me Life and Times of the Fireflies: March 2017

Friday, 31 March 2017

The Changing Seasons

I think it's slowly starting to feel like Autumn; even though I've been watching the season change for months now! It was mid January and the middle of Summer when I first started noticing the leaves start to fall and fill our driveway and our swimming pool with it's multi coloured hues. At first I thought it to just be the wind forcing the leaves to the ground, but week after week the trees became less green and more bare; and even though we were then still basking in the joys of a beautiful Summer, I knew that change was brewing.
 
 
I think life is a lot like that. I think change is brewing beneath the surface long before we notice the climactic impact of it all. I think that change is gradual and silent and ever so graceful, like a dancer's body moving to the beat of a slow song...and you have to be really still and silent to be able to notice the full dance, the subtle changes, the movements that tell the story, the whole process! Sometimes we are so busy with life that we only feel the impact of the change, but we completely miss the dance.
 
 
Over the years I've only caught snippets of Nature's show. At first I was only present during the closing scene. Sometimes I'd only awaken mid performance. But this year....aaah this year, I think I've finally got to witness Nature's full dance as we've transitioned from Summer to Autumn, and it was beautiful!!
 
 
It's a bit strange how, just last week, when these pics were taken, it felt like we were living through the hottest week of the year; and barely a week later, the temperatures have started to dip. And then today we are greeted with grey skies which will hopefully bring along some much needed rain.
 
 
For me, this dress represents the changing seasons. It's one of those items you can wear during the full dance so to speak! It's modest, lightweight enough to get you through the hot Summer months, and the 3/4 sleeve makes it ideal for the cooler transitioning days. And as the temperature plummets further, you can reinvent the whole look with clever layering; and then repeat the whole process when we transition into Spring!


* You'll notice a little video at the end of this post. I've decided to document our family memories a little differently for a change. Let me know what you think!
 
 

 
 

 
 


 
 
 

 
video
 
 
OUTFIT  DETAILS
 
Dress : Zara
 
Earrings : Lovisa
 
Sunglasses : Cotton On
 
Sandals : Woolworths
 


 
Thanks for reading!!
 
 
Peace,
 
 
NAMU :) 
 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

What you need to know when applying for a South African Passport

I think we've all had thoughts or an impulse at one time or another to pack up a bag and set off to an exotic location for some kind of reprieve from the everyday humdrum and monotonous routine! I mean, who wouldn't want a temporary escape from all the chaos! But once we've decided to make that dream a reality; we soon realise that to get to said exotic location and to be able to squeeze in that much needed rest and relaxation, we first have to navigate through a string of  stressful processes which starts with getting yourself and your family a passport!

Now we've all heard terrifying stories from people who have gone to Home Affairs and vow never to go back again; but the reality is that sometimes we've just got to suck it up and dive into it because the end definitely justifies the means. I can't say I've had the same unpleasant experience when going in to renew my family's travel documents recently; and I know there's so many people who find the prospect of going in and getting documents done, daunting; so I've compiled a list of what to expect and also added a few things that made the whole process easier for me.
  • First, choose a Home Affairs office that is convenient for you. We went to the Wynberg office in Cape Town.
  • From here, it's important to know that they only allocate a certain number of people for applications everyday; be it passports, ID's, unabridged birth certificates etc. Collections and other requests is a separate queue. For Wynberg, that number is 200 and that number may vary at other Home Affairs branches.
  •  It's advised to get there early so that you can get a number which indicates where you will be in the queue and how soon you will be seen to. Obviously some days you could be luckier than others and the outcome cannot be predicted.
  • Home Affairs opens at 8am, but people start queuing for numbers from as early as 6am. The earlier you get there, the smaller your number, the sooner you will be seen to.
  • Important to note that I did not, in fact queue outside at 6am.
  • After dropping the kids at school, I went straight through to get myself a number (By me, I actually mean my sister...she's the one who actually got me the number 159 - which means I was 159th in the queue).
  • Once you know more or less where you are in the queue, you can either stay and wait for the doors to open; or, if like me, there's no chance you are going to be seen to in the immediate future; you can go about your daily chores and return in an hour or two...or three!
  • Having a number guarantees that you will be seen to - within reason of course! You can't rock up there at closing time and expect to be attended to. Also note, doors close at 4pm. 
  • On a side note, once you have your number and decide to stay and wait, you queue outside the office and they let you in in groups at a time. This could take ages.
  • Kids and BOTH parents MUST be present when applying for  passports of minors!
  • I fetched the kids early from school that day and returned to Home Affairs at about 1pm. My number still wasn't called and there was an estimated wait of about an hour....so I took the kids for lunch.
  • We returned just after 2pm and we were let in to get the whole process started! We applied for Passports and Unabridged certificates for the kids as this has become essential when travelling with minors. There was a long queue where we had to pay for the documents we were applying for, but this gave me enough time to fill out the forms required for the unabridged certificates while husband stood in the queue.
  • The whole process of applying for Passports, Unabridged certificates and ID cards took just over 2 1/2 hours and left us with just enough money to pay for parking!!! Also, things have become a lot more Hi-tech and seamless since we last applied for passports.
  • The kids were helluva annoying after the first hour and a half.
  • It's important to note that the people behind the desk deal with A LOT of people with varying personalities on a daily basis. This can't be an easy job for them and I know that as frustrating and time consuming as we find the whole process to be, a little compassion and humility towards the people behind the desk goes a long way. I found them to be extra helpful when treated with a little kindness and having a sense of humour about it all.
  • We received our Unabridged Certificates on the same day, and the passports were ready within a week!
  • To collect or documents we followed a similar procedure, only this time we got a number for the collections queue instead of applications.
  • Both parents don't have to be present for collections.
  • Overall, I didn't have a bad experience. I think I resigned myself to the fact that it would be a long wait, and this made me a bit more patient towards the process.

  • You can also completely avoid the afore mentioned procedure by applying for your documents online here. Home Affairs has teamed up with Standard Bank to simplify the process and make it easier and convenient, without have to stand in queues.( Thanks to the two lovely readers, Dilshaad and Mariam, for sharing this information with me😊. )
And now that we are proud owners of brand new passports and all our travel documents are in order,  all that's left to do is to pack that suitcase...plus a whole lot of other last minute running around before we are 100% ready to take off!! Wish me luck!




Thanks for reading!!
Peace,
NAMU :)


Friday, 17 March 2017

Raising Teens

"Wait till they're Teens!!"...If I had a dollar for every time a parent told me (while in the throws of an outrageous parenting moment no less)  to enjoy my kids while they were young, because nothing could ever rival the impending doom of the Teen years; then I would be a millionaire! And if I added to that the pennies I would have accumulated from rolling my eyes thereafter and nearly barfing and swallowing; I would make it to the Forbes list of richest moms on the planet!! But alas, I did not, in fact, cash in on any of those declarations. Instead I bided my time, and now I've become that mom with teens, looking back on the years that seem so easy in comparison ( Cringe! I give you permission to roll your eyes and barf! ).


Not to take anything away from the struggling beginning years...They are actually really awful and tiring (sleepless nights) and challenging (terrible two's)...unglamorous ( baby vomit...that is all) and dreadful; but the Teen years is a completely different kind of horrible! Perhaps more so because we expected the difficulties to ease up once they were bigger and more independent and supposedly less demanding. But...they don't.


There is a gap phase when you think you've emerged from a bottomless pit of challenges and you think "I've got this. Parenting should be plain sailing from here on"...but then you're hit with a pre-pubescent girl with mood swings; and you think nothing could be worse, until...they eventually become a full blown nightmare  teenager...and then you think nothing could be worse than that, until you get hit with the sarcasm and know it all attitude of a teenage boy!!!  Dreadful I tell you...


When they're young, you know the drama ended somewhere between 7 and 8pm, when they're out for the count and down for the night. You literally live for the sweet taste of freedom that comes after the kids are asleep! But when they're older, they're sharing space on the sofa with you while eating popcorn and catching up on the series that used to be your escape time...and by the time their new revised and extended bedtime eventually arrives, you're too darn tired yourself to be able to enjoy the peace - And once again, the confines of the bathroom becomes your quiet time and a means of escape...


But it's not all bad. They are quite hilarious and entertaining when they're are not engulfed in the all encompassing teen angst. They can hold interesting and intellectual conversations, and boy do they have quick and witty comebacks to everything! They speak a language of their own, which includes a lot of abbreviations and acronyms(IDK, TBH, IRDC...lit). Thankfully my teens have not yet (and nor will they ever) reached the stage where they are out at night and we have to force our eyes open like back in the feeding and burping stages of infancy; which means I've managed to rekindle my relationship with sleep! They no longer wake me at the crack of dawn (I manage that all by myself now - thanks) for coco pops or a sandwich. They help with chores (albeit with a glum look on their faces), and even babysit their brother so that us old folk can go on the occasional date.


Somehow we think of the Teen years as the light at the end of the tunnel that will mark the end of our struggle...and in a way it is the end of the struggles we have become accustomed to; but you soon discover, when you emerge from the fog of early childhood and pre-pubescence, that though the dark tunnel may be behind you, in front of you lies  a minefield! I guess somewhere along the line I thought that once they were bigger, things would automatically get easier. What I didn't realise that even though their bodies had stretched and grown, their minds still need to catch up to that. I guess what I'm trying to say is that parenting is never going to get easy....it's just becomes a different kind of hard!











Oh look...she thought we would get easier!!! HAHAHA






Thanks for reading!!


Peace,



NAMU:)









Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Dear Opinionated Parent

Dear opinionated parent with the unsolicited advice I don't care to hear. If you haven't figured it out by now - after having to endure years of listening to you babbling on and on about the same thing - I'm not actually taking any of that crap you call advice, seriously. If it isn't already obvious, I've implemented didly squat of what you've said; and repeating yourself over and over again is just...well...a waste of breath and fresh air!!
 
 
Sure enough you've been there, done that and earned the girls scout badge; but you don't see me badgering on and on about all the things I think you are doing wrong...so leave me and my parenting style the heck alone! I'm all for advice and sharing knowledge and helping each other along on this parenting journey...but I've had about enough of your condescending tone and insistence on making me feel like a bad parent.
 
Standing on a ledge on the outside, looking in and forming an opinion and judging the next persons parenting over a 5 minute observation is quite low class and down right arrogant and rude! And you don't, in fact, know better than me how to run my life, nor that of my children. I have my own opinion about you and your parenting, but I've not made it my business to continuously victimise you by voicing my opinion out loud. Let's just say that your parenting leaves much to be desired; so fat chance I'll be listening to you!!
 
 
While we all, in some delusional way, aspire to raise intelligent, independent, self-sufficient geniuses...the reality is that the majority of children need some guidance on their path to intellectual greatness. So the next time you happen to walk in on me explaining a Math equation to my child that they didn't quite grasp...or oohing and aahing over a spectacular piece of art that my child just created, or listening to their ideas for their latest project or assignment - don't assume that I'm helicopter parenting or that I'm over involved. I'm just a normal parent showing an interest in her 12 year olds schooling career and steering them at times in the right direction when they get a bit too playful - cos God dammit they're not going to figure it ALL out while I'm cosying up on the sofa writing blog posts and watching TV!!!
 
 
The time will come when they learn about Calculus and Trigonometry and Chemical equations, and I won't remember that shizz...but for now, I don't see why I should shun my children when I'm still able to help them; thanks to my math skill that is still surprisingly intact (thanks Mr Williams). The time will come in the next year or so, when I might be shut out of their thoughts and they won't freely come to me for help...or even yet, I won't be able to help. So you can sure as hell count on it that if I'm able to assist them, I WILL- and it's got nothing to do with you!!!!
 
 
My kids are plenty independent and FYI, I strongly promote independent thinking. But I also promote being present in their lives. Perhaps if you did that more, you wouldn't be stok siel alleen, peering into someone else's home and criticising how they parent...cos God knows, you're far from perfect yourself!!!!





 
 
Thanks for reading!!
 
 
Peace,
 
 
NAMU :)

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Time Flies

They say time flies when you're having fun...that time heals wounds...that time is a gift and a teacher. But time also robs, and steals. Sometimes we kill, lose or waste it;  but more often than  not, we seem to be running out of it! So many proverbs and metaphors describing the one commodity we can never get back, yet we still haven't learnt how to properly spend it. Time...though it moves at the same pace every day, some days there just never seems to be enough of it.


I know they say that time flies when you're having fun, and it's true; but time passes by even faster when your rushing about, chasing it, while trying to squeeze in enough  tasks and chores. This past month alone has been and endless battle with time. Time flew for sure, but we weren't even having an ounce of fun! And it made me think back a little, to when time felt a little less confrontational. When time seemed to be moving a little slower. When time borrowed itself to us and we made a lot better use of it. When time wasn't robbing us, but we were basking in the glory of time well spent...



And time has travelled extra fast since then, that those days seem like both yesterday, and so far away at the same time. And though time is fluid and constantly moving; never pausing and waits for nobody; time is also generous, and it's most precious gift to us is memories...and what wonderful memories we have of the Summer we are leaving behind!



This past Summer has been a season of mixed emotions! There was loss as well as celebration, hellos and goodbyes. There were fantastic moments and there were times that it didn't feel like a Summer vacation at all. But whatever was thrown our way, we still tried to make the best of the situation, and it's culminated into these wonderful moments. You see, Time is made up of millions of moments...some of which are bitter and some of which pass us by unused...while others will stand out and be imbedded in our hearts and minds as memories that we will cherish forever! Here's a photo journal of my favourite Summer moments, now forever frozen in Time <3


* Disclaimer: All family members are not featured in the pictures below. Some of them were out of the country and some managed to escape being photographed completely ;-)

Lights, camera, ACTION!!

POOL DAYS!   When all other plans fell flat...there were always pool days to carry us through!!
 





Aryana's first swim!






BOAT TRIP!  No Summer is complete without an impromptu Boat trip right?









This tripod went with almost everywhere! It's in the genes









PARK  DAYS!  Cos you're never too old to go to the park! 














BEACH   DAYS!  We didn't catch nearly enough of these days :-(

First beach trip for Aryana!

She clearly loved it!














ADVENTURE  DAYS!  Because sometimes we need a bit of a thrill! 













RED  BUS  TOUR:  We ended it off  with an impromptu Red Bus Tour, pretending to be tourists in our own city! This was literally the last day of Summer vacation...the next day the kids were back at school.



Family portrait! LOL









And that's a wrap! Summer is over and there's a new season of possibilities that awaits.
 
Thanks for reading!



Peace,


NAMU :)