I just know it's going to be a great year. Ok, so Lukas started off the year with his first (and hopefully only) bout of tonsillitis, but I just finished a fantastic book, and I'm ready to take on the world! The book is called The Best Year of Your Life, by Debbie Ford... and it's so energizing and motivating (once you get past the first couple chapters).
Since I've read the book, I've made a couple of decisions (and posting them here should help to hold me accountable for following-through!). Firstly, I have two goals that I've set for myself for this year (forget the term "New Year's Resolutions" - this is the road map for the journey to the best year of my life!). They are:
1) To buy a house in Germany, where our family can live, love, and thrive, and that we can go "home" to regularly, to get recharged and nourished, and where friends and family can come, to join us for meals, and feel the warmth in our hearts (Debbie Ford wrote some of this for me... she had a similar goal... too easy!).
2) To maximize the rest of my time in South Africa by more actively and frequently visiting key points of interest - allowing me to leave South Africa with feelings of satisfaction, rather than regret, and feeling "ready" to move on to the next chapter in our lives. Achieving this goal will also help me to develop a better understanding of South Africa, and will in turn, provide me with a more balanced perspective of the world.
Secondly, I want to change the format of these blogs a bit. I'm going to write about "our" adventures at the top, and then Lukas' development at the bottom. That way I can be sure that I'm not forgetting to write about our little boy, as he grows into a little man.
In addition to these goals and proposed changes, I'm also working towards a more general goal... practicing behaviors that I want my children to emmulate. This includes leading healthier relationships, thinking before I speak, making smarter financial decisions and better food choices, and exercising regularly. No more excuses... they only serve as self-sabotage! I don't own a scale, but I don't feel that I need one. I feel better with each day... stronger, leaner, and healthier. (I'm eating lots of eggs, veggies, and lean meat, and I occasionally allow myself some dark bread loaded with seeds, some youghurt with musli, or if I'm really craving carbs, a bit of nutella). And I exercise every day. One morning I'll jog, and the next day it's a 30 minute walk with the dog and baby (in our neighborhood... which has lots of steep inclines)!
Well, enough about that. Let me tell you about our New Year's Eve here in Mossel Bay. We were thinking about spending it in Cape Town, but the idea of spending 8 hours in the car with the baby (4 hours each way), made it slightly less attractive. And we could have gotten a babysitter and gone out, but we probably would have spent the evening thinking about Lukas, and wondering how the sitter was doing. As a parent, you swear that you can't wait for some free time, but when you have it, all you do is think of your children. Things just aren't as fun anymore without them. And so we spent New Year's in Mossel Bay, but it was so nice! We went to our friends' house for a barbeque and drinks. They're parents too, and have two great danes (so we were even able to bring Felix along!). They also have a house overlooking the bay, so we were able to watch the fireworks from the dinner table, amongst great company, as the kids slept peacefully in the bedroom. It was the perfect New Year's Eve. When Lukas woke up around 3 AM, we packed him up in the car and headed home.
The next day we drove to George to take the dog for a swim at the water reservoir there. It's a fairly quiet area, and the mountains serve as the backdrop, which makes it quite spectacular. And Felix was well overdue for some water action. He had a great time, and so did we, until the fishing boat came. When they showed up, Felix went nuts. He wanted to take off after that strange floating device that carries the people. And Tobi had a heck of a time restraining him. So we ate our picnic lunch quickly, let Felix swim a little more, and then headed back Mossel Bay.
The following day was Tuesday, January 2nd... and that evening we went to our very first concert here! Ronan Keating performed at the Casino, in a big field near the golf course. And so we bought tickets, although we only knew a couple of his songs. For $40 per person, we were close enough to catch his sweat droplets... but not until after the three other local groups performed. Our neighbors were there as well, so we stood next to them during the concert, understanding every tenth word of their Afrikaans conversations with friends. And of course I thought of Lukas the whole time. We were gone for about 6 hours, and all I could think of is how much I would like to be home, lying next to my son, reading a book... I think I've officially become an old lady! It's events like that which make you appreciate the "boring", normal daily routine which you call life. How grand it is!
Last night we finally found some time to go to a cute little café in the small town of Klein Braak, or Little Brack (a River). The café is called Valljape (I think I spelled that right), and my friend Deoni has been recommending it for months. It's a tiny restaurant in an old train depot, in the back of a quaint little town. I found the food pretty good (I ordered a squash soup and the stuffed chicken as my main course), but Tobi wasn't thrilled with his Biltong (beef jerky) soup, or the lamb that he ordered as his main course. The service was ok (there's really only one server), but Lukas was tired, and that always spells disaster. Tobi and I took turns walking around with him... which made it hard for us to really enjoy our dinner. Oh well. But he got a real kick out of the two little bunnies that were hopping along next to the restaurant!
Well, let's move on to the section on Lukas. He's getting into more trouble every day... and fighting sleep more with each nap. As I write, he's standing on his tip-toes, trying to reach some matches that are sitting on a table here in the living room. He's getting angry that he can't quite get to them. How frustrating! But along with that mischievous side, comes a smile that's to die for. He loves to smile, because he loves the reaction that he gets... a smile in return. It's a stop-what-you're-doing-and-play-with-me-smile, and it works! Complete strangers stop whatever they're doing to smile right back at him, and to tell us how cute he is. He's really a fun little boy, and I can't believe how much he's learned over the past couple months. Within two months, he's learned how to crawl, pull himself up, imitate sounds, hold things between his thumb and forefinger (and put them in his mouth... of course), climb up stairs, climb down stairs, get down off of the bed, and so much more! It's really incredible!
Well, I better wrap this up. We've invited some friends over for dinner, and I have to start tidying up! I realize this entry was a lot to digest. I'll try to write more frequently, so the entries aren't quite so long. And I love to get comments, so feel free to post a comment if you have the time!
Elise/Liz (for Tobi, Lukas & Felix)
P.S. We wish you the "Best Year of Your Life", too! Make it happen!