March 2007 Archives

2.6 Miles on The Corniche

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After the hospital tour we went for a walk on the Corniche. I did find my heart rate monitor and all of the Nano/Nike+ stuff but didn't bring the heart rate monitor with me. We walked 1.75 miles at the Corniche and then .85 miles through City Centre. I have been wiped out since I went to the gym earlier this week; yesterday I even took two naps, today I just took one super intense one.

Distance: 2.6 miles
Time: n/a
HR: not recorded
9:30 AM

This Week:
Miles Walked: 4.1

Totals Since 3/25:
Miles Walked: 4.1

35 Weeks Pregnant

We went on the hospital tour today to check out the labor & recovery room and the delivery room. I tried to ask the woman who showed us around some questions but apparently I need to ask my doctor and if she doesn't know I guess I'll have to ask the ladies on the message boards! The woman giving the tour seemed confused that I don't know what day I'm coming in to have the baby—this makes me nervous that I may be induced sooner than I would like. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that Baby Girl is as kind as Anna was to just come on her own the day before the due date!

Anyway, the rooms seemed nice and we will go for the VIP Suite. (We didn't get to see the Royal Suite because it was in use, but the VIP Suite seemed pretty nice.)

As for big sister Anna lately, she won't put her hand on my belly for more than a second when I ask if she wants to feel Baby Sister kicking. She has an auto-response of "she's sleeping" no matter how much I try to convince her that "no, she really is kicking and wiggling! Come feel!"

Little Things: Anna 24 months

After about three months of refusing a bath and taking only showers, I finally convinced Anna to sit in the bathtub and take a bath this week. I finally spotted a bottle of unscented Mr. Bubbles at Megamart and that was the trick. The whole time she was in the tub she would look up at me and smile, "you're taking a bath!" as if she had never taken one before in her life. I still don't know what the problem was with taking a bath before but now she's getting into it a little and is requesting a bath instead of a shower (the shower was actually quicker, but I think the bath is more relaxing for her).

Anna has peed on the potty three times and pooped twice now. We're still not "officially" training because our successes have been more about my timing than her desire to not go in her diaper. She also refuses to believe that she can pull her pants & diaper up and down (she did do it once before shortly after we arrived in Doha). This is probably something that Nana and Grandma will have to convince her to do because she obviously doesn't believe me!

She is memorizing more and more of her books but we luckily still have quite a stash of books she hasn't read yet. Her current favorites are Kitten's First Full Moon, Mickey Mouse Heads for the Sky, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Cat in the Hat, The Best First Book Ever, What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?, and The Tiger Who Came to Tea along with a bunch of other random titles.

One note on Anna's speech is that her pronunciation is off on words that start with s and are followed by a consonant. She basically just drops the s on those words: tairs (stairs), poothie (smoothie), top (stop), etc. If the s is followed by a vowel though she says the word clearly. One of my favorite words to hear her say is "complicated" just because she says it so well (it's in Mickey Mouse Heads for the Sky.

Anna still seems really into music and is singing new songs all the time (this morning it was Yankee Doodle, last week I heard her singing one of the songs from music class). We are going to continue the music classes for the next session to have that bit of stability when Baby Sister arrives. I asked her if she wanted to go to the beach or to church this morning and she chose church so we could sing church songs (she does hold out hope that we'll sing Mambo Italiano at church though!).


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Anna & I hosted our first playgroup today with a new set of moms & kids. Anna was a little leary of sharing her toys with the first kid who came, but once there were more she got over it. Seven moms (including myself) and seven kids with five of the moms expecting another between April and August! Because I find it interesting, I just want to note where each of the moms are from: Scotland, England, Russia, New Zealand, Germany, Morocco, and USA (me).

Overall, I think it went really well and we are planning to get together again next week (that's the best indicator I have that it went well at this point!). I really hope this works out and Anna, Baby Girl, & I make some good friends in the end.

34 Weeks & 3 Days Pregnant

When people have asked me this week how much longer I have to go and I answer, "six weeks" they kind of look at me like, "wow, you're going to get bigger?" Sometimes I feel huge and other times I don't. At any rate, I am finding this reaction kind of funny because, for the most part, I really don't feel that huge yet. I also think I scared the three guys at the gym the other night walking in with my big belly and hopping on the treadmill.

Today I guess the nesting urge took over as I simply couldn't stop myself from setting up some stuff in the office for Baby Girl. I put the Pack n' Play with bassinet and changing table in, the rocker with stool, and I filled the Elfa drawers with diapers & wipes, blankets, and some clothes. Baby Girl is going to be sleeping in the office (after a brief stint in our room, I am sure) when her grandmas are in town for the first two months so I don't know why I haven't set it up already, honestly. I need to clean up some office clutter and then I'll take a picture of Baby Girl's first room, sad as it is (I really wish I could just set up her actual room but that won't happen for a while!).

Anna seemed okay with all of this, she hung out in the room with me while I set it up and put her Daddy Cat in the bassinet and wanted to read on the chair. I kept talking about Baby Sister and explaining the situation with the room although I just can't say how much she "gets" it.

I think the next things on the list are to wash Anna's old clothes and the new stuff I've purchased for Baby Girl; print out the packing list for the hospital bags; print out the birth plan; move Anna's car seat over to the passenger's side and install the car seat base (we're going to try it in the middle if it fits); and drag out the swing and bouncy seat.

30:00 (Back in the Saddle)

I finally walked across the street and used the treadmill at our clubhouse tonight. I'd really like to be walking at least 30 minutes five times per week until Baby Girl comes. Of course I could not locate my heart rate monitor and watch and the Nano was in Craig's briefcase so I couldn't charge it. So my notes aren't too detailed but they are what they are.

Distance: 1.5 miles
Time: 30:00
Starting HR: 107
Ending HR: 149
7:30 PM

This Week:
Miles Walked: 1.5

Totals Since 3/25:
Miles Walked: 1.5

Family Fun Day


The bouncy room; she never really made it past the entrance but claimed to have fun "jumping" in the "jumping room."

Anna hopped on the pony like she's been riding all her life—no hesitation.

Surly camel.

At first, Anna wanted me to put her shoes back on because the sand felt funny on her feet.

Once we got our feet in the water, there was no turning back.

The face I get when I ask for a smile. (This is accompanied by pained whines.)

Petting a horse while waiting for the camels to come back.

Getting on the surly camel.

The next set of photos are of the camel lying back down so Craig & Anna could get off. I don't know if it was scarier to watch or to be on the camel holding your two-year-old daughter.

Today was "Family Fun Day" at Sealine Beach Resort for Craig's company. Anna had a blast! We will have to hit the beach again in the next few weeks now that the weather and water were actually warm enough to enjoy it.

33 Weeks & 3 Days Pregnant


Anna & Craig set out to accompany me to my doctor's appointment this morning but Qtel called and said they were waiting for us at our house so Craig took Anna back with him and I did my appointment alone. Craig won't be able to come to my next appointment so he's not going to meet my OB until 37 weeks or so! We are planning to go on the hospital tour next weekend though so that is good at least and Craig did get a look at the layout of the hospital if nothing else.

I passed my glucose test again this morning so I finally don't have to take that again. I talked to my OB about what I would like to have happen (barring complications, of course) and she said to just print it out and bring it with me when we come to have Baby Girl. Basically my list of requests is this: no medications (hep-lock OK in case meds do need to be administered) and no episiotomy.

I also talked to her about not admitting me just because I'm 3 cm dilated. I went over what happened with Anna and explained that it was 4 days from 3 cm to 6 cm and I don't want to check in just to have labor augmented . With Anna although my contractions were not miserable, now I know how they were different than non-productive contractions so I'll know what to watch out for. No, I don't want to give birth at home or in the car so I will be safe and reasonable, but I also don't want to introduce drugs into the picture when I've done such a good job of not introducing drugs for the entire pregnancy!

I feel much better about our "plan" and will still get checked every three days or so starting at 39 weeks and that is just fine by me.

I have gained 20 pounds so far.

International Man of Mystery

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I don't know how he did it; Craig must be Super Man! He called Qtel yesterday afternoon and they were at our house at 8:15 this morning to fix our phone.

Then Craig stayed home from work today because I was feeling way too sick to take care of Anna (or heck, even myself!) and he got her to take a nap from 1-3 without hours of talking beforehand. Now they're off having fun at the park while I'm still resting.

To be fair, Craig did give me this cold/flu so he does have some flaws. However, I am never calling Qtel again, that is officially his job.

Dressing Up

Grandma's attempt at getting Anna a little more girly, I think.

Qtel: Landline Edition

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We've had our home phone working just fine since arrival. A week and a half ago our neighbors moved out and our phone number mysteriously stopped working. I really don't like calling Qtel, it makes my blood boil just thinking about it so I did not call while Craig was out of town last week. I just got off of the phone for the third time and have passed the task off to Craig because I am not emotionally stable enough to deal with Qtel. Here is what happened.

Becky to Qtel #1:
Becky: Listens to series of prompts and chooses English, landline, problems (or some similar wording, you get the point).
Qtel Operator: Qtel greeting
Becky: Hello, our landline is not working.
Qtel Operator: Can you hold on a second?
(not put on hold, operator doesn't come back after a reasonable amount of time for having absolutely no information from me--she hasn't even asked the phone number!)
I hang up.

Becky to Qtel #2:
Becky: Goes through the prompts again.
Qtel Operator: Qtel greeting.
Becky: Hello, our landline is not working.
Qtel Operator: What is the number?
(so we're getting somewhere this time—at least she asked the phone number!)
I proceed to tell her our Internet is fine but the phone is not, she says I have to call back and choose the prompts for ADSL repairs even though there is "nothing wrong" with our DSL. I repeat this information because it sounds wildly incorrect.

Becky to Qtel #3:
Becky goes through prompts as instructed by Operator #2 and explains the problem to Operator #3.
Qtel Operator: I can't help you with landline problems. He tells me I need to follow the prompts that lead me right back to Operators #1 & 2!

I give up and let Craig deal with it because I can't handle it beyond this point. I blame pregnancy hormones, but really, why should anyone be subjected to this run-around?

Craig's Cake

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Anna & I made Craig his own birthday cake today. (Sadly, it was just a no-bake cheesecake, but it was tasty!) Anna chose the heart-shaped pan over the round pan at the store.

Bubbles in Music Class

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Anna did some more dancing before this particular video of music class but I didn't want to ruin her fun by getting in front of her with the camera (and video would have been all from behind if I didn't get in front) so I just enjoyed watching her on the first song she danced to and recorded this one.

The Big Dirty

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I don't think Brian can call Denver "the Big Dirty" any more. Vicenta cleaned on Wednesday, we had a dust storm yesterday, and now Anna's (and everyone else's) feet are filthy and it's only 10 AM! There is a vent in the kitchen that flaps open in the wind so I'm sure some of the dirt came from there. It's really frustrating since the house was clean and now it's filthy again and I wonder if this something that I will get used to over the next three years. Next dust storm I'll try to get a picture but it's probably as you imagine it.


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I shut Anna's door at 12:35 today and reminded her that we don't talk when we're trying to nap. As soon as the door shut she started talking up a storm (as usual). I fell asleep around 1:30 and she finally fell asleep at 3 PM! It really shouldn't take her so long to fall asleep though, she used to be out within 5 minutes. I usually get her after 2 hours of "trying" but today her monologue seemed to be drifting in and out a bit so I waited another 30 minutes and I guess it paid off.

So, I still don't know if the answer is to get her up there earlier or later; if she "has" to go through a certain amount of things running through her brain before she can fall asleep or if it's the time of day. At any rate, I feel like I should reward her for actually taking a nap (although you'd think feeling pretty good and rested would be reward enough!).

It's so dark in the house (I'm thinking sandstorm; the sky is completely orangey-yellow) that I just can't understand what's keeping her up besides her own brain (she has blackout curtains to boot and I'm actually worried her room is too dark for a nap!).

Happy Birthday, Anna!

Getting a picture with Mariah Daisy was not easy this time around.

I didn't consider contrast when I ordered the white & pink Blik wall decals. I'll have to order another set in a different color when we move (we'd rather not paint the walls just to have to repaint them when we move again.)

Anna likes to watch herself read books (or watch herself do anything in the mirror for that matter!).

She also likes to read at her "pulpit."

Shortly after my "licensed character" post, she found Mickey Mouse Heads for the Sky on her bookshelf (I bought it before she was born for $0.50 from the library—maybe she'll be a pilot like Grandpa Jerry someday). Her favorite character is Goofy (probably because he says, "Gawrsh!").

Finally got a smile out of her when she was making a book stack. She scraped her lip on her dollhouse earlier in the week, believe me the injury looks much better today than the day it happened!

Tell me how you really feel about mommy taking photos nonstop this afternoon. I have a pretty good idea who is going to be hamming it up when the lens turns toward Baby Sister!

Trying to capture the mood of her hair lately. Today it was actually quite tame and reminded me of Anita's more than Craig's. Her bangs have started curling in the last few weeks but luckily today they were relatively flat at least.

I love you, Anna Adele!

Anna & I had a good time at playgroup today and then I took her out to lunch at Chili's (because they at least offer broccoli as a side for the kids menu although I countered that with a molten chocolate cake for Anna's birthday). No nap again today although she did seem worn out (and I think that's why she was so hard to photograph this afternoon... I'll (hopefully) try to get a real two-year photo session in this weekend when Craig is home to help out. We didn't get to try an earlier bedtime because Vicenta was cleaning today and I don't like to be here when someone else is cleaning my house (even if they are getting paid!).



March 21, 2005 (six days old)

March 14, 2006

March 14, 2007

It's so amazing to look back at the little girl we knew a year (and two years) ago and compare her to the one we're living with now! So many changes and yet she's still the same sweet girl we fell in love with two years ago. I'd say that, in general, we have been blessed with a pretty mild-mannered kid and that last two years have been relatively easy for us (minus the reflux in the beginning—that was decidedly not easy). I know I'm asking for it for writing that, but she deserves to have it said! Anna really is a good listener and generally does what is asked of her without a fuss (she is getting absorbed in her activities more and more lately where she doesn't "hear" me when I'm telling her that it's time to do something else (usually less desirable)). She generally can be reasoned with for the most part as long as you tell her in advance what to expect.

In the last two years: I have never had to change a poopy diaper in the middle of the night (minus the first couple of months, of course), have only had one episode of vomiting, have had very few "tantrums" and the ones we've had have been pretty tame compared to others I've seen.

Some of Anna's accomplishments from 12 months to 24 months:

Cognitive: This past year was a language explosion! I really credit the sign language classes we took last year as a big help in her communication (I guess Baby girl will help test my theory in the next year). She was signing and saying a few words at 11 months and then putting several words together by 18 months. Her speech is pretty clear now (strangers can understand her if she's talking about something relevant) and she can obviously recite whole books (not that she knows everything she is saying) and comes up with some interesting ideas on her own. She knows all of the alphabet; she can recognize numbers and recite the numbers from 1-10 but can't truly "count" higher than 3. She has known shapes and colors, and left & right since 18 months. She enjoys working on puzzles and is moving on to more advanced arrangements. She is also wanting to listen to longer stories.

Physical: Anna started walking on our trip to Paris last spring (at 13 months) and is now able to walk up and down the stairs on her own (with supervision, of course!). She's not jumping but she can climb into her Kinderzeat, up a ladder to get to the top of a slide, and onto her rocking moose. She's really never been into climbing in general so although those things sound minor they're good for her (and me, I can't stand to watch her get into her kid-sized chairs or do anything where I start envisioning missing teeth or a cracked skull because of the tile floors). She started finally "driving" herself around in her ride-on toys at around 20 months.

Emotional: I'd say she's been consistently slow to warm up to new situations. It took 3 visits to the kids gym before she had fun; it took a few playgroups before she was comfortable going off on her own; it has taken a few music classes before she would laugh, dance, and do the actions for songs. She has started to interact with strangers a bit more when we're out and about so some of her stranger anxiety is easing up. She does like to have a "friend" with her when we're out; it started with Piggy but lately has been Orange Big Daddy Cat. I'm interested to see if starting nursery school in the fall will help boost her self-confidence at all (I anticipate it taking a few weeks before she is comfortable on her own there so we will take it slow).

I'm excited to see what changes occur over the next twelve months. She has already transitioned so well from the crib to the bed and getting rid of her pacifier, I am hopeful that the transition from Only Child to Big Sister will be equally smooth. She has potty training ahead of her (peed on the potty for the first time on Monday & did it again on Tuesday; has been waking up dry since around 18 months), probably starting 2-3 half-days at nursery school in the fall, and just general growing and learning to do.

Wearing Me Out


Anna has been napping one day per week for the last month or so. She talks and sings happily in bed for two hours instead of falling asleep the rest of the days. Also, she's been getting up earlier the past two weeks and I think it has to do with morning traffic (cars honking, etc. right outside her window). I'm thankful that she stays in bed and is content for two hours but I know she really needs to be napping and not just relaxing so today I set out to wear her out as best I can at 32 weeks pregnant. We went to the zoo for an hour and she got out and walked quite a bit. Then we went to the Villagio and she walked up and down the mall. It was obvious she was getting exhausted as we made our way back to the car. The result? No nap. (I think the culprit was a poop that decided to come during nap-time.)

My next attempt will be to try a different nap time. She has always gone down at 1 PM. The days she falls asleep it has been close to 2:45 before she tires of reciting books and singing to herself. I've tried times between 12:30 and 1 and get the same results. I might try to get closer to noon for a week and see what happens with that. If that doesn't go, I might try to get closer to 2. It's all mildly frustrating (not totally because, like I said, at least she's content by herself in her room for two hours!) because I really was counting on this nap to still be in place when Baby Girl arrives!

I'll also be really interested to see if moving away from the busy street helps with her morning wake-up time (she used to sleep until 8 AM and now I'm hearing her as early as 6:30 although I don't go in until between 7-7:30 depending on how long she's been talking).

Birthday Part 2 (The Grandmas)

Anna had fun tonight putting the necklaces on Orange Big Daddy Cat; I thought the bracelet was the perfect size for a necklace for Mary the Pig.

Presents from Nana & Papa and Grandma & Grandpa arrived last night so Anna had another morning of presents today. The little white purse was the big hit from Grandma (Anna took it in the mall instead of Orange Big Daddy Cat or Mary the Pig which is saying a lot!) and the Little Quack bath book was the big hit from Nana (I think we read it about 20 times in a row tonight while sitting on the potty).

Anna & I went to Landmark today to check out the Expat Moms playtime at Circusland for 10 Riyals and unlimited rides/activities. We went on the carousel first, of course, then checked out the ball pit. After a bit of that we went to the trampoline where Anna really thought it was hilarious to watch the other kids jumping up and down like bunny rabbits but was too timid to get on the net herself. I coaxed her out onto the net a few times but I didn't want to push her too hard. We spent probably 30 minutes on the trampoline though, just checking it out. After that we hit the carousel one more time and went home. Tonight all she could talk about was the trampoline at Landmark Mall. I asked her if she had more fun on the trampoline or the carousel and she said "trampoline" so I'll be interested if next time we go if she will actually get out on the net and jump. It was a nice way to spend the morning and it was cheap and close by. I don't think we'll go every week, but it's nice to know it's there.

Music Class

Anna was a little nervous about music class this morning since we missed last week but by the middle of class she was doing hand motions, laughing, and dancing in the middle of the room. This was by far the most (visible) fun she's had in class so far.

32 Weeks Pregnant

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Sorry for the face I'm making; it was bright outside! My profile at 32 weeks (photo by Craig).

Baby Girl & I have been having quite the week! For three or four days I have been contemplating stopping in to the doctor because she was not moving as much or as intensely as before. Today she was finally back to kicking and rolling around with intensity. However, while waiting to get on the bus for the mosque tour this morning I really felt as though I was going to pass out. I went into the club house and lay on my left side for a few minutes and it passed. However, after a few minutes on the bus, I felt like I was going to throw up! So, I went to the back of the bus and laid on my side for the rest of the ride to the mosque. Luckily we were able to sit down at the mosque and after about 30 minutes of sitting there I felt pretty normal. Once home I had a decent lunch and took a good nap and felt nothing strange at all. Since she's still kicking up a storm and I feel fine again, I am not going to stop in to the doctor but will mention it all when I go in for my next appointment.

In other news:

  • The faucet on the kitchen sink is getting shorter: I have to stand sideways to do any hand-washing of dishes now.
  • My belly button gets a little irritated if I my pants don't have a full belly-panel.
  • I'm having a harder time bending over and getting up off of the couch or floor.
  • Anna is learning to walk through the parking lot now (holding my hand, of course!) instead of me carrying her through as I just can't carry her that far anymore.
  • Anna picked out an elephant from H&M to give to Baby Sister when she gets here. Baby Sister is going to give Anna a six-sided puzzle that I think Anna will have fun with.
  • I am starting to notice a bit of swelling in my fingers and toes at the end of the day now. (Nothing major and I probably just need to elevate my feet and drink a bit more water each day.)

Mosque Tour


The women's prayer room.

Detail on wall.

Detail on window.

Incense & screen overlooking men's prayer room.


After you take off your shoes, you walk into this entryway for the mens prayer room.

The men's prayer room has a chandelier, stained glass (above chandelier), and many more books along the side walls.

Looking back toward entry doors; women's prayer room is on second level.

Detail on the pillars.

Chandelier and stained glass.

Where the Imman (leader) stands for prayer times.

The doors; this was about as ornate as the decor got.

Detail of door.

The books were of great interest to me; that's a literature major for you!

The Qur'an on the higher stand; I'm not sure what the lower book is.

Close-up of the Qur'an


Courtyard; note the spire from where the daily prayers are broadcast.

Entryway to mosque.

Building overview; I couldn't get far enough away to get a good overview with the spires but will try to get some pictures of other mosques from the outside while we are living here.

Craig's company has a club that I joined back in December but I haven't participated in any activities until today. This was a chance to visit a mosque which is not easy in Qatar. In Qatar, only Muslims can enter the mosque unless by special permission. It is my understanding that that is not necessarily true in other parts of the world.

I was kind of surprised by how simple everything was. When you go to a church in Europe everything is so ornate where there really wasn't much here. I'd be interested to know if that is true of all mosques (I don't know why I didn't think to ask that question on the tour!), if it is a Qatari mosque attribute, or if this was just the luck of the draw.

Some things I learned (remember I am pregnant so not a lot of information actually stays in my brain, unfortunatley).

  • The women's prayer room is not as fancy as the mens because it is not used as much. Women typically will pray at home rather than at the mosque (the exception is on Fridays when women do tend to come to the mosque to pray).
  • People are encouraged to go to the mosque nearest their home so that they build a community and are praying next to their neighbors.
  • People line up shoulder to shoulder to pray, also to create a connection with their neighbor.
  • Whether you cover your hair, face, or none is based on your culture's interpretation of the Qur'an. Women are covered because of their beauty: they can show their beauty to their husbands, fathers, brothers, etc. but not to strangers.
  • The incense is burned for the smell, not for purification.
  • Prayers are held five times per day but you can pray at home or work, you do not have to go to the mosque. Also, if you are in the middle of a surgery, important meeting, etc. you do not need to drop everything to go to prayer, you can do all of your prayers at the end of the day if you have to.
  • You have an angel on your left shoulder that tallies all of the good you do in a day and an angel on your right shoulder that tallies all of the wrong you do in a day (I may have that mixed up).
  • You cannot ask God forgiveness for things you do to wrong other people. If I hurt someone in some way, I must ask forgiveness from that person.
  • Muslims are required to give 2.5% (that's the number I remember anyway!) of their savings to charity/the needy each year. It's not the percent of your yearly income but just f what you have put into savings for that year.

I hope to go on some more outings with this club, they seem to have something interesting every month but most often it is during the week and I don't believe it is appropriate to bring Anna along.

Birthday Celebration


Rocking Moose

Play food (mostly from the One Spot at Target, but a few good wooden pieces of food by Haba): this was definitely one of the bigger hits.

Recognizing Lowly Worm on the back of the Best ABC Video Ever!—she really enjoyed watching this one later on in the day!

The tea set was another big hit.

Pouring some tea.


Getting the hang of opening the gifts.

She loves the carousel (interestingly, I caught Craig playing with it a lot, too).

Anna & Craig have had a ton of fun already drawing on the chalkboard side of her new art easel.

Those legs need to grow just a little longer to reach the pedals but she loves the bike all the same.

Target One Spot toaster: note the toast is in mid-air.

Toast jumping out of a toaster is hilarious!

Cleaning up after the party.

Tres Leches cake.

Anna wasn't entirely sure why her cake had a fire on it; this is a face she makes a lot lately.

The birthday kids. Anna just reached into the cake and grabbed some frosting while Craig blew out the candle.


We celebrated Anna & Craig's birthdays today since Craig will be out of town for the actual days. Up until this point, whenever I would ask Anna how old she is she would not answer. Now she says "I'm two!"

I've posted a ton of photos for our families who couldn't be here to celebrate, we missed having you around this year! We started out with pancakes for breakfast and then opened presents. We played with the new toys all morning, stopping for a swim-break just before lunch. After Anna's "nap" we had cake (will post the recipe to the recipe blog after a bit) and then went to Johnny Rockets for the birthday dinner (Craig's choice & one of Anna's favorites). Overall, it was a pretty fun birthday for Anna and I think Craig liked the cake the best of the three of us.

The Best Word Book Ever

Just found this interesting Flickr Photoset on the differences between the 1963 and 1991 editions of Richard Scarry's The Best Word Book Ever. I remember reading Richard Scarry books at my grandmas house, I wonder what happened to her copies and which editions they were? Anna just loves The Best First Book Ever but hasn't gotten into The Best Word Book Ever yet.

Virgin Megastore and H&M

Shopping here has been pretty exciting the past two weeks. Last week the Virgin Megastore opened and this week H&M opened at the Villagio. I got a few things for Anna & Baby Girl there and plan to go back on my own (Anna is a good little shopper, but she only has so much patience as is expected of a two-year-old). They actually had solid-color-clothing for kids (plain jeans & t-shirts? what a concept!) and they had a maternity section that I need to go look through without Anna in tow. More stuff is scheduled to open soon (an Apple re-seller at City Centre, although Virgin also carries Apple products) so things are looking up for us!

31 Weeks 4 Days Pregnant

Nothing new to report and no real pregnancy complaints: just heartburn, ice cream cravings, and general fatigue (exacerbated by extreme snoring from Craig, Anna coughing, and Gertie meowing in my face throughout the night). Thankfully, this pregnancy is as uneventful as the last one so far. I hope to keep it that way! There are a few things that are actually going better this pregnancy than last time but I'll just take mental note and write about it later so I don't jinx myself!

I really need to get the gym and start walking and preparing my body for labor & delivery. I'm just so comfy on the couch and it is hard to convince myself to get up with Craig in the morning and go over to the gym while he gets ready for work, but I need to do that. I guess I'll have to start up my workout log again to keep me motivated knowing that my loyal readers are expecting me to get those five walks on the treadmill in each week.

Like I mentioned in the previous post, I have met a few women with due dates around mine which is really nice. Hopefully we will be able to get together and share war stories after our little ones arrive (they are all going to the same OB, too).

I will hopefully get Craig to take an updated profile shot this weekend.

Playgroup, Pregnant Ladies, Cleaning Update

Vincenta (not sure how this is spelled) did a great job cleaning today. Of course, compared to the limited cleaning I was doing, just about anyone could do a good job! She was here for five hours and it seems to me we are getting a pretty good deal for weekly service. She'll be here every Wednesday from now on.

After we showed Vincenta around, Anna & I went out to the playgroup we had been going to but missed for the past few weeks for various reasons. I met a woman there who has a daughter one month older than Anna and is due with her third child two weeks before Baby Girl's due date (her other daughter is 4.5 years). I now know three other moms with kids Anna's age and due dates between now and August. I am hoping that I can set up a little playgroup with at least a few of these moms and then post an ad in the Mum's the Word newsletter if we want to get some more moms in on the action. Of course I'm kicking myself that I didn't give/get this new woman's phone number but we'll go back to the playgroup next week and see if she's there again.

Cleaning the House

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Something I've learned about myself is that, although I enjoy a clean house, I thoroughly do not enjoy cleaning. This was okay until Anna arrived on the scene: now I feel more compelled to keep the house clean although I still detest the work. I am the first to admit that I am lazy and will do the minimum amount of work that I can get away with. In Korea, the apartment we lived in came with a cleaning service each week. In Texas I found a service that I really liked (best cleaning ladies ever and they were affordable and reliable! Oh how I hope Rosie is still around when we return to Texas!).

Here, we are on our own to either clean our own house (gasp!) or find a cleaning lady. I don't know that there are cleaning "services" here as a lot of people employ a live-in maid/nanny. Gill has a lady that is at her house every day but doesn't live-in. She sometimes will stay with one of the kids while they nap and Gill can run out and do an errand with the other child. Sounds kind of nice, but I don't want someone around all the time.

Anyway, on to the point of the post: Gill's lady has a sister looking for work and she is coming by tomorrow morning to hopefully start a weekly routine with us. She just sent me a text message with the list of cleaning supplies she prefers (I asked her to because I have been using just the bare minimum of supplies and really haven't developed a preference for any brands). The cost? 20 Riyals (less than $6 USD) per hour plus taxi fare and cleaning supplies. This will be the first time an individual has cleaned my place rather than a crew so I hope it's not an all-day affair. Now I just need to tidy up the place so she can get straight to work in the morning!

Late Bloomers

I decided I wanted to (finally) check out Grey's Anatomy and downloading TV shows off of Apple's iTunes. We're already on season 2 (after just one week). Pretty soon we'll be caught up and then have to wait like everyone else for the next episode. It takes forever to download a season of shows on our slow Internet connection and Craig is disappointed that it is not wide-screen for his fancy-schmancy-TV we brought all the way out here.


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Playing with some of her beautiful jewelry this morning.

Anna & I stayed home this morning to wait for the people from the compound to fix the air conditioner in her room. We have been running the air conditioners for the past week because, although it is nice enough to have the windows open right now, our house was so dirty from all of the sand blowing that we just had to shut the windows. Our feet were turning black from walking around inside the house! Now, of course, I have some major dusting to do as well, but at least my feet are clean(er)—I think it will take another round of vacuuming to get the floors as clean as they were again. Problem is that I need to find out where to get some more vacuum cleaner bags as I'm sure the one I've been using has filled up by now.

Qatar Open (a.k.a. "Church")


Waiting with Big Orange Daddy Cat for the match to start.

We went to the Qatar Open tonight although we only stayed for an hour because Anna was getting too squirmy & loud (yelling "Go to Landmark Mall!" and "There's the moon, right there!", among other things) for us to stay. We saw part of the final match of the Open where Justine Henin beat Svetlana Kuznetsova. Our tickets were free to a professional tennis match; you can't beat that!

Anna really thought we were at church although we told her numerous times we were at a tennis match. The similarities were this: music (they were playing some while we waited for the match to start), you have to whisper when you talk, and sit (relatively) still. We realized that the only other public event Anna has been to is church, so no wonder she thought that was where we were.

Tonight she was totally chatting it up with some Filipino girls behind us. Telling them about her cat, smiling, and engaging them in "conversation." I'm excited to see that some of her stranger anxiety is going away and that there is hope for her in social situations yet!

50 Meows, Please

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Anna thinks we are saying "Meows" when we're talking about how many Qatari "Riyals" something costs.

Anna "reading" Bear Snores On. I didn't get the end on here because I ran out of space, luckily she reads her books several times in a row so I got the end on the next clip.

She always finishes by saying, "Good job reading Bear Snores On."

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