Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pics of the Week

Our kitties like bath time as much as the kids do!!!
Play time!!!!  We LOVE our newest additions!!!
Think I'm too big for Sissy's doll stroller????
Scavenger hunt!
Trying to get the bird to land on him... he stood still for as long as he could holding water in one hand and crackers in the other... he lasted about a minute... needless to say... he was unsuccessful in his attempt.
Being a little brother is hard work!
 Did you know that there is an art to drinking out of a can???  I didn't either until I had to teach both of the big kids how to do it!
 Someone loves his "yoyo" and "eois" in the morning!  Can you tell?!?! : )
 A new Brewster favorite- humus, moutable, and naan bread!  Thankfully we can get this at the salad bar all for $4!!!!
I think it is LOVE... might be a little one-sided.... but love nonetheless!!!! : )

Boss for the Day

Tomorrow Owen starts back to school, he'll be a First Grader now!  Even though we've had 3 months of summer and have done LOTS of fun things... I still wanted to make his last day of summer special in some way.  I wasn't exactly sure what that would look like so we decided to leave it up to him!  We made Owen Boss for the Day and he got to call all of the shots.  Well first we spent the morning deciding what to do about a car... we had to give all of our borrowed transportation back so getting some sort of wheels was first on our list... we knew we couldn't meet any of Owen's requests without some!  The first thing Owen wanted to do was have a Halloween party... so we did the best we could with the limited supplies we have around here.... have I mentioned that not having our stuff kind of sucks?!?!  Anyway, while Brad was gone getting a rental car, the kids and and I stayed home and dressed up like daddy!! :)  How cute are they?!?!
Then when daddy came home we hid so he had to find us!!!  Hide-n-Seek is a game we play daily in our house... we also try to hide from daddy every day when he comes home from work so he has to find us!  It has been a fun daily tradition!  Once daddy found us the kids were ready to change into outfits that fit them better!! : )  I love that despite the fact that we have minimal items to choose from, the kids are creative and come up with all sorts of fun "outfits"!!
For me, Halloween party was fun because I got to dress up like daddy... that was an easy one... and daddy got to dress up like me... for daddy, not so fun... especially since there was going to be proof that he had to wear a skirt!! :)  After dressing up , we came up with games to play using dice and finding things to be prizes.  It was a simple morning but somethings those mornings are the best!
Next up was Owen's choice for lunch.  I thought he'd pick going out on camp or driving into town (he went with Brad the other day and saw a Krispy Kreme and McDonalds so I thought he'd pick something like that) but no, he wanted to stay home and have lunch at home.  He said, "Somethings I just like being at home."  There is something comforting about home and the safety of our 4 walls and knowing everything and everyone inside!  He wanted lamb kabobs and moutabel... but he didn't want to leave.... so Addyson and I went to the Surf House... in our newly rented car... to pick up dips and naan while the boys played and Brad cooked lunch!  Let me just say, this was one of the best lunches we've had since being here!!!
While I don't have many Halloween decorations here to help decorate for this party, I do happen to have Halloween sprinkles I brought with me so we were able to make a Halloween snack which was a perfect way to wrap up our morning of fun!  While we waited to snack on the cookies the kids went "trick or treating" which means they rang our doorbell, got some candy, and ate it.... luckily that was good enough for them!  I told Owen that the one thing he didn't get a say in today was nap time... that is still a MUST at our house... so we all laid down for a nice rest to prepare for the rest of Owen's day!
Owen decided that we would go swimming after nap.  We saw a little bit but the water was actually chilly... pumping too much cold water in to cool the pool off... so Owen gave us all the 5 minute warning and we wrapped up that activity!  I think one of the favorite things to do at the pool is to shower at the end!  Even Ethan gets in on the action!

After swimming we spent the rest of the evening working on magic tricks!!!  Owen is really into magic right now so that's what we did!  He perfected his trick of making Addyson disappear... and thankfully he was sweet enough to make her reappear.... he isn't ready to get rid of her just yet! : )  Then mommy and daddy tried to come up with tricks that would impress the kids... and we tried to one up each other to come up with the coolest trick!  Brad flipped over a cup of water onto the table without spilling a drop.... okay, that was cool... until mommy made a box of dish washing soap turn into cookies... not THAT was cool!!!  Owen said, "Awesome!!!  How did you do that?!?!  That was so cool!!!"  Mission accomplished!!! : )  Then Owen gave it a try and did pretty good.  I told him soon we'll be a magic family and charge an entrance to see our tricks!!  But for now, we better keep practicing!!
Once again, Owen got to pick dinner... anything he wanted.... his request.... grilled cheese with fruit and veggies on the side!  Simple yet perfect.... just like my little man!  When we decided to let Owen be the boss we had NO idea what was in store for us.  Would he have us running all over camp and into town?  Would we be spending money and eating out every meal?  When I look back on what a day it was, it was such a simple day of simple activities that all centered around a child's simple wishes of spending time at home with his family.... perfect!  Maybe we should put him in charge more often... he can remind us to enjoy the simple things around us!  Thank you Owen for such a great day!  A perfect ending to our summer together!

Shopping with the Girls

Going out shopping with the girls takes a bit of planning since we can't drive, we can't just go out whenever we feel like it.  It takes a bit of planning.  Mort and Vanessa have lived in RT fora  year and know their way around Rahima, the town right outside of camp, so they offered to take me into town one evening to show me some of the stores Brad and I have been looking for but couldn't find on our own.  Let me say, it is almost impossible to look for specific stores while trying to read in Arabic, maneuvering tight roads, crazy drivers, and pedestrians!  So it was nice to take the company "shoppers' bus" into town and walk around on foot to learn where things are!
The girls took me to the bakeries I've heard about but couldn't find.  They also answered questions I had about some of the "Bachelor"  restaurants we thought we couldn't go to.... see, one of the yummy Lebanon places Brad and I tried to go to but couldn't because it was Bachelor only I learned that I could go in and order but really shouldn't stay and eat.... I can handle that.  Really, I think I'd rather take the food home and eat it in the comfort of my home where I can relax and be myself!  They also took me to the chocolate store... and all of these places are willing to hand out samples....
So I ended up doing a lot of tasting!!!  It was nice to be out with people who knew they way around and could show me what was good and where to go.  That is part of the hard thing about being new... in Fayetteville I knew my way around, knew the back roads, knew the good eateries, knew where to shop for what I needed... and now I just need to learn the same for here so shopping isn't so stressful!  It also  helped being kid free!! :)
The other thing bout being on foot was I could take some pictures... I know some people here are not fan of having their picture taken so I tried to be respectful of that... but I still want to take pictures to document the entirety of our adventure!  I've been wanting to take this guy's picture for a long time.  I really want to take it at prayer time when he is kneeling with his eyes close pointing toward the Holy Land praying... there is just something about him I'm drawn to.
What a different experience this afternoon was!  Some of the good food places on are on the "man's street".... but walking along this street as a female with our hair not covered draws a bit more attention that I really feel comfortable with.  The stares are uncomfortable... I don't like not fitting in... I just want to blend in and go unnoticed... almost impossible here!  Here is something I find interesting.... a woman and a man are not encouraged to show any PDA... no holding hands.... interesting though that 2 men can walk holding hands and no one says anything... things that make you go.."hmmmm"
My shopping trip was successful... I was able to get out and learn more about Rahima and where to go for things I need, I was able to hang out with the girls, and I was able to have a small break from the kids!  I was also excited to go home and share some of my goodies and new findings with the kids!!!  They were all excited I had a successful trip and brought home things to share!!!  It will be nice to start taking the bus out to do some shopping while the kids are in school... the nice thing about that is that I'll be kid free but the streets will be less crowded... one thing I've notice here is that the community comes alive as the sun is going early shopping will be a much less stressful experience and I can't wait!


 Anxious- that describes how I feeling tonight as I sit on the couch after an amazing weekend, a perfect ending to our summer, a perfect start to a new journey with new friends in a new country, and a perfect way to head into a start of a new school year.... so why be anxious?  Good question.   Do you ever long for alone time... a break from the noise, a mini getaway for some peace and quiet, a relaxing dinner by the candle light with your husband...and when you finally get that break you SO long for, it feels weird.  The silence is awkward and not as good and welcoming as you thought it'd be.  You find yourself talking about your kids, missing your kids, and longing to be back reunited with your kids because really, your kids, the noise, the chaos... we'll that's your life and your normal and without it... well it just isn't "normal".  If you know those feelings and what I'm talking about then, you probably will understand where I'm coming from.
Tomorrow is the day I've been longing for... or so I thought.  It was the "break" from the chaos I was wanting.  It was the "normal" back in our schedule I've been missing.  Or I thought I was wanting and missing.  See, life at home with 3 kids has been my "normal" for 3 months!!!  It has been crazy but it has been our crazy normal! We have had a super long summer break and it has been nice to all be together, the kids and I, as we adjusted to Brad being gone for so long and to help each other get through the move and get through the lonely times here in Saudi.  We've been together pretty much 24/7 for a little over 3 months... and I've been going a bit crazy these last couple of weeks and I've been longing for  break... but, now that my break is coming I'm SO anxious.... I'm not ready.  I'm not ready to ship my baby boy off for 7.5 hours a day.  I'm not ready for him to spend more of his day with a strange lady than he does with me.  I've enjoyed having him home with me and I don't think I'm as ready for the quiet break as I'd thought I'd be.  And honestly, I don't think any of us are!  My 3 kids have grown SO close, especially these past 3 weeks.  Not having any friends around has really made them lean on each other for support, fun, entertainment, and love.  They play together non-stop and they travel in a pack of 3.  I don't know what the little ones are going to do with Owen gone all day... and I don't think Owen knows what to think about leaving us all day.  I think we are all anxious!  I took him to meet his teacher the other day and he just looked around the room with wide eyes taking in all in.  He didn't say a single word and when I asked him to say "Hi" to his teacher he stood behind me and hid... never saying a word... this isn't like him... but I can't say I blame him.  This journey we are on is full of all sorts of ups and downs, mixed emotions, new people, new places.... it is all a lot to take in... but we've been okay because we've had each other... ALL DAY EVERY DAY we've had each other.... and tomorrow that all changes....
So we are anxious.
I ask that you please pray for us.  Pray for Owen as he starts a new school year.  Pray for his siblings as they adjust to life without Owen around 24/7 and pray for them too as they will soon start new schools soon too.  And especially pray for this poor anxious Momma.  Pray for my strength to help my kids with support, encouragement, and the right words to say to give them the reassurance and the confidence they need to have an amazing school year.  And pray that I stay strong for Owen and that Owen is strong and excited tomorrow and the morning "good byes" are easy on all of us.
I'm so anxious....

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Quiet Streets/ Bike Riding

Streets are quiet here.  We hang out outside and I don't have to fear of cars rushing by our house traveling at 40mph when the speed limit is 25mph.  It is nice.  I think the speed limit around our house is 30kmp but I know if kids are around.... the cars slow down regardless of the speed limit... whereas at home, it seemed like the cars sped up or paid no attention to the fact that little ones were playing outside.  Before moving here we heard that it was safe and kid friendly and it would be common to see little kids walking around or riding bikes without parents anywhere in site.  Everyone knows everyone so it is hard for the kids to get lost or get in trouble.... it will just take some getting use to for this momma!  I'm not use to letting the kids wander off down the road without me having a close eye on them.  And one driveway down is about as far as I've let them go before.  Here, Addyson wanted to test this new found freedom and she took herself for a "walk" to the end of the street!
Sister went for a walk and Ethan and I sat in the driveway practicing letters.  I couldn't see Addyson and I didn't get up to keep peaking on her... I just let her try out her new freedom but stayed outside in case she needed to call for me... this in new for all of us!  She made it to the end of the road and came back to get her brothers!  They ended up all 3 going for a walk together and they went halfway around the block before Brad went to get them..... the rule was not to cross the street... I thought they'd walk to the end of the block and come back... I guess with the 3 of them they had a bit of extra bravery and decided to see just how far they could make it!  But, they had a 22 month old in tow with no shoes on so going all the way around the block for a first walk on their own was pushing it a bit too far.... at least for mommy and daddy's sake!
Addyson keeps wanting to test this freedom but still has a bit of anxiety about it.  Can't say I blame her... this world is SO much bigger in her eye and all of the houses on our block look the exact same and it turns out her fear was that she would forget where we lived.  After attempting on her own again and only making it to the driveway, she came inside and asked me to write our address on a piece of paper she could carry with her and she took her little "purse" with money in it... she was set to venture out again! : )  The big kids are starting with little trips down the sidewalk but I know it won't be long before they get super comfortable here and start paling around with friends!
Having bikes to ride is something we've been missing.  The 2 little kids have bikes on the boat coming with our stuff and Owen needed a new bike.  I saw 2 bikes for sale on camp so we picked those up to give us some fun on wheels while we wait for ours to show up. One of the bikes is a balance bike.  I figured this would be perfect for Addyson now and Ethan will be riding it soon enough I'm sure!
Again, the roads are so safe that she was free to practice on her own!!!
I found a "big boy" bike for Owen with no training wheels.  This is something I wanted to work on this summer... until we found out about the move... at which point teaching him to ride a bike got put on the back burner... until now!  I knew we'd be getting him a bike at some point so before we left the States I took him shopping for a new helmet.... and this is what he picked out.... I really tried to talk him out of it... this is something for BIG boys... not my BABY boy.... but he wouldn't be talked into a baby helmet!
New tennis shoes on?  Check.  New helmet on?  Check.  New bike ready to go?  Check.  A parent ready to run beside him?  Yep!  Off we go!!!!
So this is our first rodeo at this.... and we are just going with what we think we are suppose to do.  We tell Owen to peddle as we run beside him and try to let go to see how far he can make it before he starts to wobble over.... does this sound about right?!?!  Or is there a better secret?!?!
Luckily the night was BEAUTIFUL... probably one of the b est we've had since we've been here which made it easy to run beside him and let him keep trying over and over... we weren't sweating ourselves out.  He rode and rode and was even able to ride for a split second here and there on his own.  He isn't ready to ride by himself but at least we've started the process!!!  Any tips you have on teaching a child to ride a bike is much appreciated!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Touring the School

The school year is about to start and I haven't really gotten any information about Owen's class (I've received emails about Addyson's class and the Parent meeting) so we decided to walk over to the school to make sure both kids were fully enrolled, we've met all of the requirements, and to see if there was a "meet the teacher" night or if there was a way we could get a tour of the school.  This was super easy to do since the school is just a stone's throw away!
We walked over to the main entrance and saw the school emblem on the wall so we had to pose for pictures!  The kids are now part of the RT Dolphin family!!  So exciting!
After posing for these pictures, I learned that there is not a orientation night with the kids and the first day of school we drop of the kids at the back of the school by the playground where they'll just line up with their teachers so this might be our only picture in front of this sign... now I wish I had dressed the boys up more!! : )  I found out that the morning routine here is a bit different than what we are use to back home.  The kids walk around to the back of the school and line up outside with their teacher who then walks them into the classroom.  Might sound ideal but for this mommy, it broke my heart.  Last year I walked in Owen every day, hung his backpack up for him, tied his shoes (for some reason at least one needed to be tied every morning), kissed him good bye, and made sure he was settled with his friends.  That would probably be a little much for my new 1st grader but to not even have the chance to walk him in and drop him off brought tears to my eyes... literally... the lady telling me the schedule probably thought I was nuts... and she's probably right.  With this new journey comes learning how to adjust and do things a different way... so I just have to get into my groove and find my new way to send him off for his day that is just as special to us!
When mommy is tired of carrying Ethan, he looks to his big sister for help! : )
 Here the start times are different for K4, K, and other grades... seems like there are 3 start times... which makes me SUPER thankful we live right beside the school!  I'll be able to look out my back gate and watch Owen cross at the crosswalk to come home for lunch at at the end of the day.  Without that, I'd be making 6 trips to the school each day; Owen's start time, Addyson's start time, Addyson's pick-up, Owen's lunch, Owen back to school after lunch, and Owen's pick-up!  That's a lot of trips to school in a short 7 hour 45 minute day!  I also found out that Owen starts school Sunday September 1st and Addyson's first week will be a soft start with her going 3 days for half days (she only goes a half day so she'll be going for about an hour or so) and during this soft start one parent goes to school with her!  Her first full week of school on her own will be September 8th!
This big boy is ready to start his new school as a first grader!!!  He asked to have a picture taken by himself and he gave me a thumb's up without me asking... that made me happy to see.... as much as he is starting to play shy and says he doesn't want to go to school... I think he is just as ready to start and get into a routine as the rest of us are!!!  We also found out that Owen will be in Mrs. Hay's class!  Mrs. Hay has been here for 3-4 years and I hear she is wonderful!  I actually got to meet her at the abaya store the other day when I went to get my zipper and she is sweet!  We are so excited for a wonderful year in 1st grade with Mrs. Hay!!!
Here Addyson will start K4 and will go every day for 3 hours a day!!!  This will be a change from the routine we are use to (and what Owen did when he was 4) of going 3 days a week for 4 hours but, we are excited about her upcoming year in K4!  One thing I realized is that here, there isn't as much to do during the day with your kids, I can't run out into town to meet for a play date at the mall or take her to a gymnastics class... so really, going to school every day is probably the best thing for her and her development.  This will help keep her mind busy and out of trouble!!!  We were excited to find out that Addyson will be in Ms. Heidi's class this year!  Ms. Heidi and her family are new to RT this year but not new to teaching overseas... she's been living this lifestyle for 10 years!  She is super sweet and I know its going to be a great year! (I also got to meet her at the abaya store the other day).  I am so excited to see her grow and learn this year!  It is going to be a wonderful year of growth in K4 with Ms. Heidi!
Since there is no formal orientation night for the kids, we got to take a tour of the school while we were checking in.  It was so nice to be able to show the kids around so it is all new the first day!  Here is Addyson checking out the art room!  One thing I've noticed is that here, the teachers are well supported with resources and supplies!  I think being a teacher for a private school funded by the largest oil company in the world has its perks... that both teachers and students benefit from!!!!
Here is Owen checking out the library!  We are ready for the start of a great year!!!  So many adventures at school and out of school are to come!!!  Yay!!!