Catching up

Hello Blog-friends,

I’m BAAAACK.

I’ve written many blog posts in my head the last couple of weeks, so there is some catching up to do. In a nutshell:

Renovations: Etienne and I have *just* managed to not kill each other so far. We have now had builders in our space since October and, even though things are taking shape very nicely, I’m so over it. The dust, the people in my space, Jack (the delinquent dog) that re-marks his territory every day against curtains and furniture. The decisions about tiles and paint and lights and windows and doors. Disagreements because I think (rightly*) that you can find almost anything at a better price somewhere on the Internet. The dust. Did I mention the dust?

Work: Hectic, but in a good way. I’m off to Gauteng again next week for 4 days, second trip this year, so my heart is already crumbling a little at the thought of not seeing my family for 4 days.

Kids: There’s a LOT going on with Daniel at the moment that we are trying to get to the bottom of. Part of it is that he is scared that I won’t come back when I’m away for work (it has taken me 2 weeks of processing and talking myself out of a pit of guilt just to write that sentence without crying btw)

“cries anyway”

I’m not ready to share more about this yet, but as soon as we have a little distance and perspective I will, promise.

Coming up: The sussies turn 6 and the usual OCD party mayhem that goes along with that. Pass the wine please.

Thank you for signing up, thank you for reading. Feel free to comment, or not. Absolutely no pressure.

* sometimes it’s a real pain in the ass to be right. Almost worse than being wrong, because your partner ends up feeling shit.

Movie day from hell, featuring 3 children and a husband

I’m just going to come right out and say it: I’m not a fan of kiddy movies. To me they’re something going on in the background whilst I’m busy doing something else. I miss being able to go to the movies by myself, hog all the popcorn and not having to speak to anyone for 2 hours. An added bonus is if I can squeeze in a proper ugly cry, that’s good value for money.

Don’t get me wrong, I comprehend that taking your kids to the movies is a treat for them in the name of family time and there’s no way either Etienne or myself can attempt to take more than one child at a time yet, but there’s always something.

Take today for example.

We took the kids to see the new Smurfs movie.

(At this point I should add that getting all 3 to the same movie today was an exercise in negotiation that would have put the UN to shame. One wanted to watch Turbo, one didn’t want to watch in 3D and the other didn’t want to go with her brother)

It started with buying the tickets when my brand spanking new debit card didn’t work, I had to redo the transaction and the machine gave me completely different tickets than I asked for which meant climbing over 3 people to get to our seats. Never a good idea with children.

The whole cool drink-popcorn-buying thing also fills me with anxiety. I have a quiet little scream every time a child waves around their plastic cup and straw whilst clutching popcorn under other arm. This is because I’m notorious for knocking over popcorn and drinks in movies, so I’m nervous to see who got the clumsy gene.

We climb over the 3 people and sit down.

Isabel demands one of those loose seats.

I get up to and look for one, climbing over the 3 people.

Not a seat in sight.

I come back climb over the same 3 people and say that I can’t find one.

Isabel is unhappy.

Etienne decides to go and look for the seat, climbing over 3 of us and the other 3 people.

Whilst he is gone I take the 3D glasses out of my bag and hand them out. Daniel shuffles closer and before I can say ‘please could someone stick pens in my eyes’ he politely kicks over Etienne’s popcorn because he has his eyes glued to the big screen.

Etienne returns with a seat for Isabel, climbs over the 3 people and 3 of us and I break the popcorn news to him. He is not happy.

I ask Isabel to get up so I can slip the seat under her bum, only she gets up too quickly, bumps into my arm and snaps her 3D glasses. I do what any self-respecting parent does that hates a scene: I get up to buy another pair, climbing over the 3 people.

Of course there’s a huge queue at the ticket counter, so there I wait patiently, grinding my teeth, so I can buy a pair of 3D glasses.

Eventually, shortly before the end of the movie, I get back and climb over the 3 people and hand over Isabel’s glasses.

We watch 5 minutes and Isabel reaches to take out her cool drink. She promptly drops it on the floor. Cream soda everywhere. At least most of it got sucked up by Etienne’s popcorn already on the floor.

I also had the largest of the 3 people sitting next to me, so every time I went to pick up my drink my hand would brush their thigh. Awesome.

The movie? It was cool, but I struggle to sit in one place for so long with nothing else to do.

At least I managed to write most of this post in my head by the end of it.

Just some random family stuff

 

At Fairview last Sunday

This is just a post about random things the kids have said recently, partly because they are too good not to share, partly because that is the actual purpose of this blog and partly because it’s Friday and we could all do with a giggle.The girls are really into the concept of “heaven” at the moment.  Last week Sue and I took our girls to a market at Welbeloond (Etienne had taken Daniel to his very first rugby game at Newlands) and on the way they were chatting in the car.  The conversation was around heaven and going to heaven and Isabel asks R (Sue’s daughter) what you do in heaven when you get there and she pipes up: Nothing, you’ll be dead.

Uncomfortable little silence.

So I suggested that you would be an angel and there’s lots to do.  Thankfully no-one pursued that line of questioning at the time.

This morning I have Mignon and Isabel in the car and on the way to their school we have a lovely view over the Stellenbosch mountains.  So, they ask if we can please go to the mountains this weekend.  At first I prattled on about all the other things we have planned for the weekend and then I thought, hold on, so I asked what they wanted to do on the mountains.  Why, be close to heaven Mom, they pipe up.

And then they proceed to ask me if they are really going to heaven at the end of the year.  Er, not yet my darlings, but thanks for asking.  I had a moment of panic about what they are taught at school, but I think it’s because we talk about our beach holiday at the end of the year and Christmas so much.

Yesterday afternoon I arrive home to the sound of Lady Antebellum booming from the kitchen and as I come up the stairs Mignon comes leaping from the back door: “Mom!  Did you walk ALL the way from work?” And then we all had a little twirl in the kitchen to our favourite song whilst Etienne poured the wine.

It might be because I’m feeling a little agitated in general or because I’m simply turning into a Table Manner Nazi, but nothing irritates me more than hearing someone chew (a) and hearing someone chew with an open mouth (b).  It drives me completely insane.

After numerous requests for Daniel to please PLEASE take smaller bites and chew with his mouth closed I eventually aggressively whisper to Etienne under my breath that “Ek gaan van my kop af raak” (I’m going to lose my mind).  Daniel turns to me and asks “Mamma, hoe gaan jou kop afval?” (how is your head going to drop?)

Sigh.

Daniel left me this little gift on the bedside table last night. Etienne calls him the Slug Lord. They all have a ridiculous obsession with slugs.

 

And then, lastly, we all worry about whether our kids eat enough as it seems to be a never-ending battle to get them to eat a proper, balanced meal.

Thursday nights is Roast Chicken night in our house.  It’s the one night of the week we go big with cooked veggies and rice and potatoes.  Last night there was butternut, broccoli, the chicken, roast potatoes and salad.  Normally they each pick at a piece of chicken, have a potato (except for Mignon, she LOVES potatoes) and (under duress) the tiniest speck of broccoli imaginable (the girls, Daniel loves the stuff).  Last night they ate.  And ate.  And ate. And ate.  They polished those dishes of food like there was no tomorrow, not a lick of food left.  AND then they demanded a snack too.

Etienne and I were gobsmacked.  

Check, tonight they will pull up their noses at whatever we decide to feed them and we will live in hope of them eating a proper meal for the next 3 months.  But the memory of last night will help us live in hope.

 We are off to the Sauvignon Festival tomorrow (if the Cape Weather behaves) with a bunch of friends.  If you see us, please stop by and say hi or if it looks too crazy just tweet and wave from a distance, I won’t take offense, promise.

What are your plans for the weekend?

The story of the Crucifixion

This is too good not to share.

The kids each get to choose a book at night.  Unless it’s a really long story, in which case we either skip through the story really quickly and often get caught out or read only one story.  But I digress.

Tonight there was, in order, Scaredy-cat Splat (Daniel), the Children’s Bible (Isabel) and Pigwitchery (Mignon).  An eclectic mix to start off with, but hey.

I finish off the first book and brace myself for the inevitable choice of Bible story: The story of the Crucifixion. Since we told and read them the whole story of Easter (at Easter, 5 months ago) they have had a rather morbid fascination with the whole thing.  This is fine, but I was kinda hoping we could start thinking about the happy story of Christmas by now. Alas.

Tonight’s conversation went as follows:

  • Isabel: I want the story with Jesus and the crown.
  • Me: The story of how Jesus died on the cross?
  • I: Yes
  • Mignon: Why did Jesus die on the cross?
  • Me: Because he died for our sins. (cringing a little, knowing that I haven’t exactly been living on the doorstep of our local NG Church)
  • M: But why did he die?
  • Me: Because he died for all our sins.
  • M: But why did he have to die?
  • Me: Because his Daddy said so. (I know, shoot me now)
  • Daniel: And then came the clouds.
  • Me: “confused face” You mean then we went up to heaven?
  • D: But first the angels came to fetch him.
  • Me: Er. Yes.
  • I: Mom, can we get the movie?
  • Me: (trying to wangle my way out of an inevitable purchase) I’m not sure there is a movie of the crucifixion.
  • All 3 kids: Oh yes!  There is!
  • I: We saw it at school!
  • M: Why does Jesus have blood on his hands?
  • Me: (really, really reluctantly, already worried about nightmares) Because that’s where the nails went in when they crucified Jesus.
  • Little silence.
  • M: That’s really sad.
  • Me: Yes.  That was really sad.

And then we moved on to Pigwitchery.  Swiftly.

Back to normality, whatever that is..

I know I should have blogged about days 3 and 4 of Etiennelessness, but I was far too busy Parenting our 3 evil spawn maniacs lovely children to have time.  Besides, our ADSL is still borked.  Vodacom is going to bill me with great mirth at the end of the month.

Today marks the 7th day of no ADSL at home.  Creation happened in about the same amount of time.

Anyhoo, hopefully it is sorted out by the time I get home tonight.

Friday night was fun with 1h30, 2h30 and 3h30 wake-ups (Isabel, Isabel demanding water FROM THE FRIDGE IN A CUP WITH A BLOCK OF ICE and then Mignon who came to crawl in with Isabel and myself.  This left me hugging the side of the bed whilst the 2 of them lay with open arms.

Saturday night was pretty much a rinse and repeat of the above, but on the upside we all slept until 07h30 each morning.  No hating please.

The Bathrooms at Tokara

On Saturday we went off to Tokara with my friend Sue and Daniel’s BFF.  We were a little nervous about the weather, but they have loads of indoor space, a roaring fire, heated floors and toys for the kids.  All of which was promptly ignored as the automated (glass) door on the far side of the room provided much more entertainment.  Almost as much entertainment as the bathrooms did.

Did I mention they have really nice wine at Tokara?  Oh, and free wi-fi.

Then it was off to be fed by my friend Carmen and her lovely family and we scooted home, only to find the neighbours having a party and someone had parked in our driveway. In front of my garage.  So I left my kids in the car, at night, in the dark, in the driveway, in the middle of winter and had to wait for the person to move their car.  I was NOT happy.

Yesterday morning I managed to get the 3 of them in the bath by bribing them with beads so we could mozy on down to my Mom’s house to be fed lunch there.

And then Etienne came back just after lunch.

And I went off to have a nap, in peace and quiet.

PS: Daniel swallowed a tooth during supper last night.  Not the Quasimodo tooth, another small tooth.  He insisted on paying the Tooth mouse to come and collect the tooth and was very upset when he woke up in the middle of the night to find other money next to his bed.  I give up.

PPS: I should really stop posting pics of my sleeping children on Instagram..

On being connected

You know how you meet someone and for some reason you are just completely in sync with each other?  It might be because we have known each other for such a long time (26 years!!) or because our backgrounds
are quite similar, but Etienne and I have almost always been like that.

Even in the early days we would be sitting in a restaurant and someone would walk in the distance or we would drive past something.  I would notice something and start: “Did you see that..” and Etienne would finish the sentence and be 100% spot on.

We have this thing where we finish each other’s sentences.  And arb stuff sometimes that’s not even remotely connected to what we were talking about at the time.

“Remember, we still have to…… check school hours for next year” when we are sprawled on the couch after being spewed out of the nightly vortex that is our children.

One of the sure ways I know that we are out of touch with each other is when we stop doing that or we get it wrong.  Then I know that we need to regroup and sort out some stuff.  And then, when it’s sorted out we get right back to talking in half sentences.  It’s uncanny and downright weird sometimes.  I often think “How did he know I was going to say that?” or when he starts a sentence I am blown away when I just know what he is going to say.

That is why I think it freaks him out when he doesn’t understand why I feel low sometimes and I can’t explain why.  And the door is closed for him to understand without me actually saying anything.  Because I don’t really know myself.  Depression is SUCH a bitch.

Do you have this in your relationship too or are we just weird?

PS. He offered to bath the dogs yesterday morning to give me a chance to catch up on some Christmas gifts I am making.  He kindly dressed the kids and coached them nicely on how to hold the garden hose and the doggy shampoo.  Eventually, after hearing she sheer exasperation in his voice I go outside.  And there he was, desperately holding on to Lily with Daniel clutching the bottle of shampoo and the girls shrieking away
in mirth at the very unhappy dog.  Wet Husband, not so wet dog, dry children lined up against the wall canning
themselves.  So we ended up sorting out the dogs and only then I realized that the neighbours’ back door that looks out on our back garden was open.

And I was wearing was a short nighty and no bra.
Oops.

And here are our ablebodied assistants driving the tap:

 

15 reasons to go to Greyton

We went off to Greyton this past weeked with some of Etienne’s colleagues and had an awesome time.  I fell in love with Greyton.

We stayed on a farm called Oewerzicht and even the mountains felt inviting.

1.  It’s like a cross between a little bit of England and Clarens.  Without the snobbiness of Clarens.

Be prepared for a photo overkill!

Reason 2: Just look at this street.
Reason 3: View from our cottage at Oewerzicht
Reason 4: View from our shower. For real. The shower had a glass sliding door!
Reason 5: all the stuff from England you can find in the Village Store.
Reason 6: Need I say more?
Reason 7: Cows. The most good-looking cows I have seen in a long time.

 

Reason 8: The kids were in heaven. I was battling to balance my drink..

 

Reason 9: The village market on a Saturday morning. These were duck and cherry pies and the lovely lady that made them. To. Die. For.
Reason 10a: Miniature Dolls houses
Reason 10b: More Dolls houses, just check out the detail!
Reason 10c: You guessed it..
Reason 11: Post swimming chip rolls.
Reason 12: there was a piano. The kids had a ball!
Reason 13: Sunset over the mountains
Reason 14: Peace and quiet
Reason 15: Proof that the kids had a great time

And it’s closer than Hermanus!

 

The Chronicles of Vomit

Daniel wasn’t exactly a bundle of joy over the weekend so it came as no surprise when we got a call from the school yesterday.

Followed by Etienne collecting him and his sisters from school.

Followed by the obligatory fever medicine.

Followed by bed-time vomit on the carpet in his bedroom.

Followed by 02h00 vomit all over the bathroom.

Followed by that foul-smelling gastro poo in the same bathroom.

And this is where it gets complicated. See, in our house we have an arrangement:  Etienne does poo and I do vomit.  I don’t do poo.  I gag just thinking about poo. So when we were confronted with poo and vomit in THE SAME ROOM at 02H00 IN THE MORNING whilst we were meant to be FAST ASLEEP we were blinking at each other in the bright light of the bathroom.  And we had that moment of playing mental chicken. Until I started gagging.

Game.  Over.

ps Etienne found Isabel running around naked instead of being in the bath.  He asked what she was doing, “Pappa, ek het my vinger in my hol”. (Daddy, I have my finger up my bum) And she did.  I blame Etienne for this of course, he is forever joking about having your finger, er, you know what I mean.

pps: Isabel came haring into the kitchen last night :”Pappa! Mignon wil nie praat nie!”  This after repeated requests for them to be quiet because there was much singing coming from their room.  This is her, looking very tired as you can see:

ppps: I feel like I haven’t been writing about Mignon lately.  I just love how gentle and caring and affectionate she is.  Here is a little gallery of her and Isabel on Sunday.  She is in the blue dress, always keen for a cuddle.

Isabel looking at the camera

 

Looking at her sister

 

Lemme see your tongue?

Hide and Seek

I collected the kids from school today for the first time since I started working full day in April.

These days when I get home they are usually already in the process of being bathed or running around or comatose on the couch – weather dependent. So I don’t get that sheer happiness you get when you collect them. Those few minutes when they are genuinely happy to see you and excited to tell you all about their day and you have some time to catch up with their teacher.

I miss those days, probably for selfish reasons more than anything else. But still. I love them extra tonight.

Here’s Isabel playing Hide and Seek:

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Captains log, Day 2.5

2 days down, 3 to go.  And I’m alive and kicking.  Mostly due to some of my Darling Husband’s very expensive wine, but hey.  You do what you gotta do.

Things I have learnt in the last 2 days:

If he is not here someone still needs to take out the bin on a Wednesday night.  Thank goodness the garbage truck came very late yesterday!

The dog still needs to eat

Unfortunate poo accidents in night nappies still happen even though the girls have been out of day nappies for ages.  Cue much gagging.

The dog will get hold of abovementioned poo nappy and decorate the lawn with it in approximately 40 seconds.  Cue more gagging.

I really should learn more about our wine collection.  There is was some really nice wine in there.

I should also be more involved in making decisions about meals.  It’s just not something that features much on my radar beyond Meat-free Mondays and dessert.

I really am able to bath, feed, clothe and put to bed all 3 kids all by myself with the minimum of whining. But the novelty will wear off very, very quickly.

I love crocheting, but by faaaak it takes forever.

And lastly: our very sweet dog is actually quite an agressive pack animal when it comes to other dogs.  Our new little lady is still at Animal Anti-Cruelty as the first introduction did not go well. Which makes me wonder about the insanity of wanting to do this when Etienne is not here.

To be continued…