Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Can’t sleep

January 7, 2012

I suffered from terrible insomnia in high school which got way better at University and pretty much disappeared once I had children. Tonight though I just can’t get to sleep so I’ll most likely ramble a lot.

I just can’t get over what incredible weather we are having. Usually Feb, March, April and even May and June are pretty good in PE, then we get a little bit of winter (with lots of nice days in between) and in September or October the wind starts. This year the wind started later (winter lingered) but boy did the wind howl. Then all of a sudden it was like someone flicked a switch on 15 December and it’s been pretty darn incredible since then. We’ve had 3 lots of out-of-town visitors and they have all been blown away (ha ha) by how gorgeous it’s been. Mid-twenties or a bit higher, so not too hot with a gentle breeze and often completely windless early morning and evening and the best of all has been the warm sea water. It’s so warm you don’t even catch your breath going in. Our pool is 34 degrees which is ridiculously warm and we should probably turn the heating off but it’s just so glorious, especially for night-time and early morning swims that we haven’t. So, that’s what we’re used to at home now and yet the sea is so warm it doesn’t feel cold. Zoe is absolutely loving swimming in the sea and she’s getting really good at it. She can boogie-board (with a little push to help her catch the wave) but then with the actual  swimming in the waves she has started to dive under the big ones and jump to get over the smaller ones and is happy to swim in the surf. She is only 4 years old. I am astonished. This evening Chris went for a proper swim in the sea in his brand new R2000(!!) Iron Man wetsuit and we went along.

I should quickly add, PE is Iron Man country and if you’re not doing it yourself, with each year that you live here you will know increasing numbers of people who are doing it and you will eventually do it, except me of course I’m adamant that I won’t be sucked in. Anyway, starting in about December every Friday afternoon from about 4pm everyone goes for a training swim in the sea. They are like ants all with their wetsuits on but it is rather festive particularly on a gorgeous day like today. They swim anything from 600m-2,4km or even further (the swim is 3,8km in Iron Man). Because this is PE, no one is working on a Friday afternoon anyway and although there are organised sea swimming races on Sundays this is just a very casual but extremely popular occurrence.

We have been doing lots of swimming in the sea this holiday. What we tend to do is go to the beach early, 8.30amish and stay for a few hours and then go again at about 4.30/5pm for more swimming. The amazing thing about Zoe is that I spent a month here when she was almost a year old and Chris was studying for his final exams. At first she refused to put her feet on the sand and the only way to get her to play in the sand was for her to be sitting on a towel. Eventually by the end of the month (and almost daily trips to the beach – it was Feb) she started to like the sand and the rock pools,etc a bit. I never would’ve believed you if you’d told me she’d be diving under the waves and lying in the sand making sand angels or burying herself a mere 4 years later.

We got back from the beach just before 6 this evening and I went for a run (because the Iron Manner is cycling tomorrow morning) and couldn’t get over the number of people still swimming in the sea when I was getting back about 7pm. There is also such a lovely atmosphere at the beach. We usually go swimming at the beach just down the road from us (Pollock Beach) and every evening you meet the same families/people down there when it’s not holiday time, although we’ve been most evenings this week and it’s been a case of all the usual suspects with lots of extras. We usually take the dogs with to Pollock and they have just as much fun. The sea swims happen at Hobie Beach which is usually much busier (no dogs) and Zoe prefers boogie boarding there – the waves are a little less dumpy- and so that’s where we went this evening (for Chris to swim). We knew a few of the wetsuit swimmers but the rest of the people on the beach were all just such a good mixture and everyone was having loads of fun. It had been a gorgeous day and the beach was packed all day and yet there wasn’t even much litter around.

I know I’m going on and on but I need to because of what our visitors had to say. It’s so easy to get caught up in one’s busy life and dwell on the negative. We need to remember every day how blessed and lucky we are and it would be criminal to waste these perfect days because all too soon Chris will be back at work and the girls will be at school and we won’t be able to walk down for a play in the morning. Hopefully we can still do lots of evening swimming this summer but Chris won’t always be able to join us and how blessed we are again to live in a place where I can walk down to the beach on my own with the girls and have a swim and build a few castles and know without a doubt that we’ll bump into friends and people we know all doing the same thing – walking, cycling, swimming and playing.

And now for something completely different…

I’ve been watching Fat Doctor on Channel 125 I think. It is shocking. Chris is rather sympathetic to these people. Some do seem to try while others don’t at all and I just want to slap them. These people are so fat that most don’t work and they need other people to do absolutely everything for them. There was this guy last night of 30 who had a 23-year-old wife and 3(!!) young children. I’m still not sure how he got her pregnant in the first place and he was so fat she had to wash him and wipe his bum (and bring him all his food of course). They showed her grocery shopping. He sometimes ate 24 small packets of chips A DAY and then tries to tell us he can’t help being so fat and he just keeps putting on more and more weight, well no s#$t sherlock. He cannot even stand up for longer than a minute. I could go on and on. Some of their BMI’s are 60/70. Mine was 23 when I was 9 months pregnant. I also look longingly at the buy 5 get 1 free doughnuts that tempt me in the aisle at Woolies but I don’t buy them (often). We ran 30km yesterday morning and my very clever watch tells me how far we ran exactly, how fast and how many calories I burned (1800 I think), so that probably entitles me to eat a packet of chips (which I did) but only 1 not 24.

Something is wrong in the UK if you can sit at home, because you are too fat to work, have 3 children and a wife at home but then somehow still afford to buy hundreds of packets of chips a week and drink coke all day long. I know our tax money gets wasted disgracefully and I try not to think about it, but that also seems wrong, surely rather give food coupons and make it healthy food. Yes, I know that healthy food is expensive but surely one can think of something. Okay, getting back to the program.

The people all then have gastric bypass surgery and lose loads of weight and feel great and start exercising and the 30-year-old with the 23-year-old wife even started bringing his wife tea in bed and could wash himself and wipe his bum, so really great except the one poor chap died and that was pretty heartbreaking. Chris and the doctor who does the surgery both argue that it’s a lot of factors at play in these people’s lives which results in them getting so obese that they get to the point that they will never be able to lose the weight as they are too big to exercise (and will die pretty soon) but I still DO NOT understand it at all. I do not have an addictive personality (although I do start to get a bit edgy if I don’t run for a few days) and have pretty strong willpower and motivation so I really can’t get my head around it all. It’s quite entertaining though and it does make me want to send some of them to Chile and put them in a mine shaft for a few weeks. The chap this evening was too embarrassed to eat in public so goes to the KFC drive-in and ordered a zinger meal, a rounder meal, a side order of onions and then tried to get an ice-cream but they didn’t have. He told the doctor quite proudly that he ate quite healthily as he had lots of fish and chips!! You all know how healthy English fish and chips are. We once got it and I got halfway through and was nauseous the rest of the day. I do have to admit that tonight for supper we had pork sausages and chips and I didn’t even have any of the sweetcorn Chris made to go with. Naughty, naughty. I felt so bad I just went and ate a bunch of grapes!

Better go to bed as the big cyclist is meeting a friend at 5.15am to go cycling. This friend has been training for the Half Iron Man for a good few months now and Chris was rather distraught when he heard this evening that he ran 15km this morning, swam 2,4km in the sea and will be cycling for 4 hours (so over 100km) tomorrow morning. He had a tummy bug last week and he’s Chris’s height (1,76m) and told Chris he weighs 66kg (after the bug and with all the training). That’s a BMI of  21 and he’s from the UK!!

 

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Going away

March 11, 2011

We’re going to Zuurberg Mountain Inn for the weekend. I cannot wait. Chris is running a 50km trail run in the Addo National Park and we’re taking my parents along. I was supposed to run the race as well which is why my parents are coming but I decided against it and rather did the 50km road race 2 weeks ago. I’ve already run 80km this week (since Monday) and so I’m looking forward to a VERY relaxing weekend.

Ischgl

January 24, 2011

We’re back. It’s been a long time since a week has gone by so slowly and I mean that in a very good way. It may sound strange but when we arrived back it honestly felt like we’d been away much longer than 10 days. The girls even looked different to me. You know how one week just flows into the next and one second it’s Monday morning and then before you know it, it’s Monday morning again. Last week was not like that at all. It was a lot of travelling I have to say. We left PE at about 3pm on the Friday afternoon and arrived in Ischgl on Saturday lunchtime after 2 flights (1 to Joburg) 2 trains and an hour’s bus ride.We left Ischgl on Saturday morning at about 10am and got back to PE at about 11am on Sunday so a good 48 hours of travelling. 2 weeks would’ve been better but I couldn’t leave my children for that long, I would miss them way too much.

Ischgl is a gorgeous Alpine village full of Chalet-style hotels. Our hotel was way better than I expected with the most incredible food. We got breakfast, an afternoon “snack” (rolls with cheeses, cured meats, puddings, cakes, soup, you name it) and then a 5 -7 course dinner all beautifully presented. Thank goodness we skied for 6 hours a day as we might not have been able to fit into our ski clothes if we hadn’t. When we arrived the weather was gorgeous – sunny, about 6 degrees and it had snowed a few days before we arrived so conditions were excellent. Towards the end of  the week it started to snow and got very cold. Up to minus 20 on the top of the mountains. Let me tell you that is cold, very, very cold. It’s not that easy to ski when it’s snowing as everything is very white and one can’t see contrast and it’s hard to know exactly how steep everything thing and where all the moguls (mounds of powdery snow) are. I was glad we got to get the feel of skiing again in such ideal conditions and eventhough it was unbelievably cold on the last 2 days, we still did manage to ski all day (with a few welcome breaks in the mountain restaurants for hot chocolate and goulash soup). I’m by nature a control freak and I like to be in my own little comfort zone. Skiing takes me out of my comfort zone completely. It’s not the hardest thing to do in the world but it’s a little tricky if you haven’t grown up skiing all your life. I find it quite tempting to just keep skiing down the gentle beginner slopes but we had 3 days of lessons to get us into the whole swing of things and our instructor was great. I’m not great at listening to Chris tell me what to do but I thrive on group stuff. I’ll try anything and do anything if there are other people also in my position and someone with loads of knowledge and ability showing me what to do. When you’re following other people down a very steep slope you can just look at the person ahead of you and not worry too much about exactly how steep the slope is. Then, you turn around and look back at what you’ve just done and the next time you do the same slope (or one similar) on your own it suddenly doesn’t seem that steep and you start to enjoy it. Now, I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it but there were times when I was pretty terrified standing at the top of a slope looking down at how steep it was. I’m not a good enough skier yet for it to come completely naturally. I still have to concentrate most of the time and when it’s so cold it’s sometimes hard to engage one’s brain all the time. I’m the same on scuba diving holidays. I do actually enjoy it but I’m always nervous and slightly terrified to start with. I think it’s a good thing. It’s good for me to move out of my comfort zone and what a feeling of achievement one gets. I can’t wait for our next ski trip and we’ll defintely not wait 7 years before we go again. It’s such an incredible holiday as you’re outside, surrounded by stunning scenery, being active, socialising, eating divine food, getting away from all the stresses of life,etc.,etc. As far as holidays go I can highly recommend it and worth every cent it cost.

It was good to be away from the girls and not have to worry about anyone else for 10 days. We slept on average about 9 or 10 hours a night, didn’t have to worry about grocery shopping, cooking or any mundane stuff like that. We’d wake up at about 7am, have breakfast and start skiing by about 9am or just before. By 4pm we were usually down from the slopes and then had a sauna (every hotel seems to have a sauna area), our snack, a snooze, read a book, maybe go out till supper at 7pm. Blissful. I just have to mention something though. The Europeans sauna naked. I find this completely weird. Naked! Men and women of all ages, shapes and sizes sit in the sauna and then walk around in the sauna area going for a shower, steam bath, whatever absolutely starkers. We didn’t, we kept our bikini’s/costumes on and they probably thought we were weird but I just absolutely couldn’t do it. I know it’s just how they are and what they’re used to but it just doesn’t feel right. Why would you want to sit next to a man that you don’t really know without your clothes on??? Why???? And then see them later on at dinner. No thanks not for me.

Another thing you forget about is the amount the Europeans smoke. I honestly don’t know anyone that smokes anymore and yet there, the number of people smoking is staggering. There you are with these incredible snow-capped mountains all around, this wonderful mountain air and every second person seems to be smoking.

The only blip of the holiday was that I managed to lose our return train ticket (for a group of 6). I have absolutely no idea what happened to it. I am generally a pretty organised person and nothing like that has ever happened to me before. 185 euros later we had a new ticket. Ooops. Thank goodness Chris doesn’t get bothered by stuff like that. I guess we’re even now after his little fender-bender but none of this is helping our building fund. It was great being overseas again but I was also extremely grateful to leave the cold behind and fly back home. As long as we can afford to go on holiday overseas every 2/3 years I will much rather stay right where I am. I was quite envious of some of the other people staying at our hotel that had an 8 or 10 hour drive home (to Belgium or Germany or Holland) while we had a 10 hour flight home but when I got home and we took the girls for a walk and play on the beach and I knew that they were stuck in that cold I was very grateful for my 10 hour flight home.

The girls were absolutely fine. Not one moment’s problem and they’ve been 100% themselves since we got back. I thought Ava might be a bit more clingy or difficult to punish me but clearly granny was an ideal substitue for mommy. I did miss them lots and would love to take them along next time although I’m not sure how they’d handle the cold.

In other wonderful news my niece, Isabella Grace arrived safely this morning. My mom flew down this morning to help with Lara while my SIL is in the hospital and with driving as she had a c-section so no break for her yet. I can’t wait to see a photo. My brother isn’t the best emailer or facebooker so I’m not too sure when we’ll get to see a photo. When I spoke to Richard and my mom earlier my mom hadn’t even taken a photo yet!!!What kind of a granny is she???

In more exciting news (I think) our building should start in about a week’s time. We’ve got a quote from a builder we like and have seen his work and know him personally (he’s a good friend of very good friends’ of ours) and we can afford it so let the demolition begin. We are still waiting for a second quote but we much prefr the guy that we know and the quality of the work he does is better so because we can afford him, we’d much rather go with him even if the other guy is cheaper.

I’ve put some photos on facebook of our trip.

One more thing. Accessorize had a 70% off sale at  Munich airport!!!! If you know Accessorize you’ll know how incredible that is (especially if one has 2 daughters). I could’ve and should’ve bought so much more stuff but I was still reeling a bit from the 185 euro train ticket so held myself back a little. For all those Hello Kitty fans out there you really need to take a trip overseas, you will utterly freak out, the world has gone Hello Kitty crazy.

Let’s hope this isn’t a sign of things to come

January 5, 2011

Chris reversed my car into a friend’s car in our driveway yesterday. Yay. He isn’t actually supposed to be working much at the moment. For any of you not married to a doctor they somehow aren’t able to ever only work a little bit. You either turn off your phone and go far, far away as the entire PE medical community seem to have done or you get sucked into working. I mean they can’t really say no now can they? You can’t turn away babies born with strange cysts, kids falling and cutting their faces, burn wounds, cancer, etc.,etc. It’s not that I don’t feel sorry for these people but schucks enough is enough. The 2 of us are going away in 8 DAYS TIME but the girls are staying here, so I was hoping we’d get to spend quite a bit of time doing fun family stuff. Every morning he goes off telling me he’ll be back at 1pm and then eventually pitches up after 3pm. He isn’t actually officially on holiday, so getting home at 3pm is not bad going for a normal working day but it’s the summer holidays after all and we live in PE, no one should be working. Well, they are and they’re spilling chemicals on themselves, silly billies, making more work for others.

Let’s get back to the fender bender. So, he gets back yesterday afternoon and a friend is visiting. I ask him to please take the dogs ball throwing at the field near my parents and pick up the ironing from my mom (my mom’s helper is coming in twice a week while they’re away and has nothing to do except our ironing). I read the other day that helper was the politically correct term, what’s wrong with domestic worker? Zoe calls them nannies, I hope that’s alright.

Anyway, so he’s not very keen to take them and he said that he actually thought to himself, imagine if something bad happens. He’d taken the dogs ball throwing when Rolo was killed, although that time he had been keen to take them. How ironic, think the dogs’ ball throwing days may be numbered. So he loads them into my boot, as clearly they can’t fit into his Mini and he reverses out of the garage. Nina hadn’t parked directly behind his side of the garage and he just didn’t look and the next moment CRUNCH. She has a brand new VW polo. The damage is really not bad at all to her car but my bumper is rather munched. The funny thing is that her husband did exactly the same thing to one of their friend’s cars not so long ago and all he said when she told him about it was, “You see I told you it can happen easily.”

Now, for the mission that is insurance companies. They were already giving me grief on the phone. We’ve had the same insurance company for 7 years and have never made a claim. If they give me too much trouble I’ll be looking for a new broker, just like we got rid of our previous medical aid. We decided to go with Profmed, let’s hope it was the right decision. I am seriously not in the mood to sort this out right now just when I was starting to get unbelievably excited for our SKI TRIP!!! Snow was never going to be an issue after the winter they’ve been having in Europe but it’s always nice to ski in powder and there is lots of snow forecast for Ischgl next week. Ischgl’s last snow was on Christmas day so that’s really great. It’s finally starting to hit me, we are going skiing!!

Zoe needed some new shoes and she’s very particular about which shoes she’ll wear. We went into Cape Union Mart to get her some crocs and we found her some gorgeous sandal crocs (light and dark pink so she’s over the moon). She usually only wears shoes if she absolutely has to like when there’s going to be thorns, she’s riding her bike or it’s winter. She almost never wears shoes to school (in summer) or when we go to the shops or whenever she doesn’t absolutely has to. Ava is even worse than Zoe, not sure how this happened, although I’m barefoot a lot of the time at home and have never been massively into shoes so it’s possibly my fault. Good news is that she’s been wearing her new crocs constantly since she got them, a very promising sign. Right next to the croc stand happened to be all the ski jackets and wouldn’t you know, the most gorgeous grey/pink ski jacket was on special. R500 off. I resisted, eventhough there was only 1 left and it was in my size. You see I have a ski jacket. A perfectly good ski jacket but it’s navy blue and just nothing special. I bought it in the UK when I first got there and was still very stingy. That means that it’s actually 12 years old now. I used it loads when I/we lived in the UK and then the outer jacket I used as a rain jacket when we lived in Cape Town. Remember our dogs are walked EVERY single day of their lives and Cape Town winters aren’t the greatest. I thought that I’d bought it when we last went skiing in 2003 but then Chris reminded me that I’d got it before then. I didn’t need any more convincing. Today the girls and I went back to Cape Union Mart and thankfully the jacket was still there. We’ll have to go on many more ski trips or holidays to cold places to justify buying a second ski jacket (Joyce will be inheriting a very nice navy ski jacket). It does have a fully detachable fleece top inside which is light pink and I know I’ll use loads and I can then use the outer jacket as a rain jacket because you all know how much it rains in PE. This evening we tried on our ski stuff. I borrowed my SIL’s stuff and also discovered her very nice light blue ski jacket in the packet. EEK, forgot about that. I did casually ask Chris whether I should take the new one back and of course he said no, as I knew he would. He’s a real gem, despite his current track record. My ski pants are absolutely awful. They come up to way passed my waist and that just doesn’t feel right. Mel has a really nice black pair so now I have her divine black mitten gloves (mitten gloves are a must, I had normal gloves before and they’re just not warm enough), her black ski pants, my black beanie (with red horns!!) and then my new jacket. Will look out for a nice beanie/hat in Austria I think. We’ve got the long ski socks and goggles so we’re sorted I think. Just better not break any bones. Not keen to put the new medical aid to the test just yet.

Chris has now forgotten Ava in time-out and reversed into a stationary vehicle, he’s either pregnant or seriously in need of a holiday.

The marathon

December 5, 2010

2am on Saturday morning we were woken by a howling gale. I lay awake for ages afterwards trying to think of reasons why I shouldn’t run later. 3.50am (!!) our alarms went off and we got ready, me in a foul mood and Chris very chirpy which didn’t go down very well. The wind had dropped slightly but it was now raining, yes, raining and we’re in the middle of a drought. What are the chances of that. I know PE does get wind but most days (that are windy), the mornings are beautifully calm and the wind only picks up later in the day.

There was no question of pulling out as the next marathon in PE is the week after we get back from our skiing trip, so if we want to qualify for Two Oceans, this was our chance. The wind was against us for most of the first half and there was a light drizzle but the drizzle didn’t last too long and the wind did die down even more. Chris and I ran together for a lot of the way and I really felt good up until about the last 10-8 km’s. By that stage I went ahead of Chris but those last 8km’s were very tough indeed. In the end I managed a time of 3h39min which is better than I’d hoped for, but I was disappointed that I felt so tired towards the end. Perhaps we started out a bit quickly I’m not sure. Not many people passed me once I slowed down, so I guess it’s the stage when everyone starts to feel tired. In my mind I kept thinking, how on earth will I manage to run another 14km’s (for the Two Oceans)? This was a very flat marathon and the Two Oceans isn’t, how will I manage hills and going further? I’m a little less confident now and we’ll have to start training harder. I guess I need to try and fit gym and hill training into my schedule but again it’s the whole issue of finding the time for both of us to train. Chris isn’t an earlybird but if he had to run when he got home from work, then he would hardly see the girls and they’d be very upset. We’ll just have to sort out a training schedule that suits everyone. I still beat my previous best marathon time by 16 minutes, which I guess I must be happy about. Chris managed a 3h55min and that’s also his best time, but he was disappointed that he slowed down so dramatically. I feel okay today, although my legs are a little stiff and I’ll need to get some new shoes I think. I have pretty much always run in Nike Air Pegasus running shoes. I don’t even really bother to try them on, I just go into the shop and get my size. But, this year they brought out a new model and it’s slightly narrower at the front and my toe next to my baby toe on each foot are taking a battering, a real battering. It’s fortunately not too sore when I’m running but I get a blister under the nail and consequently I’ve been getting new nails on those toes since the Knysna half marathon in July. Each time the new toenail tries to grow, then I get another blister and lose that toenail. I’m sure it’s doing permanent damage. Someone suggested that having gel toenails will help and that only made it worse, so although my shoes aren’t old I think I need to try and track down a pair of last year’s Air Pegasus. How frustrating, why change something that’s not broken? I can’t believe people’s feet are getting narrower and narrower. At the time I bought the shoes, they did have the old model and I tried on both and could feel that the new one was narrower but I really didn’t think it would make such a huge difference. The new model was a much nicer colour which is why I chose them!! Fortunately running is a pretty cheap hobby/sport so a new pair of shoes every 6 months is probably justified for the amount of pleasure satisfaction I get.

In other exciting news our passports arrived with our Schengen visas yay!! And there’s already snow in Europe, YAY again. My dad has completed the estimate for our alterations and as long as the builder’s quote is similar to his estimate, we should be able to afford most of what we want to do, YAY again. Things are really happening now.

Plans

September 2, 2010

Last night we had a meeting with our architect and it was so exciting to see the provisional plans. One set are drawn pretty much according to what we asked and the other set are a bit more radical and involve changing pretty much everything in the house. The more radical idea is to build a new main bedroom on to the front of the house and put the lounge, diningroom and family room all at the back, looking out onto the garden and patio. The one issue with that plan is that Ava’s room faces towards the front garden and it is a very cold room. Our room is lovely as it is now and if we keep it where it is then our room will have doors onto the garden and a big window all looking out onto the pool and garden, so we will more than likely stick with the less radical plan. My plan is for the girls to share in about a year anyway as Zoe’s room is huge and is a lovely room. We could then rather break down one of the walls between the lounge and what will be the family room so then one will be able to sit in the lounge and see both the front and back garden. We could do this in our old house in Pinelands and I loved it. Next step is to fine tune all the plans a bit and then get my dad involved. He is a quantity surveyor, so will be able to give us an idea of how much all of this is going to cost. He is hectically busy at work at the moment (as usual) so I don’t want to put any pressure on him. It will all still take a little while as Chris and I need to chat quite a bit and then we’ll need Hubert to do all of the changes. At some stage I’ll ask Hubert to email some stuff and then hopefully show you guys as well.

In other exciting news, our ski party may be getting bigger which will be fun, just hope there’s space at the hotel so we can all stay together. I don’t think Ischgl is a very big place so it shouldn’t matter too much if they can’t but it would be nicer. Bad news on the visa front is that Chris and T can’t apply on our behalf, each person must go to the embassy in person. Chris has now asked his parents to ask very good friends of theirs in Germany to invite the 4 of us to stay for 4 nights. His dad goes to Germany for 3/4 months every second year to do research and he actually did his doctorate in Germany many, many yeras ago. We have meet these friends a few times and I’m fairly hopeful that they’ll be prepared to do it.

I nearly fogot, Ava has said her first word (with meaning). She “talks” and babbles a lot but my mom came to watch the girls while we had our meeting last evening and twice when she wanted to climb onto the couch, she said “Up”, according to my mom who as a granny is of course a completely objective witness. She now also says “Up” when she wants to be picked up. My feelings are naturally fairly mixed. I mean, “Up”. Every mother’s dream, for their 11,5kg child to have “Up” as the only real word in their vocabulary.

TGIF

June 25, 2010

Another spectacular day here today – 25 degrees again and my kids just love being outside, so this weather is suiting me just fine. Just hope it’s like this while we’re on holiday in Buffalo Bay. We’ve always had brilliant weather when we’ve gone this time of the year before, so really hoping we’ll be lucky again. This is the first time we’re going with children, not quite the same sitting inside a holiday house snuggled up reading by the fireplace because it’s cold and rainy outside vs trying to entertain 4 small children in a holiday house by the sea because it’s raining outside! Guess I need to add toys to my long list of stuff to take along and pack in the trailer.

Took Zoe and Ava to the Boardwalk this afternoon to go on a few of the rides they have there- not all are appropriate for young kids but there are a few and Zoe absolutely loves going there. Zoe went on the carousel twice, once on a horse and once in this round thing that you could turn a wheel to get it to spin around. Oh goodness me, I went with her and felt rather ill, she shrieked with delight. My sister-in-law went with Lara last week and she’s about 8 weeks pregnant and feeling rather ropey – needless to say, she had to get off. Zoe also flew in an aeroplane (another ride). She is besotted with aeroplanes, cars, motorbikes,etc. and was very keen to go again and again and again. I did tell her that her dad can take her again on Sunday. Sure he can’t wait for some quality time (just what the doctor ordered after a long haul fliight on Turkish Airlines!!) with his 2 gorgeous daughters and I’m looking forward to a bit of peace and quiet for an hour or so. His receptionist phoned me today to tell me he must prepare for a busy day on Monday – starting at 7am with Journal Club – boo hoo, not what I was hoping to hear.

One thing that I often wonder about. Why do some parents feel a need to brag about their children? This always puzzles me as I find it far more amusing helpful for my sanity to commiserate with other moms on what my kids are NOT doing correctly. My cousin always maintains that a lot of people lie about how good their children are. Why on earth would you do that? Who wants to hear about someone’s kid that does everything right? Certainly not me, I want to hear that your child is worse than mine, so that I feel a bit better. Chris always got so frustrated with me when the girls were tiny babies and I would continuously tell him about so and so’s baby that did this that and the other while mine didn’t. He’d then invariably meet the mom at some stage, only to find out that while they did do one particular thing correctly, they were a nightmare in another department (a fact I always failed to tell him). I’ve heard people say their child is sitting/talking/walking or whatever and then you see the child and they’re clearly not. I will admit that when Zoe was little she would not utter a single word in public and then the whole way home in the car, she’d jabber on non-stop, so maybe that can explain the lack of speaking. She has only recently started to come out of her very thick shell at school and eventhough she has started to speak more, she still spends most of the day hanging around the teacher. I love her to bits but she is a very different child at home (or once she’s relaxed) vs at other peoples’ homes or school or where ever. She is starting to change and while it does frustrate me, I mustn’t let it get to me as she needs me to help her build up her confidence, not break it down. Don’t get me wrong, she loves school and keeps asking me when it is starting again, has never shed a single tear at school,etc. but she is slightly odd (my mom and husband will be very upset with me for saying that). That gets me to another thing that’s been puzzling me. At one stage I thought that having both kids at home with me with not too many of our usual extra-curriclar activities (school 3 mornings a week, swimming twice a week, Ava’s toddler workshop class,etc.) would make the 5 week holiday feel quite long. So far it is flying by and I know I’ve been moaning a bit but I have to say we’ve been having loads of fun, helped of course by the generally great weather. Zoe’s school is actually running a holiday club for the first time and I’m amazed by the number of children whose mom’s stay at home (to look after them???) that are sending their kids to holiday club. Now I know it is only play school, so school is basically a glorified playdate but still. Is it so hard to organise your own playdates and entertainment? Is it not good for a child to learn to play a bit on their own and entertain themself. Zoe actually has a ball at home and comes up with all sorts of games and is always busy making something. I try and have at least 3 or 4 playdates a week and she loves baking, going for walks or bike rides,playing on the beach and even shopping or doing whatever chores I need to do. There’s actually quite a few places that I’ve been meaning to visit with them, that we just haven’t got around to doing and next week is our last week at home before we go away. They are small for such a short time and in a few years I’m sure they won’t want anything to do with me, so I really am savouring this special time we have to do stuff together.

Wow

June 24, 2010

Well, what an unbelievable experience the match was. Could not believe how many English supporters there were, think the paper said over 20 000 but it felt like almost the entire stadium of just under 40 000. The weather held and as we walked towards the stadium there was the most incredible carnival atmosphere with everyone singing and blowing vuvuzela’s,etc. We had pretty good seats and the game really lived up to my expectations. It felt so surreal to be actually watching a team like England and although I won’t try and pretend I know all of their players, I do know a fair number and to see them in real life playing in a stadium that my dad was involved with building was very special. The stadium was awesome and we were sitting on the lake side, so got a great view of the lake as we walked to our seats. There were no queues for the loo and everything ran like clockwork, getting in and then getting home. It really doesn’t feel like one is actually in Africa and the public transport is working so well. We drove there but quite a few of our friends went with the bus and they got home at the same time we did.

The girls were fine (of course) except that Ava is a bit sick and was very tired as she had only had just over an hour’s nap during the day, so Joyce bathed them and Ava was asleep by the time I got home at 6.30pm. In one way I was relieved as it meant I didn’t still have to deal with bathing and getting both of them to bed when I got home. Zoe and I had a lovely time together until she went to bed at 7pm. Zoe kept going on about the deep bath they’d had and was very excited about it. Now bear in mind that we have very strict water restrictions and are only allowed to use 500 litres of water per day, no using your hose, etc. Joyce hadn’t let the bath out after getting the girls out and I nearly fell over when I went to the bathroom once Zoe went to bed. The water must have been up to about Ava’s neck, I am not exagerating. No wonder Zoe was so excited, she hasn’t seen so much water in a bath in her life. Forgot to ask Joyce why it was so deep.

As I mentioned Ava is sick and she decided to wake up at 11pm, just as I’d finished reading the thriller I had been busy with, don’t you just love it when that happens. I tried to get her back to sleep but at about 12 she was awake again and she was so blocked up and then kept yelling as soon as I tried to put her down in her cot. She couldn’t really suck her thumb as then she couldn’t breathe, poor little thing and obviously she prefered to be cuddled up to me as opposed to alone in her cot. She absoultely hates Iliadin but I did eventually give her some and after initially screaming (while I was giving it to her) she did then go back to sleep. Pity I’d waited so long to do that as by then it was after 1am. I’m really not used to lack of sleep anymore so today was a very long day. A friend and her 2 children came over for a playdate this morning and then this afternoon we had a walk and lovely play on the beach. It was the most beautiful day here today, not a breath of wind and unseasonably warm (mid-twenties). Zoe and Ava (and the dogs of course) had a ball playing in the water. Maybe not so clever to let my 2 snotty kids play in the water but according to their doctor dad – getting cold doesn’t make you sick and they really didn’t get cold as it was still very warm when we got home and Ava had a dry, fleece top on for the 5 minute walk home in the pram. There are still loads of English soccer fans out and about today and they just couldn’t get over how great PE is!!! Perhaps their judgement was a bit clouded by the fact that England did actually win the game. My folks live close to the Boardwalk (where the Casino and lots of restaurants are near the beachfront) and my mom told me how she was woken at about 3am this morning with all the English celebrations.

Have I mentioned how long this week is feeling. I really shouldn’t complain but today is the first evening my folks have come and had supper with us and then helped with bath-time,etc. and it made such a difference. I know Joyce did it last night, but I am still counting the sleeps till Chris gets back. My mom has been sleeping here at night but she obviously wants to see my dad as well, so usually only comes down later once the kids are asleep. Joyce stayed last night, but she sleeps in the flat outside, murphy’s law on the one night that Ava misbehaves. We are off on holiday with good friends of ours from Cape Town next Saturday and I’m not really looking forward to all the planning and preparation that I must do next week. Chris isn’t very helpful when it comes to that sort of thing but I hope he plans to make up for his little holiday this week and lack of organisational skills (yes, I do realise that someone has to work and pay for the holiday) by doing lots of entertaining on holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait for the holiday and to spend time with our friends but staying self-catering and the fact that we have children does mean that one has to put quite a bit of thought and effort into going away.

Walking to the stadium

This wasn't when it happened but England's goal was scored at our end which was brilliant.

The weekend

June 7, 2010

Well it’s all back to reality today. The party went very well, it was nice to just have a few little ones, although it was a little chilly so we couldn’t spend too much time outdoors. Probably Murphy’s Law because I’d gone to the trouble of replacing all the sand in the sandpit. When we first got the jungle gym and sand pit, Chris went to get sand for it but came back with building sand. It was really awful as although it was clean, it was very brown and not nice to play with as it was too fine and the kids were always filthy. I managed to track down some of the lovely, clean white sand and got 5 bags of it on Thursday. It’s incredible how heavy sand is, as I thought I’d help Chris out by taking it out of my car and wheeling it to the back garden in the wheelbarrow. Well, I just managed to get 1 bag out of the boot and that nearly killed me, so he had the very unenviable task of gettting the other 4 bags out of the car and into the sandpit (as well as removing quite a lot of the brown sand that was still in the sandpit). Towards the end of the party, it was much warmer and they did all go outside and played on the jungle gym, trampoline and in the sandpit. I don’t think Ava had any clue what the party was all about but she had lots of fun, especially when her sister gave her one of the ladybug cupcakes and she smeared it everywhere.

Opening presents

The little ladybug on her birthday

Getting ready to blow out the candles

Note the very red icing all over her hands

Tim doing the Labyrinth in Hogsback

Michelle and I at the "Edge"

Our weekend in Hogsback was lovely but felt very short. It’s quite a drive from PE actually, took us about 3 hours so we only got there in the dark at about 6pm. We had a lovely dinner at the restaurant at The Edge and then sat chatting by the fire back at our cottage. On Saturday morning we went for a lovely run through the forest down into town and then back up to our cottage. It was beautiful through the forest although one could definitely feel the change in altitude when we were running back up the hill. We then went and had breakfast at the market, which I have to say was very small if you’re expecting something like the usual farmers’ market. The rest of our stay was extremely leisurely – an afternoon nap, bit of a wander around the labyrinth and gardens, some rugby, early braai and lots more chatting. We had big plans to go for another forest walk on Sunday but ended up sleeping late and reading in bed till about 9am!!! The girls were absolutely angelic with my folks and we didn’t seem to be missed at all, so they’ve been invited back again!!! We have slowly started to plan our ski trip for next year so thank goodness the baby sitting is at least sorted.