Sunday, July 31, 2011

And so the pendulum swings ...

Hello Friends

I realise that I have an unusual life and that in many ways it has aged me, but the fact that my firstborn is TWELVE! Just FREAKS me out!!

Matthew had his birthday on Sunday - he had asked for clothing mostly and we went for pizza and a movie.

A free ice cream for the birthday boy!
Matthew, Khensi, Percy the Waiter, Benji, Dominique and Murphy
Tuesday we received a wonderful donation of blankets from St Stithians Junior Prep school

The Kirsty Watts Foundation had continued to do wonders for our creepy room!
The floor looks so great, it is a special linoleum type laminate

The upstairs renovations have started! We are so thrilled!

Those of you who have been following our story over the last months will know how very difficult things have become for us it TLC. Yesterday we had our AGM and Board meeting and today we had a full day family conference about everything going on at TLC.
It is with a heavy heart and not a few tears, that we have had to make the dramatic and terrible decision to reduce the intake of babies at TLC.
The simple fact is that we can not manage. After reviewing our financials from 2010 up to now it is apparent that our situation is not changing. Despite a cash  injection here and there we are all under too much strain to continue being responsible for so many little lives without the sure knowledge that we can take care of their needs.
Those of you who know us will know how this sickens us.
For 18years we have walked by faith and learned many things, God does provide but He is an 11th hour God and we are small, frail human beings who are cracking under the strain of never knowing if we can honour our commitments. We have sacrificed our individual personal savings and (more devastatingly) our ethic of quality over the last year - we have had to find a more prudent path and this is the only one possible.

We have tried what we can, each of us working ourselves to a standstill, working on every aspect but without proper cash flow our commitments are too many and our resources to few.

The decision then, for the next 6 months at least, is to reduce our intake of babies. For every two babies we find families for we will only admit one new one - in this way we should still have a flow of babies through the system, just not as many as we have now.

We thank all of you who have and continue to stand by us. We ask that you pray for God's mercy on our work and that He open the doors in the next 6 months if He wishes us to continue. Mom says perhaps this is His time for pruning.
We Love you all

Sunday, July 24, 2011

From week ... to weak.

Hello Friends (grab a cup of coffee, this one is a little long, sorry!)

I told you before how this week started of with Mandela day. The day when everybody gets to send a big "figurative hug" to Mandela by donating 67minutes of their time to uplifting the community. Well it was astonishing how many people rose to this challenge!

TLC had over 200 visitors on Monday! Our preschool corridors and one classroom got painted, we had 2 lunched prepared for us! (one on Sunday and one on Monday :-) ) and our babies had so many cuddles and our hardworking volunteers had such enthusiastic help - they thought they were in paradise!

It was Nadia's 4th birthday that day and anybody who knows Nadia knows that she has an oversupply of self confidence :-) Well imagine if you will her delight at being sung "Happy Birthday" to at school by 100 paintbrush wielding members of our Department of Social Development, then again by the group who had prepared lunch, then again when the kids got home and she got ot open her presents! She even had her picture taken with the chairman of PPC's "Chairman's fund" that helped us get our poultry project off the ground! Needless to say her rendition of "Happy Birthday Dear Nadia" has been doing the rounds for most of the week!

This was also the day most of the kids went back to school after their 3 week holiday, so there was a certain amount of logistical chaos ~ what with our now sickening car shortage being compounded by a national strike that has seen our petrol station run out of fuel for 4 days out of 7 lately!

Tuesday was marked by my Doctor's visit with Paul. Paul (12) is significantly smaller for his age (growing 0.8cm in 4 months) than he should be and the specialist who has been monitoring his growth patterns is now concerned that something is very wrong with his glands that are supposed to produce growth hormone or something. He has booked Paul in for a series of tests this coming Tuesday and we will have to see what is going on. Ofcourse Paulie would be one of the children not yet covered by our medical insurance ~ sigh!

Vivienne's Faith ~ a miracle of grace!

Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday morning and Wednesday evening went by in a blur as we attended meeting after meeting with social workers, donors, volunteers and friends.

Thursday I spent almost all of it in court with Similo and Nadia ~ the social workers have agreed to advocate that they get placed in my foster care so that they can finally be settled and I can enrol Similo in school for next year. After court Nadia was quick to remind me of my birthday promise of getting her haircut and her ears pierced ~ so dutifully I took her off to Southgate where she got her hair cut by (in her words) "her tall, bald boyfreind!" and then she had her ears pierced, finding the man who held the piercing gun far less "attractive" after he spiked her in one ear and then expected her to hold still for him to do it again to the other! She was quickly consoled when she saw the results and the pretty gold hearts that had magically appeared in her lobes :-) After that she managed to extract a pizza, a fanta, a toy cellphone and a pair of purple sunglasses WITH WINGS on the frames before we got her out of the mall and back to the car!

Thursday evening we attended a function at St Katherine's school. It was a Storytime Pajama Party being held for the small girls, so Theresa was attending. She had to dress up in her PJ's and got to bring a teddy along - all the girls snuggled together in the auditorium and were read to, while the parent's got to meander through the hall which was set up with books to buy (ofcourse :-) ) Well, I don't know how many of you know how much I love books (I was an English major after all :-* ) and whilst, as I'm sure you've notice, our life does not afford us with much "lesiure" time, I couldn't help myself and ended up buying an armful of books that I hope to be able to read ... at some point!

Theresa had to dress up as a character from a book on Tuesday ~ she chose Robin Hood :-)

After the function we had to make a search of the local petrol stations to find one were we could buy fuel for the minivan - otherwise half our kids would not be getting to school the next day! Luckily it did not take long and we managed to fill the jerry can we had and a few empty cooldrink containers, bring them home and funneling them into the petrol tank ~ thanks to a sawed of vuvuzela that acted as an excellent funnel :-)

And then Friday ... I WAS SICK! We had had several kids in and out of bed with the flu all week and usually I managed to escape such dramas but not this time! I was feverish, achey and my throat felt like perhaps I had swallowed some of that petrol from the night before. I spent most of the day in bed, presenting myself only for the 2 meetings we had and to say Hi to our faithful Ricoh chefs who had come to make a meatball meal for lunch :-) I dosed up on "Ambrotose" (thank you Susan!) and Viral Guard (thank you Sonia) and then I slept and slept and slept (thank you Ellen, Zoe and Mom who filled in on babysitting duty) and by Saturday morning I was much improved.

So there you go ~ a week in the life :-)
I hope it was a good read ... I couldn't sleep so I got up early, started one of those books I bought and thought I should let you all know what's going on :-)

We Love you all

Friday, July 15, 2011

No Way José

Helllo Friends

This morning at 3am Joanna was woken by Rhys and the groundsman (Johnny). Her car had been stolen from the garage. While Rhys was on the phone to her he heard noises down the far side of their property and gave chase. He narrowly missed being shot when the robbers opened fire on him! I feel sick from all the "what might have beens" we have had lately!
The robbers escaped but abandoned Joanna's car in a nearby veld - its ignition was pulled out and the battery and spare wheel stolen. She was not allowed to look closely at what else may be missing because the police wanted to take it to the impound lot for fingerprinting etc.
She is so devestated. It is her only car and school starts on Monday. The insurance will only be able to help her once the police investigation is complete.

This is a picutre of us at the showing of Harry Potter on Wednesday
Mom has decided to cut her holiday at the sea short. Too many worries are making her crazy. They will be coming home a day early.

Last night I had a volunteers meeting and I got to share some beautiful things with them. Here is one of the things:

We do not choose to be born.
We do not choose our parents,
Or our times or country of birth,
Or the circumstances of our upbringing.
We do not
most of uschoose to die
But within all this realm of
We do choose how we shall live

Courageously or in cowardice,
Honorably or dishonorably,
With purpose or adrift.
We decide what is important and what is trivial
What makes us significant is what we do, ... Or refuse to do.
We decide and we choose
And so we give definition to ourselves.
By Joseph Epstein

The Tiger Boys went to the zoo with Mighty's Grade 1 teacher, Miss Schlebusch but they should be back soon because Ricoh's next Masterchef team is blessing us with Chicken Wraps for lunch today and the smell is simply divine as I write this. The renovations on the Creepy playroom are almost done and it looks fabulous! We are cleaning it up as the last coat of paint goes on so hopefully we can move back in over the weekend. Here are some pictures.

On Monday it is "Madiba" day. The day every South African is encouraged to give 67minutes of their time serving their community in honour of Nelson Mandela's 67 years he served the people. We are expecting 4 big groups already. One group is painting at the school, one is providing lunch and 2 others are coming to bring gifts of food and nursery items and spend time with the kids. It is sure to be a great day - one where we get to show people our beautfiul work and where we get to recieve a lot of love from the community.

We Love You All

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The week that was.

Hello Friends

Saturday the confectionary company called Rich's came and did a Cake Decorating Party for us. It was super dooper fabulous (as Christian says). The kids were all given a mini sponge cake which they then got to decorate with a sweet whipped cream icing and sprinkles and smarties and jelly tots and marshmallows! It was so much fun! Here are some pics!

Mom and the "Big" guys left for the sea at about 5:30am Sunday morning. Whilst the house is very quiet and stays clean for longer :-) there are not the same number of hands to help. You only realise how much of a team effort everything is around here when half your team is gone :-) It's meant running around seeing to visitors, feeding the dogs and the birds, offloading donations and feeding the poor who come to the gate - all jobs I haven't really had to do in a while :-)

We've had a tummy bug and a flu going through so half the nursery has been sick but seems to be on the mend again :-)

On Monday Joanna fetched a baby girl, a teeny weeny one. She was prem, weighs just on 2kg and is so sweet and precious! We have named her Ria.

I've got to go.
(Irish) Dan has bought us all tickets to go watch the last Harry Potter movie, so I'm off.

We love you all

Friday, July 8, 2011

You're kidding me ... right?

Hello Friends

Today well... it started at 2am. How do I find the words to explain what has happened now?

We're you ever a stupid teenager? Did you ever do something you knew was stupid but because YOU are doing it ... everything would be ok?

So ... last night Reuel took Mommy's car for a joyride and crashed it into the neighbours electricity supply box. The box is wrecked, the car is wrecked but REUEL miraculously escaped with some minor cuts and bruising.

 Our Angels are working serious overtime here!

Then at 9ish the third RICOH masterchef team arrived, jumping castle and all! It's fabulous fun. They are cooking up a storm - literally check out the picture!

They have decorated the diningroom to be the TLC Restaurant and it has Tinkerbell and Spiderman posters around. The kids are all really excited to be having such a special Lunchtime Treat - just because :-)

Then our friends from the Kirsty Watts foundation have had a builder out to renovate the Creepies playroom, so that is all going on too. The results are looking great :-)

They are fixing our leaking roof, renovating our uneven pool area and putting new flooring and decor into the room :-) We are SOOOO blessed.

A great friend of ours has sponsored a holiday for Mom and 10 kids down at the sea. They leave Sunday ... but now mom's car is wrecked and so we had to figure out a plan B where they would go down in the bus and hire a small car for a few days but ...then we realised Mom's credit card expired (in MAY!) so we dashed to the bank but they can only renew the card by Wednesday and you can't hire a car on someone else's card! So now they'll just have to use the bus to do everything - even the shopping!

GEEZ! What a day! and it's only lunch time now!

Pray for us!

We love you all

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Topsy Turvy Tuesday

Hello Friends

YES YES I KNOW! I promised to write more! and then ... you hear nothing.
I'm so sorry!

Joanna kidnapped me on Sunday for a rest :-) I got to blob, watch a movie (or 2) and read a whole book without being interrupted :-) It was fabulous :-)

But I'm back now and things will be back in order shortly :-)

Tommy is having physiotherapy on his hands every few days now and continues to improve daily.
Here is a photo of one of the hands - It is MUCH improved.

Here is a picture of a happy Tommy with Amy on the night we had our welcome back party for Tommy. (You can read about this soon on Mom's blog)

Our New Farm blog will be up and running shortly (I promise!) and then you can all follow along as we begin a new adventure in our plan to make TLC more self-reliant.

We Love You All

Friday, July 1, 2011

The week that Whizzed!

Hello Friends

Whoosh! Is all I can say!

Since the last post I have been trying to get online to write more about the new farm ... and the universe has conspired against my internet activities!

Our 3G network crashed yesterday so no one in the whole country who uses their service had any joy yesterday and today was just a whirlwind of activity!

So a very quick update before my energy really fades ...

Tommy continues to heal well physically. His hands only need splinting when he sleeps and the doctors say we can take the bandages off tomorrow. Emotionally he seems to be having a hard time now. He seems anxious all the time and just does not quite have the same spark. We have organised a counselling session for him in the hopes that he can talk through the experience and find the parts that are still making him feel bad.

We wait for his brightness to return

The reconstruction of the house is set to begin the middle of next week, and we still are waiting for final confirmation of how much the insurance will cover but from what we can tell it will be less than half.

Most of the kids are on school break now and so the house is full of noise and energy all day long :-)
Thursday was Kay's birthday and today is Taylor's so Joanna has had a busy time too.

This morning I courageously decided to change the bed linen on all the beds in my mobile / matchbox  house... well I only know now how courageous it was because I had to put it all back tonight! BLAH!
I feel like I went to gym and then some!

The blog about the farm will begin soon, I'm so sorry I haven't got to that part yet but I am working on a lot of things at once. My Varsity assignment took a lot of time and I'm working on the new website with someone and a new electronic newsletter that should be pretty cool etc etc etc.

I am sending you all fabulously warm and squishy TLC hugs for all your love and support and ... just because!

We love you all