Friday, November 30, 2012

{Friendship Friday} when your friends do better than you do

A quick few things before I dive into tonight's post.

We took a drive to look at the lights and the kids saw the Elton John CD set I'd brought in so wanted to hear it. Of course I played my 3 "Friday" favourites - Honky Cat, B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets :) and Philadelphia Freedom.

Kendra (of Honky Cat) Mummy, this is a silly song :)

Connor (at the end of the 3) Mummy, I like Elton John.

(I melt! I also think they like that I get silly while I sing :))


My work auctioned off some furniture and surprisingly, I won 6 of my 8 bids. So I have a lovely new office chair. It is divine (yes, I'll take pics).

I also have to arrange transport for my other stuff - woohoo!

In other work news, I'm trying to matchmake...I hope it works out :)



Last night we had our Infertility support group Christmas party.

The group's already been going for 5.5 years - can you believe it?

I never quite feel like it's Christmas until that party. Maybe it's because I rush and do the first presents and cards for that event which puts me in the mood for the rest of it?

1. Anyway, are all your friends more or less in the same boat as you are? Or are you better or worse off than they are?

This topic was sent in by a reader who is going through infertility treatments at the moment and... all her friends are having babies left, right and centre/ no trouble falling pregnant, etc.

I was there so I understand.

The worse is these very same friends are asking her to do a lot of baby-related stuff (come shopping for maternity clothes, baby clothes, etc). I don't think they know so it's not fair to assume they're being insensitive. Still.

The thing is this is good news... it's just hard to be happy for someone when you want that thing so very badly.

2. There was a dear someone there last night too who has had a horrendous time trying to fall pregnant. And now her little brother's wife, just married, fell pregnant on honeymoon and has had this so easy when she's spent a fortune trying to get the same thing.

It's terrible, isn't it?

Same story here - she should feel happy, is happy for them at least intellectually I know, but it hurts.

And then there's the age-old problem when everyone's working hard but your friend gets the promotions, the new job, etc. You're also awesome so why does it seem like things just come easier to others?

I've been thinking about the two Mandys a lot this week :)
3. There was a lady who started her coaching business the exact same month as I did. We were on par for awhile but then she got super "famous" and I didn't. We were Facebook acquaintances and on the same forums but nothing more so it was easy for me to pull back a little without her even noticing but I will admit I was jealous for awhile. And then I realised our situations are different and she clearly is 10 times more motivated to make money. 

4. I have another real life friend who was kind of the same as I was in terms of business but then she also started to really take off.  I pulled back because that thread of connection is thinner. So now I never raise issues of business unless she brings it up first.

That's how I'm dealing with it.

Interestingly enough, I almost have no problems if people do better than me financially (maybe because I've always been the lowest earner in a group or at least one of the lowest earners). I think I'm more aware in that sphere that I tithe and I'm well aware of God's provision (financial, emotional, protection, etc) and I am just so grateful that I really can't ever complain.

What about you?

How do you deal with it when your friends do better than you do?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

{Create} Notebook decorating kit

I had four 12-year-old girls for the Santa Shoebox project.

One of the required items is a toy but what do you do for a 12-year-old?

I put a book in and then I also decided on these notebook decorating kits.

  1. Notebooks (I got mine from C N A - 2 for R15)
  2. Decorative tape (I got about 8 mini rolls for R20)
  3. My DIY paper tape
  4. Cellophane bags

Package up as you will, match the colours and so on, put a label (I used my 2 inch circle punch on white project board) on the front, and there you go - a gift that gives just a little bit longer than the time to open it :)

What are your favourite gifts for tweens?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Creating more spontaneity

Choosing a word for the year has been one of the best things I've done in my life over the last 4 years.

2009 - Simplify (the year of being pregnant)

2010 - Consolidate

2011 - Courage

2012 - Create

Hmmm, anything that starts with a C for next year? :)

For this year, I've been asking myself constantly, "what am I creating?" and "what do I want to create?"

It's given me the push to take chances, get messy, let go of my schedule more and create memories.

So one Saturday we had two hours and the kids were antsy and I said to D, "let's go to Gillooly's for a picnic".

Yes, he looked at me like I'm mad. (I am sometimes)

But I persuaded him by saying, "we're going to have lunch anyway. Let's just have it outside" and off we went.

We live 5 minutes from this lovely place and don't spend enough time here, in my opinion.

Also, anything to let these two run off some of that energy :)

Kendra. I love this pic!

the running around :)

It was perfect timing, really. The sky started clouding over just as we started getting ready to leave and it started drizzling while driving home.

How are you living out your word for the year?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A newsy post

When I don't get a chance to talk to you properly, I always feel like I'm behind.

Anyone else feel this way?

1. So tonight I got home at 5.45 from Eastgate (actually a pleasure - no crowds, etc.) after sorting out my iphone.

I can phone and text. Tomorrow I'll download all the apps from work (free wifi for staff) and then I'll be sorted. Do you know how happy this makes me and then on the other hand how amazed I am that I've been sucked into Apple?! But that's a post for another day.

2. I had a headache so I took two panados and the minute D walked in at 6.20 I put my head down on the pillow to take a quick nap.

I slept for about 30 minutes, got up to say goodnight to the kids and fell asleep on Connor's bed again... until 9.45!!!!

Awesome :)

And when I woke, I decided  my newsletter can wait til tomorrow. I'm going to finish this blog, wrap some gifts, write a few cards and then go read.

I want more non-pressure evenings like this one.

3. So the work thing - I had tea with the other company and told them thanks but not for me. He was lovely and tried to give me an out (if you change your mind in the next two weeks) but I was firm and I feel .... relief!

I also told my boss how I came to this decision and she is fine with it too.

One opportunity down, four in the pipeline.

4. I also decided I'm not going to schlep the company laptop to and from home anymore. I have strong boundaries and want to keep them that way. At the moment I technically should be able to do what I need in the office.

So it's been locked and there it will stay... mostly.

Now I feel like I wasted R550 on that rolling laptop bag because I used it for a whole 3 days. Oh well, I can always give it to Connor for Christmas - he loves anything with wheels.

5. I feel behind with the Christmas cards but then again, I'm cutting down so maybe it all evens out in the end.

I checked my spreadsheet last night and last year I sent 40 something. This year it's going to be about 20 :)

How many Christmas cards are you sending out?

PS these pics were taken while on a neighbourhood photo walk with the kids. I happened to move my body and squeeze my camera through a school's palisade fencing. I LOVE these pictures, especially the top one. Which is your favourite? 
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I got it!

I got my iphone from ex-ex-boss this morning and I couldn't be happier.
Am working furiously like a little energiser bunny so I can leave an hour earlier to detour via the cell c shop and sort out the microsim/ swopping number thing!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas presents for 3.5 year olds?

This pic was taken before their party in July so it doesn't look like this now.

But this is how I like it - not a lot, streamlined, organised, etc. Zen :)

In fact, I freaked out a bit last week and tossed a laundry basket full of toys into the laundry area so they could see their things to play with.

My kids have too many toys. And yet they have about half of what other kids have (that doesn't bother me in the least).

My children also have too many books (if that's even possible).

Actually it is possible because we, their parents, are perfect examples of book crazy.

I decluttered 52 books recently and I still have over 100 left on my shelves, 84 of which are unread. That was at the time - I've since read two and another two are on my bedside table.

Also, not counting Kindle books.

Back to the kids.

We have two shelves full of books that they read plus a ton stashed away because they are either too young or it's a really special book (like for a birthday/ Christmas).

When we went to Sandton on Saturday, we were also kind-of looking for present ideas. Everything I saw was wildly inappropriate for my parenting ideals (granted, I'm very old-fashioned)

I told D I give up - we need to buy them a trampoline and that's it. Let them get outside every day, use that thing, tire them out (I confess this is the main attraction for me) and it doesn't take up space in my house.


He's not convinced.

I did say, "if you can find the space for more stuff, then by all means". I really am not one of those people who believes our houses are too small and we need to move bigger.

I think we need to get rid of more stuff!

Anyway, this is my very long-winded way of asking you for suggestions for presents for children who are 3.5 years old.

Ideas please!

I love the idea I see on SimpleMom and similar blogs where the kids get 3 gifts each (Jesus got 3 gifts).

What are you doing for your kids' presents?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

You know you're having fun when you forget to blog

D wrote an email to his mother late last week about how sick both he and I had been, etc. just normal news.

Well, she offered to have the kids over for an afternoon on the weekend to give us a break and ... we took her up on it, of course.

FYI - if you ever volunteer to babysit, I'm all over that, just so you know. I'll make an arrangement there and then!

So we schlepped them all the way over there and went to the hell that is Sandton City, did a few things and then went back to get the kids.

I can't stand crowded shopping centres and I've since decided I'm only going to shop at my beloved Bedford Centre until most of Jhb goes away on holiday. And then maybe I'll venture out again. We drove around over 30 minutes in and out of about 4 entrances just to find parking...

For the locals, yes, I popped into Typo. I wasn't that impressed (maybe because of all the hype?) but also I already know where to go to get all sorts of cute stationery, both locally and on etsy *ahem*

Even through my non-impressed ness I still managed to spend something like R480 (I have expensive taste in ipad and iphone covers...).

When we went to fetch the kids, they were bathed and having supper so we had some coffee and cake, and then took the babies home.

Since they hadn't slept, they were out like lights on the drive back and D did that thing I find so attractive - carried the babies inside to their beds, one at a time.

I'm a sucker for a man with his kids!

So from before 7 pm last night til about 12.30 am we had "me time". We ate, chatted, tidied a little and then I created.

I made 4 sets of the secret thing I'm doing this year for gifts and got another 5 ready but not totally put together. MandyE is the only one who knows what I'm doing :) Sorry to be so annoying. I'll of course blog properly after mid-December.

My study was a TOTAL mess but it was worth it.

And of course, that's why I forgot to blog last night :)

How was your Saturday?

Since I can't show you those pics, here are two from the photoshoot - 45 to go :) (joke!)

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Friday, November 23, 2012

{Friendship Friday} Friendship highs and lows


I think I better clear up a few things because I was obviously just typing away and then pressing Publish :)

1) my friend has invited us to a Thanksgiving supper next year - it was way too last-minute on the afternoon of this year's Thanksgiving to get it all sorted. Especially since even finding a turkey in South Africa is a rare thing most times of the year.

2) Wednesday's iphone pics were of my old iphone (the stolen one). I have since ordered one online, had it delivered to MandyR who DROVE the phone to my ex-ex-boss who happens to be (God!) on holiday very near where she lives. He flies back sometime over the next few days and is back in the office on Tuesday :) Yes, I'm counting down the days. I'm sure S is not expecting the big hug and kiss I'm going to give him ;)


This morning I had a fairly terrible morning with the kids who completely TRASHED their bedroom (more on this in another post). All their toys were confiscated for an entire day which may explain why they're still awake now because even Thursday and Friday (their teddy bears) are in toy jail.

Anyway, I put on some Elton John in the car to cheer me up while I drove to work. Well, it did the job (Honky Cat anyone? Just listen to the opening bars and try not to do the Ally McBeal shoulders) but then I also started missing Heather because of Philadelphia Freedom. *sigh*

Got to work and there was an announcement of no more Facebook - that's really no problem with me. I love boundaries and need help with fewer distractions but I logged in quickly to check some things and saw that something awful happened to a close friend of mine. I still don't have details; they're physically okay but emotionally wrecked.

So I start crying a bit thinking "what if" thoughts about her kids (we all fought infertility for far too long) and am trying to phone her through all of this.

Anyway, left messages everywhere - Facebook direct message and voicemail and got a message back in the afternoon.

That's the friendship low.

But then I went to have lunch with Jeanette. The photographer who set the high standards :) for all others to follow.

We have lots of similar things going on - slash careers (full-time work plus another business), work stuff, etc, etc. so late last week I suggested lunch and we agreed on a time and place.

We went to Koi in Rosebank where I had a beef and green bean stirfry and she had duck salad. The food was delicious, the sun was shining and it was lovely to bask in the African sun.

But more than that, the company was just what I needed. I loved our time together and hope we can do that again soon because the time is never enough.

That was the friendship high.

So in a week where I had gastro, I actually had a really good week (and am 1 kg down!) work-wise, business-wise and now, friendship-wise.

By that I mean I got some important things done.

How was your week? Friendship or otherwise.

friendship friday for the rest of the year

blog along if you want to... these are the FF topics for the rest of the year:

30/11 when your friends do better than you do
7/12 how does a friend go to a BFF?
14/12 which is harder - friend dates or when you're dating for a spouse/ partner?
21/12 do you agree that these are the most important parts of friendship? intimacy, interaction, reciprocity and positivity (this is from MWF seeking BFF)
28/12 reflections - how was this year in friendship for you?

and then it's 2013!

thank you for those who sent in some suggestions!

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

I always get a little jealous when I read about Thanksgiving...

the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the pumpkin, mmmmm :)

I just decided that I'm putting it on my bucket list!

Side note - I just mentioned it to my friend and she said she's going to do thanksgiving for me, with all the trimmings!

I love it when a plan comes together :)

But seriously, I am SOOOOOO thankful for each and every one of my readers whether you comment or not, and I'm extra grateful this year for the time I was able to spend with my extra-special friends in the USA this year :)

Honestly, that's bucket list stuff and it makes me smile every time I think about it.

And then today, just now in fact, I went to do some networking with potential job people.... and I'm so energised. I don't know if it's my E coming out to play, or that I'm really getting over the gastro, or what, but I'm on a bit of a high.

Then I spied this view and friends, I had to stop, haul out the iPad and do some photo-taking because this, THIS, is BREATHTAKING.


What are you grateful for today?
PS I checked through the disc properlyl. After some careful editing and cropping out my fat, I actually have 49 pics I can use :) 
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

{Wordless Wednesday} iphone love and gastro

i ordered this case from Amazon, waited sweet forever for it but I love(d) it. This is the one that was stolen

pics taken while my kids were running around at Gillooly's Farm recently

hate that message.... ugh!
my favourite nail polish colour - Walk of fame, Essence at Clicks - it's grey/ purple
not the same cover as above - fortunately I still have this one
Today I was sick, sick, sick with gastro! And it looked even worse because I kept track of the "incidents" :)

Thankfully I seem to be over the worst of it although I'm still weak if I stand around too much.

But friend S Facebooked me this afternoon to tell me when he'll be back in the office to give me my iphone so I am super-chuffed.

My US friends, are you all ready with the food?

It's soooooo hot in Jhb at the moment but remember I said no complaining this year so I'm not complaining!

What do you love about the weather at the moment?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas to-do list... and my wish list


So I was super inspired by Deanna's Christmas list. If I still had my iphone (okay, I really need to stop with this but I feel the loss more and more every day), I'd take a pic of my original list of 6 items in my notebook and post it.

As you can see I have fleshed it out a bit :)

What's one fun item on your Christmas to-do list?

Did you notice I don't have an advent calendar?

I didn't grow up with an advent calendar and I seriously considered it for this year but it just felt like one more thing on the daily list and I'm not up for adding but taking away from my daily to-dos.

I love things on my list that you can do and it's DONE! Once-off. Yip, I'm simple and lazy.

I know it can be easy but easy usually = sweets and chocolates which I don't do.

Are you doing an advent calendar?


And then the lovely Aimee is doing a round-up of wish lists today.

I loved her pie-in-the-sky wish list (she has patience as one item :)) so I decided to join in.

What I'm wishing for the next 3 months...
  1. turning my handmade Christmas gift visions into reality
  2. successful crafting hours
  3. happily wrapping gifts with brown paper and red/ green ribbon
  4. getting the cards out on time and getting feedback that people got them
  5. a really good increase next month (or iphone money as I've started calling it)
  6. a better version of last year's Carols by Candlelight
  7. healthy kids over Christmas and our holiday in January
  8. reading tons of good books
  9. no family drama over the Christmas day thing
  10. good times with friends (L, I realise I forgot one very important date under socials ;))
  11. a delicious lunch, even if it has to be cooked by me
  12. firm direction on a new job
What's on your wish list?
PS Julia, here are my famous oatmeal cookies.
PPS I really have to write a post on scrapbooking and project life soon...
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Monday, November 19, 2012

Summer rain


What is it with kids and umbrellas?

My children are fascinated by umbrellas.

The day before the photoshoot I was randomly buying everything purple (!) and since we'd been having very rainy days I decided to buy myself a purple umbrella too.

I had this in mind :)

Those of you who have been to my work know that it would have worked PERFECTLY there :)

(If I ever leave I'm sure I'll miss the building and surrounds more than the work :))

Anyway, we had some grey sky but no rain.

But the kids wouldn't let up and kept wanting to play with my R100 umbrella. No way, pumpkins.

Kendra keeps asking me why I call them pumpkin. "I don't know, Baby. I just do"

So I promised them that I'd go look for umbrellas for them.

Fortunately we had a teambuild on the Tuesday following so I went shopping instead of back to work and found these lovely red ones.

The babies were over the moon when I got back with them and happily we had a few drizzles about 10 minutes later so we tested them out.

I do love Joburg's summer rain - a usually short thundershower, just enough to cool down and to clear the air.


I was very productive at work today and hope to continue this trend the whole week. The key is, of course, no meetings :)

I've prepared my eat the frog list so I'm hoping for a similar level of productivity tomorrow.

Of course this means very little email answering and much real work doing.

However, I must admit I acted like a bit of a toddler tonight and totally threw my toys out of the cot because I am being very clear about certain things and Nanny S is either 1) blatantly ignoring me or 2) confused and not wanting to ask.

I have a little problem with her - if she's unclear she either doesn't do anything or just does her own thing. But she NEVER sends me an sms. I freaked out two months ago because she didn't check with me on a medicine issue. Fortunately it was just Panado but it could have been an issue.

Just to be clear it wasn't an airtime issue because I put extra in her phone for these intermittent texts to me.

The issue is not the bags or the clothes or the toys (although in a sense it is because I seem to be the only one who bothers to organise and check if all the puzzles are there, etc) but the fact that I've mentioned this before and I want my kids to take care of their stuff with her guidance when I'm not there.

Anyway, I've made a note and we'll have a chat tomorrow.

Of course I spent about 30 minutes decluttering a whole laundry basket of toys, and then organising, and then because I was cross, I cooked another meal (potato lentil curry - mmm) and I sorted out a shelf. Being cross is very good for my house!

But now, friends, I need to get to bed seeing as I'm being responsible *ahem* with the internet...

How was your Monday?

In case you haven't realised, I love the rain. Love, love, LOVE it! The more dramatic (grey skies, thunder, lightning), the better :)

Do you like the rain?

PS I automatically think you're my kind of person if you love rain :)
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