Oops, I found these photos sitting in my Unposted Blog Post Galleries folder (which sadly is rather massive). These are from December 2016, when a very excited little Emily and very excited slightly bigger Jessica were eagerly counting down the days to Christmas on mom’s mouse moving advent calendar.
Our usual shenanigans of opening Christmas presents up on the evening of the 24th involved supper at our house, all the grandparents (and uncles/aunts who could make it), some wine from Saronsberg, and of course a sneaky plan of distracting the girls by making them take out food for Santa via the back door while we secretly brought in presents through the front.
It was a great success.
On that note, Christmas lunch was at our house for a change as well, meaning that the next day the feasting got even bigger and better. Which is never really a bad thing now is it? ;)
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See, I wasn’t lying when I said said I was looking forward to Christmas 2016.
Jessica turned 7 in November last year, and unlike Emily’s 4th birthday a handful of months ago in January, I actually remembered to take some photos on the actual day!
With Chantelle still building her home baking business from the ground up, we decided to host Jessie’s party at our house once again, which of course then meant all the fun and games that goes into prepping for it.
As per usual Chantelle did ALL the work, though this time around we thought it fun to let Jessica decorate her very own birthday cake – something she seemed rather appreciative of!
The drop-off and go party setup meant our yard was inundated with a gaggle of excited little girls (no boys allowed), and pleasingly all our usual party games went swimmingly well.
Present opening, jungle gym, and games aside, the girls were also more than little chuffed at the idea of getting stuck into the kitchen to make and bake their very own cookies! (With a little expert guidance from Chantelle of course…)
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The weather was great, the girls had fun, and so I guess yet another successful birthday celebration is now in the bag.
(P.S. The biscuits were surprisingly not half bad in the end.)
This weekend we celebrated Emily’s fourth birthday with a party here at our house in Country Mews, Gordon’s Bay. For some reason I completely forgot to take any photos on the day – very strange for me, I know!
That got me thinking though. I’m reasonably sure that I haven’t posted any photos of the girls’ recent birthdays to the blog – something I reckon I had better rectify sooner than later before I lose everything due to an untimely hard drive crash!
So anyway, at the end of 2016 we celebrated Jessica’s sixth birthday with a full on party day at our house, the first session of the day belonging to Jessica and her school/complex friends and their folks, and the second celebrated with our family and friends with their kids.
So two parties in one day – turns out it is possible, but man is it exhausting! :)
(For reference, there was a mermaid cake, cupcake decorating, snow globe making, jungle gym tumbling, present unwrapping, happy birthday singing, and of course lots and lots of party packs! Oh, and put-it-together-yourself hamburgers too.)
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They’re growing up so fast these days! :)
So we had already gone and got the garden on the side of the house sorted out by removing the flower beds, stripping out the weed-infested old lawn and replacing it with some fresh green stuff – ill-timed given the level 3 water restrictions announced shortly after for sure – but it least it was done.
The reason for it? Well, we needed the lawn space to install our very first ever jungle gym for the girls!
Jessica’s occupational therapist Nicola highly recommend that we think about putting one in to try and encourage Jessica in the strengthening her body, and both Chantelle and I had wanted one for the longest of time anyway.
So Chantelle did some phoning about, and eventually contracted in a company by the name of Speelgoedland Klimrame, based out in Durbanville (but who were more than happy to take up a job in Gordon’s Bay).
We obviously don’t have a particularly big garden space, so we had to opt for one of the smaller jungle gyms, with our main requirement being that it must have a set of monkey bars.
After some very helpful consultations with the guys, we settled on the compact Pinnochio design, with the end configuration consisting of one platform, a climbing net, a climbing ladder, monkey bars, fireman pole, rope swing, gymnastic rings, and a trapeze pole.
The price for all this (including installation) came to R6,000.
Installation day rolled in, but with both Chantelle and myself out at work on the day, my mom and dad kindly drove through to come and oversee the project.
Naturally, our neighbour isn’t quite happy with the new addition to our garden (in her defence, it is quite high and is perhaps a bit close to the wall), but more important than that, the girls LOVE it, which then in other words means that it is absolutely perfect!
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(Also, we finally got around to emptying the sandpit and filling it with the proper sand this time around. All in preparation for Jessica’s big sixth birthday party which was bearing down on us at a rapid clip!)
Related Link: Speelgoedland Jungle Gyms
It may not be the smartest thing to have done in terms of timing when you consider Cape Town upping its water restrictions to level 3 for this Summer Season, but we’ve finally gone and gotten rid of the weed infested flower beds and rusty outdoor braai area, replacing them with beautiful, fresh patches of green grass, courtesy of Eugene and his team at Helderberg Lawns (who coincidentally, I can not find on the Internet at the moment. Chantelle picked them up through a Facebook recommendation if you must know).
The job cost about R3,000 and took the three guys only a handful of hours to complete. Essentially we replaced the grass running along all our walls (border and house), meaning that the only original stretch of grass still in place is essentially the strip down the middle!
(Bonus: I’m not to cut the new grass for at least a month to give it sufficient chance to recover and take root!)
So all the trees are now encircled with grass, and there is a lot less flower beds to be maintained (which we weren’t really doing anyway!).
Other than the clearing out of our weed-infested, sandy and sad excuse for a lawn, the real reason for having this done now was in fact to set up the needed space for the jungle gym that we’re about to have installed as a birthday present for Jessica – which obviously then needs to happen before mid-November!
And who knows, now with that rusty, unused braai out of the way (which both Chantelle and I are sad to see go just by the way – it was a brilliant gift after all!), I might just consider getting a trampoline put down come Christmas time…
(Oh. As a bonus, the guys even cleared out our flower bed in the front of the house – sadly for me though, only my one flowering cosmos was left standing after they were finished ripping everything out!)
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Anyway, the point is, we are very happy with the work done, so if anyone asks – if you are looking for instant roll on lawn in the Helderberg, then we can definitely recommend Eugene and his team at Helderberg Lawns!
Jessica was enjoying quite a good Saturday. She had already had fun at Courtney’s birthday party in the morning (hence the face paint), then she had ice cream in kleinmond, following by a walk around the harbour and then some adventure on a coastal walkway.
Yet, despite all this, the girls still wanted more, meaning that regardless of the fact that neither Chantelle nor I wanted to leave the comfort of our couch following our return from the day’s outing, we had little choice but to given in to the incessant cry to go out for a sunset complex bike tag-along.
Which in the end wasn’t all that bad mind you.
A beautiful sunset, lots of flowers showing at the communal garden space, some play time on the jungle gym, and I guess, some nice fresh air.
Still, a snooze on the couch would have been rather nice!
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The seasons are definitely changing for the better at long last – so, so many more hours of sunshine in a day!
Of course, the means that we get to spend much more of our evenings playing on Country Mews’ little communal patch of grass after a long day at playschool – which the kids definitely seem to adore (even more so, if I decide to roll about on the grass with them!).
Cara, one of the girls also living in the complex, invariably joins us on these evenings (in fact, she can pretty much always be found in our house over a weekend), which is loads of fun because a) Jessica gets to play with someone who isn’t a toddler, and b) Emily is massively entertained by this big girl who seems to rather enjoy playing with her.
So yay, more swinging and more sliding is a definite sign that Summer is now well and truly on its way! :)
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So happily, the Gordon’s Bay Lotter Clan Stronghold now sports its very first sandpit/sandbox – a cute and clever custom design from the Strand-based Pallet Couch team.
R850 nets you a 1200mm x 1000mm x 244mm unpainted, open bottom sand box with a lid that cleverly opens and folds back into two little chairs. (Throw in another R100 and it will get a nifty weather resistant varnish as well.)
We filled it with building sand purchased from Builders Warehouse and needless to say, the kids are absolutely thrilled with this new addition to the garden! (We’ve also plonked Jessica’s pink and white Keter playhouse down next to it)
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Related Link: http://www.palletcouch.com/
A couple of weeks ago Chantelle and I surprised Jessica by taking her to Game and letting her choose a new bicycle.
She had outgrown her first bicycle and to be honest, being a second hand buy, it was a bit tired by now – in fact, one of the pedals had even come off the other day! (Not to mention the hard plastic wheels that were now completely devoid of all grip!)
So with the old one out it made sense to get her something a bit bigger and better – which is exactly why I was more than happy to part with my R1,100 and return home with a beautiful purple and white, 16 inch Raleigh kids’ bicycle – accompanied with a bright pink cycle helmet to finish off the ensemble.
Well, when I say returned home with, I do of course mean I arrived home with a big cardboard box, which stayed on the dining room table for a day or two before I finally gathered enough strength to open the box, spill out is contents, and attempt to assemble a bicycle.
(Surprisingly, this took me longer than expected – I had some trouble lining up the brakes).
Of course, we immediately needed to take it out for a test drive, and pleasingly a beaming, unable-to-contain-her-excitement, Jessica was more than happy to oblige.
In fact, all the friends around the complex quickly got wind of what we were up to thanks to us tearing about the complex at high speed (seriously, all of a sudden Jessica is rather quick on her two wheels), and soon everyone was in on the fun!
So yeah, I’d definitely say that this was a successful purchase for the Lotter clan! Now I guess the next step is for her to become confident enough that we can start thinking about ditching those side wheels of hers…
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