A New Place to Call Home


If you happened to see us on House Hunters International, you might remember that the greatest drawback to the house we chose was its small compound, which left little room for Max and Elly to play, and zero green space.


But that’s soon about to change as we move to a new house (minus the HGTV cameras and reality-TV fame) in the next few days!

Our new house, which is owned by dear Tanzanian friends of ours who live in the US, has a oodles more outdoor space for Max and Elly to roam, and lots of trees and bushes. Continue reading

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Our Shamba Makeover


We occasionally invite our safari clients to do a home stay with us at the shamba (farm) to get an up-close look at village life. Usually before a visit, we’ll do a small project to spruce up the house to make it more comfortable for our guests. By small, I mean something like buying new pillows for the guest bed.

But this time as we were preparing for visitors, we really wanted to do some painting. By some, I mean painting a room or two. But as we looked around, we decided that if we were going to have the painters come with all their supplies and equipment anyway, we just as well do it all. Continue reading

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Max & Elly Take Acrobatics Class


This past weekend some new friends (who recently moved to Arusha from Omaha) introduced us to an acrobatics class for kids. I wasn’t sure if Max and Elly would be very cooperative in an actual class, despite loving to jump and roll and climb on top of each other all the time at home.

Turns out they both loved it and are already asking to go back again next Saturday. Here are a few of the amazing feats they accomplished in their first class. Continue reading

Posted in Family Time, Our Community, Twin Fun | 2 Comments

5 Photo Friday: Our US Trip


Well, I didn’t mean to take such a long hiatus from blogging, but these last couple of months were packed pretty full–most particularly by a nearly month-long trip back to the US for Max, Elly and me.

We arrived in early August after surviving two long overseas flights (one of them was 15 hours long!) and a short flight from Dallas to Omaha. Max and Elly are actually really good travelers, perhaps because they’ve been flying since they were 8 weeks old (by comparison, I was 28  years old before I was ever on an airplane).

The trip was a great chance to reconnect with family and friends after two years since Max and Elly were last back for a visit. For this week’s 5 Photo Friday here are a few highlights of our trip: Continue reading

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5 Photo Friday: Max and Elly’s Birthday Party


Max and Elly turned 4 years old on Sunday so on Monday they got to have a birthday party with their classmates at school. What better way to kick off the week than to pump a bunch of preschoolers full of sugar! Continue reading

Posted in Holidays, Photography, Tanzanian Culture | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

5 Photo Friday: Birth Day

5photofriday_birthdayOn July 4, 2011, I had lunch with my friend Rebecca. It was a welcome diversion because I was on Day 3 of a long holiday weekend feeling bored and borderline miserable. My growing belly was almost too much to bear, and I had been spending the last few weeks working from home to spare me the waddle from my car to the office and back each day. I was getting tired of only myself for company.

As we said our goodbyes after lunch Rebecca said, “I bet the next time I see you, you’ll be a mom!” I blew off her prediction, reminding her that I still had about five weeks to go. My due date wasn’t until August 9.

I returned home, did a few chores, watched several more hours of Netflix and went to bed.

At 1 a.m. my water broke. At 2 a.m. the contractions started. Continue reading

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5 Photo Friday: Our 3rd ‘Tanziversary’


Yesterday was our third “Tanziversary”–the anniversary of our arrival in Tanzania. It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years already, but these three years have been packed full of lots of fun adventures, new challenges and great memories as a family!

To make the trip with two not-yet one-year-olds, I enlisted the help of my mom and sister Carla (and most of this 5 Photo Friday’s photos were taken by her).

Even with the help of mom and Carla, I was still a bit frazzled when we arrived at Kilimanjaro International Airport at about 9 pm after a good 30 hours of air travel. Continue reading

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5 Photo Friday: Celebrating 5 Years


Today is our 5th wedding anniversary. We got married in Nebraska, in Sonshine Chapel at Carol Joy Holling Camp, the church camp where I worked several summers during college and for five years as Communications Manager after I graduated.

We were surrounded by family and friends. It was a perfect day, except maybe for the 50 mph winds that were nearly blowing us over. Continue reading

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How to Get Great Photos of Your Kids


Note: This post is a little something different than the usual what-are-Max-and-Elly-up-to posts. I’ve been wanting to expand my blogging focus and try to add a little value to what you read here.

Something I am often complimented on and asked questions about is my photography, especially related to photos of Max and Elly (see, this post isn’t totally void of references to them). I’ve loved photography for a long time, studied it in college and even used my skills consistently in my communications career. It’s something I still enjoy and find fun and challenging in documenting life here in Tanzania.

So today I wanted to share one of my most-relied-upon photography fundamentals that helps me get great photos. This is something you can apply to the photos you take whether you’re using a DSLR, point-and-shoot or even your phone camera because it’s about how you compose your image, not the equipment you use to capture it. Continue reading

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5 Photo Friday: Flat Stanley Visits Tanzania


The second grade class at Cambridge Elementary School in Cambridge, Illinois, is reading the book Flat Stanley. Do you know that story? Stanley is a boy who is flattened when a bulletin board falls on him, and his flatness allows him to travel the world by mail. So the second graders at Cambridge Elementary made their own Flat Stanleys and sent them to friends and family to take him on adventures and then write back to their class about it.

I am friends with one of the second graders’ moms and she asked me if her little boy Ashtin could send me a Flat Stanley to show him around Tanzania. It took Flat Stanley almost two weeks to arrive but once he was here he had a pretty good time, I think. For today’s 5 Photo Friday (six if you’re counting), here are the photos and letter that he sent back to the second graders at Cambridge Elementary: Continue reading

Posted in Crafts, Family Time, Photography, Tanzanian Culture, Twin Fun, Urban Homesteading | 1 Comment