so long and thanks for all the fish

This year was filled with incredible blessings and opportunities. Sometimes I feel like there is a theme to each year – set lessons to be learned and things to be accomplished. Things decided by someone else holding the strings that often has very little to do with us, you know? Looking back at 2014 I just feel… exhausted. Astonished. Proud? Sad. Perhaps these were the most notable achievements, celebrations and heartaches this year.

1. First thing that comes to mind is losing our precious Roger. That’s what you get when you treat a pet like family, with love. I miss that damn rabbit every single day. I don’t know why I loved him quite as much as I did, but some creatures jump right in to your heart with a blanket and magazine and just sort of stay there, you know? Something really stirred with his loss. I went from THESE ARE ALL MY EMOTIONS to “do not TOUCH, look at or come anywhere near my emotions!”  Losing him also brought back all these other feelings and memories from other people and things that I’ve lost over the years. When something you really really flippen love walks out, it’s like all the dead come alive again. Think Pet Cemetary but better cinematography.

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2. The Birdhouse jumped right out of my hands and flew away until I almost couldn’t see it anymore. Man this year was busy and I feel like I really, really grew. My previous employed positions were managerial and mostly in leadership roles, so I had to delegate a lot. And you know what? Over the years, delegating makes you lazy. I got so bored. When I started out a year ago I had nobody to delegate to, and a very nervous looking bank balance. I had to build new skills, research, educate myself on the very basics again and really get elbow deep in my business in order for it to grow. I worked hard, heck we all did. I built a nice team of contractors, freelancers and interns and eventually Graeme got involved and invested in my business too.

The birdhouse CI-15

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3. Graeme resigned and started manufacturing and designing furniture full time with Graeme Bettles Design. How he managed to keep up with the demand this year is a modern miracle. His business savvy and skill set and expanded and grown this year too. Learning is incredibly thrilling, and new ventures are contagious. He’s in the process of launching something really big right now, but we’re urging each other to take a breather over the festive season. It’s an absolute must!

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4. I got fit. I didn’t realize just what a lazy and unhealthy bugger I was until I started running. I ran a 21km, joined a gym and really fell for all of it. I love gym, treadmills, running, eating mostly healthy things and feeling great. I have quads, abs, biceps and all these other things that used to just jiggle when prodded. Getting toned has really increased my confidence. Even if I always stay and fluctuate 5 kg here and there – it’s pretty cool when your body parts are a bit firmer and healthier looking – something I only understood and appreciated once I got in to it.

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5. Jack-jack-jack-jack-jack (said in a really high pitched voice really fast and in concession like that). That’s my boy. Then DAY-zee! Man I love our dogs. I love having dogs, in the house, in the garden, on the bed, on the couch, in the forest, at the beach. Having these dogs is maybe my favourite thing that happened this year. We were stuck between getting Staffies or Collies – our two favourite breeds. I’m so glad we went with these two, which we also call “Our black and whites” or “Itchy and Scratchy” PS I’m still upset that Graeme wouldn’t let me call Daisy “Jill”. Jack and Jill, you know? Come on it would have been awesome.

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6. I didn’t do a lot of things I said I was going to do. I had all these big plans and overseas travel lined up, but I had to make a few tough business decisions and ultimately, I followed my gut and chased a few pitches and leads that I thought would be more rewarding in the long run. Always follow your instincts because your little angels / spirits / dinosaurs / whatever you believe in will guide you when you start over thinking everything too much. However, it did SUCK to miss a few things that I was really, genuinely excited about. We’ve still got lots of life to live, so we’ll get there and tick all the boxes at our own pace. Still really sad that we missed out on so much this year!

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7. I hit (was punched in the face by) my 30s this year. I rolled in to it with a new perspective on health, a strong marriage, happy kids and a new home. That was pretty awesome. But you GUYS – I get super sad around birthdays because to me it just means less time with my family and the boys. I love that we had our kids young, I mean when we’re 40 the boys will be 16 and 15. I’ll take it! I’ve noticed a few creases on my forehead this year which is quite upsetting. If anyone reading this blog would like to sponsor me for botox / facelift / chemical peel in which case my email address is… KIDDING! (inbox me) I have to mention that it’s really true that you stop caring about inconsequential nonsense as you leave your 20s. I’ve parted with upsetting situations, challenges and people with hardly a flippant wave this year. The truth is – people will hurt you, use you, upset and abuse you but you’re the only one who gets to decide how it affects you. I’ve adopted a bit of a no-nonsense approach to many aspects of life this year. As long as you’re happy, who the hell cares. Related: I found a lot of happiness this year!

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8. I gained more confidence with my writing this year. I’ve also started writing for a few websites and publications. It’s much of what I do full time.  I write for our clients, and this year my words were published by Parent24, Women’s Health, Getaway, Mail and Guardian, Ackermans and Grootbos on travel. Adjusting my voice and style for a diverse audience has been a challenge, but it’s something that I’d really like to build on in 2015. I’d like to move in to business, politics, news and finance writing. Perhaps health too. I don’t have a picture to depict this so please see below: a picture of me on a bicycle.

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9. I think I’ll always remember this as the year that Noah and Benjamin really, really bonded! People said that having 2 kids is super hard until the youngest turns 4. I have to say that it’s true. Right now, with Noah at 5 and Ben at 4 we’ve noticed such an incredible difference. They’re really bonding now and cementing a friendship that will last their entire lives. Watching them love one another and grow together was an incredible experience this year. I love these boys.

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10. We finally, finally moved to the Suburbs. Being in a leafy, green and family neighborhood has really changed our lives this year. We have squirrels in our garden, birds, trees, fruit and vegetables. Grass. Flowers. I’ve always loved gardening. Even when we didn’t have grass, I created little potted gardens and filled our home with greenery. I think that’s what I appreciate most about the suburbs. The boys can ride their bicycles along the porch, feed the fish, play in the garden and throw a ball for the dogs. It’s so special. I feel better knowing that we’re in the school district for the boys. Next year is going to be pretty insane. I haven’t photographed our home or anything like that. I guess I don’t really see the need? We just enjoy being inside it. So much.

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So that’s it for 2014! I’m so excited for next year and all our little plans and changes on the way. I love looking at the calendar, not knowing what those days will hold. I don’t really make resolutions but I hope to read more, be more present every day and learn more about our world. I’m furthering my studies next year, publishing a few books and launching an additional business. Graeme’s got a whole lot planned but we’ll get chatting about it in the new year! Right now, I’m wishing my (and your) family health, safety, joy and togetherness this festive season. We’re headed to Kwa-Zulu Natal for my dad’s 60th and catching up with all our friends in the Midlands, Durban and Empangeni. The boys are going to sleep in my old room that I slept in when I was 5. Play in the park across our house that I played in. Walk to the same shop I walked to when my parents sent me to get bread and milk. I can’t wait to go home with my new family. Now put your feet up, open a book and open your heart to everyone around you. Merry Christmas everyone – make it wonderful!

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Little Benjamin is 4. A Peppa Pig party

Our little Benjamin turned FOUR on Saturday. Little Buns loves Peppa Pig and George. You can’t really find any Peppa Pig goodies in South Africa, so it was a bit of a struggle. I ordered some goodies from ebay which didn’t arrive in time – eeeek! So Graeme designed some sweet bunting, toppers and cards and I found a few free printables online too! Shew. I found most of his goodies at In Good Company – our favourite party shop! The whole family got involved to help create a little Peppa theme and everyone helped with the party treats and decor. I am a bit of a nightmare when it comes to planning things like this. I think I had the whole family on edge with my stress levels 🙂 I burnt the cake, my fondant cracked and I did it all super last minute BUT little Benjamin loved his little party which is all that matters!

 

We had such great friends over and their little kidlets too. Everyone really got to enjoy the space and the house. The jumping castle was a total hit, Buns loved his cake and got spoilt something silly by all his little friends. He had 12 little friends and 18 big friends at his party. I didn’t want to add pictures of all the little kiddies without permission, but he had a super good time – I think they all did!

 

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