Mini-Me

I noticed early on that Naomi is a mini-me. She looks like me, and has several of my characteristics. The strong ones! You know, the bossy, opinionated, independent ones. She excels me in some areas though, and I fully attribute her athleticism and great sense of humor to Matt. But in so many ways, she’s a mini-me. And then yesterday, I was reminded that I am a near photocopy of my mom. When I was 16 I saw a picture of my mom at the same age and thought it was myself. And so it makes sense that my daughter looks like my mom. Courtesy of my dad, check out and compare the pictures of Naomi at 4 years old, and my beautiful mother, Mary Beth Smith, when she was 4 years old:

Bike Taxi of the Day

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a stand-up bike taxi before today, but I was really impressed that this guy was texting on his phone while riding/standing on the bike! Although… considering the skill with which Malawians handle dugout canoes, I shouldn’t be surprised!

Sneaky the Chop-chop

This morning the girls found a small chop-chop in their room.

It was mostly dead (due to the Fendona we sprayed last week).

But not completely, because it walked off the paper!

And then Matt left for CAPA for the whole day, and FORGOT TO REMOVE THIS THING FROM MY KITCHEN COUNTER!

I composted him in short order. Don’t tell Naomi. She had named him Sneaky, and informed us “he’s the bad brother.”

But this isn’t the first time we’ve had a chop-chop in the house – check out Matt’s post and photo shoot of our last, larger chop-chop.

Rainbow Shield Bug

This afternoon we found one of our favorite bugs in our backyard!

The girls were about to lie down in the hammocks for rest time and this rainbow shield bug was just hanging out on a hammock. Yay for cool African bugs!

Kiboko

There are not a lot of places for kids to play on play equipment in Malawi. Now, before you get concerned that my kids don’t get to play, you should know that they play ALL THE TIME, with things like sticks, bugs, dirt, sand, etc, etc. They love it, and so do I. But play equipment is a treat. So for a special family outing yesterday, we went to the Kiboko Hotel restaurant for lunch, because they have some play equipment. And not just any play equipment!

Yes! They have a Land Rover playground! It’s this awesome?!? I am told that the rocking zebra likes to run away with little girls though, so one must be careful! 😉

In addition to the awesome play equipment, they have great smoothies…

And wonderful banana pancakes!

To top it all off, we — all of us — decided to eat our lunch in the Land Rover, just because we could.

All fueled up, we’re off on another adventure!

And Suddenly It’s Summer

It is hot here in Malawi! The sun is so bright that you can’t even take good pictures outside.

So the fans are on – with the optional mister system that my brilliant husband invented!

And the candles are melting… like no kidding melting…

And all we want to drink are Italian sodas!

Ah, summertime! ❤️

Blue Headed Tree Agamas

There are some really great lizards here in Malawi, including the fascinating blue headed tree agamas.

They put on their colorful displays from the end of September through the beginning of the rainy season – about early December.

They haven’t shown up around our house yet, but we saw our first when we were out last week.

Pretty soon they’ll be everywhere: walls, trees, falling out of trees! And then during the rains they’ll go back to being brown and grey for 8-9 months.

This guy was pretty proud of his colors and let us thoroughly enjoy his display. The girls got pretty close before he scampered up the tree!

The Boys

We have some great dogs. Simba is 1/4 Rhodesian Ridgeback and 3/4 Great Dane, and came to us as a little puppy almost 8 years ago. A few years ago, Simba got a “wife,” and they had 2 litters of puppies. The “wife” moved to America with her family and the puppies went all different directions – except Samson, who came to live with his dad.

Samson moved in and, at 6 weeks old, promptly moved his dad out of basket and bowl. He’s been the boss ever since! But who wouldn’t love this face?

Answer: any Malawian. Malawians don’t like 1) dogs, 2) big dogs, or 3) black dogs. These guys are the perfect security pair. And they love and are loved by our girls.

In fact, one of the girls’ favorite games is Follow Simba. One day I found Naomi sitting on the steps in the garage:

“What are you doing, Omi?”

“Following Simba.”

“Where is he?”

“Sleeping under the car. I’m waiting for him.”

Now that’s dedication!