Tuesday, 16th June 2015
like a grape...
For the past 10 days, our house has been abuzz with Monarch butterfly fever. Boy 4 found a little caterpillar on the leaf of our swan plant out front. All summer, we'd eagerly count them as they got nice and plump on the plant, only to be picked off by the wasps. This time, we were determined to see the little guy through. We cut four healthy branches, put them in water and found him a prime spot in our kitchen. For breakfast, Boy 4 would even bring him to the table so that we could happily admire his striped pal. We tracked his progress and we even lost him at one point, only to find him chilling on a painting in the kitchen.
When we went to bed last night, he was still hanging upside down from the leaf. The kids were delighted when they saw that he'd formed into a chrysalis overnight! Not only that, there were eggs on the branch, and another wee caterpillar chomping away on a leaf. I carefully boxed it up and took it to Boy 4's preschool so that they could see the entire cycle and get to watch the miracle of a glorious Monarch butterfly emerge from its cocoon. Boy 4, classmates, teachers - all so excited, marvelling about how unusually late in the season it is for this natural wonder. Went off to work with warm fuzzies about the exciting day of learning ahead for the children.
Cut to pick up time, I practically skipped to his school, ready to hear all about it. I had sacrificed taking it in to my preschool to share with my students, because I knew how invested Boy 4's class was. I'd promised my students that I'd bring in a cutting with the eggs so we could follow their journey. I walked into Boy 4's centre, only to be greeted by his teacher's solemn face. Apparently, the children had gathered around the plant to start their lesson with her. 30 seconds in, a girl squashed the delicate little chrysalis between her chubby little fingers, like a grape. I was shocked at how disappointed I felt, and a bit miffed at the girl, even though I completely recognise the fact that she's only 4 and couldn't help herself. But geeeeeeeez girl, that caterpillar worked his butt off to get that far!
The kids actually did end up learning a valuable lesson about the cycle of life, just not exactly the way that the grown ups had hoped for!
Farewell, stripey friend, we'll always have Paris (or in this case, our kitchen bench.)
By Stacey Edgar - Realistic Kidface
Monday, 1st June 2015
“Let’s do lunch, mum!”
No sooner than I had enthusiastically extended the offer was I inevitably filled with dread.
My parents are awesome. There’s nothing they won’t do for us, or for our kids.
So, we thought, let’s treat them to a nice lunch! Anywhere they want. Anything at all. It’s the least we can do.
It all seems like a brilliant idea, until you have to make it happen…if you have kids, you’ll know exactly what I mean…with a 4 year old and a 7 month old, a seemingly simple outing like lunch with the folks can easily turn into a complete disaster! You have a very small window of opportunity for things to go smoothly…
On the morning of Queen’s Birthday, we began the stressful task of getting ready to “lunch”
Once bubs had gone down for her morning nap, we (and by ‘we’ I mean ‘I’) ran around still in my pyjamas, making sure the nappybag was stocked, that Mr4 was appropriately dressed, made sure Mr4’s snacks were packed (fruit, muesli bar, crackers and yoghurt – just in case he didn’t find anything suitable to eat, wherever we ended up – you know the drill), located Mr4’s Leappad for entertainment, got bubba’s lunchtime bottle and solids ready, pumped for bubba’s afternoon bottle feed, chased the cat out for snooping on the kitchen bench, made sure hubby was appropriately dressed, chased the cat out for snooping through the rubbish (how did he even get back inside?), snuck into the bedroom where bubs was asleep to quickly run a brush through my hair, dug through a pile of clothes for something to wear, ran around looking for the high heels to match my skinny jeans -which I couldn’t find - so changed my outfit to match what heels I could find, then cleaned up from pumping bubba’s afternoon bottle feed and put everything by the door so we wouldn’t forget anything.
OK feeling like we’re on track.
As soon as bubs is up, I can feed her then we can go. Breathe.
OK she’s up! Go, go, go!
Me to hubby: I’ll feed her – you go put everything in the car – pushchair, frontpack, nappybag, everything by the door.
An hour later…and we’re in the car….and crap, I forgot the bumbo seat. Oh well.
We finally meet mum and dad along the waterfront of Takapuna Beach (only 15 minutes later than we’d planned! We’ll call that a win)
A new block of restaurants had recently opened for business and we thought we would try something new. I glanced at the row of flashy store-fronts and thought for sure this was a bad idea. We have in tow: a baby that screams when she’s over tired, and: a very active 4 year old with even worse ants-in-his-pants-syndrome than his mum.
And THEN everyone decides on ‘Regatta’ – the biggest and flashiest restaurant on the block.
OK, fine. Let’s do this. Me and my brilliant ideas.
We walk in, and the place is buzzing with activity. It’s seriously decked out with beautifully styled décor in it’s obviously nautical theme.
We were seated at a spacious table by a lovely maitre’d amongst other diners. Diners WITHOUT children . Gulp again.
Soon after, our waitress came to take care of us – and take care of us she did!
Water was served, drinks orders were taken and Mr4 was given his own colouring-in-sheet-cum-menu and set of felt tip pens. He was stoked! And so was I – somehow his Leappad had disappeared away from the pile at the door, despite my attempt at being pre-organised.
He sat there quietly and happily colouring in after deciding on the kid’s chicken meal.
So I relaxed a little, only a little, and only because I noticed a couple of families with school-aged children being seated nearby. I breathe out a little sigh of relief.
Right, let’s order.
My family LOVES food.
You can tell by the necessity of our gym-memberships, purely in order to keep our waistlines under control, and by the way our eyes light up where food is involved. We talk about food, read about food, watch programmes about food and plan around food.
And the menu looked amazing.
So, as we do, we ordered as much as we could possibly eat, then sat back with eager anticipation. Then bub’s decided it was let-me-sleep-or-I’ll-scream time. And my blood pressure goes up again. Ugh, they’re gonna hate us! Into the frontpack she goes, and off I go, to pace around outside until she fell asleep.
As it turned out, it didn’t take long at all - the restaurant has a really big outdoor area adjacent to a quiet carpark, which made for a pleasant quiet-time stroll …AND I made it back - with sleeping baby - in time for the entrées!
Mr4’s meal arrived, and was nothing like I had expected:
No fried chicken nuggets, nothing fried at all.
REAL chicken thigh meat, sitting atop a bed of a perfectly cooked vegetable medley of broccoli, baby carrots, snow peas, green beans AND a side salad of salad leaves, cherry tomatoes and shaved parmasan.
Uh oh. He’s not going to eat that, I’m sure of it.
But I was wrong!
He tucked in so quickly I didn’t even get a chance to photograph it!
Then asked for more from everyone else’s plates.
And so we ate, and shared (and by shared, I mean blatantly stole mouthfuls off each other’s plates), then ordered some more, and ate some more.
I was the only one piggy enough to order dessert, which arrived looking like a piece of art. And ofcourse, it was promptly taken off me by Mr4.
It was only as we’re finishing our coffees, that bubs starts to stir. Perfectly timed.
I’m still in awe of how well it all turned out
This place not only delivers food that looks as amazing as it tastes, but in an environment that is incredibly welcoming, and so accommodating to children! The staff were fantastic, despite the fact that they were super busy. Incredible value for the quality of food and service.
It has been a really really long time since I have been compelled to recommend ANYTHING to ANYONE, so those of you with kids – this place is a real treat. I can’t wait to go back again, and this time I won’t stress so much about the kids!
Sunday, 31st May 2015
Here is the first entry from our resident blogger Stacey - mom of 3, and the brains behind Realistic Kidface Herself and family have just moved back to New Zealand after living in Japan for the past eleven years.
When she's not working or doing the laundry, she loves taking photos and going to the beach.
But most of the time, you can find her doing the laundry...
Confessions of an UnPinteresting Mom
I am not a Pinterest kinda Mom. I wish I were, I really do. Nothing against them, nope. I would LOVE to be able to make cupcakes too beautiful to eat. I would love to whip up reversible totes in every size for my daughter. I wish I could craft a charmingly practical board to organize all of my jewelry and have delicately decoupaged vintage boxes perched atop our sunny breakfast nook next to the adorable succulents spilling out of wine corks.
But I don't, I haven't and I can't. I love all that stuff and have the best intentions. In fact, I have evidence of all my "best intentions" in the form of half started (or finished - is the glass half empty or full?) projects. Journals I never stay loyal to for longer than 5 days. Daily planners that I always find something just not right about. And pages and pages and pages in my "Bookmarks" folder of cute, creative ideas I'll get to one day but never do. Don't get me wrong, I'm not being self-deprecating or modest or cynical or jaded. I just know myself. I am unorganized. There, I've said it. It's true. You know that top drawer in the kitchen that has everything in it EXCEPT what you could possibly ever need in a kitchen? That's kind of how ALL of my drawers are. I'm good at keeping everyone else on schedule and organized but am completely hopeless when it comes to myself. I don't know why, exactly. I think it might be my little way to be a rebel. To claim something for myself. After all the laundry's been folded, homework looked over and signed, kids shuttled to and from activities and all the other mind numbing tasks have been completed, it's my way of saying: I'm not perfect, I got all my shit done, my closet's a mess. So what? I know where everything is in that pile. It's my pile. If my messy purse and tangled jewelry and avalanche of clothes is an indication of what makes me tick, that's okay with me. I am a complicated, eclectic collection of stuff. Organization is in the eye of the beholder. Crafty, perfect moms, I raise my glass to you. I am in awe of you. When I grow up, I want to be just like you. But in the meantime, I'll be sitting back here with my beer and I'll just represent "the opposite of what you are" moms. Together, we are one.