Category Archives: Angola

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.


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!


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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Year 1 Assembly

The Year 1 assembly was a bunch of plays put on by each class for the UOI Expressing Ourselves.  Jeff took the afternoon off to come watch Violet, she had a big speaking part, and did such a great job as the Grasshopper in their play about the giraffe who couldn’t dance.  She memorized over 10 lines of the play and recited them loudly and clearly.  She was pretty much the cutest grasshopper ever!

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They ended the play by dancing “Whip and Nae Nae”  which I wish I had recorded as Violet was on stage and totally rocked it out!  The whole auditorium was dancing and singing, it was so funny!  I recorded her during her PE assembly later but she was hard to see, so sad I didn’t catch it all!  So proud of how confident this little girl is becoming!

Field Trip for the Moms!

We had heard there were some ladies out of the city who made and sold baskets for cheap… and we were determined to find them and see what we could get before moving!  All we knew was that it was on the way to the Rio Kwanza, on the right, if you hit the bridge you went too far.  So we took off one morning with sack lunches with our fingers crossed.  We drove and didn’t pay much attention, because we figured the drivers knew what we were looking for and would let us know if they saw something that might be promising.  We made it to the bridge, asked directions and realized that we had passed the baskets by about 20 minutes!  We had been having too much fun chatting away in the back.  So we turned around and headed back the right direction.  On the way back towards home and the baskets we decided to stop at the overlook to see the cool rocks and colored sand formations.  We were so glad we stopped to look, the pictures don’t do it justice, it was so beautiful- such a different side of what we see everyday in Luanda.

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We made it to the basket ladies, and they did have a lot, though not as many big baskets as I wanted… all the ones they had were made with lids, but they were so much cheaper than anywhere else, I didn’t even negotiate… my big basket was less than 20 dollars, crazy!  I think we cleaned them out of a lot of their stock!  It was a great adventure, and we ended with a trip to the Benfica craft market afterwards, Robin had never been before.  Such a fun day with fun friends.  I will miss them!

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Happy 9th Birthday Sophie!

Sophie was the only person who was excited to return home from vacation… she couldn’t wait for her birthday and party!

Before I write about her party and the celebrations I need to write a little about my sweet big girl!  I still can’t believe that she is NINE!  She is just such a sweetheart, but with major opinions!  She is turning into such a reader, just devouring books… and it has been such a quick change, she used to read a lot, but was easily distracted, switching books before finishing, but now she is just plowing through all sorts of things!  She is such a smart little girl.  She has a confidence about her that I envy, and is just so comfortable with herself most of the time.  She doesn’t worry about what she wears, she just wants to be comfortable!  If she could wear pajama pants or soccer shorts every day with a t shirt, she would.  She is, generally, helpful with her sisters, but loves them so much and is fiercely protective of them and her best friends.  Sophie is a sponge, when she wants to learn something new she dives in and just figures it out.  She is super happy to not be the shortest kid in her class anymore, she has three whole kids shorter than her in her class!  She is such a fun, silly girl.  We sure love her!


We started her birthday celebration with cupcakes at school.  There was another birthday in her class that day, so they had cake, cupcakes and juice and it was a party!

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That night we celebrated with presents and cake.  Luckily we had just been on break and the girls got to all pick presents for Sophie at the mall!

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That Friday we had a “late-over” Maleficent party.  Megan made the cutest invitations, and we had a group of girls over to watch Maleficent on the projector.  They also ran around like crazy folks for a little while as well!  We served pizza (which was cut super accurately), had popcorn, cookies and cake covered in chocolate feathers.  The girls all got to take home a purple candied apple with a Maleficent peg doll.  It was a fun night, and Sophie was happy with how it turned out!

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What a fun night celebrating our big girl!


Goodbye KC and Paul!

The night before we left for Cape Town we had a good bye party (the final goodbye party) for KC and Paul.  Roxanne hosted and it was decorated in Texas splendor for the Houston residents!  It was a great night with great people, we stayed too long and were exhausted the next morning at the airport, but it was worth it!  SO much fun!  Love these crazy people!

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