Sunday, April 29, 2012

Big Girl Bike

Today John fixed a pretty big issue in the turnaround/shutdown so since he was in the good books for his successful job he decided to ask if he could leave for the afternoon which would allow him time to drive us into Khobar to do some needed shopping. So, he called and told me to be ready to head out around 3:30 PM and we were ready and waiting for him!

Our major reason we wanted to go was to get Peyton a big girl bike. She has a small tricycle thing that she got for her second birthday. I realized when she did Sports Day  last month that not only had she outgrown her bike significantly, we were also failing as parents in teaching her how to ride a, we needed to remedy that and the first step was to get a proper bike. Of course, that is when John started working the turnaround so it never happened. But tonight we made a trip to specifically get her a bike. We had browsed the last time we were out and she remembered every little detail of her favorite one and described  it impeccably as soon as I told her what we were doing. 

We did have a couple of other errands to do before the bike store and she was so patient in stopping at some stores, eating dinner and by the time we made it to the bikes....she was about to explode with anticipation and excitement and immediately ran to the one she remembered.

She managed to stay awake the whole way home which was impressive since she normally falls asleep in the car pretty easily and we let her stay up late to put her bike together. I know that first thing in the morning we will be outside practicing! It amazes me how grown up she is! 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday morning cartoons

Friday's are our Sunday's here and we were spending the morning relaxing and while I was picking up breakfast, I turned around and saw Graham on the couch watching cartoons.....

What a handsome guy and LOVE his chunky legs! Since he really shouldn't even be on the couch without me....I told him to sit down and he got rather comfy and continued to watch TV...which is random because he normally could care less about it...unlike his sister!

This lasted about 20 minutes and then we were back to climbing, looking for objects to throw or use as hammers and getting into everything! Happy Friday!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Not much has been happening here in Saudi...Daddy is still working 13 hour days due to the shutdown and we are spending crazy amount of time at the beach! We are counting down the days until we leave for our cruise and are looking forward to spending time as a family again! I can't believe that I have just 20 days until the cruise, and then when I return 20 days until I leave to go back to the States. Essentially 40 days left in Saudi until the end of August when I return! 

Here are some pictures from our beach adventures since I don't have much news to report on....I told you...not much is going on and we really do spend all of our time at the beach. So funny to me how a trip to the beach seemed liked so much work when we lived in Texas (granted it was a hour drive) and is a spur of the moment, hop in the car and go kind of trip. Our bag of pails/shovels stay in the trunk and sand in the car is not a big deal! LOVE living by the water!

We spent one afternoon with friends looking for hermit crabs and exploring. My friend is a marine biologist and it is so much fun to explore the beach with her and I learn so much!

Last Friday, I took the kids early in the morning to the beach and it was perfect! The tide was low and so calm and Graham was able to crawl out into the water and had a blast! A perfect morning!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Enjoying the Weather

As miserable as the summers can be here in Saudi, I am finding the winter/early spring amazing! I am loving the warm days with the breeze off the ocean and we are outside as much as possible. Between the pool, beach, splash pad, park, enjoying the outdoor seating area at the coffee shop, looking for seashells and even just going for walks we spend the majority of our days outside the house. I know once end of May comes...we will be stuck inside and miserable so I am soaking it in right now!

The other night I took the kids to play in the sand right before sun set to work on some photography homework. Peyton was miserable and only participated for a brief moment and then she decided that she was going to pack up our stuff and head out early....

Graham just had a blast playing with the sand, exploring and being content...

Peyton's class also is doing more outdoor activities and they had a morning at the splash pad the other day and of course Peyton had a blast!

Graham also came to the field trip but he mostly observed the chaos. This was the second time he has been to the splash pad and he isn't sure what it is all about. Finally at the end, Peyton held his hand and they walked through it together and he was alright with it but not really all that excited...Not like Peyton who LOVES it!

This weekend I envision more beach and splash pad time and hopefully getting out on the beach for sunrise because I have some photography homework that would be perfect at that time! Enjoying the Saudi weather (and getting a nice tan) before it is miserable!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Growing Boy!

I finally made it in for Graham's one year doctor's appointment...about 6 weeks later. It is pretty difficult (and frustrating) to get timely pediatrician appointments here and with your kind of know what to expect and I wasn't in any rush to take him in. 

As expected Graham is a big, growing boy! Both the nurse and the doctor asked several times to verify that this was his one year appointment. His percentiles (as far as I could tell after looking them up on the WHO website when I got home since they don't give them to you) are....weight 14kg = 30.86 lbs which is around 98%, length 81 cm = 31.89 inches which is also at 98%, head 49 cm = 19.29 inches which is above 98%. So, as expected...he is a big boy! He is wearing 18-24 month clothes in pretty much everything, size 5 W shoes and 2T-/3T hats and grows out of things like crazy! 

He was wonderful at the doctor and some of his distinct personality traits (and difference when compared to Peyton is obvious) comes out when he is in new situations. He tends to get very quiet, sit very still and be very serious. He stops all movement and observes everyone with very watchful eyes. He is so observant and curious in how things work or go together. He does so many things that I never remember sitting down and teaching him but by watching everyone he knows how so many things work, are put together and just a very observant boy. He is also a sweet heart and so happy. Even after he got his one immunization, he stared down the nurse, she gave him a hug and after that they were friends and he was happy as he was before. 

Some other things he has been doing since his birthday...

  • He eats a bunch...hence the above measurements. He was being pretty cranky for several days (partially due to teething) but I also wondered if he was hungry so I have increased what he eats at his three main meals, added a pretty hefty afternoon snack and he is a happy guy! He eats a bunch and eats anything I offer him which is awesome!
  • Walking everywhere! And is pretty good at it which is awesome and so back feels much better!
  • Is totally in LOVE with cars. He will spend a good thirty minutes pushing toy cars around making car noises.
  • He climbs on everything, jumps from things and is everywhere! I am constantly having to tell him to stop climbing on chairs, the play table, coffee tables, couches....he is everywhere!
  • He loves bugs, dirt, food and is all boy. As soon as he is outside he is covered in dirt, loves to eat dirt but it in his hair. I showed him a beetle the other day and he immediately picked it up, looked at it (meanwhile I am trying to not freak out and just relax and let him explore) and then tried to eat it...and I freaked out!
  • He is still a cuddle bug and loves to sit in my lap in the mornings and after naps and just cuddle for about ten minutes. Also during the day he tends to just come over to me to give me a hug and a kiss. My favorite time of the day!
  • We are in the process of weaning off bottles and are down to the one before bedtime but we are making progress as he gets it earlier in the night to try to dissociate it with bedtime and we are implementing a new bedtime routine to help transition him.
  • He started swimming lessons....I will do a separate post on that since both kids are doing swimming now!
  • Graham loves people and is totally fine with being away from me, going to anyone new and just goes with the flow. Very chill guy!

So thankful he is growing and as healthy as he is. Such a sweet, fun boy!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

30 days until....The Mediterranean :)

In 30 dyas we are off on our next vacation and this time...John is coming with us! I think I am almost as excited about that part as I am about the trip! So....we leave May 15th for  Rome to embark on a 12 night cruise on Royal Carribbean's Mariner of the Seas through the Mediterranean! 

We figured that a cruise was the best way to see Italy, Greece and Turkey with two little kids. It allows us one hotel room and not having to deal with bag transfers and flights and then entertainment for the kids. We booked two interior connecting rooms so we have enough space and also a place to retreat to when the kids are asleep and are really excited about everywhere we are stopping! 

Our itinerary is as follows....we picked this cruise specifically because it has two days in Istanbul which is the one place I have been dying to go to. I am so excited and also completely overwhelmed with planning what to do in each of these ports. Thankfully with kids you can't do too much so we don't have to plan very much!

Then at the conclusion of the cruise we are spending an additional 6 nights in Rome exploring. I found a wonderful hotel that is apparently in a quiet but central location and was highly recommended as a kid friendly place. I was able to book a Junior Suite which has two rooms with a small living area in the middle. It also opens up to the courtyard. 

In total we will be gone for right around three weeks which seems insane to me! I am really going to need to pack carefully because I don't want too many bags with two kids and traveling around with trains etc but I don't want to not pack enough! Now that we finally have all the airlines, accommodations and transportation booked, I am starting to sit down and plan what to see and do in each location which is overwhelming! We are looking forward to our Mediterranean and Italian adventure!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter....with Daddy!!!!!!!

Words can not even begin to explain how happy everyone was when Daddy was approved a day off and it being on Easter made it even better! John had not had a day off in 38 days (and probably won't have one until we leave for vacation on May 15) so it was much needed for everyone!

The Easter Bunny paid a visit and the kids hunted for eggs in the morning and then we had pancakes with Daddy.

Peyton went off to school and her teacher planned an egg hunt and crafts for them there. I thought it was really sweet of her to do especially since in her culture they don't celebrate Easter so she had to do some research and planning on what to do. I am appreciative that she took the time and effort to do something for them. While Peyton was at school, Graham got some alone time with John and then when Graham napped we were able to get some stuff done around the house that I haven't had time to do or we needed to talk about.

We had lunch at the Carlton Cafe outside and enjoyed the beautiful day overlooking the water. John and the kids played in the grassy area and were able to have some quality time while we waited on our food. That afternoon we spent more time together and then headed out to a garden center to buy some plants for our yard, some pots and start work on getting our front yard how we wanted it. We haven't done anything for a whole year so it was kind of a mess from just letting our gardener do whatever he wanted! We had him move plants, I moved plants and then John and I moved plants at 9:00 PM. We also had someone come out and put down some pavers to widen the driveway since the grass refuses to grow there anyways. We have a couple more plants and pots to buy, the grass needs to grow back into some spots but we are making progress and I am liking it a whole lot more!

Graham LOVED the garden center and is enjoying walking around everywhere.... 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Egg Hunt at the Hobby Farm

As soon as we got back from our trip we were busy with Easter parties and gatherings. Peyton's friend from school had a fun party on Wednesday (I forgot to take my camera) and then on Thursday I got tickets to an Easter Egg Hunt, cookie decorating and activities hosted at the Hobby Farm. We headed out and had a good time with friends. Sorry for the pretty bad and lack of pictures but I had a hard time managing both kids and taking pictures! 

Graham was all about holding his bucket and trying to walk. He didn't really have a good idea of what he was supposed to do but he was adorable. I can't get over him strange but so cute!

After the Easter Egg Hunt, I took the kids to a grassy area that I saw a long time ago and have been wanting to take them to do some pictures. They were moderately cooperative and in the end we just played and had fun together. Graham LOVED walking around and exploring. Excited about Spring and the return on nice weather....not looking for the gradual increase in temperatures but we should be gone before it is unbearably hot...hopefully :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Our trip to the UAE- Dubai

After Abu Dhabi we went to Dubai and stayed for four nights at the Grand Hyatt. I have never stayed at a hotel alone with both kids and was a little nervous but everything worked out and the staff helped me tremendously. We got to the hotel right at check in (after walking around the Mall of the Emirates and eating at California Pizza Kitchen) and we went swimming at the kids pool. 

We ate a good amount of our breakfasts and dinners in our room. It was just easier and Graham loved sitting in the big chair. I went down for breakfast one day and the staff was really helpful but when I realized it was the same price as ordering room service, I decided I didn't feel like dealing with getting the kids ready and down stairs. 

Also as soon as we checked in to the hotel and got to our room, he realized it was carpeted and took off walking everywhere! Now he is still walking all over the place which is awesome!

We went to the Palm Atlantis Aquarium one day and loved looking at all the fish. Graham LOVED the big aquarium/display and Peyton enjoyed all of them and the divers in the tanks that were cleaning or feeding the fish. 

We went to the Dubai Fountains one night and the Burj Khalifa. We didn't go to the top of the Burj Khalifa as I wanted to save some activities for whenever daddy can come with us but we did enjoy the fountains. Graham was clapping and cheering and Peyton was dancing through the show. The fountains were pretty spectacular.

And I don't know why Blogger keeps rotating my picture sideways but I gave up so here it is anyways...


The last day we went by the Dubai Marina which was beautiful and had some pretty awesome boats...

Pretty much we did lots of shopping (lots of shopping), eating at nice restaurants including PF Changs which was delicious and swimming by the pool. The kids were great and we had fun just the three of us. Dubai was fun but by the end of the four nights I was ready to leave. It was too crowded, congested, too much shopping and materialism and had too many tourists! I personally LOVE Abu Dhabi and would much rather be there than Dubai. It is fun for a little while and I know we will go back with John and explore other parts like the Gold Souq, the Burj Khalifa, Ski Dubai and the water parks...all of which I didn't feel like doing with the kids alone! It was a good break and helped give us a little extra push to make it through the next part of turnaround....a little over 30 days left!!

You can see the rest of my pictures on Facebook.