Thursday, June 22, 2017

Missing my mom - 10 years later

It's been 10 years since my mom had passed away from colon cancer (June 19, 2007).  I think the biggest thing for me now is my mom not being around to watch Graham and Charlie grow up.  Makes me miss her even more. She would have been a great babysitter! :-P

This is my mom and her sisters - she is the one to the right.  My dad passed along this photo to me recently.  I am guessing this was before they all left for university so probably late teens.
I have still been growing out my hair for Pantene Beautiful Lengths - a charity that makes wigs for women with cancer.   Although I think I am accumulating more strands of white hair than the previous years!!! Anyhow, won't buzz it all off until next year. It's not quite the requirement of 8 inches yet.

Miss you, mom! May you continue to watch over us here from up above XOXOX

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happy birthday to Me!

Oh no! One more over 40!!!  Breathe... breathe... ok, only 41. Don't panic - not quite yet at least.

Nothing like starting out my day with a nice card from hubby and boys though. I think Bobby scored some brownie points here:
I love how the boys are able to write their names and little notes now.  And I was actually quite impressed with Bobby's drawing of a jaguar.  If you are wondering, it's a hint for a Jaguar Driving Experience. Vrrroooom vrroooommm!!!  10 more days to driving a speedy sports car on a Formula 1 race track. Woohoooo...!!!
And hmmm... what's this? 
It's Branch from the Troll cartoon/movie.  Perfect for my handbag! It actually comes with a little brush too, just in case if I ever get bored while waiting somewhere. Of if perhaps I need to calm down and meditate, I can comb Branch's blue hair. Ha ha!
After picking up the boys from school, we headed off to a bakery in a nearby mall and picked up a variety of cake slices.  We then headed over to a friend's home and Judy's little Abby clearly enjoyed the cakes too. How cute is that face!
By the way, did you know I am her favorite person? She actually called me by name the other day! :-) And can't thank Judy enough for the Gemini charm for my bracelet. Thank you so much! You are such a dear friend. Judy actually bought me the Pandora bracelet on my 40th birthday. How time has flown by so quickly!
Then, it's off to dinner with Bobby and the boys. And yes, more cake!!! Graham and Charlie are so cheeky:
Family we-fie!
A lovely birthday, I would have to say!

And oh, a few days later I also went out for a nice steak birthday dinner with my J-friends.  If you are also wondering about this, it's Judy, Jackie, and Jenny. I think it's such a weird/funny coincidence that these group of gals all have names starting with J!

What a yummy dinner and dessert was excellent too. I think the plate says it all :-)
Grateful for great friends!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Recent happenings

I finally convinced Bobby to take us to this place called DragonMart in Dubai. It's basically a HUUUUGE building that houses both retail and wholesale businesses. Actually, there's now DragonMart2 as well, so it is even bigger!  We saw some very cool looking light fixtures. So pretty!
Graham and Charlie finally got a new scooter:
You literally could find anything and everything here. We also found some cute little backpacks for the boys - for cheap too!
Although not at the expense of our car being scratched though. That's twice now while being in Dubai. Grrrr...!!!

Anyhow, back in Abu Dhabi... we are working on some new life lessons at home - mostly with Graham.  I figured it was finally time for him to help a little in the kitchen.  Plus, he is the one that is eating most of the mushrooms!
He seemed purely interested and actually requested to cook mushrooms again a couple days later.  This time I even let him cut the mushroom all by himself:
Thankfully no injuries! We are also working on his confidence - we sent him to pick up some groceries all by himself :-)
I told Graham to pick up a baguette and some apples. He came back with Arabic bread. Close enough :-)  Charlie was fast asleep in the car so I parked close to the entrance of the supermarket and sent him in. He was so proud of himself when he got back to the car. And I was so proud of him too!

Happy Graham! He loves making bubbles while washing his hands:
Charlie, on the other hand, loves to crumble up his paper when he gets frustrated!  He was trying to make a paper airline and obviously things didn't go his way. HA HA!
Thankfully we have other things to keep the boys busy - lots of jigsaw puzzles!
If only they would use another part of the apartment and not the main thorough-way for it. Oh well, anything to keep them out of trouble. I guess pillows will work too. Look closely enough and you can see Charlie tucked away in there somewhere.  Too funny!
There is only one week of school left. I will need to come up with more ideas for the summer! It's too bad our trampoline park membership is expiring after Ramadan.  I thought it was so cute when I spotted both the boys together just hanging out during Dodge ball:
And the tightrope was set up by the front cashier, so I got to try it out too. It was so difficult!
So happy that the boys play together so well, most of the time at least!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Bobby's birthday

Happy birthday to Bobby/Daddy!!! Another year older :-P

We managed to surprise him with a little cake with a candle on top during dinner last week (May 30th).  Coincidentally, his good friend from London - Ben and his family were in town, so that made it extra special.  It was Ramadan (fasting month for the Muslims) so we were only allowed to whisper his birthday song :-)
video
Since it was too late for his birthday gifts when we got home, Bobby only opened his presents the next day. After much research on some Chinese horoscope, it was suggested that Bobby wear a clear quartz crystal bracelet. So, it was only fitting that we got him one for his birthday.  Bobby's other birthday gift was a marble puzzle/game. Graham and Charlie obviously helped with getting this present open:
Happy birthday Daddy!!! Dare I say... only a few more years before the big 5... 0... ?!!!  I can't believe it.  You still act like you're 25 :-P

Friday, June 9, 2017

Puncher's surprise visit

I suppose we have British Airways to thank for this one!  The Punchers were suppose fly from London to Milan but due to an IT glitch, their flight was canceled.  So, they decided to hop on an Emirates flight and come visit us instead. How awesome!  Boys were super excited to see them when they returned from school.

It was a busy week.  First, we spent some time at an indoor trampoline park called Bounce. So much fun (and sweat!!!):
So much bouncing:
video
The session goes on for an hour, but we have bought a pass where the boys are able to bounce for a maximum of 3 hours a day. They just can't get enough!
video
And then, there's the tightrope.  This looks really difficult!
Izzy kept trying over and over again. I might have to give this a go someday!
video
After Bounce, it was off to smell a few scents :-)
Graham and Charlie are obviously quite spoiled having Izzy around:
See what I mean??!  Charlie is too tired after Bounce to even have dinner:
The next day, it's swim at their hotel pool:
It's quite the view of the Grand Mosque, especially during sunset.  Stunning!
That night, we are celebrating Bobby's birthday.  Oops... we lost Graham this time. He is rather comfy on Ara's lap:
Charlie manages to stay awake as he plays with Ara's phone:
Oh, by the way, it is Ramadan so we actually have to whisper Bobby's birthday song.  Make a wish!
Graham is awake now. The yummy cake does not last long!!!
On the walk back to the hotel lobby, uncle Ben is too hot so Charlie decides to wear his sports jacket instead :-D
Another fun night!  The next day, the fun continues at Yas Waterworld. We all get a nice tan and boys get ice lollies:
Thank you Ben, Ara, and Izzy for coming over to visit!  In a way, we are glad your flight to Milan was canceled :-P  See you all again soon!!! XOXOX

Monday, June 5, 2017

Graham's big boy bike

In order to beat the heat, we had to get to the park fairly early (for a weekend, that is). I was so tempted to sleep in but I knew the longer I procrastinated in bed, the hotter it would get at the park.

I'm not sure who is more excited - Graham or Charlie. Charlie is super excited to blow bubbles!!!
Graham had a chance to bring Kamil the Camel home from school for his birthday week:
Graham struggles a bit to get on the bike as it is just a tad high for him:
But once he is on, he's off!  This was only his 2nd attempt at the bike that day:
video
It's amazing how the balance bike (bike with no pedals) had really prepped him for this. Thumbs up from Graham!
Graham tells me he doesn't like his bike. He LOVES his bike! Happy Graham!
Charlie on the other hand is working on the balance bike:
He is doing great! Just struggles a little to get the bike up the hill!
video
Charlie might actually be ready for pedals. I will have to figure out how to put them back on the little bike. Haha!

Happy family!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Recent happenings

I suppose the thing that always happens here in the summer is that the weather inevitably gets hotter! It was 47C/117F one of the days last week during pick-up at school and it went up to 49C/120F just before getting home. YIKES!!!
Obviously you can see my interpretation of it. HAHA!

Graham and Charlie finally painted their clay bowls from Graham's birthday party a couple of weeks ago. Not bad, not bad:
Although, Graham accidentally broke his (the one with blue). Thankfully he wasn't too upset by it.
Speaking of the birthday party, I had Graham write "Thank you" notes to his friends.  His friend Anna got 3 smiley faces on her card compared to just the one for all his other friends. Graham is so convinced that he is going to marry Anna one day :-)
My creativity was tested again a couple of weeks ago during Charlie's splash day at school.  We were put to the task of bringing fruit to school, with an "underwater/sea creature" theme. And this is what I came up with - a shark watermelon. Well, it sort of looked like a shark.  Charlie called it Pac-man fish instead. Close enough I suppose!
So you wonder what else I do during the day while the boys are at school? Go to tea of course! Some friends and I went to a fancy tea restaurant at a local mall. Wow, really fancy tea for quite the range of prices!
I was actually quite disappointed with the muffins and macarons are almost too sweet to my liking anyhow.  The croque monsieur was quite tasty though so that made up for it.
It was interesting to roam around the store and find tea cups worth Dhs 1,500 or about USD400 each and tea pots worth Dhs17,000 or approx. USD4,700!!!! YIKES!!!

And one last Home Learning for Graham - Light vs. Dark. Hopefully we will get some basil at the end of this one, although Charlie just spilled the soil today when the ball he was kicking accidentally bounced off the plant/cup:
This was pre-spillage. Let's hope the plants recover from the shock!
Last but not least, this might be my new favorite summer dessert - Summer Tiramisu with strawberries!  Thankfully the strawberries were on sale that day:
You are suppose to soak the ladyfingers in lemon juice but not realizing that for the summer tiramisu, I had soaked them in with the boys' chocolate mix drink. And instead of raw eggs, I mixed the mascarpone cheese with Cool Whip.  Hopefully "extra creamy" Cool Whip is equivalent to "double cream"??!
We brought the tiramisu to a friend's home last night as we were invited over for dinner.  There was quite some pressure as to how good it would taste as it was my first time making it AND there were two other professional baker-friends as well whom had brought their desserts.  With my first bite into it, I thought it was quite yummy and there were some nice compliments as well. Hopefully they were sincere about it :-P  Either way, definitely a keeper for the recipe book!