A week of early mornings

This was one of the most busy weeks of the year for me at work and that led to kind of a crazy family week too. I was busy almost every morning this week with our annual NI Week conference. I had to be at work super early in the morning to catch the bus downtown to see the keynotes at 8:30 in the morning. This time they actually talked about the product that I’ve been working on for the last several years and that was nice. I had hoped it would get more attention but it didn’t. At least we didn’t have to keep our mouths shut about it this year!

Adam's product I've worked on for the last 5 years was announced at NI week this week.
Adam’s product he’s worked on for the last 5 years was announced at NI week this week.

We’ve had an interesting week with food. James is a bit of a picky eater. When he likes what he has, he eats like a champ. When he doesn’t like it, it’s a tantrum fest to try to get him to eat. He has an issue with textures. He doesn’t like anything that isn’t a perfectly smooth puree or something that he can pick up with his fingers. We tried homemade green beans and broccoli this week and he didn’t like either. Eliza still eats anything you put in front of her. Sometimes she likes to steal the attention from James by asking us to “help her.” Basically this means that she wants us to feed her and she doesn’t want to feed herself anymore.

James was so hungry that he tried to eat the oven one night while dinner was still cooking.
James was so hungry that he tried to eat the oven one night while dinner was still cooking.
Eliza helped mommy make pizza. She loved poking the crust.
Eliza helped mommy make pizza. She loved poking the crust.

On Wednesday we were invited to Lydia’s (Eliza’s friend) birthday party. We went over to our friends’ house and had cake and ice cream. They played some kid games like Duck-Duck-Goose and London Bridge. Eliza didn’t get it at all and just wanted daddy to hold her. When they got out the balloons and bubbles everything was better. She loves blowing bubbles and she’s still asking to sleep with her purple balloon that she got from the party. We’re glad that she has such a good little friend in Lydia. They get to play a lot and get along pretty well.

Eliza loved the bubbles at her friend's birthday party.
Eliza loved the bubbles at her friend’s birthday party.

On Friday we had a bunch of kids over before dinner while their parents were out doing missionary work or going to the temple. It was fun to have a house full of kids! Eliza and daddy were at the pool before and we had a great time. She loves swimming. This week at the pool she found a noodle that another girl had left in the water and we borrowed it. She liked holding it and kicking her way around the pool. She’s not super fast but she’s getting the hang of it.

Eliza and James playing on mommy and daddy's bed on Sunday morning.
Eliza and James playing on mommy and daddy’s bed on Sunday morning.
Eliza helped James read the scriptures while mommy was preparing dinner.
Eliza helped James read the scriptures while mommy was preparing dinner.

On Saturday we were also busy. In the morning Eliza helped Daddy mow the lawn. Last time we tried this she was super afraid of the mower but this time she kept on wanting to help push. She would get a pair of gloves from the garage and then come ask if she could help. She would hold on to the handle and push with me all over the lawn. When we got to the back yard she got bored of that and decided to ride her bike instead.

Eliza helped daddy mow the lawn this week. She actually pushed the mower for the entire side of the house and then got distracted by her bike.
Eliza helped daddy mow the lawn this week. She actually pushed the mower for the entire side of the house and then got distracted by her bike.

Also on Saturday we had our mini block party. We decided it was a success. We had three families come. Our next-door neighbors came and two families from the other end of the street. Two of them have kids around Eliza’s age and it was fun to see them get comfortable with each other and start playing. We pulled our grill around to the front and put up some shade and just grilled some meat. People that came brought meat and some sides to share. It was pretty low key but we got to meet some people and had a good time.

Eliza wearing daddy's boots. She had one on backwards before this and walked halfway across the room before she realized.
Eliza wearing daddy’s boots. She had one on backwards before this and walked halfway across the room before she realized.
James is just as cute as can be.
James is just as cute as can be.

On Monday, Sarah took dinner to a lady that she visit teaches that had recently moved out of the ward. She took her a lasagna (that was delicious by the way). She thought that she was just going to be there for just a few minutes to drop off the dish but she ended up getting to stay and talk for a while. It has been fun to see her interact with this lady and become her friend. Sarah and her companion have been one of the few contacts this family has had with the church and they have been diligent in reaching out to them and have built a good friendship with this sister.

Eliza got her chair out and was reading outloud to herself.
Eliza got her chair out and was reading outloud to herself.
Eliza made this Lego tower all by herself.
Eliza made this Lego tower all by herself.

We have a house!

So we’ve been looking for a more permanent place to live here in Austin. Currently we’re renting from a great couple that we met last summer when we were doing our internship, but we’ve been wanting to find our own place where we can start “putting down some roots.” (Are we really old enough to put down roots?) When we got here earlier this year, we started working with our Realtor John Mick who has done a superb job of educating us on how buying homes work in Texas. We’ve been looking around for quite a while. We’ve seen lots of resales and lots of new homes and we finally decided on this one!

We’re so excited to be moving to this awesome home! We’re hoping to move sometime in December and start our new life in Pflugerville, Texas!!! We have a walk-through video tour that we can send you if you email us for the link!

A Garden Update

Our garden is growing! We have harvested a lot of asparagus so far (some of it was a bit woody at first, but it’s getting better). Our tomatoes are blooming and hopefully getting pollinated. Our zucchini is growing as expected . . . like a weed. And our yellow squash turned out to have two varieties. Our pepper starts survived the onslaught of aphids and fire ants and are growing again now, and our peppers from seed are growing! This is a grand adventure!

Exercising Our “Green Thumb”

I’ve been told that one of my ancestors was the gardener for the King of Norway. I have absolutely no idea if this is actually true, but there must have been someone in my family who at least enjoyed working with dirt because I’ve always loved gardening and working with plants. Even my high school science fair project had to do with gardening! When we found out that the place we’re renting would have four “square foot gardens,” I was excited! Ever since we moved in, I’ve been wanting to start working in them. The people we’re renting from told us about this website that told us what we could plant when. I was grateful for this because we’ve obviously never gardened in Texas before! We found out that this was a good time to start some of the plants that we wanted to do so this week we finally started our garden!

Last week we looked at WalMart and Home Depot for some tomato and pepper plants but didn’t find any. The other day I found out about the Shoal Creek Nursery close to downtown that we decided to check out to see if they had what we needed. They had a ton of stuff!

We decided to plant four things (didn’t want to be too ambitious our first time around!). We bought four tomato starts from the nursery and two yellow pepper starts. We wanted to get some green pepper starts, but they didn’t have any, so we decided to try to do green peppers from seed. I’ve never done that before, but the guy at the nursery told us that it shouldn’t be too hard. We’ll see.

We also decided to do some squash. Squash isn’t usually my favorite thing to eat, but I’m learning! We planted some zucchini and some yellow squash. (I really hope the zucchini doesn’t take over our house!)

I hope that the drought that we’re having right now in Texas doesn’t kill our little garden. We’ll definitely be praying for rain. I’m excited to have this garden and to start eating some real home-grown food!

Grateful?

Since Adam’s job is the reason for our move to Texas, we had our things moved “professionally.” Everything got packed up on June 23, loaded onto the moving truck and taken to a warehouse on June 24, and was supposed to arrive at our new house by July 7 at the very latest. (We were warned that since this is the busiest time of the year, our delivery window was twelve days–from June 26 to July 7.)

That so didn’t happen.

We still don’t have our things. Apparently they’re supposed to come by this Tuesday, July 19 (fingers crossed!), but we’re trying to not get our hopes up too much. The moving coordinator that we’ve worked with has been less than helpful, but she worked it out so that we’ll be paid $125 for each day our household goods are late. (That’s nice and all–by July 19 it will be $1500–but we’d kind of rather have our belongings…)

There’s a lot to complain about it. Waa waa waaaaaaaaaaaaa.

. . . so I decided that we need to make a list of some of the positive things and things we’re grateful for concerning our move. Ready?

  • We packed a lot of things (12 days worth of clothing (we didn’t know how long it’d be before we got our washer and dryer), our computer and printer, a desk and chair, four place settings of dishes, our medicine box, and an air mattress, to name a few) that keep us fairly occupied and more comfortable than if we didn’t have all those things. Thankfully, when we were packing up all those things before we moved, Adam had the foresight to realize that we should bring a lot of stuff to keep us occupied (just in case). We’ve still been kinda bored, but not as bored as we could have been! It has also been nice for Adam to have more than one tie and for me to have more than one dress to wear to church every week.
  • We have internet. A connection to the outside world. Hallelujah!
  • We met our nice neighbor, a man in his seventies, who offered to let us borrow his ironing board, sleeve board, and clothes steamer…and anything else we might possibly need.
  • I’ve learned a lot of creative ways to cook when your dishes are limited.
  • Someone had vision to create microwaveable food. As gross as it can be, it has kept us fed several times these past few weeks!
  • We do have an oven and stove.
  • We’re better than camping. Our air mattress is on carpet, AND we have easy-access indoor plumbing.
  • We have ipods. That means hours of entertainment.
  • Facetime.
  • Music! To sing and listen to.
  • We’ve had a lot of time to think.
  • We have cell phones, which means we can call our family, friends, and doctors. (I’m soooo glad we don’t have to communicate only through snail mail and horse-riding messengers.)
  • We have a car! That works!
  • We live five miles from the nearest Family History Center, and they already have some good German resources. Hooray!
  • I’ve only had to kill one spider and one cockroach so far. (Adam killed a spider too.) 🙂
  • We’ve discovered some fun restaurants, donut shops (Round Rock Donuts!), movie theaters, and furniture stores. Good to remember for later on.
  • We brought our violins with us (we didn’t want them packed…not so good for the instruments…), and Adam printed out the Bach Double Concerto in d minor so we could play it. I had a copy of Mozart’s Tabletop music too. We had fun sight-reading, and we got to remember how rusty we are. 🙂 It was fun though! We hadn’t played together before ever.
  • The people in our ward are really friendly. Some friends had us over for dinner last Sunday, and it was great. 🙂
  • We’ve lived here before, so we know where the grocery store and Wal-Mart are located.
  • Netflix. 🙂
  • We are now Texas citizens basically. We have Texas drivers’ licenses and license plates.
  • Our AC works now!
  • Popsicles and ice cream and root beer floats.
  • We live close to the pharmacy, which was a big blessing earlier this week.
  • Five Crowns (a great card game).
  • The Texas sky is SO BIG and has BEAUTIFUL sunsets.
  • I now have all but one of my textbooks for my last three undergraduate classes!
  • Our new air mattress stays inflated the entire night. (That’s twice as good as our previous air mattress…)
  • The extra $1500 is going straight into savings for a house. That’ll be nice.
  • Adam has a real job, for goodness sake! That means a real salary, real benefits, and real life. And security. That is so nice.
  • We live only about seventy miles/two hours from the nearest temple, and I already got to attend it with a few ladies from the ward last week. 🙂
  • We have the gospel! We’re members of the Church!
  • We’re a family! Aaah! Isn’t that the best?!

 

Life Just Got Cleaner

Tuesday was a great day.

We have a washer and dryer! Hooray!

(I really like doing laundry, actually, so this is a cause for celebration.)

We actually got our washer and dryer delivered last week, but because of some sort of mix-up, Sears delivered a silver washer and a white dryer. We wanted our appliances to match, so Sears agreed to deliver a silver dryer. Thankfully the Sears people said we could use both the washer and dryer until our silver dryer got delivered. After a whole fiasco about prices, we finally got our silver dryer today! 🙂

And they must be good–I even saw a commercial for them yesterday. 😉

Yay for clean laundry!

A Trip to the “Crossroads of the West”

In August we took a trip back to Utah, the “Crossroads of the West” to spend some quality time with our family! On our flight into Denver, where we had a layover, we saw an awesome lightning storm! We tried to capture it on video and hopefully you’ll enjoy what we were able to capture.  No video can do it justice, it was amazing to see the raw power of nature and marvel at God’s creations.




We were delayed coming into Denver because of some technical difficulties with the airplane.  We had to stay the night in Denver and didn’t get to Salt Lake until a day later than we wanted.  We got put up in a hotel and had to eat dinner in a bar of all places.  The hotel had 2 double beds so that made the night interesting.  We had to get up really early to catch our flight and so we ended up getting very little sleep but we did get up, out of bed, and onto the shuttle bus in 7 minutes!! Go us! We had to miss going to the temple with Adam’s brother who was leaving on his mission to Finland but at least we got to see him go into the MTC! We felt blessed that we were able to do that.

[cincopa AAAA6QKHIiE-]

Our other reason for traveling was to see Sarah’s brother married in the Salt Lake Temple to his sweetheart! We’re so glad that he finally found her!  It was a great experience to see him so happy and to remember how important the temple and eternal families are. We loved spending time with both of our families and had a great trip!

A Jaunt to San Antonio

In the midst of our busy schedule we found some time in July to take a “vacation” to San Antonio, TX.  It was more of a day trip really but we enjoyed ourselves. We had been to the temple there before, but we wanted to go and see the Alamo and walk on the River Walk!

We left for San Antonio on a Saturday around noon.  We had a choir practice in the morning so we couldn’t leave until then. We caught a bit of bad traffic on the way down but made pretty good time. We had lunch at our favorite fast food place .  .  . Wendy’s! 🙂  We got a bit lost in the city once we got off the highway but eventually we ended up parking in a mall and wandering around a bit inside trying to find our way out to the Alamo.

The Alamo was really interesting. I hadn’t known much of the history of the place but it was great to hear about the courage and the sacrifice that was shown there. It was fun to listen to the docent talk about the last days of the Alamo and have him point out where the walls were and where the barracks were where the defenders made their last stand.  It was a place rich in history and I enjoyed it.  We continued an Arnesen tradition of getting Christmas tree ornaments from places we visit and got one from the Alamo. The Alamo is a great place for little boys too! There are guns and war stuff everywhere and I know that I would have loved it as a little kid!

After seeing the Alamo we went over to the River Walk, which is right next to it! It was a really hot day but it was nice and cool down on the River Walk. It is a really cool place set down below the street and along a part of the river that has been artificially pulled away from the main part. There are specialty shops and lots of restaurants.  It’s a great place to get away from the “big city” feel and walk in the shade of the trees for a while.  We walked all around the loop, on our then tired feet, and enjoyed ourselves.  We saw a wedding, people on boats, people eating, people drinking, and people just enjoying life.

We’ve wanted to get to a real good Texas barbecue and so we decided that we’d go to the County Line BBQ for dinner.  It was great food and it was air conditioned.  We got beef brisket to share and we got hot peach cobbler for dessert! After dinner we were pretty exhausted and so we just headed home.  We had a great day though and would like to go back some time again!

That’s scrumptious.

This post is all about one of our favorite things–food! Oh yum.

I made some bread once. It turned out pretty good. It probably would have been awesome except that when I added the sugar, I forgot that I was halfing the recipe….oops. It’s good for French toast though!

Bread

We had pork and homemade mashed potatoes and gravy. I really like homemade mashed potatoes and gravy. Mmm.

PrettyPork

Adam made a pork roast and vegetables in the crock pot one Sunday. It was delicious.

HandsomeHusbandAndCrockPotPotRoast

Adam has been teaching me about Filipino food. One of our favorites is adobo. Usually we make pork adobo.

Sarah'sAdobo

Mom Huggard sent us a box of peaches. Psych! It was actually a package with other stuff we left in Utah.

Psych!

There’s a cool Asian grocery store and marketplace near our apartment. We went there one Saturday, and Adam went wild. (Not really. He was just really excited to see so much Asian food in one location!) We bought this at the Asian market–a dragonfruit. It’s lightly-sweetened goodness.

Dragonfruit

Another time we had chicken salad. It was a success.

ChickenSalad

Our most recent favorite–homemade pizza. Yummmmmmmm. Here’s our regular pizza…

Pizza

…and here’s our dessert pizza. They were super tasty.

DessertPizza

Mmmmmmmmm. Isn’t food so great? I’m glad we don’t just have to take some pill every day that takes care of all the nutrients we need within a 24-hour period. Boring! Food is so exciting and colorful, and there are billions of kinds and combinations you can come up with! I think we can learn a lot from food–a lot about life. I don’t know, I’ve definitely learned a thing or two about life by relating it to food.

The best thing I’ve learned is this–Heavenly Father is the Master Chef and we’re like the ingredients. Sometimes a recipe may seem like it’s not going to work out, or maybe we really don’t want to be mixed with other ingredients (vinegar, for one), but it’s for the best, we can learn to like the other ingredients, and if we just trust the Master Chef, the recipe turns out far better than we could have imagined. He can make a lot more out of our lives that we can; we just need to trust Him.

Austin Shenanigans

Around about Austin there’s a lot of stuff to do. We’ve tried to get out and see some of the city and have been somewhat successful. Austin is known for its live music scene and their motto is “Keep Austin Weird.”  Well you can judge for yourself how weird you think Austin is, but we think it’s been kind of fun! There is a big mall called the Domain that is close to National Instruments.  It’s kind of like the River Woods in Provo but bigger and a bit ritzier!  A friend of mine from work invited us to go have frozen yogurt there, so we went and ended up exploring Borders Bookstore, running into a nice pseudo-religious multi-level marketing salesman, and just wandering around. We stopped for a photo-op.

TheDomain

One day, we explored the University of Texas at Austin. Our first stop was the LBJ Library and Museum. There was a pretty fountain out front. The museum was interesting. Adam liked the NASA stuff a lot. That was pretty cool. There was also a neat exhibit on Walter Cronkite that went through some of the work he did as a anchorman. (Btw, he coined the term “anchorman.” The anchorman is the last leg of a relay race, and Cronkite applied this to what he did.) As for the rest of the museum, though, Adam put it well–it reminded us of why we didn’t really like LBJ’s policies. There was far too much about how “wonderful” the “great society” movement was.  There was a really cool 7/8 scale mock-up of the oval office in the museum that was fun to see.

LBJLibraryFountain

After we went to the museum, we decided to explore UT’s campus. We took a self-guided tour using a guide we had printed out at home. There is a REALLY tall carillon bell tower there. They light the top part orange when UT wins a game.

UTAustinFountainAndTower

Here’s proof that we were actually there. 🙂  We wore our BYU attire into the Co-op store there where we were trying to find a small souvenir.  It was a decent sized store but not as large as the BYU Bookstore by any means. There was some guy there that decided to follow us around and talk to us about Arizona for some reason. It was kind of creepy.

UsAtUT

Anyway, we didn’t finish the tour because it was getting late, but it was enjoyable.

We are serving as ward missionaries here in the Walnut Creek Ward, and that brings us some pleasant opportunities. One day we got to babysit this cute little gal, Emily. Her mom, who has a baptismal date set (!!!), was having a getting-to-know-you interview with the bishop. Emily was super friendly and cuddled up to Sarah right away. It took her a tad longer–but not much–to warm up to Adam. We played hide and seek, coloring, throwing the dog, jumping off the couch, smash the spider, and pose for a picture. It was awesome.

BabysittingEmily

There’s a neat tradition that Austin has. The city puts on a Broadway play every year in Zilker Park–for FREE. People grab their blankets, coolers, and card games and wait for the sun to go down. This year, the production was Annie. It was really well done! The lead had a voice that took a little getting used to, but we still enjoyed the show.

AnnieAtZilkerPark

This last weekend we went to South Congress Bridge and saw the bats! …kind of. This was the best picture we got–and it’s of people. There were a lot of bats, but it was difficult to see them.

SCongressAveBatBridge

Anyway, those are a few of the adventures we’ve been on lately. We’ve liked it here in Austin, and there are many more things to do that we haven’t done. Some of the more popular ones usually involve an unkind beverage so we’ll avoid those, but we’d like to keep exploring!