Crushing on 22 Months

There are some days of being a parent where I wonder what the hell I’ve gotten* myself in to, and other days where it’s decidedly the absolute best thing I have ever done. I’ve had one of those days-turned-weeks recently, and I don’t know if it’s because I’ve bred a #LegendChild or because he’s at a certain age, but my little human has hit champion status, and I am absolutely loving him at the moment (not to say I don’t ever love him, but he’s just even more awesome than normal lately.)

Here are a few reasons why i’m totally crushing on 22 months.

  • He can understand, comprehend and communicate. Have you ever heard a parent say to their small child “I am so proud of you“? I remember hearing moms say it and I would puke a little bit in my mouth every time. What the actual fuck could you be proud of in a toddler? Proud that they didn’t shit their nappy? Proud that they didn’t have a tantrum? Proud that they were beginning to look like small adults? I totally get it now. When your child gets to the age where they mimic, talk, learn, copy empathise and communicate, when they start acting out instructions and learning routine and doing clever things like acknowledging life, you actually think your heart might explode from the proudness. I promise. It’s real. So don’t mock charge next time you hear a mommy coo’ing over their child’s seemingly mundane behaviour, because your kid learning to put a lid back on a toy, unplug the bath, wipe up a spill, tell you who their best buddy is  or hand you a steak knife that you’d accidentally left on their plastic dinner plate (not my proudest moment) without slicing their arteries open, is pretty much the equivalent of them bagging an MBA or receiving a job offer from Richard Branson.
  • They can be bribed. Which means resisting a nappy change can be halted in one fluid sweep with the simple threat of confiscating their dummy. Giving them medicine can be easily done with the promise of a sweet (or a raisins in my sons case) afterwards. Suddenly, every day goods become bartering gold mines. As long as the bribery object in question is treated with excitement and an air of pricelessness, your child will want it, and therefore will do everything to get it.

“Carter, if you don’t stop shouting I will not let you hold this plastic comb!”

  • They do things that are hilarious and video-worthy. Like the day my son learnt to say the word ‘fuck’, see below. It is both my most and least proud moment.

(I wasn’t going to share this as we had just returned home from overseas, my house is in shambles and I still have those nightmare inducing pink tiles, but hey, what the fuck right? PS – any flooring companies out there willing to do a makeover in my home? Let’s chat.)

  • They travel well. You may or may not know that we recently returned from a week away in Mauritius (blog post on that coming soon!)  and despite the “are you batshit crazy?!” comments from other moms who couldn’t believe we would be travelling with a kid under 2, he was better behaved than most of us. He even travelled well on an aeroplane, which may or may not have had anything to do with the ice cubes he was sucking from my breakfast GnT.

 

  • They can be trained. I may have lost a set of crystal goblets along the way, but my son can now bring me a glass of wine and replace said empty glass on the table when I’m done. I mean, if that alone isn’t worth having a kid, then I don’t even know what is.

*Dad, if you’re reading this, then yes ‘gotten’ is a word and no, I shall not replace it with something more satisfactory.

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Win a Kate Rankin Photo Shoot Valued at R2500!

It’s my birthday week (25 again!) and I’ve decided to reward one lucky person with an awesome prize – a professional photo-shoot from Kate Rankin Photography – AKA me 🙂

For those of you who have followed my photographic journey you will know that it’s one of my greatest loves, and to be able to give a shoot away just makes me so happy.

The value of the shoot is R2500 and can be for pretty much anything – family, newborn, kiddies party, maternity, couple, engagement… you name it! Have a look at my website to see the sort of photos I take, it may just give you some inspiration.

It’s really easy to enter:

  1. Like KateRankinPhotography on Facebook
  2. Like KateRankinPhotography on Instagram
  3. Comment on either the Instagram competition post or the Facebook competition post and tell me what shoot you want
  4. Share the Instagram or Facebook post

Then, cross fingers and toes and vaginas (if you’ve had a baby and pee when excited) and wait until 27 January when the winner is announced… on my birthday!

The Ts and the Ts

  1. Shoot to take place in Johannesburg Northern Suburbs. Should the winner be residing elsewhere he or she to make their own way to the shoot/venue/location
  2. Shoot has to be booked and claimed before 30 April 2017
  3. Winner will be drawn at random
  4. Only those who follow competition mechanics will be eligible for the draw
  5. Winner consents to having his/her photos published on my blog and Facebook pages
  6. Shoot duration will not last longer than 2 hours
  7. Shoot details will be at the final discretion of the photographer

Good Luck!!

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Let The Shopping Fun Begin With Toy Kingdom.

If you are anything like me – still stuck at the office until the 23rd and working frantically until Christmas, then you’re probably also really stressing about how you are going to get everything done in time.

Me. 2 days before Christmas.
Me. 2 days before Christmas.

We went shopping this weekend and fought the masses as we tried to check off a million to-do items from our list. Short of the actual kitchen sink we are almost up to speed on the shopping list. The only person left to buy for is my hubby, but I can throw a pair of running shoes at his head and he will be happy. Sometimes I also throw a pair of running shoes at his head because he’s being an arse, but that’s beside the point.

Unfortunately, trying to find the perfect gift for everyone else, 2 days before Christmas, looks a little bit like this:

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Luckily, shopping for the littlies will be the easiest thing you need to do this year. Because, let’s face it, they leave us fat, stretchmarked and poor, so splurging on gifts is as much for them as it is for us. If you are stuck with all the amazing choices this festive season, you can choose from the Festive Season gift guide in-store and on the Toy Kingdom website or get a Toy Kingdom gift card.

We headed off to Toy Kingdom in Sandton City a few weeks ago and my jaw literally hit the floor when I saw the goodies on display. When I was a kid my folks tied some ribbon to a stick and that was my entertainment. Growing up on a farm was tough, guys.

Carter, on the other hand, has no idea just how lucky he is. Going into Toy Kingdom to buy him a present brought back childhood memories of birthing sheep and said ribbon on sticks, and a definite lack of toy store visits, so I really had to hold myself back from buying everything I wanted (A Furby Connect and everything Barbie) and I had to rationalise (read: wrestle him away) with the husband that a Gold Hoverboard was probably a little bit too advanced for our clumsy 19 month old). Eventually we settled on something to keep help with his creativity and hand eye co-ord – so a mega-pack of ‘Bunchems’ it was, as well as something to bring out on special occasions – and something that will hopefully stop him stealing my iPad and lowering my street cred points on Youtube – a LeapPad Tablet. Then we got him something to wrap and open in a few years time – a Meccano 5 Model set car.

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So basically, Carter is going to be living his best life come 25 December.

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It may sound like all fun and games but I have to be honest, choosing age appropriate, quality presents was actually very stressful. Barry at that stage was lost in a toy truck aisle and no amount of whistling for him could get his attention. Luckily I had the most awesome shop assistant helping me – he even went to far as to unpack several boxes of things for me to have a proper look.

I would highly recommend Toy Kingdom – there is something for everyone, and if they had top open up a wine bar next to the Build-A-Bear section I suspect I would never leave.

I can’t wait to share photos of Carter opening up his pressies on Christmas. For now they remain safely wrapped and tucked under the tree.

You can find Toy Kingdom in Jozi Town opposite Clicks in Sandton City or in Cape Town, Shop 407 in Canal Walk.

If you are really pressed/stressed for time then have a look at their ‘Top 50 gift guide‘. It helps to whittle down your choices and guarantees a great buy. It’s what we used – along with recommendation from in-store staff – to decide on what to buy. Pop in to their store and tell them I sent you – then share your purchases with me here or on their Facebook page.

PS – Next year I’m going back for a Furby. I don’t care what anyone says

PPS – I’m also going back for a Gold Hoverboard. Don’t tell my husband.

ABOUT TOY KINGDOM:

Toy Kingdom is Africa’s most loved toy store with 14 retail stores nationally, offering the latest and most recognised toy brands to families. Toy Kingdom brings together unrivalled quality toys, beautifully designed stores and friendly and knowledgeable staff who encourage children and parents to interact and play with the toys. Each store is designed not as a retail space but rather around the concept of play, creating a unique in-store experience of ‘toadally’ charming fun.

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The Devil Is In The Details. Jokes. The Devil Is In The Sippy Cup.

Being a parent is hard, right? So why manufacturers of children’s products must now go and make things for parents to use even harder, blows my mind.

Take this here sippy cup. A pretty innocent looking device, right? Wrong. This here cup o’ Satan was bought en route to Clarens a few months back, when we realized we had left Carters one at home. The easiest part of using this plastic shit storm was taking it out of the packaging. From there it was all downhill. No matter who I called, what I Googled, or how many times I read the instructions (and I mean really, a sippy cup that comes with a ‘how to’ guide should have already raised some red flags) I just couldn’t get actual liquid to come out the straw. Husband, driving, scoffed at my red face and angry neck vain. Except then he tried to make the fucking thing work and also failed, miserably. Upon arriving in Clarens my mom and dad rolled their eyes at us, but they too succumbed to the devil that is this cup. Not even trying to cut or burn a hole in the rubber straw of death would result in actual liquid coming anywhere near my child’s mouth.

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He looks like he knows what he’s doing. He doesn’t.

Apart from the cup that now resides at the bottom of a landmine somewhere, other ridiculously difficult parenting items I’ve encountered are:

  • Car seat buckles. Is it just me or is getting your toddler strapped into one of these the equivalent of trying to put a bra on an octopus?
  • Speaking of car seat buckles, what about the actual car seats? If prompted with a million Rand or a full nights sleep, I still don’t think I could get the thing strapped in properly. There have been multiple times that I have broken down sobbing in a car park, on the side of the road and even in my garage because the car seat had been removed and had to be put back in. When Carter was 6 weeks old I went away with my folks to the bush, as my husband had to work. This meant moving the car seat and base into my dad’s car. FORTY minutes and several YouTube tutorials later the thing wasn’t even remotely stable and we had to drive to a neighbours house in the hopes that they could help.
No babies were harmed during the making of this very dramatic attack on infant car seats.
No babies were harmed during the making of this very dramatic attack on infant car seats.
  • Battery operated kids toys. I mean really, who has time to now find a battery, a screwdriver and a PHD to try get Thomas the fucking tank engine to actually engine. Not I, sir. Not I.
  • In-ear thermometers. We splurged on a Braun device that nearly cos us our home loan. The thing has never given an accurate reading. One time my child, the pot plant and a mug of coffee all clocked in at the same temperature.
  • The spoon dispenser that comes in a formula tub. People, if you really need NAN to give you a leveler to level some powder, then I feel you probably should never have had a child. I’ve assembled a dining room table faster than I have this ridiculous spoon.
Just complete this quick puzzle, and the spoon is all yours.
Just complete this quick puzzle, and the spoon is all yours.

 

Luckily, not everything made for babies is adult proof, and some clever companies out there have actually realised that a parent generally has about 1.3 fingers available to do anything, and have actually helped cater for this. So, credit where credit is due. I present to you: baby products that don’t suck.

  • Colour coded onesies. Oh, you think you don’t need these, until your child learns to move. And then you wonder how you ever lived without them. The geniuses behind this brand know that changing a baby is like standing one-footed on a bucking bronco whilst holding a tray of fine china. Impossible. These onesies come with colour coded pop rivets, so you get it right the first time. Happy baby? Check. Potential of mom keeping her sobriety that night? Double check.

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  • Dummy straps. Again, in Clarens, we forgot ours and panic ensued. I resorted to buying some ribbon and a safety pin (excellent mothering, I know) to make an impromptu one. If you have a dummy loving baby, you do not want to forego a dummy strap.
  • A sippy cup that does actually work, and won’t leak everywhere. Meet your NBF. It’s adult still proof (I know because I’ve tested it on several family* members with no luck) but the kids love it. Did I mention its spill proof?
These are from Munchkin and are available from any and all good bottles stores. See what I did there?
These are from Munchkin and are available from any and all good bottles stores. See what I did there?
  • Tupperware. In any shape or form.
  • Toys that require no setting up, switching on or batteries. I’m talking plastic balls, rubber dinosaurs, building blocks and the contents of mom’s makeup bag.
As long as you'e not standing on it at 2 am, then building blocks are the perfect no fuss play solution for your little angel.
As long as you’re not standing on it at 2 am, then building blocks are the perfect no fuss play solution for your little angel.

Disclaimer: It’s taken me hours to think of anymore. Surely not all baby things are adult proof? What kid device has changed your life?

*I’m beginning to worry that maybe these products aren’t at fault and that perhaps I just have stupid family members?

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Could this be the happiest wedding in the world?

“If I ever got married, I would have a spit braai on the lawn.” This is what our friend Khali said to me several years ago during a lunch with friends.

You see, Khali is a wedding planner/creator/memory maker extraordinaire. Her work is well known throughout the industry and as founder of the South African School of Weddings and The Wedding Specialist, the pressure to perform when her big day came, must have been immense.

Well her time did come, and the wedding was everything and nothing we expected.

The entire event from start to finish was a surprise. Not even the bridesmaids or groomsmen knew where it was or what it would entail, and try as we did we couldn’t even get Khali to disclose on the secret location.

The guests were all instructed to arrive at her offices at 11 am. There we were greeted by traditional drummers, packets of padkos and an entire team of SA School of Wedding staff on standby. A while later all the guests boarded traditional taxis, complete with tin can runners, and set off to our mystery destination. We heard rumblings of ‘Soweto’ and ‘Rooftop’ but not even Khalis assistant would let any clue slip.

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I’m sure the line of 20 minibus taxis filled with formally dressed wedding guests must have been a helluva sight!

We eventually arrived at the destination. A school field in the middle of Westcliff. Interesting, I thought. And interesting it was. The field had been transformed into a colorful wonderland, complete with white marquee, a reception area overlooking the city of Jozi, a coffee bar, gelato bar, sweetie bar, cocktail bar and the world largest cheesecake. The use of every single color was so refreshing as was the chic french style music and the multiple surprises throughout the day (picture ‘waiters breaking out into operatic song and a cake the size of a small car).

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<img src="http://rupertapproves.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/20130428-125247.jpg" alt="20130428-125247.jpg" class="alignnone size-full" /

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This may have just been the happiest wedding I have ever seen. If the start of their life together was this bright, I can only imagine what’s to come.

And in case you’re wondering – they served lamb on the spit. On the lawn. But in true Khali 6 star style.

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Impi Challenge

Never one to decline a challenge, I recently took part in the Impi Challenge race – held at Van Gaalens Cheese farm close to Hartabeespoort Dam. Despite the pre-race nerves (fear-for-your-life commentary from MC Guy McDonald not helping) the race was absolutely fantastic, and I look forward to taking part next year.

Admittedly, it wasn’t at all easy and I was pretty relieved that the 13km course was broken up by 19 various obstacles – trail running is a whole other ball game and the terrain makes you work twice as hard.

Even though I loved the race I was not amused by a few of the obstacles (10 m high cargo net and sewer tunnel included) and I’m pretty happy I only saw THIS photo of one of the obstacles AFTER I had gone through it. Vom.

If you are considering taking part in this race – here are a few pointers

– Dress up if you are part of a team

– Wear clothes you never plan on seeing again. Even 2 caps of new OMO liquid wont be enough. Ooh eh eh.

– Dont wear watches, sunglasses, caps or valuables. Trust me, between jumping 6 metres into a river, wading through compost, rolling through trees and swimming through dams, you will lose it all.

– Take your time – the event is not timed so the idea is to finish it with a smile on your face (Or not dead, either all)

– Bring a clean change of clothes for after

See you at Impi 2013!

Pre race - clean and shiny
Pre race – clean and shiny
Post race dirt
Post race dirt

 

Titan Adventures Pre Race
Titan Adventures Pre Race
2nd last obstacle - Floating LilyPads
2nd last obstacle – Floating LilyPads

 

 

 

 

 

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A 1950’s affair!

Last weekend we hosted a rather unusual bachelorette for my bestie Amy. This was no ordinary bachelorette in that the amount of time it took for us to come up with an idea that wasn’t kitsch, cliched or (god forbid) club orientated was extraordinary. Amy has unique taste, and a style surpassed by none, so trust me, had we draped her in phallic objects and stuck a set of Playboy bunny ears on her head, we would have been fired form bridesmaids duty, and possibly never spoken to again. Thankfully I had a lightbulb moment (yes, it happens) and decided that a 1950s ‘un-perfect housewife’ theme would be fairly fitting for the bride-to-be. Thanks to Google, some talented designer friends, talented seamstress friends, talented ideas friends (you get the picture) a very patient boyfriend, some equally handy fellow bridesmaids and my skills with a tube of Pritt and some scissors, the day (and night) turned out to be a roaring success. Even Amy says so.Just ask her.

For the evening part of the event we all hopped into a taxi and went to a beautiful champagne bar and restaurant called ‘Amis’ (completely planned, of course!) With 19502 movies playing on the wall, gorgeous decor and a retro theme, it was just perfect. We ate too much, drank delicious bubbly and ended the day off on a perfect note.

Bring on the wedding!

Here are a few pics from the event, and some ideas if you’re ever planning a good old fashioned do.

Homemade party favours with a personalised poem made by Amys sister

I Googled ’50s images and strung them on ribbon with clothes pegs. Very effective!

Not everyone loved the photobooth props!

Again, I printed 50’s signs and glued them to skewer sticks, which I then placed all over the venue.

Red and white striped lollipops and 50’s slang wine glass tags. Amy got ‘Circled’ which back in the day meant ‘Getting Hitched’.

Thanks to some ingenious blogs I found these cool photo booth templates which I printed and cut out

Amy doing a ‘down down’ the old fashioned way

I found this amazing old school wedding photo which I used as cheese labels. My best was ‘Something old something new something borrowed something blue‘ Get it?

Completely co-incidental that Amy’s dress (made by our very talented friend Ilona) matched the photo booth backdrop. FYI I bought a huge roll of wrapping paper and simply stuck it to the wall to make the backdrop.

Aren’t these signs the cutest?

The Bridesmaids

All the guests signed a pottery bowl which we will glaze for Amy

My parents garden provided the perfect setting for a day of 1950s good ol’ fashioned fun!

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