Let me start off with the fact that our new bedding just makes me smile. The last time we got a new cover was in Manila, the quilt that has been used non-stop since then for the past 8 years. Our new cover is a touch more stylish and it has a bed skirt which means all those file boxes and such are no longer visible. Yay for hiding stuff! I also splurged on a new set of sheets. Our last sheets were from our time in India, so that's about 5 years. It was time and I like how it looks. Don't the folk lamps just speak volumes about the decorating taste of the U.S. government? I'm not complaining, they just make me chuckle and shake my head when I look at them.
For many people Thanksgiving starts off their holiday season. It doesn't seem that way for me. I get into things when the stocking go up and St. Nicholas visits the evening of December 5th. Our stockings are how we kick off the season. Simple, small, unwrapped gifts are received. This year's bounty did not include more kittens even though the cats seemed to think they might.
No, this year a big gift was cereal. Cereal costs a fortune here. I order it through Amazon, and our freezer is stocked with Kashi Go Lean Crisp and Kashi Go Lean Crunch. They're delicious, but they are no Froot Loops. So the kids woke up to Cinnamon Toast Crunch (I believe it's rated the Worst For You Cereal Ever), Lucky Charms, Pops, and Fruity Pebbles. Each of them turn milk a truly unnatural color. Jonathon, ever the optimist, said we had enough cereal to last for a year. I told him I'd be surprised if it lasted until the New Year. Other treats in the stockings were EOS lip balms, a box of personality related bandages (Jonathon - bacon, Nicholas - PacMan, Rebecca - Hello Kitty, Katherine - monkeys), and a new movie (Jonathon - Brave, Rebecca - Hunger Games, Katherine - How to Train Your Dragon, and Nicholas's didn't arrive on time so he'll get it for Christmas instead). Ian received an RMNB tshirt and the first season of An Idiot Abroad. Saint Nicholas brought me an assortment of chocolate. I must have been OK this year.
In the evening we attended the Embassy tree lighting, with cider and cookies and carols. It was windy. And cold. None of us were dressed nearly warm enough to stand out in the gray evening with wind whipping around. Even so, there were smiles. And cookies. Cookies always make things better. Eventually I handed my jacket over to Katherine, then stole Ian's suit jacket and shared it with Jonathon. I believe we shivered while the temperature hovered around 50-something. Thin-blooded people are we.
The tree lighting takes all of 2 seconds, so we didn't have to stay out too long. That was good because we needed to drop the boys off at ACS for their first ever middle school dance, then pick up Rebecca from swim practice. The boys... went.. to a middle school... dance.
I am getting old.
They dressed up. I think one even brushed his hair. At the end of the evening, Jonathon had a wonderful time. He ate, he danced, he danced with a girl (!). Nicholas, not so much. Loud music. People. Dancing. Girls. Not dancing. Not dancing with girls. It was all a bit much for him. We've encouraged him to try again next time, but it's OK too if this just isn't his thing. Really, really OK.
While waiting for the dance to end, we picked up Becca then the four of us had dinner together at Chili's. I can't recall the last time we had that dynamic, parents and the two girls out at dinner. It really was a great time. The girls talked just about non-stop about everything and nothing. The food was decent. The service was Jordanian slow. The
Saturday was for groceries, dropping off Nicholas at ACS for a friend's birthday party trip to a paintball spot at Mountain Breeze Country Club, and then part one of the Middle East Triangle Sports (METS) swim gala. Teams from around Amman and Beirut swam against each other at the lovely pool on the International Academy - Amman (IAA) campus. Becca swam in 6 events. Two on Friday and four on Saturday. Sounds great, right? All together, her meet time took up less than an hour. With how few swimmers there were, today she swam four races in a 30 minute time slot, one of which was the IM. It was insane, and not in an especially good way. She was absolutely exhausted at the end.
Honestly, her team is at a disadvantage right from the get-go. Swimming in a pool too small, with no starter blocks, and for only 3 hours a week, there's just no time or opportunity to truly improve. So we were really impressed how well she held her own. She didn't win, but she didn't come in last either. Her coach had her take the role of Captain for the meet, and with that came the opportunity to hoist the participation trophy for her team. We also learned that the ACS girls took 2nd place in overall girls scores. Not too shabby for a team that has less than 50 active swimmers and only 8 available for the upper ages (several were out due to other obligations, like being in Kuwait for the Forensics meet and the soccer players in Qatar). On Saturday, several of the 8 were missing too so it's a wonder we made the points we did. It must have been the awesome younger kids who swam in the morning.
It was a good time. Nothing like a Frogs swim meet, but fun even so to be back watching swimming. Each year will get better and hopefully Becca will continue to be a part of it all.