Wednesday, June 23, 2010

DJ & Brilliant-World Cup Game

Have you ever had the privilege of giving someone a gift that would be a dream come true for that person?
Yesterday we had the great privilege of gifting DJ and Brilliant with World Cup tickets to the South Africa vrs France game. I wish you could have heard them when they found out they were going to the game. Their excitement was overwhelming!

We gave these guys tickets to the game as a thank you for working so diligently at Restoring Hope Village. These boys have proven themselves over the past couple of months. They work hard each and everyday. They don't make a lot working for us so we try to help them in other ways. We also know that the boys (as so many others in this country) would never be able to afford to go to such a historic event taking place in their country.

Brian and I had such an enjoyable day yesterday with DJ and Brilliant. The drive to the game (minus the stress of road construction), watching them hold their tickets, walking to the stadium, watching them make their own video of their day was just a hoot.

While they watched the game we hung out at no other than McDonald's. Yup that's right, McD's is also here. Lindie was also with us and she was a real trooper all day. Liam stayed back home with Nanna and Pops. We weren't the only ones watching the game here. A few local police stopped to watch, the parking lot security guards who were suppose to be outside made their way inside and there were other customers. While watching the game at McDonalds there were a few times we wished we had ear plugs to wear. When South Africa scored the employees and guests would erupt into cheers and blowing vuvuzela's (yes inside the restaurant-it was super loud). It is too bad South Africa isn't advancing to the second round, but at least they played a good game and won against France.

I put together a little video of the guys going to the game, the fans, the noise, the city and their remarks after the game but I am having a difficult time uploading it. I will have to try again tomorrow. Until then, Good Night.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hope for Hope Concert

We want to invite you to an evening of fun for the family.
Join Restoring Hope International on June 25th for an evening of hope-filled music and incredible worship!

The evening will feature the music of Trent Smith and his newest CD, A Fool's Hope. Admission is free to the concert and there will be a Free-Will Donation with all proceeds going toward the projects of Restoring Hope Village. offered!
To us, through the songs and music of Trent Smith.
To children in South Africa through Restoring Hope Village.

Bring your family, friends and neighbors and join us!

Don't miss your chance to share hope around the world.

When: Friday, June 25
Doors open at 6 p.m. Concert starts at 7 p.m.

Where: Point of Grace Church
305 NE Dartmoor Drive, Waukee, Iowa
Why: To help spread the hope of Christ to orphaned infants and
children in South Africa.

For more information, contact

Friday, June 18, 2010

Unconventional Daddy

For those of you who know us or more like know Brian-will completely understand when I say Brian is an unconventional Dad.
To make my point, watch this video of Liam and what he is riding in. Curious yet?

As you can see Liam is having fun and who other than Brian would let his son have a ride in a cement mixer? Or who other than Brian would think of letting his son ride in a cement mixer? Liam is none worse for the wear-probably even better because of it! I am also pretty sure we could have left Liam riding in it for the rest of the day. He was rather sad when he had to get out.
Ya gotta love living outside the box when it comes to parenting.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Oh, your Uncle Brian's wife

This afternoon Lindie and I were sitting outside in our front yard. Today was a beautiful sunny day and much warmer to be outside then inside. So we take every minute of warmth we can get.

About once a week, I have someone stop at our front gate asking for a job so they can earn money to buy food. They often want to wash our car, rake our lawn or do anything. I never offer strangers a job so when I turn them down then they often ask for food or money. I also don't give out money but I do give out food with a track written in SeSotho. Sometimes I have repeats but usually its different people.

Today was no different. A middle aged guy stopped and started talking in Afrikaans to me. Of course I said no Afrikaans only English. He switched to English explaining to me he didn't want to beg for food so he needed a job so he could buy his own food. His family had no food at home and he needed to provide for them. I told him I had no jobs but would give him food. I went inside and got a loaf of bread and bag of apples. He was most grateful for his food and I striked up a bit of a conversation with him. I asked him his name and where he lived. His name is Victor and lives on a farm in Naudeaville but he pays to live there. I immediately thought #7 but didn't say anything yet. He went onto explain where he lived and then I finally said, "you live at #7". He immediately stopped talking and just looked at me. He said "you know it" I said yes. He asked how. I said, "do you know The Pines" Again he stopped, took a long look at me and then said so profoundly "You are Uncle Brian's wife"

Come to find out, Uncle Brian knows Victor very well and he has stopped by the new property many times. For those of you who have been here, #7 is just down the road a bit from The Village.

Well that is my random story of today and a very ironic way to be known as "Uncle Brian's wife"

Friday, June 11, 2010

She's on the move and so very cute!

On Sunday Lindie started crawling. She's been scooting around and getting places for the past month but now she is actually crawling. I now have to keep an eye out for her. The other day she made it out of the living room and into the hallway before I caught her.

We also discovered last week that she really likes Liam's little scooter. She still needs supervision as she tend to fall off the side -which she hates. But while she is on the scooter she loves it. She has also figured out how to push herself backwards on it. She is growing up so fast-10 months old!

World Cup-Soccah Fevah

This morning at 6:15am, we woke up to the sound of vuvuzelas being blown in town and tonight as I write this, 7:50pm, we still hear the sound of vuvuzelas. The atmosphere around town and in the entire country is electrifying with soccer spirit. I had to go Pick-n-Pay today for a few groceries and wow the store was crazy. Everyone had South Africa jerseys, coats, blankets, scarfs, hats, and wigs. People were even blowing vuvuzela's inside the store-they are so loud. But honestly it is really a fantastic time to be living in South Africa.

A quick trip back in time. Just over four years ago we moved to Welkom, South Africa. How is this so easy for us to remember, we arrived just before the World Cup started in Germany. We were also hosting a young team at the time and we watched soccer almost every night with them. That was the first time we had ever watched World Cup soccer and we actually enjoyed it. If you don't know us, neither of us are big sports fans but from time to time we do enjoy games. Wow, the last four years have gone by so quickly and so much has changed--we have 2 kids! How'd that happen? Ok, don't answer that question :)

Because of the hype and history that is being made today for the World Cup we decided to embrace it. The guys worked until noonish and then came over to celebrate. Not only are we celebrating the World Cup but also the progress that has been made at the Village. The fence is nearly completed! As a Thank You to the guys for working so hard the O'Tools and us treated them to a braii of boerewors and chicken, baked beans, Ramon noodle salad, cheesy potatoes, and cookies. South Africa and Mexico kick off was at 4pm. The guys and Nanna Tricia gave us a personal rendition of the South African national anthem. If you noticed in the video clip that all you could understand was the last part of the anthem that is because the South African national anthem is in 3 languages. It starts out in Zulu, the middle section is Afrikaans and the end is English. Most of the time it is sung with real gusto for the Zulu and English versus and rather muddled in the middle for the Afrikaans part.

It was a lot of fun having Brilliant, DJ and JT here to watch them watch the soccer game. Soccer is in there blood and they are so crazy for soccer. They were predicting that the final score would be 2-1 South Africa. To give the guys a hard time and also to add to the hype in the house Brian decided to support Mexico and made his own shirt to show his enthusiasm.

At half-time the game was still nil nil. The guys put on their own half-time show by playing a little soccer in our front yard. Just after half time South Africa scored their first goal and the vuvuzelas started all over-even in our house!

Do you remember that I said Brian isn't a big sports fan? He did watch a little bit of the game but by half time he was working on a project that he's been trying to complete. He is making a vibrating table to use with the Stumbel blocs that they will be making. He is getting really close to being done.

Meredith, Drake, Liam and Lindie also had fun-not so much watching the game but playing with each other and the vuvuzelas.

And for the big game, it ended up being a draw South Africa 1- Mexico 1. How unsatisfying to be in the World Cup and to finish the opening game of the World Cup on a draw. Tomorrow the US plays England. Who do you think will win?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The question of the day. Are we working?

Winter has come full force in South Africa. Ok, it isn't as cold and bad as mid-west Iowa winter but its still cold, in a different way. The evenings do get rather chilly, especially because there isn't central heating. We do have a portable gas heater that we use when needed, like tonight:) During the winter months June, July and August it is typically very dry. Rain is not expected, especially after such a rainy summer.

Last night Ben (Louie's cousin who is staying with them for 2 1/2 months) told them he was hoping for rain so they wouldn't have to work tomorrow. Ben knew that tomorrow (Thursday) was going to be a long hard day of work-setting 49 fence posts. Amber's response to Ben's wish was "you don't know Brian do you". Lo and behold it did rain last night and it continued into today. And guess what? The guys worked. Ben made the wrong wish...oops

This morning, DJ and Brilliant phoned Brian asking, hoping, assuming they wouldn't be working today because it was cold and rainy. The temperature was about 45 degrees F. Of course Brian's response was "Uhh, yes we are working". The boys made it to work on time but barely. They were really wanting a rain day.

Despite the cold and rain they did get all 49 post set. They still have a bit of cement work to do tomorrow but all in all it was a decent day at work.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ice Cream, Ice Cream, Who Wants Ice Cream

One perk we have living in Welkom is an Ice Cream truck and I'm not talking about the Swans Man. This is a little van that drives around piping music out (so you know he is heading down your street) and sells ice cream cones. He usually goes so fast down our street that I don't have time to get out there but today we were already outside and flagged him down. Liam really, really enjoyed his ice cream and now I have more laundry. It was all worth it ;-)

A Day Away!

Sometimes we get a bit stir crazy in Welkom and just need to get away. For those of you who have visited us, you would understand this. For those of you who haven't, our town has everything we need but it really lacks any form of fun entertainment. The guys are at a small stand-still with the fence due to the fence supplier not being able to get them the rest of the fence materials until Thursday. Granted there is still plenty of projects to be done, but we will be able to say that for many, many months and years to come. So, yesterday we took the day off and headed to Bloemfontein for a fun family day. Louie and Amber are still trying to get settled into their house so they took the day to sort through more of their boxes and finished getting stuff out of storage.

Bloemfontein is about 90 minutes away, so a nice little drive. We saw from afar one of the World Cup stadiums-about 10 games will be played in Bloemfontein. Soccer hype has started with the opening ceremony only 2 days away. We've entertained the idea of going to a game but the tickets are so expensive. The games aren't sold out yet so who knows maybe we will go. I'm sure the traffic will be horrific and soccer fans here are so crazy. And the vuvuzela (plastic horns) are so loud and annoying-but we'll see.

Bloemfontein Soccer Stadium

Another reason we enjoy going to Bloemfontein is McDonald's. Yes I'm sure you think we are crazy, but its a little piece of home for us and we love it!
Hey check out this kids play area at McDonalds.

We really didn't do that much. Just walked around the mall, looked at all the soccer jerseys, souvenirs and enjoyed our day away. While I was waiting in the car with Lindie for Liam and Brian to finish looking at quad bikes I saw these two guys pushing a load down the road-just couldn't pass up this picture opportunity.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


I know you probably already think we've gone Bananas-but that isn't what I'm talking about.
Look at the Banana we got at the grocery store!

Yes, you are seeing things correctly. That is 2 Bananas in one peel. And yes, Liam ate both of them for breakfast...he loves his bananas.
You also may notice that he is wearing winter pjs, that's because we are now enduring our second winter for the year. Granted winter here isn't as bad as Iowa's, but we don't have central heating-only a portable gas heater. So the kids wear two pairs of pjs, socks and slippers to bed. It does get cold, we've had frost two times already.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Its Friday-Hooray!

Wow, so much has been accomplished this week. The property is looking fantastic with 3 sides completely enclosed by the fence. Ben, Brilliant and JT dug the last 36 fence holes today in preparation for next week. DJ came to our house to help Brian with the gate. If the gate looks rather large in the pictures its because it is big, 19 feet long and 6 feet tall to be exact. By lunch time the 3 guys were finished digging the holes and picking up more trash. This afternoon they all helped Brian with the gate and were able to complete it. Look at this master piece.

Lindie also enjoyed the day outside watching daddy weld and hanging out with the guys while they finished the gate. Winter is upon us now, so during the day it is actually warmer to be outside then inside.

Look at this beautiful fence. Three sides completely done and by next week the fence should be completely done!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Today we have something new to share with you. No pictures of the wall today. Today is the start of gate building. This will be the final step to secure the property. The wall should be finished next week and the guys want to have the gates ready to put up when it's done. It's exciting to be on the home stretch of the wall. The goal was to have the wall done before the container arrived. Now that the container is delayed there will be plenty of time to complete the wall and begin other projects. Here is a video of Brian making the gate today.

Brian always has someone calling him!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Construction Update

I just can't believe this week is half over-where have the days gone?? It is so amazing to see the progress that has been accomplished at the property. The fence is looking so good and provides such an energetic atmosphere. The property is already feeling like "home"! On Monday the guys dug 50 holes in preparation for this week. The digging was hard, very difficult compared to the other holes. The ground must be getting harder because of winter coming and the fact that we haven't had any rain in a while. The guys persevered and got the job done tho:) Yesterday 35 fence post were set, taking the fence to the second corner of the property! Today another 15 post were set and 35 sections of slabs were placed-giving the fence a real feel of almost being completed. The fact is the fence is nearing completion but once this section is completed, they must complete another 58 section on the other side of the property. Realistically they are looking at another week or a bit more-but Wow, look at what has already been accomplished!

Yesterday Brian was sick with the stomach flu and wasn't able to work. This was to DJ's benefit-he learned how drive the Bob Cat and was also given the responsibility of mixing the concrete by himself. The kid you see in this picture with DJ is Hendrick-he lives in the house on the corner by our property. A funny story about Hendrick-the first day Brian and the guys were digging holes Hendrick came by after school and asked what they were doing. Brian told him digging holes and asked if he wanted to help. Brian told him he would pay him 5 Rand for each hole. Hendrick said "yes", and left to change his clothes. Brian didn't think he would come back, but he did. He started digging and dug about half a hole (more then Brian thought he would do) and said "I need to go home and eat some bread and then I'll come back". South Africans love to eat bread! Well he never came back that day to finish his hole but he does come around often to see what the guys are doing and sometime helps a bit.

Today I had a meeting with a group of social workers from KMD and it went very well! The property-Restoring Hope Village-is in KMD's "zone" for providing social work services and they are very excited to work with us. I'v been in contact and have worked with this group over the past 4 years but before we weren't in their area to receive services from them. Now we are and I think it is just the beginning of a great partnership with their office.

Well I think that is all for today-Thanks for reading and most of all thanks for your prayers. Feel free to leave us a comment or two.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

An Enjoyable Evening with Friends!

Since moving to South Africa, we have found it rather difficult continuing to celebrate US holidays (unless it is a major holiday like Christmas and Easter). This isn't because we don't like having holidays, but more because when a holiday lands on a weekday life continues as normal here. Take yesterday for instants, Memorial Day, the guys felt like they needed to work and it was a normal workday here in South Africa. It is also difficult to take a perfectly good working day off when there is so much work lying in front of you that needs to be accomplished. The guys decided they would try to finish early, around 2 or 3pm. All that really needed to accomplished yesterday was digging 50 holes-sounds easy, Right? Well, when I saw that they had the pick ax out trying to break the ground up so they could get the spade into ground, I knew the work day wouldn't been ending early. The guys struggled greatly yesterday-the ground was extra hard. We haven't had any rain in a long time. They did resort to getting a few buckets of water to help soften the areas that they needed to dig. They did manage to get all 50 holes dug by 4:30-so we still had plenty of time to gather for a holiday braii (BBQ). Val and Danie, good friends of ours, and the O'Tool family joined us for an evening of fun. We grilled beef and chick sosaties and had deviled eggs, baked beans, potatoes, broccoli salad, veggie tray, chips and homemade ice cream. We enjoyed an evening of great fellowship and the kids played very nicely together.

Unfortunately, around 5AM Brian woke up with the stomach flu and has been sick all day. He has been in bed feeling very miserable. Thankfully Louie has been able to keep everything going at the property--just a few phone calls to Brian with questions.