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.
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!
A few picture updates of what we have been up to.
But first, my friend Liz sent me some pics from our cake smash photo shoot, and I love them!
One day I went to change Hattie’s diaper and saw this black goo in her belly button, I flipped out… then realized it was a melted chocolate chip… silly girl needs to stop playing with her belly button at lunch time! I seriously almost had a heart attack, thank goodness it was nothing.
Sophie’s good friend Florencia, had a goodbye party, lucky girl is moving to Paris, but man, we will miss her. She was such a sweet girl and Sophie loved having her around at school. It was fun to see Sophie playing like a crazy fool with her friends from school, all these little 7 year old girls being nuts on the playground.
The boys (and by boys I mean, the big boys) decided that dodge ball would be a fun game during weekend BBQ’s… it was fun for those of us watching, and most of the boys, but there were a couple injuries!
Lots of park days, and Paulina being at the park means Hattie has a friend! She is such a nice girl taking care of Hattie like that! Hattie loves her!
Just a little peek into what we have been doing since we arrived back in MB.
The last full day we had in Cape Town we drove out to a different coast for a whale watching expedition, it had been cancelled 2 times already during the week, and we were so happy that it was finally happening. Unfortunately, we arrived and they were canceling because of rough water. We drove out to a couple look out points and were able to see some whales from a distance… not the same, but at least we saw something!
On our way home we decided to try Table Mountain again, we knew we had 1 more morning to try, but we were hoping that we would not have to rush. We were in luck and the tram was open and we were able to go to the top and explore, the views were not super but we did get to experience Table Mountain with my parents!
And with that, our fabulous end of summer vacation comes to an end.
We headed out the second raining day to Stellenbosch. We figured you could still see the pretty scenery with the rain. We then ate at Fairview Winery, as they have a cheese tasting, and we did the chocolate tasting again, delicious, and interesting! Apparently the only picture I took was this one of my parents drinking their Appletizers (aka sparkling juice)… I am so on top of things!
On the way back the weather was looking clearer, so we decided to stop by Kirstenbosch Gardens to walk around. It drizzled a little, and at one point it poured for 10 minutes, but not too bad! They had built a new skywalk since the last time we were there and it was beautiful, but my mom was not so sure about it. Always beautiful there. The host at the restaurant let the girls feed the geese as we were on our way out, they were thrilled.
The next morning it was clear and sunny so we headed straight to Table Mountain, the sign on the way up even said it was open… then we parked and went to buy tickets… CLOSED. We looked around the base and then decided to drive a different direction, just to see what we could see.
We ended up at this pretty beach (cold, but pretty) and the girls were dying to put their feet in. I told them no, then, the next thing we knew Jeff was running full force into the waves. They all got soaking wet, and were super happy about it!
That night we went for a ride on the Cape Wheel, my mom decided that she would just walk around with Hattie. But we all enjoyed ourselves!
When my parents decided to come to Kenya with us, they decided that if they were traveling all the way to Africa, they wanted to see as much as they could. Originally, they wanted to visit us in Angola. Unfortunately, that is a long process, and there isn’t much to do here. So, even though we would have loved for our family to see where we have been living for the past 2 years, we knew that that wasn’t a realistic option. Option 2 was take them to one of our favorite places in Africa, Cape Town!
We tried to hit all our favorite spots, but the weather was conspiring against us! It was raining and cold for a good portion of our trip, and a lot of the things we wanted to do were outside. Luckily, we got to do most everything we planned, we just got rained on while seeing the sights. Also lucky, was that Table Mountain opened up for us on our last day in Cape Town. So glad we got to show my parents some of the view.
We got up our first morning wanting to get Table Mountain done the first day, but it was supposed to rain, so the tram was closed. Instead of hanging out and shopping we decided to head to Boulder Beach to see the penguins and then to the Cape of Good Hope. The second we parked and walked to the entrance of the beach it started to pour… just sheets of water coming down. We waited it out in the gift shop and then headed out to see the penguins, who were not phased one bit by the weather!
After we had seen the penguins to our hearts content, we walked over to a restaurant near the beach and enjoyed lunch, delicious fish and chips… yummy! Then we continued our drive south to see the Cape of Good Hope. The weather was a little nicer and we got to hike around the various parts of the Cape. We took the funicular up and down as we didn’t want to get stuck in the rain, but it held out for us, and we got to see some nice views and enjoy our day.
My Dad had chatted with someone in Nairobi who recommended a more scenic drive back to the waterfront from the Cape. All he really said was to keep the water on our left for the entire drive. So with my awesome map skills we found a gorgeous drive home, that Jeff didn’t get to see as the road was wet and windy. It was beautiful and there was a portion where the road was carved out of the mountain.
The drive home took us through Camps Bay, so we stopped at a pizza place for lunch, and they gave the girls dough to roll and cut out while we waited for our food, brilliant idea! Such a fun first day in Cape Town, but I have determined that there are no bad days in Cape Town!