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.


Saturday, August 29, 2009


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.....


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!

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......


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?

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


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.

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,

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lessons from my dog

What a day. I had to go off to the doctor today and get antibiotics. So when i returned i took the handful of prescribed medication and went to die gracefully on my unmade bed. It was a real pity party! As i was lying there, half dead, i glanced out the door and saw my unapologetically happy lab, rolling on her back on the lawn, looking up into the branches of the tree, tail wagging for no particular reason and it struck me.... it really is a dog's life. Okay, granted, i do have one of the fattest, happiest dogs out, but i think the lesson is sound. Life should be simple and the big joys are the little ones. So friends, let me introduce you to Indigo, the chief food gobbler and face licker around her. (She calls it kisses).

Some lessons i think that i could learn from my dog:
  • Dont sweat the small stuff and it is all small stuff.
  • Make time by doing nothing.
  • Its okay if they shout at you for chewing up stuff, it will soon be 6pm and they will feed and pet you.
  • Lying in the sun with your belly in the air can cure a lot of heartache.
  • Dont withhold love, the more you give, the more you get.
  • Make friends with everyone, even the cat.
  • The best place in the world is your kennel.
So thanks Indigo for the life lesson. I am off for the rest of the week and am looking forward to it. I have dragged out some craft projects and hope to rest my body and soul this week. The kids will be back at school tomorrow, for which i am grateful. I really need some out time.

I hope your week gives you some unexpected gifts and remember when it doubt, go and roll on the lawn!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Saturday morning plans....

Or lack thereof to be precise.

Its a long weekend here in South Africa, with Monday being a no work day. I need to work tomorrow as we have a women's event on. But today is ripe with possibilities and only minor chores. The one downer about being a working mother is that Saturday's are crazy, involving shopping, going to the bank, the library and a zillion other things that need to be done. Today i only have minor things to do and I plan to be home and resting by 11am. The rest of the day is mine.

I am decidedly ok right now which is good. The weather here in South Africa is fantastic today, warm and sunny. There is something about blue african skies that cannot be beaten. I thought that i would share the following thrifted items that i got a couple of weeks ago. The first one is this beautiful hand stitched table cloth. My poor photo does not do it justice. It is really fine work, all done in blue on white linen. The second is a new apron, never used and also hand stitched. The table cloth cost me R15 and the apron R5 (About R8 to the $).

How could you bring yourself to sell such a thing? I cant even bring myself to wear it although i think that i would be stepford wife fabulous in it!

Anyway think of us today as we have thrown out Seth's dummies. It is D day and we are getting ready for a big drama of a day. He is now 2 and a half and they are affecting his speech so they need to go..... Heaven help us all! Gabriel just gave them up voluntarily, Seth has fought all efforts. I am a mother who hates to "force" children to give up things as mostly they seem to just do these things on their own. Gabriel gave up the bottle, the dummy, potty trained and self soothed himself to sleep with very little effort when he chose to. Seth sleeps so well, is doing well with the potty training. But his speech is affected by the dummy and so it must go. I am being sneaky and cutting holes in the front of the two that remain. I give them to him but he hates them because they dont "suck" properly. Another milestone......

Wishing you a good restful day....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Here comes the sun.....

As you can see from my title i am feeling a bit more cheerful today. For one thing i am feeling a bit better. I am over that miserable, shaky, early flu days and now just have a nagging cough. Secondly, Seth seems a bit better today. I have left him at home with the Nanny and want to keep him out of school for the rest of the week. Monday is a public holiday in South Africa, so that will give him a good six day stretch to recover and build up his strength. Most importantly its warmer. Jason and I both got out of bed easily this morning and declared that spring is just, just about to sprung! Hurray!

I am in between craft projects at the moment and feeling a bit lost. The thing is that i need to sit down and start something. I have boxes of materials, shelves of patterns but have to sit down, choose a pattern, pick out the material and get started. Am i the only one that hates that stage? I will work on it this weekend.

I was reading something in a issue of Oprah, where she asked people to reflect on what they know for sure. It made me think.
What i know for sure is:
  • That all you need is love. Really and truly. Sure, figuratively you need other things, but your soul will die without it. We all need it.
  • That family matters.
  • That you are the master of your own destiny. You control how you experience life, how you view things. That you can achieve just about anything that you put you mind to.
  • That we are stronger then we think. Everyday i see people doing simple but courageous things. It takes a lot of courage to get up, dress up and show up for life sometimes.
  • That i love my children more then i love myself, that my love for them is fierce, indestructible, unapologetically in-your-face, passionate. That nothing they could ever do could ever, ever change that.
  • That the simple things matter and the expensive things rarely do.
  • That the more expensive the car, cell phone and the clothes, the more insecure the person. Once you get into the rat race of competing around these matters, you are destined to lose your soul.
  • That a sound, kind, safe marriage is a great thing. It needs constant attention and requires a lot of forgiveness and forgetting.
So I would like to leave you with the question: What do you know for sure?


Monday, August 3, 2009


W. H. Davies
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

I need some stillness to beat these germs. None available i am afraid. So i will just need to hang in there. Off to bed with lots of medication, two cats, lots of blankets, my hot bean bag and my husband to keep me warm.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Comfort items

The germs have finally got me! I can believe it! Just as we are ending winter. I have successfully avoided all the infections that the rest of the W house has endured. Not even a cough, when the rest of the family have been at the Dr and my fridge and kitchen counter looks like a pharmacy. And now... out of the blue, the bugs have landed! Horrible communist bugs, who believe in equitable sharing of suffering. Miserable things. I think it was brought on by a ladies night out last night with my two girl cousins, which ended late and had me out in the cold. The night was worth the germs through.

Hence the title. Perhaps its the winter melancholy but i have become obsessed with comfort lately. As i write this I am in my pajamas, gown and slippers at 4pm, which is just about as wonderfully slothfully comfortable as it gets. I also realised something: that i am my children s primary comfort item. My boys did not have blankets or teddies or anything like that. When they were upset only I would do. It has driven me a bit crazy over the years. Gabriel would only sleep if he was massaging my fingers and Seth is obsessed with my hair, but it is also wonderful to be such a comfort to another little human through your very presence. Today when i was putting Seth down for his nap, he was miserable and overtired. I lay on the bed with him and said: "Mama's here". He stopped crying and said very emphatically "Yes!" and then closed his eyes and went to sleep. What power! What love! My children really are the chocolate sauce on the ice cream of my life. Soon they will be big and grown but i hope that i will always be able to be their constant, their north star, their compass, well.. their comfort, just by being me and being around and loving them unconditionally. And that got me thinking about how little the little people in our lives really want from us. Sure, they need nappies, milk, baths and naps. But mostly to become healthy happy adults, they just need you to be around. Consistently, selflessly, unconditionally, lovingly, supportive. So easy? So hard! That's why i am happy that its me that they reach for in fear, exhaustion and pain and not their teddies. Almost makes up for the serious split ends that i suffer at Seth's hands.

On this cold wintry Sunday afternoon I hope that you are able to find what ever comforts you and embrace it entirely.