Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Talking with Nate

Today

Me: Nate, can you give me a kiss?
Nate: I sure can! Dere (there) you go, Mommy!

Nate, putting Mega Blocks on his head...
Me: Nate, what are you doing?
Nate: There's a birthday party on my head!

Nate, running down the hallway, fist in the air, after I told him the iPad needed to charge...
Nate: Ipad CHARGE! Ipad need a charge!

While throwing a ball back and forth...
Nate: Good throw, Mommy.  Nice job.
Me: Thanks, Nate
Nate: Tanks, Mommy


And this guy said "ablah bah bah ba".

Monday, January 27, 2014

Johannesburg Zoo


This past weekend we took the boys to the Johannesburg Zoo. We thought, for a moment, Nathaniel might have become a little animal elitist because of the safaris, but he did not discriminate and had a great time.  Turns out, in his world,  a "zeebee" and a "em-umph" in a zoo get the same reaction as a zebra and an elephant in the wild. 

The Johannesburg Zoo is pretty spacious and well planned out.  Along with all the animals, there are playgrounds, walking paths, picnic areas, rides, and a decent restaurant where we ended up getting lunch. 

Excited to see the elephants.

The zoo restaurant.

Lucky duck eating ice cream.

 Greeting the apes.



Nate's very first ride by himself.  Getting more independent by the minute.




Friday, January 24, 2014

After Dinner Play


Most nights after dinner, Nate likes to run around the yard and play before bath time.  It's a routine we started while living in DC and kept going here.  If I've learned anything about kids, it's that routines are your best friend.  


Taking his bike for a run down the pathway.  




6:30: Skype a Nana or two and head to the tub with dirty feet.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ben and Mom


Out and About in Pretoria


Here's Nate playing at a restaurant nearby.  Even though there are few public playgrounds, most restaurants seem to have ample play areas.  This restaurant even had a woman hired specifically to watch and play with your kids.  We sat at a table right next to the slide and Nate ran around like a crazy man - which is exactly what he normally wants to do at restaurants.  Definitely makes going out with a toddler much easier.



Friday, January 17, 2014

Pilanesberg


A couple weeks ago, we spent a few days at Pilanesberg National Park, a game reserve about an hour and a half away from where we live.  We stayed at a hotel right outside the park and it was a great way to do New Years in South Africa with the boys. Compared to Masai Mara or Kruger, Pilanesberg is relatively small but it was a perfect size safari to do with two young kids (if there is such a thing).  We drove ourselves around the park and, even though we were limited on time due to toddler attention spans and baby needs, we saw lions, giraffes, zebra, kudus, wildebeest, rhinos, and elephants.  On a side note, when I began motherhood, I don't think I ever anticipated nursing a baby while lions hunted outside my door. But, yeah, that happened. 



On the lookout for tigers. Known to everyone else as lions.  


As Nate says, "Em-umphs".


"A gi-asssh!"


"Zee-bees"


"ku-dee"


Taking in the view one more time before falling asleep in the car.


The hotel where we stayed.  Hard to believe there is legit safari only a few minutes away.





Thursday, January 16, 2014

Reading



Nate reading to Ben this morning. He decided he needed to remove his shirt before the story began.  Comfort is key.



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Ben is 5 Months



In 5 months, Ben's checklist includes:
  • 3 safaris
  • 1 intercontinental flight
  • 4 flights around the US
  • 5 different homes
  • 3 hotel stays
  • sitting up with assistance
  • trying to crawl
  • being a happy goofy guy
And
  • 1 unlucky situation of being born into a homeless gypsy family

On the to-do list for 6 months: swimming!






Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Flight


When: October 8, 2013
Where: Boston to DC, DC to Atlanta, Atlanta to Johannesburg
Who: Henry, Nate, Ben, Q (aka my mom), and me
How: By some miracle bestowed upon us by God

I think I was dreading our flight to Johannesburg from the moment we found out we were moving to South Africa.  Pre-kids: no problem.  With kids: horrific. Seriously, if you have enemies, wish for them to travel with young kids.  It's a logistically challenging, diaper blowout planning, baby feeding, meltdown avoiding, pack mule-ing ordeal that makes me realize I never appreciated how easy traveling was before.

Truth be told, as far as flying children go, I have to say, ours can behave pretty well.  Can. If they so choose.   On the flight from Boston to DC, Nate had what can only be described as an epic meltdown.  So much so that one of the (grumpy) flight attendants asked me, "What are we going to do about your child? I think he needs milk".  Well, he didn't need milk.  He doesn't even like milk.  So that was unhelpful.  Thankfully, after apparently becoming bored with his thrashing mental patient ways, he pulled it together and we made it to DC. Reason for meltdown: unknown.

Once in DC, we collected and rechecked our metric ton of luggage and made our way over to our next flight (which was delayed - joy of joys) to Atlanta.  Again, on this flight, another meltdown. Reason for meltdown: tired and past bedtime. Acceptable reason, still not enjoyable.

In Atlanta, we stayed at an airport hotel for the night.  We had to collect all the bags again, though minus a few that they lost on the way.  Frustrating but also less to carry so I was actually ok with it.

Finally, we make it to the hotel for the night.  Set up the pack n' plays for the kids, gave them baths, read some books, tried to get them to sleep.  At this point, I have no idea how we are going to manage a 16 hour flight the next night due to the toddler meltdowns on relatively short flights.  Things don't seem promising and I consider staying in Atlanta forever (since we are already here after all).

The next day I wake in fear.  The flight was happening. Henry and Q won't back out with me.  We head over to the airport early to recheck all our luggage once more.  Each time, this process takes a month and I feel sorry for the poor airline employee who draws us.

Our flight left right on time at 7:15 p.m. (right around Nate's bedtime) and after all my worry, overall, both Nate and Ben were pretty great on the flight.

Of course, it was exhausting and the 16 hours felt like 4 days.  It was constant child entertaining, corralling, and standing in the back rocking, but it was nothing like the disaster I feared.  The worst was a few crying episodes and a seat kicking incident. I guess Nate got the major meltdowns out of the way the day before.  Funny enough, we weren't even the worst behaved passengers on the flight by far.  Apparently, a few people in the cabin in front of us were sharing a smuggled bottle of duty-free vodka and started throwing up all over each other a couple hours into the flight.  So compared to them, we were great.  The crew and cabin did not turn on us.  I didn't have to pretend like I didn't know the boys.  We made it to South Africa.


 So. Much. Baby. Gear. 


Nate taking a nap during our first layover.


Henry and Nate waiting before the long Atlanta to Joburg flight.  


Our plane.  At least they couldn't kick us off over the Atlantic (right?).

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Nate and Ben


Ben thinks moving is hilarious.  Nate just wants to go in the pool.

New House

Here are a few photos of our house.  Come visit!

Front yard and garage area

Front of house

Yard

Pool

Braai area