Introducing Piper Grey. Our Daughter.

I’m writing this from a very loved up cocoon. 13 days ago we met our precious daughter, Piper Grey. She was born via planned C section but came wide eyed and screaming into this world, just as I had hoped. She is perfection, All 3.42 kilograms and 50 cm of her. Just like her oder brother she was born with a mop of dark hair which I’m almost certain will, like his as well, fade, fall out, grow back blonde and then settle into a dark blonde. She has large almond eyes that currently, are a deep blue and a little rosebud mouth. Her character is simply delicious – soft and sweet with a ferocious crossness that comes every 3-4 hours when she’s hungry and needs boob. Her features are delicate and dainty but her hands, man those hands, those were made for something great. In fact, her hands were the first thing the gynae saw as he pulled her out, and as he did he said ‘she’s gonna be a 4 kilo’er’. I’m kinda glad she’s not.

Alot of people have been asking me about her name, and no, it didn’t derive from ‘Pip’. We were calling her Pip in the tummy because ‘It’ sounded too weird, and when we chose the name Piper it was simply a coincidence that it was 2 letters longer than her nickname 🙂

The whole C section and hospital experience was amazing – even better than the first. I had her at a different hospital to Carter and cannot tell you just how welcome, special and important all the nursing staff made me feel. The only downfall was the limited visiting hours for Barry and Carter and the broken aircon – she was born in one of the hottest weeks and I was uncomfortable for 4 days. It was like staying in a sauna.

And the boys? Well, they are simply besotted. Barry has been given 10 days paternity – which is great but in my opinion about 2 months too little – so has been with me for 2 weeks helping and bonding and being my rock. He goes back to work tomorrow and Im somewhat devastated. Carter is simply obsessed – I always knew he would be loving and nurturing but to see him with her, it can actually make your ovaries do the Macarena. She is his little light and he gravitates towards her like a beacon – he smothers her with kisses and soft touchers and whispers her name when he’s crying. I am the luckiest mom in the world.

Piper was born with several ‘stork bites’ on her face – a ‘V’ on her forehead, on her eyelids and under her nose. At first I was really upset – her perfect face felt flawed, and I gave myself a full day to mourn a little bit of her perfection. And then I sucked it up and told myself I was being ridiculous – she has 10 fingers and toes and is a perfect human in every other way. The docs said the marks will fade in a few years, and I’ve learnt to embrace them as part of her and who she is. I don’t edit them out in all my pics as I want her to look back at photos and see her for exactly who she was.

I have been loving my time at home with her. Not being able/allowed to drive is a tiny blessing. I’m trying this time do do less and be more. She is my last baby and so I want my waking hours to be spent gazing, touching and smelling this little bundle. Because I know all too well just how fast they grow up.

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It hasn’t all been roses and custard, I did too much too soon and suffered a small bout of mastitis, afterbirth pains (we need to talk about that, people!) and threw in a dose of food poisoning for good measure.

She is 2 weeks tomorrow, and I actually don’t remember a time before she was here. Yes, the lack of sleep and 2 am feeds and constant soiled nappies and saggy tummy and exhausted eyes are leaving me more mombie than anything, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. She’s here, she’s ours and she has completed our little family.

 

 

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Crushing on 22 Months

There are some days of being a parent where I wonder what the hell I’ve gotten* myself in to, and other days where it’s decidedly the absolute best thing I have ever done. I’ve had one of those days-turned-weeks recently, and I don’t know if it’s because I’ve bred a #LegendChild or because he’s at a certain age, but my little human has hit champion status, and I am absolutely loving him at the moment (not to say I don’t ever love him, but he’s just even more awesome than normal lately.)

Here are a few reasons why i’m totally crushing on 22 months.

  • He can understand, comprehend and communicate. Have you ever heard a parent say to their small child “I am so proud of you“? I remember hearing moms say it and I would puke a little bit in my mouth every time. What the actual fuck could you be proud of in a toddler? Proud that they didn’t shit their nappy? Proud that they didn’t have a tantrum? Proud that they were beginning to look like small adults? I totally get it now. When your child gets to the age where they mimic, talk, learn, copy empathise and communicate, when they start acting out instructions and learning routine and doing clever things like acknowledging life, you actually think your heart might explode from the proudness. I promise. It’s real. So don’t mock charge next time you hear a mommy coo’ing over their child’s seemingly mundane behaviour, because your kid learning to put a lid back on a toy, unplug the bath, wipe up a spill, tell you who their best buddy is  or hand you a steak knife that you’d accidentally left on their plastic dinner plate (not my proudest moment) without slicing their arteries open, is pretty much the equivalent of them bagging an MBA or receiving a job offer from Richard Branson.
  • They can be bribed. Which means resisting a nappy change can be halted in one fluid sweep with the simple threat of confiscating their dummy. Giving them medicine can be easily done with the promise of a sweet (or a raisins in my sons case) afterwards. Suddenly, every day goods become bartering gold mines. As long as the bribery object in question is treated with excitement and an air of pricelessness, your child will want it, and therefore will do everything to get it.

“Carter, if you don’t stop shouting I will not let you hold this plastic comb!”

  • They do things that are hilarious and video-worthy. Like the day my son learnt to say the word ‘fuck’, see below. It is both my most and least proud moment.

(I wasn’t going to share this as we had just returned home from overseas, my house is in shambles and I still have those nightmare inducing pink tiles, but hey, what the fuck right? PS – any flooring companies out there willing to do a makeover in my home? Let’s chat.)

  • They travel well. You may or may not know that we recently returned from a week away in Mauritius (blog post on that coming soon!)  and despite the “are you batshit crazy?!” comments from other moms who couldn’t believe we would be travelling with a kid under 2, he was better behaved than most of us. He even travelled well on an aeroplane, which may or may not have had anything to do with the ice cubes he was sucking from my breakfast GnT.

 

  • They can be trained. I may have lost a set of crystal goblets along the way, but my son can now bring me a glass of wine and replace said empty glass on the table when I’m done. I mean, if that alone isn’t worth having a kid, then I don’t even know what is.

*Dad, if you’re reading this, then yes ‘gotten’ is a word and no, I shall not replace it with something more satisfactory.

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A Family Photo Shoot

A few months ago I was lucky enough to win a shoot with Robyn Davie photography, through the Rattle and Mum blog. As most of our weekends then were spent training for Half Iron Man, we decided to push the shoot out to July when we had a bit more free time. And I’m so glad we did – even though it was rather chilly – the light, the grass, the crisp air and the gold leaves were all perfect for the relaxed shoot in Delta Park.

Robyn is awesome – she is all about capturing the lesser spotted family in their natural habitat – relaxed, un-posed and roaming free. I adore how our photos have turned out, and am so glad she captured Carter’s cheeky grin and toothy smile.

You can find Robyn on her website, Facebook or Instagram.

Tell her I sent you!

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One.

 

Bella kept me up all of last night. She’s constipated, so I pretty much spent most of the night letting her in and out the house to drag her sore bottom around on the lawn for 20 minutes at a time. (Bella is a dog, for those wondering why I would assist a small human in using my grass as an arsehole scratcher at 2 am*)

Excellent way to open a story, I realise, but the point I’m trying to make is that last night brought back so many memories of your first few months. Of setting my alarm every 3 hours to breastfeed you, change your bum and clothes and rock you to sleep. I’ve forgotten about just how broken I was in those early days, and just how much you needed me to literally keep you alive during the night.

Fast forward a year and your dad and I had to wake you from your deep slumber at five past seven this morning. Eventually, we roused you with a badly rendered version of ‘Happy Birthday’ to which you responded with bed hair and a skew smile.

You are one today.

One.
One.

One year of memories that I can’t even begin to touch on, but let me try.

The 5th of May 2015 was the happiest day of my life. Those 4 days in hospital passed in a blur of people, photos, tears, laughs, gifts and heart-stopping joy. And then we brought you home and the family engulfed you in their love. Four months of maternity leave meant 24/7 bonding and addiction. I could (and did) watch you for hours on end, took you everywhere with me, to baby massage, baby reflexology, gym, lunches and even a couple of bottomless champagne days with the girls. For 4 months I made hundreds of cups of tea and coffee for the endless stream of visitors, washed a never ending stock of bottles and changed a lifetime of nappies. You smiled at 4 weeks, rolled at 11, lost all your hair and grew some back like Baldy Man. We did a newborn shoot, and 6 week shoot and I broke my Instagram on your sweet, sweet smile. Your eyes stayed blue and your face stayed beautiful and your character grew daily.

Then I went back to work and realised that I was OK with that. You started at crèche and teacher Anne and Akhona loved you like I did. They still do, all your teachers and their (much better) rendition of Happy Birthday when I dropped you off this morning left me grinning but you not quite sure.

At 5 months you popped a tooth, and another one and then you had 4. By then you were sitting and sliding and I knew my days of ‘relaxing’ were limited. You had visited the bush house, the dam and been on your fair share of dinner dates as well.

In December you started crawling and chose a time when the whole family was together to do so. You spent most of your Summer months naked and in water and are still happiest when doing both.

I remember being exhausted when you were about 7 months, it was a hectic time for all of us. Thanks for still loving me even when I was snappy and grumpy.

You’ve been standing for ages now, but unless supported by an object are still too scared to take that first step.

Your curiosity for life amazes me every day. You still startle and then grin when you see your reflection, and still howl like an injured duck when I pluck you from the bath.

Eventually that 5th tooth popped and you started sleeping again.

You’ve been to triathlons and the beach and running races and cycling events. You’ve wormed your way onto guest’s laps at a wedding and drunk their champagne. You still have so much more to explore.

You are cheeky, and fierce and have that second child syndrome, even though you’re my first.

We gave you a chocolate cupcake this morning and you hated it. But I’m sure the Flings I packed for your class party will go down a treat as they always do.

Carter, happy first birthday my magical boy. Keep smiling, keep challenging me and keep being fascinated by the world.

I love you, so so much.

 

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Nine.

A few people I know had babies recently. My neighbour being one of them. Most mornings as I’m leaving for work I see her walking up the road with her tiny newborn swaddled in her chest, and I watch as she has eyes only for him. I get teary everytime I see them, because I’m reminded of just how small and tiny my baby Carter was.

However, as much as I yearn for the days of having an infant, I cannot stop marvelling at just how much fun they are when they’re older. He’s not even talking but somehow his character shines with such enthusiasm, that I find myself in stiches, daily.

I’m not the mother I thought I would be. I have no baby books and milestone charts. I don’t have a Facebook page for my son and I’ll probably never get round to setting up an email address for him, but what I do have, is this blog. And it’s here, amongst other things, that I talk about my son and document his life.

And 9 months? That deserves its own little post. At 9 months pregnant I was huge, swollen, exhausted and riddled with heartburn. Now I have a 9 month old baby, and unlike pregnancy, it is going way too fast.

Carter James, you light up my day from the moment you wake up – all bed head and puffy eyes, to the moment you go to sleep – mouth dripping in spilled milk and knees filthy from play. You have an insatiable curiosity and I am dumfounded at your intense interest in everything. I can literally throw paper bags your way and a new adventure begins. You crawl faster than I walk and I still feel bad for the times when I couldn’t quite stop you from falling down the stairs, off the bed or bumping your face on the table. Funny, the falls only make you try harder, and I live for the tiny gasps and pants you make as you race up the passage for the 8th time, trying desperately to grab the dog food before they do.

It’s almost impossible to get a photo of you anymore, it’s a blurry mess, and my hopes of Pinterest worthy photo shoots have been bookmarked for baby number 2.

I catch you looking at me, and smiling, and I sometimes think my heart could burst. To me, you are the prettiest baby I’ve ever met. To me, you have the kindest nature and sweetest face.

I won’t miss the nappy change wriggles, or the tantrums you throw when I take something away from you. I take it away because it will probably kill you. I wish you knew that when we pick you up and remove you from a situation, it because it’s the best thing for you. I’m sorry you don’t get fruit at night anymore – but momma likes her sleep more than you like your sugar. I’m sorry you ate that moth, wing by wing, before I realised what is was. As for that Marlboro stompie, I’m very sorry you ate that as well. I’m sorry there are days when I count down the minutes until you go to bed. Please know that these nights always end with me standing over your cot, willing you to wake up.

I’m sorry that my love for you will always make me feel like I’m drowning.

So here’s to the next 9 months, and then some. I am so excited to watch you learn, and grow, and fill my heart with so much more.

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To Kate, On Your 32nd Birthday.

Dear Kate

32 today. I know when you were younger, you always thought that by the age of 32 you would have achieved so much. There were visions of holiday homes, your own company and enough cash floating around to never feel like you couldn’t breathe. I guess the reality is that even though you have none of these things, you really still have achieved a lot.

You are married to a man who still thinks your post baby boobs are sexy, you’re happy, and you live in a home that you love. It may feel like those 1980 pink terracotta floors will never turn into the Italian porcelain tiles that you want, or that the crack in the wall will ever be fixed. I know you want so much for your space, but you’ve taken the first step towards changing it – buying that house.

You have a car that gets you to work, is new enough to not cost you anything and a job that is fulfilling. A bigger salary would be nice, but you can afford to put food on the table, and send your child to crèche, right?

And your child. Your beautiful, incredible, hilarious happy full-of-sunshine 8 month old baby. You made that. Can you believe you made that? You’re a very good mom – you sing stories, and play games and insist on cooking organic meals even though he would rather eat peanut butter on toast or something from Woolworths. You keep him nourished and happy and you’re raising a well-developed and confident little man. Well done.

Of all the hundreds of birthday messages you received yesterday, so many of them alluded to the fact that you are a nice, kind funny person. I think that’s something wonderful. It’s a great thing when you can make other people smile.

I know you often wonder what you’re good at. I see you doubt yourself on a daily basis, questioning everything you do and everything around you. Let me tell you that so many people would kill to be able to crack jokes like you do, write rambling blog posts or tackle challenges and tasks head on. You may not have a degree or feel like you are worthwhile, but you are. You are very worthwhile.

Aren’t you lucky you have a family who doesn’t stop talking, laughing or worrying? That they are all healthy and capable and living their dreams. You have people who love you, and who you love in pretty much every corner of the earth. Your brother is drinking sake in Japan, your parents are relaxing in their bush house and your two grannies are tagging you on Facebook and berating you for answering your phone while driving, even though you’ve told them a hundred times about Bluetooth. You have in-laws who would go to the ends of the earth for you, a sister in law who loves your child like her own, and two nieces and a nephew who prove that love comes in tiny packages.

I’ve seen you let people in traffic and get screamed at by people who felt inconvenienced, I’ve seen how much people’s attitudes can make you sad, but I’m so proud of the way you still always do the right thing, anyway.

I’ve seen your boards on Pinterest – the ones that range from 6 pack abs to 6 stick butter cake recipes. Make that cake, get those abs, then visit every destination you can. Fuck the exchange rate.

I’m so glad you’ve saved all those nice bottles of wine and champagne – but for the love of all things delicious, please open one this weekend before its gets old and corked.

Drink that wine, write that book, buy that Polar watch you’ve been talking about for 2 years now.

Happy birthday Kate, you’re doing just fine.

Love, me.

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Oh, What A year!

Last year this time I was sitting on a beach in Port Alfred, admiring my 5 month swollen belly and dreaming about just what this year had in store. One year later I’m sitting on my couch in Johannesburg rubbing my still fat post baby belly and thinking back on the year that was.

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Birth. Our life got turned upside down, inside out and every other direction with the arrival of our baby, Carter James. I remember the 5th of May like it was yesterday. Watching them pull you out of me changed the way I view the world forever. Words just cannot express how loved you are, and how much you have completed us.

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Job. After a long 2 and a half years I was given a promotion at work. A promotion that I busted my lady balls for, and still do. I am exceptionally proud of myself. Any working mom knows just how hard it is to manage both a family and a career, and harder still, managing people’s expectations of you in the work place. I cannot tell you how many times I was met with comments such as “don’t worry about that issue sweetie, think of your beautiful family” or the “half day?” chirps when I left at a decent time to go fetch my baby from crèche. I have a long way to go, and women in general have an even longer way to go, but this is one small step for mom, one giant leap for mom-kind.

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Everyone stayed alive. We had no deaths in our family. Everyone is living and well and that’s pretty much the greatest result to a year that one could hope for.

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Balance. Like an athlete with an end in sight, I refused to lose myself amidst the madness of baby, career, family and friends. I feel I did a pretty awesome job at juggling multiple balls. As with all circus acts, someone will always get eaten by a tiger, and I’ve lost a few relationships along the way – but it was bound to happen. I feel better for it.

People. With loss comes gain and I have met some rather superb mommy friends along the way. Ladies I can drink wine with and talk about pureed chicken and green poo without fear of the pained eye roll from my non mom friends. (And that eye roll is perfectly Ok might I add, I still do it, often)

Money. I made none. But I also made no less, which is something, right? Right??

Body. 2015 can’t be all peaches and fluff now, can it. I may not have lost myself emotionally, but physically I’m a big fat wreck. My body has not recovered from having a baby, despite the gym, despite the eating and despite the pleas’ I make with the devil, I still hate the way I look and the way I feel. 2016 is the year of sorting out whatever issue is holding me back from (still) fitting in to my pre-baby clothes.

Marriage. Having successfully ticked off our 2nd wedding anniversary in style, I can happily say that marriage gets easier, and with a baby to boot. My husband, he can stay. (Plus, in my eyes, he’s father of the year).

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Skills. I took it upon myself to undumb this brain of mine and completed a photography diploma as well as a digital marketing diploma – both with a 99% pass rate. So whilst I still leave the tap running, and put the milk in the cupboard and the coffee in the fridge, I cling to the fact that there is still a brain hidden in there, somewhere.

Travel. Nothing to see here. Moving swiftly along.*

You. Rupert Approves readers. You’ve helped me grow this little blog project into something that’s actually something. I don’t think I will ever not get a little thrill whenever someone mentions my blog or I see my posts shared across the interwebs. Thank you for putting up with my offensive language and brutal honestly about tampons and stretch marks. You’re all fucking lovely.

Happy Christmas, Merry New year and everything in-between. I really cannot wait to see what 2016 has in store, for us all!

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The Sisterhood Of The Travelling Mates

I have strep throat. Which is actually a good thing, as strep throat always means I’ve gone away with the girls. There have been some deviations to the strep – such as the plague like rash that covered my legs in Zanzibar, or the double bronchitis and laryngitis that rendered me to the sick bay in Dullstroom.

This weekend marked another year of what we’ve fondly labeled ‘Team Vino’. An annual getaway with the girls to a (generally) local destination in SA. I don’t know why, but this trip has been my favourite one so far. It might have something to do with the 40+ bottles of wine consumed over the space of 48 hours, or the ‘only 2 hour ‘cos I’m hungover’ hike which turned into a 6 hour trek through some of the finest countryside South Africa has to offer. It may have something to do with the box of grape cigarettes bought, when none of us is a smoker, the cheese and biscuits for breakfast, the 4 pm pizza and champagne or the very flamboyant ‘special friend’ Johann who we met at the local backpackers for shots of Potency and red lipstick.

I suspect however, that this girls weekend was my favourite because in-between the drunken karaoke, the debate over the decline in bobby pins, or the hysterical laughter upon finding out that the UFO we were all convinced was floating on the horizon was in fact a far away mountain fire, this weekend was all about 8 very close friends, spending 2 very special days together.

It was about 3 hours in to the mountain hike when one friend commented (look, it could be due to dehydration, but go with me) “we are all so smart, and great, and clever, and nice”. And she’s right. The 8 of us, some friends from high school and some picked up along the way, are some of the most creative, smart, savvy, intelligent and funny people that I have the privilege of calling my friends. There’s Alison, who I have been friends with for 27 years. Alison is the smartest chick I know. She’s the one who’s trying to convince me to start a podcast on the blog. She’s a terrific hugger, and she doesn’t give a shit about your personal space issues. She’s also the only person I know who hair is always ‘blowing in the wind’ perfect in photographs. When I grow up I want to be like Allison.

There’s Ilona. I met Ilona through a series of circumstances which weren’t terribly pleasant – but like the light at the end of the tunnel, there she was. All bronzed legs, boobs and loud laughter. Ilona is always up for anything. She’s my go to person when I’m in desperate need of a glass of wine. Or a shot of tequila. She’s the first person to get involved. She’s also a terrific dancer, a bloody genius and has a daughter who is going to rule the world one day. Ilona doesn’t give a shit about most things, but she gives a whole lot for her friends. Ilona was the witness at our wedding. That’s how much I trust her.

Amy is my sister from another Mister. It’s sometimes hard to explain the relationship we have. Other girls are loud ‘squeals and ohmigodss’ and hugs. Amy and I are tinned soup and Pick n Pay vests. We know what the other person is thinking and tend to communicate in silence a lot of the time. Amy is revoltingly skinny. She borrows my clothes and looks magnificent in them. Amy ‘bought’ me a cleaner as a housewarming, that’s the kind of person she is. Amy too, is bloody smart, and she’ll Web MD your ass in a nano second. Funny rash? Amy will tell you what it is before it has a chance to itch.

If it does begin to itch, then Candice will have the cream for it. Candles, as I fondly refer to her, came into my life like a rocket ship. It’s hard to picture time before her. If you ever need a motivational pep talk, or someone to talk you down from a ledge, call Candice. She will throw profanities like confetti, but man alive it’s a treat. Candice always looks amazing. Dolled up, dressed down, no makeup or dressed in a burlap sack, she pulls it off.

“Hey Candles, where did you get that burlap sack”

“The burlap sack store”

Speaking of clothes, I’ve resolved to never ask Kerith where she ‘got those great leggings from’ because the answer is always something along the lines of ‘The South of France’. Possibly the most well travelled person I know, Kerith and I share a strong love for makeup and sarcasm. Kerith will also always tell you about things that you have no interest in hearing, but she doesn’t care, and tells you anyway. Just this weekend she went on for about 25 minutes about a local dam and its history. It’s a bloody good thing I like you, Kerith.

Remember I told you that Candice will always have that cream for that rash? Lauren is the one who makes sure that there is sufficient cream left in the tub. My favourite A typer, Lauren and I met when we each had broken wings. We nursed ourselves back to full flight on a diet of quiche, Greys Anatomy and Red Wine. Lauren says I saved her, I say she saved me. Either way, we found ach other and rely heavily on our conversations of what gym programme to do on a certain day, what tagine is right for which curry and when the best time to plant a seasonal vegetable is.

Have you ever seen a close up of the sun? That’s pretty much how bright Shannons smile is. She is possible the most radiant soul I have ever met. Almost as well traveled as Kerith, and as up for anything as Ilona, Shannon is the biggest sport of them all. Just last year she took up triathlon, and I’m pretty certain next year she’s going to be winning them. If one ever needs a glass of wine, Shannon will be there with the corkscrew. She’s also flipping clever. And attractive. An all rounder really.

So there you have it, just 7 of my closest friends. There are more, so many more, and in each of them I have found a friend soul mate.

There’s just something about spending time with those you love the most, and the busier our lives get, the harder it is to do. We’ve already planned next years trip – ideas of Botswana, Namibia, Seychelles and Mauritius are doing the rounds. I don’t care. As long as I end up with these girls by my side, a couple of bottles of wine and some lifelong memories, I’ll be happy.

Even if it means more strep throat.

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The Top 14 of 2014

As is blog tradition with Rupert Approves, at the end of each year I like to recap the highlights for the past 365 days. As is also tradition, I tend to do this at the 11th hour in a flat panic.

Here goes:

1. I turned 30. And even though the actual birthday and celebrations around it were average (note to self – LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS) turning 30 hasn’t been as scary as they say. In fact, it’s been downright lovely.

2. My friendship groups solidified. The good ones grew better and the not so good ones… Well, they are non existent. Life’s to short to waste your fun on less than amazing people.

3. We celebrated 1 year of marriage. The first year was bloody tough. We did it. Yay us!

4. We bit the bullet and bought our dream home. Things have been progressing slowly from there but progressing nonetheless. I fall more in love with my space and garden each day

5. Work is good. No dramatic news in the office space, but to be happy and fulfilled in a place where you spend 40% of your life is an achievement in itself.

6. My family stayed healthy and happy for the majority if the year. The older one gets, the bigger this blessing becomes

7. We took a holiday for the first time in over a year and spent 8 brilliant days in Port Alfred. Sea, sun and (virgin) cocktails were just what the doctor ordered.

8. I bought s new car. Traded in my fuel guzzling out of warranty SUV and got a smaller zippier runaround that I love driving each and every day.

9. I ate my first ever chocolate brownie and fell.in.love.

10. I learnt to control my anxiety and went from A type to A minus type. Baby steps, but I’m getting there. I can now leave the office at 5 pm without a shred of guilt and am learning to make more time for me. See, age does have its perks.

11. I had a great year of blogging. Still not where I want to be, but I’m constant,y delighted with the feedback and messages I receive from people around the world – people who have laughed, cried and celebrated with me on this very open and honest journey.

12. My dog babies get more wonderful as the days go by. As I lie in bed typing this (sipping on a Christmas edition chocolate mint Nespresso – can that be considered a bonus point 15?) they are lying with me, intertwined in my legs. Ones snoring, one farting with enough power to destroy a small country, and both filling my heart with the most insane amount of love.

13. I ran my longest ever trail race with one of my closest friends, and absolutely loved it. It was a reminder of just how much trail running has become my number 1 exercise love. As soon as this baby is out I’m going to take it up again. Which leads me to my final point…

14. I fell pregnant. One of the most insane, scary and exciting things that has ever happened to me. I am so lucky to have had the worlds easiest pregnancy, and apart from the fuck me scale reading and the occasional constant craving for wine, I have been so blessed. In 5 months we meet our baby boy and I couldn’t be more excited.

How was your year? If it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, then there’s a whole new one waiting for you in less than 24 hours time.

Wherever you are, make it a good one. Be safe, be happy and be good to yourself.

Thank you for all your support on Rupert Approves over the past year – you guys warm my heart more than a toasted sandwich, and that’s a lot!

Xxx

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Things That Only Kids Who Went To School In The '90s Will Understand

I was chatting to a school go’er the other day when the talk turned to lunchboxes and tuck-shops. I guess in the back of my mind I’m already worried that I won’t be able to match my mom’s school lunch boxes – those things were legendary – and the talk of the quadrangle.

Did you know that some schools these days have in-campus restaurants and that the tuck shop menu features more than just a Piemans Pantry Cornish Pasty and a soggy salad roll?

Listen up, kids – we had it hard in the 90’s. I’ve heard talk of school tuck shops (are they even called tuck-shops anymore, or are they now referred to as ‘Student Lounges’?) serving sushi, hot meals and coffee.(Coffee! I guess ADHD isn’t a thing anymore)

This blog post is inspired by the almost slave labour like conditions that most C level schools provided in the 90’s.

Things that only kids who went to school in the 90’s, will remember.

Tuck-shops and school food

  1. In Primary School a R2 note at the tuck-shop could buy you half a Chelsea Bun, a large guava roll and a toasted mince sandwich.
  2. Tuck-shop ladies were always your mom and other moms. If you knew your mom was on tuck-shop duty you were in luck – as it meant getting to the front of the queue faster.

tuck-shop

3. A handful of coins was always enough to get you something. It was perfectly acceptable for the Grade 1’s and Grade 2’s to open a grubby fist, full of bronze coins, and ask “what can I get for this?”

4. Woolies did not sell cute snack sized, pre-cut, low carb, banting friendly treats (these were the days before Woolworths was aspirational). Our moms would pack our food (high-carb-what-the-hell-is-a-gluten-intolerance-anyway jam-sandwiches) in an empty bread packet, a Checkers packet, or in my case a 2 litre ice cream tub. Sandwich swopping was up there with marbles during break time.

Sports

  1. In Primary school, uniform regulations were strict. There were dedicated shops (I think called Step Ahead) which sold school authorised uniforms and accessories. Think navy blue scrunchies, padded alice bands and matchy matchy hair clips.
  2. In Winter, knee high socks were mandatory, and if you happened to have twig legs like me, your mom would have to sew you 2 elasticated bands to help them stay up.
  3. If you partook in a school sport, school colour and brand approved underwear was compulsory. Before every match or game the girls would line up in the quadrangle while the teachers lifted our (knee high) culottes and inspected our panties. Not school regulation grey or navy? Sorry, no sport for you.
  4. Refreshments during a school match were always the following: A slice of orange still in its peel during half time, and a packet of Fritos and a frozen Take 5 after the game.

Take 5 Fritos

Teachers and Classrooms

  1. For the longest time I thought every desk I sat at belonged to a boy named Ted. It was only in my later more intelligent tween (also, not a word that was around in the 90’s) years that I realised the permanent marker “T.E.D’s” stood for ‘Transvaal Education Department. (T.O.D in the Afrikaanse onderwyser se klaskamer)

School desk

  1. You don’t know what true claustrophobia is until you’ve sat in a pre-fab classroom with the windows closed.
  2. There were no cell phones in schools (they didn’t exist until I was in Standard 9) so the only piece of technology that was always being confiscated by the teachers was the Tamagotchi. Highly upsetting to all Tamagotchi owners, the confiscation of these always resulted in a “But Mrs de Bruyn it was going to die, I had to feed it!”

Tamagotchi

  1. There was no such thing as a Typo Stationer in the 90’s. School stationery was standard issue HB pencils, Bic pens (after a certain age) and feint lined exam pads. The only stamp of personalisation that one was allowed was a Space Case in which to keep it all.

Space Case

  1. If you saw a teacher out of school it was big news. We could never quite believe that Mrs so and so had a life outside of her classroom.
  2. Each child had a chair bag – a material item that draped over your school chair with a large pocket – useful for storing your stationery and lunches. God forbid you forgot your lunch there over a weekend or even worse – school holidays. Mom would get out the wooden spoon. (if you’re not afraid of the wooden spoon, even to this day, then you definitely weren’t a 90’s school’goer)

chair bag

  1. All class photos looked like this:

school photo

School grounds and facilities

  1. The quadrangle was the equivalent of the starting block in The Hunger Games. Most days ended and started there. Come rain or shine, hundreds of little children’s delicate bottoms grew haemorrhoids from sitting on the concrete listening to the headmaster read out roll call.
  2. School assembly’s marked a sign of seniority – the smaller you were, the closer you sat at the front. The older kids always got to sit at the back. Teachers flanked the perimeter of the school hall like soldiers at a prison camp. The floors were always dusty and one child would always puke near you.
  3. Toilets were revolting. The doors always started half way up the wall, and there was no such thing as a soap dispenser – only a soggy round white soap that sat in the ceramic indentation of the sink. To use this was a risk not many were willing to take. There was no such thing as hand dryers or paper towels- instead archaic machines were mounted from the walls from which white and blue striped material was dispensed. To get a clean portion of said towel one had to manoeuvre the round lever until the dirty section disappeared and a fresh section was revealed. To this day it is still a mystery as to how these towels cleaned themselves.

towel dispenser

So yes, schooling in the 90’s was not glamourous, but then I became an adult and realised… I would give anything to go back.

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