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.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Birthday Surprises

This boy makes me so happy. Last night when we were out at dinner, he grabbed a crayon and started writing me the precious note you see above (click on it to enlarge). True, he got some help with spelling, and his first attempt at an "M" ended up upside down, but we were both very surprised...and impressed! He's still a year away from kindergarten, and we haven't worked on writing at all! Plus, what Mom wouldn't love a note like that?
I also got this delightful surprise from my thoughtful husband a few days ago. I had had a pretty rough day, and he went to two different stores to find a can of Dr. Pepper for me. I enjoyed every sip!

Thanks to my boys, it's already been a great birthday, and the big day isn't even here yet!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ramadan Kareem!

(So sorry about the terrible picture quality. They're all from my phone.)
The other day, the kids and I got to visit some friends for the big "breakfast" meal at sunset. My friend had spent the day cooking, and by the time we got there 30 minutes before sunset, everything was prepared. She served the dishes ahead of time, and then we waited for the signal that it was time to eat. The kids got to go ahead, so they were pretty much done by the time she and I took our first bite.
They don't have a kitchen table, so we ate on the coffee table in the living room. As you can see from the picture above, that meant that all of the food was perfectly within Sarah Claire's reach. Which means that my time was evenly divided between eating my food and keeping her fingers out of the rice.
This is the typical drink used the break the fast. It also was prepared and sitting out ready for about 30 minutes beforehand. It has dates and other dried fruits in it. You sort of half-drink, half-eat it, but it's good.
My friend had recenly gotten a kitten, and all the kids really enjoyed playing with her. They also enjoyed letting her slide down the slide that you can see in the top picture. I'm not so sure the kitten enjoyed it.
Another night this week, we went to our favorite restaurant to eat the "breakfast" meal. I know the picture above is blurry. Every picture I've ever taken of Sarah Claire with my phone is blurry because she does not know how to be still. But I posted it anyway, because she put that "hat" on her head all by herself and then just grinned and grinned because she was so proud of herself.
Outside the restaurant, they had a special kids' area set up for Ramadan. The kids got to choose a little cardboard cut-out and paint it. They each chose a Ramadan lantern and got to work.
As you can imagine, this thrilled our little artist to no end.
While the big kids were painting away, Sarah Claire was busy making friends with everyone in the mall. We're pretty sure this family might be making wedding plans now!

So those are some of our Ramadan adventures. We've still got three weeks to go, so I'm sure there will be more to come.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lanterns, Lanterns Everywhere!

It's that time of year again... Ramadan is upon us!

For the next thirty days, our friends and neighbors will be fasting from sunup to sundown, then feasting every evening and very late into the night. These lanterns are a Ramadan fixture in our country, and several weeks before the fasting starts, little lantern shops pop up all over the city. You can get one as tall as you are, or as small as keychain size. They have singing lanterns, flashing light lanterns, and all kinds of other fun varieties.
We're also observing an extra time change this year thanks to the holiday. We're turning clocks back an hour tonight (earlier sunset=earlier breaking fast), then turning them forward again at the end of the thirty days, then turning them back again at the end of September! We're probably just going to be a little confused about what time it is for the next few months.
As the locals say, "Ramadan Kareem!"