Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012 - Safari Njema

(thank you to Hans for almost all of the great pictures!)

On Thursday morning we headed out of Dar es Salaam for our first Tanzanian safari.  Nobody was more excited about this than Grace, who profusely apologized to all of her friends on Wednesday that they wouldn't see her for so long because she was going on a little vacation.  We headed to a place called Mbuyuni Farm Retreat at Kimango Farms (an organic herbal tea and spice farm owned by Germans), a 3-hour drive from our house.   Even though we thought it was only 2-hours away, the kids did pretty well for their first road trip in a long time.  

The Farm is outside of a town called Morogoro (190 kms west of Dar).  After driving on the main road out of Nairobi for a long time, you take a small road along a path of mango trees and come to a bridge; described by the owners as "adventurous but safe."  I'll say!

We found that we would be living for two days in two of these cottages...
...and we all really quickly fought over the hammock!

Noah and Grace were big fans of the friendly children-loving dogs on the farm.  
Noah had a lot of firsts on this trip.
First time devouring a bowl of soup.
First time discovering the moon.
First time driving a Landcruiser.
Both evenings, we enjoyed amazing, organic dinners on our veranda as the sun went down. 
Both mornings, the sun woke us up a little bit like this.
And in between, we went on a little game drive to Mikumi National Park.  The rains did not come to this place in the past rainy season so it is very dry, and now is the "cold" season.  So even though the temperature was in the 70s (F), it really looked and felt like winter there.  Farmor spotted some elephants right away, but they were too far away for taking pictures.  Luckily we soon saw the rest of these guys...(sadly, the lions were hiding...)...

And, even though my marriage almost ended when I snuck out of the car to take this picture (Grace and Noah are also hanging out the top...but you can't see them, and I couldn't get any closer to the water without Kristoffer definitely having a heart attack), I did want to show off how cool it is that we finally have a car with a sunroof for game drives.  
Grace loved to stick her head out the top of the car!

I don't know why there are not more pictures of Grace.  She must have been too busy to be photographed.  We are so happy to see her and Noah playing together so, so nicely these days.  They have great imaginations (well, she does...and he is a great mimic) and are really funny to observe.  We also took some nice nature walks when we were there and played in/by the pool.  

The only downside of our visit was what I like to call "attack of the ants."  The farm has a serious ant problem (like all of Tanzania really...) but because they are organic they really don't spray for them.  So at 1 am on our first night there, Noah woke up screaming and was covered in thousands of teeny-tiny ants.  SO GROSS I know I can't even imagine it, really.  So then it was hard to get him back to sleep once I de-anted him, and he had to sleep in our bed (which was much further away from the door/ant infestation than his crib was), which did not make for a great night for anyone.  But the owners felt so bad about it that they did actually use ant spray, so then our cottage was ant-free and we all slept great the second night.

Ant problem aside, anyone come to Tanzania has to visit this place.  It was so serene and calm and quiet and relaxing.  A true getaway and not a tourist trap at all.  Loved it.  It was even more special because we could share it with Farmor and Hans.  And it made us look forward to what other gems we might discover in this country over the next few years.  

Safari Njema, indeed!
(Good trip!)


Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22, 2012 - One and a Half

Noah is 18 months old today.  One and a half.  His mother (that's me) finds this very hard to believe.  My baby is a real boy now!
 His day included blowing up our little bouncy house and playing/swimming at Grace's (very soon to be Noah's as well) school.  

It also included ice cream for dessert and the removal of the "baby bar" on Noah's high chair.  He is now free to roam about the dining room (second picture was after the bar was removed...and he stayed seated!).

 Noah closed out the night giving his big sister a big hug...
 ...and also his giraffe.

Growing growing every day - we love our sweet, little boy so much.
Happy Half Birthday, Buddy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 18, 2012 - Mr. Clean & The Chatterbox

Noah loves to mop.  As you can see.

Grace loves to talk (in English and Danish).  As you can hear.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July 17, 2012 - Happiness is...

Farmor's big suitcase full of presents, containing your new favorite book!
Helping Hans build the chair he brought you from Denmark.
Sitting in the new chair you helped "build" with your new "Quack Quack" that Farmor brought you (just like your sister's!)!
 Farmor reading a bedtime story.
 Having your mom come visit you from so far away.
 Putting your feet in the pool.
 A new "Monster Truck" (aka Toyota Landcruiser...aka TEMBO, which means ELEPHANT in Kiswahili) that is finally officially ours!
 My little Rav4 is MUCH smaller than Kristoffer's Landcruiser!
 Stealing Mama's sun hat.
When Mama gets cuddles.
 Finding eels in the ocean! (ok, maybe that is NOT happiness...but it is cool!)
 Beach buddies!
 Having your own little house on the beach.
The beautiful Indian Ocean.
 Waiting for fresh fish!
 Hans helping you roam about the rocking ferry.
When your best friends come over to play.
 Drumming with your girlfriend.
 Farmor reading to you and your friends.
 Singing outside on a beautiful day.
Reaching for the stars...and laughing with Mama.

(...and they've only been here for 6 days!  Almost nothing makes us happier than time we get to spend with our family!)