Today we celebrated 4 years of blissful marriage! With my taking time off of work for the holidays, we took an opportunity to go through the temple together. As my normal work schedule makes this difficult, I really enjoyed the opportunity to go with Crystal.
Afterwards we found the nativity on the temple grounds and got another picture. Aren't the lights and clouds neat?
We wanted to go to a nice restaurant for our anniversary dinner so Crystal googled (Jeff: I mean binged!!) romantic restaurants Houston. Peli Peli was the first result that popped up.
It seemed to have good reviews so I decided to take Crystal to the most romantic restaurant in Houston, also conveniently down the street from the temple.
We ate under a simulated tree that changes different glowing colors.
We were excited about our food.
Also because we're fans of Cupcake Wars on Food Network we got excited when we found a fancy cupcake shoppe (it was fancy, so it's not a 'shop') right outside Peli Peli. We had to buy a couple specialty cupcakes. I had eggnog flavored, Crystal got pumpkin spice.
Yum! Also note the heavenly light that seems to be shining right on the cupcakes...and my wife :)
Crystal, the last 4 years have been the best of my life. So many exciting experiences, and I am so excited for the next 4 (and the eternity after that). I love you.
Yes, Jon has been singing songs from the "Muppet Christmas Carol" for the last month! It's finally here though! Our favorite time of year!
The stockings have been hung on the stairs with care... Holiday cards too!
Our Christmas tree is decorated and lit... and still surviving it's daily attack from Sookie ;-) She's addicted to everything that dangles! Oh and don't mind the big wooden box on the side of the tree. I cannot wait to open it! I asked my brother-in-law, Ron if he wouldn't mind doing some artwork (he is an artist who also teaches high school and coaches HS lacrosse and wrestling) for our new home. I have no clue what it is or what it looks like. I've been dying to see it!
Decorations are hung outside (okay, so two bows and a Mickey and Minnie Christmas sign...)
I love this time of year. It's a time that we get to spend with the ones we love and a time that we celebrate our Savior's birth. This will be our 5th Christmas together. Our 4 year anniversary is this week! Another really special thing about this Christmas is that this will be the first time that I have had the opportunity to spend it with Jon's family. We will be doing a service project on Christmas morning. I love being able to give to others and helping those in need. I am excited to do something new as a family!
This last year has been so amazing and I have so much to be thankful for. Well, the last few years have been completely crazy and life changing- but this last year has just come with so many exciting new things. Jon graduating with his masters and being blessed with a great job opportunity, moving across the country to TX, living close to family, running marathons... we haven't been without our struggles, but we have been extremely blessed and I hope this next year will be just as good.
Shutterfly is doing a fabulous promotion through the end of the year- blog about their deal and receive 50 free 5x7 Christmas cards! They have a ton of options to choose from- and I love love love them! Here are a few of my favorites that you can choose from...
and this last one is just because the rest of my family lives in the freezing NH :-)
Yeah, you can say it... I've been neglecting this blog. I guess I just feel like I don't have much to write about sometimes. At least nothing that others would find interesting. I am trying to be better about that. I will work on it, promise!
So for the month of September Jon spent his weeks in Dallas working with a client. He would leave on Mondays and come home on Thursdays. I won't lie, on my end, it was a little rough without him here. However, it gave me an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone a little bit. My ward is really good about having little activities on the side for anyone who wants to be involved. I am usually one of those girls who likes to go to things like that with other people instead of showing up alone knowing no one.
So, I signed up to be apart of a book club and I was able to go to that while Jon was gone. The first book we read was: To Kill A Mockingbird. In HS I had a few hippie english teachers who very rarely had us read the "classics" that everyone else was reading. I was in more advanced classes but always ended up with weirdos for teachers. So, this was my first time reading it and I LOVED it! I am really thankful for the book club because I was able to meet some really nice ladies and make a few good friends. Other than book club I was able to sign up for a once a month "lunch bunch" group and so far that has been really fun. We just meet up at someone's house with a dish/dessert to share and we meet new people and just hang out. Nothing fancy or anything like that.
So, as some of you may have heard, there is a new furry member of our family :-) The 2nd to last week of September when Jon was home over the weekend, we decided to get a cat. Her name is Sookie (Suki... however you want to spell it). Her being around has definitely helped whenever Jon has had to travel. She is an indoor cat too. She loves everything that dangles and her favorite toy is this puff ball on a string that she carries with her almost everywhere she goes. She's funny like that :-) Heh, note: she has a lot of hair in her ears... we joke whenever people comment on it and we always say "to better hear you" haha... okay so we think it's funny.
Last weekend our friends the Phillips came out from San Antonio to visit. We loved having them here! They have a little boy who is 2 years old and he LOVED playing with Sookie. We played at the park, watched football, the boys put up a really nice ceiling fan (thank you guys so much!), and we hit up the outlet mall and just hung out. It was really nice to be able to have good friends come and stay here. Jon and I had a lot of fun catching up with their family. Thanks for coming!
This last week, Jon was in Chicago for training. He says their deep dish pizza isn't as great as every one says. I think it was just the place they got the pizza from :-) I told him that if we ever go to Chicago- we'll go somewhere legit.
This weekend we spent the night in Huntsville, TX because I had a 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles) race there Saturday (yesterday, 10/23). I will write more details on it on my running blog so I don't bore you all :-) I was able to run it in under 2 hours! My time was 1:52! I placed 2nd in my age group as well. It was a challenging course with a ton of hills.
That's all for now. Life is going well and we are settling into this new area. I am still working my job with kids and enjoying that very much. Jon is enjoying his job- we both just wish his hours were a little less sometimes. His current project will keep him in Houston for the next month though and maybe longer after that. So, I don't have to worry about him traveling any time soon.
(just so you know, a new post is in the works. I finally found my camera cord!! So much to write about!!)
So, as most of you know, I lost my sweet mom to breast cancer in 1996 when I was 11 years old. She was a great and inspiring woman. She told us to always have a dream and my dream is to end breast cancer. This is why I run. When I don't feel like going out there and putting in miles I just think of mom and know that I can do it.
An oldie- but goodie! That's my mom on the right in the pink. The woman on the left is my Grandma howe, the woman in the chair is my Great Grandma Hunt and the little girl is my older sister, Shannon.
I have signed up for the Rock N Roll San Antonio marathon (11/14/10) and I decided I would run the marathon in memory of her like I did in SLC. However, I wanted to make it a little more special this time around. So, I decided to join Susan G. Komen's Marathon for the Cure where I have pledged to raise money for the cause.
To help kick-off my fundraising I have decided to host a few giveaways on my Watch C Run blog. I have contacted a few companies and they have agreed to donate items from their stores to show support- how awesome is that?? Never hurts to ask! I'll keep you in suspense! It is going to be really awesome!
The first one started yesterday and will end on Sunday, October 3rd. This giveaway is a piece of jewelry that my friend has donated from her etsy shop "The Dangle Shoppe". I thought this was really fitting to start out with. My mom loved jewelry. It never had to be anything fancy, but she always had something on. So, this is in honor of her. I am sure if she was still around she would be entering to win it :-) Go over to the site and enter- it never hurts to enter giveaways!
Let's end breast cancer!
Me and mom :-)
If for whatever reason you don't want to enter the giveaway but still be apart of all of this you may donate over at my donation page here. Thank you for all of your support! If you have any questions, please let me know!!
Sorry to keep you all waiting! It has been crazy busy around here!
Well, to answer the big question- we closed on the house on July 28th :-) After work that day I got myself put together and ate some lunch and then I was off to downtown to pick Jon up! It was the first time I have ever driven alone into downtown! Okay really... why all the left exits?? And why was my left exit like seriously less than a half mile after I changed freeways and then had to make a mad dash all the way to the left only to discover I had JUST missed my exit and had to make a HUGE circle and redo it. Heh, oh well. I ended up getting to Deloitte on my 2nd try... pathetic! We got back into the car and made it up to the Woodlands where we were closing.
It all went smoothly. No hiccups, no extra papers or anything else was randomly needed. Earlier that week I had fallen on a run and my right hand was scraped up to the max... so I guess you could say my "signing hand" was hurting... but for a whole different reason.. :-) The whole thing barely took a half hour. Amazing! Our realtor, Maria offered to take us out to dinner. Yes! We were planning on going out and celebrating ourselves, but free dinner? Score! At dinner we learned that we were Maria's last closing as she was being promoted at her job- so this was a celebration for her too. Which reminds me... I promised her some fortune cookies... better start thinking about that.
The next few days went very fast. Anne (Jon's mom) was very generous in helping us getting moved in and also helping me paint. Then, Saturday Aug 31st- we got our small moving truck and we moved the rest of our stuff in :-) It was a long but rewarding day. We had some help from a friend in the ward and he called us "wimps" for the lack of stuff we had haha... he was like "this is wimpy! You really don't have some secret truck around the corner filled with stuff?" That made me feel better because I had been feeling like we had a ton of stuff because of how it was being stored.
That being said- we have settled in nicely. I love this house. I love that I have a washer and dryer and I don't have to be hoarding my quarters all the time :-) I also love all the windows. I rarely have to turn on a light during the day. It's great. I could go on and on about stuff, but I'll spare you..
In other news- my work has been going pretty well. I actually met a lady at the gym who just so happens to be in our new ward. It felt good to sort've meet someone and then we have talked since and found out we have running in common. She brings her little girl to the gym to the kids room where I'm at and we chat there too. I tend to struggle whenever I move. When I moved to Provo from NH for the first time I broke down a lot, when we were in Arkansas I cried a lot and since we've been in Texas I've had a few meltdowns. It has gotten better though. Time always helps. I usually do well with change... if it doesn't involve moving across the country away from where I feel settled. So, meeting Erika has really helped.
I've also signed up to be apart of a book club. We are reading "To Kill a Mockingbird". Okay wait for it... I've never read it. I had some serious hippie teachers in HS and we'd read fictional books that reeked of liberal stuff and crunchy granola type things... so I was in advanced classes, but the teachers were obviously too good for the "classics" and other books like the one I'll be reading this month.
Jon has been working away on projects at work and he is officially been stamped as the programmer guy. He has been able to do a lot of good for different clients and he is enjoying his work so far. He has been pulling a lot of hours, which isn't his favorite, but that's life. I think last week he was around 65 hours? Yikes! He also just got his first traveling assignment. He will be in Dallas.. so not super far... but he is still flying out there (an hour flight). He will leave on Tuesday and come home Friday and then after that for the rest of the month he'll be gone Mon-Thurs and will be home for weekends. He also might go to Tulsa for one of the weeks too. We're not too sure on all the details. We just know how he's getting to the airport and that his hotel is close to the client's office in Dallas and there are a few other people from his office going with him. Maybe I can figure out a way to go visit him without taking any time off from work... hmm...
Okay, sorry, this post was long- but I'm glad you stuck through it! Life is good. I am getting used to living in Texas and figuring my way around everywhere. My relationship with Heavenly Father grows everyday and I am thankful for that. So, even though I sometimes have mini melt downs and am missing Utah- I will get through this and I know that we are so very blessed to be here and for how everything has gone for us so far. We have our trials and it hasn't all been easy peasy, but it has been completely worth it.
Pictures coming! I have to find the camera cord... Sorry!
Okay, so we still have one or two cruise posts left to do. I apologize for the lack of updates. We really have been busy.
Since we've been here in Houston, I got a part-time job mid May working at a local gym working in the kids room. I know, it's a little cheesy, but I have really enjoyed it. I really think it's an important position at the gym because it allows parents to have their "me" time and it's also their time to better themselves and to set an example to their kids. It's really important for them.
Jon started at Deloitte on the 12th! So far he has been really enjoying himself. This last week was a little rough (65 hour work week) but he came out on top. I am really proud of him. Fridays are his favorites. He get free kolaches. If you've never heard of them.. know this... they are very unhealthy :-) It's a is a type of pastry consisting of fillings ranging from fruits to cheeses and/or meats inside a bread roll. AKA: a glorified pig-in-a-blanket. I've never seen a fruit kolache yet.. but I have tried the cheese and sausage one. It was really good. Jon will happily treat anyone who visits to a kolache :-)
Jon and I have also been in the process of buying a home. In the beginning of June we got a phone call from our realtor about a sale going on with some spec homes (brand new, never been lived in). It was a 2 day sale and she wanted us to come check it out. We were a little leery about it and we didn't really think that we'd find anything worthwhile but we decided to go anyways just to get an idea of what we both liked.
When we got to the community we learned that the builder was lowering home costs by about $25,000 and was including all sorts of things: $5000 towards closing costs, all appliances, sprinkler system, garage door opener... things like that. We saw quite a few houses and there was one that we absolutely fell in love with. We then learned that if we were interested, but wanted to think about it a little more (that would be sort've our 'option period') we only needed to put down $100 vs the normal $1,000 that you'd expect. So, if we backed out, we'd only be out $100. We felt it was worth it and decided to do it.
We spent that next week praying about it and going to the temple. We also went around with our realtor and we looked at other properties in the area (new and older homes). We both felt really good about our decision to go with the first house and we decided to start the process. It has been an exciting time. We were approved for the home and now we are just waiting for everything to fall into place. We are scheduled to close this Wednesday the 28th!!! I am SO excited! We will have pictures once we get settled in.
Our plan is to paint on Thursday and Friday and then on Saturday we are getting a truck and we will be moving all of our stuff in. It's going to be like Christmas. All of our stuff is still in boxes from when we moved out here still and I can't remember if we got rid of this or that. It'll be a lot of fun to open up those boxes and start to get the house in order.
More updates to come!! For now, here is a picture of the house :-)
**Jon started this post a while ago and now that he has started work- he wasn't able to finish this. so, I have taken over and I went ahead and finished it :-) He can make edits later if he wants to.**
The cruse was full of so many wonderful experiences and memories, but I must say, my favorite shore excursion without a doubt was in the Grand Cayman Islands
Just look at this heavenly blue ocean! Does it get any better than this?
For this excursion we took the Moby Dick Tour to Stingray City. Sound like a magical fish city? Well it basically is.
Similar to the Jamaica excursion, this tour had two parts. We began by taking a boat out to a coral reef and snorkeling around looking at the different ocean life. One of our tour guides says he has made a special relationship with a local moray eel and coaxed him out of his cave to show us all
I know...we should model. It should be a crime to look this good (note: Crystal's vest is kids sized hehe)
This is the moray eel!! It was amazing! -Crytal Edit: heh, I love that my in-laws had a nice underwater camera. Jon's face is just priceless! "Did you see that??"
The 2nd part of our trip was to Stingray City. This is seriously a must go place if you have the chance. It's a sandbar that boats pull in to and you are able to get out the boat and get into the really warm water and you are pretty much swimming with the sting rays. This was by far our most favorite experience!
These creatures were just so massive!! They were so friendly too.
We had to make sure we weren't about to step on any of them! At first it was a little weird to have them just swimming up next to you!
Clyde coaxing some in after feeding them some squid.
They say that getting a kiss from a stingray gives you 7 years good luck! Pucker up!
All of us- this just shows how huge they were!!
We cannot wait to come back here! It will be a while before we will be able to again. We are really happy we were able to experience this. Heh, we did see that Deloitte has an office there... maybe we'll relocate someday ;-) Who am I kidding?? It's so expensive to live there! We'll just have to make sure to make an excuse to go down there for business and we can both go together!
Before I take you through our trip to Jamaica I will give you a little lesson that our bus driver told us: "In Jamaica we have noa problems. We only have situations, mon. Sometimes we have some serious situations, but never any problems. When everting is all good we say 'everting irie, mon"
Hence the title.
Ever since serving in New Jersey and meeting many Jamaicans (and eating their DELICIOUS food) I have wanted to visit Jamaica. The fact that Montego Bay would be our first stop made the cruise just that much better.
Under my parents recommendation (who took this exact same cruise a few years back) we decided to try the Chukka Kayak and Canopy tour. I think Chukka is the name of the river there but I'm really not sure...
We left the boat and took a long winding bus ride through some very poor parts of the city. It was very humbling to see poverty in other countries and see how much less they have than the 'poverty' in America.
Finally getting to the (Chukka?) river we suited up and got ready for adventure.
The tour began with a mile or two kayak trek down the river. We got in our banana boats (literally) and headed downstream.
That was the kayak part of the river (obviously). Next came the canopy part. We got our of our life preservers and took a minute to look cool in front of some really tall bamboo.
Before turning into human mushrooms. Very dashing. Donning our new gear, we climbed up the side of a mountain.
We were then off into the vast unknown jungle! We would ride zip lines from jungle canopy platforms. As you can see from the pictures below it wasn't possible to see the end of the zipline. Because of this the operators/guides would yell out from the forest "WHHHHHHHOPP!!!!!" (atleast that's the best I can do to spell it). Once they heard that noise echoing through the jungle they'd shove you off the end of the platform and away you go.
After spending maybe an hour or so flying through the jungle it was time to return to the river. We kayaked another mile or two before boarding a rickety truck and bouncing around all the way back. That truck was nuts! It's bad enough that the road's practically falling off the side of the mountain but then the Jamaican guides keep randomly screaming from the back with every bump.
To any Harry Potter fans out there, Crystal described the truck ride as riding the knight bus from the Prisoner of Azkaban movie. It was even more fitting because the movie bus had that shrunken Jamaican head that was talking the whole time.
We survived the truck ride and returned to camp where we were all able to enjoy the absolute deliciousness that is jerk chicken. My family loved it so much they let Crystal and me cook jerk chicken since we have been home. Yum!
Here we are with our awesome guides (and randomly our bus driver in the back) before we went back to the boat.