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Drama party

28 Sep

Léa has been doing drama for a few years and it has become one of her highlights in the week. Last month it was her birthday, and going from a superhero party (don’t ask me where it came from) to a hamper party (which excited her – and me – as much as going to the dentist) to no party at all, I finally had a lightbulb moment and thought of a drama party! It turned out to be the easiest party to organise and probably the one that she enjoyed the most.

The idea with our drama party was to put into practice everybody’s acting skills. Most children are drama queens anyway, so it was  a matter of putting structure around these theatrical little people.

We started with a few rounds of charade to get warmed up.

Stella acting ‘going to bed’,

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Léa acting ‘catching a big fish’,
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Rachel acting ‘a hook’,

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and Kiera wondering how to act something that seemed to scare her 🙂

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Our second short game challenged them to line up first according to height, then in alphabetical order of their first name. All that without being allowed to speak! They struggled a bit with all the ‘Ks’: Killian, Kaira, Kiera, Katie!!

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They clearly needed some fresh air by then. We went outside where they had to act according to how they feel about words I told them.

Here they are expressing their feelings about ‘bananas’: one happy chap, others…not so much,

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their feelings about monsters (not sure about Léa here),

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and their feelings about birthdays.

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We then moved on to acting different emotions. Rachel and Kaira being sad,

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Kiera, Dayna and Léa being tired,

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Killian and Matt being angry (my boys are familiar with this feeling as you can see by their great acting face),

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Cass and Kaira being bored (to death for Kaira it seems),

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and Katie showing surprise.

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After some well-deserved refreshments, the part that Léa had been looking forward to for weeks and weeks was a showcase of a short scene. She wrote a script of an argument scene between four people (a convenient writing assignment for school taken care of). The kids were then split into 2 teams and each team had to prepare and perform their scene in a different style.

Here they are preparing their lines (so professional).

Team 1: Léa, Kiera, Kaira and Rachel

Team 2: Dayna, Stella, Katie and Cass

Team 1 was given the style Downton Abbey – british and aristocratic (Yes, Léa might have watched an episode or two…).

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Team 2 was given hip-hop style – the yoyo-dude and what’s up-sister style. They definitely looked the part!

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They really had a lot of fun all together, a real creative and teamwork outlet for a 10 year-old birthday party.

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I went to his office and all I got was this lousy picture…

8 Nov

I need to back-flash a bit here to the end of October.

Phillip’s birthday happens to be a day after Killian’s one and, just to reverse the routine, I will first post about Phillip’s birthday before devoting my attention to Killian’s. I have to confess that more often than not, my husband’s birthday gets neglected, or at least overlooked and poorly planned. I have an excuse, some kind of valid justification why it is so (The humand mind is amazing when it comes to self-justification). Yes, after planning my last kid party for the year, I have no more mental energy to think carefully about what I should do for Phillip’s. The truth also is that my introvert husband would happily choose to spend his day with me and me alone (maybe the kids, on a good day) and the real bottom of the truth is that he tends to get reflective and self-examining (yes, even more than during the year, can you imagine…) on this day – which tends to make me feel guilty, assuming that his pensive self is caused because of my lack of attention to his special day. I imagine him thinking “What have I done wrong that my wife does not love me?” It is one of my worst feeling, to think that I’ve let my husband down…

This year, as I said, has been just about the same as every other year. How can I not learn?? However, this year, just after he left for work, I frantically scratched and searched my (thin) baking cupboard and whipped, mixed and baked some muffins, told threatened the kids to write a simple but beautiful message for their one and only father, and as early as 10 o’clock, we headed to his work and surprised him there. I guess sometimes the simplest efforts are the best ones. Under his oh-my-word-I-feel-so-self-conscious skin, I know he was quite happy and touched by this. From this whole outing, I managed to get 2 very blurry pathetic pictures to illustrate that special moment. The first one is in the office with the sparkles (The rest of the people are behind me, so it looks like it’s just him in the office but don’t be fooled) and the second one is taken when he is still in the entrance of their office, feeling too awkward to go in.

That is the office. I’m sure there’s a lot of confidentiality involved here but the photo is so blurry that not even Sydney Bristow will get any secret trading code!

Stuck in the passage, awkward, self-conscious and overwhelmed 🙂

And here are the letters from the kids.

Messages from the kiddies

From Matty (dictated): Dear Papa, You are the nicest papa in the world. I love you because you always play cricket with us and you’re always nice with us. I also like it when you are torturing Mama because then we can join in. I’m a little bit upset when you need to go to work and when you have a meeting in the night because I won’t be able to see you in the night. Happy Birthday, From Matt.

From Killian: I love being with you. you our are my best papa.

From Léa: Dear Papa, Happy happy birthday! You are very special to me. I love it when you play cricket with us (although saturday wasn’t that fun). I am very sorry that we didn’t make this morning very special. I told myself last night to say happy birthday to you and then I forgot! I love spending time with you better than anything else. 38 is so old, although it is not everyday you turn that age! So I wish you a very Happy 38th birthday! Lots of love, Léa.

What I liked about these letters is that they show a small window into their heart. Killian’s heart bursts out of love for his dad. He is his hero but his message is short for his spelling is poor. I would never guess that Matty doesn’t like it when Phillip gets home late. For him, everything looks juuuust fine. As for Léa, her guilty conscience for not having done the right thing was too overwhelming for her.

Another birthday gone. Another year to plan the next one.

When I’m big, I want to be a gladiator…

8 Nov

Killian never really said that but I’m sure that he at least thought it! After being stuck for 2 years – almost 3  – on the pirate party, it came almost as a relief to hear him shout for a gladiator party!! We studied the roman time during our school time and it has been a fascinating time period for the kids AND for me!! So I was quite keen about the unusual theme… until I realised that the challenge of living in developing country (emphasis on -ing, as opposed to -ed) is that if your theme is not Spiderman or Hello Kitty or Pirates, there aren’t many available accessories in the shops (which is probably better given that anything with a brand name attached is so expensive!)

After being postponed by a week because of whooping cough threat (!!), and after many days of countdowns from Killian, finally he could have his roman gladiator party. So we made do with a few wooden swords, an old pair of short and some leathery fabric that I bought to complete the look and Killian’s outfit – as well as Matty’s –  was ready. Léa wore a white roman dress (i.e. a white dress that my friend Laure left here because it was torn. It looked almost roman) with a brown belt and was armed with a bow and arrow. She would have fitted the Robin Hood party-theme very well but she thought she looked great and so did I!!

Game wise, I printed some roman pictures and cut them into puzzle pieces. Each cut picture was put in a ziploc bag and each team of 5 children had to find 3 bags, hidden in the garden, assemble the pieces AND name what was on the picture.

Working out the acqueduc, or the arena or the roman soldier.

Then, each gladiator had to attend the training school, called a ludus (I bet you didn’t know that!). The training course was an obstacle course in the garden, with weight training too!

Weight training!

Then, the part that Killian had been begging for the past few weeks: the gladiator games!!!! We formed an arena with giant sparkles (except that in the sunlight we couldn’t see them!!), and separated them into 2 teams again. We invited the emperor and his assistant (akaPhillip and Doug) to watch the games and decide who was the best gladiator. The aim was not to win the fight but rather to entertain the crowd, show courage and skills, and die bravely. These gladiators-in-training showed amazing talent and we were thoroughly entertained!! We had some fighting on their knees, some without an arm, some even had to hold their swords in their mouth for lack of any other limbs. All fought showing no fear and all were rewarded for being the best **something**.

Matt, sword in the mouth, and Sebastian hopping on one leg.

Some tragic deaths 😉

Brother against sister. No mercy!

Skilled gladiator! (Laure, thank you for your dress!!)

Hardcore, yet pensive birthday warrior…

My cake disaster was saved by 2 lovely ladies (Kirstin and Kirstin) who helped me turning what was supposed to be a roman soldier into a shield. When Killian saw it, he gasped (of joy) which is all that I needed 🙂

A fun group of gladiators!! Well done!!

If I’m 6 in France, am I also 6 in SA?

22 Jul

Matty’s birthday was celebrated at my mum’s place, Fréjus, France.
I love those shots of these brief moments. Swift, stolen and special…

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37

31 Oct

37 is a prime number, the fifth lucky prime, the first irregular prime, the third unique prime (Source: Wiki @ 37)

My sweet and stressed husband is 37 years old.

Beautiful

Tense, intense

Pain in the bum

Loyal, faithful, compassionate

Committed to the Lord

Devoted to me

Obsessive

Perfectionist (count that as a negative)

Determined and disagreeable (this one is just for you my Lou!)

Anxious

Protective

Deep and rough

Soft and tender

Somber and sincere

Talented and unbiased

Witty (ah no, sorry, this is me!)… Funny

Wise…

most importantly saved by the Lord’s grace alone, and completely and utterly surrendered to Jesus Christ.

This is my one and only ♥

It’s 4.30am and I’m ready to celebrate. I’m se7en.

31 Oct

I'm 2 and really cheeky!

Seven years ago, after 38weeks of growing process and a mere labour of 3 hours (don’t hate!), he was born. He screamed loud, already, and was an overall of 2,7kgs. One of the first things that our pediatrician said after examining him was that we should have an hearing test done to check if the unusual shape of his ears was not connected to a loss of hearing. We might consider plastic surgery for his ears when he’s older, he added.

I know, if you’ve met Killian, you might ask yourself what am I talking about? You probably didn’t notice much of his ears – it’s because there is nothing wrong with them. Seven years later, I don’t consider plastic surgery but I often wonder if he can hear me!

I'm about 4 and like to be different

My little boy is turning 7 this year and this is altogether overwhelming and absolutely frightening.

As I’m writing this post, I’m trying to think back on the year and capture key moments, key new abilities, key new growth. Things that will be meaningful to put down in a post. But growth is slow and unchanging to the naked eye. If I look back at October last year, what do I see that has changed? Quite honestly probably not so much.

He’s grown a few centimeters, he’s learnt to read, count and wear shoes from morning to lunch time.

He has passed the test of school: will my child cope? I was prepared to see him struggle, to see him not wanting to do the work but the Lord has been gracious; he hasn’t displayed any of this. But Killian does things differently. What takes Léa 10 minutes the traditional way, Killian prefers the unconventional approach: jump on the couch, balance on a head stand – why, you don’t do your homework like that? Also, why stick to  ‘boring books’ adapted to your reading level when you can go straight to the thick chapter books – only to leave them in the basket for 2 weeks realizing bitterly that you can’t read them yet – He still likes to pretend that he can though, oh proud one!

Killian is such a paradox to describe. He is loud, rough, overly energetic and overly physical. He’s aggressive and can be inappropriate. He struggles to control himself, hears but doesn’t listen and will defiantly fight. He has perfected ‘the look of death’. He’s impulsive and intensely emotional. He does not respond to normal punishment and often leaves me helpless and hopeless.

“I never!” is his most used words. He argues with me about what time it is and even when proven wrong, his pride will still stick to him like velcro. Apologising is not his strength. However, wound his heart and he is reduced to a pile of sorrowful tears. No pride, no shame, he will cry you a river. Not quick at apologizing but very quick to forgive.

He’s a bit like a tortoise: hard on the outside but soft and gooey on the inside. I loved that mental picture of him today. At school, boys don’t like girls, they don’t play with them and won’t touch anything pink. But today, for his birthday, Léa drew a picture for him and asked her teacher if she could go and give it to him. When she arrived in his class, his eyes went big and they **hugged** …

Big

Big smile!

He’s often too much to cope with. Killian is too much.

Too much clumsiness. He is Clumsy smurf.

Too much anger. “How can you say it’s half past seven when the long hand is on past 6 and the short one is on past 7, you’re talking ridiculous” from Killian to his mum!

Too much charm. Have you looked at his big chestnut eyes…

Too much speed. Thump! Tttttrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Blop! is the first sound we hear in the morning: Killian jumping from the top bunk bed, speeding through the passage and landing furiously into our bed!

Too much muscle. Not enough fat!

Too much care and compassion. He is devastated that M Jackson will not be in heaven and wants to give ALL his money to the poor – all his 50 rands.

I'm now 7 and I can hold my balance!

Too much prohibited behavior. Searching every cupboard to find his birthday gifts, lying about it, saying he only just glanced, only to later confess that he had a proper long look at it.

Too much energy. Gym, karate, running, swimming. What about sitting?

Too much courage and too many fears. Dogs and dark are still making him scream but give him a 12 year old boy and he will stand up to him to defend the cause of the weak.

Too much anxiety. Not enough nails to bite.

Too many demands. Matt, you must come with me to my room. Mama, you must stir my milkshake coz you know I don’t like the yaki stuff. Lea, you must play with me…

But overall, too much love. Sharing his own birthday chocolate with everyone.

Of such has been life with Killian for the past seven years. Seven years that would not have been possible without the Lord’s faithfulness at carrying us through those times where it felt like there was no hope.

But there is always hope in the Lord. Hope for everyone – Hope for the weak, the weary, the poor and the rich, the outcast and the popular, and hope for the wonderfully made 7 year old ADHD boy in my house.

I love you THIS big my boy!!!! Keep surprising me!!

When fairies make way to horses

24 Aug

Every birthday of my children, I like to write something about them, about their years and what defined them in that particular one. In my head, I plan it and aspire to put something down in time that will reflect their little growing character. Without fail, I write it NOT on time and find myself chasing time to actually describe their 8th year before their 9th birthday.

I usually feel at loss for new material. Realistically, what can possibly be so different from the year before? It feels that I’ve said – written – scoped their personality. And to a large extent, it is possibly true. Although people don’t radically change from the one year to the next. children grow, mature, acquire and improve on their life-skills, be it physically or emotionally and this long process is what makes them so special and shape them into different little beings.


When I look at Léa from last year and Léa this year, I see huge differences and yet, she is still our little Léa.

At 8 years old, she reads more books that I can keep track of. She reads, reads and reads. Starting from fairies and Stardust spirits, giving way to Secret Seven, Narnia, and of course horses. Anything related to horses and poneys. She loses herself into these books and loves to come and tell me the latest happenings of Moonlight, Star, Angel and others.

Ah! Horses!! She loooooves horses. 🐴  A love initiated by her friend Kiera but then developed all on its own to reach mountain size. We eat horses, we breathe horses, we dream horses, we draw horses, we keep a stable at the back of the house and we plan horse-riding lessons (birthday gift unanimously offered by Ouma, Mamie and parents). And by we, I mean Léa.

With reading developing, writing has also skyrocketed . She enjoys writing little stories and her confidence grew as she wrote and read – in front of her class – her first poem. A vulnerable moment that, acknowledged by her teacher, meant the world to her. Coming out of her shell a little bit more is a process that takes time for a reserved girl like Léa. And I thoroughly enjoy watching her plucking her courage to go and give a spontaneous hug to one of those ‘grown-ups’ in our circle, be it Andie, Nicole,Nikki, Kirstin… so many young beautiful examples of godly ladies to hug.

Growing in confidence no doubt! This year was also the year when she planned her first escape with Kiera. 🎒  After a play date in the afternoon, Taryn phones me a bit anxious about an interesting plan that the girls had made up. When we asked Léa about it, with her biggest enthusiastic and mischievous smile, she showed us her packed 2 pjs and warm jersey – but no food. She explained that the plan was for Kiera to make her way to our house, throw pebbles on the bedroom window and escape for the night to be back in the morning, so that we wouldn’t notice their absence too much. Yes, the plan had some refining to do but what an adventurous plan it is for 2 little girls! Of course, she added, she would never do it because she would miss us too much. Well, that’s a relief.

A sensitive soul she is indeed. When her big eyes get filled with tears, I’m always scared she gets dehydrated! I get glimpses of the teenager she might become when she gets so emotional: ⚡ when Killian gets into serious trouble, she comes to me and explains how sad it makes her to see Killian crying so much (it makes me sad too for the record!) When she doesn’t get enough sleep, she cried out of tiredness for the littlest thing- such as me baking brownies and not chocolate rolls for her munchy market! When she gets to be a flower girl at Kirstin’s wedding 🌸  and when she feels full of love for her mum.💗  … many tears, happy and sad.

Sensitive but also stubborn. She has now decided that I am not allowed to tease her anymore. While she knows that a good sense of humour and teasing are an important side of our family as it helps the big personalities in the household to take life less seriously, she has now declared that she doesn’t want to be teased anymore. To which I replied that she’s going to have to find a new family; to which she remained speechless; to which we both decided to learn from each other. Me, to tease with measure; her, to accept teasing with measure.

The best part of her day is bedtime. Once everyone is tucked in, I slip into her bed for a few minutes and play with her hair. Something that started spontaneously has now become a strict routine. Routine for which I am severely rebuked if I don’t have time to stick to it. She is very strict with me 🙂 

This is but a glimpse of what life with Léa looks like. Easily pleased, easily hurt, easily comforted. A big heart, with big eyes and lots of love to give.

I love you my puppet!!! My prayer remains the same each year. That the Lord who gave you to us will be gracious on your life and will give you the eyes and ears of understanding and accepting the wonderful news about Jesus.

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