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Archive for May, 2010

who loves to grab his feet

there is a mommy

who can’t stop taking pictures

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Normally I do nothing on a Friday night. After a long week, we get the kids in bed early and we plop on the couch… and there we stay until bedtime, which is around 9pm. The exciting life of an American girl living in Africa, taking the rhino by its horn, squeezing everything out of life, dodging lions, never letting a moment go to waste, etcetera. Well, sorry if I got your hopes up.

But THIS Friday night I was a different girl. My coffee guy took me Salsa dancing! The only problem I foresaw with this brilliantly romantic plan was that, when on the dance floor, I resemble a woman made of Lego parts. My knees don’t bend, my head doesn’t swivel and my hips most definitely do not sway. I blame my good mid-west conservative American upbringing. It made me great in so many ways, but it did not cultivate within me any sort of freedom on the dance floor.

I was encouraged to hear that the evening was going to begin with lessons, until we arrived late for them.

To my horror, despite missing most of the lesson (which I desperately needed… who am I kidding, it probably wouldn’t have made me any better) I was thrown into practicing with strange men! They did the whole “women line up, men find yourself a girl” thing. Luckily my coffee guy found me, but then… THEY TOLD THE MEN TO ROTATE PARTNERS! I just about died right there. My palms were sweaty and I found it necessary to inform every one of my partners that “I am terrible!” and “I have never done this before!”

When it ended I wanted to collapse in a heap on the floor, but my coffee guy wanted to dance. Damn him. WHY does he always have to be so adventurous? He has no compassion on my poor nerves (yes, I do love Pride And Prejudice). Fortunately the world was not subjected to my Lego-ness for very long, because this couple took the floor and showed us all how it’s really done.

As we left, the salsa people were still spinning and the lights were lovely and I felt glad that I had danced my way off the couch.

goodnight :)

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There are lots of people in Durban that go to sleep hungry at night. Today I got tired of doing nothing about that and I am starting what I’m gonna call The Loaf Project. One loaf of bread. One person. Every day for a week. It’s not much, but it helps me to know that in the midst of my nappy and spit up filled life, I am giving a little to those with less.This lady was begging at a busy intersection and at the prodding of my husband Ben and the yells of my three year old Myles, she became the recipient of the first loaf. I ran across the road, met her at the median where she begs and exchanged a photo for a loaf of bread. I should let you all know that I am desperately afraid to ask anyone if I can take their picture. I just hate doing it. I often feel I am intruding if I don’t ask, but I feel like asking ruins beautiful candid moments. Today I flexed my boldness muscles and asked, we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

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Purging.

After giving birth twice in the last 4 years, I have been every size in the book. With both pregnancies I gained a rediculous 40 lbs (maybe a bit over). And lets face it, after being pregnant, no matter how many sit ups I do, the dynamics of my body (that’s a nice way of saying it) are changed forever. After Neo (baby number 2) was born, I decided I was going to get in the best shape of my life. So, I hired a personal trainer, started lifting weights with the hot moms, and began training for my first race. All this to say, I had a lot of clothes laying around that didn’t fit. This week I purged my cupboards and then let my friends choose from a healthy pile of clothes. Once they took what they liked, the lady who cleans for us (it’s not as great as it sounds) took the rest to sell at her local market. It feels good to to lighten the load, especially with a trip to the good ol’ shopping wonderland (the US of A) coming up in just two weeks.

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WARNING!

If you experience one or more of the following:

a gastro intestinal bug

weevils in your cupboard

ringworm on your baby

lice (false alarm, but still) on your three year old’s head

maggots in the trash bin

and pink eye in your own eye

you might have a moment of irrational thinking

and turn your beautiful boy

who normally looks like this…

into a child you have never seen before…

and then spend the rest of the day trying not to cry.

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My morning market

We always get the avo bread (thick bread with a hugely generous topping on avocado, mediterranean vegetables, feta, lemon, and what ever else you can imagine) and the apple crumble with cream. I forgot to document the food again, which I want to kick myself for because the photo would have made you drool on your keyboard and I was really looking forward to that. I just get so excited about eating the food that everything else momentarily slips my mind. I usually remember after I have downed half of whatever it is I’m ingesting…

Some of the many lovely toppings.

Then we played on broken fences

a lot.

We looked at the tree tops

and we experimented with leaf eating

it might be a new hobby

in the end, we liked the tree tops better.

Life is hard work.

Myles’ first pony ride! He has always refused in the past, but today I reminded him that cowboys ride horses. He was up there in a jiffy!

Then i bought this adorable dress for my new niece, Evelyn.

Two boys, a flat tire and a sick hubby

Clowns scare me, but especially clowns with, uhh… balloons like that!

Playin’

I’m experimenting with shutter speeds. I used this article at The Digital Photography School to get me started on understanding shutter speeds. I wrote down the important points in my little handy dandy photo stuff notebook so that I would remember it better and have quick access to a refresher. This was 1/13. I was using a 35mm lens and the rule of thumb the article suggested was to shoot at a speed higher than the focal length of your lens. lets see how that works…

This one was taken at 1/20 and I like it very much.

This is 1/30. This speed almost matches my focal length. The shot was easier to control at this shutter speed, but I like the wildness of the last one. Ugh, note my son’s incredible calf muscle. I want one of those, I guess I have to climb more jungle gyms.

I was going to continue the experiment through many-more-a-shutter-speeds, but I ran into an old friend and we got to chatting…

That’s a wrap folks :)

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Sometime recently, without my consent, weevils decided to make my kitchen pantry their holiday weevil wonderland. Anyone who has ever lived in a sub-tropical climate knows that living bug or lizard or mold free is a life you can’t even imagine. This does have its perks. We often send the kids outside with a little clear plastic box and say, “go find a specimen!” They never come back without a cool looking bug. Anyway, I’m digressing into the positives, and this story is about the negatives. So, the number one rule about living in a sub-tropical climate is, “Freeze it or lose it!” We freeze everything. Cake decorations, flour, chocolate, bread, cookies, powder antibiotics, spices… everything but coffee because that is very, very bad (the coffee absorbs the flavors in the freezer and blah-de-blah-blah… this is where I tune out while Ben is giving the coffee in the freezer speech so, unfortunately, I only know the first line.). The only problem with freezing things is, let’s be honest, your freezer can only take so much! Everything else gets stored in airtight containers. Until you get lazy for one tiny minute… and they move in, put up their flag, and declare it weevil wonderland. So yesterday I purged. Weevil wonderland went d-o-w-n for the count, and finally we can eat pasta without unintended holes in it.

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