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Sunday, July 31, 2011

I’m feeling HOT HOT HOT…

It has officially become HOT over here!  I feel bad even saying anything because it is so hot back home… I think Dallas is on its 27th straight day above 100*… but it was confirmed by Tracy that it is definitely hot in Dubai.  The weather is not only hot, it is humid too!  Luckily, since Jon grew up in Arizona and I was raised in Texas, we are somewhat used to this heat and living in Houston for the past three years has made us accustom to the humidity… BUT, it is toasty.  The only way I can describe the weather is like this… you know how you feel when you open a hot oven door and that blast of heat hits your face and makes your eyes water and your glasses fog up… yep, sort of like that!  Is it completely unbearable? No.  However, are you going to find me hanging out in the heat, absolutely not!  I find myself staying at home all day or making trips to the air conditioned malls…..being outside for long periods of time is out of the picture for the next month or so, unless it is before the sun comes up when it is only in the mid 90’s.  The picture below is the temp as we left dinner the other night at 9:05 PM!  Who needs to pay for a spa day… we officially live in a sauna! 

 Until later...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wood, pots and poo… oh my!

Jon and I recently had our 5 year wedding anniversary (and we have been together for almost 11)! Some days it seems like I just met him yesterday… some days, especially the days that he thinks he is funny, it seems like I have been with him for a life time… you all know what I am talking about! Anyways, the 5 year anniversary gift is something made of wood.  You can only imagine the jokes Jon had about what he could give me as a present and always followed them with a “booyah!”… that was one of those days that felt as if we had been together forever and I rolled my eyes  more times than I could count.  Jon gave me a Kindle in order to save paper, aka wood, and I gave him an IOU for a wooden humidor (IOU you are saying.  Yes, I just had his kid… he is lucky that I even thought about it enough to get him an IOU).  The gifts were nice but I am assuming like most new parents with no family around or a babysitter yet, we just stayed in and made dinner and watched a movie… old BORING couple, I KNOW, it makes me sad too!  But, we used the money we would have spent on a nice dinner on pots and plants for the back yard.
 I did a little research on plants and drew out a picture of what my ideal backyard would look like in my dream world.   I also found out about the Garden Souk, where you can get super great deals on pots and plants… it is the place that all the local gardeners go to get their stuff at wholesale prices, so I figured with penny-pinching Jon in tow we would manage to get at least half of what I had drawn out.  We headed out at 8 in the morning and it was already 100 degrees out... no bueno.  After a few wrong turns we found ourselves at the souk.  There are probably 50 shops randomly placed in a small area just off the side of a busy road and all the stores are basically set up the same.  They have two Arab men sitting in white lawn chairs at the front dragging you in with the promise of “the best deal for you” or “I have anything you need”.  Each shop is about 50 feet wide and 30 yards deep with every single type of plant you could think of and more pots than you can count.   Like most things in Dubai, the plants at most of these shops are not native to the UAE, so we had to go with a game plan so I wouldn’t kill everything in the first week!  After an hour or so and a few dozen shops, Jon had haggled the price down to something reasonable and we left having purchased 10 large pots with soil and plants with delivery for a third of what it would have cost in the States.  Later that afternoon one lone Pakistani man showed up to unload the ridiculously heavy pots, which at this point already had the plants potted in them… so not only did we get a decorated backyard, Jon got a pretty sweet workout in at no extra charge!  Lucky Jon!

Even though you can’t tell, Leighton was representing TEXAS
 with a bluebonnet onesie from her Auntie Mon! 

Happy Boys!

My Cholo husband enjoying the fruit of his labors...

We were very excited to have something alive in the back yard and some color from the pots to cheer up the space.  I must say I was also excited to see the dogs’ fake grass get put into the garbage!  Jon meant well when buying the grass and was told that it would drain and there would be no “potty” smell.  Well, don't ever trust what someone tells you who sells their goods at a place called Dragon Mart… lesson learned!  So I was beyond happy to see the stinky peepee grass find its final resting place in the trashcan.  However, the dogs were not so pleased and were even a little confused on where to “GO”! 

Bless Walter’s heart!  I am however happy to report that it has been a month and they have figured out what they need to do in a timely manner and all the plants are still alive.  The Cumberworth’s are winning!
Until Later…

Sunday, July 10, 2011

She’s almost official…

Have I mentioned that it takes about 37 to 54 steps to get anything accomplished in the UAE? You think I am kidding… I am not!   In order for me to obtain my visa, I had to have our original marriage license attested by the Texas Secretary of State and then sent to Washington DC to be once again attested, this time by the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.  That was just one of the many steps to the visa process.  Then, when I got to Dubai I had to go to a local hospital and have blood drawn and get a chest xray (but I got to skip the xray because I was pregnant).  The plethora of steps to every process sure does make for a bunch of paperwork… here is mine from the hospital that one day…

Oh, and I did I mention Emiratis love their stamps?!?  They stamp everything!!!  You can have the most official document from the States, but if it doesn’t have some form of colored stamp on it, everyone thinks it is fake and will not except it.  They even stamp your receipts at H&M when you purchase something.  Stamping is a serious business over here!  
Now, with all the steps and stamping going on I was a little apprehensive about the process of making Leighton’s birth official, but I didn’t want a little anchor baby on my hands.  Along with Leighton’s Certificate of Live Birth, the hospital gave me a step by step process of how to get her Birth Certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Passport and Visa.  I was having flashbacks of getting my named changed after getting married and what a headache that was. However, unlike the name change, this process has a timeline that has to be followed! 
When my mom was in town, right after I had Little L, we headed over to a local Hospital to get the proper stamps and paperwork to obtain her Birth Certificate.  After multiple offices, several forms, tons of people watching, a lot of waiting and one glass of Indian spiced tea from a stranger, we had the birth certificate! And yes, I helped an Emirati woman who was assisting me with the clasp on her bracelet and she insisted that I try her tea.  Not knowing where her coffee cup with rainbow colored hearts on the side had been, I politely said, “no thank you”… however, she insisted. Arab hospitality is very similar to southern hospitality except that refusing something offered to you is considered disrespectful… so I drank this random woman’s tea… and it was surprisingly good!  I kindly thanked her for the sip but she kept insisting that I finish the entire glass and that my mom tried the tea also.  So, we stood there and finished the tea, thanked the insistent but kind woman and went on our merry way with the Birth Certificates in hand hoping that tea would not come back to haunt us! 
Here is the original Arabic one… notice all the lovely stamps
(5 rubber and 2 real).

This is the translated one… I think it is funny that even though
they didn’t ask me they listed her as a Christian.

Next step… the passport!  This passport step was fairly easy… minus the fact that the consulate took awhile to find because the actual address is not listed and once we found it we had to go through three metal detectors, a full body wanding and a bullet proof door.  That being said, the hardest part was the silly passport photo itself.  A newborn must have both of their eyes open, both ears showing and their head has to be straight up and down in their photo with a white background. Jon and I had to have several photo shoots with Leighton. I put about 12 photos on a CD and headed to the Kodak store.  The lady their selected the picture she thought would work the best.  When I got home and showed Jon, we literally laughed so hard we cried, lost our breaths, laughed some more and I think I might have peed my pants a little in the process. 
Jon said she looked like an awkward 7th grade boy named Todd in this
picture.  Todd likes to wear old cargo shorts and band t-shirts that might happen to have Cheetoh stains on the sleeve where he whipes his hands occasionally.  Todd was caught off guard in this picture because someone told him that it was chicken nugget day in the cafeteria and he said in his Todd voice…” (heavy breathing followed by more heavy breathing) I totally like chicken nuggets!”  Now, Jon and I joke a lot, but we figured that Leighton would never forgive us if we actually used this picture for her passport. So, I selected another picture and got them printed, filled out all the proper CBRA and passport paperwork and that was that.  Now we are to the next and last step, the visa… wish us luck!
Leighton's actual passport photo...

Until later…

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July…

Leighton, Jon and I wanted to wish everyone out there a happy 4th of July! 
We would especially like to thank my Cousin Kevin who is currently serving in Afghanistan and his amazing wife Susan who is back in Houston watching over their two little boys.  We think about y’all everyday and pray for Kevin’s safe return and impending retirement (praise jesus!).  Thank you also to Jon’s dad and brother and my father and many cousins and uncles who have served our country throughout the years!

We celebrated today by having a good old AMERICAN dinner…  burgers, fries and beer!  BUT, the beef was Australian, the potatoes were Lebanese and the beer was Irish… we tried but it just wasn’t the same.  Y’all think of us when you are enjoying your BBQs, cheap beer and the sweet sweet tunes of Lee Greenwood…  we are totally missing it today!  I think we might watch Rocky IV to boost up our patriotic spirit later tonight… USA USA USA!
Until Later…

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Like mother, like daughter…

Hello, my name is Hillary and I am a TV-aholic.  I have had this problem my entire life… I literally wore out the Beta tapes for Annie and the Incredible Shrinking Woman when I was little.  No joke, the tape broke while playing… I was 4 or 5 and I still remember how sad I was… someone should have realized then that I had a problem and sent me away to receive treatment, but I was the fourth kid.  Any fourth kid out there will tell you we were lucky enough to have our family remember our birthday let alone pick up on an addiction problem. (just kidding Mueller family… yall never forgot my birthday… I don’t think!)
 So, Jon’s brother, Steve and his fiancĂ©e Liz gave us a Baby Einstein dvd for Christmas this year.  I haven’t pulled it out yet because I figured Little L was too young for said video since she is only 2 months old… BUT she is the daughter of TV addicted mom, so I don’t know what I was thinking.   Addiction is passed on through your genes, so it is fitting that she would have a problem as well.  She was having a fussy moment the other day, so Jon and I popped out the Bumbo and the DVD… and bam, Leighton was mesmerized!  She had drool coming out of the side of her mouth while staring at the screen like a shroomed up kid at a Grateful Dead concert, mesmerized.

Since I have recognized the addiction in myself and I have informed the munchkin that this is a problem that she will have to keep an eye out for the rest of her life, we are only going to watch this DVD every other day at the most.  Hopefully we can stick to this schedule, because we do not want her to end up residing in our basement when she is 30, living on diet coke and McDonald’s while she daydreams about getting her first kiss from Stepheno’s great grandson on Days of Our Lives… trust me people, this addition runs deep and that could be the reality if we aren't careful!
Until later...