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Sunday, 21 April 2013

School Holiday Fun

LL has been on school holidays for just over a week now. While the holidays came at just the right time in terms of us all being super tired, it has still been an adjustment to having two kids at home with me all day long again.

The first two days of the holidays were awful. I skyped my Mum at one point, complaining that all three of us had been having meltdowns and it was only 9am Monday morning. Thankfully since then we've all adjusted. We've got a new little routine going, and I've realised the if I keep LL and Miss J busy they're both happy, and therefore I am happy too.

So we've been outside as much as possible - riding bikes, playing in the sunshine, and just hanging out. We've had friends to play, and been to three birthday parties in the last week. It's been hectic, but we've been having lots of fun.










Whilst Miss J sleeps, LL and I have been doing some colouring, stamping, cooking, and we even had a go at some of these. The end result ....



This week we've got more playdates in the pipeline, and then come Thursday we're heading off on a much needed family holiday to here. I cannot wait!!


We Survived First Term

Well we survived LL's first term at pre-school. I can tell you, that last week I was really starting to feel it. Not only was LL shattered, but Mummy was shattered too. All that driving to and fro, school lunch prep, learning the ropes of being a Mum of a pre-schooler, as well as still taking care of Miss J, and our regular lives, it was all pretty exhausting by the end. But a good exhausting.

LL has thrived at pre-school. I had hoped he would like it, and so I am thrilled that he really does seem to love it. Aunty Chris, his teacher, is so good with him and seems to know just what he needs from her. He runs up to me when Miss J and I pick him up with a huge smile on his face, happy to see me, but also happy and comfortable in his school environment.

The last three months LL has grown in so many ways. For one his appetite most days is HUGE!! I feel like I am constantly feeding him, and as a result he's filling out more and getting taller. Apart from this, the two most obvious and exciting changes in him though is his speech development and his confidence. He is so much more confident in himself since starting school. He no longer stays glued to me when we go to babygroup or birthday parties or other social settings, or if he does, it just takes a little reminder that the other kids go to his school and pretty soon he's in the mix playing too.

His speech is also now so much clearer. More words are being said. He can now tell me stories, what he did at school that day, and even please and thank you are being used more regularly. He's actually gone from being somewhat on the quiet side to a regular little chatterbox. He loves to sing as well, belting out different songs he's learnt at school. 

"Playschool is OH-VA
We are going HOME-A
Goodbye, goodbye,
Bless you everyone"

All the learning and playing and crafting he does at school, has also meant big changes in what we do at home. LL is less interested in watching his beloved tee tee (TV) and is happiest when he's outside playing with his matchbox cars, riding bikes, playing playdough or painting, or even playing with his baby sister. 

It's been an exciting term. The holidays came just at the right time. But now I'm excited to see what term 2 brings LL. New things to learn, new friends, new songs, new artwork, and even more new confidence.



Some Saturday Morning Fun

This is what we got up to yesterday morning ...


How about you? What fun things did you do?

Happy Weekend Folks :)

Easter Rewind

Easter was a few weeks ago now but time seems to be flying by at such a fast rate that I'm not really keeping up. I feel like I'm constantly chasing my tail, and never quite reaching out enough to grab it. Better late than never though, right?!

The Easter long weekend saw us hitting the open road and heading down south to the big smoke .... Johannesburg!!

With my birthday coming up, and not having had the opportunity to "really" shop in over 12 months, I was desperate to get away and have some retail therapy. The baby weight was pretty much shed, my post-baby clothes were hanging off me and I had been feeling like a big dag for months. It was time to shop, and shop for me for a change :)

To say I was apprehensive about the trip would have been an understatement. I told Mr B several times leading up to it, that maybe we just shouldn't go. Approximately 8 hours in the car with the kidlets just wasn't appealing to me. Would Miss J sleep? Would LL whinge and whine? Would there be screaming coming from the backseat? .... Was the stress really going to be worth it?! And you know what? It so was!

The kids actually traveled beautifully. We stopped when we needed to. We took our time getting though the borders. We didn't rush the kids. And I think that was the key in the end. Not rushing.

The apartment I'd booked online for us was perfect. Two bedroom, just enough space for the kids to move about without being under our feet, centrally located to the shops I wanted to visit, and in a very safe area of Johannesburg. 

All the travelling we've done with children so far has taught me that it is often best to pay that little bit more, to ensure things are stress free and easy. I don't really like breaking with our routine much so a two bedroom self-catering apartment suits us best. That way I can prepare the kids some food (in this case I brought some spag bog and tuna morney from home with us frozen - enough to cover the 4 nights we were to be there), and they can go to sleep without Mr B and I disturbing them watching tv or unwinding with a glass of wine.

After arriving at the apartment and unpacking we quickly headed out to find a nearby supermarket to grab some supplies. Walking in to Pick n Pay completely overwhelmed Mr B and I. The food, the choice, the quality, it was all so much and we didn't know what to grab first. It was so good being in a decent supermarket. I kept laughing and joking about what it was going to be like for us when we do eventually return to Australia ... we'll be the slowest shoppers ever as we won't know what to choose or where to look first.

The next morning Mr B took LL and I to Sandton City to do some shopping, while he took Miss J back to the apartment to nap. Shopping with a three year old started off ok, but naturally LL got a bit over it quite quickly. Despite this I managed to pick up some fantastic clothes from this place and some gym gear from here.

About an hour into my shopping marathon, Mr B called to say Miss J didn't want to play the napping game, so we decided to cut the shopping short and drive out to Pretoria to the Australian Consulate to get some paperwork sorted out.

It was time to get my Botswana Drivers License. Foreigners must secure a national drivers license if they are residing in this country for longer than 6 months. I have been here for four and half years and until now, just haven't worried about it. Now that I am doing the school run every single day the potential for going through police check points is greater and hence the need for a Bots license.

About a month ago I was pulled over at a check point and given quite a severe telling off by a local police officer for not having a Bots license. Mr B said I should have "answered differently" when the officer questioned how long I've lived here, but really I just don't have it in me to make up a story. I don't think quick enough when in a pressured situation. Instead, I played rather dumb and thankfully I had a lot of trouble understanding what he was saying to me, so in the end after all my "pardon's" and "sorry's" he said he'd let me go this time but I would be fined if it happened again. The fine is potentially 1600pula, which is about $A190.

Getting the Bots license is not easy though. Whilst I don't have to sit a driving test, I am required to have my Australian drivers license notarised by an Australian Consulate as being a legitimate license of Australia. There is no Embassy or Consulate in Bots, the nearest being in Pretoria, which like I said is a good 8 hour drive away.

So this Easter trip was good timing. It took about 10 minutes for the person at the Consulate to write up an official looking letter and I was on my way. Tick. Done!

Good Friday we spent with our good friends, the Thomsons.We got to see the beautiful estate they are living in and have a nice long lazy afternoon catch up. Easter just wouldn't have been Easter without spending some time with friends :)



After enjoying some of the chocolate eggs Easter Bunny had left for us (how did he find us so far from home!!) on Easter Saturday, we decided to check out the Jo'burg Zoo with the kids. We'd not been there before, and had heard it was a nice place to visit in Jo'burg. And it was! But at the same time I think the beauty of the zoo has now been lost for me. After going on safari and seeing so many animals in their natural environments it does make it difficult to see these animals in their enclosures. So many of the animals in the zoo just looked bored. This is probably a strange observation, but I just couldn't get excited about seeing them in these unnatural enclosures. 

The highlight of the whole visit was seeing these guys ...




Relatives of our torty friends. These guys were BIG!

LL enjoyed seeing the animals, but the highlight of the zoo visit for him was the map we got at the entrance gate. He carried that thing the whole time, constantly looking at it and asking us where we were on the map.


These hippos put on a bit of a show for us - splashing and hiding and popping up somewhere else and showing their teeth..


Easter Sunday came around all too quickly and we were soon back on the road heading home to Francistown. As it always is whenever you go away somewhere, it was good to get home. 

The weekend was rounded off on Easter Monday with a little "inside" easter egg hunt. It was so hot outside that day, the eggs would have lasted 2 minutes before they were a soft mess. The kids didn't mind though and enjoyed looking for the stash that Mr B and I had planted around the house.

Ten eggs each ... GO ... see who can find theirs first :)

And the results in order ...

 


 

All pretty happy with their stash :)

 

Oops Miss J found one too ... nom nom nom


 

Definitely a jam-packed, fun-filled Easter long weekend!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Another year older ...

On Friday I celebrated not only my 33rd birthday but also our 5th wedding anniversary.

I know, I know, what an idiot for getting married on my birthday. I've completely done myself out of another day of spoiling!! HA! But you know what? If I get spoilt every birthday/anniversary like I did this year, then I think I'll be pretty happy :) It was a great day!

Cuddles and kisses from the kiddies.

A gorgeous new handbag (that I picked out myself!)

Mr B took the day off work so we could hang out, take care of the kids, and do some cooking together.

I took LL to a joint birthday party for some birthday buddies.

Mr B cooked a delicious garlic prawn pasta for dinner.

And a caramel mud cake!

And then we relaxed on the couch watching some episodes of this.

Absolutely perfect!


It's feeling pretty good to be 33 .... I think it's going to be a great age to be :)










Thursday, 4 April 2013

My Current Best Friend

For the past month I've been reacquainting myself with this ...


Our Treadmill!

I am going to make a huge call and say it has probably been one of the best purchases we've ever made.

We bought it back when I was pregnant with LL. Here in Francistown there aren't really any footpaths to speak of. Or anywhere in particular that is safe to go running other than on the road, where you risk the chance of getting hit by a car.

When I was pregnant with LL, Mr B didn't really like the idea of me walking on the side of the road while carrying his offspring, so we invested in the treadmill. And then as is often the case, it sat untouched for quite a while. Until around the 7 and a half month mark I decided to get on that thing and start pounding. Pounding being the appropriate word as I was heavy and slow and I pounded that thing as I waddled along.

About a year after LL was born I finally found the time again to get on the treadmill. And naturally I started to lose some weight, feel fit and healthy, and good about myself again.

And then I got pregnant with Miss J and slowed the jogging down to a walk, using it at least every other day, right up until we flew home to Australia.

The treadmill has saved my sanity on more than one occassion. Those happy endorphins, that feel good feeling you get when you've sweated it out, that plain exhaustion or pumped up vibe, I love it all.

And I've been finding it again as I've slowly gotten back into it this past month. Despite all the running around I do after LL and Miss J, I was SO UNFIT!!!! I think the fastest speed I got up to there for a few weeks was 6.2km/h. While I am sure for some people this is quite appropriate, for me this felt slow and sluggish. Yet I've persisted, and for the month of March I managed to walk/jog 49.3km. And this was all done by just "finding 30" - thirty minutes a day pounding on the treadmill. I did do a few longer stints on the weekend when Mr B was home, and even managed to crack my 5km goal one day which I was so happy about. 

Now it's all about keeping it up and achieving small goals I'm setting myself. I'm keen to build on that 49.3kms and go better in April. I'm keen to do more jogging and less walking. And I'm keen to reach that 5km or further goal every single time I get on there if I can. And then we'll go from there and build up again to something else.

I am really wanting to show LL and Miss J that exercise is all party of a "normal" lifestyle. 
It's just something that you do, not something you HAVE to do!

While this is good in theory, not always easy to achieve. But I am trying :)

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