Posts Tagged ‘home’

This is what I think about, sometimes.

This is what I think about (inside my head, not generally out loud like other people I know *cough, cough* LUCY).

Patterns, and pretty fabrics and the endless combination possibilites.

Here is one of  the two patterns I’m going to work on next:

I’m gonna make the dress on the left, but not with a flared sleeve.

These are the fabrics I have in my stash and am contemplating:

 

with a vintage pale blue with red and blue small little roses

and:

I’m still thinking of how I’ll combine them all.  So many possibilities.

Here are some great examples of what other people have done:

As you can see, the variations are endless!  I’m branching out a bit on my own with my own fabric combinations, we’ll see how my finished product matches up!

Advertisements

In the thick of it!

Today is December 8th, and I find myself in the thick of the Christmas crazy hustle and bustle.

I listened to a wonderful segment on the radio about scheduling in “the ordinary” during the holiday season, just so you can have enough time at home….to get all the ordinary done.  Laundry, cleaning, feeding, email, bills, grocery shopping.  You block out a few days a week….to just do the ordinary…and when someone asks if you can do something/go somewhere/attend something, you’ve already got plans!

This afternoon, I’m trying to do the ordinary and be at home, and get a few things done….along with a few Christmas tasks.

First on the list of Christmas tasks to accomplish:  Christmas cards.

I was THRILLED beyond belief to find a link of a girlfriends blog for free Shutterfly Christmas cards for bloggers.  http://blog.shutterfly.com/5358/holiday2010-blog-submission-form/ For years now we’ve done a photo Christmas card from this site as well as other fun products.  I am LOVING how many options there now are for Christmas cards….photo  cards, stationary stock, stationary folding  etc.  I’ve made about 5 different cards that I hope to choose from in the next day or so. 

Here are a  few of my options, you’ll have to wait for the mail to see what I end up choosing, but you can make one for yourself, and take advantage of the free cards for bloggers if you do so before this weekend!  http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/christmas-cards

If I had just one adorable photo, I’d probably have to go for this card that is available this year.  I love the colors, graphics,fonts, everything:

These are 2 of our past photo cards:

Here are a few of the things we have enjoyed creating over the years!

and then we’ve made a variety of mugs, which you can explore here:  http://www.shutterfly.com/photo-gifts/photo-mugs

While these ones were made for Father’s Day a few years back, I love the idea of them for easy and inexpensive gifts for family who are far away from us!

And last but not least, I’ve eyed this product for a while yet, and I think that this year might be the year that I bite the bullet and get it done!  I’d love to have one of our favorite Kenyan pictures turned into some art for our home!   I see a picture very similar to this one, just of my toes peeking out over the Indian Ocean….

 http://www.shutterfly.com/home-decor/canvas-wall-art

I can’t wait to get this Christmas project off the ground and into the mail for all of you….if you are one of our wonderful friends in Kenya, please be so  kind to either Facebook your address to us, or email it to:  ianandanne1@yahoo.com, so I can send you our card!

Dubai!

In our hunt to find the cheapest yet safest flight home from Kenya we happened upon a stay over in Dubai.

We as in Erika Lee mentioned it, it sounded like  a fabulous idea that saved thousands even with a 2 night hotel stay over, we booked it!

I didn’t know much about Dubai except that I’d seen it on t.v. on the greatest engineering feats of all time.  You know, where they show them dumping load after load of rocks and sand into the ocean to produce man-made islands shaped like palm trees and other random things.  

Here we are arriving:

The kids waiting patiently at midnight in the glistening Dubai airport

 Our Dubai plan involved arriving just before midnight, staying over a full day, and then flying out on the 2nd morning after leaving Nairobi.  We had booked a hotel within walking distance of a mall (they REALLY take shopping seriously there) in hopes of spending some leisure time in an air-conditioned space.

Why air conditioning?

Uh, because it was the height of summer in Dubai, where temperatures easily were reaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit.  Our plane stewardess talked about her flip-flops melting on the sidewalk there.  I’ve heard of that happening in the US in Arizona and places like that when it gets really hot, but I wasn’t up for trying it out on this trip.

We started out the next morning after sleeping in and taking warm (hot water right from the tap!!!) baths.  We managed to walk across the street and one block down from our hotel before ditching that plan.  We were all melted and luckily there was a cab in sight who was more than happy to stop for our family.  We hopped in and asked him to take us to a mall.

He took us to the largest mall in Dubai.  Actually, it now holds the distinction I believe of being the largest mall in the world. I never thought that I could be overwhelmed by shopping, but I was.  If we had been coming from the consumer mentality of the US, it might have been manageable, but to step from a more rural area of Kenya straight into this….it was a bit much.

We managed to look around in 2 shops total, including the largest candy shop any of us had ever seen.  It was aptly named, Candylicious:

Perhaps this is why Eli now has a cavity

 We also decided to tour the aquarium that was housed in the mall.  We especially enjoyed the glass tunnel that allowed us to walk within a few inches of sharks and sting rays:

 

Checking out the rays

 After the aquarium, we sat down to a ridiculously priced lunch that would have cost half as much in the US and my first Starbucks latte in 15 months.  My latte cost 200 Dirham, which is about $7 here in the US.  It was good, but not that good!

We took pictures outside of the mall in front of the world’s tallest building.  This building has something like 165 stories and is 2717 feet tall:

It’s on the left there behind Ian and I.  It’s so big, you only see a portion of it, even in person because it disappears into the haze.  You can tell though that it dwarfs everything next to it.  Here is a picture of it from the web:

Later that evening, we went up to the roof of a sister hotel and Ian and the kids enjoyed some fun in the pool. It was wonderful to spend time outside after dusk.  This is something we were rarely able to do while in Kenya because of malaria and safety concerns.

A very happy girl!

Sitting by the pool sweating out the humid heat of the Sahara

 

A view of Dubai from our rooftop pool...there was a sandy haze all day

 We had a wonderful time together as a family in Dubai and were very thankful for the rest before our 16 hour flight to the US the next day.

Mama Eli’s Duka aka “my Kenyan garage sale”

 So months before our departure from Kenya I told Ian that I had hatched a fabulous plan that would allow us to fairly distribute all of the things we had accumulated that would not be returning to the US in our alloted 8 suitcases.

That’s right.  No shipping things home.  I’m about reducing and recycling when it comes to packing up a house—and what a wonderful way for us to bless the many friends we had made in Kenya. 

Kenyan’s have surely missed out on the wonderful concept of garage sales.  Or at least it is wonderful in my eyes.  I know there are those of you out there who cringe at the thought of used clothing,  or half colored coloring books, or shoes with other people’s foot sweat. 

That’s not me. 

Or Kenyans. 

Kenyans are the MOST fantastical people when it comes to cleaning something up so that it can look spick and span new.  So I just knew that they would adore my garage sale, or as Ian termed it:  Duka Ya Mama Eli’s  (Eli’s mom’s shop). 

Soooo, in preparation for our move home I began to sort through our house in Kenya with the help of some ladies from the community (which was a score for them because they carted off bag after bag of miscellaneous goodies for themselves).  Separate  from the furnishings in our house that were owned by OO and would  remain, we had amassed a ridiculous amount of items ranging from kid and adult DVD’s, to nail polish remover, to the ax and kerosene lantern.    

Ian and I converted the pregnant girls’ classroom space into my shop, pulled in a few tables, and set things up by category. 

A few days before the party I let all of the staff in to preview the items.  Some staff  took up to an hour carefully looking over each and every item. 

Now, I decided that in order to make it a true shopping experience the staff would need money.  So Ian, being the handy and fun husband that he is, printed out play $10 bills so that each staff was given $100 to “spend”. 

After our going away party, we had the 27 staff draw numbers and line up from the #1 shopper on back. 

Waiting to shop!

  They each got to go in individually to shop.  They could buy one item (no matter how expensive) during each round.  We did this for 3 rounds, and then I let them all in at once to spend their remaining money.  

I am so proud of the men who shopped! They did such a quick sweep and grab of the womens' clothing for their families that the women of the Centre had to find other things to paw through!

Well into the free-for-all, Notice the empty tables!

They went crazy.  The laughter and excitement was contagious!  I LOVED it!  And so did they.  I loved watching them scheme and work together to get all of the things they had their hearts set on. 

In this next picture, you can see Tito happily sitting on his 3 piece outdoor furniture set that he bought for $120!  That’s right, Tito was the one and only employee who managed to convince another employee to give him some money so he could afford it! 

Oh yeah, sitting in his new chair guarding the door to my shop.

It was a fabulous way to wrap up such a serious day of thank you’s and good byes.  I was thrilled to share my love of g-sales with my Kenyan friends.  Even better was a staff member telling Ian that “we had taught them something fun they could do together in the future.”  I’m just sitting here in my American home imagining future Kenyan garage sales among the staff and loving it! 

I am not lost

Habari ya siku mingi!  Do you remember me posting in the past of the Kenyan saying, “You’ve been lost” when you haven’t visited someone for a long time?

Well, I know that I haven’t visited my blog much in the last few weeks, but rest assured, I am not lost from it.

Life has been chaotic.

Moving three kids under 5 years half way across the world, quite literally, took a lot out of this momma & poor Ian who had his back go out just as he sat down on the plane for our awesome 16 HOUR flight from Dubai to San Fran.   Can you imagine anything more torturous?  How bout the fact that the airline seated us separately, so Ian had both kids while I was seated alone with the baby.  Not ideal for either of us.

Saying a difficult goodbye to my dear Kenyan friends whom I have seen day, after day, after day was and still is hard.  While the work was hard, I still do miss that knock on our door at 9pm, the girls coming to beg some sweets from Ian, seeing Ruben love on my flower garden, having Patrick give me a hearty wave to say Habari Asubuhi, and all of the rest of the sweet ways the staff and residents loved on our family.

Moving back home to a crazy, rushed and chaotic world is taxing on the system and the soul.  Poor Ian had to soothe himself with some rice and beans right away.  Eli says Asante Sana to the checker at New Seasons and wonders why she doesn’t appreciate that he’s thanked her for the sticker she gave him, Lucy tries to navigate coming  into what pretty much is a 2nd culture for her…..we left for Kenya when she was just TWO years old!  Poor thing can’t figure why we aren’t paying the police, putting trash in pits in the yard or waiting for the water to heat before it comes out of the tap.

And then there is sweet baby Ameena.  My wonderful Kenyan gift.  A daily reminder of our amazing midlife adventure.

I’ll post soon.  I have so many thoughts swirling in my mind.  So many things I want to share.

I’m processing.

Recuperating.

Recharging.

Mourning.

Rejoicing.

Breathing.

Praying that I’ll have the faith and wisdom  to listen to what God has in store for our family, and that I’ll be obedient in my answer.

Comin’ home

From the moment Ian and I committed to coming to Kenya we knew that we’d be short-term missionary-type folk, staying until summer 2010, which is now upon us.

There were SOOO many pieces that were brought together in this crazy adventure puzzle that it was IMPOSSIBLE for me and Ian to deny that coming to Kenya was something we were supposed to do.  We’d toyed with the idea of overseas missions when we were first married, but then grad school, and work, and kids came along and that was that.  And when the inklings of Kenya started to come up, believe you me, I worked pretty hard to find EVERY excuse on why it wouldn’t work for our family:

We had a great house & house payment.  🙂

I loved my job.

Ian loved his job & it provided well for our family & he wanted to advance.

We had kids aged 2 & 3 years.

I was pregnant.

We had dogs.

We liked seeing our family.

We were “settled”.

I got diagnosed with CANCER a week before we we’re scheduled to fly out. 

I didn’t want to be a “missionary” and “preach it” to people in the traditional sense.

We loved our amazing group of friends.

It was too much  work to figure out how to pack everything up to move to a foreign county.

But, you know what?  God has some amazing ways of working through the excuses, if you stop for a moment and let him.  Why do we think decisions or changes like this in our lives will be easy?  Imagine the disciples as Jesus called them to follow him.  They had jobs.  They had families.  They were going into the unknown & uncomfortable.  I can’t imagine that the prospect of leaving the comfortable seemed appealing and lucrative to any of them.

Our society has done us a great disservice in convincing us that we deserve to be comfortable and secure all of the time.  In being so, we miss out on the amazing adventure and blessings that can await us.  I wish that I could relay to all of  you what an incredible experience this has been…..to convince each and every one of you that you too could do this.  Do you really have any excuses better than the ones listed above?  Do you know that we have experienced death, disease, sabotage, physical attack, hatred, fear and all of the other weapons that Satan uses to discourage…..and in the face of those things we have had the wonder to experience birth, joy, mercy, compassion, protection, awareness, beauty, friendship, and stewardship?

In August 2008, on Ian’s birthday & the day that we found out we would miscarry what would have been our 3rd baby, Orphans Overseas unknowingly called to talk about this position with us.  Remember how I had come up with every excuse of why we couldn’t come here?   Being pregnant was my ticket to not “having” to listen to our calling.   And God, in his wisdom, knowing that I need blows to the head to listen, timed that loss with an open door….all on the same day.

So, we committed then to coming here to Thika until summer 2010 (NOW!) with the goal of getting Karibu Centre and it’s programs up and running.  And, today I can say that we have been more than successful despite huge obstacles here.  I can also say that if God had given me another  “blow to the head” saying that we needed to stay longer, that we would have listened to that too.  But, he hasn’t, and we feel confident in our original plan to return home and make way for the next phase of Karibu Centre.  I can not wait to watch how things progress here and to see the ways this amazing program will continue to impact everyone involved.  I am also excited for those who will follow us and how they will be forever changed simply by being willing to leave the comfortable and come here to partner with the staff, residents, children and community.  I am also so grateful we took the chance, followed our hearts, and now will carry this experience deep within us for the rest of our lives. 

We’re on our countdown to comin’ home & I can’t wait to share with you over the next 2 weeks some of our favorite things about this experience.

17 Days until we hop on that plane!  Please pray for this transition for our family and for Karibu Centre, we have grown to love the people we live among and leaving will be tough!

 

 

 

Coping mechanisms

We try to make believe like we live in a 1st world country here.

But we don’t.

It’s a 3rd world country, and at times, that is quite apparent.

I thought tonight as I was doing the dishes, “Wow, I’m not even bothered by that cricket coming out of the cupboard” and was  even less bothered when he went and hid under the stove.

When did I get to this point?  When did I stop caring about the thousands of mini ants that march along my walls throughout the day despite my attempts to keep the floor absolutely crumb and liquid free?  Ok, I guess I still care about them still…otherwise I wouldn’t march around the house behind everyone with my antibacterial cleaning spray (which smells a lot like straight isopropyl…….details, details).

Anyhow, these are but a few of the items that help me remain in my delusion that I am residing in a developed country somewhere:

 

Oh, hot pot, I use you a hundred times a day for my instant hot water and I love you!

Oh, hot pot, I use you a hundred times a day for my instant hot water and I love you!

My hot pot is the one way to get hot water quick, besides in the shower:
Yes, that is an instant hot heater on the end of a water pipe...in our shower with wires going to the wall

Yes, that is an instant hot heater on the end of a water pipe...in our shower with wires going to the wall

For clean water to cook with and drink, we use this:
Our gravity system with 3 ceramic filters on top and a storage tank/tap on the bottom

Our gravity system with 3 ceramic filters on top and a storage tank/tap on the bottom

And then something most of you are familiar with, although mine has several dials I can’t quite interpret, the element is on the top of the oven….and the instruction manual wasn’t left for me. 
My cooker as they are called here!

My cooker as they are called here!

One electric burner, and 3 gas burners….great for when the power goes out.  I especially like that it has a lid!