Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Easter 2018

We were so thankful to have my mom here fore Palm Sunday and then Easter. (And the girls' baskets were much better filled with all the goodies my mom brought!).

We recycled Christmas dresses to use on Palm Sunday and the girls waving the palm branches was equally disastrous to last year. Evy got tripped and started crying, Olivia refused, and Madi was a better participant overall, but still didn't seem thrilled. I'll save you from the video where I caught on camera Evy being trampled, haha.

We spent the Saturday before Easter dying eggs and decorating sugar cookies. It was lots of fun and the girls enjoyed having Grandma's help!

We let the girls open their Easter baskets and then attempted some family photos... I need to practice using the selfie stick. Madi grabbed it after my sad attempt and took a great picture of me, Grandma, and the twins. Apparently the next generation is born with these skills us old people are lacking.

After church we spent the afternoon at our dear friends' home where we enjoyed an Easter egg hunt and such delicious food!

It was also my mom's last full day with us as she left early the next morning. It was so amazing to have her here and we are sure going to miss having her in Baku. :-(


Monday, April 2, 2018

The Month of March

We arrived back in Baku after our site visit to Doha and prepared ourselves for a month without Jason. Thankfully we only had to get to the middle of March before my mom was here visiting for the rest of the month!

  1. Zoey was quite happy to get us back home, but protested unpacking. (Maybe she thought we were leaving again?)
  2. Evy asleep on the car ride home after school. It's been an adjustment for them being in Montessori.
  3. Liv asleep another day after a trip to McDonalds where that beauty was in the happy meal.
  4. Who knows who will be having dinner in our house. A puppy and two princesses that evening.
  5. Bedtime shenanigans.
  6. The best dinner ever for an expat. My friend gifted me pizza rolls and since my un-American children wont even try them I felt no guilt in not sharing.
  7. Ladies curry night out. Food was amazing and we laughed a lot - much needed!
  8. Kathleen. I am sure going to miss this sweet friend when we move. 
  9. And Grandma's here! She of course needed her hair fixed by these three.

We surprised the girls again with Grandma's arrival!

We took advantage of a sunny (and more importantly not windy!) day to test out the scooters around Fountain Square and just enjoy the afternoon.

Grandma brought a Moana microphone, which has been a big hit in our house. Lots of performances.

  1. Madi and C got a chance to spend the morning together at the beginning of the school break and scootered over to Sunset for breakfast.
  2. And they wore their matching pajamas. They always ask for a pajama party and that's not always the easiest in the evening so pancakes and pajamas for them. 
  3. Zoey loves Madi snuggles...
  4. I attended a sweet friend's baby shower that was wonderful!
  5. Grandma has lots of sleepovers with these sweet girls during the school break.
  6. We started swim lessons for the twins. Liv is still a bit hesitant and I've been getting in the pool with her, but Evy is no fear and doing great!
  7. There are much softer places to lay than a box of office supplies...
  8. Kathleen helped me out and took Madi to Wonderland with her guys and snapped this sweet photo of her during lunch.
  9. After they'd been inside the two of them played together outside the rest of the afternoon!

Third culture kids. Last summer we told Madi she was going to the US. My mom asked her over FaceTime if she was excited to go to America and Madi retorted "I'm not Grandma. I'm going to the US." Whoops. Now she pronounces "tomato" wrong. We have a lot of work to do...

We loved having my mom here most of the month, but we were so sad we didn't get to see Jason...especially since his birthday was March 18. The girls made this sweet video for him and we will for sure have a make-up when we hopefully see him in April. 


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Novruz 2018

We got to experience Novruz in the city this year and it was lots of fun! Our compound did a celebration the week before the holiday and Madi's classroom had a small celebration before the end of term. We also made our way into the city to enjoy the festivities in Fountain Square. The weather cleared up perfectly for the Tuesday, which is the main celebration day, of the week. Here's all of the fun we had over the couple of weeks and the girls in their beautiful Azerbaijani outfits!

The celebration in Royal Park was first. They provided food and entertainment and the girls had fun. It was a bit chilly still and we didn't stay for the fire jumping (you read that correctly), but the girls enjoyed getting dressed up and got even more attention than usual!

My mom was here for the Novruz celebration in Madi's classroom and loved getting to see her dance and help her decorate eggs (like we do for Easter!). Our sweet nanny made treats especially for Olivia without nuts.

They also decorated the city with these large and beautiful eggs. I saw artists painting them in the beginning days of Novruz and they were all unique and fun. We also watched a super scary tight rope walker with of course no net or any sort of safety mechanisms and the girls got to sit on horses in Foutain Square were we ran into friends and enjoyed listening to the music and wandering the crowds.

And here are the most beautiful Azerbaijani girls. :-)


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Site Visit to Doha

In case you missed the announcement, we are moving to Doha. Jason headed there at the end of January and we got a chance to visit him towards the end of February. We had just over a week there to visit schools, houses, and have some fun exploring the city we get to call home soon.

We timed the visit to attend school assessments and y'all - this whole process is intense. We actually missed a lot of the deadlines for schools (for the 2018/2019 academic year) because they were in December...and some schools wouldn't even consider the twins for enrollment without previous school experience so I am thankful they started at Bumblebee this year! You also have to do one to two hours assessments (for all ages...) before you are either rejected, accepted, or waitlisted. 

Thankfully we visited two wonderful schools and got acceptance into both making it difficult for us to decide which to attend (and you only have like one week to decide after you're notified!).

In addition to visiting schools we decided to go ahead and view houses during the visit even though we don't need one until we move at the end of June. We were able to find one compound that we know is a great fit for our family and good location. There was only one house available and while we were tempted to go ahead and secure it now, we knew it didn't make sense to start paying for an empty house now. We prayed about it and got an email the following day saying that there was one which would become available at the beginning of July which works perfectly for us! 

Once we got the serious stuff out of the way (school and houses), we had some fun. Jason was working during the day so we took advantage by visiting some of the malls, playgrounds, and of course swimming pool to pass the time. In the evening we enjoyed some American treats with PF Changs, The Cheesecake Factory, and Arby's!

Overall it was a wonderful trip and Doha seems like a lovely city. It's definitely going to be a weird adjustment moving to such a big city and not having much outdoor scenery (this Colorado girl is going to miss her mountains!), but we are looking forward to the move and having just one flight to visit friends and family in the US. 

There was a beautiful park and playground near our hotel that we spent most of the day at after arriving.

We finally caved and let the girls ride these animals at the mall after they'd been asking most of the week.

One of the malls has a small canal imitating Venice and we enjoyed taking a ride after dinner.

Taking a break from the pool for Nutella sandwiches. So glad Olivia can have it since clearly she is a fan. ;-)

Enjoying a family brunch before heading back to Baku.


Friday, March 2, 2018

The Overseas Adventure Continues...in DOHA!

If you follow me on social media than you may have seen that we are moving... to Doha, Qatar! Everything happened very quickly and we are excited (and a bit overwhelmed) at this move to a much larger city. In fact, Jason has already started working there and will come back to Baku for just a few days every month until we join him in June.

The next few months aren't going to be easy doing long distance, but we felt that it was better overall than hurrying a move for the girls when they'd just started school and everything was happening so fast.

We were able to go to  Doha for our site visit, house hunting, and school assessments for the girls at the end of February. We got a lot done during that week in Qatar and are thankful how things are coming together for the next chapter of our overseas adventures.


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February Blur

This month went by in a slow and torturous blur - I know that doesn't seem like it make sense, but for me that's exactly how it felt. The girls spent the first half of the month sick and Jason gone for work. He returned home for a few amazing days over Valentine's Day and right before he left the girls promptly got sick again. 

So despite being the shortest month, it felt incredibly long and I was left in a blur of medicine, lack of sleep, minimal socializing, and overall just trying to keep our heads above water. Thankfully I have some amazing friends and neighbors who helped me with some meals, groceries, and most importantly prayer for our family.

Here's to a better March! ðŸ¤žðŸ¼

  1. Jason made and froze some pancakes before he went out of town. The girls were thrilled to discover this smiley face one.
  2. Liv the lady bug. She decided to fall and split her chin open the day Jason left to go out of town. Thankfully the doctor was able to avoid stitches and use glue, which healed very well.
  3. Jason was great about leaving notes for the girls by their backpacks, cereal bowls, etc. Mine was left inside the wine opener. ðŸ˜‚
  4. There is not even one minute of peace to go to the bathroom. Either a cat is creeping on you from the shower or there's a toddler. That same toddler sat down on the little potty and proceeded to say the following "You have a bug bum so you go on the big potty. I have a little bum so I go on the little potty." ðŸ˜³
  5. Sickness = snuggles. All.Month.Long.
  6. Madi asked for her hair to be straightened and to have me take a picture so she could see how long it's grown. 
  7. Awkward cat about to pounce...
  8. The second awkward cat lounging...they are still quarreling more than I would like, but are tolerating one another thankfully.
  9. A fun lunch with some amazing food and friends.

  1. Miniature foam mat puzzle for the dollhouse and hours of entertainment. Dollar Tree for the win!
  2. Catching smiles when they were finally on the mend of the first round of sickness.
  3. Glares from Ms Attitude.
  4. Madi taking her car for a drive up the street.
  5. We took advantage of the break in illness to have Friday night pizza and movie night with Madi's bff.
  6. The most amazing gift my embassy friend could get me. Ice cold and delicious Blue Moon. ðŸ˜‹
  7. A much-needed girl's night out for the Burns Supper.
  8. & 9. Why do they look so grown up and big with their bags and coats on the way to church? Especially Evy!!

  1. We truly have never gone through so much medicine. Ever. I had to track fevers and medicine dosage on paper because I couldn't keep all three sorted.
  2. Embracing the world of little legos...feet beware.
  3. Madi was crushed to miss a birthday party while she was sick, but very proud of writing her friend's name and hers. And when they dropped off a goodie bag and cake for her we both cried.
  4. A delicious quiche for the one week in February I was able to attend Bible study in between illnesses.
  5. Words of encouragement from my Bible study that God knew I needed this month.
  6. A sweet care package from my friend Christine. How did she know I was out of kleenex and soap?!
  7. Meri was helping during the girl's illness and they insisted on helping her clean. Glad they are finally earning their keep.
  8. Sweeping.
  9. When you have a doctor's appointment first thing in the morning, you let everyone stay in pajamas and ignore the judgmental looks. 

  1. Super Stingerie's!
  2. We found this cute set of girl superhero capes and masks on Amazon and had a friend bring them to us in their move. The girls were thrilled to have them!
  3. Since Jason was back in town for a few days (and constantly eating out while away), I tried to go all out with some of his favorites. First up was Mexican Monday that I made for lunch with friends and then again for dinner.
  4. Strollin' in the rain.
  5. We got to head out to a wine event with some of our ball-going friends. We've enjoyed attending the Marine Corps, BBG, and other fun events with this crew.
  6. Another amazing friend Emma - and Madi's future mother-in-law when M and J get married in a castle in Scotland (not that we've made a deposit or anything yet on the place...)
  7. Jason's last meal with us - bacon wrapped tenderloin. Because everything is better with bacon.
  8. The perfect plate - I am loving the spiraler that I bought and event he girls loves the sautéed zucchini side dish. 
  9. Notes Jason left for the girls after he left late that evening for another trip.

Madi was only able to do one swim lesson this month due to her illness and I know I have bragged on her before here, but I am just in awe at how great she is doing!!

Looking back at these pictures I am reminded of the good times we had this month despite the challenges. I am very thankful for the prayer warriors who were encouraging me and supporting me and everyone who brought us meals or dropped groceries off, etc. You all are amazing! But... I'm still glad February is over... ðŸ˜¬


Friday, February 16, 2018

Valentine's Day 2018

Our actual Valentine's Day was pretty low key - we gave a few valentines to friends, dressed in holiday shirts, and spent the evening watching Moana (of course) and just chilling.

However, the best part was that Jason flew back to Baku after being gone a couple weeks on a work trip and arrived the morning after Valentine's Day with presents for everyone (donuts for the girls and something shiny for me :-) ).

I was surprised with flowers by my friend who was also flying solo Wednesday evening and then another bouquet that Jason has ordered to surprise me. Needless to say I felt spoiled!!

And wow y'all - look at how much these sweet faces have changed over the past two years!!

Hoping everyone out there had a fabulous and fun Valentine's Day this year!


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Happenings

This month had a lot of changes and milestones in it. It also flew by quickly and I sit here in disbelief that tomorrow is February 1st.

The biggest thing that happened this month was the twins finished potty training and started Montessori! It was not an easy task undertaking two toddlers to use the potty, but they have done pretty brilliant and I am super proud of them.

They've also done really well adjusting to school! We did a slow transition the first couple of weeks so there was lots of time for the playground at home. However now they are staying through lunch and outdoor playground time!

  1. We started Jan 1 with the traditional Southern black-eyed peas and cornbread. Yum!
  2. I brought the girls back Dunkin Donuts from my girl's trip to Georgia. Delicious, but caused Evy to ask for donuts regularly for about a week after they were gone and cry huge tears when I said I didn't have any.
  3. Playground snack time during their transition to school.
  4. We support bowl slurping.
  5. I have a posse of monkeys.
  6. Especially this one...
  7. Liv snuggles.
  8. Evy cuddles with Tata and baby turtle.
  9. A bonus drop off with Dad to school one morning.

I have no idea what Olivia is singing... but she's dang adorable. 

  1. "Take our picture Mom! Cheese!!"
  2. School is exhausting. So much so that she fell asleep with a chicken nugget in her mouth...
  3. It's been super cold here (finally feeling like winter!) so we've done loads of soups in the crockpot. Beef and vegetable stew. 
  4. But the cold hasn't stopped these three from playing outdoors and jumping like crazy!
  5. Or taking their car for a spin. :-)
  6. And there's been our share of snuggles... and Moana. (Their current obsession.)
  7. We splurged and took the girls to Wonderland after school one day. Ball pit heaven.
  8. More ball pit heaven.
  9. We officially started swim lessons for the twins, and had some rest and snack before they started. Madi is still a pro and the twins have only had one lesson, but Evy loved it and Liv (who is normally our water baby) was a bit apprehensive about the cold pool, but still gave it a good try. 

One of the things we love about living overseas is experiencing different cultures. The traditional Azeri breakfast in Old City is definitely my favorite thing to do when we have visitors. One weekend we decided to go ahead with the girls and then walk around Old City afterwards (and ended up buying two carpets, which I love!). Tea is part of the culture here in a way that us Americans don't understand. Tea is had with guests and served with sweets and it's not unusual to see babies with tea instead of milk or juice in their bottles. The waiter automatically set tea glasses out for the girls when we ordered a pot and they all had some. Olivia loves it the most, but the others drank most of a glass as well. 

  1. Exhausted butterfly after a birthday party. 
  2. Another exhausted butterfly after the same birthday party. 
  3. A sounds asleep kitten after the birthday party. Sigh. This was no bueno for bedtime.
  4. We were a bit ambitious on the sizing of our letter S and have discovered we are sorely short of wine corks to finish this DIY project.
  5. Cats co-habitating. This might not seem unusual given I have previously posted pictures of these two snuggled together. However, this is major people. Around the end of November their fighting escalated to the point where they could not be in the same room together. We have kept them separated with failed attempts to re-introduce them all during December. CeCe would hiss and growl as soon as she saw Zoey and Zoey would follow her and attack after being hissed at until she chased CeCe and cornered her. It has been awful. I finally got them to the vet and was told there is nothing physical so it's behavioral and no other assistance. I finally said I'd had it and have forced them to get along by watching them closely and verbally reprimanding when they begin to fight. It's been so-so. They aren't back to normal - more like a divorced couple co-habitating and tolerating the others presence so long as they don't come close. Any tips or advice is greatly appreciated!!
  6. I got spoiled with a spa day all to myself - a scrub, massage, and facial along with hot tub relaxing beforehand. It was bliss!
  7. How I'm spending my current free time. :-) I was thankful to get back to Bible study on Thursdays.
  8. Jason leaving sweet notes for his girls on their backpacks. 
  9. Olivia decided to finish the month off with a bang. I was called yesterday on my way to school and asked to hurry because Olivia had fallen and needed to go to the doctor. I was able to leave her sisters at school for a bit longer and take her over to the doctor where we opted for glue over stitches. She handled it like a champ and impressed the staff by calling them doctors, listening to their instructions, and telling them exactly how she was climbing a wall on the playground and slipped and fell and cut her chin on the bench and there was blood on her shirt and coat. She was the talk of the ER!

Our girls go through phases... they recently re-discovered this precious Llama Llama book that was given to them twins on their first birthday. Now it's become our nightly routine to read and do the motions before bedtime (like a million times) :-)

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