Thursday, November 29, 2012

What a year

2012 is close to being over and all I can say is ... what a year. It's been probably one of the hardest years of my life - not because of anything BAD, just because it was so full of hard stuff. And hard stuff is not necessarily bad!

Crabby baby + bored 3 year old + homeschooling for the first time + kid at preschool + lifting + all the usual household Mom stuff. None of these things are bad or especially difficult. I just happened to have to deal with all of them at the same time.

For example:

Baby is hanging on my leg and crying. 3 year old is lying on the couch upside down and moaning that he wants to watch TV.  I am supposed to be gently encouraging Miss J to write a story but all she can do is cry and say, "But I don't know what to WRITE!" In the back of my mind  I'm thinking that I should really take something out of the freezer for supper, that there's wet washing in the machine and that if I put the miserable baby to bed now he will only get a short nap before I have to pick up Mr R and it then he won't nap again and will scream all evening until bedtime. And there is ridiculous MESS everywhere.

Baby is getting older now and is generally more happy. Mr A is a little easier to entertain these days. (Just a little.) I've chilled a bit about getting school done since noticing how much she learns without my doing much at all. (and it still pretty much gets done.) And there are 6 more days of preschool before Mr R becomes a proper homeschool kid. I will have a helper four days a week most weeks next year. We have almost finished turning the garage into a schoolroom/playroom.

Things are looking up! Four kids at home is going to be mad and crazy but I hope it won't be as rough as this year has been. I have not emerged from the flames stronger. I am tired and looking forward to a few more calm moments during the day.

I love teaching my kids. I loved looking back on Miss J's old work today and seeing some of the fun stuff we did. So did she. I am hoping that 2013 will have more fun learning and less crabby frustrated mommy!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

8 months

This little guy is growing up. If all I had to do was look after him, I would be pretty busy. And tired. And looking after him is not exactly all I have to do!

He's still a very enthusiastic smiler.

He plays like mad. Sometimes frantically. The hosepipe was fascinating.

He's a pretty good napper. He mostly falls asleep pretty quickly with a quick snuggle or a bottle, and if we are out i pop him into the baby carrier and he sleeps. He wakes up a lot at night though, but to make up for it he usually sleeps until after 7. And that dummy is a pretty good friend of his.

He started creeping at 6 months, now he scoots everywhere. He can crawl on his knees a bit but he still chooses to scoot. 

He's at that "let me see if I can fit in here" stage.

This entertainer thing takes up precious space but it's worth it!

Food face - Mr A was the neatest eater ever. I hardly ever even put a bib on him. Baby J needs bibs and likes squishing his food. He likes his food, though!

Not quite big enough for the swing

Bucket of baby

Shoe cupboard joy - dirty old boots are the best toys ever!

So at 8 months Baby J can scoot on his tummy, crawl a bit, go from sitting to crawling and crawling to sitting, kneel up against something, stand against the couch if I put him there, say mimimim, eat lumpy food, pull off his socks and turn over dustbins to eat the contents. He has 4 teeth and his hair is growing into a mohawk.  Oh yes, and if there was a wriggliest baby in the world competition he might just win!
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Two whole terms of Grade One are finished! We finished a week before Mr R's school did - I was so done and really needed a break. I have enjoyed the work and enjoyed teaching my girl. I have struggled to juggle the baby and Mr A and there were a few days when not quite everything on our list got done. However, things are getting easier now that baby is older. He is more happy to crawl around and play, and his naps are more more predictable. I had imagined that my helper would help more with baby during school time but it never works out that way. On the days when she is here she mostly does the housework and babysit when I need to do grocery shopping or lift the big kids.

Here's Miss J doing Maths in the garden! Yes, her numbers were pretty messy but no more than they usually are :-)
Doing a worksheet with our littlest pupil - Mr A is not happy to go and play while we start school. At first he used to watch some TV but that was a disaster - he would scream for more when it was over, and Miss J could hear the TV and was very distracted. So now (if I am organized) I get a few worksheets for him to do with us, and I leave some puzzles or lego or playdo out for him to "find". If I say, "Why don't you go and get your blocks?" the answer will always be"NO!" However, if he happens to SPOT the tub of blocks on his own he might actually start playing with them! Then after a while he'll get bored and go and play outside, and by the time he's had enough of that we're done with school for the morning. Well - that's a good day. There are less successful ones of course.

Painting in the afternoon. I still find it so stressful to have paint flying around my dining room and dream of a sheltered outside area with a scruffy table where they can make as much paint and glue and glitter mess as they like. Maybe one day!

What's going on here ... yup, it's raisin incentives. One per sum when she hits the moans towards the end of the lesson. It works better with chocolate chips though!

And below you can see the biggest challenge to homeschooling: this little dude. But he is rather gorgeous :-)

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Muuuch better

Our kitchen is (mostly) finished. 

Vast improvement! I had the church moms' group her this morning and it was great not to bump into everyone in the passage.

I'm rather fond of these little corners.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Some Sewing

I made Miss J a nightie

using this pattern .

It's a rather ancient pattern I found in my Mom's sewing drawer. On it are my granny's notes from when she made it for my cousin who is now 43! It's size 9 - 10 and it fits my still six year old girl.  I used some pink flannel which has been very disappointing - it is already pilling horribly. You never know with flannel! There will be bolts of it in the shop, all the same price. Some will still look good after years and the rest looks like a rag in a few days.

Miss J looks like something out of the 19th century. She just needs a candlestick and a nightcap. It reminds me of Anne of Green Gables, pining for puffy sleeves! But she chose it and she loves it! And increasingly I am realizing that my one and only little girl will not want to wear pink puffy home made things for much longer and I must make the most of it while I can :-)
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mommy's birthday

I am 37 today. It feels rather old. And this week is my 20 year Matric Reunion!

I got a K-Way jacket from my husband which I love! It's so nice to get something you really love as a gift. He chose perfectly. One little boy decided he wanted to give Mommy a GREEN gift. That was his only criteria! And so he chose ... wait for it .. an APPLETIZER!!!! Which he helped me drink this morning, of course! I also got a box of carefully chosen chocolates and some equally carefully chosen dishcloths. I love them all :-)

Lots of people wished me a happy day. Well, I had a hard day. It was back to school today, and I had shopping to do. Then I discovered my angel domestic helper was ill. I had tantrums, laundry, spills and a still unfinished kitchen to deal with today. But Baby had two fantastic naps. Most of the schoolwork got done, the washing got hung out and a friend visited in the afternoon. We made models of plant and animal cells out of jelly. And Daddy made supper and did almost all the evening routine. So it was hard, and I lost my temper once, and I nearly cried in the parking lot, but my birthday ended well!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I love the bumbo, but no more now after he squirmed out of it and whacked his head on the cupboard door. This one has already got the wriggliest of our babies award. Lately he's also in contention with baby his sister for drooliest.

He smiles so hard it must hurt.

My brood.

Brudders. What very very different personalities they all have so far!
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Fixing up the kitchen

Here's the kitchen before. - a separate room with a little hatch out to the dining room. There were patches of rough plaster on the walls where we removed an ugly wine rack, and very old fashioned tiles with little pictures of fruit on them!

My parents just had their kitchen refreshed a bit so we got the same builder to come and do a few things to ours. So the walls have been bashed out, the tiles redone, the walls plastered and a cupboard built. (Well, half built so far!)

I could not find any tiles I liked. I dragged kids around tile places, feeling indifferent and worse about pretty much everything in a reasonable price range. Then I saw the terracotta with little colourful squares and I was sold! Unfortunately tiling terracotta is a little more complicated than ordinary tiles. They can't be cut with a tile cutter; you have to use an agle grinder. They need bigger spaces between them so you need more grout. They need a few coats of sealer. I was so happy to see the concrete floor covered up. We had spent two weekends walking around that dusty grey floor!

Love my new floor! (Here without grout or sealer of course)

The whole process has been frustrating in its slowness. There have been lots of delays. But soon ... SOON it will be done. Steve and I are going to paint it ourselves - a challenge with these littles around all day. I have half finished making blinds. The builder has a few things to finish up and getting that done is taking forever. But soon ... well, children and building are both good for learning patience. (See, I'm trying to be positive here.) We have never done any kind of building before and we have certainly learnt a lot for next time - if there is one!

Getting there!

I can't seem to move the pictures around after posting from Picasa, so these photos are out of order! I am so glad this level of mess is over!

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Saturday, March 24, 2012


I posted these straight from Picasa and can't seem to get the cursor above the first picture!
Sweety pie at 5 months old. He's not exactly one of those happy gurgly contented little things, but now that he's sleeping better and I feel better after ditching the breastfeeding, I am managing much more to enjoy his babyness and not wish it away. He has his first tooth!

Evidence that things are a little less crazy these days (though not since the building began!): I made a dress. I used a free pattern from the internet (The Oliver + S Popver dress) and it was SUCH FUN. I bought this material months and months ago and it was so nice to be able to sew it up for my girl, who won't be happy to wear Mommy made dresses for much longer. I wish there was time to make more - actually, I could make little bits of time to sew - it's the fabric shopping that's hard to do!

I love this photo. I so hope they are friends when they grow up.

Before picture. Ugh.
During picture. This is what I have been living in for weeks. Every now and then there would be a day when NOTHING happened and I would nearly cry. But now it's starting to take shape and it is going to be so worth it.

This little guy had his third birthday. Here he is licking the potato salad bowl after his party - which we had at Mom's house because of the state of our house. He wanted a Mickey Mouse cake so out came the black food colouring I had left from Robin's racetrack cake last year. I managed to make the cake in the building site at least!
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