Monday, June 30, 2008

If this doesn't make you laugh... have no soul.

Here's how you know...

...that your husband is missing little old Boise, Idaho... When you find this picture as the desktop background on your computer:

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Yesterday while I was getting my hair cut, Stu and Kaden went to Marina Mall to hang out until I was done. While they were there they picked up a tripod for our camera. We'd been meaning to get one for a while since it's so hard to use the shutter speed function and hold still while it takes. So last night we went up on the roof and Stu played around with some shots... here are some of them.

Speedy hands... writing an entry for my blog

This is Stu doing jumping jacks in the living room

The Haji store I always go to... on the bottom left

The Mosque... look at the red and white trails that were cars' lights as the picture was being taken.)

Then this morning I was getting stuff together to take laundry up to the roof and I look over and Kaden has climbed into the basket and was trying to eat the detergent. Champion child. Heh.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

New Hair

Today I finally went and got my hair cut. It’s is crazy how long I dealt with that heavy mass of hair in this heat! But even after she first started to cut the length off, I was shocked at how light it felt. Now I can hardly tell I HAVE hair and it is FABULOUS! I can whip it around… turns out my hair was literally weighing me down, lol. So anyway, I have some crappy before and after pictures to show how much length I got rid of. But I really like the cut now. So much better having little hair… the best part is the teeny little ponytail that is back there now. So cute! And, as promised, pics of Kaden for grandma!

Long hair Sydney

Short hair Sydney

Long hair Sydney

Short hair Sydney (The cut really is even, I just had a different amount of hair pulled over my shoulder and the underneath is a different color than the top half. )

I also added some pics of our nasty stove. When we first moved up to this apartment it didn't get cleaned before we moved in. At first I didn't think it was that big of deal since I'd just go ahead and clean it and that would be that. Problem is, finding abrasive cleaners here is nearly impossible. Everything we found wouldn't remove grease. FINALLY this weekend we found some really hard-core grease remover. So I just had to point out how truly disgusting our stove was. Apparently the guy who lived here before us did not believe in cleaning.

Here is the top of the stove... with half of a "wipe" of the grease away.

Here is the "wipe"... sick.

Kaden completely enthralled with the Marines commercial on the TV.

He learned in one day how to open all the drawers and cabinets and Mommy had to fill the drawers with his toys while Daddy took the door off the hinges so Kaden didn't break it!

REAL safe game!

Kaden's favorite toy: Mommy's phone (with the keys locked, lest we "accidentally" call the States)

He really will play with it for hours.

Happy happy baby!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Salam Alaikum

So tonight we had Rainy and Marcelo over to hang out and eat food (Arabic food ironically). And Rainy started teaching us Arabic! We learned the alphabet and how to tie words together (they write in a sort of cursive and so there are beginnings, middles, and ends to eat letter... so essentially you learn three forms of each of the 28 letters). It was really cool and Stu and I both got a "test" of sorts where she'd write out a couple letters and then have us figure out how to string them correctly. By the next lesson she wants us to try to know the alphabet as well as possible.
It's especially hard because they read and write from right to left... so the muscles in your hand are trying to go opposite of what you are making them do... it feels like learning to write in kindergarten all over again. We were really hurting for that cool lined paper with the dash marks on it to practice. It's definitely been a while since I've had to write "a....a....a....a" over and over. But the more I write each letter the easier it gets.

Anyway, just wanted to update really quickly. Per grandma's request there will be more baby pics up shortly. I've apparently not posted enough to her liking so I will have to remedy that!

Love you all!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Calling Home

So as I mentioned in my post yesterday, today (well, yesterday for me... still today for the States) is Justine's 18th birthday. So I called home hoping to catch her. Instead, I got my younger sister Maddison (who gets more witty and hilarious every time I talk to her, btw).

Maddison: Hello?
Me: Hi!
Maddison: Hiii...?
Me: Is Justine there?
Maddison: Uhhhh... no? I don't know where she is... who is this?
Me: Sydney.
Maddison: My sister Sydney?
Me: Yes!

THEN we finally get the excited "HIIIIII SYDNEY!!!" That's what we were looking for! hehe

So after some unimportant but funny chatter she askes, "Did you hear about Dad?" Sadly, the first thing that comes to my mind is the time a couple years ago when he broke his leg skiing and drove the whole way home with it still in his boot (he knew it was broken)... after skiing down the rest of the hill on it... THEN finally got my Mom to take him to the hospital to get it x-rayed and a cast.

So I say, "No... what happened?"

(stiffled eye roll and giggle [yes, I can HEAR an eye roll!]) "I'll let him tell you. Here he is..."

So a heavily drugged Dad gets on the phone...

Me: "Hey! Maddison said something happened..."
Dad: "Yeah, It's no big deal, I just wrecked my motorcycle (dirtbike)..."
"I broke my collarbone on both ends.... And I hit a cow."
Me: "You HIT A COW*???" haha

So he basically tells me that he was going to pass Maddison on a blind corner and spooked a cow who then ran out in front of him... How many people can say they crashed their dirt bike by broadsiding a cow??? haha I thought the story was awesome. So needless to say, poor Daddy is laid up on the couch (on the vacation time he'd already taken!!!) with pain killers, ignoring doctor's orders to use the sling and stay out of the garage working on stuff! :)

I DID eventually get to chat with Justine when I called her cell phone... girl's already moving fast, she went on a date last night with a 21-year-old! (A boy who IIII actually had a cruch on back in 6th grade!!! haha) But she seemed to be enjoying her summer vacation and the prospect of being an adult now.

Calling home is never uneventful! Haha! ... It's always something, huh?

* Note to all cow enthusiasts, the cow was uninjured in the making of this accident.

Happy 18th Birthday Justine!

Today my baby sister is an adult! I wonder what it must feel like to be my parents and have not one, but TWO adult children now??? Sheesh! hehe

(Side note: finding those pictures just made me realize how FEW pictures I have of my parents... Geez!)

Anyway, so Happy Birthday to my Crubsteebzena!!!

Onion Rings

It happened again. I was doing great, eating Arabic-inspired or easy-to-find-ingredient foods and doing just fine. Then this morning I have a craving for Wendy's chicken nuggets (with honey mustard sauce, of course!). So I finally ate the other half of my sandwich I got at the Hard Rock in Dubai this past weekend (French dip... soooo good). Instead of satisfying my craving (I assumed eating American food would help) in just reminded me of the AWESOME onion rings that accompanied my sandwich this weekend!

So I set off in search of an onion rings recipe (I think to myself, "They can't be THAT hard to make.") and of course, every recipe either calls for BEER (yeah right) or Cornmeal. Neither of which I have, and after scouring the baking section of LuLu's, I doubt I'm going to find. So one more thing to add to the cravings list.

I also started wanting coffee cake this morning (which I DO have the ingredients for), but I convinced myself I can wait to make that until batch # 2 of the Apple Crisp is devoured.

Can't wait to get home... 42 Days till the Zero Day! :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Surprise surprise

Last night we decided to order in food and decided on the tried and true favorite: Chinese. The restaurant here that we order from is called Shanghai Surprise. Now, in America, it may be a second or third choice for me (typical judging a book by its cover)… Shanghai Surprise??? It kind of conjures up questionable images…

… But it really was good, regardless of what they call it!

Apparently Chinese food makes one very tired (though he didn’t eat it)… Kaden passed out and pretty much couldn’t be woken up… so he decided to get up this morning at almost five, then didn’t go back to sleep and wanted out of bed just after 6:00. Fun Stuff!

Kaden representin' Boise State!

View from our dining room window last night.

To eat or not to eat

As we all know, the people in the UAE are very different than the people in find in, say, America. This weekend Stu and I went to the Carrefour (a French shopping center) specifically for caulk (we finally got tired of the flooding bathroom with each and every shower). We’re in the checkout line and an Emirati man and his daughter in front of us start ogling Kaden (we’re all used to this by now). She is showing a completely disinterested (and seemingly RUDE) 11-month-old her new bike and blow-up pool and the Dad is asking questions about the baby. After getting the basics out of the way (“11 months”, “we have a pool we take to our roof too”, “yeah, anything to beat the heat”), the guy starts asking Stu about where “Stateside” we’re from, and what we’re doing in the UAE.

About this time I am reminded of my checkout line conversations from Wal-Mart back home. You smile and nod politely. If the fellow liner has kids you make a cutesy comment about them then sneakily turn and stare in an arbitrary direction to avoid further obligatory conversation. Here, if you engage someone in line, you’re immediately their new found friend and you WILL receive and invite to continue the shenanigans at a later date, often in a seemingly shady meeting location.

So this Emirati guy (obviously Emirati based on the traditional dress he was wearing with the checkered head dress and white dishdasha, and the PERFECT English he spoke that puts my English to shame (not to mention the obvious wealth he exuded not only by the trivial things he was buying for his daughter, but the nice Mercedes-Benz-emblemed key hanging from his key ring).

After a long conversation with Stu about his service for 15 years (for the UAE Air Force) working on C130s, he invites us, if we “ever get out to Al Ain” to give him a call and come visit him. He then gives vague mention of his OTHER villa just off the island of Abu Dhabi, if we’d rather hang out there.

So on the walk back to the car Stu and I are equally baffled as to what to do. Obviously, we’d like a wealthy-local-ly-directed tour of Al Ain, but we also value our own lives (and that of our kid’s) and with the abundance of caution we’ve received regarding being diligent about our safety since we’ve been here. “Sure, we’ll come over and eat your fabulous Arabic food (cooked by a Filipina) with our right hands, in your exquisite home, but please don’t sell our beautiful blonde, blue-eyed baby on the black market.”

Anyway, just another vast difference in cultures. If I met someone in line at Wal-Mart with another kid who invited my family over for dinner I wouldn’t think twice about taking them up on the offer… here, who knows…

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hard Rock Cafe Dubai

Sorry it’s been a few days since I’ve posted… Thursday night we went over to Tony and Stef’s new apartment for grill night. They got the apartment on the top floor (that used to be a common area) so now it is cleaned up and their house looks great. They have it all painted and set up now and it is so much more homey feeling up there now (plus we had somewhere to stick a nap-needing Kaden!) Anyway, so that was fun. I forgot to take any pictures so I don’t have any visuals. Sorry!

In light of the recent terror warnings about staying away from touristy and “western” type places in the UAE, the three of us decided to hit up Hard Rock cafĂ© in Dubai! Yeah, so much for heeding warnings, eh? But we had a great time. It is retardedly difficult to get to though and we got lost twice (while we could still SEE the building, the one-ways proved to be rather difficult). Kaden loved looking around at all the stuff on the walls. This particular Hard Rock has a car suspended upside down from the ceiling. That was fun. So we got ourselves shirts and drove on home. It was so dusty in Dubai (as it has been in Abu Dhabi these past few weeks) that there were very few photo opportunities.

Kaden's first experience with a balloon... he LOVED it!

Dusty Dubai

Once we came back to Abu Dhabi we hit up a little Souk here and got a marble chess set and marble glasses (more like goblets) for sinfully cheap. So that was cool. Then Stu had some fun with the camera and chess set.

Saturday was mellow, just did some shopping and then grilled some sausages and shrimp for an early dinner and watched Knocked Up again (still funny!).

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Take THAT, baking!

It was inevitable… I was going to try my hand at baking again. So last night Stu was watching Emeril Live (BAM!) and I came in to see Emeril putting the finishing touches on an apple pie. We’re pretty much out of groceries (we shop on Fridays), but we DID have a few apples, so I was like, "Yeah, I want some apple-type dessert!"

So I head over to the computer to Google apple dessert recipes and I find one for an Apple Crisp. Low and behold, it turned out to not only be good, but FABULOUS! I had to force myself to leave the pan alone so Stu could have some when he got back from practice… it was a challenge, let me tell you! But it was nice to have something come out good after screwing up pre-made chocolate chips cookies.

I got to talk to Jen (from work) while it was baking last night and she offered words of encouragement! (And perhaps some yummy recipoes to follow...)

Then, we’re getting calmed down before bath and bedtime and Stu looks over at Kaden and says, “We’re going to have a fat kid!” This is what fat baby looked like, all slouched down watching TV…

I love this one because his smile is exactly Stu's smile! Cute babies!