Sunday, June 9, 2013

Flying to Washington!!!

Our flight back to Washington for the summer was probably the easiest and most enjoyable flight since we moved here and were in Business Class on the way over! This time we were in Economy, and I was by myself but I still look back on the flight as a great flight!

We did something different this time and did a direct flight from Dubai to Seattle (15 hours) instead of going through Europe with layovers. We talked A TON about how to make this a positive experience and all our planning worked out amazingly. I decided to fly to Dubai the day before our flight so we were not flying through the early morning to make a connection. My plan was to spend the day and night at a the Grand Hyatt Dubai and let the kids play in the pool, relax and then wake up the next morning for a 10:00 AM flight as opposed to flying from 2:00 AM to catch that flight. My thought was that the kids would be well rested, less stressed and we would have a good flight. It worked out that John was able to come with us to Dubai as it was a long weekend which was even better! We spend the day as a family hanging out at the Grand Hyatt Dubai and playing in the pool. 

We then met my sister and her boyfriend at the Dubai Mall for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and then ice cream which made the kids super happy to see their Auntie! 

It was so nice to have John with us for check in and waiting at the gate. It was a nice treat! 

When I boarded, I realized that we had three of the four middle seats. I really wanted the three window seats as I hated the idea of someone having to sit beside us for 15 hours and me be stressed about bothering them. We sat down, I resolved to make the best of it and then I realized that the man sitting next to us had his wife and two kids next to the window. I asked if he wouldn't mind switching so his family could all sit together in the four middle seats and I could have the windows and he agreed. Problem solved! We all got settled and off we went. 

Graham immediately fell asleep and had a nap (one of three during the flight), Peyton watched movies and eventually napped (and even at the same time as Graham so I was able to sleep), I watched two movies (never happened before) and the entire flight they entertained themselves, each other and were amazing! I never once heard "are we there yet," or had arguments about buckling the seat belt for Graham and they were just awesome. We made it through customs, got our bags and took the shuttle to the airport hotel and after showering, ordering lunch, we crashed! We slept from about 6:00 PM to about 5:00 AM which was amazing! We then headed to the airport, picked up our rental car, drove to the hotel to load everything up and then met my parents at Ikea.

I didn't realize how hard it would be for the kids to not see my parents in the airport when we landed. They both asked constantly even though I had prepared them about what was happening. The plan was to meet at Ikea the next day because the car rental was cheaper in Seattle, I needed to go to Ikea for stuff for the new house and I didn't feel safe driving two hours after a long flight. It was the safest and most practical decision but I don't think we will do it again because it was hard for the kiddos and it was hard to not have the carrot of seeing their G and Papa at the end to use as a bribe :)

Hanging out at the hotel and the one toy that provided endless entertainment on the plane! The best thing I brought for him to play with! He didn't even eat any of the candy :)
Our trip to Ikea was fun! I was so thankful my parents were there to help since we ended up with three carts full and we could use their car to get everything home and not pay for delivery. The kids were over the moon to see them as well. After our shopping trip to Ikea we headed to a natural foods market in Seattle to get some gluten free food for Peyton to start our taste tasting for the summer so I knew what brands to bring back to Saudi at the end of the summer. We loaded up with tons of goodies and headed up to Bellingham! 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Art Show

Our last big event just before we left was Peyton's first Art Show. She did a several week art class and she loved it. Arts and Crafts bring her such joy and she especially loved being an artist like her G. The art teacher put together a wonderful show at the end that featured everyone's art. Peyton was so proud to show of her art work!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Graduation Day...

Just before heading out of Saudi for the summer was Peyton's graduation from her preschool. She will be attending the big kid school next year starting Pre-K. She will going half days and riding the bus! Big changes and mommy can't believe (and is pretty sad) that she will be starting her elementary schooling.

Back to graduation...her teacher went above and beyond and had a wonderful program full of songs for us to watch and it was such a fun and special day. They had been practicing for weeks and it so wonderfully done and such a special day. We had a friend watch Graham and John was able to attend and it was just a great morning celebrating Peyton and the milestone up ahead.

Unfortunately Peyton had accidentally ingested gluten two days earlier and was still recovering and was incredibly tired. I wasn't sure she would be able to make it through it but she wanted to do it so badly and did. She did such a great job. 

They were singing a song about monkeys in a tree and alligators and I caught this picture of Peyton. She is doing a smirking face that I am known to do. So happy to see she gets something from me!

With her teachers. They have been such an amazing and positive influence for her this year. She has such excitement about school and has thrived beyond anything we could have expected. It was such a blessing to have two wonderful teachers in her life this year to prepare her for next year! Unfortunately they are retiring so Graham won't be able to attend :(

We are so incredibly proud of our graduate and look forward to watching her grow next year in big kid school. Peyton, you are an incredibly bright, strong and amazing young girl and I know that you are destined to do great things! We love you so much!

Monday, June 3, 2013

A proper little boy...

We have a lot of British friends and with dealing with Peyton's upset stomach issues, we have been home a whole bunch and not doing anything. Lately whenever people see Graham around camp, they are always saying, "he has grown up so much, he is a proper little boy now." So, I felt it was time to document some of Graham's milestones lately!

He talks all the time! Non stop! I do not remember Peyton talking this much this early and it has amazed me. I really thought he would be a delayed talker being a second child and a boy but he talks...ALOT! I have determined that he quickly realized if he wanted to be heard around his sister (who talks a whole lot) that he needed to figure out how to talk. So, with two very vocal kids....I sometimes feel like the amount of words said between them before 8:30 AM is more than I use in a week and it is kind of crazy! But it is so nice that he can communicate what he wants, even argue with his sister and stand up to her and it is so much fun to listen to his stories and how he plays with his toys.

Graham LOVES his train table. Almost every morning he wakes up and goes immediately to his trains and tells them good morning. After breakfast he goes up and finds Thomas and asks if he is ready to play and as a long running dialogue about where they are going and often times it is to get coffee for Thomas! I love working with him to build new track combinations and he gets so excited when I am done and praises me and tells me I am "awesome." His primary love need is affirmation and he makes sure to give that out as well. Other toys and games we like are dinosaurs, cars, airplanes (LOVES) and bubbles. He loves his swimming lessons and gets so excited to swim in the big pool. We are still doing a mom and tots class and I love the time we have together! He is doing really well and we will continue lessons in Washington over the summer.

Graham is very sweet and more soft spoken. He doesn't like conflict and would rather let a kid take a toy from him than say anything. I have found that the only times he will object is if it was Peyton stealing something from him. But with his sweet heart, he is amazing around babies and loves them. He is so sweet to his younger friends and such a giving, generous and nurturing boy. He loves to snuggle with anyone who has an available lap and will often give hugs and just sit with my friends for some affection. He is super polite and is always saying hello, thank you, good bye and just being very pleasant. 

Graham is pretty independent and despite living over here and not having a lot of opportunities to be away from me, he is awesome about me leaving when I do. He often says goodbye, tells me to have fun and there is no issue at all! He is starting to ask to go to school like Peyton so he will be starting a school next year for three hours a day/four days a week which I am sure I will start crying on the first day. I am not ready to not have kiddos in the morning to play with and love on. He is trying to use the potty and if we weren't flying home soon I would really work on it. He sometimes tells me he has to use it and does. I am thinking of doing pull ups and starting rewards this summer but not really working on it to help encourage him more and I almost feel like with his personality he might figure it out on his own by the summers end...I hope!

As for discipline, he is pretty easy. Normally a simple verbal correction fixes it. We are doing 1-2-3 Magic like we did with Peyton and so on occasion he will need to get to "2" but rarely he gets to "3" and a timeout. When he does go to timeout he is so remorseful and it devastates his day. He often tells John as soon as he comes home that he is "so sorry" and that he went to timeout and why even if it happened hours earlier. He needs lots of love, affirmation when he is done with timeout and I have to be careful about my tone with him as it affects him so much more than Peyton.

Graham has been on 37 different flights as of today! So as expected he LOVES airplanes! He loves to get ready for them and carry his carry on, he loves being on them and loves to take off. He doesn't like buckling up though which is difficult now that he doesn't fly in his car seat but he does sit still which is a plus. He is defiantly a child who has traveled because he knows what to do where and is so independent and awesome at the security line and puts his bag on the belt, walks through and then gets his bag and waits at a designated spot for me. He is a frequent flier! 

He is only napping once a day for about two hours and then in bed at 7:00 PM. He is starting to try delay tactics at bedtime which is frustrating at times but pretty amusing with what he comes up with...he forgot to kiss Peyton, he needs to put his book away, two more minutes, and my favorite...."more prayers." Normally he says his prayers and then I pray over him and then if he asks for more prayers I let him pray one more time and then I tell him he can say them by himself in bed. His favorite book at bedtime is "Good Night Construction Site." Like his sister he has decided he doesn't like pajamas at bedtime and would rather sleep in just a diaper. It is also getting hot here and I am sure that has something to do with it. 

I can not believe how big Graham is and how much he has grown up especially when I remember moving here with a little baby. I love this stage with him and we are having so much fun and life has a really nice groove but I miss my little baby, time goes by way too fast. 

* I am glad I did this post because I just realized how little pictures I have of him right now. I have been so busy with photography for clients I haven't been capturing my own families moments....that needs to change!