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Tag Archives: Family

Something Fishy

Recently both my children celebrated their birthdays. The festive season is always a clusterfuck of sorts in my household. We have Christmas, a few days later it’s Gabby’s birthday and a month later it’s Elijah’s birthday. Financially speaking, it can get very expensive, very fast during the worst months of the year when it comes to trying to manage your finances. What to buy the children for their birthdays is always a struggle, without even bringing affordability into consideration. Personally I am not in favour of buying more toys, since they already have more than one toy box overflowing with things that they never play with. Of course I am in favour of buying them clothes since they are growing up way too fast and both of my children are incredibly talented at making huge holes in their pants. Gabby will usually come home with a hole in the knees of her pants, while Elijah has been able to rip a hole in the seam of even the most durable of clothing items. I bought them toys anyway, but nothing too expensive or big and definitely nothing requiring batteries. Their father decided to buy them pets. A fish tank to be more precise. I was dead set against the idea. NO PETS. No no no. I don’t want a fish tank, I don’t want fish. I don’t know anything about how to keep them alive, clean the tank, etc. I don’t want to have to deal with the heartache of the children when the morning comes where I am going to have to flush their fish down the toilet. What mommy wants doesn’t matter though. The kids were beyond excited and I surrendered.

Chill Corner

Chillin’

Cinderella and Ryan

Cinderella and Ryan

Tank Decor

Tank Decor

Goldeen

Mommy’s Fish

What came home was a tiny fish tank. A starter tank if you ever did see one. Rudi bought a filter and some stones for the bottom and 2 goldfish. One for each of the children. The children picked which goldfish they wanted for their own and named them.  Meet Cinderella (left with the black markings) and Ryan. I procured the “plant” you can see in the background. Next thing you know I’m standing in Stodels looking for fish vitamins, additives to help me clear the water and whatever else I can find to make these fish happy. Within a week I was more obsessed with the fish tank than the kids were. I wanted to decorate it and get a light installed. While getting the water clear has been an uphill battle and I’m still not happy with the clarity of the water, taking care of these fish has become a little hobby that I am quite enjoying. A friend of mine promised Elijah he would buy him something cool to put in the tank, but he was trying to find just the right thing. He finally found something really cool to put in with the fish. On yet another trip to Stodels yesterday I found a third item I thought would look good. I was a little worried I wouldn’t have enough space, but I luckily I did 🙂
I bought the purple ‘coral’ and my friend bought the shipwreck which I think looks really badass. I really wanted to buy a plecostomus (sucker fish) for the tank, but the helper at Stodels advised against it strongly since they are tropical fish and probably wouldn’t survive in unheated water. I was quite bummed. I love those darn sucker fish and they serve a purpose as well. I was determined to leave with a fish though and I knew I wanted my own distinctive fishy. I looked for a black goldfish, but couldn’t find one…so….Meet Goldeen! Named after a generation 1 Pokemon that is also a fish with white markings 🙂 This is MY fish. I started feeling kind of left out not having a fish of my own. Why do the kids get to have all the fun? They don’t. I was so silly excited about this fish I tell you. When I got home I popped Goldeen into the tank and I could tell that Ryan and Cinderella were very accepting. They totally hang around in the tank together. There is a specific corner they like to chill in.

Fish friends! I was told that the maximum capacity of my tank is 3 goldfish. Now there are 3. Problem is…I want more. Now I’m contemplating getting a bigger tank. WHO AM I EVEN? I DIDN’T WANT THE TANK OR THE FISH. One night before I got the extra fish Elijah prayed at bedtime “Dear God, thank you that mommy is so nice about the fish, even though she didn’t want them. ” Seriously though…a bigger tank with more fish would be awesome. These things can get very expensive by the way. You’ll find yourself spending money on things you never thought you would want or needed. Yesterday morning, instead of getting ready for work, I pulled a chair up to the fish tank. I fed the fish and sat there watching them swim after the flakes. I may even have spoken to them. The kids do too. They kiss the fish goodnight through the glass and tell them to sleep tight.

After I got home from work yesterday I decided to overhaul the entire tank. I emptied it out, cleaned the filter, cleaned the glass and the stones and refilled the tank. I know usually you only do half and half when cleaning the water, but I had had just about enough of cloudy/murky water and thought this would help. It did! I managed to get better pics of the fish too 😀

Cinderella Fish

Cinderella

Goldeen Fish

Goldeen

Ryan Fish

Ryan

Clean water

Clean water

 

Having fish pets is kind of awesome. Who knew?

Thank you for reading!

 

I’ve Come Undone

I’ve been off from writing personal posts for a long time. There has been so much going on with me. There is so much I’m trying to work through. I feel like all the broken bits inside of me that I have been patching up from time to time have ripped loose. I’ve come undone. It’s such a mess and clearly the glue I’ve been using is of an inferior quality. Now I’m sitting surrounded by these shards of glass. I’m too afraid to touch them, if I do I’ll cut myself and bleed again, but I need to pick them up. I can’t just leave the mess. I have no idea how to piece things back together. I’ve made a start, but the pieces of glass are scary. I don’t know how to pick them up. I know which ones should be thrown away, but I don’t know where to put them. I know that I’m strong enough to do it, I must be. After all the demons I’ve faced in my life, I know I’m strong. I see the demons reflected in the pieces of glass and they also still scare me, these memories. Piecing these things back together isn’t a job that can be done wearing kid gloves. You need to  get right in there and handle those things with your bare hands.

So in the middle of October as they do every year, my feelings started rising to the surface. I started suffering from anxiety and slipped into depression. There were days that I struggled to lift my head off my pillow and drag myself in to work. I would cry while applying my make up in the mornings and would continue on the way to work. By the time I arrived I would wonder why I even bothered putting on make up at all. This is the second year around Jamie’s birthday that I’ve started feeling this way, except this year it was a lot worse and it carried on way past her birthday. As I’m typing this I am still struggling with the anxiety and the tears that just come. It is better now than it was a month ago, the depression did not hang around long. I had a few really tough days, but that eased off once Jamie’s birthday was behind me. A friend recognized my struggle and urged me to get help. I did, but it was a temporary arrangement that I cannot afford to maintain. Honestly, I did find it very helpful and I wish I could continue, but it just isn’t financially viable even though it is invaluable. Right now I’m left trying to figure it all out on my own. I’ve been avoiding the pieces of glass for so long. I thought I had it all together and handled, but it has become clear to me that I do not and now I have to do the work. There is no going back. There is no more faking it till you make it. I need to deal. I just haven’t figured out yet exactly how.

I went through almost a month where I didn’t even open my blog to write anything down. In my 10 years of blogging, this is unheard of. I stopped doing nail art for a few weeks. A first since my nail obsession started. I couldn’t even find the motivation to do a nail post, which is usually fairly easy for me. Luckily I had a few drafted posts that I could push out in the interim so my blog only went silent for about a week when they had finally run out. Writing on my blog has always been cathartic for me. I blogged though some of the most difficult times of my life with much success (or so I thought, that inferior glue). The deterioration of my relationship with my mother, the loss of Jamie, my grandfather’s illness and subsequent death. I just couldn’t sit down and pour out what is inside this time.

I am struggling at home. It is peak season for Rudi at work and this sees him away from home even more frequently than he was before. While I have adjusted somewhat, day in and day out it starts becoming too much. I’ve realized things about myself and identified why I react a specific way in certain situations. I know now that I am a bit of a control freak and if things do not go precisely as I want them (or very close) I get upset. So yes, having kids is super fun for me. I like to plan things down to the finest detail. I cannot “go with the flow” unless my plan was specifically to do so. Yes. It is weird, I know. When I was getting help I was given homework. I could not find the time to do any of it. I really tried. I did, but I just couldn’t carve out time in my day to sit and work on piecing the glass back together. When I get home in the evening I need to cook, clean, attend to the kids, bath time, etc. We get home around 17:00 and 20:00 is bed time. That’s 3 hours to get everything done. Gabby still likes to have a reunion feed when we get home, so that takes about 20 minutes in itself. Elijah will go and play with his friends and Gabby has started wanting to follow suit. I cannot let her go play outside alone, so if she demands to go I have to accompany her. Cue not getting anything else done. Trying to herd them back into the house for supper time (if I’ve been able to cook)/bath time can sometimes take a half an hour and usually ends with me picking Gabby up and carrying her home with Elijah in tow. Gabby has also suddenly become averse to bathing. She just won’t! A lot of nights she stands with one foot only in the bath screaming at me until I manage to wipe her down. Hair washing nights are very difficult. I lose my cool. ALL THE TIME. In between getting them out of the bath and dressing them I can be found sitting in a heap crying from frustration 8/10 nights. Before the tears comes the yelling. They don’t listen. I speak. I speak again. I speak again. Finally I shout. Nothing works. Not the speaking, not the shouting. Admittedly the tears also come because I feel like a horrible mother for shouting at them. I genuinely feel terrible for doing it, but I completely lose it and it’s like I can’t not. I have tried to stop many times. It is usually short lived.

Until we received a written warning from our body corporate complaining about the noise very recently. Somebody reported it. I really needed that written confirmation of my complete and utter failure as a mother. Thank you for that, dear neighbour. If I remove my emotions from the situation, I can envision that the complaint was made with good intent, perhaps even out of concern. I get it. The problem is and has always been that I have too many feelings. This written warning was a wake up call for me. My rock bottom. It made me feel like it is not only me that thinks I’m a shit mother. It is now a shared sentiment, common knowledge. Since receiving the complaint I’ve tried to be very careful. I’ve tried my best not to shout. The night after I received the e-mail Gabby was crying in the bath, standing on one leg wanting to get out. I tried to calm her, to quiet her…worried about the warning I had just received. I didn’t shout. Instead I sat sobbing by the side of the bath feeling completely powerless to do anything. Eventually I managed to suck it up enough to get her washed and out of the bath. It wasn’t the last time that night that I cried.

Sometimes I just want to escape. I just want to run away. I miss having help around the house. I miss it a lot. I am not going to get it back though, so I’m stuck feeling overwhelmed. Rudi is talking about applying for a new job where he will be driving long distance. He mentioned being away from home for 16 days at a time. I said under no circumstances do I want that for our family, but all he sees is making enough money to finally buy our own house. All I see is my children missing their father and time that they cannot get back with him.

The latter half of 2015 is kicking my ass. Come to think of it, this entire year has kicked my ass in different ways. In the beginning of the year Rudi was changing jobs and as a family we were under a lot of financial pressure for a number of months. This only settled down once he was made permanent in July. During that time my previous car broke and I had to buy a new one and it was very stressful not knowing if I was going to be able to pay for it. Just as the financial issues sorted themselves out, I had to adjust to taking on everything at home and a month or two into that my coping mechanisms gave in.

All in all I think I will be glad to see the back of 2015 and hope that 2016 will bring some sparkle back. Good riddance to 2015!

Thank you for reading x

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My Favourite Household Appliance

I am so often grateful for the appliances in my house that make my life easier. Like my washing machine. It’s so easy to wash your clothes in a washing machine, as opposed to hand washing. Even someone as undomesticated as me can do it. There is an appliance in my house, however, that I would grab in a fire and instantly replace if it broke. I would make debt to replace it. I hate debt, but it would be totally worth it. I am talking about my dishwasher. Ok, I probably would not be able to carry it by myself should my house burst into flame, but I would really want to!

I currently have a Whirlpool dishwasher that we purchased before we got married, so it is easily already 8 years old. We were living in a flat smaller than our current one that somehow had water connections available for a dishwasher and a washing machine. There was only one sink in the kitchen and I remember feeling so frustrated when washing dishes because I couldn’t rinse them after I washed them. Rudi and I soon decided that this dish washing lark was not for us and as a Christmas gift to ourselves we split the costs and bought a dishwasher. BEST PURCHASE EVER. Not long after we bought it, ants invaded the electronics of the dishwasher. Every time we put it on we would see a swarm of ants exit around the on/off button. It was something to behold. It stopped working. A technician came out to check and found the ants nesting behind said button on the electronics. He cleaned it out and replaced it for us. We asked him how to prevent it from happening again and he said it would be safe to put a deterrent or poison in with the circuit board as it would not come into contact with the dishes at all. So we did. We’ve never had an ant problem in the dishwasher again and we’re not dead, so I guess it worked 😉

I literally use the dishwasher every single day. It is a lifesaver. If I think about how much time I don’t spend behind the kitchen sink. Time that I can spend doing other things. Not necessarily things I LIKE to do (like cooking or other cleaning), but it definitely saves me time. It also preserves my nails and you know *that’s* a huge bonus too 😉 Not everything comes out perfectly clean every single time and sometimes if everything doesn’t fit I will wash the leftovers by hand, but it still isn’t the truck load of dishes my family seems to produce on a 3 hourly basis.

One of my requirements for purchasing anything for the kitchen is “Is it dishwasher safe?”. The dishwasher does make some of my plastic things go a bit weird, but it is totally worth it. I don’t really care. I shudder at the thought of sticking my hands into dirty dish water. It freaks me out completely. I do wear gloves now when I wash dishes, for that very reason and because nails. The water gets icky so quickly though and washing dish after dish in the same water also just seems counter productive. My mother used to tell my grandfather that she uses a dishwasher because it sterilizes the dishes (he accused her of being lazy because she refused to wash dishes). I don’t know about that, but hey…that would be cool too! All I have to do now is teach my children how to pack and unpack the dishwasher and I’m set for life!

Do you have a dishwasher? Which is your favourite household appliance? Tell me which one you couldn’t live without in the comments!

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Blessings Among The Trials

The strangest thing is happening in my life. We are in the tightest financial position we’ve been in since my mother put me in such a deep financial hole that we didn’t have food over 8 years ago. Wow. That sounded bad, but it is the reality of what it was at the time. We aren’t starving and the bills are paid, but there are no frills at the moment and the fact that I didn’t have a car payment completely saved our bums over these last few months, but that is all about to change.

As my readers will know I had to buy a new car, then this past week my washing machine packed up. It was like the motor just conked in and was not strong enough to pump out the water anymore.  Doing laundry was chaos. There were buckets involved and McGyver’ing of pipes. Only problem was that we had zero flexibility in our budget to purchase a washing machine, even if we put it on the budget on my credit card. The installment still needs to be paid. I was speaking to my mother about this and she said she would buy the washing machine for me. That I should put it on the budget on my credit card and she would hand over the monthly installment for me before the end of each month. Of course, I know that I cannot trust her to give me the money. I might as well draw up a contract on toilet paper, use it and flush it down the drain. That is how much it is worth. She got extremely upset with me for even suggesting that she wouldn’t hold up her end of the bargain and went on about how she needs a chance to prove herself to me again and that she can’t get me to trust her if I don’t give her an opportunity. I slept on this and then decided that I could take a calculated risk. The washing machine had to be bought, no two ways about it. I figured even if she pays it for the first month or two, by that time Rudi would have been permanently appointed and we would be able to afford the installment on our own. So I purchased the washing machine.

We bought a 13 kg Samsung top loader. Our old one had a 7 kg capacity. Upgrading to a larger one was actually long overdue since the size of our family has doubled since the first one was purchased. I found it on special at Game, but they didn’t have stock. I went to Hi-Fi Corporation, they had the same machine on special for R 200.00 more. I asked them to match Game’s price, but the manager refused at first because Game didn’t have stock. What a dick move. I said I would wait for stock or source one from another branch.  They quickly changed their minds and gave the machine to me at the same price I would have paid at Game. Sorted.

Leebeesa has just married her true love and they are emigrating to Ireland at the end of this month. Consequently they are selling all the contents of their house. Unfortunately they had already sold the washing machine by the time mine conked in, but they did have an awesome Coricraft couch they were trying to sell. Rudi and I still had a hand me down couch and a large couch we bought from my mother second hand when we moved in together. I had told Rudi that we could buy a lounge suite once we no longer had a cat, since she would just claw the crap out of it. Amber has been gone for quite some time and he has been trying to hold me to that promise. He was eyeing a 20 k leather lounge suite for YEARS. Literally. I told him about the couch Leebeesa was selling and he seemed interested and went to look at it while I was at work one day. We decided to take it. I had to suck the funds out of my savings (which have halved in the last few months), but it is a reasonably new high quality couch at a price we just couldn’t pass up.

 

On Saturday our downstairs neighbour was kind enough to help us collect the couch and washing machine. He has a nice big double cab bakkie (pick up truck) and a trailor, so we managed to get everything in one trip. When we got home we discovered that the washing machine just didn’t fit underneath our counter like our old one did. Rudi wanted to chop the counter, but I was dead set against this as we are renting. So we played tetris in our kitchen and started shifting around appliances. Our dishwasher is now standing where the washing machine used to and the washing machine where the dishwasher used to stand. The tumble dryer used to be on top of the dishwasher and obviously we cannot put it on top of a top loader, so it has been exiled into a corner in the lounge. Oh to have more space! Rudi was a great handyman getting everything reconnected and all the pipes and things sorted. The couch was also moved into the lounge and it really is a winner! It is an L shaped couch and the one part is perfect for me to lay and breastfeed Gabby, while the boys can comfortably fit on the other side. It’s wonderful! Check it out:

Coricraft L Shaped Couch

Plenty of space now!

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Just a small size difference

In other news, Rudi has been informed that as of 1 June he is permanently employed at his new job! This is a HUGE relief and hopefully means this is the last month that money is so tight. Next month is going to be really tough as Rudi hasn’t worked all week. Apparently there is very little work at the moment and I suspect the agents are giving preference to those who will not be permanently employed soon when the work does come through. At least once Rudi is permanent he will receive a basic salary and we have a guaranteed income from him. No more worrying about whether he is going to work or not. I am so grateful, it is a huge relief for me. I am a worrier by nature and I take a lot of strain when there is uncertainty in our lives.

So somehow, we have acquired all these new things, while the going was really tough. Let’s hope we can stay on the upward swing!

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8 Months with No Antibiotics – Almost Foiled!

Hi everyone! Poor Gabby has been sick since Sunday. She started off with a horrible dry cough that sounded like a bark. I suspected she might have croup. She started spiking fevers of over 39° and we medicated her accordingly. I sent her to the day mother on Monday where her fever persisted and I figured out that I often ran to the doctor because the day mother is a bit alarmist. On Tuesday she had said Gabby was laying around and not herself. Rudi was home from work and went over to find her playing with the other kids. I understand she may be concerned something happens to the kids while they are there, but it was suddenly clear to me that I often took the kids to the doctor based on her feedback without seeing myself. Gabby didn’t stay home with Rudi because we were unsure if he would be called away to work unexpectedly.

On Tuesday night her fevers carried on coming back and I decided to try and get her to a doctor. I stayed home with her, but the doctors were all fully booked at the practice where we normally take them. There are at least 6 doctors there, so clearly I am not alone. I made an appointment for Thursday. She went over 39° on Wednesday night and again at 3 AM on Thursday morning and I decided to keep the appointment. She had also opened up a snot factory in her head that was new and I was truly afraid she was going to cough so hard she would vomit in our bed. She has also not been eating well, but she has been nursing almost non stop so I am not really worried about her nutrient intake.

I changed doctors for this appointment. I chose a doctor I *know* doesn’t push antibiotics if it isn’t necessary. My grandmother often goes to him and friends of ours use him too. I just knew if I took her back to our regular doctor that we would leave with an antibiotic script in hand.

We went to see the doctor and he assured me that we were not at a point where antibiotics were needed. He advised that the flu was extremely persistent this year and it was not uncommon for him to see kids with fevers for much longer than normal. He advised which symptoms to look for when antibiotics would be called in. He said the clear runny nose was a sign of a viral bug and if really thick coloured sticky snot was present we were likely dealing with a bacterial infection. He gave us one or two extra meds for her symptoms and some peace of mind. She was such a star at the doctor and he said it was a pleasure to examine her. He also mentioned that she had a very sunny disposition for someone who was sick. I said I think the boobs had something to do with it and he said that breastfed children are often more calm and happy. The man knows how to score brownie points with me! (I am not saying bottle fed babies are unhappy/not calm at all. I am sure he was not either. I have a bottle fed child too.)

I was elated that he didn’t prescribe antibiotics. We are now 8 months antibiotic free and hopefully Gabby will get over this without them. The doctor said they are seeing flu that used to last 3 to 4 days drag on for 2 weeks now. I guess the bugs are getting much stronger…what with all the over prescription of antibiotics. 

Other than that Gabby is fully potty trained.  She has blown me away. At 3 AM when she woke up with a fever, she also asked to go pee. We have taken her off nappies altogether. Potty training is one of my least favourite parenting experiences. I did have quite a few unpleasant messes to clean up with her, but she has completely surpassed my expectations with the speed she has taken herself off night nappies in particular. After about 2 months of her waking up with a dry nappy every day I decided we are wasting our money on nappies.  Yay for her! (and us!)

Here’s hoping she is on the mend and that her immunity goes from strength to strength as we try to stick to this antibiotic free lifestyle 🙂

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When Life Gets Tough

In the last two months or so my day to day life has changed dramatically. I have a very hands on and involved husband. He helps me tremendously with the kids and running the household. He has been stuck in a dead end job for many years. He didn’t earn a bad salary for the line of work he was in, but there is just no room for growth or any opportunity for promotion or even doing something different in the company. I have always been the breadwinner in the household and he has done his best, but if the things I hear are true this kind of thing bruises a man’s ego. Apparently men have a primal instinct to provide. I don’t really know, I’m not a dude. So just over 2 years ago he decided to try and do something to get himself into a better position.

His father is a truck driver. Has been for over 30 years. He had spoken about wanting to drive trucks before, but I didn’t know how serious he was about it. Before I knew it he was writing his learners and we were booking driving lessons. He only had 3 and aced his code 14 or EC. He applied for and obtained his PrDP (Professional Driving Permit) and the job hunting began. For 18 months he hounded company after company. I would send out his applications to firms on a daily basis using details he had collected by browsing career websites and cold calling numbers on trucks. He never let up. He was turned down time and time again because he had no experience. Then he decided that his license clearly wasn’t enough and he went to get certification to transport dangerous goods and again aced the test. Rinse, repeat. He would often bring up the job hunt over a beer with whoever and not too long ago he mentioned it to someone in our complex who works for a trucking company. This guy put a good word in for him with the boss and they let him come in to drive and show what he is made of.  The week that he spent training/driving was really rough. He left the house at 5:15 in the morning and came home after 19:00/20:00 and one night after 21:00. After 4 days of driving they put him alone on the truck and even got him to come in on the Saturday and gave him a truck to complete deliveries with no co-driver. He worked from early the morning till after 17:00 that Saturday. He came home with stories about driving trucks and how scary/complicated/dangerous it is that left me cold. If there is one thing I can say about my husband it is that he is an excellent driver. I trust him with our lives. He is by far a better driver than anyone I know. So the fact that he was driving well didn’t surprise me at all, but I felt like I barely saw him all week. Some nights he made it home just in time to kiss the kids goodnight. He was informed that he could start working there and that he would be on probation for a few months. He finally got a job after all his hard work. It was hard for me and for the kids. We missed him so much.

This job never felt “right” to me. He explained to me that the truck he was driving had no working indicators and the speedometer also didn’t work. That just didn’t sit well with me considering he was driving over mountain passes! He would also only earn overtime after working for 10 hours. The company is 35 km away from home in one direction. I had to pick him up a twice late at night with the kids in the car. Not ideal. The guy that put a good word in for him also told him that he always gets his pay on time, but hadn’t seen a payslip for the 8 years he had worked there. That kind of “under the table” thing doesn’t sit well with me. I’m a stickler for rules. I shut up and sucked it up, because I knew he needed the experience and that he is chasing a dream. I knew how hard he had fought just to get a chance.

On one of his days off that he took to sort out paperwork and resign from his old job, he took a chance and drove to a huge distribution center close to home. At first they wanted to turn him away, but one of the guys there told him to come in and take a driving test. It was scheduled for a Friday, but they moved it up to the Thursday. I happened to be on leave on the same day to get my hair done and run some errands. I took him to the distribution center early in the morning and went off to go about my day. He was the only one that passed the driving test. The next thing he knew they were taking his fingerprints and making him an access disk. He had landed the job! I was ecstatic! It is only 8 km from home and is a big retail chain, so much more stability and structure than a fly by night tax evader, no? He had to start the very next day at 2:30 AM! We immediately went out and bought a him a scooter (motorcycle) so that he could get to and from work independently. We don’t even know what his new salary will be, but I’m pretty sure he is going to be earning enough overtime to bridge any gap there might be in what he is earning. I don’t know whether or not there will be more money coming in. I freaking hope so, considering how much less of him we see. Despite it not being about the money, fair is fair. Sacrifice should equal reward.

We are a little frustrated at the moment since he doesn’t get called in to work every day. He gets paid by the hour as he is not a permanent employee, so no work, no pay. He asks to work every day, but a lot of days there isn’t work for him. It looks like we’ll come up short in the budget again this month and it is really stressful. I work with the finances and I am a worrier by nature, so it really takes an emotional toll on me. Apparently they will be appointing permanent drivers really soon. We can just pray and keep the faith that he will be permanently appointed in which case he will get a basic salary plus overtime.

That aside, I now have to do the things he was doing plus whatever I did. I’ve always been against him doing long distance driving. I don’t care about the money. Money cannot buy your children’s childhood back. Money cannot buy missed events, missed memories. Money does, however, pay school fees/rent/child care/new winter clothes for the kids/groceries. Here’s hoping he will be permanently appointed very soon so that we can be guaranteed at least his basic salary as an income.

Cross all the bits please!

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First Day of Grade 0!

Elijah started at a new school today. He is now attending the same primary school that I did. We took him to an open day last year and left there blubbering. I expected today to be more or less the same. I didn’t actually think I would be able to take him as I have a half day at work today as I have a gynae appointment in the middle of the day. Going to the gynae isn’t something you can do in a lunch hour, as you inevitably wait that long just to see him. I also had to drop Rudi off at work before I could go to work because I needed the car to get around. Because of this I didn’t think there was a way for me to take Elijah on his first day AND make the appointment, but Sanita (even with her porridge brain) came up with a plan. I made all the necessary arrangements and was so happy I got to take him!

At the day mother, ready to go!

At the day mother, ready to go!

Rudi insisted on getting Elijah ready for school at home before we went off to the day mother to drop Gabby. He wanted him to look nice and put gel in his hair. We went off to the day mother where the kids had breakfast while Rudi and I had some coffee and cookies that the day mother had baked. Before we knew it, it was time to go to the school. We anticipated some traffic and wanted to take more pictures, so we left a few minutes earlier. When we got there the school yard was milling with children returning to school and parents were standing around with the Grade 0 and Grade R kids waiting to walk them to class. We snapped a few pictures:

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Ready to go mom!

 

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So happy daddy!

Elijah ran into a friend from his previous school last year. They shouted each other’s names when they saw each other, ran to meet each other and hugged. It was so adorable! They were so glad to see each other again.

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Elijah and Dylan

They opened the gates and we walked Elijah to his class. He ran right in, sat down at a table and started playing with some toys that the teacher had laid out. He barely said goodbye. I really thought I was going to be a ball of snot at this point. I had cried at the open day, after all…but there were no tears. I can’t even tell you why. Maybe because I didn’t think I was going to be there and I was just happy that I had the opportunity to see him off.

Look! No tears!

Look! No tears!

 

I’m not sure if daddy is crying behind the glasses 😉

This might not be Grade 1, but for me this is the beginning of his formal schooling and his school career. I am excited. It is daunting as the flood of letters with requests for x, y, z…monies, school photos, all this begins here. We had a taste of it at play school, but I’m sure it will start becoming more labour intensive now that he is at this school.

Did any of you see your kids or family member’s kids off to school this year? Were you brave? Share your experiences with me in the comments!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Gabby’s Crown Birthday Nails & Party

Purchased Myself Button

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Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good New Year! As soon as the New Year starts off we are head first into our daughter’s birthday on the 2nd of January. This year we decided to have a tea and cake session with family. My cousin has come over from London to spend some time with her mom and it is a great opportunity to see her too. My grandmother also has a birthday on the 6th of January, so we celebrated both at the same time. Today I’ll show you the nails I did for my daughter’s birthday and some pictures from her day.

I figured out that I was doing things backwards with my nail posts all along. I realized this quite a while ago, but decided to wait till the New Year to change the format of my blog posts. Previously I’d tell you how I did my nails and show you the picture after. That’s weird, isn’t it? I think it is way better to show you the picture first and then tell you how I did the mani, so from now on I’ll be doing it that way. I also upgraded to a new phone with a much better camera, so I’m still getting the hang of using it. I hope this will improve my photos over time, but I need to figure out some settings to optimize everything. Please bear with me! I have also decided to make my nail photos slightly bigger for your viewing pleasure. You’re welcome 😉 Right, let’s get on with it! Since it was Gabby’s crown birthday, I took my cue from that when I did the mani. This is what I came up with:

Dior Princess Crown Birthday Nails

Dior Princess Crown Birthday Nails

 

I realize the nails in the second picture are a bit out of focus. Sorry! I started off my usual Tip Top base coat. I painted my thumb and ring nails with 3 coats of Tip Top Ready Steady Glow. This polish is hot off the shelves and a new kind of polish for Tip Top. I picked up quite a few from this new collection which consists of jelly/crelly bases with glitter in them. Ready Steady Glow is an orange/rusty toned red with 2 different sizes of silver holographic hexes and what looked like green glitter to me. This jelly applied very well and reached an acceptable opacity within 3 coats, though I did find I needed to drag around some of the larger hexes if too many came out of the bottle and clumped together. This was really not a problem for me. Once the ring nail was dry I stuck a crown sticker over it. I purchased crown stickers from Planet Nails months ago for this very purpose. I paired the Tip Top polish up with Dior Princess. I received this polish as a gift from a friend. I nearly platzed. DIOR! I would never, ever buy myself Dior polish since it is ridiculously expensive in my opinion. Unless it has crushed diamonds in it, I don’t see any reason to spend so much money on one bottle of polish, but that doesn’t mean I was not completely ecstatic and grateful to receive it as a gift! The bottle is missing the pretty silver lid, but I’m totally OK with that because I own a Dior! I painted 3 coats of Dior Princess on my pinkie, middle and index nails. I felt it needed 3 coats to even out the colour all over the nail. Princess is a lovely orange toned pink with a pretty silver shimmer. I placed a small clear rhinestone near the cuticle on all of the pink nails. I sealed it all in with a coat of Seche Vite. For some reason the nails I painted with the Dior took forever and a day to dry and in some places the polish wrinkled. If you look really closely on the middle nail in the first photo you can see a little bit of wrinkling at the tip. I was a bit disappointed by that. I’m busy troubleshooting this as I have wrinkling every now and then. The next day I used a regular top coat over the wrinkles and 2 coats pretty much sorted it out. It was still annoying though. I don’t know if it is the polish or something I did application wise, but if I figure it out I’ll be sure to let you know.

We had a really nice day with my daughter for her birthday. We set off to the shops early in the morning to buy cake, balloons and snacks for the tea. We headed off to my family to spend some time celebrating there. For some reason Gabby was extremely grumpy and very clingy all day. I suspect she is teething her 2 year molars at the moment. It is so frustrating for me since she doesn’t want to go to anyone else, but hopefully she’ll be feeling better soon. We bought her some clothes (she got a lot of clothes!) and a baby doll for her birthday. She had a pink marshmallow cheese cake with butterfly candles on top and loved us singing happy birthday to her. I snapped a few pics throughout the day:

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What do you think of this mani? I really liked it! Be sure to let me know in the comments below 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Bwess

My little girl is growing up so very fast. On the one hand I want to keep her small, on the other I’m in awe of each milestone and watching her personality blossom. She isn’t really talking much yet. She tries, but sometimes a lot of the words come out sounding the same, or are just sounds. I was worried about her not speaking much yet. Her brother set the bar high for speech. He spoke well quite soon and articulates his thoughts quite beautifully for his age. A couple of weeks ago I had a light bulb moment. Since Elijah is in play school now, we are trying to teach him to speak Afrikaans as well and therefore Gabby is not only exposed to English, but Afrikaans too. This might explain why she is taking a little bit longer to start speaking. Also, every child is different. It is quite clear that she understands us very well as she follows instructions and “answers” questions.

She has been doing the cutest things of late. She has started shrugging her shoulders when she doesn’t know something. It is too adorable. The other day she was in the kitchen with her dad and I was busy getting ready for work in my room. I sneezed (rather loudly, as I do) and she came running into the room, looked at me and said “Bwess” and ran off again. Huge heart melt moment right there!

At 23 months old she is still breastfed. While the snide remarks, disapproval and judgement from other people intensifies as she gets older, I am still grateful for this amazing mothering tool. I can’t tell you how much easier things are with her than they were with Elijah. Yes, they are different children, but I find breastfeeding invaluable in situations that would have worked well with him too. Recently Gabby went through a phase where she would start throwing a tantrum and latching her on would instantaneously soothe her and put a stop to it. With Elijah we would pretty much have to wait it out and just make sure that he doesn’t hurt himself while he was having his meltdown. If Gabby hurts herself latching her on also immediately soothes and comforts her. With Elijah it took ages and while a dummy was sometimes helpful, it didn’t always work. Breastfeeding works every.single.time. It also makes a great in between snack before dinner, instead of her reaching for a cookie, sweet or bread to fill the gap. Gabby is not a fussy eater at all, however her brother is full of nonsense when it comes to food. My friend Arkwife has noticed the same with her breastfed child vs. the one that wasn’t. I like to think that the two are related. One word Gabby has started using (a lot) is “boop” – read BOOB. Yup. She now asks for it. I have often heard people say “Once they are old enough to ask for it, they should no longer be breastfeeding.” While I respect the choices of others, their opinions don’t pay my bills. I actually had the guts to say this to someone who criticized me for still breastfeeding and acted disgusted that I still do, stating repeatedly it was “time to stop”. I am non confrontational and often don’t defend myself, back down or pretend not to be phased. I simply stated “Just let me know which one of my bills you are going to pay with your opinion” and she left it right there. It works. You should try it!

After my post about discipline, Natalie sent me a message on Facebook with information she has put together about discipline and what works for her. I had an aha! moment when she mentioned a reward chart. I remembered that we had used a reward chart for Elijah when we were potty training him and he really loved it. Once he was potty trained the chart was forgotten. We bought a magnetic white board and I split up the days of the week and areas that he could earn a magnet for. Currently on our board are areas we need to focus on: brushing teeth, playing with his sister, eating supper, picking up toys and listening. I drew a small picture for each category so that he can identify them himself. When we got home on the second day I showed him the categories he could potentially earn for and he really made a concerted effort to earn his magnets. I still have to figure out what we will reward him with at the end of the week if he does well. I think we might resort to money sometimes as he really seems to love money! So much so that he will carry around money in his hand at all times if he has any. One night he fell asleep with money in his hand and slept for over an hour with it tight in his grasp and then eventually let go. He is still very small, so I think we can start off with a small denomination like R 5.00. Perhaps this will also open up opportunities to teach him about saving, etc in the future. This is a very new development in our relationship and I am hoping that we can continue motivate him with the reward chart.

Last Friday Elijah went for an open day at his new school. We have enrolled him in the same primary school I attended. He absolutely LOVED it. So much so that he did not want to go back to his old school on Monday. The prospectus came home with him and there are a number of worrying things in there. There are a few things expected of him that he is not able to do yet. They want him to be able to write his name, know a contact number and our address. All things that we will need to cram into him for the remainder of the year and hopefully he’ll be ready next year. There are a few other things we need to focus on, but he is a bright boy and I’m sure we can get him to master everything before he goes to his new school. I am quite excited about him going. His previous school disappointed us in a few areas and I’ll be glad to have him move on. Hopefully he will be happy and flourish there.

Discipline

Discipline is something we really struggle with in our home. I guess you can’t say we are new to the parenting game since Elijah is nearly 5, but we are new to having to discipline someone! It can be so frustrating. I don’t like the idea of giving hidings. I don’t like for my child to be fearful of us. Time out and naughty corner have also never worked. Taking away privileges doesn’t seem to work either, which doesn’t really leave us with too many options.

I have noticed sometimes when I speak reasonably with my almost 5 year old son, he seems to get it. He also seems to go away and think about what we discussed as he sometimes comes back later out of his own and apologizes, but is that enough? We should be teaching him action = consequence, cause and effect, right? I suppose as a family you have to work out what works for you, but up to now we haven’t figured it out yet.

I am really worried that we’ll end up raising irresponsible and nasty children if we don’t get a handle on the discipline and I feel like time is running out for us to find a reliable way of enforcing rules. I try to discuss these things with Rudi, but he struggles as well. For example, if he is angry and wants to resort to a hiding, I usually intervene and get him to calm down to diffuse the situation. He is still cross though and then dishes out a punishment that he intends to follow through on, but often it doesn’t happen. He might say no sweets/treats/luxuries for the rest of the week (on a Monday!), but by Wednesday it is forgotten and a request for a cookie is not turned down. Or he’ll tell Elijah he won’t sleep with him for the rest of the week and when this results in a melt down, eventually cave. I know that the most important thing when it comes to discipline it following through on what you’ve said and if you don’t you teach the child that they will probably only bear the consequences for a short while if at all. That’s not so bad, is it? *sigh* I’ve tried time and time again to stress the importance of this to Rudi, but we keep slipping up. I resort to shouting, because ears are made of clay, but that doesn’t get results either.

While Elijah can be extremely cheeky, defiant and disrespectful (to us), he is actually a sweet child with a good heart. He is amazing with his sister (for now) and can be so cute. Yesterday he had 3 blocks of chocolate. His father told him to give his sister who was sitting with me in another room a block and he came to do so. He showed me his remaining two blocks. I asked him if one of them was for me and he snapped them in half and gave me his last block. I didn’t take it, but the fact that he offered it to me was so sweet. I made sure to tell him that and relay it to his dad in his presence. He beamed.

If we could just figure out how to discipline him while nurturing that sweet child within, I would feel much better.

I would love to hear from you what works for your family and if it was trial and error before you figured it out or how you figured it out at all.

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