Sunday, June 18, 2017

One more week until Eid

Sunday morning I went to walk with Lara. When I got home, Jack was awake and eating breakfast. I went to take a shower. When I was dressed I came downstairs and Millie was awake. I fixed her breakfast and they both got ready for the day. I had made their lunches before I went out to walk, so I sat down to enjoy my cup of coffee. 

Once we were all off, and Stuart was tucked back into the sofa, our third week of Ramadan officially started. When I first got to work I was expecting to be able to start my data analysis that I had actually put off the week prior. But instead I was informed that our books for English, Math and Science were being delivered. This is my least favourite day. The boxes consume our school nursery and then have to be collected by teachers and put away. They have 7 books for every child in their room. We received over 7000 books. These are consumable books and are given out each year. Im not sure it's the most efficient teaching tool, but it's what we get so we go with it. 

While the books were being delivered, I did try to work on our data. While I was sitting at my desk I got a phone call from a nanny at the Millie's school. Millie was being invited to come to the palace again with Osha. They would play for a bit, go to the mall to a soft play area called Cheeky Monkey, go back to the palace for dinner and then I could collect her from the palace. The nanny told me if it was too short notice we could plan it for another day in the week. I told her it was fine and that Millie would probably be thrilled to go with Osha for the afternoon. What's with my kids being friends with royalty? 

After school Jack played at Ian's and Stuart and I had our daily afternoon Ramadan nap. There is something about this time of year that requires more sleep. I'm not sure if it's that we don't work as many hours or that it's so dang hot. Either way, I feel a bit lazier during Ramadan, which I don't think fulfills the purpose of this holy month in Islam. 

Grounds outside Osha's house. 

Around 6 pm I headed to the palace, a different palace than where we picked Jack up the previous Friday, to collect Millie. I got to the gate, and again, a non-English speaking guard with a machine gun strapped to his back, came out and did his best to understand why I was there. I finally called Kelly, the nanny, and she had the Shaikha call the guard to tell him to let me in. I pulled through the gates and followed Kelly's directions. When I pulled into Osha's driveway there was a many playing with her little brother. I walked into the home and was introduced to Osha's mother, the Shaikha. She was very sweet and explained Millie's outfit. Since Millie had come straight from school she didn't have any play clothes, just her school uniform. So they told Millie she could pick out an outfit to keep from Osha's closet. I wish I would have taken a picture of her clothes. She had on a cream shirt with gold hearts around the top, a pair of red leggings, which she had on over her white bike shorts that she wears under her school dress, a pair of yellow socks with red and white hearts, and her black Mary Jane school shoes. She was quite a sight!  I asked her if she had fun and she said she did. I asked her what she had for supper and she said 'nothing'. This was my fear. I know her tastes and I know we haven't talked enough about being polite and eating a bite of what is offered to you. She said, 'Mom, it was Arabic food and I didn't like it. I did taste it. But they told me if I didn't like it I didn't have to eat it'. Thank goodness she is 5 years old and a little easier to forgive for her rudeness. Ugh! 

Once we were all home it was showers and bed for the kids. Stuart and I watched some television and then he moved up to the bed. He had spent the entire week before sleeping on the sofa backside laying flat was too painful for him. I was so glad he was doing better. More importantly, him moving upstairs meant I could watch the Bachelorette again. Thank goodness! 

Monday school was a lot of the same. Teachers were either moving or preparing to move the following day. We had declared Tuesday as moving day. Once school was over, I came home and took  Molly on a play date with Greta. Greta was a little more aggressive this play date, thank goodness. I really need Sarah to take care of Millie this summer. If those two puppies don't get along then Sarah staying at our house may not happen. At the end of the time, Sarah decided she would come and stay at our house from the middle of July until we return at the end of August. 

Once I was home with Molly, I told the kids that if they would hurry and take a shower I had a special surprise for them. I had purchased the new Beauty and the Beast on iTunes. When they found out what it was they were very excited. I popped popcorn and they had a sweet treat. It was a successful surprise, and what a beautiful film it was. 

Tuesday was moving day at school and most of my teachers were ready. The ones who we not ready were the ones who are always slow on the uptake, so it wasn't surprising. 

Once I was home I took the kids to Bounce. We were going to get our money out of those passes if it killed me. I decided I would jump, just concentrating on bouncing up and down or falling to my seat and then back up. It was fun, but I did tweak my knee a bit. Why do I think I'm 20 years old? 

Once we were home Stuart fixed the kids dinner. They were all ready for bed, and Millie actually went to bed at her normal bedtime. I had a follow up appointment for my knee pains where she told me nothing I didn't already know. The appointment was at 8 pm because during Ramadan doctors do a split shift. They work from 10-1 in the afternoon and then 8 pm until midnight. Don't ask!

Wednesday I finished up my data and got it submitted to the principal. I did get a call from the Vice Principal of the school where I was to transfer. She stated that most likely I would not be able to transfer to her school. She said the HR department was trying to make sure that if a school had a Western Vice Principal they didn't have a Western Head of Faculty. We are both Western. Boo! So I may keep my happy butt right where it is. I spent the rest of the week trying to wrap my head around that fact. 

Wednesday afternoon I had invited all the English teachers to our house for a staff party. Everyone brought a dish to share and their favorite beverage. We played games, chatted, ate and enjoyed the time away from school. Stuart didn't spend a great deal of time with us for a couple of reasons. First of all we were all eating and he couldn't do that. So that was no fun, and secondly he didn't know many of my staff. He's not terribly crazy about situation like that. So he kept the dog company out on the back patio. All guests were gone before 10 and it was nighty-night for the Telfords. 

Thursday I took in some of the leftovers from the party. We all gathered in my office again and had some laughs. I will admit that these three weeks of Ramadan seem to have gone faster than in the past. 

After school I got home and made my mom's banana cake. We headed to Scott and Clare's just after 4 pm. Stuart had planned to eat some of his soup there but just never got around to it. They were having a farewell for the summer party. It was a nice gathering, but we left just before 7 pm to take Jack to a Harry Potter themed birthday party at Meriana's house. Meriana is a friend of Jack's from school, and her parents are both Heads of Faculty, like Stuart and myself. The party was great and Jack had a wonderful time. I picked him up at 9 pm, taking Millie with me so she would fall asleep on the way. On the weekends it's the easiest way to get her to go to bed. 

Jack went as Harry Potter. 

Friday Stuart took the kids to Bounce in the morning and then to the club for lunch. He was so excited because this was the day he was going to get to eat his first solid foods. He ate about a third of a scrambled egg and Millie ate the rest. He said it went down well. At the club he had soup and that was also a good choice. He seems to be having an easier time, food wise, than I did. I'm very happy for him. 2 weeks after surgery and he has already lost 40 pounds. It's quite incredible. 

While Stuart was with the kids in Al Ain, I was in Abu Dhabi spending the day with Gina. She was passing through on her way to Italy, starting her summer vacation with some pampering and relaxation in Abu Dhabi. We went to a few malls so I could buy Stuart something for Father's Day. Naturally I decided upon smaller clothes for him from American Eagle, one of his favorite stores that he is so excited to shop in when he is at his goal weight. I also ended up buying the kids journals and a camera for our summer adventures in the U.K. as well as in Italy. We had a full day, eating lunch at Olives at the Ritz Carlton. We also spent a few hours at the hotel pool, which reminds Gina of Arizona. It was lovely to see Gina and catch up for a while. She promised she would come to Abu Dhabi more this next school year. We saw her back in August and hadn't seen her since.  Was glad she said she would be in Abu Dhabi more. 

Time by the pool with a refreshing lemon and mint drink. 

I got home just before 8 pm and the kids were still awake. Boo! They had showered, well at least Jack had. Millie was told since I was changing the beds Saturday morning she didn't have to have a shower. It made me itchy. Oh well, I wasn't in charge so who cares? Stuart put the kids to bed just after 8 pm and I went up to say goodnight. Then back downstairs for some television and napping on the sofa. 

I got up early Saturday morning. Molly is my new alarm clock most days, so sleeping in is not much of an option any more. I had some quiet time before the kids were awake. I had a cup of coffee and did some laundry. Once the kids were awake I started changing beds. I got everyone's bed changed, but had to hang Jack's duvet cover to dry more. 

Stuart and I sorted through clothes that were too big for him or things we no longer wore. We gave away two bags of clothes to the local charity here. 

I messaged Cathy to see if she was interested in riding with Millie and myself to Dubai to watch Millie do gymnastics. She decided to do so. We left just after 11 am. In the meantime Stuart and Jack went to the club to the pool. Stuart didn't swim because of his incisions, but Jack did. They then had dinner at the club. 

When Millie finished gymnastics her coach told me that she had done an evaluation of her at this particular practice. She told me that Millie was going to be a champion and that next fall she would need to come for two hours a week. I kind of knew this was coming. Millie is built like a gymnast and has incredible balance and poise. She is strong and is able to do everything her coach tells her to do. So the conversation I would need to have when I got home was 'how we going to do this?'  I can't deny her natural abilities, even if it means me driving to Dubai once a week next year. There are no facilities in Al Ain, so I suppose we will bite the bullet and let her explore this sport. 

After gymnastics we were planning to have lunch at the Dubai Mall and then go see Wonder Woman. However, the only tickets for the movie were in the front row, so instead I told Millie I would buy her a toy at Hamley's. We had a wonderful time, making a stop at the sweets store before heading back to Al Ain. 

Once we were home, Millie showered and watched a bit of television. Millie went to bed at 8 pm and Jack was in bed at 8:30 pm. Stuart and I watched some television and then Stuart headed to the airport to pick up Sean. His flight was due in just before midnight. What a way to end the weekend. He was home around 1:30 am and off to slumber land we went. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

It's only week two of Ramadan and we are already bored at work and at home.

Sunday work was very boring, dare I say. I mainly worked on data calculations. There were several teachers in my office which kind of kept me from the work. I have plenty of time to complete it, but if I get a transfer I want to be ready to possibly go to my new school before the end of the year. So I really need to get my butt in gear. 

When I left school, I  took the cats and dog to get shots. What a fun car journey that was. They all handled their injections quite well, but on the way home Molly peed and barfed. Lovely! As soon as I was home, I called Brian to tell him to send the kids back home. They changed out of their uniforms and we went to Bounce. I did sign up on Sunday, and nearly broke my neck, literally. I was bouncing on the long trampoline that feeds into a big pillow. When I got to the end I kind o slipped and couldn't decide what I wanted to do, so naturally I should attempt a flip and land on my neck. I was stunned for a moment, realizing I needed to get off the pillow. I crawled to the edge where an employee met me and asked if I was okay. Clearly I was not okay. My arms had gone numb and when I hit my neck I heard a crunch, very similar to twisting an ankle. I sat up against the wall while someone bought me a bag of ice. Wow! How stupid to pretend you are in your 20s when you are approaching 50! I just sat around for the remainder of the time and attempted to do some stretching. I will now stick to the flat trampolines that don't dump into a pit. 

Once we left Bounce, we headed straight home. It was almost 6 by the time we got home and the kids headed to the shower. Once they had eaten, Stuart face timed us. It just before he was getting in the cab to go to the airport. He looked the face. That's a constant running joke with us. When fat people start to lose weight, the worst compliment you can give them is to tell them 'I can really tell you've lost weight, especially in your face'. That just is irritating. I always wanted to say, 'How about my ass? Can you tell I've lost weight in my ass? Because that's where I really want to lose it.' I digress. 

After we finished speaking with Stuart, we rearranged the living room so I could make up the couch for Stuart. I felt it was important that he was on the sofa, facing the television. Once I had it rearranged I decided I liked it better than the old way.  It only took Stuart having surgery for me to figure that out. 

Once the kids were in bed I did some tidying up and decided to go to bed as well. Stuart was due to be back home at 5 am so I wanted to be up to see him. I didn't sleep so well because of my neck. However, I did have a heating patch, that my mom swears by, to help with the pain. It really did make a difference. Thank goodness for mothers with tricks to cure your pains. I also kept waking up in anticipation of Stuart's return. He messaged me just before 3 am to say they had landed. I got up at 5 am so I could help him settle in. I was dressed when I got the text from him. He was already in the house. He said the ride home in the cab was miserable, but he seemed to be getting along okay. Apparently, the guy Dr. Ali had hired to bring them home, brought his kid with him. The kids was drinking a Coke and eating Doritos all the way from the airport. 

While he laid on the sofa I finished getting the kids' lunches ready, and doing other things to get ready for the day. I emptied his back pack and put his laundry on to wash. I took his back upstairs and emptied that as well. 

Jack was up just after 6 am and had breakfast. Stuart was asleep so Jack didn't disturb him. He got dressed and ready for school, then watched Phineus and Ferb. Millie was awake  just before 7 and also got ready for school after some breakfast. 

Stuart woke up briefly to speak to the kids. Then we were all off to school, leaving Stuart to rest for the day. I left school early to come and see what else I could do for Stuart. I didn't really do anything but be home with him. I wasn't feeling great because of my neck and I had developed a bit of a cold. 

The kids got home and did their homework. Our internet wasn't working so well last week so Jack had several math lessons to do on a math website. I was very proud of him because not only did he stick to it for almost an hour, he actually knows a lot about fractions and money. It was very impressive to see. 

The kids left the house at 3:30 and returned at 5 from Keith and Ian's. Stuart and I napped. We went to the club on Monday evening for dinner. Stuart insisted on going to the committee meeting, which I think he might have regretted. The kids got to play with their friends and I didn't have to fix them anything for dinner. 

After we were home, the kids were clean and in bed, I headed to the hospital to collect Stuart's meds and get a sick note for myself as I wasn't feeling well. The doctor ended up giving me two days off of work. I didn't say anything about my neck, but that was my main issue. The cold was coming on strong as well, so I suppose his diagnosis was justified. 

Tuesday I got up early because although I had no school to attend, I still had kids to get ready and lunches to pack. Once the kids were off to school, I slept most of the day. I read somewhere that when you injure yourself, such as the neck injury I had, your body sleeps in order to heal it. I'm so thankful it wasn't any worse than it was. Stuart slept a lot as well, but he was getting along really well. 

Tuesday afternoon the kids played at Ian and Keith's until around 5 pm. When they got home they took showers as I was getting their dinner ready. Cathy and Mandy dropped by to see Stuart. The kids were wild the entire time. They don't want to be in the same room as us unless we have company. Unbelievable. 

After Cathy and Mandy had gone the kids ate dinner. Then they were forced into getting some of their toys downstairs and as Jack would say 'play the old fashioned way'. Really? 

Once the kids were in bed, Stuart and I took our places on our respective sofas and watched television for a few hours. I went to bed around 11 pm, woke at 2:30 am to take Molly out, and then was back to sleep until almost 6 am. 

I got up and got everything ready for the kids' lunches. Jack was awake by 6:30 am and getting himself ready. He ate breakfast while I went up to wake Millie. Once the kids were ready for school they played with Molly until Brian picked them up for school. When they were off, I headed to the store for some items. Astrid, our friends Gemma and Fechin's daughter, was coming over to bake on Wednesday evening, so I needed some items for the sweet rolls we were going to make. 

When I got home, I had a cup of coffee and then Stuart and I headed to the Ford dealer to take the truck in for a service. We got home and sorted out our Scotland trip in August. I also helped Stuart get the sticky residue off his belly from the bandages he had before he got home. It was a special bonding time for both of us. 

Once the kids were home they got dressed and back to Bounce we went. I had decided since I had been off of school for two days and my neck was still a wreck, I would sit out on Wednesday. I was sure by Friday I would be back to normal, or at least I hoped. They bounced for two hours. Then Astrid and Oscar came back to our house. I made spaghetti for the kids and Astrid and I got our bake on. 

There was a bit of a mishap while baking, and the cinnamon rolls that were to be delightful and soft turned out as hard as a rock. The kids reported that they were still good, but a bit hard. It seems that when you are pouring sugar from a plastic bag you must be careful as to not dump in too much. And if you do make such a mistake and attempt to correct it, be sure that you also add more yeast for riding purposes. Epic fail! But when I took them to work Thursday morning, my staff was not put off at all and ate every morsel. 

They were deceivingly beautiful!

Once the baking was over, I took Oscar and Astrid bake to their house, popped in for a cup of tea with Fechin and Gemma, and finally got home and showered a little after 11 pm, forgetting I had work the following day. 

My alarm went off at 5:30 am and it dawned on me that I didn't get up at al with Molly to take her out to pee. She is growing up, bless her. I came downstairs, fixed the kids' lunches, and sat down for 30 minutes with my cup of coffee. The small pleasures in life are something to thankful for. 

The kids were awaken by yours truly just before 7 am. They both stumbled downstairs for breakfast, cinnamon rolls, of course. Then they were dressed, brushed their teeth, combed their hair, and played a bit of soccer with Molly, in the hallway. They snuck into the living room to tell Stuart goodbye, and then the three of us were off to our schools while Stuart laid on the sofa and slept. What a lucky man. 

Once at school, I got organized from the two days I missed and tried to sort out crap on my desk. We have a new crew of cleaner in our building now and the one who cleans my office insists on moving all my papers around on my desk.......every day. It's us terribly unnerving. She doesn't speak English, and my charades only gets me so far, so needless to say I get to work with a new 'look' on my desk each day. 

School hours passed very slowly, but it was Thursday and the weekend was about to begin. Once I was home and settled, the kids arrived. I had decided that I would give them the option of going to Bounce Thursday afternoon or Friday morning. They chose Thursday afternoon, which was easier for us since we had to go pick up the truck anyway. The dealership is just around the corner from Bounce so it was super convenient. Stuart came by Bounce after he had collected the truck and he broke the good news to me. The truck needed 4 new tires. Super! Truck tires are cheap, right? Not hardly! It's always something. Thank goodness for good paying jobs. 

I stayed with the kids until 5 pm. I have come to enjoy my 2 hours of peace while they have fun. Although I will be glad when I can go bounce again. Once we left Bounce, we headed for home. Normally I would stop and get something for the kids to eat, but being Ramadan, no eating establishments are open until after the sun goes down each night, except for the golf club and the rugby club. It's a bit inconvenient, but probably healthier in the long run. 

So once we were home and they had showered, we had our lazy special; peanut butter and jelly sandwich and Nutella sandwich. The dinner that has no nutrition in it whatsoever! As you can see I'm still in the running for 'Mother of the Year'. 

Millie went to bed just a bit after her normal bedtime, but Jack convinced us to let him stay up later since it was the weekend. We made him watch Anthony Bourdain specials about food from Vietnam and Cambodia. We think this is going to be our Christmas destination. He admitted he would try the crickets. No thank you!

Friday morning we lazed around the house. The kids played nicely for the most part while Stuart and I continued our Anthony Bourdain marathon. He eats some pretty strange things. I went to the super market to get some items for a snack to take to Lara and Brian's that evening. It was our friend Elizabeth's birthday and they were having people over for the celebration. 

Just before 3 pm I too Jack for his play date. He was going to Sheikh Zayed bin Hazza Tahnoun Zayed Al Nahyan's house. Say that three times fast. This little boy is in Jack's class and invited Jack and his friend Harry over for a play date. They live in a compound with all of his cousins, aunts and uncles, as well as his grandfather, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed, one of the 19 sons of the founder of the UAE.  So he is royalty. 

As we pulled up to the compound, a guard came out of the guard house with a machine gun strapped on his back. He didn't understand much English, but did kind of understand what I was trying to say so he let us in. We went through the gates and to say Jack was star struck is an understatement. Jack said, 'Mama, did you see that gun on that guard's back?' I told him I did and that most really important people have others who guard them from harm. Then he said, 'Mama, this is so cool. I have butterflies in my stomach.'  I told him I kind of did as well. 

As we neared Zayed's house there was another gate and another guard. The guard came out and waved us through the gates. We pulled up to the side lawn and two men were setting up a gigantic bouncy water slide, as you do on a random day during Ramadan. Harry's mum showed up with Harry just after we pulled up. We were all a little overwhelmed. I left and reminded Jack to be on his best behavior. I knew there would be thousands of stories for me when I picked him up at 7. 

In the meantime we went to the party for Elizabeth for a bit. Stuart said hello and everyone was shocked at his progress in only 10 days. He had lost 33 pounds in those ten days. It was unbelievable. We sat and chatted until just before 7 and then headed back to the palace. Millie came with us because I think she was curious about the palace. To be honest it was just an ordinary house, called a palace as a requirement of the royalty that lives in it. 

When we arrived, Zayed's Australian nanny, Belinda, asked Millie if she wanted to go on the slide. Not dressed in a swim suit, of course she did. So fully clothed she had a couple of turns before we had to leave. Belinda had taken a lot of photos and told me she would send them to me that evening. We thanked her and Zayed and went on our way. On the way home Jack asked if he could invite Zayed for a play date to our place. I told him I wasn't sure how that worked but that I would ask his nanny and see if it was possible. He told of stories of seeing Zayed's monkey (apparently he has a pet lemur) and how much fun he had. What a memory for Jack. I'm hoping even after we leave Brighton, Jack can stay in contact with Zayed. Belinda won't be his nanny any longer after the summer so it might be more difficult, but we will make the effort. 

Stuart went inside when we got home and the kids and I went back to Lara and Brian's for a while. Lara and I decided we would start walking again on Sunday even though the weather is brutally hot. We both decided that our bodies had not benefitted from our lack of exercise so it was time to get back at it. We left their house around 10 pm. The kids showered and went straight to bed. 

I woke up to Molly barking at about 5:45 am. Jack was up and ready for the day. Why does that kid get up so early? I look forward to the teenage years when I have to drag him out of bed. 

Once the whole house was awake, the kids had breakfast and got dressed. Millie and I left for Dubai at 11:15 am. She had gymnastics, which she has actually grown very fond of. It's a shame it is so far away. I'm hoping we can find something closer next year. 

After gymnastics Millie and I visited the Park and Shop again. I stocked up on pet food and cleaning supplies for the summer. I also bought some more jello for Stuart. There might have been a treat or two for the kids, and a few pet toys. This shop can definitely take my money away. 

On the way home Millie fell asleep. I was hoping she would sleep through and I could just throw her into bed. But, as fate is typically against me, she woke up and it was ever so difficult to get her to go to bed, even at 9 pm. She did agree to a shower once we were home, and then laid on the sofa watching Harry Potter with Stuart and Jack. 

I went out to get Stuart some protein powder so he could start with his second week of the meal plan. He's not exactly keen on the protein powder, but it's a must. 

The kids finally were in bed just after nine and Anthony Bourdain was entertaining us the rest of the evening.  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Ramadan Kareem

During the night Molly must have pooped 4 different times. I think she is distressed when we are away. With Stuart not being there, I think it added a whole new level of anxiety. Poor thing. 

I was up before my alarm because I didn't have to be at work until 8 am. I did all the jobs of the morning and got the kids sent off to school. My principal has been out for the past three days and was out on Sunday as well. She returned back to the states for her nephews kindergarten graduation. That's a long trip for something like that, but I think he nephew is like her son so I totally get it. 

I had an agenda for the teachers to follow so we could stay focused and get our work done. Assuming there would be no students in school, which there weren't, we got on with our grades, data analysis and school improvement plans. 

I was going to leave early to go sort out a day that I mistakenly had been docked pay for. But it seems that the accountant at our school takes care of those things. She said the lady in payroll would probably not even talk to me if I did go to the Zone. So I sent the information to Alia and stayed put until 1 pm, when we all went home. 

Once I was home, I sorted out the animals and washed some dishes. The kids got home around 2 pm and homework was started. They had a snack, watched some television and then had Keith and Ian over to play for a bit. Ramadan affords us less stress and longer awake hours. I am usually really strict about the kids' bedtimes, but since they don't go to school until an hour later during Ramadan, I'm not as focused on them getting to bed at their normal time. 

Since we will be leaving in a few weeks on holiday I am doing my best to clean out our freezers. So Sunday evening we had chicken legs, broccoli and corn on the cob. I was quite pleased with my efforts considering I don't usually cook. 

After eating the kids watched some television and then were headed to bed. They obviously know during Ramadan Im not as strict on bed time because both of them begged to stay up even later than I was allowing. Jack had a request of me as I was leaving his room that evening. 'Mom? I think I'm going to fast tomorrow with some of my Muslim friends, he announced. 'Okay,' I said. 'But can you just pack my lunch in case I get hungry?' He said. I quickly responded with a 'sure, and then he responded with, 'Ah, never mind, I'm not going to fast after all.' That conversation turned out to be quite pointless. Once they were settled in bed I was on the sofa and relaxing as well. 

Monday was a bit more of the same. We were all up and gradually got ready for our day. Stuart was still in Puckett, but was due back at the airport around midnight that night. The kids were missing him, but were more excited about the gifts he would bring them than than him actually being home. 

At school I was entertained by the English teachers coming in and out of my office. They were getting their work done, but they know they have almost 4 weeks to get all of their work done so they are not in a huge rush. 

Once I was home from school I waited for a lady named Sarah to bring her puppy over for a play date with Molly. Sarah is most likely going to keep Molly the month of August while we are in the U.K.  The play date was semi successful but Molly was a bit of a bully. I think she has developed naughty habits from our cats, sadly. 

Before Sarah showed up I had decided to attempt to make my mother's banana cake. I seem to have way too many bananas and often times they back up on me causing me to mass bake banana bread. But this time I decided I would attempt  my mom's banana cake. I don't typically eat gluten, but I had to taste my creation, and might I say it was delicious. 

Once Sarah and Greta left I got the kids bathed and fixed them dinner. Kayleigh came over around 6:30 pm so that I could meet DeDe for Iftar dinner. Iftar is what the Muslims call the meal that breaks their fast for the day. This was my Monday Meet up crew of women. It was a nice night. After dinner DeDe took me to the tailors to collect my new digs. I loved the pants, but was not a fan of the shirts. I couldn't decide what to do with the shirts, but am inclined to think I will sell them to someone. 

Here is one pair of the pants. I love them!

Once I was home I took a shower and went to bed, knowing I would be awakened when Stuart got home, which was around 4 am. He showered and got into bed for the short two hours before we all had to get up and go to school. When we got up the kids immediately wanted their gifts from Stuart, and he did not disappointment. 

I was to be in a meeting at 8 am Tuesday morning. My Arabic Vice Principal didn't show up until 9:40 am, saying she had over-slept. Hmmm, there you have it.

Teachers were still convening in my office. Some of them were pacing themselves with their work. I call it procrastination, they call it pacing. It seems that since they know they have all this time with no students, they see no need to rush. However, if they don't get their work done I can't get my work done. I have sent out deadlines to them, so I assume that will help. 

I left school and went to the grocery store for some items. When I got home, I just chilled and Stuart napped. The kids built a fort, and then went out to play. They didn't say long because it was so hot. Stuart fixed his last real meal for a while. We had chicken, squash, peas and broccoli. I'm not sure I mentioned that he is having the gastric sleeve surgery on Friday. It was a long, thought out process, but after watching me for a year, he felt he could do it. So we will be here to support him.

After dinner, we all helped clean up, even Millie. In fact, she might have been the most help. The kids went to bed much later than normal. Millie ended up in our bed at 5 am because the cats had scared her by ransacking her room. 

We were up Wednesday morning and out the door at our normal Ramadan time. It seems during Ramadan we are all more tired than normal. The kids are crankier and we all seem to need a nap around 2 pm. Once we were home from school we went to the grocery store to try to find some soup for Stuart to eat once he was home from his surgery. Jack continued to ask if he could buy a fidget spinner while we were at the store. He said he'd pay me back, but I had told him a few weeks back that he didn't have to get something every time we went to a store. I continued to say 'no' and he continued to ask. In the end he was grounded for his behavior. When will he ever learn?

The evening was quite pleasant. After Jack's hour and a half in his bedroom, he came down for dinner and then was up for a shower. Because his attitude had softened ever so slightly, he was allowed to come back downstairs for an hour of television. Both kids were in bed at their normal, non-Ramadan, time as they seemed to need it. 

Thursday I was only at school for three hours. I went to see Jack in his production about the environment. He was Mr. Polystyrene. While I was away my principal called teachers in to let them know their placement for the following year. Because we don't mixed genders in the classroom, we flip the teachers to the opposite side each year. The only teachers who don't get to do that are the male teachers. They are not allowed to teach the girls. So if our female teachers are on the boys' side one year, they will be on the girls' side the following year. We make this very clear to the teachers at the beginning of each year. So why some of them are so hurt and surprised at their placement is beyond me. I'm just glad I wasn't there when they were told. They would have the weekend to adjust to the idea and change their attitude toward it all. 

Once Jack's play was over, we decided to take the kids home even though it was a bit early. We dropped Stuart off at Abela to catch a cab with Dr. Ali to fly off for his surgery. I'm not sure exactly how he felt, but I felt comforted knowing he was flying to and from with the doctor. 

A selfie with the doc!

The kids and I came home and had Greta over for a play date with Molly again. This time they got on much better than the first time. Molly still dominated, but Greta was a little less wussy this time. I was making brownies and when Sarah and Greta left, we went to the O'Reillys for dinner. We always say that no matter how many times we see each other it's never enough. Good friends like that are really quite rare. We feel so very blessed. 

When we got home Millie was asleep and Jack went straight to bed. Stuart messaged that he had arrived and was fine. 

I woke up Friday morning to take Molly out to pee. It was about 4:30 am and Jack was on the sofa playing his iPad. At that moment, the rule came into play 'you are not to play your iPad in the mornings until either Mom or Dad are up'. Of course I sent him back to bed. 

Stuart messaged around 9 to let me know he was going into surgery. I told him not to worry about messaging me after surgery because I knew he wouldn't feel well.  He finally did message me to say he was fine but in pain. I'm so glad I have already been through this so I can support him, but I feel badly for him that he's in pain. 

Once both kids were up, they ate breakfast and we watched a movie. At 9:30 am we went to Bounce, the trampoline place. They are running a special during Ramadan. You can bounce for up to three hours each day during the month of Ramadan for about $80. Usually the sessions are an hour long and it is about $22 a session. So if you bounce a total of 4 hours you have gotten your money's worth. On Friday alone they bounced for two hours. I told the kids I would get myself a pass when we went gain on Sunday. They were a sweaty mess at the end of their time. It's great exercise and seems good fun. After bouncing we stopped by the grocery store for some air freshener. The house was starting to smell too much like pets. Ick!

Once we were home we did a whole lot of nothing. The kids were totally exhausted. They showered after a couple of hours of laziness. We watched some television, ate dinner and went to bed. It was a great day. 

We got up Saturday morning and chilled around the house. Around 9:30 am we started toward Dubai and Millie's gymnastics class. We stopped at Park and Shop so we could find some sugar free jello and sugar free popsicles to help Stuart with the first few weeks of his new belly. We had great success. I was so thrilled. We then headed to gymnastics, and while Millie twirled around, Jack and I sat on the sofas and played on our electronic devices, quality time. 

After gymnastics we joined the Richardsons at the Mall of the Emirates for lunch behind the iron curtains. They section off the food court for the non-Muslims at the malls so we can eat during the daylight hours. 

We were going to go see Beauty and the Beast but we missed the showing just before 4 pm and the next one was just before midnight. So we ended up going to the Lego store ad buying some of the new block head legos, then heading home. The kids showered when we got home and started putting together one of their new Lego. I made dinner and we watched the Batman Lego movie. It seemed fitting for our night's activity. We had a full week for sure. 

Doing our part to make sure Lego doesn't go out of business. 

We had a great week, but we were all anxious to have Stuart home. He sent a few more messages on Saturday to let us know he was improving. Once he's home it will be all down hill. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Rugby tour and a staycation.

Sunday morning came way too early. My sick teacher messaged me at 5:15 am and told me she had an appointment in Abu Dhabi. I ended up teaching three periods with the girls and a period on the boys' side. We needed to pull one of out teacher assistants to cover our intervention room, which meant I was needed to cover the grade 4 boys' class. 

I left early to get Millie to go to gymnastics. Stuart showed me a new map app to download, and I actually got to the gym faster and I didn't get lost. It's the little things that mean a lot. 

After gymnastics we went to park and shop for a few items before heading to McDonalds and then home. Millie found a 500 dirham note while we were at Park and Shop. She turned it in to a very happy young man who had dropped it just minutes before. Millie fell asleep on the way home. When I got home Jack was ready for bed. I carried Millie to bed, unloaded the car and then took Jack up to bed. Stuart and I watched Who Framed Roger Rabbit before heading to bed ourselves. 

Monday morning I was up, changed Millie's bed, which was well overdue, did my morning jobs and left for school. On the way I got a message from my teacher that she was in the emergency room. This meant I would be covering her class for the afternoon. I decided to take my class to our buddy readers. It wasn't a terribly fantastic learning time, but it saved me from actual teaching. 

Monday evening Mandy came over for a chat. We sat outside and chatted for a couple of hours. She ended up staying for dinner, which Stuart came home and made after he got back from rugby training. I had prepped most of the taco stuff and he did the beef when he returned. 

Tuesday I was teaching again. We had fewer students at school. This is very typical of the week before Ramadan. After school I helped get the kids showered and ready to go to Dubai to see Grandad. Andrew was teaching in Dubai so Stuart and the kids went to have dinner with him, while I stayed home and got ready for my staff night out. It was a bit sad because I'm transferring at the end of this year. I love my staff, but realize it's time for a change. 

Wednesday school was chilled and there were way fewer kids. The teachers were able to combine classes and have fewer teaching periods. Many teachers spent a lot of time in my office on Wednesday. Socially, our lives are getting ready to be way more fun. 

After school Stuart and I went to Brighton for parent meetings with the kids' teachers. They had nothing but wonderful things to say about Jack and Millie. Millie's progress this year has exceeded our expectations, and Jack is writing better than I do. He's so creative. We are so very proud of their progress this year. 

Once we were home, we showered the kids and headed to the golf club for sushi night. We decided since Stuart was leaving for Thailand the following morning, we would have a dinner out together. Sean and Mandy joined us at the club. Dinner was fantastic. The sushi at the golf club is the closest thing to real sushi I've had in this country. 

Jack loves sushi!
Millie thinks this is sushi!

We got home and the kids were off to bed. Stuart was up at 2 am to head to Abu Dhabi for his flight to Puckett. Unfortunately his flight was delayed by almost 4 hours. Seems the jet dumped all of its fuel and they had to disembark for a while. 

The kids and I got up just before 6 am and headed off to school. We had arranged to have a potluck at school, so all the English teachers brought a dish to share. I left early for a Head of Faculty meeting. We were saying goodbye to some of our felllow Heads of Faculty, so it wasn't much of a meeting. 

Once Millie was home from school we went and picked up Cathy, then headed to get Jack from his math club. However, once we got there I was informed that his last club day was actually the week before this one. Sometimes I forget to read the school bulletin. Oops!

At any rate we were off to Abu Dhabi for a staycation at the Raha Beach Hotel. It seems to be what we do now when Stuart goes to Thailand. It's relaxing and fun for the kids. When we arrived we went straight to the pool. Since dinner was right upon us we decided to just get food from the pool bar. We had a few hours in the pool and then headed up for showers. The kids fell asleep watching the Disney channel while Cathy and I sat on the balcony enjoying the view. 

Friday morning we were up and at breakfast by 8 am. We decided to go and see Diary of a Wimpy Kid at the cinema in the mall attached to the hotel. It was really cute, and by the time we got out the Rouvis were at the pool. We got to the pool just before 1 pm and spent a good 4 hours there. Then it was up to the room and off to dinner. We were in bed by 8 pm for a restful night and another day by the pool. 

Saturday morning was much of the same, up for breakfast and down to the pool. We asked for a late check out so we could come back to the room for showers before heading home. Ramadan had started on Saturday so there was no eating in public, thus no food court at the mall was open for lunch. So we opted to go to the super market for some snacks to consume on the way home. Our truck windows are quite dark so we could get away with eating while on the road. 

We ended up getting home around 2:30 pm and chilled for the rest of the day. It was rather nice. Millie had a 15 minute cat nap in the car just before we got home, so getting her to bed was a nightmare. Luckily, Sunday would be the start of Ramadan hours at school, which meant we all went in an hour later. We had a wonderful weekend, but Millie cried when going to bed on Saturday night because she missed Daddy. Bless her!  

Once the kids were in bed I sat down to some television and had a bit of a nap. I was awakened by a Skype call from Stuart. He informed me they hadn't won any of their games but they were having a great time. He and Sean were in charge of the tour and apparently had received many compliments as to how well things were going. I know that makes it all worth it to him. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A busy week for sure!

Jack woke up Sunday morning at 2 am and threw up on his floor. He was very conscientious and just hit the tile. Look kid was a wreck. Needless to say I stayed home with him on Sunday. Happy Mother's Day to me. The upside is that Stuart took Millie to Dubai for me for gymnastics. Yahoo! What a treat that was. 

Jack and I sat around and watched movies all day. It was actually nice. We did nip out to get the car re-registered and to take him to the doctor. 

Millie fell asleep in the car on the way to gymnastics so when she got home she was wired for sound and Jack was feeling better. Needless to say, getting them to bed was quite the challenge. 

Monday morning everyone was up and ready to roll out the door on time, which doesn't often happen. I'm usually barking at one of the kids to brush their teeth or get their shoes on. It was a better way to start the day. 

At school, the teacher I have been covering for has returned. Thank goodness. So teaching was not my assignment for the week. However, crowd control became my assignment. What a joy! The students, especially on our boys' side of the school, have checked out. Ramadan begins around May 26th, so we only have two more weeks with the students any way. 

After school we went to the pool. I decided to swim because my knee needed the exercise. However, it was especially painful on Monday and swimming didn't really help a great deal. But the kids got out of the house and we all cooled off for a bit. 

Once we were home we all had showers, fish fingers, sausage rolls and tater tots. Millie went to bed with little trouble and Jack watched television while Mandy and I had a catch up session. She informed me that she had started a series of rabbi shots because she was bit by a cat at her school. 

Tuesday, school was non-eventful, except for the usual boys running around the school. Cathy and I carpooled and then she went to Abu Dhabi with me to get jewelry for my two teachers at my school who are leaving. We ended up going to Al Dalma Mall and shopping a bit, mainly for stuff for Stuart's rugby tour. He called as I was heading to Abu Dhabi and said the Land Rover was over heating again. I wasn't exactly sure what he wanted me to do about it, but I think he just was irritated and I was the sounding board. He ended up driving the car to the mechanic, for the third time this month, and getting a cab home. I got home after a lovely Italian meal at Buca di Beppo, bringing some left overs for Stuart and the kids. I unpacked the car and headed for a shower. 

Wednesday at school I worked on some of my data charts for the end of the year data. It seems when Ramadan starts all the teachers are finished with their work, and that's when my work begins. I usually have the busiest time during the first week of Ramadan and then I can relax a bit. 

Wednesday an email came with the final draft of my children's book. I was so excited. Here is the cover. I can't wait until it is printed and ready to sell. 

Wednesday after school Stuart picked Jack up from school and his friend Eleanor came home with him. We went to Bawadi Mall. Stuart shopped for more trinkets for the rugby tour while I took the kids to Fun City. We then went to the club for dinner. Eleanor's mother came to pick her up from the club so it was then time for us to go home as well. I had a difficult time getting Jack to leave the club. It seems sometimes we can have a full day of fun and it is not enough. He always wants more. I suppose that's his age causing that right now. 

When they did finally get home, they showered and went straight to bed. Millie had scuffed her elbow at school on Tuesday and then reopened the wound at the club. As you would guess, her bath was filled with a few tears. 

Thursday morning I took the kids to school. Jack was getting his Silver award for earning 50 house points. He really does go to Harry Potter's school. He was thrilled I was there, and so proud of his accomplishments. He has had an excellent school year. 

Jack and his buddy, Harry, doing a school project. 

Going to his school made me late to my school. My principal is always very understanding about things that have to do with the kids. Once I was at school it was business as usual. I helped fill out a survey about English and Math, copied lesson plans for teachers, shot the bull with staff during their breaks, and finished up some more data charts. 

After school I headed for the weekly shop. Then I went to collect Jack from his math club. He claimed he had a headache. I think he just didn't want to do his homework. I decided to get home and shower the kids. We then went to collect the Land Rover around 5 pm. The kids had a nutritious meal of peanut butter and jam sandwiches, grapes, and crackers. 

We got home and Stuart cleaned up the back porch for our party to be held on the Friday. He also went around to Sean's to get the table and chairs he had said we could have. The sun killed the seats of two of our chairs so it was time for some new chairs at least. 

Sean came over later for a beverage as did Cathy and Mandy. We ended up ordering curry and just hanging out in the back garden, and I use the term 'garden' very loosely. 

Friday morning snuggle buddies. 

Friday morning Stuart was up cooking for our brunch at our house. We had planned to do a brunch at one of the hotels, as they stop during Ramadan, but we didn't book a table in time so we decided to move the party to our house. People started showing up around 1 pm and the food fest commenced for nearly 12 hours. The kids played in and out of the house, but didn't wreck the house as much as I had anticipated. They tidied up fairly well, and of course I climbed the stairs a time or two to do my own clean up. We laughed and played silly music games until Stuart got nervous our neighbors were going to get upset. We were quite loud, that was for sure. But I'm happy to report that our neighbors did not mention one thing about our overly noisy party. 

Saturday I got up and cleaned up the carnage from the brunch. The floors were sticky, there was still some crap in the garden that needed to be tossed and of course the trash bins were stuffed. Stuart and I had done come cleaning the night before, as I always like to do.  

We Skyped Grammie and Pop as soon as the kids were up, and then we headed to the pool for Henry and May's birthday party. We were there a couple of hours, had some lunch, and then headed back home. Jack was none too happy, but both kids were tired from the previous night's party, and a little down time would do them good. 

We took Molly to her first vet's appointment at 3 pm. She got a shot and had a delayed reaction to it. You would have thought she got shot with a gun, she carried on so. Once we were home from the vet, the kids helped me bathe Molly and then the two of them got in the bath. Jack had rubbed a rash on his stomach and begged me to bathe him. We told him that was why we bought rash guards for the pool because we didn't want him to be climbing on foam body boards and rub a rash on his chest. Maybe learning the hard way will cause him to wear his rash guard next time. 

Once the kids were clean, I showered as well. I then made their dinner while Stuart headed to see the bariatric doctor who did my surgery a year and a half ago. Yes, Stuart has decided this surgery is a good idea for him. He will have the surgery on June 2, and be able to be fully recovered by the time the rugby season starts in September. I think he is anxious to get it over with and get on with the results. 

When Stuart got back from the doctor, after having blood work and scheduling his other tests, I was putting Millie to bed. Jack was still on the sofa, but a tired boy for sure. Stuart started cooking dinner, which was a delightful pork green Thai curry, and shortly after we ate Jack went to bed. Everyone was spent. We are ready for a holiday for sure. It's hot and time for a break!