Friday, April 18, 2014

The big question...

...Where are we moving?

And the answer is...

...We still don't know long-term, but short term we do have an answer. It's probably not what you're expecting.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Here's the shortened version why:

Kevin is separating from the Air Force, for several reasons, but mainly because with all the reductions in force and the potential for our retirement to go out the window if the RIF affects him.

He is applying for jobs (doing the same things he did in the Air Force) with an oil company called ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia in the same city he lives in now.

We have renters moving into our house on May 16, so we must vacate before then so we will be staying at my mom's beach house in North Myrtle Beach for...well, that's the thing. We don't know for how long.

The job application process with this company typically takes 4-6 months. We started counting the beginning of March. So, in theory, we will know something around the end of June. Or maybe August. Or maybe before that. Or maybe after. Who knows? We don't.

So we will be living in limbo for this summer, praying our hearts out to God to give us faith and patience to find out what is next in our lives.

There are more details to this story, but those are the main ones. And to answer the questions that most people seem to ask:

-- No, we do not feel unsafe in Saudi Arabia. No, we are not taking our tiny female children to a place where they will be suppressed and grow up in slavery. No, there is no more terrorism over there than there is here in the U.S.

-- No, Kevin does not hate the Air Force. The AF has been very good to us. We are just ready for a little more job security in light of all the RIFs.

-- Yes, I support Kevin in doing this. It was my idea (sort of).

-- Yes, we love Saudi Arabia that much.

-- Yes, we will miss our families and friends.

-- Yes, the pay will be good if he gets the job.

-- Yes, the flight to S.A. is long.

-- Kevin will get paid from the AF till September so we will have definite income  and insurance till then.

-- Yes, we have, like, 3 back-up plans in case this whole S.A. thing doesn't work out. But truthfully, yes, we will be perturbed about leaving the AF if S.A. doesn't work out.

-- No, I'm not scared. I have faith that God will take care of us, as long as we make responsible decisions about our financial security and have patience in this whole process.

-- And finally, yes, yes, YES, I PROMISE to let everyone know what happens as soon as we know something definite. When that will be, who knows....

-- And finally, finally, because for some reason this question seems get asked along with everything else, yes, we are planning on having more children. I don't know how many. No, I'm not pregnant.

And P.S. Yes, this means I will probably succumb to using Facebook more if we do indeed move there. Evil, evil Facebook.

If there's a crucial question you just must know the answer to, by all means ask it. I will be happy to answer it with as much info as I can. Though, probably my answer will involve some form of "I don't know. I hope so."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I have two toddlers and I cannot lie... other mothers can't deny
when a girl walks in with a food-covered face
and yells "Chase me! Chase! Chase!"
you get stung!

Ha. You like my "Big Butts" throwback there, mom-style? That's how I roll. Mega-cornball.

Goofiness aside, I just thought I'd post a little bit about Eden and Winnie.

I no longer think to myself, "I have a baby and a toddler."

I think, "I have two toddlers." I use to think a baby and toddler sounded like a lot of work.

I was wrong. Two toddlers is worse (and better).

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Winnie is just such a handful. The child has NO FEAR (except when Eden pretends to be a monster and chases her around the house). She climbs on EVERYTHING. She has already climbed out of her crib all by herself. Joy. She is the messiest child in the world. Boys can't be any worse. She can turn anything into a mess. Five goldfish crackers = I'll be vacuuming for hours.

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But she is such a blast. Smiles for everyone. Hugs and cuddles like you wouldn't believe. Loves dolls, eating sand (still), sitting on my lap, reading, being held, giving kisses, squeezing Sparty, snack time, her blankey, and coloring on my calendar.

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Eden is growing up. Still a toddler, but edging into girl-hood. She's very choosy about clothes and shoes and hairstyles. She changes her clothes at least 4 times a day (it drives. me. batty.), and far be it from me to tell her what to wear. I stopped trying to fight that battle a long time ago. She eats oatmeal like it's her job (and not much else). She is addicted to TV (shame on me). She says "Why, sure-tainly! I would love to do that for you," when I ask her to do something. She is all girl: loves pink, painted nails, hair bows, twirly skirts and dresses, make-up, and princesses and fairies.

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She's not great at sharing. Or going to bed. Or sleeping on her own. Or eating anything green. Or sharing. Or going to bed. (Did I mention her aversion to sharing and going to bed?)

And the tantrums. Oh my goodness. They are epic. And way more frequent than I would like.

But she is a passionate, sensitive, strong-willed little thing. I love her.

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They're both my girls. Sometimes I want to throw them in the trash (and I will readily and freely and openly tell them this). But mostly I can't stop squeezing them till they screech in delight and squirm away.

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Visit to Saudi Arabia

So I promised you 500 photos of camels, but I reigned myself in and ruthlessly pared down my 500 photos to 65. Not too bad, I say. I wouldn't want to be responsible for anyone OD-ing on camel-viewing.

Let's jump into this dromedary adventure, shall we?

(Like how I just threw that crazy "dromedary" word right atcha? That's a one-hump camel, for you non-zoologically-inclined individuals.)

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Bam! How ya like them apples? That enough camel for ya? No?

Me neither.

So anywho, my trip to Saudi Arabia was awesome. Amazing. Enlightening. Eye-opening. Fascinating. It's my new favorite place. I would go back in a heartbeat. (Maybe I will...more on that later.)

It was unlike any place I've ever been. It's not at all the terrorist-filled sandbox that Fox News led me to believe. Yes, there is sand. And camels. And women in abayas (pronounced uh-BUY-uh). But there are also really cool architecture, beautiful dune-scapes, HUGE malls (these are massive), cuisine from everywhere, a surprising number of ex-patriots from the U.S. and other countries, and yes, camels.

I had a blast.

I started my visit in Bahrain, a little island country to the northeast of Saudi. It's like Saudi without the same laws.

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Here is Vanna Kevin, pointing to where we were currently standing.

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We toured a mosque and got a personal tour and lesson about being Muslim from a very nice Muslim guy.

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Inside a mosque, people must remove their shoes and women must wear an abaya and cover their heads.

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It was quite fascinating to learn what Muslims believe and how it relates to Christianity. Very eye-opening.

The Arabian Gulf (also known to Americans as the Persian Gulf) is beautiful. Water that looks like the Caribbean.

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We went to the desert and saw all the oil lines piping oil to the refineries.

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Then we went to a camel farm, a.k.a. Cameron's favorite part of the trip.

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You guys, this place was giant. 600 camels. 50 baby camels. The King of Bahrain owned them all. Crazy.

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Then we left Bahrain after my visa was ready and headed across a very long bridge to Saudi Arabia.

We went "camping" (I use that term loosely - basically it was hotel accommodations without actual hotel walls) at a Saudi guy's farm/land/property.

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I was accosted by a very friendly camel who decided my hair would make an excellent snack.

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We slept inside these HUGE carpet-covered tents. It was cold at night, but very cozy inside.

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The next day we took a dune buggy out and tooled around the desert and happened upon some camels.

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Then we came upon some more camels.

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And some more.

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(That's a Bedouin herder in charge of herding the camels.)

Then we went four-wheeling out on the dunes.

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It was a bit scarier than I thought it would be. The dunes are deceptively big (and Kevin informed me that the ones we went to weren't even very big compared to other ones he's seen).

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The sand plays tricks on your eyes and it's very difficult to gauge how big dips and cliffs are. I learned by accident that having a helmet is a must (thankfully my helmet was on when I learned this lesson).

The rest of my visit comprised of Kevin and me visiting with the friends he has made there and eating out and just driving around and looking at stuff.

Overall it was one of the best vacations I've ever had. I missed our girls terribly, but it was so nice to spend that much time with Kevin. Luckily he'll be home in 2 months and hopefully we will know some time soon where we will be moving to. Maybe it'll be Saudi Arabia...

Friday, March 07, 2014

It's coming...

...500 photos of camels.