Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Shortest Month Recap...(August)

This is probably the shortest monthly update I've ever done...most likely because we were gone for more than half of it on our tenth anniversary trip to South Africa (post to come soon!)

After flying from Colorado back to Oklahoma (see July recap) we had about a week together with family before I flew off to meet Jason en route to South Africa.

My Dad and Mary came there and got to see the girls for a few more days before they headed back to Chicago. We headed to the OKC Zoo, which is always a win for these girls! They loved the splash pad and feeding the lorikeets the best.

After we came back from our trip we hit up the essentials - chick fil a, the casino, target 😂 We also got to celebrate my mom's birthday before we headed back to Houston and stop and see Lilia in Waco and visit Magnolia (which was so fun!)

Then we packed up our ten suitcases and shuttled to the airport for another l-o-n-g flight to our new home where our shipment was waiting to be delivered. It's been a crazy few days, but thankfully the girls haven't had much jet lag so hopefully the start of school next week will go smoothly and we will get the house in order quickly! 


Friday, August 10, 2018

10 Years...

10 years...

...of many adventures together across five continents
...of building our family and welcoming three beautiful daughters
...of moving around the world with you and loving the experience
...of many nights spent laughing and enjoying one another’s company
...of strengthening our relationship with each other and the Lord
...of learning how to put someone else’s need before your own
...and hopefully many, many more that I am blessed to call you my husband.

Happy anniversary Jason!

“Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Ecclesiastes 4:12

We've had a lot of wonderful adventures together across the globe and I'm so thankful to have you in my life!


Thursday, August 2, 2018

July Happenings

We kicked off the month of July by moving to Doha (for ten days at least - ha!). We packed up our 15+ suitcases, stroller, cats and headed to our temporary apartment for about ten days before the girls and I flew to America for the rest of the summer.

It was great to have time with Jason and celebrate the girls' birthdays. We explored some of the indoor activities around Doha with the girls and enjoyed some pool time (in the morning or late evening when it wasn't quite so hot).

  1. Packing light for the move, hahaha.
  2. The cats traveled well and adjusted to life in the new apartment.
  3. Little Lego builders at one of the many malls in Doha.
  4. Liv's Lego creation.
  5. Evy's Lego creation.
  6. Celebrating America on the Fourth of July.
  7. Madi taking a turn at pictures - Liv and Daddy
  8. Madi taking a turn at pictures - Evy and Mommy

We found a fun event called Summer Festival in one of the large expo centers. They had the largest bouncy castles and slides and trampolines that I have ever seen! There were also rides and ball pits and carousels! We went when they opened thinking we'd spend a couple hours there...eight hours later after Jason joined us for dinner and the girls played more we finally headed home with some exhausted girls!

We had a birthday makeup for Madi when we first arrived in Doha because she wanted cheesecake and Jason was gone for her actual birthday. On Evy and Liv's birthday we treated all the girls to mini manicures and then went out to dinner and - surprise - more cheesecake. :-)

I can't believe these sweet girls are T H R E E! I love their friendship and closeness, but uniqueness. They are so different, but love each other so well and both adore their big sister.

After the twins' birthday the girls and I boarded a plane for the l-o-n-g flight to Houston. It was our longest flight to date at 16 hours. That's a long time! The girl's continue to amaze me with their ability to adapt and they traveled like pros. They only get the iPad on airplanes so it was a routine of movies, games, meal, nap for three or four rotations and next thing we knew the plane was landing. 

We started our summer in Houston and the girls were thrilled to see their cousins and participate in VBS. We also tried to see as many friends as we could, but there's never enough time. 

My Dad and his wife Mary came down rom Chicago while we were in Houston to see the girls. They loved spending the afternoons with them and treating them to miniature golf, build-a-bear, and the aquarium!

  1. Our sweet friend Cindy who met us at the airport when we arrived to help with luggage and picking up our rental car. 
  2. Re-creating the same pre-ice cream pose with their cousins.
  3. A fun afternoon at the splash pad (and we laughed when we realized the kids ordered themselves in the same positions as the ice cream since this was taken first!)
  4. We spent an afternoon with another dear friend Catherine who bought the girls these dresses (which they changed into immediately stripping naked in the middle of the mall 🤦🏻‍♀️)
  5. And then posing in the dresses. :-)
  6. We got to have a mini Norway reunion with these sweet ladies - Sandy, Jenny, Brenda and Karen. They were all huge blessings bringing meals and babysitting when the twins were born and they continue to love on our family every summer.
  7. My favorite meal to have in America - Vietnamese bun tom nuong. Sooooo good.
  8. The girls getting ready for the eight hour drive to Oklahoma in the cutest road trip shirts our friend Erin bought them.
  9. We arrived safely in Oklahoma and the first thing the girls wanted to was Jazzy. 

We only spent one evening in Oklahoma before flying to Colorado (it was the easiest to not haul unnecessary luggage around with us) to see more family and friends. We stayed down in Colorado Springs and I was able to sneak away over the weekend and head up to Golden for my sorority pledge class 10 year reunion! (Thank you Lisa and Lily again for watching the girls so I could attend!)

  1. The beautiful clouds en route to Colorado.
  2. Dinner with good friends Pam and Sabina who hadn't met the twins or seen Madi for a couple years.
  3. Helping Mimi garden.
  4. Fun feeding the giraffes at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
  5. This zoo has the most beautiful views!!
  6. Madi climbing statues and posing for Aunt Lilia (amazing photographer!)
  7. Another fab shot from Aunt Lilia of goofy Liv.
  8. Ice cream treat for these girls while Mom was away.
  9. And lots of snuggles with Aunt Lilia.
There is a wonderful playground not far from where Lisa lives and we took the girls there multiples times. Lilia brought the big camera and got some amazing shots of the girls. I just couldn't pick which to share so you get them all!

I had an amazing time up in Golden with these ladies. I can't believe it's been ten years! We had a lovely time just relaxing, visiting campus, checking out the new places in Golden, and reminiscing about old times and catching up on what's new with everyone. 

We also cherished the time we got to spend with Lisa's parents. The girls love all of them and it was not easy to leave at the end of the day. I'm so glad we captured these pictures with them.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Family Photos in Old City Baku

We loved taking pictures in Game Stavanger (Old Stavanger) before we left Norway and knew we wanted to do something similar in the Old City of Baku. Thankfully I have an amazing photographer friend Alisha who was available one of the days Jason was in town in June after having to re-schedule our first session due to extreme winds and rain.

The evening we took them was still a little breezy, but not too bad and the sun was lovely. We walked around the city and had lots of laughs and joy taking these pictures. We have some beautiful girls and Alisha captured them perfectly.


Saturday, June 30, 2018

Our Busy June in Baku and Goodbyes

June was our last month in Baku and it wasn't busy at all - not a bit - huge eye roll of exaggeration. Between all the end-of-year activities, going aways, packing the house, Madi's birthday, a quick trip to Georgia, the girls' last day at Bumblebee, and some tough goodbyes at the end the month literally flew by and all that free time I thought I would have after we were packed and into temporary housing - well, it was basically non-existent. I always forget just how quickly the last few weeks go by before a big move!

  1. A fun high tea at the Four Seasons to say farewell to Suzanne.
  2. Escaping for a relaxing massage before the chaos of the month started.
  3. The most delicious homemade kolaches (Thanks Missy!)
  4. Liv and her panda - don't worry, he didn't get packed. 
  5. Practicing my braiding.
  6. Evy snuggles early one morning.
  7. Swimming with friends.
  8. These girls love the pool!
  9. A fun girl's night out with ladies.

Madi's first field day! She did great and was thrilled to earn her first medal. :-)

The girls were invited to the most fun Frozen party! The characters that came did all sorts of games and activities and my crew had a blast.

Madi had her final gymnastics class with Ms Lala. She's loved her teacher and Ms Lala made a point of coming over to tell me she was sad Madi was leaving and I really need to find a class for her because she is a natural and her body is made for it. Of course that evening Madi told me she only wants to do gymnastics with Ms Lala.

These girls have been amazing during our time in Baku - from our girl's trip to Georgia to movie nights and dinners and our prayer meetings. I am going to miss them and I was happy to have a final Azeri breakfast with them.

Later that month Madi got a final Sunset breakfast and full day of play with her bestie Clementine. These two have such a sweet friendship and will miss each other terribly.

  1. Observing the calm before the packing storm...
  2. And that's a wrap - all our stuff boxed and en route to our new home in Doha. 
  3. Cleaning out my neighbor's fridge - thank you Brooke for the sustenance. 
  4. And balancing it with a salad. :-)
  5. Madi giving her going away gift to C - a photo book of their adventures. We made one for a few of her closest friends to cherish their memories together. 
  6. View from the elevator in the temp apartment.
  7. Celebrating my friend Mellissa's birthday with brunch.
  8. Cute girls in their matching dresses.
  9. Another sad goodbye to Daddy as he headed back to Doha after the packing. 
We took a quick trip to Georgia right after the packing finished (thank you Anna!) and had a blast just relaxing and enjoying some much-needed time together. 

Madi's birthday was the following day and we promised her we'd celebrate in Doha with Daddy. She did have a fun celebration in school with cookies, singing, and making her favorite Azeri dessert shekerbura with Ms Meri. 

The birthday girl's cookies and smiles plus lots of fun in the playground later that week. 

Baku had a 100th anniversary of the Armed Forces and we got to witness it first-hand since our apartment is downtown. The girls loved seeing the army guys and the airshow. 

We spent one Saturday enjoying a final beach/water park day at Dalga. The girls loved playing in the water and I am amazed how good Madi is getting at swimming!

  1. The cats making themselves at home in the apartment. 
  2. A walk in Fountain Square one evening.
  3. Enjoying Nutellaland and some of our favorites - Joy and Ms Aubrey!
  4. A fun dinner with these families at Marivanna.
  5. These ladies threw me such a fun going away my last week in Baku. Delicious cocktails.
  6. Enjoying the balcony and dancing during the evening.
  7. Consuming as much pork as possible before Doha with bacon-wrapped tenderloin.
  8. Madi saying goodbye to her sweet friend Amelia.
  9. Madi saying goodbye to Cooper - her first friend in Baku!

We had a wonderful (and hard) final day in Baku. It began with breakfast with this amazing family. The first friends we made in Baku and one of my closest friends. Kathleen has always been there to listen to me and drink a glass of prosecco and we will miss them terribly!

Next we said goodbye to Ms Meri and in the chaos of everything we didn't get a picture with her and the girls. :-( She has been with us for the entire two years and we absolutely don't know what we would have done without her. The girls love her and we are all going to miss her.

This is the reality of the expat life - meeting people you love and make an impact on you and then having to say "see you later" with or without knowing when you might see them again. And it's only getting harder as Madi is making friends and starting to understand what it means to move.

That evening we went to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner with Jaxon, another of Madi's best friends and one of my closest friends. We drew out the evening as long as possible by walking around in the miserable humidity, getting candy, riding the carousel, and trying as hard as we could to avoid the goodbye that came at the end.

Thank you everyone who made time to see us in June before our move! We made some amazing friends in Baku and we will miss them. Hopefully our paths will cross again in Doha or somewhere else!

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