My little first grader attends an american education based school here in sunny South Africa. Run very differently to the government schools (thanks goodness) using the Rocket-ship syllabus. I’m not 100% how american schools are run for first graders but here our little ones attend school from 7h45 – 16h00. A very long day for a 6/7 year old, in fact – a longer day than University students. Arriving home with homework too. Every hour is structured learning so there is no ‘waste’ on sports which I strongly feel is a very important part of a childs development. Of course they have daily active ed in a lesson period. Being a new school having only opened in January of 2013, perhaps a little down the line they will introduce sports as we are very much a sports mad nation. 

I began my volunteer canteen duty yesterday with a bunch of excited kids chatting to their friends mom! Going against all the canteen rules of put your hand up if you want to ask or say something when talking to an adult. I love children and enjoy working with them but talking with food in your mouth is a no go zone for me. Spit food flying from open mouths. I eventually said, ‘we can’t talk and eat because it’s bad manners firstly and how about eating everyone’s spit food’ Instant silence followed by a big EEEEWWWWWW and lemon faces. It was amusing to say the least but the thought got the children to willingly practice this particular table manner.

After canteen duty I popped down to the office to assist with a few things the teachers leave there on their parent help list. I was chatting to the schools owner who asked if I survived canteen duty, I said: When I was a teacher to a class of 30 2/3 year olds, we had 30 minutes to get them all through snack and lunch times. Slow eaters and picky eaters is where most your time was spent and that’s fine. Children are just that – children. Can’t say I miss those days though, long hours and disgusting pay. Let’s not mention just how much hard work goes into a class of 30 potty training, tantrum throwing age little people. I still enjoy working with children and still do but now as a qualified swimming instructor, different ball game altogether yet just as rewarding.

I will be back every Monday reporting for canteen duty and Thursdays for class help. I think every parent should be involved in some way or another with their child’s school. To a certain degree though, I know of some mothers who are just busy bodies with their nose in everything. 

To all the hard working moms out there raising families, bringing in an income and still managing a little volunteer time – Kudos to us for we are phenomenal woman.

Have a fantastic day.

 

 

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Celebrate, It’s Your Birthday!

Yesterday my hubby came full circle to add yet another candle to his cake which is fast running out of space. I think number candles will do for next years cake.

I’m not sure how as a child my husband celebrated birthdays as in his adult years, he seems to dread the day and the build up to it. I’ve learnt over the years that even though he says there are to be no presents or cake, he actually really wants to be spoilt. Who doesn’t! One year – I left his birthday, didn’t arrange anything as per his request. Geewizz, to this day he has not let me forget. I have learnt from that that regardless of his huffs and puffs, I always make his day a special one and he is clearly appreciative of it. My mother tells me it’s a ‘man’ thing. No mom, I know my husbands love languages. Having said that – upon his arrival home to a tribe of excited children, we spoilt him with his long awaited mountain bike, espresso machine and yummy chocolate cake before dinner! The evening routine was whacked but worth it.

So a the big 36 arrived yesterday. Where have the years gone! They seem to fly faster as we age more. We seem to appreciate life more and more as we realise just how short, fast and fragile life really is. We no longer take the simple things like health and time foregranted either.

I raise my glass in celebration of a fantastic husband and father, who has held my hand, although at times a little tighter, as we walk through this journey we share. As I put it to friends – we have good months and bad days but love covers all our sins.  Here’s to many blessed, wild and happy years ahead. Happy Birthday my McDreamy, you rock my world.

I Am Here . . .

Wow, it’s been ages since I last posted. Much to do with my laptop deciding after years of service it was time to pack up, nothing lasts forever after all.

So much to blog about yet I sit here really just catching up on the posts I’ve missed from my readers and followers. Life sure does go on and I love most to see the world and different places through your eyes.

It’s autumn here in Africa – Southern Africa to be exact. I adore autumn, why I never married in autumn I will never know. Such beautiful rich colours, plenty falling, messy yet fun leaves to kick up, sit on, roll in and toss in the air as I play with my little ones. Nothing like a good book as I laze in the gently sun warming up. Our winters in general never really get cold but cold enough for Africa that’s for sure, I always joke with family in the UK how their summer is no better than our winter. However, it did ‘snow’ here last year. Something of a phenomenon really for Johannesburg. I mean – the tiny speckles falling from the sky melted moments after touch down. It didn’t stop me dancing in the snow or the boys jumping on their trampoline in the snow. Happy moments.

So with autumn drawing to a close and winter fast on her heels, I say yet again a good bye to a season come and gone *sigh*.  What is it that once you reach 35 the years seem to fly. I really appreciate every moment of everyday as we should for to be here today – we are blessed to be and share something great.

 

 

 

 

 

Is There A Prankster In The House!

Without fail every morning my hubby brings me a cup of coffee in bed. Married 14 years has it’s perks. Now and again my mischievous teen offers to make a cuppa. On Saturday was such a ‘now and again’. 

‘Mom, did you drink your coffee? All of it’ he asked later in the day. Now the fact that he was so curious and had a smirk of sorts on his face, got me thinking something is up.

‘Nope’ I answered, ‘It got cold before I had the time to take a sip’.  He walked off to the kitchen where I heard him telling his father of his disappointment that ‘it didn’t work, mom never drank the coffee’ Plenty laughter happening in the kitchen. I went through to investigate.

Yip, that would be me who almost got pranked with a cup of coffee containing laxatives. I felt rather chuffed with myself that I was spared the loo for the day.

I am the ONLY female in the house – with four boys, Mr being a right real Peter Pan, I can either sulk and cry or wise up on the games. I chose to wise up and play them at their own games. As the saying goes, When in Rome, do as the Romans do. That sums it up.

Watch your back boys, mom is the chef in this house. 

The Dirty Word – Chores.

I grew up labouring away at my bit when it came to household chores. Having three sisters though made the work load that much lighter. I was never paid so to speak for doing chores, however , if ever we needed or wanted something within reason – we didn’t go without. Movies, ice-skating, drive-in, tuck money and so it goes.

My wonderful young teenager recently dug his heels in when it came to a short list of chores I felt were standard for any teenager all of 14 years old. I contacted a few friends and family who too have a child of the same age to compare what is considered a reasonable list, as well as the reward be it financial or other.

I came up with ten chores a week. TEN. I really didn’t feel that was child labour although my son differs. My list was something along these lines.

  • Clean your own room. Inspection is once a week.
  • Unpack the dishwasher after dinner.
  • Mow the lawn once a week – all of a 15 min job. 
  • Take out the trash when need be.
  • Feed the dogs daily and ensure fresh water mornings.
  • Pick up your own dog poop.
  • During school holidays, to help hang the laundry.
  • Make your own bed weekends.
  • Help dad bath the dogs on sundays.

 

Oh wait – that is all of 9 chores. One would think this to be child labour for that is what my child seems to think. Banging heads about this list has left me with migraines. I believe all children should be raised having to do chores. Heck I did. Chores teach children far more than responsibility and the value of a dime.

Then we had the debated issue of what was considered a satisfactory financial reward. Boy, the kid should join the debate team as he sure threw some at me. Yet again I turn to family and friends and what would you know – we seem to pay our teen a little above the considered ‘average’. My sister suggested I start a monthly spreadsheet for him. On which I write down every cent spent on his luxuries –

  • A new clutch cable for his off road motorbike,
  • weekly petrol to run both his bikes – this is recreational,
  • bike parts when he crashes, lately that’s often
  • constant new clothes and shoes as he seems to think they are best used while working on his bikes.
  • The maintenance of his tarantulas,
  • mobile contract
  • Blah blah etc –  

This list can go on and on but it hit me – My sister hit the nail on the head with her advice. Sometimes when kids see things on paper, the reality hits them a little more and they can digest it properly. I’m not talking a childs living luxuries or expenses. I’m referring to his hobbies. 

There you have it. I sat down with my son and asked him what he felt was acceptable and reasonable to be on his chores list. We negotiated the list so not all was selective. What teen is readily going to volunteer a pick up his dog poop before mowing the lawn? Having his participation gave him a sense of having a voice and choices. He is now responsible for his chores list. As for his rewards, they come in many forms and he is slowly realising this. Thank goodness as being the eldest, he sets the example for his two much younger brothers. 

Keep Calm and Parent on.

So what would you feel is an acceptable list or pocket money amount for a 14 year old teen?

 

 

When Tragedy Strikes

I have such a heavy heart today, I can’t begin to imagine the emotional rollercoaster my friend *Tammy must be going through. I blogged about her father who passed due to AIDS mid 2012.

Today when I gave her a call to catch up now that the Christmas season is over, Tammy tells me her Christmas was not good. Why? I ask. Her reply ‘my husband was murdered on thursday.’ I went cold – why? how? what on earth !!!

He was shot and killed due to a mugging. Words…  fail me. He was young, newly wed. Tammy is young and they have a little daughter. WHY ?? Why murder – take the goods but why then murder and destroy families and lives. 

Times like these, I can only offer my presence, my shoulder, my ears. Nothing I could possible say would take her hurt away.

God Bless my friend, I’m here for you – always.

 

Have Yourself A Foxy New Year.

As I raise my glass to welcome in the new year a few hours from now, I take a moment to reflect on the journey of 2012, yip – can’t complain much. Those in Colorado – light the joint, open the bottles and turn up the music 🙂 Hey, I said COLORADO !! that for you blondes is in the US.

A special thanks to all my followers and my ‘followed’ for sharing your journey over the year – wishing you health, happiness and another year of shared blogs. Big Hugs.