Monday, January 25, 2010

Cruising along

Today is a fine day.  Well as fine as mondays get.  I have no crisis, no new chaos beyond the usual chaos of my life. And that is largely good chaos.  I am struck by the fact that this is a good year in the making.  And a lot of that has to do with my new view towards life.  This year i am not taxing myself, i am going to make time to focus on what is important and make no excuses for doing what makes me happy.

We had a good restful weekend after a busy week of school activities.  I was able to finish my scrapbook album of our summer holiday.  I have managed to complete full albums for the last four holidays we took as a family and i love that I have managed to capture the essence and fun of these family experiences.  I was able to sort and declutter a bit more and also spent some quality time with the boys.  This included baking some banana bread yesterday (my gran's recipe and my boys favourite) so i felt like super mom this morning when i could put banana bread into the lunch box!  Of course the thought of having a huge chunk with my coffee this afternoon also helps the mood!

Otherwise today i got the good news that my mother in law will come up to spend a weekend with us in February so i am pleased that the boys will get to see their gran.  We live far away and it is always great when we can squeeze in a visit.

I am still stuck by the horror of Haiti and as i read of yet another man miraciously pulled from the rubble i cannot comprehend the horror of it all.  My thoughts, my heart is with those who lost their children.  As parents that remains our greatest fear.

But happy thoughts!  Here in my little corner of Africa it is summer and happy days are still with us.  The W's are just fine and no drama looms! Hurray!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

No! Listen to me and stop teasing your brother!!!

I love being a mom!  It is my favourite role and my sons are without a doubt my absolute favourite things.  BUT, they can drive me crazy.  And i am not talking having a bad hour mad, i am talking cross eyed, screaming banshee crazy!  I have had one of those days!  Maybe its because it is gray and rainy and they have not had their outside time but my two boys are driving me cuckoo.  Of course, i try not to lose it and scream at them.  So i do a lot of muttering under my breath in teh kitchen while washing (banging!) dishes or throwing (read packing away) groceries.  Which is where my beloved hubby found me this morning.  He had gone to gym and when he left all was calm in the house.  I decided to make a good healthy cooked breakfast.  AND to show how good i was i was going to involve both kids in this lovely memory making moment!  Do you see the problem.  So it took me 20 minutes to fry two eggs, slap them onto toast and pour tomato sauce on them.  By this time my kids had poked each other, fought over the eggs, one had slammed his fingers in the fridge door and the little one was having a melt down because he could not fry the eggs (read boiling oil in a hot pan - not a good idea with a three year old)

I still kept my cool.  After they ate, it was time to get dressed.  They fought in the passage.  They both cried beccause they could not get into the shower with me. (I was not going to indulge them.  At this point i needed the out time).  I had to open the shower curtain and yell because they were fighting in the play room.  By the time i got out, i was losing it.  I walking in to find them fighting AGAIN!.  Okay, i told myself, okay, just breathe.  I got dressed.  Got them both dressed.  Stopped them fighting over the same toy again!!  At this point i had my freaky stepford mom smile on.  The one that means that i am just about to go postal, BIG TIME!

Still trying to sound chipper, i dragged both kids off to the lounge to put their shoes on.  Warfare!  I then gathered my keys and bag.  The plan was to take them to the shops.  Get them some new scenery.  Burn off some energy.  As i was leaving, i heard a blood curdling howl and walked into yet another sibling fight.  I am not proud to say that i lost it.  I had a temper tantrum which even made my three year old stop in his tracks.  I screamed and stamped my feet and flounced off to the kitchen.  (Yes, i know that they are 3 and 6 and i am 33, but.....)  Thankfully, Jason arrived back from his Yoga class, rested and calm and seeing the wild look in my eyes volunteered to take Gabriel off to watch a movie.  Of course Seth turned into an angelic cherub the moment that he was alone with me.  I then spent the rest of the morning feeling terrible that i had lost it with them.  This is not the right response from the social worker, montessori mom!  AARGGGHHH!

So yes!  Thats my tale of woe!  I love the devils and they can be so sweet!  When they are sweet, they are very, very sweet but when they are naughty they are horrid.  The teasing and the sibling rivalry really sets me off!  Please moms tell me that when they are teenagers it will be better?

Just to help me survived the rest of this rainy day, i have full intentions of rotting their brains and dumping them in front of the tv.  I have written off the new books i bought yesterday for them and stopped at the video store for a new movie.  Anything for peace!

Yours in sanity!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Treading water

Ever have one of those weeks when you feel like a duck treading water?  You seem to be doing a lot of movement, frantically swimming and yet you seem to be getting nowhere.  It was one of those weeks where dometic life was crazy.  Thankfully work was managable. 

I am so grateful that tomorrow is friday and i have a weekend ahead of me.  I really need some time where i can focus and do something visualy achievable.  I have some crafting in mind.  Actually my bum on my chair with some sewing and mindless rot on tv sounds great.

So this is just a short and sweet post to say:
  • i am alive.
  • i have made 5 lunches, found lost school shoes, gone to two parent teachers meetings, sorted out all the extra murals, cooked, covered books, fed, bathed and done numerous other domestic tasks.
  • And did i mention...... I am alive!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Some borrowed inspiration

I got this as an email from someone and it really summed up my world view right now.  It was so good that i had to share it and it was just what i needed on this gray, first monday back at work kind of day where inspiration is limited........

This was a speech made by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Anna Quintile
at the graduation ceremony of an American university where she was
awarded an Honorary PhD.

"I'm a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know.

Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work. You will walk out
of here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. There
will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree: there will
be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living.

But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life.
Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk or
your life on a bus or in a car or at the computer. Not just the life of
your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank accounts but
also your soul. People don't talk about the soul very much anymore. It's
so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is
cold comfort on a winter's night, or when you're sad, or broke, or
lonely, or when you've received your test results and they're not so

Here is my resume: I am a good mother to three children. I have tried
never to let my work stand in the way of being a good parent. I no
longer consider myself the centre of the universe. I show up. I listen.
I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make
marriage vows mean what they say. I am a good friend to my friends and
them to me. Without them, there would be nothing to say to you today,
because I would be a cardboard cut out. But I call them on the phone and
I meet them for lunch. I would be rotten, at best mediocre, at my job if
those other things were not true.

You cannot be really first rate at your work if your work is all you
are. So here's what I wanted to tell you today:

Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the
bigger pay cheque, the larger house. Do you think you'd care so very
much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon or found a
lump in your breast?

Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on
a breeze at the seaside, a life in which you stop and watch how a
red-tailed hawk circles over the water, or the way a baby scowls with
concentration when she tries to pick up a sweet with her thumb and first

Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who
love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Pick up the
phone. Send an email. Write a letter. Get a life in which you are
generous. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you
have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its
goodness that you want to spread it around. Take money you would have
spent on beer and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big
brother or sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good
too, then doing well will never be enough.

It is so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours, and our minutes.
It is so easy to take for granted the colour of our kids' eyes, the way
the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again.

It is so easy to exist instead of to live.

I learned to live many years ago. I learned to love the journey, not the

I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only
guarantee you get.

I learned to look at all the good in the world and try to give some of
it back because I believed in it, completely and utterly. And I tried to
do that, in part, by telling
others what I had learned. By telling them this: Consider the lilies of
the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby's ear. Read in the back yard with
the sun on your face.

Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness, because if
you do, you will live it with joy

Really powerful stuff.....

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday night gratitudes

I love Sunday nights although they always leave me with a strange anxiety.  It is the calmest time of my weekend but I also know that the next day with bring usual madness again.  Perhaps i can hang onto this calmness just a little longer if i reflect on my gratitudes for this weekend:
  • I am grateful that i was able to take off these four days to assist my children to starting school.  I am grateful that i was able to be with them for this period and make this transition easier for them. 
  • I am grateful that both boys have adjusted so very well to their new schooling arrangements. I am grateful that Gabby likes his new teacher.  (I suspect that he may actually be a little bit smitten!)  He told me today that she is funny and nice and also instructed me to cover his books today PLEASE so that he wont upset her in any way.
  • I am grateful that i was able to do such a large chunk of scrapbooking and ensure that i captured the glorious memories that we made over christmas.
  • I am grateful that i survived the crazy financial period of two birthdays, christmas and our holiday without any debt.
  • I am grateful that i still feel so grounded.  
  • I am grateful that i was able to declutter so much this weekend.  I put built in shelves in my study and in the play room and the space that they offer is amazing!  I have been able to sort out all my books and DVD's and pack them neatly.  It has made such a difference to our space.
  • I am grateful that i could let me hair down last night, have cocktails with friends and not just be "Mom" for a while.  I am grateful that i am at a point in my life where i can do things like that and not be consumed by guilt like i was when Gabby was little.  I now know that carving out my space and caring for me makes me a better mom.  Anyway the boys still wake me up at 7am, hangover or not as punishment!  As long as they are safely at home in their beds with their dad, things are okay!
So i am back at work this week and now it is for the long haul!  The next break that i will have will be Easter where we hope to take off a couple of days and drive to the coast.

Wishing you a good week!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

School days and....

Today is our thrid day of big school.  The first day was emotional to say the least. But i am happy to announce that there were no tears shed at all.  Not by mom! Not by Gabby!  Not by Dad!  We survived.  First off, Gabby hated the uniform. He does not like the long grey socks and tucking his shirt in is the pits.  But he loves his teacher, a very kind young lady called Mrs Fischer. He likes his little desk and he likes his desk mate, a little boy called Jaden.  Mom has had a busy couple of days doing all sorts of odds and ends like covering books, labelling stationary, sorting out after care, making payments, buying art shirts etc.  I am just so glad that i was able to take three days off to be with him at this time. It was great to be able to be outside the class room for the first three days and fetch him.  The first day we went out for a special lunch afterwards and he got to tell me about his whole day step by step, before we collected Seth.

Seth actually had a rougher first day.  He just could not understand why Gabby was not coming to school with him.  It was only after Jason took him with to drop Gabby off that he now understands that Gabby has a new school and that his school is HIS school now.  Otherwise the teachers are impressed with his speech development over the festive season.  Which makes me much relieved.  He has always been a slow talker so i spent the whole christmas holidays pointing at everything and saying its name, as well as having long gibberish conversations (which was actually kind of fun!!!).

I just need to get used to the homework!  Is it just South Africa that has kids doing such a lot of homework?  If the load is lighter in the US, i think i may be up to immigration, considering that i have 15 plus years of school ahead of me! Nothing like Gabby announcing last night at 7:15pm (bedtime is 7:30pm!!) that he has to make an animal out of circles, to cause panic! I also need to get used to making lunch boxes.

Otherwise the last three days have been good from a rest perspective.  I have managed to squeeze in a lot of scrapbooking.  I completed my christmas photos and am now onto my East London holiday album.  I am half way through and hope to finish by the weekend.  I have sorted all the pics, got out paper and am now on a roll.  I also am cruising with my cross stitch.  Please lord, might the end be in sight?  I did a chunk yesterday while finally watching Twilight the movie.  I know that i am behind the entire universe but it did not really appear to be my kind of thing.  AND after watching it i can safely say that it is not.  Sure the Wolf boy was nice eye candy (although i felt like a criminal!  Is that boy even 21???) but after that the emo vampire thing did nothing for me.  I love horror movies but like the mean cool vampires!  The kind that have attitude!  Give me Blade any day!

Today i have another quiet day although my brother is coming over to visit.  I hope to take the kids to Gold reef city, which is our local theme park this weekend and then i have a braai (BBQ) with some friends on Saturday night.

Finally a special thanks to my friend Amanda for picking me as a winner for her online give away! *Hugs*  Wish we lived closer so that we could meet for tea or coffee!

Here's wishing you a great weekend.

Monday, January 11, 2010

My spot

Do you have a favourite chair or spot in the house?  I do.  The kids know what i am referring to when i say "its by moms chair...".  It is a very comfortable wingback with a pouffe in front of it for putting my feet up.  It has a good floor light next to it so that i can see to sew and crochet and has a side table next to it for my sewing, coffee, tea etc.  I am sharing this because this is exactly where i am right now.  Actually where i usually am when i blog.  I love days like today because i have a real sense that the world is going madly but i am off it.  I am on leave for the next four days but unlike the christmas weeks when the world was quiet, the shops empty, the roads empty, i can hear the hustle and bustle outside.  But key to my contentment is that this madness does not encompass me today.

I have some chores to do today.  I need to go to gym with the kids and do some shopping afterwards.  But then i am home and need to finalised all the arrangments for Gabriels school tomorrow.  We had a busy weekend.  Seth slipped on a chair and a large splinter inserted itself under his toe nail and broke off.  It went right into the bed of his nail and was very painful.  So it was another trip off to the emergency ward.  This is the third one that we have done as both boys have had to have stitches before.  This was pretty minor in that the doctor just pulled it out and he was immediately better.  He even smiled for us after he got given a sucker.  But i hate such things and was so glad that Jason was here and could go with me.  Last time Seth slipped on the steps and had to have stitches i was alone and that was terrible.

I have a difficult task ahead of me today in that i need to make a awkward call.  In the last year i have had to family divorces, both of which stem from the fact that the wife is having an affair.  I find these so hard to manage as i am really old fashioned with regards to this.  I absolutely believe in commitment and fidelity.  I cannot understand the need to act upon the desire for another person.  I know that there is always temptation but the point is that when you are married you need to walk away.  I have tried very hard to stay out of the latest divorce which is still ongoing.  However last night i got a call from the wife, who is having the affair and initiating the divorce, asking me if i am avoiding her or angry with her about her behaviour.  I missed the call as i was putting the kids to sleep so only got the voice message and need to return the call this morning.  Truth is that i dont know what to say.  I actually supported the divorce as they were so unhappy together but that was when i thought it was just a clean break.  When i heard about the other person it made it more difficult for me.  Divorce brings in so many issues of loyalty, even within the larger family.  You dont want to take sides but it is very, very hard.  Truth be told i dont know what to say....

But right now i think that i will stay comfortably in my spot in my pj's and deal with this later.  Today is the last day with my kids for a while and i am not going to allow it to be blurred!


Sunday, January 10, 2010


  • Relaxing at home after a great gym work out.
  • Amazement that the boys are actually playing so peacefully together.  Gabriel has built a ramp for the toy cars off my dining room table and has co-opted Seth to hold bits of it up in the air.  Slavery but hey he is just so excited to be allowed to hang out with his big brother.
  • Bought two lunch boxes for G for next week and busy looking for cool kids lunch box ideas.  I always got stuck with uncool lunches and dont want to pass on the legacy.
  • Making huge stitching progress.
  • Excited that she has finally got a carpenter to put up another wall of book shelves and shelves in the play room.  Built in storage is the only way to go.  Finally i will have a place to put the hundreds of the books that are consuming my home.
  • Blissful about my one day work week next week.
  • Dreaming about all the scrapping that i am going to do next week.
  • Feeling just right, at peace, content.
  • Still have a wonderful empty Sunday afternoon.  What shall i do with this wonderful time bounty?  As little as possible.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

School days

It has been a good first week and here i am on a saturday afternoon.  It is noon but there is absolute peace.  Seth is having an early nap.  One of those where i feel no pressure to wake him from his snooze so can really relax.  Jason is off running and Gabby is draped over my bed watching a movie.  I have gone shopping, have supper planned and have an entire afternoon spread before me where i can do as much or as little as i like.  Better still tomorrow lies equally calm before me.  I am only working on Monday and then i am off for the rest of the week to help my baby bird G for his first three days of school.

I cant believe he is starting school.  I know that we all say that but i really cant believe it.  Six years ago, give or take a month, a nurse was handing me this red, crinkled little being, while i sat in my hospital bed, still overcome by the pain of my first labour (come on, those classes just dont prepare you for what first time labour really is like!).  Next thing i am home with this scrap, clueless.  We chug along, tears and laughter ensuing and suprise he is one.  He is crawling, he is standing and TA-DA he is walking.  He is talking and turning two.  He is potty trained and turning three!  His brother arrives and he is no longer THE baby.  He starts doing things at creche that i didnt teach him.  He is four and has friends and is more and more independent.  He is five and is now a little boy.  He is playing the piano and building lego.  He counts and recognises the alphabet and writes his name.  He loves comics, swimming and his dad.  He is still soft and sweet and kind.  He turns six.  He is starting school.

Part of being a mother is letting go.  We nurture these spirits but want them to fly, soar and know instinctively that they cant do it on our laps or tied to us.  We have these moments of exhaustion when we cant face rocking another child to sleep and think: "Please be more independent!"  But then a funny thing happens, they give us what we think we want and it scares the hell out of us.

So here i am.  I have spent a hideous amount on the uniform.  I have coughed up for the school shoes and got my brother to rub them with oil to "break them in" so there are no blisters.  I have the latest Ben 10 school bag.  I have all the stationary on the endless list.  I have the lunch boxes and even the clever lunch ideas planned.  I have leave and all the arrangements are made.  Fees, after care, sports, music classes. Check!  Am i ready?  No not at all.  I am terrified.

Most of my fears are standard:  Bullying, making friends, fitting in, me coping with the new schedule, will his teacher be nice?  But larger then that i just worry that time is just moving so quickly, simply running away from me.  I have to face that i am no longer a new mom.  That soon Seth will be at school.  That even if we do have another baby, she or he will also be gone in a blink. 

The consolation is that i am not alone. I am sure all over the country moms are feeling just what i am going through now.

Nothing left to do but kleenex it out, girls!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas 2009

Sadly, christmas is behind us.  I always feel slight relief when i survive another festive season and am able to pack up the decorations and scrap the pages and dust off the year.  However, i also feel a bit out of sorts that real life has to go on.  This was a busy but satisfactory christmas.  It involved a 1000km exodus across the country to go "home" to my childhood town and a stay with my in laws.  Here is a summary of the madness:
  • The kids survived the trip there and back really well.  This time we were better prepared and invested in a trailer for the car (so that the car was empty and more comfortable) and portable DVD players for the kids to watch in the back seat.
  • We stayed at my in laws place which was great.  I love to see the children with their grandparents and always leave the holidays wishing that they lived closer so that this relationship could develop further.  They have moved into a smaller townhouse after my father in laws retirement, which made things a bit more cramped but we managed well.  Fortunately i am the kind of mom who doesn't mind sleeping three in a bed with the kids so we coped with the one room.
  • I loved, loved, loved seeing my brothers two children.  My nephew particularly is at a fantastic age where he is willing to go with us to the beach and the movies and understands that we are family.  He is such a sweet child.
  • We had a busy holiday where we did something every day.  Part of me rebels against such madness and i feel that with the craziness of our lives it is important to have some vegging space but the reality is that when you are in a small house two small kids go crazy without space and activity, especially boys.  Also i like to make the effort and expose the kids to new things as i feel that this adds to their memory bank.  So we went to the beach almost every day. We took the kids to the movies.  We visited the museum.  We went on a game drive at Mpongo park.  We went out for lunch.  We visited my brother almost daily and saw my aunts and my cousins.  
  • We had a lovely christmas day with my in laws at home.  We always have quiet christmas times.  I cant associate christmas with parties.  For me it is about being at home and celebrating family.  We did all the family rituals, putting out the stockings, leaving milk and cookies for santa and looking for santa in the sky.
  • My children got a hideous amount of gifts!  I always feel a little bit ill at the rampant materialism displayed during the season.  I know that i am part of the problem and also get caught up in the process.  All this is made worse by the fact that my kids have two birthdays in December.  I did however sort out two huge refuse bags of toys and give them away so i feel better.
  • We had some family conflict over christmas.  I dont want to give it any more energy by unpacking it but suffice to say that sometimes even if you are family, this does not mean that you share the same world views or even like each other.  Having two families with different parenting styles in one house is a challenge and when one of these families have a challenge with discipline, it spills over into your set up.  But i try to think of it positively.  After all life, and holidays specifically would be so bland without the fun of some good arguing!
  • I loved spending time with my boys and enjoying them.  I am still baffled by the fact that Gabby is starting school for the first time in a couple of days.  They really grow up so quickly, it is crazy.
  • I copied and printed 200 holiday pics and 100 photos of my husband as a baby and a child so scrapbooking rates high on my priorities right now.  That said i have done only 4 pages so i will need to focus on churning out the pages!
As i said yesterday i feel rested, focused, reminded of what gives me joy.  I had to really face my own limitations last year and realise that i cannot do everything and nor do i want to.  I dont want to join the rat race although i acknowledge that i love to work.  I believe that there is a balance that can be found and finding that balance is my real new years resolution for 2010.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hello, hello

First off i want to wish everyone a belated merry christmas and a happy new year.  Secondly i want to apologise if i was a pain in the ass for the last bit of 2009.  I have returned from my holiday and feel like a new person.  Except that i feel better then that.  More focused then that.  I dont actually have the words to describe how good i feel.  Something bad happened last year which turned out to be something amazing.  Something sanity saving.  Last year i acted in a crazy work position and i applied and didnt get the job.  Queue disappointment and rejection anxiety.  But then i went on holiday and had a chance to reflect how abnormal my life was last year and i realised that not getting that job was the best thing that ever, ever happened to me.  I feel sane, joyous for the first time in months.  I feel alive.  I can lift my head for the first time in months.  I am interested in things.  I am seeing my family.  I dont lose it with everyone.  I am happy and i realise now that i was not happy for a long time.  We dont need the money so it was just an ego issue.  The thing is that you start working and everything is about getting better and better.  Earning more and more.  Getting promoted.  But we dont have an internal switch that tells us enough already.  I suppose that modern life is like that.  Excess is everything and can you every really have enough.

So for 7 months i worked myself mad and quite frankly neglected my family to do so.  But i got to waste some extra money and have a new bed, TV and car for hubby out of it.  Can you see that i might have got a bit screwed here?  It was crazy when i look at these meagre possessions and think of the hours that i put into those things and how they just werent worth it.  They are nice.  I like them.  But they were not worth what i sacrificed for them.  And the worst of all.  We would have been in a position to buy them anyway with a bit of saving.  But my ego got the better of me for a while and i felt rather important and liked to be the boss of a whole new bunch of people.  What can i say but thank god the universe intervened.  Otherwise i would be sitting here feeling ill, actually suicidal and dreading this year.

So today i am a grateful chick!  I had a wonderful break that i will fill you in about.  I have a great new year ahead of me.  I am so, so, so determined to make it my year.  To fill it with joy and those things that make me happy.  I am going to kick my own backside and make this a year that reminds me of what i care about and put those things first.

Love to you and yours!