30 June 2007

Hill Country

P and I have been attempting an Austin trip since we arrived in Texas (one year ago). We finally made the 3 hour drive with our friends Jeff, Courtney, and Brecken.

Brenham, TX: Charming town of 14,000 people. An hour outside of Houston. Home of Blue Bell ice cream. Delicious. P's dream is to quit his job during the summers to work at the factory because Blue Bell encourages their employees to eat as much (free) ice cream as their hearts desire (unless cardiac arrest arrives before the desire ends).

Barton Springs. Zilker Metropolitan Park has a natural springs swimming hole (3 acres). Our favorite sight was when a teenage boy got out of the pool and started doing push-ups in front of some girls who were walking by. So funny!

Bats under Congress Bridge. We waited for an hour to see the 1.5 million bats take off for the evening, but were disappointed. Apparently, the apex of their exit occurs in late August. An army of 1.5 million bats charging the night together: cool. An army of 1.5 million bats charging the night one at a time: not cool.

Austin at Night.

Thanks to our friend Tasha, we ate at The Tavern which has delicious burgers made on sweet kolache rolls. Oddly enough, they constantly marketed that they are an air-conditioned establishment.

P was astonished by this microwave in our hotel room. Its resemblance to an ancient computer made him laugh.

The next day, we visited the University of Texas. Go Longhorns!

We are both considering earning our MBAs here in a few years (they have an exchange program with Brasil) and my mind was further pushed in this direction upon seeing this statue. At the front of the business school entrance is an enormous statue of a family with this plaque. Having graduated in MFHD, this was especially exciting to see family valued in a pragmatic, societal way.

The Capitol.

Inside the Dome

While exploring the Capitol a group was gathering to protest the Immigration Bill along with other immigration issues. Regardless of political stance, it was interesting to see the First Amendment at work.

What state (or republic) are we in again?

After the Capitol, we went back to Zilker for kayaking (so fun!), bike riding, and Bocce Ball. Although we don't have any pictures, J is the current reigning Bocce Ball champion.

Not a bad 30 hours. Not bad at all.

Home Owners and Future Landlords

I am desperately trying to catch up on all the excitement in our life, but May and June were so busy that it feels like I am still a month behind! There are only a few posts left and my goal is to have them ALL finished by Wednesday before we leave for Illinois, so stay tuned!

For those of you who are unaware, we closed on our Texas house at the end of May. Buying this home was a whirlwind decision. Previously, we planned on building a home, but property taxes here are so outrageous we didn't think it would be possible (read: $400/month=$4800/year. We rented our first Provo apartment for $325/month).

With the end of our lease fast-approaching and apartment options disagreeable, we found a spec home and took the plunge. We signed a contract on this home (already built but never lived in) on May 19 and moved in May 31.

Here is the floor plan:

2172 square feet 4 bed 2.5 bath 2 floors 0 furniture

Seriously. Zero furniture. Our upstairs would be completely barren had we not made a recent purchase (bookshelf). And we thought our 1 bedroom + study was big! As we start getting settled in, we will take you on a virtual tour (until you can come out for the real one).

In other exciting home news, we also closed on a duplex in Cedar City, Utah about the same time (another reason for the May/June craziness). The title of this post uses the word "Future" as we do not have current tenants yet. :) We will try to get pictures up, but don't count on those by Wednesday. We haven't seen the house in person yet and Utah is a long commute, so it may take a while before we post them.

Congratulations Sylver

Our dear friend Sylver was baptized on June 9. P was lucky enough to speak at the baptism.

28 June 2007

Feliz Cumpleanos Part II

The festivities continued at the beach (Galveston), Lupe Tortilla (the best steak fajitas EVER), and golfing at Cinco Ranch.

19 June 2007

Feliz Cumpleanos Part I

J's birthday (5.20) was jam-packed. We spent much of it with the Whites since Amber's birthday is May 19.

The bishop's wife hooked us up with sweet tickets (13th row Astros dugout). We initially felt slightly out of place since our usual soirees with the front section are only as we climb hundreds of steps to our nosebleed seats, but we overcame these feelings of discomfort quickly.

While we are not Barry Bonds fans, we secretly hoped to witness a little bit of homerun history, but no cigar.

Yep, there's Barry. This picture was taken from our seats.

We received free Chick Fil-A sandwiches because Pence hit the "fowl" post.

10 innings and 3 homers led to a final score of Astros 6, Giants 5. Go 'Stros!

Employee Appreciation

There is no question about why J works in the public sector while P tries his hand in Corporate America. The fringe benefits associated with being employed in the teaching field are spectacular, making it the obvious choice for anyone who wants to feel appreciated. For instance, these two examples of Employee Appreciation occurred on the same day.

For P's employee appreciation day, his company picked them up in this...

So they could dine here...

On something that looked like this...

After which they went on a company-paid shopping spree here...

Peanuts in comparison.

On the same day, J received this from her principal as a token of appreciation.

Yes, the photocopied coupon says we have to buy 2 meals and 2 beverages, but after we do that, we get $6 off on our next entree. The restaurant was giving these out on their doorstep, so not only do we get a great deal, it saved us a trip too!