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.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Things To Do In August

First of all, I need to do a shout out to the two blogs I've read so far this morning because they've both done the list-y kinds of posts I love so much :) Thanks Bekah and Allena! To continue with the trend, here's my list of goals for August.

1) Finish blogging about Kenya. I really thought I'd be done all the Kenya posts by now but there are still some lingering ones. And then I want to write about other things going on in our life. And although it isn't clear from the blog, we do stay home the majority of the time (July was a BIG exception), so I want to record some of the every day memories.

2) Buy school supplies. The teachers sent home school supply lists at the end of the school year (the first time this has happened), so I want to get the school supply shopping done early so I'm not rushing around Labour Day weekend trying to finish it off.

3) Get more books off my TBR. I did really well at reducing this pile in July and I'd love to shrink it further this month.
I think I could easily reduce this pile by another seven books.

4) Drink less caffeine; drink more water. I've been over the top exhausted lately and Dave and I talked about it the other day and agreed that I should drink less caffeine and try and drink more water. If you've been around here for any length of time, you know this is one of my big struggles. I was so proud of the fact that yesterday I only had two cups of coffee-hot chocolate and NO Coke. Whoo hoo! Now I just need to keep moving forward on this one.
We got these new water bottles on our safari and I really like them so that's been helping with my water intake. Why does having a good water bottle matter so much?!?!?

5) Stick to our summer schedule. We're now two days into it and it's been going fairly well. I feel like having clear expectations works well for Sam and Rachel and so this schedule just lays it all out for them, which is awesome. (Since clear expectations is what works for me too, I totally get where they are coming from!)

6) Get to the pool outside of swimming lessons -- ideally two - three times a week. We are a part of a neighbourhood pool (which isn't actually in our neighbourhood!), and so the kids are in tennis and swimming lessons every morning for the next four weeks. I was talking to one of the other moms yesterday because I'd LOVE for the kids to get out of Level 1 this summer -- Sam has been in it for FOUR YEARS now. She said that really, we just need to come to the pool outside of swimming lessons and let the kids play around in the water.
We did try to get to the pool last night but just as we arrived, it started thundering and they closed the pool. We were totally bummed but we'll try again...

So these are my August goals. Come back in September to see how I did this month. Or stop in at any point to encourage me to reach for water instead of Coke. Ha!

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

July Goals Re-Cap

Since it's August 1st, it's time to update you all on my July goals. (You can read the original post here.) Some of them I feel like I hit out of the park and as for others of them... well let's just say, I don't know if I won the overall game. But we did go to three different baseball games in three different cities (and in one province and two states) in three weeks this month so at least I accomplished something :)

1) Tackle my TBR pile. I'm so happy with how my TBR pile is currently looking. I'm hoping to get another few books off this pile in August, but it's just much less likely to fall over now. Ha!
my (non-library) TBR (To Be Read) in June and last night. Yay, it's shrinking :)

2) Start, and finish, our Kenya trip photo book. Ummm... I have pictures picked from our first full day in Kenya and I've got three pages of the book done. I really need to get moving on this one.

3) Menu plan for the rest of the month and eat out less. I feel like this is one of the goals I hit out of the park. Except for one lunch out the day we had to take Dave to Urgent Care (he eventually was diagnosed with sciatica), and our whole schedule was thrown off, we've been doing really well at sticking to our menu plan. I haven't even been to Starbucks in three whole weeks so I'm pretty proud of myself. Of course, we might have to break that streak this weekend :)
And thank you to the people who gave me menu ideas. I'm definitely incorporating them into our menu plans.

4) Deal with stuff... The following are pictures of all the "stuff" I dealt with this past month...
 
Sam and Rachel's boxes of school work before (left) and after (right). I was really sneaky and dealt with these early one morning, put the extra papers in recycling immediately, and the truck came and picked it up before the kids were even awake. Yay!!!
I went through the kids' rooms with them last week and we organized, got rid of, and generally cleaned. Sam's shelves look significantly cleaner now and a) he now has an "office space" for all his papers (third shelf) and b) he is definitely a chapter book kid, as shown in the picture on the right. I knew this in my head but somehow the reality of removing a lot of the picture books from his bookshelf hit me hard.
In Rachel's room we cleaned off her shelf and went through her baskets and the reading reality for her is that she is done with board books. Again, I knew this in my head, but we passed on a huge stack to her cousin a couple of days ago and I was sad to see them go. Also she has a "secret office" set up on her shelf behind her dance picture which everyone but me is allowed to know about! Ha!

The exciting organizational project in Rachel's room was figuring out her necklace situation. The child has no less than five (yes, I said FIVE) jewellery boxes but her necklaces kept being a tangled mess. I did a quick Pinterest search and came up with the hanger in the picture on the right. Rachel loves it and her necklaces are no longer tangled which is a win.

5) Make a "summer bucket list" and a "summer schedule" with the kids and do some things on it. We made our "List of Summer Fun" a few weeks ago and have crossed off a few things. I'll write more about some of those soon. And just yesterday we got into the bulk of our summer. The kids have tennis and swimming lessons every morning for the next four weeks so we made our summer schedule. After one day, I can say it's going well! Hahahaha!!! Seriously though, the kids kept running to see what was next which was pretty awesome! 

6) Make a new summer wreath. I'm actually sad about this goal. I've scoured Pinterest and can't find a new summer wreath I love. And I haven't put the old one up so, according to our front door, it's spring. Sadness. Do you have a summer wreath on your door? What does it look like? Send me a picture. I need inspiration.

7) Start working on my sermon. I did not do this. However I worship led on Sunday so I did get that done. Sadly it doesn't count towards my sermon prep. Only nineteen days left to prepare. Yeeeks.

So that's my July goals update. I can't believe it's already August. This summer is flying by.

Friday, July 28, 2017

In Which We Got Closer To A Lion Than I'd Anticipated

We got to experience two morning drives and two late afternoon/evening drives on our safari. This was our last afternoon drive and our third one overall. I wasn't sure if there would be new things to spot or if we'd seen a lot of it already. I should have known better...
The first thing we saw was this huge buffalo. Our safari guide, Andrew, said this buffalo was like a "grumpy, old man." I figured it was because of the huge set of horns on his head. I know they protect him but it still looks really uncomfortable to me.
This bird was just gorgeous and we watched it for a bit.
Then we found the Hippo River, as I called it. Unlike our previous hippo experience (which you can read about here), these ones were mostly submerged and just took turns coming up for air. Andrew said it was hard to judge exactly how many hippos there were in this spot. You can see a lot of pairs of hippo eyes in the picture with Sam.
I was glad we didn't get very close to this crocodile. He was rather large!
I never got tired of seeing the wide open spaces of the savannah. Especially as the sun was starting to set. It reminded me so much of Saskatchewan with the wide open spaces and big skies.
As we drove up to the airstrip in the conservancy to search for a cheetah, we ran into an even more interesting encounter. First we saw these two hyenas.
They were bothering this lioness who had a kill. They had stolen some of it from her, and were taunting her with part of it. She decided to drink from this pool, rather than engage with them.

This picture of her drinking with the sunset in the back was one of my most favourite pictures I took our whole trip.
You can see in the picture of Rachel looking out of the vehicle how close we were to her. It was amazing, and unnerving, at the same time.
She nicely posed for a picture for me and then went back to whetting her thirst. Ha!
Sam really liked these birds and wanted me to take this picture.

Since we stayed to watch the lioness and hyenas interact for so long, it was quite dark as we headed back home. When we started on our safari, Andrew had asked the kids which animal they were most looking forward to seeing. Rachel answered, "A bunny!" Of course. Andrew said that there was something called a scrub hare which was similar to a bunny, which we might see, if we were lucky.

As we were driving back to the camp, suddenly Dennis, our driver, stopped the car. "Look Rachel," he exclaimed, and sure enough, a scrub hare was caught in the headlights of our vehicle. The hare paused for about fifteen seconds and then bounded away. As we drove away, Rachel exclaimed under her breath, "Yes!" It was such a beautiful moment for me.

And I would say that defined our safari experience. We saw all the animals we wanted to see. We got to see a lot of amazing encounters between different species of wildlife. We got to see everything so up close and personal. It was beyond our wildest imaginings. And there was still one last drive left to experience...