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Friday, April 30, 2010

Thank you, Egypt!

One of the perks of working at a U.S. Embassy is double holidays. As Brandon is a federal employee, he gets work off on all of my favorite days. Like President's Day. And Veteran's Day. All of the days that furniture stores enjoy having sales for.

But not only does he not have work on those days, he also gets all of the Egyptian holidays off, of which there are several. My favorite month is November, as Brandon has five of the twenty-two work days off, including a three-day stretch just following Veteran's day and the week preceding Thanksgiving.

This past week we celebrated Sinai Liberation Day (ha). As that revered national holiday coincided with the week of our anniversary, Brandon and I abandoned the children to a friend in the ward for the night and went to go explore our own hometown. Following are some of my favorite pictures. What the pictures don't capture, however, is the joy of leaving all three of my sweet children to be someone else's headache for just a little while.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Life has been busy around here, and although I have had time to think of plenty of clever posts, I haven't had much time to write the clever posts. Unfortunately, after a few days of waiting in my brain, they get bored and leave, so you gentle readers will just have to get the facts, without none of my witty prose that you have all grown to love and admire. Or something like that.

Edwin is doing well, and continues to sleep through the night. He has kindly settled down to a predictable 4 naps a day. When he's not napping, he's happy as long as he has somebody around to watch. I love that boy. He's learned to flip over, back to front, and so when the pediatrician asks about that whole 'back to sleep' thing, I'll just have to evade the question, or lie.

Sophia has really gotten the hang of talking, which I am grateful for. However, as she is not quite two years old, sometimes I have to get Kathleen to translate for me. I'm pretty sure Rere never has any idea what she's saying. Being the second has helped her greatly in the speech thing as she already has many stock phrases to repeat verbatim. A few weeks ago at dinner, we were all talking, and she managed to get in "Excuse me, I'd like to say something." When asked what she would like to say, she then asked "May I please have some more soup?" She's also potty trained 24/7, and so for the first time as a parent, I have a majority of my children out of diapers. Thank heaven!

Kathleen has grown up overnight; she is learning to read (albeit quite reluctantly some days), has stopped sucking her thumb, and is memorizing various things. I am so happy to have a child that can now go and get their own drink of water, and even one for their sister. She has also learned to ride her tricycle without using Sophia as a motor, and now rides it to the library. We make for great amusement for everyone when we go out with Kathleen on the tricycle, Sophia holding my hand, and Edwin in the Baby Bjorn.

We have all settled in quite well, and are happy to be in Egypt. Really. I'm not kidding. It's funny how you can't miss what you don't remember. I'm looking forward to mango season, and enjoying strawberry season, but I'm sad about orange season being over, but honeydews have just started, and the bananas are good. If you'd like to come sample the produce, just send us an email, and tell us you're coming!

Friday, April 23, 2010

This is not the US

Thankfully for our car-less state (instead of parking our car in the garage, we park the double baby jogger), church is only 4 blocks away and so we walk. By now, the girls have gotten used to the various sights on the way to church: about 20 Egyptian men hanging out in front of houses, a church, and various apartment buildings. The 'busy' two lane Bur Said, and many many feral cats and an occasional dog.

So I wasn't surprised to see a dog trotting briskly around the corner this afternoon on our way home. What I wasn't prepared for, however, was the foreleg of... something (sheep? goat?) complete with hair and hoof hanging out of the dog's mouth. And I could swear I saw it grinning in triumph.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday Morning

Saturday mornings are sacred in our house. With three small children and Brandon's Executive Secretary calling, Friday mornings aren't exactly leisurely so Saturday is all we've got. Unfortunately for the last few Saturdays, everyone has had some different ideas.

We have yet to switch to Daylight Saving time which ended last year mid-August, which means that we've been enjoying early sunrises and sunsets for the last eight months. Normally I don't mind early sunrises; it's nice when one wakes up at 5:15 to not need any light to cook breakfast. However, not only does the light wake up me, it also wakes up Edwin and the girls. And they don't care when Saturday morning is.

In an attempt to at least keep myself sleeping past 5:15, I shut the blackout curtains when we went to bed at 11 last night. Unfortunately blackout curtains can do nothing against mourning doves who like to perch on our balcony and loudly call at 5:30. As soon as that disruption was scared away, Edwin chimed in. After he was flipped over, Kathleen went to the bathroom and attempted to quietly slam the door. Which woke up Sophia who had to protest. And perhaps the loudly barking dog took umbrage at Sophia. And of course everyone needs to loudly honk their horn early in the morning.

And it is taken for granted that all loud disturbances should be evenly spaced 10-15 minutes apart so as to allow Brandon and me to just drift off before being awoken again. We finally gave up the ghost at 7 because Brandon had to be at work by 9.

And why is he at work on a sacred Saturday morning? Someone died. Again.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

There's something different about this one

When I found that Edwin would be Edwin and not Little Princess, everyone told me to watch out because boys are different than girls. I know that they're different, as my father showed me at the tender age of five after I questioned whether they had perhaps gotten confused. So I've been looking for some more differences other than purely anatomical.

In our house, when someone breaks wind, we don't comment and if the offending party feels like it, they ask to be excused. Today Sophia passed gas, said 'Scuse me,' and continued playing.

Today as I was getting Edwin dressed for bed, he too passed gas. He can't say excuse me, so instead gave me a huge smile and then giggled while kicking in delight. Heaven help us, there's now a little boy in the house.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Word of What?

Cooking with wine is a controversial topic, religiously. Some say that no alcohol is good alcohol, some contest that it cooks out. I've heard an apochryphal story (with no apparent source) of one prophet who, when asked about rum cake, remarked that the Word of Wisdom said nothing about eating alcohol, just drinking.

My own personal philosophy is best espoused by my sister Laura's response on the topic. When discussing the matter with some sisters in her BYU married ward, one sister contended that the alcohol didn't entirely cook out. To which Laura replied 'Really? Well I don't care.'

In preparation for an upcoming dinner (beef braised in red wine), I purchased a bottle of red wine during a recent trip to the Commissary. I hand-carried the bag not wanting for the bottle to get broken or to have my boab refuse to carry it, as he had done when he thought that root beer was the real stuff.

In the bustle of unloading groceries and getting everyone ready for a walk to the library, I left the plastic bag containing the wine bottle on our front entry table. Later that evening while cooking dinner, I heard a suspicious thump and asked Sophia, but she didn't reply, and the thump was more thump than crash so I didn't take the time to investigate.

Brandon called soon after, and we talked on his walk home. After we hung up, I told Kathleen that Daddy was in the elevator and she ran to the door to greet him. She quickly ran back, however, to tell me that there was a big mess in the front entryway. I ran after to discover a large red pool on the floor and the room smelling like a public house.

Luckily the red (mostly) came out of the floor and the smell has all but dissipated so that future visitors are not set to wondering about those Mormons and that 'no drinking' thing. I suppose that all of that trouble serves me right, in the end. But I'm still going to buy another bottle.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


For Christmas this year, I received Oliver! from Brandon. One FHE we decided to treat the girls and watch a movie and eat popcorn with them (which happens maybe once every other month. I know, mean). Knowing that Kathleen enjoys singing and dancing, we chose Oliver!

Fairly quickly we realized that Oliver!, although containing children, is not much of a children's movie, with child abuse, prostitutes, robbery and murder. Nonetheless, we finished it over a few nights and Kathleen peppered us with questions about 'the little boy' and 'the blue man' for the following months.

A friend of ours, Simmone Davies, told us about her school's production of the musical and so we dressed Kathleen up, got a babysitter, and took her out for her first fine arts production. Despite being scared that 'the blue man' would come and take her, she enjoyed the show and fish tank in the lobby.

Evidently quite taken with Oliver, she has now assigned all of us characters. She of course is Oliver, Brandon is Mr. Brownlowe, I am Sister Davies (who played Bette), Edwin is Fagin, and Sophia is... Bill Sykes (I have no idea how she decided that her little sister would be the murderous robber).

Now I have to refer to everyone by their assumed identities, which leads to some interesting statements that I don't think were in the original book, musical, or movie. 'Mommy Billy Sykes pee-peed on the floor.' 'Bill Sykes, let me put your clip in.' And my favorite, 'Come here, Bill Sykes so I can put your panties on.'