Spencer started 8th grade - we weren't extremely about them putting him in 8th grade but they base it only on age and the cutoff is Sept 1. There was no evaluation on where he stood as far as academics so we're just keeping an eye on him so he doesn't get bored. He tells me right now that Science is really easy and Math is review for him right now. After a few more weeks, I'll see where he is doing and then approach the counselors if we think we need to. Megan started 7th grade and is making friends with a lot of the girls. They had a birthday party for a couple of the girls this week at the Rec Center and Megan went and had a great time. Rachel, Alexander and Lizzie started 3rd grade and all have different teachers. So they have time alone but then get to be together during lunch and recess. They seem to like it so far which I'm very happy about.
Mark and I have been shopping for a car. I think we've decided on a GMC Acadia - it will seat all 7 of us but isn't huge for me to drive around campus (and fit in the garage). We're working on getting all the money together since they don't do financing here like they do in the states - it is a very "cash" society. I've barely touched my credit cards since I've been here which is odd because at home I would not carry very much cash, put everything on the card and pay it off at the end of the month. Hopefully, we'll have a car here in the next couple weeks - that's probably wishful thinking on my part as it seems to take twice as long as you would hope it would!
We've been to church twice now. We meet at a home in Jeddah so it is an hour drive there and back. We are allowed to meet here in KSA but we are not allowed to invite non-members to our meetings. There are a list of rules that are read at church every quarter to remind everyone about how we should conduct our meetings here. It is a nice ward - mostly Philipinos but a couple American families also. The first week we went there was a primary activity right after church. The kids baked cookies with their moms and we all had a treat.
Alex, Ethan and Lillibeth
The woman on the right is Belky and she lives on the KAUST campus.
Lizzie and Elena (Belky's daughter) on the right
Rachel, Abby and Erin (I don't know the little girl's name on the left)
Last Friday, we had what is called a Family Day after church which is basically a pot luck. I have never been to a pot luck like this!!! So much food - there was turkey and all sorts of rice and "something" dishes which were probably mostly Philipino. Tons of desserts and Lillibeth made homemade spring rolls that were just so unbelievably good! She is planning to teach my friend Melissa how to make them after she has here baby and they invited me to come!!! I've never seen so much food for the people that were there. It's nice though because a lot of the members of the ward are single men or men here without their families - so they get to fill up a plate and take it home with them. I think they probably could take home 3 or 4 plates!
Today, Lizzie didn't have a great morning before she went to school and Mark was trying to get her to cheer up. He snapped this picture of her on the way to school. She's so cute when she has an attitude - I'm hoping that the attitude cleared up before she got to school!
And now....sandstorms....they are not quite what I imagined. The weather here has been really hot and actually not as humid the past 2 days. That's probably because of all the sand in the air. Yesterday afternoon the kids didn't do some of their outside activities because of the sandstorm. I went to work out this morning and on the way home, I stopped at the grocery store, Tamimi's, to pick up a few things for the day. When I came out, we were in full sandstorm mode. It's not like you can't see anything (and maybe this isn't a real bad one) but it's just kind of creepy looking. It's really hazy and you have to be careful not to get the sand in your eyes. I snapped these pictures when I got home from the store.
I've promised some people pictures of me in my abaya and I promise that I'll post that next time - I don't have any pictures yet. We miss all of our family and friends and hope you are well!
Thanks for reading!