Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Dear Secret Santa

I am participating in the Secret Santa project this year, and am really struggling to figure out what to send to the blogger to who I am Secret Santa. So, I have decided to do a little post so that maybe my Secret Santa can get some ideas. So for R100 or less, I would love: (And if the family read here they could also get some Brithday ideas, but alas...)
  •  Fenjal bath oil or foam bath - a lovely memory of years gone by. I can recall my gran so well when I smell it.
  • Anything to craft with - pretty paper, ribbons whatever.
  • Any bath stuff - especially Tranquil body treats stuff.
  • A good book - even second hand
  • Beads and other prettyness. 
  • Cute lace summer scarf that you see at all the Chinese shops- in light pink , light blue or grey
  • Colourful flip flops - I wear a size 7. I love colourful flip flops.With stuff on.Especailly those Pick n Pay cheepies with lots of cuteness.
What I really am not crazy about right now:
  • Edible stuff - with my cholesterol issues I really have to be careful. If it has less than 5% fat per 100g I guess it's ok - go try, very little is.
  • Bangles - I can not really wear bangles - they irritate me when I work.
  • Although I am crazy about note books I have about 4 unused ones lying in my bedside table.
So hope that helps?

I have also received this lovely award by many bloggers - the only ones I can remember in my fogged slightly sleep deprived mind today are To love Bella and Dear Max, .My sincere apologies if I forget to mention you here, I have really not kept track with this - crazy time of the year.

So I have to tell you 7 random things about myself:
  1.  I can not eat cooked oats - jip, I have huge tactile issues (I guess L's issues should not have been a surprise to me). When I get home I have to take all jewelery off and tie my hair up otherwise I just can not function
  2. I really do not like noise and very loud music. I love soft music, preferably classical or jazz. Sometimes the noise levels in the house totally drives me over board.
  3. If I could sing better I would love to sing the role of Carmen in the opera by Bizet. I would love to passionately sing the Habanera in a black and red Spanish dress.
  4. I can not put nail polish on my own nails - I really just can not. I do not have the time for "proper nails" so I just do not "do" nails.
  5. I also can not do my own eyebrows - I leave that to my much beloved beautician friend.
  6. I really want a second island honeymoon with my love. 
  7. I am totally addicted to humus, taramosalata and tahina with biscuits I am allowed to eat. And pasta - I can live from pasta. I think somewhere in my precious lives I was both Greek and Italian
Now this one has really done the rounds and I am sure almost all of you have received it - so I would like to award this to everyone that reads this post. Go ahead dear - take it and thanks for your kind comments. As the Golden Girl song goes: "Thanks for being a friend".

The cutest little fur trees ever

 featured in the school's annual Christmas play on Friday night. Somehow I always feel that the year is over once this concert is done and dusted. Really, I was so proud of my little fur trees - participating and singing along. Mr C was quite the showman and Mr L surprised us. Still can not believe how far he has come this year.

And while we are on the topic of the weekend, it also had a party in store
 We also did some painting and potato stamping

And put up the Christmas tree - but that is another post all together.

and Parenting by Dummies for Wordful Wednesday

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Today, I cried...

huge big fat crocodile tears, here in the office - I never do that! In the post came a beautiful hand made card, totally in a class all of its own. And in it, a beautiful book mark of a gold plated eucalyptus leaf.From my BFF in Oz. You see, it's birthday time for me soon, and this year will be the first in many that the two of us have not somehow got together on or close to the day - mostly on my "birthday day-off" I grant myself every year. I am feeling a bit at loss as to what to do with my day this year - yes, I will go to the hairdresser, and possibly for a facial.But I know I am going to miss her warm voice, her big hug and her conversation - one that never seem to cover everything we had to say. Somehow the time was never enough. Somehow only know, we realize how much more time we should have spent together. I miss you my friend.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

It's been a rather BIG weekend for us.

Yes dear readers, I am THAT mom - the one that couldn't potty train one of her kids. The mom that got a Play therapist involved to do it - well, the mind part, and then with huge help from the hubby actually forced the little man out of his nappies. For the last 7 weeks, no 1 had been going stellar. No 2 has been more of an issue - in fact, I spent hours (literally) in the bathroom with Little man L to get him to do those no 2's. Talking to him, having his Dino do no 2's with big high fives thereafter. It has been totally exhausting. There was some crying involved by both of us.

Then, on Saturday, he casually walked to the downstairs loo, got on it and did his no 2. I saw him by chance, and man, did we make a big thing out of it! I was hopeful, but scared of that one odd bit of progress that might just regress. But yesterday, he did it twice. In the same, quiet way. We had MacDonalds for dinner - a small celebration.

The long and short of the story is that we as moms tend to always feel so incredibly easily like failures. I beat myself up on this one - boy, I did. I mean what is wrong with me that I can not potty train my kid. Really? Then when I read that SID kids do potty train with great difficulty, I relaxed a bit but when the OT indicated that she thinks it is a mind issue and not a body issue, and we got the Play therapist involved, I really felt the urge to get this done. I mean, he on his way to turn 4 at the time. The fact that his therapy was at that stage between the two of them amounting to almost a R1 000 a week certainly played a part.

So yes, we all sometimes need to be a bit less tough on ourselves - but boy, does it feel great when we reach that milestone! We threw away all potties yesterday - just to get it out of the way. Over kedovers! Done.

And this really really Makes my Monday - no heavens, it makes my year!

Playing along with Cheryl.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

In other parts ot the world, today is Thanksgiving.

And although it is not observed here and we have none of the history attached, I love the idea of a day to say thanks, To be thankful. We had a particularly harsh year this year - lots and lots of thing and stress to absorb, and therefore, making a list as to what I am thankful for, is even more meaningful. For us, it is also at the end of the year - both calender and school wise.

  1. My wonderful, dear super supportive husband without who I can not imagine my life as it is.
  2. My beautiful Princess who is kind, understanding and such a good girl for her age. For her huge need to be recognized.
  3. My little man C who has blossomed this year in school and is just doing so well. For his huge need to be loved.
  4. My little man L who has really developed totally beyond all expectations and comprehension this year. For his huge need to be understood.
  5. For Lucy being healthy again - her health issues has been a huge strain on us all, even more on herself I suspect.
  6. For my mom, who has helped where she can with the practicalities in our lives.
  7. For my MIL and FIL for their unconditional understanding and support.
  8. For our ever so patient, ever so understanding and ever so loving puppies. You girls rock.
  9. For the wonderful and understanding teachers, OT and Play therapist that my kids were blessed with this year.
  10. For our house, despite possibly being too small, still the place where I feel home and loved most.
  11. For the business that has survived the toughest year since I am an owner. It's been a leaner year, but it still provides for us and the others that work for us.
  12. For hubby's work - although stressful , a good job never the less.
  13. For our cars, that despite not being the newest, still runs smooth and takes us where we want to be.
  14. For you, my blogging friends, who in the midst of a year of friendship turmoil have shown me fantastic support and love.You know who you are.
  15. And for my Father above without whom I would not have survived this year. 
Happy Thanksgiving to you all - wherever you are.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

It's just so more real with every milestone

Every event - that our little Princess is growing up so fast. Just the other day (ok in January 2007) she went to school for the very first time. She was all of 2 years old and desperately needed the social interaction.

 Yesterday I watched my little girl all dressed up in her big school uniform. Excited and ready to go to grade 1. Not so sure if the mom is ready to go to grade 1 but I guess that is totally irrelevant.

They are allowed to wear their big school clothes to pre-school this week as part of making that going to grade 1 a bit easier. BTW - I was rather impresesed by the practicality of their uniform - a skort (short with skirt front) for playing and a golf shirt.
and Parenting by Dummies for Wordful Wednesday
and Twinfatuation for Way back Wednesday.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Blood brothers...

Or so you think they will be. After all, they have shared more time together than any of us did - spending 9 months snugly together in utero. But those scans showing them kicking each other must have been a warning I forgot. The honest truth is that since opening their eyes on Saturday morning, it has been the one fight after the other. They are both covered in bite marks, pinch marks and lots of tears have been shed. Its almost a full on war! They kick, they tease, they cry. The intensity of the fights far surpass anything I have seen between non-twin siblings.

We are exhausted, feel rather defeated. Hunter in an attempt to promote peace sat and showed them how to (peacefully) play cars together. It worked, for a bit. Just a bit. This morning seem to have been a bit calmer. The calm before the storm?

Monday, 21 November 2011

So when last did you go to the drive-in?

I have the memory of myself running around at the drive in in my jammies and gown as a little kid. Later as teenagers, it was always with someone else's parents - my mom never went. By the time I was dating, the golden days of the drive in was mostly over and Pretoria did not have many left.

Well, we did on Friday and my, was it great. Here in Pretoria we have a drive in theater on the top of the Men.lyn park shopping center - for the grand total of R63 per car. Our friends S and I regularly go with their kids and have taken the Princess along on occasion, but we last went before L walked. When they suggested we go on Friday afternoon, Hunter knew he had a not too late afternoon and we agreed.

We met in the food court for a quick dinner and parked next to each other for the viewing. The firts movie was "Hoodwinked 2" which the girls loved. Our two boys and their youngest all went to sleep in the back of the cars (we had the very back 3rd row down) about half way in. The other 3 girls watched it till it was over and after a visit to the ladies and a snack, went to sleep on the back seats.

Which was great - because we had quite a great movie for the adults to watch - "Anonymous" about the theory that Shakespeare did not actually exist. It is a great period drama and I loved it.

Will we go again? For sure  - if a kiddie adult combo shows again. What will we do differently? Pull the boot to the front for the kids and take our camping chairs and maybe take the bakkie (truck). And a flask of coffee - to help with staying awake through the second movie.

So when last were you at the drive -in? And would you consider it in a safe and clean environment?

Friday, 18 November 2011

Today.....things I know

  • I am still so very in love with the beautiful anniversary roses my hubby gave me (he often does, on or close to the 10th of the month). They are truly stunning and smell great too - not often the cut roses smell great. But sadly die so soon in the heat.
  • I am busy making photobooks for the grandparents for their Christmas gifts - it's going to take a lot of effort but I know it will be the best presents ever.
  • I am a bit at loss for a present for the hubby - we always do books, but he has so many to read.
  • The social schedule for the next few weeks is hectic - speeding towards the end of the year. 4 Kiddies parties, one concert, one charity Christmas tree, one grade R graduation and concert, two friends socials, one birthday and one anniversary.
  • I can not believe I am going to buy school clothes for the Princess today. Gosh, she is really going to grade 1.
  • After a lot of thinking and asking around, I have ordered some labels over the internet to mark those hundreds of pencils, etc in the school pack we bought for grade 1. I hope they are worth it, but for sure they will save time.I ordered from Staystuck over the internet and they are beautiful.
  • I am excited to have Christmas at home this year with all the grandparents and some more family to share the day. We have done it the last 2 years and we love it.
  • I have all the little bits to make our advent calender and will post the pdf to all soon. Excited to start with the Christmas excitement.(If you do not have one yet, look at my post  - still prepared to mail the template)
  • 3 weeks, and my work year is over! For a glorious full 4weeks of holiday. 
So, what's happening in your word?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The Princess goes to the ballet - again.

Last year we saw the South African Youth Ballet Theater's production of Sleeping Beauty. This year it was the turn of Cinderella and we once again joined the school and some friends for the special dress-up and party Saturday morning show. It is a wonderful way to introduce kids to the wonders of ballet and the theater with a more relaxed atmosphere, snacks served in interval and a chance to dress up like your favorite character. They also have the option to meet the main cast after the show and have their programs signed. The Princess went as the Fairy Godmother this year, after being Sleeping Beauty last year. Look out for The Nutcracker next year - always fun before Christmas.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

So what about an advent calender?

Some of you may remember that I made an Advent calender for the kids? I know quite a few of you loved the idea.(click here to see full post)

This year I am making it again - I am however going to be a bit more creative - I have some stickers for some days in stead of sweets, as well as those temporary tatoos and a looking for other small bits to add. I am also going to for instance put a picture of an ice-cream in one day and that day we will go out for one etc.

 So I am thinking of being festive and sharing - if you would like to make this for your kids, I will mail you the A3 pdf file - you need to print it out in colour and buy one of these (the Big Jim 350mm Organizer available of Game for R59,95) and fill with whatever you might like. If you can get to me in Pretoria, I will even print one for you to collect. Full instructions in the original post. I have swung it around into portrait frame this year because the tag to hang it is in that direction.

So if you are interested, leave me a comment with an email addy and I will send it on to you.
Happy festive season!

Monday, 14 November 2011

All about books today

So a short while ago Robyn got a book swop going on her Bookclub blog and I joined in without thinking twice - as most of you know I am one of life's perpetual readers - have been since I was 5 years old and will be until I can see no more. There is very little better than a good book.

What she asked of us is to send someone our favorite novel of all time. Wow, such a difficult decision for me as I love so many. I have had a list in the back of a note book for years - I add to it, I take away, but I have not ordered it in numbers for years. And I did find it daunting to do - in fact, I have settled on a top 10 (in no specific order) and then a top 10 to 20 etc. Down to 40 - I have some that I have fallen out out the top 40 as I have added new books. I use the following criteria to build my list: 1. I have to immediately think that I need this on my top list, 2. I possibly gave it a 10/10 when reviewing it in my book journal, 3. I want to read it again or have read it several times and 4. I must remember the name and author's name - that way I know it stuck well enough to recommend to someone else.So I decided to send her my top love story ever -" Love in the time of cholera"(see below).

In return, Shayne sent me " Five quarters of the Orange" by Joanne Harris, a book that I actually have a history with - I have read many of her books (loved "Chocolat and "Coastliners" best)  but somehow gave up on this book and had to give it back to someone I borrowed it from - so I never finished it. So now, I will attempt it again but only after I finish "7 Dae" the new Deon Meyer released today and delivered to me by the friendly Kalahari folk this morning. I took my lunch time, had a coffee and read the first 65 pages. But back to my top 10 books.

Although through the years I have taken care of reading the prize winners as well as most of the classics (yes, I have read the whole of War and Peace), I must stress that this is a very very personal top 10. Those that spoke to me, those that moved me and those that I love to read time and time again.

 So, my top 10 books of all time (in alphabetical order):
Atonement - Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan is the master observer of the human emotions and dealing with it. This is just such a masterfully told story of a young girl's world going wrong and influencing so many around her. Stunning read - have read it 3 times already and have never seen the movie - I have to admit that I am scared the movie will take some of the magic away

Lord of the Rings Trilogy - JRR Tolkien
Such a  classic - the very very best fantasy ever written. Have read the whole trilogy twice, and some a third time.For once, the movies did well with the books. And do read The Hobbit before you tackle these.

Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
The best love story ever written - spanning over more than 50 years. I can just imagine the two on the boat at the end of it. I have read it at least 4 times and want to read it again. Never saw the movie but apparently it is crap. So just don't - read the book! It will make you believe in love forever.

Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie 
A wonderful story of the birth and the life of a man and two nations - colorfully woven with the magic of India.  Not exactly sure of how many times I have read it (I do not always make the note in my book), but I bought my own copy after having borrowed one as a student.

One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Yes, I know, two books by one writer (which must make him my favorite although I am not so sure about his newer books - he was the Nobel literature prize winner in 1982). The magical family saga that introduced magical realism to the world. Stunning - but remember to refer to the list of characters - after 4 reads I still sometimes get confused between all the Aurelios.

 People of the Book - Geraldine Brooks 

A more recent first read -The magical story of a little Jewish prayer book and how it came to be saved through many wars by many people of other religions. Read my full review on my Bookclub blog

The Book Thief - Markus Zusaf
I have only read it this year for the first time, but a magical magical book and story. In general I avoid World War 2 stories but this one is wonderful and imaginative and so uplifting. Do read it.

The House of the Spirits - Isabel Allende
Stunning family saga over many generations taking place in Chile and to the background of the never ending South American wars and civil wars. I love how she portrays woman and the relationships between them. I have read it 4 times and the movie is ok - great actors, but totally ignores one of the generations.

The Songlines - Bruce Chatwin

Without a doubt the most unusual choice in the list and a very personal one - I am quite sure you will not find it on many "Top 100 books" lists. But to me, something that speaks to me about man, and our restless nature. I have read it many times, lost my original copy when I loaned it to someone and had to re-order one. I only know one other person who have ever read it - Dana Snyman, the travel writer, and he says it is one of his favorites too. 
Wuthering Heights -Emily Bronte

The only real classic on the list - there has to be one and currently this is my top one ( some of the others are Modern Classics thought). I love the story of Heathcliff and Catherine and the incredible moody atmosphere that permeates the whole book. One to be read over and over again. During dark and light moods.

So please tell me - who is your favorite writer and which are your top books (be it 1, 3 or 10) . And have your read any of my top 10 and what is your opinion of it?

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Today I am feeling....

cranky, irritated and very very tired. I have shouted at all and sunder and really, I need to regroup myself here. Center on being a better person. All because I am exhausted and tired - yesterday was extremely hot in our part of the world and last night was terrible. Both the boys woke up, hot and sweaty and of course, L struggled to fall asleep again. Last look I had on my phone was 3:30 - somewhere after that the two of us fell asleep to wake up at about 6 again.Poor kid must be exhausted too - hope he sleeps at school.

We have had two weeks of good sleep with only 2 of the 14 nights not sleep through nights - the last 3 has not been great. Amazing how quickly one grows used to good sleep and how your body (and in my case mind) struggles to re-adjust. Here's hoping this is just a glitch due to the heat mainly and not a new pattern. 

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

City of Jacarandas

Last week a collegue and I did a little photo drive/walk up the one little hill to take in as much as we could of the Jacaranda filled city.
The University of Pretoria node


Another Hatfield view

Herbert Baker street - the only one with white Jacarandas

The Brooklyn Node
Playing along today with Angie

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

On traditions and memories.

Ever since the birth of the Princess we have been taking family photos every year - in her first year we had two sessions, mainly because I won the second one. I like to use a different photographer every year for variation. I do not have the details of the older years, but our last two years were done by Jeanette Verster - stunning photos and my favorite family shot ever (2010). Sadly, this year I have made a bit of a boo-boo with this all.

It has been a tough year for us, both in terms of time and emotional stuff, but also on the business front, where we have felt the pinch of the global economic crunch for the first time. So, clever I tried to save costs and when the photographer at the Princess' school (and a well known children's photographer) offered to take sibling pictures too, I saw the chance to have at least nice shots of the kids and be done for the year. And what a mess that was - gosh, I was so upset. She asked us to be at the school hall at 1:30 and she was available up to 3pm. We were there at 1:20 - to be faced with a queue of 7 families before us (and another 4 after us). The photographer had her second shoot doing individuals and she doing the groups. She was taking up to 10 to 20 minutes per sibling set - the wait was long and hot. So not what  a SID kid need in his life. She the second shoot started with the boys she gave up in 5 minutes - L was just out of it. The flashing lights, loud kids etc, just got to him. Adding to that they gave him a toolbox with talking tools to hold - of course, taking his full attention and resulting on him looking down all the time. She made a snide little remark to the main photographer that "this boy is impossible to work with" The main girl assured me that it will be fine. Another 15 minute wait while she was photographing the school secretaries' grandchildren, she informed me that we will have to come back on Monday as she had someone waiting for her for 15 minutes already. It was 2:45! To say I nearly freaked out with all this is enough said - I merely said: "oh, but it's not 3 yet! I think she saw the anger on my face because she quickly re-phrased that she said that to get the kids moving! So NOT on, because then the Princess was all nervy and C nearly freaked out. Total waste of time - I saw the pictures today and yes - total crap. The other families before us - lovely pictures. The ones she took of the Princess in the morning are lovely and I will certainly buy them, but none from that afternoon. I do hope their school ones are ok - the girl they use there is ok, but not great.

So, now I am without the potos I use every year for our calenders and although I have lovely shots I have taken of the kids through the year, there are few featuring all 3 and 1 of us all together. I also use them for the covers and first and last page of our yearly photo books. So in a whim of time on Saturday I saw a Groupon offer coming through and bought it - we shall see what it brings, but let's hope for the best. If not great, it's no big money loss and it's close to home.If I get one great family one and one of the kids together I will be happy. Next year, we will do it "properly" again.

So do you take family pictures every year? And have your read "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin - if you have, you will understand - all about being the keeper of memories for the family which does indeed contribute a lot to my happiness.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Things I have learned this weekend...

  • Starting your weekend at 4 pm on a Saturday is so not on! The weekend is way too short. My course only finished after 3:30 on Saturday.
  • We have come a long long way this year - the kids are pretty amazing despite little moments of unhappiness. The were so great this weekend.
  • If you make a game of helping mommy and daddy in the garden the tidy up takes less the time that in usually does - seeing who can collect the biggest bunch of pine needles is a challenge for 3.
  • Camping in the lounge on Saturday nights ensures a night of great sleep for all.
  • It is totally possible that 2 4 year olds and a 6 year old take naps on both weekend afternoons. Hunter is amazing facilitating this one.
  • De cluttering can be extremely rewarding - I tackled an area yesterday that has bothered me forever and I can not stop looking at it and feeling happy about it. There are almost 30000 other spaces in our house that need that attention too.
  • 3 kids can have huge fun digging into the recycle bag and making boats - the Princess saw it in a book and I had great fun helping them to make their boats  For the boys we simply used a container that will float with a cut off cooldrink top. The Princess did a more complex design.. After that they played for hours.

So what did you learn this weekend?

Thursday, 3 November 2011

In very short bullets....

  • I wrote a really great post and Blogger ate it. I have the text elsewhere, but there was lots of links and pictures in it. Ugh - another day.
  • I am on a course tomorrow and, yes, wait for it, Saturday from 8am to 4pm on hoe to design Green Buildings For work. I can not believe I agreed to miss a weekend day for work but really, it is about new legislation and if I did not do it now it would just have been in December or January.
  • I discovered that my local gym has a lunchtime pilates class on a Thursday - I went, I nearly died (it was abs day - not my best). My whole upper body is one burning mess as I am sitting here. I am going to be very sore tomorrow. I will do my utmost to be there again next week though.
  • My trusty Thermofan oven broken - not only the element, also the fan. Eish, unexpected rather large cost. And this weekends without my oven.
  • I need to decide what to make for bookclub meal on Tuesday. Am leaning towards asking Hunter to make curry and to make an extra non curry chicken dish for those who do not eat curry. It will certainly be a great change from the usual. And last time I asked all those present (9 /11) was enthusiastic about strong food.
And with that, I am off to fetch the kidlets and fish and chips for dinner.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

So yesterday was one of those days

I rushed through everything at work - it was busy. Yes, I did manage a post but it literally took 10 minutes, if that much. And I felt sort of queezy and tired and a light tummy ache. By evening, I was just not well. Hard to explain exactly what but suffice to say that I am feeling much much better today and that I will blame it all on a tummy bug that I possibly handled better than the usual.

I had such a smile about all those first songs/lp/tapes etc on yesterday's post - and if you have not left a comment there, please do - I just love reading these. And go read the comments - very entertaining. I think If I had prizes to give, Jane F would certainly get for the corniest choice and MomAgainat 40 for the funkiest.

I am planning to do a list for November to do items but it is rather daunting already..... End of the year madness my friends.

I have promised Marcia to link up with her virtual craft day and although I did not physically do this on Thursday night (I went to bed really early), it is what I have completed since the last craft day.
This will be fixed at our front door and features two big hearts (a green polka dot for H and roses for me), and 3 small ones for the kids (green for the boys and red for the Princess) and a sun presenting the presence of God in our home. This project has taken quite a while as the small red tiles were out of stock for months - I later improvised and used a different small red tile for the "K" and then completed it. ("Welkom" is Welcome in Afrikaans)

So what is your favorite type of craft?