He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress and for his children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

Monday, October 22, 2012

Naomi for President

Keep reading and you'll see what I'm quoting.  Too bad she can't ever be president being born in Beirut and all- she'd make a pretty good one I bet and would at least keep us laughing as she has been since she looked like this....

Ok, so I don't like to play favorites, and sometimes I almost hesitate to write something about one of the girls when I'm not doing something similar for all- I've already been reminded by one that I failed to do her birthday post...  Anyway.  

So for some reason the other day I was scrolling through old facebook statuses and I was laughing out loud at many of the things that our family comedian (that would be Naomi for those who don't know us well) has said over the years.  Many things I remembered, but some I'd completely forgotten about so for a moment I was oh so thankful for Facebook!  

If you're a parent, I'm sure you've had plenty of "out of the mouths of babes" type moments, but I truly believe that Naomi has provided us with more than a fair share of laughs over the years.  Little mess pot is just stinkin' hilarious.  She is still growing into her humor and is not always thrilled when we laugh at her but she's conflicted because we all know that she loves making people laugh.  The quotes dropped off a little recently as you'll see, not because there are less, but because she has discovered that "Naomi quotes" are pretty famous and she makes me promise not to tell.

And seriously, could you say no to those eyes?

(and yes, she's even mastered the art of the rapid blink sometimes resulting in tears that she can produce in a moment's notice when her sister's tell her to do "puppy dog eyes".  Ridiculous, right?

Here are my Naomi related facebook statuses going back to Dec 2009 just before she turned 4 in February.  Completely unedited as you will see that many of them sadly refer to my weight...
(with some random Naomi pictures thrown in ...)  If I feel the need to add real time commentary it will be in italics...

Dec 8, 2009 So Naomi just called from the bathroom and asked that I bring her a book

Dec 15, 2009 Naomi just walked into my bedroom wearing my glasses and said, "How do you like my spectacles?"  I never know what will come out of that girl's mouth!

Dec 18, 2009 Naomi quote (with hand on hip and much exasperation) "Mommy where are the heck is Maddie?"

January 29, 2011 Naomi, while watching the universal pictures logo come across the TV screen, "that's the earth.  We live on earth and blood helps us live."  guess someone's been paying attention in science!

this was the year I homeschooled Abbey and Maddie and Naomi was our constant companion...

for a little age perspective, Feb 21, 2010, Naomi turns 4

March 9, 2010  Naomi to Abbey and Maddie who were teasing her, "Stop it!  Mommy says not to agrabate me."

March 11, 2010 Naomi to me at the hospital this morning after a Lebanese man walked by and pinched her cheek, "Mom, all the peoples here think that I'm cute."

June 8, 2010 Naomi just came into my bedroom with a doll under her dress.  She said, "look Mom, I'm about to have a baby"  She then proceeded to "have" the baby while making "zerbert" (spitting) noises and pulling the baby out by the leg.  Then she says, "oh look, she's so precious, I'm going to name her fluffy...."

June 22, 2010 Jason just walked through saying, "ughh, I"m sweating like a pig" to which Naomi responds, "well I'm sweating like a duck"

June 26, 2010 Naomi is trying very hard to join in the family excitement about the World Cup.  She says to Jason, "Oh sorry Dad, I don't know how to play hockey, but I'm pretty good at golf." ??

July 2, 2010 Just came into the kitchen to find Naomi filling several tupperware dishes with water.  She tells me she's getting the food and water ready for our new duckling and hippo.  Apparently I missed something...

July 6, 2010 Conversation in our van this afternoon (about the World Cup... sort of)  Jason to me, "I don't like Uruquay".  Abbey: "Who, daddy?"  Jason: "Uruguay"  Naomi piping up from the back, "Do you like mine daddy?"  Jason:  "Your what?"  Naomi:  "My guay"  All laugh and Naomi screams, I DON"T LIKE IT WHEN YOU LAUGH AT ME!!  better get used to it little girl!

she's gotten (a little) more sports savvy....

Aug 6, 2010  Jason is taking all 4 of his ladies on a date tonight and Naomi just said, "Mommy, all the peoples in the restaurant will love me and my beautiful jewelry"- she then walked out shaking her hips if that is at all possible for a 4 year old- Lord help us!

Aug 9, 2010 Naomi to me as I'm putting her to bed (and correcting her for disobeying), "MOM, you really bover me forever!"

Aug 10, 2012 Naomi to me, "Mom, 'because' is not a real answer when I ask you why."

Aug 10, 2010 Naomi just saluted me and said, "aye aye, cap'n" when I told her in no uncertain terms to be quiet and go to sleep- where does she get this stuff?!

Aug 12, 2010 When Naomi walked into the kitchen and saw me putting dinner on the table, she said, "Wow! This is just like Thanksgiving!"  I would be flattered except that we're having mac n cheese and hot dogs...

Aug 12 2010  So in Naomi world, not only is "clo" the singular of "clothes" but "che" is the singular of "cheese"- that one took me longer to figure out as I was doing nothing even remotely related to food when she was asking me for a "chee"...

Aug 23, 2010  Naomi just walks into my bedroom and out of the blue says, "Hi Mom, speaking of money, where's my wallet?"

Aug 30, 2010  Just gave Naomi a big hug and said, "Naomi I love you so much, did you know God made you special?"  and she says, "Yes, and I'm so cute and have very good ideas"  Obviously not lacking in the self esteem dept either...

November 8, 2010 Naomi is home today with a fever.  Questions I have been asked over the course of the day as she lounges around... "Mommy, do skunks have bottoms?  Mommy, what is in sprite and who named it Sprite?  Mommy who decides what color a car will be and who gets to paint them and do they paint the inside or just the outside?"  oh to be inside that little head...

Feb 21, 2011 Naomi turns 5

March 3, 2011 Naomi told me tonight that she will too eat green food- pears and apples

May 23, 2011 Naomi takes her hand and puts it on her forehead and runs it down the front of her body and says, "Mommy, I'm straight across".  She then does the same thing to me and says,"But you're pretty lumpy"

Aug 17, 2011 Naomi quote of the day, "I love doing inappropriate things!"

Sept 7, 2011 Convo with Naomi..  N: when I grow up I'm going to be a teacher just like Mrs. Miller (last years pre-K teacher) Me:  That's great!  N: AND, I'm going to own a restaurant!  Me: What kind of restaurant?  N:  Chick fil A.  And I'm going to be the girl that gives people food from the drive in window."...

Sept 8, 2011 Naomi to me, "Mom, you're belly is still really mushy, turn around, Mom.  And your bottom is really squooshy"  Leave it to a 5 year old to give that self esteem a much needed boost!

Sept 11, 2011 Naomi while watching me cut up raw chicken, "Mom are those red spots pits?"  Me- "huh?"  N: "YOu know, like arm pits"  A few minutes later I see Naomi contorted on the floor in a very weird position. Me: "Whatcha doing?"  N: "Trying to see if my legs have pits too..."

Oct 6, 2011 Naomi to me this morning while trying to convince me that she's "sick" and shouldn't go to school, "Mom, you're not very smart and I am.  When daddy says, "what do I want, Naomi?" i know he wants a hug so that means I'm very, very smart and you're not."

Oct 21, 2011 Abbey and Maddie are playing a game with some friends they have over.  I just hear Naomi apparently trying to fit in with this group of tweens say "guys, I cut the cheese"...

Oct 21, 2011 Naomi to me, "Mom, my finger really hurts.  I accidently put it in Maddie's pencil sharpener and then I accidently turned it and now it really hurts because I pulled the nail off."  Thinking we need to work on the definition of accident...

Oct 30, 2011 Naomi and Jason talking about our upcoming trip... J: Naomi are you excited about going to the big hotel?  N: Yeah, so I can have serpents!  J:  Huh?  N:  You know, like maids, serpents!  apparently she's been in the Middle East too long where everyone has housekeepers!

Dec 4, 2011 Naomi quote: "Mommy we have lots in our family..  a mommy, a daddy, a Naomi- the rememberer, a Abbey- the smartest one, a Maddie- the one who rides things and a Anabelle- just the baby"

Dec 4, 2011  For some reason Naomi has never noticed smokers even though they are everywhere over here..  Tonight in a taxi- she noticed... (all in a high pitched "whisper"), "Mom, that man (our driver) is blowing smoke. WHY is he doing that?! uggh- it really stinks!  WHY is he blowing stinky smoke?!

Dec 6, 2011 Naomi quote, "ugghh!!  how come Mommy's ALWAYS get everything they want?!"

Dec 6, 2011 Another conversation with Naomi tonight, Me, "Naomi, at first it was kind of funny, but it kind of hurts mommy's feelings when you keep telling me my belly is fat and mashing it with your hand."  Naomi, "Ok mom,  I won't say it anymore, but it really is pretty squooshy."

Dec 27, 2011 Naomi quote of the day, "Uggh!!  I can hardly walk in this house because there's so many stuffs on the ground.  That's a compliment, mom."  (Thanks for clarifying, Naomi, it wasn't really feeling like a compliment!)

Jan 4, 2012  Naomi: "Mom, are hats important?"  Me (thinking she's been fussed at by her teacher for not wearing a hat): "Sure, in the winter they keep your head warm."  Naomi: "Well, they also keep our brains from falling out of our heads.  At least that's what I dreamed."...

January 19, 2012  So Naomi walks in on me changing clothes, literally gasps, puts her hand over her eyes and runs out yelling, GROSS!!!  GREEAATT for the self esteem!

Feb 12, 2012  Naomi and Abbey playing Wii- just heard Naomi say, "oh yeah, oh yeah, who's awesome now?!"

Feb 21, 2012  Naomi turns 6

March 5, 2012 Naomi to me, "Mom, could you please get me some umm, ummm (long pause), umm you know that green stuff in a bottle?"  Me:  "Sprite?"  Naomi, "oh yeah, oh yeah, sprite"  Good grief! My 6 year old is forgetting sprite! Maybe she's more sick than I thought!

The following status is borrowed from my sis-in-law.  Sarah Ann is her daughter, Naomi's identical cousin...

March 9, 2012 This morning Sarah Ann said, "you know what, when Naomi grows up she just might be president.  And I'll be second president."

March 11, 2012  Naomi to Maddie as they're cleaning up their room as requested, "Does Mom think we're maids or something? Cuz we're not..."  looks like someone is in for a talk about being helpers...

March 21, 2012  Convo with Naomi:  Me:  Naomi come out of Abbey's room, she need some alone time.  N:  She doesn't NEED it, she WANTS it  Me: Maybe so, but we need to let her have it.  N:  WHY would people WANT alone time?!   Me:  Because that's how God made some people.  N:  Uh, mom, I dont' think you're telling the truth...

April 2, 2012  Naomi quote of the day, "Beans, beans good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you bart."  hee hee

May 24, 2012 Naomi's prayer at lunch, "Dear Lord, thank you for this day and thank you for this yummy food and THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU that I finally get to mop my room!

August 25, 2012 Naomi: If I don't eat my chicken can I still have a snicker doodle muffin?
Me: No sweetie, you're not having anything else to eat if you don't eat the food on your plate.
N:  You mean, you're MAKING me eat it?
Me:  Nope, you have a choice, you just don't get anything else to eat tonight if you don't eat your dinner.  it's your choice
N:  That's called MAKING me and it's not fair AT ALL.  Besides I just don't like the sauce.
Me:  It's just honey mustard chicken, Naomi, which you usually eat
N:  HONEY on chicken?!  WHO does THAT?

Funny, funny girl!  She'd have my vote for president!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Our IVF Journey Part 5: Our Hail Mary

Have you ever been at that point where you thought you had things all figured out?  You were excited because you understood the plans God had for you and you thought you had a sense of His timing and where He was leading and what He would do next.  Maybe you were even anticipating His next move just a little and confidently speaking of His purpose and plan, and then, next thing you know you find yourself flat on your back, gasping for air, wondering how you missed whatever "it" was so completely and totally.  Yeah, I've been there.  Don't hear me wrong, I'm not saying that I think God knocks our feet out from under us.  Oh, I think we're quite capable of doing that all on our very own.  But I think that He knows that every so often we need a bit of a wake up call as to Who is actually in charge.

So I went from feeling confident that God was answering our prayers in exactly the way that we anticipated to feeling utterly defeated and dumbfounded in the short amount of time it takes a pregnancy test (well 2 pregnancy tests) to register.  What in the world had I missed along the way?  I was frustrated, even angry.   I could not understand why in the world God had given me a glimpse of what he had in the OR only to let me down so completely.  Why were things playing out this way?

I prayed.  I cried out.  Again.  And, faithfully, God answered.  

I do know now that what I thought was Him saying "I am giving you your baby now", was actually Him saying, "I hold creation in my hands at all times.  Your children are yours for a time but only when I decide to release them into your care.  And ultimately, they are always mine." I also know (and God knew) that had I not seen the image of Jesus holding His cupped hands, I would probably not have had the strength to persevere in this journey.  I would not have been able to be nearly as insistent when all logic said it was time to stop.  But I did see it, and I prayed desperately to understand it. 

 The image of God's almighty hands has always been one of immense comfort to me.  I talked in part 1 about my bike wreck and how God used Isaiah 41:10 to speak to my heart.  I love knowing that He says, "I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  In keeping with the image that I saw in the OR, He used the imagery of His hands to speak to me again.

"This is what the Lord says- the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:  Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands?  It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it.  My own hands stretched out the heavens;  I marshaled their starry hosts."  
Isaiah 45: 11-12

"See now that I myself am He!  There is no god besides me.  I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and NO ONE CAN DELIVER OUT OF MY HAND." 
(emphasis mine)
Deuteronomy 32:39

The God of creation, who fashioned the heavens and the earth and all the starry hosts, holds my little one in His hands and NO ONE can change that.  His timing is perfect and, as He had already reminded me from Psalm 145:16, He opens His hand to provide at the proper time.  Well that's all I needed to hear!  Obviously we are not done with this journey.  

(please know that all of this is pure Kelli theology.  I'm not trying to write a book here.  I'm not tryint to prove or disprove any theories.  Right or wrong,  context or out of context this is straight up the way God spoke to my heart on this journey.  Don't try and pick it apart theologically, I'm sure you'll find flaws.  I am and always have been very simple minded and sometimes, I think, God meets us at the heart of our simplicity and uses His word in ways that we best understand)

So, back to the journey.  Obviously we're not done!  Creator God has our baby in His hands, it's just not His timing yet.  Press on!  Well.  That's the dreamer, the idealist in me.  The realist (this time in the form of my husband) brought up some good points.  We're out of money.  We're practically out of time.  You (me) are out of emotional energy.  We are in the midst of packing up our house to move to the states for a year (it was July 2010 and we were heading to the states early September).  Boo.  I don't like practicality.  It is not logical, or practical to continue like this.  

Ok, enter the dreamer, the idealist (that would be me).  I am grasping on to the last bits of hope here!  I convince Jason that we just need to give it a few days and pray about it.  Let's not make a decision too quickly and say we're done.  I can't let go of this just yet.  Please understand!  (of course he does).  I share with him the image I saw in the OR, the scriptures God has led me too.  He's perplexed as I am.  What does all this mean, Lord?  Why have we come down this road with these results?  We're taking some days.   We're praying.  Emotions are raw, but we are together desperately seeking a solution to a situation that we don't understand.   See, not only are our financial resources almost gone at this point, but also we've about used the last of the "boys".  Not only that but in less than 2 months we are packing up and heading to America and likely not moving back to Lebanon.  The "boys" can't make that journey again.  Our last chance at this is in Lebanon.  Couldn't afford it in America anyway.  

The next day I call my doctor to let her know my pregnancy test was negative.  I also share with her our dilemma that as much as we would like to try again, we don't think we can financially and we are also running out of time as far as how much longer we'll be in the country.  She explains that if we are going to give it one last go, I'll need to come in mid-cycle in July to make sure everything is as it should be so that we'll be prepared in August.  We'll keep that in mind.  

A few hours later she calls me back.  We've become very close over the months of this process.  I've shared my beliefs with her, she's mourned with me.  We've laughed and cried together.  I consider her a friend  (despite the fact that she referred to me as "a woman of your age" when discussing the quality of my eggs).  A woman of my age?  36 is a VERY young age, right?  Anyway, she calls me back.  

"Kelli, I need to let you know something," she says.   "I've spoken with the hospital board of directors about your case (HUH?) and they've agreed to significantly reduce the cost of your procedure considering the amount of times you've already come in and the fact that you are doing natural cycle IVF and it is therefore much simpler.  Also, I will waive all my medical fees for the procedure."  

WOW!  That was out of left field!  Ok, well significantly reduced is still more than we can feasibly do right now...  Still praying...

The next day, I was finishing up some financial reports and organizing some things in our safe.  I found an envelope stuffed in the back that had gotten buried under some other things.  I open it.  Cash.  Lots.  "JASON- what's this?"...

Our money.  He'd put it there months before and completely forgotten about it.  That's half of what we need.

Next day, email from a dear friend saying she and her husband felt led to give us a certain amount of money.  They had planned to wait until we returned in September but felt led to let us know it was available when needed.

  That's it.  Full amount of procedure covered.  

Thank you Jesus.  

Now what? (SOO tired of that question!!!)

I call my doctor.  We're in.  Let's do this.  This is it.  

Our hail Mary pass. 

 Please,  DEAR LORD, let us come up with the ball in the in-zone.  THIS IS THE ONLY TIME IT COUNTS...

So I go in for my mid month appointment.  Oof.  "Not good," she says.  Considering we have one month, that is NOT what I want to hear!  Apparently I've developed a cyst (have had them in the past) but she can't do the procedure if it is there.  I start some medicine and we pray for it to go away by the time next month rolls around.  

It does not.  That's ok, she says.  We can remove it and move on, it's just easier to not to have to do it that way.  She removes it without charging us for the procedure.  

It's now or never.  We are now leaving for the states in less than one month.  Using the last of the "boys" or leaving them behind in Beirut.  

August 13, 2010 I have 1 egg removed and fertilized (I don't have to tell you what the odds are here...)

August 16, 2010  1 embryo implanted

5 days of staying off my feet.  I laid in my bed giving orders for packing the house, typing crating lists, packing lists, but I stayed off my feet.  

Then, the horrific 2 week wait.  Thankfully, we were oh so busy.   Even traveled to Jordan for a meeting where I was in charge of all the food.  Plenty to keep me so so busy.  My hands at least.  There was no way to keep my mind busy enough.  

Sunday, August 29 we traveled back from Amman to Lebanon.  It was day 28 and I was not supposed to take a test for 2 more days, but guess what...  My chest was SO sore.  And not because I'd been mooshing on it constantly to SEE if it was sore (been there, done that).  It was actually sore.  And my stomach felt really weird.  Could it possibly be?  Ok, obviously I can't wait now.  So I head out to the pharmacy at 8 that night (snuck out, actually, I wanted to surprise Jason- I have this weird fascination with surprises that so far had resulted in 2 failed Christmas surprises- see, lesson still not learned).

Hands shaking I pick up the stick.  Too faint.  If I hold it up right in the light and tilt it a certain way, there MIGHT be a second line.  Or wait, maybe not.  DANG. IT.  

So I run back to the pharmacy.  Not just hands shaking this time.  Whole body shaking.  

This time I tell Jason.  We wait.  (I always put the stick down and walk away.  I NEVER sit and watch it.  Don't know why).  I go back in and pick it up.  

I don't suppose I need to describe the celebration that followed.  

And still takes place every time I look at her.

May 11, 2011

Or any of them for that matter...

Our miracles.  His creation.  Lovingly placed in our hands to care for in this life, but never apart from His care.  

"He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young."
Isaiah 40:11

My prayer for all of our girls, as depicted above Anabelle's bed is that they will all love and worship their Creator with their lives.

"Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn from your commands"
Psalm 119:73

Wadi Rum: Desert Camping Trip

 This past weekend we headed out on our first Jordan desert camping trip in Wadi Rum.  This is not your typical camping, people.   You head out to the world of the Bedouin people.  They provide the campsite, the tents, the food, and it. is. amazing!  The girls were SO excited even though they didn't really know what to expect.  We've been talking about going camping forever- even have our own tents and sleeping bags (which we didn't bring for this adventure), but we've just never been able to make it happen.  See the look of utter joy and excitement on Naomi's face in the car picture as we were heading out?  I'm pretty sure that expression didn't change all weekend!

So, a little history.  Wadi Rum is the largest Wadi (valley) in Jordan.  It's been home to many cultures since prehistoric times including the Nabateans who left their mark in ways still seen today- rock paintings, graffiti and temples.  It's also well known for being the base of operations for the famous Lawrence of Arabic during the early 1900s.  As far as Biblical history, Wadi Rum is in the heartland of Midian and was probably very much a part of the Israealites desert wandering experience.  Exact location or not, you definitely cannot be in the area without reflecting on the desert wandering.  I know what I saw here is what I've always pictured as far as the 40 years of wandering.  Definitely gives no meaning to Moses striking the rock with his staff as we saw some pretty amazing rocks!  Today it is home to many Bedouin peoples who have done a fabulous job of developing it into an extremely successful eco-toursim spot catering to climbers and trekkers specifically, and, I guess, families like us seeking a night of adventure.

And what an adventure we had!  

After a 3 hour drive from Amman we arrived in the Wadi Rum protected area at the visitors welcome center and met our Bedouin guides for the night.  We left our van behind and loaded up into their truck ready for our 4 hour desert jeep tour that would end at our camp sight for the night just in time for sunset.  

Loading up the "jeep" (actually an old Toyota pick-up with canvas seats and a canopy)

It was actually pretty comfortable!  

Heading out of town into the desert

We encountered several groups of camels along the way.  Anabelle thought they were "keee-kats" and started "meowing".

The terrain would go from rocky with jagged mountains to the deep red sand dunes in minutes.  Beautiful!

 The first stop on our desert tour was at a massive red sand dune.  Our guide instructed us to take off our shoes as it was easier to climb that way.  He showed us where to head up and then said we should all slide down.  The girls were all for it!  I wasn't too thrilled about the idea of taking off our shoes in the hot desert sand but it was amazingly cool and unlike any sand I'd ever been in.  Didn't even really stick to you- just slid right off.  

Hiking up, up, up...

(stopped along the way to make sand angels...)

A little rock climbing and silly poses...

And then... 
Rolling, skipping, jumping, down, down, down...

In case you can't tell in the above pic, here's a close-up of Naomi rolling down the dune...

Abbey and Maddie opted for skipping...

We all piled back in the jeep and rounded the corner to see this...

Anabelle started meowing again.  We're working on animal recognition...

I was already hyperventilating a little bit before we even GOT to the next adventure.  A friend had warned me that the land bridge they take you to is REALLY high, and like all things in this part of the world, has no safety precautions at all.  So I'm preparing myself for the bridge in the sky that I know my kids are going to want to climb on.

It was actually even a bit higher than I anticipated...

Y'all. I REALLY freak out at this kind of thing.  I'm not sure what it his but heights and I do NOT get along.  Mountain roads.  Nope, not for me.  ESPECIALLY in Lebanon where there is no such thing as a guard rail.  Even with my sweet husband driving and fully in control I have these little mini panic attacks.  So I see this bridge, Jason glances at me as if to say "i've got this" and I know I have to trust him.  So they pile out of the car to start climbing.  And then our little tour guide man says they all have to take their shoes off because it's "easier" that way.  Seriously, I'm thinking safety here, dude, not easy.  Shoe traction?  Ever heard of it?  Anyway, so off they go...

They made their way up around this bend and onto the top ledge.   I didn't take many pictures as I was seriously freaking out.  Totally not joking.  I think if my friend hadn't stayed down with me to talk to me I might have cried and been the laughing stock of all the climbers and trekkers bouncing around off these rocks like it was nothing.  

And here they are at the top.  AJ went all the way out to the middle
Yep, that's my baby...

(Naomi and Jason are right behind.  Naomi decided she'd gone far enough though...)

and sweet Maddie kept her feet on solid ground.  I think she might have wanted to do it a little but she knew I was panicky.  Sweet girl...

Back on solid ground!  Our guide took quite a liking to Naomi after their trek up the rock together...

So we headed off on our next adventure.  As we were bouncing across the desert sand dunes at high speeds, we noticed that our trusty driver had no speedometer.  Not that it would have mattered...

Next stop was this massive canyon cut into the rock.  (I guess that's what you'd call it?).  The multi-colors on the rocks are absolutely amazing.  So gorgeous.  Even the sand was multicolored.  Everything was so beautiful!

We finally made it to our campground just before sunset.  There were smaller tents with a campfire area in the middle and a larger tent where they served the food.  

The tents had raised cots and were really cozy.  

Even enough room for a pack and play...

We got our stuff settled and hiked about a kilometer up to a higher peak where we could see the sunset.  

Dinner was served and the larger tent around a fire in the middle and was AMAZING.  I didn't get a picture because I was putting Anabelle down for the night, but they had the chicken, potatoes and vegetables all cooking in a massive pot together that was literally buried in the ground under the fire.  They dug the pot out right before serving.  So yummy!

I promise I have never seen Naomi eat so much chicken.  She LOVED it!
(I think she must be comtemplating her approach here...)

After dinner AJ found a comfy place by the fire to read.

Maddie especially loved the sage and cinnamon tea that was constantly ready in a pot by the fire

No pictures because there was no way to capture it, but when it was good and dark, we all headed outside to the outdoor campfire and star gazed.  Amazing how many stars you can see in the desert with absolutely no lights from anywhere else.  We talked, ate American imported candy and I'm pretty sure at one point Naomi started singing "Kumbaya".  Funny girl!

The sun (well, and Anabelle) woke us up pretty early the next morning.  They were ready to take us back to the village right after a breakfast of more tea and arabic bread with jam and zaatar, but the girls had to get a little more climbing in first!

 There is a Cox girl in the picture below...

 Headed back to the village...

Here we are back in Amman in the Starbucks parking lot around the corner from our house IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY.  I glance out my window and was reminded that the definition of "city" is a little different in this part of the world.  City or not, they won't be stopped from looking for grass for their flock!