Monday, May 22, 2017

Recent happenings

Let's start with Charlie: Dress up day at school about 3 weeks ago - Charlie is Peter Rabbit.  Can't forget his (finger) carrot!
Here is Charlie's beanstalk, in line with the fairy tales theme (Jack and the beanstalk).  I didn't realize it was a real bean plant until the long bean started to actually appear!
Charlie's class has been talking about volcano.  Not too shabby :-)
And here is Graham - thankfully not locked up in a locker (at the golf club) like Charlie was last year.  Ha ha ha!!!
For Home Learning, Graham had to create a 3D model of something that produces light.  Here is his paper-mache sun.  He did it all by himself!  He rolled up some newspaper, tape it up, and glued it all up.  We recycled his cardboard shield from last year and then worked on blending the colors of the sunset. Obviously no Picasso but an "A" for effort!
And here are a couple of artwork/pieces that was brought home recently.  Graham's interpretation of the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi:
I see it!
And I really love his owl!  Graham copied it from a picture that was provided by his teacher.  He said he didn't know how many feathers to draw, so he put lots :-D
Excellent work by both boys!!!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Night at the Opera

I was recently invited by a friend to attend her daughter's voice teacher's opera performance.  I have never been to a Dinner + Opera before. Anyhow, she posted the event on Facebook and when I looked at it and saw the name of the group Vox Livens, I knew I had recognized it from somewhere. My friend Jen is in it!  And sure enough, here she is on the program - to the far left:
All dressed up for her performance - looking stunning, Jen!!!
And my friend's daughter's voice instructor is Louise. She is the 2nd one from the right on the program. Here's the trio in action.  Beautiful voices!  They make it seem so easy to sing and effortless especially on those high notes:
I thought it was cute how they would act out what they were singing, although almost hoping for some subtitles as all the songs were in Italian. No... I am not quite there yet with my Italian lesson at the boys' school.

Thankfully the menu was in English AND Italian. Delizioso!... especially those raviolis:
There was a wine pairing as well although it was more like a wine tasting session for me and my two friends.  All of us had to drive home and we are all "cheap dates" so to speak. None of us can really hold a lot of alcohol! Nonetheless, the champagne, red and white wine, and dessert wine were all very yummy:
Vox Livens will be back performing again on July 27th (www.Facebook.com/VoxLivens).  By the way, the group is UAE's only soprano ensemble. Definitely something to experience if you love food and music.  I was actually quite mesmerized, especially when Jen and the other gal Lauren sang their duet Pur Ti Miro. What an experience to check off!

Happy Mother's Day!

Well, at this point, it is already a belated Mother's Day.  Where does the week go!?!  This Mother's Day was actually quite uneventful.  Bobby was now making excuses that the "American" Mother's Day is not celebrated here in the UAE.  Seriously??!

Here's what the boys made for me at school during the "British" Mother's Day, which was back in March.

I'm not sure if this alien heart is suppose to be me???? It has two very long arm and two legs. Ha ha!
I love how Graham drew the Family of 4 holding hands. So sweet!
And I am not sure what gave Charlie this idea of me making yummy sandwiches???  The only sandwiches I make for him are sandwiches with jelly or marmalade on white toast. I am glad they are yummy for him! :-)
My silly monkeys:
 Fun with birthday hats :-D
 Hope these boys will continue to appreciate their mother!!!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Graham and Charlie's school photos

The boys' school photos were taken earlier in the year but both me and Bobby were not very happy with them. So... I decided to take the task into my own hands.  And I guess this is probably why we pay other people to do the photographer. It was quite difficult to get the boys to stand still and pose!

Graham had some colored streaks on his hair because we had just returned from their haircuts:
Here is Charlie being his cheeky self!
See what I mean!  Looks like I will have to make do with these school photos for the 2016/17 year!
I am tempted to re-take these photos perhaps with a nicer backdrop than along the corridor of our apartment!  Will definitely post those if it does happen :-)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Liberty Science Center

Graham and Charlie couldn't get enough of the Liberty Science Center (LSC) in New Jersey! The original plan for us was to see the Statue of Liberty up close but it was a great coincidence that I saw the LSC on the map when I was researching on the trip details.

And what was best about the Science Center was the current premium exhibit of the Mythbusters.  Graham and Charlie LOVE watching the TV program and actually, Graham went to the Live Show last year, so he was totally psyched!
And here is the Mythbuster gang.  Okay, not actually in person :-)
But most of the items from the set were brought in. Too cool!
And so were some of the experiments:
The rain chamber - will you be more wet walking or running? Fun for everyone!
Everyone had a go at this one:
I think Graham did the best! Okay, perhaps Daddy did line up the plate, cup, and vase a little towards the corner - but I love how excited Graham was. Priceless!!!
video
Lots of other interesting things on the other floors including the Illusions exhibit.  This one even works on the computer screen!
This particular light was probably my favorite within this exhibit.  How cool is this!
Photo time!
Love the New York skyline from the LSC:
There was also the animal exhibit:
Graham and Charlie got to touch a few animals (look away Grandma!):
Charlie was more than eager to answer questions. Too cute! It was so good to see him being so interactive:
There was also the very dark Touch Tunnel.  I skipped this one. Small tight spaces is not my cup of tea!
I did opt to take Charlie through this Infinity Climber. But for some reason once I got to a tight space and was surrounded by people, it made me quite uncomfortable - which is really weird because there is obviously air around the nets!
No issues for the boys!
More climbing around:
There was also the wall of soap.  Had to do it while no one was around, otherwise it will always get popped!
Here is the "I Explore" area. Graham and Charlie love watching the balls travel up and down this interactive maze:
Speaking of love, this interactive skeleton made the boys laugh so much! :-D
The last part of our Day 2 morning was the "Skyscraper!" exhibit.  Halfway across the world to see the Burj Khalifa. Charlie is doing his spiderman pose and Graham "leans" on the building :-)
I ended up doing some walking along beams. Took me some courage to let go of the rope even though I knew I was strapped up!
The boys enjoyed the digger:
And working the crane:
And while no one was looking, Bobby quietly was working the digger too:
There was also a wind tunnel but we skipped that. Phew!!! What else is at the Liberty Science Center you ask??? There was the IMAX Dome and also the 3D movie.  Both excellent!  And finally, can't forget the gift shop.  I think Bobby was more anxious about getting the new Newton's Cradle opened up:
What a fun trip!!!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Quick trip to New Jersey

So let's just say it's a good thing Bobby works for an airline!  The boys were getting a one-day Islamic holiday a couple of weeks ago, so we decided to spend a long weekend + a couple extra days to fly to JFK/New York.  My new driver (a new golf club) had arrived in New Jersey recently at my mom-in-law's and the idea of actually going to pick it up in person was suggested.  And so we did!  That way the boys could also visit Grandma and Pop-pop for a few days as well. Win-win!!! :-)
There's my new baby.  Thank you TaylorMade!

Graham and Charlie really miss the wide open space of a backyard. And just nature, I guess:
Sand is always given, isn't it?
Then, the boys discovered croquet. Thank you Pop-pop for getting it out of the shed!
And styrofoam airplane/gliders.  Not too shabby for only $5!
As per usual on every trip back to NJ, Bobby and I like to eat out the same Italian restaurant where we had our first date.  This time it was all of us for our belated 10th wedding anniversary.  Graham was so jetlagged he missed the entire dinner!
Charlie was being his usual cheeky self:
The next day, the original plan was to get the family to see the Statue of Liberty up close. But then, I noticed the Liberty Science Center on the map, that was located really close to the Statue. What a find! Will write out a separate blog post for this one. We did so much!

We were a bit early so we drove to Liberty State Park, parked the car, and walked to get a closer look at Lady Liberty:
Family photo op!
And here's the New York skyline to the left of the Statue.  You can see the One World Trade Center - the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and 6th tallest building in the world:
Charlie somehow decided that he is going to shut his eyes and smile in all photos! Cheeky monkey!

A powerful message in sculpture.  I am guessing that's the Brooklyn bridge in the background. Actually Bobby just correct me. It's the Verrazano Bridge:
And here we are at the Liberty Science Center!  Nice of Uncle Doug to join us too.  There was so much to do that we came back the following morning as well.
After the LSC, we went to try out the Liberty House Restaurant just a few minutes away.  The boys really enjoyed playing with the outdoor chess set!  Thought the signage was funny :-)
These pieces looked a bit heavy for Charlie.  Bobby was outside with them in the drizzle while we were inside the restaurant waiting for the food :-)  Can't get enough of the NYC backdrop!
Awww.... brotherly love!
And this must have been the part where Daddy said "Okay boys, kiss your muscles!" And of course, they did!!!
Lunch is served! Maine Lobster Roll.... YUMMY!!!
Graham and Charlie had fancy chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes and pork hamburger for Uncle Doug.  All looking quite pleased!
Once back outside again, I am loving all the cherry blossoms in bloom:
Gosh, I think I really do miss the color of Spring! Okay, suppose to be sunny Spring but it was rather gloomy and cloudy and just a little wet - which none of us really minded :-)
So tired when we got back to Grandma and Pop-pop's house:
2 for 2!!!
The next day, off to Uncle Doug's house for dinner.  But first, some basketball.  Mommy showing off some form :-)
Oh, by the way, loving my official Honda sweater!

Here is Charlie trying to do a trick shot:
Bobby reliving his teenage years :-)
We love to run around on that green stuff!
After dinner and it's movie time! Graham started to get a bit allergic to the dog, so we had to shower and leave. Poor kid!
Like I mentioned earlier in the post, it was a really short trip.  Already off to the airport by morning of Day 5. Last photo op with Grandma and Pop-pop:
New toys for the airport,... as usual.  Anything to keep them busy while we wait around:
And as usual, blue for Charlie and red for Graham:
We love M&Ms!  Graham spilled some milk on his shirt.  Lesson learned - don't try and rub it clean with a black napkin.  DOH!!!
We are flying back to Abu Dhabi in the Airbus 380. Some seats are facing backwards!
The other way to keep the boys quiet (especially Charlie) is food. He loves his pop-corn:
Graham is already so relaxed and the plane is still on the ground:
I was watching Charlie play his video games during the flight.  He is getting so much better! And thankfully I don't have to keep switching to a different game every few minutes:
Graham has learned to "chat" from one seat to another. He is 17C.  I love how he spelled McDonalds :-D
The timing of this flight worked really well. We left JFK at about 4pm and arrived back in Abu Dhabi at noon-ish.  Both Graham and Charlie slept for about 7 hours during the flight.  I am so glad my "baby" made it back in one piece! Although, it was inspected by the TSA on the American side.  I wonder if they thought it might have been some secret new golf club when they saw "TaylorMade" on the box:
Looking forward to getting an official round in with the club this weekend.  Thank you Grandma and Pop-pop for a lovely visit!