It’s board game time!

While we were in PE on holiday, Ethan played the board game 30 Seconds Junior for the first time and he absolutely loved it!  I was very surprised at how quickly he caught on and how naturally his brain moved into “game time”.  Of course, he’s now a teeny weeny bit obsessed with the game and so we’ve started playing it in the car.  Although we don’t have cards and neither do we have a timer, Ethan will do the 3, 2, 1 countdown and race through the clues as if there’s a real race against time.  It’s the most adorable thing ever.

Initially, he gave sort of the same type of clues like the noise that a cow makes, the noise that a dog makes, the noise that a duck makes or the opposite of day is, the opposite of summer is, the opposite of cold is…but I’ve been trying to encourage him to think of different types of questions and also to broaden his thinking a bit.  This is in part to get his brain more stimulated, but also to buy some time in the car 🙂 as we have started playing this game now in the car on the way to school!!  The clues that he gave yesterday were just too adorable and I can’t help but share them…

The most famousest of presidents

  • Answer:  Jacob Zuma *confused face*

The one after him

  • Answer:  Cyril Ramaphosa

If you don’t run 12km then (coupled with hand gestures like hopping or skipping over something)

[Me:  10km, 5km, 21km…]

  • Answer:  the one before mum…11km!!!!!

If you swim fast then

  • Answer:  you make the team

When you do really well at the Olympics

  • Answer:  you run a marathon

YES MUM, YES.  YOU GOT FIVE!!!!!  WELL DONE 🙂 🙂 🙂

I am SO adding this board game to the list of Christmas presents this year.

Have you started making your Christmas lists yet or better yet…have you started buying gifts already??? 

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Back to life, back to reality!

So after being on leave for two weeks, I’m baaacccckkkkkk 🙂  I am rested, refreshed and ready to tackle the last few months of 2018.

Our trip to PE was absolutely amazing!!!!  Somebody actually said to me at work this morning that in all the years she’s known me, this is the first time that she’s heard me describe a family holiday away as amazing and she’s possibly right.  We just had the best time.

Howe family

Excited much?!?!

Remember I was afraid of the long distance drive with the boys?!  Well, they were absolute stars.  In general, our kids hardly sleep in the car and true to form, they really didn’t sleep much on this trip, but they thoroughly enjoyed the drive.  Of course we went prepared!  Before we left, I bought them a variety of activities to do in the car – from plastic peg boards to beads with pipe cleaners for art, colouring and activity and sticker books and then the cherry on top…portable DVD screens for the cars which we only gifted to them half way on the journey 🙂 🙂 🙂 – they were kept entertained and hardly complained in the car.

Portable DVDs

Dad putting the new DVD players up in the car 🙂

We also played a lot of games that we grew up playing on long trips when we were kids, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed it.  On the first day, we drove for 7 hours and arrived at our destination De Stijl Hotel Gariep Hotel.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to really experience the hotel fully because it was already nearing 10pm at that stage.  All I wanted to do was get the boys into bed so that we could relax after the long drive, but on the drive back, we stayed at the same place and as we arrived just after 4pm on that day, we got to experience the hotel and it really was lovely.  Absolutely ideal for our family.  For the first time, we all slept in one room and it worked fine…clearly the kids are getting older 🙂  When it was sleep time, they slept without a problem and even fell asleep with the tv on, so we didn’t have to all go to sleep at the same time #bonus.  The roads to PE were surprisingly good and we were fortunate to travel in my parent’s automatic BMW making the drive comfortable and an absolute pleasure for the hubster.

The kids could hardly contain their excitement as we got to PE.  Meeting their cousins at an age where they could all play together was so special.  [Side note: on my side of the family, I am the only one with kids, so they don’t have any first cousins here in Jo’burg…they’re all in PE :-)]  All the children had an absolute ball with each other and the adults could totally relax.

Boys on the rocks

One of my favourite pics of the holiday…the boys on the rocks busy exploring ❤

Some of the highlights of our holiday;-

  • Being together with family after three years of not seeing some of them.  Our little nieces are just the cutest and I couldn’t help feel a bit broody ❤
  • Going away “chalet camping” with my sister-in-law and her family and the rest of the family joining us there for the day right at the sea!  The kids swam in a tidal pool and on slides.  Ethan went fishing for the first time at this resort and caught four fish much to his delight 🙂
  • The Addo Elephant Park…although, as we’re not “nature” people, the excitement did not last that long and hungry bellies made the drive feel a lot longer than the 3 hours we took to whizz through the park.  But the elephants were really magestic.
  • Breakfast out and some shopping with my sister-in-law alone, no kids – we literally chat every day over the air waves, but being together face-to-face with no interruptions and nowhere to rush to was priceless.
  • Letting the kids swim in the beach.  Even though the hubster and both grew up in coastal cities and have swam in the beach for all of our childhoods, I am not a beach fan and after the hubster lost a few friends in a rip tide many years ago, he is also very weary of kids swimming in the sea.  But as the get older, more confident and more independent, we are allowing them that freedom and they totally loved it!
  • Not having wi-fi (although I think the hubster would totally disagree on this one ;-))…although I did use a whole bunch of data, I was very cognisant of the fact that every time I did anything, it COST a.whole.lot, so I spent a lot of time distanced from social media.
  • Meeting a fellow blogger, Debra, at her home for the first time ever after following each other’s blogs for a number of years now.  Helen, we missed you!

We arrived back to Jo’burg last week Sunday, and then I spent the entire week doing a little bit of this and that.  But for now, back to the grindstone.  I’ll have to do a whole new blogpost on the adventures of my second week of leave soon soon xxx

Dusk

Blessed beyond measure…a pic of the sky at dusk on our journey.

Last day!

Yay, just a few more hours till I’m on leave…till the 15th of October.  Jealous much?!?! 

Straight after school breaks up tomorrow, we’re off to PE for a week long family holiday.  The hubster is from there and we haven’t been for 3years.  Riley cannot even vaguely remember the last time we were there (he was only 6months old), and Ethan can remember bits and bobs but not much either…the fact that they were both very sick on that holiday definitely contributed to us not having done that much while we were away!  Anyway, I’m really hoping that we get to spend some good quality family time together, and that the boys get to know their cousins better ❤

So for the next two weeks, I’ll be “offline” on the blog.  Hopefully soaking up some sun, getting some much needed rest and filling up my heart with good family time with the in-laws.  Until then, adios amigos!!!

P.S.  Helen and Debs, if you are still keen to meet up in person, please give me a shout 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

What happened after 21kms?

…will you be bummed if I told you NOTHING happened?!?!  Yup, nothing.

Anti-climax of note right?!?!!?!?!

No, I am not planning for my next 21km race, no I am not trying to run the next big distance, no I don’t have a marathon in mind.  In fact, on the contrary…

The week after the BIG 21KM, I didn’t run at all as I hurt my foot while running in the race, something I luckily only discovered once I had finished the race, gotten home and taken a shower.  In that week, I did two days of core and cardio exercise (anybody remember Taebo???…when I find a video online and do it, all I can think of is how the video looks about 100years old, hahahahaha) and that was it.  Mainly because of my injured foot.  But I would be lying if I said it was ONLY that.  Honestly, my mind just isn’t in it.  It’s like I worked so hard to hit a target, I achieved the target, and now I’m like…now what? Why am I running?  What’s the point? 

The week thereafter, I managed three runs plus a day of cardio.  All short runs, 3.5kms each.

Last week, I did the same and then on Sunday, I did a 6km run and well…I hurt my foot again 😦  So badly that I limped all of Sunday AND Monday and I’m still limping today.

It’s taken me a while to get over all the hype.  Proving to myself that I can!  Reaching the actual goal in such a short space of time.  Becoming a “runner”.  Then hitting a flat…

But when I got thinking, I realized that although I had a goal and wanted to reach that long distance, it’s really not what I want to do any time in the near future again.  Right now, I want to run better, faster, stronger.  I want to be able to run 10km without walking at all!  I want to improve my time.  And that’s okay!  Well, you may not think it’s okay, but I do, and that’s all that counts 🙂 🙂 🙂

Pray for your children

All the child trafficking stories, the tips going around on what to teach your children, even the schools teaching children about stranger danger – it makes me sick to the core!  We live in an evil world guys, there are terribly deranged people out there and our children are at risk every day.  After reading a million posts this morning around this issue, I actually feel like I want to go to my kids’ schools and pick them up, lock them in the house and never let them out again.  It’s just so sad!!

Yesterday, we were walking in a shopping centre – a quick in and out to grab some wet wipes for Riley for school.  The boys know to always stay close to me, but Riley walked off twice, just a few metres ahead and I had given him the go ahead to do so – once to throw a paper in the bin and another time to fetch the kiddies trolley for him to push in the shop.  Both times, a man approached him (two different men, different ages, different race, different dress sense…nothing at all to indicate that these two men were in any way related), put out his hand to high five him and just greeted – a simple hello.  My child looked so uncomfortable.  He mumbled a greeting to the first guy but looked down the entire time.  I was tempted to say – say hello Riley – I mean, when we were growing up, greeting people was expected especially a child having to greet an adult, whether you knew the person or not right?!  For some reason, I didn’t say anything, I just watched him.  And do you know what my child said to me once he had walked back to me…that’s stranger danger mum.  I don’t know that man so I’m not going to greet him.  At the age of THREE guys!!!  He’s aware of it.  He knows how to react.  And my heart jumped into my throat.  In that moment, I wanted to cry.

I’m not really going anywhere with this post, I’m just sharing how sad I feel about this whole situation.  I know that I serve a faithful God and that HIS angels are protecting my children every day.  Pray for your children guys.  Pray for them.  That no harm befalls them!

These are some pretty useful “tips” I saw on a FB post this morning that I’d like to share with you…

Teach your kids

Manners out the window

Find a mom with kids

Body secrets

Car

Lunch boxes

Scream.png

Code word.png

 

I did it!

I ran a half marathon…21kms AND I made it within the cutoff time of 3hours…that was my main concern!!  That I wouldn’t make it.  But I did it in 2hrs58min – talk about cutting it fine!!!!!!

Just because

A lot of people have asked me whether I enjoyed it?!  Not quite.  Guys, this Discovery Series thing is serious.  It’s not a fun run.  There’s no nice banners or gifts, people screaming and shouting along the way or music playing.  No!  People are in it to R.A.C.E!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So was it fun, no not really.

Did I enjoy running…like actually running…I’m not quite sure how to answer that.  The hills were like woah.  Post 12/13kms, the runners were so far spread out that I was literally running alone.  There’s no “camaraderie” so to speak.  At least for the first 10kms, people are cheerful, chatting, even throwing in the odd comment and egg’ing other runners on.  Thereafter, people are just focused on finishing the 21.1kms.  Full stop.

I AM proud of myself though and what I can say is that I set a goal that seemed totally unrealistic at the start and I achieved it.  In fact, a colleague reminded me yesterday of us chatting a few months ago in the kitchen – he suggested I run a 5km and I was absolutely shocked.  I told him that there’s no way I can run 5km and now a few months later, I’ve run 21kms 🙂  No I did not run the entire way, I did quite a bit of walking, but that’s my next step!  I want to be able to run the entire way.  Right now, I can run about 8kms without stopping #runninggoals.

What I was most chuffed about was that at not one point did I feel like giving up, that I couldn’t do it, or that it was too tough to complete.  My mind was totally in it and my body was prepared because of all the training I did.  When I felt very tired, I just had to reassure myself that I could do it – at times, that included me shouting out loud, things like only 5 more kilometres, you can do it, the people around me must have thought I was going mad, hahaha – at other times, I tried to equate the distance left to a route I knew from training…only 3kms left, this is just the big square you run in the week.

I did it guys, I did it!!!!  🙂 🙂 🙂

I’ve now run three out of the four races in the series.  I’m on the waiting list for the 4th race, another 21km but it doesn’t look like I’m going to make it and now I’m bummed that I won’t get the full set of medals 😦  But that’s okay!…

I RAN 21KMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Homework comes first!

I think I’ve mentioned before that we live in a complex with lots of kids.  This is one of the first things that attracted me to the complex.  I remember the first unit that I went to see…it was in an absolutely appalling condition…there was so much work that needed to be done IF you had the money to do it.  Then the estate agent told me that a friend was selling privately in the same complex and if I was interested, she could take me over to see it.  The first thing that caught my attention was the number of kids running around playing.  At the time (almost 6years ago!), I pushed Ethan in his pram up the driveway toward the unit, and I remember feeling this warm feeling.  Yes, THIS is how I wanted my kids to grow up.  Playing together with other kids in the complex in a safe, happy environment.

So we moved in, but at the time, the kids were quite a bit older than Ethan and Ethan was too young to really be playing with other kids.  About a year later, the neighbours across the way moved in and they had three kids – one a year older than Ethan and another two years older – the eldest was the same age as the other bigger kids in the complex.  Then a few weeks later, two houses up, another family moved in with a child the same age as Ethan and a baby on the way.  Fast forward years later and these kids have become my childrens’ best friends.  There are things that I don’t like about complex living like having ALL THE KIDS IN OUR YARD OVER THE WEEKENDS OR ALL OF THEM PLAYING X-BOX IN THE LOUNGE PLUS THE SMALLER ONES PLAYING WITH THE TOYS.  At one stage, this made me want to look at moving into a stand alone property, but the benefits far outweigh the “issues” so to speak.  And so we are happy in our little “village” and even happier that our kids are happy.

Ethan and his bestie D started grade 1 together this year at the same school.  They are not in the same class, but they play together every.single.day.  D is not into sport at all.  He plays sports with the other kids in the complex from time to time, but he has no interest in playing any sport at school, neither does he participate in any cultural extra murals.  Ethan on the other hand is obsessed with sport!  And the school encourages that each child does at least one sport and one cultural activity…we listen…he does both.  D’s parents both work full day and have no support structure or help at home.  As a result, he goes to aftercare after school.  At aftercare, they do homework first so when he gets home after 4, he is free to play until home time.

The other neighbours who go to a different school are muslim and attend madrasa at the mosque every day after school.  Because of the time that it starts, they are unable to juggle extra mural activities, so as a result, they also don’t do any sport or cultural events at school at all.  They get home after school and do their homework, then head off to the mosque.  Once they return from the mosque at around 5, they are also free to play until home time.

Ethan gets home after his extra mural for the day – currently, he has something every day except Friday.  And this is not forced activities, he has chosen to do these things as he enjoys them!  When he gets home, there are usually no other kids home as yet (except maybe Riley on some days when they get fetched together), and so the first thing he does is his homework because well…homework comes first!  This is usually basic maths and English.  Our nanny assists where she can and checks to the best of her ability, but I like to do his spelling test every day when I get home and also his reading – this is usually done after bathtime.  Let me just stress here that currently, Ethan’s homework doesn’t take long, perhaps half an hour if he sits and does it in one go.  The way we split it, it’s usually 15minutes when he gets home and another 15minutes after bathtime.

Then there is the odd bit of homework that’s “extra”.  This week, it’s preparation for book character day on Thursday.  His outfit was sorted a few weeks ago as Riley had the same event at school two weeks ago, and so I thought it easiest to buy everything at once.  But the actual preparation around the oral hasn’t been done.  So we started it yesterday.  When I got home, he was busy playing.  So I told him that he had till 5:30, at which time he needed to come in, make some corrections to his homework, and start his oral preparation.  When I called him in at 5:30, there were no issues.  He started the corrections and then we started with the oral.  About 5minutes into the oral preparation, the sulking started.  He wanted to know whether he would still have time to play with his friends.  He was getting all teary when I corrected him on the way he was saying things.  And it went downhill from there!  Of course we got through it, but by the time we reached 6pm, I sent him to his room to pull himself together.  He was full on crying.  Crying over homework guys!!!!  Anyway, we quickly got over that and moved on with the evening.

On the way to school this morning, I reminded him that after our morning prayer and listening to the pop quiz on the radio (I can’t help it – I need to listen to it every day, hehe), we were going to continue preparing for the oral, afterall, we drive for 20minutes…why not be productive!!  [Let me add here that we often read a book or do some maths practise in the car in the morning, so doing school stuff in the car is not foreign to him].  2minutes into it, he started getting teary again.  He didn’t understand why he needed to do this now in the car.  He also started getting stroppy with me, saying things like – why do I need to say that, you said it mustn’t be like that, I’ve already said that before why must I say it again.  Boy child is so lucky I was driving ‘cos at that point, I had just about lost it.  So I gave him a long lecture about homework and why it’s important.  How all the other kids have homework too, but because they don’t do extra murals, they finish it at a different time.  How he had all day to play at school and weekends and holidays to play all day with his friends but that during term, it was important to work hard to get good marks and a good report.  I also maayyyy have slipped in that a good report resulted in rewards…bribery and corruption, it’s a real thing with kids y’all!!!  Then I explained how we’re only doing what’s best for him and excelling at school and trying your best is very important.  Fortunately, he took the lecture very well, and by the time he got out of the car, he was all chirpy and ready for the day.

How do your kids cope with homework?

More importantly, how do YOU cope with homework?

All I can think about is how conscientious Ethan is.  Generally, he’s very diligent and loves school and the school work that goes with it.  But if he’s already starting to moan now, how will it be a few years on where there will probably be little to no play time in the week???

First world problems

On the radio this morning, they were discussing some really odd first world problems…sending a key home via uber, sharing a puppy after a divorce via uber, hmmm.

Then they asked the listeners to give a first world problem of their own.  I have so many guys, honestly!  And I’m well aware of them even in the midst of complaining…I own them 🙂  But one at the forefront of my mind this morning is something my mum brought up yesterday.  It’s not really a problem, more of a pain, inconvenience, waste of time etc., but I thought I would share it here, maybe get others opinions, some suggestions to make it “easier” for me?!?!  This is first world world problem related to food…

I would say that generally (although my mother would disagree!), we all eat the same thing.  I plan my meals for the week ahead on the weekend before, and shop accordingly.  This week’s menu is as follows;-

  • Monday:  grilled fish, savoury rice and roasted vegetables
  • Tuesday:  chicken stirfry
  • Wednesday:  beef pasta
  • Thursday:  pork bangers, mash and beans
  • Friday:  sweetcorn pasta
  • Saturday:  braai
  • Sunday:  roast beef, roast potatoes, roasted veggies

Easy peasy lemon squeezy?!?!  Yup.  BUT, there’s a leetle eensy weensy first world problem here…

The hubster does not eat seafood as he is allergic.  So tonight, I have taken out a piece of steak to substitute the fish for him.

P, our nanny, doesn’t eat pork at all.  So on Thursday, I will substitute the pork bangers with steak for her (I’ve bought a pack of two steaks for this week…one piece for the hubster tonight and one for her on Thursday).

The kids won’t eat the sweetcorn pasta – which the hubster has been begging for for a few weeks now – on Friday as they don’t like mayonnaise which is the sauce that I use in the pasta, they don’t eat tomatoes and they don’t eat green peppers.  They basically only eat the sweetcorn 🙂  So on Friday, I will pop chicken pops and chips into the oven for them.

In addition to the above, I don’t eat lamb (personal preference, I don’t enjoy the taste of it).  

Now my mum says it’s too much effort and I cook too many different options.  Also that it takes up too much time.  But for me, the only other alternative is to only eat chicken and beef as that’s the only meat that we ALL eat.  How boring right?!?!  Or not…

I don’t know…what would you do?  Would you cook multiple options like I do? 

There are nights when I don’t do that and the person who doesn’t eat the meat for that day will just eat the veggies and starch/carbs.  But this has become part of my usual routine so I honestly don’t see it as much effort.  Also, just to mention, this doesn’t happen every week (again, my mother would disagree here!).  The week before last, we all ate the same dinner every night.  And last week, there was only one night where I made something different for the kids as we had a thai chicken curry and Riley doesn’t eat curry yet.

Some things I’ve learnt while running

Yes, this running thing again!

With less than two weeks to go until my first 21km race, I’m just a tad bit nervous.  But I ran 17.67km all by myself on Saturday…the furthest I’m going to get before then…and while I ran FOR 2HOURS 45MINUTES, I had loads of time to just think 🙂 🙂 🙂  I should actually run with a dictaphone or something to that effect…then I can dictate all of my thoughts and replay them afterwards ‘cos the mind does wonder a.lot when all you have is the open road and the sound of passing cars!!!  Anyway, I digress.  So here’s some thing I’ve learnt along my journey;-

  • Running is a hell of a mental thing!…within reason of course.  I mean, you can’t very well make yourself think you can run the comrades and then run it with zero training under your belt.  Okay, maybe you can, but I don’t think your body will manage.  Anyway, not even 6months ago, I wasn’t even able to walk a short distance of 2km without being out of breathe, and well, here I am…17kms and going strong 🙂  Fortunately I’ve had lots of other runners encouraging me and giving me advise, but I’m mainly able to do this because I’ve convinced my brain that I can.
  • For the most part, cars (and even taxis) are actually quite “friendly” towards runners…they let you cross the road even if their robot has just turned green, they move out of the way when you’re running on the only inch of side road available, and they even slow down if they see you approaching them.  Again, not all, but for the most part, that’s been my experience.
  • The odd wave from runners and even the toot from a car or whistle of a worker actually encourages me…I know that as a women, cars hooting and whistling from a worker on the side of the road can feel a bit intimidating, but I find that it really spurs me on.  I feel like I’m not really alone out on the road…or maybe I am and I’m just losing the plot, hehe.  In a race, having the marshals and crowds on the sides cheering really makes a difference!!  Again, it helps me with the mental part of running…
  • Snacks and water along the way definitely help…for shorter distances, I seem to be fine but anything after 8km gets hard and I find that I need liquids and even just a small sugar injection – fruit seems to work quite fine and on the first race I did two weekends ago, the oranges that they provided were exactly what I needed at that point.
  • When your body says no, listen to it!…not only in a race, but even during training.  Last week, I had a short run (listen to me…short run, 5kms, hahahaha *superwoman*) planned for Tuesday and then an 8km run planned for Thursday.  This all leading up to my planned weekend run of 14km+.  When it got to Wednesday night, I was literally dreading my planned run for the next day.  All of Thursday, I felt like I never wanted to even see a running shoe again.  I tried all day to stop thinking about it, and when I realised that wasn’t going to help, I tried to “get my head in the game” and prepare myself for it, but I found myself leaving work later than planned and almost trying to create excuses not to go.  And then I just didn’t!  I spent the afternoon/evening catching up with my folks over a glass of wine, and we all had dinner together.  And you know what – I didn’t die!  I missed a run, but I think it’s just what my body needed, a break!!  Afterall, I’ve been training solidly for the last few months, come hell or high water.  I realised that I needed to listen to my body and it was the best thing I could have done.

I wish I could say that this will be my last post on running, but I don’t know if I can promise that!  I can at least promise not to bore you in my next post with similar content…it’s about time you read about something else other than ME.  Hahaha.

Have a good week y’all xxx

We’re going road tripping!

Okay, not extreme road tripping but on a hell of a long journey for us at any rate 🙂

For the September/October school holidays, we’ve decided to mission with the kids to PE.  The last time all four of us were there, Riley was around 6months old and Ethan 3.5years old.  BOTH kids were sick, we shared a room with them both and were even in the ER on a public holiday!  Those were the days when we would holiday and without fail, while on holiday, the kids would get sick…and not just regular flu sick, but like bronchitis sick!!!

Years later, we’ve finally been able to holiday without kids falling apart (touch wood) and with them being older and their cousins being older too, I’m really looking forward to this trip.

Today I booked our accommodation on the road as we’re splitting the journey in half.  The distance from Jo’burg to PE is +/- 1,000km, and where we would have easily done that drive in one day “pre-kids”, I really don’t want to subject the kids to a 11hour+ drive.  The last time we went to PE, we flew, but flights are just so expensive!!  I’ve been holding on for a while for specials, but nothing has come up that is even close to the cost of driving.  So drive we will!

At least we have something exciting to look forward to, and the kids are super chuffed that we’ll be going away for their next school holiday 🙂 🙂 🙂