Monday, June 30, 2014

Kendra and the ballet

If anyone's interested, for the month of July, Julia and I are reading a chapter of Proverbs a day. I can't wait to get into a good habit again.


Ballet is an interesting thing with little girls.

And with big girls.

Didn't we all want to be ballerinas? I think some of us want to live vicariously through our children :)

I did ballet for 14 years and only stopped when I went away to university.

I personally loved it for a few reasons - being in the limelight at performance time :), the discipline of working towards a goal (no surprise!) and the fact that it taught me to persevere, to push through the pain, etc.

What I didn't love is that if you're at all talented in the later years (not the primary school level), it consumes your life. Mind you, I imagine these days (I'm feeling very old lately because I keep talking like this - "in my day"), ballet is a lot more competitive in the early stages.

I had class about three times a week and during the holidays, I was usually at ballet every day. When I danced for the PE youth ballet, we danced from 8:00 to 5:00 every single day, and in the evenings too on performance days. That's a whole month of sore, bleeding toes, extreme fatigue, tired muscles but also that amazing adrenaline when it's SHOWTIME!

I remember taking a taxi (ah, the good old days) to Main Street and running up that hill to the Opera House (I always run up hills to minimise the muscle pain). We basically lived in that place.

I didn't have a life outside of The Dance. I would have to be excused from stuff at school a lot of the time (because I had to be somewhere to dance), like all extra-murals. I can't remember how it worked out but for one or two years I got to participate in Quiz (yes, real nerdy, but I'm good under pressure and I was top of the class always, so it suited me).

ANYWAY, that's a very long way of saying I am SO OKAY with Kendra not wanting to do ballet. Because these days we have to ferry our kids around. In my day (there I go again), I walked 10 minutes to get to ballet.

They brought the brochures home when they started school last year and she wanted to join up. So I signed her up, paid a fortune for her to learn basically nonsense (but I'll admit my standards are high) and outfit her. She refused to do exams or shows or anything so I didn't push.

I'd just paid the last term's fees when she told me she didn't want to continue. I said that was fine but she had to finish the year because I'd just paid. She did.

Kendra has told me she only likes the dressing up, not the dance (which KILLS ME!). What is ballet if not for the dance? (I'm at heart a classically trained dancer so I've always enjoyed the process more than the costumes and glittery stuff.)

This year, I checked with her again just to make sure. You know how fickle the little ones can be! K was very clear (and cross)when she told me, "I TOLD YOU I don't want to do ballet anymore". Okay then.

So I told the teacher and that was that. I fully intended to let her dress up so I could take photos (just so I could have a bit of a memory of her dancing for last year) but I totally forgot UNTIL one day when I was at morning gym and I saw AMAZING light in the studio.

That very Sunday, I made a BIG DEAL of our special date so after lunch, K and I went to have a little photoshoot.

People, I took 412 photos! I'm down to 192 and 59 of them are starred (super good).

D doesn't want me to put a whole lot on the internet so I won't, and I'm also watermarking these so they don't get stolen.

I think they're very special. I love the colour ones and I LOVE the black and whites - so full of emotion, at least I think so.

I made a mini brag book for her of my favourites (with some of that scrapbook paper you gave me, Laura), and printed some extra for framing.

So I'm happy - I have my memories of the year Kendra danced.

Maybe she'll take it up again? Maybe she won't? All fine with me.

(I must admit, after this shoot, I was just a tiny bit sad, because she has great form and good lines for ballet. She did some turns on one leg and even though the bent leg was a bit "off", the rest of her body was "perfect")

Were you a girl who did ballet? If yes, how long?
Do your kids do ballet?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The fourth wall (Casting Crowns concert)

D and I went on a date yesterday and we were discussing concerts.

In particular the ones we've seen this year.

He wanted to know how I'd rated all those we'd been to (Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, UB40, Air Supply and now Casting Crowns), and I said, "that's not fair! different types of concerts".

But of course, my favourites are always when the artist engages with the audience.

D spoke about something called the fourth wall. Basically in a theatre, the fourth wall is the imaginary wall between the performers and the audience, and we were saying we enjoy concerts where they break through this fourth wall.

Otherwise, as D says, you might as well just buy a DVD and watch them at home. True #wewonttalkaboutEltonJohninconcert

So you know I have a deep and abiding love affair with this CD. It carried me through MONTHS and MONTHS of despair and desperation in the old job. If you're going through something hard at the moment, get this CD and play it over and over and over.

I tried to buy more of their CDs but our church bookshop didn't have any at the time I went. So I just checked out some of the popular ones on Youtube.

(I just bought another of theirs this afternoon. Do you still call it "buying a CD" if you buy the CD on itunes? Hmm.)

D was not well and was talking about not going - nothing was keeping me away of course - but in the end he pushed through and came. Totally worth it.

They were amazing.


Excellent music, wonderful engagement with the audience and just a beautiful experience. Such hearts for ministry (they're all youth pastors).

Look at all the hands raised in worship.

(I limited my Instagram/ Facebook activity but I have TONS more photos and two more videos)
Some of you will understand this but there's at least two things going on at these Christian things.

The one thing is what's actually happening - a band singing amazing songs leading people in worship.

The other thing is "underneath" that and that is the part that got me. It's that "rhema" word of God.

In Greek, the word rhema means "an utterance." Therefore, the rhema word in Biblical terms refers to a portion of scripture that "speaks" to a believer. In most cases, a rhema word received while reading the Bible applies to a current situation or need. In essence, the rhema word is timely and extremely valuable in a Christian's walk with God. 

From this website

For me, God was talking a LOT :)

I received 3 things that night -
  1. about really believing that what God says about me is true (and that was reinforced in church this morning. Ta da da dum)
  2. leaving old things behind (we won't go into this anymore, shall we?), and...
  3. one other that is really private!

If you click on this instagram below, you can see what I wrote on my feed. And the lovely Mark Hall commented again. Seriously, how nice is he?!
Anyway, so that was an amazing concert and I will see them again and again and again. There is NOTHING like seeing people totally in their passion, using their God-given gifts so well. I get so happy I cry! So jealous of you American ladies that could see them A LOT! :)

What are your favourite TYPES of concerts?

You know mine are ones where I can sit in pre-booked seating, non-stadium and where the performer engages with the audience. I also don't like it when there are a lot of opening acts. I want to come, hear someone else for max 30 minutes and then onto the main event.:)

PS Now I just need Billy Joel to come to South Africa.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Two little monkeys... jumping on their beds

I took these photos in the kids' bedroom one afternoon at around 5 pm.

We bath them at 4:30 ish in winter before it's too cold.

Have I mentioned before how I have a lovely summer house?! #freezinginwinter

Their bedroom is the sunniest for the most hours every day but still we were scrambling to get the last of the good light.

Me: Guys, come on. The light's fading!

Literally, 10 minutes later it was dark.

My friend, C, with the twins, gave them these pjs for their 3rd birthday. They started wearing them last year but they actually fit properly this winter. Her mom made them - isn't she clever?

Which is your favourite?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Schools and pushing reading... and so on

Seeing as it's school feedback time, I remembered something I wanted to talk about last year but I never bothered to blog about it.

However, I knew Mandy and I bantered just a little back and forth so I looked for that email and found it.


So here's the thing.

My kids love reading and writing.

They've known their alphabets since they were 2 (all Nanny V; nothing to do with us!) and spot things when we're out and about.

I asked the one teacher (Grade R teacher - that's Kindergarten, I think?) when kids learn to read and she said grade 1.

At ALL schools?


If we "push" them to read or strongly encourage too much, they're just going to be bored in Grade 1 because that's the first time they read.

All schools do this - even the private schools.


Our South African kids go to Grade R in the the year they turn 6, and to Grade 1 in the year they turn 7. That feels late for me.

I didn't know how to feel since we've never pushed our kids with anything (except manners - I have to admit!) academic or sports, etc. (I have other rants about this but let's stick to the topic)

So I asked an ex boss who has SUPER clever kids (like seriously!) if his kids were reading before Grade 1 and what they did.

He said they've always let the kids progress at their own rate and they just told them to be respectful in class and not disturb/ be those awful know-it-all kids but then at home, they would provide books, etc. at a level that challenged them so they could enjoy their free time.

So that was interesting.

That's South Africa.

I can't imagine where the kids get their love of books from :)

In the UK (please if I have any UK readers, feel free to correct me), the kids start school at 4 (babies!!) and my one friend who teaches there, said it's amazing that kids just do the stuff. They can do these things at such a young age. Like reading!!!

Then again, she told me that UK kids' gross motor development is behind that of our kids. So interesting. Another ex-client (now friend) of mine who lived there with his family for about 8 years before moving back home said the same thing. Apparently our outdoor lifestyle works to our kids' favour for this skill set.

Anyway, the point is this - what do you make of this reading thing?

Are you/ Did you push your kids to read earlier than necessary? What are your thoughts on all this "being bored in grade 1" business?

PS Next up we're going to talk about "holding kids back". Also, sorry for all the " " - I'm clearly in a rant-y sort of mood.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

{Wordless Wednesday} Mother's Day

These photos were all taken in MIL's garden.

I wanted a few photos with the kids and this is the result.

Did you get a photo of you and your kids on Mother's Day?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

An autumn walk and school updates

I love these red leaves the most of all leaves so one day I asked Connor to remind me to bring my camera when I fetched them so we could take some photos.

He forgot but I remembered so that's what we did.

I collected the kids, drove about 300 m down the road, pulled over and we played with leaves for about 10 minutes.

We all LOVED it! 

So we got accepted to the school we wanted. Yay.

D got an SMS to come to the school, I popped in last week and there were our acceptance letters.

I'll have to return them tomorrow indicating our willingness to accept our places there.

Then yesterday we got notes from the pre-school asking if the kids would be doing grade R there next year.

These notes were attached to their "reports" and I'm not going to make a big deal (YET) but basically, no way will I leave them there unless they weren't accepted anywhere else. Which was entirely possible since we only applied to this school and the required school (the closest to our house). Yet we had applications for 5 in total. Hmm.

But those are my issues. When I get irritated with the current school, I remember what Julia said to me in CT, which is that I'm NEVER going to be 100% happy with any school.

To be honest, I was rather dismayed by that news!

So tomorrow we have the half-year meeting to discuss their reports.

I'm dreading it.

Do you love these parent/ teacher meetings?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fantasy photo spots and why we should happily pay tolls!

I've spoken about my fantasy family before.

They're the ones who are compliant and behave for photos and such....hahaha

Anyway, I came across these photos from the last day of our holiday which reminded me of that crazy concept.

When we first drove through the resort, I saw these two spots that were PERFECT for photos.

I could just see it - lovely family photos and ones with the kids alone in front of this lovely little house-like structure, and some on the most magnificent bridge ever.

Of course, we kept rushing to something or another (ziplining, for example!) and then it was the last day.

So I made us stop to take some photos.

the magnificent bridge
A lovely man stopped and asked if we would like a photo together and of course I said YES! I would LOVE that. (I always ask people if they'd like a photo together - Mandys, do you remember that couple in Charlotte? Do you?)

there's the bridge from the top of the little hill
and then we came to this little structure - hmmm, perfect for couple photos too!

the silliness started

I've grown to LOVE this photo

photo by Kendra (I love having kids old enough to take photos!)

Then we drove into a petrol station somewhere to use the loos, and on our way out we accidentally took the wrong road (not the toll)

Dear Lord, how we regretted that little mistake. It was a HORRIBLE road. I will never ever ever moan about the crazy tolls on the road to KZN again. Never.

(I'm good about these sorts of resolutions - like how I promised after a fierce winter about 3 - 4 years ago never to complain about summer heat again, and how, after paying about R22 a litre for petrol in Dublin 6 YEARS ago to never moan about the petrol price in South Africa. I haven't complained about those two things since.... and I won't be complaining about tolls again.)

Seeing this dam was the only highlight...

Do you also create these fantasy photos in your mind?
Do you moan about the tolls?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A mish-mash of thoughts also known as my "currently I am" post

So these "currently I am" posts have been jumping up all over the South African blogs I follow.... and since I have a mish-mash of things in my mind, I cracked and decided to do one.

Reading: Lots! Check my goodreads. I've already finished 7 books for the month. It's quite amazing because I'm not reading during the day unlike some of you would think, still only in the evenings. Best of all, I've finished 3 physical books.

I also make a point to read a couple of Kindle samples in between real books so I'm finally getting rid of all of them.

My goal is 6 Kindle samples a month but I've probably done around 12 - 15 the last month or two (yes, that will show you how fast I download samples!).
Listening to: Well, I still have the Wet Wet Wet and the Bryan Adams Bare Bones CD in my car. At the computer, I'm plowing through Michael Hyatt and Elise Cripe's podcasts. Three to go and then I'm up to date.
If I'd gone to Ireland with the big camera I would have TONS of photos of the Georgian doors in Dublin. Next time....
Laughing at: the kids. They talk TOO MUCH but I love it. I always dreamed of sassy children and while it's not fun when they sass us, when they use their sass for good, it's BEYOND cute. 
Example from last night... Kendra said something like "huh?" when I asked her to do something. So Connor pipes up, "Kendra, you're supposed to say pardon or excuse me. But Mummy and Daddy, I say pardon because I'm not really an excuse me-type of person". Well, D and I laughed so hard we were crying. And then Connor got upset because we were laughing at him......................... #thisisfour
Swooning over:  Not much except beach holidays. Although D told me I need to start thinking of a birthday list so that he's prepared if people (family) ask him for ideas. So I've started making my list. I may post it here for inspiration from all of you.
I'm considering going on holiday with the kids and without D since his secret company is stuffing us around with dates because of some launch that may or may not happen. What nonsense!
Would you do it?
To be honest, it's the first time I actually think, "yes, I could do this with the TWINS by myself!" (I must be growing up!)
OH, I'm swooning over these money boxes I picked up at Pep. I LOVE THEM!
And good light (so rare in winter).
Planning: birthdays for the babies, and I actually got myself a guest list for my own birthday!
Eating lots of: soup! Easiest way to get the veggies in.
Feeling: a bit out of sorts. I think I need to get a job because I'm getting... dare I say it... bored! Then I remind myself, "this time off is a GIFT and I need to relax and enjoy it...."
Discovering: lots of lovely new blogs because of all these podcasts I'm listening to.

Looking at: tons of photos. I have done a gazillion photo projects over the last couple of months. Have I mentioned I'm totally up to date on photo printing? thank you #epson for the lovely printer! (posts to follow) From here on out, it's the 18 - 20 monthly photos I normally do and that's it!
Wearing:  jeans and sweatshirts, scarves and shawls (I have a bright blue one and a purplish one I bought at Woolies end April - last "employed" shopping spree).
Cooking: the abovementioned soup, pastas, curries, stirfries, and also baking lots. 
Wondering: why people don't just RSVP. Flip - it drives me nuts!
Trying out: new recipes. My goal is 2 every month. I tried two of Se7en's recipes - tomato sauce (make it!) and fudge (make it for me since I can't seem to figure fudge out), and then made fudge brownies to rescue the fail, chocolate cake in a mug, apple cake and a fudge portion for one which ALSO didn't set and is in my fridge!

What are you currently up to?


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