Saturday, February 23, 2013

TAISM Festival

If you'd like to watch Rebecca's weekend concert while she was in Oman, it can be viewed here:

A college a capella group from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio was part of the program as well.

Rebecca came back happy and exhausted with lots of stories.  She made some new friends and there was even a contingent from AISC - Chennai present.

She had a fabulous time.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

FS Kids

When we left India and returned to the States for three years there was one thing in particular that struck the kids about differences in the schools.  We talked it over that first summer and brought up a certain "lameness" about attending school in Virginia.  At the time, the oldest was heading into 8th grade so it affected her more than the rest, but now they are all very aware of this distinct difference between schooling in the U.S. and schooling overseas.

In Virginia, a normal school field trip was to the Marine Corps Museum 15 minutes away and a big field trip was to Jamestown, VA, 3 hours away.

In Amman, a normal field trip is to the Dead Sea (isn't that one of the seven natural wonders of the world?), 45 minutes away, and a big field trip is to Muscat, Oman.

I *love* Virginia.  Politics aside, it's my favorite state because it's the one I have the most connection to but also for a plethora of other reasons. It has DC, my favorite U.S. city.  Say what you will, but again politics aside, it is beautiful, historical, and walkable.  Virginia has mountains, little mountains, but still mountains.  It has beaches.  There are better beaches elsewhere, but it has beaches we very much enjoy.  It has seasons, lakes, rivers, so very many parks, trees, trees and more trees.  It usually gets missed by blizzards and hurricanes and earthquakes and tornadoes.  It's an awesome state.

But I'm glad we live abroad again.

Yesterday I waved goodbye to Rebecca at school as she left for the airport to participate in the Festival of Choirs in Oman.

Just like the week before we hosted 2 girls from Kuwait who were here for the ISAC Band and Chorus Festival.  No photo as I don't have permission to post it, but here are mine and an extra from that event.

On the same bus to the airport for the Oman flight were 13 middle schoolers heading to Singapore for Middle School Model UN.  You read that right: Singapore.  Because the high schoolers already did their Model UN trip to The Hague a couple weeks ago.  Yup, they were in The Netherlands.  The sports teams travel to Kuwait City, Dubai, or Abu Dhabi. We're hoping next year the swim team gets added to that list of travelers.

In the meantime, Rebecca gets a pin on the travel map no one else in our family has.  Muscat.

That's pretty cool.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Our own little ruins

About a minute drive from our house, just down the street from our favorite drive-through Starbucks, behind some trees, next to some homes, on the side of a hill overlooking a street, we have ruins.

I have no idea how old they are.  I don't know who built them.  No one is in charge of caring for them as far as I can tell, there is litter everywhere.  There is even some graffiti. But there they are, still impressive, and very much accessible to climbing on and around.

A basin.

Arches.  The keystone looks repaired.

Tile flooring

A grinding wheel?


The rocks used to build the structure
are gorgeous.

Overlooking the ruins,
our house is across the way.
We stopped on our way back from walking to the Donut Factory.  You gotta do what you gotta do.

If the place was cleaned up it would be awesome for a picnic.  On this side there's quite a bit of traffic noise from the street behind, but on the other side there's the side of a hill that leads down to another street that isn't busy.

I feel the need to bring the kids there for some clean-up.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Quiet Time

The past week was a busy one.  Last weekend we had a couple girls staying with us for the ISAC Chorus and Band.  They arrived on Wednesday the 6th and departed the 10th.  The girls along with Rebecca and Katherine were gone for 3 solid days with rehearsals and activities, like a trip to Rainbow Street, a dinner out in Madaba, and plenty of free time for games and interaction with their counterparts.  Our girls attend the American School of Kuwait and were easy as could be.  Saturday afternoon was the concert, and you can watch the videos on line.

At the same time, our neighbors arrived.  Our home is part of a duplex and the other house has been vacant since before Thanksgiving.  We are neighborless no more.  The new folks have 3 little girls, all younger than Jonathon, so Rebecca is excited about the opportunity to babysit.  I volunteered to be their social sponsor, so have spent more time in grocery stores this past week than I had in the 4 weeks prior.  We've loaned them movies and blankets, taken the girls for a movie night and an afternoon at the stables to give their folks a break. I brought her to a Girl's Night and a planning meeting for the upcoming ACS Cultural Celebration, and shuttled the littles to swim practice with Rebecca. Being a social sponsor is really tons of fun, and a touch tiring.  But I also remember what it was like our first couple weeks here, and my tiredness is nothing to theirs with jetlag and all the discombobulation of settling in to a new country. So really for me it's all just fun.

We're making our way through a kid 4 day weekend, while Ian had 3 days, before starting the new school week.  Rebecca has a tough week ahead, all of a single day of school before she heads off to Oman for the Chorus Festival.  She'll have a blast, just like last weekend.

Speaking of the ACS Cultural Celebration, I'm helping out with the U.S. table (obviously).  With only a little cash thrown into it, I think we'll have a decent table of information and goodies, as well as our silent auction basket.  It'll be a fun day.  Looking forward to it.

But for right now: Nothing.  Just a little quiet time finishing up some items for the auction basket. Easy and mindless and just right.  

Looking forward to not getting up tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

And then she was 17.

Only one more year until our first baby turns 18, a legal adult, and prepares for her next stage of life, wherever that might take her.  She says she's ready and we just have to believe she is for whatever path she follows.  Letting go is not built in to the parenting gene.

So begins a series we lovingly call "Jonathon's photobombs"

Little sis got her season 1 of her favorite show.

Other shows for her budding collection.
The scarf around her neck is from Nicholas.
Hello moose.

Scrabble is her favorite game.
She is worth 5 points  Very cool.
I want one.

Everyone needs a Thneed!

And fuzzy new owl PJs.
She changed right after dinner.
Jonathon, what ARE you doing?

More Scrabble for the Scrabble afficionado.
She cheated on the first sheet.

Nicholas got bored, I guess.
After all, the gifts weren't for him.
Patience, young grassHopper.  Your time draws near.

Not only couldn't we find the lighter,
we couldn't find the candles.
Tea light to the rescue.

"Slice" number one.  Who trained these kids?

And finally, her sister smushed cake back in December, so K decided she wanted to do the same.

Sometimes they act all grown up.  Sometimes... they don't.

I guess that's why we keep them.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Festival Gala, 9 February 2013, 3:30 p.m. Jordan Time

Becca is in the choir, Katherine is in the band.  Should be fun, and it'll be on-line too:


Get Your Cheer On

You've all heard of the USO.  This isn't about them.  But we have a lot of U.S. military here in Jordan and yesterday the MAP (Military Assistance Program) brought a little cheer to the troupes.  Get it?  Cheer?  It's a punny sort of thing. Six Redskins cheerleaders (no longer the Redskinettes, but rather the First Ladies of Cheer... again with the double meanings!  First Ladies for Washington D.C. but also that the Redskins cheer squad was the first professional football cheer squad) and two former football players stopped by the Embassy for a bit to say hello, talk to the kids, and show off some skills.  They were at the Embassy earlier in the day as well to watch the Superbowl in the Oasis Club with whoever was crazy enough to get up at 2 a.m. and watch a football game.  My 3rd child actually did get up and watch the game, but he stayed at home to do it.

All the kids received photo sheets and went around gathering signatures as well as photo ops with a little one-on-one chatting.

High energy and a lot of booty shaking going on.