Sunday, February 27, 2011

Some Needed Updating

Hey Friends and Family! Brittany really is better at this than I, so when she doesn't update, we end up falling off the face of the Earth. Sorry Blogger world, we've been very bad. Since I'm the one posting you'll have to bear with the lack of good writing, sunshine and butterflies.

Texas has been an interesting time of growth and excitement for us. We are so far away from family and friends, it's hard not to think about how we are going to make our way back to the mountains or the coast someday. Fortunately, almost all the restaurants that we loved back home and in California are here in Houston plus amazing additions of Tex-Mex and Southern Seafood which has made the transition way easier than expected. As long as I can find good food, I can live anywhere. So Brit settled into her new teaching job at Northshore Senior High and I had continued the job hunt and worked on improving resumes and cover letters.

You bored yet? OK, so here are some of the exciting things that have happened since we moved to Tejas.

Week Before Thanksgiving

Brittany and I are enjoying some sun at San Rafael beach, which is located about 3 hours west of Santo Domingo in Barahona. My mission covered a large span on the Western side, all the way to Haiti, so I couldn't miss the chance to go back to the places where tourists don't go. We got here by...


...a little Kia Picanto, which drove wonderfully and got us out of a lot of sticky situations. If you have ever been to developing countries, you know what I'm talking about. No one is really paying attention to that red light and the intersection is jammed with people going in all directions and the only way through is to muscle every inch you can. Not fun. I'm surprised I decided to drive in the first place and I'm surprised I didn't leave that trip with an ulcer.

















We saw Crístobal Colón (Christopher Colombus) and the tomb that his remains are buried in. There is actually a disagreement between the Spaniards and Dominicans as to whether CC's remains are all in the D.R. or all in Spain.




















We also saw an amazing print facility, one of those Marmon temples (way beautiful!), and an amazing sunset. It was way fun although it really was a culture shock for Brittany and even I was glad to be home after the trip. (It's so nice to be able to flush your poopy TP down the toilet)

Thanksgiving Week


From the warm D.R. we directly flew to SLC and made our way to Burley, Idaho. One thing that absolutely sucked about combining the two trips was packing for two seasons and staying under 50 pounds for each piece of luggage. You try it! Not to mention it was holiday traveling and we were flying international, it's a zoo at best. For real!








We went from this...






...to this in a matter of days. But I'm not complaining at all because we were well fed and well taken care of in both climates.


What I was most excited about wasn't the snow and it wasn't the uber-ginormous meal that beckoned me from Paradise...














...It was playing Uncle with Zoey and giving her whipped cream, which made her pucker up as if the sweetness of it really tasted sour. I couldn't stop laughing! Her reaction was priceless and I was chastised for being a tease, as always. We sure enjoyed playing together. It was the best two week vaykay ever!

Two Week Christmas Drive From Houston to Syracuse And Back


By December I was still looking for work, and even with a moderate 8.3% unemployment rate as compared to the rest of the U.S., It wasn't all that bad. I had about 5 interviews to this point in time but nothing was developing. So, when Brit announced that she was off for two weeks during Christmas we decided that a road trip back home to her family was in order. Brit's sister Madison, who is nannying in New York, found that a road trip from Texas would be a great opportunity coming home for the holidays; tickets into Houston were way cheaper than flying into SLC anyway.


So the three of us made the 30 hour, grueling trip back to Syracuse, Utah while making stops at scenic places along the way to break up the monotony. In all honesty, Arizona and Utah were the most scenic and best parts of the drive. West Texas was the absolute WORST part of the trip. Unfortunately, this was the best route to take back home due to massive amounts of snow in Colorado and luckily we only had some rain on the way there. Here are some of the photos that we took there and back:

Zions National Park on New Years Day


















































El Gran Cañón










































Today...

8 months have passed since my last full time job and it wasn't for the lack of finding work. There are TONS of jobs here in Houston. Some have asked why I didn't go back to Target or look into retail while I looked for the job I wanted. My answer was always this, "If I settle for menial or ordinary now and always look for the easy path, sooner or later, I just know that I'll be too tired to try and too exhausted to challenge myself for something better." The easy has been way too tempting since I've been here and honestly I was going crazy at home, even with all my "toys" to help pass some time. I even tried to convince Brit for us to set aside 500 bones to pay a pet deposit at our apartment so that I could have a friend at home to keep me company. That didn't work out too well. So I decided to take on another type of animal that would get me off my butt and serve...Cub Scouts.

They have kept me busy and creative. Here is a video that I helped them make with an Always-Be-Prepared motif:

video

It's incredible how smart some of these boys are. They have been a lot of fun but 12 rambunctious boys can definitely make me tired after an hour and for the rest of the week. Now I understand why people in America think their kids have ADD and why they become Riddlin junkies. Little boys are just hyper, even the shy ones. It's sad that moms and dads will misdiagnose their kids so that they can have some peace and quiet. Soapbox moment. Right now we have 2 or 3 Den leaders for each den (Wolves, Bears, Webelos) to assist with the madness and we still hardly get things done when we want them done. We do have some great moments though and it's great to be able to teach little boys something valuable.

For the month of February we have had good news all around. Brit was named Teacher of The Month which consisted of student and supervisor approval. She is great at what she does and she loves it. She is ready for the summer though and ready to take the baby out of the crock pot!

We also had her 25th week checkup and we were hoping for another shot at the ultrasound to see if we were having a Lady or a Gent. FOILED AGAIN by the institution of stupid people! We were so upset and our mothers were so looking forward to the revealing. We decided to take matters into our own hands. A Sister in our ward is a ultrasound tech and she had helped others in the ward find out the sex of their babies, so we decided to petition her for help. She gladly agreed and took us to her hospital and within 2 minutes we knew that we were having a baby boy! I was thrilled! Here was the proof that were desperately waiting for:

My Y chromosome won out in the end and I couldn't be happier. Since Brit was raised with all sisters, she's not going to know what to do with a boy. She'll be amazing though, look how she has raised me!

To top off all the good news, I was offered not one but two job offers! Sometimes when it rains, it pours. Both are entry-level positions and start you off from the bottom up. One is called Consolidated Graphics, a commercial digital print giant, which holds a 3 year Leadership Development Program for post-undergrads. I was offered a spot in their Technology and IT department to work on web applications, software, etc. The other is called Rosen Inspection, an international pipeline inspection company, and they offered a position on their Data Analyst team. Yeah, they both may sound boring but they offer stability and growth which is so important to Brit and I. It's the reason we have moved to so many places; opportunity and growth. Both these offers can advance my career. Eventually I'll go back to school to do a Masters or MBA, but for the time being, I'm just going to savor these exciting moments.