A World without walls
everyday life while homeschooling overseas
Ever seen the movie 'Signs'? That movie is one of the reasons why I could never use a baby monitor. However, it appears that that wouldn't really matter at our house. Apparently, when we say, 'Please take your dishes to the table," that doesn't include cups. And then, when you come back for the next meal, you have to get a new cup. By the end of the day, we've got around 20+ cups on the table, the cupboard is empty, and the kids think they're thirsty and wonder why there aren't any cups left. As you can see, there are quite a few cups on this table--but not THAT many. I would like to draw your attention, though, to the fact that all the cups on the right side of the table are Claire's. Just thought I'd throw that out there. I leave them on the table, though. Since I don't have a baby monitor, you never know when the aliens will come. We are prepared with all the water we need to overcome them. I wonder if I should invest in a baseball bat, too?
Andrew and I had a special experience last night. He had finished his reading reward card, so it was his turn to go out for a donut. This time, though, we didn't wait for Peter to go to sleep. Devin was quietly reading to Peter, and Josh and Claire were quietly reading, so Andrew and I snuck out.
When we got out, though, I realized that we were going to encounter a problem. The sun was still up. The Ramadan fast was still going on. Now, while we're not participating in that, it's not only not good to eat in public, most restaurants aren't even open until sundown!
Andrew and I walked slowly up the hill toward the circle, and while we were waiting to cross the busy street, I had an idea: Inside Abdoun circle are some nice benches and trees and a sort of amphitheater area. So, we sat down on a short cement wall inside the circle to wait out the sunset!
We had a great time! We watched all the cars go past--we talked about all the cool 'stormchaser' cars that went by. LOTS of SUVs and big trucks! It was a busy time, since everyone was hurrying home for Iftar (that's the name of their evening feast that breaks the day's fast). It was so fun to get excited about 'cool cars and trucks' with my little boy! Then we turned around and faced the sunset and watched the sun set--in the middle of a busy traffic circle in the Middle East--and listened for the call to prayer to name the time to eat! It was so cool! At one point, Andrew put his arm around me and said, "I love being out here with you, mom!" Man, I just love my kids!!
Unfortunately, the spell was broken, because Andrew had to go to the bathroom. So we went over to the donut shop so Andrew could go. We noticed LOTS of people outside of McDonald's (right next door to the donut shop)--most of them had food in front of them waiting to be eaten once the prayer call rolled out! Some of those people had to have 3 or 4 SUPER SIZED meals sitting in front of them! Gah! Seriously--I can't think of a worse meal to eat at the end of a long day of fasting...
Anyway, aside from the gross overeating of McDonald's food, Andrew and I had a lovely time! He got a nice donut and enjoyed every bite while we talked about all sorts of things! :) I asked him what he'd like to do next year, and he told me he wants to have an evacuation drill again (like I did when I took the kids to Petra for a few days)--this time it would be a tornado warning, so we would be prepared, just in case. Good idea. Luckily, we live in the basement, so we're already in a good spot. :)
It was a lovely evening to round off an equally lovely day! In the morning, I got to go houseplant shopping with some friends--we had a BLAST!!! I got so many lovely plants for my house! I even got a spider plant, and I'm SOOOO excited to have the little spider plant babies and show the kids how to make them! I remember that my grandma always had spider plants and she always had little spider plant babies in cups of water in the kitchen! I told the kids that we could learn how to do that (I bought an ivy plant, too, and some other little plants that you can grow the cutoffs), and then give the little baby plants away to friends for housewarming gifts or presents or things...put them in pretty decorated cups or pots... Claire squealed when I mentioned that, so I think she thinks it's a good idea! She loves to think of things to give to people. I think it's a cool skill to know. We're going to spend the whole morning tomorrow morning planting many of the outdoor plants that I bought (like jasmine and herbs and daisies)! SO FUN!! I'm looking at my new rubber plant right now and enjoying the idea that I have live plants in my house! Hopefully, I'll learn how to take care of them! My kitchen looks fantastic with houseplants up on the top of the cupboards! I need to take some pictures and post them, because it makes me happy.
Today, we had a nice laid-back Sabbath day. We went to church and that was nice. After church, we had a 'branch choir' rehearsal that was SO FUN!! I had Devin announce that we were going to have a branch choir rehearsal for a performance next Friday, and anyone who wanted to sing was welcome. In the past, I must admit, many choirs have given me a bitter taste. I had one choir I sang in that I loved, but that was the exception. However, today, as I began playing the piece we're singing, from behind me, I heard a CHOIR! I heard LOTS of people singing! I was SO shocked that I really messed up and had to turn around to look! :D I had a group of about 15-20 people that were just really singing and enjoying themselves and it was so awesome! Wasn't perfect, but it was HAPPY! And that makes a world of difference to me! :) I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a huge fan of ward/branch choirs...but today was FUN. I could get used to that. I like fun!
Yes, Mom, I'm still alive. I know, I know, it's been a month since I last updated, but my life has been a serious WHIR of excitement and non-stop adventure since then! I promise to do some backposts and update with pictures, but this is part of the reason why I haven't updated lately! Let me sum up:
My friend moved away, so I spent two days helping her and watching her kids (June 22-24).
A new friend moved in and we've been helping them settle in: incidentally, they have TWO girls Claire's age, and they are bestest of best friends so we spend all our extra time with them! :) (June 26-day before yesterday...)
We've been seeing lots of fun things all over the place--on spur-of-the-moment trips!
The computer that has all my pictures and data is ANNOYINGLY SLOW!!!!! As I'm typing this, I've been waiting for it to close a browser window for 20 minutes. GAH!! And it's twice as slow if I turn it off and restart it. It couldn't be that the poor thing is almost 8 years old...and that it's chock full of pictures and documents.... Devin tries his hardest to keep up with me and put all my extra stuff onto the external hard drive, but I admit that I put stuff on pretty fast, plus I haven't been taking it off so fast because I've been too exhausted to even write anything! So, after waiting for 15-20 minutes, I usually just give up and hope for the best the next day. However, since my mom wrote me a nasty comment (just kidding, mom, it wasn't nasty), I figured I should write at least a little in order to make people feel better! So, I switched computers and I'm on the other laptop that Devin won't let me use for pictures because he wants to keep it free for all our music files. I'm ok with that, but I think that that means it's time to get another laptop...for ME! :D
Today was a MUCH more normal day than what I've been experiencing lately. We had a pretty slow morning where we did all our math and spelling and some cleaning and playing. Then the kids had Arabic classes, then tennis classes, then we went swimming for the rest of the afternoon. We got home around 7pm, ate dinner as fast as possible (well, the kids didn't eat much, but Devin and I did), and Devin rushed off to church meetings while I put the kids to bed. Ok, so I only put Peter, Andrew and Claire to bed. As part of my school, I have these little reward 'punch' cards for reading. They read 20 books, they get a special prize. Josh filled his up, so for his reward, after the kids were in bed, I took him to the local donut shop and he got a donut and a little cup of chocolate ice cream. I do this for 2 reasons: #1 I want to encourage my kids to read a LOT and to feel happily rewarded after reaching a goal, and #2 It gives me some great one on one time to chat with them and see how they're doing! :) Josh is such a good kid! I asked him if he liked homeschooling and he gave the right answer (he REALLY loves it!!), and I asked him what he'd like to study next year, and he told me he wants to study LOTS more science! I told him a little of what I had lined up for studies next year (namely an extended unit study on Astronomy--including a week-long trip to Wadi Rum with the telescope, and star parties on the roof of our apt building), and he was SO excited! That's what I like to see!
So, we got back home around 8:30, Josh hopped into bed, I looked at the computer and realized that I had missed my Skype time with my mom (SORRY MOM!!!), saw her sad and lonely comment on my most recent post (yes, I'm pretty pathetic), and thought even without pictures it's high time I at least write SOMETHING!!!! So, I'm just going to tell about today, and make lots of good intention goals to write a little every day and work on getting myself 'caught up', even though we all know that that will never happen. :)
Devin just got home from his meetings, which means my 'alone time' is over for today. *sigh* Tomorrow, I have planned to get the kids through their regularly scheduled math and spelling, plus tomorrow is spelling bee day! Then we have playdates and swimming set up for the rest of the day. Andrew filled up his punch card today, too, so I promised him a nighttime sojourn to the donut shop tomorrow night. Why do I take them at night and not during the day? Well, it's Ramadan here right now. The restaurants and shops are mostly closed during the day, and even if they aren't, you have to do take out and eat it at home. It's not good to eat it outside, since most of the country is fasting during the day! So, after Peter is asleep, I take the one who has a full reading card and we get to sit and chat for a minute! :) yes, it's a little late for donuts (in my humble opinion), but it's never too late to sit down and have a heart to heart with one of your kids! And besides, I sort of like the nighttime outing--makes it doubly special--and so they don't get upset that they read all 20 of those books for a measly 50 cent donut!
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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