Monday, December 14, 2009

Free as a bird

I am on leave.  Finally!  I cannot even tell you how grateful i am.  I need this leave desperately.  Today is my first real day off with the kids at school and i still feel that maniac adrenalin feeling. It has not left my system yet but i know that it will take a couple of days before i quit thinking about work and all the crazy deadlines.  I am almost done with my christmas shopping and am finishing all the plans for our holiday trip.  We hope to drive on Saturday.

My last day at work was a bitter sweet one.  I did not get the post that i applied for and was told on Friday.  At first i was distressed but now i feel much better.  I think that i really wanted the job but that i really needed not to get the job.  To explain:  The new job had lots of additional responsibilities and i have been struggling for the past 6 months to achieve some kind of work life balance with the family.  I have been acting for this period.  It is more money but we are really financially stable and dont need the money.  I think that i was just driven to get the job for status or power and it was hard to feel rejected.  But i really believe that i should not have this job right now, so on some weird level i am really relieved.  I used to think that i could do it all but as life gets more and more crazy i get doubtful.  I now know that i am no super women and something has to give.  I try to focus on the kids and work but then i tend to let myself go emotionally and they also suffer as a result.  So suffice to say that the universe has spoken and i am ok about the situation.  I am looking forward to going back to my old office and picking up where i left off.  It was a very positive environment where i had a lot of flexibility.

Now we are in full swing for holiday planning.  We are all looking forward to ten days with the extended family by the sea.  Granny will be around to help with the little W's and that will help me.  I am wrapping gifts every night on the sly, have got two great books and my embroidery packed and plan to relax.  I have a feeling that 2010 is going to be a great year for all of us.

Al

Monday, December 7, 2009

So close i can taste it.


I have four days left at work.  The thought sends me into raptures.  This has been a crazy year.  Although i seem to say that every year.  But being a full time career girl, attempted domestic goddess and mother to two kids under the age of 6 has made for an exciting mix.  If you didnt pick it up, the domestic goddess quip was done sarcastically!  There just seems to be too much to do and too little time.  Since i started gym a month or two ago, my day can start at 4:40am when i wake up and end at 10:00pm when i crash.  And there is no down time in between.  Its gym, come home, shower, dress, feed kids, dress kids, pack bags, off to work, work my ass off, race home, stop at shops, fetch kids, cook supper, feed family, bath kids, quality time with kids, read to kids, get kids to sleep, quality time with hubby / turn on computer and do frantic work , go to bed.  Sounds fab, doesnt it?

So ja, let the summer holidays roll on.  The temptation though is to over use every second of this time.  In my life down time is just a luxury so when you get 3 weeks off, you are so tempted to clean out the cupboards, cook every day, bake with your kids, finish endless craft projects and lets not even talk about being the domestic goddess of christmas.  Sometimes i think that working moms even suffer more from this pressure.

That is why i am relieved with the way that my leave has panned out.  I have four days off by myself.  (BY MYSELF??? can you even imagine 4 days all by yourself?)  Then East London for a week and a half, back to work for a week and then 3 days off when Gabby starts school for the first time.  Those three days will be half days for me, so i will still get mornings to myself.

But who am i kidding?  I love the madness!  I love the chaos!  Life is short and i may as well milk every moment of it.  It cant be that bad if i am considering throwing another kid in the mix!  I keep telling myself that soon they will be sulky teenagers with no interest in me.  They will all go out on Saturdays and i can sit on the couch, do my sewing and watching mind numbing tv shows.  But until then i have another ten years or so to go!  And until then i have a summr holiday breathing thankfully down my neck!

Al

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The end is near

I have seven days until i go on leave.  I will be off from the 11th December till the 5th of January.  I am only being sustained by the thought of the sloth and leisure that i will enjoy during this time.  But one step back..... Gabriel's 6th birthday went wonderfully.  I woke him up for school with a chocolate cake and six candles.  This was followed by gifts.  Jason and i splurged and bought him a casio keyboard so that he can practice his piano playing at home.  Then it was off to school with 60 cupcakes (Which mom had forgotten to buy and so had to pick up from the local woolworths after work at a hideous cost!) and another chocolate cake for the teachers.

I managed to leave work a bit early so that i could collect him and take him shopping for a gift from his gran.  Then dad came home and we went out for supper.  Now we are all in full swing for the birthday party next weekend on the 12th.  I have distributed the invites and am in that terrible phase where i am waiting for hte patents to reply.  I too am a terrible RSVP person so i cannot even complain.  So far i have 7 kids confirmed which makes me feel a bit better, at least with that and the adults i can rustle up a party.  Of course when people take their time to reply i have to fight the terrible urge to send out more invites, which will only be a disaster when they all reply on the last moment!!!

On a deeper note i am blown away by the fact that my son is 6 and that my baby will be 3 in a couple of weeks.I am blown away by how much i love, no adore my children.  I am blown away by how much i like them as people.  They still take my breath away.  You really do discover a whole new level of love once you become a parent.  Gabriel is such a well behaved, kind intelligent child.  Sometimes i need to remind myself to tone done and not see him as an angel but he truely is.  Sure he has his moments of cheekiness, sibling rivalry etc, but i know that if he continues the way he is, he is going to be a great man.  A man that i will be so proud to say that i raised.  And this in no way means that i dont feel the same about Seth.  That kid knocks my socks off me and i am just loving him and his weird three year old ways right now!

Today is international day for the disabled and i am in the community for a celebratory event.  I am tired and tired!  I had a squabble with my hubby this morning about me working late last night, which is not what i needed so that has made me more tired.

But i am seven days.... and counting......

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Little boy blue



My oldest blessing turns 6 tomorrow.  I can scarecely believe it.  My babies are growing up so quickly that it scares me.  I love the adventure but wish they would just hold their horses a bit.  My sweetest Gabriel, i cant believe that six years have passed since i waited so anxiously for your arrival.  I had no idea what a wonderful adventure lay ahead of me.  I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams how much i would love you, how much you would fulfill me.  Wow, baby!  You knock me out with your green eyes, soft hugs and old soul! 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cool as ice cream

As in me and not the weather, which in insanely hot and lovely.  We are cooking here people!  Basking under the African sun.

Some useless snippets about my life right now:
  • I had a great time with my cousins last night, especially my hilarious chat with Loo last night about the funnier side of dating and men....
  • I love the keyboard that i was able to buy Gabriel for his birthday.  I know that it is so extravagant but i am grateful that i can give him the opportunity to experience new things.
  • The fact that my cell phone is fixed is wonderful.  Hurray for Justin!
  • We are planning to put up the xmas tree this week.  Should it be today or tomorrow?
  • The weather is so wonderful..... I think we will braai tonight just so that we can be outside together.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I am dreaming of a sunny christmas


 


But thanks to my eurocentric upbringing, we still think in terms of Santa and snow.  Even if South African christmas is more about getting bloody hot, lying by the pool under the african sun and eating ice cream.  But never fear!  That does not stop me from thinking that Santa, or Father Christmas, as we call him here rocks and we still try to be good the whole year round to get onto his list!  And i think i have been very good this year, indeed!

Also i love traditional christmas decor!  So in light of my bad week, my exhaustion, i am choosing to : "Honour christmas and keep it in my heart the whole year round".  I am dreaming of my festive season that is so close that i can taste it.  I am thinking of the fun of putting up my tree this weekend, baking this weekend, buying G's birthday present, his birthday next week.  The party the week afterwards.  The road trip to the coast.  No more energy vampires allowed here!!!

Roll on christmas!

Bearing witness

Two posts in one day after so much neglect?  This is what happens when you get stuck in meetings till very late.  Now its one thing being stuck in meetings but it is worse just sitting outside a boardroom waiting to be called to go into a meeting and present. Which is where I am right now.

Tonight family is in my thoughts.  I heard today that two of my family members are getting divorced.  Its a couple that i know well, that i am close to and my heart is very sore for them.  This is just a lose - lose situation, as all divorces are.  In most there appears to be an obvious villain, the initiator, but in reality, that is not the case.  Both persons are distraught, battered, mourning the loss of a dream.  As i said to another family member who recently ended her marriage, a divorce is like a death.

We all stood on our wedding day and believed that we were starting a new life, with someone that we loved. We had a vision of the future, a dream of what this relationship would mean for us.  Two point five kids, a white picket fence, holding hands in the twilight of our lives. Suddenly, all this is gone and we are left mourning.  The death of a dream can be just as bad as the loss of a life.  How do you pick up and move on.  Of course for one party it is worse.  The party that doesn’t want it to end.  Bearing witness to such pain, especially when it is someone that you love is so very hard.  You try and say all the right things.  You are not alone.  We are here for you.  But even as you say these things you recognise their emptiness.  They don’t really assist the wounded.  For me the real task for us at this point is to just be there and support.   And not to allow your own anger and confusion to spill over.  You are there to bear witness and not testimony.

So these people are in my thoughts.  I hope that this pain will help them to find what they seek.  Happiness. Joy. Meaning.  I think that most people are good at heart and deserve to love and be loved.  As I type this I know that someone I care about is very hurt tonight.  And that hurts.  But it is not my pain and I can only send them kind thoughts.  And hope that although this cannot be fixed, they can still be healed.

There is only one important thing to remember about life.  It goes on.  Always.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Love doesnt have to hurt.....



 Actually love should never hurt.  Especially not the kind of pain that fists can inflict.  I have been a social worker for 11 years now.  More to the point i have been a social worker who deals with victims of sexual and domestic violence, in a country that has one of the highest rates of violence against women and children in the world.  Its a fact.  Women and children are not safe in South Africa.  So who are these perpetrators?  Who are these masked boogie men?  They are our fathers, husbands, lovers.  They are our brothers and sons.  They are also the ones who inflict the most terrible pain and destruction.  They break spirits and destroy souls.  If you, like me, are lucky enough to be in a functional relationship with a caring man, be grateful.  Be so grateful that you are able to experience what a good man is like.  A man who never lifts his fist to you or beats your children.  Because there are good men out there.  They exist.  They are the fathers who show their sons that you dont need to beat a woman to make her love you or that men can cry.  They are the men who dont look away when they witness a child being hurt by another man.  They are the men that restore my faith in the male gender.

I have two sons and every day i am aware that i, with their father, am responsible for shaping the way that that they view gender relationships.  What i do today shapes their relationships of tomorrow.  And i know that this is not only about the words i speak.  It is about the road that i chose to walk, as the most influential woman in their lives.  Well, as least at this point.  I need to show them that i am strong, that i am able to carve out my space, that i can support myself, that i am not dependent upon their father.  I need to show them that women can work for a living, have a career, change the world.  I need to show them that women can be powerful, but still have the space to be vulnerable.  I need to show them that i stay with their father because i love him and want to be in this space and not because i cannot leave. I need to show them that fidelity and monogamy is none negotiable.  That marriage is about commitment.  This is a tall order.  One that i am trying to deal with step by step, every day.

So today, wherever you are spare a thought for that woman or child who feels like a trapped animal.  The one that cried themselves to sleep last night.  The one that feel that there is no hope.  The one whose spirit and soul is as battered as their face.  And heed the call.  Act, dont look away.  The future depends upon the actions of the good, as much as the actions of the bad.

Malibongwe!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dragon lady



Yup, thats me.  I like to think that i am pretty sane most of the time, get along with people most of the time, even like people most of the time.  But every now and then, i get the distinct impression that actually most people are oxgyen thieves.  Morons.  Idiots.  Belong to a secret club on how to be a dumbass.  The one that i didnt quite get into to.  Thankfully.

Today was one of those days.  Thankfully it was work idiots so at least at 4pm, i could frantically drive away from the asylum and the madness did not follow me home.  Actually i feel much better about my family when i see how normal we all are..  I dont think some people could have pissed me off more today if they tried! 

The thing to remember at moments like this is that you are perfectly sane and the rest of the bloody world has a problem, then find some friends who think like you and get together and commiserate bitterly how messed up everyone is.  I was able to get together with two great girls this afternoon and have coffee and BITCH!  Which made it all feel much better! 

So i think that i may just make it!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gratitudes


Every now and then life cuts you a break.  This weekend was one of those unexpected breaks.  I was able to rest and replenish my spirit.  So as one of my close friends I am going to let you in on a little secret….. I think that I may just make it for three more weeks until I go on leave!
Right now, I am grateful for:
  • The kids not getting seriously ill this weekend.  They were both borderline on Saturday with running noses and a slight fever but seem to have overcome the germs.
  • The sun that came out and gave me hope on Sunday.
  • That i managed to do some baking with the kids on Saturday.  We made biscuits. Gabby got to drive the electric beater and Seth cut them out.  We had a ball, they tasted great and we all ate so many of them we felt ill.
  • I got my butt to gym this morning and felt good for it.
  • I dug up my huge cross stitch UFO.  I have been working on this one and off for 3 year and it is all my fault for breaking my cardinal rule of working on another sampler in between (Seth's birth sampler.)  Its the miribilia pattern that is featured above.  It is very detailed and really a task.  I just want to finish it so that i can start something else.  At least i am still in love with it after all these years!  I am determined to finish it and have it framed for my entrance hall.
  • A good weekend were i was able to rest with the family, with no serious commitments.
  • The christmas ornaments that i am slowly sneaking out.  Next weekend is full d-day for decorating!  I am such an addict.
So I expect the usual drama tomorrow at work but right now all is well with the W's!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cookies and cream



I love christmas.  I love baking.  I love cookies.  So in my mind Christmas = baking = cookies.  Which we actually call biscuits here in South Africs.  Being just one step from British, with our colonial roots etc!

So, although i have about 15 books on baking and three just on biscuits alone, i was forced to go onto Kalahari (South African Amazon) and order myself these two books.  And because i was forced to buy these two books (which are eagerly awaited. Ten days seem so long.), i was forced to buy a stunning range of metal biscuit cutters, in cute shapes like bells, reindeers, stars, planes, trains and cars.  I have a set of 100 cutters, but they are plastic and i dont like working with them.  I find that they struggle to cut through the dough.  Part of the problem is that i know that i should put the dough in the fridge so that its easier to work with, but once i start, I hate to stop and am just plain impatient.

So i am rubbing my hands in glee and hoping that the little book making fairies over in America, make my books, pack them up and post them over to Africa as soon as possible!  Until then i will just look at the covers and drool.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday night....


Its friday night.  Its raining outside.  Its been raining for three days. Non stop.  I am so glad it friday!  Have i mentioned that I am so glad its friday.  I dragged myself away from my pity party (see previous post).  The thing with pity parties is that you are normally the only one there and somehow you can only commiserate with yourself on how hard your life is for so long.  You soon get distracted.  So i got over the cutting of my leave.  I got over what an ass my boss is.  I even got over the crap weather. I slogged through the week, surviving by bunking a few hours for coffee with a friend, getting an afternoon off, singing loudly to dance music in the car and going to gym to run on the treadmill and pretend that i was stomping on my boss's face.  Healthy!

So i am feeling better.  I have three weeks before i go on leave.  I will be off for three weeks and then back for 5 days and then off for three more days.  I also feel better because i have managed to slog through some of the horrible domestic chores that have been hanging over my head.  I sorted out the tax and made the deadline by the skin of my teeth.  I got my son's stationary for next year.  I got the car serviced.  I bought all the stuff for the boys birthday party.  And i feel lighter, with some responsibility off my shoulders.

Now i have a friday night where we got pizza, i am already in my gown and slippers and the DVD has been rented and waiting for the kids to sleep.  (We are still in the stage where if you dont want to watch disney cartoons, you need to wait for the kids to sleep.)  Tomorrow, i want to start to make a dent on some of the Christmas shopping and then we have a family kids birthday party in the afternoon.  Sunday lies open and unplanned for, although we are intending to do the family gym thing and then go and have breakfast.

I am also beyond excited about christmas.  Which is really strange.  I have a terrible christmas addiction, even through i am atheist.  I just love the decor and the cookies.  We always put up the tree and decor on the 1st December but i have already snuck out some stuff.  I will try not to blind my family with all the tinsel on the 1st!  I also ordered two christmas cookie recipe books off the internet.  So i need to get the cousins and friends together for a christmas baking session.  Um sugar and cake.....  I am sure i can twist the girls arms!

Wishing you a restful weekend.  Remember if you are feeling tired at this time of the year, you are not alone!  It is always mad before the peace of the holidays.  So just take care of yourself and ride out the crazy work stuff, the christmas parties, the holiday arrangements.....  Soon you will be holiday, stuffing your face with all the chocs that santa is bringing you.....

Al

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tired

We had a good weekend.  A busy but good weekend.  But the thing is that although i have got some great memories from this weekend, i have also been left exhausted and at this point i really cant afford to be exhausted.  My mother in law spent the weekend with us, it was the boys concert and we had a family lunch at our place on Saturday. Firstly, the boys concert was spectacular.  The theme was "the zoo" and Seth was a Koala bear and Gabby a crocodile.  They were absolutely adorable.  Gabriel did a piano solo and i was blown away.  He has been doing piano for about a year now but i really had no idea how good he really was.  He was so confident.  So little sitting on that little stool in front of all of us but so calm and thorough.  I was so, so proud of him and got so choked up.  You always wonder whether you are totally hashing up motherhood, so when your child does something well, demonstrates a quality that you admire, it is such a wonderful reassurance.  I have figured out that i really like my children's personality.  I think that they are adults we are going to be friends.  I think that they are going to be good people.  Seth was beyond cute in his little ears.  I tried to not let him see me until he was finished his moment on stage as i knew he would bolt.  He saw me half way through.  I managed to catch his eye and encourage him a bit, but as soon as the song ended, his lip started to quiver and soon he raced through the crowd and spent the rest of the concert on his parents lap.

A really sentimental moment for me was when Gabby got his school certificate completing his pre school days.  I feel so emotional about him starting school next year.  I am so excited for him but wish i could keep him little, safe, unaffected by life.  I am just plain scared.  Like all other moms whose little ones are starting school.  But i know that this is just a little step on many that lead to his independance and i trust that he will cope.

It was wonderful seeing my mother in law this weekend and it is great that it is only a couple of weeks before we will be in East London with them for christmas.  I love seeing their relationship with my sons and i wish so much that they lived closer.  They are such a positive influence on my sons and it is wonderful to have someone to talk to who thinks that your kids are as amazing as you do.

Then bam, after Jason has taken his mom to the airport, i check my email and see a mail from my boss saying that the biggest cheese has decided that all managers should be back on the 5th January, because thats when he gets back and of course we live to serve.  I was supposed to get back on the 17th so needlessly i am so pissed off.  I need this leave.  I need to refocus.  I am exhausted and i dont really want to have to deal with someones dick head opinion of why i should cut my holiday and family time short, just because he may get lonely in his huge office.  I sent a carefully worded email, splattered with phrases like gender sensitivity , family responsibilities etc.  I dont think they are going to give a damn.  So worse case scenerio, i  will take off earlier if i have to start earlier.  I will use my nanny to look after the kids for the 5 days and insist on taking off three days mid January when the schools start:  the day before, the first day of school and the day afterwards.  Even if i have to call in sick!  I am super, bloody pissed off at my insensitive senior ass!

So the question is:  How do i survive the next couple of weeks without killing someone:  staff or boss?  Tough one!  I will let you know how it goes.  To make it worse there are a multitude of crap domestic pressures that are mounting:  tax forms that are due to the accountant by friday, birthday parties that need to be planned, curtains that i had made that need to be taken back and altered, stationary and uniforms for next year that need to be bought.

Its so tough being a working mom, especially when you know yourself and know that you would never ever survive at home.  So you are doomed and just need to find your survival space. 

*$%^&!

And tomorrow is Monday.

Yay.

Monday, November 2, 2009

My favourite things.....


Why am i sitting here looking smug?  Well i am altogether pleased with myself, that's why!  I managed to get my bum out of my chair and go to gym. I know, i know, i could cause natural disasters.  I feel good though.  I started at a new gym and i was pleased to see that everyone was very normal looking.  Nobody dressed to kill on the treadmill.  No designer gym clothes etc.

I have a busy work day and little time to chat, but thought that i could leave you with some thoughts, complements of Mara Van trapp from the Sound of Music....

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

Damn, i wish i was off dancing in the Alps!

New brooms sweep clean


Hope that you are enjoying my new background. I decided that i was tired of my old autumn colours. Its Spring people and I felt like hot pink! (I am also wearing hot pink today......) For anyone else who feels like an update, check: outhttp://blo64rt.blogspot.com/ . They have some amazing free backgrounds.

I am trying to think positive thoughts right now, although it is beyond crazy in my life. Its funny how when you need things to get quieter, the world responds by amping it up a notch. Go figure! I have a job interview on Friday and have fleeing moments of anxiety whenever i think of it. I have been acting in the position for the last 5 months and think that i have done a pretty good job, which should in turn assist me in the interview. But one never knows? Interviews are just crap. The comfort is that i really feel confident about my work. I have been working with victims of crime and within the social crime prevention arena for the past 8 years and there is not much i dont know about the sector. So i just need to trust my ability to deal with any issue that may be thrown at me. Blah! Will let you know how it goes.

We had a good weekend. Halloween was a blast and the kids loved it. We got home from the zoo at about 8pm and got the kids off to bed. Mr W and I snuggled on the couch and watched "Interview with a vampire" and "The Shining". It was great fun. I got to sleep in late yesterday and then had the pleasure of shopping on my own for an hour or two at the mall. It is so amazing to be able to try on clothing without being harassed from all sides. I managed to get some stuff i really like, including a great long black dress for all the christmas parties coming up. I try to get at least one festive item a year to carry me through all the parties.

So now i am in the midst of counting the days: The number of days until the schools close, the number of days until the boys birthdays, the number of days before the big birthday party, the number of days before leave, the number of days before East London and the beach, the number of days before the end of the year.

What are you looking foward to right now?

Al

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween


Its Halloween and wherever you are in the world i hope that you are having spooky, wonderfully wicked day! Even the weather seems to be in on the chaos and is misbehaving with grey skies. I am just hoping that the clouds hold until to night. We are off to the Johannesburg zoo with the cousins and aunts in tow to go trick or treating. Here in South africa, Halloween is only now taking off so people dont really give out sweets from their homes. However, we have centralised events and there is a big one at the zoo tonight. Basically you pay to get in, they give out sweets, have ghost houses and other spooky things and so on.

Seth is going as a pumpkin, Gabby as Death, Mama W as a skeleton and Daddy W as batman. I will upload pics asap so that you can all laugh at our craziness! Have a wonderful halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Love, marriage and all that follows......

Marriage is not easy. Making a marriage work is even harder. The reality is that you are not in love all the time. You love each other even though sometimes you cant stand each other. The more I think about it, the more I am of the opinion that if you are in a successful marriage, you are lucky. You are so very lucky. As I get older I realise that the impact of your family of origin on your being, your psyche is enormous. And the reality is that few people when they marry have the same world view. Sometimes Jason and I have such different views on simple domestic life that I feel frustrated. I feel like shouting: “What’s the matter with you? You cant really believe that, can you?”. Then I have to stop and remind myself that he is not me. That we are an “us”, but we are still him and me. When we first started our relationship, this caused me much distress. After all wasn’t the objective of a good marriage to become an “us”? That’s what happened in the movies, right? After all, wasn’t wanting a separate personality after marriage a little bit selfish.

Here we are almost thirteen years down the line and I have different expectations from my marriage. I now know that we will always be separate entities. That we cant live in each others skin. That I cant climb in his head, dream his dreams, live his life for him. Does that make me sad? No it doesn’t. I am fine. We are still an “us”, a couple, a partnership. We are still a family. And you know what I like being me. And I like the fact that he is separate from me. I like the fact that there are little parts of him that I will never know or understand. I don’t really want to be in a relationship with myself. I am Ok. He’s Ok. We are OK.
Some of this was a road that we walked together. Some of this realisation was about my own growth. We are both more comfortable in our skin, with ourselves. We like ourselves. We like each other. We like being married. We have weathered the storms. We know that we are here to stay.

We trust each other. We now know that good marriages are about hard work. Does this mean I don’t believe in love. No it does not. I just believe that a marriage is even more complex then just love. Love will get you there. Hard work will keep you there. And we both believe that we have to keep going. This may be strange for a liberal, atheist, feminist but I believe in marrying for life. I really want to be married for life. I hold my marriage vows sacred. They are a commitment that I made. They are my word. I wrote my own vows. I chose the words I spoke, the promises I made. They were mine and I will keep them. They were mine to give and I gave them. I am not talking about staying in an abusive relationship, a relationship that includes pain. I am talking about not walking out because something more exciting comes alone. Because, you are going through a bad patch.

I want my sons to see the reality of marriage. I want them to understand that marriage is for life but needs a whole lot of work. I want them to see us work at it. I want them to see us apologise to each other.

Lastly, I want to dance the funky chicken on my 50th wedding anniversary. Is that too much to ask?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What just happened?


I do believe that i have been visited by some mean energy sucking aliens, intent on removing all the joy from my life! They cannot be allowed to win! Must beat them! Must get head of pillow to beat them! Too hard!

Ja, the W's are tired. The Mama W is exhausted. The Daddy W is grumpy. We need a holiday. We have almost 6 weeks to go before our long christmas by the sea holiday. We must survive. We must not kill each other. Mama W must keep smile on face when dealing with baby W's. Mama W must be sensitive and not kill assorted stupid people who piss her off when she is tired. Mama W must not take Daddy W's grumpiness personally. We are all adults here people....

Experience has taught me that you must find some comfort at times like this. Joy is pushing it. I am trying to focus on all the cool things that are happening despite my crazy life. These include:
  • The visit from Granny W that is happening in November.
  • The school concert that is coming up. The big little W is playing the piano and we are all so proud. We are the largest family group there (8 adults and one littly) so we will cheer appropriately.
  • Halloween: I got the kids costumes yesterday. Gabby is going as Death. Seth is going as a pumpkin. He is so cute that even Daddy W was oohing and aahing and made me take photos! I just wanted to bake him into a pie and eat him - completely figuratively of course!!! (Tired, not insane people!)
  • The fact that i am seeing an old friend for coffee and soetkoekies today. Bought a whole box from Woolies and will inhale them.
So thanks for listening to my bitch session. I am afraid that there is more to come. Until of course Christmas arrives. On the 1st Dec, i put up that tree and then i go into a crazy, festive flurry! I just love the season.

Al

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Party time!








I have just realised that it is about 6 weeks to the annual super-duper kick ass Wainwright birthday party. For those, who are not in the know, let me fill you... This is the kids party of the year - well for us at least. I normally start going noticeably grey a couple of weeks in advance, which is about now. As the boys are both born in December, we do one big bash in the middle of the month. I dont think that i can keep this up forever, but at the moment it works pretty well.

Last year we did pirates and this year i am medieval knight dreaming! I am thinking swords, castles, ladies and kings. I am thinking dragon pinatas. I am thinking a royal court. I am plotting and scheming and these pics are giving me some inspiration.

All very helpful on this miserable working monday.....

Al

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Long time, no hear

This has been the longest period that i have gone without posting. I guess that this is just a reflection of where i am right now. Busy, rushed, tired, wishing desperately that it was holiday time. I think that i have done pretty well this year, as i still have my entire leave allocation due to me, but i am starting to take strain now and am beginning to long physically for christmas holidays and the accompanying full month off. I am planning to go off the week of the 14th and only return about the 10th Jan. This time will also include two weeks at the coast, where i can literally get away from it all.

This sense of tiredness seems to have crept into everything. I am tired at work and seem to be losing it more with the kids at home. All of this is made worse by the fact that i am saddled with housework as my helper is not at work for a week, having experienced a loss in her family. Man, i hate mopping floors, washing dishes and clothes. Do you have any idea how much clothes a family of four can generate? It is crazy. It has been raining. Seth was ill with tonsillitis and had to stay home for two days. So yes, its my party and i will cry if i want to. I have finished my Magaliesberg album. But right now, I have not started anything else. I feel like i just want to vegetate on the couch and growl at everyone as they go past.

Of course, there is no solution for this situation but to bite the bullet and ride out the next 8 weeks or so. At least my children's social life will distract me. I am the sad stage of my life where my kids have better social lives then i do. We had a birthday party this week, a play date the next, Halloween the next, yet another birthday party and then the school concert. Five weekends already accounted for. CRAZY! It has also struck me that i have only 6 weeks till the birthday party madness starts so that also requires some attention... take a number and join the queue!

Of course i am going to survive, but why are these big girl panties so damn uncomfortable?

Love
Al

Monday, October 5, 2009

Blah! Monday




I am typing this looking over the smoggy grey skies of Johannesburg. What a sight. The world seems to have forgotten that it is Spring time. I have also just heard that i need to do a late evening meeting, which is always guaranteed to bring a spring into your step.

So perhaps i need to focus on some joyous thoughts right now:

Things that are bringing me joy right now:
  • The fact that i am almost finished with my Magaliesberg album. I have done 14 out of the 20 pages and am very happy with the outcome. I always find that a planned album moves along so quickly. It has a clear goal, or an experience to capture. You can organise the photos to fit in with this and then get to work. I had to share some more photos from the holiday. Dont you just love this picture of Seth and the dog. They were both watching the goats eat. The dog longingly so, although he was not brave enough to venture in and snatch a crust!
  • I am just loving my kids right now. I had a really bad case last week where i was informed of two kids - 4 and 7 who needed to be removed from their mom at my shelter. It just broke my heart. I just cant understand, fathom neglectful bad mothers. I cant sympathise no matter what the circumstances. I know that i would literally place my own life at risk for my children. I am so angry with her. I went home and just loved my kids with all my capacity. I am so grateful that i am in a position to ensure that they are cared for, loved and sheltered from the ugliness of the world, as far as i can.
  • My garden is alive at present and all my white icebergs are in bloom. They look beautiful.
  • My new bed is an absolute joy. Ah! Just thinking about it makes me feel better.
  • AND my kids are in their own beds!!!! The boys have been in their own room for over a year now but i had the two beds together as Seth did not want to sleep without cuddling next to Gabby. Problem is they bother each other. Getting them to sleep was becoming a nightmare. So i moved the beds apart. It is amazing. They have been sleeping so much better and not waking up at night after one of them slaps the other in the face or provides a midnight kick.
Hope that your monday is not too manic!

Al

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Slow going




I have come back to a busy week and am only now getting into the swing of things. The holiday was really fantastic and even though it was short, i felt that it was good for all of us. It got us away from the madness of every day life and it helped us to create some time together as a family. You really need to carve out family time in this mad world. I also love the fact that it created some positive memories for my children and exposed them to new things. These are some of the pictures from the cottage. The boys loved the ponies and Seth loved chasing the poor ducks!

But now we are back in the normal rut of life. Some useless information I would like to share:
  • I received my new bed. For the first time in my life i have a really good bed and it is amazing. I decided to get a King size bed and it is huge. I am also in love with my new goose down pillows and duvet and white cotton bedding. One down side - last night i felt like Jason was on the other side of the bed and we still ended up sleeping in the middle! But when the kids came through in the morning and we could all fit into the bed it was worth it.
  • I printed 87 photos from our long weekend! Yes, i have a scrapping addiction. I acknowledge it! I have managed to do about 5 pages already but am itching to finish the album. I just dont have time as usual.
  • I have finished my redwork xmas stitching and just need to stitch it up. I took out my sewing machine last night and looked at it briefly. Is that at least one step in the right direction?
  • I am thinking of my dear friend who has to go into hospital next week and have a hysterectomy. I am looking forward to seeing her this weekend.
Otherwise life is sailing along in its bumpy smooth fashion. We have had rain which was amazing and the garden is looking good. Everything is green and full of flowers. I am looking forward to a quiet weekend with lots of time to catch up and relax.

I wish you all well...

Al

Sunday, September 27, 2009

East, west, home is best.....

We are back home after a wonderful break. It really was amazing and we all feel so much more alive and relaxed. The cottage was everything that it promised and more and our hosts, Caroline and Mark were very kind. It was private and so well equipped and was serviced daily - so no housework.

On the first day we went to the Magalies country festival, where we did all sorts of country festival things including wine tasting, cheese eating, home made beer drinking, camel riding, jumping castle jumping, market shopping, show watching and ice cream, hot dogs and chip eating. The next day we went to Maropeng, the cradle of mankind. For anyone who does not know what that is, check it out on - line. Africa is considered the cradle of all humanity, where the earliest humans evolved. Maropeng is a site that is dedicated to the fossils found in South Africa which led to this conclusion. It is an amazing site as it is not just focused on evolution and fossils but also understanding our planet and where we come from. There is a strong message that we are just animals, blimping on the radar BUT due to our ability to influence our environment we have the ability to do so much damage to the earth. The centre aims to educate humans on our responsibilies and how we need to care for our planet.

Our final day was one of real relaxation. We started the day at the cheese farm , where the kids could play in the playground and watch the ducks and the goats getting fed. They make amazing cheese, including one that has stinging nettles in it! (It does not sting at all!!) Then we went for lunch at a farm, called the African Pot. It is a resturant that is run from a lady's home and we were the only people there. We were treated like absolute kings! We were waited on hand and foot. The kids were totally pandered to, with one waitress allocated to play with them while we ate and the food was all handmade and really good. They go to chase the ducks and rabbits, look a the ground squirrels and the baby goats and harass the chickens.

In between all of this we spent our days braaing, taking long walks in the veld, reading and playing board games. It was really a breath of fresh air for us.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sweet spring day

Celebrating a sweet day and a sweet weekend:
  • A great kids birthday party yesterday where i got to chat to some like minded moms. One of which will be teaching Gabby next year.
  • A lovely outdoor saturday lunch at our benches and table under the tree. It was a great investment and has become our new favourite eating spot.
  • A fun night at the drive - in, with hot dogs, popcorn and chips. The kids loved going out in their gowns and slippers, with blankets and pillows on the back seat.
  • Early morning Sunday morning shopping that had be finding two great new craft books. I also found the throw that i was looking for on sale (From R249 to R160). It has little airplanes on it and looks fantastic in the playroom.
  • A great family lunch with my cousin and his wife. We were a great crowd. The boys were thoroughly indulged by their aunts and ate too much cake!
  • A quiet Sunday night to look forward to.
And in between all of this I managed to do 4 scrapbooking pages!!!

Did I mentioned that i love Spring!

Al

Friday, September 18, 2009

We are okay!



Although the germs joined us again this week, we seem to be beating them more successfully in the warmth of spring. We had one miserable day and it has been better since then. We had a good night, where no-one woke up and everyone slept through, with no coughing fits.

We have a busy weekend. I have a birthday party this morning. Gabby actually got the invite but i asked the mom if i can bring Seth. She agreed but i was not sure if i read a bit of irritation in her voice? I felt bad but was really stuck as Jason was unable to look after him as he needs to go into the university. I tried to reassure her that he doesnt need a party pack or anything like that but will just really hang out with me. Then i made myself feel better by reminding myself of the five extra kids that arrived on the day of my boys birthday party last year. Seriously! Five! And i was the smiling, accommodating hostess with the mostest! Some were siblings, whose moms did not phone before hand and the one mom of two who forgot to RSVP but who wanted to come anyway! I would not do it at a party venue where there were costs invovld but as this is at her home, i feel less bad..... I coughed up lots of bucks on a large box of zoobs to make myself feel better!!!

Tomorrow we are going to my cousin for a braai and tonight we are hoping to go to the drive-in. I just have not mentioned it to the kids yet. I have learnt that once you tell the kids, it has to happen! It is cast in stone. I just want to guage the weather and their temperments tonight..

Today is my brother's birthday and i want to wish him a very happy 30th birthday. He is very dear to my heart and i wish that he was not 1000km's away and that i could spend the day with him and his family. But we are spending christmas and new years together! I will call him later. He is a notorious late waker-upper (since childhood)!

Finally i am in full swing planning our get away four day away weekend for next weekend. We are staying at a beautiful resort called stone hill in the magalies mountain. I want to get away and the best part is no TV! We are going to rest and i am plotting and scheming already. We are going to braai every night, take our board games along and make a fire every night. Just because we can. Add lots of outdoor hikes, a visit to the country festival, a visit to the Maropeng cradle of mankind, the cheese farm, the strawberry farm and we are going to have a great time. Of course mom needs to work out a new stitchery to take with. What a chore! :) I am including these pictures of the cottage we are renting. Anyone in Johannesburg can check out their website on www.stonehill.co.za. It looks like just the country get away that we need!






So now after taking about my happily busy life, i am off to live it. Which starts with getting my brood out of bed, dressed and fed!

Best wishes
Al

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Unwanted spring guests


The boys are sick. Seasonal conjunctivitis, rhinitis and tonsillitis. So this is just a short note to beg our sympathies. The unwanted guests are of course the allergies.

I walked out of the pharmacist with 8 medications between 2 kids. Then i had to get them home, fed and dosed with medication before leaving them with the nanny and returning to work. Are the black clouds making sense now?

I am just going to go and feel sorry for myself the rest of the day!

Al

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Shots


Sometimes there is a ray of light in the madness of parenting. Today was an example! I hate taking my kids to have their vaccinations, but they are a necessary evil. I dont mean to offend anyone who lands up on this blog, but i really have an issue with parents who dont vaccinate their kids. I believe that i am giving the best to my children by using medical science in their favour. Vaccinations have effectively wiped out so many illnesses. Here in South Africa, the state pays for most basic vaccinations but then you have to pay for the additional ones, such as Meningitis and Chicken Pox, which i did. But despite my belief in them, i hate taking the kids for their shots. So can you imagine my joy when the local clinic put a notice in my sons pouches at school that they will be coming to the school today and updating all the children's vaccinations. I just need to send the clinic cards. I need to pay in for the shots but it is still easier then getting off work and going. I also found that the kids do better with the shots at the school, perhaps because they are with their friends and there is a sense of shared suffering! There was an meningitis outbreak here a couple of months ago and they had the vaccination at the school. Gabby came home proudly showing me his "injury" and i had no complaints! So that is one thing off my never ending parental "to-do" list. You know, the one that gets longer and longer, no matter how much i do!!!!!

However, i am still thinking of them this morning and sending them some telepathic motherly love. Hope they get a lolly! Sometimes you need to be grateful for the little things!

On another note i have started to plot and scheme for the boys birthday party this year. I am thinking of a king Arthur (castle / knights / fair maiden) theme! And no, not just so that Mom and dad can dress up! Will keep you updated with the plans!

Al

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Why?


I know this is my second child and i should be immune to the temper tantrums and such but i am really not! The thing is ... Gabby was never a temper tantrum thrower. He was more of a poor me, pitiful weeping kind of kid. Seth on the other hand lets everyone know about it when he is pissed off. And lately, most things make him mad. He likes the world to be just so, which includes his mother mind reading what he wants. If something goes wrong we have 5 seconds to figure it out and fix it otherwise, it is the full collapsing legs, crying show.

So after a day out shopping with the boys can someone tell me ..
  • Why a toddler who throws the free paper hat he got from the steak house at lunch time on the floor screams for 30 minutes when it breaks and you throw it in the bin?
  • Why he screams when you try to fit shoes onto him at the shop but then cries when you take them off?
  • Why he has a temper tantrum when you give him supper and refuse to give him more tomato sauce even though his plate is swimming in half a bottle?)
  • Why a potty training toddler tries to wee every 2 minutes and then screams the house down when his poor bladder wont comply?
  • Why my child insists on dragging my garden hose around the garden (literally up trees, around the jungle gym) and then screams every 5 minutes when it gets stuck?
So i do understand that it is hard to be two years old, BUT it is sometimes worse to be the mother of a two year old. The funniest thing is when my older son tells me : "Just ignore him, you are giving him attention". Words straight out of my mouth!

Just to give me hope i am posting this picture of Seth a year ago when he was little, cute, compliant and did not get say the word "No!" every two seconds. Lucky for him, his mother loves him!

Al

Thursday, September 10, 2009

5 things that you didnt know about me...


I love discovering something about someone close to me that i didnt know, dont you?

It gives them a whole new dimension and you step back and say: "Wow, i didnt know that bout you! You? No! Who would have guessed!"

So old and new friends, I am going to share some things that you may not (or may!) know about me......
  1. My greatest fear was that i was not going to be able to have children. It plagued me for much of my teenagehood and young adulthood. My mother struggled to concieve and i was convinced it would apply to me to. Now that i have my children,my greatest fear is that something should happen to them.
  2. I like myself more at 32 then i did at 22. I wish i could you back to my 22 year old self and tell her that everything was going to be just fine. That many of the things that she worried about so terribly would not happen. Some of them would happen and she would cope just fine. I feel more able to embrace and celebrate my own strength now then when i was in my early twenties.
  3. I am afraid on some level to have a daughter. I had a very close and yet very damaging relationship with my mother. It is so much easier with my boys. I am afraid that if i ever had a daughter i would just pass on my hang ups. And i know that being a woman is hard. You feel more, hurt more, love more. I dont know if i can pass on that inheritance.
  4. I want to go to Russia. I want to kiss my husband on the steps of an old Russian church, with the sun shining on our faces.
  5. I find solitude comforting. I like being alone sometimes. I know that it may be because i have two kids under six who think that mom being alone is a sin. But i am genuinely comfortable in my skin
That was fun!

Al

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

spring fun



I had a crazy week. Nothing abnormal, just plain good old slog. The weather is still great here and we are eating outside every day. I suspect that we are going to have a very hot summer. It is already almost 30 here in the day. The boys have had two swims while i am still put off by the cold water. I need the water to be really warm before i get in.

So what has been happening in my life:
  • I got my gardener to put in all my annuals and a lot of sunflowers that i hope grow majestically. The garden is looking so good. Pics will follow soon.
  • I have finished my secret gift and just need to stitch it together.... will share as soon as i can.
  • I have started my mini quilt for christmas. I went into Woolies today and could not believe that they had xmas chocolates out on the counter! It is only September. Every year i make a decoration for the tree and would like to finisht the quilt early. Thankfully the whole family has their hand stitched stockings this year so i can do what i would like.
  • I am hoping to see my brother this weekend and go to the Irene craft market.
  • I am so happy formy dear friends, Johan and Jocelyn who welcomed their baby girl into their lives this week. She looks tiny. Were my boys ever that small? Little monsters that they are now.
  • Seth is talking more and more which is a great relief to me. Gabby was a child that spoke early and never stopped. Seth on the other hand does not like to talk at all. For a long time i swung between absolute panic and the urge to comfort myself that he will talk when he is ready. We took away the dummy a couple of weeks ago and what a change! He is really trying and not a day goes by when he doesnt say something new. I am so relieved. I am a real worry wart when it comes to the kids. And a word of advice if you are worried about something, dont go online. You are sure to find the one website that tells you that your child should be writing a novel at the age of four and saying 6 million words.
  • I am thinking of a dear, dear friend tonight and wishing that i could help her on her own journey, which of course i cant. Its hard to watch people you love struggle.
Wishing a good rest of the week.

Al

Friday, September 4, 2009

Contentment


Is exactly the space that i am in right now. I cant, in all honesty complain about anything right now. Not that it means that i dont. Of course i complain about little things like the dogs digging in my garden or my kids fighting or leaving the pot of rice on the stove and burning it. Silly, little things. But the big things are ok. The big things are good. Thats what's important. So, what is inspiring your friend to behave like a silly cheshire cat, with an grin plastered on her face? The following:

Why I am so "just fine" right now:
  • The weather is fabulous. Hot sunny African weather that simply embraces your soul. It changes the way that you interact with your environment, seeking any opportunity to go outside.
  • The kids are finally healthy, although Gabby has a lingering cough. I am stuffing them with the abundant fresh fruit and hoping that the vitamins will kick in.....
  • I have finished my crochet and packed it awy for a while and am making a beautiful gift that is a pleasure to make and to give. I cant share yet as i know she pops in here some times and i dont want to ruin the moment.... I also have a redwork xmas quilt all ready to go as soon as i am finished her present.
  • Jason and I got a day off to take a long weekend off at the end of the month. We are going on a family get away to the Magaliesberg (Magalies mountain) area. We managed to get wonderful accomodation in one of their small private stone cottages up in the hills so that we will be able to get away. I even splashed out and had the cotage cleaned daily, so no work for me! There is a country festival on that weekend. We also want to go strawberry picking, visit the cheese farm, eat out, cook under the stars, horse ride and just get away.
  • I am in a wonderful, I-am-in-love with my husband phase right now. Even if he tosses his clothes on the floor and wrestles with the boys before bedtime and then leaves me to get them to sleep (amongst other things.....). He makes me happy. He really does. He makes the kids so happy. I think that we make him happy too... a good space to be in.
  • Work is just so alright, right now. I have dealt with all the looming crises and am in a good space where i have not worked late the whole week.
  • I have stuck to my spring diet which is a bloody miracle. The thing is that i need to lose weight and i hate the idea of dieting... Can you see the problem? I have such a love affair with good food....... I am a real comfort eater and the problem gets so much worse in winter where i deal with my winter misery by snacking. But i have managed to stick to my non diet for a month now and have 5 kgs down to show for it. I am trying very hard not to think about being on diet. Otherwise i just get inspired to cheat! I am trying to reflect the positive seasonal energy of feeling good and renewed into my personal eating decisions. So hold thumbs for me!
I am sending you all good energy and wishing you a very good weekend....

Al

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Spring has sprung!


Happy, happy Spring day to all my friends in the Southern Hemisphere and happy, happy Fall day to those further North.

I wish you all of the following:
  • Dappled hot afternoons under comforting trees,
  • Kaleidoscopes of colours in your garden.
  • The sweet smell of Jasmine climbing on your fence.
  • The tart taste of fresh lemonade.
  • Scents of lawn mowing and braai.
  • Cool, blue water closing over your head.
  • Bare feet,legs and arms.
  • The smell of sunscreen
  • Endless, empty summer days.
  • New books to read on the grass
  • The embrace of still, hot air
  • The hum of summer fans in the evening
  • Glorious Johannesburg thunder and lightening storms
  • Open doors and windows
But most of all I wish you a joyous new season of rebirth, a celebration of renewal. I sent my boys to school with trays full of seedlings this morning to brighten their space and welcome the season. Perhaps a special spring supper is in order......

Love
Al

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dying throes


Of winter that is. Today is the last day of winter 2009! Hurray, hurray, hurray! Yippee! This is a photo of my boys frolicking on the lawn yesterday to prove that the W's cant wait for summer.

Although it is Monday i feel infused with the energy of the new season.......

My gratitude's today:
  • The fact that i have managed to stick to my diet for the last two weeks and have lost 4 kgs!
  • sitting under the tree in my garden eating blood oranges with my children. I think that this tree is about to become my all favourite place during summer. It is cool and looks onto the pool. I can survey my kingdom from it. Also the previous owner planted some really funky grass underneath it that is super soft and green and grows well in the shade.... So no sandy spots that you often get under trees. My new bench set will go there.
  • The creative time i was able to carve out for myself to do scrapping and my crochet. Heaven knows what i am going to do with my winter shawl that i am about to finish as Spring seems to have made an early and very warm arrival. I think it is going to be a hot, hot summer.
  • The train trip that i am planning to the coast for the christmas holidays.
  • The time that i was able to spend with family that are also friends.
On a more sober note, i am so glad that my cousin is recovering. He was admitted to hospital with swine flu. Cant believe that i know someone who has it. But he is doing well and he and his wife will be flying to London on Thursday for a holiday. I wish them a wonderful, safe, happy trip.

Al

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bliss

Bliss. What does that word mean to you? For me it means space to be me. Space to be peaceful. Space to create. Space to make memories. Space to watch my children grow, experience life and give me joy. And today was a blissful day. I had a rather heavy, self inflicted evening on Thursday night and an early night on Friday. I woke up this morning feeling refreshed and well. It is so much warmer, brighter, lighter here. I went outside with the kids this morning and the earth is alive. Every bush, tree, plant is covered in new buds. My rose bushes are red with new leaves. The Jasmine is blooming. My lemon tree is covered in new green waxy leaves.

My cousin then joined me and we went of shopping. It was so great catching up with her. Both of our lives have been crazy lately so we have not been able to get together. But i always have a great time with her and love the chats over coffee. I then spent my afternoon scrapbooking. I started two new albums, one for each children and did four pages. I have not scrapped for a couple of weeks and it was great. It is a good way to feel like you are achieving something quickly and i love the way it enables me to capture moments in time for my children. I know i photograph more. I know that it helps me to capture my feelings and share them in a space where my children will be able to access them forever. I love that it enables me to document my children's rite of passage. I know no great way to remind them of how meaninful they are then to capture their lives for their own reflection. I find it has changed the way i look at the world and experiences. I find myself noticing when a "moment" or memory is being made and reaching for the camera.

I know that i have been rather painful about winter.... Well once again i am so excited about spring and when i saw this I had to reach for my camera .... so...... Bliss is seeing the trees in your space, covered overnight with the softest white, white blossoms..


And finally bliss is capturing these tender moments between my children. This one is so warming to me because it was so unposed. You just cant fake the love and tenderness of those nestled heads. They love each other so much it brings a lump to my throat.... If i am ever to have a monument in my life to my values of family, interconnectedness, it will be my sons....



And a sibling kiss!!! Priceless...... Seth is wearing the cute little fisherman's hat that i crocheted for him.... ( It is 100% cotton and i ran it up in an evening....)


Little boys' pockets hold magical things
Earthworms, apple cores, a mess of strings,
but this treasure is nothing to the wealth one find's
in little boys' hearts and little boys' minds....

Hoping that you have some bliss in your life right now.....

Al

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Life snapshot



This is one of those quick, I have no time to blog, but just want to catch up posts!

So my life snapshot right now:
  • I am surrounded by the beginning and ending of life right now. So my heart is aching for my sister in law who lost her grandmother but i am excited for my friends who welcomed their darling baby girl Leah into the world. I am also excited to hear that one of my old friends is pregnant. She deserves it so very, very much!
  • Spring is just a couple of days away and i feel so good. My boys need to take spring flowers to school for Tuesday to plant and i think that a great trip to the nursery to stock up on seedlings for the house and the school is on the cards!
  • I have a busy work week and had a late dinner last night. It was a lovely cozy little Portuguese restuarant and I had a great time. But i missed the kids and will be glad to spend some time with them this weekend especially as Sethy is ill again! Oh dear, the germs love this kid!
  • I managed to slip out of work to have a lovely cafe style lunch with my hubby, good coffee followed and a browse in a book shop. It was such an unexpected gift and allowed us time to catch up.
  • I discovered this lovely quote from the wizard of Oz and i love it right now!: Dorothy: "Oh, but anyway, Toto, we're home. Home! And this is my room, and you're all here. And I'm not gonna leave here ever, ever again, because I love you all, and - oh, Auntie Em - there's no place like home!"
Me in a nutshell!

Have a good midweek day!
Al

Monday, August 24, 2009

Coming alive


I have always known that i am a summer kind of gal. I dont like the cold and winter is just a period to endure. Perhaps its because here in South Africa we dont really have pretty winters. I mean it does snow, no icicles, no Christmas blah, blah... Our winters are cold, dry and brown. Man I hate brown. Having looked at brown leaves and grass for the pass couple of months i have no idea why anyone would want to paint anything in their home brown. Down with brown!

But i really had no idea how affected i was by the bad weather until the sun arrived this weekend. And it was a glorious weekend. Friday night i had a gala dinner which turned out really well. I ended up drinking red wine and dancing with my staff. Saturday my best friend came to my house with her kids. We went to the nursery with all of the tots so that they could play and we could drink coffee and inhale cake. Then back to my place where i pulled out my very comfy garden chairs and we reclined under the tree on my lawn. The kids played, I crocheted, the sun shone.... it was blissful. Sunday was just as good. The weather just inspired me. I woke up late, looked at the shining sun and thought "I just cant waste this weather.". We were outside for most of the morning. Beyond the joy of being outside, i just felt alive. I sorted out all the lovely furniture that came from my kind mother in law. I crocheted a large section of my midnight blue shawl. I cooked without any stress.

Perhaps it was my approach to food that was most telling. I am not a great winter cook although i appreciate soups, stews etc. But summer...... when its warm and produce seems to be soaked in sunshine and goodness. At every supper i did fruit platters that we could just nibble on, chilled in the fridge. Even jugs of sparkling water with fruit and ice in, takes a whole new meaning in the heat of the sun. It helps me to eat better and then i feel healthier and better about myself...

So here are some of my summer dreams right now.....
  • My veggie garden. It is still producing from my winter crop and we had cabbage, cauliflower and lettuce out of it this weekend. But i cant wait to start planning my summer veggies, with LOTS of tomatoes, as usual....
  • My garden generally. I am delighted that the garden has survived the winter well. Most of what i put in last year is still there and everything is covered in new green buds. I need to plant my annuals...
  • Braai's and eating outside. When i was at the nursery this weekend i priced a lovely table and bench set. I want to put it outside under the tree to encourage us to eat outside more. We have a large patio at the back of the house with table and chairs but it gets too hot for us to really sit on.
  • Tea parties. I have decided i am going to throw a cool girly tea party for all my girl friends. One of the gifts from my mother in law is a beautiful china display cabinet that my father in law made when he was a boy. I want to collect antique china to fill it up. What a chore....... ( She says in jest while rubbing her hands in glee!)
I love to pop into the Soule mama blog and recently she has focused on following the season. I have struggled a bit with this as we are in the midst of winter and i just want to run the other way........ but i am determined to take her advice this spring and summer. To all my northern hemisphere visitors i wish you some good last summer days......

Al

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sweet baby seth




I know, i know, two posts in one day is overdoing it. BUT i found these cute pictures of little baby Seth when he was six weeks old and he was just SO cute that i had to share them. He is such a big, bouncy two going on three year old now. I cant believe that he was so little. Just as i struggle to remember Gabby when he was Seth's age. Stop growing, wont you!!!!

Soft, sweet, precious baby boy, I love you more and more each day. You are such a happy child of sunshine, laughter and joy. You teach me every day not to take life too seriously, with your quick hugs and volunteered kisses. You are boyhood personified but are still so kind, caring, compassionate. You are the first to throw your arms around any of us if you sense any pain or unhappiness. As little as you are, you will defend your older brother passionately, if you feel anyone is messing with him. Your momma sure loves you, sweet thing!!!

Things i am loving right now.....

  • The pile of new books that i picked up at the second hand shop for a song yesterday.
  • The beyond cute little chinese suits that i bought for my boys. Both are made of silk, Gabriel's is black with red dragons and Seth's is royal blue with gold dragons. I will post pics soon.
  • The fact that the spring promise is revitalising me and i managed to take about 200 pictures on the weekend. YES, i did! I also popped into the scrapbooking shop and they were having a huge sale. I stocked up and i am planning to scrap this weekend. I find that all my craft trends come and go, in about an 8 week cycle. I will crochet madly and neglect my stitching. Then move to scrapbooking.
  • The fact that we are all well again. It is so good to have no germs around.
  • My garden is coming alive again. Everything is just springing green.
  • Our new trend is eating fruit and veggies again. I find it is a real spring, summer trend.
What are you loving right now?
Al

Monday, August 17, 2009

Special ordinary moments


Sometimes special moments are ordinary and ordinary moments are special:
  • Waking up to the sound of birds.
  • The joy of laughing with some female friend - colleagues until your tummy hurts.
  • Coming home and finding that your hubby has come home early and that you are able to cook supper together and eat leisurely at the table...
  • Having your cousin stop in for a quick cup of coffee.
  • Buying some nice new body butter that smells of summer and putting it liberally all over you after a hot shower, while your hubby baths the littlies....
  • The kids playing peacefully while you get to blog.
  • Seeing the promise of spring in the early blooms at your door.
I had a very special, ordinary day.......

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Family


We cannot destroy kindred: our chains stretch a little sometimes, but they never break. ~Marquise de Sévigné

The thing is that i am highly sentimental, especially when it comes to family. Blood family, chosen family, people that make life bearable. One thing is certain - life can be a lonely journey. Other people make it manageable, bearable, fun.

Today for some reason i finding myself thinking of family lost, those who have left you already. They leave a space in your heart, your life, your world that can never ever be filled. You pick up the pieces, move on, continue with the every day business of life, children, cooking supper, paying bills, washing dishes. But the space is there, a ghostly reminder that something important is missing. Sometimes when you pause, take a breath, stop for a second, the memory of that person arrives, hits you, taps you on the shoulder and says: "I am still here". Like the line in the counting crows song that says: "The price of the memory is the memory of the sorrow that is brings."

Today i am thinking of my mother and my grandmother. How they are gone but not really. How i wish they were with me this morning for a cup of coffee and gossip. How i would love to talk about my kids and share the pains of being a woman, wife, mother with them. Tell my mother that i always think of her when my Gardenias bloom or my grandmother when i do my baking. How i am tied to them in so many ways. That they go on because i go on.

My grandmother's kitchen. My mother's bedroom. Spaces that live tangibly in my mind, still fill my senses. I wish i could sit at my Ouma's kitchen table and drink coffee with her. Laugh at the stories that she shared with me about the family. Sit in my gown on my mother's bed. Talk and laugh in complete,accepting togetherness.

I always tell my children that i am bound to them with magic heart strings that cant be broken and i believe it to be true. I believe that we do lie nestled, protected in a nest of magic connections to those who came before us and those who will come after us.

Today i celebrate those connections.
Al

And i feel fine!




Hurray, i have beaten the germs! I feel like a gladiator!

Spring is in the air, the sun is shining, the sky is blue. I love African summer's. There is something so magical about living here, with the heat, promise shimmery skies. It is amazing what good the last two days of self care have done for me.

And all my monkeys are well. The littlest one is pictured above, jumping from his table onto my couch..... The joy of boys. So sure, i am now officially on first name basis with my doctor after seeing him every week, but the point is we are all better and well.

I have dug up my huge cross stitch UFO and am busy working on it. I will share some pictures soon. I have also started a crochet shawl.... which is completely wonderfully irrational considering that it is almost spring. But it was cute and when i looked at it I felt all motherly , domestic goddess in a Victorian manner and i could not resist!

Good wishes to you all,
Al