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.

1 year

So it has been a year since I moved to Cape Town and Yme started our lives together. What a year it has been. Here is the run down

  • The kids and I moved to Durbanville and Yme was thrown into the deep end with 2 kids. I think the kids and Yme have adapted very well.
  • Had to put our ART dreams on hold for finacial reasons, it is still unfinished and I will update it this week
  • My nephew was born in London, it sucks that they were so far away and I could not help my sister more.
  • The kids and I flew up to Pta for the world cup and to see my younger sister who was visiting from UK. It was lovely to see her
  • My dad was in a big car accident when we were in Pta, he drove an old Toyota Camry and I am sure it is this tank of a car that saved him
  • We found out that we were rather unexpectantly pregnant.
  • My divorce finally went through after almost a year and a half of fighting.
  • We started house hunting and found our huisie by die see
  • Moved to Melkbosstrand – I hate moving and hope this is the last time for a long long time
  • Natasha got sick and went to hospital for the first time
  • My sister and little nephew came to visit, it was lovely to meet him
  • My kids went to Pta with my mom and sister for a visit and I got 10 days off, it was wonderful
  • Flew to fetch the kids just before Christmas
  • Had a wonderful Christmas at home, Natasha came out just before and it was so special that she was with us here. Cherished memories.
  • Natasha got sick again and was admitted into hospital
  • My friends Lucy and Bodo came to visit and stay with us from England
  • Titus was born at home into his Daddy’s hands. One of the most amazing memories of my whole life. It might not have seemed like the best timing when we found out, but this little boy has come at just the right time. He joins us and provides joy in a sad time. He is like the cherry on top of our little family
  • We had to stand up to a Dr that said our baby was going to die when it was just a skin infection
  • Natasha died, I still can not believe it. I miss her. My sisters are all overseas. I was so happy to have a ‘sister’ in Cape Town. At the moment I am cross, I guess the stages of grief, but I am mad that all the things that she would have loved to do with us are now poorer for her not being here. Seeing Titus grow, kids birthdays, shopping, planning weddings, Easter etc etc. And when I get sad I feel so bad and what I feel must be a tiny fraction of what Yme and his family are going through)

So that in a nutshell is our year. On the stress scale I think we tick almost all of the boxes

But you know I through all this Yme and I are more in love than ever. I think if we can weather this last year we can face anything together. He bought be a Lindt bunny yesterday and a Anniversary card. I am not used to someone saying they love me let alone buying me things and writing lovely words expressing it. I love this man very very much.

How was your year?

In Memory – Natasha

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Yme’s sister died last week – gosh I can’t even bear to type those words, to see them like that in black and white. How can they possibly be true? How is it that one year after I met vibrant alive gorgeous redhead that we were saying goodbye?

The first time I met Natasha was when I came down to Cape Town with the pinklets to do our ART roadtrip, it was exactly a year ago . Yme had offered that we stay at his bachelor flat, he moved to his mom’s house for that week so the Pinklets and I would have somehwere to stay in CT. Natasha, knowing what boys are like had offered to help him clean and tidy up before we arrived. I liked her instantly and the bond between them was so clear right from the start.

I had the great privileged of getting to know her on our trip as she drove most of the way with me and the kids. We talked about love, life, dreams, South Africa, her family, kids, well basically everything. She always supported The Geek and I. Lets face it when your brother suddenly has a girlfriend with pink hair and 2 kids one could expect a sister to be critical or protective, but Natasha embrased us all and was so keen to be an aunty to the Pinklets.

When we moved to CT, she made such an effort with them, she would baby sit and buy them things, she would come shopping with me, do my hair and organise my makeup when I had to go out, help clothes shopping. My sisters are both in the UK and it was so nice to have a sister around again. Her and Arthur would come and braai with us and play with the kids and spoil them. She was so very excited about the new baby. She teased Yme about him being Koos forever.

Then she got sick, watching a vibrant 27 year old with her whole life ahead of her being ravaged by a disease that the Drs knew so little about was hard. Natasha got a rare auto immune disease. She was in hospital a long time at the end of last year and there were many times when things were touch and go, but she fought like mad and we were so glad to have her home for Christmas. We had a big family Chtistmas at our house and I am so grateful that she was with us. Those memories will always be very specail. Soon after new year she got sick again her very weak immune system was over run but some very nasty treatment resistant bugs. But again she fought, she fought on a ventilator against the odds for over 60 days until it was just too much. She could not anymore.

She never got to see Titus, never got to hold him, or ooh and aah and laugh and say how perfect he is. I know she would have been instantly in love and would have enjoyed him so much. She only even got to see a picture. I am determined that he might never have met her but he WILL know her, she will be part of his life as she lives on in our memories and we share things from her life.

My pain and loss is by a drop in the ocean of what her mother and brothers are going through, I can not even begin to imagine. I can only hope in a tiny way to offer the support they need. Something like this never goes away, the hole that someone as vibrant as Natasha leaves is huge. Annatjie lost not only her daughter but her friend, her companion and confidant. I marvel at her strength in all of this. Yme and the other brothers are quiet men, they do not wear their pain out in the open for all to see. But if you look, the eye are always windows to the soul and you see the pain etched there. Wouter, only 19 astonounded me with his bravery and calmness at Natasha’s funeral where he chose to say a few words about his sister, he spoke clearly and without falter making a moving tribute to her.

Time is a healer or so they say… I do not think that grief is something we deal with and get over. I think it is just something that we learn somehow to assimilate into our daily lives and we learn to live alongside it.

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 😉

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 😀 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

New Year, so guess that means a resolutions list?

But I have no other goal or resolution other than to somehow survive being the mother of 3, home school Rachel, run 2 small businesses from home and stay sane.

2010, what a year. But compared to 2009 it was a great year.

*I moved to CT, then moved again to our lovely house, i love this house and I love living near the beach.
*Fell very very much in love with the Geek, he really is wonderful and the more I know the more I marvel, may it be a lifetime of discovery.
*Made a home for the Pinklets that they are thriving in. Case in point this morning Caleb woke up with a swollen eye from his sinuses due to a cold he has, he went to Yme’s side of the bed for comfort and crawled in with him. My kids think he is the sun, moon and stars.
* Got divorced
* Got knocked up rather unplanned, but as things go it means that the 2 Pinklets now will be closer in age to #koos which I think is a good thing.

All in all many good things, it was a steep learning curve on many of these and not always easy but i feel like 2010 was like the foundation, now we build.

I saw these 60 tips for an exceptional life on twitter today which I quite like so I leave you with that for 2011

1. Exercise daily.

2. Get serious about gratitude.

3. See your work as a craft.

4. Expect the best and prepare for the worst.

5. Keep a journal.

6. Read “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”.

7. Plan a schedule for your week.

8. Know the 5 highest priorities of your life.

9. Say no to distractions.

10. Drink a lot of water.

11. Improve your work every single day.

12. Get a mentor.

13. Hire a coach.

14. Get up at 5 am each day.

15. Eat less food.

16. Find more heroes.

17. Be a hero to someone.

18. Smile at strangers.

19. Be the most ethical person you know.

20. Don’t settle for anything less than excellence.

21. Savor life’s simplest pleasures.

22. Save 10% of your income each month.

23. Spend time at art galleries.

24. Walk in the woods.

25. Write thank you letters to those who’ve helped you.

26. Forgive those who’ve wronged you.

27. Remember that leadership is about influence and impact, not title and accolades.

28. Create unforgettable moments with those you love.

29. Have 5 great friends.

30. Become stunningly polite.

31. Unplug your TV.

32. Sell your TV.

33. Read daily.

34. Avoid the news.

35. Be content with what you have.

36. Pursue your dreams.

37. Be authentic.

38. Be passionate.

39. Say sorry when you know you should.

40. Never miss a moment to celebrate another.

41. Have a vision for your life.

42. Know your strengths.

43. Focus your mind on the good versus the lack.

44. Be patient.

45. Don’t give up.

46. Clean up your messes.

47. Use impeccable words.

48. Travel more.

49. Read “As You Think”.

50. Honor your parents.

51. Tip taxi drivers well.

52. Be a great teammate.

53. Give no energy to critics.

54. Spent time in the mountains.

55. Know your top 5 values.

56. Shift from being busy to achieving results.

57. Innovate and iterate.

58. Speak less. Listen more.

59. Be the best person you know.

60. Make your life matter.

Robin Sharma – Author of the #1 international bestseller “The Leader Who Had No Title”

Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

Oh boy does this meme showcase how much of a Non Completer Finisher I am. This link to the Belbin Team Roles chart will tell you what a completer finisher is if the name was not enough to give it away.

But Day 30 needs to be done so I can stop avoiding my blog and get on with other news

So a letter to myself. Sounded easy but I just deleted most of what I just wrote, I can not write this whole thing to myself and try as I might I kept just writing to you all about how I feel about me and where I am now. So sorry I am changing this. I am writing to you, to anyone who reads Pinky.

What I have learnt

Life is never ever going to be perfect but this has got to be close. Sure we could do with more money and less stress and more time etc etc but driving along the coastal road today watching the kite surfers and the beautiful Blaauberg conservation area, I was thinking how lucky I am that my normal driving around everyday is what people pay heaps of money to come and see on holiday.

I have realized looking back over the last year that it was a tough one, shew wee, but somehow I made it through and the other side is not a place. Worries do not disappear and everything is not just as you wanted, no it is real life, just as it was before. There are financial worries, parenting guilt, daily annoyances, in general normal life. But this place of comfort and happiness for lack of a better word is people. Those that surround us

Life continues to be what it was, the sun rises and sets and we are gifted 24 hours as always, but having been through a journey of discovery are and learning to be true to myself has lead to the most amazing people in my life. People who love me and who I love – now that is the place one wants to be. You soon see who the real supports are and who is willing to walk and stay even when they might not agree or when the going gets tough, These are the people the ones that make this place a good one to be in.

Yme is what I convinced myself did not exist in a man and that a relationship could never possibly feel this supportive or like a team effort. We fight, we are stubborn but above all what shines through is that we love each other and want to make this work. I am lucky to have him, I hope I never forget how special he is.

With this wonderful man came a family, I have the best ‘Almost-in-laws’ in the world. His family is amazing. They are kind welcoming and have just opened their arms to me and the Pinklets. They did not have to accept a strange pink haired woman with kids, but they did. And more than that, they did not just accept us they made us part of the family and really helped to make the transition to the Cape easier. They help to provide the family structure that the Pinklets need. Ouma Annatjie is very very special to them and me.

Andre: my guardian and true friend, you watch my back. I know that you will always be there and be around for me to talk to, with wise words and the perspective that my huge emotions often does not let me see. I would be lost without you. Thank you for all your help with the thousands of things and queries you help me with, but most thanks for just being there. You are another one that I count the Pinklets lucky to have in their life. Stable, strong characters for them to look up to and see admire. And besides I still think you have one of the best views ever!

Barbara: I miss you so much, the kids are 6, Earth Babies is 6, what a roller coaster of years. Thank you for walking them with me. Births, deaths, moves, divorces wow we have been through a lot in 6 years. Thank you for being you, never being afraid to say what you believe but always being willing to walk besides me no matter if it differs from what you think. Thank you for movie nights, Sunshine Cleaners and all the others. When you surprise visited here the other day it was amazing. You looked relaxed and happy. I still think you should come to the west coast 😉

My parents, they just support and love us no matter what and I could not do it without them. They have the Pinklets this week for a holiday and as much as I miss my kids deeply, I love how comfortable they are to fly off with my mom and visit Bumpa, Stanley, Peter, Christina and Kitty. These are the kind of grandparents every kids should have. My dad is not a man of many words but the other day I was moaning about something and he just said “Sally, where you are now and what you have is so much better, focus on that”

There are many more, Sharon who listened to many of my adventures and just shook her head and laughed, Elaine and Liz who have helped with Earth Babies, Scott and Karen for just being awesome friends. Suzanne, Shelly, Ilse and Jane a few of my babynet friends who have really stood by me. The twitter crowd who shares 140 character snippets of your life, and on the surface it is easy to think that these connections are just shallow and lacking but time and time again people show me how much they care. To everyone who reads and comments here, I am not sure you realize just how much it means to me and how much the support helped me through some very tough times.

It is life changing to realize the impact people can have on you. So I end by saying again, the perfect place to be is not a place, it is not circumstances and it is not unending blissful happiness it is knowing that you walk every step of the way with an army next to you of those who love and support you.