Day Trips

As promised, here is a little look at the day trips we took with my parents when they visited us for Christmas in South Africa.

Trip #1

Trip #1 was supposed to be a meandering drive through some mountains to see a few waterfalls and then a BBQ at the base of the waterfall.  Total drive time was estimated to be about 3 hours roundtrip.  The reality was a teeth jarring, 4×4 required nauseating adventure with NO waterfalls with total drive time at 6 1/2 hours roundtrip.  We were literally on the edge of a cliff for most of the drive which was ok until another car coming in the opposite direction needed to pass you.  My parents had a super attitude about the whole thing.  We kept joking that the waterfalls had to be around the next curve in the road, the next mountain, etc.  The area we were in is experiencing a drought so the promised waterfalls haven’t been running.  Paul’s brother is the one who planned this trip.  We thought he had been there before so we trusted his time estimates and the other details about the trip–come to find out Henk had never been there before either!  So new family rule #1–only go on day trips with people who have actually been to the destination before.  We finally stopped beside the road for a BBQ only to discover no one brought plates, chairs or any utensils so we ate T-bones with our hands.  Our kids were not very impressed!  The scenery was beautiful though.  We saw some orange and other citrus orchards and my dad claims that alone made the drive worth it.

A citrus orchard

The kids desperate attempt to be rescued!

Some beautiful everlastings

The happy couple BEFORE the treck up the mountain pass!

All in all, the trip was a success in that it gave us a lot to laugh about later.  All of our bottoms were sore and my mom kept hitting her head on the ceiling of the car so I am sure she had a few bumps there too.  The geology was beautiful and my dad kept assuring us that the rocks looked like waterfalls should be there.  I guess we could always go back when it has rained but I think I might let others go and come back and tell me about it.

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We’re Baaaack!

After a long hiatus, I am finally updating again.  In the middle of December we took to the road and headed for South Africa.  We weren’t even 2 hours down the road when we were stopped at a road block and asked to provide driver’s licenses, etc.  African nations LOVE road blocks and especially love it when they can meet American drivers who have an expired license (Paul being the guilty party.) We were asked to pull over, I was asked to drive since I was legal but the policeman wanted to make copies of both of our licenses so that he could show how some countries list the date as month/day/year instead of day/month/year like they do in Namibia and I guess the rest of southern Africa.  So, we followed this guy around town until he found a COLOR copy machine (we still don’t know why he needed it in color).  After a good 30 minutes we were back on the road but some little people needed a bathroom break.  Bathrooms in Namibia tend to be less than hygenic so Paul is very particular that everyone wear shoes if they are headed to a restroom.  Charlie of course could not find his so Paul carried him.  On the way back to the car Paul missed a curb and fell, tearing all the ligaments in his ankle!  I was grateful he chose to sacrifice his foot instead of Charlie’s head but his vacation dream of snorkeling, long walks on the beach and rocks, swimming, etc was shattered even before we were far down the road.  Needless to say I drove most of the way the next 1 1/2 days with Paul sitting beside me in intense pain.  As soon as we arrived at the beach Paul’s dad took him to a hospital and he returned in a huge cast and on crutches!

My parents flew in from the US on Christmas Eve and we were so excited to see them!  They say that all their clothes fit into 2 carry-ons and that all their other luggage was for us!  We had “ordered” somethings from the states but I didn’t realize how much until I saw their luggage.  My parents rented a house close to ours and the kids’ favorite thing to do was to walk over to Gran Jan and Big Daddy’s house FIRST things (as in 6am) to visit.  Luckily my parents are good sports and early risers.  They said they loved hearing them call out to them as they walked up the driveway.

My parents house was a two-story with the main bedroom and living room on the top floor.  They had a beautiful view of the lighthouse, the rocks and the breeze was the best.  Most mornings I would pick my dad up and we would head to the beach for a long walk.  He has the best eyes and would see dolphins or seals in the waves that I was never aware of until he pointed them out.

View of the lighthouse and ocean from my parents' window

The kids had the best time playing in the sand, adding to their seashell collections and trying to catch crabs and little fish.  Annelise was the champion boogie boarder even after getting dumped hard by some waves!  Chapman’s big fun was to take a shovel to the beach and see how deep a hole he could dig.  Once he dug a deep hole and covered it with a towel.  A teenage girl walking with her friends fell all the way in-as in up to her stomach–we and all her friends laughed so hard.  She was covered in sand but was a good sport about it.  Audrey mainly ran in and out of the waves with Charlie.

Ready for the beach!

All of Paul’s family was there with us and we loved getting to play with all our cousins.

We took a lot of day trips with my parents so look for a post on that later this week!

African sunsets are hard to beat!

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End of the Year

In the states May was always a crazy month–end of the school year, etc.  Imagine combining May with the November/December holiday season.  That is Namibia.  Their school year is ending this Friday and there is every kind of end of school program coupled with the Christmas program and birthday parties.  Most Namibians flee the harsh Namibian sun and go to the coast during December so if your child has a birthday in December or January you had better have the party in November or no one will be in town to come.  Windhoek supposidly becomes a ghost town during December/January and even some grocery stores close for a vacation.  This is hard for me to understand since I am coming from Wal-mart country where Wal-Mart is ALWAYS open except on Christmas Day!  I am looking forward to having a break though.  Paul and I were talking tonight that we are feeling very “pressed” and need some good sleep.  Miss Susan is sending us away to a very cool game lodge Saturday and Sunday and we can’t wait.  The Lord’s timing is perfect adn we are looking forward to some rest, relaxation and big game spotting.  I will post some pictures when we get back.  If you want to check out where we are going, it is called Erindi Game Lodge. 

Audrey and Charlie are stars in their Christmas play at school and the teachers laugh that Charlie is often a “falling star” since he gets tired of practicing and falls to the ground in a heap.  I can just imagine!  Anyway I had to make their costumes out of silver lame.  I am a hack seamstress so this was a hard assignment especially since the fabric pulls and puckers like crazy.  I am sure there is a trick to sewing with that type of fabric since I examined the other star costumes and none of them looked like mine.  Oh well!  Since Charlie will most likely be a falling star no one will see where the neck of his costume is fraying!

Chapman is having his 8th birthday party on Friday and is having a paintball war.  Paul will be supervising and all I need to do is make sure they have food and drinks.  This may be the easiest birthday party we have ever done and I know all the little boys are looking forward to it.  We sure would like to import some boys from the US too! (Corbin, Caleb, Grayson, Terry, Max, Josiah, Luke and Cooper we sure miss you!)

 

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Manpowder

Monday I was so sick that I didn’t get off the couch all day and slept through the night.  Annelise and Chapman went to school so that left Audrey and Charlie at home.  Fortunately Susan stepped in and took them to her house.  She calls her house THE ROCK (yes, as is Alcatraz) and she is definitely a match for anything Charlie can think of to do wrong.  The day went well and when the big kids got home I had Annelise go get the little kids so Susan could have a break.  Charlie proceeded to be horrible so he was returned, kicking and screaming, to THE ROCK.  Susan let him scream, gave him and bath and he behaved the rest of the afternoon down there.  When Paul came home from work Charlie came back to our house and announced that he had had a bath and that Miss Susan had put “Manpowder” all over him.  He was very proud about his manpowder and wanted to know why I never put it on him.  I guess I need to buy some manpowder and I think I will find it on the baby aisle under its common name of babypowder.

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Clap Competition

Last week was also Audrey’s first gymnastics competition.  It is called a clap competition since they aren’t really old enough to compete but their coach wants to get them ready for what a real competition is like.  Audrey was thrilled that it was her turn to be the one being watched instead of watching her older brother or sister at their activities.  I think we did her hair at leat twice before we left the house since she was so worried that it would look just right.

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Audrey and her fellow gymnasts

Audrey seems to think that the faster you do a routine the more points you get!  This strategy didn’t work out too well for her as she fell off the beam.  She was so eager to get to the end so she could raise her hands and greet the judges.

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Concentration!

I think the biggest reason Audrey was so excited about this competition was that she knew she would get her very first medal.  She came in 2nd (out of 3) for her age group and has worn the medal every since.  It has been to church, AWANA, the mall, the grocery store, and school.  She told us that she even let some of the kids at school touch it.  Paul and I laughed at her “generousity.”

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The medal!

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Audrey’s first lost tooth!

Well, the big news from last week was that Audrey has officially lost her first tooth.  It had been hanging there for what seemed like forever since she was so afraid that pulling it would hurt.  She would tell us that her mind wanted to do it but her stomach was nervous.  I really miss our friend Martha for things like this.  She was our families official tooth puller since I have a phobia about anything to do with teeth.  For those of you that knew me in high school, it all started when Duke (my brother) had his 2 front teeth literally ripped out and I was the only one home! 

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Gap tooth grin

Thankfully Miss Susan came and helped and the tooth is out!  Audrey is so proud!  At our house we had the Tooth Mouse who would come and pay you for your tooth that he would use for the bricks of his castle.  Audrey thought this little game was too boyish so she insisted that the Tooth Fairy come and get hers!  She knows her daddy is the one who pays for the teeth but we had to play along! 

Charlie is oh so jealous about Audrey having this new revenue source so he has been trying to think of ways to make his teeth fall out.  We have tried to convince him that his time will come and he will be making money on his teeth long after all the others are done but for some reason this is of little comfort to him!

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Chapmans brother

My brother is so annoying. I cannot wait till he is six. I played a trik on him 1 nap time. I wish he was a girl, He is crazy.

He is nice once a month.

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