August 26, 2015

First day of preschool

The boys had a great first day of preschool today! This year they are attending a local bilingual school where they have one english and one arabic teacher full-time, and they even get an hour of french every day. We attended orientation the other day and the boys got to check out their teachers and class. It is a bigger school than they attended previously, and we think the boys will have a great year here.

Benjamin is in preschool-2, and his teachers are Mrs. Leen and Mrs. Rula.
 Caleb is in KG-1 and his teachers are Mrs. Maha and Mrs. Farrah.
 Two boys excited for their first day.
 And the bonus....they get to ride the bus home!
 Ready for a fun year of learning and fun!

August 24, 2015

Exploring the City

We are settling in well and were glad for this weekend to get out and explore the city. First stop was King Hussein Park. It was a big green spot on the busy city map, so we wanted to check it out. It was a really nice park up one of the hills and had great views of the city. Lots of walking paths and scootering/biking trails. We'll be back here for sure.
It has been a lot of fun to show my mom around, and for her to see our day-to-day life. She has been such a blessing to us, and we are so glad she is here helping us get settled. The boys are having a fun time with camp Grandma!
While exploring the park, we came across the Children's Museum! So we checked it out...
Lots of fun exhibits for the boys to play and imagine. We are excited this museum is relatively close to where we live.
And they had an outdoor play area too. It was a fun day!
The next day we went to the Citadel and Roman Ampitheater. It's amazing how much history is in this part of the world, old, old history dated back to 1700 BC! We are so excited to be able to explore these amazing places and that they are so close by. 
The Citadel has ruins from many prominent empires. The ruins of churches, temples, and mosques represents Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. 
View of the city and Roman Amphitheater from the top of the Citadel.

Pretty amazing!
Next stop was the Amphitheater. Nathan and Caleb climbed to the top and my mom went most the way.
My turn to go to the top next.
Holy steep steps!
And is his true fashion, Benjamin made friends with our taxi driver :).
On the way home, we stopped for for delicious falafel and schwerma. It was a fun weekend, and we are looking forward to exploring something new next week.

August 20, 2015

Settling In

We have had a good week! Boys are settled at home and having a great time with grandma. There has been lots of train track building, playing, reading, and even some baking. We have met some nice people and my mom has been invited to a few play dates with the boys this past week. I love seeing the bonding between them, and we are so thankful that she is here with us during this time.
Amazingly, I have not taken many pictures since we arrived, just trying to take in our surroundings for now and find my way around :). We live in a very hilly and somewhat urban residential area, though it is relatively quiet most of the time.  In my opinion (and Nathan's too), it is not very easy to learn your way around. Roads are not marked well, they are narrow and windy, and for the roads that are marked, I can't seem to read the Arabic quickly enough to figure out where we are....I know it will all come in due time, but right now I can't seem to tell one large hill from the next!

We have ventured out to walk the streets of our neighborhood and we enjoy just hanging out at home. Our favorite part of our apartment is the nice outdoor space, which we are so grateful for! The boys spend a lot of time playing outside every day, and we have eaten dinner there every night. We don't have many toys right now, but we have a few balls of different sizes, the boys enjoy playing with the sticks they find....the best entertainment yet has been the fountain....hours on end of entertainment!
Next project will be to find a grill and some comfy outdoor chairs to relax under the gazebo.
We have met a few of our neighbors and they have all been very welcoming. One kind of funny story from our first nights couple nights here. First night...doorbell rings at midnight...boys wake up...nobody is outside, from what we can tell. Next day...neighbor comes down and meets my mom...says his cat fell from the 4th floor into our yard last night, and he came down to find him, but didn't want to scare us by going into our he rang the doorbell instead. Later that night....1am doorbell rings....Nathan goes outside and it is the neighbor, who thought he heard his cat meowing. Sure enough, it was his cat, and it was alive and not a bit scratched up. Cats are tough around here, so Twix will be staying inside for sure!

We are thankful for a good first week. This weekend we are planning to venture out around town to see some of the local sites. Happy Thursday!

August 15, 2015

We made it!

Hello from Jordan! We arrived safely on Wednesday night. The flights were smooth and the boys did great. We have had a good and busy first few days getting moved into our new home, and we are beginning to get over the jet lag. Many people have been very kind in helping us get settled. My mom has been a very big help with the boys, and it is nice to see them have this quality time to bond. And...the nice family that was watching Twix this summer brought her to us today. We are very thankful for their willingness to babysit Twix this summer. Twix enjoyed the summer at their house and making 'friends' with their cat Kimba. The boys were so excited to see her today, and she is laying next to us now :).

We are excited to be here and to see what the coming years have in store. We are working on getting permanent internet in the coming weeks, so blogging will be sparse. Pictures and updates to come soon.

August 11, 2015

Heading East

Our bags are packed and it is time to say see you soon. We have had a great summer with family and friends in the US, and now it is time to start our new adventure in Jordan. Thank you to everyone who hosted and took the time to with visit us, and a special thank you to my Aunt Eileen who opened her home to our family during our time in Florida. We cherish all of your friendships and love you all very much.
We are grateful that my mom will be joining us for a few weeks to help us get settled. So here we go...
8 checked bags
1 carry-on
4 backpacks
2 carseats
1 stroller
Please pray for safe travels today and tomorrow and for a smooth transition for our family.
We will be excited to share updates about our new home when we can. It will likely be a little while before we have internet service. Ready or not, here we come Jordan!

August 8, 2015

South Florida, Take 2

Beware, lots of pictures ahead of what we have been up to the past couple of weeks. The boys have gone fishing several times with my folks and they love it. They catch fish every time...the secret, use hot dogs as bait!
Nathan and I went out for a breakfast date at the beach one morning and found this guy running around.
It was a beautiful morning to be at the beach, lots of people were out enjoying the morning.
That afternoon, my parents and Aunt Gail took Caleb to see the Minions movie. He loves going to the movie theater and everyone had fun.
While they were at the movies, Nathan and I had a cupcake date with Benjamin.
Last weekend, my good friend Lauren from high school hosted a BBQ at her home so we could get all of our good girl friends together for a visit. We had a fun day visiting and all the kids swimming, and the boys enjoyed their two little dogs. 
This was our signature pose in all of our high school pictures...brining back the old days, 18 years later!
The next day we had an open house at my Aunt's house for my parents and a few other friends of mine to visit. 
I was talking to so many people that I completely forgot to pick up my camera until the end of the party, and was glad to get this picture of my parents with my mom's best friend since high school, Linda and her husband Howard. I love her dearly, and was so glad they were able to come see us.
Later that evening, Marissa and Henry joined the boys and I at a nearby park to play.
We enjoyed some McDonalds after a good sweaty play.
Another day my mom, the boys, and I went to Butterfly World. It's a beautiful garden with lots of...butterflies! If you stay still for long enough, they will land right on you. Needless to say, no butterflies landed on us, but we had some fun close encounters.
There were gorgeous, colorful, exotic flowers from around the world.
Next stop was the suspension bridge that took us to the bug museum and zoo.
Caleb learned about different types of scorpions and spiders, and Benjamin found a few banana spiders hanging around. It was a fun way to spend the morning.
Nathan, the boys, and I went to visit Paula, Jimmy, and Marina in Key Largo for a few of days. We always look forward to some good relaxation time with their family when we visit Florida. We had three days of swimming in different pools and the beach, a boat ride, lots of playing, and a great time just hanging out.  Marina was so good with the boys, and they had a blast with her too.
First day swimming all afternoon at the Big Chill.
View from the pool area.
That evening Marina was teaching Caleb how to catch crabs at their dock.
Beautiful sunset from their back yard.
Marina and Caleb were two peas in a pod. After a hard day of play, these two cuddled up each night to watch cartoons.
The next day we went to Founders Park and had a fun day of swimming in the beach, pool, and a splash pad.
The water was so shallow, warm, and beautiful!
Splash pad time.
Later that evening, Nathan took the kayak to the bay. 
The next day we went out on a boat ride to the bay and ocean.
Looking down their canal before entering the mangroves.
The canal to the bay is lined with mangrove trees on both sides. The water was very shallow and clear.
Ready to cruise.
Caleb kept saying ahoy matey!
We even found a castle on the water.
Gorgeous Marina Lily :).
Auntie Paula let the boys take turns driving.
Love you dear friend, thank you for the fun visit!
Another day,  my mom's cousins John and Mary from Montreal came to visit. It is always wonderful to spend time with them, and they enjoyed seeing the boys.
Later that day we took a ride down memory lane. We drove around Plantation, the town where I grew up, and we drove into my old neighorbood.
This was the apartment where I grew up. We moved there in 1983, and my parents sold it in 2002. The lady who bought it from my parents still lives there and was out on the patio when I walked by so I introduced myself.
I have lots of good childhood memories riding my bike, playing tennis, and swimming, and playing with friends in this neighborhood.
Yesterday afternoon, we had a quick visit with my good high school friend Priscila and her 3 kids. We met at a park to play, but a big thunderstorm moved in quickly so our visit was cut short. Priscila and Ayden, her oldest who is almost 9. Her other two are twin almost 6 year olds, Kyle and Luke.
All 5 kiddos.
Old friends :)
And just the other day....we got our first swimmer! Great job Benjamin :).
It has been very nice to spend time with my family, extended family, and to see old friends. We are thankful for this time in Florida. In just a few days we will be off to Jordan to begin our family new adventure.