Saturday, 30 January 2016

New tricks

We have tried to teach Oakley some new, fun tricks lately - like balancing a treat on the nose!
So far we have got to the part where he manages to sit really still, nearly goes cross-eyed trying to look at the treat, and gets to eat it when it falls off. Pretty good!


- Ta-daaaaa!!

Uncle Kieran

Uncle Kieran is here with us for a few days, a bit unexpectedly. He is traveling through down to Australia, but is currently experiencing the "joys" of staff travel since he got bumped this morning. There was free seats on the plane, but they closed the flight due to load restrictions. That's a first!
Anyway, we are enjoying having him here, and at least he is not by himself somewhere in a boring hotel. Hopefully he's going out on one of the flights tonight, or tomorrow... or the day after...

10 little fingers

So, we finally got it together and started Linnea on some piano lessons. There is a Music Institute just 5 min from where we are, so the plan is for her to go there once a week.
She had her very first lesson last week, but I don't think the piano teacher was a good fit, so we are going to try one of their other teachers next lesson.

She did get all fired up though, and has happily been practising the first few pages in her new piano book all week.

Monday, 25 January 2016

How's Oakley?

Oakley was bounced around a bit during the Christmas holidays, so it was good to get him back home again when we got back, and into routine. He seemed to enjoy being back home too, with all his favourite people, and back in his favourite place - on the sofa amongst the pillows:

Another favourite place, is on the outside sofa, where he can sit all morning and just watch the birds and the wind move the bushes. He's so cute, sitting there just chilling, contemplating life.

He is growing fast, and he has got really tall, so for Christmas he got a new house! Nathan managed to bring back a flash, big crate from his Edinburgh trip (there are almost four times the price here!), and we set it up in the corner of the living room. It should be big enough for him even once he has finished growing. Luckily he loves it and sometimes even goes to nap in it during the day.

Puppy school started up again only two days after we got him back home, and that first session was absolutely awful... We got a very, very bad school report... :(  He was just not settling down at all, no matter how much chicken I tried to bribe him with..; he was pulling and being unfocused and spent the whole session wanting to go to the other dogs. I was exhausted by the end of it and nearly came away in tears, feeling really low.

So, two weeks later, and we have been super rigid with house rules and training. I have put him through several short training sessions every day, mostly training how to walk nicely on the lead, and attention training. (Kids can't wait to teach him more "fun" tricks, but we need the basics sorted first!)

It has taken a lot of cheese and sausages... but I am so proud of him (and myself... ha ha... training involves staying very, very patient which I'm not very good at...) - he has made huge progress and is behaving really well.
This mornings session at Puppy School was amazing!! Oakley displayed model behavior, and did everything (well, nearly...) right. Well done us!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

HSBC Rugby Festival Dubai 2016 - Linnea

On the Saturday we got up even earlier, as Linnea had a 7.45 start down in Dubai, and the fog was there again, even thicker. It hadn't even lifted by the time we got back to 7he Sevens!

The U12 Girls put in FOUR teams in the tournament. Linnea and her team played really well, they won all of their pool games, and ended up in the final!

Linnea has had a bit of a breakthrough lately, having finally figured out that she has a good eye for where there are gaps in the defense - and if she gets the ball at the right time, she goes for it without hesitation! She scored two beautiful tries, look at her go in the movie clip! (Ignore the crazy shouting Mum...)

She also met up with an old friend from Brunei, who now lives in Dubai. Linnea and Ruby have known each other ever since even before Nursery Class, when they used to go to playgroup together. Here they are, back in Brunei, Christmas 2008 - and some seven years later, in the UAE:

(We actually met up with tons of other friends from Brunei this weekend: half the Walker family, the James, the Mortons, parts of the Jack family and the Dehlis, of course! Fab!)

The team got some warrior paint on for the final:

Unfortunately, the Dubai Hurricanes proved way too hard to beat. The Harlequins put up a strong fight, but the Dubai team played much better this time; with quick handovers, fast passes down the line and a super speedy girl that would outsprint our defense each time she got the ball.

So the day ended with tears for many of the girls, it's a tough loss to loose, the final... But in the end, they played really well and above all, it was such a huge improvement to both their game and their attitude and commitment compared to last year - it was great to watch!
Well done Linnea!

HSBC Rugby Festival Dubai 2016 - Lucas

On the weekend it was time for one of the bigger rugby tournaments of the year, the HSBC Rugby Festival in Dubai. Last year there was 220 entered teams with over 4,500 players; and this year they expected it to be even bigger.
I took the kids up to this one last year on my own as Nathan was working, and remember unfortunately mostly running between the pitches and missing a lot of play, as both the kids were playing on the same day, but in opposite areas of the stadium.
This year we were lucky enough to have Nathan home, and also, to have the kids play each on their day. It meant for an incredibly long weekend for us parents, and not just one but two dull driving trips to Dubai; but well worth it to be able to be there and fully support both of them.

Driving up on Friday took a little bit longer than normal, due to the heavy fog. Couldn't see much at all, and I had the camera ready, in case the temperature would actually hit single digits!

But, even though it's chilly and cold in the mornings at the moment, it quickly warms up and it turned into another beautiful day.
The U12s only send one team this year, so all the boys got a lot of play time.

One of our games were against the Dubai Hurricanes - Malthes team! The Dads got to stand side by side to enjoy the match, which Hurricanes won big. Lucas and Malthe didn't have any immediate contact during the game, but it was fun to see them on the pitch together.

Linnea was there too, and spent all day together with Ida. They had a lot of fun, winning prizes over in the skills zone, going on adventures and hanging out.

During these tournaments there is a lot of waiting between the games. We started at 8.45 (with having to leave Oakley with his dogsitter before, meant we had been up at 5.30 to leave home at 6.30 that morning...) and we didn't leave 7he Sevens until after 6pm, after the award ceremony.

Finally, some close-up photos taken by another parent, Johan Liebenberg.
I love this first one of Lucas, that's commitment for you!

Team photo at the end of a long day:

The BFF birthday, Abu Dhabi style

Linnea was invited to a very Abu Dhabi-style birthday celebration after school on Thursday. It was her good friend Grace that had invited a group of girls to the local spa for a bit of pampering.

They had the whole VIP room to themselves for a few hours, and each girl had her own beauty therapist looking after her. They got manicures and pedicures, all while listening to music and enjoying cupcakes and lemonade.

Linnea came home with a spa themed party bag and very pretty nails!
I want my next party there too!

A Wednesday, with cake

Well, this Wednesday wasn't a completely normal Wednesday - as it had cake!
It was the big double birthday day in our house. First we woke up the now 12 year old:

Bigger birthday numbers means less presents. Lucas got some books from his cousins, the Dan Carter book from Grandma and Granddad, some Lego from Mormor and Morfar; a phone cover from Linnea and from us a t-shirt and the new X-Box One, with some games and a spare controller.

Then the slightly older birthday person got woken up, displaying a very puffy early morning face..!
I got an Icebreaker top, a handbag, hand cream from Jo Malone and a set of make-up bags.

Birthday breakfast with flags and banners!

While the kids were in school, Nathan and I celebrated my birthday with Indian lunch outside by the beach, and a nice coffee break, just the two of us.

Lucas still wanted to go to CrossFit after school on his birthday, as you get to be the special person for the session. They did "birthday burpees" and "birthday box jumps" amongst other things.

Back home, the neighbourhood kids came for cake:

I got my own cake! :)

And for dinner we had everybodys favourite - sushi! A good end to a very good day!

Happy Birthday to us!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Birthday bonanza

We have been busy celebrating a few birthdays amongst our friends this week. First Sofie turned the big two-digits, 10, and we celebrated with birthday 'fika' at their place, and home-made Princess Cake. Mmm!
Opening gifts:

Ready to 'fika'!

We continued to celebrate Sofie by joining in their Friday Brunch at the Fairmont yesterday. Mmm, yummy in my tummy! I didn't eat as much as I normally do, but what I had was tasty, especially the crab you see in the first photo, mmm!

And later in the evening (whilst Nathan was getting ready to head off to München) I joined the Hiebsch party celebration, for Peter. They had booked us all onboard a dinner cruise that went from the Yas Marina. Indian food, red wine and a belly dancer - so much fun!

So lovely to get a different view of Abu Dhabi as we sailed along, here Al Muneera above, and Al Bandar below -  looking fab from the water.

All the girls and the birthday boy!