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!


Friday, June 29, 2018

Goodbye Bumblebee (and Madi's Graduation)

The girls' last day at Bumblebee Montessori was so sweet and fun. Thankfully Jason was able to fly in the night before and got to watch Evelyn and Olivia's performances in their classroom and then Madison's afterwards. We collected Madi and took her with us upstairs to watch her sisters' performance. Both girls did amazing and were so adorable (I may overuse that word in this post, oh well). Here's a few shots and song snippets.

We all headed downstairs afterwards to watch Madison's class. They were also equally adorable and I held it together until Madi and Jaxon started dancing Skip-to-my-Lou. Tears and smiles of happiness for those two adorable (there I go again) friends.

Then came time for the graduation!

We have loved Bumblebee Montessori for Madi the past two years while in Baku and the past six months for Evelyn and Olivia. They have all had such wonderful teachers and great memories! Look how young Madi was when she started!!


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Family Trip to Georgia

Even though Jason and I visited Georgia en route to our site visit in Baku and I went back last January with some girlfriends, we hadn't gone with the girls as a family. When we discovered that there was a long weekend right after our packing was scheduled to finish we decided we should take advantage and have a quick trip there.

We flew out Thursday evening and headed to our hotel. Since we'd been before and all we wanted to do was relax and hang out as a family (we've missed that this year!) we had a leisurely visit that was incredibly lovely.

Our first day we slept in and then explored the city. We took the girls on the cable car and a boat ride and had fun trying on fuzzy hats. We had a delicious lunch at G Vino where I apparently failed to take any pictures. :-/

WE made reservations for dinner at Schuchmann's Restaurant and Bar, our absolute favorite in Tbilisi. The have the best wines and amazing food.

The second day we began by walking to Dunkin Donuts and then made our way to Mtatsminda Park. We spent the entire day there just playing games, eating lunch, and walking around at the girls' pace. The day was full of laughter and fun and just what we all needed. :-)

Afterwards we headed down in the furnicular and made our way to a little hidden gem outside Old City called Pasanauri with the best khinkali and kachapuri for dinner.

Our final day we visited a mall near Freedom Square that we'd seen had a play area. The girls got a chance to run around, slide, rock climb, and jump on trampolines while it rained outside and I got a chance to do walk around and do some shopping.

We headed to another favorite, Organique Josper Bar for our final meal in Tbilisi and were not disappointed. The girls enjoyed playing near our table on the patio and we enjoyed our food and wine.

The entire trip was incredibly relaxing and enjoyable. We don't often visit places multiple times because we love exploring new places. However, we knew we needed some quality time together as a family after the chaos of packing and the time apart. This was the perfect compromise of good food and wine for Jason and I plus activities and hanging out for the girls. Until next time Tbilisi, we love you!

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