Rachel’s parents came to visit for a month, and we had such a great time with them! Â 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. Â That being said, I fully enjoyed the time with my parents, and entirely ignored the blog that whole time. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â We spent 2 nights on the Zomba Plateau, and then 3 nights at the base of Mt. Mulanji. Â Our first stop Â 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. Â 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. Â My dad’s foot slipped and he tumbled and slid down about 20+ feet of steep rock into a deep pool. Â The above picture is after his swim across the pool, but before the long, hard hike back down the mountain side. Â He wasn’t smiling so big once he got down the mountain. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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.” Â 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. Â It’s a wonderful, large house, so Kellen, Becca, and Yami Hiroto had joined us for the three nights there. Â The Hirotos are great friends of ours (though this is not a good picture of themâ€¦), and Yami is Abi’s best friend, so there was all kinds of fun going on! Â 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. Â 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. Â It’s such a fun time, with eye contact becoming more steady, giggling and cooing just startingâ€¦ it’s adorable, and I’m so glad they were able to be here for it! Â They were soaking up the granddaughters, and the granddaughters loved every minute of it!
Three generations. Â This time with my parents was priceless. Â 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. Â 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!