We started off March with little Bear celebrating his 5th birthday! How is it possible? He is just a special piece to our family pie. Growing up and following in his brother's footsteps but also giving him a run for his money. He's Georgia's favorite playmate and so far the child that God has richly blessed with the gift of sensitivity. For others and himself too.
We started his day with birthday calls, skype visits and cards from all the grandparents. Then on to cinnamon rolls, followed by church.
After church we came home for lunch and a few presents. Barrett didn't want anything specific for his birthday. He's so easy to please and it didn't matter what we would have given, he would have been thrilled.
The big surprise gift was a fish! Barrett loved it and Brooks was simply in shock. Best $27 every spent. (side note, Cutter the fish only lived 20 days...we knew buying the fish meant dealing with the loss... burial by flush and after spring break we'll be getting another fishy.)
After presents we were off to the school's largest even and fundraiser all year. ASD's Friendship Festival. Perfect birthday afternoon playing games and eating good food.
Turned out to be a very dusty yucky afternoon. That weekend was only the beginning of a horrible month filled with dust. This is nothing compared to other dust storms in the last few weeks.
Wrapped up our evening with friends and burgers. Emery and Cres, plus their cousin John.
One last present that Barrett wanted so badly!
Happy Birthday to my precious Bear. He doesn't mind being the baby boy and I love it that way!! Can't believe he's 5 and that he's spent the majority of his life living in Doha. God has been so good to our family by giving us Barrett. Joy describes him perfectly!
We had a blast at our compound chili cook off. My friend Viki put the whole thing together and it was a huge hit. There were about 15 chilies and lots of taste testers :) We didn't win but we sure did enter. The spicy chili was my favorite, White Chicken Chili being the best, which won 2nd place. It was awesome. Recipe below!!
That's our Texas Two Step Chili. We may not have won but everyone loved the grits we served with our chili. Thats the way we Watkins and now Junods roll. Don't knock it til ya try it!
Georgia enjoying a little popcorn chicken instead of chili
Nick and our dear friends the Saleh's, Kim and Jamie
Love these girls because we all know the joy and pain of Kindergarteners.
Sweet friends the Warners
Dan, Morgan and Gena
Vicki's chili one first place! She and her husband are originally from Jordan but have lived in Oklahoma for a very long time before coming to Doha. They said they added some arabic and mexican love to their Okie/Jordanian chili. Turns out it was #1.
White Chicken Chili
1/2 pound dried navy beans, picked over (I use 3 cans - one red kidney, one black beans and one white beans)
1 large onion, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste (I always use more)
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (I always use more)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (I always use more)
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste (I always use more)
two 4-ounce cans whole mild green chilies, drained and chopped (I always add an extra can)
5 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds), cooked and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup sour cream (You don't have to add this. It just adds calories and there is virtually no change to the taste)
(I always add a bunch of pickled jalapeno peppers, too)
Garnish: fresh coriander sprigs
Accompaniment: tomato salsa
a large kettle soak beans in cold water to cover by 2 inches overnight.
Drain beans in a colander and return to kettle with cold water to cover
by 2 inches. Cook beans at a bare simmer until tender, about 1 hour,
and drain in colander.
In a skillet cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter over moderate heat until softened.
In a 6- to 8-quart heavy kettle melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux,
whisking constantly, 3 minutes. Stir in onion and gradually add broth
and half-and-half, whisking constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and
simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in
Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, salt, and white pepper. Add beans,
chilies, chicken, and Monterey Jack and cook mixture over moderately low
heat, stirring, 20 minutes. Stir sour cream into chili.
Garnish chili with coriander and serve with salsa.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to help out and check the pulse of Brooks' kindergarten class b going on a field trip. Brooks has a very sweet spirit about him and he's very driven to please. But I find myself fully immersed in the life of parenting young boys. He keeps finding himself in "rough" situations on the playground at recess. So this field trip came at perfect timing for me to check things out. Brooks' teacher is absolutely wonderful and has more patience with boys than I knew was possible. She truly wants Brooks to be his best and what's really amazing is that she takes the time to know Brooks and what he's really like, instead of just chalking it up to an annoying crazy boy.
The field trip was a lot of fun and I will soak up every second of Brooks' wish and love for me to there with him. The entire KG took buses to a Katara Cultural center and then we had a picnic at the Museum of Islamic Art.
Brooks and some other KGers taking pictures with their paper cameras they made and wore around their necks. Pretty cute and they were totally into it!
We were on a scavenger hunt in small groups to locate major structures and dominate architecture at Katara. First up...my favorite ;) the enormous arabic bird house. The bird-hater in me cringed but its actually pretty. We moved quickly on to our next stop.
My group..including Brooks' favorite friend he likes to play rough with at recess. Isn't that just perfect. I love how his teacher arranged that.
Here comes trouble at the Gold Mosque
I'm so thankful to report that Brooks has reigned it in and we've found a good balance of playing hard with some self control. Kinda hard to discourage a little boy with God given aggression to take it easy but its worked out although I'm still worn out from the field trip. We had a lot of fun together and I have even greater respect for our teachers.
I've been taking a break from the internet for a variety of reasons but I've gotta keep up with a few memories. Time is flying by and I can hardly believe we're almost neck deep into Spring. Here's to catching up...
February started off with a big Tball party and celebration for finally finishing the season...whew! The boys are pretty big ballers when it comes to the bat and ball but we were ready for a break. God bless the slowest sport a 4 year old can play and a parent can watch!!
Nick decided early that he wasn't going to coach this year for a few reasons. Funny sometimes how God suckers you into doing just what you thought you weren't going to do. Not only did he coach, he coordinated the whole darn Tball league and did an awesome job! Nick is such a great leader...sitting on the sidelines would be a shame. Plus as soon as his boys heard he wasn't going to coach it took about 1/2 second for their disappointment to talk him into it. He was so patient and encouraging to kids who had a wide range of baseball experience.
Trophy presentation and end of year party
T- Ball surviving sisters!
Valentines Day was a success at ASD. We celebrated the day before since
Qatar had a national holiday with no school/work on February 14th.
Being homeroom mom has its ups and downs when you volunteer for 2
classes. I'm surprised how much I really enjoy it. The teachers are
awesome and I'm beginning to understand how important it is just to be
at school and in the mix of everything. Its a full load of partying
when it comes to holidays. So far I've been able to plan the same party
by just buying double for both classes and always hoping that the party
times are different.
All the KG parents were invited to an afternoon tea and Valentine exchange with their Kindergartener. Nick and I were asked to send in separate valentines for Brooks and he wrote a special valentine for us.