Monday, February 27, 2012

February 26, 2012

February 26, 2012

Last week I never wrote. No big loss since not much happened. It was rainy and I had a lot of migraines. That meant that the kids watched a lot of TV and played on the computer a lot.

On February 14th we did have our playgroup Valentine’s Day party. We had previously made our valentine mailboxes so they were ready to go. The children made valentines to pass out to each other. Snacks included red heart shaped jell-o, heart cookies, bugles, apples, and a few other things. Tanja had purchased some valentine picture frame kits and the kids put them together and inserted a picture I had taken of the group. Justin said that it was his best Valentine’s Day ever. That was nice to hear. Normally he builds things up in his mind so much that he is disappointed by the actual event. We had spent a lot of time making valentines so he had spent a lot of time imagining the day. It thrilled me that he enjoyed it. Making the day even better was the package Grandma Pat had sent. The boys got some valentine candy in a heart box, a couple of small toys, and a card.

Sunday, February 19th we went to a planning meeting after church. Rob went into the meeting while I waited with the boys. They were running around outside and there were a couple of other boys outside too. The older one was almost seven and his younger brother was three. The boys all played so well together. Justin often wishes that he had more friends here. The playgroup is nice, but the other child his age is a girl. He would love to have a boy his age to play with. Unfortunately, many times when he is with other boys his age, he gets upset if he is not top dog. To watch the four boys play together so nicely despite their many differences was a highlight of the week.

February 20th was President’s Day so Rob didn’t have to go to work. The boys were thrilled because they wanted to show off their swimming skills at swimming lessons. They were so excited to show him their new “moves” that they had trouble listening to Miss Estelle. Justin is proud of his diving, which right now is propelling his body forward and landing on his stomach. Oh well. Slow but steady. Ryan is able to float on his back, but lacks confidence.

After swimming lessons, Rob suggested that we go to Spur for lunch. Spur is a South African restaurant chain that serves slightly overpriced mediocre food. The boys love it. There is a bouncy castle for them to play on as well as several video games they can play. While the food isn’t the best, the boys eat well. They enjoy playing too so Rob and I get some time without them. 

The rest of the week was pretty routine. We didn’t go to playgroup on Tuesday because Ryan had some sort of stomach bug and had thrown up. It ended up that no one was up to playgroup so we didn’t miss out.

Saturday, February 25th was an interesting day. Ryan had a horrible rash all over his body. When a friend dropped off some Benadryl for him, she told me that it looked like ringworm. Guess what? It was! Instead of a few little patches though it was ALL OVER HIS BODY. We decided to stay in for the weekend and keep our ringworm to ourselves.

Sunday was a very relaxing day. We stayed in all day and did next to nothing. Ryan got his cream put on him a couple of times and that was about as stressful as it got. Made me wonder if ringworm was so bad after all. :) The chorister from church called to tell Justin and Ryan that she missed them. That made their day. Not a huge thing to make a call, but a thoughtful gesture that really meant a lot.

The week will probably start out slowly while we wait for Ryan to no longer be contagious. We shall see.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February 12, 2012

February 12, 2012

Another normal week has flown by.

Tuesday we went to the petting zoo for our playgroup. There have really been a lot of improvements made to the place since we first went a couple of years ago. It still wouldn’t meet US standards for many reasons, but since we are not in the US it doesn’t really matter. Sure, there are unsafe things, but if you supervise your children it should work out okay. It helps that the boys are older too. I am less concerned for their safety now than I was when we first moved here.

The ostriches have gotten so big. It is amazing to see how fast those things can grow. Feeding them can still be a little scary, even after all this time. They seem like flying snakes when their long necks whip their heads up and around to get to your food. Aggressive little suckers. The boys have gotten used to the goats, horses, alpacas, pigs, rabbits, and many of the other animals. Since we don’t have a pet it is nice for them to get to spend some time around animals.

We also went back to the library. I think once the novelty of that wears off the boys won’t care about it as much. The selection is small and the environment is, well, it is in a windowless storage room. It is not very inviting to say the least. It is a good place to go to get out of the house for a little bit though. I am glad Tonja showed it to us.

Swimming lessons continue. I am glad that the boys are taking them. Besides the obvious benefits of learning to swim, I have enjoyed watching Justin gain a sense of accomplishment when he masters a skill that has been difficult for him. He is moving along slowly, but he is getting it. I would like to find something non-competitive for him to do wherever we end up next. I think that it is good for his character to fail and continue to work and work until he is able to succeed. Too many things come easily to him and I want him to understand that practice and hard work are essential to progress.

There was one day this week when the boys were driving me absolutely crazy! They are getting so they can play together better, but they can also annoy each other. They know just which buttons to push. It seems like some days they would rather upset each other than have any fun. Good thing there are only two of them.

My seminary class at church is going well. I am excited to see the students coming AND making an effort to be on time. I guess the next step will be to get them to do the work at home they are supposed to do so that they are better prepared to be in class. There isn’t a lot for teenagers in Namibia to do, so I wonder why they can’t find the time to get their studying done. Hopefully I can motivate them. One step at a time.

I feel like I don’t have nearly enough time for the seminary class, yet Ryan’s sunbeam (3 year old) class on Sundays seems soooooooooooo long. The kids are very active and busy, one girl in particular. It is hard to keep them engaged in the lesson. They seem to enjoy it though. I definitely don’t have the chance to get bored.

Last Sunday Ryan locked himself into a bathroom stall. I had the other children with me in the bathroom and I couldn’t get the door open from the outside. The door goes down to the floor, so crawling out is not an option. The dividing wall between stalls, however, does not go to the top. Once I was able to find someone to keep track of the other kids, I was able to climb up the toilet, into the window, over the wall (ducking because there wasn’t a lot of clearance for my head) and then walk my arms down the far side of the other stall until I could swing my legs all the way over and climb onto the toilet. Ryan was happy to have me there. We started to leave the bathroom to get the other kids and go to class when he told me he hadn’t peed yet. What? He must have been in there for 10 minutes. Guess he forgot.

The boys are excited for Valentine’s Day. We have a little party with their playgroup planned, including passing out valentines. Hope it is fun for them.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

February 5, 2012

The most exciting part of the week for us was probably getting the list of potential places for Rob’s next assignment. It is fun to think about the next place we will go and what it will be like for our family. We are reading up on the different places and weighing the pros and cons for each place. Hopefully it won’t be too long until we find out, at least unofficially. It is fun to think of the next adventure. Our next post will probably be one that both boys will be old enough to remember well.

On Wednesday we went to the library with the boys’ friend, Leah, and her mother, Tanja. I would have NEVER found it if we hadn’t gone with them. You go in this small back door and walk down a hallway with boxes stacked around. Down one hallway there is a reception type desk with a woman sitting behind it. She is the librarian. She opens the door to a storage room and turns on the lights. The books are lined up on shelves with very little sense of order. Children’s books are together. Adult books are separated by language. No windows, yucky fluorescent lighting and very stuffy in that room. I am assuming that it is there because the real library is undergoing a six month renovation. The interesting thing about the renovation is that it started in February 2009. Lovely. To get a library card, you have the woman make a copy of your driver’s license. You write down your name, address, and phone number and the books you are taking out along with the date. When you return them, you cross of the books you return. The cards are kept in a shoebox looking box. Wow! Wonder how well that works for them? I am sure they end up missing plenty of books. Of course, no one else was there. Perhaps they can’t find the place!

On Thursday we got to babysit Nicky and Timmy while their parents (Gilbert and Sara) went out to celebrate Sara’s birthday. My boys were so excited to have friends over for dinner. After that they played trains until I finally put my kids to bed. They all played pretty nicely together until about an hour after bedtime. I sat up with Nicky and Timmy watching Go, Diego, Go videos.

Other than that it has been pretty routine. We went to swimming lessons, had our playgroup, and shopped for food. We will see what the next week brings.

Monday, February 06, 2012

January 29, 2012

I have a friend who writes a journal entry/letter each week. I don’t know if I will be as ambitious as she is, but I want to write on my blog more often. That should be an easy enough goal.

This week was a fairly normal week. That is part of the problem about writing. I feel like I could often cut and paste one week’s events week after week with only minimal changes. Life is fairly routine. Today, however, is my 40th birthday so it seems like a good time to start writing. We even went out today so I have something to write about today.

Monday was a regular Monday. I took the boys to swimming lessons. The boys are most definitely not natural swimmers. They have, however, made progress. They tend to improve for awhile and then plateau before moving forward again. Right now they are on a forward trend, so it is exciting for them. I don’t care if they ever get to be great swimmers, I just want them to be safe (or at least safer) in and around the water. I am so pleased that Justin is able to swim on his back for the length of a full size pool. As he works on other skills, he is able to flip over to his back when he needs and get over to the side of the pool. I love that he has figured out how to “save” himself when he gets in a situation he finds uncomfortable.

We continued on to do grocery shopping. It can be a challenge sometimes with the boys, but generally they are pretty good. They complain that they don’t like it, but neither do I. They were out of tortillas yet again and with tacos on the meal plan for later in the week I feared I might actually have to make them myself. Not that it is hard, but it is just one more thing. We ended up not only finding tortillas on Friday, but an overpriced can of refried beans. It was a fun splurge. I like refried beans rather than meat on my tacos and I had forgotten to soak the beans.

Tuesday is our normal play date day. It has been a nice addition to our schedule. While we were in the US last August, a couple more families moved into the Embassy community. We now get together weekly with Leah (mother Tanja), Isla and Eamon (mother Leslie), and Nicky and Timmy (mother Sara). Leslie and Tanja both have babies less than a month old, but so far that hasn’t disrupted our group. It is nice for Ryan and Justin. They really look forward to Tuesdays. I am happy that I have some other mothers to spend time with. They are great women and mothers. They are able to teach me a lot and it is nice to have some other people with children at similar ages to Justin and Ryan.

Wednesday is another swimming day. The boys did well and they were proud of themselves. Monday night the boys had slept all the way through the night until almost 6:00! I checked to make sure that they were breathing. Tuesday night they made up for it. They were up so early that I was just dragging. They don’t take naps, but they do have a one hour quiet time which allowed me to take a quick nap.

Thursday we went to a CLO coffee at Michelle’s house. It was a small group, but nice to get out of the house to a different setting. The boys were well behaved and it gave me a chance to relax. Later that day Justin had a dentist appointment. We were happy to learn that his cavity has not gotten worse and does not need it filled at this time. Here they seem to like to go all out for fillings in children. The dentist said that they go to the hospital and use general anesthesia. That seems like a bit much for a small filling. I just hope that Justin doesn’t have pain or other problems until we get back to the US.

Friday Mathilde came over to clean. I feel uncomfortable having someone clean my house, yet I love having my house cleaned without me having to do it. With four indoor toilets and two small boys, it is really nice to have someone clean the bathrooms.  I like to get out of the house to give her some space so the boys and I took off for the petting zoo. We spent about an hour feeding the animals and playing on the playground. We will really miss it when we leave. It is definitely unique. It has the usual animals like goats, pigs, chickens, geese, rabbits, guinea pigs, and horses as well as warthogs, eland, tortoises, peacocks, and ostriches.

Friday was also the first night I taught seminary at church. I only had four students, but I hope that more start coming. I want it to be a learning experience, but I believe it can be fun too. I want to show them that teaching doesn’t have to mean someone standing up front and lecturing at them the whole time. When I am gone, it gives Rob a chance to spend some quality time alone with the boys. They spend a lot of time with me and tend to come to ask me to do things for them even when Rob is around. They enjoy spending time with him and this takes me out of the equation.

I love Saturdays. Once Rob gets up I get to go back to bed while he watches the boys. On this day, he took the boys with their bikes over to Zak’s house to ride their bikes. Zak (Rob’s boss) has a flat driveway that is perfect for riding bikes. Our riding area is brick and slopes both north and west. The boys really struggle learning to pedal bikes on it. It is either really hard to pedal or they get going too fast. Hopefully their skills will transfer and they will learn to negotiate our more difficult terrain.

Rob had noted that Alvin and the Chipmunks movie was playing at the theater. Not that he and I were interested, but Justin loves the chipmunk movies. Lately he has also been asking when we could go to the movies again. Our only family attempt at the movies occurred about 7 months ago when we saw Kung Fu Panda 2. Ryan lasted a very short time. Justin made it the length of the show, but probably only because I brought gummy candy. This time, we all made it through the 89 minutes. Justin would have been happier if it had ended about half an hour sooner, but he was able to handle it. Ryan made it that long thanks to popcorn, granola bars, fruit snacks, and a cereal bar.

And now it is Sunday. My boys have been so excited for my birthday. They have been making me all sorts of things. Earlier this week I realized that I wasn’t getting any presents from them, so I found a couple of things in my drawers that they wouldn’t recognize and had Rob help them wrap them up. They love wrapping and they love giving presents. For the past couple of days they have been telling me that I couldn’t open the presents until my birthday. They were also quite excited about the cake they purchased on the way home from Zak’s house.

I chose to go to Na’an su ke Wildlife Sanctuary for my birthday. It is about an hour outside of Windhoek so not bad for a day trip. We went on a tour to see cheetahs, baboons, and lions that are unable to be in the wild for a variety of reasons. You can choose some tour options that let you get up close and personal for a photo shot. No thank you! It was an enjoyable drive and nice to get to see some of the animals up close (with a fence). We had a lunch buffet that included kudu, oryx, chicken, and a variety of side dishes. It was a nice relaxing day.

Here’s hoping that posts in the future aren’t so dull.