Three's A'loud

This year

And just like that 2017 is gone. And what a year it has been.

2017 was a year of love and laughter. It was also the year that hurricane Irma and Donald Trump were let loose on the world. In 2017 we went completely overboard with fidget spinners and our eyebrows and we didn’t nearly give enough attention to global warming and people who still wear socks with their flip-flops after all these years.

Our world is poorer for losing legends such as Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington and just a little bit richer for losing Hugh Heffner. Three of my favourite celebrity couples – The Clooney’s, the Carters and Marnus & Tanya – had twins and the royal family announced an engagement and another baby on the way. I trust that Meghan Markle will take good care of my favourite Windsor and that princess Kate will subscribe to my blog as soon as she has three children herself.

On a more personal note this year has been mostly good but certainly not without some drama. The highlight of the year was definitely celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary with numerous date nights and a legendary vow renewal. In a year where some of my favourite celebrity couples got divorced (here’s looking at you, Chris Pratt & Anna Farris), I feel super blessed to still have this extraordinary man at my side for better or worse. After all these years he still sits and listens for hours when I had a bad day and can’t stop talking about it. After all these years he still sits and listens for hours when I had a good day and can’t stop talking about it. He is gorgeous and funny and teaches our kids all about life, love and how to make the most realistic farting-noises with your armpit. Other than the fact that he works way too much overtime he is pretty damn near perfect. Seriously, Meghan Markle can have Prince Harry.

My other massive highlight of 2017 was taking a spectacular roadtrip with the same amazing husband-guy and my awesome sister through Botswana and Zimbabwe in June. We drove 3350 kilometers in 9 days and experienced some of Africa’s most magnificent treasures. I could go on and on about rhino and elephant and most of all the Victoria Falls but some of my favourite moments were simply feeding the birds outside our tent one morning or having a cold beer at a local shebeen with some crazy locals. Oh, and don’t forget drinking champagne with my sister next to the road in the middle of nowhere at sunset while my poor husband was fixing our two flat tires.

This trip wasn’t all fun and games, however. We also completed our first half Marathon, running 21km over Vic Falls and into Zambia. Which brings me to the next important thing I did in 2017: I ran. I ran over Vic Falls but mostly I ran around my neighbourhood. When work was stressing me out, I went running. When my kids were stressing me out, I went running (although usually I took them to school first). When my husband (we already determined that he is friggin amazing but not quite perfect) stressed me out I went running. I did a lot of running. It was good. Now if I can only stop the stress-eating that follows the stress-running I can go into 2018 looking like Beyonce after her twins.

In 2017 our business had a few bad months but just a-little-below-average-bad not United-Airlines-bad. For the most part, 3@Marion Guesthouse had a really amazing year. We welcomed almost 2000 guests to our guesthouse and received almost 1900 offers to buy our beautiful red VW combi. Not quite. But very close. We had to deal with guests that didn’t arrive at all and guests that didn’t want to leave when they had to. We had to replace a really expensive gate motor, a few geysers and still watch the Disney channel on a little 20 inch box TV at home because we had to replace a flat screen in one of the guest rooms when it broke 6 months ago. On the upside we were finalists for two prestigious awards and were crowned Best B&B in Pretoria for the 2nd year running. I also did quite a bit of consulting for other guesthouse owners and trained more than 400 hospitality students. So excited about growing my hospitality training brand further in 2018.

In 2017 we watched Masterchef and Game of Thrones and This is Us. I didn’t find a lot of time for television or series because when I wasn’t running I was running after my kids. And when I wasn’t running after my kids I was reading. Honestly I haven’t read this much since I was 16 years old. I read Ken Follet and Arundhati Roy. I read Afrikaans and English. Somehow my drug-of-choice this year became historical novels and I travelled from England in 1033 all the way to Peru in the 1800’s. I visited France in the 1600’s and then left them behind to relive The Anglo Boer war in South Africa in 1901. From the luxury of the lounger next to the pool while my kids were swimming, I dodged bombs in Poland during WW1, cleaned up after bombs in London during WW2 and waited for bombs in Cuba during the Cold War. We are spending our holidays in the Kruger Park this year but I will also be visiting the Amazon courtesy of the new book lying on my bedside table this very moment.

One of my absolute favourite things about 2017 was that I totally reconnected with some amazing friends. So often we get busy with life and only see each other when our kids have another birthday party or somebody puts a picture on Facebook. But this year I can truly say I was blessed to spend quality time face-to-face and one-on-one with some of the most amazing ladies in the world. This year I discovered some of our beautiful country’s best food and wine with them. This year my friends were there to brave the parenting journey with me. This year my friends were amazing companions in my faith journey. I love LOVE this part about 2017 and my only new year’s resolution is more of the same in 2018.

I guess there is only one way to end this overview seeing that this is a parenting blog an’ all: 2017 was a year of amazing pride and joy in my kids. They are often tired but never at bedtime. They are always hungry except when dinner is served. But they are the funniest, sassiest kindest little monkeys in the world and my heart wants to explode out of my chest just thinking about them. They did really well in school academically and showed (mostly) great sportsmanship in their respective sporting endeavours this year. They sang and they danced most professionally at school events and on my bed when I still want to sleep in the morning. Even more importantly, they each have a great group of wonderful friends with whom they can learn about kindness and honesty and silliness (some of my favourite values in any friendship). They are the most wonderful kids and I am so honoured to be their mommy.

2017 was a crazy year. It was the year of Gupta and Bell Pottinger. It was the year of Despacito and Wonder Woman. It was a year in which we offended and bombed each other but also a year where we saw the most spectacular examples of how the human spirit can rise above it all and extend love and kindness to our fellow human beings in the most unexpected ways. Let’s have more of the latter going forward into 2018.

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