27/04/2012

Today is....

Today is Freedom Day here in South Africa.  This is to commemorate the first national post-apartheid democratic elections.  The Constitution went into effect on 27th of April 1994.  With Nelson Mandela being elected their first president.   This was the first time people of all races were free to vote in South Africa.

Read more about it on Freedom day.

And it's also Morse Code Day!!

23/04/2012

Are you active in the Wars?

I've read just about a hundred blogs on the subject of the "mommy wars".  Many of those before the ill fated comment Hilary Rosen made about Mrs. Romney.  I've about read it to death.  I wish the subject would die.  I'm tired.  Can women not agree that no matter where you "work" the home job is still "work"?
Women without children, and men who don't partake of the home job or the child rearing don't have a dog in this fight.  So don't even pretend to think you do.  We know YOU DON'T KNOW what's it's like to "work" at home.  (I'm here only talking to the mothers and fathers).
I believe Hilary wanted to say something along the lines that Mrs. Romney didn't have the same experience nor the internal conflict that the majority of SAHM's and WOHM's do.  Because she had the choice to stay home and take care of her family rather than take a job outside the home.  I doubt Hilary had meant to imply that she didn't "work" as in take care of the home/family, but rather that since she was loaded she didn't have to do all the dull work associated with being a SAHM, what with the housekeepers, gardeners, nannies, etc. 
I would then have to debate whether the actual "raising of the children" (emotionally, mentally, morally) is considered "work" or not.  I don't consider it work, though it is important, it's just not physical labor (which is really my definition of work).  I think the kid errands, housework, and the like, are the "work".  This then would be more Hilary's argument.  That because she didn't do the physical work of house and home (because she could hire someone else to do it) she didn't really "work". Whether that's a fair statement or not, it was still a slap in the face to another mom.  And I do love how all the men jumped on the bandwagon so they didn't look like chumps to champion the SAHM cause.
To be honest, I agree with Rosen, I don't think wealthy politicians have a clue about what it takes for a single mother who works outside the home to raise her kids.  They ARE out of touch with most mother's and father's on the "work" portion of the job description.  And if this is what the debate is about I feel they need to find a different banner to fly, the job is hard and should be supported no matter.  If you are fortunate enough to have a choice, you do what's best for your family.  If you don't get a choice you again do what's best for your family.
Honestly ladies we really shouldn't be taking sides against each other, we should be helping each other with the job laid before us.

22/04/2012

Spare Time

I know you are all wondering what I do with my spare time.  I tend to have a lot of that right now, as you know.  One of the fun things I do is teach the dog commands and other fun tricks.  Here are a sampling of the tricks Poppy will agree to perform.  Like most young creatures, she does have a "default" trick she uses when she just can't figure out what I mean, or if she just wants to play the cute card to get her way.  See if you can figure out which trick she uses as her default.  Currently we are working on "inside voice" to mean a soft woof.  She sometimes confuses that with a sneeze, but I'm not real picky there.  She does try though, I'm just not that great at conveying my message I guess.









I'll also be uploading a "Cooking with Chris" episode as soon as I'm done editing out all the pot watching dead spots.  Watch this space.


Today is...

Today is    Jelly Bean Day!
oh, and it's also Earth Day.
So celebrate people! Celebrate!

20/04/2012

Word of the Week

I am once again trying to overcome the Mom-nesia.  Play along with me.

Word of the week is   abstruse-difficult to understand, obscure, profound.
Use it three times in a sentence today. 

Today is......

Today, Friday 20th of April, 2012 is DNA day!


Read more about this day.
DNA day
more DNA day

19/04/2012

Gimme 5!

Today is High Five Day!  Thursday the 19th of April 2012.

     (that's Poppy giving everyone a high 5.)

"High Five Day aims to promote awareness of cancer, and the effects that it has on all of us."  quote.

Predatory Felines

We have two cats.  They are as cats should be, independent.  They were both "indoor" cats.  Until we moved to South Africa.  They became indoor/outdoor cats sorta by default. 
Let me explain.  We have no screens on our windows and the house here opens up to two courtyards.  South Africa is the ultimate in indoor/outdoor living almost all year round.  I don't think we've had a day where most or all of the windows weren't open.  
Now, to you  mid-westerners I can imagine and understand the confused, nay shocked looks on your faces as I type this.  This is unheard of at home.  Due to the flies and mosquitoes and other flying nasties, you would never be without screens on your windows.  That is, if you dare to open them in lieu of the AC at all.  The open window season is incredibly short in KC, I know.  We usually jump right from popsicle to fried egg in a matter of days come June.  So you can imagine my doubt when I was told it was pretty much standard procedure to leave the house open all the time to catch the breeze, since they don't have central air here.  This posed a problem, as you can imagine, with two house cats who have no front claws, nor street smarts.
After trying unsuccessfully to limit their outside exposure we just let it go.  We decided to let them come and go as they pleased, with the hope they wouldn't get lost or attacked by something larger.  (Like I said they had no skillz, except for what little instinct they carried) The garden has a wall all the way around it and plenty of cover for their stalking. And lo and behold, they love it.  They roam and rest, hide and hunt to their hearts content.  With plenty of naps in between.  Who knew our pampered cats had that need in them?
I also didn't know that they still have a pretty good prey drive.  It was funny to see Stella, who came to us from a vet as a stray try to pounce on a hadeda. 



These birds are bigger than most house cats and certainly bigger than Stella who is very slight.  She failed and had to rethink her tactics.
Lola has proved to be the better hunter.  She is always catching moths and bugs, and the little lizards we have everywhere around here.  They visit us in the house occasionally and Lola is quick to spot and dispose of them.


When my parents were visiting Lola even caught and presented a couple of lizards as gifts to my mom.  On their bed.  They were still mostly alive and after thanking Lola profusely for her bravery and cunning we took them outside, where they hopefully survived.  Lola looked a little disappointed that her hard earned prize was being released, but she was clearly satisfied with herself. 
She has caught lizards before (which I think is pretty amazing since, as I mentioned before, she doesn't have any front claws (probably why they were still alive)), and I've released them back outside, but this presentation was different in that she meowed and fussed like I've never heard before.  She is a pretty vocal cat in general.  She'll talk to you about food, and while you are in the bathroom she'll have a conversation, but she doesn't usually meow for much else.  So the first time she came in with the prize I didn't know why she was carrying on so loudly, come to find out she was telling us about her "kill".  The second time I heard her meowing loudly about something, I looked at Chris and said she must have caught another one, and sure enough, she had.  She hasn't done it since my parents left for home.  I think that they could count themselves special that she wanted to give them something.



I think they actually even spend more time in our company now in the evenings.  And they are far less restless in the house now that they can burn that energy outside.

18/04/2012

Weather Channel

Your South African weather report for Wednesday, 18th of April 2012.
The weather here:  cool evenings, warm afternoons.  Seriously dry.

It was Inevitable UPDATE

Folks, I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later.  You can't have a male child and not have major limb injuries at some point before they move out of the nest.  I honestly thought our first would be as a result of little sister finally taking out her aggression because of being endlessly needled by the boy.  Little did I know it would be at the hands of a classmate who decided to do a seated senton across Quinn's forearm during P.E.  Might I mention they were learning baseball at the time.  Specifically the parts of the baseball diamond.
I guess the kid took it in stride and the school nurse wrapped his arm up and he went on his way.  It's still sore even 2 days later, when he twists his forearm, but he's pretty tough.
I fully expect this is only the first of many such injuries, but hopefully he can steer clear of the kids who can't control their physical aggression.  I understand accidents, but intentional butt drops onto an unsuspecting classmate are a sign of something else.

I personally think he likes the attention he gets when people ask about what happened to his arm. :)

So we took him to the doctor this morning to have it looked at and x-rayed.  Turns out he has a fracture/break in his ulna.  And his radius has been bent.  Did you know kid bones can bend?  I sure didn't.  Just like a chicken bone.  He has got to have to highest pain tolerance of any kid I know.  Unless he twists his forearm he doesn't even act like he feels it.

So he gets to go in later this afternoon and have it set and a cast put on.  Fun times.

17/04/2012

Camera Caution

Does anyone else have a child who refuses to smile for the camera?  I know I'm not the worst parent for the camera exhaustion effect.  I seldom take photos unless there is an event or they are being super cute, and usually by the time I can grab the camera they have ceased to be cute and then I get the "grimace".  You know the grimace, that face they make when you ask them to smile and they 1) don't want to, and 2) they are trying too hard.
Quinn has ceased to smile naturally unless you catch him unawares.   I have umpteen photos of him looking like he needs to use the bathroom and is trying to hide the fact.  Maddie just flat out refuses to look like she enjoys anything.  One might even believe she has no joy.  Not so, her smile is just elusive.  Most often seen while shoveling food in her mouth.


15/04/2012

Food Anguish

I have heard rumors that there are decent restaurants around.  I have had mediocre experiences so far.  Maybe I'm just not going to the right places.  I don't ask for much, just flavorful food. Could be we are limited to the places that the kids can eat.  I've heard the four star restaurants are something to experience, but alas I doubt Chris and I would have that good a time, no matter how wonderful the food, when the kids are whingeing about them not having viennas. The mid-range bar and grill, cafe, and fast food are our speed.  I'm less than impressed.  I mentioned to Chris the other day that the dinner he made, which was stuffed chicken by the way, was better than the lunch we had eaten earlier that afternoon for twice the price.  While we were eating out a few weeks ago, I despaired that the fettuccine alfredo with stuffed chicken rolls I had ordered was nearly tasteless.  Seriously, it tasted like wet flour.  Y'all know I like some salt, but no amount of salt and pepper were going to help this dish taste like anything but paste.  Once again, Chris' alfredo sauce was heaps better, and that's without all the salt.
Which reminds me, I need to post another episode of Cooking with Chris soon.

Party all Day

The boy turned 7. 

I can hardly believe it.
The decorations I mentioned way back turned out good.  Remind me next time to forget the metallic confetti.  Baad idea.  I'm still finding it in the lawn.  Worse than glitter. 
I think everyone had a good time. There were far too many snacks and cake left over.  Why is it that you always expect the kids to chow down on the cake and half of them don't even eat it.  I had 20+ kids plus half the parents and still had half the cake.  I don't need half a cake left over,  I can't eat it. 
The magician was fun, even if he was a little loud (really loud).  Isn't it just old people who say that the music being played is too loud?  I forget.  Isn't it just old people who forget things?  Oh yeah, when you have a 7 year old, YOU are old.

Next time, with that many kids I might just pick a destination party so I can sit back and let someone else do all the work.  I don't think I got to talk to half the people who came.  I couldn't even tell you where my own kids were half the time. 

I think they behaved, I couldn't for sure say because I think I saw them a couple times across the patio.  I know they both ran themselves ragged, because they were exhausted by dinnertime.  That's a good birthday for sure.

Wherein I'm not MIA and the kids are alright.

No folks, I'm not missing.  There has simply been a lack of useful life experience to adequately entertain y'all.  And I've been busy lately.  Well, maybe that's a lie.  Since I last left you hangin', we've had a birthday party (which I'll blog about separately) and we've (both kids) have learned to ride two wheelers.  The bike came as a birthday present for Quinn's 7th aforementioned birthday.  And yes, in this case we are they kind of parents who will purchase the second sibling a "gift" so that they aren't left out.  I don't normally go for that philosophy but I believe they both need to learn how to ride, so Maddie also got her bike, at the same time, so she could work on her skillz.  Quinn picked it up faster than I ever thought he could, so he was ready.  I was so proud. 

video
Even Maddie got the idea, though she needs to work on leg strength to pedal up hills.  I'm confident she'll get it with practice, and boy is she determined.
It's been a good months practice and they are both much improved.  The roads within our estate are not terribly hilly, but enough so that they have to go up some slight inclines.  Since there isn't much traffic they can pretty much ride in the middle of the road to work on it.  I also don't know if it's just our estate but they don't asphalt the roads in the compound, they are actually paved with pavers, like cobblestones, which is a little bumpier a ride than concrete or asphalt for the young rider.
Next up, driving lessons.