Woops, I meant, now we are in de Nile! Today was our first Saturday at Kibuye and we thought we would spend a relaxing day at home. However, after breakfast, John Cropsey stopped by our house to invite us to join him and a few others on a short day trip to the source of the Nile river, which happens to only be about an hour drive from Kibuye. Well, we could not say no to that offer. It is the rainy season now, so as you can see from the photos it is a bit cloudy and rainy, but nevertheless, it is still beautiful. This is the southern-most source of the Nile river and was discovered in the 1930s by a German historian and explorer. Above this area, you can hike to a small pyramid atop a hill, built by the same explorer, with stunning views of the Burundian countryside all around.
Notice the bathrooms just upstream from the source of the Nile:)
And apparently it is okay to let your kids take their shoes off and walk around in it
This photo was taken BEFORE we discovered there was a bat hanging just behind Steph's head
I had the immense pleasure of spending a morning alone with Mekdes last week while my other two were at school (we're at two different schools again this year). I suggested going out for donuts, she asked if we might be able to go for a bike ride instead. Yes! That would be MUCH healthier, great idea! We packed up our bikes and headed to the lake for a ride. It was a beautiful fall day with yellow leaves reflecting in the lake and I was so glad to be there, on the bike I hadn't ridden in ages, with my girl who is a beacon on light and joy in my life- so incredibly far from where we were a year ago! But, this time, instead of reflecting on how she has changed, I started thinking about how much I have changed because of her. I am so much healthier now because of her and here are a few examples:
* I have never exercised as much or as consistently as I have since Mekdes came home, what at first was a stress relief is now a healthy daily habit.
* I am more organized, first because with 3 kids I just need to be, but also because Mekdes needed routine. Getting our family into routine made me realize how much we all thrive in knowing what is expected of us when. I feel that we flounder less with our time and get more done with less stress. Life has enough kinks to keep us from getting bored, our routine helps our lives run smoother!
*We eat more beans/legumes, Mekdes really likes beans and it winds up that the rest of the family enjoys them too. I started visiting the dry goods section of the grocery store and making more recipes with legumes and vegetables, only eating meat 2-3 times a week. Some meals, like the sprouted bean soup I made tonight, wasn't my favorite, but it was full of good food and both my girls devoured it, so I'll make it again.
*Spiritually I feel that I have a greater understanding for God's love for us and adopting us into His family. He doesn't love us because we are beautiful, in His love we are made beautiful.
When I look back at the first difficult year with Mekdes I don't think so much of how hard it was, the predominant thought is HOW BEAUTIFUL IT IS! It was a beautiful year! Yes hard, but my goodness what a gift to see this child's life transform before us! I was thinking all this as we pedaled along, and out of the blue Mekdes said "Mom, I love you!" and I wanted to jump off my bike and squeeze her so tight, because I love her SO much and she is such a gift, and I began to wonder if I would be so awestruck by my love for her if we hadn't struggled so hard to get here. We began to peddle uphill and Mekdes spoke up "I don't like the uphills, downhills are much funner." then as if to answer my question she continued "Guess you can't have the downhills without the uphills." and as we sped down the hill Mekdes shouted into the wind "Thank you downhill!" and in laughter my heart echoed "Yes! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you downhill!"
As an addendum, we received an e-mail today from Mekdes' teacher just letting us know how much she enjoys having Mekdes in class. ... She is such a compassionate and sweet little girl... She is a bright ray of sunshine and spreads joy to her teachers and the kids around her... She is a wonderful little girl who is such a blessing to me and her classmates.
It brings a mama's heart great joy to know the teacher, with whom Mekdes spends so much time, sees how very beautiful she is!
Lately Bini has been into playing memory match, or more often playing with the memory match cards while we play Uno with the girls. The other day he started imitating the facial expressions of the characters on his memory match cards. It cracked us up so I thought I'd share.
In other Bini news, has started "swimming school" this week.
he also wrote his whole name for the first time.
He told me "mom, I wrote 'cat'" and yes, he certainly had.
Bini loves letters! He dreams about letters, when he does imaginary play he's often pretending to be a letter - "A" being a favorite because then he'll run around yelling "ahhhh". He even made up a "T" dance where he puts his arms close to his sides and shuffles around the house saying "ttttt"
All this letter love has led to him being able to read many 3 letter words.
The other day he told me "I see a blue fox" and I turned to see the word fox written in blue letters.
Awesome Biniyam, now how about using the potty? please! pretty please?!
Ella had her spring dance performance last night. This year our little ballerina pulled out her hip hop moves and I have to say I just LOVE watching hip hop!
Her dance studio presented dances inspired by C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia". Ella's dance was the first of the night "Digory, Polly & The Rings" Ella was a yellow ring, which in the story transported the characters into another world.