised enough, runs reasonably well according to my standards and very well according to some other people's standards.

If only people would put things back in their places and write on the shopping list I'd be so much happier.

Of course we came home with lots of food and some goodies from Clicks (they had a make-up sale and how can I pass by their nail polishes - I have some weird tendencies that if I find a colour I like, I buy 3!).

Another aside - I am also looking for a Kindle cover. I have a boring black one but I want a fun, funky material one and since our customs duty is so much on fabric imports, I'm looking for suitable bags/ pouches at local stores. Tell me if you see something I might like. Remember I don't sew but I do accept gifts :)

So today's been good - lots of pottering around the house (LOVE this), lots of family time with fairly well-behaved toddlers, had two coaching appts and now some computer time.

And guess what? I've crossed off 3 of the 15 things from yesterday.

One of those was updating my 36 things list. I only have 13 to go, and some of them are not going to happen but I'm okay with that. It actually felt really good to go update that list and see how far I've come. I may just have to do this type of thing forever. A post for another day.

How was your Youth Day? Otherwise, tell me, how much of a control freak/ perfectionist are you about your home? :)

PS I need to do the blogger thing. Okay, who wants to meet up with me? I'm good after 9 July but let's schedule... Cat, Louisa, Hayley?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oh boy, what a day.


I've taken Friday off as tomorrow is a public holiday here in South Africa (Youth Day) and I believe that when God gives you a middle of the week day as a public holiday, it's almost a sin not to take the day off adjoining the weekend :)

So I've had to squeeze all my work into 3 days instead of 5.

When I looked at my diary this morning I saw I had back to back meetings til 12, a lunch date with a friend at 12:30 and personal training at 3:45.

No way was all that and work going to happen.

So during meeting 2, I ran to my desk and quickly cancelled both the lunch date and the personal training. Because this is so last minute, I still have to pay but the cost is well worth my peace of mind the way I was feeling so stressed.

I apologised to my friend for being a flake and she replied back, "you are the least flakey person I know" LOL

And so I started working.

I also had my performance appraisal yesterday and TONS of things came out of that meeting - nothing bad, just lots of actions.

I followed up on something and received such a rude response back.

Basically I'd done a presentation two months ago and my boss wanted feedback from the person on how I'd done. Fair.

I'd asked for it before, heard nothing so this was the follow-up.

Well he said that he was not authorising his partner to give any feedback blah blah blah and as for the appraisal, I clearly lack discipline as I have not finished the follow-up work and everyone else has.

I saw red!

You can challenge me on many things and I'm happy to hear it but do not insult me on things I know I've done.

Once I'd calmed down a little, I tactfully responded and said I was not aware that the other guy was not allowed to give feedback and if they'd simply said so, I wouldn't have bothered them.

BUT his other point is unfounded and inaccurate as I have completed every assignment on time.

Then he wrote back with more rudeness. I won't bore you but so unprofessional and rude.

And then I cried.

I even called someone to my desk to read it to see if I was being overly sensitive (I'm usually not but I am pre-menstrual) and she also said he was very rude and was shocked at the things said about ME!

Lack of discipline indeed!

So then I emailed two of my colleagues who were on the same course (I'm fairly close to them) and asked them if they'd finished all the stuff.

Neither of them had done so either so he was lying ("everyone else has completed 10 modules; you have only done 4"). The one guy was out of the office but mailed back "call me".

And so I did.

Well, here's where it gets interesting.

He then tells me he heard via the grapevine (oh, don't you love the grapevine?) that this guy insulted a lot of the 3rd group of people doing presentations. And our company in general....

We are very proud to work where we do as it's a fantastic company so we don't take kindly to this nonsense.

They reported him to the training area and obviously they took it up with the place who we have the training contract with.

I can only assume he got into trouble and he's majorly TICKED off.

So my colleague said I was just conveniently in the line of fire when I innocently asked him for feedback and it is not personal.

I see that now but it hurt so much!

Then the lady from our training area contacted me (I'd been copying her on all this back and forth) and said to please not engage with him anymore as they are smack bang in the middle of a huge thing with him, and they will deal with any queries.

Golly!

So I am fine... but also not fine.

I hate rubbish like this.

And of course I worked like crazy til 5:10 but still didn't finish everything. Thankfully I have good boundaries and have forgotten what's on my to-do list and will only remember when I walk in there on Monday :)

I thought about all of this on my way home and I think that it affected me so much because my values were questioned. I always meet work deadlines and am highly self-motivated and disciplined so for him to say that I lacked discipline, well, GRRRRR.

Anyway, let's move on.

My goals for the next 4 days
  1. finish my book
  2. get caught up with my photos - editing (by that I mean delete the bad ones and rotate so they're all face up), putting on photo blog, put organising ones on organising blog and select 12 to print for party
  3. go to movie with D
  4. go to lunch with D
  5. go to Weigh-Less
  6. close my 3 accounts with the red bank - yeah baby!
  7. take a pile of books & magazines to the local old aged home
  8. prep talk and handout for Monday night
  9. work on book for 2 hours
  10. cook lots of yummy food but no baking!
  11. repack bedside table
  12. start making party favours
  13. get my craft on :)
  14. do business goals for the rest of June
  15. update 36 things list - gosh, less than two months to go til I'm 37!
Now that I've written it all out, it looks a bit ambitious... then again, aim high and all that jazz :)

If you had 4 days, what would you do? Wait - some of you have 12 WEEKS of summer. What's on your summer list? South Africans, did you take Friday off?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rocking my bump





I saw this cute meme over at Jayme's place yesterday and then I see Helene also posted today.

And who can resist showing off a bump after 4 years of infertility?

Not me.

I loved being pregnant. LOVED it!

Sarah from BioGirl was the first infertility blog I followed and I saw that she was so diligent in documenting her baby bump and finally we caught on at 10 weeks.

Every single Wed D took 3 pics of me and of course I had a maternity shoot booked for 34 weeks and sadly, the babies came at 32 weeks so I missed out.

My colleagues at work couldn't understand why I wanted to take pics of my big belly but I knew that this was it - the only time I'd be pregnant ever.

So at least I have these pics, even if they're not the greatest quality.

First pic is 24 weeks pregnant and last one is 31 weeks. The last pic in the grey jersey was taken on a Friday on our way to a Bat Mitzvah and is my last "official" belly pic. The proper last one is after my waters broke on the following Tuesday morning.

Click to enlarge :)



I'd love to see your belly pics if you have any. Tell me in the comments if you post on your blog :)

Can you believe how big I was?!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Twin fog

I've been chatting with a twin mom friend who's a little bit frustrated at not having any time for herself.

I call it twin fog. The opposite of twin romance, if you will.

The feeling that even though they're sleeping and you're no longer sleep deprived (or maybe you are, in which case I take my hat off to you), you still have no energy or passion to do the things you love to do.

Or used to love to do, pre-babies.

Like you're in a fog.

Once they're down for the night, it's cooking, cleaning, eating, prep for the next day, and then bed.

I was thinking about my friend this morning and I remembered something Rebecca said.

She said ages ago (around the time her twins turned two) that she's sort of coming into herself and feeling like she can do things for herself again.

You know, recapture some of the pre-mom stuff.

Two years later.

And then I read Mandy's post this morning, which is outstanding, by the way. Go read. Mandy and I always email a couple of times back and forth behind the scenes and she said some great things.

One of which I hope she won't mind me repeating.

That for a long time she thought of time during the day as "baby time" and "off time". When the babies napped, it was "off time" otherwise it was all "baby time".

And that she eventually realised she had to just realise this is her new life.

Something clicked when I read that because I feel that way too.

In fact, I said to D a few weeks ago that I'm finally fully realising "this is our life". All of it - the craziness, the no time to have a hot cup of tea (this is my ultimate pleasure these days - I know it's a bit sad, but hey, it's winter), the difficulty of running errands, the wonder of having actual conversations with them while out, it's all the "new normal", to coin a Dr Phil phrase.

So, I think we have to all go through a mourning of sorts for our old lives. Especially those of us who like control.

My life where I could sleep til 10 every Sat and Sun, get up and leisurely have breakfast and tea, read for hours and hours every day, and on and on.

But as Mandy also said in her email to me, it's just for a season. And it does get easier all the time.

To answer the Multiples and More question of the week, which is what are some of your favorite parenting myths?



My favourite parenting myth is that I'm the only one going through something....

  • babies who don't sleep
  • thin babies
  • babies who walked late
  • discipline issues
  • not loving the newborn stage
  • really anything other than what normal, happy, perfect babies are supposed to experience :)
So did you have the twin fog, or just the fog? When did you start feeling like you accepted the new normal?

And what is your favourite parenting myth?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What I've been doing today ... and my time budget


  1. not freaking out over time-outs. By the way, this is why I love blogging. Some of you set me straight about my unrealistic expectations and I love it. And of course, just to make me think I'm crazy, the kids have been quite angelic since last Sunday. There have been one or two time-outs but we haven't had a crazy day like that since.
  2. buying party things. yip, this is the fun part, isn't it? But I'm so glad I'm no longer a fully fledged perfectionist because that means I can delegate!!! :)
  3. going to church. We had a guest speaker and gosh, I was so inspired I need to write a post. It was fabulous. But the babies? They are ROCKING children's church. It's really a pleasure now. We sign them in, collect our tags and walk them to the room to say hello to Thembi and Lizzy. The kids barely give us a backward glance as they run off!

  4. tidying this house. Oh my word, if I weren't as committed to paying off this bond on my house, I'd get someone in for another day a week. These kids can trash a room in seconds. Do you clean your own house? If you have help, how often does the person come clean? But... this is why I love having big, juicy goals - they keep me on the straight and narrow.
  5. putting together the Father's Day gift. I also told D I needed to run a few errands and needed an hour this afternoon. I was in and out of 4 shops and back home all within an hour. My feet are paying the price now though. Everything is assembled but I'm waiting for better light tomorrow to take pics. (Rebecca and others, I fixed the subway art link)

  6. catching up on Google Reader where I found such lovely kind things said about me! I'm still smiling :)
  7. browsing the internet. I love love LOVE these once a year baby books from Australia. They suit my slacker mom style perfectly but I'm not loving the price tag. Any ideas on doing these as cute but a lot cheaper?

I need to tell you something about last week.

I did a time budget (don't ask - long story - will write on organising blog this week) and my days were ending up with 25 hours, 26 hours and on weekends, 28 hours!

Clearly I think I am Superwoman.

So I worked and worked on that thing and I finally got it all to balance nicely at 24 hours.

The challenge will be keeping to it (as it is with a money budget) and not sacrificing sleep which is the first thing to go (for me).

I'm restricting myself to one hour's blogging a day - that's it. So I'll read blogs over breakfast and lunch as normal but me actually writing will be back down to 1 hour total a day. That's on here and the organising blog.

Do you think I can do it???

I think I totally can (fact is, I've become a little lazy with my time management) IF I set my timer every time I sit down at the computer.

So tonight I'm indulging a bit because from tomorrow, I'm back on the budget.

How much time do you spend reading and writing blogs a day?

And what did you do today?



P.S. Claudia, if you're reading, I'm dying to know how the flight to Oz went.... and if you read on your mobile device, can you see a change? I've enabled the mobile settings.

PPS I have a favourite pics of 2011 folder with 12 pics (Jan - March - yes, I'm behind) and 4 of them are of feet. Should I be worried?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Feature Friday... a day late

I thought it would be fitting for me to start off showcasing some blogs in my inspiration and dreaming folder :)

I've been reading Andrea's blog, Superhero Journal, forever. It really does feel like forever because she was also infertile when I started reading. And now that baby is about 4 or 5 :) and there's a baby 2.

You all know I'm obsessed with people who are open and honest and admittedly not perfect. This is her.

She makes the most beautiful jewellery, takes gorgeous pics (of leaves, shoes and weird things :)) and writes beautifully too.

Also, how can you not love a blog with the name Superhero???!

Andrea's one of the creators of Mondo Beyondo.

Jen Lemen is the other creator of Mondo Beyondo and she's the other blog I want to talk about today.

Jen is beautifully introspective and asks such good questions that make you think.

If something makes me think about things hours and even days afterward, that's a minor miracle right there because I generally move on so quickly.

I remember writing a comment on one of her posts YEARS ago (at least 4 years ago) where I spoke about my infertility and she wrote back with one of the sweetest comments ever. I saved that email for years and then shortly after the babies were born, deleted it.

Anyway, I love love LOVE this latest post on Andrea's blog. And incidentally, the pic on the projector (in her post) is one of my favourites ever.

Here is a link to Jen's blog.

Go make a nice cup of coffee/ tea and settle in for some good reading time :) These are blogs I read over lunch because I need to read and think about things.

Two questions for you today:

Do you normally read blogs like this? By creative, arty types?

If yes, which ones are your favourites?


PS Was anyone already a follower of these blogs?

Friday, June 10, 2011

This week's me time

I've been in a strat session from 8:30 - 6 pm today.

By the way, the clock in my car is 10 minutes fast. That is part of the title of the CD I'm listening to, and yes, 3.5 degrees celsius.


We'd all agreed to go in and not come out til we got something sorted out, no matter the time, so yes, a long day but decisions made and lots of action items.

I love leaving strat sessions with things decided!

Especially when I see sunsets like this...


Absolutely gorgeous :)


Anyway, I have such a lot to talk about but I'll keep it easy. I was going to start my blog featuring thing today but you'll have to wait for tomorrow.

But first, how did I take time for myself this week?

Photobucket


1. Well, despite this week being the coldest week of the year (there was snow in some parts of SA, or so I hear), I braved the elements and went to gym not once, not twice, but THREE times.

I feel so virtuous.

Every single time I told myself that I must be the maddest (most mad?) person in the city to be out in this cold but I went.

Two of those were personal training sessions and one was a dance class.

The dance instructor is a new girl (well, new-to-me since I haven't been in over 2 months) and I was sweating and exhausted, and when I checked my watch, only 15 minutes had elapsed.

!

Somehow I made it and I felt AWESOME afterwards. I forget in between but I SO love dancing!


2. Then I hired a new coach this week. We had our intro session last week, I felt we connected and when she sent me details of her packages, I picked one (a weekly coaching package which I'll transition to monthly after 3 months, or maybe not, if I'm enjoying the weekly accountability), paid and am signed up.

It's for my business but we're going to focus on spiritual and family goals too. Woohoo.

I did my goals form last night - all 3 pages and emailed them through and we start next week.

3. Tomorrow I'm going to the hairdresser to get my hair blowdried and I can't WAIT!

4. My nails were painted purple earlier this week but I wasn't loving the colour so Wed night I took off the colour and painted my nails with clear polish. The next morning when Kendra came for snuggles, she goes, 'where's the purple?" Hilarious! This child notices everything!

What did you do for yourself this week? Did you have a fun one?

PS new post here

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Fathers Day ideas

I mentioned before that I'm not a crafty person although secretly I wish I were.

This is what I did for Father's Day last year.

I took pics of the kids, pasted them in a Word doc, printed them out (not even in colour) and then pasted that page to a card. I put the babies' handprints on the card while they protested loudly.


Not pretty but he loved it. Maybe because he knew I'd made the effort?

Anyway, this year, it's going to be a lot cuter!

I'm going to make him something like this:


Mine will be in a basket or maybe on a tray... and will have hero juice (root beer - D's favourite - I hate it), chips, mints, a bar of chocolate and some Whispers.

I think he will love it and yes, I will take pics before presenting.

Download the printables from Alphamom.

I'm also going to have this printed (yes, I'll pay :)) and put in a frame (I don't know where I got it as I just saved the printable before I decided to post about this)

I don't like unnecessary clutter and so I don't buy mugs and that kind of thing. I like meaningful stuff that leave the house quickly :)

So I also LOVE these ideas...

DAD photo frame

Movie bucket (for those in South Africa, Mr P Home has lovely popcorn buckets) - perfect for the quality time guy

Father's Day subway art - print and put in a nice frame - perfect for the words of affirmation guy

Super Dad printables (maybe for his morning muffin)

If you like the idea of subway art, but these ones don't quite do it for you, you could make your own with http://wordle.net. Just type in all the things you think about him and play around with it, and print.

Okay, so that's me.

What about you? What are you doing?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Just for you, Cat

What I'm wearing today

Black corduroy pants
Bright pink stripey socks (my socks are always weird and fun)
Black ankle boots
Olive green jersey
My favourite purple jacket - on sale from Edgars at R400 - about 8 years ago
Bright pink cap from Mr P bought on Sat by me and Kendra-approved
Purple gloves

(see the hair - WILD! I need the hairdresser desperately)


this pic doesn't want to upload properly but the bow on the left glove was ripped off by Connor the other day. Um, yes, the joy of having boys!

A rainy day in Jhb

This morning I received a text from my insurer: Heavy downpours, road flooding and reduced visibility until 9.30.

In Jhb we don't get rain in winter as a general rule.

So a rainy day like this throws us, big-time.

And yet, when I was growing up in PE, I remember all the kids had these raincoats (a dark navy blue) that we'd wear over our school uniform as we WALKED to school in the rain.

Those were the days.

And now I cancel a hair appointment if it's raining :) I've lost my toughness.

The rain was so bad (heavy) that when D left, I said to Connor (we were still in bed), "let's pray for Daddy" so we did.

My children love praying.

When we were done, he said, "more" so I prayed for him, and then he said "more" again, and so it went on. I think I prayed about 4 times in total.

Then he goes, "done" which is my signal to stop.

LOL

I eventually dragged myself out of bed and got ready for work.

It was actually lovely driving to work - there was no traffic and the rain was constant and steady. I was not stressed at all.

Of course I'm wearing a lovely purple coat, gloves and a bright pink cap.

I do so love winter wear.

Our basement was half empty (and I was not early as I only arrived at 9.20!) as there was an accident on the M2 so all the people coming from the South are probably still stuck.

Our PA is still not at work!

What's your favourite thing about cold weather?

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Blast from the past

When I was at school, I was not a very girly girl.

I had two good girlfriends and then I had boys as friends.

One of those boys got along verrrrry well with me, so much so that when we were in matric (last year of school in South Africa), we went to the matric farewell together (that's like prom).

I was always (and still am) in love with my university, Rhodes, and in fact, with Grahamstown.

I knew since my standard 9 year when I attended a Maths HG winter school (for gifted Maths pupils - now you know how really nerdy I am) that Rhodes was for me.

I just decided yesterday after seeing one too many photoshoots on a universtity campus that I'm putting on my Mondo list to have a photo shoot on the Rhodes campus. A real Mondo would be to have Jeanette in Grahamstown at the same time as us, with my hair looking fabulous and me at goal weight, but I digress...

Anyway, this guy then decided to go do a bridging year at one of the private boys' schools in Grahamstown (there are TONS of outstanding private schools there - in the smallest city in SA but again, I digress) as he was offered a sports scholarship.

He was one of those guys who was good at every sport but he truly excelled in one or two (cri.cket) and I actually remember him doing a sports commentary on a rugby match for one of his oral presentations.

It was hilarious and fantasticly inspiring, all at the same time. As you know, the passion always gets me.

Our class used to tease us that since we'd both be in Gtn, we'd end up going out (going steady) and getting married.

I was of course firmly in love with S, my one other serious boyfriend before D.

R & I ended up going out (as friends) a couple of times in Gtn but nothing serious, always just friends.

Anyway, you know how it goes, we drifted apart when I moved to Jhb.

But one Dec when D and I went on holiday, we bumped into him. He was married to my primary school needlework teacher's daughter :) did you get all that?

And then I haven't heard of or from him for easily 10 - 12 years.

Until yesterday.

I was driving to work when I heard the news and his name.

I thought, "no.... can't be" but forgot to check when I'd walked upstairs to the office.

And then driving home, same story. Heard the news.

This time I remembered and googled it the minute the kids were in bed.

It's true.

He is the assistant co.ach of the nat.ional SA cr.icket team!

Amazing!

I am SOOOO PROUD of him and this is PERFECT for him. Perfect.

He's always been a really good leader, a likeable guy and someone absolutely passionate about cri.cket.

Isn't that weird?

I looked him up on FB to say hello but he's not there. So I will check with my other school friends.

But seriously, isn't this fabulous?

Small town guy makes big and all that jazz. Mind you, one of our high school teachers is also some bigwig in the SA sporting world. M.ax Jo.rdaan :)

Do you still keep in contact with your old school friends?

P.S. I am in contact with 4 on FB - that's it :) And I finished school in 91, a whole 20 years ago.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Time-outs continued

Well, we went to church yesterday and on the way, D says to me, "so I think you should say something because you've been quiet for a whole hour"

!

A record for me. Just shows how cross I was.

He may have changed his mind when I started talking but talk I did.

I am tired and frustrated of saying the same thing to a child a couple of times, only to do time-out and 10 minutes later have to go through the same thing again.

This may be unrealistic but I expect them to obey me.

They are not naughty but are naughtier than I'd like. People keep saying they're well-behaved and I almost have to read the sentence twice, like, "my kids???"

The babies' "transgressions" are different:

  • Connor is more physical and all his misdemeanors involve standing on his high chair's seat instead of sitting, going to touch the heater, our phones, etc, etc.
  • Kendra doesn't listen and obey. It can be small things but it's everything. We can be talking and she deliberately disobeys (with a gleam in her eyes) or pretends to not hear or walks away, etc.
This sends me over the edge.

We don't really have tantrums, maybe because we walk away and leave them to thrash it out on the floor wherever they are.

Anyway, back to D and the conversation in the car.
  • I don't believe that time-out works for Kendra.
  • I don't like escalating the time-out in the bathroom for Connor. It goes against everything I believe around safety, even if just for 2 minutes.
We've agreed that he will "do" K's timeout so I can see it done properly. I feel at a disadvantage not having attended this talk myself.

And, if I'm being 100% honest here, I honestly think "my way" of dealing with things (which is really just my personality) worked for me with the kids. Or maybe they were just younger then.

If the child doesn't listen after the standard time-out, you put the child in a room further away, and then if they don't listen again, you close the door of that room.

I asked him what exactly the lady said about escalating things. Turns out our house doesn't support the escalation as we don't have any rooms that have doors which close and are "boring" (have virtually nothing in them). That room for me is our entrance-way but our whole sun-room/ entranceway/ dining-room/ kitchen is all open-plan.

We're now going to put up the camp cot somewhere .... (where?) for the escalation.

Meanwhile, I have started reading 123 magic (just a few chapters in) and am loving it so far. If those Amazon reviews are correct, we will have transformed kids soon.

So we dropped the kids off at children's church and enjoyed (I was still too tense to take it all in) the service.

Afterwards, they were their usual adorable selves, especially because both sets of people missed the others, and we had a lovely afternoon until supper time.

Connor again stood on his chair and received a smack on the bum from D. He FREAKS out and is LOUD but afterwards is good as gold.

The whole time afterwards, if I say, "no, Connor," he says, "nack" (smack) so he associates that with having not listened before.

Oy!

I must say, I find the repeating myself over and over and over the 2nd most exhausting thing about parenting.

Of course, the most exhausting thing is SLEEP DEPRIVATION. That one wins hands down!

How's the discipline thing going at your house on a scale of 1 - 10? Which method do you use?

Roz, if you're reading, how is it going at your house?

Sunday, June 05, 2011

It's only 10:20 and I've already lost it at least twice

and already both kids have been in time-out a total of about 10 times.

I've lost it a number of times and when I realised I sound like a banshee, I made a cup of tea and have now locked myself in the study.

Because of this craziness, I have now bought 123 magic for Christian parents and I see it's already delivered to my Kindle.

Have any of you (besides Rebecca) had success using this method?


PS D is also cross with me because I told him his time-out system doesn't work for Kendra.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Pre-school continued, this time talking costs

Thank you SO MUCH for your wonderful and plentiful comments (and emails!) on the last pre-school post.

There were a couple of things I wanted to answer but instead of doing it in the comments, I thought I'd write another post because nobody I know goes back to read the comments, right?

(feel free to correct me)


Costs

These vary so much from school to school.

Some schools only provide a snack and lunch, others provide breakfast too, some do only snacks as they only do half-day with aftercare (in this case you need to provide your kids' lunch which they will heat for you).

Mandy, I don't think you should compare our costs to US costs. It's just crazy. Some things are just not comparable :) because there is no way anyone other then the very rich would be able to afford R12 000 per child per month. No way!

The truth is that these are the costs where I live, Johannesburg. This is the most expensive part of the country. In other parts of SA, schools seem to be cheaper. I know if we lived in PE (where I'm from), I could send BOTH of mine to a full-day place for the price of one child up here. That is unfortunately reality. My mother is horrified at the costs up here and now understands why it's cheaper to get a nanny to look after twins than send them to daycare/ preschool.

Deanna, on the extra-murals. This seems to be consistent in most of the schools. If you want your child to participate in things like ballet, gymnastics, music, swimming, etc. then they have people who come in and do these activities in the afternoon but those costs are additional to the standard fees.

The one school (incidentally the one I love the most because of Christian values, etc but one of the most expensive) says that parents need to beware of over-scheduling their kids (I am firmly in agreement with this) and that their curriculum caters for a well-rounded child so extra-murals are not necessary until age 6. What do you think?

Four of the 6 schools give a discount for twin 2.

But LauraC, you are amazing. I would not be able to bring myself to pay those kinds of prices. :) What are the prices in other parts of the country?

Requirements

Some of the schools take babies from 6 months, others from 18 months and then there's one who wants them at 2.5 AND potty trained. Now I've not written about potty training on the blog (but I have commented here and there, esp on MandyE's posts) but I wasn't even planning to consider it til 3.

That's all I'm saying for now :)


Uniforms & incidentals

The school with the uniforms only insists that they wear the uniform on Fridays (kind of the opposite of work, where most big corporates do casual Fridays :)) because they go on "field trips" and so it's easy to herd all the kids together. As a practical and very frugal person, I can't see why they don't just say, "all kids wear red t-shirts on Fridays". Much cheaper!

As for the apron and so on, I know. It kills me. I bought non-fancy aprons for R20 each and the fancier versions were R50 each! But sometimes it's not worth the fight....

School visits

Yes, I absolutely plan to go do random, unscheduled visits :) to see the real action. This is one time where I like unscheduled :)

One of the infertility mothers owns a pre-school and I wrote to her since she doesn't read the blog, well, not that I know of. She said a lot of what you said but ended off with something like this: go visit them all because sometimes there is something that just clicks with you as a family. Nothing wrong with the other schools but one will just stand out and work for you.

Very sound advice.

Dilemma

I love, love, LOVE the sound of that Christian school although it's only half-day with aftercare. Also a woman I know (the mother of the girl who sat at our table at the wedding) teaches the class K & C would be in, and she is fantastic. Ran some of the children's ministry at my church for years.

But it is very expensive compared to at least two others.

I am the type of person that if I see value, I will MAKE A WAY. Like with the IVFs. But I really don't feel like spending all that extra money.

Because I will turn into That Parent if I'm annoyed about things.

My one colleague at work is spending a fortune (R80 000 a year) to educate one of their sons at a private school (that is a blog post for another day) and she found out that one of the teachers lets them sleep and do nothing in his class. She flipped out (understandably) and the school just did and is doing nothing. Now that would send me over the edge. Somehow she's made peace for the rest of this year (since it's not a major subject) but is pulling him out next year (this is not the only issue).
Anyway, the point is.. the bond WILL be paid off this year. Hopefully end of August when I get my bonus. Look how positive I'm being but I told my boss about this goal and he was all, "wow, Marcia, that's fantastic" and I said, "of course, it does depend on me getting a fabulous bonus" and he was all, "hahahaha but seriously, it shouldn't be a problem". Yay!

But I wanted the no bond to free us up, not bond us to schools. I want to travel!!! Oy.

If you have more questions, please feel free to ask in the comments - I love to find out how things work in your side of the world. And sometimes "your side" of the world means Fourways and Sandton :)

Okay, have to go. I have the second weekend social arriving in 33 minutes and I'm still in pjs :)

About education - what are your feelings about government and private schools?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

This is why I need to keep my head in the sand as long as possible and... an ethical matter

Remember the pre-school thing?

And how I'd decided that they could wait til they're 3?

Well, I took that pre-school guide and started phoning around.

There are 6 schools in my area. I'm sure there are more but I tend to start with the ones I'm more likely to send my kids to.

And now that I've phoned around, three things have happened:
  1. I'm scared more than I ever was of the costs. My friend with the twins, C, phoned one place and said she's too scared to phone anymore places so she stopped. LOL. Also, it's not only the monthly cost, it's the registration fee, apron & cap fee, summer & winter uniform fee, extra-murals fee (okay, this one is voluntary), etc, etc. By the time you finish, you could have sent your child to university and included residence fees :)
  2. But.... I'm also getting excited by the possibility of all the fun things they get to do. And the thought of them messing in other people's houses and not my own :)
  3. I honestly don't know how on earth we will get all of us ready, fed, out the door and at school/ work by 8.30-ish.
If your kids go to daycare/ pre-school, how on earth do you do it? Especially if you're not a morning person!

I mentioned to D last night that I may just be sending them in January.... if we can.

I still think a full day is a bit much for 2.5 years old (here is where I show my soft side - aaaawww) but the fact of the matter is I can't justify spending 2 X half-day pre-school PLUS a nanny. I'm looking at about R7 000.

Whereas if they go full day plus a cleaning lady (domestic worker) we can get away with about R5 500, I think! Or rather, I hope.

South Africans, am I being realistic with prices?

So that's where we are.

I'm going to take a half day in the next month or so and go look at them all (hopefully).

Also, I made a spreadsheet with all the details - prices, etc. If anyone lives in my area and wants my list, just email me. Happy to share.

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

Now on another matter...

I went on my "work errands" the other day to pay for my printing, drop things off in another dept, etc, all the walking around stuff I had to do.

I went to the one guy and we were chatting so he saw my printing slip in my hand and asked me about it.

Maybe I should back-track.

When I want to do printing at work for my personal use (cute printables, cards, the Mothers Day cards I did for my friends, etc.) I send it to our central printing area, the guy does it (at his leisure since it is not high priority), I collect it and my slip and then go to pay for my stuff at our shop and return the slip.

He is not supposed to release my prints without the proof of payment but he trusts me so I do it the reverse way around to save time.

Back to the guy. When I explained, he was horrified that I pay for my printing.

Apparently no-one in the company pays for their personal stuff.

What????!!!!

He said, "you must be the only person at the Company who pays for your stuff. Everyone else just uses the printers for anything, even colour printing, etc"

Granted, I won't send my credit card statement or Jhb City invoice for special printing - I just do them here.

But special printing and of course, all postage on my personal stuff, I pay for.

I seriously thought everyone does the same thing but apparently not.

Now some people will say, "go for it. stop paying" but I'm very fussy in that I want to be squeaky clean and NEVER want anybody to be able to say anything about my "ethical" practices.

Also I do believe that just because everyone does it doesn't mean I should. I like to hold myself to high standards and we all know standards have been slipping in many areas the world over.

But am I weird?

Would you pay for your postage and printing?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Things I'm loving at the moment

1. Bright, happy rainboots. I saw the most gorgeous ones at Pick and Pay a week ago and I was sorely tempted to get a pair, just for cuteness, since it doesn't rain in Jhb in winter. And the summer rains are 20-minute thundershowers.

Lynette's layout reminded me of the boots.

Do you have rainboots?


2. How Cat's husband phoned her and suggested she go to a movie instead of grocery shopping. And more importantly, how she was sitting in the movies 10 minutes later. I love the quick decision-making! I keep laughing every time I think about it.

3. This gorgeous hutch. I told the lovely ladies at LollyJane Boutique I would never see potential in the before version of this hutch...sadly. But I really want one now. It would be perfect in my study.


4. The way Kendra sits and writes so carefully and with such concentration. We both "work" in my study - she is too cute because she tells me she's doing a K and a C :)

5. Rose and raspberry flavoured hardboiled sweets on my desk from Natalie.

6. My new green office chair (it is actually a diningroom chair). I was inspired by all the gorgeous offices I keep seeing and decided that I'm done with ugly things.

7. My electric blanket and my new duvet. It is heaven going to bed at night.

8. Kissing the back of Connor's neck. I kissed him one morning as he was running past and he went, "more, more kiss". Of course I'm happy to oblige!

What are you loving at the moment?

and some pics...

his new favourite thing is to get on my bed and watch TV with me. Notice the car in his hand. Outside the frame of the pic was his beloved teddy, Friday.

BTW is there anything cuter than a child in pj's?

Kendra sleeping in the car - she sleeps anywhere

She loves her daddy


Connor does this when he's tired of the photos :)

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