The 10 things we are most excited for in the next 10 hours

Michael and I are a mere 12 hour flight away from being back in the US!!!   I still can’t even wrap my head around it.. Almost like 8 months ago I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that we were moving to Kenya.  Ha.  I need to learn to accept things..We are SO excited to be home.. But there are a few things we’re especially excited for…in no particular order.

  1. The availability of water, fountain sodas, ice, and diet coke (and not having to ask for my beer to come “cold”).  First stop, Firehouse Subs for a LARGE Diet Cherry Vanilla Coke with an ENORMOUS amount of ICE!!!  Ahhh so excited.
  2. Electronics!  Our dishwasher, washing machine, dryers, iron, and a stove.  I’m so excited to finally feel like my clothes are CLEAN, to not have to boil water to wash a plate, and to not wonder if I have enough clothes pins or a big enough line for the amount of wash I’m doing.. It’s going to be awesome. AND I can cook a real dinner.. Like in an oven.. Which leads me too..
  3. Grocery stores with things I’ve heard of that will take my credit card without being shocked and wondering what I’ve just handed them.. Literally ever time we go to the grocery story here I have to tell them 100 times “it’s a swipe, there’s no pin, I’m sure, no pin, it’s a credit card, swipe it…” But no longer..
  4. Internet and sites that allow me to view them.  We have gone a long time without a solid internet access and I will be very excited to have it again.  Also, you’d be surprised how many sites can’t be accessed from Kenya!  Hulu, netflix, youtube, tons of stores.. It will be exciting to be able to watch my shows and shop online again :)
  5. Restaurants! What I wouldn’t do for a Tragermeister from Anderson’s Showplace Café.. Or ribs, cornbread, and bbq baked beans from The Flying Pig.. Or a grilled chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-a (and a chocolate chip cookie – ’cause those are THE BEST C.C.Cs money can buy).. Or burrito bowl from Chipotle.. Or a big ‘ole cup of Ritas.. Mmmmmmm I gotta stop..
  6. Being able to drive (I was way too terrified to drive in Kenya) with no speed bumps on the highway or waiting for herds of cows to cross.. And not being afraid when I see a police officer..
  7. TARGET.. A little sad?  Maybe.. But Michael and I have a deep love for Target.  I’m going to get myself a diet coke and big bag of popcorn and roam the aisles of that place like nobody’s business.
  8. A phone!  I’ve barely picked up a phone since we’ve been here.. And while I’ve never been much a phone person (in that I am awful at carrying my phone with me and responding to texts/call.. I really gotta work on that).. I am SO excited to have a phone again! Sorry in advance for blowing up your instagram
  9. Seeing friends and family!  We are so thankful that my family and one of my best friends came to visit while we were here, but it sure is going to be nice to catch up with all our friends and family!!! Especially excited for a few family vacations and attending some WEDDINGS as guests!
  10. And moving back into our HOUSE.  Unpacking all my clothes and not living out of a suitcase.  Staying put and not moving around a ton.  Having our own space again and privacy!!! Our big fluffy bed and sleeping without a mosquito net or waking up to buzzing in our ears.   Sitting in bed and playing on the internet.  Cooking without being in anyone’s way.  Lazy mornings eating breakfast on the couch and listening to our music on our record player.

Ahhh it will be nice to be home.


Happy Birthday, Michael!

lifetime-of-adventuresI remember this day..  We walked to the grocery store and collected armfuls of popcorn, and candy, Friday’s freezer appetizers, and a redbox movie for a good for the soul, bad for the cholesterol levels, date night in.  I remember waiting in line at the cashier exchanging banter back and forth and catching glances from the clerk.  She scanned our junk food and we laughed at ourselves for buying all this and made jokes back and forth.  As we grabbed our items and headed out the door, the cashier stopped us and said, “Y’all are the cutest couple I’ve ever seen”.  She said it with such sincerity and conviction that I was stopped in my tracks.  “Really?  We weren’t even being that cute” I thought to myself.  We’ve been WAY cuter than what we just displayed to this random woman at Farm Fresh.  I forgot about it quickly though, and we went home to our favorite kind of date night.. A movie, our couch, junk food, and pajamas.

And then the next day we were at it again, buying a good for the soul, bad for the cholesterol level dinner at Chick-fil-a.  We took forever to decide what to order.. Even though we get the same thing everyyyyyy time.  We quickly threw in a “Oh, and a chocolate chip cookie.. Sorry!” We felt bad for being so ridiculous during our order, but the woman checking us out stopped us and said, “I love it when y’all come in, you make such a great couple and always brighten my day”.  WHAT?  Two days in a row, we were NOT being cute.. But two different people commented what an awesome couple we made.  Embarrassing that the woman at Chick-fil-a recognizes us, but I’m thankful she did, ’cause she made me realized then and there, that sometimes I don’t even realize it.  I completely take for granted what a perfect match we are.  I completely forget how much fun you make ordinary tasks, like walking to the grocery store or deciding what to order at Chick-fil-a.  I can fail to realize how much JOY you bring to my life and how brightly it radiates for the rest of the world to see.

I read this quote the other day that I really love.., “Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures.”   I know our lifetime has just begun, but you’ve already filled it with the best adventures I could have asked for.  Walking to the grocery store, throwing in a cookie at the last second at Chick-fil-a, or making it possible for us to move to Kenya for 8 months.. We’ve been living the best adventure a girl could ask for.

And I hope the same thing is true for boys.  That the best gift I could give for your birthday is adventure.  As we fly today to the African coast to spend a few days on the beach, and return to the US next week to all the unknown adventures that await, I hope you know I am forever grateful for having you in my life.  Thanks for the adventures.

Happy Birthday,


One Week Away..

This is such a big month for us!   Moving back to the US from Kenya and releasing our new brand.. It’s crazy! I can’t BELIEVE that we are only a week away from our release!  We’ve been working so hard putting our new brand together and we are so extremely excited to show you everything we’ve put together!  EK!

One thing we’ve been working on that we are super excited to start is a newsletter community!  We are giving all our newsletter friends first dibs on our WEEK FULL of giveaways!  Use the form below to sign up to receive our newsletter and be the first to hear about all our giveaways.

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You’ve done it again.  You’ve completely blow Michael & I away by your insane generosity and beautiful hearts.  A teacher friend of ours (shout out to Jessica Schmitz!) asked us after our Christmas Giving how she could help out.  We were about to move to Juja and I knew I’d love for this new group of children to feel loved and blessed, so I responded to Jessica that she could collect a few school supplies to give to the kids at Juja (my family was coming to visit and they could throw it in their suitcases to bring over).  And in true Jessie fashion she over did it.  And since my momma was the one bring it.. In true Momma fashion, she over did it too.

My mom called me and asked if she had to leave things behind, what should be the first thing to take out of the pile?  I responded, don’t you and dad both get 2 free checked bags?  Just bring another suitcase!  Welp, she had already filled FOUR suitcases with 50 pounds of school supplies.  FOUR.

So many people were so, SO generous.. And these little angels really felt the love (and so did we!).  Thank you so much for your amazing gifts.  And an ENORMOUS thank you to my incredible parents for bringing over all the goodies and Jessica for starting what turned into an AMAZING blessing for about 85 abandoned children in the middle of no where Kenya.

BIG news!… finally

Over a year ago, when Michael and I began telling people we were moving to Kenya, I was extremely hesitant to tell people about our plans.  This is because we had NO IDEA what our plans were.  We knew we were moving to Kenya, and that was about it.  We were just faithful that God had a plan for us, that he was going to use us in this place, and that it was going to be an amazing experience.  But we had no concept of what that meant.  We didn’t know where we were going to go, how we were going to get there, or how long we’d stay.  But of course, people wanted to know details.  The thing is, we didn’t have any.  So all I said is “we’re moving to Kenya”.  And people took that to mean a lot of different things, because it was vague.  Purposefully, very vague.  Because we just didn’t know.  Even after we moved here.  We had no idea.  We just went where we were led, and tried not to make many plans (which is exceptionally hard for a planner like me to do).  And that has REALLY worked out for us.  Just learning to trust and go where we feel led.  It has been amazing.  And I will tell you A LOT more about that in future posts, but for know I can tell you our plans.

‘Cause now we know.  Now we can tell you what we’re doing in Kenya (’cause we’ve done it) and how long we’re staying (’cause we have our flight back to the US).

We are moving home in MAY!  Like 4 weeks from now.  And we are so excited to come home and so ridiculously sad to leave.

Honestly, I am confused how it is April already.  I feel like it was just last week I was moving out of my house, sorting through my clothes, and trying to decide what I needed to move to Africa.  But then again, this place is home now.

We have loved our time here and I’m so excited to write many, many blog posts to sum up our time in Kenya, but first, we want to make a HUGE announcement.  Michael and I (with the help of a few amazing people) have been working really hard for the last few months rebranding Michael & Laura Photography.  I am SO excited that after months of hard work we are finally able to share everything we’ve come up with!!!

Since we’ve been living in a very remote area, with absolutely no internet access, we will be putting on the final touches this month for our re-launch this MAY!  AH.. How is it April already???

We wanted to give you all a little sneak peek of what we’ve been working so hard on (our rebranding board).. We hope you LOVE it.. And can’t wait to share the finished product, along with a lot more surprises (including a WEEK full of GIVEAWAYS)!


and of course.. some of our sweet, sweet babies!

kenya teaching Juja Teaching

(check back for another video later this week – school supplies style!)

A Very Kenya Christmas Video

I know we have said it a million times, but we are SO insanely grateful for all our generous friends and followers.  We raised enough money to provide all 100 abandoned children at Happy Life a Christmas present this year.  AND had people go above and beyond to get some extra goodies for the house moms and teachers.  These kids were so excited, and it has been so much fun watching them play with all their new toys over the past week.

We put together some of our highlights from this Christmas.  And because it was such an awesome day, it is about 10 minutes long.. real sorry.  It’s so hard to cut video of these beautiful faces!  Enjoy.

Gearing up for a very Kenyan Christmas

I seriously can not believe we have just a week ’til Christmas!!!  To be honest, being in Kenya has lacked a lot of Christmas spirit.  There aren’t any decorations at the Children’s home.. No picking out a tree, hanging countless strings of lights, or driving to see all the decorations.  It’s not cold here.. So there is no bundling up and drinking hot chocolate, ice skating, or making snowmen.  We don’t have an oven, so there has been none of the normal Christmas treats, or decorating cookies.  We don’t have a radio, so there is no 24 hours of Christmas music, and without Netflix, no endless stream of holiday movies.  Yeah.. In a lot of ways it hasn’t felt much like Christmas here, which is a bummer because it is my favorite time of year!  But there has been one thing that has held us from being too upset we won’t be spending Christmas with our families under sparkly lights.  In fact, we are SO excited.  Maybe more excited than I have been since I was a little kid.  It’s because of the gifts.  No, Michael and I haven’t bought awesome gifts for each other, in fact, we aren’t exchanging gifts at all.   It’s the gifts for the kids.  A few weeks ago we thought how awesome it would be if these children could have a true, big Christmas celebration.  How much fun it would be to see them all be able to open a gift and see their faces light up.  To give them something that may let them know how very loved they are.  The problem is, Happy Life Nairobi has 45 children living here.  And another 52 at their location in Juja.  There was no way Michael and I would be able to get gifts for 97 children.  So we thought maybe we would narrow it down to just the children we spend every day with here at the Nairobi location.

But still 45 gifts would be way more than we would be able to pull together.  So we decided to reach out and ask for help getting a small gift for each child.  And we have been blown away.  The amount of generous donations we have receive has brought me to tears.  We have had so many sweet people share our registry, donate, or write us really encouraging notes.  So many generous hearts that our registry for the 45 children here was completely filled.  And then even more people who contacted us saying they wish they had been able to contribute.  So we added to it.  There are a couple things here that the house moms could use to help provide for all these children.  And then those things were filled.  So we added again.  We thought of a few things that could make their play areas so much more fun.  And then those things were filled.  And we were shocked. And overwhelmed. And overjoyed.  So we thought of the 52 beautiful faces at Juja and how exciting it would be for them to have a little something too.  That having a few recess and after school play things would be so exciting for them, or even a few things to have a school to make the day a little more fun.  So we added so that these faces may have a beautiful Christmas too.

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Even though we are missing out on some of the things that make this season so much fun, we couldn’t be more excited for Christmas to get here.   An old friend of ours, and one of our biggest contributors (who decided instead of giving gifts this season, she’d donate to kids here in people’s names) posted this video she helped create this Christmas season.  And we are really feeling it.  Watch, enjoy, and get excited for this time of giving.  And if you feel inspired, consider giving $5, $10, $20, or whatever feel like to those beautiful faces above.

Caitlin & Ray – Part I

Over 8 years ago (whoa I can’t BELIEVE it has been that long!) I was at freshman orientation at CNU.  A friend of mine and I went to a “dance party” in a residence hall lounge.. one of the many exciting things planned for that weekend.  Problem was, when we got there, though there was loud music, not a soul was dancing.  My friend and I decided to start dance anyways.. and the first person to join us, a total stranger then, is now my best friend in the world.  Caitlin has one of the most incredible hearts of anyone I know and I am so honored to call her a friend. Living this far away from her is killing me, and I am SO thankful her and her future hubby are planning to visit us here in Kenya.  Thankfully, I can call her and it’s like I’m sitting right next to her, or Facebook her my ridiculous thoughts from the day, just like normal.

ANYWAYS.. I love her, you get the point.. well a few months ago when she called me to ask about how someone goes about booking an engagement session with us, I started to freak.  All I could do was keep asking her “why do you need to know that?  Why, what’s happening? Why?!”.  She finally let me know that Ray had finally proposed!  And I of course, started hysterically crying.  I could not be more excited for these two.  I love Ray so much and I am so excited that my best friend, with a heart of gold, has found the man that deserves her.

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Such good model faces!



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Check back for part II.. just as soon as this Kenyan internet uploads it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Michael and I are dreaming of turkey and cranberry sauce, but samosas and Fanta will have to do.  It’s days like these we get a little home sick thinking of things we are missing out on, but we are so thrilled for the opportunity to be in Kenya, that a few missed holidays are worth it.  So while we aren’t celebrating in the usual way with tons of family and good food, we are celebrating by thinking of the many, many blessing we have and giving thanks for the amazing things in our life.

Here are a few things we have realized we are SUPER thankful for in our normal lives..

Long, hot showers with good water pressure

2014-11-27_0008 An oven, a big fridge and ice machine, and a dish washer.


A washing machine and dryer


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No mosquitos in our house and our big king sized super cozy bed (really thankful for our two pillows we brought with us though!)


Our quiet little neighborhood


Wonderful parents who love and support our crazy ideas

Things we are thankful for here in Kenya…

 Malaria free mosquitos

 Chapati and samosas


Joyful children who have a home here at Happy Life


Our fruit lady

Beautiful, warm weather


 We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving day.. Eat some extra turkey for us!