TWO! (24 months)

My Darling Gemma Grace, or should I say my darling Hurricane Gemma?

Today you are TWO!

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24 whole months have passed since you joined this little family of ours and all I can say is “what a ride!”  You are honestly one of the most determined, passionate, stubborn, willful, crazy, busy but delightful little people I have ever known.

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We call you Hurricane Gemma because you never stop moving, and you often leave behind you a trail of “destruction” (toys, towels, shoes, my underwear)  You name it you are into it.  You are OBSESSED with cream/lotions of any sort.  You have got stuck into the sudocrem more times that I can count.  You have emptied my very expensive wrinkle cream and kindly rubbed it into our Saffy dog (she looks quite youthful thank you for that) and you can often be heard saying “ipice ipice” (a jar of vaseline you use for your lips) followed by a determined “I do it!”

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You also love drawing.  On yourself.  With khoki’s. We literally have to hide the khoki’s cos if you find them the FIRST thing you do is write/draw all over yourself.  I am both impressed and horrified with your artistic bent!

In this past year you have found your voice and you make no bones about using it.  Whether its to tell us what you want and how you want it or to SCREAM at your brother for daring to touch something you have your eye on, or to moan at the dogs who try and steal your food (it is at their exact mouth height), or to SCREAM in joy when you’re being chased by Kade around the house, boy do we know you are part of the family.

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You are a funny, engaging little girl with a wonderfully delightful chuckle that I honestly can’t get enough of.

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You’ve gone through a stage of hating the water.  From being a huge water baby it’s taken us some time to get you comfortable enough to get back into the pool with us.

You have become a real Daddy’s girl yet you still like to choose Mommy when we are both around.

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Yes my little hurricane I can certainly attest to the fact that you are the cause of pretty much 98% of the grey hairs on my head, and yet just like when the eye of a hurricane passes over and there is a stillness before the storm rages again, you will sit quietly on my lap, fling your arms around me and ask gently “ickle back mommy?” You LOVE having your back tickled!

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You hate wearing clothes and your nappy and yet you are not ready to allow us to help you potty train.  You love wearing panties BUT over your tights or shorts not under them.

You are going to have a little operation on your eye this year and it worries me but I do know that it is what is best for you in the long term.  You also start school this year once you’ve healed from your surgery.  I cannot wait to see how you blossom once you hit school and make some friends and rule the roost in your PINK class.

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I never thought of myself as a girl mom my baby girl, but I know without a shadow off a doubt that my life would not be complete without you in it. I love you endlessly.

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Happy 2nd birthday my little hurricane!

 

2015…

It’s the end of yet another whirlwind of a year!

I say this every year but honestly I cannot believe HOW FAST time goes these days.  2015 has had its ups and downs for the Young family but for the most part it has been good to us.  We had some challenging times when Cliff was out of work for 5 months and I’ve faced two rounds of retrenchments at work and our kids, well they are growing beautifully but that entails pushing many boundaries which make my short fuse explode and I’ve found myself being a shouty, smacky mother way more often than I care to mention.

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It feels like just yesterday I was sitting wondering what 2015 was going to have in store for us and now I’m sitting here on the precipice of 2016 and wondering the same thing…

I’ve seen a few bloggers doing their Q&A round up’s and I will be following suit…

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

I went on a mommy holiday and spent a week by myself in Plett to run the Knysna half marathon.

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

I don’t make resolutions per say but I do try think of the way I would like to have the next year work out.  I will do the same this year and see how it goes.

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

At home, in my pajama’s drinking champers.  Probably wont’ make midnight… lol oh how times have changed.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

A good friend lost her husband tragically 2 days before Christmas.  His passing has shaken me a lot.

5. What countries did you visit?

None!  I would love to try save for a trip to Europe sometime.  How I’m not sure cos with our current rate of exchange it seems unlikely…

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

To be more focused on being in the moment. To stop messing around on my phone and BE there for my family.  To refocus and spend quality time with my husband.

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7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

15th January – being wedged tightly between two car seats on our way to Plett and having to entertain a screaming toddler and older child with only one Ipad (first world problems I know)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Well now.  I can’t say that anything really stands out as being my biggest achievement, but I do have quite a few memorable dates etched in my mind.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Allowing myself to lose my grip and shout and smack my kids when they push my buttons.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Had a few nasty bouts of gastro (thanks kids) and have been battling with my  knee’s (MUST do my bum exercises)

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My new running shoes.

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12. Where did most of your money go?

Seattle coffee and FOOD.

13. What song will always remind you of 2015?

Again nothing really stands out other than Adele’s Hello mostly because it was played to death on the radio.

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

Blogging and reading.  More quality friend dates.

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

Spending too much time on my phone.

16. What were your favourite TV shows?

Game of Thrones. Vikings.

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

Hatred is a wasted emotion

18. What was the best book you read?

I didn’t read many but Gone Girl was excellent

19. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I’m not a big music fundo, so nothing

20. What was your favourite film of this year?

The Little Prince – I loved the book as a child and I adored the movie – gave me so much food for thought and made me cry!  It really is beautiful movie.  (this was also probably the one one I saw on the big screen)

21. What did you do on your birthday?

Um…. good question!  I think I slept late and then spent the day with my family.

22. What kept you sane?

RUNNING!

23. Who did you miss?

I missed a few good friends cos we just could never get it together to see each other.  This will be remedied in 2016 I hope.

24. Who was the best new person you met?

I met some wonderful new work colleagues – clever, funny, amazing girls who I think I will make solid friends out of.

25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015

It is just as important to sow into your own well being as it is to sow into the well being of others.  Take care of number 1 first!  And if people can’t allow you to do this, they don’t deserve your time or your efforts.

Here is wishing each and every one of you a wonderful passage from 2015 into 2016!

May the new year be good to you in ways you could never imagine :)

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Got the chop!!

If you’ve known me for a while, you will know that I am not adverse to experimenting with my hair.  I have been many different colours including black, red, blonde and a vibrant red/orange.

I’ve rocked tried the chinese bob, the bob bob, one side longer than the other and the long hair gig.     I’ve been growing my hair  BUT I WAS BORED WITH MY HAIR!  Even when I took the time to blow dry it properly, all I would end up doing was tying it up or pulling it into a bun.

For the last few months I’ve been toying with the idea of chopping my hair all off!  The last time I had short hair I was 10 years old – that dear hearts was TWENTY SEVEN (yep 27!!) years ago and as much as I’ve been researching short styles I was SCARED to do it.

After a lot of research and soul searching I asked Twitter who was THE BEST chop artist out there and it was a resounding unanimous statement for Kendra from Sculpt hair studio.

With trepidation I made an appointment to see her and yesterday, I chopped off all my hair!

New hair

I FREAKING LOVE IT!

Granted it feels REALLY weird and washing my hair this morning was a total freak fest (used too much shampoo) but I am loving my new look!

#shorthairdon’tcare!

 

The Slippery Slope…

I have never been a naturally slender person.

Even when I was in school and was super active doing all kinds of sports I had to keep busy and watch what I ate.  Having a mother who was also always battling with her weight and constantly on diet made me VERY cognizant of watching my weight and staying trim.  Added to that the bombardment that thin = beautiful from all forms of media lets just say I became rather self conscious and quite down on my “not naturally skinny” self.

Many years of infertility and comfort eating led to a rather chubby self before I had Kade and about a year after he was born I decided that I had, had enough of being fat and unhealthy.  I went on a journey and lost 23kg.  I started running.  I led the “right” kind of life.  Everything in moderation, burning more than I consumed and all that…

I maintained my weight loss well through my second pregnancy and bounced back to my pre pregnancy weight easily and stayed that way for ages. But you know… it’s easy to lose sight of the healthy lifestyle when life hits you.  I thought I could cheat more often because I was training hard.  I was surely burning way more than I was consuming… life got a bit crazy, I had time away by myself, work shifted into overdrive and bad food planning and quite a bit of work travel (which means eating out a lot) and a running injury later and I found myself battling to fit into my work trousers and when I stepped on the scale I was horrified to see that I have gained 8KGS!!!

I am now back to eating as healthy as I can, back to training as regularly as my knee’s will allow and I hope to soon fit into my clothes again comfortably…  it just goes to show that it is a quick slippery slope for me back to being larger than I would like and that for the rest of my life I will have to keep myself in line if I want to be an example of healthy living to my kids.

Do you battle to maintain a healthy lifestyle and weight?

On the road to nowhere

My running has taken a severe knock in the past couple of months.  I started off the year so well and was training consistently and pushing mileage and running good times, improving every run.  But.  My knee’s started to hurt.  Not ITB pain but like a bruised feeling right in the middle of my knee behind the cap kind of hurt.

I went to the physio who treated the symptoms but after several sessions they were no better so he suggested I see a bio.  I was training for the Knysna half and went to the bio to get me through the race.  He told me my glutes were weak and that my VMO’s needed to be strengthened.  We did three sessions in the three weeks prior to the half and true to his word, I got through the race with relatively pain free knee’s.

He also mentioned that he believed my shoes were not the right ones for me and that I must get new ones after Knysna but couldn’t tell me WHAT shoes to get.  I didn’t want to go back to the Sweat shop where I got the “wrong” shoes from and was at a loss.

In the mean time I started running less and less.  I just couldn’t get rid of the knee pain despite the bum exercises I was doing.  Then I saw that Jenty had gone to SBR Sport for a leg assessment and on her recommendation booked an appointment to see Mike myself.

Well.

It is quite something seeing your running style on camera (and your big bum!).  What was painfully clear was that my shoes were SO wrong! Their lack of support was putting so much strain on my knee’s as my leg was practically collapsing in on itself.  What amazes me is that it certainly didn’t feel like I was doing so much damage while running!  Mike concurred that my butt (piriformis) was again the root cause of the trouble I was having in my knee’s.  He also picked up that my lower back and shoulders are bearing the brunt of the wobbly bum piriformis weakness and that my whole back needed some work.

I got new Asic’s GT1000’s and ran for the first time in FOREVER on Sunday.  What a difference running in the right shoes makes! Whilst my knee’s were still slightly niggly after my run, I could feel the difference.  My glutes were working HARD while I ran for the first time since I started running again.

I’ve had two massage sessions with Mike as well and I can’t tell you the difference I am feeling in my body.  Yesterday while torturing working on my piriformis he asked me if I ever felt numbness in my leg.  Remember about two years ago when I had leg numbness and thought I had a brain tumour?  *Penny drop*

So it is Spring now and there are no excuses to not run anymore!  It’s warmer and lighter.  I have the right shoes now and doing several bum exercises.

Time to get off the road to nowhere and on the road to stronger running!

Working Mom Guilt…

Before I became a mom I had friends who told me about the mom guilt.  Honestly I really didn’t think it was a “thing”… I then was lucky enough to become a mom myself and found out really quickly that not only was it a “thing”, it was a thing that RULES your life as soon as you don that moniker of “mom”…

Add to that the working mom guilt and I can’t believe that any of us leave this life relatively sane.  Gemma is sick.  She was absolutely fine all weekend.  Until just before I left for my run yesterday afternoon.  Cue the guilt. “I’m leaving for a run, Gems is running a low grade fever.  Maybe I shouldn’t go?  Should I stay?”  Good lord it’s enough to drive a person dilly.

Being up most of the night (not cos she was especially miz but cos I kept waking up to check the monitor to see if she was ok {yes my 20 month old is still monitored by a baby monitor}) and waking up to a fever of 38.5 meant someone needed to stay home.  My man has *just* started a new job so it had to be me.  Cue the working mom guilt.  I felt bad cos I had to “call in sick” but then I felt bad cos “my baby is sick and I’m worried about work”.  Work/Home balance?  What the fudge is that??

My baby is sick and it’s the last week of the sales month.  All my baby wants is me but I have over 5 million to write in orders in a week.  GUILT.  GUILT.  GUILT.  Because I know that at some point in this tricky day I am going to let someone down.  And I strongly suspect it will be my sick baby… because [[[bills]]] and I need my salary…

I’ve worked at every chance I could during the day but as any mom can attest, it’s not really possible to get all THAT much work done with a sick child glued to your chest.  Cue MORE guilt.  Late night catching up to prove I’m not a bad employee… which means a tired person tomorrow… for both work and my family… GUILT.  GUILT. GUILT.

Good gosh, if any one has good tips on how to manage the mom guilt, please pass them on?

Mommy Time Out….

Have you ever had a mommy time out?

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I’m not talking about when you lock yourself in your bedroom for 5 minutes to secretly eat a chocolate or when you go pee in the guest bathroom because this is the last place your kids will think to look for you… I am a talking about  REAL mommy time out where you leave your family and have some good old alone time for yourself… Where you can bath without interruption.  Sleep late.  Read for hours if that is what you wish.  Go shopping… for things other than food!

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I had a mommy time out recently and I am now of the opinion that this THE thing that us moms need most.  Yes we love our husbands, children, dogs, homes and jobs, but for the love of God all of those things can also drive a woman DEMENTED and begging for a fast flow tap on a VAT of wine!

If what I am saying has you nodding your head in agreement, then take it from me… A mommy time out is highly recommended.

I went away BY MYSELF to run the Knysna half marathon in July and it was so divine.

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I was joined by a good friend for a few days and I cannot tell you how amazing it was to not have to worry about anyone else other than myself for a while.

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I could read all night if I wanted to.  I didn’t have to ask if it was ok for me to go for a run.  I could PEE in PEACE!  I had 15 minute showers.  I drank wine without worrying about having a little bit too much in case one of the kids needed me.

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I learnt how to build a fire on my own (granted I used a crap load of firelighters each night) and I was alone with my own thoughts.  I loved it!

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This holiday was the best thing I have done for myself and my family in like FOREVER.  I missed them so much, it made me remember what it was that they meant to me.  The break helped me put the drudge of everyday life into its proper perspective.  Lets be honest sometimes we can get so wrapped up in the stress and daily grind that we begin to undervalue the very things that mean the most to us. This break allowed me to focus on fact that “the grind” can steal my everyday joy.

They missed me, it made THEM remember what it is that I mean to them.  I truly believe that having this break has made me a better mom and wife.

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The fact that I have an extremely capable husband made going way for 6 days a lot easier.  The fact that he realised I needed some down time was awesome because he totally encouraged me to have this break.  He will be having a similar break when he rides some mountain bike 5 day event in September.

This break has been so good for us both that I am thinking of making it an annual thing.

I probably won’t make it for as long as this break worked out to be (this was purely due to getting cheaper flights) but I am definitely sold on the idea of a mommy time out.

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