Friday, April 28, 2017

Ladies Interclub Winners!

The ladies golf league at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club hosted the final of the Interclub Ladies Championship a couple of weeks ago.  Over 100 ladies from 9 different golf clubs in Abu Dhabi and Dubai participated in this event.  And.... drum roll... we won!!!
I wonder if it had anything to do with using the same locker as Rickie Fowler??!
Due to the large number of ladies, we ended up using the men's locker room during the tournament.  Bobby might have had something to do with having my name on Rickie's locker as he instructed the locker attendant to put my name on locker (lucky number) 8 the night before :-)

I shot even par 72 to contribute 36 stableford points to the team.  Hooray!  Which also qualified me into the Swing Against Cancer Golf Series 2017 event.  This final of this charity event will be hosted at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai on October 26, which I just found out coincides with the Sime Darby LPGA event in Malaysia (which I will still need to qualify for).  Hmm... either way, better start practicing! :-P

Saturday, April 15, 2017

First experience of an Emirate wedding

I thought I had missed this wedding because it was suppose to be on while we were on vacation. However it was postponed and lucky for me, my friend Mina still wanted me to be her guest for the wedding :-)

Here we are just getting ready to head out.  All dolled up!
But 4 hours prior to that.... 
I had a friend of mine paint my nails earlier in the day but after some shoe shopping and picking up the boys, I had already managed to ruin the paint on some of my nails! Grrr... so anyhow, the boys helped me in picking out the glitter as well.  The wedding is at Emirates Palace so I definitely needed some extra bling.  Charlie wanted some bling too! HAHA!
I have been so out of practice as to what to do first. After the nails, it was a quick shower. Well, the nails didn't dry properly so some of the nails were smudged AGAIN!  And then, I couldn't find my concealer, so I had to send Bobby down to the supermarket downstairs. Not once but twice! Thankfully he was being very supportive (and patient!) and it was so cute when he told me that the lady staffs in the supermarket were helping him out as well when it came to picking out the shade :-)

I was going to curl my hair but in the end I just tied it up in a pony tail. Quick and simple! Plus I was running out of time. And thankfully I didn't stain the dress with my semi-dry nail polish.  I ended up borrowing a nice black dress from another friend at the very last minute, as I was only given a day's notice (gee, thanks Mina :-P).  Quick photo before the boys are off for movie night at the pool. I felt so tall!!!
I was already running late but Mina called and said that the wedding only starts at 9pm! Soooo... I kept my shoes on anyhow so I wouldn't ruin my nails again while trying to put on the buckles on the heels. I had a few more nails to retouch.  I am such an amateur!
Oh, by the way, new high heels for the wedding!... which made my right ankle ache while I walked. Who ever that invented high heels ought to be shot!  (That and underwire bras!!!!) Okay, reading up on it and seems like heels less than 2.5" is considered "low heel" and 2.5 to 3.5 inches is considered "mid heel".  So I guess I need to make that correction of actually just wearing Mid Heels or perhaps they were only Low Heels. YIKES!

Once we arrived at the East Wing of the Emirates Palace, which was spectacular as well - we made our way to the entrance of the ballroom.  Oh, there was a professional photographer taking photos for a small fee, which me and Mina took advantage of as well. I think the photos turned out quite well! Thank you Mina for paying my share!

The ballroom was massive!!! There were seating for probably 1000 people. Oh, I forgot to mention that this is only for women.  The groom and bride host their wedding receptions separately and whenever there is the presence of men in the ballroom, the local women would have to cover up with their Abaya.  The most interesting part of the ballroom was probably this shiny runway that was situated in the middle of the ballroom - literally like something out of a fashion show.  And this is where the women would dance on - mostly the single women. There were 2 rows of seats on each side along the runway where older women would get a chance to scout out a potential daughter-in-law for their son(s).  True story!!!

I couldn't take a lot of photos as you sort of had to protect the local women who were "unveiled".  So just photos of me and Mina and our food :-)
Here is our table setting. So lovely with so many individually cut orchids surrounding the candles!
Here's our appetizer or cold mezze. Looks so nice!
And oh, did I mentioned how many little cups of tea I had? And there were so many different types! Pistachio tea was interesting, chai, and some other ones which I had no idea how to pronounce in Arabic:
And there were a lot of different servers as well with different uniforms on. There were ladies dressed in lace head-covering carrying the coffee and tea pots. And right behind them were ladies that held a tray for the tea and coffee cups. And then, you had servers that helped serve our food and drinks. And then, you had those that cleared the table - which I learned are really quick to take your cup even though you are not quite finished with your tea!

Can't get enough of these beautiful tea cups:
 I am guessing all gold-trimmed, similarly to the plates:
What was also interesting is that they served sweets first (maybe that's why lots of coffee and tea early on!).  And then, the bride showed up around 10pm and the stage/runway was set for her to walk slowly up and down. And once more up to the end of the runway where she sat and took photos with her guests. Dinner was served at 11pm and by midnight, the groom and his entourage showed up for a brief moment for some photo taking.  Not long after, it was our cue to head home.  
What a night!!! The venue, the ladies and their gowns and glittering jewels, the variety of tea and coffee, and the delicious food.  I think we were the only 2 Asians by the way.  I don't think we stood out too much :-P  Thanks again to Mina for the invitation!

Recent happenings

Fun with rubber bands:

Fun stepping/bouncing on daddy:

Or punching daddy:

 Or sparing with each other (thankfully no injuries... yet???):

Fun at the park:

Looking so relaxed despite it being a hot day!

Charlie loves cake!!!
Charlie and his friends at the birthday party.  He is convinced that he is going to marry Esmay - the girl standing next to him.  Too cute! :-)

In the meantime, Graham has been writing the shopping list for Mommy. We now know what his priorities are:
Too funny!

Waterpark fun

Graham and Charlie LOVES the waterpark!  We only have the weekday pass so we tried to take advantage of that during the last week of Spring break.  The first time we went, the boys were freezing! So we got out early and checked out the rest of the park. It's funny how we were always in the same corner for the past year.  We discovered the lazy river and body boarding!  So on the 2nd trip that week...

Graham's first attempt at Body Boarding. Bobby and I were so proud of him!
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Bobby and I thought that he would just zoom all the way to the back on his first attempt, as we had been seeing that with the younger kids' attempts before Graham's.  But he did great!!! Obviously there was a wipe-out but Bobby and I were so glad that he didn't cry.  His 2nd attempt was not as impressive but so glad he was not afraid to get back in.

Lots of water fun!!!
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It will be difficult to top this place when we move away!

Family golf

During Spring break, we also took the boys out on the golf course.  Graham and Charlie really enjoy playing.

Here is Graham's swing.  Still need to work on his balance! Although, he did manage to make some really good contact that day:
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Charlie's swing seems more natural. Maybe he will be our retirement plan!
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Family photo op!

Fun day at the golf course!
In the meantime, I am still working on improving my swing speed. Hit a drive at 92.5mph last week during a lesson. Woohooo...!!! My last session a month or two ago was at 91mph.  My golf instructor is still convinced that I can get it up to 95mph.  I guess that means more push-ups, planks, burpees, .... sweat, pain... aaaahhhh...!!!
I did recently receive some good news though.  A new driver just arrived for me! Hooray!!! Except it's in New Jersey!  Hopefully this will help with increasing the swing speed too, once I get my hands on it, of course ;-P

Oh, one more video of Graham.  It is of him driving the golf cart. Slowly but surely he is getting somewhere!
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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Abra boat ride

A couple of weeks ago, we took a little ride on a wooden boat.  We departed from Yas Marina, on the smaller abra - although I was hoping for the bigger one after I saw it!
I love it when the boys hug each other for photo-taking. Awww...
Graham and Charlie are checking out the boat before departure:
Here's the gang! We were joined by a good friend of ours that we met through golf plus his family and parents who were visiting:
And we're off!  Who knew they actually used these canals:
Approaching what we call the "coin" building. It's actually Aldar HQ - a property management company:
Pretty unique building:
Happy Graham!
Charlie was a bit scared so he was hanging on close to Mommy:
Chinook!!! We see them quite frequently here along with the Black Hawks as there is an army base not too far away:
Approaching the bridges. The one you see here is the Sheikh Zayed bridge or what we like to call the Ribbon bridge :-)
And the other/older blue one is called Maqta bridge. You can also see the old watchtower to the right of the Maqta bridge. Based on what I have read, back in the day - there was a causeway connected to the watchtower and travelers would wade across the water when the tide permitted. 
Daddy, Graham, and Charlie having a good time. Obviously more relaxed now:
A view of the Grand Mosque from the water:
Another view of the bridge as we head back out/away from the Souk area:
Close up of the watchtower:
Sun is setting.  Silhouette of our abra operator:
Our abra takes us towards Yas Island by the mangroves.  Family photo op!

The kids are getting a bit restless and obviously missing out on the view of Yas Link Golf Course behind them!
Heading back to Yas Marina.  What an enjoyable afternoon!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Last bit of London (Spring break)

It's amazing how messy our room can get within just a few days of vacation. Why is that??!
Charlie and I are sleeping on the mattress on the floor and Graham and Bob are on the bed in the same room. And who knew that Charlie actually grinds his teeth. YIKES!!!  Anyhow...

Our last full day in the UK.  Bob and I couldn't decide whether to take the boys back into London to do some sightseeing or the original plan was to visit Stonehenge. Instead after a restless night with both boys coughing, we opted to stay in town and visit the Roald Dahl museum, which was literally down the street from where we were staying.  Funny enough, Graham was introduced to the writer this past term where he even went for the Fantastic Mr Fox play at a local theater here in Abu Dhabi.

But before we go, you have to fuel up on some chocolate!
Here is the museum, located in the little town of Great Missenden:
Graham being like a silly monkey, as per the monkey on the Cafe Twit signage:
 Mmmm.... all the yummy pastries in the cafe!
But first, the museum.  You could almost take a gnaw out of this chocolate door :-)
And here is the man himself - who knew Roald Dahl was also a fighter pilot.  He is really tall at almost 6' 6" - that is as tall as almost 2 Oompa Loompas! Or perhaps even 2 Graham's :-D
Here is Roald Dahl's study. The museum basically moved everything from his little hut into this museum and placed everything in place as it was.  There's some interesting things on his desk:
Like... spinal shavings???!  Eeeewww...!!!
It's not a very large museum and there were lots of school kids around. Perhaps Charlie just needed some space on his own?
We love the stop-motion Fantastic Mr Fox movie. This is from the actual set. Too cool!
Graham sitting in Roald Dahl's replica chair. Instead of getting a new chair, Dahl hacked a hole in the back to help ease his back pain from a crash landing during WWII.
The lady that took our entry fee recommended a walk in the woods, where I thought she said we would see Roald Dahl's grave. Well, almost immediately we had lost our way as there were no signage that corresponded to our map in the leaflet.  We did eventually turn around and found this narrow alleyway:
Time for a we-fie right before going under the railway line!
So far so good!
And then we get to this big field:
After a long while.... made it to the other side and into the woods!
Okay, some signage. Not too lost then, I guess:
Here's our map by the way.  Notice the word "kissing gate" which after some research, was constructed to let people through - one at a time, and not livestock.  Although I made sure the boys kissed me while I held the gate open :-)
Looks like someone is tired and taking a break (it's Graham):
Another large field to cross!
Hmm... shooting???!
This bird was flying above us like it was going to take Graham or Charlie with him! It's actually called a Red Kite - almost a smaller version of a buzzard:
I am so glad we didn't lose our map. It was our only way to get back to town! We did see a few people occasionally walking their dogs:
Sheep!
What a view:
Going downhill.  Looks like we really need some walking sticks now.
It's the home stretch! I'm so glad Graham didn't take a tumble here!
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Also glad it didn't rain on us. It would have made it even muddier:
Some cool carvings along the way: 
It was actually quite a long walk in the end, especially not seeing Roald Dahl's hut or his grave!  Right after Leo's appearance, Charlie threw a fit.  He just stood still, didn't want to move and said "I'M TIRED!!!!".  Poor thing... the things we drag our boys through. HA HA!
Everyone is a bit happier after some food in their belly:
And a good loooooong nap too!
Our last night and the boys and Izzy stay home while the adults head out for dinner.  The restaurant is a 15th century inn, located just down the street.  Perhaps people back then weren't so tall??!
Ben is giving us a cow anatomy lesson :-)
Lots of laughs on our last night:
By the way, one more lesson on British English.  Pudding is a general word for dessert. Who knew!
Off to the airport the next day and the boys accumulate on more gifts. A zebra for Charlie, which he named "Zeny" (after a few other names before that):
Jump rope for Graham as he completed a term of skipping last month at school:
Oh, I love how the Brits put this one the roads at the airport as they do drive on the other side of the road:
Routine!
Thankfully the airline did not ban portable electronics on this flight (yet???):
Occasionally, Charlie still loves to color:
Back in Abu Dhabi and it is past midnight. Everyone is SO tired and of course, our luggage was one of the last ones coming out on the belt:
Thank goodness for the airport strollers:
Vacation over and loads of laundry. And that's with even doing some laundry while we were there!
Our little chick cookie tin had a few extra dents despite being wrapped in some clothing :-(
Charlie's chocolate football egg survived the trip though!
A few other discoveries while in the UK.  Tick tock tea - smells so good! And Olbas oil... really soothes the boys' noses and throats. Life saver!
Charlie is already asking to go back to London. He really didn't want to leave.  Already looking forward to our next vacation - we have a couple places in mind :-)