Tuesday, December 20, 2016

November to December

#1 - Arrow of Light #2

Andrew graduated from Cub Scouts last month, finally getting his Arrow of Light. (Pictures are all fuzzy with bad lighting)  We were delighted with Andrew, but not nearly as delighted as Bubbs and Pretty Girl were about the cupcakes afterwards.  

Usually boys graduating from Cub Scouts into Boy Scouts walk across a set of steps - signifying the advancement.  They don't do that in Idaho.  Up here, you ride a horse.  Across a dark and scary field.  I was kind of freaking out about Andrew and the whole cast thing while being on top of a horse.

He survived.

And now Wednesday nights are joyous!  My two oldest boys take off to Young Mens and 11yr old Scouts.  There's something very unifying and humbling to see them leave and come home together.   

#2 - Manla Family Update

We found out middle of November that the Manla family's 6 month lease on their apartment was ending.  I felt desperate and helpless because of my limited knowledge of the area and language barriers towards assisting.  We kept in close contact with their social worker, enlisted our ward to look for housing and said a lot of prayers.  Somehow this last point was especially touching to Asmaa.  Faith has always been a common thread between us, a subject where almost no language is needed at all.

I've known the Arabic phrase, Inshalla most of my life, but I've never pondered it with such introspection as I have these past months.  I think about Asmaa and everything she's endured.  She's prayed for things to get better, and in most cases, they haven't.  If I could speak Arabic fluently, I would ask if she's ever found herself begging for God's will to be her will.  Or if she's already accepted what people like me dread facing - that my will means nothing.  

The Wednesday afternoon we found out they'd been accepted into secondary housing was the highlight of my week.  I've never been so happy to help someone move.

Hajar (pictured above) is carrying Asmaa's pepper tree.  Amongst their meager positions, I was touched to see Asmaa faithfully maintaining a pepper bush and a lemon tree - each in their own bucket, even though she has no permanent ground to plant them.  

#3 - Swimming Continues

James' Thanksgiving Invitational was his best swim meet yet.  He finally has his flip turns down and he slashed his 50 yard sprint to 36:40!!  

PS - his abs have become ab-alicious! (but don't tell him I said that).  

#4 - Campout

James and his scout group spent the second weekend in November at the Roystone Hot Springs - north of Boise.  We heard nothing but amazing stuff about the weekend - much to the dismay of Andrew who couldn't go because of his cast.  

#5 - Pretty Girl

Pretty Girl participated in her 3rd grade Freedom Festival on November 8th - very timely.  My camera got lousy photos, but that's her standing tall in red and blue on the stage.  

To get through the crazy election night that followed, we spent time making fun of the media (particularly Rachel Maddow) and playing what our president-elect calls, "the greatest game ever made".  

The sewing obsession is still going.  I absolutely love this pink kitten hat with sleeves she made last month.  I asked her if she'd make Mom one as a hippopotamus (mom's favorite animal) for Christmas.  She said she'd think about it.   

#6 - Chess Club

Early in the year, Andrew joined his school's chess club.  I think it's brilliant because it's fine tuning my son's excellent mind to think more subtly and forecast strategy.  It's also devastating because he completely ruins me in 3-4 moves.  

But I'm most grateful for this club because it's kept my son busy while his arm heals.

He's planning a balance routine in the spring between more chess club and joining his school's running team.   

#7 - Greenbelt Walks       

My work is nestled right across from Ann Morrison Park in downtown Boise and I take a lot of walks along the adjacent Greenbelt during my breaks.  It's one of my favorite parts of the day.

Boise is inundated right now with Canadian Geese.  I found out that Boise, Idaho is the designated "south" for the geese, which is of course ludicrous.  

If I were a goose, I would keep flying south .  

At first we thought they were all cute and precious.  But 100 quickly turned into thousands, and now there's literally a bazillion Canadian Geese walking around here -  clogging the roads, the pathways and the river - leaving green droppings in such abundance that I almost have to tiptoe constantly on my walks.

The other day I was startled as I crossed the bridge to see a heron fly right in front of me.  There's a refuge for them in Eagle.  I've passed it a couple times on my bike, but I've never stopped to take a closer look.  They are elegant - lovely and serene.

If their sanctuary pans out, maybe they'll get rid of the geese.           

#8 - Cold Weather Mornings

Mornings here are chilly - even in the summer.  And now they're especially cold.  When the kids are doing their AM reading and math, I can usually find them hanging out by the fireplace.  It's a sweet scene.  

#9 - Caldwell Christmas Lights 

According to a random website I happened to pull up en route, Caldwell's Christmas lights are ranked #4 for the best Christmas lights in Idaho.  And truly, we were impressed!  Caldwell is a small town northwest of Boise - almost completely agricultural.  The downtown is quaint, with a lovely river down the center and lots of footpaths.  On the whole, however, there are very few businesses.  Which meant when we were done seeing the lights and wanted hot chocolate, there was only 1 establishment offering hot beverages to patrons - Caldwell's downtown bar.  

We drove home instead and I made popcorn. 

Next week we're planning to see Idaho's #1 Christmas Light attraction.  Stay tuned...  

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