Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Having a baby sister

The teen about her relationship with the toddler:

23 months ago my dream came true, Mieka was born. I had always wished for a baby sis.

At first when I heard my mom was pregnant, I was like, “Oh my word!  I’m 15 and my mom is 40.” And I also thought that was a bit late to get another baby.

I was an only child and it wasn’t always easy. There were a lot of games that were hard to play; like catch. THAT WAS TIRING!!

When Mieka wants to play catch in a few years I would love to play, but will probably have back pain or something because of the age difference.
I love Mieka to bits and I will do anything for her. I will beat anyone who messes with her and I will even give up my afternoon naps to watch her.

A lot of teenagers are getting pregnant, not that I was planning to get a baby, but when Mieka came into the picture I realized that having a baby is very hard work. I have decided that if I planned on having a baby it would be in my 30’s.

I love walking with Mieka in the malls when my mom is not around, because people always look at you and think that Mieka is my baby. I once heard a woman saying to her friend that I was a slut. All I could do was smile at people’s perceptions.

All & all I love Mieka. She is the best thing that ever happened to me!

Monday, 29 November 2010

Movie Clip Monday #2 - Tiny gymnastics end-of-year fun

The toddler had her end-of year function with the tiny gymnastics (Tiny Tumbles). They had access to an entire hall of gymnastics equipment and toys! It was the best of fun ever!

I am linking up with MumDrum again with her Movie Clip Monday initiative. In the clip Mieka runs from one end of the trampoline to the other. She bumps into other toddlers, but gets up after the small altercation to carry on...

Sunday, 28 November 2010

The Red Beardy Man and a crying toddler

A year later, and the toddlers enjoy looking at Father Christmas from afar! Try putting them on his lap, and not one of the two year olds were impressed. Mieka kicked her legs and gave her shriek at the day care's Christmas Tree on Friday.
Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom - let your email find you!

It's totally okay! We don't want our kids sitting on the laps of strange looking old men, do we?

Related post of the previous year:
The Red Beardy Man

Friday, 26 November 2010

The year has gone swoooosh!

Arnia and the BF, Stian
I asked the teen to write me something of the past year, and her expectations of the following year.

The year has gone swoooosh!

This year I did grade 11 (standard 9) and what a year it was from projects to tests to hockey to keeping up a social life and having a bf.

Next year I will be doing Matric, the big and final year, but I still feel like a little kid and quite frankly I am scared of stepping up to the plate of being part of the eldest of the school.

A few highlights of this year:

  • We were at Umdloti, Durban, while the 2010 Soccer World Cup was on T.V.
  •  My boyfriend and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary and it was great.
  •  I played hockey and met a lot of new people and also got to rediscover old friends.
  •  My baby sister has crept so deep in my heart and I would do anything for her, even give up my afternoon naps.
A few highlights waiting for next year:
  • I am going on my long awaited French tour and afterward I am going to visit my aunt in London.
  • Every girl dreams about this day: The Prom Night! (I am already collecting photos for possible dresses)
I realized the other day that I still feel very young almost like a 12 year old that is still discovering the world and next year this time I will be thinking of university.

That’s a scary thought!                
Related posts:
The secret lives of teens 
Stressful teen years 
Teen in love

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Mornings first photo at day care #3

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The story of a little girl named Caitlin

Photo courtesy of Sherene Hustler of Inner Eye Photography
When you become a parent, you become even more aware of how precious a child is. And it touches you even more when you hear about children suffering, or hurting. This is the story of Caitlin, a 5-year old girl. She is also the daughter of Dries’s cousin, Michelle.

She was born prematurely with her twin sister at 30 weeks. There were complications such as stopping to breathe, struggling with reflux, and she contracted the Rotavirus at 7 months. At nine months Michelle’s niggling suspicions were confirmed that something was very wrong when she demanded answers. Up until then the paediatrician told her not to worry. Caitlin had undetected brain bleeding since birth which led to the fact that her entire motor section in her brain was gone.

The prognosis was very bad: acute cerebral palsy! Caitlin would only live until 15 years of age!

Michelle has not given up hope. To the contrary: she has been researching Caitlin’s condition and she has tried to get her the extra special care she needs. It is very difficult because she is single parent. Their hope is now focused on Neuro-endoscopic Autologous Stem Cell Implantation, which Caitlin has already been approved for at the X-Cell Centre in Germany. Michelle needs R300 000 for the trip and the medical procedures.

She is now bringing the plight of Catlin to everybody’s attention. The story of Caitlin has been published in People Magazine of this week.

Michelle has also started a Facebook fan page for Caitlin, called The Little Train who Can: Caitlin’s story so far. You can find more information about Caitlin and her condition on the page.

We are so blessed when we have healthy children. We believe that this little girl will also outlive her prognosis.

Miracles do happen every day, don’t they?

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Mornings first photo at day care #2

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Clothes shopping with the teen - a No-No!

Remind me to never go clothes shopping with the teen.  It is only an exercise in frustration!

Whenever we go shopping for clothes for the teen, we usually end up with nothing. Only sometimes a clothing item gets thumbs up from the teen...

She is so picky and so fussy! All the pants and the skirts should sit on her hips, and when it doesn’t, she pulls it off to the hip level.  When I tell her it should be pulled up a bit, she retorts by saying that she will never wear it that way. Definitely not an eighties baby! We used to wear our skirts and pants just beneath our breasts.

The jeans should not make bags in front.  Most of the time I can’t even see the “bag” in front!

The worst part is that she looks very good in EVERY-THING she tries on. She still has the skinny body to look fantastic in almost anything! Why do we never appreciate our youthful bodies? Only to think back later on about our youthful skinny selves...

I cannot buy her any clothing item, because I do not want to waste my money and time. When she doesn’t like a clothing item, it does not get worn. Full stop! Never! Even when being nicely asked, or “threatened” because I have not seen the specific clothing item.

From now on I will let her find her own clothes. We do not agree on what is nice and what looks nice. Only sometimes!

Fortunately she manages to look good every time!  With no help – only sometimes – from the mother! (Wink smile!) The teen has her dress sense and style which is unique to her.  Luckily for the mother it is also not way out, or outrageous!

I always tell her that if she wears or looks funny, I will definitely capture it on camera. To keep it for that rainy day when we will need a laugh! (Not really! But I think it helps a bit to ward of bad teen wardrobes, don’t you?)

Next time I will rather go and drink a coffee, than go into a changing room with her...

Monday, 22 November 2010

Movie Clip Monday #1 - The toddler and insects

I am linking up with Tasneem over at MumDrum, who has this great idea of a Movie Clip Monday.

This video is of Mieka's encounter with a beetle. She gets excited about seeing insects, and has a huge fascination with them, but she does not want to touch them yet.

"Goggatjie" means off course "insect"!

Mornings first photo at day care #1 - the toddler

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Sunday, 21 November 2010

The toddler is 23 months and saying her own name

One month, and I am getting my life back. No, joke! We are never going to get our lives back. (Not that we want to...)

I have always held the magical number of two years as a milestone. That is how I remember I felt with the teen when she was two. I felt I got some sense back of me. They are more independent, and you are able to do more of your own stuff again.

The toddler started at long last to say her own name this week! We noticed that we could get her to say all the names of people in her life, except her own name. We were worried for a while. Now when she looks in a mirror, she says “Mieka”! And she exclaims “Mieka” when she sees herself on photos and videos.


The toddler loves going to the tiny gymnastics, and usually she is a big star. But we noticed that the not crawling had a big impact on her movement on Saturday. They had to crawl up and down and over. Every time she sat on her bum, and did the crab creep (again) when she actually had to crawl or jump over or off! Luckily we have the tiny gymnastics every Saturday to help with it!

The vocabulary is coming along at a great speed. She string together two or three words, and sometimes I hear that she is even getting creative with her use of words. She loves her Goggatjie DVD.  This morning she woke up, and asked for Goggatjie, nothing else. She called me “Mamma-tjie”. The “-tjie” was something she thought of on her own. (We have never used the word “Mammatjie”. )

We had the whole family at our house today, and the toddler had a ball with her grandfather and grandmother, as well as her uncle visiting from London.  She was crying for her grandfather when they had to leave. She is used to seeing him every day at the day care because he drives around the children in the afternoon. She cries when he has to put her down. Only sometimes he can placate her by saying that he needs to go and pick up children...

The toddler did not have her regular nap-time, and she was out at half past six tonight. Her regular nap-time starts at twelve at the day care. She needs that nap, and I have seen that she sometimes take two naps during the day when she is with us. When we bypass the naps she gets very cranky!

Off course we enjoy her even more! She gets cuter and cuter, especially with the use of words.

Where does the cuteness stop? Even while they are toddlers, or after that?
(I can’t remember.) Not that I am not looking forward to the other phases, because I loved all the phases my teen went through as well!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

We don’t listen about having babies

Laura at Harassed Mom asks the question why nobody tells new parents about the bad stuff about having babies. I believe we DO know and hear it - all the warnings and jokes about having babies - but we think it can’t be as bad as they say.

And then it is much worse! The not-sleeping! The LIVE-Changing impact on your carefree lifestyle!  The impact on you budget – for at least the next twenty years. The impact on the parents’ relationship with each other... I could go on and on. We all know and experience the list...

But we don’t care at all! Because we look at this wonderful creature in our lives who have come to enrich it, and we can’t imagine our lives without her!

Look at that face while sleeping... Our Angel!

I know there are mothers who struggle with post-natal depression, and dads who feel threatened by the new intruder. I acknowledge that it could be far worse to be in that position.

Luckily with Mieka, the second time around, we did not have to face this.

The first time around I had to deal with a jealous husband (now an X, the canceled one) who demanded that I spend most of my time with him, and not our new-born daughter (now the teen). Luckily she slept through quite soon. I remember I used to think that I could deal with any baby, but it was much worse dealing with him...

But we get through these times much sooner than we think possible. I would not change having two beautiful daughters in my life! It has been the most rewarding experience and the relationships will continue to enrich our lives!

Thank you that we don’t listen to the doomsayers!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Positives and negatives of breastfeeding the toddler – update

I am updating my earlier post of Breastfeeding the toddler positives and negatives. The post gets a lot of traffic from keyword searches.

The toddler is nearly 23 months – ten months on from the previous post – and it is going even better with breastfeeding. I find that we have established a rhythm and communication with regards breastfeeding.

She asks for “boo-boo” when she needs it. She looks in my eyes and plays with my hair and face, and we share a special “joke” between us. There is always something to share between us. I absolutely love this special relationship we have!

The toddler slept through last night, and I had to wake her this morning. Usually she wakes up a bit before we have to get up, and she snuggles and breastfeed until I have to get up. I missed it this morning …

Positives in continuing with breastfeeding:

  • The toddler gets the best nutrition possible. Breast milk continues to provide everything that the toddler needs. (Not so formula.)
  • Bonding time with the toddler is continuing. (I find the time with her to be extra EXTRA special.)
  • Breastfeeding is a soothing and calming mechanism.
  • The toddler does not use a dummy at all.
  • We don’t have to prepare bottles with formula, especially at night when she sometimes wakes up. That is a big help!
  • We keep on saving on formula.
  • Breastfeeding is good for Mother as well. I get some extra protection against certain cancers.
  • I am able to continuing working and still breastfeed late afternoon and during the night.
  • We can leave the toddler for a longer period with other people. We have been away for a weekend (that fabulous Cruise weekend). The milk supply/breasts adapt accordingly.
Negatives in continuing with breastfeeding:

  • It is sometimes difficult to get the toddler to stay focused while breastfeeding. The more awake she is, the more she wants to drink-stop-talk-look-around-drink and again. (Luckily when she is tired, it is no problem at all.)
  • I am able to breastfeed in public. I use a blanket, but have to make sure her head is not covered, or she opens up everything. It is a bit of a struggle!
  • I need to be in the vicinity when the toddler needs her feed, especially during the night.
  • It is a struggle to sooth the toddler with a bottle. It does not always work when Dad tries.
  • The toddler sometimes grinds with her teeth when she falls asleep. (But she has never hurt me.)
That’s all the negatives I can think of. There are definitely more positives for all of us!

I am continuing with breastfeeding. Now the 2 year milestone is drawing near. I read of so many mothers who are breastfeeding their toddlers long past infancy.
For now it works for me and for the toddler!

Related posts:
Breastfeeding the toddler - so special
Extended breastfeeding

(Photo: Mieka drinking from a sippy cup)

Wordless Wednesday #51 - Funny toddler face - the mosquito bit me!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Blue Mondays and a Goggatjie-break

Monday is Monday and it is Blue!

I looked at the photo of Mieka doing her little gymnastics (Tiny Tumbles) on Saturday, and thought it s an apt visualization of the week. Still in the beginning of the tunnel (the week) and a little lot of blue around the edges...

We are all beginning to feel the end-of-the-year endness! (Yes, I am sure it’s a word!)

I blame it on my use of a second language. Sorry!

Monday is blue!

So it helped tons when we got home tonight and Mieka was occupied for half an hour. We got Mieka the DVD of Goggatjie over the weekend. One of those DVDs that you swore before the time you would never buy your child... Such as Barney and Teletubbies! I thought I would not do it to myself again! Guess what we have in our DVD collection? All of those, and more! (Sheepish smile)

Goggatjie is a man dressed in an insect suit, and singing and dancing totally irritating Afrikaans songs with little children. But it is the most brilliant hit with our toddler. She does not move, except when jiggling or jumping with the songs!

Now it scores big time with me as well! I don’t mind the irritation at all! Because just looking at the toddler and her enjoyment is a reward in itself! And the best of all: we get some 30 minutes of free time.

Daddy had to sit a second time with the toddler through Goggatjie tonight. They watched it on the bed. She fell down backwards, with her feet up in the air. He had to do the same, but had to sit up again as well. Sorry, Daddy! No rest for you! (Wicked smile)

But I had a Goggatjie-break tonight! Twice! (Monday is not so blue after all!)

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The toddler’s first meeting with her uncle

We saw my brother two years ago, just before the toddler was born. He has never met the toddler. He is now living in London and we keep in contact through IM mostly. Our family lives on different continents, with my sister and her husband also being far away in London.

It is not and never will be same to have your family staying so far from you. Although we have all the electronic means to be in contact constantly, it does not equate to the real thing. To be in each other’s company still is something that I think we value not enough. Until we have to talk across thousands of kilometres...

My brother was worried that the toddler would be shy of him, or that she would not respond to him. She does not know him at all.

But luckily his fears were unfounded. Mieka liked him immediately and enjoyed his company. We had such a great weekend with my brother.

Mieka says his name Wynand, pronounced as “Mytand”. Translated from Afrikaans it means ‘my tooth”. We have been asking her countless times to say it. Because it is so very funny!

We have seen before that she likes certain people and responds to them with a very easy acceptance. Maybe it is true that the little ones have an inherent ability to detect the true nature of a person? What do you think?

In any case, the toddler enjoyed his company and we had a lovely time. We had lunch again today at Silverstar Casino with the music water fountain show. In December last year Mieka was crying when the musical water fountain played. Today she was also frightened, but at the end of our visit she was enjoying it!

Friday, 12 November 2010

To keep the toddler safe from harm

It sometimes hits me straight in the pit of my stomach! The depth of how you want to protect your babies and your children! The knowledge that you can’t be with them all the time...

If you let the feeling fester, it can become very scary!

I am talking about the previous day when Mieka got hurt at the day care. Accidents happen, especially where the toddler is involved. She is busy, busy, and busy! It happens all the time that she gets hurt, even when we are right there. I remember the time when I was taking a picture, and she had a fall right in front of me...

It happens! But we feel angry that our toddler got the big scratch on her face. And now the day care is telling a different story than the previous day. (Their days are limited! I am beginning to look at other options.)

Thanks to all of you who have commented yesterday. Yes, I know we have to listen to our gut feelings!

I don’t want to over-react, and I know that there are always some issues that make one uneasy when you ask somebody else to look at your child. I also don’t want to take Mieka out of the security of a well-known environment if it’s not necessary. But, I need to feel secure in my knowledge that she will be safe.

I know and believe that they have “angels” looking after them! How many times do they fall and get hurt, without really getting hurt?

Now I am done complaining. There are more options to explore, and lots of day care centres!

(Powerwoman to the rescue!)

(Photo: Mieka on Sunday)

Thursday, 11 November 2010

I want to fire the day care!

This is how the toddler looked when I went to fetch her at day care yesterday afternoon.

I did not immediately see the scratch mark (MARK) on her cheek. She had a small graze on her cheek from before, and she has been telling us it is the “gogga” (insect). It is also because she got mosquito bites the week before, and she has been “blaming” insects for all her "ouch"-ees.

Two of the day care people immediately came over to tell me about the scratch. I first said it was okay, because I thought we were talking about the little graze... Apparently the toddler was climbing a tree, and fell out!  ?? We did not even think she would be able to climb a tree. And where were the people that were supposed to be looking after them?

But the scratch mark is huge! Now we don’t think it is okay at all! Dries said he will talk to them today. To make them understand that we think it is NOT OKAY!

We know that toddlers are prone to accidents, but we HATE the idea that it happened where somebody else was supposed to watch.

Should I fire the day care? (I must confess that I get the urge on a very regular basis.)

(The working mother conundrum again...)

Monday, 8 November 2010

Infant dyschezia translates into not sleeping

Mieka 4 days old (photo Debbie Rogers)

I remember those early days with our baby. From the first night she did not sleep for very long, and the crying was exhausting. Especially from suicide hour and later. Watching the clock goes from 12 to 1 to 2 to 3 to 4...
Friends of ours have got a little girl keeping them up now. They were lucky with their first-born, a boy. Not so with number two. Margot at Jou Ma se Blerrie Blog also has a Richie who goes into screaming marathons. I really feel for them.  I think we still feel the aftershocks of those early not sleeping...

Some calls it colicky babies! It’s definitely got something to do with the little stomachs. Because they wiggle and squirm while screaming at the top of their lungs. And there is not much we can do about it. Gripe water and rocking and breastfeeding and and...

Our paediatrician called Mieka’s "problem" infant dyschezia. A condition to do with the passing of wind, or before the passing of a soft bowel movement. It also gets diagnosed when the infant is healthy and has passed all of their milestones. We could see that Mieka was very uncomfortable after she had her meals. Wind and crying definitely went hand in hand. We called it the “poopies” and it kept us busy until she was about eight months old.

I do not hear it getting mentioned when talking about colicky babies. It is definitely something to consider when the little one screams and you can see that it has something to do with a bowel movement. Especially when it is soft bowel movements...

After we knew what the problem was, we had more sympathy and understanding for our little one. We used to jump on an exercise ball with her, and many a times she fell asleep on her dad’s shoulder... Somehow we made it through those nights. (Big smile!) I now can make lists of sleep tactics!

“This too has passed!”

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Weekend update

Our weekend started with such a great Bang:
The teen’s passport application was accepted on Friday at Home Affairs. Without the presence and signature of the dad... The teen and me submitted affidavits with it, and told our sad story again. We had to retake the passport photos again, because the set we had was with red eyes. Not acceptable at Home Affairs. But that was it! (I was not that optimistic when we went there that they would accept it. And the affidavits were not used in the end. But I am sure it made a difference.) Passport headaches sorted...

Now the French tour is more of a reality. The teen bought her own camera with her own pocket money. The camera is for the French tour, of course.

(The photo of Mieka was taken by her today.)

We had a glorious weekend of sun and family and swimming!
Mieka with her niece and nephew yesterday

I have a new “toy” as well, a Blackberry! Great fun! It kept me very occupied this weekend. I think I am irritating Hubby already... I was told to put it away for a while. (Wink smile)

 Have a great Monday!
What is going to happen this week in your life?

Friday, 5 November 2010

Follow Friday 40 and over - I am a bad blog hopper

I am playing along again today with Java at Never Growing Old's Follow Friday 40 and over!

I am guilty! I haven't done it it quite a number of weeks! I am a bad blog-hopper, I am!
I see there are quite a number of super blogs to stalk follow! Today is the perfect day for checking it out.

Friday, here we come! This week has gone by super fast!

I thought it would go by very slow, especially after our camping weekend, but luckily there are a few highlights:
  • I got a Blackberry (mine is purple, so I will call it my Purpleberry). Guess what I will be doing this weekend? (Big smile)
  • The toddler keeps us very busy, but in a good way. She repeats everything we say, and we enjoy her very much. The mosquitoes have been bothering us at night, and now she tells us the "goggas" (insects) gives her an "eina" (ouch). I sounds like "Gwagwa". Very cute!
  • I can't wait to see the toddler at the end of my working day.
  • The teen started with her exams. It is the official end of her 11th school year. Unbelievable!
  • Holidays and Christmas and sunny skies are in the air. We smell end-of-the-year celebrations! This year has gone by super super fast! I love this time of the year!
Happy Friday all!
On our camping weekend

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Working my ass off in this house!

Hubby exclaimed last night: “I am working my ass off in this house!”

I had to hide my smile. Yes, that is how we all feel one time or another! You work during the day, and then you come home, and you work even harder. Welcome to real life! (Evil smile)

Welcome to how women / wives / mothers feel most of the time!

It is a very far stretch from when Hubby reminisced about his single life where he flopped down in a chair with a coke and take away. And that was it for the day!

Now we are a family. Dinner needs to be made. The kitchen needs to be cleaned. Washing needs to be done, especially after a weekend of camping where we could not do the normal weekend washing... The children need attention and whatever else!

I have said time and again that I have a wonderful Hubby, my Millennium Man. He really does his share in the house! I could not have done it without him. (No, actually I can! Because it was only me and the teen for a couple of years after the divorce...)

But nowadays we expect some more from both of the sexes. I don’t think it is only us?
Hubby wants me to work. (Financially it is also not possible for me to stay at home. We need the second salary.) He grew up in a house where his mother was a SAHM (Stay-at-home-mum). She used to give his dad and the children a lot of grief, and Hubby believes it is because she had nothing to occupy her than thinking up a lot of SH*T. And taking it out on them!

I expect my husband to do his fair share around the house. When I am working a full day, I also want him to help out with the normal household duties. That is onlcamping weekeny fair. I remember how angry I used to get when my dad got home at night, and expected to sit down to a dinner which my working mother had to conjure up. In his favour: he always helped with the washing of the dishes!

Nowadays it is 50-50!(Powerwoman expects nothing less!)

How does it work in your households?

Photo: Dries preparing food at our camping weekend.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The toddler and friends

Mieka & Tamia
The toddler had a playmate over the camping weekend. The girl is a year older than she is, but they had a very good “understanding”. The older friend was giving the orders, and for the most part Mieka was willingly playing along. Being in awe of the older girl... We just had to keep an eye on them when the “Mine”-mode kicked in.

I suspect it is the day care that helps with the toddler’s socialising. I found her this afternoon playing with a fellow class mate, running around a pole! I think she has very good socialising skills for her age. (We don’t mention the hitting and biting that the day care sometimes complains about... That will get sorted! Wink smile)

On the way home she told us about “Meya” (Meyer), a boy in her class.
 It is “babble, babble Meya, chuck, chuck!”
I have no idea what it means. But apparently Meyer plays a big part in her day. The teen and I had a good laugh, because when we suggested some names of other children, she got very upset.
“Meya! Meya!” Nee! (No!)

Margot at joumaseblerrieblog struggles with her Felix who is about a month older than Mieka. He struggles in social situations. Maybe it is personality, but maybe it is also because he stays at home. (I tell myself!)

Sometimes there is blessing in things you don’t have that much of a say. I would have loved to stay at home. But would Mieka have been exposed to other children as much, and would she have been as socially well-adjusted that she is now? I definitely think she is better off because she is in day care!

Being a working mother sometimes has extra blessings for the children... (Sigh of relief! We have to tell ourselves these things, don’t we?)

Monday, 1 November 2010

Ring around the sun today

Ring around the sun -
photo taken in Auckland Park
The teen phoned me during her lunch break at school today.
“Ma, check out sun today! It’s got a ring around it! It’s caused by ice crystals and the clouds.”

I had to run out, and got a picture as well on my cell phone of the ring around the sun.

Her excitement about a natural phenomenon made me think about how we should get more excited about stuff like this! The more we as parents get excited about our natural world, the more we will inspire our children as well!

I love it! The teen thought of her mother to call to share in her wonderment!

In earlier times we could have thought it was the end of the world! Or aliens landing! (Wink smile)

Now we know it is a natural phenomenon, and we can appreciate it for all its natural beauty!

My Monday started bad with lots of traffic headaches. Especially after a great camping weekend! But the ring around the sun lifted my mood. It somehow connected me with the earth again.

How is your Monday?

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