First tooth finally arrives

On Saturday Emma’s first tooth finally cut through. She is just shy of 8 months. I felt proud and relieved. It feels like quite a big milestone and one I have been dreading after all the teething horror stories so many people tell.

The arrival of this first tooth wasn’t so dramatic. For about a week she had been irritable and clingy, but nothing extreme. Her sleep pattern didn’t really change – she’s always been a baby who wakes regularly to feed at night so we’re used to waking up lots.

During this time big pieces of cold cucumber, Sophie the Giraffe and lots of breastfeeding have helped soothe her pain.

Here are some photos I took to celebrate this milestone:

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Our first organic veggie garden

In November 2016 we moved to a farm along the Lion’s River in the KZN Midlands.  Finally we had a big space to grow veggies in!

A few weeks after moving in, we started to plant without much of a plan (well Karl planted while I stood watching with baby Emma). The first seedlings that went in included different varieties of lettuce, spinach and chard, plus some small rosemary, oregano and thyme bushes.

Over the summer we planted meilies and sweetcorn, hybrid squash, peppers, aubergine, cabbages, watermelon, sage, parsley, fennel and lots of cherry tomatoes. We also kept replanting lettuce and spinach seedlings.

It’s a haphazard garden; wild and unplanned. We don’t know much about gardening but we are learning. We haven’t used any harmful chemical fertilisers or pesticides so everything is organic.

Our results:

  • The lettuce and spinach have flourished all season. It’s so awesome to use our home-grown leaves in salads!
  • The hybrid squash grew abundantly, but tasted bland and flavourless so we won’t be using those seeds again.
  • The tomatoes grew nicely, but lacked sweetness.The peppers were also very bitter.
  • The meilies and sweetcorn grew, but next time we will plant more to get a better, more consistent yield.
  • The red cabbage was a fail. They probably needed more water (we didn’t use sprinklers this year so as to save water).
  • The herbs are growing slowly, except for the pineapple sage which is thriving.
  • We planted the watermelon late so it is just starting to flower now. We are excited to see if any watermelons will grow before it gets too cold.
  • The aubergines are doing great and should yield soon.

We took some of our excess produce to the Barter it Bru, which happens on the 1st Saturday of every month at Steampunk Cafe. It was so amazing to meet like-minded local gardeners and trade our produce for theirs. I can’t wait to trade more.

To find out more about the various KZN Midlands barter markets, join the Midlands Barter Markets public group on Facebook – https://web.facebook.com/groups/midlandsbartermarkets/.

Growing our own veggies has been such a fun, rewarding experiment. There is nothing greater than using our own produce in the kitchen – we know where it’s come from, we know how fresh it is and we know for certain that nothing bad has been sprayed onto it.

Next time, we will be more thoughtful gardeners, planning better and using perma-culture techniques to get better yields and control the bugs.

Here are some photos of our first organic veggie garden:

 

It is what it is

Some days are just so hard.

Those days when I am trying to write just one article or edit just a few photos, but my baby does not want to leave my arms. She is only happy and smiling when sitting in my lap or walking around the house with me.

It is hard and frustrating and sometimes I just want to scream. Babies are hard work and they often demand all of your time, day and night. There is nothing that can prepare soon-to-be parents for this. And it’s a HUGE shock when it happens.

But slowly I am finding it gets better as I adjust to this new world order. Emma is 8 months old now and I am managing to get quite a few things done, on some days.

I’ve learnt that when I get frustrated, the best thing to do is stop resisting, breathe deeply, and gently remind myself: “It is what it is.” This mantra calms me.I then take Emma for a walk outside. We both feel better.

I then return to a bit of work. I am learning to work in 15 – 20 minute stretches. My multi-tasking skills are becoming kickass. Some days, you’ll find me on the floor with my laptop on my knees as I push Emma in her swing that hangs from the door frame and type in between swings. It’s crazy and frantic but somehow it works and I get things done.

Self love

I see self love as a journey of discovering how to love the life I live. About finding authenticity by doing the things I love and am passionate about. But it is not easy. It takes courage and constant vigilance.

Every day, I face moments of self doubt, times when I don’t feel good enough. Times when I feel fat and ugly. But now I am more aware of my perception of self. So when I think these things, I accept them and then gently remind myself of the good, strong, positive aspects. Some days I am better at this than others!

 

These are the things that have helped me to love myself more:

1 – Three years ago I started seeing an amazing healer. Her name is Colleen from Midlands House of Healing. I go to her for reiki and massage therapy. Since I started with her, I am less anxious, I don’t do nearly as many self destructive things, I’m less emotionally reactive and my moods don’t go on rollercoasters. I’m more calm, more contented and more creative.

2 – Yoga. Yoga is so empowering. It is helping me to love the strength of my body and soul. It is helping me to become more aware of myself and in  the process I am way less emotionally reactive. I don’t yet go to yoga classes as have an 8-month-old baby to look after, but I am teaching myself via some books I found at my local library and Hospice shop and by watching free videos online. I practice when I can.

3 – Stopping alcohol and smoking. Once I started seeing Colleen, I soon stopped drinking destructively. It was easy to stop. I realised that I hated being drunk because it made me feel so restless, anxious and not like myself. I had started to like myself, so why would I want to not feel like myself anymore? Stopping smoking was much harder. But I have finally done it and never ever want to go back to that chain- smoking state where I was a slave to nicotine.

4 – Exercise. I have started trail running and have already done three 5km trail runs. It’s been a slow, consistent start, but gradually I am getting stronger and fitter and it feels amazing. Now I am working towards 10km. Running also gives me those precious moments where it’s just me again.

5 – Quitting my 9-5 job. I am so immensely grateful that I was able to finally quit my 9-5 job when my daughter Emma was born. That job exhausted me and sucked away all my happy creative energy. I used to get home from work so tired, put on a movie and just slouch the whole evening. I never looked forward to work. I felt drained, depressed and uninspired. I felt trapped.

Life is too short to feel like this every day! Since quitting, I feel like a new person. I have energy, I am rediscovering passion and creativity. I have ambition and dreams again. I feel like I am finally living an authentic life. I am working towards launching my own business – it’s hard work doing this in between looking after an 8 month old baby but I am making it happen and I am enjoying the hard work because it’s for something I believe in.

6 – Eating healthier. When we lived in the city we used to eat so much junk food and sweet sugary things. Gradually we are phasing this out. We have a veggie garden that has begun producing lovely fresh produce. We eat less refined stuff, more veggies, fruit and wholegrain.  Less red meat. Drink more water. My plan is to eventually cut out sugar all together (this is proving hard as I am a sugar addict but I will get there) and reduce meat consumption, maybe even cut it out altogether.

7 – Be grateful for what I have right now. Being grateful is training me to see the great, positive things in my life. And there are so many – our beautiful farm home surrounded by green nature that overlooks a river; our healthy, thriving Emma; all the love from family and friends; my amazing partner and his loyal support; fresh delicious food on the table every day; my strong, beautiful body…. The list goes on an on.

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