Thursday, May 25, 2017

Happy 7th birthday Graham!

Graham is 7 years old!!!
Where has the time flown!  I found this photo of him (below) recently. Graham was probably about 2+ years old here. Actually, yes - just over two years old because based on his sweater, the US Open was held at the Olympic Club on June 14-17 in 2012.  Thank you internet!   

Awww... miss the boys at that age where they don't know how to talk back yet :-P
This year, Graham really wanted a party so we threw a small one for him at home. Although at first, the original plan was to take some friends from school to the local trampoline park. But after seeing what they served at the party and the pricing, we decided on just doing something at home.  We ended up having a pottery company come to the house - which really worked out perfectly!  A total of only 8 kids, including Graham and Charlie to keep my sanity in tact :-)

But first... the cake!  I had baked the cake the morning before as I had to be in Dubai for a charity golf event Thursday afternoon. I wasn't sure how moist the cake will be the next day but thankfully, it was excellent!
And then, prepping the snacks and fruit. Charlie is such a great helper, complete with party hat:
Making sure everyone gets to the party! Graham wrote the note, Charlie drew the butterfly and the rainbow, and Mommy drew the arrow and even threw in some balloons. Team effort!
Speaking of balloons, the boys can never get enough of it. I even hung some on our lighting :-D
Kids were listening so well and all so focused during the pottery:
Happy day for Graham! Birthday version of Princess Leia?
Everyone did so well!
Time for cake!!!
Oh wait,... one more. Time for muscles!!! Too cute :-)
Family photo op!
The party went great with minimal cleaning :-)

On Graham's birthday itself a few days later, we were finally able to reveal his birthday present.  I was able to hide it in the closet. I'm glad the kids didn't play hide-and-seek in guestroom during the party!
 Awww.... sweet photo of the boys:
Graham was somehow convinced that we had bought him a big boy bike.  How did he know??! He did tell us later that it was what he had wished for when he blew out his birthday cake. Phew! Glad we did get him a bike then!

And oh! We put in a request into the Kids' Classic FM radio station that we listen to every morning on the drive to school.  I may have put in my request too early as we were still home. I was streaming it live on my laptop.  Check out Graham's dance moves! :-D
video
We requested "Everything is Awesome" from the Lego Movie.  And yes... everything is AWESOME! Thanks to his friends for coming to the birthday party and making it a happy one for Graham!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Recent happenings

Let's start with Charlie: Dress up day at school about 3 weeks ago - Charlie is Peter Rabbit.  Can't forget his (finger) carrot!
Here is Charlie's beanstalk, in line with the fairy tales theme (Jack and the beanstalk).  I didn't realize it was a real bean plant until the long bean started to actually appear!
Charlie's class has been talking about volcano.  Not too shabby :-)
And here is Graham - thankfully not locked up in a locker (at the golf club) like Charlie was last year.  Ha ha ha!!!
For Home Learning, Graham had to create a 3D model of something that produces light.  Here is his paper-mache sun.  He did it all by himself!  He rolled up some newspaper, tape it up, and glued it all up.  We recycled his cardboard shield from last year and then worked on blending the colors of the sunset. Obviously no Picasso but an "A" for effort!
And here are a couple of artwork/pieces that was brought home recently.  Graham's interpretation of the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi:
I see it!
And I really love his owl!  Graham copied it from a picture that was provided by his teacher.  He said he didn't know how many feathers to draw, so he put lots :-D
Excellent work by both boys!!!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Night at the Opera

I was recently invited by a friend to attend her daughter's voice teacher's opera performance.  I have never been to a Dinner + Opera before. Anyhow, she posted the event on Facebook and when I looked at it and saw the name of the group Vox Livens, I knew I had recognized it from somewhere. My friend Jen is in it!  And sure enough, here she is on the program - to the far left:
All dressed up for her performance - looking stunning, Jen!!!
And my friend's daughter's voice instructor is Louise. She is the 2nd one from the right on the program. Here's the trio in action.  Beautiful voices!  They make it seem so easy to sing and effortless especially on those high notes:
I thought it was cute how they would act out what they were singing, although almost hoping for some subtitles as all the songs were in Italian. No... I am not quite there yet with my Italian lesson at the boys' school.

Thankfully the menu was in English AND Italian. Delizioso!... especially those raviolis:
There was a wine pairing as well although it was more like a wine tasting session for me and my two friends.  All of us had to drive home and we are all "cheap dates" so to speak. None of us can really hold a lot of alcohol! Nonetheless, the champagne, red and white wine, and dessert wine were all very yummy:
Vox Livens will be back performing again on July 27th (www.Facebook.com/VoxLivens).  By the way, the group is UAE's only soprano ensemble. Definitely something to experience if you love food and music.  I was actually quite mesmerized, especially when Jen and the other gal Lauren sang their duet Pur Ti Miro. What an experience to check off!

Happy Mother's Day!

Well, at this point, it is already a belated Mother's Day.  Where does the week go!?!  This Mother's Day was actually quite uneventful.  Bobby was now making excuses that the "American" Mother's Day is not celebrated here in the UAE.  Seriously??!

Here's what the boys made for me at school during the "British" Mother's Day, which was back in March.

I'm not sure if this alien heart is suppose to be me???? It has two very long arm and two legs. Ha ha!
I love how Graham drew the Family of 4 holding hands. So sweet!
And I am not sure what gave Charlie this idea of me making yummy sandwiches???  The only sandwiches I make for him are sandwiches with jelly or marmalade on white toast. I am glad they are yummy for him! :-)
My silly monkeys:
 Fun with birthday hats :-D
 Hope these boys will continue to appreciate their mother!!!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Graham and Charlie's school photos

The boys' school photos were taken earlier in the year but both me and Bobby were not very happy with them. So... I decided to take the task into my own hands.  And I guess this is probably why we pay other people to do the photographer. It was quite difficult to get the boys to stand still and pose!

Graham had some colored streaks on his hair because we had just returned from their haircuts:
Here is Charlie being his cheeky self!
See what I mean!  Looks like I will have to make do with these school photos for the 2016/17 year!
I am tempted to re-take these photos perhaps with a nicer backdrop than along the corridor of our apartment!  Will definitely post those if it does happen :-)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Liberty Science Center

Graham and Charlie couldn't get enough of the Liberty Science Center (LSC) in New Jersey! The original plan for us was to see the Statue of Liberty up close but it was a great coincidence that I saw the LSC on the map when I was researching on the trip details.

And what was best about the Science Center was the current premium exhibit of the Mythbusters.  Graham and Charlie LOVE watching the TV program and actually, Graham went to the Live Show last year, so he was totally psyched!
And here is the Mythbuster gang.  Okay, not actually in person :-)
But most of the items from the set were brought in. Too cool!
And so were some of the experiments:
The rain chamber - will you be more wet walking or running? Fun for everyone!
Everyone had a go at this one:
I think Graham did the best! Okay, perhaps Daddy did line up the plate, cup, and vase a little towards the corner - but I love how excited Graham was. Priceless!!!
video
Lots of other interesting things on the other floors including the Illusions exhibit.  This one even works on the computer screen!
This particular light was probably my favorite within this exhibit.  How cool is this!
Photo time!
Love the New York skyline from the LSC:
There was also the animal exhibit:
Graham and Charlie got to touch a few animals (look away Grandma!):
Charlie was more than eager to answer questions. Too cute! It was so good to see him being so interactive:
There was also the very dark Touch Tunnel.  I skipped this one. Small tight spaces is not my cup of tea!
I did opt to take Charlie through this Infinity Climber. But for some reason once I got to a tight space and was surrounded by people, it made me quite uncomfortable - which is really weird because there is obviously air around the nets!
No issues for the boys!
More climbing around:
There was also the wall of soap.  Had to do it while no one was around, otherwise it will always get popped!
Here is the "I Explore" area. Graham and Charlie love watching the balls travel up and down this interactive maze:
Speaking of love, this interactive skeleton made the boys laugh so much! :-D
The last part of our Day 2 morning was the "Skyscraper!" exhibit.  Halfway across the world to see the Burj Khalifa. Charlie is doing his spiderman pose and Graham "leans" on the building :-)
I ended up doing some walking along beams. Took me some courage to let go of the rope even though I knew I was strapped up!
The boys enjoyed the digger:
And working the crane:
And while no one was looking, Bobby quietly was working the digger too:
There was also a wind tunnel but we skipped that. Phew!!! What else is at the Liberty Science Center you ask??? There was the IMAX Dome and also the 3D movie.  Both excellent!  And finally, can't forget the gift shop.  I think Bobby was more anxious about getting the new Newton's Cradle opened up:
What a fun trip!!!