Currently

Hey there!  It’s been a while and in that while, I’ve been soooooooooooooo busy.  At work, I’ve had two massive projects go live in the last 10days and all my focus has been on that every.single.day.  I’ve even been considering getting adult nappies the office hours…and I’m not even joking.  Of course I’ve been extremely tired with late days at the office and juggling the household and I just want to know, like seriously – as an adult, ARE YOU EVER NOT TIRED??!!!!

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Anyhoo, that being said – I am alive!  Almost 100% recovered from an viral inner ear infection that I picked up about 5/6weeks ago and I’m off to Mauritius tomorrow.  Yes, you read right – MAURITIUS 🙂 🙂 🙂  For work.  But I’m fortunate to be going a day earlier and a few colleagues from the office are taking myself and the other South African guy around the island on Sunday!  Yay for us.

In other news, my parents are officially moving back to Durban after being semi-permanently based in Jo’burg for the past year.  It’s really been so amazing having them around.  Popping in to say hi whenever, the kids have loved having them so close by picking them up from school and at soccer and cricket matches, and then of course, having the extra hands around and my mum just dropping a pot of food off every now and then just because.  In fact, the last few weeks would have been almost impossible for me to cope had it not been for their help.  We will still see them probably every  few weeks or so, but it’s going to be a big adjustment not having them 10kms away.

My little sister moves in with us at the end of the month for a few months and we’re really looking forward to having her around, especially the kids.  And her little sausage dog Bailey ❤

I feel like I need another separate blogpost for this – not that I haven’t blogged about it before, but I need to vent!! – Ethan came home yesterday having left 1 school shoe at school (it’s a Woolies one that’s totally black on the inside so impossible to label – any suggestions????) and a pair of pants.  Guys, I bought the shoes LAST WEEK, I’m not even joking.  When my sister fetched him from school yesterday, he was beside himself because he was scared that I was going to kill him.  My sister asked my mum to call to calm him down (I was on my way to a team build and she didn’t want to bother me) and my mum in turn called me to tell me that he was hysterical when she spoke to him – crying non-stop – and you know Ethan is my emotional child in the best of times… can you imagine how he is when he’s done something wrong?!?!  My response:  he should be scared that I’m going to kill him because I AM!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Any suggestions on how to make him learn?

At some stage, I was keeping a running lists of funny things the kids said under Ethan-isms and Riley-ism but you know, the kids grow up and suddenly you’re discussing how they got into your tummy if God didn’t cut your tummy open first to plant them inside (Riley at the tender age of 4) and there’s no more funny little quips but more deep conversations that need to be tabled with somebody else other than me, hehe.  But my conversation with Ethan earlier this week if just too sweet not to share.  So I gave him R30 to buy a wrap for lunch at school as we didn’t have any bread at home (I only realised this at 5:50am…do you now understand how busy I’ve been?!?!).  In the car on the way to school, the following conversation went down;-

Ethan:  Mum, how much money do you have left?

Me:  From what?

Ethan:  After this R30, how much money do you have left?

Me:  Nothing, that was the last R30 I had in my purse so I now have no more money left.

Ethan:  So where are you going to get more money from?

Me:  Nowhere.

Ethan:  Can’t you go to the bank?

Me:  No.  Remember I told you that the bank just keeps money for me, it can’t give me more than I’ve put in.  So this R30 is the R30 that I took out of the bank to give you so now there’s nothing left in the bank.

Ethan:  Can dad give you money?

Me:  No he can’t.

*Ethan thinks…*

Ethan:  Mum, you can have this R30 back.

Me:  But what are you going to eat for lunch ‘cos this R30 is for your wrap?

Ethan:  It’s okay mum.  I can fast today.  You can rather take the R30 so that you can use it to buy food.

❤ ❤ ❤

Funny how the last R30 that I gave him then didn’t jog something in his mind when he left his brand new shoe at school yesterday…I mean, if I didn’t have money for food, where am I going to find money for school shoes, hehe.

Anyway, it’s the end of our first full work week in South Africa in forever!  I hope that you guys have had a good one.  Enjoy the weekend xxx

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Let’s talk about 2nd hand clothes and hand me downs…

You know how it goes with the first child…new everything!  And all the time, often.  Then the second child comes along and well, bonus if they’re the same sex (and I wouldn’t blame you if your boy was all in pink because #timesbetough y’all!!)…because well, hand me downs 🙂  Poor Riley gets so excited when he receives something brand new from the shop shame – it’s like Christmas came early.  Most of the clothes he has are second hand.  Of course, I kept only the things that were in tip top condition but again, this is basically most of Ethan’s old clothes because as the first child, he just had so many new things all.the.time.

When Ethan started grade 1 last year, we bought him all brand new clothing items – from the uniform to the extra mural wear, everything was straight out of the box.  The first time he lost something, it was replaced almost immediately with a new item.  The second time, probably with some serious annoyance from myself, it was replaced again!  But then I started to realise that not only is he a child and he will lose things (thank goodness that very rarely happens now!! *touch wood*), but he also grows at a really rapid rate.  Things that fit at the beginning of last year were barely fitting him by June/July [read: school shoes, my child is now in a size 3, he’s 7!!!!].  Shorts from term 1 were still okay in term 4 length wise, but around the waist, they were a squeeze and in term 1 this year, they could only close if he sucked his breathe in and believe me, I tried.  Let’s face it though…kids outgrow things and need bigger sizes.

So I’ve eventually seen the light and am happy to pick up second hand items provided that they’re in good condition.  This morning, I picked up 2 pairs of winter trousers, a tie (so we have spare one in case) and a tracksuit jacket for sports on colder days all for the price of R200 from the school uniform shop.  To put it into perspective for those of you whose kids are not yet in “big school”, if I bought the trousers brand new from the same shop, 1 pair would have cost R180!!!!!  We’ve also been fortunate in that my cousin has given us some hand me down school clothing items, and he is happy as a pig in mud to have new stuff…whether it’s a hand me down or not!

So I was driving into work this morning thinking – what’s all the fuss about?  I mean, the child is going to be comfortable in clothes that fit him, and he’ll look neat because of course I made sure that the items chosen were in really good condition!  And then that got me thinking…when Riley starts big school in 2021, will I buy him brand new uniforms or will he start school wearing Ethan’s hand me downs??!!!

What do you do for your children?

Do you accept hand me downs from family?

If one child gets new things, do you give the other too?

Oh boy, I hear myself!

Do you ever listen to your kids and hear yourself????  If your house is anything like the Howe house, then it basically happens all.the.time!  But last night was classic and too good not to document 🙂 🙂 🙂

We were sitting at the dinner table – the boys and myself – and as usual, catching up on our day.  Riley asks…so how was your day mum?  So I tell him about my day and then ask about his.  He tells us what he did and I ask whether the kids at school were asked to talk about their long weekends in morning ring.  His answer was no to which Ethan pipes up – well, do you know what any of your friends did?!?!…the following, too hysterical for words, response then came from Riley…

Noooooo Ethan *hands waving frantically in the air* – they were home and we were home.  Do you think that they have cellphones?  Do you think that I know their numbers?  How am I supposed to know what they did if I wasn’t with them?!  

Yes, this all from my 4year old.  Kids really do say the darndest things!!  4 going on 14… 😉

What’s for dinner…

I was driving home from gym last week Thursday evening when I heard the 947 radio dj’s call up a random listener to ask them what’s for dinner.  I’m not sure if this happens on their show every day (I only listen in on the way home from work and I think this happens just after 6:30pm at which point I am long done with dinner!), but the point of it is to ascertain what a listener is doing for dinner to maybe assist somebody who hasn’t decided on what to make as yet.  My first thought was wow, this is late to be assisting somebody in making dinner.  Who decides at 6:45pm…what time do they end up eating?!  Of course not me for I am the master of planners especially where food is concerned!!!! I plan my meals in advance over the weekend and shop accordingly.

This is been quite challenging over the last few weeks as for lent, I am abstaining from meat.  The rest of my family isn’t.  Initially I had all these wonderful plans of making really fancy vegetarian meals for myself, but life happens…and so most nights, I just whip up something extra on top of what I’ve cooked for the rest of the family.  Take last week Monday as an example – I made chicken stew with rice for them.  I used half the vegetables in the chicken stew, and the with the other half, I managed to make a really delicious vegetable curry for myself and had it with some of the rice.

Anyway, on one of the nights last week, I made the below for myself one of the evenings where I was feeling extra creative 😉 and it was so easy and quick to make and so delicious that I thought I’d share it with you.

Spicy Scrambled Egg Wrap

Ingredients;-

Spring onion (as much as you would like, I just used one small one)

1 Tomato, finely grated

2 Teaspoons of chilli tomato pesto

1 Red fresh chilli, finely chopped

2 Eggs

Milk (as preferred to scramble eggs)

Salt and pepper

2 Wraps

Handful of grated gouda cheese

Handul of grade mozzarella cheese

Handful of rocket leaves

Chopped up parsley (as preferred)

Method;-

Spicy tomato relish: fry the spring onion, add in salt and pepper as per preference.  Add chilli tomato pesto, fresh chopped chillis and grated tomato and cook until paste becomes smooth and thick.  Add water if needs be.

Eggs: scramble in a pan and allow to cool before adding to wrap to avoid wrap from getting soggy.

Wrap – heat the wraps in the microwave for 10 – 15seconds.

To combine:  Lay the rocket leaves flat in the middle of the wrap.  Add dollops of spicy tomato relish on top of the leaves.  Layer scrambled eggs over and sprinkle a combination of the cheeses and the parsley thereafter.  Roll up tightly inside the wrap and secure with foil or a toothpick…or just eat straight away!

And VOILA – spicy scrambled egg wrap done 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Hey, I’m alive!

I know, it’s been a while right?!  Hey hey, I’m still alive.

Schools are back and I’m right back into busy busy busy.  I cannot believe it’s day 2.  I feel like we never had a break.  That’s partly because the kids didn’t really have a break.  Well, I don’t think so.  Ethan had an oral to prepare for, for a speech festival which started on the first day of term 2.  I don’t know about you, but I honestly don’t know when school became so hectic.  I mean, what is the harm in letting the kids having a 2week break with NO WORK?!?!?!  Can the festival not start the week after school starts…

On the other hand, the break was awesome.  It felt longer than 2weeks to me, and that’s probably because I took a few days off.  Not many, but myself and the kids managed to travel to Durban for a long weekend with my folks.  We drove up in the first week of the holiday on the Wednesday and returned on the Sunday.  The break was just what I needed (although I wish that I had stayed for longer!) and more importantly, I got to spend quality time with my boys.  We hired bikes on the beach, went to see a kiddies show at the theatre, took the boys to jump (a must during every school holiday!), went to the park with nowhere to rush back to and the highlight of the holiday…swam in the sea.  And this time, I let Ethan have a bit of freedom and go into the waves with me.  He had the time of his life.  Unfortunately, the weather in Durban wasn’t amazing, but on the plus side, it wasn’t humid as usual, so that made for a really pleasant stay.  And then the cherry on top…every night after the kids went to bed, I spent quality time with my parents, just the three of us ❤

Last week, the kids had their cousins sleep over for the first time which they thoroughly enjoyed.  And the following night, Ethan had his first sleep over (other than at nana and aunty) at their house.  I didn’t think that Riley was old enough so he spent the day playing – after all four of them were spoilt rotten by nana and grandpa with an hour jumping at Rush followed by lunch at KFC.  I went to collect him at 8pm after dinner at my folks’, only for him to cry blue murder ‘cos he wanted to stay.  I still think I did the right thing because you know that bedtime brings a whole other dimension to our thoughts and I’m pretty sure that I would have had to go and collect him in the middle of the night which I sure as hell wasn’t prepared to do.  Anyhow, maybe next time we’ll let him try 🙂

The kids being on holiday was really a godsend and came at the right time.  Of course, there was that break from the usual monotony and I didn’t have to worry about lifts and lunches and sticking to 7pm-ish bedtime, but more importantly for me was that I had three really big projects at work that were in crunch mode last week so required me to work around the clock!  Sometimes you don’t see the small blessings in your life right?!

Well, just thought I’d check in.  Hope I haven’t missed too much on your side xxx

 

Wordless-ish Wednesday: Crazy Hat Day and a review of past hats…

Last years hat

Grade R:  Easter hat 2017.  Ethan won first prize in his grade but to be fair, there were only 10 kids in his class 🙂

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Grade 1:  Easter hat, tears in his eyes because when we arrived at school, he saw the other kids’ hats and wasn’t happy with his anymore 😦

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Crazy hat 2019:  Front of the Wonka hat…the idea was all Ethan’s

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Back of the hat:  can you spot the Lego factory on the top of the hat plus there were three Lego figurines in front of the factory (Charlie, his grandpa and Willy Wonka)?!

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Grade 2:  Ethan proud as punch of his creation ❤

Currently

Yesterday I went for a walk – not a jog, not even a half jog/half walk…just a walk – and I spent the full 30minutes thinking!  That’s what I enjoy about exercising on my own.  It gives me time to think 🙂  I have so many things that I want to blog about, but putting it into a few posts is just proving impossible at the moment so let me rather update you on things in our world currently…

Recent Celebrations

Our anniversary weekend away was absolutely amazing guys.  I can’t remember the last time that the hubster and I went away for TWO NIGHTS without the kids.  We left Jo’burg on the Friday morning and stayed in Hartebeespoort Dam.  My mum ordered the honeymoon package so we were greeted with rose petals, champers and a platter of eats on arrival – so special.  We agreed to put our phones down and disconnect as much as possible, we even played a board game.  But most importantly, we spent good quality time together ❤ ❤ ❤

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This is the man I love ❤

My birthday a week later was equally as special.  From my boys singing, gifts from them and friends and family, I really felt special.  I arrived at work to a desk full of goodies and oodles of gifts.  I was spoilt with breakfast by a friend, lunch by a group of girlfriends and I must admit, I hardly did any work *yikes*!!

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Do you understand why it was so hard to work??!!!!

On Saturday evening, we went out for dinner as a family with my baby (not so baby anymore!) sister at night, when it was dark, much to the boys delight.

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This is us ❤ ❤ ❤

On Sunday, my middle sister spoilt me with a full body massage at a spa in the middle of nowhere.  It was so rustig.  My folks arrived from Durban on Sunday evening and popped around for a cuppa tea and to drop my gift.  It turned into an impromptu braai.  When they left, I really felt like my love tank was full.  But wait…there was more 🙂  On Monday, I received more gifts at work and this morning, I had my final birthday celebration…breakfast with a friend at the restaurant in the office.  Five days of celebrating!!!!!  I have been in my element 🙂  Did I mention that my love language is receiving gifts?!?!  Now for another 360 odd days more till the next one.

The boys

Schools close this week Friday and both the boys will be at home for 2weeks!  I cannot wait not to have to rush like a mad person packing lunches at sparrow’s fart, squeezing through traffic to get to school, leaving work at 3pm on the dot to get to school in time to fetch Ethan, remembering what kit to pack on what day…2weeks of pure bliss.  And I’m excited that I’ll be able to fit in some gym workouts without having to work around the school time table either 🙂 🙂 🙂  It’s been almost impossible to get a consistent schedule going, but anyway, I try! and I also convince myself that at least I’m getting some exercise in.  I still cannot believe that I trained and managed to run 21km last year – like HOW.  Anyway, I digress…

Riley has been asking every few days (as if the answer is going to change) where we are going for the school holidays.  When I say nowhere, he gives a big aaahhhhhhh…then he says he really wants to go to PE to see his cousin Lily.  Aunty Megan, if you’re reading, please make a plan to come and fetch my child because as Ethan says:  RILEY, THERE’S NO MONEY TO GO ON HOLIDAY.  Train them young 😉  They actually are going away…they’re going with nana and grandpa to Durban for a few days.  But noooooo, that’s not good enough for Riley.  At the age of 4, I feel like this child has some rather unrealistic expectations of us!!

Ethan has a crazy hat day at school tomorrow.  He came up with his hat idea all on his own and it’s going to look amazing!  Basically, he wanted to make something from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  So we got a polystyrene hat and spray painted it black, printed a few things to stick on it and then used pipe cleaners to make different shaped sweets.  He’s also added real sweets to it and on top of the hat, he’s built a Lego factory and put Lego men on to show the factory and people from the movie.  I really hope that he’s happy with the finished product as, if you follow my blog, you will recall that last years Easter hat resulted in tears on the actual day because boy child was not happy with his hat when he got to school and saw all the other kids’ hats.  In fact, this year he specifically said he wants a really awesome hat, not like last year, hahahaha.

In other news, he’s also been chosen to swim in the championship gala on Thursday this week at school.  I’m so chuffed.  For his age group, only 8/9 kids have been chosen of which 4 swim for the school team.  So imagine how good he must be for him to have been chosen.  I’m toying with the idea of getting him into private lessons for swimming because I think there’s a natural talent there, but he’s also just naturally good at sport, so not quite sure.

Watching

I’ve started watching a new series called My Brilliant Friend – it’s a foreign film with subtitles.  So far, only episode 1 (75minutes long!!) has played on DSTv, but for some strange reason, the trailers appealed to me, so I’m giving it a go.  I’m only about half an hour through so I can’t really say whether I love it or not.

Work

Work is work 🙂  Sadly, the plans that I penned down at the beginning of the year are not really coming to fruition…as yet…but I do believe that all things happen in God’s time and so I will continue to patiently wait and pray about it.  It’s year end this month and so crunch time with every.single.thing, plus I have a really big project on the go which I need to land by then.  Hopefully I can still squeeze in the Durban trip with the boys in their holiday but we shall see.  I am blessed and greatful to have a really good job at a company that I absolutely love.

That’s all for now folks.  Have a great week xxx

Question time…Ethan 3years on

I couldn’t resist!  I just had to ask Ethan 3years on…

Me:  What was I like as a child?

Ethan:  Naughty.

Ethan 2016:  Like me.

Me:  What is something I always say to you?

Ethan:  I love you.

Ethan 2016:  That I must put my shoes and socks into my cupboard.

Me:  What makes me happy?

Ethan:  Being with us and dad.

Ethan 2016:  That you clean up the whole room by yourself.

Me:  What makes me sad?

Ethan:  When we’re naughty.

Ethan 2016:  That you don’t clean up your room.

Me:  How do I make you laugh?

Ethan:  By telling us jokes.

Ethan 2016:  With a funny joke…and tickling me.

Me:  How old am I?

Ethan:  30…ummm, 36.

Ethan 2016:  32 (spot on boy!!)

Me:  How tall am I?

Ethan:  200metres.

Ethan 2016:  Like 2…I look like 6 (hmmm)

Me:  What is my favourite thing to do?

Ethan:  Play with us.

Ethan 2016:  To pick up Riley and to try and grab the glass bowl from Riley so that he doesn’t drop it.

Me:  What do I do when you’re not around?

Ethan:  Watch movies with dad.

Ethan 2016:  Ummmm…you eat dinner without us!

Me:  What do I do for a job?

Ethan:  You’re an illustrator, no.  You are a ventriloquist.

Ethan 2016:  She works at a normal work, she’s got lots of chocolate.

Me:  What do you enjoy doing with me?

Ethan:  Writing.

Ethan 2016:  Playing cars and Lego.

Me:  What am I really good at?

Ethan:  At working (clearly these kids are trying to tell me something!  Do I work that often???)

Ethan 2016:  At learning, that you know where you’re driving when we go to my school.

Me:  What is my favourite food?

Ethan:  Curry

Ethan 2016:  Vegetables and rice and veggies.

Me:  How much do you love mummy?

Ethan:  1,000.

Ethan 2016:  Like a giant!

❤ ❤ ❤

Question time…child #2

3years ago almost to the day, I asked Ethan a bunch of questions about his good old mama.  The answers were so amusing that I thought I would do the same with Riley who is now at the same age…

Me:  What was I like as a child?

Riley:  A naughty child ‘cos remember you used to get a hiding.

Me:  What is something I always say to you?

Riley:  Don’t cry ‘cos then I won’t take you to school.

Me:  What makes me happy?

Riley:  Having us ❤

Me:  What makes me sad?

Riley:  When you don’t have us, when we’re not with you.

Me:  How do I make you laugh?

Riley:  With playing.

Me:  How old am I?

Riley:  36 (he’s 3days short :-))

Me:  How tall am I?

Riley:  She’s taller than P (our nanny)…36 taller!!

Me:  What is my favourite thing to do?

Riley:  To job…wowwwww.

Me:  What do I do when you’re not around?

Riley:  You go to restaurants.

Me:  What do I do for a job?

Riley:  You work…I don’t know.

Me:  What do you enjoy doing with me?

Riley:  Watching movies.

Me:  What am I really good at?

Riley:  Working.

Me:  What is my favourite food?

Riley:  Spaghetti.

Me:  How much do you love mummy?

Riley:  *shows ten fingers* ❤ ❤ ❤

Aaahhh, my precious xxx

10years and counting!…

Today, 10years ago, I said I DO and married the man of my dreams.  It was probably one of the happiest days of my life and I couldn’t believe that after 8years of dating, we were finally tying the knot 🙂  I thought our marriage would be a fairytale, a bunch of happy endings and a bed of roses.  Little did I know!…

Guys, marriage is HARD.  It really is.  And like all relationships, it requires work.  Oodles and oodles of it.  As much as you are a couple, you are also individuals and you go through various stages of changes during your marriage.  There are happy times, lots of them.  But there are also tough times.  Times when you want to throw in the towel.  Times when you question whether this is worth it.  Well, that’s certainly how it’s been for us.  But marriage is also meant to be forever and persevering through the storms is totally worth it.

Yesterday, a colleague asked me what I’d say to my 2009 self on the day before I got married and it gave me food for thought.  I’ve never really thought about it.  But it’s something that I really do want to take time to think about.  When I have the answer, I’ll definitely share it with you 😉

I was spoilt rotten this morning with chocolates, a teddy, a bracelet and even flowers delivered at work!!!  My husband knows that my love language is receiving gifts, and even though we said we wouldn’t exchange gifts this year, he really has gone out of his way to make me feel special ❤ ❤ ❤

Tomorrow we are going away for the weekend – an anniversary gift from my parents.  We don’t know where we’re going, it’s a surprise.  This morning my mum sent pictures of the place and it looks absolutely beautiful.  I’m mostly looking forward to reconnecting with my husband without having to worry about the kids.

To my husband, I love you Angelo.  It’s been a rough ride, but I would choose you again and again.  Happy 10year anniversary babe xxx

Wedding pic