Saturday, January 9, 2016


I don't take many pictures of our cat ... mostly because she's a scaredy cat and always runs the other way when people come around.  She's only cuddly at night and she loves to sleep curled up between our legs.  She took over our bed the other day and was so cute, I had to snap a few pictures of Maps.

Napping at the end of our bed in the sunshine with one arm dangling off the end

She relocated between my legs after I laid down.  Still has one arm dangling over the edge ... her signature move

Doesn't get much cuter than this! 
Clearly our cat has a very rough life!

Soccer and Jaden's Laser Tag Birthday

In addition to the ExxonMobil Qatar Open, we also kicked off the Doha Soccer League this weekend.  Both Jaden and Nicholas were assigned to team AC Milan.  Jaden plays on AC Milan grades 2/3 and Nicholas plays on AC Milan KG/1.  I'm on the fence whether having the same team name will be easier or harder for me to keep track of their schedules.  Time will tell. 

I'm always astounded how many children we know in the league and how few friends we have on our teams.  Nicholas has 1 friend on his team this year, but Jaden didn't know anyone.  Opportunity to make more friends!  Both teams played well this season and to help our timid but reasonably skilled soccer players, we have resorted to bribery.  For every goal they score, they earn 5QAR (about $1.50) to spend on candy and treats at our compound market.  Maybe this is bad parenting, but I'm going to say it's simply incentive.  Our boys typically hang back from the pack and today Nicholas scored 1 goal and Jaden scored 2.  Not bad for the first game of the season!!!  :-)

Jaden's AC Milan grades 2/3 team

Nicholas in action!
After the soccer games, we went straight to Villagio mall for Jaden's 9th birthday party!  When did he get to be 9??!!!  How time flies and how blessed we are to call him our son.  Sweet, sensitive, happy, friendly Jaden is 9!!  We celebrated by taking him and 9 friends to lunch at Shake Shack (burgers and fries) followed by laser tag!  The boys had a blast but it is a very short game.  Only 10 minutes!!!!  It was crazy expensive, so I wasn't about to pay for a second round.  We finished the party with ice cream cake -- Jaden's favorite!  It was so much fun!  Even I had a great time!!!  So nice when there is not a ton of preparation or clean up involved!!  Loved it!!

The birthday boy!  All hot and sweaty after a morning of soccer and a round of laser tag.  Picture taken by a friend (who is clearly better with a camera than I could ever dream of becoming) 

NO IDEA why the staff at Shake Shack put handkerchiefs on the boys heads, but they were all troopers about it!

Seriously, what is the deal with the handkerchiefs??

Listening to music on Ian's ipod while we wait for lunch
Nicholas always says that he and Ben are one person in two bodies.  Not sure about that, but Ben is a great friend to both boys!

Ben on left and Hamza on right were having a staring contest.  I'm not sure it was healthy how long they could go without blinking!!!  I was most impressed!!!

Blue team ready to play:  Ben, Jaden, Skyler, Carl, and Viktor

Red team ready: Ian, Thomas, Hamza, Isaac, and Teddy in front

Nicholas didn't play laser tag.  He was too short and the vests were too heavy, but he didn't mind at all.  They let him in the room and run around while everyone played, so he was a happy camper!

Lights out ... ready, set, go!
Final Score:  Blue team wins!
Despite the lack of smiles, the boys had a blast!!
Not until I got home did I realize Jaden is the only one smiling in this picture.  I promise they had a good time!!!

Ice cream cake!  Jaden's favorite!!!

singing happy birthday

A great group of boys!  Jaden has amazing friends!
Of course, I knew all the boys that were invited, but it was the first time Ken had met any of them and he was amazed at how many jokers are in his class this year!!  He is amazed that their teacher can keep up with all their shenanigans!!!  But in the very next breath he said that while they all joke around and like to be silly, they listen well and are very respectful.  All in all, a good party full of good friends.  Happy 9th birthday sweet Jaden!!!


I haven't posted to my blog in forever and I still need to go through all the pictures we took on our amazing Czech Christmas trip with my parents, but I know that will take a while and I wanted to add some current pictures from a very busy week for us! 

This week was the ExxonMobil Qatar Tennis tournament and for the first time I was able to go to the players gala.  Somehow Ken has attended this every year, but I've never been his date.  I was excited to "dine" with the best tennis players in the world ... from a distance, behind a rope heavily guarded by security.  It was a very special moment (note the sarcasm).  So we didn't exactly "dine" with the players, but they were in attendance and we went with lovely friends and enjoyed a delicious meal.
left to right: David Ferrer (#7 in the world), Rafael Nadal (#5 in world), Qatari host, Novak Djokovic (#1 in world), Alistair Rutledge (ExxonMobil Lead Country Manager)

Dessert was a highlight of the evening ... looked like a tennis ball

crack it open to find a raspberry topped cream cake ... delicious!


The first night we attended, we took the kids to watch Nadal play Kuznetsov and a bit of Djokovich's match. I don't even know who Djokovic played since I spent forever in line getting snacks.  By the time I got back to our seats, they were ready to go home.  Such is the life of a parent.  The second night we attended was the semi finals and we opted to get a babysitter for the boys.  We watched the finals for the doubles and then we watch Nadel play Marchenko and Djokovic play Berdych.
We had great seats with the kids, but for the semi finals, we didn't know you had to arrive early to get the better seats (since it's an ExxonMobil event, we had complimentary corporate tickets, but seating preference was first come first serve).  So we ended up in the nosebleed section for the semi finals.  The air was a bit thin up there, but on the bright side, we could also keep an eye on our car from our seat!  Yes we were so high, we could see outside the stadium and see precisely where we parked!

The boys and I came straight after school so we wouldn't miss Nadel.  He's the boys favorite!  Ken met us there after he got home from work.

my boys!  So handsome!  Nicholas is always so great at smiling for the camera!!

Rafa's classic "butt pick" ... this is why he is the boys favorite!
He is either ridiculously superstitious or OCD (or maybe both), but he doesn't serve without first picking his butt, then tapping his left shoulder, then his right, then touching his nose, left ear, nose, right ear, with a swipe of the forehead somewhere in the middle.  It's hilarious to watch!!  The boys counted over 100 butt picks in one set a few years ago.  Of course his tennis isn't so bad either!!  Ranked second for the ExxonMobil Qatar Open ... and something like 5th in the world overall.  29 years old, made it to the finals 99 times, and has earned over $75M in prize money in his career.  With all that money, you think he could afford better underwear that doesn't give him a constant wedgie!

I enjoyed playing with our new zoom lens on the camera.  Rafael Nadal in all his serving glory!

action shot

And I love when the stars play with the kids after their match is over.


Doubles finals as seen from the nosebleed section.  Our car is parked just to the left of the stands opposite us.  Can you see it?  :-)

Novak Djokovic in action

Ready for the serve

Another great action shot

Berdych in action ... he played well against Djokovic ... an excellent match!

Love seeing sportsmanship played out in real life.  Berdych played a good match.

Djokovic wins the semi finals and ready to play Nadel tomorrow in the finals.