Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year, Goodbye 2009

It's that time of year. The end of the year when everyone is making out their new years resolutions and reminiscing about the year that's ending. I for one, have never really been into either of these things. I don't go out to celebrate the incoming year. I have made resolutions before, but not with serious intent to keep any of them. And I don't think that I have ever reminisced about the passing year. However, this year of 2009 has been a big one for me and I feel the need to write about it.

Our year started out with a wonderful blessing. In February our second child, first son, was born. He is an amazing addition to our family! He is just about 11 months old now and he is so much fun to watch grow. So very different than my daughter, whom we also love more than anything the world could give us. Omar is curious about his world, persistent about getting what he wants, stubborn when told no, adorable to no end, and full of laughter. I am certain that he will be fully walking by the end of the week. Again, persistent. He has been working on his walking skills without hesitation for 2 weeks now. Today, he is able to walk about the distance of half the room before skidding onto his face, followed by laughter and back onto his feet to try it again! He and his sister have become great friends; playing and laughing together most of the day...with a few arguments regarding who get to play with what toy.

The end of March, while on my maternity leave, we took a trip over to Jordan to visit my in laws and introduce them to our toddler and new baby. Little did we know at that time, we would be back in a few months...to live.

In May, I quit my work at St. Francis Hospital in Milwaukee, WI when we found out we are moving. I worked there for 7 years and loved almost every moment of it...almost every moment...LOL! I had so many wonderful friends (nurses, doctors and staff) that I worked closely with. It was so hard to say goodbye...it was expecially hard because I didn't really get a chance to say goodbye....it all happened to quickly. I also didn't get to say goodbye to my friends outside work, just a phone call and back to packing. Too much happened too quickly.

Then, in June, there was the passing of my wonderful Grandmother. I don't know how to express how much she meant to me and to our family. She was so strong and her strength was the backbone that kept us all strong. She was an amazing woman, whom I respected and looked up to with great admiration. She has and always will be one the dearest people in my life. She has touched my life in so many ways. I am thankful for her life and grateful that she was alive until her last breath. So many people just linger in this world and she continued living until her last day. I miss her dearly, there are really no words to describe her and how much I loved her. I miss you Grandma.

July, we move to Jordan. Ugh. What a nightmare it has been to finally feel that we have settled here. It is now the last day in December and I can say that we are finally, pretty much, settled in. We found out about the move in May, I put in my two weeks notice at work, packed diligently, shipped our stuff to Jordan, went to visit family in the US over the next month, and then landed in Jordan in July. It took two months to find an apartment worth living in, followed by another month of fixing, painting and unpacking before we moved in. Once moved in we had to do too many things to make everything work....I don't know how many times and how many different electricians over to convert our appliances over to 220v before they were all working. We had so many issues with the appliances...FYI to anyone moving abroad....buy the appliances in the country you are moving to, unless they use the same electrical systems as your homeland!!! Then all the paperwork we have had to do in order to stay in country. How many times have we been down the same roads only to be told that we have to do another step before they can talk to us (why didn't you tell us that the first time!), or for paperwork not to have gone through yet, or the place was closed for the day. Nothing here is done electronically and no one gives you a pre-typed form that tells you that these are the steps you have to take to get from A to B...nope, you have to keep driving down to the places, wait in line, talk to some guy that doesn't have all the answers, hope he told you correctly, only to find out later that he forgot to mention 3 steps inbetween and you have just wasted an entire afternoon...again. Hmmm....I guess I better get off this subject...I'm rambling. Basically nothing is easy here and it has taken a loooong time to get where we are at. I am so grateful for my wonderful husband who has taken over everything and made our family comfortable. He is truly amazing!

We are now finishing up December and 2009. I want to say a few things to my friends and family back home. First off, I miss you. I am soooo looking forward to my parents coming to visit this spring! And soooo looking forward to seeing many of you this summer when we come to Minnesota (don't know when yet). Second, thank you all for your support during this difficult time in our lives. I couldn't have pulled threw it without your support. Lastly, I'm sorry for not being there for you this year like I wish I could have. I have been more than a little self-centered this year because of all the changes....new baby and moving in particular. I hope to be a better mother, wife, daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, and friend in 2010!

Stay safe, stay warm and Happy New Year! Love you!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Clean House - Dirty House

Awe...the subject of a clean home vs. a dirty one...or should I say the subject of Mommy when the house is clean vs. when the house is a mess!

I hate a dirty, unorganized home! I can't think straight when the house looks like a tornado came through. I literally get anxious, moody and upset when the house is a mess. On the flipside, when the house is clean....ahhhh, there is no feeling like a clean home. I can relax and enjoy the day. I can say though that I have gotten better over the years.

Eleven years ago, when we were first married (and I was living on my own for the first time), I was the guy from the movie "Sleeping with the Enemy". Remember that movie from the early 1990's with Julia Roberts. Her husband was a freak about having the home organised, down to the soup cans facing the same way...YEP, I had my soup cans facing the same way and everything else put in its place.

When I was in nursing school about 7 years ago, it was always the same story minus the need for the soup cans in one direction! I'd sit down to study and then look across the room. If there was a mess, I would have to stop studying, pick up the mess before studying....I couldn't think with stuff everywhere or out of place. (Honestly, I probably thought it was a good way to get out of studying for a little while too...LOL).

When it comes to cooking, my kitchen has to be clean before I start. So often, I am cleaning before and after I cook or bake...sometimes I realise that it would just be easier if I simply cleaned after, and I've tried it...but I can't think straight with the mess in front of me!

Now days, I have 2 young kids around helping Yanal and I make a messes. My kids are 2.5 years and 11 months. I don't have much time for cleaning and the kids do a great job of keeping things messy. When I do have time to clean, they are literally right behind me making a mess of what I just put away. So I have learned to look the other way and over the messes....for a little while anyways....then I start freaking out. I haven't decided if I am freaking out these days because I can't think straight or if it's because I am so frustrated that I have to clean on top of everything else that needs to be done throughout the day. I use to love to clean...I would clean when I was upset because it would give me something productive to do as I burned off my frustrations...but nowdays, cleaning just makes me angry and frustrated. I am so lucky to have a helpful husband who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty, because he likes a clean house too. My Mom always tells me to let the house slide more now that I have kids. Because I am busy raising and playing with them. And I do let a lot of things slide that I never would have before...but it's not because I want to, it's because I don't have the time.

That's the other thing I can't ever understand. How can I not have the time when I am a stay at home Mom?! I am home all day, my house should be spotless...but it's not....ha, not even close! I have looked into hiring someone to come clean once a week or so, but that feels weird. Like, can't I keep up with it myself?...again, I am home all day!

I tell you props to all the stay at home Mommies out there that can keep up with the mess. And please, please......share your daily schedule with me. Do you clean at the end of the day or as you go or a bit of both? How do you do it....how do you raise kids, play with kids, feed them nutrious meals, get excercise in, take time for yourself and keep your home clean. Aren't these the things they tell us we should be doing?! Please let me know if you know and secrets on how to do all of this!! I wish there were more time in the day.

Thanks for listening!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fun Things Not Mentioned Before

Throughout the passing days, different things come to mind regarding what to blog about. Many times these are just thoughts that pass from one side of my brain to the next. They are forgotten and never written down. Although, once in a while I have an idea that gets stuck in my mind and for whatever reason I still haven't blogged about them. So, here are a few of those things that have stuck in my mind and I have now, finally, written them down.

Golfing In the Desert
Who knew. Jordan has a golf course. Amidst the arid land and lack of water, someone decided to build a gold course. Honestly, I chuckled a bit when I learned more about the course itself. It was built in the 1990, meant to be the first of many...although currently there is only one golf course in Amman and two in Jordan. The Facts: it's a 9 hole course, 2754 yards, par 34. There is a driving range, club house, restaurant and bar. The Funnies: The putting greens are called "Browns". Why browns?! Well, they are brown in color. They are made from a mixture of oil and sand! There is not enough water to support grass, so this is the alternative! In addition, the fairway isn't full of lush beautiful green grass, so you have to carry a mat. A mat, what do you mean a mat?! Seriously, the player carries a mat around with them and uses it under their ball to give them a nice playing surface. LOL. If you don't believe me...here's their website: http://www.golfjordan.com/. We actually went to the golf course this summer and checked it out. To be honest, the club house is very nice. The course itself is not what I'm use to...looked pretty rugged and dry. However, Amman does have a golf course and there were lots of players on the course! Dad....bring your clubs! :-)

The Butt Washer
Huh? Well, it all started when I sent out pictures of our new place to my friends and family. I received many replies regarding the bathroom....what is that thing next to the toilet? Is that a urinal? It is another toilet? Is that a butt washer? Well...yes, it is a butt washer....but to be proper it is called a bidet. The bidet is widely used in Jordan and the Muslim world, some parts of Asia and Western Europe (let me know if it is used widely in your part of the world too). It is not widely used in the US; however, it is gaining popularity. The reason it is widely used in Jordan and the Muslim world is due to the strict cleanliness rules Muslims must abide by. Muslims must wash themselves with water after using the bathroom; therefore, there is the bidet. To learn more about Islam and cleanliness go to this great article: http://www.articlesbase.com/religion-articles/concept-of-cleanliness-in-islam-726526.html. A bidet is a small plumbing fixture that stands separately next to the toilet. There are a few different variations of the bidet. In Jordan, many bathrooms are equipped with a spray hose next to the toilet instead of a full bidet. As mentioned, it is used to clean yourself after relieving yourself. Here is more info on the bidet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidet.

The Weather
Okay, so if there is nothing else to talk about, people always ask about the weather. People are always asking me about the weather in Jordan...and this time, it's not because there is nothing else to talk about...it's because they are interested. So, here's a snapshot of the weather in Jordan. We are in the Northern Hemisphere (just on the opposite side of the world). Being in the Northern Hemisphere means that we have winter when the US has winter and we have summer at the same time too. Therefore, we are currently in the winter season. However, as I mentioned in my previous entry, our winter season is not like the winters of Minnesota. Amman has a latitude of 31 degrees 57', whereas the latitude in Minneapolis is 44 degrees 59', and the closest latitude I found was El Paso, Texas....so theoretically, we have similar weather to El Paso, TX...however, I have never been there to confirm this. This next week our weather forecast is as follows: Wed (Hi: 62, lo: 42); Thur (65, 43); Fri (67, 45), Sat (67, 45), Sun (71, 48), Mon (59, 50). I looked back at the weather last week because this seemed higher than it has been and sure enough, last week we averaged mid-50's. Coldest months are Jan and Feb. On contrast, hottest months are July and August. The average temperature during these months are in the mid-90's. One thing I will never complain about here is the weather! For those of you who know my husband Yanal.....I can now understand why he kept complaining all these years of the weather while living in the Midwest. Question for any of you...why do men from the desert move to Minnesota or Wisconsin?!

Measuring
Lastly, every time I cook here I think to add this to my blog. The US does everything so backwards from the rest of the world and now I am confused! I learned the metric system in school and we use it quite a bit in the medical field....but I am still confused. Like, I have the whole conversion for kg to pounds, no problem, did this all the time at work. I have a button on my car that switches from Km to mile, so when I feel like I am flying at 80 Km, I can hit the button and realize that I am only driving at at the speed of 50 mph. I can sort of do the conversion from Celsius to Fahrenheit, good enough anyways, and my computer can switch it over for me instantly. But when my recipe calls for 8oz and the package I am looking at is in grams, what the heck am I suppose to do?! It's so confusing to be at the 'super market' and everything is in metric. And trying to read the nutritional labels on the back of the boxes...come on....seriously, I was great at them in the US....but here, I am totally lost. Help!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

'Tis the Season in Jordan

It's interesting living here during this time of year. I feel so disconnected from that which has always been apart of my life, my culture, my being. Every so often I am jolted into thoughts and memories of what is that, which is everything back home right now.

First of all, I talked to my parents in Minnesota a few nights ago and they have plenty of snow and the temperature was negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit....did you catch that?....20 degrees BELOW zero! Well, here in 'sunny' Jordan the temperature is hanging around 55F. Do the math, that's 70 degrees higher than home (and I'll tell you a secret.....I am cold.....have I already forgotten what it was like to be whipped in the face with 20 below freezing wind and snow? Have I already forgotten what it's like to literally loose feeling in my fingers as I put the grocery bags in my car?).

Honestly, most days I forget that it is winter here. There is no snow here, although on occasion it will snow in Jordan. We have palm trees and the sun still shines most days. However, the days are short and the nights are cold. We do turn on the heat at different times of the day. I wish I could run the radiators more, but they are so incredibly expensive....In both November and in December we spent 150JD=$210 in diesel to run the radiators...ouch! (Yanal went out tonight to by a Soba (space heater that runs on propane) to help us keep warm without using the radiators).

Talking to my sister Sarah today, I remember the potential problems the car can have back home from the cold. Her heater is not working in her car....and it's only 7 below...brrrr! I can honestly say, without batting an eye that I am glad not to be shoveling my car out of the drive way, hoping not to get stuck or skid-out into the ditch on my way to work at 430am before the snow plows have gone threw our nighborhood!

Secondly, as you are all well aware, it's the Christmas season around the Christian world, but did you know that it's Christmas in Jordan too? Jordanian Christians make up 6% of Jordan population. They live together, Christians and Muslims side by side...yes, side by side...without conflict. Just to clear up the misconception out there that Christians and Muslims cannot live side by side without conflict. This is untrue today as it has been for centuries. Sure, there has been war between them from time to time, but really who hasn't been to war with each other? Most Christians and Muslims can and have lived side by side -in peace-.

Christians and churches are scattered though out Amman. They are decorating their homes and churches as in the US. It's fun to see the creative decor of lights they have around the trunks of palm trees and on their windows. My sister-in-law, Rasha, is from the town of Madaba, which has a large community of Christians (40% of the city). She was visiting her family last week and said the neighborhood is filled with lights and decorations. She told me stories of when she grew up in Madaba. Her and her family are Muslim and would visit their Christian neighbors and wish them a Merry Christmas during the Christmas holiday: just as her Christian neighbors would come visit her and her family to wish them Eid Mubarak during the two Eids. Sounds wonderful!
Honestly, I expected to see the lights and decorations on the occasional home around Amman, but I didn't expect to see all the decor around the stores. Nearly all the stores in the mall, the mall itself and the main street stores have Christmas trees, lights, decorations and sales to bring you into their store to shop. Even the billboards have been hit by the marketing of Christmas...as they were for the Islamic holidays...I am surprised by it all with only a 6% minority.

I haven't heard any Christmas music playing on the radio; however, they may be in Arabic and I may not be familiar with the music here. The TV tonight was play the Christmas cartoon staring Shrek, in Arabic.

So 'tis the season weather you are here in Amman, back home in Minnesota and elsewhere in the world. We hope you all stay warm and safe during this winter season and we wish you all a Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Olives and Olive Oil

Fun Facts
- The olive and the olive branch is a symbol of abundance, glory, peace, wisdom, fertility, power and pureness.
- Olive branches were used to crown the victors of friendly games and bloody wars of the past.
- The olive tree and olives are mentioned in the Bible over 30 times (old and new testaments).
- The olive is praised as a precious fruit in the Quran. The olive tree and olive oil are mentioned in the Quran 7 times.
- Olive oil has long been considered sacred.
- Olive oil was used by the ancient Greeks to anoint kings and athletes.
- Olive oil was burned in sacred lamps in temples
- Olive oil was the 'eternal flame' of the original Olympic Games.
- It is estimated that olive tree cultivation started 7000 years ago.

Health Benefits
The health benefits of olive oil is due to the high concentration of monosaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances.
- Olive oil offers protection against heart disease by
controls LDL (bad) cholesterol while raising HDL (good) cholesterol.
reducing inflammation, antithrombolitic, antihypertensive as well as dilating the vessels.
- Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones; lowering the incidence of gallstones.
- Lowers blood sugar and blood pressure.
- Reduces the oxidative damage to RNA and DNA, which may be a factor in reducing cancer.
- Olive oil offers benefits in preventing colon cancer.
- Mild laxative and ear wax softener.
- Olive oil is also used in skincare and hair beauty.

Green vs Black Olives
They are the same olive. The green olive has been picked before it is ripe whereas the black olive is picked when ripe.

Definitions of Olive Oil (Virgin, Extra Virgin, etc).
Well, this list is long and involved, so I refer you to this website:
http://www.oliveoilsource.com/definitions.htm

Extraction of Olive Oil
First the fruit must be picked from the trees.
This is a time consuming-physical activity. The olives are picked by hand. There really is no other way of getting the olives off the trees. First the ground is thoroughly searched for any fruit that has already fallen (this takes the most time). Then a large tarp is laid on the ground around the tree. The person picking the olives starts near the trunk of the tree, places his hand around the branch, pinches the branch softly and rips his hand all the way down the branch as the olives fall onto the tarp. This is done over and over again until each branch is picked and each tree is empty. Just to give you an idea of how long this process takes: When my husband picked olives recently, on average he had four or five people helping him pick olives from 800am-430pm for 6 days. During this time they picked roughly 80 trees. These 80 trees gave him 44 large bags (about the size of the black garbage bags we use in the US) of olive fruit. This fruit was then processed into 20 containers (16 liters each) of olive oil). Each container sells for about 70JD, which is $100. At this time, we have 6 containers left to be sold.

Okay, so how did the fruit become olive oil?
-Olives are ground into a paste using large millstones.
-The olive paste is then placed onto fiber disks, which are stacked on top of each other into a column and then placed into the press.
-Then the oil is filtered to get out any remaining solid particles.
-Finally the olive oil is placed in large (16 liter) metal containers to be sold.

How to Cook With Olive Oil
In our home, we cook almost exclusively with olive oil. When recipes call for oil, most of the time I use olive oil although sometimes I will use half olive oil and half vegetable oil. We use olive oil when making our own salad dressings (olive oil, white vinegar, lemon, salt, pepper). We use olive oil to dip our bread in. I use olive oil when cooking noodles or rice. The only things I really don't use olive oil for is when frying vegetables or any other food; this destroys the composition of olive oil and it is no longer good for you. Here is another website that I found which may be interesting regarding cooking with olive oil. http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/how-olive-oil-works4.htm.

We love olives and olive oil in this house. I hope if you are not using it currently, that you will start using it in your homes. It's delicious and great for your health! Hope you enjoyed my blog post about olives and olive oil!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hello......

Hello out there. I guess it's been quite a while since I last wrote. We have been quite busy around here. As I last wrote, we just celebrated Eid Al-Adha. It was pretty low key this year because Yanal's uncle passed away just before the holiday. However, Yanal's brother Yaser and his wife Lina were here visiting the past 10 days from Bahrain. We enjoyed spending time with them. Aisha fell in love with Yaser....didn't stop talking about him the entire time they were here!

So what's new around here?!

APARTMENT
-Washer and dryer are both working!!
-Oven and stove top are both working!!
-Still need a new vacuum cleaner or converter big enough to handle my vacuum that seems to blow all converters.
-SKYPE is now working!! Saw my parents as we talked to the over the Internet! We LOVE IT!! I think Aisha loved it the mostest (she went absolutely crazy when she saw 'Grandma and Grandpa on the computer'!

BETHANY
-Looking for a cleaning lady to come help out with the cleaning once a week or so.
-Looking for a lady or daycare for the kids, need someone for when I return to work.
-Starting to think more about work, part-time work, but not thinking too seriously yet...I'm still adjusting.....give a girl some time!
-Getting antsy about sitting around all the time....need to get out, meet people, shop, drive around the city, get familiar.

YANAL
-Finished picking olives and is selling the olive oil (I plan to blog about this some other day!).
-Working during the day and home with me and the kids nights and weekends.

AISHA
-Talks.....ALL DAY....Mashallah (May God Bless Her), she never stops talking!
-Sings ABCs, Hokey Pokey, Rock-a-Bye Baby, 1-2 Buckle My Shoe, Wheels on the Bus, and many other fun kid songs.
-Thinks everything belongs to her (definitely a 'normal' 2 year old).
-Mom has to be in sight or next to her 24/7 (but is this 'normal' 2 year old behavior?!).
-Loves playing with her baby brother, unless he is taking her toys or Mom's attention.

OMAR
-Figuring out how to walk behind those toys made to help the little ones learn to walk.
-Standing on his own for about 15 seconds.
-Talking. He can say: "Mamma", "Dad", "I-Ja" (Aisha), "Oh-O", and "Aah-Da" (All done).
-Sign Language. "More" and "All done"
-Playing Games. Peek-a-Boo is a fav, he also loves to chase his sister and then she chase him down the hallway, Hide and Seek with Aisha under the pillows or blankets, and anything that involves tickling him.
-Loves to snuggle with anything soft. Pillows and blankets are his fav!

Well, there you have it. An update from our side of the world. Hope things are going well on your side...whatever side that is!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

This Week in Islam: Hajj and Eid Al-Adha

Hajj is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world. An estimated 2.5 million Muslims are performing Hajj, this year. The Hajj, or pilgrimage, is the 5th pillar of Islam. It is required of all Muslims to attend Hajj at least once in their lifetime, if they are physically and financially able.

During Hajj, Muslims remember and commemorate the trials and triumphs of the Prophet Abraham. One of Abraham's main trials was to kill his only son as commanded by God. Upon hearing this command, Abraham was prepared to submit to God's command. When he was ready to kill his son, God revealed to him that his 'sacrifice' had already been fulfilled-an animal had been killed instead. Abraham had shown God that his love for him superseded all others.

At the end of the Hajj, Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice). During the celebration of Eid Al-Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember Abraham's trials by slaughtering an animal such as a goat, sheep, or camel. The meat is then split into thirds. One-third is to be kept for the family to eat, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor. The act symbolises our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or that are close to our hearts, in order to follow God's commands. It also symbolises our our willingness to give up some of our own bounties to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. We recognise that all blessings come from God and we should open our hearts and share with others.

It is important to note that the sacrifice itself, as practised by Muslims, has nothing to do with atoning for our sins or using blood to wash away our sins. Instead, this symbolism is an attitude, a wiliness to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the Straight Path. A true Muslim, one who submits himself/herself completely to God, is willing to follow God's command completely and obediently. It is this strength of heart, purity of faith, and willing obedience that God desires from us.

On the first morning of Eid Al-Adha, Muslims around the world will attend prayers at their local Mosques. Prayers are then followed by visits to family and friends, and the exchange of greetings and gifts. The holiday is the larger of the two Islamic holidays. It will begin on Friday and is celebrated for 5 days.

My Little Lady LOVES To Paint!











Sunday, November 15, 2009

Things I Miss and Things I Like

We've been here for 4 months already. Man, how time passes you by when life takes you for a ride like this. We have been so busy since we decided to move from Milwaukee to Amman. Since we are finally feeling fairly settled into our place (with the exception of a few 'major' or 'minor' things depending on who you ask), I decided to take inventory on what things I like and what things I miss thus far.

What I Like
-Being a stay at home Mom! Even though I want to pull the covers over my head some days, I am so thankful for this opportunity to be able to spend so much time with my kiddos! I love them so much. They put a smile on my face and make me laugh everyday. They are my reason for everything!

-Our new place. I really like our new apartment. We have yet to buy our own home, but this is as close as it's come. I feel that we have really made this place ours in the short time we have lived here. I always put aside the ideas of purchasing things for our previous rentals, because they were just that-rentals. However, even though we are renting this place, I really needed to have the feelings of home and comfort while living so far away from my home.

-My husband is getting the opportunity to advance his skills. He is learning many new things at work. Things that will be added to his resume. I'm glad he is getting the experiences he is experiencing.

-The weather. Yes, it is still warm and in the 70's around here! No snow in the forecast, unlike the Midwest where I lived before. No doubt, winter is coming, but it won't be like the intense winters that I am accustom to!

Things I Miss
-I miss my family. Not just the fact that they live so far away from me, but from my kids. I miss the missed opportunities. I wish we were closer so that they can watch my son grow as they did my daughter. I wish we were closer so they talk with my little girl who is now talking a million miles a minute...although the words are not all clear, she seems to understand.

-My friends and work. I miss you all! I wish I could just hang out on 3rd floor and CIC (and the rest of the hospital) for a few days just to say hello to you all! Thank you to all that keep in touch with me on my blog, FB and email!

-I miss the convience. Nothing here is set up for conveinance. Nearly everything is difficult, if you ask me. It's difficult because I am comparing. I shouldn't compare, but just live it. But I am still comparing. I miss my Target, Wal-Mart and Dollar Store! Thank goodness, we do have a few grocery stores and nice malls.

-Things that are suppose to work, work! I am still waiting for my clothes dryer and oven to work properly. Currently, I wash my clothes as before and then hang my clothes all over my apartment. It looks terrible, but does the job. I also miss the fresh smell and the 'no need to iron' look you get from the dryer! My oven is not working properly either and it makes it a challenge to cook dinner for four! Oh, I can't forget the vacuum. Every time I go to vacuum my floors, I blow another converter! I just bought this vacuum a few months before we left, I love it and don't want to buy another one....currently, I am sweeping my floors. Not ideal, but it's doing the job for now.

-Water. Hot water and seemingly endless supply of water. I have to wait for the water to warm up before I take a shower and every other day I am pumping water to the apartment. It's not that big of a deal to wait for warm water, except when you are finally able to take a break from the kids, so you quickly jump in the shower, turn on the water and CRAP it's cold! The pumping of water is really no big deal either. I just hit a button for a few hours during the day and presto it's available. It's just the quilt I have when I have to keep pushing the button every other day, like did I really use that much water yesterday?

I'm sure I will add more to these lists as time continues to pass on. But this is where I am at in this moment of time! No matter what the day brings or how much I miss the things I miss, I am thankful. I am thankful everyday for my wonderful family. A wonderful husband and two beautiful kids. I am thankful for a wonderful family who live at home, who are supportive of this move even though they miss us dearly. I am thankful for a wonderful family here who are helping us get settled in. I am thankful for health. I am so thankful that our family is all healthy. I am thankful for this opportunity to learn and to grow. Sometimes I have to remind myself, but I am truly thankful. I know Thanksgiving isn't here yet, but I guess these are the things I am most thankful for! Happy Thanksgiving a bit early!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Random Pictures

Our apartment builing and the view of Amman


View of Amman near our apartment

Omar

Aisha

Aisha excited to be out for a walk in her car

Mommy and Omar
Bathtime!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Great Day!

Well, today was absolutely beautiful! The temperature was 78F! It was wonderful, especially since the last week and a half has been rainy and cold. Naturally, I took the kids out for a while.

As you know by now, Yanal works all day as I stay home with the kiddos. However, you may not know that he takes the car, so we are home...car-less. This means that when I take the kids out I have to stick around our neighborhood. It's a really nice neighborhood; safe, quiet, many of young families. However, there is no good place for the kids to play. The streets are fairly busy, the drivers are not paying attention and there are no sidewalks; so, I worry about taking them for a walk--remember they are 2 1/2 years and 9 months. I could take them in the double stroller....but we are near the top of a huge hill, so the options are literally straight up or straight down and then straight up again. Not an easy, relaxing push in the stroller for this Mamma. I usually do end up taking them for a short walk and wishing that we could go further. But it is what it is and that's what we have and that's okay.

Due to the difficult walking and no nearby parks, we usually just hang out in the front of our apartment. There is no lawn or grass to play on. No parking lot to hang out in. Just a small sidewalk-like area between the apartment and the street. It's not the ideal place, but it works. The kids really don't know the difference, they are just excited to get out of the apartment for a while! We bring out with us Aisha's bubbles and sidewalk chalks. So there we sat today, basically on the side of the road blowing bubbles and drawing on the tiles with sidewalk chalk! It was warm, sunny and simply wonderful! We spent about an hour and a half on the sidewalk and then went up the hill for a short walk.

The view is really beautiful from the top of our hill. We can see nearly all of Amman! It's a huge city (2.5 million people live here), built on many hills, buildings of stone and rock. We have a straight view of the newer addition to the city where they are building their first of many to come skyscrapers. Way off in the distance you can see rolling hills of stone buildings that eventually disappear into the desert. It's really a neat place to be located. I plan to post some pictures of the city someday.

Another beautiful thing about today is that it's probable that I met my first Jordanian friend! I have family friends of course, but it would be nice to meet some more gals to hang out with, especially ones that live near our home. This lady has said hello to me on another occasion as we sat on the sidewalk playing; however, this time she said hello, came up to me and we talked for a while. She started the conversation with "My mom is American". She moved to Jordan from the US when she was 2 years old and she was raised here. She then married and moved back to California and lived there until 6 years ago. She is probably a few years older than me. I have seen many kids in her 'yard' (she has a personal 'yard' space where kids play throughout the day). I often wondered if there was a daycare there, but no, she has NINE (9) kids! Wow, Mashallah (May God Bless Them)! Anyways, the great things about her 1-she lives in my building 2-she lived in the USA 3-She speaks fluent English 4-She has a 2 year old son that she has invited us to play with!! Yeah, a playmate for Aisha AND a friend for me!

Lastly today, another independant move for me....I was able to look up a doctor under our insurance plan, call them and make an appointment (Yanal helped me some....but mostly I did it myself)! Funny how life is. This makes me feel so normal, when before it just was normal! LOL!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Things You're Not Suppose to Talk About.

So, I'm going to do it. It was bound to happen sooner or later....talk about the things you are not suppose to talk about. Politics and Religion. That's right, I'm going to talk about them both, in one blog posting. For those that don't know me, I am a Democrat, Muslim and I 100% believe in healthcare for all.....just getting that out there while I'm at it!

I have been reading the US news about the horrible shooting in Fort Hood. I want to first say that I feel awful for the families that lost their loved ones in such a horrific way. This post has nothing to do with them, their families or you and your families. This post has to do with how politics and the news continue to blame the religion of Islam on horrific crimes like these.

I want to complain tonight. That's right complain and my target is the US news. I sat and listened to it, read it, watched it and complained about it in my own home (and to a few of you) over the last however many years since 9/11 (when I truly became interested in it...don't we always start paying attention once it starts affecting our own life?!). Actually, I have also been one to watch TV programs and news programs from an objective eye. I have always liked to watch TV and get upset at how the black guy is always the one who is killing someone or getting thrown in jail and how the white person is always lending a helping hand to the black guy, like the black guy always need help or something. Or how the woman is always shown crying with a close up view, but if the man cries it is shown from behind in a group hug or something (unless its Brett Favre retiring, then it's okay to show his face..LOL). Seriously though, the media teaches us how to think. It puts the idea into our heads of what is okay and what is not okay. And when the US media is continuing to bombard their viewers that Islam is the culprit behind all the evils in the world, then viewers like you and me may start believing them.

The truth is that man who killed all the soldiers at Fort Hood, was a Muslim. But that doesn't mean that Islam is what caused him to kill the soldiers. In fact, Islam may have been what kept him sane for a little bit longer. I mean it may be what kept him from doing this act now instead of days ago, weeks ago or months ago. Lets look at other factors of his life. He was a physician. A psychiatrist. Pop quiz: Who knows what the highest suicide rate based on occupation...give up...physician's (suprising huh) and psychiatrist are amongst the highest number of those physicians who kill themselves. I know this guy didn't kill himself, but the idea of killing others and killing yourself fall along the same ideas. Their rates of suicide are based on the fact that they have demanding jobs with long hours and a intense stress level, many of them have type A personalities. On top of that psychiatrist deal with, listen to and try to solve other peoples problems and issues on a daily basis. They have little opportunity to discuss the cases they are working on or to have someone help them solve their own problems. The stress eventually wears on them in the form of relationship problems, divorce, substance abuse or...suicide. Now lets take another look at this mans life, he was in the military. From what I know from friends who live this life, the military is a very difficult, high intensity and high stress level as well. He was facing deployment. This alone raises many questions, fears and a new intensity of stress to any ones life. Lastly, he was an Arab and a Muslim. Many Arabs and Muslims report added stresses in the military because of 9/11 and the racists thoughts that came from with those terrible events. Lastly, he was human and sometime humans just snap for whatever reason if any reason.

The US media is so fast to find a Islam link and make a political link to continue to justify these horrible wars and to make the American people afraid of Islam for whatever reason. Sometimes they forget to look at themselves, Christians. They forget to mention that it was a Christian man, Hitler, that started WWII and all the terrible events that occurred in the camps. It is Christians who are members of the KKK and all the terrible things they do. In Oklahoma City bombing, it was Christians. In the USA there were 16,272 murders, 89,000 reported forcible rapes, 441,855 robberies, 834,885 aggravated assaults committed in 2008......I don't have the numbers for you, but I assure you that nearly none of these were not committed by Muslims! Just for interest, here are the rates for Saudi Arabia (the scariest, worst Islamic country per the media) 202 murders, 59 rapes, 598 robberies and 13,864 assaults. (USA population 307,881,579 and Saudi Arabia population 27,601,038.) I'm not saying that all Christians are bad, so quit saying/thinking that all Muslims are bad!

I guess what I am trying to say is, I don't know this man and don't want to know him. What he did was disgusting and horrible. And what he did had nothing to do with Islam. I am just so sick and tired of people/media blaming Islam. Islam is a peaceful religion that teaches us not to hate, not to kill, not to be wasteful, not to gossip, not to be jealous, not to hate, not to want bad for others. It does teach us to respect each other and our self, to take care of the poor, to take care of our families, to love our parents, to obey God, to appreciate all the things God has given us, to pray, to give charity, to learn and study, to do good.

I want to be clear that I am not defending this guy and what he did, so don't get any ridiculous thought about that. All religions and all people have bad people within their group. Just as all religions and all people have good people within their group. Let start focusing on the good of our religions so that we can better understand each other and start to work together.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Aisha'a Sticker Chart Video

Aisha talks about her sticker chart! It's been working wonders for us!! She still has issues, but she has been going every other day or daily since we started the chart!! YEAH!

video

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

VIDEO?!

Here is a video of Omar from yesterday....I hope it works!!



video

Thursday, October 29, 2009

While Yanal is in Cyprus

Well this four day stretch is going faster than the last. Yanal will be home tomorrow morning!! We are hoping he gets to stay home for a while now, the kids and I really miss him. He misses us too.

Yesterday, I took the kids to the grocery store by myself! This is a big accomplishment because 1-I went shopping by myself, in Jordan, for the first time and 2-I took the kids shopping alone for the first time ever! I strapped Omar in the Bjorne and promised Aisha ice cream if she was good. They were the best little kids ever! You never know how they are going to behave while shopping, so I was so thankful that they were awesome!

We started a Sticker Chart for Aisha. She has such a terrible time with holding her poo and at times constipation. She hates to poop and for one reason or another we can't get her to go regularly. I am hoping that the Sticker Chart with a reward system will work!! ??? !!! So far she has gone 2 days in a row.....she hasn't done that in MONTHS!

Omar is mastering the use of his pincher grasp by eating table foods. His new found love is Cheerios. He also loves to eat cut up fruits, now if I could just get him to love the veggies!

Mommy had another emotional/mental breakdown. I decided that I need more sleep and time to myself. This whole move has been emotionally/mentally challenging and physically demanding. I have put a plan together to take better care of myself...I have never done this before and hope it helps. I'm sick of having meltdowns and feeling so emotionally out of control. For those that don't know me, I normally don't feel the need to cry-I just don't cry. I keep my cool through most situations, but this situation has been the largest thing I have ever undertaken. It was been very drawn out (7 months in the making) and neither of the kids sleep through the night and want their Mommy, so I obviously don't get much. My plan:

1- I will put the kids to bed earlier, so that I have time to myself at the end of the day.
2- I will go to bed earlier too, 1100pm.
3- I am not going to sleep next to Aisha any longer; she needs to learn how to sleep on her own and I need a good nights sleep.
4- I will also shower first thing in the morning instead of putting myself last and waiting all day to shower. I just feel better after I shower.
5- I will also ask Yanal to take the kids 1 or 2 days after work for an hour or two. I can get some things done for myself and around the house...maybe I'll even get my butt enrolled in a gym or something. Hopefully I can find a gym that is non-smoking. Seriously, I went to a gym and they were smoking in the 'dance' area.....that's Jordan for ya! LOL!

Wish me luck with my list of things to do for myself...hope I can stick to them all or most of them! Also, send me good thoughts on Aisha's Sticker Chart!

Lastly, I have not received many comments lately and I heard that some people are having trouble leaving their comments. Please drop a comment, just say HI or anything, so I know that the section is working! Thanks!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Yanal's Home!...for a day and a half!

I'll make this one short, since my last post seemed to go on forever :-)

Yanal is home from Italy! He will stay with us for the next 36 hours and then he's off to Cypress for 4 days. Here is a link about the Jordan-Italy Business Forum he helped put together. His Majesty King Abdullah II gave a speech at the forum and the Jordan Times newspaper wrote an article about the King's speech http://www.jordantimes.com/?news=20984. He stood quite close to the King and Queen as they walked into the forum and not too far from the Queen during the forum...kinda cool huh! Here are some pictures and a link from Her Majesty Queen Rania's website http://www.queenrania.jo/default.aspx and facebook site http://www.facebook.com/QueenRania.

So what did the rest of the family do while Yanal was working in Milan?

Well, this Momma has learned how to get herself around town. I dropped Yanal off and picked him up from the airport (an hour drive). I drove the kiddos to the park and to Dreamland (an amusement park for young kids at the mall). I also drove to and from my in laws home. Not too bad for my first 4 days alone. I feel very refreshed that I am getting around town on my own. I even put in and turned up the Fleetwood Mac and jammed a bit as I drove thru Amman :-) It feels good to have some of my Independence restored!!

Omar was busy pulling himself up and standing on top of everything! He was also busy getting two new teeth. He now has 6 teeth, 2 on the bottom and 4 on top...very cute!

Aisha is sleeping in underwear thru the night...no more diapers for my little lady! However, she did have one day that she thought it was fun to pull her pants down and pee on her toys and other things. She peed on her ball...two different times...and she peed on her beloved Curious George toy. She also thought it was funny when she peed on the couch. Then she thought she was being helpful when she peed on the coffee table and was "Cleaning Mom, with pee!" as she wiped the pee on top of the coffee table!! What possess a 2 year old to do the things they do?!

Anyways, we are happy that Yanal/Daddy is back and we will miss him while he is gone over the next few days.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mothering and Nursing...comparisions.

I was thinking the other day about being a stay at home Mom. I was so frustrated because it seemed that I had been running in circles all day. I had prepared 3 meals for the kids, none of which they particularly like, and I hadn't eaten anything all day. I felt as though I had been cleaning and picking up all day, but if you actually looked around my house, you would think it was dirty and messy. I started thinking that I had better change my attitude before it changes me.

I decided to remind myself that this is my job. My job is currently to be a stay at home Mommy and to raise my kids. Sure, I will work outside the home again at some point, but this is what I wanted. I want to stay at home right now. I feel as though this is the most important job in the world and even if I loose my cool once in a while or I feel as though I just run in circles all day, that no one can raise my kids better than me and my husband.

So here I am, frustrated with my own decisions and needing an attitude adjustment. I started to compare my current job, mothering, with my career, nursing. For those that don't know, I am a Registered Nurse. I love being a nurse and I love being a Mommy. Here are some comparisons that I came up with.

6. Some days, who am I kidding, most days as a nurse and as a mother I do not get a lunch break. The morning starts out great and BAM, all hell breaks loose and there is no time for me to sit down to actually eat a solid meal. Most days, I just nibble as I run from task to task.

5. Running from task to task. I have a plan in my mind of what needs to be done today. I start in that direction and then a fire needs to be put out in this direction and then another in that direction. So all day I try to accomplish my list of things that need to be done around the house and with the kids (laundry, cleaning, bills, breakfast, lunch and dinner) and other things take place such as climbing on tables, falling off tables, arguing between brother and sister, spills and messes being made everywhere, kids throwing up, potty trained little girls peeing on her toys all day, and the list goes on. Just as in nursing, start heading to do assessments and pass am meds and then a patient falls on the floor, as another one is calling because of chest pain, and a doctor wants to talk at the desk and the phone is ringing..all in the same minute.

4. Once in a while, we have a great day. A day where there are no fires to distract and everything goes to my morning plan. These days we cherish. These days, as a RN, we find to chit-chat with our co-workers and our patients. These are the days that we remember why we love to be a nurse. When things go smoothly at home, I wonder to myself, what was I so upset about yesterday?! I can do this, it's easy, I love it! I find the time to chit-chat and play with my kids. We read books, color, blow bubbles, go to the park, whatever we desire. It's days like these that remind me why I love being a mother.

3. Some weeks are emotionally, physically and spiritually demanding and exhausting. Running continuously on empty, giving and giving and giving and not feeling that you are getting as much in return is exhausting. Being so exhausted that you want to scream and can't because it's not nice to yell at your kids or at your patients (even if they may deserve it). Being so exhausted that you do yell at them, even though you know better. Knowing that you could do better. Self talk can make or break you in weeks like these. Wishing you could just sleep, but the kids keep you up throughout the night; or, you just got mandated to stay for what was an 8 hour shift and is now a 16 hour shift, again!

2. Not being recognised for the things you do all day. The patient and their family see you only briefly a few times a day. To their perspective you only come in to deliver their meds and teach them a little about their illness. What they don't see is that you have been busy looking up their labs, watching for test results, calling MDs with any and all results that are abnormal, speaking with MDs, PT, OT, ST, RT, PCAs, HUCs, pharmacy, RN management, case managers, spiritual care, dietary, transport by phone or in person about you and all your other patients. You have been in and out of isolation numerous times, stuck in a room doing a 1/2-1 hour dressing change, looking through new orders, verifying old orders, calling MDs on questionable orders, helping out with bedside procedures, spending 2, 3, 4 hours with a patient who is heading south and then transport them to ICU, get an admission and spend an hour with a lengthy database and/or medication list, calling pharmacy, discharging a patient and then another admission or transfer.......and then entering your room calmly and with a smile. As a mother, my husband comes home from work and the house looks picked up for the most part, dinner is just about ready, clothes are in the laundry, kids as clean. He has no idea how chaotic and unorganised our day has been or felt to get to this point! I like him to come home to a nice home, where he can relax. I like everything to be done by the time he gets home so we can have fun as a family. Just as I like for my patients to feel relaxed and unanxious about being in the hospital.

1. Making time. Making time to sit and really listen to a patient. Making time to hold my patients hand. Making time to enjoy giving a bed bath. Making time to really explain the discharge medication list so that the elderly patient understands their home medications that have changed. Making the time to explain the illness and how to help the patient understand how to help themselves. This is what I love about nursing. Making the time to do these things is why I became a nurse, to help others. This is where I change my thinking at home. This week, I am learning how to make the time at home. Making time to take the kids to the park. Making time to play with them. Making time to laugh with them. To tickle them, giggle with them, enjoy their innocence. Making the time to play hide and seek or to just sit near them and watch them together. It is so easy for me to keep going with my list of things I need to do that I need to stop and make the time for them. To not just play with them when I catch up with my list or when Daddy gets home, but to make the time for them during the day as well. They need it as much as I do. This is why I became a Mother and this is why I love being a stay at home Mommy. I love to play with my kids, watch them and learn from them. I am making the time and it's we all needed!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pre-Yanal's trip to Italy and Cypress

Yanal will be in Italy for the next 4 days. He will be home for 1 day and then traveling to Cypress for another 4 days. I will be at home, in Jordan, alone, with the kids, for the first time. Yanal and I have never been apart for this long in our 10+ years of marriage. He has never been away, overnight, since we've had our kids. My Mom had a good idea to blog about pre-Yanal leaving, the interim and post-Yanal's trips. So here it goes:

How is Yanal feeling about being gone for so long?

Well, he's not feeling too good about it all. It's for work, so there's no choice in the matter. When he took this job, we knew that it was going to happen, international business trips on occasion. We still don't know how often they will happen, but here is the first and the second trip back to back. He is really upset to say the least about leaving our kids. Especially Aisha, he has a special place in his heart for our little girl. He loves her like no other father loves his little girl (well, except how my Dad loves me and my sisters)! And Omar, well, Yanal is already feeling like he is missing out on so much while he is working all day, everyday. Yanal was pretty much a Stay-at-Home Dad and a full time grad-student before he got this job. So he is use to watching the kids grow and develop. He knew more about Aisha as a baby than I did: I think that's why she is so close to him. Today, Yanal looked over at Omar standing up on the coffee table, reaching for something out of reach and it almost brought him to tears. We both wondered where this little man came from!

As far as how Yanal feels about leaving me for so long, well, I think he is starting to feel more comfortable about it. We got all the groceries bought, car full of gas, phone numbers I may need and reminders of how to get to the stores I may need to get to. He also let the guard know the situation and I can depend on him if anything is needing to be fixed in the apartment or any security issues. Yanal trusts me and knows that things will be okay, it's just hard the first time around and for such a long time.

How am I feeling about Yanal being gone?

If you would have asked me a few days ago, I would have told you that I am anxious about it. I was questioning to myself: Do I know how to drive to the grocery store? Do I know how to drive to my in-laws? Do I know how to drive safely around Amman? Do I know what number to dial in an emergency? Can I think of any safety issues? What do the kids need, formula, food, diapers, wipes, etc? Do I have everything I need? What if the kids drive me crazy?! The list keeps on going. At first I felt that it would be best to have Yanal's sister stay with me the whole time, then I thought maybe I should just have one of the maids stay with me and help, then we decided that one of the maids will come over for a day to help clean and if I am totally in need of a break from the kids, she can stay the night with me.

At this time, I am feeling pretty good about him being gone for so long. I'm not saying that I am happy about it or not slightly nervous about it, because I am still somewhat nervous and I don't love the idea of him being gone. But, I trust myself. I am a grown woman who has taken care of herself for years. I take care of the kids everyday, nothing new there other than the days will be longer. Even though the driving is a bit crazy here, I know how to drive and I know how to get to places on my own. I don't know the language very well, well I'll just call Zeina if I really need a translator otherwise I'll just wing it! I am feeling that this will be a good experience for me. It will force me to be more independent and not rely so much on Yanal doing everything for me. Poor guy, since we have been here he has been taking care of everything! This will empower me to drive to the store and around the block by myself....it's such a weird concept that this idea makes me nervous. I guess I just don't want to get lost, I have 2 little ones depending on me! It will also force me to interact with people outside his family on my own, hopefully it will strengthen my Arabic!

I will miss my husband greatly, his help around the house and his friendship. However, this experience will force me to be more independent which I have always been before.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Yanal's Work

As requested by a few people who are interested in what Yanal does for work...here are the answers to your questions.......

As you know, we moved here because Yanal found a job related to his education here in Jordan. He had been searching for a job back in the US since he graduated with his Bachelor's Degree in Economics May of 2007. Since he was unable to find a job at that time, he continued his education as he looked for a job. Well 2 years past by, no job was found and he obtained his Master's in Economics. We thought for sure he would be able to land a solid position now that he had his Master's degree....um, no, the economy took a dive as everyone knows and there was not many company's hiring. However, we continued to apply. We applied in every state in the US, in England and other European countries, Bahrain where his brother works and other gulf countries....no jobs to be found. I kept saying "It's okay, that job was no meant to be or you would have been offered that job". When I was on maternity leave with our second child, we visited my in-laws in Jordan. We went just to show off the kids and visit the family. As Yanal was venting his frustrations about finding a job and what to do next, his family told him to try applying in Jordan. Okay, we'll throw a few more resumes and applications in the pool of hundreds...by this time we were starting to make a joke of it all, not finding a job. Well needless to say, he interviewed and pretty much got the job just before our trip ended. When we arrived back to the USA, they negotiated the details and told him to come ASAP. I had so many emotions. I was happy for him, sad for me; angry with not finding a job in the US, jealous that he found a job in Jordan; didn't know what was best to keeping looking for work in the US or take the opportunity that arose in Jordan....I just kept reminding myself of the words I told him for years, "If it was the right job, you would have be offered that job". Then I tried to be strong as we packed our things. This must be the right job, because it's the job that was offered to him.

Yanal works at Jordan Investment Board in the Promotions department. His title is Investment Promotion Specialist/Research. He collaborates with other countries to get them to invest in Jordan. Since he started a few months ago and currently, he has been working on putting together a forum between Jordanian businessmen and Italian Investors and businessmen. This week he will be traveling to Milan, Italy for the Forum. His Majesty King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, the Jordanian King and Queen, will be at the Jordan-Italy Business Forum promoting Jordan.

http://www.promositaly.com/Initiatives/Promotional_Initatives/HRH_the_King_of_Jordan_makes_first_state_visit_to_Italy.kl

Another possible trip he has scheduled is in Cypress hosted by ANIMA Investment Network, where he will be giving a presentation.

Yanal is also responsible for all the world organizations including but not limited to OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), ANIMA Investment Network, and WAIPA (World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies). He also studies different business sectors in Jordan such as energy, agriculture, ICT, tourism, etc. Yanal analyzes foreign direct investments (FDI) to Jordan and the region. From these analysis, they decide what countries to target. He is also involved in other areas of the company (outside the promotion department) such as evaluating and choosing consultant services for CRM (Customer Service Relation Management), Investment Map for the southern governance of Jordan and other special projects. He is still learning lots and getting involved in new areas as he has only been working there for almost 3 months.

He works Sunday thru Thursday (the typical work week) from 800am-400pm. PTO-he gets 9 religious holidays in addition to the national holidays, 7 sick days and 30 vacation days per year and the vacation days roll over to the next year if unused the previous year. He is paid salary once a month for 14 months a year (2 additional months). He gets health insurance for the family, which is 0.5% of his pay per each person (2% of his pay for our family). He also has a retirement plan which includes a match by the company.

We thank God for this opportunity for Yanal to work at JIB. He is getting solid experience at this job in relation to his degree and he is also increasing his learning curve. Somedays are still a challenge to get use to living in another country, but the comforts of home are getting better and better. For instance, for the first time since we got our satelite tv hooked up in our own apartment, we will get to watch Brett Favre and the Vikings kicks some Baltimore bootie tomorrow! Go Vikes!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

In This Moment of Time

My sister Laura requested for me to write about the funny, cute, annoying and absolutely lovable things my kids are doing in this moment of time. Since time moves so quickly, she wanted me to capture these moments in writing and to share with her and the family.

Funny
AISHA
She is potty training at the moment. When she has to go potty, she takes off her clothes, runs over to the little girls chair, sits and says "Here's it comes!", followed by the sounds of her tinkling. Then she stands up and yells, "See it! See it! Come look Momma!" she points in the potty chair and then we dance around the room clapping our hands, laughing and dancing together!
OMAR
I love the way he scoots himself around. It's his way of crawling...like the army men...pulls himself with his arms and kicks with his legs, but he doesn't get is tummy off the floor. He scoots from one end of the room to the other very quickly, which is funny in itself, then he grabs one of his sisters toys before she gets a chance to take it away from him! He looks so proud of himself, like "Oh Yeah I Got It!" and he smiles big! Too funny!

Cute
AISHA
When Omar wakes up and starts making noise in his crib, Aisha stops whatever she is doing and says, "Booboo's awake!", "Hear him?!" then she runs to his room and starts talking to him in baby language. She is so excited that he's awake and ready to play!
OMAR
His smile. He just melts my heart when he smiles. I also love when he calls me "Momma". He calls for me when he needs something, "Momma! Mommaaaaa!" Too cute!

Annoying
AISHA
She jumps from one topic to the next so fast that I can't keep up with her requests/demands. She gets so frustrated with me that she screams or cries and then slaps me on the leg. She cries all the time. I can't tell if she is seriously hurting or if she is just crying to get her way. She also says "No" to everything!
OMAR
He flips and flips and flips as I am trying to change his diaper! I can't keep him still for even a few seconds. Then he gets mad that it's taking so long and he screams adn flips some more. It makes me want to scream too!

Absolutely Lovable
AISHA
I will be in the kitchen cooking or cleaning in the other room and she will come up to me without saying a word and give my leg the biggest hug! She just hangs on hugging my leg, rubbing my leg and then says "I love you Momma". Absolutely lovable!
OMAR
He is starting to kiss me! When I am holding him close to my face, he grabs my face and presses his mouth against my cheek. His mouth is wide open and full of spit. His kisses are big and sloppy!! Love it!

Aisha is 2.5 years and Omar is just 8 months old. I don't know which age is more fun, more cute and at times more challenging. Either way, I love them both the same!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Favorite Pictures our first 2 months in Jordan

HOME SWEET HOME!



SAY CHEESE!


GRANDMA AND GRANDPA'S HOUSE






HAPPY EID!






AMMAN WAVES!









CHILDREN'S MUSEUM!



Hey! She has the same shoes!


WEEEEEE!