Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Bats, balls and ballet shoes

Last night as I was staring into the eyes of the most gorgeous little 3 week old boy it hit me once again - we have 3 kids in primary school! Gone are the days of bottles, babies and bums. We are solid in the bats, balls and ballet shoes years. And gosh, I am loving it. I am loving seeing them growing up, developing interests, finding their own ways. More and more independent almost every day.

Sometimes I wonder if maybe I wished those earlier years away. Did I take enough notice of the little things - the small wonders that makes up our daily lives? I love doing Project life as it retains the memories of so many of those daily little things. Years ago I made photo books and paging through them brings a flood of memories. But how often did I live with the "this too shall pass" mantra in my head in stead of living life to the full - watching 3 little lives blossom. Yes, we had few a rough cards dealt to us that sometimes made life a lot harder than your run of the mill family's. But we dealt with them best we could and we were incredibly blessed as a family.

I also realised that I should read more books to them because the days of bedtime reading (and I am willing to admit that sometimes I really did not want to do it - I was tired, hungry, ready for adult time) is almost at an end. Mr L read his first little book this weekend - we now have 3 readers. Maybe reading to them should never stop.

This morning I dropped off the kids like every school morning . Mr L the most independent grade 1 I ever had give me a quick hug and made for the gate running into the school grounds and to his class. I quietly watched him from the pavement to make sure he makes the walkway in front of his class. A typically 10 year old- unhappy with me for some reason I do not even recall - turned her back to me and I had to hug a reluctant shoulder with a backpack as she stomped away all angry. My grade 2 took my hand and asked me to walk to his class with him. Bliss - I obliged because it was such a welcome feel of love after the 10 year old. In front of his class we met his teacher that had a quick chat with me while he ran away happily with a friend after a hug and a kiss. And as we were standing there I got a huge hug from behind and a head that sits above my shoulder these days popped around my side. She kept hugging me until I said goodbye to the teacher - gave me a kiss and a "I love you".

I am so thankful for that little blessing - for her possibly deciding in her walk into school that she was wrong. These are indeed the days of miracles and wonders - the days of bats, balls and ballet shoes. Because yes, this too shall pass. Unfortunately.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Thankgiving Thursday

It's been a while since I counted my blessings - I should do this more regularly. Years ago we had a blog linky where we counted them every Thursday. But this morning a few things happened that's just not how I like to start my day. So I intend on making this a great day by counting my blessings.

1. The boys both brought home report cards yesterday that made my heart fill with joy. If you know the history of Mr L you would know just how much this means to us for him to get such a great report card in a main stream school. C held his usual high level which is great. My heart is just filled to the brim with happy.

2. A had a fabulous first show night for her ballet concert. My mom and two of her friends went to see it and they all 3 raved about how great the whole show was but also how refined her troupes performance is. We are seeing the show tonight and I really can not wait. I love how all that hard work comes together in a beautiful show of dance.

3. No more Saturday ballet until exam time! This ballet every Saturday 8-12 for most of a term is exhausting for all. Yes my friends, that is the level of dedication these girls have (and has had for the last 5 years - this is our 5th concert)

4. The lovely cool and rainy weather - although I am a total summer person I missed these type of days we usually have dotted over the summer months and this year almost totally missed. Yes, technically its autumn but with 30 degrees C weather the last few weeks you can hardly call it autumn.

5. The luxury of being able to get a free Friday afternoon to attend a mother and daughter farewell for a friend of mine and her daughter ( a friend of A) that are leaving for Oz at the end of the month. We are going to miss them so much!

So what are you Thankful of? And who wants to make this a weekly thing once again?

Monday, 16 March 2015

Never a quiet moment.

I kid you not! Sometimes it feels as if there is never a quiet moment in the household. Unless you count the lovely nap/sleep time we had yesterday afternoon and the odd moment now and again. Sometimes its the tv in the background - specifically now with rugby and cricket over weekends, at other times its the general noise of playtime and I guess soon, as it happens more often, it will be the sound of music from their rooms. All this I can deal with with a smile. It's the stuff our lives are made of - interspersed with the odd bark from the puppies. It's part of my happy space at home.

What does get to me however is that it seems as if there is ALWAYS at least 2 people talking at the same time. And by people I refer to little people. Gosh I wish I can get the message over that we need to talk one at a time. I do admit that with Mr L sometimes just impulsively talking and talking it does make it a tad more difficult that in the run of the mill household but he also needs to learn to be quiet at times. We have all had our fill of rugby and cricket and I am totally scared by the thought that the rugby world cup is also this year. And the others that just start to talk over his ramblings need to learn to take their chance. I once again on Saturday explained to them that I simply do not have the ability to listen to two people at the same time - although I have two ears -  I have one brain only.

It's like you live your life on running commentary - I guess I am not the only one that feels that way. Or am I?

Friday, 13 March 2015

Yesterday was a great day - for competition wins.


Yesterday morning I picked up a parcel posted to me by Kim Mari with two of the "Saurus street" books that I won on her blog  My Boys Hood  .I just knew at first sight that the boys would love them. But I will post reviews soon as C is already almost half way into one of them.

Less than an hour later a Mr Price parcel was delivered to our offices. I won a gift voucher on Lindsay's  blog What happened to my body? (one of the Cape Town meetup vouchers) and really did not expect the delivery so soon. It was my first experience with Mr Price's online shop. I let the kids each choose a winter item on Wednesday morning on the iPad and "bag it" - we were ready for school early so we spent the time waiting doing this. I placed the order at the office at 9:23 - and added a tanktini on sale for A at R29,99. I really did not expect it to be delivered, very neatly packaged at 10:25 the very next day - almost to the minute 25 hours! Way to go Mr Price - fantastic service. I will definitely use the site again.

The kids all loved the items they chose and I think it was almost like magic to them for it to arrive so soon and that they loved to do their own online shopping. I had to add a few rands to get a warm something for 3 but still great value for money. Let me show you what they chose:

L's hoodie - he loves hoodies
C's sweater top - it has a C on.
A's denim jacket - stunning and well cut
The R30 tanktini - a great fit and buy



Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Need something to read?

We haven't talked books in a long long time. Almost 6 months! And then Julia mentioned that she can always trust me for a good fiction read and I felt a tad guilty for not providing them.  So I thought that I should do some book reviews and catch up on the great books I have read in the last few months.

I have read two books over the last two months that had children or teens as the main character - both really great reads that show a lot of sensitivity to kids that do not fall into the usual cookie cutter type. I thoroughly enjoyed both and will recommend them if this is the type of book you enjoy - think of "The curious incident in the night time" or "Wonder". I was also deeply touched by both of them.


http://www.amazon.com/What-Milo-Saw-Virginia-Macgregor-ebook/dp/B00GFHG1B4/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425986247&sr=8-1&keywords=what+milo+saw

What Milo saw by  Virginia Macgregor:

I had to swallow very hard not to just cry and cry at the end of this book. Milo Moon has Retinitis Pigmentosa and is slowly loosing his eyesight. He sees the world literally (and figuratively) in a different way. His dad left him and his mom to look after gran. Then his mom moves his gran into a nursing home and together he and his teacup pig Hamlet set out to save Gran from this horrible place. I was deeply touched by this book and it's lovely colourful characters - my favorites being Tripi and Mr Overend but it's very hard to choose in this gallery of wonderful people. Do read!



http://www.amazon.com/Universe-versus-Alex-Woods-ebook/dp/B008RRH63M/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1-catcorr&qid=1425988312

The Universe vs Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

Alex Woods is the only child of a fortune teller and unknown father. Bookish and and easy target for bullies, Alex does not have the easiest of childhoods. At age 10 he is struck by a rare meteorite in his own bathroom, leaving him a minor news celebrity and with a scar and epilepsy to boot. Also resulting in him being more of a misfit than ever before.

Then he meets Mr Peterson, a Vietnam war veteran and an unlikely friend. A wonderful friendship develops that teaches not only Alex but many others close to him what life (and death) is all about. A great great read.

If you loved Jojo Moyes "Me before you" do read this book too - it shares a subject matter handled in a very sensitive way.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Another weekend.

Gosh we had a lovely weekend once again. I think all this grade 4 stuff has left us with a huge sense of appreciation for a weekend without school work.
Fruit alien at the mornings party
The boys and I attended a friends' party the morning - just as the party started winding down the rain started. Then after an hour downtime at home we all attended a friend of A party - her parents invited the whole family and I have to say that we spent a very delightful afternoon with good food and drinks, entertained children and great company for us.
What a cool alien cake
This week is one of the weeks in the year that is traditionally a bit tight for us on time and organization - A has ballet rehearsal every day Monday to Friday from 4 -7 . I am so thankful that we have the au pair as I usually had to either take off early for the week or negotiate with other moms to get her to the studio for 4 days running.Thank goodness too that the test series is behind her and she has term marks for two subject already. The boys are both busy with assessments and I am hoping and praying that it goes well with both of them.

With the Cricket world cup and the Superrugby series Mr L is in sports heaven. His current obsessions are both of them and he is driving some of us (ok maybe all) nuts and it's literally all he is talking about. I guess it's all part and parcel of what makes this very special little boy tick. Other parents with neuro atypical kids may know what I am talking about. Most of his previous obsessions have passed with time but this one unfortunately is very attractive to most adults and you will often  find a parent (specifically the dads) at school or at a party having a long discussion with him about the sport. In fact, a good chunk of his Saturday morning was spent having a conversation in English with the birthday boys' dad about the rugby much to the dads' delight. Most of them will express the wish that their own little boys would be interested as much as he is and be able to talk so well about it. So I guess we need to see what is good in this but encourage him to talk about other things too.

We saw the Spongebob movie on Friday evening - I still love Discovery for the free kids movies up to the 5 o clock show. It literally cost us R35 for a 3 D movie for me and the kids. Although I can really enjoy most kids movies this one was pure and total junk - but the kids did enjoy it. But not as much as Paddington - the last one we saw which in the car after they all agreed was the best movie we have seen in the last year or so. It was also the very first 3D movie L and C saw. Up to now with L's glasses we were warned that a 3D movie will disorientate him with his very specific issues. Now, with the contact lenses he truly enjoyed it. BTW we saw the trailer for the Charlie Brown movie - we can not wait. We all love Peanuts (I even have a Moleskine Peanuts diary this year).

Friday was Mr L's grade 1 swimming gala - a fun event where the kids do the shallow side of the pool in laps for a fund raising event. I was really a bit stressed that with the noise and the people he would not do it but he was full of enthusiasm and energy and did so well. I am really proud of how far this boy has come.

And with that - hope your week is a great one!


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

It was really a good weekend.


Flowers for my mom
I had such a great weekend - and I do think the rest of the family had a good one too. I was really spoiled with time for myself this weekend. On Friday night I went to a Stef Bos concert with 5 other ladies and it was such fun. Three of my favorite cousins went with and it was a night of good music and lots of laughter. I always forget how much I enjoy live music and although not one for big venue concerts the smaller scale ones totally fill my soul with joy.
Great eats by Loft restaurant

On Saturday morning I attended the #mombogmeetup and boy, was it a great event. I am not going to go into the details - so many others have already done that but I enjoyed the diverse and great speakers, good food, lovely venue and it was so very well organised by Laura and Heather. I loved putting some faces to the blogs I read and discovering some totally new blogs and the girls behind them. The goodie bags were excellent - I am not going to go into the details but check out the photos:




















Thanks to all the wonderful sponsors - who you will find at the link above. I will go into some details about one or two in later posts. I have to mention the lovely creative food Margie made right in front of our eyes. It was fun and very yummy.




















I returned home to the boys in the household making bows and arrows. It's the "in thing" in our home right now and as this develops I may give you and insight into it. Suffice to say the rest of the weekend was spent aiming at targets.

On Sunday my mom turned 79 and as she is still not very mobile (knee replacement pending) I went to help early with the many guests that came over. The kids and I made her a secret centre pinata cake which she cut to lots of laughs discovering the inside surprise. It was really tasty - the dark rich cake with the smarties inside. I will definitely make it again.


It was the first weekend in a month that we did not have a lot of grade 4 stuff going - projects, orals, tests etc. Although she does have 3 small tests and a poem to learn for this week we only did about an hour's work for the maths test. It was great having our weekend back!

How was yours?

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Why you need a rescue dog in your life.




This is our Rufus - doing his puppy face as the Princess calls it on Christmas day. His "I am the cutest dog ever face". But there is way way more to this furboy of ours.

Just more than a month short of a year ago we adopted this boy through Labrador and Golden retriever rescue. We knew that our Bongi had a very short time left with us and we did not want Moya left alone and grieving. After viewing a few dogs we almost immediately upon meeting him knew that he was "the one". He and A bonded immediately and do have a very special thing going between them. He adores his human sister but loves that his human brothers play ball with him. Even more now that the ball gets hit with cricket bats and golf clubs and goes really far and high.
Moya and Rufus on Sardinia bay beach

The point is that we decided to adopt a grown rescue dog and not buy a puppy. Whilst the benefits of buying a puppy is plenty it is incredibly rewarding to give a dog a new human family after it has been given up or forsaken by their previous one. It is almost as if they are even more loving, even more attentive. He is a real character and the sweetest pup ever.

The reasons why we adopted a grown dog was mostly selfish - we did not have the energy to bring up a puppy. The sleepless nights, the potty training. In return we got a dog that is fully potty trained, walks well on a leash (although he does pull hard) and is over the excessive chewing phase. He does not dig up the garden, eat the sprinklers or do many of the other Labrador puppy things that makes them equally challenging and delightful to raise. If the rest of the family is out he will make sure that he is a mere 5 steps away from me all the time. If Hunter works downstairs in the evenings he sometimes slips up the stairs to cuddle with me or he slips onto his human sisters bed and falls asleep - sometimes sleeping her half off her bed! Sometimes he checks up on his human brothers and gives them a little wet nosed kiss. It is almost as if he is checking if this is really his family and making sure he stays with us. He has been such a blessing for our family - maybe more so than what we have been to him.

The downside is that socializing him fully is proving a challenge and training him is harder than with a puppy. But we do see improvements all the time. And lets face it - if we had a puppy we would have spent time training and socializing in any event.

So do consider adopting a dog the next time you need a family pet. Most of the breeds have rescue organizations that you can approach and then there is of course always the usual animal charities. You may just be rewarded with the most awesome dog ever!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Do second kids have it easier or harder?

I guess its a bit of both really. I think it can be tough following on an older sibling especially if they are known for something or the other - like the star athlete's little sister that is just expected to win although it might not be her thing at all. It really has to be tough following a top academic achiever if you are just the average Jo Soap. Luckily I think in our family we may just bypass these issue.

However in some cases having older siblings certainly helps - they pave the road, show the courage and in some cases help their younger brothers and sisters. Although I am of the opinion that Mr C taught himself to read in grade R both he and A maintains that she had something to do with it. Whatever the case, last week he showed us not only his own guts, but that having an older sibling certainly helps.

When we get to gym on a Tuesday night the aquarobics class is still in progress in the small learning pool. Typically the boys will wait for the class to finish and the play in the small pool until their lessons and A do a few practice lengths before she plays a bit before her lesson. Last week Mr C tapped me on the arm (as he does) and said, "Do you think I can swim there?" showing the 25 meter pool. I said that he certainly could if he swam but no playing as people were doing their lengths. He got in and started with breaststroke following his sister and before long he was at the other end with a huge grin on his face and a high five from her. He turned around and did another back behind her to get a huge high 5 and congratulations from me. Boy, was I so delighted with this little man. He did another 6 lengths and then went on to his lesson. Following the example. I know a lot of kids his age swim these lengths regularly but for him it was a self motivated first.

BTW it's the second time in so many weeks that he has surprised his mom - at a bootcamp party he was the only boy of his age that managed the balance beam (a round pole) over the river without any help and while being harassed by the bootcamp instructor. He tried 3 times and succeeded on the 3rd try - quite amazing balancing skills. He thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, the mud, the water , the toughness and skills. It seems my quiet little softly spoken soul has a lot more I still need to discover.

Edited to add: Dr Kevin Lehman wrote an excellent book called "The birth order book". Do give it a read.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Currently...

Listening to: Ed Sheeran - actually the whole family has a favorite on his CD.
Reading: I am only a few chapters in but am loving it.
http://www.amazon.com/What-Milo-Saw-Virginia-Macgregor-ebook/dp/B00GFHG1B4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424170647&sr=8-1&keywords=what+milo+saw
 Thinking about: How great it was to have a slower holiday like morning this morning. The kids have the day off school as it is cluster athletics and none of them are in the team so they are having a little mid week break.

Looking forward to: Going to a live shown next Friday in a small theater. I actually always forget how mush I love a show and live music.

Anticipating: Load shedding and making plans around that.

Planning: All that mainly the grade 4 has to do this week and weekend. It's a big leap in terms of projects and tests.

Wearing: Dresses! It's hot and there is nothing as cool as a summer dress. I am working my way through all the dresses I have every week and bought a beautiful addition last week on sale at Poetry.

Drinking: Anything with ice in.....

Eating: Summer fruit salad - it's the time of the year when seasonal fruit salad turns into a feast of note with the addition of mangoes.


Thankful: For my wonderful husband that is just always there for us. Also how he is stepping up to help A handle grade 4. This weekend it's the two of them and a chicken coop.

Wishing and praying: That L will continue to do well at school. Honestly I need all the prayers we can get.

Not looking forward to: Coming home from late extra murals (will be 3 nights from next week) to load shedding. I honestly do not mind the late home or the activities because we chose them all and the kids enjoy them - it's the inconvenience of more time and effort due to the load shedding that gets to me.

Dreaming about: A little camping weekend/holiday on a farm. Just a little break.

I would love to read your "Currently"