Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Allison’s Graduation

Let’s see…where did I leave off in our spring activities? As I look back over the past couple of months, I realize just how many opportunities we’ve had! They’ve been a little more scattered than the blog shows – it’s just that I’ve been slow to post about the festivities, so I’ve posted in clumps. But, we’ve still had a lot of opportunities. How fun!

On May 13, we headed up to northwest Arkansas to celebrate Alli’s graduation from the University of Arkansas. What a fun whirlwind trip it was!

We arrived late Friday afternoon, got settled into the hotel room, and then headed to the house where Ben and Ashley were staying. There, in honor of Alli, we had mansaf – the traditional Jordanian dish. (Click here for a post that describes mansaf, how it is served, and how it is traditionally eaten.) Mom splurged and got lamb for this mansaf. Yum, yum, yum!

Olivia is the only other member of my immediate family who likes the jamiid that goes on the mansaf. This time around, she decided she wanted to try to eat with her hands like Alli, Ben, and Ashley were doing (Mom and I have skin sensitivity problems when we eat with our hands, so we just stick with the spoons). Uncle Ben walked her through it…

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…and on her second try she had a nice little ball that she was able to flip into her mouth without her hands touching her mouth. Great job, Liv! Now we just have to teach her how to do it with her right hand since eating with the left hand is a no-no in Jordan!

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Before and after dinner, we had lots of fun just hanging out together. Steven demonstrated his new-found skill…cartwheels. He is my only child who has successfully taught himself how to do a cartwheel, and he does them VERY well. At some point, I’ll upload a video.

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The cousins all had fun playing together. It’s so neat to watch Abigail jump right into the mix wholeheartedly. She has so much fun with other kids, and my kids think the world of her! I especially love to watch Steven play with her – he’s so good with younger kids. It’s precious to me!

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They all four managed to squeeze in a game or two of “dog-pile on Aunt Alli.”

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And Uncle Ben got conned into some horsey rides. He’s getting practice for when Abigail and any future younger siblings are much, much bigger!

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Tim and DeAnn didn’t make it until about the time we were heading back to the hotel to get the kids in bed. So, we missed getting to play games with them that evening. But, we promised some visiting the next morning and headed to the hotel for a restful night’s sleep.

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The next morning we had a relaxed time getting up and around (which led to the stuffy sillies I shared a few days ago), and then we headed to Alli’s apartment for more visiting and a light pre-graduation lunch.

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Oh, and some group pictures, of course!

(Left to right: Tim, Mom, Allison, Me, Ben)

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The whole gang!

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Ben, Ashley, and Abigail left to head home while the rest of us loaded up and headed to campus for graduation. We ended up in the nosebleed section, so my camera couldn’t handle great pictures, but I was so proud to see Alli walk!

Third from the front…

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Allison graduated with a double major in Anthropology and Middle East Sudies and a minor in Arabic. She’ll be starting her MA in the fall – I think in Anthropology (Alli, you can correct me if I’m wrong!).

Thanks to her major and last name, Alli’s name was the third called out of hundreds of graduates! So, a few minutes after she walked, we slipped out to get as early of a start as possible for our next destination: Monroe. We knew it was going to be a long drive, and we didn’t want to arrive too late. We made it to Monroe a little before 10:00 that night to start the next leg of our trip.

But that will be another post…

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