Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Hello friends and family -

I hope this letter finds your world full of love and laughter and the chance to sit down and have a rest! I am so feeling the need for a rest right now. The Ali Family has been on the move for what seems like the last six months. In all reality, it hasn’t been that long but, still, this past summer was full of movement and transitions. We left Djibouti in July and spent (almost!) two glorious months in the US and Canada doing all the amazing things I associate with summer in Seattle – blackberries, coffee, parks, friends, family, dinners on the porch, views of Mt. Rainier. It was a pretty heavenly time for us.

September found us leaving on a jet plane bound for Sofia, Bulgaria. We are three months into our three year stay and so far we are settling in and finding our groove. Every day is full of adventure – like learning that not all white cheeses are the same and that it’s ok to drive 55mph down a dead-end street and that Bulgarians nod their head up and down when they mean no. Not to mention, the gray skies and rain!

Orion has continued in the Lycée Français and is in the equivalent of first grade. This year he has a male teacher named Yvon and there are 25 kids in his class. He’s very much in love with “recreation” at his school; which he wants you to know he gets three times a day. His favorite thing to drink is milk and his favorite color is pink. O Boy loves Legos and his best friend is named Edward.

Eric is knees deep into life here already; he’s made friends, found a great music scene, scoped out all the best places to grocery shops, started seated massage at the embassy and table massage to routine clients. Not too shabby for three months. He’s playing Santa Claus at the embassy Christmas party this year and I can’t wait to see how he does in this new role.
I’ve got my hands full work-wise with a new job and new colleagues but I gotta tell you, it’s so much less stressful than our last two countries. Bulgaria has a reasonable medical system and it’s a relief to know there is a real ER to use if I need to. I’m loving the food, the return to nature, the movie theaters and the ability to stroll around on cobblestone sidewalks. Not to mention, the history! This place is OLD!

We’ve got a great house with a guest room in an interesting neighborhood that is just itching for some visitors; so…consider this your invitation to come and explore Bulgaria (and give the Ali family some loving at the same time!)

Peace and Love from our family to yours xoxo

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

And the Winner is!

The Marine Security Guard's here in the Embassy threw a "Top Chef" like competition and guess who blew everyone else away? You got it right - the Tall Lover Boy. He took my recommendation to heart and prepared his amazing Thai Lettuce Wraps and holy moley those things were so good!

Not sure why this loaded side ways and I can't get it to straighten out but you get the picture...!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Hoppy Easter

We had a great Easter weekend that included an egg hunt, dinner with friends, a champagne and cupcake happy hour and a celebration of the cherry blossoms. Nothing like a little diversity to rock our world!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Two Recent Faves

The rosey neck or ring necked parrots outside in our lone little tree

these boys who I love with all my heart

Monday, March 24, 2014

Q & A with Orion

I was reading this blog the other day that I got to completely by accident. You know how it goes…you click on something and it takes you somewhere then something at that site looks interesting and before you know it…BAM there you are at someone’s blog you would have never found on your own. So over at she asked her kiddos some questions and their answers were so funny! I decided to ask O them and here is what I got:

Q: What is my favorite food
A: I don’t know…spaghetti
My interpretation: really, spaghetti? I mean my husband is a mean cook and makes a kick ass spag but my FAVE? Have you not heard me wax on about lettuce wraps or beet dip or Yemenese bread?

Q: What do I do for fun?
My interpretation: I love this, it makes my heart feel warm and cozy

Q: What’s my favorite TV show?
A: Jake and the Neverland Pirates
My interpretation: ok, Jake and the Neverland Pirates is kinda a movie, more like a video short and its YOURS! Are you trying to project on me and get me to let you watch more TV?

Q: What do I drink?
A: Wine.
My interpretation: when O was four years old he used to ask us if every glass full of fluid was "alcohol" now at least its got a specific name...but ohhh dear child what about my coffee, my G&T's, my sparkly water?

Q: What do I do with my friends?
A: Take the car and party
My interpretation: and I love my kid!

Q: What do I wear?
A: Work clothes
My interpretation: ugh! He’s right though, work clothes 5 days a week – is 5 days tooooo many! We love weekends!

Q: Who is my best friend?
A: Me
My interpretation: and I love my kid even more!

Q: What do I do after you go to bed at night?
A: Watch TV
My interpretation: HA! or fall asleep on the couch trying to watch TV. Glorious aspirations, let me tell you!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Follow up

Just in case you were wondering what Larry the Leppy left...

Friday, March 14, 2014

St. Patricks Day

It’s getting close to leprechaun season – well, at least in the Ali house. For the past month or two we have been gathering supplies (read: old boxes, scraps of paper, tubes) in preparation to build our leprechaun traps. You see, O has this book called “The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day” and let me be honest it’s a pretty shit book with terrible rhymes but he likes it because the kids in the book build a trap for the leprechauns. Rumor has it that if you trap a leprechaun, then the lucky little leppy will have to show you were his or her stash of gold is. The reality is plain and simple – O is a boy and he loves to build things. The fact that we might be able to get rich out of this is just a side note.

During this last school break, O and Eric built the base of the trap and then this past week O and I added all the decorations. This is right up my alley! We dug out the hot glue gun, the pipe cleaners, glitter glue, scissors, all the fun stuff from our crafty box. We discussed how to make a ladder out of old (not used!) pap smear sticks (for my friends out there – you know how much I love using these sticks!) and had quite the discussion on how tall leppy’s were, how far they could jump, if they were scared of heights, this project raised all sorts of interesting topics of conversation.

The traps are pretty much done. We have to find some coins or gold or something shiny and interesting looking to get the attention of any leppy’s that make it to Djibouti but for the most part, I consider this project complete. Now we’ll have to see what happens on the night before St. Patrick’s Day…if I don’t come to work the next day it’s because we trapped a leppy and I now have a pot full of gold!
The finished trap...the leppy is supposed to walk up the steps and slide down the tube where the green arrow is.

See the little door cut in the corner? This is so after the leppy gets caught, O can open the door and get him out! Tricky!

More rocket ships and boats

Eric's decorated side of O's trap

The ladder up to the top of O's trap...decorated with decorations from my 30th birthday party!

This is my simple box trap...with enticing words to try and get the leppy to steal the treats...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Happy Valentines Day

The spidey lunch box was a hit!

and heart shaped oatmeal pancakes...YUM!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Advent - Gingerbread Houses

Repeat after me...the key is using a glue gun!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Advent - Make Your Own Pizza!

Christmas Trees and Candy Canes!