Oral Hygiene

Now that Maggie has 4 teeth (the 2 bottom middle and the 2 top left), we've decided that oral hygiene teaching should begin. So far, she's taken well to it, and we hope she's inherited Mommy's teeth instead of Daddy's.


Family of Four

For all of you out there wondering when we were going to have another baby, the time is now! Or March, rather. Rachel is currently almost 12 weeks pregnant with baby #2. The parent to child ratio is about to change. So far, she's been feeling fine and all has been well. We are really excited that 2 OB friends of hers are coming to Tenwek for nine months starting in September, so they will be around to help out with the delivery.

This continues our goal of having all of our children in different countries and trying to gain them some dual citizenship. Really, it's all for the sake of icebreakers when they're starting college, and you have to stand up and say your name and something interesting about yourself.... “I was born in Kenya” is always a good conversation starter. :) Maggie likes to point at Mommy's tummy, but I don't think she gets the baby in the tummy concept yet. I'm sure she will be a great big sister! The best part of all of this news is that Eric's younger sister Sami is due the same day as Rachel, with her first. It's fun to share this with them, even though we're so far apart.

(these are actually Maggie's fingers, but I'm sure #2's fingers look quite similar)



Several weeks ago, Rachel spent the evening making some truly delicious lemon poppyseed scones. They were to be for breakfast. We were apparently not the only ones to come to that conclusion. In the morning, we woke up, and found this picture. One or two had been thoroughly nibbled. In the background, the window was open.

The significance of the window is that we don't have any screens, and most of the days our two doors stay open all day long. Thus, unless the open window and the devoured scones were a coincidence, the perpetrator was likely something biggish. I'm going to go with bird. It's not the only option, but it is the most comfortable one.

On another "critter" note, you may recall that we keep a pet gecko, named Kiboko Kidogo, or "little hippo". In truth, we keep a number of geckos, since our windows and doors don't close solidly enough to prevent a fluid coming and going of such sneakers, and we can't tell them apart. This is one of the Kibokos below.
Well, apparently roosting at our place has its perils. Yesterday, I opened the door to the back hallway. I noticed a little bulge at the intersection of the door and the wall, near the hinges. It appears that one of our Kibokos slid into the seam of the door at precisely the wrong time, when someone decided to close it. He was stuck. And flat. Very, very flat. And therefore not so much in the land of the living anymore, either. Rest in peace, little hippo.


Unexpected Advert

As many readers may know, Facebook has little advertisements on the side, tailored to some piece of information gleaned about you from your online activity. We have been getting this one:

"Are u single and desire to marry this year? Attend this Powerful Marriage Seminar with Pastor Chris at KICC Nairobi. Click for details..."

Now, a couple thoughts on this:
1. There are obvious elements of our FB profiles which would suggest that this would not appeal to us, namely that we are married.
2. If you are single and desire to marry, how would you think this will help you?
3. There are apparently enough Kenyans that are wealthy enough (and likely, educated enough) to have consistent FB access to make this advertisement a viable marketing strategy. Yet further proof that education does not cure society's ills.


Baboon Menace

Several weeks ago we were in Nairobi for a few days, doing passport stuff and trying to find the Burundian Embassy, among other things. We had some extra time and decided to try out some more Nairobi touristy stuff. Basically, this means animals. In Europe you visit museums and tour cathedrals. In Kenya, there's not so much of that. So we headed to check out the Nairobi Safari Walk. One of the benefits to being Kenyan residents (NOT citizens, it's like having a greencard in the US) is that all the game parks and attractions are steeply discounted. For example, we paid about $4 each to get into the Safari Walk, and non-residents pay $20.So, the Safari Walk sounds exotic, but in the end, it was just a zoo, and not really a great one. First stop, pygmy hippo. Cool! Except that it wasn't there. Second stop, crocs. There were 2, and neither moved for the 5 minutes we stood there. Third stop, cheetah. Also not there (or hiding). We finally did get to see an animal: the baboon. In fact, they should really name this park the Baboon Walk. There were probably over 50 of them, and none of them stayed in their enclosure. They were swinging around the trees, climbing on bridges, sitting on the boardwalk. It reminded me of a sign we saw recently (not at the zoo), referring to the Baboon Menace (which incidentally also reminds me of Star Wars I). Maggie was fascinated.

In the end, we also saw a white rhino, some gibbons, an albino zebra, a tightly caged female lion, and a cape buffalo. But a far cry from our safaris. Does this mean zoos are ruined for us henceforth? I don't think so...I mean, there are still pandas and polar bears, tigers, penguins, gorillas, etc that we don't get to see here. But Maggie might grow up wondering why all those animals just come in cages.


Crafty Mama

I am not really a crafty person. When I was a kid, I did counted cross-stitch, hook and eye rugs, paint by number, sun-catcher things that you'd bake in the oven, etc, but that was a long time ago, and I'd love to start and hate to finish every last project. Well, now that I have a daughter, Christmas time rolled around last year and I realized she didn't have a stocking. My mom made my stocking for me, and also one for my brother, and 31 yrs later I still have it and pull it out every year. What a great idea! I'll make Maggie a stocking. I had this revelation, however, on Dec 5 and wouldn't you know, it's not the best time of year to find do it yourself stocking kits at Michael's. I guess most people start sooner, go figure.

My mother in law found some kits on sale at a post-Christmas sale though, and mailed me one in February, and I got to work. It's the kind where you cut out pieces of felt according to a pattern and sew them together, then add sequins and such. When my mom was here, she did the lettering with a piece of red cord, so I can say that both grandmas helped with the project. :) So here it is, finished by the end of July, with months to spare! All that's left is to sew the back on. Of course, my mom says now I have to do this for all future children as well, so perhaps that will be the rate limiting step in our family planning.


Sealand and Other Micronations

Yesterday was a Kenyan holiday, so that Kenyans could vote on a new constitution. The internet surprised us by being somewhat functional, and at some point, I ended up browsing through Wikipedia. Now, we all know that one of the chief virtues of Wikipedia is the way you can jump from topic to topic and end up learning about something completely unexpected. Well, this is exactly what happened, and I was so fascinated that I wanted to share it.

What I learned is that there is a place called the Principality of Sealand, 6 miles off the coast of Suffolk, England. It is ruled by Prince Roy and his family. The story of its history goes something like this:

In World War II, a sea fort was built off the British coast in the North Sea. After the war, it was used by various groups to broadcast pirated radio stations from international waters. In 1967, then British subject Paddy Roy Bates took over the fort to broadcast his own radio station, and later when some workers came out to repair a buoy, he fired on them. He was brought to court, and the Brits declared that they had no jurisdiction there, since it was in international waters.

So, Roy declares himself a prince and "Sealand" a sovereign state, which has since minted currency and has a flag and an anthem. Here's the beautiful thing. Sealand is 550 meters squared. Here's a picture. Home Sweet Home. For the record, no other sovereign state has recognized Sealand's claim.

As is the way with Wikipedia, I then learned that apparently such "micronations" abound, with some 50 throughout the world. Apparently, Europeans are the most likely to vie for such things, but lest the Americans be snug in their political sanity, there are a few representatives from across the pond as well, such as the Global Country of World Peace, whose capital is in Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa. Special props also to the Kingdom of Lovely, which is in some British guy's flat, and the BjornSocialist Republic, occupying 6 sq meters on a stone in the middle of a Swedish lake that "looks like a tractor", currently only recognized by Ladonia, another Swedish micronation.

Man, the world is full of awesome stuff.


Maggie's Passport Photos - Revisited

Some of you more devoted readers may remember our prior attempt to get Maggie passport photos by laying her on a white sheet when she was six days old. Here's the outtakes. Good times...

Well, as ridiculous as it already seems, it will be even more so when she is five years old, that her passport photo is her as a newborn. Now, we were in need of some new photos, for this visa application to Burundi, and so we stood her up in front of a white door and fired away.

As you can see, she is developing a squinty-eyed smile, especially when the flash is involved. But still terribly cute.

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