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Sam’s Minion 7th Birthday Party

All week long… actually, scratch that, all month long Sam couldn’t stop talking about the fact that his BIRTHDAY and his PARTY were going to share the same date!  I guess the novelty was just too much!  Little does he realise that this halves the celebration time.  Anyhoo!  The count-down began as soon as October started.  Sam kept up with his subtraction skills each day – it’s 7 more days until my birthday, mom.  It’s not 5 more days until my birthday, mom!  All year long the poor boy waits and waits for it to be his turn to celebrate his birthday.  Waiting has not been his strong point.

But, finally (!) it was here.  And so the celebrations began.  Thankfully, I had purchased his gifts earlier in the week, because on Tuesday, Micah went down with a tummy bug.  And then on Thursday morning (as in 1am) Katie went down with a tummy bug.  After cleaning up after her and nursing her for two hours of the night while she puked literally every 10 minutes, I woke up the next morning at 5:45am and discovered that I, too, had succumbed to the dreaded tummy bug.  So, that put me out of commission for Thursday and Friday.  Eventually, I dragged myself out of bed on Friday afternoon to get the last minute shopping done.  It really was a party pulled together on a smidgen of energy!

But, thankfully, despite feeling rather drained on Saturday morning, I was better enough to do a day of birthday celebrations – as was Katie. 

And Sam was all for it!  He couldn’t wait for us and so came to inform us at 6:45am that it was wa-ay too late in the morning for us to be Still In Bed, and he felt it was time to come sing Happy Birthday to him.  Never mind his poor exhausted Dad who had stayed up until 12am making Minion birthday cupcakes!

But, we did get there eventually, and Sam dutifully stayed in his bed and pretended to be surprised when we came in singing Happy Birthday.

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And it was worth the wait.  Can you see the delight on his face when he opened the Mint Bubble chocolate?! 

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And then again when he realised that his real present from the entire family was the Galaxy Squad Lego set that he had his heart set on for ages.

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Then, while Sam and Craig went off on their Daddy date, it was time for the rest of us to prepare the house for a Minion Party.  Not a single home-baked anything on this table, courtesy of the tummy bug that put paid to any grand idea of home-baked goodness (who are we kidding?  I had no intention of baking anything for this party, either!)

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The girls did a sterling job of cutting out paper bananas – and Craig painstakingly popped Prestik (sticky putty) on each of them.  Here is my gorgeous oranga-man!

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Game #1? Pin the Minion eyes onto the Minion body.  Oops!

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Love the faces above!

Game #2: Minion Rush!  It’s Sam’s favourite iPad game and even though he has been banned from playing on the iPad until next year (yes, I know, rather extreme and all, but it’s a followed-through-threat and that has got to count for something in the parenting books!) he still loves to watch others play it. 

In the iPad game, the little minions chase up and down alleyways and over obstacles, collecting bananas along the way.  So, I gave the kids some messy fun that included some banana-collecting too.

Team #1 Eye Minion and Team #2 Eye Minion all ready to start!

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Obstacle #1 – dig in the ewwy-gooey jelly (jello, for my US friends!) for a hard-boiled sweet.  The ones who scored a banana flavoured sweet scored some extra points for their team…

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Step two – fish out a raisin from the plate of flour using just your mouth and spit it out into the cup.  Since we have recently had that dreaded tummy bug experience, I made sure that each kid had their own paper plate of flour and raisins so that there was no chance of passing on the germs in this game.

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Step three – select a banana from this bowl and peel it …

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… with your TOES!

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Ewwww!

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When all three tasks are complete, it’s time to grab a paper banana as your score and stick it to the whiteboard!

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Go Minions!

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Sam wasn’t too sure about this game!

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Game #3 – after some scoffing of food and drinks, the kids enjoyed a much more sedate game:  Minion Quiz! 

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Craig put together a great quiz which the kids had a blast trying to answer…

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Then, it was cake time.  Craig made ice-cream cupcakes which required some quick assembly – so he got some helping hands from some dads.  Thanks G and S!

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Minion Men!

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The wind wouldn’t let us get those candles going and the sun wouldn’t allow time before the ice-cream melted.  So we ended up singing sans candles.

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Not that Sam was too worried – delighted face!

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Yum yum!  And what a mess!

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Eventually, after everyone had left and we did the big clean-up and bath thing, Sam got to open his pressies.  Can you see how excited he is about the Lego??IMG_6192

He got some sweet gifts, but this tag has got to be my favourite – what a great Minion! 

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That day also happened to be my good friend, Hayley’s birthday.  And Scott had organised a surprise dinner for her.  Well, Hayley sniffs a surprise from a mile away and so she wasn’t too surprised.  It was a lovely evening, anyway!  My tummy handled half a delicious cheese-free pizza and my energy levels were just high enough to enjoy some good conversation.

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Since we couldn’t do Sam’s birthday dinner on Saturday night, we postponed it to Monday night.  Well, that would’ve been the case, had not Craig succumbed to the tummy bug too.  As I write this, the kids are in bed, Craig’s fast asleep and Sam’s birthday dinner has been postponed to a date later in the week when all family members are well and able.  I’m praying that no one else succumbs!  So far, it’s Tummy Bug: 4 and Hayes family: 2, but that could change at any time!

And that, folks, wraps up Sam’s 7th Birthday Celebrations.  And all Hayes kids’ birthday celebrations until June 2014! 

Sam is 7!

It’s finally here, the day he has been waiting for all year.  He has the (self-determined) misfortune of having his birthday be last in the year.  It feels like an eternity to the poor boy.  Not a month goes by without his asking, “how long until my birthday, mom?” 

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Well, my boy, it’s here.  Finally! 

And what a year it has been.  If anything, it’s been the Year of the Lego.  When he was 5, Sam’s interest in Lego began to pick up, so much so that he chose to have a Lego party for his 6th birthday.  But this year has been Intense Lego.  Not a morning goes by without him coming into our room with a new Lego creation.  His pocket money is frequently spent on Lego mini figures.  And we find ourselves tripping on Lego bits and bobs just about every day. 

In addition to his enthusiasm for Lego, Sam’s enthusiasm for jokes, riddles and long stories has grown.  “Knock Knock” jokes now make sense.  And often times he makes up some pretty funny riddles or jokes on his own.  That switch-over is one of the many things Craig and I look forward to in our kids’ growth and maturity.  Indulging nonsensical “jokes” is not one of our strengths at all.  Poor kids!  Sam is making up for it now with some pretty funny jokes.

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Sam is still full of hugs and cuddles.  Every night I get showered with kisses and hugs – Sam being determined to plant more kisses all over my face than his brother gets to do.  He has great affection for his family and cuddles are a part of that.

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In this year, Sam has grown from being stage-shy to fully participating in events like his first gymnastics competition and is now insisting that he gets to do drama classes like his sisters.  And the singing!  These days more than ever we get to hear loud choruses from Sam in all sorts of styles.  Opera, anyone?  Just this morning I was woken to “Hey Diddle Diddle” sung in deep operatic tones by two young sons – the youngest following Sam’s lead.  Nowhere in this boy’s repertoire of self-motivated activities are bats and balls.  Should I be worried?

I doubt it – especially not if it’s any indication of his boyness.  Sam still finds his body’s noise-emitting functions hilarious and is totally into spiders, bugs and slugs.  He is still petrified of cockroaches, however!  But, spiders are fine.  And the look of absolute wicked delight on his face as he chases his sister around the house with a spider on his hand is testimony to the fact that Sam is not only 100% BOY but has 100% of both his parents’ teasing genes! 

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It has been a wonderful year for Sam.  The year where he is reading beautifully and is now choosing to read books to himself.  The year of the drastic haircut (!) from long locks to a shaved head (thanks, lice!).  The year of enjoying independent work, helping around the house without complaining (as much!) and enjoying growing up. 

It’s a year, too, when he has been asking deeper questions about Jesus and has a deeper desire to serve others.  It’s like watching the sparks of a new fire begin.  I look forward to seeing where the Lord takes his little heart.  And my prayer is that it will always be 100% for Jesus.

Sambo, we love you so very much and are so very proud of our 7-year-old boy.  May Jesus always be your #1. 

Happy birthday!

All of August

Playing catchh-up here with the blog posts, so here’s a whirlwind through August:

A beautiful birthday girl celebrates her 5th birthday at Noordhoek park.  It’s winter and it’s cold, but it’s beautiful and the sun is shining!

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The birthday girl and her overwhelming party fun!

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Little Ms Jemma doing her thing!

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Walks in the forest with the family and we have Mr Micah being his usual self – sticks and guns.  Sigh.

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No forest walk with dad is complete without finding a bug or two…

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Rivers!  Always a great place to explore…

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Both the girls had their drama plays in mid-August.  Kiera played a obnoxious older sibling in a fantasy story.  Katie played a frog in another fantasy story.  They LOVED being on stage and I saw a huge improvement in their acting skills since last year, which is rewarding for us too.  The best was watching them just enjoy the entire experience.

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Lots of Cape Explorer fun, including a visit to the Noon Day Gun.

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Man, that thing can make a really loud BOOM.  It just about blasted my ear drums into oblivion.  And I covered them up during the blast!  The smoke is the aftermath.

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From the 19th to 25th of August we headed to the Eastern Cape on one of our best family holidays.  We had a wonderful time.  Relaxed.  Educational. Entertaining. Bonding time and much more.  Really awesome.  I’ve got posts about that: Day 1, 2&3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 in the Eastern Cape. Here are some of our shots…

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The main reason we went on this holiday was to get to Uitenhage, just outside of PE, for Kiera to take part in her inter-provincial zonal competition.  She did really well – her attitude was fantastic (better than mine!) and she ended up being in the gold category with a first on beam. 

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One of the game parks we went to, Kragga Kamma, was a lot smaller than the other parks.  Craig let the kids try out the wheel on his lap – what fun they had!

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We had a blast – even the food was delicious and mopped up in no time!  This is a picture of our last night at the Valley Bushveld Lodge. 

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Our final day started with celebrating Kiera’s birthday – 11 !

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And a great breakfast.  Yum yum!

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We said goodbye and then headed on home….

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A stop at the wolf sanctuary was a blast – everyone enjoyed the bunnies the most.

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Kiera’s birthday dinner was a bit delayed, however. She had to wait until we were home and settled.  She was happy to eat yeast and sugar again though – she had been on a strict diet to sort out her health problems.  She’s doing much better now I am happy to report.

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Her birthday party happened on the 31st with just a handful of friends so as to fit them all into the TV room!

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A Puss-in-Boots party meant a theme-cake.  Since she wanted a meringue “cake” I ended up with the job of making it.  Craig usually does the kids’ birthday cakes.  This time though, I could.  So Puss-in-Boot’s hat it was!

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My kids accompanied me at the end of August to the Milnerton Library where I gave a talk on race relations and forgiveness to a couple of Grade 7 classes.  It was such a great experience and I got to share the gospel, which is always a bonus in my book!

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A new poster debuted too – fun times!

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The kids were a super receptive audience and I loved the whole experience.  More photos here: http://bit.ly/th-milnertonlibrary

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That wraps up August 2013.  September is looking busy busy with Micah’s birthday and party, a bathroom renovations starting on Tuesday, 10th and my finally getting down to starting book #2!  I’m excited!

Day 7 in the Eastern Cape

Our last day coincided with Kiera’s 11th birthday.  We woke up early to make sure we could do the usual morning birthday thing.  Delight!

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Then it was our last breakfast. Yum yum.  We tucked in one last time.  I do believe I gained at least 2kg in one week thanks to the delicious food!

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I also finally remembered to take some inside shots – now you can see all the trophy heads that freaked Kiera out initially.  She got used to it though!

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Eventually we were making jokes about them and everyone had a good guess as to which one contained the security camera! 

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That’s a giraffe skull on the table below.  And giraffe bones beneath the table.

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After finally saying goodbye to our wonderful hosts, we hit the road around 8:30.  First stop was the Bloukrans Bungy jump bridge …

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The idea was that I *may* jump off it.  But, I had hurt my back the day before carrying Micah and so wasn’t so sure it was a good idea.  And then I took another look at the jump.  Yes.  Well, I chickened out.  I do still want to do it, but I’m not keen on doing the walkway up to the jumping point without someone I know going with me!  Next time?  Maybe!

Next stop was the Wolf Sanctuary just outside of Knysna.  We spent a good amount of time here with all the animals, much to the delight of my kids…

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Rabbits anyone?

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Okay, Kelly, I know you and Kai love goats, but really?  They stink! 

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Kiera’s biggest motivation to be there were the wolves of course.  She lapped up all the information she could…

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We saw loads of crazy animals – these guys looked like they needed a good brush.  Although, they were doing a pretty good imitation of the 80s perm-look.

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More smelly creatures!

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Billy goat gruff.

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We carried on to Knysna for lunch.  Part of Kiera’s birthday present was the promise of an ear-piercing when we got home.  So, when we walked into a jewellery store on a Sunday on the off chance that they did piercing, she didn’t have the pre-piercing nerves we usually have.  It was a quick decision, quick pierce and a delighted girl that left the store.

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Kiera with her new purple and gold earrings.  Yes, she, the self-professed Tomboy, is branching out into the world of girly colours again.  Albeit it only cautiously!  Purple is her new favourite colour.

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Lunch at the Knysna Quays – we treated the sushi lovers in our family to sushi.  Yum yum!

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Then it was back on the road for the rest of the 6 hours home.  And can I just say that I am forever indebted to audio books!  We’ve used audio books on our longer car trips before, but this is the first time I’ve downloaded from Audible.  We had Johanna Ward read The Secret Garden to our family on the way up and down.  All 8 hours of it.  It was such a beautifully-read version of the unabridged book.  The kids loved it and kept asking for us to put it on (we took breaks for naps, chats and music).  I love that the whole family got to hear a story together that we now refer back to from time to time.  Long audio books are definitely a repeat tactic for future long car journeys.  We also had a lovely long chat about my next book – with everyone contributing plot ideas.  What fun!

Quite frankly, I am very happy to travel by car all over the place with my brood.  Not one “are we there, yet?”  Instead, mostly a cooperative, wonderful time together.  Of course, a few squabbles, but mostly just good times.  I highly recommend listening to audio books together.  We took a friend’s iPad-contraption-thingie in case we wanted to let the kids watch a movie comfortably, but we never ended up using it.  I’m feeling ridiculously blissful about the journey. 

We finally made it home 12 hours after we set off.  The last photo for the trip was just before we all got out… Micah playing leg guitar with Kiera!

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It was a wonderful family holiday.  Of course, we had a moments of grumpiness, discipline and so one, but mostly it was a wonderful holiday filled with tons of learning, fun times, shared experiences and awesome memories.  I remarked to Craig that I think the kids learnt more in that week than they had in any other given week in our school year.  Unschooling, anyone?

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