New Orleans 2016

We planned to visit DisneyLand before Hattie turned 3.  Turns out airfare to LA from here is prohibitively expensive… so we decided to drive to Orlando and see some of the southern sights.  Our first stop was Covington and New Orleans.  We visited NO and got to visit John and Jen for a couple nights.  Jeff also got some work in at the office there.  We had fun!

We started with beignets at Cafe Dumont.  We decided to sit down (as all they serve is drinks and beignets) and made a giant mess eating our way through some delicious breakfast treats.

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After walking around the French Quarter a little, and a quick picture at Bourbon Street, we headed to a Steamboat ride down the Mississippi.  It was a great trip and the girls had fun eating delicious chips and seeing the paddle plug away through the water.

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The next day the girls and I went swimming at the Club with Jen and her kids, had lunch.  And then later went to their super cute house for dinner.  The kids played Mario Kart and we enjoyed some delicious tacos.  And I, sadly, only took these few pictures!  Too busy catching up!

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Fun coincidence.  On our way out of Covington we stopped at Chic-Fil-A for lunch and ran into Jen and the kids, again!  The kids played for a long time together in the play place and we got to chat a little longer before heading to the coast.  Off to Destin, FL.

While driving to Destin we took a couple stops.  First in Gulfwater, and walked the beautiful white beach for a little bit.  Then we stopped at Beauvoir the home of Jefferson Davis.  We took a walking tour, and ran into a whole TON of Pokemon players.

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We arrived at our hotel in Destin, and we noticed a ton of families on the beach with flashlights.  We figured we would head down to the beach and see what was happening.  Turns out, at night, all these little white crabs come out and people were trying to catch them.  the girls had a great time catching them, and then watching the fireworks afterwards over the water.

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The next day was spent boogie boarding in the waves of the perfect Gulf temperature water.  A nice lady gave us her boards as she was leaving and the girls had a lot of fun playing all day long in the water and the waves.  We will definitely be returning, it was a great place to play.

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After all the fun in the sun it was time to head towards Orlando and our theme park fun.  We arrived after dinner to Orlando and decided to go into Universal Studios for a few of the rides that Hattie would want to ride, along with one or two runs on the Hogwarts ride.  An hour of fun time before the park closed and before we started some serious ride riding and walking around!

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Hello Houston!

We arrived in our new home and had to start getting things prepared immediately.  the first, unscheduled, order of business was disabling the alarm… as it wouldn’t stop going off when we entered the house.  We were spending the first night in a hotel, so we would have a little time to get mattresses, and food and dishes.  All our items were in transit from either California or Angola.  Our first nights in the house looked like a crazy slumber party.

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We all got haircuts, mine included chopping off 12 inches of hair!

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We celebrated the 4th of July with KC and Paul and had a fun swimming, BBQ, ice cream afternoon.  Hattie greatly enjoyed her ice cream!


We started the process of building our pool, found a couch that we both loved, and got the cutting table for my sewing room.  All the important things!  I also spent some time creating a paper box table to judge the size of my future kitchen table, not super steady, but good for visualization.

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We went to our first MLB game of the season and watched the Astros beat the A’s in walk off, depressing style.

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Kelly visited for a week (that was extended due to ridiculous delays) and Gerry came for the weekend.  The only lousy picture I got was this one of Gerry hanging pictures for us.  Love the extra hands.


Grandma took advantage of the country proximity and sent new clothes and new shoes.  We got free meals for dressing up like cows and we also enjoyed going to a movie when we wanted to just because we could!

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A whirlwind of things that just kept going as we tried to settle in as fast as possible.

Saying Goodbye to Monte Belo

Ok, it is now the end of November and I haven’t been caught up at all… so here we go, are you ready for some serious posting?  Let’s see if I can catch up at all, and get our journaling back on track!

So we spent a lot of June saying goodbye to people, rounding up the end of the year and packing up the house.  I tried to document it as much as possible, but sometimes moments just pass you by!

We had the last week of school.  Which included a MB party with friends and a lot of fun things at school.  The girls had great teachers this year, they continued to love school, learned and grew so much, and had a good year!

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We also had a Kindergarten graduation party.  It was small this year, so many people left as soon as school ended, so we had just a couple kids, but had a fun time anyway!

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We had our lsat game night with our favorite families, and celebrated Molly’s birthday early with water slides, water balloons and lots of fun.

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The big girls headed to LIS sports camp.  We had a couple good playdates (including the last ones with Varvara and Henry, so sad).

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We had our last week at church, I took a couple pictures of the neighborhood and the building.  We also had one last dinner with President and Sister Merrill, we sure miss them a lot.

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We had some fun with the families who were left for the first of summer.  We had dinner at the new restaurant on the Ilha, and the kids played on the beach for a long time.  These were the best neighbors ever, when else will I be able to just walk into my neighbor’s home and sit, or cook, or visit, and not worry?  We also spent a good amount of time clearing out the food in our freezers.  The creative meat oriented dinners we had those last few weeks were impressive!  We got to spend some of the time watching Manimal with Edgar and Lina… hilarious!

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Hattie played a fun balloon game with Rosa and a balloon, she sure is going to miss her one on one spoiling from Rosa.  (Also, I have pictures of our family with Rosa and Afonso, but cannot find them… coming soon).  And we had our last day with Agosto, he was my favorite relief driver, and we had quite a few of them.

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We spent the afternoon walking around taking some pictures of Monte Belo.  Our home of 4 years, crazy!

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Packing up was surprisingly easy, but the buildup was stressful.  The amount of stuff that we collected in 4 years?!?!  Unbelievable!  But a lot of sales, giveaways and trash later we packed up everything that was left and said “Hope to see you soon.”

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The kids had to keep busy, so we used every tattoo left from every party and holiday.  They were quite the sight!  We also ate delicious candy from a missionary who came back to visit.  Yay, Elder Rush!  We also got to swim at Ms. Amanda’s pool whenever we wanted.

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We took our last walk around the compound.


And then it was time to say goodbye and take our last trip to the crazy airport and start on our new adventure.  we had a whole section to ourselves… couldn’t ask for more  privacy than a section of a plane for you and your best friends!

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The car they sent to pick us up (because of all our luggage) was a party van… crazy!  Then off to our new house in Houston, and the start of the crazy process of moving in.


June Extras- 2016

Some extra items that didn’t need a whole separate post.

Somehow this picture got stuck in the wrong file, so it should be in May… but here are the pictures of Violet losing her second front tooth… it was just hanging on by a disgusting thread… and she finally let us pull it out!

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My friend Faadiyah hosted a going away party, and we all wore headscarfs during lunch… I also made a ridiculous cream cheese berry bundt that was delicious!

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We had playdates galore… Violet and Nadia had a playdate pretty much every single day (at whatever house they wanted, with any item not packed up) and had too much fun!  Hattie even had Kirsten come play one day.  The park is a common meeting place, and the girls just had to collect friends on their way to the park, so much fun!

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We flew paper airplanes off the patio one night while waiting for friends to come for dinner.  The girls loved it, and I got a bit of exercise going up and down the stairs over and over again!


We had our last ballet class with the amazing Ms Amanda.  We sure will miss her and her fun classes.

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So many little things amongst the bigger things.  We sure had a fun month!

Sports Day Spring 2016

Sports Day happened the second day of movers in our house.  Because it was Violet’s first time participating we wanted to make sure to go and cheer and watch.  But the movers were packing the kitchen, so Jeff went to be the parental figurehead, so I could stay and make sure it all got packed up.  He had fun trying to watch both girls at the same time, juggle Hattie and take pictures, all while socializing with the other Moms!  The girls had a great time and loved all the new events (and old ones)!  The only one that Violet didn’t like was the potato sack races, apparently she fell a couple times and wasn’t happy about it.  But the rest of the events were fun and they did a great job!  Time for the photo dump!

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Occupational Dress Up Day

The Year 1 classes had a dress up day and all the kids were supposed to dress up like what they want to be when they grow up.  I was expecting a lot more ballerinas, baseball players and the like, but there were a lot of great goals and ideas in those little kids (mixed in with rock star, fashion designer and professional wrestlers).  Violet dressed up as (my approximation) of a geologist.  She was freaking adorable!  Sophie took my camera to school and was my photographer.

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Violet had a bag filled with clipboards, pens, a bag of rocks, a hammer and a magnifying glass.  She was pretty adorable in her hard hat and “geologist” sandals!  Kindergarteners are the best, cutest things!


May Madness 2016

Sorry, these posts are just all about catching up, and I think, with this post, I will have accomplished my goal!

May was full of a lot of school activities, so bare with me and the random thoughts.

We started by visiting Sophie’s classroom for summative assessment presentations, for their Unit of Inquiry, How Things Work, inventions and simple machines.  She had created a page turner and something that kept the water off her book… it didn’t work, but it was fun to see her try to make something unique… not many of the inventions worked well!  They also made cars to race and Stella and Sophie and Raven made a pulley system as well.

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Violet got to have Duffy visit the house and he needed a fun afternoon at the park with all the MB friends.  We love these kids!


There was a PE assembly at the school.  The Year 1 classes danced the Whip and Nae Nae with exercise thrown in, some push ups, some jumping jacks, it was adorable, and the whole auditorium was cheering for them and singing along.  So cute!  Sophie was picked to play a volleyball related game, and I didn’t get pictures of her playing as there were a bunch of Year 5 kids playing badminton in front of me… but she was all ready to go in her pinny!

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For Mothers Day the girls with Jeff’s help made me an upside down apple cake.  It was delicious.  Love those girls and that they made me a momma… they are such a joy!

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I made Hattie a pillow, it turned out cute, and has You are my Sunshine on it, which was the song we always sang at nap time.  She sleeps with it every night, and it was such an easy project.  Sometimes I forget how easy it is to make my kids feel special… it doesn’t have to be a big thing.


We had to get all our handicrafts stamped at the Ministry of Culture and Heritage (or something like that).  They stamped every single piece of my nativity… hoping the stamps are an easy removal… crazy!


The girls celebrated Africa Day at school, and I made them all cute new tops… so fun, easy and adorable.  Hattie didn’t want to be left out!

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We continued having game night, and Hattie made herself at home at the Oudtshoorn’s drum set.  She loves it, plays it every time she sees them!


We also had Spring Fair at the school.  Lots of games, food and sun.  Always a hot day.  But the kids sure love it!

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May was a blur of activities and getting prepped for the movers.  They show up on June 6th!  Coming right up!

April 2016 Odds and Ends

A few things that are random and don’t fit with the other posts of the month.

There was a while there that our water was just disgusting… filled up the tub partway and just had to drain it, made me a little sick to my stomach.  New filters and a tank cleaning and we were back in business a week later.  TIA (This is Africa) baby!


Worked on my La Passacaglia quilt a little emote, finished another cog/rosette/piece of the puzzle.  Super happy!

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Hattie dressed up just about everyday, usually in a princess dress, but this day we got a tutu and a super hero cape… love that cutie girl!


Started selling off loads of items in the house in prep for moving… and then sent our first bag back with a friend to live in Houston… things are getting real people!

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 We had another game night with our game buddies, and I actually remembered to take a picture of the kids watching a movie.  Always fun, man we are going to miss these guys!

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Our last day of bus duty ended with Mia giving Hattie a ride around the playground, one last time!


Sophie found a recipe in the Friend Magazine and made us dessert one Sunday night, apple dumpling tarts… delicious!


A New Adventure

While we were in Mauritius we were told of Jeff’s new position.  We are moving to Houston!    This decision came with a lot of back and forths, as we had really been hoping to stay expat while the kids are used to it, young and we are still loving it!  But we also believe that we are not the only ones who know best, and we are willing to trust that we are supposed to be headed to Houston next.  The good parts: we get to live in our new home, finally!  And it is a GREAT new job for Jeff.  So we can’t argue about any of that!  We are frantically planning and organizing life and our stuff to get ready for this new move.  We should be returning stateside at the end of June!


Happy Birthday to Me!

For my actual birthday we got to watch Violet during her assembly, but that night we decided to go out for dinner… a lot of the husbands had come home early to watch the assembly, so we knew we could get to the restaurant as soon as it opened.  It was so nice to go out on a weekday, we never do that here, everyone wakes up so early!  It was a lot of fun… and we ate cake, so that was delicious!  (Side note about my poor cake… I was so excited, it was a delicious berry cake with a cooked buttercream frosting, but everything went wrong, the cake broke apart, the frosting didn’t stay smooth, and it just looked ridiculous, luckily it tasted really good… but I was so sad I had worked on it all day and it wasn’t working out… this might be why I shouldn’t make my own birthday cakes!)  We took over most of the inside of Fazendeiros, 10 adults and 11 kids!

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Saturday my friends threw me a brunch, and it was, also, a lot of fun, good company and delicious food!  We started at 11 and it just kept going until 4:30-5!  We chatted a lot, the kids played on the trampoline and all around, and then we found two tornado bottles from Aaron’s birthday party and the adults started racing them.  It sounds utterly ridiculous, except it was a whole lot of fun, and competitive!  Crazy, but I think it shows how much fun we have just being together and chatting and laughing for hours.  I was so glad to extend the birthday celebration to keep playing with friends.  We ended the day having dinner with President and Sister Merrill and their daughter who was in town for the week.  We had such a great week with all the people here we love.

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