Hello December…eeeek!

Christmas is around the corner. Unbelievable. That means the holidays are just around the corner. Unbelievable. That means I’ve missed that gap where normal people work out and diet in order to get their bikini bodies ready. Believable. I miss that gap every year. But anyway, this post isn’t about my bikini body.. or lack thereof. This post is about the HOLIDAYS BEEN RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER AND I AM NOT READY! Don’t get me wrong, I am MORE than ready for the holidays, bring it on, I have been waiting since 3rd January 2011 (the day I went back to work this year) for the holidays. What I am not ready for is the festivities that go along with the Christmas holidays… 

Usually by this time of the year, I have compiled a festive to-do list, and have successfully ticked off a few things like gifts for school teachers, or cute Consol glass jars bought for the cookies that I never get around to making, or activities for the kids to do in and around Joburg before we actually leave to go on REAL holiday. But this year I don’t even have a list. I have all these thoughts and reminders swimming around in my head, but have very little physical evidence of the mountain of things I need to get through before Santa comes down the chimney. 

But really, is it just me or is time flying? I make a note to do something, and when I look at the note again, it’s like two weeks later and I’ve missed the deadline. When I look at my kids, I think to myself where was I when you learned to do that, or speak so well, or grow a whole personality? I feel like it was just yesterday that I was burping my newborn, and now she rolls her eyes at me and tells me NO when I ask her to give me some love. Not to mention Liam who can say the days of the week, and the months of the year and count to twenty! When did he get so big and so smart? Anyway, the point is, time goes so quickly that I actually cannot seem to keep up. I am way behind on my preparations and feel bad for all the empty Christmas promises I have made to the kids. Liam has been asking me when-when-when-when (in a whiny two year old voice) are we going to put up the “Kwismas” tree, and why-why-why-why (same voice) can’t we go on our road trip NOW. The rate I am going, we may only go on our REAL holiday closer to Easter and not before the New Year as planned. 

With all this playing heavily on my mind and with the clock ticking, this is my written pledge to get cracking. The Christmas tree will be put up before the weekend. As the hubby goes on holiday before I do, I will have an agenda for the three of them typed up with pictures and smiley faces to keep them busy while I am still at work. I will put on my game face and protective body gear and start shopping for Christmas gifts. Contrary to popular belief, not all women enjoy shopping. I, being one of those who detest being in a mall looking for gifts on a budget. Perhaps if I had a limitless amount of money that just regenerated itself in my purse every time it was nearing depletion, then shopping wouldn’t be such a pain. But trying to find 512 gifts for everyone, on a budget of about R2.05 would turn anyone off shopping. And besides the budget, I suck at choosing gifts! I will walk around the whole mall, wringing my hands in anxiety, wondering if I should go with the blue t-shirt or the red slops or the lip gloss and then settle for the brown purse which was the first item I looked at 4 ½ hours ago. It’s so frustrating!!! The only little people I enjoy shopping for are my babies, I know them inside out, I know exactly what makes those little tickers speed up in excitement, so they are easy peasy to shop for. But this I pledge, to get moving on the gift shopping. I’m going to start preparing for our road trip now, so that it isn’t all a mad rush between Christmas and New Year trying to organise everything for our departure, instead of enjoying those days with the kids and family. I’m going to start tying up loose ends at work NOW, to avoid those dreaded calls during the holidays that start with “…so I know you are on holiday but do you think you could help me with…” And most importantly I am going to buy my Woolies gammon and mince pies (they do freeze) and Christmas bonbons NOW, because it sucks to be that person on Christmas Eve looking at an empty shelf in the fourth shop you have tried. Been there! 

The run up to Christmas is as much fun as the holiday itself and most importantly, I want to create that festive buzz for my babies. I want them to understand the true meaning of Christmas, that Jesus is the “reason for the season,” I want to get them all excited about opening pressies and baking cookies and looking forward to a holiday together faaaar away from our house, as Liam always puts it.

 So here I go! There are lists to be made, gifts to buy, babies imaginations to crank up – it’s going to be awesome! Hello December!

Barney Mania

Every time I see an advertisement for the Baby Expo or the Baba Indaba, I smirk and think to myself ha, my baby days are almost over. I don’t need to be a part of those masses of excitable pregnant women, pushing my way through crowds of moms, dads and tots just to get to the toilet, queuing for hours at the Baby City till points or waiting patiently to get a 4D scan done. The only baby shopping I do consists of nappies, wet wipes, bum cream, body wash and shampoo and I’m hoping to slowly phase these out in the next few months, with Hannah showing keen interest to wee in the toilet – standing up like her brother – but that’s a blog for another day. This said, we were forced to go to the Baby Expo this weekend because Liam spotted his favourite purple dinosaur on a flyer, and although he can’t read, he quizzed me to find out what it said. Without thinking, I told him that the REAL Barney was coming to town. And well, that was it, we had no choice. We had to go.

Please excuse the poor quality of my photos taken with an entry level Blackberry (all you iPhone users, don’t spit at the screen now). I was well prepared with freshly installed batteries in my camera, but luck of the purple dinosaurs, my camera just wouldn’t work. So here’s a rather rough edged look at our encounter with Barney.



Secret Santa!

OOOOOWWWEEEEE! How could I forget to mention the other highlight of my week! Bronwyn over at Tiny Toes, emailed me to ask if I was interested in a Mommy Blogger Secret Santa. Hell to the Yeah!

‘Tis the season to be jolly! Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year and the more pressies, the better. Yes it’s about Jesus’ Birthday, of course, but let’s not make like we don’t like the pressies! I think this is an awesome idea and can’t wait to give and receive and hopefully in the process, meet some new Mommy Bloggers!

We’ve been HAVING it!

It’s been a week of good food, good company, and good learning… and it’s only WEDNESDAY!

This morning we were treated to a delicious breakfast at the fabulous Saxon Hotel, thanks to Newmark Hotels. It’s five star from the moment you pull up to the entrance, but we’ll leave that part out, and skip straight to the dining experience. A nice lady pulled my chair out for me, she offered me something to drink before I had even put my phone down on the table. I dumped my bag on the floor next to me, and another nice lady whipped it up, and fetched my bag its own little stool next to my chair. Imagine that. A menu was placed in my hand and my eyes were immediately drawn to the price tag: R250 per head. So we ordered off the menu, and while we waited for our hot dish, we could entertain ourselves at the buffet. Bad idea. From fresh fruit, to breakfast cereals and yoghurts, breads and cheeses, cold meats and oysters (for breakfast? Is this what the rich and famous eat for breakfast?) and a fabulous selection of pastries. Had I remembered that posh places are all about quality and not quantity, about how your food looks on your plate, rather than how it tastes; I would have entertained myself further on the buffet, but because I was expecting my hot meal to look something like a Wimpy breakfast with bacon spilling over the side of my plate, I didn’t want to overdo things on the first course. However, I was a tad disappointed with my Top Billing-esque plate of food, purely because I’m probably more of a Wimpy girl than a Saxon girl.. as the saying goes.. you can take the girl out of Wimpy, but you can’t take Wimpy out of the girl. On a side note, a nice man came up to my friend and I to let us know that we had left the lights on in the car, and asked if we’d like him to go and turn them off so as not to disturb our breakfast. I thought that was pretty cool.

While on the subject of food. On Saturday I had my school friends over for what should have been brunch. I call them my school friends, even though I have been out of school for more than a decade, but you know how you categorise and compartmentalise your friends.. the school friends, the soccer wives, the friends-by-marriage, the friends-you-hide-from. JUST kidding, I don’t have that category! No really, I don’t!! Anyhoo, my school friends came over for brunch which turned into lunch, which turned into dinner, which turned into coffee and donuts. It was way past everyone’s bed time by the time we called it a night. But it was awesome to spend time together, I love those girls and their families. Little Samuel, who belongs to Corinne over at Maiden to Motherhood walked for the first time YAY! Liam and Hannah also had a ball, Liam spent most of the day naked, jumping in and out of his splash pool. Hannah, who normally takes time to adjust to new people in her space, all but sold herself to my friend, Merese. If Merese had offered to take her home and be her new mama, I think Hannah would have packed her nappy bag herself. And later she showed the same kind of fatal attraction to Garth, to the point where she was in his car and waving good bye to us, and proceeded to scream blue murder when we yanked her out of the car.

While on the subject of my babies. Hannah has had a running tummy for over a week. Don’t all gasp at once at how I could have let this go on for so long. First I thought it was related to teething, so I let it go. She was eating and drinking well, if not better than she has been for the last few months, so I wasn’t worried that she was dehydrating or losing weight. On day three, I dug something out of my beloved medicine chest, I couldn’t find an expiry date and it looked and smelt ok, so I gave it to her. It didn’t seem to work. So on Sunday morning, as I lay in bed waiting on the alarm to buzz (I always beat the alarm, why I bother to set it, I will never know), I had a horrible MG (Mothers Guilt) moment, you know the kind when your mind turns a molehill into a mountain. What if this diarrhoea wasn’t teething related, what if my child had a terrible bout of gastric and she was severely dehydrated and she needed to be hospitalised and put on a drip and I’d have to sleep on a horrible green chair covered in leftover vomit stains from the family before me. Babies DIE from gastric-related illnesses, how could I have let this go on for so long, what kind of a monster mother am I…. AAARRRGGHH!! Anyway, once I had regulated my blood pressure, I got up and decided that I’d pop out to the pharmacy after church and get some advice. The pharmacist didn’t seem perturbed in the least, he asked about her eating, her sleeping, her temperament and of course the usual questions related to the poo itself. He gave me some medicine and told me to take her to the doctor after three days if there was no improvement. What I failed to realise at the time was that this medicine was almost IMPOSSIBLE to administer to an 18 month old. I had to dissolve the powder in 50 millilitres of water and get Hannah to DRINK this disgusting concoction. Now unlike a two year old who I can bribe, or a newborn who I can basically force feed, an 18th month old.. MY 18 month old has a will of her own; if she doesn’t like the taste, no coaxing, no disguising in her juice or milk, no promises of sweeties, NOTHING will make her drink it. After wasting about five of this awful sachets I gave up altogether and went back to the thick, gloopy not-sure-if-its-expired medicine. Seems to be working, but we still not there. And no, I still haven’t taken her to the doctor.

So yes, it’s been quite a week, we HAVE been HAVING it! Can’t wait to see what the downhill to Friday has in store for me 🙂

The Miracle of Life

You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old. Psalm 139: 13 – 16 NCV

Yesterday one of my very special friends who I’ve known for about 113 years, gave birth to her first child. A precious little girl called Erin. Babies, like weddings and funerals, make me feel very nostalgic and warm and fuzzy inside (yes, I said funerals).

The thing about a new baby, is that it truly renders a person speechless, when you actually think about this thing called Creation. I don’t want to get technical, lest I offend some of my more sensitive readers, but it blows my mind every time I think about how a new life is formed. The wonder and the beauty of egg-meet-sperm and BOOM that little ball of cells transforms into a LIFE, and the amazing journey of pregnancy as this zygote, transforms into a  foetus, and this beating heart develops from well.. nothing.. like out of nowhere.. and fingers, toes, eyes and eye lashes all develop perfectly and in tune to some rhythm that the body intuitively knows how to follow. The intricacies of brain cell development and how the umbilical cord acts as this life line between mother and child, and how a woman’s body just knows what to do with this life growing inside of her and her body automatically prepares itself to host this baby and bear it forth into the world. Wow, I can’t help but get goose bumps and feel teary when I think of the Mastermind behind this miraculous event called pregnancy and childbirth. God in his infinite wisdom and abounding love for us, made it work this way, and it is beautiful and perfect and amazing, to say the least!

A baby, no matter the form in which it found its way into your life (because we all know that not everyone’s journey is simple), does something to the lives of the people it encounters. From moms and dads, to siblings and grandparents, to neighbours and even strangers, a baby has this ability to mend walls, bridge gaps and unite people across race, religion and culture. When you witness firsthand the complete innocence of a little child, the complete surrendering of themselves to whatever task they undertake, whether it’s eating a banana with gusto or belly laughing on a merry-go-round in pure unadulterated pleasure, you can’t help but be reminded of the goodness of humanity, it gives us hope, it warms the heart, it makes grown men cry.

So this post is dedicated to the wonder that is babies, aside from all the poo, vomit, sleepless nights and crying, God made no mistake when he was busy with His Creation blueprint. I came across this video and was once again, astounded at the beauty of creation, something that even science can’t fully explain, because it is just that awesome and there’s no doubt that the Hand of Divinity composed and orchestrated this master piece.

PS: The gremlins are hard at work, and I can’t seem to upload the video for your viewing pleasure, but click here and hopefully cyberspace will be more kind to you, than it has been to me today. Too precious xxx


Some observations from a great weekend away…

On Friday afternoon we packed our bags… and toys, and bikes, and bottles, and nappies, and swimming arm bands… sjoe… and headed for the hills. Haartbeesport to be exact. We spent the weekend with good friends who also have a two babies around the same age as our children. The weather was perfect, the company was great for the adults and children, and the only downer was that it was over too quickly. Here are some observations from the weekend…

  1. There’s no replacement for good conversation with a good girlfriend. There’s nothing better than someone empathising with you and saying “yes, I know exactly what you mean” and not because they are trying to be nice, but because they too are going through the same parenting and relationship struggles that you are and they really can identify with you. We swopped war stories and exchanged ideas on how to deal with our toddlers and our husbands and how difficult it can get but how we, as the moms in our houses, just have to get on with it – REAL talk, you know. Not that fluffy stuff like how nice your hair looks like that and what do you use on it… no I’m lying, we’re girls, of course we talked about hair and nails and how desperately we both needed a pedicure. I love her!
  2. That you aren’t the only one with a crazy toddler. You know that feeling when your child is screaming the house or the mall or the parking lot down, and you are so embarrassed and angry, and you can feel you heart rate increase and your skin turns the colour of beetroot, and your hand is positively itching because you want to smack his bottom but you don’t want people to see that you are a cruel and horrible parent? Yes? Well then you also know that feeling when that kid isn’t yours, and you can smile smugly while that other parent has to deal with their kid. Ha! Tyler is the sweetest little thing, but just like my Liam, he has his moments and it made me feel normal, made me realise once again that this is just a phase which children this age go through and that Liam is not going to be a brat forever and end up in detention every day, as I sometimes fear.
  3. I have got to learn to say no thank you. I always say that holidays are a time to let your hair down; eat, drink and be merry. But I have come to learn that my relationship with food has become abusive. I, being the abuser, and that poor piece of steak – the abusee. I ate a lot. From the time we got up to the time we went to bed, we were munching. I have GOT to take stock next year and assess my eating habits.
  4. And on that topic.. do not let your children engage in “holiday eating.” On Sunday morning at precisely 4h30am, I felt Liam poking me in the ribs telling me he needed to make a poo. As I wafted back to consciousness, my senses were hit with THAT smell.. that smell of a stomach gone bad. I know that smell before I even open a nappy. That smell that says put your gloves and nose peg on before you even attempt this. That smell that means you are going to want to burn the clothes and bed sheets. So there I was at 4 in the morning cleaning poo and washing clothes, my kid standing in the sink as I tried to hose his bum down. I suspected it was from all the junk they had eaten, because Tyler’s belly was also troubling him. Note to parent: no, you cannot let your small children eat whatever they please with the excuse that it’s the holidays, these things always come back to haunt you.
  5. You know those classic black bikes that every kid under the age of three has, the one that sounds like a Harley with a bad exhaust. Now times that by two, up and down the whole day and night. I’d rather have Barney on auto loop than listen to two boisterious little boys zooming around on these motor bikes. Tyler’s daddy even devised a money making plot, to produce these noisy bikes with rubby wheels instead of plastic ones (I’ve patented the idea already, don’t even think about it). Which parent wouldn’t buy a quieter version of the infamous plastic bike? We are going to be rich on this idea!
  6. I could never be a school teacher. I have toyed and flirted with the idea ever so often, but this weekend has convinced me that I would not be able to survive in a room with more than one toddler of the same age group for more than 25 seconds. Between running after them in the flea market as they grabbed greedily at toys on a toy stall, worrying about them as they ran around the swimming pool, trying to talk over their screams of delight as they played together… I am now more sure than ever, that I would be better suited to working in a convent or a buddhist monestry, than working with small children.
  7. Hannah was the only little girl amongst all the boys and of course she fitted in perfectly. She also likes to climb on tables, and has a fondess for wrapping her little legs around poles and jumping up and down. No comment – just an observation.. hmmmm.
  8. And lastly, holidays are good for the soul! No matter how short, getting away from your routine is refreshing and recharges those batteries – especially at this time of the year when everyone starts taking strain from the year that was.. Roll on the holidays with Christmas trees, eggnog and Boney M.

All dressed up and nowhere to go…

Kideos, last night I went to the opening of the new Naartjie store in Sandton City. It is beeeoootiful, as Naartjie stores are, of course. They have delicious trendsetting stuff for summer and I had to hold myself and my credit card back. I tried to be fair and split the budget (what budget?) equally down the line between the two of you.. but I have to admit I am too easily swayed by anything pink and frilly (even though I swore clear off pink when Hannah was born because that’s the only colour she wore)…so Liam, Hannah did score slightly bigger than you on this shop, my darling… which leads me to the point of today’s ramble..

Liam, as you grow older you may start to notice that Hannah has about double the closet space that you do, you may also notice that she has double the amount of shoes that you do. Don’t be offended because you have some super gorgeous gear too, just not in as high a volume as Hannah does. But let’s be honest… girls stuff is just way cuter than boys stuff and simply irresistible, and I just cannot walk away from a sparkly pink t-shirt with matching tights and a cute frilly cap to match. My obsession with little girls clothes probably stems from the fact that I think one day, Hannah is going to tell me that pink makes her puke and organza make her itch, and all she wants to wear is shorts and tees like her brother. So until such time, I want to dress her up in all things girly. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those moms who dress their little girl up like a Barbie Doll with lipgloss to match, I firmly believe that little people’s clothes should allow them to run, jump and roll around without getting in the way, they should be breathable, and durable, able to withstand many cycles in the washing machine.. but that’s why I love the things I picked up for Hannah at Naartjie last night.. they are all that, and still gorgeous and PINK!

Liam, your wardrobe is colourful, and I think this matches your personally perfectly. You look so handsome in bright colours, but last night at Naartjie I realised how absolutely gorgeous neutrals can be on you. I could totally see you in those beige checked shorts! So I got you lots of tops and bottoms in neutral colours, which we can mix and match with splashes of colour to make you the best dressed lad on the playground.

But you guys know that clothing is not a big deal in our house, you guys look adorable no matter what you wear. I won’t deny that I do enjoy sprucing you up from time to time but on the whole, having fun and being comfortable is paramount.

Can’t wait to see you rocking your Naartjie summer gear though! Xxx

The Power of Association

When Hannah was born, I was amazed that she fit my initial pie in the sky idea that babies are supposed to be pink and wrinkled and quiet and angelic. This because, my idyllic ideas were shattered when Liam was born; he was everything a baby was NOT supposed to be. He was born awake, and he stayed awake A LOT. As a newborn, if he napped for 40 minutes at a time, it was cause for celebration. Night times were worse, we couldn’t make an hour without him stirring and yelling for something to eat. He was a boob baby, and a formula supplemented baby, and he ate porridge at 3 months, all in an effort to make him SLEEEP. How he remained a cute, happy little boy on such sleep deprivation is beyond me. We soon realised that Liam was born ready – for EVERYTHING. He started teething at 3 months, walked at 11 months, started baby talking at about 4 months and real talking at about a year and oh my giggling granny, hasn’t stopped since. He is a real rough and tumble boy’s boy, does everything with gusto and dramatics, he is a ball of energy and I think he is destined to be a leader and not a follower. So when Hannah was born, all prim and proper, quiet as a mouse, a four to five hour schedule baby, and slept a full eight hours from about 3 months, we were a bit taken aback. She was a very calm baby, happy to just sit in her pram and watch the world pass her by. She hardly cried, she didn’t require much attention, other than watering and feeding here and there, and she was a total breeze to deal with. I used to say that Liam was blessed enough to get my antsy pantsy genes and Hannah got her Dad’s more laid back kinda genes.

Boy, was that short lived.

I read an interesting blog post, which supports my theory on the Power of Association. “The power of association and surrounding yourself with other successful people is a sure fire way to reach your goals and dreams much faster. The plain and simple truth is that if you are not spending time with other action takers on the same path to bigger things in life, then you hinder your own success.” It goes on to say: “…the outcome of who you are, the goals you achieve, the dreams you accomplish, the destiny you fulfill, all has its roots either as a result of associations you keep or maybe you personally. Let’s look for a good association, because it will determine your accomplishments.”

So now my theory.. since Hannah has been hanging around with her big brother, she has evolved into a little tigress. If I can use a simple example.. she evolved from one of those cute cuddly things in Waybaloo into that pirate chick in Jake and the Neverland Pirates, almost overnight (still cute and cuddly though). It seems even her physical milestones are being reached quicker, as a result of being around Liam. She only cut her first tooth at 10 months, but everything else has come at whirlwind speed.. she walked before her first birthday, she went from a quiet, introverted toddler who really only spoke when she was spoken to, into a word-a-second finger wagging, rule breaking toddler. I stand back and watch how she admires Liam, how she tries to imitate everything he does, how she tries to pronounce words like he does, how she tries these Evil Knievel tricks that get my heart racing. While potty training Liam, we used to let him wee in the garden – something that he hasn’t quite gotten over, even though he is fully potty trained. The other day I found Miss Hannah trying to wee in the garden with her brother, except she couldn’t get out of her press-studded vest so she was kinda leaning hip forward, legs apart, mimicking her brother who was creating a yellow stream across the yard. WHERE was my camera. She wants to be just like him, she wants to eat the same food as he does, and even though I know she doesn’t have an affinity for mushy foods – she won’t even eat mushy breakfast cereal or mashed butternut – if Liam is eating it, she will force herself to swallow it down with a sick look on her face.

I think it’s great that she has a mentor of sorts, that she endeavours to be just like her smart big brother, and I have no doubt that she will learn faster; that her mental and physical capabilities will develop quicker because she spends every waking moment with her mentor. But my concern is that she is also picking up on the not-so-admirable qualities of a strong willed two year old boy.. like the tantrums, the crying just because I feel like it, the naughtiness (and no, I don’t believe that children can’t be naughty). I know this phase will come regardless of who your child is, or who they spend time with, that’s just raising babies for you… but Hannah, at the tender age of 17 months, wags her finger in my face and says no no no no no, when I raise my voice and make big eyes at her to show my disapproval at something she’s done. She looks at me with that just-you-dare-try-it look when I reprimand her for touching something she knows is off limits, and runs away in a fit of giggles when I make as if I am coming to catch her to discipline her. She isn’t afraid of a smack on the fingers because she knows that Liam gets lots of those and he seems fine – she finds it all quite amusing actually. She looks to Liam when Dad raises his voice, to gauge how he reacts, so that she can do the same, because you don’t mess with Dad when he raises his voice, you see. She is a two and a half year old Liam in a 17 month old body – except her English is still pretty sucky.

My idea is to train Liam to be the perfect little well behaved, well mannered boy, so that she will pick up these great qualities from her brother.. but training Liam is like training a yappy little puppy who is just too excitable to listen or learn and just wees his pants when you shout and goes back to chew on that same piece of furniture no matter how many times you tell him not to.. its HARD!

So now that my hopes for a little princess in a pink organza tutu have been dashed, I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that Hannah will most likely be a tom boy, who only wants to wear camouflage and dig in the sand (boy, she loves digging in the sand!). And I’m cool with that, I just hope that Liam will grow out of his Terrible Twos phase quickly so that Hannah at least learns how to be a well behaved little tom boy.

No matter what, my kids are living proof that the Power of Association is real. Who are you associating with, and what does it say about you?

Also from the blog post I mentioned above, a thought provoking article by Gen. Colin Powell, which stirred my heart..

  • Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere, with some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it
  • Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life
  • Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships
  • If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl but, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights
  • The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve
  • Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity
  • An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people
  • As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on; they will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl
  • Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you


What I’ve learnt from this Runner…

It takes grit and determination to achieve anything worthwhile. Very few good and meaningful things just fall into your lap, good things usually come with sacrifice and dedication. Although I’ve also learnt to appreciate a blessing from God – just for nothing, because He loves us so much.

So the hubby completed his first Ultra Marathon this weekend. If you missed my last blog post, that was 42kms of running shoes slapping the dusty streets of Soweto. He said it was gruelling, the toughest thing his body has ever endured (lucky for him, he doesn’t have to experience childbirth). He said that there were many times during the race, when he thought that this was it, and his body just couldn’t go on, but the human spirit is an amazing thing, and the encouragement from his co-runner, Lester and those running with them, egged him on. He said the camaraderie and the unity of that 4000 strong body of people running towards the finish, was like a natural high, which mentally lifted you out of the half way hump. Although his body was broken from the beating, the first thing he said as he hobbled walked through the door was that he couldn’t wait for the next one. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t go about looking for ways to hurt myself.

Anyway, this race and the run up to this event, really got me thinking about my husband, the runner. He isn’t a seasoned athlete, in fact he’s no athlete at all. He started running about a year ago. I thought it was a phase, I thought he’d get bored with it, so didn’t pay it much attention. He is a soccer-man, but when the babies came, there just wasn’t time for him to be training in the week and playing on the weekend, and that’s why he opted to run.. it was something he could do on his own time, it didn’t take a team to make it happen and he still got to keep fit. And now a year later, he’s joined a running club, faithfully takes to the road sometimes twice a day and is running marathons. I am so proud of him, probably because I have never stuck to anything I have tried. I know, I’m a loser. I may not even stick to this parenting thing because it really gets hard for me sometimes (like I have a choice). Nonetheless, my husband has taught me the value of Staying Power, something my father has always instilled in us, from a young age, but a lesson I have just taken a really long time to catch. Staying Power means that you keep at something, even when the going gets tough, it means you maintain and build on your momentum, stretching towards your goal, ignoring the trials and obstacles (like a nagging wife or bad weather) that cloud your path. And even when he reaches his goal, he keeps raising the bar to challenge himself.. Soweto today, Two Oceans tomorrow, Comrades the next day!

He is an inspiration to a sloth like me. I fully understand the value of exercising your body, I know full well the knock-on effect it has on your mental and emotional health. But I’ve just never been into spandex. I digress.. My husband has always been a keeper – but this latest accomplishment has really upped his standing on the Keeper Pole. Not because of the achievement per se, but because of his determination and fortitude. Because in all of this, he is teaching the kids (and me) a priceless lesson about giving your best and going the whole hog and I love him for that.

Run Forest Run

 Ok, I wanted to blog about this after the matter, but the run up to this event has just been too big for me to ignore, so I’ll do my usual pre and post blog about said event..

BIG weekend for our family. On Sunday, the hubby will take part in his first marathon. The Soweto Marathon. A whole 42 kilometres. Of running. Sjoe. I’m guessing a bit of walking too because who can run for 42 kilometres straight? Unless you’re Bruce Fordyce or Zola Budd. And I can almost bet a pair of running shoes that even these star runners have walked at some point in their running careers.. possibly around that infamous 1.8 kilometre stretch covered in the Comrades Marathon, otherwise known as Poly Shorts. I am not an athlete, the only exercise I do involves running after, and picking up after the kids, and that is about as much exercise as this body can handle. So forgive my indolence, but 42 kilometres sounds like a road trip from Cape to Cairo to me – LONG and arduous.

So the hubby started running seriously about a year ago.. could be longer… I wasn’t really paying much attention then, as I thought his running was just an excuse to get away from the kids and I for a few hours away every day. When he started taking part in races, and dutifully shining his medal collection, I started to pay him more attention. Bad move. All of a sudden I was bombarded with email links to running websites, pages in running magazines were tagged for me to read, we had to relook our menus and our diets, and aside from mixing Oros juice for the kids, I now had to mix all sorts of supplements for the budding athlete – as if I don’t have enough to do. I must admit, I admire his discipline and his determination, I know that something is easy to do when you are passionate about it and you enjoy doing it, but it must take some discipline to get up with the birds every morning to hit the tarmac, and then come home from a hard day at the office and takkie up again. Even on weekends.. wow that blows my mind, I can barely roll out of bed to brush my teeth every day. His running has become a part of our lives, so much so that the kids know if Dad isn’t at home he is at one of the three following places: work, church or “gone to jogging” as Liam calls it. It does sometimes infringe on our lives, like if we have a date on Saturday evening, we have to make sure we are home before witching hour, because he has to get up early to run the following day. And all the pasta.. I’m going to look like a big pale lump of gnocchi soon. And I don’t need to tell you what regular exercise does for your endorphins and hormones and other chemicals floating around a body at its prime, save to say that my excuse of having a head ache is getting a bit stale.

My husband can’t understand how I can live with my lazy self. He can’t understand how I prefer Coke to water, how I prefer laying by the poolside with a cocktail, instead of doing some laps and horror of all horrors, how I can wear my tight panty that starts at my chest and ends at my knees, instead of just doing a few press ups to get rid of my baby belly. I can’t understand how running until you’re blue in the face, smelling like a dirty diaper and reading Runner’s World Magazine makes you feel all warm and gooey inside? He says I need to find something that I am passionate about, and maybe I’ll understand.. I said I have found something I am passionate about, it’s called sitting in the loo alone for five minutes without the kids or my hubby nagging me for something or the other.. and yes that does blow my hair back.

Anyway, the point is, all this training has now culminated in this weekend’s first marathon. I’ll admit I am excited for him, it’s a big deal after all. I am also a bit nervous because how do you know if your body can endure something it’s never tried before? But that explanation is void because we’d never get anywhere in life if we didn’t take the chance! And in this circumstance, a chance he has worked long and hard for.

We aren’t going to the race, the three of us will be up early, with our Weetbix (for the kids) and coffee (for me), watching from the comfort of Mom and Dad’s bed. Watching people running on TV will hold Liam and Hannah’s attention for about 0.45 seconds, so perhaps we’ll just catch the end bit when Dad crosses the finish line, because we know he will!

Run Daddy Run!