Catching up

Hello Blog-friends,

I’m BAAAACK.

I’ve written many blog posts in my head the last couple of weeks, so there is some catching up to do. In a nutshell:

Renovations: Etienne and I have *just* managed to not kill each other so far. We have now had builders in our space since October and, even though things are taking shape very nicely, I’m so over it. The dust, the people in my space, Jack (the delinquent dog) that re-marks his territory every day against curtains and furniture. The decisions about tiles and paint and lights and windows and doors. Disagreements because I think (rightly*) that you can find almost anything at a better price somewhere on the Internet. The dust. Did I mention the dust?

Work: Hectic, but in a good way. I’m off to Gauteng again next week for 4 days, second trip this year, so my heart is already crumbling a little at the thought of not seeing my family for 4 days.

Kids: There’s a LOT going on with Daniel at the moment that we are trying to get to the bottom of. Part of it is that he is scared that I won’t come back when I’m away for work (it has taken me 2 weeks of processing and talking myself out of a pit of guilt just to write that sentence without crying btw)

“cries anyway”

I’m not ready to share more about this yet, but as soon as we have a little distance and perspective I will, promise.

Coming up: The sussies turn 6 and the usual OCD party mayhem that goes along with that. Pass the wine please.

Thank you for signing up, thank you for reading. Feel free to comment, or not. Absolutely no pressure.

* sometimes it’s a real pain in the ass to be right. Almost worse than being wrong, because your partner ends up feeling shit.

What would you call the style of your house decor?

I have a slight addiction to Houzz. This addiction is fuelled by the fact that we are starting some renovations in the next week or two, after which we shall eat cornflakes for the next 2 years and skip Christmas and birthdays.

I often look at the beautiful houses on Houzz and wonder what our interior decorating style is as they describe them so well. Nothing seems to fit. Maybe it is because our house is a mish-mash of secondhand furniture mostly found by my Mother. I could pretend that I’m all hipster and we only upcycle and recycle, but to be honest I’m not very good at decorating. I’m much better at buying paintings that make me happy.

Let me explain: my darling Mother is REALLY good at negotiating. She can spot a valuable piece of furniture a mile away and has the knack of making people feel eternally grateful that she will take it off their hands at minimal cost.

Point in case, my Mom found this beauty and I ended up paying a whopping R650 for it. Antique shops are selling them for R4500 and up!
Point in case, my Mom found this beauty and I ended up paying a whopping R650 for it. Antique shops are selling them for R4500 and up!

She is the only person I know that gets such joy from buying dilapidated furniture and crockery from unsuspecting little old ladies and makes money doing so. She’s also pretty damn good at it.

The only thing is that her house is now too small, which leaves my house. So we often have conversations like this:

My Mom would gleefully send a photo of a painting/chair/table/bed to my phone when I’m at work, inevitably in a meeting.
I would look at the photo and promise myself to call her later.
2 hours will go by.
My Mom would call me
Mom: Did you get the photo I sent you?
Me: Yes, it’s lovely, but I don’t need another table/chair/painting/bed. There’s already too much stuff in my house. And please don’t buy crockery from dead people, there is too much crap in my kitchen.
Mom: Aw, that’s too bad, because I’ve already dropped it off. No pressure, have a look at it and let me know.
Me: ‘sigh’ Thanks Mom

It’s lovely that she offers to take back the things she finds, only she finds really good stuff. Except for the odd murky-looking massive platter that must be 100 years old. (See point above about dead people’s crockery).

Sometimes I even make Etienne tell her to take the things away, I can’t bear being a disappointment.  He has been known to halt her at the gate and not allow things to darken our doorstep.

She is also rather sneaky. Every now and again I’ll open a cupboard to find a *new* teapot/platter/milk jug that doesn’t look familiar. And our domestic worker will tell me with a look of resignation on her face that my Mom arrived, washed it and put it in the cupboard.

This is why we need to renovate and add a room or two (to fit in a bed), we need more space for stuff I really didn’t have a desire to own, but now that I have it I’m not letting it go.

So. To cut a rather long story short, I have decided that our style is this:
Mostly Found by Mother Antique Slightly Scuffed But With Lots of Character and Bought with Love.

Take that Houzz.

On surviving infertility

Disclaimer: this is a small look into the mind of one infertile. It’s not pretty, but it’s honest. Go ahead, judge away, I don’t care.

A lovely someone was telling me recently that his wife is pregnant and it that happened in their very first month month of trying. He was a little gobsmacked and elated that it happened so quickly.

We chatted about babies and how it changes your life and I wanted to reach over the table and give him the biggest hug, I was THAT happy for him.

I am grateful that they didn’t have to go through the drama of trying and trying and waiting, of unsuccessfully peeing on sticks, laparoscopies, being poked and prodded, the removal of dodgy Fallopian tubes and the roller-coaster of IVFs. That their marriage wouldn’t be tested and no bitter tears would be shed when everyone you hold dear fall pregnant at the drop of a hat. (And we were luckier than most people battling with infertility.)

I wasn’t a happy person when we couldn’t have babies, looking back at that time there was a lot of mere existing going on. It felt like my life was mocking my inability to conceive and it was hard to be happy for my dearest friends having the beautiful, beautiful babies that I could not.

But for the first time I realised after chatting with that very lucky guy (who is going to be a GREAT Dad by the way) that the hurt is gone. I am genuinely, 100% happy that it worked first time for them.

It was the most liberating feeling to know that I’ve let all that hurt and anger go and that in its place there is only these things: joy, gratitude and love.

Buckets and buckets of love.

About Bianca

One of my favorite things about having dinner together as a family is the random conversations we have.

Take tonight for example:

The girls are in separate ballet classes and it is concert week, so everything ballet-related is very much front of mind.

Mignon: Mom, Bianca from my ballet class is really nice.
Isabel: Yes, Bianca has gold bangles.
Me: Who is Bianca?
Isabel: She is in Mignon’s ballet class (with a look of disdain on her face that I clearly didn’t get the memo about exactly who Bianca is)

Etienne and I had a good chuckle and left it for a few minutes.

Me: Girls, who is Bianca?
Girls: Bianca has Barbie bangles. And a Hello Kitty necklace. Can we have a Hello Kitty necklace pleeeeeaase?

So, there you have it folks. Bianca has gold bangles and Barbie bangles and a Hello Kitty necklace and she’s in Mignon’s ballet class.

Consider yourself informed.

Ps I seem to have volunteered myself to help at the concert tomorrow night along. Hold me?

Hanging with the kids

On Friday evening we went out for supper with friends to a pizza place in an open mall. We enjoy going there because there’s a fountain, a tree and lots of space to run. There’s also always a bunch of kids that we may or may not know.

I love watching the way the kids organise themselves quickly into running groups and gladly hang off the tree or play in the water. There’s no judgement. No appraisal to see if someone looks socially or physically acceptable. Just the sheer joy of playing.

It also occurred to me that we spend a fair amount of time, money and energy on things to keep our children occupied when often they are quite happy with an open space, some crayons and a sheet of brown paper.

20130520-200612.jpg

Oh to be a carefree child again!

Ps. I realised this morning that I didn’t leave our house once this weekend. I spent plenty of time hanging out in the garden, but I didn’t set a foot in the road for a walk and I didn’t go to the shops. Must be some kind of record.

A Letter to Father Christmas

Dear Father Christmas,

My children are, to say the least, a little miffed at you. In fact, they have asked me why you are so very lazy.

Let me explain:

Over the weekend we were packing our Santa Shoe Boxes and it was a little like the Spanish Inquisition.

Who are the boxes for? (For the children).

Why are we making the boxes? (Because we want to do something good for children that don’t have everything that we have and these children often don’t have Mommies and Daddies to buy them something for Christmas)

Where are the Mommies and Daddies?  (Some of the Mommies and Daddies don’t have work and some children don’t even have Mommies and Daddies)

Why is Father Christmas not taking them gifts? Is he too lazy to take them anything? (we have been on about not being lazy lately, clearly it has taken root somewhere..)

Well. Some tough questions there to answer, especially as we aren’t ready to give up on you yet old man.

So, please could you buckle up and sort out those last few boxes?

Lovies,

The Roux Children

Power is me

I have been sitting on this blog post for days now, not sure if I should post it, but it seems everywhere around me people are going through similar situations.  As you know, I’ve never been one to shy away from saying it as I see it, so here goes.  I’m laying it bare and all I ask is that you keep me to it, ok?

There has been a lot of noise on twitter about choosing your word for 2012.  After much pondering about what I could possibly choose I have come with the word “POWER”.

In the last couple of weeks I have made a couple of life-changing realisations about myself, mostly because I acted differently in a conflict situation with someone close to me.  I now know the truth about some things about my family and that impacts on how I see myself.  And how I see my place in the world as a result.

I have accepted that I am a terrible people-pleaser.  I now know that I actually hate conflict, despite being all gung-ho and loudmouthed in real life. I mask being insecure by being bitchy.  I am afraid, deep inside, to give my opinion because God forbid someone should stop liking me.

Well.

Things are about to change.

I have woken up to the fact that, because I was made to feel that I shouldn’t rock the boat and keep the peace I have ended up with so much self-loathing and feeling powerless I can almost taste the bitterness and anger.  And the cycle is endless and relentless.

Brace yourself as I’m certain there will be a little OTTness initially until I find a balance that works.  (That, and I plan on listening to A LOT of Alanis Morissette)

I have decided that 2012 is my year of power.

I am taking back my power.

I am taking back control of my body.

I am taking back power of the words I use.

I am taking back the power of the thoughts I choose to think.

I am taking back the power of how I see myself in relation to the world.

I am taking back the power to be honest instead of nice.

I am going to stop taking everything so damn personally.

So there you have it, 2012 is my Year of Power.

Noddy’s Christmas Party

We went off to the Round Table Noddy’s Christmas party at Vergelegen on Thursday night again this year and revelled in the sheer naffness of it all. The kids loved it too 🙂

First you arrive and get treated to a ride in a trailer behind a tractor. I did the tractor ride with my sister an the kids whilst Etienne went ahead and did the set-up and dropped off the gifts and I desperately attempted to get a pic of

  1. all the kids together,
  2. looking at me and
  3. smiling.

I often manage 1/3, seldom 2/3 and hardly ever 3/3. Here follows the sequence:

Here is my sister with the girls and Tertia with Max in the background.  It was great to catch up with her and Candice for a change!

The Concert

Here is the venue, very nicely protected from the wind.

The venue, nicely protected from the wind
Mignon clutching her glowstick necklace