Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I slept so fitfully last night. I just couldn't get settled down. Because..... Stu and I decided we are going to ROME!!! Yeah, in like two months. We've been told by so many people to make sure we travel while we are here because it is such an opportunity. BUT, we have put it off since we are crazy penny-pinchers and have thus far been trying to stay focused on our money goal. The deal is, we have to be here for longer than we'd like, our economy is too bad to go home to anyway, so we might as well have a good time while we are here.

Now, let me say, I've thought about where I would travel in Europe if given the chance, since I was like 12. And I really have always wanted to see the things that Rome has to offer. How many people can say they've seen the Coliseum, the Pantheon, VATICAN CITY! Which brings me to my next more-than-excited-excitement: Like any good Catholic, I'm going to get to go to the Vatican! Kinda like our own pilgrimage! (Not quite the Hajj for Muslims, but at least half as important to Catholics, right?)

So to make this even MORE exciting, I've just finished learning even more about this stuff from my Art History class. Exactly how the Pantheon was built, the method of painting (fresco) Michelangelo used to paint the ceiling and altar of the Sistine Chapel. I truly could not be more excited. (And I intend to make Stu read these chapters before we go there so he can get excited with me!)

So... have you been to Rome? Always wanted to go? What should we see while we are there? We are going to go for seven days, so we'd like to get in as much sight-seeing (and Italian food!!!) as we can. Please send us your thoughts if you have them!

Live and Learn

My son taught me a valuable lesson today... Lesson: Always number your pages. Why? Well, I had a stack of notes for Anatomy & Physiology on the dining room table... probably 50 pages in all. My son decided he wanted the pen that was perched on top on them but he could not reach it. So, the problem solver that he is, he pulled on the edges of the paper until the pen (and the whole stack) fell off the table and onto the floor. Mission accomplished!

So now Mom has the daunting task of reordering each of the 50+ pages that fell into a 10-foot-wide scattered pile on the floor while she was doing dishes. Awesome.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I apologize for not being a good little blogger lately. In addition to not really doing much of anything worth blogging about, I’ve been pretty busy with homework. Week one, no sweat, week two, holy crap! Just yesterday I was busy studying/doing homework for over 7 hours… what the crap? So, it sounds like there is going to be a lot of stuff to do.

In other news, my Wii Fit finally arrived! It is a lot of fun and way more fun to do than boring old “exercise”. They are all game-like and fun. And the yoga is relaxing and calming. Fun stuff. And after three days, I woke up this morning actually a little sore in my abs and calves. Huh. Cool! Kaden likes the Wii Fit too, but only because it came with a box and he had a heyday! He built a fort and has been playing with the box for two days now.

So in other news, yesterday the guys finally came to replace the closet/armoire thing in Kaden’s room. We had been complaining because it started to grow mold a few months ago and it didn’t matter how often we cleaned it (with bleach!), it always came back with a vengeance. I began to worry when I read articles about the effects of mold on little lungs. The HR guy at Stu’s work? (Quote:) “It’s only mold.” No. It was not ‘only mold’. They dismantled that thing and the ‘just mold’ was so bad that it had grown THROUGH the closet wall from the back. Yeah. Through it. Imagine what that vile stuff was doing to my kid’s lungs! So they took it all out, cleaned the wall behind it, mopped my floor (these were three little Indian guys who were AWESOME, not the typical Egyptian fat bastard “technician” and Sri Lankan “engineer” who usually blow me off... I'm just a woman afterall) and replaced it with a new closet. This one wasn’t made to go there, so there is a gap on the side and one of the doors has a huge gap where Kaden can open it (which he LOVES!), but at least it isn’t rotting! So I am much happier about this now and when I went to get Kaden up this morning his room didn’t reek of mold!

That’s basically all the lack of news I have today. The other pics are of Kaden GOBBLING up his dinner last night. I made Baked Potato Soup and we all loved it. Check my Food Blog for the recipe.

Giving Daddy kisses with his gross face! :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Puppy.

I had another great weekend with my boys. We didn’t do anything real exciting, just went to the park and grocery shopping as usual, but Kaden did learn some new words and was a really great baby all weekend. Daddy taught Kaden how to say “Happy”. So he has been saying “Happy Puppy” for a few days (actually HE says, “Appy Uppy”, but it is close!). Kaden has been repeating the sounds of everything we say lately and he learned “No” and “Uh uh” this weekend too. He says the word “no” like it is a question though… I will say, “Kaden, do you want to get your diaper changed?” and he will say, “No?” And look at me quizzically. It’s pretty funny. I am sure the word won’t be as “cute” here pretty soon when he decides to say no to everything, but for now, it really is adorable. He also is finally using “juice” (“Jew-sh”) appropriately.

Oh, the other cool thing that happened over the past week is that my kid weaned himself from the bottle. I know, I know, I should have done it at one year, but plenty of pediatricians say there is nothing wrong with a kid having their bed time bottle until they are two, so I just went with it. But last week he decided he was done with the bottle and when I tried to give it to him at story time before bed he said “no” and that was the end of it. He goes down for nap AND bed by just saying “night night” and getting his kisses. He even bids me farewell as I leave the room, “Bye-bye, ma-ma”. I was completely baffled and Stu and I laughed about how weird our kid is. So, it has been nice.

In other news, school is in full swing now and I am loving it. Sure, my brain has had a few days of aching from info-overload, but it really has been nice having something else to focus on in my life. I have been pleasantly surprised with my Art History class in how informative it is. I have already learned so much about certain types of architecture and how it is built and I am noticing some of it around town. I was less than surprised that my Anatomy and Physiology class was JUST as difficult and information-saturated as I remember it being. So that is one class I am going to have to work extra hard in to get a good grade. My English class appears to suck, as I expected. It is “Technical Communication” and who wants to write proposals and memos any time, let alone for school? The lab seems pretty interesting. I have to apparently go out and buy a cow leg bone for one of the assignments. Weird.

Anyway, so I spent several hours this weekend doing school work (got a 98% on my first Art test, btw, woot woot!) and both of my boys were good and tried not to bug me while I was studying. I think it is going to go well though. Any excuse to not think about being here is fine by me!

Here’s the Monk this morning with his “Appy ball”. (Balls have feelings too!)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Weekend Fun.

For Kaden’s half-birthday we decided to celebrate by going out to dinner in typical Tex-Max fashion and did Cantina Laredo at Khalidiyah Mall. Our server was wonderful too, which is nice and hard to find here. He is from the Philippines and just got here a month ago. He told us tales from when he was a staffer on a cruise ship in America and all the amazing places he has been. He finished our meal by making an origami t-shirt for Kaden (although he misheard his name and wrote “Hayden” on it…). It was really nice and both of us loved our meal. Kaden particularly loved my enchiladas and ate most of one all by himself (and a bunch of my rice… just like Mommy, he isn’t as fond of the beans!). We finished the night with a movie and an extra muffin for the mister for dessert!

Yesterday we went to the park and Kaden had a blast as usual. He is getting so brave on the stairs and went right up them to the BIG slide! My big boy. Enjoy some pics from the park!
Going down the BIG slide!

Giving Mommy kisses!

He met a nice little gril who thought he needed help doing everything... very cute.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

18 Months.

That’s right, today my baby turned a year-and-a-half old! Where has the time gone? Seriously? It seems that it was only yesterday when he and I flew over here. He’d just started crawling, and could hold his own bottle. Now he can tell me when he’s hungry, thirsty, or just plain pissed at me. He said the word “butterfly” this morning. And he can almost buckle himself in his car seat (which he gets into and out of by himself, naturally).

Stu and I decided we’re going to find a way to celebrate this little “holiday” of sorts, but I am not sure how yet. Perhaps a trip to the park, or some yummy forbidden food for our monkey. I can’t believe we’re only 6 months away from two. Wasn’t his birthday just last week?

Kaden and ultra-mod fashion sense… of COURSE boys can wear purple scarves!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaug. Blog

Well, it happened to the best of us last night… there was just no getting away from the excitement of watching history being created. I too felt a feeling of elation when the camera spanned the 2 miles to the Washington Monument from the White House… completely packed with bodies.

We let Kaden stay up past his bed time to watch the Inauguration, and told him to remember it so that when his grandkids asked about it, he could tell them about the day the first black president was sworn in. Pretty cool. Since he won’t remember, I decided to take some pictures of him with President Obama.

The mass of bodies on the Mall.

Kaden and President Obama.

"Kaden, where is Obama?" (There he is!)

Since we can’t take anything in life COMPLETELY seriously, Stu and I had our share of jokes and fun while waiting for the actual swearing in and the speech. Stu thought it would be cool if each president got their own Mascot… I asked what Obama’s would be… “A Rottweiler?” He says, “Ohh! A Zebra! Perfect!” (Stu is always pointing out that Obama is actually biracial, not just “black”, so what a way to represent that!) He also pointed out that clearly Bush’s would have been a monkey. Poor man.

Kaden’s favorite part was the ensemble performance that included Yo-yo Mah. He danced his little heart out.

I loved how real his nervousness was when trying to repeat his oath. You could feel the excitement and weight of what he is taking on his shoulders and I feel especially proud to be an American today. I know I join the rest of America in being hopeful about this Presidency for not only our own country, but for the world. These are tough times we are living in, and it would be so nice to watch it look up. (We’re rooting for you Obama!)

I was left wondering about a few things though after watching… first of all, where DID Aretha Franklin get her hat? Because wow.

When are the pictures that Malia took of her Dad going to hit MySpace? I’ll be looking for them!
Was Michelle Obama not gorgeous in her gown at the balls or what??? For those who don’t know, she is a big fan of young designers and was wearing 26-year-old designer Jason Wu’s creation that was made especially for her. Very cool. You know that he is having the day of his life today! (Jill Biden also looked stunning in a red strapless number.)

We had to go to bed pretty much right after we watched the speeches, but I’m glad we decided to watch them. A few more pics:

While Mommy was listening to speeches, Daddy and Kaden found fun things to do.
Mad that we're doing something so boring. Lol
On another note, the American Embassy in Dubai is having an unannounced closure today for security reasons after receiving information from Dubai authorities. No idea what that is about, but it’s always slightly uncomfortable when emergency closures like that happen “for security reasons”.

Kaden learning from Daddy where we leave our shoes when we take them off! :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Morning Baby.

Kaden finally got a haircut this morning and then picked out his own outfit, but made some really good choices! So here are some early morning pics of my monkey (early morning because he decided 6:20 was “morning”).

Is this a Hayden look or what? Haha

Rain Rain.

Last night I headed over to Kundi's for snacking, chatting, and of course, knitting. :) I just love getting together with those girls, so it was, as always, a great time. I came home early and still had some time with my boys before bed time.

This morning Kaden and I had Myla and Lisa over. Lisa is one of the other wives who lives in this building and her daughter, Myla, is the SWEETEST little 5-year-old ever. She is so great with Kaden and he thinks she understands every word he says! So cute. So he enjoyed being pushed around in his car and sharing her Dalmatian puppy while Lisa and I had coffee and gossiped! It was a great morning for all of us. Myla even took her and Kaden's plates to the sink after lunch! Oh I can't wait until my kid is old enough to be helpful! :)

Our air conditioner is broken again. I know most of you reading this are in beyond freezing weather, so probably don't to hear about my A/C issues, but it IS annoying that after less than a month they are back again to filth-ify my bathroom and take the unit for "two to tree days, madam" ( two weeks ). The plus side is that I REALLY did need to go ahead and mop my bathroom, I just didn't want to do it under these circumstances! Haha. Oh well. C'est la vie.

In cooler news, it rained today! Real, full-fledged rain drops! Stu and Lindsay have reported rain at their respective works, but we had yet to get any here on the island yet and here it is! I took a pic to prove it! :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Poor Stu has been having a rough few days on the work front. As if there haven’t already been some shady things going on that we were never told about before we got here, they told the guys on Thursday (our Friday) that they did an internal audit and realized they were being illegal about the way we got our housing here. The contract we agreed to was for them to provide housing free in addition to our pay. If you live here, you know why that is so important.

Apparently they are not allowed to do this and have decided instead to just “pay” us the 24,000 bucks for the year that we would apparently pay for our flat and then take it back out. The problem is that to work out of the country, the IRS has a cap on what we can make per year that is tax-free. That cap is only 89,000 dollars. All of a sudden we’re “making” 24,000 bucks more last year than we planned on and we’ll have to pay tax on that that is over and above. There are some other rules and regulations regarding housing allowances and whatnot so I will have to look into it again. But it’s so frustrating that once again we get a shitty deal because the company can’t get their act together.

In additional to this, they told them on Thursday that they had to work Saturday (today). So Stu only got one weekend day this week. Thank goodness we did our border run last weekend or it would have been a no weekend week for him. Poor guy just needs some relax time!

I started school today. I know it’s Saturday but they allowed access to the classes early (school actually starts on Tuesday) and with taking more and harder classes this time around, I figured I might as well get a head-start if Kaden lets me.

Yesterday I took advantage of Stu being home and cleaned out Kaden’s dresser. I put away the clothes that no longer fit and I got out all the new ones that will fit soon. And I discovered a potential problem. At this point in my son’s life, I have purchased exactly three outfits for him. Three. All of the rest of his clothes have either been hand-me-downs from his uncle Hayden, or have been gifted by family members. The problem I have discovered is I am about to get to a point where I have to by my kid his own clothes!!! He wears 18-month-old clothes right now and past 24-months, I have NO clothes for him!!! Check out the stack on his bed right now! These clothes are all clothes that fit right now. A TON! But after 24-months, Mommy and Daddy have to do it! Lol. I just couldn’t believe the amount of clothes I was going through yesterday, especially to discover that my stockpile ends at precisely 24-months! I guess buying clothes after that point aren’t really for “babies” and it’s not as fun anymore! Haha, anyway, I told Stu that we’re going to see our spending go up in 6 months when our kid grows out of all his clothes!

Kaden also got new shoes yesterday (and I got new notebooks for school!). Sandals. Since SOMEHOW between the border stop exiting the UAE and the border stop entering Oman, Kaden lost a shoe. No idea how this happened. It was nowhere to be found in the car in Oman, but he had it on when he got out for like 5 minutes to run around at the exit of UAE. I assume when Stu went to put him back in the car it fell off outside. So lame, we really liked those shoes! But now he has some cool new ones to break in.

And check out his new hat (and cool t-shirt... bet you can guess which aunt and uncle combo THIS came from! hehe):

Friday, January 16, 2009

Things I Want To BRING To Abu Dhabi From Idaho (since we're stuck here for now):

I made the list of things I am going to miss, but it really only got me thinking of the things I still really miss from home. I have gotten used to NOT having my favorite things, and other things have even replaced them. But in spite of all of that, there are still things I miss terribly!

1) MY OWN CAR – Try going from driving your own car with only yourself, your music, and sometimes your sleeping infant every day… to nothing. Every time I’ve been in a car in the past year has been when someone else is driving. Now, I wasn’t one of those good “passengers” before we came here. I preferred to drive since I trusted myself the most. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy riding with Stu, I just REALLY miss my own car, on roads with sane drivers who give the little “wave” when you let them in, with my own music choices, singing at the top of my lungs with no one else to hear me. A girl can dream.

2) Frozen Food – We have frozen veggies here, but I used to get things like frozen tilapia fillets that made my life sooooo much easier. The only frozen fish I’ve found here has been with the skin and head still on. No. Thank you.

3) WINCO – I read a blog called The Grocery Cart Challenge (check it out… Gayle is A-MA-ZING!) and she lists her shopping trip finds. Every week I find myself depressed with her entry that includes her trips to Winco. I absolutely fell in love with this store. Buying in bulk, and for cheap… who can argue with that??? I would go after work on Fridays every other week and spend less than a hundred bucks on food. Now we spend OVER a hundred bucks EVERY week for less food that takes more work to prepare on my end (which is fine since I don’t work now… but I really miss my freaking Winco!)

4) Common Courtesy – I know this is not true of all of America, but in Boise, the majority of people you pass on the streets, in the stores, and on the road, are relatively happy and calm people. They will smile at you if you accidentally make eye contact, hold open a door for you, etc. Yesterday we were at Khalidiyah mall just walking around before we ate dinner at Chili’s and there was a group of teenage boys in dishdashas walking toward us. Even our teenagers, when approaching a mother and father and their child in a stroller would step to the side and allow them to pass. Instead, they walked directly at us and the boy who was in front of me squared his shoulders as I turned mine back, trying to squeeze by without crashing into him. He practically took off my right boob and hit my arm to hard that is gave me a “dead arm” for the next few hours. Punk. This is one example. I’m sick of being treated like third-class citizens just because I’m white.

5) Grass – Grass, grass everywhere! Here we have to go to a specific place for our kid to run around or for us to toss a ball around because everywhere here either has a building on it, or is just dirty, trash-filled sand. In Idaho we have to TRY to find a spot where there is no greenery. I miss that.

Stay tuned for another installment if things I want to bring here!


So the monkey has decided that the milk remaining in his bowl after breakfast belongs on his head. Every day.

This means that Mommy now just starts the bath about mid-way through breakfast and, with arms outstretched, takes a milk-dripping toddler to the tub. Here are some pictures of this morning’s bath time. Notice his cool ‘do, thanks to the milk gel! (And notice his new favorite bath toy: dirty Elmo… Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Fox!)

(Please ignore our disgusting grout... try as I might, this does NOT clean. The mold is actually imbedded in it. So gross.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Things I Want To Take Back To Idaho With Me From Abu Dhabi:

Yep, another one of my lists! I've been thinking about this one for a while now since there are plenty of things here that I DO like. I've started compiling a mental list of the things to enjoy while I am here, because I will definitely miss them when I am gone.

So here's my list:

1) My Stove Lid - Yep, my stove top has a lid! At first I thought this was strange as I'd never seen such a thing before. NOW, I know what a blessing it is! "What's that honey? Unexpected company is on there way here now??? But my kitchen's a mess!" A quick swipe of a dishcloth over the counters and CLOSE THE LID and tada! Clean kitchen! :)

2) The Haji Store - This is probably the thing I will miss the most. Sure, we had a Maverick Gas Station less than a block from where we lived before, but it just won't be the same. Having bread, Arabic bread, milk, pop, popcorn, and whatever else my little heart desires delivered right to my door by a non-English-speaking Indian guy is so much more awesome than I ever could have imagined!

3) The Fruit and Vegetable Market - Even though this little gem went a long time without our noticing, I am already addicted to it and will surely miss it. Yes, we have our farmer's markets back home, which I am sure I will frequent anyway when we get back, but it just isn't the same as a slew of vendors bargaining with us for the best price (and to keep us from going to the next guy) and following Kaden around giving him bananas.

4) Staying Home With Kaden - This isn't necessarily a Middle Eastern attribute, but it is definitely something I've grown quite fond of and will surely miss.

5) Thick Skin - Perhaps this will come home with me, but living here among the truly grouchy people who reside here has given me skin harder than nails. I'm comfortable here among this unsmiling bunch, and I hope that when I get back home to my wonderfully content neighbors I will be able to appreciate their joyful faces even more.

Stay tuned for another installment of this list.

Also, don't get excited... we are still not coming home anytime soon. But we are coming home EVENTUALLY, which is why I started this list. Do not take it as our impending arrival and time soon though. :(

The Golden Globes and Genocide.

Kaden and I have been thoroughly enjoying our time together the past week. Yesterday we learned "Two Little Blackbirds" game and Kaden can almost copy all the signs, which is adorable. Especially when he is paying attention really hard. Funny face. And he's been eating all of my new healthy baby food creations I've been trying/inventing.

We also watched the Golden Globes together:

And waited WAY too long to take a nap yesterday...

It has really been fun.
Last night Stu and I talked about the Israel/Gaza conflict. I just can't help but feeling this is really REALLY wrong that the whole world is letting 900+ (!!!) people die (a THIRD of which are children... who are going to be scarred for life... where do YOU think extremists come from???) for. no. reason.
It just makes me really uncomfortable. I watched the Hillary Clinton confirmation hearings and she said that until Hamas agrees to recognize Israel (never going to happen) and stops firing on them (also not going to happen) then "we" (??? Huh?) cannot begin talks with them to come to a peace agreement.
Ok, so historically the Jews have been pretty shafted. No one wanted them during the Hitler issues, so they came in massive quantities and took over their "homeland". Cool. The problem is, this is the wrong part of the world to come to and expect to be tolerated, much less accepted. So they've spent decades fighting and fighting with all of their neighbors and now, it seems as retaliation for thousands of years of persecution, they are killing innocent people. This is genocide. Why is no one stopping this?
I know. I know. I'm American, I'm supposed to be on board with Israel since my Government is. I guess in theory we were supposed to feel sorry for the underdog and that's why we came to their aid those decades ago. But now they aren't the underdog. They're not being persecuted anymore. Their citizens are NOT dying. They are murdering hundreds of people and other than the Gaza-supporting rallies I've seen coverage of throughout the Middle East, no one seems to care. Every news broadcast on FoxNews or CNN or MSNBC are from the Israeli side of the border, reporting on what Israel is releasing to the media. Gulf News and Al Jazeera-English are the only ones reporting from inside Gaza as far as I can tell. Does this recent sequence of events bother no one else???
Anyway, on the same note... Has anyone been hearing about what is going on in Afghanistan? I have been watching the news and I have seen very little mention of anything. However, in our local paper (which may or may not be credible... Lord knows it's had its share of bad reporting) there was an article about how Kabul is under siege from the Taliban and that American forces don't seem to know, or care perhaps. They interviewed one man who lost two sons and who's other son and wife were injured in one of these bombings... why don't we hear about this???
I'm just wondering if our media only chooses to report what they think we need to know... or if perhaps there is a bigger reason we don't hear these things (while not giving in to believing everything I read in Arab newspapers).
Thoughts please.

P.S. I hear Lebanon has joined in the fight on behalf of Gaza, will it take the whole Middle East blowing up Israel to get them to stop?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rainy Season?

In an effort to keep up with this whole healthy lifestyle thing, Stu and I have started walking in the evenings as much as we can. Last night the weather was awesome... just cool enough (for me) to need a light jacket. The sky was full of clouds (I'm told this is the "rainy season" in Abu Dhabi... no rain yet. Stay tuned.) and there was a nice breeze. It is really nice to take a walk and chat about whatever random topics come to mind. And Kaden likes to get out and wave and smile at all the strangers we pass.

We really haven't been doing a whole lot lately. After the festivities when Mimi and Papa were here, we're just happy to watch a movie or TV show and have some popcorn. We recently discovered a Discovery Channel show called Prototype This. It is so much fun. These four guys invent new prototypes for things like a Six-legged-ATV that walks instead of using wheels, and a robot that walks upstairs for firefighters to use. Pretty cool stuff (and they do it in two weeks).

Other than that, Kaden DEVOURED the baby cereal cookies I made yesterday, so I steamed some apples and carrots and made a puree that I am going to add to another batch of them today. Hope everyone else is well.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Toddler Cookies!

I know I'm not the only parent who struggles with what to feed their child. I worry about nutrition often since my little eater tends to ignore his meals and exist primarily on snacks (read: Arabic bread). So since he loves his snacks, this morning I did a search and found some recipes for snacks. He LOVES the banana pancakes that are made with iron-fortified baby cereal as well as the cookies made with flour, baby cereal, and apple juice! Yay for better options! Here is my monkey enjoying Blues Clues while snacking on one of the new cookies!

And here he is busting a move!

Box and Paw Prints!

We got a box from Marcia today that proved that Marcia is the COOLEST AUNT MARCIA EVER! Haha. Kaden LOVES his Cars blanket and keeps cuddling up with it. And he got BOISE STATE stuff! A windbreaker and pants set. They are so cute and I know he is going to be adorable in them!

I also got a couple books I had ordered from Amazon today (about Islam... stay tuned for my findings and musings on the subject) as well as an order from, so we FINALLY have more Orajel for Kaden (which means good news for Mommy and Daddy), and I found a place that I can get my make-up! Yay!
I finished another knitting project I was working on... here is my first attempt at a more complicated pattern. Still not complicated my any means compared to what the other gals of the knitting group are working on, but still, at least I know I can follow a basic pattern now! Here is my lovely paw-print washcloth. Fun stuff. (It hasn't been blocked yet, so it isn't quite laying flat, but I was just so happy to have finished it I didn't want to wait for the pic!)

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Ok, after talking to my Mom, it occurs to me that there are plenty of readers who are also trying to lose a chin or two at the start of this year. I have been neglecting my food blog since with our diet, I haven't felt like anything has been worth posting. But why not use it as a place to catalogue what we've been eating anyway? Even if they it doesn't fall into the category of truly fabulous food. So,check out Food For Foodies for my latest meals!

On the diet note, in this first week of counting calories, I've lost 3 pounds. I use Spark People, which is the BEST site ever for keeping track of what you eat as well as exercise and even networking if you want. Check it out. I for one eat MUCH more when it feels like "no one is watching"... if I force myself to be honest about everything I am putting into my body, I eat so much better. Check it out!


After some hate mail from my fans (heh) I've been trying to think of things to blog about. The problem is that our lives have become, well, relatively boring! Today we headed to the Open Air Market for some produce before we completed our shopping trip at Lulu's... Yeah, that was pretty much it! Lol. Kaden and I took a nap in the afternoon and Stu downloaded songs from iTunes.

We have been going to the same produce guy at the market for a few weeks now which has really been paying off. Recognizing that we are not tourists and WILL be back, the prices have dropped by almost half. The case of mandarin oranges we spent 18 dirham for the first week were down to 10 dirham today with Stu's persuasion. All in all, we bought two varieties of onions, tomatoes, lettuce, apples, bananas, grapes, and carrots, all in relatively large quantities for us, and still only forked over less than 15 bucks for our loot. So much better than spending WAY too much for overprices produce at the grocery store. And the quality is sooooo much better! I wish we would have discovered this gem long before now!

Unfortunately, we still like our American cereal and cheese (each at about 7 bucks a piece!) so we aren't actually saving any money when it comes to the full shopping trip, but it is nice to cut some AND get better quality. Not to mention we get to shop outside in the fresh air, now feeling more than welcomed by the shopkeeper. He served Kaden two bananas and taught him how to hold it and eat it with the peel down. It was the most adorable thing!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sixty Six.

So we did go to Tony's tonight to cook out and it was nice... though chilly. We got our sinful, unclean pork and it was sooooo good. It has been way to long since we had a good pork chop and it was definitely well worth the wait.

I just thought I had to report that when we were driving back home it was FREEZING in the car so Stu turned on the heat...

...the temperature? I checked when we got home...

...66 (F). Wow. We've truly gone soft.

Border Shmorder.

Today we did another border run. Which sucked. Normally they take too much time and are a generally lame day for us, but this time was so much worse. The UAE, in all of its infinite wisdom, has decided to give only 30-day visas to Americans now instead of 60-days. And now instead of it being 40 dirham for Kaden and I to get stamps out of the country, it's 65 dirham PER PERSON and they force Stu to get an exit and entrance stamp as well, therefore paying the 65 dirham too. So instead of 40 dirham, we paid 195 dirham just to leave today. Because they can, Oman also decided to up the ante and what used to cost us 33 American dollars now costs us well over 45. And again, this is supposed to happen now every 30 (!!!) days. Screw. That.

So, poor Marcia will be sent all over the place to help us collect the documents we need to get our residence visas here, but it will end up saving us a lot of money (with the cheaper fares and 60-day visas, it came close and was actually going to be under what we'd have to pay to get residence visas here... now that is out of the question). Before we can get them, both our state and Condoleezza Rice will have to approve our documents and they must be translated into Arabic and then the UAE must approve them, then I have to get an AIDS test and a chest scan before we can get the visas. Fun stuff.

In other news, we were supposed to have another knitting group meeting today, but unfortunately there is a demonstration in support of Gaza going on on the Corniche, we've been advised by the Embassy to stay out of sight and away from downtown (do as the Embassy says, I say!). Lindsay's husband said there was a demonstration in Dubai recently that got out of hand and he didn't think it was a good idea for us to be down there so near to it. So we had to cancel. Lame, but probably for the best. Instead we're going to go to Tony's to grill and joke about how we really should just make Isreali flags out of crayons and construction paper and head down to the rally... In America, I might just do it. Here, out of sight, out of mind (or at least out of shoe-throwing and spit-laced angry words range).

I don't understand the Palestinian-Isreali issues anyway. Granted, I am not Jewish or Muslim, nor am I a relative or resident of either place, but in spite of the hate-inspired violence, is there REALLY something going on that has a remedy? Anyway, not my place to chat about it since I'm admittedly totally ignorant to the reasons for their deep-seeded anger issues with each other.

This got me thinking about whether we really are safer in America, or if we just FEEL safer. Here, when things are told to us from official channels (let's say government channels, for instance) they may or may not be accurate... in America, if someone in government tells you something, they will be held to it (for damn sure if it's in writing). Same with our crime issues and traffic laws. We respect our police and government because they have power. Here? Not so much. But I wonder if that power that we know our police have (since we GAVE it to them) really makes us safer, or if we just take safety for granted. I would LOVE to be able to be at home right now and walking alone at night in downtown Boise to my car and never worrying a second about it. But that doesn't mean someone couldn't have mugged me anyway... so, it's something to think about.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Monkey Business.

Ok, so my baby is still a fabulous boy, in spite of the goings on of the morning... here are some pics!

BEFORE the havoc this AM

On the roof with his toys!

Intently watching the construction workers on the adjacent roof.

One of them waved to him which he thought was awesome. :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I had an eventful morning. First thing (before 7 again, crazy baby!), I got Kaden his breakfast and sat down to read my out-dated People Magazine and drink some tea. Lost in gossip bliss, I look up just in time to see Kaden promptly pour his whole bowl (milk, cereal and all) ON. HIS. HEAD. Awesome. I would have gotten a picture of the empty bowl perched above my soaked little blonde, but somehow that didn’t cross my mind while I sat with my mouth hanging open trying to decide what to do next. Instead of killing him, I scooped him up and put him directly into the tub, clothes and all! I sprayed him off then removed his now-sticky milky clothes and bathed him while I thought of all the ways the morning could have started more smoothly.

Just when I think I’m out of the woods, I went in to clean up Kaden’s room some (put his toys away to avoid stepping on them later in the day, as always is the case) and in the maybe three minutes I was gone, Kaden DRAINED the water cooler, in all of its two-full-gallons-left glory, onto my kitchen floor. Because of the roach issues of the past, we have taped off the drains and so the water had nowhere to go. Once I discovered his fun, he proceeded to slop around with his dripping socks throughout the rest of the house while I cleaned up the three-huge-sopping-towels-worth of water. I came out of the kitchen looking like Medusa with crazy hair and wet jammies and notice the trail of water EVERYWHERE. So he gets his second outfit of the day and I banish him to the roof where I am sure he can make no more messes.

WRONG! While I was relaxing in the warmth of the sun, resting my eyes for mere seconds, Kaden discovered some disgusting, burnt seeds of some sort (pumpkin?)and, using his leaky juice cup, made an apple-juice-burnt-seeds mash which he then “made up” his face with. Awwweeeessssooommmmeeee.

We came downstairs for bath number two and outfit number three. Now that I have closed EVERY door in the house and plopped him in front of Dragon Tales, he seems pretty content. Just a half hour until nap time. Thank God. I just might make it.

Musings From Stu.

First of all I would like to start this rant by thanking my wonderful wife Sydney for letting me post this on her Blogspot. Second I would like to thank everyone that has supported us unconditionally during this adventure. Lastly I have to thank the half-witted people that have made this blog possible. I am going to hit on some things that will show you as readers what it’s like to live here on a daily basis, a view that Sydney tries not to complain about.

I’m going to dive right in: just the other day I went into a bathroom here and noticed foot prints on the toilet seat. That’s right, these people still haven’t figured out that it’s there for your bum and not your feet… but hey, we wouldn’t want to overwhelm them. As long as we’re on the subject of bathroom etiquette, let’s hit on taking a shower. I have heard now from a few different people that people here shower down in the middle of the bathroom. You heard me right: in the middle of their bathroom. This is made possible by, 1) take your shower curtain off and dispose of it, then you need to have a shower nozzle that’s detectable and six feet long. Next step you need to stand in the middle of your bathroom and hose yourself down. Well I guess they don’t have to worry about getting the toilet paper to wet.

The finer points of driving have eluded me since I arrived here. Take for example when we had nothing planned for a Saturday afternoon back in Boise, Sydney and I would drive to Idaho City just for fun. Well that has literally gone out the window. Just last week on the way home a Pakistani driving one of the thousand delivery trucks made the decision that the lane I was in was the one he wanted to be in and before I knew it, it was his lane, but not before my bumper and passenger side fender felt the effects. After the police showed up, blame was placed on the truck driver (which in this country can be questionable at times who will be found at fault in cases like mine). After leaving the accident I was passed by a Lexus with the sun roof open and two kids hangs half way out waving to everyone they could. That’s not what concerned me… it was the fact that the driver was cutting in and out of the rush hour traffic at speeds that were equivalent to a drug runner trying to lose pursuing police. With the crazy driving here you would think that they would have the sense to at least wear a seatbelt. Again that would be getting ahead of ourselves because they feel that cutting them out of the cars is completely acceptable simply because they don’t believe in them that’s right folks they don’t believe in them (true story). OH and last but not least if their blinker is on they are coming over regardless of what’s in their way and when you get one of them cornered, their response to coming within centimeters of hitting you is “My blinker was on”, in heavily accented English.

The final thing that I would like to touch on is the internet service in this country. First of all it’s government controlled and monitored, which means they are able to set whatever ungodly price they want. So for the average internet user like us we are paying four times as much as anyone in the States. Even though it’s our only connection to the outside world there are plenty of days that I would like to rip the cords out of the wall drive down to Etisalat and personally give them to the man in charge and tell him, “I no longer need your worthless, overpriced internet service.” But the truth of the matter is that we truly do need it and I will continue to pay them for half-assed internet service for the remainder of our stay. Thank you for listening to my rant.


Sunday, January 4, 2009


Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking about living here vs. America. With Mimi and Papa’s trip and them being so enthralled with every sight they took in here, as well as a comment from an Aussie from of Charmaine’s about the difficulties of readjustment once we go home (which really got me thinking), I thought it was high-time I wrote this post.

We have officially lived here longer than we lived in our last apartment… The apartment where we decorated and prepared for a new baby, where we welcomed Kaden after his birth, where we lived when Stu proposed, where we adjusted to life with a baby… The place that had felt so much like home and that I missed so much when we were first here (and still do, to be honest).

But now we’ve been here almost a year and after all of the adjustment and tears and stress, this place really has become home in a sense. I think if I would have been more open to experiencing Abu Dhabi for what it is, this revelation would have happened much sooner. Unfortunately it took me much longer than I would have hoped. But that’s the problem: we’re at home here now. So as we approach our year mark and talk about our future plans, it’s becoming more of a tough decision to figure out what to do next.

Marcia and my Mom have recently sent emails asking about when we might be coming home and the easy answer is, I just don’t know. With the economy, which is the biggest worry for us now, we’re not sure we’ll be able to get decent jobs that we can survive on, let alone that will facilitate home ownership. So until things start to look up back home, what’s the point of even considering moving back there while we have such a good and lucrative job here? The other thing is that we want to have a dollar-amount goal before we leave, which we keep faltering on. Sometimes that dollar amount puts us here through July, sometimes it’s December. When you factor in the economy, it makes us even more unsure.

On top of everything else, the friends I’ve recently made here have been such a find. I spent so long here with one-sided, back-stabbing, unhealthy friendships and missing out on my actual friendships back home… now that I have met these girls and see them more and more frequently, it feels like I could stick it out here for even longer. Stu still wants to just go home, but he sticks it out in favor of not going home and spending all of our savings in lieu of finding jobs.

So basically, I’m having such a weird conflicting feeling about our future since now this does, though oddly, feel like home. What will I do when I can’t just call downstairs for a loaf of bread to be delivered? I can easily get over the crazy drivers, but what about everything being in a five-mile radius? I still miss Wal-Mart, but Lulu’s really is pretty close. What about garlic paste? I seriously doubt there are any dank Lebanese joints in Boise. What about having to go back to work and missing my infinite time with my monkey. I miss him while he naps! What will I do when I see him so infrequently? So I am feeling torn. Don't get me wrong, I am still missing the home comforts that I've always missed, but I can't deny that there are definitely some things here that I will miss.

Anyway, I just wanted to chat it out a bit. We’re still not set in stone as far as when we’ll be coming back… we’ve even flirted with the idea of going to Fort Worth if we can get on there for a few years before ultimately heading back to Boise… I’m thinking being IN the States would make it easier to see family than living across the ocean. So we will see what happens. Really, it would be best if the economy would just start looking up so we wouldn’t have to worry about it as much and we could stick to our original plan. So someone work on that for me please! :)
And here are some pics of Kaden with the breakfast he prepared for me and delivered this morning while he watched his cooking show!

Heritage Village and our First Anniversary.

This blog will catch us all up with the fun we had with Mimi and Papa while they were here. We went down to Heritage Village which is located on the same little strip of land as the Marina Mall. It was pretty cool. It is set up like an old Bedouin village and even has a little “Old Market” souk where you can get stuff from the shopkeepers. Papa got his very own head scarf, crocheted white cap thingy and double zero black head thing. They got us a magnet while we were there and then Mimi wrote on the back of it and it almost made me cry!

Anyway, enjoy the pics!

Today is our anniversary! Stu got up with Kaden this morning and made me breakfast and then filled the bathtub for me and while I finished my book (very good, very sad!) he vacuumed the living room, cleaned off the table and the desk, and did the dishes! As a gift he got me a pair of salt and pepper shakers I’ve had my eye on for a few weeks that we discovered in one of the little souks here in town and also the monkeys that “hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil” that I’ve wanted. So thoughtful. I got him (lamely… I am so NOT a good gift-giver) a really cool switchblade knife that looks like a gun, a mushy love poem thingy, two little camels that are kissing (I just couldn’t resist!) and a book of unusual things (for the man who is always searching out the latest useless fact!). We are on our way to dinner now at the Korean Restaurant down the street to sit on the floor and enjoy the rest of our day together. (A Sheikh died so Stu got the day off at the last minute!... Poor Sheikh though.)

I love this one because of the "Old world, new world" connotations.

Kaden LOVED the ducks and wouldn't stop chasing them around!