The Great Auk

We sat at the dinner table tonight talking about our days. The Muppets were filling me in on all the day’s activities from poetry readings to art projects to super hero training in PE it sounded like there was not a dull moment. The oldest Muppet asked what kind on meat was in the tacos. When I replied beef he told me that he no longer liked beef tacos and would only eat chicken. I rolled my eyes at his new found taste buds and waited for the youngest to also display his hate for the beef. I am used to him copying everything the oldest does but  surprisingly the youngest Muppet continued eating his taco happily.

The question was raised by the oldest whether or not it was illegal to kill animals. I was about to launch in to an in depth discussion on hunting and licenses and some people’s beliefs when the smallest guy piped up “Mummy can we not talk about this” he said quietly “It makes me nervous and a little sad” I nodded my head and the oldest took my cue and changed the subject. “What is your favorite animal?” He asked me quickly. When I had answered he asked his little brothers. Each one answered and then decided they would add their second favorite animal.
The middle guy said “You know mummy it would be a tie between a hedgehog and an Auk.” I asked him to repeat what the last animal was thinking he had mispronounced something or he was being silly. “You know mum the Auk kinda like a penguin, but extinct  because people wanted it’s eggs and feathers” I had no idea what he was talking about and part of me thought maybe he was pulling my leg. I pulled out my phone and asked him how to spell it when Mr Google had failed to find what we were searching for I altered the search. We flipped through the images of extinct birds and finally we came across The Great Auk, a penguin like bird that became extinct in the mid 19th century. I asked the middle guy where he had heard about this bird and he told me all about the book on birds he had read the other day.
One thing I love about the Muppets is that everyday they teach me something new.  Whether it is a little known hockey fact, how to do fractions or facts about extinct animals our days are never dull here in Wilson household. They keep me on my toes and keep me guessing what they will say next.
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Playoff Time

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Everyone knows that the oldest Muppet is hockey crazy, the kid eats, sleeps and breaths the sport. He reads books, watches old hockey games and videos and practices non stop in the house. Our neighbors indulge him with he comes out with crazy hockey facts and if he could have a road hockey game everyday of the week he would. We are on a break in between winter and spring hockey out here and the oldest guy is itching to get back on the ice.

When my in-laws were here for Christmas they brought the oldest two hockey books as a present. He was thrilled since finding something like that in Qatar is next to impossible. Every day he reads this book, memorizes stats and information about players and attempts to quiz me on things that I know, which unfortunately is not a lot.

The other day he came home and finished his homework quickly and started to practice his stick handling in the living room. He told me that he had a great idea but he needed a permanent marker. I grabbed him one from the junk drawer and found him in the dinning area with one of the big water jugs that we don’t use. I continued making dinner and after about a half hour I asked him what he was doing. He sat on the floor with his book in front of him writing on the jug… “I am making the Stanley Cup Mum” he replied “I have to make sure that I have all of the teams that have won the Cup on here” I smiled and nodded and left him to work on his project, because when that boy gets something in his head that is it…  he is going to do it!

Yesterday morning we spoke to my parents on Skype, the oldest and his Papa talked about his hockey training that he was going to go to that morning and his Papa told him that our local team had won a spot in the Stanley Cup play offs. The oldest was thrilled and after he finished talking to Papa he insisted on watching all the hockey highlights. Later that day as we were on our way to pick up the youngest from a birthday party the oldest Muppet asked me if I wanted to hear the names of the teams that had secured a playoff spot. He rambled them off to me and talked about how it was going to be an exciting playoff season listing off facts about each team and talking about players skills.

This morning he came to me with a top for his Stanley Cup and asked me to glue it on the top. When I was finished with my gluing job he stood back and surveyed his work. “Now we are ready for the playoffs Mum” he said smiling.I gave him a high five and tried to think about where I was going to store the giant Stanley Cup!

It looks like the oldest Muppet will bring a little extra hockey madness in our household over the next few months I am sure that he will get his brothers involved this year as well. I think I will be fine until they all start growing play off beards or refuse to wear new underwear once that kind of thing starts to happen this princess will be finding a new place to live during playoff season!

The Shoot Out

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One of our first trips we took as a family when we moved to Doha was to Tanzania. The muppets were five, three and two and everyone thought we were insane travelling with them to such a place. Not only was it something my husband and I had aways dreamed of doing but my very good friend was getting married there. When we started to work out the logistics of traveling to an unknown place with three muppets under five we were both a little nervous. But we both knew that this was a once in a life time chance and it is one of our families favorite adventures. Not only did we make some amazing memories but we were able to meet some amazing people and see life in Africa from a completely different perspective.

Our good friends who’s wedding we attended on our trip have worked together with the surrounding community to build a school for the young children of the Mlimani Park village this past year. The boys and I were able to visit one of the schools while we were there and the oldest still remembers being shocked that there were no toys, computers and no playground for the students to play on.

A few months ago I showed the boys the video our friend had made talking about the school the three of them were happy and excited for the children of the village. I told the Muppets the Auntie L and Uncle L were trying to raise money to build a playground for the kids of the village. The middle Muppet thought that it would be a great idea to hold a bake sale or something to help them.

At the Muppets school they teach the students to be positive active global citizens. The younger grades participate in service projects as a grade level and are actively involved in the process of advertising for their event, collecting or selling items and learning about who or what they are raising the money for. In the higher grades the students are encouraged to create their own service projects. There are always kids organizing bake sales, used book sales or selling loom bands to raise money for one cause or another.

The middle Muppet was keen to run his own bake sale to raise money for the playground but I reminded him that in Lower Elementary he wasn’t able to do his own service project. I asked the oldest if he would be interested in doing something like a bake sale to raise money for the playground. He looked at me disinterested,”You know Mum” he started “Me and my friends we don’t really do the bake sale thing, we just like to play soccer and stuff” I told him that I understood giving up a recess or two would be a sacrifice for him but then I said “Just think of how proud you will be this Summer when you can tell Uncle L about the money you raised for the playground” (I know guilt trip right!) He told me he would think about it but the reluctance in his voice made me decide not to push him too hard.

The following week at school I presented the idea of raising money for the playground to some of the leadership team at the school. Everyone was very excited and we decided to plan a hotdog sale to help raise some funds. A colleague of mine has a son in the same grade as the oldest and she suggested that the boys do something together with some friends to help raise money as well. I told her about my conversation with the oldest and we decided to leave it in the boys hands and see what unfolded.

A few days later the school counselor came in to my office. She told me that the oldest had come to see her and that he and some of his friends were going to do a Hockey Shoot Out to raise money for the playground. I was surprised when she told me the news, when I had left the idea with the oldest things didn’t look promising. When I spoke to the oldest after school he acted as if it was no big deal. He told me that he needed some help with the posters and that we were going to have to get some prizes together. I asked him how much money he was going to charge per shot and he said “We are going to have to charge like 5 riyals a shot mum, because we are going to need a lot of money if we want to build a playground!” I laughed and then convinced him that it might be too much for one shot and that charging 5 riyals for 3 shots would probably be alright.

The month past and the boys planned their event. I helped them design some posters and me and the other mom found some great prizes for the kids. This week the boys were ready to go. They were super cute organizing kids in to lines, collecting money and giving out prizes. Of course the oldest Muppet was in goal so he was happier than a pig in sh*t. We had anticipated a big rush of kids but soon realized that the location of the Shoot Out was a little out of the way of the normal recess traffic. At the end of the 2nd day the boys had raised close to 500 riyals. The oldest Muppet came to me after school today and told me that they were going to do the shoot out again next week. He was excited at the prospect of raising more money and of being goalie for 2 more recesses. He also told me that we needed more posters and bigger signs and that we would move it to a different place. “Then I am pretty sure we will make enough money for the playground!”

I told him that I was proud of him and his friends for coming up with a great idea to help raise money for the playground. I also told him that whatever money they were able
to raise would help out with the park and that sometimes it takes lots of people to get a big project like this off the ground. I said that he and his friends should be proud of their contribution.

I am grateful that our boys are learning in an environment that encourages them to think like positive active global citizens. They are growing up in such a privileged lifestyle that I think it is important that they learn about giving back. We are very proud of the oldest guy for all of his efforts and hopefully we will be able to raise enough money to get this play ground built!

If you are interested in more information about Boma Africa and all the great work that they do click on this link here.

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Snow Day?

Document4Some Photos Taken Around Qatar During the Storm

Yesterday the Muppets enjoyed trying to get everyone with April Fools jokes, they thought it was hilarious that they could trick their teaches, friends and Mother and not get in trouble for it. In the morning while we got ready for school the oldest Muppet told me a that in the middle of the night he and the other two Muppets snuck out to the neighbors house for a dance party. I was so consumed by what I was doing I had to actually stop and think about what he was saying. Before I could question what he had told me he laughed shouted April Fools and ran down stairs to tell his brothers. Before I put them to bed last night the middle guy told me that the principal was moving to Paraguay tomorrow and that school was canceled. I caught him and said “April Fools, right?” he smiled his cheeky little smile and said “No Mum I’m serious we don’t have to go to school tomorrow.” As I tucked him in and kissed him good night he whispered in my ear “April Fools, mummy too bad we have to go to school tomorrow.”

Around 11:00pm last night Lucy started barking like crazy, I could hear the wind outside howling, and all or the doors were shaking. I walked out of my room to the landing at the top of the stairs. I could barely see the neighbors house across the street there was so much sand blowing around.  I made my way down stairs to make sure that all of the windows were closed and that the doors locked, the last thing I needed was a beach in my living room in the morning. With the sand storm raging outside I settled the dog back down and we both feel back to sleep. When I woke this morning I opened the weather app on my phone to see what it was going to be like today. The forecast was 25 degrees and dusty  and when I opened the window the wind was still blowing and there was a strange orange glow everywhere.

After having a shower and getting ready I made my way to the kitchen to make breakfast. You could feel the sand on your feet form the tile floor and taste it in the air. Our counter top had a thin layer of fine dust on it so before I could even think about breakfast I needed to wipe everything down. When things were a little less dusty I put the kettle on and opened Facebook on my phone. The first article that popped up was  about the schools being closed because our the storm and with in minutes I had a text from the school saying that students had the day off.

In Canada we would consider this a Snow Day but I guess in our case it is a Sand Day! I walked in to the living room where the three Muppet sat playing on their iPads. “Guess What?” I said smiling “There is no school today!” The three of them looked at me dumbfounded and the oldest guy smiled and said “Oooh I know, April Fools, right Mum?” I laughed and told them that because of the weather that school was canceled. The three Muppets cheered and made their way to the kitchen for breakfast.

The middle guy grabbed my hand and said “See mum, I told you that we didn’t have school today!” I laughed and told him that his wish cam true and that they would have an extra long weekend. Everyone is saying that this is the worst storm that they have seen here in Doha, the city is quiet and I think a lot of people decided to take the day off. My muppets are happily enjoying their first Sand Day.  Unfortunately my day will not include drinking hot chocolate, cuddled on the couch watching movies like a snow day, there will be lots of dusting mopping and sweeping going on.

Happy Sand Day Doha!