Monday, August 29, 2011

California Living: Making new friends

If you missed it, we are moving to California! While I am excited about the move, I have some questions about California living that I need your help to figure out. If you live in California, have lived in California, have moved across the country or just have some awesome insight, I need your help. Today's topic: making new friends.

We are moving to a place where we know no one and our closest relatives are three and five hours away. We're not very familiar with the area and aren't sure where to plug in to groups of people with whom we share interests. We plan to find a church and I would like to join a bible study, and Dave will hopefully meet some people at his new job. But beyond that we really don't know how we are going to meet new people and make new friends. Of course if you want to move out to the bay area with us, or if you already live there, I will be your friend ;-)

Have you ever seen that episode of How I Met your Mother where Marshall and Lily are trying to make new couple friends but they are a little too intense and they end up scaring off potential new friends? Yeah, we're afraid of acting like those people. (I tried to find a clip of the episode where Marshall emails a video montage of pictures and a song to the couple they spent an evening with to make my point, but no luck. Sorry.)

What is your advice for making new friends? Where should we go to make potential friends? How do we not act needy or too intense (which I feel like we might do since we really won't have anyone to make plans with except the first people we meet)? What activities do you suggest we do with people we want to get to know better? Wow, this is starting to sound like dating... ha! But clearly, I could use some advice. Please help!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blogging Bible Study

Have you ever read Jenn's blog, Knee-Deep In Munchkin Land? Well, if not, you should. But besides being a great blogger, rock star blog designer and great friend she is also starting a blogging/twitter bible study. Isn't that a great idea?!?

I have signed up to participate and I am so excited to read Sacred Marriage with a group of (what seems to be) wonderful women! We will be reading a chapter every two weeks, blogging about the chapter we read, meeting up on Twitter to chat about the book, then post our prayer requests in a private Facebook group.

Sound like fun to you? Head over to Jenn's blog post about the study for more details and to sign up. I hope you'll join us!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What I’m Loving Wednesday

I’m back for another edition of What I’m Loving Wednesday. I’m glad to be focusing on some more positive things :-) Remember to link up with Jamie to share what YOU are loving today!

I’m loving my wonderful family and friends. They have been so supportive through this tough time of transition for me. It makes me anticipate missing them even more. Because I just couldn’t resist sharing, here’s a picture of my friend, Jessy, and her adorable daughter at the movies on Sunday.


I’m loving that I get to have lunch with my friend, Trisha, and her cutie pie daughter on Friday! (Pictures to come later).

I’m loving that our friends, Mike and Charma, welcomed their first baby into the world on Sunday. We can’t wait to meet the newest little miracle in our circle of friends!

I’m loving the USA Pro Cycling Challenge that is happening here in Colorado! It is so neat to see my beautiful state on display on TV. If Dave can finish his dissertation by the end of the weekend we may just go and check out the finish of the final stage.

I’m loving my bible study group. I will definitely miss their fellowship after I move in a couple of weeks.

I’m loving my husband and the fact that today is the 8th anniversary of when Dave asked me to, “go out with him and stuff”. Yes, that is a direct quote. The “stuff” has been pretty awesome. Thanks for a wonderful eight years, Dave! (Picture circa 2004)

Balloon Classic 2004 01

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Be careful what you wish for…

Has anyone ever told you, “be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it”? I’m feeling a little bit of that right now.

I have been waiting for years for Dave to finish his PhD. The process of him graduating has been brutal on both of us and we have always been looking forward to when it was finally going to be over. We have always said things like, “we’ll be able to start our life” and “we can finally do everything we wanted to do without being tied to grad school”. Well, we’re about to get our wish. Dave has been offered a wonderful job with a decent salary which just happens to be 1,200 miles from where we call home - in a city where we don’t know anybody and our nearest relative is five and a half hours away. Wish granted.

While this new life in a new state sounds like a fun adventure, (and in some ways, it kind of is), the reality of everything has finally hit. I’ And I’m panicking.

Frankly, this leaving everyone and everything I love thing wasn’t really calculated into our grand graduation and “moving on” plan. Surely moving on and moving away meant that everyone I love would come with me, right? I guess not. Realization has hit and I’m pretty upset. In the last couple of weeks I have cried after every time I talked to or hung out with a friend or family member. Yesterday I even broke down in a movie theater after seeing a movie with a friend and her six-month-old daughter. It was the first time that someone besides Dave has seen me break down. I’m a wreck.

So, while new adventures are on the horizon (only 3ish weeks away, yikes!) I’m having a hard time dealing with the sad parts of moving on; not being around for every day occurrences with friends and family, not being there for family events, missing the changes and milestones of all of the little ones brought into this world in the last year and a half, missing the comfort of knowing that great friends are only a short (or a little more than short) drive away, knowing that the job I love will be in the hands of someone else, and not already having a place for me to “fit” into my new world. It is clear that I have taken the simple things in life for granted.

Sure, there are some things I am looking forward to like visiting new places and watching Dave’s career bloom, but right now I am just sad about the loss of our current, familiar and convenient world. It is an interesting roller coaster ride. So remember, be careful what you wish for.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What I’m Loving Wednesday

Whew! It has been a wild week for me and I just haven’t had the time or drive to keep you all updated on what is going on. So Sorry! The short story is that we have been in California to find a place to live once we move and it has been a stressful and draining process. Our current lease ends in two weeks and we’re still not sure where we will be living in California - Eek! Good news is that God has this figured out already; I’m just waiting to be let in on the plan. Any time now, God…

Anyway, on to what I’m loving this week!

I’m loving In-N-Out Burger. We went two times while we were in California last week and I can tell it is going to be dangerous having one in our new home town. Hopefully it will become less of a novelty soon.


I’m loving that I get to be part of the process of hiring my replacement at work. It is bittersweet, and a little weird, but I’m glad to be included in the process.

I’m loving that my youngest sister is moving into her dorm tomorrow! She is going to have such a great time in college!

I’m loving that we are moving to a place with lots of wineries near by. I hope I’ll be able to learn more about wine and better appreciate the flavors of the different blends. Sounds like a fun mission to me ;-)

I’m loving that I have an awesome aunt who has been helping us with advice and who has been doing some “stealthy” fact finding missions during our house hunting process. I don’t know what we would do without her! We love you!

I’m loving our last few weeks of living in Colorado. I really, really, really love this state and I’m just soaking it all in.

And, I’m loving my sweet, but stressed out husband who is working so hard to finish his dissertation and graduate with his PhD! Keep it up, Dave!

What Are you loving today? Link up with Jamie and share! Happy Wednesday!

Monday, August 15, 2011

California Livin': The beach

If you missed it, we are moving to California! While I am excited about the move, I have some questions about California living that I need your help to figure out. I'll be posting a topic once a week before the move to hopefully get some answers before we get to California. If you live in California, have lived in California, have moved across the country or just have some awesome insight, I need your help. Today's topic: the beach.

I am not a beach person. I mean, I like going to the beach for a little bit, to walk in the sand and put my feet in the ocean, but that's just about it. I'm really more of a mountain girl. Don't get me wrong, I love the view of the ocean and waves, but the beach is just so... sandy. When I've been to the beach in the past I have gotten sand in my swim suit or clothes, sand in my hair, sand in my ears, and if the wind is blowing, sand in my yummy picnic lunch. Then, when you try to leave you have sand stuck to your body and on your towel and in your beach bag which leads to sand in the car and sand in your house and on and on.

I hate bathing suits and I'm pretty sure Californians would equally hate me in a bathing suit. The idea of  being in public in a skin-tight, skimpy piece of nylon just isn't appealing to me.

Inevitably we will have visitors once we move and surely they will, at some point, want to go to the beach. So, I need your help to tell me how to survive this.

Do you have any tips and tricks for dealing with sand or how to dress comfortably yet modestly? Are there any gadgets or must have items that make beach trips easier or more comfortable? What is proper beach etiquette and are there any unspoken rules for how to behave at the beach? I would love to hear anything you have to share.

P.S. I hear there may be a difference in beaches depending on where you live. If it does matter, we will be living in northern California  :-)

Thanks so much for your help!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Girls weekend in Yellowstone

This past weekend I went to Yellowstone National Park with a couple of girlfriends for a fun photography weekend. We had a great time driving around, trying to find wildlife, taking in the park views and taking tons of pictures! I really enjoyed getting to know our new camera. I think I’m really beginning to get the hang of the manual settings and had a lot of fun seeing what a few setting adjustments could do to my photos. Here are some of my favorite photos from the weekend.

The highlight of the weekend was being caught in the middle of a herd of bison on Saturday morning. They were in the road and all around the cars, just walking across the road as they pleased. It was a little scary, but it was also really awesome to see these animals up close and personal! I got some video footage of the incident. Ignore our crazy talk ;-)

We had a great weekend and I am so excited that I got such a great opportunity to use our new camera. I think another photography trip is in order - and soon!

Monday, August 8, 2011

California Livin': Moving basics

If you missed it, we are moving to California! While I am excited about the move, I have some questions about California living that I need your help to figure out. I'll be posting a topic once a week before the move to hopefully get some answers before we get to California. If you live in California, have lived in California, have moved across the country or just have some awesome insight, I need your help. Today's topic: moving basics

The furthest I have ever moved is about 75 miles from where I grew up, and that was to go to college. I have never moved to another state. I know that we will need to find a place to live, change our drivers licenses, register our cars there, find new medical homes... and most importantly, I need to find a new brand of milk that I like. Long story short, I'm a picky milk drinker and I only like the milk with the purple label from King Soopers (Kroger) which happens to be a Colorado brand. But back to the other stuff.

So, do you have any advice for moving to another state? What all needs to be done as far as transferring records, establishing residency, registering to vote, etc.? Is there a specific order I should do things in? Are there things I shouldn't do for a while? Are there any additional resources that I should check out? How can I sample new milk brands? (haha!) I would love any advice you have!

Thanks so much for your help!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What I’m Loving Wednesday

I’m loving our big news… Dave is graduating with his PhD, he was offered job and we’re moving to California next month! Want the full details? Click here.

I’m loving my new blog design :-)

I’m loving that I get to pick up my our new camera tomorrow! It has been torture waiting for it to arrive.

I’m loving that I am going to Yellowstone National Park this weekend for a girls’ photography trip. It is the perfect opportunity to break in my our new camera.

I’m loving this cute newborn hat that finally arrived in the mail yesterday. I ordered it off of etsy three weeks ago and the seller said that she somehow overlooked the order and that’s why she didn’t ship it sooner. I’m sad I didn’t get it in time to use for Makenzie’s newborn photo session, but maybe she’ll fit into it in a few weeks. Oh well, if nothing else I can use it for future newborn photo sessions. Any takers?


I’m loving Amazon’s Cloud Mp3 player. Any songs or albums I buy online are stored to my cloud player which I can access and stream from an app on my Droid. I love technology!

I’m loving our sweet dog, Gromit. He is so much fun to have around!


And I’m loving my wonderful husband who is working so very hard to finish his dissertation in the next couple of weeks!

What are YOU loving today? Link up with Jamie and let us know! Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

California, here we come!

I have big news. I mean, really big news. I am so sorry that I have teased you about it for a little while. I have had to sit on this news until we got all of our ducks in a row, but we are finally ready to share that...


Whew! It feels so good to finally be able to say all of that! It certainly wasn't easy keeping my mouth shut. I am so excited to be able to share this story with you.

Back in February Dave was invited to an interview for a fellowship position in California. He and four other people were selected out of hundreds of applicants for the interview process. He met with many researchers and learned about many different programs that this company offered, and fell in love with one of the projects they are doing. He decided that this particular project was his dream job and, if he got the fellowship, he would want to work for the guys running it. After the interview and nearly two months of waiting (now March), we learned that the company offers 1-4 fellowships every year, but this year they were only able to offer two - and Dave was third on the list. Dave was put on a waiting list in case one of the two people ahead of him didn't take the fellowship. Two months after that (now May) they informed him that the two other applicants took the positions and that he would not be receiving a fellowship from them this year.

Dave contacted the guys running the project he really wanted to work on and let them know he did not receive a fellowship but would love to work with them should they ever have an open position. To Dave's surprise, they responded right away and said they really wanted Dave to work for them, and were surprised he didn't get the fellowship. They told him to hang tight and they would be back in touch soon. A few weeks later they contacted Dave and told them they were wanting to expand their research and had created a postdoctoral position for him, if he was really wanting to work for them. Of course Dave said yes and they began the pre-hiring process. A month and a half later (late July) Dave received a formal job offer complete with salary information, benefits and an offer to cover our moving expenses. Hooray!

All of this time Dave had been getting closer and closer to getting the experiment results he needed in order to graduate. The job is contingent on him graduating, so he is in the process of finishing up his thesis and setting his defense date. We are thinking he will be done with everything at the end of August and will start his new job in early September!

It is so amazing to me how Dave has been in grad school for eight (yes, eight) years and all of that time we had no real idea of when it would end. It is like running a race without knowing how far away the finish line is. With a research-based Ph.D. program you graduate when you get the results you thought you would, not when you complete X number of courses and do X number of projects. The process has been hard on us (but mostly Dave) with 60+ hour work weeks, weekend work days, very low pay and a ton of stress. I am so glad that this part of our lives is finally ending. Seriously, you have no idea what a relief this is. I believe we will be a stronger couple for having gone through this and I know we will greatly enjoy and better appreciate our time together with his regulated 40 hour work weeks :-)

I am so very proud of my husband and the work he has done, the hours he put into the program and for juggling our first four years of our marriage on top of it all. I am so lucky to be married to this wonderful man, and I am so lucky that he loves me - even in my impatience with this process (thank goodness he is forgiving!).

I have a lot of questions about moving to California, so over the next few weeks I'll be posting about topics I need help with. If you live in California, have lived in California, have moved across the country or just have some awesome insight, I need your help. Please check back on Mondays for some of my "California Livin'" posts. I need all the help I can get...

So, ready or not, California, here we come!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday morning monoxide mystery

It has already been an eventful Monday morning… and I am ready for a nap. At 1:30 this morning I woke up to a strange beeping noise. I woke Dave up and told him to go to the living room and check it out. We couldn’t find the source of the noise in our apartment; it seemed to be coming from the apartment upstairs. The noisy people above us moved out yesterday (hooray!) so it couldn’t be an alarm clock or other electronic device. Because of the shortness of the beeps (four beeps then silent for 30 seconds) we figured that the fire alarm up there was running out of batteries and that there was nothing we could really do about it because nobody was living there. So we went back to bed, trying to ignore the beeping.

At 4:30 there was a loud banging on our front door. It was the fire department and they said that the carbon monoxide detector in the apartment above ours had been going off and they needed to check our apartment for carbon monoxide. It turns out our levels were low, but present. They told us not to worry and to go back to bed. Of course, we opened our window first.

Again we were woken up by banging on our front door at 5:45. It was the fire department and the Xcel energy technician. They said they were still trying to locate the source of the carbon monoxide and wanted to shut off our water heater to be safe. We were also told there there would be enough hot water for one shower. Boo. Luckily, Dave and I compromised on who got to use the hot water  ;-)

So, that’s been our morning so far. We’re going to keep some windows open today and have fans on so that Gromit is a little safer while we are at work. I hope they figure out what is going on soon!