Wednesday, November 28, 2012

No More Work, But Still Busy!

Exactly one week ago today marked my last foray into the world of full-time employment.  I had been with my company for two years, and when S got the call to join the Foreign Service, my employer was very accommodating in allowing me to relocate to the D.C. office.  Seeing as our time here is now winding down, I wrapped up my casework last week.  I tied up all my loose ends with both the D.C. and New York office, turned over my keys and bid my farewells. 
But that doesn't mean I won't be working when we get to Turkey.  I will continue working remotely on more of an as-need/sub basis, which means some weeks or months might be hectic and busy, while others might be slow as molasses.  Also, being that things can be unpredictable when relying on just one company for work, I'm making connections with other companies who hire on an as-need basis.  Because you know what they say about eggs and baskets and not putting them all in one place...
So what exactly have I been doing since last Wednesday?  Well, Thanksgiving preparation and celebration aside, I am happy to report that there is plenty keeping me busy. 
First of all, there is still a kid that needs to be dressed and fed every morning.  But thankfully, since he is still in daycare for a few more weeks, my days aren't consumed with actually taking care of him.  Not that I wouldn't relish the idea of being with my little nugget all day, but having  "grown-up" free time definitely has its advantages. And by that I mean I can actually conquer my ever-expanding to-do list, which, and I don't know if this happens to everyone else, seems to grow as soon as I check things off. One task done, two more take its place.  Like dark magic.
So far I have scheduled a vet visit for the cat, made doctor, dentist and eye appointments for myself, taken a trip to the med-unit for the mandatory vaccines and made necessary Craigslist purchases for our upcoming move.  We've gotten our diplomatic passports, I purchased a new laptop (my old one belonged to my employer) and as a way to relieve stress, I've hit the gym. Hard.
I also started Christmas shopping on Monday, and I have already knocked five people off the list.  It's not even December, people!  I'm way ahead of the game.
Speaking of Christmas, I am also in the process of completing an obscene amount of photo projects for various members of my family, which means I have spent an almost criminal amount of time in front of the computer screen editing, copying and pasting photos into what I hope will be delightful surprises for everyone.  That combined with the blanket I recently decided to crochet for my sister-in-law's new baby, well, I'm definitely finding ways to fill my time!
I still have a few movies that I would like to squeeze in too.  Because you know what they say about all work and no play! Here's to hoping I can actually make that happen...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Giving Thanks

I know yesterday was Thanksgiving, but it's never too late to give proper thanks, right?
We spent yesterday afternoon with a few of my cousins, aunts and uncles at their home in Maryland. The food was plentiful (and delicious), the obligatory football game was blaring loudly from the TV in the living room, and overall everyone enjoyed themselves over glasses of wine and good conversation. 
Food and football aside, we have a lot to be thankful for this year. We are forever thankful for our sweet little E, our family and of course our pets.  We are thankful for our friends, both new and old.  We have made some amazing friends since S joined A-100 back in July and we will miss them terribly when we leave, just as we miss our old friends back in New York and elsewhere. And we are also grateful for the technology that keeps us all connected. 
We are thankful for our health, and having a roof over our heads.  We are grateful for E's little friends and his wonderful daycare.   We are grateful for beautiful running trails, parks and museums, and everything else this city has to offer.  We are grateful for Yo Gabba Gabba, at least E is.  E is also grateful for books, puzzles, toys, music and everything else that keeps him entertained (and us sane) on a daily basis.
And last but not least, we are thankful that S got the "call" 7 months ago to join the Foreign Service.  He worked extremely hard for nearly 2 years to get his dream job, and I am very proud of him.  Not only for the job itself, but for the opportunity this job will provide us as a family.  We are grateful for the opportunities to travel and immerse ourselves in new cultures.  We are thankful for the chances to learn new languages and meet new people.  And I am thankful that my husband never gave up on his dream. 
As our time here in DC grows shorter and shorter, we are getting excited for this new adventure to begin.  I'm sure this upcoming year will give us even more to be thankful for.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Natural History

One of the most amazing things about living in DC, however temporary, is the free admission to the Smithsonian museums all over the city.  Sure, we've shelled out the $25 per person for The Newseum because S and I are news junkies who couldn't be stopped, but that is not the case with the Smithsonian.  They're open to anyone, money not required.
So last weekend, with friends visiting from New York, we explored the National Museum of Natural History.
E loves animals.  From dogs to turtles to elephants to monkeys, the kid can't get enough.  Since our friends have a son only a few months younger than E (whose current obsession happens to be penguins), we figured it was the perfect spot for them to explore.  And we were right.
We started our adventure in Ocean Hall where we saw the giant blue whale hanging from the ceiling, and E's favorite, the sea turtle. 

Despite the look on his face, he was having fun.

S and I took turns walking him around and pointing out all the cool under water creatures, and we giggled as he squirmed out of our arms to get a better look at this:


We made our way through Mammals Hall, gaped in wonder at the giant elephant on display in the Rotunda and explored more exhibits on the first floor before taking all of our toddlerness out to the National Mall to burn more energy.

Have I mentioned that our kid loves to run?  Well, he does.  So we let him do it every chance we get.  Last Saturday was no exception. 

There are still a few must-see museums on our list before we leave for Turkey, and I'm hoping we can make those visits happen.  Our time here is growing short.  With so much to do and prepare before we move, the holidays have just snuck up on us.  Time is flying by.  I hope we can take at least one more step back to enjoy where we are before we say goodbye.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Southern Comfort

This past weekend we all flew down to Louisiana for my best friend's wedding.  As I've mentioned before, M and I have been besties since high school, so it was quite an exciting time to be back in our hometown for such an amazing celebration. 

M and J were married at a beautiful plantation where the champagne was flowing, music was pumping and the bridal party was bustin' all the right moves, Gangnam Style.  In other words, we had a fantastic weekend, and I am so happy to see my friend married to the man of her dreams.  M and J, if you're reading this, we love you and hope you had a magnificent honeymoon!

But the weekend didn't just involve wedding festivities.  We also spent time catching up with my grandmother, letting E run up and down the levee, and celebrating my mom's birthday with  a couple of her closest friends. 

On Sunday, my dad and S took E out to the farm to play with the goats and cows.  And in true southern fashion, my mom and I sat in the rocking chairs on my brother's front porch while the menfolk were out in the pasture. We later gathered up enough energy to pick pecans that had fallen off their pecan tree, and my mom used our pickings to make some delicious, oh-my-god-melt-in-your-mouth pralines later that night.  We had a final family dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, and that was that.  It was probably the last time we will see my family before we leave for Turkey, so I was happy we got to spend such fun-filled, quality time with them.   

And now, since I missed Snapshot Tuesday yesterday, I bring you the weekend in pictures.  Enjoy!

Beautiful wedding location
Me and my little man

Me and S at the wedding reception

Having too much fun in the wedding photo booth

E was really getting into his farmer character
"Helping" pick pecans
E with his Nana and cousins
Playing on the levee downtown

Checking out the view

Monday, November 5, 2012

Preparations for Departure

Things are really starting to come together around here, and the final countdown to our departure has begun. 

Last Friday S received confirmation on our housing and we were delighted to learn that the much stressed over fate of our pets has a happy ending. 

You see, when we bid Adana high, we did so under the impression that having pets at post would be okay and that there were very few in-flight and in-country restrictions.  However, as we discovered after the fact, it was sometimes difficult to acquire housing that allowed dogs, and we were left to wonder whether our precious pup would ultimately make this journey with us.  We had our back-up plan ready (S's sister agreed to take our four legged child if need be) but we were sick just thinking about going two years without M-dog.  Fast forward to this past Friday and not only did we receive confirmation on what sounds like an amazing apartment, but both of our beloved pets are welcome to come along.  We were ecstatic upon hearing the news and immediately began making plans for vet check-ups, vaccines, and the purchase of new pet carriers. 

We also are in the process of getting our diplomatic passports and visas, and making sure little E isn't missing any vaccines before we depart. 

Of course there have been countless hurdles along the way (i.e. finally getting my new social security card that reflects the name change 6 months after filing the first round of paperwork, a lost travel passport and missing birth certificates *sigh*) but those little things are slowly correcting themselves and things are starting to take shape.

There are still many unanswered questions about Adana (mostly regarding child care options) but we're getting there.  It feels like several small weights are being lifted off our shoulders one pound at a time.  It feels good to be making progress!

So let the counting continue.