Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Bright eyes.

It is our wedding anniversary today - 14 years! Wow - I am blessed to have the most wonderful man in the world as my partner on this journey called life. My heart is so full of love today that maybe I need to write about that on another day.

Who knew? Who knew that Mr L had dark blue eyes with a green inner circle? The honest truth is that for the last 6 years in his life he has permanently had glasses on and no one ever noticed his eyes. Just the glasses. Yesterday his life changed - he got contact lenses for his right eye. And its not just about convenience or looks. To him, its like having some way of normal sight and the opportunity to learn how to read successfully next year.

Let me explain - up until now he saw everything in double when he has his glasses on - in two different sizes. Not wearing his glasses would have meant totally losing the vision in his right eye. It was the only way that the doctors could keep the functioning of his right eye to give us the chance to do what we are now doing. To make a long story short - his two eyes' sight differs with 6,5 points - this means that it can never be compensated with glasses only. He therefore has a 4,5 lens in his glasses for his visually impaired right eye making the difference in size of objects already severe. Anything more would have made it impossible for the brain to add it into sort of one picture. The optometrist yesterday gave me a lens to hold in front of my right eye to see how he has been seeing the world up to now - I was shocked ! I would have never coped but I guess if its all you know ....He also has a third of the same eye that is totally blind towards his nose - about that nothing can ever be done.

So we came to the time in his life where we had to do this in preparation for grade 1 next year - get him to wear a contact lens or failing that a lens transplant operation early next year. I was nervous but tried to play it cool. We were sent by his Ophthalmologist to a wonderful optometrist that specialise in contact lenses and is known to be successful with kids. Apparently if the first try is a disaster you miss the chance - at least for a few years so it was critical to get this done and the right way. This is also why they wait until now especially with kids with sensory issues.

We had a long consultation, fitting of two different types and then he had one in L's eye. He told him to open his eyes and showed him a beautiful picture of a fish eagle. I wish I had caught that look on his face with the phone camera but I really did not know that it would make such a huge difference. His whole face lit up and he had a huge smile. He jumped out of the chair and danced around. Oh my heart! I shed a few tears.

After all this we had an education lesson about the do s and don't s and then I had to take the lens out and put it back in myself. It took me close to 3/4 hour to do this properly and many many tries and frustration. This morning I prepared myself for the worst- and guess what? First time lucky! I am so positive that this is going to work. That this is going to make such a difference for him. Here's wishing the best for it.

BTW I knew nothing about contact lenses until now - what a new world. And apologies if that song is now turning in your head - it has been turning in mine since yesterday when it played in the mall after we left the Optometrist rooms.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Yesterday was my birthday

It was one of those where you are closer to the next milestone than to the previous, where work had to be done, where an OT session had to be done as per usual and a day off was not an option and one that was not particularly meant to be special in any way.

But it was special in so so many ways. It's been a long time since I have felt so loved, so special and so very happy. I can not quite define the special in single items or words.

It may be all those wonderful messages on Facebook, the many sms and whatsapps and especially the phone calls. I love those phone calls. It may be my 9 year old that made me tea and brought that and their present to my bed as H has swimming at 6 on Thursday mornings. It may be that Mr L wrote a few words on my card - spelled to him by his sister, but all on his own. It may be those very special cuddles from a really sick Mr C in bed just when I woke up. I really do not know.

It may be because I found the time to go to my mom and we had bar-one cake on her patio while the birds played in her water feature and the garden is in full bloom. It may be that my wonderful hubby took me for dinner to one of Pretoria's wonderful fine dining restaurants and we had one of our best nights out in a long time (to be honest, we have not had many in the last year to start with).

It may be another stunning addition to my Jenna Clifford collection but I think that's not that either. It's the love, the calm, the wonder of family. The wonder to love your hubby fully and be loved in return. The wonder of acceptance of where we are and striving forward.I want to keep this close to my heart and feel it every day.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Just breathe.....

After the craziest of weeks - 2 merit award functions, one Judo grading, one Judo parent showcase, one music exam , one music merit award function and one evening Christmas market (not to mention lots to do at work) - from Saturday morning on we had nothing to do.  Honestly, nothing that HAD to be done, we had to attend, we had to rush to. Just that thought already did heaps to help me de-stress - take the load off of a very tough year. It was fantastic!

In the end, we had a quiet but productive weekend - also one where we relaxed and just let our hair down a bit. I went to the Design Team sale and treated myself to (more than I should have) Olka Polka clothing at wonderful prices. I also bought two beautiful cushions for the big couch and the kids all just one Silly Billy item as at the last sale I only bought them stuff. I was in  there at 8 and out by 8:30 and home just around 9. We also had a nice visit with my mom and A and I tackled her toys and sorted out, threw out and made a box for donating. I could not believe that those overfilled shelves (I forgot to take a before picture), had space left in almost every basket or container. Also amazing at how she re discovered some toys and played with them for the rest of the weekend.

On Sunday night we put up the Christmas tree - for the first time ever we had a happy cheerful no fights event with Lady Antebellum singing Christmas songs in the background.

This year, to save my sanity, I did not make the traditional Advent calender we use - in stead, I bought the Lego City one and the kids are sharing it. They take turns to open a window and build the item behind it. Together they are constructing the whole scene.

 And with that, I hope that your life is slowing down a bit. I am certainly enjoying the easier pace. Or are you still firing at all cylinders?

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Oh to travel..... in time.

In an attempt to introduce the kids to something more than Frozen we are delving into the family movies of the 80's. ET was well received so we moved on the the Back to the Future movies. My do the kids enjoy these.

Tuesday afternoon on our way to swimming A suddenly pipes up with "Mom, if you could do time travel, where would you most like to go to?" I asked for a bit of time to think and she immediately asked "Do you know where I would like to go?". I had a ready answer for that one - Egypt at the time of Cleopatrs. She has long had a fascination with both Cleopatra and Egyptology. "No! she said. I would like to go back to the Renaissance and model for Leonardo da Vinci" It turns out she actually would like to be Mona Lisa!

So I asked C and L where they would like to go to. C went between the time of the Incas, seeing the first plane fly and riding with the cowboys when the West was won. He at last settled on the tiem of the Dinosaurs - he would love to know if what we think we know about them is actually true.

L had no hesitation - he would have liked to be Jesus' friend. I love that. And I love the little debates this all stirred up.

I have to add that a lot of this is possibly due to a new book I saw in CNA and immediately bought. It is wonderful encyclopedia type history book that shows every timeframe briefly up until 2012. It even features the Royal weddings of that year.
 This book has had the kids totally fascinated, entranced and has caused more than its good share of fights as to whom has the right to mainly read in it every day. It also means that I had to brush up a bit on my history and art history - both subjects I have always loved.

Btw - I chose to go to the time just before the turn of the century in Paris - the time of the Impressionists and Post Impressionists. I would love to meet Renoir, Toulouse-Loutrec, Gauguin, Manet and mostly Vincent van Gogh. Below is Starry Night - my favorite painting of all time. And who remembers the Don Maclean song?

So - I would love to know to which time you would like to travel and who you would like to meet. And your kids? Are they old enough to give it a go? Come on- ask them.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Scenes from a weekend.

I actually with joy realized today that a lot of the items on that list of events are over and done with.  Last night I pulled out my paint, brushes and a canvas and felt the happy of creating. Is there anyone else that read here that instantly feel the happy when they create?

This weekend we had a fun end of year function for the stables. It was filled with cocktails, a photobooth, nice company and general relaxation. On Sunday we had a hike up the koppie - something we try to do often but would like to do more. It was raining for most of the day but by the time we got to it the weather wonderfully cleared. It was a great hike - the word smelled fresh and lovely and at places like below you do not hear the city at all.
Of course the rain resulted in a bit of a muddy walk much enjoyed by the kids in their gumboots. Puddles were splashed , fun was had.
Saturday was a busy day for me and the boys - we attended two parties while A spent some time with H and her BFF. Both parties involved pools and water slides - in the heat it was a lot of fun and they thoroughly enjoyed it.
The mom at the afternoon's army party had a sweetie buffet for the parents (above). The kids were all on a kiddies table.

Cooldrink for the army boys - loved this
 And look at that platter for the parents! Filled with the type of eats I adore.
 At the first party the mom had treats fro the parents too - in bottles as above filled with Quality street, biltong and dried wors.
And you have to love the Ninja Turtle above - cute?
And just because I love this picture - water balloons from the afternoon's party.

So, was your weekend as colourful as ours?

Thursday, 20 November 2014

On friendship and more


 It's been a week and a half now of rain, on and off, sunny and cloudy skies, wind, thunder and even some hail. We also had an unexpected cool day or two. As if we haven't had enough dealings with insurance this year (one windscreen claim and one stolen camera claim expertly handled by Santam and one cellphone claim to MTN directly - I am yet to receive feedback) the lightening struck our house on Saturday morning. Thanks goodness we weren't there - apparently it is quite scary and the neighbor told us there were flames dancing on the electrical fence with the gate opening and closing all the time. Turns out both the fence and the gate is fine but our garage motor is totally burned out and the alarm system is as confused as a chameleon on a Smarties pack. ABSA home insurance has been phenomenal and if all goes well everything will be replaced and fixed by tomorrow afternoon. I have had enough of insurance and I am sure the insurers of me too. And the schleb and time it takes and....
Some of you may recall that one of my two BFF and old horse riding partner N has been living in Canada for the last 9 and a bit years. We have only seen them twice since - they waited 4 years to come out the first time and then were here for her MIL 80 th birthday the year before last. Well her MIL fell sick and they came here in haste to organize care for her. It's been a bit of a nightmare for them of course, finding and assisted living facility, organizing to move her things, getting records of her health, etc etc. But last night they managed to pop over for a quick dinner and visit. My was it good to see them. We laughed , had some great red wine and talked and could have gone on for hours and hours. But they have a move to attend to today and the friends they are staying with has early bedtimes so it was shorter than we wished for , but it was there. The kids had a little visit before they went to bed and now have some memory of who they are. I am always amazed at how great these two people that chose not to have kids converse with children. They had such great talks with all 3 - almost talking to them as little adults but about topics the kids can talk about. We were all amazed at the plastic Canadian money- very odd feeling (the notes are not paper but plastic with see through bits)
 We are well into the last bit of the year - next week is going to be extremely challenging, but as more and more things come to an end I feel better and better about things we have achieved this year. Amongst them is the above bit of sculpting work by our Mr C - his very first try and I am over the moon. For 7 years of age I think it's stunning.

So anybody else had weather damage? And how was your insurance year? And how is the rest panning out for your family?

Friday, 14 November 2014

I should have known...

That there is just no way that I can do a one a day blog challenge post in the busiest month of the year. So without even thinking or bashing myself about this, I am moving on - moving on towards a "Currently I am" post like a few other bloggers did. In a time of overwhelm its an easy way to say a bit of the very much milling in our minds.

Listening to Classic FM. Mostly. I find in times of great business the classical music calms my mind. I have also fallen in love with You Tube music mixes - that top button on the right hand if you search any artist. The last few days saw Mozart, Pachabel and Bach and in various other styles Diana Krall, Harry Connick Jr and Leonard Cohen . Works well when I work.

Reading . I have just finished "The lost girls of Rome" by  Donato Carrisi last night - a chilling hair raising thriller/who dunnit that I do not think I will ever forget. I have just started with "Goeiemore Mnr Mandela" and am looking forward to reading it.
The Lost Girls of Rome

Thinking about what will be my first small little foray into painting after many many years. I have to get the me inside out again - my plan was to start painting again this year - it took me nearly 11 months but I am ready.

Looking forward to sing at two Christmas services with our praise and worship team over the next two Sundays. I have never realised how much I missed singing and singing to praise God until I started again. In this year of turmoil it has been a huge blessing to me.

Anticipating the December holidays, spending time with the in laws and just breaking the routine. Seeing the kids playing with abandon in the sea and the pool. Just summer and Christmas in true South African style.

Planning to get through the next two weeks that will involve - 1 Judo grading, 1 Judo parent showcase, 2 school price givings, 1 recorder exam, 1 music centre price giving, 1 ballet exam showcase, 1 stables price giving, 1 grade 0 farewell, 1 ballet end of year, 1 teacher baby shower and I am sure more to follow.

Wearing soft pants of all sorts with Tshirt type tops. I am tired - and comfort works right now. Especially loving my new Big Blue Shwe shwe print pants.

Drinking way too much coffee and Roses lime cordial with soda.

Thankful that our kids really tried so hard this year. They gave their all.

Wishing and praying that L could have started at his new school next year but positively planning to start where he is now and make the best of it. Also wishing and praying for a place very early next year in what will be his new school.

Not looking forward to getting the logistic in place for next year - stationery, school clothes, bags , labels etc.

Dreaming about care free days , sunshine and sea

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Things we talk about

Hunter and I have always tried to do our best to raise children with a good general knowledge. When we do not know the answer to a question we will find out and find the answer. In fact, we are teaching them to slowly and in a very basic form find out the answers for themselves. Be it in books or into the big pool in cyberspace. So the type of things that get discussed around the breakfast table may be coloured just a little by this.

Sunday morning A kicked off the discussion with "Dad, was Einstein really the most intelligent person that ever lived?" He immediately answered suggesting other possibilities and that it is truly impossible to define or label someone as most intelligent. Some of the examples the two of us fielded were: Dr Chris Barnard(heart transplant pioneer), President Paul Kruger (ever heard the story of the division of a farm between two brothers?), King Solomon of the Bible (and the story of the two woman and one baby), Dr Ian Player (conservationist who we all had the honour to meet) and Leonardo da Vinci were all mentioned. Also the fact that there are different types of intelligence. I also had to mention Marie Curie as it was her birthday on Friday. I highlighted for the sake of simplicity her role in developing medicine to fight cancer and that she was the first woman to win the Nobel prize.

And so the discussions ranged on - we touched on where chocolate came from - and the mention of the Aztecs and Mayans moved on to pyramids and then Africa and where the queen of Sheba came from. And possible places where Kind Solomon's treasures may be hidden here in Africa. And so on and so on.

Gosh, they do challenge our general knowledge at times but I do believe somewhere it will pay off - at least they think further than what they learn in school. I hope that we can continue with enriching their knowledge every day - they are certainly helping us to enrich ours.

What I do find challenging however is current affairs. I try to shield them against the harshness of the world we live in  I do realize however that this will have to change soon. As they grow older the discussions in class and amongst them grow. The grade 3 girls for instance had wide opinions on the Oscar Pistorius trial.

BTW - I use a wonderful mommy blogger and home schooler in Cape Town Se7en's blog every month to find themes to discuss in the car.She does a lovely monthly blogpost with the main calender happenings in history on her blog - here's Novembers'. I do not discuss every topic - I keep to the main or big things. This morning we discussed the Great wall of china as it was opened to tourists yesterday in history. I may not always be exactly on the day, but use it as a general guide. BTW I am trying to find a list of dates for South African history , art etc. Anyone know of one? And do you actively promote general knowledge at home?

On to #blogvember:
11. Favorite spot in your city:

For this I felt it could not be a restaurant or shop, it must be a place to visit. Two spots very quickly came to mind - hiking up the koppie at the Faerie Glen reserve and taking the kid's bikes to Rietondale park. Both are lovely family outings and both can be done with the dogs if we want to.

There is a small entrance fee at Faerie Glen reserve and as some game has been released there this year dogs have to be on a leash. The kids love to feel the accomplishment of walking to the top of the koppie and taking in the view.

There is no entrance fee at Rietondale park and dogs must preferably be on leash.  Near the tennis court is a lovely play equipment park and some tracks for cycling but the real gem is to the west where there is a wide open park with benches and a long cycling/walking track/

Monday, 10 November 2014

Vintage - and more.

We had a lovely weekend apart from the frustrations with the stolen phone and all that hangs around that. I need to seriously do some catching up on Blogvemeber - so here goes:

 8. Favorite Restaurant - For years we frequented a little Italian place called Tutti Pasta and honestly the last few years with the kids we have fallen into the abyss of Spur. But I blogged about our foray into good cuisine with kids last week so we will do more of that - so my current favorite will have to be Mesa Portuguesa.

9.Take a photo - Vintage. Table center piece of a family wedding we attended a few weeks ago - Vintage themed.

10.Dream date?  At this stage any date with my Hunter would be great - we are low on time and babysitters. But dream, way out of anything realistic? A dawn hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara during migration with bubbly to add and a 5 star breakfast in the bush follow. We are both nature lovers and seeing the migration is a bucket list item for me. This would be both exciting and very romantic.
Photo credit

Friday, 7 November 2014

This that and Blogvember

I am so very angry this morning. I was deliberately distracted in Spar yesterday afternoon, the flap of my handbag lifted and my phone stolen. Within minutes it was de activated and find my iPhone could not trace it from my iPad. Now the mess to get this sorted - and it's a company phone so the paperwork etc is doubled. And I am going to a funeral this afternoon. This might just take away the one Saturday morning I booked out for myself this year. Bummer....

So today we are going to say goodbye to our great friend's mom - the type of friends that are family . Family you chose to have. But we lost her about 3 years ago already. She was an exceptional lady - she could translate 7 languages and speak them all. Back in her best days she was extremely knowledgeable in a almost anything - history, current news, philosophy, music, art and architecture. She was a fantastic person to converse with. As students and even later as we entered the job market we spent many many evenings at their home, talking about anything and everything around a glass of Belgium beer or good wine, eating wittlof and fritte, waffles and even rabbit. Around 15 years ago she started to slip, slowly into the mist of what is early onset Alzheimers. Around 2 years ago even her long term memory slipped away and she was lost into her own mind of muddled thoughts. The last 6 months she has been house bound. I guess in a sense it is a relief to all - but this does not lessen the loss and sadness for a life that was a great one, although way too soon lost to us. I feel sad for them, we will hold the good memories.

Onto Blogvember - today is about the series you watch.  I am really a bad TV watcher - and more often than not will sit and read. But I do enjoy Masterchef in all it's forms and at the momebt MasterchefSA is followed by Baaimaster on etv so that makes a nice Thursday night's viewing. I used to watch all the CSI series and the Mentalist but now it's sort of hit and run - when I happen to sit down and they are on I may watch, or not.