Feeling cooped up !

March 26, 2020 and the Coronavirus is raging the entire world. This deadly virus brings along with it chaos and an immense amount of anxiety and fear. It is a respecter of no one, as everyone fears for their life.
A mandate for stay at home orders as been mandated by the government for all non essential workers in an attempt to promote social distancing and flatten the curve of contagion.

We are all staying at home now, parents are home schooling their children with all their might 🥴, wonderful teachers are using technology as helpful tool to support parents homeschooling efforts, albeit at times the share amount of emails and information threatens to ennui date us.

Parenting skills including our patience, creativity and not to mention knowledge of 6th grade math skills have been challenged to the core. We wait indoors , at times unable to pull ourselves away from the scary news detailing pestilence around the world .
Within our homes, we sanitize and pray for safety for ourselves , for our loved ones and for our world. We are afraid for so many reasons , our fear based on facts and at times myths about this virus .

As a Catholic , the holy rosary is a source of great comfort . Tonight comfort came while meditating on the third glorious mystery of the holy rosary. The scene is after the crucifixion of Jesus, Mary and the apostles return to the upper room and they too ( like us these days) were COOPED up and full of fear. Their messiah has just been crucified for heaven’s sakes !😰

Then enters the Holy Spirit, the great encourager to give them strength to evangelize the good news and remind them that they are not abandoned…What a feeling!

We too must hang in there , doing our best to self preserve and save our world by maintaining our social distance while we wait patiently for our own Pentecost day. We cannot express enough gratitude for the healthcare workers working so hard to save lives while risking theirs. Through their efforts, we hope to have Pentecost day again soon .

Wishing you all strength and love through this crisis …. STAY SAFE and ENCOURAGED!💕🙏🏾


Local family climbs Mount Kilimanjaro | ksdk.com

Local family climbs Mount Kilimanjaro
— Read on www.ksdk.com/mobile/video/news/local/local-family-climbs-mount-kilimanjaro/63-ab740f66-f569-4cc3-8e59-6c693216b47a

Remember that I mentioned earlier how I have great family and in laws right? Well so somehow my brother in law had connections to the Local News station celebrity/reporter Renee Knott who contacted my DH while we were still on Africa to say he wanted to interview the family once we got back…no pressure of course lol

Wednesday morning before heading off to clinic for work that day, jet lagged n all, our family all sat bright eyed in our living room and chatted about our experience hiking Mt ” Kili” as a family , as well as our twins boys earning the world record for the youngest official Mt Kilimanjaro summiteers!!!. See, the legal youngest age to climb is 10yrs, they turned 10yrs on the day of summit , so viola!

Since our trip, my sweet MIL Oma has turned this blog into a picture book as a gift to us. All of these memoirs help keep this trip more alive for us .

It’s an understatement to say I will forever cherish what this adventure has meant to our family. I firmly believe that’s God took us up that mountain and walked with and cared for us all the way! May he continue to hike all of life’s seasons and terrains with all of us- You and yours too !

Thank you for reading my blog😘

Home Sweet Home

Ada and I agreed that the fIrst thing on our minds after the longest travel experience we had today was a HOT SHOWER!!!!

I exhaled deeply as I stepped out of the best shower I’ve had in weeks. Wrapped my hair in towel and felt like I had finally arrived home. You see I have come to develop an immense appreciation for the shower we have at home after this trip. Why? Because I had many “ near misses” with shower experience on our African trip. Showers on this trip ranged from highly anticipated such as after the Kilimanjaro hike, to get just a mediocre shower experience at even the fanciest safari tented camp- Maribou. They had welcomed us by a spill that included something like this “ welcome to a happy place with happy people…”. I loved not only their slogan but their ambiance was perfection! Lovely accommodations overlooking a safari of peacefully grazing giraffes, zebras , “pumbahs”( worth hogs ) etc. The whole place was heavenly except the shower was not hot enough😏. The explanation for this was that the water was heated by solar power and the day before we arrived the sun did not do it’s thang enough apparently- Boo.

So you see I’ve been “ managing “ showers throughout this trip, from bucket showers in our tent in Ngorogoro crater to a random “ poor water pressured “shower in our fancy accommodation in Camps Bay, Capetown. What the heck?! It was like the shower gods were not in my favor for real lol . It was to the point that DH would wish me good luck before I embarked on some of my showering experiences. So you see, then coming home and “winning “ with my ole faithful shower was like a piece of heaven!!! It allowed me to forgive all the random showers on this trip as if to say “ I got ya back- literally “lol

On a more serious note, I could not be more grateful be home safe after the longest family trip we’ve had. Ada and I left Capetown a day earlier than the rest of the family. It was so hard to leave all the fun with cousins behind, but we had to be home early for Ada’s Muny rehearsal scheduled tomorrow morning. DH will be bringing the youngest three home with him tomorrow. He’s a good man, I think I got the easier travel job …

Well if you count the stupendous almost 24hrs delay at LGA airport then maybe not so easy after all . We arrived into NYC at around 6am from Capetown via Nairobi ( where we had a 17hrs layover so ofcourse DH arranged with a friend to do a game drive safari and other sight seeing in Nairobi, a hotel to freshen up before our flight to NYC later that evening). We didn’t get to STL and home until close to midnight.

Ada was such a trooper as always on this trip and even when I was close to loosing my S**T, she tried to distract me with a game “ so you don’t think of the bad stuff Mommy”… she’s truly a STAR.

I’m also blessed with the best in laws honestly, so we had many volunteers for a ride from the airport this evening, which was tricky since the flight time kept changing.

Finally we take off after “ getting a route” from Air traffic Control, apparently there were storms in our paths, ….if only Mother Nature gave a crap about minutiae things like me really needing to get home for my shower…

My BIL ( Brother in law) picked us home from the airport and charioted us home in no time. Oh yeah by the way, Southwest Airline lost one of our bags in all the craziness but this is no time to loose focus on a lost bag, besides they promised the bag and a voucher so I’m good for now lol

It’s now almost midnight and we’re exhausted , but so happy we’re home in our warm bed and my heart couldn’t be more grateful, as I watch Ada sleeping peacefully next to me. I miss DH and the rest of our crew and pray for the smoothest trip possible for them. I count my blessings daily because I don’t want to forget or neglect to be grateful . I loved traveling through Africa and Dubai on this amazing trip but I also truly love being right here at home, grateful for the opportunity and grateful to be a lover of this God given life !💕🙏🏾

As always thank you for coming along on this journey by reading my blog, don’t forget to leave comments as I love reading from you all as well.

Tell me, what you look forward to , after being away from your home. Clearly mine today was a HOT SHOWER!😂

Uhuru Peak!!!!-Day 6

OMG we just summited Mount Kilimanjaro with our four young children on our twins 10th birthday !!!! God is sooo good and we are grateful!

I am truly at a lost of words to describe this day plus I’m a bit tired so I will give highlights:

Woke at 3am to start summit from base camp

Tough accent that required a lot of positive mental energy to succeed.

Seeing folks turn around sick on the mountain jared my nerves but we kept going.

Youngest Amara struggled at times but mostly refused the offer of our personal porters to carry her up. I tired at first for all of one minute or so before she said “ mommy I can walk now” but that didn’t last . DH also carried her some distance because she wouldn’t accept help from porters . Eventually with a prayer miracle, she allowed our chief porter Prosper to carry her and he came prepared ….with baby wrap n all, very impressive indeed. Ultimately Amara hiked rest of way herself after receiving very minimal help from all who offered.

Alan, Alex and Adaeze were amaze balls!!! Let’s just say tired or not, their attitude beat the altitude . Alan did the floss at Stella point!

We ALL reached the summit Uhuru peak at exactly noon!

What a sight!! Took in African’s glacier on the left and a crater to the right of the Uhuru peak . God is totally awesome , the best artist and maker of all things beautiful! We said prayers, I bent down with renewed energy to kiss motherland Africa and prayed for its past and its future.

We were all ecstatic and celebrated with many hugs and kisses, even some emotionality at the enormous reality we were living. I was extremely thankful that my DH had envisioned returning to summit Mount Kilimanjaro a second time, this time with us, his family. Here we all were , living this vision turned reality, especially in good health as a significant bonus!

DH even brought a St Louis Blues Hockey team rally towel to the summit for a memorabilia and photo op!

Our chief guide surprised our twin with fruit juice champagne at the summit!!!🥂

They were so happy they immediately stated that they wanted to bring the empty bottle back home with us for a keepsake.

We hung out ,took picture for about 30 mins and it was time to quickly get off the mountain to lower altitude and more oxygen.

Descending was rushed as our guides literally grabbed our arms locked in theirs to move us down the mountain as fast as possible. It also felt tough on my ” runner’s” or should I say -maturing knees especially lol. I did have a slight headache that increased as I pounded my feet each step down the rocky mountain.

Felt much better after having a warm meal once at base camp .

Kids true to form we’re down again wayyyy before DH , Amara and Myself… yes I was last of my crew off the mountain. Ain’t no shame in my game lol

As we descending Kilimanjaro, a storm was approaching and it literally began snowing on us as we were getting off the mountain to base camp…. my first time experiencing SNOW in Africa!

At base camp our hosts had an incredible birthday surprise for the twins complete with dancing , chants and carrot cake by chef Tito! Hope to post video of this below…

Our children’s smiles were priceless, and that warmed my heart. I was so proud to be their mother and to be parenting them with my DH. What a special way to celebrate their 10th birthday.

Following our meals and celebration we had to quickly rush out of base camp for Mweka camp – another 2 hours hike. This camp gets us closer to the gate tomorrow morning when we start the last 6 hrs hike out of the beautiful Kilimanjaro national park.

We came we saw and we are forever impacted for good as a result.

Love to Mother Africa!

Base Camp!!!! Day 5

The mountain looks close and more audacious as we approach. As usual our three oldest kids are troopers and gap us well to reach campsite, at least 25 mins before we get there with our Moo baby. It turns out she typically will have a reason to stay back …like ” I need my sunglasses Daddy” but then she insists she would like to hike between DH and myself the rest of the time . This would be fine if she would keep up her pace or not want play 25 guessing games that invariably no one wins but she, because the thoughts are so random, and hardly guess able with a brain just trying to do the basis/ grab oxygen from this “oxygen very thin air “😏. Besides the more she talks she mouth breathes and that is not ideal. Trying to convince an 8 yrs to walk in silence is tricky especially when she has a captive audience in her mom and dad!

This camp is significant as all are , but this is the last stop before summit!!!! It’s also cold as heck and it’s elevation is about 4673m that is about 15000ft in American speak! The air is thinner and you can absolutely feel it. Thankfully no headache that have persisted but I have felt weaker, needing a nap. Kids on the other hand are acting like little solar powered machines. On the other hand, I just find myself reminding them in between my naps saying “ no talking too much please conserve your energy ” which tends to fall on deaf ears….ah well, hakuna mata.😏

We would have to wake up at 3 Am to begin our accent to summit Kilimanjaro which will take till close to noon to accomplish. Our senior guide thought it better to wake up at this time to avoid hiking in the dark and for so long without the warmth of the sun. We have come to trust them and so we listen to the instructions shared every night at dinner . He really tried to communicate well including on the “food issues” to make sure the kids will be offered food choices that they would actually wanna eat. For example after I made pancake infront of the chef and his audience, he reproduced that at lunch today and made 4 kids extremely happy when he topped it with fried chicken!!!! Say whaaaat???!!!!😁

Prosper asked if I could cook Mac and cheese tonight for dinner based on Amara ‘s and the rest of the kids request…and so there I was after an hour nap , in that warm , poorly lite kitchen , again with the whole crew who are watching and helping while some watched Naija movies on their phones besides the gas stove I was cooking on. I really couldn’t make up this even if I tried but there I was warmed by the gas stove and the crowded kitchen tent crew as I and attempted to improvise and American mac and cheese at base camp. My daughters had initially said they’d come help but then chose to play play UNO with their brothers and DH in the tent , over cooking in a tent kitchen. I really couldn’t blame them for real.

Dinner is served and they like it enough. It’s not velveeta from the box so there is a slight ” base camp” variation. Most finish their big portions with some persuasion from us . We also had muffin that they seemed to like a lot and ofcourse leek soup! Everyone is content and understands the plans for tomorrow We brush teeth, give kids melatonin aka mountain sleeping lifesaver and they are warm in their sleeping bags.

Tomorrow is our twins birthday and I wish them first and foremost health , then happiness and joy, peace and love and their hearts desire which right now is a puppy whom they have already named teddy Theodore Kilimanjaro Loynd , a bishon teacup who they promise does not shed and is smart……all righty then!

Honestly, I’ve enjoyed a lot about this trip , the time we are getting to spend together as a family is priceless it’s like a comedy show without commercials. The kids are cute no doubt and strangers do come up to DH and myself to remark on how our kids should model, or that they look like “magazine kids or kids on cereal boxes”… I have to admit the cereal box compliment is a brand new one but we’ll take that graciously.

More than their physical attributes, I truly value their connection to eachother , the growth I see occurring in them even visible over these few days on the mountain , understanding the power of POSITIVE THOUGHTS and it’s impact on outcome. It is also very comforting to see the ease with which they seemingly maneuver through wherever with ease. My prayer is that doors be open to them in the future so they are maneuver with their natural ability and they not be judged solely physical attributes such as the color of their skin…

For now it’s hakuna mata in the motherland and when we get back to the Lou, we keep managing as we have so far lol

I must also tell you how much I have also really enjoyed the locals we met, they seem so genuinely , so simple and smart and eager to help. Our senior guide once told me when I was in the beginnings of a freak out when I thought couldn’t find my cellphone but later did in my pocket that “ there’s no way you can loose something with me behind you “ and he was typically trailing behind me.

Everyone has such a warm smile on the road even the porter that are carrying what appeared like tons of load, they are polite with passing us on the trials with greetings. The porters are majority males and very rarely there is a woman porter. Baracca recognizes a woman porter from his village on our trip today, it was the woman’s first trip up Kilimanjaro . As they exchanged pleasantries I noticed she didn’t have proper hiking boots like every other else . What if I leave my hiking boots after the summit for her? I found out her name is Happiness, and I think our shoe sizes may be similar- well just a thought for now since I still need my beloved hiking boots to make it to the summit and back! Happiness will have to wait .

Overall I’m ecstatic at how well our family is doing. DH and I found some moments to connect more vs being so practical and planned ( aka anxious lol). That helped but I still miss him in a more tender , non mountainous sort of way. Does that make sense? Anyways I better get good night rest before I’m woken up at 3am for the biggest summit of our life! God please be with us carry us when we need you and let the time go by fast so we can appreciate and respect the mountain and get back down to where we belong- Solid ground as close to sea level as possible 😉