Romance is still alive after 13 years

I  have to say that my husband has truly been upping his anniversary game in the last few years… For our big milestone tenth anniversary he took me away to a five star country resort AND surprised me with a bigger diamond ring, then for our twelfth anniversary we rocked our socks off at the Parlotones and an overnight stay at Montecasino and then for this year’s anniversary he again surprised me with a romantic weekend away at the Mount Grace hotel… Who says romance isn’t alive after 13 years of marriage?  With the kids shipped off to Granny and Aunty Moz for the weekend, we left on Friday evening for a weekend of relaxation and uninterrupted sleep!

I love the Mount Grace.  Aside from the rooms being divine it was there that we came home with our Hurricane in my belly so it’s one of my best places ever.  The resort is so well maintained and the food is too good for my waistline.  The staff are amazing and so friendly.  I honestly don’t think that there was one staff member who didn’t greet us with a smile and many also had little chats with us, wishing us for our anniversary and asking us “what is the secret?”

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On Saturday we decided to explore the area a bit and headed to some shops to explore.  Then Cliff told me about a mountain of faith that he had seen on his early morning cycle, so we headed off there to check it out.  It was sweet, someone had set up this pathway with bible verses and motivational sayings.  We climbed up to check out the view and on the way down we held hands and I prayed for God’s continued hand on our marriage.

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Then we headed to the Black Horse Brewery… I have never been there but had heard a lot about it online so was keen to check it out – wow, what a beautiful setting.  We are definitely going back there with the kids soon.

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Then I managed to squeak in a run before the most scrumptious three course dinner with wine.  We slept till 08h10 on Sunday morning – I cannot remember the last time we slept till 08h00!

We had such a stunning chilled out weekend together, just connecting and talking.  I am blessed to have a man in my life who spoils me after many years together.  Who is the ying to my yang, who despite not being perfect is perfect for me.

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Trenery A/W 2017 Collection Launch

So I’ve been feeling a bit like I’ve lost myself as a person the last while, and when my friend Jeanette asked me if I wanted to be her plus one at the Woolworths Trenery A/W collection launch last night I jumped at the chance!

A night out with a good friend, watching a fashion show?  Yes please!

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It all felt very “Sex in the City” sitting on the runway with the most delicious champers with my runway booklet and pencil to evaluate my preferred looks as the (most gorgeous) models strutted their stuff.

Admittedly I am not a regular Trenery shopper.  I look at their ranges and whilst I love them I often think of my pocket and the fact that I have two kids to feed and school and wistfully walk past.

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Last night changed my perspective on this.  After seeing the most gorgeous silk utility shirt in verdant green and a few pairs of fitted trousers that caught my eye, I am of the mind that it might be prudent to invest in core pieces from this range and build around them.  I am also totes in love with the Catherine Nubuck loafers!  Like obsessed in love!

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I had the most wonderful time, drinking champers, sampling the most divine canapes and laughing with a good friend with not a discussion about snotty noses, school or what the hell to do during school holidays to stay sane!  It felt good to be an adult woman, enjoying fashion and friendship.  Thank you again Jents for inviting me!  I had the BEST time.

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Having the time of their life at #NickFest!

My kids watch a fair amount of TV and their favourite shows are mostly found on the Nickelodeon channels.  Gemma is obsessed with Dora and friends (and is convinced that Dora is actually her best friend) and Kade is a huge Turtles fan not to mention Spongebob and Blaze.  Naturally when they started seeing adverts for NickFest, the pester power started!  “Mom can we go to NickFest?”  “Mom do you know that it’s soon NickFest?”  “Mom did you see that there is going to be SLIME at NickFest?”  NickFest this, NickFest that.  To say Kade was slightly NickFest obsessed would be an understatement.

Then we got an invite to attend NickFest and guys, I don’t think you have ever seen two more excited kids!  I won’t lie I totally used the threat of not going to NickFest to control the behavior in my home for a whole week.

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I tell you the kids were in heaven on the day!  They got to meet the Turtles, Dora, Pablo and Kate and the pups from Paw Patrol on the orange carpet.  In real life!  They were in awe.  (To be honest so was I)  Gems got to hug Dora and Pablo and she keeps asking me when she is going to Dora’s house again.

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NickFest is an assault on your senses!  There is SO much to see and do.  Giant puzzles, kid’s rides, face painters, climbing walls, a PlayStation area, the Showmax maze and the Kinderjoy area.  This is a very well attended event and all of the entertainment areas are free of charge, so do expect to stand in a few queues.  We did not get to see and experience all that there was to do because once the shows started we could not get the kids to move away from the stage.  The shows were cleverly put together and had cute story lines to them and there was a lot of interaction with the kids needing to shout out, dance and sing along.  When I asked Kade what his favourite part was he said “watching Shredder get his butt kicked” – LOL!

 

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I was hesitant about pre booking for the slime pit because I didn’t want to pay for the tickets and have my kids all of a sudden say no when actually faced with swimming in slime.  We had been told we could purchase slime access tickets on the day, however when I went to purchase them I was advised that they had sold out the day before – so if this is something your kids show interest in doing at NickFest, don’t be a dork like me and pre-book your tickets to avoid any disappointment.

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All in all we had a fantastic morning out and by the time we got home I was exhausted!  So were the kids.  We will most definitely be putting this event onto our annual calendar!

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I often feel like I’ve lost myself…

I used to be fun.  I used to be spontaneous and I used to laugh.  A lot.  I don’t know what it is but I often feel like I’ve lost the essence of who I am.  I was pretty popular in school despite being the president of the “nerd herd” and I was always confident in the fact that I was liked and respected by my peers.

That confidence stayed with me as a young adult who made plenty of friends while living in the bush and starting out with my career.  I have always been a bit of a clown who is loyal, ethical, hard working, kind and fun.  I met my delicious man, and I was fun.  We did a lot of really cool, fun stuff together.  Like a train trip through Mozamzbique, and jumping off the highest bungee in the world (ok I jumped he didn’t but hey semantics)

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Then infertility hit and I became obsessed with having a baby.  I changed a lot in those seven years.  I was selfish, hell bent on our journey to parenthood and bitter and twisted.  I lost a lot of the fun, sassy side of me.  I like to think I stayed funny, but it was darker.  Shaded by despair and pain.  A humor born of desperation and grief.

Then finally we got what we always wanted – a wonderful baby.  A family.  Except no-one told me how hard being a mom was.  No-one told me just how all consuming it is to have small babies and how much of yourself gets lost in making sure that this little person who is SO VERY dependent on your for everything lives and grows and thrives.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family.  I love my home and life and all that comes with it.  But I often find myself thinking “who am I now?” “what is the essence of me now?”  Am I just a compilation of who I was then vs what I am now?  A mom and wife?  I know that everyone changes as life goes on and one can’t expect to stay the same person forever, but surely the very essence of one’s self stays grounded and the same?  Or does that “core” of oneself shift with life?

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I know as the kids get older life will become “easier”, that there will be more time for me to be me, and not “Kade’s mom or Gemma’s mom” as all the kids  at school call me.  In the last year I’ve tried to do more for me, the essence of Sam, so I’ve focused on my running more, I’ve tried to read more books.  Yet… I still wonder if I’m just a lost little soul drifting on the ocean of life, still yet to discover just who I am.

Please tell me I am not alone?  That everyone feels this at some stage of their life?

 

#DadsWhoPlayBarbie Campaign hits right in the heart {Win!}

When we found out that we were expecting a little girl, we were both blown away.  The Young family have very few girls in their family tree and we were, well, tickled pink to find out that we would be adding girl number 5 to the Young family.  Then we started to worry, I mean what did any of us know about raising girls?  Yes I am a girl and my niece is a girl but on the Young side of the family those who would be most involved with our kids only had boy experience.

That said I was so grateful that God had answered the desires of my heart and to see Cliff so happy about having a daughter to dote on really made my heart sing.

We have both had to learn things about being parents to a daughter but what I love most is how my man has stretched his daddy legs to being the best girl dad ever.  He lets Gemma paint his nails, do his make up, dresses her in her girliest outfits when I’m not around and loves to play girly games with her.

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I love seeing them interact together in “traditionally’ girly ways.  I think that’s why Barbie has definitely hit the mark with me (and I’m sure many other girl parents) with their newest #DadsWhoPlayBarbie campaign.  I love it!  I mean who wouldn’t have their hearts melted watching this ad?

I think part of the reason I love this campaign so much is, I can see my own family echoed in the scenes playing out in front of me.

I know I am not the only woman out there who gets mushy heart eyes when they see their man playing Barbie with their daughter, and the folks at Mattel want to see your images (like mine above).

They are giving away a Barbie hamper valued at R1552.00 to one lucky #DadsWhoPlayBarbie entrant via my blog.

Want to win this amazing hamper valued at R1552.00?

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This is how:

Head over to my pinned post of this article on my Facebook page (and give it a like as well pretty please), and post an image of YOUR #DadsWhoPlayBarbie moment in the comments section and tag 1 other mom who would love to win!

For an extra entry and chance to win follow me on Twitter and tweet about this competition  “I want to win a #DadsWhoPlayBarbie hamper valued at R1552.00 with @theclam”   https://theclam.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/dadswhoplaybarbie-campaign-hits-right-in-the-heart-win/

Winners will be announced via my FB page on the 17th March 2017 – good luck!

T&C’s apply:

SA Residents only

Winners will be selected by Random.org

Saying yes in a world full of No’s

I think I have said no more in the last five and a half years than I ever have in my life.  Why in the last five and a half years?  Because that is when I became a mom.  As a mother, I have become so good at saying no… pretty much ALL.THE.TIME.

Mom can I have chocolate for breakfast? NO.  Mom can I swim in the rain? NO.  Mom can I climb to the top of the cupboard and jump from it to your bed? NO.  Mom can I ride the dog like a horse? NO.  See Gemma with a pot of sudocrem in her hands (again) cue YELLED NOOOOOOOO!  Khoki’s being welded by same child hovering over her tummy (again) cue more YELLED NOOOOOOO’s!  No no no no no no no no no!

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Good lord, I exhaust myself with the amount of times I say no.  However the time I’ve had at home recently has made me slightly less anal.  I am finding that the less stressed I am, the more I am allowing myself to actually say yes to the things my kids are asking of me.

I’ve allowed them to face paint me in the afternoons, I’ve allowed them to play in the rain, I’ve allowed them to jump on my bed like it’s a trampoline, I’ve allowed them to help me prep our evening meals with (gasp) knives… All things that I probably would have said no to previously, either because I was too stressed to take the time to just be with them or because it was easier for to me to just say no.

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Now whilst I don’t say yes to EVERYTHING ( I am still not allowing chocolate for breakfast) I have found that saying yes to more has made for happier kids.  And happier kids makes me a happier mom.

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Getting my Switch on

I don’t know if you know this but I used to work for a gaming company, and was quite into gaming consoles and playing the games that came along with them.  I LOVED my job.  I mean HELLO… I was paid to play games! (a lot of the time I also had to do like you know, actual *work*)

So when I got an invite to attend the Nintendo Switch pre launch event last week I think I might actually have squealed a little.

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I was excited to be part of a select few that got to play with a brand new gaming console before everyone else did.  I was also nervous though, it’s been a while since I’ve had to let loose with a gaming console.

Well!  I am totally switched on by the Nintendo Switch!

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It is a light , portable console that has detachable controllers (snazzily called joy-cons – joystick slash controller, geddit?) but it’s not strictly only a portable console… What do I mean by this?  It comes with a docking station that you slide the console into which gets hooked up to your big screen and hey presto – non portable console!  I loved that this console has the versatility to effortlessly interchange from a home device to being a portable one.

My favourite thing about the joy-con’s is the HD rumble feature : this allows you to actually feel what is going on in the game in the palm of your hand.  It is eerily accurate and I was astounded to actually be able to feel the amount of balls in the box when I was playing the 1-2-Switch mini game Ball Count.  If using the smaller (but powerful) joy-con’s are not to your fancy, you can always purchase a pro controller.  I foresee the hard core gamer being more comfortable using this accessory.    Other accessories will include steering wheels that can be used when playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

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I love that the Switch is ALL about having fun with your friends and family.  When playing the 1-2-Switch games (which are the entry level mini games) it really focused on you looking at your opponent in the eye, bantering with them and then listening for the audio cue’s before out milking them or beating them with your quick draw skill.

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The interactive games were by far my best to play, I mean it’s all about looking like a complete dork in Just Dance, or smashing your opponent to the ground, and then picking them up and flinging them around in Arms.

Arms was awesome, I didn’t get any picks of myself playing it but needless to say I was super chuffed that I kicked Sharon’s figurative butt at it.

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My absolute best game though was Splatoon 2 taking turf wars to new levels! It was set up in a way that two teams of four competed against each other in a showdown of “inking” the territory with your team colour to gain the most ground for your team.  Sounds simple right? Not!  But SO MUCH FUN.

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My kids are at the age where we are considering getting a gaming console for the home – am I considering a purchase of the new Nintendo Switch?  Absolutely!

WANT TO GET SWITCHED ON AS WELL?

You can pre order your Nintendo Switch and accompanying games and accessories on Takealot now before the official launch date of 3rd March 2017.