Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Last Day.

Today was Carters last day of preschool. He loved Ms. Jeanette's school and all of her wonderful teachers. What a blessing it was to have a spot open in her school right when we moved here. Carter and a few friends after school showing off their butterflies.

It's almost officially summer now. Almost. Owen has two more weeks at his playschool and the actual company schools get out at the end of June. Then I suppose it will 'officially' be summer and then we jump on a plane back home. Hurray!

Until then, Carter and I will have three mornings a week just the two of us. Plans include some pool time of course, and maybe a few trips into town for gifts to bring back. Honestly, I'm pretty sure he doesn't understand school is over for now. So we'll see how it goes. Carter loves having places to go and friends to see. He is our little social butterfly, so I suppose it's only fitting that be the last craft he makes at school this year.

Hugs, A

Sunday, May 29, 2011


We never planned to own a trampoline. Until we were given one from a family on camp that no longer used it. We thought, why not? Our kids jump of everything in the house, might as well. Turns out another family we go to church with just happened to take off their tramp net, so we scored that too. Tramps are pretty pricey, much like everything else over here. We can't say enough thank you's.

Last week Mike started the set up. We still need to put the net around it. But until then, the boys are loving the supervised Jump Time .

The photos also give you an idea of what our side yard looks like. It's pretty big [for our type of house on camp] and so is that trampoline that takes up the middle portion of the yard now. We have four trees in the yard as well that provide a decent amount of shade.

The afternoons have been cooling off enough to spend time outside comfortably. These photos are from last night. It was so nice to be outside. It's good for the boys, it's good for us.

Hugs, A

Bargaining with a Two year old.

In the past few weeks we've embarked on a new stage with Owen. We can now officially bargain with the little man and he totally gets it. It's awesome.

I love this stage. It goes something like this.

Owen if you eat two spoon fulls of [this] you can have [this].

He is changing so much these days. The language and reasoning skills that he is acquiring amazes me. I love it when he calls me for me down the hall, Mom where are you? or he answers to Carter, I'm in here Carter. He's taking part in real conversations and I am loving it.

Photos are of Owen watching his new favorite show, Super Why. He loves it, and can be found singing the shows title song several times a day. He even dances while singing. Classic.

The dynamics of our life with two little boys is constantly changing as they each continue to grow leaps and bounds. Althought it doesn't always feel like it, life is fun. Boys are fun. Loud, but still a handful of fun.
Hugs, A

Celebration 1.

Carter turns the big FOUR this Saturday, June 4. Four on the Fourth. I believe that's called his GOLDEN birthday!

He is ALL about birthdays this year. He's been talking about his for months and has had major melt downs when someone else has a birthday and turns four before him. Especially at school, he's struggled with birthdays. But this last month, because his birthday is 'finally' almost here, he's been a better sport about celebrating others birthdays.

Back to school, turns out his school gets out this week and would have missed his birthday by three days. So, what's a mom to do? I'll tell you what. Bake cupcakes and take them to his class to celebrate his birthday EARLY. Yup, that's exactly what I did this morning.

He came home with a transformer from Mrs. Jeanette and exclaimed, "I had the BEST day at school." Success.So let's call this Birthday Celebration for Carter Number 1.

There is a slight risk that with all the planned celebrations this week, preschool party, playgroup party, birthday party, church birthday singing, and 1 actual birthday and then birthday celebrations planned for Idaho with the family, this kid may think he has 6 birthdays. I may just chalk it all up to the golden birthday and that's why we are doing so much celebrating. Yup, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Hugs, A

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thoughts and Happenings.

The boys and I waiting to check out of our hotel last weekend. Totally unrelated to the post, just a photo for word heavy post. We spent the morning at the pool again. Really no big surprises there. It's a fun way to spend time together and it's one of the few options I have on camp to entertain these two guys in the heat.

This time we went to the pool in the Hills with water slides. Well, slides, with water running through them. More like playplace slides from McD's or BK. It's rather comical really. There aren't even stairs, there are the wierd alternating platforms to get to the top. You get the picture right, yup, just like a play place.

So much that Carter spent half the time pushing Owen's legs up so he could reach the next platform to the top. Have I mentioned how great of a big brother Carter was this morning, he takes the blue ribbon today.

Carter spent the morning going up and down the slides like a champ, hit the water and swam to me using his circle arms, real strokes I tell you, REAL strokes. I think the kid is getting it!

He spent time leaping into the water from the side of the pool turning around and swimming to the side without me. He wanted to do it ALL by himself. The progress he's made in two months is astonding to me and I love every minute of it and that cute kid in his swim goggles.

Later when we came home from lunch he told me. "When I get big like you, I'm gonna swim in the big pool by myself." In fact not a day goes by where he doesn't tell me something he plans to do when he "grows big like a giant." Does this mean I'm a giant?

Bare with me... More thoughts and happenings from the past few days.


Progress on Carter's birthday party are continuing. We decided to throw him a chef party. I made 12 toddler aprons and am having them embroydered in town. Is 2.60 (1o SAR) a name a good price?

I'm just happy the four year old party go-ers won't look at the details of the aprons. I'm not a great seamstress. I can do straight lines, basic things. I pushed my self to get these done and I like the latter ones better than my first attempts. It took awhile to figure out how to deal with bias binding that was too thin and working with the limited supplies I found here. My heart aches missing Hobby Lobby. How easy would it make this all.

Continuing with party plans. I now have 12 kiddos attending. Yikes, how did five turn into 12?

We were going to make chef hats, but I lucked out and found paper chef hats in town. I could have done cartwheels in the isle. I also scored some checkered table clothes that totally say pizza parlor to me.

I also scored a few things of Pillsbury grand rolls for half price (yeah, really more like the price you would normally pay for them back home). This will make perfect pizza dough (thanks again Lisa!) and will make life so much easier the morning of the party.

I really have felt like this week was my week for shopping. I found just what I needed and in only one trip. This hardly happens in the sandbox. It was meant for me I keep telling Mike.

Things are continuing to heat up around here. Usually the lunch hour is unbearably hot. Which is the exact time the boys get out of preschool and playschool. Yesterday we needed to run into the commissary at this time. The boys were miserable!

We walked maybe half a football field from the parking lot into the store. It wasn't far. The entire way Owen cried "mommy, help me walk" which really means CARRY ME.

And Carter cried as well, "It's so HOT. It's too Hot. It's really, really, really, hot outside." In general is was not a fun little trip for milk. I agree it was too hot to do anything and this is only the beginning.


We're trucking along. There's a hard transition coming. Going back to the States. Trying to find the balance between here and there. Most moms and kids leave for the summer. Most have homes to go back to. We plan to stay with Mike's parents for the most of the summer and it will be great, the boys are thrilled. Carter talks constantly about his cousins and pappa.

But I suppose I am just homesick for Houston. Our friends, our doctors, the shopping, the awesome food and our old house. Not the location- just the house. :)

It's almost like I'm moving all over again. What will I do with the boys for six weeks, other than the gym and swim lessons for two weeks. Then when we get back to SA, do things just fall back into place?

The life of an expat is truly remarkable and totally overwhelming at times.
Miss you all. Can you tell?
Hugs, A

Another just because photo. This one Carter took of us after church last Friday. Owens face in this photo melts me. What a boy that Owen is.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Brotherly Love.

Looks something like this...
They were snuggled up in the chair at a hardware store in Bahrain watching How to Train a Dragon on the phone. It bought us a good five minutes or so.
When they aren't throwing down in the living room, they do play really well together and are best friends. I love the little moments when they are gentle and loving towards each other. Makes me happy to have two little boys so close in age. Yes, I did just say that. Somehow 16 months apart doesn't seem so bad when they get older.
Hugs, A

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Artist and Our Family.

Carter loves to draw and color. Recently he's been working on his people. This masterpiece from our budding artist is from his church Sunbeams class. It's a real beauty and I think it captures our family pretty nicely. He was also reverent at church and earned another sticker. You might recognize this one, because when he earns one of these bad boys he proudly displays it on his forehead all day long.
Just for fun. The boys after church waiting for lunch. Most of the times there is one driving and one on top for the ride. At least they are sharing and taking turns, right? Hugs, A


On the outside things in Bahrain seem to be returning to normal. Like I said, it's what we see, doesn't really mean that is what is really happening. As an outsider you can't really judge much. Some things seem familiar, yet there are some things, like, say, I don't know, an abudance of tanks and posters of the King everywhere that remind you, yeah not so back to normal is it?

This is where the expats go to get away from the some what oppressiveness of where we live. Even just one day leaves me feeling better about our situation. That I can travel just an hour away and wear my normal clothes and feel like me. I can drive, try clothes on, I have rights and I feel free. But even with that, it still shakes you up just a bit when you drive around and see so many of these.

Most of these are taken while our car was moving. This one is near the finacial district where the Pearl Roundabout use to be. The entire area is blocked off still and tanks at every exit. There is also almost a makeshift military camp under the overpass as well. Look just behind the truck and taxi. Rows of tanks. Another tank, although this one is sporting the King posters I mentioned earlier. Here we are on the causeway. The first difference I saw that things had changed from our last visit were the posters EVERYWHERE. Every window and most of them had more than one photo. This is the last checkpoint when I finally pulled out my camera and is no where near as decked out as the ones before it.

Even with the tanks everywhere. We felt fine, we had a good time and I still felt more comfortable than I do some days here. We also stayed out of the suburbs and didn't venture off the beaten path. We're ok mom. Promise. Hugs, A

Room Service.

Our Anniversary night we spoiled the boys too.

Room Service. This is what the overpriced goodness looked like.

Grilled ham and cheese, Chicken nuggets, french fries and peas. Not a bad way to wrap up the day at the pool, bubble bath and then fancy meals to eat on the couch in their pj's.

At this point the babysitter showed up and we headed out the door for our own dinner. They were happy and we were happy to have a little time for just us. Funny thing is, when we arrived back at the room at 10 p.m. we stepped off of the elevator and could hear the boys down the hall. We opened the door and there was our sweet babysitter sitting on the chair in the dark. Carter on the couch, Owen on the bed, half jumping, half leaping, twirling the room service menu. They were besides themselves. Laughing and playing. She told us, "I told them you were coming home and they needed to sleep. They not tired. I tried."

What did they put in that room service anyways? Those boys should have been passed out cold. Once the babysitter left, Mike had them to sleep in five minutes. I guess, they too, didn't want to miss a minute of our anniversary.

Hugs, A

Splish Splashing it Up.

One of the very main reasons we stay at the Gulf hotel is for the kids pool. That and the fact that the two times we've stayed there our boys have had the entire thing to themselves in the morning. Yes, it is pretty awesome! I mean the other amenities are nice too, but when you have two little crazy boys a pool like this takes the cake.

There is also a "grown up" pool down below that we spent some time in too. This is how we really spent our time this past weekend.A little swinging while splashing.

Owen toweling off to leave. A great view of the water playset at the hotel. Now picture water shooting out of every little crevice of that bad boy. Good times.
A little relaxing pool side. But most of the time Mike was on the slide with the boys. Bubble Bathing it Up in the Hotel Room. Then a little Disney Channel viewing while in the bath. Nothing but the best for these two monkeys.

Hugs, A

Happy Nine.

Mike and I celebrated our Nine Year Wedding Anniversary last Wednesday, May 18. We packed up the burb and the boys, then crossed the causeway into Bahrain. We spent the night at a fancy hotel, spent the day by the pool and left the boys with a sitter for a nice quiet dinner with just the two of us.

Nine years, and yup, we still got it!

Happy Anniversary Husband of Mine!

Hugs, A

*Although it was nice having the boys with us, for the BIG 1-0 there may be larger plans without children made. Yes, we can pretty much count on that.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


This past week it's gotten hot. I mean Holy HOT!

Could it possibly, really, already be in the 110's.

Last week it hit 116 degrees. Enough to make you feel like your skin is baking the moment you walk out into the sun. It's insane and the Humidity hasn't even hit yet.

The water in the tap is warm. Even the toilet water is hot. If you leave the lid down you can steam your bum. So wierd!

Along with the heat have come a series of shamals. Nothing like roasting and a dirty sandy brown sky to boot. And with that comes allergies.

Last week was brutal for me and Owen. This week much better. I'm hoping the shamals will stay away so the little man and I can continue to breath. Funny thing is, I thought our allergies would go away when we moved here. Yes, I'm a bit delusional at time. I like to think of it as hopeful.

I'm grateful we already have plans to run as far away from the desert as we can this summer. Idaho will be a nice change for a month or two.

We told they boys where we are going in the summer and that we would leave when it gets really hot. How else do you describe summer to a two and three year old. Since then everyday Carter tells me, "It's hot mommy, it's time to go see pappa in Idaho."

Six weeks to go. Yes, I am counting. Yes, the list of things to bring back is getting longer. Yes, so is the list of restuarants we want to eat at. Yes, we can't wait to see YOU too!

Oh the excitement.

The boys after church in our backyard patio. It was a little too hot for happy faces. I tried. Next week photos taken inside with the AC crancked to 70 degrees.

Hugs, A

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Poster paint.

Blue Poster Paint.
Made for posters, not your face.

Mr. Sneaky found a bottle of poster paint with the bingo marker type tip at playgroup. He then decided it would be a good idea to color himself.

Better than his brother (remember last time- post Markers) this time or another kid right? So I can almost say lesson learned?

Next lesson, do NOT color your brother and do NOT color on yourself.

He did tell me while admiring his handy work in the bathroom, "I look pretty mommy."

It says "washable" on the bottle. Perhaps they hadn't tested it on the forhead or lips of a toddler. It took some serious scrubbing, soap, alchohal, and then just some good old fashion toddler sweat to take the blue away in 24 hours.

I was worried for awhile there.

Hugs, A

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Local Watermelon.
Our driver said the white ones are the best.
He did not disappoint.
Here, you pull up to another pavilion with just watermelons.
A lot of watermelons.
You pick a watermelon.
They cut a big whole in it, pull a piece out for you to see and try.
You like it? They put the chunk back into the whole and tape it shut.
We bought three.
Look below, we could have bought A LOT more. No seedless watermelons to be found here.
Even with seeds the boys loved them.
Nothing says summer like watermelon.
Hugs, A

Off to Market.

Last week I ventured into Damman, another town near camp, to the Fruit and Veggie market. My good friend Jen (bottom left), has been bringing back a few things for me from the market when she goes twice a month, and finally I was able to come along with her. It's a bit tricky finding someone to hold onto the boys after school so I have the actual time in the morning to make it up there and back. Lucky for me another mom was happy to take both boys. Lucky for me an entire morning to head into town and explore with a group of seasoned expats.

Jen, me and Leanne at one of the fruit stands.
This is the view down the outside stores. Your driver pulls up to the side and this is where you load your haul. We filled the ENTIRE van with fresh produce. Bags of veggies are sold for around 5 SAR= 1.30 US dollars.
There is another section of the market under a pavilion with rows of local vendors. Here you can buy cartoons/boxes of produce. Best score of the day a box of red bell pepper for just 15 SAR = $4. This vendor asked me to take a picture of him. Then he and his friend had a few good laughs about it. Yes, I am an American. The camera in my hands totally gave me away. Behind him you can get a better idea of what the pavilion looks like.
Jen doing a little bargaining.
We hadn't planned to buy celery, but this guy was persistent. Besides have you ever seen celery this big? Not very often in SA.
The view walking down the pavilion. Also, the little guy in the blue jump suit is there with the cart working for tips. He followed us around the market loading and gathering the produce we purchased.
And, just outside of the market were a few butcher shops. Goat anyone?Owen is still pounding the cherry tomatoes and Carter and I have been working on a box of Kiwi's for a week now. We came home with Romain and iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, apples, cantaloup, watermelon, tomatoes, peppers, onions, cilantro, peaches, plums, broccoli and carrots. I'm sure I'm missing a few other items. Like I said, the van was full and now both of my fridges are as well. Best part, I only spent around $50 US dollars on all of it!

It was a productive morning and another new experience for me in SA. I'm feeling a little more seasoned with each new adventure.
Hugs, A

Monday, May 9, 2011

Slicing and Dicing.

Last week I finally made it out to the fresh fruit and vegetable market. (pics to come) I brought home a haul of fruit and veggies and I mean a HAUL. I large amount that in reality, I think how in the world are just four of us going to eat ALL of this.

First on our list.
Plow through the bag of tomatoes with some fresh salsa. We had our own little Cinco de Mayo celebration. Beef Tacos, homemade guacamole, salsa, lots of salsa. It was divine. We've been craving some good ole Tex Mex. This was no Lupe's but Casa La Dille, wasn't bad either!

Here are the guys Slicing and Dicing while making dinner. Hugs, A

Grandmas and Mommies.

Happy Mothers Day to our favorite Grandmas and Mommies.

Mothers truly make the world go round. They are there when we need them, they love unconditionally, they sacrifice over and over again for us and serve without expectations. We are so very lucky to have these incredible women in our lives.

We love our Grandmas.
Grandma Dille who takes us to the zoo and never slows down. Grandma who will sit on the computer to watch the boys dance party on skype for almost an hour and always make the boys feel loved and important. Mike included. :)
Grandma Anderson who helps us hunt fish and seashells on the beach no matter what side of the world we are on. Who so willingly packs a suitcase and comes anytime and anywhere that we need her. Picks up the phone no matter what time of day to say hello and provide a pep talk. Who willingly talks to the boys on the phones during moments that I'm at the end of my straw. Who makes the best omelets and almond cookies around.
Not a day goes by the boys don't ask for you two. What blessed little boys we have to have two such amazing grandmas to love and spoil them.

For mothers day Carter made me a card at school. In it, it says.
I love my mom because...
I go to the church and she reads to me at bed.

Once we made it to the car, he added the following to his list of why he loves me.
...because I have spiky hair.

Yeah, buddy I love you too and your spiky blonde hair.


Happy Mothers Day.
Hugs, A