Posted in All about Mamma bear, Life with my bears

Moving journal….Part 2 : we move

I was super excited at the thought of all the new space, moving after so many years and the adventures that come with discovering a new town.

I couldn’t wait to start packing.

For the next few weeks, I sorted, cleaned and packed daily.

Mercilessly nothing was spared as I savagely threw away, gifted or donated the accumulation of 5 years worth of living in one home.

Hamish donated many of his bigger toys that he had outgrown to our local charity and I gave away furniture we knew we wouldn’t need in our new house.

Soon the entire house was packed and sorted and we were living out of suitcases, counting down the days …to moving day!

Giving notice

Because of our lease, we gave a full months notice and set to work repairing any damages, painting chipped paint, ect before moving.

We knew we would move on the 27th which was a Saturday and started rallying the kids for help.

Let the games begin

The Friday night, our last in the house, my eldest son popped by and we had fetched Kerri who then decided to sleep at her brother ( 5 minutes away from our flat) promising to be back by 7am the next morning.

The two boys who were moving with us had hardly packed up their room and were also not home that evening. I was starting to stress that we wouldn’t all be on schedule to start moving at 6am the next morning.

Chaos reigns

The next morning Brent and I woke at 5am and started taking down our bedroom curtains, moving the last few things in our room downstairs to get ready to pack.

I discovered the milk finished and with no coffee and me frantically trying to get hold of the kids to help us, with no luck.

Things got panicky.

At one point I remember telling Brent if we were on The Amazing race, I was picking another side. My mom nerves were frazzled.

It’s also a good thing most marriages are stronger than the vocal power of annoyed spouses.

Why rush?

We had to move everything downstairs and into the garage before the carpet cleaners arrived at 8am.

With the kids who needed to move their still half packed room MIA , I considered throwing their stuff away.

Eventually at 7.45am all kids returned home.

By then, both Brent and I were working on complete separate teams, each with our own agenda and the kids had their own plan on how this move was going to go.

With total chaos, rain plastering down, no one working together and the carpet guy continuing to trip the electricity, my older kids still missing in action,I finally agreed to let two of the kid’s friends help us.

Move it! Move it!

Somewhere after 8am the landlord and his painters also arrived and he finally understood that he wasn’t going to get much done before we actually moved out the flat and until the Monday when the carpets were dry.

By now I was ready to abandon ship and move with no belongings.

At 10am, with us finally getting everything into the garage and ready to load, the truck arrived.

Loading up

We managed to use an open truck from Brent’s work, which sounded so awesome at the time of our romantic dream move plans but was looking like a really stupid idea as the rain kept pouring down on is.

Thankfully as we loaded up it stopped raining for a bit.

The young adults were awesome and loaded our entire home in minutes.

By 10.30 we were loaded and on the road to our new home.

Part 3 …A journey over the mountain

Posted in Family Life, Life with my bears

Hamish gets his first pet

We have been wanting to get Hamish a pet for about 6 months now.

Not something boring like a fish, which he has owned before, or anything, like hamsters or mice, that he might snuggle the life out of.

A pet that was a bit more active that he could cuddle, play with and start learning responsibility from.

I was thinking a dog or even another cat, as ours moved to our neighbour when Hamish was a baby but still visited us all the time.

No dogs

Hamish’s allergies mean choosing a pet needs to be a careful process.

Nothing with too long a hair or that would jump on his bed.

But still I thought a small dog, maybe like a Jack Russell. They have little hair.

Our new lease unfortunately wont allow dogs so I was a little bumbed at that, especially as a dog in a house is a great source of security.

But I was determined that somewhere along the way he would find the right pet.

Just another dog in the park

A few days into moving into the new house we went down to the local park to play.

Hamish discovered the cutest little dog to play with and lost all interest in any of the kids or playground equipment.

In my mind I sat wondering if our new landlord would reconsider that no dog option.

He was so gentle and loving with the little dog and for a boy with a fear of dogs he was increadibly brave.

I was determined to fix this. My boy needed a best fury friend.

An intruder in the garden

The next day, there was a lot of noise outside as the boys called me.

Panicking I ran out to find they had found a tortoise in our garden.

No stranger to tortoise I know that they only have a 3km radius which means this little guy had been in the bushes since we moved in.

Hamish was elated.

He had found a new animal friend.

We automatically set up an open shelter for it and that night I left it outside.

Being a wild animal, I didnt want to disturb it too much and wasn’t really sure we would find it in the morning.

By the next morning I had joined an online tortoise group for people with pet tortoises, so we can learn more about caring for Buddy.

I’d also started to enquire about a licences as you may not just keep tortoises. You have to apply for a special permit. Apparently we can only apply after lockdown.

I’d also prepared myself to explain to Hamish that wild animals need to live in the wild and I was sure Buddy would come back.

Not going anywhere

But there, in his shelter was Buddy, frozen.

The poor tortoise was ice cold when I found him and so we decided that he is obviously keeping us and we will love him like our pet.

Each morning Hamish helps to neaten Buddy’s shelter, throw the old food out and replace it with new food and we let Buddy roam the garden.

I’ve taught Hamish about camouflage and how to find Buddy in the leaves.

We’ve also spoken about respecting nature, hibernation and why Buddy needs the sun to warm up during the day.

Occasionally Hamish will grab Buddy for a cuddle or play alongside him, telling the tortoise made up stories.

Then at night, we bring Buddy in to his little open container bed, that once was a toy box,to keep him warm and Hamish makes sure he has water and food on his soft bed of warm leaves before we settle in for the night.

There is nothing more beautiful than watching the love between a child and their first pet.

Posted in Covid-19/ Coronavirus, Family Life, Life with my bears

Moving journal ….Part 1: Why we chose to move during lockdown

Somewhere in the middle of May I decided to look at the availability of houses to suit us in Kommetjie.

Now, those of you who have followed us for a while will know that I loved our little apartment in Tableview and although we’ve been on a month to month lease for 4 of the 5 years we lived there, I never actually saw myself moving.

About our flat

Brent and I moved into this little apartment with one of my sons when we were still dating and in the 5 years we were there,the flat has accommodated my whole family.

Somehow this little 2 bedroom flat was big enough.

It had the worst guest bathroom and each winter we would meet the new mice inhabitants,but I loved our little space.

The garden was teeny and the stairs scared me while Hamish learnt to crawl and walk but it was home.

I painted a feature wall with magnetic paint and we filled the house with vinyl murals and mismatched photo frames that spoke of our diversity as a family.

Last year the neighbours pipes burst and we had severe mould and the wall up our stair case started peeling off. But still I was happy.

I felt safe.

I had no plans to move for the next 2 or 3 years.

So why move?

In the same week that we heard of major building that would take place behind us and affect our current flat with regards to noise and neighbours, we were knee deep in Covid-19 lockdowns and my youngest daughter decided to move to her dad to be homeschooled instead of continue at the high school she was at, as there are other teens homeschooling in the home as well.

My older sons, who had needed to stay with us to get on their feet,were now all living away from home and I just woke up one morning tired of the four walls that restricted us.

I’d been feeling very nostalgic for the same upbringing my older children had for Hamish and wanted a space for him to be able to play outside and interact with nature on a daily basis.

I did not want to continue to bring my adventure loving little boy up behind brick walls.

With us choosing homeschooling for the younger children, this opened up the opportunity for us to look at moving further out.

But Komnetjie is so far

Brent and I had been talking about a move to Kommetjie for 4 years…. you know that ” one day when I’m rich” type of conversation.

We had visited friends out here a number of times and each time it felt like home.

If not …why not?

Just to see the house rental prices I went onto the first agents website that came up in a Google search.

I did not actually expect to find anything near our price range. But I found 2 suitable places.

The first one was already gone and the other never got back to us until after we had actually moved.

In between other agents mentioned a house for rental that we should look at and I fell in love…..

From the very first moment, before I had time to explore the inside if the house, I knew …this was home.

It is perfect. The correct size, spacious with cupboards for days and bathrooms to die for. The kitchen is well built and most importantly there is a huge yard with trees and flowers and rocks and mud for Hamish to play in.

Best of all …it was cheaper than our previous rental.

We had started looking at houses on Wednesday, by Saturday we had driven out to Kommetjie and were ready to sign a lease and start a new journey.

Part 2 : our move

Posted in Life with my bears

Diggers in the back yard

Two days ago we woke to the most horrendous noise I’ve ever heard.

The earth was moving, the flat shook. There was bashing and banging and I rushed to my bedroom window to see what this huge commotion was.

Imagine my relief when I realised we weren’t under attack, nor was there an earthquake happening.

The house behind us was being demolished and the tremendous sounds were from the yellow digger bashing down the house foundation.

Hamish was in every little boy’s heaven as he watched the digger move it’s big claw round and about and smash stuff like Thor’s mighty hammer.

For the first 15 minutes and the duration of me taking a few photos, I must admit I got very caught up in Hamish’s enthusiasm. We even waved to the digger driver.

Then Bob the builder started to get rather loud and drained out my attempt at trying to make phone calls for the day.

The room was shaking and I was suddenly very glad we are moving before the actual building starts on the new block of flats that will replace this often empty house.

For two days we watched and listened with a running commentary from Hamish about Bob the builder and his yellow digger.

For two days I wished I lived somewhere silent.

And then as fast as the digger arrived, it was gone, leaving only a bare rectangle of soil.

My child is heart broken. He really wanted the digger to stay next door forever.

I, on the other hand am increadibly greatful that Bob the builder is as efficient as he is and that it only took two days to demolish.

I’m also wondering how I can bribe him to prolong any building plans until after we move.

Posted in Family Life, Life with my bears

Why your child needs roots and wings

Growing up as a homeschool family, my older 6 children were very close to one another, especially my 4 boys.

Kids and cousins
My 6 children and their cousins :- Tammi, Dylan, Shaun, Byron, Ronan, Kerri, Richard, Camren, Kyle and Luke

We hardly had fights at home and for the most part everyone played together.Our home was calm and quiet. And mostly one of harmony among the kids.

They shared the same circle of friends, most of whom became like family to us and many of whom still hold a very special place in my heart.

Children
My children were each other’s best friends growing up

We had two rules …. The first anyone coming in our home had to get on with everyone and secondly share everything.

Then I got divorced.

Home
Broken home

Two of my boys chose to stay with their dad in Johannesburg, my eldest daughter was living alone in Durban and the other 3 kids stayed with me.

V & A water front
Our first solo holiday to Cape Town 2013 – V & A Waterfront

That was in 2012 …7 very long years ago.7 years in which they grew apart, especially my boys, turned ugly to each other, picked sides against each other and fought to find an identity separate from their siblings.

My mother heart was breaking.

Me
Me- Montague museum

I had raised loyal, loving children who were grounded in family first thinking so how could they be so selfish and intolerant of each other?

Family photo

But life has a way of giving us the path we need to grow and learn and over the years, I’ve watched as each one of the boys have chosen a path unique to them. Some have fumbled and fallen as the world has taught them a few rules. Some have acted out and been rebellious.

And whilst I did not always like their behaviour I tried to love them unconditionally through these phases.

It was a lonely place for me as a single mother. How do you admit your child may not be ok? How do you acknowledge you’ve failed? Which mom won’t judge you if you speak out? Where do you unpack the guilt as your child finds their feet through a roller coaster of their own making ?

But as things do, everything passes and the last few years I’ve seen my adult children start to grow closer. To understand yet again the idea that family is first.

My children at my eldest daughters wedding

I’ve seen them bond over tiny things, stand up for each other and be there for one another.

I’ve seen them spend more time together and for the first time in a long time my mom heart is truly happy.

My grandmother always said our children may deviate from our teachings but if their roots are strong they will eventually remember the truth.

She was not wrong. We spend many hours teaching our children from little , the character traits we want them to possess. Through our example they develop their moral compass, their empathy and their sense of family loyalty.

So, long before our children become teens or young adults their roots have been formed…but, with puberty also comes the need to spread their wings.

As parents we need to give our children those wings to fly. We also need to be there to catch them should those wings fail.

These two things can be the hardest parts of parenting.

Love always

There are many mom’s out there, ashamed to admit they feel they have failed. They may have a child who is acting out or exhibiting rebellious behaviour. They may be dealing with children who no longer respect them …to you , the parent who is struggling to see the beautiful child you raised…..Don’t give up.

Continue to love them through this phase.

It will pass….your roots are strong.

This blog was first published on http://www.funmammasa.wordpress.com in 2017

Posted in Family Life, Life with my bears

A letter to my son …

My dearest son

I hope that you grow up the way I try to teach you.
To firstly and most importantly be kind to everyone.

To try to show love to those who make themselves unlovable and if you can’t love them to let them be …. gently ….because you will never change the heart of someone with hate or anger.

I hope you see the best in people, and when those around you show their colours as faded, I hope you use your judgement to choose wisely, those who you keep close beside you.

I hope you become brave. Brave enough to stand up for those who are voiceless, the weak and for your own values and beliefs but in doing so, I hope you remember to treat others with respect and tolerance.

I hope that in becoming brave, you do not destroy the very cause you stand up for but instead use each opportunity to learn or teach.

And in the moments that you can’t, in moments that overwealm you or in the things you do not understand, I hope you will find council in wise friends.

And at night when you sleep I hope you remember to give thanks and ask yourself did I love enough today.

Love always,

Your Mommy

Ps …the world will always be big and hurtful. It will challenge you and often be unkind but never forget to look in the forgotten corners for the light bringers, the lovers and the lonely because in these three you will find your best friends, the reasons you live and the way to help others 💞

Posted in Life with my bears

We are moving but my nostalgia is making it bitter sweet

Brent and I moved into our apartment in March 2015.

It was the month of his birthday and we had been dating about 6 months. At that time one of my sons moved in with us.

In that time this little 2 bedroom home has seen all of my children, except my eldest daughter, live with us, at some point. Some permanent, others just needing a place between jobs.

We have had many family meals, birthdays, Easters, Christmases and holidays all in the crammed little lounge.

Brent and I have planned our own wedding here, as well as hosting my eldest daughters bridal shower and getting everyone ready on the morning of her wedding.

We celebrated our gender reveal and that of my eldest son and first grandbaby here.

We’ve welcomed our own little boy and watched him pass all his milestones from his first smile to learning to walk up and down these horrid stairs and potty training in the bathroom where we had to change the toilet seats.

It’s seen loss and tears but also known friendships and joys. There has been laughter and fun and of course fights. But mostly it has felt love.

It’s here that I broke my leg on the steps whilst Hamish was 3 weeks old and here that I, through many frustrations, learnt to walk again after many months.

It’s a home that has known bad health but one where we have healed.

We’ve seen career changes and unemployment and weathered it all.

It is also here that I started not one but two businesses, turned the lounge and garage into a costume shop and painted murals on the wall.

It’s been a home for us to express ourselves from painting the glass windows with Hamish and crafting with the teens.

It’s been a home …

My first consistent home ever in my 45 years. The first home I’ve not had to pack up and move from in a year.

It feels strange to write that and I think I never truly understood the sentiments behind why people struggle to move, as I’m most likely one of the least materialistic people I know.

But, two weeks ago I decided to look for a new home and by the Saturday we had found one, were signing a lease and preparing to give notice to move by July.

We have long outgrown this home. We have wanted to move for 4 years and have been in a month to month lease since then. We no longer fit in the space.

But, as I start to pack up, I’m also holding on. Not to physical items but to memories.

That time I crawled up the steps with hot coffee and a leg cast because I’d be damned if a broken leg would stop me, only to drop it all at the top.

Hamish’s first steps in the lounge.

The boys helping me to hang pictures or fix a cupboard.

Kerri coming in after school, leaving her stuff all under my feet in the kitchen.

Friends birthdays, baby showers and so many coffee mornings.

Brent and I sharing a bed picnic, eating sushi off of the smallest ottoman and our first braai in the yard.

Our lovely elderly neighbours and the rather odd families too.

I’ve loved this home, it has been good to us.

And now that we set sail to make new memories from next month, my nostalgia is making this moment bitter sweet.

Posted in Covid-19/ Coronavirus, Family Life, Family Time, Life with my bears, Mamma bears, Parenting

One day

As I scrolled through my Facebook feed, I came across this beautiful reminder of where we are right now, as people, a country, the world.

I wanted to preserve these beautifully written words to one day look back one and remember to always be greatful for what we have.

One day

Author: unknown

A year the world will never forget.

A part of history our grandchildren and those that follow them will learn about in the years to come.

2020

– Lockdown started March 26, 2020, 00:00. – – – -We’re stuck in SA as all borders are closed, no flights in or out, except repatriation of visitors to their home countries

– Part 2 of SA “Lockdown” has also been announced and extended with another 2 weeks… Until April 30, 2020. However, this is only from level 5 to level 4.. still a long way to go.

– Cannot leave your house for any reason except for essential shopping or medical reasons.

– The petrol price is R13.76, the cheapest in a long time.

– School closed, some learners doing online classes.

– Self-isolation measures in place.

– Adhesive tape on the floors at grocery stores to keep shoppers 1m distance from each other.

– A limited number of people allowed inside stores, so queues are outside the store doors and inside too.

– Non-essential shops and businesses are closed. No alcohol or cigarettes for sale.

– All sports cancelled… Olympic games postponed to 2021.

– Concerts, tours, festivals, entertainment events cancelled. Some celebrities have done online performances.

– Weddings, family celebrations, holiday gatherings cancelled.

– Churches are closed.

– Beaches are closed.

– No visits with anyone outside your house.

– Children’s outdoor play parks are closed. May not go for a walk with your dog, run or cycle.

– Lack of masks and gloves in the country.

– Government closes the border for all non-essential trips.

– All flights based, locally and internationally on hold until Sept?

– People wear masks and gloves outside.

– Permits needed to be able to go to work (only workers who qualify level 4)

– Army and police in the streets to make sure no one is outside.

– Everyone gets sanitised when entering a shop. Home deliveries dropped at your gate, no personal contact in any form.

– Rand has weakened to R19,15 against the US dollar. R20,60 to the Euro. R12 to the Aussie Dollar. R23,16 against the GBP

– Repo rate the lowest in decades

This is the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,

Why, am I writing this?

One a day, this will appear in my ” Facebook Memory,” and it will be an annual reminder that life is precious and that we should not take the things we love for granted. We have so much to be thankful for.

Be friendly, love each other and support where you can. ❤

Posted in Crafts, Education, Family Life, Family Time, Life with my bears, Parenting, preschoolers, Toddlers, Tweens & Teens

Our Covid-19 lockdown time capsule

This weekend we started our Covid-19 lockdown time capsules.

Why a time capsule ?

“A time capsule is a historic cache of goods or information, usually intended as direct methods of communication with future people ” according to Wikipedia

We are currently living through a period of history that our children will learn about in years to come.

I wanted to preserve a box of mementoes for Hamish to remember this time.

How to make a time capsule

To make a time capsule you will need a container that will preserve over time and a selection of items that would tell future people about you, your family and the year you make your time capsule.

Containers like:

  • Metal boxes
  • Coffee tons
  • Glass bottles ( although these can break if buried)
  • Little wooden suitcases
  • Wooden boxes
  • Cardboard boxes ( although these wont last as long as others if buried)
  • Old ice cream tubs

What am I putting in our capsules?

  • A letter to myself. This will include a few random facts about myself like like age, family, where we live, my occupation and how I’m feeling.
  • Family photos
  • A group photo of the family we are in lockdown and one of each of the other kids where they are in lockdown.
  • A drawing by the kids of our family
  • Newspaper headlines or printed social media updates that are relevant to preserve about the Coronavirus.
  • An object to remember – for me this is a braclet with each of my childrens photos.
  • A painted rainbow rock

For Hamish

  • A copy of the Covid-19 time capsule printables by long creations
  • Information about the Coronavirus
  • A heart from his window
  • A photo of his chalk my walk
  • A photo of his teddy in the window
  • A few of his artworks
  • Some photos
  • Two of his dinosaurs as those are his favourite toys

Other items to include

Our time capsule will only be completed after the lockdown as I want to add a small item from each of his siblings into the container.

Other items you could include are :

  • Calendar
  • USB with movies or music
  • Items from nature
  • Toys as these change with time
  • Food items or sweets you enjoy ( but package these well in plastic)
  • Jewellery
  • Handmade keepsakes
  • Sports items
  • Or something that represents a hobby.

Building a family time capsule is both fun and a lovely way to spend time as a family.

Posted in Life with my bears

An interview with Hamish age 3

CHILD INTERVIEW

I saw this on Facebook and thought it was a wonderful way to document how Hamish grows and thinks.

Try it with your kids today.

Ask your child these questions and write their EXACT response.

Interview with Mommy

1. What’s your name? Hamish

2. How old are you? 3 years old

3. How old is Mommy ? 20 years old

4. What’s your favourite color? Black

5. What’s your favourite food? Peanut butter and sandwich

6. Who’s your best friend? Arsalan

7. What’s your favourite song? I love you ( Barney)

8. What do you like to watch on TV – my movies about dinosaurs

9. What’s your favorite ANIMAL? Wild pig

10. What makes you happy? Dinosaurs

11. Where’s your favorite place to go? My house

12. What do you want to be when you grow up? Grown up enough to drink hot coffee

13. What does mommy do all day? Works and plays with me

14. What are you scared of? Real dinosaurs

15 Where does money come from? I don’t know

16. Where did you come from? The Tots brought me with the crate that holds babies