Sunday, July 31, 2016

Happy 4th birthday, Charlie!

Standing tall at 102cm (just over 3'3") and weighing in at 36lbs, our Charlie is finally 4 years old!!!  Sometimes I think he's older so maybe my expectations of him are higher.  He's still our little Char Char, for sure!

Graham and Charlie kept checking on the banana bread/cake.  They'd say, "Ahhh.... smells so nice!"
While the cake is baking, the boys are playing with Playdoh.  What a mess!  Graham earned his 10 stars for doing his school work consistently the past 2 weeks.  Graham good boy!
Charlie ended up buying a little storage box for his HotWheels cars that comes with a shooter and ramp.  He also earned 10 stars for not pooping in his underwear these past 10 days.  It's been quite a struggle lately especially during our travels. Hopefully he won't backtrack again on our next trip!
Cake is done!
Now, time to decorate.  Look who is so excited! Charlie LOVES frosting!
After some supervision from the birthday boy, here is his cake!  He wanted Star Wars as well, just like his brother.  We didn't have plain white icing so he had a choice of mixing all the colors. Not too shabby :-)
Mmmmmm.... Charlie hanging around for more frosting. Ha ha! 
Oh, Charlie also wanted a palm tree on his cake. Just something with him about palm trees ever since we moved to Abu Dhabi.  Perhaps it's the abundant of palm trees here??!?
I thought I was rather creative with the tree.  A couple of biscoff cookies squished together with nutella and I found some green patterned paper for the leaves. I'm very proud of my work :-)

On the side note, speaking of palm trees - I finally had my first date (the fruit) off a palm tree for the first time! I've seen people do this before, where they would just pick the dates off the tree by the side of the road.  Anyhow, there's this one particular palm tree by the side of the 14th fairway which I've been eyeing for a while now.  I finally approached it last weekend and it seems that the darker fruit/date is the more ripe one.  YUMMY!!! Next time I'll have to bring a tupperware :-)

Okay, I digress... back to the party:

We stayed home for dinner. Actually had some leftovers.  Charlie was not too fussy as he really just wanted to eat his cake.  We've left the TV on a few times during dinner time, mostly because of golf. Talk about priorities!
Daddy being silly with his party hat:
Charlie working on his numbers:
Skype time with Grandma and Pop-pop!
$4 dollars from Grandma and Pop-pop!
I think Graham is more excited about the Lego present!
Family we-fie!  I was trying to protect the cake from being smudged:
Remember Charlie's thing with palm trees?  Well, we decided to get him a little charm:
Okay, so it goes on MY bracelet :-)
Cake time!!!
And then, Lego time.  It was obviously tough to drag them to bed!
I'd have to say it was a successful birthday!  Happy Happy birthday Charlie!!!
We love you, no matter how much you poop in your underwear! ;-)

Underwater camera

A friend of ours recently lent us an underwater camera.  What fun!!!
The quality of the photos are amazing! As you can see, we are working on our new snorkeling skills:
And the quality of the videos are just as spectacular, although not quite so after being uploaded here. Still amazing how these things work!
Graham is doing really well with snorkeling. And it's amazing how he doesn't need the goggles with the nose cover.

Charlie is finally getting the hang of it!
We've only had a couple of tries at snorkeling.  Hopefully it will all work well as we are packing the snorkels for Malaysia.  Hoping to hit the islands when we are "home".  Can't wait!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Recent happenings

Charlie's new thing... Coconut!
As you can see, he is thoroughly enjoying it!  Thumbs up!!!
By the way, my poor knife.  Quite the losing battle with the coconut!  Thankfully, it's just a cheapy IKEA one.
Speaking of knife, I cut myself with a butter knife today.  A butter knife!!!  Who knew those things could actually draw blood!

Anyhow... back to the coconut.  Opening up the whole coconut once Charlie was done drinking its water was the easier part.  We went down to the garage and threw it a couple of times on the ground. Ok, three times :-)   Charlie is SO happy!!!
I wish Graham would try some but nope! Charlie was actually introduced to the coconut at his nursery last term.  Looks like we know what we'll be drinking/eating when we're in Malaysia next week!

In other news... the humidity has come down. It has actually been a little cooler late in the nights now. Except for this one day last week.  Dreary!
Since it's been quite hot and miserable outside during the day, we've been spending a lot of time doing other things indoors - like beading.  The boys made these for me :-)
Charlie likes his bracelets too!
And drawing and coloring. I couldn't believe it when Graham actually sat down and colored all of this in.  He is normally not that patient.  Definitely a piece to keep!  He said it was our "Tulsa" home.  Even after 2 years being away in Abu Dhabi, he still talks and obviously things about our life back in Oklahoma!
And Charlie has been working on some flags. We have a box of flags on flash cards.  Looks like it's coming in handy:
And finally, our collection of fridge magnets.  You can probably guess who has been lining them up.
Yup... Charlie!  Talk about OCD - having things in a symmetrical or in a perfect order.  And of course, Graham would come by occasionally and just bunch them all up together.  Simple things to irk his little brother.  As usual, never a dull moment in the Pridgen household!

Scrabble Night

Bobby and I used to have random nights of scrabble.  It's been a long time and we finally decided a couple of weeks ago to have Family Scrabble Night.  The boys thoroughly enjoyed it!  Graham made his first word "Net" by the 3rd round.  He thought about it all by himself. So proud of him!
Charlie needed some help of course with making his words but nonetheless was happy to join in on the celebration with Graham's first scrabble word :-)
Here's the final board.  We weren't counting points by the way.
But we were counting how many points everyone was left with.  Looks like Mommy lost this one! Urgh!
Until the next game!!!

Monday, July 18, 2016

First UAE PGA event

I finally signed up to play in a UAE PGA tour event.  The first summer series event was held yesterday at The Els Club in Dubai.  I was able to get a practice round last Thursday.  Wow, was it super hot and super humid!  Supposedly it was so humid that the temperature felt more like 55C or 131F.  Is that even possible???
A quick selfie with The Els Club clubhouse in the backdrop on the 18th fairway.  Notice the haze? It's actually from the humidity!

Well, the practice paid off.  I finished 2nd of out 10 other guys with a score of 73 (1-over).  Missed first place by a shot. I was actually a bit nervy the first couple of holes. Talk about lack of competitive play! Hoping to play a few more summer series events in preparation for the LPGA Sime Darby Malaysia qualifier in September. Yup, I'm going to keep trying! :-)

Recent happenings

After our trip back from the Netherlands/Belgium, Graham finally lost his tooth!  It was wobbly for a long time.  Now at least his gaps are consistent :-)
Funny enough, he lost it when he was swimming - the lower left lateral incisor.

The boys discovered cocoa powder from Maastrich - for mixing into milk, so they have been enjoying that since being home from Europe:
It's the summer holidays now and Graham and Charlie have been thankfully quite creative to keep themselves busy:
And keep themselves entertained too. HA HA!
Speaking of entertained, we did go bowling once.  I didn't bowl as I had to play in a golf tournament. Yes, that was my excuse!  I'm probably glad I didn't. Might not have been able to beat Graham!
Graham did use a kid's ramp that helped with rolling the ball rather than them releasing the bowling ball by themselves.  He was very meticulous with aligning this ramp and looks like it worked pretty well. 1 strike and 3 spares for a score of 111 for Graham!  Charlie had a score of 72 and Daddy had 98. Charlie did have a strike in his next game so that made him really happy :-)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Brugge, Belgium

Even though we only spent one night in Brugge, what an experience!  We didn't check into our hotel until after 7pm since we had spent the day in Brussels.  There was still plenty of daylight (it stays light until after almost 10:30pm!) so we decided to have a quick dinner and tour the city.  But first, like I said, eat first! The boys almost always need extra encouragement to get that food into their bellies:
Unlike Daddy! :-P
Charlie spotted a hot-air balloon in the sky. Check out that statue of Mary in the corner of the building!
Gelato after dinner. What else!
I love the design of these old buildings here.
Brugge is also very popular for its lace. So pretty! A lot of stores were already closed (lucky for you, Bobby!) but I did manage to get one lace bookmark and also a handbag (yes, another one!).  I seem to be collecting handbags now from different countries. Who knew Belgium was also popular for tapestry bags:
Wow, impressive liquor store!
And seems like you can find a Subway anywhere these days. Right next door to the Godshuis Spanoghe (an almhouse for the less well-off elderly) established back in 1680!
Graham and Charlie are constantly distracted by the chocolate stores. Thankfully, all of them were closed as well!
A quick photo op by one of the canals. Graham is holding a souvenir key chain to his eye. Ha ha!
Bobby is trying to figure out how far we have walked.  Still a while to the city center!
Impressive brick buildings:
The city was really quiet, which was actually quite nice after hectic days in Amsterdam and Brussels:
And here is the second tallest brickwork tower in the world - the Church of Our Lady, measuring 122.3 meters (401ft).  Impressive!!!
On the way to the city center, we find the city map made out of lace.  WOW!!!
Tin Tin!
And here we have arrived at the city center. Love the colors on this side of the square:
Architecture is so pretty around here.  Actually, this historic city center is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO.  Who knew!
Lots of horses for carriage rides.
What was most impressive was the belfry or bell tower. The bells started playing right at around 9pm as we were approaching the city center.  We thought it was the 9pm chime but there was actually a Carrilon Concert playing.  Too cool!  Check out how Charlie was walking to the bells :-)
The boys really loved the bells! So much so they were dancing to it :-)
And so much so that they were both sitting nicely and listening to the concert:
Here's the view from the courtyard inside:
And here is the instrument - the carillon that is played.  It is connected to all the 47 bells and is played with a loosely closed fist and the heavier bells are played with a pedal keyboard (with the feet).
As you can see, it's located almost at the very top of the tower. 
I looked up the name of the Carillonneur - the person playing the carillon, and found a YouTube video of Frank Deleu.  Pretty impressive! Click here to view the video.

On the way back to the hotel, we walked by Lover's Lake, which had quite a few swans but unfortunately the sight of feathers everywhere on the grass was not so nice.  Maybe that's why that particular area was fenced up for the swans.
Beyond the lake was a little bit nicer:
Back to Brussels to catch our flight tomorrow morning.  I'm glad we actually spent the night here. The bell tower concert was definitely one to remember!