Sunday, January 27, 2013

Torch and Villagio

The boys wanted to take Papa back to 360 - the fancy restaurant at the top of the torch tower that revolves while you dine.  So lunch at the torch followed by a leisurely stroll through the Villagio mall including a gondola ride and ending with a 3D movie.  A great Saturday for sure! 

All dressed up for lunch at the torch.  Piano playing in the background

Silly poses in front of Ferrari parked at the Torch

Happy faces when Daddy says he will buy the boys a Ferrari

Nicholas' reaction when he realized Daddy was only joking!

Gondola ride at Villagio mall


Drag races

After church on Friday morning, we went to check out the drag races.  We weren't sure what to expect, so we packed some snacks and headed to the race track.  Turns out it was completely free!!  We were maybe the 4th car in the lot and had the stands nearly all to ourselves!!  We watched motorcycles, street cars, and dragsters.  We saw cars blow their engines, nearly crash into the side wall, and parachutes open at the end of the track.  Cars and bikes were from Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Saudi, and even a few from the US.  I've never been to drag races before and must admit, it was pretty fun to watch!!  The boys are a bit sensitive to loud noises and wore their hearing protection off and on, but they loved it!  After a few hours, it wasn't holding their interest anymore and the stands were starting to fill up, so we made our exit.  All in all, a great afternoon ... and again, totally free!!

Dragsters ready to race

Having fun at the drag races!

Papa West has landed!

After school on Thursday, the boys and I headed to the airport to pick up Papa West.  I brought dinner for the boys (not much food available in the arrivals terminal of the airport).  After they finished dinner, they were happy to play on the iPad and iPhone while waiting for Papa to clear immigration and customs.  What did our parents do without apple products to entertain us for hours??

Waiting for Papa's arrival...

Papa's here!

Jaden's field trip

Last Thursday, I was able to go with Jaden on his class field trip to Katara (a cultural district on the beach). It's fairly new in Doha and it's a beautiful area. We had a list of things to find and take pictures of ... including dove cotes, blue mosaic mosque, golden mosque, amphitheater, sculptures, and dhow boats. It was a bit of a scavenger hunt. Then we got back on the buses and went to a fantastic playground to have a picnic snack and play. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures at the park.  Guess I was having too much fun playing on the toys to take any pictures!

Dove cotes (never heard that word before ...
I had been calling these structures giant bird houses)

Blue mosaic mosque
Jaden's class in front of the golden mosque

My team of two - Shirin was the reporter and Jaden was the photographer
Sitting in front of "Harnessing the World" sculpture with the Dhows and the sea behind that

on the bus

Both stops were really fantastic, but I didn't like that we spent so much time on the bus!! We were only at Katara and the park for about 40 minutes each. The remaining 1 1/2 hours were spent on the bus traveling from place to place in the traffic. That part wasn't much fun!

Monday, January 21, 2013


I was so excited to see Ruffles potato chips in the grocery store today, I bought 3 bags!!!  Just in time for Dad's visit.  Turns out they were the most expensive item I purchased today ... at $11 per bag, my Dad better enjoy these Ruffles!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Papa West is Coming To Town!

The boys have been singing "Papa West is coming to town" to the tune of Santa Claus is coming to town.  They are super excited for Papa to come visit!  My dad arrives this Thursday and is staying for 2 weeks!  He wasn't able to come with my mom back in October, so he's making the trip solo.  A long flight on his own!  Poor guy!!  We look forward to showing him around Doha, but the boys will be in school, so we won't have as much time being tourists this time around.  I know we will have a great time together... stay tuned for some pictures.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Jaden’s 6th birthday party

We threw Jaden a birthday party at the bowling alley on Friday.  We invited his entire class plus about 5 kids from the compound.  We had a pretty decent turnout with nearly 20 kids.  I was most impressed that they all bowled as well as they did!  For a group of 5-6 year olds, they did amazing!!  They understood the game, knew when it was their turn, encouraged each other, and managed all on their own!  Only the younger siblings needed a bit of help. 

Jaden wanted an outer space theme, which in Houston would have been easy to pull off.  With NASA in Houston, rocket ships and space related items are a bit easier to find.  We had to get a bit creative to do the same in Doha.  We made our own invitations with a rocket ship on them.  Then I made the cake to match.  For goodie bags, I made copies of a space shuttle printable I had from Houston, plus I found glow sticks, glow in the dark bouncy balls, and some candy (Mars and Galaxy bars of course). 

I think everyone had a great time.  Jaden had so much fun opening presents at the bowling alley, that we completely forgot to give him our presents when we got home.  Hmmm…. do we even bother at this point??  He doesn’t seem to realize we didn’t give him anything.  I’m sure it’s only a matter of time!

The bowling alley in the Villagio Mall was perfect for the outer space theme … it was kind of dark with a lot of black lights to make things glow in the dark.  Plus every lane had bumpers for the kids! 

   004 005

Of course Jaden and Nicholas had to wear their astronaut costumes!

006 023

Gathering around the cake all I heard was “I want part of the fire!” “I want a star!”  “I want planet earth!”  “I want the moon!”  So glad no two kids wanted the same thing!!  It all worked out!!

    010 019 015 

I started a new birthday party tradition this year and put out baby pictures of Jaden for his party.  We are celebrating the day of his birth, so we should include pictures from that day (and the early years) right?  I look forward to including some embarrassing pictures in the years ahead!!  :-) 


Here’s a close up of the cake … I’m getting much faster over the years … I had the cake baked and in the freezer and the icing made in advance, but the decorating only took about an hour!!


Nicholas’ Field Trip

Nicholas had a class field trip to the park on Thursday.  Parents were required to attend as transportation was not provided.  So there were roughly 20 kids plus 20 parents (moms, dads, and/or nannies) plus his 3 teachers and 4 add’l helpers from the school.  It was a packed playground!!!  We had a picnic lunch and played soccer in an open field.  It was a beautiful day and the kids loved spending time together at the park with their parents.

Nicholas playing soccer with friends…



Nicholas and his best friend Kensuke…




Ken took one look at these pictures and said, “Wow!  Look at the grass!!”  Amazing how you take grass for granted in the states.  It takes a lot of maintenance to keep a park looking like this in Qatar.  Thankfully the government supports several parks around Doha so people can enjoy some greenery.  Otherwise, it’s nothing but sand!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy Birthday Jaden!

Jaden's 6th birthday was on Sunday … it was also his first day back to school after Christmas break. He couldn't wait to go to school!! He loves school ... although I think he likes the social aspect of school more than the actual learning part. Gym and recess are his favorites. :-) At any rate, he was excited to go to school and invite his class to his birthday party planned for Friday. I also made Spider Man cupcakes to share with his class at school. It's a beautiful, warm, and sunny day (high of 81F) here in Doha - a good day for a birthday! Happy birthday to our sweet Jaden!!

  Jaden wearing birthday crown and glasses at school…


Eating Spiderman cupcakes with Julius and Ruhaan …


Jaden and his best friend Danas …. 


Thanks for the cupcakes Mom!!


Happy New Year!

So I wrote this post a week ago, but I wasn’t able to post pictures for some reason.  I’m just now getting around to posting again ….

Can you believe it's 2013? It's been one heck of a year for us and we look forward to what God has in store for us in 2013. We pray for a healthy and joyous year full of God's grace and blessing to all our friends and family!

For New Year's Eve, Ken and I went to the ExxonMobil Tennis Open and were back home by 10pm. Not exactly a wild New Year's, but it was a nice evening out ... a rare treat for us on a week night since Ken had to work on New Year's Day. We had (free) VIP passes to enjoy the VIP lounge and got to sit in box seats right down by the court. It was fun to watch the tennis matches, but to be honest, I don't follow professional tennis, so I didn't really know any of the guys. Ken's dad (an avid tennis player) would have enjoyed the tickets much more.

We took the boys with us to the semi-finals on Friday afternoon and were really surprised how much they enjoyed watching the matches! Jaden and Nicholas cheered for Gasquet from France. They were super excited when he won the set. Next set, they cheered for Ferrer (because he looked cool with a yellow head band), but it was a bit of an upset when Davydanko won. And those are the only 3 names I learned...

Jaden cheers for Gasquet       Ferrer vs Davydanko 

Then on Saturday we took the boys to have lunch at 360 in the Torch. It's a fancy restaurant at the top of a tower that turns 360 degrees while you dine. The boys had a great time!!! They thought it was so cool that the restaurant turned!! They behaved beautifully and we had a wonderful afternoon.  We had the restaurant all to ourselves when we first arrived, but it slowly filled up.  You can definitely see just how beige Doha really is!!  So much sand!!  If you look closely at the horizon, you can see downtown Doha through the dusty haze. 

boys at torch      view