Month in Review-November

So far, November has been my favorite month of this year. Here’s what I’ve been up to.

For the first weekend of the month, a good friend here invited me to go to Kuwait with her for a work conference she had. Let me back that up. I heard she was going with her husband and baby, and right at the part where she was about to ask for help with her 2-year-old, I suggested that I go with her to help with the baby instead of her husband and then he could stay here with the toddler. I’m that good of a friend. I needed to check Kuwait off my gulf states to visit list and John has been there and didn’t really want to go again. So, both husbands agreed to this deal and we booked our flights.

She decided last minute not to bring the baby, so I was off-duty for two whole days. Like, totally off-duty. I didn’t have to think about anyone’s needs and wants but my own. My friends, that is a luxury I have not had in years! I slept, I binge-watched Netflix (Master of None, brilliant show), I worked out, ran along the water, read, prayed, caught up with a great friend from DC, went to see a movie (the new Bond) even wrote some. I ate what and whenever I wanted. I did not, even once, worry about what someone else was eating. It was amazing. I had a great plan to write a month’s worth of blogs in all my free time, but besides a pretty decent list of what to write about, I didn’t get very far. I suppose my tank was pretty empty and I needed all that time to get it full again.

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Our hotel in Kuwait had this thing with orange pillows in all their signage. This one was on the info for breakfast. It sortof reminds me of the old church saying when two young people are dancing, “Leave room for the Holy Spirit!” Or, in this case, for lots of orange pillows.

Meanwhile, my children were being lovingly cared for by some great friends here, our part-time nanny and their dad, of course.

Back at home, life continued to be sweet. The weather here has dropped to the 60s-80s range, chilly enough some nights to require a long-sleeved shirt. This makes my heart sing. My kids can play outside almost all day long. We are all much happier with this arrangement!

I’ve been doing a homeschool preschool co-op with Ayla and our friends, where we rotate teaching and hosting 4 kids, 3 days a week. It gives us the perfect amount of structure and social activities with plenty of fun and play in the mix. This month I covered Exercise, Farm, Geometry and Thanksgiving.

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Here they are washing the vegetables they dug out of the sandbox while learning about Farms.
Making a square with their bodies for Geometry. Or nap time.
Making a square with their bodies for Geometry. Or nap time.

We have lived here for almost 2 and a half years, and I’ve never met John’s local counterparts who he works with daily. Well, not until this month. We attended a desert cookout with all the families from his office and the local men they work with. It was about an hour outside of the city on beautiful sand-dunes. The guys passed out kites to all the kids, so when they weren’t busy climbing up and rolling down mountains of sand, we had fun with the kites.

Flying kites in the desert
Flying kites in the desert

Every November, the Marine Corps celebrates its birthday around the world with the Marine Corps Ball. Attendees go all out with dresses, tuxedos, hair and makeup (and beards, if you’re my husband). The previous two  years we went, they played the National Anthem as part of the ceremony, but only an instrumental recording of it. Some of you know that when I was in the Air Force, I had the honor to sing the Anthem at several events. This year, I offered to sing it at the Ball and they accepted. There were so many countries ambassadors and diplomats in attendance, so I really think I’ve now become an international rock-star. Maybe not, but it was fun!

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Just as I finished scraping the makeup off from the Ball, it was time to start getting ready for Thanksgiving. We met with a few other families from our house church and had a pretty traditional meal. I may have gone a little overboard with all the sides I signed up to bring. For me, Thanksgiving has to have certain tastes or it’s not complete, so I made sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, broccoli casserole (I have no idea why I made this, it’s not part of my tradition, just looked good!), stuffing and for the first time ever, home made rolls.

Table full of love!
Table full of love!

What about the pie? Oh the pie! I usually make John a pecan pie since his birthday is right around Thanksgiving, and this year I was going to do something a little healthier with a sweet potato/pecan pie mix. He caught wind of this and decided he wanted to learn how to make pecan pie. I had a bit of a dilemma, not wanting to have him make his own birthday cake and all, but wanting to encourage his budding culinary interests. The powers that be of Facebook suggested we do a pie bake-off, so that’s what we did.

The couple that bakes together...
The couple that bakes together…

We got the same number of votes, but I gave him my winning vote because he did a really good job with the crust and the pie was delicious. Mine was good, too, but it was, well, healthy and who really wants a healthy pie at Thanksgiving?

We capped off the month this very night by getting our Christmas tree up. It’s fake and only has lights and beads on it for now, but it’s up! We’ll do ornaments later with the kids and take bets on how long everything stays intact.

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What was the highlight of your November?