Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wedding Bells

Yesterday we went shopping for a cute little suit for Kaden and a dress for me because today Rainy and Marcelo will tie the official knot! I will have pictures up of the wedding, but Kaden’s suit is soooo cute! I can’t wait to put it on him!

While we were cruising between malls yesterday there was a sand storm… these pictures are during daylight hours… look at what it does to the sky… pretty cool.

Anyway, so we (Stu, Rainy, Kaden, and I) ate at that Mexican Restaurant again in Khalidiyah Mall. It was fabulous again, AND we had the COOLEST experience. (Please note where I have been living before discounting my “cool” experience) After we were seated these three men came in and sat down who were, you guessed it, HISPANIC! Hehe. Now, first of all, there are nearly no Americans here… let alone Mexican-Americans, so this was pretty exciting. They were from Texas (one even sporting a Texas Longhorns mascot emblazoned on his bicep) and half way through the meal they started chatting in Spanish. Sighhhhhh… what a nice feeling it was to be in some arbitrary Mexican restaurant in America, Spanish floating through the air, familiar words and phrases passing by my ears. We had a great time eating, thoroughly enjoyed the guac again and then left… walking out into a crowd of hijab-clad women and two dishdasha-sporting men on iphones. Sighhhhh… we were back in the Middle East.

I want to learn more Spanish though. I always forget how much I know until I hear it and try to follow the conversations of others. Arabic is a very complicated language simply because of how vastly different it is from the Romance languages. The letters are all brand new… lordy, the NUMBERS are even all brand new… And they write backwards! So I feel pretty good about the Arabic I have been able to pick up thus far, but I really do love Spanish. Especially after being here… I said to Stu and Rainy that I will never complain about our Mexicans again after living here. (We’ll see how that goes once I’m actually back in the States, lol) It was fun though because kept asking me how to say things in Spanish… (I taught him how to ask: “Como se dice ______ en Espanol?) while we were in an Arabic dress shop and Rainy was talking to the owner in Arabic. It’s nice to know even PART of a language that no one speaks here!

We also drove around and sang good old American tunes… Stu was playing the Ludicris song “Move Bitch” and we came up with new lyrics for it… “Move Paki, get out the way, get out the way, Paki, get out the way…” (If you’ve heard the song it is a lot funnier). What made it even better were the probably 15 different Pakistanis that DID try to cross in front of us on the drive to the mall. Fun times.

Anywho, so today should be fun-filled. Their wedding is at 5:30 this evening and then Stu and I are taking them out to dinner at this newly-opened Brazilian Restaurant (for Marcelo!) where apparently you get a red and green card that you flash the waiters to tell them to bring or hold more food… no menus, just Brazilian Barbeque. So I am looking forward to that experience. Fear not, we’ll take lots of pictures!

Oh, and my sweetest baby on the planet decided to fall asleep on Daddy’s lap this morning while I was on the roof… this is what I came down to. (He NEVER does this, he is such an independent sleeper he won’t even lay down and “rest” with us…)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Rule...

... no more green tea after 2 pm! Today I had another cup at 4 and then yet another at 6... this was a bad plan apparently because now I have been laying awake for an hour with bizarre, disconnected thoughts running through my head.

First it was whether or not we should rely on a cab to and from the airport here... and "will the car rental place pick up our car and drop it back off for us?", "Did I turn off the coffeemaker this afternoon?", "Is Kaden going to be able to sleep on the plane?", "Why DO the Indians wobble their heads when they talk?"

Then I moved on to packing for the trip: "Should I bring the toy with lots of pieces since it keeps him busy for longer, or several simpler small ones?", "I'm never going to get classes this semester", "It will be cold at night in CdA, what should I pack for him to sleep in?", "It's freaking hot... leg inside or outside the covers?... Too bad humans can't be like lizards and regulate their body temperatures with one piece of their bodies too.", "Will Kaden even adjust to the time change?"

Stu hasn't had a much better go at sleep either, he's been sleep talking (as always, but this night it's felt more panicky) since he fell asleep and Kaden keeps getting in trouble in his dreams! Haha. Before I gave up on sleep and came out here to write this blog he had just mumbled, "What does he have? It's paint! He's chewing on paint. We need to get that away from him or he'll get lead poisoning and die..." Poor guy.

Anyway, I should probably have another go at it... Kaden gets up early regardless of what time I go to bed. Man, I miss those days of staying up till dawn and then sleeping till noon without anyone caring or needing me before then. While it's nice to be needed EVERY morning it sure was nice to sleep in occasionally! :)

Let's hope round two is more successful! Wish me luck!

Just Breathe.

While I should probably compile a list of all the things I genuinely like about Abu Dhabi and the opportunity to live here, there are still SO many things that I dislike, and in some cases absolutely HATE about living here.

Case in point: We have mold. Yep. In our air conditioning unit. We have for a while now and we continue to call the guy who is responsible for getting “guys” who take care of this sort of thing out here to… you know… take care of it. So after months we FINALLY get people out here… the same guys who came to fix our A/C last week and broke it more. (Greaaaat.) Anyway so last week they trashed our bathroom “fixing” the A/C so I wanted to make sure their intention was to clean up after themselves this time. So Stu asked them if they were going to clean it up and they told us they aren’t. “eat ease not our reesponseebility”… So I am picturing this nasty dusty-mold mist blanketing my house, including Kaden’s toys and bedding. We had to talk to our liaison guy who then talked to our watchman, who agreed to follow them around and clean it up himself. Whatever. As long as someone is responsible for the mess, who is not named Sydney (last week we had to clean up dead roaches and roach parts [i.e. legs], mouse poop, and all kinds of dust, dirt, grime, and the muddy shoe prints the guy tracked throughout the house I'd cleaned just days before).

So they start “cleaning”. Not two minutes after they start they deem they are “done” in Kaden’s room. Stu goes in there and says, “No, you’re not done, you haven’t even taken off the panel.” The guy then tells him they are only responsible for cleaning the grills, not inside the ducts. I explain that they are not merely dirty (and that if it were only the grills that needed cleaned, we'd have done it ourselves), there is mold growing inside and cleaning the outside of the grills is not going to take care of the problem inside (which is OBVIOUSLY where the external mold is coming from…). The guy literally laughed in my face and said that he has NEVER had someone ask him to clean inside the ducts. “Haha, how wood I get in dare to clean deez ducts? Haha. (mumble incoherently in not-English language… “clean da ducks, haha)”. So I resist the urge to punch the guy in the face and calmly explain that mold can cause sickness when it is inhaled. I asked him if in his own home he never would have his ducts cleaned… he laughed again, since I am clearly a complete (female) idiot, and told me no. I told him his family was going to die of cancer. He didn’t understand me.

Now, call me crazy for worrying about my son’s future health, but I don’t want to be the mom of the asthmatic cheering in the stands at Chess Club* because I didn’t adequately protect my kid as a baby and now he can’t play football.

So to make myself feel better, I told the guy who couldn’t understand a word I was saying, “This is so third world.” He nodded in ignorance.

While it is frustrating to me, it really makes me wonder what health problems the kids here face from just plain old ignorance. This isn’t 1950, we know more about certain things that will make you sick, that's why there are precautions we can now take to avoid them. Granted, these men are here from __________ (insert poverty-stricken country here) to make a living to send home to their families… I am sure the last thing they are worried about is mold spores and their children’s lungs. I would imagine their bellies take precedent over lungs… survival of the fittest in times and places like these I suppose. It just goes to show that someone like me should really have done this lifestyle before I had a kid! Haha.

You know, I think for my own sanity I’d better start that list about the things I DO like about it here. Stay tuned.

(*There is nothing wrong with Chess Club and my dorky little baby can do that instead of football if he wants... I just don't want to be responsible for it! :))

Monday, July 28, 2008

Chest Pain

Sorry I've been neglecting this for a few days... I've been having weird chest pain and it's kind of wiped me out between that and dealing with Kaden.

So, the deal is, day before yesterday I started getting this bizarre pain that got more persistent as the day went on. Now I have had this feeling before a lot of times so I never worried about it, but this time I had a Kaden to take care of. It got pretty bad where I couldn't even pick up Kaden without wincing and feeling like I would drop him. I was wary about going to a doctor here so I kept hoping it would subside (still hoping). I did some research on the internet and didn't find a lot of anything helpful. Most refer to cardiac-related chest-pain and it isn't that... (at least I guess) both because I am 23 years old, and the pain is on the more right side of my chest. Ok, so also, I have pulled the cartilage on either side of my sternum not once but TWICE before, so I know what that feels like too. But it feels similar to that, just deeper. In my online research I decided it was probably either inflammation in the lining of my chest cavity, either infection or strain, OR possibly relating to my lungs, but until last night I didn't feel anything weird with my lungs. I've developed some mucus-y feeling there as of last night so maybe it is related to that.

Rainy had a horror story about internal bleeding when she had an ovarian cyst and Stu thinks I have a collapsed lung. Lol. I took ibuprofen and it helped every 4 hours, so I still think it's inflammatory related. Anyway, I had decided that if it didn't get any better by today that I would go in and see a doctor, but now it has gotten better. Somewhat. So now I am hoping that it will just go away. Ever experienced anything like this? Lemme know...

So anywho, that is why I've not been real present either here or on Yahoo lately. Not to mention we only have 9 days left (!!!) before we come home so I am less worried about being missing in action since I know I am going to see at least a tenth of my faithful readers then anyway!

Speaking of which, I might as well use this opportunity as a shout out to said faithful readers. This blog has really taken off and it has been both shocking and encouraging to me by how many people read this. I feel proud to write it knowing I have so many people out there keeping tabs on our family! :) (some that are even from places I've literally never heard of! lol)

Hope everyone is doing well... we will be eating shawarma and watching a movie tonight!

Syd out.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I apologize to the grandmothers for the lack of pictures. We had a very busy weekend but failed to tote the camera along (usually because we lug it everywhere and then forget to take pictures anyway).

As I mentioned before, Khalidiyah Mall is the new favorite… we went back on Friday (our Saturday) to go grocery shopping and exploring while the Muslims were still sleeping or at Mosque. That was nice. We got to check out the new LuLu’s Hypermarket which is getting ever close to a really clean version of Wal-Mart. I found even more things at this one that I haven’t been able to find elsewhere here (i.e. Miracle Whip!). Then we started looking at TVs… Let me preempt the following statement by saying that it turns out most electronics are price-fixed in this country (wouldn’t want to encourage capitalism after all, since THAT would be bad). So, after looking at like 10 different stores, we end up back at LuLu’s (a different one though) for our purchase. We ended up getting a Sony Bravia 46-inch LCD flat screen. It’s huge. So after it was delivered on Saturday we sent out to find something other than the coffee table to put it on. Well, pretty much everything is 46 inches across; our TV is 47 inches wide. We eventually settled on a stand that was exactly 50 inches wide. Cool, good to go, right? Wrong. Since we have this brand-spankin’-new TV, we just HAVE to go look at surround sound systems too! So after several stores (in as many different malls) we finally found a system that was 110-240 (volts… the rest were 240 only, meaning we could get it, but would have to run a converter for eternity once we got back home). So we got that.

To top off the money-spending weekend, I finally got my hair highlighted like I’ve been waiting to do. So now we are broke and have to stay here for another 3 years... Just kidding, but it sure FELT like a lot of money! Haha. Especially for people who NEVER spend money (mostly because we never HAD any). So we’ve finished our goals of what we had wanted to obtain while we were here as far as “stuff” goes. Now it’s just the waiting part… for at least the next 16 months. Sigh.

He loves those balls and his cool in-door pool!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Stand Corrected.

So yesterday I made a list and on it I mentioned, as I have in a prior post, that Abu Dhabi is quite lacking in good Mexican food. My terrible experience at Chi Chi's here only further solidified that opinion.

BUT, thanks to a recommendation from Lindsay, a fellow blonde-American-in-Abu-Dhabi who stumbled upon my blog, Stu, Kaden and I decided to hit up Cantina Laredo in the Khalidiyah Mall. We had only been to that particular mall twice (!!!) since it’s the only Papa John’s locale. We had never taken the time to enjoy the mall for its mall-like qualities. After spending time there today, I could venture to say that it has risen on the list to my favorite of all the malls here. We have experienced-out the experience of the Abu Dhabi mall since we’ve been there so many times, and Al Wahda mall, which remains a close second favorite, is where we grocery shop anyway, so it too loses its allure.

Anyway, kudos to Lindsay for the recommendation! The meal was fabulous (Stu didn’t like his as well as I liked mine), and the service was probably the best we’ve experienced since we’ve been here. They even had honest-to-goodness “dank” guacamole that like El Gallo Giro (or whichever order it goes in), they make at your table. Enough nostalgia, in fact, that Stu almost got a little misty-eyed recalling some of our favorite memories from Kuna.

Another fun aspect of our evening involved the music on the way home. Typically, Stu carries his mp3 player with him and we get whatever is on shuffle as our musical entertainment. Tonight Stu failed to bring it and we were treated to the likes of James Brown and D-I-S-C-O galore. The station advertised “non-stop dance party hits”, hehe. So we rocked out with the windows down to “Kung-Fu Fighting” while we drove through the city, in all of its high-rise lighted glory. Stu said, “Today I actually like living here.” It really was a good day. It is so nice to take a drive through to city at night where you can’t see any dust or dreary skies, and to take it as just any other city, with everyone going about their business, with the typical hustle and bustle you’d expect in a city.

So the night couldn’t have finished out all perfect and fun-like huh? Nope. Allah had to remind us that we are living in the big sand land, and HE is the one in control… No dance party in the car for nothing. We get home and our A/C is broken. Right on. We had some guys here earlier because last night the A/C in our bedroom went out and we were dealing with just the living room A/C to cool the whole house (in 115 degree weather, that’s asking a lot of one little A/C). So they came, made us late for getting out to eat, and broke it more, apparently. We were told to leave the bedroom one on for an hour and it would be cool. So we went to eat. We come home and as we walk from the hallway, it feels like we are walking back outside as we enter our apartment… (expletive).

So Stu calls the guy who’s in charge of “the guys” who fix crap and he eventually comes by himself to look at it (To his credit, he TRIED turning off his phone for a while, but did that stop Stuie? No way Jose!). They will be here at ten tomorrow morning. Which means that we get to sleep another night in sweat. Ugh. And poor little Kaden will wake up all wet too. Stu and I both slept horribly last night so I am assuming it will be another restless night.

At least we had a really good first part of the night! I hope everyone back in the States is enjoying their cool 90 degree weather. Know that at least someone else in the world is jealous of you!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Middle East v. America

(everybody loves lists, right?)

Now that I live in the Middle East, it has occurred to me that there are some things that I might never say again once I get back to America:

1) "It's hot today." (This one almost goes without saying, so much so that it's just got to be number one!)

2) "Wow, it's really humid out!" (I go up to the roof to lay out for a few minutes every couple of days [I feel it's sinful to live in the land of the sun and be as white as I was]. I spent literally 8 minutes up there a few days ago and when I stood up from my lawn chair, sweat ran down my face, dripped onto my chest and stomach, and kept running down my legs. I. Shit. You. Not.)

3) "Is that a dress (or jammies) that guy's wearing?" (I've come to even appreciate appealing colors of the "jammies" [also called a Kaftan and sirwaal by those who wear them], the light green is particularly flattering)

4) "Are those two dudes holding hands?" (This will never stop being weird to me... only weirder is when you see them (two men) do the little kiss thing... they touch noses and make the smooch sound. It took me several weeks to realize they weren't actually locking lips)

5) "Where can I get some dank Mexican food?" (The answer here is nowhere... or can hit up the "Chi Chi's" for some VERY mediocre food... that is always out of guacamole. [Why, pray tell, would you even go to a Mexican restaurant if you knew there was go guac???])

6) "I need to get outside more." (Never in my life have I ever spent more time indoors. I think for the first 6 months I'm back home, I may seriously consider my residence being a teepee.)

7) "Do I look weird when I run?" (Somewhere about 3rd grade, American children are taught the proper way to run (or jog)... Arabs, it seems, do NOT have such a skill taught at their schools. When a runner is spotted here, which is very infrequently, he is generally flailing away so much that the arm and leg movements have to be what is creating his "cardio work-out", since he definitely isn't gaining any ground by such bizarre theatrics...)

8) (when asking for directions from a fellow sidewalk sharer:)
Me: "Excuse me, can you tell me how to..."
FSS #1: "bfjd ksfjs eklc nioc sklg fnkl"
Me: "Do you speak English?"
FSS #1: "hum dbl gack poo"
(approaching next fellow)
Me: "Do you speak English?"
FSS #2: (blank stare)
(approaching number 3)
Me: "Do you speak English?"
Number 8, 11, 17... Then give up and go home.

9) "The traffic sucks." (I really had no idea...)

And 10) Making any sort of reference to there being nowhere to shop for cheap clothes... I always had Ross, Old Navy, Walmart, and Target at my disposal... now I have Dior, Armani, and Gucci and all I want is a normal-looking pair of jeans for less than 50 bucks!

Like a Birgin.

I’ve had a couple of pretty conflicting emotions these past two days. Yesterday while I had my girls over for the “Wives Club” (including a new gal named Vanessa, which was fun) we were talking about the next few weeks of get togethers. Vanessa will be in Cairo for her birthday next week so the she’ll come the following week. I realized that I was going to gone the next two weeks following and I had my first twinge of “home” feeling about this place. I got the whole “aww, lame I’ll miss it” feeling and then had to laugh at myself because I will be missing it AT HOME with my FAMILY! Haha. So that was sort of funny.

Then this morning I had a typical shit-this-isn’t-home feeling when I was comparing grocery ads for Fred Meyer and Albertson’s (General Mills cereal is on sale at Albertson’s for a buck fifty this week, ya’ll!) when Stu called. He asked what I was doing and I told him and he laughed… it was funny, right? Well… in whatever mindset I happened to be in, it was suddenly very unfunny and I got really sad. Why the hell am I comparing grocery ads for US stores? Am I crazy? Apparently. In my head before his call it made perfect sense: I am trying to figure out a good system for saving as much money in every avenue of our lives as possible when we go home. So ad-shopping seemed a logical step. But here we are, more than a year away from even the prospect of going home and I’m looking at ads (even worse, I am also excited about what I see on sale). Sigh.

On another note I had to take this blog over to Word to finish because our ghetto, it’s-not-1950???, internet has crapped out on me again… over and over. I think this upcoming vacation will be good for me. Not only to be able to see my family, but to regroup and calm my mind before heading back over here. Yesterday at our little get together, we were talking about how the longer you’re here, the bitterer and more intolerant you get. We can all laugh about the ways we “deal” with this bitterness (Stu by considering actually hitting the Pakis that cross the road all over the place, me by yelling at the men who shamelessly stare, embarrassing them, Rainy by trying to understand why a store would employ people who speak neither English nor Arabic, in a country whose national language IS Arabic and deals primarily in English…), but it doesn’t change that we are typically bitter.

I have people who read my blog tell me over and over to “take it for what it’s worth” or “enjoy the opportunity” or a handful of other choice phrases, and I understand where they are coming from. Before we moved here, I would likely have been in that boat too. But it is a completely different thing to have to live with it day in and day out. I try to avoid complaining, but there is a certain mental threshold for the amount of times you can hear an Asian sing Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” accented… “Like a Birgin, toushed for da berry furss tiiime”, and that threshold was somewhere back in March. That song will never be the same to me again. I am to the point of literally craving my own language, in my own dialect. I got a call yesterday from that journalist I told you about a month or so ago, and when I answered the phone it was literally shocking to hear an AMERICAN accent on the other end, but from a local phone number. So shocking in fact that it actually took me a second to understand who this guy was… “Uh… Hugh?...... From the National?..... Oh, right, the NEWSPAPER….. Here…. In the UAE…” was pretty much what went on in my head.

In other news, was anyone else aware (and if so, damn you for not telling me!) that the so-called “terrible twos” do not necessarily start at, uh, TWO?!? In fact, as I did extensive research and am now more than aware, they can start LITERALLY at ONE… Like, say, two days after your precious angel TURNS one! Yeah. So my child who is normally praised with being “such a good boy” and “well-behaved” has developed some fun new attributes such as squealing (yep, it’s not just for pigs anymore), THROWING himself on the floor… like a two-year-old, and hitting and yelling at Mom and Dad when he doesn’t like that we’re telling him not to do something (say, stick his little fingers in the 220 volt outlets in the wall). I was liking that it was other people’s kids that were brats… what the heck?

Anyway, contrary to the above paragraph, here are some wonderful-Kaden pictures to discount everything Mommy tries to convince her readers! “Wahahaha”, he says.

Such a stud muffin!

(Side Note: I switched my Major to English... some say "finally"... thoughts? Let's discuss.)

Monday, July 21, 2008


One. Year. Old.

I am sure everyone is tired of hearing me complain about my baby being too old too fast, but today is the big day! He is one today. Wow. As I’ve said probably ten times by now, it’s amazing to me.

Our day started out pretty typically, only with birthday themed embellishments. I got him out of his bed and sang the Happy Birthday song, which he thought was a hilarious way to start the day (maybe I’ll start singing to him every morning! It seemed to put him in a pretty good mood!). Then I made him scrambled eggs (he’s one now so he can officially have the whites… so his egg got to keep the white for the first time) with onions and tomatoes. He thought those were AWESOME. I also cut up some strawberries for him and he was a happy camper.

Then we went for about a half-hour walk. I didn’t think it was early enough to be too hot (it was only about 8 a.m.) so I forwent the sunscreen and I think I burnt my baby. Sigh. Bad parenting. But he loved the walk, chatting with the Pakistanis as we cruised by them. We walked down into the neighborhood adjacent to ours that has huge and luxurious villas. They are so amazing. And since apparently walking here with no reason seems foolish, I was stopped by three separate taxis offering their services (whatever that might end up being). That officially pooped him out because he was ready for a nap almost as soon as we got back in the door. On the way back in, our building watchman was mopping our hallway and he stopped and said hello to us and asked me how old Kaden was. “He’s one year old today!” So Kaden got his first birthday wishes of the day (other than from MOM) from the Pakistani man in the light green dress. He was thrilled too, all smiles.

So, Happy Birthday to my big boy Kaden! Mommy loves you!

The past year:
(WARNING: some of the following pictures may not be suitable for the squeemish!) :)

Back when Kaden was just a basketball...
Right before leaving to go to the hospital
After Stu and I learned that I'd have to have a c-section...
trying to be brave...
There's his head!
And there's all of him! Hi Kaden!
Getting measured
Mommy's first time holding her baby boy!
Daddy announcing Kaden's arrival to the waiting room!
Great Grandma, Great Aunt Marcia, Grandma, and Aunt Maddison all texting the news around the world!
Very proud Gramdma holding her first grandbaby
Kaden's banner waiting for us on our door!
First plane ride. Three weeks old.
Napping with Aunt Maddison, Aunt Justine, and might-as-well-be-aunt Caitlin
First time rolling over. Two months.

First Christmas. Five Months.
Hanging out in his cradle that Granddad made for him!

Mommy-and-Me time after work!

Taking a bath! Six Months.
First time playing with sand on the beach! Seven Months.
First Air Race (Red Bull Race). 8 Months.
First trip to Oman. 9 Months.
First trip to Dubai.
First steps! Ten months.
First 4th of July! 11 Months.
And this was this morning... Kaden enjoying his Birthday Breakfast... ONE YEAR OLD!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Party Like a Rockstar!

Kaden’s birthday is tomorrow (Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!) so we decided to throw a birthday party for him this past weekend. We had our friends over for food and cake/ice cream (from Baskin Robbins, so they were ice cream cakes). He got soooo many toys that I think we’re going to have to designate another area the “toy area” since they are now taking over my living room. But we all had a really great time and it was so nice to get together with friends since we don’t have any family here.

I’d been pretty down the few days preceding the party. I guess it’s the combination of missing family an wishing they were here to celebrate with us, and the fact that my son is turning one, that did it. He is so big and getting more advanced every day (this probably never ends though does it… I should probably stop saying so). After the party he was waving bye-bye and blowing kisses to his guests as they departed. Too cute.

Aside from most-things-good, the one major screw-up of the day was brought to us by yours truly. I sat Kaden’s just-for-him cake down in front of him, the candle still singing the Happy Birthday song, and he grabbed the candle just as I hurriedly blew it out. So, for my son’s first birthday experience, I succeeding in burning him with fire. Awesome.

Other than evil Mommy, the rest of the party was basically uneventful in that it was a typical one-year-old’s birthday party. He cried, he laughed, he ignored his guests, and he even took a bath right in the middle (thank to the ice cream cake experience)! Thank you to everyone who made it over to help us celebrate my baby’s first birthday!

Kaden's birthday banner

Big boy in his birthday outfit!

The table with the presents and snacks before the friends showed up.

Daddy and the big boy!

Mommy and a very happy baby

Kaden interested in what Andrew was doing... following him around.

Andrew on a very important call.

Alicja and Alberto having a snack!

Marcelo and Rainy arriving!

Kaden wasn't sure what to think about that toy!


Kaden's cake! (with the fire)


messy messy baby!

Bath time!

Caught in the act! Even marcelo had a piece of cake!

present from Grandma Ezzell (that just sounds weird... from Momma E!)

The loudest, most obnoxious toy known to man. Thanks, Mom! :)

Reading a card from Marcelo and Rainy


Blocks! Way cool present from Kasey, Kyle, and Andrew

Eating the wrapping paper on his present from Alicja, Louie, and Alberto

Kaden, Cassie, and Rainy!

More presents! This is the barn from Marcelo and Rainy.

And the Elephant!

Matthew! He got him a toy that sings the alphabet in AMERICAN English!!! (So we can teach him that the last letter of the alphabet is "zee" and not "zed"... also, it's pronounced "are", not "ah"

Sam and Kaden! Her toy was awesome too! He got a Little People circus toy set! He loves pushing the button to make the carousel spin!

Uh oh, caught eating pizza now!

Kaden with only a fraction of his toys!