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Archive for the ‘Home Sweet Home’ category

VISI 66 - The Office Issue

I’m a little slow on the uptake, but in case you haven’t already seen it, the latest issue of VISI is out.

Play-Play Office - VISI 66

Play-Play Office - VISI 66

Play-Play Office - VISI 66

Images courtesy of VISI, photographed by Micky Hoyle

It’s jam packed with Office Ideas including a spread on Nathan’s ‘Play-Play’ office. VISI also did a behind the scenes ‘home tour’, which you can see on-line here.

Allison House Tour - Lounge

Allison House Tour - Collage

Allison House Tour - Dining Room

Images courtesy of VISI, photographed by Fay Jackson

Fingerpaints and Play-Dough

January 16th, 2013

Today heralded yet another milestone in our lives, the day Nathan started school.

We’ve enrolled him 3-days a week, from 9-12 at a local playschool. It’s quite something as any parent who’s experienced it will tell you.

Aside from the obvious there are things like buying a backpack, stationery, packing fresh fruit and labeling a gazillion bits of paraphernalia down to shoes and socks (not that he’s a fan of either).

As I’ve shared in the past being a Stay-At-Home-Dad is a bit of an anomaly in these parts, which in turn meant we didn’t really socialise with other kids during the first 2 years of his life, we largely had each other for company and more recently our childminder.

I was a little worried about how he might react around so many kids, though in all fairness he’s been attending our weekly Sunday school for the better part of a year, along with visits to the local park.

The day started with much fan fare, picking out his favourite clothes, packing his new backpack with apples, a water bottle and change of clothes. Brimming ear to ear we fired off a couple snapshots (begrudgingly I might add) and then made the journey to his new school.

On arrival we were met with many a tear from fellow classmates, after running the gauntlet we took him to meet his teacher, whose name he’d been practicing with us. After greeting her he found his coat hook and slung his bag over it before taking a seat by himself at the activity table, all of his own accord.

And that was that, no tears or heartache, just a friendly smile and wave with our impending departure.

Kathy and I returned to collect him at 12pm and found him happily playing on the jungle gym, greeting us with a hug and proudly showing off the star on his forehead.

His teacher was gushing at how confident and courteous he was, causing a sense of pride to well in my chest and thoughts of “That’s my boy!” running through my head.

She was surprised to see that he’s already potty trained and that he didn’t skip a beat asking for assistance when he needed to go. I felt like telling her that the reason was that in a day and age where most affluent folk use disposable nappies we used cotton, washable ones, a great motivator to get him onto the toilet as soon as he was up to it… I can’t imagine having to deal with TWO kids in nappies.

After saying our goodbyes we managed to leave relatively unscathed, though his favourite hat was lost in “The Battle of Fallen Toys”. There is hope though, because Mommy labelled it.

Recently I shared one of my goals and objectives for 2013 was to live “The Organised Life”.

I call them goals, not resolutions, as they’re more aspirational and are broader in nature, reduced to words or phrases. Added to the list is the phrase, “Play More”.

I’m a work from home Dad, freelancing where I can, but sometimes I get so caught up in my work that I forget to enjoy moments hanging with the kids, the reason I made this career shift to begin with.

Earlier this week I blew off work for a trip to the local park with Nathan leading the way on his push bike, following in tow with a mug of coffee. We got lost for an hour, it was magical.

Nathan LOVES being outdoors, and chances are when you look back at your own childhood your memories were probably of those times.

We are BLESSED to have 3 great parks, all walking distance from our home, but sometimes it isn’t always practical to visit them with Olivia being on a different schedule and so I started to think about how I could bring the park to us.

The outcome is our own little jungle gym (play gym for foreign readers). Inspired by Isabelle’s Gymnastic Rings I added a climbing rope (there wasn’t enough space to include the rings), a cargo net, slide and boxed up the frame to integrate a small sand pit.

Yesterday he spent over an hour playing with his spade, bucket and digger while Kathy and I enjoyed a sunny afternoon outdoors, spectators to his antics.

It’s just a start, but I hope to create more opportunities to “Play More” in 2013.

Here are my top 5 tips for designing your own jungle gym

1. Plan ahead, building a jungle gym can be costly, the larger the gym, the more expensive, as with most building projects. In the same breath you want to make sure that you don’t build something that can’t grow with your kids, likewise if you have younger ones try accommodate them as well by building something that caters for their needs.

2. Build with longevity in mind, if you decide to use wood look at using a naturally hard wearing, pest resistant timber like cedar. Ours is made of treated bluegum that has been sealed with a wax based oil that should last for 60+ yrs with annual treatment. Untreated soft woods are vulnerable to wood rot and wood born insects.

3. Less is more, there is a tendency to want to add everything you can to a jungle gym, but understand while children develop, less is more. Fewer options allow them to express their creativity through imagination, a slide soon becomes a banister that makes for a quick getaway from a fire breathing dragon.

4. Get dirty, as parents we can be a little over protective of our kids and the thought of building sand castles in the back yard may freak you out, but it’s all part of early learning development. If you are worried about contamination in the sandpit, cover it, failing that add in some coarse salt, it will keep the neighbourhood cats away and if you use a porous landscaping mesh to line the pit it will help excess rain water drain off into the water table.

5. Just add water, many of us live on small properties and owning a pool is not an option, never-mind the risk it may pose to younger children, but adding a simple lawn sprinkler into the mix unleashes all kinds adventure. Sand is great, mud is better.

Have you recently built your own jungle gym? What features have you added?

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