Saturday, 25 May 2019

Active Saturday...

Two weeks ago (11th May) was the Pregnancy Care Centre's 5-km run/walk at the East Side Park in Washington. We all took part - pushing Riaan and Eliza in their pushchairs - and had a lovely time. Once back home Riaan and I went up to the Sports Complex and watched our friends in their soccer game. And then a little later I went out for my first cycle ride in quite some time. I only did 14 kilometres or 9 miles, but it was good to be out on the bike again. It was a great, active Saturday!

 Riaan and Candace approach the finish line.
Riaan is covered in powder paint - used to throw on walkers/runners during Colour Runs.
 With Eliza at the finish.
Cycling just after lunch. There is a lot of new cycling-friendly signage around the County. :)

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

IKEA Trip...

Candace and I left the kiddos with her parents one Friday earlier this month. We drove up to Fishers, north of Indianapolis, where we visited the amazing IKEA furniture store. IKEA is a Swedish company that has huge furniture shops throughout many countries. Candace and I have visited IKEA in Tenerife, Spain, back in 2012 when we were serving with Mercy Ships. We have also visited the St Louis, Missouri, location and can now add the Fishers, Indiana, location to that list.

One follows a winding route through many different showrooms in the store, each focusing on one particular element of a house, such as bedrooms, dining rooms, kitchen, living rooms, etc. Everything that you see can be bought, including paintings and accessories, and much of the furniture on display can be picked up at the end, in the self-service furniture section, and bought in a DIY kit. Building bookcases or beds yourself certainly adds to the fun experience.

There is even an amazing restaurant with delicious food about halfway through the route. Naturally, being in a Swedish store I opted for Swedish meatballs (pictured here) while Candace chose to have a simpler wrap. It was a lovely, somewhat different date for the two of us. We came home with a couple of bookcases for our spare bedroom. :)

 Candace's delicious wrap. :)

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Bonfire Fun...

We had a little bonfire in our back garden a couple of weeks ago. We had accumulated a large pile of sticks over the past year or so, since construction on our house had begun, and it was time to get rid of this pile of kindling. Riaan was sure to utter the favourite Crawford phrase when starting a fire or a braai (barbecue), "Burn, baby, burn!" :)

 Riaan and Eliza watching the fire.
"Burn, baby, burn!"

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Spring Mill in the Spring...

We visited Spring Mill State Park on Sunday, 5th May. We enjoyed browsing in the Nature Centre and then had a very enjoyable hike on Trail 5 - around Spring Mill Lake. We also went and walked up to the Pioneer Village and saw the iconic antique grist-mill. It was a beautiful day to visit an Indiana State Park!

 Lush forests in the State Park.
 Riaan measures his wingspan at the Nature Centre.
 Riaan makes a new friend - a snapping turtle - at the Nature Centre.
 Riaan was very excited to be hiking in the hiking carrier.
 Eliza also enjoyed her ride. :)
 Interesting plant.
 American cancer-root. It has no chlorophyll of its own and obtains nutrients by attaching to the roots of trees. It's amazing!
 Pretty flowers that look like elves' hats.
 The weir at the lake.
 Turtle sunning itself on a log.
 Turtles sunning and shedding their scutes as the grow. A scute is what the individual plates are called that make up a turtle's shell.
 Beaver tracks down to the lake. Candace saw a beaver as we hiked along the trail!
 Evidence of beaver activity.
 Eliza loved the hike!
 Digging on the trail. :)
 Riaan adventuring along the path.
 Colourful kayaks on the lake.
The beautiful grist-mill.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Freedom Day Voting in Chicago...

I travelled up to Chicago on Saturday, 27th April, to vote as a South African citizen abroad in South Africa's sixth democratic election since the demise of apartheid in 1994. The 27th of April is a special day in South Africa - Freedom Day - and is a public holiday. It commemorates South Africa's first democratic election of 1994, and it filled me with South African pride to be able to vote on this the 25th anniversary of South Africa's democracy.

I left home at 07h00 and drove across to Effingham, Illinois, where I caught the 09h00 Amtrak train up to Chicago Union Station. It was very cold and snowy when I arrived in Chicago at around 13h00. I then walked the fifteen minutes to the South African Consulate General, where I voted in the general election. I was so excited to be able to make my mark as a South African citizen overseas. I felt very patriotic, and it was lovely to see fellow South Africans again!

I walked back to the train station and met up with a good friend from our Mercy Ships days, Sam, for a bite to eat and a catch-up. He now lives in Chicago with his wife and children and we make it a point to visit them whenever we are in the area - as we did back in 2016. I boarded the train again to head back to Effingham at 16h00 and eventually arrived back home at 23h00 that night. It was a long, but fun sixteen-hour day!

The rest of South Africa went to the polls last Wednesday, the 8th of May, to vote in the general election. The African National Congress (ANC) won 57% of the vote with the Democratic Alliance (DA) a distant second with some 20% of the vote.

 My train pulls into the station at Effingham.
 A good read for a good day!
 Water taxi on one of Chicago's rivers.
 A really cold, dreary day.
 Union Station entrance on Adams Street.
 Skyscraper disappearing into the clouds.
 Following the signs inside the Consulate. IEC is Independent Electoral Commission.
 My thumb was marked with indelible ink - a simple way to prevent people voting twice.
 Crossing the Chicago River.
 Moody skies on the train trip back to Effingham.
 Beautiful skies.
Lovely sunset.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Daviess County Visitor's Bureau...

The kiddos and I were recently out exploring and decided to visit the Daviess County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Bureau, situated in the old train station in Washington. Washington, Indiana, was once a bustling railway town and even boasted a massive turntable and accompanying roundhouse, depot and repair yard. It employed over 1,000 people back in the day. There is a fantastic miniature model of the old train turntable and the roundhouse in the Visitor's Bureau!

 The old train station is a lovely building.
 Fantastic model of the turntable and roundhouse.
 Amazing details.
Another model on display.