Thursday, October 25, 2012


Last night I got to relax with a nice cup of decaf coffee. (thanks to the ladies of ShilohBC) And I sparingly used some of my special creamer! Got to make that stuff last as long as I can! It was nice to curl up on the couch with a blanket and sip some yummy goodness! Ahhh, it's the simple things! 

And that is not a jumbo sized coffee cup, but rather a mini one-cup french press :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Hans!

"Happy Birthday to YOU, Happy Birthday to YOU. Happy Birthday day dear Hans/Daddy, Happy Birthday to you!"

Happy Birthday! Wow, I cannot believe how crazy this past year has been! We moved 3 times to 3 different countries! Had a baby, and have been trying to deal with toddler-hood! Ha! You have been so strong though all of it! You have truly made each moment fun in this great adventure! I love you so much! To your kids you are a hero! They adore you, and I can see why! You're pretty amazing. Hope that this birthday will be one to remember! And I am looking forward to the crazy times this next year will bring! Love you!!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

This Little Piggy

     I was the odd kid that didn't want any ham on holidays. And the kid who would have been ok not having that side of bacon. And pork chops were never my thing, nor hotdogs. I did not, and still do not, like pork. So, I guess being in the Middle East is helpful in that I don't find myself wondering, "are these little meat bits floating around in my food, ham?" (I would like to take this quick moment and thank my family members who catered to me on holidays by making me a turkey or chicken!)

Buying and consuming pork here makes you feel like you are sneaking around on the black market! We can not find any in the town where we live. If I ever had the hankerin' for pork, I would have to either drive over the border to the neighbouring country or drive nearly 4 hours to the capital city. And then I would have to find the "special" grocery stores. Walk past all the cold products to a little walk-in closet sized room in the back of the store. Above the door way a sign reads "non-Muslims only." Already you feel really conspicuous. You feel like you need to put a bag over your head as you walk into the "forbidden" room! Why you may wonder would I, the non-pork eater, wonder into such a dark hole? For Poptarts, of course! Yes, you read that correctly. Poptarts are on the contraband list! (Might be why they are nearly $10 a box!)
     For those of you who are starting to panic at the thought of us not being able to enjoy eggs and bacon for breakfast; do not fear! We have some good substitutes (great news for me!) Turkey bacon, beef sausage and pepperoni, and chicken hotdogs can be found in most grocery stores!

     Even though I am ok not eating the pork, I seem to have trouble with talking about pigs! I find myself making pig references at least once a week! "Quit hoggin' the remote... You little Porker... This car is a gas hog...when pigs fly... this looks like a pigs' sty..." And shame on us for teaching Alexis "This little piggy went to the market!" She loves to play this with KG in public places! Whoops. These are sayings I have grown up with and normally would not think twice saying.  Guess, I need to find some word substitutes! And I probably should stop dressing KG in his Three Little Pigs diaper when we visit with nationals! You live, and keep learning!

This Little Piggy needs to stay HOME

Thursday, October 11, 2012

splash time

When I hear the word "gulf" I have warm, fuzzy thoughts. My childhood summers were spent on the shores of Mobile, Alabama (the Gulf of Mexico) with my grandparents and cousins. And now I live near a gulf again. This time its on the other side of the world! But, still the warm water and sandy beach  is a comfort for this mom :)
Last weekend we took advantage of a short break from Language school and drove three hours to the beach. After we finish learning Arabic in the school setting  (do we ever truly stop learning?) then the plan is to move to the capital, which is right on the water! YAY! More motivation to get Arabic down, thats for sure. The water was so warm that it felt a little like bath water. But we still had fun splashing around. When we first moved here Alexis did not want anything to do with the water and now we have to keep her from wading out too far! She LOVES it!  Here are a few photos from our day at the beach.

KG's first time in the ocean

Playing in the sand

This is what KG did most of the time

Sand castles with Daddy

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mondays in the Middle East: Hi-speed Roundabouts

     Over the weekend I found myself in a position I rarely enjoy: driving in heavy traffic. Sure, I have been stuck in Atlanta traffic a few times. And that was stressful. But the stress of driving in traffic here is multiplied by 100 for me! Why, you may ask? Well, let me paint you a picture! Imagine 4 lanes of traffic all moving a 75 mph on the highway running through town. People are merging at free will, often with no turn signals. They squeeze in between cars with only inches to spare! Again...not slowing down in the least! People are running out in front of you hoping to cross the road without getting hit! They are playing the real-life game of Frogger! (if you are reading this and have no idea what that is then I am truly feeling old for the first time! ha!) And in growing cities there is always construction! The road you drove down yesterday is suddenly blocked off and now all traffic must merge into a single file line with no warning! Inches, I mean "by the skin of your teeth" cutting it close! And then after you have survived that, comes the dreaded roundabout! Sure, in some parts of the world the roundabout is a helpful system. The town I grew up in is starting to incorporate them into the higher traveled areas. But, let me tell you, here I would rather drink curdled milk than face one of the big traffic circles! The cars on the inside of the circle have the right a way! So when your turn comes up you must take a deep breath and zoom across 2 to 3 lanes of traffic, just praying that you can make your turn! And if you miss it...oh brother, going around the circle again just angers the other drivers! Better get it right the first time! Now add a very talk-a-tive toddler who demands response to her rhetorical questions, an over-tired screaming infant and the sun nearly blinding you, and you have the "perfect" conditions for driving here! HA!
"Mommy, isn't this car just beautiful!" -Lexi
beside a Lotus
     But WAIT, there's more to it than this! People on the Arabian Peninsula love to spend money on their cars! We drive a Ford Explorer and I feel like we are in a poor man's car. It is really common to see Porsche, BMW, Jaguar, FJ, Hummer, Range Rover, Lexus...and these are usually SUV's. The big cars are the popular ones. But I have also looked out of the car window and noticed I was riding beside a Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bentley, Lotus, Maserati, McLaren, Rolls-Royce, and and Aston Martin! I cannot even imagine having an accident with one of those!
Car give away in the local mall!
Even though the roads here are really nice in terms of asphalt, and well lit highways , the mortality rate is pretty high :( This is not just because of hi-speeds and insane roundabouts, but because of the lack of wearing seat belts. I know growing up in the States putting on the seat belt is pretty much second nature. It is just part of riding in the car. But this is not the case here. It is very common to see babies riding in their mother's laps in the front seat! And it is normal to see 5= kids jumping around in the back! Yes, I have been to many countries where this is "normal" and "safe." So much so that the Expats often follow in suite. But  it is the hi- speeds that can kill a whole family! Needless to say, my family buckles up and the kids are in approved carseats.
As for roundabouts, I try my best to avoid them! (In some cities this is not possible, however, because there are roundabouts every 400 meters! No Joke!) Well, signing off for this post. Hope you were a little enlightened on driving in the Middle East! And now you know another way you can pray for us!