Sunday, December 21, 2014

Raingutter Regatta

 Living overseas we at times get a taste of fun activities from home like being a member of the Boy Scouts but then activities that the Scouts put on are a bit harder to come by.  Shipping over supplies becomes a HUGE task, well really the huge pain is getting our items cleared through customs.  Our pinewood derby track has been in customs for many months.  : (
 Despite the hassle, we have a wonderful team of parents that work really hard to make sure our boys get the best Scout experience possible.  It takes a village and that we have here!!  Brad and his friend Brad are leading Owen's Wolf den this year and it has been wonderful.  On top of that, we got to have our first major Scouting event!  The Raingutter Regatta!!  Look at all these awesome boats!
The Pack Master put on a wonderful event with heats amongst the different dens and then a final heat amongst the winners!  Awesome!
One of the best things to see was the smiles and the cheering!  If a boy didn't win, he was still smiling!  The winner would reach out to give a High Five or a handshake to say, "Job Well Done!"  One thing we have been working on with Scouts and in soccer is explaining that everyone, even those that didn't win, puts in a lot of effort to do their best.  We all do a great job and that should be acknowledged!  And it was!
After the heats were completed the boys could go back and race their friends and family members could get in on the fun!  Ethan wanted to be a part of it all!!  He was so excited to get to race Owen's boat!!  Before we know it he will be racing a boat of his own !
 Wolf Den 2014-2015!
 Great job, Boys!


 Addyson and her class are working on size differences in math and as part of the understanding of big and bigger, the teacher has the kids act out Goldilocks and the Three Bears!!!
 In order to give each child a chance to be a part of the play, there were several showings that day with different children each time.  Look at the international group Addyson is with!!!
 Oh, NO!  Someone has been sitting in MY chair!!
 Again, enjoying the perks of being a small camp.... daddy was able to sneak away for a few minutes and come see Addyson's performance!  As for me, I was actually working at the school but they allowed me a few minutes to sneak away to go watch Addyson!  I just love the family centered community!
 Before her big showing, Addyson was suppose to be hiding out in the bathroom!  We caught her peaking before the performance! : )
Not only did parents come watch but, each group had a different class from the upper grades come sit in as an audience to support the budding actors!
 Trying out the yummy porridge!
 Which chair is most comfy???
 Getting feedback from the older kids at the end!!  What a fun experience!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

First half of December Snapshots

 Friends for lunch.... getting in the Christmas Spirit!
 A second rash has appeared. : (
 Someone learned how to take selfies.
 Tommy has come to visit!!!
 He brought with him lots of goodies!!!
 The 1st grade Tiger Cubs and Kindergarten Daises (youngest scouts on camp) doing a fundraiser for the maintenance workers on camp.
 The rash grows.... I need answers... finally!!  It IS a spider bite and an allergic reaction to it. : (
 Someone wants to wear Christmas jammies and all he has are 6T.  Sad boy.
 Owen's friends don't have an elf... so he left this sweet note for Tommy.  I love how he is so thoughtful!
 Tommy loves animals as much as we do!
 Half of our RT group getting ready for the Challenge!
 So proud to say I organized several teams to join this amazing event!!  HUGE RT showing!
 Snowball fight!
 Playdate at the park and one-on-one time with this little guy before I head out for my big race!
In Bahrain for the weekend and started it by finding this amazing little pub!!!
 Lunch date!
Signed in and ready for the weekend festivities!
 THIS..... she just gets me!!!  Life is so much sweet with her in my life!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas in Saudi 2014

Santa came early again this year.  He heard that we were going to be out of country for Christmas Day so he sent Tommy the Elf to let us know he would be coming the morning of the 19th.  We had a week to prepare for the big day!
One thing that is very different about celebrating Christmas in a non-Christian country is that we are not surrounded by the sights and sounds of Christmas.  Christmas becomes what WE make of it and we have to try extra hard to get into the spirit.  There is no music playing for weeks before in stores while we shop.  We see no commercials on tv suggesting the latest and greatest toys to our kids.  Some people on camp decorate the outside of their houses to aid in setting the mood but I would say it is an average of 1-3 houses per street that are decorated.  So, if we are not careful, Christmas sneaks up on us!
 Because there is minimal exposure to ads suggesting things to put on their lists, the idea of writing a list was almost forgotten this year.  And really, I don't push it since my shopping was done this summer and getting to a store to pick up something on a list is hard and very expensive (things are marked up about 4x what I can get it for in the States). 
Owen was the only one that wrote a list and I'm sure that came from the school yard chatter amongst his friends who were all talking about it.  Owen's list was sweet out of the 10 things one it, 4 of them were for others.  A plant for me.  Treats for the cat.  A toy for the dog.  And something for Ivy.  Now that is the real meaning of Christmas.
This year we kept Christmas small.  I had recently read an article that suggested giving small gifts from Santa and have the bigger gifts be from mom and dad.  The idea behind it was trying to have an equality amongst kids from those who get minimal to those who get a lot.  It is hard to explain to little ones why Santa gives big gifts to some and small gifts to others and it also helps kids understand that Santa doesn't have a huge expense budget, no these big items are costly and things mommy and daddy work very hard to provide!
A lot of the things we gave were things they needed, like new shoes and new jammies, as well as things that fostered reading and gave ideas of new activities and travel!  Gifts that keep giving!
 Christmas morning was awesome.  So many fun items were opened, a lot of them the kids remembered seeing this summer and begging for so they were happy to see them Christmas morning!
What they don't know is that we have one more gift to give them.... it is a t-shirt that will give them a hint of their big gift from us this  year!  That gift they will open on December 23!  So stay tuned to see how we will be spending our Christmas day!
Until then, we will enjoy hanging out at the house playing with all of our new toys!  Enjoying our time together and making the most of the beautiful weather!

Skyping with Uncle De and Teetee Bec!  I love this Christmas tradition we have done the last several years!!!  They skype in with us and just watch as we open gifts!  It lets them be a part of the fun despite the miles between us!
Another tradition we have is eating breakfast casserole for breakfast!  This is something Brad grew up eating so he is in charge of this.  He makes it the night before and it cooks while we open presents!  When the gifts have been opened the casserole is ready to eat!  Perfect!!  Today Ivy joined us for this Brewster tradition!
We wrapped up our Christmas morning by going to church.  One reason we picked today to celebrate it was that it is our Holy Day in Saudi so we knew we could attend our "community group" and be reminded of the real reason for the season!  After that we headed home and Brad and I cooked up a huge lunch!  It looks a lot like a Thanksgiving meal since hams are hard to come by here!!! : )  Unfortunately Ethan ended up getting a fever and fell asleep on the couch while we were cooking so he missed out on the afternoon of fun.  I was just thankful he felt pretty good this morning so he had fun opening gifts and playing up until we left for group!
We also had Ivy invite over one of her friends to celebrate Christmas with her.  Holidays are sweeter with friends, especially when celebrating your first one away from your family!  For us, this is our second Christmas to spend in Saudi.  Amazed that the time has flown by.  Thankful we are able to continue family traditions here in the Land of the Sand and make the most of the Season while reminding our kids while we celebrate.  Sad to be away from friends and family back home but blessed to be surrounded by our family and new friends!  Merry Christmas to all and enjoy this time with the ones that mean the most to you!