Hazy Days

the shadow of the life to come

Hazy Days

Archives for Cape Town

October 2013

I am so grateful to live in such a beautiful part of the world.  My worries and prayers for our country centre around lost souls, the crime, the political turmoil, the socio-economic issues.  But, seldom are my concerns about our environment, except for its preservation.  We truly live in a beautiful place that shouts out praises to God with every sunrise and every sunset.  October month of 2013 was one of those months where we got to enjoy so much of Cape Town’s beauty.  My heart feels full right now as I look over these photos and recognise the blessing that they are.

In no particular order: our October…

We visited Cape Point one weekend.  It was one of those spur-of-the-moment family outings that we like to take at times.  Beautiful scenery and lots of fun to enjoy.

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Craig and I have been having lots of fun with the pro-HDR feature on our phones which takes two photos of the same scenario within quick succession and then knits them together to get the best lighting across the entire shot.  Of course, if your subjects move while you are doing it then you get all sorts of fun photos – like this one:

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We totally splurged and ate at the restaurant there.  Yum yum!

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Katie’s creation after her sushi:

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We really had a blast:

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Kiera found an empty bottle, so she wrote a note and popped it in.  Guess what – if anyone finds her note and the bottle, she’s offering a free book to them.  That’ll be fun if anyone does find it.  Somewhere on a beach in Cape Point!

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Heading towards Red Hill after our day at the Point:

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And the view from Red Hill itself.  Love it.

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The significance of this photo is that it was Kiera’s first time back at kids’ club after a term out for being ill.  Her illness affected her in strange ways, including creating ridiculous levels of anxiety.  She braved it back and, while she’s had a set back or two illness-wise, she’s not stopped going to kids’ club.

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On another weekend, we joined the Sutherlands on a 4×4 trail in the dunes on the West Coast.  It was a superb day – cold and windy, but what a jol it was driving Craig’s Disco 3 up and down sand-dunes.

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Seekers had a brief appearance at CUM and Exclusive books.  We spotted these guys on their shelves, but they were soon sold out.  They’ve not replaced them as far as I know.  People keep asking about where to buy them – the best way to get them back onto the shelves is to request that they get there.  Phone the stores! Smile  They all have Seekers on their computer systems and can order with stock in store within days, but it takes a request to get it going. 

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October was our first hint of warmer weather – and the kids had a blast running in and out of the sprinkler, since the pool was still a little wintery-green!

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A visit to Dad’s office:

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Bowling with the Grade 5 girls!

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A medieval party – loved by all!

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My first race in 10 years!  I ran the Gun Run 10km with Russel and his son, Liam.  What a jol!  I felt strong enough to run the 21km, but felt it best rather to train more and leave the 21km for early next year.

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Sunday afternoon pile-ups with Dad.  Always fun.

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Someone turned 7 with great delight!

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Cape Explorers kept us busy this month with some awesome outings.  We went up the loooong trail of stairs to the grave of Just Nuisance, the dog of war-time fame.  On our way down we met these navy trainees doing what is apparently like the US’s Navy Seal training.  They had to run about in that awfully heavy suit and then they had to tackle the same stairs we had just gone up and down – the same stairs that had left our legs like buzzing jelly!  Kudos to them, I tell you.

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We started the walk with a special gift to Karen our wonderful organiser.  Tears all round!

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Peers’ Cave take two – we loved this!

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Bathroom renovations of September were finally finished and ready for some photos:

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Home-time activities this month included card-making…

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raising funds for the Lost in India initiative.

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Cape Explorers at Intaka Island:

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Minion cupcakes for a birthday boy!

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And a birthday dinner with a certain birthday girl.

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And then a few nights later, the birthday boy got his birthday dinner!

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This was also the month when the homeschooling community was blessed with a visit from Niki Daly – acclaimed SA author.  He read from his latest book to us (the award-winning The Herd Boy).  It was wonderful and the kids absolutely loved it!

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Kiera was blessed to chat to Niki himself.  She was the one who initiated contact earlier that year, so it was super for her to finally meet him in person.

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I had a bunch more photos that, for some reason, would not load – so this is it for October 2013!  A wonderful month, indeed.

First Time for Snow

We’ve been promising the kids for 5 years now that we will take them to see the snow in Ceres.  Every winter comes … and then goes before we quite make it.  The promise is held over until the next year and the pattern is repeated.  But when Craig’s brother took his kids and Katie this weekend and then we heard from friends it has been the best snow in a very long while, we decided to be spontaneous for a change and head off to the Matroosberg Mountains. 

What a great time!  We took cousin Holly along and headed out early in the morning on the N1 where we could already see snow-capped mountains in the distance.

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We listened to some of our favourite stories on CD (thanks Classical Kids Collection and Sonlight!) with the first two requests being for Song of the Unicorn and Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage. 

Soon enough we were through Ceres and on the familiar road to Klondyke Cherry farm.  Years ago when I was a teen, my family used to “farm-sit” Klondyke.  Our friends were the farm managers and every June/July winter holiday they would have a break on the coast and we would come to Klondyke to look after the farm in their absence.  I have such fond memories!  Going with my bestie, Carol-Lynne for the first time at 13 and then 14 and 15.  We would play endless games of cards, Scrabble, Pictionary and Balderdash.  Wimbledon was a huge highlight.  We’d spend hours following the ball across the screen.  It got tricky to follow sometimes.  The ancient TV didn’t get great reception, so sometimes it was difficult to see the white ball in and amongst all the fuzzy white TV-snow.  And if the room got too warm, which it often did with the awesome roaring wood fire, the TV would lose its colour.  So, we’d have to run a fan behind the TV set to keep it cool and keep the colour.  Totally not the big flat screen experiences of today, but I wouldn’t swap it for the world.  I still remember the charades games we played in the lounge.  The horse rides we took on the farm and the neighbouring farm, Hillcrest.  The snow fights.  The long walks.  Eventually, when I was 16, my then-boyfriend-now-husband came along on these farm holidays.  So it was awesome to see Klondyke and the house again after 20 years!

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Sadly, it looked all closed up and unused.  We don’t know the new farm managers and even if they live there anymore.

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But, Klondyke was not our final destination, despite the smattering of snow still hanging around.  We were off to the Matroosberg mountains in the background of this photo below:

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And we were not the only ones!  Loads of hopeful 4×4 families were waiting to pay to drive in the private nature reserve that is the Matroosberg.  We waited for quite a while!  And had to queue for a while for the loo too.  The kids loved the loo sign which read “4U2P” – it was hilarious watching them read it out loud and then have the meaning dawn on them slowly! 

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Finally it was time to drive. Now, hubby has pretty much zero 4×4 driving experience. And these roads are scary.  I didn’t take any photos of the really scary bits because I was bracing myself against the door with my eyes tightly shut! But here are a few: the first stretch…

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There were moments when, even if I had tried to take photos, they’d have been of the car bonnet (hood) only, because that’s how much of an up angle we were at!

We stopped at a few spots along the way and played in the now melting snow.  If we’d been there two days before it would have been just a blanket of snow everywhere!  But we had more than enough to play in and it was a jol!

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We built a little snow-buddy-bear for the car on the way up…

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The kids ate the snow…

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Craig had loads of fun pelting his kids with snowballs!

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And the kids were fully into the whole experience!

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Me too!  I feel like I look like a snowman in this photo with all the extra layers on and my big jeans too!

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Cutie boy!

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Trying to rid himself of snow ball residue!

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Cousin Holly eating snow…

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Kiera, post hit!

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Love this … “here, you take the ammo and fire it …”

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“Sure thing!”

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Katie with her plate of food…

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Yum yum!

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We made another snow man. 

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LOVE this photo – Sam is trying to prove some family resemblance between him and the snowman.  Gappy teeth, anyone?

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Love the icy treads:

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And then Craig and I did snow angels – got him on video and me on stills.  What fun!

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Katie wanted to do it too, but her expressions were just hilarious! The snow was COLD and she grimaced through the whole thing!

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We found ourselves sinking quite deep from time to time.  A far cry from the kind of winter snow I experienced when living in the far north of the US, but still exciting for my little family – the kids have never seen snow before!

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Driving downhill wasn’t quite as scary as driving uphill.  If these downhill faces are anything to go by, you can only imagine how scary the uphill was!

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Since car-snow-man #1 only managed to hold onto the car for so long, we built another one quickly. 

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This bear hung on for a good while before eventually she too found herself bounced off!

 

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What fun we had coming back – through rivers and over boulders.  Craig has been planning on doing a beginners course – something tells me that he can skip that one now and move straight onto the advanced course!

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Our car – christened Roxy (Rocksy) after today’s trip – well covered!  All the rock-climbing, the river-crossing and the mud-splashing experiences plastered little boy grins all over my hubby’s face!  I love seeing him enjoy boy-experiences so much!

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Back at the lodge, we had a late lunch and the kids had a jol tackling Craig on the lawn.

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Home again, home again, this time along the Bain’s Kloof way (we came via the R44 the first time) – we listened to more stories and eventually I succumbed to sleep while the kids listened to Adventures in Odysseys. 

What incredible fun!  In some ways I’m glad it took us this long to get around to getting to the snow.  We all got to go.  The kids are all old enough to remember.  And we got to head way up into the mountains thanks to the 4×4 we’ve only had for a couple of months. 

Sunday at Silvermine

Although Cape winters are Cold. Wet. Dark. Wet. and Cold, there are days when the sun shines bright and the outdoors beckons.  This Sunday was one of those days.  After a wet and grey Saturday, it was a great delight to take our Sunday lunch to the mountains.

Here’s some photos of the day:

Sam, the aeroplane man:

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Scrambling after dad:

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Look at the view!

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More scrambling after dad…  Can you spot the waterfall in the picture below?  It’s pouring out from under the green green clump of trees above left of my little family.

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Finally we get to the waterfall itself – with all the rains we’ve had, it’s pumping!

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And back again…

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with some lunch on the ledge…

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before we headed back…

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We were here!  That ledge just below the “we were here” words is where we were sitting in the photos above. 

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Then it was home again home again to rest.  Ah!  Love Sunny Cape Town Winter days (and yet glad that it’s just 10 days until the shortest day of the year, because it means … the days are going to get longer from here on out!  yay!)

The Madness of March

The month has a bit of a whirlwind. 

It’s been our second month back at school.  For the most part, that is going well, with a few hiccups along the way called “attitude” and “laziness” and “life” – I won’t divulge what percentage represents the mother-person vs the kiddie-people.  Ah-hem.

But, we’ve had some lovely moments – so let’s dwell on those.  Like lying outside in the shade of our tree, enjoying our read alouds while eating chocolate brownies.  Ah!

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Or going on an educational outing…  Since we’re doing anatomy for Science this year, I figured that the girls would benefit from seeing Body World.  Well, Kiera’s sensitivities got the better of her a few days before and she forfeited her spot in favour of her cousin, Holly.

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Katie and Holly had a ball and enjoyed their Kauai date with Craig and I afterwards.  More on all that over at this post: Body Worlds.

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We’ve enjoyed a family braai this March with the Hayes family.  Sam looked after baby Sarah beautifully – so sweet!

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I love how she is looking at him in this photo.  Too gorgeous for words.

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Craig resigned from his former company mid-Feb, which meant that he finished his last day mid-March.  It’s been a bittersweet period for him as he had a fantastic team at his previous company.  It was hard saying goodbye, despite the fact that he was looking forward to the challenges ahead. 

The kids were really sad!  They shed a few tears and didn’t want Craig to move.  Funny how these things affect kids too.  They have each enjoyed a birthday treat with dad at his office on the day of their birthday.  And they’ve enjoyed visiting on other occasions.  So, as a goodbye, we decided to bake up a storm of cookies to take as a goodbye.

We tripled our normal basic cookie recipe and then turned them into chocolate chip, peanut butter and double chocolate choc-chip cookies. Mmm!

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Kiera made a sweet goodbye sign with pictures of our family a-la-stick-men-style.  She was going for the “my family” stick figure images that most cars in Cape Town sport on their back windows.  That would account for the two light sabres in the image – being her and Sam’s latest fad.  No surprises – mommy Taryn has a computer in her hand!

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These cookies were delicious.  I am NOT supposed to have sugar (health issues) but in small amounts I seem to be ok.  Small amounts?  Well, let’s just say that it was a good thing that these were leaving our home and staying at their destination because I can’t do self-control with these lurking in my kitchen!

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When we got there, Craig let the kids see the gun safe.  His company is a security company – hence the gun safe.  I took photos from a safe distance, because, really, even looking at guns in real life makes my hands go all tingly and my brow break out in a cold sweat.  Terrified?  Totally.  Craig assured me that they were not loaded and he checked before he let them hold them, but that did nothing to calm my beating heart. 

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Back to safer territory – the last remaining basket of cookies in the main open area and Katie saying goodbye.

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And the others saying chasing after dad with night sticks… a la Light Sabre Style.

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And one last time in the conference room pretending to be the “boss”.  For some reason, my kids equate being the boss with saying “You’re fired!” on a regular basis.  Seriously.  I have no idea where they get this stuff from! 

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I have no pictures of Craig’s new offices and job Smile  We did get to visit, though, much to the kids’ (and my) delight.  Every time Craig has started a new job (this would be the fourth company group in 16 years, so he’s no job-hopper!) the first while has been a bit weird for me.  Suddenly, we’re in an industry I don’t know a thing about.  I’ve no idea about his colleagues and employees, or even what his office looks like.  It’s all a big black hole that he disappears into for a day and comes home late at night, tired, yet energised by the new challenges he gets to enjoy.  Seeing his premises, meeting some of his staff and getting a feel for his workplace is a big deal for me.  And as it turns out, the kids too.  So, we were glad when we could make a quick visit when Craig’s first full week came to an end.  Now we have a place in our minds when we think of daddy’s workplace. 

Interestingly, it reminded me of the second company group he worked for – only much much bigger.  The challenges that lie ahead of Craig may well be very difficult, but deeply rewarding too.  It’s exactly the sort of thing that he has proved to be more than capable of handling, thanks to the Lord’s grace and gifting. 

Back home: Craig started reading Narnia to the kids again in the last month or so.   He read the whole series to the girls some years ago, and now he’s starting again – reading to everyone.  They love it!  And I love it – this is one of my most heart-warming images of my family – daddy reading, kids listening – enraptured.  A small, but blessed moment.

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As you can see from these different-night pics, I’m not too good at clearing away our school stuff after a long day!

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Sam finished his third reader in the I Can Read It! series by Sonlight.  Joy and excitement is all his!  It means that he can now move onto the “big boy” books like Cat in the Hat, Little Bear, Put me in the Zoo and other books that he’s been dying to read.

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So sweet!

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This month, I managed to find a bunch of South African books for kids.  These are just a few of them (with one or two others in there too).  I have not read half of them myself, but I plan to eventually!

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We’ve enjoyed another Cape Explorers outing in the pouring rain!  But it was still super successful.

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Blind fragrance trail in the rain!

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We had a mid-March breakaway thanks to Craig’s between-jobs holiday.  Off to Onrus we went and had a beautiful 4 1/2 days enjoying the sun, sea, surf, sand and special family time.

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But, we also had to do a little bit of school, since I wanted to be sure that kept up the continuity.

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Sunsets in Onrus – ah!

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And sunset braais…  double ah!

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Here’s Mr Sambo reading Green Eggs and Ham.  He insisted on reading it from cover to cover, totally ignoring the scheduled page allocations.  I’m loving his joy of reading.  Too sweet!

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We enjoyed our first real “hike” for the year with the VB family.  All the way to the Silvermine waterfall.  It’s not really all the way – as in, it’s not that far, but it’s far enough!

Three, way cool, boys…

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Mr Sam managed to lose this T-shirt on the path home.  Argh.

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Three happy girls, glad to be re-united after a two week holiday apart.

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And some wildlife – we got treated with a few paddatjies at the bottom of the waterfall.

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Too sweet…

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Sam and I tried to find his shirt after he lost it.  All we found was this dung beetle doing his thing.

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March was also the month when I buckled down to some serious yard work.  Well, to be honest, I did nothing other than direct our really handy twice-monthly gardener to load up the car.  It’s one of those times I’m really grateful for the car’s size and handle stowaway seating that folds into the floor.  We managed to fill this …

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… with this.  That would be ALL the visible branches and debris hanging out the car…

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Yes, and the other stuff near the open door…

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… AND all 14 black bags full of recycling.  IMG_8217

While I was handling the great-big-haul-the-junk-to-the-dump project, the kids were engaging in a little after-formal-schooling-unschooling.  I came home to find Sam reading on the couch while listening to stories-on-CD and Katie giving Micah an art lesson.  Too sweet!

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March meant that Lunch Bunch was at my house.  We’ve started a little responsibility chart – this way the kids will get to take responsibility for the cleaning up of certain areas of the house.  A great idea!  Thanks Aunty Kate!

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I did crafts twice this term.  Being the “Xhosa teacher” (whaha!) I don’t get a heavy craft load too.  But, I do get to have some fun when I do do it.  I let the kids make whatever creature they wanted to make out of some junk, including yoghurt containers, pipe-cleaners and various other bits and bobs.  What a jol they had!

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Carys did much sticky-tape mastering during this session. So sweet!

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One weekend, we headed to the beach for a long walk.  Well, walk turned into a bit of a cartwheel contest!  Craig impressed us with his ability to still spin a handspring at the ripe old age of 38!

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But, he kept it at the minimum, especially after I started snapping shots from my phone!

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It was a beautiful day.  Love it.  This, by the way, is Muizenberg beach – the same beach where the characters of my book begin their journey, and the same beach that features conceptually on the front cover of my book. 

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Our nature club headed out Paarl way to Babylonstoren – a beautiful farm with a garden second to none.  The owners created a garden along the lines of the original company gardens.  Despite the fact that we got stuck in hectic traffic and a 45 minute journey ended up taking us 2 HOURS, we still enjoyed it.  I was proud of my kids for maintaining a positive attitude – not exactly a common occurrence when it comes my kids and their tolerance levels.

Four monkeys in a tree basket!

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Hanging gardens of Babylon(storen)?

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So restful…

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These cacti reminded me of piglet from Winnie the Pooh…  Can you see it?

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These ones were the Valentine’s avenue of the gardens – see all the heart shapes?

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Sam and Micah enjoyed taking their shoes off and walking through the canals.  Well, the canals got deeper and deeper until … THIS.  What a ball!

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March is also when my book went to print!  To think that just three months ago I was not sure whether to pursue traditional publishing or try my hand at self-publishing.  God in His gracious kindness answered my desperate prayer of guidance with the gift of Naledi publishers.  And now I have a 1 May release date for Seekers of the Lost Boy.  It’s been an exciting month indeed!

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But, even with all the fun of the month, the unexpected holiday, the time with family, nothing compares with the joy of celebrating Jesus.  This year, Easter falls on the last weekend of March.  And this year we got to celebrate in our own home in Cape Town for the first time since 2008. 

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And we invited Craig’s folks and the Tubbies who joined in our Passover meal fun of Friday night.

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There was great hilarity and fun and games, but also great significance as we celebrated a tradition that not only spotlight’s God’s grace and power in saving His people from Egypt, but also how He saves the world through Jesus – the very event that is foreshadowed in the Passover itself.

The kids had an absolute ball.  Their excitement was oozing out of every pore!  Can you see?

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They also got the added bonus of a midnight egg hunt with UV torches and glow-in-the-dark eggs!

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Saturday night, we enjoyed our resurrection cookie ritual:

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And Sunday morning we enjoyed the rest of it along with all the other celebrations that come with Resurrection Sunday:

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All in all, it’s been a month of much to be thankful for.  And what a way to end it – with a day commemorating the event that is the best gift of all: Jesus.  Thank you, Lord!

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