We lost a pet

For Christmas last year, my mum decided that Ethan had way too many toys and was at an age where he could get something more for “big kids”, something that would be different to anything he’d ever had before and that would teach him some responsibility…so he got two goldfish.  He named them John Cena and Riley (…the latter being what happens when you let your baby brother choose a name!! 😉 ).  They became a permanent feature on top of our piano and Ethan really took good care of them.  He fed them religiously every morning and cleaned the fish bowl all on his own every Wednesday evening.  They were doing absolutely fine, no issues at all, no oopsies, no forgotten meals…until last night!

The kids were laying in our bed watching some tv before bedtime and I was getting the school goodies ready for the start of the new week when I happened to glance at the fishbowl.  There John Cena lay on his side not moving at all.  I called the hubster and asked whether we should break the news then (5minutes before bedtime) or this morning.  His response was that he didn’t think it mattered as either way, we’d have to tell them.  We had had this discussion before – the hubster and I – we wouldn’t make it a sad thing, just a regular occurrence, fish died, let’s move on.  But by now, you guys knooowwwwww my emotional child!!  Anyway, I digress…

So I walked into the room and said Ethan, I have bad news, John Cena died.  At first, he didn’t quite get what I was saying, he even smiled and said asked really?!?!  Then they both bolted out of bed and ran to the fishbowl.  When they saw him just laying, Ethan asked me what to do.  So I said he should get the fishnet, take him out of the bowl and then flush him down the toilet.  I don’t know if this is the right thing to do but what else do you do with a dead fish…So he calmly fetched the net and scooped him out.  The fish immediately started flapping and I just about died, hahahaha.  We put him back in but he continued just to lay and when the hubster came to help and pulled him out a second time, he didn’t budget at all.  I wonder if the flapping the first time was just a reflex reaction of sorts?!?!

Anyway, the hubster threw him in the toilet and Ethan flushed it.  The minute he did that, he started crying like somebody was murdering HIM.  He literally sobbed his poor heart out.  And then Riley proceeded to cry as well because he was sad that Riley (the fish) would be sad because he’d now be all on his own.  Yup, we have emotional children shame.  I guess it’s their first experience of death though!  They’ve never lost any human close to them, thank God, and they’ve never had a pet to lose.  So I can imagine why it must be so hard.

After 5minutes, we managed to calm them down and get them ready for bed.  As per usual, I said a bedtime prayer with them and when I said AMEN to end the prayer, Ethan told me quietly that I had forgotten something…he wanted me to pray to Jesus to tell him that John Cena had died.  So I prayed to Jesus that he’d look after John Cena and make sure that he would be happy in fish heaven.  Of course that brought on a fresh set of tears!  But fortunately, they didn’t last very long 🙂 🙂 🙂

And so we’ve lost our first pet!

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Happy Valentines Day

It’s mornings like today that I know that I’m doing something right as a mum!

I set my alarm for 5:15am today, 15minutes before my usual wake-up time, so that I could make the boys crumpets for breakfast for Valentines Day.  After whipping up a quick and easy batter, I jumped into the shower, then set the table with two little treats compliments of Woolies…just a small token of today.

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I walked into their room saying “Morning.  Happy Valentines Day my boys.  Mummy loves you so so much”.  Riley jumped up quickly and gave me the biggest hug and kiss.  Ethan laid for a minute or two and then turned around with tears streaming down his face (my emotional child!) saying I love you so much too mum, with all my heart.  After getting them both to the table for their crumpets, hot chocolate and treats, we started chatting as we usually do at the breakfast table.  When Riley is awake, the conversation is usually very animated!  When it’s just Ethan, we sit in relative silence, mostly so as not to wake Riley who only leaves for school just before 8am.  Anyway, I digress…

After lots more cuddles with the both of them and a few more tears from Ethan, Riley handed over his chocolate to me.  He said that he wants me to have it because he loves me so much.  To which Ethan then pipes up: mum, I had planned to get you roses at the market today at school.  I told him not to worry and that he should rather spend the money on himself and maybe get his brother something as well, something which he usually does.  But he insisted that he wanted to get flowers for me to show me how much he loves me.

One of the things that I really want to teach my boys is to know that they are loved tremendously, and I want them to be able to love back – and show that love freely – with all their hearts.

Happy Valentines Day y’all xxx

Currently

Wow, it’s February already!  Can you believe it??!!!!  Valentines Day is around the corner, thereafter Easter (the shops are already selling eggs at exorbitant prices!!!), mothers’ day, fathers’ day and then it’s Christmas again guys.  You’re probably thinking – Jodie, you’re being ridiculous – but it’s true!  Before we blink too much, it’ll be December again and we’ll be moving onto 2020!!!!  Anyway, I digress…

For the last week, Riley’s cried every single morning because he says he’s going to miss us during the day.  You see, I don’t take him to school because the hubster and I split the school lifts.  I drop Ethan at 7 and then rush straight to work so that I can leave again to fetch the kids at 3.  Riley’s school only opens at 7:30am.  Dropping him after dropping Ethan means that I only get to work after 8 which obviously means I cannot be waltzing out at 3.  I mean, I don’t exactly own the place…well, not yet… 🙂  Most mornings, Riley is sleeping when we leave, so Ethan and I only get to see him in the late afternoon.  This has been the arrangement for as long as Riley has been going to school, almost 2years now.  But the past week, he’s made sure he’s been awake.  This morning, he actually walked into the shower crying at 5:40am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I’m assuming it’s part of the phase that he’s been going through for the last few months – wanting HIS way – but damn, it’s annoying.  The hubster says that the minute we leave, he’s absolutely fine!  Which just goes to show, there’s nothing really wrong.

Ethan has started playing mini cricket matches for the first time this year (grade 1s were not included last year) and we’re just so proud of him.  He’s a proper sportsman and seems to excel in any sport he tries.  He’s obsessed with cricket at the moment!  I haven’t been able to go and see any of the matches as yet, but I’m hoping to next week.

On my word FOCUS for the year…it’s been going okay hey.  Work wise, I’ve decided to attempt to “re-invent myself” so to speak and try and get into a job that I actually love.  I’m working on it.  I’m fortunate to be in a space that I really do enjoy so I’m not desperate.  But I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I’m focused 🙂  I’ve also been writing short stories for the past few months which I’m quite enjoying.  It’s on a website called 12shortstories…you get a prompt, a deadline and a number of words.  My neighbour told me about it.  People comment and give you feedback so it helps from a learning point of view.  For the past 7years, I’ve been writing on this blog alone, but I think I’d like to write my own book one day.  I have no idea what type of book or what it will be about, but when the time is right, I’m definitely going to give it a go.

This month we celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.  My parents have been so kind to gift us with a weekend away.  I am so excited!!!

Anyhoo, back to the grindstone.  Have a good week y’all xxx

The hair diaries

We were brought up thinking that straight hair is better.  In fact, there were a whole lot of things we thought was better…fairer skin, pointy noses, light eyes…but I digress.

I grew up with my mother doing my hair right up until matric!  Yes, matric.  She would put it in rollers over the weekend and we would sit for ONE HOUR under a standing hair dryer to dry it.  Every few months, we’d get our hair straightened, frizzy was not an optional hairstyle.

When I left home to go and study at UCT, my mum suggested I cut my hair short because it would be easier to manage and learn to blow dry at that length.  The problem was that I didn’t have the foggiest clue how to blow dry my hair…so I went equipped with a bag of rollers (I didn’t know how to roll my hair either!) and a hairdryer, and basically ended up wearing a bandanna over my mushroom shaped bob for most of my first year.

I’m not sure when it happened, or rather how it happened, but one day I decided to go au natural and it ended up looking quite nice.  Over the years, I’ve worn my hair frizzy quite a lot, but it’s only been over the past year or so that I’ve really embraced my natural hair.  I still like to blow dry it myself and have mastered the art, but blow drying my hair every second day is just not good for my hair.  Having said that, it literally takes about 20minutes and I’m out of there, so it’s really not a hassle, but still!

Tomorrow, I’ve been asked to take part in a video that they are filming at work and now I’m faced with the dilemna once again…straight or curly hair?!?!  

 

Allow me to vent about homework…

“I was never ready” – this is a phrase that a friend of mine uses often, and in this case, it’s really totally appropriate!!

In grade 00, Ethan received homework from the second half of the year every second week to get them into the routine of doing homework.  Riley is in grade 00 now and received homework last week already!  Fortunately, there’s nothing this week so I’m thinking that they’re probably going to do it every second week as they did when Ethan was that age in the same school, but I digress…

In grade R, Ethan received homework at the beginning of the week for the week – they were required to hand it in on a Friday.

In grade 1, Ethan received homework at the beginning of the week and the homework was broken up into the four days of the week i.e. it was specifically indicated what was for Monday, Tuesday etc.  His homework consisted of English phonics, spelling for the week, and Maths.  In addition, he received a reader on a Monday (for Monday and Tuesday) and one on a Wednesday (for Wednesday and Thursday) and a library book every Thursday.  He was allowed to keep both the reader and the library book for another day or so (with the reader) and another week (with the library book) if he hadn’t read them finished.  Homework usually took him around 15 – 30min to do.  He prepared for show and tell three times during the year voluntarily, and I think he had a two “projects” if I remember correctly.  And that was it.  Homework wasn’t a big deal in our home.

This year, school started on the 9th of January and the kids got homework on day 1!  Day 1 guys.  Can the kids not have a chance to settle in to the year *shocked face*?!  The homework for the first three days that week was basic, just a few Maths sums.  The following week, the homework went up a notch.  Not only was there more, but there was English, Maths and Afrikaans.  The following week, Zulu homework came home as well.  The readers which were no more than 20pages in grade 1 are suddenly more than 30pages long.  There is also a library book and, as per grade 1, the books that Ethan chooses are like mini novels, not just small readers!!  Maths also includes a timed section for each day i.e. he has around 30 sums which he needs to do as quickly as he can and we need to record the time for each day.  English has phonics, spelling and reading.  Everything must be coloured in – everything.

I WAS NEVER READY!!!!  

I feel like the jump from grade 1 to 2 has already been so massive.  The class wassap group buzzes constantly every evening because nobody has a clue what needs to be done for Zulu – a language which the kids did last year, but which they’ve never had homework for.

On top of this, my child who happily did homework last year with ease now seems to want to wing it and do whatever he feels he should do (read: as little as possible)!  He only gets home close to 4pm because he does extra murals every day.  By this time, all his friends in the complex are done with their homework (none of them do extra murals at school) and boy child has to get going at this late time of the day.  To add to that, I am still at work so cannot be there to enforce, and the nanny just takes his word for it every day – when he says “I’m done with my homework” or does 5min and declares “that’s all I have”, she lets him go outside and play.  So every day when I get home, the first thing I do is check his homework and call him in to do whatever it is that he hasn’t yet done.

Oh the life of a working mum!  As my neighbour said the other day – how are full time working mums meant to cope with the amount of homework that the kids have as well as cook, get the kids done for bed AND get them into bed at a decent hour?!?!  

Birthday parties or not?

I absolutely love parties!  As I’ve mentioned many a time before, birthdays are big in our family and in my opinion, what better way to spend your special day than by having a party.

We’ve had a party every year for our kids and when I say party, let me just clarify…I’m not talking massive parties with caterers, expensive venues and personalised invitations, although having said that, those people can do that, good for them, I’m not judging at all!  Over the last 7 years, I’ve done the following;-

  • Ethan’s 1st birthday:  party at home with 4 kids, 2 of which were his cousins.  I made a little worm cake myself, bought 5 balloons, 5 matching paper plates and cups, and had a small little blow up pool that the littlies could cool themselves down in.
  • Ethan’s 2nd birthday:  Spur!
  • Ethan’s 3rd birthday:  Spur!!
  • Ethan’s 4th birthday, Riley’s 1st:  Spur!!! (can you tell how much I love Spur, hahahahaha)
  • Ethan’s 5th birthday, Riley’s 2nd:  we hired a venue close to home, The Yard, because it was Ethan’s crown birthday and we wanted to make the party extra special.  We did two platters for the adults, my mum made the boys’ cakes, and we had a few sweeties and chips for the kids.
  • Ethan’s 6th birthday, Riley’s 3rd:  Ethan had a movie evening with 5 friends from school – I made hotdogs for dinner followed by popcorn and cooldrink…no party packs, no cake!  Riley had his party at…Spur 🙂
  • Ethan’s 7th birthday, Riley’s 4th:  Ethan had a party with a few friends at the bike park, Riley had his party at…SPUR!!!

A friend asked me last year whether I wasn’t tired of parties at the Spur.  WHY??!!!!  It’s perfect.  You pay for a kids package which includes a kids meal, drink, party pack and ice-cream.  Order either platters or a few starters for the adults to share, depending on the number of people who attend, and pay for whatever they’re drinking.  Being a kiddies party, in our experience, adults don’t go overboard on the drinking.  One or two drinks and that’s it!  The highlight of course is that the kids get to play and play and play to their heart’s content ❤  You leave once the party’s done, and you don’t have to worry about cleaning up yourself.

And then the cherry on top for the kids when they have parties…they get oodles of gifts from their friends and not only are they made to feel special at the actual party, but they get super spoilt with the gifts from their friends.

Ethan’s best friend doesn’t have birthday parties.  His parents think that it’s better to save the money and buy an expensive/large gift for their child instead of blowing it on a party.

In my opinion, they outgrow their toys so quickly and after a few weeks/months (sometimes even days!), that toy is anyway just put in a corner with other toys and that’s it!  I guess for me, it’s a thing of experience (the party) over material (the toy) and experience wins in this case.

Also, I don’t usually buy gifts for any kids unless we’re invited to a party.  So all I was thinking about this weekend was how this child probably only got one gift from his parents and nobody else!

What do you think?  Birthday parties or not?!

My word for 2019

I’m not a planner. Okay, let me rephrase that… I can hear those of you who know me having a good old laugh at that statement! I actually love to plan and organise. As my mum says, I always have something on the go. But my planning is usually short term. I’ve never done a 1year, 2year, 5year plan so to speak. And nothing specific for my life you know. My planning is usually related to events – birthdays, anniversaries, first day of school, holidays etc.

No real goals.

I’ve just never thoughts about it. Whether it be as an individual, a couple or a family. I generally have an idea of what I would like to do during the year, but that’s where it ends.

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A few months ago, I found myself questioning things in my life. What I want to do with my career – I love the company I work for, but I’m convinced that I’m destined for bigger greater things. Like what I’m doing is not what I’m supposed to be doing! Then I started questioning things like where I worship, why I worship there and what I’m getting much out of it. When I shared this with my mum, she said it sounds very similar to what she went through at the same age…something like an early mid-life crisis. She assured me that it was good to question and that only through this would I experience growth.

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I’ve had a word for the year for the past 3 or 4 years. I can’t recall exactly what they all were, but last year’s word was ME. As selfish as it sounds, I wanted to (for a change) put myself first!! Rediscover myself, do things that I enjoyed, pursue hobbies and let me be happy. One of the things I managed to achieve during the year was running my first 21km race.

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As I mentioned in my previous blog post, one of my biggest achievements in 2018 was getting our marriage back on track. When thinking of my word for 2019, the first word that came to mind was US. I’m not saying that I don’t want to focus on us – getting our marriage back on track was one thing but maintaining it and making it even better is top of mind for us at the moment – but that feeds into the word I’ve actually chosen.

Another word I thought of was PRESENT. Putting my phone down when I get home, giving the kids undivided time and when they go to bed, giving the hubster my full attention as well. Again, this word fits in with my actual word.

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It dawned on me today that the only way I managed to run 21km last year was to have a specific goal in place. Specific targets and milestones. I only started running in May 2018 for the first time ever from being a proper couch potato for the three years previously, and yet on the 1st of September 2018, I successfully completed the longest race I’ve done to date, a whole 2minutes before the cut off time 🙂 Okay, granted I didn’t run the entire way, but I did for the most part. Would you believe me if I told you that since then, the furthest I’ve run is 6km?! Worse yet, the smallest route in my area that I actually used to start my training is 2.7km and I cannot even run that entirely… I walk quite a bit of the way #laziness

The point I’m trying to get to is that I had a goal, I had steps in how to get there and I achieved it. Surely this applies to all other goals in life?! If you don’t aim for something and have a specific plan to get there, how is it that you’ll achieve it??!?!

And so with the above in mind, my word for 2019 is…

FOCUS

I don’t know what my goals are as yet, but I’m confident that if I focus on them, I can achieve them 🙂 🙂 🙂

The Santa Sighting

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all was quiet in the house.  The Christmas tree was up with flashing lights, decked with gift envelopes and wrapped presents underneath the tree’s branches.  Santa’s mug and his plate were out on the table with his almost finished cookies and guzzled down milk remnants.  Two gifts from Santa for two very good little boys sat next to Santa’s goodies, and everybody in the house was in dreamland.  And then 2:30am rolled around and with that, a little boy not quite sure whether he should be excited or afraid, screamed out for his mama.  His mum (having amazingly made it to midnight to see in Christmas Day the night before!!) ran to his bedroom half asleep to find out what the problem was.  Upon entering the room, the curtain had been pulled open, and boy child was sitting in the corner of his bed with tears streaming down his cheeks, but a massive smile on his face…said boy had actually SEEN SANTA

Yup folks, that little boy was my precious RILEY 🙂  

He was absolutely convinced that he had seen Santa outside his window.  Santa was apparently sitting on a flower when he opened the curtain and he even heard him saying ho ho ho.  Of course, this woke Ethan up, and after calming Riley down, we tucked them both into our bed.  But, lo and behold, sleep was not happening any time soon.  Little Riley laid giggling and kept on saying “I can’t believe I saw Santa”.  He said that before calling me, he had tried to wake Ethan up but Ethan wasn’t responding.  Ethan’s reply:  “I was so tired when we went to bed that I put my head down and crashed.  I didn’t hear you because I was so busy crashing“, hahahaha.  I contemplated letting them go into the lounge and rip open their gifts from Santa, but I’m practical like that!  There is NO WAY they would have ever gone back to sleep thereafter, and nobody wants miserable kids on Christmas morning, although in hindsight, that would have probably added to the magic of the whole event for them.  Eventually, after more than an hour, they finally fell fast asleep.

Needless to say, the story was retold by Riley to both his aunties, his nana and his grandpa on Christmas Day, and boy did that story stretch!  It went from having seen Santa outside the window sitting on a flower to spotting his sleigh on the roof of the neighbour’s house, seeing the elves run across the driveway and hearing Santa talk to his reindeer.

Who needs to create magic on Christmas when you have a son with such a vivid imagination ❤ ❤ ❤  

Hello 2019!

And so the holidays have come and gone.  I’m back at work today and I’m SO ready to take on 2019.  Reflecting on 2018, I can honestly say that it was a really good year.  There were stumbling blocks along the way, as usual, but we got through it, and most importantly, we got through it smiling!!  Without a doubt, the highlight of my year was getting our marriage back on track, but that’s a post for another day 🙂 🙂 🙂

In keeping with our Christmas tradition (alternating Christmases between Durban and Jo’burg), this year we were in Jo’burg and the Howe’s (myself and my immediate family) hosted.  Christmas Eve was spent at my parent’s home in Jo’burg.  After children’s mass at 5:30pm, we went over to them for a curry, some Christmas bingo and drinks.  We left around 10pm, I think the latest the kids have ever slept!!  Christmas morning – in keeping up with our family tradition that has been going for the last three years – started off with a full family champagne and orange juice breakfast.  We ALL had a nap on Christmas afternoon, and we ended the day off with roasts, salads and desserts around 5pm.  Of course there were gifts exchanged (lots of them – we loovveeeee gifting!!) and lots of swimming, but that in a nutshell is how we celebrated Jesus’s birthday.

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But enough about that…I want to share with you all how amazing my holiday was this time around.  I think I probably mentioned this a few times during 2018, but I want to highlight it again.  Our kids are getting so big!  If I think back to 2/3years ago, coming back to the office after a holiday (if you could even call it that) was something of a relief…I know it sounds horrible, but dealing with small kids who wake up at the crack of dawn and demand your full attention constantly when all you want to do is sleep in, rest and relax, is hard you’ll!!!

Fast forward a few years on and these kids have been a real pleasure to spend time with.  So much so that I really didn’t want to leave them this morning <3.  They’ve both slept in just about every day till 7:30/8am.  I let go of my usual military style organisation…breakfast was had whenever and ranged between “holiday cereal” (even dry some days because apparently Otees are best that way ;-)), pancakes and Nutella/ice-cream, eggs, bacon, soldiers, fruit salad…you name it!  Riley isn’t a big eater at the best of times, but having fun breakfasts really made him happy 🙂  We were just at home all holiday, but we did a whole host of activities and here are some pics too…

  • Christmas market at Monte Casino
  • The Nutcracker circus at Sandton City
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Riley was absolutely captivated by the entertainment at the circus ❤

  • The Zoo
  • The lights at Emperor’s Palace
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Not the greatest of pics but this is the four of us 🙂

  • The lights at Melrose Arch
  • Movies
  • Tenpin bowling
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Dad giving the boys some tips!

  • A morning in the bookstore

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  • The beach at the Mall of Africa
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My boys having fun together!

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Cooling down 🙂

  • Various park visits

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Mum and her boys ❤

The kids were even spoilt at the ice-rink by nana and Aunty Andy much to their delight.

In addition to going out, we did arts and crafts for Christmas at home, we baked (a few times!), we swam just about every day and we made puzzles, played board games, rode bikes.  Can you say fun?!?!

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All in all, we spent really great quality time together and I really hope that these are the things that they will remember as they grow up.  It’s not about spending oodles and oodles of money and getting the most expensive gifts, travelling to fancy destinations (although I must admit, that would be nice!)…it’s all about the memories.

To all of you – may 2019 be the best year yet.  May your dreams and wishes come true, and may God bless you abundantly xxx

Birthdays – tick

We now have a 7year old and a 4year old in the house – can you believe it!  Where has the time go?!  Our boys really had amazing birthday celebrations this year.  They both took cupcakes/cake to school for their friends, both chose a restaurant to have dinner at on the actual night of their birthdays and both had individual parties this year.  To say that they were spoilt rotten is an understatement.  But it was so special and it warmed our hearts to see them both so happy.  Here are some pics of the last week or so…

School cupcake

Ethan’s school cupcakes made by me 🙂

Ethan gift

Floating target shooting game from nana…excited much?! (This is before the tooth fell out so please excuse the crooked teeth in this pic ;-))

Ethan birthday boy

The birthday boy dressed in civvies for school!

Ethan Party cake

Soccer themed cake made by nana ❤

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Ready to get into the cake!

School cake

Riley’s school cake made by me 🙂 He chose the sprinkles himself and asked for vanilla cake.

Riley gift

Half asleep opening his Ben10 watch from the mum and dad.

Riley birthday boy

Happiness is!!!!

Riley Party cake

Spidey cake for his party compliments of nana ❤

Riley party

At the good old Spur 🙂

Since then, Ethan has lost both his top two front teeth!  Riley is still patiently waiting for school to end (they have the most amazing Christmas programme which I just didn’t want him to miss AND Santa is coming to school tomorrow on the last day…) and today is the official day that we put our Christmas tree up…12days before Christmas 🙂 🙂 🙂  So lots is happening in my world!

In other news, tomorrow is my last day of work for 2018.  Can I get an A-MEN!  I know we were away not too long ago, but it feels like forever since I’ve had a break.  This year, we’re staying in Jo’burg for the festive season.  Christmas Eve will be at my parents’ place.  For those of you wondering how we’re going to be in Durban for one night only, keep up with the news guys!  My parents have been living semi-permanently in Jo’burg since about May/June this year.  So we’ll start with children’s mass at 5:30pm on Christmas Eve, then head over to them for curry and Christmas Eve festivities.  Christmas Day will be a full breakfast at our place (a tradition that we’re keeping from the last two years) and then a full roast with salads and dessert late on Christmas Day afternoon/evening.  In that way, we get to eat everything, but all spread out i.e. we pace ourselves.

I would still like to blog about my 2018 year…highlights, lessons learnt etc. so this isn’t goodbye for this year just yet.  But if I’m quiet, I’ll be living my best life ❤

So ciao for now xxx