What I learned in February

I love doing these monthly round-up posts.

The only snag is I feel like I’m talking to myself and just to one other person ­čÖé So this month, can I ask you to just write a little comment and tell me ONE thing that stood out about your month – good, bad, ugly, whatever. It’s so good to share.

This month has been interesting in that it’s the first month of My Year of Happy.

My focus was on relationships and increasing connection, and here’s how that went:

  1. after getting lazy about Valentine’s presents and such, I actually bought one for D, arranged notes and chocolates for the kids, and for their teachers (when does the teacher thing stop?)
  2. D and I also set a small goal for the rest of the year – to do one thing each month for us. This month it was to properly talk every day, even if just for 5 minutes. And it’s been great not talking only about logistics ­čÖé
  3. I’ve had dates with both kids, and D and I went to see West Side Story.
  4. I’ve made time for friends. This one is interesting because I always do, but I think I’ve found the perfect comfort number for socials per week (2!), whether in-person or phone dates.
  5. I sent out three birthday cards (it’s a big birthday month), a get well soon card and temporary tattoos to my niece and nephew.
  6. I think the biggest change for me was this – because I was conscious about my month’s intention to connect more fully, the minute someone popped into my mind, I phoned/ whatsapped/ smsd/ made the lunch date/ tea instead of saying “I’ll do it later”. And I’m so glad I did because life is short!

Other things I learned:

  1. I love the cooler weather and really am happier and more productive when the weather’s not as hot. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I love grey skies (#marcialoveswinter and #marcialovesautumn).
  2. Book club is a good thing. I started a book club and we had our first meeting on the first Saturday of Feb to discuss Big, Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.
  3. I discovered that we can access free ebooks and audio books through our libraries’ Overdrive app. Full post to come soon – I wanted to thoroughly test the system first.
  4. Podcast club – like book club, but for podcasts. I started a God Centered Mom Podcast Club with a friend. At the moment it’s just the two of us but it’s so easy. We agree which episode to listen to and chat every second Thursday evening for an hour on the telephone. If you live near a like-minded friend, you could meet at each others’ houses for tea but alas, she’s in Cape Town.
  5. My head is much clearer when important things are either done or scheduled. I had some financial things to finalise, all my medical stuff to do and I scheduled a dental procedure for next week (which I’m not thinking about at all :))

Did you have a focus for this month?

What is ONE thing you loved/ hated/ learned this month?

What I learned in January

I’m so excited by the beginning of the year and this, my first, What I learned post of 2017.

I get slightly antsy if I have absolutely nothing scheduled to look forward to

I’ve always known I need to schedule a holiday or book leave as soon as I’m back from work. So during my second week back, I wrote out all the public and school holidays on my calendars, and then I put in leave for the next two work days next to public holidays. That got me started.

I then identified good breakaway times and we’ve booked our first holiday for the year. Yay!

The same is true for scheduling socials so I scheduled a few for late Jan/ early Feb and that’s been great.

Spicy pork sausages are actually chili

I love pork sausages. There were some limited edition spicy sausages at the shops and I (optimistically) thought they’d be just spicy. Instead, they’re so hot none of us could eat them.

Have a things to buy page in your bullet journal

I started a page in my bullet journal called things to buy. So useful and I’m not sure why I didn’t do this sooner.

Now, when I’m at a specific shop, I check to see if I need anything from that shop.

These are personal things, not groceries, so they’re almost never urgent.

Online shopping is magic

I firmly believe that one of the reasons I’m a happy person is that I truly delight in small things. Like online shopping.

It really feels like magic to me.

The other day while emailing a friend, I remembered that I’d been wanting to buy a scale. I’m one of those people who needs the Strategy of Monitoring to keep my weight stable.

I went onto the site, ordered the first scale that was suitable and the next morning before I’d even left for work, the scale was delivered.

Magic!

More magical was that I didn’t have to go to a mall, find parking, and stand in queues. Yay. And double yay for free shipping!

The kids were totally ready to be in separate classes

Our twins spent their first two years of pre-school forced to be in separate classes. Then they had two great years in the same class at “big school” and now, in Grade 2, they’re separate again.

It’s meant much more organising on our parts (different days for PE, etc.) but it’s been good for the kids. They’re developing their own sets of friends and relationships with their teachers and best of all, no more “Mummy, K said this or C did that” ­čÖé

What did you learn this month?

What I learned during November

Oh November!

It’s the month when people all over South Africa feel that fatigue from work and start counting down the days to mid-December when things should officially quiet down.

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This month I learned that:

I really, really, really didn’t enjoy the lead-up to my Spanish dance exams

I passed but I didn’t have much joy in the process. It was trying on my emotions and on my physical body with my right ankle playing up a lot of the time.

Interestingly, people kept asking me, “why are you doing this?” and my usual answer of “because it’s fun and I love dancing” didn’t always feel true ­čś«

I knew right up until the end though that I’d done my very, very best and that’s all anyone could ask.

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I love, love, loved running the 5 Love Languages of children workshop

I had an awesome group of women who identified both their love languages and those of their kids.

I plan to run another one next year – look out if you’re local – otherwise, no need to wait – book your session on Skype for only R400.

The cooler weather does wonders for my temperament and productivity

I think back to last year and the unbearable heat, and it’s clear to me that’s why I was so uninspired.

This year, I’ve had full lists of things done in the house, and it’s only because I have energy due to the rains cooling things down.

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Were all babies born in Oct and Nov?

We had 1 party in March, 1 in July (our kids’ one) and 5 in Oct/ November. That’s crazy.

On the subject of parties, I’ve decided I’m done keeping a gift shelf. I’d much rather get what I need when the time is right.

It’s never too early for Christmas music ­čÖé

I cracked quite early in November…. first with only my absolute favourite (O Holy Night), and then with a couple of songs every night, until the 19th when I played TWO complete CDs. Glorious!

Do you like Christmas music?

I had a great reading month

My most notable book read/ listened to was Rob Lowe’s Stories I only tell my friends. It was exactly what a memoir should be for me – warm, funny, heartfelt and not too heavy even in the not-so-pretty bits. Interestingly it was the exact opposite feel to Love Warrior.

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And now, for my December goals…

My intention for this month is to finish this year well by choosing joy and peace.

A few of my goals:

  • Enjoy the time with my family over Christmas/ New Year
  • Take a half day to close off this year properly and prepare for 2017 by setting goals and intentions
  • Do my filing (seriously, my filing has not been done in well over a year!)
  • Get all the kids’ school stuff done – stationery, school shoes, etc.
  • Eat delicious food and
  • Potter to my heart’s content
  • Enjoy the socials I’ve arranged with friends

Over to you!

What did you learn during November?

What are some of your goals for December?

PS If you haven’t yet read my Christmas post, it’s here if you’d like to have a look. I updated it with a link to a fabulous blog post which is also so worthy of a read.

PPS Pics in this post are from the Shining Year workbook which I completely endorse.

What I learned in October, and goals for November

As you know, this is my favourite time of the month.

It’s goals review time!┬á┬á img_7227

So how was October?

I asked Connor (my 7-year-old) to help me with my review and we filled up almost a whole page with highlights ­čÖé

Aside from a few days where I was a tad too stressed for my liking at work, it was a great month.

1. A social media fast is really good for me.

I loved praying for people during my social media fast.

We received TWO offers during that week of prayer. We accepted one and now we’re waiting for the bond to come through.

2. I’m dreaming about not paying for two houses

How do people manage multiple properties? The mental load is just way too much, not to mention the expense. I’m going to be really glad when all our money can go towards paying for this house.

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3. It feels really good to get things done off my to-do list

This month we automated our garage doors. Game changer. If you’re local and you need someone, I heartily recommend this company. I have not had such excellent service in years. It almost felt like a pleasure paying over the money.

We also did some boring things like get electrical and plumbing work done, and some exciting things like painting our kitchen cupboards. There’s a story to this which I will post about next month.

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4. I’m really looking forward to the 5 Love Languages workshop on 19 November.

I’m super passionate about the 5 love languages. May I be so bold as to say even if you’ve read the book, I still recommend that you come to my workshop. There’s a different energy to learning with people, hearing things “live” vs reading from a book. I’ve read both books and attended two workshops – one as a participant and one to get certified as a facilitator.

5. I learned that I’m really quite grumpy if I can’t work from home now and again

I’ve had laptop problems – it basically only worked connected properly to the network with a cable! So it’s been very challenging.

Also, when I work from home, because I cut out commuting time (nearly 2 hours) I get to run a few errands during the day, keeping me on top of my life admin.

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6. Intentional friendship is a really beautiful thing

I have all kinds of friends – both local and some that live far away. The far away friends and I often just arrange phone dates which is the best ever.

Or we whatsapp for 15 – 20 minutes and that’s also good. There’s also the option for voice messages which is so nice to get an unexpected treat during the day. I love it.

I also have friends who must have arrangements planned well in advance and some who you can phone up and say, “are you free for tea tomorrow? I’m going to be in the area” and they say yes, always.

7. Muscle memory is a real thing

I thought I wouldn’t be able to learn the complete spanish dance syllabus by exam time and while I’m not completely polished yet, I’ve been practising hours and hours every week, and that’s paid off. Perseverance and telling myself I just need to do it enough and it’ll (eventually) click. And it’s working.

11 days to the exam… and last night I had a dream where the examiner told me we’d run out of time and therefore I couldn’t do the dance, the one I’d been practising for weeeeeeeeeks on end. Ha!

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For November I have one BIG goal – and that’s to NAIL my Spanish exams – and one important goal: for each person who comes to the 5 Love Languages of Children workshop to leave changed and understand exactly how to talk their kids’ love languages.

How was your October?

How do you create time for friendship?

Are you joining me for the workshop? If you’re not local, let me know if you’d like to book a 60-minute Skype session.

What I learned during September

Happy October, blog readers. Hope it’s a good one.

Today is freezing cold in Jhb, my absolutely favourite weather, and so I’ve been smiling the entire morning.

I did my Goals Night yesterday morning before anyone else was awake and here are the top 3 things I learned during September:

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It’s always better to talk something out rather than to assume things

You all know our house has been on the market for 6 months now and I’ve been stressing about it. I finally made a meeting with the estate agent to talk through why our house is not selling vs other sold signs I do see going up in the area.

Our conversation was a tiny bit awkward but mostly great because I learned a few things I didn’t know.

I always feel better when I take action

Related to the above, nothing seems to have changed but, aside from that┬ámeeting, I’ve also taken action on a few house-y things and it feels great to make a few phone calls, check a few things, get quotes on a few other things, etc.

I’m fully aware that it’s a control issue. So be it ­čÖé

Realise when you’re┬áthe only one┬ástoking the fire

I invest a lot of time and energy into friendships generally speaking but someone at work asked me if I was the only one stoking the fire. Interesting concept so I gave it some thought and I started holding back just a bit.

The interesting thing is some friends carried on stoking the fire, and some stopped. I realised it fully in September because I don’t think I’ve had such a month empty of socials.

That’s not to say I’m stopping investing in friendships but I’m now aware that in certain instances, if I want the friendship to continue, I’m going to have to do most of┬áthe initiating. I’m prepared to do this but just not as frequently, so where I might have made plans once every two months, every 4 months will have to do ­čÖé

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Some other September highlights:

  1. Kendra and Connor had an excellent term at school. They also both got glasses last week after routine eye checks which they have to use for close work (the opposite of me, but Dion is far-sighted too).
  2. I handed over some high-maintenance stuff at work which I’m thrilled about because this specific responsibility┬áhas never been my best work.
  3. Dion and I had a movie date! I think it’s the first one this year (at the theatre) – Bridget Jones’s Baby.
  4. I read 8 books, 3 of them non-fiction. Check out my Goodreads —–>> (the icon on the top right of my sidebar is linked)
  5. I finally finished the series on How I paid off my house in 5 years. Like I said on Instagram, I’m thrilled this is done because it’s done the worst of any of my posts. I want to (secretly) take them down but at least I can now refer people to the blog to read more if they’re interested when we talk in person.

I didn’t intend for this post to be so long, so let’s leave October goals for Thursday ­čÖé

What did you learn during September?

What were some of your highlights?

PS┬áI’m linking this post up here

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