Great American Western Road Trip: Summer 2018

4 weeks, 3 kids, 1 van, 16 different lodgings, 5400+ miles, 12+ National or State Parks and Monuments adds up to 1 Epic Adventure.

American Southwest Family Vacation 2017

We followed historic Route 66 on our way to see the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, plus much more in New Mexico and Arizona.

End of Tour Summary: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Here are our stories from two and a half years of living in Saudi Arabia while exploring the region.

Excursions to Oman

On two different trips, we strolled Muscat, hiked Wadi Shab, and sailed a dhow through the fjords of Musandam.

Our Expedition to Jordan

Highlights included tracing the steps of Indiana Jones into Petra, following Lawrence of Arabia into Wadi Rum, and floating in the Dead Sea.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The FSCE Assignment Process

Our assignment process differs from most other Foreign Service officers and specialists because Foreign Service Construction Engineers usually go somewhere to support a new project instead of filling a position that already exists. This means that places that don't currently have projects will have to actually create a position for us to fill and subsequently vacate and eliminate when the project ends. But I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's go back to the beginning...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

How I organize my digital photos for multiple photo streams

Remember when organizing your digital photos was easy? You had one camera that you connected to one computer and no one else really wanted to look at them. These days, it's not uncommon to have photo streams coming in from your phone, your camera, your significant other's phone, their camera, your family's pictures, and Facebook or other social media. Then you have the organizing aspect of all those photos, to include backing up across multiple computers and in the cloud, which lends itself to the ultimate reason we take pictures: sharing. 

So, what's my system? I'm coming around to Picasa, having previously used Windows Live Gallery until I upgraded to Windows 8.1. To ensure proper cross-platform backups within my Photos directory, I have several folders with a consistent naming system on Kacey and my computers, as well as an external hard drive.  

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Downton Abbey at Winterthur

This past weekend, we drove up to Delaware to visit Winterthur to see their "Costumes of Downton Abbey" exhibit. More than just an exhibit, the sprawling estate was like an American version of Downton in no small part because it once served as the home of the unimaginably wealthy du Pont family. The exhibit even compared the many similarities between Downton (fiction) and Winterthur (fact) that served to make both seem that much more alive and real. Winterthur also had two great areas for the kids: the Enchanted Woods and the Touch-It Room.

Even the entrance to the estate set the mood for the experience. We drove in through the gates at the edge of the property, then followed the winding road around rolling hills of a well manicured lawn. My first thought was that it was a lot of grass to mow. From where we parked, it was a short walk down hill to the visitor's center.

Parent note: If you're deciding whether to bring/use a stroller, yes. The grounds are pretty conducive to using a stroller (there's even a marked-out, stroller-friendly path), and if your kids are like ours, there are plenty of walking opportunities to wear them out. Also, there are stroller-friendly trams that stop at the Enchanted Woods, so they've really thought things through for the little ones.

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