Saturday, February 23, 2013

Happy birthday Julia!

For Julia's birthday she wanted to do what any normal 11 year old would want to do...go to the mall.  Good thing the 2nd largest mall in the United States is not too far from here!!  We enjoyed a day at King of Prussia mall, a mall I enjoyed when I was her age, and lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, where I don't think any of us had to eat for 2 days following!  Valley Forge is next to K of P, so we had to go visit George and Martha and the Patriots.  A few days later we had a birthday party with our neighbors, the Grants, and our buddies, the Hasemans.  We are so blessed with wonderful people all around us!!

The Crew:  Sam Haseman, Rebekah Grant, Hope, Janie Haseman, Julz-AKA the Birthday Girl, Jackson Grant & Max Haseman

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Every little girls' dream: Horseback riding!!

Julia took an art class on post during the fall semester.  She enjoyed it so much and came home with so many beautiful projects.  Here's a few examples:

Here's a penguin that she made by adding layers of plaster over a mini water bottle.

These were entered into an art show by Julia's teacher and she got 2nd place in both!

This picture is done with pastels and hung up in a local coffee shop with other Christmas drawings from kids in her class. 

After Christmas came and went and it was time to sign up for art again, I asked if she wanted to take art, and Hope was now old enough to take art also, and she said she would like to try something else in stead.

"Like what?"

"Horse back riding!"

"Horse back riding, in January?  Really?"


"Me too!  Me too!"

"You too, Hope?  Horse back riding?"

"Yes, yes, yes!"  In perfect unison.

And so began riding lessons.  To see these girls so unafraid of the 1200 pound beasts who tower over them is so fun.  They go to the pasture and get their horses, groom them, bridle and saddle them, and out to the ring they go.  It's been a blast to see them enjoy these amazing creatures and feel comfortable on them.  Mr. Wood, the instructor, is very old school, full of wit and wisdom and reasons behind traditional riding.  He takes a lot of pride in knowing traditions of the US Calvary.  It's fun to listen to his stories and laugh along with him.  Hope asked me one time on the way to the barn.

"Why are barns always red?"

Me:  "Good question, one I have never thought to ask.  You know who will know, right?"

Hope:  "Yup, Mr. Wood!"

And he did.  With out hesitation.  Wanna know?  Red was the cheapest paint to make.  It was just made from oxidized iron.  White was the most expensive, it was made with lead, and was saved for houses.  There, now you know.

Here's some pics of the girls and their horses:

This was their very first lesson.  One horse, Piero, a former race horse and a very gentle spirit, was saddled up to see if the girls liked it, and to see how well they would do.  He is so big and so beautiful and so gentle with the girls.

This is Mocha Chip, aka Mocha, who is Hope's horse for lesson.  Mocha is quite the diva and thinks that she is above lessons.  So you have to approach her with the lead rope behind your back and trick her.  The first few lessons Hope had a hard time getting her to come, but after that Mocha let Hope catch her easily.  The hard part was getting her to move.  :)

This is Julia's lesson horse, Annie Oakley, aka Oakley.  Julia is in love!  She is 4 years old and still learning, but so gentle and patient.  She loves lessons and usually follows Julia easily.


I love this picture.  Can you see the love in Hope's eyes?

Julia & Oakley

The girls starting jumping during their first lesson.  It's fun to see them progress.

Walking back to the barn with Mr. Wood.

Jumping in the big arena!

What a smile!!

Learning to balance

I don't think this was Julia's favorite part, though she did great!

Learning to play Polo!

Cantering up the hill!

Beautiful girls.  Beautiful horses.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


One of the amazing things about being here is the diversity in cultures with the International Fellows that attend the War College.  I think I have mentioned before that in Mark's seminar there are IF's from Finland, Bangladesh and Senegal.   Moussa and Siga are the couple from Senegal and it has been a joy getting to know them.  They were blessed with an addition to their family while here in the States, a baby girl, Aminata.  We were privileged enough, as a Seminar, to be able to be a part of Aminata's naming ceremony, a Senegal celebration of the new life.  This is traditionally done when the baby is 7 days old and the name is announced.  I felt so blessed to be invited to be a part of something so significant to their culture.  Moussa, the dad, had to shave the baby's head.  As a part of his culture, the utero hair is unclean and is shaved at this ceremony by the imam.  Having no imam, Moussa himself did it, and was so nervous!  Both Moussa and Siga's family was able to Skype in and see and take part even though they are half way around the globe.  You can see the laptop in the photos.  Moussa took the laptop around afterwards and introduced us to his family.  Incredible.  I LOVE the technology that we are blessed with!!!

Jinah, cake decorator extraordinaire!!

Reggie, Tim, Mark and Ye Si.  Yay Seminar 10!

Siga and Sharon

The beautiful Aminata

Jinah, Valerie, Siga, Lubna and one of Lubna's daughters

Lubna, wife of the Bangladesh IF, holding Aminata.

Seminar 10 watching the Baby Naming Ceremony

General Saief, Bangladesh IF, Nelson, Mark & Jay

Getting ready to shave Aminata's head

Moussa, the dad, whispering blessings in her ear.

Siga looked so good after having a c-section 7 days prior.  Her dress is traditional and she looked so beautiful in it!
Big brother, Malek