To School or Not to School

Oh, I have had the hardest time deciding what to do about preschool for Jack. The school question in general causes much angst. There aren’t many great options around here and most of our friends homeschool (which I am open to but not very excited about).

The main thing we want for him is socialization with other kiddos and the chance to learn more Kurdish. We have some friends who have had their kids in a local but private nursery/preschool and liked it so we decided to try that one.

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We took him for the first time on Monday, he did not want to stay. He was crying and grabbing onto the door frame, one of the teachers had to carry him off. I felt so bad for the teachers but the woman downstairs said it was like that for almost every kid.

There was no paperwork or anything, but I felt weird leaving without a way for them to get in touch with us, you know, just in case. I asked her if I could write down our number and she gave me their card, so I said again in Kurdish “no, my number, in case you need to call us.” She gave me a sticky note.

He came home upset that we had left him there but cheered up when we took him for ice cream to celebrate.

So today is Wednesday and I tried to take him again. Even with the promise of chocolate and ice cream he didn’t want to go. He told me he was too sick, too tired, laid on the floor, wouldn’t put on his shoes and then cried all the way to the car. We got there and he cried all the way to the gate, which was locked. The tears suddenly stopped when I said “well I guess you aren’t going to school today” And would you believe what he said to me… “but I want to go to school”

You’ve got to be kidding me.

Turns out it was some government holiday today. We obviously haven’t been going to the school long enough to be aware of the schedule. We should probably try again tomorrow…. maybe =’0

He is Risen!

He is risen indeed!

We had such a nice Easter celebration. A huge gathering of Jesus followers, representing different groups from all around the city and representing probably more than a dozen different countries got together in the park to worship our Lord, pray and picnic together. So much fun! We didn’t get any pictures of the group, but here is one of our family =)

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Also, I wanted to celebrate Faye because she just turned 18 months old! It was actually April 5, so I am a little behind, but I got some great pictures of her on our picnic so here they come 😉

Faye has been full of smiles since she was abut a month old. She loves to giggle and loves to play. Now that she can get around on her own, her independent and adventurous spirit are showing. She isn’t happy shopping from the stroller anymore, she wants to be up walking on her own, greeting shopkeepers and looking for the next good deal herself. She is also up for trying something new. At the playground she wants to go down every slide, try the swings, climb up the ladders. And she is so strong! She is constantly surprising me with what she can pick up and carry, she can climb up and down the bars on our house, and already figured out how to get out of her bed =O She is also surprising us every day with new words. Her favorite lately being “chock-at” (chocolate) which she begs for constantly. She likes it dark too, even 90%!

And did I mention she is beautiful?!

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Spring Picnic

Spring is here and we finally got to celebrate with a trip to the hills! It was so refreshing and so much fun to spend the day with friends. Here are a few pictures from our day…

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Isn’t Kurdistan beautiful in the spring?

Newroz Piroz! 

This week was the first day of spring which is also the Kurdish new year celebration. We might have skipped it but we inherited some adorable Kurdish clothes which were exactly my kids’ sizes. First was the big parade, the kids looked adorable but we didn’t last long with all the people and loud noises. The next day we met some friends at the park for a picnic but it was much colder than I had planned for so again we didn’t last very long =( IMG_2089img_20771.jpgIMG_2084

 

Cousins

We had such a nice time in the states with our family. Even better than I expected. SO many things were great about the trip but probably the best was the time the kids got to spend with their grandparents and their cousins. We don’t know a lot of kids around Suli that are their ages so having cousins that are is so, so great. They had so much fun playing and playing and playing. And I had so much fun not being ignored a little bit 😉

My brother has two kids, a girl and a boy, that are almost the exact age of my kids.

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This was the first time Faye got to pal around with someone her age. They were SO cute together!

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Jack is avoiding my picture. Even his cousin is telling him to smile!

 

Then when we got to Texas it was like a daycare at Granna and Papi’s house. They got SEVEN grandkids in three years!

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This isn’t even all of them!

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morning snuggles on the kid sized couch. Granna’s house is well stocked!

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This is one of my new favorite pictures. I am still in awe that Granna got it – these boys don’t sit still for anything, especially a camera… they are even smiling!

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At the trampoline park. The adults had as much fun as the kids did!

Our Spontaneous Trip

We were having one of those days, one of those days when nothing goes right and everything feels like the end of the world. All winter I had been wondering if we would have the chance to leave the country, looking for airline deals, scouting locations. Then when Matt committed to a stateside conference in February it seemed like a trip for me and the kids just wouldn’t happen.

But on this day it felt possible again and I burned off some mental steam on airline websites searching, comparing and scheming. With guests coming to visit at the end of February the only time for us to go was now. It seemed crazy, like something I would say but never really do, but when I mentioned it to Matt he thought it was a great idea! I told some other friends, called my dad, and kept debating. I was waiting for someone to tell me taking two little kids halfway around the world was a terrible idea, but no one did. So the next day we bought our tickets, for that very night! I spent the day packing and preparing for our journey.

Kurdistan doesn’t get priority on flights so most of them leave in the middle of the night. Waking your kids up at 1:00 AM to go to the airport is the worst. I couldn’t sleep at all before we left so we were all tired, a rough way to start our 30 hour journey.

Jack was excited about the trip, excited to go see his grandparents and cousins, but I don’t think he knew what he had signed up for. We were on our first of FOUR flights when he said “I just want to go home” Oh boy, so long to go!

We stopped in Istanbul, just long enough to go to the bathroom, pay 4$ for two pieces of fruit, get our boarding passes for the next flight and get back on the plane. Our next stop was Frankfurt which is a huge airport! We took a train to our terminal and had to walk as fast as three year old legs can go to get to our next plane on time.

This was our long flight and to our shock and disappointment there was no personal entertainment! I had brought a few activities but of course the kids were not interested. They only slept for about 45 minutes so we had a LOT of time to kill. We spent a few hours crumpling up paper and poking it into used water bottles, each trip to the bathroom was a whole ordeal, we finally met some other little kids to talk to… oh, it was a long flight!

Finally we made it to San Fransisco, another huge airport. Luckily someone got us to the front of the customs line because we would still be there if we had waited. Security took a long time too so we were again running to the next plane. Finally the last plane! Jack fell asleep and slept the whole time, Faye played peek-a-boo with anyone who would look at her and then fell asleep. If only I could have left them there, sleeping so soundly. But no, the plane landed and we were actually finally there. I woke them up and had to carry both of them off the plane and through the airport, SCREAMING. So glad they had made me gate check our bag because there would have been no way.

We had told my dad we were coming but no one else. Surprising my mom made the whole trip worth it. It was kind of like the pains of childbirth, so excruciating while you are in it, feels like it will last forever, and then when it ends and you get the prize it is all forgotten, or at least doesn’t seem so bad anymore.

Our visit has been so nice so far. Friends, family, good food, sun! I’ll post some pictures of us in California soon but first here are some from the long journey here:

Faye made friends with another family in the Suli airport, I think they were ready to adopt her!

Here we are in the Istanbul airport. I had to search for it but that cart made all the difference!

Here is Jack enjoying his movies and plane food on our second short flight. Food service with a grabby baby and a picky toddler was a challenge each time.

Faye pretty much spent the whole trip making friends.

It didn’t last very long but at one point they were both asleep!

And a classic window shot, in a rare moment they weren’t fighting over the same window, pushing each other or just falling off the seat onto the floor.

Christmas Cuties

Happy 2017!

One thing we learned this Christmas is that it is so much more fun with kids around. Their excitement is infectious and telling them over and over what Christmas is really about is a good reminder for me too. I’m kind of sad that the season is over. I’ll drag it on though with a few more Christmas pictures.

Here is one from an office party we went to in December.

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And here are some at home by our tree. Jack is in a no smile for photos phase (the smile in the photo above was thanks to all of our friends jumping up and down being rediculous behind the camera). These smiles in the pictures below actually cost me an extra Christmas present. Faye still doesn’t understand the concept of bribery or the concept of photos and would not cooperate at all. Still I think Jack’s smiles are worth posting =)

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Happy New Year to all!

Christmas Time is Here! 

Last Christmas we spent in Iraq I had a bit of a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit. This year, even though the malls aren’t decorated and most people around us don’t celebrate at all, we have had a lot of fun getting into the spirit and starting some Christmas traditions of our own.


I was most excited to get out the advent train. I found it in the used bazaar here in Iraq way back in the spring and finally got to bust it out. I have a set of Jesse Tree ornaments so each day we read the corresponding story and hang the ornament on the tree. We also are putting together a nativity scene so each drawer has an animal in it. I found the animals also in the used bazaar but don’t have any people yet. I’ll have to look for something next time I go, it may be a Lego Mary and Play Mobile Joseph, haha, but that’ll work too.


We are also watching Christmas movies, listening to Christmas music and doing Christmas crafts. We made cinnamon dough ornaments and snowmen out of socks (these have spent much less time on the shelf and much more time being snuggled, taken potty(snowmen poop marshmallows 😉), fed play-doh pizza and tucked into bed)


Merry Christmas!
Update: we got some more decorations today and hung up the cinnamon ornaments so our tree looks a bit more festive now…

Getting Crafty

Jack loves to play cars or play in the dirt or build with blocks or run around the house in circles, and as much as I love my sweet boy, these things are really only fun to me for about a minute.

I do love crafting though, and am finally managing to get him interested in it too. We’ve started an alphabet book and each page is a letter-shaped animal or thing corresponding to the letter. Here are some of what we’ve done.


Then we made a cardboard house for his toys, which mostly turned into a garage for cars, but the horses had a room too. He’s been asking where different animals live so I though it would be cool to make some different habitats. He’s been particularly into dinosaurs lately so that is where we started.

We were pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Here he is in the creation stage:

Next we are making one for the arctic animals, not sure how to make the all-white terrain interesting, we will have to get creative there.

In other news, little Faye has started walking everywhere she goes! I need to get her some shoes with good traction though because she just slipped on some water and got a bloody lip =(

See Faye Walk

It was over a month ago now that she took her first steps but it has been impossible to get anything on video! As soon as I pull out the camera, she falls down to her hands and knees and crawls over to grab it.

Today we were at a friends house for lunch and it must have been the carpeted floor or all the people cheering her on because she was walking all over the place!

I finally caught it on video =)

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