The Current Time in Stavanger, Norway!

December 20, 2011

From Lions and Elephants to Reindeer!

It's official....We're moving to NORWAY!
The boys keep telling everyone, "We're going to live in the 'happiest country in the world' (according to a Forbes report) and we are going to freeze!!"
We are all super excited about our new assignment, but, really...we are going to freeze!

September 13, 2011

Look who won the 2011 Miss Universe Pageant!!

No, not me! (But good guess!)
It's Miss Angola!

Leila Lopes is Angola's first winner and one of just a few blacks ever crowned Miss Universe. I think it's great to see that she seems to have big plans for using her title to help the people of Angola...

"I've worked with various social causes. I work with poor kids, I work in the fight against HIV. I work to protect the elderly and I have to do everything that my country needs," she said. "I think now as Miss Universe I will be able to do much more."
I think it's going to take a lot more than Miss Universe to make major improvements in this country, but I guess every little bit helps.

Way to go, Miss Angola!

August 22, 2011

A quick "Summery" (Summer 2011)

Wow-wee! Another action packed, busy, fun, fun, fun summer! And now we're back and ready to enjoy the last 5 months of our 3-year stay here in Angola. I have been a bit lazy about the blog for awhile, I think because at the beginning of our assignment here everything was new and exciting and it was so fun to report about it, and then I slipped into just living here. (Not to say there aren't new and exciting things that happen around here...this place never ceases to amaze me!) Anway, I'm sure I've lost some readers along the way, but I plan on getting back into posting now that we are wrapping up our time here so that I can try to capture the essence of Angola as much as possible.

So to start, here's a quick "summery" of our Summer 2011...

Nothing says an American summer like a spontaneous day at the ballpark!

One of the first things Zach and Cobly think of when you say "summer" is they headed back to Camp Cho-Yeh for another awesome week at overnight camp!

With recording breaking temperatures in Houston this summer, we got creative and beat the heat by inviting good friends over for a day of waterslide fun!

And you just can't have an all-American summer without a trip (or two) to Chuck E. Cheese with friends!

Since we couldn't all be together for Christmas this year, my family decided to just have "Christmas in July". It was so much fun! We decorated a little bit, played Christmas music all day, had a big dinner, and, or course, opened Christmas presents!

For the first time ever, we took the boys up in the St. Louis Arch. It was a long wait...but well worth it!

For me, it just wouldn't be summer without a trip back to St. Louis to spend lots of time with family and good friends on my old stompin' grounds. Whether in St. Louis or in Houston, we crammed in as much friends and family time as possible!

March 17, 2011

A trip to the Doctor's Office

A day at the doctor's office...
Going to the clinic here is quite an experience. The doctor (from South Africa) is quite a character and the office itself is quite interesting too. Today we went in just to make sure Nolan's fever was not something beyond the norm.
Before we even got into the doctor's office Nolan said, "I think he's going to prick my blood." He knows the routine by now- any sign of fever and they prick your finger to do a malaria test.
Luckily, today we were the only people waiting, so we got right in (not the norm: 1doctor + lots of expats = long wait time). The Doctor took Nolan's temperature with the ear thermometer and then said, "Oh, we've got a broiler boy." Nolan thought that was funny, but then said with a worried look on his face, "But I have two ears. What about my other one?!" So the doctor took his temp. in the other ear just to appease him!
Then it was on to Nolan's favorite part...the search for poe-tay-toes! During the typical exam the doctor always says, "Let me have a look and see if I can find any potatoes in there (in there meaning just about anywhere...nose, ears, throat, eyes, etc.). If indeed there is some sort of infection, you will be diagnosed with "a patch of potatoes". If not, just a simple, "nothing in there."
Lucky for us, today we had no potatoes and no malaria!

This is the whole doctor's office...a desk, a bed, and one tray of tools...oh, and an eye chart!

Checking for potatoes!

March 14, 2011

We Give Our Time and Idol Gives Back

February 2010, Zach and I participated in a Saturday morning community service project at a nearby oceanside village. The project had four goals...
1. To help clean up all the trash on the beach.
2. To help sort and deliver school supplies to the children of the village.
3. To educate the adults about malaria and distribute mosquito netting.
4. To give American Idol a backdrop for their "Idol Gives Back" segment.

Housing in the village.

Zach with the children of the village, who are eagerly waiting for new school supplies to play with.

Doodling with the village girls, using their new colored pencils and paper.
Listening to a message about the importance of sleeping under a mosquito net and how to use it properly.
American Idol contestant, Elliott Yamin, and American Idol judge, Kara Dioguardi, talking to the film crew about current malaria statistics and the campaign for "Malaria No More!"

The women walking back to their houses with their new mosquito nets.
Collecting trash off of the nearby beach, so as to make it a more sanitary area, and therefore less of a mosquito breeding ground.

Elltiott was so nice and down to earth. He took time out to say hi and pose with Zach and his friend, Brayden.

The "Idol Gives Back" segment of American Idol aired April 21, 2010. An article on the internet reports that this year they raised almost $45 million dollars for children's hunger and health charities in the United States and Africa (inluding the "Malaria No More" foundation...yippee!) Even though it was a really hot day out in the African sun and it was hard work, it was well worth it. Elliott was Zach's favorite during Elliott's season on American Idol, so he was thrilled to see him in person. While we were snuggled up on our couch in the U.S. back in 2006 watching Elliott sing on the 5th season of American Idol, I never would have dreamt that we would meet him someday, and in Africa of all places. It's also crazy to think that our friends back home were watching clips of Elliott in Angola during the "Idol Gives Back" show and we were standing just feet behind the camera man!