Saturday, February 23, 2013


Hi there,

Yet again I've fallen down on my blogging duties.  We've been doing our normal stuff, and I've gotten to have a couple fun girls nights, so it's been a good couple weeks. 

Last weekend we went to a birthday party for Benjamin's friend Matthew, who turned three.  It was at a kid's gym, and was really fun.  Sadly Benjamin had just started a runny nose and was pretty fussy.  He got distracted a little with the ball pit and slides and we tried to participate in the songs and group stuff, but he started losing it before the snack and cake time.  Matthew's mom kindly sent us home with an amazing goody box and a cupcake.  Benjamin was very hesitant about the cupcake, even after I cut it up for him, so I ended up enjoying it.  But he loves the play-doh and bouncy ball and other fun toys, and it was definitely a fun outing.

Matthew's mom, Rebecca, kindly took this photo during a playdate at a park nearby.  Benjamin's having fun, I promise.

Last Thursday I met up with Emily to get nails done, which was awesome since I hadn't been in ages.  I desperately needed that pedicure, and it's always fun to hang out and catch up a little.  I also had book club last Tuesday night, there was a huge group of ladies which was fun.  We had read "The Cookbook Collector" which we all deemed passable, but nowhere near the level of Jane Austen, to whom the author had been compared.  Lady, get serious.  If someone makes that connection, you just say how ridiculous that is because Jane Austen is in the canon and you are a medium-talent writer with no hopes of your work lasting for over a hundred years.  (I was not impressed.)  Our next title is "Rules of Civility" which sounds promising.

Benjamin enjoys playing with his new puzzle.

Thursday night this week was really nice, I got nails done with a girlfriend after she finished work and then we ate dinner out at a fun restaurant, the Blue Fig.  I'd heard it was good, and I loved it.  A little smokey for my taste (this is Jordan, so oh well) but the food was great.  I got pesto pasta, and even though it was simple it was delicious.  And it was fun to be out of the house after dark.  (Yes, I'm that much of a homebody.) 

Last week and this one I finally made it to the toddler playgroup at the British Embassy.  It's really fun and more low-key than when I visited the American one back in August.  We may try that one again sometime, but the British one works better for our schedule at this point.  I've met up with two other girls I know from book club, and we've done lunch afterward both times.  I hope it's a trend, because it's so nice to get out of the house, and socialize.  Being around lots of other kids is good for Benjamin, but he's still shy.  One particular little boy was very grabby and taking all these push toys, and Benjamin didn't fuss when he took his toy, he just watched him.  I'm glad he's good at sharing, at least so far.

He loves to read books about the potty, and sits on it occasionally.  Slow and steady is our motto at this point.

I think those are all the highlights from the past couple weeks.  I can't believe it's almost the end of February, time is really flying by.  I hope everyone is doing well!


Friday, February 8, 2013

Benjamin Turns Two!

Hey guys,

Well, Benjamin's birthday is here!  Our sweet boy is now two years old.  Hard to believe that time has gone by so quickly.  We are so grateful to God for entrusting us with this little person. 

This morning Benjamin ate breakfast and then we opened presents, before Thomas had to go into work for a few hours.  I went a little overboard, I had bought a used tricycle before we moved but then also got him a book and a stuffed animal.  And a bell for the trike, cause why not.  Thanks to Mimi and Papa, Grandma and Grandad, and Aunt Priscilla and Uncle Trevor for sending such awesome gifts! 

It's like Christmas all over again.

This is technically an alligator, but we're saying it's a crocodile because Benjamin loves crocs these days.
We're calling him Lyle, because of the book.

Big box of Curious George.

Bear family puzzle.

So cute, you change the outfits on the Mommy, Daddy and Little Boy bears.

Book of poetry for kids!  Benjamin loves poems/rhymes.

Another George item from my parents, thankfully there's a balloon store nearby that filled it.

Thomas pushed Benjamin around in the tricycle, at great speed up and down the apartment.  And Benjamin likes ringing the little bell too, which cracks me up.

His feet don't quite touch the pedals, but he'll grow into it.


I was a little scattered this week and didn't prepare much in the way of festive food, but I did manage to make some cupcakes.  From expired cake mix...  Shhhh don't tell.  I think it's safe, I mean it gets baked in the oven.  I only had cream cheese frosting, so I made red velvet cupcakes.  Benjamin wasn't too sure about them, but had a couple bites.  He likes the cake part, not so much the frosting.  I think he doesn't like wetness or sticky things, so I got the fork out and that helped a little. 

I can't believe it was two years ago he was born.  It seems both like forever and not long at all.  Some days are really hard and I just hope he doesn't remember much, but then others like today are really fun and nice.  I'm glad I didn't try to do a big party thing this year, but maybe next year or when he's got more of an opinion about things we'll give it a try.  We are so blessed and thank God every day for him.  Benjamin Cade Larkin, Happy Second Birthday!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Recap and Low Stakes Dilemma

Hey guys,

Sorry it's been way too long since I've posted.  I've been zoned out most of the New Year, and then we had a visitor (while Thomas was gone.... sigh) so it's been a little weird so far.  But now it's February!  How in the world is it already February?  Yikes.

OK, so a couple weeks ago my good friend Clay flew halfway around the world to come hang out with us for a week.  It was really great to see someone from home, who I've known for ages.  Is it 17 years now?  If not, it's very close.  We all went to the Dead Sea for one night and stayed at the Marriott, which was far and away better than the Moevenpick which we tried the last time.  I think we'll stay there again.  It's more like a normal hotel, but very nice and everything is accessible, instead of the thousand and one steps at the other place.  The weather was also a million times better, since it was January and 60 degrees instead of July and 110/surface of the sun.  A little warmer would have been nice, but it was totally fine.

On the way back home after spending one night at the Dead Sea, we stopped at the Baptism Site.  They take you to a muddy hole next to an old building, which is supposedly where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.  I'm not sure what archaeological proof there is for this particular spot to be THE place, but there are a ton of Orthodox and Catholic churches congregated in the area.  And we also went down to the Jordan River, where you can see the Israeli side about 100 feet away.  There was a choir singing in a pavilion on their side, I think they have a more sophisticated set up.  Anyway, it was pretty neat and definitely something worth seeing, at least once.

Thomas left the next day, so Clay and I fended for ourselves.  We ordered in a lot of food, ate lunch at the embassy and did Thursday night dinner.  He got to meet the moms who hang out at the playground on Thursday afternoons, and saw a little of what life is like here.  He did some side trips on his own to Petra and Wadi Rum, since I wasn't really up to being a single mom on the road.  Thankfully he had a great attitude, even when Thomas got delayed and came back a couple days late, on the day Clay was flying out.  It was a lot of fun having him around, and Benjamin really likes him.  He still talks about his friend Clay.

At the moment I'm trying to decide whether or not it's worthwhile to continue taking Arabic classes.  I'm really grateful for the opportunity, but I don't like being the only person in the class.  I'm honestly not putting in any effort, which must be frustrating for my teacher and just makes me embarrassed.  We've only now started doing the alphabet, after 5 months, and there's a lot that I still don't have memorized.  I'll probably keep going for a while longer, just to have the excuse to get out of the house and have a lunch date with Thomas twice a week.  (Moms of small children, I know you understand.)

I'm also realizing that we most likely won't live in this area of the world again, and there's no way I'll have time to keep up with Arabic when we're back in the States.  I feel like I'm letting myself down but I also want to be practical.  Maybe I should try putting in a teeny bit of effort and see if that makes life better.  Or maybe I should find someone at the German embassy who can tutor me.  I do miss being capable, if not entirely fluent, in German, the loveliest language of all.

I hope January treated you well!  I'll try to get back to a normal posting schedule, hopefully interesting things will happen.