Sunday, April 29, 2012

Catching up ..

Well since the Spring Break posts .. we've had Easter,  the girls started swimming lessons, Max started going to "Nursery" 3 days a week, and we had a visit from my "BFF" Kelly!  This post will cover Easter and the kids' new adventures.  It'll likely take me a couple of days to get the Kelly trip posted in here .. we did a LOT while she was here. 

Here are the pictures of our first Easter in Dubai:  

 dying eggs .. :)

 sunrise service on the beach 
(It was actually on Easter Sunday, which was nice since church is usually on Friday .. Sunday was a holiday for school, but not all businesses) 

 The kiddos (Max in the foreground) played on the beach, found shells, crabs, starfish, etc.).  The part where all the kids are gathered is a bit of a deep hole .. guess who made his way into it??  :)

 Mark and the girls toward the end of service. 

 Hunting eggs!  

Because our sweet Max managed to get himself completely soaked during sunrise service at the beach, he hunted in his diaper. :) 

We had a fun day, but Easter was actually a REALLY hard day for me.  I think I really grasped the reality of HOMESICKNESS on Easter.  It is identical to grief for me .. I mean, I've lost both of my parents, so I know grief.  I am shocked by the similarities between the two.  On Easter, it was the grass that set me off... yes, the grass.  The only way I can explain it is by comparing it to losing my mom .. the little smells that I'd smell that would remind me of her would drive me to tears in places I wouldn't expect .. and especially on holidays.  On Easter it was exactly the same.  I missed the soft Colorado grass and I just lost it.  I just closed my eyes, held Mark's hand and let the tears flow .. annoyed that I was having to go through this process .. trying to give myself the grace to do it. 

When my mom died, a friend said these words to me, "The pain will always be there, but the times you feel it will be fewer and farther between." .. SOOO true!!  Easter was a hard day.  There's really nothin' more to it .. just a hard day .. they come and go .. blah.

I do want to mention that it was such a blessing to be in the UAE, a Muslim country, and celebrating Easter.  I am a firm believer that Jesus is who He said He was .. and I love that we all acknowledge it each time we right down today's date.  (Our calendar does, in fact, revolve around his birth).  I was struggling a bit with the reality of the Resurrection .. but after experiencing an Easter service with so many nationalities gathered, acknowledging what I was questioning .. I felt peace .. grace .. love .. God.  He is Risen, and He is so so good.


The girls started swimming lessons last week .. Max was going to start, too .. but umm ... NO.  :)

I'm kinda "over" the "Mommy & Me" classes and he is "over" being held .. so until he is old enough to be in a class without me, he will join us at the pool when we go for fun and splash in the baby pool while the girls swim.  Maybe.  I mean, if he has to go with us he will.  :)  

Paige got in for her first lesson and well, the girl can swim.  She's a rock-star in the water and I love watching her swim .. I love watching her do anything she puts her mind to, because she works so hard!  She had never swam the length of the pool before her first lesson here and well .. by the end of the lesson, I think she had gone back and forth 10 times!  She's doing GREAT and she LOVES it. 

Brooke was put in a class for 4 year-old's and after 2 minutes of her being in that class, her instructor looked at me and said, "I don't want her in this class.  She's way too strong for this class."  I kinda chuckled, because HE assessed her before the classes began and didn't really take the time to really see how Brooke could swim .. It was one of those, "well, we'll just see how it goes" things for me and it cracked me up that I kind-of saw it coming.  Brooke is the kid that doesn't work super hard to be good athletically, but just is.  It comes very naturally to her.  When she finally realizes this truth about herself, it will be a wild ride, I'm sure.  Anyways .. she is being moved into a more advanced class. 

I'm so proud of my little swimmers!

I thought I had pictures, but I guess not!  sorry 'bout that! 

Next big event:  Max started school!!  They call it "Nursery" out here for the little ones .. kinda like Mom's Day Out back in the USA .. so far, sooooooo good.  HE LOVES IT!! 

As soon as you say the word, "school" to Max, he grabs his Thomas backpack and gets on his way .. it's ADORABLE. 

He wears a uniform, just like the girls do.  For him, I like the idea of a uniform so that he's easy to spot when they go to the park, etc.  He goes from 8 to noon on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday .. last week was his first week, and he just LOVED it.  Today (Sunday) he's home sick .. gotta love those beginning-of-the-school-year germs .. he has a sore throat and fever.  Mark took him to the Dr. yesterday (which is another blog post .. but a great experience!) while I was with the girls at yet ANOTHER birthday party, and his strep culture was negative.  SO .. a very "normal" start to his new routine .. it feels SOOOO good to have him in "school." 


I just got back from having coffee at the neighbor's house.  Brooke (neighbor) invited a bunch of us from Street 3 (our street) over.  It was SO NICE!! 

I'll explain this in my blog about Kelly's visit, but I really feel like having her here gave me a sense of pride in this new home, Dubai.  It kind of pushed me over a bit of a hump and gave me a fresh look at settling in.  I feel so much better .. really .. it gave me energy to do things like get to know my neighbors and getting out there to be social.  (Instead of dragging myself to do it!  ha!) 

So .. there's the update to the beginning of Kelly's visit .. next blog will be filled with "touristy" pictures of this city I can see myself calling "home" soon. 

...till next time.

Friday, April 6, 2012


The next morning, we woke up and decided to go to Iceland Water Park where we COULD NOT GET ENOUGH.  We stayed ALLLLL DAY .. Mark and I kept watching Max amazed that he was still going .. so many photo ops .. here ya go...

the girls were READY

Max caught a few ZZZs before we wore him out again. 

We took the kids (all 3!) down a few of the bigger slides with tubes too .. this was our first water park experience as a family, so we were just taking it all in, having a BLAST.

Today is the last day of the trip.  We head home tomorrow.  I'm sitting here in the room with Max as he sleeps.  After breakfast, at about 10 a.m., he put himself to bed (I'M SERIOUS) and as I sit here at 12:30 p.m. blogging, he is still out cold.  Bless his heart .. I just know he's exhausted.  This is a good nap for him.  Mark took the girls to the beach and we'll meet up for lunch as soon as Max wakes up. 

I made Mark and appointment for a massage this afternoon.  :)

Now I'm home, sitting on our couch .. finishing up this blog .. the last day of the trip was perfect.

Max woke up and we all met down at the pool.  The kids and I sent Mark off to his well-deserved massage and then celebrated the end of our the swimming time with ice cream:

After Mark's massage we all dressed up, went down to the "sunset bar" for some pre-dinner drinks.  It was a fun way to celebrate the end of the trip .. OH .. and we had a special visitor come see Paige .. here's pictures:

 The Sunset Bar was appropriately named

 The kids enjoyed an "Arabian Sunset" mocktail

 lol .. Max did too!  

And now for the final event :  

 Check out that snaggle tooth!  The Tooth Fairy was on high alert all week.  Paige brought her Tooth Fairy pillow just in case!!  



Well, it's been an incredible week .. big sigh .. back to reality.

Thanks for joining us on this journey .. it means the world.

May you be blessed this Easter weekend. 

..till next time.

Spring Break (part 3)

Next we did some snorkeling ...

 Max fed the fishies some bread

 tons of fish gathered around our dhow/boat

  yep, that is a jellyfish .. scared all of us and almost detoured me from snorkeling .. ALMOST.  :)

 Paige hitchin' a ride on Daddy to get closer to the island to do more snorkeling
(Brooke said "no thanks" after seeing the jellyfish)
  they made it to the island and up the stairs!

headed back to the boat 

After our boat cruise, we were dropped off on a remote beach to camp for the night.  It was "cheater camping" because we didn't have to do ANY of the hard work .. everything was set up for us, prepared for us, and later cleaned up for us.  All we had to do was eat, play and sleep .. and believe it or not, we all SLEPT!  (minus a  12:30 a.m. goat interruption!)  Here are pictures:

 one worn out little munchkin

our campsite

 Brooke immediately found a way to color

Paige started gathering rocks for the firepit

  Max checked out the "showers" (the black bags are bathwater .. warmed by the sun)

our campsite
 I slept in the small tent with Max while Mark and the girls slept in the big tent

kinda like a kitchen counter, and yes, that's a speaker for music .. we could hook up the iPod'n everything!  I told you .. CHEATER CAMPING.  

 I was up before everyone else .. saw this beautiful scenery.

  The girls collected shells

 One of the goats that ransacked our camp at midnight .. who'd have thought??  

 I love this picture .. I wish Paige was in it. 

 another pesky goat

  we thought this was a cat for a while .. finally got a good look at it. 

 exploring a cave .. chanting "Goin' on a Bear Hunt" .. one of our favorite bedtime stories
I had no part of the cave.  No thank you. 

the only downer of our camping trip .. trash EVERYWHERE. 

We were picked up by speed boat and taken back to our car, where we then drove 2 hours to Ras Al Khaimah, where we checked into the Hilton Ras al Khaimah Resort & Spa.  Our room wasn't quite ready when we arrived, and we were all still NASTY from the camping trip, so we gladly put on our swimsuits and played in the kid pool area with a water slide and playground.  We ended up playing for about 3 hours, Max did the slide all by himself (he makes me so nervous!) and then we finally went to our room and SHOWERED and CRASHED .. I was OUT by 8:30 .. exhausted!

continued on "Spring Break (part 4)" <--click :)