Saturday, February 20, 2010

Here we go again!

So, we are getting ready to embark on another adventure. Actually we have been getting ready for several months now. The kids' passports have already arrived and they have had countless immunizations with one final one coming up on Monday. In fact, they have had so many shots over the last few months that their favorite game to play is "shot clinic." I get shots, daddy gets shots, they each gets shots, baby dolls and stuffed animals have gotten shots. We are very well-protected from strange vaccine-preventable diseases around here.

In just over a month, we are going to get on a plane for about 24 hours worth of traveling with a 2 1/2 year old and a 3 year old and (assuming that we can make it through sitting still that long - thank goodness for dvds players and lollipops) we will be getting off the plane in Nairobi, Kenya. That is where we will be living for about two months. We are beyond excited.

Now, when we first starting talking about this I wasn't as excited as I am now. I was terrified. I mean I definitely wanted our family to be able to be more involved in the amazing work God is doing through LIA, though we often feel disconnected other than by discussions and trips to take and pick-up J from the airport. We really want our family to have a good story to be a part of and we really want our kids (and ourselves) to care about the people and things that God cares about. It has been 4 years since I went to Africa, and I am sad to say that my memories have become faded. So, after talking to the board and his boss, J decided it would be a great idea to bring us with him for an extended trip so we could be a part of things and he could accomplish a couple of trips with us there rather than just missing him here. He usually goes about 4-5 times each year for two weeks at a time, so hopefully with this extended trip he won't have to go but 2 more times without us in 2010.

At this point in the discussion I start thinking of all of those safe can it be for me to walk around with my two kids on the streets of Nairobi? How many vaccinations will they need to pack into their little bodies? What if we get some terrible tropical disease? How will we possibly survive that long of a plane flight with toddlers? But, then I had some good conversations with people, and I read the book A Million Miles in A Thousand Years by Donald Miller which reminded me that I want my family to write a good story with our lives and that requires some amount of risk and faith. I also read Grace-based Parenting which reminded me that I do not want to be ruled by fear, though I have definitely been so in the past. It also reminded me that Christianity is not supposed to be safe, and we have been called to an adventure in Christ. We would hope to raise strong kids, not safe ones.

So, we will be staying in a guest house in Nairobi. We will get to spend time at some of the different places LIA does ministry, hopefully including a visit to the slums. The kids and I will be volunteering at an orphanage just down the street from where we are staying, too. We are excited. B can't wait to see all of the "Epiopian kids" and help feed the babies their bottles. We aren't too sure that she will see any more Ethiopian kids than the one she sees everyday, since we will be in Kenya, but surely this experience will ingrained in her heart. That is what we are hoping for. That this incredible opportunity which we have been blessed with will be foundational and enriching for the life of our family, our kids, our marriage, and the people who we are able to interact with. I remember my first mission trip really showing me how big God is if He is the God of these people across the world, too. And, oh how He is!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

She's THREE!?!

Seriously, I feel like I was just writing a blog post about her turning 2. Unbelievably our little princess turned 3 last week. With a sparkling personality and just the right amount of sweetness and sass, she is truly a preschooler and no longer a toddler. She is the light of our lives for sure, and she definitely still keeps us on our toes. In fact, she woke up the morning of her birthday around 5:20 am (which is her usual wake-up time) and that so happened to be almost exactly three years to the minute of when I was admitted to the hospital with only a tiny understanding of how our world was about to change and become that much more bright and beautiful because she was part of it. How greatly God has blessed us with this little girl!

Here are a few recent pictures of her (as you can tell she is well-practiced at smiling for the camera!):

With the chocolate candy that she used a chair to climb up and get out of the pantry before hiding in mommy and daddy's room and devouring it

With her birthday flowers from Daddy

On a "naturewalk" in the backyard

The Hello Kitty cake I made for her

Our family on her birthday

Monday, February 1, 2010

Disney Magic!

Our time at Disneyland was truly magical! Didi and Grandpa took us on a Disney weekend to celebrate B's third birthday, and it couldn't have been better! The kids were at just the right age to be tall enough for most rides (they loved Autopia, the coaster in Toon Town, the Nemo Sub, the Tea Cups, some of the big rides in CA Adventure, and the rocket rods.)

They were also at just the right age to find the characters truly enchanting! They adored running around to meet the Princesses, Mickey's Friends, and the Fairies at Pixie Hollow. They thought getting their autographs was so much fun, too! California Adventure turned out to be less busy and really fun for all of us, too!
To top it all off we got to eat lunch at Ariel's Grotto where they served a delicious three course meal and 5 of the princesses came around to meet each family. B's grins were priceless and T's embarrassed looks were adorable! Not to mention the food was great (don't think we didn't let the thought cross our mind to snatch the untouched giant white chocolate conch shell from the other table on our way out :)
Some more pictures...
Yes, T's sunglasses are on upside down. Even Minnie tried to fix them to no avail :)

We even got to throw in some time at Newport Beach, a fast jaunt to Disney at night for just J and I, and a quick but great visit with some of our dearest friends. What great way to start B's third birthday fun!