We had a fabulous Thanksgiving here in sunny Doha, complete with putting up our first ever Christmas tree (now that we aren't in NYC, we finally have space for one!), stringing ornaments, burning cinnamon spice muffins beyond anything edible, and dancing around in our pajamas to the American greats - Sinatra, Etta James and the beloved Billie Holiday. In the afternoon we then headed to holiday brunch at the Ritz with friends (I skipped the turkey and ate my weight in hummus, as is typical for me this pregnancy), topped off with an impromptu evening at another friend's villa sitting under the stars. We are thankful for so many things this year - the health of our family, the delight that is our daughter, the active and healthy babe in my belly, and the love and laughter that we share as a family.
As for the holidays, we're (I'm) in full swing. After missing Easter by a week and a half this year (and by "miss Easter" I mean, I had absolutely no thought, no recollection, no subconscious nugget surfacing until over a week had passed and someone asked me what the Easter Bunny brought Isabelle), I was determined not to let another holiday slip pass me just because we were in a different country and didn't have mass media to gear us up. Missing Easter was a good, rookie expat slip-up that I've learned from. While it's always up to each family to decide how or to what extent they want to celebrate the holidays or create memories that will become part of their children's childhood, it requires even extra effort when you don't have grocery stores, TV commercials, or general public surroundings helping you get "in the spirit" (or in my case at Easter, remind me). So over the next month or so you will find holiday music on the stereo, stockings hung & presents wrapped, and even the occasional stove top potpourri of orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves seeping from the kitchen. Come one, come all - but I may insist on topping your coffee with whipped cream and red sprinkles.
Isabelle turned 16 months a few days ago and seems to be growing and changing with each minute. In the last four weeks the most notable change has been her vocabulary, which exploded practically overnight. Our favorite words of hers are please (peeeas), thank you (ganku), happy! & I love you (I wa-u)...we melt every time. She is very proficient at always saying please when she wants "dat!" - we hear it no less than a dozen times each hour as there is always something she's after (and generally speaking, unless danger is involved, she often gets what she wants as hearing a baby say "peeeas" is near impossible to refuse, however often you hear it). A cow officially goes "Moo!" instead of "Boo!" and she snorts when you ask her what sound a pig makes. Our favorite animal sound is the elephant, which she makes along with the arm motions indicating the trunk going up of the elephant. We have a couple of books and flash cards that she fires through with enthusiasm now and doesn't miss a beat ("truck!," "car!" (always followed by "zoom" and her hand moving quick across her body to indicate a car speeding by, "baby!", "flower!" (flougher), "owl!," "pig" (piiig), "duck" (duuk - always followed by "qak qak qak!" and so on and so forth). She will ask for us to roll out the paper (pa-pa) when she wants to draw and will point to the moon in the evening or a plane flying by and tell us clearly what it is.
She has a favorite animal, her Jellycat stuffed bunny, whom she calls "Hop Hop." And for about the past month and a half, has been announcing to us every time she's about to go "pee pee" or "poo poo." Even though she warns us about any upcoming diaper activity, she still exclaims "No!" and runs for the hills when we offer to take her to the toilet (or her kiddie toilet). We're not pushing it; we just thank her and get ready to change her diaper. Nursery school has been going well, for the most part. She was teething quite badly so one week was a bit rough, but last week she went 3 days a week from 730-10:45am, which seemed to work out well. She enjoys the playtime with the other kids but seems ready to come home by the time I get her. I think that may change when she graduates to the age class above her, as they seem to do a bit more running around, which I know she would love.
We are sending you love from Doha. xx
|In honor of her Dutch heritage, Isabelle takes a jaunt in her clogs after bath|
So Isabelle does this HIL-larious move when she's goofing off. She tips her hips under and sticks out her chin and thinks it's the funniest thing (it is!). Here she is doing her move while running loose without clothes and putting her sunglasses, inverted of course. :)
|What a GOOF!|
|I especially love the the mullet flipping out from behind her sunglasses for added comedy.|