Saturday, March 31, 2012

Swings and roundabouts

I was sorting out March pics last night. As I delete, put in folders, etc. I use my method to email them to the various blogs at the same time.

Apparently I was working too fast for my computer/ internet because I had 13 (yes, 13) emails full of pics frozen in my outbox and no matter what I did, they wouldn't send.

So I called it a night and went to bed.

Here's the update on my March goals:

  1. Read my devotional every single day.  NO! Big fail :(
  2. Continue to listen to worship CDs in the car on the way to work. (has been working so great the last 2 months) This is now a very good habit I have going on - I'm going to continue but I won't put this on my list this next month.

  1. Have two dates with D. We watched a movie together (The Switch) and had a date afternoon last week.
  2. Speak to our parents about possibly babysitting while we go on holiday together to the US. This is a subject for a PYHO :) DONE - my mother is coming up to be with the babies. Such a relief.
  3. Do one fun thing with the kids Well, we tried to do "breakfast" yesterday - arrived at 11:10 so it was our earliest "out" meal of the kids' life but ended up being a very early lunch. I still want to take them to the Zoo. Maybe over the easter weekend?
  4. Get the kids' room sorted. Beds should arrive by the middle of March. Done - the beds are sorted and so are all the clothes, ready for winter :)
  5. Get kids potty trained before it gets cold!One down, one to go. I incentivised V by offering her a bonus for getting them potty trained :) just like we get incentives at work.
I was very intentional this month about creating memories so I lay and read more, chased them around more, etc.
  1. Prepare properly for my big meeting with the new boss. Have my goals, etc. in writing. Done. The meeting didn't quite go as I wanted it to -- I suspect this is just two forceful personalities..... but it wasn't combative.
  2. Keep focussed on big things that will yield results instead of the littler, easier things. To say this month has been overwhelming at work is understating things a lot. Soon into the month I thought about it and realised this is my life for now while we're under-resourced BUT I can do one thing every day to move us closer to our big strategic goals, so that's what I've been doing. Even in days FULL of meetings, I can send a few emails and do even 30 mins' work on those big things. I started feeling a lot calmer as a result.

  1. Decide on dates for US trip, book flights and apply for visa. Visa is started but I'm only 1 page out of 7 done. I found out that they tell you to not book flights til your visa is approved otherwise flights would have been booked. However, I did pay my full conference fee so there is that.
  2. Do something new to generate money (this is going to be a monthly goal) I tried something... it didn't work well at all. I'm wondering if I should just close down the whole thing and speak only for God, and not for profit. However I was booked for a talk which I did early in March and went great so things are confusing.
  3. Hound the lady to finish my book cover DONE and signed off. I love it!!!
  4. Work through second round of edits. DONE
  5. Order a proof copy - but my darn internet is messing around and I couldn't upload all the big files but the book is uploaded, just need to do the cover from work probably.
  6. Get book Kindle-ised - for April
  1. Tea at my house with Natalie
  2. Playdate at Caren's house
  3. Go to church thing with Michelle
  4. Lunch at A's house
  5. Supper with F
I had a great month of socials with friends :)

Health and fitness
  1. Go to gym with Connor 5 times We missed one week
  2. Work out with Kristy 8 times Fail. I did 6 and I've now stopped using her but I've upped my membership so I can go to any Virgin Active. In theory, I should go more now :)
  3. Cut out caffeine for two weeks and see if it continues to make a difference, weight-wise. Thereafter allow only one decent (full of caffeine) cup of tea a day. No caffeine worked for about 10 days and then there was a plateau so I went back to the good stuff :)
  4. Get 7 hours of sleep daily, once consistent for a week, increase to 7.5 hours. I did my 7 hours consistently except for one day where some screaming kids woke me an hour earlier. I went back to sleep but it totally messes with my body. How did I survive those first 10 months?! Never managed to increase to 7.5. I want to try again in April but I think my body clock is happy with 7.
  1. Read 5 books, one of them non-fiction. DONE! And I finished 3 days before the end of the month.
  2. Do 5 random acts of kindness, one of them photos for C
  3. Make budget for US trip and try not to freak out too much.
  4. Get Brazilian done

  1. Feb month in review page in mini scrapbook
  2. Play some more with that zoom lens. Walk around my campus at work.I squeezed this in about an hour before I had to leave on Friday, the last working day of the month, in about 15 minutes. It was FREEZING out so that helped me to focus and get it done. I need to still download and see if any are any good.
  3. Make some cards and decorate with my envelope punch. Any other ideas to use this thing otherwise I'll have to sell it??? not done
  4. Make some thank-you cards
  5. Do a canvas craft from my Pinterest board not completed but I started last night
  6. Bake/ cook two new things not done
However, I did have to supervise the painting of 4 items of furniture in my house so I didn't want to "mess" any more than I had to.

Also not on the list but I made a TON of clothespeg clips, clothespeg magnets and that magnetic frame I still need to show you.

How did you do on your goals for March?

PS I will post about the nanny situation tonight. I have to make a (potentially) difficult phone call this afternoon

Friday, March 30, 2012

{Friendship Friday} How easy is it for you to be vulnerable?

I'm typing this with a hot mug of tea in front of me while it rains (pours actually) outside my window - bliss.

I feel like I was so inarticulate with last week's post that both my friend and I were totally misunderstood.

To bring you up to speed in case your memory's like mine, we spoke about how (sometimes) we feel rejected on Facebook when it appears like other friends are getting together, getting along, etc. and you're the one left out.

I don't really mind if you think I'm over-sensitive but I wanted to make sure that my friend isn't seen in the same light :)

The situation(s) occurred when she thought she was part of a group (or equally as part of a group as someone else) and then felt like she was the only excluded one for get-togethers and such.

Does that change it somewhat?

Like a threesome suddenly going down to a twosome without letting that third one know or trying to include her.

I don't think there's any shame in feeling rejection. I'm certainly not ashamed of my feelings because I think they're normal.

Interestingly enough, I was reading I thought it was just me (but it wasn't) by Brene Brown at the time and she speaks on shame.

She said something quite profound which made me think about this FB thing.

That the way others respond to our "shame statements" determines how we feel about things.

Like, let's say (because I know this area OH SO WELL), you don't cope well with newborns and you say to someone, "oh, I'm finding it SO difficult to get through the days at the moment because I'm just not sleeping" and the other person says, "really? I don't have that problem at all".

They show no empathy and you then feel shame. The feeling of "I must be the only person in the world who feels like this" thing going on.

Because it takes courage to actually dig down and share those sorts of things, not knowing if you being vulnerable is going to turn people off you or endear you to them.

However, if the person said, "really Marcia, that must be so tough", they're still saying they don't experience it but it's done in a more empathic manner. And of course you don't feel like you want the earth to open up and swallow you.

I loved this bit so much I flagged it with my precious stick-e flags.

On being vulnerable... my heart is to jump in with both feet but I know that it's not always wise as I could get really hurt if I don't know the person well enough.

These days I generally test the waters a bit with a new friend and share something medium-deep to see if there's that horror in her face or if she'll be accepting and kind. And then I wait to see if she also shares something with me (it doesn't have to be in the same conversation although that's first prize).

Almost like a dance of vulnerability.

And from there I kind of just take it as it comes. But the doors have been opened.

So over to you.

Is the Facebook rejection thing more clear? Or does it still seem like we're being "silly" about it?

And more to the point...

How easy is it for you to be vulnerable with your friends?

PS I love it - people have started sending me friendship topics to discuss. If you have any, please send them my way marcia @ or leave them in the comments.
PPS Happy birthday to Rebecca and Allison :)

What have you been creating this month?

I had TWO emails this morning reminding me I forgot to put up the linky.

Yes! I love it when things like this are noticed. And yes, I'm far too distracted with everything going on.

So here it is, for now without my pics, but I will say this - Jan was the month of the mini-book, Feb was the month of mini-cards, and March has been the month of the humble clothespeg (I went beserk! so watch out if you're seeing me anytime soon :)).

So.... show me what you've been up to - cooking, baking, crafting, sewing, whatever!

PS I've signed up for Superhero Photo starting on 10 April. Is anyone else joining me? I'm trying to decide if that will keep me busy enough in April, creatively, or if I want April to be the month of canvas :) What do you think?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Toddler talkfest, pretend play and NO!

This is what my house looks like before we tidy up
That's Friday in his hospital bed
The stickers are  actually plasters - Connor remembers my gall bladder op when I had 4 cuts with plasters on my tummy
Yesterday morning Connor was in my bed while I got ready for work.

Connor Mummy, look - birds up HIGH.

I look - sure enough, the birds are on a lamp pole

Connor Birds climb down with a ladder? (he's fascinated by ladders)

Me  No baby, birds have wings and they'll fly away

Connor Mummy, angels also have wings?

Me (pleased as punch) - Yessss, Connor, what a clever boy. Angels DO have wings.

Connor - Trees also have wings?

Me - errr. no :)
*sigh* :)

Of course these days Kendra runs around the house saying, "MUMMY, KENDRA WANTS TO PEE. NOW!" (just like that in caps) all the time and yes, we do move our bums to avoid spillages....

(remember I am still not a fan of any bodily fluids despite what everybody told me pre-kids)

But I am nothing if not lazy, so I've taught her to get herself to the loo and take off her own clothes.


Now, a question for you. Aside from the cute talking, there's also the trying my patience talking. I'm going to tell you something - the "no"s are about killing me.

I have a hot button for little children saying no to me. It sends me right over the edge and I'm doing LOTS of deep breaths these days.

Even D is losing it (very rare!!!).

Have you had lots of NO in your house? How do you deal with it? We need some tips!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lovely surprises in the mail!

This post is so long overdue I had yet another happy envelope from MandyE after these two.

I won't show you pics of that one as it contained lots of lovely address labels and I know I shouldn't plaster my address all over the internet :)

Here's the story with the first parcel.

Mandy wrote to me and asked me very nicely if I'd received anything in the mail.

I hadn't.

BTW, if you ever send me something, you only have to wait a few hours (at most) before hearing from me because I will say thank you immediately. I must confess that when Kendra was in the hospital it took me about 2 - 3 days to get through my thank-you emails.

Turns out her girls sent my kids a birthday present last year in June.

It never arrived but instead got back to her about 4 - 5 months later.

We love it - 4 lovely books - and the girls made them cards too.

And then I got another package in the mail. I swear the girls in the office are jealous.

A most gorgeous pic, a holiday card in time for Valentine's Day :) and such a special bookmark.

How cute are my words of the year from last year and this year?! LOVE!!!

Mandy wasn't sure if I still use bookmarks because of the Kindle but YES, I do - I still have 3 shelves of books, 1 of those completely unread :)

I love my bookmark and all our lovely gifts.

When did you last get a lovely surprise in the mail?

PS the kids have been going through this annoying stage where they don't want to "perform" for me anymore - no more entertaining me with the camera (you saw the other pics last week with their hands over their eyes...) or saying nicely "thank you for the books" on video. I'm working on it, Mandy :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Back to basics with money

Friday's going for a ride on Connor's motorbike
Doesn't he look comfortable?
And of course, what's a motorbike ride without some tea? :)

So I've been feeling a little out of control with money the last couple of months but I've been brushing it off until something happened.

I just couldn't account for a really large sum of money (basically between all the accounts almost one of our salaries).

Anyway, after playing with the spreadsheets and looking for this missing money for a few days (long for me as I lack patience), I just wrote it off on my spreadsheets and we started afresh.

Then today at our strat we watched a very short but very powerful TED talk clip.

I think his name was Richard St John and he said you do all these things to get successful. Then when you get there, you get lazy and stop doing those things. Of course, you then slip back into that unsuccessful state.


It really spoke to me. (in the area of money and weight/ health and fitness)

Not that I've reached the success pinacle or anything like that but....I am just very happy with our current money situation.

It wasn't always like this but tithing plus wisdom plus good old common sense plus carefully tracking spending and being intentional with our money led us here and I'd like us to stay secure.

We still do everything except I've only been tracking spending every 6 - 8 weeks or so and I used to do it every two weeks.

So tonight I did the budget and here's what I learned:
  1. We (I) spend way too much on groceries. We do the weekly shop at P&P and then occasionally I pop into Woolworths and I basically do the equivalent of a weekly shop again. This may be normal for some of you but it freaks me out.
  2. The babies' spending is even less than before - yay! 
  3. We're eating out a lot again. We went through a patch when the babies were AWFUL out and we just stayed in rather than have kids flinging pizza all over the restaurant. They have been good for such a long stretch now and you can see it on my credit card statement.
  4. I spend a LOT at Mr Price Home. Hopefully this will calm down now that I have all the babies' new linen.
  5. I'm also spending a lot on myself. This is nothing new, generally speaking, but these days it's on hair and hair products (WITSH? - what in the Sam Hill?!) - Brazilian, shampoo and a wash and blow on average every 3 weeks.
  6. It would be irresponsible to do a trip at the end of April and then again in July, so we'll just laze around Jhb next month.
I've transferred money here, there and everywhere like a crazy woman tonight and now all the savings accounts balance, and now we need to make what's left work for the rest of the month.

If you're thinking, "oh, that's only 3 days", um no, the way our month works, it's 3 weeks! :) I will not dip into my savings account.

I like having this blog to keep me accountable so I'll let you know how it all goes.

Do you track your spending?

Are you happy with your money situation? (not amounts, but how thoughtful you are about it and the spending thereof)

PS By the way, it would cost us more to put both of them in school, even half day, than what a full-time nanny costs. We would also have to get a cleaning lady on another 2 days a week (besides the one Nester already does) to keep up with the kids' laundry and cleaning the house. By my calculations, I could pay the equivalent of 3 kids going to school, at the very least.
PPS Claudia, GREAT comment on the last post. Thank you for challenging me. I am mulling it over but will respond.

Monday, March 26, 2012

While I don't look for confrontation...

I also don't shy away from it.

A lot has happened over the last 3 days.

On Friday morning V got the kids eating breakfast and I called her aside and said I needed to talk to her.

I asked her straight out, "V, are you pregnant?"

And she said yes.

I asked her how far she is and she said 5 months. So then I said, "how do you know?"

And she said the last time she went to the doctor she was 4 months along and that was a month ago.


So then I said that I need her to go back to the doctor the next day (Saturday) and ask him how many WEEKS she is, when she is due and when she needs to stop work.

I stopped short of making a list for her...

And that was where we left it.

Meanwhile, D and I had a date afternoon and decided that we would rather she left to go on maternity leave and find another job than subject the children to a new person for 3 months, V again for 3 months and then they go to school and yet another person (not a proper nanny).

So this morning she arrives and I rush off in my towel with my wet hair to get dressed.

I asked her (in the minute I had before rushing out the door) if she went and what the doctor said.

She is 23 weeks!

I said, "V, that's closer to 6 months than 5!"

And she added that the doctor said she should stop work soon.

Off I went to work.

I phoned Ruth (agency) this afternoon and we discussed everything.

This afternoon I came home a bit earlier to have time to talk to her.

She wants to leave in TWO weeks. Remember she still has not been forthcoming about anything.

This time I asked, "V, when were you planning to tell us about your pregnancy?"

She said, "well, I was feeling fine so..." (that's it - nothing else added)

At which point I got cross.

I said, "V, it's really not fair to suddenly spring TWO WEEKS on me when we would not even KNOW you were pregnant if I didn't ask you"

She didn't say anything. What can she say?!

So I said, I will do my very best to find someone quickly but I think end of April is reasonable.

She agreed but I'm still going to work HARD to get someone suitable quickly.

And now I'm so stressed I need to go to gym. On a MONDAY night. Yes.

Meanwhile, how was your Monday???

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Six on Saturday

I'm having the worst time commenting on blogs lately - I keep clicking refresh and it still doesn't want to display the form. It is probably me.... but Katie, all your organising looks fab! Mandy, your photos are amazing! MandyE, your week was super-fantabulous :) (I can't do this for everyone but these ones came to mind) I can't even upload a pic!
1. This was the post that should have been written last night if my computer/ blogger/ the internet co-operated. I tried a couple of times and eventually took it as a sign that it was not to be... and cleaned the study. Well, as much as you can clean when the contents of your HUGE cupboard are  all over the bed.
2. I slept in yesterday so Connor and I didn't go to gym. I learnt that I really need to set my alarm and get moving otherwise I only eat at 10:30 and get dressed at 11:00. Basically the day just gets away from me and I get nothing done.
3. D and I had date afternoon yesterday. We dropped the kids at MIL, went to have a long, leisurely (hot) lunch and talked about all the things we need to, some of which include upcoming holidays, V, work pressures, etc. And then we went shopping and spent far too much money on books for the kids and a few puzzles. Apparently Connor told D that he doesn't like the puzzles with the little handles anymore! We bought 2 X 9-piece wooden puzzles each and they got one each this morning.
4. I think I may have a SLIGHT problem. I think I enjoy the kids' wooden toys more than they do. Honestly, if I had my way, I'd only have them play with wooden things. They're so solid and heavy and for a tactile person like I am, it's just a slice of heaven :) There are two wooden toys for them to use in the study - stacking rings that make a very satisfying thud as you drop them, and a ramp with racing cars. I LOVE THEM BOTH!
5. I finished the second round of book edits. I'd been procrastinating for about 2 - 3 weeks and it took me all of..... TWELVE minutes. Yes. Let that be a lesson for you too - don't procrastinate :)
6. I am SOOO enjoying my non-fiction read for this month, "I thought it was just me (but it isn't)" by Brene Brown. I have about 8 - 10 post-it flags marked because I have some stuff to blog!!! Oh, the book is about shame and shame resilience. I have 44 pages left and I may just read it all tonight, I'm enjoying it so much.
How was your weekend?
What are you procrastinating?
What are you reading?

Friday, March 23, 2012

{Friendship Friday} Do you ever feel rejected on Facebook?


I have a number of friends who are not on Facebook.

One of these friends is a really good friend and I've asked her before why on earth not? Was it a conscious decision (these are my best - I love to hear the thinking behind it)? Did something annoy her? Did something happen? What???

She told me she's tried THREE times to be on Facebook.

What on earth does that mean? How do you try to be on Facebook? Surely you either are or you aren't.

Apparently this is what happened.

She signed up, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and then started seeing other friends talking about things they were doing together.

Her friends would visit Jhb and see other friends but not her.

And she got hurt and jealous.

So she closed her account.

She then thought she was over all the nonsense, signed up again and the same feelings surfaced so she closed the account again.

And yes, you guessed it, it happened again.

That's how you try three times to do Facebook.

She said to me that she realised she doesn't like feeling left out and so while the meetings are obviously still happening now, at least she doesn't know about them and they don't hurt her so much.

When her friends all get together without her, she feels like they're rejecting her.

little friends

My own facebook story is a little different. I joined way back when I had very few friends (real life friends) and it was mainly to let people get to know me a bit more for my business.

This was good because I think I have good Facebook habits :)

I even teach how to not let FB be a time suck in my business products. Anyway.

I go on for a purpose and spend my required time (15 minutes or so) reading some of the statuses, commenting, replying to messages, "liking", etc.

Quick and efficient, that's my motto.

BUT occasionally, like on a Friday night when I have a bit more leeway, I sometimes wander around a bit and that's when I also experience what my friend does.

You see everyone commenting left, right and centre (do you say that?), all loving one another through their words and I'll admit - I do often feel rejected. But thankfully, this maybe only happens for a few minutes about twice a month because I click out so I don't have to get mired in all of those negative feelings.

By the way, I'm not as disciplined with blogs and so I feel much more rejected when I read other people's blog comments.

AHA moment - stop reading other people's comments!

Over to you.

Do you ever feel rejected on Facebook? Or on the blogs?

PS click on the Friendship Friday label below this post to read the other posts in this series.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

They call it sass in the South

You guys (y'all :)) know how much I love travel and especially how normal, everyday life is so different in the various parts of the world.

I only really got into accents when I went away to university as that was the first time I'd encountered people who spoke differently to me.

Well, apparently my accent was different back then but I got ragged (!) good and solid and so I speak slightly different these days. Actually without even thinking much about it.

But since then, my ear perks up to any linguistical nuances and if I'm feeling silly enough, I will even impersonate people (count yourself lucky if this ever happens as I've only ever done it for about 5 people outside of D and the kids).

By the way, today Julia sent me a text asking if I'd ever visited Kalk Bay in Cape Town because she was there and thought I'd love it. I started typing back but I'm so bad with that darn "querty" keyboard. And Julia, I DO love Kalk Bay.

The parents of very good friends of ours who now live in Aus lived in Kalk Bay for about 20 years. We'd visit whenever we were in Cape Town.

So I read Julia's text out loud to D and then suddenly launched into impersonating this lady. "Matthew, it's Mrs H. Do you have any of those lovely crunchy wholewheat rolls for me? Yes? I'll pop right over".

D thought it was hilarious and so did Kendra. She, especially, loves me doing accents for them, especially my "very correct" British one. So the three of us laughed and laughed. It was a good moment.

Mrs H used to shop at a Pick & Pay in another suburb just for their bread rolls. They were as passionate about their breads as I am, so I totally get it, but D thought it was funny at the time.

Back to the topic.

So again tonight, Julia sent me an email and I said "I must be the only person to say "supper" instead of "dinner" and she confessed that she actually also says "dinner" but just used supper when she wrote her email.

Do you call your evening meal dinner or supper?

And then sass.

I read a reference to "bold" in a book the other day and filed it away in my mental rolodex til today.

In Ireland, they call naughty kids "bold". As in, "Connor, stop being so bold" :)

Of course I call it naughty. Or I'd say "stop backchatting".

A friend calls it cheeky.

And I'm 100% sure they call it sass in the South.

What's your word for sassy kids?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

{Wordless Wednesday} The blue paint - fixed

Happy Human Rights Day to my fellow South Africans :)

not very easy to see but this was the old blue paint, the one that looked pastel like a baby's room. Ugh!
this is the one I wanted - yummy! I took this bucket to Universal Paints (they were fabulous!), they scanned this colour and mixed up the paint. So easy!
here's the teaser I posted yesterday - the red table runner is from a company called Rhubarb - I first discovered them quite by accident at a new Pick and Pay.
"staged" for the pic but I really like it like this - let's see how long this lasts
all pics taken at night - about 11 pm - such dedication for the blog
11pm is when the crazy comes out and I start taking pics of everything...
more of me...
while waiting for my tea to brew (I do take it with milk)
at a distance - the babies' stove is the same blue
here's the chalkboard I never use (as you can see from the date). please - where can I find a chalkboard marker?
What are you loving at the moment?
What do you think of that blue?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

I really have only two big ones to post about but I'm sure I can clear my mind of ten things, easy!

1. Today I exercised courage and it felt really good. I had a meeting in Sandton and I took the Gautrain. It was all kinds of wonderful. I felt like I was in London (my only experience of an underground transport system except for Singapore) and now I can't WAIT for NYC. It was courageous (for me) because you all know I have major issues getting lost..........

2. The meeting was a playdate for a company I use to track my finances and I enjoyed it so much. About 20 people, only 4 of us girls, all talking about finances, buying behaviours and whatnot. SUCH fun (for me). We even got R200 each to spend as part of the psychological exercise. I love it. (I bought canvases and food :))

3. Ever since the kids' beds arrived last Wed, they've been going to bed at 8 pm. This is so not acceptable to us but it is also compounded by the no sleep CD thing. I think I'm going to cave and just play it off my laptop every evening.

4. So I decided since my house was a mess, I would just paint everything I wanted to. I think I'll appreciate it on the weekend when the house is back to normal BUT in the meantime, it is so crazy messy. They tease me at work because I said I have THREE messy rooms :)

a peek at the painting...

5. The book cover is now 98% done. I have two small changes to email her about and that's it. So excited! I may just reach the book goal this month - there is one week left of March...

6. Something's been nagging me at the back of my mind for a week or so. Finally I twigged. Tonight I went outside to talk to D and he agrees with me - we think V is pregnant. Yes. She's been wearing a black puffy jacket over her t-shirt for a few weeks now despite it being hot. So on Thursday we will talk to her and find out all the facts. Yes, I'm jumping ahead but that's what I do - I like to call it "good planning and formulating alternative plans". I said to D at the very best we may have til July. At the VERY best.

7. We have a mouse. Yes, and I'm freaked. But we're doing our best to kill it quickly. I'm not one of those "mercy" people. I don't like dirty animals in my house and they must go!

8. I just heard something very sad. I can't say but I'm hurting so much for my blog friend. And so I'm munching on a jar of jelly beans (I bought the kids cars filled with jelly beans, carefully emptied out each of them and what? they're better for me?).

9. We had two socials this weekend besides the usual stuff (gym and church) and it was just too much. It was lovely while we were out seeing our friends but when you get back to the madhouse that is still such a tip, not a good thing. I also took the worse photos ever at the second social. I downloaded them last night and they are DISGUSTING. So apparently I can only take pics outside in the sun, or really close-up pics of non-moving subjects :)

and last but by no means least...

10. I'm over here today. Go have a look and see if there's anything about me you didn't know :)

Can you guess which were my two big ones?
Are you living out your word for the year?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Out of sorts

We had such a hectic day yesterday - I felt like I was on the go the whole day.

Well, I was :)

Church, rushed to our lunch date with friends, rushed home and my one friend arrived with her brother to collect the one cot.

Yesss - some money to fill the gaping hole in our account from buying all the bedding.

Fed, bathed and dressed the babies.

Cute aside - we pray for the babies one by one every night, and then they pray by themselves too. Last night Connor said he didn't want D to pray; Kendra had to pray. And sure enough - she prayed beautifully for him. Much better than many adults so that was a bit freaky! Then she wanted to pray for me too. Totally fine by me.

Good thing I cooked all 3 suppers for the whole weekend on Friday night so all I had to do was heat and eat.

And then D and I had to watch a DVD. The Switch. It was good - a different tone to normal, I felt.

I also had a DVD to watch but 30 mins in at about 11.15, I gave up.

I hadn't laughed once and I was exhausted.

It was Confessions of a Shopaholic and is not a PATCH on the books. 

At this point I made a decision to go to bed instead of blogging but I should have just done a quick, 10-minute post to clear my mind because I had the weirdest hodge-podge of dreams so I slept fitfully.

Woke up at 5.40 (1 hr 20 before I'm supposed to wake) and couldn't get back to sleep for a bit and then I slept til 7.55.


Mad rush to let V in, jump in the shower, etc.

Victoria Station, London

So I'm exhausted today, my house is still a mess from the kids' room and the painting, and there's rubbish at work so I'm feeling out of sorts.

Let me tell you a quick thing.

On Friday my two colleagues told me that the lady who complains about the noise in our dept (who doesn't even BELONG here, mind you) was moaning about ME eating her bread.

I about flipped.

I have had TWO slices of bread from her in the last 3 months.


And both times I asked first and she said yes.

(I do bring bread but those two days I just felt like I needed an extra slice)

Anyway (why do people say anyways? do you say anyways?), when I'm not here, she bemoans how "people are always eating her bread" with pointed looks at my desk.

So of course, I will not be asking her for a thing in future and I won't accept anything from her either. There are huge strings attached to everything. Grrr.
But how are you????

How was your weekend?

I can't WAIT for Wednesday. We have a public holiday in South Africa and I want to attack that house. And on Thursday I have another friend date with F - we were going to a movie but I feel like talking more and thankfully, she does too.

What are you looking forward to this week?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

10 things I loved about Ireland

It's 8:09 and I'm exhausted on this St. Patrick's Day.

To be honest, the only green things I did today was serve them lunch on green plates with green glasses, and there were beans :)

The kids are now in bed but there is a reason little kids need naps...

Moving on.

I've always had a "thing" for Ireland. I don't know when it started but of course, visiting has been on my life list seemingly forever.

A friend is like this about England and one day we were chatting about her thing for England and she said, "you know all the things you imagine about a place? Well, when we came to live here, it was all that but just so much more".

I love it.

Well, when I was first there in 2008, it was like that for me.

All that and then some.

I must confess, I have been addicted to Marian Keyes and Patricia Scanlan novels for years too, and to prepare for my Irish holiday, I stocked up and read lots.

Just to get into the culture a bit, you see.

My favourite part about visiting a new place is the people - how they talk, what they say, what they wear, etc. I'm in heaven just people-watching :)

When I read in one book about how a boy and a girl made a date to meet under the clock at Easons, of course I was tickled when right there it was in front of me.

Anyway, so here are a few of the things I loved!

1. the grey skies and the cold weather. Oh my word, it's just so gloriously grey all the time. Like it looks here when it's about to rain except it's just like that without rain, with rain, whatever.

2. the bright green countryside. It really is that green. Almost unnaturally so like the landscape's been saturated with colour. (I said the other day looking out of my window at work, "this could almost be Ireland if only the grass was a brighter green")

3. Wicklow. If you've watched PS I love you, there's a scene where she walks and bumps into the guy. The scenery is just beautiful. Well, it really is like that. D and I drove up there the first time we were in Ireland and I fell asleep in the car. We arrived and he woke me up. I looked out the window and literally GASPED in wonder. It was (is) breathtaking. So much so that when we went again in 2009 (our pre-babies trip), we booked a tour to take us there again.

4. The drive down to Cork, Kinsale, Limerick, etc. I loved the tiny villages with all the bright coloured shops and the quirky names. The pic of me on my life list page (look on my navigation) was taken at Kinsale.

5. Our hostess at one B&B, Marian. We were deep in the country and this lady was "proper Irish". The thing is, Dublin is so cosmopolitan that you really had to look hard to find a genuine Irish person. And truth be told, our expectations were high because Ireland had just been voted the friendliest city in the world, or something like that. If we'd just stayed in Dublin, I know we'd have been disappointed.

Anyway, this lady was in her late 50s but drove like a maniac. We met her at a common landmark and followed her home. She was all lovely and normal, but when she got behind the wheel of that car, she started driving as if Formula 1. And... our friend kept up. Both of them were normally laidback but the change in driving style was so extreme D and I laughed and laughed hysterically (in terror sometimes!!!) on that windy, 5-minute drive to the B&B.

She was fantastic - baked fresh scones for us every morning (anyone who bakes for me has my heart forever!), set out a lovely breakfast, engaged us enough for us to feel the culture but knew when to step back and let the 3 of us get on with it. And of course, all 4 her kids were called proper Irish names (as in my books) so I was TICKLED when I'd hear her say Declan and Orla. :)

That 3-day trip was one of the highlights of my life. I LOVED every minute of it.

6. The doors. Oh my word, The Doors. I wish I'd taken more pics and been less shy about being a tourist (some of my pics are from the side so as not to be too obvious).

7. Meeting proper Irish people in Dublin and hearing them use phrases I'd only ever heard of in my Irish books. Of course I can't think of any right now except for "I'm after my keys" which means "I'm looking for my keys". And then hearing proper Irish names like Aiofa in the shops.

8. Connecting with our friends. The beauty of the world is that it's been possible for people who all started off in SA and Zimbabwe to live and work all over the world. Two of our good friends live in Ireland. It's so hard to have people you LOVE and that GET YOU spread so far apart. Three years ago, at the time of our last visit, we had 1 baby amongst the 3 sets of people. There are now 6 kids, two sets of twins :)

9. Having endless cups of tea. My one friend and I are copious tea drinkers. We both believe you'll definitely feel better after you have a cuppa. Marian from the B&B was the same and we certainly took her up on that :) Also one of my favourite memories is how C and I kept saying on our 3-day trip, "oh, it feels like it's time for a cup of tea". D would just laugh at us.

10. Blarney. Kissing the Blarney Stone was on my life list and ... I chickened out. I just couldn't do it. You see, it looks like a little gap from far away but when you're up there in the castle, there is a huge gaping hole someone of my (then) small stature could quite easily fall through. It didn't help that the guy working there was all "come on, lass, you'll be alright" and was a bit too blase for my liking. Still, the views from the top of the castle were out of this world, the grounds were GORGEOUS and D kind-of kissed the stone. They have these signboards up there talking about what blarney is. Basically, BS :)

Here are some of my favourite pics from the 2009 trip. Enjoy.

these were taken on a tour we took of Wicklow, Sally Way, etc.
Dublin city centre
Isn't this cool? Sand art
see that lady wearing short sleeves in 15-degree weather? Brrr
Henry Street with the Spire of Dublin - that big silver thing
very pregnant (23 weeks)
the fancy side of O'Connell Street
Genuine Irish Pub somewhere in the Temple Bar area
one set of friends. They have another 2 (twins) now.
Our friend, the crazy driver :) and he's as calm and gentle a person as you can get

So, did you do anything special for St Patrick's Day?

Does this post make you want to visit Ireland?

Which country do you have a thing for, and can you tell me why?
PS linking up with Janmary


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