Morning walk with an archeologist toddler

DSC_0197Saturday, last, was a perfect morning. We decided to take a walk, but not go to the beach, we went inland. So we drove a few kilometers and parked under the trees, selecting an area rich in fynbos, mainly protea species. It was also a wide enough “path” to allow for the big wheel stroller, a must on sandy or gravel roads. Boeta’s own 4×4.

The walk is 4 and half kilometer. Off we went, daddy with the camera and mom with the stroller. It did rain a few days before, so the path still had muddy areas, which although ideal for the little man, not so much for his parents, as we wanted to have a walk and not turn around to get him dry and clean.

DSC_0102Boeta nearly hung over the side of the stroller as he examined the area with so much bushes and flowers. Some of the things he saw, included lizards, Protea and some birds too. We just enjoyed the environment and change in scene.

DSC_0179 DSC_0097 DSC_0012 DSC_0020We hardly talked in this first period, except for answering the odd question from Boeta about something he saw. It was just perfect and we were savoring the smells of the fresh dew and soil mix, the smell of the bushes in the fields around us. We kept on walking but also kept an eye on the path as we decided Boeta should be left to run and explore on the way back.

DSC_0058 As we went along the path got narrower but we kept going to a point where the stroller could not go anymore. Time to turn around. Time for the little man to run and explore.

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Boeta immediately went for the rocks and not any, the biggest he could carry in one hand. The problem is when you have 2, you cannot pick up any more and you have to pass so many potential rock and sticks.DSC_0168Daddy, now walking with the stroller told Boeta to bring the rocks, we can put it in the pocket at the back. This was an immediate hit suggestion….look at that face light up.

DSC_0174 DSC_0187We swapped stroller and baby. Mom took the stroller and daddy walked with Boeta. He collected more rocks and gave them to me to put in the pocket, but we also realized these rocks will fill that pocket quickly, so now and then daddy subtly flicked one into the bush again. Boeta realized it will be easier to put them in the pocket himself, so started to do that, which really would not work. Daddy told mom, “Just walk a little faster.” The idea then that it would take longer to reach the pocket and fill it. Boeta picked up speed and ran after mom and the pocket, rocks in hand, laughing. Daddy was in tears, so was mom, but she also had to keep the speed up. Every now and then she would think, I am far enough ahead, time to break…daddy said: “Look behind you”, yes, the little man was right there, rocks in hand.DSC_0231

After our hilarious walk with toddler chasing mom holding big rocks in his hands for around the last kilometer, we drove around the corner to a spot with a bit of a view and some picnic tables for a well deserved refreshment.

Boeta got out and was immediately playing and looking for things to find around the area.

DSC_0289 DSC_0208After all this running and playing Archeologist one gets thirsty and hungry.

DSC_0216It was a wonderful morning as a family, with lots of laughing and as you can see from both the faces of mom and Boeta, running too…or is it chasing? The last 2 images are shots of the view from that spot.

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Keep up mom!

After our amazing experiences at the waterhole with the elephant and hyaenas, we drove to another favourite spot, also a waterhole, but you stand high up viewing down, nice to see birds and animals from a high spot. One can also get out of your vehicle at this point, at own risk, as this is within the park and with lions, hyaena and all other animals around, it needs a careful look around. Daddy did a walk to see, saw nothing and we let the energy ball out to run. He was off in a flash…

DSC_0738 DSC_0740Mom caught up with him and took him by the hand to walk safely by her side. DSC_0741Daddy said it is okay, let him run, nothing around at the moment, I checked 3 times. Mom hesitantly let him go and he immediately picked up that this will be a game of catch me if you can.

DSC_0755 DSC_0759Too easy, lets walk with mom and try to surprise her.

DSC_0768 DSC_0772 DSC_0773 DSC_0775Okay then, did not work…now just run…

DSC_0778 DSC_0779 DSC_0780 DSC_0787 DSC_0791 This went on for a while…and he did enjoy every moment.

He then saw the bushes looked interesting and this became the new focus, investigating and eventually tossing a few rocks, chasing a bird who did not seem to mind as it kept flying from bush to bush with Boeta in hot pursuit.

We thought after the heavy posts of the past few days, we would do something a little more fun to see. Till next time.

Mother and Child

I have titled this post “mother and child” to convey 2 thoughts I had and still have while taking these photos of Mom and Boeta.

1. Standing back.

Sometimes when we are out and about, mainly to find birds and animals to photograph and above all to give Boeta experiences in nature, I find myself standing back and observing a mother and with her child. I cannot help but point my camera in that direction and start taking photos as they do whatever they do. I feel fortunate to be able to catalog such love and sincere interaction as well, I think it is a wonderful thing to witness, the unclouded interactions between a mother and her children and the flow of energy back and forth between them. Hoping you can see what I mean by these photos.

Mom and son 3 Mom and son 4 Mom and son 2 Mom and son 5

2. Emotional

Mom is back at work and being totally truthful, the day before she went back was very emotional for her. I can only try to understand and support as a husband to his wife, but recognize that the deep feelings of sadness also has their origin in the type of moments shared in above photos and the realization that for now there will be a little less of that on a full day basis with a new year and the inevitable away from home times that will happen. As men, we do not really get emotional about these things, at least for me that is true. I (we) see it as life and things that just has to be done, rather focusing on the next occasion.

What gets me emotional is looking at my family like I am fortunate to do in situations like above. My biggest dream for my wife has always been, for her to be a mother too, in addition to all she has achieved in life. After all these years, maybe because we are a little older, it tugs on my heart every time I see her with her son, interacting with him and feeling proud, being the father and husband to these two. Seeing her walk on the walkway hand in hand with her son, talking and explaining things, pointing, helping and talking him through the steps helping him climbing them as I am sure she will do for the rest of his life, my chest swells to bursting point with pride, looking at my wife, a mother … with her son. A happy uncontrolled tear rolls down one’s cheek, mine at least….to use a more modern term…that is so cool!

Talking about modern, the young man also thinks it is pretty cool…look at this face as he saw me taking the photos.

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 A face like that makes you wonder what he will get up to in the future….time will tell.

Part of Just Jot it January

Just jot it January 2015

http://lindaghill.com/2015/01/01/just-jot-it-january-pingback-post-and-rules/

The magnificent shining star of O.R.O.!

The magnificent shining star of O.R.O. – 2014!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!

Boeta, yes, the little rascal running around in the house. He is the glue of this blog and all the previous highlights, be it wildlife, birds or environment, had been experienced with him at our side, as it should be.

AJ working hard and started pulling faces too!

Boeta working hard and started pulling faces too!

So a quick look at our year in relation to Boeta, and his development. You joined us when boeta was not 1 yet, in May/June. At this stage he was crawling, started late in February 2014. Training for crawling was a hard job and we started to see more and more of the joking fun-loving boy at this early stage.

AJ preparing to crawl, one hand open in position.

Boeta preparing to crawl, one hand open in position.

                                                                                                                                                                              This photo was taken around early February when he showed his eagerness to want to crawl, starting to get the little brain sorted to do this main step to mobility.

Still a nice plump little boy, breastfed by his loving mom and healthy, inquisitive and starting to take solid food.

Moving forward to March, 9-10 months, and he was at full speed. All the family gathered for his Grandfather’s 80th birthday and Boeta saw them for the first time, that is, the extended family.

AJ  tearing down the hallway, 10 months

Boeta tearing down the hallway, 10 months

A favorite book with sliding windows

A favorite book with sliding windows

His rapid development from here astounded us at times. He has always had a big love for books, which we keep encouraging by adding more on a regular basis, we have books everywhere in the house.

Eating a rice cake!

Eating a rice cake!

25-DSC_0305One of the tough sides at times, especially for mom, having to leave her son for work, was being a single parent, we had to handle this as best we can, and we think we achieved it via Skype and constant communication. Mom was away for a total of 19 weeks this year.

botaThis also afforded the little man to get to know things like notepads, which amazed us as it seems to just be a natural thing for the little man, but having said that, we carefully manage his usage of it and believe to focus on his books, nature and play as the most important things we can do for him now.

He started walking around a week before he was 1-year-old. We count ourselves very lucky that through all his “first” achievements, mom has been there and witnessed it. So we could applaud our man together as he developed.

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Proud parents shared his 1st Birthday with you on the 4th of June. It is still something of a wonder and amazing thing to say we are parents after being married for 17 years, now nearly 19 years. We decided to bake his first cake ourselves, and although it was no designer piece, we were very proud of it. He loved bunnies at this stage.

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With movement and walking, came learning new skills, first was to collect the ball and throw it or push his red sports car around the house. Daddy also secured the deck, to allow him to play on it, which extended to run and play space from the whole of the living room to outside as he wished.

Blowing the candle!

Blowing the candle!

One must have some fun on your birthday!

One must have some fun on your birthday!

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By July we had a fully active toddler on our hands.

06-DSC_0088 (2) 08-DSC_0224 06-DSC_0214 2-DSC_0029 Boeta kick5-DSC_00682-DSC_0004 (2)Then there is mom. Daddy being the primary caregiver, his participation is sort of given, but as parents we do put a lot of emphasis on mom when she is home, making sure she never feels out of the loop and always knows she is the one and only mom in our lives.

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Nothing like the love and touch of a mother. NOTHING.

DSC_0261e DSC_0165 DSC_0169Boeta also got to experience nature with us, from our trip to the Addo national park, playing at the beach, and even his first flight to visit his Grandparents in September.

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Doing some research in daddy’s birding book.7-DSC_0350 9-DSC_0065 6-DSC_0044 5-DSC_0038 1-DSC_0005 09-DSC_0033 02-DSC_0009 02-20140801_110238 14-DSC_0558 02-DSC_0443 11-DSC_01741-IMG00943-20140902-0925 03-DSC_0445 08-IMG-20140929-WA051 04-IMG-20140929-WA043Is there anything one can say to top a year of so many firsts. It was an excellent year for the 3 of us. We had achieved much as a family, but the main achiever was our little Boeta. He has been a trooper in sickness (last 2 weeks around Christmas), he has been the light of our lives all year-long, always laughing, running, jumping and yes we do have a tantrum here and there as he tries to communicate displeasure at something, but for the main, our star, we could not have asked for a more wonderful gift and we are so very proud of him. Looking forward to 2015!

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7-DSC_0386As adults we can just wish everyone the best for 2015! May it be your best year ever, may you take something from a toddler like ours and see everything you encounter as a brand new experience to learn from and enjoy. Above all else, may 2015 be full of love, laughter and so many precious moments that it will be difficult to choose the best. Thanks for following us throughout most of 2014, and hoping you stay with us in 2015! For those of you who took the time to comment on posts, sending hugs and love our way, mostly towards the little star, thank you with all of our hearts.

CHEERS 2014!

The Essence

The essence of our son. Ok, we know it is back to back posts about him and we will get back to scenery, lions and birds, soon, but it is an important milestone, 1.5 years for us and deserves a back to back Boeta. You see 18 months ago, when the sun set, we were on a new road, incredible, exciting, scary, a little unexpected, but oh so wonderful and with the grace of our Heavenly Father, we have reached this day.

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After Boeta’s bath last night, daddy decided to try to capture his son’s essence at 18 months. Yes, missing is the odd tantrum or unhappiness due to one of his parents not playing with him or something he wants but cannot get, but those are luckily not very often. So as the sun went down over our rumbling ocean, daddy released the little chap and snapped away. Enjoy. This is our son.

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Sharing untainted pure magnificent JOY

Sharing untainted pure magnificent joy is tough to do. We are woefully unqualified to try and do it, but with a series of photos from Boeta, hopefully you will get the message we are trying to convey.

As parents and adults we get so involved in our day-to-day activities and we have learned all kinds of ways to show pleasure and joy, but we wonder if in all this genuine deeply felt joy has not been sold out? Do we even recognize it anymore? The world is full of negatives every day and similarly many articles you read about parenting are geared toward tantrums, what not to do, milestones, achievements, disasters, diseases and so on.

As parents we do all we can to give our children the best we can, we have to handle sleepless nights, screaming, crying, sickness, food and lots of clean-ups in combination with working, marriage and day-to-day life. Do we recognize those moments of joy in our family and keep it dear to our hearts, the fuel we need. Getting off track here, told you this is a tough assignment, pure joy. What is it? It is a feeling of great happiness as per definition. It is not: The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires – DELIGHT

It is not gaiety or bliss on its own, but maybe it is a combination of it all. A warm fuzzy feeling that somehow takes hold of you, deep within, shared with those who are in its presence, never bought, but beware the cheap knockoffs that are found everywhere.

Grappling to get this conveyed, in the last post on Liebster Award in the questions, we said on the question, where would you want to live, “anywhere is fine as long as we are together” and we said on perfect day, “being together, laughing and enjoying life”, we did not lie, because we believe it with all our hearts and being a family is such a wonderful joy.

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Still not there, let’s give Boeta the floor, he cannot speak “much”, he is only 17 months old but he can do better in explaining our point. There is something in these photos, more than just being photos of our son, we hope you can see and we hope you can experience in this month as Christmas nears. The love, happiness and joy all wrapped up and shared with abundance with his parents and hopefully a few of you, looking at it.

It all started with a bunny and the bunny hopped…

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“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

Christopher McCandles

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“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”

Buddha

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“Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible – it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.”

Barbara de Angeles

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“Joy, rather than happiness, is the goal of life, for joy is the emotion which accompanies our fulfilling our natures as human beings. It is based on the experience of one’s identity as a being of worth and dignity.”

Rollo May

Experience nature

We have shown a few photos of our outing yesterday, lion and giraffe, but Boeta also got to roam around at applicable areas. He had lots of fun investigating stuff as we walked around. Here are some photos, ending with mom pointing to something in front of them. Daddy is fairly proud of this series of photos.

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