Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Our Sweet Hannah Turns 5!!!

Hannah's Birthday was about a month ago, June 30th.  She celebrated just a little, once at school in May before her last day (they called it a half birthday) and once on her actual birthday. This past Saturday however, was her real birthday. Why, you ask?  Because Daddy's home to celebrate! This is all she wanted of course...Daddy...and a bike, a new barbie doll, a dress, etc. :) But really, DADDY is all she wanted to make her actual birthday complete. Luckily, he got here just in time for the party! Hooray!!!
Happy 5th Birthday Sweet Hannah!!!
We love you so very much!

Oh....how you have grown into such a little lady!!

On her 1st Birthday

On her 2nd Birthday                                                 On her 3rd

                    School picture in Kenya- October 2009 (3)             Her 4th Birthday Picture

Her school picture in October 2010 (age 4)     5th Birthday Picture- Pretty as a Princess!

Gam Gam took Hannah to the American Girl store for lunch with Bitty Baby and to get a new outifit

Papa Andy and Papa Scott got me a new bike! Guess what? I'M 5!!!

(Below) Birthday Party this past weekend:

Above- Hannah with her friends Sabrina and Sydney :)

  Hannah's Birthday had a wonderful surprise entertainment...Queen Glitter! She was the hit of the party and not only did the girls like her, but Chase LOVED her too!! They had a blast listening to her stories and watching her do magic tricks.  So much fun!

(Left) with Queen Glitter (Right) with Papa Tom - so sweet :)

(Right) All the 15 kids with QUEEN GLITTER!!! :) So Fun!

Sooooooo glad to have Daddy HOME!!! Can you tell I'm happy Daddy??? :)

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!
If you want to see more pictures from all the parties, click below:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Out of Office Reply

The email I have been waiting for for 12 VERY LONG months!

Out of Office AutoReply: Your itinerary.​. PLEASE!!

I have transferred from Pakistan. Please call contact___ with RSO-related matters. Thank you.
Tom Rhodes

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Family 4th!

We spent the fourth of July with lots of family, it was great! We drove up to Tennessee Saturday with Papa Andy & Papa Scott to visit with some Hamptons. :) We got to see Aunt KK and Uncle Steve's house for the first time and we also got to see Big Papa, Aunt Marhsa, Uncle Ralph and my cousin Kyle. They drove over from Clarksville. We had so much fun visiting, took a trip to the Davy Crocket Park, went to the Jonesborough Days and just hung out. It was wonderful.  Mary Kay also made us some DELICIOUS meals.  Thanks Aunt KK!!

At the Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park
in Limestone, TN
(yes, that is the name of the park)

With Big Papa and the kids with Aunt KK and Aunt Marsha :)

The Hamptons

Kyle, Uncle Ralph, Aunt Marsha & Aunt KK and Big Papa

with Papa Andy and Papa Scott :)

A great generation picture with Big Papa and Papa Andy

Pictures with the Grandpas...
(Middle) a replica of Davy Crockett's House where his exact house once stood in the 1700s.

(Below) At Jonesborough Days...


We drove back on Monday (the 4th) and headed straight to Gam Gam and Gidus for a cookout and some fireworks. We all had a blast!! 

Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July, I know we did. :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

He's Coming HOME!!!

I must honestly say that I had no idea after writing my last blog, I would be writing again so soon.  But, I am ... and boy am I glad.  Tom will be coming home sometime next week!!! Yippeee!

With this job, it is tough. You have to prepare yourself for the ups, the downs, the unknowns...always.  The benefits however far outweigh any negatives we have encountered so far; including this one year unaccompanied tour.  Its been tough, its been beyond difficult, but finally after a year of waiting and only one more week to go, it will be over. :) We have so much to look forward to, but most importantly we are just ready to be a family again.

The great news is, Tom will be here to help me PACK OUT in just TWO WEEKS! I know he is absolutely THRILLED that he will make it here just in time for that. Ha Ha  I cant believe its so soon. I have made multiple trips to Target, the Farmers Market, the container store, the mall, the drug store, the liquor store, and the BIG trip to Costco and surprisingly have just a few more stops to make before I can finally feel like we have everything we need.  I mean, how can you really fully PREPARE for a year or even two years ahead of time?  This move, although a little different is also our 7th time moving in seven years, and our third time moving overseas.  I should be used to it at this point, but there is always something that I forget to prepare for or wish I would have remembered.  This time however, I will do my best not to stress- ha ha, enjoy the rest of our time here with family and friends, embrace and never let go of my amazing husband when he finally comes home for good (except of course to let me out of the house for a pedicure and a few running BREAKS- ha), and have fun my last few weeks in the good 'ol USA before we leave for AFRICA!

Thank you for all your kind words and prayers in anticipation of Tom coming home. It was so much shorter than I thought it would be, and I could not be more thankful!  Guess all those prayers worked!!! :)

As a parting note for Tom and his WONDERFUL (ha ha) experience he has had in Pakistan, I leave you with this one picture.  Besides his pictures of the rug factory that he brought at Christmas, this is all I have seen of Pakistan.  He says that this is all you need to know about Pakistan...but really, it is all he cares to remember I'm sure.

See you soon my love!!!!

A family of 6 people on a motorcycle.  This, he said, is a record! Ha

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Waiting Game...

Or should I just say, the life of working for the State Department.  This Friday was the day Tom was supposed to arrive from Pakistan, but yet...we wait.  We have no idea when he will get out of there, we hope its soon, but we still have no idea.  It is unbelievably hard, it is beyond difficult at times to know that this tour, one of the hardest times in our lives is almost over, but we still don't seem to have an end in site. It is hard to keep telling the kids, Daddy will be home so soon.  And when we started our countdown last month, we counted down by weeks and now, we keep repeating those weeks.  Good thing for them, they are really too young to know.  It doesn't make it any less harder, just more frustrating.  So, now with four weeks left until we were supposed to leave for DC, we wait.

The pre-survey for our pack-out is tomorrow.  They will come and examine everything we own as it is crammed into this house figuring out where it all must go, how much it weighs and how many crates to have for our move.  We will have four separate shipments.  Our HHE for storage- basically all of our furniture, our HHE for Zimbabwe - basically everything else we own and love, ha ha, an Air shipment to Zimbabwe and for the first time, a consumables shipment to Zimbabwe- extra food.  You wonder how all this is divided? Labels...lots of lables (as you can see before we left Kenya). 

Everything is happening as it should; however, without my wonderful husband.  I know he is coming home soon, but without a date, without knowing EXACTLY when he will be home...it is hard. Really hard.  What is going on you ask? Visas, all I can say is visas. Egghh! Hopefully the next update will be...TOM IS FINALLY COMING HOME!  But for now, we know this is absolutely true, we just dont know when.  We have talked about the options; me meeting him in Zimbabwe with him leaving straight from Pakistan.  Um, NO!! We could stay longer here in Atlanta once he arrives, but Hannah may be almost a month and a half late for school. Is this good? Probably not, but its an option.  I suppose we will figure it out when the time comes.  This is part of the job unfortunately, part of this life and for now....we will just have to wait.