Monday, June 26, 2006

Kenya Calling

Hey everyone!! I found a computer and can squeeze out a few minutes. We arrived safe and sound and have already been to four schools and two orphanages.

We flew to Western Kenya today (Kissumu) and it was very amazing and humbling. The children are so beautiful and the had prepared wonderful songs and skits for us. Their voices were like a little bit of made my soul tingle to hear them. I would have taken several of them home if I could. They all got a big kick out of seeing their photos on the digital camera!!

Tomorrow we go to Eastern Kenya for two days and then off to Uganda after that. The end of the week will be conferences with the teachers.

No one has malaria yet (smile) and be assured I will be hitting all of you up for donations when I return (smile......). Small things make huge changes here.

Love you all and hope you are all well.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Dark Continent...

Hey everyone,

I am leaving tomorrow for Africa. I can't imagine that I will be more busy there then I have been trying to get ready to leave. I look forward to the plane just to be able to sit down and read a little bit. :-) The airline messed up my ticket and I just found out that I leave 12 hours earlier then I thought I did (but they upgraded I can deal with it). I leave SF at 8:00 am tomorrow and will get to Kenya TWO DAYS LATER.......sheesh. I get to play tour guide for an entire day in London in between. Two red eye flights out to take care of jet lag. I will be so tired I will sleep when we get there no matter what!!!

I will not be able to post from there, I am pretty sure, but will try. I get back July 3rd, but will do a great travel journal and will post it when I get back. It is going to be nuts...our schedule is pretty tight (but we managed to squeeze in a day of Safari....).
I am going to miss my kids and husband and I am scared to fly....all the propeller planes might be a problem for me. We go on a propeller plane every day......

I can do this.

Have a great week and I'll see you all when I get back...

P.S. It was 104 degrees here today. Not good. I admire all you people who live in AZ and TX...I feel like I am going to strangle myself, with my is much harder to parent in the heat. :-)

Oh, one more story. I am bringing TONS of candy w/ me (starbursts, mints, gum, etc). I don't give money to beggars, but I DO give candy and pens. Lauren saw all the bags of candy and asked me of she could have some. Before I knew it I answered "no Lulu, those are for the starving children in Africa". She answered "if they are so hungry why do they get candy before they get real food?". Touche.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006



I fear that by taking so long to write the story, I have made it seem more exciting then it really is........ Blogger won't let me add pictures. I have had a hard time posting this entry for the last few days too. Silly blogger.

Last Saturday we went to a BBQ. Actually, it was a 30th birthday party for my friend Jen (Hi Jen and Mathias). Their daughter Lucy is mini Lauren. White blonde hair, chubby little arms, blue eyes......oh, and Lucy LOVES Jacob, Jacob calls her Luuuuuucy......... We love those guys (hi Mathias and Jen).

Anyway, the dinner was at the home of Jen's parents. He dad is our bishop and her mother is wonderwoman (well, so is Jen...). She is a tiny woman who is friendly and talented and can cook and garden and makes everyone feel at home. She also loves my boy. When Jacob first came home, she came up to me and said "if you need a grandma for that boy, let me know...I will hold him, etc" At the time, her only granddaughter lived in San Diego. More then once she took him from us during church and saved my bacon.

The kids had a ball at the bbq. There were a few kiddie pools and we brought suits for them. The grown ups chatted and the kidd0's ran around. Jacob ruled the pool. You would have thought the child had never seen water before. He sat in the pool, with his big Buddha belly sticking out, and just smiled for hours. We finally dragged the kids out of the pool to eat (Jen made Strawberry Rhubarb pie w/ HOMEMADE puff pastry, she is amazing). Lauren ate nothing (shocker) and Jacob ate 4,000 pieces of watermelon. Well, he actually ate about 9, and those are just the ones that I gave him. Every time I turned around he was grabbing a piece out of the garbage and finishing it off. Whatever. It kept him quiet so I really didn't care (and I knew that I would aready be dealing with the diaper the next day anyway........).

The sun started to set and the wind picked up again. I was visiting w/ another couple that we had just met and noticed Ludwiga had taken Jacob inside. She had asked me if we had any dry clothes for him......I did, but didn't have a chance to put them on him yet. She was being very sweet and because I wasn't her kid, she couldn't really say "get these wet clothes off this cold!!" (which she should have--because he was getting cold). Instead she just took him inside and when he reappeared he was GERMAN. A friend of hers had given her some Lederhosen and it was all she had to put on him. The sweet blue shirt and the shorts. After I stopped laughing.......I took him outside to take a picture. He was so proud of his new outfit he kept posing and posing. Ludwiga is from Germany and her other grandkids wear these all the time. When you come to think of it, what could be better then leather shorts? Back me up here Wendy. For some reason it just tickled me to see him in these. I guess you could call this a study in juxtaposition.

So there you have it. That is how my son came to wear lederhosen. Not a particularly funny story, but the end result made us giggle.

Next up... a hula skirt.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I keep meaning to get back and write the story (I am half done). I have waited so long that no matter what I put, it will not be as funny as you all are hoping to think it is. Sigh.

I have been swamped with getting ready to go. Taking pictures, editing pictures, taking more pictures, last day of school party, Africa stuff....blah, blah, blah. I will finish it tonight, but here are a few pictures to tide you over. For the grandma's.

Lauren lost tooth #2. She has ruffled teeth, just like her mamma.

Jacob is still squeezing into small spaces.

He never stops moving (the newest toy obsession is his "gun" which is really that pink toy mixer) He never puts it down. We have all be clocked in the head with his new toy.

He loves watermelon

Princess Lauren at the Golden Gate. Foggy day (as usual) but not too hot

I haven't had as many pictures of Lauren lately...I was trying to figure out why and I realized that 1) she doesn't like me to take her pictures anymore and 2) she is gone all day at school and I don't have as many chances. My goal this month is to get her on film (whether she likes it or not).

Thursday, June 08, 2006

And now for something completely different......

Well, well, well. After spending three posts about a fish that was dead, then not dead, then dead again and got more attention in death then she EVER did in was time for a change.

I have a lot of exciting things about Africa to write about (I leave two weeks from tomorrow) but I wanted to put something totally different up today. I sat at my desk and I thought and I thought about what I could put that was the polar opposite of a fish funeral.........

Then it hit me.......... I know the exact thing.......

Jacob in Lederhosen (a type of German leather shorts for little boys)

Want to know WHY I have a picture of a small black child wearing German clothing? You are going to have to stay tuned for that one...........

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Rest in Peace, Fairy Lu..

First, we had to make the coffin..........

This looks like a mug shot, but she was pretty sad. She was crying and crying and had just finished saying "Fairy Lu was the sweetest fish" and "If I had just taken better care of her...."

Of course we had to put hearts all over it......

Putting the deceased in the coffin. Lauren was sobbing and managed to squeak out "Man, she sure stinks!"

You might think she is kissing the coffin, but she is SMELLING it. Just to see how much it stinks..... silly girl

Digging a hole in just the right place (aka..the only place that isn't going to be bricked over in the new few weeks)

Lauren made a grave marker (which we later laminated)

A few words and prayer for our beloved Fairy Lu (so beloved we often forgot to feed her...)

After we put Lulu down to bed, we heard little steps on the stairs. We watched her pick some flowers from the front yard and put them on her grave. Poor Lauren.

Monday, June 05, 2006

It's in the air...

There is nothing better than springtime in my house. As I sit here in the kitchen I can smell the honeysuckle and jasmine on soft breeze that comes through the door. Ahhh. Spring. There is nowhere on earth better then right here in the spring.

Part 3 of the Fairy Lu story (oh, and BTW...Derek thinks it is Lu and not Lou) is coming up. It is called "Fairy L(o)u, the Funeral"

Also, the 8th person in three days just told me she is going to have a baby (all first babies). They are all due in the same week of December/January. It really IS in the air. One of those people is my sister in law. Yipppeee. I am blessed with wonderful nieces and nephews on my side, but this is the first on Derek's side. The best part is that they live right here. We are so happy for our kids to have cousins that live close by. Congratulations to all the expecting mammas.

P.S. I am supposed to do that 7's thing..I am working on it.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

It is my sad duty to inform you that Fairy Lou, the fish who lived, has now passed away thus proving the fact that if you talk about something really cool...the opposite will immediately happen. I as much as cursed her by telling the story. Sadly, it is for real this time (I think, but you can be sure that I didn't do ANYTHING for at least a day). She is currently waiting for her coffin to be made so she can be buried....there will be no flushing of this fish according to my daughter. I did compromise on the coffin because she wanted to to keep the fish in the water in the tank it so she "could look at Fairly Lou anytime".

Ummm, no.

Poor poor Fairy Lou. We brought her back just to kill her again. Sheesh.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The fish who lived.........

Sorry it has been awhile since I have posted. I have been in the outside world actually DOING things. :-) We have been cleaning out closets, moving furniture and generally getting the house de-junked. I tend to keep things that I don't need. Little did I know on Memorial Day that we would be the beneficiaries of a miracle.

Let me back up. A few weeks ago I was cleaning the kitchen counter and looked at Fairy Lu's very dirty fish tank (for those of you who don't know...Fairy Lou is the fish that we bought after Lauren's beloved Great Grandma died ON HER BIRTHDAY!!). I am talking "so much algae that you can barely see the fish" dirty. She didn't seem to mind and in fact I think she was thriving..these fish do live in the rice paddies....there must be mud there. This is actually Fairy Lu 5. The first 4 died within hours or days of being introduced to their new home. We felt that Lulu was traumatized enough w/ death so we ran out and bought NEW fish. Do you know how hard it is to find a Beta that is the same color as the one you had before? I think Lauren's Uncle Jay even went out to Petsmart in the late hours of the night to get one. One even died while my sister and I were sitting and looking at was slowly swimming in circles and then ... blub, blub, blub...belly up on the top of the tank. So, Fairy Lou 5 has been doing great and has lasted for about 6 months. While cleaning the counter, I noticed that Fairy Lou looked a bit sluggish. About an hour later I noticed that she was floating on the top of the tank. Belly up.


I made an executive decision that pet disposal and/or breaking the bad news fell into the realm of what Daddy's do. I put a dish cloth on the tank (a shroud?) and called my husband. Oh, I want to point out as well that Derek was tired of the dirty tank and decided to clean it out. I didn't want to tempt fate and it turned out I was right. The unfortunate demise of Fairy Lou was just a week after the tank was cleaned. I put the tank on the back porch and left it up to him. Derek thought that Lauren might want to say "good by" to the fish and be there when she went to the great toilet bowl in the sky. He got home really late from work the next few nights so it just never happened. The tank remained on the back porch, covered. Lauren never even noticed that the tank was gone (out of sight, out of mind?).

Memorial Day, Derek decided that it was a good day to tell Lu about the fish. He went to the back porch to get the little tank. A few seconds later I hear the loudest yell and then laughing I have ever heard.

"She's not dead!!!"


"Are you sure...are you SURE it isn't just the water in the tank moving that makes you think she is has been A WEEK" I answer.

And as proof he held up the tank and sure enough, there was Fairy Lou swimming back and forth. Alive as you and me. Is it a miracle? Is that fish just a really good actor? Should we check for a small lightning shaped scar on its little fish forehead? It it because I made the Lord Voldemort joke about Cubby? Maybe Cubby really IS he who can not be named. :-)

Either way...Fairy Lou the fish came back to us. The tank went right back onto the counter where it usually goes and a few minutes later and Lulu, who never even noticed that the tank was missing, asked "Mom, can I feed Fairy Lou".

True Story.