We were in Pretoria for Christmas with my parents. I lived in that house with them when I returned to South Africa and it is a place the kids and I feel very comfortable. I grew up in Pretoria and spent most of my life there, it still to a certain extent feels like home. Christmas with my parents was very familiar and full of our family traditions. I even got to see my sister briefly. Friends and kids visited and played in the garden and pool just like we did before. It was very relaxing

Landing back in Cape Town on old years eve was actually quite strange, as much as I love Cape Town and our house and the life we have here, I am still most familiar with Pretoria. It has taken a while to settle back in and I think the kids have felt this too. But going to the beach today to walk the dog and play was lovely. I really really love where we live and have so many plans for our house.

I am sure in time Cape Town will feel more and more like home. but Pretoria always has a special place in my heart.

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Looking back 2011 and forward 2012

I get to the end of each year and think that it has been quite a whopper and that surely next year must be easier, but seeing as this is a recurring theme I am beginning to draw the conclusion that this is just life. There are 365 days in our yearly trip around the sun, that is a lot of days for good and bad things to happen. But 2011 did have some rather big life events

* 27 Febuary Titus Yme Tichelaar, formerly known as #Koos joined our family
* 15 March Natasha, Yme’s sister died (still seems unreal)

The rest of the year was just coping with these 2 events and learning to be a mom of 3. I have never enjoyed the baby time all that much, as I selfishly find it so consuming of my time, but Titus is lovely and a wonderful addition to the family. I can hardly believe it will soon be time to plan his first birthday.

I am not good at making New Years resolutions,I think there are only 2 things I would like to do this year as resolutions go. Blog more and be more organised. I am a little chaotic by nature and am never going to have an immaculate home but the chaos is starting to get to me.

Last year I posted a list of 60 things for an exceptional life – I was not aiming to do all of them but lets see how well I did

1. Exercise daily – does vocal cord exercise count? But now that we have a dog I need to try walk more, still not sure it will be daily. This video is a very good reason to motivate me to walk though http://youtu.be/aUaInS6HIGo 
2. Get serious about gratitude – I did the 29 days of giving challenge just to help focus me outward
3. See your work as a craft – I really got into knitting last year, it is not my work but I nice sideline and I even designed a pattern or 2 which I must now write up 
4. Expect the best and prepare for the worst – Maybe, I don’t know I think i just like to hope the best will happen rather than the worst
5. Keep a journal.- No I was terrible at blogging last year
6. Read “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”. – not sure this is one that I will ever tick off, there are a lot of other things I want to read first
7. Plan a schedule for your week – No but maybe in my new more organised life I should try this
8. Know the 5 highest priorities of your life – Does this include people? My priorities are to my family and friends
9. Say no to distractions. – big fail on this one, I am so often distracted.
10. Drink a lot of water. – no but I want to try this one too
11. Improve your work every single day – If this means trying harder as a mom each day, then yes, everything else last year took a back burner role
12. Get a mentor. – Had one already
13. Hire a coach. – No
14. Get up at 5 am each day. – But choice never, when kids wake me, often
15. Eat less food. – No I like food
16. Find more heroes. – I have friends that have survived and be through so much, they are my heros
17. Be a hero to someone. – I don’t know that I am a hero to anyone but a friend and a support, I hope so
18. Smile at strangers. – I started doing this, it is fun
19. Be the most ethical person you know. – I don’t think I am unethical but I am sure there must be some more ethical than me
20. Don’t settle for anything less than excellence. – As a mom with 3 kids and home schooling and life some times done is good enough
21. Savor life’s simplest pleasures. – smiles and kisses from my kids
22. Save 10% of your income each month. This is one that I really want to do but it does not help when there is not enough to make ends meet let alone save. But this year I feel like it is save first and then plan the rest of the month, seems to be the only way it will happen
23. Spend time at art galleries.
24. Walk in the woods. – does walk on the beach count? we do this a lot. I love where we live
25. Write thank you letters to those who’ve helped you. no, i really should try do this, I do try always thank for gifts, not always written though
26. Forgive those who’ve wronged you. – anger only eats you up and the other person is usually oblivious to it so might as well forgive and move on
27. Remember that leadership is about influence and impact, not title and accolades. – this could not be truer than in SA
28. Create unforgettable moments with those you love. – I think we did this, the moment that Titus was born was pretty amazing
29. Have 5 great friends. – Yes I am lucky, I have some fantastic friends
30. Become stunningly polite. – Hahaha stunningly polite, no not really
31. Unplug your TV. – I need to do something while I knit and TV is a good unwind
32. Sell your TV. See no. 31
33. Read daily. I read to the children daily, does that count?
34. Avoid the news. A lot of the time when it is just me and the kids at home we are rather removed from the news but sometimes it can feel a bit isolating. I like to try know the main bits of current affairs and news
35. Be content with what you have. – I am working on this
36. Pursue your dreams. – always
37. Be authentic. – People see through you if you are not being you.
38. Be passionate. – this is not hard for me, I feel and live passionately 
39. Say sorry when you know you should. – working on doing this more
40. Never miss a moment to celebrate another. – I hope I celebrate others and their successes
41. Have a vision for your life. yes
42. Know your strengths. yes
43. Focus your mind on the good versus the lack. – no I need to do this more
44. Be patient. – seldom, I need to practice
45. Don’t give up. – have not yet, but I did learn that sometimes walking away is okay
46. Clean up your messes. – I am not sure if this is physical mess or metaphorical, I am just working on our messy house to start with
47. Use impeccable words. – I love words and could really do with improving my vocabulary and not defaulting to lazy standard words
48. Travel more. This is hard with 3 small kids but a holiday to my parents for Christmas and a few days in the Magaliesberg was lovely
49. Read “As You Think”. – no
50. Honor your parents. – I hope I always do this
51. Tip taxi drivers well. I never use a taxi, maybe I should teach my kids this one for Mom’s taxi
52. Be a great teammate. – I am not really in a team setting but I think I can work in a team
53. Give no energy to critics. – A lesson we could all use again and again
54. Spent time in the mountains. Climbing mountains with kids would just be silly, but I spend time looking and appreciating them, I spend time walking and doing out door time on the beach
55. Know your top 5 values. yes Honesty, vulnerability, 
56. Shift from being busy to achieving results. – I could do this more
57. Innovate and iterate. – always have ideas
58. Speak less. Listen more. – need to practice this, especially in discussions with the Geek when I feel like I speak over him too often
59. Be the best person you know. – with a world full of such amazing people this would be hard but I hope I touch the lives around me in a positive way
60. Make your life matter. – It matters to 3 little people at the moment


I hope 2012 is great for us all, I hope it is easier than 2011 but it is through the hard times that we learn and we learn where our support comes from. What are your hopes and goals/resolutions for 2012?