Friday, November 11, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up: The Rest of October...

So I think I keep saying that soon I will be better at blogging regularly... but the truth is we are into the second week of November and I am just now catching up on the rest of October. And unfortunately I don't see things slowing down since we are about to leave for a trip to Thailand and we found out we have to move to another house in Baku and my mom will be visiting us (YAY!).

So instead I just have to give myself grace and be thankful for the time that I do have to blog (even if I am catching up on things that happened awhile ago). :-)

We were lucky enough to attend another birthday party this month with an animator who did bubbles and balloons. This was the twins first time seeing the massive bubbles and both of them were in awe (especially Olivia). Now I know exactly what to do next June/July for our joint Stingerie Girls Birthday Bash. ;-)

We've had a lot of fun taking videos of the girls to remember their fun and joy. They love to play peek-a-boo with the curtains and Evy does a hilarious shuffle and waddle that we tried to capture on video along with the sweetest sister kisses at the end. ♥

The second half of the month went by in a blur of our daily activities along with Dubai and Halloween. I should probably get started on a November update if I hope to finish before December hits - ha!

1. Madi enjoying a ride around the living room with Giant Hans.
2. Sometimes you are in a rush at the expensive grocery store downtown and don't realize you've just purchased the saddest $11 blueberries ever. They were not shared with our children.
3. Olivia enjoyed some one-on-one time with Mommy at baby swimming.
4. My first ever baked brie. It was a huge hit at Bible study and has been made a couple more times since then. Super easy and super delicious!
5. Probably my favorite picture of Madi and I in awhile. I am sporting my beloved Norwegian Marius sweater and Madi a matching sweatshirt before her tennis practice.
6. Rain = puddles = happy Norwegian-born girl :-)
7. Toddlers enjoying one of their daily walks outside.
8. Life is rough when you are a pre-schooler. So rough that you sometimes fall asleep in the middle of a good book. ;-)
9. Prim. For those who don't know what it is, here. Madi fell in love with it at barnehage and our final imported container ran out. I drew the short straw with Jason and had to be the one to break the news that it was gone and then explain a billion times why I can't just go to the store and get more. Then a friend blessed us with one additional container she had in her freezer so tune back in another few weeks for how we get on with round two of the heartbreak. HA!


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Evelyn and Olivia: 16 Months

We have gotten to see a lot more of the girls' personalities this month and it's been fun and challenging at the same time! We took a trip to Dubai and discovered that we have one toddler who is more cautious and reserved when it comes to new surroundings...and one who barrels ahead with excitement. Any guess which is which?! ;-)

Dearest Evy,
You are my cautious baby. It was so cute watching you hesitate to walk on the glass floor or the gap to step onto the elevator. You reach your hand up for mine or Daddy's for reassurance that it's okay to proceed. You have started to say "hees" for cheese, "cece" for CeCe, "puh" for pouch, and "pass" for "paci". You love to feed yourself and make a gigantic mess. If Olivia or Madi are crying you will find their stuffed animals and bring them to them (and you'll bring Olivia her pacifier). You are the kind, peacemaker so far. You are quick now to give kisses and are good going to strangers. You like to walk up to people and stick your hand out for them to take it and walk with you. We love your spunky personality and kindness!
Love, Mommy

Dearest Liv,
You tricked us early on into thinking that you were going to be the easy-going baby. The tables have turned and you are a right handful. You have started to show your spirit of defiance by looking at us and running away with a smile on your face. You are quite the little stinker! You like to steal toys from your sister and are very expressive when you want something. We've finally gotten you to say "zozo" for "Zoey, but you still prefer to call her (and all animals actually) "zaza". You've also just recently started saying "uh oh" and it's pretty dang adorable. You were in your element on our trip to Dubai when we visited the aquarium and the zoo. And you expressed your dislike when it was time to change exhibits or (gasp) leave. You had some health challenges this month with eczema and rashes and we've been recommended to get additional allergy testing and are being extra cautious with foods and environment. You are spirited and adorable and you brighten our day with your smile!
Love, Mommy


Monday, November 7, 2016

241st Marine Corps Ball in Baku

This past Saturday we had the honor of attending the 241st Marine Corps Ball. The evening started with a ceremony that gave some of the history of the Marine Corps and some of their traditions. I didn't know anything about the history and thoroughly enjoyed the ceremony portion and reflecting on all the men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting the American people and our great nation. Afterwards we got to enjoy some delicious food and dancing! It was a wonderful night out and I'm thankful we were able to attend and for our dear friend Roxana who took care of our girls so we could enjoy ourselves worry-free. :-)


Friday, November 4, 2016

Dubai 2016

Madi's school break was this past week and I knew I wanted to go somewhere, even just for a few days. We decided on Dubai because it's close and the tickets are reasonable. The trip was a nice break for us and we splurged a bit on eating out at loads of American restaurants (since we won't be in the US at all this year...) On our list was Texas Roadhouse, The Cheesecake Factory, Chili's, and PF Changs just to name a few.

The trip started a bit rough with the twins having their 40th flight and definitely their worst flight to date! They refused to nap on board, but perked back up after we got checked into the hotel and over to the Dubai Mall for the famous fountain show.

Sunday we had tickets to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world. We rode the fast elevator to the 124th floor and walked around the observation deck.

We splurged on the over-priced tourist photo since it had all five of us looking - ha! They also gave us the digital of all the pictures. :-)


Afterwards Jason took the girls back to the hotel and let me wander the mall for a couple hours. They re-joined me after naps and we visited the Dubai aquarium. These girls LOVE animals and could have spent hours there. I'm pretty sure everyone in the mall knew when we left because of Olivia's protests. We could barely get her to move in the aquarium and had to pick her up quickly and say "more fishies". :-)

We learned on this trip just how cautious Evelyn has become. She hesitated to walk onto the glass floor in the aquarium and a few other places where the floor was uneven or obscure. Olivia just barreled ahead screaming at the fish. Quite the difference between the two of them!

We hit up the Rainforest Cafe for dinner that evening and lucked out with a table that gave the girls a view of the fish and the parents a semi-peaceful meal. Evelyn was quite skeptical of the frog...

On Monday we had a late morning and hit the road for the 1.5 hour drive to Abu Dhabi. We visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It was beautiful and we enjoyed getting to see it.

Afterwards we headed to meet a friend we knew in Norway for lunch. It was wonderful to catch up with her, but our time was too short and we are looking forward to planning another trip to visit them for longer.

On our way out of Abu Dhabi we stopped at the Emirates Park Zoo. It was modest, but perfect for toddlers. You could buy peanuts and grass to feed the monkeys, zebras, giraffes, and camels. The girls has a blast despite Olivia's face in our family photo. She thought we were picking her up to leave...enter meltdown (and rolling-eyed emoji).

Tuesday was our last full day in Dubai and we headed to the Marina area and found a splash pad near the beach. The girls had a ball running through the water. Again, Evelyn was a bit hesitant at first, but then decided she was on board.

We walked back along the boulevard and stopped to play at the playground below the overpass since the twins were asleep in the stroller. Then we headed to the Marina Mall for snacks and some lego fun before making our way back towards the hotel.

We decided to visit the Dubai Fountain one last time (along with The Cheesecake Factory!) and let the girls run around on these cool lighted floors that hadn't been there the previous day.

Then we headed back to the hotel for baths and packing for our trip home the next day. It was a total 180 on our flight home (thankfully!) and all three girls were really well-behaved. The twins ate a good lunch and took naps without a single cry... it was amazing! Thanks for a great time Dubai!!


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween 2016

We had a pretty low key Halloween since the actual day was a Monday and we were out of the country! However, Madi's school did some celebrations the week before including inviting some of the parents to help carve pumpkins and having a class party. Then our compound did trick or treating Friday night and the girls got loads of candy (which I sorted and pulled out anything imported from America - HA!)

You'll notice the twins don't have costumes... #motheroftheyear. They were too bulky to ship and too hard to find in Baku plus they had coats on anyway so you wouldn't have been able to see them. They did have adorable matching shirts that Grandma and Papa sent and that sufficed. You can see their super cute costumes from last year though here. :-)

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