Category Archives: Women

The life I have been missing: why downsizing your life is the bomb diggity.


Hello guys. I’ve missed you *throwskissesallaround.*

Let me bring you up to speed. There’s so much that has been going on. Stuff I’ve wanted to keep private until now because there was a lot of transitioning that needed to take place. Physical transition, but also a mental transition and while the journey has been difficult, the destination is so worth it. SO.WORTH.IT. And we aren’t even there yet!

If you know me well, you’ll know I’ve been talking about downsizing my life for a while now. I even blogged about it here. Downsizing in the sense of simplifying and streamlining the way we do life. I do believe there are many ways you can simplify your life in small ways every day. But sometimes it takes a huge step of faith to make a change even when the pros don’t necessarily outweigh the cons.

I’ve been listening to lots of people in my life, I’ve been reading lots of blog posts and the thread is always the same. People are busy, their lives are hectic, they are stressed out and finding it difficult to balance careers/parenting/finances/relationships/LIFE on the whole. I’m one of those people. But I got to the point where I knew we had to make a drastic change in order to calm the pace of our lives.

So what’s changed?

We moved house! We now live in walking distance to my work. Hannah walks to and from school. Liam’s school is 5kms away. Church is 3 minutes away. I cannot explain the difference this has made. We wake up when the sun is up, our school mornings are leisurely and everyone is calm. I am home at 4pm most days. This means I can cook peacefully, I can sit down and monitor homework, by 6pm everyone is ready for bed which means we have an hour and a half to do whatever we like. Some days I fit gym in before supper. By the time my husband gets home, I am like a 1950’s wife (without the pressed hair and makeup) and ready to serve him and attend to his needs unlike the past where we were all chasing our tails to bedtime.

That’s the physical transition.

Mentally, it was difficult to let go. Going into a complex when you’re used to living in a house on a street is not without its challenges. Giving up a big yard and lots of space was a mind adjustment. We gave away a lot of stuff, sold off some furniture and threw out all the dead wood. Most difficult of all was letting go of Rocky.  Losing the space meant losing our Rottweiler who needed that space. I am grateful that he has been re-homed and he is happy, but we still miss him of course.

But nothing: not a big house, not a fancy car, not all the yard space in the world, not the swimming pool… nothing is comparable to the peace of mind I’ve gained in moving closer to where we do life. I can’t believe we spent the last eight years travelling first from the Westrand and then from Midrand into Zone 1, as I call it. And this is not applicable to everyone either, if you are not governed by school times, peak hour traffic which is unavoidable, and your personality type is such that sitting in traffic doesn’t send you over the edge (God bless you), that’s great. But for me, this move has been life altering. I’m a better mother, wife and human for it.  And let me tell you, all those things that you think define who you are and what you’ve accomplished? All the niceties we think we cannot do without? I can vouch for the fact that there is absolute freedom in not being bound by those things which we think defines us.

What do you know, I even have more time to blog! Stay tuned to see how else I’ve downsized my thinking (not my dreams) and my life.

Bringing you up to speed.


Hello! Happy New Year!

This could possibly be the longest I have stayed away. I hate these catch up posts, how can you possibly cram December holidays, Christmas, New year, Big School, ALL the extra murals, ALL the homework, losing our long term helper, looking after my own house, the start of 2015… all into one post? You just can’t. It won’t do any of it justice. But I shall try…

In the words of the king in Alice in Wonderland:

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”  

So the beginning. We had a very chilled Christmas. My Favourite People AKA my sister and her family spent the holidays with us and we did very little else, other than chill. We rang in the New Year over board games and biryani and hoped that the year which lay ahead would be as calm as the way we had welcomed it in.

Not so and we’re only 30 days in.

After five years, we decided that we no longer needed live-in help. With both kids being older and out of the house all day, my hours slightly more flexible and a medium sized house… we couldn’t justify having full time help anymore. So we said goodbye to Zoleka who has been a faithful and loyal helper. “Keeping house” isn’t as disastrous as I thought it would be. If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know I don’t really like housework. I’m the youngest of four kids, I had older siblings to do all the dirty work, and then I married a man who isn’t afraid of housework so I’ve never really had to clean up after people. And then we had zoleka since the kids were little, so except on the odd occasion and during the holidays, I didn’t really ever have to wash, iron, sweep, scrub and all those other swear words associated with cleaning. But this is a blog post all on it’s own. I’ll share how I “keep house” and I’d be keen to hear how everyone else does it. It’s been just over three weeks and I still haven’t called on my “piece-job” helper who I have on standby for once a week deep cleaning because we’ve been managing quite OK so far.

Then Big School. Guys, it’s like a mine field. New teachers, new rules, new schedules, new routines. Everyday is different, and everyday requires a different something-something that he needs to take, or that he needs to remember. Again, I will blog about this separately and in that post I will add a photo of my monthly calendar and what it looks like! Just today we had to remember library book, tuck money, swimming clothes and show and tell item. That’s besides homework book, reading book and word book, and the little gift for the student teacher who finishes off today, while making a note of what time school finishes today – because he finishes a different time most days depending on the extra mural. I feel a bit frazzled, I won’t lie. The good news is that he is doing SO well. Again,  I will post about this in a school post, but can I just say how HAPPY I am that we held him back and that he is repeating Grade R with children who are all his age. And oh yes, he has the edge, just like all you know-it-all moms who said so! He already has private reading lessons with the principal and he is just flourishing.

Hannah, my little Rose, continues to blossom. Milestone of milestones, she opted to do ballet this term and wait for it… wanted to wear a PINK skirt and leotard. My Hannah? Doing ballet and wearing pink! The tomboy has not completely disappeared, don’t worry… but she has stopped painting with her kiddie eye shadow and started putting it on her face. ALL over a face so that she looks like something out of KISS:

rectangle

 My Reader frightens me… I haven’t read a blog post in over 6 weeks so if you’ve missed my essay long comments on your blog, don’t take it personally! I think I’m going to delete all and just start from scratch because being so far behind is giving my OCD filter the heebeejeebies. 

I know it’s late, but I do wish you all a wonderful 2015. I don’t do a word for the year and all that stuff but I do have personal aspirations all which revolve around not being so busy this year. Creating time to be the best mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend I can be and not waste time on the things that are inconsequential. And it really isn’t that hard to do. Remember, there’s a difference between good-busy and bad-busy and last year was full of bad-busy for me. This year I’m all about the good-busy!

Back on the books. For a hot minute.


Generally we enjoy a road trip. The kids are at a pleasant age where sitting in the car for 7 hours is a breeze. And thank goodness because flying anywhere for a family of four is becoming financially impossible, more so if you’re in Durban every five minutes like we are. But the best part of these long trips is that it gives me time to read. Sad state of affairs when the only time a person has to read is when they are in a moving vehicle, but hey I’ll take what I can get.

So we went down to the South Coast this weekend to spend time with my family and I found myself with approximately 14 free hours to read! Granted, I had to stop now and then to actually make conversation with the driver, to tear the kids apart when they were arguing, to answer their 565734 questions and to listen to my song when it came on the radio. But for the most, I had my head stuck in my book. Well my virtual book, thanks to e-reading devices.

I like light hearted, romantic, funny books. I don’t really read nonfiction except for the Bible and auto biographies of people I am interested in. I used to read very serious books a few years back, but I realised I could not cope. When you are still thinking about a book a week/a month / a year later and you’re freaked out by things that you read in a work of FICTION (come on, it’s not even real and you’re STILL freaked out), then you know your over analysing mind needs to stick to the light hearted stuff. I remember the very day I made this discovery about myself after reading yet another one of Lisa Gardner’s books, I just couldn’t handle it. It’s the same reason why I don’t watch horror movies.

Anyway.

I read The Fault in Our Stars, mainly because of all the hype around the book and movie; if you haven’t heard of this book/movie, you are surely living under a rock. I sort of knew the story line – who doesn’t – and I didn’t want to read it initially because I knew it would make me sad and miserable, but I read the first few pages and was sucked in. Yes, it is sad, and yes I was miserable after reading it. But it was beautiful. It was so… human, for want of a better word. It perfectly portrayed the humanness of dealing with illness, love and hope. I am still thinking about this book, but not in a freaked out sort of way. I think I will watch the movie too.

 Then I read The Pact by Jodi Picoult. Hmm. Um. I don’t know where to start. Firstly, I was gripped by the story so it must have been good, no? But perhaps it was like a car accident on the highway. No matter how much you don’t want to look, you still slow down and look. It was too intense. It freaked me out about having a teenager in the next few years, it freaked me out about jail, it freaked me out about the legal system – even though technically this was the American legal system, but still. I am still thinking about this book, VERY much in a freaked out sort of way. And I am still so heartbroken for the teenage boy in this book, as if he is real. Utterly gutted like I knew him!

 This post is not a book review, it’s more about the type of books that are good for me. I know I must not read books that are too close to home… so no books about children been kidnapped or abused or anything like that. No books about the boogey-man and murders and people being unfairly treated. Basically I need to stick to soppy romantic novels which all end with the words “and they all lived happily ever after.”

Am I sad that this would exclude almost all of the books on the New York Time’s Best Sellers list? Am I sad that I’m probably missing out on some of the best literature of our generation? Am I embarrassed that I am a sucker for a fairytale ending? Am I angry about the fact that I am a feeler and that even made up stories affect me?  Not at all! I’d much rather leave a book feeling warm and fuzzy inside, than  not sleeping at night and looking over my shoulder like a lunatic for something that isn’t even real.

So, any other warm and fuzzies out there? Which warm and fussy novelists can you recommend for a pushover like myself?

The thing about having a girl child


Boys just have it easier in life. Like seriously. Even at the tender age of 4, Hannah is learning that the male species got off light, compared to the fairer sex.

Case in point #1. HAIR

Poor Hannah cries at least twice a week when I have to brush her hair. And not because she doesn’t want to, but because it’s SORE. I know how sore it is, I can remember being a little girl and my mother pulling my head this way and that. She looks at Liam enviously as he just does forward-down-down-down (the routine he brushes his hair in.) When he gets out of the pool, he just jumps in the shower and shampoos and dries, whereas she has to wash, comb, style. A process that takes at least 45 minutes. I do not make a big deal out of hair, she has a beautiful thick mane which does take time to maintain but I try my best not to make an issue out of it. Husband wants me to cut her hair to lessen the drama, but I refuse to cut her hair short as it would just mean more maintenance for me and more tears for her. Short coloured hair does not equal easier to manage, it equals MORE maintenance! Ask me, I know.

Case in point #2. PEEING

Do you know how much longer it takes for a girl to make a wee, versus a boy? About half a minute. Which in preschooler time, translates into FOREVERRRRR. We’re still at the age where I force pee breaks because Hannah still forgets if she is having too much fun. The fact that she has to sit and wipe makes her mad when Liam just has to aim and make a big joke out of his peeing experience (typical male behaviour right here). I try to make her feel better by whispering in her ear that he gets wee all over his hand and she doesn’t, eeeuuw. She likes that a lot.

Case in point #3. GETTING DRESSED

This is all on her. Because she is a girl. Because it’s in our genetic makeup. Because we were blessed with feeeeelings and emotions. Stuff that the male population just don’t seem to have. For the most part, I let them choose their own clothes. Liam yanks out the first t shirt and shorts he comes across, while leaving the rest of his wardrobe looking like a whirlwind tore through it. Hannah, on the other hand, will take about 7 minutes to decide what to wear – even if she, too, is only choosing a t shirt and shorts. She will pack everything back neatly, and then second guess her choice, and then go back and choose something else. And then shoes, oh the shoes. Slops? Sandals? Takkies? Which colour? OH THE CHOICES ONE HAS TO MAKE. And it weighs heavily on her. It really does. Like how getting dressed in the mornings weighs heavily on me. It’s a girl thing, I am convinced. And even though she is quite tom-boyish, this is still a factor in her little genetic make up. Fascinating stuff, right?

Case in point #4. FEEEEELINGS and EMOTIONS

I touched on it already, but feelings and emotions are just different in girls. Even the rough and tumble girls, like my Hannah. We just can’t help it. Even when we don’t want to, we can’t keep the tears from falling. We can’t help feeling sorry for everything and everyone. We can’t help crying dramatically when our nail polish chips. We can’t help defending the underdog. And we can’t help screaming in a fit of rage when we lose at Uno or Snakes and Ladders. When you hurt our feelings, we will most likely want to punch your head in, and we will lash out and say things that we don’t really mean… like calling your brother a doo-doo-head. Whereas brother in the same situations will roll his eyes, probably pick his nose and wonder what’s for supper.

Oh my baby girl, it’s tough out here for us (you don’t even know about heart break, getting your period, then planning a wedding, then HAVING A BABY, to name just a few). But the other glorious side to being a girl is that we get to be the nurturers, the carers, the moms, the sisters, the BFFs – and we just do all those things really well because of point #4 above. We get to smell good and we LIKE to take baths. We get to share our feelings and eat ice cream straight out of the tub when we want to. We have an excuse every month to get out of doing stuff we don’t want to do. We can wear shorts and jeans AND skirts and dresses. How cool? And if you never ever want to wear a dress, that’s cool too, because how you dress has very little to do with anything anyway. But we have choices; guys don’t have that. They get to wear pants and black socks and only have one pair of smart shoes EVER. I think your Daddy STILL wears his wedding shoes for his “smart” shoes. Shame!

So don’t look at your brother and wish you could be like him, believe me, his time is coming… we are going to laugh for DAYSSSSS when his voice breaks in a few years. DAYSSS!

han and umbrella

Spring Day, Date Night and Gym. Again.


I am sure I’ve entitled a previous post by this same name. The name suits a post where I need to talk about … well this and that really…

So it’s Spring Day on Monday. I don’t see why we should be celebrating Spring when it’s a miserable 5 degrees outside. And in fact, Spring equinox or whatever it’s called which signals the official start of Spring is only around my birthday.. 21 / 22 September, so really I am not feeling Springy AT all. But I think the real reason why I’m being the Spring Grinch is because I have to come up with these blasted Spring Day outfits. And I’ll admit that I had whole year to think about this (it does take place every year after all as my dear husband reminded me during a rant) but we only received the notification on Tuesday and I feel harassed by the short notice we were given. Having donned bee and flower outfits already, I thought the simplest route would be some sort of animal. They wanted to go as dogs. Seriously, I think I’m raising these kids wrong. Dogs? No man. We agreed on bunnies – I mean how hard is it to dress your kid up as a bunny? Pretty hard apparently. I’ve bought the bunny ears, the face paint and now I’m struggling to find a “suit” – I really don’t want to hire it because while I don’t want to make any real effort, I also don’t want to be seen as taking the easy way out. Taking the easy way out does not fit in with my highly competitive nature, it just doesn’t! Did I mention there’s a prize for best dressed? And we’ve won prizes two years in a row, I, I mean my kids, need to win again. So I thought a onesie pyjamas would be the best thing, but trying to find a onesie when all the stores are bursting with summer clothes is proving rather difficult. Today’s my last day to shop around and if I don’t come right, I’ll have to “magic” something out of the clothes already in their wardrobes. Fun times, this.

Gym. Well I am still going folks. In fact, we’ve already been three times this week. This is quite something for me. Dad, if you’re reading this: IN YOUR FACE! My dad laughed when I told him I’d joined the gym, he didn’t think I’d see it through. Well whaddaya know. On Wednesday I left my towel at home. Now leaving your towel at home wouldn’t be such a big deal … UNLESS YOU WERE GOING SWIMMING. So I sheepishly asked the lady behind reception to loan me a towel. Well, she gave me a teeny tiny towel only good enough to wipe the sweat off your brow. And I needed to dry my whole big body with this tiny piece of toweling. You guys know how I feel about gym nakedness, and there I was in the change room, modestly trying to cover my elephantine bits with this handkerchief sized towel. I don’t even think I dried my legs for fear of having to bend, my face was on fire, I just wanted to get out of there ASAP. We did a Killer Abs class the other day… the next day my abdomen felt the same as it did the day after I gave birth via C-section. INSANE. I also lost my gym card and needed to fork out a further R65 to get another one. Between leaving my towel at home – even though I always remember a toiletry bag full of awesome smelling stuff for after I shower, and losing my gym card, my husband still thinks I am not taking this whole exercise thing seriously enough. Whatevs!

Date night. So we try to get out alone every Thursday night. Last week we went to see Cirque Eloize. What a show! I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was so entertaining, I actually wished the kids could have been there. You’re only a real mom when you are on a date with your lover and you miss your kids, don’t you know? It was really phenomenal – the things the human body can do, wow. Sometimes I feel really bad to just sit here like a lump of lard when my body has all this potential that I could unleash if I really wanted to. Do things like that ever bother you? Like you feel like you’re wasting what you’ve been given? I don’t mean I want to be a performer, heaven knows this body was not made to perform, but like DO stuff to keep your body doing what it was made for. Exercising, eating right, being more active, enjoying the great outdoors rather than sitting on the couch.. simple stuff like that, you know. It does weigh heavily on me while eating my 17th block of chocolate in front of the TV (most nights.)

I digress.

So Cirque was last Thursday and this Thursday past, we went to the movies. We watched S. e .x T ape which was in fact really funny. The story portrays an average family where mom and dad work, mom also blogs and the parents are at a stage where between the pressure of life, having kids, and all that comes with it, their s. ex life has taken a backseat and how they try to revive it. The language was offensive and some scenes inappropriate but the story line was really cute and funny and I enjoyed it. Also, mid week movies are hard on the body. We caught the 7h45 show which came out close to 10pm and by the time we got home, I was scuttling into bed desperate to fall asleep as fast as possible because I didn’t want to wake up tired and we all know how sleep evades a person when they are desperate to SLEEP. So I’m not sure about living wild/young/free in the week when one is at an age where lack of sleep shows the next day. I feel tireddddd today. Living on the edge I tell you.

Are you ready for the weekend? Man, I’m ready for the weekend. I’m ALWAYS ready for the weekend. Have a good one, lovelies xx

I joined the gym and everybody laughed.


Ya, I’m serious. They all LAUGHED. Thanks guys. Just look at the comments:

gym

With friends like these, who needs enemies! Ha!

Truth is, these friends know me well, my idea of exercise is walking to the fridge, lifting hand to mouth, running after naughty dog when he gets my slipper in his mouth, chasing the ice cream truck down the road… you get the picture.

My lifestyle doesn’t exactly fit in with my husband’s über healthy lifestyle. He, who drinks gallons of water, gets up before the sun to go for a jog, goes to the gym “for fun,” eats Rye bread and drinks all these weird potions from white tubs with pictures of body builders with fake tans.

So now you think I am going to say that I feel inspired, that I want to change my lifestyle, blah, blah, blah. Well no. I went through that, remember. When I  decided to take up running for all of three weeks. So no, I’m not going to go down that road again. I joined the gym as a way to spend more time with my husband. That’s about it. I like to swim, probably the only form of exercise I am particularly fond of, and I’m pretty good at it which helps. By that I mean I don’t make a fool of myself in the pool, whereas on the gym circuit I look like a cross between Mr Bean and  a drunk person. It’s awful to watch, I am sure.

So currently my gym workout looks like this:

1. Model around the gym in my fabulous gym gear provided by my friend Linda. Love these gym clothes with all the secret pockets for your keys, gym card, lip gloss, phone, sweets. Kidding. I only take my phone and gym card.

2. Make conversation at the water cooler with anyone who fancies a natter. This apparently is frowned upon, NO ONE wants to chat at the gym. Why?

3. Stroll on the treadmill. My husband says that I should at least try to make like I’m working out because there are people waiting to use the machinery. Sorry.

4. Laugh at the people in the classes. OH MY WORD. Funniest thing EVERRRR. Shame, not everyone can keep up with the instructor, hey. I may eat these words tomorrow, as I’ve signed up for a Zumba class and I actually have no idea what Zumba is. Sounds like Samba, so I’m imagining some kind of dancing. Party over here, whoop whoop!

5. Do the circuit thingy with my husband. He makes me do “reps” and I’m like we’ve done this already, let’s move onto the next shiny machine please. The only thing I haven’t jumped on yet is that plate machine that shakes all your fat AWAY. And I don’t think I’ll ever get on it unless we’re the only people there. I do not want the whole gym to witness my shaky butt and thighs, thank you very much.

6. Cool down. My favourite part. I sit on the couch and regroup after a hectic workout.

7. Hide my face in absolute embarrassment at the boobs, butts and other weirdly shaped lady bits in the change room. Guys, I am not a prude. I have no issues with nudity in the home. None, whatsoever. I am the mother who changes her children (kalgat) wherever we are, if we need to. No issues. But man, all those naked ladies walking around FREAK me out COMPLETELY. I don’t know what to do with my eyes. And I most definitely do not prance around in my birthday suit like that. This one lady stood at the blow dryer bending forwards and backwards in an effort to create maximum hair volume or whatever and I was HORRIFIED. Here was I, back in high school, as I awkwardly try to get my bra on without exposing any nip ple and there was Brooke Shields AKA Blue Lagoon AKA naked-as-the-day-you-were born, tossing her hair around in all her birthday suit glory. No man.

So that’s my gym experience to date. I have enjoyed swimming with the kids; wish I had started this earlier because I would have endured much less whining as they stare forlornly out the window at our green swimming pool asking “wheeeeeeeen will Winter be over so we can swim?” I also enjoy leaving them at home and spending that time with my husband, this is 2014 people, spending time with your loved one often means incorporating two activities into one because there are only so many hours in the day. Working out together is considered date night for some. Or in our case, one working out while the other goofs around.

Not sure that I’ll be Instagramming at the gym, my husband rolls his eyes when I want to start taking photos. He can’t understand why I have to bring my phone to the gym… AS PROOF THAT I WAS EVER THERE, HELLO.

 

I got the snip


So yesterday I went to get my hair “did.” Just a quick bit of background, the company I work for often requires hair models and the like… so a mailer will go out to the whole company for a certain brand who is testing or training and requires hair models. Of course it’s a perk – I got a cut, treatment, highlights and then overall colour for MAHALA, so I am grateful, truly I am, but it was a looooong procedure because they were training someone, you know what I mean. So every step was explained, the theory was discussed, I had a trainee apply colour (which could have been frightening if I was the least bit interested in my hair – I’m not, I just wanted the freebie).. so it took LONG. However, I am really pleased with the end result.

 
hair 3

They used Matrix on my hair, a brand I am currently loving and using on Hannah’s hair as well.

It was primarily colour training and the stylist was going to throw in a cut for me. So just to start with, she literally took my hair into a pony and CUT IT so as not to waste colour on hair that I was going to snip off anyway. The first time I took such a big leap, I was very nervous! Like that scissors cutting may have caused a tear in my eye (it was either that, or the fact that my sister had just called a lady over and she had used a kitchen scissors to hack my hair because I decided on a whim to chop it off – long story, don’t ask!). But this time, cutting off all that hair was somewhat exhilarating. I had no regrets!

I chose my colours with her guidance because let’s face it, I am not a hair person. I’ve had my hair coloured professionally once and I’ve used box colour about three times in my life. I have never had highlights in my hair so the whole foil thing was a bit of a thrill for me. But I won’t lie, as I watched the colour develop I did have a mini freak out… look how BLONDE it went there in the corner?

 hair 6

She did assure me that this was NOT the final picture and that I should stop hyperventilating. We agreed that the highlights would be subtle because I was not going to manage or upkeep them necessarily so if I chose to grow them out, it wouldn’t look hideous… Like this:

 hair 5

After the highlights were washed out and my hair was blow dried, the overall colour was applied. Nothing drastic, just a really nice rich brown. I enjoyed a lovely head massage while the treatment was applied and then she blew it out and dry cut my hair. I was surprised, I’ve never had a dry cut before… ok, I’ve never really had ANYTHING done before so I shouldn’t have been surprised. My brief was simple, I wanted a bob that was short at the back and longish in the front and I still wanted my neck covered for winter.

And voila, this was the end result.

 hair 2

I like it, I think it makes me look younger? The style also looks really nice with soft curls. BUT I’m not sure how it would look au natural.. may have to grow it out a bit before I attempt to let the afro lose. All in all, it was a lovely day of getting primped and preened for free! Hubby approves, kids did not even NOTICE, which upset me because they notice EVERYTHING, like down to a pimple on my face or a pair of jeans that I may wear two days in a row… but they missed THIS? Anyway, I forgave them when I heard them tell Daddy on the phone that I looked pweetee 🙂

Not missing my long hair yet. Although I will feel it when I am unable to put it into a messy topknot or a bun on days when I don’t have the time or energy to wash it. There’s no denying that short hair equals more maintenance. But it grows back, right? Who knows, I may just hang onto this new me for a while 🙂

hair 1

 

It is well with my soul.


I really liked this post of Cindy’s. I’ve been rather reflective the last week, after first reading, and subsequently stalking, Mindy’s blog. And when I read Cindy’s post this morning and Mindy’s latest post, it really summed up everything I’ve been feeling.

It is well with my soul.

This has nothing to do with the great news we received yesterday, that hubby would be back home at the end of June. Yay! BUT I will say that this news has cemented what I’ve been feeling the last week, and subsequently, my belief that God is in control, and ultimately His will WILL be done, whether you believe that or not.

I’ve been feeling REALLY tender after reading Ben’s story. Again, I’ve read about and mourned with many families who have lost young children,  colleagues who have lost children in the most horrific ways, friends of friends who have lost children.. it’s not new. But Ben’s story has stayed with me for reasons I am not sure about. It has made me take stock of a lot things. How I parent, what kind of wife I am, what kind of daughter I am, sister, friend? It has made me rethink my values and my goals. It is changed the order of things on my to-do list. I’ve always said I don’t have any regrets, my attitude has always been that there really is no use in crying over spilled milk, so get on with it. But I’ve had this nagging thought lately… why allow the milk to spill in the first place? I’m not talking about things you have no control over. I’m talking about living consciously. I’m talking about actively avoiding the pot holes wherever you can. I’m talking about finding your purpose and living purposefully. I’ve just realised that I live a very “c’est la vie” life. And unapologetically, I have to say that that’s a load of rubbish. Sorry if that’s your stance on life. Taking things as they come, accepting that “oh that’s life” – NO I do not want to live there anymore. I feel like I am wasting SOOO much time on things that actually don’t matter. I spend too much time being down in the dumps over stuff that I make up, all on my own, in my head, accepting woefully that I have no control over the things happening in my life. No, I can’t do that anymore.

I waste so much time trying to fix my kids and keep them toeing the line, when truthfully, IT DOESN’T MATTER. Having polite, well mannered poster children who clean up after themselves and do all the right things is wonderful, it’s great I’m sure! But for goodness sake, let them be 4 and 5. Let them make a mess, without going on and on about how they better tidy that mess. Let them be noisy, without yelling at them to use their inside voices. Let them jump in puddles without complaining about the trail of mud through your house. I want to stop my fire-and-brimstone parenting. “If you do x,y,z.. then THIS is going to happen to you” … I’ve just realised that I sap ALL the joy out of anything they want to do because I’m always harping on about the negative consequences they will face! What a killjoy. I want to parent purposefully, I want my kids to enjoy being little and doing stuff that little children do. Full stop. I don’t want them to be obedient because they are afraid of consequences, I want them to be obedient because they know it’s the right thing to do. And even if they are NOT obedient, cut them some slack!!! They can barely tie their shoelaces, let alone absorb and grasp 155 orders from their parents and teachers all day long. I need to change the way I do a lot of things.

I waste so much time being nasty to my husband, whether to his face or behind his back. The number of times I complain about stuff that REALLY DOESN’T MATTER. Guys, randomly without even thinking about, let me jot down a few things that drive me up the wall about my husband: you pack the dishwasher wrong, you have no sense of urgency about ANYTHING, you are too hard on the kids, you leave crumbs on the counter and you put the butter knife in the jam and it drives me bonkers, you watch too much TV. Whine, whine, whine, whine, WHINE. And the things I say to my girlfriends about my husband… SHAME on me. SHAME!!!! So WHAT if he is and does all these things. So bloody what? I’ve come around to thinking that if you want to see a change, you need to be the change, instead of whining about what’s not changing. At least he is there, at least he packs the dishwasher, at least he makes his kids jam sandwiches, at least he is loyal and loving and helpful and kind and understanding and all the other wonderful things I never tell my girlfriends. I need to adjust my attitude. I don’t want to be that person anymore. I want to purposefully build my marriage in small ways. Overlook butter splotches in the jam tin, or clean them out myself – two seconds, that’s all it would take me. Do I want a WHOLE day ruined by an argument over butter splotches, or do I take two seconds to fix the problem? Sure, I can tell him about it nicely and suggest he uses a clean knife, but if he doesn’t, I don’t want to burst a blood vessel over it anymore. I just don’t. I want to be a nice person to be around, someone he can’t wait to get home to, not the Whiney McWhiner, who just complains 24/7. I wonder what impact that would have on my marriage?

Which takes me back to Cindy’s post… with everything I have, with everything I have been blessed with, with the outright evidence of God’s hand upon my life, how can I be anything but grateful? How can I be anything but satisfied. How can I not live in constant hope, living each day to the full, doing the best I can with what I have in my hand. HOW CAN IT NOT BE WELL WITH MY SOUL??? You know how I feel right now? I feel like it’s just dawned on me. I feel like my eyes have just been opened. And it’s nothing new, its stuff we ALL know all too well, it’s not rocket science, I just want to live purposefully.  God has all this figured out already. He is not surprised by what happens in our lives, NO. He is all knowing. Omniscient. He knew your life’s path before you were even born. So even when you’re going through bad times, God is still in control, he has the ultimate say-so over a situation, all you have to do is believe, and trust in Him. So with this trump card in my pocket, why wouldn’t I plan to live my best life, have the most FUN ever, be joyful even in the storm, parent like a friggen rockstar, be the best wife I can be, show c’est la vie the middle finger and truly plan to kick butt every single day of my life, in every situation? I’m not saying you need to be an ever-ready-bunny who is always pumping positivity – let’s be honest, people like this are TIRING to be around. TIRING. But for goodness sake, I cannot, will not, walk around like my life is so bloody awful. I cannot talk to people about how BAD my life is, that’s a LIE. I cannot let my trials get me down if I believe God has the final say, I cannot continue to bash on my husband and on my kids and be a hater about every little thing that goes on around me.  I just can’t.

Because truthfully, it is well with my soul. Contrary to the children who often behave like zoo animals, the bills that sometime remain unpaid because there’s more month than money, the house that constantly needs fixing up, the husband that works away (not for long), the aches and pains in my body that I always complain about… it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul.

#Jozimeetup


Let me start by saying that I know lots of people, including my very dear husband, who simply don’t get this whole social media / blogging / tweeting / IG’ing / FB’ing thing. He doesn’t get that I “know” people in my computer/phone when I haven’t even met them in real life. When I talk to him about so-and-so and the issue they are having and he asks “who is this person who you know but I don’t – who you know so intimately” and then he answers his own question with “oh wait, it’s one of the people in your phone”.  It’s gotten to the stage where he actually “knows” some of the people in my phone because I talk about them at home as if they were old family friends.

I have a friend who had a mild panic attack when I mentioned I was meeting up with a lady for the first time who I had met online. She was horrified that I would just meet up with a complete stranger who I didn’t even know. Practically the same thing as internet dating and we ALL know someone who met a CRAZY person through internet dating, right?!

But this is different. Through blogging I have met and know some ladies and their families more intimately than I know some of the people in my “real” life. Some of them I have met in person and they have turned out to be really good friends. Others I have never met IRL but we talk every other day, we know what’s going on in each other’s lives, we know each other’s children and we know each other’s challenges. We celebrate each other’s victories and share in each other’s sorrows.

When I first started blogging it was all about me. It was about leaving something for my kids to treasure in time to come. But that has evolved. Yes, it’s still the reason I write, but I also write to share my experiences, because I know there are girls out there (and some guys believe it or not) who could benefit from my little ol’ tales. People who can identify and also people who help ME and offer such good advice!

Basically, through this blog I have met some really nice people in the world!

And that rather long prelude was to bring me to the point of telling you about the #Jozimeetup. Sharon, Laura and Wenchy managed this event which saw tons of bloggers, tweeters and social media gals come together. I’m not going to get all soppy and say these events are like family reunions but I will say that it’s almost like it!! It’s like meeting up with a person you feel you have known forever but haven’t had a chance to meet up with IRL. It’s funny and weird putting a personality to a face you only know through photos! It was a lovely morning, meeting new faces and catching up with old. I wish I could have stayed longer because I didn’t get to interact with everyone I would have liked to because there were so many pretty faces there! And meeting the babies! That was the best part. We follow these little ones online, we know about their sleeping schedules, how many teeth they have, what diapers they use, and yet we’ve never squished their cheeks IRL! I enjoyed all the babies!

We were also spoilt with an amazing goody bag in the form of a personalized tote filled with delicious goodies. TOO LOVELY! All in all a successful morning and I can’t wait for the next one! Thanks to the ladies who organised!

Mother’s Day meanderings…


I had a GREAT Mother’s Day. From the handmade trinkets, to the cards with beautiful words that made me cry, to my nice warm slippers which I requested and received (here’s a tip for you: if you TELL them what you want, you are likely to get it and not suffer the disappointment of another kitchen appliance – although I LOVE receiving kitchen appliances!) It was perfect. It started off on a shaky note, because one little girl couldn’t find her gift… but I blame her father for this. It was exactly where she said she had put it, but they didn’t look properly and I eventually came out of the bathroom to put the fire out – her father was yelling “I told you to put it away safely” and her brother was also giving her a lecture about not looking after her stuff… I shooed the boys out of her room, spoke gently to her and offered to help her look for it and we found it together and seeing her smile through her tears was my Mother’s Day made RIGHT THERE. I could have said good bye and thank you for coming and ended the day right there because it was just that moment that made me appreciate the honour of being called a Mom. You know when you do something for your kid that makes them happy, when they give you that smile that says I love you the MOST in the world. Even stuff like making a peanut butter, jam and butter sandwich (that’s what he calls it and in that order) for Liam and he tells me that I’m the best “cooker” and no one makes it like I do… and I laugh and say ANYONE can smear some jam on a sandwich, boy! And he says, no, not like you. Yeh, it’s those moments that define motherhood for me.

We went to church and spent the rest of the day in the kitchen together. We had a simple lazy-aged-steak-and-veggies lunch and we made Siba’s Sunday Trifle for the first time. I am not a trifle person, but this one was different – cream cheese, berry reduction, etc. It was nice. And that’s the only adjective I can use. It didn’t blow my hair back, it wasn’t earth shattering… it was just OK.

We watched some soccer – last weekend of the EPL, I was NOT going to get out of that. And spent the rest of the day on the couch, with the kids playing somewhere in the background -occasionally bringing me bugs, seeds and weeds from the garden as further Mother’s Day thanks offerings. I had to eventually tell them to stop bringing this rubbish into the house.

I had a great day, I felt loved and appreciated. My children are at the age where they have a clearer understanding about what the day is actually about so it was fun to chat to them around why I am the most awesome mother in the world (to them). I told them that Mother’s Day was the one day in the year where I was the queen and they were the servants and they had to do everything I told them to do. Their response? You do that to us every day, mummy! Touché! Little buggers!

Personally, I felt a sense of achievement. Mostly, I feel inadequate and completely under qualified to parent. Not because I am a bad mother, but rather because mothering is bloody difficult, it comes with MANY challenges and I truly feel like I’m just making it up as I go along and I have this constant sense of “what-the-heck-was-that” when I hear myself speak / teach / grow with them. But you know what… I KNOW that I am THE BEST mother for my Liam and Hannah. I am proud of the little people they have turned out to  be.

I spoke to a mom at the #jozimeetup (will be blogging about this awesome little event soon) and she and her daughter are slap-bang in the middle of “that” stage… the Terrible Twos even when your kid is WAY over two years old. I was glad to tell her with absolute certainty that it is TRULY just a phase. They grow up and out of it so quickly, even though it feels like forever when you’re in it, and I could attest to the fact that I was there, I made it out alive, and I have the scars to prove it! I hope I encouraged her, because that’s what this journey is also about. Us moms still in the trenches need to support each other, because it’s tough out there!

I hope you had an amazing Mother’s Day. I hope you felt loved and appreciated. I hope that you know what an amazing job you are doing even if nobody tells you so. This whole giving birth to a life (and by that I refer to any means in which your little one found his or her way to you), nurturing that life, protecting that life, sacrificing for that life – it’s probably THE one most important role and function in the world, and you are doing it. That’s amazing. Well done.