Sunday, November 16, 2014

Wrapping up

Today after church, Jeff and I were in the kitchen, and he mentioned, "wow—only two Sundays left in this ward." (A ward is a Mormon term for a large congregation.)

I thought to myself that that couldn't be right. Surely not? But, as usual, he was right. We will be in our ward, the Chantilly Ward, next Sunday. Then the following Sunday, we will be in Cincinnati for Thanksgiving and attend our old ward, the Eastgate Ward. The Sunday after that is stake conference, so we'll be at the Oakton Stake Center. (A stake is the name for a group of congregations.) And the next Sunday will be our last in Virginia. So, we have November 23 and December 14.

That makes the move feel so soon!

I feel like my life right now is Thanksgiving—hotel—pack out—drive away—gone.

As I process my sadness about leaving my Virginia friends, I'll share the recent good news. We received our Mexican visas. Interestingly, Jeff's, mine, and Jill's are good for two years. Daniel's and Alice's are good for only one year. There must be an age restraint coming into play. Unfortunately, even the two year ones aren't quite long enough. They expire about two months before our time in Mexico will be up, so everyone will get to go through the visa renewal process.

My kids are also very happy to not be getting any more vaccines just yet. The ones they had for Brazil are what they needed for Mexico, with one exception. The rabies vaccine is recommended, because children are more likely to play with random animals. (Especially mine, it seems to me.) But we won't get that vaccine until we arrive at post, so they still have a bit of a break. Jill seems to still be scarred from the tuberculosis test, where a nurse sticks you with a needle and creates an air bubble under your skin before removing the needle. She always asks if she has to get the bubble again. I think that one is good for three or five years, so hopefully not for a while.

I feel kind of fancy pants to have a bag right now that contains our tourist civilian passports, our diplomatic passports, our Department of State health cards, and our Global Entry cards. We're ready to be world travelers! . . . or in our case, drive across the border. I have finally stopped referring to this post as "overseas." :)

I took my last training course at the Foreign Service Institute last Saturday. It was so interesting to sit in a room with people from all over the world who are going all over the world: Israel, South Korea, Russia, Cameroon, Tanzania, Italy, and many more.

The class was called Protocol and U.S. Representation Abroad. Not all of it is super relevant to me as the wife of a junior officer—I don't think I'll be dining with ambassadors anytime soon or ever—but it was all very interesting. I know now where to place my silver wear to signify that I am only pausing my eating and where to place them to signify that I am done eating, and where to place them depending on whether I ate American style or Continental style. Very useful. ;)

Also last week, we received our housing assignment. It was fun to get a sneak peek of where we will be living. We were lucky enough to get pictures and a floor plan emailed to us. We're pretty excited! I am super thrilled about having a garage. As an adult, I have never lived in a house with a garage. No more sitting in my car for two hours while a baby naps! The kids are thrilled that the garage is bright red. Very bright red. And they are happy about there being a little playground/shared green space right in front of our home.

On Tuesday, we'll have the anatomy ultrasound. Hopefully all will be as it should be! And if we're lucky, perhaps we'll get a clue as to whether we'll be welcoming a Gordon Philip or a Rose Lynnlee into our home this spring. (Those names are not set in stone. For some reason, with our fourth, we're having a bit more trouble than in the past.)

We had some family photos taken by my friend, Danielle Valli.
She is a very talented artist!
I like the different emotions captured in these shots.

You can tell how Jeff felt about the photo shoot. :)

the whole family

Halloween happened! We celebrated in Michigan at my parents' house.

Spider-man just had to be in the princess picture!

This is pretty much how Alice spent Halloween. 
Snuggled up on GranB and trick-or-treating with Pappy.

 This is my nephew Arthur. I captured this shot of him in his adorable costume.
What villain could fight a Thor this cute??