Wednesday, June 19, 2013


In 9 hours, our taxi comes to pick us up to take us to the airport!!!  Not super excited about a 16 hr flight, but we can't wait to see everyone!!!

Kensuke's Bday

Nicholas didn't get a chance to say goodbye to his best friend from school because Kensuke and his family were on vacation on Nicholas' last day of school.  (Nicholas' school is technically still in session, but I stopped taking Nicholas when Jaden school let out for the year.  It's a long story, not worth blogging about.)

Any hoo, we found out that Kensuke was going to be celebrating his birthday at school today, so I took Nicholas back to school for the party.  The look on their faces was priceless when we walked in the room!  They were SOOOO happy to see each other!!  They have such a sweet friendship!!  Unfortunately Kensuke and his family are moving back to Japan this summer, so we won't see them next year.  :-( 

Nicholas with best friend Kensuke

Home made "piñata" for the class - goes to show, you don't have to have
a fancy piñata for kids to have a blast!

big swing Nicholas!

Nicholas didn't rip it open, but he did rip a leg off!  Go Nicholas!!

Collecting candy that fell from the piñata

Good bye Kensuke!  We'll miss you next year!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer is here!

This is our first week of summer and our first week of "Secret Agent Summer Missions."  Ken came up with a great idea for the summer - give the boys journals and give them a new "mission" every day.  The intent is to make missions that involve reading, writing, math, science, art, etc, etc.  A fun way to keep up their school skills.  I think it's a fantastic idea, but I'm a little concerned it may become a lot of work to maintain.  We'll see how long it lasts ... don't judge me if it doesn't last more than a few days!  At least we tried to make learning fun this summer!  :-)

So the first assignment was to simply come up with an Agent name and design a cover for their books.  Jaden chose the name "Agent J."  Can you guess what Nicholas chose??  Yes, "Agent N."  I believe the inspiration came from Agent P in the Phineas and Ferb book we just finished reading. 

Ken made up this story about how they were selected by the president to enter training for top secret agents and they ate it up!!  They were so excited to be secret agents, they watched secret agent videos on youtube and then we designed a laser beam obstacle training course down the hallway.  They had a blast making the lasers with yarn and then trying to crawl through it.  Hilarious!!  You should see me and Ken try to navigate through the web of lasers to put the boys to bed at night!!


Day two, they had to learn how to make and read maps.  We gave them a little treasure that they could hide and then they had to draw maps for each other to find the treasure.  Great creativity!

Tomorrow is day three and their mission is to find things around the house that start with each letter of the alphabet and take a picture.  They love any excuse to take pictures, so I'm sure it will be a hit!

Three more days until we leave for America ...

Jaden's Grasshopper Party

I had so much fun organizing Jaden's end of year party at school!  I even let Nicholas skip school so he could be part of the festivities!  Jaden's class were called the Grasshoppers all year, so I put together a grasshopper themed party for his class.  I wish I had taken pictures during the party, but I was too busy playing with the kids and I completely forgot!  :-(

I made grasshopper party hats for all the kids ...
Jaden models grasshopper hat after I made them at home

grasshopper class listening to story while games are set up

For the party, I set up 4 stations ... I love pinterest for game ideas!!
1.  Bug bingo game - roll the dice and add the 2 numbers, first to get Bingo wins a spoon full of rocks (yes I found chocolate rocks at the Souq!)
2.  Gone buggy game - first to fill their "jar" with 7 plastic bugs wins.  But don't roll a fly swatter / bug spray or you lose 1 bug / your whole jar!
3.  Draw a grasshopper game - add parts of the grasshopper to your drawing depending on what number you roll
4.  Build a grasshopper craft using plastic easter eggs, pipe cleaners, and other odds and ends.  Plus I found LED tea lights to put inside so the bugs glow!  I think the lights were the kids favorite part!!

We ended the stations with a bug movement game (march like and ant, jump like a grasshopper, etc, etc). 

For dessert I made a chocolate mint flavored "grasshopper" cake.

It was crazy fun!!  I'm going to miss Jaden's class and his amazing teacher!!!  It was a fantastic year!!!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Best birthday ever!

We don’t normally do very much for our birthdays … maybe go out for dinner, but that’s usually it.  This year was especially nice.  I’m wondering if everyone got the year wrong and thought this was the big 4-0, but I’m still a couple years shy of that milestone.  Whatever the reason, it was a very nice surprise!

It started the night before, when I checked our mailbox and found not 1 but 2 cards in the mail!  We rarely get mail here … and people have to really plan ahead to get birthday cards to us in time (it takes a couple of weeks to get mail from the states).  The first card was from my parents … handmade by mom of course.  The second was from my in-laws.  A very rare treat as they don’t often send cards and it held a very sweet sentiment.  I love my family!

On my birthday, I got to sleep in while the boys made me breakfast in bed – waffles with strawberries and blueberries on top.  Ken gave me THE COOLEST necklace!!  It has 2 heart shaped charms – one for each of the boys – with their name and fingerprint engraved on it.  The back side has their age engraved.  I love it!!!

 Of course, in typical Ken fashion, it’s not just a beautiful gift, but a sample of what he would like for me to launch as a side business!  I love his entrepreneurial spirit and I’m sure he wishes I had just a fraction of his passion for starting my own business.  This would be cool to do, so I’ll have to at least check it out … maybe you can order from me in the future!  :-)

To top it all off, we got a babysitter and Ken took me to see the show Stomp.  The show was AMAZING!!!!  So much talent and creativity!!  They play the most amazing music with everything from broomsticks to matchsticks to trash cans and paint buckets to newspaper and plastic trash bags!!  I wasn’t expecting humor and audience participation as well!!  If you ever get the chance to see this show – you should!!  

Of course, not everything was perfect for my birthday … we had a terrible sand storm and it felt like you were eating dust when you walked outside (which you most certainly were). There was a ridiculously thick layer of sand on everything outside by the end of the day, so time to spray everything down today.  :-( 

Dinner was also very funny – we don’t always have the best luck with restaurants in Doha.  For our anniversary last year, we went to dinner and a movie, but we couldn’t find a restaurant for the life of us and we ended up eating chocolate fondue for dinner.  I tease Ken that after 8 years of marriage, I don’t even get a proper dinner to celebrate!  Last night was almost as funny … we tried a new restaurant in one of the malls, but they didn’t have many tables left, so we literally sat in the main hallway of the mall.  I felt rather exposed.  I tried the vegetarian option from the menu, but it wasn’t exactly plated the way it was described on the menu.  The menu made it sound like a veggie platter … turned out to be a mashed potato sandwich!  Really??  Can’t say I’ve ever had a mashed potato sandwich before!!  I can check that off my list.  It wasn’t terrible – it actually had a lot of flavor and seasoning, but I can’t say I need carbs on carbs!

All things considered, it was still one really great birthday – maybe even the best birthday ever!  I’m so spoiled – thanks to my boys!!

Nicholas’ End of Year Program

Nicholas’ nursery school held their end of year program this week.  Ken took the day off and we got there early so as not to miss it again (remember I got stuck in traffic and missed his foreign language concert).  Nicholas can definitely be on the shy side around new people and new experiences, but I’m happy to say there is no shyness at all up on stage!!!  There may be some of me in him after all!!!  Not sure if it will be clear in the videos, but he was definitely the loudest singer in his class.  He was smiling and dancing and having a great time!!

Happy family after the program:


The nursery staff did a great job making the background stage:


Nicholas dancing away to the Hokey Pokey:


The knee knocking was my favorite move:

knee claps

Smile for the camera:


Nicholas has learned to snap this year and it’s become quite a little habit … he snaps all the time now!


And here are the videos…

Green belts

The boys earned their green belts in karate last week!  So in one school year, they went from white to yellow to orange 1 to orange 2 to green 1.  Way to go boys!!  Nicholas continues to be the coaches favorite student ... I think because he's so tiny and so attentive.  Most 4 year olds wiggle and giggle through practice, but not Nicholas - he never misses a thing!!  And Jaden still loves to show off his middle splits and high kicks ... look out Rockettes!


Jaden showing off his splits:


Boys with Sensei Abdul:


Video clip from the test for their green belts, check out Jaden’s kick which start around 0:55:

This next video clip is from their practice last week.  These partner jumps are my absolute favorite thing to watch!  First Jaden jumps over Nicholas – knocking Nicholas down most every time.  Sensei tries to tell Nicholas to be strong.  Then Nicholas tries to jump over Jaden – HILARIOUS!!!  Bless his heart, he tries SO HARD!!!  He is successful once.  It’s the same week after week after week.  It cracks me up!

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Welcome Snowbell to the family!!  Our friends the Clough’s are moving back to the US and needed to find a new home for their hamster…and so we have adopted our first rodent.  I’m definitely NOT enjoying cleaning the cage, but she sure is a lot less work than a dog!!  The boys love to feed her and “exercise” her.  Poor girl!  “Exercise” entails being carried to the bathroom and then the boys chase after her trying to hold her and pet her.  I think it definitely raises her heartbeat – poor thing is terrorized every night in the bathroom!  For her sake I try to limit it to just a few minutes, but I don’t want to discourage their active role in taking care of her!

snowbell (2) snowbell (1)

Swimming Progress

I tried to take videos of the boys during their swimming lessons to show Ken their progress, but apparently I’m not allowed to take videos during class.  :-(  So after class was over, we used a little corner of the pool to take some videos.  Jaden and Nicholas have both come a long way in swimming since we moved to Doha!  We spend a lot of time in the pool, so I guess it just comes with the territory.  Jaden can easily out swim me in the freestyle.  We did 6 laps in the pool yesterday – I was huffing and puffing, he wanted to keep going!  Jaden’s backstroke also looks great and he can do several laps although not always so straight!  His lessons these days are mostly focused on improving his breaststroke. 

Nicholas blows me away – he still doesn’t have his side breath mastered and so it doesn’t always look pretty, but he can swim laps too!!  Jaden could barely put his face in the water at 4 years of age and Nicholas can swim full laps in the pool!!  Crazy!!  He continues to work on his side breath and backstroke during his lessons.

Jaden swiming freestyle


Jaden's breaststroke

Nicholas' freestyle and backstroke

Love the belly flops!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Jaden’s Kindergarten Concert

So after the last post, we started having some technical difficulties uploading videos, which is why it’s taken so long to post again.  Ken thinks he has it resolved, so I’m hoping to catch up on blog updates soon!   20 more days until we fly to the USA!!

Two weeks ago, Nicholas and I went to see Jaden’s end of year concert.  All 7 Kindergarten classes performed in a farmyard musical called “E-I-E-I-Oops!”  It was about a cow who lost her moo and the other farmyards animals were trying to encourage her to moo again.  Jaden was one of the horses … there were also sheep and chicks.  I’ve included 3 videos from the concert, but likely only the grandparents will be interested in watching all 3 in their entirety!  Jaden is in the front row, 5th from the left.  He also had a solo speaking part … telling a joke to cheer up the cow … at the very end of the first video.  My personal favorite is his thumbs up and wink in the 2nd video.  Wish I could capture it as a still photo!!  He’s just so darn cute!

Enjoy the videos!!  And be warned, I’m in no way a professional videographer!

Opening number including Jaden's joke

Lighten up including Jaden's wink

Closing number