Parenting is a big F.

Parenting is many F’s.
Forever, fun, fabulous, frustrating, frivolous, frightening, forgetful, ferocious, fruitful, fast and flipping rewarding.

I know there are so many more F’s that could fit in there, but before we get carried away let me get to my point.  The revelation of parenthood has been slow for me, don’t know how you all experience it, but it has taken me a good three years to realise what it REALLY means.

It means, forever.

It means being their teacher, their educator on life, their comfort and their provider, forever.  I think I got stuck on “motherhood” for so long in my head I never progressed into thinking like a “parent”.  It was all about making sure that my little one’s where cared for, fed, and slept enough. For some reason teaching them about life and it’s consequences just never kicked in.  I thought it would be natural, that the “mother” in me would just switch on one day and I’d start sprouting meaningful sayings and imparting wisdom to my sons.

This is not the case.

Parenthood, or imparting wisdom and learning to our kids is an intentional thing.  We have to make a conscious effort to remember to teach our kids about things like sharing, being nice to others, not judging people, having a caring heart, not kicking the cat and so on.

There are so many ways to do this, and this part of parenting can look very different in each family, but it all comes back to your family values.  What are the non-negotiable things that you and your family believe? For us a big family value is “never leave a brother hanging”, I know we sound like a gang, but we are a gang, a gang of family that will watch each others back no matter what.  Like the penguins say “never leave a man behind”.  That’s us.  Another value we have is that we treat people with respect, all people.

These are just TWO of the many deeply ingrained values that we have as a family, they are the natural “ethos” that runs through us.  Someone at our mommy group said it’s like “us Voster’s don’t do that” or “us Voster’s do it this way” (names changed).  This statement made a lot of sense to me, that if we are going to raise, or parent our children then we have to have a value system in place, something that we know “the vanvee’s” do or do not do.  It’s good to think about it and note when you notice something that only you as a family do.  It’s fun too, cause it reveals the uniqueness of each family, and that’s what make us so interesting and diverse.

So parenting is so many things, raising our kids is tough, but we have to remember that being a family is fun, fabulous and together forever.


Friday Fun.

I’m getting so far behind with the blog posts it’s becoming embarrassing.  So I thought I’d better post something fun or you’ll all think I’ve vanished!

Fun stuff in our house this week, amongst all the stress and change with a sick baby etc…

My three year old has discovered, dirty/clean and wet/dry.  Constantly not wanting to be dirty or wet so if his shirt has a small wet spot on it “change my shirt”, he gets in the bath at night and literally holds his hands up out of the water and refuses to get them wet, until I let him soap himself then he’s all in! We go outside to play on the grass and he INSISTS on wearing shoes cause his feet will get wet, he wants to jump in puddles with his gumboots but then gets upset that they are now wet, so we have to dry his boots before he will play further.  The level of crazy in our home has just reached a new level.  He chills out eventually, but the starting point is just nuts.

In other news I keep forgetting things, like taking my pill, my contraceptive pill, and this could get dangerous cause two kids is nuts, imagine if we had to accidentally slip in another one!! 

Then there’s the “if I haven’t made dinner by 17:00, it ain’t happenin and we’re having cereal for supper”.  This is a real thing right now, anxiety levels have reached a new high and so if it’s not done by the time crazy hour hits, we are eating cereal. 

Life is crazy, real and messy for us at the moment, but luckily we have seasons for things and it won’t always be this crazy and stressful.  Trick is to keep your eye on the ball and rest when you can.

Looking forward to the weekend, hope you all have a lovely one too!

The difference between strength and trust.

The past week has been blurry, painful and like a low spring tide.  All the comforting water is gone and the rocks and sand are exposed and slowly drying out in the sun.

My son was admitted for Bronchiolitis last week and a routine xray for pneumonia revealed a “large mass” over his right lung.

I almost lost my mind.

Alone in PE with a sick baby, hearing this news I actually asked the doctor if he was shitting me?! My mouth has no filter when faced with potentially life altering news.

We had to get him admitted (draw blood, insert drip, medicate) and then wait till the next day for his C.T. scan.

This scan was so traumitising for me I just sobbed the whole way through.  Good knows though, it revealed that Shaw has a congenital condition called a Morgagni hernia.  It’s apparently easy to fix and should be done as soon as possible.

The point here is that first night while my son was sleeping and I was trying to make sense of everything I asked God ” how strong am I supposed to be if things just keep going south?”  The weeks prior had been filled with sick toddler, twice, sick husband, traffic fine, bills and personal challenges.  So the saying “if it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger” wants to take hold, but God, in all his grace replied and said “I don’t need you to be strong, I need you to trust me”.


Trust me. Don’t listen to the sayings of the world, trust ME.  He was right, cause there is nothing I can do to change anything. We are here now. He proved faithful with a “less serious” diagnosis, and the road of trusting is long and windy, but at least he doesn’t need me to be strong, cause I really just don’t have any left.  This past week has meant a forced vulnerability, an openess and a confession of helplessness, not things I do well. But my God, I will trust you, I have to, you are everything good and holy, I must trust the God of my making with my son and his future, the same way I had to with our first born.

It makes me cry, but that’s okay.

Isaiah 43:2 Through deep waters, I will be with you.

Illustration Hand lettering: Rachel Pfuetzner 

Pool of drool.

Can we talk about the drool for a second? How much drool can one baby make!?!? I mean seriously, those cutesy cotton bandana bibs don’t help at all! It’s been about two weeks now that we’ve been drowning in gob, no literally, drowning. I leave him sitting on the play mat in the lounge and when I come back I have to use a kayak just to get to him!  His teeth have only j-u-s-t started to cut yesterday, but we’ve had two weeks of six (read millions) bibs a day, four changes of clothes, cause useless bibs mean wet clothes, and that is not including my shirt sleeves that get drenched with gob whenever I pick him up.

Gob for days.

I do remember having similar thoughts with my eldest, but I seem to have “mommy brained” it out of my memory.  Bad thing cause can you say “under-prepared”? Also, this little man is not small and has managed to outgrow his 6-12 months everything and is now wearing 12-18 months, he’s seven months old. Yup, I make gargantuan babies.

So if you see a flare up over my house, it’s just me calling in for back-up cause my kayak probably sunk and a person can only tread gob for so long.

Age and the season of weird.

Being a mom is challenging, as I’m sure every mother under the sun will agree.  Being an older mom is even more challenging, and not for the reason you think. I’m a good ten years older than my mommy counterparts, and yes, I’m not as energetic or physically capable but that’s not the hard part.  The hard part is being alone.  

When all your peers (in age) have older kids that are in primary or even high school, and you have a toddler and a new born, the timing is never good.  Bedtime is smack in the middle of what would be your average “go out and have fun” time.  Your sleep is precious and so once the kids are asleep your ability to add another thing to the evening is near impossible.  It’s especially hard if you’re a working mom, cause now every spare minute is spent preparing for the next day and trying to get as much time in with your kids means that weekend family time is precious and crucial to everyone’s survival.

So what do I do now? How do I navigate this season of seemingly “forced” isolation?  So far not much, with the baby up at 5am and the toddler in his cranky “threenager” stage I will admit that I haven’t had three minutes to asess my life and it’s empty friend corner till a few weeks ago.  So the answer is coming slowly, as with most revelations these days.  When I find a spare ten minutes, and have the energy to ponder life, some things are very clear.  

Don’t stay isolated.  

Keep connected somehow.  So mommy group every week is crucial. Needed.  Essential.  

As far as the rest goes, like going to church or get-togethers, they will have to fit in when they fit in.  I apologise to my friends who don’t get to see me, my season is extreme and completely overwhelming, but I’m learning how to navigate through it, and I’m sure I’ll come out the other side sooner or later.

Hair Magician

Believe it or not, I am quite fussy about how my hair looks.  It’s colour and cut, i’m not really worried about styling as my curl doesn’t lend itself to anything without hours of effort and lets be real here, I aint got time for that.  So a good cut to show of the curl and great colour to cover the grey is all i’m after.  I’ve had a couple of hits and misses over the years and now that i’m 38 years old (eeep!) it’s getting more difficult to find a blonde colour that doesn’t make me look mutton dressed as lamb, until yesterday.

Enter The Hair Salon and a magician named Cindy.  A quick five minute consult and we went through all my woes and fears of being older, not wanting to be a brassy blonde, not liking the idea of high maintenance and how my hair had turned to straw with pregnancy, also the box dye episode to get some sanity etc…and she and the owner of the salon, Jean, came up with a wonderful solution.  Highlights spread throughout the head and then a toner in a ash blonde.

They managed to get the foils, toner, treatment, cut and dry within three hours – amazing – and I have never seen my hair look more natural since I started colouring it 20 years ago!  I am truly astounded.  It’s not a “hey look at me” kind of colour, but it’s like she read my mind, it’s EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for! I am in love with it, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love that it’s low maintenance (only need to touch up every three months) and it’s natural looking, so I don’t look like a bottle blonde and bonus, my hubby LOVES it – growl. So I am sorted.

I am blessed.

If I could give the last four days a definition it would be “the hardest year of my life” even though it has only been four days, it feels like forever.

As a wife and mom of two I think I just blithely forgot how blessed I am with my hubby who is über involved in our family life. He cooks, looks after crying toddlers in the night and takes the first shift of feeds for the baby at night too.  He’s amazing, oh, and did I mention he has his own I.T. business too?  

So when we heard he had to have minor surgery that would leave him on “light work” for three weeks I cried. I cried because I knew I’d be on my own and have to dig deep with kids and home and taking him to and from the hospital in our neighbouring city.  I would have to be the toddler soother, carry to bed, rock the baby to sleep person till he is strong enough to lift heavy things. 

It has been a rough weekend, and I am grateful for ladies in my life who took it upon themselves to bring dinners to help ease the load.  I am grateful to our nanny for being available and staying over to help with the kids the first two nights, I am super grateful that the operation went well and he has come home in one piece.