Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas in Qatar

We had a wonderfully relaxing and quiet Christmas this year.  It was nice, but definitely prefer the hustle and bustle that comes with famly gatherings!  Ken used a day of vacation so that he could be home on Christmas, but has otherwise worked all last week and all this week.  The office doesn't close for Christmas or New Years, so it's very much business as usual for Ken, except that many of his colleagues used vacation, so he has to cover several other positions in addition to his own work load.  Poor guy!  But he never complains.

The boys got all dressed up for Christmas Eve service at church.  Part of the service included singing Silent Night in your native language.  It was neat to hear all the languages represented at our church.

Christmas Eve
Santa has landed!  Our children are ENTIRELY too spoiled!!! 
Too many presents!!

The boys had a great time opening presents and playing with their new toys on Christmas.  After things settled down, they put on their new body armor and we headed to the squash courts in the clubhouse.  Ken and I played squash while the boys battled it out in the other court.  Not a bad way to burn off the calories from all those Christmas treats!  :-)

Christmas breakfast ... snow man pancakes
with bacon scarf and marshmellow/candy cane hat.  Yum!!

Ready for nerf gun battle in full body power ranger armor!

But the best part of my Christmas came shortly after the boys came tearing downstairs, all excited to open their presents.  The first thing Jaden did was search under the tree until he found his present for me.  He couldn't wait to give me his gift!  He wanted me to open my presents first!  I was so touched!  We are so very blessed to have such loving and caring children!!  Ken had taken the boys shopping ... Jaden bought be a necklace and Nicholas bought me a bracelet.  They picked it out all by themselves and used their own money. 

The other exciting Christmas gift is that Jaden is FINALLY OUT OF DIAPERS (he was still in pullups at night)!!!  He turns 6 next week, so it's about time!!  Poor kid!!!  If he could have willed it to happen years ago, he would have.  Nicholas was able to stay clean and dry every night from a freakishly young age of just 21 months.  Jaden used to cry and cry because he still had to wear diapers when Nicholas didn't have to.  He would get so upset and sad because he just couldn't do it.  We tried all kinds of little tricks, but nothing ever helped.  His little body just wasn't ready ... until now!  :-)  He is now in underwear at night and we had a little party for him today to celebrate.  Yeah Jaden!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Jaden's Art Sale

My budding entrepreneur decided to have his first ever art sale this week...

It all started when he tried to sell me a picture of a flower for 500QAR!!  That's about $140!  I tried to explain that it was too much money, but he wouldn't listen.  He tried to sell his 500riyal picture to Ken, but got the same response.  Nicholas was willing to buy it, but he didn't have enough money.

So then Jaden draws another picture and drops his price to 112riyal.  At first I thought it was a very odd number to price his picture.  It's not exactly a round number, but then I find out Nicholas had exactly 112 riyal in his wallet.  Coincidence?  I think not!!!

Nicholas was gullible enough to agree, but I wouldn't allow Jaden to steal his brothers money!!  Instead we talked about an art sale and how he could sell his creations for 1 riyal each (that's about 30 cents).  To sweeten the deal, I included free chocolate chip cookies with every purchase.

Jaden was so excited!!  He drew 5 pictures, made a sign, set up a table on the front porch and was ready to go!  I provided the cookies and Nicholas ran up and down our street yelling, "Art for Sale!  Art for Sale!"  It was definitely a team effort!!  And thanks to the amazing teenagers at our compound, we sold all 5 pictures in 45 minutes!!  He was so proud of himself!! 

Christmas Parties

After returning from Austria, we enjoyed several Christmas/year end festivities ...

First up was the ExxonMobil Christmas Party.  It was a great way to return from vacation ... see friends, kids could decorate Christmas cookies and make ornaments, family pictures with Santa, huge buffet for brunch and an early Christmas gift from Santa!!  Santa's arrival on a camel was definitely the highlight!!

Later that evening, our compound threw a holiday party with Shawarma, Christmas carolers, face painting, and more!  Not having to cook lunch or dinner was a special treat!

And the last party was a formal year end event for Ken's group at work (RasGas is a joint venture between ExxonMobil and Qatar Government).  It was held in a beautiful ball room at the Diplomatic Club.  Muslim women wore abayas, but expat women were in formal gowns.  First thing I notice upon arrival??  Bowls of DORITOS on the table?!!  A formal event is typically NOT where I would serve Doritos!!  Then for dinner, they served TACOS!!!  Again, is this formal or not?!  I was so confused!  I haven't been so dressed up since my wedding day, and I was eating bean tacos with Doritos.  It just didn't feel right.  Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos at the event, so you'll just have to take my word for it.  It's not like I could make this stuff up!!

Here comes Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus!

Merry Christmas from the Doans!!

Telling Santa what they want for Christmas...

Presents from Santa!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


We decided to go in search of winter weather, snow, and Christmas cheer ... none of which exist in Doha.  So we flew to Munich and took the train to Zell am See, Austria.  It's in the middle of the Austria Alps and it was glorious!!!  We were a bit nervous there wouldn't be enough snow to ski ... it is still early in the ski season for Austria, but it dumped several inches of fresh powder while we were there!! 

We went skiing, ice skating, sledding, and on a sleigh ride!  The boys did fantastic on skis and we look forward to many more ski trips in the future!!! 

Enjoy the pictures and videos!

Night or day, Zell am See was beautiful!
Twinkling lights at night and Christmas
decorations everywhere!
Our hotel was on the pedestrican part of town,
so we walked everywhere ... no car to hassle with!

Zell am See is a little town that sits on the edge of this lake
with mountains surrounding it in every direction!

By the lake ...

Ice skating fun!
Everywhere we went, Jaden and Nicholas wanted to make snow angels in the fresh snow...
Nicholas getting his ski gear ...

Riding the gondola up the mountain for ski school.
Breathtaking view from mountain top!
It was a beautiful day to be on the mountain!!
Same location the next day ... near blizzard conditions!
Terrible visability, but the powder was heaven sent!!

Nicholas ready for ski school
Jaden rocked ski school!!

Nicholas refused to smile! 
For ski school, the boys rode the snow mobile
 up the mountain and skiied down. 
They loved the snow mobile!!
Jaden did exceptionally well at ski school, but Nicholas can hold his own. 
I love this picture of their class ... every kid fell over except for Nicholas. 
Nicholas was the last one standing.
 Video action on skis:
Turn your volume off for this next video if you don't want to hear crazy
proud parents cheering for their little one on his first day skiing!!!
I just loved all the snow covered trees!  So pretty!!
Snow was too dry to make a snow man, but Ken and the boys tried. 
Can you even see the puny little snow man in the picture??
Time for some sledding!

Horse drawn sleigh ride through the snow covered mountains!

All snuggly and warm.
Our amazing view for almost the entire sleigh ride!

Train station sign.  Good bye Zell am See!!!