Lizards, Owls and Eagle Encounters

Life has been busy lately so I’ve really struggled to find the time to sit down for a proper catch up on my blog. But we’ve been having lots of mini adventures as a family, so I thought I’d share a recent one with you.

Eagleencounters

One of our favourite outings since we moved to the Helderberg is to visit Eagle Encounters. It’s just down the road from us so super convenient and the girls absolutely love going there, so it’s often an option when we just feel like getting out the house, but don’t feel like going too far.

It’s a pure delight to go there with the twins, and no matter how many times we go, they always run around with squeals of delight at seeing all the weird and wonderful creatures. The chatter and comments that follow are so entertaining, and IP and I walk around there with a permanent grin on our face at watching the two of them in their element.

Located on the grounds of the Spier Wine Farm on Baden Powell Drive outside Stellenbosch, Eagle Encounters is a rehabilitation and conservation centre dealing with injured birds of prey. They also have a number of other animals there, such as big lizards, snakes and some farm animals, so there really is something for everyone to enjoy.

eagleamy.jpgAG is especially entertaining and I’m so fascinated by her adventurous spirit in getting up close to the animals. She’s completely fearless when it comes to handling them and especially delights in the snakes and big lizards – much to mommy’s horror! We were super proud of her when she happily put the leather glove on her hand in the eagle owl enclosure and held up her arm for the owl to perch on. And then the huge smile on her face when he sat there eating his snack, is one I will treasure forever. HJ, on the other hand, is the total opposite – she’s fascinated by the animals, but firmly keeps her distance from most of them. She’ll occasionally touch one when prompted, but she’s happy to just observe most of the time.

The staff at Eagle Encounters are friendly and knowledgeable and very hands on with the animals, so if the girls are keen to see the snakes or lizards, inevitably one will be brought out its enclosure and we’re able to see it up close. The one time, the handler brought out the black eagle for us to see, and it was a real treat. He was huge and majestic, and it was amazing to get so close, especially when he stretched out his wings in front of us – which resulted in another grin of pure delight from AG. They also have demonstrations with different birds throughout the day, so it’s fun to catch one of these. There’s a little tip box at the exit, so if one of the staff has been especially helpful, please don’t forget to tip them!

We can highly recommend Eagle Encounters for a family outing, and it’s a great cause to support. You can also donate to their cause via their website and find them on Facebook.

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We’re moving to the mountains and vineyards

I know I’ve been griping a lot lately about how tough things have been with the girls and this toddler phase. But it’s also been a lot of fun, and we have so much to look forward to in the next few weeks as we embark on a new adventure to a new town.

The anticipation is really building in our house as IP and I have started planning the move and we often fantasise about how life will be in our new house.

stellenboschWe have been so happy in Cape Town and in our current house, but since we’ve had the twins we have started to realise how cramped we are getting here, especially as we don’t really have a garden – and this is something the girls desperately need. So we started thinking about all our options and decided that it was time for a radical change – “Let’s move to Somerset West” I said to IP one Sunday morning. It didn’t take much more prompting than that – the next thing I know we’re house-hunting, and a week later we’ve put in an offer on a beautiful house in an estate just outside Somerset West, and a few days later we’ve sold our house in Cape Town.

Phew….everything happened so fast, it was quite overwhelming. Those who know me, know that I’m not a very impulsive person when it comes to making important decisions – quite the opposite to IP – once he makes up his mind there is no turning back. So I had a few moments of panic once I fully realised what was happening. We were moving away from everything we knew, out of our comfort zone, to the unknown! Eeeek!

But now that most of the legalities are out the way (I don’t want to see or speak to another estate agent or attorney for a long time!!!!) we are starting to get super excited for the big move day. We will be closer to my folks who live in Stellenbosch, which is great as I’ll have some more support when IP travels, and it will also be much easier for IP to get to work from there, as he won’t have all the city traffic to contend with. So it’s a win-win.

But with the move come some big changes for the girls. Our nanny won’t be moving with us so they will be starting play school in January. This is a HUGE deal for me and something I’m struggling to let go of. Even though I know they will be really happy there as I can see that they need something more – more stimulation and more interaction with other kids – it will be a big adjustment for them as they have been at home with either me or nanny for the last two years. So they will totally be moving out of their comfort zone as well, which I’m sure will take a while to adjust to.

My work situation will also improve, though, and I’ll actually get to spend more time with the girls, because instead of working three full days a week I’ll be working five half days – so I’ll be there to pick them up from school and have every afternoon with them, which I’m really looking forward to. It will be so great because now we will also be closer to granny and grampa and we can pop in for tea more often, and my mom and I can go shopping and out for coffee like the old days.

Somerset West is also a very young-ish town with lots of young families and there is so much to do with kids there. From our  interactions with the people there through some of the Facebook groups so far we can see that people also seem really friendly and welcoming – quite a change from the notoriously unfriendly Cape Town southern suburbs where we currently live. We’ll also be slap-bang in the middle of the winelands – surrounded by beautiful vineyards and mountains – and have all the wine farms just a short drive away. The beach is also not far. So there will be lots of exploring in our future – lots of fun family adventures to have as we embrace our new surroundings.

It’s going to be a whole new world for us as a family and the start of a new life. I’m always terrified of change, it’s just part of my nature – I hate the unknown! But I know that this move is for the best, and I’m starting to embrace the change.

I can’t wait! Just a few weeks to go and then the adventure can begin!

But first, the packing…oh boy…wish me luck!