Alcott and High

a weekly story about Denver, life, and the things that interest us

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Month: August 2016

Baby Dreams



baby pic

Last night I had a dream that the baby had just come, at five months, and it was fine. It was a little girl. I forgot to buckle her into her carseat and she fell out, but it was all good. The baby slept with her eyes open and I freaked out…but it turned out, in the dream, that some babies just sleep that way. I breastfed the baby and the milk gagged her and got into her eyes.  Even though she was a day old in the dream, she took her little hands and dabbed the milk out of her eyes. During the dream I  had a several friends around me that had babies and were telling me what to do, even though what they said wasn’t working out so perfect.   The Principal of my school was also in my dream… I had decided to keep working and keep the baby under my desk.  She told me I should take maternity leave.

Overall, I feel like this dream is reflective of how parenting will be. It won’t be perfect, but probably all good. I’ll have friends and people who have been there with me, and we’ll figure it out.

We find out the baby’s gender tomorrow! I am dying with curiosity.  What do you think? Boy or Girl?

Happy middle of the week!

Baby News!

18 weeks!

Marcos and I officially announced we are expecting a baby on our fifth wedding anniversary. I have felt like my own elephant in the room on this blog because the baby thing has been such a huge part of my life and I’ve been wanting to share it, but not too early, because I was still processing. I still am. I am almost five months into the journey.

We found out I was pregnant shortly before we left for Italy.  Part of the trip, that I didn’t exactly mention, is that I napped about 3 times a day! The first trimester was surreal, the second one is humming along. I will be sharing about the pregnancy on A&H on Wednesdays (BUMP DAY).  I will be discussing the trimesters, the clothes, the problems, the solutions, fears, celebrations…all the baby things.

Can’t wait to finally, be on the same page with you all! Also first belly shot, I almost didn’t share it. 19 weeks.


Tanzania – Safari

The last installment of our trip to Tanzania – SAFARI!

We did two safari trips while we were in Tanzania. The first was to Lake Manyara National Park. We crammed 40 people from Rolina into a bus that was probably supposed to fit about 25 people. We saw some amazing animals that day, but the best part of the experience for me was getting to watch the kids’ faces when they saw giraffes and elephants and impalas.




Cocaya made delicious lunches for all 40+ of us from the organic vegetables she grows at Shirikisha.





Jeff, Zach, and I also took Rosmin and Octavian on safari to Ngorongoro Crater. Octavian is studying to be a safari guide and it was wonderful to have him in the car with us to tell us all about the animals and birds and shrubs we saw. Rosmin was so happy the entire time. He kept saying this was the best safari ever (which is true – it was) and he would start a round of singing in the car. His friend, John, was our safari guide and he is amazing. His company is Powerful Kingdom Adventures and I would highly recommend it to anyone that is looking for an incredible safari experience!



After we got back from Lake Manyara, the girls at Rolina started teaching me how to say the names of the animals we say in Swahili. I’ve put the names below so you can learn, too!
















and baby toto


Ostrich mbuni


Wildebeest = nyumbu







I was blown away by the safari experience. It was not a central focus of our trip to Tanzania, because we were really there to spend time with everyone at Rolina and Shirikisha, but I am so happy we were able to go to Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro. It is a surreal experience to be surrounded by such beautiful creatures. At times I felt like I was in a different era on Earth – like we had just been dropped into prehistoric times and were taking a look around. Africa is a beautiful and intense and amazing place, and I cannot wait to go back.


Tanzania – Shirikisha and Mt. Kili

So excited to share more of our experiences in Tanzania today.  When the wonderful kids at Rolina were at school during the day, Jeff, Zach, and I would spend time in the neighboring towns outside of KwaSadala.

One of my favorite people in Tanzania (and maybe, the world) is Cocaya. She is incredibly smart and passionate and beautiful. She founded and runs a social enterprise that addresses the social and economic needs of disabled, disenfranchised, and marginalized people in Kilimanjaro. Cocaya knows sign language and uses it to teach deaf people how to sew. They make the most beautiful handmade textiles that they sell at their wonderful garden house.




Cocaya is so warm and welcoming – I never wanted to leave her beautiful house. There are gorgeous flowers all around and a lush garden. I could have sat all day with her. She is also one of those people who knows how to connect instantly. We had a number of deep conversations about our dreams in life, about family, about politics and race in America, and about being a female leader in Tanzania.



Please contact me if you are going to Tanzania and would like to visit Shirikisha.


One day while the kids were at school we caught a public bus to the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro and planned to go on a hike to a waterfall.


Along the way we ran into one of Jeff and Octavian’s friends (that happens a lot in Tanzania) who runs a coffee farm in the village – Hillborn Organic Coffee. Oscar took us to his farm and walked us through every step of harvesting and roasting coffee beans. One of the most important steps is singing while you shell and grind the beans!





Oscar’s coffee is without a doubt the best coffee I have had (and I am a coffee lover!).



Octavian, our wonderful friend and guide throughout Tanzania, stopped us along the way to point out a native plant or a local bird. We eventually made it to the waterfall and it was spectacular.



Afterwards we stopped at Oscar’s bar and met his family and had a dance party in the jungle. It was a great day.





Thank you to Cocaya and Oscar and everyone else we met in Kilimanjaro for blessing us with such wonderful experiences.

More on our Tanzanian safari tomorrow!


Tanzania – Rolina KwaSadala

Shelby here – it’s been a while since I’ve posted and I am excited to share my recent trip to Tanzania.  I’ll share various photos and stories over a series of blogposts this week.

Experiencing a new country is why we travel, but having an experience that changes who you are as a person is extraordinary – and that is how Zach and I felt after returning from Tanzania.






Zach’s fellow teacher and friend, Jeff, invited us to join him in Tanzania this summer (Jeff has visited every summer for the past few years).  We stayed at Rolina Orphanage in a town called KwaSadala at the area at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.  Octavian (in the photo with Zach below) grew up at Rolina; he was our constant companion and friend while we were there.  Everyone calls him “Zawadi,” which means gift in Swahili.




Rosmin and Paulina have taken in kids that are in need of family and a safe place to stay for 17 years. (Rosmin + Paulina is how their home became “Rolina”). They estimate they have had over 500 kids pass through their home over the years and when we were visiting there were about 30 kids ranging in age from 4 to 20 years old. The kids were the most incredible part of this trip. They have nowhere near as much as the typical kid in America but they are the happiest kids I have ever met. They are filled with joy. They sing all the time and they have beautiful voices. They loved playing jokes on Zach and Jeff and spent hours teaching me how to say words in Swahili.












Most of our days were spent playing with these beautiful kids.













Paulina, the matriarch at Rolina, is one of my new favorite people in the world. Even though we could barely communicate (my Swahili is not great!) we would spend time grabbing hands and laughing and smiling at certain points throughout the day. Paulina made these wonderful African donuts called Mondazi and she would appear with one and hand it to me and smile. The photo below is after she picked out African fabrics for me to wear.

One of my favorite days was when we took all the kids to a hot spring swimming hole called Chemka. It was so fun to see everyone – even the most shy little girls – splashing around in the water!






Every Sunday we went to church and the children sang and Rosmin and Paulina shared wonderful sermons.






Rosmin and Paulina and Octavian and all the wonderful people we met at Rolina are now like our Tanzanian family, and we can’t wait to go back and visit our family soon!



More on Tanzania tomorrow!


Friday is Here

And we are asking how? So quickly? This week we are getting ready for major upcoming work events so we have had to put all the blogging goodness on hold until Monday.

The wise words of Amy Poehler, from her book Yes Please!, have resonated with us this week. Amy explains that women should repeat the mantra: “‘Good for her! Not for me.’ That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me.”

Sometimes the pressure and judgement out there can make us feel like crawling back into bed and doing a Netflix binge– or just any rough Tuesday. Good for her! Not for me is all about saying, okay, I see that, it works for you, I’m not going to overthink it, and I’ll just keep figuring out what works for me… and that’s good. It’s about taking a step back from judging others and judging ourselves.

Try this mantra, it will make you feel better, about all the things you do and don’t.

Happy Weekend.

See you Monday, promise. Until then some fun past posts:

On Having Kids-The big decision!!!

Italy: Rome

Denver Farmers Markets are in full swing!

Amy poehler

Pics from and