Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Happy ~ Belated ~ Happy

As most of you know my blog updates are intended to be a bit more often and would do much better in a more timely manner.  Unfortunately due to restrictions beyond my control, CRAPPY - CRAPPY INTERNET- they are slower and later than most. So, my apologies for not being more up to date.  However, most of you (the Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles) enjoy seeing pictures of the kids- no matter if they are a few months late - so I appreciate all your love, patience & understanding. 

So, on that note, here is a BELATED blog of Happy's... Enjoy!

Happy Halloween!

Halloween was spent at the Marine House a few miles from our house. They had a Trunk or Treat which most of you may or may not know, seems to be the popular and safe way to trick or treat these days-sadly.  So, we "dressed" up our car as well as ourselves and had a fun evening with Embassy friends as well as a few invited guests.

Tom & I... The Flintstones (2007 repeat) and the car...of course!
Happy Birthday Mommy!

I celebrated a beautiful birthday this year. It was one of my best so far. Why you ask? Because no joke...all year I actually thought I was already 37. So guess what??? I gained a year!! Ha  My husband gave me an amazing gift, one I have wanted for years, a PHOTOGRAPHY class! Yippee! It was great!! I have an amazing camera that I have no idea how to use- so it was nice to figure a few things out and hopefully I will keep learning. Here are a few pictures below I took in class. 

Happy, Happy, Happy...MOM AND PIPER WERE HERE!!!

Super HAPPY because not only did we get Piper, but Mom got to come visit too!!! Waiting for Piper was quite long as we did not know if she would even be joining us or not this trip, but luckily Mom got her here and she has finally been joined back with her family.  Thanks to Papa Andy and Papa Scott for taking such good care of her while she was gone. :) 

 Mom came for almost a month and we had a blast!! We went to Victoria Falls, we (she) had some amazing sewing projects planned and we managed to get quite a few done. She made new curtains for my dining room and kitchen! yes...I'm a slave driver.  THANKS MOM!!! Your the best!  We had a great time visiting, catching up, playing with the kids and seeing a few sites around Harare.  We miss her already. :(

Thanks Mom for an amazing visit, for all your patience and for making this home feel more like our "home" & for making me feel less "Atlanta Home" sick too. We love you!

We are now awaiting Nonna's visit in only a few days!!! The kids now think that we will have visitors every month.  Hannah keeps saying...who's coming next???? Who's coming next???? Ha Ha

So...who's next? :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

We spent Thanksgiving day by ourselves with Mom this year and it was quiet and so so nice, and did I mention...delicious?? Yum! We then invited Tom's office and Marines over for Tday2 (we called it) on that Saturday and had a big feast. It was lots of fun and I think everyone had a good time.  Here are some pictures of our new and old friends.

Left: buffet in kitchen         Right: our new bar~ in our bar room :)

 Below: The RSO office, Marines & DCM in Harare

Happy, Happy Holidays to all of you!! Hope they were wonderful!

Play time!

Birthday Parties, BBQs and any other chance for people to get together on the weekend are a regular thing here in Harare (there is not much else to do here- ha).
Check out some fun pictures of the kids.

Hannah and Chase their first weekend here!
Birthday parties galore!...and then some more!

Left: Hannah with her two buddies form school at another friend's bday party.
Right: Mommy & Daddy taking on a HUGE water slide at our friend's house for their daughter's 2 year old birthday party. Yes...the adults had more fun.  Ha Ha

Hannah & Daddy having fun on the slide. Yes, Hannah looks a little scared, but was laughing seconds later.

Marine Fun Mud Run
One weekend we went the Marine House for a Kids Fun Mud Run. It was great and as you can see, the kids had a blast. They are thinking of doing an adult one soon- now, that would be fun. :)

Embassy kids after their race.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Victoria Falls - Part 1

We started our journey To Victoria Falls on Thursday morning (yes, actually this past Thursday, December 1st) and I am surprisingly writing a somewhat up to date blog post- ha ha.  We got up at 6 am and headed on our way to a town called Bulawayo.  It is supposed be around a 5 hour drive.  It took us about 6 1/2 hours.  It wasn't the pee breaks, or the was just Africa.  Police stops were often, not checking us- just other cars due to the holidays.  We also had to stop for gas as often as we could as gas stations were FEW and FAR between.  When we saw a gas station that actually sold Unleaded Petrol...we had to stop and fill up. It was either that or bring the extra gas cans with us in the car. I say luckily we didn't have to smell gasoline for our whole trip but honestly, we pushed it a few times and the gas cans would have been nice.  The roads were fine, nothing horrible...bumpy, but OK.  For our first trip out of town, it was a somewhat pleasant surprise.  I say this, but Mom, who if you didn't know came to visit us WITH PIPER a few weeks ago, (Hooray!!) and actually sat in the trunk of our 5 seater Toyota Hilux (4-Runner type car). Yes, she sat in the TRUNK!  So, needless to say, the not so bumpy roads for us (Africa travelers) were OK, but for her...not so comfy. She said it was fine, but by the end of our whirlwind 4 day vacation where we drove (Tom drove) 3 out of the 4 days, I am sure that bottom was seriously hurting. Sorry Mom :(

So, back to the trip.  We stopped in the town of Bulawayo for the night.  We stayed at an amazing resort called Camp Amalinda. Our rooms were actually inside rocks!! It was an amazing experience! And lucky us, we were the only people at the camp that night. Tom and I actually got upgraded to the honeymoon suite- So cool! and Mom and the kids stayed in a beautiful and very large family suite. Yes, Kudos to Mom for keeping the kids in her room (THE WHOLE TRIP)! Thanks again Mom!! :)

As soon as we arrived, we took a swim in the pool, had a drink to relax and enjoyed the scenery.  Before dinner, Tom took Chase fishing at the lake while Zebra watched - can you believe it? And Gam Gam and Hannah had massages! So nice!

Here is a picture below (blown up so you can see) of the kids swimming with Tom. Do you see the Zebras? They are there eating grass and the kids are just swimming. The kids did see the zebras, don't worry- the excitement just wore off quickly.  Love this pic!

The zebras are near the rocks.

Our honeymoon suite bathtub...outside, in the rocks. 

Part of my Mom's room. There was a sitting area to the left and the large shower, tub and toilet are on the right. Chase below is in the shower, climbing the rock walls...naked. ha

We left Friday morning from Bulawayo feeling pretty refreshed; however, a little tired from the massive amount of bugs that were in the room, even though we had a mosquito net over our bed. And also we had no air condition. It was still pretty neat, but yes, we are spoiled and was hot, about 20 degrees warmer than Harare. We were then ready to make another supposed 5 hour drive to Victoria Falls.  The trip took us about 6.  This part of our trip however was a little different. Not one person warned us of the LACK of ANYTHING on this road! We might of seen a gas station, but it was so run down and of course, did not have Unleaded Petrol.  We still felt somewhat assured that since we did fill up before we left...we would hopefully be ok.  The reality is - we cut it close, really close.  It was a long road with nowhere to stop. We did go to the random gas station that actually had cokes and an outdoor bathroom, but afterwards we talked about how we needed to be hosed down from head to toe with disinfectant. Yes- it was that bad. Hannah actually decided to pee in the dirt outside the cement frame for a bathroom that actually had a hole in the ground for the toilet.  It was sad, but true.  The realities of Africa I kind of forgot about, I guess.  We made it to Victoria Falls, quickly filled up with gas, at the only ONE of TWO gas stations they had in town and the only one that, you guessed it- had Unleaded Petrol.  And after dumping out stuff in our rooms, we then went immediately to the hotel pool for a swim.  We enjoyed a nice afternoon at the pool and then headed to a neighboring hotel for our tourist BOMA Dinner.

Below are pictures from an interesting evening of food like crocodile tail, guinea fowl, warthog and for Tom...A WORM!! We also had entertainment.  There were dancers and drummers too.  Chase and Hannah got their chance to drum and had an absolute ball.  It was so fun to watch.

Chase drummed straight for about 30 min. never missing a beat. The girls behind him in the picture were taking pictures with Chase too.  He was so focused and everyone was talking about him watching him.
Too cute.

Look close at the food labels- crocodile, impala and guinea fowl.  We tried most of them. They were not  bad, but probably wouldn't taste it again.

Hannah wasn't afraid to dance and shake a little of her booty- as you can see. She wouldn't do it with the dancers out there, but as soon as they left- she ran out and did a little shake.

Tom eating - the worm. gross! He was obviously more adventurous than us, and he also tried the warthog and a few other things. He said the worm tasted like dirt...go figure.

They dressed us in traditional African fabrics upon entering the restaurant. 

Mom and Hannah- SO CUTE!

...The road to Victoria Falls. It was like this for 6 straight hours!!!
OK -Victoria Falls Part 2 ... Coming Soon!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Move # 8 is complete!

Yep, that's 8 moves in 6 years.

The good news is, our stuff from Atlanta finally arrived! Hooray! Bad news...quite a few things were broken. But only the one of a kind fragile items...which is just seriously frustrating. Such is this life I suppose, its just hard to lose special and irreplaceable things.  The packers packed a target lamp shade in a box by itself, wrapped in a thousand pieces of paper but somehow managed to throw multiple picture frames and Tom's Samurai (like) sword in a large clothes hanging box...with absolutely NO paper. Oh, and in the same long tall box with the picture frames and sword was my espresso machine (still, no paper). Really??  The hanging clothes boxes they brought were not actually even used for clothes because those were all stuffed in a regular square box.  They did manage to keep the hangers on- I mean, thank goodness!  This is moving folks, not one move is the same and yet I thought it would get easier.  It seems to be just more frustrating now that you know what is actually supposed to happen and now that you have also experienced excellent movers and really crappy ones too. Surprisingly the crappiest movers in all of our moves were from the US.  Errgh!

On a positive note however, all the boxes have been unpacked in just ONE week and this house is already starting to look a little bit like home. There are a few rooms left, but we are getting there and faster than we have done in any other of our moves.  I guess that is what moving too much will do to you.  I, on the other hand, thought I purged SO much stuff and all still ended up here. How does that happen? 

I just realized too that we are still waiting on Tom's stuff from Pakistan- it left there in July. ??? I guess this move is not 100% complete, but we are almost there. However, Tom's stuff did leave on a random pick up truck and he received no paperwork. So who knows if we will ever see that stuff again. Ha Fingers crossed!

We have had lots going on, a fun Halloween, birthday parties, etc. but that will have to come later. Again, downloading the pics- it takes forever!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Imire Park

Last weekend we took our first trip out of town to a place called Imire Safari Ranch.  It was only about an hour and a half a way, which was great, but we still decided to stay over for the night.  I am so glad we did! We left early in the morning and followed a group of Embassy families for the fun day together. There was about 20 of us, including kids, and we all had a great time. They all went home around 4 pm and we got to stay for some fun stuff that night ... and the next morning. Enjoy the pics!

Our Elephant Ride

Dad and Chase...too cute for words with the Rhinos in the background.  And Hannah with the elephants.
So cool!!

Chase and the Zebras with his "bone" he found. Not sure what kind of bone it is, but he found it and picked up it immediately. (Probably a zebra or cow bone). He would not let anyone look at either. Ha

A baby elephant trying to say hello to Chase...I think. Kind of neat though that the baby lifted up his long nose to him.  :)

Taking a break for our lunch and after, feeding the Elephants their lunch. Super fun!!!

Hannah and Mommy...and Daddy and Chase on our ELEPHANT RIDES!!! What an experience!
Tom and I talked afterward...we were both worried about the exact same thing. What in the world would happen if this elephant had had its last ride and decided we are the ones to get booted off and while we had our KIDS!  We were both trying to come up with scenarios if the elephant stood up or tried to throw us off.  It was still relaxing, dont worry- just my hubby and I's crazy head. Ha Luckily, that was not us and the elephant did not decide to "boot" us that day either. Ha Ha

It was a breathtaking view and a once in a lifetime experience. Hope the kids remember this one! :)

And last but not least, the kids passed out on our safari. Ha!

After the Embassy crew left, we got to stay for Sundowners (drinks) and snacks. We watched one of the most amazing sunsets while wild animals grazed behind us and we watched the falling rain in the distance.  Truly breathtaking. 

If I take the time to download the rest of the pics- you will never get to see these- sorry!.  Just got Internet fixed today, it worked for three days- go figure.  More pictures to come, but for now...hope you will enjoy these.