Friday, September 24, 2010

September Reflections

September is the month of new beginnings.

My three oldest grandsons all started kindergarten in the last couple weeks and it has been fun and interesting to hear what they think and how they are adjusting. When I asked Mack what kinds of things does he do….he told me “well, you know, school stuff”.  Caiden is away from home almost 7 hours but tells Lizzy “it seems like only a few minutes”  and Joshua didn’t even want Amy to stand at the bus stop.  No worries about these little guys….they are loving their new adventure.

I can’t help but think how their world, as they have known it, now changes forever.  There are more people, places and things that will influence them in who they are and will become.  The things they see and hear and discover will shape their thinking, their desires, their goals. I worry about them and want to protect them even as I felt when seeing my own children off to school for the first time yet I also applaud them to move forward in their life with encouragement and enthusiasm; to explore, step out, make friends, take a chance at all the good life has to offer.


Mack's first day

Caiden first day of kindergarten

Smiley Joshua

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Secluded Beach


Heading further away from where we live like REALLY away, we discovered

this sort of  a planned community/ planned beach area,currently not being built or occupied by residents.  Occasionally, there may be a total of 5 people on the beach, folks like us that search for a quiet spot and a clean beach!  Today, we were it! I have never seen water so clear or been in water so warm… “like bath water” a new meaning. Technically it is still very hot to be on a beach for very long….we did bring an umbrella but after about an hour we were ready to get going.   This is definitely our new beach destination and look forward to going more often once the temperatures cool a bit.

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              Look at what I found!!!!


Never ever seen these on a beach……oooh  they are soooo beautiful….and so many different kinds.  Some are paper thin and extremely delicate.  Others are more durable and raised.  They are perfectly designed and unique. Another discovery of God’s perfect creation.   Hmmm…so now what do I do with this lovely collection?


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kareem Salama Concert and Viewing of the Documentary

The Advocate for Westerners-Arab Relations center is a non-profit, non-governmental, and non-political organization working for promoting positive, constructive relations between Westerners and Arabs by organizing social activities and information services related to Arab and Islamic culture. 

I know I have mentioned the AWARE Center back in March describing the filming of the documentary we took part.  Well, the event finally arrived in May.  It was presented as part of the program concert, with Kareem Salama

This was our first viewing of the documentary.  So we were very excited. 

Debbie night of concert 

There was special seating arrangements up front for those who participated.  VIPS at the Concert











GE guys at concert Some of the guys from GE came.


Kareem Salama is an Egyptian America musician. He is known as the first American Muslim country music singer. His music is a hybrid of country, pop, and rock music.DSCN0096











One of the VIP’s of the evening was Ambassador to the US, Deborah Jones.Debbie and Ambassador JonesA fun evening!

The AWARE Center - Where Minds Meet فيلم تم منع عرضه

Last day of Lebanon

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Pretty watercolor postcards that I got at the gift shop of one of the wineries we visited in Lebanon called

 Chateau Kefraya

This was the rest and peace and the place we took in the quietness

and beauty

of nature.

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We enjoyed the wine, the walks and a lovely lunch out on the terrace.


We visited a winery closer to the cityIMG_NEW_0003 and visited the most amazing natural caves/wine cellarIMG_0002_NEW_0001


We took in some museums

IMG_0004_NEW     with a hands on try at crushing coffee beans

IMG_0007_NEW_0001And our last stop on the sightseeing list was the Beiteddine.

“House of Faith”

It is the palace of Emir Bechir Chehab II.  Built in 1812.  It reflects the typical oriental architecture of the 19th century.  Today it is a major tourist attraction


of Lebanon. The Palace Museum shows many   Canninite works of art, traditional costumes and jewelry as well as a wide collection of Middle Ages arms.   John like that area best and I spent my time checking out the dresses and jewelry.  What we both loved seeing was the glamourous arcades and multicolred mosaic floors….and especially the lovely gardens outside.

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This was a three day get a way, packed with seeing as much as we could but also spent some relaxing moments taking it all in.  Visiting Lebanon was a pleasant surprise for us and we are happy to have learned and   experienced a bit more here in the Middle East.

More of Lebanon

IMG_NEW_0006 The Bacchus Temple at Baalbeck

We drove about an hour and a half to Baalbeck from Beirut. The  ancient belief  that places of worship should be at a high place, Baalbeck was predestined to become a center of religious worship. It is situated in between Lebanon mountains in the Bekka valley with an altitude of 1150 meters.  We spent the morning wandering the ruins in total awe of what we were seeing.  I purchased a book (English Version) so as to understand the history we had experienced.  I found this website above if you are interested that gives a brief explanation of this historical place.

The craftsmanship astounds me



A great postcard of reconstitution of the Temples


This gentleman really wanted me to purchase more than my book and postcards. 


Jeita Grotto    beautiful….but we were not allowed to take pictures. 

This site will allow you to see some pics….and will explain what a jewel the Jeita Grotto is to Lebanon’s tourism.

This is where I first heard anything about the New 7 Wonders Campaign.  click the below link to view a video of explanation and cast your vote.


Press the control button when you click the links to open

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Catching Up

A lot has gone unrecorded.  I know….one would think I have all the time in the world, sitting out here in the desert, to keep current.  The issue was the difficulty of my computer crashing…..which took with it pictures of our then, latest trip to Lebanon. So by the time I received it back, it was then time to travel again.   Fortunately, I had just the day before ordered some of the pics. So today I have scanned them one by one.

IMG_0001 A “street” of stairs climbing  up to several homes.

A colleague, of John’s, is from Beirut, Lebanon.  He suggested when we were tired of viewing the sand landscape here in Kuwait to go visit his beloved home, with hills, and flowers and grass, vineyards…….So we took a long weekend in June to visit this beautiful country. 

We are not big city folk.   So you won’t  see pics of Beirut, although we stayed in the City Center where a huge reconstruction project is underway. Many buildings still show remains of conflict the city  has endured; blownout walls of 10 story buildings and the rubble surrounding them. Armed police were very noticeable and as we toured the area, there were checkpoints.IMG_0009_NEW                           I took this from our moving car after passing through.

Telal, our friend, gave us a list of places to visit.  He had arranged for a driver, not only for safety, but to guide us.  That started out wonderfully; a  young man, who could speak English, was more than happy to speak of his homeland and answer our questions. However, after the first sight seeing place………..he met us anxiously stating he was called home for a family emergency, but to not worry he would have a replacement meet us in the morning. Oh man…..the remainder of our weekend became more of an adventure than we had bargained for.


A polite, smiling professional looking driver greeted us with a nod, when we said Good Morning.  Our best of communicating with him was to show him the list Telal had given us…..not knowing if he understood and if we would actually get there.  The terrain is rocky and mountainous with a lot of curvy roads and this driver drove fast….very fast….more than once a squeal escaped me.

We did manage to visit many of the places on Telal’s list.  And one afternoon we spent visiting the only one on our list!  To explore the Cedars Nature Reserve.


. The cedar forests of Lebanon have the unique distinction as the oldest documented forests in history. The cedars were important enough in the history of man to be traceable to the very earliest written records, that of the Sumerians in the third millennium BC.


People around the world know of the cedars of Lebanon because of the numerous references in the Hebrew texts of the Old Testament. The Bible records in some detail how King Solomon, King of Israel, requested King Hiram of Tyre to supply cedar wood and to build a temple and a palace in Jerusalem. They are known as
"Arz el Rab" or Cedars of God, the trees are among the last survivors of the immense forests that lay across Mount Lebanon in ancient times. Their timber was exploited by the Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians as well as the residents of Canaan-Phoenicia.

Cedar trees may reach 100 ft in height and produce spreading branches that split off from the main trunk.What I found unusual is the upright cones that are about 4 in. long. The cones mature in about two years.  We noticed that under the trees it appeared that the ground was cultivated. There is no way people could tend to a forest of trees….!???we were told by our guide that  wild boar dig around these trees for food.  Their tusks cultivate the seeds, thus reforestation occurs.There are 12  trees that are over one thousand years old, and about 400 that are more than one hundred in this reserve.. A major reforestation program was undertaken not long ago, Cedars grow slowly.The fruits of these efforts will only be appreciable in decades to come.
















                                                                           Aren’t they lovely? 

IMG_0001_NEW A guide drove us up the mountain to the grove of trees.  The twisting, winding road had our heads looking every direction not only at the Cedars, but the many wild flowers in bloom.  We decided to walk our way down to the waiting car with driver….it took us about 2 1/2 hours, a nice walk breathing in the fresh air.IMG_0002_NEW Was hoping to come across at least one of these critters….

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Delectable Dates

All around Kuwait these palms can be spotted with sacks of dates growing to maturity.  There are some even here where I live.  Harvest time is Sept/Oct.


According to the World Food and Agricultural Organisation, there are 90 million date palms currently under plantation, with each tree capable of growing for 100 years and more than two million dates grown in the Middle East every year.


The versatility of the date has firmed up the fruit's culinary following in recent years, from fillings such as almonds, candied orange, lemon peel and marzipan, DSCN0966 DSCN0964 DSCN0965 to tagines, bread and desserts, or innovations such as sparkling date juice. In India, North Africa, Ghana and the Ivory Coast though, date palms are traditionally tapped for their sweet sap, which is converted into palm sugar and molasses and alcohol. (taken from an article in Arabian Business)


Endless Summer

Well here it is the beginning of September and I have finally made my return trip “home” to Kuwait. Once my plane landed In Chicago, (July 2) I have been living in the fast lane.  I am blessed, so very lucky, extremely grateful, and remain in such awe to not only do and see and be me, a wife, a mother, a grammy  and what Mack calls me (Sweet), a sister, a friend, an aunt, to be able to travel, meet new people, experience life in other countries, but also come and go from place to place to be with my family wherever they are.  I am thankful for my husband who encouraged me to come and  enjoy this summer that seems to have no end.


My plane landed and Lizzy and I headed to the skateboard competition.  This was Caiden’s first time participating and he is only 5 years old!  I hold my breath watching him.  He is awesome!Petrovskys at competion  I put a video on You Tube of the competition and one of Kierson riding his two wheeler.




Caiden and mom after competion


The first of many events of the summer was the whole family gathering for my nephew’s wedding in Schroon Lake, NY.  To have all the kids, nephews and nieces with all their children together in one place for a weekend was incredible…..

and fun. Dad Pfeiffer was able to enjoy his whole family together….he turned 90 this year. 


The wedding coupleDance  

It was a weekend event.  Mike and Kristal traveled from Charlotte, NC.  Lizzy and I drove from Muskego, WI; all arriving hot and tired.  We needed a distraction

Some more fun pics of the munchkins

Mack and Caiden with train set all 5 up at the bar

the boys 


  Five grandchildren birthdays were celebrated in July.  Kierson and Kaylee both turned 3 and we celebrated them together at Amy Jo’s house.

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Back in Muskego, the whole family supported Lizzy for her 5K run.  The boys watch for her to run by and yell run mama run!

The summer weather was perfect and we spent much of our time outdoors at parks and pools and the sprinkler in the back yard was our favorite!



  Papa with the boys on step                           Papa John joined us for a couple of days………         

  Papa with the boys put put

John bike


before heading out on his own adventure….a bike tour to the Colorado Rockies.



The triplets turn


Heading to babyland in Charlotte, NC……for Mason, Chase, and Juliana's



Mack the photographer

Mack our photographer….was excited for the party.  He and I spent the morning shopping and decorating for the event.


HMMM…… I ready for this??


Our little princess Our little princess is ready



DSCN1223 Oh yeah this is good

And the boys had no trouble figuring out what their part was.

Babies and mike in pool

A very hot summer day – the best place to have a party is in the pool!


Mack and Sweet

The babies are on the move….crawling fast and standing at furniture. Their smiles are contagious!!! as is their big brother’s, Mack.  We packed a lot into a week, swimming everyday…..(MACK can swim!! He jumps in and swims to the other side.. ) playgrounds and games, and just plain old fun and nonsense! I even “babysat” all four for an afternoon and evening!!!  What a busy household!  I am in awe of the love, fun and peace in their home! 

The mommy and daddy 

NEXT STOP -   Rochester, NY

Grammy and Kaylee Hugs







               What a way to be greeted????






This was the first visit that my Kaylee girl and I bonded as “girls”.  There are 5 boys ahead of her so “our “playtime is mostly like that of the boys.   But this time  I found her changed, girly, and wanting to do little girl things…..ha….with me!!!!  I am delighted.  She wears dresses everyday…likes to watch me do my hair and put on makeup.  She wants to help in the kitchen,  likes to play dress up and is a good little mommy to ALL her babies and stuffed animals.  We went to Jo-Ann Fabrics and she oohed and ahhed at all the pretty “fabiks”, she walks to the beat of her own drum, which I adore!  

Cool Kaylee                                                                    


We had an adventure day taking the family to the Aquarium in Niagara Falls……oh did these two love it!…..and so did we!  Their enthusiasm at each window pointing what they saw was contagious.  I think the sea lions were the favorite.  It was a beautiful day to walk the park, let the kids chase pigeons and see the falls once again.


The next day we made sea creatures out of bread dough and ate them for dinner.


bread starfish and turtles



Papa John and Joshua on motorcycleJoshua thumbs up 

I think he would have enjoyed a ride…..



Miss Gracie turned 10 months old in August.  She is friends with the camera…so easy and loveable to photograph.   She is funny, learning to tease, and likes to play peek a boo.  When the other two had rest time…I got to have play time with

this wee one.





John and I met up for a couple days before he headed back to Kuwait…we stayed at a lovely B&B called Gone With the Wind on Keuka Lake…..visited a few wineries, and went to Watkins Glen for the NASCAR race….FUN …and relaxing!




I really don’t know much about NASCAR.  I don’t watch the race on TV or read up on it in the paper.  I may be able to list off a few drivers, like Mark Martin(my son in law’s guy)  Well, what I do know now, is that I LIKE NASCAR…well at least being at a live race.

Who would have thunk??? accept John pointed out….its in my blood. (from my grandpa McKenzie AKA Crasher)  A whole other BLOG for sure.


I felt a little out of it as we stood amongst the fans at our lawn seats, that I didn’t have a favorite.   So I chose the underdog….or so it seemed.  Right at the beginning as the cars pace, one had to go to the pit already.  Something loose, I suppose.  He didn’t miss out on the race, but had to forfeit his place, and go to the end of the line.   UGH…..he must have been soooooo frustrated…I felt so bad for him.

Well, that determined who I was going to keep my eye on and root for, to see how he could catch up!   Every lap whizzing by me….I counted frantically how many he moved ahead.   Little did I know until the end of the  day that “my underdog” was Dale Earhart Jr.  



John flew back to Kuwait and I continued a couple more weeks, spending some time in the Adirondacks, hanging out with my sister and taking in Brooks and Dunn’s last concert.

 Sisters at the concert 2                  Nothing like a MAHGAReeeTA on a hot summer night

                             Cmon Cath lets dance

                   C’mon Cath…..lets dance….that's what we’re here for!



One day Joshua and I were traveling to visit the Phillips family! He asked me how long I was staying.  I told him about 10 days more.  I thought he was so sweet when he said “I wish you could stay here forever”.  I replied that forever is a really long time…..pause: (I could see his little brain working) Then he said….”that’s ok then Grammy, 10 days is enough.”

So after those ten days, I found myself once again on a plane; flying back home to the Middle East.


As you can see…this is probably thee longest blog in blog history….but it is my tale and record of the most important places I’ve been this year. No where else I visit in the world,  would I be showered with so much love, fun and affection. No where else will I find acceptance,  warmth and understanding.


I love you all so much