Sunday, 16 November 2014

Oops, I've done it again!

I have moved my blog! All of the posts here have been transported across the internet to my new address - I have added new posts, and am trying very hard to keep up with blogging a little of what is happening in my life there! I hope that you will join me on my adventures. Chat soon, v.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 3: Arnan's third birthday

Today my baby boy turned three! I can't describe how proud I am to be his Mama, to have him as my son and to have the privilege of watching him grow up. He is such an incredible person and personality - rambunctious and fun loving, yet sensitive and sweet-spirited, with a wicked sense of humour.
He had such a great day today. He woke up in a good mood and enjoyed being sung Happy Birthday to, and then opening pressies. He was even down with Amélie receiving a pressie on his birthday, and gave it to her before he took his first present. We tried to get him a few of the things he's really wanted - a bicycle helmet for his balance bike (and just generally wearing around the house), wellies for gardening and "mowing" the lawn with his bubble lawnmower (still a favourite he received as a birthday party gift last year), a kiddies' umbrella (he loooooves umbrellas), and books (we ♥ books!). Ami got her own children's cutlery set (like Arnan's), a small feather duster (her favourite thing to carry around the house was the one we use - icky!), a small dustpan and brush, some colourful scourers, and a book of action nursery rhymes.
After opening pressies, during which there were a few moments of confusion between Christmas and it being his birthday, Arnan enjoyed Maltabela for breakfast (he calls it chocolate pappies because of the colour) and ate a whole carrot because that's what his Pappa had for breakfast on the way to work, while watching Bugs Bunny. We lounged around in our pajamas, watching Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes, snuggling on the couch for most of the morning!
In spite of my best efforts I just could not get to baking Arnan's birthday cake ahead of time for the small celebratory tea we had planned for the afternoon, which meant that we also baked a cake! Arnan especially enjoyed the tasting the batter and the licking the beater parts, and was very involved with helping to make the icing. To say I was stressed at his involvement (mostly because I only had just enough of the ingredients and he has a tendency to unwittingly spill them - yes I have control issues I am trying to deal with) / Ami's need to see what was going on and therefore needing to be picked up / watching that the kids don't touch our scathingly hot oven is an understatement. So my voice began to raise proportionately to my stress-levels. At one point Arnan looked at me and said, "don't shout me Mama". I immediately realised what I was doing and apologised to him, explaining why I had been acting the way I had and why it was wrong, and he happily gave me a big hug - my sweet sweet boy. Somehow that lifted the atmosphere, and made me realise what was really important - Arnan's birthday and spending time with him. Strange how easily I had lost focus on the purpose of the cake in the first place!
We had a lovely, although chaotic, birthday tea with Aunty Paula, Roark, Aidan, Granma and our surprise guest from next door, Zidaan, who is just a few months older than Arnan. Of course Arnan was incredibly excited about his birthday cake, singing Happy Birthday and blowing out his candles. This is the first birthday he has really been able to appreciate the occasion for himself, I think previously he was just too young to grasp the concept of a birthday. With all the excitement and playing and protecting his toys from his cousins (he is still very much in the "mine" phase), Arnan only got to eating his slice of birthday cake after everyone had left. Boy did he savour it, while sipping tea from my porcelain teacup with a teaspoon.

Arnan was fooling around after eating his birthday cake and ended up acting silly on the grass. His Pappa was home, he'd had a great day, he was on a sugar high after 4 o'clock in the afternoon (we usually discourage sugar after 4) and life rocked. At the time of these photos he was laughing uproariously, and it was infectious! I'd say Arnan was mirthful! Even when looking back at the photos I can't help but laugh out loud :)
Adjective: mirthful  (murth-ful) Full of or showing high-spirited merriment
"a mirthful laugh"; - WordWeb Online
Thereafter, Nico and I sat outside chatting while Arnan played in the garden with some of his new toys and Ami had a late nap. Arnan played with sand from the flower beds late into the early evening until Ami woke up and we had dinner. Nico and the kids watched a few YouTube videos before bed... And Arnan went to bed a very tired, very happy three year old.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 2: Creative parenting

Today just turned out to be a difficult day. At one point I nearly ended up in tears of disappointment and frustration. One of the contributing factors, besides only having slept for 4 hours, was that by lunchtime Arnan had not had any food except his "hot choccie" - a bottle of warm milk - and some biscuits he found on the dining room table... And he was whining and tantruming for another bottle of milk, discounting all offers for alternative nutrition. There are days that I let it slide, but for some reason today was not one of those days.

Thankfully Arnan finally gave in to my offer to watch some Daniel Tiger (the birthday episode, since it is Arnan's birthday tomorrow), just as I was about to go make the bottle. On his way to the couch he grabbed an empty egg carton and some cherry tomatoes and started munching. I saw the window of opportunity and surreptitiously filled the remaining egg cups with an assortment of cherry tomatoes, blocks of Gouda and fresh cherries. He also devoured the greater portion of a papaya (the sweetest papaya I have ever tasted! Thank you Woolworths :) ). Arnan was munching something, I received an encouraging response to my message of distress from my supportive husband and just like that my day was happy once more.

Monday, 6 January 2014

100 Happy Days - Day 1: A trip down memory lane

I have signed up for the #100HappyDays challenge! To find out more follow the link, but the gist of it is that each day for 100 days you take a photo of a moment that made you happy and upload it using the #100HappyDays tag. The thought behind it is that one will take a moment out of one's busy schedule to appreciate the small happy moments in one's day, and as one goes on this accumulates to an appreciation of not only the small moments, but the happiness they bring.
"The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it, is the base for the bridge towards long term happiness of any human being."
 My main motivation for joining was to remind myself about all the incredible, happy times the kids and I have here at home together. Some days it seems to get lost in the busyness, humdrum of just getting through the day and yes the whining and tantruming - myself not excluded :). Also, I have been meaning to blog and record life as it happens for over 3 years now, but somehow when (and if) I get to it it seems pointless and mundane. But looking back, I wish I had those blog posts on what it was like for me as a first time parent, what my baby boy was like and his milestones, etc., life as a parent of two under two, what kind of a baby my girl was, and so on... And now that there are two munchkins there just never seems to be the time. Well I'm hoping that this challenge will restart the blogging and recording of the small things that are so important in my and our lives. It really is over before you know it - my boy is turning three in a day's time!

Today marked the first day of the challenge, and the first challenge I found was to decide on which of the moments to include! Each has its own specialness... perhaps I am just an overly sentimental person!

My photo is based on nostalgia... In my years of driving the 50km between Pretoria and Johannesburg and back again commuting to work, out of sheer boredom driving the same roads in the same peak traffic, I started taking photos of my surrounds, and eventually, myself. It soon turned into "my thing" and I amused myself that way and spent many happy moments on the road snapping pics.
The kids and I went on a little adventure together today, basically transporting a humungous plastic sandpit in my tiny Renault Clio, complete with two car seats. It was also a momentous occasion as Amélie decided she wanted to sit in Arnan's forward facing seat instead of her rear facing "baby seat". On the way back from Westpack I realised that this was a pretty happy yet quirky moment and snapped a few pics. To say that the kids were in no mood to cooperate with me is an understatement, but somehow I got all three of us, and the giant yellow sunflower sandpit, into one photo. Now that's how memories are made!