Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Djibouti Bound

We have arrived in Djibouti, our new home for the next two years.

We haven't been here 24 hours yet.. and our house isn't ready yet.. so, we aren't exactly "home" yet.  Which is also why I am able to have access to internet, as we are staying in another hotel.  Or shall I say... resort hotel.  The 5 star Djibouti Palace Kempinski. They are for sure, rolling out the red carpet as a welcome mat here.

Our journey began Sunday evening.. we actually slept at the Stuttgart airport.  Our oldest daughter, Lilly, isn't a morning person.  And with over eight pieces of luggage, a dog, a toddler car seat, possible traffic... it was just a good idea to sleep at the hotel.  I was not enjoying the bed at the hotel anyway.  However, I'm sure everyone would have gotten more sleep if we had stayed at the hotel.  But, it was much less stressful to go the night before.  Some other issues came up as we checked out of the hotel anyway.. that would have set us back if we had left in the morning.. so again, it was a good choice.  And also, a fellow guest at the hotel offered to be our "second taxi" if we left on Sunday night.. so we saved money on that as well.  

Stuttgart Airport
With very little sleep, we left for Paris on our flight, with no issues.  In Paris, our layover was over five hours.  When your layover is over two hours, you are required to pick up your pet (our dog was checked as luggage this leg) and re-check him in closer to your connecting flight.  So, the girls and I went ahead to our next gate while Bryce went to get the dog.. give him a walk.. and re-check him.  So, most of our time in Paris was just myself and the girls.  In Germany and in Paris, breakfast is very light (croissants and breads mostly).  And as Lilly is a picky eater, it is always fun finding food for her to eat.  But we killed most of our time at a cute little Cars playground.. that even had a Cozy Cone Motel.  Which was conveniently right next to the smoking area.

Cars play area at Charles de Gualle Airport, France
Bryce arrived at the gate after boarding had already began (yes, I got a little worried.. mostly I was worried he fell asleep while waiting!), and we were on our way.  Over five hours later, we had a stop-over in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia.  We didn't get off the plane.  Picked up two passengers, and another two hours to Djibouti.  We arrived just before 1am local time.  Our contacts picked us up at the airport, and we got to stop off at what will be our house.

Our house is not ready yet.  It has been vacant for about six months, and apparently the last tenant didn't take care of the place too well.  But also, in Djibouti.. if your house is vacant for a couple months... it looks like it's been vacant for a couple years.. with all the dust, and what not.  I'm not sure.  But, apparently we will be in the hotel for at least a week.  As they are installing new furniture, new appliances.. the works.  However, Dexter (the dog) is at the house, as there are no pets allowed at the hotel.  So, we hope that we can be with Dexter again soon.  The house is massive.  There are guards outside our compound during the evening.. we have the barbed wire on top of the wall around our compound, I like that it will be secure.  I have found out that there are two other stay-at-home moms that live in the compound and several other children and another dog as well.  So, I hope we will have friendly neighbors, so I don't go stir crazy since we won't have a car for a few months to be able to go anywhere, unless an Embassy driver takes us.

After getting to bed after 3am.. in a much more comfortable bed... we slept until noon.  Bryce had to go to work at 1pm.  The girls and I had a lunch buffet (which was over $50, yikes!).  Found a $25 bottle of sunscreen (as I shipped our sunscreen, and the boxes were still in the mail room at the embassy).. but then Emma was ready for a nap.  And by the time she woke up, Bryce was back.. it was evening, and the sun was going down before we were able to go outside.  Bryce didn't get to the box that had the sunscreen and swim suites.. but tomorrow, we should get them.  And then we can enjoy the wonderful pool with the amazing view.  

School here is Saturday - Wednesday.  Tomorrow I should be able to finalize all of the paperwork, and hopefully Lilly can start school on Saturday.  She has been out of school for over a month now.. which Christmas break, moving, and two weeks in Germany and all.  But she is finally putting an effort into learning the French language.  Too bad she still has a lot to learn to be able to understand her French school teacher.. that teaches in French.  But, I know she will learn quickly.

Pool view of the Red Sea at Djibouti Palace Kempinski

One of the many benefits of staying at the hotel this week.. Bryce says I get any service I want in the spa for my birthday!  I think that might just be the best present he's ever given me.  I'm looking forward to it!

Djibouti, 10pm - 79 degrees 

We are finally warm!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Last week in Germany

Well, our last week in Germany wasn't too eventful.  Most of it was spent on base, and in our hotel room.  Took the dog to the vet to get a new health certificate so we can travel with him.  A lot of trips to the BX (there is an indoor playground there).  And misc trips to the commissary and post office.  However, Saturday we did get out and froze our tushies off to see a little more of Germany.  I searched for an easy to get to medieval town, called Esslingen.  It is right off of the S-Bahn.  Only needed one train to get there.  No big deal that it takes 20 minutes to walk to the train stop.  In 20 degree weather, with no winter clothes.  Keep walking, you'll get warmer.  However.. Emma isn't walking.  So bundle her up.  Except, she doesn't want to be in a papoose.  She'd rather walk then be pushed in the stroller.  Except, she wants to go that way.. not this way.  Oh, the joys of traveling with young children!

Before we left on this day trip, I asked a lot of questions and did a lot of research online before leaving.  However, most people who live and work on base have a car, and they don't take public transportation too much.  So, some of their information was a little.. incomplete.  Like, directions to actually get to the train station.  Luckily, people understand imcomplete one-word sentances even if they don't speak English and we don't speak German.  But, it is always polite to ask them before speaking to them in English.. to ask them in German if they speak English.  Sprechen Sie Englisch?  And when we get to Africa, Parlez-vou anglais?

When we arrived in Esslingen, I was told.. follow the church steeple, that is usually where the center of town is.  Well, we couldn't see the church steeple when we got off the train.. amongst the modern tall buildings blocking it.  But, eventually we wandered enough that we found the old town, and also some nice medieval structures.  Even though, the entire time we all wanted to be inside where it was warm.

Schelztor gate-tower
A building under renovation with Parish church of St. Dionysius behind it.  River Neckar and ducks.
Parish church of St. Dionysius 

 Inside Parish church of St. Dionysius
We found it very interesting that we ended up in a town that has a church called Dionysius.. when that is the last name of our nephew who lived with us for six months last year.  Maybe this is a sign that he needs to start going back to church!  :)

Even the Starbucks is in a medieval-style building

 His first German bratwurst in Germany.  He LOVED it.. and they were very good.  Not bad from a street vendor.
It was so cold, we didn't get to see as much of the city as I would have liked.  There is a castle here and everything.  And the vinyards up on the hill.  I would love to come back here in the spring.

So cold, she couldn't even take her arms out of her jacket to push her sisters stroller.
Vinyards on the very steep hills

Back on the train, only a few stops away is the Mercedes-Benz museum.  Which is where Lilly wanted to go.  However, I don't think she thought it would be so big.. they take you back in time to where it all began in 1886.  Eight floors.  The amount of collections they have here.. I can't even imagine what the insurance payments are on that place!  And its a very high-tech building.

 Mercedes-Benz museum, Stuttgart

No hands AND asleep.. she's pretty tallented!
1886 - The first gasoline car

1980 Mercedes-Benz "Pope Mobile" 

A very interesting display of historic cars

We spent so much time in the museum, it was dark outside when we left.  And the waiting and walking back to the hotel was extremely cold.  On our journey, we were pretty worried for little Emma.  She wasn't walking to stay warm.. and started to fall asleep in her stroller again.  So, I made Bryce carry her to keep her alert and warmer.  However, when we got back.. her hands and feet were very red and sore.  So.. needless to say, our journey for today is cancelled, as we can't risk being out in the cold again.. as we would have to walk back to the S-Bahn for today's journey.  Again, we hope to come back when it's warmer and can be a little more adventerous.

This is my last post from this continent.  Tomorrow, we begin our journey to our third continent (Bryce will be returning to his fourth continent).  Emma isn't even two and she is already traveling to a third continent!

Please pray for little to no drama, or issues.  This time, the dog will be checked as baggage instead of flying in-cabin with us (he tore through his soft-sided kennel last week).  This leg of the trip will be even longer than the legs it took to get to Germany.  We hope for good weather, as there has been inclement weather in Paris where one of our connections is at.  And prayers for safety in the other countries we have connections in.  Our arrival will be very late in Djibouti.  But finally.. what we've been waiting for.  Soon, we will see our new home.

I do not know when we will have access to internet again, so..

Until next time!  We are ready for warmth!

Stuttgart - 11:30am ~ 35 degrees

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Being a tourist

When I am traveling, I like to blend in.  I don't like advertising that "I'm a tourist."  I keep my camera in my bag.  I wear clothes that try to blend in.  However, when traveling with two red heads.. and all of us wearing bright colors.. and every once in a while, the baby does her trill with her tongue that people have dubbed as her "Chewbacca" impression... our family stands out like a sore thumb.  And to top it off, I didn't pack for snowy weather.  When everyone here is wearing black, grey or white.. here we come in red, purple, or turquoise   Again.. no blending in here!

This has been quite a week!  The girls, the dog, and I spent four nights with my friends from high school near Ramstein Air Base.  They were LIFE SAVERS!  Gave us great tips, and helped with many issues that came up.. even some that went above and beyond standard host/hostess courtesy.  Before we came to Germany, we were told that there was no military lodging that would accept pets.  This is why we had to stay with my friends.  However, on the morning of our departure from Ramstein, we were able to secure a room that would accept the dog!  I learned a lot of tricks of the trade while at their house.  New knowledge of things I needed to know while living overseas with the military.  Not to mention, it was easier to adjust and recover from jet lag.  Amazingly, everyone adjusted well.  And the peacefulness of the forest in the snow was just what we all needed.  Calm.  After all the hecticness of moving and pet transportation, it was nice to relax. 

View from our bedroom.

We didn't get much time to be "tourists" with all that happened in those first few days.  But, we were determined to see a castle before we headed south.  It took a while to navigate the small German roads of Landstuhl to find the castle.  And once we did, it had already closed.  So, the next day we made sure we got there.  It wasn't exactly glamorous, and I would describe it more as a fortress than a castle.  Most of it was outdoors, and was extremely cold.

Burg Nanstein - Landstuhl, Germany

After visiting the castle, we picked up the rental car and headed south to join Bryce in Stuttgart.  By this time though, it was almost dark.  And with freezing cold temperatures, and wet roads.. a two hour drive.. stick shift... we made it to Stuttgart.  It amazes me sometimes (I'm not sure why) how bases are very inconsistent of the services they offer.  But, you make due.  This base, has a bowling alley.  Which is a plus.  Bryce and Lilly had a good time.  I didn't get to bowl, as my back has been having issues this trip.. and, it turns out.. the dog doesn't like being left alone.  He dug his way out of the soft-sided kennel, and it now has a hole that he can escape from.  So.. we had to buy him a new kennel.  Lets hope the next airline approves it!

Bowling on base

When Bryce finally got a day off, we were pretty lazy for a while.  However, I had to light a fire under their butts and say "Um, we're in Germany!  Let's go see it!".  So, we headed to downtown Stuttgart.  Here is where I felt like we stuck out like a sore thumb.  This is where I didn't want people to know we were tourists.  But, this is also where Bryce claims "you sold me on Europe, I'd love to live here."  Even though Bryce has spent 12 years overseas, none of it has been to Europe.  So, there is hope for my wish of living in Europe to come true yet!

Palace Square in Stuttgart

Today, we got up with an agenda.  Drive two hours to Bavaria and see the castle that inspired Disney to create Cinderella's castle, Neuschwanstein Castle.  We didn't leave as early as I'd hoped.. but it took a while to melt the freezing rain off of our car with no ice scraper.  The drive down was slippery too in some spots.  But we made it safely.  

Now, mind you.. this is my fifth trip to Germany.. and not once have I been in this corner of Germany.  The last time I was in Germany, I was in Munich.. and we were SO CLOSE.. but we just didn't have the time to get there.  It's a little off the beaten path.  So, I've been wanting to see this castle for YEARS.  So, when I arrived and I finally saw it.. I was like a little kid in a candy shop.  I LOVE taking pictures (ask anyone), and this is a photographers paradise!  If you ever come to visit.. you have to buy tickets in town before heading up the hill.  You can buy tickets for one, or both castles, and also a museum ticket.  Lilly wanted to do all three.  This shocked me, because usually she finds this stuff boring.  But she swore she would make it through.  First stop, Hohenschwangau Palace.  Tour leaves in 20 minutes.. get up the hill as fast as you can!  No time for pictures.  Don't forget to find exact change for the bathroom.. except it's free at the top.  Good thing I brought my inhaler!  We make it just in time.  About 300,000 visitors come to this palace.  And about 1.5 million visit Neuschwanstein castle.  So, the tour group was nice and small.  The palace was a converted ruined fortress under the reign of King Maximilian II.  Their vacation home, and where King Ludwig II (who built Neuschwanstein Castle) came as a child.

Hohenschwangau Palace

Took our time coming down the hill to take pictures.  However, we planned on taking the horse-drawn carriage up to Neuschwanstein Castle, as it was a 40 minute walk UPHILL.  The line was very long, so we got in line as soon as we could.  Note to anyone who wants to take the carriages.. they wait at the top until someone wants to come down.  So, they don't keep going non-stop.. which means, you have no idea how long you will wait at the bottom to get up.  Again, had to rush to the top (the carriages don't go ALL the way, there is still a 10 minute steep hill climb to the entrance of the castle)... inhaler not working when it's so cold and so steep.  But we make it, just before they close off the entrance for our tour.  The castle was not what I expected on the inside.  It was very dreary.  Some rooms were quite bright and ostentatious, but most of it wasn't.  And King Ludwig II didn't get to live in it very long.  I wondered if he ever got to every part of the castle.  There was even a man-made cave.  And children's rooms when he had no children, married, but a homosexual.. and was declared insane.  

Neuschwanstein Castle

There was a quote in the museum:
"Ludwig II is the best-known ruler from the House of Wittelsbach and the most famous 19th-century German king.  His life, his suffering and his death are shrouded in many secrets.  He retires from the public eye at an early age and the attractive, 18-year-old ruler becomes a king known for the most part only through pictures.  His homoerotic tendencies, which he perceives to be sinful, jibe rise to rumours.  His passion for building things - and the perosonal debts he accumulates as a result of this - lead to discussions as to his mental state.  A report arranged by the government and put together by the psychiatrist Bernhard Gudden forms the basis of his incapacitation.  A few days later, the 40-year-old king dies in Lake Starnberg, together with Gudden, on 13 June 1886.  The exact circumstances surrounding his death remain unclear.  

Ludwig II becomes the Fairytale King, a legend.  On the walls of Bavarian taverns he embodies Bavarian identity, lost statehood, defiant self-confidence against "those up there." In his castles, Ludwig fabricated for himself an aesthetic, artistic world, into which countless visitors have come to project their own desires, dreams and hopes since his death. In the media age, Ludwig II is an icon of modernity."

Also in the museum, there was a point where you sat and listened to this song.  Imagine, if you were in this majestic castle, in this beautiful country, listening to this music.  I believe you would understand the dreams of Ludwig II.  Maybe if he lived today, he wouldn't be considered abnormal, mad, or insane.  We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the castle.  But if you saw the paintings on his walls, you would feel the romance in his heart.  

We hope to come back here, preferably when it's a little warmer!  I discovered some good photo spots, but when it was after dark.  So, I need to go back and take more pictures (of course).

The drive home, I was a little braver on the Autobahn.  Bryce "claims" he got up to 205 kph (127 mph) last week when he drove to Stuttgart all by himself.  I only got up to 180 kph (111 mph).  And that was when the road was straight and dry and at night.  But most of the time, I only went 160 kph (99 mph) when there was no speed limit.

The rest of this week will probably be uneventful.  The rental car gets returned tomorrow.  So, we will be sticking close to the base.  However, myself and the girls might take the bus to the Mercedes Museum and see some fast cars.  But, we will see how things go!  After all the activity today, I'm ready to take it easy.  And that would also mean we'd have to leave the dog alone in the hotel room, and we already know how he will handle that.  

The next leg of our journey to Africa is a long one.  But, we are ready for some warmth!

Stuttgart, Germany - 28 degrees

Monday, January 14, 2013

Grüße aus Deutschland! (Greetings from Germany)

As I open my blogger post page, everything is in German!  Luckily, Chrome offers to translate pages.  :-)

Update since last post... it took four days for the movers to get everything out.  And they had to empty the house in a blizzard.  Cheyenne sent us off with a bang!  A snowy bang that is.  Thank goodness our rental car that got us down to the Denver airport had four wheel drive!

The blizzard at the beginning.

Saturday morning we sent our puppy Schnauzer off by herself to our friends in Illinois.  That was very hard.  She is so young, but I knew it was the best decision.  Sending her to Illinois is only temporary.  We will pick her up this summer when we go to visit Bryce's family.  But, with so many unknown circumstances regarding our travel, it is just easier to bring one dog at a time.  After dropping off Sophie, we were off to Baltimore.  Dexter (the other dog) surprised us by being a much better airplane traveler than we had expected.  After years of getting car sick, I was expecting the worst.  And also being known for barking at everything.. I was again, expecting the worst.  The only time he ever started to growl or bark, was when other dogs were present.  I was very pleased.  

Saying goodbye to Sophie

After an eight hour layover in Baltimore, we boarded our two-story plane.  The plane was full of soldiers deploying and other families with children.  I was a little worried about Emma screaming and disturbing other passengers, but I felt better knowing that everyone on the flight was either in the same position as us (PCS'ing with children) or had been through it before, and would be more understanding of an irritable child.  Where if we were flying commercially, there would be people who might not be more understanding.  If you have never flown on a military operated flight, you are missing out on a lot of benefits.  We were lucky enough to each have a TV, with free access to everything On Demand.  We each got to watch our own movies, or listen to music.  It was a very pleasant journey.  Emma fell asleep very early and slept the majority of the flight.  Another highlight of the flight was that they served Tillamook Cheese!  

When we landed at Ramstein, it was a very different process landing into a different country than I've dealt with before when landing from a commercial flight internationally.  With snow on the ground, we were all surprised.. as we packed for 40 degree weather, not weather in the 20's.  And since in a few weeks we will be in 80+ degree weather.. we were a bit chilly.

My friends from Forest Grove that I grew up with, who are currently stationed at Ramstein, were awesome enough to pick us up at the airport.  Considering, there was no transportation set up for us to get where we needed to be in Stuttgart, which is over two hours away... it was nice arriving to familiar faces who saved the day.  Since we couldn't secure lodging that was pet friendly, my friends offered to let us stay with them while in Germany.  So, we decided that Bryce would continue to Stuttgart without us.  The girls, the dog, and I are staying in Ramstein with my friends.  They have a cousin visiting them as well, so we get to tag along on some sight seeing.  It's also nice to be able to catch up as well as have people to visit with while Bryce is at his conference.  The plan right now is to rent a car on Thursday to join Bryce, as he has a four day weekend.  Then we can do some sight seeing as a family.

In the car after we landed in Germany

The girls went to bed pretty easily.  Adjusting to the time zone is proving pretty easy as well.  Emma woke up at 2am, but I was able to cuddle with her in a chair the rest of the night.  I just wanted to keep her calm and not wake Lilly.  Lilly was difficult to wake up, but at least I can tell her to tough it out.  So, everyone is adjusting well, but I'm sure having other kids and another dog to play with is helping the transition.  In a few days when we are staying in lodging, it might be a little different.

There is more snow in the forecast   However, it shows that it's -12 degrees in Cheyenne this morning.  With a "feels like" -34.  So, I am not complaining about the cold and snow here at 28 degrees!  At least the sun has finally come out.  I didn't pack a warm jacket, so I had to invest in a Ramstein tourist sweatshirt to add to my collection.  I'm sure it might be worn every day as a jacket, so.. if you see pictures of me in the same day everything.. I swear I'm changing my clothes!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Leaving Cheyenne

I have lived the majority of my life in wet, rainy Oregon.  When I came to Cheyenne.. I felt like Spongebob Squarepants out of water.  It is very dry here, especially in the winter when it sucks the moisture right out of you.  Anyone moving to Cheyenne... I HIGHLY recommend installing a humidifier on your furnace, and also investing in ultrasonic humidifiers for every bedroom.  (It really helps with the static electricity in your home as well.)  However, the two best things about Cheyenne for myself, was that the majority of the year it is sunny and the people are fantastic!  Even if it is -40 below with the wind chill, it is probably still sunny outside.  Winter also lasts 6-9 months, but again... it's still sunny!

Since moving to Cheyenne, we have endured consistent "breezes" of 30+ MPH winds (yes, in Cheyenne.. that is a breeze) with 50-80 MPH wind gusts (for almost two years, our house had no "wind buffer".. just a vacant lot in front of us), freak blizzards, massive hail storms (that totaled our car that wasn't even a year old and damaged our tent trailer), and sun burns.  However, while in Cheyenne we also welcomed two new members to our family.  Our daughter, Emma was born in Cheyenne, and a puppy we named Sophie.  Our family has grown in other ways as well, with our neighbors and church family.  Without them, I know our time here wouldn't have been the same.  We have explored a little more of Colorado, visiting and loving Colorado Springs as well as Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Forest.  We took a road trip to Mt. Rushmore and Devils Tower National Monument.  

Even though we have known that we were leaving ever since September, and mentally prepared to leave in November.. it is still hard to say goodbye in January.  Packing started yesterday.. a normal sunny day in Cheyenne with 30+ MPH winds.  The only casualty in the moving process was to our screen door, which was caught in the wind for the second time.  This time, the actual door was bent instead of just the frame, so it doesn't look like an easy fix as it was the first time this happened last year.

This being my first PCS (Permanent Change of Station... and Bryce's first with a family), the idea of having other people pack up my things was hard to accept at first.  Yes, I am a control freak.  However, I admit one of my biggest weaknesses is packing.  As, I'd rather "sort" through things as I pack, which takes 5x longer than if you just stuff it in a box and move on.  So, once I was able to let go of the fact that I can't get everything organized before a move, it was much easier to sit back and enjoy the help.  Much less stressful.  However, I still can't just sit and watch everyone around me busting their butts and do nothing to help.  Yes, I helped.  Of course, the first day I HAD to help, as the moving company only sent two people to pack our first load.  TWO.  What they thought would be finished by noon, took them until 4:30pm to finish (well, not everything went on the first day that I wanted to, so technically they didn't really finish).  So, I told them the next day, they better send more people and a bigger truck, as our second day was going to be the majority of our house.  Today, Day 2, they started out with four people, and ended with six to eight people helping with the process at one time or another.  Tomorrow, on Day 3.. everything that is left is going to storage.  So, I don't need to be there.  I instead get to take care of the kids and take the dogs to the vet to get their travel certificates, as well as some other last minute errands.  And also have dinner with friends on our last night in Cheyenne.  Luckily, we had some great friends who took the girls the past two days so we could concentrate on getting things done at the house.  I didn't make Lilly go to school this week.  I made it her choice.  However, in exchange for not going to school, she had to read every day and work on learning French.

Day 4 will be tying up loose ends.  Bryce finalizing his paperwork.  Returning the car we have borrowed from yet another friend since Thanksgiving, handing over the keys to the realtor, and heading to Denver, as our flight on day 5 will be early in the morning.  We are connecting through Baltimore on our way to Germany.  We will be in Germany for two weeks.  We do not have travel plans to our final destination just yet.  So for now, all I know is that we will arrive in Djibouti before the end of the month.  And I also know that I have generous childhood friends willing to let myself, the girls, and dogs come visit them for a few days while Bryce is at his conference.  Then they are also letting us tag along on some tourist adventures over the weekend.  

That is all I know for now.  And so our adventure continues!

Cheyenne forcast for tomorrow, Jan. 9th: High of 52 degrees and low of 26 degrees.  Possible snow on Friday.
Djibouti forcast for today, Jan. 9th: High of 84 degrees, and low of 73 degrees

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2013

We are still in Cheyenne.  For possibly, 11 more days.  Why do I say possibly?  Because, even though the movers are scheduled to come in seven days, we still don't have our travel arrangements.  Orders FINALLY came through just after Christmas.  And we were originally supposed to be in Djibouti at the end of November!  But.. Bryce has to be in Germany on the 14th of January.. so that is why we think we'll be leaving the 12th of January.  

Our house has been on the market since September, a
nd we still haven't had one offer.  So.. we still need to sell our house.  Note to self.. don't buy another home until it's the forever home!  I was hoping we could be out of here during Christmas break, but looks like Lilly will go back to school for one more week before we leave.  Our realtor is pretty sure of herself that as soon as all our junk is out of our house, she can stage it and it will show better and we should have an offer before February.  I hope she is right!

I left my job in October.  So, I've been a stay at home mom for a couple months now.  I started my Scentsy business in October as well, and that has kept me occupied.  However, now I'm in limbo.  AKA.. boredom!  My house is pretty much clean all the time.  Can't schedule anymore Scentsy parties.  I can't start any new projects that I won't be able to finish in a week.  Before Christmas, I've decided I want to start quilting for my new hobby (decorative, not necessarily blankets).  So, I can't start that kind of project right now.  But I'm trying to stock up on supplies needed so as soon as it arrives, I can start up some projects.  I could do some more reading, however with a toddler, there is a lot of interruptions.  

Bryce will be leaving tomorrow for Texas to drop off my car that will be shipped overseas.  Thankfully, the person who replaced me at my job has an extra car, and they've been letting us use it ever since Bryce came back from his 5-week training in November.  I've made some pretty amazing friends here in Cheyenne, and it seems I've made even more in the last few months.. and now that we are leaving, its making it harder to say goodbye to all these amazing people.

Sunday, January 6th, is our last Sunday at Grace United Methodist Church.  I don't want to go.  I know I'm going to bawl my eyes out.  And usually I'm pretty good at controlling my emotions, but lately it takes little to nothing to get me to cry.  Lilly's last day at school before Christmas break.. I couldn't stop crying.  She didn't even shed a tear.. and here I was, blubbering uncontrollably.   And I'm not as close to those people as I am to people at church, so I know church is going to be even worse!  But, Lilly loves her school.  So many great people there as well.  She doesn't want to leave.  But she has been handling everything pretty well.  So far, at least.  Bribery has helped.  But Sunday, I will come armed with a huge box of tissues.. sit in the back so not everyone is staring at me.  However, everyone will see how bad I am after church.. where Rev. Sandi is throwing a reception for our family.

Even though it will be sad to leave everyone, I am ready for the next step.  We should be spending a week and a half in Germany, and I'm hoping over the weekend we can visit Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria.  The castle that the Cinderella castle in Disney was inspired by.  I'm sure most of our visit will be trying to adjust the girls to the time change, so I don't have any other plans of things to do during our visit.  And Bryce will be working most of the time anyway.  So, who knows what will be in store for this month.  

The biggest thing I'm not looking forward to, will be travelling with pets.  Not just one dog, but two.  And then a wiggly toddler on an international flight on top of that.  Luckily, Lilly has been on an international flight before.  But, I've never had to fly with dogs before, so it will be a new experience for all of us.  So, keeping Emma occupied, and not knowing how the dogs are doing down in the baggage compartment.. it will be an interesting trip.  But.. luckily, I handle these types of things really well.  But.. we'll see how all of us together handle it!

We've had snow on the ground since Christmas Eve.  23 degrees in Cheyenne at 2:29pm.  And at 12:29am on January 2nd in Djibouti, 75 degrees.  Bring on the warmth!  I'm ready for sandals again.