Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas and Holidays.

The December holidays always seem like 6 long weeks stretching out in front of you when you are waving goodbye to school on the last day of the year. However I have found that the first couple of weeks are taken up with Christmas preparation and rushing about for that, then we have this lull between Christmas and New Year when nothing much seems to happen and then I suddenly realise that it is the 3rd of January and school starts in2 weeks time!

In the week before Christmas we visited the water slides at Muizenberg. Abigail had been to a birthday party there in January and Niave had been begging the whole year to go. In the end she didn't really like the slide but had fun in the pool. Abigail and Kelsey enjoyed the big slide and I was glad to have Niave's friend's dad there to help chaperone the sliding as it was blowing a gale and freezing!

We also spent a morning down at the beach. We discovered a gem at Dalebrooke which has a wonderful tidal pool and hardly a grain of sand! Well, enough sand for some small children to dig in but not enough for me to come home feeling like I brought half the beach with me! Lovely rock pools at low tide too.
Christmas morning was an early start. I told Abigail not to wake me before 6 but at 5:55 a little voice was heard. We manged to delay her till 6:30 and then eventually woke Niave at 7 as she is not as early a riser as her sister who still has to learn the art of the lie-in!

There was much excitement as they discovered new clothes, much needed swimming costumes, DVDs, books and in Abigail's case a much coveted J-board! Niave received a scooter which she was over the moon about.

After church we had lunch with Ouma and Oupa which was delicious and very relaxed. After stuffing ourselves with all sorts of Christmassy roasts, treats and puddings we settled down to watch Annie - the Disney version which was lovely. I much prefer it to the original as the "baddies" don't come across quite so bad and Miss Hannigan not quite so drunk! (We have woken many mornings since then to renditions of It's a hard knock life or Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow...)

Grant is on leave this week so we've been trying to think of some wheelchair friendly outings to do as a family. On Tuesday we went to the Planetarium and Museum, it is really such an economical outing, it cost R32.00 for all 4 of us for the show at the Planetarium and a museum pass. Afterwards we had a small picnic and fed the birds. We couldn't find any squirrels!

Today Grant went cycling so we took a drive to Simons Town to visit the Scratch Patch with my mom. It was another VERY windy day here in Cape Town but fortunately quite sheltered once inside the Scratch Patch area.

Abigail trying to get the balance right on her new board.

Niave doing swimming of one kind and another.

And so we head to the end of 2010 - it's been quite a year, what will 2011 bring?...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pedal Power - for your hands!

Grant recently acquired a bicycle, actually it's a tricycle and it's a hand cycle - obviously!
It's been here for a good few weeks but needed some tuning up and adapting and while it is still a work in progress he has taken it out a few times.

He has been for a couple of rides around Plumstead and he went on one longish ride to the gym and back (about 12km) and copes pretty well with the hills and bridges along the way.

Today he decided to cycle to his friend Alan's house in Tokai, (if you live in or know Cape Town you will have an idea of the distance) not too far but the furthest he's been so far.
However, he planned to spend the day there so he needed to have his wheelchair as he couldn't stay in the bike all day and he can't get around without his chair - SO, he hatched a plan to attach his wheelchair behind his bike and tow it along! Sound crazy? Yes, it is crazy. But he was determined and it worked!!It was quite a sight - in fact he said that he didn't have anybody getting upset or impatient with him on the road but he did have a few people clapping for him as he went past!!
Because of the length and design of the bike it has a 6 metre turning circle - without the wheelchair in tow so there is no U-turning, if you take the wrong road you just have to keep going forward!!!

When he left, at lunchtime he went the long way round to avoid the 2-days-before-Christmas traffic but came back along the Main rd which was easier and shorter.

Argus Cycle Tour here we come!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The great bird rescue.

A couple of weeks ago my Dad found a bird in their garden. It was just sitting there on the grass, with a dog standing next to it, not moving! He picked it up quite easily and brought it inside. We quickly established that it could not fly. Flap - yes, fly - no.
The girls, particularly Abigail were very excited and had turns to hold it.
The bird didn't seem to mind too much at all. It was immediately named Amelia!

The next day we took it to the vet so that he could "fix" it and set it free, I don't think there was too much fixing but as far as they know Amelia is now free as, well as a bird!! And flying happily somewhere!

This is SO much like my sister, Abigail definitely gets her love for animals from her - especially of the bird variety. Beverley used bring in all sorts of stray or sick animals and nurture them back to life - Abigail is exactly the same.
She wants to be a vet one day but we'll have to wait and see if that ends up being the career path she chooses.
For now I guess we'll have to be happy to foster any injured or homeless creatures we find along the way.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

End of year madness!

The end of the school year is always a very busy time, now with 2 schools as well as my own, it is even more so.

I am happy and relieved to say that school is over for 2010 and hopefully things can quieten down a bit (ha ha!) but here's some of what we've been up to in the last 2 weeks:

Abigail's Christmas "concert" was a lovely informal family picnic. We were serenaded by a wonderful band called Off the record and the foundation phase girls sang a few carols. It was a lovely evening even though it drizzled a bit - some of us came prepared! They all had a wonderful time, it was a lot less stressful now that Niave can run a play happily without getting into too much trouble!
A couple of days later it was Niaves nativity concert.
She was an angel and she was not happy about her halo! It was fluffy and tickly and even though it wasn't going to touch her head she was not happy. Her teacher managed to get her to wear it but it came off straight afterwards - no chance for photo's!

Here are some of the others, they were very sweet.

During the week there were lots of fun activities - cake and treat sale (Niave), an outing to the circus (Abigail), a water slide day and a fun gala for the foundation phase to name but a few, I don't have pictures except for the end of the gala. There was a parent/child race but even though I took a along my togs I was forbidden to swim!

She had fun though!!

Abigail goes to grade 3 next year and after being with Mrs. Bergstedt for 2 years they have got to know each other very well:

On Friday afternoon we went out with the Carters for milkshakes to celebrate the start of the holidays:
On Friday night we had the Noddy Party. For the last couple of years we've been going to Uncle Willie's Christmas party but we didn't get our invite this year so we decided to try the Noddy Party which is almost identical but you can book and pay online. I think I prefer Uncle Willies but the kids had fun and they got to receive their gift from Father Christmas. We'll try to get back to Uncle Willies next year.

Hay fights.

Watching the magician.

Noddy and Big Ears brought ice-creams.

Father Christmas brought presents! A little doll (+ accessories) for Niave and a new game, Secret Code for Abigail. We have been playing it a LOT!

On Saturday night Grant and I went to the Cape Town Gospel Choir's Christmas concert. It was brilliant and even though our seats weren't great we enjoyed it very much. On Sunday night we had the Carol Service at church followed by a Christmas Night Market. It was also very enjoyable.

And so we begin the long summer holidays...

Saturday, November 27, 2010


A couple of weeks ago Niave had a visit to the dentist.
Because she needed about 4 fillings we decided to do them under general anaesthetic.
And today was the day.

It was an early wake up (especially for a rainy Saturday) as we had to be there at 7 a.m.

Neither of our children have ever had an operation/procedure that required anaesthetic or hospital admission before so it was a new experience for all of us. It was also at a new medical center in Rondebosch that we'd never been to before so it was a maiden voyage in many ways!

She was quite happy and co-operative for most of the time leading up to the theatre. She let them take her temperature, blood pressure etc. quite happily. Fortunately we didn't have to wait too long so there wasn't time for her to get bored or too anxious.
There was time to watch some T.V. though!!

One parent is allowed to accompany them to theatre, that honour was bestowed on me!

Only once she was on the theatre table and had a gas mask over her face did she kick up a fuss - and who could blame her really! Anyway, a few seconds later she was asleep.

When she came out however it was a slightly different story.

I had gone to buy coffee and taken longer than I expected so I returned to a screaming child in her dads arms, disorientated and very unhappy. She was thrashing around and in the process knocked my camera off the table, and guess what it does not bounce! It is dead.

It took a little while but before long we were ready to go. Fortunately, as it was just fillings there was no pain. There were 2 other little girls there about 4 and 6 who had their tonsils out. I felt for them, they were spewing blood and were not happy campers at all. I remember it oh so well.

Anyway, we were so proud of her, she coped really well and once again showed us that she is growing up and developing more and more self control.

Award Ceremony 2010.

On Wednesday the grade 1's, 2's and 3's had their Award Ceremony, better known as Prize Giving!
Each child receives an award, a certificate, that is personalised about their academic performance, personality/character and sports achievement or involvement.

Abigail received a lovely certificate which read:

"Certificate of Merit for Academic Achievement, Reliability and Responsibility and Participation in Sport."

I had a little chuckle because this week we've been having some issues around responsibility at home, so I was glad to see it is a different story at school.
It has been a good year for her and now we take the big step to grade 3, exciting and scary!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

1, 2, 3, PLAYBALL!

This year was Niaves first year of extramurals, ballet and Playball.
Playball is a wonderful ball skills/gross motor development programme offered at most pre-schools.

It seems that even in this day and age stereotypes abound as just like there was only 1 boy in her ballet class (you do need the boys in ballet you know) she was the only girl in her Playball group.

Anyway, today was the last Playball day of the year so parents were invited to come along and join in the fun.

Most extramurals will have "watching day" at the end of the term/season/year but with Playball there is no watching - only doing!! Each child paired up with their parent and we did the games/activities together. It was fun.

Then they were each awarded with a certificate and a smiley face ball.

My camera's flash is broken so it wasn't playing the game but I did manage this 1 half decent picture! They had to stand on the star and shake hands with their coach and everybody had to clap for them, it was very sweet.

(It reminded me of Abigail at 4 and a bit getting her first certificates, she called them ferticiates!!)
1 thing to tick off on the loooong list of things to do at this very busy time of year.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A family of fish!

Grant recently joined the gym. It is part of his fitness plan to start doing para-sports, he has cycling and rowing on his agenda.

He has started off with swimming and amazed us all by getting in the pool after about 8 years of no swimming and did a kilometer in just over 30 minutes - with no kicking!! It is in his blood! Anyway he has been enjoying it very much:
After joining up he discovered that for a very small fee the children can use the swimming pool as long as he is there. Abigail has been with him a couple of times and had a great time swimming lengths with him.

Niave's nose was a little out of joint at this and so she now has a card too. We all went yesterday and I watched the girls in the small pool while Grant did his thing in the big pool.

Well, you couldn't have found 2 happier children anywhere!

Niave did really well and I think she will be "swimming" in no time. Her "formal" lessons have given her a good grounding and I think given the time and space to do her own thing she will get there quickly, she is so confident in the water - no fear!
You've heard of butterfly? Well this is called spider, it is a new technique - quite complicated, you move mostly backwards!!

Abigail is also happiest in water so they had a grand old time, we were there quite late so for most of the time they had the pool to themselves.
I can see I am going to be spending many an hour sitting beside the pool watching a small girl swim.

Ballerina girl.

Yesterday saw the much anticipated Ballet Show that Niave has been looking forward to all year. We were a bit apprehensive as to how she would cope on the day after the less than enthusiastic sports day a couple of weeks ago.
It wasn't a concert as such, more a display of what they have learnt through the year.

She had to be there 45 minutes before her time slot to have her hair done etc.

We were encouraged to drop them off in the "dressing room" hall to make the separation easier. Niave still has trouble separating at school so I thought we were in for tears but she was absolutely fine - they'd been well prepared by their teacher.

When she appeared on stage I hardly recognised her!She looked so different with her hair in a ballet bun and a little bit of make-up on. I had to double check that I was in fact photographing the right child!!

She did really well, they were on stage for quite a while and she kept it together for the "entire performance"! Of course there was the time (about 5 minutes into their display) that she suddenly got this look of absolute desperation and urgency on her face while hesitantly grabbing her crotch!! She needed to wee. Yes, of course she needed to wee, Niave needs to wee everywhere. At the beach, at the park, on almost every shopping trip so why should a stage appearance be any different!!
(It is captured at the end of one of the video clips but it is too big to upload)

Anyway, Linda (her ballet teacher) was very calm and took her off to the loo and then it was on with the show.

It was very sweet and took me back to when Abigail had done a similar display at the same venue when she was about 5. She wouldn't be caught dead in a ballet tutu now!!

I love this picture. It's the last "move" of the display, it was supposed to be only the Barkly House girls (there were 2 schools represented in her slot) but the little girl in the middle (on Niaves right) is not from her school. She didn't seem to notice that she wasn't dancing with her friends but Niave was thoroughly unimpressed and kept glaring at her! She was in her way and cramping her style - in more ways than one! But she didn't push her out the way or yell or shout, she just quietly (but grumpily) carried on with her cramped dance! Another moment of better self control, we're getting there - baby steps!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

First beach outing of the season.

This week has been hot. Windy but hot.
Yesterday, because I couldn't stand another day of two whining voices asking "where can we swim?" I decided to take a drive to St. James beach for the afternoon.

It had started out as a relatively windless day but by the time we had all our buckets in a row the wind had come up so I was doubtful that they would actually swim. But when we got there it wasn't too bad and of course they did swim!

I have a case of laryngitis so I wasn't in the mood to climb rocks or even get sandy feet so I plonked myself down in one spot and I didn't move! I gave directions and instructions from afar, using sign language!!

I realised that we've entered a new phase, Niave can now listen to instructions from afar!

She doesn't need so much of the physical presence (or restraint!) as she did a year ago.

They spent a lot of time in the tidal pool, Abigail swimming and Niave rowing herself with her net(!) from one side to the other.

They had a brief visit to the rocks to collect shells and then it was time to go home.

Some pictures:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Botonist in the making - I think not!!

We have a patch of Agapanthus plants on our verge.For most of the year these indigenous plants are nothing more than long green leaves providing a home and breeding ground for hundreds of snails (and wonderful hiding places for bunnies!) but come November/December they start to flower and have beautiful, big, blue blooms.

Ours are always a little slow, I think they flower according to how they are watered and in this garden the watering is pretty erratic and so the flowering!

Anyway, on arriving home from school today Niave noticed this one:

and gasped with great astonishment "mom, look at this, I can't believe it's hatching"!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


A few weeks ago I saw that the show Annie was due to be on at the Cape Town theatre/opera house known as Artscape.

To cut a long story short I had a contact that enabled me to get tickets for R100.00 each and I ended up arranging tickets for 39 people!!!

It was a much anticipated event in our house and there was much excitement when the day finally arrived.

But with the arrival of the day there was also the arrival of the stomach bug.

Grant had been down with it during the week and on Friday afternoon I had a terrible headache of migraine proportions. Needless to say by lunch time yesterday I was not feeling well at all.

And so, I ended up missing the show, my dad took my ticket, my mom was coming with anyway.

It was a long show, almost 3 hours but by all accounts it was well done and very enjoyable, I think Niave was probably a bit too young for the length of the show but we were serenaded with "The sun will come out tomorrow, tomorrow..." from the bathtub so she must have enjoyed it.

Abigail loved it and wanted to know when she can be in an Annie show!!

These pictures, from the programme give you an idea, so if you live in Cape Town get down to the Artscape for an enjoyable show, I'm really sad I couldn't be there but I didn't think they'd appreciate me puking on the carpet!!

My children, especially Abigail are very intrigued by orphan stories - and there are many of them, it seems the story of Annie and her quest to find her parents is timeless and one that will be enjoyed for many generations.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Operation: Dentist.

Quite a few months ago (maybe even a year) Niave had a sore tooth. We took her off for her first visit to the dentist but it didn't go very well. Let's just say she was not particularly co-operative! However, in the 2 and a half seconds that she kept her mouth open he was able to see that there were quite a few, um, what shall we say, problems!

It was decided then that he would need to do what he needed to do under general anaesthetic but it was difficult to find a theatre and a date and in the meantime she stopped complaining and so the whole thing was put on hold.

Recently she started complaining again and so today we went for Round 2!

The funny thing is that everyone (including us) assumes she is scared of the dentist for the reasons that adults don't like going - drills, injections etc. but she doesn't know about that, the reason she doesn't like the dentist is because she doesn't like the taste of his gloves!!!

She wasn't too partial to the mask either, so a quick chat to the receptionist and he appeared maskless and gloveless for our appointment:-)

Of course she is a whole lot older now and has much more self control, not nearly as prone to raging fits of screaming as she used to be!

Anyway, she hopped up onto the chair and held her jaws open big and wide!

It is not a happy tale, there is something wrong with nearly every tooth, mostly milk spots but also a few holes. It's totally my fault for letting her fall asleep with a milky bottle for two years of her life.

Anyway, a date has been booked and we will have our first visit to "hospital" - not so sure how much self control will displayed on that this space!