Super excited about her new pillow from Ikea. If 1.5 JD is all it takes to stop the fighting, I'm all for it! (Naomi bought herself one last time we were there and you would have thought it was made of gold for all the fuss it caused!)
Election day in Jordan means online school at home for our older girls and just a plain day off for the younger two. Mostly a very low key day (although Maddie admittedly had several moments of "HOW did I homeschool for 2 years I am going out of my mind being home all day"). Anyway, a very low key day until...
I pulled the bowl of cherry tomatoes out of the fridge that Mads had been snacking on most of the week. I was going to use the rest for a salad to go with dinner. As I cut them up, I noticed a couple of those little green guys crawling around in the bowl...
Ick right? But I mean really, you can barely see it. No biggie? Still I knew it would probably freak Maddie out to see knowing she'd been walking by the fridge grabbing handfuls.
Yeah, there may have been some screaming. Possibly heard in the US? To be fair, she is NOT a girly girl, not freaked out by bugs
(case in point)
...but I think the whole, their were worms (caterpillars-cute ones?) in the bowl of tomatoes was a bit much...
AND THEN... Abbey, being the amazing big sister that she is, came into the kitchen and started further examining all the cherry tomatoes on the cutting board that I'd already taken out of the bowl and started cutting...
Umm yeah. Y'all. Those tomatoes were full of those itty bitty green caterpillars. They would come crawling out of the middle when you cut them in half. So YUCK!!!
I think Maddie may have thought we were kidding and had to check for herself...
Sorry babe, weren't kidding. She's still recovering. We probably won't have tomatoes for awhile...
(And my apologies to whoever Jason was having a Skype call with when she realized we weren't joking... so much screeching)
I have a reason for being behind. The video I thought I posted apparently was refused because of copyright (you could hear a song playing in the background!) and it was the only picture from that day so...
Anyway, i took a screenshot of it, AB singing Christina Perri and Ed Sheeran...
Life in community. I may have mentioned a time or two how much we love our "village" over here and how I couldn't survive without them! I love that the girls also get the chance to love on the precious kids that are part of that village and experience what true community is about.
Although it's true that Amman is kind of the middle of the desert and you have to get used to it's unique beauty (especially for this outdoors girl who needs lots of green and wide open spaces), it's also true that you don't have to look very hard to find some pretty amazing outdoor adventures. Asking around to other expats, we were clued into this "wadi walk" (a wadi is technically a valley but it's often a dried up river bed-or sometimes not dried up). HERE'Sa post I did a few years ago about a walk Jason and I did with friends.
Anyway, lots of trails and hikes are actually decently marked (or at least known) here but the directions for this one went something like "Drive to the Dead Sea, go past the hotels and over a bridge. Park by the bridge and walk under it and start heading up the canyon/dry river bed. After about 30 minutes you'll come to a ladder that leads to an amazing waterfall."
That was mostly true although with our group it took a bit more than 30 minutes! We went with some good friends whose kids are about the ages of ours and it went something like- all kids 10 and up were so far ahead the whole time that we really didn't see them and the four 40 something adults brought up the rear with the 5 year old.
She was quite the hiker!
Sadly, I forgot my phone and I kept forgetting to tell Jason to take pics so I didn't get tons but it was beautiful. We got to the "ladder" and, ok, it was a ladder right beside a small waterfall but when you got to the top of the ladder, you had to use a sort of repelling rope that someone had placed in order to get up over the rocks to the next level of hiking. By the time the adults and 5 year old got there the older kids minus Naomi were already up and over.
I may or may not be a wee bit scared of heights both for myself and those around me. We made the executive decision that Jason would stay back with Anabelle and possibly Naomi who was still wavering as to if she could get up and over or not. She decided to give it a try. Here she is with our friend after climbing the ladder at the part where she had to basically climb the rope to get over the rocks. Well.. It wasn't happening. She was frozen and freaking out. Another guy was coming down with his family and basically he leaned down and pulled while Craig pushed and they got her over. (Jason watched from the bottom with Anabelle)
Me standing back not wanting to watch if Naomi went crashing down the rocks and Abbey wondering if we are ever going to get over...
So glad we got over and Jason claimed to be happy to stay below with Anabelle.
Such a pretty waterfall and tons of rocks to climb!
So after about 10 minutes of sitting watching the kids play etc, Craig, our friend said he was taking one of his teenage boys and they'd go back and get Jason and Anabelle. They basically told me not to come because I wouldn't want to watch which was quite true. This was after seeing several other kids younger than Anabelle running around up there. He headed off and less than 10 minutes later, Anabelle comes prancing up. Apparently it went something like Jason helped her climb the ladder, handed her off to Craig who handed her off to Ethan and she didn't bat an eye. I think it's very good that I wasn't watching and possibly that there are no pictures of the actual ladder for grandparents to be horrified at!
And of course, no day is complete without a little friendly competition in the form of throwing rocks at coke cans (can't see them)
Got a few pictures of the trek back down the ladder. Jason and the guys wisely went about 20 minutes before the rest of us to get Naomi and Anabelle down so I wouldn't have to watch!
The teenagers made it look way easy...
(Did i mention that I let people- who I love and trust- carry my 5 year old down these rocks?!)
Well it was bound to happen that I would miss a day! My pic from yesterday is the series of texts that Jason sent me while at home with AB for a pretty good chunk of time. Let's just say she's been more than a little talkative these days about E-VE-RY-THING.
Naomi has been ready to be baptized for the longest time and our little Middle Eastern born girl was determined to be baptized in the Jordan River. (I don't know why but these things were associated in her mind and yes, we all agreed- considering where we live, that would be super cool).
After, well, years of not making it happen we decided to invite 50+ of our closest friends (seriously) and head to one of the tributaries that empties into the Jordan River - close enough right? Seriously though at 12 JD (about $17) per person to get down to the baptism site and no guarantees that there will be a good place for a picnic, we decided to stick with a site we had been to before. HEREis a post I wrote several years ago from our first picnic at this river. Anyway, this spot is on the way to a "forest reserve" (American friends, don't think actual forest) where we actually go several times a year with friends for a cookout. Anyway, so we combined it all into one fun day.
(and I managed to take very few pictures!)
Sweet girl was so excited!
And hey, it's not everyday a horse wanders into your baptismal site...
Worship time after our cookout. They all look kind of shifty eyed to me...
I found THISpost too from several years ago at another family cookout in this spot.
How many times do I take a picture of something in a store and send it to someone asking if it were the recommended product they had told me about. It definitely takes a village to figure out overseas grocery shopping!!
I am so thankful that i am able to be at home with my kids. I mean, we are kind of in a season of life where I am not really at home with them much. I am actually full time chaffeur/ transporter of little people to all their various activities. Anyway, you know what I mean though. I am blessed to have my focus at this season be my kiddos. We have kind of a unique set up in that Jason mostly works from home which means we get lots of together time. The last few years while the big girls have been homeschooling, like LOTS of together time. And yes, there are days when we are kind of falling all over each other. Especially in the winter- when one room of the house is warm! But those days are no more! (Well, at least for this year! I've learned not to look too far ahead). But for this year, all 4 of my babies are physically attending a school that is not located in our home.
Jason has been traveling this week which is the first week they've actually all been out of the house. So here are some random thoughts of my first quiet house week. Husband gone, kids gone, LOTS of time for my brain to think lots of thoughts.
So for your enjoyment (or my own entertainment down the road), here are random thoughts that go through my head with WAY too much quiet and no adult around for too many days to express said thoughts too...
1. What in the heck kind of meat is this that I just bought? I though it was red meat (like the steak kind that I can sautee for the black and blue salad I was planning tonight) but it is freakin' weird and very crumbly in texture... Gonna cook it anyway and hopefully it won't taste funky. Oh the joys of overseas meat buying...
2. Yeah I just let out a really loud scream because I saw an animal go running down the hall out of the corner of my eye. I thought for a split second (or maybe a bit longer because I had time to scream) that it was a rat. Nope. It was our dog. That we've had for over 8 years. I still screamed.
3. This house is REALLY quiet. My people must talk a lot. Like a whole lot. I kind of miss them. But wow quiet is nice. Like really nice. I could go to sleep. Or not. I can sit here and get lots of stuff done without telling them to give me "5 seconds for the love of all things that are holy without anyone speaking a word."
4. I am really technologically inept. Like really. I must have interrupted Abbey and Maddie's school days ALOT to get them to help me with stuff that I now can't figure out how to do. Why do school websites want to enter all the homework on the website and not send it home in an actual notebook? And HOW am I supposed to figure out the parent ID (in Arabic) if I have to have the kids ID (I don't) to get the parent's ID to work but i have to put the parents ID in first to see the kids ID? See? Confused? Me too? Why don't these things confuse teenagers?
5. I really like my day planner. It's Erin Condren and I have multi colored pens for all family members and it's awesome. It has big squares that I can write all the things in and I don't have to type or sync or upload anything. It's WRITTEN ON PAPER and that makes is super amazing. And it's very pretty. And it makes me really happy to make all the lists on the pages and then cross things off with my pretty pen. It makes me feel smart and organized when all the technology makes me feel dumb.
6. When one is vacuuming and uncovers a fairly large spider what should one do? I mean if I (can't continue with the one thing..) vacuum it up there is a chance it will remain alive and when I empty out the vacuum bag(yes, feel sorry for me, I have THAT kind of vacuum), it might go running up my arm (did I mention it's big?) OR do I let it go running off to the unknowns of my home OR do I squash it and risk the squishy noise that I hate (more a risk with roaches really) or even bigger risk that it will explode into lots of babies (YES! that has happened). Problem solved- while contemplating this, it crawled into another hole in the wall which will be superglued quickly...
7. I mean like REALLY QUIET in here. I will appreciate all the words that I will be the recipient of so much more after long quiet days! Lord make me super thankful for all the words!
8. When your kids ride the bus and you may or may not have forgotten to meet the bus in the recent past, you may be a little jumpy about the time the bus arrives home. Receiving a text from the school that says "the bus will be late today" is a good thought. Really it is. But when you receive the text an hour after your kids were scheduled to arrive home, you've kind of already figured it out. Good thing I've lived overseas long enough to not be too stressed out by late buses. Not long enough to remember to be home to meet the bus apparently but at least the bus being late doesn't stress me out. But that's probably because I am VERY gifted when it comes to be late. My husband calls it "leaving impaired" as in I can't get anywhere on time ever no matter what. I call it gifted.
9. It is really amazing how clean this place is. Having people not here all day is a great way to keep things clean! So just keep everyone out of the house all the time and maybe I won't have to clean as much? That should work?
10. And they are home. And fighting. Literally within 30 seconds Anabelle is crying huge big crocodile tears because "Naomi said she can't watch Disney Junior (Naomi is in charge now?) and Naomi won't make her the right kind of turkey and cheese sandwich." (No i have zero idea what the right kind is). But they are home and things are noisy and for this moment- i love the noise. Remind me of that in about 43 seconds! (because it's now been 4 hours and while half of me was driven crazy by the constant bickering that landed a certain 5 year old in bed almost an hour early this evening the other half was crying internally thinking about the fact that one of my noise makers is leaving the nest all too soon!)
Seriously though- I've said this before and young mothers think they hear it way too often, but don't blink. They'll be gone before you know it. And I know not REALLY gone. They do come back. But "the family years" as I heard it referred to in a recent book- those years where the 6 of us are under one roof- will be forever changed.
Sweet sister moment in the midst of all the chatter...
I am blessed beyond measure with a wonderful husband, Jason, and four beautiful daughters, Abbey, Maddie, Naomi and Anabelle. We are living our dream of living and working cross-culturally in the Middle East. Life is an adventure and never dull. As a child of the Eternal King of Kings, held together in the palm of His loving hand, I am a work in progress, thankful to share my journey with anyone who wants to listen.