Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween

I don't know how many of you remember this but Traveling Loves first entry ever was for Halloween 2010.  So this marks our 1st Anniversary blogging.  I hope you have enjoyed our story.

So what did we do this year?  Honestly I was feeling a little lazy and preoccupied with the garden so when Amy jestfully offered to host a party at my house I jumped at the offer.  I did help of coarse.
 Our lovely hosts.

 Teo was a Maasai warrior this year.  

 Kaia insisted on being a princess which was easy schmeezy for me.  But when it came time to get dressed she was sad she didn't have something new to wear.  I felt terrible.  Pray just HAD to be Green Lantern.  Supermom Amy made him the costume by hand.  Her first sewing experience.  I am so proud.

 We did the donut game again since it was such a huge hit last year. This time Teo was old enough to play too.

 But he is only one after all.
 Pray caught himself an apple 2 years in a row.  This time the stems were much shorter though and he had to WORK for that apple!!  We finally found a technique of taking a deep breath, pushing the apple to the bottom of the bucket, and biting hard.  Awesome kid, he did it!

 Pumpkin brownies this year.  I did these and am pretty proud.  Big hit too.

Teo was pretty excited about them.
 
 
And on Halloween day Kaia and I carved a pumpkin.  The flowers in the hair was my idea, a blast my own youth, but the large petals as ears and a tongue was all her.  Go Kaia.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Haircuts

One too many people commented about Teo's crazy hair over the break and as I perused our 500 shots from our holiday and the pictures backed up the sentiments.  So I thought I would just trim a tad, but then it wasn't even so I had to trim some more, and some more... same old story.

When Kaia came from home from school I was just finishing and she just HAD to have her's done too.  She has actually been asking for a while but I thought she would just regret it.  And I loved her long curly locks so much I procrastinated as long as I could.  Today I gave in... but I am pretty sure those curls are now gone forever.

 Before

 After

 Before

After

No regrets.  These kids look great :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October Break

I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful our October Break was.  12 days of playing, eating, lounging, and lots of utter bliss.  We had at least 500 shots from the holiday and I find it SO hard to pick just a few to post.... but here goes it. 

 The rains came for about 2 weeks.  Carl was so kind and did loads of child rearing so that I could spend hours upon hours in the garden.  Our biggest crops right now are salad and radish.  Yumm.  We also had to down many banana trees.  Oops.  This one was a tough one!!

 While I worked the children played.  Hands down this sprinkler is the best thing we brought back from North America.  Crazy fun at a moments notice with no clean up... my kind of toy!

 He he.  Plumber butt!!

 One day we went to the movies to see the Smurfs.  Only it was 'broken'.  Broken?  Pity.  So we bought ice cream instead.  No complaints.

 Snake Park again.  We haven't been for a year so it was very new to Theo.  Kaia is an old pro and was so kind and caring to show him how to hold and pet a snake.

 Great face.  He really enjoyed it but something spooked him at the end and he panicked and wanted it off.  Otherwise a very positive experience.

 The highlight was our trip to a working farm for a couple of days.  We enjoyed everything they had to offer and learned a lot about farms and animals.  Here is Theo's first time feeding a horse a carrot.  Kaia was really scared but she did it too.

She also milked a cow.  I am SO proud of her!  So much concentration and see how much milk she is getting too!!  That's m' girl!!
They both also rode horses against a setting sun overlooking Mt. Meru.  Spectacular.

Baby lambs, rabbits, chickens, guinnea fowl, turkeys, and pigs.  Lots of variety.  No huge surprise here... Kaia's favorites were the lambs and rabbits.

Spectacular hike through the forests down to a beautiful rocky brook.  

We hiked with Colobus Monkeys keeping a watchful eye.  Can you find them in the trees?  Here is what they really look like if you are interested.  They are beautiful. 

It was all downhill to the brook and then all uphill back.  Kaia was whiny on the way down and wanted to be carried but got some huge gust of speed and booked her way back up to the top and all the way back to the farm.  Again... I am SO proud of her!!

And when we were tired of walking there were plenty of other forms of transport.

 And most of our nights ended something like this.  Not that our day to day life isn't wonderful too... but nothing beats a nice relaxing holiday together.

I would also like to thank Amy and Maree for their beautiful photos.  Most of these I didn't actually take on my own. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Waiiiiting...

Waiting Waiting Waiting.  The 2 1/2 days we had to wait between the weekend and the holiday took forever!!  But we always have fun :)

 I had my first ever pedicure compliments of Amy for my bday.  I chose purple to match the dress I have been trying to finish.  It was motivating because I did finally finish that dress!!  The material is too rough though and now I have to try washing it 50 times to see if it falls better.  Oh, and pedis are the best thing ever!!

 Theo has been working on his back bend.  He has a respectable yogic bridge so far.  As always he is pretty proud!!

So while he was busy I kept busy.  Craft Wednesday continues and here is our next attempt at concrete leaves.  Way bigger than our last ones and upping the stakes with reinforcement.  They are at Claudia's house but I am so excited to get back out there and see how they turned out.

 And the new game?
Kaia:  Theo now you are the ghost
Kaia:  Ahhhhh!!!!!
Kaia (lifting blanket):  oh it's just you Theo

 And in reverse?
Kaia:  Now I will be the ghost
Theo:  Ahhhhhhhhh!!
Kaia (lifting blanket):  Oh Theo, it's just me

And now it is BREAK!!!  We don't have much planned.  With all the rains everything in the garden is growing so fast you wouldn't ever believe it.  It took less than a week for our completely brown grass to turn a lush green.  And the rain is perfect, it rains all night so you get to listen to it while you sleep, and then it is beautiful and sunny and even hot during the day.  PERFECT!!  The entire country looks different and I plan on spending all my spare time (and most of Carl's) in the garden.  It is doing much better than last year at this time when we were just discovering our nematode and other infestation problems.

Otherwise, nice food, nice coffee, nice cuddles, maybe a few nights away, maybe a few nights in Moshi, lots of playdates.  I was hoping to camp but don't know how much fun it will be with all this rain. 

Power continues to be incredible by the way.  2 weeks now.  Music AND brewing coffee AND heating water for a shower feels too gluttonous.  Amazing how quickly you get used to it though.  I will miss it when life goes back to reality.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

More Bdays

 Our awesome weekend started off a little rough.  We decided to go to the Heron for dinner on Friday night and got a flat on the way home, in the dark.  It isn't safe to stop the car at night so we had to drive home with it and wait till morning to survey the damage.  Not bad and Carl had his first chance to change a flat.  Given my extensive experience I had earned the luxury of delegating, after all Carl needs the practice.  Right?

 We had 2 more Birthday parties on Saturday!  Theo is getting very good at saying Birthday and cake by now.  The first was for a little girl turning 2 and Kaia wrote out the card.  She can't spell or write on her own yet but she can tell me what she wants to say, I write it on another sheet of paper, and she can transcribe it onto her card.  I am beaming with pride!!  The birthday girl has 3 much older siblings and the football/rugby/soccer (I don't really know what) was on so the party wasn't very kid focused.  Instead they set up a trampoline next to the pool with a rope system set up so you could jump from the trampoline and ski barefoot into the pool with a huge splash!!!  It was awesome!!  And totally illegal in any 1st world country.  They are moving home in December and are getting it ALL out of their system.

 Then in the evening was the party for the husband of a very good friend of mine.  When she saw the cockerel cake she excited exclaimed in her beautiful German accent 'ohh, I must have it'.  So this is her version of our inspirational cockerel cake.  And then she bought him 2 chickens for his birthday.  

Sunday was much more chilled.  We all worked out on the front porch.  Tell me how super cute those kids are!!  Then we vegged in front of the tv for movie afternoon over our first pot of guacamole from this year's avocado harvest.  Very much looking forward to even more chilling when Carl starts break at 1200 on Wednesday afternoon.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bubble wand

 Birthday today.  Theo got to practice his new vocabulary word.  Spectacular location... mountain top overlooking acres of beautiful forest overshadowed by a cloud hidden Mt. Meru.  Best bouncy castle experience ever!!  They also had a cool 'mountain' climbing rope for the kids that most did barefoot after taking off their shoes for the bouncy castle.  After that poor Kaia went running through a patch of thorns.  A cupcake did wonders and she has recovered just fine.

 Speaking of cupcakes.  They made a cute Lego cake accompanied by a pile of primary colored cupcakes.  Theo chose blue.  Incidentally with all the birthdays recently Theo can also say 'cake'.  This is the before shot. 

And after :) 

Kaia-ism:
Kaia had a bottle of bubbles at the party and a mother told her that it was so windy that she could probably  hold out the bubble wand in the breeze and the wind would make the bubbles blow.  She misunderstood and went out to the open area and threw out all the bubble soap from the jar into the air.  She was very disappointed to see it all fall to the ground in a big puddle.

She then got in a fight with Pray because he accused her of wasting the bubbles and did not understand when she explained what she was trying to do.  20 minutes of tears later (whilst noticing that I was far from the only parent in the same situation) I decided that after school on a Friday is an awful time for a 4 year old's birthday party.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Red handed


 Kaia made a necklace in school.  For some cheap beads strung on a braid it is really pretty and the colors suit her.  She has been wearing it for about 2 weeks now, baths and all.

Theo helped me shop for food coloring today, but some of it has gone missing.  Poor guy, caught red handed :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Birthday

video
Great Birthday for me today.  Spent the day with my beautiful children, lunch with my awesomest friends, and German sausage and beer with the neighbors for dinner.  Carl did eventually make it home for the festivities and a nice warm cuddle.  Kaia made me a card at school on Monday and took a book out of the library for me on Tuesday (at least it was for me after I informed her it wasn't a kids book, you'd think the lack of pictures would have tipped her off).  Theo learned to say BIRTHDAY today.  I have 5 great videos spanning the day of his increasing talent and understanding of what BIRTHDAY means.  This was the last video of the day... but watching all 5 in sequence a few times in a row is a great way to spend the night.

video
Obviously a bit more random, Kaia was not going to be outdone.  This is one of my Birthday performances.  I LOVE my kids!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Brave Kaia

Directions to play date (modified just enough to not infringe on their privacy :)
Head out of town and through the next 3 village.  1km after the last village turn right opposite the petrol station on a dirt road.  Follow this dirt road for 9km, passing lots of bomas (maasai houses), a school, a murram pit, under an electricity line, and over 2 small culverts.  Carry on the road down the hill and pass over another large culvert.  After last culvert take the track to the left in front of a maasai boma and follow this track past a water tap on your left and it will head right and lead down to the farm.

Keeping in mind that it isn't so much a road as it is car tracks in the middle of the dry dusty Savannah these directions are crazy!!  This is my 3rd time out to the house but the first time I have had the courage to go alone (guideless).  I did panic in the middle and tried to call for help but there was no network.  On my own in the middle of nowhere I foraged ahead and made it.  Totally worth it.

They have a lovely old horse that is great with children.  Kaia has been excited to go for weeks until last week when I accidentally mentioned she would be on the horse by herself (without me).  She flat out refused to go on the horse and didn't even want to go to the house.

Well the horse is the most gentle being and Kaia really likes our host.  As soon as she saw Theo on the horse she tossed all her fears to the wind and couldn't wait to get in the saddle.

 The house itself is beautiful.  Built by her husband it is insulated by hay in the walls and wine bottles in the floor.  Very open plan with a beautiful view over the Savannah.

 Kaia was SO proud of herself for getting on that horse!!!

Theo DEFINITELY wanted to ride him too but was very quiet throughout the entire ride.  Same as last time.  The riding cap is too cute.

Kaia even walked him back to the stable.

I am still working on a British Accent Video.  The boy we visited is in her class and may actually be the source of the accent.  I have one video that Carl says is good but I think I can do better.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chicken Cake

So Carl worked AGAIN this Saturday.  Sigh.  But Sunday was awesome and we sure do appreciate him all the more when he has been away.  On Sunday we welcomed our new neighbors, a German couple with a 16 month old daughter and a baby on the way.  We were hoping Melanie would move in but this is a nice compromise.

This weekend also marks a huge house transition.  People here get a month off each year.  Moses AND Saidi are on holiday in October.  Huge transition with Amy and Pray also leaving last week.  It took about 2 minutes to adjust to Peeoos the new gardener.  They love him.  His name is funny and when he says it he exaggerates the vowels and I just want to laugh.  I think maybe it is a Swahili version of Pierce.  We haven't gotten to know Alex the new night guard very well yet.

Kaia is coming home lately from school sporting a tough of a British accent for an hour or so after school.  I am trying in earnest to get it on video.

I think there is something a little off here.  Look at him sizing my up.  This is his guilty 'I wonder how much trouble I am going to get in for this' face.  I only left for a second.  I swear!!


And here is is on his best behavior holding the gate for everyone.  He loves to get the gate and if we are anywhere in the yard at home and someone comes to the gate he will run giggling to help open it for them.  If he is anywhere in the schoolyard and notices it has been left open he will go close it.  He can even lock it too.

And what is wrong with this picture?  This is not the relaxing yoga I remember from pre-child days?  

Here is baby Jan, pronounced Yahn or or Yawn if you are gentle on the w.  A very Dutch name, and the adopting parents are Dutch.  His birth name is January.  Funny name for a baby born in September.  He is 3 weeks old and weights about 3.5k.  Feels like yesterday that Theo was this small.  Time goes too fast.  Very cute, good sleeping and eating habits, stinky poops!!  Amy is doing great with him so far and the day, night, and weekend nannies do tone down the new parent syndrome quite a bit.

 Interestingly, of the two of them Theo was the most into the baby, couldn't keep his eyes off him.

And I thought I would also show off today's creation.  Meli I hope you are so proud!!  I went to Claudia's for playgroup like usual and she casually says... 'So... I was thinking we could make a Chicken Cake today.'  Hmmm.  How can you answer that other than with a resounding 'YES, of coarse!  I thought you would never ask!!'   Notice how our fancy rooster lays Easter Eggs :)