Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Taken advantage of...

I am in need of prayers. I have been taken advantage of in the worst way and my family is taking the hit for it. I don't want to be a vengeful person and I'm afraid my anger and pride will get the best of me. Please pray that I will be clearheaded and trust that He will take care of the situation...

As soon as I can find a decent way to explain the situation, I will.  Right now I would be naming names out of anger...and that's not the person I am or want to be.  

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!


Monday, November 28, 2011

It's been a week?!

Hi friends!

It's been a while since we've had a chance to catch up!  It's been a busy week with Thanksgiving...and it's been great!  Here's what has happened in the past week:

The doctor's appointment went great and I got to ask for my own doctor who was recommended to me and I'm really excited to finally meet her on the 7th!  By the time we go to the doctor, it will have been almost 2 months since my last appointment...thank God Vera is active!  In fact, the kids each got a 'high-five' from her today :)!

They have their own garden! So cool!
After the doctor's appointment we went to meet up with Brian to get a tour of his new job at Google!  I promise you's for real!  Here are some pictures from our trip!
The kids on the Google Campus for the first time!

Brian's name tag at his desk!
This is his desk! He got balloons his first week:)!

The game room in Brian's building
There were lots of cool things for people to do on campus...
including designing your own Google image!

The bowling alley in Brian's building!
They were setting up a video shoot for
Google cool!!
Eating lunch at one of the Google Cafeterias!

The kiddos loved the telephone booth
for Google Voice
 It was awesome seeing where Brian gets to change the world; one day at a time!  The kids got to ride their first 'bus' (the Google shuttle) and see where Daddy worked!  Since it was the day before Thanksgiving it was pretty empty which was great for us so the kids could run around outside!

That evening Nam and Erin came into town from Oregon to spend Thanksgiving with us!  Wednesday night we went to In-n-Out burger and they introduced us to a new series on AMC called "The Walking Dead".  Ok, so I'm not into the zombie stories...but this show is awesome!  We are almost completely caught up with the current season (it's only season 2).  I would recommend this show...the whole first season is on it!  Reader beware: it is very gory...very.

Thursday was Thanksgiving and we spent the whole day was awesome!  We had Maple Brown Sugar Bacon Turkey, Candied Yams, Green Bean Casserole, Twice Baked Potato Casserole, Stuffing, Gravy, Cranberry Sauce (from the can!), Pecan Pie, and French Silk Pie!  After naps we went to the new house to show Nam and Erin and showed them where they will stay when they come to visit!!  Here are a few pictures of our feast!

Don't act like you aren't hungry!!
After dinner we went to see the new Muppet movie!  It was really cute and the kids loved it!

Friday was a GREAT day! We headed out to Monterey and went to the aquarium, Bubba Gump's for lunch, and the beach for a stroll in the Pacific Ocean!  It was a day full of fun and excitement!  It was our first time seeing and being in the Pacific...we can now say we've been in the Atlantic and the Pacific!  It was 60 degrees outside and it was absolutely beautiful...a perfect day for being a tourist on the beach!  The aquarium was also awesome!  The kids love looking at fish and we were there for 3 different feedings; the penguins, the mahi tuna, and the sharks!  It was completely packed, but two hours later we made it through the whole things!  I'd love to go back again when there are less people, but man alive it's expensive!

Eli refused to look up...
They had tons of exhibits where the kids could touch
the starfish and other fun things!

The Relph's first trip to the Pacific!

Isn't this a great picture?!

We did have a great time and made plans to go back to the beach sometime soon for a lucky we only live an hour away from the beach!

After we got back, we had a relaxing afternoon at home eating pizza and having 3 rounds of desserts (thanks to Nam) :)!  He got the kids all excited about the 3 rounds of desserts: 1. Candy Bar 2. French silk pie 3. Gingerbread houses!  Erin is always prepared and brought the kids a gingerbread house making kit and tons of crafts for the kids to do...she is awesome!  I got a lot of craft ideas from her!  She helped the kids put the house together and they had a blast!  While the house was drying, they decorated Christmas trees with stickers!

The guys helped by "staying out of the way"
(their own reasoning...)

We were so lucky to have such great friends come visit us!  They do live 10 hours away so it will be a while before we see them again...but we plan on going up there over the summer!  Maybe we'll go to Seattle and I can catch a fish in the market!

The rest of the weekend was low key.  We spent a lot of time at the apartment and relaxed!  We also took a drive through the state park by our new is so beautiful!  I also got really lucky and Brian let me sleep in and take a long nap on Sunday!  It's safe to say the third trimester has hit me head on!  

This week we will be busy moving into the new house...can't wait!  I'll be able to set up for Christmas and get some projects going!  Brian has a lot of fun things going on as well!  On Wednesday he is attending a "life-balance" tea and on Thursday he is going to Napa Valley with the HR department (where he works) for a wine tasting and grape stomping (I am soooooo jealous!!!).  This week I'll also get my labs done for the pregnancy and "double-check" that it's a girl!

Thanks for checking in!  Please post comments and questions!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's only 9:20?!

Hello, All!

After much provoking, Brian FINALLY posted about his week (you can check it out right after this post!)  He left a lot out, but suffice it to say, he had a great time!  Google took the new hires out for a bike tour, had a social at a local bar and grill, and had an awesome scavenger hunt; which Brian's team won!  He came home everyday so excited about the new things he was learning and would send me texts all day about the cool benefits we get...this has been such a blessing to our family!

Week 2 of work for him has started, and he's still settling in.  Luckily for him it's a short week (Thanksgiving is Thursday and he gets Friday off...woot!)  I'm really excited for him because he's meeting up with some old friends this week for meals...but I'm also insanely jealous! LOL!  In Kansas he got it easy...he became friends with my friends' husbands and I did all the socializing 'work'.  Out's all him (at least for right now).  Lyda and I were talking about this and it's so true.  For now, I have to put my trust in him that he will make some friends with wives that I can befriend...he just needs to get on that! :)

The kids and I are starting to feel boxed in to the apartment.  950sqft feels very small, very quickly when you are all in the same room all day!  We've explored some of the local parks and have found one that we love...but it's 15 miles away.  Not a big deal since we don't have too much to do...but gas is expensive!!

Luckily for us, we get a FANTASTIC distraction today...we are getting the keys to our new home!  The landlords called yesterday and asked if we would like the house early since they had moved out. Yes, please!  The main bummer is that we can't get our belongings delivered yet.  We are trying to work on getting the move date moved up, but that's easier said than done.  Either way, it will give us space to run around, projects for me to do, and some sense of permanency!  Wahoo!

For Thanksgiving we are incredibly blessed this year...Nam and Erin are coming to visit!  It's going to be the ultimate FriendsGiving!  They are coming Wednesday and staying through Saturday so they will be able to see the new home!  We are all looking forward to seeing some familiar faces; especially on a holiday that you spend with loved ones :)!!

There had been a minor hiccup in our move out here...I am still looking for an OB.  It's been 5 weeks since my last appointment and thank God Vera moves a lot, otherwise I'd be worried sick!  We had initially signed up for BCBS of California...and it was awful trying to find an OB around here.  Apparently Kaiser is the insurance provider of choice.  So I convinced Brian to switch.  We had received some recommendations from our realtor (his wife is an OB/GYN up north and has an OB/GYN in Milpitas she still goes to).  I'm praying that this all gets figured out quickly.  Kaiser has been a lot easier to work with and I did some research on the doctors that were recommended to me last night and found a hospital.  Hopefully things start falling into place with the insurance!  It's a foreign world to me having issues with insurance.  I've had close friends battle with insurance before, and I never envied them...and I hope this is all the battling we have to do!

Google has a holiday party on the 9th of December...Brian is so excited!  I just need to find a dress that will look flattering on this ever increasing body of mine!  Vera will be here in just a few months...which means a visit from my parents!  So excited (about both things:))!

I'll let you know how our walk through goes today...I'm not anticipating any problems and I can't wait to see the house again!

Love you all!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

[Guest Post] Werk, Werk

Pretty incredible, but I have finished my first week of work at Google.  Monday through Friday went by fast, but it was also jam-packed full of stuff.  On Wednesday, I could not believe everything that had happened in just those first two days!  All-in-all, Google has been everything that I had heard - a great atmosphere, fantastic people, awesome perks ... it is quite obvious why it is near the top of every "top-employer" list.  I think every employer tries to make things orientation fun and exciting, but somehow they don't turn out quite as much fun.  Like, we had a scavenger hunt on the main campus, looking for different landmarks, displays, activities, etc... Even the security guards, the retail store casheirs, and the off-site bartenders got in on the fun!  There is just something different here...

So, what were the best things from the week?  I really can't say enough about the people.  I had read a lot about the Google culture, and how even as a big company, they try not to lose themselves in "corporate-ness".  How does this manifest itself?  One noticeable thing was not only was I introduced to all of my peers in the same organization, but also all of my manager's peers in the organization on the very first day.  I then had introductory meetings with the director of my organization on the very next day!  Plus, everyone knew who I was, and had been actually planning on meeting me.  It is a great feeling that everyone knows everybody else, and the entire group is comfortable talking face-to-face, up and down the chain.  It inspires transparency, and definitely made me feel at home right away.

I am also car-less for the first time in a long time.  My car in Kansas was getting up there, and also was scheduled for quite a bit of work, so we cut ties before driving out.  Now, I am a public transportation guy, but the shuttle service is pretty convenient.  Right now, the shuttle picks me up just a few hundred feet from my front door, and I can completely ignore the massive amount of traffic on the way there!  After we move, the bus-stop will be closer to 2 miles away, but Milpitas is a small town with California weather - it should work out just fine.  I am currently riding one of the not-quite-top-of-the-line shuttles, but the coolest thing is they all have wifi available.  Some are double-decker, and others have all leather seats!  Another great thing about using the shuttles is that it helps keep me on a good work-schedule: always up early, and always home for dinner.  With a car, it is much easier to try and finish one(-hundred) last thing(s), and it up missing out eating with my family.  I am sure I will need to work some evenings, but at least I will be at home to do it!

In general, Google is awesome because it lets me do what I love to do (engineer software), and takes care of literally everything else.  I don't have to worry about food, traffic, making a name for myself.  Meals are provided, they drive me to work, and everyone already knows me and whats to see what I can do!

It is very exciting, can't wait for my second week!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thank God for friends!!

Hello, all! Hope you haven't missed the rowdy Relphs too much!

Sunday was Brian's 28th Birthday!  Holy crap, he's an old man! I can say that for 6 more months...then 28 will be the new 21 :)!  We spent the day relaxing before his first big day at GOOGLE!  I had asked him the night before what he wanted for his meals and this is what he asked for/got:

Breakfast: French toast from an actual french bread loaf with maple sausage
Lunch: Italian sub with Kettle cooked BBQ chips
Dinner: Tacos (and the kids even partook in this one!)
I also made him his favorite cake: yellow with chocolate frosting :)

Yep...Suzy Homemaker over here ;)  As long as he was happy on his birthday, the mess was all worth it!

Surprisingly, he actually got some sleep Sunday night and early Monday morning we all hopped in the minivan and drove Brian to work.  He had to be there at 8 and didn't know the bus situation yet, so it became a family affair!  It was awesome to be a part of his first day and to wish him luck as he walked into his first day of orientation!  There was a lot of cool things he learned, but I'm not sure which I'm allowed to share, so I will make him write a blog at the end of the week about his first week :)!

It had been about 3 weeks since the kids and I had a whole day together without "Daddy" to run it was finally time for Mommy Bootcamp!  These kids needed some of their structure back and they made it very evident that they did not like the idea :).  For example...they didn't play the IPad the whole day because neither of them could stop yelling at each other.  It also took them over an hour to fall asleep for their nap (which was REALLY irritating because I wanted to sleep!!)  I got to talk to my sister via Skype for about an hour (Yay!) and that pretty much filled up our day!

Around 5 I texted Brian and asked if he wanted us to come and get him.  He did (he must have missed us :)) so off to Mountain View we went!  We got to talk about his first day and we went to Red Robin to celebrate!

We got the kids to bed WAY too late (9pm) and passed out ourselves.  We had an early day planned for Tuesday (today) and had to be on the road at 7...good luck!

I couldn't sleep well so I got up at 6 without a problem and walked the kids out the door at 7:00.  Then I decided to go to Starbucks (thank you Crystal and Joe!) but I SWEAR there isn't one anywhere with a drive through!  Now, I really am not THAT lazy; but when you are in a hurry and have 2 toddlers with you...the LAST thing you want to do is find a parking spot for a minivan and schlep the whole family in to get coffee.

I did it anyway.  Then we were finally on the road to...COPPEROPOLIS!  I am so lucky to have a friend who lives pseudo close to us (120 miles) from Kansas!  So the kids and I went out to see Courtney and her little man Ronan!  We had a great time at the playground with her Mommy group and  then some yummy Mexican food at a local eatery!  We headed back to her house and tried to lay the kids down for a nap....that didn't work so well :).  So, the kids came upstairs and decided to wreck havoc!  By the way...have I mentioned how GORGEOUS Courtney's house is?  Here's proof:
This is the view from the front of her house...for real.

The front door.

Panoramic view from the LR

View from the back porch

Part of her wrap around porch (it's two levels :))

And the kiddos making a MESS!

At the end of this visit, Elijah had a fat lip...but it was all worth it!  Thanks, Courtney, for opening your home to us! Can't wait for your visit in December!!

On the way home (2.5 hrs) I got to talk to my Dad, Austin, and Lyda!  It was awesome being able to catch up...the kids even said Hi to Lyda!

Tonight has one priority...JAYHAWK BASKETBALL!  ROCK CHALK, BABY! GO KU!!