Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Monday, 30 July 2007

Gingerbread Men

What can you do on a Cape Town Evening when it is cold and raining and you are sick and the kids haven't been able to play outside in over a week?


We have Gingerbread Men (and Teddies) baking in our oven right now...

Step 1: Mix up the dough and kneed well.

Step 2: Roll out the dough, cut into whatever shape you want, place on a baking sheet and decorate...go wild!
Griffin said, 'I LOVE this, it makes me feel like wanting to do this every day!'
Step 3 : Bake and eat....

...Or if you are like me, blog about it while they are in the oven and burn them instead! ARGH!!!
Ok time to go botch dinner...

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Baby Update - 4 months old

I just got back from visiting my preemie baby. It was his brother's 3rd birthday party...

Last time I updated he was 11 weeks old.

He is now 4 months old and weighs over 4kgs!! YAY.
He is still breastfeeding well and being topped up with a little formula when needed.

I got to hold him and rock him for over and hour - it was GREAT.

I really love seeing him and am so impressed and thrilled with how he is growing. He is so bright eyed and alert too. He was so chilled and just lay there staring at me and everything for ages and ages.

Just thought I'd let you know how he is doing.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

You know you live with boys when...

You go to dish up dinner and find this...

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

The boys yesterday

Quinn as usual - clowning around...

He nearly went to school like that - he put the glasses on the next morning and nearly forgot to take them off when we got to school! LOL.

Griffin eating a tomato (the most delicious little baby Rosa tomato ever from Woollies)

Can you see how much he LOVES tomatoes?! I only made him eat one, Quinn and I had about 10 each!

Quinn's Term 2 Reports

I totally forgot to update after Quinn's big week... when he got his actual reports for the term. (Yes I have blogging diarrhoea today and NO desire to work).

So Quinn has been in attending a weekly OT (occupational therapy, in case you didn't know) session at school this year since being assessed by an OT at the end of last year, as a sort of unofficial prerequisite for passing Grade 1. His teacher at the time was concerned that he wasn't finishing his work fast enough, and his hand writing technique seemed to be the main culprit.

The school has a resident OT this year, so we enrolled him with her one afternoon a week and he has LOVED it. Quinn thrives on one-on-one attention, in fact he was upset that he didn't get to go to the remedial lessons some of the other kids had last year, because he thought it looked like fun! ;)

This OT is by all accounts really sweet and fun and Quinn has loved seeing her (and talking to her about me - she was convinced I was a midwife by the accounts Quinn told her of me helping babies being born!) Anyway she found that he was writing with his shoulder and not swivelling his wrist as he should and that was making him press very hard and get tired very quickly.

She gave him some 'writing aids'. An inclined board, a special squishy rubber pencil grip and a 'sand bag' or what she prefers to call a 'wrist cuff'. It's a little velcro attached cuff that tapes onto the writs to weight it down so the wrist rests and the HAND does the writing as it should. Not the whole arm...
Well the results have been remarkable. Firstly I started noticing really neat hand writing in his homework diary and assumed the teacher was writing in it, to give him more time to finish his actual work. When Quinn told me it was HIS writing I honestly didn't believe him...shame! ;)

Well Quinn finished the term off really well:
He got 3s (3/4, 3= Satisfactory achievement) for everything in his report, except one, and that was a 4 (4/4, 4 = Outstanding/Excellent achievement) for, wait for it... Writing - Formation of letters! WOOT!

For all his life skills he achieved an 'O' for Often, and for few he even got 'A; for Always. These are things like: Co-operates within a group, Interacts with peers, Interacts well with adults, Concentrates etc. And most importantly he got an 'O' for Completes tasks on time. YAY!!! So there's hope ;)

His teacher's comments were: 'Quinn has made good progress this term. His comprehension is good as he is able to retain information. His writing is beautiful and is being carried over into his other books. His writing proficiency has greatly improved. His grasp of mathematical concepts is good. He has a good understanding of addition, subtraction and knows his bonds well. Keep up the good work Quinn!'

In consultation with the OT, she has decided that he is doing wonderfully and doesn't need any further help and so he has just finished off with her! So he is done with OT now. She said she look in on him later in the year just to make sure he has retained all that she taught him.

Then his music report came. He started recorder this year. I must admit that we are pretty bad about practising....

Well he got 89%! The music teacher's comments were "Quinn is a keen and quick learner who loves playing the recorder and doing theoretical work."

I am really proud of him, he has been working hard this year and it has paid off!

He was rewarded with a new cool bicycle (I'll take some pictures soon) which has gears and shocks and a lock, and he has a new helmet for it, and I ordered the aforementioned Captain Underpants books for him. He is reading the second of those now :)

Have I mentioned that...

I love The Parlotones?

I really love their new song Giant Mistake too. It is my new favourite song.

"What the hell were we thinking?
Were we thinking at all?
What the hell did we believe we'd achieve?"

Oh another show

Just before Richard and I went to Paris & Seville, we also went to see Rob Van Vuuren (and Alan Comitee - groan) in 'Rosenkranz and Guildenstern are Dead'.

Rosenkranz & Guildenstern are lesser known characters from Shakespear's Hamlet, made into a play by Tom Stoppard.
The play concerns the misadventures and musings of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters from William Shakespeare's Hamlet who are friends of the Prince, focusing on their actions while the events of Hamlet occur as background. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is structured as the inverse of Hamlet; the title characters are the leads, not minor players, and Hamlet himself has only a small part. The duo appears on stage here when they are off-stage in Shakespeare's play, with the exception of a few short scenes in which the dramatic events of both plays coincide. In Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are used by the king in an attempt to discover Hamlet's motives and to plot against him. Hamlet, however, mocks them derisively and outwits them, so that they, rather than he, are killed in the end. Thus, from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's perspective, the action in Hamlet is largely nonsensical.
I don't have much to say about it other than that we enjoyed it a lot. It is a clever play. As usual Rob was excellent and Alan Commitee was good in hos role too. The story was weird and wonderful and totally nonsensical at times, but it was quite gripping, and quite farcical.

The other actors were all UCT students and before the show they did some Hamlet variations, in various styles, from different points of view and at speed and then even backwards! It was very clever, and quite entertaining. They were very good.

Reviews of recent shows

In keeping with our self proclaimed status as groupies to Corne & Twakkie (Louw Venter & Rob Van Vuuren) Richard and I went to see their recent respective shows when they were on, gosh a good few weeks ago already...

Rob stared in "Brother Number" with James Cairns (Pienie Meyer from The Most Amazing Show, for those in the know) at the Kalk Bay Theatre. We've been the the Kalk Bay Theatre and really enjoy it. It is quaint, cosy and intimate, and the food is good and nicely prepared and presented, the service is casual and friendly, but good too. You could arrive just for the show, but it's great to go early and enjoy a good dinner before sauntering down to watch the show with drink in hand...

Wow this show was BRILLIANT. It really was a very clever show, excellently acted by both.

There is a review here:
"The play tells the story of two brothers, Harvey (James Cairns) and Stan (Rob van Vuuren), who spend their days churning out ID documents in a little room situated in the bowels of a nondescript Home Affairs building.

The big joke is that this is the reason it normally takes so long to get an ID document, because these two closeted souls are the only ones who know how to make them."
Each actor plays dozens of characters in this both very simple and very complex stroy. The physical quirks and accents of each character are hilarious and very convincing, and the transformations between them are seamless and faultless. I am a huge fan.

There are more reviews here and here:
"Brother Number is a theatrical treat. It’s about two brothers, Harvey and Stan, who are locked deep in the bowels of Home Affairs, the makers of ID books. Harvey is the numbers guy while Stan, with his fistful of pens all tied together, does the lines. Because of an ‘explosion of the chip machine’ they are let loose in the building and they meet up with a series of crazy but recognisable characters who help them discover who they are and why they are there.

The story and it’s execution are almost 100% pure traditional absurdist. Jaco’s set (I think this kind of thing is his genius speciality) is a huge wooden desk on short legs, surrounded by a boxed walk way and crazily underlit. Almost all the action takes place ON the desk. Incredible. The sound track is mainly the crackle and hum of flourescent lighting.

Rob and James are brilliant. Their characterisations are amazing and their accents are awesome and accurate. But what makes the show riveting is their relationship with each other, as characters in the story, but more so as performers. They are literally tuned in to each other."

Then we saw Louw Venter's "Out of Time" at the Obs Theatre. We decided to do the dinner theatre thing this time too. There was a nice tasty selection of items on the set menu, and we had a soup, then light main course and ice-cream dessert, all of which was yummy, before going through to watch the show with obligatory drink in hand.

'Out of Time' was a much heavier and more emotional piece than anything else I have seen by Rob or Louw before (incidentally it was directed by Rob).
Louw Venter shows off his acting versatility in this profound narrated dedication to his first child with refreshing honesty. What would you say to your child if you only had one hour left, where would you start, how would you explain life, its lessons and what would you choose to share? An overtly emotional performance, including elements of physical theatre and cinema, Out of Time is about repainting memories, taking the role of a father, a son and saying goodbye.
Richard wasn't sure if he liked it that much - possibly uncomfortable at seeing that much raw emotion up close? I am not sure. I thought it was a very brave and revealing piece. It was happy, sad, heart wrenching and touching. It was nice to see some dramatic acting from the usually suave 'Love Captain'

There is a review here:
" The text itself is very simple, almost to the point of being expository at times, which works for, and against, the play.

The enterprise has a sincere premise, but sometimes that sincerity results in a melodramatic earnestness on the part of Venter that tests one's endurance levels.

At other times, it conveys a stately dignity the actor expresses in his large and willowy frame, and that subtly works on one to surprising and endearing effect.

Venter's play has a kind of fantastical premise, but it doesn't feel extravagant or too indulgent.

During a violent but arbitrary argument with his brother at a picnic, Lukas Nel (Venter) is bumped and falls over backwards.

He is seemingly wrenched from normal time and space and finds himself in a virtual waiting room.

The instant of his death plays out endlessly in front of him like a video loop, which is conveyed in the stage design.

He, just like the audience, is merely a spectator to the horror that just occurred and so, in frustration, he begins a one-sided conversation with his son whose life he will now miss out on.

The almost indefinable netherworld that the play exists in gives Venter the opportunity to muse on all manner of things, simple and complex."
Another review is here and here :

Written by Venter shortly after he became a father for the first time, Out of Time is dedicated to his first child. ‘When I had my first child I had that difficult thing where you become very sensitive to mortality … the stakes went up, there was a paradigm shift from ‘I’ to ‘we’ from ‘me’ to ‘us’,’ Venter explains.

Out of Time doesn’t just dwell on providing a guide to life; it also deals with issues such as shared histories, the importance and significance of life and family. ‘I needed a metaphor to put that in, and I thought, what if when you died you could see it and you went to a place where you had to wait… and say goodbye,’ says Venter. So begins the last hour a father shares with his son, in the form of a truly out of body experience.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Nag Apies

Holy crap... when I told the boys they could go to bed whenever they like tonight ...

I did not expect THIS. It is 11:30PM and this is what they are doing... chatting quietly and co-operatively colouring in the same picture...
They haven't go on this well for weeks I am reluctant to disturb them.

I think I am ready for bed though!

I'm still here

Don't get to blog as often or as effusively as before, but I am still here...

Friday, 20 July 2007


I realised I haven’t really blogged about Griffin in a while...

He is my sweety pie. He can be adorably sweet, or infuriatingly whiney and moany. Luckily recently it's the former.

On the whole he is an affectionate, happy and easy going child. He likes to play quietly and can amuse himself on his own for ages. He also has a bit of a TV addiction. He’ll vanish, and hours later we’ll find him watching all and everything on TV. He has a great vocabulary though and some of the things he says are astounding for a 5 year old.

He is very caring and empathetic and loves watching medical footage and medical dramas on TV (Grey’s Anatomy, ER, Scrubs, Carte Blanche Iraq ER footage you name it), he often says he wants to be a doctor, to fix hurt people.

Recently he has also been found sitting in the lounge listening to classical music CDs! He is quiet - but deep. He likes 'working' on the Classmate PC too. He'll sit and 'work' like that for ages...

He doesn’t want or need to be centre of attention, he just wants to be cuddled lots, and heard, when he has something to say.

He also gives an awesome shoulder rub. I love clicking his toes. He loves it too, but pretends he hates it! ;)

Griffin has some physical strength issues and has being in Physio for a year and does OT (occupational therapy) too to improve on his muscle tone and fine motor coordination issues.

He recently did his karate grading, and you can see that his body is just not as strong and co-ordinated as some of the other kids. It’s almost like his visio-spacial perception just doesn’t quite work and his brain doesn’t tell his limbs what to do properly. Shame. Still he did well and got 2 stripes. Well done big guy!
He however cycles and, swims well and can run 2km with ease, he also does well on the monkey bars.

Since his pencil grip and concentration span (or desire to sit still and learn) are not that great, there is a strong possibility that he won’t be starting grade 1 next year, and that he’ll repeat Grade R – in a different preschool though. He is not at all fussed about this though and is actually excited at the prospect of the new preschool. He is so different to Quinn.

Quinn wants to impress by mentally challenging and stimulating, Griffin is more sensitive and wants to connect with people. Quinn demands attention, Griffin mostly waits to be seen & noticed. I sometimes have to remind myself to do that. It's so worth it because he gives the best hugs.

He is a really special child.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Now & Then

I recently went for a trip down memory lane, it's fun going back in time sometimes, to see how far we have come...


Then and now...

At 2 days old versus 7.5 years old.


Then and now...
At 2 week old versus 5.5 years old.

They have grown! :)

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Captain Underp@nts

I ordered a Captain Underp@nts book for Quinn, in the hopes that he would read it over the holidays.

It worked...

He read it to Griffin,

Wrote a thank-you letter to me,
Typed the letter out, and
played 'Captain Underp@nts' with his brother.

See books can provide endless amusement! Especially when the characters are: Captain Underp@nts, Professor PP Poopypants, The Bionic Booger Boy etc.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Quinn on Street Beggars

We were driving the other day and passed some beggars on the road-side.

Quinn said: "If they are so poor, where did they get the cardboard and markers from?"

Hrm, good question! ;)