Monday, July 27, 2015

Update on my weight loss mission

Lately it's been feeling as though I give one step forward, and two steps back, doing a horrible see-saw game with the scale - lose half a kilo, pick up half a kilo.  Spend two weeks losing one kg, spend the next two weeks gaining that kg back.

I did this post back in May, and have kept trying to remind myself of what my plan is...  It's such a mind-set, this whole weight loss thing - you need to be in the right head space, motivated and inspired, ready to give up certain things, and ready to refuse temptations and ready to exercise even when you really really don't feel like it.

And at the end of the day, that's what weight loss comes down to... eat less, move more!

So that's what I started doing 10 days ago.  Incorporating more cardio into my gym routine, still with lots of strength training, and concentrating on eating less. Smaller portions, less snacks, lots of water and tea.  I lost 0.7 in the first week - and that was exactly what I needed to see to know I'm on the right track!

This weekend I got Wyn to take a progress piccie of me, in the same kind of pose as a year ago.  This was also such a brilliant reminder that these things take time.  As much as I have felt in the past couple of months that I'm self-sabotaging myself on this journey - this was proof that things have been happening - slowly but surely!

And loved this workout reminder too:
Here's to losing the last couple of kilo's - I'd much rather have to focus on maintaining weight than trying to lose! (I am not sure exactly how much I want to lose - I have clothes that I want to fit comfortably into, then I'll be happy. Thinking it's about 5 - 7 kg to go.)

I really want to feel good about myself this summer!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ella's 15 month update!

1.) How old today?  Ella-Bella-Bytjie turned 15 months yesterday!
2.) New milestones/ talents/ achievements?  She isn't walking yet.  Sure taking her sweet time with this! She walks nicely holding on to me with one hand though - she just needs the self-confidence to let go!  She talks very cute gibberish, and is showing so much understanding to commands, like when I tell her to give me her socks or shoes. She points out nose, tongue, ears, feet. 
3.) Favourite toys & favourite things to do?  Her dudu bunny is her absolute favourite thing in the world.  She hugs it so tight!  She loves watching Lollos dvd's.  Sitting on the trampoline while Mia jumps - Ella laughs and laughs!  We all enjoy going for walks, Ella sits in the push-tricycle or pram, Mia goes on her plastic bike.
4.) Current words?  Mamma, Baba, Pappa, Num (food), "klaar", uh-uh (no) Boom (if something falls down) 
5.) Favourite food and snacks?  Yoghurt, cheese, biltong sticks, flings, pasta, peas and corn.
6.) How is toddler sleeping at night?  She’s spoilt us with a few nights of sleeping through, so I know she can, don't know why she doesn't sleep nicely every night!  Generally she wakes up once or twice, then I just re-settle her and she goes back to sleep.  But some nights I go to her between 6 and 8 times still - that's so exhausting!  Mostly when she's cutting a new tooth that this happens a couple of times.  Bedtime is between 7pm and 7h30. She wakes up really early some mornings, like 5am...  Luckily she snuggles in bed with me for a long time then!
7.) Day naps?  Two day naps. Very unpredictable!  Sometimes she'll sleep for 2 hours, and sometimes only half an hour.  So difficult to plan our day around this!  The average though, is that she sleeps for an hour from 9h30 til 10h30, and then again from 2 til 3.  Sometimes she refuses the afternoon nap - then we sit with a very mizzy girly by about 5pm!
8.) How many teeth – and how are teething issues going?  Busy cutting 4th molar - so 12 teeth then.  Teething sucks!!
9.) Weight and length?  Not sure, going for her vaccs next week.  Can't even remember what her measurements were at 12 months!  I'm gussing she's around 11kg.  
10.) Clothing size and shoe size?  12 – 18 months, or 1-2 years. Shoe size 4.
11.) Recent toddler ‘highs’?  I am enjoying this stage much more than the baby stage. The interaction is great. She’s friendly and affectionate, I love how she lays her head down on us and rests like that for a while, or just climbs onto my lap and happily sits like that!
12.) Recent toddler ‘lows’?  Teething battles and night wakings
13.) What are you looking forward to in the coming months?  New words, better understanding and communication.  And that she starts walking soon, she's ruining her pants and shoes with all this crawling!
14.) How are mommy and daddy doing?  A little bit overwhelmed and exhausted at times, but mostly good.  Life is just so busy, the days and weeks pass in a blur!  We make a conscious effort to spend time relaxing together most evenings.  We have a good teamwork thing going with our mealtime and bath and bedtime routines.  We both have a lot on our to-do lists... I think once winter time is over, and Ella starts sleeping better, we won't feel the need to go to bed so early every night! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Product Review: New Pampers Pants

I am taking part in Pampers campaign to launch their new unisex Pampers pants.  I've always been a "Pampers Mom", preferring the Pampers brand above any others that we've tried.

Pampers sent me a pack of pants to try out on Ella, so that I could share feedback, and I had lots of fun doing a little mini photo-shoot with her! Madly in love with this lil person. ♥

A couple of reasons why these pants are awesome:
     ♥  The pants are very easy to use, and the design contains an extra "sleep-layer", to absorb wetness and distribute it evenly across the core of the pants to ensure long-lasting dryness for the lil bums.
     ♥  The pants fit really well! They're stretchy and comfy.  They adapt well to baby's movements to ensure a good fit all the time, whether sleeping, crawling, sitting or walking.
     ♥  I love that these pants really aren't bulky at all, I'm sure it must feel as good for baby as it looks!
     ♥  The feeling of the pants are soft and breathable.  They're quick and easy to slip on baby, and so easy to take off as well, either pull down like pants, or the seams on the sides are easily torn if the need to take the nappy off that way arises! ;-)

I love that this campaign is called "happy sunshine morning" - it has extra meaning to me, because when I walk into Ella's room in the morning, the first thing I say to her happy smiling face is, "good morning sunshine!"

Since trying out these new pants, we haven't experienced any leaks, I'm so happy that Ella can experience the aim of Pampers - trusted dryness!

 Look out for the new Pampers unisex pants in the shops soon.  This is a must-have!

#PampersSA #NewPamperspants #unisexpants

Monday, July 20, 2015

The things I want my daughters to remember

It happens sometimes, when I'm doing something, like muttering "f#ckit" when I'm frustrated, saying "aaaaargh" under my breath when I'm impatient, pouring a glass of wine at the end of the day, or reaching for another [and another] piece of chocolate, that I hear a voice inside my head saying, "they're watching, they're listening, they're remembering..."

Now I can't remember anything at all about being one year old.  I do remember bits and pieces of being almost-five-years old though.

These are the things I want my daughters to remember, when they think back on their childhood one day:

 ~ All the millions of hugs and kisses they get every day
 ~ How I tell them that they are beautiful every day
 ~ How I just stop and stare at them in awe and tell them they are wonderful
 ~ That we love to laugh and laugh and laugh
 ~ That their daddy and I love to hug and kiss each other and hold hands and sit close to each other
 ~ Reading books together, lots and lots of books, over and over again
 ~ That their daddy and I talk nicely to each other
 ~ That we relish special family time together
 ~ That we eat supper together at the table every night
 ~ How we put the music real loud and dance together and sing together
 ~ Picnics and tea parties
 ~ Movie nights in our pajamas
 ~ Special family holidays
 ~ Special times with Granny and Oupa, and Oumi and Oupi
 ~ Singing in the car
 ~ Morning snuggles and cuddles
 ~ Bedtime stories
 ~ Candlelit baths
 ~ That birthdays are special
 ~ How I tell them to just be themselves, because they're perfect just the way they are
 ~ How we tell them to be kind, honest and gentle
 ~ That we respect people, and pets, and belongings
 ~ Soft kisses on cheeks
 ~ Afternoon naps together
 ~ How much smiles and kind words mean
 ~ Asking them to choose what they would like to do that's lots of fun for them
 ~ Saying yes to random requests like "can we paint now" or "can we bake cookies now"
 ~ That friends are important but family comes first
 ~ That if anything ever makes them feel uncomfortable, they must just walk away
 ~ How we value communication

What wonderful memories we're trying to make for our two special girls...  Yet, how many times do I get it wrong, when I spend too much time looking at my phone, or when I tell them to "hang on, I just need to reply one email", or when I look at them with a look of frustration, or speak to them in too harsh a tone of voice...  And they remember those moments too...

Let's just hope that the good times override the bad!

Friday, July 17, 2015

We made cloud dough!

A couple of times, Mia and I have made "moon sand" - see my post about it here.  Then I recently came across a slightly different version of it, this time called "cloud dough" - mostly the same ingredients as the moon sand, but then I specifically liked this recipe, Calming Lavender Cloud Dough - the idea to add some colour using crushed chalk, and lavender essential oil really appealed to me!

I only made a quarter of the recipe as mentioned, I didn't have enough flour.  Crushing the coloured chalk was quite a mission, I used our pestle & mortar, but was well worth the effort!

This was such an awesome sensory play for both girls - the soft texture, the pretty colour, the divine smell.  Ella did try and have a taste but realised it's not tasty, haha!

Both girls slept really well last night - could it be the lavender? Maybe!


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July Featured Blog!

I recently joined the community of South African Mom Blogs - really keen to get to know more mommy bloggers, and to share my blog posts too!  One of their initiatives is doing a monthly featured blog, where bloggers get paired, and do any kind of feature or interview.  This is my very first one and I'm so excited about it!

My July mommy blogger is Chevone from Chev's Life.  Here she shares her journey as a single mom, dealing with her gorgeous son with such a stunning name, Kai, and all the ups and downs that life offers, including hearing loss and learning how to surf!  I love her style of writing and enjoyed spending time getting lost in reading her blog posts.

See this super-cute kid interview she did with her son.  And read these beautiful words in her post Fairytale.  One of her favourite quotes are: "Create your own happiness" - I love that, such true words, something to remember every day.

Here's my interview I did with Chevone:

How did you get into blogging, and how long have you been blogging? 
I’ve always enjoyed writing and as a child I would spend hours in the library after school, devouring book after book...and I suppose it is this early experience of stories being shared and the encouragement from a friend that led me to finally start blogging in August 2014.

Tell me about Decibels of Love
This is one of those questions that I can answer in many different ways, but the short of it is that in South Africa parents are disempowered on so many levels. When my son was diagnosed with a hearing impairment I struggled to connect or find other parents raising children with hearing loss. I found my support and information through social media groups, and in 2013 I founded Decibels of Love, a support group for families. The focus is on empowering, educating and encouraging families to take ownership of their child’s diagnoses. I also do a lot of networking with industry professionals and share my knowledge with families, strangers, educators, etc. I am an advocate for inclusive education and more recently was part of a lobbying group who objected to the terminology that were used in the draft disability policy; the policy did not reflect any support for those who refer to themselves as hearing impaired ... but let me not get into all of this, ‘cause like I said, I can go on and on and answer your question in many different ways ;-)

You can also read a bit more here, a guest post I wrote for an international NPO on my experience

What motivates and inspires you? 
I am inspired by many random things, but my son is a great source of inspiration and motivation.

What are your interests and hobbies? 
Writing is one of my passions that I don’t get to do much of. I am also passionate about parent empowerment and providing emotional support or being that sounding board for parents to bounce their thoughts off. The ocean is my haven and reading allows me the space I need to clear my head. I tend to observe people, have done this for as long as I can remember, and one could say that this is a hobby of mine...

Share some of your pet peeves?
I can’t take it when people stand in the train and openly scratch for boogers in their nose, look at it and flick it! Disgusting!! Arrogant people, egotistical people and those who volunteer for ALL the wrong reasons.

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be? 
Honestly, there is nothing that I would want to change in my past. Everything that has happened in my life has led me to be where I am today; I can share with you many full circle experiences – from abuse to supporting those who have been abused; from learning about social media platforms to it being one of the reasons why I got a job when I had no money to pay the rent. Full circle experiences from living with a drug addict to now having the courage to empathise with families but also not take any bullshit from those who think they can con you with their small talk...I would not want to change anything...

What do you love about being a mom?
Being a mom is a constant adventure, it is ever changing, always demanding. I have my PhD.Mom – I learn new things all the time and being a mom keeps me grounded and reminds me to reach inside for my inner child.

What is the hardest thing about being a mom? 
Being a single mom and that no matter how hard I try or what I say, I will never ever fill that void or sooth the pain my son experienced when he truly understood the meaning of father’s day for the first time.

Do you collect anything? 
Uhm, no, should I?

What makes you sad? 
 People’s inability to show empathy. People who lose their humanity in their wealth and social status. So many things in life makes me sad, but I tend not to dwell on it for too long otherwise I would be a depressing mess of a person to be around.

And what makes you happy? 
My sunshine Kai. Going for walks on the beach, seeing the sunrise, random moments of awesome craziness.

What are the most important values/qualities/lessons you hope to teach your son?
The courage to always be true to himself, to never allow anyone to chip away at his values and integrity. Also that no amount of wealth could ever take the place of the ability to show empathy, kindness and generosity from the heart. Each person is unique, each person is special, all people are equal and deserving of acknowledgement – be it the man on the street or the CEO in his high rising tower. That he CAN create his own happiness and that in life he will be faced with many challenges, and in life he may fail at many things, but that this should NEVER stop him from believing in himself and his abilities; always try.

What is your favourite family holiday tradition?
We’ve never been on a holiday as a family. Our favourite destination is anywhere where there is an ocean, lots of open space and fresh clean air.


Find her on Facebook too!

Thanks Chevone, for taking the time to answer my questions.  I love your blog and look forward to getting to know you even better!


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mia's winter holiday fun!

School started again yesterday.  Half of me is sad, two weeks went by so quickly - but the other half of me is glad to get back into routine again.

We had a fun-filled winter holiday, for sure!  I really made an effort that each day, there was some kind of special activity.  Whether it be something big like going to the movies or to the Spur for a meal, or just something at home like making play-dough or taking her to my salon.

I'll let the photos tell the story.

Mani time, playing in mommy's salon

Colouring in

Lots of walks on their bikes


Movie time! Really enjoyed this super cute movie

Milkshake outing!

Playdate with her friend, Talia, and they made iced marie biscuits


Cutie-pie rainbow sisters, relaxing and playing together

A facial in mommy's salon!

Another mani

Morning at the hairdresser!

Last cupcake outing, just Mia and mommy 

Helper girl, sporting her beautiful new haircut

Playing with face-paints - plus 3rd mani for the holiday!

What a happy, lucky little girl! ♥

Monday, July 13, 2015

Purple hair!

I coloured my hair purple!

Well, not completely. ;-)

Just some purple highlights together with blonde highlights.  I'm super pleased with it!  I did lots of research, looking for inspiration, and at first I really liked a purple ombre effect, but my hairdresser advised against doing that, due to the highlights already in my hair and that it would come out too many different shades of purple.

I've wanted to do this for a while, and so glad I finally went through with it! My hair stylist is Leanne Cursons in Centurion.  She did such a fabulous job!

Whoop whoop purple hair! :-)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Mia's first visit to the dentist!

Yesterday Mia went to the dentist for the very first time!

It was really important to me that she has a good introduction to dentist visits... that she gets eased into it, that everything gets explained properly to her, and that it is a happy and stress-free experience.

I made use of good-old trustworthy Google, and did a search for child friendly dentists in Pretoria or Centurion.  I came across Wiggly Teeth - a specialised kids dentist in Pretoria, opposite Kloof hospital inside the Cure Day Clinic.  Their website is really great, appointments can be made online, but I gave them a call - and got an appointment for the very next day.

Mia wasn't nervous at all.  I chatted to her about it a bit beforehand, telling her how the friendly dentist will be looking in her mouth, checking out her toofies, polishing them until they shine like diamonds - just generally trying to put her at ease.

I had to fill in a patient form that included questions like asking about Mia's hobbies and likes, which already told me that this is exactly the right kind of place I was looking for! Another question asked whether I was expecting my child to be co-operative, and if not, why... I struggled with this question, and wrote that I wasn't sure, as she is a sensitive and anxious child.

When we arrived, doctor Meena herself was at reception and gave us such a warm welcome.  She put Mia at ease straight away, chatting easily, doing things to make her laugh, and took us through to her room.  In the hallway there's a little dress-up station, with hats, wigs, tutu's, wings - just all the more to make it a fun experience!  Mia had a look and then politely said, "no thanks!" This after I had filled in on the form that her hobbies and likes include dress-up. ;-)

Doctor Meena showed Mia all the equipment that she uses for the check-up and the polishing, and even gave Mia a little mirror so that she could look too.  There was a tv overhead with Cinderella playing, so cute!

Mia has a few cavities that need to be addressed, and also, the gap between her two front top teeth, is called a "frenum" and this can be fixed with a small procedure in theatre, to prevent her permanent teeth from also having a gap between them.  I'm still considering our options about this.

I loved Doctor Meena's approach, the fact that she didn't want to immediately jump in and do the cavities, to just keep the first visit a quick, calm and happy experience.  She had Mia giggling and laughing through-out the consultation!

They have a very nice interactive Facebook Page.

Definitely highly recommended!  Hoping that Mia has a lifetime of happy dentist appointments!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Moms List - what a great idea!

I recently came across Moms List after browsing a few blogs from SA Mom Blogs - it's a marketplace to buy or sell baby goods.  No wait, it's a whole lot more than that!  It's a social platform - so you can follow your Facebook friends or specific sellers or buyers.  You can rate people that you trade with, which builds a foundation of trust.

This is the first of its kind in SA, focusing specifically on pre-loved (don't you just love that word? So much nicer than second-hand or 'used' - pre-loved means so much more!) baby goods, clothes, toys, and now even branching out into other categories that us moms are interested in such as fashion, spa's, getaways and restaurants.

What makes this method of buying and selling online so much easier, is that you can download the app on your phone.  It's user-friendly and beautifully designed!

I downloaded the app and registered within minutes, and then had fun browsing the different categories!  I'm already busy making a list of all the goodies I'd love to sell - most of the baby things are still being used, but as soon as Ella outgrows her pram, high chair, ride-on bikes, cot and compactum, I sure am going to have a lot of fun decluttering and making use of Moms List!

Highly recommended for sure.  Check it out!