Sunday, August 25, 2013

Since Moving to Texas...

... A LOT has happened. In many ways, I feel like the year (yes, we've almost lived in Texas a YEAR--- go ahead and laugh about it. I often do, myself) we've been here has been one of the biggest years of change, trial and growth for Mike & I. I know all you bloggers out there can empathize that sometimes when you abandon your blog for so long, you avoid going back because of the sheer capacity of what you have missed writing about. I have been battling those feelings for months now. I, of course, wish I had documented more about our first year living in another state. However, recently I had some motivation to come back to blogging and figured-- better late than never! So to make this post as minimally painful for both you & I. I'm going to hit some highlights of the year since moving to the big TX.
So here's our lives summed up in a list since moving to TX:
  • You all know that I started working for Cook Children's Hospital last November. Here's a few pictures of me in my Cook Children's shirt on day #1 along with a massive replica of the hospital made out of Legos that is inside the hospital (it's pretty amazing). Cook Children's hospital was made to look like a castle on the outside & on the inside the main atrium is designed like a castle with fun names throughout like "Camelot Court" (the food court) along with a Build-A-Bear workshop and Frozen Yogurt shop inside. It's pretty awesome.
  • We celebrated our first Christmas season in Texas. Gotta tell you... having it in the 70-80 degree range most of December is not something I'd complain about. Mike, on the other hand, missed the snow. Lucky for him, after flying home from spending Christmas in Florida with my family... we arrived to a very unexpected and snowy Dallas on Christmas Day. Which promptly melted the next day, now that's my kind of Christmas.

  •  In January, Mike had to travel for about 6 weeks off and on for his new job with Webfilings. My parents were still in Florida at the time, unwinding no doubt from all the wildness of celebrating Christmas at the condo. While Mike was gone one night, I began experiencing some health problems. One of the greatest luxuries of being the youngest of empty-nesters? Mother and father to the rescue! Dad flew out to Dallas and spent about a week with me while mom was wrapping up things in Florida. Then mom flew out and spent another week. During this time, I had some doctor visits and found out I was going to need surgery, which prolonged their trip another week. So in the end, I squeaked out another 3 weeks with my parents... oh, the things I'll do for attention. ;)
  • April was a very exciting month because mom and Marisa flew out to spend 6 days in Dallas with me. Nothing is better than girl time! We shopped, ate, watched chick-flicks, played games and pampered ourselves. If that isn't the equivalent of girl-heaven, I don't know what is...
  • The weekend after my mom and sister left, Mike and I hopped a plane to Vegas. For our 5 year anniversary, Mike gave me tickets to see Tim McGraw and Faith Hill in their special Soul 2 Soul performance at the Venetian in Vegas. Really, this weekend is deserving of it's own post but needless to say, it was one AMAZING weekend. We stayed in the Trump (thank you, Hotwire!) and on Saturday night got to watch a performance I'll remember forever. Not only because the music and chemistry was awesome to observe... but also because I got to shake Faith Hill's hand and squeeze Tim McGraw's forearm both as they sang right in front of us. There was a massive amount of little girl screaming happening that night. After we left, I turned to Mike and said, "Please don't divorce me..."

  • A couple weeks after we got back from Vegas, Mike's mom, Alys, came to visit us in Texas!! I told you it was an exciting month. The visit was too short for our liking but we loved showing her our life here in Texas, shopping and of course in true Texas-style... eating a lot of food. There was a farmer's market/festival in Grand Prairie the weekend she was here so we hit up games, food, face-painting and even won us some fish! Which promptly died a week later after having spent $63 on their special "fish supplies" at Petco. Mike tells me this is why we cannot have a dog.

  • In May, we experienced our first tornado and realized how GROSSLY under-prepared we really were. Long story short, Mike pretty much drove through the storm (NOT RECOMMENDED) and I grabbed a can of chili and a flashlight and sat freaking out in the bathroom. Needless to say, emergency preparedness FHE soon followed. Mike and I can now survive tornado, earthquake and zombie apocalypse for at least 1 month. Texas may have some wild weather but it has it's moments of beauty. See below a picture from our front door one evening after a storm. 
  • At the end of May, one of my best friends, Brittany, came to visit me in Texas! Can I just say how much I love this girl?? It was so good to see her, get to talk, joke, shop and be girls together again. She brought her sweet baby girl, Raquel, with her too, who was absolutely the best baby I've ever been around. It was so nice to see her and am already counting down the days till I get to see her again in Utah. We again played games, shopped and visited Joe Pool lake (for a very short time since it was COLD that day) which is about 5 min from our house.
  • My last post was about Mike's new job at Webfilings, which he absolutely LOVED. Since that time, Mike has received another new job (yes, you read that right). In June, Mike was still riding the gravy train AKA his job at Webfilings. Which included, of course, "Bagel Wednesday", free Rangers game tickets, lots of swag and regular ping pong tournaments with his co-workers, who he absolutely loved. When a recruiter approached him from Kimberly-Clark, the company that makes Kleenex, Huggies, Scott tissue, etc, he almost immediately said no. I told him interviewing never hurt anyone. After a phone interview, Mike was still hesitant to leave his sweet gig to go for an in-person interview, which they offered. KC was persistent and really wanted him to come to their office (the Dallas office is the global headquarters where CFO and CEO reside). Much to Mike's surprise, he really enjoyed the idea of working for an international, billion-dollar company. KC was very impressed with Mike and put Mike in a great position to negotiate. Fast forward 5 weeks and Mike had once again changed jobs for the 3rd time in 9 months. Although he was sad to leave Webfilings, he is very excited about the growth and potential at Kimberly-Clark being a senior financial analyst-- and the cherry on top? That hard-working boy finally got his very own office. :)
  • In July we went home for the 4th and spent a few wonderful days with both my family and Mike's. The Mansfields have an annual campout once a year over the 4th or 24th of July and we didn't want to miss it. We enjoyed lots of good food (I'm noticing a pattern here), family temple trip, conversation, laughs, some serious annual "Whose Your Daddy?" games while camping, swimming and boating!

  • And to top it off... we had these sweet faces waving goodbye to us on our way to the airport. I won't lie, there might have been some tears as they chased our car screaming, "We love you!!!" I tell you this... nothing makes you appreciate family more than living away from them
So there it is... some of the highlights of our year so far. We've had many great times and some not-so-great times filled with our own trials to endure. One day I'm going to get up the courage to write about it all on here. But for now, we'll review the happy times and be grateful for all we've been blessed with in such a short 10 months since we turned our lives topsy turvy and became Texans!