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.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Excited Little Girl

It has been so much fun to watch Lee Anna respond to and process the news that she's going to have a new sibling. She is thrilled! The night that we told her, she got so giggly and giddy with excitement. She said over and over, "I'm so excited. I'm so excited. (giggle, giggle) I'm so excited!"

Here are a few other precious and funny conversations we've had recently:

1. Lee Anna has been asking God for a while now to give her a baby sister, so I was explaining to her that now we need to keep praying for our baby while God puts him or her all together. I was listing some of the parts God will give our baby (arms, heart, head, etc.), and she said, concerned, "What if God put the baby's arm on her head and her leg on her tummy? Then He would have to start all over!"

2. On the same night they found out about the baby, she and Sawyer were trying to "talk" to him or her through my stomach. I told Lee Anna that eventually she could talk and the baby would hear her, but that our baby didn't even have ears or eyes or a mouth yet. She thought about it for a minute and asked, "Well does she have any necklaces?"

3. Like I mentioned in the previous post, we were VERY afraid that Lee Anna would tell our parents before we got to surprise them with the news. The scariest moment came on Saturday, just two days before the surprises were scheduled to take place. Papaw and Mimi called and wanted to do a video chat over the computer. I didn't have a good reason not to, so despite our fears that Lee Anna would say something, we agreed. Before they called on the computer, I had a talk with Lee Anna.

"Mimi and Papaw don't know about our new baby yet, and we can't tell them because it's going to be a big surprise. It's really, really important that you not say anything at all about the baby, okay?" She thought for a minute, and then came up with this solution:

"Can I just tell them you have a toy in your tummy?" She was dead serious.

"No, Lee Anna. NOTHING about Mommy's tummy."

She finally agreed, and we started the chat. To our great surprise and relief, she proved herself to be an excellent secret keeper. I didn't know she had it in her, but she talked to them for at least twenty minutes (with my finger on the "end call" button the whole time) and never once mentioned my tummy.

Looks like it's going to be an exciting and entertaining nine months!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Spreading the News Part 2

Just a few hours after the big hospital celebration (see below), GG and Grandpa had a little celebration of their own. We enlisted a little help from their neighbors, who put together this precious picture frame. We had asked them to just get some kind of baby gift and give it to Jason's parents, but they wanted to make it clear exactly who was having this new baby, so they came up with the picture frame idea. We loved it! They wrapped up the frame and took it over to GG & Grandpa's house. I'll let you just enjoy the rest of the pictures. :)

We got an excited phone call shortly after this last one was taken!

So now the news is out and we're glad to be able to talk freely about the new baby. We were more than a little scared that a certain four-year-old might spill the beans before we could pull off all the surprises, but she made us proud and kept our little secret. At least she kept it from the four grandparents. Random people she met on the street--now that was a different story!

It won't be too long before we're posting pictures of the same grandparents holding their new little bundle of joy. That will be even better than a picture frame!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Spreading the News

We've had fun sharing the news of this pregnancy with our friends and family--especially with the grandparents. Since we'll be in the states next year when this baby is born and will get to deliver at the hospital where Papaw works, we thought it would be fun to let some people from the hospital share the good news with Mimi and Papaw.

I contacted a friend who works with my dad, and he said he would be more than happy to put the announcement together. He also contacted Mimi and asked her to be at the hospital Monday morning for a special presentation. She thought they were giving Papaw an award, so it was a big surprise for her, too!Here they are receiving the "award." They were given a mock birth certificate for "Grandchild #3" to arrive sometime in June 2009. As you can see, they also had baby balloons (one It's a Girl balloon and one It's a Boy balloon since we don't know yet) and even a sweet baby doll for Mimi to hold.
Uncle Andy had even come to see Papaw receive his award! He's excited about his new niece or nephew, and has begun referring to himself as a "Truncle," for "triple uncle."
This is my very favorite part! Someone had the hilarious idea of putting Papaw's face on this ultrasound picture. They gave it to him in a frame that says, "Me and My Grandpa." Too funny!

I hope to have a picture soon to show you how we broke the news to GG and Grandpa. We had some help with that one, too, and they were also very surprised. We're so grateful to have this exciting news to share. What an amazing miracle!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Three Times Blessed

I thought you all might like to see the Father's Day card that Jason just got. I know it's not Father's Day yet, but, well, you can read it for yourselves...

We are very excited to be expecting our third precious blessing sometime next June! Lee Anna is already convinced it's the sister that she's been asking for for months, and is telling the world that her mommy has a baby sister in her tummy. It will be several months before we can be sure about that, but either way, we know we're in for lots of fun with a new little arabmusician added to our clan.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Birthday Time Again

Daddy celebrated a birthday this week, and while I don't have any pictures of the cake & ice cream we all enjoyed, I did get a few shots of the present-finding-and-opening festivities.
We always hide all the presents and the birthday boy or girl has to play "hot or cold" to find them. At this age, however, the kids like to do the hiding AND the finding. It's entertaining, but not very challenging.

Daddy gave us a little help picking out the khaki vest above as his present. He's spent so much time leading tours around ancient historical sites in the last few months that he thought he needed a vest to really look like a tour guide.

Happy Birthday, Daddy! We all love you a lot!

Monday, October 13, 2008

City Scenes

Sometimes, when our blog posting slows down, it's because we just don't have much to blog about. Other times, it's because we're so busy having experiences worth blogging about that we don't have time to actually sit down and do it. This is one of those times. We're in the midst of a very busy, very fun month, with lots of visitors from the states. We love having people visit us for lots of reasons--believe it or not, it's not just because they bring us goodies.

One of the things we love about having visitors is that we get to see our host country with brand new eyes again. We're reminded of all the things that used to strike us as so strange and funny and noteworthy that have now become as normal to us as stoplights and mailboxes are to you.

As any good tourists would, our visitors have gone nowhere without a camera in hand. We're glad for this, because they're often much braver about taking pictures than we are. So, without further ado, we're excited to share with you a slideshow of scenes from across our amazing city, courtesy of our new friends, who we're pretty sure broke all previous records held for number of pictures taken in a single trip! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

We're such proud parents!

I discovered recently that our son is even more advanced than we thought. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, he is in the 95th percentile for weight for children his age. Those of you who've seen the way he eats rice are probably not a bit surprised. One day last week, after picking both kids up and realizing how similar it felt, I took them both to the scales for a little weigh-off. You can read the results for yourselves.

That's right. Twenty-three months and one pound apart. No wonder people ask us if they're twins!

Now if only he can carry that high achieving into other categories, like academics...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Photo Shoot!

This pose was Lee Anna's idea, probably because I have this one framed on my bedside table where she sees it often. They've grown a little since May!

Love that Kool-Aid mouth!

The last one was also Lee Anna's idea, if you couldn't guess.