Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March 30, 2011 - So Long, Farewell

Nene and Pops leave us tonight after spending six weeks with us in Nairobi. Our life is not so glamorous: lots of repetition in our schedule, lots of time at home with two kids, lots of we hope that they weren't too bored and enjoyed a break from the nasty New England winter. Bad news for them: one foot of snow in Boston on Friday after they arrive! HA!

Grace and Noah enjoyed time with another set of grandparents; Kristoffer and I enjoyed time with another set of parents. Ten weeks into Noah's life and he has only been without grandparents for a few nights here and there - not too shabby! Grace has been spoiled with love and attention!

Just as they are leaving, we are getting ready to get out of town ourselves. Saturday morning we beging six weeks away: 2 weeks in Denmark and 4 weeks in the US. We are very much looking forward to seeing our families and friends, and hope that Farmor, Hans, Nene and Pops aren't too sick of us to see us again so soon!

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for making the big, long trip over here. It's been interesting for you (we hope) and we really enjoyed having you here!

L, K, G, & N

Friday, March 25, 2011

March 25, 2011 - MWs in Kenya

Our friends Meghan Woo and Matt Weiss are doing some great philanthropic work in Kenya after their visit last summer. Check it out here: !


Thursday, March 24, 2011

March 24, 2011 - "Orange" You Glad to See Me Too?!

Noah felt left out of the Syracuse picture with Grace...

March 24, 2011 - "Orange" You Glad to See Me?

Today is Syracuse's 141st Birthday!
Happy National Orange Day!
We have an O-I-T over here...
Orangewoman In Training!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March 23, 2011 - Grace's Note to Self...

...this is what happens when I refuse to nap after school.
5:45 pm


March 23, 2011 - You know you live in Africa when...

...your daughter builds "Elmo's bed" out of Legos and then runs to get a "squito net" for him. That's all she knows!

'Night, 'night, Elmo!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March 22, 2011 - Two Months Old


My name is Noah and I am two months old. This is my first blog. As you can see from the pictures my mother shamelessly posts of me, I am getting bigger everyday. In fact, when I went to the doctor today he said that I weigh 5.68 kg (12.5 lbs - about 75th percentile) and I am 59 cm long (almost 24 inches - between 50th and 75th percentiles). Not too bad, eh? I grew a lot in the last two weeks!

I am a pretty happy boy - unless Mama drinks any caffeine and then I am F-U-S-S-Y. Lay off the tea, Ma! I really like it when Pops talks to me, when Far gives me a bath, and Nene is fantastic at getting a burp out of me when nobody else can do it. I think the most fascinating person I've met in these two months, though, is my sister, Grace. Boy is she crazy! Last night she tried to catapult me out of my bouncy seat; Pops almost had to catch me from across the room! And I know that Mama and Far don't yell very much, but when she did that - sheesh! It was hard for them to keep their cool. Mostly Grace seems very interested in what I'm wearing all the time and she seems to keep track of when I am sleeping or awake. She is funny and dramatic. I think she'll keep me pretty well entertained for the next 18 years or so. As for my Mama? Well...I love her because she keeps my food readily available and knows how to hold me just right when I am a little bit grumpy. She must be tired though because I prefer to sleep during the day than at night - maybe one of these days I'll change my mind and give her some rest!

Anyway, that's all for today. I had to get a shot this morning at the doctor's office and that totally wiped me out!

Photoshoot before going to the doctor.
I was trying to wink at Mama but she sort of caught me coming out of it.
Mama, this is BORING!
This is either my flirty look or I'm saying, "I'm falling over now, Mama, so put down the camera and help me out!"

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March 19, 2011 - E is for Elephant

This evening, after our big morning at Grace's art exhibition, we all went to the David Sheldrick orphanage for elephants and rhinos. It has recently become pretty "famous" with a new IMAX movie about it and they have received a lot of money so we noticed that the place had been expanded and improved since our last visit. We were visiting an elephant that our friend Deborah adopted when she was here in January. While Grace went there two times in her first six months, she hasn't been since then so we knew she would just love seeing the elephants up close. Especially after her class has just spent one week learning about elephants!

When we arrived there, she was instantly fascinated by the dung beetles we watched while we were waiting for the elephants. Then she really liked the rhinos, but was even happier to see all the elephants! She saw that they drank milk just like she did amd she watched them eat. She even got to pet the youngest elephant's trunk. As much as we (Kristoffer, my parents and I) enjoyed seeing the elephants ourselves, it was really sweet for us to see her react to and try to interact with them! Noah, per usual, slept through the visit :) It was a great day!

Maxwell, the five-year-old blind rhino
Here come the elephants...
Did my mom find a new grandchild?
One of the elephant keepers.
Bottoms Up!
Some of Grace's faces!

March 19, 2011 - Our Amazing World

Today Grace's school put on an art exhibition as their culminating activity of the term. The exhibition was called "Our Amazing World" and each class worked on producing art related to one type of environment. Grace's class was called "Savannah Safari" and other classrooms were the city, the beach, the mountains, the dessert, the ocean and "snow land". It was a really impressive display and all of the teachers obviously went to a lot of work preparing for the event. We just couldn't believe how much stuff Grace had made and how amazingly creative everything was! It was definitely beyond our expectations and reinforced how happy we are that Grace goes to this school.

Below is some of the artwork that Grace and her classmates made, as well as some pieces from the other classrooms.
Grace's footprint.
Grace and her Pops.
Our Amazing Grace!

Friday, March 18, 2011

March 18, 2011 - Going Green

Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day and everyone but Kristoffer was wearing green (he forgot...and he isn't Irish!). My parents tried to find corned beef to make traditional corned beef and cabbage for dinner, but the butcher said that they don't sell it anymore because demand is so low. Instead we had a delicious beef stew that my mom made - beef, potatoes and carrots are still pretty Irish.

The other exciting part of the day was that Noah really started smiling a lot. He looks so much like Grace did at that age, just bigger! He is also starting to make cooing noises, which is very sweet. What a boy!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March 16, 2010 - Handsome Little Devil

Isn't he?


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March 15, 2011 - Cooling Off

We are back from our weekend at the Indian Ocean Beach Resort on Diani Beach and we had a lovely weekend, even though it was the hottest place I think we have ever been! The hotel had all these little cottages that were individual rooms and we had two right on the beach, like 10 steps away from the sand, literally. The rooms were really quite lovely and big enough that we weren't too cramped with two kids. The hotel's food was just average and the service was not very good (at least not by American standards), but the pools were great and we were extremely happy on the beach. Grace and Noah did pretty well, although Noah definitely doesn't like extreme heat. Grace always takes some time to adjust to a new place so she didn't have the best "eating" weekend, but she really liked being in the water and playing in the sand and she was very cute doing those things. As for me, I got to ride on a camel on the beach with my mom and was also happy to take a short kayak trip in the ocean with Kristoffer. One night we ate the hotel's "exclusive" restaurant (by reservation only), which actually did have pretty good food. Nobody else made a reservation that night so we had a personal waiter and chef and the whole place to ourselves. It was even right next to our room (at the edge of the resort) so we didn't need to go very far. Overall, I am so glad to have swam in the Indian Ocean and seen the sun rise and set there. I am happy that my parents came with us and that Kristoffer and I had a few moments of relaxation as well - although we learned that there is generally nothing relaxing about traveling with two very small ones! Wish us luck on our 6-week adventure coming up in April and May when we all go to Denmark and the US! That aside, here are some highlights from the weekend...

At the airport going to the beach...Grace was very excited about the airplanes!
And some early morning views from our room...
(the benefit of having an early-riser for a child is that you never miss the sun rise and these were amazing!)
Grace learned to "play" UNO while waiting for her food...
And she helped Far dig a big hole in the sand (this was just the beginning)...
Noah was mostly hanging out in his bouncy seat (thank you thank you thank you again to my Aunt Judy!) because it was too hot to be held that much. This might have been the last time he wore clothes because really he was so uncomfortable in the heat and we started keeping him in just a diaper or very light receiving blanket.
This was the "exclusive" restaurant next to our cottage. As Kristoffer said, people pay a lot of money at home for that kind of service!
An early morning walk on the beach...
Grace, in the early morning light...
Women selling scarves on the beach, although we were grateful that there were few "beach boys" or others harrassing us...
Camel Ride 2011: the negotiations...
Camel Ride 2011: the departure...
Camel Ride 2011: the arrival, and Grace liked sitting on the camel!
My mom's camel was 7 years old, named Joy. My camel was 3 years old, named Thomas. It was really fun and gave us a beautiful view! Thanks to our new friend Abdullah for giving us a fair deal.
Noah's 7-week old bath in the sink. Grace had a 6-week old bath in the sink when we took her on safari, so we thought we should do the same with Noah. But he didn't like it as much as she did! He was just too hot!
Can you spot the sand crab? They were fun to chase in the morning!
Oh, the Mueller-Welsien ladies :) Sorry that we didn't get many pictures of my Dad!
It was fun to swim together in the lovely pool. Grace is getting more and more comfortable in the water and practiced her kicking.
Unfortunately, while we had a great plane ride to Diani Beach, going home it was not so. We were on a teeny-tiny 17-seater that was not pressurized. It was full and crowded and SOOOO bleeping hot! We also had to fly from Diani to Mombasa town for a quick stop on our way, which just made the trip very long and even hotter. As Kristoffer says, it was a bit more than we bargained for. Good thing my mom didn't faint, although she was very close.
Now we are back to our regularly-scheduled life. Grace was very happy to be home and we will now enjoy my parents for 2 more weeks before they leave. A few days after they depart, so do we for Noah's first world-tour. Stay tuned :)