Friday, December 31, 2010

A Very Married Christmas (and an Addition to our Family!)

Its tough to be grown up.

When you look on Facebook in early December and all your college friends are heading home on Christmas break, it really hits you how much the real world restricts you.

Fortunately, my supervisor gave me the option of working remotely for a few days before Christmas, meaning Erin and I got to head home for Christmas much sooner than my three vacation days had let us dare hope.

After getting up quite early and driving throughout the day the weekend before Christmas, we were thrilled to get to spend some time with both of our families at a joint family dinner hosted by Erin's parents. Even though it turned out most of my family was sick, we all managed to have a nice evening together.

Then, after a week filled with meals with extended family, an annual party with friends, lots of time hanging out with families, and me working during the day, it was Christmas!

Both of our families went to Christmas eve service together (after hearing the announcement that their church would be celebrating Christmas eve with a fireworks display, my parents decided to join us instead) which was very nice. Then, Erin and I headed over to my families house for our traditional Christmas eve turkey.

After almost my entire family fell asleep watching "A Christmas Story", we all went to bed while visions of sugar plums danced in our heads.

The next morning, we saw a thick coat of white blanketing the lawn. The first White Christmas in Huntsville since the 1960's! It was very cool, until road closings and Erin's aunt getting stuck on the mountain (having to be rescued by Erin's dad in a 4 wheel drive pickup) put our Christmas plans in temporary jeopardy.

We started out the morning opening up presents with my family, then braved the icy roads to make it to Erin's house to open presents with her immediate family before the annual dirty Santa game with her extended family.
In the end, everything went off without a hitch and we had a wonderful Christmas! So wonderful, in fact, that it was quite difficult to make ourselves get up to drive back to Houston a few days later...

Even though we miss home, we have quite the little distraction now after having adopted a 2 month old kitten from a local animal shelter. We've named her Chloe, and you can see pictures of her on my Facebook.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thanksgiving in Charleston

For Thanksgiving Gerrit and I traveled to Charleston to be with his family. His grandparents live there, and we were also joined by his parents and brothers as well as his aunt and uncle and cousins. His grandparents' house backs up to a beautiful reservoir (complete with alligators!), and the weather was beautiful so we spent a lot of time on the back porch.

Thanksgiving day was full of cooking and then eating and then going to see Harry Potter. Then more eating (although I think dinner for most of us was Brownie Trifle). So that was nice and good family time and everything.

But then on Friday was the most important event of the week. The Iron Bowl. And in Gerrit's family this means rivalry (his brother goes to Bama). I have to say, I was more sad to be apart from my family on this day than I was on Thanksgiving (Auburn football makes me miss them!) At first we all started out in the same room watching it. But after the start Auburn got off to, I had to go to another room to watch it. Not that anyone was being mean. More like I wanted to experience my misery alone and be able to talk to the television by myself. So Gerrit and I went back to another room to watch the game. And then I witnessed the most amazing comeback I have ever seen. I really still cannot believe that we won. There are no words really, except WAR EAGLE.

Now we are back in Houston for awhile, trying to get into the Christmas spirit (although it's hard being so far away from family and in relatively warm weather). But we will get to go to Huntsville soon, and we cannot wait to see our family and friends!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Huntsville/Auburn Vacation

About a week and a half ago I got to go visit my family in Huntsville. Sadly, Gerrit had to stay and work. But it was a WONDERFUL time in Huntsville. Fall temperatures, fall colors, etc. I got in on Wednesday night, and my mom and I spent Veteran's Day running errands and baking for the weekend in which we went to Auburn for the Auburn vs. Georgia game. That was also wonderful. We tailgated, I got to see lots of friends and my brother and my grandfather, and I went to the game with my dad. Also my mom and I met Sister Schubert. On Sunday we had dinner for my mom's birthday with my dad's side of the family, and then on Monday we went out to eat for my mom's birthday. On Tuesday I had to return Houston and was very sad to leave, but very happy to see Gerrit.

Now this week Gerrit and I are off to South Carolina to spend time with Gerrit's family for Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Hello, my name is Gerrit and I still live here, despite my lack of posting in recent months. I could blame work, an exciting football season, or a plethora of other things... but instead I'll just update you on what's been going on lately.


It's probably what most of you are interested in hearing about, being as I've yet to talk to some of you about my new job.

I'm on a project that's fairly unique, actually. I'm on a two man "Knowledge Management" team, and in short my job is to tell people where to put their files so they don't get lost to the ages when they retire. There's lots of new changes coming software-wise for a lot of the people I work with, and the majority of my time is spent teaching people about the new software and how they will use it to store information effectively. When I describe it like that, it sounds pretty dull... but I can promise you that this job fits me quite well because of the amount of personal interaction it requires. It also presents me with lots of "face time" as I network with people constantly (positioned both above and beside me organizationally).

The fun thing is I get to test the limits of this new software, seeing what it's capable of and finding out all the cool features so I can teach other people about them.

Next year, I might be doing some traveling to some pretty cool sounding places to help train people there on this new software... but specifics remain to be seen.

Anyway, just wanted to catch everyone up on what it is that I do :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Family Visits and Football

At the beginning of this month we were so so happy to have our families visit us (minus 1 of Gerrit's brothers and my brother who are at school).

Gerrit's parents and brother got here on the first of the month and we spent a great weekend with them. We mostly just relaxed and hung out, watched football, drove around the city, did a little shopping. Also the weather was really lovely while they were here, and it has not been as good since they have left. :(

After they left on Monday, my parents got here on Wednesday and stayed through the next Monday. We did lots of relaxing, shopping, going out to eat, etc. We also went to the Houston vs. Mississippi State football game to cheer on on Bulldogs (although I admit my dad and I were glued to our phones for much of the game nervously reading the play-by-plays of the Auburn game). The game was definitely interesting. First of all, student tickets to the game are free, and there were signs around campus trying to encourage students to show up at the game. That should tell you a good bit right there. There was virtually no tailgating until you got to the stadium parking lot. And as we walked by the library there were lots of students going in and out studiously carrying their backpacks. On a football Saturday. Also, during the pregame show, with about 20 minutes until the game started, the stadium was still about half empty. It filled up when the game started, but didn't seem to stay that way for long and was almost completely empty by the end. Mississippi State won by a pretty good margin, which was good. I know Gerrit was glad to see his team win in person. It's the only football game he's going to get to go to all year.

I, on the other hand, am going to get to go home in November and go to the Auburn vs. Georgia game! (Oh, how I have missed you Jordan-Hare!) I'm extremely excited about this because I will get to finally feel some fall weather (it is 88 degrees here this week), spend time with my family (who I miss all the time) AND see my Auburn Tigers play in person! And celebrate my mom's birthday by walking our crazy dog Bo around the Botanical Gardens Christmas lights. It should be pretty exciting!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Quick Update

We have been so horrible about keeping up with this! We must get better! But we have really been quite busy continuing to feel settled here in Houston. Pretty much everything is unpacked and in it's place by now. We still have some furniture pieces we want to get (our TV is still on the floor) and a huge stack of pictures to decide where to hang. But mostly everything has come together!

Gerrit has started his job and he is loving it! It really is perfect for him. Basically his team is a liaison between the computer engineers and the rest of the company that needs to learn to use what the computer engineers have been working on. He also works with great people, and that always helps.

Our exploring of this city has been somewhat limited. We've done a couple a things, been to a couple of restaurants, and a couple of churches (we think we finally might have found a good one). On weekday evenings we have been relaxing (and watching way too much 30 Rock), and we have also been really good about going to the fitness center here at the apartment complex. Also, Saturday would be the perfect time for Houston adventures, but honestly...why would we get out of the house when there is college football on all Saturday?? haha :)

The next week is going to be very exciting here. Tonight Gerrit's parents and youngest brother are flying in to visit us for the weekend! Then they are leaving on Monday to go visit more family in Texas, and my parents are going to be here on Wednesday! I am so very excited to see everyone...we have missed our families so very much!

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Big Move

So we are here! In Houston, Texas. We've been here for about 2 weeks and have spent a lot of time unpacking, settling, and finding where important places are (grocery stores, Chick-fil-a, etc.). It also ended up that we had to find a car shop, because at the end of our first full week we were out running errands and Gerrit's car started making some awful noises. We were pretty far away from our apartment, and so we had to pull in a Lowe's parking lot and call the insurance company. They sent a tow truck to pick us up, which took us to a local garage. It was a bit of a stressful day, but we were very glad that the husband and wife who worked at the garage offered to drive us home. Also luckily we did not have to replace the whole transmission. Just a part of it was broken (although I could not tell you what exactly that was).

Another major event (also having to do with cars) was going to get our registrations and driver's licenses. Now, I'm not really sure why, but you can not do these things at the same location. First we went to the driver's license office, thinking we could do both things. But it's a good thing Gerrit went up and asked before we waited in line for hours! So we had to turn around and go to the tax office to get our car registrations. Then after lunch we went back for our licenses. We got there at 12:30, and we did not leave until 4:00. Seriously. First we waited in line for about 45 minutes for someone to give us a number, make sure we had our paperwork, and conduct our vision test. Then we sat in a huge block of chairs and waiting for 2 hours. Then our number was called, and we waited in another line for awhile. It was not very fun, but I am glad that we got it done.

Other than that we have just been doing general shopping, getting settled, doing some furniture shopping (we got pretty new bookshelves!), and watching a lot of 30 Rock. Tomorrow is Gerrit's first day of work, so we will finally get in to our real routine!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


We have had an absolutely crazy and exciting time the last 3-ish weeks. We have gotten married, gone on our honeymoon, packed up all of our stuff and sent it to Houston (ok, actually the movers did this), and now we are getting ready to leave! Here are some highlights (in list form, of course).

1) The week before the wedding was pretty crazy. There were a lot of last minute details to finish, but it was so much better having Gerrit in town to help. Towards the end of the week we both had family come in to town, and we had a lot of fun catching up with them. The rehearsal and rehearsal dinner was on Friday night before the wedding, and it was so wonderful to see all sides of our family and friends come together and have a great time!

2) The wedding day was amazing. Everything went so smoothly, with the exception of a few small things that didn’t turn out quite right. But honestly, I didn’t care. We had a fantastic time, were in disbelief that we were actually getting married, and made so many lovely memories of the day.

3) We went on our honeymoon in Asheville, NC. We stayed in a cute little cabin up on a mountain with a view overlooking the city. So relaxing! We spent the week going to lots of delicious restaurants, hiking, touring the Biltmore, shopping, and relaxing.

4) Now we are in Huntsville and have had quite the time moving. The movers came on Monday and packed up our stuff. We were supposed to find out then when it would get there, but no. We have spent from Monday to Wednesday trying to get an answer as to when our belongings would arrive in Houston, and finally today we got a call that they could drop it off at 2:00 this afternoon. Uhm…problem, we are 12 hours away. So now we are leaving on Monday and they are going to deliver it on Tuesday. Craziness!

I guess the next post will be from our new apartment in Houston!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Final Weekend in Starkville

This past weekend, Erin and her family, along with my Dad and brother, came down to Starkville to help me haul some my larger possessions back home. Erin and her family came down on Friday night and we went to Mugshots (our favorite hamburger place) and Bop's (our favorite frozen custard place) and I took them on a tour of campus.

The next morning we had breakfast at The Little Dooey, then went to pick up a uHaul trailer we could fit my stuff in.

While Mr. Bruce and I tried in vain to get the tail-lights working on the trailer, my Dad and brother arrived and started helping get things organized. Eventually, we loaded up my bookshelves, table, mattress, boxspring, and futon into the trailer. Because of the limited room I'll have in the jeep when I head home on Thursday, we went ahead and loaded my TV up into Dad's car.

Now, my apartment is essentially bare, with a few essentials like an air mattress, clothes, and a loaf of bread.

Fortunately, I only have to live like this for a couple more days before coming home :)

11 days till the wedding!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Are We There Yet?

So...we are down to about 3.5 weeks. Which is CRAZY. Sometimes this throws me in to a bit of a panic because I have about a gazillion things constantly running through my head that need to be done. At this point we mostly have just little details left to take care of, figuring out the scheduling, etc. Although we do still have to make the wedding programs, buy some candles (which I guess is a little detail), and things such as that. Also, buying a pen for the guest book. Why is it so difficult to find simple (non-frilly) wedding items? And the fact that we have not finished the wedding programs yet is a bit funny because about 2 months ago I had a dream that it was the wedding day and we were getting ready for the ceremony and we didn't have the programs and so I made Gerrit go home and get his computer so that we could make them at the church. Then in my dream I realized it was a dream (which was awesome) and I was very relieved.

As much as I am looking forward to it, really and truly I am ready for this chaos to be over. I am ready to have everything done and it to be the day of the rehearsal and all I have to do is enjoy it. But it will get here eventually! (And sometimes it seems almost too quickly).

Almost even crazier than the wedding being in 3.5 weeks is that us moving to Houston will occur in about 5 weeks. So at the same time that we have all of the wedding things going on, we are also trying to get things straight with the whole moving situation: talking to the moving company (we will need to set a for sure moving date); figuring TV, internet, electricity, and insurance; and of course, packing. The packing part is really crazy. We are collecting everything at Gerrit's parents' house to move from there. So far almost all of my stuff from Auburn is there and a good amount of Gerrit's stuff from Starkville is there. But I still have A LOT of stuff to clean out and pack up from my room at home, Gerrit still has some major items from his apartment in Starkville, and we have some old family furniture pieces to move in there from my great-aunt's house. And the whole 5 weeks until moving almost doesn't matter with all of that because we must have most of it done before the wedding!

If you know me well at all, you know that I like to be on a routine. So needless to say, I am so excited for it to be about the end of August and we will be married, moved, and settling into our apartment in Houston!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Showers

The season of wedding showers and parties has begun.

On Friday night, Erin had a party with her bridesmaids and some other friends. Her friend Lissie did a fabulous job and made a really nice scrapbook from it.

While Erin was at her party, I went over to my (recently married) friend Casey’s house to catch up, play Wii, and have guy time while the girls had their fun.

On Saturday evening, Erin’s parents hosted a party for our Attendants in their newly landscaped backyard. We had wanted to have a party for our Attendants as an opportunity to thank them for agreeing to be in our wedding, and to give them a small token of that thanks as well.

In addition to the parties this weekend, Erin and I also bought a car! We bought a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo that will be primarily my commuter car. Though we got a great deal on the car, I’m mostly excited that it’s Maroon :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Glimpse of Houston

Recently, Erin and I loaded up the car and headed to Houston for a few days.

Exxon had put us in contact with a realtor, and we'd arranged a meeting with her to look for an apartment. Before our trip, we'd poured hours (Erin, admittedly, more than myself) into looking at suggestions the realtor emailed us. Having browsed the web for reviews, used Google Streetview to scope out neighborhoods, and reviewed floorplans, we were able to narrow it down to just a few possible complexes before we even arrived.

The first evening in Houston, Erin and I went to a Greek Restaurant and spent some time driving around town to get ourselves oriented. We also found the apartment complex that we had arranged to meed the realtor at the next day.

The next morning, we met the realtor and toured The Gael, a complex we had really liked from our research. After seeing an apartment in the Gael, we traveled a bit further out of town to check out some other complexes. Though each of the apartment complexes we saw had pro's and con's, we ultimately decided that there was no beating the location and price of the Gael.

We went back and signed a contract at the Gael to confirm our selection, and then headed out for lunch and some more exploring of the city.

The next day, Erin and I had lunch with the Exxon recruiter (and MSU alum) who had originally interviewed me last fall for the job. She and I have stayed in touch since then, and it was nice to get to chat with her about life in Houston.

We wrapped up the day with more exploring. Erin and I found my office building and did some more driving around downtown. We really enjoyed the opportunity to just get lost together, knowing that the GPS could always get us back. After exploring the town, we went to a Central Market grocery store (lots of organic, local produce kind of grocery store) and grabbed dinner there.

The next day it was time to go home. Though our return drive took far longer than expected (thanks to two standstill traffic jams and weather that forced interstate travel down to 35 mph), it was a very enjoyable and successful trip.

Looking through a courtyard across the street at The Gael

Driving on the inner loop headed north towards the Galleria area

Monday, May 24, 2010

Auburn Graduation

I graduated from college about a week and a half ago, and I still can't believe it! It's so different from high school graduation (which has a lot of hype). Even when I was sitting in the crowd in my cap and gown the seriousness of the fact that I was graduating still wasn't sinking in.

We had a great weekend. Gerrit, my parents, and my grandparents all came down for the event and we got together with some great friends!

Now on to bigger and better things!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Coming into focus...

The past month has been quite exciting. I’ve been in touch with various people from Exxon and their relocation sub-contractors getting the ball rolling on our move.

We’ve been in touch with the relocation consultant, the moving company, and a realtor for the Houston area. We’ve researched apartments, weighed pro’s and con’s of different neighborhoods, and mostly just been simultaneously ecstatic and terrified ;)

Also in that time, I’ve talked with my future supervisor at Exxon to get a better feel for what my job is going to be like. My official title is “Knowledge Management Analyst”, and I’ll be working on a team that makes sure all of the Information Technology Department at Exxon is keeping their data organized and is making progress on upgrading to new systems. My supervisor seems like a great guy, and the position sounds far better than what I expected for an entry level IT job.

Next week Erin and I will actually head out to Houston to meet with the Realtor and look at some of the apartments.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's Official! We're Moving to Houston

I finally got the phone call I've been waiting for today...

When I went to Houston last Fall for my interview with Exxon, they told us that there were several locations throughout the country where I might end up being assigned. They said that Houston was by far the most common assignment, but there was that little possibility of something else that was keeping Erin and I from being able to make concrete plans.

Today I finally heard from the lady in charge of my recruiting division with my assignment. After months of wondering and waiting, I finally know some general information assignment... including the fact that Erin and I will officially be moving to Houston after the wedding. :)

The plan is that Erin and I will go down in May to look for a place to live. I'm waiting to hear back from HR about specifics. I've been a bit more reluctant to do my research than Erin has, but now that I know we're going to be in Houston I'm looking forward to looking at all our options before we get there.

I don't really have too much information at the moment about my specific job, other than that I'll be working in SAP application development. To me, that means it's time to go book shopping so I don't show up on day one needing a syntax lesson.

I'll know more about exactly what my job will entail, as well as what part of Houston I'll be working in (Exxon has facilities throughout the city) hopefully sometime next week. My future supervisor is supposed to give me a call sometime...

I'll keep you posted as I get more info :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Four Months!

So today marks the day that we are officially 4 months away from the wedding! Sometimes it seems so far away, and yet sometimes so crazily close. Four months ago from now was the beginning of December...and four months from now with be August.

Today also marks the day of a month and a week away from graduation. Which means I have 3 weeks and 2 days left of my internship (Gerrit has a little longer).

Time is flying by!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Tale of Two Weekends

Last Friday was Philips rite of passage ceremony. As a part of his 15th birthday, much of the extended family was in town to celebrate and attend a ceremony designed to indicate his transition into manhood. It was great to have so much family in town and to get to hang out with family friends that I hadn't seen in awhile, and in some cases that Erin hadn't even met yet.

On Saturday, everyone that was still in town went up on the mountain for a picnic. It was a wonderful way to usher in Spring! The weather was spectacular, and it was nice to spend some time outdoors. After eating lunch, most of the family went on a hike around the lake. Erin and I stayed behind and I occupied myself feeding a very brazen and curious squirrel cheetos.

Saturday evening we did presents for mine and Philip's birthday's, had delicious dessert, and watched "The Hurt Locker".

All in all a very nice weekend...

This past weekend was a completely different story.

As you already know, I’m interning as an accountant for the semester. I don’t have any desire to be an accountant, but the job paid well, was in Starkville, and fulfilled my graduation requirement. This past weekend marked the end of the first quarter, meaning all of the accountants had to work in overdrive in order to make sure all the I’s were dotted and all the T’s were crossed. Unfortunately, this meant we had to work all weekend.

Though it wasn’t exactly the way I’d hoped to spend my weekend, I will certainly enjoy the overtime check when it comes in. Until then, I’ll remain exhausted, and my biological clock will continue to make me think it’s Friday.

At least I have this upcoming weekend and Erin’s visit to Starkville to look forward to :)

EDIT: no... you're not going crazy... I accidentally posted this as "Draft" and didn't realize it hadn't published until today (4/5). I

Thursday, March 11, 2010


This semester I'm doing an internship at Auburn Public Library, so I thought that I would share a little bit about it.

First of all, I love doing an internship and not going to class. Especially on days (like today) where I wake up to rain and don't have to dread walking through it.

Pretty much the biggest thing I do is answer questions. Where are the biographies? Do you have any information about Native American medicine? Do you have (insert book title)? Can you help me with the computer? How do you divide fractions? Can you recommend and book to me? (That last one is definitely the hardest one...first of all I still have a lot to learn about what books we actually have...second of all, where do I even start with such a broad question?)

Another thing I've done is help out with the programs. I just did a Preschool Storytime about Lions the other day. I'm doing a Baby Time about farm animals in a few weeks. And pretty much every week I've been helping someone else with preparation for their program (aka I cut out lots of crafts).

Sometimes I feel a little bad because my internship is not super intense (especially when compared to Gerrit's). But then I realize how much I am learning. Every day, at least several times a day, I pick up some kind of tidbit of information about how libraries work. Whether it is something I think our library is doing wonderfully with or something I think our library could improve on, everyday I am filing away notes and information in my mind for future use.

Monday, February 22, 2010

All Settled In...

As some of you may already know, I moved into a new apartment when I started this semester. I had been considering an apartment for some time, and the fact that I was going to be making enough money to pay for one with my internship provided the perfect opportunity. After a series of unfortunate circumstances that resulted in me sleeping on a buddy's couch for a week, I got some friends together to move me in.

I didn't realize I had so much stuff...

It took 2 cars, 2 trucks, and an SUV to move all of my stuff from my old house into the new apartment.

Now that I've had a chance to get all my stuff all moved in, I am SO happy with it. It's so nice to have my own space! Most importantly, I'm really enjoying having highspeed internet again so that Erin and I can skype :)

In addition to moving into my new apartment, I've been settling into my internship. Having an 8-5 job is certainly an adjustment, and my job doesn't really fit into my area of expertise, but it's really not that bad... I'm certainly enjoying getting those paychecks :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

An Update From Erin

To our friends and family who regularly read our blog--I'm so sorry it has been so long since we have updated! Things were pretty crazy with fall semester ending, a busy Christmas break, and then Gerrit and I both starting our internships.

We had a great Christmas break in Huntsville and really enjoyed spending time with our families. It was a somewhat sentimental break since we know that our lives will be entirely different this time next year. We definitely made the most of our time with our families and also enjoyed getting to spend an extended period of time with each other.

We also traveled to Charleston with Gerrit's family to visit his grandparents. It was really a wonderful visit. We went to downtown Charleston and toured around (I had never been before), we went shopping, went to the movies, and spent time playing games. I really enjoyed getting to know Gerrit's grandparents better and learning more about that side of his family.

Now it is the new year and it is very exciting be able to say that we are getting married this year. It was really kind of amazing how once it was January, the wedding all of a sudden seemed so much closer!

Speaking of which, checking things off the wedding planning list also kept us busy over the break! We ordered invitations, save-the-dates, registered for gifts, did some planning for the rehearsal dinner, and started planning the ceremony.

And now, even though we had a great break, it is kind of nice to be back at school and in a routine. We are both settling in to our internships (mine at Auburn Public Library and Gerrit's at Garan), and it's kind of nice not to be taking classes. It's different to settle back into our lives away from home after such a long break, but it's crazy and so exciting to think that this is our last full semester!