June 27, 2017

Riding Free!

Enjoy the ride, these boys sure are!

Happy Tuesday!

June 24, 2017

Last Day of School

The boys had their last day of school this past week. The boys took the bus both ways this year, but I drove them in on their last day to say bye to their teachers.

This is Benjamin's Arabic teacher, Ms. Da'ed and English teacher Ms. Dana. Benjamin learned and developed a lot this year, and had many friends in class. Highlights of the year are he can recognize and write most of the english alphabet and loves to write his name and draw/color. In Arabic he knows his shapes, colors, counting, and is understanding more words, and loves to sing. In french, he knows how to count and some songs. It was a good year and we are proud of our sweet and funny little boy!
This is Caleb's Arabic teacher, Ms. Mira. Ms. Loujain was not there when I dropped them off,  but I got to say goodbye and thank you to her at graduation the following day. Caleb had a great year and learned so much. He had a few of his same good buddies in class, which was a lot of fun to watch them grow together during the year. In English, he got more comfortable writing words and short sentences, and he did a great job learning to sound out words and grasp beginning concepts of reading. He likes to draw pictures of people, dinosaurs, and dragons, and he has an incredible imagination. In Arabic, he learned to write his name well, do Arabic writing and math homework, and learned new songs. I hear him count in French and he knows his colors. It was such a great year for Caleb and we really liked his kind and patient teachers.
We are very thankful for the learning and cultural experiences the boys (and us) had these past two years at the Little Academy.  We have a lot of nice memories of their time at the school, and hope they remember some of it when they get older. For now, they are excited to be in summer came for the next couple of months, then moving on to the American School next year. Pre-school and Kindergarten, he comes the Purcell boys!

June 14, 2017

Caleb's KG-2 Graduation

This week both boys had their last day of school (another blog post) and Caleb's graduation from KG-2. We are thankful for the great experiences they had at the Little Academy these past two years, and for the sweet friends they made.  Getting a couple of pictures of the grad and bro before leaving for the ceremony.

 And with mom (Nathan was traveling this past week).
 And Tes, who also came to graduation day.
The ceremony was downtown  so we met up with a few friends from class and caravanned there. Here are Caleb's best buds in class, Thomas and Tank. 

 They are goofy and have lots of fun together! They both leave Jordan this summer, and Caleb will miss them, but he is excited to make new friends at his new school this coming year.
 Boys with the little brothers.
 Moms of graduates.
 List of graduates from the Lion and Bumblebee class.
 The program was so cute. Each class had a slideshow, did a dance, sang songs in Arabic, English, and French, and lastly was the graduation ceremony. Lots of videos below.

Here is Caleb's artwork on display. The top one was that he wanted to be a fire fighter when he grows up. The second is Cable drawing his favorite animal, bats!
The graduation was held at the Cultural Center...check out his nice playground...and I saw they had a planetarium! We ill be coming back here.
First, the classes performed  a song phasing in different instruments. It was really cute!
Next, there were a few dances. First was a cultural dance. Caleb's friend Thomas two kids to the left of the girl in the middle.
Next was Caleb and Tanks's dance. Caleb is all the way on the left. Caleb was pretty tight lipped about this show, so I had no idea about the dance. The night before graduation, he did tell me that he was nervous because a lot of people would be there. There was close to a couple hundred people in the auditorium that day, and Caleb did great. I'm really proud of him, he has come a long was over the past couple of years, for performing for school shows.
Next, they had a tree planting ceremony for each class. The kids would come up two at a time and water/put dirt on a tree that will be planted at their school. This is a tradition the school has had since they opened.

The graduation ceremony was really sweet. They showed a picture of each child on the big screen, said a few words about them, then they walked down to shake the teachers hands and get their diplomas. Something happened to my camera during this time, but I caught him scurrying across the stage. 

Final song of the day!

Way to go KG-2 grads!
Caleb and his friends like to play Marines a lot. Both boys' dads were Marines, so there is lots of military talk and play, hence the saluting!
Love these two :).
Goodbye KG-2, hello Kindergarten!

June 12, 2017


We had such a fun few days last week with Hap, Elizabeth, and the kiddo's visit! Sam wanted the visit to be a surprise, and it sure was a big one for the boys! They arrived last Monday evening and we had a delicious Filipino dinner of Pancit. This dish is popular to make for happy occasions/good luck - birthdays, family get togethers, so the occasion was perfect. 
We enjoyed lots of time playing in the yard. Photo credit for this post goes to Elizabeth. She got a new camera and I did not pick up my DSLR once...just a few phone pics...

That morning, they walked to the park close by to our house while we were at work. I told her Caleb knows the way...and they made it :).

In the afternoon, we attempted to go to the Children's Museum but it was closed! Trying to convince the boys that we had a fun plan B....
And we did... a new trampoline park that opened a few weeks ago, only a mile or so from our house! This place was so fun, they had obstacle courses, indoor play area, walk climbing wall, lots of trampolines, foam pits, and fun slides. Fun for kids and big kids! We will definitely be back here this summer...

Like snow tubing...minus the snow. The boys did this for a while...

Fun rock wall/foam pit.

Lots of jumping!

We jumped too :). Elizabeth still has her cheerleading moves!
I went for a cannonball!
Spider boys climbing the walls.

Slam dunk.

The next day, we visited Mt. Nebo and Madaba while the boys were at school. It was a beautiful day!

This is where Moses first viewed the Promised Lan...and I bet it looked just like this thousands of years ago when he stood here - amazing!
It was so fun to hang with the boys and little lady.
This man was working on the wall and the boys enjoyed watching him for a while.
Jacob doesn't look thrilled, but he was having fun.  It was a hot day!
They recently finished the church. It has been under renovation since we arrived, and this was our first time inside. It was a beautiful church inside and out.
This guys was apparently very fast and poisonous. Good thing one of the twins and I walked right over the open grate where he was hanging out....eek!
Sweet Abby Lou. I'm running, I'm running was her favorite thing to say on Mt. Nebo!
Looking over into Palestine.
Abram was less than thrilled to take this picture :).
But Abby likes to say cheese and warmed up to us a lot.
Next stop was Madaba. Last time we visited was with Nathan's parents on the last day of Ramadan last year. So another Ramadan visit on the books!
Madaba is know as the Mosaic capital of the world. From ancient times, people came to Madaba to learn this trade.

It is also home to many Byzantine and Roman churches that had beautiful mosaic floors.
Abram and uncle Nathan checking out a church floor from up above these super sturdy walkways :).

This is the old Roman Road that went through the city.
This is the famous Madaba Tree of Life mosaic. It is located in the archeological park in the back of a dark cellar. It was covered with dust, so we poured some water on it and the colors popped right out!
Sweet, sweet twins!
 We visited some mosaic shops and the boys enjoyed a tutorial on how Mosaics are made.
 Our last stop was at St. George's church to see the famous Mosaic Map of the Middle East. I think it was from the 4th century.
 Andrew was so tired and he fell asleep in the church!
The five big boys slept together each night! The first night they stayed up late talking, but the next two nights, I think tiredness kicked and and they went to sleep easier.
Despite what they said, they did sleep..here's the proof!
The babies slept with Hap and Elizabeth...soon they can get in the mix too!
Elizabeth and I made Grandpa Mark's strawberry pie one night and it was delicious! Thanks for the recipe :).
We were lucky to have them here on Thursday, when Benjamin had his end of year performance. I thought it would be songs (as all the other shows have been). Instead, they showed off experiments they prepared. Benjamin's table talked about things that dissolve and do not dissolve in water.
They had a captive audience, and it was fun to show Elizabeth and the boys our kids school and some friends.
 They did a great job! There were a several other tables around the room, so we made our way to see what other experiments the kids prepared.
What a blessing it was to have this time together! We are so thankful to be 'close by' for the next 3 years and plan to take advantage of more time together here, there, or somewhere. What a fun few days. We love you Jolliffs!

 Tes and the kiddos. She really enjoyed finally meeting everyone and the time with the kids. I think they enjoyed her too :).