We started off December with a picnic at the Helderberg Nature Reserve, joined by Evan, Natasha, Evalynne and Ryan, and so it seemed fit to end my holiday off with yet another delightfully relaxed, frisbee-filled picnic at the shady Helderberg Nature Reserve, this time joined by Karl-Heinz, Trish and Ryan.
(And yes, there were cupcakes for dessert!)
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What a pleasant weekend this past weekend was, what with it being our first “normal” weekend in literally months! Our new schedule of doing three markets in a month, two of those being handled by Cheryl and myself on Chantelle’s work weekends, meant that this weekend was a proper weekend off for the Gordon’s Bay Lotter clan, and so we tried to make the most of it by spending time together as a family.
Friday evening kicked off with Chantelle’s folks making the trip through to our house in order to spend some quality time with Jessica, followed by a delectable pork chop meal that Chantelle whipped up using her shiny new Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals recipe book! It was a laid back, enjoyable visit, Jessica was as cute as a button, and at the end of it all (i.e. after Monty and Cheryl’s departure), Chantelle and I rewarded ourselves with a good night’s sleep! :)
Saturday morning I darted out to get the preliminary tools needed in order to break out and replace the expired lock mechanism on our front door security gate, though I opted to hold back on buying an actual replacement lock on this initial trip, just so that I could make sure of the exact dimensions of the old lock after successfully removing it first.
After a lengthy (but successful – yay, for birthday money, so many shiny new things for my toolbox!) trip to Builders’ Warehouse, I arrived back home to tag with Chantelle as she hit Pick ‘n Pay and Spar in order to secure the ingredients necessary for making our afternoon bring and braai with the friends a success, while I stayed at home to look after Jessie (who decided that this was the perfect time for a nap anyway).
Of course, when I say friends, I mean only Trish and Karl, as it turned out that this was a particularly bad weekend to invite the buddies over – Damen, Michelle and Logan were sick and in hospital, Evan, Natasha and Evalynne were sick (plus one trip to the hospital), Ryan was away in Mossel Bay on a golf tour with Dad, and Dean was at work, while Zania was back home with a sick Zandea! (And of course, Terrance remains firmly planted in Japan).
Regardless of this though, we went ahead with the braai, which turned out to be a really enjoyable afternoon visit, with Jessica being on her cutest behaviour, Karl and Trish happily entertaining her while the indoor braai kept everything nice and toasty, and for a change, all of the food turning out pretty damn delicious – i.e. Karl took over the braai from me!
We finished up the visit with some heated four-man Blur racing battles (thanks for the loan of the extra controllers Ryan), the result of which was Trish wanting to murder me more than once, Jessica doing her best to distract Karl at every twist and turn, and Chantelle biting back her lip in order to keep her ultra competitive nature in check! :)
(And yes, I made sure that I stayed up the whole night to watch the Champions League finally run its course, thought truthfully I was a bit disappointed at Chelsea stealing the title on the night).
Sunday was just the three of us, and with the weather being as gloomy as it was, we headed out to Builders’ Warehouse to get the replacement lock (drilled out the broken one just fine, but damn it, now I need to lay my hands on a metal file in order to widen the slot by a millimetre or so for the new one!), followed by some winter clothes shopping at the Mall for young Jessica. We looked around for a new DVD rack (our old one is filled to the brim), and eventually decided to pop in for an early lunch at the always kid-friendly Spur – though I don’t think Jessie could quite make out what to do with the big bunch of crayons our waitress handed over to her!
Afternoon was filled with chores and a well-timed nap for the three of us, before we made another mini-excursion out to Strand, to point and babble at each passing seagull unlucky enough to find itself in Jessica’s visual range, and also to partake in the Belgium Waffle House’s menu that Chantelle had been so keen to give a spin.
The evening was finally capped off with Jessica and I watching the Madagascar DVD that I had just received from Claire and Ryan (one of the six DVDs in my birthday pack from the two of them!), while Chantelle slaved away in the kitchen, cleaning up and baking shortbread and Turkish Delight for the orders going out this week.
Soup for supper, more baking while watching first Idols and then X-Factor for Chantelle, while I set about tidying up after the weekend, and knocking a couple of blog posts out before the sultry, seductive song of Club Pillow struck again…
In celebration of Trish Storbeck’s 30th birthday, they organised a big Lord of the Rings themed party which needless to say, turned out to be a whole lot of fun (as chronicled here).
A photographer was hired to capture the events of the evening, and these are a couple of photos I managed to grab off Facebook once they finally went live! :)
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Ugh, it had to eventually come to an end, but of Tuesday 3rd of January 2012, I find myself firmly back behind the keyboard, banging out fresh new SurveyThumb code for my wage masters over at Touchwork. In truth, I thoroughly enjoyed my two weeks or so off, having spent a lot of time with family and friends, and just generally unwinding as I recharged my batteries in full preparation for 2012!
New Year’s Weekend was very much a Northern Suburbs affair, with Jessie and I traveling through on the Friday to my mom’s place in Bellville, where the three of us spent a lovely day in and out of the pool, despite the nasty little wind that kept popping up and threatening to drive us away. The evening on the other hand was spent back home in the company of wifey, where we got together to enjoy a delicious homemade pizza over a Eagles DVD after a successful putting Jessica to bed routine!
Saturday was literally Braai Day, and after packing both of our little cars to the brim with all of Jessica’s hardware and software, we sped off back to Bellville in order to offload the little one with all her belongings at the Montgomery Clan stronghold, where she’ll be spending the next two weeks with Ouma and Oupa until the Baby Steps daycare reopens mid January. After settling her in with Cheryl, and then promptly grabbing her away again, it was a quick stop off at the local Spar for supplies, before hitting the N1 to Kraaifontein, where Jessie, Chantelle and I joined up with Damen and Michelle, as well as the rest of our friends who had made the trip through for an afternoon New Year’s braai.
With Damen elected tongmaster and stuck behind the raging fire, the rest of the boys dug out a tennis ball and plank, and proceeded to carefully destroy Damen’s backyard with a hearty round of cricket (in a very confined space). Food was eventually served, before the boys once again peeled off from the womenfolk, picked up the XBOX controllers and proceeded to smash each other with a few rounds of FIFA 11.
From there it was back to Bellville as this time we properly managed to leave Jessie behind with Ouma and Oupa, as Chantelle and I headed out back into the breach, this time to Zevenwacht Wine Estate in Kuilsriver, where we joined up with Malcolm, Andri, Michelle, braai master Gary and all of their collective kids at the Ollewage’s swanky pad. There we enjoyed a fantastic evening of good company, good stories and even better food, making it all the way through to midnight for that all important countdown and many ‘happy happy’ wishes!
Finally, it was back to the Montgomery Stronghold in Bellville, where a tired but happy Craig and Chantelle hit the sack for some well-deserved shuteye, the first of 2012!
Sunday was a delayed start for Chantelle who slept in thanks to a massive headache, but when Jessica and I did eventually manage to get mommy out of bed, we persuaded her plus Ouma to join us for a walk around Sonstraal Dam in Eversdal in order to feed the multitude of Egyptian Geese and ducks that call that spot home. After a successful stroll and having depleted our loaf of fresh white bread, we beat a hasty retreat from the busy feathered fiends, heading off to Tyger Manor McDonalds, where Robert joined us so that I could treat everyone to some McDonalds as a late lunch.
From there Jessica, Chantelle and myself shot off to my folks, dropping in at the perfect time to catch both Great Grans (plus Ryan) at Mom and Dad’s pad. More visiting was had, a watermelon devoured, and then it was finally back to the Montgomery Clan where we handed over Jessica to an excited Cheryl and Monty, before hitting the long road back to Gordon’s Bay, and more importantly, our awesome bed!
So yeah, a pretty good New Year’s Weekend after all then I reckon! ;)
What better way to start off the new year by enjoying a braai under the sun with good pals Damen, Michelle, Karl and Trish? :)
I encountered the most hardcore fan board game every late Friday night as Angelas birthday braai wound down. Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit. Basically its Trivial Pursuit recast in a Lord of the Rings theme. The little cheese-holder character pieces have been replaced with war game-like figurines, the question categories have been updated to things like good characters, evil characters, places, warfare and movie trivia and theres this funny little black hooded figurine on a horse who apparently likes to chase after people, especially short ones with hairy toes. Oh, and theres a ring of course, which kind of make sense if you look at the title of the story I guess.
Honestly, the only things I contributed to the game were a couple of dice throws and a lot of stupid comments/answers. And I made the cupcake plate lighter.
Nevertheless, I was amazed at some of the peoples knowledge of this fantasy epic. Its really quite scary when people know all 12 hours worth of footage backwards – plus deleted scenes.
Although it was a nice change of pace in the end (my team lost even though we were 3 against 1 – Patricia still won) I can honestly say I hope they find 30seconds soon.