Today, for all you non-Irish Americans planning to dress in green on St. Patrick’s Day, is St. David’s Day. He’s the patron saint of Wales. It’s also the twins’ 10th birthday. I can’t believe they are in double digits already. I would tell you happy birth stories and show you with my words how they are the cutest and sweetest and funniest kids ever but I don’t have time—I still have to make Welsh cakes for them. Tonight, on that lovely 2:30 a.m. flight, we are expecting friends to arrive. They used to live here but 2 years ago they left their things in our garage and went away. Now they are back, and will be staying with us while they look for a room of their own, so to speak.

This meant Ilsa spent her birthday cleaning out her room. “It’s like a normal day, not special,” she complained, but I pointed out to her that on normal days she doesn’t clean her room! I’m such a fun mom. Of course we did some special things. But, this year we have a friend who is actually IN AMERICA right now! She will be back in 10 days and she has room in her suitcase. We ordered birthday presents online for the twins. Better late presents than lame age-inappropriate presents that break within 30 minutes of playtime, which is the norm round here. She’s also bringing them Christmas presents!

We had a lovely trip and I’m planning to get several posts out of it (this isn’t one of them). We saw two ENORMOUS crocodiles from a nice safe distance and spent a night in a beautiful oasis. That thing which Erik saw which sounded like a scorpion was found and turned out to be an incredibly big freaky bug with pinchers, but not a scorpion. One of the things about these desert adventures is that roads tend to not be well-marked, or to be what we might call roads at all. It’s easy to choose to follow the wrong set of tracks, or to decide to bump over the rocks a little too far on the left, so getting to places often takes several hours longer than planned. Then there’s the getting stuck in the soft sand part, which also takes some time. All this to say that we spent a chunk of every day in the car. Also there were sandstorms. We arrived home last night at 12:30 (ok technically this morning), having left Rachid at 9:50 a.m. We ate and showered—believe me, after 5 days in the desert, everyone is so full of sand that there’s no way you want them anywhere near the sheets—and checked email and went to bed.

More later—maybe even tomorrow.

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