Caley is a stay-at-home mama and blogger (Ellie Love). Caley and her husband, Marc live in Durban with their two little girls Sophie Jade (3.5 years old) and Ellie Nicole who is 18 months. Watch out for Caley she is about to launch a party planning and design business so get ready Durban.
Favourite product for moms and why?
Mamma Mio products during pregnancy (for bums, tums, boobs and stretch marks) and the scar serum for C-section scars. My Clarins lipgloss always adds a little sparkle for me too.
How has your style changed since becoming a mom?
My style hasn’t really changed as a Mom – I’ve tried my best to stay as well groomed and put together as I was before. I know I always feel better after a shower, washed my hair and a bit of make up, no matter what day it is. I wear all the same styles, colours and brands as I did before – just not as many nights out that requires heels!
Favourite product for little ones?
SBR cream is my go to for all rashes and skin treatments – hot and blotchy skin, a little graze or skin/heat/bum rash. I am also recently loving the amazing-smelling kids bath range from Woolworths – their bath wash and bubble bath smell heavenly – apple, citrus and berry flavours fill the bathroom and soak into their skin.
A babe essential you couldn’t live without?
Treehouse carry cot. I bought this during my first pregnancy as more of a novelty baby item as I didn’t think I would use it much but I used it every day (and some nights) for the first four months with each child. The carry cot is big and comfortable and fits in all blankets, toys and newborn pillow. It is easy to carry and light and was moved around from room to room when my girls were so little. It also taught them to sleep in any conditions – with noise and voices and in light and dark.
Best gift you have received for your kids?
Amazing Grace – my husband started singing this to them as newborns to soothe them and it still works to this day.
Where is your favourite place to go hang with your children?
My girls are water babies so anywhere with a pool or the beach – they love splashing around and having fun! Our local parks and church coffee shops are great fun to climb and play and release energy whilst Mom enjoys a cuppa.
Favourite meal to give your child?
I have been blessed with happy and non-fussy eaters. I love giving my girls a roast as they love the chicken, gravy and vegetables.
Naming your children always has a story. How did you pick your children’s names?
My husband and I have always loved the name Sophie so we knew from the start that our first daughter would be Sophie, Jade is my second name and has continued as a family name. We were stuck with a second girls name as we didn’t like or agree on any. My Father in law mentioned the name Ellie as had heard it on TV, we then started hearing it around and the meaning is beautiful, Nicole is my late sister in law’s name so it has also continued as a family name. We are really stuck if we have a third daughter one day.
What one thing we will never catch you doing as a mama?
I will never allow my child to sleep in my bed. We all have our different ways of parenting and each to their own opinion – I respect all moms who choose to co-sleep but it is something I will never do. My bed is my sanctuary, my one place to escape and an intimate haven for my husband and I.
What surprises you most about being a mum?
I am surprised at how calm I am in panic situations. I can normally get quite worked up, nervous or hysterical in a dramatic or traumatic situation but since having children, I have learnt to stay calm and collected and act in a quick and logical manner.
What do you love most about your husband being a dad?
I always thought my husband was a “boy dad” but the unique bond he shares with both daughters is remarkable, it is magical and it leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy. He is also the most hands-on dad that I know – he has changed nappies from day one, got up for midnight feeds and slept in hospital chairs.
What one thing do you want to teach your child?
To be true to who he/she is. We live in an online world that is so easy for people to portray a very deceitful image of themselves and people being fake. Be real and stay true to yourself.
Best piece of advice you could give moms of little girls.
Be the best role model you can be – they will do as you do and not as you say. Be very careful about how you approach your own body image and how you respond to theirs. It is so important to raise confident and powerful young ladies, from the very beginning.
Pics by Melissa Mitchell Photography
We heart Drew Barrymore – we think if we lived in New York we’d definitely be mama friends.
Happy weekend lovely mamas. We’re in for a quiet one… well, as quite as one gets with a baby. The last two weeks have been crazy with time away and then spending the nights at Kimmy because of Francie’s christening so we’re looking forward to hanging out at home – practising Francie Suagr’s sitting (she prefers to be on her tummy), giving dad some serious bonding time (aka mama’s time out) and going for walks – if it cools down.
Links that caught our eye:
This single mama makes a whole lot of money!
How would you describe the modern family?
Heading back to work after maternity leave? 13 things you must know.
Stress is changing your kids’ genes – for the worse.
Time saving beauty heroes.
Week 28: It’s been a heat wave in Johannesburg, reaching over 30 degrees pretty much every day. It’s hot hot hot. This means a whole love of new things: me insisting on you wearing a sun hat, you being smothered in sun cream and sweaty days when you just wear a nappy. You sleep in the day with your feet out, your fat little toes curling and often your one foot up on the side of your cot or pram. Your delicious, dimple filled thighs are, at last, given some air.
Week 29: You have found your toes and how delightful this discovery is. You grab them any chance you get, when lying on the floor, the bed, in your cot, in the bath, on your changing table, while you eat, on the car… pretty much all the time. I am fascinated by your flexibility as your legs twist this way and that as you turn. You grab your toes and roll all over the place. To me this makes you look so baby like, like a rolly polely little chubster. This particular Saturday your papa, you and I went to the Country Club. We lay on your mat and enjoyed the cool breeze and the entertainment of a children’s party in the distance. I fed you as we lay peacefully. We had planned on ‘just chilling’ but your endless giggles got the better of us.
Week 30: This week we celebrated the pending arrival of your next cousin. It made me realise that we have far too few pics of the four of you. This one was taken at a hotel, after high tea to celebrate Hugolyne’s bump. I know it’s not a great of of any of you but I love it. My sisters are my best friends but you best friends are your cousins, each loving you in their own way. I love that you will grow up surrounded by family, surrounded by shrieks of little girls and excitement of each other. You next cousin and you will only be 7 months apart, which when you’re babies seems like a big gap but the old you get the smaller the gap will be. We are already reaping the benefits of being the “4th child” as you get to wear your older cousins’ clothes – this smocked by Kimmy dress was worn by Honor too at some point.
Week 31: This one has been a big one baby girl – you’ve learnt to sit and you cut two more teeth. When I look at baby Jack I can’t believe how far we have come, I feel as if it was yesterday that I help you scrunched up against me and yet at the same time it feels like forever ago that you were newborn. I cannot even remember my life before you.
Your sitting it the sweetest thing, your legs wide apart and your back straight, you look at me waiting for admiration. As you for your teeth, it’s sore for you. You go off your food slightly, only wanting to each double thick yogurt which I give you. You like to have your day sleeps pressed up against me and the best thing I can do is to give you some ice wrapped in muslin to suck – Bailey’s tip. You chat constantly, shout for my attention and giggle when you get a fright. You are super ticklish on the right hand side of your neck and under your eft arm, against your rib.
Basically, my baby girl, I think you are just the most wonderful thing.
Week 32: We went to the Oyster Box in Umhlanga this week. We went with your ouma Elsje and uncles from your papa’s side. We are went away for the long weekend to celebrate Elsje’s 60th. You kept me busy and while my days of being in a 5 star hotel have certainly changed it was such an adventure to take you away again. You were a real trooper, travelling so well on the flight and adjusting to our new environment easily. We would have morning cuddles in our big hotel bed overlooking the ocean and baths in the big hotel bath – you hardly fed in the bath here as you seemed so distracted by the new ‘look’ of the bathroom. In the evenings we would walk along the Umhlanag promenade, you would shriek and kick your legs at any dog you saw. You experienced a few things for the first time this weekend:
- A few new foods but you really took to melon – green melon to be specific which you ate in your fingers each morning.
- Balloons – each morning a waiter would bring you a red balloon. You were not sure about this giant floating thing, hating it if it was too close to you but eventually enjoying banging it with your hand.
- Sleeping in a camp cot. This may not sound momentous but you were fascinated that you could see out all sides, and in the mornings as I looked down on your from our big bed there you were, looking at us upside down, completely amazed.
- Showering! We showered with your for the first time, your little hand gripped my skin while your other hand played with the water, totally fascinated.
- Sipping water out of a glass. Note to mama: buy sip cup. But I gave you water out of a glass which was the sweetest thing to watch as you sipped (sucked) the water.
- Swimming – we slowly introduced you to the water and you loved it, you specifically enjoyed being ‘swished’ from side to side or being bounced so your legs would come up and go down under the water.
Today is World Adoption Day. We are celebrating today by introducing you to Jules. Jules came into mamahood in a more unusual way than most of us, she and her husband Ryan have adopted three beautiful babes.
Did you always know that you would want to adopt?
Yes, but we just didn’t know when. Adoption has been on my heart for the longest time and it is something that Ryan and I discussed before we got married.
When did you start looking into adoption?
We’d been married for about a year when we started chatting about kids and we decided to look into adoption. The timing of this chat coincided with an ‘adoption looking in’ talk that we attended which was hosted by Wandisa, the adoption agency that ultimately facilitated each of our adoptions. When you have access to information, it makes the decision-making process so much easier.
What about adoption appealed to you?
I had a strong desire to be a mom and to have a baby, but I didn’t yearn to experience pregnancy and so adoption made sense for us in both a heart and head kind of way. I had been exposed to the orphan crisis through my work as a Physio and had always felt the tug on my heart to be part of the solution. Culture says that your baby needs to carry your DNA, but our children have our hearts completely and this is really all that matters.
After you adopted your first baby, was the process easier to adopt your second baby?
It was easier in that we knew what to expect and we had an existing relationship with our adoption social worker and agency, but we still had to go through a screening update and fill out all the forms again. The process had also changed slightly since our first adoption and so we were required to undergo a psychological examination (which included drawing a picture of a house, a person and a tree and explaining scenarios in pictures) as well as read and review some adoption-related books. All certified documents are only valid for three months and so this paperwork also had to be re-done.
It’s easy to start to feel resentful about all the adoption admin, but adoption social workers only have the best interests of each child at heart and so there is no option but to get on board, and to get on board enthusiastically.
Tell us about the day you got the phone call, telling you about each of your babies.
Our social worker phoned us each time to tell us about the potential match and asked if they could send us a referral via email – this included some photos and details about our babies and where they had been staying up until that point. We imagine that opening up that referral email is the same as viewing your very first scan and so we made sure that we were always together when we opened it up. It’s a surreal moment seeing a photo of your baby for the first time.
Can you describe your first day together?
Our first night back home with Ilan was quite bizarre. I woke up to the sound of a baby crying and after a moment of confusion, I realised it was OUR baby crying! Instant parenting.
What was the toughest part about choosing this path to motherhood?
The toughest part is probably dealing with the desire to bond instantly with your child and this isn’t always the case. It’s also quite taxing keeping your child’s specific ‘adoption-related needs’ on your radar while going through normal parenting routines and ticking off developmental milestones.
Do you have any family rituals?
We celebrate each child’s adoption day with a special family meal together. We like to acknowledge the day that each of our children joined the family and make a bit of a fuss of each child on this day. We’re also putting together a ‘Life Story’ book for each child which is a great way to make them familiar with their story and give them the opportunity to chat through the details in a safe way.
Is motherhood everything you thought it would be?
Yes, and more. It’s beautiful to see the world through your child’s eyes and to be forced to slow down sometimes. I’m surprised by how often my heart just wants to pop with the deepest love for my kids – I love being a mom to my three kids.
Pictures snapped by Ilze Louw.
Follow Jules’ blog at Heart Mama Blog.
Ivanka Trump and her babes by Mario Testino for Vogue
Happy weekend mamas. I am especially excited for this one as we are christening Francie Sugar on Sunday. We’re christening her in our local church but then hosting a garden party in Kimmy & Bear’s garden, complete with lawn games, christening cake and pretty dresses. If you are in Joburg, this weekend is the Jozi Child and Mommy Market at the Fourways Farmers Market which looks like it will be fun. Have a lovely one.
Here are some links that caught our eye this week:
Now that her kids are all grown up, this mama misses the early years.
It’s getting hot hot hot – does your babe need water?
Great guidelines for feeding picky eaters.
Which school gate mum are you?
Does music trump reading for childhood development?
Choosing the best toys for your babe.
How Elon Musk’s Mom (and Her Twin Sister) Raised the First Family of Tech.
What colour is your nursery? Here’s how colour affects your babe.
We just got back from a long weekend at the Oyster Box Hotel. It was fantastic to get out of town but staying in a fancy hotel is a whole new experience with a baby in tow – no more lying by the pool reading. Here are some tips which made our weekend so much easier.
1. Call ahead and speak to the conceige about your needs. We asked for a cot to be put in our room which saved us having to travel with one. We also booked an airport transfer which had a car chair available – again saving us travelling with one/having to hire one.
2. A head lamp! Haha! You may laugh at this one but it was the most useful thing to have with us. Sharing a room with our babe is not something that we do at home so I insisted on keeping the lights out. My husband used the headlamp to read at night and used it to find all those things that you need as soon as the light is out.
3. Plastic bags. This was Bailey’s tip and such a useful one. It so useful to have a number of plastic bag on hand to throw in the extremely dirty towel, the food stained clothes or the wet cosi at the end of the holiday.
4. New toys. I decided to but a few new little things and leave Francie’s usual toys at home. What a great idea? She was so excited to see something new in the morning that it gave my husband and I an extra few minutes to lie in which she played on the floor.
5. An enormous beach bag/tote. The thing with staying at a hotel is that overtime you need something you have to go up to your room to fetch it which is a pain and breaks up your activity. So I had a huge bag that went with me: nappies, snacks, lunch, spoons, bibs, a jersey, suncream, a toy, binki etc etc was thrown in and then I had everything on hand all the time. (I love this one)
6. Another one of Bailey’s tips: disposable bibs. Dirty bibs are one of my worst thing and having a whole bunch lying around ready to pack for home would be even worse. Pigeon disposable bibs are fantastic…
7. Use the bathroom. Our hotel room didn’t have black out curtains so the first morning Francie saw the sun shining in at 5am and she was wide awake! The next night I put Francie’s cot in the bathroom and voila! It was pitch black and she slept until 7am, plus we could turn on the light in the bedroom.
We love it when the new collections start to hit stores. How great is the new winter collection from Zara?
We are so excited to introduce a new series on Kimmy & Bear today. Lindsey from Swiss Lark (a new favourite blog of ours) will be guest posting for the next 5 weeks. Lindsey did her AMI diploma 10 years ago and then taught for six years. She is now a stay-at-home mama to Coco but writes her Montessori Monday column on her blog. We love the topics that we talks about and are so excited to have Lindsey exploring a number of Montessori topics on Kimmy & Bear over the next 5 weeks. (Not sure what Montessori is all about? Here Lindsey explains it.)
Today Lindsey talks to us about Montessori and bedtime.
The Montessori approach to bedtime focuses, of course, on independence. To that end, the main feature is a floor bed. Babies start sleeping on their Montessori floor bed as soon as they come home from the hospital. The floor bed is a high quality full-size (140 cm) mattress placed directly on the floor. Of course, no loose bedding or linens are used. It is recommended that a full-length mirror be placed horizontally on the wall next to the floor bed. This allows the baby to see his or her own reflection. In addition, a series of mobiles should be hung low enough for the baby to really see, but too high to grab. The first mobile is black and white for a newborn’s adjusting eyes. Later mobiles integrate more color and texture. This is the beginning of the child’s comfort, independence and development in their Montessori nursery.
But, I have to admit, we have never approached bedtime in the Montessori way.
While I was pregnant with Coco, I just couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of the floor bed. Plus, I was completely in love with the Stokke Sleepi cot and I really wanted to try co-sleeping. We didn’t set up anything in the nursery, it was really more of a guest room. In the end, a combination of using the cot (we bought a second hand Sleepi when Coco was 9-months-old) and co-sleeping has really worked for us and we’re still at it with our second! Coco has since graduated to a toddler bed and Theo is in the Sleepi now. In my opinion, it’s not so much about where your baby or child is sleeping, but that they’re on a solid routine and getting the sleep they need.
Setting up a routine
Children love predictability. As a Montessori teacher, it can be tempting to spice things up now and then for fear that things are getting boring. Not so! The children love it when each day is much like the last, with strong routines and procedures being followed so they know what’s coming next. The same goes for bedtime. When setting up your bedtime routine, try to make it exactly the same every night.
Our bedtime routine begins as soon as dinner is finished. We draw a nice warm bath and prep their bedroom with nightlights and white noise. During the winter months, we use a humidifier with essential oils. Coco and Theo take a bath together, then it’s time for pajamas, brushing teeth, saying goodnight to the rest of the family, and stories. Most nights, my husband reads stories with Coco in the living room and I read with Theo in the children’s room. Once the stories are finished, it’s lights out. Coco climbs into her toddler bed and Theo nurses to sleep with me in the rocking chair. I don’t mind sitting in the rocking chair until they’re both asleep, so that’s what I usually do. It’s peaceful and quiet. Then I transfer Theo to his cot. They stay in their beds in their room until we go to sleep. Typically Theo wakes around the time we are going to sleep and comes into our bed right away, sometimes later. Coco comes in at some point during the night almost every night. Once in a blue moon, they both stay in their own beds all night and we wake up slightly confused in our huge king bed.
It takes a solid month to establish a really good routine. In the beginning, don’t lose hope; it just takes time. In the very beginning with Coco, we even read the same books each night while establishing the routine. Our children are so accustomed to their routine that anyone can do it. Babysitters or grandma can also put them to bed as easily as we do, even minus the nursing. For us, it’s important that they go to sleep happily at 6:30 in the evening so that they’re getting the sleep they need, and, just as importantly, so that my husband and I can have time with each other and to ourselves. Having our children in our bed with us won’t last forever. But, for now, we are all getting the sleep we need together.
Want more Montessori posts? Visit Lindsey’s blog, Swiss Lark, also here are Lindey’s other posts on Kimmy & Bear:
I completely love this baby boy’s nursery. I love the mix of old and new and the combination of interesting textures. The touches of blue are perfect for a babe (boy or girl, if you ask me) and, seriously – how cool is that elephant laundry basket?