Tag Archives: jessica lotter

Jessica Turns 7 Birthday Party at Country Mews (2017-11-11) My Life | Photo Gallery 09 MAR 2018

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…)

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.)

Jessica Turns 6 Birthday Party at Country Mews (2016-11-12) My Life | Photo Gallery 22 JAN 2018

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.)

They’re growing up so fast these days! :)

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018 My Life 31 DEC 2017

I’m not sure what has happened to be honest, but I blinked and somehow 2017 appears to have come and gone. Being an adult, being married, being a parent to small kids, working full time (even if from home), playing a lot of video games, and heading out to explore each and every weekend sure seems to speed time up a fair bit! ;)

Consequently, any of the other things that I thought I would most definitely get around to in 2017, i.e. learn a new skill, get healthy, and perhaps socialize a bit more pretty much all fell by the wayside.

On that note, the blogging front didn’t fare all that much better – you probably noticed (if you are a longtime reader) that I didn’t exactly post a ton of new content this year. Honestly, I took (and enjoyed) a bit of a break from creating content, the result being that this was the year with by far the least amount of blog posts attributed to it since the site’s inception in 2007.

I’ll do better in 2018, promise.

It’s not like I don’t have content to post mind you. Tallying up the amount of photo folders linked to 2017 sitting in my Google Drive yields the number 137, of which only 66 have thus far made it onto An Exploring South African as one of my photo gallery posts.

In other words, plenty of local places worth visiting guaranteed to still to appear on these pages! (All that said, I did properly embrace Instagram this year and and have to admit, am totally loving it! No idea what I didn’t join the platform sooner. Facebook and Twitter on the other hand though? Meh. Couldn’t really be bothered with those two.)

In terms of the family, Emily had a fantastic year at the Vergeet-My-Nie playschool. She is clever, cute, mischievous, playful and super loving – everything you could wish for from a three (soon to be four) year old.

Jessica also had a fantastic year, with the repeat of Grade R at Gordon’s Bay Primary the absolute best decision that we ever could ever have made for her. Her emotional maturity has blossomed, both her work and work rate have improved, her physical conditioning and coordination is a lot better, she’s maintained her charming cheerfulness, and now she is SUPER excited (and ready) to tackle the big school of Grade 1 next year.

Chantelle took a pretty big step this year as well, abandoning her full time position at the Gordon’s Beach Lodge guest house in order to launch her very own Helderberg Cake Company venture. Of course, the loss of a monthly paycheck was/is nerve-wracking, but the wins stemming from the renewed job satisfaction and being based at home with consequently more time with the girls definitely makes this move well worth the while!

As for me, despite starting the year with a whole lot of good intentions, 2017 was a whole lot more of very much the same same as always.

Given that I enjoy being in charge of myself and more importantly the entire software solution that Touchwork sells (not to mention the perk of being allowed to work from home), I spent the year continuing to add to and refine my Kinetica platform – which has now been in constant development for a eight years or so!

This year I also got well and truly stuck into mobile development, with the end result being the dynamic Kinetica TouchandTell app (built using Appcelerator Titanium) being deployed to both the Google Play and Apple App stores.

(On that note, Touchwork actually enjoyed another pretty successful year, pulling in a lot of new USA-based clients, partnering up with some local selling partners, and even grabbing a new contract or two on our own out here in South Africa.)

Next year should be pretty exciting too for me in terms of development – we’re jumping head first into IoT devices and the SigFox network!

It wasn’t all work this year of course – as I mentioned at the start of this post, the girls and I went out exploring a LOT. Literally each and every weekend of 2017 saw us jump in the car and drive out somewhere (naturally, as is usually the case for me, most of it unplanned and usually very much spur of the moment), with the big family holiday up to Addo and Port Elizabeth through Oudtshoorn taking center stage back in July.

Outside of our local travels, I did find myself playing an inordinate amount of video games in my spare time this year, with Paladins being by far the game that sucked me in the most – so much so that I now actually play competitive ranked matches online, much to Chantelle’s amusement as she listens to me gripe about someone not picking either a support or front line character for the umpteenth time! ;)

I write these hello goodbye posts on an annual basis, and the “what is in store for the new year” section is almost always pretty rubbish (or better put, almost always completely wrong), however, that said, I really, really do need to improve my indoor/outdoor life balance in 2018 – meaning I suppose a lot less game time, less time sitting in my chair behind the keyboard, more time in the sun, and definitely more time in the gym (or at least on a yoga mat).

Well, that’s the plan anyway.

(I’m off to an okay start I suppose – I am now the owner of a brand new shiny gym membership here at our local Bay Fitness gym. True, I haven’t used it yet, but it is at least all mine.)

So. All in all, 2017 was pretty good year for Gordon’s Bay Lotter clan, definitely no complaints or any major problem on any of life’s fronts. That said, here’s to wishing for an even better and more prosperous 2018 for us all – a Happy New Year indeed!

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! ;)

Kids and Mud at Pollock Park in Gordon’s Bay (2016-08-02) Photo Gallery 05 AUG 2016

The days are staying a little lighter for longer now, meaning that once again the girls and I have the opportunity to nip out after school before the whole supper, bath and bed routine starts. Tuesday evening saw us we take the opportunity to spend a little time running around our favourite public park in Gordon’s Bay, Pollock Park.

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It was a LOT more muddy than what I would have liked, but seeing as I only saw the mud AFTER we had already all exited the car, it was pretty much a lost cause and I could only hope that the girls remain PARTICULARLY well balanced for this session of play!

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(Thankfully, they did!)

Usually the stone canals that run the length of the park sit dry (the pump mechanism was vandalised and stolen years ago), so it was pretty cool to see water flowing through all the channels for a change – giving the girls and myself more than enough reason to track the water all the way back up to the duck pond, which I am happy to report is sitting at a quite nice and healthy level at last.

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Mr Teddy also came along for the play session, and even more amazing was the fact that he too somehow remained completely mud free!

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Oh, and it was pretty cool to see some kids arrive with a quadcopter/drone, flying it in order to record the long-boarding that happens there on the road next to the park. (Pollock Park is essentially on the lower slopes of the mountain.)

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As fun this impromptu outing was, unfortunately the weather didn’t stay great for long, and about 40 minutes in, we were forced to return back to the car, with the light rapidly fading, the cloud cover now heavy, and the temperature more than a little chilly.

Still, the girls had fun and that’s definitely what counts!

German Measles and a Walk along the Strand Beachfront (2016-07-06) Photo Gallery 07 JUL 2016

Believe it or not, a little while ago I came down with German Measles of all things. Sadly for Jessica’s sake though, the Gordon’s Bay Lötters weren’t quite done with German Measles after all – second week into her holiday and bang, a big red rash spreads across her entire body, and with that, my little girl is down and out for the count.

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Luckily it didn’t affect her nearly as long as what it did me but Monday, the first day of her illness, was tricky with both Chantelle and I needing to physically be at work on the day.

Thankfully Dad (who appears to be loving his new pensioner status by the way) was able to make the early morning trip through to Gordon’s Bay and look after her for us – which she rather enjoyed mind you!

Obviously holiday care at school was out thanks to the infectious nature of German Measles, so from Tuesday onward she stayed at home with me watching movies while I worked. An arrangement that also didn’t seem to bother her much!

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Halfway through Tuesday she was already starting to feel much better, and so when Wednesday rolled by, I decided to treat my now very bored little girl to a lunch time break that saw us drive out and pick up some KFC pops for lunch, sit in our car at the beach with a view of the sea and devour them, and then finally enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Strand beachfront to stretch our legs for a bit!

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Strand always feels a bit weirdly run down to me, what with its mixture of expensive high rise apartments right next to old, tired looking shopfronts. Nevertheless, that beachfront of theirs is great for a stroll, and Jessica was loving getting a bit of sunlight and fresh air after being cooped up in the house for so long!

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I see the construction phase of the City of Cape Town’s R180 million project to refurbish the Strand sea wall and in doing so, update the promenade and attempt to breathe some new life into the tired Strand beachfront is already well underway.

I can only imagine the headaches this work will bring in the future (basically the same issue that has plagued Kalk Bay and Fishhoek for years now), but the long-term benefits should more than outweigh the short-term inconvenience I’m sure!

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Despite being out for far longer than what I had originally planned, it was great to get out and enjoy the fresh sea air on such a beautiful, windless Winter sunny day, so definitely a lunch break well spent.

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Plus, it was rather nice to have a healthy, albeit it quarantined, Jessica back again!

(In case you are wondering, we think that Emily already had her German Measles first, so she should be okay. Hopefully.)

Ducks and Play Time at the Dam Park in Strand (2016-07-03) Photo Gallery 06 JUL 2016

We used to head out and feed the ducks at Dam Park in Strand (just opposite Strand High School) quite often when Jess was still a baby, but in recent years we’ve kind of slowed down on doing that for some or other reason. (Maybe the fact that it has become socially unacceptable to feed ducks bread has had something to do with it?)

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Anyway, Sunday saw Chantelle working, and so not wanting to waste the wonderful sunny Winter weather of the day (and also not really being in the mood for the last day of this year’s Winter Wonderland Festival – which we sadly completely missed out on by the way), I rounded up the girls and headed out towards Strand to the duck pond for a bit of a play and walkabout session.

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Obviously, the girls were overjoyed at the prospect, and pretty soon the two of them were darting between all the play equipment, making sure not to miss any in the process!

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The old, colourful tractor and train remains the biggest hits of course, a problem because Emily is way too small to clamber all over those by herself yet – which of course she simply HAS to do, seeing as big sister Jess is doing it!

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We spent a good amount of time playing on all the equipment, and even Teddy got roped into the fun!

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We ended off the session with a leisurely stroll around the dam, watching the ducks and Egyptian geese, and of course taking selfies – because just like any other little girl, Jessica really seems to enjoy having her picture taken!

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Visiting the Dam Park here in Strand never really disappoints, and is always great if you are looking for something local to do that doesn’t require you to open your wallet. (Plus, it was really nice to see the dam back to its fuller level – the last time I was here it was halfway empty!)

We had some time to kill in the general area because we were meeting up with Chantelle, Retha and Miguel a little later at the mall in order to say goodbye and wish them well for their upcoming Camino de Santiago (St. James Path) pilgrimage adventure in Spain.

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Teddy wanted a milkshake, burger and chips, so we popped into McDonalds Waterstone for that, and after spending some time there, we headed up into the hills of Somerset West in search for more public park spaces.

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As luck would have it, we stumbled across this one brilliant wooden jungle gym at the bottom of a sloped grass patch with perhaps the most magnificent view any play park is capable of having.

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Talk about a swing with a view! :)

Here are the rest of the photos that I happily snapped on what turned out to be a very pleasant, sunny Winter’s day out with my girls:

Occupational Therapy for Jessica at Et Al in Somerset West Jessica 04 MAY 2016

Shortly after the start of Jessica’s Grade R year, her teacher Diane Matthews raised some concerns regarding Jess’ progress at school. Chantelle and I gave it a term and a bit to see if things would approve, but as it turned out, the concerns remained and in the end we decided to take Jessica for an occupational therapy evaluation on recommendation from Diane.

IMG_20160503_132952 et al therapy and learning centre in somerset west

We made contact with the Et Al Therapy and Learning Centre in Somerset West, the same place where Jess went for physiotherapy with Stephanie Halford back when she was still a toddler.

There we got in touch with Nicola van Zyl, a young occupational therapist who then took Jessica through a lengthy (but fun) evaluation, the report of which we’ve now just sat down and discussed with Nicola.

As suspected, quite a couple of weak points were identified (i.e. in terms of being on the level considered normal for other five year old children), things that include the likes of weak postural and core muscles, bilateral integration issues, and motor planning difficulties.

Of greater concern (in terms of school progression) though is the many visual perception difficulties that Jessica also seems to have (she scored quite low in the fields of visual discrimination, memory, form-constancy, sequential memory, figure-ground and closure), which will need to be rectified sooner than later if she wants to keep up with her friends at school.

So, starting Thursday, Jessica will now be doing an occupational therapy session twice a week. (Sigh, my budget just can’t get a break this year. Goodbye Biokineticist, hello Occupational Therapist!)

Luckily though, Jess seems to like Nicola (not to mention all the cool swings and equipment in the class), so I don’t think she’ll mind all these fun new outings after school!

Related Link: Et Al Therapy and Learning Centre

Jessica and The Little Cooks Club in Somerset West Jessica 10 FEB 2016

Last week I put my newly unlocked ability to drive  to the test, by taking Jessica through to Somerset West for her weekly Little Cooks Club cooking session (normally this is some special bonding time for Chantelle and Jess, but seeing as she was super busy with orders before our weekend away in Jacobsbaai, I took a stab at it instead!).

IMG_20160204_152619 jessica lotter making couscous salad in little cooks club somerset west (with Kim Meierhans)

Started in 2006 by chef Christine Phillips, Little Cooks Club is all about teaching families about healthy food choices and providing them with an appreciation of good food through a range of relevant cooking programmes for Little Cooks and aspiring Junior Chefs, as well as helpful Adult Courses for school leavers and domestic helpers.

Chef Kim Meierhans recently opened the Helderberg franchise, basing it in Somerset West and in the process getting Chantelle quite excited because I’m pretty sure that she is just as keen to do it as what Jessica is!

At age 5, Jess falls into the Little Cooks programme, which means hands on preparation of simple but delicious meals that can then be replicated back home with the help of mom and dad.

IMG_20160204_142132 jessica lotter making couscous salad in little cooks club somerset west (with Kim Meierhans)

In the class, the kids get to taste and use their hands preparing the dish of the day, with the tricky bits like putting it in the oven being handled by the teacher. Naturally, the whole process is loads of fun for the kids, with the added bonus of the food prepared being actually quite delicious – the other day Jessica and Chantelle returned with Banoffee  Pie pudding of all things!

This time around it was couscous salad with baked vegetables.

Which came out pretty nice – thus leaving us with one pretty chuffed Jess!

IMG_20160204_152604 jessica lotter making couscous salad in little cooks club somerset west (with Kim Meierhans)

IMG_20160204_152614 jessica lotter making couscous salad in little cooks club somerset west (with Kim Meierhans)

IMG_20160204_152625 jessica lotter making couscous salad in little cooks club somerset west (with Kim Meierhans)

Related Link: Little Cooks Club | Little Cooks Club Helderberg