Our First Family Restaurant Experience

Hookah bar

Hookah bar

While traveling a nearby city, we found a good restaurant to try.

The kids had walked a good bit and so we opted to try a well-received local restaurant.

Instead of an alcohol bar, the restaurant had a hookah bar.

Above entryway mirror

Above entryway mirror


Sitting at the table

Sitting at the table

They had benches for us to sit around a low table

which of course the kids thought meant it was their inside playground….

Joyfull loving the food!

Joyfull loving the food!

We had a great time with our friends and enjoyed several appetizer dishes together.

As you can see from Joyfull’s hands and plate, it was good!!!

Everyday Oddities Unusual for Foreigners

Beauty in the junk truck

Beauty in the junk truck

Here you will find things that just make you want to giggle.

And can also be thought-provoking too.

Like the above, why not paint designs on haul-away junk trucks?

Dazzling displays

Dazzling displays

Over the top displays in higher-end stores seem to be commonplace.

Nightly sky

Nightly sky

The vivid evening skies are awe-inspiring! I am not use to such magnificence!

Sidewalk Parking

Sidewalk Parking

Why do you pave sidewalks?

I guess so you can park on them.

So normal.

Never ticketed.

Hang on veggies!

Hang on veggies!

The produce/farmer trucks here don’t seem to care much for tarps or netting.

Empty Lots

Empty Lots

This is a beautiful, nearly untouched or about to be built on, lot.

Most lots here are littered and have everything from garbage bags of trash to

empty plastic bags to

bones to rocks to

wild cats to laundry lines…

Garbage bag kite

Garbage bag kite

This is our city. And there was a little boy attached to the end of the homemade kite string.

Ruins and modern city, all squeezed in together!

Obscure entryway

Obscure entryway

Sometimes the best restaurants are advertised and you have to go through 4 unmarked doorways to get to the hostess.

Some other nuances include:

1. Shakira music blasting in grocery stores while I shop next to fully-covered Muslim women

2. Produce stands that pop up on the roadside one day and don’t have a schedule for return days.

3. All police vehicles drive with their emergency lights flashing.

I have no idea how I’ll ever know if they are pulling me over.

4. Ambulances makes a sort of bubbly alarm noise when they need you to move out of their way.

5. McDonalds has valet parking. And also have a McDelivery Service here.

Are you ready to come visit???

Every Day Lifesavers

As a mom, you know those times that you feel that everything may bust?

Well, try including these lifesavers to give you space to breathe.

I pull out these lifesavers in my typical day…

Hallmark's Nap Position

Hallmark’s Nap Position

1. Implement a nap time.

Whether all the kids nap or not, it’s grown into a quiet hour

where the older kids play alone and the babies nap

and mommy gets a few moments alone.

Now the kids look forward to it

and depend on the alone time.

And mommy gets giddy!


Joyful, the Third & Hallmark take an opportunity to delight in the outdoors!

2. Spend time outdoors every day

Whether it’s running around the park,

walking to the urban grocery store,

throwing sand in the ocean

or exploring new grounds,

outside air and new scenes shake up everyone’s outlook in life.


How can you say no to this?

3. Teach the kids to play together

Yes, all kids fight at some point

but do your best to integrate sibling play

throughout the day.

After awhile, it just becomes second nature.


Sisters sharing memories together.

4. Encourage a love of books.

Maybe start reading to the kids in their birth language

but also encourage other languages.

Young children’s brains are sponges with languages,

use that to your benefit!

As you show a desire and love for reading,

the kids will follow.

Arabic textbook for me

Arabic textbook for me

5. Encourage imaginative play


Dinosaurs at the library


As kids read, they’ll develop creative imagination.

Play dress up with them,

let them wear your necklaces

and clomp around in your boots and heels.

This brings hours of play for the kids!


Knight/Princess Joyful

6. Include them in what you enjoy

Explain what the rules of football are,

show them how to knead bread,

pull out pastels and let the kids paint pictures.


Mr. Optimist explaining tennis to Hallmark & Sweet Cheeks

 And then realize, sometimes, the kids just want their mama.

Let go of the dishes, forget the dirty bathrooms,

remind yourself there’s fixings for quesadillas for a quick dinner

and remember your worthiness is not in what you accomplish but who you are in Christ.


Sweet Cheeks trapping me so I couldn’t possibly forget her.

Going Out On The Town Alone

Quiet Study Time

Quiet Study Time

Surprise! Last night, I went out on the town.

Well, kinda.

Mr. Optimistic thoughtfully blessed me with an evening out of the house to study Arabic.

Joyful in the Quiet Moments

Joyful in the Quiet Moments

Next week I start meeting with my Arabic tutor, I am excited and nervous.

She has already assigned homework. Optimistic loves it!

He told me she clearly is a good teacher. What an academic, Optimist is…I love that man.

But hey, if I am able to get out of the house for a quiet evening studying, I’ll take it!

Bring on the Arabic alphabet.

To start out the evening, Pandora picked the perfect song!

Stringed Lights

Stringed Lights

I prefer quaint, small local shops to study in rather than the typical brand name Starbucks or Peet’s

but I’ve never had the opportunity to explore that part of the city.

Thankfully a friend recommended this cute coffee & wine shop that’s less than a mile from our house.

Foreign Language Study

Foreign Language Study

It was quiet and lovely and I treasured the moments acting as an adult alone. (Introvert alert.)

What do you do when you are out without your kids?