My baby boy is 3 today!

One of my favourite children’s birthdays is the 3rd!  I feel like at this age, children are able to really enjoy their birthdays – they get to really feel the excitement in the days leading up to their big day (if you make that excitement for them…which of course I do 😉 ), they know what it means when you tell them there’ll be gifts, and they know what a party is.  And all of this is what my baby boy Riley has experienced in the days leading up to today.  Today is his 3rd birthday.  Today, 3years ago, I was waiting with great excitement to be wheeled into theatre, ready to meet our second boy.  He entered the world with quite a bit of drama compared to his big brother, and he’s kept us on our toes since then.  This boy is a real character and we absolutely love him to bits.  Just like I did with Ethan over here, I want to note everything that is Riley too 🙂 …

  • Riley is a real little clown.  He makes jokes constantly and loves pulling faces and doing silly things to make us all laugh.
  • He’s started making up stories…his imagination is clearly running wild.  In fact, the other day, he had an accident in his pants at school.  When we asked what happened – he told us that one of the “friends” in his class wee’d on him.  When I pointed out said friend was a girl and would have literally had to sit on top of him to wee on him and so I asked what teacher had said when she sat on him…he told me that she was in fact a boy and he walked over to him, pulled down his pants and wee’d.  In case you’re worried that I missed something here – I definitely know the child is a girl and I also know that Riley just had an accident and no other boy wee’d on him!!
  • He doesn’t like to cuddle much.  You’ll often find him sitting on my lap but getting hugs and kisses from him is a real effort.
  • He jumps into our bed just about every morning between 5:30 and 6am and almost immediately closes his eyes and goes back to bed for another half an hour to an hour.
  • He still sucks his pointer finger on his left hand (any suggestions on how to get rid of this habit?!?!) and he also still has that ugly habit that I’ve mentioned before of him wanting to hold his “manhood” when he sucks his finger – this mainly happens at bedtime but also happens every now and then in the day.  I’m hoping we can kick this habit soon!!
  • He loves to tell on his brother!  The minute Ethan does something wrong or says something wrong, he’ll run and tell us.  But he also loves his brother dearly.  He wants to be with him and his friends constantly and thinks that he can do everything big brother can do too.
  • He’s obsessed with Paw Patrol!  He has just about every dog in the series and today, grandpa and nana made his day by buying him the big mission controller (I think that’s what it’s called?!) and Robo-dog.  You’d swear he won the lotto – I wish I could share the video here, it’s just too precious.
  • He loves his sweeties and Oros juice, no other juice, just “my O-ries” as he calls it.  His appetite has its days – I’ll leave that there.  He’s a very lazy eater though and if left to feed himself, he will often just stop eating waiting on mama to feed him.  In fact, Ethan has even fed him at times in order to just get him done!!
  • He really doesn’t like water and will only drink it if it has sugar in it, when he gets hurt and mum gives it to him to drink.  He doesn’t particularly like fruit either.  And he doesn’t like milk much.  Otherwise, he eats pretty much everything preferring meat to veggies unlike Ethan who loves vegetables.
  • He loves to ignore us!  Like he’ll blatantly not answer a question or not respond when you call, even turning his head the other way to show that he’s not listening.  A few months ago, that head turning was accompanies by a shaking hand in the air – like he was saying “talk to the hand”!  Needless to say, he’s had a few paddy whacks to try and correct that…let’s hope he outgrows it soon!!

This year, Riley started creche in May and he took quite a while to settle in.  Even after he’d stopped crying every morning, he wasn’t particularly chatty in class.  Teacher said she could see he knew everything, but he was just shy.  Over the last few weeks though, he’s completely broken out of his shell and his teacher says that she even has to ask him to stop talking at times 🙂  Next year, he’ll be going to school alone as Ethan moves on to grade 1 at a different school.  He’s already saying that he’s not going to the green group and he’s also going to the school that Ethan’s going to.  Hopefully the adjustment isn’t too hard on him.

Over the last few months, I feel like this boy has had a real growth spurt and although there’s been lots of sulking and tears, overall, he’s grown into such a lovely big boy.

Happy birthday Riley!  I hope that the party on Saturday, his first party that’s his alone (i.e. not a joint one with Ethan :-)), will be loads of fun.  May God continue to bless you to see many more and I pray that you stay the sweet little funny guy that you are.

I love you heaps xxx

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Ethan is finally 6!

Sjoe, this year, we had a countdown of note to this birthday.  From about a month before – yes a month!  Btw, to a 5year old, a month makes just about no sense in terms of time.  Even teacher was counting down on the white board.  And then finally, the day arrived.  And it was the bestest day a little boy could have.  Ethan was so spoilt – he got the most amazing gifts, he got his rainbow cake for school and cupcakes for the teachers as was requested, and he got his dinner request – hotdogs (what an easy request for mama :-)) – a movie and quality time with his favourite aunt.

I cannot believe that 6years ago, I was holding my little baby in my arms.  The baby I prayed for, the boy who made me a mum for the first time, the first grandchild in our Tate (my maiden surname) family and the second in the Howe family many years after the first grandson.  So a day late, I wanted to note everything that is Ethan…

  • Ethan is such an emotional little guy.  And he’s not only emotional when something affects him directly, but even when it affects his family.  It’s like he’s tuned into our emotions too.  He’ll often ask what’s wrong with me, or even say nothing at all but will just give me extra cuddles wanting to cheer me up.
  • He’s a do-er.  He loves to help.  If he can do it himself, even better.  From setting out the coffee cups in the mornings with all the ingredients in them, to recently making breakfast for himself and his brother.  If he finishes dinner before his brother, he’ll often jump at the opportunity to help mum by closing windows and switching on the lights.  I think his love language, if I’m not mistaken, is called Acts Of Service?!
  • His other prominent love language is physical touch.  He loves sitting on my lap, loves jumping into our bed in the morning and just holding mum, he loves me to stroke his hair and he loves to cuddle with his brother.  In fact, the other morning when he woke up, he jumped right into bed with Riley and laid and cuddled with him ❤
  • Talking about his brother, he absolutely adores Riley.  Yes they fight.  Yes there are days when I prefer them to be in two separate rooms, but he’d do absolutely anything for his brother.  The older he gets, the more I see him trying to accommodate and include him and it makes my heart so glad.  He often says to him that when he gets bigger, he’ll teach him xyz.  Precious child!
  • He loves making jokes and inventing silly little rhymes and songs – this he definitely got from me.  As babies, I’d do this all the time for them.  And him and Riley spend ages singing these made up songs and dancing together.
  • His favourite food is hotdogs (hence the birthday request) and fish fingers and chips.  I never thought we’d get here, but he has a really healthy appetite.  Meal time stopped being a battle some time around the beginning of this year and boy child has moments where he eats like a teenager!  Don’t get me wrong, there are moments where he doesn’t have an appetite and I feel like pulling out my hair, but I’d say that overall, we’ve passed the food battle.  After years of fighting at every meal, I think that God finally had pity on me 🙂  Although the food fighting is still very much real with little brother!
  • He loves arts and crafts.  He can spend hours painting, doing puzzles and drawings pictures.  One of the items he’s put on Santa’s list is a mould that he can paint.
  • He’s reading so well and I’m loving watching his brain work through words and sentences.  Some time ago, it just clicked, and he’s been progressively so well.  Being the youngest in his class, we toyed with the idea of whether to keep him back a year or let him go ahead with his class, but I’m so glad we let him go ahead.  His teacher says that he’s the best at everything in his class – reading, writing, drawing, even sports.  He makes us so so proud!!

Ethan, as you enter the 7th year of your life, I pray that God will continue to bless you and watch over you.  You are a real blessing in our lives and I pray that you will stay the loving, kind, caring, funny, happy, playful, creative and smiling boy that you are.

Happy 6th birthday my son – I love you with all of my heart xxx

Let’s talk about Christmas

I got this idea from Marcia over at The 123 blog who absolutely loves Christmas, maybe even more than I do 🙂  I thought this would be fun to do, something different, so here goes…

1. What is your favourite Christmas movie/s?

I actually don’t have one.  We (my family, parents and sisters included) generally watch the Christmas movie that’s playing at the movies for the year.  So I’m sure that shortly, the Christmas movie will be out and we’ll probably go and see it some time over the festive season.

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

Definitely Christmas morning.  I feel that doing it on Christmas Eve takes the fun out of Christmas morning especially now that I have kids.  So the kids are allowed to get the goodies out of their Christmas stockings and to open their gifts from father Christmas before church.  Then after church, we all open our gifts together – children and adults.

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?

Not of my own funnily enough although I have lots of memories from Christmases over the years.  But one that I will never forget is Ethan’s 3rd Christmas (I feel that at 3, it’s the first time that kids really understand what Christmas is and that father Christmas will be visiting etc. hence the reason I’m so excited for Riley this year!!).  On his 3rd Christmas, my sister bought him a set of three CAT trucks and when he opened up the rather large gift, the child went crazy.  He was so excited, he kept going wow, wow, wow.  It was priceless!  Pity we didn’t catch it on video 😦

4. Favourite festive food?

Definitely chocolate balls.  I absolutely love the Woolies ones…if that counts as food?!?!  Otherwise, whatever’s going on Christmas Day.  Anything and everything 🙂 🙂 🙂

5. Favourite Christmas gift?

The list is too long.  I am so blessed that each and every person in my family are very thoughtful when it comes to gifts.  I always get gifts that mean the world to me!

6. Favourite Christmas scent?

Lots and lots of food cooking on Christmas day!

7. Favourite Christmas CDs?

Definitely Mariah Carey, hands down.  And in second place, Boney M…I can hear them singing Mary’s Boy Child in my mind right now 🙂

8. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

One that we may have unknowingly started last year is to have a Christmas eve dinner so that there are less courses on Christmas day.  Last year, we had a curry on Christmas eve.  Then on Christmas day, we had a full Christmas breakfast after church.  And then a very late lunch which consisted of the roasts, veggies and salads.  Essentially it meant everybody got to eat what they wanted to because nobody was terribly full after course 1!  We’re going to do the Christmas eve dinner again this year so who knows – it may become a tradition.

9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?

Nothing I can think of.  As far as I remember, I got whatever I asked for.  Maybe times were simpler then and we didn’t ask for crazy, outrageously priced things like the kids of today ask for?!?!  Or maybe I just can’t remember.

10. What’s the best part about Christmas for you?

I know it’s all about Jesus and that part is extremely important, but if I’m honest…PRESENTS!!!!!!!!  Hahahaha.  And the magic of Christmas for the kids.  Also, finding the perfect gifts for my family.  Having said that though, what is there not to like about Christmas?!?!?!

Tell me about your Christmas…I’d love to know what you and your family do 🙂

 

The tooth fairy came…

…for the first time.  And there was much excitement in the Howe household!!!

With Ethan being the youngest in his class, it wasn’t a surprise to me that the other kids in the class started losing their milk teeth before him.  Every time somebody lost a tooth, I’d get the report back on how the tooth fairy visited and gave them xyz.  We’d regularly check his teeth just in case one was loose and we hadn’t noticed (I’m weird like that, I know!).  And then when he had his bicycle accident, once the aches and pains had subsided, we realised that one of his teeth on the top left hand side was loose.  That tooth has since seemingly relodged itself back into his gum and the excitement of it possibly falling out subsided as quickly as the excitement of it being loose had come!

Then a few weeks ago, Ethan realised that one of his bottom teeth were loose.  And so the wiggling started.  Every day, he’d push it around, but this tooth was just doing nothing.  When he told his teacher that it was loose – her response was FINALLY!  We felt the same way, hehe.  Boy child was not in the least bit interested in the suggestion I made of attaching a string to it and to the door like we used to do as kids.  No no no, there was none of that happening.  And so he continued to wiggle it and when he wasn’t doing it, I was reminding him to do it…I said I’m weird okay 😉

Anyhoo, last week Friday came around.  We got home ready to relax and to start the weekend.  Riley asked for apples for him and Ethan, and they ran outside to play with their friends.  A few minutes later, Ethan came running in saying his tooth had fallen out.  Apparently, he bit into the apple, then he tasted blood and saw his tooth sticking in the apple.  The excitement that followed was priceless.  Even Riley was in awe of “the tooth” and Ethan was proud as punch that he now had a gap in his mouth.  He literally ran around the complex cheering for the rest of the afternoon.

Toothless

Bedtime came around and Ethan was more than ready to sleep.  He jumped into bed and wasn’t even interested in a bedtime story.  I explained to the both of them how the tooth fairy was going to come in the night and that she couldn’t come if they were awake so they needed to make sure that they were fast asleep.  The tooth was then placed close to the door (so that the tooth fairy could easily see it when she flew into the room) inside one of Ethan’s takkies, and the boys fell fast asleep.

Proud as punch

Excited much?!?! Mister proud as punch going to sleep on Friday night.

That’s when mama got to work.  Firstly, I wrote a letter in a silver khoki pen that I found hidden in the draw which I don’t think we’ve ever used.  This shall be the tooth fairy pen from now on 🙂 🙂 🙂  Thereafter, I googled how to fold an A4 paper into a star (to match the stars at the bottom of the letter).  I like to think of myself as relatively arty/creative, but after looking at a few links, I realised that making a star was faarrrrr out of my depth!  So I googled something easier, and in the end, I think my envelope was quite cool – what do you think??!!!

Tooth fairy letter

Enveloper

Space for the cash

The cash went into the little pocket at the back!

Ethan woke up during the night from a nightmare – 2am.  He asked to go to the loo and Riley got up and went too.  Then they were UP!  And Ethan was like – did the tooth fairy come yet?!?!  But ain’t nobody got time for 2am excitement, and so I quickly said it was too early for her to have come and that the sooner they sleep, the quicker morning will come and by then she would have most definitely come.  I heard Ethan tossing and turning quite a bit thereafter and kept thinking I heard him climbing down from his bunk bed to check, but soon after, they were both fast asleep.

On Saturday morning, he came running into the room extremely excited because he first looked for his tooth in his takkie and it was gone, but then he found the envelope and mummy, there’s money in it!!!!  ❤  I read the letter to him and then he read it at least three times by himself.  He was proud as punch and it’s moments like that that make being a mother totally worth it.  I created a magical experience for my son and it’s these things that they’ll remember growing up!

Let’s hope that the “tooth fairy” can keep this up for the rest of the teeth in his mouth 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Party planning

So it’s less than a month until Ethan turns 6 and then 6 days thereafter, Riley turns 2.  We’ve finally decided on what to do this year and I’m quite excited about it!  I just hope that it all works out as planned.

When I initially asked Ethan what he wanted to do, he said he wanted to go ziplining.  Where he’d heard about that, heavens alone knows, because he’s never actually done it himself.  I quickly squashed that idea mainly because – well, it’s a big expense – and not having planned for it, with all my other December expenses this year, I think we can give it a skip for another year or two 🙂

His second option was taking a few friends from school to the movies.  I thought this was a really good idea.  Other than the fact that, by getting all the Ster Kinekor movie cards in my family, the kids would essentially go to the movies for free and we’d just have to get some snacks for them, Ethan also only wants a hand full of children, so I thought it a pretty cool age appropriate thing to do.  That then evolved into our current plan…

Movie Night Ticket

We’re having movies at home 🙂 🙂 🙂  Just for the boys in his class and his two friends from the complex.  Side note:  initially, he only wanted 4 friends from class, but last night, he asked if we could add another little boy only for me to discover that if we ask this little boy, then only 1 other child hasn’t been asked because there are only 7 boys in their class, including Ethan.  So I told him that he could ask both the other boys then all the boys from class will be invited.  His response was that he doesn’t want to invite the last boy (he’s new and recently immigrated from Bulgaria) and from what I hear, quite the bossy pants and Ethan says he’s often ugly to him and they don’t play together at all.  So the hubster and I explained to him how it’ll be really sad for him if he’s the only boy who doesn’t get an invitation when Ethan hands them out today, and we asked how he’d feel if the roles were reversed – not nice obviously.  Then I also assured him that if said kid were to come, mum and dad would make sure that he didn’t bully any of the other kids.  So now, all the boys from class are going to be invited to the party!  Back to the actual party…it’ll start at 5:30pm at our house.  My plan is that the kids play till around 6 (I’m a stickler for time so I’ll make sure that everything runs promptly!), then at 6pm, I’ll serve a light dinner.  Ethan has chosen hotdogs.  At around 6:30, I’ll start the movie.  My sister is going to download the newest movie for the party so that the kids get to watch one which hopefully hasn’t come out at the movies as yet, meaning that it’ll be the first time that any of them have watched it.  I plan to get little boxes for popcorn and matching cups for soda, move the lounge furniture out of the way, and set up the blow-up mattress, blankets, pillows etc. – what we do on our usual family movie night, simple, yet the kids absolutely love it.  The movie will end around 8pm, at which time the parents can collect the kids.  For those parents who don’t want to drop off (I’m one of those – I think that 6 is way too young for drop offs especially in the evening, but that may just be me), they are most welcome to stay and have pizzas and drinks for the parents.  Once the parents RSVP, I will send this detail to them including the fact that I will be serving dinner around 6 for the kids.  I thought it a bit too much to include on the actual invitation.  Last night Ethan handwrote all the names on the invitations in a combination of permanent marker and blue pen – apparently, this looks “fancy”.  And today, he’s super excited to be handing them out.

Handwritten invitations

The party is in a months time.  I am not going to have a birthday cake at the movie night so I plan to send a really nice cake to school on his actual birthday.  And I’m not even going to bother doing party packs – the movie night is the party, and the snacks the treats.  All in all, this should be a really awesome birthday party at a rather minimal price 🙂 🙂 🙂

Then the weekend thereafter, for Riley’s birthday, we’re going to the Spur.  We decided that he’s too small to single out a handful of friends from his class of 25 – in fact, we did ask him who he’d like to come to his party thinking that we may ask 1 or 2 friends from school, but he wanted nobody because apparently everybody is ugly to him?!?!  Go figure! – so we’ve decided to invite a few family friends that are close to his age for a small party just for him.  To school, I’ll send cupcakes for each child or just a plain cake.  And then at the Spur, I’m going to do an ice-cream cake for him with a picture of his choice on the top – probably Paw Patrol or PJ Masks as he’s obsessed with both at the moment!  I am yet to do the invitations for his birthday, but these will be sent out via e-mail closer to the time as RSVPs should be easier from family friends than getting them from school friends.

The birthday gifts are yet to be bought, but at least we know what we need to do.  I’m getting excited guys.  I really love celebrating birthdays with my boys ❤

December babies

Birthdays are big in our family!  For just about every month of the year, there is somebody in our family (I’m talking my immediate family as well as my in-laws) who celebrate a birthday.  In fact, as I may have mentioned before, my husband and my late gran share a birthday, my mum and my late mum-in-law share a birthday and even my dad and my brother-in-law share a birthday.  For my immediate family, not only do birthdays mean gifts, but it means spoils upon spoils – dinner, cake, calls, the whole toot!

So when we decided to start a family, I obviously had my eyes set on having babies in “free months” so to speak.  That meant April or November…limited right?!?!  And then, I had a December baby.  And then…another.December.baby!  It’s awesome to have babies in December, really it is.  Both times, it felt as if I’d received the greatest Christmas present ever.  But fast forward to these days when there’s school, parties, proper gifts etc.  Not to mention that we’re HUGE on Christmas.  Let me give you some insight into December for the Howe family…

So the boys are both in creche right?!  At creche, Santa visits in the first week of December.  That means a gift for each child.  There’s a limit of R300 which I always go below because I very much believe that kids (especially at the ages that they’re at) don’t need super expensive gifts, but it still adds up you know.  Then Ethan’s birthday is on the 5th and Riley’s on the 11th – 6days apart – which means that we send cake to school on both days.  Fortunately, 2years ago, the school made a rule that we are not allowed to send party packs because it puts undue pressure on parents who can’t actually afford it, so that saves us at least 🙂  Then there’s the birthday party.  No, I will not have an extravagant party for them every year and yes, I’ll probably do a joint party for as long as I can, should I feel like it.  But whether it’s joint or not and whether it’s at home or at a venue, there’s still a cost associated to having a party/parties.

Then there’s Christmas which happens therafter.  We’re the type of family who buy for EVERYBODY.  It probably has a lot to do with the fact that our kids are the only grandkids so right now, it makes no sense just to buy only for the kids ‘cos then nobody is going to get gifts and we loovvveeee gifts 🙂 🙂 🙂  And then we alternate Christmas celebrations between Jo’burg (between our and my sisters’ homes) and Durban, at my folks’ home.  So on the year that we go “home” (this year), there’s extra money that needs to be put aside for the trip.  Granted, the accomodation is free (score!!), but there’s still the trips and the outtings.

Then for the kids alone, we (the hubster and I) do Christmas stockings, a gift from Santa which gets delivered overnight by Santa and his elves of course.  And then mum and dad  (us) still give gifts to the kids from us.  I know this is all brought on by myself, but Christmas is a special celebration for us and all so more special since I’ve had kids.

So having December babies has really put another spin on our December budget!!!  Last year, I managed to successfully buy a gift or two every month of the year and so when it got to December, my budget seemed to stretch further.  This year, heaven alone knows what happened, but it’s November and I have ONE Christmas gift, ONE!!!!  It’s going to be a looonnggggg two months 😉

Currently

So it’s been a few days since my “pity party” and I’m happy to report that my health is coming along nicely. After many visits to numerous specialists, too many tests to count, and even being admitted to hospital for 24hrs, I am so thankful to God that I have nothing life threatening or debilitating, and after a few days of my prescribed meds, I should finally be A-ok!! I never thought I would say this but I’m looking forward to going back to work on Monday, more so to get my life back to normal than doing the actual work 🙃

A few months ago, we had planned a Howe sibling weekend just from today till Sunday, and we were really looking forward to meeting the smallest Howe cousin face-to-face this weekend, but that had to be cancelled. I feel so terrible about it, but of course my health comes first. Fortunately, we were able to cancel, but now we have to fight for the refund, such a schlep!!

Talking about schleps, the hubster had a small accident last week Friday, about an hour after I was discharged from hospital. So now it’s insurance admin!! On the same day, we had a few other family incidents…it felt like Friday the 13th came a week later in our family.

In other news, Ethan has his first loose tooth. He discovered it last weekend. We also discovered that right behind that tooth, his first permanent tooth is already growing…very visible and out of the gum already…is that normal?! So of course there’s been lots of wiggling to help the baby tooth fall out. This morning I told him how when it’s loose enough, if he wants, we can tie a string between the tooth and door to yank it out quickly…he did not look impressed. But man, this child is growing fast! Our first grade R parent orientation morning for big school is happening in two weeks. There, we will have to fork out money for 2018’s stationery and workbooks…yes, this year already (I guess our weekend away’s refund will now go straight to that!!). Then there’s the uniform that we need to buy soon. Does the spending ever end??? Graduation is happening in the first week of December – I can’t believe my first born is already getting ready to go to big school!!!

Riley has finally accepted the fact that he will not be going to the same school as Ethan next year. For a while, every time we mentioned that Ethan would be moving schools, Riley would have a meltdown, adamant that he is moving schools as well and that he’s not moving to the green group in his current school. He would even cry about it and say…but I’m five already, I can also go to big school!!!!! He’s doing so well in school though. His teachers say that he’s very quiet (are we talking about the same child??!!!!) if they talk directly with him, but with his friends, he’s very loud, he loves his music and singing, and he’s very clever – he knows all his shapes, colors etc. He’s still going through the wanting everything his way now phase and can often be found, when not at school, sulking or crying in his room, behind his curtain, with his left pointer finger in his mouth and his right hand down his pants fiddling with his Crown Jewels! Does anybody have a solution to kick these two bad habits comfort mechanisms, specifically the latter?!?!?!

It’s almost December which means birthday party planning in the Howe house. This year, I want to keep it very low key, not that I usually go all out! Our “usual” is the Spur except for last year where we hired a venue as it was Ethan’s crown birthday. This year, he asked for a zip line party…heaven alone knows where he got this idea from. I told him maybe next year and tried to convince gently co-herce him into taking a few friends to the movies. In that way, we can keep it pretty low key and the cost won’t be too bad, but then I can also invite a few of Riley’s class friends to Spur, and he can have his own party for a change (their birthdays are 6days apart so we’ve always just had a joint party). But now I’m wondering whether I should just do the joint Spur party. Less fuss I guess and kids lovvveeeeee the Spur shame.

Anyway, enough of all of that. I hope that you all have a good Friday and an even better weekend xxx

Random thoughts.

Laying in bed. Week three…

Top of mind is of course work – days missed, deadlines missed, performance appraisal on the cards soon. 

But my health comes first of course, and work must can wait.

What happened to the days of people visiting? These days, Wassap messages replace phone calls and people popping around is unheard of. Visits are planned weeks, sometimes even months in advance.

I remember doing family trips and returning home to a cooked meal made by family friends who thought that perhaps my mum would be too tired to cook. The gesture, one that I can fully understand and appreciate now as an adult with a family who need constant feeding, was so small yet so amazing. Let’s face it – there’s only so much take-out a person can do!!

My mum flew up to Joburg to surprise me during the week. I was so happy to see her, I burst out crying…at work…right in front of main reception *embarrassed face*. Does one ever not need their mother when they’re not feeling well? Just her being here made me feel so much better, even if it was just in spirit. I wish she could have stayed longer but then I also keep reminding myself that I’m a grown adult with a family of my own and my mum has her own life too 🙂

Can you believe that until Christmas, there are only two salaries…both of which need to buy Christmas gifts AND last till January pay day, paying for Christmas gifts, birthday gifts (in our case, we have two December babies…I’m thinking of moving their birthdays to June but that’s a story for another day, hehe) and Christmas holidays! This has been the case for years and years, yet every year I get flustered around this time of the year financially #Decembermustfall

Oh well…random ramblings happen when you’re bored in bed and have watched every series, every movie and read every book in sight. It’s funny how we wish we could be at home doing absolutely nothing and then when you’re sick in bed for days on end, you wish you could just be well. 

Yes I’m feeling sorry for myself 😦 …I also know this too shall pass

Have a good week all xxx

Our Cape Town trip

Hey! Long time 🙂 So I’ve been meaning to blog about our trip but I’ve been flat on my back, sick and bed bound, since last week Tuesday and just haven’t had the energy to do anything much other than try and recover. But last night when I got in to bed, the words were all floating around in my head and I thought I’d better blog about the trip before it becomes a very distant memory, so here goes. Pull up a cuppa and enjoy the read…

Our first family trip away. Boy was it busy! But good busy you know. From day 1, leaving the house before 8am to catch our flight…it was just go go go straight away….and I loved it. The boys were real stars. Riley had his moments, but you know, he’s two and saying nooooooo a million times a day to just about every question, suggestion or instruction is pretty normal for his age (well, as far as I’m concerned). The crying for a toy in just about every shop we walked into was slightly annoying, I must admit, but again…I still think pretty normal for his age! He did battle a bit at bedtime at night. I mean let’s face it, it’s the first time he’s ever slept out of his house other than at my mum’s, so it must have been scary, but we took it in out stride because well…we were on holiday 🙂 Out of the 7nights we were away, he shared a bed with us for 3 of the nights, but we managed!! 

So the trip didn’t start too great  – I hired the cheapest car (as one does when trying to maximize one’s holiday spending money!!) not even giving the boot space vs our luggage a single thought. When we were shown our rental vehicle, the hubster was less than amused. With two car seats, we couldn’t even load the bags on the backseat and so I had to “upgrade” the car. So I left the boys in the car park munching away on lunch and quickly made my way back to the rental company only to discover…they had no.more.cars available. At this stage, I was like – give me a Merc, I don’t care about the cost. I.just.need.a.car!!!!! As luck would have it, 2minutes later, somebody dropped off a Ford Fiesta and we grabbed it up…still slightly small, but we made do. Then it was off to explore the mother city and she greeted us with the most amazing weather. Knowing full well that the weather forecast wasn’t to remain this way for too long, we headed straight down to the Seapoint promenade, a street away from our living quarters for the first two days, and the boys had a ball playing in the park, throwing stones into the waves and picking shells to take home for their teachers. We then headed off to the Waterfront and the boys enjoyed a really delightful ride on the Hamley’s train, and of course we had a ride on the wheel. We ended the evening in front of the tv with take-out.

The following day was really adventurous with me braving the cable car with two small children alone. The hubster is petrified of heights and never ventured up there is all the years we lived in Cape Town, but I was determined to go up myself – something I last did as a child – and I wanted the boys, especially Ethan, to experience it as well. Riley was petrified going up in the cable car and he almost died when the dassies encroached on our little picnic on top of the mountain, but otherwise, it really was an amazing experience. I saw little bits of Ethan’s adventurous side come out as he climbed and hopped across the rocks, and my nerves were properly shot by the time we left, but it was totally worth it!!

The next few evenings and days were spent with family and friends. At every place we stayed, the boys had kids around their ages, so they were pretty much occupied while mum and dad relaxed and caught up with our nearests and dearests. A long drive to Robertson through the Huguenot tunnel (boy did it bring back memories of our annual Cape Town holidays!!!), a family picnic at a lovely place in Paarl, and a few braais were pretty much all we did over the long weekend.

Then we were on our own again on the Monday afternoon and the weather turned pretty cold and rainy, but we weren’t worried as we had Netflix babyyyyy!!! The kids also had some really cool toys in the place where we stayed for our last two nights, so they were happily entertained. On Tuesday morning, we woke up to rain, so off we traipsed to the aquarium. Ethan loved it, but Riley was scared by just about everything!! Afterwards, we had lunch at Royale Eatery in Long Street, an old favorite of ours, and then while the kids napped in the car, we took a drive to Muizenburg/Fish Hoek side. We even saw a whale jump right out of the ocean…pity the kids slept through that 😦 

Wednesday morning was pack up and go, but not before a quick shop around Access Park for takkies for the Howe boys and a few pretty scarves for mum 🙂 

Overall, the holiday was amazing and what struck me most this time was how I never felt tired – like sleep tired – even when we got home! It was a jam packed holiday, but we got to do and see everything we wanted to, and that to me really made it great!!!

Till next time Cape Town xxx

Currently…

We’re off to Cape Town tomorrow morning and I really can’t wait!!!  This time tomorrow, we’ll be in the mother city 🙂  Come rain or shine, the Howe’s are going on a holiday y’all.  It really would be nice if Cape Town gave us good weather though, just saying…

So we have a jam packed schedule ahead and my brain is of course already on leave.  Only a few hours of the working day left and then it’s holiday time.  I have the following ready for our trip;-

  • Itinerary (most important for me…although I’m happy to chop and change, I do think it’s important to have some sort of guideline around holiday plans so as not to waste the time twiddling thumbs and being indecisive!!)
  • Boarding passes
  • Air BnB receipts for our accomodation
  • Car hire booking confirmation
  • Car parking booking arrangement for the airport

All I have to do is pack our bags and then we’re A-for-away!!!

Then tonight we get to spend the evening with my brother-in-law from PE which we’re really looking forward to.  The perfect start to what promises to be a fantastic week ahead.

The kids

The kids, for a change, have been sick BEFORE our holiday.  Every.single.time we go on holiday, both our kids get sick.  In fact, both usually have to go on antibiotics and at different times of the holiday.  Can you believe it!  After Ethan’s accident just over a week ago, Riley started with a fever at midnight on the same night which ended up being an ear infection.  Then Ethan started a croup-ey cough with fevers mid-week as well which turned out to be a virus.  Riley is well on the mend and Ethan is almost there.  So I just know that they’re going to be healthy for our holiday this time – yay!!!  As a side note, a clear indication that the kids’ health has been really good this year…we still have medical aid savings…yes, in September!!!!

And then the cutest thing ever – last week Friday, I fetched Ethan from school to take him to the doctor and then I dropped him at home where he spent the afternoon under the watchful eye of our nanny resting and trying to recover.  Riley had no idea that he had left as when I got to school, Riley was sleeping, and nobody told him that Ethan had left for the day.  When it was movie time that afternoon, Riley went to the class where movies are played and of course, Ethan wasn’t there.  I wondered all afternoon how he would react to this.  When I got to school, he came running and he shouted:  “Mum, I’ve lost my brother”… ❤

Anyway, Ethan is super excited about the trip and has been counting down.  Riley is rather confused – where is this Cape Town place, why are there so many sleeps, what does 5sleeps mean…is it tomorrow, hehe.  I know they’re going to have the time of their lives and I cannot wait to make memories on our first official holiday together as a family of 4!!

Homework

So today, Ethan had to prepare for an oral at school, his second one this year.  Yes, they now do orals in grade R…since when?!  The last few days have been quite tough with Ethan being sick, knowing that he needs to prepare for an oral – an oral which teacher kindly moved forward because on the day that Ethan is scheduled to present his oral to the class, he’ll be galavanting away on the other side of the country 🙂  So we couldn’t quite miss today as the date.  The other alternative was for him to present when we get back from our trip, the day that he returns to school, but I figured this wouldn’t be good as it would mean that he had to practise all holiday which isn’t ideal and so well, we made sure we were ready for today.  His topic was his favourite sea creature.  He chose…A SWORDFISH…all I can saying is thank goodness for Google!

The thing that I’m battling with is that Ethan just can’t see the importance of homework and the need to ensure that homework is done before “funtime”.  I’m not sure when or how the other kids do their homework so quickly, but most days when we get home, the other kids are running around the complex and mister has to knuckle down and work shame.  It’s only 10minutes a day (they get homework on a Monday to hand in on a Friday and I split it up over each day because I figured he’d get into the habit of doing homework daily this way).  When it’s something he enjoys doing, no problem.  But if it’s anything that remotely doesn’t interest him, problem.  Fighting, tears, sulking!  Practising for this oral resulted in all of those and a lot of reprimanding from mummy.  Let’s just say, I’m glad that today is over but I have a feeling that homework is going to continue to be the enemy for years to come 😦

Reading

I am currently reading a book called One Thousand Gifts.  I came across this per chance and when I asked my cousin whether she’s read books by this author, she said she loved her and so she bought this book on her Kindle which, because we have set up a family libray on Amazon (try it, it’s totally worth it!!!) I now have access to.  I must admit that I thought that this was a story instead of non-fiction which I very rarely read, and so I’m struggling with it a bit.  The content is very deep and I often have to read sentences or passages over and over again just to absorb it you know.  But I’ve read quite a few interesting things already.  The book I read previously was After You Left and I thoroughly enjoyed this story!  Totally worth the read 🙂 🙂 🙂

Next Year

Yes, I am already looking at next year things although not just 2018 in general, more specifically, BIG SCHOOL – grade 1 – and what we’re going to do regarding transport for Ethan 😦  Yes, there’s after care but with after care comes costs right?!  And then there’s my very real want to be with my kids, spend time with my kids and just be that mum you know.  There when school ends.  Help with homework.  Spend the afternoons playing with them.  But then I have a full time job.  So I’ve been toying with different options in my mind over the last few weeks and then…my neighbour mentioned that I need to make a decision about after care very soon ‘cos apparently she’s already registered for next year and there’s limited spaces and the spaces are filling quickly.  I keep thinking to myself that we stressed so much about grade R and whether we should move Ethan or not and then once we decided, I handed that decision over to God and tried not to let it bother me anymore.  Same as when we handed in the grade 1 school applications – it was hard to let go once everything had been handed in, but I let go and let GOD 🙂  And now I’m going to let go of this.  In the next few months, I’ll obviously have to decide but whatever’s meant to be will be!!  At least he’s IN a school next year.  Anything can change between now and then, who knows…

Anyway, that’s us in a nutshell 🙂  I shall be quiet for at least the next week and I will give a lo down of the holiday when we’re back.  On the plus side, I’ve managed to take an extra days leave in for next week Thursday, the day after we get back from our holiday.  The kids will be back at school, the hubster will be back at work (unfortunately, he doesn’t have a choice, has to go back 😦 ) and that day will be for ME…to recover from our holiday, hahahahaha.

Ciao ciao xxx