Wednesday, 29 April 2015

We hit the jackpot!

The Pilansberg one.
Yes, we saw a leopard - up close enough so that the kids will never forget it. One hardly ever see leopard  they are shy and very well camouflaged and it is purely a question of luck to find one of these illusive beauties in the park. But this is just the cherry on the top of our greatest camping weekend ever. Yes, Manyane camp is in a slightly dilapidated state at the moment - with one big ablution block undergoing renovations we hope this will get better. What is really lacking is proper animal proof garbage bins because the monkeys and baboons are causing havoc in camp - lifting lids and littering everywhere. The restaurant though still makes great food, the pool is in tip op condition and the playground great fun. We had the greatest weekend. Our kids are now at the age where they actually help pitching and breaking camp and that their contribution really helps. It makes the whole experience so much better.

There were heaps of bike rides - one of the great pluses of a camping weekend. Swimming, playing cricket and rugby and playing around with other kids -just plain fun. And then there was the game viewing. Boy, we had wonderful sights and even better than that - we had children that not only enjoyed seeing the animals but actively participated in spotting animals and enjoying the whole experience. It was just a golden weekend - and one we were in great need of. Pure relaxation, family time and lots of love.

But - let me show you some of the sights we saw.

I am keeping some of the beautiful nature shots to use in future posts - but here's one I want to share now. Late afternoon sun, just after a rain shower.
So how was your long weekend?

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Yesterday morning was one of those great mornings

10 minutes before the time we usually leave for school we had bags packed, teeth brushed, hair done, omegas taken, dogs fed, contact lenses in. Maybe the time saving margin was just too great.

Wednesdays are busy days in our household - so we have 3 school bags, two judo bags, one music bag, my handbag, work bag and little cooler bag that need to get into the car. We also had 3 bags of too small shoes to take for charity for barefoot day. So I send out the kids with bags to pack into the car while I discuss the lunch food with Lucy.

We leave the house 5 minutes early. We chat about all sorts of things. L discuss his newest obsession - where our allegiance lie withing rugby teams. What if Ireland played England - who do we support. And so forth. C reminds me that although we found out what Poytr Tchaikovsky's name was we forgot to listen to his music (one of our little general knowledge items that popped up last week. A discuss the music playing on the radio and plans to build a model bridge for a project. Lots of talking.

We get to the school just about the usual time - it only takes us about 8 minutes to get to school. Stop, apply body lotion to legs (we roll like that - they all hate it but I sort of force them in the car), leisurely open the back door of the car. Start loading bags......just to notice we are one school bag short! Jip, Mr L's school bag, in all this abundance of time, was left behind. Meanwhile my phone rings - Lucy to inform me about said bag. Sigh! So I send the kids in, assure Mr L I will bring his bag and drive back home. As I step through the gate at the school, bag in hand, the last notes of the National anthem plays .... gosh, in time! Just in time. And I thought we were early this morning?

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The day my boys had me speechless - and extremely proud.

If you have been reading my blog for a while you may know that our family has a motto - If you participate to the best of your ability it is good enough for us and in our eyes you are a star. For us it is always about trying, and trying your best. Not winning.

The boys have been doing Judo for the last 2 years and Mr C has participated in two tournaments before and Mr L in one. Mr C has previously won one silver and a gold (but with very small field). We were not convinced in both cases that they were giving their all .This Saturday we decided to participate in one again and the field in their age and weight category was sizeable.

I did not expect much but boy, when Mr C went in for his first fight I could not believe my eyes! Such guts, such determination and will to win! Even more of a surprise was Mr L that went full out for it and did exactly the same.  I was so proud right then that I could not stop smiling.

In the rounds they never played against each other but then when the medal play outs were announced they came up brother against brother. Fun but difficult - all of a sudden it went quiet in our little corner - just for that fight.

In the end, Mr L walked away with gold and Mr C with silver. Mr L won the medal decider with points but also had one more clear (not points) win in the rounds. I am so extremely proud of my two boys - not just for winning medals, but for living out our motto with enthusiasm.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Different strokes for different folks

I am always a tad amazed at how different 3 kids in one home can view a situation or make a choice. I think the moment you have more than 2 kids you tend to almost view them as a group, almost out of necessity and harmony for the household - the danger I think even more with same sex twins. But we try our best and honestly the totally different characters our kids have will in any event force us to see their individuality constantly.

On Sunday , the last night of the Easter school holidays ,I did a bit of a holiday recap with them. Although we stayed at home and us parents worked we each took a day off to spend with the kids and they had two fun days with the au pair. With the Easter weekend in between there were not many days without entertainment.There were more than enough choices for favourite holiday activity. So guess what they chose?

Mr L chose the obvious- The Tutankhamun exhibition -and he was the one I thought enjoyed it less than the other two with the Princess being a lover of Egyptology and Mr C our resident wannebe archaeologist!Turns out it totally fascinated him - he never said much at the exhibit. ( I thought the put put with dad or au air would have been his choice as he seems to have the most incredible luck with the game)
The Princess chose what I would have placed as a highlight too - the day we went fishing. She is a real lover of the outdoors and really could not stop smiling that whole day. I am sure she would have gladly spent many more hours there. Also I think the few years older grows a bit more patience for this type of thing. ( I thought the buying of her own tablet would be her highlight)
 Mr C was the biggest surprise of them all. The boys received two foam and paper model kits as gifts and on Friday afternoon and evening Hunter and each of them assembled the kits. For Mr C this was the highlight of his holiday. He loved building them , and yes it very much falls into his personality. I also think the time alone with dad was a big part of the choice. I realise more than ever that this boy wants one on one time with each one of us.  (I really thought he would choose the Tut exhibit as he was the one constantly asking when we will go. I do think he loved that but that this was just even better for him).

Mr L's army truck

Mr C's warship.
Just goes to show how even the simplest things can sometimes be more enjoyable than anything else. So what was your holiday highlights? And your kids?

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Letting go!

I seem to be writing a lot about growing up and independence these days. I guess it is just a reflection of the phase we are in with the kids, especially with the Princess who as the oldest child is always the one to push for new frontiers. As is the usual way it goes in families.

In the beginning of the Easter holidays she left for her first 5 day camp (4 nights) with the Voortrekkers. The longest she has even been away from us before was for two nights.  So this was a huge jump in independence, possibly more for us than for her. Gosh we missed her and worried about her but we all made it through fine and it was great to have her back with us on the Sunday.

I am so proud of how she handled it - she did the "Vasbyt" badge - basically a fitness and endurance specialty that involved a 2,4 km jog, uphill running, push ups, sit ups, climbing ropes and flagpoles, 5km hike etc. and did it with guts and determination. Only 5 of the girls in their group did it - the other 12 did the First Aid badge. Some of the boys even opted out and did the First Aid. I did not realize that it was a big deal if they made it but only the group that did this badge received a special medal for completing it and it apparently has a bit of a brag factor if you have that badge on display on your uniform.

The lesson I guess is that we need to slowly let go - the kids handle this way better than we do. But it's hard! It's a piece of our heart being sent to cope with herself on her own for 5 days. To dig deep and to push through on her own. But the payback came in self confidence - about her abilities to cope and cope on her own. About being able to do things she maybe did not think she could. About finishing very well in that 2,4 km run - ahead of most girls and realizing that maybe she can run after all even if a 100m is not her thing. About trying her best on her own - without our immediate support. And that, I guess is what growing up is all about.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Featurued blogger of the month

Amongst the mommy bloggers the idea came up to each feature another blogger per month - for support and promotion of each others blogs. This month I have been teamed up with Celeste of Surviving Jonkersville - also a mom of 3 that I have by chance just started reading a short while ago.
We agreed on her suggestion to share a batch of questions as introduction and here are her answers:

What is your favourite time of day?
Celeste: All day

Who is your favourite author?
C: Marian Keyes

Do you prefer ebooks or paperbacks?
C: Paperbacks. Nothing compares to the touch and smell of a books (even musty old book smells)

Which TV family is most like your own?
C: My kids say we are like The Russo's in Wizards of Waverly Place. The jury is out on that one because I don't get to watch much TV with remote control wars and all.

What is something you own or are into that you love, but no one else does?
C: It's a love/hate relationship but it's definitely my Crocs. Not the big ugly ones though but it's still Crocs :(

What is the luckiest thing that happened to you?
C: Winning R5000 in a writing competition a few years ago.

What is the weirdest, grossest or scariest encounter you've had with an insect or household pest?
C: A lizard once ran into the house and I sprayed it with a can of Doom. Still not sure why I reached for the Doom...

If you could earn R2000 by eating the same meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner for an entire month, what would it be?
C: Hotcakes

What movie would you watch over and over again and why?
C: The Notebook. It's a love story, need I say more

So now that you know a bit about her, pop over and say hi.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Reflections on the Easter weekend.

There's been a slight chill in the air the last few mornings and we have had light rain here and there. It's definitely autumn and as much as I dislike winter (and love summer), autumn is my second favorite season. I love the beautiful colours, the slightly cooler weather and the rain we often get this time of the year. I also love the hot days in between and the fact that we have the autumn or Easter school holidays. A two and a half week reprieve from the usual mad rush. No need for alarm clocks because even though Hunter and I work we can get up a bit later.

Our Easter weekend was full of fun but interspersed with some sad and ER visits. But I do think we made the best of it never the less and we had some great days.

On Thursday (I took a days leave to spend with the kids) we went to see the Tutankhamun exhibition at the Silver Star casino. Firstly I am no lover of casinos but this was a rather pleasant experience - after the exhibit we had lunch in the outside court with it's very pretty buildings and water feature.

 But onto the exhibit itself - it is such an experience! If you haven't been yet I would highly recommend you get there before it close this Sunday. We all found it fascinating and I loved the fact that they had a special childrens audio guide.

On Friday morning we lost our Rufus to liver failure. The vet thinks that he was very sick as a puppy and that his liver had been damaged for a long time . It took a very ordinary tummy bug to trigger the failure. Our hearts are broken and we miss him every moment. He was the most loving and adorable boy and had a special little something he shared with each and every family member. We know that he has a year with us filled with love and lots of new experiences for him. It is still so unreal. Run free my boy on the eternal beach. We will always love you. It was a very sad Good Friday.

On Friday evening after a day spent mostly at home (the kids amongst other things decorated masks) we decided to go out for dinner and lift the spirits. In the play area Mr L hit his head in an uncovered bit of steel in the trampoline enclosure - and lo and behold bad enough to have it attended to. So we spent a fair amount of time in the ER and he now proudly displays two staples in the back of his head.

On Saturday we fulfilled one of the items on the "we want to do this year" list with the kids - we went fishing. Boy did it turn out a great day and we all felt so relaxed (and very tired) that we all passed out pretty early on Saturday night. I am sure it is going to be one of the highlights of their year and something we will have to repeat at a stage.

On Sunday morning I woke up looking like an unbalanced chipmunk and in pain - turns out I have an apses in a tooth - after a trip to our doctor (no dentist to be found over the long weekend) I am on my way to recovery and then to the dentist to do what will need to be done. We did however spend a great day at my moms where the kids did some Easter egg hunting and played with one of her friends' little girls, about A's age.

Monday was spent quietly at home doing some necessary household tasks and generally chilling around. All and all it was a good weekend despite losing our furboy.

So how was your long weekend?