Thursday, June 30, 2011

Daily Africa: Tiny & the Penguin

Which one's bigger? Nat, or the penguin? Answer: it depends on the penguin.

(Boulders Beach, Cape Peninsula, South Africa)

This basically infuriates me beyond belief

I know this is from about a month ago, but I'm slow and just saw it. I think my ears actually started to turn red as I read through the course of events. I have no idea who this lady is, but I feel compelled to write a very nasty letter to Heathrow. Ugh.

ETA: There is an update post here, with instructions on contacting Heathrow, should you wish.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Daily Africa: Nursing Baby Giraffe

Kruger Park, South Africa. Baby giraffe eating. The mama was kind of funny - she was eating her own meal from the tree and kept bumping the baby out of the way, but the baby was persistent. Pretty cute.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Daily Africa: Deet

I know. I totally fell off the Daily Africa wagon. But! I have a reason! For our anniversary, Dan surprised me with a week-long trip to Charleston, Savannah, and Myrtle Beach. It was so so perfect. He took into account all of my favorite things - family time, history, the beach, frugality, etc. etc. A post on that is forthcoming.

In any case, we're back now. And so is Daily Africa. This picture is a little bit of a lame return, but I can't get on the other computer right now, so this is the best I've got.

I was maybe just an eensy bit paranoid about Nat and malaria. We were all on propylactics - there's even a pediatric dose of Malarone that we just crushed into some breast milk. To say Nat loathed the daily dose would be an understatement. Beyond that, we covered him with a mosquito net as much as possible, and deeted it up (both of which are depicted in the picture). In the words of an awesome friend who lived in malaria-ridden Ghana with her husband and small children, 'Forget what they say about DEET. Use the strongest stuff you can find on the kid--it's much better than malaria. Bypass the "5% DEET--Family Friendly and Safe for Your Baby' bottle and get the Deep Woods Sportsmen Repellent. The family stuff is a joke--maybe it works for American mosquitos, but not for the African ones."

So yeah. I figured a little Deet was better than malaria and sprayed down the edges of his carseat, etc. And then we proceeded to see not one.single.mosquito, malarial or not, the entire time we were there.

So there you have it. Can you even think of a more exciting picture? You're welcome.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Daily Africa: My boys

My boys, outside of the Joburg airport.

Just Barely Still 7 Months

Dear Tiny Bear,
So you turned 7 months old almost a month ago. Right. I apologize. To be honest, I've just been way too busy having fun with you lately to make time to document it!

As usual, this month has been the most fun of all. You are ever-more squirmy and wiggly, which makes playtime especially fun. You've taken a particular liking to books this month; rather, you've taken a particular liking to pulling books off the shelf and eating them. We also really love storytime together and you've become a pro at turning the pages, especially for your one owl book. That one is your favorite.

We've also really loved going swimming this month. While you were a little hesitant at first, you now adore the water and think it's so funny when we splash around. That's been helpful as it has been about a million degrees lately. I think you handle the heat poorest of all, so some cool activities make us all happy. You also adore the swings.

Your mobility has grown exponentially this month. While you were always big on rolling to get from place to place, you started army crawling in between your 6th and 7th months. For a while there, I thought you would maybe be one of those babies that skips crawling; you rolled with purpose, and weren't showing any signs of even being interested in crawling. Then, all of a sudden one day, you were up on your knees without me even noticing. Now, you move along faster than I usually realize. It is getting increasingly tricky to perform minor errands such as making dinner or even going to the bathroom because I can't be certain that you won't get into all kinds of mischief if I avert my eyes even for a minute.

On the subject of movement, you've also started pulling to stand. You did it for the first time a few weeks ago, but we thought it was maybe a fluke. But you've done it more consistently in the last few days, which meant that a crib lowering was in order. You've also grown rather fond of getting up on your hands and...tiptoes, almost in a downward dog pose. Really, can't you just stay little for a while longer?

You've also just started to take an increased interest in solids. Although we first started giving you some around 6 months, you just never really liked them very much (except for sucking on apples and carrots - that, you could not get enough of). Textures and purees alike seemed to weird you out, and even if something went in your mouth, it usually came right back out. In the last few days, however, you've seemed to make the connection that food is tasty and filling, and have gobbled up various things we've offered you.I actually think this newfound liking of solids really started with an introduction to panang curry. You see, I really like Thai food, so your daddy was very sweet to me and researched the best Thai in the area for my birthday dinner last week. One of the things we got was panang curry (of course), and you kept reaching for it (again, of course). So finally, I figured I'd give you a little lick since it wasn't overly spicy. I figured if you hated it or it burned your tongue a little, well, then you hopefully wouldn't want any more. To our great surprise, you started voraciously sucking on my finger with the sauce. Usually, if you put someone's finger in your mouth, you just gnaw on it, but you were sucking like crazy here. So I gave you some more - same thing. You kept asking for more, including with the leftovers the next day. Who knew?

You've also become quite the little hoarder this month. You love playing with all kinds of random things (spoons and water bottles are your favorite, followed closely by spatulas and hangers), and seem to amass little collections of all your little "toys." In fact, we have a grandfather clock in our living room, and we have an (rather heavy) extra chime stored below it. It has a metal disk on one end, and we recently found one of those disks in the backseat of the car. Hmm...

Oh, tiny, you are just ever more exciting to be around. While part of me misses that tiny newborn stage, this phase is just so so fun. You are smiley and social as ever, both with me and everyone around you (something on which literally every.single.person who meets you comments). You have this remarkable way of bringing people out and drawing them in. A friend wrote on her blog how sometimes her little boy will smile at strangers in the elevator, and if they don't notice or respond, she just wants to tap them on the shoulder and tell them that her son is sharing his smiles with them. I feel the same way; I get a little defensive when people don't notice when you are being so sweet to them. The remarkable thing, though, is that you are so willing to share your smiles and friendship with everyone around you, regardless of whether they reciprocate. You do so openly and willingly, never expecting anything in return. You're truly an example to me.
I seriously cannot get enough of you, and it has been a blessing for me to be around all the time this month. This stay-at-home-mommy thing is pretty awesome.

Love you, little bear,

Friday, June 10, 2011

Daily Africa: US Sunset

Sunset on the Raleigh-Durham tarmac on our way back to DC. Blurry but beautiful.

Daily Africa: Robben Island Tour Guide

Robben Island tour guide who was previously a prisoner there. He observed that one of the hardest things in coming to work there was working alongside one of his former prison guards.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Daily Africa: Baby Lion

The Lion Park, Johannesburg, South Africa. Baby white lion.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Daily Africa: Cape Town Sunset with Friends

Cape Town, South Africa. This was one of the last days of our trip, but one of the most beautiful. With our dear friends Kari & Ryno.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Introduction: Daily Africa

Thanks for the feedback, on- and off-blog, on a daily Africa picture post. Truth is, I'm just overwhelmed at the amount of time it would take to upload even a 100th of our pictures, so daily pic it is. BUT since several of you wanted more details, I'll try to cover the basics here as far as background goes (I aim to please), and then continue on with the pictures for...a while? Who knows how long. Until someone gets super bored with them and speaks out, I suppose. I'll try to supplement with other posts, of course.

SO! Africa! My MBA program (that I just finished! yay!) has a global consultancy requirement. So I knew going in that I would have to some sort of global project. Last spring, we got to put in our preferences for where we'd like to go (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Johannesburg, South Africa; Sao Paulo, Brazil; or Shanghai, China). As I've been to Asia several times (and will likely go back) as well as to Brazil (also, will likely go back as Dan served his mission there), we figured South Africa was a good bet.

So I put in my request, and, as luck would have it, got my first choice! We were, of course, ecstatic, as neither of us had ever been to Africa before. We planned from the beginning for Dan to come along because, well, why not? We also knew there would be a little one entering our lives in the near future, and we thought that if we could swing it, that we'd like to bring him, as well.

So we planned and planned and racked up frequent flyer miles and planned some more and had the good fortune of connecting with several friends of friends in the country, which totally made the trip.

All in all, we were in Africa for about 3 weeks, and visited the countries of South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. We also stopped in Spain for about a day. So yes, our baby had visited 6 countries before his 6-month birthday. Spoiled little tyke.

I'll leave it there for now, but it was really beyond amazing. I'll do some follow-up posts along the way - any requests? One for each country/major city? My project? Traveling with a baby? How to keep your cool (or not) with incompetent airline representatives? The incredible people?