Birthdays – tick

We now have a 7year old and a 4year old in the house – can you believe it!  Where has the time go?!  Our boys really had amazing birthday celebrations this year.  They both took cupcakes/cake to school for their friends, both chose a restaurant to have dinner at on the actual night of their birthdays and both had individual parties this year.  To say that they were spoilt rotten is an understatement.  But it was so special and it warmed our hearts to see them both so happy.  Here are some pics of the last week or so…

School cupcake

Ethan’s school cupcakes made by me 🙂

Ethan gift

Floating target shooting game from nana…excited much?! (This is before the tooth fell out so please excuse the crooked teeth in this pic ;-))

Ethan birthday boy

The birthday boy dressed in civvies for school!

Ethan Party cake

Soccer themed cake made by nana ❤

IMG_20181208_144603_resized_20181213_034533187

Ready to get into the cake!

School cake

Riley’s school cake made by me 🙂 He chose the sprinkles himself and asked for vanilla cake.

Riley gift

Half asleep opening his Ben10 watch from the mum and dad.

Riley birthday boy

Happiness is!!!!

Riley Party cake

Spidey cake for his party compliments of nana ❤

Riley party

At the good old Spur 🙂

Since then, Ethan has lost both his top two front teeth!  Riley is still patiently waiting for school to end (they have the most amazing Christmas programme which I just didn’t want him to miss AND Santa is coming to school tomorrow on the last day…) and today is the official day that we put our Christmas tree up…12days before Christmas 🙂 🙂 🙂  So lots is happening in my world!

In other news, tomorrow is my last day of work for 2018.  Can I get an A-MEN!  I know we were away not too long ago, but it feels like forever since I’ve had a break.  This year, we’re staying in Jo’burg for the festive season.  Christmas Eve will be at my parents’ place.  For those of you wondering how we’re going to be in Durban for one night only, keep up with the news guys!  My parents have been living semi-permanently in Jo’burg since about May/June this year.  So we’ll start with children’s mass at 5:30pm on Christmas Eve, then head over to them for curry and Christmas Eve festivities.  Christmas Day will be a full breakfast at our place (a tradition that we’re keeping from the last two years) and then a full roast with salads and dessert late on Christmas Day afternoon/evening.  In that way, we get to eat everything, but all spread out i.e. we pace ourselves.

I would still like to blog about my 2018 year…highlights, lessons learnt etc. so this isn’t goodbye for this year just yet.  But if I’m quiet, I’ll be living my best life ❤

So ciao for now xxx

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

*Singing*

Traditionally, the Christmas tree goes up in our house 12days before Christmas and comes down 12days after Christmas.  And that works pretty well for me now that I have kids, as Ethan’s birthday is on the 5th of December (tomorrow – yay!!! – excitement is at an all time high in our house :-)) and Riley’s birthday is on the 11th of December.  So once the birthdays are over and done with, we have a one day “breather” and then we start Christmas in full swing.

This year, however, I just couldn’t help myself when a friend posted the Santa app that she had downloaded for her kids.  I downloaded the app on Saturday evening and the boys were absolutely enthralled.  I think Ethan is at the age where he’s probably heard kids say Santa isn’t real, and he applies logic to everything so certain things don’t make sense…like Santa “making” toys with his elves when the gift looks just like the one in the toy store (especially the cricket set with the Spar logo last year, hehe)…anyhoo, even he was absolutely amazed.  You can call Santa, ask him to call you back, or wassap him – yes WASSAP HIM LIVE.  It really is so amazing and is great in keeping the kids imaginations going.

This past weekend, I went to the Party Spot to get some things for the birthday cupcakes and seeing as we were there, I got a few things for arts and crafts for Christmas as well, something I had planned to do with the kids the week after the long weekend in December.  I have fond memories of my mum doing Christmas arts and crafts every year with us – whether it was Christmas cookies, decorating balls to hang on the tree, or moulding new ornaments – my mum did it with us.  And now that the kids are older and Ethan loves arts and crafts, I wanted to start the same type of tradition in our home.  But of course, seeing as I got them on Saturday, the first thing the kids wanted to do when we got home was start!  Funnily enough, it was Riley who wanted to do it and not Ethan.  So we spent some time spray painting and adding glitter glue onto polystyrene balls.  We still need to decorate the snowflakes that we started making on Friday when I got home from work but yeah…it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Howe house 🙂 🙂 🙂

The “how babies are made” talk

No, we have not had the talk yet.  As far as I’ve been told, the day to have that conversation is not that far away (I’m cringing already!!), but I just have to record how my child thinks babies are made at the moment…

On the school pick up ride this afternoon, I told Ethan that 7years ago today, I was counting down five more sleeps until I was going to meet him.  I then asked him if he knew where Riley was when he was in my tummy – he said yes, Riley was a seed in God’s hand.  What he said next is the part I just had to share…

He said that when God was ready, he used a miracle to throw the seed down into my tummy because God is all powerful and God can do miracles which we can’t even see.

How precious ❤ ❤ ❤

So for now, I’m sticking to his story and there’s no need for us to be moving onto the talk just yet.  Besides which, he is quite right…minus the nitty gritties that go into it 😉

Currently

It’s that time of the year in our house!  Busy, busy, busy.

It’s also that time of the year when the slump hits…you know at work, when you feel like enough is enough and you need like a 3month sabbatical?!?!  Or is that just me…

Anyway, let me catch you up on what’s happening on my side currently;-

Birthday planning:  remember, I have two December babies.  One on the 5th and the other on the 11th.  This year, we’re doing two separate parties.  When will I stop doing parties???  Neevvveerrrrrr!!!!!  Both of them are school parties because well, BUDGET!  The boys were given the number of kids they were allowed to invite, and both chose where they want the party.  We’re having them on the same weekend – the 8th and the 9th – one at a bike park and the other at the good old Spur 🙂  Their birthday gifts were bought last month already (#winning), the venue bookings have been made and the invitations have gone out. So now just for the RSVPs…

Christmas planningWE are hosting Christmas this year.  We had a family meeting to discuss what we’re going to do and we settled on Christmas Eve dinner at my folks (in their Jo’burg place, not Durban in case you were wondering ;-)), then Christmas breakfast at us and a late lunch on Christmas afternoon/evening…a formula that we’ve used the last two years, a winner for us all…now just to decide on the food!  Let’s just say that there are only two “adventurous eaters”, my mother and I.  The rest are content if we just have the usual stuff that we eat every other day.  Boring much?!

School stuff:  can the school year just end already!!!!  17more days…but who’s counting 🙂 🙂 🙂  Between the two schools: fitting into the calendar things like awards, galas, parents’ days…it just feels like it never ends!!!!  I cannot believe that we’ve almost finished grade 1 though – how even?!  It feels like just the other day that we were stressing about moving into big school and now we’ve almost finished the first year.  Ethan really thrived this year and we are so proud of him.  Riley has broken out of shell so to speak and has really grown much bigger over the last few months.  Yesterday, he brought home all his art from parents’ day last week, and I’m honestly dreading the batch that they’ll send out in the next few weeks FROM THE YEAR ‘cos it’s just so much.  But the things they do at their school is really phenomenal and that’s why we’ll keep him there until he completes grade R!!!

2018:  This year has really been a good year for the most part for me.  It’s not “round up time” yet, but yesterday, I was discussing with my colleagues how the year has been so far.  The lady who sits across from me said it’s been her worst year by far, and she cannot wait until 2019 starts.  The lady next to her said it’s been okay, she did something she’d wanted to do for herself in such a long time and feels a sense of accomplishment which is always good!  For me, I have three or four highlights which I’ll have to share in a post all it’s own, but I can definitely say that all of them relate to family which really speaks to my core value, and for that, I’m really happy.

ME:  My mum believes that I am starting somewhat of a mid-life crisis…no, I’m not that old, but I feel like my mind is all over the place at the moment.  I feel like I’m questioning just about everything in my life.  Work, life in general, spirituality – I’m feeling unsettled in a way.  I know that this can only mean growth dear friends, and so, in the next few months, I am excited and expectant for what God has planned in my life!!!

On that note, happy Tuesday – have a fabulous week xxx

 

The tooth fairy is no more…

…well…at least not for Ethan!  After only losing a sum total of two milk teeth, and both of them last year!, I honestly thought this make believe story would last longer!!  Perhaps I didn’t do such a good job??!!!!

On Friday last week, Ethan lost another tooth at school, and when my mum picked him up and mentioned how awesome it is that the tooth fairy is coming, he said – Nana, I know that the tooth fairy isn’t real and that it’s actually my mum who puts money in my shoe.  Nana of course told him that if he tells me that he actually knows, he wouldn’t get any money in his shoe anymore.  But boy child just couldn’t keep it a secret, and on Friday night when he was brushing his teeth, he called me over and said I have a secret.  We agreed, as he had with my mum, to keep it our little secret and not spoil it for Riley who by the way is already quite skeptical himself!!

So there you have it folks.  At this rate, we won’t have to worry about making Santa special for much longer…

Tooth fairy.png

Santa Claus may not be coming!…

So this all started with the creche that Riley attends handing out, as they usually do at this time of the year, Toys R Us booklets.  Riley came home with one on Monday night and when I say that this child is studying the book…I mean it!  He spent ages looking through it on Monday night, he looked through it the minute he woke up yesterday morning and even managed to squeeze in a REAL CRYING when we told him that his demands were a.bit.excessive (I may have called him MAD because well…that’s how he seems to me right now!!!).  He looked through it during dinner time last night, after bathtime, and the first thing he did this morning when he woke up was fetch the book and look through it AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On day 1, he eyeballed a motorbike – a real electronic motorbike – which costs R1,200.  [Side note: for those of you who haven’t heard me talk about this before, let me just put you in the picture…both our kids’ birthdays are in December, Santa comes to school with a gift AND they get a gift from Santa on Christmas Day plus one from mum and dad as well…December is a hell of an expensive month for the Howe family!!!  So a single gift of R1,200 is definitely not part of the plan].  His Christmas WANT (not wish, this is 3year old with a mission!!) list has continued to grow extensively since Monday.  The motorbike is first of course, but there is a Paw Patrol boat which costs R1,000…expensive taste hey??!!!!  He wants a gun, a baseball set, a telescope, a new school bag and a whole host of other things.

Ethan found, in the same magazine (I didn’t mention that we now have three of these magazines as the school sent another one home yesterday and I picked one up in the store on Monday evening after I went to exchange something), a Play Station or X-Box or one of these equally insanely priced items, but this one was top of the range quite obviously at a whopping price of R6,600.  So I tell Ethan there’s no way I can afford to buy this, it’s the cost of a brand new laptop.  His response…well then I’ll have a laptop instead!

Let me add here that we haven’t even started to make the actual gift list for Santa, this was all purely browsing…I’m afraid, very afraid!!!  Let’s just say that this year, Santa may not be coming to town.  Let’s face it – if there was no Santa, we could just plainly tell them that we can’t afford these gifts right?  Because last night when I told Ethan we don’t have money, his response was you don’t have to buy it, Santa will MAKE it.  Clever child 🙂 🙂 🙂

That week I took off for me…

It’s really amazing being an adult, being grown up, making your own decisions.

  • You can eat whatever you want when you want to eat it…assuming you’ve thought of the impact it will have to your waist line because well a moment on the lips
  • You can skip gym or your run and decide to veg in front of the tv…and then you’ll struggle like hell just to get back into it [trust me, I KNOW, but that for another post :-)]
  • You can spend all evening and late into the early morning hours watching series, reading or, if you’re really wild, partying…and you’ll suffer for daayyyssss thereafter to “recover” even if there was no alcohol involved!…
  • You can choose to have some “me” time and ditch all the admin-ey stuff of adulting like grocery shopping and cleaning the house…and then you’ll have nothing to eat and will have to squeeze in this admin stuff at some other time, time when you actually need to relax like after a long day at work or on a Sunday evening when you want to watch the M-Net 8pm movie :-)…

Adulting

Remember that time I decided to take time off for myself – a whole week after our amazing holiday to PE????  Well…it didn’t quite turn out as I had planned it because well…ADULTING!!!!  Add two kids into the mix of adulating and well…what’s that ME TIME I mentioned?  Not happening, like EVVVEEEERRRRR!!!!!!!

When we arrived back from our PE trip on the Sunday night, I remember standing in the shower thinking what am I going to do this week? it’s going to be a long week ahead.  I even thought that maybe I should rather go back to work earlier.  But of course I didn’t, and lucky I didn’t because the week literally flew by!!!

At least I managed to squeeze in a pedi with my baby sister, an early birthday prezzie from moi 🙂  I also went to a Sorbet dry bar for a quick blow dry, just because!  I managed to go for a jog on three mornings of the week which I guess was “me” time.  But otherwise, I was busy guys.  So busy that my nanny even asked me on Thursday afternoon if I am ever going to have a rest, hahahahaha.  The kids loved it though because I managed to drop them both at school every morning last week AND pick them up without having to rush back to work.

All in all I had a really good week though, even though it was jam packed with “adulating” stuff.  And the cherry on the top – my week ended on a very high note with the Sisters of Africa 2018 conference at Rivers Church, one of the highlights of my year for the past 4years.

I came back to work feeling rested and with my heart full from all the family time I managed to squeeze in ❤

 

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??? 

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 🙂 🙂 🙂