We have had a wonderful time with Jamie’s folks for the past week and a half. So thankful for this time with them!
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We have had a wonderful time with Jamie’s folks for the past week and a half. So thankful for this time with them!
We have been back in the US since mid-July, so it’s about time for a quick recap! First we spent a couple of weeks with my gracious parents, their home stocked with toys, bikes and scooters for the kids to try out (special thanks to a very kind friend, Mary, who garage-saled and gave many of those fun things).
Then we spent a week at Gull Lake Ministries in Michigan where we met up with almost all of my mom’s side of the family, including my Grandma Porter whom we surprised with a 90th birthday party. The next seven photos are credited to Kayla Walker, who is an amazing photographer. I forgot to make that important note in the first edition of this post!
My sisters and I also met up with college friends, which was a sweet time while we were there. We were to head to northern Wisconsin the following week, but the kids came down with hand-foot-and-mouth disease, Daniel and Carys the worst. Even now, six weeks later, their toenails and fingernails have finally finished falling out. They have certainly handled it better than I would! We ended up not getting to go to visit Wendy and Steve in Wisconsin, which was disappointing for all. We did go the following week to northern Michigan to spend a week with Jamie’s family on a small lake in Traverse City. More pics to come in a later post!
The kids were still dealing with sickness, but we had a good time anyway. We moved from my parents’ home into a rental home in Wheaton on August 1st between trips. It has been a lovely home for us to be in while we are here, and we are so grateful! It is owned by my brother, Brooks, and his wife, Emily, and we are their first renters. It is such a joy to be just a couple of blocks from cousins and family. So many have given or lent items for the home to be furnished while we are here, and each dish, curtain, or bed is a reminder of the kindness and generosity of our loved ones. The neighborhood is full of dogs, and every morning, the kids pull down the drapes and paste their noses to the windows to watch the many doggies that are walked up and down our street. People have been very friendly and welcoming. We made the decision to enroll Eliya in kindergarten at the school two blocks from our house.
Her teacher, Mrs. Young, is so kind and so good with the kids. I was feeling sad though, that Eliya would be missing out on the great “Kids Corner” Bible study on Wednesday at our church. The day before the Bible study started two weeks ago, I finally got up the nerve to ask Eliya’s teacher if we could take her out on Wednesdays to go to Bible study. To my surprise, Mrs. Young was enthusiastic about it and encouraged me to go for it. She said Eliya is doing well and is bright and will be fine to miss one day a week of kindergarten. Thank You, Lord. I felt so blessed by this and it put my heart at peace a bit since I had been struggling with our decision so much. We have settled into a bit of a routine now, the kids are sleeping well, and we are all pretty healthy again. I did come down with a pretty severe case of mastitis (yes, I do feel like a cow) that knocked me out for two days or so. I have not been that sick in a long time, and I am very thankful to be back on my feet again. I think Jamie is glad too. 🙂 Speaking of Jamie, what a trooper he has been. In our time being back, he has done so much to help with the kids and also take care of the many logistical things that we need to do for Africa Inland Mission, including taxes and insurance paperwork. We both have been meeting up with friends and people who are interested in what we are doing in Kenya. I am enjoying a number of special park dates where I can chat with old and new friends while the children are enjoying themselves. Jamie has been doing research and writing, but a fair amount of his time is taken up with helping with the kids so we can both have time to catch up on things like dentist appointments and things that are harder to do in Kenya. I’m sure it’s always a big question, “What do missionaries do on home assignment?” I guess we wonder the same things, but honestly, our children keep us hopping these days, and between caring for them and meeting with people, there seems to be very little time for much else. We will be traveling to Michigan and New York next week, spending time with family and visiting churches and ministry partners. It is a joy to meet with those who have been praying for us and are eager to hear what the Lord is doing in Kenya. And it is wonderful for us to have the chance to hear what has been going on back home as well.
My time is nearly gone. Actually, I should have left the library five minutes ago. But lest I never post this, I must just include some two-year-old twins pictures as they celebrated their birthday on Labor Day. I’ll end with these for now and try to post again soon!
The past few months have been quite full. We had a few big goodbyes as all our missionary neighbors went on home assignment. We miss them! The campus has been quiet since the end of the semester, but we are gearing up now for graduation on July 8. I finally took the babies to Sunday school, and they loved it! Jamie and I have been switching off Sundays for nearly two years now as it has just been too hard to take the babies and manage the big girls without a nursery, so it is exciting that maybe now we can go to church as a family again. Eliya made a new friend at church, and since she is so shy there, this was a real encouragement to us. We have had a lot of sickness, resulting in our first midnight ER visit in Machakos when poor Daniel got pneumonia. He bounced back quickly, thanks to great care and many prayers. A week and a half ago, Eliya was admitted to the hospital in Nairobi because she was displaying signs of meningitis. They wanted to do a spinal tap and wait for results from that, so she stayed there for four days. Thankfully, she just had meningism, which mimics meningitis, but is not so serious. It was pretty scary waiting for those results as she dealt with a stiff neck, severe headache and limb pain. We were so grateful to all who prayed with us and showed such great concern. She is back to her happy self now, praise God. I (Kim) went on a scenic tour of Nairobi by accident while venturing into the big city without my navigator husband, and I realized that although I am directionally challenged, I have a certain aptitude for going around in large circles. Surely this is a gift in itself! Talia learned to climb out of her crib, and Daniel suddenly began talking like crazy. The baby pudge on Daniel is giving way to long limbs and a little boy look. He and Talia both tear through the house, pulling things off shelves, dumping drawers (preferably with hundreds of beads in them), and playing with the toilet and faucets whenever possible. The difference between them is that Talia will stop to enjoy her spoils, while Daniel will move on immediately to the next weak spot in the house. Talia still seems tiny and baby-like, though she is quite strong and can hold her own with any of her siblings when it comes to the iron grip on a desired object. Carys is hilarious these days, at night coming to tell me that David andGoliath have given her balloons and….on and on it goes. She affirms her own sentences with a sound “mmmmhmmm” or “yeah.” Eliya is learning to read Bob Books and is really coming to enjoy her school work. She is greatly looking forward to attending kindergarten in the US (though we don’t know what form that will take yet…we have a couple of options). Jamie flew to Kisumu (western Kenya) to visit students on internship, and we got a couple of botflies (you don’t want to know, really). We are now making preparations to head back to the US on July 10. We are so excited to see family and friends in the US, but we will miss our Kenyan family.
I’d better throw some pictures in here and then get to bed!
Despite her facial expression, Eliya had a lovely time with these kiddos!
Yeah, painting ourselves is half the fun
Eliya will be five years old on May 21, and Carys will turn three on May 8. We had a birthday bash over the weekend, so just for fun, here is a little snapshot!
Last Friday we celebrated the end of the year with a goat roast. The student fellowship group that has met in our home this past year arranged for the purchase of the goat. They slaughtered it early in the morning and brought it to our house for the cutting and cooking. It is a fun event for all, though it takes a lot of time and sweat to prepare. It ends up as a delicious meal that is usually reserved for Christmas or special occasions–like an end-of-the-school-year celebration.
Here is a compilation of life at the moment for us. The twins are especially fun these days as they have learned to enjoy one another’s company so much. When Jamie saw this, he commented that it seemed so serene. Don’t be fooled, the peaceful music is actually a rather comical addition to days full of laughter, tantrums, messes, hugs, and often a flustered mommy. However, we thank God for each moment He has given us with these little ones.
My neighbor and friend, Grace, put this video together of a visit we took to a fish farm recently. It was a fun day!
Well, it’s been a BIG week around here. Talia went from barely being able to stand on her own, to suddenly walking eleven steps across the room on Saturday! Daniel, not to be outdone, also tried his first few steps minutes later. I think twins must influence one another a lot. It seems a number of their milestones have taken place at almost the same time. So, naturally, I must include a video, at least for the grandparents and aunts and uncles!
It’s amazing to see everything go from dry and barren to a fresh, soft green literally overnight. The rains have come.
Farmers, anticipating the coming rains, planted their beans and maize several weeks back; and I was told that if the rains did not come by last weekend, the baby plants would die in the field. Saturday night, late in the evening, the clouds burst in a deafening thunder on our roof, in a heavy downpour that seemed to last for a couple of hours (is there a better sound in the world?). The air smells so good as the dust of the past months has been washed into muddy streams. The rains tend to continue off and on in great gusty storms that last for an hour or two or three, often at night. During the day, the sun often shines if it rains, causing lovely rainbows. I love this season. There should be a good amount of rain between now and December.
These purple trees blossom every year just before the fall rains, and they are so lovely. I missed the peak by one day, as the first big storm took down a lot of blossoms. We call it “purple snow” as the flowers blanket the ground all over campus.
Along with the rains come the worms, centipedes, and all manner of creeping things. I’m very thankful that I have not seen an increase in spiders. The girls love to collect the creepy crawlies, and yesterday, they brought me a dustpan full of millipedes and centipedes (probably 20, writhing and squirming). Gross! They don’t get this love of legs from Mommy.
Eliya has been asking for a pet for awhile. At this point, we don’t feel like we could handle it. I felt bad the other day though, when she called me over to see her two pets. They were two dead lizards–roadkill is my guess. She was so excited to have them as her pets! Then she found her first chameleon.