Rachel is a cub now

When I was young, girls went to Brownies and Guide and boys went to cubs and Scouts. In fact my ex’s sister and I knew each other through Brownies and Guides when we were growing up, and even though her brother and I did not work out, we were friends before and have remained friends now.

But now things are all inclusive and so girls can go to cubs. Rachel’s 2 good friends Thomas and Oliver go to cubs and so naturally she wanted to go too. She tried it out a few times and then we very happy to learn that her Dad and my Dad did cubs.

There are not many girls but it suits Rachel and what I love about cubs is that it gives her the interaction across a wide age groups. She learns to work in a team and as an individual. I think more than school it is a positive group and social interaction for a home school kid.

Here are some pictures, she was so nervous but she said her law and promise all by herself.

Her sixer and friend Thomas taking her up to the Akela

Look at her little nervous face

A small smile

Saying her cub promise and doing her salute

Getting her new cub scarf and pack colours

The many badges that I have to sew onto her uniform, best she get her sewing badge soon so she can do this.

Being introduced to the pack afterwards as the newest member

Her brother had the sulks and I can’t even remember why, but here he is in his rainbow colour jersey and hat and long hair – he wont let me cut it at the moment

It was very sweet and I hope she really enjoys it. The only problem I had was that although cubs is all inclusive now of race, gender and religion, it makes not allowance for those with no religion. So she still had to make a promise to God and her country. She thought it was a bit odd but we chatted about it and she knows other people believe other things. So it was fine. But still felt a bit odd helping her learn it and somehow a bit dishonest I guess but there was no non religious version.

It is never going to be what you planned


www.AndreinAfrica.com

If there was one thing I hope to teach my kids about life, it is that life will never go to plan or be what you had imagined. Remember the days when as kids we dressed up as doctors, nurses, teachers, firemen, gymnasts, ballarinas etc and we played and pretended what life would be like?

My sister and I would spend hours turing our bedrooms into school rooms to teaching our dolls and teddies. I remember the photos of me in my Dr Snuggles T-shirt, pretending to be the dentist, and digging in the mouth of the, poor well natured and ever obliging, little girl next door. The grocery shop we set up, or the tea parties we held, pretending to be fancy ladies. We dreamed of a happy life and great careers. We imagined the nice houses and the loving partners. We had the perfect wedding in mind with all romance and the joy. Even boys, who might not dream about the wedding, often think of being married one day and maybe having kids. We imagine growing old, and all in all, life going well. While we might, like Caleb, have high hopes of being a Lego Scientist or another less realistic dream, actually most of our thoughts are just about a normal life, a happy existence in which things go to plan. With enough fun moments to have made it great.

One of the hardest lessons, as a adult, is that it never goes to plan. In reality we know bad stuff happens but somehow we feel immune to it. I never in a million years dreamed that I would have a failed marriage at 31 or that I would have kids by different dads, it is neither good nor bad, it just did not enter into my thinking. I never imagined I would lose my faith and feel freer than all the years before. I did not know it was possible to feel heart ache so deep that it leaves you unable to stand or even breath. I did not realize that at times I would be the one causing the pain or that some relationship are so different from what you both planned but yet they are so important that you could not imagine not having them. The notion of having a gun in my face and wondering what bullets felt like, was not something I had bargained on. I knew I want to be a parent but I was so ill prepared for the unbelievable highs, the moments of joy that feel like your heart might actually burst, and in contract, the times when parenting is so hard and so frustrating you wonder why anyone does it at all.

And it is not only me, I never imagined I would cry with my friend who’s 2 month old baby died, that my friend with the near perfect marriage would be faced with a brain injured husband. That I would laugh until my face and sides ached over a butter dish, and that having pink hair would help me connect with a stranger about leaving a bad marriage and finding yourself.

That said I never thought I would have pink hair!

This is a strange world and life is a crazy, wonderful, hard and beautiful. Never to be take for granted but not possible to be planned. Just live each moment the best you can.

Did your life go to plan?

I want to drive fast cars

I was  in Joburg for 4 days last week. I went up to help Carle run her yarn stall at the International Quilters Convention ( yes there really is something like that) I am not a quilter but it was fascinating to see how huge the following is. Some use yarn in their designs but there were a lot of knitters too. What does this have to do with driving fast cars I hear you ask?

Well a good friend of ours let us use her car for the 4 days. She said it was her run around car but it was the fanciest car I have ever driven. It was a Peugeot 607. I am not a big car person usually and they can all start looking the same to me hence not usually being fascinated.  This is a picture of what I think it looked like

It was an automatic, it has been about 10 years since I last drove a, much crummier, automatic when I worked in London. It was the Doctor on Call car, that I used when my car was broken. It no where near as fancy as this, in fact it was on the other end of the fancy scale, it just had a simple thingy to put it in Drive and Park etc (see I don’t even know what these car parts are called, is it still a gear lever in an automatic?). So when we got into this car I was a bit nervous the gear/drive/control stick thingy looked different from the one I had used before. This would not have been a problem if I had a few minutes to gather my nerves and then work out how to drive this thing in my own time, but we had to follow our friend straight away as she had arranged to get her sister to take her back to work but they would show us the way to the B&B first. So it was get in an go.

There was much laughing and swearing and hilarity as we tried to work out what to do with the stick thing that looked like a key slot. Me desperately trying to remember when you use N, and if you can just stay in D, and if it is possible to stall an automatic. All of this while trying hard not to send us flying through the windscreen when braking too hard on the sensitive brakes or slamming my foot into the empty space where the clutch should be and try to ‘change gear’ with the fancy key slot thingy in the middle of driving along.

The hilarity was made funnier by the fact that Carle’s passanger seat chair was horrizontal when we got in so she was lying down next to me trying to work out how her posh seat worked, while I flapped and panicked about how to drive this big car, and keep up with the car I was following, and panic about if it was possible to stall an automatic or if I would just be the first person in living history to do so.

Now all of this does not sound like a post made by someone who wants to drive fast cars. See I am not the usual confident petrol head. I like to be driven and I don’t usually make a fuss of cars, BUT who knew when you had an open stretch of road on a Sunday morning that it is so much fun to drive a smooth quiet comfortable car? They don’t tell you this on car shows, they blather on about car-ish type mumbo jumbo. It was not my car and my friend was so kind to lend it to me, that I never drove it as fast as I wanted to, I was very good. Her kindness meant we could get around and also that I could go see my Dad in Pretoria who just had a triple heart by pass the day before we landed, so I was not about to abuse that. But now I want to drive nice cars fast!

They turn their lights on a off for you, the beep when you reverse, they just seems to automatically do things that are awesome and left me going ‘oh wow’ a lot when it locked the door automatically, ‘oh it does automatic temperature control’, ‘hee hee the boot closes itself it you push a little button’ ( yes I was easily amused and like a kid in a candy store)

Whoo hoo it is such a cool feeling, yes I know I don’t get out much as a mom of 3, so maybe this is just my thrill seeking, but it was awesome. I don’t care about the car blather stuff, I just want to drive for fun and see how different cars feel. It is like having short love affairs but it is totally okay to try out as many as you like. Maybe I am a car slut.

I can now, due to my extensive 4 day practice, do the automatic thing, but I really want to try fast manual cars. I seem to be a control freak when I drive – again who knew. Look if they had to be automatic I am not going to moan. But it must be fun to change gear too.

Okay so that is the end of my little dream, A pink hair mom who knows nothing about cars is hardly the one people are going to ask to try out their fancy new model of car. But this is going on my bucket list – Drive lots of fast cars!

Do you like cars? What is the best car you ever drove?

 

Ask me anything about: Breast Implants

Next month it will be 3 years since I had my breast implant surgery. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. But writing the blog post on bras and bra shopping just reminded me how I felt before and made me stop and think about things again. I know there are women considering it or just those that are curious about the process or morbid curiosity about the nitty gritty like do they feel real etc. So I thought I would give people a chance to ask any questions they might have. You can ask anything I am thick skinned and not easily offended. So anything goes, except details of my sex life, sorry that is private ;-)

I remember looking for real women’s experiences before I had my op and it was not that easy to find and the questions I had were not always answered.

So over to you breastfeeding, sensation, shape, the op, what kind of implants, how I explained it to my kids etc ask anything. If you want to ask anonymously then just email me and I will put the question and answer up without mentioning your name cameronsallyjane@gmail.com

 

I am going to answer up here so everyone can see what has been asked and answered so far

How much did it cost?  R21 000 3 years ago

How did you find the surgeon? A friend’s work colleague’s wife had used this Dr and was full of praises so I went with a personal recommendation.

How sore was it and how long did it take to recover? It was pretty sore at the time. But they give you pain meds and sleeping tablets, you are a bit out of it for the first day or 2. I thought my Dr was evil as they gave you excersises to do as soon as you woke up and as often as you could manage while you recovered but at least every hour. At first they made me want to pass out but the more you did it the better it got. Helps to prevent contracture and to get blood supply going to the area to promote healing. I could drive in a week and although I had to be careful with lifting heavy stuff, I was back to doing most things within 2 weeks.

Does the breast feel any different to when you did not have implants? Yes it does feel different, I have boobs LOL, before I had nothing I was flat chested. Now they feel squashy and boob like I guess.

Does it feel artificial on touch? They can at times be a bit colder than the rest of me, but not a lot, my bum also feels the cold and I have no implants there ;-) They feel softer and bouncier now after breast feeding.

Do you know if one can do High Impact exercises with breast implants? I am not 100% sure but I have been running, you just need a very good sports bra and I often double up with 2 bras and a sports top

Do the implants last forever or would they at some stage in future need replacing? This seems to depend, some people replace them or get bigger one and some have had them 25+ years, so I guess I will wait and see.

Was breastfeeding very different with implants? Yes it was, I got engorged quicker as there was less space for them to expand. Titus did not latch well but not sure if that was him or the breast shape but with the help of a lactation consultant we got it right and are still going strong 17 months later.

What kind of implants did you get? Silicone, the Drs prefer them as they are softer. Saline gets very hard and cold. The Dr was very honest and we chatted about the options and risks and I was happy with the choice.

And… can I have a feel? Kidding of course, but only because I’m far, far away. Tanya next time you visit CT of course you can ;-)

Which is better: Silicone or Saline? This is hard to answer as I only have experience of one. Saline is harder, less natural feeling and colder and they deflate instantly. Silicone is softer and more like a normal breast. They do not deflate if the rupture but leak more slowly the concern can be that they are not absorbed by the body if they do rupture but need to be ‘cleaned’up
Is there even a remote possibility of loss of sensation? Yes there is always a chance, it was one of the things I was a bit worried about but it depends on how they do the incision. Mine is not around the nipple it is under the fold of the breast. I have a small scar on each side but this does not bother me as the nipples were never affected and so no loss of sensation.
I so want to have a feel when I see you soon. Will that be OK? Of course

Did you you get them under or over the muscle? Under the muscle as I wanted to be sure that if I ever had more kids that it would not interfere with the chances of me being able to breast feed. I think it also feels more natural as you feel the muscle and not the implants.

 

The danger of ‘Perfect Parenting’

Do you ever have that moment when you realize that some people’s perception on you is so different from reality or the way you see yourself? Two incidences recently made me see how dangerous perceptions can be.

I have been called an Earth Mother, and I guess it is understandable, we are doing the sustainability drive, I use cloth nappies and home school. It is not a title that I would give myself. I am very normal in most aspects, and to me an Earth Mother is so different, she wears tie dye, and only organic flowing clothes, she feeds her kids vegan organic food and colourants are evil, they don’t drink coffee and are even more conscious of their footprint on the earth than I am. They wear crystals, meditate and have no TV. That is just the stereotype picture in my mind of an Earth Mother. I think I am just a regular person trying to find easy ways to be greener.

And while I don’t mind being called an Earth Mom, what I learnt is that people have this idea that because I am more natural, that somehow I am a perfect mom. That being earth conscious makes you calm and never loose your cool. That you have a peaceful home and that somehow parenting is easy for you.

When I admitted to some friends awhile ago that I was having a tough time and just felt like getting in my car and driving far away, the response was not what I expected. There was no empathy or nodding agreement of how tough parenting can be. No, there was joy. Delight, that I am normal and have moments of not coping. They had this picture in their minds that somehow me being natural meant being perfect or always calm. I understand their reaction, because when we perceive others as perfect it highlights to us how much we are failing. We know we are not achieving these same levels of perfection. The problem is that we set them and ourselves up for heartache with these perceptions.

I know my friends did not mean to be unkind and they were just relieved that I was normal too, but in this laughing and joking about their perception of me they forgot that I was sharing something painful, my own feelings of failure as a mother. My own frustrations. The moment past and no one ask how I was. It was just enough I was normal, no one needed or wanted to know any more than that. It was a lesson to me that people’s perception of you can sometimes stand in their way of being able to empathize with you.

The second incident was when I met someone at a home school meet up and she made a passing comment about never having had a moment of not loving being a parent, it was such a blessing to her. My reaction was to politely smile and nod and inside I thought ‘gosh how does she love parenting so much all the time with 3 kids’ It made me feel hugely inadequate as I knew there were time I did not love it.

A few days later however I was angry. I am sure she did not mean to sound perfect and just wanted to convey that she loved motherhood. But to say you love every moment is a lie. I thought either she has some great drugs and I want some of those, or she drugs her kids, or she was trying to compensate for not always being perfect. She was more religious than me ( well more is a silly word to put in there as you can’t get any less religious than me, but you know what I mean) maybe she thought that admitting there are tough times is somehow detraction from the gift and ‘blessing’ that kids are supposed to be. But whatever her reason it was unkind to make yourself sound so perfect.

As mothers we need to think a little before we say these things, trying to convince ourselves that we are perfect means you miss that chance to get support when times are hard. Telling others you love parenting all the times makes them feel bad and you stop them sharing with you if they are finding it hard. And times will be hard, there is no one who can tell me that parenting is wonderful all the time. I don’t believe you. And if you think someone is getting it right and a perfect parent, chances are your perception is wrong and they have moments they mess up just like you do.

I think we can learn a great deal from other parents and the way others do things if we are open to admitting our failures and sharing our sucesses honestly and openly.

So here is my introduction. Hi I am Sally-Jane and I am not a perfect parent.

  •  I loose my temper, more frequently than I would like.
  • My kids eat sweets.
  •  There are days when I hate being a mom, I don’t stop loving my kids but I hate how hard and frustrating and difficult some days can be.
  • I don’t really like the baby stage at all.
  • My kids are not always polite
  • Somedays they go to be dirty and I forget to brush their teeth
  • I swore I would never smack them and I try very very hard not to but I have. And then I have said sorry
  • I apologies to my kids and tell them when I mess up, they need to know I am no more perfect than they are
  • I swear more than I should
  • There are days when I just want to send them all to school

 

There are list of other things that I do wrong but to balance these are times of fun, laughter and love than you will never find any other way than having kids. The bad moments pass, but the times that you are living through them are difficult and we need to support each other, not isolate ourselves with ideals of perfection.

 

 

Are there times that you have felt inadequate looking at someone else parent?

Or moments you have had where parenting was hard?

 

Bra shopping – what is your story?

I dread going bra shopping. I think part of the problem for me, is all the years before my boob op, when bra shopping was so humiliating and soul destroying. I can remember sitting in a changing room cubicle, silently sobbing with tears streaming down my face, feeling like a freak. Nothing fitted, I did not for all intense and purposes have any boobs, but being bra-less was also not an option. Comments like “smuggling smarties” or just wanting to wear a white top meant I had to wear something. I usually settled for wearing strappy tops underneath my clothes and gave up on bras, but I felt like less of a woman, like I did not quite make the grade. I have dealt with a lot of these emotions and was blessed to be loved for who I am and learnt that my attractiveness is not proportional to my cup size.

Now with boobs, bra shopping should be easier, but still I dread it. Finding the right size seems like guess work and after being measured at 2 different shops after the new boobs, and getting size differences from 32A to 36C. I mean really, I did not spend a LOT of money still to be an A! And depending on the make and style sometimes the 36C fits and sometimes not.

Now of course my world is dominated by feeding bras, which are truly the sexiest things ever. But Titus is almost weaned and I know I need to go face those cubicles and rows of innocent looking bras on plastic hangers. But behind the facade of a fabric item of clothing, this little garment can make or break a woman’s fragile body image and self esteem. Standing in a cubicle with full body mirrors all around you and needing to be next to naked just to try the bras on, can be difficult for women who have body image issues. Add to this struggling to find a bra that fits and the whole experience is awful.

Apparently 99.973% of us wear the wrong bra size. Okay I made those statistics up, you never guessed hey ;-) I am sure I could Google the exact statistics, but most of it is made up or depends on the sample group. But it is usually 60 to 70% that is quoted. That is a lot of woman in the wrong bra. There are enough woman that look like their boobs are being dissected into 4, shoulders have painful marks where their bra straps cut in, bras that ride up at the back or boobs that fall out at the side to know woman are getting it wrong. These examples of ill fitting bras we have all seen and perhaps experienced.

The other end of the spectum to me and my small boobs is anyone who dares to have bigger than DD. Trying find bras for larger boobs can be just as traumatic. My younger sister, please note when you have boob issues and your sister younger than you by 5 years starts buy bras bigger than you, it is another time you feel betrayed by your body. My sister got my share and her share and I know while I spend years being green with envy she struggles to find bras that fit comfortably as a woman with more than the shop deems average.

This has motivated her to see if she can make a difference and what cab be done about the horror of bra shopping. She has a short 10 question questionnaire if the ladies would be so kind as to fill it in for her. (here is the link to copy and paste if that one does not work http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FNKH386) you can also email Sarah any comments and experiences that you might not want to share in the comments below swainsonsarah@gmail.com

If you feel comfortable sharing about your bra shopping experience please comment below about your usual experience good or bad when bra shopping.

Thanks for your time, I hope she finds an answer to help make bra shopping easier and a more pleasant experience

Love

Wedding Dress – I need your opinion please

I love my dress I found for our Pinky and The Geek wedding. It is not traditional at all, but I think it makes my boobs look good.  After spending so much on them, it is, in some very vain way important to me. We are not religious or doing a religious service so I don’t need to worry about modesty. But seriously while my boobs looks look good, I don’t think the dress is too revealing.  But ask Carlè, Carlise or Andre they have seen it on.

I have this overwhelming desire to show The Geek. He is not that keen, but he wanted to know a bit about it so the outfits he gets for himself and his brothers are in keeping.

So my question:

Ladies
Did your husband see your dress before?
Did you like the surprise or value his involvement?

Guys
Did you see the dress before?
What way do you prefer, should it be a surprise?

Or am I over thinking this and placing more value on a dress than a man will ever attribute. And really they don’t care that much?

Oh and what do you think of a first look before the service, so he sees you without the need to keep emotions in check in front of the masses? Or again do I ascribe female emotions to guys, and really they are not capible of the same excitement over how you look?

Please be honest here folks, this is one if you read it please give your 2c

Thanks

Pinky’s Bucket List

You are lying on your death bed close to whatever you think happens after, and you have a moment to look back and reflect. Everyone wishes they had done more.

Bucket lists are often largely a list of places to visit, and yes there are some truly beautiful places here on Earth. But what about things that would make you die knowing you were true to the person you wanted to be. Eventually places visited are just a list of places. What about lives you have touched and people you have loved?

I have been thinking about a bucket list recently. I had the strange thought one day while reading about a friend sheering sheep, that this was something that I should do before I died. It should be a bucket list item. So for the last few weeks I have been thinking what else I wanted to do.

I did the blog meme 99 awhile ago and there are no more that I can cross off. So many bucket lists seem to be about places to visit, but what about things to challenge ourselves with closer to home? And those that build our character.

So these are a few the things I want to do before I kick the bucket:

- shear a sheep
- milk a cow
- smoke a cigar ( yes yes I know that will pushing The Geek to stop this seems hypocritical but it does seem like something you should do once)
- write a book (I know this is on a lot of lists and I may never actually get around to doing it because I don’t want to write it just for the sake of writing it. As of yet I am not sure what to write about so I am just going to wait. A wise person I am privileged to know recently said “sometimes, waiting is like wasting, just letting the world pass you by. But not always. Sometimes, it’s like catching your breath, and admiring the view, and giving inspiration a moment to catch you”
- design a knitting pattern that I love
- There are hundreds of places that I could list, all the beautiful places in the world I want to see, enter them all here. There are no place I really don’t want to go so I am not going to clog up my list with places to visit. One day I hope that we will take the kids and go live abroad for a while and then tour around. The only way to learn about Italian art is to go see it, and world history is more meaningful if we go to the places, so yes I want to travel everywhere. But this is a life goal as I go along there will be chance to visit new places.
- Do something that truly terrifies me, I have not decided what this is but I think we need to move out of our comfort zones regularly.
- Teach some one to knit that needs a skill and could change a life.
- Learn to spin and weave
- Dye my hair rainbow coloured
- Take a photo with my camera off automatic and that I am proud of – bump Andre
- Hosts a big band 20′s party
- Do an advanced driving course – this might also be able to be ticked off as something that terrifies me
- Get my 2nd tattoo
- Run comrades again, like one time was not insane enough
- Own a farm/small holding and be self sufficient
- Read hitchhikers guide to the galaxy
- Knit a cardigan in 4ply – this is a big undertaking for someone with the attention span of a small flea.
- Have a good relationship with my kids, if I can get to the end and say I had a good relationship with them then I will have done well
- Go to a F1 race with The Geek
- Donate blood regularly again
- Help people to tell their story
- Own a nice car
- Live completely debt free
- Make a crazy mosaic mural for the front walk
- crochet all the star wars characters for Caleb
- dye some yarn
- teach my kids to read
- make butter
- go out for dinner and have pudding for all 3 courses

I will add to this list and visit it to cross things off as I go along.

Write your own list and then add your link here so we can keep track of who is doing what and get some ideas fuel our own lists and push our own boundaries.

Could you breast feed someone else’s baby?

I have had this discussion with a few friends. Could you feed someone else’s baby or let someone feed your baby?

In theory I am okay with it, after all  Selma Hayek fed an African baby on a visit to Sierra Leone to promote breast feeding.

In dire straits with no other options I think I would. I would also feed a newphew or niece if needed but otherwise I  think it crosses a boundary for me. Probably a silly
society influenced boundary, but still.

Could you?

And just for AJ – how would you feel about your wife or partner breast feeding another baby or your baby feeding from someone else?

image

What would you change?

There is a time machine in front of you right now! Imagine it as an old one like this, the steampunkness of it appeals to me, or a new fancy sci-fi type. In the air you can smell the heavy scent of possibility. If you step inside you get to set one date, you will be able to go back in your own life. Give yourself a pep talk and change the decisions that you will make. Would you take it? Would you go? Or could you walk away.

On twitter today I asked ” Do you regret more the things you did do or the things you didn’t”
It was interesting to see people responses. It was a mix actually. I then spoke to The Geek and being philosophical as ever he said it was pointless to regret anything. If carefully considered and made the best decision you could at the time with what you knew then you did your best. But he is not impulsive like me. I don’t always carefully consider anything. I am the typical embodiment of the saying “fools rush in where angels fear to tread”. Then he said if you don’t do something you don’t know how it would have been and so regret is again pointless

I had one conversation I had was about a single important regretted decision and faced with a time machine it would be very conflicting to decide what to do. It seems on one level easy to think that you would like to go back with what you know now and help yourself make a different decision. But that changes EVERYTHING, it changes who we are and who we become.

The hurt, even at its deepest, shapes who we become. Strength comes from enduring and character from making hard decisions.

For example I married the wrong person the first time, but without that I would not have my kids, but it is more than that, I would not have known I did not have them, if that makes sense. But there is so much more that it is taught me and moulded me that I think in myself I would be different. I would not have pink hair.

Things I do wish I could change involve hurting others. And at times I wish I could undo some of that. We are often selfish and we don’t always act thinking of others. But maybe it was part of their journey and lessons to learn.

To feel the really good, we have to be able to weather through the really bad. Otherwise we are just anesthetized and live through all experiences without really feeling them. The sadness that brings you to your knees and makes it hard to even breath, is balanced by the joy that makes your heart want to burst. If we undo the bad maybe we undo the good too.

So would you get into the time machine and go and do or undo something?