Monday, February 27, 2012

The Artists

While we lived in China, Rachel loved making abstract paintings and did several large paintings for her IB Art class where she danced to music on the paper. Nicole always thought that was cool so she wanted to do a similar painting. We got the supplies and set this up on our roof terrace. They put on old clothes, music and got to dancing. Fortunately the roof already had paint spots all over so we weren't too worried about it getting all over.
Good thing we used acrylic paint that can easily wash off because they were covered by the time they finished.

Vika made a smaller version. They both picked out their favorite colors and just had fun splattering and dancing around.
It was a very windy dusty day so there probably is some sand stuck in the paint but that just adds to the originality.
Nicole's is now hung above the beds in her room. It is about 4' x 5'. Not sure if we can get a frame that large, so for now it is taped to the wall.
Vika's masterpiece is about 2' x 3' and is hung above her bed in her room.

This is a close up of Nicole's painting.

It was a fun girl's activity and now they have some fun cool original art in their rooms.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Funny Valentine

Although my favorite valentine was not here this year, I still had a great day. My students are so amazing. They brought me these goodies, not your store bought valentines cards which are typical gifts from students, but some homemade chocolaty sweet goodness. I was not expecting much today since Gavin is still in South Africa but this helped make it a special day.
I also found out that Gavin will be home tomorrow morning. I thought he would be gone for two more days but I was that's the best valentine gift ever.

I'm watching the movie "Valentine's Day" with Rachel right now and will order pizza for dinner to share with my little funny valentine's. May not be a day filled with flowers, candle light dinner, or expensive gifts, but I have just what I want, my kids.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lonely 4 day weekend


I had to post that because sometimes we forget or neglect to share with our spouses how much we love them. It's times like this when we are apart that I realize how much he is an important component in our lives.

Gavin left early Thursday morning for a week of fun in South Africa with a group of High School students. It is WOW (Week Without Walls) week for the High School. Each year they plan some amazing trips both service oriented and just for fun for the students to go on. This year they had three Habitat for Humanity trips to Cambodia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka and three fun trips to Bali, South Africa, and Spain (girls only). The trips fill up fast by the Juniors and Seniors first so Jonny didn't go this year but Gavin (Jack), was asked to chaperone the trip to South Africa and he has been rubbing it in for months that he gets to go but maybe it's Karma because he almost didn't make it.

The group left the High School at 2:00 in the morning on Thursday for the Dammam Airport. I got a call at 3:45 that he had forgotten his multiple entry/exit visa and a taxi would be at our house to pick it up soon. The visa's are printed on just an ordinary 8 1/2" x 11" paper that is loose from your passport and you aren't supposed to staple anything to the pages in your passport so we keep them in the safe at home. We need to carry our passports and use them quite often here so we don't want to lose the visa so we only take it with us when we leave the country, but he forgot to take it with him.

The taxi showed up at the house at 4:11 and his flight left at 5:20, talk about cutting it short. The airport is normally about 45 minutes away but since we know this driver because he personally caters to the teachers here, he drove 180 KPM and got to the airport in 27 minutes (which he told me later in the day when he picked us up for soccer). So he barely made it onto his plane.

We had a long four day weekend due to the WOW trips so we had a very relaxing, maybe a little boring weekend just doing nothing. The couch has become my friend again, or at least for a few days. Since I can't drive here, we are home bound most of the time. We stocked up on food before Gavin left so that I wouldn't need to really go shopping except for a few basic things. We have compound vans and taxi's that can take us places but I don't really want to do that unless I have to.

The kids have all been playing with friends and having fun while I've been catching up on movies. We found a place in one of the local malls that sales pirated DVD's like we got in China so I've been watching some of the movies that we have missed over the past few months. After a few days of sitting, watching, and eating I had to get up and do something so I actually went to the gym and worked out. Rachel and I walked around the compound for about 30 minutes and then I lifted a few weights in the gym. We have a gym only 200 yards from our house and this was the first time I have used it...SAD! I think I need to get in there more often. No excuses.

Anyway....this has been a very lonely weekend without my wonderful spouse. Sometimes it's nice to have a little break from each other and this time I've realized how much I really love him and can't wait for him to come home and hear about his awesome trip. I'm hoping that he will have loved it so much that he will feel he has to take us back. South Africa is calling Christmas sounds good...let's all cross our fingers!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Random things

While Rachel has been here we have taught ourselves how to make some of our favorite things we have found here and in Jordan. While we were in Jordan we had this AWESOME Lentil soup so we have been experimenting with different recipes and created our own yummy version. We discovered Falafels while in Israel and found a recipe online. This was our first attempt and they were absolutely heavenly. Add our favorite salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese and we had a feast.
Nicole started taking Flute lessons several years ago while we were in China but when we got here they only had a beginning band class for 6th graders. Her flute skills were too advanced so she was asked to choose another instrument to learn during the class but still practice her flute at home. She chose the trumpet. Not exactly sure why but she said because it was totally different from the flute. So we are having to hear the beginning sounds of someone learning an instrument. I've tried to get our kids interested in music, which they are somewhat, but sports always seem to take precedence and music comes second. Oh well, at least they have been exposed to these things. They may never become excellent musicians but at least they will have an appreciation for music.
Sassy has become a very important part of our family here. She is such a loyal dog and will be waiting at the window by our front door for us to come home each day. We were so lucky to find such a good dog. Of course she can be the typical annoying dog at times barking and other unmentionable things but it is very difficult for us to get mad at her when she is so cute. Whenever there is food around she will stand on her back legs and beg. I've never seen a dog that can stand and even walk on their back legs like her. She should be in the circus! We love our little Sassy!
Vika can always find something to entertain herself and loves to play!

Camels and Rachel

Rachel had an opportunity to go out to the camel races with Nathan and Camille Hall. We all were invited but had other obligations so she went along with them.
They had to wear Abayas which aren't real conducive to riding on a camel.
She learned that they actually have beauty pageants for the camels to find the most beautiful one. They had to have floppy lips and a big head. Not quite the same requirements for our beauty contests.
They are cute though but not sure this has the floppy lips.
The races are a big thing here.

After the race they were invited to have brunch with some locals in a Bedouin tent.

Just another cool experience for her here. She has been able to get a tutoring job for a little Sudanian boy who is trying to pass the test to get in the British section of our school. She works two hours every day and gets paid 100 SR per hour which is about $26 per hour. She also is subbing for another lady while she is gone for the next few weeks tutoring a little Arab boy and girl. She will make more here tutoring for the next few weeks then she would have made at her full time job back home. This has been a great opportunity for her here in Saudi.