Back to School

Well, I finally have a kindergartener in the house!  Sept 8, Maggie packed her backpack and headed off on the long 2 minute walking commute to Kibuye Hope Academy.  She joins 7 other kids (3 other kindergarteners) for school from 8:45-11:30 and 2-3p each day.  It's a fun chance to have four different teachers in variety of subjects, like science, math, and language arts.  The afternoons are French and either PE or music (the class I teach…music, not PE).  She of course is loving it!  We are still deciding what to do about school next year in the US, but for now this is a great option for her.

The 2014-2015 Kibuye Hope Academy students
 Not to be left out, Ben seriously wanted to go to school this year as well.  But being the only 3 yr old, there weren't any preschool options.  No problem.  My mom brought out some workbooks and so Ben has "school" with mom or dad maybe 2-3 times a week for about 10-15 minutes. :)  He likes to practice his cutting, drawing lines/starting letters, and playing a new Memory game from Mimi and Bapa.  Quite the little student.  And he gets to come to music classes on Wednesday afternoons as well.

Just for completeness sake, a picture of Toby.  Not even close to going to school but cute anyway.


Eric's New Music Compilation

Dividing my songs into albums is fairly easy, at least up to now.  The songs come from a easily definable period of my life.  Last time, it was our two years in Kenya.  This time it's our life in France.  Next time, it will probably be our first couple years in Burundi.

It took a little while to get this done, since we were still very much suitcase-living, up until a few months ago.  But it was nice to unpack the instruments and recording gear, and put these songs into their current form.

Free.  Very much free.  Share it.  

Hope you enjoy.


Goodbye, Grandma

On Friday, we dropped my mom off at the Bujumbura airport after three wonderful months.  It was very sad to see her go.  Three months is a long time but I can honestly say it was WONDERFUL for us, and for the kids (and hopefully for her, too).  She was a tremendous help with the kids and with help around the house, especially after our house helper got sick and was out for about 6 weeks.  Eric and I were able to spend a little more time at the hospital or doing administrative tasks while she spent time with the kids.  There is a big Grandma-shaped hole in our hearts right now, and we're hoping we somehow can fumble through the next months without her.

At Maggie's ballet recital
Breakfast in bed for a special birthday!
Birthday crepes and ice cream!
Ben loved to cuddle with Grandma

She worked on lots of sewing projects for me!

Grandma cleaned out her classroom and brought all the extra craft projects for the girls…big hit!


Ballet Beauty

We recently had some friends come and visit, Logan and Julie Banks.  They spent 6 months at Tenwek while we were there and had a son the same age as Maggie, so we got to know them pretty well.  Logan is a family practice doc with OB experience who is looking for a long term hospital to work at.  He and Julie came to check out Kibuye.  It was so wonderful to see them again.  Julie is not medical but jumped into volunteer work with enthusiasm…she was up for anything and everything!  One of the best things she did was volunteer to teach a ballet class for our girls.  Oh my goodness, they were over the moon with excitement.  Miss Julie brought over tights and leotards and every day from 3-4pm they would have their classes.  So much excitement!  What our girls lacked in grace and coordination they more than made up for in enthusiasm. :)  The weekend before they left, Julie planned a little recital for the parents.  They all got dressed up and did their hair/"makeup" together.  Maggie took this VERY seriously and so there are not a lot of smiling pictures but she was very focused on her pointing and positions.  So thankful that Julie's gifts and talents provided such a special and joyful experience for our little ones.


Crafty Mama Part III

My mom's time with us is coming to a close (boo)…and there were a few projects that I wanted to finish before she left.  Mother-daughter-wisdom-imparting and all that.  First off, I finally finished Toby's stocking!  I've blogged about this before, but since my mom made a Christmas stocking for me when I was little, and Eric's mom made a stocking for him, I thought it would be fun to be able to make stockings for our kids, too.  They are all different: Maggie's is felt, Ben's is cross-stitch, and Toby's is needle-point.  None were completed for Christmas #1, but all for Christmas #2.  The boys' stockings (and Eric's) hang to the left and the girls' hang to the right. Ah, symmetry. :)  It was fun to do Toby's stocking, never done needlepoint before, and I think it turned out great!  My mom helped me cut it out and sew the backing on securely with a machine.  Eh voila!

All three proudly displayed on our new mantle.

The other project I've been thinking about for awhile is canning.  Our power has been off a TON and so even though we have freezer space, I'm constantly worried about the state of things in the freezer.  I had put some canning equipment on the container but had never tried canning before, although my mom has lots of experience.  We tried a batch of pickles which basically turned out (not quite vlasic, but not bad).  Then our dear house helper Salvatore has been sick for the last month so I have done a lot of scrambling to get meals ready, make spaghetti sauce, bread, etc.  (again, SO glad my mom is here right now).  Fortunately he is back now, but his absence inspired me to put away some "emergency stores."  We mixed up a giant vat of spaghetti sauce and another one of a vegetable soup base.  And here it is, yielding 5 quarts of spaghetti sauce and 8 quarts of soup base.  All the jars sealed so it was an exciting evening. :)  Some days I feel a little bit like "Little House on the Prairie," although honestly we're a long way from that.  Nice to get in touch with my pioneer self!