Category Archives: Sophie

Spring Break 2016: Week 1- Cape Town

We headed to Cape Town for the first week of Spring Break.  It was during this week that Jeff’s job was going to be decided upon, and we wanted to be in a location with good cell reception and reliable internet, just in case they wanted to get ahold of us… besides which, we LOVE us some Cape Town!  We, of course, ate too much, did some new things, and revisited our old favorites.

We ate delicious burgers, samosas and exploding bubble tea smoothies at the food “barn” near the Waterfront.  Always delicious!  We also saw Zootopia (AKA Zootropolis, in SA) and enjoyed the view from our apartment!

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We enjoyed a mini Easter Egg hunt and Easter “baskets” on the entry table.  I was so excited to find Cadbury Eggs… that is all I wanted for Easter!

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We headed out to Somerset West to visit the Cheetah Experience.  We got to learn about what they do to prevent hunting of cheetahs, there is this cool program where they give farmers a certain breed of dog that protects the livestock and is big enough that the cheetah won’t bother it.  We got to pet the grown cheetahs- so very cool!

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The next day we visited Bo-Kaap, the Cape Malay houses.  There are about 3 streets of colorful houses and buildings.  Very cute!

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We stopped by Camp’s Bay to let the girls play in the sand, and it was the perfect day for it, the week was cloudy and had some drizzles, but this day was sunny and perfect, the beach was PACKED!

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Our next stop was Kirstenbosch Gardens.  The girls climbed on their favorite tree, ran around the heels, and played on the big grassy knolls for the day!

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Oh, this is getting long!  To be continued…


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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Swim Gala 2016

Which actually turned into Aquatic Adventure Day 2016.  Unfortunately Violet was sick for her day, but I got to see Sophie do all the activities, it was a lot of fun.  The new format was nice, instead of hanging out in the heat for 3 hours we just had to watch the 45 minutes our child’s year was participating!  They did 3 different events.  A team activity where they all tried to stand up on the tube together, water polo and then a relay race.  It was a lot of fun, and unlike in past years where the students aren’t in the water except for their races, this year they were constantly in the water.  It was a hot day (as always) so it was nice they got so much time to play!

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March 2016- All the fun!

We started March potty training Hattie!  We rolled up the rung, hung out in undies and watched a whole lot of tv and Mickey Mouse.  And by the end of March… yay!

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Violet lost her first front tooth, and was so adorable!


Quilt group finished our auction quilt, we hand quilted that sucker and it was pretty awesome when it was done… and made more than I was hoping!


I finished a quilt of my own (I had bought all that fabric before moving here, and was glad it got finished before we moved!


More ballet fun, and Hattie loved having Luci there to play with her!

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The girls dressed up for “Easter” and looked adorable.


Violet and her friends matched unexpectedly, Hattie cracked us up dancing and singing, there were giant bugs at the bus stop and Hattie, always adorable, in her 80’s glory!

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Sophie learned a routine in aerial, she was killing it this month!


The girls had Student Led Conferences, and showed us all their classrooms, and all their specialty classes, they loved showing us their art portfolios.

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St Patrick’s Day came and went, Hattie dressed in her green glory and led the preschoolers to class.  Molly came over and the girls planted shamrock “gardens.”

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A couple swim parties, thank goodness as our pool is still not functioning.  We used Amanda’s pool one Saturday and had too much fun.

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And just like that we were on our way to Cape Town for spring break!

Easter 2016

We celebrated Ester a week early here in Monte Belo because most of us were going to be gone for Spring Break the week of the actual holiday.  We had a great Easter Egg hunt and potluck afterwards.  The kids were staggered on their release, so the little kids could search for eggs before the big kids attacked.  It was a lot of fun!

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The following Wednesday Playgroup had a mini egg hunt at a friend’s house.  Hattie and Nadra were cracking me up, and boy, did they love their balloons!

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What a fun bunch of Easter celebrations.  Always more fun with a lot of friends!

Kissama National Park

The Mission President and his wife had family visiting in March and while they were here they planned to visit the safari park here in Angola.  It isn’t well stocked, but it is large, and hopefully eventually the animals that left during the war start coming back.  As it is there is one elephant, some giraffes, and a whole lot of monkeys and antelope.  We decided to visit with them as we hadn’t ever gone, and we felt like seeing some attractions in Angola seemed like a good idea!  So we took off on the 2 hour drive to the park.  When we arrived we went to get a truck and found out that we had missed the next tour by 10 minutes… so we had a good 2 hour wait ahead of us.  We ate lunch and visited with everyone.  There was mother church family that was there, they luckily, had little kids, so all the kids entertained each other.  Very nice!  We had a good time, and saw some pretty good animals.  It was nice company and fun to play with church friends again, it has been a while!

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One of the whole group!  We all crammed in the same truck together!


February Catch-up 2016

After we returned from Portugal we celebrated Valentines, with cute red outfits and delicious macarons from Laduree (thanks Lina!!!).

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Hattie got her first experience with sponge curlers, and Violet played along… I love those curls (though with the humidity they don’t last very long at all).

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Violet went on a field trip to Casacon, a hardware/homegoods type store, her first field trip and she was so excited.

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We celebrated Language Week, and I gave presentations to both classes about Cantonese, Hattie was my picture helper.  The kids were good and learned how to say thank you, Happy New Year and the year 1’s learned to count to 10.

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There was a lot of playing with friends, at parties, at lunch and around Talatona.

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Quilt Group finished our auction quilt, and I love how it turned out!  (It went for $550… yay us!)


More ballet cuteness!

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Sister fun and pool time, thanks to friends, we sure miss our pool!

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Hattie in her fanciest everything, heels on a bike, adorable!


Sophie and some school events, buddy fun day and her totem pole.

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We attended LIS Quiz Night and kicked some butt with our awesome team of smartie pants folks!  First place (in a nail biter) and some fun with really great people!

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We celebrated Lisset’s 9th birthday with a fancy masquerade party and an evening with friends.  Always fun to get dressed up, and craft some great masks.  Love these girls!

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Portugal 2016- Part 4, Silves, Tavira and Evora

We promised the girls one more beach morning, so before leaving Lagos we enjoyed a very chilly morning playing in the sand.  The girls were thrilled!

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We left Lagos and stopped in Silves right as the rain was letting up.  We got pretty lucky with the rain, it rained a ton while we drove but we stayed pretty dry while exploring.  This castle was made of this gorgeous red rock, so cool.

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That night we stayed in Almancil, and enjoyed some delicious donuts before heading to Tavira for the day.  We wandered everywhere looking for the market.  Didn’t find the one we expected, but found other not interesting ones, then just wandered around more Moorish Castles and all over town.  The girls got to climb all over ruins and castles, you would have thought they would get sick of it, but they would have climbed all day long if we let them.

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We drove onward to Evora the next day and the views as we drove were just so green and lush, I was in heaven!


Evora was this adorable historic center.  Almost everything was within walking distance from the place we were staying.  We stayed in the super old monastery.  It was built in 1485 and we stayed in the old nun cells.  It was pretty cool.  This first picture is a view from our window, and then you can see the front of the hotel.  Right in front of the hotel was this old Roman ruin, the Temple of Diana.

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There were churches, ruins and all kinds of cool things all around town.  we saw the aqueduct, and several castle ruins and gardens.  We wanted to go see the bone church, but it was closed.  We couldn’t figure out why all the police were blocking it off, and then we found out that the President of Portugal was visiting for some reason, the security was not huge, we had been walking on the street that he drove in on just minutes before he arrived, but kind of cool to see him arrive and walk into the church.

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The next morning as we were driving back to Lisbon we stopped at these old stones.  The Cromiech of Almendres.  It is one of the largest collection of menhirs in Europe.  They were built somewhere between 6000-4000 BC!  It of course was pouring on us as we walked there, but they were super cool, and muddy!

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We arrived back in Lisbon hoping to walk around Castel St George, but it was raining too hard for any outdoor activity.  We ended up at the mall and then taking a tram along the coastline.  We had a great time exploring Portugal!


Portugal 2016- Part 3, Lagos

We walked around Lisbon for a little bit Sunday morning, and then headed down to the Algarve region, we were staying in Lagos for a couple of days.  As we drove down we drove through a cute little town of Albufeira- I loved the colors.

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When we finally arrived in Lagos we walked ourselves to the beach and I couldn’t stop taking pictures!  The cliffs, and the colors on the beach were just gorgeous.  And, bonus, because it was February we had the beach pretty much to ourselves.

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The problem with visiting beach areas during the winter is that not many restaurants are open… so after driving around for a good amount of time we ended up eating dinner at a Chinese restaurant, right in time for Chinese New Year… and it was dang good food!  Win-Win!


The next day we headed to Sagres and started our day at the Fortaleza.  It was huge, and had great views of those amazing cliffs!    There was also this giant sundial built in the middle of the fort, pretty cool.  We also visited the lighthouse, but you weren’t allowed inside, so we just walked ourselves around for a while.

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We headed back into the main part of Lagos for lunch and more exploring.  The beaches were just perfect, I can’t imagine how fun they would be in the summer (and busy).

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Our last stop in Lagos was Ponte de Piedade.  We almost didn’t stop because Hattie had fallen asleep, but we were so glad we did.  It was about the most beautiful thing ever!  The water, rocks and green all surrounding you.  Amazing!

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Our last visit of the day was Praia de Rocha.  We got there right as the sun was setting, just in time for one picture!


Portugal 2016- Part 2, Sintra

We headed out of the city for day 2 and visited Sintra.  A lot of hiking, a lot of fun, and a lot of cool sights!

We started by visiting the Moorish Castle.  Gorgeous views and ruins to hike and climb on.

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Our next visit in Sintra was Pena National Castle.  It is the castle you can see on the hilltop in that last picture above.  The colors of the castle, and the tiles, and the details, so pretty.

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Some pretty scenes in Sintra!