Monday, October 31, 2011


Halloween in Abu Dhabi was actually pretty fun.  We had our Fall Fest event at the school earlier in the week and then the day of Halloween we went to a party at the Embassy (I don’t have pictures from it, because you can’t take photos there) but they had a Haunted House, bouncy house, craft, food and trick or treating throughout the building.  The kids had a good time.  I made some cute “candy corn” rice krispie treats that I saw on that looked cute and tasted good even if the picture didn’t come out all that great.


They were perfect for my adorable “Candy Corn Witch” to carry!

        P1040703    P1040673  P1040702


Cameron also got to wear his costume to preschool that day so he was pretty excited.  After 6 hours of preschool and a Halloween Party he was exhausted and fell asleep at 6:30 on the way home.  Bella went home with a friend to trick-or-treat in our compound and I took Alexander up to a friend’s apartment building to trick or treat with him.  He had a blast running around the building with his buddy while I visited with my friends.  When it was all said and done we took a taxi back home (my first taxi ride here and I didn’t have a panic attack or anything!).  I was surprised how “normal” halloween was for us.  Granted we didn’t carve pumpkins since they cost about $40 a piece!!!!  Also – you can notice Bella in a short-sleeved costume and if it wasn’t so short she could’ve gone without the leggings too!  Hope everyone else had a safe and happy Halloween!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

F1 Fanzone - Parade on the Corniche

So my camera wasn’t working well for this.  But – it was really cool!  I will got some pics from a friend that went with us and add more to this later.  We headed up to the Corniche for the opening day of the FanZone.  F1 – Formula Racing stuff is big here.  Abu Dhabi is part of the circuit.  From what I understand about car racing (which is about a step above zilch) is that we do Nascar and there are 14 or 18 (can’t remember) countries that do Forumla 1.  Maybe it’s like AFL vs. NFL – wait is that right?  Maybe it’s like the different baseball groups in the MLB. Heck, I don’t know, I just know we don’t have it back home.

So - I read online that the parade was starting at 4, but it of course didn’t really start until 6.  Typical misinformation here.  We got there early and there was this great Fanzone area where the kids could do lots of neat things.  Cameron had a great time driving the car around – until Cameron drove through the fence (wish I had pics of that, it was pretty funny – although I did feel badly and apologized a bunch!)



Since we got there early, there were people recruiting kids to be in the parade to help represent the 14/18 countries (I can’t remember how many there were).  Alexander didn’t want to do it, but Bella did (again – bad camera and no pics – but will post some later when I get a few from my friend).  She represented Italy and got to wear an Italian flag poncho and have her face decorated.  There were lots of kids for each country and then professional performers representing the country.  For example:  England/Buckingham Palace Guards, France/Mimes, Brazil/fancy dancers, some country/people on stilts.  It was fun to watch with loud music and tons of people.  It all ended with a Bollywood performance.

I did find a copy on youtube of the parade and if you look closely, you can see Bella in the front row of the Italy section!




Masdar City Marketplace

There is a part of Abu Dhabi that claims to be really green.  It’s located near the airport and it’s called Masdar City.  On Friday, we attended their second (I think) annual Masdar City Marketplace.

There were booths for all sorts of things.  Everything from organic farms to purses made from bottlecaps.  We had a fun time.


There are electric cars that run without a driver in a certain area.  You get in and it runs off satellites from point A to point B.  The lines were too long for this when we went so we just took the bus over.





Cameron played a game and won a prize.


Here is a camel made out of plastic bags as part of a campaign about using less plastic and more re-useable bags.  It’s a little odd considering how many plastics bags they use to bag your groceries.  One for the eggs, one for the carton of milk, one for the package of diapers which already have a handle on them to carry but why not put them in a bag anyway….



Here is a line-up of a bunch of booths.


Alexander is enjoying cotton candy or getting ready to put it on Cameron’s head, not sure.


Here is a recycled items man & woman.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall Fest

At the kid’s school they put on a wonderful Halloween Party each year that is called the Fall Fest.  Each class is responsible for decorating a pre-assigned booth.  1/2 are called “Trick or Treat” booths and 1/2 are called “Games” booths.  There is also a Haunted House down by the High School Kids and some of the booths done by some of the school service groups.  They sell hot dogs/hamburger/drinks/slushies and some other snacks too.

It all started with a fun parade of costumes and the kids had an absolute blast!!


I swear my child is NOT on drugs.  He just doesn’t take a good picture and always has his eyes half-shut



Bella was still pouting from her earlier situation (see the blog before this) and refused to wear her super-cute costume so my friend loaned her a dress and someone else put make-up on her and that was that.  Luckily her day got better shortly after this.


Cutest Race Car Driver ever (I’m pretty sure that’s what the costume was labeled at least)


5th Grade Booth

This was the booth for Alexander’s class.



Bella and Friends

A much happier Bella with some of her friends later in the night.


happy alexander                  happy bella

A couple better pics of the big kids.  I swear Alexander used to be photogenic – I’m hoping it’s just a phase.

Mean Girls Suck

So I picked up Bella from school yesterday only to be faced with a little girl who looked like she was going to break down in tears at any moment.  Now then I’m not the kind of mom that leaves a moment like that alone.  I don’t tend to say “you look like you need some space”.  Nooooo – I’m one of those moms that says, “what’s wrong?”  “seriously, what’s wrong?”  “c’mon tell me and I’ll help you fix it”  “what’s wrong?”   For better or worse, I’m a little on the persistent side.  I figure that my kids know this by now.  I still don’t get why they don’t just tell me the first time and we have to waste time with the whole dramatic dance, but whatever.

So….Bella doesn’t tell me the first time.  “Do you feel sick?”  “Are you upset?”  “Did something happen?”   “Are you hurt?”  “Are you mad?”  Then, her friend sat down near us.  I asked her if she knew why Bella (who was now quietly crying) was upset?  She told me that somebody made fun of her and laughed at her.

I asked Bella for the details.  She told me that people were talking about what they were going to be for Halloween and when she said what she was going to be EVERYBODY laughed at her. 

I of course picture one of those scenes where everyone is in a big circle and she is in the middle curled up on the floor while the entire class is laughing and pointing at her.  (No idea where my kids natural tendencies for the dramatic come from)  Then, my logical side kicked in and I imagined ONE person saying something that FELT like EVERYONE. 

When Bella got her adorable Candy Corn Witch costume in the mail 2 weeks ago, she was so excited to put it on.  She picked it out herself and looked so cute in it.  She couldn’t wait to wear it.  Not anymore.

I tried reason – because that always works (NOT) – providing logic to someone in an overly-emotional state.  I said things like “they never even saw your costume, what could they be laughing it?” or “who cares what people think” or “they must not be your friends if they were laughing at you”.  Her friend that was near us even tried cheering Bella up and telling her that she was sure her costume was cute.  Nothing was working.

We met up with a couple of my friends and headed to a nearby friend’s house.  There were 4 adults and 8 kids.  We were going to drive to a friend’s place (who lives close to the school) so we could hang-out and get ready for the Fall Fest Halloween Party at school that was happening at 4:30.  We had about 45 minutes.

They were some of the most drama-filled 45 minutes I’ve had with my poor, broken child.

I tried reasoning with her.  In fact, EVERYONE there tried reasoning with her.  She REFUSED to put on her costume.  The costume that she LOVED not that long ago. 

One MEAN, NASTY LITTLE 8 YEAR OLD had managed to suck all of my daughter’s confidence away.  She had managed to reduce her to a blubbery mess all because of her own issues.  I really wanted to find her and beat her up or yell at her or something.  (not that I would do either of these things to an 8 year old, but boy did I feel like attacking).  How DARE you make my daughter feel like this??

Why do people do this?????

Even at such a young age.  It’s unfortunate that you have issues.  It’s unfortunate that you have the need to break other people down in order to make yourself feel better.  It sucks that my daughter can’t brush it off.  It sucks that my daughter can’t focus on ALL the people that are supportive of her and love her and will think she looks fabulous but on this ONE MEAN, NASTY LITTLE 8 YEAR OLD (I think I’ll write a children’s book with that title) and gives her words WAY MORE power than they deserve.

I just got more frustrated as I tried to reason with Bella.

Things like….”you can’t let her words affect you like this” or “don’t think about what she says, think about your friends” or “just put on your costume and see what everyone here thinks”.  Bella said “of course everyone here will like it, they’re my friends”.  SEE – “obviously she’s not your friend so who cares what she thinks”.  More crying.  UGH

It was awful.

I tried leaving the room.  I tried letting other moms talk to her.  I tried letting her friends big brother talk to her.

Then….I tried forcing her out of her outfit and into her costume.  I tried yelling. 

Nothing worked well.  I was so mad at someone for making her feel like this and be like this.

I talked to one of the moms about it and it turns out that this SAME little girl caused problems last year with her daughter.  Things like nasty notes about her daughter and saying mean things.

Why is it that the kids who need those NO BULLY assemblies just DON’T CARE and DON’T LISTEN???

I was ready to march into the school and have a talk with her mother, or the teacher or the counselor.  Or round up a posse to make the MEAN, NASTY, 8-YEAR OLD GIRL feel like a blubbering crying mess herself.

Then I started crying from all the stress and frustration and then my friend started getting upset for me.  Bella has never had a confidence problem.  What exactly could this girl say to crush her spirit like this???

It was not pretty.  It was stressful.  We all were running late to get back in time for the costume parade and Bella was still upset and not budging.  Man my kids can really dig their heels in. 

One of my friends went through her dress-up bin and managed to find a dress that Bella was willing to wear.  Most of the group left to make it on time and we scrambled to get Bella in the dress so we wouldn’t be too late.  Her hair was frazzled but at least she had on a “costume”.

When we arrived, Bella was still sullen.  She didn’t want to go in the parade.  She wanted to sit in the stands with the other parents and siblings.  Luckily I had a couple other friends there who convinced her to let them put some make-up on her and coax her to head out with her class.

Let’s see…..3:15 – 4:45 ALL DRAMA.  Eventually though, she was out playing with friends and having a great time.

I suppose if I just gave her space it would’ve passed anyway, but I still want to give that little girl a piece of my mind!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fun at the Spray Park

I decided to switch Cameron’s preschool days.  He was originally going to school on Sundays and Tuesdays.  This meant that I had to get him up and out the door for school at 7:15 a.m. on the day after the weekend (our school and work weeks are Sun – Thurs).  As of this week, he is going on Monday & Wednesday.

Today is a Sunday.  I didn’t leave the house until 8:30 so I could play squash with a friend while Cameron watched/played and ran around the nearby court.

Afterwards, I took him to this FANTASTIC Spray Park. It’s about 10 minutes from our house and you might remember me mentioning it in an earlier post about a near-panic attack from heat because we walked around the ENTIRE park.  Today – we walked in and paid our dirham for entering the park (about $.27) and headed 500 feet to the water park area.

We were the only patrons there.  I think there were about 8 lifeguards on hand and Cameron had a BLAST!!


This was his favorite thing to do.  I think he went up and down 50 times!  P1040621


There was someone to help at the top…..P1040622

There was someone to help at the bottom…..P1040623



There was one large water play structure. 



There were bumper boats.  Even though he wasn’t “bumping” anyone, he still enjoyed riding it around.




There was a non-water structure and when Cameron headed to it, one of the lifeguards threw water on the slide so it wouldn’t be hot and he came flying down it!



There was a “lazy river” where you could ride the yellow inner-tube down the river……..


Cameron also enjoyed doing the remote control Dhow Boat Races.  Granted he was racing nobody, but he still had fun!



There were also a few things that Cameron didn’t partake in…..

P1040644  P1040655  P1040654

There’s the Water Balloon Fight…………                        The rubber-band-kid-flying contraption…..                     Some kind of bucking surfboard


The big kids can’t wait to check it out! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My mom sent a little Halloween Spirit across the Seas

The kids got a Halloween care package from my mom this week.  They were excited to open it.


The candies may have been for the kids….but I sure enjoyed them!  I don’t think I’ve seen these here. 


The kids got some treats too…


My mom made Halloween pillow cases for each of the kids and we put them on their pillows right away!


The bus came home without my child……..


This was going to be a clipart of a school bus but our bus doesn’t look like a traditional school bus. Then I was going to put a clipart of a missing child thing but I thought that would be a mockery of real missing children or something. So all I have is more text and no pictures or clip art.

My kids have been taking the school bus for about 5 weeks now and it’s been going great.  It helps that they ride it together and I know there is a bus monitor on the bus and seat belts (and now they have cameras too).  Even though my kids never rode a school bus back home, it hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be.  I was very proud of myself for not getting in my car and driving behind the bus for the first week.  I did walk them to the bus stop in the compound for the first week (after showering & dressing every time) and then I realized that a wave at the door in my pj’s is fine and I can climb back in bed and snuggle Cameron. 

So – 5 weeks and no problems….until yesterday.

The bus comes back at 4:00 and my door opens about 4:02 with my kids walking in, unless they have after school activities – in which they take the later bus and come home at 5:00.

Well – it was 4:15 and I didn’t see Alexander.  I went and knocked on a friend’s door.  Her son was there and confirmed Alexander wasn’t on the bus.  I took a deep breath and tried really hard not to have a panic attack. 

I talked myself down.  My internal dialogue goes something like this:  It’s fine.  I’m sure he’s fine.  No one took him.  He’s probably still on school grounds.  I bet he’s playing soccer with a friend and lost track of time.  He’ll probably be on the late bus.  It’s fine.

Then I called Brian and sounded like this:  “ALEXANDER WASN’T ON THE BUS…….WHAT DO I DO??????   SHOULD I I DRVE THERE??  I CAN’T BELIEVE HE’S NOT ON THE BUS!”  All in a wonderful shrieky-crazy-mom voice.  Glad the talking down worked so well – otherwise I would’ve done it in a crazy-crying-hyperventilating-mom voice.  I told him I tried to call and the bus manager and couldn’t get through.  I asked him to go to her office.  He told me to relax and he would talk to her.

I got in touch with the bus manager and told her what happened.  She was fantastic.  She said she had some phone calls to make to track him down and would get back to me.

She contacted the late afternoon bus monitors (who were now at the school in preparation for the 4:30 bus departure).  She had them search the grounds for Alexander.

She called me back to say all is well and he is on the 4:30 bus.

That was 20 minutes of panic.  Not good.

Alexander walked in the door at 5:00 full of apologies.  He said that he was playing soccer and the bus left 4 minutes early.  He saw it pull away and knew he would be in trouble.  He asked four of his friends if he could use their phone to call home (I had put our phone numbers in his backpack on the first day of school).  No one had a phone with them.  So – he played soccer and figured he would get on the next bus.

The bus manager explained that the monitors aren’t responsible for kids in 3rd grade and up because they are responsible enough to take care of themselves.  If they miss the 3:30 bus, they know to get on the 4:30 bus or the 5:30 bus.  If they are in Kindergarten – 2nd grade they will track them down before leaving.

We are totally caving and getting Alexander a cell phone now.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Winnie the Pooh does Zumba too……

Cameron was invited to a birthday party today.  It was at a place called Play & Learn.  It was the most overstimulating day ever!  It’s a crazy play place with a ball pit and things to climb on in one area and then a tv going with Barney blaring (Remember – I love you….you love me….) and then a row of computers with games on it (half of which were in languages I didn’t understand) and a sand pit in another area.  Upstairs was the Party Room.

There were about 10,000 kids there along with moms, dads and nannies EVERYWHERE.  The kids were running around playing downstairs and then we moved upstairs to the Party Room.

This was all led by an overly-enthusiastic woman who spoke REALLY loudly and played music REALLY loudly.  WHERE THE CHILDREN AT??  WOO HOO!  LET ME HEAR YOU??  HIP HIP……. HOORAY!!!   OMG – so loud and so constant!!  She invited kids to come up and sing to the birthday boy and a few did and then we all sang happy birthday and then we did musical chairs (to Justin Bieber and Shakira songs) and then the freeze dance and then they all had Happy Meals from Burger King (or whatever BK calls their meals) and we did cake and sang Happy Birthday in two different languages (not sure what the second one was but everyone else seemed to know the words – maybe arabic??) 

Then – Winnie the Pooh came out and did Zumba – followed by Mickey Mouse.  Seriously.  Winnie was busting moves while all the children stared in fear and unsuredness.  I even video-taped a little so hopefully you can catch a glimpse of what I witnessed this afternoon:

Cameron had a great time so that’s what mattered.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Picnic in the Park

There was a fundraiser at the kid’s school Friday night.  It was called Picnic in the Park and it was fabulous!  There were picnic tickets for 40 dhs or buffet tickets for 70 dhs.  The picnic gave you hot dogs/shwarma and a drink.  The buffet was catered by one of the hotels and gave you the ability to eat inside.  We bought one buffet and 4 picnic tickets so we could sample some of the inside food but we all ate outside with friends on blankets.  There were a few hundred people there and I forgot my camera in the car.

They had a bouncy house and a bouncy slide and a few games for the kids.  There was a big stage set up with live music playing and kids singing songs all night long.  There was also a raffle going on.  I bought 10 tickets and won 3 things.  Not too bad!  I got a gold/gemstone bangle, Entertainer Book (for this year – so only good for 2 1/2 more months) and 3 passes to Action Zone along with a voucher for something there.  I was pretty happy!

The kids had a blast.  They were sweaty messes by the time we left.  Bella spent most of the night being chased by 6 boys from her class.  Great.  Alexander spent most of the time playing soccer.  Cameron went on the slide and the bouncy house and ran circles around and played with a couple of his friends.

All in all it was a fantastic time. 

Ate a Rambutan

Bella and I decided it was time to try a new fruit.  We ate a Rambutan.

They are reddish and spikey.  The peel comes right off and the inside feels like an eyeball or a grape.  They are sweet.   But I still like Mangosteens best!