Thursday, October 25, 2012


I'm looking through our pictures from the last few months. Every now and then I go through and pull out the ones that I love, copy them into a separate folder so that I can get them printed. Incidentally, I have a lot waiting and none printed for about 10 months. I have a list of types of pics I need to have printed for Ben's baby book. Anyway. As I was pulling out the best pictures, I saw these two side by side. Love.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Just want to brag on the baby real quick.

We started teaching Nate some signs before he started talking. He knew milk, eat, more, and made up his own sign for bath. About the time he started really catching on, though, he also started learning to speak several words each week. The last sign I taught him was diaper, and the first time he used it, he also said, "die-die." He was becoming so verbal that we just stopped teaching him signs.

Ben has spoken a few words, but usually when he says a new one (this week, he learned to say ball), he will say it once or even a few times, then we don't hear it again. He is picking up signs like crazy, though.

He signs: milk, eat, more, juice, water, blanket, Nate (had to make that one up - "brother" motions with the hand making a letter N), cracker, sleep, ball, and diaper. When he learned blanket, he also used that sign for paci. Since then, he has apparently realized that they are two separate things and that each thing should have its own sign. He points to his mouth to sign paci.

It's pretty cool that he can communicate with us!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Just take it one syllable at a time. Nya. Who. Roo. Roo.

The real purpose of this trip was to gain insight on registering, starting, and running a children's home in Kenya from our friend who has been doing this for many years. But, I will talk about that on Maisha Kamili's blog later in the week. We have one more job to do first, then I will update. Over here, I am talking about family time and sightseeing.

Nate with some of the nursery school kids at Hope and Victory.

This trip we saw the two tallest mountains in Africa - Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya. Kilimanjaro we saw from the airplane and Kenya we saw from about 20 miles away in Nanyuki. It was cloudy most of the trip, so we didn't see the peak of either.

Clearest shot of Mt Kenya we managed on the cloudy day
Mt Kenya, mostly covered by clouds and rain

We saw and drove across the Great Rift Valley. That was very cool.

the road we took through the valley

I love the cloud/rain in this pic

We went to Lake Nakuru. We saw lots of cool animals, including the black and white rhino. Now we have seen 4 of the Big 5 of Kenya: lion, elephant, buffalo, and rhino. We lack only the leopard.

We stayed at Thomson's Falls, which is lovely, even though the county charges you to get close enough to see the whole thing. The lodge we were staying at let us into the viewing area one morning before the county employees showed up, so we didn't have to pay, but it was a bit too misty for clear pictures.

the full falls from my phone's camera - didn't have the real camera when we snuck down to the viewing area.

We saw coffee and tea plantations and drove through Nyeri, where the president of Kenya is from, and where they have the nicest, smoothest roads in all of Kenya.

a coffee plant

And we crossed the Equator, on land, several times. Of course, we fly over the Equator every time we come to Kenya or go to the US. They poured water into bowls on each side of the Equator to demonstrate the different swirling.

We called the area up there a land "flowing with milk and cabbage." There are lots of dairy cows and lots of cabbage farms. It was interesting to see the difference in the people, farming techniques, and lifestyle there compared with coastal people.

A milk truck, but most milk was transported by donkey and cart

lots of cabbage piled on the side of the road

Ben spent this trip mastering walking. He had taken about a week off from trying to walk, when he was focusing more on communication. After learning several new signs (including blanket, juice, brother), he decided to work on walking again. But my favorite picture of him from the trip, he was crawling.

I just love his face.

Nate loved seeing all the new things. Just 4 months ago, we went on safari to Tsavo East, for our first game drives. In these few months, he suddenly "got" the concept of seeing things out the window of the car. He saw a lot of the animals on our first safari, but this time, he really enjoyed it, looked for animals, and identified them before we told him, for example, "Look, there's a buffalo." And he was equally excited about seeing the mountains and lake. My favorite picture of him from the trip was at the airport in Nairobi, watching airplanes load and unload.

He can't wait to go on an airplane again. Lucky boy - it will take 3 planes to get us from here to Texas in a few months.

Monday, October 1, 2012


I feel like we have been spending lots of time on the road over the past year. Maybe not quite a year - we didn't have overnight trips until Ben was a couple of months old. I am always looking for more efficient ways to pack. I want to pack light so that traveling is more easy, however, I don't want to forget to pack some things that we do need. This has lead to lots of googling "packing lists for toddlers" and trying to make mental notes of what we use, what we don't, and what we end up buying on the road because we really did need it.

I've found that most lists I see online are way too long. I'm trying really hard to find a balance between being prepared for everything and packing light.

For instance, I thought it would be a hassle to pack our own food. That's one (or two) more things to plan, carry to the car, take into the hotel, etc. Then I found that it's less stressful for the boys if we would eat lunch in our hotel room, and they could eat the same lunch that they eat every day.

We have a 10 day trip coming up. We'll be flying, so no ice chest, but I think I will throw a few snacks into our bags so that they boys can have something familiar. There will be places to buy food where we're going, but you never know if they will have the same foods that we are used to, and I won't have a kitchen to prepare things like our breakfast bars.

Anyway, I have lists. We are hoping to take 1 suitcase for Rodgers and me (checked), 1 suitcase for the boys (checked), my big tote bag (my carry on), our laptop bag (Rodgers' carry on), Nate's backpack with toys (Nate's carry on).

We can have our laundry done at the hotel, so I'm not packing a separate outfit for each day. This will kind of be a trial for our upcoming trip to Texas, though I think we'll check 3 bags on that trip. We'll see how it goes!

lists; purple stars are items I need in-hand for security, blue stars are things that can go in Nate's backpack; Rod's carry on list is shorter because he'll also be carrying Ben, or he'll be carrying my bag as well, and I'll have Ben.