Category Archives: My Life

Picking out a new Name

Found this interesting little note on my laptop, which indicates that we were pretty well prepared for the birth of our second child. Picking out a name is no easy task, primarily because you have to find a name that both parties actually like, and more importantly, can’t be made obvious fun of on the school playground.

These were the three picks (two girl, one boy) that Chantelle and I had primed and read to go for January this year:

  • Emily Jane Lötter
  • Megan Sierra Lötter
  • Ethan Grant Lötter

We went through the same process with Jessica funnily enough, though in that case we actually changed our decision right at the last minute after she was born – swapping Madison out in favour of Jessica!

This time around though, as you can see from the list, we obviously stuck to our guns and loaded the first pick – which is just as well really, because I really do like calling my little squishy milk gobbler, ‘Embels’!

emily lotter bouncing on jessica lotter

Photo Gallery: Chantelle and Jessica bake Biscuits (2014-06-08)

In preparation for our long weekend away at Piekenierskloof with the Montgomery Clan this weekend, Chantelle thought it a great idea to bake some biscuits for the trip. What made it an even better idea was that she decided that this was the perfect opportunity to bring Jess in on the fun as well!

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Needless to say, Jessica was super excited to help out Mommy in the kitchen, and once that apron was on there was no stopping her, nor her enthusiasm! Lots of fun was had, and as a cherry on the top – the biscuits came out awesome!

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Throw Up… Meet Face

Ugh, well that was pretty gross. We’d just dressed up little Emily in her super cuddly and cute brown teddy bear suit, and while Chantelle was getting herself ready to head out with Em, I sat down with the little teddy bear for a quick play time session.

So there I was, sitting in the tub chair, bouncing little Em up and down on my tummy to her great delight, when I lifted her high in the air… where she promptly had a reflux throw up session which very accurately splashed down on my face.

Ick, ick, ick, ick, ickkkky!

Needless to say, I plonked Emily down on the nearest surface I could find and raced off to the basin in order to furiously get rid of my unwanted facial. Ugh.

Still, it could have been worse. Claire’s sister in-law has a similar story – except in her tale the vomit gets into Kirsty’s mouth!

(I hope you weren’t eating breakfast while reading that).

baby emily lotter in her teddy bear suit

Actually, it is a bit of a problem really, been like that since the start and could go on for as long as a year really. Emily suffers from quite bad reflux (gastro-oesophageal reflux) caused by essentially the little valve that stops flow back from the stomach not being fully formed yet. This means poor old Emily is constantly bringing up milk and stomach contents, meaning that she is always damp/soaked and never goes anywhere without a bib and a spit towel.

It is annoying and extremely frustrating for Chantelle and myself as parents, but thankfully it doesn’t seem to actually bother little Em in the slightest, so we’re grateful for that. Plus, it is a pretty common issue with babies, so it isn’t anything to stress about from our side either.

Still, I have to say, I can’t wait to be out of this particular set of woods…

baby emily lotter inheriting jessica's baby toy 1

baby emily lotter inheriting jessica's baby toy 2

Bonus content: The above photos do a great job of showing just how much of her full head of birth hair little Emily has already lost – at the height of her hair loss she was leaving little hairy worm trails in her bed as she moved around during the night – as well as her incredibly cute, rather large ears. In fact, ever since Rob pointed them out to me, I’ve been affectionately referring to her as my little ‘Big Ears’! (Much to the annoyance of Chantelle of course…)

Jessica the Ballerina

So now we have a ballerina in the family. On the insistence of Mom (a passionate ballerina in her youth), and with their help, Jessica is now excitedly twirling around the house on her tippy toes, arms outstretched in the air, overjoyed by the fact that from now on out, every Tuesday morning (the ballet extra mural class gets offered during the ‘school’ day), she gets to don her ballerina outfit and hit the floor in her very own dance shoes!

In other words, I’m expecting a barrage of extra cuteness when I get home after work from here on out.

jessica lotter in her ballet clothes 1

A useful tip if you live in the Helderberg area and your kid wants to do ballet – for the same price as what you would pay for mass produced ballet shoes that Mr Price Sport stocks, rather head over to Teplov, a Somerset West-based business started by former dancers which has been producing ballet shoes since 1979! They measure your child’s foot and if they don’t have the required size in stock, they go ahead and make it for you – at no additional cost!

jessica lotter in her ballet clothes 2

P.S. It was literally impossible to get Jessica to stand still so that I could take a photo of her in her ballet outfit. There two were the only usable photos out of the lot!

Emily fails to help me Pack Away Washing

As it turns out, Emily is rather useless when it comes to helping me pack away the kids’ washing. I put her down on the bed, throw out the washing, go pack a few pairs of pants away in Jessica’s cupboard, and on my return I find the little snugglebunny fast asleep, having pulled a nice comfortable pink bath towel over herself for the cuddles.

*Sigh*

So not quite daddy’s little helper just yet.

baby emily lotter sleeping amongst the washing 1

baby emily lotter sleeping amongst the washing 2

St Elmos Pizza Disappointment (Tyger Manor)

Disappointing, St Elmos Pizza Tyger Manor. Disappointing.

We don’t normally eat pizza and invariably when we do, it is home made pizza because quite frankly that just always seems to be the ultimate best (not the cheapest option though mind you). However, we have on more than one or two occasions, in the midst of a FIFA evening hosted at Ryan’s house, popped out to the local St. Elmos (Tyger Manor) for pizza as a sustaining snack break, and last Saturday was no different, after Ryan and I found ourselves at his place playing a couple of rounds of virtual soccer following a successful (and winning) trip to the Stormer’s rugby game at Newlands.

Taking advantage of their special which gives you two deluxe pizzas at the discounted price of just over R120 (about a R20-R30 saving if you opt for the better pizzas on the menu), Ryan and I placed our order for a HONEY & MUSTARD (described as: honey & mustard chicken topped with Elmodews) and a CHEESY STEAK MELT (described as: steak & onion with a swirl of BBQ sauce, covered in melted cheddar cheese). After the prescribed waiting time had passed, we bolted down to Tyger Manor (Eastwoods was surprisingly quiet for a change), picked up the pizza and returned home, eager to scoff down our prize.

The first thing that caught my attention as I unboxed our pizza was the terrible cut job – it was literally as if the pizza cutter had given up on life and was just wildly flopping around in its death throes. But that isn’t really a deal breaker, now is it?

No. What was a deal breaker was the absolute feeling of being cheated out of money as we looked down on what can only be described as the world’s most sparse large pizzas.

The Cheesy Steak Melt had exactly eight pieces of steak neatly placed on each ‘slice’, the pieces being as large as small pencil erasers. The distribution of onion was almost as bad – only about every second piece seemed to yield some trace of the crunchy onion stuff. Now bear in mind this might have been acceptable if this was a small, or perhaps even a medium pizza, but this was a LARGE pizza, best described as being dressed in the toppings of one of those usually crappy frozen ‘pizzas’ that you buy at Pick ‘n Pay!

The honey and mustard chicken pizza wasn’t much better. There was a sparse scattering of chicken to be found on the slices, but as for the Elmodew (i.e. renamed Peppadew to avoid the trademark infringement), there was more or less one half of a Elmodew per slice. Again, completely uncool for a large pizza!

Look, the flavour was good and the pizza was nice and cheesy to eat, but we were left with rather a bad taste in the mouth thanks to the skimpy topping count St. Elmos has all of a sudden decided to bless its customers with.

This never used to be the case with St. Elmos Tyger Manor as far as what we have previously experienced from them, but sadly for the guys, this does now close the St. Elmos chapter as from here on out – pizza at Ryan’s place will undoubtedly come from the far more generous Old Oak Diner going forward!

probably how a pizza should look in terms of toppings

South Africa National Elections 2014

So the day of national voting has come and gone again, and as per usual (I haven’t missed a vote, national, provincial or municipal since I first became eligible), May 7th saw me join the throng of people gathering outside of Gordon’s Bay Primary School in order to make my mark.

Chantelle and I had come up with a plan, which basically saw one of us head out to vote while the other stayed at home with the kids, reversing the roles when the first one was done. Although my original plan had been to go in the evening when I would be guaranteed no waiting queue whatsoever (Gordon’s Bay is nice and small like that), my impatience got the better of me and so I nipped out after 10:00am, parking on the opposite side of the primary school (again the voting station I got assigned to) so as to not have to battle people for a parking spot. (Chantelle gets very annoyed with this habit of mine – I’m quite happy to literally park miles from somewhere – without first scouting the target destination – just so as to be assured of getting a parking!)

Anyway, I strolled across to the other side of the school and noticed the small queue of people at the door leading into the school, a gap, a table, and then a substantially longer queue of people waiting for the table. Now I’ve been in the game long enough to know that the table is one of two things – either for checking that you are meant to be voting at this particular station, or a political party trying the best to persuade you to change your mind last minute. Knowing this, I deftly hopped in at the back of the short queue.

Needless to say, I immediately felt bad, knowing full well how annoyed I would have been if I had been in the long queue and just seen some fat idiot ‘jump the line’. Now feeling the glare of a thousand imaginary eyeballs burning into my back, I, without so much as turning back to look at the long queue, feigned disinterest, abandoned the line, and marched back up the road, all the way to my car in order to regroup and feel better about myself once more.

I quickly came up with a sensible plan to save my dignity – pop over to the nearby Spar to pick up a bag of peanuts and some water for the wait, then go park at the Woolworths down the road from the school, and saunter up from that direction to join the back of the long queue – that way I would be guaranteed of no one recognising me once I had magically ‘reappeared’ at the voting station.

It worked! (And I happily queued – with peanuts, raisins and some water – for what felt like forever to get to the voting booth).

Actually, the only reason the queue took so long was because the IEC officials took it upon themselves to constantly look out for old or infirm people in the queue in order to pluck them out and march them straight to the front of the line, which is of course a problem if you think about it – you’re taking the slowest possible specimens and placing them at the front of the queue, thereby slowing down the entire system. And by continuously shuffling the queue to place the slowest members at the front, well, I think you can see what I’m getting at! :)

Anyway, my turn did eventually arrive, and I have to say, the process was as smooth as silk.

My ID book was scanned and stamped, my name was ticked off the list, I received my ballots, and got my thumb marked (sadly, as I withdrew my hand and the lady withdrew her indelible ink pen, my other hand brushed the nib – meaning a nice long streak along my other thumb!). Now at the little booth, I took my time to scan through the options for both national and provincial, made my mark, folded the papers and neatly deposited the papers into the correct boxes.

Outside, hands in my pockets, 1.5 hours later. (But really, I did extend my own ordeal with all that parking, walking and shopping detours, so no harm done.)

Naturally, when Chantelle got around to her turn to vote, she was in and out in five minute. Figures.

south africa voting station at gordons bay primary school

The only gripe that I have is that there really isn’t a political party that I WANT to vote for. No charismatic leader with the right values and a good sense of problem solving that I want to install as the leader of our country. Instead, I have to vote along the lines of what I know – I stay in the Western Cape, it runs smoothly and is well governed, hence a vote to keep the status quo – i.e. the Democratic Alliance (DA). (Despite the fact that their intrusive SMS and e-mail campaign annoys the hell out of me!)

Seriously, I can’t wait for the day when we have some younger, more idealistic options to choose from, maybe our very own South African Barack Obama perhaps?

Oh well, for now I shall continue to do my bit to ensure that no one party every has a two thirds majority every again. That’s just asking for trouble!

[EDIT: Oh wow, just spotted this 2009 post of mine - looks like my voting sentiment was exactly the same last time around!]

Photo Gallery: Camping at Montagu Guano Caves (2014-04-24)

Taking full advantage of the multitude of public holidays and thus long weekends over the course of April/May, the weekend of the 25th to 28th of April 2014 saw the intrepid family units of Karl and Trish Storbeck, Damen and Michelle Oosthuizen, Ryan Lotter, Dean and Zania Stapelberg, Evan and Natasha Granger, and obviously Chantelle and Craig Lotter, pack up their kids (where applicable) and camping gear, and set off to the Montagu Guano Caves camping site, a good 2.5 hours journey away from Gordon’s Bay.

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What followed was an entertaining and pretty damn enjoyable weekend of tenting, caravaning, sun, rain and many, many camp fires, all of which has been neatly documented in the photos below:

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Craig’s Thumb versus the Super Glue

alcolin super glueAnnoyingly, the insole of my Pitbull sandals, which are only a few months old, are pulling loose from the base of the shoe – both of them at the same time believe it or not! (Strong evidence to indicate either poor manufacturing or design for that matter).

Anyway, not a problem, as obviously I am well aware that super glue solves pretty much all problems (it’s an upgrade from Prestik, which I relied on heavily as a teenager). So on Saturday morning, with Chantelle out on her wedding cake course and Jessica and Emily under my supervision, I whipped out the old half empty tube of Alcolin super glue from my toolbox, grabbed the sandals and started judiciously applying super glue to the contact points where I was going to be putting the insoles back into place.

Sadly this half empty tube of super glue needed a fair bit of squeezing to get glue out, meaning of course it was a little on the messy side – and one particular spurt had some glue trailing down the rubber heel of the shoe.

Noting that patch would need cleaning a little later on and that I should avoid touching it at all cost, I happily continued on my glue spreading mission, and once completed, then proceeded to press the insole in, pushing firmly downwards while placing my thumb securely in the… wet patch of glue on the heel of the shoe.

Instant bonding.

The rubber of the shoe and the flesh of my thumb instantly became one. Much tugging and pulling yielding in little more than the threat of the skin being pulled wholesale off my finger, lead to increased panic, which of course meant instant squinting at the little tube to see what it offered in terms of advice for this very situation.

Acetone seemed a helpful hint, and so I and my shoe (firmly stuck to my thumb) went off to single-handedly rummage through my toolbox, finding a nice full bottle (lucky!) of acetone.

Generous amounts of acetone and lots of warm soapy water did eventually allow my finger, and chunks of rubber, to part ways with my shoe – without actually costing me any skin, which needless to say I was pretty grateful for.

Lesson of the day. Super glue and I should not be friends.

(And on a side note, at least my shoes insoles are now both sitting firm.)

Medical Aid Gap Cover: Pretty Useful After All

stratum benefits logoA couple of years ago, just after Chantelle and I had gotten married and were in the process of amalgamating all of our accounts, etc, Chantelle on the advice from her family had us sign up with Stratum Benefits through a broker.

Now essentially, Stratum provides medical aid gap cover, but because it sounds nicer and more important when they say it:

Dear medical aid member, it is important to understand that should you be admitted to hospital for any reason, there might be a difference between what the medical provider charges and what is actually paid by your medical aid. You will personally be liable for these shortfalls that could amount to THOUSANDS OF RANDS, as illustrated below.

Our products are designed to protect medical scheme members from the shortfalls which they may encounter when incurring medical expenses. The reality is that the portion of medical bills not covered by medical schemes have increased significantly in recent years. Inadequate cover could spell financial ruin for a family in the event of a long period of hospitalisation or other medical crisis. [...]

Yes, it is a little sensationalized, what with all those unnecessary CAPSLOCK instances, but it turns out that they really do provide a useful service, if you are at all inclined to end up in the hospital on more than just a few occasions.

Obviously our big hospital encounter was the recent(ish) birth of Emily at the Vergelegen MediClinic, and although everything went super smooth and we were thrilled with the level of service received from both Dr. La Grange and Dr. Blaine, the reality is that when the invoices arrived, both far exceeded the Discovery Health’s Medical Rate, pretty much by double.

Of course these were grudgingly paid, and of course, that left a rather large hole in our finances, which therefore makes it super pleasingly that, after a brief review period, Stratum has just gotten back to us with the following news:

Patient: Chantelle Louise Lotter         
Procedure: C-Section
Admission date:  2014-01-13
Doctor La Grange: R 6 788.00
Doctor Blaine: R 2 567.40
ClaimStatus: Assessed
Claim amount:   R‎ 9 355,40
Claim payment date: 2014-04-15

…which is of course a welcome sigh of relief for my rather stressed bank account.

So yay for medical aid gap cover then in other words.

Related Link: http://www.stratumbenefits.co.za/