Monday, December 29, 2008

Update from Ivy

Since my mom hasn't updated this since she left I figured I'd give you a quick update. Here's the email that she sent to Taylor (and a few others) this week.

Hey Taylor (and I might copy a few others since internet time is precious.....)

We're writing to you from sunny Saudi Arabia! We are getting all settled in and for the most part things are great. There have been some frustrating times and sad times but on the whole, we are doing fantastic! Our house is very nice. Three bedrooms, two and a half baths, fenced yard (actually it's a cinderblock wall painted) It's not real big but big enough for Chelsea to run around in and play. She actually likes the yard boy who waters the lawn. Just out the back gate in your yard and across the street is the women's gym, library, movie theater, bowling alley "Olive Garden" restaurant (although it's not the same as what we call Olive Garden- still looks good.) Right past that complex are some soccer fields and the bus stops. So all in all, we're in a great location. We can walk to the grocery store/post office complex. It will be easier when we get a car but we're doing pretty good on the bus system. They are actually pretty nice. The scenery seems like what you might think Miami would look like, with the palm trees lining the streets. The weather is just perfect, sunny yet cool.

Last night the bsh. drove us to Al Kobar to shop. We bought a tv, bath mats, laudry baskets, printer, frames, etc. It was quite an interesting experience. They drive really, really bad here. It's only like a ten minute drive and it's the closest city to Dhahran.

Our Friday services were great. We can't really go into details over the internet or even phone about all that but things were very nice and very normal, just not the setting we are used to. But all the same things happened, same things taught, etc. This summer I'll fill you all in on that. The people here have been so welcoming. We ate Christmas Eve dinner with a member family and Christmas dinner with Bret J's parents. They bought us an Arabic clock. The other family gave the kids pajamas. It has been so wonderful to already have this group of friends. Without that, it would have been VERY difficult.

Dad really likes his job. Everybody is very nice. He works will so many different nationalites, he loves it. His boss is Lebanease, then there are Arabs, Americans, Australians, English.....just people from around the world.

Communication is sometimes difficult. I called to make Whitney and I an appt. to get our hair cut and I could barely understand the receptionist. Over the phone is SO much harder than in person. The biggest difference is the way the women cover themselves from head to toe.

We got Evan all registered and got his schedule. They both start the 3rd. Evan got to choose from electives like History of Flight, rock band (which teaches cords for bass, keyboard, etc), photography, basketball, etc. He's in History of Flight this trimester but hoping for RockBand the last trimester. His school is just awesome so far anyway. all the teachers gave us business cards and say call if we need a ride somewhere, etc. Even the principal offered to loan him a bike! (I think everybody is so nice because everybody was once new here and understands how overwhelming it is)

Our neighbors are from Pakistan. Very, very nice family. They have helped us alot telling us how things work. They have lived in California for a while before coming here.

We are hoping and praying that things are still good there with you in Cannes! Hopefully you are keeping busy and not just having to find all the time. So glad that you got to do something on Christmas. Anyway, love you lots. You are almost a your year mark!

That's about all I know - hopefully they get their internet set up soon!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Off to Saudi Arabia.......

Hi Friends,

I am in the Houston airport waiting to board our fight to Amsterdam, Holland then on to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia! Just wanted to take a minute to say good-bye. I'm leaving but not forever! I will miss everyone at home so much but I am excited for the new adventure and glad to share it with my family. (at least the ones left at home......) It's been an emotional week-end but thanks to all of you who dropped by to say good-bye! Most of you are not just friends, but truly family to us! We've been taking some pictures. One is so funny of Chelsea (our dog) going down the conveyer belt in her kennel. Poor was pitiful.

It may be a little while before we have internet but stay tuned for pictures and details.

Love y'all, Gwen

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The phone call................

I have been so worried about missing Taylor's (Elder Pogue's) Christ-mas phone call. For those of you who don't know him, Taylor is our 20- year- old son who is serving a mission for our church for two years in France. They can only phone home twice a year, on Mother's Day and on Christmas. We'll have just arrived in Saudi Arabia on Christmas and not even sure what our phone situation will be. Anyway, he got special permission to call early! So this morning around 10:30 we got the call. It was wonderful to hear his voice. We got to talk for about an hour and he sounded fantastic. He was calling from an office at the church and it was fun to listen to him speak French to people who passed by. I am so amazed! We can't believe almost a year has passed since he left. He is so excited that we are going to get to experience another part of the world like he is. We are so proud of Taylor and the good work he is doing. The work in Cannes is slow but steady. He is upbeat and happy. That always does a Mom's heart good! So grateful...

Fun Memories...........

So one night this week, I went into Whitney's room to show Ronda the Dish Barrel boxes we were packing up. We sat down on the bed to chat and in came Andrea....then Hannah, Lenae, Sarah Beth, Mary Catherine, Emma...Whitney came home and into her room and said "Weeelllll Hellllooooo!'- surprised to see such a crowd! It was fun! We eventually moved it on into my bedroom and talked and laughed for like three hours! MUCH NEEDED!!!!!
Last night after mutual, we took the kids and a few friends and a cousin to Buffalo Wild Wings. It was a late night for mid-term week but sometimes you just gotta have some fun and not be sensible.

The kids at church threw a little going away party! Taylor Z. made the cake and I heard it was amazing! While they were at church, Brad and I ran to the mall to stock up on some stuff we needed- shoes, socks, etc.

Here's a cute picture at BBW of Remi and Evan!

This is a picture Whitney took on my camara of her and Killian! Cute.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Random Thanksgiving Pictures...

Cousin Emily working hard on her gingerbread house

Evan in Grandma's kitchen texting and eating.

Devon trying to decide what kind of pie he wants.

Grandpa hauling leaves down to the lake to burn.

This guy showed up one day in Grandpa's shed! Have you ever seen anything so horrible??? It was huge and hairy. (click to magnify!!) Uncle Brian put him in a jar and took him back to Missouri! Grandma did not rest well knowing this thing was in the house! So happy to get to spend the holidays in Arkansas. We had a great time!

Let the competition begin.........

We had a great time in Arkansas making gingerbread houses...........

Here are Evan and Emily organizing the supplies
This is Cindy's house. She joined the fun later when she saw how much fun we were having.

This is my house. Notice the thatched roof!

The next entry was Whitney's party house. The gummy bears are having a party.

Next comes Aunt Stephanie and Emily's house,

Grandma's house was having structural problems so it became a gingerbread tent. (Notice the fire ring!)
And the clear-cut winner was Evan with his three story barn house with a porch!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Write to Elder Pogue............

Elder Taylor Pogue

La Mission Francaise de Toulouse
4, rue Alaric II
Compans Caffarelli
F-31000, Toulouse
Hoping that everybody will take a minute to send Elder Pogue a card or letter this holiday season. You have no idea how much it means to him to hear from you! How much he likes to hear from anybody really! haha Thanks in advance! He's doing great and just passed his ten month mark! Time flies.......
(Just go to the post office and ask for European stamps, I think they are 91 cents)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Drum Roll Please...................

I laughed at some of the guesses but.......Melanie would have won the prize (if there was a prize!)

The Pogue's are moving to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Yes, it's true- not a joke! Brad has accepted a job with Saudi Aramco and we fly out of here December 21st....yes, of this year! It has been a very long process. We made the final decision last week and Brad resigned from Citgo, I resigned from my job and off we go.

Ironically, last night 60 Minutes had a whole segment on Saudi Aramco, hope some of you caught it. Thanks to Susan for calling to tell me it was on.


Yes, it's safe! (We hope so anyway....)
Yes, the schools are great! (That's what they tell us anyway....)
No, Whit and I don't have to cover our faces! (not on the compound anyway)
Yes, there is good shopping! (If you need gold, just let me know.......)
We'll be there at least a couple years.......
We'll be home in the summers and Decembers......
Yes, we can talk.....our phone number will be the same as our home number now-no long distance charges!

Yes, we will miss all of you very much!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Pogue Party has big news................

Guess what it is!!!! (if you already know, please comment but don't tell. I want our friends who don't know to figure it out.......

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Today I am grateful for my cute husband.....

Brad is SMART.
Brad is HANDY.
Brad is HONEST.
Brad is KIND.
Brad is THRIFTY.
Brad is gonna be so mad when he sees this on here!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Twilight, the Movie..........

Who can say 'dumbest movie ever made'??? Sorry to offend......but I just don't get it. Please tell me you didn't like it either!

Friday, November 21, 2008


Today I am thankful that we received letters in the mail from Elders Jace Lovelace and Andrew Coffman in the same day! Both were thanking me for the cards and pictures I sent them of Taylor. Great happy and proud of the work they are doing!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Today I am thankful for Whitney......

Whitney is a ray of sunshine! Whitney is spontaneous. Whitney is dramatic. Whitney is confident. Whitney is wise. Whitney is hilarious. Whitney can run a really long way! Whitney loves to have it "her way"! Whitney is absolutely beautiful inside and out and our family would be very, very boring without her! Love you tons, Whit-Bit! Whittners, Whittles......

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I am thankful for Fall...........

I love the autumn. I always love it when the wind blows the right way and I can hear the high school band practicing in the early mornings. That's the first sign of fall for me. I like the crispness in the air. We used to have leaves to rake which I didn't care for but.....thanks to several more trees so no more leaves! I love a fire in the fireplace whether it's needed for warmth or not. I love candles and hot chocolate! Not crazy about the winter but fall is wonderful........

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Today I'm thankful for Evan......

I'm going to jump into the trend of posting things I am thankful for. Most of all, I am thankful for my family. Today I will highlight Evan. Evan simply IS a blessing. He is cute, sweet, smart, funny and everybody that knows him loves him. He works hard. He plays hard.

He's doing so good in school right now. Also, he tried out for his middle school basketball team and made it. Again, due to his hard work. Evan is a peacemaker. Evan is valient. He is patient when we call him things like "Smevers" and "Smeven". From the time he was tiny, Brad has said things to him like "Who's the big helper man?", "Who's the missionary man?", "Who's the good-example man?" He would always yell back, "I AM!" He has certainly lived up to the challenge. We love you, Evan!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Temple Trip......

Bishop Young has challenged everyone to attend the temple once a month. We had already gone in October so that worked out great. Saturday morning, Nov. 1st, we left at five in the morning with the Zachary's and Vicki and Kristin. It was a fun trip. Glad for the challenge and glad for the blessings of the temple. Here are a few pictures. Zack and Brad weren't very willing to pose for the pictures. They decided if they weren't getting married, there was no need for pictures.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Matching Glasses.....

Whitney got her new glasses today. She didn't realize how much she wasn't seeing clearly.

I never even thought about her glasses looking like mine until I saw these pictures we were taking for Taylor! Actually my new glasses are on their way. They aren't nearly as cute as these because apparently I am old and blind now and need trifocals!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ok, it's been a long time since I've really updated. I posted a few pictures of Taylor but I know that's cheating. If you haven't yet, go to his missionary blog and check out the video clips I added! I look so forward to Tuesday's when we hear from him! We've had a really busy week-end! It's been fun. Now that I'm working full-time, I appreciate the week-ends like I never have before. We started Thursday night by going out to dinner as a family. We'd been promising the kids a nice night out since their report cards were great. Whitney has been to Fugi's a few times and loved it so that's where she chose to go. Fugi's is a new Japanease Hibatchi grill type place. It was excellent and we had a great time. Our cook, Tony, who Whitney requested, reported to Brad, pointing to Whitney, "You know she here all the time with different guy. I alway ask 'Where your Daddy?' and she always say 'at work'....He was really funny and cute. The food was excellent! I have never thought I liked Japanese food but I gotta say, this was fantastic. (my apologies to the Zachary's who have tried to convince me to go....I repent!) Then Friday night was the Sulphur/Barbe football game. It was a good game but didn't turn out very good for the Tors. We lost 7-14. Saturday morning was the annual Citgo family picnic. The weather was beautiful and we ate way too much like always. All the hamburgers, sausage, hot dogs, funnel cake, cotten candy, snow cones you could eat. Whitney had a track meet in Lafayette so she didn't go with us. When we go home, Brad and I spent the rest of our Saturday bagging and sealing the rice we bought. It's been sitting in my dining room in the 100 lb. bags for a week so very glad to get that done. Sunday was church then to Mom and Dad's for chicken and sausage jambalaya. Yummy! The kids had a day off today for Teacher Inservice. I was also excited for MY day off until I realized that I now work at a school and actually had work! It wasn't like a normal work day, for sure, and was actually sort of fun. Got a chance to go have lunch at O'Charley's with Susan, Rita and Jennifer. Tonight we're going to watch Dillon and Daniel's football game. So in case any of you were wondering, we're still here and we're fine, just busy, busy, busy!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Cute French Missionary Boy....

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sulphur Homecoming '08

It's Homecoming time again. Can't believe it's been a year since last year's homecoming parade. I remember it so clearly because it's the same day Taylor opened his mission call. Whitney's date was Houston B. They really looked cute. Brad and I and Evan went to the game Friday night. That was fun. Saturday we spent the day watching conference, getting Whitney's hair done, cleaning house, etc. Aunt Allison came to do her make-up. It was a fun day....and night....and almost day again! I had to finally tell kids to leave my house at 3:30 in the morning. Seems our house was the after-party "party". At 2:00 am, Whitney informs me that some people are coming over to BAKE COOKIES! Also, some kids (their moms will know who they are.......) came over to "borrow" some SaranWrap. Well guess what I wake up to! That's van totally wrapped! haha

Friday, September 19, 2008


I've totally been a blog-slacker lately! We stayed home for Hurricane Ike. So glad we did. It was just really windy in the night. Our power went out around 3:00 am and came back on around 6:00 pm. It was actually so fun to watch the trees out the window. We are SO thankful that we were spared damage this time around. Not to wish bad luck on others, because it has to hit somewhere, but just feeling so blessed.

Random stuff:

I'm working full-time at Maplewood. I've been subbing there for a few weeks and have been offered a position as an aide in a Pre-K classroom. I'm not used to getting up early everyday so I've been tired but really looking forward to this.

Whitney's cross-country track season has started. Their first meet was canceled due to Hurricane Ike so her first one is tomorrow in Baton Rouge. She has to be at school at 4:00 am! Yuk!

I finally got all the flower beds cleared out this week. They were absolutely embarrasing. They look better. I just "weed-eated" (is that a word? maybe it's "weed-ate"...)all of it down. It will all come back next year. All that is left to chop in the purple fountain grass. Everytime I operate the weed-eater for any lenth of time, my forearms feel numb! Isn't that weird??

Got a nice email from Evan's algebra teacher telling me that he was one of two to score a perfect score on his test Wednesday! This teacher really goes the extra mile. And so proud of Evan for picking up the pace. He's learning that he actually has to study this year!

Taylor is still doing great in France. Check out his mission blog. Ivy and Calder are busy with school and work but doing great. They got to go to two nights of the Republican Convention there in St. Paul! Check out their blog.
Things are rocking right along at our house. Can't believe it's already 9/19! The first football game was tonight and fall is in the air (every once in a while....) I'm so ready for some hot chocolate and some fires in the fireplace. That'll be right around the corner!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

We're home....

Our little hurricane evactuation turned out ok! We packed up the camper and truck and headed out about two o'clock Sunday afternoon. Church had been cancelled. A mandatory evactuation had been enforced at noon. We headed to Brad's parents house in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
We spent Labor Day at Magic Springs. It's an amusement/water park there in Hot Springs. And yes, I actually rode the Gauntlet, the rollar-coaster in the picture! Monday evening after we got back from Magic Springs, Brad's parents had invited some friends over for home-made peach ice cream. It was soooo good!
Evan and Grandpa got in some fishing. Even Whitney enjoyed some night fishing.
Chelsea had a great time hanging out on the dock and running around the neighborhood. We just stayed tuned to the Weather Channel.
Pretty soon we realized that things were going to be ok at home. Brad got a text that he should try to get back to work. We headed out about two o'clock Tuesday afternoon. It was a kind of scary ride home. It stormed the whole way. Most of the towns we came through had no electricity. Nothing was open. No stores, no gas stations. We filled up with diesel in Arkadelphia and then luckily found some more in Bossier. We stopped in Natchitoches to eat. Only McDonalds and Popeye's was open. We opted for Popeye's since we could pull the camper into a lot next door. I bet there were 300 people in there! They were down to bare basics but we were happy to get a piece of chicken and a few fries to eat! We made it home around 11:00 pm.
We were thrilled to get home to a house still in tact. We had been really worried about Evan's fish. First of all he wasn't there to feed them. Secondly, with no power the pump wouldn't run and they wouldn't survive long. So that was one of the first things we checked. One of the fish did die, BUT also in the aquarium were nine brand new baby fish! We are shocked and amazed! Not sure what to do to protect them or if they will even survive but they are so fun to watch. We aren't even sure who's babies they are! We are so grateful that our city was spared alot of damage. We are so grateful that we had a safe trip and that we got to spend some time with family. Now if we can keep Ike and Josephine from blowing this way, all will be well!