Monday, February 18, 2013

Our first broken bone. :-(

Apparently Nicholas broke his arm this weekend!  I'm such a bad mom!!  We had gone out for Valentine's day and when we came home, the babysitter told us that they were playing and Nicholas fell down pretty hard on his arm.  I didn't think much about it - kids always fall down, right?.  I was sure he was fine. 

All weekend long we could tell his arm was bothering him and he would protect it a bit, but he never cried or said it hurt.  We spent nearly all weekend at the swimming pool and playing street hockey ... not once did he complain that his arm hurt.  We just figured it was twisted or bruised and would be fine in a day or two.  How can you play street hockey with a broken arm??!!

On Sunday, he went to school as usual and again played hockey in the street for hours.  Ken and I were trying to decide if we take him to the doctor or not, when he told us at bedtime that his arm still hurt and he couldn't straighten it all the way.  WHAT??!!!

First thing this morning, we were off to the doctor ... who sent us for x-rays and then to an orthopedic doctor to confirm that it was in fact broken.  They called it a radial head fracture.  So it's fractured right on the end of the bone by his elbow.  They put us in a "splint" for a week.  This "splint" is a plaster cast on the under side of his arm and wrapped in blue tape - looks just like a cast.  And the sling is a hilarious contraption, but it seems to work. 

Nicholas at the hospital after getting his splint.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Nicholas - the Olympian

Tuesday Feb 12 was Qatar's National Sport Day ... a fairly new holiday to encourage diet, exercise, and all around healthy living.  Schools and businesses are closed for the holiday and there were a lot of sport related activities around town.  Nicholas' school got in the spirit by hosting the Olympics.  It was super cute!

Olympic festivities started with a parade - torch and all!

Nicholas in the parade, waving Olympic flag

First event - sack races!

Next up - fill the bucket ... it was a relay and you had to run
across the field, pick up as many balls as you can carry,
run back and fill your team's bucket.

Nicholas carried 3-4 balls at a time

Next event ... tug of war!

After the outdoor events, we went inside for the final event-
Obstacle course!

The Olympics ended with a class song about friends working together

Everyone earned a medal!

Valentines Day

Since Valentine's isn't a holiday here, we had to make Valentine's from scratch for the boys to take to school ... good thing I brought a bunch of my stamping supplies!! 

V is for Valentine, Please Be Mine
Valenines for Jaden's class with stickers inside
Chew Chew I like You!
Valentines for Nicholas' class with chewing gum attached


Jaden's Pigeon book

Jaden has really taken to drawing, writing, and story telling. So much, that he even writes his own stories at home.  A few weekends ago, Jaden decided to write this story while I was taking a nap.  It was called, "Pigun wuns a walris" ... He drew and colored the pictures and wrote all the words to his 8 page story.  He was so proud of himself, he took the book to school with him and got to be the "guest reader" in one of the other Kindergarten classes.

Jaden was the guest reader with his Pigeon wants a Walrus story

Story projected on the wall while Jaden reads it to the class.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A day at the beach

We joined several other ExxonMobil families for a day at the beach this weekend.  It was our first trip to this particular beach.  It was an hour drive north of the city, on the northern tip of the peninsula and just past where Ken works.  The water was gorgeous, but COLD!!!  There were more sea shells on this beach, but also more sea weed.  I think I preferred the beaches to the south, but it was still a great day for a picnic on the beach!

This beach also had a lot of jellyfish in the water.  Ken took the boys out in the water looking for clams and snails ... he turns around and there is Nicholas holding a jellyfish in his hand!!  Clearly he didn't know it could sting him.  He saw it in the water and just scooped it up!!  SO GRATEFUL it didn't sting him!!!  God was protecting him at that moment for sure!!

Fuwairit Beach
Silly boys ... water was too cold to get in
While we were unloading our things, Jaden decided to play pirates with Nicholas on the beach.  He took one of his (favorite) hot wheel cars and buried in the sand, except Nicholas had no interest in digging for buried treasure.  So Jaden went to dig it up, but of course, he forgot where he buried it!!!  Next thing you know, Ken and I are digging everywhere in the sand looking for his buried hot wheel.  We must have dug for nearly an hour!!!  I finally gave up, kicked my heels in the sand and don’t you know … I hit the car with my foot!!!  Jaden was happy to have his car back and promises not to bury his toys in the sand without leaving an X to mark the spot!
Ken digging for "buried treasure"
One of the families we were with had this great little inflatable canoe/kayak.  The boys loved taking a turn in the boat!
DSC_1911 DSC_1912

Camel training and Sheikh Faisal’s Museum

I was looking forward to taking my dad to see Sheikh Faisal's museum ... it's an impressive collection and dad loves museums, so it was right up his alley!  Sheikh Faisal is the uncle of the current Emir and he’s been collecting since he was a young child – everything from weapons, furniture, cars, artwork, falconry, boats, fossils, the list is endless!  The museum is open to the public and free of charge.  You can call in advance and arrange a free guided tour as well.
The camel race tracks are on the way to the museum so we stopped on the way. It wasn't a race day, but it's still cool to see all the camels training on the tracks.
camel crossing
Camel crossing
camel training
Camels training on the track
camel prizes
Parking lot full of Toyota Landcruisers ... prizes to the first 10 camels of every race. 
They give away a lot of Landcruisers!  Plus $40,000 cash. 
After driving around the camel tracks, we arrived at the museum at 9:15 for our 9:30 appointment, but our guide wasn’t there.  We wandered around on our own while we awaited her arrival.  By nearly 11am, I was pretty disappointed.  The guide finally arrived, but we didn’t have much time before we had to leave to pick up Nicholas from school.  We tagged along with a small group, but weren’t too impressed with their guide’s knowledge of the museum, so we started to leave. 
Dad had a question about one of the cars and another guy that clearly worked for the museum answered him and showed him the cars up close.  Turns out the man was second in charge of the museum after Sheikh Faisal himself!.  He opened up the private VIP room and even opened up some of the cases so we could touch 400 year old rugs woven in gold and silver thread!  It was unbelievable!!  The highlight for me was touching the $10M fabric ribbon that surrounds the kaaba in Mecca.  I can’t believe he let us touch these things!!!
front entrance
Entrance to Sheik Faisal's Museum.  It's looks like a massive castle in the middle of the desert.
museum courtyard
One of the inner courtyards to the museum
dinosaur fossil
Fossil of a dinosaur head - can you see it's mouth full of teeth?
dad in car gallery
Dad standing in the car gallery
House from Damascas that was taken apart stone by stone and reconstructed in the museum
house reconstructed
Inside the reconstructed house
200yr old chest with ivory inlaid
200 yr old chest - all inlaid with ivory
all gold and silver thread
This "camel taxi / tent" is made entirely of gold and silver thread.
It was so heavy, I could barely lift the fabric!
10M$ ribbon from kaaba
This is the $10M fabric banner (gold and silver thread) that wrapped around the Kaaba in Mecca.
kaaba in mecca
This picture was taken from the internet to show the Kaaba. It's the black box in the middle of the pictre.  You can see the millions of Muslims that travel to Mecca during the annual pilgrimmage.  Part of the experience is to circle around the Kaaba 7 times.  If I'm not mistaken, Muslims believe this is the place where Abraham built an alter to the Lord, after God provided an animal to sacrifice in place of his son Isaac.  Anyhoo, the gold ribbon around the Kaaba in this picture is what Sheikh Faisal has in his museum.  I'm sure they replaced it with a new one.
And finally, Qatari wedding clothing ... do you see me hiding behind a niqab (the face mask worn by many Qatari women)? 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Letter to Santa

The boys were getting tired after leaving Katara, but I wanted to show my dad the Pearl while we were so close by.  It's a high end retail and housing area right on the water lined with yachts.  Truly spectacular, but the boys were pooped.  We only made it to the Ferrari and Maserati store ... the boys were done for the day.  Before leaving the store, Jaden found a "really cool teddy bear" that he "had to have."  It was a generic teddy bear, nothing special, except it was wearing a Ferrari jacket.  So of course it cost a fortune!!!  I told him no that I wouldn't buy him a 400 riyal teddy bear (over $100).  He was most distraught!  Being tired certainly didn't help me here.  So we went home and he was on a one track mind for the the rest of the night.  He just had to have that bear.  He decided he was going to have another art sale and save up for the bear. 

Then the following morning, I wake him up for school and he pulls out a note from under his pillow.  Apparently he woke up in the middle of the night (4:10 according to Jaden), found paper and pencil from the room my dad was sleeping in, went to the downstairs bathroom so he wouldn't wake anyone up, and wrote a note to Santa Claus!! 

Here is his note asking Santa for 400 riyals (so he can buy that silly bear) ... enjoy the spelling!!

Dear Sanacos (Dear Santa Claus) Pes giv me 400 (Please give me 400 riyal)
Love Jaden


We started our Saturday morning at swimming lessons.  Jaden has graduated from Level 2 to Level 3/4 and I can’t wait to see his progress.  Nicholas still needs to gain a bit of confidence, but he will get there soon enough.
Nicholas entertains himself with my camera while waiting for Jaden's swim class to finish
After swimming lessons we took Papa to Katara.  The boys wanted to play on the beach playground, so that’s where we started.  Wish I had remembered to take pictures … they had a great time playing on the playground while we watched from outside the fence.  Kids are free, adults cost nearly $7 per person to enter … didn’t see any reason I couldn’t supervise from the fence.  (Maybe I’m just cheap.)  The boys enjoyed playing outside on a glorious day and then we wandered around Katara … a cultural village.  It’s a fairly new part of town designed to look historical with the intention of preserving art and culture of the middle east.  It’s really pretty, but not much to do except look at architecture and eat. 
The boys in the ampitheater
harnessing world
In front of "Harnessing the World" statue
Would be really cool to see a show here ... wish I could ever find a schedule of events!
Traditional dhow boat historically used for pearl diving, now tourism
golden mosque (1)
The Golden Mosque ... is it real gold?  Don't know.  Sure does glitter pretty!
golden mosque (2)
Ahoy mateys!
We found a delicious Egyptian restaurant with bread being made right next to us and I was able to order Kosheri – one of my new favorite dishes!
fresh bread
Lady making bread right next to our table.  Yummy!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Qatar Car Show

So this posting is for any guys that follow my blog.  Ken took my dad to the Qatar Motor Show this weekend while I stayed home with the boys.  Apparently you have to be 12 years old to attend the car show.  Forgive me if I get some of the names of the cars wrong, I tried to remember what Ken told me … this is just a small sampling of what they saw…
aston martin
Aston Martin
bertone nuccio 1 of kind 3Meuro
Bertone Nuccio - it's the only one in the world and goes for 3M Euro (roughly $4M)
bugatti vitesse
Bugatti Vitesse
hypersport concept car
A concept car called Hypersport (might be my personal favorite)