Archive for the ‘Nicola’ Category


Venterskroon 2018

3 October , 2018

These past few days we had the opportunity to attend our third Venterskroon camp with the Voortrekkers. This is our thing, really the one camp we make sure we never miss!

It was fun and sad at the same time for many reasons. Fun…because duh! Venterskroon! And sad for us personally because we missed Andy. He was supposed to come with but couldn’t due to work that had to be done. Bittersweet in general for many of the campers as one of the main organisers who everyone had camped with for many many years passed away shortly after last year’s camp. Whenever you saw someone looking a bit glum off to the side, it was usually one of those moments where they remembered what he would have done or said in this particular case. Lots of hugs were given, the kids seemed more or less oblivious to the undertone and just got on with enjoying their camp as they always do.

It was incredibly hot, dry and dusty. If you see that in the photos…imagine it at least 3 times hotter and drier and dustier than that! On the way there we almost thought we’d end up having a wet camp, since we drove through two storms on the way there…wet camping is not for the feint hearted, I’ll take the dusty over the muddy any day of the week.

Anyhoo, the photos tell the story much better than I can – so let’s jump straight in.

Nicola and bestie L at the start of the camp. You can tell because they’re still more or less spotless and their hair is brushed.

I lent my tent to Nicola and two of her friends to sleep in and set up in her tent instead. It’s just for sleeping in after all. I dubbed it the Barbie-dream-house tent and I’m sure I would have been perfectly fine in it, but Silezia took pity on me and insisted that I bunk with her instead in a more grown up tent, hahaha!

Estelle and I. Let the selfie fest begin! We helped out at registration and had a little catch up. Estelle was our course leader last year, and we have shared loads of laughs!

Tents, tents and more tents! This works fine. When I was a kid we usually camped in those massive army tents and the groups got mingled. I sometimes think that that might have been a better way to get to know other kids. (And to keep tents tidy)

Nicola and pals…

First assembly in the making. Look how clean everyone was!

Nicola and L in the queue for dinner. I love taking un-posed photos like these.

Marietjie and I – selfie. Marieks was in my team when we were in school. We’ve known each other FOREVER! Lots of great chats during the camp. Dankie Marietjie!

This is what about 500 hungry kids look like waiting for dinner.

Pretty sunset over the mountain.

Everyone is colour co-ordinated with hats so that it’s easy to spot someone who’s not where they’re supposed to be. Also somewhat helpful to keep the sun off your face. 😉

Nicola’s team did the Spoorkennis badge this camp. Sort of like intro to tracking, and the course leader gave each of us a camo buff. Too cute, although it makes us look a bit dodgy. This thing is incredibly handy, let me tell you! It’s my first one so I was a bit oblivious to all it’s many uses, but I’m on it now and I don’t think I will ever camp without one again.

Firstly, you can use it as a scarf or mask – which is kind of obvious. If it’s super windy and cold, like it was on one or two evenings, you can pull it up under your cap to keep your ears and head warm too. You can also use it like ear muffs for when 500 kids are screaming team chants at each other, or when you go to sleep so that you don’t hear the wind howling round the tents. Apparently you can also soak it in water and keep yourself cool on hot days with it round your neck. I haven’t tried that yet, only cottoned on to that use on the last day – thanks Andries, it never even occurred to me!

Morning has broken. This was after my guard duty, just before the kids started stirring. You don’t actually guard, it’s more like being on the lookout for kids who sleepwalk, or cry or cough so that you can help them. Everyone gets a turn and it usually turns in to an interesting chat with people from other groups in the same shift as you.

Cutie pies…

My cutie pie…

K, L and Nicola – tent mates. Those girls don’t keep a tidy tent at all, hahaha! I actually made a decision not to go look after the first morning. It just made me twitch, and I didn’t want to deprive them of the opportunity to experience the big clean up on the last day.

Me, Nicola and Silezia…

Campers getting ready for the day ahead.

Elize, who was our course leader – doing morning Bible reading and chat with the kids.

Nicola doesn’t do cereal or bread or eggs, so camp breakfast food is usually a challenge for her. She won’t eat it. And then by 10:00 she’ll turn into captain cranky pants. So for everyone’s safety I pack her a little sandwich bag of biltong per day.

Elize and Willem, the two course leaders for our group. The group was soooo big they had to split it into two more manageable groups – 78 in total! And then within our group we further divided them into four smaller groups for when you need to follow tracks or spot animals.

Yummy breakfast one morning.

Learning about camo.

The kids got to paint themselves with shoe polish. Nicola went for the minimalist approach.

Wild things…

L with her camo face on…

N with the least amount of face polish on…

When in Rome and so on…

Off to go find animals in the ostrich camp.

We went in with the female, who left us to our own devices. The male is a bit more territorial as I understand it.

I think you can see how dry and hot it was there.

I just liked the look of this branch. So now you have to look at it too. 😉

Taking a short break to drink water and catch our breaths.

Salt lick, thoroughly enjoyed by the animals in this camp. Imagine how much licking this thing sees to make the dents in that crystal.

I also just liked the look of this telephone pole. You’re welcome. Oh, obviously hardly any cellphone coverage in Venterskroon. If you’re on Vodacom you can get about three bars in two or three spots on the camp, but anyone on any other network had no chance whatsoever.

L-bestie nursing a knee graze.

Hungry kids ready for lunch. I felt like we were more or less eating all day, but we certainly burnt off all that energy. Very very busy!

Other L in camo. She went all out!

The sign for Go Home. I was very ready to head back to camp at this point. The other parent who was helping out at our sub-sub-group was very knowledgeable about all sorts of things and the kids learnt plenty – which is awesome – but I usually drive a desk in mild temperatures so the extra miles we walked in the blistering heat in search of this knowledge had my tongue on the floor with exhaustion.

As hot as it is there in general, the exact opposite is true of this pool. It’s very cold, and a great place to cool down after a never ending walk chasing springbok and blesbok around an ostrich camp.

Nicola and I at the pool…

You know I love these hand shots. Whenever I get the chance, I take it.

Silezia and a few of our girls…

Important to drink lots and lots of water! I think I drank about 3 liters or more a day myself. And I walked round watering anyone who looked a bit wilted too.

Bordesakkies…nothing says camping with the Voortrekkers like rows and rows of these bags. Everyone brings their own plate, bowl, mug and cutlery and this rack of pegs is where they live between meal times.

Oops, I’ve been spotted taking photos…

Isn’t it pretty?

And this…also pretty! Aren’t we lucky that we get to spend time in these wide open spaces? I love it!

Selfie with Nicola that she decorated to send to Andy…so sweet. Andy says we look like cute little terrorists with our buffs on. 😆

Giggles with tannie Maryna.

Another gorgeous sunrise…

Maryna’s hubby Chris, who is a tent master. I suggested that he present a course on how to put up and take down tents, because he is the only person who can get mine to fit in it’s bag like the manufacturers do. Actually he folds it so neatly, you could probably fit two tents in there!

Frikkie, Anna and Ex-Frikkie. Neither of the Frikkies are actually named Frikkie. It’s like a mix between a camp mascot and the ring master. Frikkies have to keep the program moving along smoothly and resolve any discipline problem between the kids. Anna is almost like the Frikkie of the grown ups, not so much the running of the program but resolving any disputes and keeping morale high.

She also keeps up a steady supply of hat decorations. Hoed foefies is what I’ve decided to call them. Everyone loves them and those who have been camping for many years look like Christmas trees!

Nicola and I. It was the 40th birthday of this camp, and there were many celebrations held. every camper also received a purple camp T-shirt as a gift.

The bus. I love riding the bus, it’s hilarious!

After morning parades the officers get on the bus and march up and down and do odd things in a very disciplined manner. It’s hard to explain, you need to ride the bus to fully understand its magic.

A sea of purple shirts…

Maryna and Maryna, at it again.

Oh my goodness, we had such a laughing fit during the course!

Elize was taking questions from the kids and one girl asked what should you do if someone gets bitten by a snake? Elize said that it’s very important to find out what kind of snake because the doctors needed to know what anti-venom to give the patient. Then she went on a bit about snakes in general, and I must have temporarily checked out a bit in my head from heat exhaustion. What caught my ear next was when she said, “How will you get him calm?” And I thought, the snake? Why does it matter what he feels like? She said, “First thing, get him to lie down…” and in my head I’m seeing a snake and thinking lying down shouldn’t be a problem since it doesn’t have legs. “And put him in the shade…” Oh no no no…this is very reckless, we shouldn’t be telling kids to move snakes. “So that his heart can beat as slow as possible…” aaaah, okay – I think she’s talking about the patient and not the snake.

I look at my fellow Maryna and I see she’s looking just as confused as I was, so I tell her it’s the patient and not the snake. She says, “Oh riiiight!” and we burst out into a fit of giggles imagining someone trying to calm down a snake by making it lie down in the shade. We could NOT stop laughing. I still giggle when I think about it actually.

French toast breakfast – yumm!

The girls…

Selfie with Elize…

On the Sunday they got this very high energy dominee in to do the service. This guy was amazing and so funny! I tried to take a video but something went a bit pear shaped with my phone just then (I think I ran out of space and it got flustered and flushed the video).

Seriously so good! If he was closer I would definitely go to that church.

Our course head quarters.

Frikkie came to have a friendly anti-bullying chat with the youngens.

More watering…soooo hot!

This kid was taking no chances with sunblock. Go big or go home, right?

Nicola and L…in the background you can see the inflatables that they got for the kids to play on as part of the camp birthday celebrations.

Anything can be a chair if you’re tired enough…

Maryna, literally hugging a tree for shade…

One of the other courses made these bird feeders. I just liked the look of it, so you get to see it too.

Love this T-shirt!

Maryna, me and Silezia…

My friend Ina, who spends most of her camp in one of the outside rough it groups.

She congratulated me on raising Nicola right, haha! Apparently she wanted Nicola to come give her a hug, and Nicola just told her “I don’t know you.” She thought maybe Nicola didn’t recognise her with the hat so she took it off. Nicola looked her up and down and said, “I still don’t know you.” 😆

To be fair, Nicola has met her…but doesn’t exactly KNOW her, hahaha!

Very peculiar, but very practical hiking shoes of M – she led our walk up the mountain and she’s as nimble as a goat!

Chris and Maryna…

Me, Mariska and Maryna…getting ready for our turn to dish up.

Andries leads the kitchen on this camp and the food is always amazing!

The girls, telling me about the wind that squished their tents during the night…

Mieliepap for 550 people in the making…

Me and Tanya. This woman is like an energiser bunny! And I don’t think I have ever seen her in a bad mood. If you could bottle this kind of spirit and sell it, you’d make a fortune!

The kids are woken up by horn in the mornings…

Maryna and Maryna, this machine runs on coffee and plenty of it. Although I had a lot less than last year!

Pap-worm! What a genius way to carry many pots with few hands! 😆

Poor Attie…the best signal was to be found in the smoking area away from the kids of course. He had work to do, so joined us for some second hand smoke.

Estelle, Maryna and Maryna…

Another yummy breakfast…

Our mountain hike…holey macaroni I’m unfit!

Ian and myself…

Ian and his baby L…

Venterskroon gifted L with this very special rock…so cute!

Mariska, Tanya and Silezia…

Myself and Anna…

Tanya and Liana…they are both energiser bunnies!

The kids prepping to make hand prints on the volleyball court…

Yumm…home, or errr camp-made ginger beer (no kick variety). This was really delicious!

Pretty evening star over the washing line…

Campfire concert on the last night…

The lighting ceremony…

Love this photo where you can see the sparks flying…

All the kids by fire light…that fire was HUGE!


Mmmm, coffeeeeee…

At this point I was really super grateful that I didn’t end up in the Barbie dream house tent, since my legs were pretty useless after following the “she-goat” up a mountain. I couldn’t crawl into anything if my life depended on it!

A last night party for the grown ups to celebrate the camp’s 40 years and this particular camp.

Our last sunrise at Venterskroon for this year…

Last morning Bible session with the course…

Cutie pies at breakfast…you can now clearly see what hair looks like that hasn’t been brushed for 5 days. 😆

I liked this marshmallow tree they made…Estelle laughed at me when I said, it’s a little bit like life. Jy moet die soet saam met die steek vat. 😉

A sea of purple…

Nicola’s hand print. Freshly liberated from the volleyball court.

Packing up time…

Camp closing ceremony…

I have a little bit of pebble envy for L’s heart shaped pebble, but I feel like I got a good one too. Strongly suspect this one might be a piece of meteorite, but even if it’s not then I still love it for the jaunty little stripe thing it has going on.

Nicola and I started a tradition a while ago, where we always pick one rock to take home for our bookshelf when we go somewhere on a vacation or an adventure. So this is our Venterskroon 2018 rock.

Thank you everyone! It was another fantastic camp and we’ll definitely be back next year for our annual top up of dust, fun, laughs and love…


Let me catch you up…

11 September , 2018

What a month!

I have had the best time ever. Seriously, so many changes in such a short time – but all of them good, so complaints from me.

Firstly, on the work front I have done something that I have never done before. Applied for positions while still employed, hahaha! Every single job I have ever started has been as either a temp or a contractor and then they decided to keep me. So a big first for me. I am starting in my new position in October, and I am very excited about it.

Secondly, on the home front we have moved in with Andy. We all moved into his garden cottage, so it is TIGHT…or if you’re being generous it is cosey, but it is filled to the brim with love and laughs and all three of us are doing great with the new living arrangements. The plan is to look into a bigger place early next year.

That’s the major highlights in a nutshell…now for some of my favourite pictures over the last month.

Cuddle puddle at a visit to my cousin…

Nicola, trying her hand at Sims on an old built up computer…


Lets just say I didn’t miss my calling as a dog groomer…Polka, sporting a seriously layered look. I was tired of sorting out “passengers” out of her winter woolies. Every second day the seasons seem to change their mind around here, so I haven’t taken her to the parlour yet for her serious spring shave. Interim haircut…check!

Birthday party for my old boarding school roommate…

Hahaha, definitely my baby…

Lofty and I…love you buddy!

This is my daughter who does not like hugging people! She has decided Andy belongs to her too. These two, just make my heart mush to see them together.

So serious…

Look, I was also there! Birthday party for my friend Fluffbunny…

New bed bought selfie… 😉

The school’s box car day…

More fun at the box car day. They had water slides for the kids too, if you were a bit confused about the swim suit.

My dad after his serious spring shave…he had received a few enquiries for Christmas bookings at this point already, hahaha!

Moving day…it’s a jungle out there! Just part of my portable garden. I still actually have 3 or 4 pots to move.

Our office…

So cute…I love this!

Nicola has really blossomed. Without prompting she washes dishes, makes coffee (first time ever and it was STRONG as she decided two spoons coffee was the way to go!). It makes me really happy to see her gaining self confidence to do things herself, even when she doesn’t get it 100% first time every time.

This kid is a speed reader! She grabbed one of my Harry Potter books off the bookshelf and half an hour later she was about 80 pages deep into it.

We have a mother-trucking HUGE bee hive in the roof! I stepped on one. My poor toe looked like a little sausage for two days. If all goes according to plan they will relocate them this week. If all works out to desire, we will get some honey out of this in the process too…yumm!

On our way to a meeting…

Me and my Bfly, after the meeting…

Some selfies with a few of my amazing team members. These guys…I’m really going to miss them.

Nicola is man down with some bacterial airway infection. She has more or less been asleep and at 40’C for three days now. Poor baby, wish I could take it on on her behalf.

I had a rip roaring scuffle with the bloody medical aid about the meds the doctor prescribed on Monday. I pay R4223 per month for us to be on medical aid, and they won’t bloody pay for the cough syrup because it has cortisone in it, and the spectacular co-payments because I won’t be painted into a generic corner was also ridiculous. I have money available in my day-to-day benefits…thousand…and they won’t pay. Assholes. I let them have it!

Not fucking impressed. I am now in the market for a proper medical aid for next year. Suggestions welcome.

Truly, it was a super blue Monday. Sick Nicola, and then my car’s battery decided to unceremoniously die. Grrr…

My hibiscus plant flashing me hearts last night. It obviously saw I needed a little pick me up.

How are you all doing?



5 August , 2018

This is more or less when things usually go pear shaped for me, but it is just getting better and better. ❤

And instead of running or pulling away, he runs towards me and pulls me closer…every chance he gets.

Is this how it is for you guys who have working relationships? I like it…I like it a lot. I can see why you’ve been going on about it for all these years.

It is wonderful NOT having to wonder if the rug is going to be yanked out from under you any second now. It is incredibly liberating to feel safe and trusted. And it is absolutely mind blowing to feel like you can’t get enough of someone, and to KNOW that they feel exactly the same. 😁🔥

And it is breathtakingly fantastic to be with someone who doesn’t tolerate my daughter, but genuinely enjoys her for who she is and revels along with me in all her quirks and special traits.

Bliss…pure bliss.

We are having a roast off to see whose roast is the best. We are doing it in turns though and Andy got the first go.

It was yummy…I have my work cut out for me.

Nicola…tablet on the trampoline 🤣

So cute!

Well halloooo there blossom…

So sweet…

Happy us…

My little miracle…

Obviously very comfortable…

Dance to your own beat my little terrorist ❤ you always bring the magic…

A Nicola burrito. Apparently our queue to go home…


This wet noodle was a I-want-to-go-home burrito 5 minutes ago?

Life is unbelievably good. There are A LOT of things weighing on me at the moment…but this isn’t one of them.

This is my happy.

If I’m dreaming, don’t wake me up.


All the love…

21 July , 2018

Everything is going so well, I really couldn’t be happier!

Nicola and Andy adore each other…and team up against me…hahaha! I don’t even mind really. It’s lump in the throat business this.

And the very straightforward, sometimes reserved (obviously not anymore when it comes to Andy) Nicola, asked him how he would feel if she called him daddy? And he said he’d like it very much. So she said, cool, when he marries me she will – and she thinks next month would be a great time for that! 😆

We are not quite planning a wedding for next month, but it’s super cute to see how the two of them interact and love each other. If I’m dreaming, please don’t wake me up!

Some photos:

Us at Monte Casino Bird Park last weekend…

Going for a walk…or a carry in Nicola’s case…through the vlei.

Andy and I built an army of fondant bunnies for baby shower cupcakes my mom needed to make…

See? I built the spares and he put them together.

Water fight between my two loves…

I just like this…

Pulling funny faces…

Andy built Nicola an apple swan, cause she saw it online and thought it would look cool…

Dressed for dinner at Andy’s…



Clowning around…

Look at Nicola’s eyes hahaha!

Love this photo!

Blurry one of us eating her up cause she’s so cute!



10 July , 2018

These two are getting on like a house on fire now, and I couldn’t be happier.

When I see my daughter relax and trust someone, let them in instead of maintaining a cautious distance for a change, it does my heart good. I think 8 is too young to be jaded about people’s intentions, and I hate to think that I might be the cause of that inherent distrust.

So this is my Nicola and my Andy, or Andreas as he is not known. I am so happy I could burst. 😀

He seems to get on well with most of my family too, except my mom. I’m sure she’ll come around in time, if Nicola got her inherent distrust from anyone it’s probably my mom and not me. If you know my kid at all, you’ll know that once she’s decided that she likes and trusts you, that you’re part of “her people” she’ll go to war for you without hesitation. Her fierce loyalty is really quite remarkable and awe inspiring when you see it in action.

On Sunday she went to war for Andy.

My mom was giving me a hard time about him, and out nowhere Nicola piped up, “Ouma, don’t you want my mom to be happy? Andy makes her happy…and he’s nice.” I don’t know who was more surprised, me or my mom.

It’s been super awkward around here since then as you can probably imagine. I hate living with this atmosphere hanging over everything. I really hope that things smooth over soon, I’m running out of beta blockers and I’d really like to stay calm.

I may have mentioned it once or twice before in other posts. I’m almost 40 years old, how the hell did I end up in a position where people think that they can still make my decisions for me, and treat me like a child?! Weigh in if you must, but don’t be a jerk about it. I too have lots of opinions about how other people should live their lives, but I keep those to myself because it’s not my decision to make.

It’ll work out in the end, I’m sure. One way or another. Wish me luck guys.

Did you ever have something similar happen to you, and how did you handle it?


Liam’s baby shower

10 July , 2018


We had the opportunity to attend a baby shower for baby Liam this past weekend. Baby Liam is my cousin’s second – and long wished for baby. We’re all very excited to meet the little guy!

Look at these cute cupcakes! Aren’t they just adorable?


My cousin’s MIL rented out this venue in Pretoria, The View @ 6. It does actually have a pretty good view too, sorry I forgot to take a picture of that haha.


Family, always great to see everyone again. We really don’t do this sort of thing often enough. This is my other cousin Nelize and my other cousin Ian’s wife, Arlene.


Other cousin Albert’s wife, Zelmarie and her mom. She’s also expecting and we’ll be attending her baby shower in about two weeks. Good year for my family. 😉


Cousin Bernadine, whose baby shower it was and myself. Shame, you can see she’s in the proper exhausted part of the pregnancy. I took quite a few photos but in half of them her eyes are closed.


They prepared a time capsule for Liam to be opened on his 21st. We each had to write a little something making a prediction about what we guessed he would be when he grows up. This was Nicola’s letter, totally unprompted. For those that don’t understand Afrikaans it roughly translates to “I think that Liam will be a strong independent man”. How bloody cute is that?!


Next party game was a baby bag which was sent round and you had to stick your hand in and guess what 10 items were in there. Nicola got 6 and I got 7. We’re obviously out of practice! My aunt got 9 and was the closest so she won a box of chocolates.


Pulling faces at herself in the reflections of the table decor…


Next game was drawing a baby on a paper plate on top of your head…happy to report that I scored top 4 on this one hahaha!


Good fun!


Nicola and I…


My mom and my Aunt Wilma, having a big giggle about something.


These two boys that are hatching so closely together will probably grow up to be the bestest friends.


The table decor that had Nicola mesmerized. It has a little LED in it, I bet it looks lovely at night too, even during the day it looked like a jar of fireflies. So cute!

We had a great time, and it was so lovely to see everyone again.


Things are not always what they appear to be

2 July , 2018


Ever wear a mask, or hide behind a lie? Sure you have – I’m pretty sure everyone has at some point or another.

One of mine, so old that I haven’t even thought about it in soooo many years, popped up over the weekend. It was time to set the record straight I guess.

See, many moons ago…pre-Nicola obviously (you’ll see why this is obvious in a second…just bear with me), my mom was always hounding my brother and I about her desperate need to be a grandmother. On every occasion she got. Everywhere and in front of anyone. Really…non  stop. She used to tell people if she wanted to be a grandmother she would have to have the babies herself!

I used to say that I didn’t want kids.

Which was what my mom decided to share with Andy over the weekend. In front of my kid, who I really definitely wanted and want more than anything else in the world.

The truth is, I always wanted kids. I was pretty sure I couldn’t have kids. I was 100% convinced that I was sterile. Even at my first scan my doctor remarked on the fact that with the thingy I have going on in my plumbing I’m actually supposed to be sterile. I was not surprised. I didn’t know what was wrong, but I definitely knew something was.

It is much easier to say you don’t want kids than to say you can’t have kids. It makes you seem too-busy-for-this-shit instead of too-broken-for-this-miracle. If given an option I will always take the judgement of people who don’t actually know over their pity. You get it right? I’m full of shit…not weak.

I was pretty convincing in this lie I think. When I found out I was pregnant with Nicola, only my friend Simone’ knew straight away that I was so thrilled I could explode! In fact her words were, “Fantastic! This is what you always wanted.” where everyone else was, “Shit! How do you feel about it? What are you going to do, keep it or terminate?”

I was so convincing in my lie, that when Nicola was about a year old my mom once told me that I was doing much better at mothering than they ever thought I would, seeing as I didn’t actually ever want kids and that my parents were fully prepared to adopt Nicola and raise her themselves if it became obvious that I was a shit mother.

I am coasting over all of this, in what I hope is a lighthearted fashion…but there is an awful lot of hurt in these few paragraphs above.

Anyway, I couldn’t let Nicola hear that I never wanted kids and even for a second believe that it was true. So I came clean on why I actually said that. Hopefully this thing will now be forever put to bed.

Ps! Nicola, if you ever end up reading this one day and remember that discussion in the car…just know that you truly were a miracle and that I never wanted anyone or anything as much as I wanted you. Ever. You were a dream come true, and there has not been a single day since I threw up with morning sickness for the very first time that I have not been thrilled and thankful to have you in my life. Not even a single one.