My favorites

My favorites

It wouldn’t be spring (who am I kidding, it’s felt like summer for a month now!!) without paying homage to my all-time favorite place in Lebanon.

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Lapping waves, the smell of sunscreen, sleeping baby in my lap.  Sigh.  It doesn’t get much better than this!

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Lazy summer days

Lazy summer days

Summer is anything but lazy for us.  It’s actually one of the busiest times of the year.

But, we did have one week in between school ending (both for the girls and the class Caleb was teaching) and the craziness of summer beginning.  That’s not to say papers didn’t need to be graded and prep for the summer program done, but we at least didn’t have anywhere we had to be.

So on our first day of “summer,” we made our annual jaunt down to our all-time favorite place in Beirut… Lazy b.  It’s no longer Lebanon’s best kept secret – it’s actually quite popular now, which means the prices have gone up (23$ per person now – ridiculous!!!) and they are making all sorts of “improvements” – new pools, new restaurants, etc.  I had a coupon from LivingSocial and they actually didn’t make us pay for the kids this time, which was a nice surprise.  And it was still super quiet on Monday morning – we had the beach to ourselves until lunchtime!

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Lazy b is one of the few sandy beaches in Lebanon.  And it is one of the only beaches that doesn’t play loud music… although the beach next door had theirs blaring, so it wasn’t as quiet as it has been in years past.

They added a new family pool, which is fun, as previously kids weren’t allowed in the pools.  Never really mattered to us, as we like to park it in the bamboo shelters next to the sand and enjoy the sand and sea… and the shade for the baby.

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Some friends went with us, so Isla and one of her best buddies spent the whole day digging holes in the sand, splashing and of course eating, as it is Isla’s favorite past time.  (another argh about this beach – you aren’t supposed to bring your own food in, and they expect you to pay $10 for a cheese sandwich!  boo, Lazy b!)

Ruby is a bit too young for the beach, I think, although she did swim in the pool.  It definitely changes the way we “do the beach” but it was still so nice to take a little breath of fresh, salty air before we dive into the craziness of summer-time!

Just for fun, because a friend told me about a fun way to make collages on the iPod… Isla through the years at Lazy b:

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4 days and counting…

4 days and counting…

The past month we’ve been ridiculously busy.  In addition to our normal responsibilities, we’re preparing for our summer Home Assignment.  So between the girls, Shabibi, Sunday School, Arabic class, etc, we’ve been searching for good deals on plane tickets, designing a new prayer card, writing thank you notes to our supporters, shooting and editing an update video and everything else that goes into our “working summer.”

So, four days before we hop on our first flight, and what did we do today?  Pack?  Clean the house?  Tie up one of the million loose ends we still have left?  No, no and no.

We went to my all-time favorite place in Lebanon.

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Lazy b.  Ahhh.  We love this place.  We discovered it last summer and went as often as we could.  It’s so different from other beaches in Lebanon, which are generally rocky, full of concrete, with loud music blaring.  Lazy b is the complete opposite.  Green, sandy, quiet, peaceful.  I feel like we’ve left Lebanon when we arrive.   A few weeks ago, a 50% off coupon showed up on GoNabit (Beirut’s version of Groupon) and I just couldn’t pass it up.

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The whole 30 minute drive down, Isla was letting us know how excited she was:  “Beach!  Dump water!  Dirt!  Daddy driving!  Beach!  Dump water!…”

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You can’t really tell in this picture but after all that excitement, Isla wasn’t a fan of the beach at first.  She stood on this piece of concrete for a good 10 minutes telling us she was “all done.”  I have a really cute video, but youtube is telling me it will take 344 minutes to upload, so the picture will have to do.  She warmed up to the sand and water eventually and had a great time.  :)

It was wonderful.  I didn’t think of packing, airplane flights or raising support.  The only thing on my mind was building sand castles, throwing rocks and making sure Isla’s shoulders didn’t get sunburned.  Oh and this amazing $5 fruit salad that wasn’t actually $5.

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It was a beautiful day.  Just the boost I needed to get through the last few crazy days in Beirut and the crazy summer ahead of us!

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And on the seventh day…

And on the seventh day…

During the year, we don’t often have a chance to take a break together.  I’m busy during the week with the girls, but my weekends are pretty free, whereas most of Caleb’s ministry involvement is on the weekends.  The first two months of summer we were slammed with the Summer Program, so again, no time to get out of the city and rest.

But August is another story.  Though we are busy, it’s a different kind of busy… the kind of busy that we can put aside for a day and take a break.  So, we’ve been heading down south to my new favorite beach once a week.  I love love love the beach… the water, the sand, the guy who sets up your umbrella and brings you drinks….  :)

It’s been great to rest a bit from life and ministry and traffic and heat and busy-ness.

Isla thinks so, too!

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Taking a deep breath…

Taking a deep breath…

Caleb spent last week up the mountain at a “Muslim and Christian Youth” conference.  It was a helpful, but exhausting week for him (I’ll let him blog more details, since I attended a little less than half of one session! :)).

Next week we start the summer program with the girls.  For five weeks we’ll be busy telling stories, doing crafts, playing games, teaching Math, English & Arabic, and taking trips to the beach and the park.  At the same time, we’ll be mentoring some students doing their internships here in Beirut, and Caleb will continue with the World Cup project the Shabibi have put together… needless to say, it’s gonna be a busy summer!

So, before the craziness begins, we thought we’d take a breath of some salty, beach air.

We headed down south towards Saida to an amazing beach for the day.

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Unlike many Beirut beaches, this one was clean, sandy, and quiet.  (In fact, when we first got there the hostess was bragging that they don’t play any music!)

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We practically had the whole beach to ourselves (and notice the rake marks in the sand?)

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Isla was a bit afraid of the ‘deep’ water at first – death grip on Caleb’s neck

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But, once she got used to it, she had a ball!

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Hooray for a restful day at the beach!

…and let the insanity begin!!!