Thursday, January 19, 2012

And... we're back from our holidays

Today we drove back from Ballito. We left only 10 minutes later than before but ended up in Jhb a whole hour later. Of course there are reasons (more traffic, uphills, more roadworks, etc.) but I am quite nerdy and I like keeping track of it all.

10 things that were very, very good
  1. I read 5 books. Yes! I took Deanna's and Shayne's suggestions and read up a storm. Strictly speaking I finished number 5 in the car on the way back. Does that still count?
  2. I am up to date with my travel scrapbook. Can't believe it either. Just have to write up today's stuff and print pics (one for each day) and I'm good. I'll take pics when I'm done. If you're travelling anywhere, you MUST do a mini scrapbook. I made mine on night 1 and then I just wrote a little every night. EASY and imperfect but DONE!
  3. The weather. We only had 1 day that was non-beach weather. This was definitely a good time of the year.
  4. Literally having the beach on our doorstep. 100 m and we were on the beach. It was SO easy to take a quick walk before or after supper, no schlep to get in a car, drive somewhere and then get on the beach. 
  5. The babies hardly had tantrums. I think we had more tantrums since we arrived this afternoon than we had the entire trip. Yes. It's been a fun afternoon.
  6. They were excellent travellers. I had "moments", you know those moments where you think "this (THIS!) is what I always dreamed of", especially hearing them chatter to one another in the back, singing and just being delightful. The worse thing that happened was Connor saying, "Daddy!!!! Connor no like being in the car" when he needed to stretch his legs. Yes, he's still doing the "Connor" thing. Kendra's new thing is "where's us going?" I just smile and say, "we're going to Jhb/ the beach/ the restaurant" but D corrects.
  7. Kids that slept and napped so well (the sea air?) and that ate up a storm.
  8. Kendra's curls. We LOVE it. Already her curls have subsided now that we're back in (thankfully) non-humid Jhb.
  9. Having 3 dates. That's a goal for January done and dusted. We both were tired the last night but D reminded me that we never get this opportunity at home so off we went.
  10. Taking tons of pics. I don't think my folders have ever bulged like this. I looked at my Jan folder for Picasa last night and there were 1275. And that's only 17 days. You may have guessed but I'm LOVING the camera. 
Also, I'm now bribing my kids. True conversation with Kendra who wanted to go for a walk after we'd had supper but before we were ready to leave the restaurant. "Okay, Kendra, I'll take you for a walk but you have to promise me you'll smile and let me take pics". She promised and then after one pic says to me with that pointing finger, "last one!".

the palm trees remind me of Kelle Hampton :)
some arbitrary lovebirds :) I love "eavesdropping" with my camera
I dressed them like twins this day
how sweet is this? Holding hands and running...
date 2 - aren't you impressed at my restraint?! I left a pancake!
this place is called the Milk Cafe. Reminds me of Australia where they call corner cafes (where you buy milk and bread) milk bars.
and 5 things that were not so good
  1. Moments of irritation with my mother and with MIL.
  2. Spending more than double what I'd budgeted for on food. It seemed like we were expected to sponsor the entire holiday. I started getting really resentful earlier this week but then thought I'd just leave it and if there EVER is a crazy thought about doing this again, I would make it our job to clarify expectations upfront. When you go away with other people, what do you do about food? Who pays? Who shops? Who cooks?
  3. Bullfrogs. Seriously. A creek ran through the grounds of our building and those darn bullfrogs woke Kendra on two nights. They started like clockwork at 8 and ended about 11:30.
  4. A full to overflowing car going down and an even fuller car back. 
  5. Coming back to a broken microwave. Do you know how difficult (and messy) it is to suddenly warm food on a stove, warm milk in a pot? Cook two-minute noodles in a pan? These are all things I did tonight. Ughhh. I told D to please go buy a microwave tomorrow OR get someone in. Either way, I can't get through the weekend like this.
So, I need to tally up the spending but I'm scared...

Anyway, D and I like to chat about what went well, what didn't , if we'd go back (we won't go back to Dullstroom, but we would go back to Clarens) and Ballito is a place we'd DEFINITELY go back. Me, just for the easy proximity to the beach!

We've already started discussing where and when we'll go away again. It will be April/ May but not sure where....

Where is your next holiday (vacation), and when will you go?


  1. You list of great stuff is way longer than your list of not-great stuff...which is great. Over a bit of time, the not-great stuff will fade even more, and you're all going to remember this as a fantastic vacation. :)

    I can't wait to see pictures of your travel scrapbook! And I do love K's curls!!!

    As for food, I would expect everyone to pitch in. Like you, I certainly wouldn't have thought to spell that out beforehand...that sounds a bit extreme. I always want to make sure we're carrying our weight when there's anything communal, even when family is involved. :/

    Hope you have a restful and productive weekend to get back in the groove (and edit +1200 pictures!)! :)

  2. Sounds like you mostly had a wonderful time! I've never gone away with lots of people so don't know what arrangements we would put in place. Our holiday will be after my mum's come. We might want to go to Queenstown in the South Island. Have never been there, but I've seen some amazing photos on Paul's blog ( and it looks like a great place to visit.

    If your post was about a creative link up thingy I would have participated because I finally finished my big project - go check photos on my blog :-)

  3. I love the sitting with DH on our way home from vacations and doing our run-down.

    K's curls are gorgeous! I didn't realize her hair had so much bounce and body. I can't wait to see more pictures. Are all those pictures "keepers"?

    Sorry about the microwave. Luckily it's a cheap, easy fix and not something massive like the stove! Things just aren't built to last anymore.

    As for vacation. It would really depend on who we were going with in regards to paying for things. If we went with my in-laws, I would plan to pay for them. They have a very fixed income. However my parents do not, and I would gladly take their money! That being said, we've never vacationed with family. This year we may go with my cousin, but just for baby sitting so we can each enjoy a night out with our husbands.

  4. Sounds like a stunning holiday :)

    I have enjoyed all the pictures.

    Re the food thing - we stayed with D's aunt for 10 days in CT and she also had 8 of her kids friends over for a few days - what she did is told each child to bring some meat and snacks and then it was all pooled and meals were made from what was there.

    Also she never asked D and I to bring anything but if we went to town she would ask for bread and milk or fruit or whatever was needed and we would get that.

    When we went away with friends last year we decided on meals before hand - everyone bought there own stuff, we pooled it all and made meals from that.

    I think you need to maybe suggest MIL or mom be in charge of 2 meals during the stay and maybe then contribute to the basics like bread, milk, butter etc?

  5. Welcome home! I adore K's face in that first photo, love the pure joy she's radiating!

  6. Oh I love love love that hands photo - but I guess you knew that. Those little moments is love to capture too. And love those cute Kendra cheeks in the first photo.

    So ok, for more reasons than one we never holiday with the parents. Although it means no date nights on holiday, it's fine. Not worth the issues. We prefer to be just us 5. There is some magic in it.

    I would love to see that travel scrapbook - think I should try something like that.

  7. The 9 things you have mentioned about the Holiday, is what makes a holiday worth while. I'm glad you all had a wonderful time. Love the photos and can't wait to see more. Are you happy to be back?

  8. Overall it sounds like a brilliant holiday! I'm glad you guys got home safely and that you had a good time.

    Usually when we go away with other people who pays for what and what is already included is very carefully laid out before anyone goes anywhere or commits to going anywhere.

    We're going last week of February, and I cannot wait to put my feet in the sea again after so long! I really hope Nicola behaves as well as your two in the car.

  9. Sounds like a successful trip! When we went on vacation with J's parents in September, we mostly bought our own meals. We each brought some different snacks/breakfast foods to share, and it worked out pretty well. With my family, it's much more of a back and forth (we take turns paying the entire check)...but our families do things pretty differently.

    I just went on a youth retreat this weekend that was almost like a solo vacation for me. I am also going to Baton Rouge, Louisiana sometime next month to visit my sister, which I am looking forward to! We definitely plan to do the beach again in September. I'm also (very tentatively) beginning to look into planning a Disney World trip. We are thinking about December 2013, but we need to start saving for that!

  10. Ah...sounds like you had a FANTASTIC break. Your not-good points are way less than your good points which is ALWAYS a good sign.
    Your number 4 under good points is EXACTLY why I want to live on the beach. Can you imagine those walks EVERY SINGLE DAY MULTIPLE TIMES A DAY? I would be in HEAVEN.
    Usually when we go away with friends, we get together and plan. We plan our menu including alcohol and snacks. Then the ladies go to the shop to get EVERYTHING we need and we split the bill. We also have a smallish fund (even if each person just contributes an extra R100) for extras that we may need on holiday. THings like toilet paper etc.
    My next camping trip was going to be in March. I changed my mind because I found out that there isn't electricity (Lance and I could DEFINITELY wing this - not Lance and I AND the kids) and also, with Lance starting the new job, he probably won't have much leave.
    So, I am now looking at either a hotel stay (meals included) or a chalet at the hot springs. Hopefully in June for at least 4 days.


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