Category: Parenting

2015 – A review

The highs and lows…..

This year has had some serious lows but also quite a few highs.

The lowest of the lows was getting divorced!  Clearly not something anybody wants or plans on happening and as one friend pointed out I hate to fail and to me this is a failure.  Which brings us to low point number 2 Comrades….. See point one for reasons of not finishing…..  At the time I was on a bit of an emotional roller coaster and my mind was not in the race.  I knew before starting I was not going to finish but I wanted to start all the same.

 

The then highs, of which there are many.

The biggest high is how proud I am of myself.  I feel like I have taken control of my life and I bought and renovated a house which Kaylin and I now live in.

When I first showed my brother my house he looked at me and asked what the hell I had done.  It was a dump!  The before photos don’t really show just how bad it was.

I called in the professionals for the heavy stuff – replacing the kitchen, the bathroom, the flooring and bricking in a doorway but other than that I did it all myself.  In 5 weeks I totally renovated the inside of a smallish 3 bedroom double storey townhouse.  I painted it from top to bottom myself, this included the ceilings and skirting’s; and when I say by myself that is exactly what I mean.  I prepped, I filled, I sanded and I even plastered one section.  I worked FLIPPEN hard!  My brother helped me put up the curtain rails but I put up everything else – the towel rails, pictures etc. The only thing that has me stumped a little is upstairs is drywall and I am not sure how to hang pictures on that…. (so far the ones that are up use double sided Velcro tape).  I will do a more detailed blog post with before’s and after’s.  The day we moved in I fetched Krypto from Animal Welfare…. Don’t get a puppy the day you move house!!!!  Having him in our lives is a high though.

Ok, so I didn't do it all by myself.  I had a little helper.
Ok, so I didn’t do it all by myself. I had a little helper.

The other high was finishing the Otter Trail Run in 10h25 a full 35 minutes under the 11 hour cut-off…. I realised then how motivated I am by a medal.  At one stage when it did not look like we were going to make under the cut-off I said to my sister “I have to have this medal, I have had a disastrous year, I NEED this medal”  So we ran – thank goodness it is a flippen big medal because we worked hard for that damn thing!  I am very pleased I did it – I won’t EVER be doing that race again (this time I am serious NEVER EVER)

The Otter Trail - at the start. Before the torrential rain, gale force winds and pain began
The Otter Trail – at the start. Before the torrential rain, gale force winds and pain began
The MEDAL.  Just as well is is BIG!
The MEDAL. Just as well is is BIG!

 

Other highs… I love having a 5 year old (most of the time)  She is still hard work but getting better.

Doing Micro Nippers and loving it
Doing Micro Nippers and loving it

My gorgeous sister got married to an awesome guy in April.  The 3 of us ran  did the Otter Trail together and at one point near the end when we were actually running he said to me.  “We are doing so well, we are going to make this.  Pamela, you are setting a cracking pace……” which I felt I was, until I looked at my watch…. 8:40m/km  It was however our fasted kilometer in the whole race.

Krypto – my cute street puppy….  I went to a second hand furniture place and outside the door were these guys selling a little puppy… I wanted to try and get them to give it to me as it had a chain around its neck too tight and they were carrying it around by that but they wouldn’t. They then put him in the back of a bakkie and were about to drive off.  I could not let that happen so I asked them how much – R150.00  I said I only had R100 so they said ok an gave me the dog…. But now, what do I do with it?  Besides the fact that we had a German Shepherd that is not very social we had also had a puppy visit us a few months before that unfortunately passed away from Parvo Virus. The virus can stay alive for up to 6 months on your property and can then infect anther puppy in that time, so I knew I could not take him home. So I took him to Animal Welfare.  I said to them that I really wanted him and I knew I was moving in about 4 – 5 weeks’ time and could get him then abut at that moment I just could not keep him.  If he found another home they must let him go, but if not I will come back and adopt him.  Which I did 6 weeks later – the day we moved.

The day I found him and took him to AWS
The day I found him and took him to AWS
Finally taking him home
Finally taking him home
He has made himself right at home - that is MY bed!
He has made himself right at home – that is MY bed!

This year has also made me once again realise how awesome my family and friends are.  Especially my sister – there nearly a 10 year age difference between us but we still manage to be great friends.  I am not sure I would cope so well without her.

My running highs are that fact that I had a PB in nearly every distance this year.  10km, 15km, 21.1km, Marathon and Ultra Marathon.  I have been running for 10 years and am getting faster in my 40’s   (training more probably helps)  I also did my first Trail Ultra – the ADDO 44km and it was AWESOME  I have entered that one again for 2016.  My 2016 race calendar looks pretty similar to my 2015 one except I am NOT doing the Otter Trail.  I might go back and do Dryland.  I really missed it this year.

I also finished a couple of paintings this year… in 2014 I didn’t finish any.  They are both acrylic on canvas and small 20 cm x 30 cm.  I am quite proud of both of them.

An exercise in skin tones
An exercise in skin tones
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Early morning outside The Friendly Stranger in PE.

So, all in all I had a good year.  I am however hoping that 2016 will be much better!!

How was your 2015?

Camping themed 5th party

Camping was not my theme of choice for this year, but Little Miss K wanted camping and I liked the theme so camping it was.  I initially wanted a Book Worm party.

Quite a few of my friends said I was insane to go with Camping…Maybe insane was not quite the word they used, but mad was mentioned more than once, as was tempting fate. Our family record with camping is not a good one. We have been camping 4 times since Kaylin was born and 4 times we have ended up either at the doctors or casualty or both.

I decided actual camping and a camping theme party were vastly different and went with it anyway.

Here are the photos.  (I am quite proud of how it turned out)

The Birthday Girl and Door Stop
The Birthday Girl and Door Stop

She was very excited that I made them both out of icing and that they were both on the cake….

The Party Table - Camping
The Party Table – Camping
Camp Kaylin - Camping themed Cake
Camp Kaylin – Camping themed Cake
Mix your own Trail Mix
Mix your own Trail Mix
The party pack Backpacks (each guest was given a little torch inside)
The party pack Backpacks

 

The backpack party packs, there was little torch inside each
The backpack party packs, there was little torch inside each

 

I made these little backpacks using a little paper bag and some ribbon.  It was actually much easier than I thought it was going to be.  Just make sure you find the paper bags with the flat base.

Campfire Flames aka NikNaks
Campfire Flames aka NikNaks

This is a disposable braai – but the grid was unnecessary as were the legs – so you could just use an aluminum roasting dish.

Wraps or Bedding Rolls
Wraps or Bedding Rolls

 

Bear Poop......
Bear Poop…… (chocolate, need I say more)

So this is what I did differently this year, than any of the other years.

Firstly – the biggest I did not have it at home.  Oh bliss – why did I ever do them at home before.

Secondly – I paid a little extra for the decor.  I looked through their themes, and then chose the closed to the theme I wanted. This is actually the venue’s fairy theme but I told them I did not want any fairy stuff just the woodland look.  I then made everything else to suit – red and green.

Thirdly – all the baked good are box mixes. I love making the little figures for the cakes, but dont actually like baking.  I find it stressful.  This was a lot easier.  Next time I might even just buy a pre-made cake and decorate it.

And then that is about it – once it is over you just pack up and go….

I have also realised that my daughter is nearly as bad as I am when it comes to planning birthdays in advance. She has already told me what themes she would like for the next 3.

Airlines and Teddy Bears – a 4th Birthday party

And just like that she was 4!

I know parents say this all the time but wow. Time really does fly.

When we first started discussing themes for her 4th party, Little OL was very into aeroplanes so I began the planning early.  Unfortunately she saw the photos of her 2nd birthday party (teddy bears picnic) and said she wanted teddy bears again.  As I had already organised some of the stuff (and really wanted to do aeroplanes) we compromised.  I put teddy bears in the aeroplanes…. It worked quite well.

So, the theme of her party was and Airline theme (with teddy bears as the pilots)  Here are a few photos

I created the invitation using a template  I found HERE.  I also made the cover, but forgot to take a photo of that.  I created the logo on Inkscape, using an image from HERE

Boarding Pass Invitation

I think just Goggled and checked Pinterest for the rest of the ideas. Here is the link to my Pinterest Board.

 

Baggage Claim
Baggage Claim

I really wanted those old fashioned brown cardboard school suitcases that we used to have and thought I might find some when the “back to school” stuff was out, but no joy.  In the end I found this little lunch boxes and fortunately in the colours I wanted so I bought them.  (Pick n Pay)

 

Cupcakes with marshmallow clouds
Cupcakes with marshmallow clouds

The cupcakes were a disaster, but thank fully with the icing and the best out of 5 batches I managed to get enough.

 

Cake with Teddy Pilot
Cake with Teddy Pilot

The cake went a lot better – I used my favourite cake recipe, the Rainbow cake from the Whisk Kid, but only used shades of pink this time (once again, I forgot to take a photo of the inside).

 

Aeroplane Cookies
Aeroplane Cookies

I also made teddy bear biscuits to go alongside the planes, but Little OL ate them before the party……

Delicious Aeroplane food....
Delicious Aeroplane food….

 

For the adults Mr OL made some awesome sandwiches.  We did Chicken or Beef , poor  Mr OL kept asking if he couldn’t do some salami or ham etc and I insisted it had to be Chicken or Beef…. LOL.  I did do a few vegetarians ones though.

I made a few different signs and added in a few extra elements, like globes, Captain’s hat etc and all in all I am very happy with how the party turned out but, there are a few things I have decided.  From now on we will not be having the party at home. As the kids get older they need more entertainment (and space) and I will also be outsourcing some stuff.  I will not be making cupcakes etc next year.  I probably won’t bake the cake either, although I might make the topper (I enjoy that part)

 

My little princess

The other day little OL uttered words that I never thought I would hear a daughter of mine say…. “Mommy I want to wear a dress!”
Thankfully her Great Aunt bought her a beautiful dress for her Birthday in February, which she had not previously worn, so I did at least have something to put on her. She does have a few skirts as well, but they were not good enough – not like a princess.   Sofia has a lot to answer for!!!

 

My pretty princess!
My pretty princess!

Now I have had to go shopping! Urgh, not one of my favourite things to do.  (she does look really sweet in a dress though)

Things kids say!

Summer is coming and this year I might have a bit more time to do the beach thing.   With that in mind I have decided to cut down on the junk food – I am not going to say I want to be bikini ready as I very rarely do bikini’s but I would not mind getting back into the same shape as I was December last year (Click for bikini photos from then).  Also with the Dryland Traverse coming up on 5 weeks being a couple of kilograms lighter might make quite a difference!

So, I was about to tell Mr OL my plan and I started with…..“I stood on the scale this morning”

Little OL, who was close by and overheard, piped up “Mommy did you cry?”

I nearly did, with laughter, after that comment!

 

 

It took me a couple of seconds to realise that she thought I had hurt my foot by standing on something.

A party planning compromise

So my brainwashing plans are not working so well……
It is 4 (and a half) months to go before Little OL turns 4 and she has decided that she no long wants an airplane party! Hmph…… That is itself is not too much of a problem. I am adaptable (kind off) but she wants a Teddy Bear party!!! She’s had a Teddy Bear party! Her second Birthday Party was a Teddy Bear’s Picnic party.

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DSCN2372

I guess I should be flattered – she liked it so much she wants it again! But somehow I suspect it is less to do with her remembering her party and more to do with the fact that Door Stop (her teddy bear) never leaves her side.

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In the background is a work in progress painting of Little OL and Door Stop, from a photo taken just before she turned 2.

So it looks like we are going to compromise, a Teddy Bear in Airplane Party it is going to be (for now at least).  Very cute idea actually. I have started pinning stuff.

Hitting the trails

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(I love this picture – all lined up to wave goodbye as Mr OL leaves for work)

 

I have started running regularly again and I am happy girl.

This past weekend I did the Sunshine Coast Trail Run and it was awesome. I even managed to be sensible about the whole thing and restrict myself to the 8km option. There was a 20km but I figured that was pushing it a bit and one sure fire way to get injured again, so sanity prevailed. I did this race last year as well, and although I thought I was way fitter last year I found this year easier. Maybe I went slower. I think I walked pretty much the same amount.

However, sanity can only prevail for so long though and I have entered the 20km Rhino Run to be held on the 22 September…… To those of you that have not heard of the Rhino Run, you should look into it. They are held all around the country at the same time in aid off – yip Rhinos. There are even 3 options in the Eastern Cape, one at Crossways, and one at Kenton and one at East London, so no excuses (if you like trail running). There are 6km, 12km and 20km options. (You can enter the PE one HERE)
Then the Fairview Dryland is getting closer and closer! I am getting more and more excited and nervous! But I figure I will be walking most of those hills no matter how fit I am so I may as well look at it as a bit of hike and less of a run…….
Next weekend it is also the Urban Run. That is my all-time favourite fun event. I LOVE it. I am so glad that I will be able to do it as I was getting rather nervous that my foot would be ok. Looks like it will be fine.
OK, enough updates for now.
Wait – one more.     I have been getting customer photos for SA Medal Hangers and it has been so much fun to see everybody’s medals. Can I just say I am loving this!  I have put the photos upon Facebook – go have a look.  Such awesome achievements. I get excited for them.  Look at all those Ironman SA medals

SA Medal Hangers
SA Medal Hangers

Happy 5 year Blog Anniversary!

I have had this blog for 5 years – wow time has flown.  Before I started here I had an iBlog account for a short while as well.

Over the years my blog has changed quite bit.  It has gone from being mostly about Ironman training to a real mix up of stuff, Ordinary Life stuff!  I have had a baby, I have started baking and icing cookies, I have shown you all some of my paintings and sketches, I have started a new business – SA Medal Hangers.  And very importantly I have made some great friends!

Thank you all so much for joining me on this journey, I am thoroughly enjoying it!

Here is the link to my first post – published on the 1st September 2008

https://pamiejane.wordpress.com/2008/09/01/windy-city/

Fun times

I was in tears this morning. Big tears – 3 times!

I know other things (see way below) are going on at the moment and it was more than just the school thing but still…. I am really battling with Little OL and schooling this year.  I know a lot of stuff, I know that she is too young for a full day at school (without a nap).  I know that she is pushing her boundaries and I know that the school holidays broke her routine.  I know it is more fun with the nanny who gives her whatever she wants (TV and sweets) and I know at school they put demands on her.  I know all this but it does not make it any easier when your child point blank refuses to get in the car and go to school.  Yesterday after eventually managing to get her strapped in the car-seat, she somehow managed to wind down the wind with her food and was SCREAMING (as only a 3 year old can) at all the passers-by in the neighbouring cars “GET ME OUT OF HERE!” over and over.  Not fun.  I turned the radio on loud, put my head down and drove.  I did see a look of sympathy on one woman’s face though (for me not little OL – the others however were pointing and laughing.  I was very surprised nobody pulled me over and asked me if I was kidnapping her.

Today was a repeat performance – except she figured out how to twist and turn so that I could not get her strapped in…… The escalating frustration level on both sides was not helping and in the end all I could do was burst into tears and walk away…..  I wanted to say “fine, stay with the nanny” but felt if I did that, then I would just have the same thing on Monday.  When I got back to the car she had calmed down, we hugged, she got in her car-seat and we both snivelled the whole way to school.  When I put her in her teacher’s arms I burst into tears again and ran to my car. Can I count that as my first run in 8 weeks?

I drove to work, got myself some coffee and had just calmed down when I received a phone call from her school – I saw the number and my heart sank…… What now – is she sick, is she still bawling her eyes out, can the not calm her????? The secretary said they phoned me because Little OL had told her teacher that she made me upset in the car and she wanted them to phone and tell me she was sorry…. Bring on waterworks number 3!

This however cannot go on….. I actually had a meeting at the school earlier this week – for the next week I am fetching her at lunch time and taking her home to the nanny who we have asked to work full time for a bit.  Hopefully this helps.  I have also asked the nanny to come in later to work so that we have already left the house – on the days the nanny is not there she is perfectly happy to go to school.

Also, in a couple of months this might not be a problem.  I will be unemployed anyway….. –that’s the other stuff that is going on, they are retrenching at work and the PE office will close.  I am trying to take it as a good thing…..

Starting young

I took a couple of days leave last week to spend the last few days of holidays with Little OL and boy was it FUN!  Time flew.  I am not sure I could ever be a “stay at home” mom, but days when I don’t have to go into work are pure joy.  (who am I kidding I could totally be a stay at home mom)

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While off I wanted to do some active stuff with Little OL – she is becoming a bit of a couch potato and I don’t like it.  Unfortunately during the holidays the nanny has been putting her in front of the TV and that is pretty much where she stays – given the option though she would rather be doing something else, so I made sure we did “something else”.

I roped my mom in and we went out.

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My mom is always up for a trip somewhere and on Thursday she suggested we go and climb Lady’s Slipper.  It is a hill just outside PE that my mom climbs regularly but I have never done before.  I was definitely keen!  It was awesome, we did not go all the way up, as I did not want to have to worry about Little OL and her safety, so as soon as it started getting a bit rocky and steep we stopped.  Saying that we still got more than ½ way up.  I loved it and Little OL is still bragging to anyone that will listen that she climbed a mountain.

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It was pretty cool having all 3 generations walking up the hill together and hopefully it was the first of many hikes that we will all do together.  My mom and I used to hike quite a bit together before Little OL was born, and now that she is getting older hopefully I will be able to get back into it.  I think I have mentioned before that for my mom’s 60th Birthday my mom, sister and I climbed Kilimanjaro…… Let’s see what Little OL and I will do to celebrate my 60th…. (thank fully still quite a few years away.

Kilimanjaro Summit 2005
Kilimanjaro Summit 2005

It felt really good to get my hiking boots on again!