Catherine and I were in charge of Thanksgiving again this year, and once again I probably stressed myself out more than necessary! But it was a great party, lots and lots of good food, lots of beautiful tables and a lot of fun. This year I had enough time to delegate the kids areas out to others, and it saved me a lot of hassle. Kate took it a step further and didn’t even have tables set up, she taped fabric on the ground and the kids had a picnic, it was perfect! We also had a lot of activities set up and made sure the teenagers knew what they were supposed to do to help (and at the end of the day the got gift cards for their helpful service). We hosted a table with our group of friends, and it was fun to visit, and enjoy their company, as always. We do enjoy our friends quite a lot. We have so much to be thankful for this year (and every year), and it is always nice to take a small break in the business of regular life and remember all that we have been blessed with and the good in our lives.
Hattie has been getting in all kinds of mischief the last little bit, she is such a sneaky little thing, quiet and stealthy! Thank goodness she is just so adorable! She loves playing with the broom, she has an obsession with shoes (she insists on putting them on right away in the morning, and changes them a couple times a day) and she loves pens… which has hurt the many white surfaces in our home… stupid white couches.
Sophie got to go on a field trip to a national art museum (I didn’t know one existed…) and her teacher posted some pictures on the blog, which I love, because she doesn’t tell me much about what she saw or did.
International Day 2014 happened at LIS, always fun, always hot, always SO much good food. There were more booths than usual this year, and that meant more food, and, man, some of those countries went all out. There were dumplings from China, full on meals from Columbia, Israel and South Africa, taquitos, burritos and more from Mexico, beef brisket sandwiches from the USA booth, crepes from Russia, maple cookies from Canada and so much more, that I can’t remember. We always have a good time eating our way through the countries! The girls had a fun time, and dressed in their country colors, and I had to get a shot of Violet and Henry together. Also, a couple shots of the Mexico and China booths!
Our friend Philip celebrated his birthday in early November, and the boys decided to go fishing on the boat to celebrate. They caught a few fish (Jeff caught 2!) and had a good time, so they say!
The next day we had a pool day. The pool opened up again while we were in Mauritius, but man, it had been closed for such a long time, we tried to take advantage of it while it was open! We had a BBQ at the pool, and John had cleaned and marinated the fish for fish tacos. DELICIOUS! Jeff caught the fish, but wouldn’t even try it, lucky for the rest of us, we ate every last bit. Sophie would have eaten a whole fish if she had been given the chance.
The kids loved the pool, and played for hours with their friends. We are just so spoiled here with all our friends at easy access, such little planning to have play dates and fun afternoons with everyone in one place.
We celebrated Halloween the Saturday before the actual holiday, here in MB. The girls were so excited, and all their costumes were ready. Bummer, though, Violet started puking the night before. We knew it was probably the 24 hour bug Jeff had had a couple days prior, and hoped she would feel well enough to make it to the carnival, parade and trick or treating, but unfortunately, not. I tried to get pictures of everyone anyway as they all looked so cute. You can see I had varying results!
Hattie did NOT want to wear that tank on her back, or the mask on her head… and I was so happy with how it all turned out! That picture of Violet is the best smile she gave all night… and Sophie looks very happy, but was just hours away from getting sick herself. I went to the event to take pictures for the photo booth and see my friend, Amanda, perform her aerial routine (super cool). When I returned home Violet was dead asleep in her Zarina costume.
Jeff and I emailed some friends on Monday, and our awesome community her in Angola banded together and allowed my girls to come trick or treating 2 days after the actual event here in MB. So, Monday night, for FHE we went out for a night of fun trick or treating to our friends’ homes. It was pretty fun, and the girls got WAY more candy than they would have otherwise, as everyone was cleaning out their bowls and getting rid of everything. It didn’t help that Hattie figured out the whole trick or treating concept. The door would open and she would walk right into the home beelining for candy. Spoiled little girl, everyone would say, “We can’t say no to that cute face, take as much as you want.” And she did! You can see, though, that she doesn’t look like she is dressed up at all… should have made her cat ears or something as a backup… but I had such high hopes. Also fun, Violet had received glowing wings for her birthday so she got to glow around the neighborhood all evening.
We love our neighbors here in Angola, and how generous and nice they were to allow our girls the opportunity to celebrate Halloween. They had such a great time and man, we felt so grateful to our Angolan family.
Oh, goodness, I have a lot of pictures from us just hanging around Angola, and not enough for any particular post, so here is a photo dump of sorts!
For FHE one night we took the large basket of dead tennis balls to the rec center and had the girls hit balls for a while. Sophie is pretty killer with that bat! Violet is definitely getting better, and Hattie loved running after all the balls for the few hours we played!
There were a whole lot of birthday parties in September, just in MB. We went to Nadia’s tea party and had fun with all the princesses. Violet wore the blue hair that she got as a favor for at least a month afterwards.
We also went to Cameron’s party and the girls found each other and banded together! From left to right: Caitlyn, Vi, Soph, Eva, Ollie Mae, Alexandra.
Violet and Caroline kept each other busy at Bravo Coffee for the few months that Caroline lived here (man we miss her and her momma, and the big girls miss Ollie Mae, something fierce!).
I had quite a few bus duties and those preschool kiddies love “beating” the grownups to the gate.
Violet had a luncheon in her class one day, and while I was visiting with some moms Violet and her 2 BFFs from her class found a quiet corner to watch a movie… it ended quickly when we found them! (Picture of Isadora, Miranda and Vi)
The girls ride the scooters in the car port sometimes, and Hattie would not be denied the fun of playing with her sisters.
A few other fun times around the compound and home.
Lastly, I spent a good while paper piecing a new mini quilt with fabrics Kelly had bought me for Christmas last year… finally found a project to show off the gorgeous solids.
Our days had ALOT of time in the pool and beach time. My girls could have spent every last minute in the water, they are getting to be such little fishies! The pool was beautiful and never super busy, and the beach was fun, the girls played in the sand and shallow inlet forever.
During the afternoon I spent some time at the Trapeze every day, it was a good workout (I was so sore, everyday) and it was fun and different. I got to learn a new trick every session and then if I mastered it we learned a harder one the next day. I also got to do the “catch,” where I would swing, release and catch the guy swinging from the other trapeze… I did pretty good, but the last day trick I just could not get… and totally killed myself trying! It was a lot of fun, and I was bruised up for weeks afterwards, the backs of my knees were quite ugly. Jeff also tried, but did not have as good of luck as I did. At the end of the week, during the Sports Awards, the girls and I got certificates for all the work and tricks we had performed.
One day we did a sailing excursion to the other side of the island (different side than the resort AND from where we had sailed last time we visited). This took us to the Blue Bay and this picturesque island called Ile aux Cerfs that was just beautiful. The water was clear and the sand was white. There was a little inlet from the ocean into the cove and the water slowly came into the area the boats docked. You could just sit there and the water would flow over you, or for those with bigger kids, or no kids, you could start at the entrance and float all the way in, and then walk it and start again. It was fabulous and we could have sat there forever! On the trip we also saw a waterfall, some monkeys and got to snorkel for a little bit. So nice, except that we all got burned on that trip, poor Hattie, her back was just so red…
We thoroughly enjoyed our return visit to Mauritius, just as good as we had remembered it the first time!
For fall break we headed back to Mauritius for a relaxing Club Med vacation. It was pretty dang fabulous, and we had a whole lot of fun relaxing, playing, hanging out and doing all the fun extras that we had available to us. Last time we were here I was pregnant and I couldn’t do a lot of the extra activities.
Most days the kids went to Kid’s Club in the morning, during which they did tennis, archery, trapeze and some swimming. They seemed to really like it (especially as the last time they wouldn’t touch the Kid’s Club with a ten foot pole). They also did some afternoon special activities (like crepe day, or the pirate treasure hunt). The trapeze lady would draw “tattoos” for them while they waited their turns, and near the end she would braid their hair all fancy like. We ended up knowing the trapeze folks pretty well by the end of the week, and one of them, Sean, loved the girls, he said they reminded him of his little sisters. The Kid’s Club workers also would help out up on the trapeze, and were so sweet to my girls. The girls really enjoyed most the activities. After dinner most nights we would head over to the kids activity also, which was sometimes a craft, sometimes a “play” which involved a lot of silly chases, and occasional fart noises (they cater to their audience) and dance parties with crazy DJs. I was so proud of Violet who got up to dance and do most all the activities. That little girl used to never do anything of the sort. But she was just in the middle of things, whether or not Sophie was there with her. She climbed up that trapeze ladder without even hesitating. She is growing up (tear). Hattie spent the mornings with her baby sitter friend. She did great, and had a good time at the beach with the other babies and at the Kid’s Club with her big sisters.
While the girls were playing at Kid’s Club (sometimes with Angola buddies, who happened to be there at the same time as us) Jeff and I would go do all the actives the girls weren’t big enough for. We played tennis, kayaked, took a sailing lesson, and went to the gym.
We would pick the girls up before lunch and eat together. Man, the food there is always good, and the girls branched out from their normal choices of cheesy pasta and fries… though, I will admit, fries were always a part of the meal. We also enjoyed our All-Inclusive froofy drinks, the vanilla coladas were delicious, even Hattie thought so!
More about Mauritius later… Jeff isn’t loving my super long posts!
Sophie participated in Athletics Day on October 8. As always, it was hot and crazy, but it is good to see her compete and have fun with her friends. The fall Athletic day seems to be more about skills, where the spring one seems to be more similar to a field day in the US. Either way, Sophie participated in the hurdles, high jump, long jump, ball tosses, sit-up ball toss and then the mile run. I was worried about her during this one, she isn’t super fast or into the run, she had already complained about it several times. But, though she wasn’t one of the first ones done, she was no where near the last either. I felt really good about that, she ran the whole time and didn’t stop to walk like some of her friends. Some pictures from the day. It is always fun that the preschoolers get to watch for a little bit, and Violet sits there and cheers for her sister.
We celebrated Violet’s birthday the Saturday before she turned 5, it was a concerted effort between 3 of us MB moms, all of whom had kids in the same class group having birthdays within weeks of each other. Violet, like every other 5 year old picked her theme to be Frozen! We decorated with items that we had, snowflakes and delicious “Frozen” themed food.
We started by giving each child either an Elsa crown or Sven antlers, and then after the majority of the kids had arrived we started with our “Do you want to build a snowman” activity… in which they built their own snowmen, with playdoh, carrot noses, goggly eyes, buttons and sticks (that the gardener watched me cut with little kid scissors, he must have thought I was crazy nuts). They loved this, and some kids spent forever on their snow masterpieces.
We had a couple different games, that worked with varying success… there were so many kids that it was hard to have turns, and they just aren’t quite old enough to be patient. But we had pin the carrot on Olaf, Take down Marshmallow the snow monster and tried to play who has the Ice cube (with a plastic diamond) but really, the kids were happy just running around like crazy people and dancing to Frozen songs!
We had cake and the kids devoured every single marshmallow that I had imported from the states… gone in instants! So bummed that group picture is dark… but one day I will lighten it up and it will be fine!
After everyone left we opened presents (as is the norm here). Violet was thrilled with all her goodies, and there were some pretty awesome things in that ginormous stack of goodness.
Happy Birthday dear Violet Ann! We sure love having you around!
I can’t believe that my baby girl is 5! She is turning into such a fun, cute, saucy, sassy little person, and we sure do love her!
She is growing in confidence and really finding herself, and it is so fun to see her grow up and learn new things. A while back Violet and I had a funny conversation:
Violet: I am pretty awesome.
Me: Oh, really, how do you know that?
Violet: I think about what I am. I know it and then I say it!
She is just so funny, I wish I had been so sure of myself at that age!
At Parent Teacher Conference Ms. Memory was telling us about an incident (that I had learned about from Vi and the bus mom of the day) where Violet’s good friend, Isadora, was upset because Violet wanted to sit by some other kids while waiting to get picked up to go home. Isadora had said, “You are my friend, you have to sit by me.” Vi got upset and there was a to-do about it. Which, luckily, disappeared pretty soon, little girls! But Ms. Memory said that Violet has talked about other similar situations with her before. Violet says that she has lots of friends, and that she likes to play with all of them. I loved that she had been so vocal about it, that she discussed the issue with her teacher and together they had decided it was good for Vi to play with lots of different people and friends from all classes. I love that she has so many friends, Monte Belo friends, and school friends, she just has so much energy and she truly loves her friends. These are some pictures of Vi, Nadia and Henry playing before school starts.
Violet is tough, but still sensitive, and gets upset when she has hurt other peoples feelings. But she is so considerate of her sisters and their feelings. I love how she takes care of them and looks after them. Such a sweetheart.
Violet loves the color purple, she always says, “Of course my favorite color is purple… my name!” She also loves to say that Violet means 3 things, “The color, the flower and the name.” Her speech is getting a lot better, her F’s and S’s are more intelligible and she is so much better at self correcting. She also knows all her letters, upper and capital and she can write her numbers, though she reverses a few of them.
We celebrated at school with cupcakes, and it was so fun to see her in her classroom with friends. Her 2 buddies in class this year are Miranda and Isadora. She just raves about them!
Later we had presents and cupcakes at home, just the 5 of us.
Violet is just such a joy and we love her to death, Happy Birthday sweet girl!