Monday, 24 April 2017

Why We Aren't Moving... Yet

Yes, I'm going there.

To live, happily, in South Africa today is a tough job. There are constant threats to financial security, physical safety, and political stability - to name a few. The effects of these are marginally minimised by economic wealth and ignorance, but truthfully, you can't really escape all that's going on here right now, and many people are feeling a strong desire to move away.

We are no different. We have looked at four countries in particular - two for their family-raising appeal; two for their close proximity to loved ones that we miss dearly. But we have stopped looking, for now. Admittedly, the main reason we haven't moved yet it because the doors haven't opened. Still, there is definite lesson behind this, and that is what this post is about.

We now believe that it is quite possible that it is not in God's plan for us to move now. If it were, the doors would have been flying open for us. After all, we are both suitably qualified, and we've been investigating these options, applying for jobs, speaking with agencies and consultants for nearly five years. And it's not all about God's no meaning that we are to struggle for a while to build character.

On the contrary, I have been reminded, a number of times over the last few weeks, of prophesies spoken over this nation, and they are exciting. Some of these include: having a currency that rivals the strongest in the world (which I know seems impossible currently), experiencing a spiritual revival that begins at the tip of Africa (which just happens to be Cape Town - where we live), and God bringing healing and restoration to our nation (much like the miracle that was experienced when apartheid was abolished).

As pie-in-the-sky as this may seem to some, we are witnessing many possible beginnings to this, and that's exciting to be part of. And when I think of South Africa restored to all her beauty, there probably isn't any other place in the world we would rather want to live.

If things improved we would be able to live more comfortably; our money would go further; we'd be able to take our boys to experience the different adventures in our city and beyond; we'd not have to work as long or as hard (most people have to supplement income) without a healthy life-work balance; we'd not worry about having more children; we'd be able to travel to visit the people we long to see...

If things improved those who presently live in poverty and desperation that drives them to anger, crime and violence would have the possibilities of a better life, and no one would have to live in fear. We could look after our collective resources, and create opportunities for people to release and live their dreams...

I know this comes at a cost. We cannot expect God to move without what is required of us, so I am reminded constantly of this verse:

"When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

If we truly believe that God is sovereign, and that He does not lie, then we have to believe that what He has promised to achieve in this land is going to come to the fore. And if we are meant to be part of it, this is where we are meant to be. For now, anyway.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Blue or Pink - What Do You Think?

I think it was around this time, last time, that we had an idea that we were having another boy (granted, I was pretty certain of that from the beginning anyway) so it's no wonder that people have started asking those same questions now. This time we are probably not going to find out the gender (I mean, I say so now - and have been since the start - but who knows, so watch this space) and so it seems even more appropriate to do another gender quiz - and fun to compare the answers with Sam's.

Are you carrying high or low?
I suck at this! Compared to the others, definitely bigger. My body has completely forsaken me (to be fair, this is the third time it's housing a living baby) and it's just soft and flabby - but I'm not sure that it's actually high(er)...
Verdict = Boy?

How fast is baby's heart rate?
I have actually heard the heart beat, but it was on a doppler, so I wasn't able to spy the numbers.
No verdict

Have you had any skin breakout?
No, my skin is surprisingly unaffected. Wait - except for the rash I broke out in a few weeks ago. But after checking liver function and all the important stuff, we narrowed it down to most likely be an allergic reaction to the boys' body wash.
Verdict = Boy

How much nausea have you had?
I was pretty much nausea free with Zac, and then a little nauseous with Sam. With this one, for the first trimester although I only threw up once (actually as a result of some funky food, not morning sickness) I was constantly ill! In addition to this, I had diarrhoea continually for three weeks.
Verdict = Girl

How are your cravings?
I have not craved anything, mostly because in the beginning I was too ill to eat at all. Since regaining an appetite though, I have not been able to bant; I don't know what it is.
Verdict = (tending towards) Girl

How is your hair growth?
It actually seems quite normal to me this time. If is has been growing, I haven't noticed a remarkable growth spurt anywhere.
Verdict = Girl

What is the shape of your pregnant abdomen?
Round. I have no muscle tone . I thought I didn't recover from Zac, but evidently I did. What I didn't recover from was Sam. My abdomen - that split in both previously pregnancies - has not even closed since Sam, so I'm one big ball of belly.
Verdict = Girl

How has your face changed?
Not much really - well, not that anyone has mentioned. Yet.
Verdict = Boy

How 'big' are your legs?
Look, I'll be the first to admit that thanks to starting a strict (and then not-so) LCHF eating plan 12 months prior to falling pregnant, I was a little on the thin side. I was planning to add some muscle tone to that soon... Anyway, I didn't have much of a bum during that time. But not anymore. I now have a bum. A big bum.
Verdict = Boy

Has baby's dad been gaining weight?
Andel tends to binge eat sporadically, and then get into a training obsession to work all the extra weight off again. I'm not sure if the current eating is just one of those phases or as a result of baby, but I don't see him gaining any weight.
Verdict = Boy

Has your chest size changed?
Yes! And it's so sensitive! I don't really remember feeling this touched out so early in the pregnancy, but it is as it is.
 Verdict = Girl

Which side do you prefer to sleep on?
I'm currently still trying to sleep on my belly (it probably helps that it's soft), or I spend a lot of time propped up on my back.
No verdict

Can you tell you're pregnant from behind?
Apart from the big bum. Not really. Yet. I think
Verdict = Boy (perhaps)

Final Score:
Boy 6 - Girl 6

Monday, 10 April 2017

What If It's the Last One?

Announcing a pregnancy is both my best and worst part of the process of everyone finding out. I find the sudden, unnatural attention quite awkward, and then overwhelming, and then just plain uncomfortable (especially if this announcement is made by someone else, in a work meeting, for example. I literally want the floor to open up and swallow me right then).

I do, however, enjoy the creative process of putting together an announcement that can be shared via social media or other indirect communication. When we found out Sam was on the way, I immediately knew what we could do, and created this:

This time has been far more tricky though. I think the combination of mixed emotions that basically took up the entire first trimester, and the fact that we only told the family close to the end of that stage, has been a major contributing factor. The other is the fact that this is probably (definitely... maybe...) the last pregnancy announcement I'll get to make (for myself anyway) so I wanted to go out with a bang.

And as a result, I have not yet come up with the one to post.

So, in celebration of Siblings day, and because who knows if I'll get another chance, here are all the posts we've made and/or considered, for you to have a good giggle at!

Starting with: what PJ post (with our permission) on the family whatsapp group. As you can imagine, it caused a wealth of confusion that was pretty funny to see unfold. It's also what Andel post to his family group, much to their horror...

This is the one Andel was supposed to have posted to his family group...

Here are the ones we're looking at for the 'official' public announcement...
Unoriginal but short, sweet and to the point
 Neat and minimalist

 The mandatory cute one

Telling it like it is, in pink, blue or yellow
 Andel's favourite

 The Easter-themed one

The just plain funny one

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Holiday with Mom: Cooking Class

Every holiday, despite my best efforts, the child care plans I had in place (and sometimes already paid for by the way of school fees) fall away and my kids end up with me. I'm not trying to avoid them, mind you, it would just be that much easier to clean the house and get some things done without being continually followed by and/or attached to two little people. So I'm always looking for things we can do - even if it's walk to the park, get some groceries, go for a play date - just so that we can get out of the house. This holiday I've found a great community initiative being held at our local mall: free cooking sessions!

Today we went to try it out. I had probably heard or read the start time somewhere, because I was heading there for 10h00, but after we'd eventually found parking and made it through the mall via the information desk (to make sure I hadn't been imagining this whole thing) we got to the workshop area at 10h05, and were told it was too late to join. As it turns out, they were making muesli and fruit salad which Zac wasn't that keen on, so we signed up for the 12h00 class instead. Of course the only problem with that was the 2-hour wait in the mall.

Eventually 12h00 came around and Zac was super excited: they were making pizza! Below are the few photos I took (the parents aren't actually allowed inside the area, and Sam was sleeping, so it's a miracle I got any pictures at all!).

In his apron, waiting to start

Getting his chef hat fitted properly

Listening to the instructions

Meticulously preparing his pizza

All done - pizza in the oven

Playing Snakes and Ladders during the wait

Heading home for lunch

So even though we spent an ungodly 3 hours in the mall this morning - at least we had one happy holiday maker!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Sam's Picnic Party: Photo Update

We weren't planning on giving Sam a party. Andel is of the belief that at this young age, it's a proper waste of time. But then less than a week before his birthday, we suddenly realised that Sam very much knew what a birthday party was (a second child quality, for sure), and definitely wanted one of his own.

So, on the last minute, we invited family and some close friends to picnic with us in the park yesterday afternoon, after church. The timing coincided well with the end of the school term, and it seemed like the best low key and chilled out option for us. We simply had hot dogs and snacks for everyone, and prepared picnic boxes for the kids (yogurt and mango cups, cheese wedges, crisps, an iced biscuit, an ice bite and a take home cupcake).

It was a really lovely afternoon of fellowship and fun in the sun, only somewhat marred by the tumble Sam took just before the party giving him a shining red carpet burn on his nose!

Below are some pics of the day, thanks to Aunty Dom and Aunty Ash:

Uncle Ricardo's awesome cake

Picnic time!

Some of the goodies in the picnic party box

It's a little scary that this is mostly immediate family

The boys' circle

Birthday boy with the shiny nose

Madame Adrienne in doing a birthday dry run

The girls' gathering

Enjoying the sun and open space

Sharing some birthday cake

Big brother and chief party planner

Yaya and the kids

Enjoying the take home treat