Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Whitney is 18......

Can't believe our little Whitney is 18..... really, I just can't believe it. Here is a picture of her and her friend, Taylor in our yard before their dance preformance last night. For those of you confused, Whitney is the brunette....sometimes she's blonde but not now. Whitney changes her hair like the wind changes directions but she always looks beautiful!
We love you tons, Whitbit!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Piper the Skyper

I LOVE that I can log onto my computer, get on Skype and see my adorable little grandaughter babbling, smiling, laughing and playing in real time!

She's like a little blurr of activity..........oh the wonders of modern technology!

The Red Sea is really Blue and crystal clear......

I feel so blessed to have had another exciting "Arabian Adventure". We were able to take a trip to the Red Sea which is on the other side of Saudi Arabia (between Saudi and Egypt). One of the many perks of working for Aramco is the company jets. They fly all over for business and if they are not full, you can request a ride for a certain time. A few days before, they confirm if they have room for you. The best thing is that it's totally free! The one downside is that there are no guarantees that they will have room for your entire group. So....Donna, Rusty and Abigail....we missed you alot!! We will go again. For sure!Wednesday afternoon the Masons met us at our house and we headed to the Aramco airport. There we met new friends, Randy and Jennifer, who are new-hires with Aramco. We boarded our jet and headed to Yanbu. It's about a two hour flight. We checked into the Holiday Inn and checked out the buffet.

It was wonderful. Whitney enjoyed her seafood, including lobster, while Evan enjoyed his cheeseburger. Some things will never change. Brad and I got the buffet minus the grill.

After supper we met with Saad, our dive guy. He was great and fitted us all for our gear. Headed to bed for our big day the next day. We met him in the lobby at 5:00am and headed to the boat. Here are Evan and Christian enjoying the life.
The sea was beautiful. Crystal clear like a big swimming pool. Saad kept apologizing for the "visibility problem". We were like "What? It's crystal!" But he said it was a bad day and was usually much clearer. Wow!
We headed out to sea with Saad and a guy we called "Captain Jack". Before too long the waves became enourmous and Saad decided we needed to head back. We agreed! Wish I had a picture of the waves we were in but did not dare have my camera out. It would have been soaked. Brad was the only one who got seasick, and he was the most experienced. He was facing backwards in the boat so maybe that's why. This is when we were back in calm waters.
Evan and Brad got in a few good dives while the rest of us snorkled. The reefs and corals were amazing. We loved every minute of it. Saad had brought us a nice meal complete with sandwich stuff, yummy breads, chips, fruit and chocolate. So we sunned and dove and relaxed and ate. Here is Brad doing the second dive. It's hard to tell just how clear the water was.Evan loves diving!
A picture of Saad and "Captain Jack". The captain looks mean in this but really he was pleasant. No English, but he seemed nice.
I love this picture of all our feet. Leanne's idea!
After being out at sea all morning we got back to the hotel about 2:00. We couldn't wait to shower. Everybody was all salty and itchy and gross. We all cleaned up and napped. We did the hotel for supper again. At eight we all came to our room for American Idol. Can't break tradition even on vacation! (we get in here in Saudi, it's just a day later). We all turned in for the night. We decided to meet at 11:00 Friday morning which was great. It felt so good to sleep late. We had arranged the Holiday Inn bus to take us around all day. We went to check out the newest hotel in town, the Movenpik. It was stunning....yet empty! We were going to eat their buffet but had time to kill. So they gave us a tour of the hotel, including the Royal Suite, and all the options down from that. Very, very nice. We were surprised to see the beautiful pool and private beach totally empty on a beautiful weekend day. (Could it be that no women are allowed to swim in it??)
At 12:30 we went to the buffet. It was super good. Here's a shot of a few of the desserts. The bread pudding was my favorite.
We hit a few shops. Whitney and Evan both bought some new Saudi sandals.
We explored around old Yanbu and found the alleged house of Lawrence of Arabia and lots of ruins. Check out more pictures on my Facebook. We took tons and they are really interesting.

All in all, a perfect week-end. We got back on the plane about 9:00 and got back to Dhahran around 11:00. So glad to be able to share these experiences with my family and good friends.....although Ivy, Calder, Piper and Taylor~ we missed you and wish you could be here with us!