Whew, this weekend was another busy single parent weekend for me (actually, I don’t know when last we’ve actually had a quiet weekend come to think of it!), though in fairness Friday evening was pretty lame, what with me coming down with a bit of a cold and having to head off to bed pretty early on, meaning not much to report on there.

However Saturday it was up and at them, guns blazing, as I whisked Jessica off to Somerset Mall for some shopping and present purchasing after her usual breakfast and nap routine, before returning home for the big pack – with the assistance of a duly worried Mommy of course! From there it was off to Bellville for a quick stop in by Gran and Grandpa Lotter in order to drop off my torn karate pants in the hopes that a miracle can be worked, before picking up Ryan from his pad and then shooting through to Evan’s place to meet up with all the friends for a proper South African birthday braai, in celebration of Natasha’s 25th birthday!

At Natasha's birthday braai

As is customary for the days whenever Evan and Natasha organise a braai, the weather didn’t have a clue on what it wanted to do, but regardless of the undecided cloud cover, we all had a great time, enjoyed good food, and tucked into an even better dessert – a sumptuous Charlie’s Bakery chocolate birthday cake which Evan had organised earlier on in the week.

Thanks to my early morning commitments on Sunday, I had earlier made the decision to sleep over at Ryan’s place for the evening, the first ever evening that Jessie and I would spend away from Chantelle. As it turned out, we were off to a bad start when Jessie passed out on the way home from the braai, meaning that the normal evening routine was completely thrown in disarray which resulted in a much later than usual bedtime for my little princess. As for Ryan and myself (after Jessie was in bed), we dug out the XBOX controllers and got a fair bit of FIFA 11 in, with Ryan admittedly thrashing me, allowing me to win only two games out of the plus minus nine we played on the night, one in regulation time and one via penalty shootout (which never really counts according to our stats keeping). This was followed by a late night viewing of the frankly disappointing “Van Helsing: The London Assignment”, which proved enough to drive us both straight to bed.

Unfortunately for me though, despite how much I would have loved to get a good night’s rest, little Jess seemed determined that I would simply not have it this very night!

She started out the evening sleeping in the camping cot borrowed from my mom and dad, but after the first couple of restless wails that had me up and scrabbling to tend to her in the pitch dark without my glasses on, I resorted to removing her out of the cot and laying her beside me on the bed, where I proceeded to have a night of very light sleep, interrupted at regular intervals by the moaning and shifting around of my uncomfortable little one, all of which resulted in a very zombie-like Craig who arose at 06:00 for the usual morning feed routine the next day!

Shame, I now have full understanding and sympathy for my poor wifey who always seems so drained every morning! (The baby monitor isn’t enough to wake me, meaning that I’ve always enjoyed a proper night’s sleep while Chantelle has handled all that worrying and light sleeping stuff! :P)

At Zandea's birthday party

Anyway, Pops popped in for a quick visit after his and Ryan’s early morning gym session, after which I got everything packed in and ready to go, our next destination being Dean and Zania’s pad in Kraaifontein, for little Zandea’s 2nd birthday celebrations. Pleasingly, Jessica and I found Dean’s house first time around without getting lost, and even more pleasingly, our awesome gift of a colorful interactive children’s bible was very well received, both by the mommy and by my little godchild! :)

A lot of the guys who were there at Natasha’s birthday braai were again at Zandea’s colorful Barney birthday party, and so we all quickly fell back into conversation whilst tucking into the delightful party spread that Zania had come up with. Cute Barney cake candles were extinguished and we even got a visit (with gifts!) from Father Christmas, though to be honest, poor little Zandea could have done without the latter – she was absolutely terrified of Dean and his white beard!

Dean as Father Christmas

Anyway, Jess and I ended up being the last ones to leave, and then it was a race back home to Gordon’s Bay in order to get ready for the next birthday party on the list, namely little Annabella’s 1st birthday celebrated at Andrea and Albert’s beautiful house out in Strand. This time though Chantelle had organised to go with us (she took her afternoon split a little later than usual), meaning that for the first time this weekend, the Gordon’s Bay Lotter Clan was a complete unit at last!

Andy’s house was brimming with babies and toddlers when we got there, and Albert had seen to a fantastic array of eats to cater to both young and old. A smiley face cake completed the afternoon, with me on hand as the resident filmographer to capture Bella’s big moment of blowing (with a little help) out the candles.

Two hours flashed by, and seeing as Chantelle needed to get back to work, it was back home where I was once more abandoned with Jessie and I set about with unpacking from our epic single parent weekend and getting through the Sunday night routine.

So whew, this time I really can say I need another weekend just to recover from this one! :)