Saturday, February 27, 2010

Camping Trip #1

We successfully took our first over night camping trip with our boys. 5 families - 14 boys and 1 sweet little girl. We left on Friday about 1pm and drove to the west coast of Qatar just north of Zekreet. When we reached the coast it was windy and 98 degrees. As we've learned the weather can always change so we continued on and enjoyed our afternoon and evening very much. The wind died down just enough to keep us cool and help us sleep comfortably.

When we say camping in the desert...we mean the desert. Polar opposite from Nick's usual camping environment in the East Texas Piney Woods.

We stopped a few times to check out a variety of camping sites. There were tents not far from this crazy old structure. We played but didn't stay.

The color in these pictures is pretty acurate. Because of the wind, the air was dusty, plus there were a few clouds. It was hot but not sunny.

Nick on the edge...

Jake and Bear at the bottom before attempting to climb up.

Setting up camp

Play time

The water was cold. Barrett didn't notice.

Not only does Barrett dig in the sand, he has perfect timing for his nose in the picture with his mommy. Really?

Mrs. Jodi served up her own sushi...she had an entire fan club!

No need to even slice it for Nick. Why not eat it like a tortilla?

Just before starting the fire the sun started to go down and the dust had cleared. The water was perfect and the sunset was a picture that didn't feel like Qatar.

Wrapping up dinner and prepping for smores.

Barrett and Calum - buddies!

Much to our surprise the boys went to bed easily and slept very well. They played hard and stayed up as long as they could but crashed soon enough. As did mommy and daddy. Nick had a great tent set-up for us and we had plenty of room for our air mattresses. Unfortunately the sun rises by 5am but thankfully we were up early to notice the in-coming tide. We quickly moved our tents and got things packed up. We were hoping for a sunny day at the beach but the wind picked up and left us with a dusty day so we headed home a little early.

Might be a while before we're camping again considering we'll have a baby but I look forward to doing it again. The boys had so much fun. I thought being pregnant might put a damper on things but I don't sleep very well in my own bed at this point so whats the difference in a tent on a air mattress. Plus I enjoyed just sitting on the beach enjoying the scenery. Next time we'll try to plan around better weather and for an extra night or two. Camping is a lot of work...prepping and cleaning up. Thanks to our Daddy who did everything. It was well worth it for these first timers.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Culture Day at Apple Tree

This week at the boys' school (Apple Tree) had Cultural Day. During the month of February they've been studying maps, countries, flags and cultures from all over the world. This is a special day when they all dress in something that represents their home country and they bring food that originates from their own culture. Parents are invited to attend although there's no program. Just a little party with food. Unfortunately this was my first time to experience split time between the Bees. Their classes had parties in 2 different places at the same time. I was told they would be together so I only took one food item. I had a hard time explaining it to the boys. I guess we'll all get used to it. Can't imagine splitting my time between ball games and other school parties but those days are coming.

Without hesitation the consensus of our house agrees that American Football best represents us and its originality to the U.S. and even more so TEXAS. The boys were pumped up to wear their Baylor Bear football jerseys. Of course it took some explanation to others once they were at school. Still not sure Brooks understands the difference in "football" to the rest of the world and FOOTBALL to us. All he knows is soccer and football...and that's ok. We know there's really only one "football".

Bless poor Barrett's haircut. One thing Doha needs is some talent in the area of children's hair salons. Grow hair grow!

Yep, we took the Krispy Kremes. I thought they would be a huge hit with the kids plus they're pretty "American" in terms of food. I've been cooking/baking a lot this week so I totally wimped out and went to Krispy Kreme. I left feeling like LAME mommy of the month. No one really ate them, except Brooks and Barrett and a few other kids. We've had donuts for days and shared them with our neighbors. My Mama-Jer in me wasn't pleased with that decision when I saw the spread of other foods. I was going for something kids would eat, plus something easy. I still think donuts and Krispy Kreme are truly American.

Mrs. Asha and lesson I've learned about pre-school is that the most important thing is that my boys feel loved and are well taken care of. Mrs. Asha is so nurturing and takes such sweet care of Barrett. He's not always excited for drop off but she scoops him up every morning and makes me feel like she's the next best thing to me, his mommy.

This is Apple Tree's director. Michelle, is from Ireland as well as the other administration. They run an incredible school. Its only been open 2 1/2 years and its packed full. They've done an amazing job. Brooks has so learned so much that has perfectly prepared him for the ADS (American School of Doha) next year. Their curriculum is British based and its awesome.

Brooks and Barrett are 1 of the 2 Americans in their classes.

Brooks' class all made big flags from their own countries.

One thing is for eyes and my heart too are more open because of my experience in Doha. The simple experiences at nursery school in Doha have taught me a lot about families, mothers, kids, teachers, etc....they're really all the same. We have so much to learn from others and each of us really truly was made and created by the same God of this universe. Pretty amazing to see his creativity in so many different people. I pray this time and experience stays and sticks to my boys for their entire lives. Its an opportunity I didn't know they needed.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Boot Scoot '10

Last weekend we participated in our annual support of the Aggies at the Texas A&M Boot Scoot. Every year the A&M Qatar campus has a fundraiser that benefits their own campus, plus The American School of Doha, Boy/Girl Scouts and a few others. Although everything is maroon and white we consider it one of our best nights out in Doha. Its basically a bunch of Texans getting together to eat Mexican food and do a little country dancin' all night.

My cowboy...and my little cowgirl I guess too.

Donna and me

The Jacksons and Junods (this was their first Boot Scoot...they said it was the most fun they've had in Doha, yet)

The Woods - these two are the sweetest. We know them from church. They are from the UK and got a big kick out of the entire evening. We must look ridiculous doing the the "cotton eyed joe" and being so excited about it! I was impressed they tried the "Two-Step".

The Kabells - Aggies from Lake Jackson

Whoohoo for new friends! Eric and Jennie, just moved in a few doors down from us. They had been in Doha less than a week and we suckered them into going to the Boot Scoot. Unfortunately they were referred to as the "Yankees". They're New Yorkers! We are so excited and thankful to have them as neighbors and friends!

They served Sopapillas....minus the cinnamon/sugar. Oh well...close enough in the "Land of Almost".

I may go to the Boot Scoot but I'm sure not participating in the Aggie War Hymn. Pretty amazing to see the number of "Former Students" that are here in Doha. The room was full and this line wrapped around the dance floor.

Donna and Greg...if you're from Borger, TX and you can't dance. Go back! These too tore up the dance floor...well the carpet floor. Only in Doha?

Jerry and Dede are such good dancers they were teaching the Brits and the Yankees.

Best of all I left the Boot Scoot with a little party favor...I won this in the silent auction. Its hand made and to say I'm excited might be an understatement.

Jennie also was a bigger winner of this cool Elephant Bench.

Until next year...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hong Kong Beauty Center

Before I forget I must post my experience from Hong Kong Beauty Center so that I treasure the laughs and make plans to go back. Last week I did myself and Nick a favor by making an appointment to get a massage. I plan on getting one every day when I get to Heaven. Poor Nick takes frequent begging from me.

I follow a blog Qatari Adventures, that gives great local reviews and posts very funny happenings that occur in Doha. And recently she gave Hong Kong Beauty Center a good review so I suckered my dear friend Dede in to going with me.

We arrived at the "women only" beauty salon optimistic and anxious for our Chinese massage. Knowing good and well we weren't going to get the 5 star hotel spa experience we were still looking forward to a relaxing morning for a good price. Both of us were warmly greeted and then went our separate ways. No paperwork just skipped right to business.

Sure 'nough it wasn't the typical spa experience but good none-the-less. The large room I was taken into wasn't prepared with a light or music plus, I wasn't given any instructions about undressing. We played charades back and forth until I understood what to take off and where to lay down. I walked my ever-so-insecure, mostly naked body across the room over to 1 of the 2 beds. She really wasn't sure what to do with a pregnant girl on her massage table. But she honestly did a great job once we got going. I was a little distracted my the silence and someone coughing outside the room for the first 20 minutes but it was honestly manageable. Little more distraction came when she flipped on the Chinese 50's music.. I kept thinking to myself how Dede, my "Dallas girl" was going to kill me for this hilarious Doha experience. But turns out Dede's experience wasn't quite as comical and she enjoyed every bit of it without any similar distractions :) I wrote down "Sarah's" name and I'll be making my next appointment with her :) Following our massages we decided to stick around for a pedicure. Considering we paid about $60 total for a pedicure and 1 hour massage we got a pretty sweet deal! We'll be back!!

Dusty day in Doha...great day for a massage!

Truck full of sheep and goats on my way to the appointment...


Pretty cute...not so much a "spa" but that's ok.

We're looking a little rough with our greasy hair and very little make up. BUT notice the fake bamboo and stuffed pandas. Love it. Oh and the Hello Kitty"ish" chairs.

BONUS...we got this scary moisture mask to take home.