Friday, December 16, 2011


The sandbox is a hit.  it's also going to be an ongoing headache.  There are a few options for sand here:  building sand, river sand, quarry dust and filter sand.  If you are really ambitious you can load up beach sand from Mongu or Samfya but it's 8 hours away for either place and unlikely that you can convince anyone to do this load for you.  The filter sand is closest to what we want for the sandbox but at 12x the price of the river sand it's really not practical for a sandbox this size.  We bought 80kgs of it.  this will hardly make a dent.   For now we have the space half-full of building sand and will need to organize for another type of sand.  Why?  The building sand is perfect for building strong sand sculptures.  However, it's the rainy season.  And after a downpour?  The sandbox?

 It turned into a mud pit of the Eastern Europe Spa variety.  It was fun for one day. Also a complete soupy, slurry, sloppy mess.  Fun, but not really what any of us wanted after that one day.  Fine for the rest of the year but we need the thing now! We have one month off school and need to be busy from sun up to sun down! (if there is sun, that is)

The next day after the downpour as a school holiday - it dried out OK but now it was too sunny out there!  It's great for afternoon play but, again, for the rainy season when the kids have a month off school, we need some morning shade and some other sand.  Finn and I set up a shade tarp.  But see that PALE back in the distance....not under the shade tarp....and that pale back, belonging to a friend, was a painful shade of pink by lunchtime.  I'm thankful my two don't burn easily but they also are pretty good about wearing hats, shirts and just making sure they play where or when it's shady.

Above, Finn loading up his Tonka truck (which is now 5 years old! Talk about a great toy for a child!) for the big kids... 

For your next long distance call?

I'm not sure if I have seen anything cooler.
Of course we had to buy it.

The sand in the timer is neon pink, by the way, and the glass broke after about a week.  But the box is going in my permanent collection of awesomeness.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Elves of Jesmondine

An early santa project? Uhhh, no. This was begun for xmas 2010 but the elves got distracted by work and food and football. With reindeer again round the corner, we felt renewed holiday pressure and finally figured out how to youtube a soundslides production. 

Merry Christmas, mom!

Finny trailer, movie set for release in 2012

Let me dutifully give props to The Kinks for supplying the audio from their fabu Arthur album released in a fabu year (1969).  Seems the attorneys at YouTube (aka Google, their march toward world domination continues) get all atwitter when music is applied too liberally for their briefs.  But so far the result is only an inability to view this trailer (still unrated, mind you) in Deutschland.  Nein!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Friday commute

40 Celsius

Things to do on a really hot day when the lake right off your doorstep is oh so inviting but oh so infested with crocodiles.....

1. Dump water on your head. (check)

2. Dump water on your brother's head. (check)


Activities #1 and #2 occupied things 1&2 for a 20 minutes but when we added an art element this kept them busy another 2 solid hours.  Good thing b/c we had 4 hours to kill.  After this we moved on to counting monitor lizards.

Flame Tree study

FlyBoy and little gecko

We half expect the boys to sprout gills or wings. (above, O needs both, plus a good insurance plan)

Here is a welcome November surprise -- baby geckos! They are everywhere inside and out and the littlest ones will sit tight like a little logo on your shirt... or in a welcome (and wet) hand. (that's Owen's hand -- this is one of the smallest we have seen)


What is this monstrosity? An early Christmas gift from SantaMere.  In the kids advent calendar today there was a pile of sand and a note from the me+big guy in the red suit:  "Can you dig it? Yes, you can!"

Somehow we managed to construct this monstrously large sandbox without the kids really registering what it was.  "Wouldn't it be cool if mom wasn't really building a patio??! It would be and awesome sandbox!"  Uh, yes, duh.

While we were away this weekend, it was (mostly) finished and the kids got to see it before heading out for escuela.  We came home from school today at 1:30pm, changed out of school uniforms (tho they both put on orange shirts and blue shorts. how very odd) and it's 6pm...they are still out there.  there was one minor complaint, one angry shout and a heated discussion that lasted about 4 minutes but otherwise, I was able to work this whole time's already paid for itself.

We still need more sand, must plaster the pool wall, tidy up the construction mess and plant some flowers or something to make it look a little more garden and a little less WT-Industrial.  The sandbox is our answer to missing the beach so much.  It's a poor substitute to be sure, but it's all we can do for the time being and it will surely be enjoyed by many friends and be home to many battles between plastic dinosaurs, kitties and various other critters. We have some sand from zanzibar here to add and will start adding in shells collected from all over, some stones that somehow came from Lincoln Park and Cannon Beach, etc.  Bring a pocketful of sand next time you come over, will ya?!

(Egads!  I missed posting anything in November!  For what it's good for, November was too busy with living to get around to much blogging, so I can't feel too badly. )