Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Legos (reliving my childhood aspirations to be an engineer)

Um Tulip writes:

Baby Bulb is 11 days old. He is a strong, healthy little boy who loves to nurse. Between feedings, diaper changes, and napping there is little time for other things. I'm extremely grateful to so many who have brought meals over. I love lasagna! I've been reading other blogs but haven't had energy to write anything myself. At least my brain is not thinking creatively as of yet. This weekend Oliver and Teddy Bear had plenty of energy and with the rain pouring down outside (thank you, Lord) they needed something to do.

So, between feedings, etc., we made the coolest Lego house ever. Last summer my in-laws brought my childhood Legos with them in their suitcases and I've been working hard to share my passion for Legos with my boys. First we sorted the Legos by color, which Oliver loved. We had all sorts of cooking bowls out for the project. He even wanted to sort light grey and dark grey.

We made a four story house with removable levels. Each floor sort of slides out so you can see the floor below. The backside of the house is also open so you can move the little Lego men around. After all was finished, Oliver noticed there were no stairs. That simply wouldn't do. As each floor is made of a base piece, I wasn't able to design a staircase. So we built an elevator shaft on the back. I used some thread to create a semi-functioning elevator. It needs a few tugs, but it works!

Abu Tulip has been busy at work and being an incredible support around the house. Teddy Bear insists on being carried and occasionally fed (jealousy? hmmm). As I'm not supposed to carry around an almost 3 year old yet, this job falls on Abu Tulip. He has also changed more than his fair share of diapers. Hopefully he'll have a chance to post something soon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Baby Bulb has joined the world outside the womb

Hi friends,

Baby Bulb joined us on February 13 at 11:35 pm, on my sister's birthday. We are thrilled and relieved. After several days of slow labor and no sleep, at least now I can enjoy my baby and still not get any sleep. He is beautiful and his big brothers are totally enamored. My big boys both gave me multiple hugs and kisses last night before bed. Oliver even said, "I love you, mom" by his own initiative. Who could ask for more?

Well, as I'm exhausted and so is Abu Tulip we won't write much for now, but appreciate all your love, prayers, and support. ~ Um Tulip

Friday, February 6, 2009

and your cake, too...

This morning I tried out my theory of letting the kids pick what we'll have for dinner. I've found that often they eat better if they get to choose part of the meal. Usually this involves which type of noodles go in the pasta dish, or something simple like that. The dinner turned out great, but it took some coaxing to get Teddy Bear to eat.

When I asked him what he wanted for dinner, he requested lasagna. Since I just made lasagna and even splurged on the ricotta cheese from Cosmo, and lasagna is a lot of work, I suggested we make a new kind of lasagna. By the way, my kids have decided they love lasagna ever since they watched the Garfield movie. They even let me put onions in it! We decided on green and white lasagna. Friday mornings are our usual time to go grocery shopping, so that made it easier.

After getting back from the grocery store, I cooked some chicken and some broccoli for the layers, and made a simple bechamel sauce. I shredded some mozzarella, and layered the green (spinach flavored) noodles with the fillings. I used some Arabic chicken seasoning for the chicken and also a little allspice and nutmeg for the sauce. For someone who used to only cook from a recipe, I was quite proud of my creation.

When dinner was served, Oliver loved it. So did hubby, so I was proud. Oliver at one point asked, 'is 7+3=10?' as he had just eaten 10 pieces of broccoli, no less. I can already tell he's going to be a math kid. However, Teddy Bear refused to eat. We begged and pleaded. We offered cake for dessert. At one point, he pushed his food away and laid his head on the table in exasperation.

At this Oliver asked him, 'Teddy Bear, are you praying?'. 'No'. 'Are you praying to God that mommy and daddy will forget they said you had to eat your lasagna before you get a piece of cake?' We refused to give in, and his food went into the refrigerator.

Well, nearly three hours later, after taking some time to color and play, I can smile with satisfaction and say he did eat his lasagna, and got to eat his cake.

~ Um Tulip

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Flannel Graphs

Our pastor's wife and I have finally gotten around to organizing Sunday School lessons for our kids. Yes, I know it's strange we're starting this project two weeks before my due date, but it just seemed to be the right time. We were given a great curriculum by a friend and I'm enjoying learning how to use it. The lessons are based on a children's adaptation of the Westminster confession.

For those not familiar with a catechism format, basically there are questions and answers for each lesson that the children learn. The first question is, "Who created you?" The answer, "God". The memory verse for the week was "God created man in His image." Or, in transliteration, "khalaq allah il'insaan 3ala suuritu." I was so proud of Oliver who shared the verse with the congregation, from memory, in Arabic! He is a typical fickle five-year-old. Sometimes he participates, other times he gets shy and won't get involved in an activity. As he's often shy to speak Arabic in front of adults, this was an especially proud mama and baba moment.

The fun thing about the lessons is they use a flannel graph. We were able to find flannel down in the balad, at 2.5 JD a meter. The kids and I had fun cutting and gluing and above are samples of our project. Many of you remember using flannel graphs in Sunday School as children. Basically when you place two pieces of flannel together (one side is a bit coarser than the other) they stick, sort of like velcro, but not as strong. By gluing flannel to each cut-out and hanging a large piece of flannel over the whiteboard, I can put images up on the board for the kids and they can also manipulate them as desired.

Sort of a retro version of the power point presentation, I guess, but more hands-on. It is fun, the kids are amazed by the flannel, and easy. The curriculum provides all sorts of ideas for various ages. Considering the ages of our kids, the lesson is short and we then have a lot of fun coloring and singing.

~ Um Tulip