Friday, July 30, 2010

Return to Utah

After a great trip to California, we returned to Utah. I was too tired to try to carry Leoni with everything else, so she was left to follow me through the airport parking lot, carrying baby bear.

Met up with my cousin Emery and my Aunt Tracy for lunch of delicious Thai food at Thaifoon at the Gateway. I have to say they were wonderful with a tired kid who had been travelling all morning. Leoni loved the noodles, too.

We past by the "dancing fountain" at the Gateway. This is one of the first times I was there in the summer during the day. There were crowds of people with their children playing in the water. Because navigating through them took a little while, I noticed this wall.

Sad that I never seemed to notice it before.

Especially since I am one of the people it was dedicated to.

I worked with the Slovenian delegation for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. It resulted in a lower GPA my last semester at BYU (we didn't get time off for the Olympics like most other universities), but it was memorable and I will never forget the experiences it provided me (including living one of my biggest fears...a story for another time).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

California visit

Leoni & Great-Grandpa Tubbs

While Travis went to Peru, Leoni and I went to southern California to visit my grandfather. We met up with my mom and spent a few days there so Leoni could see her great-grandfather.

Being silly in the hotel

Smelling the flowers

Sharing a petal

The flight was great, though navigating through an airport with a toddler who wants to walk herself and a carseat and all the other things a kid needs isn't the easiest. Thankfully, we flew into Long Beach, which is a small airport. We were able to see the ducks in a big park, eat some wonderful meals, and relax while visiting. There are more photos that ended up on my mom's camera (seeing as she is not in any of these pictures.)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Point Gardens

On a very sunny day, we went to the Gardens at Thanksgiving Point.

Leoni was happiest when she was walking around on her own.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Budding Talent?

Over the summer, Leoni discovered the piano. Is it budding talent?

Or just fun?

If that doesn't work out, here is another pasttime option.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wedding Surprise

I am full of surprises.

My brother scheduled his wedding back in February over Valentine's Day weekend. That happened to fall on the end of my semester break, so if I were to attend I would have had to take off a couple days of new-semester orientation (unpaid leave). On top of that, it's expensive to fly between America and the Middle East. So, with my brother's understanding, we decided that I would not go. However, every time I thought about it, I had a feeling that I needed to go and that I would regret not going. Finally, we decided to reverse our original decision, and I started making plans to go to America.

This time, we decided to keep it a secret from my family. They didn't have a clue. We joked with them that they should make a cardboard-cutout and put a laptop where my face should be so that I could Skype in for the luncheon. I even got my nephew - one of the groom's men - to tell me what tie they were wearing so that I could order it myself and surprise my brother in the Skype session by wearing the same one. Also, we had some things that we wanted to get from America to bring back to Qatar, which involved ordering those things. So, we ordered them to be delivered to Lindsay's aunt's house rather than my parents' so that we could keep the surprise.

Well, the day for the surprise arrived. I left early in the morning on Monday, 8 February, and took a taxi to the airport. I traveled from Doha to London to Chicago to Salt Lake, arriving late Monday night. I took a shuttle service to Springville, again to maintain the surprise. I knocked on my parents' door about midnight. The first thing my dad said to me was, "Do you want to know the irony of this?"

I had traveled all that way to find out the wedding was being postponed. Things had fallen apart the week before the wedding, which is way better than the week after the wedding. My brother and his fiancé had decided that they needed to take a little more time to figure some things out, so the purpose of my travel simply changed to being there for him (and some shopping). Well, it was late, so after talking a little with my parents about what had happened while I was flying half-way across the world, we all went to bed.

The next morning, I got up and got ready for the next part of the surprise. I was able to "hack" into my brother's university account and look up his schedule. So, I went up to campus and found his classroom and waited for him to come out. He's working on some nerdy degree that involves a white lab coat and goggles. He came out of the lab to go to the supply room across the hallway and there I was. Surprise! He invited me into his lab to show me the poo that he was working with. After he was finished, we grabbed some lunch and talked a little more until his next class. The next day, we also had lunch together between classes.

It was a rough week for my brother and my parents, but it was good to have family support for everyone. My brother continued seeing Kristina with an open-relationship understanding. After another month or so, they were back on. They probably would have scheduled the new wedding date for May or early June, but I think I convinced my brother of how much it meant for me to be there. The scheduled it for mid-July, during my Summer break when my family would be back in America.

We spent the first two weeks of the summer in Las Vegas visiting Lindsay's family. On a Thursday, we drove about six hours up to Utah to my parents' house. Tyler's wedding was the following day, Friday, but we had a big family dinner for Tyler's and Kristina's families on Thursday night. We arrived about an hour before the dinner, so we took our bags in and cleaned up for the dinner. We came out for the dinner with another surprise.

Lindsay is wearing an abaya, and I am wearing a thobe. This is seriously a rather authentic look. I even grew out my beard for about six weeks for this. I am rather proud of how good we look. And, these are normal, everyday clothes for Gulf Arabs - basically, the same as jeans and a t-shirt. Needless to say, my family was surprised. I thought about wearing the same thing the next day for wedding pictures, but that didn't happen.

The wedding the next day was very nice. Tyler & Kristina were married in the morning in the Draper Utah temple and then had a beautiful reception in the Springville Museum of Art that evening.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Leoni has a tent with a tunnel at Nona & Nor's house. Who doesn't love tunnels? Now they just need to make them in a larger size for adults.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Metro Pizza

We had to have Metro Pizza while we were in Las Vegas.

Look what the pizza does for your figure

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Storytime at the Galleria Mall

We were invited to storytime at the Galleria Mall by our great friend, Angela Davidson. Although Leoni has not been too interested in listening to more than half a page of any story, we figured we would head over anyway to at least visit for a little bit. It was fun, and if we actually lived in Las Vegas, we might stop by more often. We tried to take a picture of our kids afterward, but this is the best we ended up with.

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July--Las Vegas City Center

After enjoying a great barbeque, homemade ice cream, and a fireworks display, we decided to extend our evening longer. I wasn't sure how wise this was going to be with jet-lag still hanging on, but we had good friends in town, so we couldn't resist. We headed to the Las Vegas City Center which had recently opened and no one except Holly had visited. It has 5 hotels as well as shopping, spas, etc. (Oh, had to stop at the Bellagio on the way.) Here is some of what we saw.

Large Mushrooms
(shown here with Suzi)

They were also known as...

I don't know if it was the late hour, but I thought that was funny, and so did they.

The Bellagio dancing fountains

Tornadoes in the water

Interesting staircases
(with slices of geode type rocks on the facing)

Comfortable seating in elevators

Fancy bathrooms that smelled great

Fancy bathrooms with a view

Dim upper lobbies with a view

Cool artwork made entirely of stacks of paper

And this guy
Yes, we felt the effects the next morning, but we had a fun time. Now, we just need to go back to explore some more.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lone Star

Leoni & mom left for the US on June 27th. Travis had work through the 2nd of July, but we decided to go a few days earlier to take advantage of slightly cheaper airfare and have a little stop in Texas to visit Tracy. It seemed like a fantastic idea wen we were planning it, however, I failed to take into account that I would be traveling alone with a 14 month old who is busy, busy, busy.

After waking Leoni up at 11:30pm on June 26th (in order to catch our 2:30am flight), we traveled through Munich, New Jersey, and landed in Houston at 6:15pm June 27th. It doesn't sound that bad, but don't forget that would be 2:15am June 28th in Doha, so Leoni and I had been "traveling" for almost 27 hours. She only slept the last 3 hours on the plane.

Gratefully, Tracy arrived at the airport with car seat installed in her Mini Cooper and we were able to get off to our hotel fairly quickly. We stayed for a day and a half, but being jet-lagged, I don't remember a whole lot. It was nice to get some sleep before taking the final leg of travel to Las Vegas. Due to the jet-lag, there are not many pictures.

Texas waffles

Enjoying the waffles & bananas

Someone taught Leoni about something previously undiscovered--toilet paper