It’s super early Thanksgiving morning and I actually have a few minutes alone to prep for the day. I took the turkey out of the freezer a few days late which necessitated a cold early morning bath to finish defrosting it. So as soon as I finished nursing Clara around 4 I filled the sink with ice water and, fingers crossed, this turkey will be ready to cook by 11. If not, we’ll be ordering some chicken nuggets from the Clubhouse and calling it a night. Most likely Stella would prefer that anyway.

Unbelievably, we’re in the final stretch of 2016. This year has passed in the blink of an eye and I am stuck wading through a crazy mixture of both relief and immense gratitude that we’re here. It seems like it was just yesterday that pretty much all of my New Year plans went up in smoke as I sat starting at a positive pregnancy test.

But those plans were my plans, and thankfully God had other ones. Where we are today is so incredibly different than where I could have imagined and we have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Of course, here’s our number one. Clara Mae. She is the sweetest, cuddliest, funny little baby girl. She eats and sleeps like a champ and has already mastered Resting Bitch Face which makes us all laugh. I still am baffled that I have four children that require feeding and attention every day, but more days than not I find myself doing a head count and I am simply blown away with gratitude that they are all mine for this short time.


Our community. We live in a funny little piece of the desert that is straight out of the 1950s. My kids run around, often without shoes, freely from one place to the next. In and out of neighbors’ houses finding friends and entertainment with hardly any organization from me. Often we don’t see them for hours at a time and we know they are safe, most likely fed, and having fun. Paul and I just have to open the door to find friends to chat with, grab a drink, or just walk a lap of the compound. With a new baby we had meals delivered for two weeks straight. I am so happy we landed here for this time of our lives.


Our school. Our kids are lucky enough to go to a great school that they love. Noah’s about to head out to five days in the UAE for his Week Without Walls trip, Sophie just played in a soccer tournament and is organizing a Student Council fundraiser for Gambia, and Stella is still celebrating the Stone Soup party she had on Tuesday. They are getting a great education and have teachers who value them as individuals. We couldn’t be happier.


Running. For me, running is so important and I am grateful to have it in my life. I took a running break while I was pregnant, but have been back at it for 8 weeks or so. It feels so good to get a workout in and celebrate meeting my goals again. Sophie and I just ran our first race together and this week I started training for my eighth half marathon this February in Ras al-Khaimah


Paul. This year has thrown us many curve balls, but I’m thankful to have Paul to navigate it all with me. He started a new job that is difficult and demanding, but he manages to do it well. When the crazy starts creeping in on me he’s gotten pretty good at shooting it down and keeping me and the rest of us sane.


2016 has been the year that looks nothing like we thought it would. This year that’s a good reminder that even we cannot predict our greatest blessings but we can offer up a prayer of thanks when they appear.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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