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.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Streams in the Desert

We've been here a little better than four years now, and this is the second time we've seen enough rain to measure. In America, rain is considered a good thing. Here, well, it's a little different. This past Thursday was rainy-looking all day. It showered a little in the morning, and just stayed cloudy and damp all day.
Then, about 6:00, we started seeing lightning in the sky. Before we knew it, the wind was howling, and the rain was gushing and we even saw some hail! It made us a little nervous when we heard the hail tapping on the windows. It made the little ones more than a little nervous!
Lee Anna's rain gauge had over an inch of rain in it Friday morning. Of course, that's on the edge of our balcony, under the edge of someone else's balcony, but it had an inch of water in it from somewhere.
The bedrooms in our house each have glass doors to the small balconies, but we discovered that they're not really water-tight. We rolled up some towels next to each door and held back the deluge.
These street pictures were taken the next day, probably 18 hours after the rain had stopped. When you only have water in the roads once or twice a decade, it's not really worth investing millions of dollars in a drainage system. It'll be dry in a day or two.
The trees are all green and pretty today, but all of the dirt that had collected on them is now in the roads. When it rains here is a lot like when it snows in the South. People aren't really used to driving in water, and everybody that can stay home does. We had meetings cancelled Friday, and I saw lots of stores closed on Thursday while it was still sprinkling.
This last picture is of the hailstones collected in a planter off our front porch. There's not a local Arabic word for "snow," or "hail," so we just call it all "ice." But I was reading a local online paper Friday morning and clicked the Google Translate button and in English it said there had been snow in our city! No, there wasn't. But a good thunderstorm is just about as rare as snow here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Check Me Out!

Now that I'm eight months old, I have much better things to do than sit down and wait to be photographed! I've been practicing my new stand-up trick for the last few weeks, and today I let my monkey stand beside me for my picture.
Now I just need to teach him how to stick his tongue out!
Here's my serious face. What do you think?
And a few more smiley ones, just because my mom likes them all!

Happy Eight Months to Me!
Love, Sarah Claire

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valen's Time Day!

I'm not sure what a Valen is, but we're celebrating his time at our house today. :)
Lee Anna got flowers from her Daddy, which made this "the very best day ever!"She made cards for everyone this morning, and she was so proud to read Sawyer's to him when he came home. We also made special Valentine pizzas (above) and cookies (below).
We hope you've been able to spend this day with people you love. Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fun With Friends

We've had a lot of fun guests in our home over the past week, and have been able to enjoy some parts of both of the places we call "home."

First, last weekend, my friend and her two daughters came over for dinner. I asked her to help me make some local dishes, and we had fun preparing the feast you see below. The kids on the right are a little more excited about the local dishes than the kids on the left, but they all enjoyed the rice!After dinner, we found a game that crossed the language barrier--Memory! Jason and the kids taught the other girls how to play, and they all had lots of fun finding matches and naming the pictures in English and Arabic.
On Monday, it was time for some all-American entertainment--the Super Bowl!

(By the way, after we'd been talking about it for several days, I realized that Lee Anna was calling it the "Super Goal." I can see why. She knew that "goal" was a sports word, but didn't know what a "bowl" would have to do with a football game!)
We were interested in seeing the game, but not interested enough to stay up all night, so we did what we've done in years past and watched the recorded game on Monday evening. We had to avoid our computers all day Monday in order to not find out who won ahead of time, but we managed to do it.

We had a fun group of Americans here to watch the game with us. In honor of Jason's New Orleans roots, we made red beans and rice.
Some girls even made a King Cake! They had a little trouble finding a baby to put it in, though, so they substituted the closest thing they could find--a baby rubber ducky! I'm guessing that's a first.
Sawyer and his friend Chase decided to get in on the football action themselves.
And Sarah Claire entertained the crowd by smiling with her tongue out and climbing all over her Daddy. It seems like lately her tongue has spent more time out of her mouth than inside it. I'm not really sure why, although it might have something to do with the two new teeth that have poked through this week. (On second thought, judging from this picture, it might just be genetic!)
This last picture isn't from the party, but she wanted to show off her newest trick. She's figured out how to pull up to standing, and is practicing every chance she gets!
It won't be long before she's wobbling her way around the house. Can this really be my baby?