Thursday, August 30, 2012

Two Week Bullet Point Update

It's been a couple weeks since I blogged last... wait, I think we've been here before. Every once in awhile life takes over and I let something slip... said blog. However, I want to capture the memories and moments so here's the bullet point update since my last post:

  • We took the Summer Beer Pairing class with our friends Meredith and Kyle at Well Done CC. The salmon glaze that we made was divine and we will definitely be making it again!

  • How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? No idea. But a cough drop lasted the 45 mile drive I had every day last week to my training class in the Woodlands. 45 miles each way meaning that I drove 450 miles in five days. I don't know how people make that commute on a regular basis. I was against traffic and still found it horrific.

  • In addition to being physically exhausted by my drive last week, I was also mentally exhausted. I was in a preparation course for the Professional Engineering exam. We went hard 8 - 5 with two 10 min breaks in the morning/afternoon and an hour lunch. The rest of the time we worked problems, reviewed concepts, asked questions, and then drove home like mummies unable to absorb anything else. Jason was a HUGE help that entire week from cooking dinner to picking up the house. I love that man. Thanks Bug!

  • My mom's birthday was last week and while we could not celebrate with her, we are excited to go out there in September and celebrate then!! We sent her flowers and she got a super cute gift from her friend Phyllis - two little dachshund statues to remind us of Lenny and Squiggy!

  • Jason went with me to pick up my packet at the MS 150 Tour of Champions reception. I am so excited for the trip to CO next week, but not as much the bike ride in altitude since I haven't been training... yikes!

  • Jeff, my mom's husband, came to Houston for a conference and stayed with us. We enjoyed seeing him and had an excuse to visit another restaurant on our list for Houston Restaurant Week, The Tasting Room. Almost everything was delicious except the boys' steaks unfortunately. We would definitely go back though!

  • We took the kittens to the vet for their last round of shots and talked to her about possibly separating the kittens and taking only one of them to Norway. She said they do not get attached like dogs and that CeCe will probably be thrilled if Zoey is gone. Don't get us wrong, we love Zoey. But it's just not feasible to take two cats to a small apartment in Norway when we want to travel, etc. We are not even 100% sure we will be able to find an apartment that allows CeCe, but we are looking into it. Jason talked to the Norwegian consulate and it's super easy to take a cat. CeCe just has to have rabies (which she does) and get tapeworm medicine within 10 days of leaving. No quarantine or anything like that thank goodness! We are also searching for a loving home for sweet Zoey and have a couple options that we hope will work out for her.

    CeCe was scared. Zoey explored!

  • We spent the weekend working on the house again. We've sold a huge amount of our stuff at this point, which is fantastic! We've also been able to sort all of our rooms and have a pretty good idea of what we are taking, storing, and selling.

  • Sunday we had a potluck for our group of friends from the Honduras Mission Trip. We exchanged pictures, stories, and just had a ball visiting with one another. Jason and I made a delicious Jamaican pulled pork recipe we recently got from our Food Men Love II cooking class at Well Done CC

  • I've decided that it's imperative that I transfer my old VHS to the computer since Jason says that I cannot store them and have to get rid of them. Yep, that's Spice World- high quality movies!!. 

  • Monday night we hosted FamD for possibly the last time. :-( We cooked another delicious meal of gumbo from the Dinner on the Bayou class we took at Well Done CC last year. (They have FABULOUS classes and recipes! Check them out here!!)

  • Wednesday we had an absolutely wonderful dinner with some friends from church, the Kovacs.We laughed the entire time and it made me sad that we hadn't got to know them sooner before we are leaving. 

  • We had date night Thursday- the usual dinner, dance lesson, and helping Jason hair dry his car. Wait, you haven't used a hair dryer on a car before? Yeah neither had I... But we don't own a heat gun and since Jason lowered his car, he needed to bend the metal lip so the tire wasn't hitting it.

  • And I've saved the best for last :-) OUR NEPHEW WAS BORN!!! We drove down to League City Friday after work and had dinner with our family and got to meet Jaiden (80% sure- subject to change! ;-) ) He is absolutely precious and a little blessing!

  • Saturday, August 18, 2012

    Leibster Award

    My friend Chelsea over at The Perfect Catch informed me that she had nominated me for the Leibster Award - an award given to up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. Well I sure don't think I am "up and coming", but I know I have less than 200 followers and it seemed like a fun thing to answer the questions so here I go... :-)

    The Rules!
    Each person must post 11 facts about themselves
    ..and answer the 11 questions that are tagged for them
    ...and list the 11 bloggers you nominate
    ...and make up your own 11 questions to ask your nominees

    Facts about me:
    1. I believe your marriage is the single most imporant earthly relationship you can have and fortunately mine is with someone that I truly respect, love, and cherish.
    2. I don't know how to relax.
    3. We are moving to Norway around November for work and I couldn't be more excited about the opportunities to travel and be outdoorsy again!
    4. I love to cook.
    5. I'm a nerdy engineer who loves to organize things. My absolute favorite is unpacking. Call me if you need help with that. ;-)
    6. We have a garden where we grow zucchini, squash, tomatoes, bell peppers, beans, lots of herbs, cucumbers, carrots, corn and most recently Japanese hullless popcorn that you pop on the stove top like in the olden days. It's the most delcious thing ever!
    7. I have two cats, one of which has ADD.
    8. I am missing 4 toenails right now because of a 4-day, 45 mile hike we did to Machu Picchu in June.
    9. I've run 2 marathons and done the MS 150 (a 2-day, 170 mile ride from Houston to Austin) twice.
    10. I'm addicted to almost everything on HGTV and the Food Network and plan to nominate ourselves for House Hunters International (you know it's staged, right?).
    11. I judge cakes/cupcakes by their icing and have been known to eat just the icing and leave the cake for my husband...which he does not appreciate.

    Questions for me:
    1. How/why did you start blogging? I started blogging July 2010 as a way to document our adventures and share them with our family spread across the US.
    2. How do you cheer yourself up after a bad day? Working out. Or ice cream. I realize those are counterproductive...
    3. Favorite book or author? Bible, multiple authors.
    4. Favorite musician/singer? Fail. I was hoping Chelsea wouldn't ask this one after I started accidentally answering her "Questions for me" section... um, Spice Girls? They are a classic! ;-)
    5. Beauty product you can't live without? Mascara.
    6. What is one of your pet peeves? Not closing things - doors, cabinets, drawers, etc.
    7. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Bora Bora.
    8. What would you tell a younger you? Talk less, listen more. Still applicable today!
    9. What was your first job after college and are you still doing it? Petroleum engineer for ConocoPhillips and yep, still doing it.
    10. Favorite flower? Any that's bought on sale and given to me (they die too quickly otherwise!).
    11. What would your theme song be? I'm Sexy and I Know It. Wait, that's Jason's! .

    My nominees:
    1. Nikki, The Structure of Spontaneity
    2. Maryam, The Schellstedes
    3. Emily, Home on the Range
    4. Teriann, Life with the Tidwells
    5. Caitlyn, Blessed Blog
    6. Stephanie, Life's Little Blessings The Greenes
    7. Trisha, The Four Frogs
    8. Chelsea, Two Plus One
    9. Lynne, Lynne's MedBlog
    10. KiKi, I Still Hate Pickles
    11. Brittney, A Short Stack

    The questions for my nominees:
    1. What is the best advice you've ever been given?
    2. What is your favorite dessert?
    3. What is the average length of a swallow?
    4. Favorite musician/singer?
    5. How do you relax?
    6. What is your favorite movie/TV show?
    7. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
    8. What is one of your pet peeves?
    9. What special or unique talent do you have?
    10. Did you attend college? If so, what was your major?
    11. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in the future?


    Friday, August 17, 2012

    Happy 4th Anniversary!

    Our four year anniversary started out yesterday with me updating my status on FB. True to my nerdy self I decided the night before what I was going to say and emailed it to myself so I could quickly copy and paste it that morning. Yep, I'm that bad. :-)

    Here's what I said - "Jason Stingerie, 8 years ago when you asked me out on our first date I didn't grasp what an incredible blessing God had brought into my life. These past 4 years as husband and wife have taught us a lot and we've grown closer as a result. I love you so much and I can't imagine embarking on life's adventures with anyone else. I'm so excited for what's in store for us next as we move to Europe! Happy Anniversary!!!"

    I truly do feel so blessed to have Jason in my life. He is such a hard-working, honest, godly, and patient man. He makes me feel so loved and I respect him so much. Okay enough of the sappy stuff.

    After work we headed to our anniversary dinner at Frank's Chop House as part of HRW.

    The food was SO delicious!!

    And they gave us a complimentary bottle of wine for our anniversary! How nice!!

    We splurged and bought ourselves an AMAZING bundt cake at the fabulous Nothing Bundt Cake.

    Cinnamon swirl deliciousness!

    (We tried a small slice before dinner which was a good thing because we were too full to eat any afterwards!)

    And Jason surprised me with beautiful flowers!!

    It was an amazing anniversary with my amazing hubby! :-D

    - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


    Thursday, August 16, 2012

    Jason's Race Prep

    Jason has been super helpful in getting ready to move (read here). This weekend he took a "break" from the house stuff and worked out in the garage on his car. He's signed up for an event in October where you get to take your car on the race track and have a professional driver ride with you giving you tips.

    There are some necessary (so I'm told... hehe) modifications that he needed to make in order to get the car ready- new shocks, new springs, and new brakes.

    He ambitiously began working Saturday morning and worked up until our double date that night. On Sunday, following church, he was back out there working hard. Unfortunately he had to work Monday night after our dinner with friends and then again last night to finish up the back brakes.

    At this point, I could attempt to explain all of the work Jason did on the car. But we both know I'd be parroting what Jason told me to say. Instead we have a celebrity guest post! :-)

    Jason here - I'm really looking forward to taking my car out on the track and seeing what it can do, as well as getting some professional driver instruction. Even though we will be leaving for Norway soon I didn't want to miss the opportunity to do this. To be able to take my car out on the track I wanted to make a few upgrades. The suspension will make it handle better in the corners and the brakes will help the car last 30 minutes of driving for each session and still be able to stop, definitely a good thing. I replaced the shocks on both front and rear and also installed stiffer coil springs. The new springs will lower the car about 1 inch helping it to handle and look better. I upgraded the brakes to slotted rotors and installed new pads. I also decided to paint the calipers red. The caliper paint was the reason I didn't finish Sunday night, I had to let it dry before reassembling the brakes.

    Front Suspension Before and After

     Rear Suspension Before and After

    Here is a picture comparing the height of the car before and after. There's not much of a difference right now, but the springs should settle a little bit over time for a little more drop.

    I'm also excited to use my new Gopro for this race, I'll be taking some video from in and on the car and will do some editing and post a video once it's done.


    Wednesday, August 15, 2012

    Getting Ready to Move!

    Most of our evenings and weekends have been consumed with getting ready for Norway. You wouldn't think that we would need to do much since we're still three months out, but looking at the calendar and everything that we have to squeeze in (including studying for an 8-hour professional certification exam) November is going to be here before we know it!

    What exactly have we been doing to prepare? Organizing. One of my favorite things! Except it's a little more complicated when you are trying to decide what to sell/get rid of, put in storage, take with you, and leave with your parents.

    Basically anything we don't take gets put in storage. We have a limited amount of storage and once it's in there, then we don't have access to it until we return (Jason's job is a three year assignment). So as I'm going through all of our house I have to ask:
    -Do we need this in Norway?
    -Do we have space for this in Norway?
    -Do we like this enough (and think we will like it in three years) to store it?
    -Do we think we would need it in three years, but not in Norway?

    Complicated right? So far it's been pretty easy and once we know whether we have furnished/unfurnished and exactly how much space in our Norway apartment that will help.

    And knowing we have to get rid of a lot of stuff helps too. I probably don't need greeting cards going back to the early 90's, my original application to Mines, or four years of magazines...but at least I'm an organized pack rat!

    Then there's the stuff we are selling. I've already emailed friends and family with pictures of furniture, decorating items, and other odds/ends. Next we'll post them on Craig's List and try to get everything gone before we'd put the house on the market.

    Here's the items for sale-if you live in the Houston area and are interested in anything you see let me know!

    For Sale 2


    Monday, August 13, 2012


    HRW stands for Houston Restaurant Week. But it's actually a month- all of August celebrates this yearly charity. (Houston works hard to earn its place as one of the fattest cities in the US!)

    Over 140 restaurants out out special 2-course (lunch) and 3-course (dinner) menus for $20 or $35 a person, respectively. A portion of that money is donated to the Houston Food Bank.

    We've discovered that this is a great way to try a more expensive restaurant you might not normally try otherwise. And since our anniversary is in August it's perfectly acceptable to celebrate it weekly, right? ;-)

    Well this weekend we visited our first restaurant this August. Jason and I being the good engineers we are looked through all the menus online (posted on their website here) and ranked a Tier I and Tier II list of restaurants. We sent our list to our friend Greg and Leah to compare with their list. Fail. In over ten restaurants we had no duplicates! We settled in Mo's- A Place for Steaks and made reservations for Saturday.

    The food was good, but not the best steak or seafood. Dessert however was a different story (and we all know I truly judge based on dessert!) the CinnaMon Roll was one of the most amazing desserts I've ever had! And of course the company was wonderful making for a fantastic double date. :-)

    Now where to try next for our anniversary this week...?

    - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    Dancing Date Nights!

    On and off for over two years Jason and I have been taking ballroom dance lessons. And we love them!!

    We first started in the group beginners class at our church where one of the members taught. After beginners 1 and 2 we took intermediate 1, 2, and 3. John, the instructor, does an amazing job at balancing a class but still giving individual attention.

    We reached the point where there were not any more group lessons (the class size is too small when you get that high) and decided to take a package set of private lessons that John offered us.

    We use those dances as date nights! We go out to dinner either before or after using a certificate or another dining deal we've found (since eating out is so expensive).

    We enjoy these date nights so much and are going to miss them when we head to Norway!

    Our favorite dances are the waltz and foxtrot, but we also like the cha-cha, rumba, and tango.

    There is even a Czech lodge which hosts dances twice a month that we can go to and practice what we've learned out on the dance floor. And of course we impress everyone at weddings with our mad dancing skills. Hehe :-)

    - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


    Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    Norway, Here We Come!

    WE ARE MOVING TO NORWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Okay, nice subtle eye-catching beginning, right? Let me back up a few steps...

    Jason and I love to travel. One of the reasons we chose the oil industry was the opportunities we knew it might provide for us to see the world. Last spring, Jason got a chance to visit Celle, Germany for two weeks and work at the Baker Hughes office there. When he left he casually mentioned to the manager to let him know if there was ever an opening for a job.

    Well that manager called Jason awhile later and they discussed him going there for an assignment. Unfortunately it was project-based (meaning that the client company and Baker Hughes would both have to decide to fund it) and it would only be a short-term contract (<1 year). However, this did open up the doors for Jason to start talking to different people within Baker about other opportunities.

    He was approached with the position in Norway and immediately liked the sounds of the job. It would be something different than he was currently doing and developmentally he has been ready for a change for some time. He applied for the position last February and we anxiously waited. And waited. And waited. And were told they were working on determining the number of Expats; that they did not want to do moves before promotions, etc. We finally gave up on the idea and Jason started looking elsewhere in Baker for opportunities.

    Then a few weeks ago Jason got an email from Tore, the person who had been talking to in Norway. Tore was leaving the company and wanted to let Jason know he had passed along his information and had discussed things with Adne, the person taking over his job. This just reinforced the idea that we most likely were not moving to Norway. Jason had worked with Tore on other projects and didn't know who the new manager was or anything about him.

    I encouraged Jason to email him anyway. The worst he can say is no, right? So Jason did and was pleasantly surprised to hear back from him right away. He told Jason he was aware of the discussions, apologized that it had been taking so long, and said that his boss was on vacation that week and he would get back to Jason the following week with more information. Just a couple days later Jason got another call from him. He asked Jason some additional feeler questions about his interest, etc. in the position and Jason told him that Norway would be his top choice for an opportunity. At the end of the conversation he told Jason that he had spoken with Global Mobility the day before and they were working on an offer for him!!!

    We have spent the last two weeks praying for God's patience, trust for His timing, and wisdom for the plan we know He has for our lives. It hasn't been easy. I'd be lying if I said we hadn't started looking at apartments and thinking about what stuff we'd need to sell, etc. But after thinking back in February that it was going to happen, we both knew not to really get our hopes up until we saw the offer.

    Which didn't come that week. Or the next. Then this past SUnday our pastor did a sermon on Psalm 23. That good ol' Psalm that so many of us memorized and recited in competitions when we were younger (1st place baby!!). Rev. Crimmins said "God knows when it's time to transfer you from one life situation to another". Um, hello?!? Can't ask God for more of a neon sign than that can you?

    On the car ride home, I repeated that quote to Jason and we prayed again and just came to peace that we knew something was going to happen - whether it was Norway, a different job in Houston, etc. and that we were letting it go and we will just keep being patient.

    I'm so glad that we had that little reminder on Sunday because I bet you'll never guess what happened Monday morning... we got the offer!!! :-)

    Jason just "officially" accepted this morning after touching base with HR on the start date, etc. We don't know the timing yet because it can take 1-2 months to get visas and both Jason and I are taking the PE this October. Ideally, we are targeting sometime in November for the move.

    By know you might be wondering, "Okay so she's talked about Jason's job, but what about hers?" Well, ConocoPhillips has an office in Stavanger. Less than a 5 min walk from Baker. I talked to my boss back in February when it was a possibility and they reached out then to our technical team that oversees (or overseas, haha, lame joke I know) moves. There is no guarantee that they are going to be able to get a job for me, but there is a good possibility considering the circumstances. We are just trusting the Lord that He will open or close any doors according to His will and accept whatever happens.

    Much more to come when we have more information, but for now WE ARE MOVING TO NORWAY!!!

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