I’m ever so slowly getting the rest of this amazing trip recorded. It completely shocked me to realize that the last post was…gulp…a year ago. I don’t know what happens to my time. Check out part 1part 2part 3part 4part 5part 7, and part 8.

So, we’d had dinner in Al Shabq and made our way into Petra where we checked into a hotel that was perched on the side of a mountain and had the most spectacular views of the city.IMG_2374

After an early breakfast, we headed into Petra, which was AMAZING. I really can only photo dump because words will not do it justice.

It’s about 2km from the visitor’s center trail head and down through the Siq. The Siq is incredible as you can see below.

The Siq is an opening between cliffs that winds for about 1.2km back into the mountain range that is the city carved of stone. Long, long ago, camels and other pack animals wound through the Siq – which means market – laden with goods.

In those days, this narrow passage would have been lined with vendors selling their wares. The entire passage has rather wide grooves through which water for the city ran from reservoirs just at the beginning of the Siq.

Of course, there were those who found it easier to just perch above their market place so there are steps up onto higher vistas all along the way.

The Siq is a wonder, but then you wind through the rock and are greeted by:


Indian Jones? It really is a most awesome sight. Now we were in Petra for certain and we were amazed to see how extensive the grounds are.

Everywhere we went there were people offering various things for sale. There was the wi-fi enabled donkey (not really, but it did get me to stop and listen to the pitch) and other unbelievable advertisements. We eventually let the kids have a ride because I just love negotiating.

The amount of engineering that went into the place blew my mind.

There is a Byzantine church ruin on the site as well. I LOVE seeing these ancient churches that are built in the same pattern of my own, beloved parish.

We spent hours poking around, climbing up, hiking around, and, of course, arguing about who sits in the forward position on the camel. It was a great day!

After leaving Petra, we drove up the King’s highway to Amman where our adventures were to continue as we crossed into Israel.


{7QT} Football, planners, and deadbeat tooth fairies


  1. Football is coming! I’m so excited for the beginning of the football season. High schools are back into practice. I’m tinkering with my draft board for my fantasy league…trash talking is in full swing. #mostwonderfultimeoftheyear


  2. I have been thinking about this book a lot lately. It is one of my go-tos for finding the motivation to pull all the frazzled ends of my life back together. I have read this book at least 10 times – so much that I’ve got a good deal of it memorized. It is a solid, practical book for organizing your life to serve the purpose of glorifying God in your work. This is not a book for a woman who has a job outside of the home, or for mothers, or for young women, or for old women. It is a book for everyone and I find so many of her hints reflected in the lives of women I admire. It’s an easy read and it is relatively inexpensive online. I highly recommend it.
  3. I was reading about Ivanka Trump the other day because she is my favorite person. If you don’t understand this, I dare you to look through her Instagram and not like her. Also, this article. This is all a rather long introduction to tell you about my new Moleskine planner. Ivanka recommended it and I pretty much love all of her recommendations.
  4. Anne Ortlund (book in take 2) recommends a rather elaborate notebook system. It’s a lot more than those of us with laptops and smartphones will ever need, but she was writing in the 1970s. Lately, however, I was finding that even with merging my calendars and putting my assistant completely in charge of all of them, I was still getting caught off guard. How does this happen? I decided that I needed some sort of system that would let me kind of see the big shape of my days and also provide some place to keep my running to-do list. Enter…6490357725_22997cbcb1_b
  5. TA-DA!!!!!! Isn’t it great?! Okay, this may not be THE solution for everyone and keep in mind that I have a very detailed electronic calendar and a rather extensive work to-do list which are maintained with the help of my assistants. This little thing is just to let me jot in activities that are outside of normal. 6am deposition? Into the Moleskine it goes. PTA meeting? Into the Moleskine it goes. Work reluctantly taken home for the weekend? I’ve got a running to-do list on the blank page next to my week. I’m using this for all the crap that happens during the day that I never remember. For instance, I took a rock to the window during my commute the other day. At the very next stop light, I made a note to tell my husband about it. It’s helped me more coherently plan my weeks and keep track of those the random things I’m always kicking myself for forgetting.
  6. They have so many formats. I’ll bet you can find one for yourself. And colors! And ribbon markers! And elastic do-hickies so that the thing stays closed when it bounces around in your purse! And little hidden pockets!
  7. My girl lost a couple of teeth. The tooth fairy forgot to come the first night for the first tooth and such tears. I felt horrible. She lost a second tooth yesterday and I was determined not to forget. (I made a note in my Moleskine.) I glanced at my to-do list last night even though I didn’t go to bed until almost 2am after staying up to finish work that I didn’t want to do any earlier on my Saturday. There it was, “Tooth Fairy.” I ran back to her room, collected the tooth, slipped a bill under in its place, and went to bed with the comfortable knowledge that I am the best. I really wanted everyone to high-five me, but that would ruin the magic of the tooth fairy. So, y’all, I’m just going to let the internets know right here and now that, thanks to Moleskine (not a sponsor, they can use Ivanka for that), I’m like a saint, mom of the year, and Wonder Woman all in one. From now on, think of me as looking exactly like this:5119107-screen+shot+2016-03-27+at+5.07.05+pm.png

but with my little Moleskine planner clutched to my heart. Happy weekend. Click on over to Kelly’s for much more meaningful QTs.




{7QT} Back to School

  1. The kids are back to school. Just yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I get so tired of summer. It is awful. It is long. It is unscheduled. It is expensive. Technically, I guess school is more expensive, but whatever. I’ll live the in world I want.
  2. 13880239_10209264457825073_1393963314043087403_n
    They’re such dears to pose nicely for mommy on the first day back. Catch you later, suckers. 
  3. One of my assistants is cutting her hours. I feel like this. #nothappy #ineedyouatalltimesoffice
  4. I did a load of laundry every day this week and it was awesome. I may have found the newest temporary solution to my laundry woes.
  5. I also made my kids do dinner one night and my husband do dinner another night. Color me responsible for only 5 dinners a week.
  6. I went golfing today and am “not afraid of hitting the ground.” This is a nice way of saying that I golf like Happy Gilmore.


  7. In other words, I need some practice.

Pax out, party people. Have a happy Saturday and join Kelly for more better QTs.



Bethany Beyond the Jordan to Petra

So, let’s see….we had just survived a wild ride to the Dead Sea and we were headed to the Baptism site of Jesus.


The Jordan River was so wide at one time, that it met this natural spring. However, now there are about 80 yards between the spring and the river. This is known to be the place where Jesus was baptized due to tradition. It was revered as a holy site from early on and there are the ruins of three churches at the spring dating back to sometime in the 400s. This is also the area from which Elijah was taken in his firey chariot.


We really enjoyed seeing an icon of Mary of Egypt, a saint from the 300s who, like so many of the dessert fathers and mothers, fled to beyond the Jordan for solitude and spiritual growth after her conversion. Her story can be found here.


After you leave the spring, you wind down a path to a Greek Orthodox church just before reaching the Jordan River. The church is dedicated to the Forerunner and it is incredibly gorgeous. My five-year-old was giving me kind of a hard time that day, so I didn’t get great pictures. You’ll just have to take my word for it or google it yourself.


Once down at the Jordan, you get to see the contrast between the Israel and Jordan sides. We felt that Jordan was really very dirty, while Israel tended to be cleaner and a little more modern. The river itself was just a bit of a creek, but we’re used to that since we are from New Mexico. The “mighty Rio Grande” is just a mere slip of a waterway. The Jordan River was similar – small and very muddy.


After another quick peek into the church and poking around in the gift shop, we were back on the road. This time, we were headed to Petra.


Our drive took us right down the coast of the Dead Sea where the Jordan Valley was green on one side and arid on the other.


Then we began our ascent up the Moab Mountain range, which offered us some breath-taking views. Since mountain people like us gotta climb, we had to pull over to run up and down rocks and pose for silly pictures.


As we reached the top of the mountain range, we began to notice the most interesting thing about the trees.


We think we get pretty bad wind in New Mexico. But the wind on the Moab Mountains must be FIERCE.


We were all hungry, so we stopped in Al Shabaq to go adventuring. We had delicious falafel and shwarma. Our daughter was a celebrity…again…with the shop owners asking to pose with her in pictures. We finally made it to Petra after dark and went straight to bed so that we could rise early to beat the crowds. Our efforts were well-rewarded as you shall see in a later post, which at my posting rate, should happen sometime in October. Haha.

Check out part onepart twopart threepart fourpart sixpart 7, and part 8.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride to the Dead Sea

And I’m back. This is part four of my documentation of my family’s trip to the Middle East. Check out parts onetwothreefivesixseven, and eight. We were just saying goodbye to Dubai and heading off to Jordan.

We loaded into a couple of taxis and headed off to catch a bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi courtesy of our airline. We had to check into our flight at the bus terminal. There we were told that my dad couldn’t check in because his ticket was under my last name and not his. Um. Sure enough, through reasons I’ll never completely understand, his last name was not correct. The lady reassured me that it would all be fine, “Madame,” we would be able to fix it in Abu Dhabi.

We loaded onto busses and my daughter was super pleased to find that the busses were equipped with seat belts.


Safety First!

When we got to Abu Dhabi, my dad and I headed to the airline’s headquarter office. There we were reassured that it would be no problem, “Madame,” we should simply head downstairs where someone would change the name for a small fee. Great! At the downstairs office, we were confronted with a young person who continually reassured me that there was no problem, “Madame,” but who never seemed to be actually accomplishing anything. Time ticked by and by and by and by. After several consultations, he looked up and told me that he had successfully canceled the ticket but that he would not be able to put my dad on the flight because the flight was booked.

went completely ape took this news calmly and stressed the importance of not leaving my dad in a different country. In the meantime, I began getting frantic texts from my sister and husband that our plane was boarding. I’d still not gone through security. After being told that they were very sorry, “Madame,” but that there was nothing they could do and that they might be able to get my dad to Jordan in a few days, I jumped up on the counter and slammed my hands down on the desk while shrieking that they would be getting my dad to Jordan today or else gently explained that a few days was not going to do it. They looked at each other and then figured out a way to get my dad to Jordan. He did, however, have to stay for 9 hours in Abu Dhabi until the late flight. I tore through the airport, like the crazy person they all thought I was, and jumped on the plane at the very last minute.

When we landed in Jordan, we picked up the rental van that I had intended for my dad to drive. I was still pretty upset about my dad. The rental guys told us that the van was manual. I knew I didn’t want to drive and my husband stepped right up to the plate. I vaguely wondered when the last time he drove standard was, but brushed it aside. My sister, who’d been living in the Middle East for about a year and driving standard the whole time, offered to drive. But my husband was super excited about driving.

We loaded into the car and my husband pulled out of the space…and hit another car. Then he stalled out on the speed bump. Then he ground the gears when shifting. He took a 180 degree turn at high speed with squealing wheels and the swerving and my screaming. It was incredibly scary. After an hour and a half of the most terrifying ride of my life, we arrived at our resort where everyone fled in different directions to decompress. Fortunately for us, the resort was at the Dead Sea and it was incredible.

Mr. Toad and the kids cooled their heels by the pools while I added my dad as another authorized driver and arranged a private car to bring him to the resort in the middle of the night. We weren’t about to risk another ride with Mr. Toad.

We really did have a wonderful time at the Dead Sea. It was an incredibly nice resort. March seems to have been the off season, so there were hardly any people there. My dad was delivered safely to us in the middle of the night and we spent the next morning lounging around the pools and enjoying the Dead Sea.

We had originally planned to head to Petra that morning, but we changed our plans and booked a hotel in Petra for that night. This allowed us to hang out at the Dead Sea and then hit up the Baptism Site of Jesus before heading south. It was a good plan as you can see from our happy faces.


“We will miss you, Dead Sea, but Bethany-Beyond-the-Jordan is calling!”

To be continued…


7QT – Dragons and Business Cards

Stretch. Yawn. Jog in place. I’m getting back into swing of this blog. Before I QT you, I do want to mention that I have five parts documenting our trip to the Middle East posted hereherehere, here, and here. I’m hoping to post about the Dead Sea and Baptism Site of Jesus this week. We’ll see.

Be sure to join Kelly for more Friday fun.

  1. This week was the annual conference for my specialty area and I got the bright idea to present at the conference so I could go for free. This also means that I got bonus CEU hours for “prep time.” I always feel like such a temples-less-sunglass-wearing boss when I get stuff for free. 40529651
  2. There are a bunch of vendors that come to the conference and give away More. Free. Stuff. I shamelessly take their bags and load up on free crap to bring home to my kids who also love free stuff. And this year the theme is “Renaissance Faire” so the free stuff includes swords and dragons. Direct quote, “Mom, you did so good this year!”
  3. Because my kids are weird, they also look forward to the yearly tape measure and pedometer. I didn’t get home until after 9pm last night and they went nuts running around the house to see who could accumulate the most steps. They stopped only to measure themselves. Oh, kids, just wait until I bring home sticky notes today.
  4. My presentation went pretty well. I made a Prezi. I was writing a rental contract for a college kid the other day who made merciless fun of me for using Prezi. Since I’d been feeling pretty boss about my Prezi up to that moment, the ensuing shame of realizing that I was just Gramppa Simpson hit me hard.4e246e9592bb24c4a99b1033c0891ee1
  5. I decided I didn’t care and presented my Prezi anyway and everyone loved it. Take that, jobless college kid. My Prezi WAS awesome and here’s a screen shot to prove it. You travel through the dark forest avoiding scary places in the law. I even included punny slide titles such as “Howell do you do it?” (Howell being the name of a case.) Admit that you are super jealous of how cool I am.Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 7.22.25 AM
  6. School’s out for summer! Yippee!!!!!
  7. Today is another conference day. I have company coming into town this weekend. There’s a rugby tournament for the boys on Saturday. I’m cantoring on Saturday night. And I have to prepare for trial on Monday. It’ll be fun. Party on, celebratory people



Hello Dubai

We said goodbye to Bahrain and got on a short flight to Abu Dhabi.IMG_2083

There we bought duty-free booze and thought about waiting for a bus transfer to Dubai. Instead, we decided to hire a driver to take us, sparing us a two-hour wait in the airport. The driver brought us to our rented apartment. (To promote maximum tourist spending, Dubai has a rule that there can be no more than two people in a hotel room no matter the age. So, we used AirBNB to rent an apartment for the weekend.)

We were on the 70th floor in a building near the marina. The view was incredible!

We were actually in the second tallest residential building in the world. The swimming pool is on the 5th floor. We were there over the weekend, otherwise known as Thursday-Saturday. We heard all  the action Friday night and it was amazing that club music could be that loud even though we were that high up.

On Saturday, the kids and men went to the aquarium for a ray-feeding experience. They had a ton of fun. We girls went to a spa where we got a two hour massage. It was The. Best. The. End. Zzzzzzzz.

The Aquarium behind us and the well-rested smiles of women who slept through 2 hour massages.

That night we went to the Dubai Mall where the kids bought their own Lego people.

Lego Camel


Custom Mini-figs
“Sad Farmer” and “Rosie” – I’ll bet my mom can guess who made “Sad Farmer”


We also saw the amazing sights and sounds of Dubai at night.

On Sunday we went to the beach and I took zero pictures and my husband lost all of the ones on his phone. We also went to mass where it was standing room only…outside of the church.


It was very humbling to see the lengths people go to to attend mass.

That evening the boys all went to the 148th floor of the Burj Khalifa while we girls stayed home to pack and get some sleep before our early morning departure to Jordan.

After a good night’s rest in our super sweet apartment, it was off to the airport for drama and a trip to the Holy Land.

Goodbye, Dubai!

To be continued…

Check out parts onetwofourfivesixseven, and eight.

SQT – Yikes, it’s been two months

So, yeah, I still haven’t finished posting about our trip. What happened is, we started traveling fast and internet coverage was spotty. From Dubai, we headed to Jordan for a night at the Dead Sea, then down the King’s Highway for a night at Petra, then back up to Amman and into Israel for Holy Week in Jerusalem and back into Jordan for a night in Madaba before heading back to the states for a night in New York…phew. It was a whirlwind. We got back from New York around midnight and I headed to work later that morning and it hasn’t slowed down since. All of that to say, I will post about our trip, but a 7QT is in order to get me back to the blog since I’ve been gone for Two. Months. (How does that even happen?)

  1. School’s (almost) out for summer! – My, oh my. I cannot wait to see the back of this school year. I blogged earlier about how we’ve been half homeschooling. The kids will go to a full-time school in August. While I am a bit trepidatious about the change, I am looking forward to it. The headmaster of their current school just announced that he’s not coming back in August and I just can’t imagine the place without him, so I feel better about the decision.
  2. I teach my first professional continuing education seminar – Honestly, I signed up for this as a marketing tool and to get free admission to a yearly conference that focuses on professional development in my field. However, as the deadline for submitting my materials approached and I actually sat down to plan out the seminar, I realized how much fun it will be to teach something again. I spent years as a teacher before I went back to school to become an attorney and I never thought I’d miss it. Granted, this is teaching adults and not children.
  3. Walking pneumonia and the boogie-woogie blues – My eldest came down with a case of atypical pneumonia…while my husband was on a business trip. Thank God we have our lovely nanny! My husband usually takes sick kid duty because his job is a bit more flexible than mine and, wow, did I miss him.
  4. Game of Thrones – I binged on this while up listening to a crackly-lunged, coughing sickie. (He was sleeping, but I couldn’t rest easy with all his worrisome noise.) I have not read the books, but the story is really intriguing. Unfortunately the sexual content is over the top. Why do they do that? It’s such lazy writing because it aims to hook you through titillation instead of a good yarn. At any rate, it’s too much. I can’t. I hope the books don’t have that content because I’m going to try that next, but not before…
  5. Audio Books – I buy an Audible book a month. I just finished part one of Edward Lacey’s Great Tales of English History and it was fantastic. I love English history. These books are short vignettes of various lesser-known stories from English history in a “Rest of the Story” format. I highly recommend it. I can’t wait to finish the other audio book I have right now so that I can get volume two.
  6. StitchFix – I am anxiously awaiting my first arrival. Both of my sisters were here last week and wearing outfits they got from StitchFix. They looked sleek and polished next to my 10yo jeans that I’d rolled up in lieu of actually shopping for shorts. It was time. If I like the selections they send, I’ll link to it in a later post.
  7. The Bishop is coming! – We have a packed weekend. Our Bishop, who just retired, is coming to our parish to ordain a new deacon. He is also baptizing the 12th baby of our largest parish family and presiding over a hierarchical divine liturgy for Pentecost. Oh, and it’s the last All Souls Saturday for the year. This means that there will be choir duties on Saturday morning, Saturday evening for Vespers and Divine Liturgy, and Sunday morning, otherwise known as 8+ hours at church this weekend. And, one of the men in our parish is having a graduation party on Saturday in celebration of his completion of nursing school. And, I’m supposed to be planning a party for my brother, who, while he is eschewing the actual graduation ceremony, has finished his Bachelor’s. We’re so proud of him and he needs a send-off before he and his wife head off to another state for him to begin law school. Busy times. I hope you have a wonderful week and I’ll get to those vacation posts soon…


7QT – USA to Bahrain to Dubai


I’m on a roll…third QTs in as many weeks. Join Kelly for more.

1. We traveled and traveled and we got to Bahrain. We were so happy to see my sister. We always miss her. Bahrain turns out to be full of people doing people-y things…just like all the other people doing their thing all over the planet.

Harry Potter and To Kill a Mocking Bird at a Bahraini coffee shop full of hip college-aged kids.

2. We saw some really cool things here including an old “fort” that is actually built on a “tell” that houses layers of civilization dating back to 2000B.C.

3. The architecture in Bahrain is really incredible. We saw all kinds of cool buildings, but what struck me was the continuity to centuries past.

4. We have had a ton of fun riding around on the canals in the neighbor’s kayaks and my sister’s paddle board. We may or may not have turned every single outing into a game of bumper boats. Here I am about to be t-boned.74986_10207997998924392_2425103929827205883_n5. We also visited the Grand Mosque and had a most interesting time. The tour guide was passionate about sharing his faith and I learned a lot.

6. We visited what turned out to be a camel dairy. Over 500 camels are kept for the King’s personal use and he uses them to produce camel milk for the royal family.

7. We are off to Dubai in few hours so I should get a move on. The adventures will continue with additional photo dumps. Hi, Mom!

Check out parts onethreefourfivesixseven, and eight.

{p,h,f,r} Half-way ’round the world

This is my first p[retty], h[appy], f[unny], r[eal]. For more, join the fine folks at Like Mother, Like Daughter. Also, I’ve finally figured out how to photo, so we have my first photo post just in time to share my overseas adventure.

On Sunday night we kicked off 31 hours of travel to go half-way ’round the world to see my sister in Bahrain and then take in as much as we can in the 2 weeks we’ll be in this part of the world. We landed in Bahrain on Tuesday afternoon (local time) and experienced very little jet lag…says the woman who is typing this at 3am. (I blame hormones not jet lag, but I’ve been wrong before.)

So, let’s get right to it.


That top picture is a screen shot of our transatlantic tail cam mid-flight. Isn’t that wild? We flew so high for so long. There’s also a pretty little meteor.

Bottom left, my girl paddle-boarded like a champ. My sister lives on a canal, so the kids have been waking each morning and heading directly outside to propel themselves along like true Venetians Bahrainis.

Bottom middle, my girl breakfasting on the balcony overlooking the canal. You can’t even tell we’re on a desert island.

Bottom right, my dad gondoliering. My middle son informed me that, “Paddle boarding is my thing!” We’re not a bit surprised given his overall beach-bum outlook on life and the genetic legacy of my dad.


Top left, we went to “The Lagoon” on the “Floating Island” where my sister lives to eat dinner last night. We walked around the shops afterwards and my daughter found a cop car photo-op. We had spent hours poking around ruins, a mosque, and the camel farm and had forgotten to eat lunch. We were pretty happy to get dinner.

Top right, this little guy was only 1 week old and still had his umbilical cord hanging from his belly. My tender-hearted middle was in love.

Bottom, close and personal with the King’s camels. The kids really loved the royal family camel farm. It hosts 500 camels, which are kept as the King’s personal hobby. We were guessing he kept them for racing, but, no, it’s actually a camel dairy. Babies stay with their moms for 6 months and then the moms are milked until they dry up. The milk is for the personal use of the royal family and, according to the camel-keeper, it is “sweeter than cow’s milk.” Whodda thunk?


Top left, the architecture here is really interesting. Lots of creative license is taken and construction does not appear to be meant to stand the test of time, so design risks are regularly taken. Sometimes the result is truly form over function as in the case of this building, which was meant to house three wind turbines. If all three run, it makes the building sway so precariously that it is in danger of falling down.

Top right, GoogleTranslate is used frequently with varying results as in this traffic awareness sign warning that you not become a number in the statistical…

Bottom left, and this sign warning against “over speed driving.” I’ve also seen a sign for a gym advertising that workouts there will help you “loose weight and build muscle” and it entertains me to no end that parking lots are called “car parks.” A hotel down the street has an “exclusive car park” and near the shore there are “overflow car parks.” I want the cars to have a teeter-totter so much.

Bottom right, there really is a Starbucks on every corner. I wonder if there are translation problems from English to Arabic in this sign.


31 hours of travel is no joke. We had an overnight flight to JFK on our first night because why not start the trip off tired. We were not able to check into our next flight for 6 hours, so we had to just make the most of the airport lobbies. We rode the AirTrain So. Many. Times.

Left, my oldest catches some zzzz’s on the 40th trip around the AirTrain circuit while…

Middle, my middle and youngest terrorized other passengers by hopping from seat to seat and spinning around the hand rails while…

Right, my husband stared into space.

Really, everyone did great. My kids were super-troopers and I’m so glad my dad is along for our adventure. It’s such a privilege to travel like this. We’re off to a new country tomorrow. Adventures abound.

Check out parts twothreefourfivesixseven, and eight.