Monday, December 14, 2009


Scott often accuses me of spoiling Ethan. I don't know about that. Is he really spoilt? I could argue that point. However, it has recently come to my attention, that maybe, just maybe, when it comes to shoes, I do spoil Ethan. But just a tad. Maybe.

We're moving houses next month, so I've started packing. I went through all of Ethan's old clothes and packed them up. This is where I discovered that from the ages of 0 to 3 years, Ethan's owned 14 pairs of shoes. (There are 13 in the picture, as I found another pair after I took this).

This made me think I should check out Ethan's shoe rack and see if he still owns a lot of pairs of shoes. This time I found 11 pairs. Not too bad. Then again, we did loose a pair, and I do need to get him a pair of boots when we go home this week.

Ok, so here's the deal. I don't spoil Ethan. I provide him with a choice of footwear!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Elf on the Shelf

Last year I was introduced to the book The Elf on the Shelf. It's a clever story, written in rhymes, that tells children how Santa knows if you've been good or bad, by sending a little elf to your house. The book even came with a little elf.

So this year, we thought we'd try it out with Ethan. We read him the book one evening and told him to watch out in the morning, because the elf may appear. The book instructs the child to name their elf when it first arrives. Ethan decided to name our elf Jake.

Every morning Ethan wakes up and asks where Jake is. He then searches the house for him. He laughs with such joy upon seeing him, and then makes sure that both Scott and I are aware of Jake's presence. The book instructs children that the elf cannot be touched or it's magic will disappear, but you can talk to your elf. So once Ethan's shown Scott and I Jake's whereabouts, he says good morning to Jake, and asks how he got there. Of course, the book also explains that your elf has been instructed by Santa not to speak, so Ethan's not concerned when Jake doesn't reply.

But the best part of Jake, is the effect it has on Ethan. Our dear Ethan, who tends to only eat pasta for dinner, ate a fish pie for dinner one evening, with no fuss, then walked over to Jake and presented him with his empty plate and announced, "I ate all my dinner Jake". Ethan comes home from school and tells Jake "I didn't fight today". And when Ethan starts to fuss, we remind him that Jake is watching, and usually it helps calm him down.

Now what on earth will I do when Christmas is over???

Monday, November 9, 2009


Usually when I'm asked what my favourite holiday is, I reply Christmas. I mean, what's not to like? We get to go home for the holidays, we get a good 3-4 weeks vacation, we leave this heat, we get to see family, and best of all..... PRESENTS!!!!!

But another holiday I love, and even more since Ethan came, is Halloween. Actually, I think I may be a little obsessed over Halloween.

This year Ethan hosted a Halloween party. He invited his mates, and put his mum through a lot trying to decorate and bake. But I think everyone had fun.

The weeks leading to Halloween, Ethan kept insisting he be something scary for Halloween. He'd want scary masks that we knew he'd never wear. We finally found something we could agree on. He wore last year's skeleton costume, but added a scary mask that he made.

His mates arrived and they played all kinds of games. We hung marshmallows and they tried to eat them without using their hands. Of course no Halloween would be complete without bobbing for apples, followed by bobbing for sweets (you have to get a sweet from a tray filled with flour). And since Ethan's all about being scary, we added a slimy activity where the kids had to dig into a tub of slimy green spaghetti to get a slimy rubber bug!

But I think this year had to be the BEST Halloween ever. And not just because Ethan got to enjoy it more, but Halloween night was wonderful. Scott and I went to the Movenpick for their Halloween party, and we won best couple costume. Two tickets to Paris!
Can't wait till next year!

My Dad

Education was always, and is still, very important to my dad. He always wanted my brother and I to do well in school, go to University and get an amazing education so we'd be successful. His love for education is still seen in the way he speaks to his great niece about her choice of Master's program, and how involved he is in his grandson's school.

So when I came across this picture, I just had to share.

Here's my dad, a graduate of Leeds University.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Have you ever wondered about the thought process of a three year old? Well here's a glimpse into the mind of my 3-year old.

While in SA, we bought Ethan a new Spiderman shirt. He wore it for the first time this week. I came home from school and he was wearing it. Yeah, it looks great. Then I noticed he'd drawn on it. Yes, my son drew on his brand new Spiderman T-shirt. Needless to say, I wasn't all that happy with this. So as I say, in my stern mommy voice, "Ethan you drew all over your new shirt!" Ethan replies, very innocently "I gave him eyes, mommy. He didn't have the black inside his eyes."

So really, can you argue with this logic? While Spiderman doesn't have the blacks in his eyes, Ethan did attempt to correct this flaw!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Dinosaurs are Scary, Skeletons are Not

I thought I would share this thought that Ethan taught me in London. I did not know that skeletons were not scary.

In London, my brother and I took Ethan to the Museum of Natural History. He loves dinosaurs and we thought he'd enjoy this outing. Ethan was a little weary at first. He wouldn't go near any displays, but had no problem pointing them all out to me, and asking me to take pictures of them all. Then we went around a bend. They had a huge T-Rex displayed that was robotic. He moved his head and roared. It was fabulous. But not for Ethan. He was terrified. He held on tight to my brother and wouldn't let go. I finally picked him up, shoved his head into my shoulder and we left that scary part.

Ethan calmly explained it was scary because the dinosaur made noise.

After lunch we went to the London Eye. As we're making our way there, we pass this Haunted House area. There's a skeleton with wires and lights wrapped all around him. Ethan pointed it out and announced Halloween must be soon.

So I asked him if he liked the skeleton. "Yes" he replied. "It's not scary?" I ask. Ethan then explained to me that while the dinosaur was scary because it made noise, this skeleton just sits there. "You can touch him and nothing will happen" he replied.

Ah, lesson learnt!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Family Portrait

My cousin, Faiza, has a wonderful blog. Recently she posted a picture of her family. Not only is it an incredible picture taking by an equally incredible person, but Faiza was very proud, as it was the first family picture taken in years. It features her with her parents, her 2 brothers, 2 sisters-in-law and her gorgeous nephew.

This picture got me thinking. We go home every year for Christmas, and Scott's Aunt Judith makes sure she gets a family picture of us. But then it suddenly occurred, that the same night Faiza got her family picture, was the same night I got a family picture of my own. Not since Ethan was born have we, my parents, and, especially, my brother been together.

So to copy Faiza, here's the 1st picture in 3 years of my entire family.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ethan & Rehan

Ethan has a cousin in Canada that is the same age as he. And as Rehan lives in Canada, Ethan only gets to see him once a year. Last year, they spent an entire day together, and had lots of fun.

This past week, they got to spend a lot of time together in London. Ethan grew very fond of Rehan. He'd wake up in the morning and announce, "Good morning mommy. Where's Rehan?" When we drove to Leicester, Ethan insisted on sitting with Rehan. They even fell asleep with their heads together.

After the wedding, all the cousins went their seperate ways. Scott had to work last Monday, so my brother and I took Ethan out. As we entered the museum to look at the dinosaurs, Ethan asked where Rehan was. We went to the London Eye, and Ethan insisted that Rehan come.

Even today, as we landed back in Dar, Ethan asked where Rehan was, and why he wasn't on the plane with us.

Only 2 more months till we go to Canada, and Ethan gets to see his buddy Rehan once again.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ethan & Christopher

I had to dedicate a posting to Ethan and Christopher. Mainly so I can share some lovely pictures of the two of them.

Christopher is the son of our friends, Lara and Greg. He's a year old, and a cutie. I often would worry when we'd all get together, because he is 2 years younger than Ethan, and just starting to talk, so really, would Ethan have fun.

Ah.... YES!!!!

And the best is Ethan doesn't bully Christopher in any way. He lets Christopher lead, and follows. He's very cautious and concerned about him. If Christopher wanders off, Ethan's there to tell us first, then runs over to "herd" him back to the group. They don't argue or fight over toys.

It's lovely.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Eid weekend

For the first time in years, we've not been in Dar for Eid. This year, we joined the Nikitas clan for a getaway to Zanzibar, staying at the luxurious Zamani Beach Resort.

We arrived at Zamani on Sunday and were greeted with disappointment. The pool was under renovations! We'd never been to Zamani before, but heard they had a lovely pool area. But to make up for the lack of large pool, we used to pool by the spa, which was gorgeous in itself, so we didn't feel we lacked anything. The water was unbelievable cold. Ethan decided the best way to make use of the pool was to sit on the steps with Christopher (Lara and Gregory's 1 year old), collect water in his bucket and cool all of us off with it by dumping it over us!

We really wanted Ethan to nap, but he didn't agree to it. So while mommy went for a much needed massage and manicure, Ethan went for a walk around the amazing grounds with Daddy. This had the effect we wanted, he got tired, but not at the time we wanted. Ethan ended up falling asleep during dinner. We managed to make him a comfortable bed in the restaurant while we enjoyed the delicious seafood they offered.

Monday we decided to try the beach. Zamani has a beautiful private beach, but the best way to get there is via golf cart. Ethan loved this! The tide was out, so Ethan and Christopher enjoyed their time building sandcastles.

Ethan was with the program and took a nap, which made dinner a hit, as we got to celebrate Gregory's 29th birthday! Happy Birthday Greg!

Tuesday was time to pack up and return to Dar. Ethan took advantage of this last morning in Zanzibar by eating a HUGE chocolate breakfast. Chocolate cereal, toast with Nutella, chocolate croissant and a waffle with chocolate syrup! Needless to say, we shall be visiting the dentist next week!

Happy Eid everyone!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ethan's First Day of School

Last week Ethan started school. He now goes to the French School, which I believe is the only school in Dar that doesn't have a uniform. He's in the Petit Section (pre-school). I had to work last Wednesday, so I missed his 1st day, something I was really looking forward to. I actually cried as I left for work that morning.

So with me working, that left Scott in charge of taking Ethan to school. Apparently, Ethan was a champ. He walked into the classroom, found some blocks that looked interesting and began to play.

When I got home that afternoon, I asked Ethan how school was.

"Good" he replies.

"What did you do?" I ask.

"I didn't hit."

"Well that's good, what else did you do?"

"I didn't cry. Lily cry. Alot"

"I'm glad you didn't cry. But what did you do?"

"I speak French. Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, dix!"

This week I haven't had to work, so I got the pleasure of taking him to school. Apparently that's not such a good idea. On Monday, he cried. A lot. Tuesday was whining. Today was better. I got a kiss and while he was busy playing, I got to sneak off.
But I still can't beleive my boy's in "big school"!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Love You Forever

You know your son is growing up, when he decides he needs to correct authors. He is right, and the book is wrong!

Ethan no longer naps, but instead he gets quiet play time in his room. To time it, he has a Robert Munsch CD, and it plays while he plays. He listens to the stories, and when the CD ends, he knows he's free to leave his room if he wants.

One of the stories on the CD is I Love You Forever. There's a song in it, which Ethan has learnt and will often sing. I thought it would be nice to share the actual book with him, so when my parents returned from Canada, they brought the book back.

For those that are unfamiliar with this story, it's lovely. It's a story about a mother and she sings a song every night to her baby boy. As he gets older, and hits those terrible twos, and horrible teens, she sneaks in his room at night and sings. It continues until he's a grown man, and ends with him singing to his daughter.

Ethan loves reading the book. However...................... he takes GREAT offense that the mother sings "my baby you'll be" to the "big" boy! "Not baby mommy, BIG BOY!" he corrects me as we read.

Every once in awhile, Ethan will crawl on my lap, and ask me to sing him the 'I Love You' song. When I'm done, he'll ask "Now mommy, sing 'My big boy Ethan you'll be' "!

Monday, August 17, 2009


The best place to get pizza in Dar has to be Saverios'. It's a little out of the way from where we live, but we make the trip there every so often.

Ethan especially loves Saverios'. Not only does he get the best pizza ever, but he knows it's treat day, as it's the only time he's ever allowed a fizzy drink. He get 1/3 of a glass of Sprite!

The Goat Races

We're off to the races! The Goat Races that is!!!!

This has to be my favourite event ever. The annual Goat Races. Yes you heard me, Goat Races. It's a huge charity event that pokes fun/mimics great horse racing events. There are 6 races, 10 goats per race. The goats are lined up, and off they go! The jockeys all run behind their goat, encouraging them with words. There's a padded bar behind the goats to assist with the encouragement.

Just as any other race, you can bet on a goat/race. We, however, had no luck. Not only did our goat lose his race, but every goat we placed a bet on ended up loosing. The moral; place your bets on any other goat than the one we choose!!!!

Ah, but there was a silver lining in all this. Asides from the thousands and thousands of dollars we raise for Tanzanian charities, yours truley won a raffle prize. Yes I did!!!! I won the top prize of a BA return flight to London!!!!! Yipee!!!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Butcher's

I just have to share this latest Ethan adventure. It's too funny.

About a month ago I took Ethan with me to run errands. My first stop was the supermarket. As soon as Ethan saw the crisps, he began to whine. By the time we hit the frozen food section he was on full-blown yelling; "Mommy, I'm hungry. I want ice cream!" Yeah right! If he's hungry he'd want food and not ice cream. But he kept whining. And I kept strong. I kept promising him, that we could go home and he could get something to eat there (knowing full well that he wasn't really hungry)

Our next stop was the butcher's. We walk in, and once again Ethan announces "I'm hungry." Sure. We're at the butcher's, there's no ice cream here. Suddenly the owner comes to Ethan with a piece of sausage. There you go; food! HA!

Two weeks later, Ethan and Scott head to the butcher's and Ethan comes home with a sausage.

Last week Ethan and I go back. He does his "I'm hungry" routine again, but this time, there's no South African there to feed him. Ethan left distraught!

Yesterday we head back (yes we go often. it's fresh and no need to stockpile freezer when you never know if power will go off). And Ethan's buddy is there. Ethan lets him know that he came last week (10 min ago is last week for Ethan) and "you not here". lol. Poor man. Felt ever-so-guilty and gave Ethan .... you guessed it.... a sausage!

Now for a boy that's not a big sausage eater, he sure likes the ones at the butcher's!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

3-year Wellness Check

So I thought I should share Ethan's 3-year wellness check. But first, I have to backtrack a little. I'm a little bit of a paranoid mother when it comes to Ethan. I tend to worry about everything. It drives Scott crazy. And I know I over react. If I were teaching at home, and had a parent with concerns that I sometimes have, I'd tell them they have nothing to worry about.

Ok, so back in March I started to worry about Ethan's motor skills. His running was weak, he wasn't able to jump with 2 feet, and his fine motor skills were horrible. There's a wonderful new pediatrician at our clinic, so I decided to have Ethan checked out by him.

After being reassured that Ethan was ok (he was a little behind but not delayed), he did mention that he'd like to do a follow up in 6 months. He suggested Ethan do some climbing (like there's a lot of parks here!) and swimming (Ethan was in swim camp in July, and takes swimming lessons once a week) to help his motor developemnt. He also thought we might want to consider taking Ethan to a neurological pediatrician if we were planning to go home this summer.

Well now Ethan's three. I decided to have his wellness check with the pediatrician instead of his GP, because Ethan also compalins about his ears alot. (That's all better now) So here are Ethan's stats:
Weight : 12.2 kg (he's gained a whole 200 grams since March)
Height: 97.8cm (3.2 feet)

But... the best part of all..... he was very impressed with the improvemnt in Ethan's motor skills. He said while he was sure in September there would be some improvement, he didn't expect this much. (Yeah Ethan!) He also doesn't see a need for Ethan to see a specialist, unless we'd like to for our own reassurement. Yeah Ethan!

Did I mention, Yeah Ethan!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Little Einsteins

Ethan has a new favourite show. Little Einsteins! He got a DVD for his birthday, and let's just say I not only know how to make Rocket Soup, but also know the entire script by heart and often find myself singing the theme song.

And since I don't want to be the only one singing, I've included the lyrics for you to join along!

We’re going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship

Zooming through the sky, Little Einsteins

Climb aboard, get ready to explore

There’s so much to find, Little Einsteins

We’re going on a mission, start the countdown

5, 4, 321

Everyone to rocket, rev it up now


We’re going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship

Zooming through the sky, Little Einsteins

climb aboard, get ready to explore

There’s so much to find, Little Einsteins

come On - Let’s Go - Little Einsteins

We need you, Little Einsteins - Yeah

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Zanzibar is only a short flight (or ferry ride) from Dar but we haven't gone as often as we'd like. In fact, I think Ethan's only been once. Scott and I went when Ethan was about 9 months. We thought we'd have a lovely Easter weekend in Zanzibar. However, Ethan was unable to make it. Instead "Teething Ethan" joined us. Not pleasant.

Then in November, Scott's friend, Mel, came from SA and we went for a short visit. Ethan came along as well.

This weekend we took another trip there. Ethan enjoyed the flight. He was so excited. Was telling everyone that he was going to Zanzibar in a "big plane". No, small plane, but for Ethan it's big. When we got to the airport, Ethan and his dad went to see all the airplanes. Ethan chose a red one and decided that's the one that would take him to Zanzibar. We finally convinced him to board the white plane, it has red on it.

We haven't stayed at Mtoni for years, but I think this is the favourite hotel, and the place to stay from now on. They have an amazing infinity pool, a kids pool with slide, a kid's playground, a beach restaurant as well as a sports bar, a beach, oh and best..... only a 10 min drive to Stone Town!!!!!

We had a very relaxing weekend, of sitting by the pool and swimming. Ethan lived in the water. From the minute we got there, he saw the pool and demanded to go swimming. First thing he'd ask for in the morning, to go swimming. And even when he'd come out of the pool, teeth chattering from being so cold, he'd want to go swimming again.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thomas the Train Party

So Ethan's now 3, and it's time for his party. We choose a Thomas the Train theme. The idea was we'd get him some more Thomas items as a gift, so that would make a great theme. Ethan was also excited to have a train theme.

All the kids were given train conductor hats upon arrival. Ethan learnt, and practiced "chuga chuga choo choo" as each child was given a hat. Ethan's also developed a love for face painting. He HATES clowns, but loves the face painting, so we got Val to come in. Val was told ahead of time, he'd probably have 5 Spidermans, 3 Batmans, and maybe a butterfly to do. We were close, there were 3 Spidermans!

To keep with the train theme, we had train shaped chicken nuggets, train shaped cookies, oh and yes, a train shaped cake!!!

Happy Birthday my love. Only 360 days till your next birthday. Time to start thinking of themes!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Ethan

Happy Birthday Ethan! I can't beleive my baby is now 3. I guess that means he's no longer a baby. Ethan's party is on Saturday, but we wanted to make this day special and memorable.

Ethan awoke to what one might have thought was Christmas. He got spoilt. However, I'd like it noted there were gifts there from friends of ours, so he wasn't utterly spoilt by us (just regular spoilt).

We have a birthday tradition. Every year, we take a picture of Ethan on his birthday, as we take pictures of him all the time. LOL. But then, we dress Ethan up in his dad's Leafs jersey. It's an idea I stole from Oprah. lol It's nice to see how much he's grown, and you can see it in the way he fills into Scott's shirt more.

Today we had Ethan's mates over. They baked cupcakes together, then decorated them before devouring them. He had a blast. It was a special day for him.

And of course, no birthday would be complete without cake. As Ethan and his grandmother share the same birthday, we had them over this evening. My mum and Ethan blew out the candles on his cake together, and we all enjoyed the cake.

Happy Birthday my dearest!