Thursday, July 31, 2014

Show and tell & Kendra's model face :)

This term the kids started doing show and tell.

K was first last week and came home on the Monday to tell me what she wanted to talk about (my seashells) and she even got a container to put in the ones she liked.
She seemed very confident the whole week so I let her be. (I'm the complete opposite of a helicopter parent)

On Friday I noticed the shells left behind. I was quite freaked - I don't believe in chasing up after kids but I reasoned that she had prepared the shells, she just left them behind. So off I went to the school on the way to the talk.  

Coincidentally she was the second person I saw and she said I could take it home because they were done already.

Later, leaving Louisa's workplace, there were THREE missed calls from the school.

Anyway, long story short - I went straight there since it was time to get them anyway and the teachers told me K said she didn't practise and didn't have her stuff. But they did it anyway. I told them that was true - she prepared earlier in the week.

They said they'd send me the video of her later.

Well. It was excruciating.  She was absolutely frozen to the spot. It was actually painful for me to watch. The poor teacher had to ask questions and then she answered them. But 1 min 18 seconds of agony.

I love this light fitting! One day the owners are going to catch me taking photos of their house!
So then D kicks into gear and says, "this is nonsense. From now on, we are PREPARING". Like that, in caps.

The teacher said K could do show and tell again this week so she and Connor are both being PREPARED by their father daily.

I have to video them saying it, and then they do it again with him. Connor is like me - you can't get him off the stage when he knows his stuff - but K hates it. HATES.

I'm leaving her in D's capable hands. Apparently you approach these things different as an introvert :) so he is coaching her. Lord, have mercy!

I will let you know how it goes tomorrow but let's move onto happier stories.

You know how on the wedding photography blogs they have the brides pose with their model (non-smiling) faces? Yes, well, Kendra has it down perfect :)

My model face just makes me look cross. Sam, you have a great model face :)

This was winter walk 3.

on the L side of the street, grey skies

on the R side, blue skies!

isn't this wall magnificent as a backdrop?!

"oh Lord, give me strength"

The model face

Which is your favourite?
Are you taking walks on the weekend?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hello Mama Cat - a post about books and reading goals

This is for Mama Cat - I don't have your email address... and not sure if you check back in the comments?

I don't re-read books intentionally either. I have sometimes been about 20% through a book and felt like I'd read it before, checked my Goodreads and yes, about 7 years ago or something like that :)

I don't have to force myself to read (much) anyway. The specific goal mentioned in the post is due to my lack of self-control with books - I used to just buy and buy and I had BOOKSHELVES full, but could never get to because I kept buying. So I stopped (mostly) buying physical books about 4 years ago and that's since been a goal - to finish all the physical books on my shelf. The one I referred to in the post is the last physical NOVEL I have left - hallelujah!

I still have about two shelves of non-fiction. So things are looking up!

The goal is to finish all of these books and then just buy Kindle books.

I can comfortably read 4 books a month, so I had a goal for a long time of 5 books - that's purely to "force" me to relax because that 5th book means I would have had to create and carve out time aside from my standard before bedtime just to read. That's now a habit so I'm happy with my book reading.

My reading goal this year is 70 books because I've reached that number or close to it comfortably in the past - I read a LOT on holidays so it evens out the months when I read "only" 5.

This is a really nice explanation of the reading goals I posted on the blog looong ago.

Who else has questions about books or reading? (I will answer in the comments)

Do you re-read books?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vision boards, life lists, goals and so on

Two things:
  1. Those are petals, not leaves. I took those photos in front of a florist's shop :)
  2. Also, what I said about blogging first, before reading blogs, etc. Elise wrote about it today too!
this is what I look at about 3 - 5 times a day. This one is nice and clear before I start planning but isn't it nice when it's so clean?!

I thought I'd manage to get a new vision board done during July but it's not going to happen.

I'm not in the right head space to do any thinking past next week and these are things you don't rush. Also, I thought it might be a good idea to do a little podcast accompanying the pictures which I can then blog.

However, Julia did her vision board. So proud of you, Julia!

I love the dappled light across this poster board
I have looked at my 40 things list and I definitely need to read that last physical book before next week.

There are a couple of things on there that honestly, really? What was I thinking? But that's the beauty of individually organising your goals - they're yours and they must work for you.

I'm wondering how I'm going to do goals for this next year, if I'm going to abandon the yearly birthday lists or what. 

Any ideas? I have done these for 4 years now so I need a bit of a difference.

"just because" gifts :) Don't you love the colour?
My current book is taking me so long. It took me ages to get into because there were just too many people to keep track of. Now I'm finally into it.

Then I'm reading some non-fiction to clear my mind :)

Do you consciously read different types of books to give yourself a break?

Also, I'm thrilled with how the party favours are coming together. They're looking super cute! I still don't know what I'm feeding the people for dessert but that's never a problem, right? Everything looks good :)

Somehow I've got to get through a "party" (it sounds silly to say a party when it's really a lunch), packing and then getting to our holiday, all before my real birthday.

One day at a time!

How was your Tuesday?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Hot chocolate, heaters and my heart

I've so loved reading through all the comments on last night's post. Also, page views look like normal again. Really, what is happening with blogging these days?

You know the comments and conversation are the best part of blogging and in case I forget, thank you to those of you who so faithfully leave comments here to encourage me to keep writing.

I was watching the Amazing Race this evening while attending to emails and finishing up a few things.... I really didn't feel like coming to blog but I remembered the lovely dialogue in the comments and that inspired me to make some hot chocolate to come write.

Thank you!

The wind is howling outside my window, as much as it does in Jhb (not very much). It feels very cosy in here with my big, ugly green jersey (I bought it in first year varsity - 1991! - at Edgars Grahamstown) and the heater.

So Louisa's let the cat out of the bag - I went to do a talk for her secret team on Friday, and while that was lovely, the best part this time was the preparation.

It's strange but there are two things I like about speaking - the energy of delivering the talk and that feeling when all my vague thoughts and feelings come together during my hours of preparation into The Picture.

I had such a good time putting it all together the last few weeks. I also realised again and again how my two languages of appreciation were just never spoken to me in that team. No wonder I was a flower who didn't bloom. It sounds a bit dramatic but yes, sometimes the words were said but you could feel the insincerity a mile off.

Anyway.... moving on to the real point of this.

I also noticed something the last couple of weeks, something we all know but we don't do enough of.

When I focus on my own life instead of caring too much about the versions other people display, I'm much happier.

Basically, run your own race.

If you're a bit PMSy (or stabby, as Julia calls it), just stop reading FB, IG, whatever. Much healthier for you.

I used to feel like I had to see everything every one of the people I follow on IG was posting but... no more. Who has the time? If I have 5 minutes, I scroll through, enjoy the pretty pics I see and consider it a win.

It's like my blog first, and then read other blogs rule I have for myself. Except I've been a bit careless with that one over the last week so tomorrow I'm on it again.

And last but not least, I am overall happier and more content when I'm plugged in enough to God.

I was sharing a few God-incidences with D last night (oh right, D had a birthday!!!) and he reminded me that my life used to be FULL of this kind-of thing. Lovely little and big happenstances all over the place, authored and designed by God. Very true - I love it!

So... what was the best happening in your life last week?

PS 9 days til my birthday!
PPS the photos with the leaves are straight from my camera - I've done nothing. That is their colour!!!!! LOVE them. My new favourite feet pics.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

On hospitality and offering up your bed

I just found a new blog and there was a post about having guests staying over with some tips on how to make their stay as comfortable as possible, which of course got me thinking....

Apparently it's a thing in some cultures to always offer the most comfortable bed (usually the one in the main bedroom) to the guests.

I'd never heard about this before.

BUT.... on our trip to England in 2008, not one, not two but THREE sets of friends all insisted we take their bed. 

At the time I didn't even properly connect the dots but I do remember feeling that our friends were all so LOVELY. They are.

I personally have never ever offered up my bed.

(I may have some issues because I'm very fond of my bed and love it dearly!)

Do you know which cultures these are?
Also, do you have people to stay over? Do you offer up your bed?

You could always find waterloo hotels for your guests to stay in.

I can tell you a few things people have done that have made me feel particularly loved and welcome:
  1. handwritten notes each morning of our visit, and sometimes at night too (I have them all saved!) on top of our cereal bowls... handwritten notes in general (I have them all!)
  2. asking if we eat anything in particular so they could get it for us
  3. giving REALLY good directions (ask the man at the Spar for our keys!)
(my mother and sister always cook my favourite foods - my acts of service love language)

What kind of things have made you feel very welcome when you've stayed over at someone's house?

PS I won't tell you about a stay that really did not go great at all! Or should I?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Elevate the ordinary

Ah, elevate the ordinary.

If any of you remember this far back, in April 2012, Mandy and I did Superhero Photo and straight after that finished, we did Elevate the Ordinary.

I did it as best as I could during winter (but it was harrrrrrrd forcing myself to go outside). At that point I couldn't take photos inside at all.

I've been trying to complete this course (the one after Superhero Photo) for two years, and finally I'm nearly there - I have a few more lessons and then I'm done.

It will be done by the end of July because I put it on my list :)

Well, it's been great.

I've found the lessons refreshing but also affirming. Because it seems I already elevate the ordinary in a number of ways, most notably I totally honour my obsessions.

The other day I was playing with blur (!) and when I looked at my camera, I'd taken about 284 photos in about 30 minutes.

So lovely.

I can't wait to pick through them all for the gems.

Speaking of obsessions, colour is another one of those obsessions.

If I see something cool, I go back there to take photos.

The kids and I have been on two colour photowalks. It's SO fun! Just Connor and me for the blue one, and then the other day all three of us on a pink photowalk.

It's just too much fun.

The photo above is the ugly bit of wall.

But me? I see potential in that ugliness!





And that's when I dragged the kids back there to take some photos.

How are you elevating the ordinary in your life?
Not necessarily with photos, but with anything.

Friday, July 25, 2014

I have big plans this weekend

Edited to cross off some things from the list!
Family stuff
  1. Get K to make D a birthday card
  2. Make pancakes for D's birthday as requested by K 
  3. Walk with the kids
  4. Date with D

Fun stuff
  1. Do my party favours, or at least half of them
  2. Read at least one book
  3. Play with my artsyville washi tape
  4. Send off some happy mail

Productive stuff
  1. Declutter the pile of handbags in my bedroom 
  2. Tidy my desk
  3. Go through my clothes again (it helps to do it again a month or so later... you become even less attached)
  4. Get some advanced blogging done for when I'm on holiday
  5. Sort through last week's party photos as I'm seeing that friend next week
What are your big plans for the weekend?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bits and bobs on a Thursday night

I'm so glad so many of you liked the post I wrote on Sunday night. As you know, I feel quite passionate about living life intentionally so it's really nice when it resonates!

If you've thought about it some more since then, what are you saying yes to these days?

Are the trees in your neighbourhood also sprouting little blooms? This is probably one of the last photos I have of our "winter" tree.

I need to go take a walk tomorrow to show you how the tree on the corner thinks it's already spring!

I had a meeting this morning in Sandton and thankfully, the whole commute there only took 45 minutes...and I stopped for petrol!

I don't know if it was a fluke or what, but I'll take it!

The playdate on the weekend was a success except for the not-so-small matter of one of mine writing on my NEW carpet with a whiteboard marker.

Tips to get it out???

I told the kids to play with the toys and if they wanted to do a craft, to just tell me... and they didn't ask me for a thing. For nearly 3 hours!

At one point they did ask me to take down some Dr Seuss books from the shelf so they could all "read" to one another.

I made muffins and biscuits, both of which were tasty and accompanied the numerous mugs of tea and coffee very well.

We all had a good time and already agreed to go over to theirs next time.

And last but not least, have you submitted your tax return yet?

Louisa asked if we all knew where our wills are, so I'll nag about the tax.

I got the last certificate today (everything else has been waiting for just this one - I even had a note to phone them) and I'm such a nerd, I squealed. Yay - now I can send to my guy to do his magic.

Actually it's not that I'm nerdy; I really just like to tick things off a list.

Care to share any of your bits and bobs?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

{Wordless Wednesday} Winter walk 2!

This day, the kids chose which way they wanted to walk. So we went another way and I was so glad because we found a gorgeous background which we went back to photograph properly.

There was a tantrum and only two of us finished the walk after dropping off the one child at home. Amidst much screaming.... but I have to be consistent.

Golden hour

I LOVE this one.

Do you have a favourite?

PS This is the blue that's "my colour"


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