30 October 2008

Warms my Heart

Jerash & Ajloun

Daddy and Bubs
Scary guy trying to kill me
Cute Family
Crammed in a little space

Tuesday morning we set off for a day trip to Jerash with Justin and Courtenay. We were gone nearly the entire day! I really enjoyed Jerash the second time. We investigated more of the sites and took our time. Amelia was in a much better mood so that was a plus. Justin seemed impressed with Hadrian's Arch and it's massive size...he said it "was old". Justin noticed a cool mosaic near the Hippodrome. The home even had a mosaic welcome mat! LOL

We also investigated a couple old churches on the western side of the Temple of Artemis. I found a really long millipede munching on a seed pod. On the ground we found some seed pods that resembled a paper flower. Courtenay and I enjoyed posing for the camera as Greek Goddesses. She cracks me up.

After Jerash we stormed the souk area for souvenirs. Courtenay discovered a cute necklace and Justin got a goat hair scarf holder thinger. We ate lunch while mom drove us to Ajloun, about 30 minutes away. The heavens opened up their fury dumping buckets of rain as we made our way up a steep hill to the castle. Mom was a trooper manuvering the car through the streams of water racing down the road. I thought the rain added a sense of romance to the castle. Mist shrouded the landscape around the castle. Mom stayed in the car with Amelia to take a nap. We took umbrellas and braved the torrent of rain tumbling through the castle. Quite literally two of the museum employees broke a hole in the top of the ceiling to allow the water to drain there was so much water collecting on the roof. We were ankle deep in muddy water. That was a real experience of how castle living really was not romantic.

I drove home to give mom a break. We dined on Jordanian hot dogs for dinner. I thought they were yummy; in spite of the dire warnings Jeremy and Jared gave us.

Be sure to check out the plethora of pictures in my web album

27 October 2008

Turkish Bath


This morning the GIRLS left Amelia with Justin in order to enjoy three lovely hours of pampering at the Al-Pasha Turkish Hammam. Rhonda, an American lady, picked us up to show us the ropes of Turkish bathing. First, we drove into a part of town I'd not seen. It was closer to downtown so had an older feel to the buildings. Rhonda then passed the girl's school that was a landmark for a Turkish bath I read about on the internet. It was the same one!! I was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited!

The courtyard was decorated with dilapidated WWII motorcycles. The hammam smelled like a combination of stale hashish, incense, and mildew. Interesting! We changed into swim suits then took a shower. After the shower we were led into a sauna. The sauna was two levels, one mildly hot the upper level scorching hot. The humid air smelled like lemongrass...so yummy. A lady gave us each a glass of chilled hibiscus tea. It felt wonderful to sweat out the water and sip cold, cold tea. The sauna rooms had a domed ceiling inset with colored glass circles. The outside light glanced through the glass making a very pretty effect. We took another shower then spent 30 minutes in a hot tub. The main room was set with arched passages and light by another domed ceiling set with colored glass. In each corner hung incredible Turkish lamps. The atmosphere was delightful.

One by one we were led to a marble table set at waist height and instructed to lie down belly up. We were scrubbed head to toe with a rough cloth/sponge...yes even our bums! It was very hard not to laugh due to ticklish feet and armpits. The lady had me feel my tummy for all the skin coming off...she exclaimed, "madam is DIRTY!" My skin looked like a ripe prune so was not surprised by the resulting exfoliation. Then the lady switched to a sponge and scrubbed me down with olive soap. The best part was when she threw warm water all over to rinse the soap. It was sort of chilly lying on a marble slab! Then we went to a different table for a 30-40 minute massage using olive butter. It was so relaxing. Courtenay went first, then I, mom, and Rhonda. We soaked some more in the tub until the others finished. I was ready to don a Turkish harem robe, have my hair dressed, and lounge in the harem for a couple more hours.

Mom treated us to luncheon at a restaurant a couple blocks away. The view was amazing! We could see the tallest flag pole in the world, the citadel, Roman amphitheater, etc. All proceeds from our lunch went to benefit the Dana Nature Reserve in southern Jordan. We dined on yummy artichoke salad and chickpea soup. After all this we visited a little girl hospitalized for dehydration; her family has only been in country a couple weeks. She was a little trooper. Courtenay made her a wishing star out of paper! That seemed to cheer her up.

I braved the Jordan traffic, taking out the Surburban for an evening of shopping at Sweifieh bazaar district. Courtenay spotted the cutest pair of green shoes ever...they fit me and not her. She was so upset! I was delighted with the shoes. We all got some scarves and plundered around being cool by saying please and thank you in Arabic. Justin even made up a story explaining how he had to gorgeous women in his company...I was the first wife because I gave him children, Courtenay had to walk behind because she gave no children yet. What a NERD.

For dinner we ran over a couple cats and rarely escaped with our lives from an encounter with a rabid man and his donkey laden with garbage remnants of parsley. We found an Arabic restaurant Rhonda suggested. I spoke Arabic with my car horn and got us there safely. The best part of ordering was trying to explain that Courtenay cannot eat gluten of any kind. We gave up and guessed at dishes we thought had no gluten. The food was really good. I had grilled lamb in celebration of the day...their tabbouleh was so, so yummy.

Technical Difficulties

Justin arrived here in Jordan around 8pm last night. Amelia was thrilled to see Daddy after 3 weeks. She kept poking him with her little finger to make sure he was really here. She was equally delighted to sleep in the middle with mom and DAD! I was relegated a four inch space while little britches had about 2 feet with Justin occupying the last 4 inches. We tried our best to rig up Justin's C-PAP machine using a transformer and four adapters. It kept blinking off and on as I tried this configuration and that configuration...I finally stumbled on one that stayed on.

26 October 2008

Fir-nd Floor


The grammar mistakes in the Middle East make me laugh! I wish I had a picture for every mistake!! This was a good one we found last week. The first-nd floor was just the same as our American first floors.

Did you FLOSS?

In practically every letter or email my Dad send me he ends with: make sure to brush and floss your teeth. Amelia is learning to floss at an early age!! Grandpa Lane would be proud...

25 October 2008

Candy Corn


We attended a Hail and Farewell Thursday evening for Dad's colleagues. The hosts had everyone potluck chili and desserts. It was fun to try all the different types of chili. My mom's was still the best! One chili tasted like someone dumped a whole bottle of wine in it instead of water. Dad requested that Amelia wear her cute candy corn outfit! She definitely looked cute! There was another little girl there a week or so younger than Amelia. She was three inches taller than Amelia and did not talk much. Amelia tried to give her hugs, share her drinks, and talk up a storm. It was so funny to watch her try to make a new friend. We are ready for Halloween this week. The Embassy is hosting a trick or treat party on Thursday for the kids. I can't wait to put on her monkey costume.

Amelia playing Ring-Around-A-Rosies

23 October 2008

Shopping with the girls





This morning we wanted to get out and do something cool here in Amman. We didn't want to see anything Justin would want to see so we went...hold your wallets...SHOPPING! Mom took us to this cool hardware store that sold hardware plus everything else. I even saw cute shoes, toothpaste, and paper in the same aisle. Then we went to a thrift store, New to You, where the Royalty sends their cast off clothing, shoes, and accessories. Most of the clothes were appropriately worn back in the 80's, but still fun to shudder at the "Pretty in Pink" style gowns and coats. We ran home for some lunch and a nap for mom, then back on the streets.

Our next stop was the Sweifieh shopping district. It cannot be classified as a bazaar because the prices are set and it is OK to browse! We started off at a fun stationary shop, then found a fun crafty store selling ribbons, jewelry charms, flowers, beads, etc. We even found hand crocheted booties for $2.25 per pair at this shop. Courtenay found a store selling luggage, sunglasses, hair accessories, and scarves. She pick out two cool scarves for her living room. Amelia thought the sunglasses rack was totally rockin'. The owner placed a mirror in front of her face once she had the glasses on. Her reaction was absolutely delightful: she squealed in delight, did a little dance, and giggled at the silly girl wearing green glasses. The owner wore an expression of delighted glee. He ended up giving her the little glasses for the price of her laughter. The Arab people sure do love little children. Everywhere we go someone brushes her soft cheeks, gives her a hug, or tries to give her some trinket or another. Next we visited several shoe stores. I was sorely tempted by some Converse shoes and green ballet flats. Too bad my feet are so wide. Lastly, our noses led us to a chocolatier's store. We sampled several types and carried out half a kilo of sumptuous treats. Amelia smeared the chocolate where ever there was clean cloth to muss up.

22 October 2008

Olive Wood Factory


This morning we met up with Shannon and three of her friends at the Olive Wood Factory here in Amman. Sam gave us a tour of the place. We started at the ground floor, where the wood is cut into blank blocks, the a basic figure is turned on a lathe built for 8 blocks at a time. The wood is purchased once a year after the olives are harvested. If a tree is not producing well the farmer cuts the tree down with a meter long trunk left. The tree will regenerate from the trunk. None of the wood is purchased by trees being destroyed! The figure is sent to sanding then upstairs of the cutting station to another cutting and sanding station. This station is for detailed work done with dental attachments on a dremel tool. One gentleman demonstrated the process on a little angel in less than 5 minutes. I was amazed at how fast he work. The same guy cut out a one dimensional ornament of Noah's Ark on a jigsaw...lickety split. Sam lead us outside and up another stairway to a third floor, where all the women work. The women did the fine sanding, shaping, polishing, and fixing of the figures. Amelia saw a camel and sheep and made a strange braying, mixing the two noises. The ladies were delighted with her, especially once she starting blowing kisses. The final phase was to flatten our wallets at the little shop. I had a great time! Most of the workers were either deaf, maimed, or possessed a disability. If you want to check out their products their website is www.holylanddesigns.net

Yesterday Courtenay, John's wife, arrived fresh from SLC. LOL! She looked pretty tired. Around 5:30 I attended a BYU Alumni party hosted by Elders Holland & Snow at the local chapel. Elder Holland dedicated the same chapel we met in about 23 years ago. He was so delighted to be back. Only a handful of people were at the party when I got there. Elder Holland showed up 5 minutes later. He walked straight over to me cupped the back of my head and tousled my hair, asking if I was a good girl and enjoying the shady tree I sat under. I believe some muttering sounds came from my mouth. He brought a super-charge level of energy into the party. His booming voice and outgoing personality dominated. An hour later there were so many people milling about it was hard to find purchase. Apparently, BYU and Jordan have an agreement to send 5-10 students over each year. More than half the attendees were Jordanian!

Around 7 pm we gathered in the chapel for a fireside. The Snow's spoke first. President Leavitt announced that Courtenay Lance would then bear her testimony! Lucky gal. Her testimony was awesome to hear. We also heard from a young man preparing for his mission. Elder and Sister Holland spoke last. Much to my dismay I missed most of the fireside trying to amuse Amelia and keep her quiet. She learned how to plug her nose with her thumb and forefinfer...during the fireside. Each time she plugged her nose she would gag. I was trying so hard to not laugh at her little antics. Ths spirit was strong and we were all enriched by the testimonies borne.

21 October 2008

5 Favorites Tag

5 Shows I love to Watch

Prison Break
CSI
CSI Miami
Criminal Minds
24

5 Favorite Restaurants

Mazza's
Bombay House
Cafe Rio
Noodles & Co
Del Taco

5 Things that happened yesterday

Went on a 3 hour grocery shopping trip
Amelia busted open her chin and chipped a tooth
Watched Kite Runner
Exercised
Watched Mom's grill go up in flames

5 Things I look Forward to

Justin joining me in Jordan next week
Touring Jerusalem
Pre-Christmas photo shoots
Going to Petra with my family
Kissing Amelia as much as she will allow

5 Things I love about Fall

Changing wardrobes
Wearing hats
Eating popcorn, crisp apple, and sipping hot cocoa
brisk walks in the afternoon
crocheting in my warm house

5 Things I Wish

There were more hours in the day
That I had a couple more arms
I could take photos that didn't need editing
We lived on a barter system...money is too much trouble
I could read a book all the day long!!

Tagged: Miekka, Ariel, Courtenay, Brittany, & Anna

20 October 2008

Crash and Burn




We spent three hours shopping this morning at two different grocery stores. Phew...that was exhausting. At the second store were small grocery carts for kids. Amelia was absolutely delighted! She pushed that cart all over the store. The best part was going up and down a ramp between the dry goods and refrigerated section. The carts have all four wheels that turn 360 degrees. It makes for some gnarley steering. She'd get half way up the ramp and the front wheels would turn the cart back down the ramp, pulling her swiftly back down the ramp. This was the best game. Her little cart was filled with cheerios and bananas!

At home I fed her macaroni and cheese. She usually sits at the counter/bar on a high stool, the stool is not high enough so we use a four inch pan as a booster seat. I was washing my hands when she decided she was finished eating and tried to get off the stool herself. Poor thing did a flying dive right onto the marble floor. She split open her chin and chipped her left tooth. I don't think we will need to get stitches. I could see the bone but it seemed to close up nicely with a bandaid. Geepers! I felt so bad for her.

I made hamburgers for dinner. Jeremy turned on the grill for me 10 minutes before I went out to cook the burgers. The grill was engulfed in flames by the time I got outside. He turned the gas burners on high. I guess there was some grease residue from the cowboy dinner still on the grill's lid that ignited. The teflon covering completely burned off and all the plastic knobs melted. The little thermometer read 700 degree. Exciting day!!

19 October 2008

Karak Castle


Yesterday we piled in the Suburban around 1pm for a day trip to Karak. Dad worked the whole morning at the embassy. He originally said work would be done by 10 am but had enough to fill his time until after noon. I was so glad he was able to come. We drove down the King's Highway about two hours south and east of Jordan. On the drive down Dad gave me an ear full of advice about touring Jerusalem from the best sights to the best restaurants. I studiously took notes and am working on a list of "must-do" items.

We wound through the hills finally revealing an amazing sight of the Karak fortress towering above the city's suburbs. I read about Raynald of Chatillon's reign of terror; making prisoners jump off the fortress to their deaths. The entire east side of the fortress is paved in slick stones, glacis, making that side of the fort impenatrable. The northern and western sides are protected by deep valleys. The only entrance is through the southern gate, protected by a dry moat. The fortress was finally overtaken by Saladin through seige not penetration of the fortress. I found the crusader's masonry skills lacking! Their blocks were rugged and misshapen. After Saladin took over the fortress the Mamluks added on to the original structures; their masonry skills far outshined the crusaders. Most of the fort consisted of underground rooms, tunnels, and staircases, all supported by ingenious arches.

Amelia did not nap quite long enough so she was VERY whiny most of the time. Poor thing. Dad decided to drive home using the Dead Sea highway as a change of scenery. The drive was amazing. We passed several Bedouin tents camped out near the highway. Dad showed me which direction Soddom and Gommorah used to be. We drove along the Dead Sea right at Sunset. I snapped quite a few pictures from my open car window. Dad stopped twice in order to get the perfect sunset picture. It was so cool to stand side-by-side with my dad armed with our cameras and acoutrements swapping techniques and advice. The flies by the Dead Sea are totally vicious. Swatting seems to encourage them rather then send them flying. Little buggers. I happened on a picture taken of my Dad where he looks like Indiana Jones! That made me smile.

Today Mom and I made 3-4 trips to the embassy. First we went to get some business done. I talked with the travel liason about our Jerusalem trip. Crossing the border will cost about $400 or more if we want a VIP service. Usually it can take 2-6 hours to cross Allenby Bridge from Jordan to Israel. The VIP service will take you across in less than an hour. I decided to leave Amelia with Mom for our Jerusalem trip. There is way too much to see with an independant 18-month old. We went back home for a quick Amelia nap, then back again to have lunch at the Ambassador's home. The new ambassador is a member of the church! His wife organized a visiting teaching luncheon for the sisters she visits and those who visit her. The mansion is amazing. Amelia tumbled out of her chair during lunch and was oddly inconsolable for 15-20 minutes. A spin in their garden fountain eventually cheered her up. Then we jogged back to deliver some documents to dad. I had Amelia wearing her child harness, cleverly disguised as a monkey. She was quite delighted with the monkey on her back idea. She even wanted to wear it to bed!! Too cute.

17 October 2008

Children's Museum

Yesterday, my good friend Shannon picked Amelia and I up to spend a fun morning at the local children's museum. I was a bit surprised to find out there is such a museum here! Reading the contributory board it seems the museum was gifted by several large American corporations. Amelia loves to smell flowers, one display focused on different smells. When a little door was opened a different smell would waft across your nose. Amelia loved that!! I took Amelia and Grace off to the toddler area for a while.

The grocery section was a huge hit. Amelia filled her little grocery basket with grapes and bananas...currently her favorite foods. She also really liked the sand box. I had a blast watching her run from here to there in a shirt that was too big and pants too long. We had a little lunch before leaving. I enjoyed chatting with Shannon, catching up on her most recent comings and goings.

The rest of our Thursday was spent watching movies and eating snickerdoodle cookies. Not terribly exciting. Hopefully, we will get out of Dodge for a few hours tomorrow to see Macherus, the site where John the Baptist was beheaded.

Cowboy Dinner


Wednesday we hosted the second cowboy chuck wagon dinner here in Amman. Here are a couple pictures of our enjoyable evening.

16 October 2008

Red Boots n' Black Hat





I took these for Amelia's 18 month anniversary...10 days early! She looked so stinkin' cute stompin' around in her red cowboy boots. She loves how they click on the floor. She is so delicious!!

15 October 2008

Fun Play Day

An audience, a polar bear, and crazy grandma swimming in frigid water
This morning's play group

Mom has been a flurry of activity since Monday preparing for two cowboy dinners. Her stove's been hot and cookin' since Sunday! We had the second dinner this evening. I think this dinner was more exciting than the first one due to the guests! A lively crowd makes for good company. Amelia and I have pretty much stayed home since our excursion on Sunday. We've rested and tried to catch up on sleep plus help Mom cook up a storm.

This morning Amelia followed Grandpa Lane out to the swimming pool to watch him morph into a Polar Bear. The pool water is a frosty 65-68 degrees. Jumping in is the only way to get in this pool! She watched him swim with great interest. The funniest part (for me) was her outfit...in her jammies wearing a candy corn hat she pulled out of her drawer!

My good friend, Shannon, picked us up this morning to ferry us to a local play group. I served two months of my mission with Shannon down in Loule, Portugal. She is a wonderful person!!! Amelia seemed delighted to play with toys that whirled and wizzed, clicked and buzzed. Grandma mostly has cool pans to bang, new toys were a definite draw. She loved the horsey ride on the porch! I had fun getting to know some of the ladies and their kids from the American Embassy.

If you are interested in seeing pictures of my parent's home here in Jordan, check out my web album...click here

12 October 2008

Amman and Madaba

Downtown Amman: Amphitheater, fruit market, etc
Madaba & Mt Nebo

Yesterday was a very busy day. I spent the entire day with Don Welty and his daughter Caroline touring Amman and the city of Madaba. Don bravely took the wheel of the Suburban whilst I navigated him around the town. You really have to speak "Arabic Car" language to make it safely from point A to B. The horn is a vital part of survival. Male-type aggression also helps push the car around the roads. One nice thing about the Suburban is it's size...no one wants to play chicken with a beast. We spent a good two hours seeing the Roman Amphitheater and walking along the main road for a mile or so. The theater is very impressive. It was twice the size of the theater in Jerash, but not as elaborate. Off to each side of the stage are museums. One is based on woman's dress, the other on the custom's of Jordan and the Bedouin tribes. The stairs to the top of the amphitheater are so steep my leg muscles cramped up!! Amelia had a good time (I think) posing on various ancient monuments.

We walked down a main street passing various shops stuffed to the gills with very specific goods related to that shop. The shops are very much like the European shops: one for shoes, another for plastic ware, another for spices, bread, milk, meat, etc. We stumbled on a packed fruit and vegetable market. The smells of all the fruit made my mouth water. As we passed each stall the scents changed from pungent cilantro to mild pears. Jordan is much cleaner than Cairo!! We had lunch at home then picked up Sela for a tour of Madaba. Sela is the first Jordanian man to be sealed in the temple and is from Madaba. He married a gal from Texas back in January of this year. He told us incredible stories about growing up in Jordan as a Christian. Madaba is one of the few Middle Eastern cities that has a presentable Christian population surviving from the days of Christ through the Islamic conquests. Madaba is a city decorated from one end to the other with amazing Mosaic tiled pictures. Sela said you could dig less than a meter and find a new mosaic. He took us first to St George church were the largest mosaic map of the area resides...a whopping 927 square feet!!

Then we walked through a market street to an another ancient church used to teach the art of mosaic tiling and as a museum. We saw some absolutely breath taking mosaics. The mosaics were originally assembled after the Greek style including depictions of gods, animals, and such. When Islam overtook the city showing the faces of humans and animals was considered perverse so the faces were rearranged beyond recognition! Sela showed us the first "pink panther" dating back to the time of Christ embedded in the church floor.

Sela led us to the tour ministry to show us some pamphlets and customs of the area. Caroline and I both purchased a mosaic picture to take back with us to America. We then quickly drove to Mt Nebo. Mt Nebo is supposedly where Moses smote the rock to bring forth water, where he saw the land of promise, and eventually "died." Sela said that the actual Mt Nebo is probably on the other side of Madaba on a different mount that proffers the same view and actually has more ancient monuments built up to honor Moses. The views of the landscape were incredible. We could see clear to Israel, a portion of the Dead Sea, and half the land of Jordan it seemed. We finally returned home very tired to yummy hamburgers and potato salad.

I am very proud of Amelia. She is being the perfect child lately. She just went with the flow yesterday taking in all the sites without complaint. She slept while we traveled and waited patiently for opportunities to exercise her legs when the chance presented itself. I finally gave in and let her sleep with me. The 2-4 hours of crying each night was wearing me out. Oh well!! It is nice sleeping with an octopus!! She flops around and mutters endearing phrases of "nice mommy" through out the night.

Dinner Sunday evening was fabulous. I love Indian food!!! Our hosts were very child friendly. Once again Amelia impressed the socks off me with her good behavior. She sat next to me quietly playing and snacking on whatever food came her way. By the end of dinner she was pretty tired. Our host took us on a house tour. In the basement her son had a drum set, he played a couple sets then went back to playing. I sat down with Amelia in hopes of keeping her awake, handing her a drum stick. She unenthusiastically played a beat. I handed her the other one and played a couple beats for her. She tried then perked right up, the most delicious giggle stumbled from her lips. She started rolling those sticks just like a pro, laughing at each interval. It was hilarious. Jeremy caught the event with his cell phone camera...too bad he doesn't know how to download the video. Looks like we might have a natural drum player on our hands. I got our host's wife in trouble by showing her how to digital scrapbook!! His wallet is now in jeopardy...

Today was more of a down day. I accompanied Mom to an Attache's wives luncheon hosted by the British. Amelia earned more than one coo and kiss from all the ladies. She stuffed herself with chips...no one else was eating them, probably due to her licking the chips and returning them to the bowl! I met about 10 ladies from different countries of the world. Wow...

10 October 2008

Jerash

Little Icon
Hadrian's Arch
Temple of Zeus
South Theater
Temple of Artemis Columns
Yesterday Mom, Amelia, and I visited Jerash, or Gerasha, a town 45 minutes north of Amman. Anciently, it was part of the Decapolis and boasts one of Hadrian's arches. It is one of the most well-preserved ancient cities in the Middle East. I think it was about as impressive as the Roman ruins in Rome, Italy. Everyday horse chariot enactments are played for tourists around the Hippodrome, a sort of salute to Ben Hur! The oval Forum was very interesting. Most Forums are circular or Elliptical in shape. This one is an oval! The Greeks would turn over in the graves if they knew of this anomaly. LOL. Amelia had a great time scooping dusty rocks like a little doggy. She insisted walking by herself along the Cardo's uneven paving stones. Once she even slipped on the marble stones and bonked her head. The temple of Artemis and the Southern Theater were really impressive. One guide placed a spoon near the base of a Corinthian column, you could actually see the column rock with the breeze!! As mom and I walked down the main Cardo we imagined what type of shops lined the road...a Payless here, a JC Pennys there. We ended our tour with an ice cold Fanta in the bottle. YUM. She was a bit crabby still having issues sleeping at night (bummer). We are now sleeping in the basement so she can duke it out without waking the entire household.

Today is Sunday/Friday. We watched the second session of General Conference. After we all enjoyed a long nap. Last night, banned to the basement, Amelia cried herself to sleep. She refused to lay down so she would fall asleep standing up, whispering, "no mommy." Each time I tried to lay her down she would pop back up crying and standing in the port-a-crib. After two hours of this she collapsed in a corner and fell asleep. Less than 30 minutes later the fire alarm in the basement started to chirp it's low battery cry. If I only had a shotgun. LOL. I was really excited to see my mission companion, Shannon and her family at church. Our kids played together. Amelia stuffed goldfish crackers into little Grace's mouth one after another. This evening we are all going to dinner at the Indian attache's home.

To see all the pictures from this excursion click HERE

08 October 2008

Singing Evening Prayers



As we ate dinner the muezzin from the local mosque sang evening prayers. Amelia thought this was amazing. She danced and sang in between bites of dinner. Amelia was eating dinner at the counter in Mom's huge-mon-gous kitchen. It is bigger than my entire first floor at home. Punkles Jeremy and Jared amused Amelia making her "mi-mi" dance.

Arrived in Amman

Tired Bubs and Mommy
Playing with Stickers
The only nap on the entire Trans-Atlantic Flight

Shopping at Cozmo...who needs Walmart??

We made it!!! At this time I feel like my body is separated from my brain! A numb tingly separation that only comes from sleep deprivation. I was so grateful Justin accompanied us to the airport. At the gate we found out that Amelia needed a ticket for the international portion of our trip. I asked repeatedly and looked online about traveling overseas with a child-in-arms but did not get a clear answer. So, we had to dish out $430 for her ticket...dumb thing is that $280 was for airport taxes. I expected to pay 10% but the extra tax made us quite upset.

We ran for our terminal and gate with a couple minutes to spare to grab some yogurt for breakfast. The flight attendant checked the stroller and car seat through JFK and we hopped on board. Amelia was very good the first leg of our trip. She took a little nap and played quietly in the vacant seat next to me. The plane landed in JFK at a remote section of the airport. We had to ride a bus to the terminal. By the time we landed, deplaned, and boarded the bus my next flight was already boarding. Since the stroller and car seat were only checked to JFK I had to wait for them to be delivered. It took 25 minutes to get them. I barely made the flight, the only reason happened to be because of the security check line everyone has to go through (again). I was sweating bullets but made it...the last person on the plane.

Amelia stayed awake the entire flight over (10 hours long) succumbing to a short 20 minute nap right before the plane landed. We spent a lot of time back with the flight attendants. She had a blast pushing the beverage cart from one side of the galley to the other, handing out sodas to each flight attendant saying "more?", then pushing the cart to the other side, taking the sodas back saying "thank you!" She also made a renegade run through First Class. I am grateful we invested in a portable DVD player. Elmo saved the day/night.

Her little nap ended up being a blessing because the guards ushered me to the front of the line since she was screaming her head off. I was also waved through Customs. Good job Amelia. Our plane was 40 minutes early so we ended up waiting almost an hour for mom. Amelia kept asking to go bye-bye...yes, Amelia we are NOT in Kansas anymore.

Grandma Debbie was so excited to see us. Amelia loves the Lance's new home. All the marble floor makes for an exciting adventure. She loves the "miming pool" and the turtles that live in the backyard. Jeremy and Jared were pleasantly surprised to find a little Amelia curled up napping after school was over since they thought we would not be here until Wednesday.

Amelia and I turned in around 7 pm. She woke up at 1 am and didn't fall asleep until 5 am. We watched more Elmo and explored the house like night bandits. Justin even got a rare phone call from Jordan at 3 am local time (Jordan). This morning we went with mom to the American Embassy to buy drinks for their cowboy party next week. I saw a passing glimpse of my Dad. Next we went to Cozmo, a Walmart type store, for Amelia friendly food and a sippy cup. Now we are napping and getting ready for another exciting day in Jordan!!

A couple observances:
1. Driving in Jordan is like commuter hell. There are so many meridians and traffic circles you can barely navigate in a straight line.
2. It is dry and dusty here. The vegetation is sparse, mostly limited to Cyprus trees and other drought hardy vegetation.
3. Definitely, Third World! We passed10 beduoin tents on the drive over. People farm in between houses. Corrugated metal and concrete are typical housing materials.
4. Even the cats smoke cigarrettes.
5. Having a maid is nice...LOL

05 October 2008

General Conference

photo by Tom Smart
I love General Conference weekend. It is a peaceful time to sit on the couch, crochet, and feel the spirit. I LOVED Elder Perry's talk on the 4 necessities in life: food, shelter, clothing, and fuel (spiritual). With all the financial turmoil in the world and congress' new "bandaid" his counsel was all the more imperative. Church leaders have admonished members of the church for a long time to live within their means and that the day would come when our debts would have to be repaid. I am very grateful for parents who taught me to live within a budget and the wholesomeness of simple living.

President Monson's counsel to 'deal with stresses as they come, because they will come; and not let those stresses get in the way of what is most important--the people around us.' Simple. Love it.

We are all packed and ready for our next adventure. Justin will accompany Amelia and I to the airport. He is flying to Livermore and we are flying to JFK then Amman. I am so glad he will be at the airport to help "sherpa" us through the lines and security. My main worry at this point in time is making the connecting flight at JFK...I have 40 minutes to make the connection and my seat is in the very back of the airplane. Doesn't sound too bad until you figure waiting to deplane, waiting for the carseat/stroller, running to the correct terminal, bathroom, diaper change, etc. Chaos here we come!!!

Amelia is entering a fun stage. She started stacking and grouping items this week. She played with Grandpa Lane's slimfast for 20 minutes making towers with them. She lines up objects on the coffee table, knocks them off, then puts them back up. She is mimicking our hand movements and tries to imitate our facial expressions much to our pleasure. What a funny monkey.