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Little bears dedication adventure

I began planning bears dedication long before he was born. 
What I imagined

In my mind i saw the beautiful ceremony in the same church I’d dedicated his 6 siblings, visions of his huge smile as the minister lifted him in his white suit to pray for him playing over and over.

After his beautiful ceremony  I imagined a simple reception with family and friends decorated stylishly with a nautical theme. 

I even went so far as to design the cute invite and send it out. Ensuring that everyone knew ahead of time to save the date.

Plan B

Not long after I’d sent the invite, his godmother fell pregnant and baby was due in September so we naturally changed the date. 

Bringing his dedication much sooner and with that a new look at our available budget.

I chose my grandmother’s birthday ,21 May and was happy to see it fell on a Sunday. I have to say by now I was a little over trying to please everyone and we decided that if people couldn’t make it we weren’t changing the date again.

But I really wanted him to be surrounded by his full exstended family and God parents.

This also didn’t give me much time to replan with a much smaller budget as we wouldn’t have time to save for the extra 4 months.

I began to plan again

 The origional church I’d planned  hadn’t gotten back to me and reluctantly i chose another church who could do the dedication ceremony that weekend…. but … I wasn’t happy.

Our venue was able to move the dedication forward but our new hardly existent budget meant I was batteling to find a menue everyone would eat and still afford a cake. 

My decor went from amazing to bare minimum. I wanted everything perfect and started looking for DIY options.

Something was wrong 

Something was wrong ,and my heart wasn’t into planning  this elaborate event . 

I became tearful at the thought of having something less than what I’d imagined.

I really wanted his 3 God parents present but I didn’t want an event I’d been planning way before his birth to be a thrown together event because we were rushing.

I cancelled

In tears the one afternoon I finally threw my toys out the cot (yes….this mom lost her shit) and between tears of frustratiom and the realisation that my boys dedication would be something less than what I had planned for him, I told Pappa to cancel.

Right there in that moment I didn’t care if I had to wait a year … this was not the dedication I wanted for him.

I explained  that as I worked on his dedication plans I felt more and more annoyed, stressed and just sad.

We had only invited family but I felt it was becoming less about the ceremony and more about making everyone happy. (Which you know is never possible). 

My whole beautiful dedication ceremony was becoming  a very costly event with none of the original simplicity and ideas. It was rushed and now everything was changed to fit our new much tighter budget.

So we cancelled

I don’t remember what excuse we used just that the pit in my stomach disappeared and was replaced with a calm knowledge that I could dedicate bear when he was a little older.

 A new plan

A few days later papa phoned his mom in Durban ….bears gran is very active in her church and one of the few people who would have understood the meaning behind his beautiful dedication  ceremony.

 That nagging feeling in my heart came back and as he placed the phone down, I said” lets do the dedication in your moms church.”

I had no idea if the church could accommodate us or what the pastor would need and it meant  we would have to drive to Durban  from Cape Town.

 It also meant that none of the ideas  I had planned would be included in his dedication. No family, no siblings, no friends , no large ceremony with its nautical theme.

Road trip

Papa looked at me, mostly in shock and asked a hundred times if I was sure. I could see in his eyes he loved my idea, but he also knew how important it was for me to have this perfect.

 We started planning our road trip.

For the first time since changing the date I was excited. This felt right. We would still be able to keep the date -my grandmother’s birthday and he would be dedicated in her happy place …Scottsburgh 

Plan C

It was going to be a suprise and so bears gran had no idea we were coming.

To achieve this we would need to get all our ducks in a row long before arriving in Scottsburgh.  We phoned papas cousin T and with her help we were able to  get the churchs contact number and suprise his gran by just arriving at her door on the Friday. 

I phoned the church when we arrived at our friend in Umtata and together with the pastor and office we set up the suprise dedication for that Sunday. 

Suprise 

The Friday I posted on my Facebook that we were on the road. People assumed as we had been travelling for a week prior that our road trip had ended and we were headed home.

As we got outside her door, I tagged her in a suprise we here photo, she was genuinely shocked as we buzzed and she heard Pappas voice. 

We shouted SUPRISE  for the first time that weekend.

The joy in seeing her grandson was wonderful and I was reassured that this was indeed the perfect dedication plan.

Saturday she gave bear his dedication gifts a bible and silver money box. I resisted the urge to spill the beans , especially when I saw her disappointment at his dedication being cancelled.

We met with T and I was able to arrange the very first cake I’d chosen to be baked. Secret whatsapp messages  bounced between our hushed conversations. 

And more surprises 

Sunday finally arrived and bears gran was trying to get out of attending church. I nearly choked.  How to convince her without being to obvious or revealing the secret.

Finally just before 8am we bundled into the car and headed to church.

We stepped into the warmest reception of people, most aware of the upcoming suprise and winking at us.  Smiles and welcome arms surrounded us and i felt an emotion of joy overwealm me …. please dont let me cry ๐Ÿ˜‚

The pastor took us aside and told us how the ceremony would go and bears gran was happy to see her sister  and family fill the pew next to us.

The service began with well known hymns  and I surveyed the beautiful blue flower arrangements placed on either side of the stage.  Suddenly the pastor called bears gran up to the stage and asked her if she knew why she was called up, her confused reaction indicated …no

“We here to dedicate your grandson ” he stated and called us up to join.

The ceremony

Bears gran began to cry which set me off and as the pastor prayed his dedication over our precious bear i realised this was exactly what I wanted.

There was no white dedication suite , no sharing the same church and pastor as his siblings but there was the one thing I’d wanted to achieve ….

Bear was surrounded by love on his special day.

A time to celebrate

We left the church and headed to T’s home where she had set up a beautiful table with the cross cake just as I’d wanted. 

As i sat down to enjoy a piece of cake papa pointed out that T’s whole home is decorated with a nautical theme . I got my nautical theme after all.

Bear proudly held his certificate for photos and even did a mini cake smash with his first real taste of cupcakes as he enjoyed playing with his cousins. 

As for us …. We could finally tell everyone the real reason for our road trip and share our second suprise that weekend. 

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Finding Nemo ….a trip to the Aquariumย 

The Aquarium has been on my bucket list for the last 3 years, so when I saw tickets were half price on the Waterfronts museum night I knew exactly where we were headed.

Dressing bear for the Cape winter we headed off early determined to try avoid a long queue. 

Friendly aquarium staff ushered us to the right line and before we knew it we had out tickets and we’re entering the exhibit.

As we entered a photographer snapped our pics for sale later (at R250 a set it’s well worth the memory. 3 pics in a wonderful keepsake frame full of info about the Aquarium,  a postcard and 2 small pics that you can turn into a magnet or keyring)

We always do things the wrong way lol and started at the sharks first. I’d read that they had just this week completed the shark tanks and introduced the few ragged tooth sharks we saw. Bear was in total awe as these magnificent creatures swam slowly past us.

Next we found the Nemo tank where you can crawl into the centre and have a full view of inside the tank. Papa got to snap a few pics of bear and I. I watched as a facinated bear watched  the fish swimming about , babbling about what he saw.

Next we past small tanks of various fish and sea creatures. Each as beautiful as the next, giving us a wonderful glimpse of the oceans secrets.

The wave pool was intriguing and bear giggled each time the ‘wave’ crashed into the large fish pool.

I couldn’t help lingering a little longer at both the star fish and sea horse tanks …two of my favourite creatures.

Soon we came across the jelly tanks , strategically placed in a darkened room the florescent jellyfish seemed to dance before us.

I loved the I &J tanks with a giant turtle shyly hiding in the courner as large sea creatures swam around him . Ahead of us was a tunnel and I wondered what kind of tunnel you’d have at an aquarium. The tunnel is made of glass and as you walk through the fish swim above and to your sides. This allows you perfect close up views of the animals in the tank.

Something that stood out for me was the touch tanks , where bear got to touch sea weed and a live starfish. This was not a sensory experience he enjoyed. He could also dig for fossils. Sadly he’s a bit young to understand what he was doing.

We gave the kids play area a skip,  mostly because it was bears suppertime and we were eager to view the penguins. But it was encouraging to see so many families , especially with small babies visiting. The Aquarium is completely pram and wheelchair friendly.

You smell the penguin enclosure before you see it and if you’ve been to Boulders beach you will know that smell only to well.  A cross between ocean, fish and dirty socks. The penguin are as cute as can be as they stare at their visitors .

I found this the most beautifully decorated exhibit with its wild fauna creating an ambiance of exoticness. 

It was nice to see an area dedicated to how green you are and we noted a kelp forest interactive game for older kids. I also saw a microscope section manned by aquarium staff who were educating the visitors about various sea life.

The sign boards are informative , without being too rigid and the staff are on hand to answer any questions you may have. There were many opportunities to interact with certain exhibits, touch and take unusual photos.

If you haven’t visited , it’s well worth the visit .

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Hamleys train ride

We stepped up to the station at V & A , greeted by the friendly train conductors as they guided us to wait at the train stop guarded by the  wooden Hamleys guard.

Excitement mounted as I paid our R20 each for bears first train ride. It was only after we got home that I noted if we’d taken our tickets to the store inside we could have claimed our free button badges (guess which mamma saved her tickets for the next time we at V & A ๐Ÿ˜‰?)

The polite conductors chatted away to bear, who by now knew something exciting was about to happen and was squealing in delight. After they helped me load my shopping,  fold my pram and pack it into the end coach, the conductor held bear so I could climb in the train. 

Kiddy music filled the air and I was transformed to a noddy story land awaiting our magical train ride.

I couldn’t resist asking the conductor to take a photo or seven to remember our experience.

With a toot of the horn we ambled through the V & A. Rickety sounds of train on cobbled path encompass the ambiance of this unique experience. 
Bear was a picture of delight as he squealed and waved screaming “elo” to all those we passed. Not once would he sit down . He chose to stand and hold on,  scared he would miss something along the way.

The train ride was the most comfortable , safe way to get an overall look at the V & A and just before it turned to head back to the station the driver made snake like patterns , tooting the horn and delighting all the kiddies ( and adults too) .
We ricketly made our way back to the station and I must say I was sorry to see the experience end. Bear loved every moment of the ride and it was well worth R20 each .
A huge well done to Hamleys for employing such helpful, polite staff.

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The tip of Africa

Along our route home papa suggested we stop at Cape Aghulus and visit the tip of Africa with bear. I was super excited…aside from discovering something  new we would also get to visit the local lighthouse which now houses a museum.

500 years ago Portuguese seafarers discovered this odd place, calling it “needle  cape” as their compass needles did not read any variation between  magnetic and true north in this area. Now days a 24 ยฐ variation can be found but the magnetic poles are constantly moving. 

Other stories suggest the area earned its name from the ragged rocks and pointed reefs offshore owing to the many ship wrecks in the area.

Cape Aghulus is often windy and desolate , well known for storms and raging waves. 

According to the International Hydrographic Assosiation , this is the geographic Southern tip of Africa and the begining of the dividing line between the Indian and Atlantic oceans.

We started our walk at the foot of the Southern tip foot path, a wooden walkway leading from the foot of the magnificent lighthouse , along the dune side sand and coastal fauna hiding the hibernating tortoise,  past the oceans rugged rocks and gentle waves to a monument announcing the Southern tip.

And just like that we marked off another item off our travel bucket list ๐Ÿ˜€

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Have Baby will travelย 

We returned late Saturday from our 2 week road trip, exhausted and rejuvenated.

It is only when you travel by road that you are reminded of the beautiful country that we live in. Each province yielding its own Pandoras box of mysteries.

Bear travelled so well. He hardly moaned and seemed to enjoy sharing his back seat with mamma as I belted out the lyrics to far too many 80 songs and gave him a running commentary of the local scenery. 

My car performances leave much to be desired and I’m surprised papa and bear didn’t tell me to shush๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

living from suitcases, cooler boxes and the car proved an interesting experience and now that I know bear has inherited his mammas gypsy soul. ..I see many a future road  trip ahead.

As always the beauty of a road trip is in making memories, the people you meet and the experiences you encounter.  

I’ll be blogging our trip journal this  week , as one post is not nearly enough for our first road trip adventures. 

If I had to find one single  moment that stands out on our whole trip , it would most certainly be the suprise of bears dedication in KZN .

But sadly , as most things do , our trip has ended and its back to the real world.

Have a magical Monday mammas ๐Ÿ‘ง

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Have Baby will travel …. day 2

Bear woke full of smiles and ready for his rather chilly day. It seems strange freezing after all our gorgeous sunny Cape Town days, but here bear is snug as a bug in his tracksuits.

No adventures today as papa had some work to do so bear and mamma chilled.  We played with his Fischer price apps on the tab, sang , read his book and played with all his toys. He explored uncle  Litas house and then we played in the garden.

Bear loves the flowers and its very entertaining watching him feel the cool green grass between his fingers.

Tomorrow we off to Port st Johns …..

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Have Baby will travel …. day 1

In the midst of a dark 4.30am coffee call, papa bear and i decided to just load a sleeping bear in the car and get our road trip started.

 We had packed the night before and miraculously managed to get everything in …who knew packing with a baby and a mom with FOLSB (FEAR OF LEAVING SOMETHING BEHIND) would mean packing in everything short of the kitchen sink,

Grabbing the last few bags and cooler bag of snacks , we put out the dirt and locked up.

Sleeping baby in the back , 80’s music on and coffee flasks ready we were on our way …..

We left Cape Town with the moon high and the north star guiding us over the dark highway, trucks of all proportions our only companions until we reached the tunnel when a few cars shared the winding roads through the mountains. 

The Sun awoke and showered her brilliant hues of orange and red flames across the sky just before we got to Beaufordwest. 

A calm bear slept , snug and warm until then and as he began to niggle awake I climbed into the back seat to give him his morning bottle. He awoke to this mamma bear singing away , the Sun dancing her sunrise before him and papa bears familiar greetings. A happy bear smiled and took his bottle , but not before he flashed me a dirty look for being in his back seat.

I love the Karoo and have many wonderful memories of my years living there , so my heart tugged as i saw the familiar landscape of brown open spaces, windmills and aloe scattered along our drive with the odd sheep making an appearance. 

Our first stop was in Beaufortwest for petrol and bathrooms. We all stretched our legs and climbed back into the car. Bear nibbled on his breakfast biscuits and sang along to the music. At one point he discovered the sky roof and was laughing at the clouds. His favourite scrat kept him companion and I turned to see the rhythm of the car had put him to sleep.

We wound our way towards the town of Aberdeen, where I used to live many years ago. The road between Beaufordwest and Aberdeen is barren and never seems to end . A lone farm house breaks the monotonous view of open fields. 

As we entered Aberdeen , the sense of home calls and I was reminded how much I love small towns. Their old , antique architecture with its typical Cape Dutch gables and the huge modest churches.  As I directed papa to the municipality where I worked for a short period , I noted how nothing changes. The shops are still in the same place and the same people work there, they just older.

I got to catch with old work colleagues as bear smiled at these friendly people and we headed back on our way towards Graaf Reniet. I always stay alert on the road between Aberdeen and Graaf Reniet, as years ago a kudu jumped in front of us, almost causing an accident. We were also looking for the bed on one of the farms.

Stories go that during the groot trek a young farmers wife died in childbirth and he buried his wife and baby in this spot,  placing the large metal bed over their grave to stop the leopards eating them.

The large Karoo mountain range is one of my favourites and we entered Graaf Reniet with a giggling bear now snacking on his wafers after a yoghurt treat.

We left the old town roads towards Craddock, winding up the mountains. Wild monkeys and baboons greeted us along our way and we saw a heard of buck grazing in the nature reserve. 

We stopped for lunch in Craddock and bear enjoyed a nice crawling stretch on the grassy patch outside the local Spur.  Papa and I hurriedly ate our burgers and as i watched him drown his fries that looked 10 days old and refried, in sauces I pushed mine to the side …The last thing I felt like was food posioning.

I climbed into the back and we headed back on the road. I’m not sure how the road to Queenstown was as i fell asleep with bear, awaking to find us leaving Queenstown in our wake on the way to Umtata.

The rural, ragged road to Umtata is scattered with the most gorgeous natural scenery , bright clay traditional houses and farm animals wondering Everywhere.  Taxis race back and forth and only the huge speed bumps stop them.

14 hours later we reached our destination .

Bear finally got to meet our friend Lita, a braai on and smiles all round.

Bear did very well for his first road trip and not once did he niggle …. I think we creating a travel junkie ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚