Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spring Break 2015

We had a fairly low key spring break this year.  No big vacation, no big adventures.  We bought the boys their first pair of rollerblades and we hung around the house.  The weather was still cool and we even had some rainy days to enjoy.  Unfortunately it may have been the end of the enjoyable weather.  It has warmed up quite a bit in just the last few days.  We may even have our first day of 100F this week.  We'll see...

While the boys were learning to rollerblade, I worked on our 2014 photo book.  I usually create an annual photo book over Thanksgiving weekend to give as Christmas gifts to myself and the grandparents, but it didn't happen last year.   It's currently being printed, so mission accomplished!  :-)

Here are some pictures of rollerblading...of course the day I had my camera with me, Nicholas didn't want to skate, so he is on his bike.  I'll have to take pictures of him another day.  It's amazing how quickly they have progressed on skates.  Day 1 was hard to watch ... so wobbly and falling down left and right.  But it's a lot more fun now!!

Jaden is a rollerblading fool!  He loves to skate!!

Working on turns...

Looking good Jaden!

Taking a break.

Speed demon on a mini bike ... they weren't interested in bikes until recently, so this bike is from 3 years ago when he was quite a bit smaller!  Might be time for new bikes!

Practicing his tight turns

Stand up pedaling

What a cutie!  Even with nutella on his cheek!!  :-)
One thing we've wanted to do since we moved here nearly 3 years ago was to take the boys to the motorcycle races at the Losail International Circuit.  We finally found information on some races in time to make it to the event.  The first night we went was practice time on the bikes and we were blown away by the noise!!!  SO LOUD!!!!  And of course we forgot the boys hearing protection.  :-(  We also had no idea what was going on ... motoGP???  What is that??

Thankfully our friend Erwin helped us out with some information about the races.  He's a big motorcycle enthusiast!  So he explained that the MotoGP bikes are all prototypes and only the very best riders race on them. Moto3 are younger riders on smaller bikes, Moto2 are a bit more experiences, and MotoGP are the best of the best.  He gave us names and numbers for the best riders to look for and when we went back the following night (with hearing protection and binoculars) we had WAY MORE FUN!!!
Arriving at Losail Circuit for MotoGP races
Starting/finish line
Practice night
So loud!!  Why did we forget their hearing protection??
2nd night ... so much better with hearing protection!!!  Watching qualifying races...

Lead bike in this picture was my favorite (color) :-)

Moto2 races

Leaderboard at the end of Moto2 qualifying race

Having a great time!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Catching up - Part 2 - soccer, swim meet, and Holi

Jaden and Nicholas have enjoyed another season of soccer this year. 
Jaden smiles for the camera

Nicholas was quite the defender this week.  He stopped / stole the ball from the other team several times during the game.  Of course the uniforms are so similar, the picture looks like he stole the ball from his own team mate, but that wasn't the case.  :-)

Nicholas going after the ball

Nicholas' team photo ... Nicholas is front row on the far left

This picture doesn't even look like Jaden to me ... he was running so fast, his face looks all wind blown

Jaden's team picture ... Jaden is front row second from the right
The boys' school hosted a swim meet last week, but neither of them wanted to enter.  I even got an email from their PE teacher identifying them as strong swimmers and encouraging them to enter, but they still didn't want to.  I tried and tried to convince them with several tactics.  In the end, I signed them both up for 5 races and insisted Jaden try and let Nicholas make his own mind.  Nicholas was adamant he was NOT going to compete and purposely left his swim gear at home.  I took it to school just in case he changed his mind and was super proud of him for competing!!!  (All his choice).  He only swam 2 of the 5 races, but that's okay by me!  He swam 25m freestyle and 25m breaststroke.  He didn't place, but I was super proud of him for being brave enough to enter the competition.
Nicholas swims 25m breaststroke

Nicholas biting his nails before his 25m freestyle race (red & blue stripe shorts)

That's Nicholas in the 2nd lane from the bottom... 25m freestyle

All wrapped up with his towel after his race ... watching Jaden

And I couldn't have been more impressed with Jaden!  I thought he was a decent swimmer, but his lessons are one on one and he's never had an opportunity to race against kids his own age, so I wasn't sure how he really stacked up.  Apparently not so bad.  He tied for 1st in his heat in the 25m freestyle and the 25m backstroke (both were photo finishes), then he took 1st in his heat in the 50m freestyle, 1st in his heat in the 50m backstroke, and 3rd in his heat in the 50m breaststroke.  He was one exhausted kiddo by the end of 5 races, but he did FANTASTIC!!  There were stronger swimmers in the other heats, but he still tied for 2nd place overall in his age group.  Way to go Jaden!!!  And to think he didn't want to compete because he didn't think he was any good!!!  This was a great boost to his confidence and I hope he continues to swim.

And I forgot to mention that Jaden did that well without diving into the pool.  He pushed off the wall on every race while all the other kids dove into the pool faster than him.  I asked him why afterward and I forgot he used his goggles at the color run and had them super loose.  He said they fell off when he tried to dive in, so he couldn't dive.  I don't think he would have done any better than 2nd place overall, but his times may have been a bit faster on each race. 

Jaden battling out the freestyle in the top lane ... against one of his best friends Carl

Jaden with a comfortable lead in the 25m backstroke

Jaden sits on the edge of the pool waiting for the whistle

Jaden in the 50m breast stroke
Jaden with a comfortable lead in the 50m backstroke
 Last weekend was the Indian holiday Holi -- a celebration of color.  Jaden had a birthday party to go to and Ken was his taxi, but Nicholas and I were able to enjoy the party.  Nicholas wasn't so sure about the colors at first, so I let him draw all over my face.  He chose to play tic tac toe on my forehead.  Then lots of friends showed up and we all had a great time.  Eventually Nicholas even let me draw a mustache on him!  :-)
First arriving at the Holi party and Nicholas drew all over my face
With friends at the party


Nicholas and his mustache.  :-)


Catching up - part 1 - cub scouts, field trips, and color run

It's been entirely too long since I've updated the blog!  I can give you several reason ... partly because we've been busy, partly due to technical difficulties (phone issues, laptop issues, desktop issues, you name it, we've had problems with it), but let's be honest, it's mostly because I've been lazy. :-) I've gotten hooked into a string of great books and spend my free time on my kindle instead of my blog.  :-) 

So now it's time to get all caught up ...


Jaden is in cub scouts this year and he earned the wolf patch.  I didn't know I would get to draw on his face too!  What fun!!

Between friends Ben and Kabeer at Cub Scouts meeting

Nicholas and his friend Jaydon being silly on their class field trip to see the Cat in the Hat
I forgot our camera for the show and the iPhone didn't take very good shots, but it was a SUPER cute show!!!  A great KG field trip!!

The 2nd graders put on a spectacular musical written by their music teacher "Dr. Greg."  It was an African folk story called Anansi and the Golden Box.  It was fantastic, but again I forgot my camera and the iPhone didn't get any good shots.  Jaden is wearing a gold scarf in the front row

We signed up for the Color Run with the boys and had a blast! 
With friends Paris and Sklyer at the start of the race
On your marks, get set, go!  It took FOREVER to get to the starting line.  Over 5000 people signed up for the race and it wasn't exactly the most organized ... we were excited to finally get moving.
After the orange station.  Nicholas wasn't so sure about the colors. 
Near the finish line with friends
Having fun toward the end of the race
We saw lots of familiar faces ... life is always more fun with friends!

We made it!
 This next batch of pictures are from Jaden's 2nd grade field trip.  They went to visit a private farm here in Qatar owned by the Al Fardan family.  It was most impressive!!  We saw the large animals (including several that were endangered), the greenhouses, the birds, and the gardens.  We were there for 3 hrs and only saw a fraction of the farm.  It's not open to the public, this (very wealthy) family graciously allowed the entire 2nd grade to come for a visit.
Jaden with his class friends at the farm

some animals were endangered

This is the Addax Oryx

Moussa pointing out that this next animal is critically endangered

One of several beautiful statues within the farm

Jaden with friends Carl and Andres

Jaden cruising through the tomato plants in the green houses

Checking out the birds


Bird cote (common bird structure here)

biggest cabbages I've ever seen!

Jaden's teacher Ms Mary showing the class the corn field
 All in all it was a fantastic field trip!