Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Second Week in Austin

Thanks to the church, Fugro and some creativity on our part we had something to do everyday during our second week in this new place. By the way, I had no idea how difficult it is to post pictures and handle fonts in "blogger." This really makes it a task to blog.

Monday April 11th, 2011

While busily working in my new office, the wonderful Jerry said that Fugro had a suite at the Texas Express (a Triple A baseball team) stadium and some tickets for the game that night. I decided to make it our family home evening activity and off we went to the ball game. I wouldn’t go to a ball game any other way with the kids.

1. The seats are fenced in so they can run around instead of sitting down the whole time.

2. It’s triple A so the stadium is smaller and you feel a lot closer to the action. Also for the same reason you have a lot better chance of catching a foul ball.

3. After the 5th inning when the not-so-zealous sports fans are getting bored (i.e. Rachel and my coworker’s mom), you can go inside and watch TV on a comfortable couch.

Tuesday April 12th, 2011

Would you believe it, our moving van came. I’m not going to rehash all of the details or the reasons why I will NEVER use a moving company (especially All American Trusted Vanlines) again. Like Pumba says “sometimes you got to put your behind in your past.” Prior to moving we had downsized our possessions to about 1/3. Now that we have that third we are trying to downsize even more. My sister Jana said that she heard downsizing can get addictive and I would have to agree.

Luckily we had two Saints (literally) come and help us. Adam Brooks and Vince Methot from our ward offered some much needed help as the two moving guys could barely hand us the stuff fast enough for us to put it in the house. Adam’s wife, Vicky, even came by the next day and spent hours helping Rachel get the house in order. They live close by and have turned out to be great friends (more on that another time).

Wednesday April 13th, 2011

In response to the Earthquake in Japan, our Stake is putting together some hygiene kits to send over there. They divided up the labor and our ward was responsible for 1000 tubes of toothpaste. Wednesday night the youth put on an event where people could go and “buy” baked goods and services with tubes of toothpaste. We left with a couple of plates of goodies, one 3-4 hour babysitting certificate, and an oil change. After that I went and played basketball, just like at my old ward. Is it church policy to have basketball on Wednesdays at 9pm or what? Ya know. No? Whatever.

Thursday April 14th, 2011

Rachel went to a Relief Society, women only activity and I watched the chillins (as my SIL Brandi would say). She enjoyed the break from the kids and the time with the sisters.

Friday April 15th, 2011

A family in our ward, the Carden’s, invited everyone out to their house on the outskirts of town. We had a turnout of over a hundred people and enjoyed the good food. One guy there was some kind of professional whistler and made a little set up and whistled better than a flute. It was quite the entertainment. The kids had a blast riding on their horses. They were a little timid at first, but soon could not get enough of it.

Saturday April 16th, 2011

I wanted to do something fun this day and so I used a phone app, Goby, to find some family fun. We ended up finding a children’s museum in downtown Austin. Being downtown it was tough to find parking, but we eventually did. Here is the toll booth to park.

It explained exactly how to fold the bill, make sure you insert in the right hole, and then use your keys (or the “bill stuffer”) to push your bills into the box.

The children had a blast at the children’s museum. In fact we decided to buy a membership since it would cost about the same after 3 visits. It’s nice to let the kids run loose and play with everything that they want to without having to tell them “no” so much.

When Hannah plays she gets in this zone and it's as if the world around her slows down. Or at least this picture suggests that.

Finally here is my office. Since we moved here I have been spending 40+ hours here during the week (except of course when I’m traveling) and a good portion of my Saturdays (finishing up homework online while we still didn’t have internet at home). Heber comes with me sometimes. It is so funny how he acts. He just kept drinking from my cup and then putting it down like he had business to do. Notice the progression of these pictures.

And finally a scandalous glamour shot of Olive for your enjoyment.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Per Jana’s request, we are moving on to what we’ve been up to in Austin, Texas. The following is an attempt by be to document our time while in Austin. I am breaking it up right now into days just so that I can go through it all in my head.

1st Week in Austin Texas

Sunday April 3rd, 2011 – Arizona to Texas

This was the day that we have awaited and prepared for since finding out that Austin, TX would become our new home. I had to miss General Conference due to Air Force duties. At 7:10pm that evening we boarded an airplane with a way one ticket to Texas for the whole family.

The airline was very accommodating to us having our whole family fly. They shipped our car seats (3!) for free, gave us priority check-in, priority boarding, the first row in the airplane (2 seats on the left, 2 on the right and a lot of leg space), and more.

I broke the No-electronics-On-During-Takeoff/Landing rule to get this video of Heber bidding farewell to the Phoenix city lights.

Heber Bidding Farewell to Phoenix

Just in case you couldn’t guess, it is pretty tough trying to move around an airport with an infant and 2 curious toddlers. At one point Heber escaped and the more we called to him the faster he ran. He made it all the way to the top off this luggage ramp (in the upper right where it enter the wall) just enough to peep his head inside before I ran up there and swiped him up.

Monday April 4th, 2011

We got in after midnight on our flight, so by the time we got out of the airport and into our rental it was early Monday morning.

This would be our ride for the next four days, a 2011 Mazda6. I had fun using the tip-tronics option which allows you to put it an easy manual mode.

We got to our Hotel, The Red Roof Inn, and it was pretty ghetto. We didn’t feel very safe and were happy to only be there one night.

We went straight to our new apartment after getting a late breakfast. Once again, it was pretty ghetto, too. I guess I should’ve taken my coworkers advice when they said to stay away from anywhere near the office. Oh well how bad could it be...

Tuesday April 5th, 2011

The next several days would be full of trying to survive in an empty house with a broken AC. You don’t realize how much little things you need to function normally until you try to get by with everything that you brought in one bag.

Here are some pictures of the apartment, as well as kids air-drying in the front room (WARNING EXPLICIT CONTENT), and easy meals using plastic-ware.

I like to tell people that we live in the ghetto, that over 90% of the people speak Spanish (according to our repair guy), and our neighbors play mariachi music that you can hear out our windows and feel through our floors. However, we really like the place, for several reasons:

  1. I love being close to work and being able to ride their in my work clothes. It’s actually just as fast by bike if not faster because of the all traffic I can bypass and shortcuts I can take.
  2. I think Rachel would agree that it is nice to live in a smaller place. It’s plenty big enough for our family (2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms) and is so much less to deal with. Now our house works for us instead of us for our house. Or something like that…
  3. There is a nice little play area (photo), pool, workout room, and mariachi music.

4. It’s also very close to church. It takes about 5 minutes to drive there.

5. Mariachi Music!!

6. It’s a great opportunity to learn Spanish, even all of the cusswords!!

Okay I’m done. We are looking for the positive. We only signed a 6 month lease. So whether we go to graduate school in Virginia or keep working at Fugro it will go by like that.

Heber and Hannah looking over their 'hood.

Wednesday April 6th, 2011

Finally, we get to the reason why we uprooted and came to this foreign land. Today I started my job. It is nothing like I’ve ever done. For instance they expect me to work 40 hours a week!! Actually, I wish it was just that. I can already tell that they are going to take advantage of my salary status to get me to work more without paying me for it. Am I complaining? No. They are very generous in other ways.

The Oasis

My kind and friendly boss, Jerry, told me of a nice place to take the family out to (and to make sure to put it on our reimbursable moving bill as “Meal during move”). He didn’t lie. The restaurant sits and the edge of a cliff that sits over a big lake.

You get to enjoy the sunset and eat fancy food with all the rich Texans. I had shrimp (of course) wrapped in bacon (incredible) and stuffed with jalapenos (amazing!!).

Thursday April 7th – Saturday April 9th, 2011

By Thursday our moving truck still hadn’t arrived but we did receive our van and some familiar faces. Rachel’s parents, Claudia and Gary, kindly drove our van to Texas for us. Gary went to Texas on his mission and has the Texas look and attitude down. Some would even argue that he was born a century too late. Anyway, he has wanted to take his wife on a trip to Texas ever since his mission and now almost 40 years later he did. They stayed until Monday morning and were very helpful and enjoyable the whole time. In fact, we enjoyed them so much that we didn’t have time (or at least the awareness) to take a single picture the whole time.

Sunday April 10th, 2011

We managed to get together enough of our clothes to look decent for church on Sunday. We left Arizona feeling adventurous and special and got to our ward just to be another typical move-in. I’m pretty sure some people rolled their eyes as I explained with excitement how we moved for a new job and left our families in Arizona and blah blah. It seemed like everyone was from Utah, had graduated from BYU as an Engineer (or Lawyer) and is now working (or going to school) in Austin. I even tried to add how both Rachel and I graduated from ASU together with degrees in Engineering, just to be shut down by some couple who both had PhD’s.

Okay, I might be exaggerating. While it is true that many people seem to be in the same situation, it is not true to say that we weren’t well received. We have made some good friends already.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Since we found out that we were moving from Arizona we've been like fish out of water, birds without nest, bats without a cave, hobbits without a...well you get it.
We stayed in a hotel for two weeks while I had NCOLDC (Non-Commissioned Officer Leadership Development Course--the military loves acronyms). We did a lot of team building activities.After that we had the honor, nay, the privilege of spending two weeks at Brandi and Mckay's. They housed and fed us happily. In return we watched netflix and march madness on their humongous HD flat screen. The kids loved playing with their cousins. It was fun to see Heber and his white head among all of the dark heads.

Before I knew that I had a permanent job I was considering all of my options so that if things didn't work out I'd have a way to support my family. One of these options was inspired by my football coach from high school, Coach Schenks. He coaches at San Tan Foothills High School which is just a few miles from our house. He suggested I get my substitute teaching certification which I did. After getting certified I received no calls to substitute until our last week in Arizona. Ms Schenks gave birth to their fourth child (congratulations!) Which meant that Coach Schenks would need a substitute. He specifically requested me and I got to be PE teacher/football coach for 3 days.

Since high school I've contemplated teaching/coaching at that level. It was a blast! I really enjoy working with kids that age. The football program is doing great and the kids are all so respectful. They only had 3 wins last year and have high hopes for the coming year. It reminds me of a team I once played on.

Back to substituting, it was hard to get the non-football weights class motivated to do anything. I fought it the first 2 days and had all the students doing the Air Force PT test. However, the last day I gave in and like Coach Jonovich just let them play basketball all period.
My favorite class, though, was the special needs class. It consisted of Christa, Miles, Adriana, and Tory.

Next post I'll get to our new life in Austin.