The Current Time in Stavanger, Norway!

April 22, 2009

Sticky Situation

I am standing outside in our driveway talking to my friend, Julie, when Colby comes out with his bottom lip trembling and says, "Something's wrong with Nolan. I'm sorry. I'm sorry." I knew it wasn't going to be good since I can hear Nolan's high pitched screams coming from inside and since Colby is continuing to apoligize. As I'm running inside the house I have visions of blood pouring out of his head and I am mentally dreading having to handle an emergency medical situation in the middle of Africa (with Will out of town). But when I get close enough to him I can see that there is no blood and I quickly realize there is no medical emergency- just a little decoration in the little brother's hair...
I ask Colby, "What happened?" and he says, "Nolan wasn't listening to me, so I took out my gum and put it in his hair like this" (and he moves his hand in circles to show me the swirling technique he used to get it in there) . I still can't quite figure out how that was going to help the situation, but...
I immediately get on the phone and ask Julie if she knows how to get gum out of hair (she has 4 kids, so I figure she's tackled this before). She says, "First, you have to take a picture- you will laugh about this later!" (so, as you can see, I did). Then, she gets on the internet and finds about 2 dozen different methods for getting gum out of hair. Many of the ingredients I do not have on hand here in Africa, so I have to pick from the things I can find in my pantry. First I try applying straight cooking oil, but it just keeps dripping out of his hair. So he's sitting on the kitchen counter still screaming, has oil dripping down his face and won't let me touch his head at all because his scalp is sore from continually tugging at the wads of goo stuck in his hair. I quickly look for another ingredient from the list- peanut butter. This ends up working only because I am able to sneak globs of it onto the top of his head without him knowing. I'm having to feed him spoonfuls of it between plops! One bite for plop for the bite for plop for the head...
After I let it sit for a few minutes, per the internet's instructions, I comb it out (ouch!) and we head upstairs to take a bath and rinse it all out. On the way to the stairs I glance over and see Colby. He is zonked out on the couch! I think he was truly exhausted from the guilt (or maybe he just shut down after listening to constant screaming for 30 minutes)!
After 4 scrubbing hair washes he still smells like peanut butter. I figure there are a lot of less desirable smells in the world, and I decide to give up and just pretend he smells like homemade peanut butter cookies.
So I let him play in the bubbles for awhile (he deserved lots of extra bubbles after all that trama) and I go to the next room to put the laundry away. When I walk back into the bathroom he says with a cute, little smile, "Mamma. Poo-Poo." You've got to be kidding he does smell like something less desireable! He just pooped in the bathtub!
Oh my! Time for a shower to rinse off...again. Phew! By this time I am in need of a shower and I need a nap. But I realize we haven't had dinner yet- so I make some peanut butter sandwiches and then it's off to bed (which is no problem for Colby- he's still sleeping!)

April 17, 2009


When our friends called to see if we wanted to have dinner with them tonight I said, "Sure! What are we having?" She said we were having Oryx. Sounded like a crazy kind of casserole to me, but turns out it's game...a wild African animal!
So, here is a picture of what we all had for dinner...(isn't he cute?!)
Here's a quick blurb about them that I found on the internet:
"Oryx inhabit eastern and southern Africa. Oryx live in herds on deserts and dry plains. They avoid exertion and direct sunlight. Oryx are capable of climbing mountains to reach water springs and salt licks."
The blurb does not mention that people hunt them and eat them for dinner. And it also does not say anything about them tasting a lot like steak and being yummy (even for 3 little boys) with a creamy gravy sauce poured over the top!

April 11, 2009

Vacation! Bukabong Bush Lodge

We spent the last two days of our vacation staying at Bakubung Bush Lodge, located inside of Pilanesberg National Park. Bakubung means "People of the Hippo".
Will, Zach and Colby went on a safari the first day and then I went on a safari the following day. A quick summary of the safari experience is to say it was amazing. Some of the animals were right next to our safari truck! Here are some of our favorite safari pictures...
It is kind of difficult to see some of the animals in these pictures because they were far off in the distance and these pictures are pretty small. If you would like to them larger, or view all 110 pictures we took, here is a link to the album:
This last photo, of the lake, is one of my personal favorites from my safari trip. Although it is difficult to see, this is a picture of a hippo. He came up out of the water and opened his mouth super wide and I just happened to have my camera on and ready. It was so cool! I still can't believe how wide he could open his mouth! Everyone was in awe of having been at the right place and the right time- I felt like I had just witnessed a solar eclipse or something!
The elephants were definitely the closest, the most plentiful and one of the neatest to just sit and watch (they're so big!!) However...
At the end of my safari trip we got caught up in a "traffic jam." We were gridlocked in the middle of about 25 cars, just parked at a stand-still. The safari guide used her CB to contact other guides and discovered that there was a herd of elephants blocking the route to get out of the park gate. So, we sat patiently (it was pictch dark by this time) and waited for the elephants to move along. Then all of a sudden people were honking their car horns and sticking there heads out of their car windows while yelling, "Move! Back up! Go!" I had visions of being in the middle of an elephant stampede flashing through my head as everyone scooted around in a state of panic. Turns out the people at the front where just sick of waiting for them to move, so they were trying to get the whole line of people to back up. All the commotion made the elephants move so it turned out not to be a big problem. But I kept wondering what would happen if they just sat down and settled in for a good night's sleep while we were waiting in line?!
The giraffees were pretty far off in the distant, but it was still really neat watching a group of them walk across the terrain. So tall and elegant.
The youngest of our three wild animals was not allowed to go on the safaris (too young = too noisy!) so while Will, Zach and Colby were on their safari the two of us just hung out around the lodge. While walking around at a leisurely pace checking out naturey things like weird bugs, tall birds and dirt piles, I heard some scuffling right across the path. I looked up and there were 7 zebra just hanging out! It was so weird! So we sat together and just watched them munch away on dinner. Nolan got a kick out of them neighing at each other! I was bummed I didn't have my camera with me- Will and the boys had it on the safari!
I was really bummed I didn't have my camera with me when Nolan made friends with a baby monkey! When the zebras wandered off Nolan and I continued walking around. At one point Nolan sat in the grass under a tree and started picking at the grass and then he started rolling around. This little 5 inch monkey jumped up in the tree above Nolan and started watching him from a branch. Then the monkey started following him. When Nolan rolled to the right, the monkey scurried down the tree after him. They went back and forth four or five times before a bigger monkey came and jumped up in the tree too. I think he was guarding the little guy. I looked up and thought, "If I wanted to, I could reach out and touch him." Crazy! It really is amazing being out in the wild!

April 8, 2009

Vacation! Sun City

We just got back from our first African Vacation! We took lots of great pictures, so I'll try to squeeze as many of them in here as possible!
It was so nice to get out and see a different part of Africa. We went to South Africa (just two countries south of here) for a week. We spent 5 days at Sun City (a resort) and 2 days at Bakubung Bush Lodge (a lodge in the middle of a safari park). It is amazing how different South Africa is from Angola. Angola is so run down, poor and dirty and South Africa reminded me a lot of the Midwest (but with the addition of mountains in the background!). And they speak English there- yippee! Sun City was a perfect spot for us- it’s a very family-friendly resort with lots of fun things to do, especially for boys!

They had mini-golf, bumper boats, mini-cars, an arcade area, a playground with a huge slide, a small petting zoo, a camp for kids and much more. There were a lot of swimming pools and even a water park, but it was just a little bit too chilly to get in the water (although we did try them out!)

The boys all dressed and ready for a dip in the (freezing) pool!
The scenery out the car window during the drive from the airport to Sun City and the scenery out of our hotel room window was just beautiful and refreshing.

The view from the car window

The view from our hotel window

We had plenty of time to just monkey around as a family...with real monkeys even! The first day as we were unpacking our suitcase, Will looked out the window and said, “Look! There’s a bunch of monkeys out there!” And sure enough there were monkeys running around all over the place. It was unreal! They were fun to just sit and watch- they would chase each other, swing from the trees, tackle each other, pick through each other’s fur- all while you were standing right there! One time Will and Zach were bent over looking for four leaf clovers in the grass and when they looked up Nolan was face to face (with about one foot of space between them) with a huge baboon! Will said that when he looked up in total shock the big ol’ baboon just walked away!

Colby and Nolan checking out the little monkeys (they would let you get close, but they would scurry off if you tried to touch them)

The "big ol' baboon" that was checking Nolan out (and that's our hotel room right behind him)!
The monkeys were a huge hit, and so was all the good food!! The first night we ate a place with all African Fare and it was really, really good! It was a buffet and they had tons of different things to try, but it was hard to get super adventurous since none of the dishes were labeled! I would love to tell you all the wonderful African food we tried, but I have no idea what the dishes were called or even what was in them! But the food was great and the dessert table (with at least 25 different types of desserts) was over the top yummy! The next night we found a little pizza place that had all kinds of odd pizzas on the menu so we were a little leary, but the pizza was some of the best we’ve ever had! (It may just be that our taste buds are a little out of whack since we haven’t really had pizza in 3 months, but it was really good!) The pizza place had ice cream too, which we all indilgued in, since you can’t really get that here either! So, as pathetic as this sounds, we ate there three out of our 5 nights!! Oh, and a typical breakfast buffet had so many different choices, you would never believe it- on top of all the traditional breakfast foods, they had stews and casseroles as well as roasts and sushi! For breakfast! The fresh fruit and fresh squeezed fruit juices were a great treat too! Okay, enough about eating, although it was a highlight…

This is the breakfast of Africa! The boys thought they were in heaven eating pancakes with chocolate syrup, honey, whip cream and sprinkles for breakfast every morning! Yum!

One of our favorite things that we did in Sun City was go to the Crocodile Sanctuary. It was so cool. There were crocodiles everywhere and we even got to feed the baby crocodiles. Zach was the only brave kid to feed them, the other two didn't want to touch the food- frozen chicken feet!

They are just really neat animals and it was cool to be able to watch them up close (well, not too close). We saw one crocodile with half of the bottom of his mouth missing!

Zach feeding the baby crocodiles (below)

Will and Colby watching the crocodile "smile" for us

And on our last day we took a family photo...

Then we loaded up and went to the safari lodge...