Monday, July 15, 2019

Skydive Dubai

With one more day left to enjoy some fun in Dubai, Collin decided to try the ultimate extreme sport: skydiving! Skydive Dubai is a huge tourist attraction and activity in Dubai, located in the busy Dubai Marina and taking hundreds of skydivers everyday. Collin begged Kevin to join him but they learned at the last minute that Kevin exceeded the weight limit by a few pounds. He was actually bummed that he couldn't skydive with Collin, but he joined the kids and I as spectators to cheer Collin on in his flight.

As Collin and his flight buddy concluded their flight preparations, I was feeling SO nervous for Collin. He was a bit quiet and likely freaking out on the inside, but he was mostly calm on the outside. There was a photographer accompanying him for the experience, so they snapped a few photos and then Collin was off to the plane.

Collin later told us he was freaking out on the plane prior to his jump. This was evident when we saw the photos from the plane ride. I can not imagine!!

Collin told us he didn't remember much from his actual jump out of the airplane, but the photos gave us the entire story. I was FASCINATED by the pictures and Collin's experience in general. He later told us that he wasn't able to fully enjoy the actual skydive because of being so terrified, and that he might've blacked out for a few moments, ha!

We laughed and laughed at his face in those photos!!! Thank goodness for the photographer who captured so many amazing shots that Collin will no doubt enjoy forever. My favorite pictures are the ones showing the famous Palm Islands as well as the World Islands in the background. There was even one photo where you could zoom in and see Jeff's office as well as our villa where we were living. SO cool!

The kids and I were on the ground below watching skydiver after skydiver make their landing. We kept wondering which one was Collin, and then we finally spotted him.

I'm not sure if I've ever seen Collin smile SO BIG?! He was SO relieved to be back on solid ground, ha! He came back with some funny stories about how scared he was, and he told us that the photographer was going to have to do some big-time editing of his skydive video. Apparently it is quite the American thing (and definitely a Collin thing, ha!) to "flip the bird" which the company isn't allowed to release on video due to being in the UAE.

We were all so excited for Collin's incredible experience and to hear his firsthand account. We laughed and laughed at the photos and video, and Collin gave me permission to share on the blog. What an amazing way to close out his time in Dubai!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Back in Dubai for some Desert Fun

After another full day of travel, we were all exhausted but happy to be back in Dubai. Jeff and the older boys were up early the next morning for yet another adventure, this time in the UAE desert. After hearing about the world's longest zipline in Ras Al Khaimah, Collin and Kevin definitely wanted to check it out. Jeff drove them and was happy to sit this one out, ha!

As if that weren't enough fun for one day, they all drove to the nearby emirate Umm Al Quwain for their all-time favorite UAE activity: quad biking. Despite the heat, they had a blast riding the sand dunes in the desert. I always love seeing their photos and hearing all about their crazy adventures in the sand.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Our Phuket Family Photos

Just when you thought I was finished writing about our family trip to Phuket...nope! One of my initial requests to our Airbnb host, Tanya, was that I was hoping to get updated family portraits while we were in Thailand. She recommended a photographer and set us up with a session several weeks before we arrived. On one of our first evenings in Phuket, the photographer picked us up from our condo and drove a mile or two down the coast for a family photo shoot.

These sessions are never very fun for me, with all the stress of choosing outfits amidst complaints from 4 disgruntled kids. But this time it was particularly taxing because we were on vacation and only had what was in our suitcases. Despite all of my planning and preparation, we ended up with a wardrobe malfunction (I had purchased the wrong size shirt for Kevin) and had to shuffle clothing at the last minute. I wasn't in love with the end result of color/clothing combination for everyone, but we made it work and ended up with some really nice family portraits. And these photos, of course, will always be a reminder of our cherished family memories in Thailand.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Exploring Phuket: Our Last Night and Muay Thai

When we returned to our condo after our last day out in Phuket, I immediately noticed the stunning sunset views off of our balcony. It was almost like this amazing city was reminding us of our incredible week and bidding us farewell in true Thai fashion.

While the rest of us were bummed to be packing up our things, the boys weren't quite finished with Phuket. Our new friend Bau convinced them that they needed to experience one more activity with one of the biggest local Thai activities: Muay Thai boxing. There was a nearby match happening on our last night, and Bau offered to take Jeff and the older boys. Collin and Kevin were excited to show off their newly purchased "Rolies" and couldn't wait to experience the Muay Thai boxing culture. They absolutely loved it! It was the best way to end their Thai experience in Phuket.

And then, it was all over. We were so sad our week in Phuket had come to an end. But what a week it was! We made the most incredible family memories that we will cherish forever. I think Thailand made a true impression on all of us, and I even caught Collin and Kevin researching flights to return in the future. Of all the countries we visited during our overseas stay, Thailand was by far my favorite!

Before we boarded our flight back to Dubai, we couldn't resist stopping for a few treats and eats -- at the Phuket airport Dairy Queen! Who knew?! Ha!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Exploring Phuket: Kata Beach with Friends

Maybe one of the most unexpected things about our trip to Phuket, Thailand was arriving there and discovering that some of our friends were visiting at the exact same time! We belonged to a small group from our church in Dubai, and one of the families in our small group happened to be vacationing in Phuket while we were there. We didn't realize this until we were already there and just happened to find out from one of our group WhatsApp chats.

The Blomberg family with Josh, Renae, Connor's buddy Luke, and little Emma, were staying in the Kata Beach area. We made plans to meet up with them one day at Kata Beach, which was about a 40-minute drive from us. We were excited to see a different area of Phuket, and we had heard that the area was full of fun shopping and restaurants. We were even more excited to see the Blombergs and swap vacation stories. It was so cool to realize that we had become the type of family who could run into friends in a far away, random place like Thailand!

While visiting Kata Beach, Collin and Kevin wanted to pursue their quest for "Rolies" (fake Rolex watches) so they took a car to a seedy storefront (ha!) and had a cool experience shopping for watches. While they were away, the rest of us really enjoyed the sand and waves on Kata Beach. Connor was so happy to have some time with his buddy Luke and Jeff was able to get some snuggles from Emma.

The dads and kids decided to rent jet skis and had a blast on the open water.

After a few hours on the beach, Collin and Kevin rejoined us with their new fleet of watches, ha! They really enjoyed their authentic Thai shopping experience. By then, it was time to say goodbye to the Blombergs and we were all ready for a late lunch. We walked down the streets along Kata Beach and found a fun place to enjoy more yummy Thai food amidst the bustling tourist area.

By the time we hired another car to drive us back to our condo, our group was wiped out. It took me back years and years to the times when we would drive back from Galveston beach with a car full of exhausted kiddos. Love!