Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ahlan wa sahlan {Welcome!}

This has been a long holiday weekend around here.  Today we went to eat breakfast with some friends and then to a bird park.  In general, people here LOVE kids!  Jacob has learned to milk this for all it's worth.  When he is hungry and sees someone with food (I'm talking about strangers at parks!), he walks up close to them and looks at them with big, pleading, friendly eyes.  And every time, he scores food.  One day some guys in their late teens/young 20s gave Jacob and another 3-year-old friend each a twix bar.  Today he got some bugles and 2 pieces of pizza off people.  I try to interfere and say, "No, he is fine."  But people say, "Oh yes, take it."  It's kindof hilarious and very kind, but I think I have finally learned that I need to take food everywhere we go and have some to share.  I love that it opens doors to meet people, though!  : )

If you want to see the street that leads to our house, here's a little video I took of that a couple weeks ago.  My parents had asked to see what our street looks like, so I took it for them.  The "seeds" Jacob shows me that he wants to plant are olives off an olive tree.

I hope you enjoyed the little tour!!  : )

Friday, October 26, 2012

language and more

I wanted to give you a peak at our language time!  It's really fun and makes my brain TIRED!!

John is doing SO great!! 

Last night we went to a neighbor's house.  It was a blast!  We got to visit with them, drink tea (that's one of the things I love here!), eat SUPER-sweet desserts, and just enjoy being with them! 
Their college-aged daughter has a new bunny, and the kids LOVED it!!  You should have heard their squeals and laughs!!  (Out the window in this first picture, you can see a white wall in the background with 2 lights on it...that's our wall!)
Our yard is pretty fun.  No need to buy a sandbox!
Front yard swing fun!
This week I've been processing quite a bit about how to thrive here.  Thank you SO much for your comments, FB messages, emails, skypes...I can't tell you how often they were so timely and brought tears to my eyes!  It helps me feel like I'm not alone in this!

Monday, October 22, 2012

catching you up!

Hi dear friends!  Oh, I've been a bad blogger for the last 2 weeks.  Overwhelmed mama + some internet issues have meant that I have not been keeping up here! 

2 weeks ago we started language learning.  2 hours/day each weekday.  The week before last was GREAT.  Then last week I added in homeschooling Z, and John started working more, and I didn't do so great.  Man, I'm being stretched.  I'd really appreciate your prayers...for me to know what God wants our days to look like, what homeschool should look like for our family this year (it's certainly not turning out to be my creative/artistic dream!!), for energy, that I'll learn how to give grace to myself, that I'll cling to Truth when I'm overwhelmed!!  I'm trusting that times of pruning are a grace from God and will reveal beauty in the end. 

We've had some house repairs that were needed...some pipes needed fixing, some rotted cabinets, a broken fridge.  But now everything is working!  We're in our house. I'm hoping to take pictures or a video and give you a tour soon. 

We had our first doctor appointment here last week.  Our doctor does an ultrasound at every appointment, and he saw that this little baby we're expecting is a GIRL!!  Here she is...isn't she a beauty?!?
There are so many things here that don't feel normal yet.  Like a donkey in our street (that was a fun one!), trying to communicate, taking taxis everywhere we want to go (we can't buy a car until we have our residency), and so much more!
Homeschooling DEFINITELY doesn't feel normal.  Doesn't this picture look so sweet and amazing?  That's the crazy thing about blogs, I think.  You can take a snapshot and make your house, life, parenting look perfect.  This was a super sweet moment.  But we haven't found our groove AT ALL, and we're trying to figure out what to do so that we can all THRIVE in this season of transition!
I'm thankful for friends here.  A friend who works for the same company we do gave me these sweet flowers the other day.  I can't imagine being here alone!  Those friends have helped us in a million ways to get settled.
We're also trying to keep things normal in other ways, too.
A date night!!
Cooking together (chocolate chip pancakes)
Family game night
Making Mimi's FAMOUS biscuits
Well, I'll try (no promises) to do better at blogging.  In the next few days I'm hoping to show you some AMAZING pictures of a camping trip we went on.  And a glimpse of our street.  And a peak at language learning.  Thank you for praying for us and encouraging us in these first weeks in a new country!! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Here's a little clip I took in a taxi drive yesterday.  There are some sheep and camels on a corner close to our house.  You can hear the radio playing in the background.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things (so far)...

Today was a hot and dusty day!  It's hard to tell in this picture, but even the sky looked yellow.

We've been here a little over 2 weeks, and I want to share with you a few of my favorite things!

We are starting to learn our way around on a taxi.  Today we went somewhere new, and we told the taxi driver what part of town we live in.  On a road, we saw an exit that we knew would take us home.  John pointed and the man said, "no, no."  John said, "yes, yes."  So he got off.  At the next turn, the same thing...except he had already started his way, and we were so insistent that he backed up and went our way.  Well, when the road ended, we were right by our house.  The taxi driver gave John a big smile and said, "Very good!"  It felt AMAZING to know where we were going!
We've had some great time with friends.
I (Cristie) have ventured out on my own.  It was my only time alone for the past few weeks, and it felt GLORIOUS!!!  I went to Starbucks and sipped on a frappachino.  Except I got it without coffee because the guy checking out said, "no coffee?  it is MUCH better with no coffee."  I thought, "Am I at Starbucks?" 
We've adjusted to our new time zone and are sleeping well.  Speaking of sleeping well, we ordered some furniture and it should arrive on October 9.  Here's our new bed!

I love the Jasmine here.   It smells amazing, and you get little whiffs from time to time.
I love our house.  It's painted and is so fresh and nice.  Mattresses come tomorrow or Thursday, and then we'll start sleeping in our house.  The bottom kitchen cabinets were rotted out and nasty, so a carpenter came today and replaced them. 

These herbs at the grocery store smell amazing and are one of my favorite things.

We have great fruit trees in our yard!  Here's a picture of Catie in front of our apricot tree.  We also have lots of fig trees, a mulberry bush, a lemon tree, maybe a couple almond trees, and 2 mystery fruit trees.  : )  The kids love running out to water them!

We just met with our language tutor tonight and will start learning Arabic on Sunday.  (The work week here is Sunday-Thursday, and the weekend is Friday and Saturday.) 
Here's Jacob next to a drain.  These drains are so great!  I have one in my kitchen and in each bathroom.  You scrub everything down and squeegie the extra water down the drain.  Cleaning is way easier!!

We had a fun family date to the mall and got ice cream one night.

 Well, I gotta get to bed.  It's late, and the kids will be up early!
Thanks for praying for us!  We love y'all and appreciate every contact from you guys!