Monday, January 26, 2015

Boys being boys

If you're ever wondering what else the boys do while they are at home....
What's funny about Charlie's pose is that Graham used to do the exact same thing!  It was one of his specialty dance moves.  Charlie has now taken it to a new level and is doing it on the coffee table AND watching TV at the same time :-)
And Graham is learning to do these little semi-handstands. Daddy was quite impressed when Mommy did a headstand against the wall! That's why Charlie has the pillow down on the floor (for the head) except he is facing the wrong way!
And finally, watching TV while sitting on the bicycle.  On another occasion, Charlie had a video running on the Leap-pad and he stuck that in the basket at the front of the bicycle and was watching the video while pedaling.  Clever little boy!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

First real workout (since... forever!)

I finally signed up for a gym class today called Body Sculpt.  I had no idea what I was getting into!  I was able to get to it just in time after dropping both boys off at school this morning.  Once the instructor turned up the music, it was game on. And game on it was!  YIKES!!!  The first 10-15 minutes were lunges and more lunges.  I couldn't quite figure out the movements while watching the instructor so thankfully the lady in front of me was a great guide!  I've never quite worked-out by following beats of the music before so it was quite a challenge. Ha!  After the first set of exercises, I was already feeling pooped!  My legs were already like jello. And wait... another 45 minutes of the class to go??? No way!

Well, thankfully I survived the rest of the class. Not by much though.  There were push-ups, bicep and tricep workouts with the barbell, sit-ups, plank poses, running on the spot, squats, and who knows what else... gosh, I could hardly keep up! Needless to say, I was very happy when the instructor said "All done!" Some of the other participants looked like they were in pain too, so at least I wasn't the only one. He he...! While walking down the stairs to leave the building, I literally had to hold on to the railing. Otherwise, I would have just toppled over! And I'm glad I was able to drive home. Yes, it was THAT bad.

I have signed up for another class in a couple of days. It's more of a stretching class, which I really need so at least it won't be as intense (although I could be fooled!). If anything, the instructor is super-fit so at least I have that to look forward to. Haha... just kidding, honey.  I'm actually really looking forward to getting back into shape again, especially for my golf and this class with really push me into achieving that goal.  Need to hit the ball an extra 20+yards! :-)

Ok, so Day 1 at 150.2 lbs and waist of 88cm or 34.6". Hoping to get rid of that belly/muffin top, so bring it!!!

First golf game of the year

Bobby and I finally had a chance to go out for a game of golf at our home course!  It was my first time playing all 18 holes since we moved to Abu Dhabi.  My last full-round of golf was back in September during the LPGA Sime Darby in Malaysia!
Despite the slight rust, I was able to beat Bobby 6 and 4, which entitles me for some bragging rights until our next match :-)

After golf, Bobby wanted to get some pizza so we headed over to one of the restaurants located in a hotel.  There was an Aston Martin parked in the lobby. The boys were super excited, of course.  "Speedy sports car!" as they would scream out!
On the way up to the restaurant, here's a nice view of the Grand Mosque:
While waiting for our food, Graham was having a good time watching soccer. Just hilarious!
And after driving all that way to the restaurant, we come to find out that there is no longer pizza at the restaurant!  Well, at least the boys enjoyed themselves.  One more picture with the Aston Martin. I love the blue color!
I wonder if we'll ever get to drive or at least ride in one of these fancy cars.  Well, hopefully it won't be in a cop's car.  Yes, the cops in Dubai (although not in Abu Dhabi) drive Aston Martins, Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Ferraris, and McLarens!

Malaysian food in Abu Dhabi

Last weekend, there was a Malaysian food fest at the Malaysian Embassy here in Abu Dhabi.  I was not going to give up this chance to eat some yummy food, although I really didn't know what kind of food was going to being served.

"Mommy, there are so many people here"... as Charlie said when we were roaming around the grounds of the Embassy.  I think he was a little overwhelmed.  There were food stalls/tables set up along the walls and tables and chairs in the middle and some mats to the side for those who were comfy eating on the ground.  First up, chicken satay. YUM!
And then, a local rice dish called Nasi Lemak - comes with a hard boiled egg, "sambal" which is sort of a spice or condiment made out of mostly shrimp, cucumber, peanuts, and topped with fried little anchovies.  Bobby was completely disgusted. Ha! It was funny though because when I had my first bite, it brought back memories of when I was in Primary School when I was 6 or 7 years old in Malaysia.  The school canteen would pack these for lunch. Another YUMMY dish! I suppose it would have looked nicer before I mixed it all up :-)
The next dish is a noodle dish called "laksa". Normally it's served with a peanut sauce but this version, which comes from Johor was served with minced fish.  Ha ha... I just gave Bobby the chills again when I was asking him if it was shredded or minced fish. He had a bite of the noodles before I did and I didn't know the sauce was fish-based. So, his first bite was obviously a memorable one, which he almost could not hold in!
And finally, some "ABC" or "Air Batu Campur".  It's a popular dessert served with traditional jello, sometimes corn, pieces of fruit like palm, mango, and other local desserts like "cendol".  And then, topped with sweet syrup and local brown sugar/gula Melaka and evaporated milk.  It was the Graham and Charlie's first attempt at this so I only requested for it with the jello.
The boys enjoyed it but I think Graham liked watching them shave the ice on the machine and after he was quite done eating, he just liked playing with the leftover ice in the bowl.

Come to find out, these food fests are being held once a month or so during the winter. Looking forward to the next one! Perhaps no Johor laksa though ;-)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Charlie loves to golf

I decided to take Charlie out to the driving range yesterday/Thursday since it's his day off from school.  He really loves to golf! Thankfully he wasn't running around too much and more importantly didn't run out to pick up his golf ball or run to the side when I was trying to practice.
He was so determined to hit the golf ball and I'm glad he just kept at it even though it kept missing! And oh, he just starting doing this head thing where he looks to his target and back. I wonder if he picked that up from TV or from golf last week during the tournament.  Needless to say, I couldn't stop snickering when he was doing it.  Too cute!
Apologizes for the amateur video-taping. Still trying to figure out my phone!

Anyhow, Charlie was swinging both righty AND lefty! I wish I was as talented as him.  Definitely evens out those muscles on both sides and not lopsided like me. Ha!
It was funny though how he learned so quickly.  I had put his tee up a little higher once and he hit this amazing shot. And from then on, he kept asking me to put his tee up higher. Too funny!
Hoping to really keep this up every Thursday as I need the practice as well! :-)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Golf tournament at our home club

The HSBC Golf Championship came and went.  I think I watched more of the golf on TV than I did when we were actually at the golf club!  I took Charlie on Thursday when big brother Graham was at school.  We watched Rory McIlroy tee-off on the 1st hole and Charlie kept saying "He's going to hit it into the water".  Too funny! Hopefully Rory didn't hear that, although there wasn't any water trouble on the 1st hole. Phew! But that was that... with the thought of taking Charlie out onto the golf course.
So instead, we opted to visit The Village instead.  Charlie loved digging in the sand and burying his bulldozer. We actually lost the toy in the sand for a little bit!
There was camel-riding and I had a chance to hold a falcon.
And fun with photo-taking:
I think Bobby and Graham had more fun later on that day with photo-taking!
The boys enjoyed putt-putt:
Charlie couldn't decide lefty or righty:
Or maybe he thought it might work if he gets down lower to the ball:
Graham like this other one instead:
Trying to get the ball out of the pipe!
I didn't get to see Kaymer this week in person. But poor fella - this is probably exactly how he felt about the golf tournament by the time he got to the last hole.  Kaymer had a 6-shot lead heading into Sunday and by the 5th hole, he had a 10-shot lead!  Just shows you that anything can happen in golf. ANYTHING! The Frenchman that won by one shot - Gary Stahl was ranked 357 in the world!
Anyhow, the other reason why we watched more golf at home was because Charlie had croup late Friday night!  A little after midnight on Friday, Bobby and I were still awake when we heard a strange noise. We thought it was the neighbors fooling around in the hallway but when I went to check, it was Charlie coughing! Gosh, it did not sound human at all! Now I know what they mean by "sounding like a seal barking".  Bob's first thought was whooping cough although both boys are vaccinated for that. Once we were able to see the doctor (around 1:30am), it was diagnosed as croup.  Charlie had a shot of steroids in the bum (OUCH!) and a treatment with the nebulizer and was sent home, already feeling and sounding better.  And we let Charlie pick out his own nebulizer. Too cute!
Thankfully he's been quite good about using it. It's Day 3 now and just one last treatment tonight. He's recovered nicely and now just has a runny/stuffy nose. Somehow he has finally learned to blow his nose too! Now if he'll only learn to poop in the potty! He's actually peeing standing up now. Ah... the joys of potty training!
And oh, we were suppose to go to a birthday party on Saturday, so that idea was completely scrapped. I had Graham write the birthday note on the present. He's doing better with his writing:
Graham did get a little impatient once he got to signing off Charlie's name, so I had to help him with that.  Obviously there is no "Q" in Charlie's name!

Digging for dinosaur fossils

So it's not exactly what you think. Daddy figured this would be fun for the boys, except it was Mommy that had to do it with them!
And off to work!
What a mess!
Although, pretty cool I have to say.
We still have some dinosaurs and clay left.  We'll save it for another day!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Finally, a legal driver in the UAE

I finally went out to get my local driver's license today. I've been using my US license and supposedly that's illegal once you have your residence visa. Who knew! Anyhow, the whole process probably only took about 20 min where they processed my paperwork, took my picture and then, printed my license. Success!

But... it took me probably 45 min to get to the Driver's License Dept from the house because of morning commuter traffic. Once there, they said I had to get my documents translated into Arabic (seriously??!). So... back into the car and 20 minutes later to get to the street where the translator was. But then I couldn't find it so it was another 15 minutes backtracking. Love how they use landmarks on their business cards! Once I found my landmark, I figured it was just best to find a parking spot.  Well, it probably took 20-25 minutes just trying to find a spot! And I think I was actually quite lucky!

After parking, it was time to search for the translator and voila, just as I started walking towards the general direction of where it might be, there is was! I had driven by it twice without even realizing it!  I could have just double parked.  Anyhow, 100 dhs later, it was back into the car and back to the Driver's License Dept. Thankfully, the "Ladies Only" line was only 5 people deep.  And thankfully I didn't have to take the driving test.  Supposedly with a Malaysian passport, you are required to do so but since I have my US driver's license I was just able to skip that. Phew! 200 dhs later, I'm back in the car driving home.

Yet another interesting day in the city.  I meant to drop by the Municipality office but figured I would save that for another day. There's some landscaping blocking the view of our exit by the apartment complex. We'll see how that goes. Until next time Abu Dhabi!

New bicycle and helmets

We decided to let the boys use the scooter outdoors and finally caved in and bought a new bike.  The seat is adjustable with a quick release handle. Hopefully the handle won't get too loose too quickly as we have been having to adjust it each time Graham or Charlie gets on as they are obviously of different heights.
And thankfully the boys have been open about using their new helmets.  Well, so far we haven't had a chance to use them outdoors yet but at least they are getting comfortable with it:
Charlie has been wanting to wear it just because. He has even worn it while he was on the potty!
Hopefully no major injuries when we hit the road!

Friday, January 9, 2015

At the movies

We decided to go watch a movie last weekend with the boys at the new mall.  But first, some lunch and guess what I saw at the food court. I'm SO excited! Yummy yummy!
When we walked into the movie theater, it was just us.  And it was a rather small theater - probably only 50 seats. But then it started to fill up with people from all other countries - we heard Spanish, Indian, one other one that I didn't recognize, English, and Arabic.
Charlie really loved the pop-corn! He probably ate through more than half of it.
The movie/cartoon was excellent, by the way. It was called Big Hero 6 - definitely a must-buy DVD! The boys behaved great and with the buy-one-get-one-free ticket with our credit card, we will definitely be going back to the movies with the kids :-)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy 8th Wedding Anniversary!

8 years... sometimes it feels like it's been 18 years! Ha ha... but in a good way :-)

No date night tonight as Charlie has school tomorrow morning, so we decided to go to one of our favorite places - a Chinese restaurant located in a bowling alley. Don't ask me why it's in a bowling alley! Graham almost always walks out upset/crying because he wants to go bowling. I told him that perhaps on his birthday we'll have his party there.

By the way, dinner was awesome tonight!  Charlie was a bit more adventurous with the food compared to Graham:
Thumbs up from Charlie!
Actually, Charlie even tried some lychee this afternoon. The local supermarkets carry some of the same variety of fruits here as in Malaysia, which is great for me! Graham had no interest whatsoever though and walked out of the kitchen. Ha!  I suppose the fruit does look a bit... weird?!
Charlie did give me quite the face when he tasted it but then he said "It's yummy!"

And speaking of Malaysia, there were two other Malaysians having dinner at the restaurant tonight too.  Small world!  At the end of the meal, I told Bobby... "Happy belly, happy wife. Happy wife, happy life!" :-D

Despite all the white hair and wrinkles you and your kids are giving me, I love you with all my heart. Hugs and kisses, honey!

Tennis - Super 6

I don't play tennis but I do actually love watching it on TV, especially when the big names are playing. Well, here was my chance to catch them live in action!  The "usual suspects" - Nadal, Murray, Djockovic (no Federer though) were here last weekend at the Super 6 just 15 minutes away from the house!
The boys were distracted by the nearby playground (of course!)
Obviously having fun!
And even more fun with the bouncy house!
What is it with kids and slides?
And of course, they have to go back up the same way they came down!
We did catch a glimpse of Wawrinka at the practice court:
And then, I got distracted with the moon:
Testing out the zoom lens on my camera :-)
Since we could not get tickets into the game, we opted to hang out by the field.  It was rather close to the (interesting) loo but thankfully it didn't smell!
Here was our view:
The boys obviously just wanted to keep playing. Thank goodness for those bright yellow shirts!
Looks like this was the closest I would get to Nadal:
And to Murray:
Dinner time!
The tickets were rather expensive for Day 2 (out of 3) so even if it wasn't sold out, I don't think we would have paid for tickets.  We should have made it out the first day as there was a Family Day package. Well, we'll know that for next year!  In any case, at least we caught a nice sunset:
And the moon again, of course!
Looks so close, yet so far!