Monday, April 22, 2013

Abu Dhabi Here We Come

At the beginning of this year, my mom told us that she was going to come to the Middle East! John and I were so excited and really excited for the kids. We started working on the visa process and as we feared.....it didn't work out :( April 1 came around and her visa was still not processed and we ran out of time. Thankfully we hadn't told the kids (in case this happened) but we were still really sad about all of it. Instead the kids and I flew to Abu Dhabi for a couple of days to see her there and we had the unexpected addition of my dad! He was in SE Asia on business and was able to stop by on his way home which wouldn't have happened if we got the Saudi visa. So, it all worked out!

The kids were super excited to see their Auntie Ashley and could barely go to sleep. We kept it a surprise that the grandparents would be there! 



When we landed in Abu Dhabi, my mom was waiting at the Starbucks just outside arrivals. I knew she would be there but the kids had no idea. When we walked out I tried to get Peyton to look over in her direction to find a taxi but as soon as I said the word "taxi" she was so focused that she didn't bother to observe anything else around her. Graham on the other hand was walking slowly behind me, looking around and all of the sudden stopped and looked at my mom, paused and then kept walking. Then he stopped again, paused, and kept walking. The third time my mom smiled back and dropped his bag and yelled "G" and ran into her arms. Peyton turned around to probably yell at us for being too slow and just stood there in shock for minutes. Finally it all registered and she was so excited! I wanted so badly to capture it all on video but as always when I travel with the two by myself I get so caught up into everything else that I never take pictures.

We headed to my sisters apartment and the whole taxi ride Peyton was full of questions and Graham just keep saying "G" out of pure excitement! The excitement didn't end when we got home though.... after we got Graham down for a nap and were catching up and all of the sudden we felt the whole apartment building shake. My mom and I asked each other if we felt that and then it happened again. We finally realized it was an earthquake and tried to figure out what to do, we finally decided to get Graham and walk down the stairs and go outside. So we walked down the nine flights of stairs with my sisters dog and the two kids and waited until it was all clear. We later learned by reading online that we shouldn't have gone outside and were probably safer in the building. Never experienced an earthquake and had no idea what to do. We were feeling the tremors from the earthquake that hit the border of Pakistan and Iran. 

While in Abu Dhabi we played at the game center in the mall, went to the movie "The Croods," had ice cream, shopped and hung out with G...

 

 Graham got his hair cut one afternoon and was a champ. He did keep saying that it hurt and for mommy to "help me." 

After his hair cut it was time for the surprise of Papa! He was walking in the mall and so we had the kids walk by him and see if they noticed. Peyton ran right into him, said excuse me and kept walking! That kid doesn't notice anything! Graham looked up and say him immediately and yelled,"Papa." LOVE that Graham noticed both of them and it shows how much he has grown up and is understanding who they are in his life!

 We went to Dubai for the day and shopped around Dubai Mall....



And then we went to the souq area that sells knock off purses and shopped there. Peyton started getting really into trying on the purses! She cracks me up!



The best was when I decided finally on what kind of purse I wanted....a simple cross body small Michael Kors purse. Well, apparently that was not only hard to find but pricey. So we started going into each store and asking if they even had a Michael Kors bag so we could expedite the process. Nothing is more hilarious than when your four year old walks into a purse store and yells,"do you have Michael Kors?" She was a hit! And then when we finally found one the store owner was equally impressed with Arabic! What a life she lives!

We had a great time with our Auntie, G and Papa and only wish the time together was longer! Hopefully next time everyone can come visit us in our sand box!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Back to Saudi and Ramblings and Updates....

To try and catch up on what has been happening in Saudi since we got back from Bali, I am going to condense everything here.....
  • Our trip home was smooth and much easier than the way there. I did realize when we were landing in Kuala Lampur that I packed my abaya in my suitcase as opposed to our carry on and had a slight moment of panic as I was wearing a v-neck and short sleeve shirt. I decided to shop around the Kuala Lampur airport before we departed and found a lightweight jacket to put on when we arrived in Saudi. Spent more than I would have liked but now I have a nice lightweight, water proof jacket for the summer in Washington!
  • After getting home, I unfortunately got sick pretty much the day we got back and was pretty under the weather for a week or so :(
  • We had Easter the day after we got back and I was thankful that I had planned everything and put it all together before we left. We didn't do much as we were traveling over the weekend and then John was at work on the actual Easter day and I was incredibly sick but we did celebrate with an egg hunt in the morning, baskets, and the Easter story and a craft that I brought back from Christmas time. Peyton had a party at school and a friend graciously took Graham to a planned egg hunt that some friends put together at the beach.   And then we had a very fancy Easter dinner of pizza (I was just too sick to make anything)!  Not exactly the day I had in mind but we were able to celebrate and share the Easter story with the kids and at the end of the day, hearing Peyton explain the real reason for Easter was the best way to celebrate the resurrection!

  • Shortly after Easter, some friends and I went to Bahrain for some girl time! It was incredibly nice to be able to hang out with three of my closest friends here and have some girl time. We had pedicures and manicures, shopping without kids and eating without kids and swimming in the grown up pool! Just a fun time of laughing and bonding! Lots of fun! Being in Saudi it is hard to go out and do stuff and it was great to be able to have some good girl time and feel more normal!

  • Another big change was Graham giving up his bottles! I was so nervous about doing it and worried how he would handle it but he was a champ! John totally took the lead on it and it was not an issue at all. It has been so much smoother than I ever expected!
video
  • We have started swimming lessons up again and as expected Peyton was overjoyed. Graham had so much fun and is so much more comfortable in the water than last year and it is fun to watch him progress. Peyton is swimming the width of the pool (when she is paying attention and concentrating) and I love watching how much fun she has in the pool!
  • We had an meeting/evaluation at the school for K4 (pre-k) next year for Peyton. Essentially it was for parents to turn in paperwork and check what immunizations they still need and then for the kids to see the classes, meet a teacher and do some activities while the teachers watch them and talk to them some more. Peyton was so excited about the whole day and is very excited about big kid school next year. I know she will do wonderfully next year and am excited about next year for her!
  • And also next year...Graham will be attending one of the in home preschools on camp (the same one Peyton went to when we first moved here). He has been asking daily about going to school. Everyday we drop off Peyton he asks to go as well. It makes me so sad to see him growing up. I don't have a little baby anymore :( and I have no idea what I will do with all this free time if they both end up going in the mornings!