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We Love South Africa

The Sanders' Family Blog

The adventures of CamelToé HungryBum and baby Tom

CamelToe & HungryBum HungryToe Tom Frank & George chillin!

Nature’s Wild Tonic – The Sanders by the Sea

Beach Afternoon


She arranged her shells so beautifully today, as if anticipating all the admiring visitors that the warm weather would bring. A meter wide, pressed into the sand, they made a thousand rippled patterns as she washed in and out over them. Her generous treasures waiting to be inspected and marvelled at by those treading peacefully along her shore.

The water was glistening and glassy, I wanted to float with her and listen to her philosophies, shallow and deep. I wanted to float with her and submerge my face just deep enough to still feel the sun gently caressing my face. I wanted to float with her and share her view of the sun and all that danced in flight.

Nudged to the present by a child mistaking my leg for a tree, I paused my dreamy thoughts…

The older boys stripped down, they wanted to be like baby Ollie, naked! And free. Like little excitable puppies they bounded into the water, leaped and splashed, rolled and dived, dug and jumped….laughed!! All as though discovering this scene for the first time. Bounding. Glee. Over and over again.


Beach Afternoon-3

When the sun started to fall, their energy subsided a little but their spirits were full and spilling over. Taking advantage of the weather and upbeat moods, we settled in for an early dinner on the promenade. I didn’t bring jerseys or jackets or even a change of clothes. But no one cared. It didn’t matter. A damp towel covering their slight frames and a warm meal kept their auras a-sailing.

After the last teaspoon of chocolate milkshake had been loudly, and profoundly slurpppped, we made the journey up the hill. I sang twinkle twinkle little star the whole way home to distract and delight my little baby O. My singing is terrible. But. He loved it.

All in desperate need of a defrost, we scrambled out the car and headed for the bathroom. The hot water was low so we all bathed together – all five of us in our tiny little ball and claw bath. It was such a squeeze. The level rose up, almost overflowing and limbs peeped out like nosy hippos. And as we sat there soaking, the tub cradling our bodies and each of us trying to find an extra atom of space, it felt better than any other bath I had taken alone. No candles or bubble bath or solitude could have felt better than my whole family pressed together like peas in our cast iron bucket.

My husband and I looked at each other, as if mindfully acknowledging the craziness yet beauty before us. The fleeting spontaneity of the afternoon and the bittersweet joy in our hearts.

If ever you find your mind restless or your soul tired, step outside. Seek the ocean, a long forest path or even a shallow river. Walk there. Swim there. Be there. I don’t think there’s a problem in the world that can’t be remedied by nature’s powerful tonic. She commands calmness without commanding it and attention without asking for it. Welcome her and she will tend graciously to your needs.


Beach Afternoon-2



Cameltoe and Hungrybum ride again!

Today was the first step in our long and challenging journey to the Absa Cape Epic 2016. Both overweight and unfit, team camel and hungry headed out for their first of many rides to come.  A nice cool day allowed us to lay down our first 20km ride.

Our ride in the 2009 Epic has to rank up there with the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, mainly because I got to do it with my wife and best friend. A lot has happened since 2009, most noteworthy was the arrival of Thomas, William and baby Oliver.  Let’s just say, they crashed the party and our fun slips came to a screeching halt. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldnt change it for the world but I would be lying if I said I didn’t long for the challenge and adventure again.  It’s these challenges that yank us out of our comfort zones and allow us to continue to grow. Anyway, so after watching this years Epic, Loo pipes up , ” let’s do the epic again next year” needless to say I thought about it for a couple of nano seconds…….. Waiting for 3pm last Monday was exhilarating to say the least. That was the time that the early bird entries opened. Both of us sat there from 2:50pm refreshing every couple of seconds. Then suddenly  I was in!


We were one of the lucky ones, our entry accepted and we paid immediately, there was no turning back now. I look forward to the training and that feeling of unstoppable fitness. I look forward to the challenge of juggling everything and fitting in the training. I look forward to the discipline and discomfort that we will need to embrace.  I look forward to the anticipation and excitement of getting our logistics and equipment perfectly prepared. It’s not going to be easy, there’s the small matter of 3 exceptionally busy and energy-sapping little people. The main thing will be for them to all be looked after during the 9 days we will be away and we have the peace of mind knowing that they are ok. That’s where we bring in the whole cavalry . We plan to enlist  a battalion of grandparents, neighbours, friends, babysitters and maids. Whatever it will take to keep the boys safe and happy whilst we are away. Make no mistake, it won’t be easy, it will be the first time we will both be away from the boys and I know we will miss them terribly. When we do, we will take a step back and get some perspective. We will think of the Malawian lady we met today who leaves her children for a year at time so she can come to South Africa and earn a little money to feed them. Our task is a walk in the park by comparison ….. I’m loving that tinge of excitement in anticipation of Cameltoe and Hungrybum’s bonding adventure to come. Peace out dudes.

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The River Walkers

Its one of our favourite activities, heading down to the nearby stream and walking in the water as far as we want ….. The clean clear water massages our feet and the sun filtering through the green canopy soothes our souls. I watch our little boys playing and I know that before we know it, they will be grown up and gone. I am going to make more to films to remember how they once were…….so that these family moments stay like this forever in our minds.


A Nursery for my Little Adventurer No.3

Up until 3 months ago, I was high-fiving myself for not having to decorate a nursery. Bonus, one less thing to do this very busy year! I already ticked that box 4 years ago. Clever me. Chest pump.

So I really wasn’t re-doing the nursery…I had a perfectly good one waiting for its third use.

And then one day I had a look at things a little more closely….the carpets and the chair were looking a little, mmm well-used. The curtains had holes in them (sent them to the dry-cleaners and the result wasn’t pretty), and the mobile and felt wall hangings were in pieces. So with things looking a little shabby, plus, me having what is certainly my last baba, I thought this was my last chance to enjoy creating a new room for our baby bear :) I mean the baby would certainly be up in arms if it knew the curtains had holes in them! Wouldn’t you? Yuh see!

So I proceeded :) tra la la la la..

Firstly, let me just say that we kept the owl and the sheriff bunny from the previous nursery – they are too cute and too loved to live in any other home but ours (forever). I got a few prints laser-cut  but the words on the one below are especially for moi…when I feel tired and broken and I’m asking myself what I’ve done…I can read those words and know that tomorrow is a new day, and that even those sleepless nights will eventually pass. Because we all know that perspective eludes us mums sometimes…often.

Baby 3 Nursery_3

How cute are the little moccasins my friend bought me? And the little pine tree cushion!!? Tsaaaaa!!

Good frugal me (hee hee) just re-covered the chair and ottoman and refurbished the old clock. So it wasn’t all new, I re-loved the pre-loved :)

That deserves a chest pump, right?!

Baby 3 Nursery_2

Run wild. My boys are good at that and I have no doubt that this little one will be the same. Boy or girl!

Baby No 3_1

So your room is ready and waiting my little wolf cub! Whenever you’re ready, we’re ready. Your brothers talk about you all the time and promise to give you a dummy when you cry. So loved already, and we only know you as a big ball in mum’s tummy. Have a safe journey little one, we’ll see you soon. The biggest of loves, Mom, Dad, Tom and Will. X

Baby 3 Nursery


Not long to go……..We thought we had better make some memories for probably our last little one. Possibly our last weekend with just the four of us.


Lucky Number 3

You know I’m an Etsy addict right? I sell on Etsy, I buy on Etsy, I love Etsy. It’s just so full of goodness….wholesome goodness. Crafters and artisans making and creating for the love of their craft. Anyway…One of my purchases this year included these cool wooden birds by Anna Wiscombe. They came beautifully wrapped (as all Etsy products do) in this little white box. I opened it and looked at these little creations and did a silent aaaaaawwwwww to myself – as in a aaaaaaaawww-my-little-birdies-so-schweet-agha-man-nunus-I-could-just-eat-you. There were 2 big birdies and 2 little ones, representing our little familia. I couldn’t wait for Jem to get home to show him these creations.

So he arrives home and I show him expecting this absolute appreciation of this ladies artwork and to do a little aaaaaaaaaww out-loud. You know, as men do.


Jem: *pulls deadpan expression* *eyes go slightly glazed*

Me: Hun! Look, it’s our little familia…see two big birdies and two little birdies. Aren’t they soooooo cute?

Jem: *Eyes go big and makes crazy look* *appears to be at a loss for words* *really tries not to exaggerate the crazy look*

Me: Hunni, let’s start again. Let’s pretend you really really really really Ruh-Huh-Heally want to get lucky tonight (not that you will because this is just pretend play right).


Take 2 ——————-

Me: Tadaaaaaaaaaaaa - Look, it’s our little family hunni…see two big birdies and two little birdies. Isn’t it soooooooooooooo cute?

Jem: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwww. *Makes sparkling eyes* *raises eyebrows* *jaw drops* *hand over mouth in astonishment*  These are incredible pieces of art! Where did you get these???????? Such masterpieces! Such beauty! Shall we hang them on the wall now???  *looks at each one with wonderment again*

Me:  :)


Anyway, he got lucky.

And I get to buy another cute birdie :)


Feb 2015.

*laughs nervously*

The end.

Or maybe not.

Just kidding.

I don’t know.



Yeshen Venema Photography