Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Mwango's go to Africa ~Part one~

We finally did it! After YEARS of planning and promising, we finally took the plunge and went to Zambia. The only word that comes to mind when people ask about our trip is AMAZING! I loved the people and the area and the country. Now that I am home I wish I would have blogged everyday so that I could have kept track of my exact feelings each day BUT I will try to re-cap the event and stay as true to my feelings as I can remember. Sooo here it goes....

I will start with packing. We started packing a few months before we left. We were taking a total of seven bags and I wanted to make sure we had EVERYTHING we could possibly need while we were there. Three of the bags were packed full of things for Edwin's family members. I lucked out and hit the clearance racks in August for summer clothing since we would be in Africa during their hottest season. We packed shoes and purses and suits and LOTS and LOTS of baby clothes for his family. For Edwin and I it was fairly easy, all the summer clothing that I needed to pack away for the winter was packed into suitcases. I didn't know what the temperature would be like so I tried to pack a little bit of everything. Malaika was the tough part. When packing for a baby there is this maternal demon that sits on your shoulder and tells you bad things are going to happen if you don't pack THIS! Even though I KNEW I would not need Malaika's heavy winter coat, I could foresee Africa having their first and ONLY snow while we were there and Malaika freezing to death because I am such an unprepared mother! Haha! She did not even wear half the items I packed for her. (but if any catastrophe happened I would have been prepared..LOL) Her diaper bag was full of toys and coloring books and things that I though would entertain her on the LONG plane rides.
The main concern with the luggage was weight. we were only allowed 50lbs per bag that we were checking and they had to be certain dimensions. At home each bag weighed about 49lbs.(except one) PHEW! Susanna came and stayed with us the night before we left and drove us to the airport in the morning around 5 a.m. the baggage went through and the lady was so nice. we had one bag that was over the weight limit by 20 lbs. we were prepared for this and thought it would be an extra 50 dollar charge but it was actually a 150.00 charge. she said that because we had a baby we could take one more bag. She provided a box to put the excess stuff in and checked it all at no extra cost!! She also kept telling us (at least a hundred times) that we should continue to have more babies, and when we have them to come see her. What can I say, we make cute babies!
*Here is a tip for all you travelers out there... TRAVEL WITH A BABY! You get the most amazing service everywhere you go!* We were always escorted to the front of the line.
I was extra nervous about flying. I have not flown since I was in high school and the farthest I have ever flown is to Kansas. Now I have a (almost) two yr. old and a 36 hour flight ahead of me! EEK! The first flight was a 3 hour flight from Portland to Minneapolis. Since Malaika was under two we didn't have to purchase a ticket for her, she was a lap baby. this flight posed a slight problem because it was packed completely full and in the row of three seats were Edwin, Malaika and myself as well as another lady and her baby! Talk about cramped! For some reason every flight we had Malaika would pass out right before take off. It was almost like she knew what was going to happen. She would suck on her binky the entire time and we never had a problem with her screaming or crying because of her ears. She slept through the entire first flight *AMAZING*! The next flight was from Minneapolis to Amsterdam this was an 8 hour flight and it was the nicest plane! All the seats had individual movie screens and you could watch TV and listen to music. Malaika slept through half of the flight and the other half she watched dora (on the I touch) and Ice age on the seat screen. She cracked us up on this flight because she ate soooo much food! I had packed a few snacks (chex mix, cheerios, and goldfish crackers) she ate almost all of those and both mine and Edwin's plane food! In Amsterdam we had a 5 hour layover which was good and bad... (If I was telling you this in person, this is the part where Edwin would start laughing at me) I decided to go the comfortable route and wear a tracksuit on the plane. I wanted comfort and not style for a 36 hour flight. The problem is that the tracksuit was on the baggy side and after a few hours of being in a plane it had stretched out more. this would not have been a problem if we had not just landed in the most FASHIONABLE airport I have EVER been in. Everyone was wearing suits and fur and stiletto's! On top of that they all smelled SOOOO good! I smelled like an eight hour plane ride who's seat was directly across from the bathroom. UGH! My adoring husband did not help...He had unfortunately told me, before we left,that I should not wear the baggy tracksuit and that I should wear nice jeans and a nice shirt. He proceeded to tell me this for the ENTIRE 5 hour layover in Amsterdam and continued on the next flight! I hate when he is right! All of my nastiness aside, Amsterdam has an AMAZING airport. The changing room alone was beautiful! As you stepped in the dimly lit room there was light classical music in the background. There were about 10 round sectional couches and each had a built-in crib and sheer white curtains draped around them. BEAUTIFUL and relaxing is what it was. The playroom for the kids was furnished with wooden tree houses and lots of slides... Malaika enjoyed.

The next flight was an eight hour flight from Amsterdam to Kenya. This was BY FAR the worst flight we had. Time changes were catching up to us and it was our night and their day time. We were sitting next to a VERY loud group of Men (kenyan's as edwin called them) who did not speak a word of English but every word they spoke was in a LOUD yelling laughing tone! Malaika slept through this entire flight, she would not even wake up when we tried to wake her for food, and I wanted to join her so badly. Every time I would tune out the loud passengers and drift off the stewardess would wake me up to ask if I wanted something to drink or eat. UGH! NO I want sleep!!!!! There were no TV's and the battery to the I touch had gone down so I can strongly say that was the longest flight of my life!

When we arrived in Kenya It felt so good to FINALLY arrive in Africa. It was late in the evening for them (9 PM for them but afternoon for us time wise) This layover was not very enjoyable. Since it was late most of the shops were closed. My tracksuit was BEYOND baggy at this point and Malaika had just woken up from an 8 hour sleep. She was very perky! I had to use the restroom and when I went in the floor was covered in water. I hiked up my pants and headed to the stall (thinking this is normal?) the toilet was a hole in the floor... hmmmm. I checked the other stall and found a semi -normal toilet and decided I would rather chance an over flowing toilet then my balance on the other one. Good choice! We waited for about 3 hours and then boarded the plane to Lusaka. FINALLY!

This flight was about 2 hours and very exciting, we knew we were almost there. Malaika slept through this entire flight as well (we were soo lucky). The food on this flight was really good and the staff were also very nice. When we landed in lusaka it was around 11:45 PM and it took FOREVER to get through the customs line. We finally made it through and started looking for our bags. All but one made it, my bag was the only one that did not make it. Unfortunately that was the only bag I had packed anything in. I had an extra pair of pajama's in my carry on and luckily they were light and airy because I would be wearing them for the next 5 days! EEK! (Yes I cried... I cried a lot! )

Edwin's sister and brother-in-law were there to pick us up and they had paid for us to stay in a REALLY nice lodge for the night.(The shower had like 10 nozzles and a back massaging spa!) They dropped us off and told us to get some sleep and they would pick us up in the morning. That was my first night sleeping under a mosquito net and it was magical!!! I love AFRICA~!

-------TO BE CONTINUED---- hopefully not 3 months from now------

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

21 & 22 Months - "The pea's please mama!?"


Yes people, it is true, I have heard the black eyed peas (boom boom pow and I got a feeling) a bazillion times in the last 2 months. Lisa and Cheryl can vouch for me. BUT who couldn't play it over and over and over when you have a little dancing machine shaking her booty to the music!? My daughter is soooo stinkin cute!!


These last two months have been a little busy in the Mwango household.

* I started school at Concordia and tonight is the last night of my first class. I am loving the program and feel like the time is going to fly by.

*Edwin applied for a higher position at work and after almost 2 months of waiting we finally heard back and he GOT THE JOB! HOORAY! I am so proud of his accomplishments at Aetna. He is a very hard worker and it it nice to see him get a promotion. (the raise is also going to pay our car payments so I am NOT complaining one bit!)

* We FINALLY found a church! We have been going to Westport community church for about 5 weeks now and decided this will be our home church. It feels really nice to get plugged in again. We have home group on Thursday nights and then they have a TON of community outreach programs to get involved in. One of the programs they are doing soon is for single parents. They are bringing in massage therapists and catering a dinner for over 100 single moms and dads. They are also providing daycare during that time so the parents can relax and enjoy their time. How cool is that! This church really has a heart for the community and I love that! (Malaika will not go to the nursery at the church yet..UGH!)


In between all of that our little sproutlet is growing and changing sooooo much.

* Just yesterday she actually spoke in a full sentence. She said, " Daddy says, go outside play!" All of her sentences lately have started with "Daddy says". I feel like I am in a continuous game of Simon says around here.

*I cannot even count the number of words she is saying but she talks from morning til night and also in between. In the middle of the night she is constantly taking about water or Dora or Mickey.

* She will eat almost anything. She LOVES turkey meatballs right now and noodles. She calls them "oodles". She also loves strawberries and apples.


* We finally broke the bottle!!!!! YAYAYAYAYAYAY This has been an ongoing struggle for us. Basically because Edwin and I are weak human beings. Malaika has us wrapped around her little finger. haha! BUT we took charge and have been bottle free for 3 days now. I hold 12 step meetings on Tuesdays, at noon, if anyone wants to join. (we serve milk in a cup and cookies)

* I found a Dora quad on craigslist for 20 bucks and she has been LOVING that.

* I get together with my sister-in-law and a few other mom on Wednesday mornings at the park. It has been fun getting to know the other moms (we all try to bring a friends so the group can grow). It has also been fun watching Malaika develop. She is now able to go down the big slide all by herself!


* We bought Malaika some "big girl panties" She is now wearing them during the day when we are home. She likes using her potty and has used the big potty once or twice.

* She loves to sing and can sing the entire twinkle twinkle song. Every time we go to Winco she draws a crowd of people and they clap for her. She can sing her ABC's and Jesus loves me.


* She can count to 20 in English and thank you to Dora she can count to 10 in Spanish all by herself.

* I have been teaching her colors and shapes and her favorite shape is a triangle. She is ALWAYS pointing them out to me when we are shopping. For colors... everything is green.


* I try to take her to the zoo every other week so she can see the animals. It is good exercise for me and it helps with nap time.

* She LOVES to sleep! She goes to bed around 9 or 9:30 and wakes up around 10 and then she typically takes a nap around 2.


She is amazing and adorable and... the list goes on and on. I have learned so much from being a mom and I am thankful God gave me this little angel!


Our Africa trip is in 28 days!!!! Around this time next month I will be Baking I mean BASKING in the African sun!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Summer DAZE- 18,19,20 months

Hello out there....

(sorry the site is not letting me add pics )

There is so much to catch everyone up on. This blog has been on my "to do" list for months and I have just not had the drive to 'get er dun'. But enough with the excuses and on to the good stuff.
I am going to share a little family life and drama before I talk about the little princess.

April and May were pretty tough months for us. At the beginning of April little Andre Chibwe Mwango blessed us with his presence.

He is SOOOOOO cute and such a good little baby. Edwin and I kept Mwila for a few days while Holly was at the hospital and adjusting to being home. It was so much fun to have Malaika and Mwila together playing. Everywhere we go people think they are twins. Which being only a month a part and looking VERY similar, I can't blame them. As most of you know Edwin's brother has had his ups and downs. He has battled with an alcohol problem for a few years and it was getting the best of him (Literally). In the beginning of May he was in an accident and was taken to jail for a DUI. this was not the first one he has had and they immediately started the process of court hearings and discussed prolonged jail time. While this was happening poor Holly was home with a brand new 3 week old baby and a 16 month old. Edwin and I talked about it and asked her if we could keep Mwila for awhile while she got adjusted and healed up and back on her feet. Their original plan was that she would go back to work in a few weeks and he would stay home with the kids. So her whole plan was knocked out from under her. Soooo May past by pretty quickly and we stayed busy with school and the girls. I definitely got a taste of what it would be like with twins! When the time came for Holly to go back to work I attempted keeping Andre and the girls and quickly discovered I was not super mom. =) I have no idea how Jon and Kate do it! We kept Mwila until she was able to get childcare set-up and DHS in order. She took her back the week before my brothers wedding at the end of June... (I am slowly listing my excuses for not posting on my blog =) ) During that time Musonda has had many court hearings and they have sentenced him to 2 1/2 years in the Salem State Penn. This has been such a bitter sweet time. We wanted him to finally get the help that he desperately needs. BUT I didn't want it to happen like this. IT makes me sad that he will not get to see his kids grow up in these early years. I also worry about the influence prison has on people. Musonda is such a great person. He is Smart and personable, he is the type of person who can make friends wherever he goes. Alcohol has really taken a toll on him and everyone of the people around him. So please pray for him... Pray that he will stay in good spirits and that God will really do a number on him while he is in there. Pray that Holly can stay strong and make it through this time with love and care for her children. And pray for Edwin and I that we will know the right words to say and that we can be a good example for Andre and Mwila and a good support system for Holly. Sometimes I really wish I was superwomen so I could help everyone and be ten places at once.

So that was April, May and part of June.....

There were two other events that transpired in June.
1. My mom moved out and into her own apartment. I am so proud of her (haha I sound like a parent) This was also a bittersweet moment for us. I LOVED having my mom live with us. She has been here since I was pregnant with Malaika and has been a source of support for me. I was a little scared that I could not do it on my own without her. It is amazing how much we need our parents when we are adults. I am so grateful for everything she has taught me. She has helped me become a loving, caring mom. I only hope I can be half as great as she has been to me! THANKS MAMA!!!!
We were also excited to see what life would be like with just the three of us... I know Edwin was really ecstatic to get to walk around the house in his underwear...haha! I was also excited to get to send Malaika to Gma's house for the weekend! Her first time was actually last Saturday night. It was my first time without her overnight (Remember she sleeps with us) I only cried a little.
It was a great night out with my hubby though and we felt like teenagers staying out until 1 in the morning! LOL

2. My brother got MARRIED! I know.. never thought it would happen. I LOVE his wife though. She is so much fun and a great partner for my brother. They were married here in Oregon at the Abernathy Center in Oregon City on June 25th (RIP MJ). I was a Bridesmaid and Malaika was a flower girl (SHE WAS SOOOOO CUTE!) I had all the groomsmen staying at my house and let me tell you it was GREAT! I had breakfast ready for me every morning and one of the groomsmen is slightly OCD and he was on his hands and knees scrubbing my kitchen floor! He even got a paint stain up that I had just accepted as a part of my floor.
The wedding was beautiful and I am sooo happy that Tony has found someone.

So that was June

Now July ----- Way to much has happened---- This will be Sporadic

  • We went to LaGrande for the fourth to go to one of my best friends weddings. Jana and Wade make the cutest couple and I can guarantee they will have the cutest kids (Next to mine!) Malaika tore up the dance floor and at one point she was on the stage dancing by herself. She didn't even notice that no one else was up there. She is SUCH a ham! Now I just need to figure out a way to stop Jana from moving to New Jersey.. =(

  • I have been reading REAL BOOKS! I love reading and while in school I never had the time. I started the Twilight series a few weeks ago and I am currently on the last 50 pages of the third book. I told Edwin I would take a break for a week so we could have some family time. (I tend to get caught up in my little book world).

  • I was accepted into Concordia Universities Health Administration Bachelors program. I start the week after Edwin Graduates from his Business Bachelors program. I will graduate next December and then apply for OHSU accelerated Nurse practitioner program. I just received my financial aid package and I was awarded the max for pell grant and an Oregon Opportunity grant. This is amazing because in the 5 years I have been in school the most I ever received was 500 dollars... this year alone I will get 6000! Thank you LORD! This will cover about half of my tuition.

  • We bought our tickets to Africa!!!! AND Malaika and I have our passports! We leave October 21st and get back November 6th. FINALLY! I will share more on that later.

Okay finally on to Malaika...

She is pretty much saying every word she hears... She is a talking machine from the time she wakes up to the time she goes to sleep. She even talks in her sleep. She can count to ten and sing part of the ABC's. She even said "refreshing" the other day when she smelled something. HAHA! She likes to sing along with any song and her current fav is Boom Boom POW (The clean version) by the black eyed peas. She is saying please and thank you so well now that I don't even have to tell her. pretty smart little girl!

She has been sleeping in her own bed (with me) for almost three weeks now. Soon I will start slipping out and leaving her...soon

She does not like her diaper being dirty. As soon as she poops she brings me a diaper or runs up and says CHANGE!!!!She has been letting me know ahead of time and we are starting to learn how to pull up and down our pull-ups to use the potty. She loves it when her potty sings when she pees in it. I think she will be an early potty trainer.

She is already wearing a size 8 shoe! Can you believe it! This poses a problem at times because a lot of kids that wear size eight are old enough to not need the back strap.. she clearly does.

We bought her a trike at goodwill I will try to get a pic of her today and add it.

She is still wearing size 5 diapers. Most clothes she wears are 2 and 3 T If I am buying clothes I only buy 3T

She is AMAZING!!!

Hope that got everyone caught up and not to long. I will try to get better! PROMISE!

Monday, April 13, 2009


I have not posted some Mwango family updates in a while so since edwin is watching th Blazers game and mom is holding Malaika, I thought this would be the perfect time.

Overall we are doing great! It has been a very busy year so far, and I couldn't even tell you exactly why it is so busy. I am still unemployed and the time is drawing near for employment. It is bittersweet because I love being home with Malaika but at the same time we need to generate a little more income. I have been looking around for daycare and I am hoping there is an opening to the one I like when the time comes. Daycare in Portland is SOOO expensive though... they range from 800 to 1500 PER month That is as much as our mortgage! The home daycares run 25 to 35 dollars a day, but then you have the worry of not knowing exactly who they are.. ugh! (I will stop thinking about it)

The house is coming together nicely. I still need to post some pictures so you can see the before and after. Edwin is always embarking on a new project. "We" (hehe) recently put in new counter tops and sinks in the kitchen and two bathrooms. We had to take a break from that construction project though because Edwin cut his thumb with the circular saw on the last countertop. Someday I will allow him to play with the saw again. =)

We also purchased a new washer and dryer that are eco-friendly... they are nice and quiet and beautiful! I never thought I would be so excited about buying appliances.

Our most recent project is the backyard. We laid down bark chips and purchased a little playhouse and slide and basketball hoop so Malaika and her friends would have a little play ground this summer. Now it just needs to stop raining so she can go out there and play!

I think I said in an earlier blog that I had applied to two different nursing schools. I heard back from them both and I did not make it into the PCC program and I was waitlisted for the University of Portland. I decided rather than wait another year to apply again, I would create a much needed back-up plan. I have applied for Concordia University's accelerated Bachelors in Health Administration. This is a 16 month program and when I finish it I will FINALLY have a Bachelors! FINALLY!!! WHOO HOO! Edwin is currently attending Concordia for a Bachelors in Business and he graduates in August. He has loved the program and all the teachers so he has been persuading me that it is the best thing for me... I happen to agree. After I have a Bachelors I can apply to OHSU's accelerated nursing program. The program at OHSU takes three years and you come out with a bachelors in nursing and a Masters with a nurse practitioners license. Which is exactly what I wanted. SO in about 5 more years I will finally be done.. SHEEESH!
At least I am starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

As I said before Edwin is graduating in August and as soon as he graduates he told me we are free to go to Africa.. We have looked at tickets and it looks like the last week in October and first week in November will be when we go. We have to go before Malaika turns 2, or we will have to pay for her. I am sooo ready to finally go! I will let you know when we actually purchase the tickets because their is no turning back then.

hmmm.. what else...

We finally found a church! It is called True Life Fellowship. We have only been going their a short time but we think it is a perfect fit. They are more of a home church, a place we could feel comfortable and grow in. Musonda and Holly introduced us to them and they have been very welcoming. So I guess that is another thing I will keep you posted on.

And last but not least... MALAIKA
She is now 17 months! I weighed her on the scale this morning and she is 26 pounds. She seems to be stretching out and some of the clothes she was wearing last week do not fit anymore. She is wearing a shoe size of 6 to 7 but the size 6 shoes are starting to get small. It seems weird to buy size 7 and 8 for her! She is going to have big feet like her mama.
We have been hanging out with Edwins brother and wifey (They just got married on april 1st!) and little mwila a lot and it has been sooo fun to see Malaika and Mwila interact. Malaika gets sooo excited when she see's her. Holly is due this Thursday with their little boy so I will post pics as soon as I can.

We re-did her room and made a big girl room.. Here are some pics



We now have Madagascar posters on her wall.. I guess I need to re-take..haha



Malaika changing every day... She learns a new word every day and sometimes points and uses the right word.. haha She started saying "Pee Pee" and "PooP" and "Potty" which is great since I am trying to potty train. So far she likes to flush and raise the lid... she has only pee'd in the potty one time. Our carpets need a good cleaning though.. haha

She is also a FRUIT baby she loves straberries and watermelon and apples and oranges. She also likes Avacado and tomatoes, she can eat a whole avacado by herself! We are working on breaking the bottle habit and some days are better than others. I am not going to break the binky until we get back from Africa. I need to have a mute button for those long flights!

She loves the Blazers and when we say "Nicholas" she says "BAAATUUM" It is soo cute! We are trying to find a blazers cheerleading outfit for her.

I guess thats all for now. I can sleep peacefully knowing I am semi-caught up.
I hope everyone is doing well.. Happy late Easter!


(Malaika's first slumber party with Lauren!)

Friday, February 27, 2009

The doodlebug


Well, she is now 15 (almost 16 ) months old..and getting smarter everyday. I have been so busy with school and re-modeling the house that I have not had time to update on the new things she is doing. Sooo today I am taking the time and I hope you all enjoy.


Here is the LIST: (There might be some repeats from previous months but... you get the point)


* She is saying sooo many words now I don't even think I can remember all of them. Here are a few;

-Please.. She even says "Oh, please" ... If she wants something I will ask her, "What do you say?" and she responds with "Please!" SOOO CUTE!

-Thank you




-Ice (She loves ice chips)



-what's this?

-bye bye

-nite nite

-PUPPY! - and she barks


-She knows what sounds a puppy, cat, horse, cow, and chicken make

-She can say papa for grandpa

-she says bama for Obama and gets really excited whenever she see's him on TV or a picture of him.

- down

- Dora

- Barney

- She says cool now for everything new she see's .. "Oh cool"

- she also says Oh WOW! Whenever she see's a toy she wants

- she says HI


there are more but I can't think of it.. It is pretty amaing to see this new language develope. she also has a language of her own and she will babble your ear off. (Just like her mama).
She loves cell phones and laptops and anything with buttons. She will throw a huge tantrum when we take the phone away from her.. but she is learning that tantrums are only embarrasing (for everyone.. haha )
Whenever she throws a tantrum and my mom is around, my mom gives her this look and Malaika tries to hide. It is pretty funny.

She is currently wearing size 12 months -2t depending on the brand and size 5 diapers still.
And on our scale at home she is 28 pounds.

We updated her room to a "big girl" room. I will post some pictures as soon as I finish my finals on Saturday. I am excited to finish the little touches and then get her sleeping in their consistantly.

Sorry it took me so long to update... I will try to be better!
Hope everyone is doing good.