To my Husband, on our 15th anniversary

I’ve never really been good at remembering dates, but in the days coming up to this, our 15th wedding anniversary, I’ve been thinking about our life together so far.

15 Years is a lot of life to share, it’s about a third of our lives so far, and, by far, the best.

People that know us often comment on how amazing you are and they’re completely right, you are.

I love how you supported and cherished me through infertility, never giving up on me, even though I sometimes did.

I love that you respect me, even though we may not always agree. The feeling is entirely mutual.

I love that you see past all the railway tracks on my body that are the result of 2 pregnancies, of which one resulted in a rather large set of twins.

I love that you sometimes let me have things my own way, even though you must, at the time, know that I’m not making the right decision. And that you never, ever say “I told you so”.

I love how you are with our kids. That you are the (more) active listener of the two of us. That you WANT to spend time with us.

I love that we are always, ALWAYS, your first priority.

I love that you are forever talking to the kids and, oftentimes, are better able to get a point across to them. That I’m safe in the knowledge that you will back me up, even though we might not always agree.

I love that we share a love for music and books and good food and that we can foster that same love within our kids.

I love that you know when I need to talk and when I need space and that you never, never make me feel bad for needing either.

I love how I can rely on the fact that we always, together, make a plan, no matter what challenges we are presented with.

I love how you just get on with it, when I sometimes want to take a moment (or a day, or a week) to whine and feel sorry for myself. Or when the Dark Dog of Depression lurks in my shadow.

I love that you make sure our lives tick over without drama, kids’ schedules and meals sorted when I am often running around in circles in my head.

I love that you are living the best example of being a good man (and just generally a decent human being) to our son and daughters, that this will enable them to not compromise or underestimate their own worth as they grow older.

I love your sense of humour, your joy, it’s contagious.

But mostly, I love that you’re my anchor. That, no matter which crazy plan I hatch or how mad things are or sad or happy I am, you’re always there, the constant in my life.

Lief jou xx



Trip down memory lane

Etienne’s about to sell his car, a white 1996 Toyota Corolla. The same car he has had since 1998.

1998 people, 1998.

I know, the man is a saint. 3 kids, a loopy wife and he has been driving the same car for the last 15 years. Granted, it has only needed to take him to Sanlam and back every day for most of that time (a whopping 7km each way), but the man is the most un materialistic person I have ever met.

When we started dating I coveted his car as I drove a yellow Opel Kadett, circa 1989, that I inherited from my Mom. I’m on my 3rd car from that Kadett and he just carried on with the Corolla, because he didn’t *need* a new car.

Tonight he cleaned out the cubby hole and came across a lot of papers from the last 15 years, so I’ll share a few with you that warmed my heart.

First off he found a receipt from Arthur Murray for dance lessons we had. We did the Tango at our wedding as a surprise and it blew all our guests away. We used the music from the famous Tango in Scent of a woman and it is one of my favourite memories from our wedding.


Then he found this receipt from our honeymoon. We took a road trip in the Corolla and the Cat Stevens CD got stuck in the car CD player for most of our trip after an unfortunate day on a gravel road.


As you can see, we went big at the bar with a whopping R24.50 after a shocking R36 spent on a bottle of Porcupine Ridge. Big spenders!

Lastly he found a receipt from Dr Paul le Roux, our Fertility Specialist from September 2005 confirming our pregnancy and ‘supervision of pregnancy’.


That one made me a little weepy. See, we might not drive fancy shiny new cars, but we are rich beyond our wildest dreams as we have been blessed with each other and 3 wonderful children.

Even though I had to ask the girls to stop jumping on our bed tonight and take the (play) teapot out of their panties. Oh the glamour of parenting.

Edit to add: The wonderful Sam Woulidge just tweeted me this link. Go watch it, it is marvelous.

Ps. That place we went on honeymoon? Those chalets are R1900 per night these days. How’s that for inflation?
Pps. Etienne’s Dad actually suggested we go there on honeymoon and sent us off with a visual of my brand new In-laws in a jacuzzi. You’re welcome.

Why I wore Black today

stoprapeThis morning I took this photo of myself in support of Black Friday.  If you know me at all you’ll know that

1. I hate photos of myself,

2. I avoid taking photos of myself (especially in mirrors)

3. I try to limit my outrage to a select few topics such as parents that don’t put safety belts on their kids in cars. Rage and anger takes up too much of my precious energy.


Every one of us knows someone(s) that has been touched by rape, abuse or violence.  We can choose how we respond to it. We can try to ignore the inconvenience and un-prettiness of it, or we can be outraged and angry and declare how utterly fucked this country is, or declare that we will donate money toward a good cause, or do nothing, nothing at all.

Or we can choose to make a small difference every day, a positive difference in someone’s life.

That is my choice, and I’m lucky enough to be able to do that every day at work and will continue to do so.  I’m also blessed enough to be surrounded by people that are making a difference in their own big or small way.

I chose to wear black today in solidarity with the people that I know and love (or don’t know that linger my social media streams) that have had their power taken away from them in any shape of form.

I chose to wear black today because I will teach my children about their own power and that it is never acceptable or excusable to have anyone touch you in any way that is not meant to display love through my actions and my words.

I chose to wear black today because rape, abuse and violence in not acceptable. EVER.

I chose to wear black today because I refuse to be silenced and I refuse to allow people to be silenced and not be able to speak up for themselves.

I chose to wear black today because too often the victims are forgotten.

I chose to wear black today because we should never, never, NEVER get sick of reading about violence, because if we do, we will never choose to make a positive difference.

What is your choice?

Hugs for Moms

I know, I need to post about Daniel’s operation this past Monday, all in good time, promise.

I had a small epiphany tonight and its too important (and too complicated) to put on Facebook, I need to put it here so my kids can see it one day when they are teenagers and hate me. Or when they are parents themselves.

I may be a little soppy at the moment, I have been thinking about clearing the air with someone that I need to find a way to co-exist with that used to be a friend mostly because I can’t bear ignoring that person anymore. It’s too hard. But it will be a big thing.

I’m worried about another friend that seems distant, I hope she’s ok. I wish she would tell me what’s wrong, but I’m afraid she’ll brush it off.

But what I really wanted to tell you about is how Isabel has been out of sorts lately. Not eating well in the evenings, battling to go to sleep. She is such a tough little cookie normally, nothing ever seems to phase her, she takes everything in her stride. She’s not huge on kisses and hugs like Mignon and Daniel are, she just wants to get on with the really important stuff in life like painting.

But tonight, tonight she said ‘Mamma, ek wil jou hê’ (Mom, I want you). This is huge, so I promptly got into our bed with her and we had ourselves a long chat and a cuddle. She just needed to be held and touched and hugged and loved.

And I realised, I needed it too. I needed her to need me. I needed those hugs and cuddles and love too. My own child comforted me tonight. Comfort that I didn’t realise I needed.

I’m spending the day with Daniel tomorrow as he can only go back to school on Monday and Etienne will only be home late tomorrow evening and I am really looking forward to having them all to myself for a change. (I might come here and whine about them tomorrow evening, but just tell me to shut up, ok?)

This has turned out to be quite a random blog post, but I’m going to leave it just like this. It’s how I feel right now.

Ps. Even more randomly, Etienne found a song tonight that we have been looking for for 11 years. The Goo Goo Dolls and Limp Bizkit performed Pink Floyd’s Wish you were here at the Heroes concert just after 9/11 and we could never remember who sang it. Anyway, so Etienne found it tonight. I’m really bad at embedding videos, so here is the link to the YouTube video. Do yourself a favour and keep in mind when it was performed. It is achingly beautiful.

Food and love

I was looking through our kitchen window out onto the vineyards last night as the sun was setting and I had this feeling that took me a minute to realize was contentment.

We had a near-perfect weekend.  Not too busy, not too quiet, filled with all kinds of awesomeness and that ended with a long walk with the kids in the vineyards.  I even baked some cookies* which I ended up eating too many of.

Date night was really lovely, I can highly recommend Our Place, all the food that passed our table looked beautiful and they accommodated all my requests (no fries, no oil, no dressing.  Boring, I know) and still made my food look and taste delicious.  The company wasn’t too bad either.

On Saturday morning, after an epic Google Maps fail (hint: the wine farm is not situated in the middle of Wellington, but on the outskirts), we eventually ended up at Napier Winery and it was well worth the trip, I could have spent a LOT of money there.  As we left I asked about a place in the area to have lunch and they very kindly pointed us in the direction of Under Oaks.  Lovely big lawn, jungle gym, horses, the kids had a ball and they even posed for pictures, which is almost unheard of.  Of course the wine is also lovely.  Lunch for all of us also came in at about R250, which is a huge bargain in my books.  We’ll be going back there, en masse.

On Saturday night Daniel spent the night with my In-laws and I think the undivided attention was just what he needed.  The girls also had a chance to just do their own thing, just what they needed as well. It made us come up with a plan, but more about this later.  The only downside was that Daniel came home yesterday when we had all the parentals over for Sunday lunch, waving the front page of Die Burger depicting the epic battle between the Sharks and the Stormers and we all know how that ended.  We strongly suspect he was coached as my FIL is a Bulls Supporter.  I could literally see Etienne flinch every time Daniel reminded him that the Stormers lost and he reminded him very very often.

* I had some choc chips left over from Daniel’s birthday recently and baked these cookies.  I then felt like trying some white choc and cranberry cookies and as per usual the internet obliged.  If you like chewy cookies try the first recipe, if you like harder cookies use the second recipe.  I’m all for chewy, so next time I’m going to make the first recipe and just replace that dark choc chips with the cranberries and white choc chips. The combination is To Die For, the sweetness of the chocolate combined with the tartness of dried cranberries.  You’re welcome.

PS:  I accused Etienne of being a stubborn, chest-thumping Neanderthal yesterday as he refused to let my Dad help him carve the chicken so we could get the rest of lunch on the table with the least amount of chaos.  He maintains it is “his job”.  Whatever.  Is it the same in your homes?

PPS: Next thing I’m going to try is Oven-Dried Apples, they look delish and healthy for lunchbox snack for the kids.

Love through the eyes of a Four Year Old

After spending the day at home with a decidedly-under-the-weather Mignon and Daniel and an early-morning trip to the GP (I know! How shocking has this week been??), I took Isabel on some errands with me this afternoon.

She apparently battled a little on her own at school today, so I was determined to have a little alone-time with her. I’m really glad I did.

On the way home we were listening to Adele in the car and talking about her songs. Isabel wanted to know what they were about and I tried to explain that most songs tell a story and that most of Adele’s songs are about love.

So, she asks, does Adele have a boyfriend. Yes, I say, she has had a couple of boyfriends.

Is she married, she asks. No, I say.

Why? Well, I tried to explain, you should only marry someone who loves you very much and that you love in return, like Mommy and Daddy do.

She then wanted to know who Adele loved. Whilst I was battling with how to answer a question about Adele’s love life, Isabel asks me if Adele loves everyone. So I said kind of, thinking about how awesome she was in her concert at Royal Albert Hall and how that probably relates to Isabel’s concept of “everyone” as they have seen the concert.

Which left me in a bit of a pickle. If I say “No, you can’t love everyone” am I teaching her about judgment and exclusion or am I teaching her to have good sense? I had a vision of her going to school and saying to some poor child how much she doesn’t love them.

So I tried this: “you can’t love everyone the same way. You have to love Mommy and Daddy and Daniel and Mignon because we are your family and we will ALWAYS be there and we HAVE to love each other. But you don’t have to love people who are horrible” (with my Calvinistic upbringing ringing in my ears about how God loves us all, followed shortly about the wrath of God)

It was quite an interesting conversation to have, certainly more entertaining and thought-provoking than having to explain that the tampon she was holding earlier was not a sweet.

How would you explain love and the concept thereof to your children?

Edit to add:
Just seen on FB: The average 4 year old asks 437 questions a day. We reckon Isabel is an overachiever.

Etienne turns 40

Etienne turned 40 on 18 February and I wanted to make it a really special day for him so I had a couple of tricks up my sleeve.

Expensive gifts were not an option so I opted to shower him with love for the day.

We went out for an early breakfast whilst my Mom took care of the kids just so we could have a little time together before the day got manic and it was lovely to have him all to myself.  Along with a loud Australian chick at the next table that was curious to know whether South Africans also put braces on their teeth. But anyhoo.

We had a lovely morning at a kiddy party (with wine) and then off home for an afternoon nap.

I then presented him with a little project I had been working on for a while.  The idea came from Pinterest (duh) and you can click here for the original website it came from.  In a nutshell, I contacted Etienne’s old and new friends, colleagues and family and asked them each to send me a memory of him they hold.  The idea was to present him with 40 memories from people special to him on his 40th birthday.  The people in my office must think I am quite mad as I cried so often when I opened the messages at work as they were all so amazing and special.  He was completely blown away and may or may not have pecked a little tear himself.

The pile of envelopes

Thank you THANK YOU to everyone that participated in this, you have no idea how special it was.

Etienne reading his letters

We then moved along to Ke-Monate for his birthday bash with most of our favourite friends and family and it was a truly amazing evening.  The service and food was just perfect and the company was even better!  The restaurant is just outside Durbanville and literally sits between vineyards.  Perfect.

The table
Gift and name tag

The last little trick up my sleeve was Etienne’s birthday cake that was made by Angie, our favourite teacher.  He is a big fan of Lord of the Rings, so we decided on a LOTR cake.  In the end it was my favourite part of the day because of the expression on Etienne’s face when the cake came out.  He loved it!


Etienne with his cake (sorry, not the best pic!)

To my love:

I wanted to write you a “40 things I love about you” post, but we tell each other those things on a regular basis anyway and love isn’t about saying so once a year, it’s living it every day, which you do.  Love you madly.

The flowers in his table decoration opening up, loved them.


Etienne was telling me about how the kids were dancing in the library yesterday and asked them to do a re-enactment. Which they graciously did. On the coffee table..


I was lucky enough to interview some amazing women this week that are applying for work.  Women that each overcame a serious set of personal challenges to be where they are today.

And they each want to pass on their determination to people in similar circumstances and live as beacons of hope.

I have interviewed many people over the years and I am probably a bit of a cynic, but these women really stood out for me.

This made me think of all the amazing women that I have known for many years or met either IRL (in real life) or online.  There are so many, so I will just briefly share some of their stories and link to them.  This is my small contribution to giving hope to anyone that might be reading this and going through something difficult at the moment.  These women are all very special and have each overcome their own set of circumstances.  They are fighters and survivors, because that what we need to do:  Fight and Survive.

My friend Camilla is a breast-cancer survivor.

My friend Tertia is a fellow infertility survivor, amongst other things.

My friends Candice and Caz have both lost babies (and so has Tertia)

My friend Sally has recently had her third baby and home-schools.

My friend Tracy recently started a support group for young Moms that have no support.

My online friend Hanlie is busy with an amazing self-discovery journey.

And last, but not least, my online friend Melanie is the brain behind the Twitter Blanket Drive, an amazing initiative.

At the Willowbridge Slow market today I came across this necklace and I simply HAD to have it.  This is my message of hope to you.  On the back of “hope” it says “love”, because what is the one without the other?

Hope you can read the message on the card!

If you want to contact the lovely lady that makes these beads you are welcome to email her on or contact Marieta Fichtner on +27 82 976 5885.