Thursday, January 31, 2013

{Goals} How has January treated you?

I said  today, "wow, this month's gone quickly. Well it would if you spend half the month on the beach!" Hahaha

Seriously, I still think there's more good than bad because I still feel very relaxed and unstressed, which is super great!

I want to quickly talk about my 3 goals lists:

my 38 list
So far 14 completely done and 3 in progress

2013 goals list
  • Business goals: 5 out of 18 done
  • Project Dating D: 2 out of 25 done
  • Project Recipe: 5 out of 25 done
  • Project Photowalk: 2 out of 6 done
  • Project Random Acts of Kindness: I said in the post 25 but have already done 10 for Jan so let's make it 50 for the year.
  • Project Create: mini book for holiday in progress, mini book for 2012 done, I've been decorating some grid cards with washi tape (I'll show you when I get my A into G with Project Life) and I've been instagramming (words I never thought would come out of my mouth)

 And then my January goals

I set 24 and got 22.6 done - this is amazing even for my driven self. I'm putting it all down to holidays.... as I'll not be able to keep up the pace for the rest of the year :)

These didn't get done
One lunch with a friend was postponed (something came up for her)
I got to gym 3 times out of the goal of 5.

  1. Children transitioned to school beautifully. Absolutely no tears, no problems whatsoever. I'm still in shock actually.
  2. We had a great holiday at the beach in a beautiful flat (apartment) for 11 long, relaxing days.
  3. I've read 8 books for the month and am about 40% through with number 9.
  4. The job thing at work is looking very promising.

I'll blog my Feb goals tomorrow because I haven't thought about them yet.

How was your January?
Tell me the best thing that happened for you in January.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

{Wordless Wednesday} L & C's birthday

the lovely Cat and Hunter
D teaching Connor to eat sherbert
I love the row of girls' hair
spying with my zoom lens
glued to Daddy
Posted by Picasa
Which is your favourite photo?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

{Trust} Uploading photos, the interview and a really nice resource

Something rather annoying is happening with Blogger/ Picasa.

I used to choose pics in Picasa, pin them and email to my blogger address. I'd then log into Blogger and get the draft, make the pics extra large, write a few words (!) and publish.

The pics were still a good quality, right?

Well, something that's been happening the last few weeks is when I go look at my pics they're all pixelated like when you make a low res pic too big.

Then I have to go back to Picasa, compress the pics, drag them to somewhere else, and upload to my post the old-fashioned way (by clicking on the little pic in the menu bar).

The old-fashioned way takes longer so it's very annoying.

Because I have a to-do list. I can't be faffing around with pics every night.

How do you put your pics in your posts?

Old-fashioned way, through Picasa my way, or through Picasa with the create and then publish to blogger?

I got D to do this one specially for me at the beach :)

Okay, now that that's out, let me tell you a little bit about my interview.

I started posting the whole long story on here and then remembered how Claudia gets so worried about me putting it all out. I then did the responsible thing and put it on the private blog. If you have access you can read my story here.

The interview went very well. I could absolutely do that job and I am exactly the right sort of person for it. I also did a short stint of this exact thing years ago so I know I'm good at it.

However, I went through with the interview because I'd accepted the meeting invite prior to me receiving some very promising news about another job. Oy.

Isn't this typical though? You find nothing forever and then suddenly jobs are springing up everywhere. Next thing those people from p.n.e.t will be phoning me again.

I'm 90% certain this other promising thing will pan out but it will take a little bit longer than I normally like to wait (TRUST!).

I just hope I get some more positive feedback before I hear from job 1. Either way, it will be good to either feel hopeful if my application is unsuccessful or to be able to turn down having something else in the hand.

Now before I end, a bit of a plug:

I have to tell you about a fantastic site I found a few days ago. At the moment you can get free access to a Myers Briggs test. I retook it this afternoon just for kicks and it is SUPER AWESOME and accurate. There are videos that are so nicely done.

Once you get your score, they have a few ways of verifying whether that is, in fact, your true type or if there's another that feels more like you. Very nice. I've never seen that part before.

So if you have never been properly assessed by a MBTI practitioner, please go do this thing and come back to tell me your type. I'm going to put up a page with all our MBTI types so I can go all nerdy on you. And at the end you can download a really nice 3-page report.

You will love it - I promise. I'll give you a virtual Cadbury's slab if you don't love it. *

What's your type?

PS I'm ESTJ. You'll laugh at bits of the videos because you see yourself in them so clearly!
PPS This is not a sponsored post - I always gush when I really love something!

Monday, January 28, 2013

And so it starts. Extra-mural activities and so on.

My kids have now completed four days of school - three before we went for our holidays and today.

Every day they come home with paper.

To be more precise, brochures advertising activities.

On day 1, it was cute. (dance lessons)

On day 2, I noticed the trend (some ball skills thing)

On day 3, a request from the teacher to send a blanket and swimming aids.

And then today, I sent Nanny S with a note to request some forms and they came home with those forms plus two more activities (karate and soccer).

I said to nanny S, "what on earth is ALL THIS?" and she politely says, "they said we have to choose one per kid".

I like to mess with her because she's such a rule follower (a really good thing in a nanny) so I said, "and what if I say they both can't do anything?"

I followed it up by saying I need to phone the principal and then D and I will discuss it.

So that's where we're at.

I love you too, Baby
And Connor's being a bear

Thing is, I am that rare species of mother who hates organised activities.

My kids are 3.5 years and we've never taken them to a single activity or class. I like to believe that our awesomeness is enough :)

Not clamber club, kindermusic, swim lessons, moms and tots, nothing.

Or none things as Kendra would say!

I don't have anything against these things, per se. Okay, I lie - I do think a whole bunch of them are a money-making racket and that they play on the modern mother's feelings to "do the very best for your child".

I was planning to ask K about ballet when she turns 4 since that's when I started ballet. Ballet has been, hands down, one of the best things for me - it taught me such self-discipline, determination and a fantastic work ethic (can you still see it in my life?). I always loved a bit of attention so I didn't need ballet for confidence / self-esteem issues.

See the coffee table to the left of Connor? Here's the full repurpose - cot to coffee table

Nevertheless, my plans have been brought forward with the arrival of all these school papers.

The most beautiful thing about all these activities is they each come to the school on a specific day in the mornings (can you hear the angels sing?) so this will not affect our free and very precious time on the weekends one little bit.


BTW, D said to me, we need a place to put all these papers and I said, "we do have a place" and lifted the bin to show him. HAHAHA (but I'm serious).

Other than that, things are going swimmingly. There's been absolutely no crying.

Today I got a tiny sliver of a detail from K. They painted today. Without aprons (this is huge for them) and "we didn't mess, Mummy".

I asked them about their snack and Connor says, "we don't get snacks at school". He means snacks the way I do them, in cute little bowls with yoghurt and cut-up fruit, hot cross bun, etc.

I said, "did you not get a sandwich?"

C No! K Yes, we did - bread with jam!

I better go make friends with the teachers so I can find out some things - I can't hound the principal with emails all the time but I need to know because I'm insanely curious as to what goes on there.

Do your kids tell you what they get up to?

I love this pic - Connor realised I'd stopped walking and turned to see what I was up to
PS I had a great day! Will tell you all about it tomorrow.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Back to ... everything and the talking twins

So tomorrow's back to work for D and me, and back to school for the kids.

They've only had 3 days at school in the whole of Jan which kind-of kills me that we paid full school fees but I've put that out of my mind... mostly :)

I've decided that I'm turning over a new leaf.

Dullstroom, 2011 - taken with Sony Cybershot

As in, since the kids will be out of the house by 7.30, there'll be no more faffing around in the morning so in theory I should be able to be at work by 8.30 every day.

Let's see how that goes but to set myself up for success, I've packed my humongous lunch bag, gym bag and my work bag, and I've even set my clothes out for tomorrow.

Oh, I didn't mention this on purpose...but I saw in my diary that I have an interview tomorrow... so I'm wearing a navy pants suit with a lovely lime-green/ yellowish bag (not the huge one I've put on the blog before) and Jess's rosette necklace.

I'm "having the conversation" but the job was initially graded at lower than my current grade and I told the HR it's a no-go for me, so let's see if they've briefed the recruiting manager otherwise the interview is going to be very brief. :) It is something I'd be verrrrrry good at in an area I'm absolutely passionate about, working for an ISTJ :) :)

The kids are all ready so hopefully they also co-operate tomorrow.

Today after church we split up to go do girl/boy toilet duties (how do you parents of same gender twins do it?!!!).

Me So, Kendra, did you enjoy church today?

K: No

Me (shocked) Why, Baby?

K: Because I don't like church! (as if it's so obvious!)

In the car I explored this a bit more. Turns out the teacher wanted them to pray in front of the other kids.

Me (coaching) Okay, Kendra, here's what I think you should do. Next week, go to the teacher straight away and tell her you don't feel ready to pray in front of the class yet.

Then we'll keep practising at home and when you're ready, you can tell her when you want to pray with everyone again.

K I won't EVER be ready. None times! (this is how she says NEVER)

D and I laughed so hard.

Me (trying) But Baby, when you practise, it gets easier.

K (waving her little finger at me) I told you, none times!

Of course then Connor pipes up: Mummy, I LOVE to pray in front of lots of people.

Me Yes, Baby, we know.

(he really does - he just takes over and gets all Pentecostal... Father God! blah blah blah - it's actually really sweet)

Thank goodness for these laughs because we had a little boy screaming for about 30 minutes on the way home, throwing a tantrum. He was so exhausted he just went to his bed and passed out.

And last, I finished my Dorothy Koomson, "Goodnight, Beautiful" As usual, her books are gorgeous - so rich and characters full of life and depth.

Have you read any Dorothy Koomsons?

I'm on 8 for the month so far. I want to squeeze another in this week :)

How was your weekend?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

While I wilt in this heat...

how long do you suppose I can keep trotting out beach pics?!
So last night when I started unpacking my stuff from the holiday, I realised that all my clothes felt just a little bit damp.

Isn't that disgusting?

I chucked everything into the tumble drier to dry it all properly.

How quickly we forget the humidity at the sea!

There were 3 mini-piles of ironing to do and I did another 2 loads of laundry today. It's the PERFECT day to dry washing on the line. PERFECT.

Dear Lord, thank you for the DRY Joburg heat, even if it is 30 degrees and I'm wilting.

I went just a little bit mad this morning - I told the kids to pack their toys away and if I got to 3, I was removing everything I saw.


K started packing up her stuff and C looked at me defiantly while I tossed!

I won't throw it all out (that would be wasteful) but there are a few things which will leave. And his scissors have been removed for a week because he cut the elastics from his slippers :)

There is now a laundry basket full of toys banished to the cottage and I feel like I can breathe in that sunroom again.

I went a little mad in Mr Price Home too. I went in for pillows (I can't be the only one that is obsessed with sleeping on NICE pillows all the time, right?) as the kids' ones are looking just a little bit sad, especially after the lovely bedding in the Ballito flat.

Well, the pillows cost R200 and I came out with R1000 worth of who-knows-what? Lovely decorative pillows, tea towels, photo albums (Mr P Home now sells photo albums), etc.

I also returned some more of the clothes I bought that day at Pick and Pay - 3 items for R260, so I'm trying to be responsible. And I have a pair of shoes in my car to return to Woolworths.

Question before I share this week's links: do you like seeing these or is it too much?

I love them because it's a glimpse into what I star in my Google Reader (as if you care), I can share a pretty pic and a new font (the one above is called cinnamon cake) and I can share some linky love.

  1. 14 photographers, 1 post - you are my wild - I would love someone (volunteers) to put together something like this and we can share one pic for the week of our kids :)
  2. Passion, action and money (I read blogs like this for fun)
  3. I really liked this one about ambition and anxiety
  4. Sex before dinner :) for a certain dot dot dot blogger. It makes sense... but what about cleaning the kitchen :) A little-known fact about me - I was once quoted in a magazine as saying "a clean kitchen is like
  5. And this is why I love Susannah Conway
  6. A personal fun list for 2013. We could all do this, right?
  7. Being happy despite Pinterest pressure
What kind of heat do you prefer? dry heat or humidity?
Which was your favourite link?
Have you started reading any new blogs because of my links?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ballito - what worked well and what didn't

D and I had a lovely chat about the holidays

What didn't go well
  • the kids' not listening was terrible. I reassured D that it doesn't mean our kids are little delinquents, just that they're normal 3,5 year-olds testing boundaries, asserting their independence, etc. Of course that doesn't make it any easier. We missed two nights of eating out due to really bad behaviour but I'm happy to do so and stand my ground.
  • There was the kitchen island in this flat instead of a dining room table and those counter stools were uncomfortable to sit on for long periods of time hence not a lot of blogging got done (this may be a good thing too)
  • I worked more than I thought I'd have to... but D more than pulled his weight too so all's well.
  • Not enough decent pics of me with the kids (there is that one from Sunday). Then again, I'm 5 - 6 kg overweight so I haven't pushed the issue either.
Things that went really well
  • having MIL and SIL in a separate flat so that our styles didn't annoy the others
    SIL bonding with the babies - this was so, so precious for all of us to see
    two dates!
  • meeting up with D's granny and having her meet the kids for the first time - SOOOOOO precious!
  • read 6 books, 3 non-fiction
  • only one headache for me the entire holiday - unheard of in this heat!
  • the kids were more independent. I set out clothes and they got dressed by themselves, etc. 
  • two costumes per kid - one to wear and one drying - any more and they would have been too picky but it was quite simple "the other one is still wet" - so no tantrums were had over swimwear!
  • letting the kids carry their own beach toys. They went with HUMONGOUS bags on days 1 and 2 and quickly learned to scale down (I love it!)
  • Connor is sleeping through the night and naps without a nappy! (I bribed with one Jelly Tot, not a packet, for every dry nappy; once he had 5, I stopped with the nappies but he still gets the Jelly Tot)
  • keeping up with the photos  (by keeping up I mean I am only two days behind - awesome!)
  • D bathing them while I did lunch every day = I could get on with kitchen stuff without two littles under my feet and they were clean and "starving" so lunch was mostly a breeze.
  • my work password expired the weekend before we left. At my secret company you have to change your password on the premises - it can't be done on mobile devices - so I took it as a sign and haven't even looked at work.... this could move to the "things that went terribly" column on Monday when I'm back.
  • pool in complex overlooking the beach = no sand = perfection!
  • LG washing machine! I did a 3rd load yesterday just to use that machine again :) :)
  • the photographer didn't get back to me and I'm super glad. I'm 100% sure we would have gotten 3 decent ones which would have disappointed me. when these two calm down a bit, I'll book a Jhb photo shoot
  • So many nice walks on the beach. This was my favourite favourite :) It's not as hot in the afternoons, we're all clean and sand-free, un-lotioned, the kids have napped so are mostly pleasant and they get to run a bit and use up their energy.
What I need to do differently next time?

Pack less - books & clothes for me, activities for kids :)

Do you like the beach?
What are your favourite things?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A post about holidaying in Ballito, mostly for Caren :)

I know this is not my normal style but I was playing with photos after I finished the day's required editing :)

does this pic not just scream beach holiday?

So Caren wrote me an email to ask me about Ballito and I thought I'd post it straight on the blog (1) just in case there are others also wondering and (2) to remind me of the detail because I do forget!

I absolutely love Ballito for a number of reasons:

1. all the holiday accommodation is right on the beach so it's extremely child-friendly. You can lotion up in the flat and just walk with your belongings. I'm quite lazy to herd kids, unstrap them into the car
without whining, drive somewhere, get unstrapped, down to the beach, sun lotion, schlep all of that back, into the car, blah blah blah. Not to mention sea sand everywhere!

2. It's small enough to feel like you're not still in Joburg but if you have a craving for any of the big shops, drive up the hill and there are tons of shops for your every need.

3. I love that this seems to be one of the few places in South Africa where you still pay per unit, and not per person. My other little love, Clarens, has accommodation options that charge per person and it is quite easily over R1000 per night for the four of us, three years ago... Why is SA getting so expensive (by our standards)? So here in Ballito if we can add in a granny for a few nights and still pay the same, that works beautifully. All hypothetical, of course :)

4. However, Ballito seems to be getting like Margate was a few years ago, and then Plett. Trendy and popular. This unit is R1050 per night now (semi season). In season it's R1200 per night and in peak season, for the month from 14 Dec to 13 Jan, it goes up to R2100 per unit. That's super crazy! I don't even want to think about what we'll do when we have kids in proper school and have to be subject to school holiday restrictions. Will we never go on holiday? What do people do?

5. Caren was telling me they want to go away over Christmas this year. However, the rental agents (the same ones I use, Jeanette uses and Louisa now uses too) told her they only accept bookings of 14 days or more over Christmas!!!! Let's work that out - R2100 X 14 = a fortune!
Might as well go to Thailand :)

6. Something on my goals list for this year is organising a celebration for my mother's 60th. My sister and I were thinking of 4 nights in Ballito (the nice thing about this extreme heat is it's still warm in the dead of winter) and when I emailed the agents to check availability and prices, she told me they only book a minimum of 7 nights! She suggested I contact them the week before and they are sure they can help me then. You all know I'm a J so this loosey-goosey business will never work for
me. I'm going to see if I can rather find accommodation in Plett.

Suggestions??? My mother hates parties (I know! where did I come from?!) and a fuss being made so this is a nice calm way to celebrate because I'm insisting that the occasion be suitably marked!

Do you plan your holidays, do you have timeshare, or are you a go with the flow person?

PS which is your favourite pic? 1 or 2? (I sound like an optometrist. Which is clearer? the red or the green? LOL)
PPS I'm packing up the laptop now so see you sometime over the weekend when I'm back home :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Johannesburg CBD photowalk - part 2

isn't this lovely?
library - loooovveee those steps

door 2
from the library facing outwards. Used to be called Library Gardens, now Beyers Naude Square. This is where the people used to get political :)
don't you love this angle?
Many moons ago I worked there - Sage Centre. LOVED the location. In those days I took a bus into and out of town. Best thing ever.
of course I had to be the one to spot this.
side of the library
another favourite
I love this pic - patterns....
oh, street signs
I love this one of Louisa :)
my favourite of the 3 doors. I would love to get inside but I had to poke my lens through the fence to get this one. Worth it!
these blocks are at Louisa's work. Don't you just want to plop them off? Or am I the only one that thinks like that? :)


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