Monday, April 27, 2009

Teaching an old dog new tricks...

It isn't easy to admit being lazy but I can honestly say that I have laaazy genes. The RO and I were discussing our pre-baby selves the other day and we are astounded at the degree of laziness that we were capable of. Somehow we never seemed to have enough time to do anything of substance and yet we were childless for goodness sake!

It got me to thinking about the many hidden skills which we acquire as parents which we take for granted because we're really so busy that stopping and thinking about what we're accomplishing just isn't on the to-do list. I think that we undervalue ourselves and each other and I especially think that the childless haven't yet discovered the true depth of their own abilities. In an attempt to enlighten myself I would like to ask all of you what skills you think you have acquired since having kids/growing older. The ones which I have definitely honed are:

1) Being able to make all the beds, pick up all the washing and tidy every morning and still get to work on time. Before kids just getting to work was a chore in itself.
2) Being able to wash, iron, fold and pack away all the washing for 2 adults and 2 children. Before the boys came along Chris and I seldom washed clothing (when we did we almost always forgot that it was in the washing machine and many a load was ruined that way) and never ironed. There was even a terribly wasteful period when we worked on practically disposable clothing!
3) Cleaning the kitchen everyday. I have become particularly fussy about having a clean kitchen and am instantly in a bad mood the morning after and occasional slip when it hasn't been done the night before.
4) Gardening. I have always felt that gardening was a real chore. Since having the boys I find the time in the summer to mow the lawn once a week and love the half hour to myself.
5) De-cluttering!! Being a magpie by nature, this has been the hardest lesson I have had to teach myself and I am still not completely there yet but I am working on it.
6) Re-using/Recycling - I am a champ in both these areas, especially the re-using part.

You know the best thing about it is that for the first time I am proud of my accomplishments even though they're not what I expected to be proud of. I enjoy working on my home and garden and I love coming up with new tasks. It drives my hubby mad but it keeps me out of mischief ;-)

Go on, share your skills (and don't forget to link back or leave a comment when you do).


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Give and Take

Isn't it strange how the universe* seems to intervene just when you think that you're in for a bit of a settled time? Recently we found out that at the end of next month (May) we will find ourselves in the rare position of having a bit of spare cash. This is such a rare occasion in fact that we immediately began to speculate about the many possibilities which would suddenly be a viable prospect for the summer. In true murphy's fashion however, the universe* had other plans.

We had arranged previously for our caravan to be serviced by a friend who specialises in this area (it is a very specific role don't you think?) and he came around on Tuesday to do the service while the RO and I were at work. I guess I should have realised that things weren't altogether fine because I didn't hear from him all day but I figured he may have moved onto another job. I sent him a text(sms) asking how the caravan was to which he replied 'unloved'. It appears that our well loved (and also well used) caravan is really on its last legs as damp has set in, the wheel bearings are shot and a multitude of other little problems came to light.

As things stand we are waiting for a full and proper quote on how much it would cost to repair said caravan but I'm thinking that we may need to consider an alternative solution (thinking maybe folding camper?) so all the other things we were planning are now on hold while we try and figure out what to do. It is an issue because we have booked to go camping with the grandparents at the beginning of August, which is our main holiday for the year and we really don't want to miss it. Things like this really stress the RO out because there are so many potential pitfalls (especially as whatever we do we would NOT be able to buy something new) so hopefully we find a decent solution really soon.

In other news, a dear friend lost his mum last night and neither the RO nor I know what to say. It was an unexpected death brought on by a perforated appendix and so there is the added shock to deal with as well. The RO and I have been painfully aware of how limiting the electronic communication can be.

I hope that things are well with all of you, we're going to enjoy a couple of days of peace because the boys are with gran and grandad until tomorrow afternoon.

Take care of you and yours!


* I say universe, not because I am particularly new-age or anything but because it nicely encompasses whatever weird karma/fate/law governs this type of thing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

IComWeLeave Week commencing.... NOW!

Welcome all you lovely ICWL'ers....

I am feeling a bit lazy right at this moment so if you are totally new go to my previous intro post which can be found here.

On the off chance that you are on a return visit, latest updates are below and there will be more to come as soon as I can find my inspiration which is currently winning at hide & seek ;-)


Monday, April 20, 2009

Regular updates commencing ;-) (although outdoor competition is fierce!

For those who pay notice, you'll realise that I should be on my way to London so that I can leave for the Bahamas in the morning. The trip however has been postponed until late summer so I unexpectedly have some 'unallocated' time. Yay me :-)..

This week-end, the weather was lovely so we took the boys to an RSPB venue which is about 40minutes away from us. I was really impressed by the organisation, we were met by a volunteer as we arrived (I think that they always approach families with children) and she explained the route and discussed membership options. As it was we decided to just pay the normal entrance fee as we wanted to get an idea of what the place was like before committing to an annual membership and I was really impressed that they didn't try and push the membership. The boys each got given a pack of stickers and a laminated card to hang around their necks so that they could play 'Birdy Bingo'. Each card had 10 blocks with pictures and instructions about what they were to look for. At nearly 3 years old I didn't think they would get it but they loved the idea and really engaged with the concept. Unfortunately poor planning meant that we didn't have time to do the whole 2 mile walk so we went about halfway before we needed to leave but we'll definitely we going back.

The boys are really growing up fast now, everyday they're creating more complex ideas and communicating them with such ease. I like to eavesdrop on their conversations when they're playing and I am always rewarded by little gems. Nath loves to impersonate me and has mastered the nagging mother intonation and he orders Tom around in that tone all the time. Tom still has the edge in terms of size and strength but they're pretty evenly matched which means we rarely have to intervene when they fight (although sometimes we'll do so for our own sanity!).

We did start potty training this week-end (Thanks Pen!) and it went fairly well but I think that we'll need to commit properly this coming week-end and make sure that we don't have anywhere that we need to be (we had a Christening and the RSPB yesterday which seriously interfered with potty plans). I think that they get the idea but they're pretty uninterested, but I guess this is an improvements on the earlier attempt because at least they no longer fear the potty.

I am going to finish off this rather bland post now with a promise that I will come up with something a bit more entertaining for tomorrow!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I haven't disappeared...

But I AM very busy :-)

In exactly one week I leave for the Bahamas where I will spend some time providing training and consultancy (along with a colleague) to a new client. It sounds lovely doesn't it - unfortunately it is very unlikely that I will get much time to do anything but work and when I do have some down time, most of it will be taken up by the heartache of not being able to share it with all the men in my life.

I have managed to arrange it so that I am there over a week-end and am going to try and go diving (I haven't been for years and was really annoyed that I didn't get the chance when I was there in January) and do some decent sight seeing. Last time I spent all my time on Nassau but I would like to see something of the other islands so please let me know if you have any recommendations?

Other stuff will follow (an update on potty training, bunnygate and the glorious nature of outdoor cooking) but for now, work beckons and there is a LOT of it!


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Noteworthy events (like erm, Easter)

Wow, I can't believe that this year is flying past so quickly, I mean Easter Week-end?? Seriously? What happened to March?

We're off to visit the in-laws this week-end which is always an exciting event, not only for the boys who obviously love visiting their grandparents (and Holly the dog, oh and Lucy the cat too) but we quite enjoy the break as well. I am lucky really because I get on really well with both my in-laws and so it is an easy time for all involved.

Thankfully visiting the in-laws over what is ostensibly a religious holiday doesn't come with any expectation that we'll partake in any religious festivities (as it would if we were back home in SA) so we can all just relax, eat chocolate and hope for some sun.

In other news, my younger sister has ended her engagement after dating the boy for about 7 years. It is a long story story involving rival families, 2 continents and much adolescent angst but it appears to be what is best for both of them and both the RO and I hope that they'll both come through this stronger, wiser and maybe even friends. On the upside it does simplify both of their lives and I see that as a good thing because unless you're really sure, your twenties should really be about self exploration if you want to live contentedly later in life (woh! that is like sooo deep man).

Also in the news is that we have finally! managed to scrape together the time (someone elses), money (ours) and inclination (we're good at procrastination) to get our deck terrace added to the end of the house. This is an especially good thing because it means that for the first time in 4 years we can open our french doors without risking death from the 6 foot drop which was the distance between door and ground. A costly but necessary addition but again, enjoying it is dependant on it not raining. Unfortunately it is raining right now and looks like it will continue to do so all week-end *sigh*. I wouldn't care but it has been glorious sunshine for the last 4 days - I guess Murphy has had a hand in again.

Oh yes, if you're wondering what has become of my egg donation posts, I am trying to get some things straightened out with the clinic. Nothing major but it appears that there has been some kind of administrative oversight, like they're NOT TELLING ME ANYTHING! Anyway, as soon as I have news, you will have news but in the meantime....

Happy Easter y'all!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Come on t'internets, I need your help! (WARNING: Toilet talk follows)

So here's the thing.... those of you with some idea of the past couple of years will know that the boys have had a bit of a poop problem, or more accurately, a lack of poop problem, accompanied by much screaming and tearfulness. Well about 6 weeks ago we decided to try potty training (read: the childminder decided and we followed instructions ;-)) but the problem was that both boys starting holding everything in which made the pooping issue worse so we decided to give it a break for a while.

With spring more or less here, we're hoping to start it up again but we really need some advice/anecdotal evidence of what worked or didn't work for you. How on earth do you go from nappies all the time to nappies some of the time? Our childminder is amazing and we know that she has successfully potty trained several of the older children and steered their parents through the murky waters but I really want to get some opinions so that we can compare notes.

My biggest worry is that they will start holding it in again. Tommy went an entire day without weeing and Nate started holding his poop in so it would 'back-up'. We seem to have that all under control now (Movicol daily sachets rock!) and they're regular as clockwork and I don't want to return to the pain of previous weeks.

This leads me to another problem I have, how on earth do you get from nappy stage to toilet stage and still retain your sanity (and your sweet smelling home, clean(ish) carpets and poop free floors)? And OMG will I have to hand wash pants or can they be done in the washing machine? Oooh the head hurts....

As you can see I really need your help, your superior knowledge, your unfailing advice so please drop me a mail, leave me a comment or link to a post because I know that YOU know the right thing to do ;-)


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Spring at last?

It never ceases to amaze me how different my adopted country is when the sun starts to shine. A week ago we will still layering up in the morning, bracing for the wind when we left and just generally hoping that the good weather would hurry up. Then the clocks changed and suddenly the birds are singing, the sun is shining and people are starting to emerge from their little rabbit holes and greeting each other with delight. Clearly the Vitamin S is having a profound effect on our moods (thank god for that!).

Unfortunately I haven't been able to enjoy it as much as I would like to because this week has me off work due to illness for the first time in aaages. It seems I have picked up some kind of ear/gland infection and it is so unpleasant that even the sun hasn't managed to entice me out into the garden. It is such a pity and makes me all the more aware of how wasted sick leave is on the the sick! :-)

Now I realise that this is turning into a truly boring post and you'll have to forgive me for that (blame it on the painkillers), I promise to return to deep contemplation and navel gazing as soon as the ear heals, in the meantime rest assured that you are entertaining me and that I appreciate it deeply albeit it quietly from the corner.