The blemish …

I’ve been a bad blogger… and I’m OK with that.

Years ago when I started my first blog I tried my best to scribble down a post every second day or so… back then I had the time for it. Now I just don’t seem to be able to settle down for 5 minutes to write what I would like to write… so I apologize, it’s not going to get better, it might even get worse.

So here is to getting caught up on the life of this complete stranger…

We went camping with the In-Laws

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We saw some wild

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Making breakfast is apparently a 3 MAN job

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We fearlessly took on the superslides

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I broke my toe… again…

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Hubby thought he was flying

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Tris ran up there a gazillion times

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First time playing mini-golf… and the little bugger gets a hole-in-one on the most difficult one!

We went to a Chinese New Year Celebration…

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Awesome buildings

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Dragon… very long dragon!

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The way they move is amazing…

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Triston decided to be camera shy

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Very camera shy…

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Just because its beautiful

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making my New Years wish

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Getting bitten by a dragon

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The martial arts demonstration left Tris grinning from ear to ear…

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Tris with his gran… the bold guy freaked him out!

Now if you have scrolled down to here you can see we had a wonderful month of love… it had but one huge blemish.

Last week Monday hubby called me at work and told me he was being arrested… I thought he was joking and started telling him it was a horrible thing to joke about, then I heard the hitch in his voice followed by “I’m serious!”

I stopped breathing…

He was being arrested for a crime committed in 2007 by a person with the same name. Apparently some guy took a girl out for coffee one Friday morning at 10 in Bloemfontein (this is in another province) they sat there for hours and when night came she gave her car keys to this guy who then promptly drove off with her car never to be seen again!

Hubby spent the night in jail… and I’m not getting into the conditions of South African jails! I was only able to get the evidence that he was living and working in Centurion at the time of the crime, and thankfully his old employer still had the records to proof that on the specific day he allegedly stole the car he was at work… and not joy riding in stolen vehicles.

He was released the next day… but it shook our little family to its core.

That would be one experience I’d prefer never to repeat…

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Getting Dirty…

The importance of dirt can never be stressed enough… We went to a local nature reserve yesterday and what fun we had! Triston riding his bike all over the show, while exploring he found a low water bridge that was slightly over run with water. Not enough to prove dangerous but enough to make a might mess of his clothes as he sped through it.

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Relaxing Sunday…

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Nothing says Free like a kid on a bike!

This is what little boys AND girls should be doing! Please keep in mind that this is my opinion and you are more than welcome to disagree with me.

I start chewing nails when I see kids sitting on the sideline because “Mommy said I shouldn’t mess up my new dress” That’s what stain removal is there for!

Tris asked us to come and see his new find and the tricks he has been doing there… so we walked down to the river and he drove through from end to end doing this trick and that trick. If it was humanly possible his smile would have wrapped right around his head. We took off our shoes and walked in the water with him. splashing and laughing.

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Triston and me…

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Triston and his dad…

Hubby showed him how to skip rocks… I wonder how many kids still do these things or have tablet games taken the place of fresh air all over the world? Tris struggled a bit at first but by the time we where ready to head back to the picnic area he tried one last time… that rock went flying over the water, skipping 3 times and stars in the sky could not hold a candle to the sparkle in my sons eyes!

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This is how you hold the rock…

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Finding the perfect rock… my mom in the back ūüôā

For the look on his face I would wip out the stain removal with a smile and if all the stains don’t come out, he will wear the marked shirt with pride knowing that each mark meant a memory and time spent with family… for me that’s worth a stain or two ūüėČ

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A family that laughs together… stays together!

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My responsibility… your responsibility…

The holiday madness is over, the new school year has started, the school work has doubled and the stress is piling on again.

Don’t we all love January… the month of getting back into the swing of things, back to routine… the salty crack month that seems to never end.

I have always felt that kids need the whole month of January to recuperate from the December madness. A full month of school holidays, Christmas and new years parties, visiting with friends, sleeping in and going to bed late (and we have the added birthday thrown into the mix). After all the madness is over there is an adjustment period needed, rules need to be re-established or re-written according to the level of responsibility they can handle.

We expect so little of our kids, play learn and have fun… but what are we teaching them by allowing them to have little or no household responsibilities? Is it not our jobs as parent to insure that the person/s under our care can one day head out into the world with the tools they need to survive? In eons gone by boys learnt how to hunt as soon as they where able to hold the spear… girls were taught how to gather vegetation for food, medicine and shelter as soon as they where able to walk unaided around the camps built by the entire tribe, young and old.

Granted we are not living in those times anymore but the principles should still be there. I know the schools work our kids¬†hard… they should be able to get home after a long day of learning to unwind on the couch in front of the TV or computer. This might only be my opinion but…NO! I look around me and see children with no social skills, no sense of responsibility, no manners and honestly I blame us parents. Most of us spend our days at work just to get home and continue working there because heaven forbid we should ask our kids to pitch in. Kids should be kids right?!

Why should it be an either or situation? I’m not saying our kids should not be allowed to be kids, running around carefree, what I’m saying is there is a place for everything. Our kids should be able to clean up after themselves, not just packing away their toys… you know your child and I bet you know what they are capable of doing, here is the secret they are capable of more than you expect. Washing out the tub after a bath is the easiest thing possible (it doesn’t need to be spotless but give them the chance and soon it will be) Hanging up their own towels and putting dirty laundry in the washing basket is not rocket science.

Helping out with the cooking (nothing near the stove for the little ones) and helping with the dishes should be a must. This creates not only a sense of responsibility but creates the opportunity for conversations. Their rooms should be their responsibility, and if the bed is not made with military precision so what! They did it themselves, praise them for it and you will see each month it will be a little easier, a little neater. Watering the garden or helping with the weeding gives them that much needed Vitamin D (our kids spend way to much time indoors!)

Pocket money is one of those things a lot of people differ on… for us pocket money is the equivalent of a salary, Triston has a set of responsibilities that must be done without us nagging him about it to receive his “salary” (this is the real world reality, you don’t get something for nothing). Each January we sit and discuss the responsibilities he has had up until that point, we all make suggestions on how much his responsibilities will grow and what the fines will be should he not complete his tasks as agreed. As with the real world, with the added responsibilities his pocket money increases.

We don’t do this because we are lazy, we do this because one day (in the not to far away future) we would like to send Triston out in to the world knowing that not only can he say please and thank you, but he can clean up after himself, that he will have work ethic, that he will have pride in what he does and what he accomplishes and that he will know how to work with money, not with a sense of entitlement but with a sense of accomplishment. We would like to see him enter the big world out there equipped with all the life skills needed and this will not be possible if we never give him any responsibility… Its my responsibility to teach him his responsibilities.

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Triston’s big 9th

I love this age… the between amazed child and surly teen. Tris has an amazing portfolio of expressions and he pulled them all out for his birthday!

Lets play guess the emotion…

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He had such a wonderful time… Can’t believe my baby boy is 9!!!

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My Triston child…

The day you where born will be forever imprinted in my mind… not because of the troubles surrounding your birth, but because that is the day my entire world took on new meaning! The doctor showed me your scrunched up little face for all of two second before they carted you off… yet i remember every line of the face, it was you, my son… my sun to orbit around… the reason for every breath from that moment onward to the day I lay my head down for the last time.

Ever step of your extremely long almost nine year of life is a part of me, as much a part of me as every laugh line on my face (you caused most of those lines!) I carried you in my arms until you where ready for your first steps… I held your hand and saw the utter amazement at the upright world when you took those first steps. I held your hand and fought back the waterworks as I took you to your first day at preschool… you let go of my hand and went in there like you owned the place one slightly unsteady step in front of the other… you never cried or looked at me with uncertainty in your eyes (the way I was looking at you). That is so utterly you!

You, my Triston child, an utterly amazing human being, are growing into a man to be proud of. You take such pride in your achievements and even when you fail you don’t let it define you, you get up and try again. I hope that one day you will look in the mirror and see what I see… a smart, funny, caring, loving so so so loving little man in the making!

I know the years ahead of us will be filled with ups and downs¬†and regardless of what you say now there will come a day when hugging your mom in public will be the un-coolest thing imaginable. When that day comes I promise you I will still be hugging you! Because my Triston child there are not enough words in any language to adequately describe the love I feel for you… some things can only be said in a hug.

When you were that helpless little baby two winks ago I held you in my arms and I forgot every singe lullaby I’d ever know… I looked at you and started singing YOUR¬†song… to this day and always I will remember each and every word, bad poetry and all…

Triston child my baby boy
Triston child my pride and joy
little angel precious child

Close your eyes drift away 
Dream your dreams of yesterday
Take a magic carpet ride 
through the clear Arabian skies
Fight a pirate be a king
win the princes with a diamond ring

Triston child my baby boy
Triston child my pride and joy
little angel precious child

You, my Triston child can be anything you want to be, except for a singer… my son you have your mothers voice, stay off the stage! You can be a pirate or a king and one day you can even win your princes… any woman will be lucky to call you their love. I know that I am!

I love you so much it hurts… and its the best kind of hurt there is. You are so excited for your birthday to come, counting down the days… and I’m counting with you because when I look at what you have done with the nine years you have under your belt I know that the next nine years will be equally amazing and I have a front row seat!

I love you heart body and soul… you are my pride and joy!

Love your slightly teary mother.

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Silly season…

I have a love hate relationship with the month of December! My heart loves this time of year and my wallet hates it…

There is sooo much to do, Tris has his birthday on the 7th (which means that he believes the month belongs to him, presents from beginning to end!) So its time to get ready for his party and meeting new people (this is his first year in this school so I don’t know any of the moms) getting gifts, stopping fights and bringing kids down from the inevitable sugar high. Fun fun fun… luckily I’m not stuck on cleanup duty as we’re having the party at a local family restaurant… jippeee for me!

But before his party we have two carols by candlelight to attend, the first happening tonight, I love Christmas carols, they just have a way of making me feel all warm and fuzzy… and with everyone singing together no one hears my horribly false singing! Tonight we will be attending the carols with a nigh-time street fair… perfect for getting handmade gifts. Somewhere between now and Christmas we will also take a drive, we have some wonderful neighborhoods where every body light up their houses like… well… like a Christmas tree!

Then its Tris’s party… I cant believe he is turning 9 already. I’m 100% sure I was still changing his nappy a couple of years ago… time is not standing still! Next year he will be hitting his double didgets… I will be the mother of a 10 Year Old, heaven help me the teens are on the way!!

I have a whole month off and cant wait to spend that time with my (not so baby) baby boy. We plan on taking on our garden which has been taken over by mint (does anyone know how to get rid of the stuff?? Just pulling them out doesn’t seem to be working!?!) Tris has been saving with his granny to buy himself a bicycle and will be able to do so next week (he is much better at saving his money than I am) so we will be heading for some bike trails to see if he can get through December without breaking any bones.

Oh wonderful family Christmas day will be on us before we know it and this year my parents in law (or soon to be) will be joining my side of the family… I hope they survive it! Our family Christmas day is always fun, but we are a big family and it tends to get noisy and confusing for outsiders (we have a open door policy this time of year if you have no place to go then you come to us).

After all the festivities where not done yet, we have a kids party right before new years and then the new years party… thankfully our friends all have kids so this is not an excuse to get drunk and forget the past years worries type of party, rather just friends getting together to greet the new year and reminisce about the past year’s ups and downs… I can in all honesty say this has been a great year for me and my family!

I hope every one has a blessed Christmas and a wonderful new year!

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Missing the plot

I consider myself a good mother… in fact I might be a bit smug about my mothering skills as I see my son as a wonderful and well balanced little boy… but I am by no means and in no way a perfect mother!

The type of work I do means that for 6 months out of the year I work extremely long and stress full hours, this also means that finding the right balance between work and home is difficult as I spend my days on the road doing site visits with my 129 clients (in my field we usually only average around 50 clients per SDF) and my late afternoons and nights doing the work that I cant do during the day.

I dropped the ball… I missed the plot… I forgot where my priorities are supposed to be and the reason why I work at all… MY SON! I hate myself for this and tend to take it out on the wrong people.

I’m good at reading people and situation which is what makes me excellent at my job and is also directly link to the reason why my boss loads me up slightly more than the rest of the office (which I also run in conjunction with my actual work) But I used to be a teacher and I’m also great with gauging kids¬†emotions and reasoning behind those emotions. This all sound very egotistical but the thing is I’m really not egotistic, I know my strengths and my weakness inside and out, spent my formative years in the psychologists chair being pumped full of psychobabble and meds.

I know “me” better than most people know themselves. I don’t like “me” a lot for the same reasons… but I do know me.

My son has been clinging to me like white on rice for the last couple of weeks, enough to start irritating me. But my work needs doing so I plonked him in front of the TV (I hate parents who use TV’s as babysitters… and here I sit judging from my glass house). When my work is done my brain feels so fried that all I want to do is plonk beside him and forget that the world exists. So today he asked us to play a board game and not really being in the mood I delay as long as possible but eventually we get the game out and start playing…

The chosen game usually takes a while but by some luck he wins the game in the first 15 minutes… he became frantic looking for a loophole some way to extend the game so that we spend a little more time together… I looked at him and a light started flickering in the back of my brain… which I pay no attention to because remember the fried brain syndrome I have… we play another round I win after a while and a couple of laughs and the game ends.

We got ready to make Sunday lunch and he pops into the kitchen and asked if there was something he could help with… we both said not now go watch a series… blind blind blind! After lunch we vegged out in front of the TV watching House (he loves the guts and gore) after basically trying to get into my skin with me I decide it’s time to do the dishes (our usual family talking time) he asked me for the 7th time that day how I slept my the flickering light finally becomes a flood light and I realize whats going on… He wants to talk… about anything, he just wants to talk to us!

So my mind starts working on this and my mouth starts making conversation (without my head) we start talking about what we would do should we ever get hold of 60 million rand… this is a “what if” game we have always played and its always been fun but tonight all I heard was hubby taking his dreams apart (he wasn’t really he was only pointing out logistics but I just couldn’t see it through my own rage at myself). I realized I was about to say something irrational and excused myself to try and calm down…

I didn’t leave for long enough because by the time I came back they had done the remaining dishes and Tris excused himself to go watch some more TV… wonderful mother that I am. I flew into hubby accusing him of being a dream crusher and… well a whole lot of other irrelevant stuff. Aggravatingly enough he just stood there and stared at me… which gave me enough time to vent and to put my thoughts more or less in order. To make a plan to rectify the things I had been doing wrong for the last month or so…

To realize that Tris simply offered to help with lunch because he wanted to be a part of what we where doing and that I should have (as I have always done) made up something for him to do. To realize that him being on top of me the whole time was a cry for attention and not a ploy to irritate the living daylights out of me… to realize that my work means nothing if it does not allow me to spend the time I do have free with my boys! To realize that vegging out in front of the TV together does not mean time spent together.

So now I know whats wrong I need to fix it… I know how to fix most of the problems but I also know that my work (even though I love what I do) will eventually cause my family to fall apart and if I cant compartmentalize I will break down… me breaking down is not good in anyone’s books… I break spectacularly! I need to change the pace or change jobs, but first I need to get through this in one piece and make sure my son gets through it with me unscathed…

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Family Holiday!

I was sitting on the balcony last Thursday my mind skimming over all the memories we made during our holiday and think how I would like to share this with the world… All i kept thinking is that there is no way to accurately describe the feeling of bliss we experienced. In short this holiday was PERFECT!

The memories of family holidays I have are all rather stress filled, I grew up in a combined house hold. My step father had two sons and my mom had my brother and me… all i can remember is the fighting and stress surrounding these scares holidays. So in my mind before we left I was kind of waiting for the fighting and stress to start… needless to say they never did!

Our trip to the coast started at 3:30 in the morning… we all jumped out of bed ready to pack and hit the road, after finding the nearest gas station for a strong cup of coffee! We are not morning people and NEED our coffee to take the edge of the edginess.¬† Armed with coffee we headed out for Natal (about a 6-7 hour drive). What a pleasure… Tris had his books loaded onto one tablet and his movies on the other, adequately entertained we where not bombarded with questions of “Are we there yet?”

We saw the sun come up over the farmlands:

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The drive down was rather uneventful, we just enjoyed the ride and had permanent smiles plastered on our faces!

We arrived safely, unpacked quickly and headed for the beach, Tris was not to keen on the big waves (the previous week had been rather stormy in Natal so the ocean was restless) but he was in seventh heaven and running around in his own little world, water bending the waves:

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The Saturday we spent at the beach swimming and trying to help Tris with his bogie board. (he kept running away when a wave was coming his way, he did however get the hang of it eventually) Oooo yes and the beach has its own super tube!

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On the Sunday we drove through to my brothers’ place, I had not seen him in over 2 years, when we stopped and he finally let released me from the bear hug i stood back and felt tears gathering my baby brother looked like a MAN. He looked his age he looked healthy (he is recovering drug addict) he looked happy. I couldn’t be happier! We went for breakfast and i just sat there staring… every one came up to greet him and greet us because he has been bending every ones ears about his sis and nephew coming. He had only met my better half once before at a cousins wedding so the two of them finally got to know each other properly.

After breakfast we headed to Flag Animal Farm, what an amazing place. Its a completely privately owned farm animal rescue center, we are currently in spring time so there where little babies all over the show! Below is the cutest little goat I have EVER seen!!

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Lunch at a beach restaurant and a quick trip to the beach all happened with fun and laughter. At the beach my brother and I needed to take a moment to our self. Our father passed away little more than 3 years ago and his ashes have been with me ever since. It was time for me to let go, for me to allow my brother to let go too.  We took his ashes to an alcove and had a good cry over the man my father was the life he had led and how terribly we miss him. For me it was very healing, I had been holing on to so much anger surrounding my fathers passing and I needed to forgive my brother, letting go felt amazing.

We headed back in silence, I needed it.

Monday rolled along and we headed for Croc World. I must admit the highlight for us all happened the moment we go there. Croc World houses 6 of the deadly 12 snakes (Tris is a huge snake fan!) so ¬†we headed for the snakes first as we stood there admiring the first snake one of the snake handlers approached Tris, introduced himself and asked if we want to see something amazing… YES! He took us to a room around the corner housing 3 baby crocodiles. He took a 6 month old croc and showed tris how to hold him, the smile on that boys face was priceless! We each got a turn to hold the croc. Those little buggers are stronger than they look!

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The rest of the day just went perfectly!

Tuesday we went meandering all over, stopped at banana beach where I promptly went and broke my toe!

Wednesday we took a beach day, it was cloudy so lovey decided he didn’t need sunscreen (yes i know, i know!) he burnt himself a whole new shade of crimson! I couldn’t go swimming so I was in charge of photo’s for the day. Daddy was transformed into a merman, Tris into a human sand castle and My poor broken toe was the focal point of the mother of all sand castles. We had ice-cream and hotdogs, Tris bogie boarded like an old pro all in all another perfect day!

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Thursday came along and it was not just cloudy but cold so we decided to have a games day, we played rummy, go fish, pictaunary and the boys favorite¬†Magic (i beat them both!) This ended our holiday fun…

Looking out at the beautiful view from our balcony I knew that this holiday would be the one all holidays in the future will be measured against… simply perfect!

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On the drive back we stopped at the smallest church imaginable, it can only hold 12 people at a time!

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I know this post is super long… I’m sorry…

Choosing the pictures was difficult.. we took over 600 photo’s and they are all amazing…

Back to work for me now…

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The long awaited holiday!

We have a trip to the coast coming up in October… and we are all way tooo excited!

This trip started taking shape in November of last year and even though its only a 7 day vacation we have it crammed to the brims! All normal discussions have stopped we nearly only talk “trip”, what must we take with, what will we do (daily! hourly if we don’t put the brakes on!), what must we remember… we even sat down to make a check list so we don’t forget something vital like our swimwear.

The reason for all this irrational excitement is easy this will be our first family vacation! Tris has been to the sea, but that was with his gran, hubby and I have been but Tris was unable to come with us (I don’t get the no kids at wedding thing) so this time round it will really be a family first ūüôā

I cant wait to put my toes in the sand and build sandcastles fit for a dragon invasion, to teach our son how to body surf and apply sunscreen by the gallons (my skin fries in the sun). To lounge on the beach with a good book while my boys play Frisbee. Playing games on the balcony as the sun sets and exploring the area.

Simply put “I CANT WAIT!”

Ps. this is an extremely busy time of the year for me at work so my so posts will be few and far between.

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Stupid…

It’s my firm belief that what you say becomes what you are. If you walk around constantly complaining you will always have something to complain about because you stop seeing the positive things in life. The flip side is if you walk around with a smile you will find things to smile about (even if you need to fake it till you make it).¬†

What we tend to forget is that what we tell our children will later become the things they believe to be true about themselves… When I watch a show like Idols (usually by accident), and the girl stand there full of confidence and opens her mouth to screech like a banshee (yes i do cringe every¬†time) I feel sad for her because she DOES believe she can sing and the reason she believes this is because her mom and dad likely told her so.¬†

Now we all believe our children are the best and the brightest and the … well everything! But the reality is my child is great at somethings, good at other things and should steer clear of a couple of things. My son cant sing he really cant, but he loves to sing and we sing falsely (because I cant sing either) to anything resembling music… but I have never told him he has a voice like an angel neither have I told him that together we likely sound like some half drowned cat climbing tooth and nail up a black board. I wont crush him that way but I also wont give him a false self image.

My son is however excellent at maths and I tell him so often and will think up ways for him to use his maths daily, my son reads way above his age level and we encourage¬†him to do so as often as possible and praise him for it, and brag about it to anyone with ears when he is around so that he feels good about it. He also builds Lego models like no bodies business and we stare in wonder and amazement, taking the models and looking at them from every angle and ask him what this and that part does… he then goes and tries to outdo that one with the next.¬†

As a mom its my responsibility to build him up to make him feel good about himself and the things he does. And yes to try and improve when there is room for improvement, he is a typical lefty and writes like a crab… so we practice every day and his writing has improved to the point where he’s teacher has actually complimented him. But no amount of voice training will have him singing Amazing Grace like the¬†angels. So we don’t concentrate on that, we sing along to every thing and enjoy it… that’s all.¬†

My point to all this ranting is the word “stupid”, I hate that word and will not use it! The word “Stupid” is more disgusting to me than the f-bomb. It WILL NOT be used in our home or in any form to describe something my child does or says. The reason for my aversion to the word is simple… say something enough times and a child will believe it! A simple term like “that was a stupid thing to do” will plant a seed in your child’s mind that I’m too stupid to do this… why bother. I would much rather say something like “don’t be silly you can do this you only need to practice” this way my child believes that even though he cant do something right now he will be able to if he puts effort into it.¬†

I always tell Tris when he says he cant do something that at some point in his life he couldn’t walk talk or wipe his own bum. Now he can do all these things because he learnt how to do them and whatever he is struggling with right now he will be able to do as long as he keeps trying.

Our kids have enough to deal with while learning the ways of the world they really don’t need us to tell them that doing this or saying that is stupid. They look up to you and what you say is in their opinion (until they reach their teens) true because YOU said it.. ¬†¬†

 

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