Sunday, April 29, 2012

~6 weeks to go

It was nice having Ken home for a few days, but he left again this morning for a leadership training course in North Carolina.  It's kind of pathetic to get excited when your husband is only 1 time zone away, but such is life!!  Call me crazy, but it's nice to be able to pick up the phone just about any time we want and talk!!

While Ken was home, we put together a very long (and rather daunting) to do list.  There are so many little things we have to take care of!  Gratefully, ExxonMobil handles a lot of the big ticket items for us, so it's not so bad.  We should have plenty of time to get it all done ... but I still have the occasional anxiety attack when I look at the list!  Usually the anxiety attacks occur at night when I'm trying to go to sleep.  :-( 

We hope to have our packing and departure dates finalized this week, but it's still looking like early June.  Our last day in Houston may be June 3 and then a few days in St. Louis before we fly to Doha. 

Not much else to report ... we enjoyed a wonderful dedication celebration at church this morning!  We recently completed the construction of a new fellowship hall as well as some fairly extensive remodeling to the existing building.  It is awesome to see God grow His church!!  What a blesssing it has been to be members of Faith Community Church!!!  We love our church family and will miss them all terribly when we move!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


I feel as if we've made a lot of progress in the last week or so, but in reality, it's all just beginning.  The boys passports arrived on Friday and we are nearly complete with our medical clearances.  That ended up being way more effort than I expected!!!  Since I don't have any records of any of my immunizations, I had to get 5 shots on one occasion!  Not fun!!!  I also had to have lots of bloodwork, a chest x-ray, and a skin test for TB ... all in all, 7 appointments in the last 10 days.  The boys and I still have to go to a special clinic on Monday to get a Typhoid vaccine and then I think we will be ready to submit all the paperwork to apply for Ken's work visa!  Yeah!!

More importantly, I bought a Christmas tree this week!  :-)  We always have a real Christmas tree, but I don't think we will have much luck finding one in the desert or in an Islamic nation.  So I shopped on line for a fake Christmas tree to take with us.  Christmas in April?!  It arrived this past week, but I don't want to open the box and fight to put it back in, so I guess I'll wait and be surprised at Christmas.  I hope I like it - all Christmas trees look the same on the internet!! 

Ken left last week Sunday for Tokyo, but after just a few hours in the office, he and his boss agreed it made better sense for him to be in Doha.  So he scrambled to get his travel plans changed and off he went.  Looks like another trip around the globe!  He returns this Wednesday, but he will only be here a few days.  Then he is off to a training course in North Carolina for a week.  At least it will be in the United States!

So I guess I should explain a bit about Ken's job.  I think the official title is Business Lead for the Barzan project.  He will be responsible for cost and schedule control on the project - engineering, procurement, and construction of a new facility (a duplicate train to the existing facility actually) in Doha, Qatar.  The engineering is being done by a company in Tokyo.  So he goes to Tokyo to followup on the engineering and to Doha to oversee the construction progress.  Barring any delays, construction should be complete in ~2 yrs.  When construction is complete, his assignment in Doha comes to an end.

I continue to make slow and steady progress sorting through our house deciding what goes to Doha and what goes to storage. Our townhouse in Doha will be furnished, so we will be sending a lot of our things to storage until we return.  Ken was able to email me pictures of our future townhouse, I'll share some here ...

This is the front exterior - carport for 2 cars, small balcony on 2nd floor and a large roof top patio (which would be totally fabulous if it wasn't 110 degrees for 6 months of the year!)

Kitchen looks spacious and modern

Living room on first floor

This will be the boys bedroom.  So glad to get 2 twin beds since they are used to sharing a room!

The townhouse has 4 bedrooms and 4 1/2 baths and since the boys share a room, that leaves a lot of space for visitors!!!  So come see us!!!

Other news - Qatar was just named the world's fattest nation!  Yeah!  :-(

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Japan and Easter Pictures

I finally got all my pictures from our Tokyo trip downloaded onto the computer, uploaded to Snapfish, and organized into an album so I can share with everyone.  I hope this link works... you may need to register or log in to your account with Snapfish in order to see it.  Enjoy!!

It was really nice to have Ken home for Easter weekend!  We were able to spend a lot of family time together and even got a little bit done toward the move.  More on that later... 

Ready for the Easter egg hunt in the backyard!  Don't all children collect easter eggs in their astronaut costumes?  And wear their baskets on their heads??  Silly boys!!!  This is very normal in our house - old Halloween costumes are some of the boys very favorite toys!  If they aren't dressed as astronauts, then they are Spiderman, Batman, Captain America, or Sheriffs.  Sometimes it's a little ridiculous, but they are so cute, who can say no??  I digress, it's Easter egg time ...

Too many eggs to fit in their baskets!  The boys had a great time collecting the eggs and opening them all up!  Nicholas must have eaten a dozen pieces of candy before we realized it, but not Jaden ... he's our saver.  I asked him if he wanted any of his candy and he said, "No, I want to save it for 'later.'"  Really??? 

Now for a quick update on the move ... the key for this week is to get all the documents together to apply for Ken's work visa.  We need the work visa before we can list our house for sale and before we can secure a place to live in Doha or register the boys for school.  So we've applied for the boys passports and we have doctor appointments for everyone to get medical clearance.  Ken leaves on Sunday for Tokyo, but he will only be gone 1 1/2 weeks this time.  Yeah!  Other than that, the sorting and purging of the house continues!  Still looking like an early June departure. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Back home - let the purge begin!

Gosh ... I realize now that I should have made more frequent posts.  There is so much I could write about, but I'll keep it brief.  Ken arrived home from his business trip yesterday - just in time for Easter.  It's good to have him home! 

Ken started his new assignment in Yokohama on March 12.  I took the boys to stay with my parents in St. Louis and joined him in Yokohama a few days later. I had an AWESOME time touring Tokyo and the surrounding area!!  Someday, I'll have to post more about the trip and include a few pictures too.

After 10 days together in Japan, I returned to the states and brought the boys back home to Houston.  The boys had a fantastic 2 weeks with my parents in St. Louis (thanks mom and dad!!!), but my time there seemed much too short! 

Ken stayed in Yokohama for 3 weeks and then spent a week in Doha before returning home.  His journey literally took him around the world - he flew west to Tokyo, then west to Doha, and then west back home to Houston - a trip around the globe.  He will continue to have one heck of a commute for a while - back and forth between Houston and Tokyo/Doha. 

We still don't have an exact date for our move, but it's looking like early June.  I've started to go through the house room by room - deciding what to take with us, what to leave in storage, and what to just get rid of.  It's a daunting task for sure!  How did we accumulate so much stuff in just 7 years in this house??