Birthdays, anniversaries and long weekends!

April is one long party month for us!

It is my birthday, Kiara’s birthday, school holidays, long weekends and just when we think we are through it, it is our wedding anniversary. It feels like we go from one celebration to the next for a whole month.

Both Kiara and I kept our birthdays low key this year but I was lucky enough to get two Woolies vouchers which meant new underwear and some new tops. I haven’t been shopping in months, actually I think the last stuff I bought was before Emma was born so it was a great treat.

ME TIME

We have bounced from having quiet stay-at-home-cause-havoc-in-the-house-long-weekends to go out-every-day-exhausting long weekends. It happens when some are the last weekend of the month and others are over pay day weekend. We have had some great family time though that included a birthday celebration, a trip in the new Kuga (post is coming) to the Cable Car in Harties, lazy days spent lounging about, a pizza making evening, a potjie at home and even a shopping trip with 3/4 kids that went well. It has been the perfect mix of friends, family and activities.

Father and Son

I do have to add that as much as I enjoyed the family time, this was the first time in years that the short weeks have been a bit of a pain. As you know I am busy setting up a business here and the short weeks have really made interviews and office time a challenge so I am glad that we are back to business as usual. It also meant that Jane was only here one day last week – I was one outfit away from having to iron David’s clothes this morning. (I don’t think I have ever actually ironed anything of his so my stress levels were threw the roof!).

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Today is our second wedding anniversary. Two years (and home affairs still haven’t registered it) and so much has happened in that time that it doesn’t feel like only two years! I suppose that time does fly when you are having fun. Seeing the photos of our wedding brings back such strong emotions. It really was an amazing day that was made even more special because all of my close family and friends played a part in making the day what it was. My mom made the bunting and bought so much cool decor, Natasha and Ansie were the most kick ass bridesmaids who helped make invites, organise, decorate and plan. Davids mom bought table runners, sorted fabric and tailors. Everyone just came together and helped to create the most perfect day. (I am not sharing photos again but if you did miss it here they are.)

Happy Anniversary

What have you been up to? (I am a bit behind on blog reading but I got organised this weekend so I shall be back to commenting properly from today)

 

 

When last did you do nothing?

We have had a pretty busy start to the year. There have been celebrations after celebrations – David’s birthday, Emma’s birthday, friends babies 1st birthdays, a 40th, a wedding, a blog meet up and a braai with friends here and there.

So when we realised that we had nothing on this weekend we actually had a small party. I did have to go into Joburg to meet with my boss on Saturday morning but it was a quick meet and I as home by 11h00.

When last did you do nothing?

For the rest of the weekend we did nothing!

I could have painted the frame for Kiara’s room or sorted out the toy room. I could have got some blog posts written or sorted our our room. I could have done a lot of things but instead we did nothing. We ate, watched TV, the kids swam, I read a bit.

It was fantastic! We so seldom get the chance to do nothing and often even when we are at home we still find stuff to do so it was great to just shut off and recharge properly. The next few weeks are back to being busy again so this really was a welcome break.

When last did you do nothing? Do you actually enjoy doing nothing or do you find something to do?

 

The one where I admit I am a brat but, thankfully my son isn’t.

As you get older you tend to start being a lot more honest about yourself. Its part of growing up and maturing, you get comfortable with who you are and are secure enough if who you are to say “Yes I can be a brat when I want to.”

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David started travelling about 3 years ago, the trips have gotten longer and more frequent (but apparently there are only two planned for this year) but the first year (maybe more) of those trips I was a brat. I threw tantrums that were rivaled only by the toddlers featured on the Nanny. I sulked, was difficult, moaned and whinged and whined. I was full of shit. I think David actually scheduled trips just to get away from my atrocious behaviour!

I have gotten over myself and handle his trips a lot better now. I don’t love them but I do handle them with a lot more dignity now, because you know I am nearly forty and tantrums at almost forty are not proper.

Unfortunately for us, and her prospective partners, Kiara is exactly the same. She doesn’t like being put out or asked to accept/deal with any situation that she doesn’t want to. She lets us all know when we are inconveniencing her or forcing* her to do something she doesn’t want to be doing.

Fortunately for us all, Cameron is not at all like this. He rarely complains or moans, I can’t even remember when last he threw a tantrum of any sort. He is happy to sort through his stationery and re-use from last year (Kiara actually laughed at me when I suggested this), he waits patiently for me to fetch him, even if it is later than he finishes but fits in easier with my afternoon routine, he will wait until their is money for his new bag, school pants or whatever it may be. He just handles life’s little challenges a lot better than any of us. This is not to say that he is a walk over, he isn’t. He lets us know when he isn’t happy but its a lot less dramatic that his sister and I. (Jack does seem to have a flair for the dramatic though so we will see how that all works out.)

While it is easier dealing with a less than dramatic child, life is never dull with my girl child.

Do you still throw tantrums? Are your children still throwing tantrums?

 

Photo credit – this photo was taken by the official Coca-Cola photographer who came with us on our trip to Tanzania 

5 friends, 12 kids, 20 years and a million stories

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I have been out of school 20 years this year. TWENTY YEARS! It makes me feel so old. I had this crazy idea last year that I wanted to organise our reunion. I put the word out and it was very slow to gain momentum because we are all spread across the globe. During my emailing and messaging our head girl mentioned she would be here in January and maybe we could organise something. So a few of us in Joburg organised a mini reunion of sorts for last Saturday!

So there we were 5 friends, 3 of whom I last saw 20 years ago! . Taryn and I have connected in person over the last few years a few times but the rest I haven’t actually seen yet I know whats going on with them thanks to Facebook.

Taryn graciously hosted us all which was really great because there are so many kids that going to a restaurant can get challenging. We had such a lovely afternoon. Jillian commented that it was like yesterday we were all together and it really did feel like that. We chatted and caught up and shared stories from the last 20 years and laughed at old teachers, old classmates and things we did back then (much to my older children’s amusement.).

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Taryn and I have been friends since Grade 1 so we have known each other over 31 years now. Her folks live up here too now and they popped in which was so lovely because they were also a big part of our lives growing up. I do think Taryn’s mom had a chuckle afterwards because we were all running around wiping bums, fulling bottles, applying sunscreen while she sat and gave cuddles to all the babies.

Despite everything we have all been through – divorce,tragedy, marriages, births – we are still, at the core, the same people we were back then and it was so great to be with people who shaped so much of who I am and were a part of all those moments that change our lives – first kisses, first sip of alcohol, first time you lock a teacher in the store room.

All of us apart from Jillian live in Joburg so there is no reason to wait another 20 years to get together!!

Taryn is the one standing on the end next to me! (She asked me to please mention her personally).

Have you been to any reunions? Are you in touch with school friends?

 

Here’s to 2015!

We haven’t had much connectivity this holiday. There was wifi at my mom’s house but then nothing here at the dam and we have all been surprisingly ok with that. I haven’t blogged since the 23rd and I thought I was ok with that until Julia mentioned it today; it began as a small nagging but by lunch time it was a screaming voice telling me that I had to write and write NOW.

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My word of the year was “accept” and part of what I needed to accept was that I am a writer. I write. It’s what I do, it is who I am.

The problem now, is that I have to make the last post of 2014 count. I can’t end the year with a wishy washy post can I?

Or can I? Does it even really matter?

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I have decided on my word for the year. I originally had “Just Be” as my word but during a discussion on a Facebook group I am on, I have decided on “Nourish”.  When I googled this word, it was this definition that decided me.

Nourish

Verb (used with object)

  1. To sustain with food or nutriment; supply with is necessary for life, health, and growth.
  2. To cherish, foster, keep alive etc:

“He had long nourished the dream of living abroad”

I think that my decider was “nourished the dream.”

So there it is “Nourish”.

The last 12 years have been about my kids, then surviving a divorce, then my kids again. But I have had all my children now. David has made some decisions around his job. The kids are all pretty settled at their relative schools and extra muruals. We have reached a plateau of sorts, you could say.

Which makes this the perfect time for me to take a step back a little and spend some time focusing on me and what I want. My goals have largely centred around my family and their needs, I don’t want to stop doing that or even move away from it, I just want to add a few goals that are solely mine.

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I want to spend the year nourishing my dreams, my goals. I want to spend the year nourishing my relationship with David. I want to spend the year nourishing who I am as a person, outside of being a mother.

So there it is. The last post of 2014. My word of the year.

Have you decided on a word of the year?

I hope you all have a wonderful evening tonight and may 2015 be your best year yet.

2014 – the year that was!

It is only when you look back over the year that you can say, for certain, whether it was a good, bad or ugly year. You can’t really do that when you are living it because it either seems all bad or all good, depending on what you are going through.

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2013 was a good year for our little family. I think 2014 was a better year.

As with last year, it was a collection of small moments added together that made for a really great year.

  • Emma was born.
  • I had my first article published in Your Baby.
  • Cameron had a really great sport year – his soccer team one their league and he started swimming with a club and has done incredibly well.
  • Kiara did her first dance exams and did really really well.
  • I actually started earning money through my writing.
  • Jack moved schools and is doing really well.
  • I organised 2 really successful #jozimeetups

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The trials and challenges we experienced last year didn’t feel as hard as the ones we have faced previously. Its not that they weren’t as rough, I think its just that I am learning to deal with them better and to trust that it will all work out in the end.

HarassedMom also had a great year, I think maybe even better than last year and there are some great things planned for 2015.

  • I met Nianell.
  • I went overseas.
  • I got paid for posts.
  • There were the usual launches, product reviews and giveaways.
  • I met some new people and strengthened bonds with old friends.

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The highlight of the year, for me, was probably how well my older two kids have done. They have grown, matured, changed and become two people I am insanely proud of. Watching Cameron find his passion, work for it and succeed has been incredible to watch. Kiara’s confidence has grown so much over the year. She has found her people, her space where she feels safe and secure.

2014 was kind to us even when it wasn’t. We have grown as a people and strengthened as a family. David and I have grown as a couple. We have made mistakes, learnt lessons and made memories. We have made some new friends, lost a few old ones. We have cried together and laughed a lot.

It was a good year.

We look forward to the next 12 months, to more adventures, laughs, memories and friends.

 

 

 

A few things

I opened my laptop on Saturday morning for the first time in a week. It was the longest time I had gone without blogging or even checking in via my laptop. So needless to say once I got over the tiredness from the trip I had lots and lots to say. (LOTS) Writing here every day has become so much a part of me that when I don’t do it for an extended period I feel almost incomplete.

So this is a catch up of sorts.

Heather from SA Mom Blogs is running a small competition. I made the finals with my post about parenting Cameron. So if you are a blogger then please vote for me.

Louisa won the Ever After Doll – sorry for the late announcement but I think she has already been contacted.

I have just finished reading One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. It is the first book I have read in ages and totally loved it. I cried real tears. It really is a great book. I loved this excerpt.

“Because she knew that something happened to you when your mother didn’t hold you close, or tell you all the time that you were the best thing ever, or even notice when you were home: a little part of you sealed over. You didn’t need her. You didn’t need anyone. And without even knowing you were doing it, you waited. You waited for anyone who got close to you to see something they didn’t like in you, something they hadn’t initially seen, and to grow cold and disappear, too, like so much sea mist. Because there had to be something wrong, didn’t there, if even your own mother didn’t really love you?”
― Jojo Moyes, One Plus One

Cameron’s relay team won a medal on the last day of the gala. I am not sure who was more excited, him or me. He did so incredibly well at the gala, bettered all his times.

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Both kids ended the year off really well. They both got good report cards and both received awards.

Jack shocked us all the other day by identifying the J from his name. He actually made it from some sticks he was playing with and said “That’s my name”. He can also identify his full name and says “My name starts with a jay”. It sort of came out of nowhere which is why we were so surprised.

Emma is communicating with us. It is so cute. She points and says “this this” and Kiara and Jack.

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Most importantly – we are FINALLY relaxing. We are here in Montagu, doing lots of NOTHING. It is so great. We have even managed those long naps like we did last year. It has been an exhausting few weeks and I am so glad we have finally stopped running from pillar to post.

How are things in your world? Tell me whats happening?

Ready! Set! Go! Its the final stretch – we can do it! I think! Maybe! Lets hope!

It’s Monday today.

It’s the 1 December.

There are 6 nights until I leave for Tanzania.

We have 2 more prize givings left, we had 1 this morning (Cameron won Most Improved Swimmer 2014)

Kiara breaks up on Wednesday.

Cameron’s 5 day gala starts on Thursday evening.

We have a braai with friends on Thursday and another one on Saturday.

I get back from Tanzania on the 10th and we leave for Cape Town on the 11th.

Everyone’s busy. All our diaries are full. We are all wrapping up, ending off, crossing things off.

Batteries are just about dead. Well mine almost were. It felt like I was running of fumes. I needed a recharge, just enough to get me threw the last few days of madness.

Our weekend was full. David was away so I was flying solo and our Saturday was one of those dash from Party A to Swimming Training to Party B, back to Swimming, back to Party B. My battery wasn’t just on red anymore – it was flashing telling me to plug in or the lights will go off!

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Yesterday we had a farewell braai with my Santa Shoebox Committee ladies. It was just what I needed to recharge. The kids swam, we had wine, we ate, we chatted, we laughed, we got gifts. The longer we were there, the more I felt my battery recharge.

We all need different things to recharge our batteries but we all do need to recharge them. For me spending time with good friends does the world of good to recharge my batteries. When I am feeling a little flat, surrounding myself with the my friends brings me great joy.

What recharges your batteries? What brings you joy?

Are you exposing your kids to other cultures?

We attended a baptism in the Greek Orthodox church on Sunday. It was the first time my kids and I had ever been in a Greek Orthodox church. It was the first baptism they had been too so it was a bit of an educational event as well. Kiara, in particular, had a lot of questions about the religion itself.

It got me thinking about how exposed I was, growing up, to other cultures and I realised that I wasn’t really. I think it was largely due to the fact that I grew up during apartheid South Africa, so there was already a very clear divide between black and white and Durban isn’t really the most diverse province we have, even now.

Fast forward to today and without even really trying to hard my children have been exposed to a wider range of cultures in their 12 years than I have in my 36. Cameron goes to school with many of the diplomat children, so he is surrounded by children from all over the world. David works very closely with a gentlemen from Nigeria who we had around for dinner recently and he chatted to us about how things are done in Nigeria, in particular in families. Through blogging I have met people from all walks of life who have become close friends, which means my children have been exposed to a variety of cultures and traditions.

One of the definite advantages of the digital age we live in is that we are, and by default our children too, exposed to so much more in terms of cultures and lifestyles than we were before. Our social circles are bigger and more diverse. In my social circle alone there are Black people, Coloured people, Greek people, Catholics, Afrikaans people, people who have adopted, gay people, people from other countries, divorced people, single people, Jewish people, mixed couples and more.

To be hones this isn’t really a part of my parenting I have given much thought to because it has just happened but it is actually something I think is important, making sure our children are exposed to as many different cultures and traditions as possible. Having an understanding of a culture builds tolerance and a realisation that while we may be different religions or colours we share many of the same beliefs.

Is this something you actively try to do? Or is it more passive (like we have been)?

How important is exposing your children to other cultures?

 

 

 

If you are happy and you know it, leave a comment!

I had about three blog posts in my head yesterday but I got so distracted with the next #jozimeetup and catching up on blog reading etc etc.that I missed my window to actually write at least one of them.

So this morning I sat down ready to go because I had three options to choose from so I figured it would be a quick thing! WRONG! Here I sit 3 hours later and still NOTHING. I considered the post I had planned about bullying but then figured theirs enough fuel on that fire at the moment BUT there is still a post to come, then I wanted to write about teaching my kids to stand up for themselves but I couldn’t find the words for that. So whats left? Things making me happy so we will go with that!

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My Jack! He is super super cute at the moment. He talks non stop and says the cutest things. His observations of the world are just adorable. I love just talking to him. The tantrums are still there but the naughty corner seems to restore order and just the mention of it sorts him out.

My friends. I have had a good friend year. I have a group of awesome people in my life at the moment. Some I see often, some I see once a year but they are all just super awesome and I am very grateful for all of them.

Its nearly holidays. Need I say more? Who isn’t happy about that?

My husband! Just because he is all kinds of awesome.

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How cute is this picture of David and Emma? Seriously how flippen cute!

My tween. I am still rather emotional about his sudden launch into all that is a teenager. A few days ago I went to fetch him and he didn’t see me arrive and was busy talking and laughing with a bunch of girls. He looked so happy and confident. I am really enjoying him at the moment.

The warmer weather. I am loving it. We are spending lots of time outside. The kids are swimming. There are braais and wine and cocktails. Its FANTASTIC!

Whats making you happy?