Sunday, January 31, 2021

January Happenings

 After spending New Year's Eve camping, the rest of the month seemed to fly by quickly with lots of fun things happening. We headed back out towards Sealine for the Marmi festival and ATV fun and stayed busy with activities around the house and with friends. 

  1. We took the metro over to Souq Waqif for an adventure with the kids on a Thursday evening. They still have not been out to many restaurants so it was a treat plus they always love taking the metro. 
  2. A sweet friend's husband brought this book to me when he headed to Doha. ❤️
  3. These girls planned and executed a picnic for all their siblings and us moms. It was the sweetest!
  4. Jason's 3D printer/CNC machine/engraver/whatever it's called (I am probably using all the wrong terms) got setup and calibrated. 
  5. The first print - a tugboat. However, one should never call it a tugboat (even though that's what it is). It's called a benchy because it's the benchmark print test when you first get a 3D printer 🤷🏻‍♀️
  6. Printing again - toy airplanes launched via rubber bands
  7. On a day when all the kids were in school we headed to the earliest showing possible of Wonder Woman before pickup. It was amazing and also weird since we hadn't been to the movies for close to two years.
  8. Dinner out with some of Evelyn's classmates' moms
  9. We bought SUPs (paddle boards) from from friends leaving and I got a chance to take it out for the first time (albeit in a bit too windy conditions)

  1. I hosted book club this month (we read The Midnight Library) and we enjoyed a charcuterie board (my first ever!) and wine outside. 
  2. Zoey attending Grade 2 classes again 🙄
  3. Twins being silly while waiting in the car
  4. We braved taking the crew out again for dinner at Cut by Wolfgang Puck because our friend Chef Justin promised to babysit the kids 😉
  5. Family photo!
  6. We hung Lego shelves and the girls setup their growing collection of builds
  7. The go kart track re opened and Jason setup a guy's night to go check it out. Needless to say he will be back 😆
  8. I started a new Prayer Journal book and am really enjoying it so far!
  9. We celebrated my sweet friend Marli's birthday with a lovely evening out. 

  1. My friend Brenda and I headed to a favorite spot for a girls night at Nobu before she left Doha 😢
  2. We also had a day in the desert with Brenda and her husband to see some sights still left on their bucket list
  3. Hitting the bike path - Madi signed up for a desert bike race in February so we started doing some training rides.
  4. Jason built this bookshelf to close up one side of our playroom and give us more storage. He did amazing!
  5. We headed up to the Mangroves for a short kayak trip with friends. 
  6. These two asked to go out on their own and loved paddling!
  7. Lunch with friends was the perfect mid-week encouragement.
  8. Jason printed a cat pencil holder for the girls. 😊
  9. And also personalized unicorn bookmarks 

It's been a great start to 2021 thus far and we are thankful for some of the experiences and activities we've been able to do as things have continued to slowly normalize here. The weather has also been fabulous and we are grateful for the chance to be outdoors as much as possible!


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Desert Adventures - Marmi Festival and ATVs

Aside from our Inland Sea Camping, we headed down to Sealine area a few more times this month for different activities - Marmi Festival and riding ATVs. 

Marmi Festival 

The Marmi Festival is a saluki and falcon competition held yearly. We weren't quite sure what to expect or what would be happening (as is normal for a lot of events in Qatar 😆), but we headed down with friends and gave it a go. 

We sat on the majilis seating and enjoyed complimentary arabic coffee and karaoke while we chatted and waited for things to start. A couple hours later they started the Youth competitions, but unfortunately had them setup in a different areas closed to spectators. We were able to catch some of the action on big screens near our seating area. 

As we started to pack up and leave I asked the girls to stand near a falcon that we'd seen near the booths when we entered the festival. After I took their picture a Qatari man approached me and said "Come". Even though I hadn't done anything wrong my heart jumped a beat anyways! Then I realized he was holding the glove you wear when holding the falcons. He took each of the girls and let them hold the falcon!! 😱 It was so cool! 

Eve especially loved holding the falcon!

After everyone got a chance to hold one of the birds the man said "Now I will show you how I teach them to hunt." He showed us how they call the bird and then let people from our group assist. Jason had the harder job of swinging the rope and having the hunting bird fly at him while I got the chance to just hold the falcon during take off. It truly was an amazing experience and we are so thankful for the opportunity!

ATVs / Quads

We had friends tell us about the kids riding ATVs / Quads down at Sealine. We had  seen the rental areas on our way out camping, but hadn't ever visited because we weren't sure if there were age limits, etc. They gave us all the info we needed and so one weekend we headed down to check it out for ourselves. 

The kids had such a blast!! Olivia was a bit apprehensive at first so I rode with her in the beginning. She quickly became comfortable riding and took off with the others. It's also really affordable - 50 qar (around $14) for 60 min of riding. They go to an enclosed dirt track behind the rental shop and take off doing laps. 

The guys watched for awhile and then headed off to get rentals for themselves (theirs were not really affordable 😆) and took their 4-seater quads over to the big sand dunes.When the kids finished they picked us up to go back over to the large dunes. I got a chance to drive a little as well and Jason had a blast. The girls weren't big fans because of the size of the seats, but they were glad they tried it!

It was definitely an amazing activity and I foresee our family visiting again soon (as the girls asked to go back about 173 times on the car ride home 😆)!


Sunday, January 3, 2021

New Year's Inland Sea Camping

 What better way to spend New Year's then in the desert (noticing a theme here, haha!)?! The longest we'd camped before this trip was two nights - however, we were concerned if we waited to head out that our spot would be taken if we waited too long and sure enough people rolled up after we'd setup that had been intending to camp where we were located. (There are lots of permanent Qatari camps around the coast so it can be tricky finding a good spot that has privacy, but also is accessible and won't get wet when the tide rolls in.) 

We headed out to the Inland Sea for this trip and had different company each of the three nights we stayed. It was fun to mix with different people and the kids loved having so many friends join them for playing! It was four days of fun playing in the sand, climbing the dunes, swimming, laughing, and eating delicious food (including the traditional black eyed peas and cornbread on January 1!)

The New Year's Eve Crew! 

Some fabulous sunrises and sunsets out in God's creation! ❤️

A sweet picture my friend snapped of my girls and some of hers during a gorgeous sunset. 😍


Friday, January 1, 2021

2020 Highlights

So long 2020! You held some good times, some fun memories, and a whole heck of a lot of weird. 😂 Here's to hoping 2021 has us back in school more regularly and exploring the globe again (safely). 


The year started like any other with a fun NYE celebration and excitement for what the year would hold. We spent the month exploring lots around Doha in both the desert, the greenery (yes it exists), and the city with lots of events that were happening. 


We were fortunate to have a trip booked mid-February during the school break that took us to Germany and Austria for a fabulous ski trip. It was such an amazing time!

My mom flew out to see us right after we returned from the school break and we couldn't be more thankful that she was able to come and return home safely. We cherish the time we got with her this year amidst so many families separated. 


The girls were in school about half the month before things started shutting down around the country. Prior to that happening the girls were going to school full time, taking cooking classes at the mall, having playdates and parties and out exploring. We also managed to celebrate Jason's birthday with friends. 


By April most of the country was in lockdown - children under 12 years were not allowed basically anywhere - malls, grocery stores, etc. All restaurants shut down for dining, but thankfully most stayed open for delivery and/or takeaway. School remained online full time and everyone hunkered down amidst the pile of information flooding in regarding covid-19. 

Our month was spent navigating online learning, playing in our back garden, and celebrating Easter as a family. 


As things started to cool down (ever so slightly), we enjoyed lots of bike rides outside, baking, perfecting our pizza dough recipe, and re arranging furniture multiples times (like so many others around the world - ha!).


This little duck turned SEVEN! We widened our bubble to one other family during our strict lockdown and it made a huge impact to surviving the summer heat and isolation. We also celebrated Father's Day and finished up the remainder of the school term virtually.


These girls turned FIVE! We celebrated with a Frozen II cake and had lots of fun. The heat continued to climb and we took countless sunrise beach trips to get fresh air and nature once they lifted restrictions on visiting them at the beginning of the month. 


Twelve years together! We were thankful to be able to go out to dinner together and celebrate our marriage as restaurants had opened back up. We continued to spend time outdoors as the compound pool opened back up as well our regular trips to the beach.


School started up again in Doha with a hybrid in-person and online learning schedule. The girls were so excited to be back on campus and have adjusted amazingly with all the changes. Our trips out fo the city slowed down drastically given the school year starting and so by the end of the month we all needed some green and headed back out for a beach day.


Camping season officially started and we jumped on the outdoors for the girls' school break camping out in the desert and out in the mangroves. We were also thankful to be able to celebrate Halloween with friends in the compound and {safely} trick or treating.


We celebrated my birthday and hosted an outdoor Thanksgiving gathering that followed safety protocols and restrictions still applicable here. It was a great reminder of all that we have to be thankful about this year. 


There were more camping adventures around Qatar as well as lots of fun Christmas activities like gingerbread houses, cookie decorating, ornament making, etc. We also enjoyed the drive in theater for some movies and some fun dinners and activities. 

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