Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Time for Tea!

Do you know that I love tea? Love it. Can't stand coffee but boy do I love a cup of tea. When I was just a little ole thing my best friend and I would go to one of my favorite places called the Lumpkin Cafe in my hometown of Athens, GA and we would have tea - properly - with a cup, saucer, sugar cubes and a little cream. We usually had English Breakfast but would occasionally venture out into the world of Orange Pekoe and Earl Grey. Can you imagine two 10 year olds sitting at a cute little table in a cafe giggling over cups of tea like we were old women?

That is why I was so excited when Claire was invited to her first tea party for a friend's birthday this week. What a fun idea! It was just the small group of girls from her class and it was so nice to go to a party that was quite calm and very lovely in all the details - in fact if Ford had not been there it might have been downright quiet!

Lucy's mom had the tea table set up for the little girls and for the Mommy's too. The girls received hats, purses and white gloves to add to their dress up outfits that they wore to the party. Claire was "dressed" at 7:45 that morning and was ready to go to the tea party that didn't start until 10:30! Do I need to tell you how much she loved it! So girly and fun!

Claire and I often sit down to a relaxing cup of tea together. I think that is something that we will always enjoy doing together. Especially after our time in Kenya where tea time (or Chai as it is called there) is almost a sacred cultural tradition that is observed every single day. I'm pretty excited about a country that celebrates tea and takes time for it each day.

Here are the girls huddled around Lucy's mom reading a fun princess story. What fun to be a little girl!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 27, 2009


My goodness it has been a long time! I don't have a good excuse really. I wanted to wrap up our Peru pictures by doing a few posts but then just kind of got behind and never felt like I could catch up. So I'm going to do an abbreviated wrap up from our time at the beach and then get some pictures from Easter up here and start back . . .

Here is how we spent Spring Break 2009.

This is the typical view of Ford at the beach - running straight towards the water.

This is the beautiful pool at our hotel. Why didn't someone think of this "zero entry" thing a long time ago? It is so nice for little kids. If this weren't a turbo wrap up I would insert the story about how Ford got full out "rescued" by a lifeguard (who was in his socks/shoes and fanny pack) in this pool. It was completely unnecessary and kind of embarassing so you can just use your imagination on that one. I guess I will also leave out the story about how they ran out of chicken at the restaurant so suggested we substitute "steak" for the kid's chicken fingers off the children's menu. Imagine our surprise when we got the bill and saw the charge for a filet migon, the most expensive item on the menu, in place of our cheap little chicken fingers. Ooops, I guess I just told the story. Be forwarned if you stay in a hotel that has only been open for 3 weeks in a less-than-fully-developed-country where no one speaks your language - things like this might happen to you too!

Despite some cultural and linguistic disconnections with the staff we had a delightful time during our first family vacation as a family of 4 (just before we become 5!). Don't you just love that precious time spent together as a family? We really try to prioritize time spent together as our little growing family. Such wonderful memories and bonding - not to mention fun. Rhett's not much of a beach guy and I really think going to the beach with small kids can be a lot more work and a lot less fun than some other options but we had the perfect set up with about 10 steps to the sand and 2 minutes to the pool. We just alternated between the two and relaxed and had fun together. It was the perfect end to our South American adventures.

Here I am at 34 weeks - apparently stressing a lot of people out who want me to get back on American soil before I meet this baby! We both did great on the trip and aside from being pretty uncomfortable on the plane trip home with Little Baby and Ford in my lap we made it home just fine.

Thanks to all of you who have followed our time in Peru and prayed for our family. It was an amazing experience and we are so thankful we were able to do something like this at this point in our lives. We transitioned back to our lovely, comfortable, convenient American life without too much ado. Rhett worked 20 days straight when we got back so his transition wasn't quite so smooth but we are back in our routine now. I'm glad to be home for some lovely spring days and flowers before the summer heat settles in as I'm sure it will very soon. I'm thankful for being able to jump in my car and run errands without thinking too much about it. I really like going to Costco and buying obnoxious quatities of food. And it is really great not having to worry about running out of hot water by doing a load of laundry AND taking a shower. Of course I realize our daily challenges in Africa will be much the same if not more difficult so for now I just enjoy the conveniences of our life.

Our journey home was a bit more complicated and dramatic. I won't go into details but it was long, exhausting and uncomfortable for everyone. We had to pay American Airlines an additional $300 to get Ford on the plane home since they had no record of his ticket (that we had already purchased. Yes, you have to pay $300 for the privilige of holding your 1 year old on your lap for 7 hours). Actually they had no record of him every being on any flight ever. Grrr. Lots of drama at the airport and $300 later we were finally on our way home. I suggested to Rhett we not do anything else like this until our youngest was 3 years old. Then I remembered that we are doing it again in 6 months with 3 kids and our oldest being 3 years old and going 3 times as far around the globe. Oh well. Lots of lessons learned on this trip that will help us make that journey.

Update: Phil and Ted is back in business. I got a new tire and as of yesterday we are up and running again.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 06, 2009

Catch up from the jungle

I'm sorry I've been so belated in posting. I got behind while we were in the Amazon and never felt like I had enough time to catch up. Here is an abbreviated version of our time in Iquitos (aka The Jungle). I apologize in advance for the pictures being out of order. Here is Claire with a very kind friend of Rhett's from his time in Iquitos last year, Helen, who took us around town while Rhett was in class. Here she is showing us one of the many rivers converging into the Amazon.
Watch your step . . . here is the "marina" where we caught a boat to the serpentarium and butterfly house.
More good times . . . Ford looks a little stressed in this picture. He wasn't too sure about it (don't really blame him for that). He did warm up later and had fun getting his hands wet. He had quite a bit of need of his paci on this trip - a lot of self soothing was necessary :)
Views along the river . . .
Posted by Picasa

Like father like son. Rhett held every possible animal at this serpentarium and introduced Ford to big snakes. Yuck.

Ford was of course fascinated by all of the monkeys and other creatures wandering all around. Claire and I not so much.
This is as close as she would get and I don't blame her.
How creepy are these monkeys? No thanks.
Posted by Picasa

Graduation party and food

I thought all of the food at the party was so pretty I had to take pictures of it. Here is a salad of heart of palm, tomatoes and avacados.
These were kind of a rice dumpling with olives. They were really tasty - yum.
I didn't realize it when I took this picture but this is actually turtle. It is VERY tender and quite good too. The biggest hit with our family was fried gator. Everyone is our crew had second and third helpings - I'm not sure if it is because it was our southern love of all things deep fried or if it was our Georgia Bulldog disdain of all things gator that made it taste so good to us Shirleys.
Claire and her Daddy hit the dance floor and put their Salsa dance lessons to the test. They both had a blast. Claire was the belle of the ball. I love the way she is holding her Daddy's neck in this picture - so sweet. When we first got to Peru we went to a party with other course participants and took the kids for a while. Claire was confused when we left and asked where the cake was. It didn't make sense in her experience to have a party with out a birthday cake. Well things have changed a bit now as she has attended quite a few adult parties in Peru and has gotten used to lots of yummy food, music and dancing. I think at the next birthday party we go to she will wonder where all the music and dancing is!
Posted by Picasa
Riding in a mototaxi . . .

Riding in a boat on the way to the graduation ceremony and party . .

Street scenes around Iquitos . . .

Rhett gets his diploma in Tropical Medicine - yay!

Posted by Picasa