Thursday, 21 April 2011

About customer service etc.

So you are about to get one of those bullet point ramblings when I have just too much to say for one well composed, subject related post.
  • I have managed to complete our 2009 photobook in time before we leave for the Qphoto special. We will wait to see how they perform, but with us being away for quite a while there should be no issue. I think I have managed to design a bit better but realized how great those photos a day that I had for the 2010 book enlarge your choice. I should start taking pics every day again.
  • I have had excellent service from Brooklyn Optica. They make Little man L's new glasses every year and comes recommended by his eye specialist. His last pair of Fisher Price glasses are still in great condition after a year's use. His new glasses lost the hinge and broke at the back after 2 days. I could not believe it. I went to them asap and they had a look at the glasses and agreed with me that it was a factory problem and would replace it with no cost. This was Tuesday morning. An hour later they confirmed that the supplier had an identical frame in stock and it is being sent over to them asap and that the glasses should be ready by Friday. They offered to see if they can adjust his old frame to be more comfortable but we decided that it was fine for a few days. Early Friday morning they phoned to confirm that it was ready to collect. In my book, excellent service. I would really recommend them. (And they handle the whole medical aid claim etc for you - bonus!)

  • We had a terrible night last night - both boys awake and L taking 2 hours to go back to sleep. I just do not know any more. Maybe it was just an "odd" night?
  • I have a spasm in my left shoulder that today has me in tears. I will get it looked after before the end of the day - I can not go away like this.
  • We got little baby Lindt Easter bunnies at the office today. Yummy!
  • I am not sure if I am at all going to blog or read blogs while away - I will see how I feel. Am really planning to take it easy and hoping for some rest and sleep.
  • So to all of my friends in the computer, may you have a blessed Easter break

    Wednesday, 20 April 2011

    It's all in the timing people!

    So this is the Princess this morning on her way to school - dressed like Mary, she says. No other biblical character will do although Princes Esther was a thought.Cute, I hear you say. They are all dressed like people form the Bible today and they are having a foods from the Bible and Easter meal today. Great idea and I really support it - apart from the fact that we got the note asking us to dress them  and send a plate of Biblical foods (ie figs, pomegranate, pita bread, grapes etc) to school  when I picked her up at 4:45 yesterday afternoon after I have been to the shops.

    This is really the first time that her school have had me upset due to late planning. It shows no consideration towards working moms and every mom that picked up her kids yesterday afternoon commented on the late notice.

    Well, I decided not to buy stuff and to make do with what I have at home - she dressed in a tunic of mine and a kikoi for a scarf. For the meal, I managed to dig our some dates and I had olives and sugared figs in the fridge. And really, this has to do. If they expect more, gosh, give us a bit of notice. Even the morning would have been fine.

    Tuesday, 19 April 2011

    Spoiled rotten.

    You see, we have Lucy in the house - always cleaning, tidying, doing the washing etc. Occasionally she cooks which is a great help. A lot of the time she does food prep for me - like making mash, peeling veggies etc. And she is available for baby sitting and to look after sick kids at home. Without her I would certainly not be able to work the hours I do. She is my right hand and a part of the family. Now, dear Lucy is in hospital - she had a hysterectomy yesterday and is doing well.

    It was preventative surgery, the doctor told me before hand as all the blood tests etc came out clear. Until now, I am pleasantly surprised with the state health system - we expect the worst, I guess that's why. In her yearly check-up at the clinic they found pre-cancer cells and asked her to come 6 months later. With the next pap smear there were more and she was referred to the new hospital here in Pretoria The operation was scheduled and performed yesterday and now we are praying for her speedy recovery.

    The thing is that for at the very least, 3 weeks, we will be without her. Up to 6 weeks! At the moment we are still doing well, I think, with keeping things under control, but the weekend was certainly different than what we are used to. Washing and tumble drying (the rainy weather certainly did not help) Luckily Rebecca that used to iron for us is helping out with 2 days this week, and after our holiday once a week. I will take whatever needs to be ironed to the laundromat and she can concentrate on cleaning.

    So for the next few weeks, pardon the dust bunnies and our un ironed underwear (Rebecca irons EVERYTHING - kid you not).A note to my kids - please do not get sick right now or for the next 6 weeks.

    Monday, 18 April 2011

    So they are big boys...

    in big boys beds.

    As most of you know we have had a rather rough sleep issue with our boys. We have had better and worse times. The last 3 weeks have been some of the worst ever. L just did not sleep through - almost never, and when he wakes up it takes an average of 2 hours to get him back to sleep - most often between 2 and 4 in the mornings. So I have ordered a weighted blanket a while ago as so many moms of SID kids have told me that this was the answer to their problems. But last Monday I rented Lucy to sleep with the boys - I just had to have one night of good sleep. The next morning she confirmed what we had thought - their toddler beds (that was their cribs converted) was too small for them. Little man C starts getting restless at about 2, bumps on his bed and wakes up little man L. C then comes to our room, get on the little mattress and just falls asleep again. L just can not fall asleep again.

    So my hubby immediately reacted on this on Tuesday night - we have long ago arranged with my mom that we will exchange the double bed we had in their room (with their cots) for two single beds in her spare room. Hunter just did it - himself!  We put the boys to sleep in our bedroom on our bed on Tuesday night and as soon as he had the beds in and I made them, we moved them to their new room at about 11pm. They only woke up at 5:30! The next evening they went to bed, on their own in their new beds. And woke up at 6:05. Friday morning was not so great - both up at 4 am! And eventually we got the much anticipated weighted blanket on Friday afternoon - and have the old 2 to 4 am story of the past. Really I wanted to cry on all the money spent on the bloody thing, and no sleep joy. But Saturday night and last night was wonderful - all slept through until almost 6. Maybe L just had to get used to the blanket.

    So we live in eternal hope of the full night's sleep, but hoping we have moved in the right direction.

    Then we moved the cribs apart and added the side panels back. For the last two years, we took the sides down again, re-arranged the room and they had toddler beds.
    And we have big boy beds (still need to move one cot).

    And the smiles says it all!

    A good night's rest to you all - we are surely hoping for one.

    Saturday, 16 April 2011

    Mtunzini was a great holiday.

    As I am thinking ahead of packing etc before our little break in Natal , I remembered that I actually have never posted our December break properly. I have written about our Princess' mermaid transformation and our stop at Yellow Wood cafe, but not yet about the actual holiday. So, in pictures, a week in Mtunzini, Natal:
    There was a lot of time spent on the beach - doing what kids do.
    Our first ride in the back of the bakkie from the beach to the camp. (very close)
    Plenty of time in the coolest spot at the campsite - the kiddies play area.

    A game drive in the reserve at the beach.

    And ice-cream - a holiday essential.
    And some of the most gorgeous late afternoons at the beach.

    It was a great holiday and yes, we will be returning there.

    Friday, 15 April 2011

    So what is happening today?

    Yes, another one of those random babbling posts that tend to happen on Fridays. Often in bullets. LOL!
    • Just 5 working days including today and then we are on holiday. First a bit at home, then away and then home again. I think we all, especially me and the hubby, really need the break. The year (all 3 and a half months of it) has really kicked our butts.
    • This week I had two very late nights, the night before last into the early morning hours, to meet a deadline.Yesterday after just 3 hours of sleep I was dead on my feet. A nap helped a bit. I am too old for this. Kid you not.
    • Last night was bookclub - once again lovely. The talk was all about how loud dogs snore and what memories we have about food. And how food creates family memories. 
    • Hunter used the chance (as Lucy was looking after the kidlets) to meet a friend for sushi.
    • For the next 3 to 6 weeks we will have to do without our nanny Lucy - I will write a full post about it, but is scares me - a lot! But I am sure we will cope somehow.
    • We have had 3 relatively good nights with the boys' sleeping - I will do a whole post about it. But let's suffice to say that they were obviously more than ready for big boy beds. I say relative, because we had a 4 o clock wake up this morning. But it's way better than 2am. The other two nights was 5:30 and 6. Brilliant stuff.
    • If I can get all my timing right, we might have our weighted blanket for L today. Costs a bloody fortune, but if it buys us two nights of good sleep it will be worth it in my book.
    • The Princess' school is participating in barefoot day today - they went to school with bare feet (not that that is something new),  and we send a whole bag of old shoes to school.
    • We are having some friends over that are visiting Pretoria from the Eastern Cape tonight. The Princess can not wait to see the little baby girl and play with her.
    • I really need to get a move on that photobook as we are away at the end of the month.
    • Please have a look at Captured by Cat, my photoblog - I have started to post some pretty pics again and would like to revive it.
    So what's happening in your part of the world?

    Thursday, 14 April 2011

    Money, money, money....

    Ok, if you have ABBA stuck in your head for the day, blame me.

    We all try to teach our children the value of money - it is how you do it that sometimes have me a bit confused. Explaining economic principles is tough thinking. So the Princess has slowly now started to learn about money and the value thereof. Firstly with he tooth fairy money of which she has saved half in her little money box. And this year we let her use her birthday money - in the past, we just left it in her little savings account. On Saturday she spent it - and up to the last R15. 3 Months after her birthday! So much pondering.

    Twice before have we looked at toys in shops, twice before she could not make a decision. When she brought up the subject on Friday and Saturday morning, I decided to take the boys' nap time as a chance to take her to Toys R Us. I was sure the selection there was big enough to make a final decision. On our way there she talked of buying the newest Barbie DVD and putting the rest away for later, but once we got there her choice fell on a Barbie with stuff that you can spray onto her dress. Then I reminded her that she already has 3 Barbies and that 3 is maybe enough.

    She briefly looked at Barbie furniture and then said : "Mommy I actually know what I really want! Those little pets like A have". I knew immediately it was "LittleLest Pet shop" she was referring to and it is really expensive here. So off we went to the relevant shelves and yes, her money could not stretch to the pet shop itself. and in keeping with the teaching on money and the value thereof I was not about to add some. So she got the "get well centre" and asked me if it was the vet's office. She was delighted that she did indeed have enough money to buy it and said;" Mommy you know I want to be a vet, so it is better that I can rather buy this one"  Then she asked me if she has money left and I showed her that she had R60 left. She asked if there was anything else in LittleLest Pet shop range that she could add and yes she could add 2 single pets which she chose with great care. Since then she has spent hour with her pets and we will do the online part soon. Another great bit about this is that there are many smaller sets and add -ons - great future gift ideas. And great for rewards too as the single pets are between R20 - R25 at Toy sR Us (why are they R60 at CNA I wonder?)
    The best if it all - she gave me a huge hug and said: " Mommy this is great - it feels like I am having my birthday all over again." And proceeded to ask me to calculate if she can buy another pet with the money for the two loose teeth she has at present.

    So tell me mothers of older children, when does one start with pocket money and how much? 

    Wednesday, 13 April 2011

    Moving on up...

    Yes, we have upgraded.
    Two full baby car seats and one booster seat is what we used to have

    And this is what the same seat looked like yesterday:
     Two full booster seats and one half booster. And three delighted kids and even more delighted parents. No more matching of those horrid twin fasteners, no more 15 minute long wrestling matches (per seat) to move those seats from car to car. Easy fastening, easy moving. More comfy kids. Yeah for another milestone.

    Tuesday, 12 April 2011

    The joy of a photobook

    Remember my frustration last week with the photobook ordered at Qphoto? I got it at last by lunchtime Friday and not only had the branch manager of the Pro-shop to listen to my complaints, but also the Sales and Marketing Manager Liezel Geyser Hahn. Really if this was the first time, I would have let it go, but the effort my yearly calenders take has build up a history of frustrations. They listened to my rant, asked for suggestions and promised to look at them. For me, it boils down to time - I do not have time to go there if it is not completed. I suggested in very busy times, to promise items for a day later if needed, rather than not delivering. And a tracking system so that you can inform clients if work will not be completed. I also pointed out their rather tarnished social media image, which they are well aware of. I got the impression that my comments were listened to and that actions will be taken. I also have Liezel's email and phone number - so give me a shout if you have a problem! LOL!

    Onto the book itself - I am ecstatic! It is beautiful. A true reflection of our year - and the great thing is that the special has been extended for another month. So until the end of April you still get that 20 pages extra. So guess who is frantically doing a 2009 book before we go on our little holiday? The added bonus is that while doing these you live through those wonderful memories once again. The kids love it - the Princess has asked every day to page through it. My mom was amazed - she has never seen something like this. So, I leave you with pictures of our book - for now, I am a happy customer. We will see how the service goes the second time around.

    BTw - I have decided to revive the old photo blog - to my shame I am not managing a project 365 again this year, but I have many nice photos that do not specifically find a place here, so for a (I hope) daily quick photo fix, and much shorter posts - check out Captured by Cat.

    Monday, 11 April 2011

    I think we had a better weekend

    In terms of things just being a bit less edgy. Maybe I was just a bit less edgy.

    On Friday afternoons we usually have a sweet treat after school as we are in general home an hour earlier. This Friday I tried caramel crispies cones - the kids loved it way more that the marshmallow rice crispie cakes I made the previous week. We had homemade chicken burgers for dinner and the Princess played Disney faerie games while we looked at our photo book.

    Oh Saturday morning daddy did some errands and
    Someone got a haircut and blow wave
    Someone got his new glasses after he choose his new frames himself last week. Yes, they are the very same Fisher Price glasses, just another colour.
    And someone did nothing special but loved visiting granny after the shops because
    Everybody got a Kinder egg at granny's

    After dropping the boys at home with dad for a nap, the Princess and I set of to the shops for some needed retail - winter clothes for C, some for her and for her to spend her birthday money (yes, she actually waited 3 months). After a visit to our local playpark we had pizza for dinner and all the boys got a haircut from me.

    On Sunday morning my hubby let me sleep-in. I slept until they returned from church at 10! (You can tell sleeping has not been the greatest in our home). After that I quickly ran to our local shops to get some prints made for my MIL as Hunter flew to PE today. The rest of the day was spent quietly at home with all 3 kids napping in the afternoon. We also made 3 meals for the week and ended it off with a walk in the neighbourhood and a braai.

    Maybe it is because Hunter gave me a lot of time off that I feel it's been a better weekend, but truly, I feel we had fun, the kids napped, it was good. Sleep however, remains a disaster. It has been almost a week since L slept through. Last night was well, a nightmare.Somewhere between 10 and 12 the Princess had a nightmare and I went outside to take the washing off as it started to rain. Hunter had to get up at 4 for his flight to PE for his Oupa's funeral - (due to heavy mist, they had to land in another city and indeed he has missed the funeral service. Damn!) - just before that both boys woke up and that was the end of sleep for us despite me dosing them with a shot of Stopayne last night. I am indeed already tired.

    A better weekend Makes my Monday (although the lasck of sleep doesn't)
    Playing along with Cheryl.
    So how was your weekend? 

    Edit to add: Hunter's plane landed in East London. He is on his way to PE with other passengers via rental car and should make it to the graveside part of the funeral.

    Friday, 8 April 2011

    So what is happening today?

    Well, apart from a huge frustration with Qphoto, I am planning to focus on the positive. Really I can not understand how they can promise work to be done, make you wait 25 minutes to tell you that it is not done and promise to send it tomorrow to your office. Then you phone to find out when it is coming the next day to find out that the person that is supposed to deliver it will do it after work (seriously do you expect me to be at my office at that time?), or depending on who you are talking too, is not at work today and on a course so therefore you can not find out when they are planning to deliver it. Trying to speak to the branch manager is a mission and the girl at the switchboard tries her best to actually discourage you to speak to her! She still has not phoned me back. As attractive as their specials may be, I am wondering if it is worth the frustration. If they can only get a system going to phone you when things will not be ready in time. Ok, so with that over and done with, here's some cuteness.

    Seeing the weather is rather unpleasant the holiday school decided to have another PJ and movie day today. Dressed for it is the Princess and her Spagel bunny.

    Thursday, 7 April 2011

    Chemically induced?

    Our little man C has been on a rather revolutionary asthma drug called Singulair from the age of 13  months to a month after his 3rd birthday. To say it was in many ways a life saver for us is not exaggerating a bit. He turned from a child that was constantly sick, to the healthier of the two brothers. And although the asthma was always int he back of our minds, it was almost forgotten. And we grew used to him being a rather moody little person - in fact, I used to tease that all the Irish blood that runs in the family nestled in this one child of ours. Just his personality. Over the last 5 months however, he has become much more amicable - in fact, as L has grown more edgy with his issues, C has grown easier, less tantrummy and really a lovable joy most of the time.It happened so slowly that I have only recently started thinking about it.

    Since our little drama last week he was placed back on Singulair for a 3 month period in conjunction with his usual inhaler. And it is a switch was thrown somewhere where little monsters are made - the moodiness has returned. BIG TIME! Now it could be that he is just sick and still feeling crap, but I can not help feeling that the medicine has something to do with it. Two pharmacists has mentioned it to me and if you read enough of my friend Mr Google, you will find references to aggression and mood changing behavior .

    So it is almost a catch 22. He really does wonderfully asthma and general health wise on the medicine, but do we really want him to be so unhappy and moody? Surely if it gets to us so quickly it can not be great for him? I think I will give it another week or so and then reconsider. Maybe we just do this month and see what happens. Or do we really want to risk and attack? I simply do not know.

    Wednesday, 6 April 2011


    In the early hours of yesterday morning, Hunter's grandfather passed away, at the ripe age of almost 90. He had a full and good life and the last 6 months have been rather difficult for him as his body slowly started to shut down. I never knew any one of my grandfathers - they both passed away before I was born, so I always thought that it was rather special that my kids had a great grandfather who had their pictures on his walls and phoned on their birthdays and took great pride in. We saw him for the last time in December when we actually made the trip to Port Elizabeth to say our goodbyes. He was tired and warn down, but happy to see his little name bearers - the twins each carry one of his names as their second name. We did not take any pictures then, it was just sad to see him so sick, so I would rather show you how we would like to remember him.

    Totsiens Oupa Hennie. Mooi loop.

    Tuesday, 5 April 2011

    After yesterday's pity party...

    A bit of sunshine from last weekend. We put up the hammock between the trees in the garden as I have seen how well Little man L is stimulated by anything that swings. A lot of SID kids enjoy swinging and it calms them. It proved to be a huge hit with all 3 the kids who had so much fun on it.

    Later on they brought out their camping chairs and had fun "camping out" in the garden. When Hunter loaded the bakkie (Ute) to take away the garden refuse they all climbed in and were imagining seeing rhinos and cheetahs in the game reserve. I love it that my kids are growing up sharing this love of ours - nature and the outdoors, be it just in our own garden.

    Thanks again for the outpouring of love and support.  We appreciate every prayer and thought. Lots of unicorns and rainbows and bubbles here today.

    Monday, 4 April 2011

    Running on empty.

    Most of you know that this is not the place to come for unicorns, rainbows and bubbles. I tell it like it is. Even the days that does involve unicorns and rainbows and bubbles are told like it is. That is why I know you will not blame me for having another little cry parade here. A little sorry I am sobbing. A desperate sharing in the hope it acts therapeutic....

    The truth is, as Hunter and I at last sagged onto the couch at 9:30 last night, well him, not me, I have been watching "It's complicated", we sighed and he said it: "we are in survival mode once again". That is what we describe the first year of the twins' life - when you basically survive, and do no more. And every so often we would find ourselves slipping back to it when thing turn a bit pear-shaped in the household. I wish we can just totally get out of it.

    This weekend has been tough on the toughest level - mostly with sleep, but also more. On Friday night my mobile phone was stolen out of my handbag in our local Spur. I have battered myself about being careless, but in all honesty, I do not think I was. I just think I was prey to a very clever thief. The bag was never left alone at the table. Hubby went back to search, and talk to management , but no joy .So, I spent the evening canceling the sim card and starting the process to blacklist the phone.Checking when we can upgrade phones etc. It was close to 12 when we went to sleep. Apart from Little man C coughing we had a pretty good night's sleep - L was just up very early.

    Saturday was spent with the usual admin drama following something like this. But what got to us this weekend is having two boys with sleeping problems and two boys that throw tantrums. Little man C has wonderfully outgrown the tantrum dramas mostly in the last few months, but being as sick as he is at present has just pushed him over that line.He was miserable. With little man L we are learning to cope with the issues more and more every day, but we do have our moments. Of which the worst proved to be nap time and bed time. Gosh, it was exhausting. C coughs too much to fall asleep easily and L is Mr Energizer bunny, not falling asleep or staying asleep. I realize more and more as I am reading about SID that this is so typical.We had our celebratory curry for India and Gary Kirsten's world cup at about 10:45 on Saturday night - as that is when both the boys at last fell asleep.

    After a fitful and rather disrupted sleep Saturday night, we were at the doctor again on Sunday morning. It seems like the croup has triggered an asthma relapse which has in turn left the door open for a bout of bronchitis. Today he is doing much better and he has an ok night last night.

    The crux of the matter is that I think I am running empty on an emotional level. As if so many things have couped up and needs to be released. There is work stress, stress about family issues - I am just very anxious in general. Maybe 4 years of all this survival mode stuff has left it's mark. I need to hear from someone who has been there, and done that and can tell me that it will get better.And then I realize that the text number my friend Hesti left was on the stolen phone, and her husbands email address that is the one used for now, and her mom's number.....and she hasn't posted on her blog since they left.

    I do believe that the good Lord will not let something cross your path that you can not handle, but sometimes I wonder if he mistook me for someone else when he sent us the twins? It has been the toughest of tough 4 years.But nope, He does not make mistakes. So we live and learn. We take an hour each and go to gym to retain our sanity and at least when we sag down on the couch we have each other. And a prayer to console.

    Friday, 1 April 2011

    So what's happening?

    On this side, quite a lot and not much in the same breath.
    • I found myself rushing to the local ER at 11:15 on Tuesday night with Little Man C. I have seldom been so panicked and worried about a child. I was downstairs working on our photobook for 2010 whenm I heard a horrible sound from upstairs. There he was sitting in bed, wheezing and hardly breathing. I gave him his asthma pump immediately but it had very little effect. So I woke up Lucy to look after the other two and rushed on, phoning Hunter who was still at work to meet me at the hospital. The service at Kloof Mediclinic was fast and efficient- in fact, the doctor heard him wheezing as she was attending to another patient and send the nurse with adrenaline to nebulize him  even before seeing him. This had an immediate positive effect. By 12:30 we were back home and in bed. Hunter had to drive to Pretoria East hospital though for the medicine as Kloof does not have a 24 hour pharmacy. That's a bummer I think.
    • He is doing much better but is still at home and coughing his lungs out - or rather, his vocal cords as it is a touch of the old bugger, Croup.
    • Hunter is working really hard and late at the moment - but it is for good future prospects.  I am totally fine with it.
    • I handed in the above mentioned photobook yesterday after rushing to complete it for the Qphoto special of 20 pages for free. I made one book featuring all the highlights from 2010. Just to hear that they have extended the special to the end of April. So I will be making another one (2009)  as well. I used the 30x 30 square format that I love. Below is the cover with Jenty's lovely pics and my favorite page - our San Lameer holiday last year April - the kids on Uvongo beach and some vignettes from our holiday in a strip below.
    • The Princess is attending holiday school (apart from Wednesday and Thursday)and seem to be having fun. On Tuesday they had a tea party and dressed up for that.
    • Today they have a PJ party and she went in her new, bought on sale Woollies Princess Pj's
    • Yesterday and the day before was spent with Ouma (granny). They had tow special days together and a sleep over. She loved it so much that I had to beg and negotiate to get her back home last night - but I truly missed her. So Monday and Tuesday will be sleep over with Ouma again.
    • Last night was one of those nights that can only be numbed by some Merlot or maybe a gin and dry lemon. The Princess returned home by 5:30 and madness ensued. Lots of running around like mad kids, screeching and general madness. Little eating and Duracell Bunny like behavior from all 3. Resulting in C coughing too much and not being able to sleep and keeping the other 2 awake. Hunter arrived at  9 and by magic got the sleeping thing done, poured me some wine and we had a great dinner outside, pasta, candles and all. And a very good night's rest after.
    • Little man L was chatting to himself this morning as he regularly does, calling Joshua and Caleb (two school friends) to come and play with him. I had a small laugh about Exodus' explorers in the school.
    • I have changed my comment platform to DISQUS - I love to reply to comments and this will help me do this. I really hope it does not frustrate you all - if it does, pop me a mail please. I would not like to loose loyal commenters because of this.(email in profile)
    • I got a super fast new 3G - worked for the first day, has not worked again. Bask on my old one and sending this one back. So I have not done much blog reading this week.
    • This weekend has nothing planned - I am delighted! Hoping for good weather.
    So what are you planning?