Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Preschool Halloween Program

The day after we did trick or treating Peyton's preschool had their annual Halloween program and parade. I had been hearing about it from Peyton for weeks as they had been practicing and talking about it at school for awhile. They had been practicing several Halloween/scary songs and also talking about saying "thank you for coming to our Halloween program," and she asked daily if it was the day and to make sure I had my camera ready. Finally the day came and she decided to be a Pirate for the day. 

We dropped her off at school and came back a couple of hours later for the performance. Graham was so excited to come and see Peyton and kept yelling his nickname at her, "Pey Pey," until she finally waved at her. He loves his sister so much! Here they are lining up and getting ready for the show!

I didn't know what to expect and it was absolutely hilarious! Peyton stole the show. She was so into it and knew all of the words and just did amazing! She was such an actress! She has grown up so much from last year and is so far from the shy and timid girl she was last year at school! 

And here is the video....enjoy! It is pretty amusing!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Trick or Treating Halloween 2012

Due to the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Hada falling right around the 31st, our camp had Halloween early to not interfere. So we headed out trick or treating on Sunday. It was a little weird to be trick or treating 10 days early but it also means we get to celebrate again next week with a small Halloween party with friends at our house. And since I felt bad and like I was leaving Graham out by putting together a party for Peyton and her friends....I am also doing one for Graham and his buds. So, we have two Halloween parties at our house next week...one on the 30th and one on the 31st...we will be busy!

We had decorated our house earlier in the month and I will try to get out and take picture before we pick it all up. Peyton loved making it so very "spooky." Everyone goes all out on Halloween and I love seeing everyone's decorations that they either make or bring from home. One of our neighbors had glow in the dark fake spider webs which I loved as well as tall/skinny inflatable ghost and witch. It was pretty cool!

Peyton had informed me a long time ago that she wanted to be a ghost and so I hemmed a sheet up, cut a hole for her face and hemmed it and made sure to find face paint for her. She was so excited. Of course as soon as I started working on her costume Graham wanted to wear it and wanted to be just like her. I was kind of hoping he would want to do his own thing and be a pirate or something else but the closer we got it was pretty obvious that wasn't going to happen so I went ahead and found a pillowcase and got some holes and off we went. Super easy and cheap Halloween this year!

Before we left Peyton and Graham skyped with my parents and Peyton loved that she scared G and Papa. She is still telling me how when she got on the computer that G didn't know who she was and she thought she was a real ghost. She was really proud that she fooled them!

Graham quickly learned that you get candy by wearing this ridiculous get up and so he would walk up to a house...say, "boo," get some candy, say,"bye," and then walk to the wagon and sit and eat his candy until he was done and then get out and go to a house to replenish, come back, eat and repeat. It was pretty amusing and we have no idea how much candy he actually ate since he would start something, throw it away and then get more.

Peyton had a great time going to houses...all by herself....and yelling,"boo," at people walking around. 

I was surprised when about 45 minutes into it, she told us she was done and wanted to go home. I wasn't going to argue and so she got into the wagon and took off her costume and off we went home to count our candy. We managed to get home, bathed and have a piece of candy and still make it in bed right around our normal bed times which meant more time for mommy to sort out what candy she wanted from their stash!

It was not as busy as last year...probably because it was ten days early....but it was a good time. Both kids had a blast and it was fun to see everyone out and celebrating. I am looking forward though to the day when we hopefully are trick or treating in Washington where it hopefully would be much cooler than upper 80's and really humid. It was so miserable! 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Happy 6th Anniversary

Our anniversary really did sneak up on me. It really felt like just the other day that we were celebrating our five year anniversary and our first one in Saudi. I remember being so overwhelmed with all the changes in our lives (having a second baby, moving overseas) and the changes it was bringing to our relationship. It is amazing that a whole year has passed....we have settled in our life in Saudi and it has strengthened our marriage more than we could have ever imagined. One of the biggest things about this past year that we have had to learn and adjust to is spending significant amount of time apart as we have spent around 15-16 weeks apart throughout the year due to traveling back to the States/Abu Dhabi solo. I am hoping that this year it is much less!

We did go out and celebrate our anniversary by taking a trip to Bahrain for the weekend. We spent the day playing at the pool with the kids and enjoying time as a family and that night we got the kids fed and settled and we hired a babysitter at the hotel so we could go out for a couple of hours at the restaurants in the hotel.

We went to a Thai restaurant which was delicious and enjoyed several hours of non kid, non interrupted conversation. It was wonderful! Living over here we don't get to go out and date very often and I am so thankful for the times that we do. I surprised John with a gift I got him....a night away without kids in December at the Salish Lodge in Washington state (thank you mom and dad for watching the kids). It was nice to plan everything and surprise John as I always feel like it is impossible to surprise him with anything. John did get me a gift for our anniversary but it isn't ready yet and I am supposed to get it the end of this month.... :)

I am so thankful for these six years of marriage (and nine years together) and looking forward to so many more together! I love you so much John and am thankful for the husband and father that you are! I am very blessed!

And just for laughs...here we are on our first anniversary eating at Villa Capri in League City just before we left for Puerto Vallarta to celebrate! We look so young :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Graham....19 Months

I haven't done a post on Graham in a long time. I meant to do an 18 month post and time slipped away so I am determined to sit down and do one for his 19 month birthday to try and capture everything that has been changing and developing with our little guy.

Big changes for Graham these past few months have been the amount of words he is either saying or attempting to say. He has a pretty decent vocabulary and larger than I ever expected for sure at this age and being a boy and a second child. He really wants to talk and probably because he has quickly realized that is one of the only ways he stands a chance with getting anything when his sister is around!

Discipline has needed to implemented more and more as he is starting to test boundaries and exert his will but he is NOTHING like his very opinionated and strong willed sister! Pretty much you can tell him to stop and he does and when he does have to go to time out it is pretty devastating to him and he needs lots of hugs and reassurances afterwards and will very rarely go to time out for the next three or four days. So, overall, pretty easy! He is starting the "me" phase and wanting to walk instead of be carried or pushed, go where he wants, eat what and when he wants and just be independent. For the most part it isn't a big deal. We often laugh at our different they are in how they need discipline, affection and just how they approach the world.

Graham is our sweet natured baby and is always hugging on us, cuddling, giving kisses and just very pleasant. He is pretty shy and will stay by my side in new situations for the first 15 minutes or so before venturing off to see friends but even after he wanders off, he stays close by and doesn't like big or loud groups. He wants to please you, is bothered when he is placed in time out and/or told "no" in a stern voice and so far has been pretty low key. He is starting to hit and throw things which has been a new experience for me to learn to deal with but we have established that we only throw balls and that hitting means automatic time out. He does pretty well even when his sister takes toys or irritates him...which he typically responds by just yelling for mommy.

He LOVES his big sister and is her little parrot. He does everything like her and tries to talk like her and follows her commands. He loves to pick her up from school and is so excited when he sees her. He calls her "Pey, Pey" and walks around often calling for her. They love to play hide and seek or chase with each other which I love because they normally entertain each other for about 30 minutes each session. Graham loves Peyton's room and her new doll house and it is very hard to keep him out of her room, he just wants to be like her and play with her. Their newest game is wrestling. One night they started tackling each other and Graham started sitting on her head. Peyton plays gently with him and Graham holds his own pretty well. They both love it and will start laughing uncontrollably. Overall they are just at an age where they play well together and it is a joy to go to the beach and have them run off together and play. I love watching their relationship grow and pray that they continue to have a great friendship and relationship and that they will always find something to bond over despite being different genders.

He is still our big guy and is wearing 2T clothes and size 8 shoes. He still eats well although I don't think as much mostly because he hates to be sitting still but then he snacks more now. He still isn't picky and loves anything. He even loves Indian food! He doesn't like brownies, cake or cookies as much. He used to never eat them at all but now on occasion he will sit down and eat it although most of the time he passes.

Graham is still doing Mommy and Me swimming and is doing well. He is swimming under the water, kicking, paddling and does really well. He loves bath time which Peyton and him still do together and they have a blast. He also LOVES the beach and you can tell he has been raised living right next to the beach! We have been visiting the splash pad lately and he isn't too sure about that but will run after Peyton once or twice.

The biggest change for him is moving into a big boy bed. He just started lifting his leg to climb out of the crib. I am not sure if he would have really gone for it but our crib was loose on the sides and we couldn't fix it and I was concerned that if he pushed too hard he would hurt himself. Also, with us leaving in a couple of months, I wanted to make sure all big changes like moving beds would have been done in plenty of time. So, we decided to be proactive and put him in a big bed. We rented the bed from Aramco for the time being since we couldn't find a single bed we liked at Ikea and then bought some guard rails from a friend and set him up. He has spent two nights in it and multiple naps and is doing really well. 

And since we moved beds and took down the crib, John and I had the final talk about adding to our family and we are both on the same page....we are done. I knew we were, I knew I wanted to be and I knew he agreed but I felt like this was a milestone and we needed to just have the discussion one more time to make sure that there was no miscommunication or misunderstandings. We both agree that our family feels so very complete. We don't feel that anything is missing and this feels like what our family should be like. So, since no more babies for this house... I took the time to organized baby stuff and sell pretty much most of our newborn/baby gear. And also sort through Graham and Peyton's clothes and pass them along to friends with younger kids. After all that work, posting things to Facebook to sell, I am only left with a couple of baby items and a stroller to sell and then we are de-cluttered of baby gear! It was nice to see things that we bought for Peyton going to a new home and knowing that we are moving out of that phase. Now....in order to keep any baby wanting desires at bay....I just need to make sure I love on all my friends and their current and future newborns! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Big Purchase...

It is finally official.....we closed on a house in Washington state today! It has been a pretty interesting process trying to close on a house living all the way over here in Saudi but after many DHL packages, a couple of trips to the embassy to get things notarized and my mom acting as our power of attorney...the house is official recorded in our name!

And now for the questions and details.....

Are you leaving Saudi and moving to Washington? No, we are still in Saudi and plan to be here or overseas for several more years. We would love to live in Washington when we are done and really feel like that is the best place to raise our kids but we want to finish out our experience living overseas and put ourselves in the best financial position to have the freedom to choose to live in Washington when we are done.

So, why the house? Well, the housing market in Washington and specifically Bellingham is on the rise. Not as low as it was but it still hasn't recovered. Housing is more expensive in the Pacific Northwest than Texas, although property taxes and insurance are lower which help. Since we want to eventually live there we saw this as a way to get into the market/area when it was more affordable. We also felt the need to have a "home" and a place to call our own as well as put money towards. This place allows us to have a home we could live in when we are done and if we don't end up living there the house would still be a good investment if we decided to sell it.

Details on the house.... It is a 1924 Colonial Cottage in Bellingham. It is an historic area close to downtown. When I looked I was open to anything and then decided on an historic/older home for the area that they are as well as the fun of renovating and restoring. This home is 4 bedroom/2 bathrooms and just under 2,000 square feet. It has good bones and layout but needs some love, renovating, updating and restoring it to its 1920's character. I love the location of it being in a great area and it has a green space/park area in front which hides it from the street and makes your front yard feel so much larger! It also has the required garage/ample parking that John requested and a pretty big back yard for being in the city. I will add pictures as we go of before and afters of the inside mostly to keep the suspense and I feel like my pictures right now don't do it justice :)

Is it close to your parents....well, it is not as close as we were in Texas (less than a mile) but it is pretty close! We are now a whole 6 miles away....a 15 minute trip!

What are your plans with renovations? For the first couple of trips it will be boring stuff but things that need to get done in the crawl space/basement, roof and exterior siding/paint and boring stuff from the inspection report that we want to repair and get done correctly. Then once we are done with all that my plans are to do the kitchen, bathrooms, change the mudroom/back entry by possibly moving the staircase, restore the wood floors, update the fireplace, lots of paint and wall paper and many, many more projects! I have so many Pinterest boards going which have been helpful for John to visualize my plans.

Hmmmm.....when did you look at houses? Was it this summer? Wasn't John in Saudi? Yes, it was over the summer, with the two kids and my mom and John was in Saudi which means John has yet to see the house. He has seen pictures, a drawn up floor plan courtesy of my mom and that is about it. We had tons of skype sessions discussing the various houses I was looking at, lots of pictures back and forth and a whole lot of trust! I am pretty nervous/excited for him to see it when we are back in December! 

We are so thankful for the ability to buy a house and to be able to be selective and almost picky in what we wanted at this stage of our life. I am in LOVE with this house and am excited about all the hard work and sweat we will be putting into it. I am excited to watch the changes and updates and be able to see it all pay off. It is a great feeling knowing we have a home somewhere in the world and one that hopefully we can live at and enjoy in the near future! 

So....when it is finally done and we are finally back and hopefully live in Washington....visitors are very welcome! We have plenty of space and will have lots of catching up to do!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Birthday Girl....365 days until I am 30!

So the countdown to turning 30 begins as I enjoy the last year in my 20's! Maybe next year will hit me but I am kind of excited about turning 30. Maybe it is because I am so much younger than most people here that I kind of wish I was a little older. I am welcoming the move towards my thirties....we will see how I feel next year!

Since my actual birthday (October 1) was pretty full with errands, ballet practice we decided to do my birthday a day earlier which also gave me two days of celebration which actually might turn into three since I haven't had a cake/candles/and song yet.

Anyways, in celebration of my birthday and my last year in my 20's....we hosted a BBQ on the beach for a group of our friends! We provided the meat and everything for hot dogs and hamburgers and everyone brought a dish to share and we had a blast. We had around 20 or so adults and 20 kids all around the same age (from 15 months to 5 years old) running around and playing in the sand and beach. So much fun! It was just a great evening of relaxing, enjoying each other's company and being thankful for the friends we do have here!

We ended up staying out late....well, as late as you can with little kids and finally wrapped things up around 8:00 PM. It was a great time and now that the weather is finally getting cooler I look forward to many more dinners on the beach. 

For my birthday, I got a beautiful hammered silver bracelet from a shop on Etsy that has a quote engraved on the side. The quote from Buddha is one that I have been meditating on often, "Do not dwell on the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." I love seeing it as a reminder to live in the moment, focus on the moment and enjoy life now. 

We spent my actual birthday running errands and dealing with cranky Graham so we never got to get ice cream and sing Happy Birthday so I am hoping that we get to do that tonight...which will be day three of birthday celebrations! Sounds great to me!