Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

This Week’s Happenings 2/22-3/3

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Fair warning, this is going to be a rather long post because we have some catching up to do!  The last two weeks have been filled with traveling, meetings and parties!  Fun times.  When we last left you we were staying with Ben in Matsapha while he was at a week long strategic planning meeting. 

Check out last week’s happenings for the full update, but in addition to all that we Mikayla and I got our first African hair cut.  For the most part things turned out okay (a little uneven and more layers than I was expecting), better than expected really.  Mikayla did great.  She let them wash her hair in the big sink while I was getting mine cut and then sat there so still while hers was being trimmed.  The nicest thing about the cut is that it is shorter which makes it cooler, but also it looks decent without being fixed.  Since it gets hot pretty early in the day, most days I don’t feel like blow drying my hair.  So a cut that can go decently without a dryer is always a plus in my book!  (You can see pictures below)

On Thursday (2/23), Mikayla and I headed back to the house early to do some laundry and repacking.  Then on Friday we packed up the car (again) and headed for a mini-vacation/birthday retreat in St. Lucia, South Africa (not the Caribbean St. Lucia).  It was the perfect weekend getaway filled with beaches, animals and relaxation!  On Friday we just checked out the town, took naps and then went out for an excellent dinner at an Italian place called Alfredo’s.  The sisters treated us for my birthday gift.  Thanks again Sister Diane and Sister Barbara! 

On Saturday, we dressed in our swim suits, packed a light lunch and headed to Cape Vidal (a beach).  The fun thing about the drive to the beach is that you had to drive through iSimangaliso Wetland Park.  We weren’t expecting to see many animals beyond birds, but ended up seeing quite a few.  Rhinos, hippos, zebra, lot of antelope creatures just to name a few.  It was a nice unexpected addition to the trip.  And the beach was perfect.  The park limits the number of vehicles allowed in to 120 at a time, so it wasn’t overly crowded and not commercialized at all…our kind of beach.  And we even found a little cove with water that was less than two feet for Mikayla to splash around in.  She loved riding the waves, but I think she enjoyed herself more in the little cove.  And despite being sick (she had caught a little cold from her friend the previous week), she had blast!  We headed back to the cottage we were staying in early afternoon for naps and found that Ben and I were sufficiently burned despite putting on 50 SPF sunscreen.  I guess that is what happens when you are spraying on sunscreen on the windy beach! 

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These guys were everywhere.  Almost like squirrels are in KY.  Mikayla loved watching them run around.

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Mission Rock in iSimangaliso Wetland Park

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Running away from the waves.  As you can tell she thought this was really fun!

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Dung Beetles – For Steve Kickert

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It is hard to read, but it says "MLK Cape Vidal".

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These guys were actually out of the water when we got to this watering hole, but as soon as we drove up they hit the water.  This was the best shot I could get.

Speaking of our cottage, just wanted to put in a word for "The Wilds" where we stayed all weekend.  It was a self-catering place that was perfect.  They had a nice pool and play area (clubhouse, slide, etc.) for Mikayla.  The owners were friendly and helpful in our decisions on where to go and what to eat.  And the best part, unlike most self-catering places, they came in and cleaned each morning including dishes.  Perfect!  So we could cook if we wanted, but not worry about doing the dishes.  Love it!

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This picture quality is horrible, but here is her monkey friend in the clubhouse!  This was before she noticed him.

Because of the sunburns we decided to just hang out around the cottage on Sunday.  We spent the morning playing in the pool and clubhouse.  Mikayla even had a play date with some monkeys in the clubhouse!  We ventured out for lunch at a little place that overlooked the estuary and were able to watch birds and hippos while eating our tasty meal.  That evening we headed back to the estuary and walked around the beach and lake.  Again saw some hippo heads and Mikayla even found her first few seashells.  I was a little disappointed with the lack of birds we saw, but to the birds credit we didn’t really go seeking them out either.  Maybe on our next trip!

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Tree Pictures – An Adkins family tradition!

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The view from the back of the cottages.

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On Monday we packed up and headed home.  We had a little bit of minor car trouble, but nothing that prevented us from making a timely return.

Tuesday of course was my birthday so I laid low all day and besides laundry didn’t do much of anything.  It was a perfect way to spend the day!  Ben was even able to take off part of the day to make me a Funfetti cake!  We had bought the cake mix in SA over Christmas and Joe brought in the Rainbow chip icing when he came in January.  That evening the Sisters cooked a delicious meal of ham steaks (a rarity that they brought back from SA), noodles with a phenomenal gravy and salad.  I ate more than my fair share and after my cake I was stuffed!  I also got ot open my birthday gift from my parents and Ben – A combination blender and food processor!  We used it to make hummus on the very first day.  Love it!

The rest of the week Mikayla and I caught up on housework and play time while Ben finished last minute work stuff before his big trip to the US (he leaves on Monday for three weeks).  On Friday we celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday by having a special birthday dinner.  Can anyone guess what we had?  Shame on you who didn’t guess green eggs and ham!  Actually that isn’t quite true.  Since ham is hard to get here, we had greens eggs and bacon.  We also hat Cat in the Hat Pancake Stacks (banana pancakes for the white and pancakes made with strawberry Jell-O for the red), Cat in the Hat banana / fruit strip circles and Pink Yink Ink Drink from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (Sprite mixed with strawberry Jell-O powder).  Last year Mikayla wasn’t much on this meal, but this year she ate it all up!  And throughout the meal she kept quoting Dr. Seuss stories.  I love that my daughter loves Dr. Seuss as much as I do!  We loaned out our books and Horton Movie to the hostel so they could use them, so we didn’t actually read any books on Friday.  But the next couple of weeks I have a ton of activities planned for our learning time!

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Since Ben leaves on Monday we are laying low this weekend as a family.  And in case you hadn’t heard there is a tropical cyclone (Irina) that is set to hit the coast of Mozambique this weekend which could make things interesting around here.  We will keep you posted, but there is a good chance we will be without power and phone service for the next few days.

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Atlanta Girls Weekend

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

I have posted about my friends Catherine and Dave before and how very special they are to us.  This is why, with our upcoming move, we are trying to make the most of every opportunity we can to spend with special people like them!  When Ben mentioned he was asked to spend two weeks in Swaziland, I jumped at the chance to spend some time with Catherine and Molly.  We decided to meet in the middle for a long weekend in Atlanta, GA.  It was a great trip filled with laughter, late night gab sessions, shopping and some fun for the girls.  I would have liked a few more days with them, but I will take what I can get!

We stayed at the coziest little Bed and Breakfast called Hello B & B.  It was within 15-20 minutes driving distance from all our destinations (except for the outlet malls which were outside of town).  It was quiet and the perfect set up for traveling with toddlers.  The room we stayed in was split room with two queen size beds.  We could put Molly in one room and MIkayla in the other and they couldn’t see each other to distract from sleeping.  Then we could sneak out into the living room area to talk while they snoozed.  Perfect!

We completed a lot in just a few days, and I was definitely exhausted when we got back.  We went to IKEA (someday when we return I want to complete my house with IKEA furniture), the Children’s Museum, Outlet malls, Trader Joe’s and the Aquarium!

I wasn’t a very good photographer while we were gone, I got too caught up in everything.  I did manage to get a couple of good shots though, and Catherine took a bunch of great ones so I will just steal her copies! 

The Children’s Museum – We were joined by a couple of school groups on this day.  The girls didn’t seem to mind, but it made for a very noisy and crowded museum.  Eventually they went to eat and watch a performance so it quieted down a bit.  Mikayla of course loved bouncing from station to station.  Only staying at one long enough to look around before venturing to the next.   She really enjoyed the ball station and water station.  She actually got really made when I had to make her leave the water station because there were too many kids!

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Ball Station – she did not want to let go of the balls!

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Sand station

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Water Station – she definitely has her "cheese" down!

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There was a special exhibit for Africa set up while we were there.  Here she is examining African fruit and veggies.

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Just hanging out in the a fishing boat!

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A little camel ride!

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In the African set up there was a small room filled with bongos.  It projected you on the screen playing with some African musicians.  She loved banging on on them and watching herself.  Uncle Christopher would be proud at her rhythm.

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Attempting a picture of the girls.

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Milking a cow!

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Painting…this kid loves to paint!

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Kitchen station – she was in heaven with all the food and kitchen equipment!

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Outlet Malls – One night we hit up some outlet malls about thirty minutes outside of the city.  We ran into some traffic issues so it took us much longer than that, but no worries we found some great deals.  And the girls loved playing in the rides outside of the stores, even if they weren’t on!

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Dr. Seuss, Atlanta 048  Cat in the Hat ride!  Can you sense her excitement!

Georgia Aquarium – The day we chose to go to the aquarium just so happened to be "Dress like a princess or prince day and get in free"!  So the place was filled with lots of royalty.  To say it was crowded was an understatement.  We did not take strollers, thinking they would have some to rent.  We were wrong!  So we ended up packing the girls around for several hours looking at the fish.  We couldn’t let them walk much because there were so many people!  My arms were so tired after the aquarium.  I think they had fun, despite the crowds.  These are probably some of the worst pictures from the whole trip!  Sorry about their bad quality!

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Loving the "fishies"!  We signed fish more times than I can count this day!

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Cool overhead tank.  Notice the princess crowns and dresses.

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She loved the mermaid so much…

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…she wanted to kiss it!

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In a penguin crawl tunnel.  You crawled through to see the penguins up close.  Mikayla loved it the first five feet and then got scared so I had to carry her while crawling to the middle where she could see the penguins.

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This is towards the end of the aquarium, notice how tired we both are!

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Attempting to touch a stingray.  Unfortunately she was just too short and I couldn’t hold her over the tank enough. 

All in all, we had a great weekend.  The drive home seemed to take forever (partly because I was so tired, and partly because Mikayla refused to sleep)!  Thanks Catherine and Molly for making the drive and hanging out with us for a bit!

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Swimming and Snow…

Monday, October 11th, 2010

On the same day even!  As we were prepping to leave Colorado we took one last trip to the hotel pool.  Then jumped in the car for the drive back to the airport.  On the way there we drove through some snow!  How crazy is that?  We hit it all:  desert, snow, swimming, mountains, rocks and sand.  It was a great trip with two of my favorite people ever!  Here are some of our swim and snow pictures!

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The best toys…

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

The best toys are not ones that you buy at the store and make a lot of noise.  The best toys are not ones that cost a lot of money.  The best toys are not the ones you (as the parent) choose as your favorite. 

No, the best toys are what you would least likely expect them to be.  They are items that you already have on hand or items that cost little.  Some of Mikayla’s favorite toys have been things like pots and spoons or magazines or containers of Puff’s.  This weekend we spent time with some dear friends in Tallahassee (see this post for more information) and Mikayla found a new toy…a laundry basket.  Who knew laundry baskets could be so much fun!  She liked to put things in it and then promptly take them out.  She enjoyed being dragged around their apartment while sitting in the laundry basket. 

Then she got the bright idea to stand up behind the laundry basket and try her hand at walking up and down the hallway pushing it.  She was really moving.  Check her out:


How cute is she?  Let’s take a poll…will she be walking by her first birthday (April 28)?


Hijacked and "The Girls"

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Ben beat me to it.  This post, was one I was going to write as soon as I had time to sit down and write it.  However, he beat me too it.  That’s okay though, because what he said was so important I feel like I can repeat it in my own words.

I think it is awesome when we can get together with those we love, who might I add we don’t get to see that often, and the moment we get together we are able to pick up right where we left off as if months hadn’t gone by since our last visit.  It is amazing.  Dave and Catherine are dear friends to us and their friendship is one like I described above.  Again, amazing!  They are the type of friends that no matter what the scenario, whatever the combination of the four of us are around (or six if you count Mikayla and Molly) we can have fun and there be no awkward pauses in conversation.  It might be me, Ben and Cat or Dave, Cat and me or maybe just Ben and Cat and there is no awkwardness.  Does this make sense?   Ben may have said it more eloquently than I, but I treasure the friendship we have with the Altmaiers.   In Ben’s word, a "Pretty mundane and typical" weekend, spent with great friends was just what this girl needed!

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Dave goofing off at Cat’s birthday lunch.

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Ben hanging with Molly.

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Ben has this thing with picking people’s noses, just ask our friends from high school.

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Cat and Mikayla

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Birthday girl with her kiddo at a yummy French restaurant.


One of the greatest parts of this weekend was introducing Mikayla to Molly.  Catherine and I were driving around Tallahassee and she made a comment about "the girls".  How cool is it that we can refer to our kiddos as "the girls"?  Catherine has been a friend of mine since elementary school.  We were in girls scouts together, attended the same youth group in middle and high school, were college roommates, she was a bridesmaid in my wedding…the list could go on and on.  To say the least we have been friends for a really long time.  She is one of the few people in life that I can be 100% real with.  I would argue that she knows me as well as Ben.  I can call her for a laugh, cry, rant and more.  Good friends are hard to come by and so that is why I think it is so cool we can refer to our daughters as "the girls".  I just hope that "the girls" have a friendship like their moms and that Mikayla finds her Catherine one day!

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