Monday, May 25, 2015

Four Months Old on Memorial Day

Little LW turned four months old on Memorial Day. His patriotic mom and dad dressed him in red, white and blue. 

Of course I think this is the most adorable picture ever, but maybe I am prejudice. Don't they look happy?

This is BHB at about the same age. 
He has her hair color, chin and nose.  However he has his daddy's ears.

He really is starting to look like his daddy, but he still has his granddad's hair (D).  Big changes for a really cute little guy.

Big changes since he was only 20 days old on February 13.
Enjoy -- Now I have to figure out how I can load these onto my phone so I can show them off to everyone I meet. Technology challenges...ugh!


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Progress in Saudi

Great information I just had to share..

Yesterday there was an email flying around announcing women can drive in Saudi Arabia.

I am so excited – I can’t wait to get my new car-abaya.

Good friends of ours immediately went to Amazon and started a search for a yellow car-abaya.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Day Trip to Saudi Arabia

For a few minutes earlier today, I thought I might have to spend the night in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

I traveled with D this morning so I could have my visa renewed.  It needs to be renewed every 6 months and my deadline was Thursday of this week.  Wow, I can’t believe it has been 6 months since I first went there to get my Igama (approval to travel to SA) and multi-entry visa.

I looked forward to the trip over as the guys (3 or 4 in our building car pool each day) are always telling me about the commute and all of the stops they make.

#1 Checkpoint for insurance
# 2 Bahrain Immigration
# 3 Saudi Immigration
# 4 Checkpoint for dangerous materials (search of the car)
# 5 Check point to turn in the insurance verification

On the way back to Bahrain it is reversed. Sometimes D will call me from the Bahrain immigration check point as it is usually only 20-25 minutes from there until he is home. The complete trip can take from 90 minutes to 4 hours. It just depends on security and traffic. Right now they are on heightened security.

This is serious scaffolding on a tower at the mid way point.
An island just off the causeway with a complex for one of the SA Royals.
I think this was the first check point - they all started looking the same and I could not pick them out when I downloaded my photos.  By the way, all my photos are from the back seat - you had to deal with passport inspections if you sat in the front seat so I claimed a spot in the back.
Car scanners.
Another check point.
Coming into SA.
Searching the car.
Another check point.
We had a very fast trip in and arrived at the office at 7AM. I worked on my computer for a while. At 9AM I left to visit a store that I had been hearing about, Desert Designs.

Trip Advisor actually named them #3 of 7 Things to Do in Al Khobar.  It is an extremely interesting place.

The store is located just around the corner from D’s office but he insisted I could not walk over there alone.

One of the engineers was assigned to escort me and we ventured out.  I am sure I could have walked alone, but in SA women are supposed to be escorted everywhere.  UGH!

My escort - it is a hard job but someone had to do it.

This is a fabulous store and they had so many wonderful things that I have to go back again SOON.  I picked out 2 camel saddle stands and arranged for some custom saddle pillows.

Camel Saddle Stand with carvings.

The stands will make great stools for any room in our house and FANTASTIC items to take back to the States to remember from our adventure in the Middle East.

The fabric for the saddle pillow is woven in India but it is a traditional Saudi pattern. I picked out some fabric and it will take a month for the pillows to be completed.

This is the fabric they will use for my camel saddle cushions. It is going to look great in the Arabic bedroom I have planned -- or maybe the living room flanking the fireplace?

Since we arrived in the Middle East, I have not spent hardly anything on items to take back - except carpets.  I know D is saying in a loud voice - CARPETS! But, other than beautiful carpets, I have bought very little. So today I purchased a wonderful henna box and camel candleholder – with some other great finds.  It was a terrific and fun shopping trip. I had a BLAST!

Everything seemed to be going okay except the approval for my visa renewal did not arrive when we thought it would arrive.

Instead D received a text message that my visa had been canceled.  OOOPS!

After a few conversations with the HR department, we were back on our way to getting the needed approval.

Whewww!  That was close.  However, I did go prepared with an emergency overnight kit.  You never know what might happen when you drive over the causeway into the Kingdom.

I forgot to get D to snap my picture on the way into SA so I took this one after I arrived back at the flat.

I wore a new abaya that I purchased in the Souq with granddaughter ML when she was visiting in March. I really like it. A little teal, a little floral, just enough to give it some flare.

D arranged for a driver to take me home around 1PM. It was a fun day however when my driver crossed over into Bahrain, off came the hijab (head scarf). How in the world do women wear those things all the time?


Monday, May 18, 2015

BHB is 30 TODAY! – Blog Number Three for the BIG 30

This has been fun.  I really enjoyed pulling together all the pictures. For a gift, I put together a printed book for BHB with pictures of her life. I loved doing it.

We just finished talking to her (Skype) and little LW. He woke up during our birthday video call with BHB and we were able to talk to him too -- a bonus!

So here is my final "30th Birthday Blog." It is 9:15PM Bahrain time so we are getting ready for bed.

In the third decade of her life, BHB was very independent.

She graduated from college and decided she wanted to stay and live in the State of Florida. We would have loved for her to explore the world and live in many different places or maybe come back to Virginia.

However, she wanted to settle down in Florida. She was always stubborn and she put her foot down “in the sand” and said she was staying in Florida.

As it turned out, this was a great decision for her.

During her senior year, her crew team competed in the NCAA finals in Sacramento, California. For the "sports parents" it was a great way to end BHB's athletic career. 
BHB's graduation was a family affair with family coming from California, Oklahoma , Florida and Kansas.

BHB is a Millennial. She has many of the characteristics of one – confident, connected and open to change. Family is also very important to Millennials, so much so in fact that a 2010 Pew Research Center survey found that the number one goal of the majority of Millennials is “to be a good parent.”

Do you think you fit into the Millennial model?  Here is a quiz that will tell you how you stack up against other Millennials.

During the third decade of BHB’s life she also married and became a parent.

She was married on March 1, 2014. RB, her husband brought two beautiful children to the marriage and BHB has made it her mission to be a great mom to them.

Before the engagement on a dive trip with us in the Cayman Islands.
The beautiful bride and gorgeous groom. 
She carried something from both of her grandmothers down the aisle -- a bracelet from D's mom and a broach from my mom.  Next to her heart, under her gown she wore some lace from my wedding gown.
BHB and her beautiful new family. 

On January 25, 2015 BHB and RB added to their family with the birth of a baby, little LW.

Just an hour old and he was already the most beautiful baby ever born.

BHB’s dad, hubbie D and I are extremely proud of her. She is a wonderful daughter, adoring wife and fabulous mother.

I am so proud to be her mom.

I have to go now and get the Kleenex. This one bought me to tears!

Happy Birthday, BHB, my own baby.  May you have many, many more wonderful birthdays to come!

Hugs, Kisses and Cheers!
Mom (Brenda)

This is one of my favorite photos. BHB is obviously having the time of her life at an air show with little LW. She looks so happy and so at ease with motherhood. Life goes on. Happy Birthday to my baby girl.
I know this blog is supposed to be about BHB, but I could not help myself. Here is the most recent shot of little LW at 3 months.  He has an "ocean theme" in his room and other gear. Can't wait to make him a 3rd generation scuba diver. His cousin, BSJ is a diver (my oldest grandson) and we will have lots of fun in the water together someday!

BHB is 30 TODAY! – Blog Number Two.

In the second decade of her life, BHB was very much into sports.  She loved competition and sports of all kinds.

Go Colts! BHB played soccer, softball and basketball when she was in middle school.  She even coached soccer one year.
This is D's favorite picture with BHB. They are at a Dallas Cowboy/Washington Redskin football game.

Her competitive nature started when she was quite young. Whenever hubbie D and I would sit on the back porch in our Franklin Farm house in Virginia, she would beg her daddy to time her on his stopwatch running around the house.

I actually think Doug first came up with the idea to keep her busy. After that first time, all she wanted to do was run faster.

She would run around the house and try to break her own time. It only gave us about 90 seconds of quite time, but it was a very enjoyable 90 seconds.

I was looking for something 30 years old that is sports related and discovered a dive shop in the Bahamas that is named Brendal’s Dive Center, which was opened in 1985.

Scuba diving was a big part of BHB's growing up. She became a Master Diver.
One of the more common stresses among women in their 30s is finding time to stay fit. I found a good article describing how you should take care of yourself after you turn 30 because you are getting older. LOL

Hint to BHB - they also talk about how wrinkles start at 30.  What you do now, shows up on your face when you are my age.

This link goes to a blog written by Mark Manson. It is very interesting for any age in your life.


Do I see a trend here?

Inside Mark’s blog is this quote from one of my personal heroes, Steve Jobs.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

As it would happen, BHB sent me an email this morning (written last night) to let me know she has the flu.

She is very sick on her 30th birthday -- and I bet she did not even make it out of bed today. Oh well, when you are old you have take better care of your body.  BHB – getting old is something you have to accept now that you are in your 30’s.

(OH NO, how old does that make me?  Boy, do I feel old…..)


Here is BHB with my parents, her grandparents right after High School Graduation.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

BHB is 30 TODAY!

BHB is 30 TODAY!

30 years ago TODAY this wonderful little baby girl came into our life.  I can’t believe it has been 30 years.  Time really flies when you are having fun.
Here we are just minutes after her arrival.

Happy Birthday to You,
Happy Birthday to You,
Happy Birthday Dear BHB 
Happy Birthday to You.

To honor BHB, I am going to blog 3 times today, one for every decade of her life.

She was adorable when she smiled and laughed. The tuft of hair on the top of her head would wave.
Here are some fun facts about things that are also turning 30 this year. You will love these and be shocked they are also 30 years old!

Here are some more very interesting facts about 1985:

Brittany (spelled this way) was the 17th most popular name for a baby born in 1985. Jessica was number one.

A 1985 study found that US Parents were not "bothered by strangers" mistaking the infant's sex. I STILL dressed Brittany in pink.  :-)

Gap Kids line of clothing stared in 1985.

The song “We Are The World” was written.

The first mobile phone call was made in the UK by Ernie Wise.

The first version of Microsoft Windows was released in 1985.

The wreck of the RMS Titanic is located.

BHB was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma.



This was BHB's first birthday in Tulsa.  She has on an original Laura Ashley jumper (I made it).

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Book Has Launched

The 40th Anniversary Tribute Book for the American Women’s Association in Bahrain has LAUNCHED!

Yesterday at the monthly AWA General Meeting we unveiled the book and promptly sold all the copies we brought into the meeting.

Here is a video of my sales pitch - watch the video for a few minutes to get to my part.  I did a David Letterman joke --  "Top Ten Reasons to Buy the Anniversary Book."

If you are reading this in an email, you will need to go to my blog page to watch the video.

Everyone was pleased and it appeared to be a great success.

Here we are getting ready to unveil the book. 

Smiles all around - love it!
Although it was tremendous work, it is paying off. The book will be something the AWA can share and enjoy for many years to come.

In today’s newspaper there was even a picture of the Book Committee.  It is always great to be recognized for hard work and this committee certainly put some hard work into this project.

The daily newspaper had a picture of the Book Committee.
This article about the book ran in the newspaper last week.
I learned so much about AWA and I have a very deep appreciation for the ladies (past and present).  I am not sure I would have discovered this appreciation if I had not done this project. I also made new friends and developed my own skills.

Now on with planning -- how we can use this book to help AWA grow even more?

At the general meeting the President of AWA, DR showed the group a video she had created made up of short clips from husbands, children and families of the AWA members. It was an amazing video presentation and brought tears to everyone’s eyes. She promised to put it up on YouTube so you probably will be able to find it there soon.

Speaking of heart-warming gestures – at the meeting I received the most beautiful bouquet of flowers for my work on the book.  The meeting was held at the Ritz and the Ritz also gave me a bouquet for my birthday. One of the husband’s of one of the AWA members also gave every woman at the meeting a rose (Isn’t that absolutely sweet?).

I am really enjoying all my beautiful flowers.
I came home with all these wonderful flowers.  I told you before, I see a theme for my birthday this year – FLOWERS!  I do love flowers.



Surprise! Surprise! There were two Washington FAMILY Magazine readers at the luncheon.  WOW!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Oman and LW - Cutest Birthday Ever

I just celebrated my birthday and had a FANTASTIC time.  Hubby D and I took a nice long weekend in Muscat, Oman.  When we arrived back home, I had this video waiting for me in my email.

It is the cutest video ever.  I am sure little LW is saying, “Oma, come see me RIGHT NOW.”

He needs kisses from his Oma and Opa. If you are reading this in an email, you will need to go to my blog page to watch the video.

Muscat, Oman was wonderful and my birthday weekend this year ranks up there as one of the best ever.

When we arrived (at midnight) they served us cold champagne and cool clothes to refresh us. 

In the room, the hotel had a beautiful floral welcome. The entire room was filled with all kinds of flowers.  The bathroom even had pink orchids.
Champagne and fruit.
Flowers on the bed. There were lots of orchids and rose petals.
It was perfect for me because I love flowers. Before we left Bahrain, some of my expat friends took me to lunch and also gave me flowers.  I see a theme this year.

The hotel, Al Husn at the Shangra-la Resort was wonderful and I highly recommend it to anyone going on holiday in Oman.  We had a gorgeous balcony overlooking the sea, a fantastic bathroom, a well stocked mini-bar and a large living area.

On my actual birthday we went diving at a site named “Shark." There were no sharks. In fact, Oman has very few sharks. But the site was named “Shark.”
Diving at the "Shark" dive site.
On the boat getting ready to dive.
At first, I didn't feel very confident in the water. It had been 16 months since our last dive. However D assured me I would be fine.  The second dive was much more fun.

The reef was filled with fish. They all looked familiar to us but slightly different than the fish in the Caribbean. There were large schools and lots and lots of parrot fish in bright colors. The fish were very wonderful.  The visibility was not as good as the Caribbean, but the fish made up for it.  On our second dive D spotted a large Green Turtle snuggled down for a meal inside the coral. It was a great dive experience.

When we finished cleaning up all our gear, I walked out to the dive operator's pool area and D surprised me with a birthday serenade. If you are reading this in an email, you will need to go to my blog page to watch the video.

That evening we attended the hotel cocktail hour on the terrace to watch the sun set. You really could not see the sun as there was a mountain in the way, but it was fun to sit outside and enjoy the pleasant evening.
The light was getting dim so this is not a good photo.  We had just finished a birthday Skype with little LW and BHB so we were happy.

We had dinner in a fabulous restaurant.  The food was over the top and we had flaming orange crepes for dessert.  Sorry, I forgot my camera so I have no video.  It was magnificent and sorry I can’t share.

The next day we had a great brunch.  I am going to have to do some research on the fruits they served.  Along with passion fruit there were two I did not know.

Slightly sweet and really weird to look at.
We spent the remainder of the day at the hotel’s private, adult only beach. The scenery was unbelievable.

The attendants on the beach met us with a cooler filled with all kinds of treats including an Evian chilled water spray.

View from my beach lounge chair.

We took a kayak out and paddled through the opening in the rocks.  As we were returning, we saw a Green Turtle surfacing. We were only a few feet away from him.

Kayaking through the rock opening. Look closely.
It was a bit warm (37C) and D did not enjoy the beach, but he stayed for me.

The water was very cool but the sand was extremely hot. It was hard to walk anywhere on the sand that was exposed to the sun. D had words for the heat but he refused to repeat them on camera. If you are reading this in an email, you will need to go to my blog page to watch the video.

Sadly, the time came for us to leave. As our driver took us back to Muscat to catch our plane, we traveled through a roundabout that I had missed in the dark when we arrived.  It was filled with coffee pots.  They really love their coffee in the Middle East.

Coffee roundabout.
All the way to the airport I tried to capture a picture of the Sultan that was everywhere all over the buildings.  But each time I clicked my phone, I missed it. After all our birthday fun, my reflexes were not fast enough.

Thanks to the Sultan for a great weekend.  We enjoyed Oman and will certainly go back again.  Perhaps a trip to the hotel spa would be fun…