Ok, I'm in the thinking/planning stages of turning an orange block into a 12" mini wall hanging but I may not finish by the end of the month so instead here is a picture of an orange from my neighbor's yard. This and one other tree peek up over the wall the seperates the two yards so I get to look at them all the time while I'm hanging laundry. I took the pic a couple of days too late since the flowers were much more abundant two days before, but I think it still looks pretty.
The roses were a "reward" for being company last week. We visited one of Mohsen's friends and he had over two dozen profusely blooming roses bushes lined up in two rows off his porch. When Mohsen complimented him on them, he promptly got out his pruning shears and a bunch for us. From top to bottom they are deep red, redish orange and a deep pink. He also had white ones but most of those blooms were past their prime, as well as some little light peachy pink climbing roses.
Now to answer so of the asked questions:
Jeanne-I became a Muslim when I was around 21 so I didn't have a set cultural dress style to follow. In the US, I pretty much wear what I do around the house if there are men here, i.e. jeans, t-shirt, scarf and a big, loose button-down shirt with the bottom few buttons fastened. If I'm going to the masjid/mosque, I'll either wear a monto or my regular outside clothes. It just depends on the occasion.
The kids only have one cousin to play with who will turn 2 this week. She's Mohsen's youngest sister's daughter.) She's very shy and quiet but my kids are doing their best to break her out of her shell and she now loves the attention she gets from them. Mohsen's two older sisters are not married, so no kids there and his younger brother has just this week gotten engaged so we'll have to wait a bit for cousins from them. ;)
Patty- Girls have to start covering when they reach puberty or around 9 years old. I've seen some people put scarves on babies as well but it's not very common. Most boys and all girls wear school uniforms depending on the school they attend. For all of the girls, the uniform is some style of pants, monto and scarf regardless of age although in the younger grades the girls don't have to keep the scarves on all of the time. It's basically just to get them accustomed to wearing them, similarly to what you said about the Amish covering the baby girls' heads.
It really is truly amazing how many similarities there are. Thanks to the internet, I've also found other groups of Christian women who cover and know from a friend that the Russian orthodox Christians cover as well.
Don't worry about the questions you ask, this is how we learn about each other. If there's ever a question that I might not feel comfortable answering on the blog, I'll either email you the answer or accidently, on purpose, forget to answer it. ;P But I doubt that that will happen.