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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Thanksgiving

First, an update on the housing situation: We got the approval for the financial side of things, but we realized to be anywhere near the square footage allowance would mean closing off far too many rooms, so we've turned down the house. There is just too much wasted space in the hallways. Boo.

I've been bummed all afternoon but my wonderful husband has helped me redeem the evening by letting me not cook dinner (instead we ate chocolate cereal. awesome.) and watching Army Wives (so good, and not as skanky as I would have guessed!)

Thanksgiving 2011 was Ian and my 4th Thanksgiving spent together.

In 2008 I was sick as a dog but drudged my way through it (turns out I was seriously allergic to my down comforter at my in-laws.)

In 2009 we were at my in-laws again and their 2 dachshunds tried to eat my Uggs. Sad, but that is the only thing I remember/know about that Thanksgiving!

In 2010, last year for those of you confused about what year we are currently in, we were living here in the Middle East, and had a potluck dinner with some friends of ours. It was our first real holiday away from the States and I did all I could to keep it together and not cry all night.

This year was a great improvement. Same group of people (basically) and same (wonderful) food but I wasn't on a precipice for emotional disaster all night long.

We got there before the sun was down and I helped set up the buffet while Ian and Grace hung outside watching the big kids bounce on the trampoline...

Then dinner rolled around and we fed Grace THREE cups full of mashed potatoes before digging into a delicious buffet full of American goodies. We had some people from Syria, South Africa, South Korea, and England there as well, along with some of their foods, but I had to be very un-PC and not eat their foods. It's Thanksgiving! I only have so much room on my plate!

I brought deviled eggs, a green salad, Northern style stuffing, and apple cobbler. I chose easier dishes since we had school all day and then would only have a couple of hours before we had to be at dinner.

My favorite dish to eat this year? Sweet Potato Casserole. My friend had to dye the sweet potatoes orange though, since ours are a whitish/gray when mashed, but it was amazing!!

It was a good evening and we packed up and headed out shortly after we ate so that we could skype with our families before they sat down to lunch.

I'm looking forward to next year, when we are in a home with an actual table. I think I'll cook my first Thanksgiving meal and host, so that we can have Thanksgiving like we like- a little more formal with more hang out time during the cooking process and afterward!

If anyone wants to mail us a dvd of the Macy's day parade I'd love to see it!
This year, I am so thankful for my husband, sweet daughter, family members who try so hard to stay connected, friends who love me despite the distance, and the technology that holds us all together, ha!

May this season of Thanks continually remind you how blessed we all are!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Galloways!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

House Hunting

Alternatively titled: What Were We Thinking?

Alternatively titled: We Are Out of Our Ever Living Minds.

It is now the end of November (in case you were unaware,) and we do not get to move until after June 14th, 2012. But for some reason, we thought it would be a grand idea to use this Saturday to go scope out our future city.

Ian's boss invited us out and planned the day around a lunchtime meeting and then going to view several different areas of town, to see what we would be most interested in later on. His wife is 9 months pregnant and they are going to be in the States come moving day so I suppose it is a good idea to lay the ground work for this move now.

We arrived in the city with only two minor glitches.

Glitch #1- Our in town border post (the police station) was closed today because the country finally decided to celebrate their National Day. Their National Day WAS on the 18th, but the people don't celebrate/have off from work until a different time (usually after the 18th.) Every year it is different, but usually the king will announce when the celebration days are in the newspaper a couple of days before hand and then every one will just have off.

So yeah, we had to add an hour to our drive time and go to the far away border post.

Glitch #2- We got lost. And I say we loosely, because only one of us was driving. hmph.

I may have told my husband that we're buying him a GPS.

Maybe that wasn't the most festive thing to say.

But we arrived and had our meeting and piled back into the car and headed for lunch at Ikea. Because that's what we like to do.

And also, it is cheap.

While we were there, Ian's boss told him a friend had called him the day before. A friend he hadn't heard from in a year. The friend told him that his brother had a brand new villa (fancy word for condo or house) that he wanted to rent out, and would he happen to know anyone who was in the market?

Why yes, I suppose he DOES know someone in the market!

Us!

We're in the market for a house, in case you are lost in my storytelling skills.

So he drives over to Ikea, picks us up and takes us to the brand new (read: construction schmutz everywhere) house. My mouth is just hanging as we get out. It's gorgeous. It's right by the ocean. Did I mention it was gorgeous.

"We're never going to afford this," I whisper as we step inside.

"And it's definitely too big!"

Too big, you ask. Yes, too big. You see, much like the army used to have, Ian's company has square footage maximum's in order to have equal housing for all of its employees all over the world. So, even though your dollar can get you more here than in say, London, you aren't allowed to have a giant mansion because that's not fair.

So, we step in through the door into a massive walled in patio. The house is in a giant U shape around the patio with a wall closing in the top of the U. We walk to a sliding glass door in the middle of the U and enter the house. The two local men who are showing us the house keep switching between Arabic and English and I tune them out. I look at what could possibly be my future home.

Windows everywhere, light streaming in.

Mental note: Thankful that power bill is included in rent. The AC it would take to cool this place!!!

Before me, a large family room, with sliding wooden doors to close off the room.

To the right, a bedroom, living room, bathroom, and front door. We're told that this area would be partitioned off and used by the owner of the house. My first glimmer of hope, the square footage might be within the limits!

On the left side of the U, a gorgeous kitchen with (fake) wood cabinets and tons of drawers. A dishwasher space is built in. Miracle of all miracles! Off of the kitchen is a small room with a washing machine hook up and a sink, and off of that room is what should be the maid's quarters but would be a laundry room/pantry for us.

Continuing down the hallway, a large room opens up with windows lining one side of the wall. It would be our dining room on one side and perhaps some of our books and a cozy chair on the other.

Further down, a bedroom and a bathroom. This would be Ian's study. Lovely.

Upstairs, two smaller bedroom lie in the middle of the U along with a balcony. Both bedrooms have a bathroom en-suite and the wardrobes are already built in.

On the right of the U is the master bedroom and bath, with a nice walk in shower. Not a ton of natural light in this room though.

On the left side of the U is another larger bedroom and bath, with a wall of windows. I think this would be our master and we could "close off," the other one to be under the square footage allowance. This room also has a patio but I forgot to go out there.

The downstairs patio, in the middle of the U is HUGE. You could have a large swimming pool and deck down there, but we would probably have them put pavers down so we could have a grill and patio set, along with play area for Grace.

Ian's boss talks with his friend, explains that we don't need to move in until June/July. He also asks for the price.

His friend says that it would be okay to hold it until June/July, but that he would need the year's rent in January to hold it (it's customary here to pay for a year's rent at the start of the year.) Ian's boss isn't sure that the company will front all of that money so early. They talk price and I stand in the patio willing myself not to picture us living there.

Don't do it, don't do it, don't do it.

They get the price down to within our budget.

We get in the car, make promises to call them, and head out.

My head spins. I want this house! It's so beautiful, with windows, and space to breathe!

But no, now we wait. The company has to be informed and they have to tell us what their policy is, whether they would pay for the year 6 months early. My gut is "No," but my heart keeps saying "It was such a God thing- this friend calling for the first time in a year the day before we were coming house hunting!"

Now we wait.

We did look at some other areas. One was an absolute winner- a 3 bedroom plus a study town home with outdoor space and lots of light. Within our budget and in a great neighborhood with a gym, playground, pool, etc. Definitely a fall back..

The other neighborhood. Well, let's just say I told Ian's boss it looked like a war zone.

And I wasn't kidding.

We left soon afterward, ha!

And now, we wait. We have tons of time so we are in no rush. But what was I thinking?! I'm such a dreamer and planner- my heart already wants to decorate and furnish this house into a home!

7 months, 7 months, 7 months.

I must keep myself grounded here for 7 more months.

Oh boy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wondering

Ian and I have been home sick for a couple of days now, him with a sinus infection and horrible cough, and me, well, I believe the Dr said laryngitis, but sometimes language barriers make even a diagnosis misunderstood.

I get fever chills pretty badly when I'm sick, so bad, that I compared them to labor contractions, in that you know when they are coming on and you dread it! Anyone else regularly get horrible cases of the chills when they are sick?

So, as I'm sitting at home, exhausting my many technological avenues (joined Pinterest, read The Hunger Games on Pinterest, watched two episodes of Terra Nova,) I've been pondering doing a question and answer post.

Several of my bloggy friends are in the middle of question and answer series right now, and I was going to wait as to not rain on their parade (or steal their proverbial thunder,) but I figure being bed ridden for several days on end is justification for for going ahead with something I was putting off indefinitely.

SO....what are your questions?

Do you have a question about my story, family, and friends?

What about my marriage, pregnancy, or motherhood?

Or maybe about living overseas and all of the baggage that goes with it?

Likes, dislikes?

I've got loads of opinions on other things as well, so seemingly random questions are fine as well!

Can't wait see your questions!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Happy Seven Months, Grace!

I am getting more and more behind with my Grace posts. This is 16 days late, so she's technically closer to 8 months old than 7 now!

Clothes: She is still in 3-6 month old clothes. Unless she hits a growth spurt soon, I am guessing she'll be in this size well into January. I am trying to get her into all of her cute outfits at least once- trouble is, she has so many pretty dresses but no "fancy" place to wear them, ha!

Food: Grace still nurses every three hours from 7 am until 7 pm and eats 3 meals of solid food a day. After her 6 month appointment, where the dr was a little worried about her weight (she lost a couple of ounces in a month and dropped from the 25th percentile to the 10th percentile) I worked really hard at reestablishing my milk supply and feeding her more solids. We didn't really see much of a difference until the last week (so technically not part of this post, ha!)

Grace began solid foods on her 6 month birthday, with carrots. Avocados (she's allergic), bananas, peas, apples, squash, pears, sweet potatoes, and her rice cereal were all we got around to this month.

Sleep: Grace sleeps from 7pm until 7am, usually uninterrupted. There was a week when she started waking up at 6 am, and frustrated us since our waketime is 7am. We figured out it was because our upstairs neighbors leave for school at that time and are pretty noisy. If she wakes up at that time, I'll nurse her and put her back down, and then her real wake time will be closer to 7:30.

She started napping a little more at day care, maybe a 30 minute nap 3 out of 5 days there, and takes a 2-3 hour nap when we get home in the afternoon.

Activity: Grace is a master sitter and can even pull herself up into a sitting position if she's fallen back onto her pillow (but not from flat off of the ground.) She's been fascinated with clapping hands, waving, and is now ticklish! She loves watching mouths and music is her favorite thing- might we have a little musician on our hands?

Personality: Grace is still a Momma's Girl, which just melt my heart and frustrates me, as I really want her to be comfortable with a variety of people. I tried to just cherish this time that she just wants to be with me, because pretty soon she's going to be on the move and wanting to go to people that have something interesting, ha!

She loves being talked to, sung to, and danced with. We read to her almost every day and she has become able to sit still for longer and play with the pictures/pages.

Miscellaneous:

*Grace loves her bedtime routine. I know I said this last month but it is so funny how once we start, with dinner, there is not stopping or turning back. This kid knows that it goes dinner, bath, and bed, and she can't wait to be put down for the night!

*Still not really babbling much. Occasionally when you are crying, you'll make a garbled Ma-ma sound, but you really only blow raspberries and suck in on your lip (making a slurping sound,) with regularity.

Grace, my darling baby. We love you so much. I can't believe you are on the downside of the hill to your first birthday. We have a lot of fun things planned for the rest of your first year- a trip to Turkey, Thanksgiving, Christmas, your grandparents visiting, and house hunting! We love you so much and can't wait to share in your exciting life.

Love,
Your Momma

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I am Barabbas

I am Barabbas.

The scorned.
The rejected.
The unwanted.

I am Barabbas.

The plotter,
The schemer,
The murderer.

I am Barabbas.

The convicted,
The condemned,
The sentenced.

I am Barabbas.

The freed,
The redeemed,
The unworthy.

Luke 23
13
Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16 Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.” [17

18 But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” 19 (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

20 Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”

23 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

I've always wondered what happened to Barabbas after he was released. What did he do? Where did go? Did he tell his story?

And then I think, what have I done? Where have I gone? Who have I told my story to?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Where We've Been

I've been absent from the blogging world for almost three weeks now, but for a good reason.

Or, perhaps, for several good reasons.

The last week of October was busy, as I had visits, homework, accountability, and walks on top of the normal school and house work schedule.

The first week of November, I came down with a cold and was pretty much useless. Anyone else out there useless when they are sick? I'm not proud of it, but it is what it is.

And here is where your guesses from the last post come in... No, we didn't go to India or Morocco (I wish!) Instead we went to Turkey!

Ian had a work conference and we got to spend the time at a beautiful resort on the Mediterranean.

Ian's work provided child care all week so Grace was in great hands during the day. I would drop her off after breakfast, go back during the day to nurse, and pick her up in the late afternoon. One evening, one of the ladies came to our room to provide babysitting for a much needed date night. It was marvelous.

Ian and I were able to go out for dessert one evening, attend a Turkish dance performance, and play games with other couples. What a blessing to be able to have some normalcy in our lives!

I attended most of the conference and LOVED hanging out with the other wives. There were a couple of break out sessions just for the women, since we all live overseas, we had alot in common, no matter where we were from. I got to meet and chat with a bunch of women I had heard about but hadn't met.

I also really began thinking about how I could use my talents while I am over here. Right now, language school is a priority, even if I would rather it not be. When we are finished though (in 7 months!!) I get to be a stay at home mom, and I am so ready for that! I am also ready to figure out how to best use my talents and gifts to bless others.

There were other believers there too, so we had a great time of fellowship, study of God's Word, and worship together. Can you believe it has been over a year and a half since I've gotten to experience corporate (group) worship?! I actually cried several times, because it was so special to hear all of those people lifting their voices in worship to the one true God. What unity and togetherness!

The food was amazing! The resort had one buffet restaurant that was open for all of the meals, and we would just hop from one platter to the next seeing what was available. No pork, of course, because it is still Turkey, but I got to have a ton of grilled meat and veggies. It made me excited for our next move, because we will be buying a good grill for our next home.

Our travel was both good and bad. We left for Turkey on a 3:30 am flight, which meant we had to cross our border and start driving for the airport at 8:30 pm on the previous night. Right at Grace's bedtime! Needless to say, it was a long night, and Grace didn't do great on the first long flight. She slept for about 2 and a half hours on the second flight but the rest of the day at the resort, she was a mess. That first night, I was the most tired I had EVER been. We put Grace down around 8 pm, and let her just cry for the next hour. (Grace slept on a crib mattress on the floor of the hotel bathroom, since she and I can't sleep when we are in the same room together, ha!) Ian and I sat on our bed praying together and (me) crying for Grace to get some sleep, and she fell asleep around 9 pm for the night. Every night she would wake up several times, which was unusual for her, but it was manageable. Our flights home were much better and she slept more comfortably. She was so excited to walk into our home and for us to put her down in her own crib at night!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

29, 30, 31, 32





Guess....

Can you guess where we've been for the past 8 days?

I'll give you three clues, all of them involving my incredibly adorable daughter.

{1.}

{2.}

{3.}And yes, this last one IS a clue. It is a clue about the specific place we went....

Any guesses?