Hunting the Hummingbird - by David C Hoffman

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Monday, January 2, 2017

Abu Dhabi Days 1 and 2

It's 2017!
Christmas is over, New Years is over, and our halls have officially been un-decked.

I love the chaos of Christmas. 
I love the music, the decorations, the presents, the wrapping paper everywhere, the delicious breakfast foods and warm coffee, the shrieks of joy and declarations of "THIS IS JUST WHAT I WANTED!!"
I love it all.

Right up until I don't.

It happens at different points each year, but it always happens. One minute I'm smiling and soaking up the disorder, noise and clutter...and the next I'm like I CAN'T LIVE LIKE THIS. NOT FOR ONE MORE MINUTE. And I proclaim it time to take down the tree and all the decorations, find places for all the new toys and clothes and other stuff, and purge purge PURGE the stuff I've suddenly decided we no longer have use for now that we have ALL THIS NEW STUFF. I become a woman on a mission, and I'm not to be deterred, nor convinced you really do still need four of the same Happy Meal toy you've had shoved in a drawer for the last year but haven't played with once.

(Again, I'm super fun to be married to.) 
(And raised by.)

That day came Saturday for me, and now we have some order in our home again, I'm hoping to get some posts about our trip up on this ol blog =).

We'd barely been at our friend's house ten minutes before Sister was on this bike (with her buddy in the basket), Brother had commandeered a scooter, and David was joining them for a bike tour around the compound.
Check out the look on Sister's face here...

She was SO proud to be able to ride this bike independently!

Their house is in a compound that looped around, with some common area in the middle. The kids were given a decent amount of freedom to bike, scooter, run and skip off to the common area where they made a "hideout". They let us grownups come check in out later that evening...

Their kids know to head back to their house when the evening Call to Prayer is heard from the nearby mosque...kinda like when we were kids and we knew to head home when the neighborhood street lights came on =).

I absolutely LOVED that our kids got to participate in this kind of childhood rite of passage! Riding around with friends and neighbor kids, exploring trees and getting dirty, and experiencing some freedom and independence within a adequately protected and safe area.

It's one of the things I miss about living in a neighborhood in Portland.
Having an apartment in a downtown area of Kuwait has it's perks, and I'm glad we're getting a sense of this kind of lifestyle...but for six (nearly seven!) year olds, I find myself often wishing for a yard for them... an open space - right out the back door- where they can run and jump and play, and a neighborhood that's safe to ride bikes around. 
Honestly, it's one of the main reasons we won't consider extending Dave's contract further than the original two years. 
If our kids were younger, or even older, perhaps we would...but these are prime tree-climbing years, and I'm longing to give them those moments.

 I digress.

Back at the house, our friends were hosting a delicious BBQ and we were soaking up reconnecting with them, meeting their neighbors, and devouring the food =)

Man, have we missed these fun friends!!!

After the BBQ, when the coals were still going, it was prime marshmallow roasting time!

The next morning, the kids destroyed the playroom played for a bit...

....which probably explains why the cat took shelter as far from the ground as she could...bless her heart!

...and eventually we coaxed the children into their beds...where they proceeded to giggle and keep one another up for the several hours.
(okay, it was really probably more like 30 minutes, but it felt like several hours)

The next morning I awoke to Brother telling me "Momma!!! At 10:00am we get to go to the shop and get SLIME!!!!!!!!!"
Ok then.
Turns out there is a little shop on the compound and our friends were sweet enough to give the kids some coins to go by some slime.
Which we declared an outside thing...because SLIME.
My kids thought this was the coolest thing EVER.

We then got ready and headed out from some Christmas Eve adventuring!

Just look at this handsome devil =)...

You'll note the handsome devil is in shorts, a t-shirt and flipflops. On December 24th. 
Our friends had said it was warmer there in December than it is in Kuwait.
I kinda didn't believe them.
It's been averaging about 55 degrees Fahrenheit here currently, with it dropping to mid-low 40's overnight and in the early morning.
Now I realize that's far from freezing, but it is cold!
So since Abu Dhabi was relatively close, I just kinda assumed it would be similar.
I was kinda wrong.
The weather in Abu Dhabi in December is in the high 70's - low 80's, and fairly humid. 
The jackets, hoodies, and even long sleeved shirts I had packed were a total waste of space.

Our friends are positively adorable, and had picked ALL of us up a Christmas sweater...

So, naturally, we had to have group pictures taken in them!

These four are such buddies...

...and as you can see by the sweetness Brother is receiving in this pic, there is great affection among them as well...

After a bit of exploring, we went to the most fun restaurant for lunch!

Each person orders their food on an individual ipad, and then it comes delivered to you via roller coaster.
Yes, I'm serious!

Check it out...

SO fun to watch! In my opinion, one of the most challenging parts about dining out with young kids is the wait for the food to come, but at this place, that was actually he most fun part!! That, and the food was tasty too =)

A little family pic in front of the Christmas tree...

After that, it was off to some festive ice skating!

The men...

Look ma! No hands!

I don't think I've put on ice skates since I was in elementary school. 
I was only okay at it then, and it turns out I'm still only okay at it at 35...but I did it AND I didn't fall EVEN ONCE.

I'm sorry, I just have to make sure you all read that last sentence.


I'll hold for a minute while you applaud. 

Sister on the other hand did fall a handful of times...but seriously she is WAY better than me! =). She's a natural out there!
She just took off and skated her way around the rink...she's so brave.

There was an "Ice Marshall" who was super sweet and came around giving the kids (okay and maybe me...) encouragement and teaching technique.
Here he is with Brother...

At first we were a little concerned that this rink didn't have the little push/aide thingys for the kids to use, but actually we decided shortly into our time there that it was better this way. It forced them to be brave and really learn without being dependent on any support.

David didn't ice skate (he's naturally athletic, but claims not so when it comes to winter sports...) so he was our resident photographer...

The Ice Marshall giving the kids tips on the best way to get back up on your skates after you've fallen...

After all the ice skating fun, we headed back to their house and put the kids to work on decorating gingerbread houses.


They took their decorating pretty seriously...

I took pictures, and ate candy supervised...

...and then I stole sweet kisses from the littlest, because she's delicious...


Meanwhile, I got a glimpse of 10 year old David as he played their tiny Nintendo...

We got the kids all bathed and in jammies, and ready to open the Christmas Eve presents our friends had gotten for all the kids..

Four Christmas cuties...

Cozy new Christmas blankets!! Such a great Christmas Eve surprise =)

They all snuggled in, and we watched Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas...

...and then it was time to get those four off to sleep so Santa could come...

(he even left a boot print, and his reindeer left gold glittery hoof prints ;) ).

And that wraps up days 1 and 2! 

1 comment:

  1. Loved reading this. And LOVE all of y'all Christmas sweaters! :)