Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

I sure do miss blogging but it is taking a backseat to everything these days. I'm trying to get away with the bare minimum so I don't miss out recording this part of Gus's life. (side note: Am I using the apostrophe correctly there or is it Gus' ? I should know that.) Anyway, we had a great Father's Day celebrating the wonderfully amazing main man in all of our lives. I am so thankful for Rhett and the amazing father he is to all of our children. He just has such a wonderful grasp on all of the "big" things and how we handle them now and in the future with our children. I'm excited about seeing how he guides their hearts, leads and teaches them in the years to come. I couldn't have hand picked a more wonderful Dad for my kids. He is dearly loved by these little ones.

Here are a few recent pictures of our new little man Gus:
He is starting to look like himself as he looses that "old man" - newborn look. I think he is pretty handsome!

I snapped this one as he was hanging out in our yard all day on Saturday for our yard sale. He was quite a trooper and apparently was having some pretty great dreams. He was probably dreaming of running around a sweaty barefoot mess chasing a ball all day like his brother did - one day soon little man.

Look at those cheeks!!! Don't you just want to kiss and nuzzle them? You better believe I do all the time. I love this little guy so much. He is my little buddy (or "appendage" as Rhett likes to call him which is quite true as well) and we spend most hours of the day and night together which is exactly the way I want it. We are having some wonderfully busy days here at the Shirley house. I'll be back to blogging ASAP.
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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I wonder what it will be like?

My mind wonders often to our "new" life in Kenya. I have a million questions and no one to really ask. Just simple little questions about daily life that I keep thinking about as I try to wrap my mind around a completely different life there with our kids. Even though I visited Kenya several years ago and know what it is like on the surface I still have a lot to learn about what it is like to live there. When we tell people about our plans they often have some of the same questions: Where will you live? What is the hospital like? What are the people like? Where will you shop? Where will your kids go to school? I think the thought of Africa causes imaginations to take over and visions of mud huts and lions prowling through the yard prevail. So I'd like to take this opportunity to put all of the mud hut and lion thoughts to rest. A little background to explain this pictures first . . .

About a year ago not long after we joined our small group at The Church at Brook Hills another family joined and immediately we had so much in common with them. He is a pediatric surgery fellow and she is a mom to their 4 children. We learned of their desire to go overseas in missions and we were instant friends. It has been so nice to have someone to really talk about this with instead of just surfacy small talk to people about what our plans. We were in the process of applying to World Medical Mission and then later choosing a hospital in which to work. We knew they were interested in Kijabe Hospital and it was also on our short list. So we ended up choosing to serve at Kijabe and they are still in the decision making process since they are a year behind us in terms of finishing training. They had an opportunity to travel to Kenya and Botswana very recently to visit Kijabe and another hospital. They were able to spend time in each place and seek clarity on where they were going to move. So I sent my friend with strict orders to take pictures of every single thing and, well, she did! So I have some great photos of their visit to Kijabe that helps me have a mental picture of our new home.

The photo at the top of the page is of the "sitaplex" (which means six-plex in Kiswahili) which is a new building with six apartments in it to house visiting doctors at the hospital. This is where our friends stayed during the week they were there. It is possibly where we might live but we don't know for sure. There are also other freestanding houses on the station that are a possiblity. So even though we don't know if we will call this particular place home I thought it is a good representation of where we might live.

Here is the inside. I don't know yet if ours will come furnished or if we will be furnishing it ourselves.

Before you pass judgement based on the window treatments please check out the view from that big ole window . . .

That is the Rift Valley you see there in the distance. I hear the sunsets are to die for.

Kitchen is next on the tour. It is way bigger and has tons more storage than what we are currently working with so I am excited!

This is the 2nd bedroom. Claire and I veto the John Deere curtains and Rhett and I veto our kids sleeping on a rail-less top bunk but both of those problems are easily solved.

The master . . .

This is our heater for those chilly and windy Kijabe nights . . .

This is the playground at the school (Rift Valley Academy). Claire is pumped about those swings!

Here is a shot of the grocery store in Nairobi where I will be doing most of my big shopping. My local shopping will be done at the "Super Duka" - how fun is that name? HA!

Here is the hospital . . .

And here is another one of Rhett's new place of employment.

So there you go - a quick tour of Kijabe.

Monday, June 08, 2009

He's growing up . . .

From Ford 18 months

I while ago I promised some of Ford's 18 month pictures that my friend, Stephanie, took of him. They are just beautiful and truly capture who Ford is these days. We had a great time chasing him around the gardens - very literally. His bare feet got muddy but we did prevent him from going into the lake (barely). Enjoy some of these favorite shots of him. Thank you Stephanie for this gift.

From Ford 18 months

From Ford 18 months

From Ford 18 months

From Ford 18 months

From Ford 18 months

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

How to make an easy transition from 2 kids to 3

HA! I wish I could write a post about the easy transition from 2 to 3 kids! In my last post I unfairly placed the blame on the newest member of our family. I have to correct myself by saying that he is by far the "easiest" of the three kids right now. If it were just him I would sit around all day nursing him (as opposed to walking around all day nursing him as it seems I do now) and just watch him gain weight and grow eyelashes. But, alas, my cup is quite literally running over and my days are busy busy with these three little ones! I have had the most difficult time with just the logistics of getting around with them all. The first two didn't slow me down a bit but it seems as though the addition of a third person to be responsible for has made it much harder (nearly impossible) to run a quick errand or go on an outing. By the way, as I type this Claire has just taught Ford to open the refrigerator and they are rearranging all of the food. This can not be good. Anyway, it is the price I will have to pay for blogging today.

So where was I . . . oh yes - trying to get everyone in/out of the car without someone being killed in the parking lot and not making a scene every where we go. Those are my challenges. Hopefully in a few weeks I will have a better handle on everything and be able to run into the post office without some one looking at me in pity and saying "Oh dear, you have your hands full don't you?" To which I usually respond "yes and it is wonderful" and try to look like I really do mean it (which I do).

We are loving every minute of this wonderful summertime! Nothing like summer in the south. I realize it is insanely hot to a lot of people but I truly do love it. The longs hours of daylight, bowls full of juicy sweet peaches, flipflops, popsicles, sprinklers, lemonade, blooming hydrangeas and magnolias - sigh. It is good for my soul.
Here is the growing Mr. Gus. His cheeks have come in and we are watching in anticipation for the first sign of those delicious little baby rolls. He is just a doll and I am loving every moment of snuggling and getting to know him. He has a very calm temperment (well, most of the time) and as long as his needs are met he is a happy camper. I can't believe he is already 4 weeks old! We were anxiously awaiting the arrival of his birth certificate and his social security card so we can get his passport application in ASAP. Ever try getting a passport picture of a two week old? Keep in mind they have to be looking straight at the camera, eyes open, both ears visible, blah blah blah. Well our first attempt at 2 weeks was a lost cause. His eyes were closed but the lady at Walgreens tried to convince us it didn't matter. We sent one of those in with our Visa application but decided to try again for the passport. So yesterday I noticed he was awake with eyes wide open in the car after I got my haircut. So I put "drugstore" in my GPS and got to the nearest place to take passport photos. We had somewhat success - his eyes were open but only one ear was visible and you can kind of see one of my hands holding him up. We hope Uncle Sam will be gracious and accept it. We will see tomorrow . . .
Claire started gymnastics yesterday and LOVED it. She did great and can't wait to go back. She like the beam the best. She may go slowly but she is NOT going to fall off if she can help it. Now if we can just overcome her flexibility (which she inherited from her father) we may be in business. Can you say Team USA???
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