Thursday, June 19, 2014

Many Weeks To Catch Up

So much catching up to do before I can get to my Rwanda posting!!!  These past several weeks have been a crazy roller coaster jam packed with school (lots of school), work (lots of work) and getting ready for Rwanda.  Intermingled with all of that work was a lot of fun and some great stories!

First things first—the last day of school and camp starting. . . .  School finally finished and I think we were all happy about that.  Gabby had a super teacher and we will really miss Mrs. Mull.  She says she is sad that there isn’t another Braner following Gabby up the grade ladder (she was Dax’s teacher, too).  Mrs. Hilmer, Dax’s teacher came out to camp after school was over and I finally got “brave” enough to call her Wendy instead of Mrs. Hilmer.  I’m so excited to be her friend and see where our friendship grows.

We got chickens--12 of them.  Andy said he didn't want to be lonely while we were in Rwanda, so chickens will be the cure!!!  Feel free to come over for eggs after November!!!
Tiki started an internship.  This should be several blog-posts long, but I’ll try to keep it short.  There is a chef at the Strader Hotel who is called Chef Safari.  He is from Kenya and when he heard about my sweet Rwandan boy who wants to be a chef, he helped to arrange for them to meet.  They hit it off immediately and Tiki started his “internship” cooking at the Strader Hotel the next week.  He has only gotten to go twice, but he loved it and I think it may be a fun hobby for him throughout the year.

Meanwhile, Chef Safari is trying to raise enough money to get his wife and five kids to the States.  He has been in Durango for 18 months and just this month, his 15 year old daughter, Grace, came to the US.  We met her and she and Hays hit it off immediately.  They will be good friends!  She is very homesick for her mom and for Kenya, but we have tried to help her find her way around Durnago and American life and have fun.  She calls me “mom” and sent Andy the sweetest Father’s Day text.  I’m happy to have her in our lives. 

If you are interested in helping Chef Safari bring his family to the states, feel free to send a check.  I will present the monies to him after summer.  How great if we could raise a couple thousand dollars!!!!!

As I posted about before, my Uncle Bill died.  In all of the sadness and the tears, his funeral (not a funeral, but a fun picnic with all of his friends from all walks of life) was perfect.  It was almost exactly as he would have had it (he would have done without the people talking about him).  It was perfect!  I loved the time with my cousins.  Cody and Lori and I stayed up (lying in bed in the dark) and talked until about three a.m.  It was good to be with them because I haven’t seen them since before Gran’ma died, so we had so much to talk and laugh and cry about.

Our first day off of the summer was such a fun family day.  We rode bikes and went to the Animus River Days.  Again, I loved having bigger kids.  Riding bikes on the paths and on the road up to Sonic and hanging out by the river without worrying about who would fall in was so much fun.  I laughed a lot that day. 

The Blackwell family came to Durango for a quick visit and their time with us was much needed by everyone, I think!  Andy loved having a friend in town to bounce ideas off of and to ride bikes with.  I loved having Kelly there.  I was very busy, but it was nice to just know she was around.  Maggie and Hally laughed and acted like the teens they are.  Gabby and Rae were inseperable.  And the boys enjoyed having another person to hang out with!
Andy & Kevin in the back of this raft
The classic car show came to Durango. . .the girls (Hally, Maggie, Grace, Gabby & Rae) picked the pink car!

Maggie turned 13 and we had a fun birthday day with her.  She got her camp-tradition birthday kisses and nearly died of embarrassment.  We went to eat at our favorite Mexican spot and she got whipped cream in her face.  We played by the river and had a cook out at our house.  It was a fun and friend filled day.
Maggie & her two best friends, Lexy (Durango) & Hally (Branson)

In the midst of all of this, camp was in full swing.  We had a couple of church retreats and our first term has started.  Andy is teaching and loves being in his element.

And now we are off to Rwanda. . . .

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