Tag Archives: reflection

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! ;)

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…

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015 My Life 04 MAR 2015

This post is now well overdue. The skeleton has been sitting in my Drafts folder since December last year, but honestly, I just haven’t felt like writing it up. I’ve had a few stabs at it, but never actually ended up with a finished product – which is kind of silly considering the fact that, taking all things into consideration, 2014 was actually a pretty good year for the Gordon’s Bay Lötter clan.

However, seeing as this “Goodbye Hello” post is pretty much an annual thing for this blog nowadays, I guess I have no choice other than to adopt a “better late than never” stance and pretend that 2015 is just kicking off… despite the reality that we’re into our third month of the new year already!

baby emily lotter smiling with daddy craig lotter

Of course the biggest talking point for 2014 was without a doubt the birth of our adorable little girl, Emily Jane Lotter. She was delivered on 13 January at Vergelegen hospital, and with no major drama like what we had with Jessica, she was back home and in our care from the get go.

Turns out, raising a child is actually a hell of a lot easier the second time around, mainly because by now you know the ins and outs of looking after a baby and can pretty much operate on autopilot – not that it isn’t a LOT of hard work of course, but still, it certainly is a lot easier this time around! :)

Of course, things were also made a little easier by the fact that Jessica was already three by the stage that Emily arrived, meaning losing Mommy’s full attention wasn’t the complete end of the world to her – though there were of course moments when jealousy would get the better of our little blonde princess!

Pleasingly, other than an annoying reflux problem that Emily struggled with as a little baby (leaving her permanently… well soggy), it’s been a doddle navigating her through her first year, and our good-natured, cute as a button baby girl has certainly proved a fantastic edition to our little clan!

jessica lotter rocking her rainbow dash swimming costume

Talking about Jessica, 2014 really was the year she blossomed into a confident little girl, who, although not particularly adventurous, is an open and seriously friendly child with an almost constant smile on her face and a playful twinkle in her eye.

During the course of the year she learned to ride a bike, made lots of friends, developed her first fangirl crush (hint, it’s the My Little Pony franchise!), and of course, thanks to the brilliant teachers at Vergeet-My-Nie playschool, is coming on in leaps and bounds when it comes to all sorts of social and artistic abilities!

And then there is the ballet, Playball and running around the complex, all of which really is rounding off my precious little girl!

jessica lotter sitting next to chantelle lotter

As for Chantelle, well she’ll have to say for herself whether 2014 was a good or a bad year from her point of view, though I suspect that despite all the hard work and lack of sleep that came with the territory of her juggling both her Chantelle’s Cupcakery baking business and raising a newborn little girl, the joys of her expanded little family pushed the positives right up there to the top of the pile.

And myself?

Well I had an a pretty enjoyable year thank you very much.

craig lotter, ryan lotter, terrance brown, yuko brown in japan

Lots of Daddy time was spent with my two daughters, there were some major shake-ups at work, I now work more from home than in the office (because, well, there isn’t very many people left in the new smaller, leaner Touchwork), and of course, then there was all the getting out and about adventures that filled up most of the year (Jacobsbaai, Piekenierskloof, Montagu, Mossel Bay, and Langebaan to name but a few), not to mention the big two weeks in Japan with Ryan for Terrance’s wedding getaway! (A trip on which I still have a lot to post – all in good time, I promise).

From a financial point of view, 2014 was a little tighter than what it needed to be, primarily because in the end, Chantelle’s little baking business simply wasn’t bringing in enough money to allow things to be comfortable for everyone. Still, we covered all our costs, even tried to sell the house for a bit, and like I just said, sneaked in more than just a few weekends away!

From a personal growth point of view… well not much going on there I’m afraid (just as it hasn’t been for the last couple of years mind you), but as I’ve stated before, and I’ll do so again, currently my number one priority in life is to be the absolute best dad for my two little girls that I can possibly be – and that suits me just absolutely fine for the moment!

chantelle lotter hugging jessica on a trampoline

As for 2015, well I expect it not to be all that different from 2014 to be honest. Sure, I don’t have the birth of a new child or the big Japan holiday to look forward to this year, but already there a quite a few developments on the cards which can only spell good things going forward.

For starters, Chantelle has pretty much hung up her baking boots (she’ll still take the juicy big orders though) in favour of a position back at Gordon’s Beach Lodge – which in turn means our finances get a bit of a boost and which therefore ultimately means that we have a little more in the piggy bank at the end of each month – all of which needless to say makes me a VERY happy chappy!

On the work front, the lack of distractions thanks to the smaller (almost non-existent) team means I can now at last really get cracking and finish up with my epic Kinetica project that has tied me up for the last couple of years, a prospect that certainly excites me more than just a little.

Oh, and this is also the year I take back control of my weight and actually start living like a thin person again – and I’m off to a great start thank you very much… though more on that in another post I think.

Finally, to wrap everything all neatly up, I expect 2015 will be much like 2014 in that I’ll spend just about every free minute with my girls – which as we all know by now, is the very best thing I could be doing with my time anyway!

So here’s to a prosperous 2015 – we’re already off to a good start! ;)

 

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014 My Life 22 JAN 2014

So reflecting back on 2013 very quickly points to it as having been a rather uneventful year – certainly not a horrible year, but certainly not a very exciting year either! Having already downgraded my outlook for the year to a more realistic view at the start of 2013, I’m sad to note that a) we ended up not having more money than normal last year and b) we certainly didn’t have many weekend getaways at all. Sigh.

View More: http://damenoosthuizen.pass.us/jessica-lotter

In terms of family life, 2013 was a great year for us in that we could spend a generous amount of time together as a family. Jess is growing up exceptionally well, extremely cute, very loving, and amazingly easy to raise. Chantelle is now technically a housewife and entrepreneur, running our household whilst operating her successful home baking business from our tiny kitchen – oh, and did I mention she did this for the majority of 2013 whilst being pregnant with our second child! And with us having hired the fabulous Leandra to run the majority of the Saturday Willowbridge markets on our behalf, we had a hell of a lot more weekends free to spend with friends and family than in 2012 – which needless to say was a pretty awesome thing for us.

On the home front, we didn’t really do all that much to the house other than give it a new, darker exterior coat of paint (which really transformed its look and feel mind you) and reshuffle the rooms a fair bit, yup, definitely more than just once, that we’re now sitting with three bedrooms, a living area, a kitchen and one room that acts as a braai room/baking room/office space. (Yeah, we’re a little cramped thanks to the arrival of the new little one!)

Chantelle’s business (now known as Chantelle’s Cupcakery) did really nicely, though perhaps not quite as profitable as I would have hoped it might have been. Nevertheless, it stays in the black, and apart from one bad experience with a Christmas Market that put us out of pocket, it was enough of a good year to warrant a rebranding – complete with an exciting new logo designed by our friends at Branch Designs.

Sadly, our finances did take a bit of a knock with Chantelle writing off her Hyundai Getz towards the end of the year, but in reality, that really was the only major blemish on what was otherwise a pretty stable year.

As for work on my side, well my do pretty much everything in terms of managing the systems/development workload at Touchwork continued unabated, and I have to say, I’m starting to get the impression that my journey with them might finally be coming to an end. I’m not really learning anything new, I’ve been with them for a long time, and basically I could do with a new challenge or two. That said, I am getting a new mid-level developer joining us in February 2014, so maybe I can at last get my proper project management pants pulled on at last.

chantelle lotter posing with jessica

And that’s really about it actually. 2013 was a year of a lot of work, both in my formal work as well as in Chantelle’s business, not to mention all the time sunk in raising a cute as a button little three year old girl, meaning that there wasn’t all that much time for myself, never mind hobbies or personal growth activities. (Though I did try my hand at weight loss for a bit. Needless to say, the latter stages of Chantelle’s pregnancy quickly put an end to that train).

I don’t expect that to change much.

2014 has already kicked off with the birth of my beautiful little baby girl, Emily Jane Lotter, and between raising her and Jessica, and helping both Chantelle and Touchwork out, I don’t expect a lot of personal time for the foreseeable future!

Though who knows, hopefully I’m wrong? ;)

craig lotter walking with jessica along strand beach

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013 My Life 03 JAN 2013

So 2012 is gone and 2013 is now firmly in place. As per usual there were almost no downs in 2012, but looking retrospectively back at it, it was perhaps not one of the greatest years past, perhaps even more lacklustre than 2011, which itself was a pretty uneventful year.

Without a doubt the biggest movement in the Lotter household was the running of Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes, which pretty much saw me give up almost all my weekends in order to help Chantelle sell her baked goods at the various markets like Willowbridge, Century City and Hathersage. Make no mistake, I thoroughly enjoyed working the stall but I have to admit, it was pretty tiring giving up one’s weekend after working a hard five day week behind the programming keyboard!

Another unfortunate side-effect of Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes was the amount of time it took away from Chantelle, who for most of the year was running it in conjunction with her day job at Gordon’s Beach Lodge. Of course she has now since left and is pursuing Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes full-time which should make things a lot better, but this lack of free time impacted heavily on our social activities, so much so that I can probably count on my one hand the number of getaways or adventures we could take together.

Jessica on the other hand proved to be loads of fun, as we successfully navigated her to her second birthday. Her year was filled with many milestones as expected, the most exciting of course being her finally learning to walk!

craig lotter sitting with toddler jessica lotter at oude libertas stellenbosch market

On the work front I did rather well last year, churning out hours and hours of great code on my big Kinetica (formerly SurveyThumb) project, in what was now my fourth year with Touchwork. I replaced Simon Nainkin as Development Manager, and now with the final of the old guard developers on their way out, I can look forward to building a new development team in the way that I want it to run, which of course is great for me in terms of both personal and professional growth.

However the bad news is that all of this time spent on work, raising Jessica and helping Chantelle meant a big blow to my personal exploits, and as a result I was forced to stop karate, failed to get a single one of my business ideas into reality, pulled back a huge portion of my online portfolio and presence, failed to produce much artistically, pretty much stopped watching anime, and even allowed my XBOX to get dusty – never mind the neglected DIY at home!

And to make things even worse, I completely failed (again) to up my physical fitness and lose weight.

Sigh.

So where does that leave us looking ahead into 2013? So while I was horribly wrong in my 2012 predictions, I suspect I have a much stronger idea on how 2013 will play out, which actually is a good thing because it now leaves me with a much more realistic view on what I’ll probably achieve this year.

In terms of our finances, I’m very confident that the Lotter clan will be in a much better position given both my new, more senior, managerial role at work and the fact that Chantelle’s baking business has hit the ground more than just running (thanks in most part to her awesome collaboration with the Sacred Ground artisan bakery situated in Franschhoek). This will of course hopefully translate into more getaways and adventures for Chantelle, Jessie and me, something I really am looking forward to. In the same vein, the new role at work should grow me (and my CV) nicely, so those challenges are definitely being looked forward to.

Realistically I am not going to be trying to churn out any artistic output (other than my writing on this blog of course) or business ventures this year – I’ve learned that being a dad to a toddler is just too much of a full day job than what one first imagines when they start out as those helpless little squishy jelly beans! This also means that for now I can’t see myself resuming my karate journey or any other organised sporting body for that matter, and as for fitness gains/weight loss, I can only hope that now that Jessica is a little more active, she’ll keep me a little more active and on my toes! :)

chantelle lotter sitting with toddler jessica lotter at hillcrest berry farm

So yeah, 2013 doesn’t kick off with anything major in sight for me, looking for now to be very a much workman year like the previous two, though the prospect of having a little more change in my pocket does mean that I should be getting up to more this time around – which of course is something I look VERY forward to!

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012 My Life 02 JAN 2012

So the annual retrospective is upon us, and to be honest, 2011 proved not to be a very memorable in terms of personal growth year, completely unlike its predecessor 2010 which was filled to the brim with big and exciting stuff.

2011 was dominated by one thing, and one thing alone – raising Jessie. So outside of parenting 101 and experiencing all of her firsts, nothing else really of note happened during the year for me – no new hobbies, no change in direction in terms of work, no big projects completed, no weekends away, no new big stuff – in other words not exactly a huge year for me then.

And to make it even more depressing, there are a lot of unfilled goals to take note of as well.

I didn’t get to invest time into golf or running as I wanted to, I didn’t manage to up my fitness level considerably nor lose any weight like I needed to, I didn’t up my artistic output like I had planned, and I didn’t manage to get a single one of my personal projects/ventures off the ground, despite the fire in my belly at the start of the year – heck, even Chantelle has now gone and beaten me to the punch with her Cookies & Cakes venture!

All of that said and done though, 2011 wasn’t exactly a bad year either. We did see a lot of our friends and family last year, financially we were quite sound, and by sound I mean not in the red (apart from the first two months when Chantelle was still on unpaid maternity leave), and then of course there was the joy (and exhaustion) that comes from the devastatingly cute Jessica.

In other words, it was definitely still a good year for us – I’m just a little disappointed in not having achieved a lot of the things that I had wanted to!

And what about 2012 then? Realistically I know that time combined with Chantelle’s shift work will not allow me to increase my hobbies or activity list, in fact I may very well need to pull back on the existing set just to keep my sanity. I’m still very keen on launching my ventures, but again time will tell if I manage to find the discipline needed in order to get them in development and through to launch.

The two things that are however definitely going to change this year is the going away for weekends part (because both Chantelle and I fully deserve it and we need to make up for the lost trips from 2011) and the fitness level/weight loss thing, which should be a lot easier to achieve now that Chantelle is fully onboard – after all, come the end of 2012 we need to be pregnant again in order to stick to our two children, three year gap plan! Outside of that, I’m not planning on rocking the boat in terms of my work, nor will I drop my karate, which now stands at a year and a half time investment before I reach my ultimate goal of black belt.

And then there is of course the continued growing in being a dad for Jessica.

So in summary, I don’t foresee 2012 from being all that different from 2011, but hopefully this time around I can get at least SOME of the things on my wish list/want list done for a change! ;)

And Then I was 30 My Life 18 MAY 2010

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.

The Lotters and the Montgomery's, enjoying a Cattle Baron table. Me? Well someone had to take the picture!

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! :)