Sunday, January 20, 2019

10 Years of Blogging!

I'm taking a break from my regular stories about our family activities to write an extra special blog post. Today, January 20, marks exactly 10 years to the day when I began our Courtright Family blog. My very first post was published on this date in 2009. How crazy is that?!

When I reflect on the reasons I began this blog, I'd say my purpose is exactly the same 10 years in: to document and preserve our family memories and photos. Initially I think I just wanted an easier way to share with family and friends, but over the years the blog for me has definitely evolved into more of an attempt to capture our stories for personal use and preservation. Countless times, I have looked back at old stories on the blog and thought to myself, "Wow, I had forgotten all about that!" How does that happen?!

A few years into blogging, I began downloading the posts and photos into a book format. It's an annual yearbook of sorts, and these mean so much to our family. Over the years there have been many times where I've gotten off track with posting and had to catch up from behind, and it was these books that kept me motivated to keep going.

I feel like the blog and our published memories are a big part of the legacy I hope to leave behind for my children and our family. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to look back and reflect on our abundant blessings in life and love.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

ASD Junior Falcons

When Connor's ASD middle school basketball games were underway, Jeff and I were so excited to see him in action. We attended some games after school as well as a weekend tournament in December. Funny enough, his very first game was against his former school, Dubai American Academy. It was a bit strange being back on campus, and Connor even saw a few of his DAA friends before and during the games.

Connor is getting a lot of play time for his team and really enjoying the experience. He has a long way to go but he is really progressing with his skills and learning the game. We love being able to see our #90 on the court!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Hanging with Leo

One of our biggest blessings here in Dubai has been meeting another Houston family that lives right around the corner from our villa. We go to the same school, church, and are now in a small group together that meets weekly. We have kids the same age and it has been so wonderful going through life together in our new city. When Cyndi and Ed had an overnight obligation in Abu Dhabi, we kept their kiddos to help out. Their youngest, Leo, is in kindergarten and always brings us the biggest smiles from his energy and cuteness! From school pickup to afternoon softball practice, he was a joy to spend time with.

Hanging with the older kids apparently wore him out. He passed out in 30 seconds flat on the car ride home! Then it was a quick session of Minecraft followed by bedtime and up early for school again the next morning. We really enjoyed hanging with Leo and his sisters during their stay!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Misc Fall

Here are a few photos to wrap up our fall here in Dubai.

In early November, Jeff and I celebrated 13 years of marriage with a low-key lunch date. We have been working to have lunch dates more often which works out great for our schedules, and it's always a nice time to enjoy kid-free conversations.

As the fall wore on, the Dubai weather continued getting nicer and nicer. By the time December rolled around, I was singing Dubai's praises on a daily basis. It feels SO amazing outside and we love soaking it all in.

Last random photos...I was reading social media posts from friends online about how early the retailers begin putting out the Christmas decorations. I found it funny that it was exactly the same here in Dubai. On the morning of November 1, the day after Halloween, I walked into one of my favorite grocery stores to find the Christmas music and d├ęcor in full swing!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Walking in Dubai

Sometimes it's hard to stay motivated, but the only exercise I get these days is when I can go for a walk. We spend so much time at the ballpark and there is a nice park with a track nearby, so I try to take advantage of the time to get in some steps. It's always more fun when I'm joined by friends, but sometimes I take advantage of the alone time to enjoy the scenery and snap some pics too.

All of my time outside has been no bueno for my hair. Between the sun, sand, heat, and water, my hair is taking a serious beating. I recently had a cut and the stylist asked for a photo for her social media. Why does my hair NEVER look healthy except on haircut day, haha!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Kidzania with Friends

During one of Kaitlynn's days off for fall conferences, we arranged a play date with two other friends at one of Kaitlynn's favorite spots, Kidzania. Connor and Kaitlynn had visited before and loved the concept - where kids run the town and perform all sorts of jobs to earn money. Kaitlynn was excited to show her friends Becca and Mia the ropes, from all the various jobs to how to use the Kidzania money earned. They had such a fun time together!

It wasn't much of a surprise that their favorite job of the day was the chocolate candy making. Love the smiles!

Another favorite was the TV station, where the girls were able to report on the Kidzania news.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Fall Parent Conferences and Days off from School

Each fall, the kids at American School of Dubai (ASD) are given two full days off from school while the teachers host conferences for the parents. The students are asked to participate in these conferences, and it's a great opportunity for all to reflect on their learning to date.

The middle school hosted conferences first. Connor was SO pumped to have two days away from school. Leading up to the conference date, he and the other middle schoolers prepared several topics to discuss with their parents, such as learning goals, service goals, and role models. Connor and I attended the first day of conferences and managed to sit down with all 8 of his teachers. Most gave glowing reports and recognized that Connor was seen as a strong student and leader in the classroom. It's always nice to hear the positive feedback when sometimes we tend to focus on the negative at home.

The following week, the elementary school hosted their "dreams" conferences with parents, teachers, and students. The purpose of the conference was for the student to share with parents about a specific goal they hope to achieve throughout the school year and the steps they will take to achieve it. Kaitlynn's goal was to gain confidence by singing in front of others. I was a little confused by the format of the conference and by Kaitlynn's chosen goal (considering she has performed a solo in front of her student population on two prior occasions) but I'm all about promoting confidence in our young lady at home. We agreed on some steps she could take to get over her shyness, and then Kaitlynn enjoyed the cookie/cupcake bar set up by her teacher, Ms. Wiltgen, for all of the students to enjoy during the conference. Such a cute idea!

We had several UAE holidays this fall that aren't typical of days off that we get back home in Texas. We also had a day off for the prophet's birthday, a Muslim holiday, as well as another day for Thanksgiving and two days off for the UAE National day (anniversary of the birth of UAE as a country). It's an adjustment to learn the holiday schedule here versus what we were used to before in the US, but no matter what the occasion, the kids are always happy to take advantage of the days off from school. Usually we spend those days surrounded by other friends.