This year Jessica had two birthday parties courtesy of Chantelle, one for Jess’ local school and complex friends (celebrated at Mondeor), and one for all the family and our friends in Bellville (celebrated at Monty and Cheryl’s house).
The theme was once again Frozen (of course), and this time around Chantelle went all out in terms of decorations and setup, with her and her little helpers (Cheryl, Monty, and Tarryn) working super hard on Saturday morning to setup the perfect Frozen-themed kiddie party!
The cake was a spectacular, flowing Elsa dress cake, which was complemented by a host of yummy treats for both the kids and the adults alike.
Blue and white decorations filled the patio and back garden, but even more fun was all the activity stations that Chantelle had organised, each tackling a different Frozen-based theme (like building a snowman, taking Frozen themed photos, etc.).
Stars of the show were however the excellent face painter and balloon animal wrangler that Chantelle had hired, with the two of them faced with a literal never ending line of little ones having things painted and shapes twisted!
We had great weather, fantastic food, lots of friends and loads of fun – all the ingredients needed to make this without a doubt Jessica’s best birthday party ever!
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(And yes, she loved opening all the presents at the end of the day as well…)
For some or other reason, Chantelle decided to challenge herself by having not one, but two birthday parties for Jessica (turning five) this year.
The first one would be for all the local Gordon’s Bay friends (i.e. from Vergeet-My-Nie playschool and our Country Mews complex), and the second one for our family and other friends out in Bellville.
To be fair, Chantelle didn’t want to do setup twice, so the first birthday party was organised to be held at Mondeor Garden Restaurant, the same place we had Jessica’s fourth birthday party last year.
Jessica had decided on a Frozen themed party in the end (originally she was leaning towards a super hero Barbie party, but changed her mind at the last moment, much to Chantelle’s relief), and as such dictated that no boys were allowed at her princess party, the girls had to all wear dresses and have plaits in their hair (not that she wore one on the day mind you!), and of course, that she needed a Elsa cake for her birthday.
Mondeor is actually very nice for hosting kiddie birthday parties, as they do a pretty cool little setup for the kids, have a great outdoor play area for the little guys to run riot (sucks if it’s raining though – which is actually what happened a few weekends before on Lisa’s – one of Jessica’s friends – birthday party), and have more than enough space, seating and menu options to keep the adults pretty happy for the duration of the chaos too.
In the end I think that we had about 10 or 12 little girls having a thoroughly fun time on a Friday afternoon which brought pretty okay weather along with it, whilst all us big people happily chilled at a long table with wine and pizza pretty much flowing all session long.
So, Jess loved her cake, had a great time with her friends, and also got loads of cool gifts from everyone – sounds like a successful fifth birthday party to me! :)
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Related Link: Mondeor Garden Restaurant
So somehow we’re already in July now. Which of course means that we are hurtling towards the end of the year, which in turn then means that we’re hurtling towards Jessica’s fifth birthday party this coming November!
Which completely reminds me – other than the post detailing my bad knee injury (but with a spectacular fall) on the day, I never actually got around to posting the few photos I hastily snapped on what was the perfect day for my perfect little girl.
So let’s rectify that then shall we?
The party was held at the fantastic Mondeor Restaurant in Somerset West (next to the new Cape Garden Centre) who kind of specialise in hosting kiddies parties.
Lots of our family and friends, and friends’ kids, joined us on a very My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic themed day, and thanks to the gorgeous sunny weather, everyone had an absolute ball.
(Jess was particularly proud of the fact that as far as she was concerned, she was dressed exactly as Rainbow Dash would be!)
The snacks and food were great, Chantelle’s two tier My Little Pony cake was a hit, and of course, the kid’s treats were spot on.
Naturally, loads of fun was had (and time spent) in the splash pool, and so as it is pretty plain to see by now – Jessica’s fourth birthday party was definitely a big hit on the day! :)
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Needless to say, Jessica was also pretty chuffed that her My Little Pony collection grew a little in the process…
Back in April this year, much of the Lotter clan assembled at Mom and Dad’s house in Oakglen to celebrate Dad’s mom, Granny Lotter’s big 80th birthday. We were blessed that the weather was particularly great on the day, thus making for a perfect braai and relax outdoor afternoon (which everyone seemed to enjoy).
Our immediate family clan is actually relatively small. Mom’s parents only had two kids, Mom and her brother Stephen, and Stephen, who has since passed on, never had any children so no cousins there. Dad’s parents had four boys, though one tragically passed away quite early on, leaving us with three Lotter men. From uncle Michael’s side we got Willie (and now his family) as a cousin, and from uncle Eric’s side, we got Andrew and David as cousins.
Sadly though, through some convoluted and ultimately bad decisions, no one sees Eric, Dawn, Andy and David any more (so scratch them from family get togethers), and funnily enough, we seldom see uncle Michael and pretty much never Willie either, meaning that for the most part, the immediate family pool remains pretty tiny!
Nevertheless, as I was saying earlier, Gran’s big 80th birthday (the celebration of which took a bit of convincing from Dad’s side to happen) saw quite a good chunk of this little family pitch up at Mom’s door – Claire, Riley and their two boys, Wille, his wife and two kids, Uncle Mike and his wife, Mom and Dad, Ryan, birthday girl Gran, and of course us four Gordon’s Bay Lotters.
A nice little tally indeed!
Needless to say, there was a lot of catching up to be done and conversation to be had, and with good food and dessert flowing freely, and kids all seemingly happily playing along, it turned out to be quite a good little family get together.
Of course, we couldn’t keep all the little faces rounded up all day (or Claire and Riley’s dogs either for that matter), which inevitably meant a hop across the street at some point in the afternoon – over to the big municipal park that had entertained us for so, so many hours as kids growing up there.
Naturally, Emily was more than just a little thrilled to tackle climbing up this massive slide! (And as you can see, Grandpa seemed to quite enjoy the challenge as well…)
Next up in terms of big birthday milestones?
Well both mom and dad are inching pretty close to that big 6 and 0 number nowadays… :)
So the 13th of January rolled in and with it, Emily turned one. Seriously can’t believe how the first year of having the cutest baby in the world as part of our family is already over! Anyway, taking Chantelle’s guest house shifts into consideration, we decided that the best date to hold Emily’s birthday party would in fact be two days earlier, namely Sunday 11 January. (Funnily enough, Claire hosted little Grayson’s 1st birthday party on Saturday 10 January, meaning a weekend filled with 1st birthday parties!)
Mom and Dad graciously let us use their home as the venue (we wanted the space and more importantly the pool), and to sprinkle Smarties on the top, the day’s weather was absolutely perfect!
Chantelle, Jess, Emily and I made the trip through to Bellville early morning to start the setup operation, and believe it or not, our timing was exactly spot on because we finished up just as the first guests started arriving – in other words, right on time! :) (So, so many rolls were cut and buttered, Spanspek diced, and Watermelon sliced!)
It didn’t take long for the kids (and the parents) to find themselves in the pool (where the coloured balls soon made an appearance and were an absolute hit – with the dads, who couldn’t stop pelting one another with them!). The fire was soon on the go, and lots of boerewors rolls, spanspek, watermelon and cold salads eventually descended onto the outside table in order to attempt to feed the hungry hordes.
Needless to say, Chantelle had prepared an awesome upside-down ice cream cake for Emily (hastily prepared seeing as we were out the previous day attending Grayson’s party), but the real treat for the day was without a doubt the kids’ ice cream station that Chantelle had set up – complete with about eight flavours of ice-cream, a selection of cones and bowls, and a gazillion different topper treats! Young and old alike gorged themselves (multiple times) on the sweet treats, and then as before, it was back in the pool for pretty much the rest of the afternoon!
Towards the end of the day, the guys mostly gravitated towards the television in order to sit down and watch the unfolding T20 game between the Proteas and West Indies (sadly, South Africa lost), whilst the girls remained outside, rolling their eyeballs and chatting up a storm. (At that stage I’m not sure what the kids were up to because I was watching cricket).
All in all, the day was a huge success story, the kids had a blast, and the parents looked to have thoroughly enjoyed themselves (even if that sentiment is based entirely on all the dads pretty much pelting each other in the pool with coloured balls for the entire day – seriously, we never grow up, do we?).
Yesterday Chantelle, Jess, Emily and I found ourselves making the trip through to Constantia in order to join up with the Carpenter Clan in order to celebrate Grayson’s 1st birthday. (Incredibly enough, today we’re actually out celebrating Emily’s first birthday – what a weekend for 1st birthday parties, eh?)
Although we again missed the street we needed to turn down in getting to Claire and Riley’s house, we were actually – amazingly – pretty much on time (in fact, it was almost satisfying to see a host of cars pull up just as I switched the Accent off).
Despite the fact that we were experiencing a gloriously sunny day back in Gordon’s Bay, here under the mountain things were certainly a lot more cloudy, but nevertheless, the weather played in everyone’s favour as it was warm enough to lounge outside without being so hot that everyone fried.
Chantelle and Riley had prepared a magnificent spread of finger foods, the children were all having a ball on the trampoline (Jess included), and what followed was a relaxing, enjoyable day out for all Claire and Riley’s family and friends (plus Rocky).
So a great start to what I’m sure will be many awesome parties to follow for young Grayson then – whom I’m sure should by his next birthday be putting out the candle by blowing on it instead of just grabbing it with his hand! :)
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Bonus! Seeing as both Ryan and Grandpa had ventured on the trampoline, Chantelle wasn’t prepared to be left behind:
So my knee gave out again… in the most public manner possible of course. I can’t really blame my bum left knee (which I heavily damaged via a karate tournament way back in July 2007) though, seeing as I’ve never even once taken it to be reviewed by medical experts in the 7 or so years that I’ve lived with the damage – never mind the fact that I’m anyway carrying far too much weight to ever allow it to heal properly!
It all went down this past Sunday, when we successfully hosted Jessica’s fourth birthday party at the always delightful Mondeor Restaurant in Somerset West. All the friends and family were present and accounted for, and given the surprisingly good weather we experienced, the kids were certainly making the most out of the kiddies splash pool.
Now the circular splash pool is ringed with an elevated wooden boardwalk, and therein lies the problem. The edge of the walking planks go well past the vertical boards holding them up, meaning that should too much weight be applied to the edge of the boardwalk you’ll probably find yourself in a spot of bother.
Which is exactly what happened to me.
I was carrying Emily in my arms (for pretty much the whole day) and had strolled over to the pool to ask Jessica something or other (I can’t quite remember what). She wanted out, and she needed a towel, so taking her hand with my free hand, I strode off the boardwalk whilst deep in conversation with her – in other words, not paying attention to what I was doing.
There was an extremely loud snap as the board on which I had just stepped snapped in two, sending me and the two kids tumbling down to the ground. Of course, as my foot hit the ground, my knee gave in completely, shooting pain up through my leg and forcing me to neatly deposit both Emily (which from all eyewitness accounts was a pretty impressive feat) and Jessica before continuing with my tumble that had me ended up face first in the dirt.
The kids were crying, fine though, but obviously shaken up, whilst I on the other hand not so much. I could immediately feel that my knee had conked in and that I had possible twisted my ankle, which made pulling myself back to my feet a much more painful mission that what I care to remember.
(Chantelle says that my face was completely drained of colour for the next while following the tumble, but nevertheless, I limped to a convenient chair and plonked myself down for the rest of the party – which was still thoroughly enjoyable anyway)
Obviously it could have been much worse in that Emily or Jessica could have gotten hurt, but thank the stars that wasn’t the case.
Party done and back at home at last (thanks to Ryan for driving my car and myself home!), it quickly became apparent that I must have put some serious hurt on, because I couldn’t bend my knee at all – meaning an early Sunday evening trip to the pharmacy for Chantelle to pick up some anti-inflammatory tablets and painkillers, whilst Evan, Natasha stayed on to look after Evalynne, Jessica, Emily (and me).
Needless to say, I didn’t drive into work on Monday.
Today we are three days down the line, and I’m happy to report that with each passing day my knee and ankle are doing better and better, and I foresee being back to full mobility just in time for this coming weekend.
Not that I’ll be climbing up any stairs, hills or mountains mind you.
So the plan had been for a glorious picnic at the Helderberg Nature Reserve on a sun-filled day, the invites had been sent and the preparations made. Sadly for us though, just as the weekend was starting to roll in, word arrived of the imminent Black South Easter storm heading our way, basically a cut off low pressure system that brings particularly wet weather, which usually translates to flash floods – in fact, the exact same weather system was responsible the destructive 1981 Lainsburg Flood!
(Seriously, it took me over 2.5 hours on Friday evening to get home thanks to the Lourensford river that burst its banks and at times it was as if I was travelling in a boat – there were sections of the road where the water was lapping halfway up my car’s door!)
With heavy hearts we first tried the postponement route, but unfortunately the end of year crunch means most people have plans for pretty much every weekend up until New Year’s – meaning that door was closed. Scrambling into backup plan mode, we phoned up my mom and asked her if we could use her pad to host Jessica’s birthday party – and thankfully they agreed to allow an unknown number of toddlers to rampage about their house.
As it turned out, we lost a significant amount of adults and children on the day, some to illness, some to the change of plans, and some to dealing with this or that disaster brought on by the inclement weather, but nevertheless the party was a great success at mom’s place, with the kids all suitably entertained (I packed in all Jessica’s toys and coached her on sharing, while Chantelle had the kids all icing and decorating their own cupcakes), and the adults all chilled and well fed, thanks to a delicious spread put on by Chantelle and her mom. Even the table tennis table got a bit of a run!
Jessica seems to have thoroughly enjoyed her birthday party, she was in a fabulous and happy mood throughout, and needless to say, there was plenty of renditions of “Happy Birthday” going around!
Oh, and then of course there was all the excitement around the opening of the presents… :)
Boerwors rolls, outdoor braai, balloons, umbrellas, gazeebo and sun was the order of the day, as all our friends joined us in celebrating Jessica’s 2nd birthday.
And as you can see from the footage below, a great day was had by all! :)
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