Wednesday, September 06, 2017

September Goals

Now that it's a week into September, I thought it might be good to share my September goals with you. Ha! I wanted to finish blogging about Kenya first though, so I wouldn't have to add that to my goal list :) Although really I should do one more wrap up post so I guess I'm not quite done.

1) Reduce TBR list. I had this as a July goal and did fairly well. I even discovered a new series I enjoy. I also had it as an August goal and didn't touch a single book on this pile. Well, now it's moving to a September goal. I am determined to reduce this pile this month. I may even discover some more hidden gems :)
Are you sick of this picture yet? Because I am!

2) Go through the kitchen to get rid of things. We're pretty good at going through the rest of the house but the kitchen, for some reason, gets ignored. If you check out our kitchen cupboards, they are a little scary looking right now.

3) Find a good work routine. I "only" need to work about fifteen to twenty hours a week but you guys, I have been finding this so hard. Dave and I have had some conversations about how I can get into a more consistent work routine and it looks like I'll be doing the early morning wake up thing again. The great thing about it is that I'll get six hours of my work done (about a third of it!) before anyone else is awake. Score! That will make up for lack of sleep, right?!?! :)

4) Find more chores for the kids to do. Dave had sciatica this summer which meant, for awhile, he couldn't bend below his knees. And he couldn't walk. Which meant I was doing a lot of extra work around the house. One night I freaked out on the kids when one of them wouldn't pick something up because "I didn't put it there." Let's just say, they might have gotten a small earful about how much stuff I deal with that "I didn't mess up" and it was like a switch flipped. They started taking out the garbage and recycling, cleaning up without asking, and helping with yard work without grumbling. I realized they could start helping to do dishes and now they fight over who gets to do them! Did you all get that -- they WANT to do dishes.
We don't have a dishwasher and it's taken a huge amount of work off my and Dave's plates -- literally :) Although we don't let them do anything breakable or anything sharp yet. But the amount they get done, even with those two stipulations, is huge. So I need to find more chores for them to fight about do.

5) Get Rachel's map pictures printed. For those of you who are long time readers, you may recognize this goal from a few years ago. Except this time I have place to go and we have pictures chosen. So it's really a matter of getting the pictures to the place. I should be able to do that at some point this month, right?!?!? (You can read more about Rachel's map here and here. And if you're curious the last link is to my list of goals from October of last year. Some of them are eerily similar. Argh.)

6) Have a regular family games night. These next few months our weekends are a little insane, so if we want some quality family time together, we're going to need to do it during the week. This goal kills two birds with one stone -- we get some quality family time and we get to figure out which games our family has grown out of and get rid of them. Whoo hoo!!!
Let's see what this shelf looks like come October.
And this isn't even all of our games. Yikes.

7) Figure out the kids' Hallowe'en costumes. See above "insane weekends" and just know how much I value my sanity. If we can figure out the kids' costumes this month, then we can get them ready the weekend before Hallowe'en early next month. At least, that is the hope :)

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Giraffe Kisses!!!

I have to say this was one of the most unique things we did while in Kenya. We got to feed giraffes. We went to the Giraffe Centre (read more about it here), just outside of Nairobi.
You could either feed them at the main level fence or walk up the stairs so you were more at the giraffes' heads level. You got a handful of pellets and were supposed to feed them one at a time.
At first Sam wasn't that into feeding them but we... encouraged... him to try it and he thought it was okay. He mostly wanted to watch though.
Rachel was also a little hesitant but then she got brave. And then she made friends with a baby giraffe and she was all about feeding him (or her!).
One option was that you could put the pellet in your mouth (between your lips) and the giraffe would lick it out. I didn't think I would get brave enough to do it...
...but I did!!! More than once, in fact!
Giraffe tongues are kind of rough, and I got a little slimy.
Dave got brave too but he left his mouth open too wide and got a little giraffe tongue in it. Hahahahahaha!!!
I think we all enjoyed this bit of our time in Kenya. It was an incredible, unique, very memorable experience. And we'd all love to do it again so if you have a giraffe hanging around, looking for keepers, let us know :)

Monday, September 04, 2017

There's Not Much Cuter Than An Elephant Holding A Bottle

We had about a day in Nairobi at the beginning of our trip and then two days in Nairobi at the end of our trip. On our second last day in Kenya, we got to experience two amazing things. The first one was going to the elephant orphanage. (The second thing you'll find out about tomorrow!).
The elephants are rescued from all over Kenya. Sometimes they've gotten separated from their herds. Sometimes they've lost their mother to poaching. And sometimes the baby has fallen down a well and the rest of the herd can't get them out. I think those were the three main reasons babies ended up at the orphanage.
The elephants we saw on safari were very grey. These ones were red from rolling around in the dirt all the time. I have no idea what colour they actually were :)
There was a rope separating the people from the elephants but if the elephants walked near you, you could pet them. Not many elephants came to our side of the area but I did get to briefly pet one. It was pretty cool.
Did I mention they rolled around in the dirt a lot?!?!
First we saw a group of about fourteen or fifteen babies. I think they were under a year and a half old. Then the second group of elephants came out. They were maybe eighteen months to about three years old.
 
These elephants started their time with us by each getting two full bottles of milk. Sometimes the keepers had to help them out but other times, the elephants would just grab the bottle and go for it.
Can you see the milk dripping out of its mouth and on its eyelashes?!?! I have about fifty pictures of the elephants feeding themselves because I thought it was adorable.

At the end one of the elephants decided to challenge some of the humans to see who was more dominant. One of them put his head down and walked right into Sam's chest with his forehead. He knocked Sam back a step or two but Sam stood his ground. Seeing he wasn't going to win dominance over Sam, he proceeded to knock over three other kids. They weren't hurt, and it's one of the warnings you get about standing near the ropes. Sam thought it was pretty funny and, after I knew he was okay, I also thought it was hilarious. So if you want to take on Sam just know that an elephant couldn't take him down. You have been warned :)

If you want to know more about this orphanage and the amazing work they do, including releasing the orphans back into the wild, go check out their website here: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/

Friday, September 01, 2017

August Goals Recap

The kids have been in soccer camp all week and I've been getting lots of work done/lots of things done around the house/had a few naps. And then I remembered that I have a blog and decided to check in on it. HOW HAVE I NOT BLOGGED IN ALMOST A MONTH!!?!?! What happened August? Anyways, I'm now back and I thought I'd check in with an update on my August goals.

1) Finish blogging about Kenya. I still have two more posts to write about our Kenya trip. I think part of my blog break is that I really want to blog about something else but I also really just want to finish blogging about this trip so I'm kind of stuck. I might make it a goal this weekend to get those last two posts and then continue on with other aspects of life. Ha!
Things still to write about -- our visit to the elephant orphanage 
and that time I kissed a giraffe!

2) Buy school supplies. Even though I wasn't really ready for it, we bought all the school supplies the kids needed on the Sunday of the August long weekend. And then the bags sat on the couch (for a day) which drove Dave nuts so the next day we labeled them all and packed them in backpacks. And they have been sitting there ever since waiting for the first day of school which is Tuesday.

3) Get more books off my TBR. I read nothing off this pile in August :( However, I did read eighteen other books this month. Yes, I read a lot. If you want to see what books I read, I post a picture almost every Friday of all the books I've read that past week. You can follow my "natashareadsonfridays" hashtag on Instagram here to see my posts.

4) Drink less caffeine; drink more water. You guys -- I'm so proud of how I did on this goal. I managed to cut down my daily Coke(s) to one every two, or even three, days. And I've cut my coffee-hot chocolate down to two cups a day. And I definitely upped my water intake. (I will admit that on our extended weekend trip this past weekend, I may have drank a Coke a day, but I'm excusing by saying it was vacation! Ha!)

5) Stick to our summer schedule. We definitely didn't follow this every day but it worked well for about two-thirds of the days and I definitely got more work time in, and more cleaning done, during our three and a half weeks of swimming and tennis in August so I'm counting it as a win.

6) Get to the pool outside of swimming lessons -- ideally two - three times a week. We did so well at this. What really helped is that my manager was looking for a way to entertain her son for one week while the rest of her family was out of town/at work so I hired him for two afternoons to watch Sam and Rachel. They spent most of those afternoons at the pool while I was getting work done. During that week Rachel learned to swim and Sam learned the following week. I think the most exciting news of the summer is that BOTH KIDS PASSED LEVEL ONE!!! Whoooo hoooo!!!
I may have cried (more than once) watching the kids just take off. It was AMAZING!!!

So that's how I/we did in August. There were some major wins (see #4 and #6) and some major downers (see #1) but that's how life goes sometimes.

Tune in next week to read about my September goals and more about Kenya... I hope!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

1-800-Which Animal Do You Want To See?

Our last safari drive was early in the morning of the day we headed back to Nairobi. First we ran across a lioness with her three cubs.

Rachel looked so cute checking things out with her binoculars!
Then we found more elephants which made me soooo happpy!!!
Why elephants don't play leap frog... Hahahaha!!!
It was so fun to see the baby elephants playing and learning new things. This baby was trying to take down this tree and it was so fun to watch him learn a life skill.
He's still working at it...
Our whole safari, Sam was hoping for a "cat trick" -- a sighting of leopards, lions, and cheetahs, not all together of course! We'd already seen lots of lions and our baby leopard friend. We were about to give up on seeing cheetahs, and just head back to the camp, when our driver, Dennis, spotted these guys. I was half-serious when I commented that I thought Dennis and Andrew had all these animals on speed dial because we saw each animal at the perfect moment.
We found out it is rare to see a couple together but Andrew, our guide, figured they were probably mating. They let us check them out for ages, just relaxing together.
And then it was time to say good-bye to the safari portion of our trip and head back to spend some time in Nairobi. I have to be honest, I'm not much of an animal person, but this safari was amazing. I'm so glad we did it.