Friday, March 30, 2012

Vika's Birthday

It was Vika's 7th birthday a few weeks ago. She wanted a birthday party so bad, but we were really busy with Soccer tournaments and Basketball tournaments. Her birthday was on March 14, which was the first day of Jonny's JV Basketball tournament at our school. We had to host a two boys from another school in Yanbu, which is on the West Coast of Saudi. We had planned to just have a simple party with cake, ice cream, and a few presents.

Vika was outside playing so I sent Rachel and Jonny out to find her and they came back with a houseful of kids.
These are all the kids on our compound, the older ones at least. They heard the word party and came running.
Vika got a new bike for her birthday. She had a small on in China with training wheels which she didn't get to ride much. Gavin took her outside and she was riding like a pro on two wheels within minutes.
We had just enough cake and ice cream. I'm not a big cake fan so I'm glad we had lots of people to help us eat it all.
The kids all just hung out for awhile. The advantage of living on a compound is that we become just one big happy family. There seems to always be someone for the kids to play with.
Of course Sassy had to be part of the party too.
Vika had to put on a show for us all with her awesome dance moves. She is quite the little hip hop dancer. She's even does the robot.


About a week later we actually had an official party for Vika where she invited some of her friends. She wanted chocolate cupcakes so I attempted to decorate them. It's hard to see but some actually spell out Happy Birthday.

Only a few of her friends were actually able to come. Everyone is just too busy right now, but it still was a fun party.
The next morning we had an encore party with some of her other friends who couldn't come the day before. The girls all dressed up and modeled while the boys pretended to be photographers. They put music on and had a little dance.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

DHS Scorpian Basketball

Jonny played on the JV boys Basketball Team this year. He is such an awesome basketball player. He was the only Freshman on the team and was their starting point guard. The team played in the SAIKAC tournament a few weeks ago and were undefeated. They have a really good team this year and there wasn't much competition for them. They easily won the championships. It was two days full of some really good basketball. The tournament was at our school so there were lots of students cheering and we even had actual cheerleaders. I felt like we were at a HS basketball game back in the states.

The above picture is Jonny with his coach Mr. Carreon. He is our neighbor and Jonny's Algebra teacher. His family is from Arizona where he and his wife grew up. A few months ago his parents were here and his dad used to teach Math at Mesa Community College in Arizona. We discovered that he was my College Algebra teacher over 30 years ago. Small world....

A proud father and son!

Jonny's team was awesome!!!!!

Jack coached the boys Varsity team and they were also undefeated and won the championships in Kaust last weekend.

Scorpian Girls

This year I had the opportunity to coach the girls soccer team. I've never coached soccer before and have very little experience actually playing but they needed a coach and I was it. I played arena soccer years ago in Palmdale with Gavin and our friends the Schmidt's which was extremely fun, but other than that I've basically just been a soccer mom on the sideline.

Although, I was a little inexperienced, I had a lot of fun. Fortunately, Rachel was here to help me coach. She has much more experience than I do since she played in High School in China. She was a HUGE help!

After two months of practices we finally had our big SAIKAC tournament at Aramco. They had some awesome facilities.
The girls are always fun to coach because they are full of so much energy and spirit. Sometimes it was frustrating because it is hard to get them to really focus on the game. They want to be serious but sometimes the fun just takes over.

The tournament was for both the girls and boys teams so we shared a tent on the field during the day. The above picture was the boys side and the picture below is the girls. Quite the difference.

Rachel was my life saver and the girls all loved having her here to coach. She would do a back handspring for every goal they scored. The girls played hard and it was a tough two days but we came in 5th. I've decided that soccer at this level is really all about luck. One lucky goal can completely change the game. I think our team was much better than some of the others but because of some unlucky points in the game we lost a few of the games only by one goal.

It was a very fun season and I'm looking forward to next year. Nicole was on the training team this year and most likely be on the tournament team next year. I love being able to coach my girls and be there for them.

Now it's on to Girls Basketball for Nicole....

Not Sure About This!

Nicole and her Science class made a music video to show at our Science Fair and she came home with green hair. What kind of science experiment were they doing? I was a little shocked but was reassured that it would just wash out...whew!!!!! Green hair just isn't very attractive. I really like it when people put little peek a boo colors in there hair. Colors like red, purple, dark blue, etc...but fluorescent green hair is a bit too much.

The music video was a science song and they were supposed to be crazy scientists, I get that. I'm just glad it all washed out and she was back to normal the next day.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Scary dog???? Really?

This is one of the cutest most lovable dogs I've ever known. She is always waiting for us by the front door when we get home and wants to be as close as possible to us, literally. She will jump up on our laps hoping to be scratched and if we stop she will move as close as possible and wrap her front legs around your arm until you start scratching again. I love this little dog.

But believe it or not, there are a few people who are terrified of her. We have workers here on the compound that if she approaches them while we are out walking her, their eyes get real big and start backing away from her. Like she would really hurt them. It's a cultural thing so I understand how some people here don't like dogs at all, but Sassy is just too cute to not love.

Then we have this little boy on our compound who is absolutely terrified when Sassy is around. Whenever he comes to our house he cries and screams until we put her in a room. It is rather annoying because she is harmless. Today Vika had several friends over and he was here. We put Sassy in the bathroom and shut the door but someone had let her our. I was upstairs and heard this deathly scream and crying from the little boy. Normally I would go down and get Sassy but I was a little annoyed that we have to do that so I just waited to see what the other kids would do. They all were trying to convince him that Sassy wasn't going to hurt him. The weird thing is that one of the little boys here who lives next door has two huge dogs and the boy who is scared of Sassy has no problem with his dogs.

Anyway, I just stayed upstairs listening to the crying and screaming while the other kids were holding Sassy trying to get him to pet her and not be afraid. It didn't help. Finally after about 5 minutes of chaos, he huffed and ran out the door crying for his Mommy. Maybe I was being mean but hey, if you come into our house you need to love our dog. I'm tired of whining and crying over a cute little dog.

He came back a few minutes later pleading for Vika and the other kids to put Sassy away but they said that they wouldn't. That if he wanted to play with them he needed to not be afraid of Sassy. I finally told them that they could bring Sassy upstairs with me but they didn't want to so the little boy huffed and puffed and said that he wanted his mommy, so he left.

I just don't understand how anyone could be afraid of such a cute little dog. Yes, Vika was afraid of dogs one time and we have some rather funny stories of her being chased around the yard by our friends dog but she finally got over it because we didn't let her be a baby about it.

I love my dog, so if you come into my home, you better love her too!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Just a little bit of humor!

Today we had an assembly to celebrate Reading Month at school. The middle school classes all prepared some sort of presentation to perform to the elementary kids. One class did a reader's theatre of the book "The Squeaky Door". It's a very cute children's book with different animal characters that a grandmother puts to bed with her grandson when he is scared at night. One of the animals is a pig. When they read that part and had a student come out dressed as a pig, there were several gasps, and EWE's from the crowd. The reaction was quite funny. Now you have to understand that pigs are considered a real "no no" here in Saudi. No pork, no pigs, they are taboo here. Of course this is due to the Islamic religion which is totally fine, but it was funny to hear half the audience gross out because of the mention of a pig.

Some little kids don't even know what a pig is here. Rachel has been tutoring a little 8 year old boy from Sudan for the past few months trying to prepare him for entrance exams to several British schools here. She was going over animals and the names of their babies. She asked the boy what the name of a pig's baby is. He looked at her with a very puzzled look. She said "A pig, oink oink". He had no idea what she was talking about. She realized that he probably had never seen a pig before, not even a picture.

I think pigs are very cute. Of course, I wouldn't want one as a pet, but they just seem so cute, not to mention how good they taste.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Coat

One of Rachel's Christmas presents this year was getting an Arab coat here in Saudi. They are the warmest looking things I have ever seen. I think the real ones are made from camels skins but they now have all different kinds of styles. We looked at several shops in old Khobar for coats and found this little store that had tons of the traditional style which basically look like a blanket wrapped around you, as well as, other different versions. After trying a few on, some very strange ones, she decided on this. It is an auburn orange leather print lined with fake fur. It goes all the way to the ground. I think it is pretty cool. We bought this thinking she was going back to Utah in February and could use it there, but now that she won't be going back until April, it might sit in a closet until next winter when she is back in Idaho.
We took a walk along the Corniche several weeks ago and didn't go quite as prepared as we should have. It was freezing!!!! Yes, freezing!. We took a few pictures and left.
Technically we (the women) are supposed to cover our heads here in Saudi but not many do. The Mutawa (religious police) can ask us to cover up and if a real policeman is there they can escort us out of the area but it doesn't happen that often. I hadn't been bothered for 6 months until a few nights ago when we went to dinner down on the Corniche. We were walking around while we waited for prayer time to end and the Mutawa asked Rachel and I to please cover our heads. Of course they didn't talk directly to us, but told Gavin to have us cover our heads. The gentlemen was very polite but neither of us had a scarf so what could we do? We had heard stories about them being rude and to just ignore them and walk away but this guy wasn't rude at all. I felt it was rude of us to just walk away but we had no choice. I guess we better start carrying a scarf around with us.