Sunday, June 14, 2015

Burundi Updates, Fourth Installment - Christmas!

We had a quiet Christmas. Once again I pretended we didn't need a tree until 15 minutes before Santa was due and then cobbled something together. We did minimal presents because Bertie's big present (the foam tile floor) was already up and active.

Sammy Cat likes Christmas even without a real tree. He basked in the glow of my irregular bead-and-ornament triangle like a champion.

Animals like Christmas presents! Usually Santa sprinkles cookies liberally through the animal stockings, and this year was no exception.

Bertie loves his new dog toy! Thank you, Grandma Jaye!

Where's the baby?!?!

Burundi Updates, Third Installment

Bujumbura has a lovely climate, so we try to spend a good deal of time outside.

There is a very rickety bar/ restaurant called Cercle Nautique officially but renamed "Hippo Hole" by expat loyals. On Friday afternoons, around 3 PM, there are usually hippos

Hippo incoming!

Wallowing and bellowing. It's what they do.

Bertie bug is so acclimated that sometimes he falls to sleep even when hippos are present.

The sun sets quickly on the equator, so sunsets are spectacular but fleeting. Behind the bank of clouds are the mountains of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Between Burundi and DRC, of course, is Lake Tanganyika. I can think of worse settings for a Friday afternoon beer.

We also go to an honest-to-goodness kiddie park with legitimate kid infrastructure on Saturday mornings. The drive takes about 20 minutes, and sometimes you get to see feats of last century ingenuity. These bicycle couriers load their bikes with any cargo imaginable and deliver it by pedaling or pushing. It is grueling work, and they make almost no money.

Bicycle with pineapples, bicycle with potatoes (?).

Part of the kiddie park.

And somebody brought a rake!

Looking roughly southwest down Lake Tanganyika and at the DRC mountains. The water is sometimes glassy and sometimes rough with waves. It's wonderful.

Not too cool for a picture with Mama!

We usually walk in the park across from our house on Sundays. Sometimes we carry the backpack, and sometimes we push the stroller. Bertie likes both, but in the stroller he can really relax and put his feet up. Silly boy!

Getting ready to walk on his own. It was very exciting. We loved having Schnauzer support in the early days.

Ice cream grin!

Avocado leaves. Avocados have (finally) become a delicacy rather than an infliction.

Walking around the yard, more stable and confident with every step.

Jumping bean!

Guita is getting braver about hanging out with the family.

We got Bertie a wading pool, and one day it was time. We put the hose on slow and let him play with the running water while the pool was filling up. It was mind-blowing and delightful. He had to be careful of the Dada-monster feet that kept slipping into the pool behind him and splashing!

Yeah. Gravity. Whatever.


Check out the hose I got!

Smiling, but wary, and always ready to leap to safety.

And Dada gets his first homebrew beer. It's a happy land.

Burundi Updates, Second Installment

For a small embassy community, we are lucky to have good friends with little kids.

Bertie decided to be Captain Jean-Luc Picard for Halloween. Ian and I were other officers, and I have to say, a Halloween costume of yoga pants and a t-shirt is a good way to go. Unfortunately for the costume, as soon as we bought the Star Trek onesie, Bertie started to grow hair. He was still a pretty cute commander.

His command seat was good...

And he was able to get decent service from the yellow shirt.

Ian's got awesome swimming glasses.

Mostly swimming is fun, but sometimes it's very serious business.

Floating seats are so much fun! Bring on river floats with inner tubes!

Bathtime is not as much fun as swimming, but the toys are good.

Is it a hat? Silly Mama!

Grandma painted me a mobile. I swear my intentions are noble...

Reason #748,529 we love our foam tiles.

Burundi Updates, First Installment

Now that I'm alone in Buj, it's hard to justify not catching up on the blog. In roughly chronological order, here is the last year in photos (in several installments)!

Who knew fresh avocado could be so mean!!

Nana's crib finally arrived - no more pack n play sleeping for this big boy!

Bertie is voracious reader. He loved his "Tails" book - even the taste!

Silly baby!

Dressed up hometown proud for Dada's birthday.

Bedtime can be fun when Mama, Dada, Guita, Hugo, and Sammy come to help wind things down!

Guita still has doubts from time to time....

Mirrors are amazing. Bertie broke this unbreakable mirror shortly after this photo was taken. He's a machine.

Sammy, unlike Guita, has doubts most of the time.

Stego-butt baby can pull himself up! And he's not distracted by wearing only one sock....

Look, Mama, one hand!

Dadas make the best jungle gyms.

Chairs and dog beds are also good jungle gyms.... He wanted so desperately to be mobile!

The King of the Sippy Cup is not tired. Not tired. Not tired!

Scrambled eggs, and life is good. Note the predatory Whipperdoodle wondering if maybe, just maybe, this baby might prove useful after all...

Avocado is still serious business, but it's not necessarily mean anymore. He's so mature.

Look, Dada, I'm in my backpack!

Mama-Bertie selfies - everything is funny!

Not as good as real walking, but the walker was a joyful place for many months.

Especially if Dada-monster tried to steal toys!

Being a baby may be tiring, but keeping up with a baby will take it right out of people. And cats, and dogs.

Sometimes just the couch is not enough and delicate beasties need pillows on the couch to recover from their stressful days.