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Posts Tagged ‘Mikayla’

Mikayla and Daddy go on a Photo Walk

September 14th, 2013 2 comments

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We are about to start a very busy month here at Cabrini.  We have a Medical Team coming in from Australia next week.  We close out a grant year at the end of September.  All of our major annual programming reports are due in the first couple weeks of October. And, we have a quarterly board meeting along with a strategic planning session scheduled.  On top of all that, we are doing a major database upgrade that includes launching a new system to keep up with all of our recent work in Social Services.  Needless to say, my spare time is going to be limited and my stress level will probably be a bit higher.

In light of the upcoming weeks, I wanted to make sure I spent some intentional time with Beth, Mikayla and Max.  So today, while Beth and Max were at a meeting, Mikayla and I went out into the bush behind our house to do a "Photo Walk." 

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Mikayla’s ability to actually compose a picture in the viewfinder has only developed in the last couple weeks.  Before that, she would just indiscriminately press the shudder button regardless of what the camera was actually point out.  Considering that, her skills now are pretty impressive.  All of the pictures below came from Mikayla.  Not to shabby at all if you ask me.  I think some of her flower pictures are amazing by anyone’s standard!

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Categories: Family Tags: , , ,

Family Pictures

July 5th, 2013 No comments

UPDATE: I made this blog post into a page so I can add more pictures along the way.  Please visit http://kickert.info/blog/pics/ to access the new pictures.

I wanted to upload a few high resolution photos in case people in the states wanted to get them printed.  You will need to click on the ones you want to get the full size image and then save it and get it printed where ever is easiest.

Let me know if there are others you have seen on facebook that you would like uploaded.

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Categories: Family Tags: , , ,

Video Dump

March 8th, 2012 No comments

Due to our poor internet, we rarely get the chance to upload videos.  So, here are three that we have had in waiting.

First up is Mikayla showing off her "Boing-a-hopping"

 

Next up we have Mikayla and I running away from the waves at Mission Rock during our trip to St. Lucia, South Africa:

 

Then, here is a video of Mikayla "reading" a book.  Technically she has it memorized from the Kindle, but I thought it was pretty impressive none-the-less:

 

And finally… just because I can, here are a couple of my favorite videos of Mikayla:

 

Categories: Family Tags: , , , , ,

Bush Walk: Then and Now

November 5th, 2011 4 comments

Let me start by saying that I extremely jealous of those of you who are experiencing Autumn in Kentucky.  It has always been my favorite time of year: The color in the leaves, the brisk fall weather, being bundled up around campfires, college football on TV.

While it isn’t a typical October/November for us, the seasons in Swaziland are certainly changing.  About 2 months ago we took a walk through the bush behind our house.  At the time, it was the tail end of Winter (our dry season).  But now, the wet (hot) season is fast approaching.  We have had several heavy rains, many 100+ degree days, the mangos are growing on the trees and everything is turning green.

We took another walk through the bush today and even though I have been observant to the changes, I was amazed at how much things had changed.  Take a look for yourself:

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Then…

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… now

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Then…

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…and now.

Of course some things don’t change.  I still have the most beautiful daughter and I wife that I enjoy every minute with.

On this particular trip, we walked quite a bit further until we reached a nearby river.  Beth mentioned last week on her blog how much we love the cattle egrets that fly around here.  Well today there were tons of them out.  Here are a couple quick picture of some we saw:

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We also saw some more "interesting" forms of life.  Check out this video of a dung beetle:

 

Unlike last time where Mikayla got tuckered out pretty quickly, she was a trooper the whole time on this trip.  Here is a final picture of her leading us home:

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She is tough and cute… and she knows it!

Feast or Famine // Bush Walk

September 11th, 2011 1 comment

Activity here in St. Phillips, Swaziland tends to come as either feast or famine: either there is a chaotic rush of things that need to be done, or there is absolutely nothing going on.  That not only applies to the work of the mission, but also to weekends.

My Saturday started at 6:30am (sleeping in for us) so we could get the twins ready to return to their homestead.  Then I had about a 45 minute round trip commute to drop them off.  Most of the day for Beth Mikayla and I ran was comprised of a trip into town to look at a potential vehicle to purchase.  During the day we purchased beds for the hostel, visited a home improvement store (which was a huge find for us!), met a family from the US, test drove a vehicle, stopped for lunch, found our mechanic was gone for the day so the whole trip was a bit fruitless, drove to the entrance of a game park (and saw impalas), returned the vehicle, went shopping at a new grocery store (also a big deal!), and picked up pizza.  Reviewing the day’s accomplishments though, we had to admit that all we achieved was purchasing a few things (most notably a hand-held shower head!), eating pizza, and spending 6-7 hours in single cab truck to do it.   Eish… even our days off are busy.

To compensate, we have tried to "achieve" a lazy Sunday here on the mission.  Sure, I have a few hours of work to do (Annual Progress Report for PEPFAR – US tax dollars at work), but most of the time has been just hanging out, eating, making cookies, playing wii, and a family walk through the bush near our house. 

Since busy work does not make for interesting photo ops, I wanted to post a few pictures from our Bush Walk:

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Mikayla posing in front of some season flowers along the road.

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And a picture with Mommy.

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Mikayla riding up high…

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… and riding not-so-high.

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Following trails through the open…

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… and through the brushy.

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Tree picture with Daddy.

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All tuckered out on the way home.

Categories: Family, Swaziland Tags: , , , , ,

My Daughter, the SuperStar

August 20th, 2011 1 comment

We are at about the one month point since our big move (depending on how you count it).  And while in general things have gone very smoothly, there is one area that has been especially impressive: Mikayla’s reaction to the transition.

We have known since early on in our daughter’s life that she was pretty special; she is incredibly good natured, adjusts well to change, and is always happy.  But, we knew this move of 9,000 miles, 7 time zones, and two hemispheres might be a bit much.  However, Mikayla has never waivered.  She has been happy, and spunky, and open to change, and has taken everything in stride.

Just think all that she has been through in the last 2-3 month.  She has:

  • Seen all of the furniture in her house slowly dismantled and given away.
  • Had nearly all of her toys given away or sold.
  • Moved out of the only house she has ever known into a borrowed room.
  • Had the few possessions she still owns packed, unpacked, and repacked countless times.
  • Put up with parents who were stressed, sad, anxious and excited.
  • Endured trips all over as we tried to cram in last minute visits.
  • Had her sleep routine totally disrupted.
  • Said to goodbye to all her family and friends.
  • Taken 72 hours to move across the world.
  • Flown on three planes for over 25 hours of flight time.
  • Been drug through more airport terminals than we can count.
  • Had to sleep in front of a ticket counter because we missed our flight.
  • Put up with her parents as they stressed about their travel plans.
  • Moved into a third home in less than two months.
  • Gone from a crib to a toddler bed to a mattress on the floor to a couch to a twin bed and back to a mattress on the floor.
  • Had to travel over an hour for any "quick trips into town."
  • Lost access to things like parks and play areas.
  • Been mobbed by kids twice her size because they are so interested in her.
  • Tried to figure out why everyone speaks funny.
  • Been kicked out of church (twice) and Sunday School.
  • Had to get used to her Dad working again and her Mom being home.
  • Traded the family dog for two new mission dogs.
  • Had two new family members introduced (the twins).
  • Been forced to share attention, food, and toys with these new kids.
  • Been kicked out of her room again.
  • Had to get used to taking showers instead baths.
  • And, has made all new  friends.

Yet, in spite of all these changes and struggles, Mikayla is still the same resilient, cheerful child she has always been.  She has not skipped a beat, has barely shown any jealousy and hasn’t even been cranky.  All of that is a lot for anyone to go through, let alone a two-year old.  Forget the "Terrible Twos," Mikayla has demonstrated the "Terrific Twos"… and did I mention she was a SuperStar.  I am pretty sure she has handled the transition better than we have!

Categories: Family Tags: , , ,

Crunch Time

June 23rd, 2011 2 comments

We are down to less than month before we depart for Swaziland and things have been alternating between hectic and laid back.  One one hand we have a lot to get done before we leave, but on the other hand we have been able to enjoy some great relaxing time with friends and family.  Here is our time frame:

June 27 – We want to be out of our house and have it completely prepped for our new renter.  We are in the process of painting, cleaning, moving, etc.  Lots to do in the short term to get that ready.  On the plus side, we are very excited about the tenant who is moving in.  Seems like a very nice guy who wants to stay a while.  Great for both of us.

June 28 / 29 – Head to Somerset to spend some time with Beth’s family.  We will see them again, but this will be our last formal trip that direction.

July 1-3 – Camping with Friends in the Big South Fork.  Again, it won’t be our last time with them, but it will be the last big trip we take in the States for a while.

July 5ish – Catherine and Dave Altmaier are coming through town so we will get a chance to connect with them (Catherine was just in town for a couple days and it was great to catch up.)

July 14-17ish– Spend time with both sides of my family.  First in Western Kentucky (and perhaps elsewhere) and then at Kentucky Lake with my Chicago family.  We ended up pushing back our departure date to make sure we could see everyone.

July 18 – Casual day with friends.  Basically we are planning on just relaxing and enjoying our time with friends the day before we leave.

July 19 – Departure at 5:00 from Nashville.  We are planning on having our immediate family there for the final send off.

July 21 – Arrive is Swaziland.

As you can see, things are getting pretty tight.  In all reality, the only days we have truly free between now and when we leave is the week and a half or so between the Altmaiers coming heading to spend time with our family.  So… if you want to catch up with us before we leave, those are days to make it happen.

In other news, we were able to talk with the Sisters at Cabrini the other day and they are super excited to have us come.  Should be a great environment to be moving into.  Also, they informed us they will be upgrading our housing.  The duplex we were slated to stay in would have been fine for us.  The common areas were a bit small and it lacked a few amenities and was a bit rougher.  But, the new place is excellent.  A good bit more room (especially in the kitchen and living room), better yard / porch with great privacy and shade.  It has ceiling fans and mango trees in the front yard.  I have included a video a previous resident shot while he was staying there.

 

And then, totally unrelated… here is a picture of my always cute daughter:

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Hiking at Shanty Hollow with Mikayla

May 18th, 2011 No comments

The day started out cold and dreary – unseasonably so for mid-May in Kentucky.  It would have been easy to stay inside and waste the day watching TV and surfing the internet.  But, Mikayla and I had plans and we weren’t going to let the weather affect us.  We decided to go hiking at a small lake in northern Warren County called Shanty Hollow (a popular climbing spot for locals).

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Ran into a guy I went to college with and he snapped a few pictures for us.

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Our destination was the waterfall.  Mikayla enjoyed it, but had much more fun just throwing rocks in the water.

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Many people know about the waterfall, but don’t take the time to follow the creek down where it cuts through the rock and makes a very cool ravine.

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We then hiked out along the creek bed, stopping every 100 feet or so for Mikayla to throw more rocks into the water.  Although it was a bit cool and a bit wet, it ended up being a great morning to be out.  Here is a video of Mikayla throwing rocks!

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Here is Mikayla’s tough girl look.  She picked some honey-suckles and then wanted to walk the last quarter mile on her own (up until then she had mostly ridden on my  back).

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Our last stop was the lake shore… where of course she entertained herself by throwing more rocks.  She also found a hawk feather laying on the trail.

Overall it was a great morning that served as a simple reminder of the joys of getting off your butt and into nature.  I figure we had better enjoy the cold, wet weather, because the next several years won’t have much of it!

Mikayla’s Name

October 28th, 2010 No comments

Today is Mikayla’s 18 month birthday.  A lot has happened in the last year and a half and I could not imagine how we could have been more blessed by her.  Having this mile marker come, coupled with the fact that she is learning her letters and I have been going through my old Hebrew textbooks has me reflecting on the origins of her name.

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[Mikayla Lillian Kickert about to leave the hospital]

Many of you know the subtle nuances we chose to include when naming our daughter Mikayla Lillian Kickert.  First, Lillian is her great grand-mother’s name – a woman my wife greatly respected (Obviously the "Kickert" part came from me and my family).  We chose Mikayla for several reasons.  Most importantly we want to pay tribute to one of my heroes – Martin Luther King Jr. – by  giving her the initials MLK.  (I wonder how many white girls are named after King?).  But the name Mikayla also carries with it special meaning.

Traditionally "Mikayla" is said to mean "a godly woman."  It is a feminine derivative of the name Michael and has its origins in the Hebrew language:

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We just happened to be thinking through baby names while I was taking several Hebrew courses at seminary and because of that I was able to recognize there is actually another way to translate "Mikayla."  It can also mean "who is like these":

mikayla-like_these Considering her initials point to a civil rights hero and her other names come from highly regarded family members, this reading carries extra weight.  Whether we use it to refer to a godly woman or to a person who is like "these" influential people, we are projecting a sincere desire that our daughter grow up as a person whom others would want to emulate.

Words are powerful and names (usually) last a lifetime.  18 months ago we were intentional about choosing our daughter’s name so that she would always be reminded of godly people who are willing and able to change the world.

Happy half-birthday Mikayla.

Where did the month go?

October 26th, 2010 No comments

…I guess the real question should be "Where have I been?"

The month of October has been a blur for the Kickerts. 

At the beginning of the month we took a quick trip to Colorado and Utah as a family.  It was the first real vacation Beth and I have taken since we went to DC back in 2005.  It was also Mikayla’s first flight (we used it as a bit of a test run for the 22 hour plane ride coming up for us in July).

We flew into Denver and spent the day at the Children’s Museum.  Later that day we walked around downtown and tracked down some ice cream.  The next day we visited a cool place called the Butterfly Pavilion and headed up to Fort Collins.  Once our "city trips" were done we headed to Rocky Mountain National Park and then the next day traveled to Moab Utah and hiked around Arches National Park.

Right after returning to Kentucky I got back in the car and took a "quick" trip up to Northern Wisconsin / Upper Peninsula of Michigan to visit with my parents who just moved there.  While we didn’t have much planned, we did visit the "mysterious" Paulding Lights and did quite a bit of paddling on the small lakes up there.

On top of all the travelling, we have been making some big personnel adjustments at work and I have been prepping for our annual charge conference at church.

It seems the month just started, but it is already over.  On Friday we will have our annual Halloween Bash and then we will moving into November.

It is crazy to think how quick months go by, especially since we only have 9 more until we leave the states for a decade or so.  C’est la vie.

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Mikayla at the Children’s Museum

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Beth and Mikayla at the Butterfly Pavilion

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Foggy day at Dream lake in ROMO

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Along the Trail Ridge Road in ROMO

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At Delicate Arch in Arches NP

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Paddling in the Sylvania Wilderness Area

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