Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Don't Let the Seasons Pass You By

Don't Let the Seasons Pass You By

It is almost Thanksgiving, so I thought I should get up a post about Halloween!  I think this was the first year Josh did not have a costume.  That is kind of sad to me. . .Joseph still went trick or treating, although several of his friends chose not to as they are getting "older".  I am not sure what will happen next year.  Thank goodness I still have a few years to take Jordan out. Even if I parse out the candy until February, it is still an activity the kids look forward to.  Halloween is fun, but it can also be a very "gimme gimme" holiday.  Since Josh was young, we have tried to carry on a tradition which has not happened every year, but most years at least to some extent.  We pick a few houses that we go trick or treating to and we also give them a treat.  It has been something simple like a loaf of bread or some microwave popcorn with a note.  That way, there is still some element of giving to the situation.  I would hope it is a tradition the kids would carry on with their own families, but at least it is assuaging my guilt for sending my kids begging door to door.

Josh and Jordan are working on carving the pumpkins. Yes, they are pumpkins, or maybe just "squash." The color is definitely not pumpkin color, but it beat spray painting watermelons orange.

Jordan and her American Girl doll both wanted to be ghosts, so I made them matching costumes.

 "Do you like my stretchy pants?"  (Nacho Libre) When we were in Mexico this summer, each of the kids got a luchador mask. Joseph is sporting his now.

This is my attempt at creating fall here in the Mideast.  I had hoped to actually buy several more pumpkins at the fruit and vegetable market., but they did not have them this year--until 2 weeks after Halloween.  I was lucky to find these.  Jordan's is the pumpkin on top, but that was probably obvious by the bow she insisted be carved on its head.  Josh's, on the bottom left,  is a Pokemon character named Apsol.  Joseph's is the Pokeball on the right.  This was actually a hot spot of the night.  Carving pumpkins is quite a novelty here, so several people took pictures as they were out trick or treating.  They also posed their kids in front of it to take their pictures.  So maybe my humble little pumpkin patch will be famous after all.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Packing It Up

I often get a similar question as I am shopping and packing up suitcases and boxes to make my return trip to Saudi Arabia after a visit to the States: “What are you taking back with you?”  This list changes with each trip; various items are brought back each time, some occasionally and some are just  one-time purchases.  So for the fun of myself and hopefully those who read this, I compiled a list (though not completely comprehensive for the sake of boring you).  Along with the questions of what we are taking back,  common follow up questions, sometimes verbalized, sometimes just implied are, “Why are you taking that?"  "Can’t you get that there?”  I have often had to ask myself the same thing:  “Why am I taking this back?”  I have been able to justify it if necessary in the following ways:

It is not available in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
It is not available on a regular basis in KSA.
The brand I like is not available in KSA (and I prefer not to use another brand).
It is more expensive to buy it in KSA than to buy it in the US and ship it back.
It is more convenient to pay for the shipping than to have to go out and buy it in KSA.

Our trips to the US average 1-2 times a year.  So when we shop and ship we have to look at when the next time we will return to restock will be.  That regulates what we take back each time:  Are we buying for a year, 6 months, etc.  How much do we have left and will it last until the next trip? 
The more I worked on the list, the more it expanded into our packing and shipping adventures.  So in answer to your questions and in justifying my own reasoning, read on!

Usual Items/Necessary and Unnecessary Items Included

Wheat Gluten and Dough Enhancer.  Not available.  The quality of bread has improved over the last 4 years, but overall it just is not the same.  It is dry and not that tasty.  Not to be sacrilegious, but let me help you understand our desperate search for good bread.  Each week in church someone is assigned to bring the sacrament bread.  One week as we took of the bread it actually tasted good.  After a few phone calls later that afternoon, we located the donor and found out what kind of bread it was and where it was purchased.  We found it in the store the next time we looked, but it was not always available.  It is often easier and more fulfilling to make my own than try and locate good bread.
Pepperidge Farm Goldfish.  They are more expensive to buy in KSA –a  64 oz box in Saudi will cost about $16.
This was our first experience of packing for our return trip.  I don't think we got much sleep that night.
But the goldfish are in the box!
Yogurt Covered Pretzels .  I have begun to see chocolate ones shipped in.
Sunflower Seeds.  These are not always available, and not always the brand the kids like.
US Brand Candies.  These might include Swedish Fish (becoming more available now), Airheads, York Peppermint Patties, Mike and Ikes, Hot Tomales. I have also started bringing back M&Ms of various flavors.  I can get the small milk chocolate ones here, but the others have been changed to a chocolate stuff called “choco”.  It is a darker chocolate and more fudge-like in flavor.  It seems to be all I can find here and in European countries we have visited and which often ship to KSA.  If I am going to watch a movie with popcorn, I am going to have my milk chocolate M&Ms to go with it.  (Is that high maintenance?)
Various Dried Fruits.  These might include chocolate covered raisins, cherries and craisins—chocolate raisins are sometimes available, but not what we like the best. Craisins are becoming more available, but not consistently.
Various Nuts.  Pecans are the nut I bring back most often.  They are very expensive to buy here if the US import is purchased.  There is a nut store where I have purchased them from before.   But after a few times of purchasing them, I realized they had an interesting aftertaste which I eventually identified as cumin.  Jon does not like pecan cumin pie (I do not either).  What happens is this:  The nuts and spices are in open bins next to one another.  The nuts pick up the flavor of whatever is in the bin around it.  I have had the same problem with almonds.  So now if enough people want pecans, we will purchase an unopened box and share it.  But if we have not found any available, I will bring them back with me. 
Holiday Candy. Christmas and Valentines are technically illegal here.  However, they are getting more candies in stock, especially where expats shop.  There are two problems, though.  First, they are extremely expensive or they show up in the grocery store with a “Just arrived from the US” sign about six months after the holiday.  If they are a decent price, I will purchase them and save them for the next six months.  Often I have someone in the States purchase holiday candies, decorations, etc. when they go on clearance and I will pick them up when I come again.  We have to always be planning ahead and thinking about all holidays all year round.
Baking Chips.Chocolate chips are usually available in the Hershey’s brand I like, but they are usually about $4 a bag.  However, I usually still buy those in Saudi so I can bring back those which are not as readily available: cinnamon, butterscotch, and mint.
Food Coloring.  I can get some colors, but they are not the good brands, or colors.  I have never seen black here.

Flavorings.  Maple flavoring, lemon, and always, always real vanilla.  I can get a powdered vanilla here and it is actually good for some things.  But real, true vanilla is not available because of the alcohol content in it.  Alcohol is against the religion/law (most of the time one in the same) so anything with alcohol in it is not allowed.  Even the mouthwashes say "alcohol free" on them.  I bake a lot, and I refuse to bake without real vanilla or butter.  (I can find butter.) I have never had a problem bringing it in and I do not feel guilty about it as I do not think of it as alcohol.  There was one time I was nervous coming through customs, however.  I was on a return trip from the States, traveling alone.  I had a taxi driver who had picked me up from the airport.  We stopped on our way from Bahrain coming into Saudi and the agent wanted to X-ray our boxes.  We had never been asked to do that before.  But it must have been the night for it, as another car with expat, American women was also pulled off to the side ahead of us with their boxes being checked and x-rayed.  I was a little concerned as I had real vanilla and several bottles of herbs and medicines which are an "iffy" item to bring in also.  So I tried to remain calm and guiltless as I waited my turn to be inspected.  Then, just as we were to pull ahead to be x-rayed, another worker came out and said the x-ray machine was not working.   I decided I was being watched over and that even God appreciates a good chocolate chip cookie with real ingredients.
Various Spices, Cooking and Baking Items.  Redmond’s sea salt.  Rubs and seasonings.  Cinnamon (that does not taste like cumin), cornstarch, MSG free soup bases, ham “flavored” base, imitation bacon bits.  (Pork is against the law/religion so it is not allowed in.  However, some people actually put frozen meat, pork included, into a polar pack and then into a box and bring it in.  My friend did this (She was bringing steak.), lost her luggage for 3 days and it was still frozen).
Herbs and Medicines.  These include over the counter and prescription drugs.  Some herbs are not available consistently from GNC (often on back-order) and not always in the brands I like.  I can have essential oils shipped in, except for some of the stronger ones which I have to bring back.  We can get most of our prescriptions here.  But to save the hassle of having to go to the clinic here I keep some prescriptions on hand.
Hygienic and Beauty Items. Tampons.  OB brand is becoming available in rare places, but nothing else! Stock up!  Deodorants we like.  Lotions and sprays.  There is a Bath and Beauty now in Bahrain, but I really do not want to have to go to another country to purchase them  (Oh, I guess that is what I am doing in the US) and they are much more expensive in Bahrain.  I stock up on Mary Kay products and hair products.  I can get some stuff here, but not always what I like, and often only in Bahrain.  I have told my hairdresser, I need to bring her back with me!
Craft Items.  There is a craft store here.  It is not Michael's, but for us here it is a lifesaver for our creativity.  I do not think the owner ever gets rid of anything, so there are craft supplies and patterns from the early 80s available.  When I buy paint or mod podge, I have to judge if the dust on top is relevant to the age of the product inside.  There is also some stuff available at the bookstore, "Jarir".  Usually their products are fresh.  I can get some scrap-booking paper, but bring most back with me.  Fabric is sort of available.  Quilters can usually find stuff they like, for a price.  I have looked for 4 years for curtain fabric, with no luck.  I did once bring back fabric to redo everyone’s rooms, but have not done it yet. Sometimes we will find a store with good cloth tucked in a corner and it makes our day for a month!  I recently went with a friend and we found US brand cloth.  I didn't need it, and have no idea what to do with it, but bought it because it was such a great find!  Little things are really what count here.
Clothing.  I cannot usually get the brands I like, and if the store is here, it is usually more expensive. (Granted, that coming from the person whose favorite stores are thrift store,s which I miss terribly!) Most often there are no dressing rooms in the store, so I have to buy the clothing, then go to a restroom, if one is available, and try it on.  It is easier to buy in the States to save the hassle of having to get a driver (as I cannot drive off camp) or wait for Jon to drive me to the mall and then try to time that shopping around prayer time when stores close.  Most of the clerks are men (not that I have anything against that), even in the lingerie store.  I have heard of women going to these stores, with their blousey abayas on, and the clerk telling them what size of bra they need.  Sorry, I don't want any man scrutinizing me that closely, especially if I know he is doing it!  

We bring back the majority of everyone else’s clothing for the same reasons.  When we first got here, we stayed our first year through and did not really know what to plan for.  So Josh ran out of underwear and we were on a search to find them.  What a simple task to walk into Wal-Mart and find the Hanes isle, pick the size, decide on camo print or plain, and probably even get a couple of extra pair for free in the pack.  We searched all evening for underwear.  We finally found some in a department store.  I have shut out the cost from my memory, I just remember it was too much, but he was covered.  Then I took them home and looked at the washing instructions:  “Dry clean only”!  Are you kidding me?  Who dry cleans their underwear? Not me!  I never did send them to the dry cleaner, and they have made it through the washing machine several times now.
Sports Equipment and Toys.  Most baseball equipment for Joseph is brought back as baseball is not a top sport in the country.  We have bought soccer shoes instead of baseball shoes as soccer, or football as I should call it, is the dominant sport, again at a higher cost.  This summer I brought back one pair in the correct size and one a size bigger for spring season. 
There is a Toys are Us, but the quality is not the same.  It is cheaper quality and higher prices.  I will buy some stuff, but if I plan ahead enough, I will bring back stuff for Christmas and birthdays throughout the year. It does not matter what I am buying, there is always the question in my mind of "How much does this weigh?"  I can be found in Walmart hefting items in the isles trying to judge their weight and if that weight is worth the cost.
This was our fist method of weighing our suitcases.   It took two people:  one to hold and one to look under the suitcase to check the weight.  To meet the weight requirements, it has to be 50 pounds or less. We have since devised a method that can be done with one person which includes a hand weigher and bailing twine. 

One-Time Purchases

110 Appliances.  Most of these items are small 110 appliances.  When Aramco, the company we work for, was established in KSA, it started out as an American company.  So the homes were built to American standard 110 voltage.  But, the majority of appliances sold here are 220.  The company supplies the major appliances, and we brought several of our own when we came.  There used to be more 110 available, but they are all being phased out according to an “official decree” to get everything to the same 220 standard.  So we have brought back several of these smaller items to make our lives more comfortable.  Also, because of what is (and is not) available, I make the majority of my food from scratch, and these items make it easier and faster for me to do that.  These items have included:  as an electric griddle, VCR, blow dryer and other hair devices, ihomes, laptop computer,  popcorn air popper, ice cream maker, bread maker, yogurt maker, crock pots, and fondue pot.
Musical Instruments.  Electric cello (Josh’s birthday present.) Surprisingly, we have found several instruments here including an electric bass, guitars, tenor saxophone, electric piano, cello in Abu Dhabi, and drums in Dubai.  The thing we need to bring back next is a bigger room to fit them all into. 
Bows and Arrows. Technically these are illegal to bring into the country, so I guess I am confessing on this one.  I cannot even justify it except to say, "It's for the kids."  We broke the bow down into several pieces and put them and the arrows in separate boxes.  We sent them ahead (just in case there was a problem) with Jon who left earlier than the kids and I that year.  He never got questioned.  Actually, I am amazed that we have never had a problem with any of the items we have brought through customs.  We have temporarily lost luggage before, several items at a time, but all have been recovered after a few days and a few extra trips to the airport.  I also think that the agents don’t dare mess with a mother of 3 who has just survived 24+ hours of traveling.  Thank you for their mercy.

We missed our flight from Riyadh to Dammam.  It took 15 hours to reroute us for the 45 minute flight.  So we parked and waited--what else do you do with 17 pieces of checked luggage?  This is one time I almost wished we had not brought so much back (almost).

Josh wanting to make the most of his time and our luggage, created the fort seen here and above.

DVDs.  These too are "illegal", especially religious ones.  We usually try to bring them in our carry-on luggage and have always gotten them through.  Some video stores have opened up, but are somewhat limited in their stock. And if there is anything to do with a pig including a picture or being mentioned in the name, it will be scribbled out with a black magic marker. I once saw a copy of Charlotte's Web at the bookstore with Wilbur completely covered in black marker. But those stories are a post in and of themselves. 

Extra Large and Heavy Items

When we moved here, the company paid to move our personal belongings across the ocean in a large shipping container.  This summer we decided to do a similar shipment  in a 40 foot shipping container with 2 other families.  (This was in addition to the 17 items we checked on the plane.)  This included items too large to fit in a dish pack-sized box or too heavy to justify bringing.  Most of these were purchased online and delivered to the shipping company in Salt Lake.  Jon did take one load of items we had purchased directly to the company.  This is what some of them were.  A washer and dryer.  There is a Sears store somewhere here, but we wanted to save some money and wanted the most up-to-date versions.  Targets to go with the already smuggled in bows and arrows (We told the woman at the shipping company to be sure they were labeled as “children’s sports toys.”) Home decorations, books, musical equipment, beds, comforter sets, 60 cans of canned chicken (already wishing I had brought more), a case of Pepperidge Farm goldfish (already wishing I had brought more), espsom salts, several kitchen items including pans, an extra bowl for the icecream maker (I am sort of an icecream "snob" but hate to pay the price for the good kind shipped in.  But we love the kind we make.),  water softeners (The ocean water is desalinated and is safe to use and drink, but not preferable. We buy bottled water and anything white usually turns gray in about 6 months.), and more 110 appliances.

Now, in reality, probably very few of these items are absolutely necessary for our basic survival in Saudi Arabia (except for real vanilla).  However, they do maintain our sanity for various reasons.  Although we bring back a lot of things, we cannot bring back the things that mean the most and that is our families and stateside friends.  Tucked in the crevices of our boxes, we try to sneak in little reminders:  photos, stuffed animals from grandparents, homemade dried fruit from Mom, birds from Aunt Shan, endless hours of others helping us pack or watching the kids so we could do the hours (days) of necessary shopping.   Things can never replace the love that we miss as we go away.  Perhaps the “stuff” at least in part, is all just a way of making us feel more comfortable and more like we are at home.  In many ways this strange land has become our home because that is where our immediate family is and we have many wonderful friends.  But some things can never be replaced no matter how many boxes we bring back.  However, until The Lord tells us it is time to return to the US, we will keep packing our boxes, missing our families and trying to find a way to keep hot dogs (turkey of course) frozen for at least a 24 hour flight.

Friday, October 26, 2012

To Everything There Is a Season

I love fall, at least I loved it in the States.  This is my 4th fall here and I become melancholic each year.  One year I  begged for my sisters to send me pictures of leaves and mountains.  I received pictures and more.  Bless my sister Katie, she even sent me a box of leaves gathered from her yard and mailed across the ocean.  I cried when I opened the box and inhaled the scent of leaves and dirt.  I kept them and used them again the following year.  I still have them, but they are not displayable, except perhaps for potpourriIt seems that here I have become more aware of the seasons and what I like and dislike about them because they are generally very different in this desert.

I so miss the changing of the seasons from hot summer into cool fall.  Each autumn as the breezes picked up a slight chill  a wave of nostalgia would  hit  me signaling a change in my life.  It meant the starting of a new school year and new adventures to come either as I went to school or later as I sent the kids to school.  It meant the last trip to Bear Lake for the season, and the oncoming canning season at Mom’s and Dad’s and the harvest of the garden.  (I never succeeded in canning on my own.)

However, our last trip to Bear Lake now usually means it is almost time for us to leave the States and head back to Saudi, where it is still hot and humid.  While  you in the States are donning your jackets for cooler weather, we are finally grateful for cooler weather here so we can leave our houses and enjoy the outside, un-air conditioned air. 

Fall still means heading back to school, Joseph in 5th grade at the elementary, Josh in 11th  at the high school off camp, and this year my baby Jordan entered kindergarten.  Last year, I remember visiting Jordan’s preschool where the teacher was reading them a story about visiting “the farm” in the fall.  The story could have been about my parents’ home.  The lump in my throat grew as they talked of picking apples from the trees, choosing pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns and harvesting other crops in the garden.  I had to squelch it down rather than try to explain why I was crying about a picture book of Mr. Jones’ farm.   I longed to see the leaves, choose a pumpkin for carving, and taste the fresh apple juice from home grown apples. 

As I left her class, I was feeling rather sorry for myself.  Or at least I tried for a few moments to justify my oncoming depression.  But the Lord is kind and opened my eyes and heart.  I felt the sun shining on me, a gentle breeze blowing and beautiful scenes before me I hadn’t appreciated before.  Yes, the seasons are very different here.  And yes, I miss the sights and smells of autumn.  But as I try to appreciate where I am and what I have here, I am blessed with a sense of gratitude.  Both places are  good and I feel appreciative to have experienced them both.  That said, if anyone sees any silk  autumn leaves, gather some up for me, will you?  Here are a few pictures of how we are experiencing the fall season this year.

Though not the traditional fall colors, I found other beautiful colors on our camp.  These bougainvillaea plants come in pinks, white, red, an orange here.  They are planted on several streets and in most yards.  

My brothers would probably say this would never come close to qualifying as a "mountain", and it isn't ablaze with fall color.  But it is the best we've got.   It is called a "jebel" which is an Arabic word meaning "mountain, hill, or slope." It probably qualifies as a slope.  

 Here is my fall "harvest".  This is a large open fruit and vegetable market where I go to buy produce from around the world.  Some days I get some good deals, some days I just wish I could go to a US supermarket as it depends on the time of year, the time of day as to what will be there.

Here I am at the market looking for pumpkins for carving.  They are not very orange, but after much searching, I found some that are suitable for carving.  One of the grocery stores does have some large orange ones shipped in from the US.  But when I compare 3 SR ($.80)/kilo to 30 ($8/kilo) I can handle the color.  And out in the open air it is a little more like going to the farm! The men helping me couldn't quite figure out why I kept trying to stand them all up to see if they balanced by themselves.  I thought better of trying to explain to them what I wanted them for. 
This is taken from inside the grade school. 
Someone drew this jack-o-lantern in the humidity on the glass door.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Joseph In the Spotlight

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Joseph was drafted to be a part of a tournament team that played in Kuwait.  He and Jon drove over with another family, about a 4 hour drive from Saudi.  They left on Wednesday and came back on Friday.  Joseph's team played 3 games.  They didn't win, but had a great time.

Joseph pitched the entire first game, a total of 80 pitches.  The next game, the same day, he was catcher.  That night at dinner he was so tired he fell asleep at the table at Chili's.

Playing Shortstop.  Lookin' pretty cool too!

The Kuwait Tournament Team


Shortly after we moved to Saudi, Jordan grew out of her crib and we purchased an adjustable bed for her from IKEA.  Now, on a normal shopping day, in a normal shopping way, in a normal shopping country, we could have purchased the mattress to go with the bed.  However, shopping here is anything but normal  First, you have to shop between prayer times, then you have to hope that what you want is actually in stock and not on back order for months, and, that despite some language barriers, they know what you are actually asking for.  This particular day of shopping had its drawbacks. We found the bed we wanted, and it was in stock, (yippee); we were rushing because it was almost prayer time and the store would close for 30-40 minutes, during which time, we could, (A)Stay in the store, but not check out (B)Leave the store without our purchase, (some stores make you leave, others lock you in and you can't leave), (C)Rush to the checkout counter at the 10 minute warning to make our purchase and get out of there.  (Yes, most of  the fun is taken out of shopping with these constraints.) 

We chose "C" which meant that we had to go and find the bed we wanted in the self-help isle and make our purchase.  Before we left for self-help (which most westerners need at some point to deal with their frustrations over shopping here), we asked about the mattress that went with the bed.  To add to our stress of leaving, we were told that no mattresses were in stock, nor would be for 6 months.  And what good is a bed without a mattress?!?  However, we were on our way now, so we purchased the bed and left the store.  Luckily we found that the mattress we were issued for her crib (a rental from the company) fit the width of the bed and the length of the mattress still fit her legs.  That story brings us up to date.  Her legs no longer fit the bed and the the "high quality" crib mattress has a divet for her dainty derriere from which she was complaining from back pain, not a common complaint for a five year old. So we decided to try IKEA again to determine if the mattress was in stock--our fear being that after 2 1/2 years, they had come back in to stock, gone out of stock, and now were possibly obsolete. 

And so Jon took a drive.  Often our shopping is done by the two of us--me home with the kids as I cannot drive off camp, on the phone with Jon describing to him what we need.  After several calls with me on one end taking measurements from her bed and him on the other end comparing those measurements (after converting them from inches to centimeters) to the mattresses IKEA had in stock,  he determined the best fit (often decisions are made not on the "right" choice, but on the "best" choice with what is available).  Jon came home with the mattress and switched out the old mattress which he leaned against a wall until it could be returned to "furniture warehouse"  where we can rent furniture from the company. 

Seeing the mattress out of place in the hallway, reminded Joseph of a favorite past time activity.  One he enjoyed so much that he wrote a story about it in 1st grade,  which is included below.  He decided to relive the memory and proceeded to begin removing the bedding from his and Josh's beds so as to get to the mattresses.  He paused only a moment when I reminded them that all beds would need to be remade, ultimately, deciding the work was worth the fun (Jordan's begging helped also); he tore the beds apart and removed the mattresses.  Included below are pictures of the "correct mattress sliding clothing" and live-action, narrated video from the night's activities. 

I even took a slide myself and quite enjoyed it; I would have liked it to last a bit longer.  As would have the kids liked their fun to continue.  But, of course, it had to end sometime.  I helped Joseph and Jordan return the mattresses to the correct rooms and remake the beds.  However, in doing this, I made an alarming discovery.  Josh now needed a new mattress.  I realized he has had the mattress for several years; included in those years are a move across the ocean and being used in the sport of mattress sliding.  It has proved its usefulness.  And so the process begins again.  This time, though, we need an American standard mattress to fit his twin size bed.  Where to get one is the question!  But for the meantime, we have found a good use for the mattress without a bed.   

                                                            Mattress Sliding
One awesome afternoon me and my brother went to my room and sat on my bed. We were bored... absolutely bored! Then my brother had an idea. We had two mattress on my bed. We put both of them on the stairs. Then we were sliding on them.Then my sister came. The mattresses covered the stairs so we had to grab the railing to get up.  We were flying down the stairs! Then my brother Josh yelled "Toss me some pillows!" I threw him two and he also got some more. He put them at the bottom of the stairs. My dad started videoing us. We did some more rides then we got socks on. I put on white socks then I thought , "nope, not them." Then I saw some socks that were blue and really, really slippery. Then I
I was thirsty so I got a bit of tang. I just saw a jacket. I put it on and went to the top of the slide and went down. It was awesome! Then I acted like I was skate boarding or snow boarding down the the mattresses then I went on my belly. Then I ran and jumped and went flying into the air! When I hit the bottom, "thump!" Then my sister came. My sister did a somersault down the stairs! But right before that my dad turned off the camera. We went down again and again and when my brother goes down I go right after him because when he grabs onto the top of the mattresses I grab onto his feet and climb on him like  he's a rope. And then my mom made us clean it up, but tomorrow I will do it again. But first I have to do my jobs! Maybe or maybe not? It's a secret ha ha ha!
                                                                           The End   
The proper clothing for mattress sliding should be cotton socks, a polyester shirt and flannel pants.

Below are videos Joseph took while he was sliding and of Jordan sliding. 

Keep on Slidin'!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Family Fame

Remember the Run, Baby, Run post? Well, Jordan got famous from it! She was on the front cover of the monthly magazine that comes out to our community!

On the next page of the magazine the was a small paragraph about Jordan getting a gold medal for the second year in a row and has Joseph's name listed in the fastest boy from 9-10 years old.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Run, Baby, Run!

Each year one of the running clubs on camp holds a "youth run."  Jojo and Jordan participated last year. Jordan was so excited over the whole thing that all year long she kept asking when that race was going to be.  They both ran again this year and did really well.

Jordan won 1st place in her 4 and under age group with 5 girls participating in the 100M sprint.  She was quite concerned beforehand and kept asking, "What if I don't win?"  We tried to convince her it was just for fun, but after taking the gold last year, she didn't want any less.

Joseph ran a 4x100M relay.  His team was really behind with him on the last leg; he brought them up to a loss of only about 6 inches for 2nd place.  He won his age group for the individual 200M dash.

Joseph and Jordan waiting to race. 

Jordan coming to the finish line, with a smile as usual.

Jordan receiving her gold medal.

Joseph coming to the finish line on the 200M dash.

Joseph, gold medalist for the 200M dash along with silver and bronze winners.
Joseph with his silver medal international relay team  from Utah and Texas, USA, and Jordan.