Thursday, December 03, 2009

Catching up - November Update

Looking back, I realized that I haven't really posted much of anything "informative" for a while. The past month or two has been crazy…and December's going to be busy too. Still, I figured I'd do a quick catch up of the last ~month so I don't feel like I've been neglecting my blog too much. ;)

The family has been good apart from crazy colds, sickness, infection and other illnesses running rampant in our house. We just can't seem to get everybody healthy all at the same time.

Lynette had a good birthday…she went out to Sur La Table and took a cooking class which she absolutely loved. She's been really excited about cooking lately and it's been a ton of fun to see her passion and taste the things she tries out. :)

Thanksgiving was good (I may make a separate Thanksgiving post later with pictures, etc.).

On Thursday, we drove down to my sister's new house in Eagle Mountain….waaaayy out west. We drove, and drove, and drove…our Yahoo Maps and Google Maps directions stopped working once we got to "The Ranches" (the street names stopped matching up) but we had the east/west--north/south so we had a good idea of where to go. But as we kept driving, we suddenly rounded a corner and saw nothing but fields for miles…we couldn't see anymore houses. So we turned around and called Jenny while we drove back towards town. She informed us that we were on the right path and we actually just need to keep driving ~5 miles through the open fields until we find houses again and then turn into the subdivision. Crazy. The day was nice…the kids had fun at the house and playing with their baby cousins (Jenny's daughter is ~8 months now and Shari's is ~1 month). My brothers and dad unfortunately couldn't be there which was a bummer…hopefully we'll all get together for Christmas. We hung out and chatted, played some Wii games and some board games and then took the long drive home. ;)

On Thanksgiving Friday, we slept in rather than hitting the sales. Then got up and got the house ready to host Thanksgiving dinner at our house for Lynette's family. By early afternoon everybody was there and we had a lot of fun. The kids had fun playing with their cousins and the adults took turns relaxing, playing with the kids, and then we all broke out some board games and played into the night (with kids going to bed at some point).

Last Saturday, we busted out the Christmas decorations and put up the tree, stockings, tinsel and all the other fun….while the BYU vs. Utah game played in the background. The U lost and there was a bit of pent up rivalry anxiety that pulled down the mood across the state for the next few days...but it was still a good game.

In school, I met with the academic advisor for my department and got everything confirmed and squared away….I GRADUATE IN THE SPRING!!!! Finally. :) On the downside (sort of), that doesn't mean I was immediately done. In fact, this past month has been very hectic in school. Amid reading a book each week for the class discussions, I also had to dig into 4 or 5 other books to do research for my 15 page article that is the main assignment in the class. I got my rough draft done before Thanksgiving and got some good feedback from the professor…and I finally finished up my final draft last night. Next week I have to present the article to the class with a brief Q&A and then…I'm done. *phew* What a ride.

In neighborhood & church news, I was released from the position of Cubmaster but still spent some time helping the new Cubmaster get up to speed. Still, it was nice to have that time to spare. On the flipside, as a counselor in the Elder's Quorum, things have been moderately busy and there's sure to be more service in coming weeks with the holidays. There are a lot of people in our neighborhood that need some extra help. Overall, I love my calling there and love getting to know the Elders and their families and help out where I can.

On the downer side of things, we've had a number of deaths in the neighborhood over the last month…of young teenage girls. That's always something that puts a damper on spirits. Still, it was good to see friends and neighbors clamoring together to lift each other up. We also had a few babies born, so that was exciting.

We had a neighborhood Chilli Cookoff early in the month that went really well and then had a Turkey Bowl (youth versus adults) the day before Thanksgiving. It was a ton of fun…but boy am I out of shape. That'll be my resolution for next year…to get into shape so I can play the whole game next year without feeling like I'm going to die. :)

Work has been alright generally. The workload hasn't been terribly heavy but we have a few core problems that we just can't seem to solve and they seem to hang over us daily like the sword of Damacles. In spite of planning and foresight, we seem to get hit by a fire or two each week that needs immediate attention and we're also striving to spin on a dime to address customer needs all the while trying to understand what's going on with the budgetary constraints that are burning bridges with vendors. Things are rolling along and I'm grateful to have a job and I like the people I work with…I just wish sometimes that the road wasn't as bumpy as it is.

Amid all the excitement, I foolishly decided to try NaNoWriMo. It's a fun idea and I plan on trying it again…but this year things were too busy in November and I ended up with only a couple thousand words. Oh well. It was worth a try…and it helped me get back into the general vein of writing.

Pushing into December, things are still hectic, but at least some things are winding down…school is now a non-factor (I'll give my presentation next week, but that's really a non-factor). Work is still zany, but I'll push through. There's plenty of church/neighborhood responsibilities, but there always are…and with Christmas in the air, they usually go over pretty well. There's a ton of family and friend activities to go to, but I'm really excited for things. I'm excited to get back into "personal" reading (I've started digging into my backlog of books to read "just for fun" and loving it). I'm also hoping to get a weekly board game night going with the family…and I've got a few video games I need to play some more of. :)

Overall, things are good…hectic, but good.

Thanks to all my family and friends out there. You guys are great.

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