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Saturday, June 30, 2012

{abc's}

I've seen alot of people doing these, and although I have done one similar to this in the past, it's probably been a year and I love comparing the answers over time!
A is for age: 25
B is for breakfast today: Two packets of instant apple cinnamon oatmeal
C is for currently craving: Brownies and ice cream, which I am about to indulge in
D is for dinner tonight: Rotisserie chicken, baked sweet potato, and grilled squash
E is for favorite type of exercise: Lap swimming- after baby #2 arrives I hope to get back into it!
F is for an irrational fear: Losing things- I get in a panic
G is for gross food: Shrimp, raw tomatoes, and olives
H is for hometown: Oviedo, Florida
I is for something important: Prayer. And I tend to forget about it.
J is for current favorite jam:The theme song for Gimore Girls? I haven't been listening to music lately
K is for kids: Two, Grace Madeline, age 14 months, and baby girl #2, expected October 7th, 2012
L is for current location: The Middle East, about to move specifically to Abu Dhabi
M is for the most recent way you spent money: Groceries at LuLu's, our grocery store here
N is for something you need: appliances and furniture and curtains for our new home! We don't have anything but our clothes, a tv, and our books, haha!
O is for occupation: Stay at home mom/language student
P is for pet peeve: people not giving you grace when you are late, but when they are late it's not a problem!
Q is for a quote: "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." A.A. Mine; Winnie-The-Pooh. Totally speaks to this phase of life- lots of goodbyes.
R is for random fact about you: I never skipped class in all of high school. Not really by design, I just forgot to do it before the end of my senior year.
S is for favorite healthy snack: Salad, strawberries, craisins
T is for favorite treat: Chocolate chip cookies and milk
U is for something that makes you unique: I live in the Middle East? Yes, I'll stick with that.

V is for favorite vegetable: canned green beans

W is for today’s workout: none, though we did play a long game of chase with  Grace.
X is for X-rays you’ve had: Too many to count. Dental, ankle, knee, both wrists, an elbow, ribs (I think.)
Y is for yesterday’s highlight: A bake sale at my school, I purchased a large rice krispie treat- it totally made class bare able.
Z is for your time zone: Gulf Standard Time

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Oh, You Know

I just spent 20 minutes looking up what week in my pregnancy I was. Because, you know, I had forgotten. And when one website tole me I was less than one week away from entering my 3rd trimester (28 weeks,) I freaked out and didn't think that was possible. Then I found another one that told me I was 25 weeks, which sounds more likely. I think I'll go with that one.

I really wonder what those Due Date Calculators were thinking when I entered my last known menstrual cycle date. "Uhh, if you don't know you are pregnant now.....you probably have a problem!"

Things are a little crazy around here right now.

A good type of crazy though. Busy with laughter and family time. Car trips and border crossings. Lots and LOTS of class time. There are also alot of naps and emotional breakdowns on my part, but that's par for the course right now seeing as we are knee deep in the middle of a summer term of language study, an international move, and (apparently,) I am 25 weeks pregnant.

Grace is changing and learning every day. I'm loving seeing her language start to grow. We are expecting some slight language delays with her because she is in two languages every day (English and Arabic.) She is amazing and brings us so much joy.

Our house got approved and we have the keys and contract to prove it! Ian has made several trips out there already and will go this week to make sure the house is clean and ready for our things, because, get this, OUR CRATE IS IN! We got a call earlier this week that our crate with all of our household goods, which we haven't seen in three years, is in the port! Ian just has to go another day, pay for delivery, and lead the movers to our house and then it's done!

(besides all of the unpacking, cleaning, and organizing, but you know....)

I'm a little split brained right now, because I am here, living and studying, but our new home is there, where I can't get to very easily, is hot, not cleaned, and involves an exhausting day all around. Yesterday I cried because I wanted to mop our house and Ian told me to go for it- but he didn't realize I meant our other house, in another country, ha!

We're trying to soak up every last minute with our best friends here before they move next week. It's a total bummer to our summer and we (read, I) am having a hard time with it. I'm always sentimental so it's hard to have so many lasts and first all at the same time. We had a road trip with them the other day to show them our new house, then split up to as the wives with the kids, and the husbands to go out to eat and drive home together. It was a great day and I'm so glad that we got to share our new home with our "family" over here.

Sleep has eluded me once again (hello, 5 am!) and I think it's time for me to curl up on the couch with some breakfast and Gilmore Girls, beckoning rest to come my way.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Today

Today I woke up at 4 am and couldn't go back to sleep. So I ate breakfast and read blogs. And went back to bed at 6 am.

Today my awesome husband got up with Grace at 7, fed her breakfast, played with her, and took her to nursery.

Today my wonderful husband put away 3 loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen (twice,) packed a car load of our things, and ran a bunch of errands.

Today, speaking of my husband, Ian did not want to eat his brocolli. I rolled my eyes at him and told him I was so glad I was cheering on two babies when they ate their bites of green veggies.

Today I napped more than I should have but finally drank enough water.

Today we ate leftovers from yesterday's Thanksgiving in June potluck we attended. It was amazing, and corn casserole and pecan pie leftovers were doubly so.

Today I discovered termites in our door frames. I think the heat drove them inside. The same thing happened last year when we traveled to France- we came home and there were strange piles of dirt all over the place and our shower curtain was eaten through.

Today was HOT. This was at 8 pm tonight, an hour after sunset: 100 degrees that feels like 113. So, please imagine what 8 hours ago, at high noon felt like. Blistering. 

Today Grace got heat rash from sitting outside for 20 minutes at 6 pm.

Today I talked, in Arabic, on how to clean a kitchen and do laundry for an entire hour.

Today my Ian brought us home Kit-Kats for dessert. Yum!

Today I daydreamed about what it will be like to pull up to my in laws neighborhood next year when we visit. How I miss my hometown in Florida! It's where my heart will always lie.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Post that Almost Wasn't

Sometimes it seems as if the days are all flowing together into an endless stream of meetings, classes, and activities. The funny thing that gets me is that I have sat down to type this out at least five times, but I get so overwhelmed and feel so tired that I simply close my laptop and go to bed.

Last Thursday was our last day of language school. We completed a two year long program that studies Arabic full time. It was exhausting, frustrating, and, ultimately, very rewarding. The finality of the end of term was a little surreal, but also a little anticlimactic. All of our classmates scattered to the four corners of the world (wow, literally. The US, Germany, South Africa, and China,) while we remained here, doing our normal thing. I'm still going to class every day, but it's not the normal program, so it feels different. 

Amidst the joy of finishing the program, that very weekend we spent three agonizing long days in the car. We drove to Abu Dhabi to house hunt first thing in the morning, only to find out that no one would show us houses until after the siesta time, around 5 pm at night. We were unable to check into our hotel until 3 pm, so we ended up driving around, scouting out neighborhoods and houses on our own for 6 hours or so.

We checked into the hotel, took a nap, then met up with a realtor at 5. Realtor should be used loosely, because in this case, it was a man who knows a neighborhood really well. He would drive us to a house that was for rent, and on the way there, he would be furiously making phone calls in order to find someone who knew someplace else that was for rent and then he would take us to that one. And on and on and on.

We saw nearly 10 places that first night, and hunted until 10 pm. Many of the places weren't really an option. We were looking for a 3 bedroom with a family room but our guy kept taking us to 2 bedroom places and saying he family room could be a bedroom and that the hallway could act as the family room. Two of the apartments were still under construction and they were really whole houses that would be parceled up into apartments. We would try to envision where we would put walls and such, but seeing as we need a place in a couple of weeks to be ready, those weren't options.

That first night we found 2 homes that would work, and we were really excited about them and their locations. House #1 seemed PERFECT and I could envision every detail of how I would decorate it. House #2 was huge, but we would have a nice little community around us. I was over the moon with excitement that we had found anything!

We slept in, ate breakfast at the hotel, went for a swim, took a nap, and headed out at 5 again to see more places. Grace was a peach during all of this time. I pretty much just handed her food in her car seat the entire time to keep her happy. She learned to say "Thank you," after each pretzel stick!

The second night we looked in a different area of town with a different "realtor." We found one town home that could really work but the location was questionable and one large apartment that we loved but was outside of our budget. We saw another 10 places that night.

My prayer all weekend was that God would close the door to houses that He did not want us in and that He would lead us by the hand over the threshold into the house and neighborhood that we were supposed to live in.

The third day we woke up, I took Grace to the pool (my poor, pale skinned husband had gotten slightly burnt the day before,) and then met up with one of Ian's supervisors. Since his company is paying for his (our) housing, they have to approve of the house and make sure it is within budget and such. We met up with our first "realtor" only to find out house #1 had been rented the night before. I surprised myself by being remarkably calm with that bad news, reminding myself that God was closing doors and for a reason that He understood. That really only left us with one option and we were sure it was going to be too big and too expensive!

Surprisingly, it wasn't! We got the first round of approval and I walked out of there in a daze. Ian paid the realtor a deposit to take it off of the market temporarily, and we drove home. We sent out an email to another supervisor for the ultimate approval waited nervously. If this was turned down we would have to do another long, tiring weekend in the car again! Just 24 hours later we got our response- yes! Was this us being led over the threshold into a new home?

Ian called the realtor and had to jump through 24 hours of nerve racking hoops. It turns out that the owner had mortgaged the four villas he rents out because he had gotten behind on payments. The bank had to approve the bartered down price and then wanted the entire year of rent at once, half in cash, half in a post dated check. Cash is no problem, because Ian's work could get that for him, but check would be an issue since we did not have an in country bank account with a physical check book.

God's hand was on us once again, and it all was smoothed over and worked out. The very next day, Ian traveled back to Abu Dhabi, signed a contract, and paid our rent.

I am so excited but also so grateful for the peace that God gave me during this time of waiting. I did not become attached to a home and then upset when the option was taken away, which could only be from God, because I am such a planner, dreamer, and designer!

We have a couple more weeks left here until we get to move, but the home is ours, and we can start taking car loads of our things over at a time. It's quite the drive but Ian doesn't have school and already has his visa so he can get there much easier and cheaper than I can. No pictures yet, but I hope to send my camera with Ian sometime this week and share where we will live next! And, as I said, I've already dreamed and designed the entire house! I can't wait to get started!

AND (as if that isn't good news enough,) our crate from the USA arrives in just one or two weeks! This has all of our household goods that we packed up and stored over THREE YEARS AGO! I honestly don't remember everything that is in there. Please just imagine the excitement it will be to have matching plates and silverware that doesn't bend when you use it! And our books! Oh our books. It's going to be like Christmas in July for the Galloway household!

 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Snapshots of a Year







We have very old, basic cell phones. We plan to upgrade sometime in the next year, but for now, we are comfortable with what we have. All of that to say, we have two years of cell phone pictures, but no way to transfer them to our computers. Our friend pointed out that our Kindle cord could connect the two, and finally, 14 months after we began snapping cell phone pictures of Grace, I can share them with the world. Please brace yourself for a sea of mediocre pictures of an extraordinarily cute baby.

(L) Grace, just minutes after she was born. Ian followed her to the NICU and her she looked all cute and pink. (R) Grace holding on to Ian's hand.

Grace looking brand new, just minutes after this, something happened (we still aren't sure what went down,) and ended up having tubes and cords all over her and she was put into the incubator.


 (L) Grace, one to two weeks after we brought her home! (R) Our swaddled little baby, prior to us becoming swaddling experts! Now, our swaddle is perfect, tight, and like a little egg roll!



(L) Ian and Grace, cuddling on the couch. (R) Grace, passed out in her crib, one of the rare times that she slept without her swaddle in the first 6 months.


 (L) Grace, after a bath sometime in her first month. I took this picture to send to Ian while he was out school. That was when I realized our phones weren't capable of that. Ha! (R) Grace, several weeks old and snuggling in my bed with me in the morning.



(L) One of the few pictures I have of Grace in a milk coma. I can't wait to have a newborn again, I forgot how cute these moments were!! (R) Sunning just a day or two after we came home from the hospital.


(L) Teething has begun! Despite the fact that no tooth would make it's appearance until she was 8 months old... (R) Passed out, swaddle less!



(L) Sleeping, spread eagle in her crib. (R) Trying on her UGA cheerleader outfit for her Daddy. Though I'm a die hard UF fan, she was pretty cute!


Prior to buying her high chair, we only had the bumbo for feedings. Sometimes we were lazy and just fed her, propped up in the corner of our couch. Here she is showing complete and utter disinterest in her meal.


(L) Grace, the first time she ever rode in the grocery cart. I love this picture- her little bald head, her look of uncertainty, her death grip on the bars. (R) On one of 10 "cold" days, we went to a walk to the grocery store.



 


 (L) Grace, during her first cereal experience, she loved it! (R) She was all funned out, passed out on her Daddy in a Texas Roadhouse.



(L) Grace, riding in the shopping cart, still looking unsure. (R) Lettuce-head! Grace didn't notice it for awhile!



 (L) Grace, eating at Chili's with us, probably chomping on a french fry. (R) Shortly after Grace mastered sitting up, she also mastered dumping out toys all over the living room floor.



 (L) Bubble bath beard! (R) Sweet baby girl, passed out in her car seat.


 (L) These are all out of order, but this is Grace, probably 8 or 9 months old, snuggled in our bed in the morning with her bottle. (R) Last fall, Grace was all ready to go to school. She was 5 or 6 months old here and this might have been the last time I sent her in a real outfit to school- they always got ruined!


(L) All dressed in her Christmas pajamas! (R) Passed out in her car seat on the way home from a water park!

 (L)  Grace's preferred mode of transportation- legs up on the steering wheel, yelling "Whee!" (R) One day, when our power was out, Grace and I made a trip out to a park. It was over 100 outside but Grace loved getting some time in a "big girl," swing!




 I'm so glad I was finally able to share all of these moments in time from the last year!

 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday was our four year wedding anniversary!

Four years ago, on June 14th, 2008, I married the man of my dreams. He inspires me to be more, cherishes me for what I am, and loves me despite myself.

He is my best friend and is my "other half," in every aspect of the term. We've lived in many different places and gone through some times of uncertainty with jobs and finances, infertility and other struggles, but he has been my rock, the person that I leaned on during those hard times. He is brilliant, funny, witty, athletic, poised, well spoken, diplomatic, hard working, diligent, kind, and oh-so-handsome! I respect him and love him more than he will ever know.


I am so grateful that God brought Ian into my life all of those years ago and intertwined our paths over the years. I love every minute of our story and am looking forward to decades more of our long, slow, beautiful dance called LIFE!




Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Language Student/Mom


 Two years. That's how long I have been a language student.
Two years is also how long I've been wanting to do a "day in the life of," post.

I try to do them periodically, so I can look back and remember fondly (most of the time,) what each phase of life looks like.

I've written about:
A Day in the Life of an Elementary School Teacher/Newlywed
A Day in the Life of a Really Bored Blogger
A Day in the Life of a Sickie

Well, I've never said I'm not a procrastinator. Sunday was our LAST DAY of our normal language school routine! And I had yet to do a "day in the life of."

I spontaneously decided to go ahead and try for it anyways, despite my lack of planning. So, at 6:37 in the morning, 3 minutes before my alarm went off, Grace woke up for the day. I grabbed my camera and snapped the first picture of the day:

 Then, I went to Grace's room to get her up:


 She wasn't too pleased with my camera's flash going off in her pitch black room, but my sweet baby girl had a smile on her face nonetheless.

I carried her out to the family room, paci still in her mouth, and deposited her on the carpet. Ian pulled out her sippie cup of milk and a handful of cheerios. She loves her morning routine and will sit here, popping cheerio after cheerio in until she is full. She usually gets a second and sometimes a third handful and will go through 5-6 ounces of whole milk.

Ian sits at the table, reading the news and eating his breakfast while I get showered. Grace squeals with delight as she plays and is happily playing with her fridge toy in the kitchen while Ian makes our lunch and gathers her school bag when I finish:

 I get dressed and pull my hair back into a bun and read emails with my breakfast while Grace eats some more and Ian showers:
 7:35 rolls around and we really should be walking out the door. We scramble to get ourselves ready and gather all 4 bags (each of our school bags, Grace's bag for day care, and our lunch bag)

 7:50: We load up in the car and go.
 Morning traffic is light and we only have to drive through three empty roundabouts until we arrive at Grace's nursery.
 7:58 I take Grace out of her carseat and pause for a quick picture:
 before taking her inside to her daycare:
 8:07- we arrive at school 2 minutes late. Not too bad for the last week of school, if you ask me!
 First period is classical Arabic, followed by Media Arabic (9:10), and another Classical Arabic (10:15). I do my best not to doodle and to try and be engaged. Ian brought me a cup of coffee from the director's office. Usually we just make instant coffee but this morning called for the real deal:

 This was our classroom for our first and last semester of language school. I sit directly in front of the air flow as our room can get very warm because of all of the windows.
 Starting about third period, my back begins hurting so I sit on the floor for the remainder of class:

 11:05 the lunch bell rings and we pull out our PB & J's and chips.
 Our best friends were absent this day and most of our other classmates were gone, so we entertained ourselves with a game of Dots (boxes? Squares? many names for the same game) Ian won the first one and I one the second.
 Before the end of lunch we were able to say a quick goodbye to some friends of ours who are going back to the States:
 11:35 our fourth period begins- Our last class with my favorite teacher!

 12:30 and our final bell of our final normal day rings. We pack up, wash our coffee mugs in the school kitchen, and load up in the car. It was 111 degrees outside- a nice day compared to the 120 degree day we had the day before!
 I stay in the car while Ian runs in to get Grace from daycare. I laugh at the taxi parked in front of a house, he is obviously off duty and is taking his afternoon "siesta," a little bit early:

 

 Ian and Grace come out and we load up in the car. Baby girl is all smiles but obviously tired:


 We come inside and the cool air wakes Grace up. She plays for awhile, eats a cheese stick, and drinks some milk:
 1:30 rolls around and it is officially nap time. Grace goes down without a problem and I plop down into my unmade bed for a little nap:

 I wake up at 3:00 and get up to find Ian hard at work. He was organizing some computer files that had gotten messed up and was backing up all of our files (yay for saving our pictures in a second location!)
 I start a load of laundry and wash some dishes and then tackle my messy desk and chair covered with clothes that need to be hung up:
 Grace wakes up at 4 and we play and snuggle for an hour or two before I start on dinner:

 Grace finally discovered a love for her softies/lovies from her grandmas. She carried them around and snuggled them- the first time she's shown any interest in soft toys!

 6:00-We all sit down for dinner together. We've tried to make an effort to all sit down together, even though our "dining room" is a little cramped. Grace can touch the table with her feet and she ends up kicking/pushing against it the entire time, shaking the table. We can't move her chair back any more because it is against the wall, and the table is against the couch.

Also, don't let the computer fool you, this is a non laptop time, it was loading something though so it couldn't be closed.

On the menu, lemon butter chicken, baked potato, and peas:
 6:20 After dinner, I bathe Grace while Ian vacuums the house. We can't wait for the day when we have an upright vacuum cleaner again! Dragging this thing around and leaning over is really hard on your back!
6:55- Grace is bathed and dressed and ready for bed! We read her book, turn on her music, and turn off her light. We lay her down in her crib, put a paci in her mouth, and one in each hand (yes, she has 3!) We walk out and don't hear from her until 12 hours later!

 7:00- we do emails, read blogs, spend some time studying, clean up the kitchen, and finally get to cross another day off of our calendar.

9:30- I get changed for bed, snuggle in, and read a chapter of Love & Respect, do my quiet time, peruse the baby names book, and read The Three Musketeers until I am drowsy enough to fall asleep- a little before 11.

A day in the life of a language student! It was only 3 days ago, but already we're seeing our schedule change! Grace doesn't have to go to daycare for that long every day, I have time to make breakfast for my family, and Ian is able to tackle some projects that he has wanted to do for a long time!