Tag Archives: Chantelle Lotter

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017 My Life 30 DEC 2016

Believe it or not, it is somehow that time where I once again round up the year that was and then turn the spotlight onto the year to come. Mind you, I’ve done a fair bit of these over the last couple of years (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 20102009 to be exact), but looking back, I seldom get the looking forward part quite spot on.

Nevertheless, as always I’m game to give it a go.

I’ll start off by saying that for the Lötter family as a whole, 2016 wasn’t a particularly exciting year per say.

Chantelle continued her work pulling in a paycheck as one of the managers at Gordon’s Beach Lodge here in Gordon’s Bay, while still baking cakes on the side and as always, dreaming about her own full-time venture still to come.

2016 saw Emily continue her march into ‘toddlerhood’, thriving in the loving care of the Baby Steps team, an environment in which she also managed to forge her first great friendship in the form of another little girl named Marli. Emily is extremely bright, extremely stubborn, and extremely adorable to boot!

It would seem that she’s certainly inherited Jessica’s terrors (i.e. terrified of big animals and the sea), but outside of those, she is an independent, forward thinking little toddler who I am positive is going to do super well at her new playschool Vergeet-My-Nie come 2017.

Jessica had a lovely first year as a Grade R learner in teacher Matthews’ class at Gordon’s Bay Primary, remaining as always the lovely social butterfly that we all know she is. She managed to make a ton of friends across a variety of different age groups at the school and continues to be one of the most open and outgoing little girls that you’ll ever stumble across.

Unfortunately though, a few of the development issues that we were warned about due to her premature birth have now surfaced, and so she spent much of the year undergoing occupational therapy with the wonderful therapist Nicola van Zyl. However, following a professional school readiness assessment with educational psychologist Mia Schoeman, it has been decided to hold her back in Grade R for another year, to give her more chance to gain a better level of ’emotional maturity’ needed for the years still lying in wait.

So plenty of work ahead for my beautiful little blonde princess come 2017, but luckily work that at this point she still sees as being little more than extra fun playtime!

So, as I now sit down and reflect on it, on the whole there really was then very little disruption to the normal Lötter life – no job changes, no house changes, no car changes, no real major… situational changes.

Good, that suits me as a Taurus quite nicely then.

Of course 2016 didn’t start all that well for me personally mind you – I did after all only really start walking about properly again come May of this year!

However, this depressing setback did come with the plus that it made me strongly want to make it up to myself this year, and so I promised myself that I would get out as much as possible and see as many new places as what I possibly could before the end of 2016. Well, glancing over the 160 odd photo gallery folders on my hard drive, it is more than safe enough to say that I certainly achieved my goal!

(Note about the 160 odd folders of photos: to date, only about 106 have so far made it onto this blog – meaning a lot of stuff is going to incorrectly appear in 2017! So yes, I’m more than just a little behind on the photo posting front, and sadly, the excuse is slightly poor: I fell victim to the terrible addiction that stems from playing the awesome Dragon Age: Inquisition on the Xbox One that I too treated myself with at the beginning of this year. Who knew – just a year or two ago I was convinced that I’d kind of outgrown playing video games!)

Anyway, so my weekends were quite jam packed pretty much the entire year – so much so that Chantelle is rather understandably annoyed at the almost complete lack of maintenance on the house done in 2016!

I saw loads of local (Helderberg, Overberg, Stellenbosch, Cape Town) sights – far too many to list here, but pleasingly a list which includes numerous adult experiences like wineries and restaurants for a change – and out of the 12 months of the year, I was sleeping in another bed for at least one weekend in 9 of those!

For those of you keeping track (again, not that I’m sure anyone actually reads the stuff that I write), those 9 stays away from home included Jacobsbaai, Pinnacle Point (Mossel Bay), Warmwaterberg Spa (Barrydale), Stanford, George, USA (Anaheim and San Diego)*, Buffeljagsrivier, Tulbagh, and now Gouritz.

(*Yes, this means I visited the United States of America for the very first time in my life!)

Thanks to all this out and about then, 2016 therefore also saw me change the focus of this blog, adopting a new moniker in the form of “An Exploring South African” (note: I really am not overly fond of the names I choose) and consequently a shift in content to more local sights and sounds and travel type stuff.

(Oh, and for a change I even made a little money off the site. Now there is something that doesn’t often happen!)

As always, with Chantelle working every second weekend, my full time commitment to my girls meant that no hobbies or extracurricular stuff could be picked up in 2016 – which is still okay with me. (Now all it means is that the girls are forced to drive out with their dad to new places pretty much every other weekend!)

Work is still boringly stable for me – the good paycheck, complete oversight, and the perk of working from home is still more than strong enough incentives for me to keep chipping away at my Kinetica feedback platform, which has continued to surge ahead this year in terms of new functionality and expanded use cases.

Right, so with all that now said and done, I can safely reckon then that 2016 certainly wasn’t a bad year – even in the slightest – for the Gordon’s Bay Lötter clan. Good.

As for 2017? Well, my predictions are never really all that spot on, but I suspect that it will be very much more of the same. I want to travel loads and see a lot of new places/things (and we do now have the disposable income to do this), and I think following the physical difficulties that plagued me throughout 2016, maybe 2017 will finally be the year where I start to once again properly take care of my body – you know, finally get around to losing all that weight that continues to make Summer such an unpleasantly sweaty affair!

Which is probably not such a bad idea mind you. These gray strands threaded in my hair are seemingly growing bolder with each passing day! ;)

Lunch at Bertie’s Moorings in Gordon’s Bay (2016-07-29) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 01 AUG 2016

With Jessica now going to occupational therapy twice a week, the opportunities for Chantelle and I to slip out for a coffee or lunch during the week are now few and far between. However, we did catch a break last Friday and managed to slip out for a bite to eat at the famous Bertie’s Moorings restaurant at Harbour Island Marina here in Gordon’s Bay.

sdr

International sailing legend Bertie Reed (1943-2006) is considered one of the best sailors that South Africa ever produced. During his life-time he sailed about 170 000 nautical miles competitively, of which over 100 000 was single-handed – including three solo circumnavigations of the globe, the first South African to ever do so!

He is also remembered for his brave rescue of fellow South African John Martin, whose yacht sank after hitting a submerged iceberg in the Southern Ocean during the 1990/91 BOC Challenge. This heroic deed (and example of outstanding seamanship in extreme conditions) was rewarded with the Wolraad Woltemade Decoration, the then highest South African civilian award for bravery.

dav

Anyway, he and his family established Bertie’s Moorings back in 1994. The family-run restaurant/pub is centered around a hand-crafted oak barrel bar (made by Bertie himself), and can seat around 120 people. The drawcard has to be though the large deck overlooking the water!

The restaurant plays host to lots of live music gigs, and caters for big sporting event screenings as well.

sdr

We made the most of the good winter weather, and tucked into a portion of classic fish and chips, while Chantelle gave their ‘white pizza’ a shot. (Update: both were good!)

And then, because all good things come to an end, we paid our bill and went back to work!

Related Link: Bertie’s Moorings

Baking Peanut Butter Cookies with the Girls (2016-06-11) Photo Gallery 15 JUN 2016

With me still waylaid due to my battle with German Measles, we didn’t exactly go out this weekend (I was still rather contagious, so better safe than sorry). As such, Chantelle made some time in the afternoon to treat the girls (and Cara who had been spending the day with us) to some peanut butter cookie baking – which needless to say went down quite the treat!

All three girls eagerly perched up high on the bar stools, taking in all the instructions that Chantelle was feeding them bit by bit. Getting involved is of course the super fun bit, and before long the girls were rolling their dough balls, patting them down on the baking tray, and sprinkling them with sugar.

Isabella dropped by to show us her gymnastics medals that she had just won, and she ended up joining in on the cookie bake as well!

The end result? Some delicious cookies for the rest of the weekend, and a well deserved Zootopia movie break for mommy and the girls!

Chantelle’s Norwegian Salmon Mother’s Day Lunch (2016-05-08) Photo Gallery 13 MAY 2016

On the Saturday before Mother’s Day, I took the girls out to go and buy something nice for Chantelle. We did however start our trip by dropping in at our local Gordon’s Bay public library first – the first time any one of us had actually been there!

The girls were quite impressed by all the books, and after a quick story or two (and the promise to sign up for our very own library cards), we left again, battling the strong wind and heading off through Strand to the Paardevlei Farmers Market.

IMG_20160507_114519 Jessica and Emily with the Proteas bought for Mothers Day

After years of not being particularly impressed by proteas and the rest of the fynbos family, Chantelle has since done a u-turn and as such, the girls helped me pick out two beautiful bunches of proteas which would serve as Chantelle’s Mother’s Day gift. (We also stopped at the shops to pick up Lindt Chocolates too, just to be safe.)

IMG_20160508_130514 Chantelle Lotter with her Mother's Day Norwegian Salmon Spread

Come Sunday, despite the fact that she was working a split shift, it was in fact the rest of us who were in for a treat. Chantelle had invited the folks over for Mother’s Day lunch, and with Monty and Cheryl joining us for the day, Chantelle arrived back from her first shift at work and set about whipping up an absolutely fabulous chef-level lunch with the brilliant Norwegian Salmon  (sourced from Gordon’s Bay Fisheries) as the hero of her dish!

(Not to mention the delicious home-made seed bread that she too somehow found the time to bake!)

IMG_20160508_130502 Norwegian Salmon Mothers Day Lunch

And if the main course wasn’t enough to leave our mouths watering, she also delivered a delicious Banoffee Pie for dessert.

IMG_20160508_143434 Chantelle Lotter and her Banoffee Pie dessert

Sadly of course, after finishing our meal and enjoying the dessert, it was back to work for Chantelle, meaning that at the end of the day, it was actually the rest of us who were more spoiled for Mother’s Day than what she was!

(But at least she had her Lindt chocolates to return to that evening…)

The Paardevlei Farmers Market Relaunched (2016-04-02) Photo Gallery 19 APR 2016

After being closed for a bit thanks to problems with leases, liquor licences and who knows what else, I’m very pleased to see that our local Paardevlei Farmers Market has recently (and super successfully) relaunched – and I am happy to report that it is great to have them back in action!

IMG_20160402_113947 the new paardevlei farmers market shed

I had paid a visit to the Paardevlei Farmers Market at its old location once or twice before, and ultimately despite the great buzz and atmosphere that it brought to the table, I came away disappointed with the cramped and dark nature of the Triggerfish building it was housing itself in.

But all that has now changed with the new location, a massive, easy to find shed that retains that vintage, industrial feel of the first incarnation, but this time with more than enough space and light to actually make this Saturday morning market feel more welcoming and definitely prime it for some excellent future growth!

IMG_20160402_114557 vegetables for sale at the paardevlei farmers market

There’s not a massive amount of traders on the floor just yet, but I’m sure that will change pretty quickly, and besides, they pretty much have all your needs covered – fresh produce, warm and cold drinks, decadent delights, and of course pancakes.

(Sadly though, the pancakes on offer are from Pure Pancakes – who still haven’t got their recipe right, meaning pancakes with too much bicarb and thus a horrible aftertaste/texture on the tongue!)

IMG_20160402_114147 entering the paardevlei farmers market shed

Nevertheless, we loved the vibe, the music, the atmosphere, and am definitely excited to watch this farmers market grow!

Related Link: Paardevlei Farmers Market

Breakfast at Vergelegen Stables with Chantelle (2016-02-25) Photo Gallery 20 MAR 2016

So as I just mentioned, Terrance, Ryan and myself got together for a particularly enjoyable breakfast outing to the historic Vergelegen Wine Estate in Somerset West.

It was a gorgeous sunny day, the food was fantastic, and the views spectacular.

So needless to say, Chantelle was super jealous and thus literally a week later, I found myself enjoying breakfast there once more.

IMG_20160225_102027 chantelle lotter at the stables restaurant at vergelegen wine estate in somerset west

Which really isn’t a bad thing at all!

Related Link: Vergelegen Wine Estate

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016 My Life 31 JAN 2016

Last year I only got around to posting this annual year in review post in March. This time around I’ve done a little bit better – we are after all only at the end of January now!

IMG_20150927_130044 craig lotter with kids in the lavender patch at canettevallei lavender farm

Discounting the horrible December that we had thanks to my severed quadriceps tendon and Chantelle’s dislocated toes incident, 2015 on the whole was a pretty decent year for the Gordon’s Bay  Lötter clan.

IMG_20151006_181258 emily lotter in front of the country mews jungle gym

Emily turned 1 in January of 2015, and then very happily continued growing into an absolutely adorable little toddler who, while being incredibly shy around strangers, is a particularly clever, cute and terrorizing copycat sister to Jessica!

Strong-willed, slightly adventurous, and far ahead of Jess in terms of where our prem baby was at the same age, Emily continues to flourish at Baby Steps and I guess that is what we get to look forward to more of in 2016.

(Also, she has the most amazing bed head hair – it literally stands up at all angles each and every morning when she stands up in her cot, with only the prodigious application of no tangle spray able to tame it even in the slightest!)

IMG_20150810_114612 jessica lotter on a tractor at the kids play area at helderberg farm on the R44

Jessica had a good 2015 as well. She progressed well at the excellent Vergeet-My-Nie playschool, also enjoying her extramural activities of ballet, playball and computer classes.

She formed some close friendships with the girls in the complex, and is quickly finding her own voice and becoming a little lady – which naturally isn’t always the easiest thing to have to deal with first thing in the morning while trying to get everyone ready for school!

2016 sees her join the big school, starting Grade R at Gordon’s Bay Primary (conveniently, just down the road from us). Now in an English-only class, Jess is going to have to make new friends and tackle a trickier workload (something we’ll have to do our best as parents to help her with in preparation for the daunting Grade 1 to come in 2017!).

IMG_20151114_135828 chantelle, jessica, emily at the frozen photo booth at jessica's fifth birthday party at Montgomery Stronghold in Bellville

I think Chantelle had a pretty good 2015 too (discounting the horrible December of course!). Working at Gordon’s Beach Lodge again meant a stable salary and thus more money in the kitty, which translated into a lot less stress and worrying about what we can and cannot afford – plus it gave her a lot more of the social interaction that she had found herself craving in 2014 when she still worked full-time from home.

Emily, while still lots of work, was less so than when she was a newborn, and although not doing Chantelle’s Cupcakery baking full time any more, she did manage to get more than enough baking for orders in during the year to satisfy the creative craving that comes with the feature cake baking industry.

Oh, and then there was the year long looking forward to being bridesmaid and assistant organizer at best friend Retha’s Stellenbosch wedding in December!

IMG_20150715_105748 craig lotter Whale watching in Gansbaai with Ivanhoe Sea Safaris

As for me, well I had an excellent year thank you very much (again, discounting the horrible December of course!).

With Chantelle back working at the guest house, I had the girls to myself every second weekend, and as such made sure to fill the year chock-a-block with outings of all shapes and sizes. Looking back through the archive, we definitely fed geese, saw crocodiles, spotted planesviewed lions, watched birds, petted penguins, fed farmyard animals, went to markets, enjoyed picnics, scratched for stones, looked for butterflies,  went for a boat ride,  spotted fishies,  and of course ate loads of pancakes and drank copious amounts of strawberry milkshake along the way!

IMG_20151011_181148 jessica in the air at gordon's bay main beach

Chantelle and I found ourselves enjoying more than a couple of weekends away as well, trips that included a weekend away in Jacobsbaai for the annual Oppiwa music and wine festival, a romantic stay in Franschhoek in celebration of my 35th birthday,  a family stay in the picturesque Montagu, and a getaway to Hopefield to view the West Coast wild flowers!

(We even sneaked away for some warm water soaking time at the Caledon Hotel, Casino and Spa – though that was just for the day so it doesn’t count!)

IMG_20150708_153824 chantelle lotter with jess and emily at die kloof padstal farm stall in montagu

I also enjoyed a couple of amazing first time experiences, the top of which definitely included whale watching in Gansbaai aboard the Ivanhoe, not to mention my first ever jaunt behind the controls of a small aircraft above the Helderberg Basin!

IMG_20150606_124240 craig lotter standing next to the stellenbosch flying club cessna 172 - ZS-SLM he just flew in 1

Being a dad to small kids remains a full time job, so I again didn’t find myself picking up on any hobbies in 2015, though I did do a bit of the weight loss thing, and found myself back at gym – though according to Chantelle it’s the most demoralizing thing that she’s ever seen!

Also, I (surprisingly) ended up playing a fair bit of console games during the year – enjoying a particularly successful run in our every month or so men’s FIFA battle royale I might add!

(Plus, my blog did win an African Blogger award – which kind of felt pretty nice at the time).

IMG_20150510_115411 craig lotter tasting wine at la provence wine estate

On the career front, I found myself man alone as Touchwork’s only developer for the year, taking my role back down to that of programmer and systems architect – but it did come with a pay rise and the perk of being able to work from home for four days of the week, something that I really appreciate because it makes looking after the girls a lot easier given Chantelle’s shift work.

I got a lot of work achieved in this more focused mode though, meaning that Kinetica got a whole lot more modules bolted on to it by the end of the year. We have since successfully started using it in the States, phasing out our legacy product in the process, and also launched it as an Exhibition visitor, exhibitor and delegate registrations system – a use case that saw me spend my 35th birthday in Sandton at the convention centre with the rest of the Hypenica team for their big African Construction Week expos!

craig lotter, chantelle lotter, jessica lotter, and emily lotter - family photo at Mountain Streams Nursery

So yeah, 2015 was a good year by all accounts and on all fronts (not counting December of course!).

Looking ahead, 2016 should probably be very much the same then – which is a good thing if you ask me. That said, for it to properly kick off I probably first need to learn to walk without a crutch and brace again…

Chantelle and her Dislocated Toe My Life 25 JAN 2016

Chantelle and I didn’t have a particularly good end to 2015. I haven’t gotten around to detailing it all in the blog yet, so I guess this is then officially the start.

Thursday 26 November 2015 marked the evening that we had invited my Mom and Dad over to have supper with us at our home. Of course, this then meant that on arrival back from work, Chantelle immediately set about cleaning the house, which translates to a lot of wiping down of surfaces and some furious mopping. (Standard procedure for whenever we’re expecting visitors mind you!)

Sadly for her sake though, she must have applied just a little too much soap to her mop water or sprayed a little too much floor cleaner beforehand, because on stepping down into the braai room to mop there, her feet slipped and she went down like a ton of bricks, landing on her back and somehow (miraculously!) not hitting the back of her head on the step in the process!

Lots of screaming, swearing and gnashing of teeth immediately let me know that something was wrong – which made sense considering that the toes on her left foot were now staring back at me whilst in the shape of a V!

close up of chantelle lotter's dislocated toe

The kids were beside themselves, so after calming them down, I organised with Jessica that we drop them over there for a bit until my folks (already on their way) could arrive to pick them up (shame, interrupting a date night with Mark in the progress), whilst Chantelle swore and managed to get hold of someone at our local pharmacy on the other line.

After a quick painful drive there, the doctor and pharmacist both took a look and concurred that it looked broken, meaning that our immediate next step was a race through to the Emergency Centre at Vergelegen Mediclinic Hospital (because of course, as with all accidents in the Lotter household, it was already after hours).

emergency centre at vergelegen mediclinic in somerset west

Naturally, Chantelle was in a heck of a lot of pain, and unfortunately it was quite the extended wait at the Emergency Centre to get her seen to.

(I twiddled my thumbs for a very, very long time, while back home, my folks ended up getting pizza for supper! This means that technically we still owe them supper one of these days…)

chantelle lotter with her bandaged foot

Anyway, luckily for Chantelle the twin x-rays showed that the toes were just dislocated as opposed to broken, and so after a super painful injection into her toes (she had insisted on the anesthetic without realizing how sore receiving it would be!), the doctor popped everything back into place and bandaged her up.

With that, our expensive and painful evening was now finally over.

chantelle lotter and her dislocated toe

Recovery was slow and sore, but thankfully the toes managed to heal up just in time such that she could still make the big, big December event – which was of course her being bridesmaid to best friend Retha’s big Stellenbosch wedding!

chantelle lotter at retha and miguel's wedding

(Which sadly I didn’t get to attend, the sorry story around that still to follow…)

Related Link: Vergelegen Mediclinic

A Most Unromantic Wedding Anniversary (2015-11-08) Photo Gallery 15 NOV 2015

So this year marked the sixth year that I’ve been married to Chantelle. This year around though, our anniversary day fell on a Saturday, and this being a weekend where Chantelle was working (and stressed in trying to get things organized for Jessica’s big birthday parties – yes, “parties” and not “party”), there was to be no chance for a proper wedding anniversary celebration this time around.

(Last year we did a lot better mind you).

IMG_20151107_110755 Shopping with Jess and Emily in Somerset Mall

So last weekend was spent shopping with Jessica and Emily at Somerset Mall (we did buy some roses for Chantelle), stopping at McDonalds (because this is something that Jessica now asks for. We didn’t buy Chantelle a McFlurry though), and joining up with Chantelle for a celebratory (but kid-interrupted) drink at a bustling Bossa Social Cafe and Bar in Somerset West.

IMG_20151107_121341 Craig, Jessica and Emily Lotter selfie at Waterstone McDonalds

Not particularly romantic.

IMG_20151107_134352 Chantelle with Emily lotter at Bossa Social Cafe and Bar in Somerset West

We tried again on Sunday, but again, small kids don’t really make for romantic wedding anniversary celebration locale selection!

So pink milkshake at Mondeor Garden Restaurant it was.

IMG_20151108_123538 pink milkshake at mondeor garden restaurant in somerset west

Maybe next year we’ll plan ahead and do it properly! ;)

(Which reminds me. It’s six years later and I just realized that I still haven’t gotten around to posting our wedding photos on my blog. I guess I really ought to get around to doing that sometime. That said, it’s been a year and I still haven’t fixed our front door glass – so I wouldn’t exactly hold my breathe on the photos front then if I were you!)