A blog about life - the good, the bad, the people, the books, the games, coffee, and food.

Tuesday, 30 June 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, 26 June 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, 25 June 2015

Wednesday, 24 June 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, 23 June 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, 22 June 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.

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*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.

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

Sunday, 21 June 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, 19 June 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.

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

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Fleet of foot

I've realised that there are many things I chat about with friends and on twitter that for some reason I don't write about here. Which is all kinds of silly as blogs are best for longer forms and clarifying thoughts in such a way as to avoid people misinterpreting what you want to say. So reader consider yourself warned there'll be new topics going on here - and I'm working on returning to posting book reviews, I haven't stopped reading just stopped sharing what I'm reading.

I have so many post ideas floating around in my head, that I want to get out, but just aren't getting to it. So this post is also acting as a note I'm putting out there as a form of keeping myself accountable to myself for what I want to post. Expect some more thoughts on gaming, parenting influences, chats about feminism [the academic side of me has been reawakened being back in Stellenbosch], and some of the usual random things.


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

On (not) being a successful grown-up

I've been a quiet lately due to two things: a state of near rage and feed-up with everything-ness, and a long weekend trip to PE. There'll be more on both later, but first I wanted to talk about a thought triggered by this post by Natasha at The Rabbit Haus.

A lot of what she says, just hit a lot of things I've been thinking about on the nose [and she says it so much better than I ever could ;)]. How I read what she's written, is that her focus tends to be on what we do and don't share with the world. What it brought to the front for me is what we use to measure our success or lack thereof as a grown-up. There seems to be this massive check list going around - or at least one that I didn't get signed-up for - on how you know you've succeeded at this being a grown-up business. 

The list seems to be made up of: 
  • seeing all the places, including extensive local and overseas travel at least twice a year
  • having all the new and shiny items
  • owning a house with more space than your family size requires
  • going to all the exclusive places
  • owning your own business, or being fairly high up on the work ladder
  • make oodles and oodles of money
  • being crafty/extra creative/great cook/great writer
  • be super healthy, and love exercise
  • generally having an instagram and pintrest worthy life, and most importantly never, ever let on how just how hard you work at/for those things, or that you have bad days

Based on the list that I've gleamed from what I've read and seen what other folks share, I so fail at being a successful grown-up. I even fail at a downsized version of the list - to which I'd include the have your driver's license. And I just can't help, but think that this comes from the massive disconnect we are going through.*

Much as there are all these tools and ways to foster friendships - new and old - and to keep in contact, those tools are also pushing all of our I suck at life buttons. When I see someone's holiday snaps, or new fun craft/creative thing they've done, or the before and after photos of a new exercise challenge I'm simultaneously yay you for them...and all what in the hell is wrong with me, that I can't do x.

I like to think that my saving grace is that I do the yay you for the person with the great thing, but man those feelings of failing at this one life I have to live, that I seem to be doing wrong and is just passing me by, is just all shades of ugly.

I'm working on those feelings by changing the blogs I read, folks I follow on Twitter, and moving away from Pinterest - I've not done instagram so that's once less thing pushing my buttons. I'm also working on creating my on list of what being a successful grown-up is, but it is so hard. And I'm struggling with moving away from those things we're told is important; a lot of which seems to be based on looking a certain way. Something I'm sure is in part due to being a women. For those things I'm going with what Caitlin Moran says: 

“I have a rule of thumb that allows me to judge, when times is pressing and one needs to make a snap judgment, whether or not some sexist bullshit is afoot. Obviously, it’s not 100% infallible but by and large it definitely points you in the right direction and it's asking this question; are the men doing it? Are the men worrying about this as well? Is this taking up the men’s time? Are the men told not to do this, as it's letting the side down? Are the men having to write bloody books about this exasperating retarded, time-wasting, bullshit? Is this making Jeremy Clarkson feel insecure?
Almost always the answer is no. The boys are not being told they have to be a certain way, they are just getting on with stuff.”

For everything else I'm just muddling along. But, I do know that my list will include reading, further education and travel in its final form. What does your list look like? How do you deal with seeing the fabulous (edited) lives of others?

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*It is also a disconnect that places an importance on things. Something I'll chat about more at another point though.







Thursday, 11 June 2015

Thursday, 4 June 2015

About Me

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Me in a nutshell: I game, read, tweet, enjoy good food, have bouts of red pen rage and I'm a coffee snob.

tums2tots columnist

2017 Reading Challenge

Cassey has read 1 book toward their goal of 200 books.
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Cassey has read 9 books toward a goal of 100 books.
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