Thursday, July 31, 2014

Yay! Some new furniture!

We purchased a whole bunch of furniture from IKEA and after spending over a certain amount, the company delivers everything for free and also has a couple of guys in their team to assemble everything. There were about 3 cart loads of boxes and the 2 guys spent over 5 hours at our new apartment!  I sure hope they recycle.  That's our new couch by the way, in the background.  And oh, come to find out - our new rug in the living room sheds! NOOOooooo...!!!
More boxes! This was just from Graham's room.
Guess he had a lot going on in his room, but I'm so glad it turned out great!
I'm glad I did my homework on the width of the furniture. Everything seems to fit really well, although perhaps a little bit too much white. So glad the bed worked out.  The guy had the footboard on the wrong side, so he had to start all over! I love Graham's bed. There's a little compartment by the side of his headboard where it pulls out, so perhaps he can at least hide a few things from Charlie. And it has a under-bed for future sleepovers!
Graham has been so fussy about picking a rug. He wants a "fluffy" one, whatever that might mean to a 4 year old!  Hopefully the room won't look so stark once we have a little "color splash!".

And here's Charlie room.  I love the rug in his room! So far, nothing too much in his room but good enough for now. The chaise lounge doubles as the "changing table" - hopefully for not too much longer! And the chaise is also the same set as our sofa in the living room (just in case we change our mind on where to put it!)
His crib was suppose to come with two drawers at the bottom.  The guys said that it's suppose to be a separate purchase but I think they might be wrong. Anyhow, the inquiry is already on it's way to customer service :-)

We did purchase a dining room table too with chairs and of course 2 junior chairs for the boys.  I forgot to take a picture of it, so that will be in my next post. And hopefully we'll have a few more other things to show as well.  Seems like there's still so much to do, but now I'm only down to 3 boxes out of 10 to unpack! And oh, our first appliance!
There's so many new buttons on this dishwasher, I may actually have to read the manual!  And oh, wait... it doesn't open all the way.  Oops!
Thankfully this was already fixed today :-)
But bad news... no gas cooking at all allowed in this apartment. I'm so SAD! :-(  We've actually already purchase our gas stove and it is to be delivered next week.  Looks like we'll need to change up that order. Urgh!

Quick trip ino Oman

Unfortunately, the kids and I did not get our UAE visas before the end of our tourist visa.  So, that meant having to leave the country so we can come back in and in essence, renew our tourist visa for another 30 days.  I suppose it was a good excuse for us to do something different.  Bobby did get two days off from work because of the Eid holiday. 
So off we went!... to Muscat, Oman.  It was about a 6 hour trip and that included the trips for Bobby into the immigration and custom offices along the border.  On our way out, there were just sand dunes everywhere. Makes you wonder how those few trees survive in that sand!
Almost across the border!
And the minute we cross into Oman, the terrain changed from sandy to rocky and mountainous. Amazing!
Pretty cool gate:
And amazing sights... Ha!
Yes, that's a sign to watch out for goats:
Goats! Goats!  I see goats!
And I thought these were interesting looking bus stops:
And we came across a few areas of construction.  They have these "fake construction men" here in Abu Dhabi too. Quite funny :-)
The trip of course almost always goes along with someone crying in the backseat. Hmmm.... I wonder who that could be.  "Play leap-pad! Play leap-pad! Play leap.." and then, he falls asleep :-)
Here's the view from our balcony when we arrived at the hotel.  Pretty nice!
The boys enjoyed the beach and the pool.  Look at this leisure pool!
It was a good little short trip.  I'm glad Bobby didn't get a cramp in his foot because there was no cruise control in our rental car! Although, now that we've seen all these sights once on the way to Muscat, maybe next time it might be easier to just fly :-)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Random pics

Just a handful of photos that we've taken these past week or two.  Here's one of Bobby and the boys by the dock at a golf course that we were visiting.  Graham and Charlie loved the spaghetti there :-)
Here we are car shopping in Dubai.  Bobby noticed this one and said it looked exactly like the one his grandfather used to drive. What a small world!
And we did find a golf club to play at.  The boys were obviously excited about it too:
Still need to work on that split grip lefty swing!
And here's the club house by day. By the way, I just learned a new word yesterday - Falconry: the sport of hunting with falcons.  Learn something new every day!
And here are the boys... just lounging and watching cartoons in Arabic.  They don't seem to mind it at all!
And this was Charlie one morning when I was getting him out of his crib.  He had tucked Teddy Bunny in for his "night night".  Too cute!
We're slowly but surely also building up on memories here!

New rugs!

The kids and I went to a rug store the other day and I spotted a rug that I really liked.  Thought it might be nice for our living space.  Well, I'm glad that Bobby like it too!  And the boys too - at least now they have something softer to sit on.
We both love this runner too that's in the hallway area where all the bedrooms are:
And this one is for our bedroom. You'd think this was made locally but it's actually made in Belgium!
And for the guest room, as Bobby would put it... a little color splash! I hope our guest won't mind the more modern look and the fishies too, of course :-)
The boys don't have any rugs yet in their rooms.  I haven't scoped around the other rug stores yet. Hopefully we'll find something as these bedrooms are really echoey with the tiles!
And I can't wait for the new furniture to arrive from IKEA next week!  Well, at least just part of it. I'm so glad that there's free delivery and free assembly. I don' have to deal with that little allen wrench, at least for the bigger projects :-)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Slowly but surely...

We've collected our key for our new apartment last week but we have yet to do anything in it!  We did have a little TV delivered today for the guest/playroom.  The guys showed up with a HILTI drill.  It was quite funny yet nice to see a familiar bright red toolbox!
Thankfully we had made a trip to IKEA the day before the delivery. I had to make sure the boys had plenty to play with while waiting for the delivery.  Graham and Charlie sure love their trains!
This one, on the other hand was not from IKEA.  The guy convinced me he was going to give me a good deal since I was his first customer that day (it was like 11am!).  Anyhow, I believed him. Plus, look how pretty they are!  Only a matter of time before I lose every single sequence and shells with the 2 boys :-)
Then, the boys helped me build a storage unit and then Graham decided to have a little kick with the soccer ball.
And who knew IKEA boxes could be such great recycled plates!
Did I mention we have NOTHING in this apartment yet???!  Here's what the living area looks like when you walk through the front door.
There's a door to the right before this opening/in the foyer that leads into all the bedrooms and to your left, a half-bath. I discovered a leak in the ceiling in the half-bath today. Hopefully it will be a quick and easy fix for the maintenance crew. I guess just a matter of when they are going to show up!
And the living area leads into the dining space and balcony through those glass doors.  That opening to the far left leads into the kitchen (behind that wall past all those glass doors) and if you make a left, you'll have the maid's room, laundry room, and storage room.
And here's the very bare looking but large kitchen.  We'll need to get all the appliances soon before the end of Ramadan (i.e. discounts!):
And by the way, we drove to Dubai last weekend to look at a minivan. Yes, I actually want a minivan. I have really missed it since being here because sliding doors seem to work so much better in tight parking spots!  Anyhow, it was so dusty on the way out there.  As you can see why... look at all that desert!
And yes, lollipops are such a good idea on road trips, especially funny ones like these!
Graham just had a normal one, although it did come with a sticky spider thing that's suppose to "crawl" down windows/walls. It didn't work very well though.
On our way back from a successful car hunting trip (Bobby got a car too!), we drove past the tallest buidling in the world - the Burj Khalifa. Very impressive if you read the facts on their website.  I wished it wasn't so dusty driving by it!
Eventually we'll make a trip up there!  My legs will probably get really wobbly from that view from the very top.  Funny enough, the delivery guy tested our TV by plugging in a USB adapter that showed the making of the Mission Impossible movie with Tom Cruise at this building. No stunt guy - he actually did it!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

2 weeks later in Abu Dhabi

Can't believe it's already been 2 weeks.  Not too much going on other than the usual swim time in the morning and nap time in the afternoon, and then wait for daddy to come home so we can all get something to eat when the sun goes down (or Iftar).  Charlie does get some extra snuggle time while big brother Graham is still napping:
I think we have found a place to live but unfortunately, the apartment will only be ready in another month's time!  I guess if anything, we'll be able to furnish it and get it ready before all of us are finally in it.  There's literally nothing in it - no fridge, no washer/dryer, no stove, no dishwasher, no real light fixtures!  Just single light bulbs hanging down the ceiling.  I guess better than what my friend experienced when she moved into a villa and there were just electrical wires hanging down the ceiling! But in the meantime, I think we've sort of moved into our hotel apartment.  Yes, a laundry rack!
So far, still no car. We've been renting and hopefully we'll get one soon.  I think we're actually going to get another minivan!  I know, so much for not wanting to be "that" soccer mom with the minivan, but somehow after renting an SUV for 2 weeks, it's probably still my favorite. Somehow it seems that the parking spots here are rather tight and I'm always so worried about banging the back door into someone else's car when I'm loading up the boys. The sliding door won't have that problem. Plus, Graham can get himself in and out of the car much more easily and I won't have to worry about him denting a nice Porsche!

We haven't done too much sight-seeing although we did check out the Abu Dhabi Golf Club yesterday.  Funny enough, it's run by an American management company!  Here's the famous "Eagle" clubhouse - although probably more recognizable during the day :-)
In the meantime, Graham and Charlie are keeping themselves entertained in the hotel apartment. It's amazing what sugar (chocolate) can do to these boys!
I'm glad they are doing well although every now and then, Graham would say that he misses Grandma and Pop-pop or that he misses Tulsa. Hopefully when school starts, he'll feel better.  Maybe he'll feel excited about his new school uniform! :-)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Graham & Charlie's first haircut in Abu Dhabi

Our friend had recommended a place in the mall for the kids to get their haircuts.  Wow, this place was great!  We bought these huge lollipops for the boys.  Graham went first.  They had cartoon on TV and he was nicely buckled in on the barber chair and sat quietly all throughout his hair cut.
The person cutting his hair was so quick and did such a great job.  Ahhh... much better!
Charlie didn't complain once it was his turn.  Again, buckled up nicely, Charlie sat through his entire cutting session without a tear.  Amazing!
Such a handsome boy :-)  Ok, I'm bias.  I can't get myself to give Charlie a buzz haircut like Graham yet. He is still such a baby to me!
Looks like my days as a hair-cutter is over. Next time we have to find some smaller, more manageable lollipops though!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Driving in Abu Dhabi

It's been quite an adventure the past 1 week, driving in a rental car in Abu Dhabi.  With just a map in hand and Bobby's "spidey" sense, we have actually been doing quite well!  We went grocery shopping on Day 1, found a mall on Day 2, went over several bridges - actually only 3 that we've been on a lot, and lots of roundabouts!  It's so bright and dusty here, we've been making the boys wear their sunglasses:
Charlie doesn't normally leave his on for very long, but just long enough for me to take this pic:
And yes, I mean DUSTY!  Here we are approaching one of the bridges:
Here's the Grand Mosque in the backdrop. Eventually we will have to go visit it.
And on a separate day, this is how bad the dust can get. You can barely see those building on the horizon!
Some of the architecture here is spectacular.  Seems like they try and out do each other.  This one sort of reminded me of a tornado.  Well, it looks more like a tornado from another angle but this is what I have so far.  Just funny how we can't get too far from those saying that word just after leaving Tulsa, Oklahoma!
It's been interesting being here in Abu Dhabi during Ramadan, which is the fasting month. All the restaurants and cafes are closed during the day and some businesses are even closed later part of the afternoon.  And then, once the Muslims break their fast, everything is back to being open until 1am!  Thankfully supermarkets are open and some of the restaurants at the hotel are open during regular hours. It is definitely quite an experience so far.  Hopefully we can see some apartments/condos soon and perhaps get a new car too!