In the middle of last year, my sister Claire went ahead and organised a professional photo shoot for the family. She hired her professional photographer friend Matt McLagan to handle the photography end and together they decided to make use of Claire and Riley’s gorgeous, award-winning garden at the back of their Constantia home.
The brief for the shoot was for blue to be the primary colour of everyone’s outfits, and come the Sunday morning, Chantelle, Jess, Emily and I found ourselves up bright and early, and slightly lost in the Southern Suburbs, trying to locate Claire’s house. (There is this one turn which both Chantelle and I are forever missing!)
Not that being strictly on time mattered that much in the end though, as Matt ended up being held up for a fair bit on his end before making it through to Claire’s place, giving the family plenty of time to play catch up with one another. In total we were a nice sized group. Claire, Riley, little Devon and baby Grayson, Riley’s mom Colleen, Kirsty and Mike, Mom and Dad, Ryan, and of course Chantelle, Emily, Jessica and myself!
The weather played along beautifully, and Matt captured seriously fantastic photos of everyone – some of which I’ve put up in the gallery below. It was loads of fun for everyone (furniture shifting and all), and the morning was ended off with a delicious selection of snacks that Claire had thrown together.
So, what do you think of Matt’s work?
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It’s worth mentioning that Jess was totally enthralled by Matt’s setup – and pretty soon he had her pressing the button to take photos, much to her absolute delight! :)
So thanks for organising this Claire – it was definitely worth the effort! :)
Related Link: http://mclaganphotography.blogspot.com/
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:
After spending a lovely evening out with Damen, Michelle and Ryan for New Year’s Eve, the actual 1st of January was dominated with a trip out to Mom and Dad’s house in order to celebrate the New Year with a big family lunch.
Despite Chantelle working for the first half of the day (she would join us later in Bellville), Jess, Emily and I made an early trek through to the Northern Suburbs, where we joined Ryan, Riley, Claire (with the boys), and Granny Lotter in chilling at Mom and Dad’s pad. Lots of conversation, lots of swimming (though Emily wasn’t quite so keen on the cold water), and lots of relaxation as Mom and Dad scurried about preparing the feast, was the order of the morning.
Lunch was absolutely delicious as expected (so much variety!), Jessica and Emily enjoyed themselves on the day (as did Gran I suspect), and when Chantelle finally did join us after work, we immediately (well, after she had first eaten – hey, we’re not monsters) made her put on her new boardshorts that she had received for Christmas and got her in the water (a rare treat for Jessica who was absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to swim with Mommy!).
We even dug out an old Polyotter (from when Claire, Ryan and I were kids) to see if it would be useful for Jess, but after a couple of tries we quickly decided that drowning our child with an ancient flotation device is probably not the best of ways to teach her how to swim! :)
To celebrate Claire’s upcoming birthday, Claire and Riley invited the family out to join them at the dog-friendly Little Stream Restaurant in Constantia for a Sunday lunch outing.
As you would expect from a venue out on that side of the world, the grounds are spectacular, green, leafy, lush and ever so pretty, and all in all everyone enjoyed a tasty meal and a well deserved, relaxed Sunday afternoon.
And on the plus side, we even managed to convince Jessica to give her little cousin Devon a hug – not that he wanted much to do with that idea mind you! :)
Claire and Riley played host for this year’s big family Christmas get together, and as luck would have it we were blessed with the perfect weather to really enjoy and make the most of a really great day. The venue was awesome, the lunch spectacular, the swim refreshing, and of course, the present opening and Secret Santa shenanigans loads of fun!
And in case you were wondering who all was in attendance, let’s just say that the Carpenter clan, the Montgomery group, and the Lotter horde all made a good showing! :)
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Pleasingly, this weekend past was a lot happier than the weekend before that, probably due to the fact it was Chantelle and my first off weekend in something like eight weeks, and even more important than that, Jessica had finally managed to kick the multiple infections that had been making her life miserable for the last week, meaning a happy and fun toddler for us to deal with for a change! :)
Two weekends ago saw the arrival of my sister Claire and husband Riley’s first ever child, a healthy little boy named Devon. Outside of that ray of awesome news, the rest of the weekend was a pretty disastrous/dull affair, what with a sick Jessica, a sick Chantelle and a fairly poor Willowbridge market to contend with. The only rays of sunshine was the copious amount of Bad Company 2 on the XBOX 360 that I managed to fit in, as well as the Sunday late afternoon pancakes I whipped up for the Lotter household.
Oh, the other cool thing that did however happen on the Sunday of that dreary weekend was the creation of my first standalone WordPress plugin (entitled “Thumbnails in Admin Post Listing”), a simple but effective beast I find. I still haven’t gotten around to uploading it to the official WordPress directory just yet, but for now you can grab it off this site, so all isn’t quite lost.
So as you can imagine, following on from all of that, last week was a trying affair then, thanks to a sickly Chantelle and a Jessica toddler who managed to pick up 6 different infections all at once. I must say that both sets of grandparents were wonderful in coming to the rescue in terms of caring during work hours, but nevertheless, it was a rather depressing week.
However, all of that was quickly forgotten thanks to the big weekend off last weekend, the Friday of which started out pretty poorly (in that I opted to do a whole lot of Project Administration work-related stuff), before slipping into high gear as we ended the evening off with a movie, showing on the full DSTV package which Monty had opened up for us in anticipation of watching the big Western Province versus Lions Currie Cup semi-final on Saturday!
Speaking of Saturday, it was an early start as I prepped the kitchen for the arrival of the Montgomery Clan plus labourer, who on arrival set about removing the counter top on the side of the kitchen housing the fridge, followed by the removal and then shortening of our grocery cupboard, before the re-addition of a full-length counter top, over and above the newly finished plumbing and electrical extensions, never mind the hastily laid tiles.
The end result, a wonderfully reworked side of the kitchen which now gives us additional working counter space, and a reduction of kitchen cupboard space in exchange for the new-found ability of slotting in our brand spanking new dishwasher next to the clothes washing machine!
And if you are wondering about the reduced kitchen storage space, never fear – I bought a big pine linen cupboard for R3,000 from Pine City to slot into the braai room, in order to act as storage for both our food, Chantelle’s baking ingredients, and excess cutlery. Nice! (Note, something not quite so nice was the hugely extended shopping trip Chantelle took Cheryl and myself out on. The linen cupboard was pretty much bought at the beginning of the trip. My poor aching feet!)
With the men having finished all the kitchen work, leaving only minor clean up to do, it was time to grab a beer, put the feet up and patiently wait for Chantelle to finish the four awesome home made pizzas destined to be the evening’s sustenance. Pleasingly, Western Province managed to snatch a win out of the jaws of defeat in the dying seconds of the game, meaning that the alcohol and pizza were a sign of celebration, instead of what it so nearly could have been had we lost.
Robert opted to sleep over the evening, but come Sunday morning we booted him out, grabbed Jessica and made a quick stop by the shops, before making the drive through to Constantia in order to meet up with Claire and Riley at their home, the goal of which was to meet the adorable newborn little Devon of course! As luck would have it, while we were visiting with the Carpenters, Mom, Dad and the two Grans also pitched up on their doorstep, in the process turning the afternoon into quite the family affair. (Shame, though their lovable Alsatian puppy Rocky kept Jessica pretty terrified for rather large chunks of the day!)
The evening wasn’t all that special, but nevertheless, a much, much better weekend than the previous one, and I must say that I quite enjoyed being off from all the market-related activities for a change.
That said, this weekend coming I am covering both Willowbridge on Saturday and Hathersage on Sunday, meaning no rest break for poor little ol’ me this time around! :)
It was a fairly busy weekend as always for the Lotter family, though shame, after two nights of only going to bed in the early hours of the morning thanks to baking for orders and the market, Chantelle certainly could have done with some more rest! (Not that she got it of course).
With Saturday being a market day meant that Friday evening was pretty much a write-off, as Chantelle and I spent the night getting everything ready for the next day’s market. What was cool however is that Friday marked Chantelle’s first day of leave (she’s off for about ten days in total), which needless to say is a nice change of pace then.
Saturday morning saw an early departure of the two Getz’s as Chantelle and I made our way through Bellville, Chantelle carrying the all important baked market produce and I the equally important package of Jessica and her associated luggage. Dropping Jessica and her toys off in exchange for Cheryl’s crates of fudge at the Montgomery Clan Stronghold, Chantelle and I made it to Willowbridge more or less on time, set up and began to trade. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t too great and being the end of the month combined with some big rugby on in the morning didn’t help our cause, but somehow against all expectations, we ended up not having too bad a market, turning a nice little profit which meant a smile on our faces and happiness at the fact that we hadn’t just wasted 5 hours of our lives!
After the market we split up again, with Jessica and myself heading back home in order to neaten up the place a little as well as get the braai sorted and all ready, while Chantelle shot through to the airport where she excitedly proceeded to pick up the returning Retha, who has come home on a whirlwind two week long break from her English-teaching job back in South Korea!
Back in Gordon’s Bay and reunited once more, Retha was essentially re-introduced to Jessica, I got the fire on the go, and after that the wine flowed freely and we enjoyed a great evening of playing catch up, discussing all manner of topics, and enjoying a fairly tasty, genuine South African traditional meal.
Sunday wasn’t much of a change of pace, as Chantelle spent the morning rushing around to complete Claire’s order, before we could finally break free from the house and take a drive through to leafy old Constantia, where we joined up with Claire and Riley who were hosting a big family and friends picnic at their house in honour of Riley’s recent birthday. For the most part the weather played along, and it turned out to be a thoroughly relaxing afternoon of eating snacks, playing with the kids, and catching up on all the family gossip. As it turned out, Derrick and Lana had made a surprise stop in at Bellville via their extended holiday trip, and thus ended up at Claire’s place as well – certainly an unexpected but pleasant bonus in other words then!
(Unfortunately Pops couldn’t make it to the big shindig as he was tied down at work, but I assume that the necessary steps were taken to ensure some snacks filtered off home to him…)
Anyway, the evening was spent back at home, tidying up the house, relaxing on the couch, and then finally ending with Chantelle and I snuggling together to watch the thoroughly engaging and entertaining, feel good movie that is “We Bought a Zoo”. (Which is now highly recommended if you’re looking for a nice family friendly DVD to rent by the way!).
And that in a nutshell (well not really in a nutshell mind you), was my weekend.
And now you know.
(Eek! Falling behind with my Weekend Update posts! Two thirds into April already!!)
Ah Easter Weekend 2012. Well, despite the conditions being perfect for going away for a long weekend, i.e. Chantelle was off for the weekend, no, make that for the whole week in fact, seeing as her leave had just kicked in, but the reality of the matter is that we simply don’t have any disposable income between the two of us any more, meaning NO going away for us. Oh well, what can one do?
Anyway, the extra long weekend kicked off quietly enough, with Thursday consisting of little more than working from home, shopping at Pick ‘n Pay with Jess after crèche, bed time routine, steak for supper with Chantelle on her eventual arrival home, and copious amounts of FIFA 10 (manager mode) to round off the night.
Friday was a little better though, with Jessica and I visiting Chantelle at the guest house for a scrumptious late morning breakfast, before returning home to do the chores, enjoy some playtime sessions (resulting in a nasty bump on Jessie’s forehead after one dive off the sofa to many!), and eventually head out to the beach for a good hour or so of play in the sand. (Of course, I did manage to get the timing slightly wrong and arrived to a full tide, meaning no dry sand anywhere, but we did eventually manage to find a playable spot in front of the public bathrooms – where all the parents with toddlers had already congregated!)
Anyway, Chantelle arrived home in the afternoon and immediately sprung to work in the kitchen to get everything ready for Saturday’s market at Willowbridge, leaving me to finish off the bed time routine, before once again rounding the night out with a LOT of FIFA (seriously, the amount of hours I’ve spent now in my Manager Mode game is getting a little ridiculous this week!)
Saturday morning saw an early morning pack and go for Chantelle, while Jessica and I lazed away the early hours at home, shielded against the torrential rain that continued to beat down all around us for the duration of the morning. (We did have to make a dash for it down the road to deliver a chocolate cake order to a grateful number 48, but other than that, we stayed inside, nice and dry.)
The afternoon eventually rolled on in, and it marked the two of us making our way through to Bellville in order to join up with Chantelle and Cheryl at the Willowbridge Slow Food Market, where thankfully the rain had finally subsided, but where the unfortunate quadruple whammy of Two Oceans Marathon, morning Stormers rugby game, Easter Weekend, and of course rainy weather, had a fairly significant impact on foot traffic. (In other words, out of the three markets worked thus far, this was by far the worst in terms of sales).
With the market done for the day, we proceeded to lay down roots in Bellville, before finally leaving Jess in Oupa and Ouma’s care for the evening as we darted out to make a quick leftover treats sale delivery to Ryan (and view his awesome new kitchen), before hitting Cape Gate where we enjoyed some fantastic Panarottis pizzas, followed up by what turned out to be quite the funny, and surprisingly enjoyable, viewing of American Pie: The Reunion at Ster Kinekor.
Sunday and unfortunately the weather still hadn’t quite let up, meaning a morning shopping trip to Ackermans in Tygervalley ensured a winter wardrobe for Jessica this year, followed by quite the enjoyable trip together with the rest of the Montgomery Clan, through to the Blaauwklippen Farmer’s Market in Stellenbosch, where we ended off our amble through the various stalls which had been relocated into a barn with quite the fancy picnic lunch – itself moved indoors to the stunning Blaauwklippen Restaurant premises!
Back home in Bellville, we capped off Sunday afternoon with a late visit to my folks, before finally heading home to get a night of well deserved rest in our own beds for a change.
So having enjoyed Friday, Saturday and Sunday off thus far, it is no surprise that to make this combination even better one would need Monday off as well, and seeing as that’s the way the cookie crumbled thanks to all the public holidays (which now that I think about it was pretty much completely devoid of Easter Eggs this year!).
Of course, as you know us by now, we’re never content with not filling our spare time with some sort of activities, and so early Monday morning had us shooting out to the Southern Suburbs to Claire and Riley’s housewarming brunch in celebration of their newly purchased, jaw-droppingly stunning home in the heart of leafy Constantia.
This was directly followed up with a trip back to the Northern Suburbs (with Ryan as a hitchhiker) in order to partake in Damen’s Birthday Party, which of course included things like food, cake, backyard cricket and of course some sweating over FIFA battles on the XBOX.
And that was pretty much the end of Easter Weekend 2012. So no going away and no Easter Eggs, but after reading through everything I just wrote, it looks like we certainly did all right after all! ;)
Mom and Dad’s week at Pinnacle Point session had rolled into play once again, and this time around it attracted the interest of the entire Lotter clan, meaning that Mom, Dad, Ryan, Claire, Jessie and myself were all making the trip through to Mossel Bay to enjoy some well deserved time away from work.
Unfortunately neither of our partners in crime (i.e. Riley or Chantelle) could make it up with us, but despite this we all enjoyed a thoroughly relaxing family weekend away! (And I even got to experience some golf on the awesome Pinnacle Point golf course!)