A good apple of a son.


Mostly the last few years have been grueling… trying to instill discipline, trying to teach my children good manners, good morals, instilling in them a sense of integrity, a sense of choosing right over wrong, good over evil, and so on. That’s the real grueling part of parenting. You think it’s the endless laundry pile, the unwashed dishes in the sink, the tantrums, the sleepless nights, the crying and whining… but really the real challenge, the part that keeps you awake at night, the part that is guilt ridden and has you second guessing yourself at least 10 times a day… THAT part… is whether you are doing it right. Are you doing the best you can for your kids? Will they turn out to be decent human beings? Have you done enough to make sure they will integrate into society and be law abiding citizens who have a relatively normal existence? This is the part that actually freaks every parent out. You spend years teaching them to say yes please, no thank you, open doors for girls, ask the other person how they are, don’t cause scenes in public, don’t steal, lie, cheat, hit other kids..blah blah blah.. and STILL I hear myself asking at least 3 times a day “WHAT DO YOU SAY???” when someone gives them something and they don’t respond with an appropriate “thank you very much.” And you wonder if this kid is ever going to get it right.

So when you catch a glimpse of that character you have been trying to build for years, that character you have helped nurture and grow in as best a way as you know how… it makes you breathe a sigh of relief. It makes you realise that you can’t be that sucky of a parent after all, that you are doing OK. What a relief.

These last few weeks, I’ve noticed that my littlest man is maturing. The way he lets others go first, the way he shares, the way he lets you have your say and only comments once you have finished talking (even if you ramble on forever, like our Hannah does). The way he understands that crying and losing your mind over something silly is not the answer… oh he pouts and gets upset and I need to reason with him, but he doesn’t tantrum anymore. He knows the difference between right and wrong… even though he doesn’t always choose right! But I love that he can understand why there are rules in place, why we need to be disciplined if we disobey the rules and how it’s always better to just listen to your mother. Yes, you do.

He would give you something if it made you happy, even if he didn’t have an extra one to give. Last week we went to the Disney on Ice show and he willingly gave his juice to Sam because Sam didn’t have any at the time. My last-year-Liam would NEVER have done that! And in turn, my Hannah shared her juice with her brother. This filled my heart with pride. It did. He understands that there are things that I have no control over and he shows grace… I promise them every evening that we’ll ride bikes when we get home. But some days I’m late from work or the traffic is crazy and there just isn’t time. Whereas Hannah will usually cry and be somewhat mad at me because I control the traffic and the setting of the sun and how many hours in a day (go figure), Liam will say something like “it’s ok, we can do that tomorrow, why don’t we find something to do inside while you cook.” Like he wants me to feel better for not being able to make THEM happy, I just love him for this. He is still as mischievous as ever, and I swear this boy’s mouth is going to get him into many a tricky situation, but he is also such a softie. And if you hurt his feelings, he WILL cry. But this is crying I identify with, crying because your heart is sore, I get that, I do it quite a bit myself…  not crying because your mother told you that you can’t wear your swimming costume to school because it’s 2 degrees outside (yes, been there, done that).

Anyway, my point is that Liam is growing into a really cool kid. A lot of this comes with age and maturity of course, but a lot of it comes from just being a good apple. And for me, this is the most important thing. You don’t have to be the smartest, cutest, coolest, funniest human being , but you do need to be a good apple: good at the core of who you are.

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No words.


Things have been quiet around here… not because there hasn’t been anything to write about, quite the contrary. But sometimes you don’t need to talk about everything. Have you seen those DSTV #feeleverymoment ads? I LOVE them, even the corniness of them.

Maybe it’s because my house has been quiet. Kids are enjoying the second week of their holiday with their aunty. We miss them, wow. I thought I’d miss them less… being older and not as needy and all of that.. but nope, I think I miss them more now, than when they would go away when they were younger. But even that’s debatable. Let’s call it even and say a parent misses a child regardless of their age. Being away from your child is not natural…

But it’s been good.

My husband is back, remember. And the timing was perfect. It has been a lovely few days of just us. Ohhhhhhh, it’s so lovely to have him at home. To have someone there to back you up, support you, help you with stuff, cover you with a blanket when you fall asleep on the couch. I am so happy he is home, even though I make like it’s not a big deal. It is a big deal. It’s a huge deal. And I can’t believe we did this for almost 10 months! I am glad that season is over. And I am glad we got through it, long distance is not for everyone, folks.

We’ve had dinners with friends and lunches with extended family and jumped into bed at 7pm just because. It’s been a wonderful time of refreshing.

And I guess that’s why I like those DSTV ads… sometimes you don’t need words, you just sort of soak up the moment for what it is without distorting it with a million words. And that from someone who wants to say ALL the words ALL the time.

Writers Bootcamp Day 4: I just couldn’t live without…


In no order of importance…

my husband. I could live without him, but I never want to.

my kids. Day 2 of being without them and I miss them. (They are on holiday with their Aunty)

love and laughter. What is life without these two?

WiFi. What? Don’t make like you can.

spooning. Big bodies and small bodies. I love spooning. It’s like instant therapy for free.

my blow dryer. Well if you’ve seen my hair, you’ll know why.

my helper. She makes me life so easy. And my house so clean.

Jesus. Seriously, I would be dead without him.

Bubbly Chocolate. If you want me to like you, just buy me Bubbly.

Google. Who answered all my questions before Google? No idea.

 my words. Although I’m sure my husband could live without my words.

 

Writers Bootcamp Day 3: One of my greatest fears


I am way behind on this challenge due to a mini holiday break , so I’ll catch up as best I can.  Did I mention how liberating it was to be out of contact with the world. No phones, computers, devices – that topic needs a post all to its self.

Anyway.

I didn’t have to think too hard about this topic. I am an over-thinker and an over-analyser by nature, but the things that frighten me the most all relate to my children. Everything else pales in comparison. Largely, I fear for their safety. I fear for their future when I look at our country. I fear for their first broken hearts and for things that I, as their mother, will not be able to fix. I fear for bad report cards and not making friends easily and  for making bad decisions with bad consequences. Logically, I know that every life comes with its fair share of troubles, but I fear for them when trouble strikes. How will they manage? Will I have equipped them enough? Will I be there? Will they be OK?

What I do know is that fear is often something we create all by ourselves in our heads. I know that the things you fear, may never come to pass. I know that fear is a wasted emotion, it is draining, it limits you and often incapacitates you. While it often serves as a warning bell, I do believe that, often, our fears hold us back from experiencing many things – things that could be GOOD for us.  I acknowledge my fears and then I pray about them. Sometimes they go away, sometimes they serve to protect me from making stupid decisions, sometimes they stay forever (I don’t think I’ll ever really feel comfortable in the pitch black).

What are you afraid of?

 

Mozambique and going away with people you like.


I don’t know that this post is about Mozambique or just about going away with your family and people who you like. I think it’s actually the latter.

Don’t get me wrong, Mozambique is beautiful. The thrill of taking your passport, getting it stamped to go into another country, while still being only 6/7 hours away from your home, bumping over sand dunes and waving at the locals who just seem so happy amidst such sad poverty, walking down to the beach and spending time that close to the beauty of nature. Swimming, tanning, eating, relaxing… it was amazing. Also, slipping into the sunshine mid Winter is a delicious sort of treat, isn’t it? But this morning I was emailing a friend and we were talking about our holiday and I said to her “I could go to Mars with these crazy people and I’d still have a good time” or something like that…

And that got me thinking.

Going on holiday is WONDERFUL. I thank God for these opportunities, and I am grateful that the kids get to experience different things and places. But I think what made the holiday was spending time with my immediate little family, and my extended family. I am so glad we LIKE each other. I am so glad that we can go away and laugh and laugh and laugh. You know sometimes you go away with people and it’s awkward… like some want to go here, and others want to do this, and this person wants to eat that, and it can just be awkward even if you’ve known these people all your life. And you vow that the next time you go away, it will just be your spouse and your kids and THAT’S IT. But this holiday was really chilled, and I think that is what actually MAKES the holiday. I came away feeling good and rested and like it was money well spent.

Ponto is a poor village, it is pretty run down and if it wasn’t for the magnificent beaches, I don’t think ANYONE would go there willingly. But it’s also safe and kind of homely and you don’t feel like you’re in South Africa at all. There is sea sand everywhere, no tar roads, just sea sand! I embraced it and walked around with dirty feet for the whole time we were there. Common household items are expensive at the local shops, I think we paid over R30 for 6 eggs! So if you’re going self catering, make sure you carry enough of such items. The sea food is cheap and easily available – and delicious. There is lots to do, but you could do none of it and still have a perfectly awesome holiday. You don’t need to have a big off road vehicle to visit Mozambique. We left our cars at the border and the place we stayed at transferred all 10 of us plus our luggage and food. I think getting there was half the fun. We took anti Malaria meds even though the risk was really low because we were just over the border and it was off peak, but we didn’t want to take the risk with small children. You have to carry cash and lots of it because very few places actually have card machines and there are no ATMs. The great thing about this place is that whether you’re there on a family holiday with little kids, or you’re getting away with your lover… it caters for both. We’re already planning our next trip out there!

Tomorrow’s Wordless Wednesday will be dedicated to some pics from our time away.

Writer’s Bootcamp Day 2: My five favourite English words


This is difficult. If you know me, you know I love my words. Friends who receive emails from me will know I CANNOT write short emails. Blogger friends will know that I CANNOT leave short comments. My husband will tell you that I just don’t shut up.

How could one possibly choose 5 of their favourite words when they speak about a gazillion-trillion a day?

I thought about it long and hard (even though you only have 60 minutes to put these posts together) and I’ve chosen a mix of words and phrases that I use often or have special significance to me.

1. JESUS. I could stop right there. BAM! There is so much power in that one word! However, I’ll quote a song I love to quantify my choice:

Jesus, what a beautiful name
Son of God, Son of Man
Lamb that was slain
Joy and peace, strength and hope
Grace that blows all fear away
Jesus, what a beautiful name

2. Dude. Really, I need to stop with this word. No self respecting mother of two is still saying duuuuuude! But I love it because it has all sorts of connotations.

Firstly used as a friendly greeting: Hey dude! How’s it going?

Used as an expression of agreement: “so you had your hair cut AND coloured, getting brave hey?”  DUUUUUUDE, I know right?!!!

Used to address some random person: “what’s up with that dude?”

3. Bloody

It’s about as exciting as it gets in my household, folks! If you know me, you know I say things like:

abso-bloody-lutely!

no-bloody-way!

a-bloody-mazing!

4/5. My word! 

“an expression of surprise or dismay”

I say “my word” at least 10 times a day. If you search my blog, I probably say it in posts too. Usually with an “oh” in front of it.

OH MY WORD, I am totes (another favourite word!) enjoying this little bootcamp challenge!

I’m off to Mozambique tomorrow, not sure about the signal or the wi-fi.. so I may need to play catch up when I get back. Take care of yourselves xx

Writers Bootcamp Day 1: Even if you know me well, you don’t know this.


“Commit to write and post in 60 minutes every day of July 2014. New topic is posted at 6pm every day (South Africa). “

While most people have written some really serious, honest, heartwarming  posts, my life is not that exciting.. so I shall tell you a few random things that I don’t really advertise about myself on my CV. Hope I don’t lose too many followers…

When my husband and I were still dating, we would go to shops and get samoosas from the deli section and eat them while we shopped and dispose of the paper with the price tag. Basically we used to steal samoosas from shops. This was before I knew Jesus. Clearly. Jokingnotjoking.

This one only my sister knows and she uses every opportunity to torture me because of it… I have a phobia about chewed bubblegum. Like I can’t stand to see a chewed piece of gum. I hate to see someone chewing gum. I don’t chew gum unless I am desperate to freshen my breath before something important. I can’t stand to see someone touch the gum which they have chewed, even if it’s just to dispose of it in the bin. And PLEASE PLEASE do not let me feel a stale piece of gum under a restaurant table, or under a chair at church, or stand in it… it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It makes me all sweaty. URrghhhh.

I use a razor to shave my moustache every now and then. I stopped waxing my upper lip a long time ago – too painful. I usually use hair remover or this special little epilator thingy which I bought years ago. But sometimes I don’t have batteries for it and the hair remover is finished and I am desperate so I just use a razor. I am *this” close from being a man.

And now this is just getting embarrassing. I’m done.