Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Happy Hearts

I cannot even begin to tell you how WONDERFUL today was. I am still feeling the glow of a perfect, perfect day. 

So many people in my world love these babies so much, and sometimes people just send money and say, "Do something special for the babies that you wouldn't get to do otherwise!" And today we did! 

We took our biggest 11 babies to Livingstone for a day at the crocodile farm and swimming in a REAL pool. Because the Harding group is here, I had so many friends willing to come and chaperone the babies one on one. 4 of them are even lifeguards, so that was ideal for the swimming. One sweet Harding, Abigail, even agreed to come along just to take pictures for us! 

When we pulled up in the bus at 8 to pick up the babies, they were racing out the gate! They have been looking forward to this like crazy since I told them. We started off at the reptile park (crocodile farm), where the babies were totally enthralled. 
Checking out the difference between a tortoise and a turtle.
There are so many crocodiles there you can't even count. The babes loved spotting them hidden among the bushes or in the water. 

It's pretty crazy to watch them jump in the air when they're mad. How he doesn't attack this man, I'll never know.

 This is a mother croc who is protecting her eggs. It's amazing how aggressive and deadly they are. 
The coolest thing is that they let you hold the baby crocs! I actually predicted that maybe two of the kids would hold them, and I was right!
This one is 1 year 8 months old, approximately. Jose was fearless.

He couldn't be sweeter. 
Despite Seth's being a weeny about the whole croc farm experience, he faced his fears and held this little guy. I was so proud of him! 
After holding the baby crocodiles, it was time to see all the deadly snakes that live in Zambia. We only got pictures of a few, but of all the ones they had there, there was only 1 I hadn't seen in real life. Frightening!
Spitting cobra

This black mamba, the deadliest snake in Africa, has enough venom to kill 20 people. 
Kenna and Sesa boy resting before lunch!
I loved every second of that experience. I just can't tell you how much joy it brings me to let the kids experience new things for the first time. I love watching them proudly tell the aunties and their friends what they saw that day.

We headed to Hungry Lion for lunch. Think Kentucky Fried Chicken. We had ordered their food ahead of time, so we sat down for a quick meal of fried chicken and chips. They were perfectly well behaved. 

Our last stop was swimming! I managed to find the only pool that would really work for our kids because it had a shallow end. I had already talked to the manager of the hotel, and they agreed to let our hooligans swim for the day (for a price of course!). We were greeted by some traditional dancers. The babes joined in for a bit.

And then it was time to swim! When I told them we were going swimming after we'd just seen the crocs, they were a little gun shy. They asked if there were crocodiles in the pool! They'd never seen a real pool before, and when we turned the corner, they gasped! So did the Hardings. This pool is beautiful and somewhere we would never really get to go unless we just paid to go swim there!
I so, so, so love this face. It kind of says how we all felt!
Joel, hard at work
The second they saw this they said, "Boat!!"
Teaching Helen how to swim a bit
Keeping busy!
Sunglasses with Vigi!
Vigi talking to a helicopter overhead :)
Biggie splashing Deaco
A definite crowd pleaser was preparing tea for people! 
Kaitlin and Sesa
Maureen and Mary Kate
We swam for 2 hours, and it could not have been more perfect. It was so hot out, the kids were adventurous and not scared of everything, and the Hardings could not have been better with the kids. They took them to the bathroom countless times, got out when they were cold and say with them, got back in minutes later when they changed their minds, and played any number of games that the kids thought of to play.  Our kids were so blessed today.
Ashley teaching Joel to blow bubbles in the water. 
Ella's full of joy. 
I'm so thankful that these girls took the time to go with us today. Because the aunties don't swim, we really would not have been able to do something like this without them. I know the babies will be talking about it for weeks to come, and I'll have to try to convince them that the baby pool is just as fun!

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