Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I saw the above graphic of reading statistics, and it made me very grateful for those who have helped instill in me a love of reading.  I currently don't have nearly as much time to read as I would like, but I make time to read, and I realized how much time I spend reading with my kids.  I hope I am helping them learn to love reading as much as I do, and from the looks of things so far, they are on their way.

Burke reading to Mirah
I ran upstairs to change and come down a few minutes later to this.

Leoni enjoys learning languages through reading, all 26 different languages in this manual.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Star Light, Star Bright

One of my favorite places in Doha is the Museum of Islamic Art.  It is a beautiful building, and I love the art and being able to expose my children to it.  The adjacent Education Center holds workshops for both children and adults, but they fill up quickly.  We used to regularly attend the Early years Workshops for young children, but those were unfortunately cancelled this year.  Luckily, Leoni was able to attend a four week class this summer.  

The course was entitled Star Light, Star Bright.  They toured the museum's collection (you can, too through the Google Art Project here) and found pieces with stars incorporated into them.  Stars are a common element in Islamic Art.  

Following are some theories on why Muslim  artists selected star geometric art to convey their creativity  -
  1. Representation of Light – In Islam, God has no image ; meaning that unlike other religions such as Christianity, Buddhism or Hinduism, Islam does not take any image to represent their God. The only thing that described God in Islam as in imagery is that God is light, as the Al-Quran proclaims- “God is the light of the heavens and earth”.  Stars produced light in the heavens, so it is not as surprising that Muslims chose stars to represent light to decorate sacred buildings as well as illumination for sacred texts.
  2. Stars are Guides in the Desert – The first Muslims were desert-dwellers and relies on the stars for guidance as in navigation through the deserts or the sea. Besides being the navigational help, stars also play a role in pointing out and deciding the direction of the Qiblah or the direction of the Kaabah, where every Muslims face during their prayers. Thus, stars bears a significance in the early Muslims daily lives and became a part of the Islamic aesthetic.
  3. The Repeating Geometric Patterns are a glimpse into the Spiritual World and Perfection – Geometry has been associated with metaphysical properties long before Islam. For example, the Greeks had contemplated the perfection of Geometry and came to associate it with divine properties. The Muslims, who studied the Greeks mathematical works, amongst other, agreed and integrated Geometric art as a spiritual gate to the divine plane.
The above information found here.

One of their projects was constructing a lantern like this one

They typically were hung in mosques and lit to emulate the heavens and stars

I didn't take a picture of the final piece, but here are the kids painting it

Friday, July 26, 2013

Doha Parking

In case you can't tell, this is a picture of the three lane street in front of a mosque on Friday morning.  There is curb parking, and, yes, there are cars parked in the right hand lane.  The furthest left car is triple parked and sitting partially in the middle lane.  While you may be shocked by this (and the fact that there are no tickets issued), I am not.  This is pretty normal around here, and good to know some many people feel it important to attend mosque.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Still Life

I find little vignettes like this throughout the house every so often.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Traditionally, on the 14th night of Ramadan, children in Qatar dress in traditional clothing and go from house to house singing the Garangao song, which you can see and listen to here, just scroll down to the video.  The children receive nuts and candy in return.

I was glad we dressed up for a richer experience.  We have had kids from other countries come to our house on Halloween in street clothes because they know we are American.  I would be more inclined to give them candy if they had made an effort, so we decided to make the effort as well, though not really expected.  Travis had asked a Qatari boy he tutors about the "traditional dress" part, and then he took the kids down to the souq to find outfits.  They chose their outfits and were excited to be able to participate in this tradition, well, until our first experience (see last post).  The kids were not too excited to go for another whirl.  We are, however, glad we did.

Katara was holding a Garangao for the second year, and we met up with a couple other families that just moved to Qatar.  We were pleased to find that it was very well organized.  Maybe they learned from last year, but they also hold regular cultural events that are well done.  They passed out bags & fans to all the children, and they only allowed a number of people to start through the "streets" for candy collection at a time to avoid to large of crowds.  After we had collected plenty of candy and nuts, we went into the main hall where they had other activities to participate in: painting, music, games, etc.  All in all, it was a very fun night, and the kids had a great time.  Here are a few pictures from the night.


He would have been happy with just a fan
this picture from Katara's FB page

Loving the fan as well
this picture from Katara's FB page

On to collect more candy & nuts

Mirah enjoying all the sights and sounds

Overhead shot of candy collection

Girls in traditional dress

Parade of local children singing

The flat baskets used to scoop candy and nuts into the children's bags

Women in traditional dress giving candy & nuts to children

Man weaving baskets

Man weaving fish cages

Painting ceramic coin jars

Enjoying the "take"

A view inside a bag

Taste testing

Monday, July 22, 2013

Early Garangao

Garangao is the 14th day of Ramadan, and is Children's Day (more int he next post).  Because no one knows the exact dates of Ramadan until the moon is sighted and considered the first day, planning for events can be difficult.  The new mall by our house, Ezdan Mall, simply determined the most likely date, but then the moon was sighted a day later, so their Garangao festivities were a day earlier than all others in town.  We decided to attend.  Unfortunately, it was probably the most poorly executed event I have ever attended.  To their credit, the mall is newly opened, and not all of the stores are even open, and they did prepare for what could have been a nice activity, but it didn't come off like that.

After arriving and checking-in, we were to leave our kids on rugs set out in front of the stage, but parents were supposed to sit in a separate area.  You can see from the picture, that didn't happen.  The seating area for parents isn't eve in the picture, that's how far away.  See the Chaos?

Some kids sat quietly

Others were busy standing up adn looking around, which involved feet moving

See the orange shirted kid just to the right of the abaya wearing character?  That's my kid. 


These were taken about halfway through our stay, and the kids were sick of waiting

In the end, we skipped waiting in the huge lines for photos, spent so much time waiting that we were going to leave before getting the "goodie bags."  Leoni really wanted to stay, so we did.  The whole thing was supposed to be 8-9:30pm, but we left at 10:30pm after getting the goodie bags (two condies and a coupon to their play area that wasn't open yet and expired before it opened) but not having gone to collect candy or watch a puppet show.  The few "performances" on the stage were all in Arabic and kids couldn't see because everyone was standing.  It was unfortunate, but it was an experience true to Doha.

The Real Reason To Have Children

And, he likes to do this.  He would do it every day if I let him.  granted, he does also mop the tables, chairs, doors, etc.

Two months

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Burke & Mirah

He loves his baby sister.

Making her smile

Reading stories

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Just a smile from a little one.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Nightly Walks

We have been taking our nightly walks around the neighborhood with wheeled vehicles.  It is quiet since most of the neighborhood is gone for the summer.

Some nights are just too hot, but when we go, there are a lot of smiles.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Teddy Bear Picnic

We love teddy bears and picnics, so we decided to have a teddy bear picnic.  Of course, considering the weather, we had the picnic indoors.  We read a story about a teddy bear picnic & played the Teddy Bear Picnic song, and we ate crackers, cheese, fruit & veggies.

Mirah listening to the Teddy Bear Picnic song

Attempting to get a picture of all three

Another attempt


Dessert of Teddy Grahams

Sunday, July 7, 2013

National Chocolate Day

In celebration of National Chocolate Day (July 7th), we went for dessert at The Maya-La Chocolaterie.  I had been there a few weeks previous to say farewell to a friend moving back to the US, and I knew the rest of my family would enjoy it as well.  I think they did.  Check out the size of the banana split the kids shared from the Kids' Menu.