Thursday, July 2, 2015

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Book Owl, is amazing, and just what you (and your kid) need

Recently, Tanya wrote a review about The Book Owl. Being a book loving family, I took a look. Everything I saw there hit just the right notes, and so I've ordered the 3 month subscription for Keiden.

The order arrived today, and I'm jut so pleased with it. This entire experience has just been amazing from start to finish. Kirsten is such a pleasure to deal with. I had mentioned in the notes box that Keiden has many Julia Donaldson books, but didn't list them and she checked with me what he does have.

When there was a slight hiccup with her new couriers, that meant the books wouldn't arrive in a box as mentioned on the sight, she immediately let me know. That customer first move meant that I wouldn't have an unexpected surprise when the order arrived. In an age where it feels as if customer service is no longer a priority for retailers, this just enhanced my desire to support this business even more.

The books are individually wrapped, waiting for Keiden to wake up. There is a letter addressed just to him about the books he's received, an activity sheet for him - and a colouring in page for me too :) - and a letter with some tips and tricks to do while reading this to Keiden.

I love that it's addressed to K.

The whole order - books, letters, colouring in pages.

I can not stress just how much this has been an absolutely wonderful experience. It's worked so well that the it's going to be the go to present for the littles in our lives.

Useful links: site, Twitter, and Facebook.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Five for Friday: Keiden Update Edition

Keiden is big into walking now. He still has moments of speed crawling when he's very excited to get to something, but for the most part he walks around everywhere - with a massive pleased with himself smile on his face.

He has decided that maybe forks aren't that bad. I think seeing his cousins use forks when we were in PE triggered it. He would grab Jerall's fork, stab some potato onto it, bring the fork closer...and then take the potato off to eat with his hand :). He's getting there though.

He seems to have more awareness of self now. Often when babbling away he will point at himself. We often get these bath time lectures from him, I think he's giving us parental performance reviews, and there'll be lots of finger wagging at us, and pointing at himself. It's as if he's saying "I would not do things this way parents."

This self awareness has also translated into him wanting to do more to dress himself. He hasn't quite figured it out yet, but he often tries to put his socks and shoes on. Admittedly after he's taken them off, but hey I'll take the move towards independence.

He has also taken to wanting to help me hang up laundry. It slows me down, but gosh it is the cutest thing when he takes something out the basket and passes it to me to hang up, or tries to hang it onto the clothing horse.

And another one: this week he started building towers - up to 5 blocks before smashing them down - and yesterday he put a puzzle piece in the right slot :D. I'm having all the proud mommy feels.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Lets chat about...

Inconsistent clothing sizes. Currently in rotation in my wardrobe I have 3 pairs of jeans and a pair of pants...all four are different sizes. Three of the four pairs of bottoms were purchased this year, two from the same retailer and all fit me comfortably. The jeans are a size 34, 38 and 40; the pants fill in the missing 36.

Look stretching can only account for so much discrepancies, but not for the difference between a 34 and 40. Especially given the fact that I have not lost any of the much needed weight I need to lose. The thing that throws me for a loop the most is that two of the pants are from the same retailer.

And it's not just pants that have this issue; at one retailer my tops are a large, at another it's a small, medium and large. From one store I have the same summer top in a small and medium, and then a winter top in a medium and large.

Same sizing issues for underwear and shoes. What's going on here? Do retailers just not care about consistent sizing? Because the same things happen with baby and kids clothes. At one store Keiden fits in the baby range, at another he wears kids clothing. Keeping track is such a mission...and when I get it wrong we're stuck with the items because I have a wash before wear policy.

Does this happen to anyone else? How do people shop for clothing online successfully? What am I missing?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

On that time I won a massage

Remember the #CTMeetUp, and that I won a voucher for a full body massage at Ginkgo Spa, with one to give away on my blog? Well a few Sunday's ago I went to the Steenberg spa, and oh my goodness was it just what I needed. I meant to put up my review after I had been, but the house got struck with manflu and everything went off track.

But back to telling you about the experience. When we arrived, we were shown to the changing rooms - where there were warm gowns and fluffy towels. Once changed, while waiting for the treatment we had some delicious chai tea in the lounge, which had a fire and was stocked with water and a variety of teas.

The treatment room was beautiful, and most importantly in winter, nice and toasty - the beds were heated. What followed was 50 minutes of bliss. It was hands down the best message I've ever had. Post massage you're invited to make full use of the lounge and steam room. I've now decided that I need a steam room, steaming was just a great follow up to the massage.

Guys, there's currently a great special running, and you owe it to yourself to go a Ginko Spa. The special is 50% off any massage on a Monday.

Thanks so much for the treat Ginko, I hope to take advantage of the special soon.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Jumbled ramble

It has been a rather quiet weekend for us. We didn't see any of our people and just mostly hung around at home. Besides when we headed out for food and romper stomping. Both Saturday and Sunday lunch were meals out. On Saturday we went to one of my old favourite places in Stellenbosch, we hadn't been there since moving because it's smaller and always full.

But now that the students are gone, and town is lovely. Places aren't packed to the rafters all the time, and you can manage to get a table. Sunday we tried somewhere new. Both meals were lovely, but mostly I'm really happy to know that an old favourite is still as good as I remembered it to be.

Exam season, and now the semester break has meant that town is just lovely. It is so wonderful walking around, and not feeling that crowded. Although it is also a bit annoying as a few places have closed till August. Others have been a bit more sensible and remembered that the town isn't only filled with students, they've just amended trading hours and what they serve.

I've been thinking about why I keep on failing at the #30daysofyoga I started in January. I've realised it's because I haven't set a time to do it. So I figure I need to do it in the morning. Sadly, that means giving up on some sleep. And that's going to be tough. Our weekday morning routine is a thing of beauty - I get an extra 20 to 30 minutes. Jerall gets up, takes a usually awake Keiden and they do morning stuff. J changes K's nappy, gives him some water and gets him playing for a bit while he sorts out breakfast. The plan is for me to get up and do yoga while this is going on. It should work. I'll let you know if it does.

Making it a bit trickier is that we're all sleeping extremely poorly lately, Keiden is cutting four teeth. The trouble is that he deals well with it during the day - he just gets extra clingy, and cuddly  - so we skips meds during the day. But at night he wakes up screaming, often*. And then we need to fight with him.

He hates taking medicine so much. He either grits his mouth shut, or does a gurgle spit out the meds thing - we use a syringe, but he still manages to spit it out. Then he doesn't let you get close to his mouth to use anything that is applied to his gums. It's just all kinds of awful for him. And we know that he feels bad because he lets us hold him while he's falling asleep - normally he doesn't like it at all. Some folks have given me great ideas for what to try to get the meds in, now we just need to use them.

*It is utterly heartbreaking listening to your child moan in their sleep.

On parenting influences

It's no secret that my relationship with my parent, my mother in particular, is strained to put it best. So it shouldn't be a surprise that I don't exactly look that way for ways in which to parent...besides I suppose knowing with the utmost certainty what not to do. As a result I've been pondering who has/does influence the way I parent.

It is important though to point out that I get that Keiden will always be changing and growing, and as a result what I do will always change and grow. Also that no one method works for all, but I can appreciate and use things that I've seen others use with success.

I've found that a lot that I've read or heard from others is such a great starting point to find a way that works for Keiden, and just as importantly a way to build and maintain the relationship we have.

And it's the relationship that my aunt has with my cousins (and I) that has me counting her as one of my biggest influences. Yes, there are things she does that I don't agree with, but the way she loves and always has your side is something I want with Keiden. She doesn't hesitate to let you know if something is off, but I've never felt that what she says comes from a place of love.

The other folks who influence my parenting tend to sit in a group; moms who blog or who I know from twitter. To clarify, not every mom I read or tweet with makes a big impression, but there moments with those who have shared what they do that has me thinking what I would do in such a situation. And often there are posts or tweets or chats via e-mail or SM that just stay with you.

Like this post by Cat, it's a great reminder that we need to teach the behaviour we expect. She often rights about parenting, and makes these points that just stay with me. There's also Cath, she just has all the words, which she uses to write the most beautiful birthday letters to her daughter. And from chats has just this thoughtful way of doing this parenting gig.

And there's all the oh so lovely moms from twitter*. Some with littles as old as K, some with many kids, some with older kids. And what I get from all of them is this love for their littles, acknowledgement that this is the hardest job ever, that they also struggle to make time for all the other parts of them (it's mostly the older moms who have this part down, and they're great at being a reminder that things get easier...and harder and easier again), and just great encouragement and points  from which to go investigate things for myself.

*I don't want to list everyone, but you could check out who I follow to see who these lovely folks are.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

On fathers

On this day that is a celebration of all that fathers bring to our lives I'm reminded that I don't have a dad. Sure, I have a biological father, the man who I thought was my father till older cousins maliciously told me otherwise (not that it was a loss, he is not a winner of a man), a stepfather, and a really great uncle, but a dad I do not have.

I read what others have written about warm, loving and special relationships and I'm jealous...I don't have that. But such is life, and so I must just remember that all I didn't have is what I want for Keiden.

And he has the best dad. Jerall is the best dad ever. [Yes, we all say this about our husbands, and it's true for all, but seriously my guy wins ;)] Keiden loves his daddy, he gets a massive smile on his face when he hears the keys in the gate and rushes over to bounce excitedly while he waits for him to come in. They build towers together, laugh at farts and most importantly hug a lot.

So, yes my dad situation is the suck...but Keiden's isn't, and that's something great.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Five for Friday: Our trip to Port Elizabeth

We did a long weekend in Port Elizabeth because we hadn't been down there in years, and figured Keiden should see his grandparents for longer than a day and a bit.

The nephews are so busy, ALL THE TIME*. Keiden had a ball trying to play and keep up with them. The older one N (soon to be 5) had so much patience with him, it comes from having a little brother. His brother B (soon to be 3) had moments of playing happily with Keiden, but also a few of wanting to go play somewhere Keiden couldn't get to.

J has finally admitted that K has more than a passing resemblance to him. It only took him seeing the three boys together to see it. The nephews take after their dad, N more than B, and J and his brother have such a strong resemblance that either of them could be out with the others kid and folks would say that kid belongs to him.

PE is one of the bigger SA cities, but man does it have all of the small town vibes. We went to a great play spot, it was a mix of a petting zoo and just lots of room for kids to run around.

Long car rides with a little are tough. I'm just glad that Keiden doesn't seem to have my motion sickness issues, and that I didn't need much meds to survive the drives.  There's a great restuarant at the Sasol in George to stop at if you have kids with you, it has a decent sized outside play area - it helped K work off some of his grumps both times.

*They very effectively reinforced our one is more than enough plan.