Wednesday, August 29, 2012

If I Had the Time....

Life has been pretty busy lately, which, if I was honest with you, I really enjoy. But it has been so busy that I have even been skipping my afternoon nap! Which is saying alot, since I haven't missed this many afternoon naps in almost 2 years. It got me thinking...

If I had the time, I would

Finish Reading: The Three Musketeers- I am loving Alexandre Dumas' book. It's a bit of a behemoth though, which can be a little overwhelming if you let it. I like it because each chapter is an adventure in its own and leaves me wanting to read the next. I get in one or two chapters at night before I call it quits but I'd love to have an afternoon to myself to just sit and read and make real progress.

Begin Reading: It Happened in Italy- I saw this in the Kindle store one day and it really sparked my interest. I have always loved reading stories about Holocaust survivors and the resistance movement, so this book is right up my alley.

Watch the TV show: Downton Abbey, season 2. I borrowed season 1 from a friend last winter and loved it! I like historical pieces and I really like when dramas are very well done. It's a mini series but the episodes are like movies and the characters are really intriguing! I'll probably wait to buy the show off of iTunes until after Sophia is born and I am glued to the couch, nursing for half of the day!

Rent the movie: The Hunger Games. I read the trilogy before the movie came out and even got Ian to read them. I really enjoyed them and wish we had been able to see the movie in theaters, but it was not possible at the time. To do before baby comes: Date night in with husband!

Play: Monopoly! This should go right along with my date night, though I don't like to play games while watching a movie for the first time, because I like to have my focus fully on the movie. I LOVE playing Monopoly and was overjoyed to rediscover our own game in our crate!

Talk to: my sister, my mom, my friends! Alot of people. It's really hard now that school has started back- my family and friends are all busy and because of the time difference (we are 8 hours ahead of the east coast,) most people can only talk on Saturday morning their time! I can usually only fit in one or two conversations a week then, because there isn't enough time talk to everyone in one day.

Cook: a lasagna. I'm not really sure why, but lasagna has been on my mind alot lately. I haven't had a really good lasagna in years and I might be craving it. It just takes so long if you make a really good one! I miss frozen lasagnas- they are good to me!

Bake: Chocolate Chip Cookies! I could bake and eat these every day for the rest of my life. I LOVE cookies more than almost any baked good. I've got a great recipe that turns out perfectly, but I would really love to learn to make chocolate chip cookies like Subway cookies :)

Clean: Our windows! Since moving in to the house, we have not cleaned the windows and the desert sand is everywhere on them! It's so hot outside that I don't think I could handle cleaning the outside though, so I have put off cleaning the inside because, well, what's the point cleaning one if the other is going to be caked in sand?

Visit: the salon. I desperately need a haircut but I haven't found out where a good salon is here yet. My hair needs to lose about 3-4 inches for it to be healthy again. I stopped trimming it on my own about 5 months ago, thinking I would get a hair cut back in June, but it just hasn't happened yet. My curls will look so much healthier as soon as I can get it chopped. And while I am at it, I'd love to get a pedicure and a massage too. Hey, a girl can dream!

Create: a nursery! I've sorted through Grace's baby things and have piles of stuff that is just waiting for Sophia's furniture to be put into place. After that, I can add a few cute touches, but first, I need to find some time to do all of that!

Monday, August 27, 2012

{Freezer Meals}

Freezer Meals:

It seems like everyone is talking, pinning, and trying this method of in advanced meal prep.

I first tried freezer cooking a couple of months before Grace was born at the end of 2010. Our freezer was tiny but I was able to keep it stocked with plenty of meals and it came in handy, particularly after we became first time parents.

It wasn't all successful though. I learned a couple of lessons on what can and can't (or shouldn't) be frozen. There was a Tortilla Chicken Soup incident that I don't think Ian or I will ever be able to forget. Turns out, cilantro can go rancid when frozen and then thawed.

Lesson learned.

My taste buds will never forgive me for that one.

We have a much larger freezer now and I have officially started freezer cooking for after the arrival of our second baby girl, Sophia. I thought I would share some of my favorite freezer recipes. Even if you aren't expecting a new arrival, freezer cooking can be really helpful, especially as the months of the busy holiday season approach.

There are several different ways to freezer cook:

Batch Freeze Cooking- where you stock up and spend a whole day or an afternoon cooking several meals to freeze.

Crock Pot Freezer Cooking- Where you slice and prepare all of the ingredients ahead of time but do not actually cook the ingredients, simply freeze them together so that you can put them in the crock pot on the day of cooking.

Single Meal Freezer Cooking- Prepare and cook a meal for the sole purpose of freezing it.

Double (or Triple) up Freezer Cooking- My personal preference. On the day that you prepare a meal for your dinner, simply double the ingredients and, in turn, double the results. One meal goes on the table, one goes in the freezer!

You can do whatever way you want, but I usually double or triple my recipe and freeze the extras because I feel that it is most cost effective AND the least stressful. Only one set of dirty dishes, the same amount of prep work (approximately,) and you get to actually eat the food that you prepare on the day that you do the work!

The first freezer meal I have made in the new house is:

Li'l Cheddar Meat Loaves

Now, I know meat loaf isn't everyone's favorite, but I l-o-v-e this recipe. It's got enough other flavors that makes it not too much like just a loaf of meat. It's moist, cheesy, and a hint of sweetness.

A little meatloaf back story. I whole heartedly believe that you love the type of meat loaf that your mom made. My mom makes a mid western style meat loaf and I love it. Ian's mom makes a Louisiana/Southern style meatloaf and he loves it. When we got married, I knew that I would never be able to replicate his mom's meatloaf and I also knew that it wasn't really fair to just keep making my mom's meatloaf (which I couldn't get quite right anyways.) SO, I set out to find our own meatloaf recipe!

I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen. It is originally from Julie's Eats and Treats and we honestly look forward to this meal every time it comes around.

The directions are for doubling up and freezing one half (one normal portion) of the recipe. Pictures are on the owner's site of the preparation process.

  • 2 whole Egg
  • 1 1/2 cups Milk
  • 2 cups Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 cup Quick Cooking Oats
  • 1 cup Chopped Onion
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 pounds Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 1/3 cups Ketchup
  • 1 cups Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Prepared Mustard 

1. In a bowl beat egg and milk.
2. Stir in cheese, oats, onion and salt.
3. Add beef and mix well.
4. Shape the mixture into 8-12 loaves; place loaves in a greased 13x9x2 inch baking dish.
5. Combine ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. Spoon over loaves.
6. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
7. With remaining meat mixture, spoon into greased muffin tin and cook at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Do not cover with sauce. Will make 12-18 additional loaves (for freezing!)
8. Eat and enjoy the 8-12 loaves for dinner,  let muffin tin meatloaves cool for 30 minutes, then place in a freezer safe container and freeze for later use.

If you have extra sauce, you could always freeze it in a baggie, or you could make another batch of the sauce (ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard,) at the time of reheating the frozen meat loaves.

I tried freezing the sauce in individual disk shapes, thinking it would be easier to grab one or two per loaf if I was only heating up a loaf or two, but it didn't freeze very well.

When using the frozen meat loaves, thaw, top with sauce, and cook for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. You can reheat them all at once or just a few at a time.

I've also prepared this meal for freezing and not baked them first. They turned out fine but I am choosing to cook things thoroughly this time around, just to be safe.

We love this meal with mashed potatoes, green beans, yeast rolls, and sauteed squash!

Stay tuned for more of our favorite freezer meals!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Good/Great Day

You know it's going to be a good day when you wake up at 3 am (hats off to you, insomnia,) and think "YES! I get to eat Papa John's today!

And yes, I did enjoy myself some pizza. Delicious!

The day continued in full blown wonderfulness with Grace being adorable, followed by a super hot and long shower, and a peach that made my heart sing. And all before 11 AM. Then it just went into a frenzy of amazingness, as our DRYER was delivered!

I have not owned a dryer since we lived in Vancouver, over 2 years ago. It hasn't been horrible, but it is much more convenient to dry towels and sheets, underclothes and t-shirts, in a dryer than having to hang all of those things up.

AND we got it used for 50 dollars. It was a steal.

And if I thought my day couldn't get any better, I was wrong. The minute the dryer delivery was over Ian's phone rang from our fridge delivery guy. Yes, he was supposed to be delivering between 5 and 9 pm, but we took the 1 pm delivery with a smile. You see, we've been living with a dorm fridge for almost 6 weeks now.

Our Fridge

Our Fridge with Grace for a height comparison.
And although it worked just fine, it was so tiny, and our condiments took up so much space, that I had to run out and go grocery shopping every day. We were trying to find a good used fridge (Abu Dhabi has a great Classifieds website, similar to, but, in my opinion, better than Craigslist,) but it wasn't working out. So we went to an appliance wholesaler and got a great deal on a brand new, gigantic LG fridge. And a free microwave.

My first fridge. And microwave. And washer. And dryer. And stove. That we've ever owned. All at the same time.

To put the cherry on top of the epically amazing day, I finally entered the nesting stage of this pregnancy.

At exactly 4:30 pm today.

Yes, I know the time. Because at 4 pm, I was perfectly content to sit on the couch and not work on anything, and by 4:30 pm I was up and going, making list, and sorting things into piles.

Bring on the nesting!

Ian and I spent the rest of the evening, cuddling on the couch and watching rugby.  A good day that became a great day!


My friends just back to the States after being gone for nearly 3 years and they have boon posting facebook statuses and pictures showing their joy in the little things of life. Mostly food related, but still. Chick-fil-a, pork products, Wal-Mart, family, etc. It makes me SO excited for our trip to the States next year.

Home Girl, rocking her first pair of real shorts! She looked so grown up!
I'm really eager to redesign my blog, but am not wanting/am not able to spend anything on it right now. I also don't have time to do it myself. I don't suppose there is a really professional blog designer who reads this and wants to do some charitable work?

And yes, I just referred to myself as a charity case.

I'm totally okay with that.

We're keeping pretty busy here, but we like that! I can't believe we are 6 weeks from the due date for Miss Sophia!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

32 Weeks

Sundays have unofficially become "Sophia Sundays" on my blog but before I do a pregnancy update I wanted to say "Happy Birthday!" to my Grandma! Grace colored a card for her Great Grandma, that is, before she tried to eat the crayons.

I don't think she's ready for crayons yet.

So, Happy Birthday Grandma! We love you and miss you!

Today marks 33 weeks in this pregnancy. I can NOT believe we are 7 weeks or less (probably) from meeting our Sophia Anne!

These past four weeks have flown by. I said it on my last mini update two weeks ago, but I am significantly more uncomfortable with this pregnancy. I have had some lower abdominal pain (erm, "some" is really a loose term,) but I have a couple more days until my next doctor's appointment. It makes it difficult to walk, climb the stairs, carry Grace, and, oh yeah, sleep.

I had my first Braxton Hicks contractions at 32 weeks and 6 days. I never had any with Grace and it was really unsettling, even though I knew they weren't real contractions. They kept me up all night but by morning, I had realized that I was just a little dehydrated, and with some extra rest and plenty of fluids, they stopped about 12 hours after they started.

The belly is straight out, which is both good and bad. Good, because I often feel leaner than I did with Grace. Bad, because I need a pillar to support the belly.

My skin is starting to clear up (finally!) and my acid reflux doesn't seem to be as bad. Both are major answers to prayers!

We  got to see our Sophia girl at our 31 week appointment. I was suddenly measuring alot larger than I had been, so our doctor just wanted to check and make sure everything was okay. She looks wonderful and is in perfect health. The radiologist was able to confirm that she is definitely a girl (they weren't very sure at our gender ultrasound,) and even did a measurement of her (they've never done that at any of my ultrasounds before.) Sophia was weighing in at 4.2 pounds at 31 weeks! We're praying that the measurement is wrong, because that means she would be a pretty large baby 9 weeks later!

Look at those huge chubby cheeks!

We finally have a plan in place for when and how we are going to get ready for Sophia. I'm pretty confident it will come together in the next couple of weeks. For now, we're "preparing" Grace for having a baby around. We don't think she is really aware enough to understand, but she will be aware that our focus and her home environment has changed. We do alot of playing with a baby doll, making it cry, swaddling it, feeding it, finding it, etc.

"Where's the baby, Grace?"
She just started doing "Where" hands- I love it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Getting Ready and Our Wish List

I've officially had that moment.

That moment when I realize my baby could arrive here in four weeks and the doctors wouldn't stop her!

That moment when I realize Sophia could be joining us in ONE MONTH.

That moment when I walk into her room and see nothing done. Nothing set up, nothing bought, nothing washed.

That's right. I'm almost 33 weeks along and have not done a single thing for baby girl #2 and her arrival.

Hi, My name is Brittney and I am a terrible human being.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: It really shouldn't take us that long to get her room ready. I have everything planned in my head but I haven't actually gone out and found anything.

Mostly, because the few things that we actually need (crib, changing pad, and sheets for her crib,) cost money, and all of our money is going into furnishing our new home. The things that we need to do before Sophia's arrival (for her, not just for our house, ha!) are:

1.) Buy an entertainment center, so that we can move her dresser out of the family room and into her room.
2.) Wash and dry the container of newborn and container of 0-3 month clothes from Grace.
3.) Wash and dry the container of baby/infant linens.
4.) Put said clothes and linens into dresser that has been moved into her room.
5.) Use frames (that we already own,) and make some art for her room.
6.) Buy and set up changing pad, cd player, and lamp

If that's all we got done before she arrived, I'd be happy. We'd be able to easily access her clothes, use her linens, and change her diaper. If we hadn't gotten around to buying and setting up a crib, we have a pack n play with an infant insert that we could use for awhile.

See? It's a really easy list. I could have the entire thing done in a day, no problem, since I have already chosen the entertainment center and it can fit in our car. I'm just procrastinating because life has been so full and busy lately!

Another reason that we haven't gotten much is done is because the things that we want are just that, wants. I'm not a particularly frugal person. I have no problem spending money on things. The problem is, the things I like are usually very good quality and therefore very expensive. Here are a few of our "Wish List" items that we didn't have room for in our old apartment, or we didn't need:

The Graco Sweetpeace Swing (really, I'm okay with any old swing, this one is just impressively high tech.)


Baby Monitor- our last apartment was so small that we could hear Grace even when she was just stirring in her crib. In this house, the walls are so thick and we are much more spread out, meaning that we can't even hear her crying in her room from our bedroom! Not to mention if I am downstairs while she is sleeping. We really need a monitor (or maybe two?) that can pick up sound (I don't need video) and transmit through these thick concrete walls. Any suggestions? I think we probably also want the receiver to be rechargeable, as I would need to move it from our bedroom to downstairs with me.


An unstructured baby carrier- we borrowed our friend's infant carrier but we didn't use it very often. Now, with Grace on the move, I would love some way to hold Sophia while still doing things with Grace. Plus, this might help us with our stroller situation (more on that to come.) Suggestions? K'Tan? Moby Wrap? Something different? We have a Classic Boba, which we love, but it is a soft structured carrier and is meant for a baby 15 pounds and above, so we want something for a small baby.

A double stroller- there aren't many options out here for double strollers. I'm not a fan of umbrella strollers (at all) because of their propensity to flip backwards and you can't really have an infant in one anyways. I'd love to be able to move Sophia's car seat from the car to the stroller. AND I want a more compact stroller that isn't too wide (can't fit through aisles at stores,) or too long (can't fit into smaller elevators- believe me, I've seen it happen.) All of this to say, I LOVE this stroller but it is a total dream item: a Phil and Teds Dash with a Double kit. I can get one used here for about half of the regular price, which is nice, but even still, it's expensive!!


There are a few more small items but that is the extent of our big Wish List items. They probably will never happen, but I'm keeping my eyes open for good deals on these things!

Perhaps in the next week or two we'll be able to start moving on getting preparations for Sophia's arrival. I think the first purchase will be a pack of newborn diapers!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Last and a First

Within the last month, Grace has had a "last," and a "first" for her!

Her last was her last day of daycare. Grace attended a day care from the time that she was five months old for five hours a day, five days a week, while we were in full time language school.

She was at her first day care from September until March. That daycare was okay, but it was really dirty and pretty disorganized. The women that worked there though loved Grace, and I didn't doubt for a minute that she was being taken care of. It was right next to my language school, too, so while I was still nursing Grace, I could just walk next door during my lunch break and feed her.

Then, one day in the spring, I went to drop Grace off at her daycare and was met at the gate by an unknown lady. She took Grace from me and went inside. Now, this wasn't totally out of the norm, as new workers were constantly being cycled in. But I didn't see even one of the normal workers through the gate, and the daycare was strangely quiet. I had a weird feeling but had to get to school.

When I got to my class, I found out they were taking a test and since I didn't have to take one, I sat out in the sitting room. About half an hour later, I got a call from the director of the day (in Arabic) saying that she and ALL of the workers had been let go and replaced over night. Something about the owner just wanting a new staff at lower salaries.

I ran next door and got Grace and she never went back. I was pretty freaked out that I had left Grace (unknowingly,) with people that she and I didn't know.

We switched to a daycare that was about 15 minutes away. That's not normally a long drive, but we  didn't have a car so that meant we were spending alot of time in taxis. It was all worth it though- the new daycare was very clean and the child to teacher ratio was alot lower. They were never able to get Grace to sleep while she was there, but it was okay, she just took a longer nap in the afternoon!

In the last month or two, every afternoon when I would pick her up, she would be sitting with the daycare director, in her office! The director often had several children and another adult with her in the office and I know Grace loved the quieter atmosphere with more attention.

She went to this daycare until the day before we moved. Her last day was July 16th, 2012, and it was such a bittersweet day. Sad, because the women who cared for her did such a great job, and Grace loved having friends to play with every day. Happy though, because I never wanted to send her to daycare. I always thought I would be home with my babies when they were little. I was glad to close that chapter of our lives.

Happy baby, on her way to her last day of daycare!
A first for Grace happened just a few days later, when Grace got to go to church nursery for the first time! While were in language school, our church was a small group that met together weekly. There was no church nursery, just a family style environment that worshiped and learned together. As soon as we moved we were able to visit three different churches in three consecutive weeks, letting Grace go to Church nursery for the first time.

Getting her strawberry back pack on for her last day!
Our first week went smoothly, except when snack time came to an end and Grace threw a fit when she wanted more. In her defense, they served Goldfish, which she had just had for the first time that week and she was in love!

Our second week went mostly smoothly. While I was signing her in and filling out some paperwork, Grace was beside or behind me, peering through the baby gate into the room and talking and laughing with the toddlers on the other side. She was bouncing with excitement and couldn't wait to get in there and play. While I was writing though, another lady and her son walked up. The woman signing me in got my attention and told me to look at Grace and help her. I turned around to see a panicked Grace, with a 4 year old boy BITING HER NOSE!

Yes, my 1 year old baby girl was just standing there when this 4 year old boy bit her on her face and held on for dear life. Luckily, her skin wasn't broken, but she was really freaked out. The mom of the boy apologized profusely and the nursery worker asked her if he was "a biter." The mom said that he was and that she knew she had to stay with him in nursery because of it.

Good to know.

Grace was fine though and had a great time after that!

Our third week, we visited a different church and Grace was the only child in nursery! Not just in her age group, but at all! Very strange, considering there was 4-500 people there. Grace loved the attention and the toys though and had herself a great time.

So, there you have it. A detailed description of Grace's last daycare experience and first church nursery experiences!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Casualty of Moving

 We are three weeks out from our move and everything has been packed and put away for almost two weeks now. I'm pleased to say that we really only had one "casualty" of our move. Three of my glasses were cracked and broken.

That's it!

That's pretty impressive considering we packed everything we owned back in May of 2009 and put it into storage. Then, in January of 2010, a moving company came and picked it up and moved it to a crate. Only, they couldn't fit everything in our box, so they opened our boxes and moved things all around, leaving some things not even in boxes! Our household goods sat in a warehouse for over 2 years, then, just two months ago, in May of 2012, the crate was loaded onto a truck, driven to and unloaded onto a cargo ship, and sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. Then, when the ship docked in Abu Dhabi, it was unloaded, x-rayed and put through other customs procedures, then loaded onto a truck and driven to our new home. There it was unloaded into our house!

Quite the journey and incredible to think that only 3 little glasses got broken! We're so thankful that none of our things had mold or insects!

Grace is pretty impressed as well! She loves "helping," us clean and can often be found with a rag in hand, rubbing doors or furniture down! She also learned the sing for food or eat, and spends most of her time running to the fridge, signing for food, and nodding her little head and saying a cute high pitched "yeah!" or affirmative "mmm-hmm!"

She loves taking her baby, bunny, and bear from room to room, moving them onto and off of the couch, stairs, or rug.

 As for the unmentioned casualty of  this sanity.....

Things are going good. I had a small melt down today, after several hours of unsuccessfully trying to recover our new (to us) dining room chairs. We had been unable to find a staple gun and so I had finished one seat with just some tacks and a hammer but it too almost 3 hours and was a big pain. Ian finally told me to stop, that we would find a staple gun somewhere!

Then, he served me a piece of chocolate cake. Because my husband loves me. And he especially loves for his very pregnant wife not to completely fall apart.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bump Update

 This pregnancy is vastly different from my first, so I shouldn't be surprised at how I haven't done bump pictures as often as I should.

But I still am.

Surprise, surprise, I actually did bump pictures on time, with my 28 and 30 week pictures!

Ian was thrilled when I whipped out the camera on day two of our move and asked him to snap a picture or two:

And, because I'm all about being honest and showing the reality of our life right now, here's me looking awkward, Grace wanting to be held, and a room that is a complete disaster:

Two weeks later, and I had just rediscovered my Loft sundresses. *sigh* Every summer in college I would be one or two of these super soft cotton sun dresses, and wear them until they were thread bare thin. I haven't really worn them much since we moved overseas because there is always the chance that someone will come to the door and this would be considered an "inappropriate" clothing choice for this region.

These days, however, I just tell Ian that he's in charge of answering the door, because I'm too hot (thank you, pregnancy hormones,) to be concerned with wearing pants and long sleeves.

Thank you very much.

And, these are kind of awkward as well, as I felt like a convict lining up for my mug shot. In fact, Ian actually said "And turn to the right," and I about died laughing.

Like I said, this pregnancy is SO different than when I was pregnant with Grace. I had more morning sickness and have horrible heartburn, even with a prescription medicine. I showed earlier (I know, duh, it's my second baby,) and "popped," earlier. I also got to feel her move earlier and I think I feel her move more often than I felt Grace move.

30 weeks hit and it all went down hill however. The pregnancy glow is over for me, I think. I feel massive, can't sleep, and have a hard time breathing most of the time. I don't think I felt this way with Grace until I was 37 or 38 weeks. 

That being said, today I am 31 weeks. It's hard to believe that, in all likelihood, Sophia will be joining us in 9 weeks or less! I can not wait to see her sweet face and to snuggle her close!

I have a checkup this week with my doctor. My last with him, as he is moving back to the States. I'm very sad about this but am happy with the medical care that we receive at that hospital so I'm not too worried.

As another confession on how this pregnancy is different from the last.....we haven't done one thing for sweet Sophia's nursery yet. And really, we don't have any plans to start for another 3-4 weeks. I think we have a little more wisdom this time, knowing we just have to go out a buy a few things and get them delivered. It's not too much of a process and, in all honesty, I could have her room purchased, delivered, and put together in about 3 days flat.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Realities of Moving

I have alot to say about the moving process but I thought I would begin by giving you a little glimpse into what the realities of moving look like. I would hate to think that in the weeks that follow, as I complete rooms and share them, someone would think that I had it all together and was a master organizer (ha!) or brilliant cleaner (ha ha!) Instead, it's taken alot of focus and hard work as Ian and I try to get the house into shape.

And it has been with it's disastrous occasions as well, as is well documented in the following pictures:

A view of what will be Sophia's room. I couldn't figure out what to do with all of this stuff for almost 3 weeks. I kept walking around in circles, not having a place to put anything, just dumping it back on the ground for Grace to take apart! Ian came in one morning and had it all organized and condensed in 20 minutes.

Of course.

Our downstairs living room is where ALL of the boxes were placed, so we worked at pulling them, one by one, into the appropriate room. For the better part of the week, I couldn't even enter this room, just pull a box out from the front or have Ian take it to the room that I needed it in!

There was also a gecko loose in this room at some point.

I told Grace not to eat it and just moved on.

Our kitchen. Oh, our kitchen. Actually, I'm rather proud of the fact that once I got over my fear of tackling such a big project, it only took two sessions of unpacking to get this room all unpacked and organized. That might have something to do with the fact that I had sketched out a diagram of all of the cabinets and labeled what was to go in them weeks before we actually moved.

And yes, thank you, I am Type-A in case you were wondering.

What is not pictured?

Oh, that would be Grace.

Eating a raisin.

Which was actually a beetle.

Four points for being and awesome mom.

(At least my kitchen was getting unpacked!)


Thursday, August 2, 2012


After two weeks without internet, I am finally stepping back into the connected world! We moved on July 17th to a new country, city, and home and have spent the better part of the first week just wading through boxes. About the one week mark we were done with boxes and down to the nitty gritty details of organizing and then cleaning the house again. In perfect timing, our water pump went out, which meant five days of no shower (say it with me, EWwwww) and having to fill the toilet tank manually with bottled drinking water.


No house cleaning or laundry could take place either. Finally though, they figured out a temporary solution while the pump part is ordered.

And really, that temporary solution is that an Egyptian man comes to our house every three days, plugs our pump into an inside electrical outlet, and fills our outside water tank. But, you know, I can shower and clean so I am not complaining.

Our internet took forever to get set up, but we really didn't miss it until about day ten. We were so busy we didn't have time to even think about checking emails or reading blogs. My biggest concern was that I knew I had scheduled a post but hadn't finished writing it. Sorry to all of you who saw that blunder.

The house is beautiful and we are in love with our new home. I've said it to many people, but our apartment in our old town never felt like home to me. It was temporary, someone had picked it out for us, and it just didn't feel like "us."

This house has tons of natural light, room for Grace to move around, and great neighbors.

Did I mention the neighbors? At our last apartment, our building sat vacant, except for us, for over a year, then when we finally got neighbors they could not speak English or Arabic, so, there wasn't much of a community atmosphere. Here though we are surrounded by locals and they all have kids and all four of us women are pregnant!

Grace is loving our new home. Before we moved she was really whiney in our house. She didn't want to play. Really, she didn't know what she wanted. Apparently she just wanted a little more space and sun light, because Grace is a different child. She laughs and babbles all day long and is so content to play by herself or walk around the house bringing toy to different rooms!

We spent most of week two putting up curtains on our eleven windows and exploring the different grocery stores within driving distance. It's so nice to have choices! My grocery budget is definitely taking a hit though, since all of the stores have imported items from the States. I displayed excellent self control the other day when I walked away from chocolate chip cookie dough.....

Though I wish I hadn't. Yum, that sounds good.

Speaking of cookies, we finally got a stove, and it's Electric! No more gas powered stove for this woman! I know all of the great chefs love their gas burning ovens but I was not a fan. It's dangerous (about once a week I hear tales of a gas explosion on the news) and it can leave black "smoke" marks all over your kitchen! I made my first batch of cookies in our new oven and they came out perfectly, as opposed to the char grilled baked goods that my other oven always produced.

I can't wait to share pictures of the unpacked, furnished, and decorated house with you, but for now, we are in that awkward phase where not one room is actually finished yet! Each room still needs a rug, wall art, or furniture, but hopefully we'll start completing a room or two soon!