Sunday, August 31, 2008


Ok, I mentioned this situation before on an earlier blog and I just thought I'd follow up on it for those who care... remember the situation of the two women kissing in public? Well, as the following story confirms, they will face deportation... the male/female couple who kissed? A "stern warning"... the couple who had sex on the beach? Still awaiting trial... Read on:

Mall of the Emirates

We have been to Dubai several times now but we had failed to stop by the Mall of the Emirates… until now. Rainy called to say that we were going to Dubai with her and Marcelo whether we liked it or not, so we picked to like it and Stu rode with Marcelo and Rainy rode with Kaden and me out there. It was really nice to have an hour or so to have some girl time to chat. Once we got there it took over a half hour to find parking (finally on the roof) in the truly massive parking garage. There were more people in this one mall than live in my home town. Seriously.

The mall is just a mall when you take it all in. Sure, it has Ski Dubai, an indoor full-sized ski mountain… in the middle of the desert. And it has more stores than you could EVER see in one day. But aside from the things that make it just another monstrosity in Dubai, it’s just another mall. Stu is determined to never venture back there again as we have really taken a liking to our uncrowded Khalidiyah Mall. But, should we ever need a Lucky Jeans or Abercrombie and Fitch while we’re here, we do know where to go!

Rainy and Marcelo always have a great time with Kaden while we are out and they took turns holding him and passing him back and forth. They’re so cute to watch with him… they should get a baby!

Anyway, so that was our weekend!

This Weekend.

Now that we are back here in Abu Dhabi, we’ve all been adjusting to being here again. Kaden is back to his normal sleeping schedule and Stu and I are back to our normal bedtime routine. This also unfortunately means that I am back to my (burning) baking routine. First I tried to make Brownies, but had something else going on and by the time I smelled them through two doors, they were thoroughly (on fire) done.

The next day we thought we bought another box of Brownies, but Stu had inadvertently grabbed a cake mix… so I started to make a cake. Well, apparently there was a misprint on the box because the pan it told me I was allowed to cook (you know how they give you several pan sizes and corresponding cook times?) it in DEFINITELY wasn’t big enough, and this is what happened…

Needless to say, this isn’t my baking week, as usual. I had made a really great coffee cake a few days earlier too! So lame. Anyway, since I am addicted to Bookworm Adventures, I thought it was cool that I could make this word:

Then Stu caught Kaden and I on camera playing the tickle game…


There were some things I got pictures of that didn't really fall into any of the categories I blogged about, so here are some tidbits from home:

Kaden walking in Mommy's shoes! Hehe. Shhhh, don't tell Daddy!

His first time with Pongo...

Poor sick baby brother...

...and sister.

Kaden playing with Marcia's hair... it was hilarious!

Aww, baby love is the best!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Flying Back.

Sorry that it has taken me a week to finally come to my final “vacation” post. Getting back on our schedule here has been MUCH harder than it was going over. Until Friday I was still waking up between 4 and 5 every morning and barely making it until 8 at night before I was ready to pass out.

BUT, coming home:

My Mom made Green Eggs and Ham for Stu since he had requested it! Hehe... here are Kaden and Stu's breakfasts of green eggs and ham:

Turns out Kaden isn't a huge fan of ham...

Stu enjoyed his though!

Then we of course had to say goodbye to everyone and that is never good. I was doing well until i hugged my sister Maddison who was all done up with hair and make-up and is so grown up now. I have missed so much in the past few years and this little gorgeous adult I was hugging just isn't the baby sister I have in my mind when i think of her. Knowing how much more I was going to miss just set off the water works.

Kaden with his cousin Harrison, Great Aunt Mo, and cousin Hannah

Grandad saying goodbye... I wasn't going anywhere... I just like kissing those fat baby cheeks!

Hanging out with Grandad and Great Uncle Doug before we had to leave.

Getting ready to go...

Pulling Pongo's tail for the last time before we left.

With his Great Nana!
We left for the Spokane airport in plenty of time to make our flight… we split a Quiznos sub while we waited and Kaden ran around and thoroughly explored every corner of the airport. He made friends with a hippy with dreadlocks that was on her cell phone and with another little boy who’s family was going on vacation to Disneyland!

The flight to LA was not as fun as we would have hoped with Kaden screaming a vast majority of the time. The plane we flew there on made a Geo Metro look roomy. They CLAIMED it was a “50 seater” but I’m pretty sure that count is made using drunken midgets instead of normal-sized humans. We did eventually get there, with Kaden having slept some. We had a pizza for lunch at Wolfgang Puck, which seriously had to be the best piece of pizza I’ve ever eaten. So next time you’re stuck at LAX, definitely go get the BBQ Chicken pizza at Wolfgang Puck!

Waiting in LA was nice because we commandeered a section of window space where we could block off both exits so Kaden could play without us chasing him. He learned how to pull himself up on the chairs there.

The spot where our plane would eventually be...

No one likes to travel this far with a baby...

Mastering the chairs!

Kaden started whining about an hour before we boarded because he was more than ready for bed, having missed much of his nap time that day. We did get on… Air France with the completely unhelpful flight attendants who made a huge deal about getting us some water for his bottle before we take off (being a flight attendant, they have to know that babies have trouble with their ears on takeoff and landing… wouldn’t it be common for people to ask for such simple things?) And as if France was continually mocking us, we were seated next to a French couple for the flight all the way to London.

That flight really wasn’t bad… we gave Kaden Benadryl and he slept enough that I got to eat BOTH my meals by myself! It really was nice. Being a French airline we got little loaves of bread with each meal and yummy cheese so I couldn’t complain. I didn’t get much sleep but I got to play hangman!

Flying into London was such a different experience than what we had coming into Paris. London is beautiful and the whole descent I kept looking all around. It was so green! I absolutely want to go back there one day and see more. Before we left, Nana had warned me that the London airport was nothing special. She has apparently never been to Paris. The London airport was fabulous! Haha. It has a waiting area that has more shops than a shopping mall and several restaurants and then when it is time to go to your plane, a screen comes up that tells you where to go. Pretty cool. We ate dinner (breakfast?) at T.G.I. Fridays. I badly wanted to have fish and chips in ENGLAND! But get this, NONE of the restaurants in the airport served them!!!

Me passing time in London while Kaden had a nap.
They have a place called "Additional Seating" where it is much quieter and has large chairs where you can lay down a rest if you want. We set up camp here so Kaden could nap. It was a very pleasant wait.
The one VERY bad thing about London was that their security is controlled by the BAA instead of the FAA… so they have different rules about what can and cannot be carried on a plane. The guy made me open and TASTE every single liquid I had… which included the baby food I was carrying (which was enough for a small army of babies in case we missed a flight somewhere and got stranded). So not only did I learn that Pedialite is DISGUSTING and I understand why Kaden wrinkles his nose and shakes when I try to give it to him, but I also wasted 4 jars of baby food that didn’t end up getting eaten because they had all been open from London! I was none too pleased. Especially after having travelled so far already. BUT, the food was fine and Kaden literally fell asleep sitting up at the high chair which was the funniest thing I have ever seen. So Stu and I enjoyed ourselves. We were very happy to be flying Etihad back to UAE and when we got on the flight we had bulkhead seats to ourselves that were on the window! Yay! This was the most enjoyable part of the whole trip. Kaden slept almost as soon as we got on the plane and Stu and I got to enjoy yet another meal to ourselves and watch part of a movie before going to sleep some. The stewardesses on this flight were more helpful again, which was nice again.

We finally made it home around 8 in the morning Abu Dhabi time. Kaden cried through customs which sucked, but we knew how close we were now. We effortlessly got through customs and got our bags and car and left the airport. Unfortunately it was only 8 in the morning as I said so we had to fight to try to stay up for the day since I heard the worst thing you can to with jet lag is to give in and go to sleep when you’re tired instead of when the sun tells you it is night time. We went to the mall and did some grocery shopping and really tried our hardest to stay awake as long as we could (even watching Finding Nemo) but Kaden and I only made it until 5 PM before I was literally standing up and sleeping. Kaden got back up around 1:30 and we finished the movie and then he was up for good at 3:30 AM. Eventually throughout this week we’ve worked out the sleeping issues. I was still up at 6:30 this morning though and Kaden is still sleeping! Haha.

Anyway, so overall we had a wonderful trip and all Stu keeps talking about is getting back there as soon as possible. We’ve both had a hard time readjusting to being here (America REALLY is SO much better). I miss the happiness of people the most. I guess people here just have less to be happy about as they struggle day in and day out to survive and support their families in another country. Maybe the struggles we face in America aren’t as huge as the ones people face here. But it is still hard to be surrounded by inherent sadness so much of the time… especially in the land of sand where everything is dulled, the grass, the sky, the buildings, by the vast amount of sand being blown around all the time. Needless to say, we are counting down the days...

Birthday Party # 2

The day after the Pig Pickin' we had a small family birthday party for Kaden so that we could celebrate with all of the people we wished were with us fir his birthday the few weeks before. It was fun except that we started it at what would have been nap time so he was kind of a crabby butt and made us hurry things along!

But he was pretty entertaining with the opening of presents and of course with the cake! Here are some pics:

Kaden hanging out with Kyle.

Me (with a weird face), and Melissa and Reece!


Kaden playing his new pointing game with his Uncle Deven.

Telling Aunt Marcia why he is mad.

This ended up being the BEST toy ever for the plane ride home. Thanks Kyle and Melissa!

Marcia and Deven keeping his wardrobe adequately psychadelic.

Trying to talk him into being a happy baby in spite of missing his nap.

Kaden's cake!

He loved it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pig Pickin'

The Pig Pickin.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, every year my family has a celebration of sorts where we roast an entire pig over a grill for about 18 hours. It is full of fun: beer, music, beer, fire pit, beer, chatting, beer, etc. My grandpa has done over 200 pigs now (I think this year was 202 if I am counting right) so he is the “Pig Master”. He directs the show telling people when to “fire” the pig (spread more hot coals under it), how to un-stick it before the turn, proper board position for the turn, etc.

This year actually wasn’t as good as years prior in that there weren’t as many people (and Candice and Kimo were missing!!!). But we all had a great time. Stu and I both agree that we definitely didn’t eat nearly enough pig to last us the next 16 months. Since we were both dealing with weird bouts of sickness we actually both only actually ate pig on the day of the Pig Pickin’. Weird.

Anyway, as I mentioned before, my Mom, my uncle Jeff, my cousin Harrison, my brother Hayden, Stu and I all went up to Sandpoint to get the pig. Wood’s Meat Processing has been the only place we’ve been able to get pigs for a while of the size we need (no one typically need a whole 200-pound pig, as you can imagine). So we sicky-pants, and eager-to-experience-the-pig-getting Jeff and Harrison got there and they hauled the pig out on a stretcher wrapped in plastic and into the back of the truck. It was a long, nauseous ride back to Coeur d’Alene for Hayden and me. The big buff boys unloaded it from the truck and then Stu got to (for the second year in a row) do the honors of hacking the backbone apart so it will open up and lay flat on the grill. Boy is that sometime to watch. If you let it, the whole experience can be rather gruesome. The first thing Stu and I did when we got home though, was print a picture of the pig’s face to be framed for the living room.

Once the pig is opened and face down, it will cook very slowly for the next 18 hours (depending on the size of the pig), which means someone gets the honor of staying up all night to watch it and keep putting coals on. I wouldn’t know who did it this year because I was in bed! But I hear that my Uncle Doug and Cousin Kyle were a lively, humorous bunch, and that Jeff got to pull the actual night shift. Papa took over around 5 AM and Kaden and I were up shortly thereafter.
Some friends from Boise, Melissa and Kyle, drove up to see us and it was so nice to spend some time with them. Their wedding is next month and Stu and I were supposed to be the Matron of Honor and Best Man, respectively. But, alas, we live in Hell, Abu Dhabi, so we can’t make the wedding. It was good to be able to hang out with them and feel like nothing’s changed and we might as well be back home. We also got to see my other friend Melissa (yeah, my two best friends growing up were Melissa and Melissa… it made for a lot of puns) and her husband Matt and their wonderful new baby Reece! He was so much fun and so cute!

When it was time to actually turn the pig, the big guys were nowhere to be found (they were at the beach, it turned out) so my Dad, Stu, Hayden, and Stevie got to be the "pig turners" with my Dad and Stu (both standing around 5' 10") being designated as the "tall ones". I was so impressed when they turned it with no problems at all.

Other than that it was nice to get to see people that I see every year (namely The Traverses and all the kids’ friends), as well as those I rarely see, and eat some scrumptious piggy!

Kaden (Yep, stat's a sticker. That's what happens when you let grandpa babysit) playing with Pongo!

Kaden going to give his Great Uncle Doug a hug!

Wood's Meat Processing.

Hayden and Stu spreading out the tarp for the pig in the back of the truck.

The piggy on the stretcher. Hayden named him "Alfredo" this year.

Harrison thoroughly enjoying being a part of the action!

Kaden having a blast with a pine needle!

Kaden and his Great Papa!

Happy Stuie.

My Cousin Kyle and my Uncle Doug...Kyle was playing with his "Gizzard"... Doug said he has more chins than a Chinese phonebook. Heh.

Unwrapping the pig from the plastic, ready to split him open.

Stu wielding the ax!

Kaden and Uncle Doug.

Kaden with his Great Mimi.

Harrison giving Alfredo a smooch!

Kyle's hat: best toy ever!

My Dad firing the pig.

Kaden discovering the joys of pine trees.

Kaden enjoying his breakfast on the morning of the Pig Pickin' with Great Aunt Mo!

With his future favorite toy.

Kaden inspecting the bike.

Pretty baby eyes!

Mommy on the Pig Pickin' day!

Hi piggy!

My beautiful sister Maddison. (Making a weird face...)

Getting ready to turn the pig.

Caitlin and Mom chatting.

The turn!

Miss Jordanna! Love her!

My Mom and Dad

Melissa and Kyle.

Folks hanging out inside to get cool.

Sydney double-fisting it! Strawberry Lemonade and Jeff's Gazpacho! Thanks Jeff! It was fabulous.

... And hanging out outside.

Grandad giving Kaden some cold water.

Kyle making a strange face, and Melissa.

I didn't get to see much of her, but that's my sister Justine, my Cousin Kyle, Christy with the dark brown hair, Jordanna, and Caroline.

After a long, busy day, baby is ready for bed!