Saturday, December 28, 2013

11 Months Old

It's amazing to me. The time has flown. Just one more month and this little monkey will be a year old. Many times during this holiday season I've fondly remembered last year's Christmas... my massive belly, the excitement, the growing anticipation, waiting for our bundle to enter the world.

Had to snap this picture quick! 

Oh, personality. It's wonderful to watch Isabelle grow and change, and to see the similarities and differences between her and Kaiya. This girl does not like to be confined in any way! She rips hats off her head in a matter of seconds, complains when we try to put pants or sleepers on her, and don't even bother with socks or shoes. She's going to have some serious layering to get used to once we move back to Canada!

This month we have been enjoying Izzy's growing sense of humour. We used to work so hard just to get a few giggles out of her. But now, all we have to do is hide around a corner, or show her a silly face, and she's in fits. She is also endlessly exploring. Now that she has finally mastered a proper crawl, no corner of our villa is safe. Of course, her favourite things are Christmas tree ornaments, various wires and cables, and electrical outlets. Toys somehow never hold the same appeal, do they?

Izzy has also been growing so much this month. She seems so much slimmer and longer. And after many toothless months, one week ago she suddenly popped her two bottom teeth. And just like that, three more on the top are almost through.

The sister love continues to abound. Kaiya is endlessly fascinating to her little sister, and as Izzy grows, I find them playing together more and more. It's sweet to see Kaiya take on a big sister role. You can be sure that if Isabelle ever gets crying in the car, you'll hear Kaiya singing "You are my sunshine." Ad nauseum. But it works, with Isabelle often calming to the sound of her sister singing.

Next month will be bittersweet, as we celebrate both our girls' birthdays... and our chunky monkey's first, far from the family we are missing. But plans are already underway to make both of their days memorable. I know it'll be good.

Friday, December 06, 2013

The Sweet Season ... and a trip to Fuwairit

It's the start of the sweet season here in Qatar. Each December, it takes me by surprise. All of a sudden, classes at the college finish, and then finally there is once again space to breathe. There is still work to be done, but the lack of 7:30am classes allows me the time to drive Kaiya to school, and to simply feel a bit more human again. I love December here. The perfect, sunny weather. The lack of Christmas hooplah. Time to spend with friends and each other and to chill out a bit. It's fantastic.

We still have a week and a half of work/school left, with all of us finishing on December 17th. But we've already shifted gears. Today, Kaiya and I decorated our -small- Christmas tree and worked on Christmas greetings together. And then we all went out this afternoon to Souq Waqif and the Corniche to enjoy the perfect "no temperature" weather... the kind where you can walk out in jeans and a t-shirt and still feel like you're inside.

Last month was tough, very much a "put our heads down and work" kind of month. There wasn't a lot of time for fun. But at the beginning of November, knowing the stress that was ahead, we joined friends at a perfect spot in Fuwairit for a day at the beach. Our friends had gone for the morning, but because of Izzy's nap, we chose to go later, overlapping with them just for an hour or so. When they left, we got to reap the benefits of their perfect spot. I can't disclose the exact location... it's too small and too good. So we'll just stick with the general location of "Fuwairit." 

Beach days are a lot of work and a lot of mess. We wanted to be able to stay over both lunch and dinner, so we packed a full cooler, as well as umbrellas, mats, and sand toys. But the work was so very much worth it. Both Kaiya and Izzy love the water, and it was incredibly relaxing to just bob around, smell the salty sea, and enjoy the beautiful colour of the water.

We love Fuwairit for its deeper water. The beaches in Al Wakra are great for their shallow tides, but sometimes you want to get right in and swim. Fuwairit is great for that. There were also a ton of little fish swimming around us. Kaiya kept diving under water to watch them. "Mom, can we stay here till I catch one??"

It was Isabelle's first time at the beach, and she loved it! Both Jeff and I held her for a while in the water, but she also spent a good chunk of time just sitting there, at the shore, splashing in the waves. Water baby #2.

We stayed right until the sunset, lingering as long as we could, enjoying all the changing colours.

And so it goes. Every day, each winter, I have to remind myself how good this is, and how grey and cold and dreary winters are back home. Hitting the beach in November! Taking long walks in the sun all December! While other aspects of Qatar may frustrate me, the winter weather is something of a wonder. Not to be taken for granted, that is for sure.