30 May 2010

Outing to Table Mountain - Another Blessed Experience!

On Saturday our family went up the beautiful Table Mountain!  

The last time we went up was more than five years ago when I was still pregnant with Andrew, and Danika was only 18 months old! Back then only had 4 children. 

Now, Andrew and Danika is turning 5 and 7 years in 2 weeks time and we have 8 children!
It was such a blessed day and again, I could only stand in awe on the blessing hand of the Lord on our family!  The first blessing was Friday night, when Christo went onto the Table Mountain website to see what the cost of such an outing for a family of ten would be. There was a family special running.  Two children enter free for every parent and only children above 5years pay.  This special meant that, only Christo and I had to pay and brought down the cost from R700 to only R300.   
On Saturday morning we awoke to face the most beautiful, wind still and cloud free day!  It is currently winter here and we have winter rainfall in the Western Cape. So, days like that is few and far between.  To find such a day on a weekend and then even on Christo’s off weekend is only a God ordained blessing!
Since it was such a champagne clear day, there was no parking near the entrance when we arrived at the cable car entrance by 11h00.  Christo stopped right in front of the entrance to drop off the children and me, and would then try to find the nearest parking - about a kilometer away!  The moment we stopped, a black guy (Sebastian) approached Christo’s door to inform him that we’re not allowed to stop there.  Christo acknowledged his warning and informed him he was only dropping off his wife and little children.  Christo then asked: “Don’t you have a nearby parking space for me?” Sebastian immediately changed and told Christo he is going to give us a special parking space and added, “I can see sir, you have many children!”.  But first Sebastian took me and the children to a safe spot and told us to wait there, while he helped Christo park.  He then took Christo only a few meters down the road, just next to the bus parking spaces, and unlocked a special parking.  Within minutes he and Christo were back.  He then took us to the front of a long line of people, waiting to buy tickets.  He started asking the children's ages and then talked (in Xhosa) to the teller behind the glass. In no time we paid the special tariff, but still he wasn’t finished with us.  Next he took us to a door leading to a ‘Staff only’ lift.  He showed Christo on which floor to stop for the cable car and told us to enjoy the day, he will look well after our vehicle.  We were amazed!  He didn’t need to help us this far!

Waiting to enter the cable car. 

The rest of the outing was just pure joy!  The children, especially the smaller boys and Danika, had a ball, exploring the mountain!  

They hanged over the walls.

They adored dandelions, and

they searched for creeping crawleys, 

and found some!

They jumped over bushes and rocks.

Appreciated the scenery below. 


We are still debating if the new Soccer Stadium is complimenting Seapoint...

Some of us found ‘rock thrones’ to sit on. 

Others were investigating the rock, then got bored.....

and fell asleep!

Andrew and David found it fascinating reading the information boards!  

Between Heidi-Mari, Christo and myself we passed Michael and Daniel around, in the Ergo and African Baby Carrier.

Josua and CJ was carrying water bottles, warmer clothes (which we didn’t need for one second - we were already dressed to warm) and baby supplies.

An outing with all our small children took plenty of planning and cooperation between parents and older children!
With the money we saved on our transport up the mountain we could buy lunch at the restaurant and Christo and I had an excellent espresso and cappuccino and the children had a once-of ice cream!  They took in enough Vit D and fresh air, to work away the side affects of the diary!

What a privilege it was, to explore the mountain through the eyes of our children! After a delightful day on the mountain we returned to our Vito and faithful Sebastian.  

What a blessed day!  I am in awe of the love and care of the Lord on our family!  With a thankful heart, I only want to sing praises to my Lord! He fills my cup with joy to the brim!

25 May 2010



One of Christo’s clients made a comment, after learning we are going to Mauritius with our three month old baby. 

She said, “Christo, you will get preferential treatment due to your baby.  People love babies!”
She couldn’t have been more right!
After I told a friend we’re going to Mauritius, she suggested when flying, try to get the special seats just behind business class, with the basinet for babies. Christo immediately put in the request with the travel agency and we got the seats.  What a blessing to sit in those seats! 

Michael fell asleep 10min after we took off, and only woke up after we landed in Mauritius (it was a 4 1/2 hour flight!). He slept most of the time in the basinet and I had a glimpse of the blessed holiday stretching out before us.  
On the return flight, he again slept for two hours in the basinet, giving my body a rest from holding a baby. 
In the mean time Christo had a dream flight having more leg space, almost like first class!
Since people are afraid to fly next to a couple with such a small baby, a fellow passenger booked to sit next to us, asked to be moved to an open seat further back in the airplane and we had three seats for ourselves, although we only had two seats booked!

The Lord is so good!
On arriving at Mauritius Airport, standing in the long queues to get through passport control, Michael woke up and started crying bitterly.  I was carrying him in the Ergo and while having my hands full with hand luggage, tried to nurse him, but he only cried louder! Next an officer tapped me on the shoulder and an airport assistant accompanied us to the VIP Customs counter - red carpet and all!  There were only two business men before us and within 5 minutes we were through customs and claiming our baggage.

Part of our Holiday package was a one day trip to a beautiful little island, Isle De Deux Cocos, only 5 minutes from Mauritius.  

As we arrived on the island the island manager immediately took extra notice of us since we had a baby.  He more than once came to make sure we were comfortable with our baby. When we needed to move due to the moving sun, he was there to carry our things. He even put us at the best table on the beach for lunch.  While having lunch, Michael was sleeping in the ergo strapped to me, he came to ask me if he could fetch me dessert.  

When leaving for the island in a tour bus from our Hotel, we had two young honeymoon couples with us in the bus and both of them where from South Africa.  It was great to experience the day with these friendly Afrikaans speaking people!

While having lunch on the island there were two native table hopping musicians, playing and singing any song you named.  After singing ‘Can’t help falling in love with you’ for Christo and me, they also sang a baby-song for Michael.

Isle de Cocos is the most interesting little island.  Apparently a British officer, recognizing the beauty of this island, built a house on the island for times when he needed a break.  
It is the most, beautiful house, but have only space for 4 people - not big enough for my family!

The main bedroom.  The swans are towels!

Except for the two bedroom house there is nothing else on the island.

We swam with Michael; went on a glass bottom boat trip to look at the coral and fish;

Had lunch; lay in the sun and went on the 7 minute-walk around the island!
When it was time to leave the island, our Island manager helped us again gather our belongings and helped us onto the boat.
I never could have imagined, having Michael with us, would assure VIP treatment. 
The next story was most probably the biggest blessing during our holiday!
We wanted to make video calls through SKYPE to help the little ones see us physically while we were away, so we left my MacBook Pro at home for the children, and took Christo’s MAC along. 
When we arrived at the hotel, we opened Christo’s Mac and was connected immediately - since the hotel had free internet access. 

Since we were on the ‘Island of love’ we wanted to enjoy romantic evenings together. Dinner was between 19h00 and 22h00 and by then Michael would be exhausted, after a day in fresh air and plenty of sun and would need to be in bed. The hotel did have babysitting facilities, but I couldn’t stand the thought of leaving Michael with a stranger.  As we discussed possibilities of babysitting, a unique thought suddenly entered our conversation - definitely Godly inspired! We would setup a Skype call with our children back home in South Africa and then place Christo’s Mac next to our sleeping baby. We could then go out to our romantic dinner while our older children 'baby sat' Michael. If he awoke sometime during the evening, CJ (watching the Mac screen back home) would see and hear baby wake up and give us a call on Christo’s cell phone. I could then quickly make my way to the room, make little Michael comfortable again and return to our table.
We were a little nervous about the setup, as we knew MANY things could go wrong with technology. Well (as expected from MAC) nothing went wrong with the two MAC's. We stayed at the hotel for seven days, and every night we had our children, thousands of kilometers away, baby sitting their little brother. One evening I even found the children entertaining Michael on the screen after he awoke, and they even managed to stop him from crying!
God is SO creative!

I remember when Christo, just after we got word that we won the Mauritius holiday, brought home brochures of Mauritius.  Wow! The clear, blue water was almost to good to be true.  Was it really happening that I was on my way to such an exotic place?
Our airplane landed the Friday night and we couldn’t see anything. What great anticipation when Michael woke me, early Saturday morning.  I couldn’t open the curtains and glass doors quick enough and what a site was awaiting me!

What I saw and experienced during that 7 days was more than what the brochures promised an Island holiday at Mauritius would be!
We enjoyed hours in the sun!

Walked on the beach in the shallow blue water.

Swam in the lukewarm, crystal blue water!

Played with Michael in the water!  We didn’t expect that a baby of only 3months would enjoy the water so much.  But then, the sea at the southern point of Africa is not nearly warm enough to take a baby for a swim! 

When we didn’t swim in the sea, we swam in the huge, round, swallow pool in front of our hotel room!

When some of us became too tired of all the swimming and playing in the sun, we could just fall asleep next to the blue sea, in the shade of a palm tree...

Christo could enjoy espresso’s as often as he liked and I...

enjoyed numerous kinds of refreshing, ice cold, fruit and coconut cocktails!
The main restaurant served buffets with every meal, the evening buffets were a rotation of different countries, with the Italian food being the highlight, for Christo and me! 
With every countries’ buffet the decorations were different and a delight to the eye.

Coloured rice, with candles for the Indian buffet.

My dear friend, Petra in New Zealand, this picture has been taken specially for you! Unfortunately the inscription isn’t big enough - it reads New Zealand Butter!

At the beach restaurant we could order from a menu and one afternoon I had the most delicious tuna, vegetables and rice, with a Virgin colada!

During our time in Mauritius, neither Christo nor I had the longing to drive along the island or do shopping.  We only wanted to be in each others company and enjoy the blessing of being together on an island! 
The past three months where very stressful and tiring on us.  We had our new baby, with new dynamics in the house and we moved our health shop, with Christo working long hours to accomplish it and lot of uncertainties. 
Even when we did manage to sit together for a coffee, we seldom could finish a sentence without being interrupted by a very important request, a discipline issue or mind blowing idea from one of our children.
I was afraid it would take us the whole vacation to find our way back to each others hearts, leaving us no time to just be together in peace and understanding!
I guess building a marriage on the right foundation makes all the difference. Knowing the God who put us together, never changed and while we stay close to Him, we will always be close to each other, even if we ‘feel worlds apart at times!’  From the moment we got onto the airplane in Cape Town, our hearts and minds connect and we had the most enriching time together. 

Both of us rediscovered the person we fell in love with and was pleasantly surprised to realize that we were still in love, because of everything we went through on a daily basis.  We both had matured through being the parents of our many children and making a living to provide for all.  If it wasn’t for our children and hard work, we would be shallow and immature and we most probably wouldn’t have had the enriched relationship we’re sharing right now!
And again we knew, God knows best and His way is the only way! 

With full ‘love tanks’ we could return to our busy schedule and be certain that we are one, even more so through the difficult times. Together we will change the world for good!

The one thing that stands out about our Mauritius vacation is God’s amazing way of answering prayer.  For at least a year I was asking God to take control over the situation - His will and not mine! This made me remember a quote:
“Don’t bring God to your problem, take your problem to God.”
That was exactly what we did, and He provided in every possible way, above anything we could have asked, planned or imagined!

Thank you dear God!
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