Saturday, September 26, 2009

Little Sand, A lot of Sanity!

Today we explored a little area of Qatar, just north of Doha (about a 45 minute drive). We heard there was a beach worth checking out. Turned out to be awesome. We loved it and it was by far the prettiest beach we've been to around here. White soft sand and beautiful water. The wind was intense but hopefully it won't be so strong the next time we go. Boys loved it and I was reminded of the simple pleasures of Doha that I don't get back at home. The beach was pretty much empty and it was also very clean. The ease of jumping in our car and driving to a beautiful beach is a little gift even when I'm dying for some fall weather, football and a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks!

So here comes the sanity. The husband in our house hasn't quite been himself since he left his lawn equipment back home in storage. Seriously, its the one thing he regrets not shipping over here! I know some guys would pay a ton of money to have someone do that chore but not Nick. The man survives on sweat and yard work. Honestly, when living in Texas if he was stressed or had a lot on his mind, he spent time working on the yard. We had a huge backyard in Texas and he loved the idea of mowing that sucker.

Well, it has been weeks since our gardener has mowed our lawn. He comes and waters the grass and pretends to look busy but we're not sure what he does...which is apparent in the photos. So after church on Friday, Nick just walked over a few streets and snagged the mower. No one works on Friday and the gardener's equipment is just parked over in a random villa. So all of a sudden the boys and I woke up from a little afternoon nap and Nick was taking care of business with a big smile on his face. Not only did he mow, he did some serious labor in the backyard.

The brush below is piled in the middle of our cud-de-sac. We'll see if it goes anywhere or just turns to mulch :)

Clean, sand-free Boys! Who knew these towels I picked up over the summer would be such entertainment EVERYNIGHT! This picture comes with loud sound effects. Trust me you don't want to hear them.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Staycation at the Intercon

This week has been a national/worldwide holiday for Muslims. The 4 weeks of Ramadan ended last weekend when Mecca saw the moon and the end is always celebrated by a 3 day holiday, Eid. All businesses close, therefore Nick had 3 days off connected to a weekend. Last minute, we decided to take a little "staycation" here in Doha. We spent 3 nights at the Intercontinental Hotel. Mostly enjoyed the pool, beach and doing absolutely nothing. Nothing in terms of no cleaning, cooking and thinking :) Pretty sure my favorite part was rolling out of bed and eating breakfast at the incredible buffet. Not only were the homemade omeletts and crepes amazing but a true vacation means not making breakfast for little people. Then at the end of our staycation we just jumped in our car and drove home. Not sure why we don't do this in the US. The boys LOVED it, plus some of our good friends the Duncans, had the same idea so we spent some family time with them as well.

Ocean view out our window into the Persian Gulf

Should it have rained (impossible) Brooks and Barrett could have played simply in our hotel room all day. Here's Brooks working, making calls and taking notes. That desk became a fort and the dishware was quickly a restaurant.

Pool time

Macie and Bear with their gear

Love the Ramadan decor everywhere in Doha ;) They decorate for Ramadan like we do for Christmas in terms of going ALL OUT.
The boys and I before heading out for dinner at Fuddruckers.

After Fudd's we hit the Pearl...similar to the Palm in Dubai. High end shopping, restaurants, hotels, apartments and just a cool atmosphere for strolling around day or night.
Kids in the Pearl's little taxis.

Daddy and the boys

Bees and Macie

Duncan and Junod kiddos

Unbelievable boats that are docked at the Pearl

Beach time at the hotel

The little Mister ordering poolside pasta everyday for lunch.

Kiddos playing on the hotel playground...this hotel really was perfect for the boys.

Junod men and Doha's buisness district/downtown in the background.

Movie watching on the beach our last night



The boys didn't take naps for 3 straight days. So bedtime was a cinch!
Now back to reality and routine.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

First Day Back!

We are finally out of our cave and returning to normal life and a routine after suffering from jet lag. The Bees had their first day back to school at Apple Tree and I started back to my women's Bible Study at church.

I had to wake the boys up this morning but from the moment they opened their eyes they couldn't stop talking about how excited they were to go to school. Bear just followed Brooks' lead of extreme excitement. Love that part of brothers! They hardly ate any breakfast, just wanted to get dressed and get in the car. I was SO thankful for an easy tear-free drop off. What an answer to prayer. Their teachers were wonderful and they enjoyed every bit of their days. Plus, for me, it was so refreshing to see my buddies at BS and catch up after being away for so long. PTL for a great day.

Apple Tree Grasshopper

Apple Tree Bookworm

Thursday, September 10, 2009

So Long Texas, Hello Doha!

So long to great Texas summer sunsets, special memories with family and friends, and cooler weather!!

We are finally back in Doha after a fabulous summer in the States. We enjoyed every single day. We were challenged and blessed far more than I ever imagined. By the time we wrapped up our visit last week we were more than ready to be home. Feels great to be able to call Texas and Doha home these days.

Mostly we couldn't wait to see Nick/Daddy! The reunion has been sweet while the jet lag has been brutal. Every day seems a little better but in the mean time we're still livin' on Texas time. I'm glad I forget how hard it is to switch back to Doha time. These boys sleep and eat at the most random hours during transition. The most amazing thing is they just fall asleep whenever, wherever. They aren't usually the type.

Thanks to an incredible support system, lots of prayer and God's grace, our life and family has only improved since moving to Doha. I HATE being so far away from my immediate family but I'm so thankful for God's faithfulness since we've moved. We came to visit Doha 1 year ago this week before making a final decision to accept Nick's new job. To the glory of God this move and the last year have been absolutely amazing. Life has only been sweeter. There's no doubt we have some serious downer Doha days but those happen anywhere you live. So, here's to another year in Doha, Qatar.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Friday Night Lights

At our house and at our extended houses football runs through our blood. A lot of people might think we're crazy but one reason we've hung around Texas until now is all because of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS! Nick was a star in high school football and honestly its just not the same going to these games without him. Plus, I know he wants to be with his boys for this fun.

What's "Fall" without some football, especially family football?? I grew up with my dad coaching on a football field. In fact, I was actually born on a Friday night during half time almost 32 years ago. In addition to supporting Dad's team, the Denton Broncos we also get to yell for my brother-in-law's team, the Lake Highlands Wildcats. The Bees can not get enough football. We all love it and especially LOVE these coaches!

Denton HS game

Lake Highlands Game

Dave's team played at the Pizza Hut Park Athletic complex in Frisco, which made for an awesome first game. They played on Saturday night so Papa was able to come to the game too.

Wildcat Fans!

Kissin' cousins

Coach Hall showing his sweetness to those rough boys!

Ash and Me after a big Wildcat WIN!

Denton Game #2 and their new home field!

Papa and his boys after a great win!!

Having played highschool sports myself, I believe there's nothing better than team sports to teach kids life long lessons. I try to regularly remember to pray for Brooks' and Barrett's future teachers and coaches and I specifically pray that my boys get influences as incredible as Coach Watkins (Papa) and Coach Hall (Uncle Dave). Its not just about a football game to these men and that's what's important. They're servants to their fellow coaches and they're amazing leaders to their players. The impact they're making will last forever.

Coach Watkins

Coach Hall

You know there's some influence when Brooks comes straight home and insists on sleeping with his football Papa gave him after the game. Sound asleep, it stayed with him all night and then Brooks and the football joined us for breakfast!