Thursday, January 29, 2009

Playing Outside...

Since we don't have a backyard where we live, we have to find places to play outside. One of the places that is near us is a small grassy area beside a mosque. Matt and Eric took the kids to play there the other day with a huge soccer ball. It was a hit...almost too much of a hit! The kids and MEN came out of the woodworks (well here I guess you could say "concreteworks") to play with this amazing big soccer ball. They had a good time playing but after a little while our crew was ready to come got a little crowded and crazy if you know what I mean!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Boys Rule....Girls..????

It is a boy's world around here this week for sure! Caleb and Matthew Ray have officially taken over the Wii and have kicked the girls to the curb! Now this would not be okay all of the time....but this week...this is how it is...and it is great! Matthew Ray deals with girly stuff on a regular basis. He is so excited to have Caleb here and to just have another boy to "rule" with him!

Here's a shot of Madison pulling all of her "girly stuff" out of the living room after she was "removed" from the Wii playing area...:)
The men are in charge!

We have Visitors!!!!

Eric and Caleb got here safe and sound. It was more than enough to just come visit us but they came with LOADS of gifts! I don't even think they packed clothes for themselves! :) Thank you to all of those from Calvary who sent are super blessed!
We are so excited to have them here and have already had a busy time! I hope to post several times during the week to show you what we are doing!
Amber sent Bella Balerina to Madison. She LOVES it!!!
Here we are buried under gifts.
New dress up clothes and "Princess Madison" books!

Matthew Ray and Caleb actually wanted this picture alone but they were nice and let Madison in!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

She's Gonna Be an Actress...

I was looking back through some pictures from this past year and found this series of pics. While Juliana was here she lived with a camera in her hand. And her favorite subjects were not the historical things around her...her favorite subjects? My kids! Here's just a taste of what she and Madison did while waiting on food at a restaurant. I think Madison may have some acting talent!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Couple of Little Funny Pharoah Land Moments...

...Brought to you by Matthew Ray:

#1 "What a RIP OFF!"
We took some new people on a faluka (sail boat) ride on the Nile the other day. We have taken several faluka rides since we have been here. All of them are different. Some of them are older than others....some are a little bigger than others....some have Egyptian music playing....and some don't play music at all. But it is always an enjoyable, peaceful ride away from the city chaos. Oh...and IT IS CHEAP. We ususally pay about 8 dollars for a TON of us to ride! This particular ride found us on just a regular ole faluka with no music...No big deal...we didn't think...until Matthew Ray yelled, "NO MUSIC?!?!!! WHAT A RIP OFF!"

#2 "Why do we call God a turtle?"
Matt was praying with Madison and Matthew Ray before bed last night. He was praying a prayer of praise...just praising God for who He is. He was saying, "God, You are Sovereign, You are Holy, You are All Knowing, You are Great, You are ETERNAL..." After Matt's prayer, Matthew Ray looked at Matt with a serious little face, peering over his glasses and asked, "Dad, why do we call God a turtle?"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Simple Hotdog Dinner...:)

I promised you several stories written by Matt. Here's the first of many for you to enjoy:

Last week our family decided we were in the mood for pork. Dinners here are more of an event than in the states. Don’t ask me why. It just seems that everything takes more time and energy. On the pork we decided that hotdogs would be a quick and easy dinner and honestly it has been so long since any of us has eaten pork, the idea of an old fashioned hotdog sounded wonderful. Beef hotdogs are plentiful here but they do not even share a slight resemblance to Oscar Meyer and Armor.

While pork is scarce in Egypt we are fortunate to live a 1/3 of a mile from a pork store. Because the kids had been stuck inside all day we decided to make the trip to the store a family affair, so we all got ready and headed out the door. Anyone that has little ones knows that half a mile is like six or seven miles when your legs are only 12 inches long. However, after nearly an hour journey we were back at home to throw the dogs on the grill.

Lighting a grill here is a bit different. The first several attempts were disastrous to say the least. The charcoal is not exactly “Matchlight” quality. Honestly, it just looks like burnt wood. After spending several days trying to hunt down lighter fluid, I had resorted to using any flammable liquid I could find lying around, including some of Stacey’s beauty products. After raiding the medicine cabinet I discovered that the alcohol seemed to burn the way you would expect and so I was off to the store to buy alcohol. Because alcohol is only sold in small quantities I was forced to buy out the store in order to come up with what I presumed would be a sufficient supply for lighting my charcoal. Long story short, ten bottles of alcohol, an electric fan, and 2 hours is what had been required in the past to light a fire.

This time I had a better plan. Having noticed that the corn venders (men who barbeque corn on the street below our apartment) always seemed to have an ample supply of well lit coal, we got the bright idea to ask how they managed to light their charcoal. It turns out that they lay their coal on the eye of a stove (everyone here uses gas) and when the coal is ready they transport the coal to the grill. I was now ready to try the Egyptian way of lighting charcoal. Using the kitchen stove, it only took about 30 minutes to light an ample amount of charcoal to cook. I was then ready to cook.

It was at this time that I did what most people do when cooking hotdogs, I thought about the buns. I knew we didn’t have hotdog buns but loaf bread will always do in a pinch. Unfortunately when I checked the bread it was molded. This was not a disaster however because the grill I purchased here only allows the grate of the grill to get very close to the charcoal so the cooking time for hotdogs turned out to be about 45 minutes. Stacey simply gave Meredith some money and sent her to a small store around the corner from our apartment.

When Meredith returned with a package of buns I was taking the hotdogs off the grill. It was then that we learned two things. Pork hotdogs sold in Egypt are very large and hotdog buns sold in Egypt are very small. Let’s put it this way. If you break the hotdog in half there is still some hanging out of both ends of the bread and there is no way that bun is actually going to squeeze together around the hotdog like on a commercial or on the picture on the hotdog bun wrapper. No problem, the eating was a bit messier, but it all goes to the same place- right?

When supper was over we cleaned up. We had used paper plates to expedite our quick and easy supper, and after cleaning the charcoal off the stove and the floor of the kitchen the process of cooking hotdogs in Egypt from beginning to end only took 4 hours. After supper, we had just enough energy to brush the kids’ teeth, pray with them, and then tell them not to dare get out of their beds until morning before we retreated to the couch to begin resting up for the next day.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

We Got A CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Anniversary, Happy Two Year living here....whatever you want to call it but....WE GOT A CAR AFTER COMPLETING TWO YEARS OF ARABIC!! YIPPY!
Driving here is pretty crazy and we already have a story to record. Here's the first of many I am sure:

…Matt called me at 9 am from downtown and said he left the results of his HIV test(which is negative…whew!) somewhere…I jumped up and found the paper…got all kids fed and dressed…dressed myself…ran Madison and Matthew Ray to preschool….asked Meredith if she was in for an adventure…drove our new car downtown for the first time….was doing good…until I took a “little” wrong turn…called Matt…we were having a hard time connecting…suddenly, I see him running down a one way street in a coat and tie…he ran up to my window, grabbed the paper and ran (the policeman next to my car looked puzzled)….at this point, I am needing to potty and have needed to potty for the last hour in traffic….I see a Hardees on the corner and think that would be a good place to park…nope…no parking anywhere….I proceed to go down many streets and find NOTHING…then….lost…lost…and REALLY needing to potty…all of the while, telling this in Arabic to many policeman in hopes they would help me out…NOPE…I finally make it to an area that is familiar but it is by a huge outdoor shopping area here (some of you know the Khan)…I see a bank…I pay to park….I go in the bank…they have NO Toilet!.....I ask where…they point me down a dark alley….I see a wooden door with holes all in it…NOPE, not going there….I walk to the shopping area and start asking…they point me to one three stories up very tiny steps(did I mention I did some crazy strength training exercise with my legs yesterday and I can barely move!)…Meredith guards the broken door…Finally, after 2 ½ hours of holding….I get to potty in a NASTY bathroom…then I had to pay when I came out for using their potty! I told Meredith that we needed to invest in a porta potty for the car!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Just the Two of Us....

I could not believe that we did not have one recent picture of just us so I decided to fix that! Meredith took our picture tonight before we left for our anniversary date. Keep checking back for funny stories to come!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

After 17 YEARS...

Yes, we are still alive! It's been a little busy and crazy around here but we are starting to expect that from life in another country! We have had some funny and some exciting things happen lately and we are in the process of getting those stories written down. Matt actually wants to write some of these stories and I am super pumped about that! I love how he writes and tells stories!

Speaking of loving him....Tomorrow (well actually in 3 minutes at the time of this writing) is our 17 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!! What an amazing, fun-filled, unpredictable, crazy, exciting, boringless (is that a word), WONDERFUL journey! I love him so much and am so thankful that God brought him into my life 23 years years!! Even though he will tell you I had no interest in him at first, I KNEW I was going to marry him from the very beginning. I love you, sweetheart. You make life so fun! Thank you for being a picture of Christ to me in my life!

And here we are 17 Years ago today:

Here we are today....(the reason for 2 pics you ask??? I could not find one recent picture of just the two of us. Every picture I found had our kiddos separating us! We never dreamed God would give us 3 such wonderful gifts from HIM but they sure do get between us a lot!:) are one good lookin man! :)

And I adore you....