A World without walls
everyday life while homeschooling overseas
I have two friends here whose husbands are gone for an extended period on separation assignments. One is here for 6 months alone. The other is here for a year. I don't know how they're coping. Here I am at day 4 of being 'Married Without Benefits', and I can feel my mental sanity slipping. During the day, it's not so bad. I'm used to hanging with the kids all day long. It's the morning and the evening that I'm suffering. And at night. We can't play tag-team when Peter or whomever wakes up. Last night, Peter woke up at 9pm. Yes...he got his 1 1/2 hour catnap in, I guess. He was crying uncontrollably for his dad for a half hour. He finally settled down, and the phone started ringing. So, I talked to some people. Then, Peter roused himself again and complained for a few more hours. I put him to bed around 1am, but it was not long lasting. He was back about 1/2 hour later crying again. It took me another hour to settle him down and get him back into his cozy bed. By about 2:30, I was finally getting settled down. I was finally drifting off to sleep, when in comes Claire. She's had a bad dream. It's 3am. it took some time to listen to her dream and calm her down and get her back into bed. It's almost 4am and I've not slept at all. I fall asleep and a few seconds later (6am), the boys are awake and playing storm chasers loudly through the house. So much for rest and relaxation. I'm totally tired. Today was class party day, too, so we've been playing all day. We went to a jungle gym-type place, then we went to a restaurant called 'Burger Shack', which I think will fast become our favorite (the kids had burgers, fries and milkshakes...mmmmm), then we stopped off at the knock-off movie store and bought some movies for the weekend. Too bad that only 2 of the 5 we got remotely work. Ah, well. That's what happens. We don't have any way to rent movies, so we have to buy the illegal copies. Luckily, they're cheap. He he he. Here's to hoping I get a little more rest tonight..and that I can survive the rest of my lonely vigil until Devin comes home again.
We have now begun our new unit: The Weather! Andrew is over the moon. He loves (understatement) the weather. He dreams in weather. He draws pictures of weather. He wants to be a storm chaser when he grows up. He's saving his money so he can buy a motorhome and make a storm chaser car and drive around Tornado Alley and chase tornadoes. Good times.
So, now we are on our way to learn many of the ins and outs of the weather! We've made a weather center with a weather vane, anemometer, thermometer and rain gauge. We have a barometer/hydrometer/thermometer right outside the window of the classroom so we can do some predicting by checking out the atmospheric pressure. We've made a chart about what makes the weather...we're making some big plans for science projects, outings, and fun books to read! New units are always exciting! :)
In one of the Frog and Toad books, there's a little story about Frog hearing his father say that spring was right around the corner. He tells Toad all about how he went searching around corners to see if he could find Spring. So, today, we went on a search for Spring.
Did we find it??
Did we ever!! Trees in blossom; Flowers in bloom; Green, green grass; A light rain; A lovely breeze... Spring!! We had such a nice time! It was the best of both worlds: Devin loves to drive around and get lost in order to explore. I like to explore, but I like to know where I'm going. So, we used the gps most of the time just for reference and just drove around and found what we could. We tried to find some parks, but they were locked up, so we had a picnic on the side of a mountain!
It was so pretty! Some of the kids and I climbed down the embankment to pick some wild flowers. We ate our lunch in the car--our lunch consisted of fruits and veggies that we had bought while driving around! We had fresh strawberries, huge, sweet oranges, ripe, red apples, and tiny, sweet bananas! It was SO yummy! And I need to learn some more Arabic so I can communicate better with the side-of-the-road fruit and veggie guys. They don't speak ANY English. At all! Ha!
After we traveled around and looked at all the flowering trees (it was like looking at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve!), we started to head home. We went to see if the largest Christmas tree in the middle East was still up, and it was!! So, we got to see it in daylight...and it still looked just as totally awesome as ever! The star was even still up on the top...and looked like it was bound to topple off at any second!
After we saw the Christmas tree (and played tag all around it), we continued on our meandering way home. The GPS took us on some seriously cool backroads to get around and we really loved it! We ended up in the city of Al Fuhais (we initially were headed to the city of As Salt), and stopped off at a couple of fruit stands with a bakery in between! The bakery was so fun! They had the guys in the back making the dough and the bread and a HUGE brick oven that they cooked everything in! They let the kids go back and watch them cook, and handed out big chunks of bread to them to eat while they watched. So fun! :)
As we were heading home, everyone started screaming that they had to go to the bathroom. I suppose this was to be expected since we'd eaten a TON of fruit all day long! As we were heading out of Al Fuhais, I saw the big mosque that's right next to the Children's Museum, so we went there to use the bathrooms...and to play some more, of course! Peter always has to fix the car! :)
All in all, it was a wonderfully marvelous day. We left the Children's museum and went to sweifieh to find some yummy food at a Shawerma stand and enjoyed that on a picnic blanket in our living room while we watched a movie on the big screen! This was the perfect day, really. We enjoyed some very happy family time, and enjoyed one last day with Devin before he had to leave for training. Thankfully, the training is short, but still....I'm glad we got in a really good day. :)
When you stop at a stop light here, you know that invariably, someone is going to try to sell you something. As soon as the light turns red, these guys (sometimes girls--but usually guys--the girls are usually just begging) will walk around all the waiting cars and try to get you to buy whatever it is they happen to have that day. They often have flowers, gum, or other random trinkets. Today, there was this guy walking around selling glasses with the funny noses/mustaches. Nothing new, really, until he blew through the mouthpiece and made the party blowers blow out of both sides! I laughed SO HARD! I had to roll down the window and use up my loose change to get a bunch for the kids to wear in the car. We giggled a lot. It was worth it for the car ride, since it gave them something new to do while we waited in a lot of traffic. So silly.
As per our usual tradition, I made pink pancakes for breakfast for Valentine's Day. We even gave the kids hot cocoa with them (I put a little heart that said, 'My Heart Melts for You', and stuck some marshmallows in it)!! They were over the moon! THEN, I pulled out the big guns: peanut butter and chocolate syrup!!! Mmm...Reeses Pancakes! I can't eat it, obviously, but it was fun to remember the first time I was introduced to chocolate-peanut butter pancakes (in Guatemala, of all places). Gotta love the holidays that are completely and totally based on food and candy. good times.
We are big on exploring. We love finding new places that we love to visit! We also like finding new places that are not so great...Ha!
We were out on our great Saturday outing, and found this park which the kids call, 'The Taj Park' because it's by the Taj Mall (yes, that's really what it's called--I love the play on words!). I love it because not only is the playground equipment new and in good repair (WOW!), there's a great big sidewalk that's oh so perfect for bike riding, AND there is GRASS!!!! AND all the gates are always locked. You have to stand at the gate and wait for the security guard to come unlock it! This, to me, is a great benefit on many levels. Number one: your kids are not going to run away. They can't. The guard won't let them out without their adult counterpart. That's definitely a plus. The other: the guard won't let creepy people in. You won't have any weird stalker guys sitting and watching you and/or your kids. They usually don't let single guys in at ALL. That's also pretty nice. You can feel pretty secure. So, now that's our go-to park. Hooray for the outdoors!
I really need to do better about just writing even when I don't have pictures prepared for posts. When I post, I usually 'back post', mostly because I like to have the posts up on or at least near the day it happened for records' sake. However, I don't always get a chance to update due to busyness (kids, church, kids, church, kids, reading, kids, cooking, kids, cleaning...you know how it goes) or lack of internet capability. Since this is my journal and my means of family history, however, when I wait to backpost, I sometimes lose some of the small funnies that happen.
So, here I am without my pictures ready, but today was such a nice day! So, I thought I would do a 'day in the life' sort of thing and chronicle everything we did today.
We started out with the kids sleeping in until SEVEN!!! WOW!! It was so nice! And they got up, turned on their Saturday morning cartoons, and let us enjoy the 'off' time! :) We got to Skype with Devin's parents, then off we went to the embassy for a brunch buffet!
Now, we're not big on eating out. I usually can't eat half the stuff on the menu, and the kids don't tend to eat much, either (but not because they can't...just because...), so we just stay home as it's easier, cheaper, and healthier all around. However, this buffet had all sorts of yummy foods that were actually edible and it was SO nice to go somewhere the kids were familiar with (a lot less squirmyness and acting up) and eat a great deal without having to prepare it OR clean it up! Hooray! We enjoyed the omelet bar, ham, bacon, sausage, fruit salad...the kids had mostly carbs since they don't get them at home (muffins, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, french toast, pancakes, brownies, lucky charms!!, etc.), and we all left pretty stuffed! We stopped off at the embassy gift shop (the kid's favorite place to shop, I think) and Josh got himself a bead kit! He was so cute about it--he told me how he really loved doing beading, but Claire never shared her beads--which is true--she doesn't--she guards them with her life and never really uses them--and he wanted to make some beaded things! I'm ok with that.! And he got some wrapping paper for himself because he just loves to give people gifts and is always frustrated that he can't wrap them! What a kid! THEN he got me a big bar of 75% dark chocolate! So sweet! (Yes, I don't really eat it, but once in a while...and when it's a gift from your sweet little boy who loves you...well, how can you say no to that??????) Andrew bought gum and shared it with everyone very generously. What a great group of kids I have! :) Proud mom? Yes.
After our buffet and shopping spree, we ended up heading to a park since it was a GORGEOUS day! We found a new park that's SUPER awesome (I'm constantly surprised at the amount of super awesome parks here when everyone told me there were NONE...I've found 5 so far that are just incredible!) so we went and enjoyed 1/2 of sun and play time--until Peter and Andrew had to go #2 and the park bathrooms were locked. Doh!
We ran home and the kids turned on a movie while Devin and I goofed around...Devin looked at travel stuff and I played the piano (I have a goal to learn 2-3 new pieces per week, so we'll see. Right now I'm learning a Chopin prelude, an arrangement of a hymn for prelude purposes, and an arrangement for an Easter hymn for a quartet to sing in church. Good times.)
After our downtime, I decided we needed MORE sunshine. So, we loaded the bikes in the car and went BACK to the park! The kids had a great time riding around the park and dodging the huge masses of people (it was pretty crowded...like I said, it was a gorgeous day). Devin and I enjoyed sitting in the sun and chatting and occasionally walking around the park when the kids wanted to show us something cool they'd found.
We stayed a few hours, then everyone was hungry and begging to go out to eat. Well, we did that already, so instead, we went to a grocery store and picked out many various and exotic fruits (strawberries, pineapple, plums, pears, blood oranges, kiwis, apples, navel oranges), some freshly ground hamburger, and some buns so we could go home, grill some burgers, and make a 'whiz-bang' fruit salad! Mmmmm...now THAT is my kind of dinner! (we had a little adventure on the way to the grocery store...we got half way there and realized that Peter wasn't in the car. Apparently, Devin went to the car with Andrew and sent Josh to get Peter. I thought Devin had put Peter in the back already when I got there with Claire. Josh saw Peter, but didn't know we were actually leaving, he thought he was just checking up on Peter, so he didn't tell him to come...but how he didn't realize we were leaving once we loaded the bikes in the car is beyond me!! So, we turned back around, they dropped me off and I sprinted off to find Peter. Luckily, he was having a great time climbing in some plants and playing on some stairs with his bike. He hadn't realized that we had left. We felt very blessed. That's the first time I've ever 'forgotten' one of my kids. Hopefully it's the last.)
We had a great dinner, the kids got dressed in their pj's after and we read lots of stories (Devin read some picture books to Peter and I'm reading 'Gentle Ben' to the kids aloud after that). After the two littles fell asleep, Josh and Claire jumped out of bed, and the four of us played a rousing game of 'Forbidden Island' (if you've never played it, you should. It's a fun cooperative game) before we sent them off to dreamland.
After Josh and Claire were sent to bed, I spent a good hour planning what to do for tomorrow's classes. It's always good for me to do this as I get lots of good ideas and get really excited for the next day. This helps me wake up and enjoy the day much better than just 'winging it'! I may or may not get to everything that I have planned, but at least it's planned and it should be really fun!
Life is never dull at our house. Not one little bit.
For our end-of-unit project for our Animals unit, I had the kids pick an animal and be an expert on that animal. They made great informational posters, and then did a diorama on their animal. I had them report it to Devika (our house-helper), Rula (our Arabic teacher), Devin (their dad...he he he...), and the co-op group....and pretty much anyone else who came to visit us. It was really fun to watch them be all excited about their projects. We had fun working on them and working with 'real' clay (which they didn't particularly like) and figuring out how to present their animals within the context of a box! :)
They did a great job!
Here we have another co-op trial. I found a super simple recipe to make individual bags of homemade ice cream! Of course, I had to try it out with the kids before I turned 25 kids loose with it, so here's our home trial!
Claire made strawberry, Josh and Peter and Andrew made chocolate (not surprising), Devin made apple cinnamon and I made chocolate/maple syrup (yes, I indulged). The kids (as anticipated) got tired of shaking after about 2 1/2 seconds. :) But we eventually made it to ice cream consistency and I learned that I'm going to need to come up with some serious incentives to get all the kids to shake their bags! Maybe some music to dance to?
Anyway, it looks like it was a success!
I don't know how they do it, but my kids are hilarious...pretty much all the time.
Today, I took Claire out on a mommy-daughter date. We do this fairly often. It's a good thing. The kid is funny, though. I've never met anyone who likes to shop as much as she does. I suppose that's not really saying much, though, as I don't really like to shop. Anyway, we were at the mall, and we walked into a toy store because there were Barbies on display. Anyone who knows Claire knows that she is a Barbie fanatic. She was reverently looking at them and asking the cashier/worker guys how much each one was (another thing Claire does--she'll ask you how much EVERYTHING you own cost you...) and she would sigh every time because she only had 10JD saved up and most of the Barbies were 20JD or more. The guy finally said that he had some 'smaller' ones in the back. He brought back a simple Barbie in a box and Claire was so excited. She asked how much it was, and he told her it was 12JD. Her little face fell. She held the Barbie in the box and just stared at it. This girl can bring tears on cue, so I was a little concerned that she was going to start into a crying fit right then and there... Instead, she looked up at the guy and said, "I only have 10JD. I'm 2JD short. I can't get it." She handed the box back to him. The guy ran over to the cashier at the counter and talked to him in Arabic, then came over to Claire and said, "For you, 10JD today only!" She beamed at him and giggled as she paid for her new Barbie doll. What a silly head. So, today we learned that you can even do some haggling in the mall here in Jordan. Especially if you're a little blond girl with big blue eyes... :D
Who Am I?
As a Stay At Home Mom of 4 wonderful children, I have the amazing opportunity not only to home school them, but to do so in many different places! I am married to the most amazingly wonderful (and handsome) man in the whole world! Together, we seek out, every day, that Joy in the Journey that makes life exciting!
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