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?

Leap year proposal

The Geek and I have talked a lot about getting married. He says things like “you know I want to marry you” to which I usually reply “apparently”

The Geek analyzes, researches and waits until he feels everything is perfect before he does things. This means it takes a long time. Especially something like a proposal.

With 3 kids and a tight budget there is never enough money and the idea of a wedding gets put on the back burner.

I on the other hand am impulsive and impatient. I am bad at waiting. Being a leap year I decided to propose.

Actually I had a thought how I would do it and the told a friend who was so enthusiastic it was contagious, so I threw caution to the wind and emailed 6 friends on Twitter to help.

Why Twitter, because we met on Twitter and Titus’s birth was Tweeted and we met a lot of good friends on Twitter.

Each person had one word to tweet to The Geek 5 minutes apart starting at 4:00 ending at 4:30 when he finishes work. I would do the last tweet outside his office.

I was so nervous. Not that he would say no, but that he would be mad that he did not get to have his romantic moment. I even emailed his brother to check if he knew of any imminent plans, if he would have told anyone he would have told his brother. Jacques did not know of any plans, he said his brother procrastinates and to go for it. He even baby sat Titus.

The older 2 were on the farm with Carle for a sleep over. I dropped all the kids and started watching my phone. I was so nervous it would not work or someone would be delayed. But they were all amazing. A huge thank you to Carle, Sharon, Andre, Paul, Annatjie and Catherine

I did warn him to look at his Twitter from 4 as I know sometimes he gets too busy.
This is what his timeline looked like.
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He came out the office he looked so confused. He was grinning and he gave me a kiss and said yes. I was shaking I was so nervous.

When I said I was worried he would be mad he said of course he was not mad, and although he had a few vague ideas in his mind he had no fixed plans.

We went straight to the beach for a photo shoot with Catherine from Cazpix and then out to dinner. It was lovely.

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the rest of the photo shoot is here

Why we should not ignore Valentines day

Oh the same dilemma every year. Do you or don’t you do anything for Valentines day? I am glad that xkcd had the same dilemma

I have heard all the reasons not to.
It is too commercial
Money making scam
Everyday should be Valentines day.
We are busy it is a working day.

And while I agree with all this, plus the fact that we have no extra money to spend going out, I am still not convinced we should ignore it.

Our lives are busy and hectic and no matter how much you are in love, the mundane and the everyday creeps in. Yes should be loving and doing things for each other everyday, but sometimes we are just trying to survive. Do we need a day to be reminded? A day to stop and think of ways to spoil and appreciate our loved ones? It is all too easy just to say that it should be everyday, but if we are honest we don’t go out of our way everyday to show our love.

If we don’t use this day in our rebellion against the commercial but we don’t really do any other day either. We all moan that Christmas is too commercial but most of us still celebrate and enjoy it. We can find ways to make it congruent with our own values, spend less money, make it an eco friendly day if you are a green nut like me. It does not have to be commercial but I don’t think we should ignore it. A day to show someone how much you love them does not have to cost a lot. But I think it is wrong to pretend it does not matter.

We show our kids that a day of Father Christmas and presents is important but a day to show someone you love them should be ignored? That does not sound right, kids need more examples of people showing love, they need to know that sometimes you need to take time out and make an effort to show someone you appreciate them.

My ex husband ignored it every year, well he ignored everything including our wedding anniversary. I would secretly hope that this time he would do something nice. I tried a few times and maybe I did not try hard enough either. But each year his ignoring it hurt.

How do you feel about Valentines day?
Are you celebrating Valentines day?
What are ways to have a inexpensive but still romantic day?

(great Pinky! Now you have talked yourself into this you know you actually have to find some awesome cheap way to spoil the geek tomorrow!)

It is my birthday!

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I love my birthday. I love surprises and feeling special for the day. Yme really out did himself this year. I know he deliberated a lot about what to get. In the end he got me a Galaxy Tablet! The self same tablet I am writing this blog post on. It is great, very similar to my HTC Android phone so easy to use and familiar layout. I love it, a total spoil present. I had put practical things like pots on my list, this is like a little luxury all for me.

But wait there is more, you know that time away in a cottage I was longing for and blogged about here well he organized that too. My friend Ghilraen is staying with us and she is going to watch the 2 older Pinklets and we will take little Titus with us for the weekend. We are going to Chestnut Cottage ( how quaint does that sound!) I cant wait!

He also took all 3 kids last night to go shopping for little gifts from them. I got woken up by my lovely family and had presents before Yme went to work.

I got lovely presents from Ghilraen and family too, including beautiful beaded earings, bracelet and necklace which she cleverly made for me. She bake a cake which she is now bravely decorating with help from all 5 kids, while i have been sent to the room to play with my toy so the cake can be a surprise.

A few years ago I would never have imagined I could be this happy or this loved and cherished. I know it sounds cliche but even without all the gifts I have all I need. I am loved beyond my wildest dreams.

Our first Valentines

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So this was our first Valentines. The kids and I made cards and heart biscuits. We joined the digital age and Rachel sent her card to friends via mms.I made all our dinner into heart shapes and we had Pavlova for pudding. I also got lovely roses, my first Valentines flowers. Very special

I have great parents

My parents came to visit this weekend, the Pinklets were so excited to see them. They have such a special relationship. Everyone else fades into the background in Caleb’s life when his Bumpa is around.

My dad brought them a bird feeder he had made them and they are delighted to sit at the dinning room window to watch the little birds come to the birdy cafe. I can see that next we will have to add a bird path and bird table for fruit.

Koos is making his arrival soon and so not only did they fill my freezer ( that they bought us for Christmas) with food, but my mom spent all of Saturday and Sunday morning cooking up meals for me to freeze so when baby comes we have ready made food. Poor dad, if he thought he might have a relaxing weekend he was much mistaken, mom made him peel, chop, wash, cut and help.

I am so grateful to have such wonderful, helpful parents. They just muck in and help and still seem to find plenty of time to go for walks with the kids and their bikes, read stories and go for outings to the beach.

I really hope they retire here one day, I know 2 little people who would be over the moon.

2nd chances

Valentines day is coming up and this is The Geek and my first valentines day. Yes scandalous I know, knocked up and ready to pop, unmarried and not even a year together. Oh well

This made me think about second chances. One of the biggest things that I was worried about when coming out of such a disastrous marriage and failed relationship was why I landed up there in the first place and would I be doomed to repeat the cycle as so many others seem to do. Moving from one bad relationship to the next.

I think I can honestly say that by some miracle I managed to find not just a second chance but a soul mate. The things he will do for me, big and small and the way that he treats me just takes my breath away. I know that they are probably what it is supposed to be like, but never having been treated like this, or having someone do little things for me just because they want to boggles my mind.

He honestly thinks I am beautiful, even in my beached whale pregnant state, and I think that to him it is the person he loves and so the outer shell does not matter as much. It is amazing to have someone look at you with appeciation just for who you are, they love your body because it is yours rather than because it is perfect.

He does not mind doing little things for me, he will fetch and bring me anything he thinks will make me more comfortable or help. Especially now I am pregnant, if i forget something in the other room he will without a fuss and at his own suggestion go and get it for me. I am not used to be treated so kindly.

He loves sharing little things with me that he reads or learns about. I love that he is so clever and read and discovers and that he passes this on to the kids too. Life is an adventure of new knowledge and he shows them this all the time. If they ask science or maths questions I can just say – ask Yme πŸ˜‰

I always have ambicious ideas and plans for things like parties and baby showers or gifts I try make things, with not quite enough time. The Geek never gets cross with me, instead he teases me, tries to channel some of the plans into being more realistic but in the end he will sit up all night with me helping me try finish the mad ideas I have. He just totally accepts that I am like this. He does not moan that it means he spends hour helping me. Everytime he does this I marvel, i have always been like this but was never helped with such loving support.

He helped me make a belly cast – I had to get a friend and my sister to help before as the ex refused. Yme, will help with just about anything, even if he thinks it is a little odd ball, just because he like to see me happy. That my happiness matters so much to him is breath taking.

He loves our kids, and yes I say our. He is their everyday dad. He does not try to replace their dad and they know they have a dad. The contact the ex has is minimal but that is his choice. Yme speaks about my boy and my girl. If you see his comment on this Parent 24 article you will see how much he see his role as important in their lives. He commented under his name and is the avatar that is wearing the Dennis the Menace Jersey πŸ˜€ He told me that as long as one of his 3 kids can braai one day he will be happy. I am so glad they have him as a role model, I am sure we will go through ups and downs with the kids and the issues surrounding step-parenting BUT he has not stood back he has jumped in the deep end and works hard to make this family work.

I once heard someone say that they think in every relationship there is the lover and the loved. While I think that for a balanced relationship, this should be fluid and change depending on the time and circumstance, there is a small part of me that think I am so loved that there might not be enough I can do to match the lengths he is willing to go to for me. I love this man with all my heart. It is not a competition to see who demonstrates it more, but i think he wins hands down. I only hope he knows too just how awesome he is and how even though life is hard at time, I am the happiest I have been in ages

Day 25 β†’ The reason you believe you’re still alive today.

As an atheist it is hard to have any other perspective than, I am alive today because I am not dead. Nothing has killed me yet or cause me to kill myself. Full stop. Yes we all have talents and gifts and potential but it does not make us live longer or stop us dying. I was going to end with the first sentence but the longer I thought about this topic the more I had to say, maybe I should have just kept the thoughts in my head, because I am going to disagree with what most have said, sorry if i step on toes but this is my opinion you are free to disagree.

I do not think we are alive
1) Because we have an unfulfilled purpose.
2) Because our friends or family supported us and kept us alive
3) hope or prayers or whatever are enough to keep us alive

Being a Palliative care nurse, I have worked with more dying people than most. Plenty had stuff they still wanted to do, or were people who could have continued to contribute huge amounts to society. You don’t get to stay alive because you are talented or because you have something to do or give to the world. We all know of useless wastes of oxygen who continue to live with nothing useful to contribute, and we know of great wonderful people who die. This does not mean that we should not strive to contribute or have purpose and goals, but don’t think that because you feel you have unfulfilled purpose you get to live longer. Make every day count.

Many of us count ourselves lucky to have gotten through certain stages in our lives due to the support of our family and friends. I know it was often only the thought of my sweet kids that made me get up in the morning. But to burden a family of someone who has committed suicide with the idea that if they were there more or loved more or supported more they could have stopped it, is just wrong. When someone is so deep in the black hole of an illness like depression, sometimes all the love and support in the world is not enough. I am not down playing the fact that many of us have been stopped from doing something silly by having good support but even with it sometimes the darkness and hopelessness the person feels, wins out in the end.

Hope, my least favourite word, I have seen people battle with all they have in them, they have had so much to live for and all the hope in the world and I have seen others beg to die who have lingered. It has way more to do with physiology than hope. Not that I think the mind does not play a role but in perspective.

sorry for the toes I stepped on, just my thought. You are alive because you are alive, go out and live it as best you can.

Day 24 β†’ Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)

Rachel
Dear Rachel

My spirited child I am blessed to have you, you challenge me in more ways than I thought possible. You are always determined to do things your way. I have no idea where you get that from. You have so much to learn and at times the task of helping you to reach become the wonderful free thinking individual soul that you are seems totally overwhelming. I fear that is trying to survive day to day I will crush much of the spirit that makes you who you are. But I also need you to know that as much as I love you the world does not care about you as an individual. It is a hard place that does not like people who do not conform.

I have picked these songs for you, not because they are my favourite musically but because of the words.

Song 1
You need a strong sense of self, but more than that you need to know that you are part of a family, a community and a country, your actions need not be conformist but they have to be kind and thoughtful of others. Be true to yourself.

I am the one and only – Chesney Hawkes

Song 2
There are going to be times when you wish with all your heart that something would happen or that someone would do things the way you want them done. Often it does not happen, the pain is often overwhelming, head up, one breath at a time. Sometimes you will look back and understand and other times you will never understand why.

Just say Yes – Snow Patrol

Song3
I know you are struggling now with Afrikaans. It feels really difficult and you get frustrated easily at not being able to do it well from the start, but try really hard to learn, it is the language of a lot of people in this country especially in the Cape but not only that it will change your relationship with Yme. And of course your new brother will be learning it too. Learning a new language will also help you when you want to learn other languages one day.

I have been introduced to Die Heuwels Fantasies by Yme and this is the song he plays to the baby.
Die Heuwels Fantasies – Klein Tambotieboom

Song 4
You are going to make mistakes, like I said before keep your individual spirit, be willing to go against the grain and be true to yourself BUT consider others. Try not to hurt other people but sometimes hurting others happens be willing to say sorry. We all hate it, learn the skill now it is invaluable

Chris Daughtry – Sorry

Song 5
You are going to get hurt, very very hurt and as much as I wish that I could protect you from ever feeling pain, it is not going to happen. You are going to be disappointed, betrayed, you are going to lose people, you are going to have your heart broken. Even times when it feels like just taking the next breath is too hard, remember lots of people are been here before. There were times when I felt like this and only the thoughts of you and Callie made me want to go on. You will be okay, you will survive. Come and tell me, cry with me, let me hold you, or find the people/friends/person that you feel safe to do that with. But in the end you will be okay.

REM – Everybody hurts

Song 6
You are a South African, this is a beautiful country of much diversity and beauty, but it is also a country that has had a lot of blood spilt on the ground. Learn its history, learn about its people and most of all never forget that you have more than lots of other people in this land. Find how you can help and make this country better for all, it is worth fighting for

South Africa National Anthem

Song 7
Fall in love, it would be ridiculous to think that you will do it only once, but try not to rush and never settle. Wait and be fussy. You have the right to be loved everything that you are and for that to be enough. No one is perfect, don’t try change the person you are with it does not work. You will natural change in ways by being together, but be that growing together and not fighting to stay who you are. The 3 words I love you can be easy to say but destroying not to hear. Don’t throw them away easily but say them enough to the right person. If someone never says them to you, they are not the right one, I learnt that the hard way.

Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars

There are many more lessons I want you to learn but enough for today. More than all the music in the world, learn to sing in the shower, dance to your own beat, love and laugh more than you do anything else and find your passion, when you know what drives you it will help channel your spirit and use your talents for good.

I love you so very very much
Your Pink Hair Mom

Day 07 β†’ Someone who has made your life worth living for

This is going to sound a bit self help bookish but I learnt through all the thing that happened in this last year and a half, that my life had innate value, and that I am worthwhile just because I am. I can not make someone else responsible for my worth.

I do have amazing people in my life give it purpose and meaning. My kids, my awesome Geek, my incredibly supportive family and friends who go above and beyond to support me.

Sorry if this sounds a bit full of myself and clique but self-love is not an easy place to come to, but something I hope, above all, to teach my kids.