Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Off to the States in just four hours.
We're making a dash over the boarder in the middle of the night.
Sounds fun huh?
We are so close I can taste the freedom and womens rights.
Carter has been keeping a running tally of how many minutes before we go.
Bags are packed. Carry ons are almost there.
The boys are NOT sleeping, right now there are hollaring back and forth "woah."
You think they're excited?
Ready or Not... Here we come!

Before we head out, small journaling updates.
Carter has conquered the diving board and deep end of the pool.
It took A LOT of coaxing and now he loves it.
He jumps of the diving board and swims to the wall all by himself.
He's a little fish, or in his words "I'm swim like a shark."

Oh and Owen is potty trained!!!
Last Wednesday he woke up and proclaimed, "I wear undies."
We haven't looked back since.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Less than a week and we will be stateside. In the meantime things have been busy with preparation. One of the tops of my list, souvenirs to bring back. And with that trip into town, a quick stop to the produce market. We're eating to clear out our pantry and fridge, and pretty much only buying produce and milk. Good thing, because there seems to be a shortage of sour cream and turkey ham in the kingdom.

A friend of mine, Jen, also the produce expert, took me to this indoor strip mall. Similar to a flea market. Inside there are piles and piles of these awesome dresses and skirts. Long skirt or tube dress you decide. Some with straps other without. Short skirts in all colors. It was awesome and it truly took over an hour to sort through and come up with a stack I know my sisters and girlfriends will love. Oh and I came back with several for myself too. Or, I could just bring back abiyas for everyone? I know, I know, hard decision.

Another view of the store. The produce market was great that day too! Love all of the colors and most of the smells.

Best score that morning were flats of US strawberries and a box of avocados. (Owen and I are still on a guac. kick.) We paid 70 SAR = 18.66 US for one of the boxes below. Not a great price in the US but a pretty good one for here. Especially since they were actually ALL good strawberries. Owen was thrilled when I walked in the door and had devoured a handful before I had even unloaded the car.

Let the preparations continue. Really should start packing soon. Hugs, A

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

One on One time.

Owens last day also meant the last day of just Carter and I. So to celebrate and make the day special for Carter we hit the library and came home with a backpack full of books. Then we went around the corner for icee lemonades and spend a little time at the covered playground outside.

This was the face I got when I told him to smile. This kid has developed some serious attitude in the last two weeks. Does this have something to do with being four? If it is, I believe we may miss the three's and I never thought I would say that. It was a nice morning with Carter. I love both of my boys and spending time all together, but it's a treat to spend one on one time with them. I know they need it and I do. It's great to connect without the distractions and competitions. To see more of their little personalities and just enjoy them! Which really makes me think the quote below from Elder Ballard. I've been thinking about this A LOT lately. I guess being a mom of toddlers can make life a bit crazy. A good friend of mine told me at this point in my life I'm in the trenches. Constantly digging myself out. This quote reminds me to put down my shovel, slow down, enjoy and really see my kids for the magnificant spirits they are.

Elder M. Russel Ballard has taught us the importance of the Savior's admonition to "behold your little ones" when he said, "Notice that He didn't say 'glance at them' or 'casually observe them' or 'occasionaly take a look in their general direction.' He said to behold them. To me that means that we should embrace them with our eyes and with our hearts; we should see and appreciate them for who they really are: spirit children of our Heavenly Father, with divine attributes" Read more here.

Happy Wednesday! (If you live in KSA it's really like a Friday- wahoo!) For the rest of you suppose, happy Wednesday hump day. Hugs, A

Owens last day.

Yesterday was Owen's last day of playschool at Mrs. Anna's. Here are a few pictures right before we went into the school that morning. The sun must have been right in his eyes, because he's squinty and doesn't look very happy. But he was. He loved Anna and Laurie and the rest of the helpers. Her school really worked on the basics a two year old needs to know, please, thank you, standing in a line, sharing, not hitting and a few letters and numbers. I really think one of his favorite things about going to playschool was taking his backpack with him to school.

Next year he will move to Ms. Jeanette's school with Carter for preschool. They will both go four mornings a week. It will bo so nice to have both boys at the same school. The comfort they will both have knowing they are together and logistically wise for me not having to stress about picking up both boys at the same time but at different locations.

Now that school is out for BOTH boys, it officially feels like SUMMER! I'm excited to have no where to rush to in the morning, more time to lounge around together, make breakfast, sleep in (I wish) and spend our mornings at the pool before we head over the ocean and through the woods to Grandma's house we go!

Hugs, A

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Being over here (KSA) it's easy at times to see a favorite food or food style and get excited thinking, awesome, this will be just like home. I KNOW I like this. Only to find out, they are calling it the same thing, but it is NOT the same thing.

Take Teppanyaki. I hear this and I think deliciouse Japenese food, fried rice, chicken, moist delicious veggies in soy sauce and garlic butter.

Last night this is what I ordered when we went to dinner at the dining hall. Dining hall - think cafeteria on camp. Not our favorite, but on a night when neither one of us feels like cooking and the boys need to get out, it's an easy choice.

The Dining hall has theme nights, (pretty decieving given my first paragraph about the food here). Mexican night, Indian night, and low and behold Teppannyaki night.

So I ordered the Teppannyaki chicken. THIS is what I got... Chicken breasts, cabbage, zucchini, carrots (all still a bit crunchy) on a fajitta hot plate soaked in soy sauce that was added right before he handed it to me, not cooked with. I was dissappointed.

While standing in line another mom told me last week she ordered fajitta's from the dining hall and it was served on a stale hot dog bun, was mostly undercooked onion and a few pieces of chicken. We both laughed and I made a note, NOT to order that either.

Another side note about eating out here. Napkins, or the lack of napkins. Instead they use kleenex/tissues as napkins. (See photo above.) Here are the "napkins" on our dining table. Also, thin cheapy tissues/kleenex are not a good source to wipe wet, sticky hands. Makes more mess than it's worth. I carry around wipes in my purse for dinner. Just like I carry around tissues for the restrooms here as well, because there usually isn't any of that either. Just a hose. It's the American in me that prefers not to drip dry.

One last little photo from last night. Here's a quick view of the dining hall tables section. Carter was making laps around the tables and since he had so much energy to burn and had been in the house ALL afternoon, we let him!

Another random thought. Today I was browsing the Target online weekly add. I am SO excited to walk the isles of Target. Cold Coke Icee in one hand, soft pretzel in the other. Less than three weeks. I am seriously considering making a construction paper link chain with a countdown to home. Can't WAIT!!!

Hugs, A

Saturday, June 11, 2011


You can take the boys out of Texas, but you can't take the Texan out of the boys.

The other day, Carter went into the garage to our second fridge (where we keep mostly drinks) to get a Coke for Mike and I for lunch. He actually really likes to do this and we like that he likes it. So off he goes. Only moments later he peaks his head back in the door and asks,

"What kind of Coke?"

Our response, "A Black* Coke, Coke."

Totally a southern thing.

Owen eats like a Texan. He LOVES tex-mex. I was able to get a box avacados at the produce market this week and we have been making homemade guacamole like it was our job, and this kid has been pounding it with a bag of tortilla chips. If he sees the guac. he'll eat nothing else but that. He grew up on chips and salsa in Houston only fitting we move across the world and it continues.

I believe he also has a little Texas rodeo in him as well. Tonight he mounted the railing as we checked out of the dining hall. He swung his leg over the railing, grapped on and told me "I riding a horse, nah... (insert horse noise)"

There are still moments when I can hear both Mike and I say "fer" instead of "for." Just six years in Houston and we both picked that one up too. So perhaps you can say Texas still has a piece of our hearts.

And just because.

Our "Gardener" Mike. Yes, we still take care of our own yard here. A lot of expats hire a local gardner to come by once a day and wash off the sidewalks and water the grass. We don't mind taking care of the yard and we had an automatic sprinkler installed. Daddy does a good job. Never thought he'd have to mow the lawn in the desert.

Hugs, A

*Yes, we're still drinking Coke Zero. Most of you are probably shocked, I am the coke girl. But with cheese bread and no gym day care I can't afford all of the calories. So Coke Zero and no guilt.

Cabin Fever.

This past week we've suffered from a bat of cabin fever.

It's hot and so we stay indoors.

I can't drive off camp because I'm a woman so we stay on camp.

I had a motorized scooter accident resulting in road rash down one side of my body and a lot of skinned skin. I'm pretty much a wreck, which then knocked out the pool for me and the boys. Could you imagine raw skin and chlorine... yeah, no way. So without the pool, we are inside again.

Normally we find ways to make this work for us. But it's usually on Friday (our sabbath/sunday day) when the true cabin fever sets in right after we get home from church.

We watched a little SYTYCD and the boys fell asleep. They fought naps earlier so we let them snuggle up with us resulting in this.

Then Mike comes to the rescue. Trains, playing ball, wrestling, chasing, building this and that. He pretty much rocks the Friday afternoons with the boys and chases away the cabin fever with a bit of boy craziness.

Trio Train Tunnels.

Carter insisted he get a turn at the camera. He's getting better. At this rate Mike and I may be in more pictures and even together in a picture.

After this we walked around the block. It was 7:30 and finally starting to cool off a bit. I needed to get out of our little house and gets some, well kind of, fresh air. It's pretty dusty the last few days. This morning there was a thick coating of red/orange sand on the burb.

This week is Owens last week of playschool. Then two more weeks and we're outta here. Everyone is gearing down it feels like. Working on repat lists and little things to take back to family. Checking off to do lists and leaving longer ones for their hubbies who are staying. Oh, wait, maybe that's just me. But they are things that will require Mike to spend some time in the wood shop and he LOVES that. So I'm just helping him to fill his time.

If you're in the Boise area, I'm looking for a reasonably priced photographer to take family photos for us the first of July. We'd also like to keep a cd with the images that we could bring over here. Too hard to transport photos and then we also risk them being taken at customs. Any suggestions? Hugs, A

Friday, June 10, 2011


Dear Carter,
We're so proud of the little man you are becoming. You bring joy, laughter and a sweet spirit into our home. Your energy is astonding, you just go and go and go. Unless your favorite show is on, then and usually only then you sit still. It's in those little moments when you will sit with us on the couch and snuggle. We hold hands and we talk. We also have a lot of those moments when you are snuggled up in bed. We talk about your day, what we did, how we feel and what we are doing tomorrow.

You love your little brother, although sometimes you tell him you don't, but we know you really do. Sometimes at night you sneak out of your room and let Owen out of his to come snuggle with you. Then you read him books in your bed. You wait for him going up the stairs to the waterslide and help him up each level. He's your best friend.

You are kind, loving and friendly. You love to meet new friends and think that anyone who comes into our home has come to play with you. Absolute strangers you will stop and say "hello friend" to.

You have a great memory, and call anything that happened in the past "yesterday." You love to tell stories and are always planning some imaginary trip to the moon, to see grandma, last week you were planning a trip to see Jesus and were taking all of your stuffed animals along for the ride.

You love to sing, dance, color, paint and make crafts. You also love to build things, wrestle, jump, run and make a gun or sword out of anything you can find, blocks, legos, sticks, wrapping paper rolls. This week you requested to be called "super kid." We obliged.

You are learning to swim like a champ and push yourself to keep trying. You like to jump in and make a big splash and can float on your back for 25 seconds.

You always want to be the "winner" in everything and were are not quite sure where you learned this. You race everywhere always wanting to be first and if you don't win you "missed." Sometimes you let your brother Owen win.

You are now ear tube free and your middle ear looks great. I believe that may have been your last set of tubes. Thank goodness. Little man you have had more than your fair share of visits to the ENT.

You were so excited to turn FOUR and everytime we would sing happy birthday to you, you would glow. Pure joy.

In the scriptures we are told to be more like children, humble, loving, forgiving and trusting. I look at you and I can see your little spirit and I know that you are so close to the Savior. You are pure and teachable, loving and caring, and a great example to us all.

Love you Carter.
Hugs, Mom.

Cake and Presents.

On Carter's REAL birthday, June 4, we had a lower key birthday celebration with our family and another family we have become good friends with, the Borns. Their kids weren't able to make it to Carters birthday because they were sick, so we invited them over to make pizzas and have cake on Saturday night. Almost like another birthday party, Carter was thrilled.

Cupcakes and Candles.

Our little family right before opening presents. Carter and his bud, Lawson, in their aprons. I really wanted to get a picture of Owen and Carter together, but this was the type of mood Owen was in. He was no longer loving the apron cook party idea. Carter opening presents with Lawson. Checking out the new easle we got Carter for his birthday. He LOVES to draw and was really excited about this one. It's still sitting in our living room and has had a lot of use out of the chalkboard side. It felt like a weeklong birthday celebration for Carter. The house was decorated for three days and believe it or not, the birthday balloons that I spent WAY too much money on, were still floating after a week.

On his actual birthday we played, had lunch with dad, Mike took him swimming, we had friends over for dinner and when they left we played a wicked round of hide and go seek in the house.

We played and played and stayed up way too late. I guess it was one of those night where everyone is happy and there is no rush to do anything. Nights like those are magical. I wish my kids would stay little and want to play silly games with us forever.

Hugs, A

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chef Mustaches.

Because sometimes it's the little things like sticky, fuzzy, black mustaches that can top off a birthday party.

Hugs, A

The Chef Party.

Well it happened. Carter turned FOUR! We survived and enjoyed every minute of his birthday celebrations. I promise you have not met another little boy so excited to be four!

Here's our cute Carter in his birthday apron.The chef kiddos. There was a virus running around camp that knocked out four kids. Instead of 12, we had 7. This group was large enough. It was a good, and a bit crazy, of a time.

Making pizzas. Jet, Jordan and Carter. Owen taking control of the roller. Pizzas in the oven. On to the cupcakes. Having lunch. The pizzas were a hit and so were the cupcakes. Chocolate with buttercream icing. In between the cooking we read a book and had a dance party.

Silly Chefs.

Recipe for a Chef Party.

Custom aprons.

Decorated Chef hats.

Five good friends.


Pizza. Cupcakes. Fruit, veggies with ranch.


Happy Birthday Singing.


= One Happy FOUR year old Carter.

I asked Carter what was his favorite part of the party. His reply, "Dancing and cupcakes."

Hugs, A