Thursday, May 26, 2016

Happy 6th birthday, Graham! (May22)

I can't believe our little man (previously our little peanut in my belly) is now 6 years old.  Where has the time gone!  We had a small party for him at our apartment last week.  Only invited a couple of his friends - Jasper (far left) and Seth. I know... we're obviously not big on BIG parties!
Graham said to surprise him with the cake design, so I made him a Star Wars themed cake. Thankfully he was happy with the Storm Trooper design!
I'm guessing the boys are now at the Star Wars stage. Can't go wrong with Lego gifts!
Earlier in the day, we went to the mall to go on this obstacle course that's set up in a local sports store.  Unfortunately, Graham was still too short! He's just a little over 110cm (43") tall but needed to be 120cm.  Perhaps next year then!  So the boys opted for a climbing wall instead.  Bobby got to be in the area with them too, while I watched through the glass outside the store:
Here's the smaller wall section.  Charlie got a little upset starting out but thankfully he got back into it with a little help:
And here's the bigger wall section. Graham got up pretty high but started on his descend once he realized he was too high up!
And here's Charlie making sure Daddy was safe while climbing. Too funny!
Thumbs up from the birthday boy!
By the way, here are the boys while roaming around the store while waiting for their climbing time.  I love this one of Charlie!
And Graham styling the sporty ones:
We've sort of started this tradition of video-conferencing with Grandma and Pop-pop during the boys' birthdays.  So on the actual birthday (day after the party), Graham gets to open his birthday card:
USD6 for a 6-year old and a Batman card with music!  Charlie bust out into dance right away hearing the music:
Here's the video. Too funny!
video
We bought a set of wooden dominoes for Graham.  It's a lot trickier than we expected!  By the way, if you're wondering why the boys have their helmets on, it's because they ride their tricycle and scooter around the dining table:
Okay, here's my attempt at the dominoes. I had the boys stay on the couch because they kept tipping them over while trying to help:
Well, it still didn't work out so well and neither did it for Bobby.  Ha ha ha!
The boys were happier with their puzzle books, I think.  Bobby did managed to line up a short one:
video
Seems like so much effort for a short thrill!

And here's the birthday song for the birthday boy.  I thought it was so funny seeing Charlie's expression when he wanted to sing the French version of "Happy Birthday" but Graham had already blown out his candle (on an apple pie topped with ice cream :-)  Charlie was instantly happy once we told him that he could sing again.
video

And finally, just a quick video of Graham reading:
video
It's probably a little more challenging trying to read while Charlie is messing around.  Graham's reading has definitely improved, to a point where he is also reading his math word problems:
We are so proud of him!

Next birthday is Bobby's on Monday (May 30th). It's only 3 days away and I have no idea what we have planned yet!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Recent happenings

Seems like a lot going on this week!  We spent some time on art using paper plates.  Graham had another "Home Learning" Creativity project to complete.  I thought these were quite creative myself.  Thank goodness for the internet!
And while we were working with paint, Graham did this one which I thought was very good. So I framed it :-)
And Charlie did this one - he said it's all 4 of us on a bridge. Nice to know he's thinking of all of us! Hopefully it's not us trying to jump off the bridge!!! :-o
And we moved Graham's desk from his bedroom into the living room.  I think it works a lot better out here since it doesn't really get used in his bedroom at all!
Charlie loves to help Graham with his homework.  I wonder when Charlie will realize that it's actually "work"!
And Charlie decided a few nights ago that he wants to sleep in Graham's room. So I had to make a few changes.  I turned Graham's bed 90 degrees and moved the trundle bed out so Charlie is on the opposite side of the headboard.  Night #2 and it seems to be working quite well!
And we finally have a bookcase in Graham's room!  Yes, it had to be red because that's his favorite color.  I'm just happy because now it's nice and neat with all the books on it vs. having books all over the floor.  Definitely worth the investment!
And finally, Rainforest Day at Graham's school today.  I gave him a few options and thankfully this one was an easy one - a turtle!  I used one of his old backpacks and shoved plastic bags in it to make bulky like a shell. Then, we covered it up with a big paper bag and used masking tape to create the pattern on the turtle's shell. Finally, the boys colored it in.  Ta da!
And oh, last but not least, we had a "visitor" lately.  How is this possible on the 6th floor of an apartment complex!?
video
Yes... a cricket!  Obviously we couldn't get to it because it was in the air-conditioning vent, but thankfully we haven't heard him these past couple of nights. It was obviously distracting our TV/golf time! Too bad I threw the gecko down the garbage chute a few weeks ago.  It would have been a good pet to keep, to take care of this cricket!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Thank you, honey!

Bobby read my last two blog updates and was a bit upset that there was no mention of thanking him for looking after the boys while I was away.  So.... here goes:

Thanks!
Merci!
Gracias!
Terima Kasih!
Danke!
Xie Xie!
Arigato!
Grazie!
Khop Khun Kha!
Gamsahabnida!

Okay,... phew! I think that covers about all the Thank You's that I know of! :-P

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

I was not able to fly back to Abu Dhabi in time for Mother's Day this year.  Looks like my boys got away easy!  I'm still waiting for perhaps a card or present???  Okay, okay... I did do a lot of shopping in New Jersey and also was flown First Class here :-)

I was able to spent some quality time with my in-laws during this trip. Thank you Mom (in-law) for being such a wonderful mom and Grandma!
We had a yummy brunch at the Golf Club.  It's too bad Bobby, Graham, and Charlie weren't here to complete the photo:
And for the first time, all of us went to play a game of baseball after lunch!  Here's me, at bat:
I probably only swung the bat around 10 times or so. And somehow I think I managed to dislocate my index finger knuckle.  I did managed to put it back into place when I returned to Abu Dhabi.  I knew something was wrong when it was hurting for so many days and the unusual bump on the knuckle was probably a dead giveaway!  Well, the bump is still sort of there but at least it doesn't hurt as much anymore.  Hopefully it won't ruin my golf swing! Oh, and don't get me started with my shoulder. Gosh, I'm feeling so old!

Anyhow, here's the crew at the baseball field by the end of the day.  What a fun (and windy) day!
Many thanks to the family for a lovely Mother's Day!  The flower was lovely as well:
I obviously had to leave this gift behind. Hopefully it will be blossoming in the front yard the next time we visit. No pressure, Grandma and Pop-pop! :-)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Short trip to New Jersey

I recently had to make a trip to NJ for an appointment with the government. Don't panic... everything is A-OK!  Anyhow, Bobby and the boys couldn't come with me this time as there was no availability on the airplane.  Can you believe that? Plane was packed full!  I actually had to leave from a Tuesday to Monday for a Friday appointment.  All that for just 1-hour appointment!

In any case, I had to get the household ready for my absence.  That meant lunch box packing instructions for the boys and their schedule up on the kitchen cabinets!
By the way, forgot to mention - I actually had no choice but to travel First Class in order to get on the airplane. I know, tough life and thankfully Bobby works for an airline!
3 windows + one more next to my seat in First Class!
Love this photo that I took down below on take-off of Ferrari World (the red structure) and Yas Marina Formula 1 track (bottom right).  Yas Links Golf Club is to the bottom left.
Yes, they do spoil you quite a bit when it comes to meal time:
And during bedtime too! I thought it was funny how the seat-belts actually go through a slot in the bedding.
I don't mean to complain but I thought the menu for the seat adjustment was almost too complicated!
Welcome to JFK!  Yes... very cloudy, gloomy, but thankfully not too crazy cold!
The week went by so quick in NJ.  I celebrated Mother's Day away from the boys this year. I'm still waiting for rain check?

There's just something about bridges that I really love.  Here's a glimpse of the Verrazano bridge that we drive across from JFK to Newark and back. It was built in 1964 and who knew that it still stands as the largest suspension bridge in the world at 4,260ft or four-fifths of a mile!
The trip back to Abu Dhabi was rather exciting actually.  I got to fly First Class (on the upper deck) on the new Airbus A380. Now, that's a big plane - 555 passengers in a 3-class configuration. That's a lot of people in one airplane!
These seats are much more comfortable!
Needless to say, the "Apartment" is very nice and spacious.  I had this whole bench section to the left (seat to the right), which converts into the bed. There are sliding doors that closes for privacy for each Apartment.
Speaking of bed, not too shabby!  I definitely got to catch up with all my movies on this trip. I think I watched about 6 movies going to NJ (I was awake almost the entire 14 hours!) and about 3 movies back inbound.
Yes, again - spoiled with the dining on these flights:
There's also a whole vanity section in the Apartment.  Seems like the only thing missing is the sink!
And what else is fancy, you may ask? Well, how about the automatic window shutters?  Yes, it was so fancy I had to take a video of it! :-)
video
And last but not least, a photo of the shower.  Yes, you heard that right.  I took a shower on the airplane while it was at an altitude of 41,000ft!  It was a little tough to take a good picture of it but you can see the shower head towards the ceiling/top side of the photo.
The showers are timed at 5 minutes per session.  There is a timer that is an electronic dial by the temperature control gauge, which changes colors from green to yellow to orange and finally red. I have to say, the shower was a very nice touch!  I did have issues turning it on the first couple of times. Nothing like having the Chef on board seeing you peek through the bathroom door in your towel.  Oh yes, chefs on board in all First Class cabins!

There was a whole other section on the airplane called the "Lounge" that I didn't get to check out.  Maybe next time, honey?????? ;-)  Although, it will probably be a while before I actually have to travel on my own again.  Especially after seeing how distressed Charlie was during our Skype sessions.  He would tuck his head into Bobby and say "I miss Mommy" and start crying.  It broke my heart!  And when I returned, I saw this drawing that Charlie did while I was away:
Hmm... I'd say Charlie was rather stressed when I was away.  But at least it was still a smiley face???