Sunday, September 30, 2007

More S. Africa pics from Nicki

Cape Town:

St. Mary's reunion

Kate, a mess... braai

Nicki and Kate's amazing African adventure is winding down, though they have had quite a week.

They were in Cape Town early last week and got to see friends Kerry, Fanina and Jules (l-r on the couch) and then they all went to Kirstenbosch Gardens for a picnic...that view is pretty hard to take.

Then they went back to Durban and Granny Moira and Grandpa Tony's on Thursday. They had a big school reunion, I see some of the usual suspects, but I'm afraid Nicki will have to do a left to right...

Finally, Lisa had a bbq or braai as they call in in SA for Nicki and Kate and they had a blast. The made an per usual!

It's now early Monday there and both the girls are coming off of colds and Nicki is wild with anticipation of the return flight, this coming Thursday-Friday (not!).

Missing them very much still and so happy they've been able to spend quality time with family and good friends.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Vault | First trip to South Africa, 2001

With my girls in S. Africa until next Friday (it's been very quiet around the house), I've been thinking alot about that place lately.

This image was made on my very first trip to South Africa, back in January 2001, at a private game reserve called Tala, in Kwazulu-Natal, not far from Nicki's parent's home.

It's such an amazing country, full of history and the continent has a vibe like no other. And even though I am merely married to a South African, it feels very familiar to me. Perhaps it's because I have been following South Africa for decades and have been intrigued by the entire continent for as long as I can remember.

I started to gain even more appreciation for the continent, particularly sub-Saharan Africa by reading a book by David Lamb of the LA Times called The Africans. It's a book that was written following his stint as the Times' Nairobi bureau chief and his stories were exhilarating, funny, and sad, and sometimes all at the same time. It really captured the place in a way that wasn't too academic or political -- really from the street and you get such a sense of the people and characters he met in his journeys.

So I'm missing my girls -- only 9 days to go before they get back. I know they're having a great time visiting friends and family (leaving tomorrow from Cape Town back to Durban. They've been in CT since Sunday). So they'll be back to Durban, the friendly confines of 3 Leinster Place, and skype. Yeah!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Warm Day in SA for Kate & Nicki..

Today was a warm one in Durban for Nicki and warm that Nicki said Kate was running around most of the time in a nappy (or here, in the Israeli censor-style photo, in the buff)...

Kate and Moira have been bonding so well and having so much fun. Only Moira can really feed Kate or bath her and get her ready for dinner...which is giving Nicki a rest. Good thing. I'm glad Kate gets to spend so much time with her October she'll see my Mom for a few days and then in December she'll be out visiting to help us celebrate her second birthday.

Even though the grandparents are far away, we really want Kate to spend as much time as possible with them.

I never met either of my grandfathers (they had died years before I arrived), and only saw my grandmothers for one week each a year as a child. (They were both on the east coast and we lived in the midwest, and Dad had two weeks of vacation...two days in a Ford Country Sedan, two adults, four kids, too much luggage, AM radio, and 1000 do the math...)

Kate's just having an amazing vacation and Nicki is too--tonight she had Girls Night Out and is spending the night in Durban North with her friends while Kate is safely with Granny and Grandpa.

Call me crazy, but I *think* there will a bit of wine consumed during GNO :-).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This Just In -- Photos from S. Africa!!

Nicki sent some photos, shot with her point and shoot, from their trip. Thanks to her brother Michael for helping get the photos into the computer, burned to CD for archiving, and helping send these.

As you'll see, she's just loving hanging out with Granny Moira and Grandpa Tony, as well as the cousins Lizzie, Pat and James (she's with Pat and Liz in the bounce house for Lizzie's birthday this past weekend).

And, of course, she's absolutely loving hanging out with the dogs: Bobbie (the larger black dog) and Millie (the smaller dog).

Missing them more, now after seeing these!

Monday, September 17, 2007

one week down...

Hard to believe my two girls have been gone for almost a week's so quiet around here...

They're getting acclimated to the weather (a bit cooler--it's early spring in S. Africa) and the time zones and sleeping well through the night. Kate picked up a bit of a cold, and has a husky little voice. She's in good hands with Granny Moira doting over here, and of course she's in love with the two dogs, Millie and Bobby...

Wishing I was there. Missing them.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thank God for Skype

What an amazing thing Skype I am halfway around the world and I can see and talk with my wife and daughter in S. Africa.

It's astounding how things have advanced in such a relatively short period of time. When Nicki and I were first engaged, and she was back in S. Africa for seven weeks, we would've given anything for Skype. Twice a day phone calls had to suffice.

This technology will definitely help bridge the gap, though it's obviously not the same as having them here...but for the period of their trip, it will be a huge gift.

Thanks to Nicki's parents, Moira and Tony for getting broadband in S. Africa (which is a luxury compared to here in the states where it's as common as having two tvs, it seems)...but it sure makes a difference...and it is so nice that it helps you see us when we're all here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Arrived Safely!

Nicki and Kate arrived safely, though a bit worse for the wear.

Just saw them on laptop, via Skype....fantastic technology. Still having a few issues with them seeing me, me seeing them at the same time I'm sure we'll get it ironed out.

But still to see them at Moira and Tony's is a relief.

It was a tough trip...Kate's in a bit of a screaming phase and Nicki said the first seven hours of the trip from Atlanta to Africa were hell...and hour before they landed at Dakar for a crew change, plane security check, Kate fell asleep and actually slept through the whole commotion of security checking bags, under seats, lights on, the whole 9 yards...

Once airborne again for the last part of that trip, Kate woke up just as Nicki was about to fall asleep...fortunately Kate was able to enjoy a DVD (Baby Einstein--"tur-TULL") and then they fell asleep together for about four hours before landing in Johannesburg.

Then there was yet aNOTHER plane ride to Durban, thankfully only about an hour.

There Moira and Tony picked up the girls and now they're up the hill, outside of Durbs, safely ensconsced at 3 Leinster Place.

If you want to send Nicki and email at her Mom's, please send it to: moirak at storm dot co dot za (written this way to avoid having her email harvested by spammers).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Off Safely to S. Africa

We were up at 2:15 to get to LAX by 4 am for the flight. Kate was a bit bleary-eyed, but stayed awake for the ride to the airport. I'm hoping that she'll be a good girl for Mom on the journey. We arrived in plenty of time to get everyone checked in...Nicki called around 6 just as the plane was loading and I was almost back in Ladera.

My girls are now somewhere over New Mexico heading for Atlanta, and then later this afternoon, on the 18 hour flight to Johannesburg and then changing planes to Durban to visit Moira, Tony, Michael, Belinda, Patrick, James, Lizzie, and Andy and then a lot of friends.

I will be there in spirit and I'll miss them like crazy over the next few weeks.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Nicki & Kate's Going Away Party

Our friends Nicole and Jeff threw a little shindig for Kate and Nicki on Saturday at their home in Ladera. Unbeknowst to Nicki, they invited all the partners in crime from the Baby Club and we had a great time.

Of course, Kate spent some time with her good buddies Ben, Shelby, Jilliian, Jane, and of course...Maaarrrrllll (Marlee).

Thank you all for your friendship -- it was such a thoughtful gesture by everyone.

Nicki's off to S. Africa tomorrow morning until early October so she's running the gamut of emotions from excitement of seeing family and friends and getting back on the continent, to the dread of 30 hours of travel with a 20 month old.

Having flown there 3 times myself, it's tough enough without a little one. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they travel.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A few Katie pics from last week

Becky & Jayson | Dana Point | September 2, 2007

Last Sunday Becky and Jayson were married at Heritage Park in Dana Point (after everyone got ready for the event at the Blue Lantern Inn in Dana Point).

Despite the extra warm temperatures and the humidity it was a beautiful day and everyone was in fine form for the day (even with a slight limo snafu;-)). Becky wore a stunning gown from Mon Ami and had two sashes: a white one for the wedding and then a brown one for the reception.

The couple live in Long Beach and had friends come to the wedding from all over the state, as well as family from the East Coast, including Jayson's niece and nephew who were junior attendants in the wedding.

The reception was held at the Dana Point Yacht club. It was a great day and can't wait to share even more images with the newlyweds.