March 23, 2017

Eid ilUm

Eid ilUm, means Mother's Day in Arabic, which is celebrated in Jordan on March 21st. The boys had a Mother's Day concert at school and it was super cute. Here's lots of videos. Caleb had his show on Monday. Each child in the class read a short poem, then they talked about a special moment with their mom, from a picture they drew. Caleb's special moment with mom was when I took him to my office, which was over a year ago!

Caleb's class signing the arabic song, Mama. He is on the left second from the end. 
Caleb's class singing the french song.
We were so proud of the great job Caleb did. He's come a long way this past year overcoming his fear of being on stage!

Benjamin's show was on Tuesday. His class sang songs and also said something they love about their mom. It was so sweet.
The Jordanian National Anthem - Ashen Malik - Long live the King

Arabic song
French song

After the show, their class had an art exhibition to show off their work. It was really nicely put together and fun to see what Benjamin has been working on this past year. And here are the Americans in his class, William, Felicity, Mary, Lydia, and Mr. Benjamin. As Benjamin likes to say, it's his 3 girlfriends :)

 Benjamins' artwork

So blessed to be a mom to our sweet boys! Happy Jordanian Mother's Day!

March 22, 2017

Beautiful weather, birthdays, baseball, bikes, and more!

Spring is here and it's beautiful weather! Our cherry blossom looking trees are blooming. Last year we discovered they are apricots, nectarines, and apples, so we are excited for them to bloom in early summer!
Look who we found!
 The sunsets here are amazing!

 Tes had a birthday last week, she turned 41!  We are so thankful for her and how she loves our family.

We took the boys to the Embassy this past weekend to ride scooters and bikes and play baseball with their friends.
Bye bye training wheels!

Benjamin LOVES to play baseball, and he's a great hitter!
It was a fun weekend!

March 18, 2017

Dead2Red 2017

Last weekend, we ran the Dead2Red relay race, and it was such a fun race and amazing experience! Dead2Red starts at the Dead Sea at Mujib Bridge, and finishes at the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea, 242 km to the south. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth, around 415 meters below sea level, and the race is a gradual ascent up to sea level. The race began at 4pm on Thursday, March 9th, and teams have 24 hours to finish the race. 

The first Dead2Red was run in 1993 with two teams of 6 runners each. By the early 2000's, cyclists began joining and 1 year they even had roller bladers, but apparently that did not go over well. A few years ago, the race was divided into a running race (held in March) and biking race (held in November).  This was the 20 year anniversary for this race, and it was a fun and festive year to run, with ~ 50 other teams that registered.

We were Team Trash Route, which is the name of a running route that most of our team frequently trained on in the neighborhood. We had a 10 person team with 3 vehicles. Two vehicles, with 3 people each, ran a total of (15) 1 mile legs, and one vehicle, with 4 people, ran a total of (30) 1/2 mile legs. There are many strategies to run the race, and to finish fast many teams run 100-200 meter sprints the entire way! We opted to have each runner in a car cover 3 miles at a time, split up in 1/2 mile or 1 mile increments, then that car had about 2 hours rest to eat, sleep, stretch, etc, and get ready to run again! Each car did this rotation 5 times. We had 3 awesome drivers, Nathan, Chase, and Majed, one dedicated for each car. They were encouraging, fun, and we were so thankful for each of them!

Here we go...thanks to everyone for the pictures of the event!

We were one of the first teams to get to the start at Mujib Bridge, and we had plenty of time to get checked in before the crowds arrived.
Jason, Chase, and Courtney waiting for the race to start.
Our team at the starting line. Geoff kicked off the first 2km of the race, you had to run a mandatory 1km or 2km from the starting line, while the other two vehicles drove to their respected km ahead, where they wait for the baton to be passed to their vehicle.
While vehicle 1 was running, vehicles 2 and 3 met up for a while down the road. The beginning of the race was hectic and dangerous, with lots of cars driving to their spots, to include people literally hanging out of their cars with 1 leg in the vehicle or riding practically out of the sunroof!
Elizabeth ran the race with us, and it was so fun to spend the time with her, and for her to meet everyone on the team! She took a 'vacation' to run from the Dead Sea to Aqaba, what a trooper ;).
View of the Dead Sea before sunset. 
Encouraging sign as the race started.
Vehicle 2 starting their first leg. Go Margaret go!
The kids in one of the villages were really excited to see the runners. So excited that they wanted to run with them! 
Enjoying the beautiful sunset in the desert and waiting for car 2 to arrive, to start our first rotation.  My vehicle, #3, ran our first 3 rotations in complete darkness.
Fast forward to our 4th rotation. We were lucky to have the leg right before and during the sunrise, it was so beautiful! And it was our fastest rotation since it was a gradual downhill :). Getting close, Aqaba 57 km.
Go Frank go! He was such a trooper for sharing a van with Elizabeth, Clare, and I, and a great encouragement for us all! Thankfully he had Majed, as a male counter-balance :).
After finishing our 4th rotation, we hung out with vehicle 1 and a shepherd with his flock.
Vehicle 1 on their 5th and final rotation! Jason handing off the baton to Jamey.
Speedy Geoff, I don't think he got tired the entire race!
Jason going strong. He and  his wife Courtney were the brains behind our race strategy, and made it super easy for us to know where each runner finished/began. 
I think Jamey smiled the entire race and always has such a positive attitude!
Jamey passing the baton to Margaret, kicking off vehicle 2's last rotation!
Vehicle 1 - done and done! Jamey, Geoff, Jason, and their awesome driver, Nathan.
Celebratory beers - Geoff said he was going to bring them...and he did!
We saw what appeared to be a poisonous snake on the road, right where a runner would step. Being the great guy Geoff is, he went to kill it with a gigantic rock.  Well, it turned out to be fake and we all got a good laugh!
Vehicle 3 waiting to start our last rotation - Frank, Heather, Clare, Elizabeth, and our awesome driver, Majed.
I didn't see Nathan very much during the race, but once his vehicle was done, they hung out with us before driving to the finish line in Aqaba. Fun fact, we had 4 couples on the team! Geoff and Clare, Jason and Courtney, Frank and Margaret, and us ;).
It was so fun to spend this time with Elizabeth, and she was such a rockstar during the race! We had lots of time to get caught up, and our van had many good laughs throughout the entire race :).
I was also so thankful for Clare! She and I pretty much did every training run together, and she was a machine the entire race, and such an encouragement and fun training parter. It was so fun to do this together :).
Car 2, finishing their final rotation, Courtney handing off the baton to Clare for our vehicle's last rotation. You could hear them coming before you saw them, it was and see :)
Car 2 celebrating their finish - Nick, Chase, Courtney, and Margaret. They all did awesome stayed strong and fast during the race!
Clare handing off the baton to me
Handing off the baton to Elizabeth.
We made it to Aqaba! I think Clare was so happy in this picture because she just chugged a Red Bull!
The rest of the team waiting a couple hundred meters from the finish line and we all crossed together. 
Our team finished the race in 19 hours and 20 minutes, which was a few hours earlier than we anticipated. It was such a unique and fun experience for everyone! Everyone trained hard to prepare for the race, and did great on the course. It was a very positive and fun experience and I am so thankful we had the opportunity to do this together.
We packed bathing suits thinking we would relax at the pool and the beach, but sad to say we didn't even see them! By the time we got to our room, showered, and ate, Nathan, Elizabeth, and I crashed for about 5 hours before the post-race dinner event.
It was a nice dinner and they gave out prizes to winning teams. Our team even got a prize for being the 20th team to register! We all scored some free movie tickets :).

Everyone sporting the team shirts!
About a week before the race, I injured my foot, and had been resting and icing it. Unfortunately it was not recovered enough so I ran on an injured foot and ended up with a couple of injured tendons and this lovely boot for the next 6 weeks. My foot held out throughout most of the race, and I iced it in between runs. It was only the last mile or so that I hobbled and I really wanted to finish after coming all this way. And now I have time to heal, so we can do this fun race again next year!