Archive for January, 2013

The Much Anticipated Belly Shot

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Here is the prego belly at 17 weeks.  I feel like it is much bigger this go round than it was with Mikayla, but that is okay!

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Pregnancy Update Week #17

Monday, January 28th, 2013

The childcare staff is getting really excited about the upcoming arrival of Baby Kickert #2.  They are most excited because this baby, unlike Mikayla (although they love her), will be Swazi and therefore one of them!  They are all making gender predictions and offering up name suggestions.  I love that they are getting involved because traditionally pregnancy is not something really celebrated here.  They don’t name the baby before it is born, fathers aren’t super involved in the pregnancy, and in some cases the father has nothing to do with the child for the first few months.  So many babies are lost early on that they don’t want to connect to the baby in the womb.  So that makes it even more exciting that they are asking questions and getting involved with us.

I gave a belated Week #16 update here, but hopefully the rest will be more timely.  On Thursday we reached 17 weeks in our pregnancy.  Not a lot new has happened in the last week, but here is an update nonetheless. 

How far along? I am currently 17 weeks.

Total weight gain/loss? This is hard to measure since our scale is in kilograms, but I think I am still even.  If I have gained anything it is less than half a pound. 

Stretch marks? Fortunately, no stretch marks!

Best Moment this week? The Swazi’s getting super into our pregnancy and offering up name suggestions.

Movement? I was actually able to feel the baby for the first time from the outside yesterday.  It wasn’t a really strong movement, and seems super early in the game, but I felt it!  Just once though and it hasn’t happened again. 

Food Cravings:  Eggs!  This week I have eaten at least one or two a day!  Mmm good!

Gender? No clue yet.  Mikayla is still convinced it is a girl, but the hostel staff thinks it is a boy!

Labor Signs?  I sure hope not!

Belly Button in or Out?  In.

What I miss.  I am still missing my regular cup of coffee, but other than that not much else new this week.

What I am looking forward to.  Still looking forward to our ultrasound in a few weeks.

Weekly wisdom:  Toddlers love touching the baby bump, but aren’t always the most carefully when doing so and should be watched closely!  I suppose the same is true with toddlers and infants too!

Milestones:  Like I mentioned previously, I felt the baby move for the first time this week from the outside.  I forgot how cool of a feeling this was!

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Posted in Life, Parenting |

This Week’s Happenings 1/14-1/27

Monday, January 28th, 2013

I am hoping to get back into a regular routine of blogging each week, but I am not making any promises!  Over the last two weeks a few exciting things have happened around here.

Last week some new volunteers arrived.  Natalie, from California, will be with Cabrini until March and Scooter, from Illinois and a former Peace Corp Volunteer in Mozambique, will be here until April.  They will both be helping out with childcare, specifically with the education portion of things.  It is nice to have some girls I can relate to around the mission again!  We are also hoping to take full advantage of Scooter’s knowledge of Mozambique while she is here  (she was there for three years) and head that direction at least once.  It is only about 2-3 hours away, but visas to into the country are a little pricey (around $80 USD a person), so we shall see if it happens or not.

Also in the last week Joe arrived back to the mission.  Mikayla was particularly excited to see him and tried to give him a recap of the last month in one day.  I think it was a little overwhelming for him!  We are glad to have him back.

A lot has happened in the childcare department in the last week.  First, all the kids returned to the hostel from school break and started back into a new school year, including three new Grade one students.  We also had our parents/guardians meeting complete with some beautiful singing from the choir and dancing from some girls.  (We have a parents/guardians meeting each time the kids return from a school break.)  Lastly, we accepted a new "baby" to the hostel on Friday.  Her name is Dansile (pronounced Don-see-lay) and she is almost three years old.  She is a beautiful child, but very sick.  I got the privilege of holding her through our 1.5 hour long "Blessing Service" to welcome the students back on Friday evening.  It reminded me of when Simo and Nosipho first arrived at the hostel and made me sad all over again about the untimely death of Simo.

Over the course of the last two weeks I have had a lot of meetings about the education department and trying to get everything rolling on the right foot first thing this year!  It has been a little stressful trying to squeeze in meetings, Mikayla and family time, but we have figured it out!  Ben was great this week because there were a couple of times when it just didn’t make since for me to take a three year old to a meeting or she was still napping so I didn’t want to wake her up and he kept Mikayla.  They had some great daddy/daughter time!  I was even able to take an entire day to head in with some of our high school graduates to go shopping for a trip they were getting to take to the USA.  I am so grateful for a husband who is willing to work from home or take some time off to spend time with Mikayla so I can also do some work!

For Christmas we got Mikayla a soccer ball and so we have been enjoying playing that with her (as well as all her other gifts) over the last few weeks.  Here she is dressed up in her princess gear and rain boots trying to kick the soccer ball!  Too funny.

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And here are a few more pictures from our last few weeks:

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Touchdown!  Since we have AC in our room, on really hot days we have been letting Mikayla crash on our couch.  Clearly she was dreaming about football here!

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Enjoying some cherries!  She loves them!

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Enjoying a butterfly caught on an adventure with daddy!

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And a really creepy spider found on our fence!  Front side…

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…and backside!  Like I said, creepy!  You can also get a feel for how big he is by the size of the regular chain link fence!

Until next week!

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Posted in Life |

Preschool–Letter of the Week 6/7

Monday, January 28th, 2013

When we found out we were pregnant in October I immediately got sick.  I was struck with some intense morning sickness (really all day sickness) that made it difficult to sit down for structured learning time with Mikayla.  So, I opted for occasional learning time throughout the day and put our regular school schedule on hold for a bit.  Then Christmas came and even though I was feeling better, we were pulled in too many different directions and again our regular preschool schedule got put on hold.  However, once we got settled back into a routine in January, I immediately started back up with our school time (with a few minor interruptions).  For the past three weeks we have been covering the LOW curriculum for weeks 6 and 7 as well as learning all about the ocean!  Here are a few things we did over the course of our learning time.

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Learning Poster LOW Week 6:  Letter – F, Number – 6, Color – red, Vocabulary word – waves, NR – Humpty Dumpty, Theme – Ocean

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Learning Poster LOW Week 7:  Letter – , Number – 7, shape – star, Vocabulary word – twinkle, NR – Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star, Theme – Oceans

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She glued little fish onto the letter Ff.

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She sorted pictures that started with F and those that didn’t, then she glued on the F pictures to a fish.

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We went fishing for letters.  When she "caught" a fish she said the letter name and the sound.  She did really good with this for the first 10-15 letters and then just wanted to play.

**To make the fish I just cut out fish shapes from construction paper and added letters.  Then I attached a paper clip to each fish.  For the fishing pole, I tied string to a magnet and then to a small dowel rod.

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We made a Humpty Dumpty Egg (hardboiled) and then reenacted the Nursery Rhyme.  She got a big kick out of having the egg fall onto the floor!

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She drew a self-portrait of her family.  Usually she adds more details to her pictures, but on this particular day she wasn’t feeling very artsy.

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She put Humpty Dumpty together again!

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We went fishing again, but this time with numbers!

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We played a "How Many Fish in the Ocean Game" courtesy of  Jolanthe from Home School Creations as well as a few other of our ocean activities.

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We made a Girl wearing goggles using the letter G for the goggles.

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She used her stamp pads and fingers to make fish in fish bowls according to the number on the page.

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She used cranberries to match up correct letters of beginning sounds on a picture.

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She rolled an ocean animal dice and then colored in squares on her graph to match.

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She put star stickers on numbered squares.

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This activity was a bit complicated for multiple reasons.  One – I didn’t have any lowercase stickers, which I thought I did when I planned in out.  Two – it took a long time and she lost interest.  If I were to do over again, I would only do a few letters at a time.  For letters that fly in the sky like b put in sky, for letters that are regular like a float on water, and for letters that go below the line like g put in ocean.  Since I didn’t have lowercase letters, I wrote them all out in her journal and then pointed to them.  Once she identified where they went on the picture I gave her the capital sticker.  Like a said, a little complicated!

Our journal activities for the two weeks included:  practicing writing her name, cutting out pictures of red things from a magazine and gluing in, stamping letters we were studying as well as matching letters that were written on the page to her stamp, a free writing story about the ocean, and drawing and writing fish.

We also made a beautiful ocean mural that I failed to snap a picture of.  I will try to get one soon and post it.  We painted a sheet of chart paper to look like the ocean one day and then the remainder of the weeks we worked on different ocean creature art projects to include.  I think it turned out pretty good.  Another fun thing we did was read the book The Rainbow Fish (if you have never read it go read it today!).  Then she colored a fish to look just like the rainbow fish.  In the story the rainbow fish has these sparkly scales, so I decided to allow Mikayla to earn sparkly scales for her fish.  I chose an activity that she really struggles with, staying at the table and eating during meal times.  So, for each time she stays put and eats she gets a sparkly fin!  When I taught kindergarten I did the same thing, but the kids could earn a sparkly fin for any good deed that they did at school or home.  I had some science activities planned that we never quite got to.  I still might do them in the upcoming weeks because I am sure she will love them.  I am sure we did other fun things over the course of the two weeks, but that is all I can remember for now.

Next week we will move on to LOW Week 8, where we will be studying the letter H, the sun, and Hickory Dickory Dock!  It should be fun.

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Posted in Parenting |

Pregnancy Update Week #16

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

A few weeks ago we announced that we were expecting Baby Kickert #2, you can read about it here.  Almost a month has gone by and I have been to tired and/or sick and/or busy with life to give a blog update.  I decided I needed a format to follow each week so I would be able to update all our friends and family about this baby.

When my friend Catherine was pregnant, she did a weekly update following a specific questionnaire.  I thought it was really fun, but had forgotten about it until just recently.  So, better late than never, I am going to attempt to start a weekly update about my pregnancy.

How far along? I am currently 16 weeks

Total weight gain/loss? So far I have not gained any weight.  I was really sick for the first trimester and am still feeling the effects of it (getting sick at least once a day still).  Unfortunately/fortunately our scale is in kilograms, so it makes weight gain seem even less!

Stretch marks? No stretch marks yet, but I am diligently applying cocoa butter lotion daily.  I was fortunate with Mikayla to not have any stretch marks so we are hoping for the same this go around.

Best Moment this week? Mikayla laying on the bed next to me and asking to look at the baby.  She leaned over and kissed my belly and started talking to it.  So sweet!

Movement? No real movement yet.  I have felt some stirrings that could be "quickening", but might be nothing!

Food Cravings:  I have had definite aversions to sweet things (so sad!).  I have however, had huge cravings for salty things.  Specifically, Lay’s plain potato chips!  The other night I had a craving for super buttery and salty popcorn.

Gender? No clue yet.  Mikayla thinks it is a girl.

Labor Signs?  I sure hope not!

Belly Button in or Out?  In.

What I miss.  I miss drinking multiple cups of coffee a day.  I am trying to limit myself to one cup and even that is half regular, half decaf!  Just not the same.

What I am looking forward to.  Finding out the gender on February 14!  We didn’t find out with Mikayla, but for multiple reasons are choosing to this go round.

Weekly wisdom:  Prenatal yoga is a lot more relaxing and enjoyable without a toddler "stretching" next to you, even if you have to get up earlier than you would like!

Milestones:  Thanks to my dear friend Catherine, I started Prenatal Yoga (Ben and Mikayla refer to it as Baby Yoga though).  I start each day with the DVD she sent and am hoping it will help with our epidural free labor!


2012 Year in Review

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

For the last few years I have tried to do a quick review of what our year was like in pictures.  We have had another busy one and looking forward to 2013 it looks like it could be just as busy!  Here is a quick recap of our 2012.


The twins came to visit for a week.  We enjoyed playing with them and chasing three toddlers around the house!  We (by we I mean the sisters) also got two new puppies to replace the dog that was killed by a snake.  They often take up residence on our porch so they sometimes feel like our dogs.  Mikayla named them Lady and Tramp like one of her favorite movies.

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We took a family vacation to St. Lucia, South Africa to celebrate my birthday.

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Ben traveled to the states for three weeks while Mikayla and I hung out in Swaziland.  Mikayla and I had a lot of fun celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday while Ben was away.

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Celebrated Mikayla’s 3rd birthday, Mickey style!  We also took a long weekend and went to visit Blyde River Canyon in South Africa.

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Ben turned 30!  We celebrated by having a pig roast the first of June.

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We went to Bush Fire with some friends.  We experimented with some food stuff, including making our own ravioli.  Sunday has become a day of cooking and relaxing for our family and we love it!

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We hiked Execution Rock here in Swaziland.  We hung out with Katie, one of our favorite long standing volunteers!  We also celebrated our one year anniversary of living in Swaziland!

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Mikayla finished up the last of her letters in our Toddler School.  We hosted our very own Summer Olympic Games.

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We spent several weeks in the US visiting friends and family.  We also got to welcome our new nephew, Reid, into the world!

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Ben and I celebrated our 8th anniversary.  We also found out we were pregnant with Baby #2!  Mikayla started her first year of homeschooled Preschool.

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We hosted our second Swazi Thanksgiving.  This year the crowd was over 20!  We also had a dessert themed birthday party for Joe.  I had several baking classes with some of the high school students.

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I baked over 500 cookies for the hostel Christmas party and popped enough popcorn for 150 bags!  We also Christmas crafted and did the traditional baking of Grandma’s Cinnamon Rolls.  We headed to Nelspruit, South Africa for Christmas.  While there we visited Kruger Game Park, went to the doctor for our first ultrasound of Baby #2 (everything looks great) and a week of relaxation and eating!

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Looking forward to another exciting year in 2013!

Posted in Life |

What We’ve Been Up To

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

In case you hadn’t noticed it has been awhile since I have done a "This Week’s Happenings".  There are several reasons for this, but I won’t go into them for now.  What I will do though is give a quick rundown on what we have been up to for the last two months.

We celebrated the Feast of Mother Cabrini.

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Joe all decked out in traditional gear for the feast day with Mikayla.

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The kids marching in for the mass in celebration of Mother Cabrini.

Mikayla and I got to go see the Queen Mother.

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We also took some pictures of the whole Cabrini staff.

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I hosted lots of baking classes with some of the high school students.  We made anything from pancakes to cookies to cakes to pizza.  It was a lot of fun getting to know the kids better and sharing with them my love for baking.  I think they enjoyed eating everything the most!  They also enjoyed taking lots of pictures of themselves!

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Played with sidewalk chalk a lot and enjoyed eating fresh mangos from our yard.  She is becoming quite the little artist!

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We hosted Thanksgiving for 20+ of our staff members.  People were coming and going all afternoon and evening.  It was fun, but I will say I slept really well that evening!

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The Feast!

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We had each of our guest complete a leaf for our Thankful tree.  It was quite full when everyone left!

During school time Mikayla wrote a really cool story in her journal.  See if you can figure out what it was about!  She has also been doing some great artwork in her journal.

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We let Mikayla decorate our Christmas tree.  She was really into Christmas this year and enjoyed every aspect of it.  She is actually still celebrating.  Today (December 30) she wrote a letter to Santa!

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We did lots of fun family activities as part of our Christmas countdown.  Including making salt dough ornaments, gingerbread cookies, and crafts!

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Making salt dough ornaments.

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Gingerbread cookies!

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I baked over 500 cookies and popped popcorn for 150 as part of the hostel Christmas party.

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We turned an old nightstand into a doll house for Mikayla’s Christmas gift.  I am pretty sure she loves it!

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We packed up the car (including our tree this year) and headed to Nelspruit, South Africa for a week long vacation and the Christmas holiday.  We ate a lot and relaxed even more!

We made cinnamon rolls…can’t have Christmas without them!

We took our traditional Christmas jammies pictures with cocoa!

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We headed to Kruger Park with the Sister Barbara and Sister Diane for a little game drive.  We saw a lot including elephants, zebras, giraffe, leopard, hyenas, monkeys, a really cool chameleon and lots of others.  It was rainy and muddy, but we still had fun.  Mikayla even got to use her adventure pack her grandparents got her for Christmas!

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We Skyped and chatted with a lot of family and friends.

We went to the doctor and found out I was pregnant!  Baby Kickert #2 is due July 4th!

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We rang in the new year with our friends Peter and Callista and their daughter Aviva.  I hope to get back to doing our weekly updates soon.