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While we were away…

2 Jan

Relocation logistics have kept me away for a while. No residence permit means no internet, no bank account, no phone line. You’re barely allowed to breathe the Qatari air AND there never seems to be much of a rush to get the residence permit completed so you just have to sit tight and wait it out! But we are up and running again now in our own house with our own internet connection so there should be no more issues going forward.

Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve been up to lately.

First up was getting these driven over from Saudi and unpacked (AGAIN)

And when we needed a break from the chaos, of a house in the middle of unpacking, we went discovering new places to play (whilst it’s winter and the weather makes being outdoors an absolute necessity)

We discovered a great new jogging path near our house, designed and built especially to encourage people to get out and exercise. I don’t think it’s used very much.

It winds its way around the Khalifa stadium and other world-class sporting facilities situated in the area and is known as The Aspire Zone. It’s awesome!

Whilst we were in the area we dropped in to watch some international handball at the Arab Games 2011. It’s not a sport I know very much about as it’s not played much in South Africa but it’s easy enough to understand and is fun to watch. Luka now insists on playing handball at least once a day.

Then there was the small matter of Christmas. It was our first in The Land of Sand as we usually travel over the festive season. It was also the first time we have put up a Christmas tree in about 7 years as we have either lived in a country that doesn’t allow then to be sold or we have simply not been home and so not bothered to buy one.

We cooked and baked a bit,

continued the German tradition of making and decorating a gingerbread house a few days before Christmas

and relived some of our childhood memories on Christmas Eve whilst Luka opened his gifts (before finally closing his eyes to sleep at 11:30!).

We skipped the big  Christmas buffets offered at the hotels and opted for a wonderful meal at a fabulous Turkish restaurant alongside the sea on Christmas Day

 with this as our view

and completed the meal with coffee and a decadent cupcake from Red Velvet Cupcakery. Not your traditional Christmas meal but very memorable for all of us.

Over the last few days we’ve been doing a little painting

 one of us using imaginary paint and the other the real stuff.

This looks set to continue and the results shared soon.

I now have no excuse not to post regular updates of  life in the ‘new’ Land of Sand so I will be back again soon. Thanks for your patience.

Surprise!

12 Jul

From a few months after arriving in the Land of Sand when our little people looked like this…

until now, when they look like this…

we have had a regular Monday afternoon playdate. The group has changed over the years with friends coming and going and siblings being welcomed in with great joy and excitement. Other than a 5 month break we took in South Africa, the core group of Ahmet, Hansi and Luka has remained steadfast. Dana (far left in the above photo) and her sweet baby sister, Noor, have been a wonderful addition to the friendship circle over the last few months. The group has always remained small as our houses cannot accommodate large numbers of children and our sanity at the same time! The Mum’s are a tight and very supportive group I shall miss them dearly when we leave.

Anyway…

I was informed by Sara, Dana’s mum, yesterday that Luka’s final playdate with the group would be taking place in the compound nursery school. We’ve had a severe sandstorm over the last few days and it has left a thick layer of dust everywhere, making playing outside very unpleasant (for the Mum’s mostly) so the nursery sounded like a good venue.

As Luka and I walked into the nursery yesterday afternoon we were greeted by shouts of SURPRISE! Our dear friends had organised an amazing Lightning McQueen themed Ma’asalama (farewell in Arabic) for Luka

with a HUGE ‘Lightning’ cake, party hats, fun crockery, and a host of children that live in the compound in attendance.

Esra and Eman even hauled out the face paint and swiftly got to work transforming a long line of wild children into wild animals.

I think that the gorgeous Sara, was the chief party planner although she would not let on. She let me take a few pics of her though. She is a beauty both inside and out.

We were completely blow away by the generosity, creativity and super secret-keeping skills that we witnessed yesterday.  Thank you, again, ladies.

Esra and Ahmet;  Helena,  Hansi and Astrid; Sara, Dana and Noor…thank you for your amazing friendship. You shall be sorely missed by both Luka and I.

The Early Bird

5 May

…has new toys to play with!

Yesterday Luka got a ‘too-prise’ (that’s surprise to you and I) in the mail. He is a huge fan of  Toy Story and we have one really bad quality copy of Toy Story 3 that he absolutely loves and watches as often as we will allow him to. So…Olaf ordered him a plush Woody and Buzz from the States. They arrived yesterday. The boy is in Toy Story heaven and slept with a collection of FIVE toys in his bed last night cause Buzz and Woody have colleagues that they dare not be separated from. This after spending the afternoon running around the house with Buzz shouting, ‘to inpity… and beyond’.

  

I spent a good deal of the evening singing, ‘You’ve got a friend in me’, whilst the toys used the kitchen mat as a dance floor. Good times!

Olaf got up at 4 this morning to catch a 7am flight to Dubai for a meeting. Luka must have caught a whiff of  the activity, seen his new toys lying all around him in bed and decided that it was time to play. So here we are at 4;30 on a Thursday morning, watching Toy Story 3 and playing with the new toys. I have a feeling it’s going to be a long day and an early night.

Caught – Red Handed

16 Apr

The toddler in our house does not enjoy the privilege of having separate meals cooked for him. He is served whatever is cooked for the rest of the family or he goes to bed without. I’m just not THAT nice a mother nor do I enjoy spending my whole evening in the kitchen so it’s not something that I foresee changing as long as I’m the Mama around here.

This evening Luka was not very keen on the vegetable pasta I had made so he only ate a few mouthfuls. Two weeks ago, he wolfed it down but not tonight (welcome to life with a two-year old).

Luka quietly slinked away from the dinner table whilst we were chatting to a neighbour who had popped his head in. I discovered him standing at the kitchen counter a few minutes later, gorging himself on a batch of blueberry muffins I had baked earlier in the afternoon.

A well though out plan…brilliantly executed. I left him to it.

Where ever he lays his head…

28 Mar

Just back from a quick 5km run in our recently acquired jogging stroller. It’s awesome and gives me the freedom to run everyday whenever it suits us (no babysitter required). We borrowed it from my friend, Rahiema, who lives in the compound and we’re definitely keeping it (your money is in my wallet Rahiema!) Luka is always rewarded for sitting in the stroller for half an hour or so, with playtime in the park after a run.

I love how kids feel no need to plan ahead or think about what they will be doing next. Obviously exhausted, soon after arriving back from our run and play outside I find Luka doing this…

 

It’s fairly clear from the evidence that he found a dummy somewhere, rode his bike up to the couch, climbed on and simply fell over sideways and slept. All in the short time it took me to hang up the washing.

Talk about living in the moment.

Cool and the Gang

27 Feb

Two days ago Luka attended the birthday party of a little friend named Rafael. It was a great little party; creative, intimate and personal. Because Rafael had just selected a handful of friends it remained calm and peaceful throughout – awesome. As the party was drawing to a close a few of the kids plopped themselves down on the rocks to enjoy the ice-lollies that they had just been given. In a completely unprecedented move, we managed to get most of them to sit in this same spot for a group photo. Seriously, to get 2 children, under the age of 3, to pose for a single photo is a miracle so a group this big was a feat of great magnitude! Due to the sheer amazingness of it all the Mommies surrounded them, all with cameras and mobile phones in hand snapping pics of the little suckers like paparazzi on speed. I think the kids just sat, glued to their rocks seats, because they actually couldn’t see anything due to flash photography blindness.

Here’s ONE of my pics of the little darlins’. I got about 20 000 more (one has to take advantage of these opportunities, ya know) so pop me an email if your tabloid newspaper would like to buy one of my other copies;-)

Time for a Change – Luka’s New Room

11 Feb

It’s come to that time in our little man’s life where he has had to migrate from a cot to a bed. I have been putting it off for a while as I really struggled with the idea that he is THAT grown up. To me, a bedroom with a cot in it means that there is a baby living in the house, no cot means no more baby. Very sad indeed! I shed a tear or two whilst disassembling the ol’ IKEA cot but knew it had to be done as it was certainly getting a little cramped in there for our growing boy.

To make it a fun and exciting change I have been playing around in his room a little, to help ME through the transition, of course:) For Luka it has been a complete non-event, he is very happy in his standard issue Arabian Homes bed and has not given us a moment of trouble… so far.

As is always the case in our expat world, we spend as little money as possible on our house even though making it feel like home remains important to us. I try to use what we have on hand or create things myself to make our space feel cosy. I would love to paint this room a gorgeous duck egg blue as I know that it would really pull everything together but repainting it all before we leave one day does not appeal to me at all. So for now it stays magnolia…BORING.

Here is Luka’s little room, thus far:

The furniture is all the standard stuff that comes with the house and we have not bought anything of our own as it would simply be left behind when we leave one day. We used the coffee table from the lounge for the train set and for storage of puzzles and games. It has worked really well and is used everyday. We weren’t using it in the lounge anyway as we need the space in the middle of the lounge for ….dancing, rugby and building cities with all the toy cars (as one does).

I love how the little corner on the left has turned out with all the home-made art. It feels nice and cosy, I think.

We made all the art “on the cheap”, of course. The glittery butterfly is a birthday card from Luka’s friend, Hansi. She made it for my birthday a few weeks ago and I thought it was way to beautiful to put into the card box so I just used some pretty blue paper as a backing and stuck it into a frame. I covered 2 kids shoebox lids with art Luka had made and a piece of cute red and white fabric to resemble an artist’s canvas. The clock was a Christmas gift from a family member. The boy goes nuts for anything from Toy Story! There are two small photo’s of Luka, one with Mom and one with Dad and the rest are pictures off boxes or magazines. All the art cost only the price of the al cheapo frames that they are in.

There is one bare wall that still needs attention though. It’s the one next to the bed and it’s just screaming out for a mural!

If I can’t paint the whole room I shall paint one wall, at least. Something quite simple and easy to paint over before we leave. An update will follow when the wall is completed. It may take a while though as I have a few decor projects to complete in other people’s houses before I can get going on ours again. Luka will have to lie back and enjoy the awesomeness of the plain magnolia wall next to his bed for a few weeks, I’m afraid.