Sunday, December 12, 2010

Farewell 2010!

This will be my last post for awhile because we are returning to Texas for about three weeks to celebrate the holidays.  Hopefully we will get to see some of you guys.  It has been a fabulous first few months for us here in SA but we are so excited about seeing our families. 

I've got some random pictures to share before I sign off. First, I finished the twin's storybook pictures with a Goodnight Moon picture between their cribs with a yellow truck made for Eben underneath, some animals for Eben from Jump Frog, Jump!, and animals for Eleanor from Secret Seahorse.

This shot is just a silly diaper twin picture and it is followed by some fun dress up shots.

Eleanor wore those earrings all afternoon!

Finally we have some random Kids Around KAUST pictures with a little zinnia update.

As you can see, it is a slow grow for our flowers.  We did happen upon some zinnias growing near one of the KAUST buildings so we know it can happen, it may just take time.

Merry Christmas to all and may you each have a blessed and peaceful New Year!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Our shipment finally arrived on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  It was so much fun to have the truck finally pull into our driveway!  We had not told the girls that it was coming in case it was another mistake, but the phone call came at 3:30 that the truck was at KAUST's gate.  The first item off was Theresa's dollhouse but she and Marcella had eyes only for their long lost Barbie's, which followed soon after!  We spent all week unpacking and each day the girls and twins were reunited with their things.  We had thought the twins would have forgotten some of the toys, but you could tell they remebered and even started asking for specifics like the fisher price people when the fisher price house came down.

 Here is our cardboard kitchen- fully equipped with old playhouse toys.  This has been so nice to have in the kitchen now.  Both twins love cooking with Mommy and Daddy and going shopping. 
Another finally was Marcella losing her first tooth.  This tooth has been wanting to come out for about two weeks now and it finally broke loose this same morning.  She was ecstatic!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thanksgiving Gala

Our first Thanksgiving here was very pleasant.  Casey cooked the turkey and it turned out fantastic.  He had put the stuffing inside and I think this helped the turkey stay nice and moist.  The girls helped with all the vegetables-washing and cutting.  This was so much fun for them.  They also helped with all our pies- pecan, cherry, and apple.  All day we could smell the wonderful aromas coming from the kitchen.  The smells were so much like the Thanksgiving smells we remember from home that for the day we almost felt as if we were back in Texas.
Later in the evening we ventured out to Thuwal Park for a Saudi Eid Gala.  Now this was a real experience.  So far all the KAUST sponsored events have been so well organized but for some reason this particular event was a little on the "sensory overload" side as Mr. Chris, a K-2 teacher put it.  They had advertised gifts for kids and our kids were a few of the lucky ones to actually receive gifts.  The organizers ran out of gifts in about 30 minutes.  The girls got plastic tea party sets and a hair care set and Eben got a Ben 10 car that continually plays Axel F and lights up.  He loves it as do the girls.  What was so neat about the girls' tea sets is that they came with stove top pieces- this was perfect timing because my sister Mary had sent us a link on how to make a cardboard kitchen.  We used the stove top pieces for this kitchen.  Since our shipment had not yet arrived, the tea set was a big hit.  We got a kick out of the packaging.
Here the kids are enjoying the sights and sounds and their new gifts.  The couches were all over as were the beautiful lamps.

The main problem with the event was the blaring music and in my opinion, treatment of the animals.  First of all, the event was supposed to have traditional Saudi musicians and dancers, which it did, but the music was so darn loud you could not enjoy the show.  Then the camels and horses were a little dissapointing to say the least.  They came a bit late which only drew attention to the way they were transported here: in the bed of a run down livestock truck- all six of them!

  Here you see a camel "jumping" off the truck in full regalia.  I had had visions of the family posing in front of a camel for our Christmas picture but this vision quickly fizzled when I saw the absolute madness taking place with the animals.  There were no lines; everything was all jumbled.  Camels are very tall animals with very large feet.  There was no stairway leading onto the camels back.  The camel sits down, the riders climb up, and then the camel heaves itself up, back legs first.  They had to do this over and over.  Unbelievable.  There was no way our kiddos were getting on them.  Marcella did ride a nice pony and we rode as a family with some school friends in the Hantuk, which was basically and old pick up converted into a wagon pulled by two skinny, sore covered horses given no break.  Apparently there are no animal rights for such events.  When browsing the pictures, note Theresa's friend, Layla and Eben sitting up front- he loved it!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sand Storm, Sand Blast

I have decided to take a few minutes to show everyone some recent sand storm pictures.  These are not of the actual storm itself but rather they are what the storm leaves behind: fine sand everywhere.  We have been having these storms two to three times a week now.  I feel like most of them have been on a Tuesday or Sunday, the two days we do Story Time, or a play group day.  At first I was staying at home, but I quickly realized that these storms are a part of life and as my neighbor pointed out one day while I was contemplating venturing out or not, "you just have to get used to it."  Casey brought home masks from the lab and we keep these and sunglasses at the ready (thank you Granny for equipping us with so many great pairs!) and go forth to brave the sand.  Anyways, here is what our front and back porches look like after a storm has blown through.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our First Eid

We had a wonderful and restful Eid holiday.  The entire country is off during this celebration.  In case you are wondering, Eid ul-Adha (auf deutsch Das Opferfest) is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened to provide him with a ram to sacrifice instead.  It is a joyful time and many people give to charity, give gifts, feast and so on.  This is the first time since Casey has been working that we felt he was truly "off."  Everything is closed in SA.  People are truly on holiday.  Here in KAUST many people used the ten days for travel.  Others were making their pilgrimmage called "Hajj" to Mecca.  This pilgrimmage is an obligation that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every Muslim who is physically able and can afford to do so. 

We did not do any travel other than two trips to Jeddah.  I went with Kelly for one of the trips to mainly get story time supplies and a few craft and toys for our own kids.  Casey took the two older girls later in the week.  When Kelly and I went we hired a driver.  Casey took the bus with the girls.  The bus leaves KAUST at 4:00 and returns at midnight.  We had no idea how this would work for the girls since they never stay up this late but they had a blast and stayed up no problem.  Of course they fell asleep on the way home but this was expected.

The bus took them to the Mall of Arabia:

After doing some quick shopping where Theresa chose a Fulla doll (SA Barbie) and Marcella chose rollerskates, they visited the carnival.  The carnival is a permanent fixture in the mall.

Below is this climbing thing that the girls went in.  It is like a glorified fast food playscape.

Naturally we did a lot of crafting over the break.  The neatest thing the girls made were their stick horses.  They spent an entire afternoon making the horses and stalls in their room.  This was inspired by a book we have been reading called "Summer Pony" by Jean Slaughter Doty.  The girls absolutely love this story and we have started its sequal, "Winter Pony."  Up till now they have really shown no interest in horses which has been a dissappoinnment for me since I was a huge horse lover as a girl.

They love running races with the horses.
We also spent the break visiting new parks or areas of interest here.  

Here is Theresa, Spider Girl.  She probably climbed this web twenty times.

And here are some hands we have always seen while swimming and wondered about. 

These last few pictures are maninly of the twins.  They still love their rabbit and mouse from Tante Oma La-La and here they are giving them a bath:

Theses next few pictures are just for fun. 

Eleanor has started to make line ups of everything.  She gets real upset when Ebby messes them up.  He prefers to be the destructor but occasionally enjoys making a tower or two.

Eleanor loves to sit and read various magazines and instruction manuals to things like games.  She is so cute.  She will take the piece and do this little get comfy sit and say "I'm reading it."

She also loves to carry ALL her animals and dollies and then some with her after her nap.

Well, that's about all for now.  Here is Marcella, sending out love from KAUST (look carefully and you will see a heart she drew with a piece of wood through it for the arrow):