Saturday, November 30, 2019

November Notes

This month was busy (do I say that every month? 🤔) - between two weekend trips (Baku and Tbilisi) plus campinghosting Thanksgiving and celebrating my birthday we had a jam packed month!

We kicked off the month with a street water fight, which the girls loved!



1. 2. and 3. Second avenue water balloon fight!
4. Delicious Carluccio's pizza!
5. Lunch date with two of our favorite guys.
6. Madi said she wanted to bring a book to class to show her teacher - we didn't realize she'd be reading it to her class!
7. Angry birds festival with a fellow toddler + twins mom that's moved to Baku recently.
8. Lots of fun at a Toy Story 4 birthday party for our friend Had.
9. Holiday cups are officially out at Starbucks!


1. Dinner out with my friend Hulda.
2. Attending Evy's field trip to a plant nursery near school.
3. Attending Liv's field trip to a plant nursery near school.
4. 5. 6. 7. Fun play dates with friends!
8. Delicious taco salad with my homemade salsa.
9. Exploring the new Lusail marina near our house with friends.

Evidence our cats are still around and doing well. Sort of - CeCe has ear mites, which the vet found strange since Zoey doesn't have them and CeCe doesn't go outside. I'm happy to report that since treatment she's started going upstairs again and we've seen a definite personality change for the better.




1. 2. Practicing her yoga.
3. A makeup birthday breakfast with this cutie.
4. 5. 6. The rains finally hit Doha and the girls couldn't have been happier to play and jump in puddles.
7. New running buddy - peacock.
8. This girl finally rode a bike without training wheels! We were at a friend's house and she just did it, first try!
9. Can someone tell this cutie it's still too warm for boots and a hat?


1. Lunch after church with these cuties!
2. She made a tent in her bed for sleeping.
3. Date night!
4. School pics at school - can't wait to see the final shots!
5. Play date with our fav girl besties!
6. This tiny package contains two carpets from the trip to Georgia. They sure know how to pack them!
7. Games for these friends.
8. Playing outside (aka climbing).
9. Those clouds! 😍


1. Testing out the winter gear for our ski trip this February.
2. Winter fair at school - highlight: cupcakes that make their mouths blue.
3. Leftover thanksgiving pumpkin turned into pumpkin pie french toast!
4. 5. So special - Hillsong, a Christian band, came to Doha for an amazing concert. We went to dinner beforehand with friends and then headed to the concert and were in awe worshipping in community with other believers.
6. Exciting Frozen 2 exhibit at the mall where the twins got face paint while Madi attended a birthday party.
7. 8. 9. Bowling for Madi and Nami celebrating their friend Raqoya's birthday.

Practicing their penguin walk. 😂



This month we also celebrated my birthday. My friends setup breakfast and surprised me with some sweet gifts while my family made cards for me and got me gorgeous flowers. We celebrated with a delicious dinner at our LifeGroup that evening.


The Saturday after Thanksgiving was our only chance to setup the Christmas tree so we spent the evening in last year's Christmas pajamas complete with The Polar Express and slowly decorated our tree to welcome December!



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Friday, November 29, 2019

Thanksgiving 2019

We hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year, but with the immense help of cooking divided between three of us so it was very stress-free.  Since it's not a holiday here in Doha (but at least it's the end of the work week since the weekend is Friday and Saturday), our meal didn't happen until later in the evening when the kids were done with school and the husbands with work.


I loved setting up the house and was glad I grabbed some decor this past summer (but can we talk about how crazy it is that I bought these in August?!).



The kids enjoyed playing together while we finishes preparing our feast. During the meal we shared different Thankful cards and as the kids finished they got to play individual roll-a-turkey (this is the one we used) so everyone stayed together during the meal. Afterwards we cleaned up the kids made their own foam turkeys.




 

I am very thankful for this group of friends - we all get along really well and so do our husbands and all of our kids and we recognize that's not always the case! We enjoyed celebrating Thanksgiving with them and having the traditional meal of turkey and pumpkin pie.




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Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Dads Camping Trip to Zekreet

While the Moms were away in Tbilisi, the Dads decided to take all of the kids camping. {I'll let you be the judge of who had more fun - haha.}

It was a bit of a rocky start with getting stuck in the mud and having to spend a couple hours getting free, but they made it to the campsite and got everything setup!





They spent the two days flying kites, climbing rocks, playing in the water, and having a blast together! So much fun in fact that Olivia fell sleep in her chair mid-dinner 😂









I'm so glad the guys had an amazing time together while we were away! They loved camping in the desert for the first time since moving to Doha and the girls loved being outdoors. We are looking forward to more camping next month when the girls finish school and the weather is perfect!



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{Another} Georgia Girls Trip

It's evident in my travels that I have a love for Tbilisi - from our initial visit when trying to get visas for Baku, to a girl's road trip there on New Year's, to our family visit over Eid, to now a fourth visit to Tbilisi this month with friends - this city is one of my favorites in the world.

We snagged an amazing deal with the same sale that sent Madi and I to Baku and so we hatched the idea and had tickets booked in a record five hours (which is a lot when you have to convince husbands to let you go and also not have a panic attack booking tickets for another adult - what is your middle name, I have no middle name, what?!)

Finally the day arrived for our trip and you better bet I made matching shirts that they begrudgingly wore for 12 hours because they love me (and it was my birthday trip so they sort of felt obligated to agree, ha!)


As will be evidenced from the pictures there was not a lot of sight seeing done (I told the gals I would happily repeat anything they wanted to see, but both said they will be coming back again so they didn't mind a relaxed weekend of eating and enjoying our company.)

We kicked off the food weekend with lunch at G Vino and enjoyed a meal of khachapuri, soup, and wine.



We headed back to our hotel for a nap before making our way to meet a friend I knew in Baku at the most amazing (and new to me) hotel and restaurant in a renovated old Soviet printing press called Stamba. The food was great and we loved walking around the hotel afterwards.


The next morning we had breakfast and made a reservation for the Sulphur Baths. We spent the morning enjoying the experience and walking around the area.



We headed to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant I had visited with friends previously for the most delicious khinkali and clay pot beans. We slowly walked back towards our hotel stopping to shop along the way.


Late that evening we headed to my personal favorite restaurant in Tbilisi, Schuchmann's Wine Bar and Restaurant It's very foodie-esque with their plate presentation and glass tables. They also have my absolute favorite wine in the world - Schuchmann's Kindzmarauli.



Our final day in Tbilisi we walked the streets and bought our souvenirs (which included two carpets for me!) before enjoying our final meal at Organique Josper Grill Bar where we ordered three different pork entrees and made the waiter laugh and ask us if today was pork day. (It clearly was since we were returning to the Middle East that evening, haha.)



Thank you ladies for doing life with me and for being crazy enough to agree to go explore the world in moment's notice!


Oh and if you are worried about how the husbands did during their solo weekend? Those crazy guys opted to take all the kids camping, get stuck in the mud for hours, and have the most amazing time together while we were away. :-)



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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Surprise Baku Trip

When we left Baku in summer 2018 we hoped there'd be a chance to visit again. Madi constantly talks about the friends she misses there and we still had lots of people there we miss. So when we saw an amazing sale on weekend holiday packages (including airfare) cheaper for less than half the price of a single airfare ticket we jumped on them! We decided just Madi and I would go for a Mother-Daughter trip and we kept it a surprise to Madi and to her friends in Baku (but we told my friends, their parents of course, haha). 



It was such a sweet weekend. It was a very stressful time when we left Baku as Jason was already living in Doha and there were quite a few challenges happening simultaneously with travel logistics, health, etc. I hadn't realized it, but it sort of tainted my final impressions of Baku so going back and seeing everyone and focusing on the positives helped me tremendously to remember the good we had in the unique city we called home for two years. And of course Madi had the time of her life and you can see the joy in her face! 


My friend Kathleen surprised me with airport pickup and after dropping our stuff at the hotel we grabbed a coffee and then headed to school pickup to surprise Madi's best buds Cooper and Jaxon with her arrival. 







We headed back to the hotel for our amazing nanny Ms Meri to come over and play with Madi and take her to dinner while I headed out to meet some girlfriends!




The next morning I visited my beloved Bina shopping center with my good friend Emma followed by lunch with friends and then the rest of the afternoon hanging in our old compound letting the kids run around and play with one another for hours upon hours. 





Saturday was our last day in Baku and we started with a traditional Azeri breakfast in Old City with friends before walking around Fountain Square with our friends Aubrey and Joy. 



We headed back to the hotel to pack up and spend some time saying goodbye to my friend Mellissa and her daughter Amelia. 



We headed to Hard Rock Cafe for the remainder of the evening until it was time to head to the airport. We had friends come and go throughout and it was amazing to see so many friends and enjoy the time together. 






When we left it was a teary goodbye for sure as this girl misses her friends something fierce. We are so thankful for the chance to come back and see friends and can't wait until the next time we get to catch up in person!


Sweet flowers her friend Jaxy gave her and she hauled all the way back to Doha (despite airport security trying to confiscate them). We put them in the beautiful Baku vase we received as a going away gift from friends.


Here's a video of our entire trip with some additional pictures and video. :-)


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