What to buy your kids for Christmas when you are trying to get rid of everything

While I lived in Kenya, I blogged every few days. When we moved back to Canada, I knew it was time to let blogging go and dive into Canadian life. Just before Christmas this year, I decided that I wanted to get back into blogging regularly. Bear with me as this blog is a little on the dusty side and I begin to find my writing ‘flow’ or ‘voice’  again.

I challenged myself to write a new blog post every day of January as we prepare to move across the pond and back to Kelvin’s motherland in Kenya. As you may have caught on by now, I have actually already failed at this challenge because, well, I ran out of time yesterday and then decided to veg out and watch a netflix documentary instead of starting my blogging on January 1st. Oops, already missed a day. Kelvin already commented that my one new years resolution has already flown out the window on day 1.

Keeping my first post on the lighter side, I want to share how we tried to keep Christmas simple as to not accumulate stuff that we would have to get rid of in the next month. I will share more about what we are packing another day as I seem to get that question a lot.

Kelvin and I are simple people who need very little stuff so it’s easy for us to refrain from buying our kids a lot but trying to get grandparents and aunties and uncles to stop spoiling your kids is no easy task!

The one ‘big’ gift we gave to our children was this collapsible tunnel. Did you have one growing up? We sure did and I loved it. The beauty of this gift is that is folds to be almost completely flat! And it’s super durable to put in a suitcase and not worry about it getting broken as it’s thrown about through airports. I got mine at Mountain Baby in Nelson.

Going against my wishlist of books and flashcards for my kids, my brother bought the girls this awesome device called the Dragon Touch Y88X Plus tablet for kids. In as much as I try keep my kids from technology, it is truly a life saver when you travel with little ones. This particular tablet is already loaded with kid friendly games and videos. It will definitely be helpful on those 10 hour flights.

This was an actual gift my auntie gave to the kids. It flashes like Rudolph’s nose when you put it on your head. The kids absolutely loved it and, obviously, so did Kelvin. It actually is not a bad gift. It’s small and light weight and if I happen to lose it on the journey, our hearts won’t be broken.

A few other gifts we gave the kids included new toothbrushes (always a necessity), a couple good books, and some small princess figurines. All easy to pack, fairly light weight, and we won’t be crushed if we lose them. Of course some gifts we may have gone a little overboard include the hoards of chocolate and the fuzzy Frozen jammies that will simply be too hot to sleep in in Kenya so they unfortunately will be left behind.

We tried to get out on Christmas day for walk….if you know us, we just aren’t cold weather people so this wasn’t easy for us.

Daddy and Mercy even did snow angels. Those brave souls!

Mercy obviously *loves* taking pictures…

I guess the most precious gift we got this year was spending time with my family for one last christmas in Canada. My kids adore their grandparents and uncle. I don’t think they realize that they aren’t going to be able to see them as often anymore.

I think any kid’s day is made complete when they get to lick the whip cream off the beater…
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Transitioning…

Transitions used to be a way of life for me. I moved from one city to another, one job to another, one continent to another, one church to another, one set of friends to another, with very little fret. I actually remember in college saying to ladies in a bible study, “Transitioning is not always fun but I get so excited seeing how God pushes me through it.” Hmm, I just don’t have that same zeal this time. This transition is filled with a little more anxiety, uncertainty, frustration, and fear. 

Today I had a little cry. Not unlike me at all. I am just tired and frustrated and anxious to leave yet a little bit scared of what is waiting for us on the other side. 
We were asked today if we were excited to get to Canada. Our answer was, “We are really just excited to leave Kenya.” There has just been a lot going on in our lives and all around us that has been tough and overwhelming and, to be honest, we just want to escape. Then there is the added stress of everyday living in Kenya like the fact that our water is not pumping and our house is ridiculously dirty and my phone just decided to die on me for no reason. Plus, the political climate in Mombasa is getting more and more intense as the days go by and I am not as comfortable moving about like I used to do because you just never know when something might happen especially when large crowds of zealous Kenyans (plus money, power, and pride) are involved. 
We are moving out of our apartment in two days and moving in with friends for the rest of the week. I am really excited to just get rid of all our stuff and live out of our suitcases for a while. It’s hard organizing and getting rid of an entire household. My feelings have wavered from being totally embarrassed that, at our age, we have so little possessions to being really content (and almost proud of ourselves) that we haven’t collected so much stuff that we will be desperate to get rid of in 30 years. I am thankful that we have a ‘treasures stored up in heaven’ mindset at such an early age. But then again I’m a little self-concious to say that all my clothes fill half a suit case. 
And then my stomach is not enjoying this transition. About 5 years ago, when I moved to Kenya the first time, I developed some bad tummy issues. After seeing the doctor and doing some tests, she asked me, ‘Is there any big event happening in your life right now?’ I bashfully told her that I was moving to Africa and then it all clicked. It was all anxiety related to the big transition. I am finding my stomach has also detected that a big event is happening in my life right now and has decided to fire back. 
I wish I could tell you had some big spiritual revelation of some sort about this transition but I don’t. I know the facts: God loves me, God is with me, this is God’s will for us right now, and we will be ok. 

On the road again…again

We are leaving tonight. I hope.

We were suppose to go  to kipkaren a few weeks ago to work with an organization there and help build up a soccer program for youth. However, stuff happened and we didn’t make it. In fact, we missed our bus but that was only the beginning of a rather crazy week.

Tonight we are booked to leave Mombasa at 10:30. We will probably arrive in Eldoret around 1pm tomorrow, pick up some free soccer balls, and then head to kipkaren for a week or so. I am still thoroughly looking forward to our time up there, connecting with friends, and seeing how we can connect with youth. I have packed my socks and sweaters and looking forward to getting a bit chilly.

You probably won’t here from me till next week!

PS. Our boys actually won today! They have been having a hard time winning lately and have been getting a bit discouraged. Our goal was phenomenal! If he wasn’t there, we would have lost terribly. The goal we scored was kind of lame but, hey, a goal is a goal. Everyone had heavy hearts today after a young man, a friend to many of our boys, was shot dead yesterday by a police man in Kongowea. It was such a tragedy that seems to have rocked a lot of people. My heart goes out to the family, who we know well, who is now having to deal with the loss of a son/brother. I am just thankful that our boys were more interested in watching the MAN U vs ARESENAL game than attending some political rally (where this boy was shot).