Thursday, December 15, 2011

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

I have not dared to wear the green sweater again. I am afraid of what might ensue. I was, however, winked at by another Qatari man on Saturday while grocery shopping. It seems the natives are friendly. I was wearing a red sweater at that time.

Interestingly, these winks never happen when I am in the company of my husband or my boisterous 3-year old.

No, the green sweater will not be accompanying us to Canada.


We've been getting into the Christmas spirit here. We bought a little tree (you can buy big ones too, don't worry) and even made our own dough ornaments this year.

I'm not the most relaxed person you'll ever meet (ahem). I'm not very good at sitting and playing. I'm generally just not very good at sitting and ... anything. But one category I excel in is moving and doing. So I'm so glad my daughter's now at the age where we can do fun things together. I can finally stop feeling guilty for not sitting on the floor and shaking a rattle in her face, or worse yet, playing My Little Pony with her.

I love her little hands. It's amazing to me how the feeling never goes away. When Kaiya was born, we took so much delight out of her little hands and fingers. We were thrilled every time her tiny, precious hand grabbed a hold of one of our fingers. And now, at almost four, I still feel the same. I still feel a rush of warmth every time she grabs my hand. I love that she gives me high fives, holds my hands to pray, and strokes my cheek to show tenderness.

And I am glad we share a love for working with our hands.

And Kaiya, in true taking-after-her-mommy fashion, takes all of her doing very seriously. She wants to do it all by herself, thank you very much, and she makes a mess, yes, but it's a fine mess, and she's happy to take responsibility for it, even if she doesn't really want to clean it up.

There's nothing quite like making Christmas ornaments in your ballerina tutu.
 Thankfully, we were able to benefit from the assistance of our brand-new "movable stick," purchased just that morning. And yes, that's a clover, crescent moon, and cherry blossom. They happened to be beside the large star at Daiso, the Japanese dollar store, and Kaiya insisted. We've never really been traditionalists around here...

Our final product: a tree covered in dough ornaments, crafts from the winter carnival, and a few odds and ends. At one point Kaiya said, "Let's put a Canada flag at the top of the tree!" And we finally decided it was time to draw the line. I mean, seriously.


Every December, the college hosts a lovely Holiday dinner at the Diplomat's Club in Doha. We get treated to a buffet-style feast with all the fixings: turkey, mashed potatoes, salads, cranberry sauce, scrumptious desserts, and hummus and pitas. What? Not a Christmas standard? Yes, every single buffet I've attended here (and there have been many) has included hummus and pitas. Well, all but one. And I was really excited about that one.

There were two sittings for the dinner. We went to the afternoon one, as it was the one meant for families, complete with caroling, Santa, and goody bags. It was a great experience of barely contained chaos. Kids were running, screaming, having tantrums, and generally not cooperating. It was wonderful. When people asked me later what I thought of the dinner, my main response was, "It was so good to see that everyone's kids are like that. We're normal!"

Well, mostly normal. :)

These guys have become best buddies at daycare.

Out in the courtyard, trying to get some pictures. Gotta love the fakey-fake smile.
And with dad, shortly before things started falling apart...

And Santa... did Kaiya get to sit on Santa's lap? Well, yes, she did. But when we finally got to the man in red after having waited in a long line, Jeff was mysteriously absent. Turns out he was outside, busy photographing someone else's family. Has yet to live that one down. Luckily, a colleague's husband saved the day, managing this shot:

I don't know how he did it. Kaiya was sticking her tongue out most of the time!

At the Christmas dinner, I was hit, quite forcefully, with the realization that the Epps are NOT going to have a nice Christmas picture this year. In fact, we may not have a nice family picture any time in the foreseeable future. Kaiya is in the "catch me if you can" phase, and my smile somehow lacks any genuine flair as I try to gently yet forceably pin her to my lap. And Jeff? Well, we all know Jeff is a little photo-challenged. We're just happy if he manages to stay still. There's a reason he's usually the one behind the camera (HE said it, not me!!)

So I present to you our "Christmas photo." (And if this picture ends up on that "Awkward Family Photos" site, I will not be impressed.)

So here we go. I'm slightly frazzled and totally pre-occupied with last minute details. At 3:45am we will be boarding a flight to Dubai and then Toronto. You read that right. 3:45am. This will either turn out to be a really smart or really, really dumb move. I'm hoping to get in bed with Kaiya at 7:30 tonight for even just a few hours of sleep. We're really looking forward to being surrounded by close friends and family for the next two weeks. Especially friends and family who watch Kaiya for a few hours here and there while we nap... Got that? ;)

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Suzanne said...

Amazing! I can't get over all the pictures and how amazing they are. The hand one??? Seriously needs to be blown up a million times and put in your kitchen. Incredible! I love your awkward Christmas photo and everything inbetween. Have as good a flight as you can and we'll see you SOON!!!

Tracie said...

Bon Voyage friend. Have a great time!!

by Mama B said...

I can't believe it's time for you to come home already. Hopefully we get to see you before you're off again. If not, I can give your card to Erika. {{HUGS}} Hope the trip is peaceful.

Tarasview said...

merry Christmas! have a great holiday :)