Friday, 28 August 2015

And that was August...

Well almost - but it has flown right out of the door in the wink of an eye. What did not help was being busy at work and loosing a whole week to a tummy bug. The worst one ever for me. So firstly apologies to Cindy who I was supposed to feature this month and to Ella Bella who was supposed to feature me but whom I never got around to answer her mails. What can I say girls - the month swept by and disappeared in a cloud of Gauteng dust and pollen. Because yes, its Spring! Glorious! I love that Winter is (mostly) over.

So what's happening in our world? Well A is in the midst of a test series and has a project with an oral due next week. Most is done in class and she is well away with getting it all done. Next week Friday is drama Eisteddfod and preparations for the ballet exam is taking a lot of her time. The girls have also decided to audition for the schools' talent evening which has huge competition to get chosen for the showcase evening - we will see how that goes.

The boys have both had a Voortrekker badge day  - C did the Animal recognition badge and  L the Junior chef. C and his troupe spent a delightful evening last Saturday having a sleep over named "A night at the museum" in the Ditsong museum of Natural history (the old Transvaal museum). It was a great adventure for the boys who literally got to know every single bit of the museum. They also both competed well in a Judo tournament where L managed to win every fight he had and took gold. C was in a higher weight division for the first time and the lightest boy in it. He still managed bronze . I am so very proud of my little Judoka. Bev cricket season is in full swing once again and Wednesday evenings are spent with the sound of balls against bats and the now and again cheers that cricket brings. It certainly has a unique atmosphere that goes with it.

While C was at the museum Hunter took A and L to watch the Bulls on Loftus. The school was awarded and amount of tickets and the kids had great fun surrounded by their friends. It is also hockey season and A had a tournament last Saturday and L has one tomorrow.

Third term always seems the busiest of them all to me. But we are fine - doing well. And it's Spring! Possibly the greatest bit that third term brings.

So how are you all doing? I have also not been reading blogs either so please let me know.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Longweekends at home

Sunday was one of those magical days - mostly because we did nothing that we in general do on Sundays. Because it was a long weekend - and having that extra day afforded us the opportunity to take it slower, to move all errands to the other two days. To have time to breathe a little deeper. It was great!

We had a lovely breakfast at the Harvard restaurant at Grand Central airport. While there is a cool children's play area ours mostly sat and watched the planes and helicopters landing and taking off. Hunter and I had a great value for money buffet breakfast with bottomless coffee and the kids enjoyed the kiddies menu - the pizzas was especially great done in a wood burning oven. We took our time - there was no rush. Nowhere to be, nothing to do. I literally felt myself relaxing.

The rest of the day was spent at home- the kids just played and played . A's friend K was with us for the day and it always results in great play time for all 4 kids. I read a bit and did some project life on the patio in what was the best weather we had in ages. We have wonderful sunny warm winters days here with temperatures close to the mid twenties. Hunter and I both had lovely 1 and a half hour naps while the other one supervised the kids. The day concluded with a walk around the block with the puppies and wonderful left overs for dinner.

The rest of the weekend was busier - but great too. The kids and I made it to the very last day of the Ice Age exhibition on Saturday and had friends over for dinner and rugby. On Monday we did some very necessary shopping and visited my mom . A then studied for her test for tomorrow and she and I did the huge task of decluttering her cupboard and sorting out too small clothes. Gosh, has she grown! We gifted 3 huge black bags of clothing. It honestly felt great to do it. It was just in general a great long weekend at home.

I think the key is that although we were busy for two of the days, that one day of absolute leisure made the weekend. Our Sunday routine has been rather tight for the last year and a half- church to my mom to do her shopping and visit her , make lunch for her, tidy up- and then most of the day is over. We need more leisure Sundays - we need to program ordinary Sundays to be leisure Sundays . Maybe it means packing Saturday a bit tighter  - but in future - we need to get this right, at least half of the time. I need it - I think my whole family need it.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Things I have learned this week.

  • It's great to try out a recipe you haven't made for years - even if it is not what your family in general enjoy. It's sweet nostalgia - and just maybe it can become a new favorite. I made fettucine carbonara last night - it's been years. Hunter and I both loved it. It took me back many years to when we dated and just got married. And the kids all enjoyed it.
  • I was asked to do some specialist consulting in retail architecture at another firm. It took spending more than 2 hours with them for me to realize how much knowledge you accumulate through experience in years of working in a field. It was a huge ego boost.
  • Pick n Pay clothing's pants for girls are in general longer for the waist diameter than any other retailer. At last I found pants that A can wear straight off shelve and that actually fits well.
  • Even at 10 she was delighted that I found her and myself a pair of matching harem pants! I though by now it would be uncool. Love it though
  • Changing a swimming coach or place can truly turn what was ok or good because she was heading for a goal into the most loved activity. For the first time ever A placed any activity above her ballet. 
  • A boy that started this year with a sad and long face and was so not happy to be in grade 2 at all can decide after making two great new friends in his class that grade 2 is in fact the best year ever.  
  • A ball sports mad boy may just find that there is one ball sport that does not feature in the great category. It may also be the only ball sport his sister enjoys.
 With these few bits of randomness- have a great great long weekend! Do you have anything special planned?

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Sometimes we forget....

That Mr L has a few more challenges than your average 7 year old boy. Odd that I forget because he has a twin to remind me all the time. But we have come to a routine - pop the one meds as he wakes up, pop in the contact lens after breakfast, pop the last bit of top-up meds as we park at the school. The only real reminders are his sports obsessions - which by the way are driving me totally nuts. But I guess at least it is a healthy obsession.

The fact of the matter is that he is doing well - very well. He is spelling, reading, writing and doing maths like he should. Yes, sometimes it takes more prompting to get what his homework is out of him (short term memory recall) but it is a common grade 1 problem - hence they practice it by not letting them write down their homework.

So when the au pair called on Monday to say to firstly his eye is very red and he is complaining that the contact lens is folded and he can not remove it and that secondly he is refusing to tell her his homework it hit me that in fact things have been going so well that we forget. She also tried to remove the lens to no success. I phoned our wonderful contact lens specialist optometrist who immediately asked us to come in. When we arrived he left his patient for a few minutes and immediately helped us. It turned out the lens folded and moved to the side almost behind the eyeball. He managed to get it out in a few tries and then proceeded to check the retina for damage. Thank goodness all was fine. With a few drops to help with the swelling we were off - recommended two days of wearing glasses and then to try lenses again. I have to add that this wonderful man did not charge us a cent for this.

I am happy to report that this morning he has his lens in again - it took a bit longer than the usual but we got it done. Brave little boy indeed - it was a very sore experience.

I often think how it must be to struggle just a little bit more than the usual with most things in life. I hope that it makes him a stronger, more determined person and I actually believe that he will at the end of the day be able to call on a lot inside himself.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Leaving a #BeautyLegacy

My A is growing up so very fast! It is as if from the moment she turned 10 the nagging little things we seem to have about ourselves started. For the first time ever she did not want to wear a pretty dress to school on her birthday - because it's not cool apparently. She also started with a bit of skin niggles which we are fighting with face wash and pimple cream. Just last night she right out told me she feels ugly because her skin looks ugly. (Which certainly is not true)

She is very tall for her age - one of the 4 tallest girls in her grade - and skinny to boot. If pants are long enough they will be too wide for her to wear and I constantly find myself making plans to get long pants that actually fit. So of course the nasty girls will zoom in on her body - maybe out of jealousy? Or just because they are nasty. The very first hockey practise this year while dressing for the hockey a girl remarked that she (and her BFF - that is shorter but also skinny) are too thin. A was left speechless - her friend had the confidence to very cheekily remark "We are sportswomen - this is how we look. You are unfit and fat". Yes, maybe not the right thing to say but I do admire her confidence to fight back against the negative words. 

The problem is that not only is the world throwing body conscious issues at our girls but so are we. If we complain about our thighs or our hair it is quite possible our daughters will pick up on it. Have a look here:
When I received a lovely package from Dove yesterday that supports the campaign in the video above I knew I just have to do what they ask. I have to start today to make sure that I pass on a beauty legacy to my daughter. Make her feel beautiful because the world outside will do the breaking down of that what we try to build. The idea is to write down and share positive and self esteem building notes and place them in the jar for her to read. And sometimes to add a note to her lunch box, her books, her ballet bag. Part of this of course is to be gentler to myself too - especially when she can hear me. To stop the negative comments about myself. To love myself more and take better care about myself.

Dove has a wonderful website that one can use to inspire and support our girls  - have a look at the Dove self esteem project. It provides a lot of advice on a lot of subjects that we have to deal with and help our girls through.

Lets all get on board and make the next generation one with confidence. 

Monday, 3 August 2015

One on one time

Mr C had a busy weekend - on Saturday he and 21 of his best buds had a Voortrekker speciality course - animal observation. (For the international folks - think something similar to the Scouts). He also had a mad scientist party following right on. As I attended a camp with A earlier this year and Hunter went on a father and son sleepover with L I volunteered when they asked for two moms to join and help the boys on Saturday with the dad that's the leader of the group. Hunter juggled the other two kids with horse riding early and A's first hockey tournament for the season later.

So in a rather unplanned way this combination resulted in a whole day just for me and C (although of course he "shared" me in the morning). The boys had huge fun at Farm Inn seeing wild animals on a game drive and a treasure hunt in the farm yard. Many boys loved petting and feeding the bunnies and guinea pigs the most.
 He loved sitting right next to me in the game vehicle but still had fun playing around with his buddies. We left as soon as we could and headed over to the party - while all along he kept taking about everything he saw and learnt during the morning.

Just look at the inside of this cake!
At the party he immediately joined his buddies around the table and enjoyed and participated in every experiment that was shown. Boy did he adore it. He made sure though that I saw every experiment. Very tired we both left just as soon as it was decent to leave - we had a long long day.

On our way back he kept talking about the experiments and what he learnt and almost at home he fell silent for a while. As we parked I felt two little arms embracing my neck from behind. He landed a big kiss on my cheek and said "thanks mom for our wonderful special day together". When saying goodnight later - the usual hugs and kisses and tucking in he once again gave me a huge hug and said "I will never forget our special day together".

I once again realised that some one on one time with each of the children is so very important. Believe me with two parents and 3 kids with a very full program it's really not easy to do this. On Saturday afternoon Hunter and Mr L had a small pocket of time just for the two of them and it was also hugely enjoyed by them both. We will try to do it more often - because it means so much to them, and frankly to us too. And although a whole day is great, small pockets can also make a difference.

I would love to know what and how you spend one on one time - especially it you have more than two kids.