Monday, February 24, 2014
My son works out of town on a Wednesday, so I get to enjoy Axel most of the day. I try to do something interesting and different each Wednesday....I also realize that I will have to repeat some things, since there is only so much one can do lol.
But for now, its only been one month since his return and we still have plenty to do.
This past Wednesday we chose to go to the Barnyard Donkey (and other animals) Sanctuary because for once it wasn't beach weather. For a donation, you can go in and feed the animals. They will even let you feed the animals if you do not have a donation, since the animals still get a treat feed. Mostly people do actually give a donation and others bring special foods or adopt a pet and care for that specific one.
I took my mother and her old friend along for the ride and enjoyment. The Barnyard has loads of animals besides donkeys in their care. Just recently a pony was rescued and has yet to find a loving home. We took along a couple of loaves of bread...and we could have taken even more with us. I didn't realize how many animals were currently on their property.
It's quite sweet, the animals are so used to being fed, that the moment your packet rattles, they come to the fence, neighing, braying and quacking as they come.
Even the dogs on the property come for a tidbit, despite their being very well fed.
The old girls had as much fun as Axel and I did.
The place was abuzz with animal sounds. The roosters could be heard above everything else and from absolutely anywhere on that property. Loud little guys.
Their "little woman" and her babies were also out and about, clucking to show the chicks were to find edibles and them with their sweet peeping sounds. Its marvelous how these chickens dont end up under the hooves of the larger animals.
The larger animals included the usual tons of donkeys and a few with foals (if thats what a baby donkey is called??) This youngster was having an afternoon drink and cuddle with its mom.
This little guy wasn't as fortunate. The poor little calf was motherless. There is a book on what condition these animals were found in, but I dont read it, its just too shocking what some people do to animals. I read it once, and it really upset me. I think the idea behind the book is to REALLY pull at your heart strings and hope that you will adopt an animal, which means you pay for all its feed and care. I just drop some cash into their donations box and leave them to use it how they need it. I don't want to read "war stories."
This pig is so huge, its hard to believe he was abused....then again maybe he wasn't. Possibly this guy was bought as a piglet and grew to big for city dwelling...who knows...I didnt read the book...see!
Besides the ducks and other animals to feed, there is a section where children can swim (was too cold) or play on swings and jungle gyms etc. Axel had a ball climbing up to the top and then pointing out various animals from that vantage point before sliding down the other side to start again. Amazing how repetitive little ones can be.
This place used to have a small restaurant, but since the parents retired and the kids took over, they have done away with the restaurant and opened a cattery instead. What a wonderful place for cats to go if their owners are away. Big spacious cages, some open (depending on the social ability of the cat or state of health) As we waited for permission to enter the cattery to show my moms friend....my mom and Axel shared some doggy time. There is a double bed where cats and dogs of various breeds all lie in the warm sun.
Today it was a really old great dane and some mixed breed little ones.
Once inside, the first cat we saw was lying in the sun out of her cage.
Most of the cats were super friendly and majority of the cages were open.
The only creatures we found NOT to be friendly were a pair of grey parrots.
They were happy to talk, whistle and to imitate anything we said, but if we got too near the cage..they tried to take a nip at us. Still, I was fascinated that not one of the cats was interested in taking a nip at the birds? They surely didn't all come from homes with birds?? Maybe just such a peaceful environment...I don't know the answer to my own question
After spending a few hours at this marvelous animal retreat, we headed home.
I guess this may be called After Action Satisfaction
He slept for 2.5 hours, only waking when he heard his fathers voice on arrival.
Wednesday coming will be a beach day again since the weather forecast says its going to be sunny skies. I have bought him a new inflatable butterfly shaped "floating thing." We should have a load of fun with that, but ultimately I will have to think of some things to do with a 3 yr old when winter gets here and outdoor activities go on the back burner.
Weight wise.....I've been messing around a bit, for about two weeks now, so no losses and no gains, but that's not what I really want to be about. I want losses and staying the same only if a plateau occurs not because I'm messing about which I am Every new day I say TODAY I will start and make really smart choices and then when I blink my eyes again, the day passed and my choices weren't great. Aah well, I know its a marathon not a sprint. Maybe I must just enjoy the short break and then take a deep breath and get cracking once more.
Today I spent an hour taking in my younger sons clothes. He has lost so much weight, that nothing fits properly. His clothes are marked 36 and I've taken them in 2 sizes. This is my silly great dane trying to what...help??? When I finally chased him off the clothes, he ended up resting his head on my shoulder. It got heavier with every few minutes, till I finally had to just quit and get his blanket to lie down next to where I was working. Animals are so cute.
Thursday, February 06, 2014
7 Years ago, I was just becoming internet literate. My husband used online scrabble to get me into using the net. I loved scrabble. I had been playing scrabble with a few folks online, but didn't know them, nor had I spoken to anyone....I didn't even know there was a chat button.(pre spark people days) Suddenly one day, a man called Eric asked where I was from?
I panicked and replied that I was from planet earth....and himself? He found this hugely amusing and has teased me ever since and my nickname is now PE (planet earth) on our scrabble games.
So imagine my surprise when recently he let me know that he, his wife, his brother and his brothers wife were all coming to SA for a visit. He asked if I lived anywhere near Durban, their first point of call, or the Garden Route their second visiting area? Well, that IS where I live so we exchanged contact details and I got to meet them on Wednesday morning. They are from Manchester and all in their late 70's. I thought I was the only one nervous about internet meetings.....yet they say their kids were mad at them with worry over who I might be? LOL Needless to say, we had a great hour together and exchanged many stories of their lives back home, their holiday here etc. Eric and I have several similarities. Both of our spouses names begin with J (Justin and Jeanette), both of us love scrabble, our spouses do not. His wife has two girls from a previous marriage, but no kids of their own.....same with Justin and I.
Quite amazing actually.
I will probably never see them ever again, but I'm glad we got this one brief chance. I've heard it said that a stranger is merely a friend you have not met yet......sometimes that is true, and sometimes not, I have a feeling this time it worked that way.
Erics last msg to me for directions to our coffee meeting spot was that I was not to fear an abduction from them, they were friendly aliens. LOL My reply was that I would be bringing a bodyguard in the form of my 3yr old grandson. Anyone brave enough to abduct a woman with a toddler, deserved what they got. LOL
From left to right:
John (Erics brother) my mother, Johns wife, Jeanette (Erics wife), Eric, myself, Cole and Axel. Justin took the photo...therefore not in it.
While I thoroughly enjoyed my outing, it seems to have worn these two out.
Since it was Cole's last day of his annual leave, and we were babysitting Axel for Daniel who was working, he decided we should take Axel to the beach. We chose Victoria Bay because it has a protected beach area as well as a lovely paved area that Axel could ride his scooter along.
Well that was the plan, made before we discovered the heat wave we have been experiencing had caused the paving to heat up so drastically, Axel could not put his feet down.
Luckily Cole had beach sandals on and towed Axel along.
We passed this amazing tree with its roots outside the ground.
The roots are so big, look at them compared to the car parked beside the tree. Crazy.
We walked right to the end, called Lands End, and then Cole climbed to the top of the crags.
I was amazed to see Axel go with him. There was a time Axel was so afraid of heights that his mother could not even change him on the changing tables in the nursery facility at the mall. She had to lie him on a blanket on the floor. So this is a major improvement.
He wasn't even concerned with the coming down process.
Relaxed enough to point out something he saw, in the sea to Cole.
Once down, he started a search for some flowers to pick.
These little white ones had thorns, so he had to leave them.
After several attempts, he found some little wild yellow ground cover which he could reach.
"Here granny" - don't you just love this age when their little hearts are so generous...even with other peoples flowers. LOL
The paving was still hot, so we took Axel down to the beach where the two of them had a load of fun. I stayed at the rocks on the hard soil, because I had stepped into a hole at boot camp that morning and wrenched my knee. I didn't want to put anymore strain on the knee.
I managed to take photo's from where I sat on the rocks. For a guy who swears off having kids of his own...I think he did a fine job keeping his little nephew entertained.
Axel had loads of fun riding his favorite toy, his scooter on the beach.
Lucky for him, his uncle was just a few paces behind, so when the tide come rushing in with an unexpected BIG wave, he was able to lift Axel up...just in time.....
But not in time to save the scooter being taken away. Fortunately the tide was coming in and not going out, so the scooter washed into an alcove of rocks which meant we didn't lose the precious toy. I got soaked right up to my knees....luckily I did not get my camera wet.
Axel has a huge blow up whale at home which he called Dotty....don't ask my, I have no idea why that name??? He plays with his Dotty in the garden, jumping all over the hard plastic whale...such fun....so he was excited to see someone else with a dotty at the beach. Cole asked the kid for a ride for Axel, but thankfully Axel did not want to when I saw how the tide was tossing this big teenager around on his Dotty.
Axels second best toys are his collection of dino's so it was great to find one of the mechanical rides at the beach was a dino....pity it only operates during season. Seems only tourists kids need dino rides LOL. Still, he enjoyed sitting in the dino for a few minutes. His toy dino's are realistic so we had a chuckle when he told Cole....."that's not a dino!"
After spending the afternoon in the sun, we decided to get out of the heat by going to the restaurant for a beer while Axel ate an ice cream. It was covered in some rich chocolate, so it wasn't long before he sported a chocolate beard. The restaurant is a chilled outdoor place under green plastic type roofing...hence the color of the pictures. Axel wasn't green from the excessive ice cream granny allowed him to eat
Mind you, talking about strange colored people, I spotted this guy so WHITE he was GREY. I have never seen anyone quite this shade of grey. Seriously folks, I think he must have something wrong with his kidneys or something.
It took us longer to drink our beer than it took Axel to eat his ice cream and it wasn't long before he started trying to amuse us by placing the plastic menu on his head.
"Look granny, no hands!" Usually we don't allow him to play with the menu's, sugar bowls etc but this is a really chilled out place and I had to admire his balancing skills.
So our Wednesday together came to an end, with Axel in a bubble bath and the adults all sitting around a fire chatting, looking at photo's and eating Chinese take outs.
As Cole said, a far cry from how he originally planned his vacation which turned into a staycation. At this point I must tell you how PROUD I AM OF MY SONS AND NIKKI, Cole's girlfriend. These young people are not monied people and they had saved and scrimped all year long saving for their vacation this past month.
Sadly we recently had a huge drama with one of our friends. A young wife walked out on her husband of 7 yrs....1 month before her husbands brothers wedding. She left him for the guy she had an affair with once before, but was forgiven at the time. The morning she left, she also cleaned out her husbands account that had the money for their flights, champagne costs and outfits for the wedding. They have no time to make up the money again. The brother getting married works as a voluntary missionary so he cannot help financially either. My kids heard about this and FUNDED the whole thing in the blink of an eye....forgoing their own annual holiday savings to do so. I was blown away. I told them that nothing so generous goes unrewarded and if not by people, Jehovah God certainly saw their big, warm, generous hearts.
I did everything in my power to make their staycation a wonderful, happy occasion. My sons, and Nikki never once referred to "wishing" they had gone away. They just donated the money and went on with their lives. WOW.
Sunday, February 02, 2014
I had my whole day planned out for Saturday and with one phone call it changed. My plan was to wake early, go out in the ministry after which I would go hunting for an outfit for my sister to wear to her sons wedding next month and finally I would end up at the farmers market for coffee and to listen to the live music that plays weekly. We never know who is playing, there is a board and on the day the names are put up, but no matter the music, its always great and the atmosphere in just so relaxing.
As I said, Daniel phoned to say that he would be playing at the farmers market on Saturday. He would be using two of his drum students and needed me to watch Axel. Obviously that is what I would do and the other stuff got shelved for another day. While Daniel was busy with negotiations, and instructions etc, I took Axel to the play area so he wouldn't get underfoot.
I took a ride on the kiddies choo-choo train with him. Believe me when I say that after Axel asked to ride, I had a moment of sheer panic...what if I couldn't fit in the barrel coach? Hubby was with me, but asked to be excused since he had a splitting headache and needed to go home. My mom was also with me, but I couldn't very well ask an 80 yr old to ride in a bumpy, hard plastic train coach could I?? That meant I had to suck it up, pay the fee and get in dreading that moment when my butt would NOT squeeze in. Imagine my UTTER DELIGHT when I slid in with room to spare and still fitted my darling grandson in with me.
Wow....I was so thrilled.
It was such a fun ride too. The owner rides a 4x4 quad bike and pulls all these coaches behind him. We rode all over the farm, and then under the trees through the forest. He drove fast uphills and slower downhill and drove right into a flock of geese which took off, but obviously are quite used to this scene, because they settled just behind the coaches without too much bother. The kids loved it, and so did this granny. He did some figure of eights and it was just fabulous fun. I cant believe some of the fun things I can do now that my weight has come down and my body shape has changed.
When we heard the singer doing her number that would indicate her finale, I packed Axel up and went to listen to my son play. Out of the blue, Axel asked his daddy to play with. Daniel was most happy to plonk him on stage with him, because he can play despite his being only 3 yrs and 4 months old. This is Daniel setting Axel up with a log for a seat and his drum in place.
A reassuring kiss for his "baba boy" and his part of the show would be on its way.
Just waiting for Kat to strap her drum on and then its....
His one student, Kat, is a woman in her 60's, the other, Marylou, is a younger woman in her early 30's and then there was Axel. He advertised himself between performances, explaining that he does kiddies parties, teaches drumming privately and in groups, music therapy and year end functions etc. He also made sure people understood that there is no such thing as TOO YOUNG or TOO OLD when it comes to playing a djembe drum.
The drumming generally draws a crowd. Daniel says there is something primal in all of us, so no matter who you are, unless you really sound sensitive, the drum calls to some wild internal thing inside you. This time was no different. Within a short while, people started popping round to the hut they play at, in the middle of the market and soon cameras are out and photo's taken and telephone numbers exchanged.
Kids always love the drums too.
Axel loved being part of the whole ordeal.
His daddy was bursting at the seams with pride. It may be the first time ever that they have shared a stage but it sure won't be the last.
Despite the booming drums, this guy had no problem lying dozing on a log right beside the hut.
It was with amazing speed he "woke up" and leaped onto the stage at the point where Daniel invites the audience to join in. What surprised me is that while a drum was on offer, he chose this tiny little shaker, and enjoyed himself with it. He did not let the size of the instrument dictate how little he did....he gave it stick, shaking the heck out of it. It was such fun to see his enjoyment.
Axel decided to take a short break from drumming. It REALLY is tough on the hands.
That's when his uncle Cole decided to use his drum (instead of the spare one provided for the audience) and the wheels came off the second Axel caught sight of Cole replacing himself.
A few tears were shed...
but ended well with AXEL BEHIND HIS OWN DRUM once more
A short break in the program while another elderly gent serenaded his long time wife with some really old music. It was actually very very sweet. They were still so much in love after all the years. His wife sat there with a gooey eyed, happy expression the entire time her darling crooned to her.
In the break father and son shared some lunch.
"They" tightened a drum.
Their set finally came to an end and Axel was given a HUGE thank you hug for his part.
I love this part, when the show is over and the musicians stand around talking animatedly about what they did, didn't do or should have done or will do differently next time. It takes a while for the adrenalin to wear off, and in that time the drumming crew are "high on life" but its great to watch and hear.
It's hot work and hard work as can be seen by the sweaty remains of their gig. Remembering that playing djembe drums is very physical and South Africa is undergoing a heat wave with exceptionally high humidity. Glad my job ended up being - not baby sitting, but photographer. That way I could just sit in the shade of the giant oak trees and zoom in and out....love my job!
Ultimately, people enjoyed themselves.
And Axel forgave his uncle Cole
I managed to IGNORE THE FUDGE stall despite their advert which translated says.....
stay calm - eat fudge LOL
Now onto diet and healthy living stuff. December I took some time to just down tools. I didn't go crazy, but I also didn't do things as well as I usually like to. December spilled over into January when I suddenly found myself being full time granny once more which meant I put my healthy life style on a back burner. I also ran out of super healthy foods, since my son was still unemployed and my grandsons needs had to be attended to (thankfully they are all working once more) but still, it meant that I ate some things that were not great for weight loss....not bad, just no yummy blueberries, strawberries, almonds and the like which makes being healthy so much more enjoyable.
At the end of it all my scale showed that from 21 Dec till 1 Jan I gained 2.2kgs (4.8lbs) and this is why one SHOULD NOT go by the scale alone. Tonight my measurements show that I have lost 1.2cm on my stomach, 1cm on my breasts as well as 1.3cm on my buttocks. One thing I learned from the Herbalife program is that 1kg of fat and 1kg of muscle weigh the same....despite the fact that people always say that muscle is heavier than fat.....a kg is a kg no matter what is on the scale. So, while my weight might be up a little, my muscle content is higher (a good thing) and my fat is less (an AWESOME thing) I also learned that fat takes 4 times as much space as muscle, which is why the numbers read as they do.
Needless to say, I am back on track and rearing to go. This year I plan to finish the weight loss race once and for all. It is THE FIRST TIME that I have ever lost this much weight and not emotionally eaten my way back up to the starting point plus some and goodness knows I've had enough troubles and sadness to do just that, except I truly am over the EE thing..thankfully. That I am pretty darn proud of.
I am so excited too, since my herbalife online shop will be open in the next few weeks....progress on all levels. Excited and nervous....time will tell how that goes.
Anyway spark friends. I hope you are all back on track too...its a GREAT feeling being in control of our lives, in control of healthy choices. See you all at the finish line at the end of this year.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
because of the addition of one small little chap. My son is now a single dad and I am part of his back up team. Mostly, the young ones namely Daniel, his brother Cole, Coles girlfriend Nikki have been doing the real work, while I just play granny. But there have been days like today where everyone has a job to do, so the privilege was all mine.
I cannot begin to tell you how tiring answering the Y? question is, or scrambling into, onto, under and through Ronald McDonald's children's play area is.
This granny was told "up there granny" "down there granny" and my oh my granny did as she was told. Today was a run through for tomorrow. Tomorrow will be my sons first day at his new job. It is fortunately only one day a week for now, but it will be the whole school day, and since all the other young ones are back at work, its granny's job to look after Axel for the entire day tomorrow.
Hopefully I wont flake out part way lol.
A couple of photo's from the last few days.
Axel sharing a milk shake with his daddy.
All kids with tomato sauce fingers seem to need to be a monster???
Spending the day at the beach.
With uncle Cole. Hes pretty tall for 3 yrs old.
Tried his hand at riding a mechanical horse at the mall....costs a bomb for a few seconds....best keep him away from this one.
Pouring granny a spot of "tea."
Trying to steer a motorized car. Lol the owner of these little cars, gets her exercise running alongside them to make sure of the little ones safety.
By the time Daniel had finished with the preliminary interview and signing on, Axel was tired of being apart and scrambled up on his dads lap and promptly fell asleep....granny wishes she could have done the same....fall asleep that is, not crawl into my sons lap lol.
I imagine I will get fitter, the more time I spend in Axel's company, but for now its been over a year that I have not seen him, or held him. I have to get fit again. Also I have had to learn the Axel language. He has had a late start in talking, and still have words that are understood by him more than by myself. Mostly, I just ask him to show me what he wants and he can point it out, or he just keeps on patiently repeating himself till the penny drops in my brain. LOL we are muddling together getting used to each other again.
My diet has not been wonderful, but neither have I been comfort eating, just not really doing it 90% the way I was. I keep saying, Monday I will restart with a super diligence and then Monday comes and goes. I have to start saying NO to things Axel keeps passing to me, or accepting his gifts and putting them into his lunchbox without actually eating them. I'm not too stressed, this in between stage isnt the easiest in my life, but soon this too will be normal day life and I can return to my own normal life and 90%. In the meanwhile I will just keep making sure that I do not PUT ON any weight....so far so good.
Thursday, January 09, 2014
Its with a very heavy heart that I tell you that my daughter in law Michelle Nicholson lost her fight to cancer this morning at the tender age of 32.
The memorial talk will be held on Friday and Axel will be back with his dad this weekend.
It will be a huge adjustment, one that will be worked at while taking the future to Jehovah God, the hearer of prayer, for his guidance to help us all help Daniel and Axel cope with their situation.
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