30 November 2012

Quote of the Day

Just today both of these gems came out of my boy’s mouth…

“You can’t always find them until you find them. And that’s the truth.”

-H, on digging around in the bucket for the right LEGO for the job.

and

H, coughing after drinking some water said “Uh oh Mommy, my water must have gone into my air-bag.”

Ha!

29 November 2012

I Lie Still

I lie still on the couch. But the babe inside does not. The belly shakes and flops and wiggles; the small life within showing it’s strength and independence. My body moves in ways I did not ask it to. I have the sense again, of the reality of this constant companion of mine.

For six months I’ve carried this precious life inside. Much much longer than I carried his/her little brother or sister last year. And so often after a few hours of stillness in my womb I feel a kick, a punch, a roll, and along with it comes a prayer of thanksgiving rolling off the corners of my mind toward heaven.

I am so thankful for this life inside. This growing healthy life that makes it’s home inside my growing healthy self.

I’m amazed again at the miracle of motherhood. Of pregnancy. Of labor and delivery. Amazed at the how it all works. Amazed. Blessed. Humbled that I get to experience it again, knowing many who long for a child in their womb.

Pregnancy is so special. Are there better words to describe it? I find I don’t have the words.

And I find myself sentimental and a bit bittersweet at times. We expect that this will probably be the last child I will carry and birth. We desire for our family to grow further but we are leaving space for precious children to join our family through adoption somewhere down the road of our life.

So this probably being my last pregnancy makes me sad sometimes. All through my miserable summer and first trimester I chanted “Please don’t let me ever get pregnant again”. But now the extreme sickness has faded into a memory, the reality of the precious child joining our family soon becomes clear in the future and I wonder if maybe I would like to do this again?

Brings me back to how special it all is. Again. How I am part of a miracle. How this child is my constant companion, who I somehow feel extra connected to, because of all we’ve already been through together. All we’ve accomplished together! I started a preschool during this pregnancy and have overcome great obstacles; I’m acutely aware of the fact that I didn’t do it alone. Yes, my husband and God and others obviously helped, but this baby… this little one inside was with me every second of the way. Like my mini-partner, urging me along, assuring me of body’s capabilities and strength which enable me to do all that I’ve been asked.

Now that baby is bigger and his/her precious life is obvious to all around me. Little one shakes my body, reminding me of his or her life that will be cradled in my arms in a few short months. What a gift.

All as I lie still on the couch.

28 November 2012

Tried and True Recipe: Lemon Wacky Cake

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(Shown here with fresh strawberry sauce)

Chocolate Wacky Cake is the cake I make most often. It doesn’t use butter (so expensive here), but it still is very moist and delicious.

This is another kind of wacky cake. Lemon! They call it ‘wacky’ because it rises using the age old volcano science experiment combination of baking soda and vinegar. You can’t taste the vinegar, don’t worry.

Some people also call them ‘depression cakes’ because they are SO cheap to make… with no eggs or butter! Another reason to love them? You hardly dirty any dishes in the process.

Whisk together in medium bowl:

1 1/2 c flour

1 c sugar

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

Then add:

6 T oil

1 T vinegar

1 t almond extract (I skip this)

1/4 c fresh squeezed lemon juice (use more lemon juice and less water if you want a stronger flavor)

3/4 c cold water

Pour in greased 8 by 8 or 9 by 9 inch pan

Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Glory! Could a cake get ANY easier?

26 November 2012

Whale Watching

The little bit bigger coast-town next to the really tiny coast-town we were staying in while in South Africa is the whale watching capital of the world. Really!

So one day, we headed to Hermanas to see us some whales. Hopefully.

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On the way we saw this sign. It made me laugh. Say whaaaaat?!  That is one long word!

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After a little education about what we were looking for…

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… we headed to one of many lookout spots.

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And we started watching. Can you see my two men down on the rocks?

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Girlie and I stayed up on the pier. It was pretty windy and she liked it best in the stroller. And when she was in the stroller she insisted on being buckled, even though it’s not necessary. And if she insists on something, I often recommend just accommodating her, if possible. I think you know what I mean. Funny girl.

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We watched and scanned and looked. For awhile. We wondered what might happen when one was spotted. Well, someone let out a big scream and all heads jerked in the same direction. A whale!! Way out there!! Do you see it?

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Splish-

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Splash! That was a whale!!  Even though it was far and nearly impossible to actually see the whale… it was most exciting, nonetheless!

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We watched for more but didn’t see any more that day.

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I love my boy’s hugs. Me and this baby get a lot of lovin’!

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This is what we saw, apparently.

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A little lunch at Steers and then we called it a successful whale-watching day.

25 November 2012

LEGO Party

As you know, my boy turned 5 earlier this month. We threw a lil’ party for him and several friends soon after. I have such fun planning parties like this. I have to do it in baby steps over a few months to make it happen, but it’s my joy!

I canNOT take credit for most of these ideas. I got them off of this great post at Delia Creates. She made the planning very easy.

You're Invited

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The kids played outside for awhile and then my activity coordinator took over (my wonderful husband!).  They built a tall tower altogether, which they thought was great fun.

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They colored LEGO coloring sheets.

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And they took turns hiding the ‘LEGO’ guy around the house and racing around to see who could spot him first.

Fun!

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This was lunch. I loooove the African way of loading a plate up with various foods and handing it over. I did it for Sweet N’s First Birthday party and other parties too.  It’s much simpler than doing a buffet and it’s much easier with kids then having them try to fill their own plates.

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Grilled cheese sandwich, fruit kebab, popcorn, cucumber with yogurt dip and lime Kool-Aid. Delicious.

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And the LEGO cake. Not my best cake, but fun, nonetheless.  It’s easy to see that on top are Oreo cookies covered in icing to make the LEGO bumps.

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After cake they were sent off with the goodie bags that H had tons of fun filling with me. A small LEGO set (thanks Grammi!), a pencil and a pack of gummies from South Africa. Simple and fun.

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My favorite part about the party? How special it made my boy feel. He IS a most special boy and I love doing special things for him!

22 November 2012

A Thankful Heart

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

1 Chronicles 16:34

My heart is so full.  I know that God has blessed us with much much more than we have ever/could ever deserve. He is really so so good to us. He has given us His son, His Spirit and His unconditional love. And that is JUST the beginning.

Our hearts long to be near our families during the holidays, but we are so grateful for the life God has given us on this side of the globe.

Happy Thanksgiving!

20 November 2012

To the Beach

We only planned to spend a couple days in Cape Town before heading outside of the city to a beach town. Our hosts have a home there and were happy to have us borrow it. Amazing!

So, we loaded up the car that morning and began our road trip.

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We were not familiar with the area, can you tell?

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Our chauffeur. I love this man. He is the absolute BEST traveling companion that I will ever know.

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It was a lovely day for a drive.

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And a cappuccino can only make things lovelier, eh?

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It was only a couple hour drive, including some mountains and some apple orchards.  Did you know that South Africa has a unique eco-system that isn’t really found anywhere else in the world? At least that is what my chauffeur told me. He’s a handy (and informative) guy to have around.

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Can’t say it was a flawless trip, though. We did manage to get lost. But that might or might not have been the fault of the passenger’s seat navigator…

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Ack! We’re here?! Here?! This house?! Yup. We’re here. Oh my word.

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This is the view from the balcony. Ocean!  Sea breezes!

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After exploring the house and settling in, we took an evening walk to the shore.

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The ocean air was so cool and refreshing. And we are wearing fleece. And hoods. Glory!

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Beautiful spot.

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My kiddos loved this beach. You’ll see more photos of it soon.

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I had a feeling that evening that we were really going to like it there.

19 November 2012

Sneaky Ice Lover

We recently got a used deep freezer. My life will never be the same.

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And this week I found this happening in my hall.

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A certain little girl LOVES ice. She discovered that she could pull up a stool, open the freezer, scrape the ice that condenses on the sides with her fingers… and EAT IT!

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This girlie! Caught.

I can’t tell you how many times a day I see this look on lil’ spunky’s face.

It’s her way of saying “I know I did something I’m not supposed to and you caught me but I’m too cute you can’t stand to punish me, can you Mommy?”

She might be right.

18 November 2012

Cape Town–Day Two!

After Mike got  a good long driving lesson, we were ready to hit the city by ourselves. So after a night’s rest, we headed back down to the Waterfront to do some exploring.

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We found parking, walked through a nice lil’ craft market and then found this pristine playground. So the kiddos climbed for awhile.

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This is a boy proud of his skills, lemme tell ya.

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It’s the little things, ya know?

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Then we decided to go into the Aquarium!

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We made it in time for the kids’ puppet show.

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And then we spent some time watching the penguins swim right in front of us. Cool.

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The kids got to touch some sea thingies, which is always fun.

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And this… THIS is why I don’t like the ocean. Heebie jeebies.

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Can you see the size of this thing? It is one ginormous crab. If I ever needed encouragement to continue my dislike of swimming in the ocean… an aquarium is where I’ll find it. I mean, I find the creatures fascinating and many of them beautiful… but I have no desire to share waters with them.  I plan to snorkel in heaven, and not before, thankyouverymuch.

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Cutest penguins. What do you call this species?

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We watched the penguins get fed, and heard all kinds of interesting facts. We love stuff like this.

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Then there was the ‘Predator Exhibit’. As you can see in the bottom, humans can actually pay money to get in a tank with real-life sharks.

Whaaaaaat?

I passed. In case you had any doubts.

Also, those people are nuts.

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This was a fun up-close-and-personal account with about a zillion ‘Nemo’s. The kids loved being inside the round tank and my favorite part was watching my husband try to crawl through the tiny opening in the bottom to get in and out. Ha!

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That ended our time in the aquarium and we headed back to the craft market for a bite to eat.  After hot dogs and Chinese take-away, Sweet N treated us to some cotton candy. She’s a very independent girl.

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Can you tell what a gorgeous day it was? Gorgeous in about a thousand different ways.

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