Why Did Nobody Warn Me?

It felt like just yesterday that I waited in anticipation to return to the bathroom to look at the pregnancy test to see if there would be one or two lines. It felt like yesterday that I saw two faint lines, and was flooded with emotions – scared and excited. It felt like yesterday that I experienced a million changes in my body – from growing a belly with a baby inside, to the many other changes my body encountered.

10626727_805285356158657_5646284284875383937_n

It feels as if it was just the other day that I gave birth to a healthy little boy, held him in my arms for the very first time, and nursed him through long, dark nights. Then he turned one, then two, and uncountable milestones greeted us in between. We felt as if he was such a big boy when he started playschool at the start of the year, and then when he told us he was ready to get rid of nappies, and then turned three. And now, last night, he decided that it was time to go to bed at night in his undies, and no more nappies.

1653291_820089848011541_7277697781451669639_n
How have we reached this point of independence already? Where did my baby go?
Nobody explains to you that this, too is one of the challenges of parenthood. It isn’t only exhausting moments, the tears, the tantrums and the constant debates we have with them when they are little. It isn’t only the sleepless nights, the struggle to get them to latch when they are newborns. It isn’t only all of that that leaves us in an emotional state. It’s also watching them grow up right before our very own eyes, and not quite understanding how they got to that point so quickly.

10904436_891966894157169_4046962380458622576_o11703451_1003318073022050_6158930099135407899_o

My little boy can have full conversations with me – telling me exactly what he wants or needs. He wants to do everything on his own. Snuggles are less – but when they do get handed out, they’re shared with meaning and so much love. He doesn’t just mimic me by returning the ‘I love you’, but says it when he really feels it’s the time to use the words. Instead of just asking me for help, just because – he now only asks me when he really feels that he has tried hard and truly does need a little bit of assistance. He doesn’t always need me to read stories to him anymore, but I get to sit around the corner quietly, listening to him repeat and make up words to his favourite stories that we once read together. Once we would tell him what activities he would do, but now he chooses what he loves, and it’s such a joy watching him giggle and to see the happiness beam through his eyes as he takes on these activities, and watching him thrive in what he has chosen.

20664023_1542243215796197_3412259535984348159_n
It’s truly beautiful, and as emotional as it can be – I feel that we choose how to deal with our kids growing up. And, my goal for the rest of the year and for next year is to live more in the moment. I am 100% one for taking photographs and little videos of cute moments – and that is my way of storing memories for him to look back on when he is older. But, I am also going to be putting away my phone and camera to truly live in these precious moments. Because if we aren’t living in the moment, where are we really?

3T6A0489
I love having a three year old, and before I know it, I will probably be chatting about how I love having a four year old, and then a five year old. And that’s ok, too.
So — although you will encounter many people everywhere you go (especially when you have a newborn) who tell you ‘Enjoy this moment, because they grow up so fast’, smile – and believe them. Because it does. But you get to choose how you will enjoy it.

21544126_1570107753009743_3525608009224793044_o

Advertisements

Toddler Stimulation – Hello Shongololo

Ladies, I don’t know about you, but I have a nature lover on my hands. Come rain or shine, my little guy wants more than anything to just be outside, exploring – toys or no toys.

21586394_1573183059368879_133827152_n
He will return to our big sliding door with mud dripping from his hands to his toes, with mud marks wiped across his face as if he’s just returned from being lost in a jungle. And the tales he has to tell from his adventures in our garden are worth writing a book about.
I’m not one to spend money quickly. I’m THAT mom who does research on a product before I purchase it. I feel that kids don’t need a lot of toys, because the imagination really happens when you place them in what’s already surrounding them. Also, being a stay at home mom that only earns an income from my blog, I don’t have extra money lying around to just spend every time I see a cute toy.

21744382_1573183092702209_1628271770_n

And then, low and behond – I heard about Shongololo. Huh? You may be thinking, or may have even blurted out loud to yourself, with your kids most likely hollering: “What? What’s huh mommy? Whaaaaat?” (That’s if they’re anything like mine.)
Let me explain quickly – Hello Shongololo is home to a range of beautifully packaged activities for toddlers and pre-schoolers.

21763524_1573182266035625_1167361355_n
Now, I have once before ordered a box for Olly which was created with a similar idea in mind. It arrived (late) and arrived with literally three rubbish products in the box. Let me just say that it stirred not even an inch of stimulation and was not at all educational. It was overpriced and the products seemed to have been thrown in after being purchased from China Town. There was no theme and just no care involved. It definitely put me off.

SAMSUNG CSC
BUT.. there is always hope, and sometimes one just needs to do a little bit of research – and that’s what makes my blog useful to other moms. I make the mistakes for you, and then help you SAVE money and prevent you from making the same mistakes that I did.
So, here is your go-to for an activity box, and I will tell you why now!

SAM_3107.JPG
Olly excitedly opened up his beautifully packaged box, and out popped a gorgeous little bag with a zip complete with a gorgeous wooden Shongololo. He carefully unzipped it with beaming eyes, and shouted ‘WOOOOOAH, COOL!!!’ Out tumbled a bunch of ‘Shongololo In The Garden’ themed goodies that had been chosen and placed in the box with so much thought and care. A desire to enhance your kids hand-eye co-ordination, to encourage creative play and to improve dexterity.
The Shongololo In The Garden box specifically teaches kids about the wonders of nature found in our very own gardens. It contains the following:

– Bug Kit
– Scavenger Hunt (This is my favourite part, and such a fun way to spend a beautiful day outdoors with your child).
– Seeds and Planting fun
– Butterfly Craft
– Felt Tip Pens
– Exciting Story Book
– DIY Gooey Snail Slime (Great for kids with sensory issues)
And the best part is that every one of these products is great quality! They aren’t cheap products that your kid is going to loose interest in our break while playing with them.
Olly has loved his box so far. We haven’t had too much of a chance to go through all of the activities yet, but looking through it has been so much fun, and I promise to post some more photos of him enjoying his Scavenger Hunt and doing some bug catching.
The boxes are wonderful for rainy days, but even for beautiful summer days to go outside and explore! Kids need to get their hands dirty and to potter around the beautiful garden in order to learn, and in order to truly experience what is around them.
As I say, my little guy is happiest when he is outside!

21682395_1573182216035630_1612197885_o

Now onto the facts – the activity boxes are split between two age groups. 1.5 – 3 years and 3-5 years. We ordered the 3-5 year box.

21754826_1573182286035623_1787103286_o

The boxes cost R350 which is such good value for what you get! This includes delivery and it takes between 2-7 working days to be delivered. They make wonderful birthday gifts too! You can even order one of their travel kits (GENIUS!!!) to keep your little ones busy on a long flight or on a road trip. Those are priced between R165 and R240, however that cost does not include delivery.

19075290_1573182282702290_430103612_n

Do yourself a favour and read the ‘About Us’ section on their website. I always love to learn a little more about the face behind a brand, and it truly shows the passion and love that Natasha has for what she does.IMG_6752-300x300 Another thing that is obvious is that she has a little one and is so educated on what little bodies need to stimulate them and on what they can learn from without even being aware.

You can order your box at Hello Shongololo
Also, follow their social media platforms to see all of their latest news:
Instagram
Facebook

The Only Thing I’ve Judged Another Parent For.

Driving back home from one of the best weekends I’ve had with my little family at our old family farm up at the Breede River, we decided to take the longer, scenic drive back through Robertson instead of our usual route back through Caledon. We weren’t even the tiniest bit phased by the toddler tunes on repeat blaring in the car, or the extra bit of traffic. We were just in our element.

20376037_1534690849884767_7658176252426404882_n

Dark crept upon us, and we made our way through the Hugenot Tunnel just after Worcester. Still happily chatting about exciting family events to come as well as our special weekend away; a sudden chill hit us as we saw a car that had recently drove over the edge and was smashed up. Added to the scene were emergency lights, and a crowd of people – paramedics, etc. One of my least favourite things to see, especially on a long, happy journey home.

Not even having a chance to get that visual out of my mind, I glance to the left on a road that one can drive 120km/hr and literally find myself taking a second look. My heart sinks, I feel my blood pressure rise at a rapid speed. A little girl younger than my own son – couldn’t have been older than two running back and forth on the back seat of her parents car, jumping forward between the driver and passenger seat. This sounds terrible, but I wanted to get out and just shake her parents. Didn’t they just see the accident? What if that was them? It could have been, and one day it could be!!!

I am shaking, and I feel sick even typing this. If they can afford to have a car, and if they can afford to put petrol into their car – they can afford to prioritize a car seat for their precious little girl! They can afford to protect their baby girl from an accident that can so easily happen. It doesn’t matter how good a driver you are, these things happen in a heartbeat!

IMG_3957

You know, I often find myself feeling anxious when we go on long trips, and we have a great car seat! I find myself nervous because I know that accidents happen, and my child is securely fastened in his car seat! I find myself praying throughout our long trips because I know that there could be someone who is texting or drunk and an accident can happen, and we spent thousands on a car seat for our son to protect him.

Yet, another parent, their childs life just as precious and fragile as my own child, couldn’t care less to take the precautions to potentially save their daughters life. One doesn’t even need to be educated to know! If you can drive a car, you are educated enough to work out that a child needs to be in a car seat! If you can drive a car, especially one like this family was in, YOU CAN AFFORD TO BUY A DECENT CAR SEAT! Your child’s life is far more valuable!!!

IMG_6922

I am not a judgmental person. And I will never put another parent into a situation where they feel like they are not good enough. Whether you formula feed or breastfeed, whether you had a natural birth or a c-section, you are good enough. Whether you rock your baby to sleep or let them fall asleep on their own, you’re perfect. BUT, the one thing that I will voice my incredibly strong opinion on is putting your child in a car seat! If you are reading this, and don’t and feel offended, or guilty – I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry.

Being a parent means that you need to do what is best for your kids. Sometimes having to invest in something like a car seat is just something that you need to do. Sometimes you have to let your child cry even when they don’t want to be in their car seat, or sometimes your already long trip means stopping an extra 10 times because your kid needs a break from their car seat. But, there are no excuses.

STRAP YOUR CHILD INTO A CAR SEAT.
EDUCATE YOURSELF.
EDUCATE OTHER PARENTS.
SPREAD THE WORD TO PARENTS TO BE!

I can’t express myself enough.

Do the right thing!

My Child, My Rules.

Raising a child is HARD work. There is nothing easy about it. Every single day is a challenge. A well behaved child with manners didn’t just wake up like that. Behind every child is an adult that has worked hard on teaching them those manners. If I think of the amount of times I have to give Olly ‘the look’ before handing him something, or after giving him something which reminds him to use the ‘magic words’, I lose track.

_DSC1472

However, I must say that he has gotten so much better about remembering to use manners at the right times, and even remembers to excuse himself from the table. There were two things that stood out to me over the weekend, that made me think that it’s a good idea to write this post.

_DSC1783

Firstly, Olly had a birthday party over the past weekend, and I wasn’t able to go because I had a kitchen tea which clashed. His Granny took him instead. Later that evening, I got a message from another mommy saying that Olly is so polite. He had such good manners, shared with her younger daughter the entire party and really looked after her, because she was younger than the rest of the kids. My mommy heart wanted to burst at the seams with happiness.

_DSC1483

Another situation, which happens SO often – we went for a play date over the weekend, and 5 minutes before we were leaving I told Olly that it was time to pack away his toys. The mom, so kindly, told him not to worry. I feel that we all do this, because our kids play with them too, and will probably continue to do so once the guests leave. But, I work so hard at having him pack away his toys at home once he’s finished playing, and because it is the polite thing to do at a playdate, I always try to encourage him to do the same.

_DSC2519

Then there are the daily challenges that we face with other parents and adults. Topics such as the food we allow our kids to eat, routine at home, screen time, the list could go on. I get so mad when I ask Olly to do something, or tell him ‘no’ about having something, and right in front of him, I get challenged by the other parent/adult. I’ve raised a child who knows that what I do is best for him, and he doesn’t question it – and then to have another adult question and say ‘Shame, he’s just a child’ in front of him, it creates doubt in his mind. Doubt that I have made the wrong decision for him, and often leads to an argument where he then begs for whatever it may be, and it turns into a battle; whereas without that parent even saying a thing, my son would’ve been quite happy as usual to just go on without it.

_DSC1454

Might I add that this often happens with family members too! Remember this, they’ve had their turn at raising their kids and now it’s your turn!

The amount of time it has taken me to get to this point, where my son knows exactly what he is allowed to have, how much screen time he is allowed, that he chooses water over juice 99% of the time, and his overall manners – it has taken years to get here. (We aren’t perfect, and SURE, we have our bad days). To have somebody else carelessly ruin that for you, and to set you back is just MEAN!

_DSC1386

We all know what is best for our child, and as you’ve put months or years instilling rules and manners for your family – we have all done the same. MY CHILD, MY RULES.

DSC_1907

And I feel that this is such an important thing to remember when you feel like opening your mouth. You never know the full story behind a family or individual. So, instead of putting your foot in it, rather keep out.

I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences on this topic. And may I add, that I am in no way saying that myself nor my child are perfect. We are far from, and there are days where he tests me beyond my capability. I just thought that many of you can probably relate to this and wanted to chat about the topic.

— One Modern Mom

Photos by Angela Rea of My Sunshine Journey: https://www.facebook.com/OurSunshineJourney/

Back To School.

It feels bizarre that three weeks has gone by in a flash! I can’t believe that my little guy is back at school today. It has been a successful holiday. We managed to complete the three tasks we really wanted to get out of the way – 1. Potty Training 2. Painting our room. 3. Clearing out the outside room from when we moved a year ago.

But there was one more task that I knew I wanted to work on the week before Olly went back to school, and that was getting his mind prepared for the return to school. It’s a huge thing for their brains and emotions to have so much change in such a short period of time. It’s almost as if the moment they get settled into school, and the routine that goes with it, school holidays arrive and throw them off. It’s all totally confusing, and I can completely understand why – honestly, it sort of catches me off guard too!

The whole of last week, I spent (without Olly even realizing) preparing Olly’s mind for returning to school. Last term was a tricky one – I found that he would moan the night before school and in the mornings before school saying he didn’t want to go. But, once we arrived, he was content – and I know that he loves being  there. So, I didn’t want a repeat of that. I would chat about the exciting things about school, his friends, the fun things he does there. When he seemed slightly bored at home, I would use that as an opportunity to chat about ‘when he goes back to school next week, he’ll probably be doing some exciting messy artwork with his friends..I wonder what it will be.’ And, when we would chat about a certain topic, I would mention that he would probably learn about that at school this term. All of these opportunities that arose were used to the best of my ability to get his emotions ready and excited to go back to school.

14468602_1220721661281689_3352602049972493487_o

We also worked hard on getting him back into routine. We printed out a very special chart for mornings and afternoons/evenings so that he knows himself by looking at the pictures exactly how each day will go from the moment his head leaves the pillow in the morning until it hits the pillow at night. From putting his jarmies under his pillow after he’s dressed to bath time. This has worked phenomenally well, and I am so content with how he has swung back into routine, and settled so nicely into the new routine I’ve created which involves little chores (things that he did anyway, like packing away his toys and putting his dirty clothes into the washing basket, etc.) which gives him the feeling of being independent and responsible.

bed time

Breakfast, lunch and dinner all happen at the same time each day, and he will help me pack his lunch box the night before, which also stirs up some excitement for school. Mornings start with a healthy, brain fuelling breakfast. Oats, or egg or even a protein packed smoothie if he doesn’t feel like eating. There is NO TV time before school, but sometimes we have a little time left for a story, puzzle or even a snuggle.

This morning was smooth sailing. He rushed into his classroom, leaving me trying to catch up behind him. He was very excited for us to tell his teacher that he’s at school WITHOUT A NAPPY!!! (HOORAY) and he was even more excited to be STIMULATED with puzzles that he hadn’t seen every single day for three weeks, but most importantly, his mind had already been put at ease for the past week, so that it wasn’t all too overwhelming for him today.

I’ve learnt that parenting is ALWAYS a process. Nothing ever just happens. We need to prepare ourselves and our kids for big, scary emotional roller coasters that they will encounter. They are too little to understand and work on their big emotions on their own, and we need to be sensitive and understanding of that. And we can so easily give them a helping hand.

How have you helped your kid(s) be emotionally ready for going back to school today? Do you find that a solid routine helps in your household too?

— One Modern Mom x

The Reality Of Sugar.

Did you know that over feeding your kids sugar from a young age can create an incredibly unhealthy sugar addiction for them as adults? Also, did you know that rewarding your kids with food isn’t always a healthy idea either. I find that people often laugh at me or shrug off the intensity of sugar. I often find myself cringing when I see the food that kids eat on a daily basis. I’m not judging, but rather wish that I could educate them on how desperately kids need a healthy diet for their tiny bodies and to help their brains work at their full capacity.

3T6A0546



 

Here’s my own personal story:
SUGAR & TODDLERS = MINIATURE MONSTERS

Copyright © Matt Masson 2017 Image 014

Without exaggerating, it was literally three minutes ago that I gave my son two teenie tiny SweeTarts. (My absolute favourite candy that my dear friend brought me back from the States.) I couldn’t resist sharing with Olly, because, of course, they remind me of my own childhood visiting the States to see my family.

My mistake! He had been happily playing outside in the mud, when he came inside to ask me to roll up his sleeves. I then handed him two of these little sweets. One for each hand. Within a matter of minutes – three to be exact, he turned from a sweet little boy who was happily entertaining himself, to literally screaming, spitting, and just being ugly. Define ugly: shouting, not listening to me, making horrible sounds, and just being all round RUDE.

It is mindblowing what sugar can do! And I think that we underestimate the power of it. I’ve done an article on healthy eating before, and I have always been quite strict on what Olly eats. From a young age, he had a gluten intolerance, which meant that we had to be careful about what he ate. But, as he’s gotten slightly older, it isn’t nearly as severe as what it used to be, thankfully! However, at the same time – it seems that we have sort of loosened the ropes on steering away from sugar.

Olly will generally choose water over juice. He will never get any juice apart from 100% fruit juice that we dilute mostly in water. For school lunches and at home, he will generally get fresh fruit and nuts with his rice cake or sandwich or sometimes dried fruit. He also, surprisingly LOVES having baby tomatoes in his lunch box. Strange kid.

BUT, he’s a kid, and somehow he manages to persuade us to give him the BAD treats. That’s the kind of treats that are okay at a birthday party on the odd occassion. But, NOT to have on a daily basis. I never reward with food – for instance, he will never get sweets or a biscuit or snacks if he goes potty on his own, or does something good. I’ve learnt that it’s a no no, thanks to Munchkins parenting coach, Celeste Rushby who I used to au pair for and learnt so much from over time.

The problem is that when he catches David or myself munching on a biscuit, or a peice of chocolate or somebody happens to open a packet of chips, he comes running from the other end of the house (where he couldn’t hear me calling him from) to see ‘what we have for him’. I know that the immediate and obvious solution would be to just not eat that kind of thing when he is up and about and to rather save it for when he is asleep, and look – it isn’t a daily thing. I’m making it sound as if we constantly have junk food in hand, which isn’t the case at all. We never prioritize pudding for him after dinner. Every now and then he will have a yoghurt with a banana, or stewed apple which is home made with a drizzle of custard.

But – WHEN HE DOES have sugar – it’s as if I have a totally different child in front of me. And it scares the living daylights out of me. I do not like the child he becomes. The high is short and the low is long and dreadful. Totally not worth it! It’s the worst thing you can give your child – honestly.

I want to suggest that you (and I) replace the junk treats for healthier alternatives. Dried fruits, rice cakes coated in carob, dark chocolate, biltong or droerwors – you catch my drift. I struggle to wrap my mind around why I feel the need to give Olly sugar when he’s totally content, happy and polite (you almost feel as if you want to give them something nice as a treat to secretly reward their behavior) just to turn them into the opposite of what they are.

Olly LOVES his healthy snacks. He honestly does, and always has! And so, my July resolution – OUT WITH THE JUNK, IN WITH THE HEALTHY.

Natural sugar in small doses is totally OK! And every now and then, a sugary treat isn’t a bad thing. But, if you want to see a change in your kids behaviour and attitudes, choose snacks that have no added sugar, no colourants, MSG or flavourants, etc. You catch my drift. Don’t make sugar an expected thing in your home. And for those of you with young babies that aren’t yet there – start your babes off not even knowing what it is – because they don’t need it! They get all of the sugar they need through fruit!

Sorry about my long rambles, I was just actually so shocked this morning watching how such a small amount of sugar made my sweet child turn into a monster in such a short amount of time.

So, I just wanted to raise the awareness about how SUGAR is really a drug when consumed too frequently. And there are so many alternatives that you can rather choose from. Maybe I should do a post on some alternatives that you can choose from that don’t cost an arm and a leg?

Thanks for reading, and I would love to hear your perspectives and ideas on this.

— One Modern Mom

Please subscribe to get notified when I post new content. And you can also let me know your thoughts by commenting below.

 

Behind The Lens With Radz Photography

I recently shot with the very talented and creative Radiefa Peters from Radz Photography along the beautiful Sea Point Promenade. What a wonderful, strong team of women to work with – Hannah Kruyer from @shewolfsa who did my hair and makeup (I’ve never felt so beautiful) and my wardrobe from Movepretty.

3T6A0515

What I wanted to achieve was a special bond between mother and son. I do try to live a healthy and active lifestyle, and I try not to let being a mother and having a busy life with a toddler, being a work from home mom as an excuse to not have the time to be active – because it is so easy to include them in your workouts, especially from home or not in a gym environment.

I was nervous to climb into gym clothes and in front of the camera – exposing my jiggly mommy tum and prancing around showing it off in one of the most active areas in Cape Town – along the Promenade. But, WOW! I was immediately made feel comfortable and beautiful working with Radiefa (who just knew exactly what she was doing, the best angles and poses). The shoot was quick and simple. We were also blessed to have Hannah on our team who was fantastic to have on set. I think all in all, it was just the best group to work with.

3T6A0203

I got my photos back within the next few days, and was actually blown away by the photos. She just captured us beyond my expectations. Radiefa generally shoots weddings and fashion, and not so much children. But, she is incredibly talented and was just so gentle and guided us so well, that I would highly recommend working with her as a family.

3T6A0312

3T6A0344

3T6A0410

I was bursting with excitement to share this Behind The Lens with you. So, do keep reading to find out more about Radiefa and how she started in this highly competitive industry as a photographer:

03

1. When did you first realize that you could make magic with a camera?
I’d say this was in 2011 after I shot my shot my first wedding! So much people commented after I posted my first wedding pic! Well let’s just say the rest is history lol or atleast still in progression.

2. How old were you when you picked up your first camera?
Hmm probably around 11 years old, My dads old compact camera.

3. What inspires you to keep going in this industry?
There’s obviously so much competition and it can become tough at times but I the fact that it’s my dream to be a photographer,travel and become internationally known, that’s definitely what keeps me going! Also, my lovely clients 🙂

4. Three facts about you…
Go Getter, Love to laugh & Be around happy people

5. A little paragraph on family life.
Family, something so close to my heart, the tears, laughter, fun, secrets.. things that are shared mostly with them.Family is enjoying each other’s company and spending a lot of time doing things together! Family is love. Family is Home.

6. What is your favourite content to photograph?
Happy People! I mostly photograph weddings but I thoroughly enjoy the random Family Portraits 😉

7. If you could choose one wedding to photograph, whose would it be, and why?
I haven’t thought about who yet but someone who would fly me over to Italy/Switzerland even Some tropical island! Yup,that will be EPIC hehe

8. We did a family, lifestyle shoot together, and you were amazing with my son, do you often do kids photography?
When I get asked to yes, I use to do it every weekend but lately I’ve been so busy shooting weddings

9. Your favourite memory since you’ve been in the industry?
Definitely when Kwaito legend Doc Shebeleza called me to shoot his surprise Wedding Anniversary gift to he’s wife! He asked her to re-marry him and he flew her down from Jhb to CPT just to do that! Eek how cute.

10. A few words of advice for someone starting out in the photography industry…
Shoot Shoot and Shoot some more! It’s the only way you going to perfect your lighting and techniques. Also, watch a few tutorials online and give yourself shooting goals!

11. How can we keep up to date with your latest work, specials and news?
You can find me on Facebook under –Radz Photography– , Instagram @radzphotography_cpt or simply email me on info@radzphotography.co.za

12. Lastly, what social platforms do you use to showcase the beautiful moments you capture?
Instagram Mostly but I’m quite active on Facebook as well.

 

 

The Reality of A Happy Home.

I wish that the world explained to parents that there is more to life than a clean house. Look, I’m totally on board with keeping things hygienic, but when it comes to choosing between folding a mountain of laundry or saying ‘yes’ to playing with your kid, you’d think that as a parent, the answer would be an immediate ‘play with the kid’.

_DSC2519

However, social media and society tends to have the ability to leave us feeling as if a slightly disorganized home means that we are failing as mothers or even fathers. Apparently it means that we don’t at all have things under control. I’ve walked into the home of many a mother. When baby was very little, I would feel slightly guilty when arriving at another moms house. With everything in place, the glass coffee table freshly shined, and babies little play area totally organized, I DID feel as if I was doing something totally wrong. Was I lazy? Was there something wrong with me? Did I belong on the show ‘Hoarders’? Did someone forget to give me the memo?

But then, it was my turn to have a few moms over for tea. I spent hours the night before sorting, shining, polishing, vacuuming and setting up. I, too had the response from moms about how my life seemed so in order. I was flabbergasted. It was all a show!

Copyright reserved to Cass Collett Photography

As moms, especially with younger kids, very few of us have our houses totally in order, (at least not done by ourselves). When I had a nanny that would come once a week, that was the only time that my home was remotely in order. With an incredibly busy toddler and four dogs as well as my partner, I’ve stopped apologizing to people saying, ‘I’m so sorry – excuse the mess’, because this mess means that although I may not have my home in order, I have a very happy child who has parents that take time to play with him. It means that he explores the house, and he PLAYS! It means that we invest our time in the moment, and it’s about the memories that we create with our child each day, rather than having a house that looks like it has fallen out of the pages of a magazine.

_DSC1880

Don’t get me wrong – our home is CLEAN – I make sure to use the hours that Olly is at playschool to get household chores done, and our home doesn’t look the way you’re most likely beginning to imagine it to look, but what I am trying to say is that IT IS OK to skip a day of laundry to take your kid on a special outing, to make yourself that cup of tea (and to drink it…while it’s hot) or to have a break by meeting your girlfriends for a glass of wine.

People are so quick to show off the positives in life. It’s time to create the awareness that life doesn’t have to seem perfect to the rest of the world. It’s time to stop pretending. Creating a happy environment for yourself and your family is all that matters at the end of the day.

— One Modern Mom

Break In’s & Blessings.

I’m feeling quite emotional this morning. We woke up to finding that our car had been broken into last night. That always leaves one feeling unsettled, especially when it has happened at your own home. The thought of some stranger invading my personal space, leaves my skin crawling.

Olly’s bedroom is very close to the entrance of our house, which means that all of this took place just a few short steps away from where he was peacefully sleeping. It must have happened at early hours of the morning, as these things usually do. Wow! How things change when you have a child.

13662314_1163573980329791_6871817601121336252_o

Once the break in was brought to my attention, I instantly scanned my brain of what could have been left in the car of Olly’s. I feel that we often take things in the car that are special to him, as he always loves taking them along for the drive. As I went to put on his shoes for school, he moaned, and begged to wear his new Shooshoos he got just last week. Just then, I got this anxious feeling in my gut. I jumped up and went to the car, knowing that we had left them in the car when we had got home the night before because he was so tired and his shoes were just lying on the floor of the car.

I got back into the house, and Olly asked me again for his shoes. I responded by explaining to him that somebody had got into our car and took his shoes. He burst into tears and asked me multiple questions about who, and why would they take his special shoes? My heart just broke as I saw how something that meant something to him could affect him just so much. Only being two and a half years old, and knowing that, at the end of the day, they are replaceable, it didn’t matter – the point is that he totally understands a situation and can still be hurt by small things that don’t matter to so many people.

13661765_1163574126996443_7287973255585722660_o

We never leave valuables in the car for this very reason, but it seems that lately, robbers just want whatever they can get their hands on. They then resell for an insulting cost so they can earn some money. GRRR!!!  However, over time, we all get a bit slack, and we were more worried about getting our overtired toddler into bed. But, we certainly have learnt our lesson.

At the end of the day, what matters is that we were all safe, and thank God they didn’t intend on coming into our home last night. I am so grateful that it was only materialistic things that were taken and that my little family is just fine.

I feel as if this post hasn’t really all made too much sense, and I also feel that it has no flow to it, but I don’t care today. Today, my point is that family is so much more important than materialistic objects. The emotions I am experiencing are no doubt attached to the thoughts of evil and bad being so close to my child. But THANK YOU GOD for placing your Angels to protect and guard our home and family last night. It humbles me and really makes me realize that no matter what we have, our family is priceless.

13613542_1163575776996278_3113917304025930718_o

So here is a lengthy reminder, to never keep anything in your car at night, no matter how safe you think your area may be.

 

HAPPY MONDAY!!!

— Lisa

A Bugz Life.

We were invited to a day out at Bugz Playpark. It has been on our to-do list for over a year, but we were eagerly awaiting for Olly to be the right age to go. Little did we know, we could have taken him ages ago and he would’ve already have had such a great time! Below, you can read about our experience at Bugz Playpark with my little Bugsie and Elijah.

DSC_1055
WHEN?

Bugz Playpark is open 364 days of the year; however, token rides are only open on weekends & public holidays. You can read more here to find out which rides are the Token Rides: http://www.bugzplaypark.co.za/park-info
WHERE?

The playpark is in Tarentaal Street, Joostenbergvlakte in Kraaifontein. It is tricky to see their signs from the road, but there is a sign for the Cape Gardens Centre Nursery, so make sure that you turn RIGHT down that road to assist you with getting there.
WHAT IS IT?

Bugz Playpark is the Western Cape’s largest playpark for kids! Not only is it a playpark, but it is also a fantastic party venue. With 8 indoor party venues, there are also 4 outdoor ones – and with 28 themes to choose from, you actually can’t go wrong!

INDOOR:

There is a huge indoor play area which is perfect for a rainy day.

OUTDOOR:

The outdoor play areas are complete with Free Play Fun as well as the Token Areas. The ‘Free Play Fun’ activities include the sandpit, slides, monkey bars, dolls houses, treehouse, mud kitchens, jungle gym, and splash pool. If your child is below the age of 3, this is what I would recommend.

TICKETS:

Check out this link for more information on the ticket costs, and how it all works: http://www.bugzplaypark.co.za/park-info

SAFETY:

I love their rule that an adult can’t come in unsupervised! 😉 If an adult isn’t coming in accompanied by a child, they aren’t allowed in. This means that the playpark is safe from any ‘lurkers’. They also haven’t made it easy for the kids to roam out of the playpark on their own. There is only one way out, which is also the way in, and there are always people from the park around watching. This certainly does put my mind at ease!
EXPERIENCE:

Close your eyes tightly, and imagine Disneyland – but instead of a huge, overwhelming theme park that all ages are invited to, it is a little fantasy world for kids ONLY. A stimulation station where they can get lost in play, safely! And, instead of rides and activities being created for no reason other than fun, each and everything that they have built has a purpose of its own. It means that even though your kids are having fun, without even knowing it, they are learning and growing through play!

We arrived at Bugz Playpark just after 10:00. Our boys had already seen the video on the website of all that happens at the playpark, and were so hyped up before they even knew what was about to hit them. We were greeted with upbeat music, which left their little toes tapping while waiting to enter. We got to the front of the quick moving queue, and it was time to get our wristbands. Oh, what happy smiles we were met with! The boys were very proud of their special bands, and sped off without a second thought. So many options, so little time – or so they thought! But, the time was on their side, and there was enough time for our little people to see and do everything, multiple times!

We were then introduced to Melissa, the park’s Marketing and Event Major, such a wonderful woman who clearly loves what she does. I loved how she crouched down on her haunches, and made eye contact with our boys while chatting to them about all of the fun that was instore for them. They were practically squealing. We got a quick tour of the playpark, and then were left to go wild!

First stop, the jungle gyms! Funny, right? It just shows how well thought out these magical  jungle gyms were for two and a half year old boys to choose them over other rides they had never seen before! And BOY, did these kids climb and climb AND CLIMB! Next stop, the little ‘Worm Train’ ride – the smile that lit up my sons face was priceless. He was truly in his own little world, imagining all sorts of things. As he ‘steered’ the train frantically from his very own little carriage, I knew instantly that the long, hot drive out there was totally worth every second.

worm 1

We then, excitedly made our way over to the little self-ride tractors. These are great for kids that have little tricycles at home! The sweet sound of giggles that came floating from that enclosure was divine!

tractor 1tractor elijah

Our kids were a little too young for the horse rides, but that didn’t prevent them from enjoying watching the older kids gallop around the paddock. They were so excited to hear that they could have a turn when we go back again another time.

We rushed off to the Splash Pool, as both of our boys are obsessed with water since starting swimming lessons last year! Due to their age, they weren’t yet allowed to go on the wave slide, water slide, speed waterslide and rowing boats, but they were totally content with the open shallow pools with water that sprayed out of the ground! We loved that the water is reused, and not wasted! Kids HAVE to wear proper swimming costumes, and aren’t allowed in with underwear, I always think that this is important! It also keeps the water clean and hygienic! The boys must have spent at least an hour at this stop!

water boys 1water elijah 3water olly 1water boys 2water elijah 1water olly 2

At this point, we were so grateful for an entire playpark to be shaded. There are uncountable trees, which mean that we are always protected from the sun! Kids often don’t notice the heat, but as parents, we do! And, it often is the deciding factor on how long one stays. It was a hot day, and not once did we notice how hot it was, because we were kept cool and out of the direct sun, thanks to the trees!

The park, in fact isn’t huge! It is spacious, and as a parent, I think we can appreciate that if our kids run off, we will always find them, as the playpark goes in a loop. All of the water rides, and age restricted rides are fenced off with a ride controller, so your child cannot just hop onto a ride on their own. Also, if your child is too young, their band will be the incorrect colour for that particular ride ensuring they are kept safe at all times!

12:30 arrived, and we decided that it was time for some lunch. We headed inside and what a wonderful menu with a large variety! A well-stocked ‘Bugz Big Bite Restaurant’ with very friendly, and patient (when your kids change their mind of what they want to eat 10 times) waitresses. I love that there were healthier options and different portion sizes depending on what you chose to eat. There is also a Snack Shack in the outside play area for a quick snack or refreshment while your kids continue to play. I love that they give you a little buzzer which works right around the playpark. This means that your kids can continue playing until the food is ready. The boys had a burger which was huge! I had a wrap and Angela had the chicken salad. Everyone was very quiet while eating, which is always a good sign. We all agreed that the food was delicious!! The kids played in the indoor play area while we ate. I really appreciated that there was this play area as they could play and entertain themselves for a bit while we finished eating.

elijah indoor

We headed back outside, excitedly and bee-lined straight to the face painting station. They got to choose from a list of characters. Olly decided he wanted to be a Ninja Turtle, and Sam, the artist did a phenomenal job. Honestly, Olly is normally quite nervous and hesitant when sitting down in front of a stranger – but Sam was so gentle and friendly, that Olly sat there quietly, and still for him to paint his face for him. Sam held up the mirror, and Olly showed off a huge, toothy grin with his freshly painted face! Elijah decided to be Micky Mouse, and again, he had a wonderful experience. They both climbed onto Sam’s lap at the end, and gave him a big high-five to say ‘Thank you’.

olly facepaint

facepaints with sam

elijah face paint

We then went next door to ‘Megan’s Petting Farm’. Here, the boys got to hold, pet and feed the animals. So neatly kept, we weren’t holding our noses the entire time, but instead had fun ourselves feeding the little lamb and goat as well as holding the bunnies and guinea pigs. Olly was even brave enough to hold a goose, and he fed the Turkey. Pets and animals are so vital for kids – and watching our boys fall so in love with each of these animals was just the sweetest thing! The soft looks in their eyes, and watching them stroke the animals so gently was truly special.

elijah petting 1olly petting 1olly henpetting 1feeding goatolly bunnypetting 3

The Swing Horses were next in line, and due to their age, we had to go with them. I must say, even I had fun, and Olly was singing away as the horses ‘galloped’ around and around. It is a 3 minute ride, which means it’s long enough to really enjoy it.

carasoul 2

It was already almost 14:30, and the boys were starting to get tired and stroppy after a full day of playing! We decided that we would end the trip ‘sweetly’ by letting them have an ice cream before getting them into the car. With such a lovely variety of flavours (sauces that go over plain vanilla ice-cream’, it was tough to choose one – but they settled on the ‘Candy Floss’ flavour and were very content with their decision. By this stage, they were practically licking their ice creams while falling asleep sitting up, and we knew that it was home time!

ice creams
They had the best day at Bugz Playpark. Our little characters were content and ready to sleep all the way home, and sleep they did! We all had a wonderful day, and I have no doubt they will be talking about their experience for weeks to come. We will definitely be back! And, once Olly is old enough for more of the rides, we will most certainly be back frequently, despite the long drive. It is such a wonderful meeting place, parents can watch their kids and chat while the kids play, play and play some more.

outdoor climb 1baking sand 1elijah outdoor climb

I can honestly say that our day out there was worth every single cent! And your kids will thank you for it!

For the parents that don’t live in Cape Town, make sure this is on your itinerary for when you do come down to visit on holiday!

Follow Bugz Playpark on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bugzfamilyplaypark/
Website: www.bugzplaypark.co.za/
Instagram: @bugzplaypark