November update

November 23, 2010

It’s hard to believe it is only 4 weeks until Christmas! The lead up here is just starting with decorations going up in the last few days (now that Eid is over), I am not sure where this year has gone! The weather at the moment is glorious, cool in the morning, no need for a jumper yet, still mid 30’s during the day but then the afternoons and nights are just lovely for sitting outside.

I started the month off accompanying Lala’s class to the kid’s zoo as part of her ‘pets’ topic this term. It was a fun day, full on… I forgot how much energy you need for excursions! The kids got to see, feed and pat all sorts of animals, La’s surprised me by happily feeding them and touching some (all the really slow-moving ones) but there was no way she was going to touch the 4 month old lion club or the snake!

We can safely rule out vet as a future occupation!

My 'little monkey's ' for the day.

Of course (like all places here) it had to have a ride area!

Last week the kids had the whole week off school (conveniently coinciding with Denny and Linda’s visit) for the second Eid. After Ramadan (the holy month of fasting) they have the first Eid, then a month later is the second Eid which celebrates the people who have done the pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca. It is like the Muslim Christmas. This year Lachie’s class were all invited to a Hajj party at the Sheika’s palace. It was a great experience for them, lots of fun, way to much sugar and a little bit of culture.

Charlotte would only wear traditional dress if it was pink!

My little pilgrims

Sunset at the palace

Now ready for national day!

All the best parties have their own ice-cream truck!

Clint’s Dad Denny and Linda arrived for a 10 day visit on the Thursday before Eid so there was no school for the 10 days they were here. Linda arrived laden with treats, a very special one sent over by Clint’s grandmother who baked fudge for us. I am not sure how they got it through customs though!

Does this look like fudge to you?

Charlotte managed to wake up the first day of holidays with a mild case of the chicken pox which put a hold on our camping plans, but luckily after 4 days she was able to get out and about again. It wa such a mild case, 13 spots in all, I am concerned she may get it again! But it was well timed, Clint and Denny spent the weekend at the Grand Prix and Linda and I left the kids at hoe and hit the shops! She was however still contagious so we had to skip the camping but, we still joined out friends for a day on Lulu Island. It was beautiful and really is one of Abu Dhabi’s best kept secrets; probably because you need a boat to get there! The kids spent the day swimming, playing in the sand, snorkeling, fishing and being towed on the donut.

Sand always provides hours of fun

Lala and Gabby


Hanging on the boat with Poppy

All the boys went fishing, the girls stayed to swim and play in the sand. The ladies had drinks!

We headed to Dubai a few times to show Denny and Linda the sights. We spent a day, wandering, shopping, lunching and enjoying a dow cruise at the Madinat Jumeriah.

On the dhow

Traditional boat, traditional dress and a mobile phone!

Burj Al Arab

We also ventured up the Burj Khalifa- the tallest building in the world, it was a clear day and the view was fantastic. Fortunately we did it 2 days after Tom Cruise was hanging off it filming for ‘Missions Impossible’, so we could actually see the view and not just the helicopters!

Lachie's tough guy look

We can be silly at any height

Daddy's girl

Cheeky again

Family shot

Enthralled with the view

Denny and Clint

Last weekend Clint and I attended the 235th birthday of the United States marine Corp ball at Emirates palace, the kids behaved for nanny and Poppy and Clint and I got to dress up.

Denny and Linda left late Sunday night, Clint then flew to Kuwait for work on Monday and is in Dubai tonight for a function. But all is good, next week is National day so another public holiday and now less than 4 weeks till we fly out for Christmas in Japan!

Kuala Lumpar

September 14, 2010

I remember reading somewhere that when you travel, half the fun is getting there… if this was the case we were in for a cr@p holiday!! Our plane left just before 3am, so we left home at midnight with 2 very tired children (they had had a few hours sleep). Note to self: avoid midnight flights in the future if at all possible! The flight was only 7 and a half hours long, the kids now class anything under 17 hours as a short trip. Charlotte flew fine, despite refusing to sleep and was happy enough to watch TV and charm the hostesses.  Unfortunately Lachie completed his usual pre-holiday detox and vomited for 6 hours straight. It was an extremely turbulent flight, even Clint and I felt queasy at different stages.

But we all survived and landed in time for a fantastic afternoon storm complete with thunder, lightning and dark, dark skies (yes, I realize only people from the desert get excited about rain on their holidays) as we made our way to our wonderful hotel. We could not have picked a better spot. Located in central Kl, walking distance to fantastic eateries and a monorail stop just outside to whip us around the city. Clint’s brother Brett, Keli and their three children flew in from oz the following day and we quickly filled our days shopping, playing tourist, shopping, swimming, eating, shopping and shopping. I think the children were going to rebel if we dragged them to the markets one more time!

Ready for dinner

Fish spa- the fish don't have teeth but are meant to remove dead skin and increase circulation... very weird feeling!

World's worst pony rides!

and now Lala's turn

Brigitte helping Lala to see

Taking it all in.

Family shot at Batu caves

The snakes were much more interesting than the temples for the kids.

My angels

Batu caves entrance... note the stairs on the left

The kids half way up.

Last day of school tomorrow.

June 29, 2010

It has been a busy few weeks.

On the 19th of June Mum and Dad came to visit on their way home from Europe for a few days. Lachie and Charlotte were so excited to see them and enjoyed their undivided attention! Unfortunately it was to hot to get out and do much while the kids were at school, but they saw most of it last time- and the children are the real attraction for them anyway! As per usual with my great timing, after having a Doctor visit, I managed to get sick the day they flew home! So I spent the last half of last week in bed hoping no-one else got it. So far (fingers crossed) the children have managed to avoid it and Clint only got a mild dose.

With school finishing tomorrow the reports cards have come home and we are very proud of both Lachie and Charlotte; they both got brilliant academic results and also excellent results for effort. Next school year (September) Lachie will start Year 2. His class are staying together for the 3rd year in a row which is great. 3 of his friends are moving back home so there will be some new faces. Again they have been given the lead teacher and she has a fantastic reputation. Charlotte will go into fs2 (already reading and writing sentences) her class is also staying together and she is lucky enough to have the same teacher again next year which is absolutely wonderful, 2 of her friends are also heading home… such is the transient population of Abu Dhabi. As a teacher I use to dream of 10 weeks of Summer holidays, now as a parent it is a completely different train of thought!

We head to Germany Thursday for Clint to race the Frankfurt Ironman, we were extremely organised booking our airfares, accommodation and car hire early knowing it would be peak season. However…. Saturday night we received a call from the Adina hotel in Frankfurt saying our apartment (which we booked in January) had been doubled booked. To add to our annoyance, the lady proceeded to tell Clint has been taken by someone who walked in off the street looking for accommodation for 3 weeks, checked in and will still be there when we arrive! How this is our problem I am still not sure, we are still trying to sort out some alternative accommodation. The staff at the Adina have been less than helpful! But I am sure we will find something and look forward to seeing Fiona and Steve again who are flying in from London for the weekend.

Stay tuned for race results…

Some new photos…

May 20, 2010

Yes that is 50 degrees and it isn't even summer yet!!

Ready for gymnastics

floor work

La's favorite part

Swimming lessons- there are worse places to spend an hour on Wednesdays!

Lachs in the monkey puzzle- year one show

Ashley and Lachie after their turn on stage

Lala gets a spare

Not one for hiding his emotions... do you think he is happy with his result??

Me and my boy

Charlotte and Grandma (Clint's Mum)

Abu Dhabi from the tower at Marina Mall

What there's a view???


Happy Birthday Princess

April 21, 2010

It’s hard to believe our little Princess is now four years old… where have the years gone?

Lala of course was very excited about her birthday and started counting down the days after the easter bunny visited! She thought it was hilarious when she had 4 days left till she was 4 followed by 3 days left of being 3!

Charlotte’s birthday fell on a Saturday and the last day of the school holidays, she started the day with family presents and in the wonderful age of technology Great Grandma was able to watch her open and play with her presents which was lovely.  Lachie was just as excited about each of her presents as she was.

Birthdays in the age of technology... playing with her toy from Great Grandma while Great Grandma watches.

Very proud of her new bike.

Opening presents

After opening presents they enjoyed the special breakfast of waffles Lala chose before getting ready for her party.

With the charming weather already hitting over 40 degrees each day we opted for an inside party at a local play centre. The kids all had a ball, and Clint and I enjoyed not having to do any of the cleaning up!

Master chef at work the day before the party

Party time!!

Cake... pinky pie from My Little Pony

Cake close up

and again...

finally silence... only because they were all eating!

Cake with her specially chosen pony candles

Make a wish princess...

The inside of the cake was rainbow.

Charlotte had a fantastic day and enjoyed being spoilt with gifts and wishes from family and friends… thank you all!

After the party... more present opening.

End of January

January 25, 2010

Wow… how quickly time flies as the first month of 2010 draws to an end. But life here is all good, although it seems that winter occurred during the 3 weeks we were in Australia! That said the weather here is fantastic at the moment, highs round 30 degrees so we are spending lots of time out and about and I have been able to walk with some of the Mums from school in the mornings instead of going to the gym. Unfortunately this lovely weather will pass and in a month or 2 it will be too hot for that so then I will (in theory) hit the gym.

Clint is currently working out of Sharjah (one of the other Emirates) and trying to get into a routine that allows him to see the family, train for Ironman and not have to drive the 2 hours each way every day.  At present he is driving there and back on Sunday, up again Monday morning, staying overnight then back home Tuesday night. Driving up again Wednesday morning, staying the night and back on Thursday… so far it seems to be working but we will see how he goes. He completed his first marathon (well he did one as part of Ironman but his first single one) he was happy with his time but not the nutrition he had during the race, so that is something else for him to play with before July.

Last week I went on the year one excursion to the Dubai Aquarium, the children all had a lovely day… although I had forgotten how noisy a bus full 5 year olds can be! Next week I am off on the FS1 trip with Charlotte’s class to a farm which should be lots of fun and just as noisy!

The other big news is that we are moving again. Having moved house 5 times in 11 months (July 08- May 09) it shouldn’t be too stressful! We are moving into a 5 bedroom villa about 10 mins away from where we currently are. There are 8 five bedroom villas (plus a couple of 2 and 3 bedrooms) in the compound and 4 other families from our first compound at Seashore villas are moving there with us, as well as another family with a boy in  Lachie’s year at school. We don’t have a move date yet but should be all in and settled before the first of our visitors (Clint’s Mum and Hans) arrive in May. But until then it’s time to organise packers, movers and the moving of all our utilities… that should keep me busy!

The dolphins

November 23, 2009

Saturday saw another family trip to Dubai, this time to check out the dolphinarium. The kids were very excited and have been wanting to go since they saw it on tv a few weeks ago. The dolphinarium is inside the children’s park, which we had never been to before but it was very impressive. It is on the water, huge grassed areas, lots of play equipment etc. There was also a children’s museum- looked a bit like the QLD Science Museum that we will go back and visit another day.

Clint and I were both fairly skeptical before  the dolphin and seal show, but I have to say it was pretty good. Went for just over an hour, although in some sections the compares seemed to be doing a bit of stretching. It is indoors (no surprises in this country) which was great for the atmosphere and you got to be so much closer to the animals then places like Seaworld.

Lachie enjoyed it but Charlotte was absolutely mesmerised, she had a huge grin on her face the entire time and kept saying it was ‘awesome’. Although when it was time to say goodbye to the dolphins the tears ran down her cheeks and she was sobbing as she didn’t want the dolphins to go!