Thursday, 26 July 2012

My darling tormentor

Aisha (2) had been carrying on for about 15 minutes. She lay shrieking and screaming; while writhing and contorting her body.

I stood and stared at her for a long while , then sat down sighing a mournful sigh. Which is when she abruptly stopped her tirade and said apologetically, '' I'm sowwy (sorry) mommy''.

I went over to her and lay my head in her chest. Seeking comfort. From a 2-year old. (Because my own mother was nowhere nearby to comfort me and tell me that this is all normal and that I am not the worst mother in the world.)

For a while, she tousled my hair and rubbed my cheek lovingly. Reassuringly.

''I love you, mommy. You are a cute girl.'' she murmered.

Right back at ya, my terrifying little darling.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Weaning attempt No. 574 - Aunty N's offer of Smarties

Late Sunday afternoon I was home preparing for iftaar when the kids burst through the door from a visit to their grandmother and aunt.

''Aisha, tell mommy what Aunty N. said! Tell her!'' yelled an excited Tharaa (10).

Aisha (2) recited her response (they'd clearly been coaching her in the car), '' Aunty N. said she'll give Aisha Smarties.''

''If?'' they all asked in unison.

''If Aisha doesn't drink boobies anymore,'' she reluctantly added.

''And are you going to ask for boobies tonight?'' I asked, not getting my hopes up.

''No, no more boobies! Aisha is getting Smarties!!'' she yelled gleefully.

Now try to understand what a breakthrough that was. She has never ever been able to utter those words. It must have been like me saying, ''No, no more chocolate!'' Just downright painful.

And so it went on for the rest of the evening. With us constantly checking and rechecking if she had changed her mind.

By bedtime, which is her main boobie-time, she was still sticking to her guns. I was slowly becoming excited. Was this it? Had my era of disturbed sleep due to breastfeeding finally ended?

I lay next to her as usual. But instead of facing her to breastfeed her, I turned my back to her. She was restless. She tossed and turned, chattering to herself. I was starting to become nervous, but remained hopeful. Never before had she lain next to me at bedtime for so long without demanding to be nursed. And then, in a small voice, she whispered, ''Mommy, booby please.''

At first I pretended not to hear her. Then she repeated her request. Feigning excitement, I reminded her, '' Remember what Aunty N said? She'll give you Smarties if you stop asking for boobies. Isn't that exciting?'' (That is exciting to her, since she's never been given an entire box of Smarties - I normally ration them strictly).

But she continued to tug at my pyjama top. I started to panic. And then I added, '' Aunty N will give you Smarties and Maama will give you a pretty dress.'' What was I doing? But I was feeling desperate and she had clearly shown that she'd be more likely to respond to bribes from other people - so I got a bit carried away.

''And granny will give you pretty hair clips,'' I added, fully realising that we would have to buy said dress and hair clips and give these to Maama and Granny to give to her.

She said nothing more for about 2 minutes, but continued to toss and turn miserably. Then the tugging began once again.

I turned to her and decided to sing to her, while rubbing her back. This had always calmed Shakeel (13) and Nuha (7), so maybe it would work on her too. I sang and hummed, stroking her softly down her back and tousling her hair. She lay still for 5 minutes when suddenly and really definitively, she pronounced, ''That's enough. Now booby please.''

Again, I tried to entice her with the same offers of gifts. Then followed an exasperated sigh.

''Goodness gwacious (gracious),'' she muttered annoyedly.

''What was that?'' I asked, not sure if I'd heard correctly.

''I don't want Smarties,'' she stated. '' I don't want a pweddy dwess (pretty dress). I don't want hair clips.'' And then she added for good measure - as if to preclude me from attempting to sweeten the deal any further, ''And I don't want pom poms, I don't want a necklace and I don't want clockit (chocolate). I WANT BOOBIES!!!!!

And - that's what she got. I could no longer argue with her. I knew that I'd lose.

And few seconds after latching - as if she'd been administered a general anaesthetic per nipple - her eyes closed, her body grew limp and heavy and she was sound asleep.

So thanks Aunty N. Nice try. But I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I may have to visit a fifth-grade Aisha at school during break-time in order to give her her fix.

And, somewhere out there, her future therapist beams delightedly at the prospect of repeat business.

Thursday, 19 July 2012


So now thankfully, you've caught up with me in age. 39! I cannot think of anyone who has grown as much as you have over the past few years. It's as if you have just emerged from your cocoon and the result is a splendid admirable human being.

You are my polar opposite. I am only just starting to understand you. Because we are so completely different, I am able to learn and draw from your strengths.

Unlike me, you couldn't care less what people think about you (especially not negative people). You have never let others' opinions hold you back, which is why you have embarked upon so many projects and tried so many things about which others would perhaps think, but not have the guts to do. Even when your endeavours end in failure, you have the ability not to let that failure define or negatively affect you. Within no time, you are dusting yourself off and trying again. Nothing can hold you back.

As someone who is driven/ restricted/ crippled by other people's opinions, I admire your who-gives-a-crap attitude. Your courage makes you do things other men wouldn't (like wearing that pink shirt to work this morning - eish, that took guts).
A part of you to which I could never relate, was your positivity. As a glass-half-empty type of person, your optimism scared me. Until I started to understand it's value. How it causes you to soar. To do things others won't. To live without regret.
In our years together we have battled through what seemed like endless obstacles. I remember a time we didn't even have taxi fare for you to get to work. At times like those I'd become despondent. You, on the other hand, just forged ahead. Where one door would close, you'd bang down another.  I remember a friend of mine talking about someone having married money. I, on the other hand, knew that I had married potential. The faith I lacked in myself, I had in you. I always knew deep down that you were capable of awesomeness.

And awesome you have turned out to be. With a mixture of envy and admiration I watch how, when  presented with a challenge, you are able to - after careful analysis - emerge with a workable solution. You are the person to whom people turn in times of uncertainty. A natural born leader.

You cannot resist the urge to problem-solve. When someone found himself homeless, you gave him a place to stay. I remember one day before we were married, we had finally managed to secure some time together, when I noticed you were really edgy. Something was clearly bothering you. And when I looked around, I saw a guy struggling to change his tyre. You could not rest until you had helped him. [Didn't do much for my sense of self-worth though].  You were the guy who could not drive past anyone who was stuck alongside the road. You had to stop to assist. [I blame your time in the scouts for that].
Through you, so many people who had been unemployed with no future prospects, now have the skills with which to build a future. I'm talking about Witness, Elliot, Ronald, John, Hashim etc etc, all of whom came to you with no real employments prospects, but who now, thanks to your training, are able to go out into the world and forge lives for themselves with your blessing and encouragement.

Whoever said that only women have the ability to multi-task, clearly has not met you. You have your day job as a B.A. and your after-hours job as a panelbeater/spraypainter.

From what I've heard, you excel at both. I don't know much about your day job, but the oohing and aahing of your spraypainting clients are sufficient indication as to your talents in this area, (in which you are self-taught). I've witness you transforming rusty broken crappy vespas into this:

Just like last week, when you taught yourself how to do airbrushing using just the internet. You transformed drab old motorbike parts (of which I don't have the ''before'' pictures) and produced something amazing.

Here is the work-in-progress
THE END RESULT ( which one unfortunately cannot capture properly on camera, since it is difficult not to catch one's reflection in the shiny paintwork)

(Isn't that amazing? Did I mention that he's self-taught?)

I admire your abilities and respect your opinions (except when they clash with mine, in which case they're just stupid). You have the ability to simplify and shed light upon the most complex matters, making you the one to whom many turn with their problems.

One of the most valuable lessons I've gained from knowing you is to not let negative words about others pass one's lips. I have become aware of how easily - and often - people (no, not just women) pass negative comments behind each other's backs. It is second nature to many (including me). Yet, no matter how bizarre a person's actions may be, once that person leaves the company, you will usually be the only one who won't comment on the person's behaviour in his/her absence. You constantly warn us against being judgemental and acting morally superior, because gossiping about another person's flaws/sins is often as bad (or worse) than the deed/sin about which one is gossiping.

I appreciate how you are not afraid to show how you feel. You don't care about being macho (which brings me back to the pink shirt [kidding]). You are not afraid to tell people how important they are to you. Like this morning, when you said how happy you are to have me as a wife. To be on the receiving end of such validation, is priceless.


                B.A. BY DAY, SPRAYPAINTER BY NIGHT!!!!!


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

When we hurt our kids in order to protect them

About a year ago we hired a friend of Mo's to paint the house. This guy, Fadil, brought along his assistant, John, who would eventually take over the whole job, as Fadil had had other commitments.

A few days into the project John stayed away for a few days. Mo called his friend to find out what was happening. It turned out that John had broken up with his girlfriend, with whom he co-owned a house, and was thus sleeping on the streets.

As I'd expected, Mo offered John a place to stay. In exchange John did odd jobs around the house. Very often there was nothing for him to do and the poor guy, in his attempt to earn his keep, would become creative in my little garden. The problem was that, although we were providing him with a place to stay (including meals), we didn't always have the money to pay him for the odd jobs he was doing (and obviously he needed money for cigarettes etc), since the services of a full-time handy-man had never really been part of our budget.

So, as a favour to him, Mo decided to get him painting or handy-man jobs at the homes of friends/family, since John truly is skilled and creative in that regard. Mo also offered to teach him to panel-beat (Mo's panel-beats and spraypaints motorcycles and vespas as a second/evening job in our backyard). In this way John could earn money from outside jobs or, if there were none available, he could assist Mo (and he would then be paid once Mo was paid by the client).

The problem was that John was reluctant to work away from our home. We'd arrange jobs for him but after a day, we'd find him sanding bike parts when he was supposed to be working elsewhere. This became stressful for Mo, as it entailed him having to take on jobs he had no time to do after work, which left him exhausted (and cash-strapped, since materials [such as sandpaper and paint] had to be paid for upfront).

But he didn't mind. John was wonderful to have around. He and Mo were fast becoming friends, the kids loved him, I felt safe having him around when Mo was at work and even our grumpy pet quaker parrot called out his name happily when he walked past.

He had had an exciting life before meeting us. We often benefitted from his past experiences - he had been a really good sportsman in his day, so when Tharaa participated in the inter-school athletics, he was the one who coached her. He promised to take Shakeel to the nets to practice cricket as soon as the weather improved. He had so many ideas for landscaping my little garden, which he was also looking forward to doing once summer arrived.

Everything was going well. Although we often had people working for Mo (panel-beating or doing the mechanical repairs on the vespas), we had never had anyone this loyal. We trusted him implicitly. Mo would send him to the ATM to draw money from Mo's account and, at one point, he had the key to the spare room, which leads into our house from outside.

He had become part of the family. For Father's Day, the kids bought him an electric razor.

A few months ago things started to change. Mo noticed that he was not doing the work that he'd promised to do. Or he'd do it so poorly that Mo had had to re-do it after coming from work. I noticed that he was sleeping for the better part of the day. He was hardly spending any time on Mo's work.

But we said nothing. Perhaps it was a phase.

Then a few weeks ago we went a way for the weekend. He offered to stay at our home (and not go to Mitchells Plain as he usually did on weekends), despite the fact that we said it was not necessary. But he insisted and we were grateful. He asked if his girlfriend (whom he'd been dating for about 3 months) could stay over at our place  for the weekend as well and we agreed.

On the day we were about to return from the holiday (Sunday), Mo charged his phone, which had been off for most of the Saturday. To his surprise, John had been leaving messages all of Saturday night. They stated that he needed money, despite the fact that Mo had left him money before we left (They often arranged for him to receive money ahead of time - we knew that we could trust him to complete the work). The messages were being sent every 5 minutes. Some of them stated that his girlfriend desperately needed money.

On Sunday, when Mo tried to call him, he didn't answer. Instead he sent Mo a very hostile angry message. This was both surprising, hurtful and completely out of character for him.

For the next few days he and Mo avoided each other. He continued to live by us, but Mo was no longer asking him to work.

Slowly over the next few days the reason for his erratic behaviour was revealed. Mo often hired people to assist with the work - sometimes because of the workload, but (more recently) also because John was not delivering as promised. One by one, these guys approached Mo and delivered the awful explanation.

John had become addicted to tik (Methamphetamine). He was smoking it in his room at the back and in the bathroom they shared. He kept the pipe (which I later learned, is known as a tik lolly) tucked under the outside electricity box. Right where my kids often play.

This explained so much. Why he slept so much and was unable to work. His erratic and out-of-character behaviour the weekend of our trip. And his desperation for money that weekend.

We were shocked. And hurt.

A few days later he and Mo decided to have a discussion. He thought it was about their disagreement, so he started off with an apology. But Mo informed him that the problem was so much bigger. We knew about his tik addiction.

At first he'd denied it feebly, but then, he'd just sat there as Mo had presented all the evidence. Then he'd apologised. Mo had told him that we needed a few minutes to think about what to do next.

Initially, immediately upon finding out, we had not thought about sending him away. We had immediately started trying to figure out how to cope with his addiction. But, as the days passed, (and upon speaking to more clear-headed people who had no emotional involvement with him) it had dawned upon us that, sadly, he might have to move.

Still, when Mo walked into the house after speaking to him, I was not comfortable with the idea of simply putting him out. It was a stormy freezing morning. The thought of him wandering the streets in that weather was too much to bear.

So we decided to call some community leaders for an opinion. It was agreed. He had to go. We had to think of our kids' safety. According to them, tik  affects one mentally. It made people aggressive. The person we knew was about to change due to his addiction. He could no longer be trusted.

In addition, he had disrespected us. He had taken drugs on our premises, near our kids. He had kept the pipe within easy reach of the kids. He had kept drugs on our premises, which placed us in danger - what if the police had gotten wind of it? Apparently he had also brought a friend over to smoke with him, which means that he had had no regard for our safety.

We were also told to think of the message we were sending our kids by letting him stay. The older kids knew he was using tik. Did we want to send the message that drug use carried no serious consequences? The kids needed to see that we would in no way tolerate or support this. That drug use could result in one losing everything - a message they would not get if we continued to give him a place to stay.

So, heartbroken, Mo informed him of our decision. He promised John that he need never go hungry - we would be willing to feed him should he ever approach us, but he could no longer live here.

His reaction was indicative of his true nature. He said  that he understood. As each of us hugged and said our teary goodbyes, he comforted us! I started to doubt whether we'd made the right decision - he was such a good person. But Mo reminded me that our family was no longer safe with him living here and that we had to put our family first.

Shakeel (13) was inconsolable and angry with us. He lay under the covers crying. John had to come inside to comfort him and say goodbye.

Mo got John to contact his (John's) son. They were to meet 2 days later, when John would inform him that he was, once again, homeless. In the meantime Mo asked if he could drop John off at a shelter. Or with family (We recently met his 4 grown kids, one of whom had worked with us at a financial services company a few years ago and another was a sports administrator). He refused the offer, saying that he'd be okay.

When Mo dropped him off at the station, John apologised. He said that he felt worse about hurting us than he would have if we'd been his actual family; that we had been strangers who had opened our home to him and he'd abused that. But Mo said that he did not want an apology. All we wanted was for him to get help for his addiction before it was too late. He promised to do so.

We want him to heal. He still has so much to offer. He is an amazing, kind and talented person. If he loses himself to this addiction, it will really be a tragedy.

I think of him guiltily while lying under my warm covers during these freezing winter nights. I wonder where he is spending the night; if he's warm and dry. I feel guilty at mealtimes. I wish I knew if he has enough to eat.

Never again will I sit in condescending judgment of parents who are finding it difficult to send away their drug-addicted kids. If we're feeling this bad for a man whom we just met a year ago, how must they feel? BUT I realise that it must be done; that enabling is destructive to the addict and his/her family. I just have so much more sympathy and compassion for parents in this position than I'd had before.

The kids have been coming to terms with our decision. But, like us, they worry about him on cold nights. They have witnessed first-hand, the pain resulting from drug addiction, But sadly, this lesson came at the expense of someone about whom they care dearly.

I hope and pray that the Almighty keeps him safe. That he overcomes his addiction so that his life and health can be restored.  And that our kids have learned from his grave mistake.

Did we make a mistake in the way we dealt with this situation? Did we perhaps overreact?

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Early morning skirmishes

When I pictured the first morning back at school, I'd pictured teary goodbyes, with Mo having to pry my claws off my kids as they walked to the car dragging their clingy deranged mother along while she screamed , '' My babies! Don't leave meeeeee!!''

I'd pictured us all speaking to each other lovingly all morning, as we enjoyed our last few moments in one anothers' company.

But no such luck.

The kids were irritable. They had awoken tired because they had, probably owing to first-day nerves, lain awake until really late.

They had gotten into bed at their usual time and performed their beginning-of-term ritual of recording a message for their cell phone alarm (in the hopes that waking up to something funny and outrageous would be more pleasant than waking up to the usual beeping of an alarm clock). After a few takes and numerous arguments over whose voice was the funniest in their morning-greeting alarm message, they settled down, satisfied at last that this message was so hilarious that it would have them leaping out of bed joyfully each morning (but probably knowing full well from experience that, by next week, the very sound of their excited happy voices alerting them to the need to leave their warm beds, would make them want to toss the phone into the toilet).

So from about 20:00 they had lain in bed, but sleep was elusive. Fortunately, Nuha (7) managed to fall asleep by past nine, but the other two tossed and turned for another hour and a half (at least).

Last night Aisha (2), as if sensing that something stressful was happening, had been really clingy. At 22:00 she was still sitting on my lap demanding that I read her favourite books, when Shakeel (13) jumped out of bed, rushed to us and flung his arms, first around me and then his little sister, telling us how much he loved as and would miss us. I was touched by the sentiment - and the fact that he had inherited his mother's dramatic nature.

But this morning expressions of warmth and love were nowhere to be found. They snapped at each other rudely and argued incessantly. Shakeel bossed Tharaa (10) about, while Tharaa did the same to Nuha.

Until I stepped in and reminded them about how important it was to be kind and respectful to each other - especially since we would not be spending the day together and anything could happen. And how the tone for one's day could be set in the mornings, which means that a stressful morning could result in an unpleasant day.

After this they wandered about their business more quietly (though still sombrely). The fact that Shakeel's school shoes are nowhere to be found, we took in our stride. I simply wrote a note to the teacher apologising for him wearing sneakers to school and promising that his shoes would be found during the course of today. (Which could be a virtually-impossible task with Aisha's new game of hiding our belongings in unusual places, like car keys in the grocery cupboard).

So we said our goodbyes mournfully, with each child giving me a long lingering hug. But ashamedly, I have realised that the drama of our goodbyes and the sadness of our separation from one another should be kept in perspective, especially after Elizabeth, our domestic worker returned yesterday, after having said teary goodbyes to her children (aged 14 and 7), whom she will only see in December again, since they live in the Eastern Cape.

At least I still have little Aisha to fill my days with joy - or distress - depending on her mood.

And now, as I wait for her to awaken, I say a little prayer that she does so happily, that all my kids have a wonderful day (and term) ahead and, most importantly, that none of them inherit their mother's wimpish clinginess.

Making the most of the last few moments

It's the last night before the first day back at school. Mere hours before the end of a lovely holiday. The kids are a trying to squeeze every last bit of enjoyment out of the remaining minutes (before bedtime).

Shakeel (13) and Tharaa (10) have indicated that they're a bit nervous for tomorrow. I must admit that I am too. Being left alone with 2-year old Aisha will not be easy.  

Right now, we're all cosying up in front of the TV, watching old comedies and munching on hot buttery popcorn.

Simply savouring the moment.

I am really going to miss these guys tomorrow.

Friday, 13 July 2012

While I watch the clock

When I was working full-time, I was the type of employee who would execute instructions just as soon as they were issued, complete duties before they were due and just generally be on top of things. In my personal life I'm the exact opposite - I am the worst procrastinator ever.

You might know that Muslims fast during the month of Ramadaan. We fast for the entire month except days we are sick or when women have their period. These days have to be 'repaid' (by fasting)before the next Ramadaan. The more disciplined and sensible of us will do it as soon as possible - some women repay their days owing immediately after the Ramadaan. I admire those women...

..because I am one of those women who leaves the repayment until a few days before the next Ramadaan. I keep putting it off for another time - there is always an excuse to postpone it (summer-time, kids' exams, Aisha (2) teething etc etc). As a result, I end up fasting my days owing RIGHT BEFORE the actual fasting month starts.

That is exactly what is happening this year. Ramadaan starts next Saturday, 20 July 2012 and I have been fasting for the past three days. I will take a break this weekend (oh, because that's another one of my usual excuses) and then resume fasting the remaining 3 days next week again - leaving me with only two days to prepare physically for the fast. As usual I feel like punching myself.

But, on a positive note, I have been starting to feel so much better since starting my fast. Remember my healthy eating programme about which I was bragging a few weeks ago? Well, that pretty much ended soon after it began. Although I must say, I still incorporate the vegetable and protein dishes into my daily diet, unfortunately I have also increased my intake of chocolates and chips (oooh chips - I'm so hungry right now with 3 more hours to go until iftaar, when I can break my fast).

In fact I had been starting to feel really bloated and uncomfortable. I had heartburn all the time - I stopped wearing a bra because it made the burning sensation unbearable by making me want to puke.

For the first day of my fast, the burning sensation was still there. I drank 750 ml of water the morning, as well as my green tea and then another 750ml after iftaar, followed by another two mugs of herbal tea over the next few hours. I also increased my portions of veggies, fruit and protein (slightly).

Believe it or not, both the burning sensation and bloated feeling had vanished yesterday (day 2) and after supper I felt so good that I had enough energy to return to the gym  (after a few disgusting lazy weeks). Don't get me wrong - I still feel hungry enough to eat my own hand, but at least I feel healthier, lighter and more energised than the duracell bunny.

Once again, I'm trying very hard to reduce - though not eliminate completely - my intake of sugar. It really is challenging for me, but now that I'm getting out of the rut into which I keep falling, I'm feeling more motivated.

And on that positive note - let me return to what I was doing before I started this post - staring at the clock.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

So this is what they've been up to

You might have noticed that I've been rather quiet since the start of the school holidays, since this is a period we stay-at-home moms spend all of our time feeding kids, cleaning poo, refereeing arguments and listening to complaints (especially the nerve-grating whine, ''I'm bored. There's nothing to do'')

But, happily, we have had many special moments this holiday. Here are some of the activities with which we have been busy this June holiday.

Playing with our furry and feathery friends

 Being delighted by visits from friendly sparrows

Visiting neighbouring dorpies (small towns)....
Victoria Dam in Paarl

View from the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve

....where we sang and danced in the rain

We also went away for the weekend as described here . And when we got back home we spent time writing and drawing about the highlights of that lovely (albeit much-too-short) getaway.

 We also caught up on our reading - though I would have preferred us to do so much more of this activity.

Tharaa (10) became adventurous with her milky art - which she cleaned up as promised.
Tharaa's birth date (written in milk!)

Although we did not spend much time on money-guzzling activities, (like visits to the movies and kiddies shows) the kids have enjoyed their holiday thus far. We are in fact sad that it's nearing its end. We had better savour every remaining second.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Pretty mischievousness

Aisha (2) has, for the past few weeks, been even more obstinate, difficult and argumentative than usual. She refuses to have her nappy changed, to bath or eat regular food - she has no problem eating luxuries sneaked to her by relatives though.

A few days ago she refused to dress in regular clothes although it was freezing. Instead she wanted to wear something 'pweddy' (pretty). Eventually I could no longer fight her, so I opted to capture her cuteness/ mischievousness on camera instead.


With all the grace of a baby hippo

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Family weekend getaway to Shelley Point

 Along with Mum-in-law, sister-in-law and her family, we spent this past weekend at a luxurious holiday house at a seaside golf estate in Shelley Point. The kids were so excited - they couldn't wait to be with their beloved cousins for every waking moment of the day.

The house has a pool and outside jacuzzi and the kids couldn't wait to hop right in. However after managing to dip a toe into the freezing pool water, Shakeel (13) announced that he would be avoiding the pool altogether and headed straight to the hot tub. The rest of the kids did the same, with Mo being forced to hop in too to act as lifeguard for the littlies.


Our bedroom balcony overlooked the golf course. Absolutely lovely.

  The house is about a five-minute walk from the beach.

Nuha (7)

Tharaa (10)

 Shakeel, our aspiring paleontologist, was convinced that some of the bones on the beach had fossilised. But since he couldn't manage to convince anyone that the rock in his hand was in fact a fossil, he started to look for animal remains on the beach instead. There were so many lying around - he excitedly renamed the beach ''The Boneyard''.


So lovely - I wish I could go back

Mum-in-law a.k.a Maama

Shakeel spent much of his time chasing after the deer and rabbits, which ran about on the estate. (Sadly the pictures he managed to capture of the deer were very blurred). 

Driving back home we couldn't resist stopping off to snap an additional few pics. 

It truly was a wonderful getaway, which sadly seemed to be over within the blink of an eye. I would love to return during the summer.