For those of you wondering what the heck we've been doing with our time here in America, I'm pleased to present a quick-view of our trip! I will eventually elaborate and add some better photos than just what's on my phone, but this is better than nothing at all! :-)
And that brings us to the present...where the rest of my family are outside roasting marshmallows and making s'mores while I'm in hiding... Life is good.
I'm in denial. My oldest son is 11 years old. How can this be? I'm only 16! Regardless of how old he is or I am... He is one great kid! I'm so proud of the strides he's made in school and in his ability to be responsible and respectful. He thinks of others often before himself. He is intelligent and full of ideas! He makes every day fun and interesting. I love you, Joshua! Happy birthday! Next year, you'll be taller than me. *sigh*
You know, I was looking at Josh's picture and thinking that if I were his teacher, he wouldn't be slouching in his chair and he would hold his bow a little differently.... he he he...
It's Veteran's Day, which gives us an American holiday to roam around the country without worrying about crowds. ha! Plus, we could give Flat Stanley a real tour of Jordan!
So, our vacation day is in two parts. Part one, is Um Qais. Um Qais is the ruins of a city up on a hill in the northwest corner of Jordan. In this spot we could see Israel, Syria and Lebanon! A good safe spot to be standing... *cough* It overlooks the Sea of Galilee, so now we've been all around the Sea of Galilee (or Lake Tiberius as it is now known).
Um Qais has some pretty impressive ruins and a lovely view. We enjoyed exploring and finding pretty carved columns, and columns with REALLY cool patterns (made our of some pretty impressive stone--marble, probably), sparkly rocks, 'shops', and amphitheater... it was pretty cool!
Halloween was a marathon of parties that lasted from about the 30th of October until the 2nd of November. Good times with dressing up and getting LOTS of candy!!
We started off with the Embassy party on Halloween (actually, the parties started with Claire's birthday, but that's already been told).
The Embassy Party
We trick or treated through two of the embassy buildings, then ate cookies at the ambassador's house and chatted with friends. Good times!
The Primary Party
Our next party was put on by the youth in our church for the little primary kids! They did a great job!! They had games all set up, then all the kids went 'trick or treating' through the house to different rooms where moms were waiting with the candy. The kids didn't like my room, because I gave them stickers, pencils, erasers, and little toys instead of candy. Hurts to be healthy... Ha!
Well, there's not a whole lot going on at our house right now. We finished another week of school with lots of little and big successes, funny moments, and frustrating times...which is really what life is made up of, right?
This week is a holiday week. Yesterday, Devin had the day off, since we were celebrating Columbus day. Hooray! We've been discovered! :) We spent the morning doing some cleaning and organizing (I can't help it--it's what I like to do!!!!!)--I was getting out the winter clothes and swapping the summer clothes out. I know it's still in the upper 70's, but it's getting cooler, and it's nice to have long sleeves. However, as we were doing this, I noticed that one of the shirts Josh put on was like 3/4 sleeves. So, I made him put on another one with the same result. In the end, we found that only 3 of his shirts remotely fit. What??!? I just bought these last fall! They're size 10-12--it should fit for awhile! Then, in a panic, I did the unthinkable: I wrote on the walls! Yes, I measured the kids against a wall. I haven't done it before because I know we'll be moving always, but I decided it's time. I'll take a picture before we magic eraser it off. I found that Josh is only 2 inches shorter than me. He wears the same shoe size AND the same shirt size as me. I don't know how I feel about this.
Devin was tinkering around with the computer, so I decided to take Josh and Devika down to a local market to find some second hand clothes for Josh and for Claire (who is wearing all size 7-8 clothes right now, and while they sort of mostly fit, she's growing like a weed, too, and won't fit these clothes next year). We had a great time and found Josh some fun shirts. We also found a few for Claire and some pj pants for me. I spent less than 20JD ($30) for 6 new shirts and a nice hoodie jacket for Josh, 2 shirts for me, 2 shirts for Claire, a wool sweater for Claire, and 2 pair of pj pants for me. Not bad for an hour in a 2km long garage sale! :) It was a fun place and one that I will go back to, and bring friends!! Way better than ordering online! :) (Cheaper, too...clothes are so expendable)
After shopping at the market, we took the kids swimming at the pool, then we went to the Burger Shack (aka Fatty Dabs)--BEST place to eat in Jordan! :) On Sundays, their 'small' meal is only 3JD! WOW! I like this place because not only are all the guys who work there super friendly (and speak English without any accent! It's impressive!), but their hamburgers are made from actual hamburger meat that they make while you watch...plus the french fries are actual potatoes that, again, they make while you watch! AND they do lettuce wraps and it's really good. :) We like them.
It was a good Columbus Day.
Today, well, this morning I got up to Peter who came in to tell me that his turtle smiled at him. He was so happy. He said, "Mommy, My turtle smiled at me! I looked at him like this (*scowly face here*), and he did this (*huge cheesy smile with dimples here*)!" It cracked me up. The silliness didn't end, though, as I came into the kitchen and Andrew was very focused on the rail where the sliding glass door to the back patio is. He was looking very hard, then saw me come in, and said, "Hi Mom! I'm hypnotizing an ant! He just keeps walking back and forth because I hypnotized him! Isn't that funny?" Boy, that kid cracks me up!
Claire notified us today that she's NEVER going to move away. We told her that once she turns 24, the government won't see her as a dependent any more, so she'll have to go to work to pay her plane ticket so she can move to different posts with us, and she was very upset by that. Ha! We shall see.
We ended up having another lovely day, though. The kids and I did some basic school this morning...math, spelling, handwriting, etc. Then we went off to the embassy to get some ice cream with Devin (two of the kids got free ice cream, so we wanted to redeem that). We picked up the mail, then met some friends at the park so we could all play together. We played for a few hours, then went to their house to make homemade donuts and watch a movie. Another fun and successful 'best day ever'.
In other news, Josh has shown a surprising increase in personal responsibility. I've been very impressed as I've begun placing more of his schooling, etc., on his shoulders, that he has really risen to the task. As I've talked with Devin about this, we have felt like he's shown enough of that personal discipline that we can let him take the music lessons that he's wanted to take for so long! So, starting Saturday, he'll be the newest violin student in the family! I feel really good about the place where he'll be taking lessons. I really like the owners. They are a family business and are very warm and friendly and welcoming. I think Josh will do well there.
And along those lines, I may be teaching clarinet again! I mentioned that I play, and they asked if I'd be willing to teach! It's not a very common instrument, but now that they have me, they're going to advertise that they have a teacher, and I get to pick my hours! I'm excited! We shall see!
So, Columbus Day was yesterday, today Devin was back to work...and the rest of this week is Eid, so no more work! :) We get a 5 day
Our cute little trees that we planted!!
In honor of Earth Day, we did a super cool activity today: We planted a tree in a National Forest here in Israel! How cool is that?? We drove out about 40 minutes outside of the city into the middle of nowhere (SO pretty!!) into an area that they’re trying to re-forest. A very nice park ranger met us there and told us a little about what we were going to do… Of course, he didn’t get very far, because he made the mistake of passing out pickaxes before giving us his shpill. Ha!! We each got a tree (an Arizona Cypress, actually) and we walked out into this big field full of baby trees and irrigation pipes. There, we dug holes and planted our little baby trees! Then, the kids started hacking away at the rocks and dirt, and started finding ancient pottery. The Ranger said they could keep the pottery they found and they were ecstatic! So, they collected ancient pottery for a museum… We got certificates for participating, and flags that said, “I planted a tree in Israel!” On our way out of the forest, we found an area with picnic tables, so we stopped and ate our picnic lunch. The kids ran around and climbed on the rocks and found an old jeep which of course became TIV 3 (Tornado Intercept Vehicle) and they happily played storm chasers for another hour! We finally headed home when it really started to rain on us
Once home, I set up the jaccuzzi bath tub and everyone took turns in the Jacuzzi (or jakuzey, as they spell it on the wall sticker). After Jacuzzi time, we have our ancient pottery museum.
You can tell these kids have been to a lot of museums… They even charged me admittance fee! Sheesh. How’s that for gratitude? :D
Some Israeli Shequels for you to see
I think it’s funny that our first day here is April Fool’s day. I actually forgot about it until dinner when the kids asked what day it was and we realized it was the first. Then they did silly jokes (“What’s that on your shoulder?” “There’s a monkey in that tree over there!”) over dinner. We ate some lovely lentil soup that I had put in the crockpot. We ate it out on our big balcony that overlooks the city. Absolutely lovely.
So. It was quite nice to arrive on a holiday weekend, really. Yes, all the stores and shops are closed, but Devin managed to get out last night before sunset (on the advice of our upstairs neighbor) and grab some food that should last us until we can do some real grocery shopping. The streets are so quiet and everyone is dressed in their Sunday best! (It’s the last day of Passover, in case you were wondering about the holiday.) I was happy to have Devin home all day again. He was gone so much this past month, and he never had any weekends, so it’s been a nice break for all of us!
Today we spent the morning lazing about and playing. By 10am we left to go back to the border crossing to see if we could find our lost items/bags. It’s lucky it’s only about ½ hour away! We got there, and Devin went in to find our things. He found most of our loose stuff (pots and plates and some of Claire’s stuff…that kid!! She brought EVERY little tiny purse that she owns! What do I do about that?!?!?), but there was no sign of Josh’s carryon bag. The kid is devastated. With good reason, too. In that bag was all of his favorite books (Choose Your Own Adventure, Bunnicula series, Flat Stanley series, Time Warp Trio…), his reading light that he got for his birthday, ALL of our toothpaste and toothbrushes (so sweet that he gathered those together for everyone), his camera (ouch), his scriptures and hymnbook (ouch), his pinewood derby car AND his trophy that he won from the Pinewood Derby on Friday (ouch, again), his lapel pin collection, our UNO Attack game and Phase 10… Anyway, listing it doesn’t make it feel any better. Poor kid. The WORST part is, though, that when we were getting the bags, that was the only one I picked up, and unzipped just to check and make sure it was ours. I KNOW we had it with our stuff. The only thing I can think of is that it didn’t get put onto our cart. So, either we left it curbside and someone took it, or someone saw it and thought it was theirs and took it, or…well, I Have no idea. So, so sad. We don’t get ‘reimbursed’ for lost items when going through the border crossing. *sigh*
After our long search, we went to a big park here called Sacher (or Saker, as the GPS likes to call it) Park. So amazing! Jerusalem wins with the coolest parks! It is a huge park with LOTS of green space. The children’s area (slides, etc) was SO awesome! The slides are super tall and the kids just loved climbing on them! Even Devin joined in on the teeter totter! (I did, too, and I had Josh and Andrew on the other side of me, and they kept me up in the air! Silly boys!) We found an exercise park area, too, and all the kids joined in on the rowers and presses and stuff. They had such a ball! Then Peter went on the Merry-Go-Round too many times and threw up, so we had to call it a night. Ha!
We came home, the kids ate ice cream, then bath time, dinner time, movie time, bed time… Today was my idea of a day off.
And tomorrow, we start not only a new unit, but a whole new experience exploring the Holy Land! :)
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.
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!
I love to read and do reviews for Compass Book Ratings!
by Dan Brown
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