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November life and weather

It has finally cooled off around here! It is so lovely. Winter in Saudi is beautiful. Cool mornings, warm days. I can wear jeans and a sweater in the mornings and be comfortable.  I can open our windows which I love.  You know that feeling in the spring when you can open the windows, it’s warm, and you feel the breeze? There’s an awakening with the change of seasons – it’s that same kind of feeling here in the fall or winter when it cools down. Things can grow again. You can go outside and be comfortable. Picnics and bar-b-ques are an option.

Myka just turned five. And the next day she was talking about turning six. Ha! I visited her school to bring cookies for the class, and she loved the extra attention. She wanted cupcakes AND an ice cream cake at her birthday party, and we obliged. We had a simple bar-b-que with friends. The kids all ran around like hooligans, and the adults got to visit. Last year Emery blew Myka’s candle out, she got upset, and I probably laughed. This year, we forgot the candles (including a number five candle we will now wait two years to use) so the happy birthday song was a little anticlimactic. A friend did pull up a candle app on her phone. Welcome to the new, safer way of blowing out birthday candles!  Now that Myka’s birthday is past, I wonder what she will talk about at school? It’s been her favorite conversation topic for weeks.

Emery is still adjusting to having a baby sister around, transitioning from naps to a quiet time, and generally being a two-almost-three year old boy. He makes big messes, throws big tantrums, and likes big hugs. He has the best laugh, and one of my favorite things to do right now is get him to giggle. He can be really sweet to Poppy, but mostly ignores her, though he is getting better.  Maybe he’s just realizing she isn’t going anywhere. He likes me to hold him, so when I can we sit in the recliner and snuggle. I think I’ll put a little stack of books there for us to read through. I’ve noticed that he is sitting through story time at the rec. center – a weekly event where young kids on the compound get together and sing songs and then read a book together. He doesn’t always make it through the book reading, but he likes the song part. He also will do at least one craft at art class. Sometimes two. He just joined me as I’m typing this, coming out of his room after his nap with his swimming suit.  There was some disappointment (and fussing) when I told him we were going to the beach tomorrow not right now, but now he’s sitting quietly if awkwardly on my lap.

Poppy is sleeping in the swing. She usually sleeps in there or in her crib, although one time when I put her on the play mat for some tummy time she promptly fell asleep right there on the floor. She is growing! My arms notice that she is heavier. We are now using 0-3 month clothing. I noticed the weather had changed when I was dressing her in long sleeves and pants instead of just a onesie. She is usually content and easy going. We posted a video on facebook of her talking with Stephen. Her coos and smiles are so precious! I often get a big smile when she first wakes up in the morning. We will be going in for her two month check up soon, hopefully this week.

My foot has fallen asleep with Emery on my lap. I asked if he wanted to sit in the other office chair, but, no, he wants to sit on my lap, so I let him stay. The things we do for our children…

Tomorrow I am going on a bus trip with only Poppy in tow. We are going to a Christmas bazaar at a different compound here in Jubail.  It’s a nicer compound. Fancy. And this is my first time visiting. I’m so excited!

November is crazy busy here for us. There are so many birthdays and events and the holidays are beginning. We have at least one birthday party a week. I feel like it’s one thing after another until February. But one day at a time! And I’ll try to take lots of pictures.




Hello again!

It’s been a long time. I feel a little guilty about not posting anything. But don’t worry, I’ll get over it. Writing this post will help. I still intend to catch up on all our past adventures, but for now I’ll just start with telling you what we are doing right now.

We are coming to the end of a very busy November full of trips and birthday parties and Thanksgiving and floods. That last one isn’t so much a ‘fun’ event as an exciting one. Here’s what our month has looked like:

First I took a week long trip to Washington state and Portland, Oregon. BY. MYSELF. !!! It was my first time flying internationally by myself. It was my first time being away from Myka or Emery for that long. And it was my first time back in the US since moving to Saudi Arabia! It was so relaxing to fly on my own. Soooo much easier then flying with children, and jet lag really wasn’t an issue. Now that I’ve had time back at home with my two lovely children, I realize once again how much I really do like them, and I promise to take them on many flights and adventures and let them travel with me even if it means I don’t get to nap or stretch out in two seats on the plane. (I really liked using two seats though….)

I missed Myka’s birthday. It was on the 6th, and I got home from my trip late that evening. I felt like an awful mother! She didn’t seem to mind all that much though. She got to blow out candles, and we had a little party for her after I got back. We didn’t have a party with lots of children, just adults and one other little friend. We had three other birthday parties to go to this month and that’s is plenty. And we all had lots of fun celebrating Myka turning four. She blows me away with the words she says, stories she comes up with, and her excitement about little things. I love having her around.

A week after I got back from my trip we all drove to Doha, Qatar. Another couple went with us, so we had a car full. It’s said that Doha is 5 hours away. That is a lie. That doesn’t include time getting through the boarder (where we had to pay about $30 per person to get into Qatar… Why?), or stopping for lunch… It took us 8 hours to get there and about the same to get back. Emery does not last that long in a car seat. We had a lovely time there though. We stayed for two nights, visited friends who live there now, got to see their new home, and did a little shopping.





Saudi Arabia is a desert. We don’t have a dry heat where we live because we are close to the ocean, but it doesn’t rain very much. We had a couple little showers starting in late October, and I remember it raining more than I thought it was going to last January, February, and March. Just little showers though. But wow. This month has shown me that sometimes it RAINS in Saudi Arabia. It rained for days. Mostly just a light rain, but sometimes it poured. Because Saudi doesn’t get much rain the drainage system cannot handle this amount of water. And neither can our brand new apartment building. One day during a good down pour, our downstairs neighbor let me now that water was leaking in their living room above the large windows. I checked mine and it certainly was leaking! Not too bad though and some rags cleaned it up. Some workmen came and caulked things the next day. Two nights later the thunder and lightening woke Myka up and she came to our room for a little bit. I told Stephen to just go check the windows and see if they were leaking again. Windows were not the problem. Water was POURING from recessed lights in our living room. Here is a link to a video of our leaks:

I pulled out all our bowls and buckets and all the towels I could spare. Then I emptied all the containers a couple times. After about 45 minutes the rain (outside and inside..) slowed down. I left the buckets to continue catching drips and went back to bed. Rain in Saudi… I am so thankful that is the worst of our situation. The compound we used to live in completely flooded. Standing water in most of the houses there. And not rain water. Water mixed with sewage and trash. Oh gross. So sad.

A radar picture of the rain in Saudi when we were dealing with all our leaks:


Last Friday we invited people over for a deep fried turkey dinner in celebration of Thanksgiving and Stephen’s birthday. Lots of delicious food! Turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, carrots, home made rolls, apple pie, another Amazing apple and pineapple dessert, pumpkin pie, and shoo-fly cake (Stephen’s favorite). We had so much food we had to invite people over on Saturday night to help eat the leftovers. Stephen made stock with the bones, so I’ll be making soup with the rest of the leftover turkey and carrots and will throw some other things in there. I am thankful for an abundance of food, a great grocery store that caters to us expats, and friends to share all these good things with.

Stephen’s deep frier set up. The cardboard is to keep the flame from blowing out.



On Sunday mornings we have an art class here in the compound. (Remember, Sundays are a weekday here.) One of the other mom’s in our building hosts it, and a lady comes to teach and brings supplies. We missed a couple of classes because I was away, then lots of children were sick, and then the teacher was sick, but we were back again yesterday. So much glitter. And paint and markers and glue… oh my. Myka loves it. Emery tolerates it for a little while and then he would rather play with the toys. Is that a boy thing? Just him? If he is awake he wants to be moving.

Today we walked to the grocery store near our compound for the first time. We went with two other moms. There was a total of five kids ages nine months, 2, 3, 3, and 4. One of the other mom’s said she pictures us as this circus: a whirling dust cloud with arms and legs sticking out, tambourines and drums making a tremendous amount of commotion. Yeah. That’s us.

Over the next couple days I’ll be getting our advent calendar made which means I’ll have daily activities planned for most of December. That is definitely more organized than I usual am. Ha! I’m really excited about it though. And we have Emery’s birthday to get ready for. I’m trying to teach him to hold two fingers up. He tries, and he might get it by his birthday.

And that’s been our November!

Now that the Ipad is fixed and the screen to fix the laptop came in the mail, maybe I will actually keep you up to date! I sure have a lot of catching up to do. There are so many pictures to post and trips to tell you about!

Just a couple random photos from this month:

Myka, Emery, and a friend. There’s a football pitch (soccer field) here in the compound that we go to sometimes. It’s fenced in so I can close the gate, let the kids run around, and not worry about anyone wondering off somewhere.

Myka got dressed all by herself. She is wearing a swimming suit under her clothes because they ‘keep her warm.’ At least it all matched! oh, except the headband.


A random little alcove in our entryway = a perfect little seat for Emery!

Myka received a doctor’s kit for her birthday. Now we all get daily, even hourly, checkups.



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hello again!

I know, I know…It’s been a while.  I was frustrated with myself for deleting all our photos on the blog, so I just ignored the whole thing.  But then I had a birthday and remembered that I am, in fact, a grown up and should not avoid things I don’t want to deal with.  So, hello!

May 18th was my birthday, and Stephen did a spectacular job celebrating.  There were flowers, time to myself, a new phone, cake with friends, a trip to Bahrain…good, good things.  The new phone means I can finally call people!  And the trip to Bahrain was wonderful.  I got to do a little shopping, and we went to Paul’s for breakfast on Friday morning. Their pain au chocolat is delicious!  But I love the crusty bread and jam too.

It’s getting really warm over here.  The high today is 107F.  May I remind you that it is still MAY.  I’m trying to prepare myself for the heat to come.

Myka and Emery are doing well.  We bought Myka some ballet slippers when we were in Bahrain.  She wanted something a little pinker, shinier, with glitter.  But now she loves her little white slippers.  Emery said and signed ‘thank you’ this morning!  He is saying more and more.  Like dada, mom, cat, beep, bus, woof, light, no….I love it. Our hotel room in Bahrain had a scale and we found that our children weigh exactly the same amount – 26.7lbs.  Myka is still a couple of inches taller.  Emery runs around quite easily now, and Myka teaches him new and dangerous things everyday (like how to climb – or fall – over the back of the couch). Myka has requested that I make her a dress and has selected her fabric from my stash.  Pieces were cut today, but the iron and ironing board are in Emery’s room, so we’ll work on that again tomorrow.

The next big event for Stephen and I is our 10 year anniversary in June!  We won’t be doing too much, postponing a celebratory trip until next year, but just a date night out by ourselves will be fun.  I think we’ll also be heading back to Bahrain in the next couple months, maybe going to a museum there.  And I have a list of things I want from Ikea, so we will need to make a little trip to Khobar at some point.

So, lots of things to look forward to!

We’ll be fixing the photos on past posts and adding some photos from the last month or so.  Thanks for putting up with the delay!

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Yes, Myka, you are indeed Three.

Yesterday morning I greeted Myka with a reminder that it was her birthday and she was now three! Her response: scowls and growls.

“No, I’m two.”

“Well, yes.  Today is your birthday. Now you’re three.

“No! I not three!”

And then she started crying.

Fifteen minutes later when we were eating breakfast and Grandma said good morning and happy birthday she was all smiles and said, “yes! I’m three! I’m having dinner.” Dinner?  She knew cake came after dinner, so it seemed like a good time to eat that specific meal.

Speaking of cake…Myka was unimpressed with the purple cake I made for her.  She has been talking about having a purple cake for her birthday for months.  The problem was that this was a purple cake with white icing, it was a ‘white cake’.   We’ll be celebrating again on Saturday at lunch so Stephen can join us via FaceTime.  I’ll be making cupcakes with Purple Icing.  Maybe that will work better.

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Today is an important day.

Today my daughter celebrates her 3rd birthday.  I unfortunately won’t be there to participate in person.

My daughter Myka is quite a wonderful young lady so I though I’d write a little about her.







Photo of Myka courtesy of Melissa McGuire.

Myka was born November 6, 2009.  The day before Kelsie went to the doctor to get her weekly checkup and the exam went just fine.  For the remainder of the day Kelsie felt slight contractions but wasn’t too alarmed, our doula said they would probably go away.  At 9pm, it was my normal bed time and I told Kelsie “I better go to bed, if these contractions are not real, I’m going to need my sleep for work in the morning.”  Around 1 am Kelsie flicked on the light of our bedroom and said, “you better help me here!”  I had no idea what was going on.  Apparently she had been laboring alone for 4 hours and was pretty sure the contractions were real.  We called the doctor and he said to go to the hospital.  We did.  We lived about 7 minutes away from the hospital and Kelsie had 1 contraction in the parking lot of our apartment complex, 2 in the car, 1 more in the hospital parking lot, and 1 on the way up to the maternity ward.

Needless to say, those labor pains were the real deal and Myka was born 4 hours later.

She was a happy, healthy newborn who loved to sleep right from the start.  Kelsie often had to wake her to feed her and she never was a big eater.

She loves to smile and giggle at just about everything.  Often making eye contact with strangers and reacting to the world around her. As she grew, her personality was the first thing to develop.  She has never been a big little girl, I have a feeling she’ll take after her parents and be petite, but her personality is larger than life.  She will talk to just about anybody, she has told countless store clerks that her grandparents live in Pennsylvania and we are moving to Saudi Arabia.  She will look you square in the face when you ask her to do something and tell you “no”.  When given two option on what to eat for lunch, she’ll suggest a third option, then not eat anything.  She will talk for 3 hours straight on a road trip from Portland to home, no matter if people are talking to her or not.  I once told my Dad that Myka’s personality was much like my younger sister’s was, precocious, inquisitive, conversational, and argumentative.  He told me I couldn’t escape the blame for that, she was just like me when I was a toddler. 

She would watch our chocolate labrador retriever, Madison, with great focus.  Her first word was “dog”.  That poor dog, she did a wonderful job putting up with the new creature that invaded her once quiet space. 

Myka’s love for books started at a young age.  She was always looking at pictures and opening books and magazines whenever she could.  No matter what you were doing, she would always want to have books read to her.  I remember, one afternoon I was tired and didn’t want to do anything but rest on the couch.  She came over to me with a book and I couldn’t tell her no.  She crawled up onto the couch in front of me and I read her the book.  She hopped down and trotted off with the book in hand, soon to return with another book to read.  This cycle went on until we read all the books on her bookshelf.

Once we discovered she was going to be a big sister and have a little brother, she quickly figured out that inside Mommy’s belly was her new sibling.  She’s a wonderful big sister.  From the first time she met Emery, she wanted to hold him.  She would often want up on the changing table to help change diapers.  We would often find her in his crib “helping” to calm him down if he was crying. 

Myka loves telling you all about her friends and her life.  EVERY time we’d put on her hand-me-down shoes or clothes from a friend she would exclaim, “these are from Lorelia, she’s my friend!!!”  Some of her favorite people in the world were our roommates, Jess and Courtney, and the countless teenagers and pastors from church.  She knew most of them by name.

Though we didn’t live close to many of our extended family she fell in love with all her Grandmas and Grandpas and Aunts and Uncles from all over the country all thanks to Skype.  She would peek around the laptop screen from behind in order to sneak up on Grandma or Grandpa with a giggle and loads of laughter.

I always thought it was wonderful to come home to be greeted by my excited happy puppy, but even better than that is being greated by my daughter who exclaims, “DADDY’S HOME!!!”

Myka, you have taught me lots in these three years.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for being a wonderful, strong, smart young lady.  I know God has a great life in store for you, He formed you and created you with a purpose.  I am looking forward to being a part of process.

I love you.