Saturday, 25 February 2017

Zac's First: Sleep Out

It's true. Zac, at four years and nearly nine months old, had never (before last night) slept out. I know. If I were connected to your webcam right now, I would see that look of shock on your face.

It wasn't intentional. Or maybe it was, subconsciously. I don't know. But before now, the opportunity, preparation and desire just didn't meet at the same time. Either someone (usually Ash) would invite him and he wouldn't want to stay, or we would hint furiously (usually to Papu and Yaya) and they wouldn't bite. So, it just happened that the only time I was separated from Zac overnight was when I was in hospital giving birth to Sam, and one night Andel stayed in hospital with Zac when Sam was a baby.

This time, it all seemed to fall into place: my parents' church was having an overnight camp out in their gardens, and the bigger grandkids were invited. At first I didn't say anything. I wasn't sure what Zac's take on it all would be, and I wanted him to be able to decide for himself. But Zac was super excited, and as it got closer to the weekend, all I was hearing about was this camp out. Yesterday morning, before I even opened my eyes and got up for school, Zac had packed his overnight bag.

So this is what you all want to know, I know:
Was I sad? No, actually.
Did I miss Zac? Not longingly, no.
Did I check up on him a hundred times? No (but I was glad to get some photos this morning to post on the blog).

Actually, Andel and I went for a quick dinner with Sam, and then had an early night. And now Andel is at work, and Sam, who is my date for breakfast at the camp out this morning, is back fast asleep, so I actually have an opportunity to blog! (Hallelujah!)

So what took us so long?
I must say, I did look at others who easily left their kids with friends and relatives from a young age, and sometimes wondered why I wasn't as quick to do the same. I also envied what I imagined must be joyous freedom of time and space (and the chance to go to the toilet uninterrupted) when not waking up to the 05h30, "Mommy, can you make me breakfast now". But I think I've realised, for me (please, I am not criticising anyone else's position or decisions - they all carry a cost), a lot of my parenting ideology includes having my children, when they are able and it is appropriate for them to, have a say in when they want to do things. It is not my natural bent, but has given me much peace, and I am grateful for that.

Rise and Shine!

Cereal Time - Camp Style

Saturday School

Tuesday, 7 February 2017


A belated welcome to the new year. If you've been following my posts for a while, you'll know that I am notoriously bad at posting between December and February, so you are forgiven for thinking that I may have shut down the blog.

Anyway, we're back online, so I thought we'd begin with a bit of a catch up:

I'm thinking about...
the terrible drought we are having. We have never been major water consumers, still, it's been amazing the change in mindset since we have seen Theewaterskloof literally dry up and come to grips with the real possibility of no water before winter. We are currently saving water in a million ways imaginable (see the Waterwise post) it's crazy that it's still not enough. This entitled and wasteful attitude bothers me. A lot.

I'm watching...
Scorpion. Andel can almost never get me to sit down and watch something with him, but this past weekend he literally forced me onto the couch to watch this. He didn't give me any synopsis beforehand or anything, he simply said, "you'll enjoy this" and left me to it. Four episodes later...

I'm listening to...
some good old nineties music, actually, and boy does it bring back memories. I can't believe that the music of that time is over twenty years old. Is that not insane?! Also, I'm eagerly awaiting the new Jamiroquai album. I'm always a little sceptical when a band that was so good in their prime releases new stuff a while later, but I'm hopeful.

I'm loving...
Having conversations with Sam. For someone who didn't want (not couldn't, mind you) to speak to a good while, this sudden flourish in vocabulary and noise is music to my ears. Who knew he had so much going on in his head? From "please may I have some water" to "mommy, put powder on my bum", this kid has me laughing out loud sometimes. Of course, my absolute best is, "love you" or more recently, "lief vi' jou".

I'm busy...
at work. Many people assume that my job doesn't involve much, but the longer I find myself in it, the busier I seem to become. What started off as just teaching PE and administrating an existing sports programme has become something more of developing and running a completely parallel extra curricular programme involving sports, service and culture. And I'm still lecturing on the side. It's no wonder I'm exhausted.

I'm going to...
kick myself for not going to Twelfth Night at Maynardville tonight. I love watching theatre in that setting, and Andel and I had planned to go, but between having and not having tickets, and having and not having babysitters, and then him having to do the late shift at work. We are not longer going. Perhaps later when it's chilly and I'm laying snug in bed with my boys, I'll be grateful.

I'm battling with... 
the issue of entitlement and equality. This is heavy, so I'm not going to go into it, but it's something I see all the time. I really don't understand how people can believe - and teach their kids! - that they are better than others based on their colour, religion, nationality, social and/or economic status. We have a long way to bridge the gap of inequality with a measure of basic respect. That is all.

I'm resolving to...
prioritise and minimise. Easier said than done. But I'm getting there. I've had to put a good couple projects, favours and interests on the back burner, and I'm better managing my time and my talents. I know this will only benefit the boys as well: already I have more time and patience for all of them - and that's what's really important. 

Have a lovely week all!

Friday, 3 February 2017

How to: Save Water

With less than 37% water available for the summer, this situation is beyond desperate already, so while I'm a little late to jump on the bandwagon, here are my favourite water-saving tips that you can use in your own home. You'll be surprised how much you use, and how you can get used to using less.

Wash Wisely
Basically, if you are able to limit water use by taking a shower of no more than 2.5 minutes - do that. Start the shower with a slow stream and stick a bucket in the shower to collect the water that's wasted while the water heats up. Soap yourself and shampoo your hair without the shower running. Use the water in the bucket to lather with. Once you're fully sudded up, take a quick rinse under the running water, still catching most in the bucket. Apply the same principle to running water when brushing your teeth.

If showering isn't really an option, share a shallow bath of water with kids and/or family members. Do not pull out the plug!

Save Grey Water
This can be done even if, like us, you don't have a garden. The grass is not the only thing that grey water can be used for. Grey water (water saved from baths, showers, washing machines, steaming food etc.) is an excellent source of water from which to flush the toilet with. Simply save the water in buckets or other large containers, and pour into the toilet when you need to flush.

If it's Yellow let it Mellow...
I thought I would battle with this, but, what do you know, I'm still alive. Unless someone has left a stinky deposit in the loo, try to limit the amount of times a toilet is flushed during the day. Mornings, bath times and bed times are pretty easy: have everyone use the loo, and then flush once afterwards (using grey water, of course). Don't forget to still use the Air Freshener (that bit is pretty important).

Fully Loaded
Only use the washing machine and dishwasher when there is a full load to be washed. If there is something small that urgently needs to be cleaned (think kids uniform items, socks and underwear) use the water collected in the shower bucket before you start washing yourself.

There are other obvious things like checking for leaks, installing lower pressure faucets, placing a brick in the toilet cistern etc. that also come into play here, but even if you've done all you can in those areas, these are going to make a huge difference. And that's exactly what we need. Every person has to do their bit to save water.