# Saturday, March 12, 2011

The last time we travelled internationally with the boys we had 3 Hanselmans – dare I say “Hanselmen” – and a Nkiwane travelling. The airline employee couldn’t figure out who I was relative to my sons, which was quite irritating. But eventually, a mere 57 minutes later, we got all the paperwork figured out, jumped on the plane and returned home.

10 years of marriage and 2 beautiful boys later, I did it! I changed my name and now my family is name-united. Dropping the boys off at pre-school one day I decided I was ready. The hubbie has always liked my original name. After all, there’s nothing quite like “Ntombenhle Nkiwane” to generate lots of conversation at dinner! But when all was said and done, I realized that I like the Hanselman name. I like the fact that it works on many levels, and that it’s so much easier for most people to spell. But, more importantly, I love the people that go with it. So I changed my name. Now bring on the Hanselmania!

Saturday, March 12, 2011 1:00:32 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
# Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Laughing ZenzoNovember is a birthday-heavy month in our family. The baby turned 1 on the 19th, and our toddler just turned 3 on the 29th...hard to believe! Whoever said enjoy it coz it goes fast wasn't lying! Anyway, a very happy (belated) birthday to you, little Z. We love you! 

Can't resist adding just two Z-tales:

The local dry-cleaner we use has a candy bowl. The other day we dropped some stuff off, and Z wanted 2 pieces of candy. I told him he could have only 1. He mulled it over, and insisted that the 2nd piece would be for daddy. Hmm! We had other errands to run, and I reminded him that it would be a while before we got home to give it to him. He insisted he wouldn't eat it, and would keep it safe for daddy. Heh! We continued on our way (to the library and store.) The whole time he was holding the candy (a gummy bear), fondling it but not eating it. We ran a couple more errands, and still he held it but didn't eat it. Finally, somewhat impressed with his patience, I said he had done a good job of keeping his word so he could eat it. He thought about it, and said "no, it's okay mommy. Daddy's a nice guy so I'm going to keep it for him." Awww! He did indeed give it to daddy when we finally got home. Of course by then all that was left of the gummy bear was the foot, since he took me up on my offer and slowly nibbled away at the rest:-)



Mo to Z: No, do NOT do that!

Z: Daddy said it's okay!

Scott (standing right there): No, I didn't!

Z: Oh. Well, can you say it?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008 10:02:23 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
# Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our baby turned 1 today. Happy birthday, little one! Hard to believe that a mere year ago we were speeding to the hospital in the rain to get you! We have so many wishes for you, but they all boil down to this: may your life be full of love, good health, great friendships and humor. And may you grow up to be the star we know you are!

Baby Thabo -  6 minutes oldCIMG8165

DSC_0482Thabo's 1st birthday!



Wednesday, November 19, 2008 10:33:38 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
# Saturday, November 08, 2008

It's been 4 days since the 2008 presidential election. I can barely keep up with all that has been written about it, but before I got too caught up in it and lost my voice (and thus my own thoughts) I wanted to take a moment to reflect just a little. About the only expression I can use for what I felt on Tuesday is to call it a "holy moment". I'm borrowing that expression from my hubby Scott, who got it (I believe) from Oprah 3 years ago or something. To watch those returns coming in (in what was my 1st time voting for the president of any country) was...profound. Moving. Surreal. When I left Zimbabwe I was too young to vote, and after all my years here this was the 1st presidential election for which I was eligible to vote. It really was a blessed moment.

In the day or 2 leading up to November 4th I was anxious. In truth I must admit that all that talk of the Bradley Effect had me concerned. And the McCain-Palin team wasn't going down quietly. But ultimately, Obama did it! Thanks to millions of us out there he defied the odds and is heading to the White House. Unbelievable. I could have wept when they called the election for him. And what grace! What dignity! His acceptance speech was phenomenal. And, I have to say, McCain's concession speech was pretty good, too. I didn't like the way he played his game, but I must give him credit for ending his run for presidency in such a classy way.


I don't know if some non-minorities will really get what Tuesday night meant. It wasn't just about electing Obama, it was everything else the act represents. For every black child out there that looked at American history books and saw only white presidents, from now on they will see someone who looks like them. For every parent that told their child to dream big, while secretly believing that the White House was not an option, today they can tell their kid anything is possible and really mean it. Truly a holy moment. The only other time I was so emotional was when I watched Nelson Mandela walking out of Robben Island. Not to be too flowery, but it did feel as if angels on high were trumpeting!

And now the real work begins. Now that the euphoria is beginning to fade, the questions come. We're beside ourselves with joy, but seriously, where does Obama begin? He's inheriting a flawed economy, 2 exhausting wars, not much of a foreign policy to speak of...how does one fix so much? But, like many out there, I am hopeful that our trust in him is deserved. Many a politician has promised heaven and earth to people when he was running for office, only to forget the promises later. But our faith in Obama is strong. Yes, the road is long and hard, but we still believe. What a privilege to have had this, of all presidential elections, be my 1st "real" presidential voting experience!

Mo votes

Saturday, November 08, 2008 9:37:47 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
# Saturday, October 25, 2008

So the hubby and I just celebrated our 8-year anniversary. Woohoo! I was all set to write a sweet, touching account of "the Scott & Mo" story, but he beat me to it: see his post This man doesn't sleep! Happy anniversary, Scott! Can you believe it's been 8 years?!  P0002861

Saturday, October 25, 2008 10:23:40 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
# Saturday, October 11, 2008

So our toddler was on the cover of a local magazine in September. Can't say I fault the editors - they sure know cuteness when they see it:-) And yes, I'm being humble:-)

Zenzo on NWKidsSeptCover

Saturday, October 11, 2008 8:38:25 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
# Wednesday, October 01, 2008

So the other day I decided to take the boys to the mall downtown for a snack. It was a nice day, and I figured we could take the MAX (public transportation), which would be fun for our toddler. The baby would naturally come along for the ride, and a fun time would be had by all. I have ventured out with the boys alone before, of course, but I usually drive. It makes it easier to abort outings if there's a major meltdown, for instance, or if something comes up that requires us to change our plans. So going on the MAX was risky, but it felt like a calculated one.


Z had fun on the train, especially the tunnel. In fact, the whole getting there and back was just what I had expected - uneventful. The challenge came when we got off. Hubby insists I always overpack the diaperbag - but who knows when we'll be stuck in an elevator for hours and that 5th bag of raisins will come in handy?! I refused to leave anything out, thus making it too big to fit in the stroller, which is how it ended up over my shoulder. So there I was, pushing a stroller with the baby in it, a diaperbag over my shoulder and holding Z with my other hand. Go figure we have the one toddler who insists on walking instead of being pushed in the stroller (he actually prefers running, but we compromise.) I was heavily burdened, and could barely navigate my group while dodging pedestrians.


I take responsibility for being poorly assembled - clearly I had too much, and would have been wiser to have reorganized my load. Still, I was taken aback at how thoughtless people were. For the most part, they expected my crew and I to walk around them, instead of the other way round. Then there was the guy who came right at us. I tried to get out of his way but someone was to my right, and to my left was a wall. In the end I kept going and hoped that he, being less burdened and therefore better able to slip between people, would take the high road. He didn't. A few steps from us I made it a point to say "excuse us", whereupon he mumbled something and went to his left, which was free. Seriously, why not go there in the 1st place?!


Then we tried to actually enter the mall -- fun. There were a bunch of stairs, no automatic door and no ramp. Huh. "How do people in wheelchairs do this," I wondered. I knew there had to be an easier way in, but I couldn't find it. (I learned much later that there is a specific entrance on a different street for people who need the ramp.) Finally, I rolled up my sleeves, made the toddler sit in the stroller, and lifted it (2 boys and all) and tried to go through the door. Denied: I was too wide. So I readjusted the darned diaperbag, came at it sideways, and knew that this time we could fit. Denied: the door closed, and I had no hands free to open it. From behind me came a woman - my angel! My savior! Denied: she opened the door, went through it, and didn't so much as think to hold it open for me. I reached out with my foot, managed to wedge it open, and promptly dropped the diaperbag. It was a frustrating exercise. I was shocked at how self-absorbed people are. 4 or 5 people went around me as I stood there, trying to get in and not one of them said a word. I actually thought of asking one guy to help me, but when I met his eyes he very quickly looked away and walked off. Wonder what he thought. Did he think I was trying to sell him something? Or maybe that I was "yet another unwed woman expecting society to help her while she gets a free pass?" Or maybe he was just in a hurry and really needed to be on his way? In the end a grandmotherly type came from across the street and said she'd noticed me struggling. She held the door open, I sucked in my tummy, went in sideways, and darned if we didn't make it down the stairs, diaperbag, stroller with 2 boys and all:-)


The moral of the story (besides better-packed diaperbags!) is that we need to be a little more thoughtful out there! If you see someone who looks like they might need help, ask (don't reach out and give it without asking, because you'll probably get your head chopped off for that!) This experience has made me more sensitive to others. Just the other day I saw a woman who had - get this: a stroller, an overflowing diaperbag and 2 kids - struggling to get out of a store. "Ah-ha!" I thought, "I know the answer here!" Seemed so familiar! I asked her if she needed any help with the door. "No no," she said, "I can do it. But thanks for asking!" I smiled and went on my way.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008 2:23:18 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
# Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So last week Scott came back from a business trip. He'd been gone for almost 10 days - the longest stretch yet since we had both kids. He was in New Zealand and Australia, so the idea that he could get back "in a heartbeat" if he had to was off the table. Nothing worse than having to wait 30 hours or so while your spouse tries to get back in a crisis! Thankfully, there were no crises. Still, 10 days is long enough for the heart to grow fonder and all that!


I hadn't intended for this post to be a salute to spouses, but it's probably going to end up that way, at least indirectly. Like most wives, I can often be heard telling hubby to do more around the house. And while he's at it, why not try to teach the boys a thing or 2?! But I hadn't realized just how tough going it alone can be, even for 10 days. At first, it's downright awesome:-) The kids do what you want, they eat what you say, you watch what you want when you want (no need to compromise and sit through an hour of some lame show so that he can sit through a cool show you like!) In fact, for those first few days it's downright giddying! But alas, reality sets in soon enough:


* The inevitable waking up in the middle of the night.

We've been blessed in that both our boys sleep very well, and have since they were each about 4 months old. But go figure they each got up once a night for a couple of the days Scott was gone. Which, when you consider that I wasn't exactly going to bed early myself, made for very limited sleep for mommy! And while I could pull all-nighters back in college, I've had to come to the sad conclusion that those days have come and gone:-(

* The need for a second opinion.

Since the toddler can now string together some fairly complicated sentences, every now and then it's good to have someone to bounce off an idea or 2 with. Is he being too sassy if he refuses, and quite eloquently, at that, to do what I ask? How much discipline does it call for? And am I overreacting because I'm tired, or is the toddler really trying to gouge his brother's eyes out?

* The never-ending shoveling, and the diaper-changing and the runs to the potty and...!

I love my kids to death, but I have no shame in admitting that the administrivia of child-raising can be exhausting when going it alone. What is often a sweet, enjoyable family experience became a battle. I tried to shovel, the baby took it upon himself to see how far he could spit the food in my face. I'd come at him from the other side, and he'd reach up at just the right moment, grab the food then merrily rub it in his hair. DSC_0284 And oh yeah, while my attention was turned the toddler was mixing his food with his hands, adding juice and basically making a mess. "Cooking", he calls it. When my eyes focused accusingly on him he, being at the potty-training stage, would decide that that was the minute he had to go. It couldn't wait, of course!


* The feelings of inadequacy.

With one of me and two of them I felt there wasn't enough of me to go around. I wondered if I was spending enough time with each child. Would I be wiser to let the dirty dishes keep piling up, let the goop on the floor remain there, ignore the laundry and instead use that time to engage with the kids? And how best to put them down, without making one of them wait too long?


The challenges were many. Wanting what's best for the boys, and trying to give it to them without compromising on some basics (no matter how much fun we're having, we must eat) was hard. Which brings me back to appreciating Scott and all he does around the house. Let's not take bets on how long it'll take me to get back to insisting that he do more, but while he was gone I definitely got a chance to feel what it's like to be a single parent. And boy, is it hard work! What was particularly interesting to me was that I had a lot of help - family stepped up, and we even got a baby sitter for part of that time. Yet still the responsibility of taking care of these little dudes felt like it was mine alone. If I found it so tough for just 10 days - knowing that Scott was going to be back "soon" - I wonder how single parents do it? I tip my hat off to them!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 11:50:20 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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