Randomness

Tom pulled out my nose ring approximately 2 weeks after getting back to Dubai. It was fun being a cool mom for a hot minute!! The hole closed up immediately and there’s no scar….whew didn’t want to ruin this beautiful face!!!

The boys have completed 2 full weeks of PreK!! They go from 8am-12:30pm Sunday-Thursday. The first week there were some Tom tears, but the second week they both found their groove and don’t want to come home with Mom in the afternoon!

Clare loves first grade, and has already been on 2 play dates. Her teacher is lovely, and we continue to love Clarion! Next year the boys will attend KG1 there (if we are still in Dubai next year….I should really devote a whole post to the eternal struggle of where in the world to raise our family that Shawn and I are going through right now)

Clare and Joe start their swim lessons today (Tom continues to dislike the water so we aren’t forcing him). We had a great brunch with our good friends Cassie and Matt and their adorable twins Edith and Arthur yesterday.

We were so sad to say goodbye to our dear friends Erin, Brent and their little girl MG last month. Brent works at Cerner, Erin and I became instantly close when we were pregnant together. We spent almost every day together since and and sent hundreds of texts daily since then, so them being gone has been a huge adjustment. They moved to Sweden, which I am super jealous about. Fresh air, liberal attitudes, cooler temps ahhhhh.

A couple months prior to this our good friends Mike and Kristie moved to Berlin. 😢. That’s one of the hardest things about being an expat – you make these intense friendships (because lack of family around truly turns your friends into family) and then ultimately one of you move away. But I’m trying to look on the bright side….from our time here so far we now have good friends in Germany, Sweden, London, Oman, the Netherlands, Canada…and I’m sure more places that I’m missing.

Have a great weekend all!

From our boat ride home from brunch yesterday 😂

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Quincy Girls do OCMD 2018

I just got back (24 hours ago) from the most amazing week ever! 8 best friends from QND class of 1999 met up in Ocean City, Maryland leaving behind jobs, husbands and kids to relive our youth and let loose. I was so afraid I’d be homesick, have horrible jet lag, receive texts from home about things going wrong, etc., but NONE of those things happened! We didn’t even have any severe hangovers (thank you Amy and your hangover pills). We did however receive one tattoo (Emily), one piercing (me – my nose) and got booted out of a bar (Lindsay). Being 37 clearly has not slowed us down!!! And while I did miss my husband and kids, something about being with these fantastic human beings whom I have known for decades had a way of making me forget I even had a family 🤣

I left Dubai at 2:20am, which worked out as I was able to sleep for part of the 14.5 hour journey. I got to the airport at 10:30 and walked around for a couple hours, finally settling down for an omelette and the biography I’m reading of John Adams at Giraffe Cafe. A wonderful solo meal that I savored! I slept for the first 6 hours of the flight, then woke up and watched Chappaquiddick and I, Tonya, both of which were great movies. Close to landing I changed clothes, washed my face and other areas 😬🤪, applied some makeup and exited the plane just about as pumped up as I’ve ever been in my life!!!

I met up with Emily at the rental car facility, and attacking her as she exited the shuttle bus was exhilarating! We jumped in the car and drove to Reagan to pick up Amy and Rolvi. Once all 4 of us were in the car our excitement was palpable! I’m not sure there is anything we didn’t discuss… we stopped for some lunch and drinks and then got some drinks for the road for the rest of the trip.

We arrived at our rental condo and reunited with Carp, Lindsay and Amanda!!! Everyone was there except Rebecca, who had travelled to OC with her hubby. We started playing board games and of course drinking more (our livers were the real heroes this weekend). Carp and I (with the help of Lindsay) finally brought down the Humble Dynasty that has reigned supreme as long as anyone can remember (ding dong the witches are dead!!!!!) We went out to dinner on the boardwalk and finally met up with Rebecca, then collapsed into bed.

Day 2 we hit the beach and the boardwalk. The weather was GORGEOUS, especially for this desert girl. Sunny and 70-80s, 60s at night and random thunderstorms. After drinking (we are Guido’s burritos), sunning and playing euchre, I very randomly got my nose pierced. I literally have never for even a millisecond considered that as an option for my body, but hey – when the mood strikes and you’re 7 beers in sometimes the fates collide and magic is made. This was one of those days. I am very happy with my piercing and it didn’t hurt at all (thank you Corona). We ended with dinner at De Lazy Lizard then talking and more drinking at home.

Day 3 we split up – Rolvi, Amy and I spent about 8 hours playing slots and drinking beer (starting to note a pattern – a wonderful, amazing life altering pattern), while Lindsay, Emily, Amanda and Carp went for some yoga on the beach. This was a day when I definitely wanted to be in 2 places at once, as the beach yoga looked great! However playing slots that day may be in my top 10 favorite days ever so I did make the right decision. We ate at a sushi place for dinner, Emily got a Mom tattoo on her wrist (mind over matter!!!), and we ended the evening at a karaoke bar. This is where the infamous “Lindsay got thrown out of a bar” incident went down, which I actually wasn’t there for but from the story I heard she didn’t do much wrong at all, the bouncer sounded like a steroid junkie on a power trip. Emily, Amy and I had a mini Dr Phil counseling session while that was going on, and from what I can remember we had a great time! (Choose to be happy ladies – words of wisdom passed down through the years, originally authored by our own Rolvi).

Our last full day there we split up again. Amanda, Linds, Emily, Carp and I travelled to Assateague Island for stand up paddle boarding (SUP!!!) and some wild horse sightings (still don’t thing they’re that cool), while Amy and Rolvi hit up the boardwalk. We had some amazing shellfish and seafood at Hooper’s and settled on our lanai for an evening of games. None of us wanted the next day to come so we stayed up way too late 😢

On our last morning 4 of us had to get up super early in order to make it to DC on time, but all the girls were nice enough to wake up and see us off. Our trip back consisted of a lot of financial talk – college and retirement accounts. Suddenly we were thinking and acting like 37 year olds again. Emily flew off first. I got checked into my airport hotel and went exploring with Rolvi while Amy took a nap. We had a great lunch and I stocked up on some more US products (coming home w lots of medicines ☺️). I saw Amy and Rolvi off and then was all alone 😢😢😢😢. I did a workout at the hotel gym, then had one of the best nights ever in a king size bed by myself watching the new season of Orange is the New Black. The next morning I flew home. I had a great flight home, completely finishing the whole season within 24 hours of starting it.

Coming home was so great! I was pleasantly surprised (and mildly offended) that they all did so well without me, and in fact the kids didn’t even seem overwhelmingly happy to see me. Well well well I guess I’ll just have to jet out by myself more often!

Special thanks go out to Shawn for encouraging me to go on this trip – I was completely sure it wouldn’t be doable but he pretty much made me book the trip and I’ll be forever grateful! More thanks go out to Emily and Amanda for the bags and bags and bags of clothes for the twins, and for helping me pack the clothes and buy another suitcase to bring the clothes home in. Joe and Tom won’t need any more clothes for the next 2 years at least. Thanks a million!

And thank you to all of my Quincy Girls. You are the 7 best friends I have on this earth and I’m thankful for each and every one of you. Until we meet again ladies!!!!

Spring 2018

Summer officially starts in 2 days…however it is already over 100 every day here so it has felt like summer for quite awhile.  Here are a few photos and memories from the last few months:

Fun beach days and playing at Oli Oli

Clare and Dad went and checked out a Dahli exhibit

Our whole family became OBSESSED with “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus”.  We read the book 2-10 times a day and make up our own versions with the app.

Sickness hit the house HARD…multiple episodes of super high fevers and GI Yuckiness.  The only silver lining was everyone napped a lot….

Clare performed in her Spring Concert.  I’m not gonna lie when the whole school sang We Are the World I bawled like a little baby. 

As it got warmer we started frequented indoor play places, often with our bestie MG!I had the best birthday ever!!  Shawn took me to a movie and out to a FABULOUS dinner.  We also enjoyed birthday cake and I got a new iPhone 8 for birthday/Mother’s Day.

Clare lost her other top tooth!  Still missing both

Amazing field trip to Ski DubaiRamadan 2018 is over!  We enjoyed filling the Ramadan fridge near our house and at Clarion School…they are for the workers to eat and drink after fasting all day.

We ended the season with potty training, huzzah!

February and March 2018 recap

I haven’t blogged in soooooo long! I am going to to try to recap the last 7 months in the next few days. Here comes a picture and memory dump!

Early 2018 was focused a lot on getting Tom to wear his glasses. We first got them in October after learning his vision was horrendous. He is extremely nearsighted (-7 in both eyes, normal for a 2 year old is +4). We didn’t do anything special to finally get him to start wearing them, other than one day we finally decided enough was enough and stopped taking “breaks”. Within a few days he was wearing them! He now asks for them immediately upon arising.

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Clare continued to love school, albeit with “bff” drama every other day. I swear I didn’t know kindergarten could be so cliquey. She goes to a progressive school, they take field trips almost every week.

Clare also lost her 3rd tooth in February, and now as of June 18th the permanent one still hasn’t come in. Her dentist said it is there it’s just taking it’s sweet time.

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Our family also got new passport photos, as Clare and my passports were about to expire and the boys need new residency visas soon.

OMG we look like the serial killers version of the Brady Bunch hahahahaha!

Let’s see, also Shawn started playing softball and we enjoyed fresh air and Easter, with a trip to the Hatta Mountains that yours truly won for free on Facebook, and I have continued working out frequently. That’s about it! Boy this blog post has been thrilling. Hi Mom!

Clare’s 6th, Christmas and a visit from family

Whew….December and January were busy but SO FUN!

December 14 was Clare’s 6th birthday, and her last day of school before the holiday break. That evening her BFF Cailey had a birthday party and our whole family attended. It was great fun, and it was nice finding a new soft play to look forward to this summer 🙂

That weekend we spent 2 nights at Atlantis celebrating, we enjoyed their Aquarium, water park (although the water was FREEZING!), holiday activities and amazing food.

Christmas Eve and Christmas were seriously magical…my favorite Christmas yet 🙂 It was so cool having all 3 kids excited for presents and Santa.

Shawn’s brother Courtney and our niece Lilli came and stayed with us during New Year’s. We had so much fun, did so many amazing things, but the best part was just hanging out and being together. It was so cool that Lilli is all grown up (15)…we could talk and have fun like friends! I can’t believe she was my little flower girl. Time flies!!!! Here are just a few of the millions of pictures we took:

As for 2018, I am continuing focusing on my physical health with diet and exercise, I once again did a round of Whole30 in January ,aka Dry January – no booze. I am also continuing with yoga and weightlifting. Shawn is also trying to focus more on his health, having joined a softball league and walking to work as much as possible. We are also trying to cut our budget – things are getting more and more expensive in Dubai, including the addition of a 5% tax for almost everything – including our already expensive utilities 😦 So far we have cut down (almost completely) on eating out, buying coffees out, and buying alcoholic drinks out. I even pack Shawn’s lunch for work 🙂 This is helping tremendously I think, as these things are astronomically expensive in Dubai. Also I have given my beloved baby sitter notice that as of May 1 we will most likely not be able to afford her services regularly. Right now she comes 2 mornings a week for 4 hours so that I can work out, etc. It is a luxury I have enjoyed and I know how blessed I am as a stay at home mom to have enjoyed it for this long. I always rationalized it that most people have their parents and/or in-laws around to help out with the kids, which we obviously do not. Anyway, health and budget are our 2018 goals. We shall see how we do!

What we are up to, Fall 2017

Shawn: Shawn is busy working and providing for us as usual. He has made time with the family more of a priority these last couple of weeks and we have all appreciated it! If not working or spending time with us he can be found obsessing over his 3 fantasy football leagues or playing video games which I don’t understand.

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Combining work and play, we trick or treated at Shawn’s office and finally got to see his desk. Or as Clare puts it, where he “writes emails and makes money”.

Clare: Clare is loving kindergarten! Just recently I have noticed a lightbulb moment in regards to literacy – she can now usually identify what the first letter of a word is by sounding it out. She can write her full name, as well as her brother’s names and Mom and Dad. She loves doing her “homework”, which is self-inflicted and consists of working on writing letters and numbers in this little pink notebook I bought her. She also loves P.E., art, French class, Arabic class, Numbers corner, Music class and checking out books from the school library. I think that means that she likes everything about school :). She began riding the bus to school last month, which saves me almost 2 hours total every day in driving time. To say I am grateful to Clare is an understatement! She likes riding it most days, and the boys LOVE waving goodbye to “clare clare school bus” and welcoming her home. It’s a hero’s welcome every day!
In her free time Clare is most enjoying playing dolls, watching youtube videos of other children playing with toys, riding her scooter, and making up silly games with her brothers. We read at least one chapter of a book every night, and several story books throughout the day (most days). We are picking her up a new to her used big girl bike with no training wheels today, she is very excited to learn how to ride.
Clare takes swimming lessons every Friday morning for an hour and has become quite the little fish! She swims much better than I do and is progressing very quickly through the ranks in class. Fingers crossed she can get a swimming scholarship and I can use her college fund to buy myself something pretty!
Clare turns 6 this December. Most of her birthdays have been pretty legendary – Shawn and I feel like that is important since her birthday is right before Christmas and could easily be overlooked. This year her birthday falls on a Thursday (our “Friday” here, as our weekend is Friday/Saturday), and it is the last day of school before Winter Break. Her birthday will be filled with a holiday party at school, birthday treats she will bring in, and cake and presents with us and some close friends that evening. The next morning we will be heading to Atlantis for a 2 night stay. We also stayed there when she turned 3 and 4, but this time the boys will be big enough to enjoy it! We got a suite for this stay so we have separate sleeping area for the boys. It’s such a magical time of year there, as they go all out for Christmas and Santa will be there…we can’t wait!! Clare also can’t wait (neither can the rest of us) for Uncle Courtney and Lilli to visit us! They are coming right after Christmas and staying through New Year’s. We look forward to showing them around, bumming at the beach, introducing them to Dubai’s favorite pastime: Brunch, and seeing the new Star Wars movie with them.


Clare sharing a school report with her classmates about how water is used in her home.

Joe: Joe is our “wild baby”. Poor thing really gets a bad rap, even though he is well behaved usually, he is just so much more physical than his brother! He is always getting hurt, and requires a kiss from Mommy to make it better 🙂 Joe eats anything and everything, naps for 3 hours in the afternoon, and sleeps 11 hours at night most of the time. Thank you Joe!! Joe’s favorite thing in the world is “car-cars”. Everything is cars at all times. Car toys, car shows, car videos, stealing other kids cars, pointing out real cars, saying Beep Beep and Vroom Vroom randomly.

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Joe: Always in need of a haircut, always in search of adventure, always wants a kiss for his owie.

Tom: Tom recently got his new glasses, and looks outrageously adorable in them, in my humble opinion. Unfortunately he will not keep them on for more than a few minutes, very politely folding them up and saying “Done”. The doctor said it will take awhile for him to get used to them. We shall see…..Joe of course is obsessed with them and wants to wear them all of the time.
Tom is also obsessed with cars. Is it just ingrained in them from birth? Clare never cared about them, and she had toy cars, it’s not like she wasn’t exposed to them. Tom also loves reading books with Mommy, just as Joe does. Their favorite books are Goodnight Moon and The Little Blue Truck. Favorite movies right now are Smurfs (all incarnations), Charlie Brown, and Cars.

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Tom: Finally over his fear of water and his desire to eat sand.

Suzie: In the last month my life’s enjoyment has increased about 1000%, and yes that is mathematically possible. This is due to Clare taking the bus (No longer do I have to listen to the boys
whine and cry from the backseat every day), and to the weather. Seriously, fall/winter in Dubai is AMAZING. It’s freaking paradise. Cool breezes, yet still warm enough for swimming and the beach. We spend as much time as possible outside. Every morning I am outside with the boys, either at the beach or a playground, and usually with my Dubai bestie Erin and her daughter MG. In the afternoons I take all 3 of them outside, again either to the beach or playground or just on a walk/scooter ride. We have about 5 more months of this weather then it will once again be time for the long, cruel, hot, miserable summer.
Besides taking care of the family, and continuing to teach one online medical terminology course, I have been really focusing on health and wellness in 2017. I’m taking care of my body and I feel soooo much better for it. I’ve lost 50 lbs exactly, and weigh less than I did in 8th grade. I recently had a physical and my blood pressure and pulse are both lower than a year ago, and all of my bloodwork improved (it was all normal last year as well, but the numbers all improved greatly, my doctor wanted to know how I did it 🙂 ). I work out almost every day and eat right probably 99% of the time. I’ve started taking a yoga class every Friday and am really proud of myself for trying something new and not being intimidated. I lift weights in the gym 3 times a week, right alongside huge beefcakes and I no longer feel intimidated. It’s so empowering to feel strong!! I am so blessed to be able to afford a baby sitter two mornings a week, without whom I would have a lot less time to work out!
I have started weaning the boys. We are down to only one nursing session a day, first thing in the morning. In the next couple of weeks I will be cutting that out and then my body will be mine all mine!! I have been pregnant or nursing for almost 5 years of my life, and if you count in the time spent doing IVF and giving myself injections, etc., there hasn’t been a whole lot of my 30s that I have had my body to myself. I am ready!
This summer I am meeting my best friends in the world, my 7 “Quincy girls” from high school, for a long weekend at the beach in Maryland. I have never spent a night away from the boys before, so am nervous/so freaking excited to finally have time away. It will be for 5 nights, however with the time change and long flight I’ll be away 6 nights. Shawn has taken vacation from work and assures me that he is up to the task. I know he is, and I know they will all survive, but it took me a lot of courage to press purchase on that airline ticket. Any prayers for my husband and children during that time will be appreciated!!!


We love the beach!