Sunday, June 30, 2013

I should have been in bed 30 minutes ago

A few quick things on a Sunday night:
  1. Don't forget to subscribe to my blog another way other than Google Reader. I'm with Feedly, just so you know :) Just as I said, I hung on til the bitter end (Thurs/ Fri) but figured I needed a few days to adjust before letting go.
  2. Every year I forget how hectic it is in the month before the babies' birthday. I already have big plans to scale down a lot for next year :)
  3. I just looked at my June goals - I think this has been the worse performance so far this year. All justified because of course I'm trying to stay sane at work but I need to do a proper tally and post the results for the two of you who are as interested in goals as I am.
  4. Kendra cut her hair... in the FRONT... because she wanted to look like Connor. She's still saying to me, "sorry Mummy" when she sees me look at her with sad eyes.
  5.  I have the house of sick here... all 3 of them again, in varying degrees. I just had a brainwave - I should just take Kendra to Dr S (paed) and kill two birds with one stone - check-up and for him to check her over :)
  6. We had that electricity bill of R11500 (we paid it all) and then another of R12 200 (we paid R3500) and then EUREKA! on Friday, we were emailed a statement showing a CREDIT of R8000. How can we be so happy about paying R7000 over two months? Because it's not R23 700, that's how!
  7. And last but by no means least, I'm still wading through the photos from June (yesterday I finished the Baby Book Project year 2!) but wanted to show you this one. We didn't plan to look like it was a scheduled photo shoot but it looks good nonetheless. This pic by my little Kendra! And when I showed her I starred it because I love it so much, she BEAMED! :) I should have trained them to take photos ages ago.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend too!

What was the best thing about your weekend?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Things making me happy

Remember the crazy quest for leaf pictures?

Well, I took some leaves and brought them home very carefully in a ziploc bag!

I can't tell you how much I love this blue bamboo bowl. It's the perfect colour and size and so versatile. It had paper clips on my desk for the longest time, also some washi tape (when new ones arrive...) and is now holding leaves

A few weeks back I went to Asia City to look for party bags. They didn't have what I wanted but I saw some iphone covers that were calling my name.



Do you know how much I hate that failed message? There is ZERO reception in most parts of my home and definitely at work which is why you'll often get 3 photos posted on a Saturday morning because at Weigh-Less and gym the reception is PERFECT. Makes me so very happy!

I'm also LOVING oranges at the moment, heated for just 10 seconds in the microwave to take off the chill. This is also how I drink water at home. Try it....

I've been carrying a Snapple bottle of fat-free milk to the client's office. They only provide full cream and I can't drink full cream milk. I'm soo not a fan of creamy anything so I just don't enjoy my tea and throw it out after two sips. Our office provides low-fat and that's okay but my first (milk) love is fat-free.

However, it is a huge schlep so I decided to only drink apple and cinnamon herbal tea at the office. Boring but when I get home and have my first cup of decent tea (Joko or 5 Roses African Blend) with fat-free milk, oh man, the angels sing :)

Okay, that's enough weirdness from me.

What's making you happy these days?

Friday, June 28, 2013

The school meeting

I sent the school a nice vague email to say that now we've had time to process things, we'd like to meet with the teacher and principal to discuss some more.

The meeting was on Tuesday.

D and I agreed beforehand on the three things we wanted to get across:

1. the tone of the discussion last time was so serious and we are upset that they haven't mentioned anything to us before if, in fact, things are indeed that serious

2. we are concerned that they can't seem to get the best out of our boy because he does display very different positive behaviour outside of school

this part of the blog post brought to you by Kendra


3. we think the reason he wants to play with K during play times is because he doesn't feel secure in the class and she is his safe place

4. bonus if things were going well - maybe there's a personality clash between him and the teacher

Both owners of the school were there plus the teacher.

D intro'd, I said about a sentence or two and then went into point number 1. The one lady showed me C's report and said there's actually nothing in there to be concerned about and that they apologise for coming on too strong.

I'm a high S (details!) and D's a wordsmith so we consider the choice of words very carefully. We were able to give examples of words used and I think they saw why we freaked out.

I won't go into everything step by step but bottom line, we said we agree they have to socialise but by forcing them separate might be doing more harm than good, and they need to rather do it as I've suggested to them - play together but include other kids.

The co-owner said that Connor has mastered all the emotional aspects - that is the thing they look at seriously. The things he needed to work on are not that important (which was what I got out of the report before the actual meeting!) in the grand scheme of things, like the jumping, etc.

We also said now that we know they need to jump, we'll practise jumping. I mean, it's quite ridiculous, some of these things. D took the kids into the garden after church on Sunday and they were all jumping around while I "fixed" lunch. Done! They can jump.

see, this is how I know Alice - with blonde hair :)

K told me today that they've been playing with other kids. K is actually not keen on this at all - she prefers to play alone if he's not there.

Today C stayed home (fever) so K played with another little girl and my friend's twins.

However, did you know the girls at age 3-4 are already cliquey and even my friend's kids don't always want to play? Oy! They all do this switching around of friends which, of course, I talk about immediately and tell them I don't allow meanness.

We also talked about how we know they have 14 kids to teach but we want C to keep loving learning and school and being a happy, loving little guy because it's not necessary to go hard-core since he's 3 (okay, nearly 4), not 7.

It all seemed to go well however his actual teacher's body language was not great and D said to me afterwards he doesn't think she's changed her mind and that it seems the other two might be a bit scared of approaching things with her in case she leaves.

I told her on Tuesday we'll be working together with her a lot more closely to make sure he's doing all the stuff they want (but unsaid by me although implied... also to check on things over there!).

I picked K up today and said HI like I normally do to C's teacher. She was a bit reticent but I just pushed through and she was fine at the end. So we'll persist.

That's it.

they still had their "babies" on their backs!

I have asked Nanny S to speak to the teacher's assistant and suss out how C behaves in class with the teacher. C likes the TA - he always talks about her helping him so I don't feel quite so bad to leave him there.

I'm going to defer to D's instincts on this one because he (rightly) says, "sometimes, Marsh, you refuse to give up on a bad situation" (too right - I do have a problem letting go).

What do you think?

PS Julia read that last post and emailed me a lovely long reply (I have lots of you who do that - I love the feedback but miss having the responses all in one place) because she can't access my blog from work to comment.

Anyway, I showed D and he said she's spot-on. I said she has some experience with people not seeing her children the way she does. And then she wrote the most beautiful post right here (go read - worth the click) and all this Connor stuff was put into perspective once again.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Winter traditions around here

Louisa said in her latest post that she's hibernating for winter.

I kind-of feel like that.

I love the cold, as you know, but not my cold house. It's a lovely summer house but we don't make houses for winter in South Africa.

So most nights you'll find me in my pjs at 6 pm (Kendra loves this - "ooh Mummy, I love your pyjamas") having tea or hot chocolate with the kids under the blankets.

We see Nanny S out, go straight to the kitchen and sort out the hot drinks so we're all ready at 6 pm.

It's quite lovely.

What is also lovely is my kids are unused to having lots of treats so when I give them TWO tennis biscuits with tea or hot chocolate, Connor goes "we can have TWO?!" It's too adorable.

red velvet cupcakes - do you like them? I could mostly leave them. What is the big fuss?

I've been sorting through the 12 - 24 month pics as you know (I finished tonight - ready for printing now!) and came across a few videos which I played for the kids.

They said, "why is Connor not talking properly?" and "Mummy, why didn't I answer you?"

They're fascinated that they are the kids who couldn't quite speak. So am I actually. Hearing those nearly two-year-olds speaking in their little baby voices is way too cute.

The other day Nanny V visited us with her little guy and, as you do (or as I do), I said to him, "do you want a biscuit, M?" holding out a baby biscuit, and Connor pipes up without skipping a beat, "Mummy, he CAN"T TALK!"

We all laughed so hard.

And then I explained that the reason they can talk so nicely is because V, Daddy and I all talked to them a LOT when they were babies so that they could learn.

They didn't seem convinced.

don't you just want to curl up with a book and a nice, big mug of tea?

So they're into videos.

One of Kendra's favourite things to do is to scroll through my iphone (she tried to scroll on the laptop this evening - these sophisticated kids!) and look for videos.

I wanted to see if they remembered something I told them MONTHS ago when Claudia posted on her blog about asking her kids if their job was to be the boss or if that was hers, which I thought was a fantastic idea. (C,please link in the comments if you're reading - I just spent 20 minutes searching and I couldn't find the post)

Claudia always has the best ideas. When mine were little, I "stole" her "gentle hands" and used it a LOT for Connor. Worked like a charm.

So I said to them tonight, "Babies (I still call them babies), do you remember what your job is as children?" and they churned out a whole laundry list of KRAs :)

For the record, what I previously told them is that their job is to 1) listen and obey immediately and 2) be respectful and have good manners.

They remembered - it was SO cute I did a little video but as these things always go, it was a bit of a disaster the second time with everyone grabbing at the iphone, pushing each other out the way... 10 seconds in.

This pic was really blah at first and then I bent my knees til my eyes were level with the lamp post. Now I love it!
 A lot of you commented on those cute little poncho/ gowns in this post.

Well, when the kids were real babies (a few months old), I saw those at Mr P Home in the baby section for R99 each I bought them.

They couldn't wear them in winter 2010 because they weren't walking yet but they've used them 2011, 2012 and now again this year.

We all love them - I love a snuggly child and they think they're fun :)


I have about 6 hours of meetings tomorrow which is about double my normal comfort level. However, working with 6 extreme introverts every day means I now LOVE meetings - a chance to connect with human beings :)
What are you looking forward to tomorrow?

PS I still need to write posts on the school meeting, what your kids call your friends and on my performance appraisal. Which order would you prefer?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - cute pics of the kids

Don't you love this quote?

 That's me - I'm so over being embarrassed to take out the big camera.

Good thing when the entire Bedford Centre (seemingly) is watching you!

I love how he checks back for his sister
it always melts my heart to see these two hold hands

In one week's time, these babies are going to be 4. How on earth did that happen?


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This time last year - photos are fixed!

This set of pics was taken exactly a year ago, when my kids first went to the pre-school at my work for those 2 - 3 weeks.

Look how gorgeous and babyish they looked :)

Aren't those cheeks divine?

My little "Suraya"

And then these are the latest pics I have of the kids - taken on Friday night. 

Connor said, "Kendra, help me fold Daddy's towels" and so they did. 

And they're very good at folding, by the way. I don't get in the way because I want to encourage lots of helping around the house. 

Also, I kind of hate laundry.

This kind of post makes me think of MandyE who always does those nice flash backs of her girls.

I, on the other hand, had to get the external hard drive and search for stuff because I only keep the current year on my laptop (I back up every month after I've done my Massive Monthly Photo Organising).

In other news, party bags are done, all party printables are printed and I'm finally seeing the light.

Cheapest cakes were R700 for both which is of course completely out - I cannot bring myself to waste money like that (no judgement on others; just not for me) so I've ordered cupcakes :)  

How was your Tuesday?

Monday, June 24, 2013

How I've been working on getting in photos with my kids

I feel very passionate about parents, especially momtographers (as I see us being called on the photo blogs) getting in photos with our kids and not only hiding out behind the lens.

But it's one thing to have a nice idea in mind and quite another to do something about it.

I'm not immune which is why I set a goal in 2012 of getting in at LEAST one pic with my kids every month.

This is a secret to my success - I like small, doable goals that I can build on.

I should tell you January was easy because we were on holiday. However, I also had to consciously hand the camera over to D and say "take a pic of me with the kids" ...a LOT (plus I'm fussy so if it didn't work, I had to do it a lot).

For February last year I have ONE pic of my FEET with the kids' feet. That's it. Pathetic but I got my pic.

March got slightly easier and then I fell into my rhythm which is...
  1. whenever I'm with someone who's into photos (Cat took some lovely ones of K and me last April at Bambanani) I hand over my camera to also get some pics of me with whichever kid is available and willing.
  2. lower my expectations of "perfection" and "happy smiling kids" because this is my life, right? flawed and imperfect and very real
  3. grab any opportunity (always have the lipstick handy) and just get the pics
  4. get okay with self-portraits (to be honest, these days some of my self-portraits are TONS better than the ones from other people)
 And at the end of 2012 I had 80 (non-professional) pics of me with the kids.

Isn't that amazing? 80 more than I would have had otherwise...

And as at end May, I already have 73 pics and there's plenty to come.

I love it!

Since this is working for me, I'm never taking that off my goals list....

Kristen Duke (incidentally, she shares a birthday with my kids) said on her blog once that one of the nicest things you can do for a mother is to take HER camera and get some pics of her with her kids. I happen to agree. So next time I see you, ask me to take a pic of you and your kids, not just of your kids. (that's for you, Caren :))

Do you make a point of getting in photos with your kids?
How comfortable is it for you?

And now I want to show you some pics of me with the kids - I handed the camera to D and the 3 of us played in the leaves!

I took this one of Connor's hands
and this one
Look how they're looking at me - I love their expressions

BTW, Kristen has an instagram hashtag #capturethejoy for pics of mothers with their children

Sunday, June 23, 2013

What's going on around here

how I know it's winter - I have to definitely do a load of colours on the weekend
Crikey, how is it nearly the end of June?

Which also means there's one week til the end of Google Reader. Have you picked your new feed reader yet? Have you been using it instead of GR?

As I said before, I'm holding on til the bitter end although I am kind-of in love with my new feed reader.... Feedly!

It's got such a nice, clean interface and moving blogs around between my categories is easy and smooth.

The kids tell me it's not winter yet because some trees still have leaves! This is the one in our garden that goes completely na.ked. I'm sure by this time last year it was totally bare. Actually yes, Elevate was in May/ June and this thing was an often-photographed subject

So, birthday party progress.

The two cake places I contacted before are in the West and I decided tonight - too much schlep to collect.

So I've emailed a few more people (3) - thanks Natasha C - and wait to hear from them. I'm not stressing - if worse comes to worse, I'll go buy 10 bags of cupcakes from Pick and Pay.

elevate the ordinary...otherwise known as messing around :)

I've been baking!

I baked two pans of loveliness this week - during the week I made my first batch of lemon bars. They were gooooooood.

And then last night I made something that was supposed to be no-bake oats, peanut butter and chocolate cookies but I added pretzels to the mix. That salty/ sweet combo? DIVINE. My whole family gave it two thumbs up even though I halved the sugar!

Next up I want to try that cinnamon pull-apart bread (look on my Pinterest baking board for all recipes -------> link in sidebar under my pic)


Does it make you feel cold to see pics of yourself in sleeveless or short sleeves?

I feel like I need a pic of me in a warm jersey as my profile pic on FB and similar...

D and I went to see John Cleese yesterday. It was about a 6 out of 10 for me; D gave it a 7 - 8. He gets all the Monty Python references, you see.

I did love hearing all the behind-the-scenes of how he actually got started as a comic.

Have you seen the show?

love bougainvillea... but not when there's too much because sweeping up all the fallen flowers does my head in

This week...

  1. I should finish the party favour bags
  2. Current and ex-managers decide on my bonus (I told current one "make sure it's big" and I wasn't joking)
  3. I go on Visio training
  4. We need to decide on a cake vendor
  5. We need to meet with the school 
  6. If I'm feeling particularly ambitious, I really want to get that one last product revised and then all my business goals are done for the year (except the blog makeover)
see the bee?

What's on your list for this week?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The end is in sight

30 October 2010 - babies 15 months - pic by Jeanette Verster
The end of the photo project, that is.

2009 - baby book done
2010 - book done up til July, photos selected til October - I'm busy with Nov and Dec now

2011 - to be done - photos are nicely organised but still have to select the top ones per month
2012 - up to date - need to just print

2013 - up to date - need to just print

Can you see? I have only one year and 2 months left :) :)

From now onwards I think I need to do this every 6 months so it's not such a mission!

It would be nice to have all sorted by the time they're 4, wouldn't it? :)

How's your Saturday been?

PS Can you believe those BABIES?! This one is totally going in the baby book


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