Camping in Ngare Ndare Forest

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We went camping a few weeks back in Ngare Ndare Forest, which lies north of Nanyuki, between Borana and Lewa conservancies. I was so busy writing about the rain, that I never got around to writing about how wonderful Ngare Ndare is!

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It’s such an easy drive, less than an hour past Nanyuki. We hit a few flooded areas and had some fun sidewinding through the mud. (Jesse had fun, I was thinking about how to handle flooding in our tent and planning to pitch camp up off the ground!)

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Luckily, the rain didn’t keep us from having an incredible weekend. We took tons of walks, letting the kids poke around and ask questions about everything around them. We found beautiful, delicate little mushrooms growing in a pile of elephant dung, trees covered in moss that the rangers told us is called “Old Man’s Beard,” and several bones of long gone game.

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We did some great tracking as well, spotting tracks from hyena, genet, and a lone elephant who had apparently passed about a half hour earlier. I was so looking forward to seeing the beautiful forest elephants, but unfortunately they kept themselves hidden.

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The canopy walk, which was just a few minutes walk from our campsite, was incredible. And terrifying. Claire just busted on up there, 30 meters¬†up in the air, and started making her way across the wire and mesh canopy bridge. My brave girl! I was terrified. Shaking in my boots. Go ahead, ask me if I made it across… ūüėČ The walk ends at a beautiful platform with incredible views. (This is the spot I had intended to pitch our tents, if there was flooding!)

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I was so keen to see the spectacular crystal pools that form in and around Ngare Ndare Forest, but I was sad to hear from our ranger that the road leading in the direction of the pools was un-passable and too far to reach on foot with the kids. Another reason to come back during the dry season!

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If you want to learn more about camping in Ngare Ndare Forest, I highly recommend checking out these posts by The Kenyan Camper and Harri Travels. And please make a plan to go see this amazing place out for yourself!

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Storytelling: Claire’s oral tradition

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Claire has been so into storytelling¬†lately. She is learning the practice at school, where every day, her teachers tell a story. They don’t read, they tell it, from memory. It’s very interactive, sometimes using dolls and toys as props to demonstrate the tale, or sometimes having the children don costumes to act out the story as it is told. It’s such a cool practice, and it has really rubbed off on Claire! Continue reading

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My new favorite way to read books…

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I love to read. It’s such a great way for me to relax and unwind, and my Kindle¬†is¬†about the only thing I can look at¬†in bed that won’t make it impossible for me to fall asleep. (Surfing¬†social media on my phone at bedtime is an absolute sleep killer for me!) There are months when¬†I feel like it’s impossible to get through a book, no matter how much I long to spend time reading – sometimes it just doesn’t happen. But I’ve recently stumbled upon a great new way to read books, and now I’m plowing through 2 books per month – which is unheard of for me these days! Continue reading

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A birthday BBQ for Jesse

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Jesse’s birthday was last week, and we celebrated with a big barbecue at our place! We totally lucked out with the weather (phew!) and had a fantastic party with loads of great friends and family, and plenty of food and drink. I got Jesse a new BBQ grill from Cookswell for the party, and we put it to good use! Continue reading

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The Jungle Book, a musical safari

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We took the girls to see The Jungle Book at the Oshwal Centre this weekend, and they loved it! The production was impressive, with a live band, a live drum group, and all kinds of high-tech¬†stage effects. I’ll admit, there were parts that were a little scary and loud, but both girls really enjoyed it. Continue reading

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Reaching out for help: hiring a sleep consultant

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So, we’re thinking about hiring a sleep consultant. As you guys know, Heidi’s sleep has always been all over the place. Heidi has suffered just about every sleep problem in the book ¬†– and we’ve read just about every sleep book out there! Right now – for the past few¬†weeks, anyway – Heidi goes to sleep well, and “sleeps through the night,” if you consider waking for the day at 4 AM “sleeping through.” (We don’t.) Her naps are inconsistent, and she often suffers hysterical wake ups, where she screams uncontrollably for 45 min upon waking. Things are not good, and we need help.

Deciding to seek out external help¬†has been hard for me. I can’t believe we’re considering a sleep consultant for Heidi, when Claire¬†is such a champion sleeper. It feels ridiculous reaching out to a sleep consultant, to be honest. We’ve been parenting for 5 years now, and we have successfully raised a pro sleeper. I feel embarrassed. I¬†feel like a failure. It feels wrong to suddenly need a sleep consultant now. Lots of people have told us that things might suddenly get better now that Heidi is two years old, to which I replied, “I’ve been telling myself that for 2 years, 2 months and 17 days!” We’re losing our ability to cope, and I will do just about anything now to fix these issues.

We’ve gotten some great recommendations, and we’re reaching out to a few different sleep consultants this week. I am truly hoping that with a little guidance, we can get Heidi to sleep better, and that all of us can get some more Z’s. I’m confident that I will be a better mother, a better wife, and an all around better human being if I can get more sleep. I’m counting on it!

Have you hired a sleep consultant? How did it go for you?

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I want to be in the picture

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Have you read this¬†excellent article called The Mom Stays in the Picture?¬†It’s about why we, as mothers, need to make sure we are in our own family photos. We may not want to be photographed, preferring not to see just how much baby weight we’re still carrying, how many wrinkles we’ve got, or how much¬†grey we’ve sprouted. Maybe we didn’t have time to do our hair, or put on make-up, or clean the spit-up off our shirt. Maybe we’re just feeling frumpy and un-photogenic.¬†So we wind up with LOTS of photos of our children, and maybe even lots of photos of our kids with their daddy, but hardly any photos with ourselves in the picture. Continue reading

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Jesse’s blog takeover: A tribute to moms

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You guys are in for a big treat today! My lovely husband, Jesse, has decided he wanted to do a guest post in honor of Mother’s Day. I’m so¬†intrigued! He was very secretive about the whole thing, and I had to promise I wouldn’t read it until it publishes. So here goes! Take it away, Jesse! Continue reading

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Feeding your toddler: cooking & nutrition for caretakers

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Nutrition for toddlers is a hard nut to crack. Getting Claire and Heidi to eat a balanced diet has been one of our biggest concerns as parents over the years! Seriously, sometimes I wondered how it was possible that Claire grew at all: one day, she would eat nothing but bread. The next, nothing but vegetables and fruit. Later that same week, she would eat nothing but meat. I calmed my fears by telling myself that over the week, she was somehow getting all of her nutritional needs met. But on a day-to-day basis, I couldn’t help but be concerned. When parents are at work and there’s¬†a caretaker handling mealtimes, the concerns can multiply. Continue reading

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10 tips for camping in the rain

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This weekend we went camping up in Ngare Ndare Forest, despite the ominous weather. We’ve been camping in the rain before, but I’m not going to lie, I was pretty nervous about¬†this trip, given the flooding we experienced in Nairobi on Friday. But you never know with the weather in Kenya – you might have torrential downpours in one spot, and be dry as a bone just a mile or so away. So we decided to pack up our gear and take our chances with camping in the rain. Continue reading

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