Friday, February 28, 2014

Snapshots of the Week

Louisiana-style Shrimp Boil in Saudi
 Dinner for 3, Ethan and his "girls"
Friendship all around
 Helping Mommy clean up after baking.
He requested 50 cookies to take to work.  I baked extra for the family.  He ended up taking all 80 cookies and coming home with empty platters.
 Story by Owen - talks about beer being for grandpas but bad kids sneak into the beer store and take lots of beer.  Interesting story to write amongst his Muslim peers!
 A gift from a member of the Secret Sister group I started.  A book about a girl who doesn't conform, is herself, and inspires others.  Touching gift!
 After a 3K fun run with my running buddies, we celebrate with a drink!

Ras Tanura Yacht Club

At the far end our camp, past the horse farm, is the Yacht Club you have to have a membership to to enjoy.  Membership sign up was a couple of weeks ago and today we got to take advantage of our membership for the first time.  We organized a group of friends to meet us out there for an afternoon of fun and dinner on the grill.  We loaded up the back of our car and headed out!
One of the benefits of the yacht club is it is mainly for Westerners and we are able to enjoy our beverages out in the open!  It didn't take the guys long to take over the job of manning the grill while enjoying a beverage! : )
While we waited for the meat to cook, the kids ate sides. (Maxine and Audry)
Scooted around. (Steine and Addyson)
And just enjoyed being outside with the freedom to run around and be cute! (Benthe)
And the meat still cooked..... it was a bit of a non-home run as far as dinners go but this was our first trip to the yacht club and using their grill.  We learned what to do different next time.  What to bring with us (like bug spray), and that we should head out a bit earlier since it gets dark here about 5pm.
What was nice was getting together with a group of friends (some of which met each other for the first time) in a new location and starting to take advantage of the many perks of camp and enjoying the cool weather before the heat moves in!!!!  I can't wait to go back out there and get better pictures next time!!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Day Shopping with Addyson

Today was another field trip day with Addyson's school.  This month they are learning about healthy food choices so a field trip to our commissary to buy fruit and veggies was part of the learning fun.  Addyson got all dressed up and took her purse with her!
Before heading out, the children do their morning circle time routine and part of that included working on their sign language!  Here is Addyson practicing signing her name!
A lot of what they do is "turn and talk" with a neighbor and this morning they had fun signing each other's names.  Addyson has come home with so many new signs (she had a bit of a leg up on the class since I did a lot of signing with her as a baby) and it is fun to watch her sign what she needs and be so proud of what she knows!
We went to the comm with the other 2 K3 classes so we took turns going inside.  While we were waiting for our turn the kids put out their blankets we would be eating snack on and read a book about healthy food choices (there is a big push in Saudi to get people to turn to good food choices instead of all of the junk food and sugar drinks they choose.  There is even a sign up by the register in the comm that warns about consuming too many of the high caffeine drinks).
Addyson's class was given a check list scavenger hunt to do in the store.  They were to go up and down the aisles looking for their items and becoming familiar with all our store has to offer.
I was the mommy member of this two person team.  Turns out, these 2 are the fastest ones in the class.  They rush though tasks and forget to "stop and small the roses" along the way.  I was given the task of slowing them down, trying to get them to take in their surroundings.  And I tried.  I pointed out different fruits.  Asked questions.  Tried to get them to point out things not on their list.  And despite all of my efforts, they were still the first ones done by a long shot.  Turns out Addyson is a lot like me.  Cut to the chase.  Streamline your efforts.  Accomplish the given task as quick as possible.  Leave out the extras.
After she was finished, she met up with friends to help them with their list!!!
The next task was to pick out ONE fruit to add to the fruit salad they would be making the next day in class.  I was happy to see it was just at home that she had a hard time following directions.  She thinks "more is better", wonder where she gets that from (hint, have you ever watched Brad in the kitchen spice up a dish????).
After picking out a fruit or two (or three or four), and some kids picked out veggies to add to the fruit salad, the kids took their items to be weighed.  In Saudi, there is a separate weighing station you have to take your fresh produce to before checking out.
The last step was checking out.  Each child got 5sr (or a little more if needed), to pay for their goodies!  It was a great experience for them to see the process of shopping from start to finish!
Lastly, they went outside to enjoy a snack before heading back to the buses to head back to school
The morning of shopping with Addyson and her friends was a fun insight into what the kids are thinking and would prefer to be doing when they go shopping with their own families!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Proud Mommy Moment(s)

One cool Friday morning a month and a half ago I ran a duathlon.... a super proud mommy moment for me that I didn't think I could accomplish and yet, I did!  There was so much I learned for overcoming my fear of failure and coming in last and I couldn't wait to blog all about it but, that didn't happen.  For some reason(s), I couldn't find the right words to say and because of that (and a few other personal things that took up my time) I didn't write the post and I've neglected my blog.  See, I like to write in order and so if I get stuck on a blog I quit writing until I find the right words the finish a blog and can move on.  So now, after a month and a half, I will try to find the right words to express all I hope to in this blog post.
I have found that as a mom of three I often find myself spending my "free" time doing something for them or for the home.  When we moved to Saudi and my children started school people asked what I would do with "all of my free time".  The reality is, is that I don't have THAT much free time.  Each child starts and finishes school at a different time so by the time I drop everyone off, I have about 2.5 hours to myself and part of that is dedicated to taking a shower (that's definitely a mommy moment!).  If I were in the States my "free" time wouldn't be that free, I'd be cleaning, shopping, doing laundry.  Here I am blessed to have help in the house so I don't have to spend my "free" time doing not so fun things.
I get to spend "my" time doing things I really enjoy and lately that has been exercising.  I have even gotten to the point where I skip out on coffee chats in order to go for a run and I love it.  I love where I am in my personal journey to getting fit.  However, there is a downside to this journey.  And that is trying to find the right balance of being proud of my accomplishments to sounding like I'm bragging or have it more together than I really do.  And the latter is NOT what I want to do.
My hope in sharing my journey is to give others the idea that they can do it to and NOT that I have it more together than anyone else.  My journey started much like everyone else's.  My mind told me I couldn't do it.  I let fear control me.  I was scared of coming in last.  I told myself I wasn't strong enough.  I compared my body, strength, and my journey to everyone else.  And then I was blesssed to walk into a spin class by inviting myself along with a new friend to a Xfit/Spin class combo and I had to run out of that class a month and a half ago because I thought I was going to throw up, literally.  I had flashes of the Biggest Looser moment in my mind of their first work out and everyone was puking.  I couldn't believe I couldn't handle day 1.  Shortly after, the spin teacher followed me out to check on my and gave me a pep talk.  I finished out the class and went back 2 days later for more!
And so my journey began.
And remember, this is MY journey.  Not to be compared with YOUR journey or where YOU should be.  We are all exactly where each of us should be in our journey of life.  Be proud of YOUR moments and share in the joys of my moments.  (Another important lesson learned from my spin teacher.  Sharing of journeys is not to compare but to inspire!
I went to class the two days a week it was offered.  I noticed myself getting stronger.  I noticed myself wanting more.  I tried another class.  I went for a run by myself.  I set out to run a set distance along the beach and found myself running father than I thought I could.  I found myself being happier.  I had more energy.  And then I started to notice the small proud mommy moments I was having.  And I craved more!
There is a chance I wouldn't have noticed those small moments or appreciated those moments if it wasn't for my spin teacher (Asa).  My favorite part of class is the last 5 minutes during the cool down.  Asa speaks some powerful, encouraging words that seem to hit home and be what I need to hear each and every time.  At the end of January, just 3 months into my journey, we held a cadence of 100+ for the whole 30 minutes which was her goal for us that month and we accomplished that.  As she was talking about it she said, that is something to put in your jar.  Put in my jar?  What did that mean?  She said we should all have a jar we put in our accomplishments, the small things from things we done to things people have said to us, that we can look back on at the end of the year to see how far we have come.  For me, in 3 weeks I went from leaving class due to fear of puking to spinning at 100+ cadence for 30 minutes straight.  Wow!
Other moments.  Wearing jeans for the first time in months (I started to live in exercise pants and not because I was exercising every day but because they had a loose waist band I could fit into).  I did box jumps on the big box even though I told myself I probably couldn't, I should only try one.  I ended up doing 10 the first time!  After an hour exercise class I ran a 3K home, I told myself I could walk if I needed to but I ended up running the whole time and even went farther than my house.  I realized (again, thanks to Asa) that I was letting fear control what I thought I could do and what I did and I started to stop letting my mind talk me out of trying things.
Soon there was talk on camp of a duathlon and I wondered if I could do it.  It was a 3K run, 15K bike, and a 3K run.  I knew I could run 3K but wasn't sure about the rest.  So I asked Asa, "Do you think I could do this?"  "OF COURSE YOU CAN!" she said, "And I already signed you up!"  Then I questioned her if I could bike 15K.  Have we done that in class yet?  So I checked, yep, in 30 minutes we had actually biked a 18K so I COULD do it.  But what about putting it all together.
I wanted to do it.  Talked myself out of it.  Got excited about it.  Came up with excuses as to why I couldn't do it.  Had people excited for me.  Tried to discount it.  Gave myself a pass to walk if I needed to.  Decided to go for it.
And I did it!  I ran the WHOLE thing.  Biked the whole time.  I didn't use any of my "free passes".  Enjoyed the whole process.  Smiled the whole time and was so excited to cross the finish line!  It was an amazing feel and an amazing proud mommy moment!
While I have enjoyed my small accomplishments along the way, one of my favorite parts of the journey of this race was showing my family all I have done!  After the many days at the sidelines cheering them on, it was now their turn to support me.  To see me accomplish a goal I had set out to do.  To learn that just because I am a mommy, I still get to have moments for me!  To see me finish something I set out to do.  And to learn that my journey and proud moments will still continue.  What are your proud mommy moments?

Snapshots of the Week

How Owen goes to school these days!!!
Proud Mommy moment where I decided my mind and fear were NO longer going to control me!
85 box jumps (35 on the big box), 85 wall balls, 30 minute spin class, and I ran a 3K home!!!  I didn't think I'd be able to do half of that today especially the big box jumps!  Overcoming fear and excuses!
Spider-man/ Ninja turtle vs. Ninja Turtle/ Superman!
Took Ethan to the dentist.  He was SO surprised ALL 3 of our kids have NO cavities!  This was the sign in the dentist office.  Giving kids lots of candy is a common thing here!
Ethan helping Monowara clean up toys
Licked the spatula clean and went back for seconds....and thirds.... and fourths!
The tooth fairy dropped this pillow off at our house while we were gone today when she heard that Owen might have to have a tooth pulled (his adult tooth has broken the surface but his baby tooth is still there).  No tooth pulled but one happy boy to have a visit from the tooth fairy!
Eating Mommy's first batch of black eyed peas.... yes, it is a New Year's Eve meal.... I'm just a little bit behind on getting the courage to try a new thing!  This recipe was delicious and the kids ate seconds!
  1. Place the black-eyed peas into a large container and cover with several inches of cool water; let stand 8 hours to overnight. Drain and rinse before using.
  2. In a large stock pot over medium heat, cook and stir 1 purple onion and 4 cloves of garlic garlic in olive oil until onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour in the 8 cups homemade chicken broth and 8 cups water, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in soaked black-eyed peas, ham (I had Canadian bacon I sliced up),  1 can of tomatoes, 5 pepperoncini, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until peas are tender, ham meat is falling off the bones, and the broth is thickened, about 3 hours.
Captain Underpants- Book character dress up day at school.
 Healthy cookies I made for my friend for her birthday!  Only 4 ingredients!  3 bananas, 2 cups organic quick oats, a HUGE heaping spoon of my homemade almond butter, and a "few" chocolate chips!  Bake on 350 for about 10-12 minutes!  Enjoy!
 Bundled up and waiting for mommy to race!
 Best buds waiting for mommy to run by
She has been waiting for a month for this day!!  Finally ready to start Zumba with her wonderful teacher, friend Jai, and many other friends!!!
 Enjoying her first Zumba class!
 Ethan wanted to do Zumba too.... so mommy joined him.... despite her SORE knees and legs... one happy and bouncy boy!!!  He LOVES to dance!
Two tired people.... watching sister have fun was better after we got our small Zumba fix!!!