Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Every picture tells a story!

"Hmmm, I'd really like one of those ice cream cones."

"Is this going to take long?"

"Thank you!"!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Here's an idea...

... do you think that retailers might consider lining the queue aisle with items such as dog food, floor polish or dare I say - fruit!
Does it really have to be sweets, chips and chocolates?
It was bad enough when all checkouts had short sweet-lined shelves at each individual checkout but these windy-windy queues with a mile of junk laid out before you to ask for and grab at and, okay I'll say it, run out of the shop with... I mean what are they thinking?!
It seems that it is those items that are always so sought after by trolley dwellers so how about offering them something they usually don't want, like say broccoli or brussel sprouts!
It might put a new spin on the "items-that-should-be-begged-for-at-every-available-opportunity" script that children seem to be born with!!

All jokes aside, I really wish some one would try that as an experiment to see what happens.
It might mean a more pleasant shopping experience for all shoppers, not just the ones who have small people in tow who don't "get it" after the 3rd "no, you may not have that chocolate/sweet/packet of chips"!
It was just a thought:-)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

6 and 8.

Today was a double celebration! My niece, Willow and her cousin, Chiara both have birthdays around Christmas and New Year. This usually makes for a very busy Summer holiday!! This year, however, they were both away for their birthdays so they (or rather their moms) decided to do a combined bash. Also, both girls absolutely love horses so it made sense to share the cost of a pony party.

The kids had a ball.

Pony rides

(Niave actually overcame her horse-phobia and sat on one! Maybe we'll let it move next time!!)
Yummy food


And playing.

"Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you..."

Happy Belated birthday girls, and thank you for a lovely party.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Painted House.

There is a book called "A Painted House" but this is not about that!
This is about OUR Painted House!!!
It is almost finished, just a few finishing touches and by tomorrow evening it should all be done. Yay.

Here is a quick look:
The front of the house, the roof and a section of guttering are still unfinished.

This is the side door - what can I say, there's no comparison!

It's almost as good as new!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Grade 2 girl.

Today Abigail went off to her first day of grade 2.
She was both excited and nervous but came home very happy (and a little hot! Summer holidays make it difficult to get back into socks and shoes!) with lots to tell about her day and her new teacher who she says is very kind and speaks in a soft voice!!
She was very pleased when a new girl arrived called Willow just like her cousin!

And so the 2009 school year begins...

Green monster.

What do you get when you take 1 unsupervised toddler and add 2 jars of powder paint?

Let me assure you that the picture does not do justice to the actual brilliance of the green, nor to the extent of the affected area!

Well, this is how the story goes: Grant was helping me set up a new invoicing system and needed some input from me, Niave was happily watching a DVD and chomping on some watermelon. Half way through the computer work she came in to ask if she could have more watermelon.
I said she could certainly have some more, but then I said the dreaded forbidden word - wait - till I'm finished and I'll cut some for you.
Well, a few minutes later Abigail arrived at the office door with a look of absolute horror on her face.
I knew I had to come quickly!
There I found Niave up to her wrists in green powder paint. (I had left 2 new jars of paint on the kitchen counter to use at school tomorrow.)

Well, in case you ever have a need for this information, it is safe to say that blue paint does NOT vacuum out of a carpet very well.

Niave was by then deposited into a bath and Abigail and I were left scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing.

I suppose she probably now knows that blue and yellow make green (lets put it this way - she better!).
And considering what I had left on the other counter... could have been a LOT worse.

Niave was sent to bed at 5:30 (I did give her supper at least!) and is not to be heard from till tomorrow morning! If there is even so much as a murmur we will be heading back to the airport, this time to International Departures - Bev, since I don't know where she came from I'll be sending her to you!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Just in case you were wondering...

This evening Abigail asked me to sew a loose strap onto a dolls dress. Niave also came along to see what it was that her mother was doing with a needle and thread - not something she sees very often!!
During the conversation that followed - answering Niaves 101 questions, Abigail informed her that "this is a special dress that Ouma bought me before you were born". (The emphasis being largely on the before you were born part!)
Not wanting to be outdone Niave's reply was an explaination of just where she was before she was born: "well, you know what Abi, before I was born I was at the airport"!
So, just in case you were wondering where we got her from (because we sometimes do!), now you know! We picked her up at International Arrivals!!

Hanna's birthday.

Today was our friend Hanna's birthday. She turned 3! Her Mom and I have been friends since college and our kids all get on very well too. We are not able to make it to Hanna's party on Saturday because we have my niece's party to attend so we had a picnic at Ferndale today instead.
Hanna Grace Hunt is such a sweetie. She gave us all quite a shock when at 9 days old (or thereabout) she developed major reflux and almost choked to death. However, she has grown into a beautiful 3 year old and has a lovely nature.

We all had fun at Ferndale again! Niave discovered the tyre swing (and how to climb inside the duck pond area - with a little help from her sister).

There was a tortoise picnicking next to us, we all had to look twice to make sure he was not real!!

Abigail got into the swing of things on the monkey bars! They used to be her absolute favourite.

It was rather windy, just for a change!!!, but we had fun and just so that Niave will know it was a birthday, there were even candles. Unfortunately the wind did more blowing out than Hanna but she didn't seem to mind.

Also, it is back to school tomorrow so it was a nice way to end off the holidays.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Letters to the Editor.

On Monday my Dad found a letter in the Cape Times called "Train Trip Nightmare".

Here is what it said:
"During the holidays, I took my child and a friend from overseas on the train side between Claremont and Simon's Town, to enjoy the wonderful coastline from the comfort of a train window. This proved to be a rather uncomfortable nightmare. The windows were scratched and full of graffiti. Some were jammed as were the doors. Some doors remained open, while others could not open, and the first-class carriages were not clearly marked. It appears the new trains have smaller plastic windows unlike other trains around the world.

Scenery is no longer a part of the equation, and it appears Cape Town's Metro system caters only for thugs and gangsters.

No one checked our tickets, nor did we have to use them in any check-in equipment. Hundreds of drunk and disorderly beach goers boarded the trains, seemingly without tickets.

People were smoking and drinking, and music was blaring from cellphones. We met two families with young children travelling from Simom's Town. Their outing ended in a scuffle as they tried to disembark at Muizenberg.

For years, I have been writing to the press and authorities suggesting that trains be upgraded in general, and on this scenic route in particular. But, the new rolling stock are just grim mean machines designed to offer free transport to the masses.

Cape Town's rail network could easily compare to some of the world's top metros should comfort and safety become part of the equation. Next year is the Soccer World Cup year. It is a disgrace that so little has been done." -Agi Orfanos

Of course I can't pass up the opportunity to write a letter! And seeing as our experience was a very different one, I decided to respond.

Here is what I wrote in a letter that was published in this mornings Times, they entitled it "On the right track":

"The letter by Agi Orfanos, "Train trip nightmare" (January 13), refers. We too went on a train trip, from Plumstead to Fish Hoek last week, but our experience was somewhat different.
Yes, there were frustrations, such as the windows not being very conducive to looking at the sea, but the we were pleasantly surprised.
The trains were on time and surprisingly clean, all doors worked properly and there was an abundance of ticket collectors.
We had 5 children with us, aged between 2 and 7, and had a fair amount of baggage as well as 2 prams. The other passengers were very helpful, ensuring that we all got on and off the train with all our belongings. It sounds as though Orfanos might have been traveling on the old Third Class which is probably different to where we were, the coaches marked "Metro Plus", which is the old First Class.
The most frustrating part of the experience was a20 minute wait at St. James station for an unknown reason without an announcement being made to inform passengers of what was going on. It was a pleasant trip. I expected to feel unsafe but I felt very safe. I agree that a lot has to be done to upgrade the service , especially in light of the 2010 World Cup next year. With a bit of initiative and creativity, it may not be all that difficult to a more pleasurable experience." - Debbie Hutton

For more on this story see the post entitled All Aboard, (I haven't figured out how to create a link yet so you'll have to search for it yourself!!).

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Before and after.

Need I say more?!
Okay, just in case you didn't get it:

Our house is going to be smiling!! Do you remember that advert with the house getting embarrassed and trying to cover itself up? Well that was our house!!

Feeding the ducks.

One of our favourite things to do (although we haven't been for a while) is to feed the ducks at Ferndale nursery. Now the "ducks" are actually geese and there is a whole lot more to do than just "feed the ducks" but that's what the outing is called "feed the ducks"!

There is a rhythm to this outing and here is pretty much what has to happen every time.

First we say "hello" to all the small birds, some ducks and sometimes bunnies in the first set of cages. Then it's off to see the 2 pot belly pigs "Peanut" and "Butter". Not the friendliest of pigs but they are cute to watch, one has grown tusks since we saw him last.

Then it's off to the pond to feed the ever-hungry but very well fed geese. They do make quite a racket and are very greedy!
The bread does not always make it to the geese! (Even when it has green mould growing on it!!)

Then it's off to the playground. Abigail just loves the little wooden houses that they have built in the "forest", they are like the little houses from the story of "The 3 Little Pigs".

Over the bridge, through the bamboo forest and out the other side! (We do this a few times!)There is also playground equipment, swings, a slide, climbing frame and an old tractor.

Another of Abigail's favourites is The Maze. We have been taking Abigail to Ferndale since she was 1 and when we first started the "walls" of the maze were about the same height as she was at the time if not lower and not yet hedges as the trees had not grown into each other yet. Now the maze is much higher, it seems to have grown with her. They spent a lot of time in there getting lost and found and lost and found!

Then it's off to see the fish, there is a pond as well as tanks of koi (some at R250.00 a pop!). Some of them are still quite small and Abigail asked if we could buy 1 to put into her old fish tank.

Just after I'd finished explaining that these were actually koi and grow much bigger than a goldfish, we came upon this fellow!
"Cape Town's biggest goldfish, Not for sale"!!

Then it's time to start making our way back to the car, but not before we pop in to the little playhouse.

When we first started going Abigail could just see over the window in the door, now she has to duck to get through!

At this point we usually buy some packets of chips as an incentive (read bribe!) to get into the car! But since we were on our way to Pick 'n Pay and would be needing an incentive to stay in the trolley, we skipped that part!!

And you thought they only sold plants at a nursery!!

And since we've had an "inexpensive outing" theme going, here's how much this one cost: R0,00!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A new coat of paint.

Tomorrow a truly momentous occasion is to occur!
Painters are coming to paint our house!!
We are really looking forward to it (not the actual process but the result!).

When we bought this house the only reason we could afford it was because everything needed doing - and when I say everything I mean EVERYTHING! We did some painting and carpeting before we moved in just to make it "livable".

Well, 2 months after we moved in Grant was boarded so that put a screeching halt to any renovation plans we might have had.

We have been able to do things along the way but it seems to be a never ending process and it seems that by the time we get it all done we'll have to start at the beginning again.

Anyway, seeing as we've been living here for almost 7 years and this house probably needed painting 7 years before that, it is loooooong overdue and needless to say we are very excited!!
Can you tell??!!

Here is the "before" picture...but watch this space:

Now the day I can write a post entitled "Bathroom Renovation" will be the day we crack open the champagne!!

This weekend.

Yesterday we went to Jethro's party. He is Niaves friend from Sunday School and his mom, Caren, is in the same book club as I am.
It was great fun and being a home with 4 boys aged between 3 and almost 9 it is quite different to ours! Niave had a ball!
She spent quite a lot of time in "the barn" which was actually the dog kennel!!

Abigail and Grant came along too, Abs got to have a swim which she really enjoyed. We haven't done much swimming these holidays (except for at the beach), she was hoping to be in the "swimmers" group this year at school as opposed to the "non-swimmers" which is where she was last year. So we'll have to wait and see.

Abigail spent this afternoon with my parents to welcome her cousins back from Namibia, so Grant and I took Niavie out for an ice-cream - her special request! "Daddy, can I have an ice-cream please?" How can you say no to that?!
She wanted one on a stick (she was very specific) we tried to entice her with a tub but no, no it had to be pink and on a stick! She ate her ice-cream, played on the front seat while we watched the waves at Muizenberg and then went to sleep on the way back!

It was a really beautiful day today, lots of blue sky and sunshine.

So, that was our weekend, not so busy after all!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Can we go to the Museum?

Today was going to be an "errands, chores and grocery shopping day" but Abigail's request to go to the museum changed all that! Actually I did still get a fair amount of errands and chores done but the grocery shopping never happened!

It was a good afternoon, my parents were supposed to join us but were delayed and ended up missing the whole museum but were able to join us for feeding the squirrels afterwards.

Niave surprised me again by behaving really well at the museum. She walked (which is a rarity, we don't walk, we run!) and was really interested in all that we saw. She was a little apprehensive at first because she wasn't quite sure if the animals were real, but once she realised that there were not enormous man-eating dinosaurs on show she was fine!

I even contemplated taking them to the Planetarium but the children's shows were finished for the day.

When we were finished at the museum we took a walk through the gardens and met up with my Mom and Dad. The Gardens were really pretty and once again I felt completely safe which is not how I expected to feel.
Armed with 5 packets of peanuts we set off in search of squirrels.
Abigail was immediately surrounded by pigeons and she loved having them sit on her (she gets that trait from my sister, not from me!!).
Before long we were all surrounded, they are rather greedy little birds! One was even helping himself out of the packet!!

We didn't have to look far for squirrels either, they were all over and very sweet to watch.
Niave couldn't understand why they kept running away from her when she walked (ran!) towards them but eventually she was able to stay still long enough to get one eating out of her hand.

"two little girls in a tree!"

We left just after 5pm and by the time I turned into my driveway Niave was fast asleep - in a most uncomfortable position!!

And so the first week (and a bit) of 2009 has come and gone, another busy weekend awaits us, one more week of holidays, then it's back to school!
(By the way, this is another really inexpensive outing, I paid R15 entrance into the museum -kids were free and the 5 packets of peanuts was another R15. Not bad.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

All Aboard!

Today was quite a day! In a good way!!
A while ago we decided that we should take the girls on a train ride to Fish Hoek and back. We used to go by train everyday as kids to school and back but nowadays most people that we know don't use trains all that often.

So yesterday we spent quite a while trying to find a telephone number to get information about the train times etc. Well, easier said than done!! We could more easily find a timetable (via Google) for trains in Melbourne than we could for Cape Town!! Anyway eventually we found what we were looking for. Funnily enough, while we were busy with all of this my friend, Mandy sent an sms saying "taking the kids to Fish Hoek on the train tomorrow do you want to join us?"!! How weird is that? Anyway, we all ended up going together.

My Dad got up at 5:30 this morning, loaded up the car with all sorts of beach paraphernalia including food etc. and drove to Fish Hoek, parked the car at the beach and took the train back. We then all set off for the station and boarded the train for Fish Hoek! The train was surprisingly clean and I felt very safe, there were very helpful passengers who helped us get our 2 prams, 5 kids - and a partridge in a pear tree - onto the train!!

The beach was perfect! Just my kind of day. There was just a gentle breeze, slightly overcast, beautiful waves.

The kids had an absolute ball.

There was water in buckets (Niaves favourite),

digging (Joel is quite an efficient digger!),

swimming (Abigail LOVED the swimming),

playing with friends

and just generally having a good time. (This picture says it all!!)

(There is a great new jungle gym there too.)

Then, before the midday sun burnt us to a crisp we packed up and headed back to the station for the ride home.

Besides the 20 minute wait at St. James station for some unknown reason, the trip was very pleasant, and very cheap. At R5,50 for an adult and R2,80 for children over 6 (of which we had only 1) it sure beats the petrol and the traffic!!

Next time we'll be sure to travel lighter, there are a fair number of stairs involved to get through the subways, obviously designed by a man!! If it had been done by a woman I'm sure there would have been ramps!!

Anyway, it was a good day, the kids loved the train and the beach and the chocolate ice-cream at the end rounded it all off nicely!!