Hazy Days

the shadow of the life to come

Hazy Days

Archives for Craig

While the mice are away…

… the parents will sleep in, enjoy midday movies that aren’t animated, eat out with no heed to the babysitter’s clock and return to a home where everything is exactly where we put it.

Ah! That sounded like a little bit of heaven to me.  When friends of ours enjoyed a weekend at home last year while their kids enjoyed some grandma time at the family holiday house, I realised that that was exactly the sort of break Craig and I needed.  No great expense of travelling to some exclusive getaway.  No planning meals or ideas for the kids back home with the grandparent/s or sitters.  Just… Us. Alone.  At home.  Ah!  Bliss indeed.

Thankfully, my folks were keen to fulfil my little wistful dream.  And before we knew it, our chosen weekend was upon us.  Excited doesn’t begin to describe my anticipation of the childless weekend ahead.  Don’t get me wrong: I love my kids.   I love being with them.  And besides the typical squabbles and squawks, they’re lots of fun to be around too.  Homeschooling this bunch has its trials, but overall this journey has been rewarding and exciting.  But, it’s intense.  As parents all over the world can identify, it’s a 24-7, round the clock gig that never lets up.  Taking a break for a couple of days to enjoy our roles as husband and wife without having to parent at the same time was just what we needed.  And I was excited indeed!

I waved goodbye late on Thursday afternoon to four excited kiddies, two well prepared and excited grandparents and one favourite makhulu. 

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Walking back into the quiet house was quite surreal.  The world was our oyster!  What were we to do?!

That became our refrain for the rest of the weekend, although thanks to a typo on iMessage, we renamed it “the world is our ouster”.  And we really enjoyed our ouster!  We saw two great movies and one mediocre one.  We read a book from cover to cover – the same one.  We ate out at various restaurants and had adult conversation, thoroughly enjoying the fact that we didn’t have to rush to anyone else’s timetable.  We shopped all over Cavendish for boots – using our carefully saved up vouchers for the occasion.  Craig organised a special spa treatment at Mangwenani Spa on Friday evening – giving us both a much appreciated massage experience.  What absolute luxury that was!  We drove there in the early evening and were welcomed by a most beautiful sunset…

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And were greeted by a bevy of beautiful women singing with that warm richness that is singularly African. 

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This treatment spa is wholly owned by the employees themselves.  The business model is amazing and the treatment was wonderful after recent illness and the busyness that is life.  From the first note of the joyous music that greeted us at the door, to the welcoming enamel mug of hot chocolate (or sherry), to the meal and treatment we had a really special evening!

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We also enjoyed afternoon naps, late morning risings and breakfasts at leisure.  Best part was heading to the Earth Fair market in Tokai where we could taste things at leisure and enjoy a "hearty" breakfast without worrying about children dashing about here, there and everywhere.

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We drove around old neighbourhoods and shared stories of our growing up years.  We visited our friends’ church in the morning and enjoyed the evening service of our own church together.  We even managed a visit to Gran gran and Craig’s PA’s little boy who turned 3 in hospital thanks to a nasty burn accident the day before.  And we didn’t miss the kids one bit.

I should feel guilty about that, but I don’t!  Is that terrible?  Perhaps.  But given that our break was a delicious time to reconnect with each other as husband and wife, it was just as well that our time wasn’t dampened with feelings of split loyalty or constant worry.

And, truth be told, I was glad to see them on Monday when we went to pick them up in Hermanus.  We had enjoyed a couple of phone calls with them over the weekend, and it was clear that they were having as much of a ball as we were.  There was not much missing anyone going on!  But our welcome was enthusiastic and warm.  The kids tumbled out of the house with gleeful shouts.  The girls reached us first with their bowl-you-over hugs and kisses.  And, within seconds I had one Micah wrapped around my torso and one Sam hanging onto my hand, chattering away about all the goings on of the weekend.  

We stayed over that night, hearing all the stories of their fun time.  Their grandparents looked remarkably energetic despite their exhausting weekend!  And the stories they told were simply hilarious – like Micah needing a wee on the way to Hermanus.  Stuck in heavy traffic with no exit in site, Granny Sally improvised and let the little guy relieve himself into a tupperware container that once carried a broken bottle of bubble bath.  She had the privilege of carrying the bubbly warm mixture on her lap until the next stop. 

It’s no wonder the kids didn’t miss us too much.  We got periodic pictures from Granny of their fun weekend.  Their first morning started on a high note with special activity boxes that granny made up for them.

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A huge hit!

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Can you tell how pleased we are with ourselves?

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Micah Moo too…

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A walk down to the nearby stables was also a big hit – and then an actual riding lesson for the two girls really took the cake!  Kiera was particularly excited as she got to jump for the first time ever.  She did pretty well from what I hear!

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The boys also got a chance to sit on the horses and enjoy a walk about. 

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Not every moment was fun and games.  Poor Sam had a headache one day and had a little wobble.  But granny to the rescue!  This photo is of a little boy on wobble number 2 – scared of the curtains, and the potential lurking monsters, in his room that night.  So granny’s bed was where he fell asleep before being carried back to his own bed.

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Ah!  It was a weekend worth repeating.  I came home feeling really relaxed and since then I have not felt that weighty tiredness that bears down on me from time to time.  That also may have something to do with the fact that I’ve been eating a whole lot better these past two weeks and detoxing with milk thistle!  Whatever it is, the weekend was a balm to the soul, body and mind!  I highly recommend it!

Smile

A husband and dad

this journey

To my husband and daddy of my children

Since you became a dad almost 9 years ago, I’ve had the enormous privilege and responsibility of partnering you in this journey called parenting. 

In the beginning it seemed so simple.  So formulaic: do wxyz and 1234 will be your four perfect progeny.  And, in those early baby days, we felt like the deep end we’d been thrown into wasn’t too difficult to paddle around in.  Despite the waters being a bit rough and not quite as crystal clear as all the books made it out to be, we kept Kiera alive at least.  It wasn’t too long before we realised that it was far murkier than we imagined.  Our lofty ideals and self-congratulations at the smaller milestones achieved took a heavy knock as our precious firstborn began exhibiting her natural bent towards sin.  Soon we were wading in muddy sludge, succumbing to sinking sand syndrome from time to time.   How were we to navigate these waters when they are so hard?  How can we bring up our children in the fear and love of the Lord if we’re fighting the waves and storms of our own sinfulness and the sinking sands of this world?  In these moments, when I despair that we’ll ever influence our children towards a life of devotion to the gospel, I’ve been reminded again of Grace.  And I realise that so much of parenting is less about how our children turn out and more about how we are and how God is shaping us.

Which, as you know, is why I so often pray "Lord, please bring our children to love, honour and serve you, because of and in spite of us and our parenting." 

Of course, praying that I rest in that, is important too!  Which is why I say: how you survive me amazes me!  My worries, concerns, frustrations and back-seat parenting must wear you down, yet so often you remind me about God’s grace.  Oh, you struggle, as I do.  Yet you persevere.  Even when my back-seat parenting nonsense crops up, no matter how irritating, you often quietly go about loving the kids gently and being patient with my impatience and my hypocrisy. 

Partnership in this journey of parenthood is a precious gift from God.  I love that he has blessed me with you as a parent partner:  That you rough and tumble with the kids in a way that I don’t have inclination or energy for.  That you whisk them off on movie dates or ice-cream trips or early evening beach runs.  That you happily break a bunch of gender-specific stereotypes so that our kids’ memories of dad will often be of you flipping flapjacks in the kitchen or icing their birthday cakes late into the night.  That you make them pizza from scratch and enjoy movie nights.  That you read to them, even when you’re tired and it feels burdensome.  That you joke and tease and sing and play with our children.  That you enjoy finding gifts for them.  That you determine to work on the areas you struggle in as a dad.  That you are man enough to admit they exist.  That you work hard and feel deeply and even cry tears over our children.  That you cut me slack, pick up the pieces and so often play mom AND dad.  And that you provide.  You provide love, stability and freedom in working hard outside of the home so that we can keep being at home.  The Lord has indeed blessed me with you.

It’s been 9 years of a journey I could never have imagined to be what it is.  And it’s another 9 years to go before we will begin to see the fruit in our first ‘adult’ child.  But, for now, I am grateful for the pruning the Lord is doing in us.  In you.  In me.  In our children.  And I thank the Lord for you – my husband and my children’s beloved daddy.    

I love you!  Happy (actual) Father’s Day!

Love Taryn

Father’s Day 2011

With Craig jetting off on his first trip to the USA this past weekend, with the prospect of missing Father’s Day completely, we decided to move it all up by a week and a day.  Father’s Day 2011, for the Hayes fam anyway, was celebrated on Saturday 11th June. 

IMG_4416With some (unusual for me) forethought, I managed to hunt down a copy of President GW Bush’s autobiography, Decision Points.  Not having formulated much of an opinion about the man, given the media assassination he received while in office, we were pleasantly surprised by his interview with Oprah.  Neither of us watch TV aside from brief snippets when we visit my parents.  I like to watch some pre-recorded shows there and I subjected Craig to some Oprah one afternoon.  He is not a fan.  And that’s being kind.  But, this interview was really interesting and prompted Craig to say that he’d like to read the book.  Well, for once I actually remembered one of his throw away comments about a potential gift.  Loot – really the best South African online general bookstore around – had it for significantly cheaper than Amazon (and, I found out later, Exclusive Books).  With that all done and dusted it was time to organise the Daddy’s Day book:

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The kids had to think of five words that described their daddy in addition to the usual handprint, picture and little note.  Kiera gave her new cursive a go.  Katie was hesitant to write much as she really wanted to spell everything correctly.  I still love the cuteness of "goks" (jokes) "plaefites" (playfights) – some of her describing daddy words.   Sam had me totally cracked up  -  one of his "describe daddy" words was "useful!"  Always good to know one is useful, I guess!

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Thanks to Debbie ingenious ideas, we had a great plan for Dad’s breakfast on Father’s day.  Just that Thursday we had made amazing flapjacks (crumpets, really) at Minichefs.  Debbie added crispy bacon and biltong to the deal.  It was simply delicious, and the kids absolutely loved being so responsible for making a family favourite that our Daddy usually treats us with.  As per the last few minichef episodes, each child made their batter in their own bowls, with a divided recipe.  Head over to the Minichefs: Biltong and Maple Syrup Flapjack Stacks post for the full recipe, some great photos and a fun montage of my Micah Monkey who just cannot keep his little fingers from scooping uncooked minichef delights into his mouth!

Recreating our minichef fun in our kitchen was fun and chaotic and simply a great memory!  We messed around with some cream and nutella too.  Craig was stuffed to the brim when we eventually got to eating the dessert-for-breakfast fare!

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Our Nutella offering was blobs of nutella baked inside the flapjack, along with some cream and more nutella blobbed on top… Mmmmm!

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And our bacon, biltong and flapjack heart-attack on a plate turned out pretty good too, with each kid contributing his/her very own flapjack creation to the stack.

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Finally, after what seemed like HOURS, we rescued Dad from under a mountain of pillows to say HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

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Dad came and joined us at the table so that we could all eat the delicious fare together.  Here is his forkful of nutella flapjack.  Oh oh oh!  Seriously yum.  He managed only half of each plate it was so deliciously rich!

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Finally, after a few errands to run, we got to sit down and let Dad open his Daddy’s Day Book and gifts. 

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Here’s a happy smiling daddy who loves his book! (And had already priced it in Exclusives at nearly R400!  Again – I love Loot!)IMG_4389 

The rest of Daddy’s Day was Daddy packing and sorting and jetting off to the USA for a conference.  He is loving it there so far!  A whirlwind visit to New York before his flight to Charlotte, NC.  He has completely fallen in love with Charlotte.  I love that he is loving the US, since it was my home for a year and holds a really special place in my heart.  One day, I pray, that we all get to enjoy it together!

More of the Daddy’s Day fun (including some great pics of the kids for grannies and grandpas to enjoy) here on our picasa album: Father’s Day 2011

cupcakes!

IMG_3278 For the past two weekends, Craig has been in cupcake mode.  It’s been awesome for the rest of us, including Uncle Adam and Kiera’s friend who came over last weekend for Kiera’s first ever sleepover.  Craig had them icing, decorating and consuming.  And with the cold rainy weather this weekend, the cupcake fun was most welcome, especially with the roaring fire in the background.

The slideshow below is a taste of our cupcake fun (via my phone)!

Enjoy!

cupcake slideshow

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Hazy Days