Winter Family Updates!

Hey there, Stranger!

I must confess that I have been terrible about blogging since we got home from Africa in July.  And you probably can tell that from the meager ONE post I’ve done since then.  Life happens, and then it’s been months and then I suddenly remember I have a blog that I should update!  So I took the night tonight and dedicated it to the blog – I updated pretty much every aspect of this site.  I mean seriously, the “About” page was when Eli was 3.  He turns 6 in four days.  Yeah, it was about time I got my act together!

So here’s what’s been happening in our house in the midst of chaos:

Eli started Kindergarten!

IMG_4646

The kid loves it!  Even though he’s been to the nurse’s office more times than I want to know (the kid is accident-prone, sorry for the bad genes, kid), he’s managing to learn a ton!  He does simple math and can read books at the third-grade level.

IMG_4657

IMG_4687

IMG_4675

 

Andrew in his second year of preschool.  He loves it as well, but is ready to go to “all day school” with Eli.

IMG_4649

IMG_4682

IMG_4653

They both love school so much.  Palesa even loves it and doesn’t know what it is!  If you look real close, there are tears on her cheeks because she wants to go to school but can’t yet.

Eli got chosen to be the crown bearer at our High School Coronation.  Be still my heart, he looks like he’s getting married!!  **tears**

IMG_7605

 

We ran again with Team World Vision and thanks to many of you, helped to raise thousands of dollars that go toward the clean water crisis in Africa.

IMG_4808

This is obviously an after shot.  You can just see the stink.

Over the Thanksgiving season, we got to have Grant’s family come down to visit.  There were lots of kiddos at our house!

IMG_2832

That same weekend we were able to dedicate Palesa at church.  It also happened to be Orphan Sunday, so that was very special to us.

IMG_2794

IMG_2805

Excuse Andrew, he was hungry.  Ha!

Now, it’s the middle of winter, and even though it’s raining in January, in Minnesota, as I type this, there is plenty of snow outside to play in!

15776393_10100921094791616_606841696_o

 

Grant has started his last semester of Grad school and is slated to graduate this Spring!  We are so excited for this, however he plans to return to school in the fall for his licensure certification.  This will allow him to seek positions for principal/assistant principal.

I am back to work after a wonderful 6-month leave during the time we adopted Palesa.  I have been back a few weeks but am working on a casual basis.  I can be home when Eli gets home from school, and it give Palesa a few hours a week to socialize with friends her age at daycare.  She loves it and actually cries when I come to get her!  Ha!

I have also set out on a new adventure.  My paint and power tool addiction has gotten a little out of hand, and I needed an outlet for it, so after a lot of contemplating, we just decided to go for it – I started my own small business making home decor!

umberfacebookprofile (1)

It’s been a lot of fun, especially all the custom orders!  I love working with people to make exactly what they want to make their house more beautiful, and it’s been great so far!  I have my own shop on Etsy, so be sure to check it out here and let me know if I can do any work for you!

We hope your 2017 is off to a great start!  I will try and blog a little more often, but no guarantees!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We Are Home! (In Case You Didn’t Already Know)

Wow!  We were so good about blogging while overseas, and then we get on a plane and you don’t hear from us in 3 weeks!  We definitely had more time on our hands while in South Africa, and since we got home we were just thrown back into life with a new little one.  So it’s been busy!  We have had several people ask for updates, so I thought it was time to let you know how things have been going since we got home!  Get ready, because this is a long post with lots of pictures!

Our flights home were uneventful for the most part.  Palesa did very well on the 16-hour flight, thankfully sleeping most of it.  Our last two-hour flight was no biggie comparatively speaking, and she did great.  We had some very helpful friends bring our van to the airport so that they could take some of our luggage back to our house and then we took our van and headed in the opposite direction for a 4-hour roadtrip to South Dakota to get to our boys.  We wanted to get to them asap!

And let me tell you, that was one of the best moments of my life!!

IMG_2474

IMG_2476

IMG_2477

IMG_2479

IMG_2483

IMG_2497

IMG_2486

The boys meeting Palesa for the first time.  My heart melted…

IMG_2490

IMG_2491

IMG_2503

Eli showing off his tooth that he lost while we were gone.

IMG_2494

The boys took to Palesa right away and showed her around.

IMG_7089

IMG_7096

IMG_7127

Here is our first family picture as an official family of five:

IMG_7136

Yup, just keepin’ it real!

Palesa had such a fun time getting to meet family…

IMG_7110

IMG_7173

IMG_7300

IMG_7181

She absolutely loves her cousins already!

IMG_7162

IMG_7209

IMG_7216

In just a couple of days, she got to experience lots of new things on the farm!

https://flic.kr/p/JPZNfN

Not quite sure about the lake water…

IMG_7277

…inching her way in…

IMG_7283

…and she’s in!

IMG_7330

IMG_7292

After a few days in South Dakota, we were anxious to get home, unpack and just enjoy being a family in our own house.  And I wanted to sleep in my own bed SO BADLY!!!

Sweet friends had made a cute little welcome sign for us with their kids.

IMG_7336

Our first couple of days home involved Eli getting sick and puking twice during our first night in our own beds.  On new sheets that I had all ready for us before we left so we could come home to a nice clean house.  He sleeps on the top bunk.  And it was projectile.  Sorry about the TMI, but you can maybe understand how it wasn’t the greatest start to our time home.  But he was fine the next day and no one else got whatever that was, so we counted our blessings and moved on.  The trials of parenting are real!

We also had to meet our social worker for our initial post-adoption in-home visit.  Palesa also had her post-adoption physical with her pediatrician.  We still have some tests that we are waiting on, but what we know so far is so encouraging and reassures us that she is a healthy little girl!

IMG_7235

(by the way, my 4-year-old photographer, Andrew, snapped this photo!  Isn’t it amazing??  I printed an 11 x 14 to frame!)

We decided that we should try and get a nice family picture before church since our first one wasn’t really frame-worthy.

Fam Pic 2016

We had the privilege of having over Vicki, who is our close friend now since we did our Both Hands project on her house as an adoption fundraiser a couple of years ago.  She is such a blessing to us and it was so fun to see her and Palesa meet and have this beautiful story of serving a widow and an orphan come full circle!

FullSizeRender

It’s been a very busy 3 weeks as you can see, but so fun!  We are enjoying some of the mundane, normal moments and watching Palesa learn about what our family does on a day-to-day basis in Minnesota – like tasting fresh-caught perch and tator tot hotdish for the first time….

IMG_8666

…to shucking corn…

IMG_8661

To be real, there have been some stressful moments.  We knew it wouldn’t be easy and not every moment is a shiny happy one with rainbows in the background.  Getting a stubborn, sassy toddler to attach in a new environment and adjust to a new schedule and overall way of life is no joke.  There are hard moments every day as we all learn to all gel together.  There are moments of jealousy with both her and the boys, and it can get ugly.  But there is nothing more beautiful than getting through those moments because every one we do bonds us tighter as a family.  God knew the perfect addition for us, and we have no doubt it was Palesa!

IMG_7366

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Days 34, 35 and 36

Day 34:

If you are keeping up with our story, you know that we are not in Cape Town any longer!  Sunday we got on a flight from Cape Town back to Johannesburg to prepare for Palesa’s exit interview.

Palesa steals the show wherever she goes!  People just flock to her, and she loves the attention!

We gained a bit of extra luggage along the way.  Thanks, Daddy, for carrying all the stuff for your girls!

We checked in back with our previous host family that we stayed with initially.  It was so great to get back to familiar settings instead of having to stay somewhere new!

Day 35:

Monday was a day to waste, so we met up with our friends at Montecasino.  This place is like a mall and casino all in one, designed like an indoor city.   I’ve never been to Vegas, but we were told it’s like a mini version.

Outside there was a Bird garden, so we checked it out.

We enetered just as they were starting a bird show, so that was fun!

After that we walked around the gardens and looked at all the unique birds.

There we were so many more cool birds and then reptiles including some ginormous scary snakes and really cool lizards.  We didn’t bring our good camera, so we didn’t take many pictures.  Quite honestly, we were just kinda touristed out.  “Touristed” probably isn’t even a word, but you get what I mean.  We were so ready to just get Palesa’s visa and get home.

Day 36:

Tuesday was the day we got to get Palesa’s visa!  We went to a mall right across the street from the embassy in the morning so that we wouldn’t be stressed in traffic and could make sure to be there right away when they opened at 1pm.  We did get in right away, but with these kinds of things we have learned to prepare the whole afternoon for waiting – meaning lots of snacks!  And today was no different.  The interview process took about ten minutes and then we had to wait about two hours for them the print her visa.  But we weren’t leaving that embassy without her visa!  We finally got it, just in time to leave around 5pm and get stuck in traffic for an hour.  But we didn’t care, we had it and that meant we are free to fly HOME!

On our last night in Johannesburg, we were privileged to be a part of a marriage small group that our host family is leading.  It is basically a date night with a candlelight dinner, delicious dessert and a great message on marriage.  The lesson this week happened to be on forgiveness.  And that was absolutely perfect.  Because as many of you can imagine, after spending 5 weeks together nonstop with a two-year-old and literally not being out of sight of each other out of fear for our safety, we were starting to feel a little smothered.  And when we do that, we get crabby and snotty .  So last night was a great way to talk through that, ask for forgiveness, forgive each other, and reconnect with strength in the Lord before we come home and unite as a family of five!

Today (Wednesday), we fly out at 7:55 pm with a 16 hour flight ahead before a 4 hour layover, then another 3 hour flight, and then a four hour drive to our boys.  Please pray for safety and perseverance for us as we get us and our little girl through all that.  We can’t wait to be home!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Days 31, 32 & 33

Day 31:

Thursday was a very exciting day, because we got Palesa’s passport into our hands!  This is essential for us to come home!

We spent pretty much all morning sitting and waiting until our turn which took two minutes, tops, for the guy to click a couple of things on his computer and then hand us the passport.  But we didn’t really care, as long as we got it!  It took a total of 7 business days, when we were warned it could take 10 days to 3 weeks.  God is good!

We were planning to go whale watching in the afternoon, but since it took all morning for our passports and then we had to go back to Wandisa and do more paperwork, we couldn’t fit it in.  So instead we played in the mall food court for a while and then went  to a nearby winery for coffe and walked around with our friends, Aundrea and Isaiah.

It it was a beautiful day and the kids loved playing outside together!

And Daddy got in some fun times as well!

 

Day 32:

Since we missed whale watching the day prior, we decided to do it the next day.  But we had to go back into Wandisa in the morning to get our important documents to travel with and then say goodbye to everyone.  This was so hard, as everyone there played such an essential part in getting us home with our little girl!

Palesa eating snacks while Mommy and Daddy fill out paperwork.

Palesa sharing her snacks with Rose.

The whole awesome team of Wandisa and Wybrow-Oliver!

Bye-bye, everyone! We love you!

After we said our goodbyes, we headed to the waterfront to catch the whale watching tours.  The day before was a perfect day, but when we went it was drizzling rain and windy with up to 9ft swells in the ocean where we were going.  Needless to say, not the best weather for seeing whales…but it was our last chance so we set out!

We found some seals on one of the buoys.

Then we got into a bunch of dolphins that were playing and jumping around us.  Really fun to watch, but very hard to photograph, especially riding through 9-ft waves remember. Now these pics aren’t National Geographic-worthy, but it’s proof that we saw them!

Unfortunately we didn’t see any whales, but it was fun to get out on the water and see the harbor.

Hang on, kids!

Our little group!

After the whale watching (or dolphin watching in our case), we walked around a bit and the kids loved the African group singing on the boardwalk.

Right after this Palesa had had enough and it was time to get her fed and to bed.

Day 33:

Today we kept it pretty low key.  It is our last day in Cape Town as we will be flying to Johannesburg tomorrow for her Visa interview on Tuesday.  We went to the Giraffe House which is nearby that we hadn’t seen yet.  We got to see a few more animals, which Palesa loves.

Palesa even got to feed some of them!

We stopped by the Slow Market on our way home to get some delicious food.  Then Mommy got to get in the driver’s seat to drive us home!

It was my first and last chance to drive on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road (legally), so I had to take advantage.  There is no way I’m driving when we get back to Johannesburg!  Not with those crazy devil taxis tearing around everywhere!

Please pray for safe travel back to Joburg tomorrow and also that Palesa’s Visa interview would go without a hitch so we can get on our flight HOME on Wednesday!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Days 29 & 30 – and an Exciting Update!

Hey everyone! So before we tell you about the last couple of days, I’m sure you are all wanting to hear the update – and we want to share it! WE GET TO COME HOME!!!!

We received word this afternoon that Palesa’s passport has arrived in Cape Town (from Pretoria)! We will get to pick that up tomorrow morning! Then we will need to fly back to Johannesburg for her exit interview at the US consulate, and then we can come HOME! Unfortunately, the consulate only does interviews on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so ours will be now scheduled for next Tuesday. We will be flying from Cape Town to Joburg on Sunday, have the consulate interview and get her visa on Tuesday, and fly home on Wednesday! It feels SO good to have an end date in sight and know we will be back with our boys, reunited as a family of 5 for the first time in one week! Please pray everything goes as planned and there are no delays!

Alright, so what have we been up to these last two days you ask? Yesterday (day 29) was a bit of a slow day. We had a quiet morning, and then met our friends for lunch at Pajamas and Jam. Yes, that was our second time there within a week. Yes, it’s that good!

After that we had to meet with the Wandisa team and then go back to the Department of Home Affairs to do our Noting of Adoption. We played around a little in the office before heading out.

For some reason this took 3 hours of sitting and waiting for something that took ten minutes (that’s African time for you!). Luckily Palesa had her little friend to play with! That was pretty much our whole day!

Today (day 30) we didn’t really have anything planned. Which ironically turned out to be one of our busiest days! This morning we got up and wondered what we should do. We decided that we would just get in the car and drive toward Cape Point since we haven’t been that direction yet.

The first place we stopped was the ocean. We hadn’t done that yet even though we are surrounded by ocean down here. Palesa hasn’t ever been to the beach and we needed to make sure she got that experience!

Wow.  Crazy hair.

Remember it is winter here, so it was about 60 degrees out. That’s why there was no one lying on the beach today. 😁


After the beach, we found a sweet little restaurant right off the ocean that our judge had actually recommended to us back on Gotcha day 3 weeks ago. So we had to try it out!

The food was delish and the views were awesome!

After we ate, we did a little shopping….


Then Palesa got about 10 minutes of sleep while we drove and then decided to stop and see some more penguins!

 


These cute little creatures are definitely a highlight for me! There was a little ice cream parlor along the path, so we had to stop and have some! From our knowledge, I think this is also a first for Palesa!

We then headed out and kept driving.


Then we started seeing things like this:


What does this mean?!

Then things started getting quite high.


Then we came to the entrance of Cape Point in the Cape of Good Hope.

Look it up. We were basically at the extreme southwestern tip of the continent of Africa. It is pretty much where the Atlantic and Indian oceans collide, although that technically happens just a bit east of the peninsula. Basically, I felt like I was gonna fall off the earth.

We found this sign and didn’t really know what to think of this….


…until we saw this…


..oh yeah. Baboons. There were a whole heard, pile, group, whatever you call a bunch of baboons, all over the road!

And they don’t move for you. They just sit in the middle of the road eating whatever it is they’ve scrounged up, and you just have to drive around them. Crazy things!


So after the baboons, we saw what looked like the end of the earth, decorated with a lighthouse.


We got there with about 45 minutes before they brought the last trolley down from the lighthouse.  We said lets do it and move it fast. A picture at the top and that’s it. We will never get another chance, but there’s no way we’re getting stuck in this park with the baboons all night!

Now, keep in mind that these pictures don’t in any way do justice to what God has created. The view was absolutely stunning, and there was no way we could get it all in photos. But you get a glimpse.


Also, the height. There is just no way to describe how high up we were.


Here we are way up high with Mommy very nervous:


On the trolley down, we sat next to this Asian man that did magic tricks for Palesa. She wasn’t interested until he lit his wallet on fire! In the trolley! He had it gone and onto the next trick by the time I got my camera out.

It was a really fun day that wasn’t even planned!  We have a couple more adventures we are going to try and fit in during our last couple of days in Cape Town, and then we will focus on packing up and getting out of here to come home!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Day 29: Table Mountain

Day 29, the 4th of July, was a really fun day for us.  Every other year we spend it grilling, at the lake, swimming, boating, etc.  This year we got to celebrate our freedom on the top of a mountain in South Africa with awesome friends!  It was terrifying, amazing and absolutely beautiful all in one!

Table mountain is probably one of the biggest attractions in South Africa and is listed as one of the 7 New Wonders of Nature in the world.

Sorry about the bad picture.  We were driving on the freeway at the time.

Table Mountain is named after its very obvious flat top.  It highest elevation is 3558 ft. And when the fog rolls in over the mountain, the locals say that the table cloth is on that day.

We drove up the foothills and then we got on these cable cars that fit about 60 people which cables you to the top.

The cars rotate around while you get taken up so you get to see all the views.

Once up there, we could basically hike the whole flat area.  It was so scary but the views were incredible!

Overlooking Cape Town:

And then Grant mustered all his courage for the sake of getting a great shot…

Thankful im not a widow now!

Aren’t these the most beautiful smiles you’ve ever seen?!

Luckily we got to snap some great shots before Palesa lost it.

This was such a fun experience and I’d highly recommend it!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Days 27 and 28!

The last couple days have actually been pretty busy!  And we took lots of pictures so get ready!

On Saturday we went to the Slow Market again in Stellenbosch but this time had some friends join us!  We got a couple things and ate some really yummy food, which included cupcakes for my birthday! (This is Grant.)

None of us wanted to go back to our places and just sit around, so we all decided afterwards to head to a local winery to walk around.  Since it was my birthday, I agreed to such an idea, as long as I got to do a tasting. 🙂

Vergelegen is a very cool wine estate that was founded in 1700! They had an outstanding view of the nearby mountains (the Hottentots Holland mountains).  Although the view is beautiful, the term is somewhat derogatory as it refers to the clicks and sounds of the language of the people native to Southwestern Africa, the Khoikhoi.  They even had a playground there!

Some of the trees that were planted when the estate was founded are still there, so we checked those out!

The wine was really good! I’m generally not a white wine fan, but the white I tried was excellent!

We wore the kids out, that’s for sure.

After all of the touristy stuff, we headed home and I made some birthday steak!  We found ribeye at the local Spar (a grocery store), 3 steaks for only $6.00!!  And they were delicious!

We got some brownies at the market earlier that day for dessert, one is peanut butter honeycomb, and the other includes Oreos and white chocolate!

On Sunday, we went to another market with our “local” friends,  eating more good local food and enjoying our time together! Afterwards, we headed home for naps (which were not very successful…) then met up again for coffee at another winery.  This winery is called Lourensford and is right next to the other one.  Apparently you can go fly fishing here-might have to go back soon and try that out!

Palesa and Julia.  Julia is so awesome- she just connects so well with our family.  She has been like a big sister to Palesa since we have been in Cape Town and we love being around her- such a great kid and full of spunk!

On site they have a place called The Coffee Roasting Company.  It’s pretty awesome- a no frills type of place, but a good selection of freshly roasted beans and seriously one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had.  I had the Ethiopian yirgacheffe (which I hoped they had!) Americano and oh my was it good.

I think the South African slang is… “A cuppa.”

We walked around a little after coffee, and then headed off to church, where we talked with one of the social workers about our progress on the passport.  It was a great conversation and looks like we will be heading home soon!  We will definitely keep everyone updated on when, when we know for sure!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Days 25 & 26

Okay, on this post I’m gonna go backwards.  The reason being that today was boring.  Very boring.  We did nothing.  Nope, take that back.  We did venture out to get milk.  And I did paperwork.  And we paid bills.  Palesa watched an episode of Barney (okay not an episode – she watched for 5 minutes and then 10 minutes into it Grant and I realized we were the only ones watching and wanted to puke).  Exciting huh?  Well anyway, that was day 26, so wanted to get that out of the way and glad it’s over.

Yesterday (Day 25) was more fun.  Well, after getting through traffic.  We had arranged to meet our new friends down at the waterfront in Cape Town to visit the aquarium.  We got stuck in traffic and it took us 2 hours to go 30 miles.  With a screaming baby of course.  Seriously, that girl has pipes!

Not sure what that thing is, but it is creepy.  What would you name this type of fish if you could?  My vote would be the Leopard Joker.

We found Nemo…

And the jellyfish are my personal fav.  I could stare at jellyfish all day.  Did you know they are heartless and brainless?  Crazy!

We got to the aquarium just in time to see the divers feeding the fish and sea turtles in a huge tank.

Palesa had a fun time watching all the fish.

She even got to touch!

After the aquarium, we did a bit of shopping at the shops on the waterfront.  I found some super cute things for Palesa’s room that I’m dying to show you when we get home!

After that we headed over to a friends house for supper and socialization (we are so starved for that right now!).

Meet some of our new friends!  From the left, that is Dan with his two youngest kids Hannes and Julia.  The rest of his family is currently in the US as his oldest lives in Washington and just had a baby.  He lives in South Africa and has been so kind to have us over for supper twice now!  Patrick lives in East London, South Africa and is a good friend of Aundrea, accompanying her as she traveled from South Carolina to adopt her adorable son Isaiah last week!  And then the three of us of course.  Palesa loved having some playmates!  She came out of her shell so easily and it was so fun to watch!

We have only known these friends for a couple of weeks, and I am already falling in love with them.  I am so thankful for the beauty of the love of Christ shared among His people across the world, and also the beauty of adoption.  I didn’t realize how stuck in my own little comfortable bubble I was until God pushed me out of it!  And I’m so glad He did!  It’s hard, but it’s beautiful because it’s so much bigger than myself!

Oh, that reminds me, Grant tried Bovril.  Look it up.  Gross.

And, not related at all, we found this sign:

Have a great weekend!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Days 22, 23 & 24

Wow, these days are adding up!  It’s hard to believe we’ve been out of the country that long!  We are learning more and more about South Africa while we are here, which is exciting to learn new culture!  The last couple of days we have enjoyed taking in some of the sights.

Monday, Day 22:

Monday was a little chilly/rainy, so we decided to keep it inside.  I think we’ve mentioned before that we feel somewhat limited in what we can do with a two-year-old.  We didn’t want to stay in the apartment any longer, so we decided to drive into town and check out the Canal Walk shopping mall, which is “one of the biggest shopping malls in the Southern Hemisphere.”

We walked in and immediately knew we wouldn’t be able to afford anything in there.  Ha!

Okay, I take that back.  The McDonalds in the food court was affordable.

How about that food court, huh?  I felt like it looked a little more like Vegas than a food court!

Dad even found a store he liked!

 

Tuesday, Day 23:

We were pretty low key in the morning, as I needed to clean up this mess of an apartment and get some laundry done.  We got ourselves reorganized, and then we met with the Wandisa team, because it was finally time to apply for Palesa’s passport!

We took a social worker with us, thankfully, because it was in a shady part of town and it was really hard understanding what was needed of us.  She watched everything like a hawk and made sure it was done correctly, so hopefully that means no delays.  The estimate is that this takes 10 business days, but we are praying that God, in His power, expedites that and we get it early next week.  Then we would be ready to fly back to Johannesburg, go through Palesa’s Visa exit interview and then get back home!  So please all you prayer warriors pray hard we fly out of Cape Town next week!!!!

Wednesday, Day 24:

Since we WILL be leaving next week (yes please Jesus!), we wanted to get in a few more “touristy” things in the next week.

We started our day by going to a restaurant that we thought sounded really good online.  When we got there it seemed like quite the hole in the wall.

I feel like nothing in this photo makes sense!  And you really can’t even see the restaurant!  But once we got closer, I started falling in love!

It was called Pajamas and Jam (so cute, huh?) and it was shabby – and I loved it!

And oh.my.yum. The food was to die for!

Grant got his dirty Chai and was in Heaven.  But then our food came…

Yes, that’s a flower on my warm gingerbread with poached egg, bacon and drizzled with honey.  I’m salivating now.  I suggested to Grant that we should go back next week before we leave.  He suggested we go back tomorrow.  This is why I married that man.

How cool is it that they serve their drinks in beakers?!

Oh the baked goods!  There were way more, but I was drooling all over the place and embarrassing myself, so we had to leave.  Such an awesome eatery experience!

After we were done stuffing our faces, we headed out to the cheetah reserve.  I was going to pet a large cat before I left this country and didn’t get the chance at the lion park in Johannesburg, so today was the day!

Meet Ebony, the Cheetah that we got to pet!  He’s 2 years old, and a lazy bum!  He sleeps around 16 hours per day, and didn’t even bother to sit up while we pet him.

We did get him to lift his head for a quick shot, but that was about it for movement.  He had parked himself by this little tree and wasn’t about to move himself for these crazy tourists!

Palesa loved him and was surprisingly gentle with Ebony.

After petting Mr. Sleepy Pants, we decided it was time for lunch.  I know I just wrote about breakfast, but I promise there was a significant amount of time that had lapse and lunch at this point was totally appropriate.

Grant had picked out a brewery that he really wanted to check out.  It was called Triggerfish Brewery.  It was another hole in the wall, but very unique.

Grant enjoyed his beer, and the food was surprisingly good.  Interestingly, there was also a ceramics studio in the other side!

Now most of you are aware that Grant is an Art Teacher, so this was perfect for him!  He was back in the studio in no time, talking to the Artist and pretty soon Grant had disappeared into the back…

Looking at all of his kilns!  Grant said the guy fires stuff super hot at a temp of up to 1600 degrees C!  Not only that but he uses vegetable oil mixed with kerosene as the fuel, which he keeps in a five gallon pail.  It goes down a hose to a metal tube that he lights at one end and shoots through with a shop vac on the other!

After lunch and the improv studio tour, we headed out to Monkey Town!  Yup, you guessed it – there were monkeys!  Lots of monkeys!  Unfortunately, our camera died while we were there, so those pics came off our phone.

It was very interesting, because basically we walked into the cage, and the monkeys were free to jump/swing/run all around us.  Not sure who was really on display…us or the monkeys!

Hard to see, but there was a tiny baby monkey hiding in there.

There were also lots of different types of birds all around.

Those are Macaws.  Not Parrots.

It was a fun day and Palesa was exhausted.  Bedtime was a breeze tonight!

We have some more fun things planned in the next few days, so stay tuned!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What About the Boys?

I know we have been documenting about our adventures in South Africa, but some of you might remember that we have two handsome little boys at home waiting for us.  We have been away from them for 22 days now and, honestly, my heart aches for them.  I have never spent more than one night away from them prior to this, so this is near killing me.  I can’t wait to smoosh their little faces into mine and squeeze their little bodies like a boa.

You may be wondering how it’s going for them and what they are doing.  They are staying with Grant’s parents, and they have been busy!  From the looks of it, they are having so much fun I do question if they even miss us!  That’s a good thing though.  Grandma Lu Ann is doing a tremendous job keeping their minds and bodies occupied – just take a look:

They started off right away with the summer reading program at the library.

Then Vacation Bible School started at one of the local churches, so they got to join in.

They also are playing T-ball!  Grandma and Grandpa actually take them on the road to out of town games too!

And after T-ball, they do the only thing that makes sense – get ice cream!

Lots of ice cream.

And we are just getting started.  These kids are getting a great summer experience!  I mean, they’ve been to the circus…

They’ve been fishing…

They’ve been to a parade…

They get movie nights…

Yup, now get why I question whether they miss us or not?  I mean, these kids have got.it.good.  Oh we are not even done!

They get an ant farm…

They play with water…..lots of water!

They play with sand…

They ride bikes…

They are learning…

And creating…

I mean, these kids have got it so good that they get pancakes spelled in their names!

I wanna stay at Grandma’s house…*tears of jealousy because everyone wants to wake up to pancakes spelling their name – especially those with 3-syllable names!*

Now that my love of pancakes is very obvious to everyone, we should move on!  They boys got to spend a couple of days with my brother and his family on the farm.  They had a blast riding on the four wheeler…

Swimming…

Petting baby chicks with Grandpa Terry…

And just “hanging out”…

Believe it it or not, they have even had a little down time here and there!

 

Thankfully due to technology, we get to hear about all their adventures by FaceTime every day.

No, we don’t have 4 boys…the other two are more cousins that are visiting this week.  The boys love having some more playmates!

The boys have a jar of Hershey kisses that we left with them and they get two every day, so that they get a “kiss” from mom and dad every day.

We are also making chains, which you can see Eli starting above.  We have strips with us in SA and they have some.  Every day we are writing down our favorite part of our day and we can watch our chains grow and then talk about them when we get home.

I am so glad these boys are making so many great memories.  I know Grandma probably passes out every night after the boys go to sleep.  But Grandma Lu Ann and Grandpa Norm are loving on these boys and pouring into their lives which I know will be invaluable to the boys down the road.  We are so thankful for their selfless hearts and willingness to take this challenge on!  You guys are Super-Grandparents!  THANK YOU THANK YOU for taking such good care of our little men!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment