I’ve hit 50 Followers!!!

Hello, I hope you are well and keeping safe. How is the week going? How is work? How is business? Thank you for stopping by. The week is going well and there is a new visa alert that I will post about soon so I’ll say the week is going well. I have some GTE forms to assist students with this week. Never mind, this is not a work post, it is a happy postπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒ

This is a quick one to say thank you! I’ve reached the 50 followers milestone and I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for stopping by, for reading my posts, for liking my posts and for following my blog! I really appreciate it. It is a great encouragement to me.

Screenshot from my phone

I started a while back but only just recently actively picked up writing more frequently. It is what I enjoy doing and wonder why I stayed away for this long. You know what they say, “when it’s time, it’s time”! (not sure whose quote that is though). I guess it’s time. If there’s anything you have been trying to do, why not give it a shot? Start somewhere, you’ll be amazed.

I will keep the posts coming, about study abroad and everything that comes with it, experiences at work and at home, though they tend to be one and the same most of the time because I work from home and maybe also post some random thoughts along the line.

Thank you once again, until next time. Keep well. Rest when you need to. Pace yourself. Eat right. Be kind. And best of all, be happy! Enjoy the rest of the week. Bye for now πŸ‘‹

7 tips for Homeschooling while working from home

Hello I hope you are well and are keeping safe. I hope you had a good weekend. I did. Mostly resting. It was an absolute necessity for my body to rest! This is a brand new week and I am grateful. The weeks seem to be flying this year or is it me? Well, like it or not, this is another week of working from home plus homeschooling the children. For some, it has been the norm for them before Covid but for some, it was brought upon us and we have to find ways to cope with it. For those of us who started homeschooling due to Covid, we definitely need to find ways to adjust and make it all work out nicely for ourselves and for the children. Working out nicely means being productive while working from home, here’s a link to my previous post about how to be productive working from home https://oluseungsc.biz/2021/01/11/how-to-be-productive-working-from-home/ and the children getting educated while studying from home. It has been close to a year since I started homeschooling my five year old son, almost six, and I find these 7 tips quite helpful.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

1. Planning ahead

Apart from planning meals for the day, which I believe most moms do, planning for homeschooling will afford you the opportunity to prepare tasks for your child/children to do. By Sunday evening, all tasks should have been assigned, on paper. This way, you would be able to assign different tasks for them to do and mix it up so that they will not get bored. Allow time for exercise as well, I feel like we need to make an extra effort to achieve that but if it has been planned ahead, then it makes if easier to fall into. This brings to my next point. Routines before actual schoolwork.

2. Routines

Routines are great for children, and adults too! Once children get used to routines, it makes things easier for them and they automatically know what next to do. For my son, once he wakes up and says his prayers, he comes to say good morning to us and then goes to do his couch chores (basically tidying up the living room~ I try to leave one or two things lying around for him). He then brushes his teeth, picks out his clothes and asks for help to take a bath. Next is breakfast. And then, school time! If he mixes any of this up, he mentions it because he has become used to a particular way of doing things. And if he plays with his sister in between, it’s okay, it’s all love.

Children will be soothed by routine, structure and normality. Getting them back to routine is typically considered good- Catherine Cooks

Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

3. Schedules

In this context, schedules are the actual school work and activities cut out into different chunks of time. However, I find that flexible schedules work better for us. He starts at 8:30am and ends around 1pm. A sample of his schedule is

8:30-8:45am~ exercise (something we make up or watch on TV)

8:45-9:00am~ teachermommy shows him what he should do for the next two hours

9:00-11am~ he does his assigned work which combines using an abacus to do sums, activity books and some coloring

11:00-11:30am~ educational TV time

11:30-12:00pm~ Lunch and we squeeze in a short walk when possible

12:00-1:00pm~ reading time. It is my break time so we do his readings together.

His schedules vary slighty each day and I change the subjects or what he has to do. I found some activity books very useful because they combine spelling and math and coloring activities, all in one book! Pictures of some pages attached. One thing to note, is to pace yourself and pace your child. Everyday will not be the same.

4. Lunch/Short walks

Fitting in lunch break to the same time helps as it gives me a chance to have a quick look at his work so far and also spend time with him. If he were at his actual school, this would be the time to play with friends and interact so this time, we have a quick snack and then go for a short walk. Most times we walk for 10 minutes just for an outdoor experience. We also play ball when we can’t for go a walk. Then we do some reading. He loves reading and actually started reading before age 4 so I let him do the reading and ask him questions to make sure he comprehend the story. After the reading session, he gets to have time for free play.

Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

5. Designate work space/classroom

I mentioned this in one if my previous posts. It helps s great deal to have dedicated work spaces. He has his table and chair corner in his room for school time. And I have my office desk in my room. We currently live in a small apartment so those spaces have to work and they to! Once I’m in my space, my brain knows it’s time to work and same for him. He keeps his books and pencil case there and easily gets into school work mode once there. He calls that corner his classroom.

6. Take it easy

All these tips did not work out on day one so please take things easy. Pace yourself and encourage yourself. It is not as easy. It takes been intentional about it to actually make it work. Pat yourself on the back for your success with it, even if you think it is not much success. You will get there and will be surprised to see how easier homeschooling will become for you and your child .

7. Plan for the following day

Yes, go back to step one and plan tasks and activities for the following day. With you being the one to teach your child school work, you would have noticed where he needs extra support. Focus on that. For my son, I have found that he needs extra help with writing so I give him tasks that encourage him to write and master the skill.

These tips have proven to be helpful and I believe it should help in one way or another. Combining working from home with helping the children learn from home at the same time requires mental effort and patience. It is doable. We are in it together and have to find ways to cope and adjust. What tips help you cope better with work from home and homeschooling? Feel free to share. Thank you for stopping by. Please like, share and leave a comment. I would like to read from you. Keep well. Stay safe. Be kind. Exercise. And have a blessed week! Bye for now πŸ‘‹

Easy ideas of how to spend your weekend

Hello, I hope you are well. Thanks for stopping by. How’s the weekend going? Restful or full of activities? Well, mine has been restful. I’ve been having some headaches for the past few days and thought it might be my body telling me that I need to rest a bit. It was a busy week at work and it keeps getting busier! This makes me always grateful for weekends! Even though some students and parents reach out to me during the weekend, it’s not as much and I don’t feel that work-mode pressure. Today, being Saturday, I decided to sleep as much as I could but couldn’t sleep much. I find it difficult to sleep during the day. So I spent it relaxing and looking for some old pictures for a post I am writing about. Anyways, by 4pm, I decided to make chinchin with JBoy. Yes, chinchin πŸ™‚ So the idea for today are rest and chinchin making!

Chinchin is one of the snacks from back home. It makes me miss my sister so much because we used to make it together a lot and also sold them to university students who lived on a campus closen to where we lived at the time. Once, we had a student knock on our door at 10pm asking for chinchin because their roommate was ill and had no appetite. She hadn’t eaten anything for days and requested for our chinchin! We felt so good and actually gave it out for free that night. When she felt much better a few days later, she came to thank us for the chinchin, lol. For my final year of high school, I made chinchin as a snack on my menu for my final year exam in the Food and Nutrition subject. I have so many fond memories about chinchin over the years. I also sold it when I got here and still do, upon request. If you don’t know what chinchin is, you might be wondering what it is.

Chinchin dough being cut up

Chinchin dough rolled up

Chinchin is made of flour, sugar, margarine, eggs and milk. Some add grated or ground nutmeg to it for an authentic taste. All ingredients are mixed into a dough, rolled and cut up into tiny pieces and then fried. JBoy is used to me making it and totally loves it. So, as I couldn’t meet up with his baker baker date yesterday as my body was super tired, I made up for it today with chinchin. He was my “not so little” helper and we had fun making it. One thing is that we both don’t like mess but this was a delicious mess and we went through it, together! It is a really easy snack idea that improves bonding with children and a delicious treat at the same time.

Ready to eat chinchin

So, off I go to have family movie time with chinchin and cool juice. I am thankful that I was able to make something with JBoy, thankful for family, thankful that I feel better and thankful that I have the ability to put my thoughts, reflections and experiences into writing. How is your weekend going? Do enjoy the rest of it and relax if you need to! Take a minute and relax. Take a deep breath! Thank you once again for stopping by. Bye for nowπŸ‘‹

N.B~ pictures taken with my phone, so won’t be the quality of a professional cameraπŸ˜‡

Study Abroad- What are some of the benefits of studying abroad?

Hello, how are you doing today? I hope you are well and keeping safe. How was the work week or business week? My work week went by so quickly! I can’t believe it’s Friday already but TGIFπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒ

Reflecting about my week at work, I noticed that we keep getting more enquiries even more than we used to! Every student still wants to study abroad and on campus! This means studying abroad is beneficial to them. I know there are many great benefits of studying abroad and the top one that comes to mind is seeing the world! Yes, you get to see the world because on campus, students get to meet other students who left their countries to study abroad, just like they did. That way, they get to meet and engage with one another and learn different cultures. That, in my view, is way better than studying in one country all your life.

Also, when students study abroad, they tend to become more independent and learn to do things for themselves. They see students who work and study at the same time and think to themselves, “I can do this too and won’t need to ask my parents for money every time.” What I normally say to parents is to have enough money tuition and living expenses for one year as required by the university and visa embassies so that their children will not feel pressured to take up a job to meet those needs. However, what I’ve realised is that students get there and get jobs that can cover some of their living expenses at the very least. Some students with rich parents use the money for extra stuff and some students use it to support their parents in order to help them reduce the cost.

One more benefit, before I go and try do baker baker with JBoy and JGirl, is learning a new language or honing a language skill. I’ve had students come to me to say they would like to go to a country where this language is spoken or that language because they would like to inprove their skills. I studied French at Diploma level many years ago and even though I’ve studied up to Master’s level, I still wish to study or maybe live in a French speaking country so I can get to actually use my language skills there. I still try to use it every now and then but it can’t be like using the language skills to actually buy something or have a conversation with others.

Would you let your child study abroad? If yes, why? If not, why not? I’ve spoken with different parents and have gotten different insights about study abroad which are all valid. I’ll like to read from you and know what you think about it.

I have to go. Do have a wonderful weekend. Keep well. Eat healthy. Drink lots of water. Exercise. Have a good time in your own way. Be kind. Thank you for stopping by. Feel free to like, share and follow to encourage me. And if you need tips about study abroad or anything or have questions, please reach out to by email, I will be very glad to read from you. Bye for now πŸ‘‹

How to be productive working from home

Hello, I hope you are doing well. How was the weekend? Was it restful? Was it busy?

unSplash

I know people are different and react to things differently and also cope in various ways. Working from home has been in existence before Covid but used to be seen as convenient jobs and doesn’t pay as much as work in the office. With Covid came hard lockdown situations in which every company that could function from home had their staff start working remotely. It was an unplanned situation in which people had to device ways to cope with working from home.

For me, when I started my current job in 2018, I started working from home but had to go out about two to three times a week to attend events such as career fairs, meetings with high school counselors, face to face consultations with parents and students and mini fairs I organized for university representatives who visited from time to time. As the agency I work for has partnership with over 250 universities, I had to attend to so many of them on a monthly basis. I sometimes had to host about three universities and take them on high school tours so students could meet with them and ask all the questions they had. All these events, combined, meant that my work from home was not 100% work from home however, I did my follow ups, university applications and everything else from home.

With Covid though, things changed. All prior scheduled physical events were cancelled and I had to work from home 100% which meant back to back meetings. All those meetings I had to go for at different schools still went on- on my laptop. University representatives who couldn’t fly down, organized several zoom sessions. At some point, it felt like my work had tripled and even though I was no longer going out, I had so much work to do that just wouldn’t end. I was constantly tired, out of breath from non stop meetings and phone conversations. I think students and their parents also felt like I was home and should be able to pick my call and answer their questions 24/7. I was also struggling to keep my home together, couldn’t keep up with meal times, couldn’t clean as frequently as I used to and knew that I had to do something. I had to take some urgent steps to put myself in a better place. Below are the steps I took.

Unsplash
  1. To-Do List: I realized that I had to focus on my to do list and put only things that were really important and couldn’t be moved to the following day. It simplified my life a lot. It is easy for us to think we can do this and that but are they really important or urgent?
  2. Dedicate a work space: having a section of your home aa your office space can make such a huge difference. It did for me. I won’t lie, I used to carry my laptop with me every where and worked everywhere~ on the dining, on the couch, on my kitchen table and even on the bed. I thought that was easier and thought I was enjoying working from home by being able to work anywhere around the house. I found out that actually worsened things for me. What I did then was to bring out my study table I used during my Honors and Masters programs about 6 years ago, dust it off and polished it nicely and put it in a corner in my bedroom. Yes, bedroom as that was the most quiet place in the house- it’s a really small apartment so I don’t have a study or a spare room to use. Also, it is a room where JBoy knows that he has to knock before entering and when he opens the door, he peeks and asks if I’m in a meeting or if he can ask me something quickly. That worked for me like magic and made my life easier. When I got to that table, I knew it was work time.
  3. Pace yourself: Another thing I had to do was to pace myself. I no longer RSVP’D yes to all video meetings and conferences. Rather, I asked if they could be rescheduled or if the session would run again on another date. When I did this, I realized that those on the other side of the screen are humans like me and simply set a date that worked for us both. My calendar events became reduced and clearer. I was able to select meetings that needed me to RSVP yes to such as fixed meetings and the likes.
  4. Strictly 9-5: I kept my work hours strictly 9-5. I no longer worked outside of those hours except in some very rare occasions that I just had to assist a student after hours. I always made sure to let them know that I had closed for work but willing to assist. What I found was that if I said to a student that I had closed for the day but would assist you, they end up saying that they would contact me in the morning. So I made it a habit and believe when I say this, most have really reduced reaching out to me after 5 and when they do they start with “hi ma’am, I know you have closed for today but…..” or “sorry to bother you after work….” It worked like magic. My work is mostly done through emails and phone/whatsapp so it’s hard to ignore some messages and I prefer to send a quick reply to messages like “why don’t we talk about this at 9am tomorrow ” and they get the message. This step really helped.
  5. Break time: I no longer took my break at some point because everything got muddled up and some calls ran into another meeting and would feel lucky to get a sandwich in or some juice. I stayed being intentional about my break time and made sure to take 30-45 minutes at least on break doing something totally unrelated to work. Maybe just read a novel or drink rooibos tea or play games on my phone.
  6. To-do list again: just before 5 and before closing my laptop, I did a to-do list to help me remember the emails I wanted to start with or students that I wanted to submit their applications the following day. I made sure I was clear on what needed to be done the following day and also gave allowances for any urgent situation that may pop up.

These steps have helped me a great deal and I believe they might work for someone else too. It has made me more productive at my job and I feel less stressed than I was before. I get jobs done more efficiently and my students and parents love me for my job or more like love the work that I do for them ☺

Unsplash

What has worked for you since you started working fully from home? Are there any steps you took that made you more productive or merely just simplified your work life? Please leave a comment so we can learn more from you.

Thank you for stopping by. Keep well, stay safe. Be kind. Laugh often. Until next time, bye for now πŸ‘‹

Reading for Children~ Parental Involvement in Early Literacy

Hello, how are you doing? I hope you are well and keeping safe. This post is for parents with very young children who are just learning to be literate and I write about the approach that works for me as a mom of two children. I title it parental involvement in early literacy.

In 2013, I started my Honours program in Applied English Language Studies and one of the courses I had to study was Early Literacy because I studied on the Education campus. We had to study different forms of literacy and we were asked to do a mini research on a chosen topic. At that time, I was not even married yet and also did not have a child yet but I had so many experiences with parents and their children. I had observed different ways parent chose to be involved in their child’s education. Some were really involved and some were not really involved. As a result of that, a topic that readily came to mind was Parental Involvement in Early Literacy. I did a research find out if it helps a child learn how to read better when their parent is/are involved. It was a case study and it turned out to there was a positive outcome when a parent contributed to the learning development of their child.

Early literacy is how a child is introduced to literacy- reading and writing. It has to do with how parents engage in activities to enhance academic performance. This was proved to have a significant effect on a childs overall performance. I observed a single mother and her 5 year old son at that time. I remember that I used the ORIM (Nutbrown, 2011) checklist as a guide during my observation with them. I would like to share the checklist which I find still relevant today and hope that it will work for someone reading this : )

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

O- Opportunities

Opportunities are created for a child when the parents buy books to read and make time available to teach the child how to read. These days, some parents no longer buy traditional books as such, and rather have the children read on tabs and laptops. In this case, books should be downloaded and effort should be made to show the child how to read. Words should also be made available all around the house (or their room)- sight words and high frequency words. This will help with phonological awareness for the child. I did this with my son and currently using the same approach for my daughter who just turned two and I can say that it works. My son was able to read from age three. He is now almost six years old and reads very well, I am actually impressed by his reading skills! I find creating opportunities for them to learn to read is still relevant.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

R-Recognition

Here, recognition is when the parent recognises the childs reading development and achievement by praising them. The parent can do this through a reward system where they receive stickers or high fives, or even a cookie for their achievement. It is up to the parent to decide what reward will work for their child and when to give such a reward. My son loves stickers, there are stickers all over the door of his room and wardrobes. He does not really have a sweet tooth so high fives and stickers work better for him than a cookie or chocolate, for example.

I- Interaction

When a parent interacts with a child, it gives the child a chance to express themselves and use more words. For instance, when a parent asks a child to tell them a story, it gives the child an opportunity to use new words s/he heard and it gives the parent an opportunity to correct the child if the word is used in a wrong context. The parent may also let the child take part in writing the shopping list. My son helps in writing our shopping list and this gives him a chance to sneak in some extra items at times : )

M- Model

The last one is when a parent models how to read to the child. This helps with the right pronunciation. I remember when my son saw a word and asked me if it was grove or groove. He had an idea but was not sure of the right pronunciation. It gave me a chance to model it to him. A parent can also have days where they read out to the child, during bed time stories for example.

I find this checklist is still relevant several years after and I find it useful in introducing my children to reading, especially. This in addition to other tips can help teach or show a child how to read without pressure. Have you read about this checklist before today? Is it helpful for you? Are there other guidelines you know about? Please leave a comment below. I would like to read from you. Also, if you find this helpful, please like and share. Also, feel free follow my blog to read more about education, parenting and lifestyle. Thank you for stopping by. Bye for nowπŸ‘‹

Happy Sunday- Weekend Vibes

Good morning! I hope you and well. How has the weekend been? Today is Sunday and where I come from/grew up, we greet one another “happy Sunday”. Up until now, I can’t say that I know why but what I do know is the fact that we have a greeting for almost every day and every occasion. Actually, everything you do. If you say to someone that you just want to stay home to rest, especially on Sunday, the greeting would be “e ku isinmi” which means happy resting or good resting : ) which can be simply be explained as rest well. Another greeting is “e ku ise”– good work, great job. This greeting is made when some did a great job or is doing a great job. It can also be translated as well done for work in progress. For example, if a handyman comes to find some things in the house, eku ise is a greeting that can be used whilst he/she is still working and you just feel like commending the work done so far, even though it’s still in progress.

For me, Sunday is a day of reflection and gratitude. Also a day of worship for me. BC (before covid), we would actually be in church right now however most services are now virtual so I have completed service this morning and thought to do some writing for some clients (side job). Though not yet due but the earlier the better. I plan to spend the next two hours doing that then just lounge and do nothing for about one hour. It’s not possible to do nothing but I mean do anything without having to do it, if that makes sense. I also work out my weekly to-do list on Sundays. I call friends and family on Sundays. I believe it is really important to keep in touch. Life has gotten so busy these days and some might genuinely plan to call and just didn’t get round to doing so. I’ll also do lil’ miss J’s hair, if she allows me. Just something simple. She usually doesn’t allow me do much so I leave her most times. Not like we have an occasion to attend, so why force her.

As for my son, he is usually very excited for Sundays for a strange reason. Sunday is noodles day. Yes, he has noodles on a Sunday as a routine. I had to implement the rule because it got to a point where he only wanted to eat noodles and nothing else. I gradually reduced the frequency with which he had noodles until it because a Sunday special. Now he has a major reason to look forward to Sundays for! He is quite a picky eater but keeps improving daily which is encouraging. I read, when he was a toddler and really picky, that a child would not starve himself and would always accept enough to sustain him. Now as a nearly 6 years old, he asks for food when he is hungry. He comes out from him play area and asks “mommy, what time is it now? Lunch time?” I find that allowing him take the lead for meal times. We all have dinner together but breakfast and lunch ad snacks in between is all on him and he has been doing pretty well, even gaining weight steadily. He has proven that he is now a big boy indeed!

I really have to stop here for now but will be back with my stories, my reflections, my experiences from the past that have kept me going. Kept me strong. Kept me grateful. And keeps pushing me forward. Thank you for stopping by. How are you spending your Sunday? It’s 11:00 am where I am, so still have some hours left in the Sunday. Here is wishing you a restful Sunday, e ku isinmi. Have a fantastic new week.

Study Abroad- New Visa Alert

Hello, how are you doing? The week went by pretty fast. I am so excited that today is Friday! End of work week. But is that really the cause for my excitement? Partly. The main reason I am so excited is due to the fact that one of my students got his study visa last Wednesday!! No, it’s not my first visa, I have actually done quite a few few, however, it is my very first family visa. The student, in his mid forties, is going for a Master’s program with his wife and three children. We put in the application on the 7th of December 2020 and received the outcome on 6th of January.

Brief history, the student had applied on his own to a different country and had received visa refusal twice, and that alone was a cause for a little panic, because most of these embassies work together, however, I am a visa queen and mostly only receive visa and not rejection or a refusal. He said to me that probably study abroad was not for him and I said to him him, this time, it is for you. He also has a close knit family and didn’t want to leave them behind as it was a two years Masters program. We started the process. We searched for courses that he had experience in but that would also allow him learn something new. We found it and we applied, he received a conditional offer within the week and we submitted the documents that were requested. He then received the unconditional offer and he made payments. For some reason, it took a while, almost 10 days because before the university received his payment of about 75% of the tuition fee. He had the money that is why he paid that much. Some pay 100% of the tuition as well. What is required is a small fraction of the tuition, usually about 25-35%, to show commitment to the university.

The next part was to make sure that his financials were in order because he had to show funds to prove that he had enough to cover and cater for his wife and children so we calculated the amount and then left the account to “mature” for the stipulated number of days. During the wait, they did the health check required and we worked at getting other documents in place. Long story short, we put in their application on the 1st and 2nd of December and they did their Biometrics on the 7th of December, and the second waiting period started. The wife, a friend of mine, just wanted to start packing, which would be a lot of packing as they had young children so would need to do almost all the pacing. And for me, despite the fact that I was sure I dotted all the “i”s and crossed all the “t”s, I would prefer they received the outcome first before doing that to avoid a “just in case it doesn’t work out” situation. She trusted me. On the day we calculated and thought that they would receive the outcome, the main applicant was emailed and asked to bring in documents for their second child and that the ones they had were not clear.

That was where my doubts started creeping in. We looked through all the documents a thousand times, there were no unclear documents, why would they say the second child’s documents were not clear? Is this a sign of another rejection? Also, some other students who applied after them had received theirs so what could be wrong? He called me a lot to ask, as if I was the visa officer at the embassy : ) but never did I allow my doubts show in our conversations. I allayed his fears and let him know that they would receive it.

First thing on Wednesday morning, he sent me a screenshot of the email he received asking him to come receive the outcome and was setting out. Almost two hours after he sent a message that got me screaming for joy with singing and dancing ( that is how I rejoice). As my husband heard my joyful noise, he knew the visas had come through! It was worth the wait!

Another visa success, this time a family visa and guess what, they are recommending me to everyone they know! Yet again, I have proved to be a visa queen. Sometimes getting visas are tough on the side but I believe that if one is meticulous, which I know I am, especially with work, then visa outcomes would be positive. My colleagues are also excited when I shared the news because we were in it together, they kept saying “Seun, you’ve got this/ you are good at this/ trust yourself more!

Yes, I need to trust myself more. I need to know that I am good at what I do, I need to tell myself to show more confidence in myself. I type this because I know that I need to praise and trust myself more and give myself more credit for what I do. Women (and men), wear many hats and need to function properly- at work work I am an International Student Advisor who deals with about 10-20 students/leads per day through emails, whatsapp and phone calls and even though not all of them convert however, I need to be nice and professional at all times. My job is interesting, used to be more interesting BC (before Covid), or maybe same.

Thank you for stopping by. Feel free to like, if you liked it, or like just to support me while I keep at this. Leave a comment, f you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer or research it for you. I enjoy research so why not. Bye for now, keep well, keep safe. Until next time.

Advertisements

Work from Home Video Meetings

Hello, how are you doing? I hope you are doing well and keeping safe. With the rate at which this new variant is spreading, it might be best to really be safe until all calms down. The numbers keep increasing and more and more people that we know are getting infected on a daily basis.

Yesterday, the 7th of January, I got dressed and my children thought I was going out. I said that I wasn’t and only got dressed up for work. Truth is, I spoke with myself that there would be no more office shirt and pyjamas bottom anymore this year. If covid caused work from home would be longer than usual then we better find ways to work around it and try to be more organised. My actual job is where I am most organised. Anyways, here I was, working, feeling all dressed up and pretty, working at my desk and then a call came through at 1:05pm. It was from a mom, asking to be let in to our scheduled meeting! I said “okay, I will let you in just now, sorry about that, day is going by so quickly, I can’t believe it’s 1pm already”.

In my mind though, I was like what meeting? I completely forgot that I had a 1pm Google meeting. Quickly, I opened my calendar tab on the laptop and saw that I set up the meeting myself for Thursday, 1pm. Then I opened my email to scan and have an idea of who I was about to speak to and remind myself about the background. And then I opened my laptop and allowed them into the meeting. It was a mom and her son who would like to study abroad by September. I took them through the process and the meeting went successfully.

Moral of the story, it was good that I started this new year with this resolution of getting properly dressed for work, every day. I was easily able to just join the meeting straight away, without scrambling to look for what to wear, style my hair, put on a bit a make up, it wouldn’t have worked. I would have had to make an excuse or something of that sort. It felt good. This year, I plan to be more organised and so far, it is looking good. Week one, done and dusted!

Thanks for stopping by and do have a lovely weekend. Make the best of it. Do what you love. Take care of yourself. Spend time with friends and family, where possible or call them on video (even with pyjamas, haha). What are you doing differently in 2021? What do you plan to do differently? Feel free to leave a comment below.

How JGirl was born~ Baby #2

Hi, I hope you are well and keeping safe. I am well, thanks for asking : ) First day back at work wasn’t so bad after all. I spent half of it replying emails that had piled up from students’ enquiries and putting in some applications. Some students also called to inform me that they had received their visas. So I can say my day went well. I’ve had dinner and now about to put lil miss J to bed and it is amazing how much she has grown! My baby will be two years old on the first of February! That is less than a month to go. Time flies indeed. Feels like yesterday when I spent three weeks in hospital to have her! Read below a very summarized version of her delivery.

Just like her brother’s birth, I thought I was going for a gynae visit but ended up having my bundle of joy. If you haven’t read about JBoy’s gynae visit turned into a delivery story, here is the link Gynaecologist visit or delivery? He was born at 33 weeks and is now five years old, turns six on the 28th of February (he already knows what cake he wants, usually knows the character cake he wants like a year or two before, lol). I will write about all his cakes and post the pictures off all the ones I find. Both my babies were born in February, not planned at all. One had an April due date and the other was meant to be born in March but I didn’t have the final say. Back to my story.

This time, I no longer had medical aid and had to register at an Academic hospital as that was what we could afford at the time. My first child was born at a private hospital, all fancy and classy, well, we had to face reality and use what we could afford. Thankfully, I received 100% quality of treatment at both hospitals. On the 21st of January 2019, with pregnancy almost 32 weeks, I went for my gynae visit in Pretoria, about 40 minutes from where we live. I got there and joined the queue. When it was my turn, I did all the tests we were asked to do, which included the urine test. We did all those checks before seeing the doctor, actually, a team of doctors because my case was a special case. Due my existing health condition, both my pregnancies were considered high risk. When it was my turn, I went in, and realized that they were not as chatty as before. I like to talk and make people talk as well, making jokes and all but that day was different. They said to me that they found a high level of protein in my urine and that my blood pressure was quite high. I always had low blood pressure, some times even too low so this was strange. I was told that I had to be admitted immediately. Funny enough, the one things that came to mind was my job- what do I say? I only asked for a day off and I had promised that my pregnancy wouldn’t interfere with my job so how was I going to ask for one more day? The doctor wrote me a sick leave note to solve that. I wasn’t too bothered with my son because he and his father got along very well and I knew they would be able to function without me for a few days. Little did I know that I was going to be there for the next three weeks.

Yes, I was there up until the 5th of February, 2019! I was placed on admission on the 21st of January with the hope that the protein in my urine would be back to normal and that my BP would normalize. Well, neither happened and I had to be there till I reached 34 weeks and baby was brought out. The time there was not easy for me. I try not to be a workaholic but I had to have my laptop brought in so I could do some work. Not too much but enough to clear out urgent matters and to keep me distracted from being in hospital. That gave me some sanity, a little bit, lol. My legs also started swelling up so much like I had never seen them before and I gained a lot of weight! I am very small in stature and had never gone past 59kg (pregnancy weight) so when I weighed 68kgs from a normal weight of 52kgs, I am sure you can imagine how swollen and puffy I looked. It was preeclampsia!! My diet was changed and I got so many treatments, all sorts and when it kept worsening, I was given the 1st of February for emergency C-Section and by 10:36am on the date, lil’ miss J was born and I also requested for BTL and got it done same time. Baby weighed 2.01kg and breathed fine but was placed in NICU for 48 hours to be observed. She was discharged two days later, before me! But of course, she had to stay with me till I was discharged on the 5th of February.

I hadn’t done my shopping! Oh no, not again, the exact same thing happened with JBoy and it happened again. I am usually a last minute shopper, for almost everything. So bad that I still shopped a day before my wedding so, yeah, that is my nature and will make plans to change one day. This time however, my sister that did the shopping the other was not available so my husband and one of his friends at that time did my baby girl’s shopping! Can you imagine that at all? They tried, got the basics and then they bought a blanket that I would never have bought had I done the shopping but I had to suck it up hahaha. We still use that blanket till date and lil’ miss J now knows how to say the word “blanket” when she wants me to put her on my back with it. It is our special blankie.

Same lessons from my previous gynae post, things seems really hard when we are in it and experiencing it but looking back now, there is so much to be thankful for. She was born at 34 weeks but did not need the NICU. If she had, like her brother needed it and had to be there for four weeks, we wouldn’t have been able to afford it financially, driving back and forth, visiting, taking expressed breast milk and we wouldn’t have been able to afford renting a place close by so we were grateful that five days after her birth, we both went home. No one was left behind. So grateful to God for that. Also, my mom arrived two days after and I was so glad that yet again, we decided to apply for her visa earlier than necessary so she flew down as soon as she received her visa, literally a day after! So for things like organising a visa or planning an event and bigger things, I am more organised but baby shopping, not so much. That is why we all have our strengths and weakness right?

What do you think about my experience? Being placed on admission at 32 weeks for both pregnancies? Having two preemies? They are now both super healthy and strong. When someone says their water broke, I just smile, I have no idea what that feels like. All in all, I am very grateful and thankful for both of them. So different and yet so alike. Do you know anyone who had a preemie and is worried? Tell them all will be well! I know people’s stories and situations are different but we can draw strength and inspiration and courage from the stories of others! That helped me a lot. I will stop here for now. I know it was such a long read and if you read up to this point, thank you!