Happy 2015!!! I can't believe my last post was Halloween!! It's been an especially busy time for our family -- both good and sad. I'll do my best to catch up on posting pictures in the weeks ahead. I never did get Christmas cards done this year, so you can all stop checking your mailboxes. :-)
A quick summary of the last 10 weeks...
Shortly after Halloween we got a most dreaded phone call in the middle of the night ... one you never want to get. Ken's only sister, Mai, was found dead in her Dallas apartment on Nov 14th. It was quite unexpected and tragic. Ken immediately started making arrangements to get home ... the hardest part of expat life is not being there for your family during times like these. The kids and I stayed in Doha until Ken was able to join his family in Dallas and make the arrangements for a burial in Houston. Then we flew out to join them for the memorial service. Ken's family is pretty private and the service was a rather small gathering of close friends and family at the cemetery. The pastor from our home church said a few words (in English) and Ken's dad spoke (in Vietnamese). Ken's brother Antoine read a poem that Ken had written and all were moved. It had been gray and rainy all week, but it was a beautiful blue sky for the service. It was a lovely tribute to a wonderful sister, daughter, and friend. We miss Mai everyday and the holidays were not the same without her. We stayed in Houston until Thanksgiving and flew home that afternoon.
For Christmas this year, we took the kids skiing in Austria again. It was a VERY different trip than our first Austrian ski trip 2 years ago! There was hardly any snow on the mountain and Nicholas had a fever and stuffy nose, so he couldn't ski. He was surprisingly okay about just hanging out with me in the lodge (I guess he really wasn't feeling well). We played board and card games and listened to a fabulous live band play (we made up lyrics since we didn't understand what they were saying). :-) Jaden did great in ski school and I think he's ready to ski with me and Ken on our next trip ... no more ski school! :-) I'll have to post pictures another time.
We flew back to Doha on Christmas Day (after spending both Thanksgiving and Christmas in airports this year, Ken is determined never to travel on a holiday ever again!). We tricked the kids into thinking we traveled on Christmas Eve and opened presents on Dec 26. They had no idea. It was a fairly short trip to Austria because we had to get back to Doha for my mom and nephew Dakota's visit. We had a blast showing Dakota around Doha and enjoyed fabulous weather the entire time he was here! I'll have lots of pictures to post another day.
Finally, we celebrated Jaden's 8th birthday this week. Where has the time gone? I can't believe he is already 8!!! He wanted something small for his birthday this year. He wanted to go to a "fancy" restaurant with his closest friends followed by ice cream cake at our house and a play date. It was a lovely day!! We adore his friends and their parents, so it was just as nice for us and it was for him. A fabulous birthday for a fabulous 8 year old!!!
Pictures to follow soon ...
A belated "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" to all our friends and family.