Wednesday, December 30, 2009


My office is ice-cold.

I keep a shawl at work for this very reason.

Anyway, on Monday I came in to this freezing cold place and even though I was at meetings for about 2 hours, I still froze so much that my nose was running by the time I left work.

It progressively got worse that evening until at 8pm, D told me to go sleep and he'd get up for babies. Winner husband.

I joked that they'll probably sleep through and guess what? They woke only ONCE!

Of course they haven't repeated that act of brilliance since then. I know not to get my hopes up so I wasn't disappointed.

Tuesday first thing I logged a call for them to come sort out this air con. Of course, my cold's getting worse as I wait TWO HOURS for them to pitch.

They say they turned it up but I couldn't feel it so I begged someone to jump on the desks and turn the things off (someone, obviously a man, installed the aircon controls on the ceiling and there are no remotes).

My boss popped in (we sit in different areas of the building) briefly, took one look at me and told me to go home to rest.

You know what I said? "I'm getting more rest here"

Eventually left the office at 12.30, drove straight to the pharmacy for my beloved Degoran (the cure for all things cold and flu in my house), and went home. Took two, slept two hours and have been feeling progressively better ever since.

Almost back to normal now. But still going to have chicken and broccoli tonight to help my compromised immune system along.

Their First Christmas

last year's Christmas at D's uncle's house

So, Christmas.

In years past I used to like to host the family Christmas lunch because I'm a bit of a control freak and like things "just so".

Well, the infertility made me very grumpy so last year we totally opted out... but at the last minute joined D's uncle which was great. Lots of people we didn't know so very superficial conversation and NO KIDS! And absolutely delicious food - she is an excellent cook. D's uncle's partner has tragically had all 3 grown-up children die within about a two-year period - I don't know how she does it.

This year, a few months ago, my SIL asked at one such family gathering what we were doing for Christmas.

I very quickly answered, "no idea but we're definitely not having it at our place".

Maybe I answered too quickly because everyone laughed.

She then said that she wants to host and we agreed at that point that we would go. Later in the conversation she said "and I'm going ALL OUT" which started getting me a bit nervous.

I'm not an ALL OUT kind of gal - far too practical.

Well, every time I had a conversation with her the party got bigger and bigger.

First it was 9 people, then she kept adding more and more until actual Christmas day when there were probably about 30 people.


Thank God she's become more sensitive over the years as she let us have the run of the house so we could see to the babies, etc, etc.

That, and these 30 people were spread out over 4 living areas so a lot more manageable.

See, while I'm an ESTJ, I have what they call an "outlier" on the intimate scale of the E (extrovert).

That's fancy speak for... I prefer to talk properly to a small number of people at large social functions rather than superficially to, let's say, 30 :) This is unusual for extroverts which is why they call it an outlier.

We made it there a little late for my liking but packing stuff for babies for nearly a whole day is a MISSION plus waiting for said babies to emerge from naps is another mission.

Lovely lunch - she did, in fact, go ALL OUT with food, decorations, etc. I banned her from buying us presents as she has bought TONS of stuff for the babies (car seats, clothes galore, teddies, etc.) in the last couple of months. She bought them a really cool travel mattress which we unwrapped there and then and put to use (love the practical!).

The babies were a bit wild initially and would NOT sleep there - new surroundings, etc. so eventually we got them up and they were happy again. Of course, Sweet Connor started reaching his limit after 90 mins or so and turned into Crabby Connor. Kendra loves the attention and being up :)

Connor had some ice-cream for the first with all food, he loved it :)

Eventually we left for home sent with TONS of food, all of us tired as anything, and the minute we got home, we put the babies to sleep.

I think they only woke twice each that night - they were POOPED!

Gifts are such an afterthought with us - maybe because we don't go all out? - that I'm thinking of stopping the adult gifts completely.

What do you do about Christmas gifts?

This year we really made that expensive photo shoot work for us. I had family shots printed, bought some beautiful wooden frames and gave those to both mothers and both sisters. That plus my biscuits (cookies) were a huge hit.

Of course my SIL bought their mother a R5000 ($650) TV for Christmas - the disparity didn't even OCCUR to me until the next day (let's call it mommy brain). But as I said to D, we've paid R46 000 on the twins in the last 5 months (over $6000 - I honestly don't know where we got the money aside from my bonus at work) and I feel not a shred of guilt.

Hmmm, so on a scale of 1 - 10, I'd rate this Christmas about a 8, since although I was exhausted from the continual jumping up to feed babies, I now HAVE BABIES and also, I didn't have to cook or clean. There was a stress factor which I'll blog about another day..

What was yours like on a scale of 1 - 10?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

So what does formula cost in your neck of the woods?

I'm always very interested in the cost of living in other countries.

One of my favourite things to do when we travel is go to a normal shop (not the touristy places) and look at the prices of normal things - milk, bread, cereal, etc.

I have a weird friend who is exactly like me so when we come back to South Africa from any other place, we talk money while D and his wife look at us like we're crazy :)

Maybe it's because we're both in financial services???

He loves to hear how a supper that would have cost about R300 total in South Africa cost about R850 in Dublin, Ireland (still the most expensive place I've been - worse than London).

And how I paid R120 for a pizza that would have cost R40 in South Africa.

Fun topics of conversation like that.

So let's play along.... but with baby formula!

Connor is on Lactogen. I buy a 1.8 kg tin (the biggest they have) which my online converter tells me is about 4 pounds. That costs R142 (this formula is the cheapest just by coincidence - yayyy Connor, saving his mother money) which is about US$ 19.

Kendra is on Novalac Anti-Colic (don't think she needs the special one anymore but am too scared to move her to anything else in case she stops eating properly again). This one is only sold in 400g (14 oz) tins and costs R58 (US$ 7.5).

Now that we're on solids, we go through 2 huge tins for C every month and about 6 - 7 tins for K. Of course we also have to buy expensive baby cereal but that's another story altogether.

So, what does formula cost where you live?

P.S. Ask away if you want to know prices of anything else here in South Africa...

P.P.S. Promise I'll post about Christmas soon - I am sick again!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Some of my goals for next year are...

Okay, first off, I don't believe in New Year's resolutions - they have NEVER worked for me.

I think it's too much pressure on doing things perfectly day in and day out.

But goals?

Those I can do. Because I don't have to eat correctly every single day - I can still reach my goal even if I slip up.


I mentioned on the blog before (when the babies were still in NICU) that I teach goals and goal-setting :) and I've been using my methods successfully for the last 12 years.

And this is the time of year (I'm usually done with all of that by this time of year) I work on my goal-setting.

So for 2010, here are some of my goals (in no particular order)...

  1. weigh 56 kg (have to now lose the weight from the fertility meds)
  2. get fit again and go to gym at least 8 times a month
  3. have a date night with D at least once a month and have more s*x (no surprise, s*x is on the back burner but I don't like making him feel last on the priority list)
  4. have happy, healthy babies... dare I say it?... sleeping through the night! (they are already happy and healthy)
  5. replenish our meagre savings account (totally wiped out by the night nanny and other baby expenses)
  6. go on a successful family holiday (vacation) - that means we come back rested - maybe I'll have to take the nanny along :)
  7. take better care of myself - I am very bad at this - every year I have to put things like "go to hairdresser every month", "relax one evening every week (okay, looks like that one is out the window) on my goals list
  8. remain the super-duper, efficient, productive person at work I was before my maternity leave (already I can WALK to meetings in the other building!)
  9. be a good, supportive friend to my friends
  10. make $ _______ in my business this year by working even less (means I have to get even smarter about my time) than this year (the aim is 8 hours or less a week, that's marketing plus client time) and last but not least...
  11. start reading my Bible daily

Do you set goals? Or do you do New Year's Resolutions?

Care to share some with me? ;)

P.S. Will tell you about Chrismas in the next day or two. I took an internet fast and didn't switch on from Christmas Eve to tonight except to quickly check emails in case I had some business ones to answer.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from our family to yours

On this day last year we tested on 13 days after our 3-day transfer and found we were pregnant!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I feel like a failure

I should never write positive posts because they come back to bite me in the bum.

I am knackered from last night.

Monday night Connor only woke up once but last night he woke up THREE times.

Why is it that they regress just as you think things are coming together?

I really had to work hard on keeping my attitude positive in the middle of the night.

It also doesn't help that I'd been chatting to my friend, R, on facebook and her babies (who are 8 weeks younger than mine) have been sleeping 10 - 12 hours a night forever, and even now they're on holiday in Cape Town, same thing.

So in the middle of the night, that's all I'm thinking of.

It is SOOO hard not to compare your children with others. Maybe I should stop entering into conversations about sleep?

Kendra slept as she normally does BUT would not settle down. I got so frustrated I just put her down in the camp cot so as not to wake her brother and left the room. I just left her to cry and D had to get up to attend to her while I lay in my own bed crying a little.

I felt and still feel like such a failure.

WHY can I not settle my own daughter?

I suspect that I might be pre-menstrual and that's why I'm feeling so terrible but pre-menstrual or not, they're not sleeping very well.

On the bright side, it is still TONS better than when they were newborns. How's that for cheering me up?

Any tips are welcome! Amy, if you're reading, tell me more about the crying it out. Did you leave them in the same room? Did one stop sooner and then start up again when the second one was crying?

I'm desperate.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My other name is Pollyanna

My default setting is optimist.

Over the years, life and people have taken off a bit of the shine so now, while I'm more of a realist, I still veer to the optimist end of the scale.

My friend, Natalie, often calls me Pollyanna because Lord knows, through this "getting to baby" journey, I've had a number of challenges come my way. And the only way I know how to cope is to look for the positive in every situation.

What's that saying, you have to laugh otherwise you'll cry?

Well, I'm in the "focus on the positive" camp.

We had our infertility support group Christmas party on 3 Dec and one of the ladies shared so beautifully.

She said that while these last 5 years for her and her hubby have been terrible in terms of longing for and working towards baby, she actually does appreciate that they had time to travel and do things that only couples can do. (She'll be having her baby in January)

I'm not as eloquent but that was the gist of the message.

I started thinking how true that was.

And I remembered how just a few nights prior to that night, in the wee hours of the morning while feeding Connor, I decided to focus on the positive part of my children not sleeping as well as everyone else's kids.

I get to spend MORE quality time with them.

We get to have MORE kisses and cuddles.

Total, focussed, one-on-one baby time which really is precious.

Of course I said this when it was my turn to share and everybody laughed :)

Then I found a few posts where others were also looking on the bright side...

Saffy will be able to drink wine because she won't be breastfeeding by Christmas

Leah says her little girl, BB, eats like a little bird. A really good way of saying she doesn't feed very well (exactly like Kendra was and now she's eating beautifully so there's hope!). If you click that link you'll see an absolutely GORGEOUS quilt - I'm drooling....

So tell me, what's your default setting? Optimist, realist or pessimist?

P.S. Today a year ago, I was peeing on my second stick. Of course the second pink line didn't reassure me one bit because I knew that it could very well be another chemical pregnancy.

P.P.S. This is my post for Steadymom's 30-minute blog challenge. Post time 20 mins start to finish because no photos!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

We survived the first family visit

but only just!

So my sister, BIL and nephew (2 and a half) were here Wed - Sat.

Lovely to see them but I didn't quite realise three things:

  1. how much effort it is to work full-time plus attend to business emails plus cook plus feed and get up for babies in the wee hours of the morning, etc, etc.

  2. exactly how much of a noise nazi I am (shhhh, K, the babies are sleeping. S, please talk quietly, etc. - am TERRIBLE terrible host)

  3. how hectic the bedtime routine is (I've taken your advice and am doing a very loose bedtime routine), especially when you look at it from an outsider's point of view

Good thing it is my sister so I'd already told her beforehand that she needs to cook supper one night which she did (I also roped her in on Friday night's cooking). In case you couldn't tell, I'm the bossy big sister :)

Thing is, with D and me, we do the babies and once they're down, I start supper, usually around 7 but sometimes later. In winter, I cooked much earlier and simply served it up at 6:55 (I'm not joking - I used to be STRICT with our supper times) but now that it's summer, it is BLAZING HOT here and my kitchen is a cauldron until about 6:30.

With guests and a two and a half year old, I felt the pressure of knowing they NEED TO EAT (and pre-babies, we ate at 7pm sharp every night :)) even while attending to babies, making bottles and preparing my lunch for the next day (I am one of those people who is all set the night before, simply because I am USELESS in the mornings).

But we managed.

Of course, then all my sshhh-ing couldn't have been fun either since our dining room is right next to the babies' bedroom.

Since they were already a bit overstimulated due to the extra guests, I really wanted them to sleep as well as they could.


Kendra woke up 5 times (yes, you read that right) the first two nights and then 4 times the third night, while Connor woke up twice and then three times. I classify "night" as between 7 pm and 7 am. Still, both nights, we got up a combined total of 7 times for the babies.

(I've started tracking their waking up in The Notebook. Need to write another post on the sleep thing, which is clearly not working so well. My sister said to me on Sat, "you look like you've had a rough night" and yes, it was rough but that was only two hours from 5 am!)

BUT ... it was so lovely to have them here. My sister's K is soooo cute and is talking up a storm, highly independent (no, Mummy, I do it myself!) and was fascinated with the babies. Now wants my sister to have a baby sister for him He can't pronounce his r's so calls Kendra "Kenna" - very cute. Connor and Kenna.

Let me end with a cute story as it's nearly 10 pm and I need to be up bright and early for work tomorrow.

My sister and K were in the babies’ bedroom (I have a chair there) while I was changing Connor. So I hear whispering and I said to her, "what’s he saying?"

"Mummy, M called Connor a beautiful boy!"

He IS my beautiful boy! But hmmm, maybe I need to start calling him handsome or something appropriate for boys as K was appalled and when I slipped up and called Connor "gorgeous", he again gave me a withering look.

As only a two and a half year old can do :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Best blog?

Amy, a mom to twin boys, gave me an award over a week ago and I'm only now writing about it.

I think this is what it's going to be like now that I'm back at work...

She said it's for being honest and open to advice! *blush*

Hmm, some would like me not to be so honest, I'm sure, but I'm trying to keep it real :)

Because I'm a bit OCD, I've been blog surfing and seeing what you're supposed to do with these.
Apparently you have to give to 15 blogs.

Amy gave the award to 7 bloggers though so I'm going to do the same.

Here goes, these are some of my favourite blogs to read:

Saffy in New Zealand - I'm so jealous of Saffy for getting to LIVE in New Zealand; have always anted to live in a really, really cold place. Yes, I'm weird! Saffy has a gorgeous little Minx and dresses her in the most beautiful clothes.

Mandibula - mother to gorgeous twin girls and who tires me out when I read how much she cleans her house. Ahem, anytime you want a holiday to South Africa, email me :)

Heather - has the most handsome little boys plus a beautiful older daughter and is always so encouraging to me about all the parenting OCD-ness :)

Mandy - get a cup of tea first as Mandy writes fast and posts a lot in every blog post! How's this for weird - I'm 10 years older than Mandy - gee, I feel old!

PJ - who is finally pregnant with twins after a load of procedures and lots of sadness. Found PJ when I was TTC early on in my journey. I seriously get so excited when I read her pregnancy symptom posts.

Leah - mother to AB and BB. We were due on exactly the same day except my two were 8 weeks prem.... but it was so fun every week when we were pregnant because I'd go check on her blog every Wed to see what she was up to. Took us both very long to relax that all with our babies would be okay.

Sadia - "met" Sadia recently - has the most adorable twin girls who say the cutest things. Sadia's a super clever IT person (as is Heather!) who knows how to put indented blocks in her blog posts. I'm very easily impressed by techno people :)

Well, there you go.

Hope you enjoyed meeting some of my favourite blogs - I read 76 so these were just the first 7 that came to mind!

P.S. My sister and family are visiting me for a few days so posting may be sparse. Although it IS my therapy so I might have to make time.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - she's getting a mirror for Christmas

Kendra discovered mirrors a few weeks ago and is totally entranced by her reflection.

We can leave her on the playmat for 20 happy minutes while she stares at herself...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chit-chat at birthday parties

So we went to the party on Saturday.

Of course, as the time to leave approached, the babies got all kinds of cranky and I seriously thought of cancelling but I have a thing about RSVPs (once you say yes, better be there and all that...).

We dressed them, got dressed ourselves and off we went.

They fell asleep in the car on the way there but Connor woke about 10 minutes before we arrived and yelled his head off.

He was hungry but when I tried to give him his bottle, he wouldn't take it.


And so we made a grand entrance and everyone knew that "the twins" had arrived :)

I don't think I've mentioned this on the blog before but Kendra pretends she's the good twin whenever Connor cries. She gets all quiet and sweet, like "I don't know WHY my brother is being so naughty", all wide-eyed innocence. It's actually very funny.

After calming the boy down, I eventually managed to get a bottle in him and he was fine for about 90 minutes by which time I think they'd both had enough as they started getting crabby again.

Unfortunately we still had to do the singing and the cake.... so we got ourselves ready in the meanwhile, did the singing thing and left as soon as we could.

My friend is VERY chilled since she's had her baby so doesn't mind the rudeness of us literally leaving as soon as we could.

In South Africa most people are very conservative and would rather be uncomfortable than rude :)

But here's the thing I actually want to talk about.

This was our first party so I'm unsure as to what usually happens.

I know portions of our minds are now baby filing centres but I'm sure I can still keep a decent conversation going about other things...

I think I shocked a couple of the ladies when I was honest and said, "no, I do NOT love everything about motherhood. It's hard, hard work and frankly, I can't wait until I sleep again!"

Do all the mothers ONLY talk about children and milestones and how they eat and sleep and vaginal deliveries vs c-sections and oh-my-word, I was so bored!!!

P.S. This is my 30-minute post for the blog challenge.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What we're doing about the sleep thing and 4-month sleep regression

This boy loves his sleep. I have tons of photos of him sleeping. It's all I can do to resist kissing those cheeks...
Kendra, on the other hand, is not one for lots of sleep. And when she IS sleeping, I don't even venture near her cot - too scared of waking her - so this pic was taken by D.

Okay, so I promised to talk some about the sleep thing.

We all know the basic theory of sleep:

Make sure they get enough to eat during the day and they should sleep for long periods at night.


Except it's not so easy.

Because you can't force feed your kids. Believe me, I've tried and as you all told me a while back, they WILL only eat when they're hungry.

Right... so I've relaxed about that somewhat.

Then, as you know, Connor's been on solids for a month already and this week, we also started Kendra on cereal. She's not such a huge fan of the eating.... same deal with cereal... but at least she eats. This is a girl who eats to live, not lives to eat, like her mother :)

Which throws out the whole "you can only start sleep training if they eat 24 ounces (720 ml) in a day".

We are only comfortable doing our science experiments on Connor at this point. Kendra has 600-odd ml a day plus the one cereal feed. But the minute (the MINUTE) she hits 5 kg, we're going to start experimenting with her too.


I've now finished The Baby Sleep Solution and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins.

Not very impressed with Healthy Sleep Habits... maybe that's because I don't do the one down, both down thing.... I actually don't know how twin mothers do that. Or maybe my babies are just super-impatient.

Confession - I really don't mind being busy one baby after the other during the days. It gives me oodles of one-on-one time with each baby where we can kiss, smell their baby smells and whisper sweet nothings one to another (I know they're also telling me how much they love me).

Back to the books.

The Baby Sleep Solution, on the other hand, was excellent. I like people that get to the point and are practical. This book is just that. And you can read it in two hours which is great because none of us have time to read loads of theory.

I liked it so much I made D read it.

Now here's the problem.

D is a very by-the-book sort of person. I take what I want and leave the rest and so we're fighting a little about the means of implementing.

E.g. she says to feed the babies every 4 hours during the day. My babies have NEVER ever had a four-hour schedule. Connor might stretch to 4 hours now and again but never consistently. Now I can't see the harm of feeding every 3 hours (most of the time, during the day, they feed in bits and pieces so I think it'll be a challenge to even get them onto a solid 3-hour schedule) as long as they get as much milk into those bodies as possible. D wants us to strictly follow the book and move them (miraculously) from 2 to 4 hours.


Anyway, we'll sort it all out.

The one concept I LOVED (and I loved lots) in the book was this:
  • track your babies' night feeds for a week (we already had The Notebook so I started right away)
  • if your babies are waking up 3 times a night (as ours are, sometimes more!), they will naturally drink whatever they want at each of those feeds. Don't force them to drink more (as I had been doing) as the point is to eliminate the night feeds
  • usually of those 3 feeds, the middle feed is the least and this is the one that can get eliminated the quickest
  • follow their lead - if you make a bottle with 150 ml and they only drink 120 ml, NEVER again make 150 ml for that feed again.
  • for 3 nights, keep them on the reduced feed (that the baby set), then reduce by half an ounce (15 ml) for the next 3 nights, and so on, and so on, until that feed is GONE.
  • you MUST make up those ml during the day somewhere. I do it at the first morning feed as he is starving by then.
So far Connor is down to 75 ml on that middle feed. That's about 2 and a half ounces.

Although (BREAKING NEWS!)... in the last week,

  • Connor only woke twice during the night (we classify "night" as between 7 pm and 7 am) - Sunday night and then last night
  • For that first stretch, he's had two nights of 8 hr 30, one 7 hr, 6hr 35, 6hr and two 5 hr 30.
I hope this doesn't come back to bite me in the bum now that I've written this blog post......

Now Kendra, while not yet on the science experiments, has had one 8-hour, one 7-hour, one 6-hour and one 5-hour session in the last week.

So things are improving just a little bit.

Good thing too because this week at work I actually have to DO some work.

Would you believe that my old emails are restored but any that people sent me since July until Thursday are gone into cyberspace? It actually feels freeing but also slightly scary. Tomorrow I will contact all my clients to see if they've sent anything they actually want me to respond to! Fun and games :)

Also, interesting that all the good sleep nights have been with no night nanny. I'm actually glad in a strange (control freaky) way that we are now done with that as the babies sleep better for us than they do when the night nanny is here. And we now don't have to spend that money.

I mentioned to my MIL last weekend that this week was the last week (two nights) of night nanny. She goes, "why?!" I said, "because the money's run out!" I don't know why that's so strange to her because she seriously looked surprised. Money doesn't grow on trees and I'm not in the least blase about money, in fact, quite the opposite.


P.S. Mandy commented a few days ago and I'm posting her comment here

It's 2:00 in the morning here in Oregon and Josiah has decided to start waking up every 2 hours like he did as a newborn. He'll be 4 months old on the 22nd. Is this the 4 month sleep regression? Is he not getting enough food anymore? What do all your books say about this?! Help me!!! I need my sleep back!!! ;-)

Ha! I love that you think I'm a sleep expert, Mandy.

But usually with my babies, whenever they hit a growth spurt and need more food, the sleep goes all bonkers and I have to adjust something.

I haven't yet encountered anything in my books (!) about a 4-month thing but I have looked on blogs and I see that there is such a thing as the 4-month sleep regression. The "experts" say that it's usually things like teething, developmental spurts and so on...

Please chime in if you know more.

And now I need to go to bed - it's work tomorrow :)

P.S. Sorry about this but I had to enable word verification as I'm being spammed :(

I'm fine, promise!

Well, by the time I left work (1.45 pm) they STILL had not sorted out my emails so I called it a day and will tackle it all tomorrow.

Something about me taking too much leave (is there such a thing?!) so the system disabled my account and other such nonsense IT-speak :)

Hopefully the nice young IT guy retrieved my emails as he promised otherwise I am kicking butt tomorrow.

It's so nice to say "I only work half days so I need this done NOW" ...

I know you want to know about feelings and so on.

I thought while driving to work, to the mellow sounds of Rod Stewart, (told you I love the man) that I actually made the best decision to come back now, in December.

The schools close tomorrow and the roads are empty of traffic so I have no traffic stress for at least a month.

Also everyone (I exaggerate, but most people) goes on leave tomorrow so it will be nice and quiet and I can sort through my thousands of emails and get back in the swing of it.

This all so that come January I'm all on top of my game and can perform optimally again.

I didn't cry, I didn't even feel like crying. All I felt was very slight apprehension about work (mushy brain!), not really about the babies.

I think this is because I've been weaning myself off them. From last Monday (so a total of 8 days) I've been doing little trips out of the house every day leaving the nanny to cope with them.

Today I knew the dishes might not get done as quickly as I'd like but the babies would be fine and taken care of.

And when I got home, they were all smiling (well, that was Connor; Kendra was sleeping) and happy, which is our goal.

So I got all caught up on my socialising on our floor, gave various versions of the baby stories to whoever I was talking to and showed a few pics.

It only felt weird in that the last time I was there I was ginormous and then my waters broke. And the next time I'm there I'm all back in my normal work clothes and talking about babies, sleep and stuff I knew nothing about. But the work stuff? No weirdness at all - just slotted right back in talking about my campaigns, sales figures and so on...

One of my colleagues bought some scones for me (I was SO touched - still no crying) because I love her scones.

Oh, and one of the best things? I got a salary increase! Can't wait to see how much extra money I get out after tax :)

While talking to the big boss about the salary increase (they have a discussion with you - I can't see the point of the conversation, it's the same drivel but you have to play along...), he told me that my boss spoke to him about my new working hours so it was all easy peasy. I love it!

All in all it was a really good day.

Tomorrow I really must post about what I'm learning about the sleep thing.

So far so good

It's 8.32, I was only 7 minutes late today (although I can start anytime up to 9 am, I decided I will be early so I can leave early) so things are going well. I forgot to leave enough time to do lots of kisses and cuddles so that's why I was late.

Am waiting for IT to arrive to get me into my email. Am also waiting for the telephony people to get me into my phone (everything is password-controlled).

Any guesses as to how many emails are waiting for me? I'm thinking between 2 000 and 3 000...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

This is it!

Today was my last day of maternity leave....

My husband took a day's leave so we could do some fun things together - isn't he sweet?

We handed the babies over to the nanny at 7 am and went back to bed to.....


Woke at 10 am, had leisurely breakfast, etc, etc. and then went to a movie (500 days of summer - highly recommend it) and a late lunch.

And shopped for that birthday gift. I ended up buying some wooden blocks (thanks S) and one of those wooden puzzles with only about 3 - 4 pieces :)

So this is it - my lunch bag is packed, my handbag is packed, my clothes are ready and I'm about to jump into bed to read one of these books:

Now tell me, how will I be able to concentrate at work when I'll be thinking about these two?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Pregnancy weight and getting back into my work clothes

I'm a strange sort of person. I am VERY plain, don't go for anything "fashionable" and as a result, the things I buy generally last me years and years, especially work clothes.

Perfect example - this pic was taken at our Infertility Group's Bling Party. I'm on the left, R in middle (mother to twin girls) and Nat's on the right.

I wear my wedding ring and one other ring on the other hand, a set of pearl studs and that's it.

Handbags is where I have it going on. Not joking but I probably have 20 - 25. I'll count when I'm not feeling so lazy.

Tell me I'm not the only Plain Jane out there!

Back to the weight.

After the babies were born, I lost all but about 2,3 kg (around 5 pounds) of the weight very quickly (probably 3 weeks).

And then it took another 6 weeks or so to get rid of nearly 2kg.

I've had that last 0.5 kg (1 pound) for months and months and months.

It would help if I stopped eating huge slabs of Cadbury's dairy milk chocolate. And actually started going to gym. But mostly I was tired and couldn't be bothered.

Until I realised that I'm going back to work and I need to wear clothes in which I can actually see clients.

And nothing in the shops is the least bit appealing to me, being a non-fashion person. I have made a very slight effort by glancing into the clothing stores every week or so...

What do you do when you're very cross?

I clean, cook or organise furiously.

So the week when I was so stressed, my freezer was still full so it was pointless me cooking, the house was reasonably clean so I looked at my list of things to do and saw I still needed to fit on all my summer work clothes.

Which I did.

People, I don't recommend doing this when you're already in a bad mood.

It basically freaked me out a lot.

Of ALL my stuff (and I have about 12 - 15 skirt/ pants suits, 7 - 8 pairs of pants and about 3 skirts), guess what still fit?

3 pairs of pants and one skirt. And of course, my maternity pants which I'm oh so tempted to continue wearing.

It's this skirt I wore in my 14-week preggy pics and I was wearing the two pairs of pants up to 18 weeks so I don't know if they actually count.

And I was only 0.5 kg over the pre-preg weight.

On the bright side, at least I do have SOME clothes to wear. My tops were all fine though, probably because I don't wear very tight things.

I may have to stop being so cheap and actually go buy some expensive stuff that will fit well - I'll see.

But then... good news.

Last Thursday 3 Dec I jumped on the scale as I do every morning (yes, I like to torture myself) and lo and behold, I was back to pre-preg weight, 59 kg exactly.

I could hardly believe it even though I'd seen the scale going down to 59.4.... 59.3 .... so I took a pic.

I'm convinced everything moves around though because before babies, I didn't have the flabby tummy (have all the muscles inside just relaxed?) and my pants and skirts could actually zip up.

I did nothing to lose this weight, btw, I think it's all the running around after the babies at night. Seriously.

Now I need to lose another 2 kg which is all due to the fertility drugs from the IVFs. And I need to tone the flabby tummy so I can get into the rest of my clothes.

P.S. This day last year my babies were made. Here is a pic of bloated tummy with my 5 eggs just prior to egg retrieval.

P.P.S. This is my 30-minute post for the blog challenge.

P.P.P.S. Off to the gym now. Before you think I'm all virtuous, going to do a fitness assessment. Why do I persist with the torture?!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Our first party invite

I had lunch with a friend last week (cramming things in every day before work) who gave Connor and Kendra an invite to her daughter's birthday party.

I was so excited - this is our first party invite - until I realised I have to buy presents.

I have no idea what to get...

What kind of (not very expensive) gifts do you suggest for a two-year-old?

And what is twin etiquette? One present from both, or do they each have to bring something?

P.S. The babies are 5 months today - we're off now to get a wellness check. Will update tomorrow.

P.P.S. 3 days before I go back to work, counting today!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Connor and the cereal

Doesn't that sound like the title of a children's book?

When we had our 4-month check-up, the paed said we could start Connor with cereal.

Some people are horrified that my 4-month-old baby is eating cereal so let me tell you what the paed and BabySense say.

Babies automatically fall into a routine where they have a long first stretch of sleep in the evenings. This was happening for Kendra as she would sleep from about 6pm to midnight or just after, but Connor still had the same old 4, 4 and a half hour stints.

If they're not showing that stretch despite drinking enough milk (he was), then the milk is not enough for them.

Hence the cereal.

So we started with 1 tablespoon on Sunday 8th November. Can you see this was momentous for us?

And I have never been more proud of my boy.

He took to it beautifully - first mouthful he chewed slowly like "mmm, what's this new thing?" and then it was "oh YES, this is what I've been waiting for"

Just like that, he took to it and we've never looked back.

I sit on the floor, Connor in the feeding pillow and I hold his hands with my left hand while feeding him with the right hand.

Then I read in Babysense that babies really only FULLY experience things when they touch and put them in their mouths so one day I was brave and I let him at the cereal.

BIG mess but he loved it. Cereal in his nose, all over his face because those hands get busy!

So did it work?

Hmm, well, not exactly.

That Sunday he slept for 9 and a half hours in the first stretch and I was BEAMING. I thought this is IT - finally the answer to all my problems.

But alas, the next night he slept 5 and a half hours, and then the next night 5 hours so the cereal wasn't magic like I thought.

After about two weeks of this I decided to increase to TWO tablespoons (yes, I'm slow) and then I had 6 and a half hours.

So we've stayed on the 2 tablespoons. We average around 6 hours but he's slept for 7 and a half hours too. Only thing is they go to bed quite early, about 5 - 5:30, so we never wait longer than 1 am.

I've tried to make the bed time later but he turns into Crabby Connor and it's just not worth it. I'd rather have the peace of a quick bedtime and a 1 am wake-up than a two-hour screaming fest (no jokes) and then have him sleep an hour or two later.

Then when the night time stretch was sorted, I continued reading Babysense and they said if the baby doesn't stretch 4 hours between the first and second morning feeds, then it's probably time for morning cereal.

He didn't stretch so we started morning cereal.

The boy LOVES his cereal.

Again we started with 1 tablespoon but most days we now have 2. If I see he's not drinking enough milk, I put him on 1 Tsp as the book says the cereal is a supplement to, not instead of, the milk.

According to the book, we should have already started him on veggies and whatnot but I'm too scared to mess with a good thing. I love those precious 6 - 7 hours too much.

Kendra is still doing her 6 hour stints although just the last few days I have noticed that she's been waking after 4,5 - 5 hours, so is probably needing more food again.

I've increased her feeds from today so we'll see if that improves it. The paed did say we can start her in a month's time which is Monday as the children will be 5 months old.

I can hardly believe it.

P.S. Have only 3 weekdays left before I start work.

P.P.S. Must also tell you about my weight and work clothes!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Extreme Joburg weather

Just to show you that we 'enjoy" extreme weather here in Joburg.

This was November 16 after they'd been for their 14-week (?) vaccinations. I can't keep track. Brain is mush.

look at her little bum in the air - too cute

And this is November 17.

It suddenly got bitterly cold. I wore jerseys I'd been wearing while pregnant which are still not packed away. I can't believe my tummy was that big!

Saffy is used to 15 degree weather in the summer in NZ but here in SA we're sooo not used to it.

and then these were taken two weeks earlier, also on a cold Joburg day.

Connor - his hands were BLUE from the cold

P.S. No, I didn't knit those. Just the thought of knitting makes me twitch. A lady who used to volunteer with my MIL did them for the baby - she doesn't even know us.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The new nanny

These pics were taken just before we left for the photo shoot. I love how D and Connor are sharing smiles.

My strategy this time around with the hiring of the nanny was to do the whole recruiting, training and management aspect exactly as if I’m at work.

So I interviewed properly and was happy with my decision.

She started on Saturday (just for a half day) and at the end of it, I asked D what he thought.

Do you know what he said?

She doesn’t seem very capable!

Well, I just about flipped. He didn't want to be part of the interviewing process (why is it that people don't like interviewing? even at work it's the same and I love it!!!)

I think it’s because we’re all over in the house on weekends so she didn't feel she could intrude in our space and "do her thing".

Also, I'm training her and I'm a bit of a detail freak so I do go on and on.

You'd never have guessed that... :)

On Monday I told her I’m throwing her in the deep end – I intervened only when K was SCREAMING. It was feed time for both – so I told her to stand between the two cots and hold a bottle in each hand. And then there was silence. It’s the only way with two babies.

So far so good, she does need to get confidence with them and with me which will come over the next day or two. It helps that she’s highly motivated – I’m paying her R400 more than she asked for so she is V. Happy. I've also said I will review her salary after 3 months but that any increases will be performance-based.

I then asked her on Tuesday morning "what went well yesterday and what didn’t go so well?"

She says, "oh everything was fine". Today I also asked her something similar and when I got the same response I said, "Viola, I don't want to hear words like fine and okay. I want details." She laughed but now she gets me.

Back to Tuesday.

This is what she said:

Well – the babies fell asleep quite easily and she feels they’re getting used to her (true!)

Not so well – she said “everything was okay” so I had to probe and force her to say what she would improve in the future (I almost cringe when I hear myself do corporate speak!). Then she said she worked too slow (also true – at least she recognised this herself and I didn’t have to say so (good tactic on my part actually) – and maybe she should come earlier than 7 am.

I said, no, that’s not necessary, you just have to plan your day better. Did some quick time management training and also showed her to gauge how long K would sleep from when she went down based on how much she had as her feed, etc, etc. (My kids never take a full bottle)

I also said with twins, you don’t have the luxury of procrastinating. The MINUTE you have a gap, you take it and wash bottles, laundry, etc, etc.

Much better every day – I still help now and again by mixing bottles but as at this writing, bottles are all washed, laundry is done and on the line and one baby is sleeping.

I'm asking her those two questions every day to get her into the habit of evaluating her performance.

Things I'm liking
  • The babies look happy
  • I don't hear any crying even when I sneak in the house after I've been out (been forcing myself to do something out every day so I don't hover... and to get used to leaving them)
  • She takes correction very well
  • She's open and asks questions if unclear or if she doesn't get me
  • She's really good with getting the babies to sleep
  • She is spot on with her strengths and weaknesses
  • She's thorough, especially with The Notebook

Not so good
  • She is slow
  • Hasn't had any extra time to show me initiative
  • Has left every day waaaayyy after she's supposed to leave - M 6pm, T 5.45pm, W 5.40 (at least it's getting earlier)
What do you think?

P.S. Mandibula, the cereal post is next!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Back to work - part 4 - new working hours

Remember last week Wed when I was having such a horrible time?

Well, I wrote this post just before I went to gym (arrived very late but as I say x minutes is better than nothing) and after the dance class, was feeling only very slightly better.

Even WITH listening to Rod Stewart (one of my absolute favourites - I triggered at his concert :)).

Anyway, so afterwards, I had to stop off at the shopping centre to get their baby vitamins and afterwards I decided to draw some money at the Pick & Pay cashier.

She hands me the money, I put my parking ticket down to put the money in my wallet and when I look down again, the ticket is gone.

I tell myself to calm down (because I am still right on the edge...) and look through my bag again. Done. Still no ticket.

So I ask the lady if she saw it. She then says, "oh, that man took it. he must have thought it was his"


I go to the information desk to tell them my sob story and they couldn't be bothered. It's R25 for a lost ticket.

But the ticket isn't lost. The man took it. You know me, I'm here twice a week - why would I lie?

A nice man says to them, "oh just give her a ticket. you can see she's not lying" but no, they're not having any of it.

So I burst out crying.

Yes, I did!

Can't believe it myself.

Of course that got them moving. The lady then walked me to security, blah blah blah, eventually they give me a ticket and I'm out of there.

I don't look good when I've been crying so of course, while walking through the shopping centre, everyone is staring at this sweaty, gym person with red eyes and nose.

I got home about a half hour before my scheduled telephone meeting with my boss and I was THIS close to cancelling.

It was all the working hour issues that had to be discussed, where I'll be working, what I'll be doing, etc. and you need to be in the right frame of mind for that stuff.

But I sucked it up and made the call. Especially since I requested the telephone meeting.

And... it was all fine.

Within minutes I was laughing, we were talking rubbish just like normal, he found my parking ticket story hilarious (especially since I'm usually very "together" ) and in the last 10 of the 30-minute meeting, we got down to business.

I'd prepared earlier which was good so I got caught up on all my major clients (I deal with corporate clients) - basically will be continuing with all plus one nice, big, juicy client (whose head office is right near where I live so will be great for meetings).

Will stay in existing department at least for next 3 months and then probably move to new department with him.

Okay, a little background.

My boss phoned me in August to tell me he'd been seconded to another area for 6 months to head up a special project. I was like "oh wonderful blah blah" because it is GREAT for him. Well, a few hours later I tell D the news and he asks me what that means for me. Oh my word - I totally didn't think about repercussions.

I get along with my boss's boss personally but work-wise, he and I will butt heads every single day. That's if I actually manage to corner him about issues (he hates confrontation). So safe to say the thought of working with him gives me new levels of anxiety.

I then sent my boss an email saying things like .... great to catch up with you.... wonderful news on your appt... and ha ha ha you do know I'll be coming back to work with you :)

He emails back saying he wouldn't have it any other way.

We really make a great team - he is what I'm not and vice versa.

He thinks up elaborate pricing structures, cool products and profit sharing arrangements (yawn!) and I keep the clients happy and get the cool products implemented. We both know our place and we recognise the other's competence. It works beautifully.

Then I talked about working hours.

Ta da da dum...

I said if his offer still stands, for December, I'd like to work only a few hours in the morning and then catch up with emails and such later.

No problem!

And then the big one.

I asked for a 6-hour day in the office. And again catch up later with emails and so on.

Also no problem. He is so okay with the whole thing; I can choose my start time up to 9 am.

Saffy, you were right. He said he knows how I work and I'll get everything done easily. Also he says to me "you'll have to make sure you don't accept any meetings after you're supposed to leave".


Winner boss!

So the plan from Jan onwards is to work at the office from 8 - 2, come home, play with babies, etc, and then log in later for an hour or so.

No pay cut so the money thing is unchanged and I don't have to worry about them getting sick as I would have had to with a half day salary.

I am so happy about that.

So even though the day was really horrible, it ended really, really well.

P.S. I still want to tell you about the new nanny and my weight and Connor's cereal and the sleep books (dear Lord, when am I going to write all these?!) but again, have run out of time since this is the 30-minute post for the blog challenge.


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