Sunday, January 29, 2012


Yep, we say it. People here don't and they notice when we do.

Today we even met a guy at church that said, "Oh, you are from Texas? Say something. I want to hear it."

I think the lack of a word for the plural "you" is the fail of the English language. Other languages have a specified word that everyone uses so there is no discrimination. For example, in Spanish it is "ustedes". Since English-speakers don't have a universal word for the plural "you", I think that "y'all" is the best solution of all the options. It's one word. "You guys" is two. "You all" is two. Only saying "you" is confusing so there just isn't anything better than our perfect, Southern "y'all".

What do y'all think? ;)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Virtual Tour of the Rodeo Estate

Our house is finally put together! I really had no idea how much work it is to put your house together. The only thing left is to hang the curtains in the living room, which is a job I am not qualified to do. I tried in the guest room while Mitchell was at work and he had to fix it when he got home. :-/

So welcome to our home, or as Mitchell calls it, the Rodeo Estate...

When you walk in, you are in the living room, but you are looking directly at the dining room

Then you look to your right and you see the living room in which you are standing

Straight across from those couches is the television

To the right of the wall in the picture above and to the left of the dining room is the kitchen

I even labeled the kitchen, in case anyone got lost ;)

In between the living room area and dining room is Mitchell's work area
Oh look! There's me blogging to you! :)

You see that doorway to the left of me? If you go through there and turn left you see our bedroom!

If you turn right after going through that doorway, you see the hallway

To the left in the hallway is our minuscule (but we make it work) bathroom

Continuing on down the hallway, here is the guest bedroom! Ready for visitors!

And lastly, our backyard with Mitchell's grill. We'll get some patio furniture eventually

There you go! I've been looking forward to posting this entry. Since I am such a visual learner, it bothers me if I can't see what someone is describing.

We are blessed to have this house and we look forward to having many people in it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What gets measured, gets done

One of Mitchell's coworkers gave Mitchell this great piece of wisdom and we have seen it proven true in several areas of life.

A long time ago, a manager of a power plant would walk to the middle of the warehouse at the end of the day in front of all the workers and write a number really big on the floor in chalk. Every day he did this without saying a word and every day the number was different. This went on for awhile until eventually it clicked with one of the workers what he was doing. He would go out there and write how much work they had produced that day. Once it caught on and the workers could see each day how much work they produced, they started producing more. What gets measured, gets done.

Mitchell has been working really hard at this epic Excel spreadsheet that helps their power plants track how much power they are producing daily, which has never been done before. They are already starting to see positive results from this spreadsheet. Proud of him. :)

Ok, how does this relate to us? Last week, Mitchell and I both stepped on the scale to check on our weight and let's just say, we were a bit depressed the rest of the morning. :-/ Now, we haven't really gained that much. You probably wouldn't be able to tell if you saw us but we want to make some changes so you won't notice in the future either!

With "what gets measured, gets done" in mind, we each have a spreadsheet with our goal weight in it and we can add in our current weight whenever we weigh and track our progress. We're also trying to come up with a system for tracking how often we work out so if we miss a workout, it'll bother us and motivate us to not miss. Having a healthy diet and exercising regularly is our plan to stay in shape. We are not obsessed with our bodies but we want to be overall healthy and our physical health is definitely important!

Plus in California, they put your weight on your driver license!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Driving in California

We were pretty good about getting our new California driver licenses shortly after living here full time. We even had to take a test about California driving laws that we totally winged but both passed. (Eh, no big deal.) Now that we have been driving around Sacramento for a bit, there are some things that we've noticed are different from Texas...

1) In Texas, at an intersection, there is about a 3 second delay between when the light turns red for cross traffic and when the light turns green for you. I think this is brilliant because if there are any red light runners, you have a few seconds for them to get through the intersection before you are given the green to go. Here, there is no delay. As soon as cross traffic turns red, yours turns green so there are often people still crossing when your light turns green.

2) Drivers here are super friendly to pedestrians. Well, you have to be. It's the law. If you make eye contact with a pedestrian who is about to cross the street, you must stop for them. Apparently, we've even heard that police officers will dress up like a civilian pedestrian and if you do not stop for them, they will give you a ticket.

3) You must use a hands-free device while talking on your phone in the car. We have not bought said devices so it's only a matter of time before one of us gets pulled over for forgetting the rule and talking on the phone while driving.

4) While driving on the freeway and coming up on an intersection with another freeway, the signs are confusing. Instead of saying I-5 North in this lane and I-5 South in this lane, they'll say I-5 Redding in this lane and I-5 Los Angeles in this lane. Or Hwy 80 Reno in this lane and Hwy 80 San Francisco in this lane. Well what if you are brand new to the area and don't know where those cities are in relation to where you want to go? No worries, we've figured it out but it's not helpful for the newbies.

Confession: we've already gotten a parking ticket for parking downtown in a "Zip Car" spot instead of a regular spot. :( Boooo

Monday, January 16, 2012

Expedition up North

We took an awesome trip last weekend! Here's the story...

Mitchell's company owns power plants that produce renewable energy. His job is to go to these power plants and do whatever needs to be done to make them more efficient and profitable. The corporate office is in Sacramento but the power plants are not. One is in the northeast, Susanville, another in the northwest, Scotia, and one is down south near Palm Springs. When Mitchell travels down south I can't go with him because he has to fly but when he goes up north I can because we drive. He spends the same amount of money on gas and hotel rooms whether or not I'm there so Greenleaf doesn't mind if I go. Yay for me!

Thursday morning we woke up at 4:30am and got in the car to drive to Susanville in the northeast. Because of the layout of the highways, we have to drive through Reno, Nevada (First #1, we've been in Nevada) and then back into Cali. This plant is in the desert so not many pretty pics from there but Mitchell only needed to work for about 4 hours and luckily another Greenleaf guy was there with his wife so his wife and I hung out while they were working.
Honey Lake plant (the steam rising) 

About 1pm, Mitchell and I got on the road to drive straight across the state to the northwest to visit the other plant. We had already driven 4 hours to get to Susanville but the drive to get to Fortuna would be another 6 hours. If the road from Susanville to Fortuna was straight it probably would have only taken about 4 hours to get there. However, this was driving through the mountains so imagine the most windy road possible and that's what we were on. As soon as you completed the bend to the right, you turned the wheel and went back left, back and forth, back and forth. Twenty miles felt like forever because it was back and forth and of course, you can't drive that fast. They had signs that said "speed enforced by aircraft" but I think it should have just said "speed enforced by Newton". If you drive too fast on these roads, the laws of physics are going to pull you straight off that mountain! (First #2, driving through the mountains)
Lassen National Forest (not the windy part)
Pretty view somewhere along the drive

So after 10 hours on the road on Thursday, Friday was a pretty chill day. Mitchell went into work and I went for a walk along Eel River in the morning and enjoyed the gorgeous mountains surrounding us. I spent most of the afternoon in Starbucks, catching up on BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) homework and trying out their new "blonde" blend... love it!
My walk along the river

Saturday was when the adventure really begins! We decided to stay in Fortuna on Friday night so we could spend Saturday touring on our way back to Sacramento. First on the list was driving through the Redwood Forests (First #3, Redwood Forest) along Avenue of the Giants. This road travels along Highway 101 but it allows you to take the scenic route and drive through the forest. The Redwood Forest needs to be on everyone's bucket list. It was phenomenal. Those trees are literally hundreds of feet tall, really wide in diameter and soooo old.
Mitchell in front of a very large Redwood
Avenue of the Giants
Along that route is a place called Drive Thru Tree Park where they have literally carved out the middle of a tree so you can drive your car through it. We had to drive through one at a time to get the pictures but we each did it and it was so cool! How many people can say they drove through a tree?! Well worth the $5! (First #4, driving through a tree)
Driving through the tree

Shortly after that, we jumped on Highway 1 (Shoreline Highway) and drove through about 20 miles of windy roads, back and forth, back and forth in an effort to get to the coast to drive down south. After 20 miles of winding, right when you're about to puke or jump out of the car because you can't take it anymore, you pop out of the trees and the majestic Pacific Ocean is right in front of you. (First #5, see the Pacific Ocean) Can I just say, it beats the daylights out of any Texas beach?? Wow!
The Pacific Ocean

We drove down 1 until Fort Bragg, where my eye happened to catch a sign for Glass Beach. We had heard of it but didn't realize where it was. We pulled a u-turn and parked along the beach and hiked out to the water. Instead of sand at this beach, the beach consists of tons of glass pebbles that are a result of trash dumping in the Pacific. The ocean has smoothed out the broken glass to make these beautiful pebbles. We collected some of the glass to put in a jar back at home. (First #6, see Glass Beach)
Glass Beach
Glass Beach

We continued down to Mendocino and stopped for lunch and enjoyed our food on the second floor balcony overlooking the ocean. After Mendocino, we left the shoreline to head east back to Sacramento. On this drive we drove through part of the wine country and saw miles upon miles of vineyards. (First #7, drive through vineyards) Since it's winter time, everything was dead but I imagine it is beautiful right before they collect all the grapes for wine making. We will definitely be back during that time!
The Hidden Valley

Along the way, we stopped for pictures at Mitchell's "hidden valley" and continued on to Sacramento. This ended up being another 10 hour day in the car so shortly after this point, we became tired of being in the car and tired of the windy roads so we just bore down and made it back home. It was an incredible first trip around California. The scenery in the mountains is breath-taking and we can't wait to go back and camp in those areas. Usually when people think of California, they think of all the busy cities and smog but that's mainly in the south. Northern California has crisp, clear air, tons of gorgeous trees and never-ending mountains. I highly recommend a trip here!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

All in one piece!

One week and one day after we arrived in Sacramento, the 18-wheeler truck navigated it's way onto our street bringing with it all of our stuff from Houston. 

Let's rewind for a second...

Two days after Christmas, the packers came. It was four women and they did a great job using tons of recyclable packing paper to carefully pack all of our things into boxes. Whatever didn't fit in a box, was packed by the movers (three men) the following day. They brought their box truck into our complex and carefully wrapped everything in blankets and loaded it on the truck, along with all our boxes. They put little numbered stickers on everything so that when your stuff comes off the truck, you have a list of everything that went on. So after all was loaded up, they were on their way!

Fast forward to last Friday (1/6)...

I received a phone call at 8:45am from the driver saying "We'll be there in an hour!" Woohoo, okay, let's get the house ready! I called our friend Marsha and she came over to help me. It's helpful to have one person check the numbers off the list and one person direct where everything goes in the house. 
The truck in front of our house

When the truck pulled up, the three (different) men set up all their ramps, rugs and dollies to pull our stuff off the truck. Those guys worked hard and it probably took about two full hours of unloading to get everything in our house. All went well - our boxes were still intact and looking good, our furniture was in one piece, and the scooter made it. The only slight fiasco that happened was one of the older guys was walking up the ramp from the ground to inside the truck when the ramp slipped off and he came crashing down. He hit the side of the truck with his ribs. It looked painful but he walked it off. :-/
Kitchen before...
Kitchen after...

Mitchell and I have spent the majority of every day since then unpacking. It is a tiring process but after living a week on the bare minimum, I am ready to have our home set up. I love living in a house again because I feel like it's much easier to invite people over to a house than an apartment. Once we make friends, I imagine this house will be full of people often... or at least that's my hope! :)
The box graveyard in our backyard. It has easily doubled in size since this picture was taken.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Project 365 2012

Project 365 is a fun little hobby where you take at least one picture a day for an entire year (365 days). I did this a few years ago and even though I was about 30 days short, I made it through most of the year. It is quite a commitment because you have to find something interesting to take a photo of each day. However, the results of being consistent are super fun to look through.

Mitchell and I thought it would be fun to start it up with the New Year on January 1st since we are living in a new state and will have plenty (hopefully) of fun things to document. I am posting all of the pictures on Flickr and have a link to it on the side of the blog. Here is another direct link:

Project 365 2012

By the way, the time stamp on my camera is a little off. So far, we have been true to taking each photo on a different day. Things are a little slow right now with getting our new life set up in California, but pretty soon, we'll be going on adventures! :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

First Impressions

We are here in Sacramento! It has been less than a week and yet we have experienced so much.

New Year's Eve in Old Sacramento: Super fun, old area of town that was a pretty popular place to be for the New Year. There was live music, a robot band, scantily clad women (who were freezing), karaoke bands, drunk people, old people, young people, and of course, fireworks! We stuck it out walking around down there until about 11:30pm when we decided to walk back to the parking garage, drive up to the roof and watch the midnight fireworks up there. It was a fun night but I must say, it was a little lame being the last one to celebrate the New Year after Katy (Mitchell's sister) celebrated on the East Coast at 9pm our time and the rest of our friends and family in Texas celebrated at 10pm our time. By the time our midnight rolled around we were ready!

Church: We tried a church out here that is pretty big and has a well known musician who plays there. It seemed like it was going to be a place we could get plugged in at and serve however we weren't impressed with the message that was given. We may try it again but will probably scratch that one off the list. What saved that experience was we went to In-N-Out Burger for lunch!

Neighborhood: BEST. PART. SO. FAR. I LOVE our neighborhood! Mitchell did a fabulous job finding us the perfect place to live in Sacramento. The houses are older but super cute, kind of like the Heights area in Houston but we live really close to this area called the Fab Forties that are really nice, big, old houses. The people there pay extra to always have security in the area and since we are only a few blocks away, we reap the benefits. Plus, there is a park a 2 minute walk from our house that will be so fun to spend time in when it gets a bit warmer. Another note, Sacramento-ans go all out to decorate their homes for the holidays so I can't wait for the next one... Valentine's Day? I love to go on walks around our neighborhood. I feel super safe here.