this might be the longest blog post in the history of the world. I even had to look back and see where I left off! It looks like I need to catch up on April and May . . . no problem. Here are a random smattering of pictures from April including our first Easter in Kijabe which seems sort of ridiculous since it is June but it is for posterity so here it goes . . .
You can call me the "Smocked Missionary" or "Monogrammed Missionary". I'm fine with that. Easter Sunday in Kenya. Claire is 4 years, Ford 2 1/2 and Gus 10 months.
We held a big Easter egg hunt with our small group and had a fun celebration with lots of yummy food afterward. It wasn't Jim n' Nicks (a Birmingham Easter tradition) but it was lovely just the same. This Claire's BFF Meredith and according to Meredith Ford's future wife. Time shall tell . . .
The following pictures can probably best be described as adventures in the lives of missionary kids. This is our daily life . . .
Who needs some sort of fancy walker thing when you have a laundry basket? This kid is E-A-S-Y and has saved us lots of money with his natural ingenuity.
This is SO Gus and so is this . . .
Claire and Ford pretending our flower bed is a boat.
A new favorite past time is Daddy makes a picture with playdough and Claire draws it. She is pretty good (and so is he!)
This is what happened when Claire asked me if she could go to gymnastics camp again this summer . . .
Ford has a minor obsession with his bike. He washes it just about every day . . .
On this particular day Ford pulled Claire away from living room gymnastics camp to wash her bike too . . .
So we waiting eagerly all through April for a big milestone for us . . . our first visitors to Kenya!
My parents arrived after a long journey from Atlanta and we arrived at the Nairobi airport after what felt like just as long of a journey through the fog and rain on Kenyan roads at 5:30 in the morning. We are all very happy to see each other and we were excited to get all the goodies they brought for us like s'mores ingredients, new shoes and clothes for the kids, Barbie dolls and toy motorcycles, new DVDs (including season 4 of '24' - sweet!) and many more fun surprises. We gave them several days to recover from jet lag and adjust to the altitude in Kijabe. The kids were thrilled to see their grandparents after 6 months.
We were thankful they could be here to celebrate Gus's first birthday! I did manage a quick post for the little guy on his big day. But here are a few more. We planned a "Safari" birthday party for the next week at the Masai Mara but since his birthday is on Cinco de Mayo it was easy to have a fun get together with a few good friends and homemade Mexican food.
It was a wonderful way to celebrate our precious little boy! I forgot to mention so of the pictureless drama from right after my parents arrived. Unfortunately my Dad got the inside tour of Kijabe Hospital Casualty department when he took a nasty fall and hit his head. Rhett had the privilege of putting 11 stitches in his father-in- laws head. It was quite scary but we were all relieved after we made a trip to Nairobi and found that his CT scan was negative. It was a rocky way to start his trip but he hung in there. We were glad he did because we were ready to go on holiday and see some of this beautiful country that we live in.
Our first stop was Mt. Kenya Safari Club near the town of Nanyuki and in the shadow of (duh) Mt. Kenya. This is no little mountain. It stands at 17,000 feet! We were glad to catch a quick glimpse of it each morning before the clouds rolled in.
The resort was spectacular. We loved every minute of it (and every bite of food that I didn't have to cook!). Here are a few shots of our time spent there . . .
Oh yeah - the resort was bisected by the Equator! How fun is that? Here are the kids standing on the Equator for the first time.
My Mom with two of the youngins on the Equator . . .
There was a (creepy) clown guy that was apparently in charge of kids activities at the resort. He made balloon animals and he did a really scary puppet show about the dangers of strangers (where a little girl talked to a stranger and ended up kidnapped and tied up in his house while her father tried to rescue her) which landed both kids frightened in my lap and me sitting there astounded and shocked at what he was saying but he somewhat redeemed himself with his body art skills. He quickly landed back in the dog house when I realized these paints weren't washable from clothing and we avoided him the rest of the time there.
The kids were SO excited to go horseback riding. We thought Claire would bail on us after our experience at the farm but she loved it and did great. Ford was a little confused about where his cowboy hat was . . .
but they loved it anyway!
Trying to get a family shot before the mountain was clouded over!
What a cool childhood my kids have!! I'm kind of jealous!
Wait! What is this? A picture of Mommy and Daddy - I mean Megan and Rhett - withOUT the kiddos?
We hated to leave the wonderful comfort of that beautiful place but the Masai Mara awaited us so we drove back to Nairobi for the night and while we were there in the guesthouse Gus took his first steps!
Mom and Dad treated us with a flight to the Mara which was awesome! It was just a quick 45 minute flight away!
Then we arrived at the perfectly lovely Mara Safari Club where we set up camp for the next few nights. Here is our tent . . .
and the view of the Mara River from our tent . . .
As you can see we were really roughing it :) Thanks to the fact that we are residents here and get a wonderful mission hospital discount we were able to enjoy this luxurious camp! I went on safari in the Mara when I was here on a short trip in 2001 and I said then that it was one of the coolest things I had ever done. The whole experience is just incredible. If you ever in your life get the opportunity to go make it happen. It will not disappoint. It is just plain fun and unlike anything you will ever do!
We watched the hippos in the river from where we ate lunch . . .
Here are some favorite game drive shots . . .
Visit to a Masai Village
We saw this herd of buffalo chase this lion up into a tree. Awesome!
There is nothing like dawn on the savanna.
The safari party for Gus's first birthday . . .
He was sung to in 4 different languages by the staff and other guests from around the world. It was a really special and fun first birthday moment.
So after the dream vacation we headed back to Kijabe to spend a little more time with my parents before they had to head back. Gus jumped head first into toddlerhood and is loving every moment of his second year.
He is trying to keep up but can't quite manage yet!
So we made s'mores and played Candyland and stayed up late before we had to say good bye (again). We had a wonderful visit and are thankful they made the trip to see us.
Thanks for coming Ama and Pa Pa! And thank you for a wonderful vacation! We love you and can't wait to see you again soon!