Posts Tagged ‘Family’

My Pops

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014


I think this picture says it all.  Pops with a smile
on his face while hanging out with his family.

My pops, my dad’s dad was a great man!  He was always full of laughter and fun.  He was also quite the jokester.   The world lost a wonderful man when he passed away this morning.

A few years ago he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a terrible disease, that took him away from us mentally before he was physically gone.  I have had time over the last few years to reflect on his life and what a wonderful man he truly was.

I wanted to share some of the great and funny things he would do with his grandkids to show them how much he cared.

When I was a kid my siblings and I would often head to his house for weeks at a time in the summer to hang out.  In the back of his house, both in North Carolina and Kentucky he had a small wooded section.  We would play back there and collect firewood for camp fires.  Many summer evenings were filled with sitting around the fire.  He also always had a garden.  I remember how he would go to the garden and pick green onions and munch on them while harvesting the rest of the veggies. 


I have been very fortunate to spend time with both sets of grandparents in my life as well as most of great grandparents.

When you would yawn and he was nearby, he would immediately stick his finger in your mouth!  A terrible trick, but so funny at the same time.

If he was sitting next to you during a meal he would ask if you had ever played motorboat.  Then he would proceed to stick his finger in your food, wiggle it around and say motorboat, motorboat, motorboat!

He would often grab your nose and ask, "Want that any longer?" If you answered yes, he would respond with, "how long?" and pull your nose.  If you answered no, he would respond with, "well then I will take it" and pull your nose.  It was a lose, lose situation for you and a win, win situation for him.

A classic riddle he would do was the two birds named Pete and Repeat.  It went like this:  There were two birds sitting on a fence, one named Pete and the other Repeat.  Pete flew away, so who was left.  We would immediately say repeat, at which point he would start from the beginning.  It was an endless cycle!

Pops was always finding money.  Everywhere we went he was looking on the ground and in machines (pay phones, quarter candy machines, vending machines, etc).  And it never failed, he always found something.

Pops taught me everything I know about people watching.  He could sit and watch folks for hours!

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Saying goodbye to Pops before our big move to Africa.

Playing school was another of his favorite games.  This is a hard one to describe in writing, but I will try.  He would have you fold your hands together and then complete various "school" tasks.  Such as, spelling, math and even music.  When it came time for music he would squeeze your hands hard and when you yelled he said it was singing!

My Pops always worked at the newspaper.  I remember many days making the trip to the office with him to see how things operated!

If you haven’t noticed I love to take tree pics with my kiddos, this is yet another thing I get from my Pops (in combination with my Grandma of course)! 

My pops was a wonderful man and these are just a few of the many things he did to make his children and grandchildren smile!

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Pops with his great granddaughter, Mikayla. 
He loved all his grandkids and great grandkids.

Posted in Life |

Max in a Tree

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

The Adkins side of my family has a tradition with taking pictures in trees (You may have caught on to this from past posts).  Max is still a little young to be sitting in a tree on his own, but we tried our luck last night and came up with a couple of decent shots. 

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Look mom, I’m flying!

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And a little scared!

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What, you don’t hang out in a tree everyday?


Max’s Banner

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

A few months ago we asked some close friends and family to help us put together a decoration for the kids room.  Each person was asked to create a pendant to hang.  It could be made from anything and in any design.  The whole idea is that we wanted those closest to us to be a part of his room.  After all, it takes a village to raise a child, right?  We did a similar thing with Mikayla when she was a baby, but we used wooden elephants.  Here is a picture of a few of them because apparently I never blogged about it!

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Here is the "finished" version.  And I use finished loosely because we are still waiting for some and the hope is that it will be constantly added to over the years!

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MAX was made by the three of us.  M was Mikayla, A myself and X was all Ben (it is hard to tell here but it is a treasure map where X marks the spot).

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Mikayla wanted to make a separate banner to hang.

And there you go.  Our little village in the bush of Swaziland!

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Posted in Life |

Like Father, Like Son

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Does anyone else see the resemblance?


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Posted in Life, Parenting |

September Update

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

The month of September flew by!  Playing dress up, preschool, snuggles, working and nursing is how we spent most of our month!

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A little early in the morning for Mikayla, but Max is loving his sisters snuggles!

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Dress up fun!!  (Sorry Ben and Katie, hope you don’t mind.)  This is Ben’s version of what a prince would look like, complete with a "baby" stick horse…

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Early morning "burrito" snuggles!!

We started back our preschool routine the second week of September.  Mikayla is doing so good!  I have started using the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  It is similar to Reading Mastery, which I used when I taught at T. C. Cherry.  It took her a couple of lessons to get into it, but now she is loving it and wants to sound out everything!  Even make believe words.  Often at dinner she will "spell" words for us and then have us sound them out and say them fast.  I am also using some of the pieces from the K4 curriculum that Confessions of a Homeschooler created.  The rest of our curriculum I am just piecing together.  We end up spending about 1-1.5 hours a day, four days a week on preschool time.  We also have two art therapy volunteers here completing an internship so they are each coming down once a week for an art class with Mikayla.  It is a combination of visual arts and dance arts.  And Katie has started a yoga class with Mikayla a couple nights a week (whenever we can squeeze it in between bath and bed)!  She is loving it all!

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It is that season of the year when the sugar cane around our area is being burned (it is a 10-11 month cycle).  Mikayla gets excited each time she sees the big burns.  And just for the record, she still refers to the ash as black snow!

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Sugar cane being burned at night.  The picture does not do the flames justice.  They can get up to 60 feet high!

Along with sugar cane season comes the hot snake season!  We have seen a couple around our house already this year.  One was a spitting cobra in the banana fields, a mamba by the office and a speckled bush snake (not poisonous) in a mango tree in our yard.  There have been a lot of spiders this season already and mosquitoes are out in full force!  Poor Max gets bit on his face every once in awhile.

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Can you spot the green snake??

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What about now??

Ben and Mikayla took a father/daughter bush walk to take pictures towards the beginning of the month.  You can see some of them here.  Speaking of pictures, Joe’s dad was in town for a few weeks and he was so kind to take some family pictures for us.  There is an album here on FB, but I will also include a couple of the shots for your preview in case you missed them.






I got brave and drove a group of us ladies (and Max) to Ezulwini (about 1.5 hours away) for a day of shopping and eating.  It was a fun day and a much needed day off the mission.  Max was a trooper and slept most of the time we shopped.

Finally, the bananas are starting to ripen.  Won’t be long before we will have so many bananas around the mission we won’t know what to do with them!!

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Posted in Life |

This Week’s Happenings May 1-12

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

For the last couple of weeks I have been part of the planning committee for our term break camps.  Each school break the kids that stay at the hostel return home to be with their families.  Periodically during these breaks we will bring those that are 15 years and older back to the hostel for a fun filled camp.  The camps consist of sports, guest speakers, life skills training and much more!  Last week was our camp for this school break and it kept me super busy!  Mikayla and I would leave the house each morning and not return until supper or later!!  I was the "behind the scenes girl".  I did not have a super specific role, but floated around and helped to fill in the gaps where needed.  I was on my feet a lot and running around, which made me super tired!  Not sure how I taught kindergarten right up until Mikayla was born!!

Part of the camp was a mural project.  We took the theme "Live Your Best Life" and had each group (there were four) complete one of the words in the theme on a large board.  The kids spent the first day brainstorming, then Ben took their ideas and created the designs.  I then projected them onto the board and traced them. The kids took over after this painting and filling in with additional thoughts and ideas.  I think they turned out pretty good for their first big art project.  Thanks to all my time at Kaleidoscope I was able to help get this project completed!!

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Another highlight from the camp week was the Cabrini staff vs. Camp kids soccer match.  It was quite entertaining and actually a really well matched game (with the exception of a couple of out of shape gentlemen)!  Here are a couple of shots from the game. Oh and the kids won (1-0) in overtime!!

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Staff in blue, kids in green.  Anyone notice something out of place in this picture?

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We spent the weekend recuperating from camp and relaxing!  I had a fabulous Mother’s Day where Ben and Mikayla let e watch movies and relax on the couch all day.  They served me food and wouldn’t let me lift a finger!  Just what this momma needed!  Love my family.

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Posted in Life, Work |

This Week’s Happenings–April Update

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Besides Easter and a very special fourth birthday (stay tuned for a separate post on this one), April was a pretty routine month for us.  Ben worked, Mikayla and I had school and hung out at the hostel and we enjoyed time as a family!  After our month of visitors in March, we enjoyed some quiet down time as a family. 

I was also able to take a mini trip to Mozambique with Joe and Scooter for a weekend, while Ben stayed home with Mikayla.  It was a nice weekend.  We hit up the craft and fabric shops, some of my favorite places to go!!  I got lots of fun fabrics, purses and other small items to add to my collection.  We also visited a fish market and had a delicious lunch of crab, prawns, calamari and some sort of fish.  It was nice to get away for the weekend, but I was glad to get back home with my family when it was over. 

Below are some pictures from our month.

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Mikayla dyed Easter eggs this year.  All the eggs are brown, so it was a little tricky.  She enjoyed every minute of it and asked frequently afterwards when we were going to to dye more.

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Dansile, a child staying short term at the hostel, even got in on the action with the help of Scooter.  Scooter was with Cabrini as a volunteer for a few months and really latched on to taking care of Dansile.  We were even able to have a slumber party with Dansile one night when the kids at the hostel were gone and Scooter had prior commitments. 

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Hunting for eggs.  She was so cute and excited each time she found one!

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Mikayla and Ben had a "tea party date" one day. They both dressed up and had tea in her room while I showered and relaxed!  Please take note of Ben’s tie, this is how everyone here wears them…about a foot too short!

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For school one day Mikayla got to experience shaving cream.  She loved exploring it, writing letters and drawing pictures!  She has even enjoyed playing with it in the shower since then!

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This is a picture we forgot to post while the Steve and Rita were here for a visit.

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This picture is for Meghan, Ben’s cousin.  She made the necklace for Mikayla as a birthday gift.  Mikayla was being too silly to get a good picture, but says thanks for the beautiful necklace.

May is already shaping up to be a busy month for us, but more on that later!


This Week’s Happenings–March 1-27

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Well, another few weeks have flown by with no update from me.  I have a good reason though.  One, Ben was out of the country (in Ethiopia) for one of those weeks and then his parents have been here for the others.  We have a down day at the mission today with no traveling so I thought I would take advantage and do some blogging!  Here are some quick recaps of what we have been up to.

Ben traveled to Ethiopia for a week to do some visiting and information gathering of the Catholic mission they have there.  He also had an overnight layover in Dubai where he explored the city.  He came back very excited about his time and wants to take us there one day!  Anyone want to meet us?Mikayla and I stayed in Swaziland and had fun working on some Dr. Seuss stuff.  Check it out here (it isn’t an exhaustive list of what we did, just what I managed to take pictures of).

Ben got back home and we had a day to recoup before his parents arrived.

Ben’s parents arrived and we have spent the last 2.5 weeks showing them around this part of the world.  It has been a whirlwind.

We started the tour with some stops around Swaziland including Execution Rock (in Mlilwane Park) and a visit to the Mantenga Cultural Village.   We also visited Malolotja Park for some beautiful scenery and a pretty intensive hike for a lady who is 25 weeks pregnant!

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Then we packed our bags and headed toward South Africa.  Our first stop here was Blyde River Canyon.  We had a great day, despite the fact that we had some car trouble.

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I find this picture really hilarious!  Between Ben showing off his thigh and Rita’s face…classic Kickert pose!

The next two days were spent in Kruger National Park where we got to see all kinds of fun wildlife!  The highlights of the trip would have to be seeing six cheetahs that walked right up to our car and hung out for a bit (check out the video here) and an elephant knocking over a tree with his trunk (video can be viewed here)!  Both were pretty incredible.  Ben, Steve and myself took advantage of our overnight in the park (which by the way was amazing), and participated in a night drive.  I would highly recommend taking one if you ever find yourself with the opportunity! It was also our first trip where we were able to see all of the Big Five in one day!  (More pictures can be found here on my FB page).

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While in South Africa I was also able to get my hair cut.  (It was no Ali Townsend cut, but at least it is even, unlike my last African cut).  We also visited the Botanical Gardens in Nelspruit.

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We headed back to the mission long enough to sleep and repack for our beach trip to St. Lucia.  Mikayla absolutely loved the beach!  Unfortunately, I don’t think we took a single picture while we were there (the pictures below are from Steve’s camera that died shortly after arrival)!  She played so hard in the water and sand, and even wanted to continue playing after a minor run in with a jellyfish!  What a trooper.


We went to two different beaches, unfortunately we only managed to take pictures on the uglier of the two!



We picked up a pig for our pig roast/princess birthday (read the full party details here).  Since we were heading back from St. Lucia and had stopped at the grocery on the way, we were a little limited on space.  So, Mikayla got to ride on my lap and the pig in her car seat for the 45 minute drive home!  I don’t think Rita was too thrilled to be sitting next to a dead pig, but she was a trooper!

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Saturday and Sunday were spent prepping for the big party, and then celebrating on Sunday afternoon.  I think everyone had a good time. 

The next few days were down days at the mission, a couple quick stops in town and then the Kickerts start their journey back to the states bright and early tomorrow morning.

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Mikayla went on an adventure with her grandpa one morning while we were prepping for the party.  She saw all kinds of fun things!

It has been a jam packed couple of weeks.  I have enjoyed all the visitors, but I am ready to be back into a normal routine!  Easter is this weekend and I think the plan is just to take it easy at home and maybe have a special dinner!


Mikayla’s 4th Birthday, Princess style!

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

I know what you are thinking, Mikayla’s birthday isn’t until April 28.  Well, you are right.  It’s not.  However, with Rita and Steve being around, we thought that it might be fun to have Mikayla’s party early so they could celebrate with us.  So we decided to join together and have a joint birthday celebration for Mikayla (turning 4), myself (turned 30) and Sister Diane (turned 70).  We had a pig roast with lots of sides, and a princess party on the side.  I was pretty pleased with how it turned out.  And I think everyone enjoyed themselves, even if we did forget to play our princess party games!  Here is a picture view from the party.

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Me and my birthday princess.  How in the world did she get so girly?

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Seriously, she was so excited and so cute!

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Princess Joe

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Scooter and the birthday princess

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And here is the food spread!

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Tea cups were made with round cookies for the plate, marshmallows with icing dipped into small sprinkles for the cup, broken pretzels for the handles and candy hearts for the cookies.  Also pictured are the princess cookies she gave as a thank you gift.

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Baked beans not pictured because they were still being cooked!

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Managed to find the cutest star shaped pasta for Joe to make this salad with!

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The cake…I don’t know who was more excited about how it came out, me or Mikayla!

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The princess chair

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This is probably my favorite picture from the day.  She just looks so cute!

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Her grandparents got her a pop up tent for her birthday, how perfect!

All in all I would say it was a success!  Mikayla had fun which is the most important part.  We will have a small "party" on her actual birthday with just us, where she will open all of her gifts that folks sent via Rita and Steve and her gift from us!  Nothing like extending our birthday celebrations for a month!

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Posted in Parenting |

Big Announcement

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

In August of 2008 we found out we were pregnant with Mikayla.  In October of 2012 we found out we were pregnant with our second baby.  Baby Kickert #2 is due on July 4, 2013.  Mikayla is excited to be a big sister and even got to join us for the first ultrasound!  We will post more details soon.

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Posted in Parenting |