Monday, October 25, 2010

New Moon

Tomorrow we will have been here a month!  These past few nights we have been enjoying the gorgeous full moon.  All the dust in the air makes it especially dazzling.  Speakng of dust, this is the time of year in SA for dust storms.  They are actually called sand storms here and last week we had two.  Both days we woke up with the weather clear as usual but at 10:00 am each day in blew the sand.  It is literally a cloud of sand that lingers for an hour or more depending on the size.  The first one was the worst.  It brought a tremendous heat with it and so much sand that the pool closed down.  The sand coated everything.  It also dried out the air which in a way was a blessing- we were not sweating so much- but then again we also could not breath due to the smothering heat.  I have never felt such a heat.  It was like opening an oven but not being able to close it.  We were constantly putting on lip balm.  The second sand storm was not so bad and actually blew away the heat so now we are back to the humidity which I prefer.  While most people welcome fall with cooler weather and the changing of leaves, we welcome it with sand storms!  Actually other than that first sand storm day, the temperatures have dropped to the upper 80s and mid 90s and in the evenings it is very nice.

We were not aware that the pool had closed so when we arrived for a swim we had to wait for the finishing cleaning touches.  Luckily the gym was open so we had some fun with balls:

                                                        WOW..that's our Mommy!

                                                               Theresa has a sit.

We finally got to go swim and I could not resist a few pool shots mainly to show off Eleanor's USA suit.  It actually bothers her a lot for some reason.  I think she does not like being the only girl in a two-piece and there was this little string hanging down in the front.  Little strings hanging down can be such a bother!

 Here is a good shot of Eleanor and the bothering string.  It had been cut off in the previous two pics.

Every Wednesday evening we go down to a place called "Discovery Square" and eat out.  We would never do this in the States but here it is a nice place for families to gather and get out after a work week.  We always see other families we know and after dinner we treat ourselves to delicious Baskin Robbins.  The BR here is way cheaper than in the States.  Our whole family can have icecream, large scoops for $8.  This is even cheaper than buying a half gallon of vanillla at the Tamini since in the store the icecream is about $9 for a half gallon.  This past Wednesday we ate at "Pizza Inn."  Note the founding city of Pizza Inn!
Also note Marcella's new look.  She is really working at "blending in with the natives here."

On Thursday while the twins were napping we got real crafty.  Theresa made about six beautiful water color pictures which I will show at a later date.  Marcella made some cute little ghosties and a black cat.
I worked on decor for the twins' room.  Their room is so bare and I have been struggling with what to put on the walls.  I did not want to spend a lot of money but also wanted something meaningful for the twins to look at.  Casey came up with the idea of book characters.  We do soooo much reading here without our toys.  Well, we do a lot even with the toys, but since our arrival I would say reading is what we do the most.  Luckily I brought quite a few books with our luggage and we have been frequenting the library.  What I am doing is copying the twins' favorite book characters from the books we have spents hours reading.  This weekend I did Rosie from "Rosie's Walk" by Pat Hutchins and Dingo Dog from Ricahrd Scarry's "Cars and Trucks, and Things That Go."
"I just can't believe that Dingo.  He is so naughty."
                                                                    "Run Rosie!"
Here are some cute reading pics.  Eleanor loves this dress.  She calls it her Rosie Dress because it has little blue chickens on it (they are actually roosters but gender does not matter here).  The dress was actually made by my Gonka (mom's mother).  It is almost 40 years old since it was sewn for my older sister.  Eleanor is so cuddly in it.

                                       "Here Eleanor, let me blow dry your hair while you read."
Two favorites with Daddy, "Go Trucks" and "Baby Dear."

We wrapped up our weekend with a KAUST sponsored "Kite Festival."  This was another well attended and fun event.  They had face painting, more jumping castles, characters to pose with, and even a trampoline.  Casey's boss' family was there (from Austin area) and his oldest daughter was wearing the same shirt as Eleanor!
                                             Eleanor has a little rest from all the festivities.
Before I go I wanted to update everyone on two things.  First our zinnias have sprouted!  We made signs so that the gardeners won't pull them up and placed an Inukshuk near them. An Inukshuk is a rock pile traditionally built by Native people of the Far North as a landmark for guiding their way home or marking a special place.  Second my story time last week was a success and I am hoping for more people this week.  Casey helped me obtain a $500 grant from Recreation Services as well.  This much needed money will go towards purchasing a cd player, puppets, and other supplemental materials.  I am really enjoying setting this up for the KAUST families.  It is my way of helping build a community here.