2014 : A Year in Review… (a stolen meme)

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

Train on my own for a half marathon

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2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t make new years resolutions so no I didn’t

3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?

This is not decided yet but most likely will be at home with family and then I might go to church depending on how tired I am.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My uncle passed away after a long battle with cancer.

5. What countries did you visit?

Um… None.  How boring is my life?

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

A longer fuse.  My temper is always my downfall.

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

15th January 2014, it is the day I welcomed my little girl into the world and she starting shining her little light.

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8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Transitioning relatively easily to being a mother of two.  Also training for a half marathon with a 7 month old teething baby.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I don’t really think I had a failure big enough to make a fuss about.  Which is really quite an achievement.  Many small failures but no biggies.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Thank God no.  Our family did go through what seemed like an endless cycle of lurgi for about 3 months but nothing more serious than that.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My Asics Gel Nimbus running shoes

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12. Where did most of your money go?

Bills, bills and more bills

13. What song will always remind you of 2014?

The Sam Smith One and Happy by Pharrrel

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Read books and sleep

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Shout at my kid

16. What were your favourite TV shows?

Vikings, Game of Thrones, Masters of Sex

17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No

18. What was the best book you read?

Sadly I didn’t read nearly enough books.  I did love The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan though

19. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I’m just really not that into music.  I kinda listen to the radio and have music as my “white noise”

20. What was your favourite film of this year?

Planes Fire & Rescue… only because I think it was pretty much the only movie we saw on the big screen and it was Kade’s first “big screen” experience.  Seeing him get to experience it was a thrill.

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21. What did you do on your birthday

I honestly cannot remember.  Clearly it was SUPER FUN ;-)

22. What kept you sane?

Running, Wine and my family.

23. Who did you miss?

I missed my Dad quite a bit at very odd times this year.

24. Who was the best new person you met?

Oh gosh, I met so many amazing people this year.

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25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014

Life is achingly short.  Never waste a SECOND because we are NEVER guaranteed another breath.

Baby vs Toddler Balancing Act

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Being a mom of two takes some fine balancing at times.  I am the baby of my own family and growing up my sister would often wail “you’re showing favourites to Sam cos she’s the baby”.  Naturally I would always disagree with this notion most vehemently but now that I am a mom of two myself I can see where my poor sister was coming from.

As soon as that second child is placed in your arms you start trying to learn the fine art of balancing the protective mamma bear of baby vs toddler.   Or at least I did.  Kade was nearly 3 when Gemma was born – he is a boisterous boy child.  Always on the move, always jumping, running, pouncing… I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to say “gently my boy, gently” when it comes to Gemma.  Or “watch your feet, you nearly kicked your sister in the head”  or “watch out you’ve nearly run over your sister with your bike”… I am a stuck record “be careful, be gentle, be careful, be careful, be careful” It’s never ending.

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The fact is he is bigger than she is.  He knows how to use his body, she doesn’t so I am inclined to jump in to protect her from him because of it… the thing is this.  I don’t want him to feel like I am constantly on his case and “showing favourites” with her.  How do I balance this very real need to temper his boisterousness around her?  I don’t want to stop his natural want to show his love for her.   I don’t want him to feel like her can’t play with or interact with her because of this.

As she’s gotten older and has started grabbing and pinching I am making sure that I admonish her too when she grabs a fistful of his hair or when she pinches him.   But I still find myself saying things to him like “she’s just a baby my boy, she doesn’t understand why its wrong”.  Protecting her and “taking her side” over his.

This morning Kade and I were messing around in our bed while Cliff gave Gemma her morning bottle.  I was wrestling with him and was “holding him prisoner” with my legs and arms wrapped around his body.  When Gemma came to join us (was handed over by Cliff) he wanted to put Gemma in “brother prison” (I was calling what we were doing mommy prison) and he was pulling and tugging at her and she wasn’t liking it.  He was just playing with her (not too roughly but not too gently either) and I found myself jumping to her defense “cos she’s just a baby”…

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Holy moly, how on earth do I find the balance in this situation?  I know it’s going to be a lifetime of playing referee between them, but I also really want to be fair to them both.  I do not want him thinking she’s my favourite because of this.  There is no favourite child – I love them both so much, so desperately, so differently…

What do you other moms of two or more do?  Do you just leave them to sort it out on their own (within reason)?  Have you found the balance with this?  Please share if you have!

HELP!

Rediscovering my love for a Half…

Long before I started a journey with infertility I lived in a commune and had a friend who introduced me to a love of running.  At the time I was working shifts in the hotel industry and I remember coming off night shifts, pulling on my running togs and joining her and our running group for a quick 10km run before heading home to shower and sleep for the day before my night shift would start.

I trained for and ran a half marathon with this friend over 7 years ago and absolutely loved it!  I ran strong and did a great time.  I then got really bad ITB whilst training for a full marathon and had to take a break from running in order to heal.

I met Cliff and we got married and well I lost my zeal for running as my focus changed to making a baby and becoming a family.

Fast forward to a few months ago when I started doing small walks around the neighborhood with Gemma in her jogger.  Those walks became slow jogs. Those slow jobs became decent runs.

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Then one night a whole bunch of ladies I know on Twitter started talking about completing the Soweto half marathon.  It had been too long since I had taken the time to do something for MYSELF.  I impulsively entered the race even though I felt that I was probably going to be really under prepared.  I was falling in love with running again and needed a goal to keep me focused.  So Soweto it was!

On Saturday night I was so NERVOUS.  I really needed to have a good sleep but who sleeps the night before a race anyway?  Also my kids both had wake ups during the night, first Kade who had a bad dream and then Gemma who is teething and wouldn’t settle down.  Eventually she fell asleep at around 02h00 and I woke up at just after 04h00… I was AMPED.

IMG_20141102_043602_resizedI had arranged to drive to the race with Jenty and Sharon and I collected them and I was happy to have the company to keep me relatively calm.  What a gorgeous day for a half!  The weather was perfect – slightly cloudy and slightly chilly.

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After parking miles away, we found the Run/Walk for Life tent (thank goodness for Jenty who is a member) and met up with another twitter mom there – Sam.  We all chatted a bit, used the loo (nervous wee’s) and headed to the start line…

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I ran the race with Sharon – it was her first ever half and I really didn’t want to leave her alone having remembered how I felt on my first half over 7 years ago and knowing that at some point we would both need someone else to help us finish the race.  I was very impressed with the organization of the race overall, the starts were handled smoothly and the water points were frequent and well stocked.  The vibe was amazing, the course challenging but doable.

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Well we did it!

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We ran when we felt strong, walked when we felt like we needed a rest and we crossed the finish line!  Champion chip had my official time at 3:00:12 but my Nike app had my time at 02:58:58 so that’s the one I’m claiming!

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I loved doing a half again.  As much as I was slightly stiff I couldn’t wait to enter my next race.  I’ve signed up for the Dischem half in January and am looking forward to working on my times for that race.

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I’m rediscovering my love for a Half marathon… and who knows where this love might lead me?  Perhaps to the full 42 next year at Soweto?  Time will tell!

Friendship

So the other day I was having my usual morning chat while driving to work to one of my best friends.  My mom.  I was catching her up on what had happened in Chez Young over the weekend and we somehow got chatting about friends and friendship.  My mother is truly one of my best friends in the whole wide world.  I tell her everything and know that she will give me good, honest, ethical advise when needed, will whip my butt into shape when needed and will sometimes just listen and let me cry when needed.  My sister is another best friend.  One that drives me up the wall at times but a best friend.

But…

I have always been the type of girl who has that one special girlfriend.  A friend who doesn’t HAVE to be your friend (like a mother and a sister have to be) I have always had a substantial circle of friends but have always had that one “extra special” friend.  You know the one I’m talking about right? The one who you can climb into bed with and talk non stop about life, boys, crap, laugh together, share jokes with and the like.  As I  morphed into being and adult then finding my partner in life, there has always been my close friend, my BFF if you will in my life.  As Cliff and I got together, we joined not just our lives but our friends as well.  So his mates became my mates and vice versa.  We had single friends (me with that one special one mixed in there) and our couple friends. As we started battling with infertility we found that we were being left behind by our couple friends.  They all had kids, we did not.  We didn’t get their lifestyles and they started leaving us out of things to spare our feelings. We started drawing away cos we were hurting and not nice to be around.  I lost many of my single friends too as my life was about obsessing about falling pregnant and theirs was about trying to find a husband and partying the nights away.

As life changed we made and found new couple friends through the fertility clinic. (To be fair Cliff made friends with the men cos I was friends with the women from the clinic)   Many of us have (thank God) crossed over into being parents of our own kids.  Life happened and it morphed again and somehow in all that has happened I find myself in a place where I have many good friends, one or two really close friends but no one I can say is that person that I can climb into that bed with.  If you watch Greys think Meredith and Christina.  I feel like Meredith who has lost her Christina.

I have a friend of 20+ years who I miss like crazy, I guess she will probably always be my soul friend… She and her family live in Dubai and when they visit SA it’s like no time at all has passed.  She is my one special friend that I don’t think I will ever lose but it’s not the same as having that friend close by.  The one who you go away for weekends with and put up with her dodgy husband cos you love her so much… Am I even making sense?

I miss having that person.  That friend who I know I can call at 03h30 in the morning when the shit is hitting the fan and who will come get me in her jaarmies… That person that I can bitch about my much longed for  family to.  The one who will be honest with me no matter what.  The one who will tell me when they disagree with my decisions, what I’ve said or whatever.

It is weird for me, because I like being that person to someone else as well.  And right now I’m not.  But maybe I will be again someday.

I hope so.

Another awesome first…

This weekend was another jam packed one, so much so that I didn’t have any time to put on my running shoes to hit the road with my last “long” run before attempting the Soweto half this coming weekend.

What it was jam packed with though was some pretty awesome moments spent with family and friends.  For many years I wondered if I would get to experience the many awesome firsts that parents got to experience.  Last year I was super excited to hear that Kade’s school was hosting a school concert.  Only to be crushed super disappointed to hear that the class Kade as in did not take part in the school concerts (which I know actually believe to be the right tack)  But I digress… so bright and early on Saturday morning we all woke up and undertook the massive task of getting all of us ready, fed (we only managed to feed the kids) and to the school by 08h15 sharp (geesh anyone ever try get a toddler with too long hair which needed to be gelled up, a 9 month old baby who is due a morning nap at the VERY time you have to be at the school and two adults to an event that early before?)

We dropped Kade in his class to get dressed for the show and went to find our seats.  It was SO surreal to think that here we were attending our son’s first school concert with a baby in tow!  Me, the infertile, waiting with anticipation to watch MY child in his first show.  I was nervous for my child as we had not been hearing much practicing of songs at home and he needs time to settle himself and will do things when he is good and ready for it.  I had thought that he would be one of the kids who cried or got stage fright when faced with the prospect of having all these people looking at him.

My son totally surprised me!

He was SO confident.

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He was SO charming.

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He sang SO loud and was SO proud of himself.

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I tell you I nearly came undone when he had been put into place on the stage and he scanned the faces watching him and finding mine, waved gleefully at me!  I will never under estimate this child of mine again.  My heart swelled with SO much pride and my eyes filled with tears at the simple joy of watching these gorgeous three year old children perform their hearts out for us.

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What an amazing new “first” to have experienced with my little guy!

Words that we use…

I’ve been thinking a lot about the words that I want to use around my children.  Words that will help build them, not tear them down.  Words that will build the essence of who they become as they grow in my home.

I was chatting to my niece the other day on the way home from church.  She is slightly overweight and she was asking me how I had lost my baby weight and was asking me about running again, and what struck me most was the way she spoke about herself.  How self degrading she was about her body and how it made her feel.  How intolerant she was of the place she was in.  Words like FAT, DISGUSTING and ASHAMED were used.  She is thirteen.  She’s at such a tender place in her life.  The unfortunate fact is that she has inherited my mom, my sister and my “having to watch your weight” gene…

I grew up with a mom who was always dieting.  My mom has always battled with her weight.  As such I grew up being very aware of being on diet, taking pills to lose weight and constantly wanting to be thinner.  My mom has always been the one to point out if I’ve gained any weight and has always been the one to tell me when I’m getting fat.  (She is also the first to tell me when I am looking good!)  As a family of all girls we are very weight conscious.  This way of life has bled into my nieces fabric of how she looks and thinks about herself.  She is not a naturally slender child – she never has been.  She is going to have to watch her weight and work hard to have a healthy body.

Our conversation shook me.  For too many years I ate (and gained weight) and drank myself happy.  I hid behind my weight.  I too used words like FAT, DISGUSTING and ASHAMED to describe myself.  My whole life I’ve been trained to be focused on my weight and the worth I lose by being chubby.  It is not a nice place to be in.

When I decided to take control of my body and lose the weight I had piled on, I decided to be nicer to myself.  To use words like DETERMINED, HEALTHY and SLENDER.  I decided to change my lifestyle – not just while I was “on diet” and losing the excess weight but for GOOD.  So that I could teach my children the way to being happy with oneself by leading by example.

I try use words that build.  Overweight instead of fat.  Slender instead of skinny. I don’t always get it right.  Sometimes I have to catch myself and correct myself to use the “right” kinds of words… but little by little I am winning.

Healthy.

Happy.

Beautiful.

Strong.

Active.

Those are the words I wish to give my children.

Mean girl?

I am a very straight forward kind of person.

I call a spade a spade and whilst I appreciate this trait in the people I surround myself with, it seems that this is not the case with everyone.

I was chatting to a work friend today who out of the blue said she heard the two tea ladies talking about me in the kitchen today.  The one was trying to describe me to the other one and said something along the lines of “you know the girl who’s mean/nasty to everyone”.  So my friend asked who they were referring to and they described me.  She then asked them why they said I was mean/nasty to everyone and they said that I am too straight forward.

They referred to an incident (one I cannot for the life of me remember) where two other work colleagues were sharing a really small muffin for breakfast where I apparently offended them by commenting on the fact that the muffin was too small to be shared. I mean, what?  This makes me mean/nasty?

I butt heads a lot with one of our regional managers in our field marketing arm and do not tolerate being sold stupid excuses as to why my sales aren’t there.   This apparently makes me mean/nasty.

I have been trying in recent months to soften my delivery, as this friend told me once that I sometimes can be too honest and that people may take this the wrong way.  I wish it didn’t irk me that I am considered the mean girl of the office, but it does.  I like to think that I am a likeable person, one that is funny but also someone who can be trusted to tell it like it is.

I guess I need to work more on that delivery… or shut the heck up!