Best laid plans…

Sometimes you research and plan and get organised only for it all to fall apart! Yesterday was one of those days. There seem to be a lot of those days with children.  Sometimes it’s due to logistics and sometimes nap time and grumpy children put paid to things.

Sometimes it makes me angry (I like to be in control just a little) and other times it just makes me disappointed that I didn’t get to do what I planned but on days like yesterday sometimes just going with the flow and enjoying the moment means a great and fun day out for all of us. Even though we adults didn’t get to do and see what we wanted to do and see.

Maybe living in the moment and enjoying will make life less stressful. And happier. And more fun. For everyone. Maybe I’ll have to trial it… and get the husband to buy into it…  Long, lovely, London summer days spent in the park… I think I can cope it that’s the result every time.

Lets see how long it lasts.

How do you cope with things not going as planned?

Olympics part 2.

We were so lucky and had great weather!

How scary is this whole temporary stadium made of scaffolding… it moved, a lot.  Especially during the mexican wave and when people were stamping their feet; freaked me out big time!

Much prettier at night…

The tuft was bright, someone get me my glasses!

The Coke Cola Beat Box – strange looking thing!

Loved the commitment from people who dressed up to support their countires! Here’s  one of many! There was even a guy dressed only in a British flag as a toga!

Torch relay comes to town

To be honest I’ve found a lot about the whole Olympic thing a little annoying.  It’s been spoken about for so long and with so much drama and opinions on all sides that I’ve just had enough already!  I love watching certain events on TV and am excited to be going to watch  some Hockey live but living in the country where it is being held just seems to bring so much moaning! Yes people are excited but most of the time they are more concerned with how it’s going to impact them negatively that I seem to be hearing about!

This is possibly a once in a lifetime event with the chance to be involved and see first hand what it’s all about! So trying to look past all the moaning we decided to see the olympic torch… seeing as it was passing 2 blocks away from our house we couldn’t really miss it could we!

We actually had a great time and bumped into one of Jenna’s teachers who gave the kids each flags! It was over so quickly though, and Jenna actually cried when we left as she wanted to follow the torch around the time!

The police were lovely and gave the kids lots of high fives on their motor bikes although the support crew around the  flame were a bit grumpy but suppose that’s their job to keep people away and the torch safe. It was great to see the community out in force and the weather was pretty good to us too only coming down at the last minute as the actual torch was going past!

It’s rekindled a little of the fire that has been doused by negativity, I’m looking forward to seeing it all happen now and making some lifelong memories watching it live!

CHAPTER EIGHTY-FIVE – HO HO HO…….OH NO

GREETINGS SANTAS AND MRS’ CLAUS AND ELVES,

Trust you all had a super time this last weekend with family and friends celebrating this crazy time of the year. Trust your dinners or lunches went off without any hitches and nothing was left in the oven not having made it to the table.

This year with our 3 little ones for the first time as a trio it was a little different. We had running commentary from JM; “its this many sleeps to Christmas and I want this and that for Christmas” and JM would then announce what CG would want for Christmas and poor TJ was a little oblivious to it all, much like both JM and CG last year.

It’s really crazy when one thinks how things change in a year. I mean JM really knew about Santa this year and what he does and how he does it, we as parents didn’t really discuss it and found it crazy how all of a sudden we had to start discussing all this stuff with a 3 year old. It is amazing the level of influence in a little person’s life from her school, yes I know this is all part of her growing up and then on the other hand knowing we can’t wrap JM in cotton wool for the rest of her life.

This did spark the great debate amongst mom and dad aka myself and KM, what do we tell JM, do we tell her it’s a myth or do we play along with the fantasy of some big rather dad looking like character coming down a chimney to deliver presents if one has been good for the year beforehand. How do we begin to explain that chimneys are not part of the modern British home? Then resorting to more fantasy about a magic key. Anyway this debate did cause a stir among the lawmakers of the Botha Household. Obviously as you have probably figured out, it was 1 vs. 1 to begin. In the end I agreed that it was too late, two weeks before Christmas to start the discussion after already playing along with the story about the red fat man. Needless to say the mince pie and Baileys was put out along with some reindeer food!

We made sure that the fat red man was countered with the real reason for Christmas, why do we celebrate and what we celebrate, etc. Yes we celebrate the fact that Jesus was born in a stable and that He had gifts brought to him, much like gifts are brought to us in a sense. Never the less we had a great nativity calendar up, made by my super crafty wife and in each of the days were animals or people who attended that rather famous night Bethlehem. For the record, in our story it was noted that we had Bunny rabbits attending, together with chickens… Ok I know its not Easter yet, but a major shop aka Tesco’s were selling Easter eggs before Christmas… What is this world coming to?

To go back on the whole celebration and birthday of Christmas, our little monkeys will be forever confused about this celebration as we did also wish KM’s mom with a birthday cake and all. So I guess we did sing Happy birthday for two reasons on the 25th. Equipped with cake we sang the tune via skype to a happy Dodo in PE. So those of you out there thinking that explaining this Christmas thing is a piece of cake, spare a thought for those of us trying to explain that their granny shares a birthday with one if not the most influential man that ever walked on this planet.

Back to our celebrations, we did the whole Christmas lunch thing on Boxing day to allow us to celebrate with my mom, gran and Paul, who might I add every year do the noble thing and give meals out on Christmas day to those who are lonely through the Salvation Army. It was great to spend Boxing Day with my gran and our little ones gran-gran. Thanks to my mom and Paul for the drive there and back for this occasion to happen. Needless to say our bellies were full with the normal gammon, beef, brussell sprouts, parsnips, etc. Don’t mention the Yorkshire puddings which stayed in the freezer or the little present boxes with post lunch sweets inside which stayed on top of the fridge. It was great and only a day ago did we finish the leftovers…. probably the best part of Christmas dinner…the leftovers.

We did however do a very normal South African thing on Christmas day, we braai’d. Yes we had Lee and Dave with us and did steak, boerewors, chicken etc on the braai with salad, all done in 13 deg weather. Believe it or not, the hottest Christmas day temp in Britain for some 20 years.

From the present point of view, it was super cool to see the expressions on JM’s face and even that of the speed man of present opening… Mr CG himself. So much so that we had to rewrap Gran-gran’s present twice before it was given to the rightful owner a day later. I must say on the one hand it is nicer to have little ones to see them open their presents and be happy with them then on the other hand not having little ones and opening all ‘your’ presents.

One of the little trips we did recently was going into London where we experienced the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Even though it took us 2.5hrs to do a 30min trip we still had a great time in the cold. It was great to walk around and thank goodness we had a double buggy, which acted as a battering ram as there were hordes and hordes of people. It was great to see the many lights on all the fairground rides, the ice rink, and the little Santa’s grotto. They also enjoyed the singing chickens and the talking tree was a big hit. It was great fun even though we spent more on the car parking in London then we did during the 3 hours at the Wonderland. Only for a friend to tell us afterwards that if we were to walk 5 minutes away it would have been free parking…note to self: Do more research before doing the London thing.

So what else have we been doing, Church is going great and still growing in the right direction. We had over 100 people come to our Christingle Service which was super as well as we were blessed with tickets to our churches first Winter Ball with live band and great food too. It was great to boogie the night away with friends.

Last but not least is to mention that our boy is now a BIG boy, he is sleeping in his big boy bed as noted by his sister JM. She is still keen to tell us in no uncertain terms that she is still the oldest even though CG is now a big boy is his big boy bed.

Well I guess that’s it for another month, I’ll do another one of these next year, sounds a long time away.

Have a super time this next weekend in what ever you choose to celebrate the dawning of 2012.

A time for giving and giving back…

The whole commercial Christmas thing really gets me a bit wound up.  Now I love Christmas and have nothing against starting a little early but the whole reason behind Christmas just seems to get lost in the manic rush to spend money on stuff! A lot of stuff that a lot of people probably won’t even use again!

With my kids growing up in gift mania that seems to be Christmas now a days I’m trying to find ways to make it mean that little bit more cause if Jenna had her way it would all be about the presents!

Christmas is after all a religious festival about the birth of our Saviour and as such needs to (in my house anyway) revolve around that! But regardless of whether you believe or not Christmas is a time for family, love and giving – not only of gifts either!

Today the children, my mom and I are going to go through all the kids toys and they need to select 2-3 toys that they don’t use all that often and they think other children will like to give to the local children’s charity shop.  They also collected some money on a walk with the child minder to use towards giving a “Good gift“.  The child minder has also put the money she would have spent buying each of the children gifts towards this fund and together all the children will decide what to donate their money towards.

I’d love to give some other little gifts for the kids to share with others. Things like taking a big bag of home-baked Christmas cookies to the old age home around the corner or doing some other good deed; cleaning or sweeping someones icy walk way (maybe we’ll get hubby to do that!).

Let’s make this a season for giving and not just receiving… anyone else got good ideas of gifts to give??

Tuesday truth… Who’s judging Halloween

With last night being Halloween and having to face for really the first time how I deal with that with my children I’ve found myself very confused.

Firstly I don’t really understand the Halloween thing or how and why it came about. Secondly as a Christian family where do we stand on the issue.

So I set about doing a little research.

Yes it started as a Celtic pagan festival celebrating their new year and the end of the season, and paying homage to those who had died in the year previous. In the 8th century a pope moved All Saints day to the evening of October 31st; as an attempt to claim it for the Christians, celebrating those who were martyred.

Ok so yes it started as a Pagan festival but it was then attempted to be made into a Christian festival… mmm…. that doesn’t really help.

I think what annoys me most about being confused about Halloween is that everyone has their own opinion… and most aren’t scared to YELL it at you. I have nothing against people knowing what they believe and sharing it, seriously, but… please take the time to actually know what you are talking about!!

No I’m not a fan of all the gory costumes and glamorization of gore, and for reasons previously stated here I’m not that keen on the whole trick or treating thing. But that’s commercialisation for you!

But I’m not going to shut out the world and condemn those who choose to celebrate. There is enough condemnation and judgement in this world without me adding my shout out to it. Each parent needs to decide what is appropriate for them and their children. So no, we’re not going to be making a big deal out of Halloween – either because we do celebrate it or don’t. So yes our lights were on until 7:30pm and we had a big bag of sweets for those who came calling. Jenna loved handing out the sweets, chatting about if they were having fun and saying goodbye with a God bless on the end!

Maybe next year we’ll add a little note to each sweet, maybe Jenna can open the door in her princess outfit.  You know what we are “not of this world” however we do live in it and need to find ways to deal with these contradictions without alienating and condemning those who choose differently to us.

Lets be consistent too… many other festivals and traditions have their basis in Pagan history… do we dismiss all of those too… even the Christmas tree… Just a thought.

Let God convict you one way or the other, no me.

How did you deal with Halloween… ignore, embrace or compromise????

As a later add on I’ve just found this very interesting article on the subject!

Oi you pumpkin face!

Ok so we don’t really do Halloween. In part it’s because it was never something we celebrated in South Africa and secondly and maybe because of that I dont’ really get the whole dressing up as something scary thing. There is a 3rd thing there too – we teach our kids not to accept sweets from strangers or talk to strangers and we would never normally encourage them to randomly knock on someones door asking for something and yet it’s Ok this one day of the year?? really??? And 4thly, it’s scary how many nightmare would I then have to deal with after that! it’s bad enough on a normal night after kids TV!

But after a lovely day spent at Willows Farm we were given 2 free pumpkins! And so I decided to try something I had always wanted to do but never had the opportunity to do! Carved a face! Well my 3-year-old did the carving and I just assisted with the clearing out of the seeds etc.

A bit of explanation later about what Halloween actually is and that it’s not something we really do she decided she wanted to make it a Jesus pumpkin so hence the cross (some family *cough* *Dave* *cough* might say indoctrination – I say deal with it! It was cute!).

She had such great fun with her Pampered Chef kids knife!

So here sits the happy pumpkin on our kitchen table, she is so looking forward to putting a candle in it and eating supper with her happy lantern this evening!

So no I don’t really do Halloween but this fun aspect of crafting I am not against. After all what else do you do with the skins after you have made pumpkin soup anyway?

I know it may be controversial to some so I’d like to hear your views? Don’t be too mean though! Please!