Birthday Season


The July-August birthday season is finally over! After almost a month of celebrations, I can take a break from cake baking and decorating, surprising, gift wrapping and party planning. Here’s a little recap of how we rejoiced with Noah, Levi, Aaron and Jacob this year.

We actually started with Noah even though his birthday is in January. We realized that Jacob and Levi would get extra partying and treats, so we decided to take Noah to a half-birthday dinner. He ordered a half-sandwich and half-portion of soup. No, we didn’t make him do this. He enjoys celebrations more than the average kid!

Levi kicked off the official birthday season with a July 24 birthday. He turned 4, and he has never been so excited to have a birthday! We started his day off with breakfast table surprises: a Hulk t-shirt, green balloons and a special breakfast.

 Levi's birthday breakfast

 Following breakfast, we went to school as usual. During our morning devotions, Levi (barely) endured “Happy Birthday” in English, Swahili and Korean. Then, right before lunch, Jessica and Colleen hung balloons and prepared for our lunch celebration. We ate lunch as usual but enjoyed more singing and cake for dessert. He opened his presents and shared superhero pencils and notepads with the kids. After school, Aaron and I took Levi to the Brackenhurst café for a snack and to the gift shop for a special gift. He chose a lion for Joshua and a wallet with a lion on it for all the money he has earned this summer. The day ended with a very special dinner: Kraft mac and cheese and hot dogs!

 Levi's birthday date

 The next day was Aaron’s birthday, so it was more baking for me! We kept it simple with brownies with Reese’s peanut butter cups for our lunch dessert. He was properly serenaded during devotions in the same 3 languages. Then on Saturday, we had our first restaurant date since moving to Kenya! We ate at a nice restaurant and did some grocery shopping while Colleen stayed with the boys at school. It was very nice but I still owe him his gift. (I gave him an IOU for artwork for his office.)

Just a couple of weeks later, Jacob turned 6 on August 6. He was especially excited for this birthday since it was his golden birthday! We surprised him with Turtle Mutant Ninja Turtle decorations in the living room, Frosties (aka Frosted Flakes) for breakfast, and a TMNT hat. 

Jacob's Birthday Breakfast

 Then, it was off to do our morning devotions. The boys helped us by reciting Scripture in English and then Aaron and I read it in Swahili. Jacob utilized his new hat to hide his face from the crowd…or the crowd from himself….I’m not sure which. Then, he was serenaded with the “Happy Birthday” song in 5 languages! English, Swahili, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish versions of the song were each sung twice because another girl shared her birthday with Jacob! He was totally embarrassed.

Since it was Wednesday, our half-day at school, we took his cake to chai time. We shared TMNT tattoos with the kids and some of the adults. Then, we had an indoor picnic for lunch and his date at the café for dinner. At the gift shop, he chose a basket to keep his special things in and a picture frame for a picture of Hannah. Though he didn’t say so, his all-day, beaming smile told me he had a great golden birthday.

 Jacob's new hat

 Fast forward a few weeks and we’re back at Tenwek. As I promised, we threw a joint party for Jacob and Levi to celebrate with their best friends. I pulled out all the party favors, decorations and gifts we had saved for this occasion. I baked two cakes. I had games planned and party favors ready to go. The party was scheduled for our first Thursday back at Tenwek.

Then, at 10 o’clock Thursday morning, the power went off. Ugh! I forgot Thursday was my power rationing day. I’m not supposed to have power! How am I supposed to make icing from scratch without my electric mixer?? No problem, I think. I can call my friend and mix my icing at her house, because not everyone looses power on the same day. Then, I go to gather my ingredients…I’m out of powdered sugar!!! WHAT? I’m never out of powdered sugar. No problem…I’ll find another recipe. I find a recipe that calls for regular sugar and other ingredients that I have in my house, but of course it must be cooked. No problem. My stove is gas. I get everything ready so that all I have to do is find someone’s mixer. I call my friend but she has no power either!! Apparently, Thursday was a scheduled ‘no power for anybody’ day due to upgrades with our hydro-electric plant. Ugh! Why didn’t I know this?? Someone suggests that the Guest House always has power, so I head up the hill with all my ingredients to use their mixer. It’s dark. You’ve got to be kidding me!! Fortunately, they tell me that my friend was able to get her generator working so I can go to her house to use her mixer. Praise God!

By the time I was finished whipping the icing, it was 3:30pm. The party was scheduled to start at 4. I had two cakes to decorate, and I had done nothing to set up for the party outside. Again, God provided. Aaron came home early, and several of the older kids came to help. They set up the cake tables with decorations. They hung the piñata and other decorations in the trees. They carried everything down the steps for me. All the while, I was decorating the cakes in record time. By 3:45, the cakes were complete with candles. I was able to join the decorating crew for last minute instructions and preparations for the games.

Double Birthday Bash

At 4pm, the kids arrived and the party was a huge success. Levi and the littles played musical chairs, got tattoos, dressed up like superheroes and made superhero gliders. Jacob and the big kids had fun with a ninja obstacle course and a piñata. Then, we all gathered around the cakes for a round of “Happy Birthday” and blowing out candles. The kids were stuffed with cake and Kool-Aid. The boys ended the party with opening their presents and then giving their friends a cup full of party favors. Smiles all around! Praise God! Birthday season is over…at least for this year!

Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14

Praises and Prayer Requests:

  1. Praise God for healthy, happy boys! I am so blessed to be able to celebrate with them. Please pray blessings upon them!
  2. Praise God for the upgrades on the hydroelectric plant. Pray for the safety of the crew who is working on it.
  3. Praise God for a successful first day of school! Pray for unity, flexibility and discipline for all involved in the Tenwek MK School.
  4. Praise God for the ways He is blessing and expanding Tenwek Hospital! Please pray that all the work will be done to bring honor and glory to HIM. Pray for the engineers who are living among us, that they will be blessed in their efforts to manage so many building projects at once.

 Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. I Corinthians 15:57-58


2 responses »

  1. WOW what a wonderful way for birthday’s to be celebrated in the Kelley home. Thank you for sharing all the adorable photos and stories. Glad that all went well to complete the cake and decorating. He always provides help. How awesome is He. We started school this past Monday in NJ. I am not sure when you are starting up, but prayers for all the teachers to have a successful year and the that lesson plans are complete. Continued prayers that you and Joshua remain healthy throughout your pregnancy, that school goes well for the boys and all the other children, and that work for Aaron becomes easier with his new learned language. Love and God Bless, Lisa

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