Friday, 31 July 2009

Friday photo finish fiesta - unpublished holiday pictures

The best day to visit Carrie is on Friday!

I did not take any photographs this week - I know, Ms-always -has- a -camera- in hand! Looking for something for today's post reminds me that I never actually showed you much from our last summer holiday, which was off course in December, us being in the Southern Hemisphere.
So, some pics of the kids on the farm - and gosh, has the boys grown in the last 6 months (not to speak of their hair)

I am also honoured to be guest posting at the charming Debi's today - so hop over and have a read about Global friendships.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

So what's happening?

Gosh, a lot is happening around here! You might have noticed that I have been a bit quiet. So let's get started:

Firstly, I can not believe The Boys turned 22 months on Saturday! Gosh, they are really not my babies any more. Have to start thinking about a birthday party.

Little man L:
He is now consistently sleeping through after the sleep training. The last 3 nights we are having issues with falling asleep. He wants cars (about 6!), his crutches(ok - I will explain that one in another post) and his blanky and half snipped dummy (we are snipping bits of blaming it on the mouse). Then he still cries and eventually with some coaxing he falls asleep. He is now remarkably smaller than his brother and it seems like the difference is growing all the time. His allergies are under control at present and he will see the ENT specialist as well as the Allergy specialist next month.

His speech explosion has thankfully also started and progressing just when we thought we had trouble. He does not talk a lot but have made 4 word sentences on occasions. He has thrown his first tantrum last week and is doing it regularly! Gosh, we have our work cut out on this one, but it is not as bad as The Little Miss was. And he is still our little daredevil and has a total telephone obsession.

Little man C:
He visited the Allergy clinic last week and was such a brave boy! He tested positive for only one allergy - cats! His poor cat-besotted sister will have to live without one. And it is on a huge level! Hunter's office has a cat at the office which is probably the culprit. We are in trouble with visiting the grandparents though - they have dear Hobbes in the house.

He has been on a speech explosion for the last two months and is literally learning a word (or more) a day. He is regularly stringing two or 3 words together. He also had his first tantrum about a month ago but seem to be low on the tantrum radar. I think we have the first back molars coming soon. He is also great with sharing and taking care of his more emotional brother. But he is unsure in situations that he deems unsafe.

The Little Miss:
My little happiness is still doing so well - her maths at school is progressing so well and I am just in awe about what she learns every day. Yesterday I was show how our taste buds work! We have to make some decisions about her schooling and have to debate and investigate a lot in the next few months.

And I cut her hair (with her consent) to shoulder length. We are all just so tired of the knots and tears at hair wash and brushing time. She is loving it - I am loving it! And she looks so cute.

He has taken up more subjects for his studies this semester. It will test us all, on different levels, I'm sure. But I am so happy is is progressing with this.He is currently on a hunting trip for the week and I am sure he is having a great time.

I am so stressed with work issues and to top it all we have a pending court case for fees against an ex client and I am the main witness. This is a new world for me and have completely got me over the top today - I am shaking, I just want to cry and yes, I am just way over any level that is fine. I am so not fine. But I will be once we are in court and I will fight for our rights.

I am also not doing so well with the gym as I hoped and only went once last week -just due to being so busy that I found no time to go! This week has been a loss as well, but I will go today.

Hope all is well in your part of the world - regular posting to stat again soon!

Sunday, 26 July 2009

You know you're in Africa when....part 5


Off course it would be unfair just to show you the nice and beautiful things about where I live. The poverty is huge and people make a life for themselves with whatever they can. These guys make a living by recycling paper - they go through dustbins and collect all the paper and cardboard which they transport on carts - either bought, sponsored by the paper companies, or made by themselves. Some also collect plastic, cans and glass. And don't be mistaken - some responsible people (like us and my office) do our own recycling. There is just so many who doesn't that at least these poor people can scrape by a living.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Saturday snapshots


So how has your Saturday been so far? Head over to Cheryl's and share yours.

I made crumpets (pancakes) for breakfast as I do many Saturdays or Sundays but Hunter bought a container of Nutella yesterday, a rare and expensive treat around here. It was The Boy's first taste of it and our first try on crumpets - and a new family treat was born.

Friday, 24 July 2009

You know you're in Africa when....part 4

You see these flowering everywhere this time of the year ( winter). These are all Aloes and indigenous to South Africa. Their leaves have many medicinal proposes ( Aloe Vera is well known for skin and digestive system healing) but the beauty of them especially in nature in the dry Karoo is stunning.

For some more great photo moments, pop over to Carrie's on a Friday and play along.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The thing about sleep....

I mentioned to Hunter last night that I am under no illusion that we have won the war, but I think we have certainly canned the battle. Yes, we have been sleep training. And yes, it seems, for the moment to be working. It has been tough, it has been tiring, but I know it will be worth it.

I am sticking my head out here and admitting that yes, I am a Baby wise mom - I know it is controversial, but it works. I truly believe that all children are capable to sleep through the night from an early age. I did however combine the principles of Babysense which I found very useful as a guideline to create the correct sensory environment. Currently I am using Toddlersense as a guide - both of these are South African in origin but available on Amazon and I can really recommend both. I also believe that some children are naturally good sleepers and some not. Some will consistently sleep through the night and some you'll have to teach.

When I was pregnant with The Little Miss a colleague told me about Baby wise - his baby was 5 months old and they were sleeping through consistently. I knew that I could handle most of what a baby will bring as long as I can have a decent night's sleep - so we decided to use Baby wise. I copied my tables, prepared myself to do it from day 1 and decided to let baby sleep in her own room right from the start - we made sure we had an Angelcare monitor to be safe.

The very first night of The Little Miss' life, the staff at the hospital woke her up after 3 hours - she refused to wake up enough to drink. It was terrible. Breastfeeding not well establised, baby not awake enough resulted in much abused nipples. The following morning the Pedi was furious with the staff - she was 3,45 kg (7,6 pounds) baby - big enough to do a 5 hour stretch. But she developed extreme jaundice and day 4 and 5 of her life was spent in hospital after my release ( I boarded in with her) and the struggle with a lethargic baby and feeding was frightening and very stressful. But once back home, we settled into the Baby wise routine - 3 hour feedings (but altered if required between 2 and a half and 3 and a half) and a pattern of sleep, feed and play. I Also made sure that she had a full feeding every time, keeping her awake with a wet facecloth if needed. So, from night one at home (5 days old), she had her last feed at 10 pm( which I woke her up for) and I set my alarm clock for 3 am and had a good sleep. Often I had to wake her up at 3 am, and at 6 weeks I could not wake her up any more - she slept on until 4, later stretching to 5 and by 12 weeks she had a solid sleep, almost all nights between 10 pm and 6 am. She dropped the 10 pm feed at about 15 weeks when I could not wake her up any more.

Apart from teething and when she was sick, she has consistently slept through up to today. There might be the odd occasion when she wakes up at night and yes, she did her fair share of pajama drill when The Boys were tiny, but she remains a champion sleeper. We dealt very easily and effectively with night terrors ( lasted about 3 weeks) with the help of a homeopathic remedy. In terms of sleep - she was a breeze. And up to today, she prefers sleeping in her own bed. Off course, the fact that she is one of the healthiest kids I know of, certainly helps.Now I know she is just naturally a good sleeper.

I was therefore so certain that we had this sleep thing all sorted out and that with my next baby I will follow the same pattern. Even when we found out it was twins the small chapter about twins in Baby wise assured me we will be ok. And lo and behold, we were. Although smaller and feeding every 3 hours around the clock for the first 8 weeks of their lives, Little Man L slept his first night through at 10 weeks and Little man C joined him a week later. They did exactly what the book said. Until they got sick and then landed in hospital at 6 months and just stopped sleeping! It took us a couple of weeks, but we fell back into routine. Through the months, we often had long periods of good sleep, but now and again the problems popped up. They are just not naturally good sleepers like their sister. But Little Man C seem to have settled into a good zone and he is consistently a good sleeper - if he wakes up a pat or two and a loving word will put him back to slumber land. The last two months has been very hard - Little man L definitely lost his sleep pattern and us taking him into bed with us when he was sick (constantly for 2 months) without a doubt did not help. So we decided to start with sleep training and after studying my favorite books decided on a method mentioned in Toddler sense. (We did try the cry -out method but I does not work for us - Little Man C got so disturbed it was terrible).

So I started last Monday night by standing next to him and patting him when crying, but NOT picking up and definitely NOT taking him to be with me. Monday night was tiring, I slept very little. He woke up at 11:30 and I patted again and moved about a meter away from the cot, where I curled up under a blanket on the floor. Took me 2 hours, but eventually he was asleep again and I move back to bed. We repeated this at 3 am. Tuesday night he woke up at 1am and I moved away further from the cot, but still in his line of vision. Took almost 2 and a half hours, but he did fall asleep in his own bed and did not wake up again. Wednesday night it was 3 am and I moved away further from his cot. Thursday night he woke up at 4 am and only fell asleep again by 5 am but I got into the bed their room outside his line of vision but where he can hear me. By this time I was exhausted and constantly cold - remember it is mid Winter here and our homes are not heated (although The Boy's room is slightly). The turning point came on Thursday night and he only woke up at 5 am on Friday morning and I stayed in the doorway if their room until be fell asleep at 6 am again. Saturday morning he slept through and woke up at 6 pm and as a reward he got to play in our bed. Saturday night was another winner and he only woke up at 6:40 am.

Off course, just as you thought you have it in the can, you get Sunday night, which was a terror with him waking up his brother and me spending half the night talking to him from the bed in their room. But Monday night he fell right back to sleeping through as well as Tuesday night. Last night I feel made the big breakthrough - he woke up at 3 am and I just gave him a pat and a word (like I do with his bro), and he went right back to sleep. So, for now, I think we won the battle. Off course, he might proof me wrong tonight, but I will just continue with the training because it seem to work, it is a kind and gentle method and I feel comfortable that I am not scarring my kid for life. And although it might get tiring at times - the end result will be great, I know. Because although only 2 of my kids are naturally good sleepers, I WILL learn the other one to be too.

Goodnight - sleep tight my dears. I hope I will.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Way back and wordful Whensday - thinking back to 2007

Playing along on a Wednesday (as per usual) with Cheryl at Twinfatuation and Angie at 7 Clown Circus:

Following on my great pictures yesterday, I remembered that the second outing we ever took the twins on was to the same nursery where we were on Sunday.

Timeline: 14 October 2007
The Little Miss' age: 2 years and 9 months.
The Boys' age: 19 days.

Taking our first outdoor nap in the Maclaren - Little man C on the left, Little man L on the right.

The little Miss having a dinosaur ride. On Sunday she chose a ball out of the vending machine (that produced a cute little necklace as can seen on yesterday's photos) to this same ride or a pony ride. Obviously priorities change.

Enjoying a laugh with Daddy. Hunter is wearing his Springbok rugby jersey, so obviously there was an international match that day. With the tri-nations rugby ( between us, the Kiwis (New Zealand) and the Wallabies (Australia) having started last Saturday with a match between the other two teams, we'll see a lot more of this same jersey!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Jingle Jangle fun

We took granny on an outing on Sunday morning to Jingle Jangle, another great tea garden and small nursery near her home. It is the first time that the twins are really into playing on their own and we had a table right next to the one set of toys on a sandpit. Mommy had an undisturbed latte and chocolate cake.

So, presenting my beautiful kids (in birth order):

And wow, actually caught them together sitting still in one place for like 1 minute (with the zoom lens)

And for those who does not know - the way that Little man L sits here (like a frog) is a sign of low muscle tone. He can sit like that for hours.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Makes my Monday - playing with simple things

Playing along with Cheryl - what a great way to start the week.

Making my Monday today is to see with how many simple (and non expensive) things my kids kept busy with over the weekend.

Playing with the box of our new microwave (my old one died a sudden death on Thursday night)

Watching Baby Einstein - I swear for the amount of viewing it has taken in its 4 years lifetime up to now, worth every cent.

Baking, decorating and eating cupcakes.

Playing with cheap cardboard masks Granny bought.
Off course, the obligatory kitten.

Our Monkey loved his Monkey mask.

The little bear - not so much - I should have known.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

You know you're in Africa when....part 3

This is called a robot and not a traffic light. No seriously, that is what they are called over here. It is one of the little South African terms that everybody from overseas always laugh about.

Did you notice the cross with the red roses next to the tree? Another tradition here - I am not sure if it is done anywhere else. People erect crosses where their loved ones were killed in car accidents. Also, victims of our ridiculously high crime rate gets remembered in roadside memorials. This one is for a young man named Sebastian and for the almost 2 years that it has been standing there, it always has fresh red roses in a pot next to it.

To answer Debi's question at the last post - her outfit is her own combination of department store garments - no trade name this time. I tell you, fashion designer (although towards the more colorful and eccentric part) in the making

Friday, 17 July 2009

Friday photo finish fiesta - Safari nursery.

I am so delighted that it is Friday today! The week has really been long and exhausting and I am really missing my MIL's help. But today I am featuring another event during their visit - we went to our local nursery and had a great time - Gran loves the place and so does the kids. Hope you enjoy the picture overload - and please head over to Carries's and join the fun.

Lovely winter poppies.

Oh my heart!

African style entrance feature.

African style water feature.

And another one.

Playing in her own world.

Riding Noddy the pony.

Walking with Granny across the hangbridge.

Riding the nursery train.

Playing in the sandpit.