Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Catching up on birthdays

Since we were moving two weeks before Sierra's birthday we had an early pool party/ mini birthday celebration for Sierra.  In the month before we moved we had a few pool parties.  Part of this moving process has opened my eyes a bit.  We'd wanted to have a lot of gatherings after the pool went in but kept waiting until it was "perfect".  Sadly, we moved before things were perfect.  I wish we would have just bit the bullet and had all of the parties that we wanted despite any "flaws" that we saw.  Sigh.
Anyway, Sierra had quite the group of friends over for her celebration.  They had a blast!  So much fun to watch them be silly together!

Love this one!

Sierra's actual birthday at our apartment.  She was too tired to "bust into a new year".  It was more like a stroll.

She had a couple of friends over for a small celebration
I'm not going to lie... it's hard to look at the pictures of our old house.  I miss the house, the land, the chickens, the pool.  I miss watching the girls play with abandon in the pool, not worrying about who might see them (Sierra's hang-up).  I miss our open living room. wall full of windows, and the fireplace.  I know that some of this is being cooped up in this apartment while half of our belongings are in town.  I'm sure it will be better when we our own house.  And I know that we made the right choice to move for so many reasons.  I just need to focus on those reasons and this view...

Off our balcony
I struggled with what to do for Laurel's birthday.  In the spirit of biting the bullet, I went ahead and had her party here in our tiny apartment.  I realize it's not that small, but when you get 15 excited girls in here... it sure feels like it!  Her obsession with "Teen Beach Movie" gave me an easy theme.
The cake

Congo line to the soundtrack

Pin the flower on the surf board

After decorating picture frames they watched the movie
I had thought that they would all settle down when they watched the movie.  It was great for about 30 minutes.  Then, half the girls wanted to sing and dance during the musical parts and the others wanted them to be quiet.  So... they all got a little rowdy by the end.  Laurel had fun, though, and I think most of her guests did too.  I'm glad that I bit the bullet and had her party here.  It reminded me why I'll have parties at venues other than our house for the next few years!

Late night fun!

The grandparents came for a birthday celebration too (and Laurel got her precious Saige doll)
Laurel asked for cat donations for the animal shelter instead of gifts from her friends at her birthday party (in memory of Rummy).  The parents  kids were so generous!  We took the items to the shelter and were able to watch some of the cats play with the toys.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Uganda - the signs

There were so many signs unique to the country that they deserve their own post!  Some funny, some scary, and some very proactive for the country and it's people.
Posted in the hospital.  The picture made me crack up!

On top of the sign is one of "storks"

One of those storks. Gross!  But there were signs for paint everywhere.  I wondered if the businesses got props for advertising.

In the grocery store


On our tour by Jinja.  Beyond curious to know why!

Our own sign, but funny nonetheless.  Kermit holding the ECHO machine hostage.

These were paintings in the pediatric ward

Was this meant to be comforting?!  I can only imagine the uprising if this was on our wall at work!

Kampala is fairly progressive in their effort for HIV prevention
(on a funny note, Sierra saw this picture and asked if those were pacifiers!)


One of the scarier signs
This land is not 4 sale!

Kampala, Uganda - the place

The sights, sounds, and smells of Kampala, Uganda were overwhelming.  So much to see and so little time to take it all in.  Below are some of my favorite pictures from my trip.  I've been scrambling to find some that were copied to a disc that my friend took during our tour to Jinja, but it's apparently buried in a box somewhere.  I'm sure I'll find it in 2014!
Love the clothes and the balancing skills

This was across the street from the hospital

One of the markets.  I found out after my first trip to the market that the women are offended if you don't barter with them.  Everything was so inexpensive that I felt guilty talking them down.  I tried to change my ways for the rest of the trip.  I think that the amount of things that I bought negated any bargain that I scored!

It's hard to tell what they are doing from this distance (this was about the time that I realized my lens was broken... grrr!).  That is a tea field.  They are cutting the grass/tea.  With machetes.

It wasn't until I got home that I saw this picture.  I took quite a few photos from our vehicle, but this was the only the one a reflection of my "Live Alyssa Live" bracelet.  It took my breath away to see it in this photo of a church.
These boys were sliding down a hill on a piece of tree bark.  When they saw us they asked if they could sing a song for us!  Wish I'd had video!

The differences in so many of the homes and businesses was very interesting.

This was at the entrance to Jinja (the beginning of the Nile River).  Notice the difference in "A Ugandan adult"  and "The rest of the world"!

Monkeys all around

One of the sources of the Nile.  So cool that I got to put my feet in it!  It was very tame since they damned it a few years prior.

Construction site with sticks for support

Chicken anyone?  He delivers!

Some things are universal

The hotel pool

The hospital courtyard

The Ugandan nurses gave us tribal names.  Mine was "Birungi" which I was told meant "Beautiful" and "It's all good"

Touring the hospital this nurse told me she was from the Birungi tribe

Our favorites after a long day!

We promised the director that we would ride on a boda-boda, but I had to get my picture on one

The nursing team

Our last day we went to visit a chimpanzee sanctuary

Loved these birds and their nests

We toured during a feeding time

This guy was just ready to catch some fruit!

These are smart animals!

A few more buildings on our way to the airport

Necessities... Nile special and bug repellent

These holes were everywhere.  Made it a little scary walking at night.  I'm totally curious as to how many people fall into the "water" 6 feet below.

Action shot of Jen and I on the boat ride from the chimp sanctuary