We're Jason, Beth, Lee Anna, Sawyer, and Sarah Claire, a family of five living, learning, and laughing lots in Northern Africa.
We hope you can learn a little (and maybe laugh a little too) as you read about our latest adventures.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Geography Stars

The ArabMusicians Family Homeschool has commenced classes for the 2011-12 school year. We have some travels planned for this fall, so the Headmistress decided that August 1 would be a good start-date.

When you grow up on a different continent than the one where your parents grew up, geography has a much more tangible application than it might for more "normal" kids. The "Twins" are learning to locate all the countries this year, but the first task is to identify the continents. They have a little song that aids in memory. If you watch closely, you might notice that one kid seems to be leading and one kid seems to be following, but they're both singing and pointing at the continents. And, in his defense, I'm pretty sure when I was Sawyer's age, I thought "South America" meant Georgia and Florida, and "North America" meant North Carolina or other distant locales.

And I'm certain that when I was 2 I could no more have located France on a map than I could have built an airplane from toothpicks to fly there. Check this out:

She actually knows lots more, but usually declares "Finish!" after only three or four. I guess we'll cut her some slack for now, though.

These kids seem to be doing well. And they have one sharp teacher leading the way!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hopping the Equator

Well, we didn't want to let Sawyer and Lee Anna have all the fun this month, so we took a little trip of our own this past weekend. The three of us made our first little trek into the southern hemisphere and spent four days in Kenya!
Sarah Claire might not be able to tell you about the gorgeous trees and flowers, the incredible wildlife, or the beautiful tea plantations all around us, but she knows this: THEY HAVE A PLAYGROUND! I might post some more of those pictures later, but for now here's our little world traveler having fun on the playground.
She has definitely given it a workout!
"Yook at me, Mama! I fwide!"
It has been really fun to see a different part of Africa and enjoy the incredible beauty and cooler temperatures of this place.
What was really NOT fun was the two days Sarah Claire and I (Beth) spent sick in bed during our stay here. We were actually only supposed to be here for two days, but we had to extend our trip a little because we were too sick to travel on Saturday.
Although this clinic was just about 50 feet from our door, I wasn't sure I was even going to make it over there on Saturday morning. Thankfully, I did, and the doctor was very helpful. We've been resting and recovering for a few days now, and very soon we'll be headed back to the city to catch our flight home. We hope our next post will be from our much-hotter-and-drier-and-not-quite-so-beautiful-but-still-home-to-us home.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Hurry Back, Guys!

So, what does a small, two-year-old, third child do if the two bigger ones aren't on the scene for a few days?  It seems the one in our family is eating up the extra attention! Lee Anna and Sawyer hopped on a plane with Uncle Andy last week to spend three weeks visiting grandparents and cousins on the other side of the pond. So little Sarah Claire is getting to experience being an only child. Did we ever say it was hard when we just had one kid? Turns out it's really not.

Here are the big kids by the door with their carry-on bags loaded with 24 hours' worth of entertainment.

Before they left, Lee Anna had a brief Ukrainian language lesson with Uncle Andy. She learned to say several words and phrases, and learned some of their alphabet, too. (The English part was written by Sawyer.)
But now, it's just Mom, Dad, and Sarah Claire! She got all dressed up in her new "Fancy Nancy" dress. But she didn't like being called "Fancy Nancy!" "NO!! Sarah Claire!!"
Have you ever seen anything as fierce as this ferocious bear?  She loves to put on the mask and growl at us.

She took the mask off and then said "Again." Then proceeded to put it on upside down.
She's a sweetie!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Yook at me! I'm two!

She can't quite pronounce the "l" in look correctly, but it's awfully cute the way she says it. And she's definitely proud to be two!
I'm a little late with this post. We celebrated Sarah Claire's birthday just two days after her big sister's, but I'm just now getting around to sharing a few of the pictures. She was still feeling a bit under the weather on the big day, so she got to spend all of her second birthday at home. We did have some friends join us for dinner, which she loved!
She might not have felt good all day, but she perked up when it was present time. She still needs a lot of help with our traditional hot-and-cold birthday present game, but the big kids were happy to oblige.
She got so excited about every single present. She wanted to put on her new pink tennis shoes from Mimi right away, and she also wanted me to take her other gifts out of their packaging RIGHT NOW. In two-year-old speech, her request for me to "Open it" sounds something like "Ommit, Mama! Ommit!"
I know all moms say this, but I really can't believe she's two already!
She wanted to wear her crown when it was cake time...
...and had lots of help blowing out the candles. Happy Birthday, Sweet Princess!
And this pic isn't actually from her birthday, but I wanted to include it. I got this sweet shot on Father's Day. I sure do love those four.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's that time again...

All the little girls in our house are having birthdays this week! We started on Monday with Lee Anna. We had originally planned a fun outing for that day, but because of a sick little sister, we had to postpone it. Instead, we had a fun day celebrating at home, which is really very appropriate because there is nowhere this girl would rather be. She's definitely our little homebody!
She took it upon herself to plan our entire menu for the day, starting with butterscotch pancakes.
Hers had a candle, of course. Mimi brought her the cute crown, which she decorated herself. She's been saving it to wear on the big day!
For some reason, Lee Anna decided several months ago that she really, really wanted a piggy bank. Well, her dreams finaly came true when she opened this present from G.G.! She was thrilled. 
Instead of a cake, she requested gingerbread cookies, so that's what we made. She picked out the cookie cutters, too--flowers, butterflies, stars, and snowmen. Because, really, what June birthday in the desert is complete without a good snowman cookie?
She loves her new My Twinn doll and their matching pjs.
For her final birthday meal, she chose hot dogs and hamburgers, and for dessert--marshmallows roasted over the grill! We had a fun day celebrating our oldest, growing-up-way-too-fast princess.

Happy Birthday, Lee Anna Belle! We love you.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Two Down, Eleven to Go

Today is a happy day for our Lee Anna Belle. After winding down over the last few weeks, she has officially completed first grade! First she finished up her handwriting book (see her showing off the finished product above), and earlier this week we read our last chapter of history for the year. We've covered creation all the way to the fall of Rome in 476 A.D. Not bad for one year, if you ask me. I know I've learned a ton!

The only lingering subject was math, and today she finally completed the last section in her workbook. Below she's texting her daddy to tell him the good news. The text read: Done with math:)
We let her choose where to go for a special celebration dessert after lunch today, and she chose ice cream, "with sprinkles," of course.

I am so proud of Lee Anna and all that she has done this year. I will forever cherish the memories of her first grade year: laughing together about Mr. Popper and his funny penguins, wiping away many a tear (from my eyes, not hers!) as we read heartwarming stories about people around the globe, watching her learn to do the math even when she's convinced she can't, listening to her sweet voice reading to me and to her siblings, seeing her really get excited about playing the piano, and just having lots of fun living lots of life together. I am so grateful for the chance homeschooling has given us to share these moments. It's a special gift to be her mom--and her teacher! I can't wait to see what adventures are in store for second grade.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Fun With English

Now that we've spent half a decade trying to function in a language that's not really ours, you'd think we'd have a lot of patience with people who are trying to master the language that really is ours. And we do have a lot of patience, but sometimes we just have to laugh a little.

This first example was so far from meaningful that we had to read the Arabic above it to even see where they were going. It's on the bottom of a menu at one of our favorite local restaurants. Any guesses what they mean by "Adide one pount for pepole Prid." ? I might have written, "there will be a one pound per person charge for bread." But they didn't ask me to write it. Click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.

There's a new restaurant next to McDonald's. We're not sure what they have. Their sign proclaims "Hot, Chilly and More." Do you think they mean "Hot Chili?" or are they just telling us the various temperatures their foods can be served?

This taxi made us laugh with some unintentional humor (we think). It says "The Transporter," which almost sounds like a pro wrestler's nickname. But it's a taxi, a real-live transporter. That's not funny, is it?

Lee Anna saw this sign and said, "Hey! If we rent the whole continent, we can have our own empire!" Our home-school curriculum seems to be pretty strong in world history.

And we had to study this one a while to see what they meant by coiffeur for Ledas. What's a Leda? The opposite of a followa? No, based on the picture and the Arabic text, we're pretty sure they were aiming for "Ladies." Yeah, it's not that close.

And we just tried to imagine how fast the American lawyers would be lined up to go after this one if Walmart or Target tried to hang this sign over a checkout line. If you haven't clicked on this one yet, it says "priority for ladies and disabled." It really does. I guess the English is okay, but as they often tell me about things I say in Arabic, we just wouldn't really say that.

Little Princess

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Just Some Beach Pics

We got to take a short beach getaway with a few friends earlier this month. Here are some pictures of the fun we had!