Last year Jessica’s actual birthday fell on a Friday, which is of course a normal Vergeet-My-Nie playschool day, which in turn then meant that it was “wake the kids up super early” day!
Sticking to tradition, we spruced up some cupcakes, placed some presents on the floor, and then filed into Jessica’s room singing “Happy Birthday to you!”, which needless to say woke her up with an enormous smile on her face! :)
Then we encountered a bit of a flaw in our plan.
We lit the candles on the cupcakes, placed the tray on the floor, and asked Jessica to blow them out – only to quickly react after she had bent over to blow out the candles and her loose hair dangled in the flame.
Instant smell of burning hair in the morning. Yummy.
Nothing serious though, the cupcakes were devoured, and the presents ripped into – all of which brought tremendous joy to our little girl who had just turned four!
Although I’ve mentioned the 2013 Christmas Eve celebrations on this blog before, I’ve never actually shown anything from the day (basically because I took a year off blogging this year – no seriously, check the archives), something which I’ll now rectify by posting all of these great photos my Dad took with his proper full-blown camera (i.e. not a camera phone) on the night. (Don’t ask me about the camera, I know nothing about that field).
As previously mentioned, the feed Father Christmas in exchange for gifts routine didn’t go off perfectly thanks to Jessica’s negative reaction to having someone (I cannot tell a lie, it was I!) eat off her plate which was left at the back door, though, as expected, all was quickly right with the world when the present opening finally started. Lots and lots of little gifts were the order of the night, though for a 3 year old the night was perhaps just that little too long in the end…
As for Chantelle, well she probably wanted this evening to end a lot sooner than what it did – after all, little Emily was little more two weeks away from arriving into this world! :)
Here’s an interesting note. Despite the fact that almost everyone always talks about Boxing day as being the public holiday directly following Christmas, officially its name has been Day of Goodwill since 1980 already!
Anyway, moving right along, I did in fact enjoy a pretty awesome Day of Goodwill 2011, despite the fact that wifey was working. It kicked off in the morning, as I got on with the packing while Jessie finished her breakfast routine, before the two of us shot through to Bellville, with the little cupcake enjoying her morning snooze in the comfort of her baby seat. In Bellville I met up with my folks at the Bellville Methodist Church, where the hall was subsequently unlocked and the people streamed in for a morning of badminton in what can only be described as sweltering sauna conditions! It was very much a Montagu and Lotter clan event, and in total there were about six active players on the morning, which meant plenty of game time for the full 2 hour period that we played.
With Granny and plenty of others there to keep Jessica entertained, daddy got to thoroughly enjoy himself knocking the shuttlecock around the court, something he hasn’t done in what feels like years! (You should have seen the amount of dust I had to blow off my racquet cover when I finally found it at the back of the storage cupboard!)
Eventually it was time to head home to start the afternoon routine with Jess, and so Mom and I headed off to their pad while Dad went out to scrounge up some food for lunch. With Jessie seen to and ready for her nap, Mom, Dad and I sat down and enjoyed a light lunch together outside on what really was a beautiful Summer’s day.
Now Dad and I had already seen fit to get rid of all the sweat from the morning’s play by taking a quick dip in the pool before lunch, but because this had been my big plan for the day, there was definitely no way I wasn’t going back in – all I needed was Jessica to wake up, so that I could plonk her into her swimming gear and then lather her up with some sunblock!
It took a little while to get my pink munchkin used to the water temperature (she normally swims in a heated pool), but once she was ready, I got into the pool and Dad passed her to me, marking the very first time little Jessie has been in Grandpa and Gran’s pool! :)
I’m not sure how long we played in the water for, but it felt like absolute ages, as Grandpa joined in on the fun and games, after passing along the camera to Granny who happily snapped photos from a safe and dry distance!
Ryan eventually stopped by as well, though not in time to join us in the water, but definitely in time for the big presents reveal, as we (and it was probably more Mom than anyone else!) happily worked through opening up Jessie’s huge stash of presents she had received from everyone for Christmas for her!
With the presents exchanged and snack time out of the way, it was time to bundle Jess back into the car and head off home to Gordon’s Bay, with her again enjoying a nice long snooze in the baby seat while daddy drove the boring trip all on his lonesome! Back home we met up with Chantelle who had been on a cleaning drive, and after the whole bed time routine for Jess, we quickly whipped up some chicken burgers for supper, before falling back on the sofa and enjoying the thoroughly delightful Tangled which I had rented from Mr. Video a little bit earlier!
So yup, definitely a good Day of Goodwill then! :)
[subvertedgallery link=”file” columns=”4″ orderby=”title”]
I’ll start off by saying that this was probably the most unfestive Christmas season ever. Neither Chantelle nor I could get into the Christmas spirit, and despite having no excuse whatsoever (unlike last year where Jessie in the NICU was a good excuse to be preoccupied), our house was devoid of anything Christmas related whatsoever!
The lead up to Christmas Day was actually pretty productive, in that Jessica was shipped out to Oupa Monty and Ouma Cheryl who had asked for her to stay over a couple of days, freeing me up to get cracking on the multitude of projects that have been piling up in front of me. The fact that Chantelle was also working over this period meant that I could work uninterrupted, so I made the most of the time available to me (seriously, this is not much of a vacation at the moment – if I’m not looking after Jessie, then I’m working! Bloody workaholic I tell you…).
Anyway, Christmas Eve was a loss, with no Jessie and no wifey, I pretty much wiled it away behind the keyboard, stopping for breaks with a bit of X-Men and Wolverine anime for company. On her late return, wifey and I did exchange presents though, with her surprising me with an awesome package containing t-shirts, lindt chocolate, slip slops and the latest hardcover Terry Pratchett, Snuff. This kind of make it extra sucky when she opened up my gift to her, loving the Annique massage voucher contained inside, but a little sad that the electronic kitchen scale I had gotten for her failed to work out of the box! Oh well, back to Game it goes, especially now that I’ve found an even cooler one for her over at Yuppie Chef! :)
Christmas Day itself was all hands on deck (well mine actually as Chantelle was on duty, and would only be coming home for her lunch time split). This meant getting all the prep done for the big Christmas lunch we were hosting, featuring an array of beef fillet, roast chicken, potatoes, butternut fritters, spicy cheese bread, spanspek and baby peas. Pudding was left in the capable hands of Cheryl, so I didn’t have to worry about that for once.
Chantelle arrived home just in time to finish up the cooking for me, just before the Montgomery Clan pulled in, and I have to say, I was absolutely thrilled to have my little nibble monster back. Seriously, it was like she had grown at least 20 centimetres since I’d seen her last! :P
Presents were exchanged, the wine and champagne cracked open, and soon everyone was in a pretty festive mood as we got the final preparations for lunch in place, cranked the air conditioner and fan up to full, sat down, said a toast, broke open the Christmas crackers and then tucked in to what really was an excellent Christmas lunch!
The overwhelming heat of the day and the richness of the food in our bellies meant a bit of a wait until pudding, but pudding we did eventually have, before Chantelle had to up and return to work, followed by the Montgomery Clan shortly after.
In other words, another successful, warm Summer’s Christmas Celebrations officially over! :)
(The photo gallery of the lunch can be viewed here)
In the end, Natasha had no idea when she walked in on her surprise stork party held at Gordon’s Beach Lodge, skillfully organised by Evan and the girls.
And with Chantelle behind the main planning of the event, no wonder it was such a great success! ;)
[subvertedgallery link=”file” columns=”4″ orderby=”title”]
Christmas Eve 2010 was spend in the company of the Lotter Clan, enjoying a quiet supper and present-filled evening at Claire and Riley’s Newlands pad.
[subvertedgallery link=”file” columns=”4″ orderby=”post_date”]
And then I was 30. So last Tuesday, the 11th of May, saw me end off my time in the twenties and enter the age of the thirties, and following the awesome surprise long weekend away to the Drakensberg courtesy of a sneaky Chantelle, this was probably the best process of ageing one more year that I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying in absolute ages.
Amazingly enough, thanks to the machinations of Chantelle, we were both actually off on the day of my birthday and what followed was a great sleep-in, pottering around the house, going shopping together and in general just spending time in one another’s company, before finally getting ready and pulling the door closed behind us.
A while back I had decided to invite the family out to Cattle Baron in Somerset West in order to celebrate the big event with me and so we found ourselves hitting the road in a hurry to make the meet-up time of 19:00 at the restaurant which I hadn’t actually been to before. Needless to say, as is always the case with Chantelle and I, we were late. 10 to 15 minutes or so late. But at least our excuse was good. The entire Strand area was swathed in darkness, bringing with it no traffic lights and thus heavy, slow-moving traffic. But, as you might point out, we were still late.
The Cattle Baron itself is pretty okay, seems to sit in an old converted house which means lots of corridors and walls, and to be honest, I think I would prefer a more open venue though the plus of it is that it provides you with a fair bit of privacy I guess.
The Montgomery’s were there in full force, but the Lotter’s were missing Claire and Riley and unfortunately Ryan’s girlfriend couldn’t make it either, leaving us with a grand total of 8 mouths to feed on the night. Banter was good and I received and opened a host of awesome presents like FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa, the Unseen Academicals and Papa Roach’s Metamorphosis to name a few. We also chose this moment to drop the bombshell of Chantelle’s pregnancy, handing each mother a “belated Mother’s Day gift” which was a simple white box with a ribbon around it. Opening the box revealed a white baby booty inside and with the moms’ eyes wide open, we delivered the happy news.
In other words, even more to celebrate now! The wine was flowing, the food eventually came and on a whole, the evening was just an awesome family get together.
Eventually I attempted to sneak out and settle the bill as a surprise for everyone, before we all left the confines of the restaurant to return to our flat for coffee and Mom’s first look at our frankly awesome wedding album.
And that was that, the mechanics of turning 30 was over and done with.
But what about the other side of it? Well as most men do when they hit a big decade change number, I am forced to look back at life so far, and unfortunately I must say that I’m rather disillusioned with what I see. As I try to explain to Chantelle, I believe I have far more potential than what I exert and as such sadly look back on having achieved pretty much nothing so far. It’s a depressing thought really, but one I think that everyone goes through when they haven’t managed to achieve something pretty awesome by the time they hit 30.
That said, I do have plans moving forward and so hopefully this decade will be the big one for me. As it is, I’m already off to a good start, having basically just successfully completed the first six months of my marriage and now have the planning of opening up of our little family to its first child to deal with. Plans for a house are now gathering speed, I’ve purchased my first brand new car and I have some business ideas which moving forward I’d like to see slowly but surely be put in to action.
So in other words we’ll see. I have now had 30 years of experience on this planet, I have the privilege of knowing myself, knowing my limits and abilities pretty well and have now built up a beautiful support structure around me.
In other words?
The next ten years should be a blast! :)
What’s the difference between Santa Claus and Tiger Woods?
…Santa Claus stops after three Ho’s!
And so kicking off this post like that, allow me to continue and wish each and every one of you a merry, merry Christmas 2009.
For me, well I am officially on leave at the moment, having started yesterday, and of course my first day off the job was spent on the job cleaning up the house, doing washing, doing dishes, baking Chantelle a cake, setting up my home entertainment system properly – yup, basically everything that the modern domesticated man does.
That’s not to say that I didn’t find time to entertain myself either though. Outside of my walk on the beach (alone as Chantelle is still working of course), I did put in a copious amount of time behind the controller on John Woo’s Stranglehold (a most excellent game!), watch lots of Superman: The Animated Series and even knuckle down to watch Batman: Gotham Knight one more time.
But of course, none of the above is particularly Christmassy, and so I’ll skip through to the part when after supper, after Chantelle had finished wrapping the last of the late bought gifts, we sat down to open up some presents – well when I say some, Chantelle had one miserly gift to open while I had a veritable truckload from her! :)
The sneaky wrapper had managed to completely throw me off the scent by doing some crazy packing tricks, the result of which was that I was completely flummoxed each and every time when it came to guessing a package’s contents! My gifts included a fine haul of Marvel t-shirts (Captain America, Spider-man, Hulk), all three Rush Hour DVDs (Chantelle will be driven mad, I assure you), nougat and chocolate, and then a bunch of braai-related stuff including heat-resistant paint, turps and a brush of all things!? O.o
But that all became quite apparent when she had me open the back sliding doors and lo and behold, there stood a magnificent, fully fledged mobile braai unit, enough to bring a tear to any true South African man! Wow, what a gift I tell you! :D
Though not all is lost yet. Now that she has shown me her hand, it will be her turn today. Sure, she’s already got a box full of Patricia Cornwell books to contend with, but the real gift is still sitting somewhere, waiting to be found. I’ll give her one clue though – it’s big, really big. And I’m not sure how I’m going to get it back here to the flat at Gordon’s Bay! ;)
So what is on for the GB Lotter clan today? Well, Chantelle is off to work to handle breakfast this morning (17 guests!) and once she’s back, we’ll shoot through to Bellville for Christmas lunch with the Montgomery Clan before bouncing down the road to the Lotter Clan Senior and then finally a visit with Dean and Zania, who have requested an audience in the most secretive of manner. Mysteries abound I tell you.
So anyway, that should keep us pretty busy (and well fed), so here’s to hoping that you too have as great a Christmas as what we’re going to have! :P
Merry Christmas 2008 to you all! Here’s wishing each and everyone a most joyous of family celebrations – have a good one! (Drinks not on me though).
So day 1 of my leave yesterday was spent with an inordinate amount of time in front of the telly (thankfully the weather wasn’t all that great outside – meaning I had a good excuse for it!), playing lots of God Hand (an infuriatingly fun game) and finishing up watching Code Geass R2, watching the last two thirds of the series all in one go! It’s been a while since an anime title has intrigued me thus and I most certainly thoroughly enjoyed each and every minute of it (even if the innumerable twists and turns were becoming slightly ridiculous towards the end)!
As always, Chantelle was working a longer than normal length shift, but at least she took a quick break to come and prepare the food for today’s family lunch at my mom’s place, and secret in some KFC for an early supper, so it was all good. In any event, when she finally finished up shift and arrived back home at about 21:15, I’d already cleared the dining room table, piled up the presents on it, placed a bowl of chocolates in the center and had the champagne glasses at the ready.
I’m pleased to announce that she seems to have thoroughly enjoyed receiving a Mamma Mia DVD (which she’s been bugging me about for ages!) and her very own copy of Balderdash – so beware circle of friends: there’s going to be a lot more games evenings out here in Gordon’s Bay now! :)
I on the other hand was thrilled to receive this brilliant satin-rubber (it really is the only way to describe it) protective cover (complete with carry strap and carry pouch) for my iPod Nano and I can’t wait for the other half of my gift from Chantelle (and the rest of the Montgomery AND Lotter clans – it’s a big one I tell you!)
I was also most surprised and overjoyed at receiving a mystery gift from some or other blokes named Craig, Coco and Olympus – my very own copy of Katsuhiro Otomo’s brilliant 2004 Steamboy! ;)
So thanks for our first little mini Christmas eve together babes – it was small, it was intimate and it was thoroughly delectable. And who knows, next year we might even have a Christmas tree up on display for a change! :)