Modern Day Pilgrims

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas in Bahrain

Christmas in our home was full of fun! On Christmas Eve, we went to a candlelight service at our church and then we came home and watched White Christmas - a yearly tradition of ours. On Christmas morning, Chris and I enjoyed opening a few presents before Charlotte woke up, and then we opened the rest after feeding Charlotte and eating homemade cinnamon rolls (our traditional Christmas breakfast). After opening presents, we went to church and then came home to relax and play with all our new toys. It was a wonderful first Christmas in two different ways: our first Christmas with Charlotte and our first Christmas in our new home, Bahrain. Merry Christmas!

Charlotte woke up around 9am. As you can tell by the picture, she can't wait to get out of bed and open her presents.

Charlotte in front of the tree

A close up of Charlotte - "I'm ready to open my presents, Mom!"

"Well, I'll be ready to open my presents after I eat!"

"Nevermind, I'd rather nap. Can you open my presents for me?"

Charlotte with all her gifts...and we didn't get her anything! She is certainly loved by her extended family. We don't want her to be spoiled, because we desire that she would grow to have a sacrificial heart. And as her parents, we want to help develop that type of heart in her life, so Christmas will pose a unique challenge for us as she gets older and starts to figure out what's going on!

Charlotte and I before heading to church on Christmas day. She's wearing a dress that was made out of a vintage pillowcase. Charlotte's grandma gave this beautiful dress to her

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Charlotte's Christmas Photos

Merry Christmas everyone! Come, let us celebrate the birth of our Savior and King!

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God."
John 3:16-18

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas at the Ambassador's

This morning, we went to a Christmas party for children at the Ambassador's house. While Charlotte is only an infant, she's still a child, so we decided to take her to it. We had a nice time and enjoyed the nice spread of American breakfast food that was prepared for all the guests. They also had a jewelry making booth, a bookmark making booth, and a temporary tattoo booth. Santa was even there! He gave all the kids a present after the Ambassador read a Christmas story. Well, we all know the gifts weren't from Santa himself. Instead, they asked all the parents beforehand to buy a gift under $35 to put in Santa's bag for their child/children. After Santa passed out all the gifts, Charlotte was able to get a picture with him and we also got a family picture before the guy playing Santa decided to put on something more comfortable than a heavy suit and thick beard. :-)

This is Charlotte's grumpy face. She got a little fussy after we put the fake tattoo on her. I think she wanted a mistletoe tattoo instead. She is a little love bug after all.

The Ambassador reading to the kids.

Santa handing a gift to a child there.

Charlotte and Santa. Look at that big smile!

The three of us with Santa.

Our good friend, Terry, holding Charlotte. Terry works with Chris and he and his family attend the traditional service with us at the base.

Our good friend, Steve, holding Charlotte. Steve is the guy who encouraged the base to start the traditional service we attend, and he's also "in charge" of the music during that service. I think it's funny that we got pictures of Terry and Steve holding Charlotte but we forgot to get pictures of their wives holding her. Oh well. Maybe next time!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hungry? We Deliver!!

Here in Bahrain, everyone delivers...even McDonald's!

Charlotte's First Swim

We took Charlotte swimming for the first time today. We had a blast and Charlotte didn't cry once! We got some video of today, too (at the bottom of the post). We dipped her under the water a couple times to get her used to it. Chris went first and when it was my turn, she spit up ALL over me. I guess they mean what they say about waiting 30 minutes to swim after eating!!! It was pretty hilarious, and for all you worry warts out there, I'll say disclaimer: we wouldn't be laughing about it if Charlotte wasn't totally fine. Pictures first, videos after. Enjoy!

The swimming pool - isn't it beautiful??

Charlotte before going into the water for the first time.

Charlotte right after being put in the water.

Charlotte chilling in the water!

Charlotte in her little float. Don't worry - daddy's right there even though you can't see him!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Our Little Wiggle Worm

This is where she was when I left her for a few minutes to go fold laundry:

This is where she was when I came back into the room a few minutes later:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another Update

It's hard to believe Christmas is in less than 2 weeks! It doesn't look like Christmas here in Bahrain, but at least all the Christmas decorations remind me that it is the holiday season. We're doing well over here. Chris spent the weekend working a conference. His unpredictable hours can get a little annoying, and it's especially annoying when it interrupts our weekend. Oh well. At least he gets overtime for it, and it just so happens that he has this Wednesday and Thursday off because of Bahrain's National Day (the equivalent of our Independence Day). That sort of makes up for his having to work.

We went on a date on Tuesday night in prep for the working weekend. Chris took me to see New Moon (what a good husband since I know he was miserable), and it was an interesting experience. The movie theater itself was very nice and looked like any in the states. When we bought our tickets, the ticket guy made us pick our seats. Yes, we had to "buy" our seats like at a sports game or play. The only difference is all the seats are the same price, so I don't really see the point of doing it. An usher led us to our seats and then we waited for the movie to start. There weren't any previews and there were Arabic subtitles. They also cut out all of the kissing scenes. And I'm sorry, but New Moon is a really tame movie since the book was written by a Mormon and is made for teenagers. Nonetheless, they edit out all kissing and sex scenes in movies. I definitely don't mind the editing out of sex scenes but perhaps editing out kissing is taking it a bit too far since they don't edit out violence. They love violence. So that's not an issue - only kissing and sex. It's also ironic that cussing in public is illegal in Bahrain, yet they didn't edit out the few cuss words in the movie. I told Chris maybe he should stop giving me pecks in public, but he seems to think all the movies are edited somewhere in the middle east and then spread around the different middle eastern countries that show western movies. So we don't think Bahraini's care as much about public displays of affection, but we don't know for sure so probably won't be kissing in public anymore.

I'm not sure what we'll do with our four day weekend. We tossed around the idea of going to Dubai for a few days, but we haven't found tickets in the price range we desire. Tickets there are pretty expensive considering it's only a 1 hour 15 minute flight. The cheapest I've found is $200 and that's for a flight at 2 am. Most likely, we'll probably stay home and save Dubai for another time when we can plan ahead. Even though I missed Chris this past weekend, I did enjoy having some time to do other things that I don't get to do as often as I'd like: cuddling with Charlotte, sewing some Christmas runners to put around the house, and reading Sarah Palin's autobiography, Going Rogue.

(If anyone cares, so far I like the book. For full disclosure, I admit that I already liked her before reading this book and my intrique, interest, and support led me to buy the book in the first place. I'm halfway through, and contrary to what others may think, she seems like an honest person. Don't get me wrong; she's a politician and I'm sure every move of hers is very methodical, but there doesn't appear to be any political corruption or deceit in her actions, and even in the political spotlight, she still seems like "one of us", down to earth, and sensible. Also contrary to the picture that the media likes to paint, she seems plenty knowledgeable about politics. She recounts many decisions she had to make while holding office in Alaska, and I never thought while reading, "What an ignorant person!" I don't think you have to graduate from Harvard or be in politics for years and years to qualify for public office...even the highest office. I'd rather have an altruistic person who vows to uphold the constitution than someone who has been in politics for years and has allowed the system to make him or her both corrupt and out of touch with the average American - like SO many of our politicians today. If we can find someone who has lots of experience AND sincerely pledges to uphold the Constitution, then great, but I'm just saying that if I had to choose between the two, I'd go with the latter EVERY TIME. Sarah Palin appears to care more about the every day person than she does about appeasing fellow politicians, and she's seems most concerned about adhering to the Constitution and giving the government back into the hands of the people where it belongs, and that is a rare goal in politics these days. And for that, among other things, I would say she does indeed seem to be a maverick. My complaints so far [and I'm not through the book yet]: just like in the election and after, she's been repetitive with her catch phrases like "good ole boys", "hockey mom", etc. I wish she could find another way to get these points across as I think people use her repetiveness to make fun of her and add fuel to the fire. She also doesn't admit or write about many mistakes she's made over the years. So far everything she's ever done has been all positive and rosy. No one's perfect and she had to make some mistakes somewhere down the line. This is probably where she's being methodical, but I'll still hold out hope that she'll talk about some of her personal or professional mistakes by the end of the book. I'm still not convinced her stepping down as governor was a wise decision if she has presidential aspirations, but we'll see how it plays out and if running for president is indeed her plan. There's other conservatives who could potentially run for president in the next election and seem to hold a lot of promise and potential, so it could be an exciting election year in 2012. I can't wait; this stuff gets me so fired up!)

Charlotte's still growing like a weed and is solidly in 6 month clothing. She's certainly not swimming in them, so it probably won't be long before she's in 9 month clothing. We finally put the bumper in her crib because when we'd get her in the morning, she'd be wedged into one corner and an arm or a leg would be hanging out of the crib. We don't know how she wiggles so much in her sleep but she does. Silly girl! We talked about taking Charlotte to the swimming pool this weekend for the first time. I'm sure we'll do that whether we go to Dubai or not, so we'll be sure to take some pics! Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

False Advertising...For Now, Anyway

We got Charlotte a play gym as part of her Christmas, and we decided to try it out early since it's not like Charlotte is going to know what's going on at Christmas anyway. We couldn't help but notice that the box promised great things. The pictures on it featured a few babies (who look to be about Charlotte's age) having a wonderful time playing with all the toys. They're laughing and giggling and just look like they can't get enough. Well, we figured these images might be exaggerated and may have taken a long time to even get on camera, and we were proven right. Charlotte just laid there and stared! Haha!! We figure she'll enjoy it a lot more when she gets a little older and finds her hands, but I couldn't help but post this facetious picture in the meantime:

The very first post I wrote on this blog was about the little dresses I was making Charlotte during my pregnancy. At the time I made those dresses, I didn't know what Charlotte looked like and could only imagine her in them. It's so sweet that Charlotte's getting big enough to wear some of them. Here's the dress she's wearing today:

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas!

Last night, Chris, Charlotte, and I went to the Navy base for some family fun time. We went to watch the ceremony for the lighting of the Christmas tree and to see the Harlem globetrotters afterward! The Christmas tree lighting was a lot of fun. They had a choir, live nativity scene, and reading from Scripture about the birth of Christ. It was great to be reminded of this truth, and it caused me to think about why God sent His perfect Son into the world. Christmas celebrates the fulfillment of God's promise that He would provide a way for us to draw near to Him. Christ is the fulfillment of that promise. I was meditating on I John 3:5 this morning in light of last night, and it says that Christ appeared on this earth to take away sins because in Him there is no sin. Christ, therefore, is the only suitable substitute for sin since no sinful being could ever be an adequate one. What beautiful condescension that God's perfect Son would come into an imperfect world to give those who put their faith and hope in Him what they don't deserve...forgiveness of sin. May this Christmas season remind us all of this profound and wonderful truth and may it cause us to live for Him with all of our might.

Here's some pics from last night. I am so sorry for the horrible picture quality. It was dark outside, the gym where the globetrotters played was not lit well, and I took our point and shoot instead of my D-70. Nonetheless, enjoy!!

A camel for the live nativity scene

The Christmas tree all lit up. Do you see the white flecks everywhere in the photo? It's snow!! Well, not really, but it was a lot of fun for all the kids and made it feel a bit more like Christmas.

Charlotte checking out the camel. I don't think she's real sure about him!

Charlotte on the donkey used for the live nativity scene. With her back so straight and her head slightly tilted toward the sky, she's either looking for the North star or thinks she's royalty. I hope it's the former.

A close up of Charlotte on the donkey. I can't wait for her to see these when she's older!!

Charlotte as baby Jesus with the girl who played Mary in the live nativity scene. Haha!!!

Charlotte with Santa...a young Santa if you look at his face! I'm sure he was a sailor.

Charlotte with Mrs. Clause.

The Harlem globetrotters warming up.

Right before tip off.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Latest Happenings

I thought I'd post a little update about what's going on here in Bahrain. We're almost done unpacking and organizing and we got our Christmas decorations up! We don't have very many and we're celebrating our first Christmas with Christmas trees thanks to my sister, brother-in-law, and grandparents. No more light up palm tree circa 2007 (picture below)!

Over the weekend, we had our first guests over for dinner. I made pizza which was a staple in Nigeria and something I made often for company. I realized that I'll have to get used to our new oven because it cooked the pizza much different than our oven in Nigeria. First of all, it's gas and not electric. As a result, we had the pizza stone on the floor of the oven instead of the bottom rack. Secondly, the oven temperature in our new oven goes to 550 and our old one only went to 500. The bottom of the crusts burned before the toppings were as done as we like. I felt so bad, but at least the expectations aren't high for my cooking now!! Haha!!

When we went grocery shopping this past weekend, Chris found a spice packet for mousaka and got as giddy as a kid at Christmas. I kid you not - he has been talking about me making mousaka ever since. When I told him I'd make it today, he beamed and said he was really looking forward to it. Really? I hadn't noticed. The only problem is that the directions are very vague and since I've never made it before, they sure didn't help. This is what they say (word for word): "Brown the mince meat with olive oil and the mixed spices. Take off the stove and sprinkle in some grated cheese. Cut some potatoes and aubergines in to wedges and fry in a frying pan. Grease the baking tray and place a layer of potatoes on the bottom. Sprinkle this a little cheese, then a layer of mince meat, after this the aubergines and, again, some grated cheese. Finish off with a topping of bechamel sauce. Place in an oven preheated to 180 Celsius for one hour." Really?! How about letting me know amounts, the type of cheese, how to make bechamel sauce, etc. I had to look at other recipes online to have an idea of what I was doing, and honestly, it would've been easier to make mousaka from one of the online recipes than from the spice packet. Oh well. I hope it makes Chris a happy man tonight!

Charlotte is 8 weeks old today. It's hard to believe! She is gaining weight quickly and is much more alert. She's awake most of the day and sleeps through the night. Yay! Yesterday, I noticed that she can smile at you when you smile at her. During her last feeding today, it was hard to get her to start sucking because she was having too much fun smiling at me while I was smiling at her. It made my eyes water it was so precious! Yesterday was a big day for her because she went up a size in her pacifiers and bottle nipples and she's very, very close to being in size 6 month clothing. Her 3 month clothes are fitting her perfectly so it should only be a few more days before we have to put those away! She's still a really easy going baby and pretty content overall. She loves baths and doesn't mind us pouring water over her face. I put one of those water pourers (I know that's not a word - we'll call it a mandyism) on the baby registry that are supposed to keep the water off their face when you rinse shampoo out of their hair. It was totally unnecessary since she doesn't care. We really couldn't ask for an easier baby. :-)

Tomorrow we're going to a Christmas tree lighting at the Navy base. I'll try to remember to take my camera so that I can get some pics! I was going to sing in the choir at the tree lighting but didn't make it to the rehearsals. On a side note, we've decided that the Naval base's church will be our church while we're in Bahrain. I'm even going to get involved with the music! Since we go to the traditional service, I'll be singing in a small choir that was recently formed. I'm excited that the Lord has already given me an opportunity to start serving in our new church! And this Friday morning, Chris and I will be doing the reading and lighting of the advent candle. They did the same thing at the church we attended in Nigeria, so it's nice that they're doing it here, too. Well, I think that's all I've got for now!!!

An 8 week pic of Charlotte I took today.

Our palm tree in 2007 that we used as our Christmas tree

Christmas tree courtesy of my sister and brother-in-law

Christmas tree courtesy of my grandparents. I made the tree skirt and stockings below to match.

Our Christmas stockings with matching cuffs since we're one big happy family! :-)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

For the last two years, Chris and I have had people over for Thanksgiving, but this year, Chris's boss, Lance, was nice enough to ask us over. This was really nice since I've only been here for 2 weeks and didn't really feel like cooking an elaborate meal! Lance's wife, Elizabeth, did a wonderful job and spoiled us rotten! The food was soooo delicious and we had a nice time with all our new friends. I couldn't have asked for a nicer Thanksgiving!!

Charlotte had too much Turkey!!

This is Nick and he's a marine. He's a stand-up guy and Chris talks so highly of him. He and his wife Sherry are expecting their 2nd child this December. They already have a little boy named Aiden and they're now expecting a little girl that they're going to name Autumn! Unfortunately, Sherry and Aiden are in the states but Nick will join them in December for Autumn's arrival. Nick really enjoyed holding Charlotte and I think it's really helping him look forward to having a little girl!