Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Is that bacon and eggs I smell?

Toward the end of July Stacey and I both caught an amoeba. The result was that we spent several days struggling to get comfortable and with little sleep. It is not life threatening. I only had to buy and take some medicine that cost about $4.00 and was feeling better in no time. Stacey did not even have to take the medicine. However, our sleep schedule was turned upside down (which in Egypt is right side up)and since we were preparing for an important language evaluation we simply stayed up late to study and then slept in. After being sick for three days we were so tired that we slept through the sound of the alarm clock and the time to get the kids up for Hadonna. We awoke to Matthew Ray beside us hitting the side of the bed softly saying, "I think someone is at the door Mommy and Daddy." Well Mr. Sayed, our taxi driver had been waiting patiently (he loves us) for about five minutes. Long story short is that I had to ask him to return in half an hour. This brings us to the picture. Stacey and I began moving franticly to get the kids ready for Hadonnah. Fifteen minutes later the door bell rang. When I opened the door, still in my pjs, Mr. Sayed entered with two plastic bags and a big smile. In the bags was a traditional Egyptian breakfast made for Muslim holidays and festivals. The white stuff is called ashure-ah. It is a recipe of milk solids, wheat (cooked until it pops), and cinnamon (mmmm- just like mom used to make). It is served with bread and milk tea(hot milk, tea from a bag or just grounds, and sugar) which we made in the kitchen but is not pictured above. About the time Mr. Sayed arrived our language helper arrived eager to begin language lessons but Mr. Sayed was insistent that we eat first. Somehow Stacey found a way to graciously decline the ashure-ah so I had the pleasure of ashure-ah all to myself (well, Matthew Ray did eat a couple of bites). There we were. Kids were running around half dressed tearing through the apartment, Mr. Sayed ready to "celebrate good times" over traditional Egyptian fare, and our clueless but tactful language helper trying to figure out what was going on. And oh yes, Stacey and I were still in our pjs at the table, our hair hadn't seen a comb and our teeth hadn't seen a toothbrush. We were all at the table. After it was over it had been a very interesting morning which we have come to understand is par for the course in Egypt.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Just Memories!

We were looking through some pictures on the computer and just had a walk down memory lane!! We came across a lot so these are just a few! We will post another slide show soon of more memories!! Oh, so sweet to remember!!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Off to Hadonna

Madison and Matthew Ray have changed hadonna's (pre-school). They have been attending this new hadonna for about 2 months and they love it. The first hadonna that they attended looked very beautiful on the surface but they cried every morning when we dropped them off and complained every afternoon when we picked them up. We heard of another hadonna that only had Arabic speaking so we decided to try it out. When we first saw the place, we couldn't believe it. It was very run down and only had a very small garden for playing outside (the first one had a big area with a swimming pool!) We were very leery about sending them because of the appearance but we decided to try it. You know, kids don't really care about appearances but they do care about how people treat them. The teachers at the hadonna adore them and they adore the teachers. The big plus is that their Arabic is improving every day!

Here they are excited about leaving for another school day!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Matthew Ray under Arrest!

Tonight Matthew Ray had a hard time obeying! Imagine that?? A three year old boy having a hard time obeying??? How could that sweet little thing ever do anything wrong!? After several warnings, punishment was put into action. Now the interesting thing about this is that we have never had our children put their nose against the wall. We use many other forms of punishment but we had never tried the wall. I (Stacey) decided to try it. He stood there for at least 7-8 minutes without moving and then decided that he would "obey from now on." We watched him and thought he was so cute standing there and we just we had to take a picture. The funny thing about this punishment is that we think he really liked it! Maybe he thought it was like cops and robbers and he was under arrest!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Arabic Verbs are killing us!!!!

We are now deep into our language study and it's getting harder each day. The first part of our program was pretty easy because all we had to do was memorize names for nouns such as couch, chair, floor, cat, etc... Well, the easy part is over!! We have discovered that each verb in Arabic has over 50 forms: There are 8 conjugations of each verb, there's 48 with past, present, future and negations for each, then 8 infinitives and 3 participles for each. So, that is clearly over 50 ways to say ONE VERB!!!!!
Here's a short video of our language helper saying one verb (study) ONLY in it's present and past tense forms.
By the way, we wrote this in transliteration because we haven't learned to read and write very well with their alphabet!! :) I THINK WE ARE LOSING OUR MINDS!!!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We are wearing Lips

Lips???? Yes, that's the Arabic word for "clothes." Here I am with my friends who visited me from the states, Mr. Siede's wife, Mrs. Mona, and one of their daughters. Mrs. Mona made all of these tops for us! She is one of the sweetest ladies in the world. I have had a hard time finding sheets that were big enough for our beds. I told Mrs. Mona about it and she took me to find sheet material and offered to make some. She made new sheets for me last week and then brought the entire family over to help put them on all of my beds!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Delivery, anyone?

One of the most amazing things about living here is the delivery service. We love the delivery services and use them often. One of the kid's favorites is having ice-cream sudays delivered from McDonalds. EVERYONE, except Starbucks, delivers!! Here is a shot of the most common form of delivery automobile. As you can see, this one is from Pizza Hut but our grocery store delivers MANY bags of groceries with this same form of transportation!! It is an amazing sight to see!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Girl's Night Out

Disney Princess on Ice came to our city this month. So, we decided to make it a girl's night out with some of our friends. We had so much fun and as you can see in the last picture, Madison cried when it was over!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I love you more than 5 days....

Matthew Ray is really in love with his mommy. He is also the earliest riser in our family. One early morning last week he climbed into our bed just like he does every morning. This early greeting is not always warmly welcomed by mom and dad. Usually he lays there for a little while and then talks me (Stacey) into making him breakfast. This particular morning he didn't ask for breakfast first. He climbed into the bed, reached over and kissed me and then said, "I love you mommy...more than 5 days and all the world and Jesus!" I think he was trying to express as much love as a 3 year old can! I love him that much, too!

This is a picture of us when he was about 11 months old. Wow! How times flies!!

Here we are about 8 months ago in Florida.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Giving to the needy

While shopping one day, Meredith ran into this little girl. Before we knew it Meredith had given her money and a drink. Right after this picture was taken, Meredith walked into the shop where we were browsing and she began to cry. It makes her sad to see sights such as these. Two days later we were on the opposite side of town and she saw this same little girl begging for money again. It makes us so sad to see children put in these positions to beg for their family. I am so thankful for Meredith and her tender heart! What a great daughter and what a great asset to our family!

Don't Shoot!!!

Here's Matthew Ray protecting his belly dancing sister with a flash light and backward's underwear! They keep us in stiches all day, everyday!!!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Birthday Party for Jenna and Meredith

Jenna and Meredith have been best friends for several years. While Jenna visited here, we celebrated both girl's birthday. Jenna's is July 8 and Meredith's is August 14-We took them to Planet Africa for the celebration!
Take note of Matthew Ray's excitement in the video below:

Matt, the Bubble Man

When we visited the Garbage City School we also got to sing songs and play with the children. Here is Matt with the "little one's" blowing bubbles! They loved the bubbles! In fact, we have found that bubbles are great for all kids that live here. Meredith is thinking about starting a "bubble project."

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Gifts from Home!!!!

Our friends bought and collected gifts for months before they came to visit. This first picture is of Amber talking to Meredith on the phone before the ladies left Florida. She is sitting in front of large bags of gifts! When the ladies arrived they wanted to come straight to our house to open all of the SEVEN suitcases FULL of presents! We had the children all leave the room while our friends made STACKS of gifts for each child. As they were unpacking, Matt and I carried LOADS of food, clothes and bathroom stuff and put them up! WOW! We had Christmas in June!!!! (scroll down to see the entire list of gifts!) Thank you sooooo much Karen, Holly, Mariah, Crystal, Heather, Paul, Sherry, Alex, Jenna and CBC!!!!!! We love you sooooo much! You are awesome!

Here is the amazing list of gifts:
16 lotions
2 body washes
3 body sprays
1 srunchy
toothbrush and toothpaste
door hanger for wreath
Abe's honey
Jacket for Stacey
Christmas Tree and lights (and my CAVE, thanks Paul!)
Easter baskets and decorations for years!
Travel coffee mug
19 brownie mixes
$100 in IPOD music cards
11 shirts for Matt
21 muffin mixes
2 bags of grits
7 cookie mixes
5 cans of Purple Hull Peas
2 bottles of Hot sauce
12 cans of rotel
6 cans of mandarin oranges
2 packs of oreos
5 giant coffee mate French Vanilla Creamers!!!!
2 powdered creamers
3 Maxwell House coffees
Wickers BBQ sauce
3 Large Taco Seasonings
6 small taco seasonings
1 large vanilla extract
5 salsa seasonings
50 packs of strawberries and cream oatmeal
6 bottles of Adult Benadryl
5 containers of insect repellant
Cappucino mix
1 large bag of M&M's
15 packs of Easy mac and Easy Hamburger Helper
2 packs of stuffing mix
4 bags of chocolate chips
ENORMOUS PILE OF CLOTHES FOR ALL KIDS!!!!-Meredith's stack went to her knees and Madison and MR's stack went to their waists!
23 packs of ranch dressing mix
B-day candles
3 Merle Norman make-ups or Stacey
10 shirts for Stacey
3 pants for Stacey
1 skirt for Stacey
Palm Pilot
3 boxes of Pop-tarts
2 Bath and Body room sprays
Alabama T-shirt for Matt
Alabama phone case for Matt
LOADS of TOYS for kids!!!!!!(Nathan, Patrick and Joe-MR loves all of the cool boy stuff)
57 music CD's and DVD's
5 books for Stacey
6 books for Matt
computer chill mat
9 Days of Amazing fun with Great friends!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Sewing Center at Gabage City

We had a chance to visit a different part of garbage city. There is a sewing center to teach young girls and women trades to provide jobs for their future. We were able to watch them use looms, make quilts and make paper. Stacey and her female friends loved watching these women and spending time with them.

This is a picture of Garbage City from a mountain overlook. These houses are literally covered in trash.

These women are making paper gift bags with fresh flowers embedded in the paper.

This is a loom for making blankets, purses and rugs. When these girls graduate from this program they can purchase one of these looms as their own for a very small price.

Stacey with some of the girls-she hopes to go back a lot and spend more time with them!!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Visiting a Garbage City School

We had some friends come and visit us for about 10 days and we were able to see and do some very exciting things. One of the most exciting was visiting a school in Garbage City. We sang songs, blew bubbles, gave gifts and loved on the kids. We were also able to present them with books for EVERY class!!! Some friends of Stacey's parents sent money to buy books for these precious children! They only teach from chalk boards and do not have any books in the school. Look at their faces when we gave them the books!!!!

Meredith, Madison and Matthew Ray had a great time passing out the books! They were so excited to GIVE!

Here's Stacey with one of the teachers and one of the directors of the school. The man in the picture is one of the directors. He grew up in this school and is now giving back!!!