Rachel’s parents came to visit for a month, and we had such a great time with them! They came to see the grandkids, but I (Rachel) sure did enjoy a little help adjusting to life with a three year old and a newborn. That being said, I fully enjoyed the time with my parents, and entirely ignored the blog that whole time. So now it’s catch up time =), starting with a month of grandparents!
Nana and Papa arrived the second week of December, just in time to help us decorate for Christmas. If you know anything about our Decembers, they revolve around hosting the all-church IBF Christmas parties, so decorating and preparing the house are a major event. We knew that with a newborn the Christmas parties would be a little more difficult this year, but my parents said they would help, so we were able to pull it off!
And you know that with grandparents here, the girls got a few extra fun things for Christmas!
Rachel got a few hands-free moments. Naomi clearly resembles her grandfather here, don’t you think?
We took advantage of the excuse of having visitors to take a little vacation in the southern part of Malawi. We spent 2 nights on the Zomba Plateau, and then 3 nights at the base of Mt. Mulanji. Our first stop was a boat safari on the Shire River through Liwonde National Park, where we saw LOTS of hippos, only 1 crocodile, and 3 beautiful though distant elephants.
An overlooked element of safaris is all the waiting time in between spotting animals. It’s a great time to hang out, especially with grandparents.
One morning on vacation we went for a hike up the slopes of Mt Mulanji, through the banana groves and tea estates to a series of waterfall pools. My dad’s foot slipped and he tumbled and slid down about 20+ feet of steep rock into a deep pool. The above picture is after his swim across the pool, but before the long, hard hike back down the mountain side. He wasn’t smiling so big once he got down the mountain. He has some severe bruising all along his left side, seriously over-exerted muscles (from swimming with heavy hiking boots and a boost of adrenaline!), and lost his glasses in the fall. It’s one of those experiences that I can’t emphasize enough how dramatic the fall was, and yet God’s hand of protection was clearly evidenced in so many ways. It’s not how we would have chosen to share Africa with my parents, but we do think Dad needs one of those t-shirts that says “Africa is not for sissies.” He earned it!
Despite the fall, we were all able to still enjoy our time on the slopes of Mt. Mulanji, staying at Lujeri Tea Estate. It’s a wonderful, large house, so Kellen, Becca, and Yami Hiroto had joined us for the three nights there. The Hirotos are great friends of ours (though this is not a good picture of them…), and Yami is Abi’s best friend, so there was all kinds of fun going on! The Hirotos were on the hike with us when Dad fell – Kellen jumping in right away to help Dad swim across, and Becca bandaging him up for the hike back down – so they now hold a very dear place in my parents’ hearts as well.
A few more snuggles with the new baby. We realized a couple weeks in to this visit that this is the first time my parents have been with one of the grandkids from the 1 1/2 month to 2 1/2 month range. It’s such a fun time, with eye contact becoming more steady, giggling and cooing just starting… it’s adorable, and I’m so glad they were able to be here for it! They were soaking up the granddaughters, and the granddaughters loved every minute of it!
Three generations. This time with my parents was priceless. Abi was old enough to really enjoy it (and miss them now that they’re gone), and I was in need of a hug from my mom, a few stories from my dad, and a couple extra pairs of hands to help me get my feet back under me with this new family of four. I’m feeling so blessed and thankful to the Lord for parents who are willing to fly half way around the world to come help. Love you, Mom and Dad!