Wilderness

We’ve just had three nights in Wilderness on the Garden Route with Grandad & Lesley. Much of the time was spent on the stunning beach although we also made it to the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe museum in George. This is a great day out and Joel really enjoyed it again. Unfortunately the morning was ruined a bit by the steam train letting off his whistle. Joel and Daddy were stood right next to it and weren’t expecting it to be quite so loud! That whistle was VERY loud!!!!!

Boxing Day

Boxing day was a nice lazy day which began with a walk in the Nature Reserve where we fed the ducks and even managed to coax Spikey (the porcupine) out of his 'house' for some bread. After this we went to Paddy & Barbara’s for a lunchtime braai and a swim in their pool. They have become really good friends and their kids, Caleb & Michelle, are really good with Joel & Eli even though they’re quite a bit older. Paddy & Barbara also had some other friends there, Johann & Lara and they were good company too. Once the kids were in the pool the adults all relaxed a bit and enjoyed the sun and friendship.

Christmas Day

We stuck to what has become our family tradition by having the turkey in the evening and once again the weather was glorious so we sat outside, jealous aren’t you! The day was mainly about the boys, sadly our church doesn’t tend to have a meeting on Christmas Day, so Joel & Eli opened their small stockings first and then over the course of the morning and afternoon opened their presents. Once again Joel was keen to play with each new toy before opening the next present, but he did get the hang of it and started to demand another present. Still, he’s nowhere near as materialistic as he would be if he were in the UK and we’re grateful for that!

Sport Quotes 2006

Quotes of the Year (stolen from BBC Sport)

If sport is not your thing, just move along and don't moan!

"She shouldn't be here. I know that sounds sexist but I am sexist. This is not park football, so what are women doing here? If you start bringing in women you have big problems. It is tokenism for the politically correct idiots."
Luton manager Mike Newell blames assistant referee Amy Rayner for the 3-2 defeat by QPR.

Happy Christmas

Emmanuel, God with us!

What better reason could there be to celebrate?

HAPPY CHRISTMAS

Lots of love

Dean, Paula, Joel &Eli

XXXX

CNP & Picnic

Having Grandad and Lesley to stay is a lot of fun but especially so for Joel. He seems to be loving every minute spent with Grandad and it's a real pleasure and privilege to watch the relationship blossom!

We've been really busy since they arrived and yesterday afternoon we went into Chris Nissen to meet some of our friends. This is always an emotional time, but yesterday was especially so as Vissy was really poorly, but seeing Eli brightened her up incredibly.

Grandad

Joel has been really excited for a while now as he knew Grandad was coming to see him. Grandad finally arrived on Eli's Birthday, so his first duty was to accompany Birthday Boy with the family for a fish & chip supper at a local chippy. Today was mainly about Joel as we left Eli at home with a friend and went with Grandad and Lesley to Cape Town. We went up Table Mountain then onto Boulders Beach to see the penguins before driving home exhausted and sunburnt. Joel and Grandad had a lot of fun!

Eli's First Birthday

WOW! A whole year went by very quickly, before we knew what had happened Eli turned 1! Eli has hit most of the developmental milestones early, he crawled (of a fashion)at 4½ months, sat up unaided at 5 months, was walking at 11 months and basically never looked back.

He's been and continues to be a very special blessing to us as a family and we thank God for bringing him into our lives. Joel & Eli really do adore each other which is brilliant.




Christmas Hampers



One of the things that we've been really busy with recently was the organisation and distribution of food hampers to our church folk in Chris Nissen. The planning for the hampers was immense as we received physical donations of food and cash donations.

Family Fun

In the midst of a very hectic time we've managed to take a bit of time out just to chill as a family and spend some quality time together. Thankfully, the paddling pool makes a great focal point for fun and being silly together and the boys love being in there - making containment of Eli very easy!

Joel is very very excited as he now only has ONE sleep until Grandad arrives!

Eli & Mummy

Mission Incredible

On Sunday evening we had our invitational service at church entitled 'Mission Incredible'. As explained during the evening, we couldn't call it Mission Impossible because with God, all things are possible! However, the Nativity is incredible and actually deeply shocking (we'll not expound on that right now). The evening was great and as ever at such events we were left marvelling at the sheer array of talent we have in the congregation. Wesley gave a short, simple but punchy gospel presentation so hopefully some of the many visitors will respond to the gospel at some point.

Paddling Pool

With the eventual arrival of Summer (although it's still not very hot yet) we dug out the paddling pool only to discover it was wrecked so Paula got a nice new one for a silly price. Joel remembers well the joys of the paddling pool - pagging pool as he calls it - and once in it is very hard to get him out again! Eli took some convincing that it was a good thing but he warmed up to the idea and by the end seemed to be enjoying himself.

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Or in this case, birthday cake and Christmas trees. Saturday was a busy old day, Paula had a practice session for our evening 'event' at church on Sunday, whilst Dean was running around getting stuff ready for our Mulled Wine evening - a tradition we started at Bible College and have maintained faithfully ever since!

Nobody has ever left disappointed! During the day, Eli had a good go at demolishing a huge slab of his birthday cake and made a wonderful mess in the process. Whilst Joel helped Daddy to decorate the Christmas tree.

Eli's First Birthday Party

With Eli's birthday being so close to Christmas we had to have his party a week early to ensure that some of his friends would be able to come. Eli seemed completely oblivious to the event but was delighted to have unfettered access to a huge bowl of 'Flings' which he and Jared (his main partner in crime) set about demolishing.

Table Mountain

We are privileged to live somewhere as beautiful as we do and regularly thank God for such a blessing! This is the view of Table Mountain seen from a friends home on the Schapenberg in somerset West.

Visit Finnie's In Focus for a high resolution version




We've circled our house in the bottom right.

Nose Picking Shepherd

Joel had a ball at the Twinkle Tots Nativity yesterday. He did himself proud and we were very proud parents! As you'll see from the photos below, Joel was very happy and enjoyed the whole experience, unlike last year when he refused to participate and cried throughout. Nata had obviously given a lot of thought as to who would take which roles and Joel was one of two shepherds. The other shepherd was a smaller boy named Liam and Joel took him under his wing and helped him along.

Today is Joel's last morning at Twinkle Tots, where did his 2 years there go? He has really enjoyed his time there and we've seen him develop and flourish in so many ways. We'll always be grateful to Nata, Ouma & Yolande for taking such good care of our boy! We're also looking forward to Eli starting there in June next year. Tomorrow Joel will be a shepherd in the Twinkle Tots nativity and then it really is 'farewell' as he starts at the International School in January. Wow, he's getting all grown up!

Funny Old Weekend

Nothing spectacular happened at the weekend, but we did have a few minor but amusing incidents ranging from finding a rat in the toilet bowl (dead thankfully, presumed drowned) to a pigeon flying into a window and leaving an almost perfect imprint of itself. Poor Joel was in trouble at the time and hiding in his bedroom when we heard a loud thud, so Dad went into his bedroom to tell him off. Unfortunately, Joel was reading his biggest book which is the one he usually lobs when angry, so he got a sound telling off. Later in the afternoon we went upstairs and saw the impression of the pigeon in the window, whoops! that would explain the loud thump. Joel then must have wondered what was happening as Dad apologised to him and Mummy gave him some sweets. Great recipe for a confused child.

Bible Study Social

My bible study group went for a social this morning and we were blessed with a gift which enable us to go to a steakhouse where we all had a burger, chips and coke. As a group we had not had a trip out since John (an FYP volunteer) left a year ago so fun was had by most. Unfortunately, someone said something malicious to Peter so he was in a really bad mood all morning. Also, the weather was really naff so we couldn't go for the planned stroll along the beach. However, we did have a lot of fun and agreed to make a plan for 2007 to ensure we have more trips out. Amen to that!

Monkeys & Mountains

Having just had our worst ever weekend in terms of behaviour and boundary pushing, things seem to have settled down again and life is a lot of fun once again. Joel lost the battles and after refusing to eat (and generally behave) he's rediscovered his appetite! Thankfully, Joel & Eli generally play very well, especially when they're in Joel's bedroom. Both boys adore books and Eli quite often slopes off there to rummage through Joel's collection.

Home Based Care

Our planned Home Based Care program seems to be gathering pace without our actually doing very much about it. On Friday we had a call regarding old bedding from a local hotel which is replacing theirs. So Dean went into Cape Town and was able to load the bakkie with a huge quantity of sheets, towels, flannels etc. which is an amazing blessing. We just need to find somewhere to store it all!

This will all be so useful once the program is up and running as clean bedding is often the biggest request we get from the folk in CNP. Praise God!

Strawberry Picking

On Friday Paula went with Joel on the Twinkle Tots annual strawberry picking trip, much fun was had by all as well as many strawberries! Thankfully they didn't weigh the kids or parents on arrival or departure.

World Aids Day

We know we're a few days late, but thought we'd post something anyway.

Part of the difficulty in posting on this is that here in South Africa things are far from straightforward. Firstly, we have a government which is in denial with the nations approach to HIV/AIDS treatment, & awareness raising being overseen by a health minister who is at best laughable and at worst downright objectionable! She is know as Dr. Beetroot or as the Minister of Garlic as she favours just about any treatment except ARV's. Recently, she was interviewed at the launch of a new 'traditional' medicine in a rural area, but the medicine hadn't even been licensed by the relevant authorities. This is all very frustrating and leaves one feeling very marginalised when trying to get ARV's and counseling for those who need it.

Cell Social

On Thursday Paula took her cell group to a local farm shop for coffee and cake. Paula hadn't told the group that she had planned the trip so it was a welcome surprise for them all. The morning was extra special as Yvonne was there with Asher, Yvonne and her husband Vernon have recently moved to Durban to plant a church. A great time was had by all.