Friday, July 22, 2011

A Chance to be a Maverick of Chance!

Gambling has never been my cup of tea not because I am against it but mainly because half the time I just don’t get it. If you are on the slot machines you sit there and just press a button and things spin, colours flash and you have no clue where your money went or how it all of a sudden got back. When it comes to gambling on the tables, gosh that is just another ball game all together. Everyone seems so serious and calculated and it seems like big money is being made and also being lost. Well this past weekend I had the opportunity to step into the world of gambling at Montecasino and I walked away with my eyes, mind and heart wide open.

Montecasino’s new advertising campaign is called “Mavericks of Chance!” What they are really trying to achieve is a change of perception of gambling because most of the time people have negative perceptions or no perception at all.  I think their new TV ad really achieves this. Basically the commercial walks you through moments in life where people take a ‘gamble.’ When you watch it, I am sure you will relate to at least one of the scenarios whether it’s to wear no underwear with your cocktail dress, just to avoid the panty line; skinny dipping in the ocean; racing with shopping karts, whatever. But Steve Howell, Montecasino’s GM, also highlighted other scenarios in life where we gamble for example choosing which line to join in traffic and just hoping it is the fastest one.  The commercial then makes you really think by leaving you with a statement - something along the lines of “You think you are not a gambler….friend let me tell you have been one your whole life!”  You can check the ad here:

To get this message across to the public, Montecasino opened its gambling floors to a bunch of socially connected individuals from bloggers, to rap artists, to singers, to previous beauty pageant winners, spouses/partners and just some awesome characters.  You may be wondering which category I fitted in…um well I guess I was 20 % of everything. I just put on my social hat and went for it…pregnant and all, and what a blast I had. We got introduced to both the slots and the tables and had an opportunity to learn and experience what it was all about.

Kanya: "wow this is so exciting, all I need to do is press the button."

Kanya: "aaaa okay what just happened there."

Kanya: " Hey I think I won something? Um I think?"
Kanya: " I better tell some body :)"

 The slots were just as I expected…..confusing…..but the thrill I got was competing with other contestants. We had 3 rounds of slots where we were all given R100 and 90 seconds to gamble. It was hilarious watching us just pressing those buttons and hoping that something magical would happen which would double our money. It really was a hit or miss chance. If you were lucky, you would get with free spins which would allow you to go over the 90 seconds. Boy did those lucky buggers annoy me coz the credits would just keep rolling in. We attracted quite an audience when we were playing and I wasn’t sure if it was because we were loud or the fact that people recognised the famous people….or maybe it was the fact that we were given free R100. One lady asked me “How do you play this game!” I just replied “I don’t actually know….I think the game is playing me!”

Then we got introduced to the …drum roll please – TABLES! I must admit I think I was in the best group ever – Team Red. Most of us had no clue how to play on the tables but we were all there for a good time. I think the dealers also had fun trying to teach us how to play because we were all pure laughs. The first round of poker was a serious joke because we learned terms like – ‘all in’ and ‘fold’ ‘two pairs’ ‘flush’ but I don’t think most of us really knew what it meant with regard to the cards we were holding. But for some magical reason I won a whole lot of chips! My original R3000 worth of chips instantly quadrupled. On our sixth round of poker only 4 of us still had chips and our winner had R56 000…Yikes from R3000 that was quite cool if it was a real game of poker  but boy imagine if you had lost “R3000” that’s like petrol for the month, Ouch!  Black Jack and Roulette was just as much fun…but my luck seemed to be finished. At least now all the colours, lines, numbers and cards finally made sense to me. 
Look at how confused we all sipping on my virgin strawberry something something. Yum

So after the whole experience here is my heart-to-heart thoughts on gambling. Yes gambling can be a whole lotta fun but it should never be thought of as a source of income. This opportunity to learn how to gamble did increase my gambling confidence. No it wasn’t the kind of confidence that screamed “I am a gambler” or “I’m going there everyday” - it was more like this “I know what is happening and can make a wiser decision than before.” It also made me realise how much money one could lose/win - and so quickly too.

As much fun as it was I could also see how gambling could be an addiction which helped me relate to the people I knew who actually have a gambling problem. I could see how easily and quickly it could take over someone’s life and that gave me quite a chill.

Would I gamble again? Mmmm. Absolutely! BUT - I would have to have two major things in place before I hit the floor – 1) my husband, for accountability, AND a fixed budget, which I would expect to lose, and not necessarily double or improve on. But I think this should be the advice for any person that decides to be a Maverick of Chance. View it as entertainment - like going to the movies or going out for drinks…..and nothing else!

After a wonderful dinner at La Scala we ended our night at the Southern Sun hotel. It is a bit strange sleeping in a hotel when you live so close by but wow the experience was definitely worth it.....even though it was free. We were welcomed to a room with desserts and gifts, as if we were on honeymoon all over again. I don't know why it is so but food, sleep, entertainment ect is just so much more sweeter when you are not paying for it :). So thank you Montecasino for the chance to be a Maverick of Chance! I was dazzled :).


Here are some photos of some of the other cool people of the evening:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Rhythm of My Pregnancy: Couch Time! (2nd Trimester)

Avon and I had no idea what to expect in a Pre-parenting class but we were so glad we decided to join it because there were so many different tips we learnt about being parents and how to care for a child. It was also good to share stories, fears and experiences with other mothers and expecting mothers. We followed a Pre-parenting book/DVD series which was quite old but very real in what we need to learn about Growing a God Centred Family. I will attempt to share with you bits and pieces here and there through-out my blog but for now I will start with day one – The Marriage.

In our first lesson we went straight to the foundation of a family and that is the Marriage. I think sometimes it is only natural for us to put our children first before our spouses. But apparently the marriage is number one in the family and then the kids come next. …That is exactly how God intended it to be. Just being together isn’t all a child need. We learnt that children feel loved when they see their parents loving each other. As we went through the lesson I sensed a lot of us reflecting on how we viewed our parents love for each other and also how we would be as parents. I could picture each of us thinking of a time when our mom and dad were not getting along. When a child witnesses mommy and daddy fighting or not getting along they automatically think divorce. In the parents view the fight may be so small and insignificant to even equate to a divorce but in a child’s perspective it is massive- it is almost like the child’s whole world is falling apart. We learnt that some children may not express this verbally but the effects are visible in their poor sleep patterns, eating habits, school work ect. Apparently kids are like sponges they just sense the tension and just absorb it. It really made me think how vulnerable children really are.

Another interesting aspect we learnt about was “Couch Time.” This is a specific time where mom and dad have time as a couple and not with the children. It is important that the children understand that this is the time for mommy and daddy and that it is done out of love for each other. So at a certain time of the day e.g after work, you take 15 or so minutes to just sit together and talk and enjoy each others company…with out children distractions. I would think “gosh we can just talk when we get to bed and the kids are sleeping.” But the whole point is defeated because it is important for the child/children to see that bond between mom and dad. MMMmm interesting hu!

Following these tips are probably easier said than done.  I can already see myself thinking more about the food that needs to be on the table or the baby that needs a bath or my cloths that need changing. But this lesson helped me understand the importance of the marriage bond and maybe a couple of years down the line I will re-read this blog and go…… “Wow I just gotta be reminded…Marriage is first!”....and I will get back onto that couch with Avon. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Mothers Questions

We have never met face to face.
But I feel your movements all over this place.
I imagine your personality, your character and your style.
Do you have my legs, or fingers or maybe your fathers smile?

I have so many questions which keep boiling up inside
Like when I sing does it sooth you?
When I cry do you feel it?
When I am scared are you scared too?
Are you happy inside me?
Do you even like the food I eat?

I am so excited for all our first moments
From latching onto my breast, to crawling, walking and talking.
Where will your little feet take you?
Will your words and questions you ask overtake you?

Who, what and how are you going to be like Siam?
Are you going to be a loud mouth like your mother?
Or maybe smart and mysterious like your father?
Will you be a role model to other kids, smart and wise?
Or will you be the class clown funny and alive?

Gosh Siam all these questions make me even more curious
Some will probably never get answered I will just have to Trust,
That you will be everything God intended you to be
Unique and special made of Avon and me 

The Rhythm of My Pregnancy: Maternity Fashion Tips (1&2 Trimester)

Being obviously pregnant places some serious fashion questions. Is there a proper way a pregnant lady should dress??? Do we go for comfort, style, price, all of the above or what? Are we expected to look pregnant or not? Can we suffocate the baby with our clothing? All of these are valid questions if you never really had time to think about them before. Well here is how I dealt with them and am still dealing with them. 

Before I was fully pregnant I did some research on what styles could work well for pregnant women. It helped me understand what was “normal” for a pregnant women to wear and I realised that maternity clothing didn’t have to be Sacks or dresses that hid every curve. Nowadays pregnant women are wearing clothing that highlighted their curves. Which I thought was a good thing because it should intern make the mother-to-be more confident and thus comfortable in the season she is in. I mean think about it pregnancy can be quite a difficult season for us…everything is just ballooning out of matter what you eat. So wearing cloths that make the ballooning look good helps! Here are some pretty interesting pro ballooning looks that one could go for:

Now that I am in the season I have put together a couple of pointers/questions which have helped with my maternity wardrobe and maybe it will help new moms in the future:

  1. Am I comfortable in what I am wearing? Cotton feels really good on my skin and helps with the itchy tummy. I wear tights a lot because they are comfortable and have no zip or belt which annoys my tummy. The maternity tights are the best because they go right over my tummy were as other tights I have to wear below my tummy….along with my panty line.

  2. Is their value in my maternity purchase? If I am buying cloths I have to make sure that I will still grow into it and could possibly wear it after birth. This somehow makes me think it is worth the spending the money on the item.....I am a major penny saver. 

  3. With regard to shoes, keeping it flat and stylish is the way forward. I also make sure there is space for some future feet swelling. I never really liked boots with out a heal but wow I am loving them this season.

  4. Is what I am wearing reflective of my personality? Although I may be pregnant I don’t want to be someone I am not and that is very reflective in the cloths I wear because it affects how I feel. I don’t believe I have a huge sense of fashion but I know what cloths make me tick and they sure are not long sack-like dresses which make me look like a hippo. …who knows…maybe it will change as the pregnancy progresses.

  5. Does Siam like it? Siam has a way of letting me know if he/she is comfortable or not. I could wear something in the morning and be fine then Siam would move into a position which makes my clothing super uncomfortable particularly my bra. At around 3pm – 5pm my bra strap has to be loosened or undone. Sometimes it’s the underwear too Siam is against granny bashers or high risers and forget anything with lace.

  6. If nothing else feels comfortable – attack the Hubbies or mothers cupboard? Wow Avon’s jogging pants are super comfy and he now knows which of his cloths are really Mine and Siams! My mothers clothing didn’t last long at all. Her waist line was way to small for Siam and I and I had to return her cloths after a week of wearing them L.
Below are some outfits I have manage to wear comfortably...the white belt is a super stretch. 
1. Maternity night out; 2. Maternity Church style; 3. Maternity in the office

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Rhythm of My Pregnancy: Body Changes (1&2 Trimester)

I have been growing like a mushroom and am actually amazed by what is happening to my body. I remember thinking I would fully document every growth week but I never really managed to get around to taking decent photos so these summary photos will have to do for now.

Month 1:
This was the first full body shot I took once I knew I was pregnant. I remember standing there while Avon took the shot and wondering to myself, “I have no idea what changes this body is going to go through.” I had a slight fear inside of me as I thought of stretch marks, extra fat and deformations. I questioned if I would ever look like this again. But I also had an excitement bubble up at the thought that this was the body that was going to create a new life. As if I was about to run a marathon and all that I had to complete this race was this God given body and I had to mentally prepare myself for what was to come.

Month 2:
I know it may not look like I was thinner than Month 1. But I really did loose weight in month 2. I dropped 2 kgs most likely due to the whole over active thyroid thing or just the adjustment J… My tummy was getting a bit bloated like and my none existent butt was disappearing fast L.….Excuse the Hello Kitty underwear

Month 4:
My tummy was really struggling to expand but I finally wasn’t looking like I was supper bloated. Lucky for me I could still fit into these jeans. But only the ones that were extreme low rise. But this didn’t last for long. Soon I was growing so fast that I was actually getting pains in my tummy….which the doctor said was stretching ligaments. Apparently SIAM was growing at a faster rate than I was. The one morning I could barely walk to the toilet I was in so much pain.

When I would eat a meal I could picture Siam saying “Mom can you give me a little more room here I am trying to grow!” I pictured my lungs, intestines, tummy and everything else being moved around…as if Siam was rearranging a bedroom. At this time I was weighing about 58kgs which was a huge improvement from my 54kg. My boobs finally started filling in more ...which is never a bad thing :). 

Month 5
I know it looks like I ballooned up….it is the Zoom function lol. Actually I lie, I did just balloon up. I was fitting none of my pants at this point and was in need of a major maternity shopping adventure. Although part of me really didn’t want to go maternity shopping. I felt like it would be fun to see how long I could make a plan with my own clothes. But soon the winter temperatures dropped so much that not shopping for warm clothes was a real stupid game. I tried to be as strategic as possible when shopping for clothes. The most important thing was I needed to make sure I could grow more into them and hopefully still wear them after the pregnancy.

Month 6
I was so happy I didn’t have stretch marks on my tummy but found out that actually the Tummy stretch marks are the last to show. ….first it is Thighs, boobs and butt. I found stretch marks on my Thighs by chance after standing in front of the mirror butt naked in a hotel bathroom room with lots of lightL. I guess I hadn’t seen them before because the lighting wasn’t as good at home and my tummy was too big to even see my thighs. Those “hello kitty” underwear were now called “goodbye kitty” underwear. My bra’s don’t fit me anymore which makes me worry because how big will they be when I am actually breast feeding…eeek.  The only major pain I am feeling is in my lower back and it only happens once in a while. It is like my hips are expanding and the detachment is happening right at my lower back.I am also beginning to struggle with bending to pick up something on the floor or when putting on my boots. I am going to laugh at the day when I would have to get Avon to tie my shoelace or wash my feet. lol. The tummy is definitely getting in the way though and I sometimes even forget it is I would close a cupboard door on my tummy or I would walk through a gap thinking I would fit then realizing I am not the size I used to be. The bonus is I still have plenty of energy even in the evenings.
Apparently from now onwards SIAM and I are just going to be putting on weight. Yikes. I guess this is all part of the experience of pregnancy.