Friday, June 27, 2008

South Calackylacky

Just to let you know the title of the blog was chosen by Carl, he has always refered to South Carolina that way, my husband is a hoot.

We are a family who likes our space. I love my Tahoe, not just love but adore (and not just because it only costs me $19 to fill up in Bahrain. I love the tahoe because my kids can sit in the third row and I don't really feel like there are kids in the car with me when I am driving because I really can't make out what they are arguing about back there. When Carl arrived with the Kia Sportage I was thrilled that our luggage would fit. As we made our way from DC to SC I was overwhelmed by the beuty of the drive. The trees have never looked so lush and alive, every stream and lake stunned me. The kids were just as excited about the trees and flowers. Carl being the pesimist (which is soooo unlike him) stated that he would give it an hour before we got bored of the scenery. For me it still is not old but he was about right for the kids. It soon became he is touching me, she is looking at me, I want what he has, she smells like throw up (granted that was carl talking about Ha-Na and I had only been able to wash her blankie in the tub with a bar of soap and let it drip dry in the hotel since the airplane upchuck so she probably did). The car literally began to feel like it was shrinking around me, the sides were compressing every moment and with every obnoxious utterance from the children. We tried the license plate game but they were too young for that. Then we tried singing songs but each one (the hams that they are) wanted to sing the song all by themselves at the same time (I know even as I type this it makes no sense). To make it all the better since Madison was bored and wanted out of the car, every 30-45 minutes she had to go to the bathroom. It was an 8 hour drive and we stopped at least 6 times. I really missed my car, especially the tv for the kids entertainment, I really don't know how my parents did it with seven kids in a car from Washington to Utah so often.

We made it to our house and it looked so inviting. Entering I really felt like we had come home and I could not bear that we were going to be leaving in a week. All my furniture and things we had left, my kitchen and my pans. And most of all our books, the kids books, my books I wanted to take everything back with me. I went to the backyard to look at the grass I had put in the month before we left (I did not know we were leaving till 3 weeks before we did) it was so green and plush and beautiful. I went out and walked arround the yard we had lanscaped and put so much into, it was lovely. Carl then reminded me that we had a plan. I thought about it and decided I would enjoy it for the week and then continue on with the adventure of life. They are just things and I have lived without it for two years so I don't really need any of it and it will be there if and when we come back or want to ship it.

We called our friends and stopped by the Gomez's to say hello and let Carl see Aidan. They still totally clicked. We then went to the Wiley's (Cathy's yard is still amazing, wow can she get flowers to grow) and set up for them to come over and play rook (we used to play with them every weekend night for hours).

During the week we worked on getting all of us used to the time difference, it pretty much took the whole week. We had doctors appointments for the kids and I and just had a lot of fun with our friends. It was really nice to reconect, we have such great friends and we have really, really missed them. It was great to catch up with Jen and to see Cathy's new art. We shared pictures of our diving trips with Cathy and hope she can use some of them for her art, she is soooo incredible. Carl had a great time catching up with Todd and was sorry not to be able to go fishing with him, next time. The kids were thrilled to see Samantha and Shelby and Madison even seemed to remember them.

I was thrilled that my brother Andy came to see us. He had to leave late Friday, got caught up in traffic because of an accident and finally got to us on Saturday. We had a blast, he brought Lauren, Micheal and Anne with him. The kids loved seeing their cousins, they especially liked it when it started to rain and they moved pinestraw to make mud and slid down the hill, I was not as thrilled when they started to come in the house. I had a lot of fun playing DDR with Andy and Lauren. We also played a lot of nertz with them (much to Carls dismay). I really appreciatted him coming all that way and he even brought me Graters ice cream (it is soooo awesome). I missed being able to see Leslie and Andrew, I hope on our next trip.

We spent a day at the beach with the Gomez family, it was a blast. I love South Carolina beaches the water the sand everything is so beautiful. The kids had a great time building sand castles, more so after I stopped trying to "help". My helping entails telling them just how it should be and then when it doesn't look right I take it over and let them watch me do it the way that I think is just right. I know I am a control freak but admitting it is the first step to recovery. I laid back on my towel and just relaxed while listening to to the kids having a great time. We left after a few hours as we had to get the house ready to be vacated and pack up for the next day's drive back to DC. Little Carl was distraught not to be able to destroy the sand castle (the gomez's were staying and Aidan was still working on it) since he thinks that is the only good thing about building it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Coming to America

We have been planning this trip to the States for so long that I can't really believe it is here. We got the kids up at three in the morning (they were actually pretty excited for the hour) and went to the airport. I was flying alone with the kids as Carl was not leaving til the next day.

The flight from Bahrain to Qatar went really well and then we had a short layover. I was really happy at the airport when little Carl found there was a kids area and they entertained themselves most of the time there. Our flight was at 10:45 and boarding was supposed to be at 10:00. Arround 9:30 I thought it would be a good idea to get in line and get through early. When I got to the gate I was surprised to see huge lines. First we had to get into a line to get our passports checked, then get into another line to pick up checked passports then to go through a security check and last to get our tickets checked before boarding the flight. With three kids who are very active this was a hectic process. Once I gave my tickets I was informed that I could not take Madisons carseat on the plane even though they had let me have it on the previous flight. With having all three kids I was depending on her being strapped in so as not to be running after her during the 14 hour flight. As sad as it sounds as I argued with the attendent and she insisted I could not have it I had to hold back tears of frustration.

The flight started out as usual, when we got to our seats of course there was a whole family sitting where the girls and I were supposed to be. I then had to be the shrew and insist they move seats rather than I taking theirs (which is what they were insisiting on) since carl was sitting accross the isle from the seats we were supposed to be in and I wanted to be close to him. Once we were in the air the kids were loving the on demand (madison refuses to wear headphones so she was watching with no sound).

For the first half of the flight things were going really well, excepting Madison running all over and taking off her seat belt every two minutes. The flight attendants were irritated by this but I was not apoligetic since it was their decision not to have her seat on the plane. After 9 hours and a few times closing her eyes she finally fell asleep out of sheer exhaustion. Ha-Na had a great time and then started saying her stomach was not feeling well, my anxiety shot through the roof. Ha-Na is our puker, and I imediately began grasping at ways to waylay what was to happen. After sipping some water she closed her eyes and I thought all was well. With the two girls asleep I looked accross the isle at Carl and saw that he too had drifted off. I decided I would give them a few minutes and then try to get some sleep myself since I had been up more than 24 hours. Just as I was gettting comfortable Ha-Na opens her eyes and begins to puke. Not just a little urp but full on puking over and over. All I could do was put my hand in front of her to guide the puke to stay on her and not all over the seat since she is washable and the seat was to be with us the rest of the flight. We then cleaned her up and changed clothes. She felt a little better but now she was up so I also was required to be awake. Madison soon woke up and decided that she definately was not supposed to be in her seat, most especially did not need a seatbelt on and that if she were required to stay in the seat the only acceptable position was her legs hanging out in the isle. Of course thirty minutes before landing the kids all fell fast asleep again and when it was time to leave the plane had no intention of using their own legs. I then carried our bags on one arm, had Madison draped over the other and had a childs hand in each of mine. And entered America in Washington DC.

It took an hour and a half to get our luggage and then we went out to meet the shuttle to the hotel. I must prefice this with the following: I was now going on being awake for 30 hours, frazzled from above experiences and ok, I have to admit I am not the most observent person in the best of situations. I see a shuttle come up that I thought read Dulles Embassy Suites. I get on the shuttle happy to be finally coming to the end of the day and looking forward to lying down on a bed and letting the kids go crazy in the hotel room. The first thing that I noticed was that there were a lot of people on the shuttle with airport ID. Then after 20 minutes we entered a large parking area. As I reaad the signs I see that we are in the Dulles Employee Parking lot. What was really written on the shuttle was "Dulles Employee Shuttle." I had to do the walk of shame to the front of the shuttle and explain to the driver my mistake and let him know that we would be returning to the airport with him. I could not tell whether he was ammused or annoyed and frankly at that moment I did not have the energy to care. After at least 30 minutes of stopping at every letter in the parking lot we were on our way back to the airport. Another 20 minute drive we get off, wait at least 30 minutes and finally we get onto the right shuttle. (I made sure to tell Carl which shuttle we were looking for so that he would help me from making that mistake again.) We got to the hotel, to the room, ordered pizza and then we all four collapsed into bed.

At 3:00 am all three kids come into my room to annouce that it is morning and they are awake. I do understand that in Bahrain time it was 10:00am so it was understandable but in my exhaustion I did not have the patience to be considerate of this. I ordered them all back to bed and then was able to sleep till about 4:30am at which point my body decided it too was awake. I hung out with the kids til breakfast and then took them swimming in the pool. We came back to the room and I was determined to keep the kids and myself awake so that we could get used to the time as quickly as possible. Carl was to arrive that evening and I thought I should keep them up til then. The kids wanted to watch tv and were doing so till about four when Madison came in and wanted to be in bed with me and watch me play computer games (this was my attempt at keeping myself awake)within minutes she was out and no ammount of tickling and nudging would get even an eye flicker out of her. Carl then came in and asked if he could watch me play my game, he also informed me that Ha-Na had fallen asleep watching tv. Carl lasted another 20 minutes and he too was lost to fairy dust and dreams. I was able to stay awake til Carl arrived at seven and we moved the kids to their bed and then gladly allowed ourselves to fall asleep.

The kids again woke up at three in the morning and this time excited to see daddy would not return to bed. We finally admited there was no use to holding onto the belief that we could ink out a bit more shut eye and got up to start packing. We got the bags ready packed into the car and as soon as breakfast was available we ate and set out on our way to Charleston.......

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Kasab Diving

For Carls birthday I bought him tickets to Dubai. We went this last week and had an awesome time. We left late at night and got in arround midnight then got a car and started to drive to Kasab, Oman. We arrived arround three in the morning, got a couple of hours sleep and then woke up at eight to go diving.

Our first dive of the day was to a place Cat Eye Island. We both forgot our skins but did not think it a big deal at first because the water was so warm. Soon after entering the water my skin started to feel irritated. Carl was signaling to me that there were jelly fish and I kept looking for them, until my eyes adjusted. There were jellies all right, millions of little tiny ones everywhere and they were stinging every part of exposed sking including our lips. There were a few times when the water cleared of them but then they would come again in swarms. Carl got stung really bad on his knee and my lips were really burning by the end of the dive. The dive itself was definitely not worth the sacrifice of comfort, there was a lot of sand between anything else. We did spot a green sea turtle though which is always nice.

Our next dive was at Eagle bay, this was by far a better dive. First of all there were not the hordes of jellies previously experienced but best of all we saw a leopard shark. We were so excited, it came swimming by and then was gone. Sharks always swim by us so fast we can't get a picture. Really I think it is that we are so excited that we forget about the cameral altogether until it is too late. This dive was much better for coral and animal life also.

We went into town to find something to eat and found that town consists of one block. We decided on a restraunt once it opened and discovered we like chicken makboos, it was really good. It was also very economical, with that came a salad, water and we also ordered some curry and it came with bread all for the great price of 2 OMR.

We decided to do a night dive Kosmi wreck which ended up being really great. The wreck was small but there were lots of holes and openings to look in. There was an enormous lion fish, it was beautiful. There were also smaller ones that really liked our flashlights, they used the light to see fish to atack, the large one went after a fish from our light while we were there. Then one of the smaller fish decided he liked the light so followed us and got a little too close for comfort. In fact, Carl was using his light for some pictures, when I came upon him I saw that a lion fish was poised right at his head but he was looking elsewhere so he did not see it. I pulled him away and we decided to stay clear of the lion fish. Something else that really liked our light were some neon worms, that is the only way to explain them, they were twirling all arround the light. The ship was small so after an hour and seeing everything we thought there was to see, we ended the dive.

After a good nights sleep we woke and headed off for our second day of diving. Our first dive was not our favorate, a lot of sand again between coral. Our next dive at Pee Pee beach was really great, we loved it. It was quite shallow but the coral was really beautiful and neverending. We came upon some area where the coral were like walls fallen against each other, it was really cool, we could swim through and arround. There were really large pufferfish, eels and sea urchins everywhere. At one point we saw another green turtle and swam with it for a while, as that one left we turned and saw one twice as big, it swim near us and then took off.

The next morning we went to Dubai, we had heard how great it was but we were not so impressed, it pretty much looked like any big city you would see anywhere and the airport that was said to be so nice was really lacking to us. My reccomendation of the places we have been thus far would be to visit Oman, it is lovely, keeps their culture and the people are really friendly.