Earth, Moon, and Palestine.


my favorite laundry (I love the days this lady does her whites)

We have been slowly finding our way around here.  The truth about me is that my idea of comfortable family life is at least 50% about finding familiar routines, comfortable outings for me and the kids, and little refuges amidst the chaos of Ramallah’s city life.  We are finally figuring out how to get some of the things we need but didn’t know how to shop for in Ramallah.  As I’ve mentioned, stores here are small, stuffed to the gills, often full of poorly made products, and the inventory is unpredictable.  Imagine shopping for everything in your life exclusively from Big Lots, but then Big Lots gets divided into 100 smaller Odd Lots stores, which all get different things at different times.  That’s Ramallah. You never know.

hard work, selling things from a hand cart.

We had shoes brought over from the states for me, but now I have found Rahala Shoes which are handmade in Palestine.  We thought there was no maple syrup, but it turns out that occasionally a tiny grocery called Gardens carries it…and it’s organic!  I can now find organic whole wheat flour for my bread making endeavors, too, at a farmer’s market cooperative called Sharaka.

Getting clothes for the kids remains an odd shopping experience, though.  Things are much more expensive for much lower quality.  Last weekend we went to find some long sleeved shirts for Sufyan and Laila, and ended up at a store called Tim Tam Baby.  It is large and relatively well stocked, but even so there were only 2 options for a long sleeves for my little girl.  Their major brand is “Fila”, like the brand of sports clothing but…not.  We bought Laila the 2 shirts, which had far more rhinestone bling than anything I would have chosen for her had I had a choice, and when we got them home and read the writing more closely, this is what it said:

"Life is beautiful. Friends have used flowers as symbols of endearment, signals and displeasure.

But we did have a lovely morning.  We shopped, played in the clothes racks with the kids making tunnels and secret hiding spots, and then went to our go-to snack place, Beit Mana’ish.  They make this pizza like round bread with toppings.  They make the dough, spread toppings on it, and put it in a big hearth to back on polished stones.

(Yes, these guys are all huge. They also are pretty unfriendly, which is unusual for Ramallah.  I have come to suspect that the Beit Mana’ish is just a front for their fight club.)

stretching, throwing the dough

putting the mana'ish into the oven

cooking on the stones

cheese and fresh zatar, cheese and egg, dried zatar and olive oil. mmmmm. Zatar is like a strong oregano.


2 nights ago the West Bank was treated to this INCREDIBLE moonrise.  Palestine gets the most incredibly beautiful skies.  And this is a 13 year Texas resident talking here…I know skies!  Sufyan and I were reading a book and when I looked up this massive, shining orb was peaking out from behind the skyline of buildings across the wadi.  I have to share. We took a few great pictures.  I think this may be what people call a “Harvest Moon”?

moon rise begins


huge glowing orb over Ramallah


Sufyan blew us all away the other day when, in the middle of crying and being mad about something impossible to give him, he stopped, took a deep breath (!) and said, “I choose not to be sad.” Then he collected himself and smiled!  And that was the end of it. Can you believe it???

And, on a cute note, last night he asked me, “Is Mama hungry for some pretend food?”   The poor kid is home sick with a fever today, and both kids have runny noses.  And we are still having issues with the “nether regions” or the “down there behind” as the pediatrician called it.  It turns out to be the water we have.  No more baths for my kids in this water, showers only.  Doctor’s orders.  Also doctor’s orders (you moms out there will understand what a serious pain in the neck this is) I have to wash Laila with soap and water, dry her thoroughly, and apply 2 different topical ointments EVERY time she pees!  I guess I just won’t be leaving the house for a while.


Big Success!!  Laila slept last night with no diaper.  She got up and used the potty once, and woke up dry…and that’s it for us and diapers.   Thanks to Mama Jen for her inspiration to take that step last night.
WE ARE DONE WITH DIAPERS.  I have to process this…not sure it’s hit me what that means.  Done with babies?  *sigh* there are 2 sides to everything.  I’m so sad to let go of this baby who is now a toddler.  I know this is ridiculous, but the Fuzzi Bunz sitting in the drawer all stuffed and no sweet baby bums to wrap in them are making me sad.  I must be crazy.  Laila, I am so proud of you.  Let the record show that I love you so much that even your diapers (and actually those used to be my baby Sufyan’s diapers) are making me nostalgic.  Sweetheart, sweet tiny determined girl.  I am so proud of you.

Mom Thought for Today:  on Criss-Cross Applesauce

making funny faces to pass the afternoon.

Do you remember this from elementary school slumber parties?

“Criss Cross, Apple sauce!  Splash on your back, water running down….”

This has been a really nice tool in the parent box lately.  It’s a great mood changer, makes my kids laugh, and gives us a little game they can play on me or on each other.  You can do this on their backs, knees, bellies…and now Laila has been doing it on my back, too!  So sweet.  Just thought I’d share.

Here is a version of it that I cut and pasted from online, but added my own tweeks in paranthesis, the movements to go along with the words are described:

Sit your child in your lap
As you say “Criss Cross” draw an ‘X’ on their back with your index finger
As you say “Apple Sauce”, rub their back in a circluar motion with the palm of your hand

(As you say “Splash on your back”, pretend to splat a water balloon between their shoulder blades

As you say “Water running down”, trace your fingers down their backs

As you say “Spider crawling up” (we are not arachnophobic) crawl your fingers up their back)
As you say “Splash on your back”, pretend to splat a water balloon between their shoulders

As you say ” Spiders here” tickle their left arm
As you say “Spiders there” tickle their right arm
As you say “In your hair” dance fingers in their hair
“Cool breeze”, blow across the top of their head
“Tight squeeze” , hug tightly or squeeze their shoulders etc…whatever makes them laugh
“TICKLE!”, tickle them!

Yoga Thought for Today:  on the back body

Down Dog with doll stroller

I have been listening to certain teachers talk about the back body recently, and tonight I think I got a new understanding of what wisdom resides there.  I approached just about every asana tonight with a conscious effort to fill my back body with prana and space.  Using the breath I found support for my kidneys, my shoulder blades, the space behind my heart, and even the back of my legs.  It made SUCH A HUGE IMPACT on my postures!  I felt more ease in backbends, more stability in balance postures.  And the impact it had on my nemesis pose (side-angle/parsvokonasana) was kind of amazing.  I still don’t love that pose, but somehow I was able to enjoy it when I prepared the back body with breath.  It was a lovely change, and large part I have to thank Elena Brower for bringing it to my attention.  What a difference.


9 thoughts on “Earth, Moon, and Palestine.

  1. boo – no baths and an insane post-pee routine??!! you have your work cut out for you. I guess being the mother of Laila is not meant to be a simple thing. Poor girl (both her and you). I hope it resolves quickly.

    The moon is lovely.

    • Thanks, Tammy. You know, I think this post-pee routine is working in reverse because now she’s holding it… arg. Poor little Laila. And the shower was actually kind of fun last night, but I’m worried about winter time. It’s really cold in this house in the winter, and showers with the shower door open (because we are reaching in and washing them, are going to suck! upside? it will cut some time out of our bedtime routine which is currently too long anyway.

      • If it helps, Clair getting really good at cleaning herself in the shower with only a little help. At the rate Laila develops, she’ll be showering alone in a week!

      • GO CLAIR!!!! Happy Birthday to that brilliant little light. I miss her on our skype chats…looking forward to seeing you next week on the computer! And a big hug to you, Mama. Happy Clair’s Birthday. Can you believe how time flies? BTW, I meant it when I said hearing those baby noises on the conference call was so sweet. I knew exactly what it was…a little humming nursing baby.

  2. So many “wows” here! That amazing moon must have been staggeringly beautiful in real life. I can totally imagine Sufyan appreciating it too. And speaking of S, wow to him too! Getting control of his emotions (as we call it in the Vincent house) all by himself like that is nothing short of standing-ovation-worthy. That’s a challenging feat for 30somethings much less 3 year olds! And lastly, Wow to Laila: she’s not even 2 years old yet and totally out of diapers! It sure is a bittersweet thing to see them grow up, but no matter how advanced she is, she’s still only one year old. She’s still your baby. 🙂

    • Thanks, Jenna! Wow is exactly what I said. I can’t believe it. And last night, Laila was dry again all night. Now, I know we will have set backs but this is a pretty huge leap forward. She just can’t wait to be 10 years old! Or 16! And Sufyan misses you guys.

  3. Hey Sweetie… I totally forgot about the Splish Splash song/hand thingy! Wow… I’m going to use that on my two kiddos. Also, as a fellow certified viniyoga teacher (yes, I finally got my diploma!), I’m TOTALLY hooked on the Anusara bits on YogaGlo (but I’ve been tuning into the Tara Judelle sequences)! Your DownDog looks GREAT!!!

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