Sunday, November 26, 2017

November Fun

I full intended to do a mid-November blog post...and it didn't happen. And since we are jumping on a plane tomorrow and I won't have my computer, I'm finishing up the November post now. :-)


1. Cat in a box. Which got shredded severely in less than 24 hours.
2. Playing peek-a-boo sitting int he window sill. It's a battle we've chosen not to engage on.
3. & 4. Evy - I'm just looking for a yogurt mom Liv - Yeah, what's the big deal.
5. Some of the last beautiful roses from the garden before the cold hits.
6. A sweet note that the teachers wrote for Madi's bff Jaxon.
7. My first homemade cinnamon rolls (no yeast and of course egg free!)
8. & 9. We snuck away for an overnight to attend the Marine Corps Ball and stay at the posh Fairmont Hotel in the Flame Towers. We figured it was a fun bucket list item to do in Baku and the dance was lovely.

I am amazed at the progress and growth Madi has had in swimming this fall. We are looking into starting lessons for the twins in the new year!


My mom had some vacation she needed to use... so we were able to book a reasonable last minute fare for her to come visit us in Baku! Since I didn't have to keep the secret for very long we decided it would be fun to surprise Madi with her arrival. Get ready for your heart to melt and the tears to flow!




1. Binging on American goodies. My mom carried those Diet Cokes in her handbag.
2. Making homemade tortillas solo for the first time. My teacher Laura would be proud!
3. Liv eating a special egg-free cupcake at our friend's birthday party (see Evy getting down on the dance floor in the video below.)
4. Madi and Jaxon making pizzas at Vapianos. The cutest bunny and cheese-less fish I've ever seen!
5. Matching Azerbaijani handmade slippers. We love wearing these around the house and supporting local organizations.
6. Sometimes driving in Baku gets to me. After a particularly long week this was just what the doctor ordered.
7. True love doesn't look like flowers, chocolate, or sparkly jewelry (although I'm not going to say no to any of those things!). Instead it's my non-coffee drinking husband spending a few hours on a Saturday taking apart my coffee machine to fix it. Might have also been to ensure his survival because me with no coffee is not pretty. I choose to believe it's the former -ha!
8. A fun coffee date with friends.
9. This happened. Before Thanksgiving. #noshame.


We spent a lovely morning in the park near Madi's school. The girls enjoyed playing with Grandma and getting outside!


We took the girls to the Winter Fair at the school in our compound and they did pretty well meeting the big guy, loved getting their faces painted (the twins both picked Snoopy and Madi got mistletoe), and playing games.


My birthday was yesterday and my sweet girls sang Happy Birthday to me during breakfast. That afternoon my mom gave us the night away and we headed downtown to the Four Seasons. We walked over to Fountain Square for a delicious dinner at Prive Steakhouse and enjoyed our time together!



It's been a fun-filled November and next thing I know it will be December and the Christmas holidays!

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

One of the weirdest expat experiences is a US holiday that's not celebrated in your country. The turkeys are different, there aren't cranberries, and your pumpkin pie does not come from a can. It was such a fun experience to roast my own squash this year and make a pie from scratch! It was even more wonderful to spend the holiday with my mom and some wonderful friends we've made here in Baku.


The cutest little turkey hand cards Ms Meri made with the twins today while I was busy baking.


We were invited over to our friend Joy's home and she did an absolutely stunning job with the decorations that she setup! Our table spots were personalized and her decor was lovely. (Plus you know that stuff was imported from America in the summer so fab job of planning ahead!)





My pumpkin cream cheese braid. So easy and quickly disappeared from the dessert table. :-) And my first ever pumpkin pie. It's not pretty, but it tasted delicious and was egg-free thanks to this great recipe.



One of the family's traditions is a piñata. Evelyn wasn't so keen on the idea, but Olivia and Madi had a blast and got two turns each. 




 It was a great Thanksgiving and we feel blessed with all that we have to be thankful for in our lives. We hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving today!



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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Fall Family Photos

Y'all. I have super low expectations for family photos with the current stage we are in. Three under four smiling for pictures and posing together is a recipe for disaster in my opinion. But I still wanted to try and get some for Christmas cards this year and my friend Alisha and her daughter Jenna are photographers. And apparently magic. Because we had the most relaxed, easy-going, and fun photo session and she was able to capture our girls perfectly.

We did our session at the Botanical Gardens close to where we live and you would have no idea we are smack dab in the middle of the city! The gardens were serene and secluded with just a hint of fall colors coming into the leaves.













And my personal favorite -


Thank you so so much Alisha and Jenna for capturing our family and making this the most enjoyable photo session we've ever experienced!

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Cyprus!

Y'all - there are not many places we like to travel to twice (there's too much world to see!), but we had such an amazing time in Cyprus that we both agreed we would go back. It was a perfect combination of sight-seeing and beach-relaxing that was a great fit for our family.

We had a couple of reasonable flights to get there via Doha. We arrived mid-day Saturday and after getting to our villa we took a walk to explore and caught a beautiful rainbow after some light rain.






Cyherbia Botanical Gardens


Since we were missing Halloween at home, I found a fun event at the botanical gardens. They had a Wizard of Oz theme including a scavenger hunt, pumpkins, story time, and bubble show. We spent most of the day there and then hung out at our villa.









Pafos Zoo, Tomb of the Kings


We knew we wanted to visit the zoo, but it was a l-o-n-g drive (2.5 hours) to the opposite end of the island. However, since the girls were up at 6 am every day (what was wrong with you people - you don't even do that at home!) we hit the road early, stopped at Starbucks halfway to stretch our legs, and continued the journey.

We spent most of the day at the zoo with the highlight being the bird show. It was a decent-sized zoo with a good playground so we went leisurely.







Afterwards we headed to the nearby Tombs of the Kings since we were on that half of the island. The girls had fun running around and exploring and we enjoyed the sunset among the ruins.








Malama Beach


We wanted a slow Tuesday after all the driving on Monday so we ventured to a beach within walking distance and camped there most of the day. The girls got in the water some, but it was a bit cold. Madi swam quite a bit and everyone had fun playing in the sand and destroying Daddy's sand castle.









Konnos Beach, Cape Greco National Park


We had another lazy morning on Wednesday and got loaded up to visit Konnos Beach. We spent the morning here and then let the twins sleep in the car while we drove around and explored Cape Greco National Park.


 
 







Then we made our way towards Aiya Napa, stopping at the Love Bridge and a playground along the way. We had dinner at Hard Rock Cafe and called it a night.





Camel Park


When we asked the girls their favorite part of the trip, the camel ride was number one for sure. This park had lots of animals to see and feed, an option to ride the camels, and multiple playgrounds on site. We spent most of Thursday here after our camel ride playing and having a picnic lunch.




No Liv isn't kissing a camel, but daaannggg - it sure does look like she is 😂








The girls were exhausted and all took a nap as we headed north to do some supply shopping (brown sugar, cheetos, cereal, and a blender- haha!). And yes, she took off her shoes, her socks, and put them on her hands...without our assistance.




Fireman Beach


Friday was our last full day so we decided to visit the beach one more time. The weather had turned a bit dark and cloudy so we didn't stay long, but the girls were happy to have one more chance to play in the sand. The rest of the day was spent playing at our villa, packing, souvenir shopping, and visiting a outdoor play area within walking distance of our villa that for 6 euros the kids can play as long as they'd like and you can sit on the side with a beverage. Brilliant.





Swagger Liv.





We had a long day of travel on Saturday, including a four hour layover and arrival in Baku at 2:30 am on Sunday, but the girls rocked it. They were pleasant and slept on the second flight and thankfully Doha airport had a great play area.





Overall, it was a really amazing trip and we had a wonderful time! Thanks Cyprus for the fabulous memories!!

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