Become what you believe.


That title is a Bible verse: Matthew 9:29, The Message Bible

Don’t you just love that?

I had my mid year review earlier this week. It went really well and I was happy and relieved with the positive feedback I received. I’ve said it before that one of my love languages is positive validation. I love to be told how wonderful I am. Ha. The problem with my job is that I am literally here to assist one person, and if you and that person don’t hit it off, let’s just say that your working day could be somewhat unpleasant. Currently my boss is an American, I say currently, because they change pretty often. In the four years I have been here, I’ve had three bosses. So I’ve worked with my current boss for the last seven months, I like him. And now I’ve discovered that he likes me, so that’s all dandy. Great.

Anyway, this post isn’t about how awesome I am. The significance of this review was that it was the first time that I verbalised my desire to work half day from 2015. Well, I’ve verbalised it a lot to my friends and family and anyone that would listen, but I’ve never actually approached the subject with my boss. I also wanted it to be noted and filed so that when the time comes, I won’t be greeted with surprised raised eyebrows. He took the news pretty well, probably because he won’t be my boss when the time comes. But as I said, I want it noted on my personal file.

My dream is to work half day – whether here (first prize) or somewhere else (if they don’t go for it).

There I’ve said it. I’ve spoken it into the universe. I’ve spoken it into being!

I want to be able to drop and fetch my children from school. I want to be able to go for an ice cream on the way home, and help them with their homework while I prepare dinner. I want to be able to sit down and talk about stuff, and not squeeze catching up between bathing and feeding, while trying to find matching socks and a toothbrush that’s gone AWOL. I don’t want to be a rat in the rat race.

I don’t believe it is impossible. My husband doesn’t believe it is impossible. We agree that our first priority is doing the best we can for our children. And I am not saying that mothers who work full time are not doing the best they can for their children. In fact, I think I’m a better parent BECAUSE I work and get to spend a few hours in a corporate environment away from my children. But with our lifestyle, I simply feel that I need to be THERE as much as I can. I don’t want my kids to be latchkey kids. I don’t have the support of a grandparent or an aunt or uncle to help in the afternoons to fill the gap when I am not there. I don’t have someone who is truly invested in my kids to make sure they are doing their homework and helping them with their weak areas and giving them one-on-one attention. I’d have to pay someone to do that, probably in a group of other children – I’d rather save on aftercare and transport and do it myself.

We’ve recently had to make some tough decisions for the good of our family, things I’ll blog about soon. Sacrificing now, for the good of the future. And of course we would probably have to make some lifestyle changes if I was to move from a full time to a half time salary, but I’ve seen so many people pick up “things on the side” to fill the gap. Guys, there are people out there living the dream – their dream – because they believed they could make it work. There are many things I’d like to “do on the side” – things that, if they work, could generate a little income. Things that I would have time for if I wasn’t a rat in the rat race.

Point is, nothing is impossible. This is my dream. This is where I am headed. As my good friend always says, speak your dreams into reality! I am believing and trusting God for this to become a reality. And I’m praying in faith that this is where God wants me to be too. Jesus said “according to your faith let it be done to you.” In other words, become what you believe.

 

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No words.


Hello you guys

It’s been a busy few days… at work and at home. Yesterday we left the house at 06h15am and only returned from our activities at 6pm. I’m planning quite a big event at work for this week, so I’ve been having heart palpitations about that. I look forward to this week being over. Crazy like that.

 Last night I heard that an ex colleague of mine had lost her 3 year old daughter to drowning this weekend. Now that we don’t work together anymore, she and I only have minimal Facebook contact, and I saw her last at the Huggies event we attended a few weeks back. So we are not close as such, but I am so devastated for her. I’ve had this sick-to-the-pit-of-my-stomach feeling since I heard the news last night. We were pregnant together, her daughter was two months younger than Hannah. I can’t get her off my mind. I keep thinking about her little girl who was the same age as my Hannah, I think about how cute Hannah is, how I love this age where she is all hugs and kisses and how she loves to love us and I can’t help thinking about how I would feel if I didn’t have that anymore. If my Hannah was no more? It turns my stomach.

I feel so very sorry for this mother who has lost her baby girl so tragically. I’m once again jarred into the reality that this life is but a fleeting whisper and only part of the journey, not the destination. That there are no guarantees regardless of how careful, how safe, how holy you are. Your life is but a whisper. It’s so hard to take cognizance of each moment when life is so busy and we’re all just trying to make it through a day of traffic, work, demanding bosses and whiny kids, but today I am grateful that I am alive. That I woke up to my two children who were also alive, breathing, whole. I am thankful that I get to squeeze them TODAY, that I have THIS moment with them. There are simply no words. None. It’s just horribly tragic.

Please lift this family up in prayer.

xxx

My current wish list


A new set of pots.

When we got married we bought a cheap set of pots. We went to Game and chose a set that looked decent, cost us about R500 I think, and that was that. Now usually, when Coloured people announce their engagement, the AMC flyers come out with a story about “aunty so-and-so who is an AMC agent so she can get you a good deal and if you pay it off slowly every month from the date you get engaged, by the time you are married you would have paid a small fortune for a set of pots that will last you the rest of your married life.” My mother still has her AMC pots from when they got married and with the life time guarantee she just replaces the old or broken pots – that’s great, really. My sister also has AMC pots, so you can see it’s a tradition of sorts. And I am happy for them. However I have a small problem with paying exorbitant amounts of money for something as boring as pots. Maybe it’s because I don’t cook that much myself. Maybe it’s because I think my food tastes exactly the same in my cheap pots, as it does when cooking in the AMC waterless cooking thingy. Point is, after 6 years I think we are due for another set of pots. And once again, I’m going to go for the average priced pots at Game or Makro or wherever. And I have no problem paying R500 every six years to replace my pots, I think that even if I did this for the rest of my earthly life, it would still work out cheaper for me than investing in AMC. How do you feel about your pots?

A new camera

Now this is something I would invest a good sum of money in, I really want a good camera. I already have an idea of what I want, but I do feel like I need to talk to people in the know about this one. I do not want to go into photography or be the next Anne Geddes, but I want something with a bit more depth and capability than my little digital camera. I look at the photos that my friends take of us and our children just while hanging out together and I’m like “your camera did THAT? WOW!” And there’s Marcia who takes the most beautiful photos of EVERYTHING especially leaves and sunsets (haha Marcia!) and I’m like “hey, I also want to do that!” So if one special person would like to buy me this for my birthday, that would be wonderful. Or you can come to my house and put money in the old mayonnaise container I am going to keep on top of the fridge – my camera fund jar.

A garden person to sort my garden out

While Gentry is GREAT in the yard, he doesn’t know about tending to the flowers and stuff. He cuts the grass, trims the verges and the bushes, tidies up the yard and everything looks lovely when he is done, but I want someone who knows about flowers to come in and make everything pretty. More importantly, I want someone to get my herb garden going. I can’t keep fooling myself, my green thumb is wilted and decayed, it doesn’t work. I can’t grow anything or keep anything alive – and not from lack of trying. I do everything the instructions tell me to do but somehow flora just dies under my care. My friends have bought me herbs, flowers, shrubs, BEEEG palm trees and I kill them. *sadface* So I want someone to come in and make sure that everything is primed and ready for Spring. I want someone to plant me a massive herb garden so that all I have to do is reach into it and pick my fresh herbs for my new pot which I’ll be cooking in. Or else I need lessons on how not to kill flora – if anyone knows of such classes in the Johannesburg area.

So I only started this list this weekend.. these just happen to be the things I whined about all weekend long, much to my husband’s annoyance. He can’t stand it when someone is all “awww, I wiiiiish I had x” because he is a very practical so-and-so. If you want it, buy it, or save for it and wait it out but please do not whine about stuff you wish you had to him! Whereas I whine and wish in the hopes that someone (namely him) will make it happen for me, I mean hello? Anyhoo, I think keeping a list is good, and I will be adding to my wish list as I go along, and hopefully deleting some items off as and when my wishes come true!

Milestone smashing over here…


When your child is little, every milestone is documented, photographed, and plastered across every social network. Us moms are proud like that. As they get older the milestones become fewer and further between… or so we think. While the obvious milestones of crawling, walking and learning to talk are most definitely amazing, I’ve come to realise that as your toddler transforms into big kid, there are BIG milestones which are as amazing and as exciting…

Liam reached two very big milestones recently which have brought him (and us) much jubilation! I think the best part about these two milestones is that he has been trying really hard and for a very long time to get them right. So for him, this is a big deal. A really big deal.

For the longest time he has wanted to whistle. He and Hannah would practice their whistling constantly, blowing big puffs of silent air day and night. It was hilarious, until it became frustrating for Liam. Hannah would get bored and move on, but Liam reaaaaallllyy wanted to get it right. I would show him how to round his lips and try to explain how it works, but he just couldn’t do it. About a month ago we were on the way home from school and as usual he was practicing his whistling in the back seat, when he let out the softest little whistle. He was stunned! Hannah and I were like “HEEEEYYYY, YOU WHISTLED!!” Of course he couldn’t do it again because he was so giggly and couldn’t get his lips together! Since then his whistling has improved in leaps and bounds, he can even whistle a false tune now. What an amazing feat! He is proud as punch, he thinks whistling is the bizzness, he even Skypes his granny to show her how he can whistle.

For the ease and simplicity of getting dressed, I have always tried to buy Velcro shoes as much as possible and only opted for lace ups because they were cute or because they were a gift. This year I started buying lace ups for Liam because I figured it was time to start learning how to tie. Again on the way home from school yesterday, he successfully tied his shoelace for the first time. We have been practicing the tying of shoelaces for quite a while and both he and I were just frustrated with the whole thing and I’d actually just taken a break from it because he just wasn’t getting it and my patience levels were not coping. I know, I know, I need help. But he’d still keep trying, sitting on his bed with his tongue poking out of his mouth deep in concentration, desperately trying to twist the “bunny ears” into a knot. And then yesterday he gave me the fright of my life in the car; I was driving them home from school and he yelled “LOOK” in that voice that is almost hysterical and I thought something was wrong. Turns out he tied his shoelace 🙂 I’m not saying it was a fluke because I don’t want to take this away from him, and he does get it right every few times, but we’re still at the stage where he gets it right sometimes, and then his fingers get all rubbery and he can’t get it right again – much to his frustration. I’ll give him a few days more and kid will be tying laces with his eyes closed, no doubt!

Liam has smashed two milestones that will probably make no real difference to his life… whistling and tying a lace… no big deal, right? People do not win awards for whistling and if you can’t tie a lace, wear Velcro and don’t join the Boy Scouts, that’s all. But for me, these milestones are amazing. My son continues to blow my mind with the incredible things he learns to do every day. I laud and celebrate the wonder that is you, my most marvelous boy child, Liam John.  Xxx

On babies and church and service


I’ve been volunteering in the children’s ministry at our church for the last two years. Up until last weekend, I used to serve at the check-in counter which meant I would get the children registered before the service started and then I would go into the adult service myself. I loved working on the check-in counter, you become familiar with the parents and the kids and it’s good fun and it’s great to be involved in the church the size of ours because you get to know people.

A few weeks back I decided I wanted to become more involved. After meeting with the children’s church pastor, I signed up to volunteer in one of the classes. I decided on the baby class for a few reasons:

  1. I couldn’t be in either Liam or Hannah’s class because that would just be complicated.
  2. I didn’t want to work with the older children because I’m not ready for sass yet.
  3. I love little babies. I really do. I thought this would be great to spend time with the babas and then happily send them home with their parents. Get my little-baby hit, so to speak.

This Saturday I was in a classroom with 9 babies between the ages of 12 – 24 months, and then on Sunday in a classroom with 12 babies. And let me tell you, it was tough. It’s not a babysitting service, it is a full on church service with praise and worship, offering time, lesson time via a puppet show, snack time and free play. Some babies are so agreeable, they do just as they are told, they sing and dance along, they listen so attentively during the puppet show and they are just too precious. These are usually the children who have been attending for a while and are used to the routine. Some of them are brand new but are just children who adapt easily. Then there are other babies. OOH SHAME. These babies are hectic. They are not used to being away from their mommies and daddies. Some scream from beginning to end. Some scream for a little while, then get wrapped up in what’s going on around them and forget to scream. Then they remember and scream some more. And some more. Oh my bleeding ears! Then we get those who are not genuinely upset but just like the sound of their own voices. I would NEVER say that to dear Johnny’s parents, but I’ve had two kids, I can suss out the play-cry and the real-cry from a mile away. Besides THAT, each baby needs a diaper change at some point during the service and each baby gets a small container with dry Oatees and we all know the mess that even DRY FOODS create with small chlidren. Oi vey…

Can I just say that I changed about 10 nappies this weekend of children who do not even belong to me! Give me my noddy badge right now!!!

It was tiring, no it was EXHAUSTING running after them and making sure they were doing what they were supposed to be doing. It was extremely weird for me to love on someone else’s kid – a kid I’ve never met before and who I may never see again. BUT it was surprisingly a nice sort of weird. And when I managed to calm down the screamers, and they’d look up at me with that look that says “you aren’t too bad yourself” as only a little baby can, it was so very heartwarming. And so rewarding. My arm is aching as I write this from carrying a little boy called Landon who was so blinking HEAVY! A real big boy! And my back was sore from all the lifting of thrown toys and uppies of all the babies and sitting on the floor with them! And I know for next week that I must not wear any jewellery or leave my hair loose – things I’d forgotten about since my own baby days!

I don’t know how preschool teachers do it. Honestly. It is hard work guys, go and hug your children’s teachers when you pick your kids up this afternoon!

I am so glad I chose this class, I am so glad I get to spend just an hour and 15 minutes with these little people each week and that I am helping to plant that tiny seed that will hopefully lead to their salvation one day.

It feels good to be of service.

Dettol: it works for the non-domesticated too.


logo

I’m going to be honest, I don’t do cleaning. I’ve said it here many times before, cleaning is simply not my forte. We all have our talents and party tricks – let’s just say that cleaning is not either of mine. When Zoleka goes home on the weekend, I pretty much leave things as is. My husband picks up behind us and keeps the place tidy and I surface clean the things that I can’t avoid… spilt milk which happened to “slip” out of the cereal bowl, yoghurt which happened to leap out of the container onto the floor, koki pen marks which magically drew pretty little designs on the tiles and so on. You get my drift, having small kids  brings a new level of mess, doesn’t it?

So when the people over at Dettol  sent me two products to review for them, I wanted to send back an email with a huge LOL and say “wrong mama, sorry!”

Turns out either they actually read some of my blog content and quickly discovered I am no domestic goddess or postage is just expensive. Either way, I was happy to give them a go because I received a pack of their Anti-Bacterial Multi Action Floor Wipes and their Anti-Bacterial Cleansing Surface Wipes to try out. Over the weekend I used both products surprisingly often. The floor wipes are uh-mazing. We had a sucker incident, you know the type… when the lollipop miraculously falls out of their mouths (how do children do this?) and shatters into a million pieces. I wiped the entire crime scene up with one wipe – no mess, no fuss, great fresh fragrance and no sticky residue. Also worked really well on my wood laminate floors which is great because the other products for wood laminate can be quite pricey. And of course there’s no after-care. You throw the wipe in the bin, that’s it. There’s no mop to clean, rag to rinse out, etc, etc. My kind of cleaning for sure. The surface wipes are great for just that.. wiping surfaces as you go – wiping sticky hand prints off table tops, wiping kitchen counters down before and after cooking, and I even used them to clean my stove.

Their product range is actually amazing. I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up the only thing we knew about Dettol was that bright orange antiseptic liquid which my mother used to clean our cuts and scrapes with, and she’d add it to our bath water if we’d had a particularly dirty day. I STILL use this product for precisely that. However, Dettol has remarkably evolved since the days of just the antiseptic liquid. They’ve got a product to keep every inch of your home sparkly and germ-free. From kitchens to bathrooms, from floors to table tops, from hands to feet. I’ve used many of their products in my home, but the one I am still dying to try, and the one I wish the nice people over at Dettol had sent to me, is the automatic liquid hand wash. You know why I love this goody? Because I cannot stand “spreading the mess.” Like I’m busy cutting raw meat in preparation for dinner, then the phone rings or I urgently need to tie a kid’s shoelace, then I have to rush over to the sink, touch the tap, touch the hand wash, the pump is stuck so I have to grab the blinking bottle and rotate the cap this way and that and before I know it I have chicken guts all over my kitchen. Whereas if I had one of these gadgets, I’d contain that mess. Side note: have I told you how I hate touching raw meat?

In a nutshell, if you haven’t tried the Dettol range already, give them a go. Good even for those who find their domestic goddess prowess lacking. You can totally fake it with these products which leave your house sparkling clean with very little effort.

This was a sponsored post. 

Minding my Ps and Qs


Yesterday when I fetched the kids from school, Hannah put her school bag over one shoulder only and said “ hoo(you) know who carries their bag like dis?” I was confused so I said “you?” She said “NO! I carry on two soldiers (shoulders).” So I said “Liam?” And she laughed hysterically and said “NO silly billy, Liam carries on two soldiers.” So I asked “who then??” And she yelled “DADDY!” I had a good laugh, she was right! My husband always carries his laptop backpack on one shoulder only. It was something I knew if I was ever asked the question, but not something I would ever pay attention to.

I was reminded once again on how observant children really are. How they study (and mimic) the people in their environments. The way they gather and process information blows me away. Who would have thought that a 3 year old would even CARE, let alone notice how her Daddy carries his backpack. But they do. They care about everything. They notice everything and it follows on that they learn from what they witness. Often I do things or take short cuts thinking that they won’t notice. But I am reprimanded ever so severely if I even try to get out of brushing teeth at night, or if I forget to put my seatbelt on.

If they notice things as mundane as how their Dad carries his backpack, you can rest assured that they are noticing the more important stuff. How we communicate with people from our spouses to the guy at the petrol pump. How I react in bad traffic, how I deal with call centre agents who phone me relentlessly. How I talk about people I am not particularly fond of. Hmmm… They notice how I pull my face when I’m annoyed or upset or hurt. They notice my body language. I mean small children could be detectives the way they are so adept at figuring things out. We underestimate them!

When the husband and I are having a heated discussion in front of the children, Liam will chide us by saying “guys, let’s not fight about this please.” We crack up laughing because this is EXACTLY what we say to them when they are on the verge of pulling each other’s eyes out. He may not understand what we are  talking about, but he understands tone and facial expression and body language.

This morning Liam couldn’t find his sock which was tangled up in his bed linen. Hannah spotted it first and yelled “it’s right there, are you blind?!” I cringed a little with embarrassment, it didn’t sound as polite when said in that tone.. the same tone I use when I use that exact same phrase on them! Eish…

I am so mindful and concerned about what my children are exposed to out in the big bad world – the things they watch on  TV, the friends they play date with, the food they eat, the potential pedo. phile, and the list of external worries goes on and on. Of course these things are important, we need to be constantly alert to these things, but I need to be careful not to neglect the small things that they pick up right at home from me. While I don’t want to mind every P and Q, I need to be aware of how small things are actually big things for kids. And even when I think they are so absorbed in whatever they are doing that they aren’t listening to me or watching me, clearly they ARE! My kids even understand when I speak Afrikaans to my husband. Granted my Afrikaans is horrible, but they pick up on the nuances of the conversation and they just KNOW. They DO!

I do so love when they notice the good stuff… “your hair is so pretty like that mom.” Or “I like that lipstick” every time I wear something other than my usual natural colour. Not even their father notices these things!

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.

James Baldwin

 Children are unpredictable.  You never know what inconsistency they’re going to catch you in next.

Franklin P. Jones

 Children are like wet cement, whatever falls on them makes an impression

Haim Ginott

This girl just told me I need eye cream.


I am a very simple so-and-so. I wear very little makeup, wash my hair when the itching becomes unbearable, and dress for functionality, hardly for fashion. I started wearing foundation almost every day sometime in November last year when my skin morphed back 15 odd years and I developed acne which would not go away. I STILL have spots – no idea what’s going on there.

Right, so I have this friend, this very dear friend who has been hassling me, harassing me, begging me to start taking care of my skin. Now I have a routine OK. It’s called wash and wear. I wash my face when I’m in the shower and then I put moisturiser on and then I go. If I go out at night, I come home and I go to bed. I do not wash my face, I do not use the bottles of makeup remover lined up in my bathroom cabinet because I can never find cotton wool and I don’t buy those fancy little pads.

Until very recently. I figured I am not going to look this good forever. HAAA.

I’ve started removing any trace of makeup before I go to sleep at night. This has done wonders for my pillow cases. So I was feeling pretty virtuous about my new routine, even though I don’t feel like it’s made any physical difference at all. I still look the same, I still have mild acne and my face wash gets finished really quickly now. But I keep reminding myself about how wonderful I am going to look at 50 because I am investing in my skin now.

Weh.

My other dear friend, Kim, was applying my makeup the other day. We work in the beauty industry so you’ll often find us doing ourselves up or trying new product or whatever. Kim reckons I urgently need to start using eye cream because I have wrinkles.

What?

I’m 31 years old for goodness sake, I DO NOT have wrinkles?

Apparently I do.

I have been inspecting my face thoroughly and yes I have LINES around my eyes. When I smile the lines deepen and when I stop smiling they take forever to slowly disappear. Like my skin is battling to get back into shape. I stare at myself in the mirror and do the smile-stop-smile-stop routine and the kids look at me like I’m losing my mind. I say “mommy’s getting old guys” and they say “then put some lipstick on!”

This is very disconcerting for me. Have you seen Jane Fonda in that L’Oreal ad? That lady is like 105 years old and I think we have the same number of lines around our eyes. It’s not about vanity, it’s about building this body to last baby! I need to preserve what I have here.

So last night I started with the eye cream. Smile-stop-smile-stop. The wrinkles are still THERE!!