Monday, November 24, 2014

New plants

We purchased some new plants recently, just to add some green into our life.  Seems like everything around us is so brown!
Here's one by the corner of the living room, next to the chaise lounge.  Look, a new bud!
It's a good little reading/sitting area although I'm not sure if the plant gets enough light.  One part of the plant started turning yellow and brown.  Overwatering perhaps??? Who knows but figured I would actually plant it into the big pot.  Hmm... soil with guano?  Isn't that bat poop??? Well, whatever it was, I'm just glad it didn't smell bad!
And here's one other plant for outside, on our balcony.  We had a similar plant in our bathroom, except Bobby said he didn't like the way "it" was looking at him and that "it" wanted to take a nibble at his knee.  Ha ha! Well, hopefully this one won't turn "jurasssic" like the other one in Tulsa :-)
And back to my bonsai "Ali"... he's doing really well!  At the beginning, he kept losing his leaves and now that I've moved him into the kitchen by the window, he is much happier.  I guess probably because I've been watering him a little bit more too.  And look, he is sprouting some new leaves too!
I think that's about it for now.  I'll have to hold back on buying any more plants.  I did see some aloe planted along the side of the walkway close to our building though.  Hmm.... tempting!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A foggy Sunday morning

I couldn't believe what we woke up to this morning. FOG!
The fog was so thick you couldn't see anything.  Well, except for the dirty window of course.  This is what it looked like after I returned home from taking the boys to school.  Phew, back to normal!
I've never heard of fog here in Abu Dhabi.  Sandy and dusty but nothing like this!  Here's the road across the desert this morning on the way to Graham's school:
And the sun trying to peek out:
Amazing!  This place is full of surprises :-)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Graham is 4 1/2 years old

I can't believe we have a 4 1/2 year old boy now!  Where has the time flown? I still remember the day we brought him home from the hospital. He's obviously quite a mischievous one but which little boy isn't??!
Graham is doing much better in building jigsaw puzzles now:
But always distracted by the TV!  He loves watching his cartoons - day and night.  He would say "I NEED to watch TV!"
And he drew this at school.  He said he drew himself walking on the pavement. I still can't believe he actually drew this.  We don't do a lot of drawing at home so it's a lot better than what I expected!
And then this one just this past week.  I was so happy it almost made me cry!
I bumped into Graham's Arabic teacher the other day at school and she said that Graham is writing very well. That is so great to hear.  Soon enough he's going to have to teach me Arabic!  And speaking of writing, his class teacher said Graham has been doing great!  He did this all by himself. So proud of him!
Graham wrote "hot, mop, got, mom, rock". His "p" still needs a little work :-)
And supposedly with his math, his class teacher was going to work on a Math worksheet as a whole class activity but Graham felt confident enough to do it on his own and he aced it!  Smarty pants. Ha ha!
As UAE National Day (Dec 2) is approaching, the school has been doing quite a bit with the national colors.  Graham said they hand painted a bird:
And today, I had him color in the colors of the flag.  And he wrote his name all by himself!  And took his photo all by himself too!
Graham still plays soccer and loves it.  He has improved a lot since this past summer and we hope to keep that up with him.  Eventually there will be piano lessons and Chinese tutoring/lessons too. Eventually!

Finally, a desk!

I've been wanting a desk for the longest time.  And finally, I was able to go get one from yes, you guessed it - IKEA!  I'm at it again:
I was going to put it on this end of the dining room table (check out that messy table!):
And when I was about 80% done assembling the table, I realized that I had picked out the wrong table!  But in a way, I think it actually worked out.  I have put it on the opposite end of the dining room table and the width of the desk is the same as the dining room table so it sort of blends in:
And it's easier to keep track of the boys and watch TV at the same time :-)
Charlie loves playing with the hole in the desk for the cables.  I wonder what I'm going to find in my drawer on day!
I'll have to get to "work" soon to get lots of photo books and next year's personalized calendars done up soon! And gosh, Christmas cards too.  Can't believe it's almost that time of the year again!

"The Snake is in the..."

Graham started singing some phonic songs for school and funny enough, I found the book and CD during a book sale at Charlie's school!  So, we've been listening to the CD in the car and occasionally Graham will sing them at home.  When Graham did sing his first phonic song during dinner one night, he pronounced "grass" with a British accent!  It was very cute :-)
video
And then, this is what Charlie thought about it:
video
By the way, I've taken the chaise lounge of out Charlie's room so he finally has no other option but to sleep in his converted crib.  As you can see, he is very happy about jumping on it!  We've added some glow-in-the-dark stars on his wall:
I'm glad to report that the first couple of nights have gone really well!
Now if I can only step away from Charlie's room once I tuck him in.  Still having to sit in his room until he falls asleep!  Here's my new chair, by the way.  And here is Charlie working on his little toe nail. Ha!

Monday, November 10, 2014

A trip to the Sports Resort

Our apartment is not too far from a sports resort so when they were hosting a wake-boarding event, we decided to check it out.  The boys thoroughly enjoyed it!
It was pretty neat how the wake-boarders where pulled along by a cable system since the "lake" is too small for a boat.  Plus, this way they could pull 3 wake-boarders at a time at three separate locations around the lake. Pretty clever!
After the wake-boarding was done for the day, we decided to check out the Go-Kart race track nearby.  It looks like so much fun!
Eventually we'll have to get out on that track!
There was a restaurant at the top balcony and there was lots of space for the boys to runaround while waiting for dinner. And also lots to see with the Go-Karts staging downstairs.  So definitely a must-do again!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Charlie is 2 years 3 months old

Our little Charlie is definitely blossoming. He has been talking up a storm and eating a lot lately too! Unlike Graham, he loves his vegetables - broccoli, asparagus, carrots to name a few.
I think his favorite phrase is "I need snack!"
Charlie is constantly asking for food and it seems like he has this permanent chocolate food stain on his chin.  Yes, he loves his chocolate and all those other sweets too!
He throws a good tantrum but when Charlie is happy, he is just super cute. Peek-a-boo!
Charlie loves playing with playdoh!
And legos. Not exactly sure what it is, but as long as he does :-)
And occasionally he plays nicely with his big brother Graham.  The boys are getting better with jigsaw puzzles:
We are working on colors and he's getting there!
video
Charlie still suffers from separation anxiety at school but hopefully that will subside soon.  At home, he rather sleeps on the chaise lounge that's in his room rather than his converted crib.  I've had to lay next to him until he falls asleep but tonight, we made some progress. We put a chair in his room and I was actually able to sit in the chair while he fell asleep. Normally, he would have wanted to be right next to me or on me when I'm sitting on a chair! Sort of like this with movie nights at home:
Never a dull moment with my little CharChar!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Trick or treat!

Who knew we would be trick-or-treating in Abu Dhabi!  Graham wanted to be Bob the Builder this year. I'm so glad I found a construction hat for him!  And I bought some tools from the local dollar store here and he had a belt so I was able to loop a tool holder for him. Not too shabby for his first set of dungaree!
And Charlie... well, he was suppose to be the Fire and Rescue ranger except he wouldn't wear his hat and after a while, he didn't want his suspenders either. So I'm going to say that he was dressed as the Blankie Hugger - a pretty good one if I may say:
We had a practice run at the golf club the night before.  Charlie was fast asleep by the time we got there. This is what happens with no nap in the afternoon!
It was movie night by the pool, although by the time we got there, there wasn't really a comfortable spot for us to sit to watch the movie. So we just ordered a couple of pizzas and by the time we were done, the boys decided they wanted to try out some Sand Art. Basically, you pay for a small design and then you peel off bits and pieces of the design and pour different colors onto now the sticky part of the design.  The boys loved pouring out the sand:
The boys picked a monster truck and this is what we ended up with.  Pretty neat!
Once we were done, we just sort of hung around and the boys had some fun moving some stools around.
Cheeky Charlie!
Family pic!  First Halloween in Abu Dhabi 2014:
Here's a better look at Charlie's outfit/costume.  He was pointing to the airplane in the night sky:
By the way, no toolbelt for Charlie but I was able to put his torch light and pick-axe on his pants using some bungee cord.
The next night (actual Halloween night) we went to a nearby neighborhood to go trick-or-treating.
The boys were a little intimated:
And needed a little persuasion:
I think Charlie got the hang of it after a while, although we ran out of houses pretty quickly.  Looks like not that many people celebrate Halloween after all!
We ended up at the neighborhood mall:
And then, it was time to head home:
As you can see, there really wasn't much candy but the boys were pretty satisfied after eating their one little bag of m&m's.
Glad the boys enjoyed their costumes.  I'm sure they will be in them again as I want to get my money's worth from all the outfits we just bought for this occasion!