Tuesday, 9 July 2013

I love (hate) packing.

In a week I’m there. I’ll be spending long hours deciding whether to nap or shop the summer sales…la la la. 

Now back to reality. I have SO much to do this week, it’s like being in an episode of the Amazing Race. There’s the usual stuff, passports, medication check in case they don’t make Corenza, itinerary mailed to everyone I know just in case I don’t come back and they need to launch a search and rescue mission, little plastic bottles to decant products into, suitcase lock, check to see whether hotel has hair dryer, you get the picture…

But then there’s also ALL of baby D’s stuff to organize. Food for a week, calculating how many frozen blocks I’ll need per day, are their enough Panado drops? Does he have enough winter clothing, cause you know it’s going to snow while I’m away. He’ll be at granny’s so transport for the nanny, food for the nanny, a note to the nanny reminding her that he must have a nap every day when I’m away. Brief to my husband about heating food, no standing in the bath (the baby not him), routine, read to him, play with him, hug him LOTS and LOTS more than usual because I'm away :( Lol. 

I’m tired. BUT I’m EXCITED! Yays!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

I'm going to Spain

8 months (and a bit) ago I had a baby. Some days it feels like yesterday and others it feels like 100 years ago. 

I always knew I wanted to be the type of mom that spends time with her kids (kid). I never dreamed about night nurses, baby sitters, leaving them with granny for days and all the other survival methods. In fact it didn't come naturally to me to leave him with anyone, or to be away from him for hours and hours. It still doesn't. I just love this little guy and I love being with him.

But there is another side to this whole thing. There are mornings when I've been up at 1am, 3am, 4am, 6am. And those days land up being the days that I am not my best self. Red eyes and a pale face is my complete personality failure look. Getting no sleep is like being in the army I've decided. And you've gotta go through the trenches of teething to really know what I mean.

Then my dad told me he was going to Spain. My tummy did a little flip. I've loved the idea of going to this country for a very, very long time. I dreamed about visiting Gaudi's Sagrada Família since studying Architecture back in the day. Obviously my first thought was, um no you have a small baby. Then it started haunting me, this idea that I have the opportunity to go with. I have the opportunity to see this place in this lifetime. I've dedicated most of my day and ALL of my energy to my little dude for 8 months, haven't had one night off. So I booked to go.

Guilt. What a stupid emotion, but one that mothers are way too familiar with. If you let it, guilt will enter every moment of motherhood with questions like are they eating right? Getting enough sleep? I wonder if any other babies have ever bumped their heads? How long did they cry for when I left for work this morning? And these are just the mild ones.

Here's the thing. You can let it eat you, or you can see it for what it is. I do feel guilty for booking a trip away from my baby for a week. I will most likely spend the flight sobbing, forcing the unlucky person next to me to ask for a seat change. I will probably think about him every second and try my best not to show videos and pictures to foreign unsuspecting victims.

I do know this. I am SO looking forward to going. I am so lucky to have a husband that is staying behind. I am ridiculously blessed to have a granny and a nanny to hold a little hand, wipe a little cheek and break all the rules whilst mama is away.


I'm looking forward to finding me again, to eating tapas and drinking wine. Mainly the wine part.


Monday, 24 June 2013

Joshua Tree ♥

No, not the U2 album.

I’m reading the Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls at the moment and was overwhelmed by her descriptions of the Joshua Tree.

“One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. "You'd be destroying what makes it special," she said. "It's the Joshua tree's struggle that gives it its beauty.”

The Joshua Tree, sometimes beaten by the wind, grows sideways, but its roots are firmly in the ground. It is resilient in the face of almost anything and just by looking at one that has weathered the storm you are amazed at how beautiful it is in light of its obvious struggle.

In a way this reminded me of the year I’ve had so far. There is nothing easy about ‘trying to do it all’, about raising a child and having a career. And often I’ve felt like this tree.

In the literal sense, there are days when I physically cannot get it all right and land up at work with porridge on my shoulder and bags under my eyes and a look of fear and desperation (moms are nodding at this point) as I tackle the 14 000 things I need to do before lunch. In the emotional sense, there are days that you feel like you don’t have it all figured out, that you’ll never get it right. And just when you think it’s not going to get easier, it does. You realize your own strength, strength to make things happen, strength to do the best you can with what you have. That if you take things day by day, hour by hour even, you will reach the end of the day and still be firmly rooted in the ground. Sometimes against all odds.

One of the most amazing things (and there are millions) about motherhood is that it makes you see and live your own strength. That you are powerful beyond what you imagined. There is, after all, another little person counting on you, and when someone counts on you, you are inclined to want to succeed.

To Joshua Trees, to being perfectly imperfect, to being beautiful.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

My ♥ stopped when I created it. The perfect little-man cave.

A couple of days back I wrote a post about being a book lover. It was on my mind because I was hunting for the perfect book shelf for my little boy. I didn't do the traditional nursery for him because I never felt connected to all that lace and baby-esque stuff. In my mind I always imagined creating the ultimate 'little boy's room' with rocket vinyls, Tin Tin posters, cars etc. This week I decided it was time to carve out a little-man cave for him :) And so the search began. And what a search it was. What I can tell you is that Cape Town is full of rubbish. Rubbish at every corner, rubbish in every so called 'Home' shop. There's nothing good for kids in this city. Well so I thought. I like simple, clean design, nothing patterned, nothing that's going to date. Just white and simple. And that's exactly what IKEA gave me! Ikea at Kids Living that is. The parts were packed separately and were super easy to assemble (that's why we love Ikea) and within 15 mins BOOM! There is was.

That photo is ridiculously skew! Forgive me. Just tilt your head like you've had too much wine and it'll be 100%.
So onto the pillows (how suburban I've become)...

My husband looks more excited about them than Daniel right? Ok so they weren't THAT cheap but I don't have millions of decorative pieces in his room so the R120/pillow was spent and forgotten, quickly. The cutest part is the number plate on the car that says 'Hiccups' (I die!).

The Tin Tin posters I got lucky with. I found them for a fab R75 each at Garden Centre! Who knew Garden Centre could be good for anything! Don't look for these kinds of prints online, they'll cost you a bazillion rand and that's without the postage. It's a pleasure.

Now that that's done I'm moving onto the hunt for vinyl...will post more about this as soon as I've found the right pic to paste onto a giant canvas above his bed. 

Anyone got any sites that I should be visiting to find wall stickers? (Let's hope that's not a call to action for millions of spam sites).

Happy Thursday.

Friday, 7 June 2013

I ♥ books.

I'm a bookworm, a book nerd, a hoarder of old books, a framer of illustrations, a referencer of passages, a sucker for a hardcover, totally and ridiculously into books. And when it comes to children's books you can pretty much turn the dial up on all of the above. 

My childhood storyboard is made up of Roald Dahl (just ignore that he threw his wife down the stairs), Tin Tin, Asterix & Obelix (the movies were also great), the Magic Faraway Tree, Beano comics (ok not a book but must be included), Beatrix Potter (invited Mrs Tiggy Winkle to many a tea party) and many, many, many more.

Daniel is only 7 months old and we read every day. A part of me does feel a little stupid reading to him when he can't even say 'mama' yet. I sometimes get that awkward reading aloud feeling and I literally laugh out loud at how bad I am at voices and accents. But! He gets it. I just know he does. He smiles in the same places in each book, he goes super super quiet like he's internalizing everything I'm reading and his eyes light up when he sees certain pictures. This makes my heart happy. It's so important to me that he remembers these stories, that he uses his imagination, that he creates his own world of characters. It's important that life is colourful, that possibilities are endless.

There was a study recently about the affects of talking to your baby (even from teeny weeny). It's super long and super boring but the gist is that if you talk to your baby they will be more intelligent. I wonder if the same works for creativity? That if you inspire your kids to be creative they will be? Who knows. 

Stories help us to frame our world. I want him to have access to the right ones, to meet and love the great characters that I met and loved as a child. Soon it will be all Xbox and TV and MXit (puke), and books will take a backseat again. But they're precious, they stick, they shape us to a degree and if anything they provide so much joy.

So much joy.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

♥ Stop is back.

It's been a while hasn't it? 

I've neglected my little spot on the web and can only apologize to those who religiously came to check if I had updated. 

The truth is having a baby and working like a maniac in the advertising world has meant that many of my past pleasures have been neglected. But that's all about to change. 

The last 7 months have been life-changing, obvious, but true. From the moment we brought him home, nothing and I mean NOTHING was the same. Nothing was the same in the sense that my heart was living outside my body in the shape of a 3.2 kilo, Mick Jagger-lipped bundle of awesome. Nothing was the same in that there were times that were so hard. Parenthood is such a yin yang of emotion. With every good thing comes something bad and vice versa. The learning then is that when the times are tough the sun is just around the corner, and when it's sunny, the clouds move in. Cheesy but oh so true.

It's also a massive lesson in patience. I'm an A-type solutions-based individual and a Copywriter, which means I find solutions to client's problems on a daily basis. I enjoy it. Apply this to a baby? No. Not possible, not even remotely possible. For every tear you imagine there is a quick-fix, a 'I'll just do this and he'll sleep through'. Instead you find yourself rocking them at 2 in the morning not knowing how long it will last or if you'll sleep at all, ever again. You learn how to be present, because it's all you have. And it can be lonely. 

You know this isn't the end of the story right? The experience is bigger than anything I've been through, and I'll put all my chips on the table and guess that it's the biggest thing I'll ever do. You surprise yourself at how much love you can hold for another person, how other-worldy it is and how amazing it is. They smile, they laugh chesty full-bodied laughs. They are innocent, excited by the small things and just when you think you can't love them anymore they surprise you and learn a new skill, hungry for life.

You get to teach them the things you learnt as a child, read them the stories your mom read you. You build who they are. 

Fashion blogger turned mommy blogger. I hope you'll enjoy the new Heartstop journey.