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.......