Friday, December 31, 2010

Dregs of 2010

Don't you just love waking up on a Cape Town morning to stillness?

Especially after the constant blustery gale?

This morning, at our house was one of those mornings. And it was pure bliss!

The last few days of this year have been good. We went walking in Newlands forest (p.s. a wind free zone! Magic!!!! I'm going to go back soon!) with a friend from Zimbabwe...

a somewhat empty stream

...which  the boys had to climb through

pretty huh?

The reason we went to the forest was to build forts -
sadly Newlands doesn't lend itself to forts as well as Cecilia forest,
but Braveheart and the boys made a grand attempt!
Today, we went to Cecilia forest with family, and walked along the path through the forest and into Kirstenbosch. A lovely manageable stroll, with a delicious picnic at the end....

The time it took was greatly extended by discovering that this stream that we crossed
had tadpoles in it, which the boys just HAD to try and catch! They caught
four, I was quite impressed!

Belle and her cousin

I realise I take loads of photos of Belle - but I also think
it's because she just sits still! The boys
can't stop long enough for me to take good ones!

the cousins

the boys cooling off 

So it's the last day of the year. I'm am not a fan of New Year's resolutions, but I do love the start of a New year, and the opportunity it gives to start things afresh, to change, to move on.

And although I did New Year's Eve parties in a big way when I was growing up (as my parents hosted endless numbers of them, and still do to this day and they're over 55!), in my parenting years they hold very little attraction for me. I think it's the combination of a great night - but a late night, and then an early morning with the kids!

This year, I really wanted to spend it with the kids, and also had hoped to hike somewhere for the sunset. But given that we'd already worn them out on a hike this morning, I opted instead to picnic on the beach at sunset. Aha! little did I know the South Easter would pick up, yet again!

Undeterred, we went to Noordhoek beach, where the sand was stinging our legs and blinding us, and climbed high into the sand dunes and sat in the shelter the Milkwood trees offered us. It was really lovely....


Our view

We drew a line in the sand, said good-bye to 2010 whilst facing the land (suburbia), and then turned around, jumped over the line and yelled hello to 2011, looking at the ocean. I found it symbolic. (God had laid it on my heart earlier today - and I find those sorts of things sometimes downright odd (doing something physical that God has asked you to)). But this afternoon, looking at that expansive horizon, I realized that's what 2011 looks like for all of us.

A blank horizon. Empty. Barren. Open.

A year of opportunity.

Of Possibility.

Of hope.

As we continue to walk down this road together, may our year ahead be one that changes us all,


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Silent Shadows

Hello there -yes. I'm talking to you. And you. And you!

Today I learnt that more people than I thought read this blog. People whom I never thought would find the musings of my mind interesting. But, it turns out, You do!

And I feel strangely ...


Peel off a layer ...


And another one ...


And I'm not really sure why,  if I pause and analyse it.

But analyse it I am ... and I wonder if knowing your audience makes you alter what it is that you want to say?

And there's a part that also tickles me. Like wow! People read my blog! Apart from two committed followers!

I'm shaken because like you, I too am a silent stalker on blogs. I don't really comment. I read some blogs regularly, but seldom take the extra effort to comment.

But knowing that there are silent shadows to this blog is ...

a privilege.

So ... thank you.

For reading and choosing to connect with me in the safety of silent cyberspace.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Surly South Easter


South Easters drive me to distraction.

You would think that by now I would have come to terms that I live in a coastal city at the edge of a continent and that in fact, to be more precise, I live in deep south of said city, and furthermore, in a valley between two oceans. So really, I should be comfortable with the fact that the wind howls.

But seriously. It has blown non-stop for close on three days and I'm enough already!

Today we attempted to make the most of the day in spite of the wind. In his first upright day, Braveheart felt to use the day to take the boys on a date - so off he took them to Ratanga Junction. They had a blast, spent the whole day there, and went on all the kiddie rides. Thankfully Braveheart just watched as I think doing any of them might have sent him over the edge given how he's been feeling! The boys had an awesome day with their dad, and I think they are positively glowing having spent such a special date treat with him

And me? ... I escaped the wind and took Belle to the Two Oceans Aquarium. It's funny how seasons go - when we first moved to Cape Town we were amazed by the aquarium (especially having been land locked Zimbabweans!) - and the fact that you could buy a year pass that was the same price as one entry (that was a few years ago - I was shocked today at the difference in prices! I still think a year's pass is worth it. Belle was free!). Back then, we bought year passes for our family, and in those first years any time the weather turned nasty we were there! I love how they have crafts for the kids, and they really try and change exhibits to keep things interesting.

But times change, seasons are different - and Belle had never been. So as our special date, off we went. It was STUNNING weather at the waterfront - a little windy but  nothing like the howling gale on this side of Cape Town. And it was precious. She loved it. I tried to take photos, but she could not stand still - she just kept running around. Her best was the tank of clown fish - and the sharks. To top of her date once we were home again, I played trains with her - she clearly has two older brothers!

As I write this I wonder if it will turn into a Black south easter - certainly has the potential. I truly wonder if I will ever make peace with the wind....

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Catch Up

So...this is my post-Christmas post.

And Christmas for the right words....pause...unexpected. But I have learnt some lessons and look forward to remembering them next year!

Christmas Eve was a non starter. Not only had I not planned anything special, but the boys were shattered from their week of not being well, as well as the excitement of presents to come to the extent that they were in bed by 6pm! I felt grim the whole day - thankfully just nauseous, no actual follow through, and so it was also an early night for me.

Christmas morn was lovely. Especially waking (at 0515 the first time, which we pushed to 0615!) to little whispers about bumps in stockings and all the wonder and delight that that entailed...

Braveheart is, by no stretch of the imagination,
a morning person!

Eating sweets before breakfast -
a child's idea of bliss!
Then after giving them time to enjoy their stockings (an aside here - we have never explained anything about Father Christmas, whether he's real or not: the culture has done it for us. I'm amazed by what my kids understand about sleighs and reindeer and all of that, without any of it passing my lips. Food for thought about what else our kids pick up on that our culture has taught them huh?), we progressed to the lounge where we gave them the presents we had bought for them....their joy and delight is priceless. I love having Christmas with my kids!

(not sure why the picture quality is so bad - apologies)
I tried to dress Belle in this lovely dress my cousin sent over from the UK a while ago, because Belle loves dresses and loves pink, but for some reason this dress freaked her out! She sobbed and sobbed - we even took this photo to show her she looked like a princess - but took the dress off within a few minutes! I think it was the fabric that freaked her out!

Sadly Braveheart started feeling very ill mid morning, and he spent the day getting paler and paler.

Family arrived around lunch time for a festive meal....

The boys laid this - was so proud of them
 for helping and following instructions!

For Braveheart, the Christmas ham is the best part of Christmas and marks the season for him - and he only managed one piece and that was really pushing it! Poor man!

Sadly this part of the day was the unexpected part...epic politics in an extended family that made lunch awkward and positively horrible - bleugh! However dear friends popped in at the end of the day and that was grand - I was so thankful that friends can lift your spirits in spite of hovering black clouds.

Since then Braveheart has pretty much been on his bed, poor guy, just zapped of energy and appetite, so here's hoping with the dawn of tomorrow all will be well!

The lessons I've learnt?

I've learnt that traditions don't just happen. They take some forward thinking and planning. I've recently come across so many posts about a Jesse tree, and am so keen to make that a part of our Christmas next year. I think it's a beautiful way to remember the reason for Christmas.

And I want to create a special way of celebrating Christmas Eve, whether it's a meal or doing the nativity story or something like that. We've often had people over on Christmas Eve that have no friends or other family around, but this year I guess we just let time slip by.

 I want to teach my kids to be thankful no matter what they receive, and to encourage them to experience the joy of giving.

And I guess it all comes down to us as wives being the fragrance of our home. Yes, a marriage lends a distinctive stamp to the nature of our families. But we, as mothers and wives, hold such a special calling and responsibility to flavour our homes with grace and love, so that our children and our husbands love being able to call it home. And that means finding out what God is asking of us as wives and mothers in our homes.

That my friends, is a snapshot of the things He is laying on my heart.

How was your Christmas?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Like a Child

Braveheart and I happen to be Third Day fans, and this song spoke volumes to me during Christmas of 2006. Christmas can be such a tricky time trying to balance our expectations, and those others have of us, as well of all the 'adult' responsibilities we pick up along the way. I love being reminded that there is an innocence, a beauty, a simplicity to this season that has been robbed from us....but if we will stop a while, and look again, with fresh eyes, this season can be significant again.

And for the children are making this season so special - their enthusiasm is contagious!

Merry Christmas y'all!

Third Day - Christmas Like A Child - Christmas Offerings

I want to feel Christmas, how it used to be
With all of its wonder falling on me
This season has felt so empty, oh for quite a while
I want to feel Christmas like a child

I want to see snowflakes fall to the ground
My brothers and sisters all gathered around
Singing "Away In A Manager" as we sit by the fire
I want to feel Christmas like a child

It's been so long now, I can't say
Just when I lost my way
But I'm going back to how it was
When this day meant everything
And we spent our time remembering
The baby Child born for us

It's all about Jesus, asleep in the straw
This infant, this King, this Savior for all

So I don't need bells to be ringing
'Cause I'll join with angels singing
And I can feel Christmas like a child
I want to feel Christmas like a child..

Friday, December 24, 2010

Stockings for Santa

Just in the nick of time, with all but two days to spare, I managed to finish quilting these stockings for the boys. And I am quite proud of myself for actually seeing this project through to the end, and accomplishing something I have been desiring to do for almost a whole year! The boys are thrilled, which makes me more than happy too!

Sadly my boys and my little girl have not been well this week - they boys have had a nasty tummy bug, which Belle seemed to catch  (for only one night though). The boys have yet to shake it completely, and they have been very floppy ( I've never seen them just lay on the couch all day!) and lacking any appetite whatsoever  - I'm hoping that by the time they wake up tomorrow that will be full of beans again!

Christmas Eve, and the kids were in bed by 6 - does that give you an indication of just how unwell they are? Poor little people. Tomorrow, we're having all the family (Braveheart's and some of my extended family) around for lunch tomorrow...

May your Christmas be awesome!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Camping by Camera

So we arrived in the the rain! And I swear that the rain
was ONLY falling in this valley where we were camping -
a fine mist was over everything else.

We kept the kids in the car for as long as we could while we put up the gazebo
...and then let them loose so that they could use some of their pent up energy.

Can you see the steady rain? And for those people already there - this was day 2 of
solid rain! My rain jacket was useless!!!! Good to know now that it is NOT
waterproof, depsite the K-Way label :(

Home sweet home...for a few days!

 The mud proved to be an awesome play area for our kids -
can you believe I do not like dirt? But I do like camping! Odd hey?

 Hiking through the streams

 Belle was carried mostly - how I wish we'd fitted in the backpack!

Belle and Braveheart

 Chongololos! At least that's what Zimbabweans call millipedes.
In Zim they're this size but a deep dark black colour

 The campsite is home to this lovely swimming pool along the river

 We camped along the river - and had to drive/walk
across this lovely stream often.

 This was right beneath our camp -stunning!

 King Arthur pretending to be swept away by the rapids!

Campfire and roasting marshmallows

 Playing inside the tent

 Building a mudcastle

 Hiking along the hilltop, camp below us

 We found a beautiful secluded waterhole to swim in which was so lovely -
had it all to ourselves as well!

 Belle and I

Loving time with their dad!