Friday, February 26, 2010

Mawlid al-Nabi

We tried to catch a taxi to take us to Midan Hussein from Midan Opera. No one would agree to take us there, so we walked. It isn’t far.

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Ezbekiya Gardens, where Miriam discovers grass

Today is Mawlid al-Nabi so I dragged Andrew out of the house—literally dragged him—to go downtown to see the celebrations. He was a little grumpy about having to give up his Friday afternoon nap and insisted that he wanted to take a taxi downtown since he didn’t feel like battling the metro. There weren’t many taxis to chose from and he got tired of waiting so we ended up taking the metro, anyway, which was fine.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Miriam is four months old

Miriam is four months old today (where has all the time gone, right?) which is crazy. She’s recently begun trying to grow up altogether too quickly for my taste.

Right now she’s working on sitting up by herself (in addition to wriggle-crawling). We’re pretty sure she can do it, although there isn’t any way to know for certain because anytime we try to let her sit up on her own she is joined seconds later by Rachel.


Hailpocalypse 2010

…about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.

         Exodus 9:18

It rained this morning. I was the only one up—reading the first chapter of Andrew’s thesis—sitting next to the window, hearing it patter against the pane. It was kind of surreal.

Light bulb scientists

To say that we are anxious to hear back about grad school would be an understatement. Already having been turned down by two schools, we are always at the edge of our seats almost biting our fingernails while we wait for news from the remaining four. It comes up in conversation every night.

Another nightly discussion: back up plans.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In Pictures

This is Miriam’s ooh-I-like-that-face:


Not pictured: my don’t-swing-those-beads-by-the-baby face.

This is Rachel’s yeah-whatevs-mom-nothing’s-going-to-happen face:


Monday, February 22, 2010

That Rachel Girl

“Hey, Mommy! Take a picture of me, too!”

“Okay, smile!”







Oh, you’re so funny, Rachel.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mobile Miriam

More often than not we leave Miriam in one place only to come back a few minutes later and find her in a completely different place. She’s determined to break me of the habit of leaving her on her back on a blanket on the floor—she just won’t stay there and chances are, if I leave her like that I will find her across the room on her tummy.

And what do you think the chances are that I left her on the floor like this:


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Al-Sayyeda Zeinab

Next up on our literary tour of Cairo was The Lamp of Umm Hashim (and other stories) by Yahya Haqqi. This story takes place in the area of Cairo called Sayyeda Zeinab, around the Sayyeda Zeinab Mosque. It tells the tale of “Uncle” Ismail, who left his home and family to study medicine in Europe after missing the cut in his exams in Egypt. His family lived impoverished but comfortably and scrimped and saved to support him in his educational endeavors abroad.

Haqqi aptly describes the bustle of Cairene life as viewed from an outsider when Ismail tells of his feelings upon returning to Cairo.

“The sight that met his eyes was uglier than anything he had imagined:

Al-Khayimiyya and al-Hussein Mosque

Before today we had never been to Al-Khayimiyya, the tent-maker’s market, in the Khan. I don’t know why. We’ve been so close, just a short walk from Bab Zwayla (where we’ve been several times), but never bothered to stop by.

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Midaq Alley

This semester Andrew is taking a class called “Cairo in the Modern Literary Imaginary,” which is basically an awesome class, not that I really know since I’m not in the class but I have been reading all the books for the class and listening to a condensed lecture by Andrew when he comes home from class on Wednesday nights.

The first book we read was Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1988 due to this book.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Flashback Friday: Hair beads

I’m pretty bland when it comes to hair styles—I’ve always been nervous about cutting, colouring, or trying out new styles so as a general rule I just don’t. Ever. My brother David once accused me of having the same haircut since I was eight years old. And, partially, he’s right. Only partially, though, because aside from occasionally having bangs, and excluding the bald baby years, I have had the same hair style my whole life.

The thought of trying something different terrifies and thrills me but it’s doubtful that I’ll ever try anything new because I have never set foot inside a real salon. Ever.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rolling over and giggling

Today Miriam rolled over from her back to her front, and quite on purpose, too. She flipped from her back to her side, which she’s been able to do for quite some time, and then continued to fuss and grunt and work. When I left the room she was almost on her tummy rolling to the right but when I came back into the room she had clearly rolled to the left. Perhaps she was winding up on the right purposefully aiming to use centrifugal force to propel her over on the other side. However she managed it, she was one proud baby.

So now she can flip from front to back and back to front.

And those awkward inchworm things I mentioned that have been happening lately?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Reach for it

Miriam has discovered her feet. Kind of.


Valentine’s Day 2010

This year for Valentine’s Day we resurrected our tradition of making heart-shaped pizza. I was trying to remember why we hadn’t done it last year—but last year was the Chili Cook-off, so that explains it.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

I do love me some V-day

We went grocery shopping today and brought along the camera just in case we happened to see anything interesting, because you never know, right? Well, it happens to be Valentine’s Eve so of course we ended up something interesting since Valentine’s Day is fast becoming one of the most-loved holidays in these parts (despite all the naysayers) if decorations are indicative of preference.

Just a few days ago the flower shops bordering the tracks by Midan Digla were ordinary flower shops. By today, however, they’d erupted into a sultry display of Valentine pomp and fluff and stuff.



Something in the air changed and suddenly we’re back in the 30s (or around 85 for those of you who speak Fahrenheit). Spring is definitely on its way. We can even survive being indoors in short sleeves now and just today took the quilt off our bed.

It’s kind of nice to not have to bother with sweaters. We were beginning to feel oppressed.

As I’ve mentioned, this week was incredibly busy…but I did manage to snap a few pictures of the girls.

Miriam enjoyed some tummy time by herself…


Friday, February 12, 2010

Flashback Friday: The Root Cellar

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about provident living. It might have something to do with this, this, this, or this. Or it could have to do with the employment seminars we had on Tuesday and Wednesday this week at the church. Or it could have something to do with Haiti or this year’s snowpocalypse. Or it could be that we recently borrowed and watched Food, Inc (thanks, Jill). Or it could be a combination of the aforementioned things. Whatever the reason, I’ve been thinking about provident living. A lot.

The best part of waking up…

“Mommy!” Rachel called out at 7:30 this morning, “It’s not dark outside anymore! It’s light out!”

“I know,” I groaned, “Go ahead and get out of bed.”

We met in the living room for a cuddle on the couch. I had been up since five with Miriam and had been hoping to get back to sleep.


At least Rachel seemed to be in a good mood. We happily chatted about this and that for a few minutes until I suggested that we get some breakfast going.

“Can I have some candy for breakfast?” asked Rachel.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

This week

This week has been crazy busy. Andrew was sick at the beginning of the week, then Miriam got sick, which meant that I was spending all day and all night nursing them back to health. Literally nursing Miriam almost every hour both night and day; only figuratively nursing Andrew—mostly by nagging him about getting enough fluids.

“I want you to drink this whole water bottle by the time I get home.”

“But I had fluids today.”

“Yeah, what?”

“Ummm…I had oatmeal…and I had to pour water on it.”

Monday, February 08, 2010

Say what?

This morning Rachel requested oatmeal for breakfast again—we had oatmeal yesterday.

“Sure, I just have to boil some water first,” I told her.

“But, Mom!” whined Rachel, “You did that yesterday! Can’t we just use that water?”

Saturday, February 06, 2010

A happy song

Sometimes we change the words to poems and songs to suit our mood. For example, Rachel has this book of poems that she absolutely loves. The first poem in the book is a poem entitled Singing Time by Rose Fyleman.

I wake in the morning early
And always, the very first thing,
I poke out my head and I sit up in bed
And I sing and I sing and I sing.

Instead of reading it that way, however, this morning I read it like this:

I wake in the morning early
And always, the very first thump,
I poke out my head and I sit up in bed
And I grump and I grump and I grump.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Flashback Friday: What’s in a name? With bonus feature: Friday Funnies

In primary today, Rachel’s friend Katie was spotlighted with Charlie T. Bear. Amiee was the one to introduce her.

“So, this is Katie,” she said, pronouncing Katie as KAY-dee.

“Her name’s not ‘Kay-dee,’” offered her indignant older brother, Tyler. “Her name’s Kay-TEE!”

Amiee was a little taken aback. “Oh, alright then,” she said, “Would you like me to say that over again. This is Kay-Tee, Tyler’s sister.”

He settled back in his chair, well-pleased that his efforts had elicited such a result.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

A new first for Rachel

Last night a 3 AM Rachel woke us up screaming, “I need help! Somebody help me! I need to go potty!”

I moaned. Andrew got out of bed to deal with her. He’s great at noticing when I need him to do things—usually after I publicly announce that our children are driving me bonkers, but at least he notices—and he knew that I needed him to get up with Rachel.

He went into her room, but she wasn’t there. She was in…

*drum roll*

A better day

As I predicted last night today went much better than yesterday and the day before. It was so good, in fact, that this evening after dinner I had enough patience left in me to let help Rachel make cookies and let her help me do the dishes.

She was thrilled. Making cookies is one of her favorite things to do. And since the last cookies that we made were chocolate chip…so I didn’t have any…I thought it was only fair that we make some non-chocolate cookies. She helped cream the butter (and ate several forkfuls), she helped measure the sugar (and flung about 1/8 of a cup all over the kitchen floor), she helped crack the egg (and got it all over her hands), she helped level the flour with a butter knife (because I wouldn’t let her measure it after the sugar incident) and still managed to get flour all over herself, and she helped mix it all together (and made dough fly all over the place). Somehow I managed to stay sane through all of it.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Mysterious Ways

The longer I think about it the more I’m convinced that God is in control of things. Things that seem like unfair trials and challenges turn out to be just the thing we needed to have happen so that we can get through a harder trial. Take, for example, our recent financial fiasco.

When someone in Florida started charging up our debit card right around Christmastime, we were frustrated.


I woke up grumpy. Going to bed grumpy and worn out and then being woken up by one child or the other all night long meant that I was grumpy the minute I decided to get out of bed.

Rachel met me in her doorway.

“Hold me, Mommy!” she whined.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The key

On our way home from tutoring we ran into Andrew on his way to go tutoring. It was kind of funny to see him walking down the street toward us since that’s not something we usually see.

“Oh, yeah!” I said when I saw him, “You have tutoring tonight as well. Good thing I remembered my key!”

Famous last words.

I pushed the stroller into the entryway of our building and then took out the diaper bag to get out my purse to get at my keys. And, wouldn’t you know it, my purse wasn’t there.

Cruel, cruel irony.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Coughing, French, and Hitting

Everyone at our house is sick, except for me. It’s kind of nice but will probably catch up to me in the end. Last night our house echoed with various coughs—Andrew’s hacking from the pillow next door, Rachel’s persistent coughing from her bed, and Miriam’s quiet and pitiful coughing from the bassinet next to our bed. Cough, cough, cough.