Posts Tagged ‘Lucy’

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.

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Awww

A moment of true love.

Lucy was invited to attend school all week, all day with Eli as this is the last week before a 3 week  break between terms.  No mention of me paying the insane private school fees the school charges…..so I jumped on it.

Eli has been REALLY genuinely excited to have Lucy with him at school.  He has been prepping on how to be a good brother to her at school.  It’s been almost a year since she has attended Imani, due to scheduling conflicts and tuition costs, so it was good to have a refresher course on what he might do to make her visit a little more enjoyable (for the sake of the whole family).

Don’t mind my crazy messy house, this is of course a picture from the 1st day when we were dealing with a new routine and trying to rush out the door!

All in all, I think the week of school has been good for Lucy, and more importantly, good for MOM!  I have had some much needed time to myself during the day which has been sorely lacking during our stay here in Africa.  I have even had the opportunity to chat with some of you at home in the states over Skype, which I have needed to fill my emotional reserves.  Come to  find out, it is a much different experience to live and work at the same location, especially when  the work serves people 24/7.   I thank all of you who do this kind of work day in and day out, for years on end!  It is something quite unique.

Anyhow, pray for our family as we adjust to a 3 week break from school for Eli…which means a change in our daily routine at home and in the Centre.  There are many things related to the Centre that draw my attention away from the kids daily and I  specifically hope that these weeks are a time of enjoyment for Eli and Lucy together rather than a time of bickering or chaos.   I am entering the last month and a  half of this pregnancy and we will ALL be thankful for some smooth sailing in our house!

a day in the life of my active child

Last week Ian was able to tag along on a climbing trip up Mt. Kenya. This is one of those things he has hoped to do while we are here, so we both agreed that it wasn’t an opportunity he should pass up. 

It meant that he would be gone for a total of 4 days. The most he’s been gone while we have lived here in Kenya is overnight. I’m pretty ok being by myself here in Kenya now, but the thought of managing house and the work of the Centre was a bit overwhelming. 

The running of the Centre and family proved to be quite manageable, with the help of Megan who is the Volunteer Coordinator at the Centre. She took over a great number of tasks that Ian might generally do, and watched the kids when there were meetings etc. that I needed to be in. 

Just as I was about to pat myself on the back for a job well done on the final night 3 alone of Ian’s trip……drama occurred. 

Drama isn’t unusual in our house though. Especially when it comes in the variety produced by 3 and 4 year olds. 

It started with Eli and Lucy in the shower, taking baths. This is what our shower looks like: 

Lately, bath time has turned into Eli and Lucy crawling around on the tile floor, barking like dogs and taking turns passing under the cold water spigot. It’s a thrilling and cheap experience for them. Kind of like a water park without the park.

Well, Lucy comes out of the shower room yelling and screaming that she slipped and bonked her head. I did a brief inspection of her head, and couldn’t come up with a bump or any redness so I told her to stop her fussing so we could get ready for bed. I think I might have also told both kids to knock off all of the craziness, that bath time was OVER! and to go and get their pajamas to put on. 

I did the regular night time routine, brushing teeth, filled water cups, necessary blankies, books, baby dolls, hugs, kisses, about 20 random questions answered, zipped nets and the whole deal. 

About an hour after falling asleep, Lucy woke up screaming that her head hurt. I gave her some kids Tylenol and laid her back down. She proceeded to wake up every 20 minutes or so for the next 2 hours until I finally decided to lay her down in my bed with me at 10:30 pm. 

Just as I laid her down and opened my AWESOME “Baby and Child A to Z Medical Handbook” courtesy of Paula Smith to head injury and reminded myself of the symptoms…..well….then she proceeded to grace me with the symptoms of vomiting. Everywhere. All over my bed. 

Thus the frantic search for her pediatrician’s phone number (he has like 6 numbers, of which 1 might work at any given time). I made multiple calls, and finally received a call back instructing me to immediately take her into the emergency room of the Children’s Hospital in Nairobi. 

Does anyone recall how long that drive to Nairobi is?? I am certain I have talked in length about the perils of driving the Thika Road highway (yes, Erika, I know you can hardly describe it as a highway or freeway) and how awful it is. And, to mention that we rarely drive at night because of safety issues.  

And here I was staring down the fact that I was alone, with a pretty sick kid, 8 months pregnant, at 10:45 at night getting ready to drive frantically to the hospital in Nairobi a minimum of an hour away. 

I put on my calm hat. 

Called Megan and asked her to come over and stay with Eli (who of course slept through all of the commotion) and changed Lucy into some clean clothes. 

I load her into the car, and get in, and then realize I can’t find my phone. 

As I’m hunting for the phone, I hear Lucy moan from the back of the car, and then she has vomited all over herself and the back seat. 

So out of the car we go again. I stripped her down on the patio, and Megan helped me dress her again. Baby doll, blankie, and her crocs get left because, well, they’re covered in puke. 

I make the drive to Nairobi without any hassle other than a 30 minute traffic jam just outside of town. We arrive to the hospital a bit after midnight, with just one more incident of car puking. A great smell when your closed in, but not that bad when compared to the usual smells of Africa I must admit. 

We were quickly ushered through emergency (we didn’t even have to sit down on a chair), Lucy went through triage, and then the doctor was in to see her within a few minutes with the diagnosis of a concussion and the need for admittance into the hospital for observation for 12-24 hours. 

Then we sat for a while. The typical ER room sit. A good 1 – 1 1/2 hour sit. Then we were checked into a room in the Felicity Ward (which was decorated with a walking purple grape that had eyes and antenna and bright green and purple paint) where I promptly crawled into bed. Lucy refused the “crib” because it was for babies, and crawled in next to me. Food service came in and asked if I wanted dinner. I thought, “Uh, no, it’s 2 am! LET ME SLEEP!” But I politely declined until morning. 

Lucy or perhaps the nurses woke us up at 6 am, and thus our long day of sitting in an empty room on the children’s ward began. For Africa, the hospital was quite nice, but by about 9am, with a restless 3 year old, I was really beginning to question how they couldn’t have a single child’s toy or activity available. It was a children’s hospital after all. I finally scrounged 5 crayons and a piece of paper which bought a good 30 minutes of nap time on my part. I reminded myself that this was how sleep goes with a newborn baby, so this experience was just a good dress rehearsal. 

By 10:30am I broke down and called in emergency reserves and begged a friend who was working clear across town (probably an hour drive) to bring me a coffee. I made sure to call a friend who has trouble saying no. We’ve all got those friends (Eve Stoughton) and love them in moments like these. He kindly obliged and then told me about the cafeteria downstairs in the hospital after he arrived. Whoops on my part, but please, cafeteria coffee (ie a packet of Nescafe) can never compare to real brewed coffee. 

Lucy and I stayed in the hospital the rest of the day and then after a lovely 2 hour discharge process and payment to all of the involved parties, took ourselves on the hour drive home, after stopping off for a celebratory milkshake of course. Who stays in the hospital and doesn’t get an ice cream for goodness sakes? I cheated on my diabetes diet and had one too. I told myself I deserved it. Sorry baby May. I’ll try not to make it a habit. 

And so, my week without Ian ended with a bang, but it was manageable and everyone made it through it, albeit with a few dents and a little puke later. 

  

Baby Love

I love babies.  Mine and other peoples.  Ian’s brother and his wife had their 3rd child, a baby girl, born this weekend.  In honor of that, here is a picture their baby girl, Aliyah (you might need to click on it to see it larger, I copied it from his facebook page), and a few of my other favorite baby pics.

Here are some of my favorite other baby pictures:

Lucy with her baby carried Kenyan style. I can't wait to try this t!echnique myself

Eli at about 7 months

Lucy at 4-5 months old

My little watchdogs

Eli, who is  4 years old (5 in May) is a very perceptive boy.  He takes note of a lot that goes on around him, and of what is said.

He is apparently very aware of my gestational diabetes, because while eating some candy yesterday, he informed me, “This is very bad for you huh mom?”  To which I sadly nodded yes.  To which he added, “And my ice cream yesterday, when you took a bite, that was REALLY bad for you.”  To which I further nodded in affirmation.  And then he cheerfully added, “But once the baby is here you can have it all!”  To which I joyfully agreed.

Lucy, also, is very attentive to what is happening around her.  The girl can’t help but be obsessed with babies and baby care as we are running a residential program for vulnerable pregnant women with services lasting through the babies first 4 months.  At any given moment, Lucy is able to go to the women’s dormitory or classroom and have her pick of beautiful babies to look at and touch.  She herself carries her un-named Corolle baby with her EVERYWHERE.  Along with all of the necessary baby paraphernalia.  Extra changes of clothes, bottles, toys, pacis, diapers (swiped from my one pack of newborn disposables).  She is very aware of OUR baby though, and reminds me throughout the day to be saving things for it, for when it comes.  Hair barettes, pairs of socks, used diapers, left-over cereal, outgrown clothing, colored pictures, dropped malaria pills, you name it.  She is a very thoughtful, and planful little girl.  I appreciate that about her. 

Last night, when the baby was in an awkward position and giving me a cramp, and I complained of it, Lucy exclaimed, “Well, then you better go to the doctor and tell her to take her out so you can feel better!”  Good idea Lucy.  I like your style.  But then again, this is the little girl who wants me  to keep my shirt up all of the time so her little sister can see out of my tummy.   Like my shirt is the window shade preventing this little girl from “seeing the world”.  Oh  my.

Playing "baby" together. I love these kids!

Seriously?

I sent Lucy to the bathroom after lunch to wash her hands and face.

She came out saying, “Mom, is there blood on my face?”

Before looking at her, I thought to myself, oh, she must see the residue of the strawberries she ate for lunch.

Nope.

Her upper lip was bleeding, and despite a great deal of questioning, she didn’t know how.  Yeah, I’ve heard that before!

Using some simple deduction including her location and the amount of time she was gone I finally asked, “Did you try to shave like daddy?

A meek, “Yes” followed.

She must have gotten it just in the right spot, cause it really wouldn’t stop bleeding and this was the result:

I've never band aided a lip before, but it worked ok.

Whole new meaning

to the phrase gift bags.

Because things cost so much to ship and to receive here by the mail system, we are often fortunate to have people bring things for us in their allowed baggage when they fly to visit in Kenya.

Such was the case when Ian’s parents visited (3 of their 4 bags they filled for us–talk about Christmas!) and again when the Lees visited us.  The risk with having things brought in suitcases can be the same as having things mailed though…..sometimes the bags just disappear never to be seen again (as has happened with a package in the mail from Ian’s parents).  Anyhow, this time, 1 of their 4 bags didn’t make it here to Kenya, and is lost somewhere in airport land in another country.  Boo.

But, 3 of their 4 bags eventually made it after about 4 days, and in those bags, our friends and family from the Northwest packed wonderful treats for our family.

Friends at home threw us a “virtual baby shower” as they called it, gathering together funds and baby items for little Miss May who will be arriving the first part of May.  What a wonderful blessing to receive.  Honestly, who gets gifts for a 3rd baby?  And no, it wasn’t a plot to move to Africa and get pregnant just so I’d receive this shower of blessings, but, I have to admit, I LIKE IT!

Here is a look at some of the things people sent us:

And Lucy and I enjoying going through them:

Can I just say that both Lucy and I LOVE baby hats?

 

We had to pause for a momma/daughter shot in the kitchen....

 

We also have some friends (and friends of friends, and family of friends friends)  that are great crafters and made us some wonderful handmade things that I adore:

Custom burp cloths made by good friends

 

Awesome beechwood (I think) teething/clutch sheep from a friend of a friend's sister! I LOVE these too!

Crocheted hats!

Any how, we are sooo thankful for all of these baby shower gifts….there were so many more than I could possibly list.  Another ex-pat friend said it well in her blog, you can get many of these things here, it just costs 3x as much and thus unaffordable. 

And, also, thank you to those of you who sent some wonderful things for Eli and Lucy including these make at home Martha Stewart hand puppets:

They had a ball with these! Dad too...