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? 

 

 

 

Whats new with you?

If your children go to school then September not only marks the start of Spring but also the start of the crazies. I commented on Rina’s post that we shift gear now and start a free fall of sorts to December. Our weekends are full pretty much until we leave for holiday in December. Truth be told though we love it, it gets a bit manic at times but I love getting out over the weekends, being with friends, watching my kids sports, celebrating parties.

I haven’t done a bullet point post in a while so here it is – an update on whats new with us!

  • Cameron’s soccer team won their league on Wednesday. It has been a long season and it was a tense match, we had to win and we were only 1-0 up at half time but the boys pulled it off and we ended up winning 5-0 making us the top Under 13 team in the Gold League. Not to take away from the players acheivements but huge kudos has to go to their coach. We need more men like this coaching and inspiring the youth. He has coached and inspired these boys for 3 years now and he deserved this win as much as they did. There win does mean that soccer training resumes in November this year instead of April next year and we start matches in February next year. (Because you know we have so much spare time for this :))

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  • In case you don’t read my Facebook updates or follow me on twitter you won’t know Jack was sick last week. We suspect it started as hand, foot and mouth and then turned to tonsilitis. He had a weird red “rash” around his lips early last week, I assumed it was from him licking them but then the strange temp started and when I took him to the Dr all was ok, so we waited it out. He was ok over the weekend but Monday the temps were back and the tonsilitis arrived. He was so sick. When I took him back to the Dr on Thursday we both noticed the rash on his feet which was exactly the same as the rash he had earlier this year when he had it. He is thankfully better now!
  • We spent Heritage with friends braaing, as you do. It was a great day. This picture isn’t the best one but when Ansie and I started our friendship, Jacob was about Emma’s age now and we spent many afternoons with him in his pram. Now he is pushing Emma around the garden.

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  • These two have been inseparable pretty much since I met Ansie. They are like soul mates almost. Don’t you just love childhood friendships like this? Do your kids have these friendships?

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  • David and Cameron did their first triathalon in ages on Sunday. I am very glad I decided to leave the babies with David’s mom because the wind was crazy and there was no real shelter. We had fun though. Cameron didn’t finish, he got a puncture and I had a small panic attack when the “finish” cops came in signalling the last cyclist was in and Cameron wasn’t back yet but he was with a sweeper car thankfully. Despite the wind it was so great to be outside again.

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  • Its almost Santa Shoebox time – have you pledged yet? PLEASE do so if you haven’t. Pretoria still needs 3000 boxes and our drop offs open in less than a month.
  • Also if you haven’t booked your spot for the #jozimeetup PLEASE do so TODAY. IMMEDIATELY.
  • Things are getting easier with Emma. She still doesn’t love to eat. She will happily gobble a whole jar of fruit but eats the savoury stuff with very long teeth. I have tried making her food – she point blank refuses it. Last night, however, she couldn’t get enough of David’s homemade guacomale.

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  • David and I had a very cool date afternoon on Saturday. We attended the Taste of Joburg. Did you go? Have you ever been?
  • I ordered a costume from Mr P online – it has taken AGES to get here. I have ordered from Takealot and Spree before and I have always received my stuff within 3/4 days so I am getting a little antsy about this. Do you order online?
  • Our guest post section on Blog Share Connect is picking up nicely. If you would like to contribute please let me know. I have a few ladies who are going to be doing monthly posts for us so watch out for that.

So tell me whats new with you?

My laptop and I took an unplanned, but much needed, break from one another and I survived to tell the tale.

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Some weeks are just crap. This week was one of them. It seems that I wasn’t the only one counting the minutes until David got home every evening or drinking probably too much wine or not bathing until 15h00.

If my Whatapp groups are anything to go by then it has been a rough time all around. Babies are sick, moms are going through emotional strain, cars were broken into, loved ones were lost, someone even had to unpack 5000 flattened shoe boxes.

The week has not been kind to many of us. But thankfully it is the weekend and a chance to let it all go and start again next week.

I generally don’t plan much, work wise, on a Tuesday or Thursday because Jane is off those days which means I have Emma. I use those days to organise the house a bit or meet friends. I had a surprisingly productive Tuesday. I sorted out the book cases and donated almost an entire book case full of books. I did it with a very heavy heart but it really had to be done, there is no space for that much sentimentality in this house. I finally labeled the toy boxes and threw out more broken toys. (excuse the blurry photo – its from my phone *sob*). I am very chuffed with how they came out and really hope that we can keep them organised. I didn’t get much laptop time because while Emma napped I tidied and when she is awake she wants to be in my arms playing – so we watched half a season of The Mentalist.

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Jane was not here on Wednesday so I organised a coffee date and we went to gym and dropped off some books. It was a good day but again not much time to reply to the emails they were now streaming in. I was getting a little antsy about it but there really wasn’t much I could do. I replied via my phone to the urgent ones and let the rest go.

Wednesday night the wheels started wobbling. Jack was very miserable and by the time he went to bed he had a rather horrible cough, which continued through the night and by morning he had a raging temperature and was very clearly sick and obviously couldn’t go to school. So there I was day 3 with Emma on my own and a very sick toddler. By mid day the wheels had all fallen off and rolled away, with no hope of restoration. We had temps of over 39, baby who, when awake, only wanted to be on my lap, a house that looked like it was a set for The Walking Dead and my inbox was by now over flowing and I hadn’t blogged in two days so I was twitching uncontrollably. But what do you do?

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You make crumpets, sit down and watch Toy Story for the 54687611 time and bounce the baby up and down as many times as she wants and ignore the odor wafting around when you lift your underarms because you haven’t managed to bath yet because trying to fight it is not going to get you anywhere.

This morning was the first time I sat down at my laptop since Tuesday morning and you know what happened? NOTHING. No one had to be admitted to the ER because I hadn’t replied to their mail as yet, my blog didn’t dissolve because I missed two days of posting, all the articles that needed writing got written and submitted. Basically the world kept on turning despite the fact that I checked out for most of the week.Who knew!

I get a little to caught up in replying immediately, responding straight away, reading blogs daily, being productive constantly that I forget that it is ok every now and then to lie in bed with Jack and just do nothing because he is feeling crap and just needs a little TLC.

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Sometimes you have to just give in and go with the flow of life.

Sometimes you have to just ignore the chipped nail polish and go out anyway.

Sometimes it’s ok to make a very slap together go-to dinner loaded with carbs.

Sometimes it is totally acceptable to give the baby a crumpet with syrup on.

Sometimes it is ok to take the toddler to the Dr in a pregnancy top that is now two sizes too big because nothing else is clean.

Sometimes it is ok to take a break from my laptop, it will still be there when I am ready to return and so will all the things I pushed pause and the things that aren’t there anymore couldn’t have been that important anyway.

How has your week been? Were your kids hit by the sicks going around?

 

So…the job and other interesting things

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It is a pretty well known fact now that I am working. I have a job with a contract and everything. Its all very proper really.

I haven’t blogged about it because there isn’t really much to say except that I am now working from home writing. It is a great opportunity because it allows me to work from home, set my own hours and obviously means I am earning an income again which takes the pressure off a little.

It has been a little bit of a challenge with Emma though. She is an “in the arms” baby so I spend a fair amount of time typing with her on my lap or working after she has gone to bed, which I REALLY do not enjoy. So I have employed a lady to come in three days a week to help me with her.

Anyway there really isn’t much more to say about that.

In other news, we are taking Emma to the ENT tomorrow to have her tongue checked out and book the procedure to fix it. (In case you missed it she is tongue tied). I am trying not really think too much about the actual procedure because it does involve anesthetic but I also can’t leave it anymore because while she is eating nicely, I can see it does affect the way she takes the food in.

We had Parents Evening at Jacks school last night and he is doing really well.There are a few little things we need to work on but over all he is doing just fine.

Kiara also got a really great report card. She has improved in almost all subjects which is awesome. I am battling a little with her behaviour at the moment – she suffers from, what I call, the Princess Complex which I shall have to blog about at some point.

I feel very behind on life at the moment. I managed to catch up on a bit of blog reading this morning, replied to emails and actually had a little bit of time to just be quiet and plan the next few weeks and hopefully manage to get a few coffee dates planned again. School holidays are actually very disruptive because 4 times a year we need to have a break in routine and then readjust.

I have booked a family shoot for us for the first time ever. I am super excited. We have very few photos of us before Emma, I think the only ones are the wedding ones so I really want to get some decent pictures of us all.

Whats going on in your world??