Thursday, July 29, 2010

WARNING: Crazies Ahead!

"Consider yourself warned", I was told by a friend when I happened to mention where I was going this week. Surely, I thought to myself, it can't possibly be that bad.

But women all around me seemed to be girding their loins before attempting that daunting and exhausting sport of motherhood: kids consignment sale-ing. Apparently, it's a rite of passage among moms down here in the deep South.

First, I was told, there is the parking lot. No matter how early one gets there, one never seems to arrive early enough to park close to the entrance. Acres of baking tarmac must be crossed, while dodging the reversing cars of those who have already been, done, and conquered and are now in a hurry to return home.

Secondly, there's all the STUFF. Miles of racks and bins and tables all waiting to be sorted through. Overwhelming seemed an understatement.

Then, I heard, there are the check out lines. Up to two hours long. WWWWHHHAAATTT???!! For second hand clothes? What was everybody thinking (when I picked up an adorable pair of GAP pants for $1, with the tags still attached, I understood a little more).

My favorite purchases: aforementioned pair of GAP
pants hanging on the left

And lastly, the crazies. Supposedly, there are these crazy women at some sales who are ON A MISSION. And the mission appears to involve having no one stand in their way. When told this, I had mental images of beautiful clothes at bargain prices being ripped from my hands, or some psycho lady shoving past me to be the first to dive into the bin of little boys shoes. Golly, I'd better get my fight on, I thought.

So, yesterday, loins appropriately girded, my sister and I headed out to brave the cars, crowds and crazies.

And despite my trepidation (which only increased when we pulled in and saw all the police cars!) it was a pleasingly easy experience. We got a parking really close by. Upon entering the building we discovered that yes, it was pretty crowded, but the only crazies I ran into were women who brought their kids! I guess one has to do this when trying to measure accurately for next season's clothes. Or when you can't get a babysitter, which I totally understand. But I don't think I'd be brave enough to go if I had to drag along the kiddos. There was this one girl who had SIX children with her, two of whom were 5 month old twins! I couldn't even imagine what utter torture she was enduring. Poor thing.

Everyone was very polite and nice to one grabbing involved. And, miracle of miracles, the line only took us 40 minutes! Incredible. All in all, I was glad to have had such a mild baptism into the wonderful world of consignment sale-ing. I feel well and truly grown up and motherly now that I've participated :)

My pile of bargains ready to be washed
(I felt the need to wash everything once I got it home!)

My sister was invaluable in her advice beforehand. Here's what I learned:
  • Take a ribbon upon which you mark your child's measurements (neck to waist, neck to ankle, waist, waist to ankle etc.) Fabulous tip!
  • Take a laundry basket, suitcase or something on wheels to dump all your top picks in (I even saw one lady with a Radio Flyer wagon in which her child was riding amidst mounds of clothes. Great idea!)
  • Take cash, as you often get to go through the cash only line then, which is shorter
  • SNACKS...once there, you're in it for the long haul!
I used my laundry basket to carry everything in, as it had handles

P.S. My sister HATES the expression 'gird your loins' , as do I, so I used it just for her in this post :)
There you go Ness!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ramblings: A Scrummy Mummy Post

I'm processing, so bear with me.

The transition into motherhood can be a strange thing. You go from being consumed with just your own self, your very pregnant self, to suddenly being consumed with feedings, changings, bathings, naps, for someone else. At first, it's all you do all day long. It's a full time job that first 6 weeks or so. And then things right themselves somewhat, as baby learns the difference between night and day, figures out this breathing, eating, living thing, and realizes that he can actually go more than three hours without waking up to eat.

You gradually start to add your old, familiar doings back into your day. You say hello to a book or two, become familiar with your kitchen again and spend more than two minutes in front of the mirror.

But, no matter how much you try to "get back to normal" things will never be the same (I've been told this so many times, I might just smack the next person who says it to me. I KNOW ALREADY). Now, don't get me wrong. For the most part, it's good that things are never the way they were. You now have this gorgeous, wonderful baby who adds a whole new dimension to your life and heart and who you just might drool over from time to time because he's so deliciously sweet!

But when you've been used to your grown up life, especially a job that requires efficiency, multi-tasking, responsibility and interactions with adults in an adult world, being at home all day with an infant can be a change. (Although I must say, being at home with an infant takes efficiency, multi-tasking and responsibility to a whole new level!)

And, for some reason, I LOVE IT.

I love being home, with my sole focus being this tiny, needy little baby, if I so choose to fill my day with only him. It's wonderful.

Case in point: today my office manager called to check on me (she's a close friend) and when she asked what I was doing, I told her with a laugh, that I was watching Jack poop. And yes, that's exactly what I'd spent the last 10 minutes doing! Pooping, at this tender age, can be quite the ordeal, often accompanied by lots of straining, holding of breath, and much red-facedness. Poor little thing, I was quite concerned. But that was the highlight of my morning (not really... but kind of), as he hadn't pooped in three days so I was relieved that today was the day! I'm sure he was too :).

And you know what? I didn't mind a bit that I wasn't at the office, taking overseas phone calls, typing important emails and organizing 300 person events. Dirty diapers were the focus...And somehow it was peaceful, simple and quieting. To know that Little Boy was now happy and comfortable, and my face in front of his had provided comfort when he needed it and my hands had cleaned him up. I am needed here too.

All this to say, here's to things never being the same again!

NOTE: I go back to work this week, so I'll be back to emailing, phone calling and event planning...but hopefully I will still have time to watch Little Boy poop :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Two Peas in a Pod (Well, not really)

Although they're only born two weeks apart and we call them the "Cousin Twins", my Jack and Vanessa's Alexis couldn't be more different. They look completely opposite, from coloring, to head shape, to body type and have very different personalities too. Alexis is all chub, flop, and contentment while Jack is all muscle and bounce, and has been known to be full of the fussies! However, these two are so cute together and are interacting with each other more and more. These were all taken last week:

Together on the playmat. They tend to swat each other rather than the toys!

In their "shoe socks"

Ness and I love to dress them in matching outfits and have found quite a few recently on The Children's Place $2.99 clearance!

Keeping them occupied (as you can see, the aforementioned personality differences are clear in this photo!)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Big Girl

Michaela, our niece, just turned two. I wanted to put a few photos up of her doings, as she is such fun and keeps us all laughing. She's been such a special addition to our side of the family, being the first grand-baby and has now been very good about accepting two more babies into the picture and sharing attention with them at family gatherings!

She loves to be in photos and whenever the camera is out she yells "Take a smile of me!" and poses (usually in a more lady-like position than the one above!)

She's a great helper and when we were visiting Ness last week, I came into the living room to find this:

Feeding Jack all by herself (don't you love the hand on his head?!)

She loves to be in pictures with the babies and holds onto them tightly

You're such a good big sister and cousin, Michaela Grace!! We love you!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The "Auntys"

When you're brought up in South Africa (or other such "English colonies"), you call all your parents' good friends "aunty" and "uncle". Everyone else is "Mr.", "Mrs." or "Miss" as we weren't allowed to use first names for our elders as children. So, as you can imagine, we have LOTS of aunts and uncles in our lives!

Last week, Mum was in town and got together with several of her close friends. Two of them are very special friends from Zimbabwe/South Africa who now live here and who I've known all my life, Aunty Liz and Aunty Jen. Neither of them had met Jack yet, so it was fun to introduce him to them this week.

Aunty Liz with Alexis and Jack on Thursday
(What's with the fist chewing, kiddos? Oh, yeah, it's called teething!!)

Aunty Jen with her little grand-daughter, Michaela Joy, and Mum with her three grand-babies, Michaela Grace, Jack and Alexis on Friday
(The two Michaelas had a fabulous time playing with each other and refer to one another as "my fwend"!)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Birthdays and Baptisms

Yesterday, my brother turned 27!(I now feel officially old. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I'M still 27!!) Happy birthday Steve! We love you and are so proud of you!

Steve, Rachel and Jack

Something else special happened yesterday. Nessa's youngest, Alexis, got baptized. Our pastor, Pete Jackson, officiated and Alexis behaved beautifully the whole time, looking adorable in her gorgeous gown that Mum made her. Michaela was up on stage with Ness and Sean too and gave us all a running commentary on the proceedings including "I wanna go potty", (repeatedly), "Ax is getting batized" (very loudly) and "I need to get DOWN!" (Sean was trying to contain her by holding her). Pastor Pete congratulated her for supporting Alexis so well. Too funny!

The Jones side of the family

Mum and Dad with the "cousin twins", Jack and Alexis

Our little family

Jack (4.5 months) and Alexis (5 months) in their church clothes

Miss Michaela joining in (she showered them both with hugs and kisses just after sweet!)

Dad with his grand-babies

Happy birthday Steve and Happy Baptism Day Alexis!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Party, Party!

This weekend has been FULL! Actually the whole week has been full of busy, busy busy for us with lots of friend and family time. It's been really lovely. My Mum and Dad came in town on Thursday for the weekend and our niece Michaela had her second birthday party yesterday. It was Jack's first birthday party he's ever attended; pretty special!

The party took place on Ness and Sean's back deck, the ideal spot for pool-paddling, cake-eating toddlers!

The birthday girl and her beautiful Elmo cake, made by her clever Mummy

Grampa helping a suddenly shy Michaela with her candles!

All the new babies present at the party with Alexis as the oldest at 5 months and little Mary Francis as the youngest at 5 weeks

A hammock full of babies!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Michaela!

Today is our niece, Michaela's, birthday. Mum and Dad flew in for the weekend (Michaela's birthday, Steve's birthday and Alexis' baptism) and we met up for a quick dinner at Chick-Fil-A this evening.

The birthday girl: she's cute, she's fun, she's TWO!

All of us enjoying our dinner at Chick-Fil-A

Me and my little fireman


We LOVE our landlords! They decided to update the kitchen here in our condo with new appliances: dishwasher, oven and microwave. The old ones worked very well, but these ones are so pretty :) What a treat to have all this newness around. Thanks David and Jenna!

Andre cooking the inaugural meal on the new stove

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Little Trip

Yesterday I loaded Jack and what seemed an inordinate amount of STUFF into the car and drove up to Rome, GA to visit one of my closest friends, Jana. She's just had a new baby, little Evelyn, and I've been dying to give them both hugs! Jack did ok during the 1.5 hour ride up there but was NOT thrilled about the trip back. But, we had good girl time with our friends; it just never seems long enough!

Jana and me with our little blessings
(they were both swaddled ready for their naps!)

Jack is officially in LOOOOVE with Mara Kate, Jana's oldest daughter!! He could not stop smiling at her (although I apparently didn't get that on camera) and she was such a good sport and played so sweetly with him, showing him all sorts of new toys.

The three kiddos together, Jack, Mara-Kate and Evelyn

Thanks for a wonderful time together Jana, for your friendship and encouragement. Sure do miss having you here in Atlanta!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Scrummy Mummy's Top Picks

Scrummy (yummy + scrumptious) Mummy is what Dear Husbie calls me. Has a nice ring to it, I think :)

Anyway, this nick name set me thinking about the fact that I'm a new mom and am learning so much. Going into motherhood, with all the gifts you get, books you read, showers you have and general getting-readyness, you really have no idea what is going to work well and what's not. You think you're prepared and then once the baby comes, discover that actually, no, you don't need that many washcloths, yes, you do need that many diapers (!), and, incidentally, the cute little overalls you thought would be so useful are a right royal pain to dress him in.

Amazing the things you learn.

So, in an effort to perhaps be slightly helpful to anyone who is a new mom (I've never been able to give mommy advice before since most of my friends have had babies before me, so bear with me as I revel in this new role!), I thought that every now and then, I'd jot down a few things that have made an impression on me. I'll call them my "Scrummy Mummy" Posts :)

So here goes. This one's about my top picks for great baby items:

1. Video Monitor

We LOVE our video monitor. You may think it's silly we want to see our child when he's asleep, (especially since we live in a 1200 sq. ft condo) but let me tell you, it's fab having a view of his doings at all times! This is probably our very favorite baby item to date. Definitely puts one's mind at ease. We have the Summer Day and Night Video Monitor which works very well, holds a charge for a good long time, doesn't get interference and you can add additional cameras as more babies come along.

2. Stroller

Another item we love and highly recommend is our City Mini Stroller by Baby Jogger (no it's not specifically a jogging stroller). We chose this one because we didn't have room for several different strollers (snap and go, umbrella, full stroller) and this functions as all three. It has an adapter for the car seat, and Jack could actually sit in the stroller comfortably at three months old. But...drum roll please...the fold is what sold it for me. It is AMAZING!! Go to a store near you to try it out. In fact, we have been stopped a grand total of 5 times at IKEA by people asking to see the stroller and every one of them is speechless when we proudly show them the fold. Too funny!

3. Zip Front Sleepers

These zip front sleepers by Gerber (I especially like the Gerber brand ones as they are a bit longer and slimmer, since our child is a string bean) made life, and bedtime, SO much easier. Since dressing a new baby is sometimes like trying to put clothes on an octopus, the zip front is a must (as opposed to snaps). Gerber brand are soft, wash well and keep their shape. A small thing, but infinitely helpful!

So there you have it, Scrummy Mummy's favs. Super exciting, I know. Ha!


"Home! The place where all man's best and happiest hours are passed."
Sarah Hayle

Although Jack was very well behaved during the car ride back from Chattanooga on Saturday...

...he was so excited when we walked in the door!
I put him in his cradle and he immediately started smiling and cooing...

A very sweet friend has lent us an exer-saucer (thanks Monica!!) and as soon as we got unpacked...

...the little mister got right down to the serious business of playing...

...and hanging with Daddy...

No matter how much fun we've had somewhere else, it's always great to come home again. Home is just the most comfortable spot in the world!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Much fun was had by all on our quick trip to Chattanooga. We didn't have much time there and so weren't able to see most of our friends we would love to catch up with. However, we did get to spend some special time with Jack and Carolyn who we stayed with. They're Nonee and Doodan to little Jack and he got lots of cuddles!

The two Jacks

Little Jack with Nonee

LOVE this photo!

Jack and Andre grilling some delicious pork tenderloin for us on Thursday night

We spent some time by the pool which was SO relaxing

Jack wielding the master remote!

On Friday night we met up with Andre's cousin Yuliya and her husband John, at Provinos. They now live in Philadelphia but were down in TN for a wedding. It was so good to see them after more than a year and they enjoyed meeting Jack too.
Enjoying a YUMMY dinner at Provinos

Jack with Aunty Yuliya and Uncle John

On Saturday morning we said our goodbyes to Jack and Carolyn and headed up Lookout Mountain to a baby shower for our friends Roman and Shannon. They're expecting their second child, a little boy, and we were so excited to celebrate with them!

Opening presents

Roman is from Slovakia and he speaks only Slovak to their daughter Ellie (I keep telling him to encourage Andre to speak Russian to Jack!)

Shannon and I were room-mates in college and it's such fun to share our lives as wives and mommies now. Can't wait to meet her little man soon!