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Les vacances…

22 Jan

Before I write about our first day at school, it is fitting to post some of my favourite pictures of the summer holidays.

C’est pour vous, la famille en France!! 🙂

C'est dur les vacances!

The browns and the whites!

Without the hands!!

I look cool because I AM cool!

Wild wild west, at Moyo

Hole building with Kate.

Wait for the wave, wait for it...

Overexcited friends, waiting for the wild wild horse to come!

Matt, professional wet sand surfer.

Outside the opera theater, pulling faces, bien sûr!

At the opera, no we don't have jaundice!

Peek-a-booh with Cleoné

About thinking and remembering…

28 Aug

Matty can’t write, which is pretty normal, he’s only 4.

However, the other day, he drew a pretty picture and wrote his name at the bottom, neatly enough for me to see that it was his name. So, as the encouraging mum that I should be, I praise him with words and big ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaaaaahs’ and ask him where he learnt to write his name (which in itself is a dumb question. It’s not like he took special lessons in secret…)

He looks at me for a few seconds and says:

Well, I thinked and I thinked…and I remembered.

Build-A-Bear: the birth of Bella, Robin and Scaredy aka Chocolate

16 Jul

During these long holidays, we took the kids to the Build-A-Bear workshop. It is a shop where you make your own teddy bear from scratch. The kids get to choose the outside of the teddy. They can decide whether they want a sound inside the teddy, like a monkey sound, a laughing sound, a ‘I love you’ message. They can even record their own message. Matty chose a monkey sound – how appropriate. Lea wanted to put her own message but I drew the line just before. I didn’t feel like hearing ‘Hello mama’ 30 times a day, and neither did she! Only a recorded message from a grandma would make sense!

Once the kids decided on the sound, the first step was to go to the fluffy machine (that’s where all the fluff gets put inside). It’s a big meany machine filled with what looks like soft cotton balls. In fact, one feels like just jumping in it! Once the fluffing is done, they each get a little fabric heart that they will put inside their teddy. But before, they have to rub it all over their body, kiss it, make a wish for Teddy’s life ( I wish that teddy will make my bed for me) and make a promise to their bear (I promise I won’t leave you to spend the night outside on the wet grass). They also need to think of a name for their respective teddy: we have Scaredy (because he’s scared), Robin (for Robin Hood) and Bella (meaning beautiful)

The promise
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After that, they have to air-shower and brush their bear to remove all the unnecessary fluff.

The air-shower
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Then a crisis happened. Lea’s teddy bear needed an operation. Her back was opened and needed to be sowed back into shape. So off to the operation table! The ‘nurse’ told Lea to hold her bear’s hand and reassure the poor thing. I was amazed at how much into it Lea was, really caring for this bear as if it was for real!!

The concerned mum during the operation
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Then it’s the most awaited stage – for the children. It’s also the cling-cling-cling (sound of money being spent!) stage for the parents: the dressing-up stage. They get to choose one outfit for their bear. These clothes cost more money than real shoes for my real children… but they are ssoooo cute! No surprise there: Lea chose a wedding dress, Killian chose a warrior outfit and Matty, being Matty, didn’t want anything because ‘his hair is his clothes’.

The dressing-up
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Then, because these bears are real (yes they are, don’t you dare disagree!), they need a birth certiificate. To the computers for the Home Affairs stage!

The administrative birth
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After the final solemn promise, right hand up, of looking after my bear, and always taking care of him – without forgetting the paying stage, we were eventually done! The kids were very happy and felt a great sense of responsibility. Although they look tired on this picture, be reassured, no, the Build-A-Bear workshop is not an exhausting time. tThe black rings under the eyes have more to do with the late(r) nights. Holiday mood!!!

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A few weeks later, the kids still play very much with these teddies. Scaredy is not scaredy anymore (we don’t care what the birth certificate says!), he is now Chocolate because, says Matty, “He knows that I like chocolate!!!”. Bella has been put in many many many outfits, she has many friends, she’s had quite a few play dates and even went to a sow-your-own-shoes party!! Robin is a warrior that likes to play golf in between wars.

A teddy’s got to do what a teddy’s got to do!!!

Soccer Season 4

7 Jul

IMG_7830.jpgIt was a soccer party, for Matty’s 4th birthday. This is a post with only pics from the party, for those who couldn’t attend due to geographical reasons 😦

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To marry or to marry…

5 Jul

I wonder what my children are talking about when they’re out playing.

Episode 1:

Matty comes in the house with freshly-cut flowers from the garden and says, ‘Here mama, it’s for you when you get married’. To which I replied, ‘thank you my darling, but I’m already married, to papa’

Puzzled silence.

‘Oh, then it’s for Lea, when she gets married!’, and off he went to find Lea.

Episode 2:

Same day, later, around the kitchen counter, the kids are arguing about something. ‘What is the matter?’ I ask.

Lea replies with a determined tone of voice ‘ When I’m 16, I’m getting married and I’m having a baby, voila! Killian says I can’t but I don’t care, that is what I want!’

Now I know what they’re talking about when they’re out playing. Ignorance is bliss, sometimes, for a time 🙂

When Matty turns four…

28 Jun

Last year I was made aware that I hadn’t written about Matt’s birthday. This year, it’s already 10 days after his birthday and still… nothing!! I can’t see myself explaining to him, in 15 years time, when we are all gathered together for an afternoon of fun, browsing on THE blog, why there isn’t anything about him and his birthday, right?!!!!

So to rectify my error, and to make sure that he knows that I love him to bits, here is to Matt.

Last year, turning three (with a very excited sister in the background!!)

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in between the months,

The Matty’s face
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The gorgeous Matty,
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and the I’m-in-touch-with-my-feminine-side Matty,
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This year, turning four,

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His face is still one of a puppy. If you squeeze it enough, he does look like a sharpei (these very wrinkly dogs!). He still likes his food, his videos and his books more than a jungle gym or a ball. Winnie the Pooh is still an old time favorite. His party would have been a Pooh party if it had not been the soccer world cup happening here, in our own country (woohoo for vuvuzelas) – hence the soccer party! He still loves to annoy Killian by pretending to compete against him for ANYthing (Who gets to the bathroom first, who has a bigger spoon, who has the most stickers, who gets to sit on my lap…).Lea is still his object of worship and he is still greeting me with a big ‘mamaaaaa’ as I fetch him from school (pfew!!!)

He still says ‘moi veux’ (me want), dof feine (darth vader from Star Wars), still loves pink (I’m starting to discourage this love of pink though!) and is still attached to his blankie which lives in the bottom of my fridge to stay cold (!!). Most importantly, we are still (only just) allowed to give him kisses BUT not on his lips!!

All in all, how much do we love him!!!! From here to the moon and back, which leaves him very puzzled 🙂

Joyeux anniversaire mon Matty Matt!!!


When mini-walks are just too long…

2 May

Last week end was one of those week-ends. You know those where you wish that the week end is nearly over so that you can rest!! Busy, busy, too busy!!

On Friday afternoon was the Mini-walk at Matty’s school. Iy started with my duty-to-help setting up while I left the kids at home to watch a video – and have some quiet time. At 4, time to go to the school. Matt has to be dressed in red, and so do the other ones too because it’s just so much more fun to all be part of it. The penguins – that would be Matt’s class – and the rest of the school had all prepared their war cry. In the Penguins case, it was the songs “I’m a penguin, I’m a penguin, and I like to dive…” and “Peter Peter Penguin marching by. Toes pointed out and head held up high…”. Not too war-oriented!

Here is the **happy** boy. (He doesn’t look happy but he was happy. I think he’s not one for the big crowd and excitement!)

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Then off to the road – quite a long walk for little feet but he walked, and walked and sang 🙂

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On the Saturday, we were off to the Sweet Valley Walkathon. I was thinking, if the mini-walk was pushing our limit, then what would the Walkathon bring?? But I wanted to walk with Lea and in the end, we were all in our walking shoes. The Grade 1s had to be dressed as a pirates, and thank goodness, the boys didn’t feel the pressure to dress up too. So we had one pirate girl and two very curious little brothers. The whistle went and the music started and off we went, on the road again. Soon Matty was going nowhere slowly and his mum – yes, that would be me!! – had to carry him on her back. Strangely enough, the walkathon was much shorter than the mini-walk! The effort was also helped by ‘coke’ (coca cola for the french), a drink that is a big NO-NO for us. We try to avoid the squirrel-from-over-the-hedge effect!! I had a friendly chat with Lea’s teacher who was wondering why Killian and Matty were barefoot. After explaining that Killian really doesn’t like shoes – something to do with his ADHD, I wonder – and that hey, he might very well be in her class next year, we both had a (nervous) laugh!

Here is the pirate with the medal around the neck,

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and with two good friends from her class, Daina and Meghan,

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The best part was still to come. There was a big fete organised after the walk and the kids had many many rounds on them. Some of the rides didn’t look too safe, a bit rusty on the edges but most of them would not have killed anyone. They were very very slow!!

We have to be saluted for our perseverance. We queued – no jokes – 2 long hours to have a turn on the big wheel. Never ever again will I think that my kids can’t queue, no, they can. When they want, they can!!!

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That was the week end of fund-raising events. Am I glad that it is finished!!!

Little week-end…

5 Apr

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The kids were told that they would not play the Lego Batman game for the long week-end (just because we’re tired of hearing them ask ‘when can we play the Batman game?’). So today, after being very patient all these days, Matty asked:

“Mama, when is it little week-end?”

He’s so so cute!!

First day at schools…

25 Jan

January 13th: First day of school. Three children, three schools!!!! Not for the weak hearted, I mean that in both senses, emotional and physical!

Lea started grade 1 (l’équivalent du CP). In South Africa, they wear uniform and shoes (a foreign concept to my kids). Lea is quite please with her pink dress, she feels a bit weird with those massive shoes, looking like two houseboats. But the shoes aren’t really a problem, the anxiety is. The fear of the unknown is gripping all of us. Sympathetically the boys are also more calm and reserved. After all, they’re also going to their first day of school!!

7.45, Sweet Valley, here we come. A hoard of anxious children, accompanied by protective parents stream into each class. What chaos, some parents are trying to take pictures ( I was very reserved, mind you, and only brought my small camera!!), some are trying to comfort their offspring, others have definitely been there, done that and are nearly out the door, all are trying to make sure that the teacher understand how special, precious and different our child is. But the bell goes and it is the dreaded moment, the one when I entrust my child, my precious little girl to the care of someone else. Will the teacher help her, comfort her, guide her, nurture her, educate her? She will do the best that she can, with 4 hours a day that she spends with them. The rest is mine, all mine, I claim it and own it!!

You can see the forced smiles!
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After her first day, a bit more relaxed 🙂

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8.15, Noah’s Ark, here we come. Killian is also starting today his ‘big’ school, like he calls it. Grade R (l’équivalent de la grande section maternelle). he had met his teacher in December already, for a welcome day. As we arrived, even though he couldn’t remember his teacher’s name, he was at home. My confident little boy, the one that will take over the world, (for good or for bad, we don’t know yet) heads straight for the toys, starts playing and waves Phil and I off. Tata mama, tata papa. And that was it!

What? I must take a picture? Pictures are for sissies!! Anyway, I forced him!

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Noah’s Ark is the sweetest little school. Only 17 kids in the classroom, an amazing vibrant and so friendly teacher, Chantelle, and tons of stuff to do. Killian – with the help of his magic pill, is in 7th heaven!

9.15, Constantiaberg, here we come!! My sweet little Matty is also starting his little section of pre-primary. As independant as Matt is, he didn’t want to go when we drop him. He cried his eyes out and Sue, the most motherly teacher took him and soothed him. When I came back to fetch him, he was having this trilingual conversation with her – Sue with eyes as big as apples, trying to sift through what language is what word – and Matt wanting to play some more of that game, patiently repeating many times the same sentence until Sue, helped with my interpreting gift, seemingly understood.

Matt had a stunning day and hasn’t cried once since then. I’m ashamed to say that I have no picture for him. I know, I know, the 3rd child syndrome…

Mary Poppins and other gracious gifts…

23 Feb

One of the best gift God gave me this year came in the form of an au pair. Because my hours at work would be a bit longer this year (I work two days a week, from 8 until 3), I wanted to find an au pair who would:

* look after my kids in such a way that is beneficial for them – in my case that means strict control of their behaviour with a real understanding of who they are and what can be expected of them.

* stimulate them in such a way that they enjoy spending time with her, are not starved of attention when I come home and are not dying to get out of the house with me as soon as I step in.

That would have to be someone really special to do this hard job, with my precious children. And once I would find that person, why on earth would she be an ‘au pair’ and not already working, or studying or simply too expensive… Well circumstances were in my favour for Andie who was just back from England, at the end of her job, a desire to take a sit back for a while, a gift with children (even though she’ll argue that she struggles with them – ???) and a long-lasting friendship with each other!

Andie was in my youth group when I was still doing Youth ministry and I always had a soft spot for her. She was a relatively new Christian at the time and she had that energetic, naive and spontaneous love for the Lord combined with a desire to grow. She has since then grown a lot in maturity and to have her as an au pair is the best I could imagine.

What more can I expect than reliability, complete trust, enthusiasm, keenness, willingness to understand the children? Well she has all that and more. It’s such a pleasure to come home to children that are (still) busy painting, have done puzzles, craft, gone to the park, swam, baked, cooked, eaten a proper lunch and snacks, have been disciplined accordingly, have been praised, got individual attention, had their rest at the right time, have been read and taught from the Bible, and more importantly have been loved!

…and an au pair who even take the time to take pics…sigh!!

They repainted the doll house (twice actually!) First time was really random colour -we can positively say initiation to primary colours. The second time around was more pleasing to the eyes! But hey, they had fun, who cares!

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Team work!

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