Finished my 1st year of school

Although I finished up with my latest classes last weekend, I received my final grades today. I was happy to find out that I got an A in each class, which means I received a B+ or better in every class of the year. It hasn’t been easy balancing school with family and work, and it’s only going to get tougher as I move on, but I’m very happy I made the decision to go back and finish my degree. I’m especially excited about moving into 2013 simply because I’ll be able to tell myself that I’ll be done with school ‘next year’. I’m a year and a half from graduation, which still feels like a ways away, but we’ve got so much to look forward to in the meantime that I’m sure it will go by quickly.

Jessica is doing much better now in her second pregnancy than she was a few weeks ago. I’m sure the move and job change made it especially tough on her but we’re getting more and more settled in everyday and she’s doing well. She is almost done training at El Gaucho so that will be nice to have completed. I finally received the assets I needed to get started on my project at Amazon and have been working on it a ton, including weekends, in order to make a good impression on my manager and co–workers.

I’m going to be guest bartending at El Gaucho on New Years Eve, meaning Ava will be staying the night at Dana and Brad’s place, and Jessica and I will be able to spend New Years together, which will be fun even though we’ll be working. I’m looking forward to seeing lots of old friends, even though it’s going to be an incredibly long day for me. I’m basically going to work from 7:00am until 3:30pm at Amazon, then 4:00pm until 2:00am at Gaucho, but luckily I have the next day to do nothing but chill out at home. All else is going well and we’re happy to be back home in Seattle.

Merry Christmas, 2012

Today we celebrate our first Christmas back in Seattle, as well as Ava turning 13 months old. Jessica and I were just talking last night about how this is our sixth Christmas together but only our second in Seattle. The first one was spent in Colorado, then we went to Iowa for our second, and our fourth and fifth were down in San Diego. We’ve definitely been getting around over the years. I went into the office yesterday and was the only one there, but was able to get a lot of work done so I was happy about that. Then last night the three of us went over to Dana and Brad’s house to hang out and open presents. We got Anna a Kindle and loaded it up with books for her, and for Kallan we told him that Jessica and I will be taking him to see Soundgarden in February. They both seemed very happy.

This morning we slept in, then I surprised Jessica with breakfast in bed before opening presents. We’ve made a few video calls to family and now plan on spending the rest of the day watching movies and having a nice meal. I truly couldn’t ask for a better Christmas than to stay home all day with my girls. Here are a few pictures from last night and this morning. Merry Christmas!

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Ava officially walking!

Ava has been wall–walking and walking while holding someone’s hand for a while now, but last night she broke through and started walking on her own! Obviously this was very exciting. We’ve known she could do it for some time but she didn’t realize it. All she needed was a little confidence in herself. Everyone keeps telling us that once they get started there is no stopping them so I’m assuming she’ll be walking everyday from here on out. Unfortunately Jessica was at work last night when Ava got on a roll but she has the next four days off, which is convenient considering tomorrow is Christmas Eve, so I’m sure she’ll get more than a fair dose of seeing Ava walk around. I’m usually the one that’s gone when Ava does something for the first time so I was really proud and excited to be there for this. Luckily I had my phone handy and was able to take a couple short videos of her as she got started. It’s stuff like this that makes me so happy to have this website. I love the fact that Ava will be able to look back at any time in her life and be able to see her first steps. Enjoy!

Happy 12th birthday Anna!

Today our beloved niece Anna turns 12. We spent the evening with her, Kallan, Dana and Brad yesterday having dinner, eating cake, and watching her open presents. She’s such a good kid and seemed to have a great time. Before we got to their house the three of us decided to brave the crowds at Bellevue Square mall so Ava could get her first picture with Santa Clause. Obviously the mall was a madhouse but we had a good time and were luckily able to get one picture of Ava before she started crying. I didn’t blame her one bit for crying in the arms of a strange bearded man in a red suit, but we’re glad we did it.

We finally made time to look through the photos Lisa took on Ava’s first birthday and wanted to post them just in time for the holidays. All else is going well now that we’ve gotten settled in at our new home. I’m learning new things everyday at Amazon and Jessica is getting up to speed at El Gaucho. We’re looking forward to catching up with family as soon as possible for the holidays. Enjoy the new pics.

Our first week back in Seattle

A week ago tonight we arrived in Seattle after two extremely long days of driving. We left San Diego on the morning of Thursday the 29th and drove 14 hours before arriving in Medford Oregon that night. Going through the Sisques mountains in Southern Oregon that night was a nightmare. The rain was coming down as hard as I’ve ever seen in my life and it was pitch black. We ended up driving 840 miles that day and it was rough, to say the least. The next day was ‘only’ about 9 hours of driving, including some terrible traffic in Tacoma, before finally arriving at Dana and Brad’s house around 7:30pm. Once again, we couldn’t have done it without Amy’s help, and I want to wish her a very happy birthday today. She’s always there for us when we need her and was a total rockstar throughout the entire moving process.

Saturday morning we got the keys to our new house and finally got to check it out. We’re happy with the place considering we moved into it without actually seeing it in person. Our only complaint is that the master bedroom is pretty small but it will be fine for the next year or two until we’re ready to buy a place. Monday morning I started my job at Amazon and I’ve been hard at work all week trying to get up to speed on all of their systems and terminology. I’m going to need to learn a new programming language called ‘Ruby on Rails’ for my job so I’ve been studying hard every night. There is no question that getting up to speed at Amazon is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do professionally but I know I can do it. It’s going to take so much hard work but I’m more than willing to put in the time and effort. I really like the company, my teammates, and the environment. I just need to focus on finishing out my contract and getting hired as a full–time employee and we’ll be golden.

Today our POD finally arrived and we’re so excited to start unpacking our stuff tomorrow. Dana, Brad, Kallan and Anna are coming over to help us unload after I deal with getting new license plates for the Honda in the morning. I decided to get a head start tonight but ran into a problem with the latch that unlocks the door. I had trouble with it when we were getting the POD loaded up but now it’s completely stuck and will not open. I spent over an hour trying everything I could think of but so far nothing has worked. I wanted to try using some WD–40 and a hammer, which I own, but of course they are both inside the POD so we’re either going to have to borrow them or purchase new ones. No guarantees this will work but I’ve got to figure something out. It’s like torture to have all our stuff sitting in the driveway but not be able to get in.

Jessica started training right away at El Gaucho this week and will be working private holiday parties starting next week. This is their busiest month of the year so it was a good time for her to get started. Lots of my old friends are still working there so it’s cool that they are going to get to know her now as well. We’re definitely happy to be back home in Seattle and can’t wait to get fully adjusted, which basically just means getting our stuff unloaded and the house organized. We’ve been living out of bags and sleeping on an air bed for too long and are dying to get back to normal. I received the pictures from Ava’s birthday photo shoot with Lisa but haven’t been able to go through them yet due to studies for work and school. I’m sure we’ll have some great new pics up soon. It’s good to be back!