wherever you go


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I should be sleeping

We have a big day tomorrow – Our first family trip to the Khobar area!  I’m planning on getting up around 6:00, so I should really be asleep already.  And, yes, this will be the THIRD time I’m going to the Khobar/Dhahran/Dammam area in a week.  I’m excited to go with Stephen, though.  We plan on going to a car dealer, visiting some stores to look for things like a highchair for emery and washcloths, and going to lunch along the cornish with some friends.  The cornish is an area right along the ocean where there are parks, playgrounds, and restaurants.  We may also go to a souk (aka – souq, an open-air market) if we have time.

I have pictures and stories about my fun with a pomegranate, Myka’s silliness and the amazing things she says, and I’m sure there will be more to share after tomorrow.

But right now I’m going to bed!

Pray for safety during our drive tomorrow.  Thanks!

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TripS (two!) to Khobar

On Saturdays the compound bus goes to a grocery store called Lala which is about an hour away.  It’s in an area where three cities – Dammam, Khobar, and Dhahran – merge into one larger, busier city.  Last Saturday I took the kids and went with two friends.

First of all, I have to say that I am So glad I have friends here and that they went too because otherwise I don’t know how I would be able to take Myka to the bathroom or go to the bathroom myself.  Not only is there no lovely, large ‘family restroom,’ but there’s always the water on the floor (we can pretend it’s just water and remember I’m wearing a floor length robe…), usually no toilet paper, and a child who wants to touch Everything!  I have a toilet seat cover and carry some tissues on me, and we’ve done well so far.  But only because I’ve had someone with me who can watch Emery!

Ok, enough bathroom talk!

I was finally able to finish my grocery shopping!  Oh, well, almost…I didn’t get frozen or cold things because I didn’t bring a cooler, and we had an hour long trip home.  But it’s the closest I’ve come to being finished!  And next time I’ll take a little cooler if I need to buy cold things.  Someday I’ll figure out how to get everything on my list.  Whether that means shopping at certain stores at certain times or just revising my list is still something I’m working out.

The kids were really good on the bus and at the store.  Thank you, God, for fairly mellow children!  Myka sits and reads and is generally pretty good in these kind of situations.  Emery needs a little more attention and wrestling, but using food as an incentive to sit still works most of the time.  But if they wanted to run around and I had to try to keep both of them in seats, I don’t know how I would do it!

Today the same two friends, Myka, Emery, and I went to Khobar again, but we hired a driver to take us.  It was a much smoother drive in a minivan than in a bus, and the kids were in car seats.  I may have to take a car seat with me on the bus, at least for Emery.  It’s easier (and safer) to have the kids in car seats, but it’s hard enough to carry Emery and a bag to the bus.  I’m not sure how to bring along a car seat as well.

We went to the Dhahran Mall, stopped at a coffee shop there, and walked around.  I loved it. Getting out, seeing new places – it’s just fun. However, I was reminded by the dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and dirt on the floor that I’ve been neglecting my home.  I think one outing during the week may be our max!

On our way home we stopped at the vet and picked up a cat that had been spayed earlier this week.  She is doing well and lounging in her normal spot on our door step.  Myka and I spent some time out there with her this afternoon.  We got covered in cat hair, and she got some much loved attention.

Tomorrow I’ll handle the laundry, dishes, and dirt.  Tomorrow…


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One Day Weekend.

I have a strange work schedule.  I work 5 days one week with a 2 day weekend, then I work 6 days the next week with 1 day off.  I work from 7am until 6pm each day.

Try to run all errands and go grocery shopping in a country that closes everything 5 times a day for prayer, life gets a little complicated.

On Fridays, the muslim holy day of the week, stores don’t open until 4pm.

Yesterday, was my one day off for the week.  I had promised Kelsie I would get up with Emery if he fussed super early.  Sure enough, 4am.  I went over to his room and calmed him down.  After trying to put him back in his crib twice, I took him out to the living room to sleep on my chest with me.  It was great.  I love being able to snuggle with my little guy.  At 7am, like clockwork, he popped his head up all happy and smiley, hungry.  I took him back to Kelsie to get his morning breakfast snack and I went back to bed.  Kelse was wonderful and let me sleep for a little bit.

Eventually we were all up and awake and having a grand day off.  After naptime we decided to run some errands and go grocery shopping.  We left the house at 330pm so we would arrive when the stores just opened.  Kelsie needed a new hair dryer and hair straightener…  220volts.

4PM the store opened and along with the rest of the crowd waiting to go in, we started our shopping.  Once we finished our shopping, Myka decided she was hungry and wanted chicken nuggets.  McDonalds.  Family section.  Apparently, all the other families around here wanted chicken nuggets too.  Kelsie eventually found a booth, they all have curtains for family privacy, and I finally got our food.  Just as we were leaving I heard the call to prayer, time to wait again.

We headed over to our other destination and waited for the stores to open back up…  Soon enough it was time for grocery shopping.  We were halfway through our list and they started turning off the lights in the store.  Preparing for the next call to prayer.  I took the kids and stood in the long line at the checkout stand and Kelsie went back to find a few last minute items.

How are we ever supposed to get all our shopping done when we keep getting interupted? 

We are not sure, but we have enough groceries to last us until then.  🙂


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You know you live in Saudi Arabia when…

The word that a women is in the office building spreads like wildfire.  Then you feel compelled to walk by the office she is in just to see if youwere told the truth. 

This is not a big deal in much of the world but there have only ever been a handful of women allowed on the property, let alone in the offices.  We have no Women’s Restrooms.


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Cats

There are a lot of cats around here.  Only a few are friendly; most are pretty shy.  We ‘have’ one.  Haha! We fed it, so now it stays on our front mat and rubs against our legs when we go out.  Myka and Emery watch her and talk to her.

Tomorrow she goes to the vet to be fixed.

Two of our friends here have taken on the job of getting the cats in the compound spayed and neutered.  It keeps these fairly friendly ones here, stops other more wild cats from moving into the compound, and slows the growth of the cat population.  They also work on getting the friendlier cats adopted so that they are loved and cared for.

I may seem like a small, silly thing to care about – stray cats.  But they are here, and we are here, and we can do something little to help.

You can tell a lot about someone by how they treat animals.


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I’m just trying to make some cookies!

Figuring out how to bake was full of challenges today.

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First I had to set up this lovely arrangement.  The mixer plugs into the converter which plugs into an adapter which is plugged into the wall outlet.  At least my mixer didn’t burn up!

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Then I had to figure out how to measure my butter.  I had a 100g stick and a 400g block.  100g = 3 1/2 oz (thank you Google!).  A stick of butter in the US is 4oz.  So the stick that I had was less than my usual ‘1 stick,’ and I was just guessing at how much of the larger block was 4 1/2 oz.  (Still following?)  I wonder if having a kitchen scale would help?  Does anyone have experience with this?

I looked online and 375F is 190C.  But even equipped with this knowledge I burned my cookies.

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First, they baked faster than usual.  Also, the one side (the side with the pilot) was hotter.  So I moved the rack up and positioned the cookie sheet farther to the right, away from the pilot light.  I also turned the oven temperature down for the last two trays.  My children weren’t really helping.  I got distracted a couple times and could have taken the cookies out of the oven before they burned if I had been paying better attention.  So it’s not all the oven’s fault.  I do think I’ll get an oven thermometer, though.

While I was baking the cookies, my children were strangely quiet.  I found them in our back bedroom having fun with my basket of yarn.  Ok, that’s fine.  It was keeping them entertained.  It wasn’t until later that I realized what a big mistake I had made.  Myka had created a ‘nest’ from my yarn.  It would have made a fine nest, all woven together as it was.  There were six to eight balls of yarn all tangled together.  Oy.  I am good at untangling things (something I may have inherited from my Papa – my grandpa on my mom’s side) and unwound the various balls of yarn from the ‘nest’.  It only took a half hour or so.

Lunch time was also exciting.  We had our first plate + tile floor experience when Myka dropped her plate while bring it to me for another pancake.

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Just a couple chips, but that’s enough for it to have to be thrown out.  I moved Emery across the room, out of the way, and went for the dust pan and brush.  That boy moves quickly when you want him to stay out of something! I think he wanted to eat whatever had fallen on the floor. (We never feed him..)  So in my rush to get back I scratched my arm on the cupboard door.

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Ouch.  I already have a nice bruise on the same arm from running into a door handle.  New place clumsiness, I guess.

On a happier note, we have been going for a walk each day.  It’s very nice out – highs at 70-80F this week. We take the wagon; Emery is content to sit and ride while Myka hops in and out the whole time.  I am so glad we brought that wagon!

Today we stopped at the office to see when someone would be responding to our request to have our porch screened in.  They couldn’t find any request on file. so I filled out a new one.  Stephen has been in contact with them about this several times. They have to have the original request somewhere.  The man at the desk said maybe tomorrow.  Actually, he just Might have said someone would come by tomorrow.  I was having a hard time understanding him.  Hopefully it is done soon.  The mosquitoes are Awful, though I don’t think any of us have any bites.  There is often a swarm on the porch in the evening.  And they stay inside our empty moving boxes (which are stored out there until they become a Surprise for Myka) which is annoying because when I move the boxes they all come flying out.  Yuck.  That also means I will wait until our porch is screened in to make Myka’s Surprise.  I’m not sure how to get the bugs out before the screen is put up…  Any suggestions?

While on our walk, I talked to a couple moms that were outside watching children.  One of them wrote down my email address and will invite me to the compound’s facebook group for the moms who live here.  That will be fun; it will be good to meet some other families.

And that was our…what day is it??…..Tuesday!