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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.

 

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October

October is going awfully quickly. I feel like it should be the 8th or 9th. No, actually it’s the 21st. What?!

We are finding our rhythm. Stephen’s mom has gone back home, Myka is back in school, and I’m back to making school lunches and going to toddler activities. And we are all doing well.  Myka hasn’t missed her bus, and I haven’t forgotten to make her a lunch.  Emery went to art class and play time this week! That might be a first. Poppy went 3 1/2 hours between meals last night and usually takes a longer mid-day nap of 3 hours or so. She still mostly sleeps, and that allows me a nap here and there, and those naps keep me sane (most of the time). She is very pleasant, but when she is unhappy, wow, does she let us know. We think she might be the loudest of our babies.

Poppy is my first baby with any hair. It’s so soft. I have no idea how to comb it, if I comb it. Mostly it just fluffs up to her typical hedgehog style. I love it. However, this long hair has one major problem. She grabs it. She gets her little hand tightly holding her hair right down at the scalp, and opening an infants clenched fist is nearly impossible! She wails because someone is yanking on her hair. Maybe we should put a hat on her. No, it’s too hot for a hat.

Yes, it’s still hot here.  My weather app tells me that right now it is 97F with widespread dust. That sounds lovely. Who wants to visit?!! We haven’t had any rain yet. Last year it was cooler and had rained a few times by now. We are still enjoying going to the pool! And the pool has chillers on right now making the water cooler. We have started to visit the playground again. It was too hot even first thing in the morning until a couple weeks ago. We met a few friends there this morning. Poppy laid on her blanket in the shade while the older kids played. I think she got a little hot by the time we got home, though, and she has a heat rash that comes and goes. Poor thing.

Poppy’s paperwork for her passport has been processed, and I have submitted my application for passport renewal, but they don’t like our pictures. First, they said there was a shadow on Poppy’s photo. So we had a friend who is a photographer photo-shop out the shadow. This time they said they are the wrong size or proportions. Our faces weren’t big enough. We did use an online program to adjust our face size and we’ve used this process for our passports in the past! Stephen decided we should give birth in the states next time. We went to a photo shop in Jubail and got two very unattractive pictures of Poppy and me. It makes me feel vain, but I may have to go and try again. Otherwise my passport photo will make me angry every time we travel for the next ten years.

 

Update! You may have noticed that I say it is the 21st in my post and it is actually posted to the blog on the 31st. That would be because it has taken me ten days to get the photos added on here. Yikes! So I’d like to add that we had a very fun Halloween today. Myka loves dressing up. Emery will wear his airplane wings (see photo below) for about one minute before he wants them off. But they are awfully cute! I’ll have to update this post again with a couple photos of Myka in her fairy princess costume.

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Painting

We had a painting day today! Everyone except stephen did some art work, and he made lunch so we will let that be his creative contribution.

 

I didn’t paint these today, but have I shown you the signs I made for under our clocks in the living room? We have three clocks with three different timezones:

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Today I painted something for the baby’s room.  The colors seem a little off on my computer, but the background is gray not brownish. It matches the gray blanket I am knitting for her.

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And these are Emery and Myka’s masterpieces!  The paper is about 1×2.5′ so they are pretty big.  Myka’s is “the earth” (the one on the right) and no one (not even Emery) knows what his is. They had a lovely time painting.  We no longer have any red or blue paint. And I had a nice time wiping up the floor when they were done. We moved the coffee table and rolled up the rug to make space on the floor to paint.  Tile cleans up well.

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This is Stephen’s two day weekend. Usually we all go swimming in the morning, but I needed to wash Myka and Emery’s swimming suits.  We will go tomorrow.  It is good to do something different now and then! I did find myself wishing we could drive to a park and fly a kite or something, but it’s still way too hot for that.  I’m still waiting for the first time the ten day forecast has a number below 100F.  Until then, we will stick to the pool and the air conditioning! And we still find lots of fun things to do.

 

 


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It’s hot.

 

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That picture of trees against a blue sky is misleading.  The sky is rarely blue here.  Usually it is more of a gray or brown color.  I find the choice of photo in this app annoying.

It is June 1st today! The beginning of Summer!  And I am so glad we are going back to the states for a while this year.  I don’t remember being this uncomfortable last year, and we stayed through the summer months.  Maybe we stayed inside more.  Maybe it wasn’t as hot last year. Maybe it’s because I’m pregnant.  Either way, I find I am not enjoying the increasing temperatures.  By 10:00am there is no longer shade to walk in, and it isn’t until about 5:00 that it starts being bearable outside again.  When we go to the pool in the morning, we are usually walking back to the house around 11:00, and it is a hot walk home.

However, we have enjoyed some time out at the pool in the evenings and have cooked out on the grill with friends.  We even tried making some s’mores, but something is wrong with the marshmallows I bought here.  They don’t melt.  They stay chewy on the inside even when the outside has been perfectly toasted by my loving husband.  (I didn’t want to stand that close to the extra heat of the fire!)  I am looking forward to more cookouts in the fall!  And I may have to add marshmallows to my list of things to buy in the US.


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and then there were five..

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Tomorrow I have a doctors appointment and hopefully we can find out if we are having a girl or a boy!  I can’t believe we are that far along already.  Myka has always been sure that it was a girl.  A friend has predicted a boy. I have no idea.

The hospital I go to for my doctor appointments is about an hour away.  Stephen takes off work to drive me there, and it always takes at least half of the day.  I miss the ease of my little doctor’s office in Washington (and being able to drive myself, of course).  However, I am happy with my doctor and the hospital.

It’s interesting how life affects your decisions.  If I was still in the US I would be considering a mid-wife, home birth, birthing center, etc.  But here my choices are restricted to hospitals and OBs.   The choice of both is based on things like being able to have Stephen with me for the birth, safety and care in the hospital, and being able to understand the doctor.  I never thought these kind of things would be how decided to give birth.  But it’s all part of living somewhere different!

I could go back to the states and have more choices, be around more family, but then Stephen wouldn’t be there and it would be months before we were all together as a family.  I don’t want that.

Stephen is starting to figure out the process of getting the birth certificate, social security number, passport…all those necessary documents.  I remember getting very clear directions when I had Myka and Emery – fill out this form, send it to this place with this amount of money, and you will get what you want.  There is a definite lack of direction and information here.  I’m still hoping I can get a hospital tour before I actually come to have the baby.

Enough about all that!  We have been busy playing in the pool and with friends, going to Bahrain and the beach, and getting a taste of the hot weather to come.

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Grandma came for a visit and got to see our little corner of Saudi!  She even got to wear an abaya, lucky girl! It was Wonderful to have her around.  The kids and parents were both sad to see her go back home.

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In March a friend gave me an umbrella because I didn’t have one.  It doesn’t rain much, so it hasn’t really been an issue. The day after I got my new umbrella it rained!  Any guesses were this friend is from?

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And in winter and spring in Saudi you get flowers! These tiny, yellow flowers were everywhere and added fun color to the view.

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excuses…excuses…

But it’s a good one, really!  I meant to write posts more often with the new year.  I have lots of things to write about and travel stories, but goodness I’ve been tired.

But I have an excuse.

We are going to have another baby! I’m due in September.  So while I was in Pennsylvania it was understandable that all I wanted to do was nap.  I’m a little more awake these days, but there are still naps some afternoons.  Everything is going well.

Stephen’s mom, Bonnie, flew back to Saudi Arabia with us from the states and spent three weeks here.  After my mom being here before our trip, six weeks staying with Stephen’s Dad and step-mom, and then three weeks with Grandma Bonnie, everyone is quite sad to be with out a Grandparent near by.  It was so good for the kids to be close to family, and I enjoyed the company and help.  Especially as I’d prefer to sleep in and take naps most days.

We are getting back into a routine and appreciating time outside while the weather is still nice.  It’s getting hotter! We have gone to the pool a few times and Emery has a serious farmers tan.

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crazy weather

Back in November we had some crazy weather here in Saudi.  It rained and rained Hard.

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Our apartment leaked. Our brand new apartment.

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And then it leaked a lot more.

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The first time it leaked was during the day.  My downstairs neighbor, who lived directly beneath us, said she had leaks along the wall where the large windows are.  Sure enough we had some small leaks there too. The second time it leaked was in the middle of the night.  The thunder woke Myka up, and she came over to our room.  I told Stephen he should go see how our living room was, thinking there might be more leaking like before.  Nope.  Water was pouring from the recessed lighting.  We got every large bowl, bucket, cooler, and even some litter boxes that were not being used.  I then emptied all of the containers several times.  It was a big mess. I used almost all of our towels cleaning up, and our printer got water inside and is broken.

Here’s a video:

Some low lying areas flooded; drainage just cannot keep up with this kind of extended downpour.  The compound we previously lived in had standing water in the houses.  I am so glad I was only dealing with rain water not standing water mixed with sewage and who-knows-what grossness.

Saudi Arabia doesn’t know how to deal with this kind of rain.

Usually the rain makes things muddier here.  This time, everything was washed clean and then it got very green!  It was an exciting couple of days.