Saturday 28 February 2009

Basket full of joy

So how do you keep 3 kids between 4 and 17 months busy for 1 and a half hours? Magic I hear you say? No, a huge basket full of Mega Bloks.
Filled to the brim
Digging for what you need.
Brotherly companionship.

Great fun.
The Little Miss got the basic bag of Mega Bloks from my MIL and FIL for her first Christmas. It was the only toy she played with for an entire holiday. Subsequently she received a ton of Mega Bloks toys for her birthday and the next Christmas and birthday as seriously, it was almost the only toys that she played with for longer than a few minutes. The regular readers will know that she has now progressed to the Duplo sized blocks and loves is. A budding architect perhaps?But she will still join in with her brothers or friends with the Mega Bloks.
In the basket (apart from the basic block bag) we have:The musical farm, a Winnie the pooh 4 seasons set, The Little Mermaid set, The Cinderella carriage set, Cinderella castle set,The alphabet train and several loose cars, animals etc. (where the original item we have is not available any more, I have linked to similar) All the Little Miss'. For Christmas The Boys got the Buildable City and the megablocks train and tracks. All together and in one basket- hours of fun. And a lovely toy to get out when friends come around as there is always enough to go around. Off course, the lounge is covered in blocks afterwards and a lot of "let's tidy up" gets sung while I attempt to get the kids to help with the process.
The single most played with item at present (and most fought after) - the musical farm - I swear it is the most played toy in our house. Excellent value for money if you ask me.

Friday 27 February 2009

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta

For background info, read this post.
Meet Walter at the left (named after another father of modern architecture, Walter Gropius - yes go Wiki that as well), Corbi's new friend and our office colleague. And gosh yes, irritating bird has now learnt to feed itself and is currently at home - not at my office door. Thank God for small wonders!

For some more foto moments head over to Carrie's every Friday.

Thursday 26 February 2009

Weekend report

I can hear somebody wispering, what about your weekend targets.
Well, it was busy, but let's see how we did:

1. Do something for my hubby
When you do fieldguiding in big five counrty, you need to do a rifle test once a year. He had his on Saturday with his fellow nature lovers at Wilderness Leadership School. It meant a whole day for me alone with the kiddos, but it is necessary and he had great fun.

2. Something for each of the kids
Following my little idea book we made a obstacle course in the house. Over a pile of cushions, under the coffee table, over the ottoman. It was great fun for all 3 of them. The biggest fun followed afterwards when the pile of cushions became a playpad. Gosh, they had fun!

3. Something for the puppies
My poor doggies, the best we could do was a walk to the park, but they still had fun. A long game of catch took place in the park.

4. Something for someone outside of my direct family that shares my home
We really spent a lot of time with my mom as we did not even see her last weekend. Me and the kids had a short visit with her on Saturday and we took all we needed (meat, salads and desert) and had a braai at her house on Sunday. She loved it.

5. Something for the house
I tidied the DVD and CD drawers - gosh, this gets into a huge mess every now and again.


A whole drawer of kiddy DVDs

Not even half a drawer of adult stuff

The CD collection all neat & tidy
6. And something for myself.
Predictably as most of you that are mums know, I slipped up on this one. I did have a nap on Sunday afternoon for about 45 minutes - guess that counts.

So what did you do this weekend, and most importantly, for yourself?

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Way back WHEN sday and Wordful Wednesday

Following on Monday's photo of The Boys learning words, I dug out my old photos and started looking for The Little Miss learning from the same book. She had the astounding vocabulary of more than 50 words at 18 months, was busy making little sentences and was fully bilingual by 28 months. I have no such hope for my boys but they are learning fast. (Edited to add - most South Africans are at least bilingual as adults)

Timeline: End of August 2006
Place: Vergelegen near Lydenburg in the Mpumalanga province.
Age: 19 months
We had a great weekend with 2 of my cousins and aunt at this stunningly beautiful place. Here she and granny are busy learning new pets.
For some more blasts from the past, head over to Cheryl's and play along and if like me, and Angie at 7 Clown circus's Wordful Wednesday you have to "talk" about your photographs, head over there to have a look as well.

Tuesday 24 February 2009

I heart faces

I heard about this contest from my friend Fizzy at Heaven's gift - and why not join in! There are heaps of professional photographers and some mommies just like me, and what the hec, it is fun! The theme this week is Black and white and I am entering this one of my charming Little Man C - oh those eyes

So head over to I heart faces if you want to play along too.

Two for Twosday

We had a lovely birthday party at my cousin Ananda's house on Saturday night. The Little Miss and cousin Jana had a ball with cousin Karla's dance and ballet costumes.

Pop over to Deanna's where she hosts this lovely Tuesday event for some more happy two-somes.

Monday 23 February 2009

Showing your real feelings

Little man L is doing well with his glasses - takes a bit of time in the mornings to be comfy and then happily wears it , but by 6:00 in the evenings he's had it - he wants it of!

Show mommy the kitty cat!

And in general our downstairs toilet looks like this - safely closed.

But this is what I found yesterday evening - he's had it!

Sunday 22 February 2009

Baby picture Sunday

Although I have already published this photo on my blog, I just have to play along with Debi for Baby Picture Sunday.

This is me and my mom on my official one year photographs (1969). The only resemblance I can see to any of my kids is along the eyes with my little Princess. And the curly hair - her and little man L. Are those really my kids? Oh and my mom was so pretty, don't you think?

Saturday 21 February 2009

RIP Frankie

We had a death in the office family this morning. Trusty Frankie, named after the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright, passed away this morning early. The funeral was a solemn but brief affair in the ladies bathroom. He leaves his trusty friend Corbi (named after another architectural great Le Corbusier) behind and a office full of friends. (yes, go Wiki those names and learn something)

Corbi in orange, Frankie in black.

Did I mention before that we have a relatively pet friendly office policy? Baby puppy M spent about her first week in the office, so has several other varied types of puppies and kittens. Also 2 corn snakes (only one day - I almost died and refused outright to come to work if they came again), 3 parrots (as babies) and now, a budgie - which is driving me bonkers! It is my secretary's baby bird that she is hand rearing but the freaking thing sounds like a slipping fan-belt as it screams my ears off at feeding time.

Gosh, I hope it grows big enough soon to retire to it's own home. Have to go now - to buy a new fish and find some peace and quiet.

Oh yes, and I will schedule this to post tomorrow - Blogger lost my long answer post I wrote last night which was meant for Saturday. Bugger!

Friday 20 February 2009

I am so excited! Wenda was here!

Check out comments on my last few posts - and dont forget to leave yours!

Great sisters!

As some of you might know, I am a avid, no maniacal (is there even such a word) reader. And amongst the books off course, I also read blogs. I only read two other South African girl's blogs every day - sisters Tertia and Mel. Now Tertia is a blog celebrity, here and off course, world wide and known for her straight forward and open way with words. She wrote a brilliant book (which I read to give me insight to support my SIL who was struggling with infertility while I was pregnant with the twins) and off course, also because Tertia has a set of twins as well. At last this great read "So close" is available on Amazon. Go now, order, buy and read - it is a great read. And this was the first installment of Cat's bookclub. Maybe this can become a regular feature.

Now Mel needs you urgent help - she runs a great charity called Bossum Buddies and she needs slightly used clothes, blankies and more - go have a read and maybe you can help. Posting is soon, so I do not know if you will make this one. Also remember your dollars goes 10 times further here than in America - please donate if you can. She has shipments coming form time to time so you can also collect and keep for the next shipment. Bossum buddies visit the poorest woman in South Africa's state hospitals and give them the basics for mom and baby after the birth, serve them with God' word in the process and also support moms with babies in the NICU.

Phriday Photo Phinish Phiesta

Does this look familiar in some vague far-off kind of way?

A mini version of Anastascia (minus the boobs) was busy singing in the back of the van the other morning on our way to our Sunday hike. Maybe the next hit for Anastascia will be a very hip version of Old Mac Donald!

Pop over to Carrie's for some more gems to lighten the Friday mood

Thursday 19 February 2009

My answers to your questions - part 1

Thanks to all of you that took the time to participate and give me some fab questions. I have roughly divided them into 5 categories:
1. South Africa
2. Blogging
3. Family
4. Twins
5. Personal

So, without further ado, the first two:

1. South Africa

4 Under 4 asked "Where were you Born? and Betty asked "Can I ask why you live in South Africa? Are you and ex-pat or a "native"?'
I am a born and bred South African - apart from my great grandfather on my mom's side who came to South Africa from the Netherlands in 1850, I stem from varied European (and probably African and Khoisan blood - DNA tests confirmed that most European South Africans have some form of mixed blood) descent. I classify myself first of all as being and African - I am connected to the soil of this place, it is in my blood, and then as being Afrikaans. And why do we (still) live here - well, we almost didn't. We almost lived in Calgary, but decided against immigrating for a heap of reasons, one being our parents who all have only one child left in South Africa and are getting older and another being that we enjoy what the African nature experience bring. We have also invested a lot in my business.

Rachael, Kelly and Missy wanted to know " What is your favorite thing about South Africa?What is your least favorite thing about South Africa?"
The least favorite is easy to answer -the crime and violent crime that is ripping through our country. The sole reason why we did consider moving away. We spend a ridiculous amount of money on security every month. My daughter's nursery school has a full-time security guard.
My favorite - gosh, that is difficult! We have apparently the best climate in the world - and it is really mild, pleasant and filled with sunshine (although we like to complain as everybody does). South Africa is a country with ravishing contrasting beauty and you can really experience a world in one country. The people! Friendly faces and smiles - really so different than Europe. And off course, the African bush experience - you have to put that one on your 100 things to do before I die list. Oh yes, and the wine - South African wines are some of the best int he world.
We make certain that we check on the quality in very regular intervals.

Missy also asked: " If I were traveling there - where you recommend I visit?"

You definitely have to start at least with the Kruger National Park - world renowned Big 5 country, but in a Malaria area - the surrounding Mpumalanga area is renowned for it's beauty .

Also worth the visit is The Pilansberg National Park (we go there until the kids are bigger - also big 5) and the Kgaligadi Transfrontier Park in the Semi desert part of the country.

Cape Town is renowned as being one of the 10 most spectacular and happening cities in the world and from there a road trip through the Garden Route up to Port Elizabeth is a stunning adventure. You will see some of the most spectacular and pristine beeches, some of the best surfing spots in the world, indigenous forest and mountains.

Make sure you spend some time at Stormsriver mouth in the Tsitsikamma natonal park - one of my favorite places in the world.

The Drakensberg region (a UNESCO world heritage site) is also well worth the visit for spectacular mountain views.
If you are into more adrenaline type of adventures South Africa offers the highest bungi jump in the world and several other adventures - check out this post. South Africa also offers some of the best hunting int he world - contact me if your hubby is interested, and also nature hiking trails to dream of. My hubby is involved part -time as a field guide in the Pilansberg park and as Professional Hunter in the Eastern Cape (both Malaria free).
Remember your dollars, pounds and Euros will bring you very far - at the exchange rate of roughly R10 to 1 $ it is excellent value for money.

If you want to read more about my personal experiences and view about South Africa, click on the South Africa label of my blog.

2. Blogging:
Christy had some questions about blogging - girl, you sure know how to ask some hard ones!

"what is your biggest gain out of blogging?"
The support one gets from the blogging community. My, I was surprised at the amount of prayers, support and love shown when something goes wrong in your family, a child is sick etc. Also as a release and a type of diary or baby book if you want to call it that.

What do you like about it the most?
I can not wait in the mornings to read the comments - and then, my favorite girl's blogs. I read blogs long before (when I was pregnant with the twins) I started to blog myself.

what inspires you?
Other peoples stories of faith, healing, love and the wonder of how families of all sorts came to be. I always try to find a "a story of us" type of entry on a blog. Also the support of the blogging community - take Tuesday's story as an example.

Nancy brought up the issue: "Oooh...Last I knew, your hubby didn't know about your blog. What do you think his reaction would be if he found out about it, and do you imagine ever telling him? I'm always fascinated by "secret blogs" :)"
Well, he has a hunch - the whole issue around Tuesday brought it out - I couldn't stop crying and we do not lie to each other, so I vaguely told him about our little community. He can guess in one guess what my pseudonym is and google Cat and South Africa and voila! he's here. I have a very understanding and sweet husband - I think he will understand that I need the support I get. It will certainly explain the fanatic photographing although I have always been a keen photographer.

Feel free to ask explanations on the answers etc - I will answer those in the comments. Keep your eyes peeled for the next riveting installment to follow as soon as I can sneak away and answer!

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Weekend report

Well, let's see how this weekend went:

1. Do something for my hubby
He scored a lovely sleep-in on Sunday morning (until 9:30) but in return gave me an afternoon nap!
2. Something for each of the kids
I did not plan any special activities, but I made them crumpets (what you guys call pancakes) for breakfast on Saturday morning - I think Little man C ate about 12 small ones! They all loved it.
3. Something for the puppies and 4. Something for someone outside of my direct family that shares my home
We took our friend Roland and his dogs Lisa and Nero for our favorite Sunday koppie walk - they have never been up there and loved it. The dogs got along well after an initial hitch and this might just become a more regular event. The puppies also got a special Valentines day dinner with yummy food.

5. Something for the house
Not to slip again like last weekend I cleaned my kitchen counter from clutter and tidied and packed The Boys' toys - making them love the same toys once again.

6. And something for myself.
I had a lovely one and a half hour outride on Saturday afternoon - Maluti and I made such a great connection - we had a great ride. I was so stiff on Sunday that climbing the koppie was tough, and with 10kg on your back, gosh! I just kept on telling myself - good load bearing exercise girl!

So what did you do for yourself this weekend?

Way back WHEN sday and Wordful Wednesday

We had a lovely Valentine's day braai with friends Jeanette and Wayne. Their daughter Jeannedre is just 5 months older than the Little Miss and their son Keagan is 6 months older than The Boys. The kids had a ball and kept us so busy that I took NO PHOTOS! Can you believe it. But this got me thinking about where Jeanette and I met. The girls were in the same Moms & Miracles group from about 6 months (for A) until 2 years for Jeannedre.

Timeline: July 2006
Age of The Little Miss - 18 months
The last day of our Moms & Miracle classes

Jeanette and Jeannedre, Me and A (no we did not dress moms and kids alike on purpose)

And above with group leader Cornelia.

The girls had such a great time together that we will certainly do play dates in future.

The two girls in December - just see how much they have changed!

For some more blasts from the past, head over to Cheryl's and play along and if like me, and Angie at 7 Clown circus's Wordful Wednesday you have to "talk" about your photographs, head over there to have a look as well.

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Super Valentines day!

We do not go very big into the whole Valentine's day thing - we never go out to dinner at a restaurant that night, but we do try and do something special and give small gifts.

So this is what we gave the office staff on Friday - a mini chocolate slab and hear sugar candy.

I helped the kiddos to make a Valentines decoration on Friday afternoon as a surprise for daddy.

Thanks for the idea Jen!

We all had special heart chocolates with cream filling from my favorite Woollies after our pancake breakfast.

The Little Miss and I made cookies again and lots of hearts that she decorated and that we took to our friends the evening.

Just tasting that it's all ok!

The evening was spent with friends Jeanette and Wayne and kids with a braai and watching the start of the super 14 rugby season (super dooper romantic, won;t you know)- now imagine your football club playing in a tournament with two other countries that are the other strongest nations in the sport's clubs - South African, Australian and New Zealand clubs battling it out. My hubby's team lost (The Stormers), mine won (The Bulls). And sorry, no pictures - two moms, 5 kids under 5 and 2 rugby addicted dads = madness. But it was fun and a great night out. And the hubby's cooked.

H got for Valentine's:

A handmade card, chocolates and a clean canteen, printed with

We love dad.

And I got:

A lovely card, red Gerberas (Which I love) and my favorite Sally Williams nougat - it is available in the US - you have got to try this!