Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

Lilypie Pregnancy tickers


Ok, Hopefully the "comments" box is fixed. I up'ed the security about a week ago so that random people couldn't leave comments, but apparently I put the security too high. It is back down, so feel free to comment to your hearts desire! Love you all!

Richie's favorite song...

"Food glorious food..." or in this case not so glorious and definitely not glamourous. I think that the food over here has been the hardest thing to adjust to. There is some REALLY good food, and some that has taken a bit of exposure to be able to choke down. Lavash is a type of bread that is paper thin (think 1/2 the thickness of a tortilla) and is Amazing!! Breakfast Lavash consists of Nutella, jam, or peanut butter. I spread some Mayo, mustard and layer's of ham and roll it up for a tasty lunch. Dinner? you ask? Rip off some Lavash, spoon in some rice and a chicken breast and voila dinner is served!! Ochim Harasho. (Very good)

There are other things that are not so great. Before I get into that, let me tell you a story. At the Market one morning, in the middle of shopping Van informed me that he needed to use the potty. I found a store worker and somehow communicated that Van needed to use their toilet. A "public toilet" is not very common here, so the worker was doing us a huge favor by taking Van in the back to use their facilities. She motioned that I could not go back with the cart, and took Van's hand and took him behind the meat counter. In the five minutes I stood waiting, I watched the butcher chop chicken and beef with the same knife, on the same huge tree stump "butcher block." I also saw something that resembled pork chops laying to the side. Cross contamination anyone? Anyhow, when Van came around the corner, his eyes were HUGE and he was holding the workers hand so tight his knuckles were white. I thanked her, took Van's hand and asked if everything was ok. He looked at me and said, in a very quiet voice, "Mom, there is a cow back there without a head and there's lots of blood." Yes the meat here is very fresh... "That's a good thing" you say? Yes and no. If I want anything other than hamburger, I have an afternoon of work ahead of me. Hamburger is easy, I point to a slab of meat, take my hands and make a grinding motion, they cut the bone and grind all the meat together. Consuming hamburger here is a bit risky though, you have to chew it the way you would chew fish meat - always expecting a fragment of bone or cartilage.

When I have to get the meat in pieces to cook, or barbeque on kabobs, I do all the work myself. I buy the huge slab of meat and take it home. Then comes the "fun" part. I separate flesh from the sinewy strands that hold muscles together, try to chop out the bone - without chopping off my fingers, and separate the eatable meat from the hunks of fat and veins. This is very hard to do to for one as inexperienced with me. (Mom - I have come a long way from crying when I have to eat chicken that touches the bone.) This picture depicts the carnage left over AFTER removing all the meat that I could:

Some of you may think that the red stuff you see left over is eatable meat, let me assure you, it is not.

On the other hand the produce here is AMAZING!! These are cherries that we picked from our trees. We have both sweet cherries and pie cherries, which are super sour, but make excellent jelly and Pie. (I tried to make a non-pectin jelly recipe. It did not work. I was left with cherry sauce, but it was very tasty cherry sauce. I ate it with a spoon and dipped lavash in it!)

However the produce here is strictly seasonal. Come late fall/early winter there is none. I am told that they do have some small greenhouses, but the produce is very expensive, like $12-15 AMERICAN dollars a kilo. So I have been getting in touch with my inner Betty Crocker, Molly Mormon home storage type stuff. So far I have done 4 kilos of peaches, 2 HUGE buckets of raspberries, 2 kilos of apricots, a bunch of peppers, onions, and parsley.

In n Out

When Ava woke up this morning, the first thing out of her mouth was, "Daddy, I woke up. And I had a dream about Hamburgers, and I said 'hamburgers, hamburgers!!' "

Princess Ava

In the parking lot of the Embassy last night, waiting for Jared to get off work, Ava crawled around the car in her princess dress. As she crawled onto the floor of the drivers seat and turned around, she noticed that some of the sparkles had rubbed off her dress and on to the seat. She laughed and laughed, telling me she was magical, leaving fairy dust behind! As she caught sight of a sparkle that had stuck to my cheek, she touched my cheek with her little hands and said, "Oh Mommy! Now you are pretty like me!"

McKenna, Ava and Alina playing dress up

Ava and her knight in shining armor, Sir Van

Where's Willy Wonka?

Every wednesday out Community Liaison Office has an activity for the kids. Last wednesday we toured the Arcolade Chocolate Factory. It was heaven. We could smell the chocolate from the parking lot. Before walking into the production room, we had to get "sterile."

Mmmm, chocolate!

Ava and Van in front of the production line. The day we went they were making chocolate covered dried peaches with a walnut on top. Sounds like a weird combo, but it is so so good.

Of course no chocolate factory tour would be compete without a sample at the end!

Snow in July

Last weekend we explored the ridge-line below the summit of Mt Aragats, the tallest peak in Armenia, not to be confused with Mt Ararat, the alleged site of Noah's ark's remains, which is in Turkey. Although it was 103 degrees back in the city of Yerevan, it was cold enough on the mountain that we needed jackets and long pants. As we drove up the broken and pot hole ridden "road" at 2 miles an hour we spotted snow still dotting the mountainside. You can imagine the kids excitement and my equally demoralized reaction. But alas, their pleading won out and we stopped to play in the cold, wet, depressing , wintery substance. They had a blast, and their infectious happy mood eventually spread to me. After the "fun" in the snow, we walked over to a little pond where Van and Jared skipped rocks, while Ava and I played in the car, with the heat on.

Respect of Office

I believe that Politics are one of the ugliest things in this life. I was appalled at the slander and disrespect that Democrats showed the Republican President George Bush. I was disgusted at the back and forth antics between both parties during the election. I believe that the United States is the greatest nation. I believe in the Constitution. I believe that even though I am vehemently opposed to the socialist liberal agenda that this administration is shoving down the throats of the American people, the office of the President of the United States is to be respected. I do not like the views or beliefs of the current administration. I disagree so whole-heartedly that sometimes I want to throw up when I listen to the rhetoric put out by the white house. But still I respect the Office which President Obama holds. It would be hypocritical of me to be offended at the treatment of President Bush, and then turn around and act that way towards the next President I disagreed with.

It was with that mind-set that I greeted Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, when she visited Armenia.

Happy 4th!!

The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. It is a time to celebrate the wonderful country that I call home. I love America. I feel it a privilege to be able to serve, first as a Marine Corps Wife, and now as a Diplomat. Celebrating America's biggest holiday on Foreign soil is a very unique experience. I was moved to tears during the singing of the National Anthem. The Embassy, normally stoic and solemn, was beautifully decorated in red, white and blue, and filled with live music, loud talking & laughing. State flags lined the walkways and a huge American Flag hung as a backdrop to the celebration. Of course no July 4th party would be complete without some BBQ. So in our semi-formal cocktail dresses, nice suit's & Military Uniforms we dined on the closest thing to American hamburgers that Armenia has to offer, as wine and champagne were served on silver trays.

The next day we had a real American BBQ in our Backyard. With friends, food and faux fireworks we celebrated the 4th again! It was nice to be able to sit back and relax, while the 9 kids ran around and played. (Van is still in the process of cleaning his room though!) The only time that fireworks are available in Armenia is Christmas. But Jen and I were able to find some confetti blower things that the kids thought were cool, and Jen brought some sparklers. Van got out his pretend AT4 and we blew the confetti through the tube, and the kids thought it was great!!
The Ladies
The Guys
The food - I didn't think that I'd have enough, so I just kept making more. Yeah, we didn't eat even half of it. We had 2 types of Beef Kabobs, a spicy marinade called Haitian Voodoo Sticks and the other was a garlic, soy sauce sprite blend. We also had chicken Kabobs, marinated in a Honey Garlic sauce, then we had Salads, chips, dip, I made Apple Pie and a Sour cherry Pie - complete with Lattice top crust :) and Jen made a really good peach cobbler. And of course there was watermelon and Muddy Buddies for all!!!
CHOW TIME!!! Ava the Carnivore!!

Setting off the confetti "fireworks!"


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