Friday, 27 January 2012

Gee, its been a week and a half!

Busy, busy, busy. At work things are positively crazy with my big project for the next 18 months in full swing this week. I discovered exactly why the iPad is such a total hit this week - well in terms of entertainment I could always see the appeal, in terms of work it has astounded me. If I did not have my iPad with me yesterday I would have had so much more to do today at the office. A huge time saver! And in my fast paced very visual industry it is fast becomming a must have item. And iCloud - I just love it.

On the school front I feel comfortable with what the Boys will be doing this year. Apart from the activities they were doing last year we are delighted with the new ones added. Obviously the most important of all is to continue with Mr L's OT this year. They will be continuing with their Junisport - a general sport ans gymnastics program. We have added Mikimaths and swimming to their program. We believe that swimming is a life skill so this is essential to us. In addition, yes folks, my boys are starting with rugby! They had their first training session yesterday and had so much fun. So we thought that was it. Then on Tuesday their teacher approached me when I picked them up - it seems that Mr C is incredibly interested in the pottery classes, so much so that he can not rip himself away from it. And we know that for a SID kid pottery can only be beneficial, so we enrolled them both. Busy programmes, but every activity is at school apart from the swimming where they get collected from school and delivered back.

Coping with extra mural activities for the Princess proved to be more of a challenge. Being a Primary school and offering.a huge amount of activities means you have to phone or find out from the coaches etc when the activities are and try to co ordinate the lot yourself. Her request was simple - continue with her ballet and the netball which she enjoyed so much last year. The ballet is was already sorted last year, but getting the times for netball proofed a challenge but at the end her teacher pointed me to the grade 1 coach who gave me times and days. So then we proceed to book swimming ( which to us as parents are a given) - then the glitch. She had to pass an evaluation to qualify to swim with the school coaches and to be allocated a group. Yesterday she passed it! I was so proud at how hard she tried and with how much determination she did it. She would love to do hockey but the season has not started yet and the times and days have not been set. So when she was not chosen for the choir we decided to offer her speach and drama. I think she would enjoy it but I also believe it is a confidence booster. She is forever acting out roles at home so it could be just what she would love. And being a great speaker is certainly a plus in today's business world.

The weekend is a busy one for our Princess - they have ballet practice as they prepare for their big yearly production, every Saturday until mid March, to be followed by a witch themed party. On Sunday we have. A family birthday celebration around lunch time.

So how was your week and what does the weekend hold for you?Oh yes, and this was my first ipad post!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

2011 Favorites

Yes, I know 2011 is loooong gone, but I have been compiling this little list which just grew and grew and well, finished or not, here they are:

Favorite songs: Adele - Rolling in the deep
                          Elvis Blue - Hallelujah (cover of the old Leonard Cohen song)
Drink: Non -alcoholic - Lime & soda, Alcoholic - gin & dry lemon
Food: I grew a rather irrational love for hummus and taramosalata
Movie: New Years eve
TV programme: Celebrity apprentice but a year of very little TV in general
Gadget: My iphone - I totally adore it
I phone application: Instagram
Ringtone: The overture from Big Blue
Book: The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls - read my review here.
Clothes shop: Big Blue
Coffee shop haunt/alone time hiding place: Zafferanos in Groenkloof.
Beauty product: Annique's  green roiibos resque cream - really awesome stuff for any irritation from pimples to rashes to insect bites and Tanquil body treats hand mousse which cured my winters hands.
Night out with hubby: The night we spent alone in big five country doing our bit for our rhinos' conservation.
Break away from home/holiday: Our recent one in Mtunzini - the first time ever that the kids were so easy and we had no need to do the usual "be thankful for the holiday speech". It was a fantastic holiday.
Blogposts: My favorite (and not so retailers ) about well, our local retailers.
                  Scenes from a pediatric ward (my most hits post ever)
                  All about books today - featuring my top 10 books of all time
Photos I took:

Little man L's feet in the hammock at home

Egytian geese on the river at Mtunzini in December

Water lillies on the dam in Pilansberg March

Internal of the Prot Edward light tower April
 Hope you have enjoyed my overview - what was your favorites?

Friday, 20 January 2012

The 7th Birthday report

So the Princess turned 7 on the 11th of January and as she really wanted, for once, to have her party on her actual birthday we agreed to a small Spur party with friends. She wanted a camp out 70's party at home with a sleepover but we felt they were too young for that - so we bribed with the Spur - to which she agreed BUT she still wanted her flower power 70's theme regardless. So we made a tie -dye shirt for every little girl to wear to the party and attached the invitation to it.

For her I made some extra items for a total tie-dye outfit. (BTW anyone wants a tutorial?)

The cake was a giant cupcake with all flower power type things (see here) and I made paper table cloths for the theme.

Every girl got a little tub with beads and flowers to string, which started with huge enthusiasm but was abandoned by all to play with abandon.

So there was a fun filled afternoon with burgers, ice cream and blowing the candles of the cake.
And she loved every moment of it!

 And the best about the party? Mommy (also sporting a tie-dye Tshirt)sat and chatted! So relaxed.
And my two cousins took the photos for me so I really can not take credit for the above.
Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

First day of big school

My alarm was set for 5:45 - a full half hour earlier than usual. I woke up, showered and went downstairs to fix lunches, and then to wake up our little grade one Princess. All the tears and uneasiness of the previous days were gone - she was so excited! What a happy morning.

Of course, things went downwards just after we got to the school and found out that she was not in class with a single one of her group of 6 friends from the year before. And that her two besties were in class together. In fact, the only girl in her class from the previous year is one she had a particular love/hate relationship going. Luckily Lilly, the twin sister of one of her boy buds and a friend from another class last year is in the same class. Then her one bestie said that she should not worry, they can play together during break. So that was sorted.

During assembly the headmaster named all the grade 1 kids that had their birthdays during the holiday - hers was nice and as big as the others on the screen and she saw it there, but he read right over hers not mentioning her. The tears started welling in her eyes and she said that she does not feel welcome in this place at all and wanted to go home. With luck we then moved to their classes and after seeing her teacher she piped up happily until it was time for mommy to leave. Huge big tears. Actually the only ones in her class. My heart broke. But her teacher came over, gave her a big hug, asked me to take a picture and her to wipe her tears as we can not have a pic with tears, and problem solved. A smile, and I could go.

When I picked her up this afternoon it was all smiles - excited and happy with her pretty teacher. I was so relieved. Actually I should have known that she would bounce back, but we moms worry, don't we? When we walked into aftercare (the idea was to meet the teachers, go back to the office with me and then to aftercare tomorrow) she saw two of her besties and some other friends and the playing started immediately. I was immediately dismissed back to the office and she stayed.

All in all, a good day, after all.
(BTW Mommy was all smiles at school, walked in at the office to tell them about the morning and shamelessly started bawling her eyes out)

Monday, 16 January 2012

"Mommy", she said to me last night...

right after we read a book about kids going to grade 1 for the first time, "I am so excited, but I a just a little bit scared". I asked her why and she said: "What if I do not like the teacher or she does not like me? What if I do not have any of my friends in the class with me?" But I know it's much more. It's the fear of the unexpected, of the unknown, of the newness of it all. Of growing up.
My answer was simple: "Don't worry my love, mom feels exactly the same. " Tonight we will mark the huge bag of stationary and all the bits of clothes. Tomorrow I will make a last attempt to get the ever out of stock school school scrunchies and she will spent her last pre-school day quietly at home with Lucy.

Om Wednesday we will be in grade 1. Excited, but a little bit scared.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Funny how the work year started so nice and slow...

just to burst out of its seams into full force yesterday. But a lot has happened this week and a lot has to happen.

Someone had her 7th birthday and had a lot of fun - for the first time ever having her party actually on her birthday. But more about that in a separate party post. I have to show off the cake though - it was such a headache for me but I am totally happy with how it turned out. She had this 70's hippy idea in her mind and we made tie-dye shirts as invites to all the friends, so I had to make a "flower poser" cake. She wanted flip flops, and then reminded me of our giant cupcake pan - so we made a giant flower power cupcake cake with a chocolate bottom and vanilla top(icing on top piped with two colours to look like tie dye). Cupcake bottom made of fizzers to make striped cup and flip flops made of foam and pipe cleaners. She helped all the way and loved her cake. The 7 out of flowers was totally her idea.

 Apart from her party we had the usual gifts and cupcakes for breakfast at home straight after waking up and a braai with granny the evening. 

And then I had my first mommy failure moment of the year. I forgot that the Boys' school opened with the private schools on Wednesday and while driving past it saw the cars and had a bit of a facepalm moment. Eish! So back to school 2012 for them was on Thursday and my, what a change from last year for L! Happy to go to school and even happier when I fetched them the afternoon.
I am doing a i365 photo a day from the iphone (or ipad) shared on instagram, twitter and facebook this year as #catjugglesi365 - I miss capturing those daily life shots.And so much easier now on iphone! But as some of you are not on one of them, I am also sharing it on Captured by Cat when I get the chance. Do pop over and have a look at our first week of the year.

And I have joined the ipad ranks - thanks to the office. The main project I will be working on for the next 18 months is going to be run from ipads so I need to get sorted with it. Lovely to icloud with my phone! Total integration if you want. Still waiting for my ipad sim though - seems Mweb business takes 5 to 7 days to produce such from and existing account, but I shall wait. I know that I will enjoy it for private use too mainly for reading stuff I suppose. Kindle looks great on the ipad.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

My dear Princess

This morning as you stumbled into our room, your little heart still fast asleep, mine jumped right into my throat! My, have you grown up with leaps and bounds this last year. Or maybe it just feels that way every year. This one is going to be big for us all - big school, uniforms, homework,  formal sports and all that goes with it. Mom is excited, but just a teeny bit scared - I guess like you are feeling too.

Mommy is so proud of you my darling - so proud about how much you care about others. How much love you have in your heart for people and animals - how you love your furry sisters too. I love it that you decided to share your big moment this morning and let your brothers each blow a candle with you.

I also love your independence - how you go on play dates without any fear or tears. How you love to help in the kitchen and how much effort you put into your own birthday cake and the party packs for your friends. Your enthusiasm is contagious - I will never forget how your eyes sparkled when we made the tie-dye shirts and invites for your friends for your party today.

Mommy feels truly blessed to have you as my daughter. I love you to the moon and back - as many stars in the sky and as many grains of sand as on the beach at Mtunizini.

Happy happy 7th Birthday! May your year be blessed beyond words.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Christmas re-cap 2

We were very blessed to have my in-laws with us from the 24th and the kids were delighted to have both their grannies and gramps with them for Christmas. We lean towards the Catholic tradition of fish for Christmas eve so we had yellow tail and calamari for dinner followed by the Christmas story as read by Hunter and the first year ever, carols as sung by the kids in really loud enthusiastic voices. I will never forget that.

Simple table with candles, wire boabab and pastels

We always leave Christmas father rather alternative snacks  - last year it was beer and biltong, this year it was litchis and coke - it was so hot, we reasoned he will need to cool off in that hot coat. He brought, as always, small little gifts and some sweeties.

As per the last 3 years we had a late lunch and invited all we knew that were alone for Christmas. We were 13 adults and our 3 kids - our house burst at the seams but we had a great lunch. I went for a very non-traditional pastel polka dot theme (and got crackers to match at Checkers!) based on my little Christmas cake I made at the boys' schools moms craft night.

The ladies each got a little note book decorated with polka dot ribbon and cupcakes (ai Marcia all thanks to you)
The kids had their own tree crackers, a book each and a kit kat Father Christmas
And you know, we all had a great time - especially the kids - as the dirty faces testify.
 It was such a great Christmas and I love that we made the day special for so many people.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Back to work

So today is my first day at work for 2012 - seems not to be too hectic as some people are only opening a week from now. But yes, this year is going to be hectic work wise - I just know it. A big project and hopefully some others to follow.

We had a really great holiday - I think it is the first time since we got married that Hunter and I had such a long holiday together- 3 whole weeks. I of course, had another week before that. But it was good. But we have realized what we actually need is a week off together with the kids at school - in order to get things DONE. But nevertheless - a quick re-cap:

Week 1 I still had Lucy at home to look after the kids while I ran around doing various errands - it really was a bit hectic. I did make time to meet up with my dear old primary school friend Janine - it was great spending time with her. I also got to meet the fabulous Marieks - was great to meet at last. In amongst this all my car got serviced and I bought two big shelve units for the kids' rooms and moved most of their toys to their rooms - a great great move and so much easier to keep tidy. But it was busy - I realized later that I should have made a bit more time for myself.

Week 2 was spent in Mtunizini in North KZN = camping at the same ground we did last year, and it was fantastic. It is truly amazing to see what a difference a year makes with the kids. It was way way easier than last year. Way easier. We swam a lot, we ate a lot and we slept really well with great naps included. See here for some  pictures

Week 3 was Christmas and following on to New Years and my in-laws spent it with us. It was a week filled with time with the grandparents, afternoon naps, swimming and eating. Spending time with the extended family. More about Christmas later this week, but New Years hubby and I went to a propert party at friends. It was great fun.

Week 4 was just us 5 (+2 dogs) at home - which was a great move. Well, with Lucy there would have been better, but alas. It was filled once again with swimming, some afternoon naps, Hunter doing a mammoth job in the garage and us getting rid of a pile of baby stuff - selling some and donating the rest. I mostly minded the brood and did laundry etc. It was good to do this - just us all at home. We have not done this before.

So onto 2012 - may it be a great work year for all. This week it's Lucy and the kids at home until school starts on the 18th and yes, we have a birthday on Wednesday to celebrate when the Princess turns 7 - so lots to do there.

So what was your holiday like and are you back into the "normal" wing of things - whatever that might be?

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Christmas re-cap no 1

I have not even shown you one little bit of our Christmas and the New Year is already 3 days old. So, we put up our tree rather early this year - on the 28th and int he middle of the day to avoid the tired children unpleasantness of years past. Once again, my little perfect moment in my head - kids gently adding decorations with Michael Buble's Christmas album playing in the background did not come true. In stead of him gently singing "It's beginning to feel like Christmas" I had 3 kids singing "Silent Night" and "we 3 kings" on top of their voices. Not what I imagined - but perfect in every way unimagined. It was so sweet - but so loud.

Our little wooden menagerie serves us well and the kids love to play the scene out.

 Scenes from the tree:

The advent calender was a huge hit once again and the kids waited in total anticipation to open it.The non sweets days were such hits.

More about the actual day to follow

Sunday, 1 January 2012

So 2011, really...

As Charles Dickens started "A tale of two cities" :  "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,..., it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair" pretty much sums up 2011 for us our most difficult year following on 2007/2008 when the twins were small and sick.

The worst of times certainly were the 9 weeks with Lucy on sick leave, the realization that Little man L had serious issues and the incredible lack of sleep. Work issues for both Hunter and I and the high cholesterol shock I had.

In between sits the journey towards getting him back on track, the rough but encouraging ride. The changing of eating plans and cholesterol medication. The operation to the Princess to alter those very dominant ears into the "normal".

The best of times was the realization that in Little man L's reports back from school and the OT that we are seeing a small miracle in action.His eventual potty training. The absolute blossoming of Little man C in school and the Princess' incredible year in grade R. Reaching that magical 4 cholesterol count in December and having an incredible holiday - amazed at the progress in ease of camping that a year makes. The prospect of a course for Hunter and a good project for me lightens the load.

2012 is for us a year of hope - a year of looking forward and progressing onwards.  Looking back on my phrase for 2011 - "Light as a feather on the breath of God" certainly is a shock, because I was anything but light. The year was heavy, and staying light was simply too much. But this year will be filled with hope, every day. With the grace of God.

Here's wishing you all the very best for 2012 - may God bless you beyond your expectations. May God fill our hearts with hope and love.
Original source unknown
Romans 15:13 - May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.