Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21, 2014 - Two Months Old

Out littlest lady is two months old today.  After a week of not feeling well Aya is back to her normal sweet self, which is a little bit smiley these days (we still have to work for it, but she is getting more generous with the smiles).  We were thrilled on Thursday night when her fever had passed and she was no longer screaming when she was awake.

At a doctor's appointment yesterday, she weighed 4.9 kg (10.78 lbs), was 55 cm long (21.6 in) and her head circumference was 38 cm (14.9 in).  She received 3 more vaccinations (boo!), one of which really made her scream, but she recovered well from them.  I am happy that she is back to nursing normally after a 3-day hiatus.  During that time I pumped a lot of milk so Rose has given her a couple of experience they both seemed to enjoy as you can see below.

We are starting to feel a sense of rhythm to Aya's days and nights, and hope to have her routinized a bit more in the next few weeks.  She is still a better sleeper than the big kids were (except when she was sick).  She is pretty sweet and Grace and Noah still enjoying interacting with her very much.  As you can see, they are helpful as well.

We are loving this girl, especially as she is more alert and responsive now.  The big kids (Kristoffer included) can't wait until she "can do something" (Noah's words).  Aya loves her bath every night, to hear music, to feel motion, and to be talked to.  Happy two months, Aya!
Custom-made jewelry...from Noah with love!

 Napping in her big girl crib.
 This past Monday...
 Her second bottle ever, and her first bottle with Rose...

 Someone was feeling better (Thursday night)...
 Friday smiles :)
And two months old today!
 (she was really constipated after being sick...sitting up in the boppy with some head support finally did the trick!)

Gracie LOVES to be with Aya!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 19, 2014 - Moving On

So I haven't written about it yet because it is a hard thing for me to write about.  But it's time to let you know that Rose, our housekeeper and nanny for the last almost-4 years, is moving back to Kenya and getting married next month.  We only have her with us for a short time remaining, and this is very big news in our world.

We are very happy for Rose (who I know often reads this blog...Hi, Rose!) and think it is a great next step for her life.  We never knew that she would want to stay with us in Tanzania as long as she had, and we are so grateful for the time she has spent working for our family.  

But at the same time, I credit Rose's presence and help for much of my sanity living in East Africa these last many years.  Our transition from Nairobi to Dar was very smooth, in large part because of her.  So I am particularly and quite selfishly sad that Rose is leaving because I do believe she is irreplaceable.  I am sure we can find someone else to work for us (working on that currently...) and we'll even find someone who we like and does a great job.  But she will not be Rose.  And considering that she is probably the person on this continent that I have the spent the most amount of time with consistently in the last 6 1/2 years combined I feel it will be a hard goodbye.

Grace and Noah took the news well and are talking about it a lot.  Noah asks her everyday, "Rose, did you get married yet?  When are you going to Kenya?"  Grace is telling everyone she knows that she has to get a new "dada" [means sister in Kiswahili and is used for a nanny/housekeeper] "because my Rose is moving back to Kenya to get married."  (Please note how much I love it that she calls her "my Rose.")  I am sure the sadness of the situation might not occur to them until after she leaves and doesn't come back.  Luckily, though, this lifestyle has helped Grace and Noah become pretty good goodbyers. I am sad on another level, though, that Rose will not be here with Aya...especially because they already get along so well!

But mostly, as I said, I do feel really grateful that we were lucky enough to find a woman who has really loved our children these years - especially because we never intended for her to be our nanny (note that we hired her to be a part-time housekeeper but on her first day working for us I was admitted to the hospital with complications in Noah's pregnancy and - ta da, Rose became our nanny just like that!).  When you live so far away from your own family, it is a blessing to have some extra love around for the little ones.  We have so many great memories of and with Rose, and she will always have a special place in our family's story. 

Rose is leaving at the beginning of July and next weekend we will throw her a little goodbye party here to send her off.  I'm already crying - ACK!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 18, 2014 - Dar Strikes Again

Well we were only back for two weeks before the first sniffles.  And then the coughs.  And then fevers.    Grace and Noah both got sick on Saturday and by Sunday morning it was obvious to me (Dr. Mama) that Grace had a sinus infection and Noah had the croup.  We went in to the see the doctor to find that my diagnoses were correct but that they both ALSO had ear infections.  We got drugged up with antibiotics, inhalers, nasal sprays, etc.  Great.

Until the baby got a fever!  So now we're on Day 5 and while the big kids were cleared to go back to school, Aya still has a fever and is not herself at all.  Not eating well, fewer diapers, poor sleep, lots of screaming and/or moaning.  Her blood test yesterday showed it was viral, not bacterial like the big kids, so she is spared the antibiotics for now.  But wow...we hate to see our baby with a fever feeling so miserable!  Hoping the madness ends today.

All of this is just to confirm that we are officially back in East Africa - the land of infection (at least for our kids!).  Argh!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 15, 2014 - Happy Far's Day!

While I could not be with my Dad today, I have been reflecting a lot about him on this Father's Day.  Because both of my grandfathers died before I was born, I find it to be an extra special gift that my father has been around all three of my kids in their very early days.  It is not something I take for granted, this wonderful Pops my children have and know and love...perhaps because I always wished I had had one.

With Grace...
With Noah...
With Aya...

We don't call him the baby whisperer for nothing!  As much as I appreciate what a great dad he is and has always been to me, in my parenthood I appreciate him even more as a grandfather.  Thank you, Dad - for unconditional love and support and great stories and advice!  And for the beetles! 

It should also go without saying, but I will say it anyway, that Kristoffer is an exceptional father.  Especially during the last three months when we have been separated and he has been a single parent for much of the time, he has just been amazing.  He knows our kids so well and has such great parenting values.  I know exactly why I wanted to have a family with him - he is just brilliant at it.

With Grace...
With Noah...
With Aya...

It was great to be parented by my Dad.  It is great to be parenting with Kristoffer.  That's all there is to it!

On this Father's Day - when both of our big kids are pretty sick (ear infections, sinus infection, croup!) and we spent some time at the clinic (of course! this is Dar!  and we've been back for two weeks!) - Kristoffer got some time in on the sailboat even though he did a lot of work around the house.  And he got in a little Lego "play time" at home too...

(below is my new favorite picture - two kids sleeping, one on the iPad almost sleeping and Far building a Lego airplane!)  
He is Super Far indeed!  
Happy Far's Day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

June 11, 2014 - Boston Strong Baby

Thanks to Auntie Brooke for Aya's Birthday onesie, celebrating that she was born on Marathon Monday.  She wears it with Boston Strong pride!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 10, 2014 - Aya's First Playdate

While the big kids were finishing up the school year on Friday, Aya attended her first baby group.  Here she is chillin with three little boys.  She somehow ended up mostly in her birthday suit...hope she didn't make a bad impression!


Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014 - Last Day of School/Pre-School Graduation

Flashback over here to see what the big kids looked like at the beginning of the school year.  And this past Friday was their last day of school shot!  They have really GROWN!
 (Ninja Turtle pose)
It was also a day to say goodbye to Elisabeth, one of our very favorite teachers for the last 2+ years.  We will really miss her!
I cam back to school later in the day to watch Grace "graduate" from preschool.  All departing kids (whether moving away or moving up to kindergarten) got a medal and a book of pictures made by all of the other kids.  It was very sweet and she was very proud.

We also waved goodbye to some great teachers!
And to top off the day, we received both Grace ans Noah's class pictures.  Noah is excited to move up to the big class when Grace starts at the international (IST).  The Nordic School has been a very special place for Grace these last couple of years...I was a little teary thinking about how big she is now! 

Today they started 3 weeks of summer school (more like "camp") before the long 6 week break in July/August.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 8, 2014 - Annual Circus

This year marked our third circus celebration at the end of the school year in the Nordic community here.  Different from last year, Noah actually participated!  And Grace was in a new routine :)

We present...Little Ladybugs

And...The Sea Lions

(surgeon general's warning:  pretty long video...might only be interested if you're a grandparent!)

Our kids have so much fun at this event every year that I was really happy we were back in time for it.  It was also Aya's first introduction to the Nordic community in Dar, and she was very well received :)