Breaking the Code

In Rachel's mom's family, an odd phenomenon has taken place. There are seven children in that family: six girls and one boy, who had a total of 19 grandchildren. The number of kids in each family ranged from 2-5, but each one followed the same pattern. If the oldest child was a girl, the next child would be a boy. If the oldest child was a boy, then the next child was also a boy. So everyone had a boy for their second child. All three of the families who had three children had a girl as their third child.

In the next generation, this pattern held strong. So far, there are 15 great-grandchildren. With one exception, everyone had a boy as their second child. Eric and I calculated out the mathematical odds of this to be approximately 1:1024. Wow. So of course when it came time to find out on ultrasound what the gender of baby #2 would be, I was quite certain it was a boy.

Wrong. Now there are 2 exceptions to the "Senechal Genetic Code." Come March, Maggie is going to have a little sister. :)


Crescent Island

This week we had a chance to try out a new Kenya activity: Lake Naivasha and Crescent Island. We had heard good things about it before--a private game reserve that happens to be on an island in the middle of a lake. You can walk around to your heart's content among giraffes and zebras and such. It was about 2 1/2 hrs from Tenwek, and we started at a place called Hippos Safaris to pick up a boat. We had the pleasure of our friends David and Cheryl Lee with us.

You can see the "kid sized" life jacket here:
Our boat driver took us through marshy areas off shore to begin our journey. We saw several hippos and a wide variety of interesting and exotic looking birds.

Maggie particularly enjoyed the water.
Our driver brought along some dead fish, and would call these fish eagles by whistling, then throw them a fish. They would swoop down from the trees and catch the fish out of the water.
We got to Crescent Island and started with a picnic lunch.
Then off to see the animals! In the background (although hard to see in this pic) are gazelle, zebras, and wildebeest.
A beautiful giraffe by the side of the lake, with Mt. Longonot (a dormant volcano) in the background.

A water buck:
Not 30 minutes into our walk, it started raining...then hailing! We took shelter in a small hut with a rather poor thatch job on the roof! At least it kept off most of the hail. Found out later this hut was built for and featured in the movie Out of Africa, which was filmed on this island in the 80s.
As the rain was letting up, a man stuck his head in the hut and said he had come to find us....so he could show us a python! Shar is pointing to it on the ground, the dark brown log-looking thing between the bushes. It was at least 12 feet long as as big around as my thigh. Apparently they can eat gazelle. Yikes!
Family photo by the giraffe!

A beautiful sight.


At "The Lake"

And by Lake, we mean, Lake Victoria. We had a chance to travel about 4-5 hrs west of us while Eric's parents were here to visit long time friends of theirs from Belmont Church. Steve and Judy Cochran have been serving in Mbita for 7-10 yrs, and they run a school called Christ's Gift Academy. We stayed at their place for a few nights, which is right on the lake, and has no running water or electricity. Interesting!

Family pic at Lake Victoria! (of note, this is actually no where near Victoria Falls, several countries away, in case you were wondering)
Tim and Sharon with Judy Cochran, inside the school library.
Grandpa and Maggie looking at the Lake (it was pretty green up close...not so nice for swimming).
Here are Tim and Sharon, who got to meet a child they sponsor at CGA--Kevin. He is just to the right of Tim, and his younger brother and mother are also in this picture.
On the way home, we opted for the slightly longer but no dirt road path of the ferry across Lake Victoria, then through Kisumu. Only an extra 30 min, and so much smoother!
Still, an exhausting trip by the end.


Visit So Far

It's been a busy week and a half so far since Grammy and Grandpa Tim arrived! Here's just a sampling of pictures from their camera so you can share in the adventure

A welcoming brunch at Jave House in Nairobi, meeting up with a friend from Nashville, Emily Norton.
The drive to Tenwek--baboons by the side of the road!
Enjoying one of Maggie's favorite activities.
Hiking to the Tenwek waterfall
Again, reading, this time with Anna Fader as well
Isn't she cute?
Sharon and Tim have both come to watch some surgeries (this is a hysterectomy specimen)
And also to go on medicine rounds with Eric
Taking Maggie on wagon rides, her other favorite activity
Tim and Shar got to visit their Compassion child, Joyce, in Nakuru...here's her whole family
Here's Joyce
They got to see their new grandbaby on the "big screen"
And brought lots of receiving blankets to give to the orphans and kids at the hospital
Finally, we close up the day with a bath. :)


Grammy and Grandpa Tim!


Toyworld Answers

OK folks, here they are by order of price:

Crayola markers (8): $6
1 Hotwheels car: $12.50
600 piece puzzle: $58
Cranium: $81
Kids' bike: $81
(It makes far more sense to me that a kids' bike would cost $81 than a board game!!)

Yowza! Just in case you were curious, we could also buy...
Barbie dolls ($45)
My Little Pony--the small ones ($35)
Uno ($17)
Scrabble ($46)
325 piece basic Lego set--the basic blocks in various colors ($39)
7 piece farmer Duplo set ($25)
Little Tykes Tap a Tune piano, which Maggie did NOT want to leave ($34)

So, some would say it's cheaper than buying stuff in the US and shipping it over. True, true. But many thanks to all those of you who have visited us and generously donated suitcase space for our thrifty selves to be able to get stuff from the US at MUCH better prices. :)


Maggie Update: 17 months

I was just realizing it has been some time since we posted our gratuitous cute Maggie pics on the blog. :) Hard to believe she is 17 months old today...and that before she turns 2, she'll have a sibling and we can start all over! Wow. Here she is showing off one of her biggest changes: teeth! She now has 3 top middle teeth, 2 middle bottom teeth, and a top and bottom premolar, both on the left. I can hear her grinding them occasionally, yikes. It sends shivers down my spine and I hope it's a short lived habit, or that's going to get expensive!
She also continues to LOVE books. Board books are quickly being abandoned in favor of ones with paper pages. Her favorites are anything with animals, and our 3 Swahili/English books. Hmm, bilingual? Probably not...but she is getting quite a vocabulary these days!
Maggie has been walking a lot, starting to run just a bit, and especially enjoys sitting down on anything her size, like the front step and the area in front of our (unused) fireplace. Since I am still working three days a week, Maggie stays home with our Kenyan nanny Rose Mon-Wed. She has discovered the joys of things like hanging laundry with Rose!
Here she is with "gee" (kitty) and bear, 2 of her favorite things.
Maggie and her best friend/next door neighbor Abi Fader. These girls love to ride around in the wagon, and also love going to visit another family's 4 pet turtles (tuh-dul). They are saying "cheese" (deez) in this picture.

She continues to be a healthy, happy kid with a laid back easy going temperament. Eric and I laugh and smile at her frequent antics. We'll take another just like her. :)