Friday, May 18, 2012

A belated post and an update

April 20, 2012

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Everybody but Liam making a funny face. (Liam's making a teenage face)

To say that we are still recovering from our visit with grandparents would be a bit of an understatement. We pack a month of excitement into a mere seven days. You've got to pay on one end or the other. The kids have been getting caught up with school, contrary to popular opinion homeschooling is not all fun and games even if the students get to attend class in their pajamas. Work has been full for me. One of the exciting things about working in this environment it that it's constantly changing. Flexibility is helpful in maintaining one's sanity. Change does tend to be a little wearing, but it's a lot better than a rut.

Easter kind of came and went without much fanfare. We had prepared by buying a bag of mini-egg peanut butter cups (yes, you can get anything here), but we ended up buying them a little too early and the temptation proved too much to resist. We replaced the bag after Easter and had a little hunt around the apartment (one of the downsides of middle-east living is the lack of post holiday candy discounts). Last Saturday was our ward Easter party. It was a beautiful day and the kids had a lot of fun. Julie got a much needed respite while I took the kids for the copious quantities of food and fun. It was a combined ward activity so it was great to see a few faces we haven't seen in a while. The people in our ward are here for all kinds of reasons and I've really enjoyed the opportunity to socialize with such a diverse group of people.

Also, last week we had the opportunity to watch Hugo together as a family. Some good friends of ours had given us the movie Hugo. We had read the book but the 3D turned us off from seeing the movie in the theatre. It turned out to be a wonderful little film with some nice performances and beautiful cinematography.

What was a little surprising was what Lucy loved most about the movie. Her favorite parts of the movies were the brief scenes where they showed clips from classic silent films. I guess it's time to bust out the Chaplin and the Keaton films. That'll be a lot of fun. I always get a kick out of how much the kids enjoy the Errol Flynn Robin Hood. I,ve always been a firm believer in not showing my kids anything I wouldn't sit down and watch with them. Hence, not a single Barbie film in our entire collection. There's so much good and appropriate entertainment out there that there should never be a reason to waste our time with feature length toy commercials (Cars 2 I'm talking to you!)

Julie finished reading Down the Mysterly River to the kids this week. I had read it a few months before and can't help but believe that most readers of this blog would really enjoyed the adventures of the boy detective and his good friends. McTavish the cat is easily one of my favorite characters in literature. There's mystery, adventure and goodness. What more could you ask for in a story?

May 18, 2012

Well, It's been weeks since I've written and even longer since I last posted. We've been incredibly busy--it seems like we never stop, but there's been little of note happening in our lives. We have been focusing on school and there have been a number of projects at work that have been interesting, but we're not being as adventurous as perhaps we could be. It's bee almost two years since we arrived and we've seen surprisingly little of the country. Apart from Dubai, we really haven't visited any of the other Emirates. Our hope is to get out a little more this summer since we're not going anywhere. It's amazing how unadventurous one can be in such an exotic place.

A good chunk of our kitchen not in our kitchen.
We continue to struggle with cockroaches. Julie continues to be a trooper, but I think that she's starting to get a little worn down by the whole experience. It's pretty difficult to empty one's kitchen of every pot, pan and can of food without experiencing a little stress. Did I mention that she home schools too? She's an amazing lady, who, I think would relish the opportunity to be a little less amazing.

Karate Master in action

"Did you just take my picture? How dare you!"

Liam's karate continues to improve. As with any skill, the better he gets at it, the harder he has to work to see noticeable improvement. He is dedicated and consistent in ways make me want to be better. Lucy continues to knit with great enthusiasm and skill. It seems like her hands are always knitting whether she's watching something on TV or reading a book. Miranda is a whirlwind of creativity. If she,s not writing a new play or creating an artistic masterpiece from discarded scraps of fabric, she's dancing. She doesn't know how to move without bounding. It's quite inspiring. James is improving his skills with Lego. He's getting to be quite the builder and we're grateful for his talents, even if the debris from his creations making walking in his room a little treacherous.

Of course, I took the kids to see The Avengers when it opened. Julie was generous enough to let us go without her. (I did make it up to her by taking her the following week. It was very generous of me sitting through that movie a second time if I do say so myself) The kids loved it, but they had been primed to,and the shwarma gag only made us feel like we're a little ahead of the curve. I think I've done a fairly good job of raising my kid to appreciate the finer elements of geek culture. Unfortunately, they know absolutely nothing about sports. I need to remedy that so they can at least bluff their way through small talk in the future.