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Hello hello hello

I’m going to skip the whole “I haven’t blogged for so long because I’ve been busy” intro because *yawn* and because well, we’re all busy. We glorify it like it’s an achievement, but being busy really sucks. People throw all their savings at expensive holidays to get the hell away from being busy, so I won’t bore you with the details on why I’ve been too ‘busy’ to blog. I’ve still been writing though. I wrote this huge heartfelt post on my innermost self-exploration and emailed it to like five people instead.

I made a huge decision this year. See, last year I went on this gigantic mission with my business. I wanted to feed and grow it like something out of “Little Shop of Horrors” and once it was all set up, I looked at it and realised that it wasn’t what I wanted at all. Taking four days to reply to emails, feeling like we were ‘delivering’ instead of achieving. I felt like a waitress with seven tables and everyone sat down at once and it was awful. That’s not what I want. While I have a small group of people that assist where I’m absolutely unable to, I want to stay the face and project manager of my own company, you know? I want to maintain control and know exactly what is going on at every minute. I don’t want to delegate, I want to DO. So the first part of this year was greatly dedicated to re-shaping a lot of what I’d formed in to the wrong mould. And it’s been great. I’ve also been much more selective with our clients and ensuring that we’re 100% passionate about absolutely everything that we’re doing. What a huge difference that’s made for general morale… But enough shop talk.

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My children are by far the most amazing and incredible thing that’s ever happened to me. I know that you’re supposed to love your children, but I really LIKE them, you know? Like I sit for hours and just talk nonsense with them. I have to give you a little run-down on their current personalities because I’m just besotted.

Noah plays the piano and had his first music concert. I couldn’t get over how brave he was on stage. How confident he is in his ability and how comfortable he is with himself. Watching him laugh and joke with his classmates in the seats – I literally could not take my eyes off of him the entire time. He played so beautifully and was so proud of himself. He loves reading and languages and has never been overly interested in television. He LOVES tech things though, like to a borderline OCD level. I got a humidifier and it was like the highlight of his month trying to figure out how it works, what purpose it serves and the engineering behind all of it. Little things that we all walk past… like he would sit for 20 minutes and try figure out what else our oil heater can do. Which settings it has. It blew his MIND when he figured out that it had a timer. He’s just like that… he loves figuring things out. One day when we drove through that tunnel (you know the one that goes through a mountain – I think it’s on the way to Robertson or something) he said “When I grow up I want to be an engineer so I can make tunnels and bridges that are safe for people” and I swear. to. God he’s going to. I know that he’s going to end up doing something in that field, although it might switch to medicine when he’s older. I know he’ll love knowing how a body works and he’ll like helping people. He’ll definitely have a career with some sort of reward attached to it. Noah is also so social and funny and man, he’s just so smart. I know that we all think (know) that our kids are smart, but his teachers begged us to send him to be assessed when he was five and man alive – he really is a tiny child genius. When they assess kids, they do this personality test too (the whole thing takes like two full days) and Noah has what she called the ‘head boy’ factor. Meaning that he has strengths in every department – emotional, intellectual, rational, physical and social. He’s a very lucky kid.

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Sometimes he says the most incredible things like the other day he asked me if I thought that a particular girl at his school is “the one” for him. I was like well my boy, I don’t know…. ??? He doesn’t believe in Father Christmas because “It doesn’t make sense – how can one person be at the same place at the same time every year etc” when I suggested elves, he straight-up laughed at me. Like I was the child. Anyway, I’ve sworn him to secrecy to protect his brother’s innocence. But man… he says the craziest things. The other night he said he loves me, and I bragged: “I love you MORE!” and he replied “I love you more than space-time continuum” and I had to google that really fast. Like hello, please can you be eight years old and not twelve? He is such a bright, happy boy. He’s also super in to origami right now and spends hours practicing his folds. I can’t wait for him to read all of this one day. Noah, I’m so proud of you x

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BENJAMIN. Well look, if he doesn’t end up being a vet, archaeologist, zoologist or paleontologist then I will be shook. Bunny Banana is obsessed with animals. Noah goes to the library and brings back story or joke books, and Ben puts a new ‘information’ book on my lap every week. “Information books on mammals. Fossils. Dinosaurs. He has probably brought home every educational mammal book that poor library has. His bedtime story is a fact book on animals. He has always been like this, and now that he’s started reading and can scan titles – it’s even worse. We went to a bookshop recently and he asked the store person: “Bring me ALL the information books on animals” and sat on the (kids area) floor while this poor guy loaded books in from other sections. Ben sat there for a good hour trying to soak up as much information as he could. He also really loves math, so I buy him these cool workbooks so he can do sums.

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Ben loves television. Ben loves television probably (definitely) more than he loves me. He watches documentaries about earth and (yes) animals. He watches cartoons that give information about different species. When you talk to Ben, he’ll rattle on and on about this habitat and that ecosystem. His language ability is honestly profound. I took him to the UCT clinic for his asthma a while ago, and this retired professor handled his consultation. Within five minutes, the professor (sincerely) asked if he could use Benjamin as a speaker at his next conference and could not believe how well articulated he is for his age. He wanted me to get Buns tested, but you know what… I don’t want to. I just want the boys to be kids and like dinosaurs and be engrossed by our household appliances.

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Ben is my baby. Noah thrives on independence. In the mornings, he makes his own toast, lets Jack out, makes my coffee, pours himself a bath, gets himself ready and reads a book and has had like, an entire life before Ben and I have even woken up. Bunny still asks me to pour him some juice and he’s so soft and caring. Honestly – Ben is the most caring person you’ve ever met in your life. He also has an incredibly innocent and beautifully naive quality about him that makes you fall in love with him at once. While Noah is super social and popular, Ben is the sweetest little loner. He’s not lonely, it’s just that he’s so fulfilled in his own company. He has like, one close friend at school but other than that, Ben lives completely in his own little world with animals, books, maths and television. As I watch his reading improve, I get more and more excited for him. A whole new world is going to be available to him, and I can just picture him sitting in his room for hours, soaking up information.

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I honestly can’t get enough of those two or their love for each other. Their bond is the most beautiful, precious thing and it would break your heart if you ever saw it. Really, I’m so grateful that I get to watch them grow up. There is nothing sweeter.

There’s so much more to talk about, and I’ll chat more again soon. I want to write a whole lot more again – about everything that’s been going on. I also want to write about the places we’ve been visiting and I want to talk about some serious stuff, but more on that next time. PS It feels really good to write again!

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The boys in their Winter Country Road gear!

I haven’t done a little shoot of the boys for such a long time. With the move, renovations and work, I’ve barely got their winter wardrobe sorted and find myself fishing through cupboards trying to find snuggly gear that still fits. Growing kids are the toughest, because when they were younger they needed a new wardrobe every single year. Can you imagine that for a second? That everything you own in your cupboard needs to be replaced every year from your shoes to your shirts? Actually, that doesn’t sound bad at all. Now that they’ve settled in to their growth, I’m getting 2-3 years of wear out of items (especially when I’m sneaky and buy a size too big hehe) so I’ve really enjoyed dressing them more lately. I love it when they look good and people stop and comment on how stylish or adorable their little outfits are.

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I shopped at Country Road V&A Waterfront as they have a huge kids section. They had a 20% sale on some winter items, so I did go a little bit mad. I love the quality of Country Road’s clothes and have a few of their items in my own wardrobe too. When I went to Melbourne in January I came home with the most beautiful Country Road dress you have ever seen – but more on that another day / post. Extending my favourite brand in to the boys’ wardrobe makes me happy and I can see how proud and different they act when they’re dressed well, you know? It has begun! I really love the kids denim range. The fit is so snug and lightweight and makes them look like proper little tiny grownups.

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We took a walk down to our favourite sushi spot the other afternoon, so I took some fun pictures along the way to show you how sweet the latest kids #Countryroadstyle gear is. The boys are so good on camera and love playing along. They do drama at school, so I totally take advantage and say things like “show me happy” okay now “show me serious or excited or fun” like really, they are always so keen to play pretend and will be on a ramp in Milan or at least in Vanity Fair in absolute no time. KIDDING. Am I? How cute are these outfits!

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PS Check out sweet Nina’s new outfits on Angie’s blog if you have a girl and want to play dress-up too > Lucky Pony 

 

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I bought a house for you.

I sure did. I don’t know if I’m emotionally ready to talk about this yet, because it has been such an absolute mission. I started this process in November last year and when I saw this little house, I could. not. stop. I’d been looking for a little investment property close-ish to UCT that sits in a great neighbourhood and that obviously won’t depreciate over the next 11 years – when the kids move in and settle in to their studies. It’s a sweet 2 bedroom duplex in a tiny little block with a big wrap-around garden. The street is lined with big trees, it’s opposite a beautiful church and adjacent to a community garden and playground. There’s access to the train station close by, and it’s a quick walk to main rd on the current Jamie Shuttle route. There’s a lot of development going on in the area, with phase one recently completed. Man, I did so much research right down to the body corporate and their financials and maintenance plans too. There was a bit of a show-down between the seller and I, and on the third offer we finally found a middle ground.

Buying a house as a sole proprietor is a total nightmare. At one point I genuinely considered taking up a full time job just to make the banks like me more. I’ve always avoided credit and literally don’t have any. Not even a cellphone contract. Nothing. Apparently this is a VERY bad thing, and there were many tears over the phone to the credit bureau about my case. Buying a house with just one income and watching people across a desk comb through your bank statements and business financials is actually mortifying. Quick tip: It doesn’t matter if you can afford the bond or even twice the bond amount. It’s just not enough. So with no credit, no payslip and no joint income I set out on The Worlds Most Impossible Quest. And we won. Eventually.

The plan is to live in this sweet little house for a year or two and fix it up real nice. Then rent it out, and pay it off by the time the boys finish school. If you’ve looked at projected figures for university fees in 2027 then you should understand why I’m trying to cover as many bases as I can right now. Maybe I’ll live there as an old lady with many cats one day – who knows? But at least there’s something extra nestled somewhere.

I’m doing tiny baby little renovations right now, which pains me. I am not a DIY type of person. Even the thought of shopping for tiles bores me to actual death, but I’m trying to get in to it. My mom’s partner is a most excellent builder, so I’m kind of winning there. I’m so grateful to him, really. So here are some ideas and plans and things that I found on Pinterest. The first steps to making the place feel a little bit like home.

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Do you remember

We all used to cuddle in to mommy’s bed and watch Friends and Now and Then? Noah, it’s your favourite movie right now. You love the Wormers and the mystery of Little Johnny.

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Watering the vegetable garden and watching your mielies grow? Watching things that you planted grow from scratch. Your mielies are almost ready now, and I’m so proud of how attentive you’ve been.

Do you remember that every night Jack would lay at the edge of my bed and stare at himself in my dressing room mirror? Sometimes he barks at himself forever and sometimes he wakes us up at like 3am this way.

Noah do you remember telling me that chickens are your favourite animals, and then bunnies. And that dogs are “okay”

Ben do you remember sitting in the bunny cage with Pumpkin, Fasty and “the white one” whenever you felt a bit sad?

Do you guys remember me taking your playstation away and hiding it in the top cupboard? You guys got so mad at me that I thought you’d literally never love me again.

Remember how we play UNO for like hours and how Ben always wins? Sometimes you don’t like picking up 8 cards, so mommy shares the big pick-ups with you. You’re never a sore loser, but you always forget to say UNO. I love how proud you look when you win a game, like you’ve been validated by the universe.

Noah you’re such a sensible, organized, neat and level headed kinda guy. You need things to be right, and fair and explained. You like things to make sense. You got your new school shoes and uniform last weekend, and I watched you meticulously fold and place everything together exactly as it was packaged. You’ve had it all ready and organized… 3 days in advance. I love this about you. I love how much you care about everything.

Remember when I travel and I’d always bring this huge stash of NEW sweets and treats home for you? Remember how Ben likes jelly sweets and Noah likes chocolate ones. Remember that time you got grounded for 2 weeks because of something to do with these sweets.

Noah do you remember how you lost your second tooth? How we tied floss around your tooth and the other end to the kitchen cabinet? You were so brave, I NEVER thought you’d let us do it. I hope I’m there when you trick your kids in to it too.

Remember when Ben decided he needed to be super cool and wanted that crazy haircut? All shaved at the sides with an over comb? You got your rockstar haircut, but I drew the line at peroxiding your hair white. You’re only 5 my boy.

Remember how we spent this summer holiday at the pool and at swimming lessons and the beach? You practically lived in the water, and now you’re on your second set of sunburn. I’m so glad that I got to spend so much time with you!

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You’ve started big school, and I’m so proud of both of you. Proud of how well mannered, attentive, caring, sensitive, crazy, fun, sporty and adventurous you both are. I love watching your friendship grow. You’ve been such brave boys this holiday, and I can’t help but be proud and take a few pages out of your tiny little books. Whenever I worry that something’s going to knock you over or unsettle you, you ALWAYS prove me wrong and don’t let anything dampen your gorgeous little personalities. You’ve walked in to a brand new world at school, filled with new friends, lessons, experiences and knowledge. You walked in well rested and sun-kissed, with beamy smiles all over your faces.  I love you guys so much.

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Every part of you is just another part of me.

I haven’t written you boys a nice letter lately; mostly because I’ve been so busy hanging out with you. I wonder when you guys will start reading these posts. Maybe you’re young men now. Or teenagers. Or fathers. Well, right now Noah: You’re six years old and you joined a new school this year. Your ‘forever’ school where you’ll be ’til you’re ‘big’ (standard five / grade 7) You had a pretty tough few weeks settling in, but you’re finally back to your ass-kicking, bouncy, happy, cheerful, chatty and bright self. You hang around mostly with girls and I’ll mention their names in case you remember or still know them: Claire, Ella, Fin and Ryan. And then with Dylan, Sam and Alfie too. That is sort of your squad and you guys are the coolest.

Benjamin you’re 5 next month and DYING to finish “baby school” and get to Grade R. You’re doing so well at art and your head sucks up information like a thirsty desert. Every day you have a new piece of information and you get SO upset when I drive you to school because you insist that my car is killing the earth and making holes in the Ozone layer. You love to sing. You love to watch television (Paw Patrol) and tell Noah that you just want to relax. You HATE it that Noah wants to play games like 24/7 when all you want to do is sleep late, watch TV and eat melted cheese on toast with tomato sauce. Mostly I think you’re missing out on solid friendships right now. At your school, all the kids are going to other schools next year. You’re really excited to meet your new, “forever” friends at big school. I’m so excited FOR you.

Noah right now you have 5 loose teeth and you’re about to lose a couple. Bunny (do I still call you Bunny?) we’re planning your 5th birthday party right now, which is obviously a Paw Patrol theme. You used to be obsessed with Spiderman, then Dora, then George in Peppa Pig and now it’s Marshall in Paw Patrol.

We’ve just come out of Winter over here, so right now you guys are really loving getting out the house and in to the forest, beach and and park. We’re doing a lot of gardening and planting vegetables – which you both love. Daddy just made you a big swing in the front garden with ropes tied to the bottom so you can pull each other and let go really fast. Do you remember that? Jack loves pulling you guys on the swing too.

I wonder what else you’ll remember about right now. Your tiny childhood. Your teachers, your friends, your school, your home. Do you remember the “N” and “B” lights I bought you for your bedroom? Do you remember us going on dates to the movies and sitting in the “red chairs”? Getting ice creams with flakes and browsing the toy shops? Do you remember baking muffins and cupcakes and me making you clean the lounge every afternoon. Do you remember all the times you got in to trouble for wetting the floor in the bathroom or the dogs always eating your shoes and me getting really mad. Do you remember climbing the olive trees in the garden, because pretty soon you’ll be too big to do it.

I miss you. I miss you being this small. Even though you aren’t big yet – it still hurts… knowing that you’ll grow up one day. You still believe everything I say and you believe in all the cool things like tooth fairies and Father Christmas and magic. All you want to do it play and pretend and make and create things and dream and listen to stories and colour and draw and eat sweets and learn. You’re so energetic and feisty and hungry for life, like every day is a brand new ADVENTURE filled with fun and excitement. Do you remember that?

I want you to know that whatever is going on for you right now – you were once a little boy with scraped knees and a heart filled with joy, happiness and energy. And I adore you.

 

Mommy bunny x

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Family photos by Paul Clark – September 2015

My brother Paul (transmit@paulclark.co.za | 082 855 4379) is a photographer, designer, art director and video editor. He is most excellent at everything that he does (insert sibling rivalry undertones) and I am insanely jealous of his photography skills. Last weekend when we were both visiting my mom, he snapped some nice pictures of Benjamin being silly. I asked him to quickly take a picture of each of us to frame at home, and I’m so glad that I did. I’m going to frame a few of these for our corridor at home, along with some of my Paris art prints. Basically spending all my money at the framer’s this month. I love how dark and moody these pictures are, in contrast to our happy faces and dispositions. Also, how ridiculously handsome are my boys?

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A letter to my third child.

I call you my daughter, but you could be a boy. My son. My sun.

I think about you every day; the child that I want so badly. You’re the possibility. The maybe. Still, I feel you and think about you constantly. Ben wants to meet you, but Noah is unsure. He thrives on certainty and routine, but I know that he’ll love you. He’ll probably love you the most. Daddy says he’s not sure, but every time we talk about you, the right corner of his mouth turns up. He doesn’t know that I can see it, his excited anticipation. He’d love you as soon as you exist, and if you’re a girl… I know that he’ll dote over you like his first love. You’d love him straight away too. He’s such a fun dad. Such a good dad. A really good man.

I wonder how you’ll fit in here. I wanted to meet you two years ago. I wanted to have you last year, and then this year again. I want to meet you right now, but I worry. Will I be a good mom to you? Will you get enough of our time and attention? What if I don’t know how to be a mom to a daughter. What if we fight. What if I can’t protect you. How do I stop your heart from breaking? Maybe we won’t have anything in common. Maybe we’ll be exactly the same.

You already have a name. You’re either Samuel or Bethany. Maybe you’re a Julia. Or a Sebastian. Or Holden or Maree. I see a little girl with long curly brown hair and green eyes. Dad’s eyes. He’s so scared that you’ll get his nose. He hates his nose. I don’t even know what I’d do with a girl. I wonder how different it would be. I hope it wouldn’t be lonely for you, with two brothers. Maybe you’ll be a boy, my Sam. Maybe you’ll really love having two older, fiery and energetic brothers. I bet they’ll fuss over you every day, those two. Soon they’ll be able to read you stories and tell you all about the world. I bet they’d love that.

I keep feeling you. Hearing you.

I have one or two things to do before we meet. Things that will make me a better person, a better mother. I need to calm my storms because your brothers are real firecrackers, and I’m enjoying this rest. I’m getting to know them right now. They’re so wonderful, so kind. You’d really like them.

I’ll think about you again another day, another moon, another moment. I know you’re there, so I won’t be long.

 

I hope you’ll wait for me.

 

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Your old house.

Yesterday we were driving home and Ben said “I don’t even remember our old house” and you two chatted to each other for a good while trying so hard to remember little details. I giggled at the things you did remember, and I felt so sad that there was so much of it that you completely forgot. I clearly remember little details from the house I lived in when I was very little. I remember the brown couches and the cushions with weird flowers on them, and jumping over the back of the couch to watch Heidi in the mornings. I remember there was a tree at the top of our driveway that had tiny little yellow berries on it. I remember my brothers skateboarding up and down the driveway and I remember friends (James en Melt?) that lived nearby. When you said you couldn’t remember YOUR old house, I felt so disappointed by my blog. The whole point of this is to keep your memories for you, for me and for all of us. Our own digital memory box. In this new blog I’ve created little sections for each of you where I keep your photos and letters and stories. Right now, I wanted to show you your old house, in your own tabs. We moved in here just before Noah’s 3rd birthday, in January 2011. Ben you were so tiny, you had just turned 1. I’m quite weepy now, thinking about how little you both were. We lived in this little house until 2014 – for 4 years. Do you remember Roger and Charlie and Lola running around in the courtyard? Do you remember the break-in, and Miriam? Do you remember the park around the corner and walking down the street to buy num-nums and chappies at that corner shop? Do you remember the sushi place with fish in the fish tank. Do you remember how the windows used to rattle in the wind. Remember they used to slide up and down, the windows. Do you remember Ben’s little yellow potty next to the toilet, where Noah taught Ben potty training. Do you remember dancing in the lounge to “Lolliipop Lollipop oooh lolly lolly lolly” and “She wore an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini?” And that daddy used to take you to school every day. Remember Disa Park? Your little school by the 3 buildings. Do you remember when we got Jack? Do you remember Miriam taking you to the train station to watch the trains? And the library? And Banjoe? Do you remember your friend James down the street. And climbing through the fireplace in the lounge to the fireplace in your room? Do you remember when we swapped rooms and you were so upset, so you never wanted to sleep in your room again? Do you remember sleeping in the lounge for like 3 years. Remember the bathroom had sky lights and how loud it was when it rained, and it used to scare you sometimes. Remember when mommy fell down that step in the kitchen and I had that big bruise. And remember Ben’s Pinocchio party and you guys had that big dinosaur that could walk, with red eyes. Remember hiding in the white cupboards in our bedroom. Please don’t ever forget. Any of it.

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