Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Walk like an Egyptian

We didn't just fly first class, we stayed first class too. In Cairo we were able to use Brad's government employee status to get a very reasonable rate at the Marriott hotel in the center of the nicest part of Cairo. The hotel has 10 or 11 restaurants, which meant that we never had to eat at an off property restaurant. Here is a picture of the front of the hotel. Brad's next to the lion. :)
Catie, in particular, enjoyed the nice furniture.
Brad and I thought the bathroom was so lovely that we spent a whole afternoon in their while the babies took a nap. :) Actually, we spent quite a bit of time in hotel bathrooms this trip because the twins had trouble falling asleep while we were up and around in the same room.

On another note: We had a check-up for the twins today. They are both in the 25th percentile for height and weight. (Same as usual--gaining steadily.) She gave us a referral to another ENT for Nicky. We'll have his hearing checked this time, and if that's not a problem, then she'll refer him to a speech therapist. So, at least we have a plan now. Otherwise their vaccinations are now current and they're doing well. :)

More tomorrow on our trip. :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I forgot to add the pictures that went with the last post. Just a couple snaps of the kids playing in the VIP lounge.

We're Back!

We're back from a wonderful trip to Egypt. :) I'm going to break up telling you about our trip into several posts because it's going to take a while. I'm planning to go fairly chronological, but knowing me I'll probably get lost down a few rabbit trails along the way. :)

Part of Brad's compensation package is 10 days paid vacation every 90 days with a roundtrip airfare to his point of destination (the US) or an equilvalent. Since flying to Egypt from Doha is a lot cheaper than flying to the US, the company paid for all of us to fly there. And, not only to fly there, but to fly business class. Let me tell you, that is the only way to fly! I've only flown business class once, on our honeymoon trip to England, and that was nice. Really nice. But you don't know the full benefit until you have two squirmy toddlers. Plenty of room to spread out. Attentive flight attendants. Yummy food. Comfy pillows and blankets. Chairs that recline to nearly horizontal. Heaven. And that was once we got on the plane. Before that, we started out in the VIP terminal with the first class lounge, which included a glassed-in play area for the twins and a delicious mid-morning snack.

The flight to Cairo was about 3 hours. Nick was sitting by me and fell asleep pretty soon after take-off and slept most of the flight. Catie was with her daddy and she was a little bundle of energy. A good girl, but not a sleeping one. She finally slept about 30 minutes before the plane landed.

Travel tips for Egypt:
1. When you get off the plane, you will not get your stroller until you reach baggage claim. It's a pain in the behind.
2. You will be expected to buy a visa with US dollars from one of the banks in front of the passport control, affix the visa stickers to a blank page in your passport with the serial number facing out, and fill out forms for everyone in your party all while holding two screaming toddlers who just want to run around after being in the plane for three hours. Did I mention it's incredibly crowded, poorly signed, and no one speaks English very well?
3. When you employ a porter, do not give him any money until he has loaded the bags into the cab. Brad kept thinking that the porter was leaving, so he ended up tipping him 3 times.
4. Everyone in Egypt is out to get your money. Ask the cab driver what your fare will cost before you get into the cab. Avoid taking help unless you are prepared to give a little baksheesh (tip.)
5. Driving in Doha is bad. Driving in Cairo is downright suicidal. Take a taxi, close your eyes if you must, and pretend you don't notice the near-misses and breakneck speeds. Horns are used to communicate everything, and lights aren't for seeing where you are going in the dark, they are for telling people to speed up or get over.

More later... :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Over and under

Catie is a climber. If I take my eyes off her for a minute, she's suddenly on top of something. It started with the Elmo car, the one featured in one my recent scrapbook pages which is also very annoying for other reasons. (Elmo is cute, but you can have a little too much Elmo voice especially when he doesn't have volume control.) She would use the Elmo car to get up onto the couch. Now, she's allowed on the couch, but the problem comes in when she uses the couch to get to the "forbidden" things on the side table, like the remote and Mommy's book. Recently, she used the Elmo car to get onto an extra chair by the TV stand, and I found her happily swinging the lamp cord. Two days ago, she found a new use for the wet wipes box, which she used to give her a boost onto the coffee table. This is the same coffee table that you have to pick up in order to move because if you don't the legs end up crooked. I found her there, standing in the exact middle, looking pleased as could be. If I hadn't been so frightened and hadn't felt the need to impart to her the seriousness of what she had done, I would have taken a picture, but I will always remember the way she looked standing there so proud of herself.

Nick, on the other hand, is a tunneler. His new favorite pasttime is hiding under the dining room table. The table has a cross piece between the two legs which he likes to straddle. Maybe he's pretending to ride a horse. :) Wish I could get into that little brain of his. I snapped this picture yesterday when I found him underneath the arm chair, his other favorite spot.

I'm tempted to write a paragraph here about how their respective methods of playing reflect their emerging personalities, but I'll spare you. :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

We're here to stay.

Well, we're here in Doha to stay, at least for the next year, that is. Some of you may have heard that Brad was offered a job in Abu Dhabi within his company. However, since Abu Dhabi is a nicer place to live, the compensation package wasn't as nice. They've been going back and forth trying to figure out if they can get him there without putting too big of a dent in our pocketbook. Surprisingly, I've been biting my nails the whole time because I don't want to go. Can you believe I don't want to leave Doha? What's the matter with me? Well, for one, I've been making some really good friends here. And, I love my women's Bible study. And, drumroll please, I just accepted a position as the Mothers of Preschoolers Coordinator at our church. On top of that, we already have some great trips planned for this summer that wouldn't be possible if we moved. So, God definitively closed that door today, and I'm thankful. Maybe Doha has nothing to do at all. Maybe Doha is a dirty, sandy, dusty, hot, crowded, construction-ridden, ugly town. Maybe we're 7500 miles from home. But, Doha has become a home away from home, and I'm glad we're staying.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness

Catie is in love with wet wipes. Everytime she gets her diaper changed, she tries to grab as many as she can out of the box. When the diaper change is over, I sometimes let her keep one. She starts with her hands, wiping them carefully. Then, in her cute toddler way, she wipes her chubby little arms. The face gets a good wipe too. Then, we're on to furniture. Everything gets a little wipe or two. By this time, the wipe is looking pathetic, but Catie doesn't care. She'll carry it around for an hour. Pretty impressive for a little girl with an attention span of about 5 minutes. The other day, Brad asked why he keeps finding wet wipes in Catie's crib. :)

A little bit of family news:
1. My back is getting much better. I ordered a memory foam mattress topper, but it hasn't arrived yet. I'm still sleeping on the couch because I can't get comfortable in our bed.

2. We're going on a trip to Egypt next week. I'm getting really excited! I'll be sharing lots about our trip when we come back. :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Newest Scrapbook pages

Just a couple simple pages to scrap some snapshots.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Just wanted to say Happy Birthday to my mom. She's great. :) Love you, Mom!

I'll be back later with some scrapbook pages...

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Trip to the Beach

We drove a little ways out of town yesterday to Sealine Resort for a day at the beach. We started out at the kiddie pool. Even though the twins were in their floats, they could still touch the bottom and walk around. Nick thought it was alright, but Catie didn't want anything to do with it. (This is the same little girl who hardly ever sits down in the bathtub.) So, we moved out to the beach. They loved playing in the sand! We fed them lunch out on the beach and then went home for a bath. In a typical mommy move, I slathered the twins in sunscreen, kept them in the shade, but forgot to put sunscreen on my own shoulders. I'm feeling it today, but looking forward to a little bit of tan once the pain is gone. :)

Some pictures that didn't end up in the scrapbook:

Bedouin camels on the beach. You could pay 20 Riyal ($5) to ride them. Maybe next time... we'll definitely be coming back.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, Brad!

Today is my husband's birthday! We opened his presents last night because he already knew what they were and I couldn't get him to wait any longer. :) Tonight, we're getting a babysitter and going out to his favorite restaurant here in Doha with a group from work. Then, we're inviting everyone over for the chocolate cake that I made and icecream. The babies made him some fingerpainted cards yesterday and I printed pictures of them painting and pasted them onto the cards.

It took Nick a few minutes to get into it, but then he loved it! Catie, on the other hand, never really got into it at all. I upset her when I told her not to put her hands in her mouth. And then she was really upset, because that's how she comforts herself. I was able to get her calmed down enough to get a half-way smiling picture, and then we washed her off.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Nick's Ears

I forgot to say yesterday, that we went to see the ENT on Monday night. He looked in Nick's ears and said that they look fine. I kind of feel like we're back to square one. If the fluid in his ears was enough that it affected his language development, would you think that one week of medicine would fix it forever? But, if it wasn't the fluid in his ears, why isn't he talking yet at 17 1/2 months? So, I'm going to wait a week or two (at Brad's request) and then take both of the twins to another pediatrician for their 18 month check-ups and address the issue with that doctor then. In the meantime, keep us in your prayers. I've been having problems with my back lately, and reinjured it on Tuesday morning. I've found that sleeping on the couch makes a big difference, but that's not a permanent solution! When it rains . . . Even so, if this is pouring rain in our lives, we are so blessed!

Two New Scrapbook Pages

Yes, Mom, the picture of Catie in the "My Day" page is Catie in her new dress. :) The picture was actually taken on Friday though, and not Thursday like the page implies. One of my favorite sayings is "If it ain't in the scrapbook, it didn't happen." And, I happen to think that after a while, the reverse is true, too. Last Friday, I got them all dressed and ready to go to church, but by mid-morning it was obvious that they were too snotty and cranky to go to the nursery. They're feeling better now though. And, here are some pages that I made with the pictures of them in their new outfits from Grandpa and Grandma Phelps.