Sunday, May 14, 2017

Texas Tour: Austin

January 2017

We had some time in January, so we decided to visit the state capital of Austin. One of our first stops was try to get some lunch at a famous BBQ place. Though it had been open for 5 mintues the wait was already 2 hours. Apprently people line up hours before it opens! We did have lunch at a place our friends reccommended and had some delicous pancakes. Afterwards, we went to this graffeti park. It had once been a condo develpoment, but it never was completed and was turned into a place for graffetti art. It was really cool! I will see these artist did need some help with cleaning as there were spray paint cans all over the place.

We next took a tour of the captial buidling. It was really fun to see all the rich history the building had from the art work to the original seats for congress. The building was also everything Texas. The chandliers spelled out Texas, and the lone star was found all over the place. I think that Texas is really the only state that has so much state pride. It was a fun day trip. As tradition now with road trips we listened to a book. We continued to listen to Alcatraz and the Evil Librainis. (We love these books!)

New Years 2017

January 2017

Usually for New Years celebrations we ended up either watching a movie or just going to bed. (Wow. We must be getting old. We sound like my parents.) However, we had quite the fun time around New Years. Angela's family all decided to gather in Dallas for a few days. We stayed in a townhome and it was really fun being able to catch up with everybody, playing games, and visiting Costco. (I love Costco and nearest one is 1.5 hours away. So I was excited to learn we were mere minutes away. To answer your questions you are already thinking, yes I did get a hot dog and churro.)  We also went to an aquarium.  Our son loved looking at everything. That is what babies do at that age. Stare. However, we could tell he was very interested in everything. We were sad when everybody had to leave, but we enjoyed our time. School started back up again. This semester I am taking Labor Law, Organizational Behavior, Compensation, and Finance and Technology. (Half the class is spent understanding financial statements, and the other half is spent using advanced formulas in Excel) I think this semester should be much easier as I am not looking for an internship, starting school, moving in, or my wife is not expecting.

Catching Up: The Baby

October, November, December 2016

I birthed a child.  Now I'm raising a child.  Sometimes that still hits me by surprise.

I love our little baby, but it was a little rough getting him here.  I was in labor for a long time, the epidural didn't work as well as I would have liked, and it was all a little traumatic.  And then when our little baby was born, he decided not to breathe.  He made everyone nervous, but after some chest compressions and an oxygen mask, he was breathing on his own.  He was given normal newborn status by the time he left the NICU after a few days.

Our days (and nights) have been filled with feedings, diaper changes, spit-up, and some sleeping.  More recently he has also added smiling to his repertoire, and that melts our hearts over and over again.  We love this child, more than we thought we ever could.  We have found so many new joys and we are so happy he is in our lives.  Now we can't imagine life without him.

There have been so many firsts, including his first Halloween, first Thanksgiving, and first Christmas.

We have also decided to do a "Texas Tour" over Christmas break.  We started by going to Waco.  Many people ask, Why Waco?  Well, we decided to start small to see how the baby would handle outings.  We found out that he does very well!  That child likes to be around lots of people.  (What is is introvert mother going to do?) We went to the Magnolia Market - or Fixer Upper Heaven - and also to a local diner for lunch.  We also made stops for kolaches and fancy chocolate.  We had a great time!

We also went to Houston to visit the space center.  We easily didn't see everything there was to see, but we were there for 5 hours and were pretty exhausted by the end.  Highlights included going inside of a space shuttle, seeing the Saturn shuttle, and seeing mission control.  There was a lot of cool stuff!

Last week we went to Dallas where we hung out with my whole family.  My parents rented a house and we had some good together time.  The baby got to meet his Grandpa Howell and his aunts, uncles, and cousins for the first time. We also went to the Dallas aquarium, which was fun.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Catching Up: Sting Rays, Moving, and Texas

July, August, September 2016

On the 4th of July we decided to celebrate by going to the aquarium.  Not especially American, I know, but the aquarium was fairly empty and we had a great time.  We saw the cutest baby penguins, fighting otters, and my favorite - sting rays.  I love when they swim up to the top of the tank and then float down to the bottom, with their crazy little mouths opening and closing.  (Ask to see my sting ray impression sometime.)  Jenner may have admitted that he enjoyed the aquarium more than the zoo this year.  If you don't know, that is a big deal.

Jenner stopped going to work at Sutter Health (although he kept working part-time from home for awhile).  In July we mostly prepared for the Big Move.  It was stressful trying to nail down the logistics, and it was hard to pack while pregnant, but we made everything work.

And then the big day came.  Our move began by us taking a big wrong turn an hour into the trip.  We got back on track and the trip went smoothly from there on out.  Did you know there is NOTHING in New Mexico?  Well, I know that now.  But to be fair, there is Albuquerque.  We stayed at the famed Holiday Inn from Weird Al's song "Albuquerque."  (It's pretty sad that this was the highlight.)

I actually enjoyed the car ride to Texas!  It was nice to do absolutely nothing, since things were so crazy leading up to the move.  Jenner and I listened to Brandon Sanderson's "Mistborn" and that made the trip much more enjoyable.

And then we arrived in Texas.  It is HOT in Texas.  Especially when you're pregnant.  It was an uncomfortable few months.

Other than the heat (and the huge, gross roaches), Jenner and I really like Texas.  There are great people here!  And we have enjoyed some good Tex-Mex and Texas barbecue.

Jenner started his program at Texas A&M and had a very busy start between classes, applying for summer internships, and doing work for his graduate assistantship.

Fun at the aquarium

The world-famous Albuquerque Holiday Inn - "Where the towels are oh so fluffy!" If you haven't heard it then you should look it up and give it a listen!

 Eating an amazing Perry's pork chop in Houston

Going to the Houston temple

We made a strawberries and cream trifle...mmmmmmm

Jenner's first day of grad school

So fat and pregnant...

 Jenner going to a recruiting event

A random picture of Jenner...

Catching Up: The Zoo! (And other less important things)

May and June 2016

We had a big celebratory moment at our house: Jenner got Angela to eat ramen. Yep. Angela had never eaten it before! Her dad while in school lived on ramen and was still sick of it so they never had it in the house. Angela did try to make it more healthy by adding some peas, and jumped in. The verdict? She liked it!

It was my birthday in June and we continued the long standing tradition of going to the zoo for my birthday. We of course also rode the train. It’s a must.  We also went for breakfast to Ruth’s Diner. It was amazing and the biscuits are as legendary as they claim. We arrived at the zoo right when it opened and we found out that is the way to do it! The animals were more active and there was hardly any people.

We sold V. (Our Nissan Versa) It was a trusty car that was Angela’s first car that she picked out and bought for herself.  We replaced V with a Camry. 

Angela's dad also received the 2105 Maeser Distinguished Faculty Lecture Award at BYU. Angela was able to get some work off attend the event and his forum. 

Catching Up: Baby Boy Bate and Angela's Birthday

March and April 2016

We found out we were having a baby! Our little family of 2 would soon be 3! Angela had some bad morning sickness during this time and was quite the trooper!  If that wasn’t enough we also found that I had been accepted into Texas A&M’s Master of HR program. Angela’s birthday was in April and we decided to have a fun day out. We went to a fun French bakery for breakfast, toured the new church history museum, and had a fun dinner out. 

Catching Up: The Foreinger, the Provo Temple, and Curtains

January and February 2016

This was a busy time for me as I decided to return to the stage! Angela had never seen me in a production so I had to fix that!  I was in Midvale Arts production of the Foreigner. I played the foreigner Charlie and had a fantastic time. I worked some great people and was able to play a role I have always wanted to play.  Fun Fact! This was my third outing in The Foreigner! I have previously played Ellard and David in different productions.

Angela and I went the Provo Temple open house. It is a beautiful temple and we loved the different tributes in the architecture, furniture, and other things to the pioneer past of the old tabernacle. Angela particularly enjoyed it as she had often attended the Provo tabernacle for various functions and it brought back found memories. (The Provo Tabernacle burned down, and they saved the exterior of the tabernacle  and turned it into a temple.)

So I can never turn away from a call to the stage. I was asked to come be a part of the production of Curtains at Centerpoint Theatre, and I played Johnny. It was a fun experience because I was previously not acquainted with this musical. I also worked with the great Jim Christensen and some of my many friends at Centerpoint

Cast Photo of the Foreigner 

Just reviewing some lines backstage

Me singing away in Curtains

Spoiler Alert: I died!