Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bidding again already

OK, last post for today, I PROMISE!  Sorry to those of you that get email notifications of every new post.  Your inbox has been inundated today!

We have been in Pretoria almost exactly a year now, which is hard to believe.  It has flown by and we can’t believe we only have one more year left.  So now comes the time to start bidding on our next post.  We got the list and are pretty excited about most of the places.  Of course there are some that I would rather not even think about the possibility of having to move there.  But we got in this for the adventure, right?!

So here it is!  Let the voting begin.

Algiers, Algeria
Asuncion, Paraguay
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Dubai, UAE
Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Frankfurt, Germany
Guangzhou, China
Karachi, Pakistan
Kingston, Jamaica
La Paz, Bolivia
Monterrey, Mexico
New Delhi, India
Stockholm, Sweden

As of now, our Top 5 (in no particular order) are:
1.     Asuncion, Paraguay (Lee’s first choice)
2.     La Paz, Bolivia
3.     Stockholm, Sweden (My first choice)
4.     Frankfurt, Germany
5.     Dubai, UAE

Peek-a Boo and Pools

Kinley just now started thinking Peek-a-boo was funny!  She had just gotten out of the bath one night and I was getting her ready for bed in her crib.  Lee was standing there and started hiding behind a blanket and popping out each side.  As soon as he would hide, she would look to the other side and wait for him to pop out!  It was so cute.  Yes, something all babies do.  But when its your own baby, you think its something special!  So we took a video.

Then today she started floating lessons.  She loves the water, so I thought it would be something fun to do.  The two babies that were in before her screamed the entire time.  But she loved it.  She was calm the entire time.  I am sure she will get her freak out moment at some point, but today she was great.  It is a salt water pool, and she thought that tasty funny, but she still stuck her tongue out every time the teacher put water on her face.


Christmas 2011

It sure didnt feel like Christmas time here in South Africa.  It was hot and we were wearing shorts and flip flops.  It was really weird to go into stores and shop for summer clothes with Christmas music playing over the speakers.  It just didnt seem right.  I wanted snow, fires in the fireplace and hot chocolate! We were counting down the days until we got to fly home to the US.  But we really wanted to get a Christmas card done, so we had a little photo shoot with Kinley.  Lee did a great job and we got some really cute ones.

This is the one we actually used for the card! Oh, that face!

All she wanted to do was eat her shoes

We were too late in getting the picture, but it would have been cute.  Kinley LOVES Rugby.  Unfortunately, Rugby is not that interested in her.  So this is Rugby about to bolt away. 

So the day to come home finally came.  We were very nervous about the plane ride with Kinley.  Fortunately we got the bassinet seat so she had a little bed to sleep in.  She slept pretty well, only cried a little bit and people by us on the plane were grateful for that.  We had to be at the airport 3 hours early, then it was a 16 hour flight to Atlanta, 3 hour layover there, then an hour flight to Memphis.  She did great except when we got on the plane in Atlanta.  She SCREAMED the entire way to Memphis.  I am so glad it was that flight and not the one from SA though.

So remember that snow, fires and hot chocolate I was talking about?  My dreams were crushed!  It wasnt even that cold in the US!  I was so disappointed!  But dont worry, it snowed a few days after we got back to South Africa!  WHAT BAD LUCK!!

It was great to be with the Carnell family.  They were so excited to have Kinley there and Mimi (Lee's mom) really helped with the jet lag situation.  We were exhausted, so she got up with Kinley in the middle of the night almost every night we were there.  What a nice person.  I dont think I am that nice.  Not sure there is anyone I would do that for!!  Maybe when I am a grandma.  They had all kinds of fun toys there for her to play with and it was nice for her to spend time with them.  Kinley's great grandparents, Jane and Ola, came down to meet her and spend a few days with her.  They just thought she was the "sweetest thang!" Jane has the cutest southern accent so just imagine her saying it!  They all gave her some really great toys for Christmas that she loves to play with!  Keeps her entertained for hours!
Kinley and Ola

The Jane's together for the first time!
We got some cute pictures taken of Kinley in Memphis that I will post later!

Then it was off to Tulsa to see the Turner clan.  All 19 of us were there, plus extended family too, so it was a full house and lots of fun.  Unfortunately I got sick the last day in Memphis and was sick for about 5 days in Tulsa, so I was miserable and no fun! Then as soon as I got better, Lee got sick.  Luckily Kinley stayed healthy!

Kinley's 9 cousins were SO excited to see her and fought over her the entire time we were there.  I think Claire gets the prize for holding her the most though.  She even told me she is "obsessed with Kinley!"  So it was really fun and cute to watch all of them with her.  They were so good at playing with her and spending time with her.  Even the boys wanted to hold her and play with her.  She thought Bryce was the funniest person in the world and would just laugh and laugh at him.  We had been there several days before they even knew she could sit up by herself.  They all held her and passed her back and forth constantly that they didnt even know she had any tricks!!

On Christmas Eve, Santa came to visit and Kinley wasnt even scared of him!

On Christmas morning all 19 of us got up and saw what Santa brought:
Kinley loves her snail!  Thanks Santa
Then everyone went to church (except for me cause I was sick).  When they got back, everyone put their PJ's back on and we had breakfast and started opening presents.  Polly, Gail, Jacquelyn, Terry, Cindy, Erin, Rosie and Sarah all come over too.  So it was a nice day spent with family.  We have to open one present at a time so all can see, so we were opening all day long! 

Melissa, Carolyn and I were so excited for Todd, Jeff and Lee to open their present from us!!  We surprised them with a Guys Trip in Africa!  So Todd and Jeff will be coming over in April to go with Lee on a big adventure! 

Kinley loved her great grandma Polly and would sit with her and bounce and flail and smile the whole time! Doesnt Polly look amazing?  I hope I have her genes!

And Heatu and Kinley got some good cuddle time too!

I am mad we dont have more pics from our trip.  I wish we would have documented better.  I am hoping some family members have more pics they can share with me!!  It was SO great to be home.  My parents have done an amazing remodel to their house and although it took a few days to get used to it (I dont do well with change!) I absolutely LOVE it and it really made it so much easier for us to all be together as a family. 
Nana and Bapa with all of their grandkids
Now we are back in South Africa and although it is good to be home, we sure miss our families!  The trip back was a dream.  We didnt get the bassinet seat this time, but Kinley had her own seat and slept in her carseat almost the entire flight.  It was the week after we got home that was a nightmare.  Jet lag and an almost 7 month old dont mix very well.  And we didnt have Mimi here to help us this time!  But we are back to normal now and getting back into the swing of things here.

We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and that 2012 brings great happiness and joy to you and your families!

Time flies

And she grows and grows and grows!

NOVEMBER 12, 2011- 5 months

DECEMBER 12, 2011- 6 months (first monthly pics she can actually sit on her own)

JANUARY 12, 2012- 7 months

 *She looks a little banged up in the 7 month photos.  Our housekeepers 10 year old daughter was playing with he and she bumped her head on the table!  Then it looks like she has a black eye, but I think she just scratched it while sleeping!  Sad!

Kinley's first swim

 This was back in November.  We took Kinley to the US Community Center where the pool is heated!  It was a hot summer day, but the pools here are freezing, so it was nice to have a heated pool.  And even then it was a bit chilly!  But she LOVED it.  She could have splashed all day long.

First Family Vacation

*Disclaimer: This happened months ago!  We are very behind on blogging! Trying to get caught up this week. Beware, there will probably be lots of posts coming!

Cape Town is one of those places that I had hoped to visit while living in SA.  Lucky for me, I got to go twice in one month!!  I am pretty sure I could live there.  If you have been following the blog, you would have seen that when my mom visited in October, we decided to fly to Cape Town for a few days.  Lee was mad because he has always wanted to go and I was going without him.  Little did he know that 2 weeks later the Embassy needed him to go down there for work.  His trip was going to be over our 3rd Anniversary, so we decided we would just make a family trip out of it.  Our FIRST Carnell Family vacation!
View from our room

We accidentally got booked in a HUGE Luxury Suite at the Table Bay Resort, which is where all the big shots stay when they go to Cape Town.  Lee was on per diem and they put him in that hotel knowing that we were coming with him and thought it would be a good location.  The luxury suite was a mistake, but the hotel decided that since we had a baby, they would let us stay with no extra charge!  SCORE! I guess that memo didnt make it to the staff, because they treated us like we were VIP.  When we arrived, the manager was waiting at the curb, knew our names and whisked us away to our room where they do "in-room check in for our VIPs."  Lee and I were looking at each other making faces and laughing at what was happening.  Who did they think we were?!
Every night our beds were turned down with rose petals all over the room, and robes and slippers laid out for us

They even had rubber duckies and a kid themed bath mat for Kinley
The treatment we got the week that we were there was amazing.  We cannot say enough wonderful things about the hotel.  They even brought us goodies and a chocolate mousse cake on our Anniversary.  But enough about that.  We went the weekend before Lee had to work so he could actually get out and see the sites. We went on beautiful drives on the coast and through the winelands.
We stopped in Fish Hoek so Lee could feel how cold the ocean is over here!
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous

But OH SO COLD! (That is just from it touching his feet)
On Sunday we drove to Hermanus, which is the best land based whale watching spot in the world.
We got there and figured we would be lucky if we were able to see anything.  We thought we would walk around and get lunch and just hope for the best.  As we were walking to find a place to eat, we heard this loud horn blowing.  I told Lee that it was probably someone signaling that there were whales.  He thought I was stupid.  But sure enough, they have Whale Criers that walk the cliffs and look for the whales.  Then you just follow the sound of their horn until you get the spot where you can see them!
These are Southern Right Whales.  So amazing. 

We saw about 10 throughout the day and it was so cool to just hang out on the cliffs and watch them. As we were about to leave for the day we were packing up the car which was parked right on a cliff overlooking the ocean.  We had some trash that needed to be thrown away, so I quickly ran over to throw it in before we took off.  But as I got closer there was this large furry thing sitting on top of the trashcan.  It of course freaked me out, so I yelled to Lee and said, "What is THAT?" As soon as I turned to point at it so Lee could see, we saw this:

Breeching whales!  It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.  It's a good thing I saw that furry animal, or we might have missed it.  But we sat there for a few more minutes and saw the whale breech several more times.

On the drive home, we saw a sign for Betty's Bay.  We had to stop and take a picture just for my mom! :) We are glad we did though, because we saw a little sign with a penguin on it and an arrow.  We followed it and found this huge colony of penguins on the beach.  I stayed in the car with sleeping Kinley, but Lee got to see hundreds of them.