Our recent photos

May 23, 2014

Have Given Up.....

Okay....so I've decided that I'm not going to be insane and try to update my blog (yes, the entire year that I am behind) in the next week!!!

I will simply start over when life in Libreville, Gabon comes to an end.  So, be on the lookout for a posting from our next stop....Paris in a week or so! 

I am so excited to be starting a new chapter of the Grawburg family adventures.......stay tuned!

Kim was just full of ideas!!  Another great one she had (in addition to the gardens) was a "Bring Your Child to Work Day."  The kids LOVED it!  It definitely was a team effort to pull this event off and I'd like to thank all of those involved in the planning and those who worked the event.  It really was great!

The event involved (almost) every aspect of the embassy.  It showed the kids what is involved in running an embassy and why the US has missions around the world.  I will note the absence of one department - facilities!  That's right...shameful Christopher!!

Before the event started, the kids got finger printed.  I was really happy about this because I didn't have their prints! 

The kids were then given a security briefing by the Regional Security Officer about how to stay safe and how the embassy is protected.
Poor Siena had a rug burn on her chin!

The kids moved outside to learn about map reading and radio checks.  The kids (and adults) liked building roads and other items on the map using Play-doh!

The kids enjoying the Play-doh
And then the adults....not a kid in sight!
The highlight (at least for my kids) was wearing the body armor and getting to go into the armored vehicle!  Max said this was "very cool"!

The kids learned about the benefits of staying fit and how it is very important for their well being. Erin (who was my Crossfit instructor here for several months) gave those kids a workout!  (But, it didn't look as bad as my Crossfit sessions!)
Erin showing off her head stand moves!
Max doing squats...maybe it was a "young crossfit training"
Siena doing sit ups
The kids then had their medical check ups....but no worries -- there were no "pokes" (shots) given!
In the Consular section, the kids filled out passport applications and got new "passports." 
The kids also had a meeting with the Ambassasor -- sorry no photos since no cameras allowed!

And finally, the kids got to attend a real press conference where they could ask the Public Affairs Officer and the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) their questions.

Great event and again, thanks to all of those involved in making the day a one the kids will remember!

In celebration of Earth Day, my friend, Kim, came up with the idea to have an Embassy Community Garden for American and local staff families.  It was a brilliant idea!   You may have noticed that Max received a wheelbarrow and gardening tools for Christmas since he spends a lot of time helping our compound gardener, Mr. Souleyman.  

Well, it all worked out and the garden came into being on April 22 (Earth Day).  The Ambassador helped cut the ribbon along with the kids. 

But, before we got to that point, there was a ton of work of work to do.  And, there would have been so much more, if Chris' staff didn't do the actual construction of the gardens.  Although the gardens may look like burial plots (sorry!), it was fantastic that we didn't have to do that portion of the work.  I

The Saturday before the ceremony, all the families who wanted gardens came out to prepare the spots and fill the gardens with the dirt in preparation for the opening.  It was fun, but a lot of work!!

On Earth Day, there was a celebration and ribbon cutting.  The kids did a presentation about Earth Day and did a wonderful job.  Then, they all helped Ambassador Benjaminson cut the ribbon. Afterwards we stayed and did some "ceremonial planting".  I honestly had no clue what the kids planted where!  But, they enjoyed themselves and I guess that's all that mattered.
It was so worth all the effort, and the kids just love being in the garden watching things grow.  Well, they also love playing in the big dirt piles and playing with their friends!   Now, it's just a matter of maintaining this garden!!

April was an insanely busy month.  As the title suggests, I am so surprised how busy I am despite the lack of stuff to do here!   I suppose that's why I'm so busy....I feel the need to create things or go to every event to give the kids stuff to do! 

The kids enjoyed doing the crafts that Gammy and Grandaddy sent in their Easter baskets.  Plus, they both got "seed kits" which was perfect since my friend, Kim, is leading the charge to establish community gardens at the embassy just in time for Earth Day (April 22).  More on that and other embassy events in April in another post!!

Planting the seedlings that will be transferred to our garden at the embassy
Siena painting an art project Gammy sent her
Max had fun painting the sun catchers. 
The kids like to play school.  They play the teachers and I'm the student.  I love how Max and Siena teach me in French!  As you'll see, the letters have French accents.  They point to the letters and I have to say it.  Then, they keep saying "encore" about 10 times (which means "again").  Maybe French immersion is working.  But, while Siena seems to enjoy school, Max is having a rougher time.  One the biggest frustrations here is the lack of school choices...
Max's French writing on our chalk board at home.
The also had the usual trips to the pool and time playing in their cars.
I love how Max still dresses up.  I hope he doesn't stop it any time soon.  This one was too funny not to post on the blog!  He definitely must be confident with himself.  
Workman glasses, power ranger suit, and cowboy boots. Gotta love it!

We had two birthday parties - both Spiderman!!  First, we had Ismael's party.  Max and Siena kept talking about the face painting and pinata.  (They love pinatas!!)
Waiting for her cake AND cupcake!
Enjoying the sugar!
Ibrahim making sure all the candy is out of the pinata...and Max right there to get it!
 The next Spiderman birthday party was Toby's. 

Playing "Pass the Parcel"
Siena refused to open the "parcel" in front of anyone else! 
Another thing that kept me busy was making a cake for a couple getting married at our church.  I learned to make royal icing roses...so much easier than butter cream!  I think it looks pretty!!  And, more importantly, the couple thought it did too!
But, the thing I enjoyed the most in April was an outing with my friends - Gina, Alex, and Steff and all our kids to Sunset Beach, close to where we live in Sabliere.  We had some food and drinks while the kids played on the beach and in the play ground.  It's probably the cleanest part of the beach close to our house and the restaurant/hotel keeps it pretty clean (by Libreville standards).  Plus there is a "playground" - -not the safest but at least it gives the kids something to do.  But, the kids enjoyed playing in the sand and flying a kite that Alex brought.  It was a nice afternoon with friends.  I don't know what I'd do without these ladies here with me!!
I am always so scared the kids are going to bounce right off these trampolines!!