Monday, December 22, 2008
Note the size relative to the snowman bowl in the background. Also, the first gingerbread house is on a glass platter.
This week the twins and I were finally over the cold that we picked up in Doha before we left. Brad came home with a stuffy nose and clogged ears. Yesterday, Nicky started it up again, and last night he woke himself up coughing at 10 and was nearly inconsolable. We ended up doing a middle of the night bed switch so that the twins could sleep in the basement, where, ironically, it's at least 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the house. After the initial upset, he seemed to sleep better the rest of the night. I'm tempted to take him to the doctor, but I know what he will say. It's better not to give toddlers cold medicine, it doesn't seem to be an infection, and we just need to wait it out and keep him comfortable. So, anyone have any ideas for keeping him comfortable, especially at night?
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
This song is hilarious. I have a confession to make, though. When I give a gift to my kids, I undo all the packaging, then put the toy back in the box and wrap it up. When they unwrap it, all I have to do it is help them open the box. I've avoided a lot of meltdowns that way. If it weren't for the fact that we might want to return the gift, I wish everyone would do it that way. Better yet, couldn't the toy manufacturers come up with something easier?
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Wouldn't it be nice if God's timing wasn't so just in the nick of time? I'd love it if he could be early once in a while. This fall, soon after we came back to Doha after our trip to the States, we found out that Brad wasn't going to be able to stay in Doha until the spring like we had planned. It wasn't our choice, and it was difficult to leave, especially for me since it meant that I had to leave the MOPS year unfinished. We had no idea where we were going to go next, and we were watching news reports out of the US about the terrible economy and all the people who were losing jobs. We wondered at the timing of it, coming back into the US now when life outside the US was looking so much more stable. Brad applied for many jobs, but news was slow, and much of it was not good. He was too qualified; he was not qualified enough. Through it all, we hoped and dreamed of the long-term oil job in Anchorage, Alaska. When Brad and I were dating, Brad lived in Anchorage and loved it. I went to visit him one summer and loved it too. We've always talked about moving there someday. The days and weeks dragged on and we never heard a word from the Anchorage job. So, when it was getting down to the wire, we were offered a TDY position in Abu Dhabi. I should say, Brad was offered the position. It wouldn't be family status, which would mean that I would have to stay with my parents during this time, and maybe they would let him bring his family over after the 3 months were over if they wanted him to stay. Brad verbally accepted, and we were relieved to have a job. The next day, he got a call from Anchorage asking for an interview. We thought maybe Brad would still go to Abu Dhabi for three months and then we would move to Alaska. With a heavy heart, I flew to Chicago with my parents and the twins, knowing that Brad and I would be separated this Christmas. Two days ago, Brad received his assignment letter/contract from Abu Dhabi, but he didn't sign it. Yesterday, he had his interview, and they want him mid-January. Sooo.... Brad is coming home on December 21st, we'll spend a couple weeks with family, and then we'll move to Anchorage. In the middle of the winter. :) This whole experience has been a test of my faith. Is the growth that I experienced in Doha real and lasting? I pray that the Lord has found us faithful. I know that He has been faithful to us.
So, without further ado, here's my garland: It was so much fun to make. I don't know if I can wait until next year to pull out my own Christmas stuff now. :) One tip: you know those power suction cups, the ones that you "lock" by pulling down the hook? Well, three of those are holding up that garland. That's it. They fell a couple times while I was messing with the garland, but they haven't fallen down since, and it's been about a week.
I love Christmas villages. This one is my mom's, but I have one in storage with like 40 houses. Did I mention I don't think I'll be able to wait until next Christmas to get out my Christmas stuff?
My brother gave this vase to my mom for Christmas several years ago. She usually has marbles in the bottom and tall seasonal flowers in it, but for Christmas we filled it with red and gold balls. I wish it could be sitting next to the fancy fireplace downstairs, but the kids are around that one too much. I think I might have to find a place for this vase in my suitcase. :)
Here's the tree that I decorated. Oh, and I put the garland on the railings too.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
We heard that there's a new play area at the mall, so I bundled up the twins and we headed out for some toddler bliss. Of course, mommy can't just go to a mall to play, and I figured there was a 50/50 chance that one or both of them would be upset when it was time to leave the playground, so we walked around for a little while and bought a few presents. (By the way, I found a used stroller on Craig's list for $20. It's great.)
When we walked by Santa, I asked the kids if they wanted to visit him. Catie practically jumped out of the stroller, so after checking to make sure that we could see Santa without getting our pictures taken, we stood in line for a few minutes to see the jolly old elf. He was a very nice man, very understanding that the kids might be scared, and he talked the whole time in a gentle, soothing voice. Nick sat on his lap right away. Catie wasn't so sure, and I ended up sitting next to Santa with Catie on my lap.
We'll keep talking about Santa at home now that we've seen him. Hopefully next time we'll be able to get a picture.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
We have news as far as Brad's job. He will be in a TDY position for the next three months in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on a project called Masdar. It's a completely green city, with little or no carbon emissions. It should be really interesting. Tomorrow, he has an interview with a long term project in Anchorage. If that works out, we would be moving up there this spring. If that doesn't work out, there is a good possibility that Brad could stay on in Abu Dhabi, in which case, the twins and I would move out there with him. That's what we know so far. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We know that God took us out of Doha for a reason, and we're trusting that He has a plan for our future. Sometimes it's just so difficult to wait, but we're resting on our memories of His faithfulness to us in the past.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Last spring when I got this email I was in the beginning weeks of a Bible study that has changed my life called Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer. Almost as soon as I had those thoughts of grandeur about being the worship leader, I perceived a little niggling voice saying, "That's nice, but that would be all about you. I want you to do something for Me. I want you to do this MOPS thing."
So, I did what I always do. I sat on it. Brad and I went out to dinner, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I remember being so nervous that I hadn't responded and that God was going to give someone else the call, and I missed it. (Having gone through the experience of finding a MOPS coordinator, I realize how ridiculous the idea of having more than one person chomping at the bit to take on this responsibility is, but, nevertheless, that's how I felt.) As soon as possible, I got on the computer and emailed Linda back.
The roller coaster ride since then has been exhilarating. God has brought an organization to this that never would have come out of my brain alone. He's given me flashes of incredible insight, wonderful ideas, and fabulous ladies to work with. The irony is, I've been receiving praise and positive feedback like crazy, but it's like water off a duck's back. None of it compares to the knowledge that I'm doing exactly what God called me to do and that He has equipped me for His purposes. That is the kind of love and acceptance that I crave.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Afterward we played some games which lightened the mood considerably. I'm a little embarrassed that the picture that is going to stick in the minds of the ladies here is me sliding violently across the floor in my high heels, falling to my knees, trying to be the first one to get a feminine hygiene product in Shelly's hand. It was so bad the woman who actually won gave the prize to me.
Now, I'm exhausted from holding in tears all morning. I think I need a good cry, but I have a feeling it won't come until after Christmas.
I'm going to leave you with some pictures from today.
Our lovely table decorations:
My adorable friend, Lanny, and her scrumptious baby boy:The ladies:
Monday, November 17, 2008
On our first day, when we were waiting for our reservation time at Cinderella's Castle, and the babies were getting crabby, we decided to go visit Mickey because it meant we could stand in the air conditioning for a half an hour. You can see how hot and tired we are in the picture, but that was all forgotten when we saw Mickey. Nick fell in love.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I was struck again by how fast the twins are growing. This is the first time we've been to an outdoor playground since we left the States two months ago, and it's amazing the progress that they've made.
They can go up the steps and slide down the slide on their own:
They can run around on the sand:
They can sit on the big swings by themselves:
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Our last full day of our vacation was at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay (pronounced like "key.") It was so nice. We were wishing that we had two days there just to hang out. Not only was it gorgeous, but it was full of all those little thoughtful Disney things, like boardwalks and free sodas and hammocks and pretty much anything else we could have wanted. It was a great way to end the vacation.
I couldn't resist taking some pictures of the kids lined up in their strollers on our last morning. They were all so happy, except Ryder, which ended up so funny looking in the pictures. These are the times you remember forever. After this vacation, the twins were so in love with their cousins. They still talk about Ryder (Ry-Ry) all the time.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Duning is a major past time around here, so of course, there are some tourist traps (ie camel rides) at the start. We didn't ride, but some people in our group did, so we spent a little time looking at the ugly things.
We did this. A lot.
And we saw this (the Persian gulf)
Our vehicles and drivers (they're sitting in the sand in front of the second to left car.)
My only comment on this photo is that the wind was making some unflattering shapes with my loose shirt and pants. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
This is where we ended up. We ate a traditional Arabic lunch and hung out on the beach for a little while. All in all, except for the scary driving (which actually was pretty tame, I only screamed 5 or 6 times), it was a very relaxing day.