Thursday, November 18, 2010

Piper says.....

I'm gonna be a......... Another cute little adorable baby to love. So excited! New Huntington due to arrive around June 30! I've had this post ready for awhile just waiting for permission to post! So excited!

Our trip to Dubai.....

The kids and Brad had a week off of work and school due to the Hajj Eid. (remember we live in Arabia!) We decided to take a little adventure and drive to Dubai. We know several families who have driven it and didn't really want to spend money on plane tickets. It was about an eight hour drive through the desert but the roads were fine all the way!Google image of the city and also the Palm in the ocean where the Atlantis hotel sits. (no, we didn't stay there....just visited) It was amazing. All the land was filled with VERY high dollar real estate. It made us wonder who are all these people and how do they all have this much money. Evan ran into a friend outside the random is that??Back to the beginning, we got up early on Friday and left about 4:30 in the morning. The sunrise was beautiful. We watched it rise over Hofuf.

We drove and drove and drove through nothing but sand for what seemed like forever. Really, just nothing for hours and hours. If we go again, we will pack more food. We weren't hungry but it was unnerving to see that nothing was available. We got through customs fine into the UAE then drove through lots more to our hotel late in the afternoon. It was called the Golden Sands 10. It was a high-rise apartment building basically, nice and clean but no frills. It had two bedrooms and baths and a living area and kitchen. Whitney thought we should have stayed at a fancy hotel for just one night instead of the cheap on for four.....but we disagreed! (trust me our four nights here was a fraction of one night at most others!)
We spent our days shopping, going to museums, eating yummy food and seeing some movies. Rumor has it that Tom Cruise and the whole cast of the new Mission Impossible were in the mall at the same time as us. They are filming there. We didn't see them but the mall was buzzing about it. We saw Secretariet which was really good.
I took a picture of these workers because as we drove by it Evan said...."I used to have a Hot Wheel just like that but I never thought about putting people in it."

The highlight of Whitney's trip was Ski Dubai. It's an all indoor ski mountain with lifts and runs....just amazing. They provide all the equipment in the fee. She skiid for about three hours and loved every minute. Evan opted to use his money for something else since he's going to Switzerland in February to ski. And since he hadn't skiid before, he would have had to pay alot more to have the training class.
This water feature in the FestivalCity mall was cooler than the picture shows.

One night we went to Global Village. It's a big fair thing where vendors come from all over the world to sell their wares. Whitney got a henna on her arm from an African lady.

The biggest disappointment of the trip was not being able to go up in the Burj Dubai, the tallest building in the world. We waited until the last day and they were sold out of tour tickets. We did drive along side it and looked up. It is unreal how tall it is. That's a must if we ever go back.

We ate some yummy roasted corn from Global Village. Got up early Tuesday morning and headed home after a quick stop at McDonalds. Here are a few sights we saw on the ride home. Brad and I laughed later while looking at them that they didn't seem odd and they seem like they should! Traffic slowed down for this fellow. Luckily not many cars on the road. Can you imagine hitting a camel with your car??
The only stress of the trip was that Dubai is growing so fast that many highways were new and the GPS didn't recognize them. Brad did an excellent job of getting us around. I'll close with a quote by Whitney....."Dad, I'm sure if you wore a thobe and drove a BMW, you'd be more respected and less honked at!"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

That time of the year......

The weather is finally cooling off a bit here in sunny Saudi Arabia. The past few nights have been very pleasant and the temperature in the 60's. (an added plus is NO MOSQUITOS) Friday night (our Sunday) Whitney noted that it felt like "gumbo weather". And so it was....... No Rabidaux's sausage so Hillshire Farms turkey sausage had to do (and it did). Along with some chicken, onions and the roux we brought over, it was a hit!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Random Stuff.....

Well, again, it's been too long since I blogged. Life is normal, busy. I really am in a blogger's slump but here are a few random things. I've been reading this book, The Help. Thanks to Katie, Ivy and Donna for recommending it. It's fabulous. Really, one of my all time favorites. Read it if you have time. As most of you know from facebook, we took family pictures while we were home for summer. I finally got them all printed and framed. Today my friends, Donna and Leanne came and helped me hang them. They look SO good and I'm so excited. They make my family room seem so cozy. No more bare white walls waiting for the pictures! I'll put up another pic soon of the huge family one I got done in color. I bought a sideboard table thing today to go under it in the living room. I'll get it hung tomorrow and post....maybe......

Just another view of our little family room....

I love this guy. He's been working so much overtime lately that we haven't been seeing much of him. But this week he's in training so he gets to leave the house later and come home earlier. Yay!
I snapped this today during Whitney's "naptime". She'll freak if she sees I posted this (actually, that I even took this. She's still right there in the same position as I blog) but she'll get over it.
A few Fridays ago (which is like our Sunday) all the guys had a meeting in the afternoon so Donna and Abigail came over and ate lunch with us. We watched 500 Days of Summer and played beauty shop. Whitney curled their hair and they both looked so cute. Fun to have a nice, fun girls day. Cupcakes and popcorn were also involved.
We can't seem to keep Chelsea off of the X-box lately! haha Found this on my memory card. I guess Evan got her all set up. Maybe taking some attention off of his own video game addiction! But anyway, cute picture. (ignore my fat-self in the background)
I still read all your blogs even though I'm a slacker on mine! On a happy note, Leanne is back in Saudi. We missed you!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Reason.....

To Whom it May Concern:

Please excuse Gwen's absence from her blog, facebook and any other forms of communication. You see, her new Kindle arrived and she has been busy reading books, playing word games and other worthwhile activities.

Really, I LOVE my new Kindle! I ordered it and had it shipped to my friend Debbie's house in Utah. Her husband, Wade, brought it back to Saudi for me last week. (along with my blue case with light that works off the Kindle battery) I had debated for a long time about whether or not I wanted one because 1) I enjoy owning books 2) I like the way books look on the bookshelf and 3) I like the way books feel, the pages turning, the print, etc. But I finally ordered mine and I love it more than I ever thought I would! I've ordered a few books and am really enjoying reading. Starting with Catching Fire (second book in the Hunger Games series). Awesome. Next, Mockingjay (3rd in the series). Then, because Evan recommended it, The Book Thief. Also, all my scriptures, song book are on it and easily accessible. ***** (5 Stars from Gwen for her Kindle!!!) Any book suggestions??

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Other cute pics from summer.....Ok, so they're all of Piper, so what?

Ms. Piper playing with her blocks and a BlueBell bucket Piper and all her cool, big girlfriends...overstimulated but they are thrilled
Piper and Aunt Whitney
Piper playing in the Louisiana rain
She didn't want her knees to touch the sidewalk or grass
I love this one and it's not of Piper....MawMaw and Whitney
Uncle Taylor and Piper wanting to reach that fried fish
Piper tasting her first snocone with help from Aunt Whit...I'd say she liked it
The cool friends again
Playing blocks with Great Grandma
If she could just get her hands on Dre she could pull his adorable curls
Piper and PaPa chilling in the beanbag

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Mosley's come to visit......

Donna and her kids Chad and Abigail came to visit for a couple of days and we had so much fun. Donna and Rusty are our friends from Austin that live in Saudi. It was so fun to have Donna here and introduce her to my friends and parents and show her around "my world". Since Evan was gone to Iowa that week, we thought it would bed fun to all crawl up in his bed and take pictures. Below is Abigail signing the signature wall in Evan's loft.

Chad and Taylor got to know each other and do a little fishing. They will both be at BYU-I this coming semester so they had alot to talk about. Plus both recently returned from their missions- Taylor to France, Chad to Peru....well, at least they could talk about the contrasts!

Of course, we stayed up talking late both nights! It was fun....

Other Summer Stuff......

A list:

  • Evan flew from Saudi to Lake Charles with Christian Mason, a boy his age we know from Saudi....they did fine. Evan did get delayed for several hours in Dallas. Michael, our next door neighbor was on the same flight so they ate and visited. I was glad to get Evan home. I really missed him.

  • The day after he flew in he started driver's ed at Parkview. It lasts Sat. and Sun afternoon for two straight weekends then three days of a few hours of driving. He is now the proud holder of a Louisiana Driver's Permit.

  • Orange Texas Stake Youth Conference was held in our area this year. Glad the kids were there for it. It was great. I housed six teenage boys at the house and got them where they needed to go. So fun!

  • I had PRK eye surgery, the older form of Lasik. I see super great close up now, like for reading but my far vision is still not as good as I'd like. I think over Christmas, I'm going back in for a tune-up. I will be regular Lasik this time which will be much easier. It's amazing though to be able to read and do my crosswords without glasses at all.

  • Brad flew in August 1st which is his birthday and our anniversary. We were all so happy to see him. I was actually thinking we'd been married 24 years but he came home with some beautiful diamond earrings for our "25th" anniversary. What? 25 years? Could it be? Yes, Ivy informed me that she was almost 24 so it had to be 25. How did I lose a year? A real sign that I'm getting older. But I love my gift. They are beautiful. And luckily Brad had ordered himself a new trolling motor so I didn't feel guilty!

  • Whitney was invited to go to Destin, Florida with the Guidrys. She was gone a week and had a great time. Lots of fun in the sun!
  • Taylor flew in from Idaho the day I had eye surgery. It was so good to have him back. He fished almost every day and fried fish for like nine days straight for lunch.

  • Evan was invited to go on vacation with the Zingers. He flew to Minneapolis where they picked him up and the drove to Des Moines. He had a great time. He turned 16 while he was there and they treated him like a king; amusement park, birthday dinner at Ruby Tuesdays and Kirstin even called to get the recipe for his favorite Butter Cake. He had a blast.

  • Donna, Chad and Abigail came to spend a couple of days with us. Fun! (own post to come)

  • Piper (along with her parents) came to Nana and Papa's house to visit. Papa (Brad) was so cute and went to Walmart to buy her some toys to play with. Of course Nanas and Papas must have toys! (own post to come)

  • Brad's parents also came and we had a great time with everybody.

  • The day before we flew out, we took family pictures with Lindsay Janies Photography. They were supposed to be outside but in true Louisiana fashion, it poured so we had to opt for inside. I think they'll be good anyway. Can't wait to see them.

  • August 18th- Brad, me, Whitney, Evan, Ivy, Calder and Piper loaded up to head to the airport. Taylor had left on an earlier flight to Saudi. We met up with him in Bahrain. Perfect timing. Elaine Newton was also flying out of Lake Charles so we had fun with her in the airports. Had breakfast at Chili's in Dallas before we parted ways!

Crazy Summer but I'm gonna try to catch up....

This summer has been so, so, so packed with stuff that I've just not even known where to start. It's been busy and fun. I'm just going to start blogging stuff. You might enjoy some of it but mainly it's for us to remember all the details. Whitney and Evan both took trips with friends that they really enjoyed. I took some trips. We had lots of company which we loved. I'm just gonna start and add to it when I can. Here goes.....

Cupcakes and Stalkers.....

Well, ok. I really do enjoy reading blogs. I justify it by saying things like "I hardly ever watch tv" or "I'm really interested in reading about normal people and their lives"...I'd actually much rather read about someone like me than somebody famous. So most of you know that I read NieNie Dialoges which is the blog of an "inspiring beyond words" woman who survived a horrible plane crash. I've read it for years. Also, her sister has a blog called "C-Jane Enjoy It" of which I am also a faithful reader. Andrea reads them, too. Thousands of people do, just saying. When we knew we were coming to Provo we decided that we MUST find out where they live and drive by! Do you think this is creepy? To make matters worse, we decide to recruit sweet, innocent Rita as our driver and Lisa as one of our accomplices. Ivy acted like she thought it was dumb but she was all over the clues helping us find the Retro House. So in Blue's Clues fashion we wrote down everything we knew about where they lived and went on the hunt. We never found NieNie's house. (later that week she actually posted her street name....(It would have been fun to wave!) At one point Andrea said defensively, you don't understand, we feel like we know these people!" The key words being -feel like- because we don't ....actually....know them....but we do like them. We also found their parents home which is featured in their blogs alot. So that's that. We stalked....just a bit

They talk alot about a shop called Sweet Tooth Fairy that we found and it did not dissappoint. We all ate our share of wonderful cupcakes and cake bites. Heaven!

EFY=Girl's Trip.......

Earlier in the summer Andrea and I had talked about how fun it would be to go to Utah for awhile. We decided that all our big kids would be at EFY in San Antonio for a week and that would be a perfect time. After paying more for plane tickets than we had hoped to and Andrea making arrangements for her littles, we were all set to go! We left Sulphur about 5:00 in the morning to make the drive to San Antonio. Andrea drove her Excursion. It was she and I, Whitney, Evan, Mary-Catherine and Sarah-Beth. (I remembered that they hyphenate their names now!) Following close behind were the Powell twins and Trevor. We made good time to San Antonio, got everybody unloaded, registered and moved into their dorms- all in record time. (Evan's Company)

(Whitney, MC and some new friends)

(the girls part of Whitney and MC's Company) EFY is so awesome and my kids always love it. I was sad that this would be Whitney's last year since she is 18. We left at noon to drive to Austin to get on the plane. We had no problems other than we had decided to take only "carry-0ns" to save time. Andrea forgot that she had a huge bottle of expensive hair product in her bag. She sadly had to forfeit that to the security lady. Our flight was very bumpy and rough and Andrea and I were both feeling very ill. She actually about reached for her sick bag a time or two. Luckily...or not....we were sitting by an extremely talkative man who visited and chatted the whole time. It did kind of keep my mind off the horrible flight. We were met at the airport by my daughter Ivy and granddaughter, Piper! From that point on, Ivy was our chaffeur. All we had to do was buy the gas which we were glad to do. We had a great time. I loved my spot in the backseat next to Piper. Our first stop was Sandy! My friend from Saudi, Donna's, son had just returned from his mission to Peru and she was having a party at her sister's house. Alot of our Saudi friends that live in the area were in for the summer and there to meet Chad. It was fun to see eveybody and let Andrea meet some of our friends. We stayed there until late then went to another friend from Saudi, Leanne's house in American Fork for the night. It was so fun to be there with her. Andrea and I took over Tori's room while Ivy and Piper slept in another room across the hall. We were exhausted. We had covered alot of miles that day! The next day Leanne, Andrea, Ivy and I met Donna, her sister, and Debbie Stratford for a fun day of eating and shopping. Leanne took us to a cute little restaurant in an old house called Food for Thought. We all loved it. We enjoyed the food, the company and the yummy salad, sandwiches and deserts.
After a long lunch there, we hit up Rod Works and a few other Utah stores that I had always heard of but never visited. Said good-bye to Donna and Leslie and headed back to Leanne's to clean up to go to the temple. We met Debbie there and went through. I was wonderful to be there with these sweet friends and Ivy. Leanne's kids were so great and babysat Piper while we were there. Got up early the next day's and headed to visit Rita. We met up with Lisa there, had a great lunch and got caught up. We hit a few scrapbooking stores, a few cupcake stores (which will get their own post!) and maybe, just maybe did a bit of stalking! (also it's own post)

That night Rita had meetings so and Andrea and I headed to Lehi to do more visiting. We went to Cafe Rio and I met up with Richard and Dianna Barton. It was so fun to see them! Andrea met up with a friend there, too. After eating way too much.....again.....we hit up Ross to buy suitcases. We realized somewhere along the way that all the stuff we had bought was not gonna go into the carry-ons we brought. By this time it was late but we were running out of time. I really, really wanted to go see Debbie at her house so we gave her a call even thought it was 10:30 or so. She was a good sport and let us come. We had a great visit with her and I loved her house. Back to Rita's for another good night's sleep! Piper was such a good girl through all this running arounnd. Got up, did a little sightseeing around Provo and went to Tucanos for some Brazilian food.....because we just didn't feel like we had eaten enough on this trip so far....:( ha that's a joke.

Ivy left us there and went to meet some college roomies for lunch. We met up with her and headed to Salt Lake. Ivy's husband, Calder's grandmother has a beautiful condo in downtown that she offered to let us stay in. We spend the last night there. We got cleaned up and met my friend, Valeen at the Red Iguana. That's one of Ivy and Calder's favorite places ever. It was really good.
After that we thought that we must have more cupcakes! We knew there was another Sweet Tooth Fairy somewhere near so poor Valeen.....she was on her motorscooter and we made her lead us on a wild goose chase through Salt Lake and got there like a minute before closing! She's our hero! Slept great in the condo and up early in the morning. We ate breakfast right down by Temple Sqare then walked around the visitor's centers awhile until Deseret Book opened. We were so jeolous because Glen Beck was having a book signing later in the day (that Ivy and Piper actually got to go to). Unfortunatley it wouldn't happen until we were on the plane.

Piper playing in the grass and flowers on Temple Square.

Piper and Nana!

Our flight home was about as bumpy as our flight there but I did manage to sleep for most of it. We actually did spend some time in a van like this because somehow we forgot where we parked in the garage. Andrea thought you were supposed to leave the slip with the spot # on the dash! Luckily the guy was patient and we eventually found the car. Drove straight to Andrea's cousins house for the night. Got up early the next morning, got the kiddos and back to Austin. Whitney and Mary-Catherine had a date for Saturday night and Evan, Taylor and Matt hit up Six Flags.....I know this is more details than anybody asked for but it's mainly for Andrea, Ivy and I to remember our trip. It was great!