Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Gift of Giving

For anyone who has not yet been part of the Santa's Shoebox Project, please do consider doing it this year.

Santa's Shoebox Project is a fantastic initiative of Kidz2Kidz Trust, providing Christmas boxes for children in need - many of whom have never, ever received a Christmas gift. And there's something in it for you too: you're practically guaranteed to feel really good about doing good.

Our local Life Group did this for the first time last year, and it really was a wonderful experience. It was humbling to put together this box of fairly simple things knowing how greatly it would impact a little person's life. It was also pretty amazing to watch our own little people get involved in this process with such love and excitement, from picking out what went into the box, to writing in the card and decorating everything.

Putting together a box is really easy. Here's what you need to do:

Get an empty shoe-box. It can be the one with the separate lid, or a hinge box that opens from one side. A medium sized box is ideal. And if you don't have a shoe-box a clear plastic container of similar size will do just as well.

Decorate the box. This can be done by wrapping it (be certain it can still open), painting on it, using stickers - be as creative as you like.

Decide on the gender and age of the child for whom you're preparing the box.

Fill the box with new and age appropriate goodies including the following:
  • Toothpaste
  • Tooth brush
  • Bar of soap
  • Wash cloth
  • An outfit of clothing
  • Educational supplies
  • Sweets
  • A toy
Ensure that there is no perishable or allergy based foods (e.g. nuts), medicines, glass or other sharp objects or religious/political/weapon-type items (e.g. toy guns or swords) included in the box. The Trust reserves the right to remove any of these prohibited items. Also, remember put any liquid items - or anything that could spill/mess - in a ziploc bag before putting it into the box.

Once you have the contents of the box, write a short letter to the recipient of the box, wishing them well, and letting you know that every item purchased has been done so with them in mind. The idea is to make them feel super special and spread some love.

Finally, drop off the completed box at your local drop off. There are different spots and deadlines all over the country with different dates, so if you've missed the local ones, be sure to get to the next closest place! You can check out the website

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Family Photo Shoot: Take Two

This past weekend, after managing to land a pretty sweet deal, Andel and I took the boys for our first family-of-four photo shoot. I think it's safe to say that we're not really photo people. Between my lack of grooming and Zac's "no photos please" we tend to stay behind the lens rather than in front of it. Anyway, because we had done a family photo shoot with Zac when he was six months old, we decided to do the same with Sam.

Now unless the years have made my memory a little hazy, I seem to recall that things went pretty smoothly with Zac. It was a lovely afternoon, he was super cooperative, and we got some great pics. Not quite like this time...

When we arrived at the photographer's house both boys were asleep. Usually we welcome a well-timed corporate nap, but considering it was 10h00 in the morning, we had not planned for this one. Zac in particular is a very sensitive riser and does not like to be woken up, so when I carried him inside and he continued sleeping, I was getting worried. Thankfully, after some gentle rousing, he opened his eyes without any tears or tantrums. However, he was still in no mood to take photos.

So we spent the first half of the shoot taking pics of Sam who was all too happy to show his dimples off. Naomi has some great props and ideas, and a few times I found myself sitting back and 'taking pictures with my eyes', trying to etch the images into my memory.

And that was the end of the peace, because after that Zac decided he wanted in on the action, and proceeded to terrorise the poor photographer. When we'd ask him to hold Sam, he'd put him in a neck lock. When we'd ask him to pose on the rocking horse, he'd go all Bucking Bronco on us. When Naomi asked Andel to blow some bubbles around Sam, Zac jumped into every shot trying to catch them. It was tiring, to say the least.

Still, I guess we had fun anyway. We've started really enjoying these little adventures we find ourselves in, just the four of us, and we're learning that, with two independent and thrill-seeking boys, if nothing else, life will never be boring!

We're due to see some pics over the next two weeks. Hopefully there's something print-worthy in the lot!

Friday, 16 October 2015


I have been so super, crazy busy lately. I think since returning to work life has resumed its fast-paced, activity filled madness, and in truth, we get used to it. It becomes the norm. So when I say activity-filled I don't refer to dates, parties, outings etc. What I actually mean is there are around two hundred actions that are our routine, that keeps us sane - or at least moving - from day to day.

By definition, a pause is a temporary stop in action or speech, and as you can tell, I have not done so long enough to blog. So let's do just that: Pause. And catch up a bit.

I'm thinking about...
How to better my marriage. Seriously. I've never been one to sugar coat marriage. For me it is - and will always be - hard work. And not because of Andel. Marriage is work in the sense that it's deliberate and purposeful; both partners have to be equally and fully engaged; and there are a number of other factors that challenge the harmony every day - one of which would be kids. So, Andel and I are taking a Date Night challenge to go on three dates in three weeks, and then one date a month thereafter. Watch this space.

I'm watching...
I have not read or watched TV in ages (although Andel says I just have to start Code Black), so I guess I've been watching my boys mostly. I'd love to be watching the back of my eyelids instead, but we're on the back end of a terrible week as far as nights are concerned. Both Zac and Sam have chesty coughs and runny noses courtesy of the blustery wind and increasing amounts of pollen in the air. If I've managed four hours of uninterrupted sleep, it's been a good night.

I'm listening to...
Different versions of the Days of the Week, because that is what Zac is singing. All day. Every day. I am looking forward to getting Swing City's Well Swung album though. They're a local swing band consisting of well known individual frontmen/performers of which my good friend Nathan Ro (of Project Fame days) is one. They are fantastic live, and I can't wait to hear all they've done on this, their first studio album.

The Swing City boys: Loyiso, Nathan & Graeme

I'm loving...
The fact that Paaper Bites have made a reappearance. When I was at school, the shop on the corner sold these, and we'd buy them probably every other day. I still remember: Secret Flavour and Bombay Chili were my favourite. I know they aren't very healthy, but I love them, and I enjoy the nostalgia that accompanies it.

I'm busy...
Trying to find family holiday options for a long weekend in December. This is no easy feat - it's high season, and we can only do weekends as Andel may not take any leave in December. I'm pretty determined though, so hopefully we find something suitable, somewhere, soon.

Our last (first) family getaway

I'm going to...
A21 Campaign's Walk for Freedom tomorrow morning. The organisation is doing fantastic work world wide and I'm glad I can be a small part of it locally. It's just a 5km walk on the Promenade, but I'm hoping it'll also kick start us into some form of exercise heading into Summer.

I'm battling with...
Not being in good shape. I've been feeling run down for a while, and if you add that I've not lost any baby weight, I've not exercised in years, and I'm getting very little sleep - I'm a bit of a mess, to be honest. And Sam is teething. Enough said.

I'm resolving to...
Be more disciplined. For me, part of the reason I'm all over the place (mentally) is because I'm all over the place (literally), so I'm going to start erecting some boundaries, do a little prioritising, organise my life and hopefully have a little more room to pause (and date).