Friday, March 2, 2012

Catchin' up ..

So I'm WAAAY overdue with updates .. here's some pics since the last post:

 Brooke and her "bff" Isabelle at a classmate's birthday party

 Paige went too .. b-day parties are not "invitation only" .. you bring the whole fam, which is so courteous and kind .. such a blessing for us. 

 typical b-day party food/cake .. worthy of a picture

 Mark brought these "gucci" bags back from China for me.  :) 

 front yard is coming along .. i love my flowers! 

 kitchen workspace/shelving  THANK YOU IKEA

 Another bday party .. this time it was Paige's classmate, Vladimir.  They live on the Palm Jumeria, this is their backyard. 

 cute girls in Vladimir's pool.  

 Vladimir's house .. view from their beach.  The jumpy house on the left was a huge slide into the pool.. super fun for the girls.  (Max stayed home w/ Dad).

Below are pics from the International Food Festival at DAA


S. Korea (in case you're confused.  ha ha)



Gotta love the good ol' USA .. 

The USA food tent had hotdogs and chicken nuggets .... I know. 

There were 36 countries represented at the Food Festival .. we tried as many foods as we could. The kids had a BALL with their school friends on jumpy houses and other various carnival-type rides. Mark and I are making some great connections with parents from school, too.   It was a really fun night.  Here are a few more pictures from the night .. 

To raise awareness for recycling (which needs to be more popular here than it is) the kids build a Burj Khalifa out of soda cans.

Max had one to contribute .. and yes, he drank some of that .. and spilled lots on his shirt .. He was like a cat on too much catnip.  
 I have really enjoyed the school events .. experiencing all of the many cultures that are represented at the kids' school is just priceless.  What an experience this is! 

Okay, more random pics:

One of the many, many loads of IKEA "stuff" that is now in my house .. that wasn't all of it that day .. and I don't even want to count how many times I've been there. 

The scenery on the route to/from school each day.  It's really cool .. this pic doesn't do it justice.

Brooke and I made cupcakes for her teacher's birthday .. it was SOO nice to do something "normal" .. I'm ready for normal.  

This has been a highlight of moving here .. 2 weekends in a row, we've gone down to The Dubai Mall and have watched the fountains do their thing.  It's similar to watching fireworks for me .. I just love it.  The first one we saw was to a song that sounded like the theme to Silverado or something .. the kids were in AWE and when it was over everyone cheered and Max screamed, "AGAIN! AGAIN!" .. It'll be something to show visitors for sure (hint, hint).  :) 

The Burj Khalifa is at our back while we watch the fountains .. the building twinkles .. it's truly spectacular (yes, I just used that word).  It's another favorite thing for sure.

So that's it for pictures .. I was thinking about doing this blog yesterday and trying to introspectively understand why I've slowed down on the blogging so much.  I think I'm just over the "fun" part of moving here .. the reality of LIVING HERE is setting in, and as much as I love the perks of living here (aka .. we're hiring a live-in MAID!!) I really miss "home" as I mentioned a few blogs back.  People tell me that the first 6 months are the hardest. I've probably cried more, off and on, in the past few weeks than I have in a long time.  I don't hate it here .. nor am I ready to come home, I just MISS home .. I miss everything familiar .. I think it's more grief of something that's no longer than anything else.  I do know that I'll get through this part and things will get easier .. it's just hard though .. ya know?

Some fun things that I haven't mentioned ..

-Paige has started horseback riding .. she's only 6, so it's more like a pony ride for now.  She (of course) loves it and it's a great thing to get her in to. 
-Brooke has started gymnastics, but we're still trying to narrow down the right gym for her.  We're trying Dubai Olympic Gymnastics tomorrow.  We'll see how that goes.
-Max is likely going to start going to "Nursery" 2 days a week starting in April, and then he will go 3 days a week starting in September.  He'll go from 8:00-1.  He's going to love it.  He is still in Little Gym for now and lovin' it.
-I've started working out via Pure Fitness.  They offer classes for moms with kiddos.  Max can join the class with me and so we all get a big ol' workout in.  I've done 2 so far and OW I'm sore.  It's nice to be getting back in shape!
-We've started the process of hiring a LIVE-IN maid.  Right now, we really like Vilma .. she is Filipino, speaks  good English and really loves kiddos. Her references have been really great .. she was working for a family from Romania that had 2 small kiddos before now and an Arabic family with 8 kids before them.  She will be doing some babysitting for us, too, so this experience is KEY! She really wants to work for us, too.  I am learning that American families are coveted by maids because Americans tend to treat their help really well.  I mean, it's TOTALLY BIZARRE and a HUGE TREAT to be able to hire a maid .. so we are SOOO appreciative.  I mean, when I walk into the kitchen and the dishes are washed, I just want to CRY out of gratefulness!!  To have someone help me is such a blessing .. anyways .. maids aren't used to being appreciated I guess.  Now THAT is foreign!!
-I went to IKEA to buy furniture for her room.  Again, this is all so very surreal .. I can't believe we are going to have a live in maid.  It feels like a luxury .. a HUGE blessing and did I mention surreal??  I feel spoiled. 
-Mark is headed out on a few more international trips soon. I miss him a lot when he's gone .. he said that April will have a lot less travel.  It'll be nice to have him HOME for an extended period of time.
-His leg is doing really well.   We haven't had to make a physical therapy appointment for him out here yet, but we have a facility all picked out if/when we need to do that. 
-Spring Break is coming up and Mark planned a REALLY fun "first vacation in the UAE" trip for us!  We are going to road trip around here .. do some camping, some resorting, snorkeling, dolphin-watching, boating, etc. .. I CAN'T WAIT!!!  I'll be excited to blog about that! 

Well, it's 10 a.m. ... I better get out of my PJs and head out to get this day started!! 

'til next time ..

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