Monday, January 28, 2013

Day in the Desert!

Over the weekend we had a great Doha day.  Nick was out of town for the previous 7 days and we were wearing thin.  Much to our surprise the Warners were planning a fun day out in the desert and invited mama and her 3 little bears to join them!!  Aren't they brave!  We are so thankful and had so much fun.  It was unusual and we made some great Doha memories.  We drove out of Doha into the middle of NO WHERE for the most unreal set up.
The International (seriously?) Falcons and Hunting Festival
 Serving us Arabic tea...he loved Georgia but she wasn't so sure.
 The queens on their thrones...out in the middle of the freakin' desert!
Hangin around...waiting for the Saluki races that were supposed to start at 2pm "sharp"...yeah right. 
 Dan deciding on his tea
 Morgan deciding on a snack
 Move to a foreign country and you'll be surprised how many surprises you actually eat :)  All very traditional Arabic food.  We especially loved the Arabic Awwamat...aka donut holes soaked in honey.
 Georgie loved the noodles
 Next up the Saluki races.  Saluki is the Arabic dog breed...similar to a greyhound.  Again, we're out in the middle of the desert and they have 2 huge jumbo trons set up...all run by generators. Here come the dogs....let the pictures speak for themselves.  CRAZY! 
Um...they're chasing a live Oryx (this region's deer-like animal) 
 There were more land cruisers driving along side than there were dogs! 
These kids may never make the jumbo-tron at Minute Maid Park or The Ballpark but the sure did for the Saluki races!  Little westerners always playing in the sand.  Never gets old. 
  My people and my sweet friend Morgan!
I always admire their faithfulness to be so disciplined. 
 A little falcon competition.  This is a very popular and VERY EXPENSIVE hobby.  They used to use falcons for hunting, now they're primarily a for stature and competition.  One bird can be worth more than $250,000. 
 Brooks checking him out.
We really had so much fun and the boys loved it all.  This family is so good to us.  Dan and Morgan took the boys around to look at skeet shooting too, which was of course fascinating. 
After wrapping things up at the festival we headed for some beach time. 
 another random hobby
 Mr. Dan and Brooks working on our fire pit
Serving up dogs
 Playing catch
Sand babies...just never gets old
 4-wheelers, calling it a night
 full moon, chilly night and warm campfire

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Game Changer

Since starting back to school we've had a major game changer around our house.  Nick got the bug to get the little people in our house moving and more responsible. I totally agreed...I'm just not the type to set a structured chore chart or plan.  As usual I had good intentions almost a year ago and I bought what I thought might get us all going the right direction.  Some of my friends here in Doha had mentioned success with the Accountable Kids system.  So for almost a year, I let my little investment sit in the closet because it sounded like more work than convenience.  

So before Nick came up with his own creative ;) chore plan we pulled out the brand new, yet old Accountable Kids box.  And we haven't been the same since.  Its never too late but I'm a little ashamed that we weren't already expecting more from the boys. They're FULLY CAPABLE.  Now they know what we expect and they're really motivated.  I'm doing a lot less nagging, that's for sure!!  This little program is customizable and actually the perfect fit for this unorganized/unstructured mama!  Life is easier and the usual daily "to-do" lists are actually being accomplished by the little people rather than mommy and daddy. 

The boys are rewarded for completing their morning and evening chores with tickets that can be redeemed for special privileges (anything fun and but mostly screen time at our house).  They collect tickets each day and at any point those tickets can be taken away as discipline or a consequence for a bad decision.  So far so good!  There are rewards for all kinds of great behaviors and choices.  Once the boys have completed 10 perfect days of chores, they earn a date with mom or dad.  And extra tickets can be turned in for money at the end of the week.  The specific chores are all included in the kit and they grow with the kids for years and years. We're using the early ones and as they get older we'll add more difficult chores.  And I especially love the spiritual priority throughout the chores.  Scripture, prayer, quiet times, etc...  

This system should actually be called Accountable Mommies...its keeps us on track and the Lord knows I need that!  Its been an awesome tool...I'm sorry I waited so long and thought it would complicate things. 

Obviously we highly recommend this little set up. 

Just few pics of the action and our little worker bees.  Don't get me wrong there's still some complaining and procrastinating but the expectations are set and its no surprise to anyone.
These little peg boards hang in a central location and the boys use it to keep track of their responsibilities. Everything is here. Mommy and Daddy manage the tickets and rewards but the rest is theirs to handle.  We're suppose to personalize the boards but haven't done that yet.  

ASD Ball

Last weekend we attended the American School annual fundraiser for the PTA.  The ball is always a well attended event but we've never been.  Since Nick's company was a major sponsor we were invited to go with our friends/co-workers.  Its pretty awesome to have great families to live, work and do life with here in Doha.  Not the usual, at least for us.  Being 15 weeks pregnant, there was a slight wardrobe challenge.  Worked out just fine but not my most favorite stage of pregnancy. 

Harris peeps me, stacey, lindsay and gena
Nick has been consistently going to boot camp here in Doha.  His boot camp instructor is also an amazing entertainer.  Graham not only yells at Nick 3 days a week, he also sings and is a great DJ.  the music was awesome!  Dance floor was packed all night!
 Long time Doha peeps, the Scotts  Neighbors and good friends!
Fun Feghalis!  Dear friends and incredible parents.  The kind of people you can call for anything!  Both serious dancers!
New gorgeous friends the Andersons.  Clarissa and I get to walk the pregnancy road together. 
Some of our dear Doha family!   They're friends, neighbors, mentors and always so fun.  
The Warners!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Nick's Birthday is usually celebrated on a plane or as a joint celebration with Christmas or New Years.  That's no fun...never is!  This year I truly realized how lacking we've been in celebrating our Daddy.  No matter the date...everyone deserves to be celebrated on THEIR day, separate from everything else.  In the last 4 years, we've been packing and hurrying ourselves to get back to Doha or we just throw it all together because he's not a picky guy.  I won't do it anymore. There really is nothing like celebrating the way kids do.  The boys and Georgia planned all day for Daddy.  We shopped and prepared and they were literally about to bust before he came in the door from work.  Each made very very detailed birthday cards and were so excited to celebrate their daddy they adore!
We picked up Fuddruckers burgers and made the birthday boy grill them for us.  Table scape and party planners we're set by the little people.  No doubt about it the party theme was "movie night" in honor of the location was situated in the living room for Ice Age 4.
 Instead of red velvet cake (Daddy's fave, but recently made for Jesus) we went with cherry popovers for their cherry lover.
 One of his beloved gifts, Diet Mountain Dew.
One of Nick's favorites just arrived in Doha...he's been looking and waiting for 4 years.  Finished up with movie night! 
 I pray I can do my best to always live my life reflecting how thankful I am to God for giving me Nick.  I am so blessed by his 35 years and for the shaping and sharpening that has made him in to the man he is today.  He and his story were meant for me and this exact moment. We are so crazy opposite in many ways which is exactly what I need.  Happiest Birthday Nick!  You are loved so much!!