Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dinnertime Conversation.

While out to dinner tonight with our good friends George and Donna Nigh (or Momma Donna and Daddy George as they are known to the kiddos), Jackson started talking about his bed time routine. In the loudest voice possible he said, "I brush my teeth, then take a shower and I wash my hair and then I wash my penis and my balls."

Thank goodness he is learning about good hygene because clearly I am missing on teaching him the manners part.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Officially Official.

Well, it's officially official.

Bet you are wondering what I am talking about huh???

I am officially signed up for my first half marathon. And I am so lucky that my fabulous sister-in-law Ginny and one of my bestest friends Jackie are going to run it with me. Or actually, not with me cause they probably will both run past me.

We are going to be Team Isaiah and I am having shirts made for us, Renzi, Jackson, Dave (Ginny's hubby), George (Jackie's boyfriend) and anyone else who may want them! We are going to run in rememberance of my precious boy and I am so excited to actually DO something in his memory, ya know?

Anywho, here is the link to the Virginia Beach half marathon, Sunday, September 5.

The reason why you may ask Virginia Beach? Well when I was researching the different runs, this phrase caught my eye..."this run is flat and pretty, right by the beach. no hills."

No hills?? Done. Sold.

We started our training for this run a couple of weeks ago. Jackie and I ran 7 miles last Sunday in Florida. All I could think about when I was done running was...holy crap. The half is 6 MORE miles than that.


Here goes nothing!
Lee Anne

Girl's Weekend

Jetted down to Florida this past weekend for a fun 945 Chautauqua girls trip. Way too much fun was had by all. :) Thank you Mary Sue and Emily Sue for hosting us in Naples. Here are a few pics of us from the weekend.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Back in the U S of A!

Welcome home to us! :) I apologize for not blogging until now....our internet connection in Spain was awful and I spent most of yesterday doing laundry, cleaning up, grocery shopping, and taking care of an almost 3 year old who was soooo tired but I would NOT let go to sleep so that we could try to get him back on a regular schedule.

Instead of writing paragraph after paragraph about our trip, Renzi and I made a "highlights" list so I will list it here and briefly explain each one so you can get an idea about our trip overseas.

Highlights and Thoughts
-Petra (as previously blogged)
-Mt. Nebo (as previously blogged)
-Turkish Coffee (as previously blogged)
-Camel and Horse rides up the mountain at Petra (as previously blogged)
-King Abdullah (as previously blogged)
-Nutella, my new fav obsession..I know I am totally late on this, but that is what was served at each meal in Jordan, everywhere we went. LOVE this stuff. If you haven't tried it, seriously, go to the grocery store now and buy it. NOW. GO.
-The kids of Kings Academy...these kids were absolutley amazing and were obsessed with Jackson. Everywhere we went they would yell out, "Jackson! Like Michael Jackson!"
-Ali the Petra guide...amazingly bright man who walked the tour with us.
-Sam the Driver...amazing man who kept us safe and who Jackson now thinks should be driving us everywhere here at home.
-Lighting candles for Isaiah in Madaba, Jordan and at Mt. Nebo.
-I would also just like to point out an observation about the Middle East in general. The ME smells has a slight smell of B.O. (yes body odor) everywhere. Renzi rolls his eyes everytime I say this, but its true!

Oh Spain, how I love you. This country is way underated and I feel like everyone should take a trip there ASAP. I heart Spain.
-French Fries and Eggs....seriously one of the staples....french fries, fried eggs on top and smoke sausage. Delish.
-Tinto De Verona...the most wonderful drink. Its red wine, sparkling water with Sugar and orange slices. Renzi drank this the entire time we were there. Even for breakfast. I kid, I kid.
-GELATO. My fav flavor was nutella gelato. :)
-Victory "Futbol" celebration number one...we arrived to Spain last Wednesday evening...the night that Spain beat Germany during the World Cup. The place went nuts. People in fountains and in the streets cheering for hours. I have never seen anything like it.
-Victory "Futbol" celbration number two...we were there Sunday when Spain beat Nederlands for the World Cup! Again, people went nuts.
-Barcelona Demonstration....we were in Barcelona during the 1.5 million people demonstration that they had downtown where our hotel was. The people of Barcelona feel that they should be a seperate "state" from the rest of Spain (short version), so all of these people gathered in downtown Barcelona for a peaceful demonstration. People everywhere. We have video we will post soon of us in the middle of the demonstration.
-The beach. Everyone was naked. Seriously, naked. Jackson told me when we first got there that "that man needs clothes." I totally agreed with you buddy. What an experience. Oh, and we kept our clothes on.
-Train rides galore. We rode the train to Toledo, Barcelona and back to Madrid. What beautiful scenery and Jackson loved the train.
-Royal Palace of Spain. We saw actual thrones!
-Toledo, Spain. Beautiful town with cathedrals, synagogues and museums.
-Prado museum.
-Picasso Museum.
-Lighting candles for Isaiah at the cathedral in Toledo.
-And last, but not least, Maria....Maria was our tour guide in Spain recomended to us by our friends Bond and Lori Payne here in OKC. She may have been the best part of the trip. She took care of us in Spain and taught us so much about everything Spain had to offer. We learned more from her than we ever would have on our own or hiring any tour guide at a museum, etc. She is such a wonderful, caring, beautiful woman and she was so good to us. Thank you Maria for guiding us and for being our new friend. We love you!

So, that's it for now.....I have tons of pictures I need to post, but we bought a new camera in Madrid and I can't figure out how to work the "European" plugs on it, so it will take me a bit to figure all of it out. What an amazing experience it was for all of us to travel abroad and to spend time together. I feel like this came at such a perfect time in our lives and it was so good to get away. We are still hurting from losing Isaiah, but I feel like each day that passes and with each new experience we have leads us closer to healing.

Much love to everyone!
Lee Anne

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We are on our last evening here in Amman and it truely has been the most amazing experience for us all. Jackson has been such a trooper and has captivated the hearts of everyone around him. All of the people here at Kings Academy now refer to him as their mascot. How wonderfully social my little man is and does not know a stranger. It's so neat to see how everyone we come in contact with are mezmerized by him.

To recap yesterday and is what we have been doing....

The Kings Academy set us up with a driver for our trip yesterday to Petra. His name is Sam and he may have been one of the best parts of this trip. Being in the Middle East can bring a little bit of anxiety (at least for me)....there is just so much unknown and almost everything is in Arabic. Sam was a breath of fresh air and security. He took over from the beginning and told us all that we needed to know to navigate through the day. He told us what to do and what not to do. He stopped on the side of the road and got us some Turkish coffee on our way (he picked us up at 6 a.m.! And by the way, have you ever had Turkish coffee? Definatley an aquired taste, but it sure does do the trick!). Jackson and Sam hit it off right from the start and Sam made it his duty to protect us from any harm. What a blessing he was to us!

So Sam took us to Petra which is one of the seven wonders of the world. It was aweinspiring and breathtaking what these people did back in the early days of the Earth with just a chisel and a hammer. We had a tour guide named Ali and a small group who immediatley took a liking to Jackson (Ali even carried him for some of the walk down to the ruins).

It took us about an hour and a half to reach the low portion of Petra where we saw the Treasury which the NY Stock Exchange is modeled after. It's amazing how intricate the columns and architecture is. We decided that instead of walking the 3 or 4 KM back up that a camel would be the best way to get back up the mountain. So, that's just what we did. We rode a camel halfway up the mountain and a horse the other half. Jackson was in heaven and to tell you the truth it was quite a sureal moment...I think I said to Renzi at one point, "Holy crap. We are on a camel in the Middle East. How exactly did we get here?"

After we left Petra, Sam took us to a wonderful restaraunt where we were the only people there and had the most fabulous lunch of Jordanaian food...hummus, tabouli and chicken kabobs. Jackson had his first Fanta drink.

We got back from Petra about 5:30 p.m. (its a 3 hour drive from Amman), and we were all pooped. We ate a quick dinner, then headed to bed.

This morning we woke up and were asked to go with a group to Madaba, Mt. Nebo and downtown Amman. And guess who the driver was...SAM! Yay! We ate a great lunch in Madaba and visited a Greek Orthodox Church there with these beautiful Mosaics in the church that are very well known. I walked in and was immediatley overcome with emotion because I had a chance to light a candle for Isaiah there. I felt such peace doing that.

We then headed to Mt. Nebo which is where Moses stood and looked out at the land and said, "This is the land of milk and honey." He is also thought to to have been buried there. The view was a little hazy today, but still breathtaking and you could see the Dead Sea from one side of the mountain. We also had a chance to light a candle for Isaiah there and say a prayer as a family. I feel so incredibly lucky that we are able to light candles in these special places and remember our sweet baby boy.

We are now back at our place and are packing up for our early flight to Madrid in the morning. I am finally feeling a little more normal regarding the sleep issue, I think I had jet lag worse than anyone, so I am hoping it continues. We are 8 hours ahead of OKC time and Madrid is only one hour behind Jordan so it shouldn't affect us too much.

Thanks to everyone for the continued prayers for our safety and ask that you continue them for us. Know that we are praying for you all as well.

Viva Spain! :)
Lee Anne

Sunday, July 4, 2010

We Met His Royal Majesty, King Abdullah II

Some people might wonder why we are in the Middle East. We came to Jordan because we told ourselves that we would be open to new experiences. The past year has been such a whirlwind, it was refreshing to be able to take an opportunity and make it happen. Being spontaneous has always been a hallmark of our relationship, but we have been limited of late.

We are barely 36 hours in and new experiences are everywhere. Below are just a few of the highlights:

Jackson has been a huge hit. There is a camp here at the King's Academy for Jordanian junior high kids. Jackson, as friendly as ever, went right up to a group of them and introduced himself right after we arrived. There are probably 60-70 kids in this camp and they all know his name. He has been playing with them every chance he gets. The Arab culture loves anglo children and they have been touching his hair, giving him playful kisses on the cheek and generally treating him like royalty. He seems to like all the attention. We have video and will post soon.

We met His Majesty King Abdullah II this morning when he addressed the Four Star Debate attendees. I'm not sure how many times our life we will have the opportunity to meet royalty. King Abdullah is the 43rd direct descendent of the prophet Muhammad. He gave an off the record lecture on the current state of the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. Jordan, as you may know, plays a major role in the stability of this region. We are not allowed to share any of the King's remarks, but we learned more about the conflict in an hour than we previously knew. King Abdullah is one of the good guys and as General Tommy Franks said, "he is our last, best hope for peace." We believe that after hearing him speak.

Following the remarks, the king immediately departed the room. Recently, Lee Anne bought Jackson a children's book written by Queen Rania - King Abdullah's wife. The title is The Sandwich Swap, a story about cultural acceptance. As the king was walking by following a quick photo op with General Franks, he looked at Jackson and smiled. I said, "we bought The Sandwich Swap." He stopped, turned around and came right up to Jackson and bent down to shake his hand. Jackson said "hi, King." The king smiled. He then shook both Lee Anne and my hand. It was a very cool moment. There was an official photographer and we are trying to get a hold of the picture.

I gave my lecture on leader communicators tonight and the students seemed to enjoy. Food is good. Company is good. Tomorrow, we head to Petra, one of the seven wonders of the world. We are traveling by private driver and it is supposed to take the entire day. Tuesday we go to Mt. Nebo and other holy land sights. Wednesday we go to Spain.

We'll update soon...

Renzi, Jackson and Lee Anne

We made it!

We made it to Jordan!!! This post will be quick as we are about to go to a reception where King Abdullah will be at....:)

Our flight was long....but quite pleasant. And we have Jackson to thank for that. He did his famous "Kung Fu Panda" dance for the Royal Jordanian ticket counter and we got an upgrade on our flight. He slept for most of the flight so he was ready to go when we landed. We hopped on some buses and headed to the Kings Academy where we are staying (to read more about it you can google it. it's a really amazing school). As soon as we pulled in Jackson asked two things...(1) Can we go to Braums? (2) Is this Tulsa?

We had a late dinner and explored the campus then crashed. All three of us woke up about 2:30 a.m. (6:30 p.m) Oklahoma time and finally fell back asleep about 4:30. We had an early breakfast and are awaiting the arrival of the King who will speak to the students here at the Academy.

We just secured a car to take us to Petra early tomorrow and then into Amman Tuesday. We leave early Wednesday morning for Spain. I feel very blessed to be here and am just amazed at everything I am seeing.

I lost our camera so there are no pictures right now. :( We think it may be on the bus so we are hoping that it shows up soon.

Will post again soon!
Much love,
Lee Anne