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And so it begins

15 April , 2014

Oh my word, I am so tired! If I make it through today without a nap behind my table I deserve some sort of medal…preferably made of chocolate (and laced with coffee).

Today is the big day for enrolments for Grade R (I think this is for all Gauteng schools? But definitely for the school I picked). I have been stalking the chosen one for yeeeears. I’m not even exagerating. In the year that Nicola turned two I phoned them to ask if I could put her on a waiting list, and the teacher laughed and laughed…and laughed some more. I had to give her a few minutes to calm down before she could tell me no, not yet.

Since mid last year I have been religiously stalking their website for any news, and then in about May the site stopped updating (apparently their web developer has passed away without leaving behind the password so their website is now useless). From about February I have phoned them for news at least every two weeks or so. Last week Monday the forms became available (at bloody last) and I was their almost as soon as they opened the gates. So I knew, today was going to be the make or break day.

For those not familiar with the way it’s now done around here, let me explain. The department of education releases randomly a date (that date for this year now being today) on which all new enrolments for Grade R and Grade 1 can begin. No school is allowed to take enrolments before and on the day and thereafter the school has to allocate numbers to prospective students based on when their forms are recieved. There is usually an A list and a B list determined on the official feeder area of the school. Each school has their magic number of new entries that they will accept or have capacity for, and you will then make it to either the A-list, the A waiting list, or the B list depending on where you live/work and how quickly you got the form to them. By the end of May the school has to let everyone know if they made it or not, and those who didn’t make it will be allocated to other schools where they have capacity and you do not get a say in the matter after that.

If you get through all these hoops for Grade R, then you still have to go through it again for Grade 1…thereafter I’ve heard you can just renew, and you don’t have to join queues with stacks of paperwork at ungodly hours to get your kid educated anymore.

A yes…I forgot to mention the paperwork. For the first round (today) you have a one page document to complete, to which you must attach a proof of residence, a certified copy of your child’s birth certificate, copy of the immunisation card, and a letter from your employer on an official company letterhead. This is just to get that magical number on the list, your child isn’t actually enrolled yet. In November you get to do this again with the same paperwork (refereshed obviously) and fill in a 28 page enrollment form, also there are additional docs needed (of course). I think it might be easier to buy a house than to get your child in a school of your choice, If you’re missing even one document you get bumped to the B-list automatically.

So, you know…no pressure. ;-)

Yesterday when I picked Nicola up from school she was having a little panic about big school, so I asked her if she wanted to go and have a look at it. When we drove past there where HUNDREDS of cars there and I thought to myself FUCK! All these people are already in the queue. So we rushed over to my folks, I wolfed down dinner and packed some overnight things for waiting in the queue and hightailed it back to the school. Luckily my panic was for nothing, because they were actually busy with a parent-teacher evening! I found a teacher smoking skelm behind the bleachers and he explained…after he laughed and laughed, and laughed some more of course. I must have been quite a sight with my camp chair, blanky, big flask and book to read. At least I got to sleep a few hours – cause on top of all this excitement I am actually feeling pretty shitty, so the beginnings of flu in a camping chair outside overnight wasn’t exactly my top choice for the evening.

I got up early (my oringinal plan) and was there by 05:00, and let me tell you I was not the first by a long shot! Apparently some people were there from just before midnight-ish. Even so, I felt like all was not lost and that I had a decent enough spot in the queue. I fell in line, and started making friends with the stangers around me.

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Here are the people in front of me, all 30 of them…

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Officially the whole thing only opened at 06:00. These are some of the people behind me. By the time I was done there were at least another 100 or so there. I ended up getting on so well with the guy behind me, that we exchanged numbers so that we could arrange a party for our next queue experience, and to share news if we got any. The woman in front of me was a bit stiff-upper-lip, so I didn’t chat too much with her though.

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Ta-dah! :-D This is what I got for my hour and a half in the queue. It’s a very slow moving queue. You get to the first check point and you first have to show them your street on a map…this gets you sorted into either the A queue or the B queue. Next check point is a document and certification check point, this gets you a nice red check mark on your form (or not, in which case you get to change queues). And then the last point is where you get the number and they write down your child’s name on the list and you have to sign.

Extremely competitive, isn’t it? And these are not private schools by the way – I believe with some of those you have to get on a waiting list as soon as you find out you’re pregnant just to get in. Is it just me, or do we not have enough good quality schools in JHB? O_o

Oh well, all this standing around is good practice for voting day too. 7th of May is just around the corner, which will be my next big queue experience. *shrug*

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Punt-in-die-wind

11 April , 2014

It’s been a while since I’ve said anything about secret place (this isn’t an accident…*waves to those watching*).

However, this is something I can write about easily.

As one of our community outreach initiatives we had a cupcake sale for families affected by cancer. It was voluntary and those who wanted to play had to form cross function teams of 10.

Our team decided we’d theme our around breast cancer awareness, and it was a giant success! We had 200 and they sold like hot cakes. We actually had to hold back a few for the big reveal at 12:30. We kept back about 20, but the rest were sold within the first half an hour after they arrived.

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A whole back seat full!

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Now for a close(r) up…

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Sold in pairs, obviously… ;-)

We raised a lot of money today, and we had tons of fun doing it too.

Ps! I’m sure people are going to be talking about these cookies for years to come. Standard reactiob was a giggle, with a “those look like boobies”…”Yip. That’s what they are.” BRILLIANT! I want some! Hahaha! :lol:

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New nest

5 April , 2014

I owe you a house update, right?

Sorry, but it’s been a crazy week and I only got round to taking a few photos this morning.

The move was…exhausting! And that’s putting it lightly. My family are all saints, that’s for sure! I feel.like I need to spring for full body.massages all round after working them like slaves last weekend.

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As you can see getting to our room last week meant navigating a maze of boxes!

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A few of my poor moving day angels. We literally worked our asses off! Not sure about my brother or K, but my dad lost 2kg and I lost 3!

I didn’t take any photos while unpacking (trust me, it’s for the best). Let’s just say the step countee thingy on my phone tells me I did over 15 000 steps on Sunday, and my feet were so sore by the end of it, it felt like I did it all in high heels!

The end result:

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Nicola’s room. Her favourite bit.is having her own bookshelf now.

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Mine. The filing cabinets are full of craft things and shoes (for of habit, plus it works well).

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The stair case…and photo display spot.

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The kitchen.

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The lounge.

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I didn’t take photos of the bathrooms (one with shower, one with bath), but this is behind the one door. Yay! No more washing machine outside. :-)

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And our little garden! :-) What I love is that it’s completely private. You can only look into it from our place. We are spending A LOT of time outside enjoying it.

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First meal made in our new home. Fully loaded rib burgers.

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Nicola said my burgers rock the world (even though she didn’t want hers loaded). Haha! Apparently I make the best burgers and peas. ;-)

So far we are just loving it! It’s more or less double the space we had…it’s like we can take a really deep breath for the first time in ages.

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The rest of the weekend

25 March , 2014

Here are the rest of the photos:

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The reason why co-sleeping ends at some point.

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Just look at that! Magnificent isn’t it? :-) This was taken from our front door.

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Breakfast at Cheerio’s tea garden.

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I took a walk back to see exactly how far away I was the night before, and to take in some sights and sounds.

When the mist rolls in it’s like a hush falls over the place, but you can literally hear the sun shining because anywhere it touches down, even for a second, all the little beetles and crickets go bananas!

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My mom saved the day with a few craft kits she brought along for Nicola. She loved it, and we did one every day.

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Showing me the green in her eyes.

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We were looking for either wolves or bunnies.

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Stare down over refusal to eat more than salami for lunch…I lost.

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We went for a swim too, brrrr!

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And then for a nice long walk. Nicola picked her own outfit. Laugh at the socks if you want, but nothing bit her on her legs at least. ;-)

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Some of my favourites from the walk. We were looking for Tarzan (who according to Nicola, only wears a fluffy panty), but we ended up finding the Magoebie (distant cousin of Nessie) in one of the trout fishing puddles instead. ;-)

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Clowning around a bit at the cottage when we got back.

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Braai time!

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The whole braai! Something fell through and it was chaos for a bit when the dry wood at the bottom also started burning.

All this fire made for excellent marshmallow roasting after dinner though.

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Taking in some more of the GREEN before we hit the road on Sunday.

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These butterflies where everywhere once the sun came out! They were too flighty for me to catch with the cellphone camera, but one got stuck in the car’s grill…and here he is.

Seriously a magical weekend away. I loved every second (except maybe the crazy long drive there and back).

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Hippies in the rain forest

24 March , 2014

This past long weekend we trekked up to Magoebaskloof for Tiaan and Sonsie’s wedding.

We decided to make a family weekend brake away of it, but let me tell you – the place is so stunningly beautiful, I could have spent another week there easily, just taking it all in.

I’ll let the photos do the talking…brace yourselves, I took PLENTY! (apologies to the fb crowd, you’re getting to see it again).

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Just about dawn on Thursday.

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Nicola, checking out the forest. We stayed at Cheerio trout fishing farm in the Beefwood cottage – just lovely.

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The wedding venue in the mist – Mina’s.

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The flower arrangements.

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Peeps arriving.

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Lolla and Nicola, playing with a shongololo.

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Seriously! How pretty is this place and all the little touches?!

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Nicola, chilling…

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You can tell that rain is kind of an everyday thing around here.

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Good friend Herculus. It was really great to see him again too.

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My folks. :-)

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Man of the hour (left), getting ready to say his I do’s.

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A few more of the ceremony.

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The kids, utterly unconcerned with the proceedings, traipsed off looking for wild horses. I had to slip out for a bit to reign mine in. There’s a river right there and many places to fall of or get lost in, so I stipulated I-need-to-be-able-to-see-you boundaries…which were observed pretty well. ;-)

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Sonsie and Tiaan. :-)

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The choir…beautiful!

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Yip…I was there too.

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The band. Perfect for the venue and the event.

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Enjoyment of said band.

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I have no idea what the orange stuff was, but this was kick ass ginger beer. Yum!

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Tiaan and Sonsie. I rudely interrupted them feeding each other, so that I could get a proper photo of them on their big day.

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Hercules and Nicola, investigating a big green caterpillar that dropped out of the tree.

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The girls made their own see saw and played with it for ages.

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All the food was made by them themselves, and there was plenty!

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Some people felt the cold a bit more than others.

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Ran into some people from way back and got on like a house on fire. Thanks for the giggles and the pink juice K. :-)

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Nicola checked out and left with my parents a bit later.

I stayed till the end and had a ball catching up with old friends and making a few new ones.

There was one episode of two way radio relay with a bottle of white wine that I really hope someone else got a photo of which was good fun too.

I hitched a ride back with some of the other people who stayed at Cheerio’s and they dropped me (at my request) about 300m from where we were staying. I thought I would walk back from there (and there wasn’t space for a whole convoy to turn around at our cottage anyway), but haha…no streetlights and a very flat cellphone battery later I admited to myself I couldn’t see the road (or the wild next to it) so I called my dad to come rescue me.

I had a super fantastic time!

I thought I could whack all the photos on one post, but it looks like there might be too many. More coming in the next post…

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What I love about this age…

19 March , 2014

…is the random conversations!

It’s like I get a teeny tiny glimpse into the inner workings of my pink terrorist’s head – and the view is amazing. :-) There are obviously many more than the ones I write about here, and not all of them so off the wall or quirky – but these are some of my favourites over the last week or so:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Happy Birthday Mom!

18 March , 2014

 

We did a family outing to Gold Reef City on Sunday to celebrate – thank goodness the weather played along, because we’ve heard that the rides are switched off when it rains, and as you know JHB has been experiencing a sort of freak monsoon of late.

The weather was perfect, and we all had a lot of fun on all the rides. Sadly Nicola didn’t get to go on all the rides she had her eye on. Some are set to height limit of 1,3 (not even close) and some you can try with parental supervision from 1,1m…for which she is just about 2cm too short.

They do also have a big kiddies section with loads of rides for the shorter people, which she enjoyed thoroughly. I think she got quite a kick out of us all being too tall to go on her rides for a change (I just barely managed to squeeze myself into the Shongolo ride to go with her – but the rest I sat out).

We were all wiped out after our day out. My poor dad’s been battling the tail end of a nasty flu, and he hurt his knee somehow too, so he could hardly walk by Sunday night…and my mom made apple crumble pie for everyone and then wiped out on the couch pretty much straight after that.

I think experience birthdays is becoming our thing now – and I love it!

Happy birthday Mom! Xxx Sorry you didn’t get to go on the Sea Shells… ;-)

Photos – sorry, for some reason they’re all out of sequence, and if I try to move them around they duplicate.

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All of us walking along to the Rapids ride – on what looks like a mini great wall of China.

 

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Ouma, helping Nicola carry Barbie the pig (that oom Riaan won for her at one of the stalls)

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Oom Riaan and Tannie Karen, piggy sitting Barbie.

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The elephant ride – yip, no way I was fitting into one of these!

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Carousel horsie…apparently called Topsy.

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The view from way up on the wheel – poor Tannie Karen had to hold onto Barbie-Pig for some comfort. I never realised she was so afraid of heights!

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Nicola and I, on the wheel.

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Birthday girl! :-)

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This was how this piggy traveled most of the day. I wasn’t allowed to help, only Ouma.

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This was just after Oom Riaan won the piggy for Nicola.

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My brother and I, on our first of three rides on the Anaconda. We can tell you with absolute certainty that the ride is different from the front row. WAY more exciting, but even the back and middle seats are not half bad! Ps…Sundays are the day to go if you want to dodge crowds and queues. There weren’t even any school buses or anything – bliss!

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Baby brother in the short queue for the Anaconda.

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The place has almost as many peacocks as the JHB Zoo! These ones are all a bit skittish though, I think the kids kick them around a lot, because they keep their distance when short people are around.

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I think someone may have harvested this one’s tail feathers. He’s obviously full grown, but where is the rest of him?

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My dad and Riaan on the log ride.

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Their big splash!

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Nicola and I.

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My parents. :-)

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Riaan and Karen – this was shortly after we arrived.

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Nicola :-)

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This is us on the Shongololo…or most of us anyway. I had to kind of angle my leg out a bit to fit my bottom in.

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And last one, this was me on the carousel next to Nicola. I wasn’t the only parent riding along this way, in case you were wondering.

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