Sunday, October 17, 2010

Waiting for Our Shipment

Our sea shipment is still not here and from what friends have told us, it may not come for quite awhile.  We shipped it in the beginning of August.  People say it will be like Christmas when we finally do get it and I am beginning to think it will be Christmas when we get it!  I think that the shipment did not leave the States until we actually arrived here.  Casey's coworker and her daughter Jasmine have let us borrow our second batch of toys.  We are so grateful to her.  Here are some of the things we do to pass the time in a community that did not exist 800 days ago:

We have been frequenting the Harbor Public Library each Friday afternoon.

I am actually going to start helping out with the storytimes here beginning Tuesday!  I am very excited about this.  The age group is 0-3, so Eben and Eleanor will join me.  My hope is that we will be able to hold two storytimes for this age group a week.  There really is not much in KAUST for this age other than storytime and what we call "The Playroom."  The Playroom was established by the first year moms.  They arrived last October after spending nine weeks in a hotel in Jeddah.  When they finally came, there were no pools or playgrounds so at first they all donated their old toys and eventually got funds to purchase toys for this room.  I take Eben and Eleanor here about twice a week.  We have met two other families from central Texas here.  One comes from Austin and the other San Marcos.  It's truly a small world!
Luckily all of our children are avid readers.  They will spend long periods of time just reading or looking at books.  Both older girls love to read to the twins.
The house is so open and full of tile which makes it quite echo-ee.  I hope that the echos dissipate after all our things are here.  The echos really upset Eleanor in the middle of the night when we first arrived.  Their room in particular is very bare and when she would wake up her screams would be increased due to all the echos.  After a few nights of not being able to console her, we decided to put the maid room mattress in the twin's room.  What a difference this has made.  Their room is way less echo-ee and has a great "plumping" mattress to play on:
We love reading and just having little relaxes here.

There are many nice parks and open spaces here as well. Each play area is surrounded by either soccer or cricket fields.  Unfortuantely all the playgrounds are as of yet under the open sky, so we only go play on them in the evenings after dinner.  The building with the "playroom" actually has two covered playgrounds but alas, we have a slight issue with these.  The playgrounds here have some sort of untreated recycled tire mats and the kids get covered in black when we go there.  I do take the twins to these once or twice a week in the morning and then we go home to bath.  The schools also have these recycled tire mats on their playgrounds and Marcella and Theresa need their shoes washed frequently.  

The open air playgrounds do not have the tire mats.  They either have the sand that I love so much, straight from the beach with nice sharp coral and shell pieces or grass.  We tend to play on the grass playgrounds the most.
Below, Marcella is demonstrating the handy "pout benches."
Since we mostly go in the evenings it gets dark while we are playing.  All parks/open areas are well lit.  The kids love playing when it gets dark.  By the way, it gets dark here at about 6:00 in the evening and light at about 6:00 in the morning.

Another thing we do a lot of is crafts.  The twins love drawing with crayons and markers.  We usually do this while Marcella is working on her homework.  After she gets home from school we have snack and then do homework.  It is a nice time when the kids and I are all at the table doing our work.  Sarah and Mary helped us to establish this good habit.  Sarah and Mary walk home to Oma's from school and after snack do their homework.  We would work with them while we were staying at Oma's for the month before we came to KAUST.  Thank you girls!  I actually found plums for the first time at the Tamini (they came from Italy). We had some for snack the other day and it reminded me of our snack time with you two!

Now back to our crafts....the girls have made so many wonderful creations.  An alphabet wall and sock dolls are a few:

The sock doll idea came from the Nuckels.  They had a friend who made Katie a sock doll. Marcella remembered this and asked if we could do the same.  The dolls are made from five socks and are stuffed with three of Casey's old T-shirts.  Their clothes are made from some old shirts of mine.  We plan on making some more clothes with bandanas.  Marcella is sewing shoes for her doll in the above picture.  Theresa named her doll Charlotte, but has been known to change this to Rose.  Sometimes the doll is a boy too.  Marcella calls her doll Annabel.  The day after we made the dolls we went to the library and found a great book on making things for your doll!  We were not even looking for such a book, but there it was on top of a shelf.  Incredible!  The book is called Things to Make for Your Doll by Kathy Ross.  The ideas are simple and can be completed with mostly common household items.  Some of the neat ideas are a doll picture frame from flip top lids, a hermit crab for your doll (perfect for us), and a wardrobe and hangers. 

Beach Fun

On Friday we went to the beach again and had a fabulous time.  The tide was low and there were so many new things to see like jellyfish and crabs.  We saw so many hermit crabs in all sizes and we saw larger crabs.  We were all ready to depart and had made the trek to the showers when we discovered they were not working due to too much sand that the plumbing could not handle.  The attendants ushered us to the lovely beach bathrooms; typical of a public beach bathroom in the states only newer.  Well, neither the men's nor the women's showers were working.  I take that back, they were working but spraying water all over the place.  Instead of walking all the way back to the sea we decided just to go for it.  I must tell you Marcella had just given herself a nice sand bath before leaving the beach.  Anyways, we did a remarkable job of getting sand all over the bus and our house and ended up showering at home so I am expecting a nice plumbing overflow anyday now.  We also had to rinse the toys in our utility sink at home because our house (and all others in the Island District) have no hoses...

For some reason all the sand made me a little irritable and I just needed some time to myself so Casey took the kids to do some site seeing around campus.

Afterwards he made a fabulous Middle Eastern dinner of Red Snapper, Couscous Tabbouleh Salad, and fresh green beans with almonds.  It was fantastic- one of the best meals we've had.  After putting the kids to bed we watched another Star Wars episode.  We are making our way through all the episodes, in chronological order. 

We also went bowling for the for the first time this weekend.  It turned out to be a lot of fun and all the kids enjoyed it for about 45 minutes, which we thought was pretty good.  Casey and I actually got to play a real game in between helping the kids.  Eben and Theresa had the most fun, but Eleanor scored the highest.

Eben LOVED the shoes

Here we see Theresa anxiously watching her ball while Eben does a dance we call "The Theresa" because she initiated this move as a toddler.