Saturday, August 1, 2015

Summer in Houston- Recap!

Houston.... where to even begin?

So, first of all, we moved to Houston just for the summer because Austin had an internship as a Geologist with Shell. He had a really great experience with Shell and he loved the job itself. I think he would make an incredible petroleum geologist.

Before moving to Houston we heard lots of mixed things. We were incredibly anxious to see how we would like it since we will most likely live here after Austin completes his Phd. Honestly, the summer was filled with ups and downs! There were weeks when I just loved Houston! And, there were weeks when we could not imagine living here permanently.

I will start with the positive things about Houston. The city. is. HUGE.... which means a lot of diversity, amazing food (some of the best we've ever had!) and a LOT to do! The museums were spectacular and there were tons of free public pools, awesome parks, splash grounds, etc.

So, now you might be wondering why we had mixed feelings. Well, there were lots of things that were hard about Houston. First of all... the HEAT. Ugh! I have never experienced so much heat and sweating. Oh, the sweating. You basically had to mentally accept the fact that you would sweat all day long and that is just ok. So, once we accepted the heat we realized that we could handle that. The main thing that was hard was the serious lack of outdoors-iness in general. No hiking. No camping (in the summer, at least). No swimming in natural water (because of gators and poisonous water snakes... eek!). The list goes on.

We have always said that we can live anywhere and be happy! I still believe that to be true. As long as our family is together we can be happy anywhere! However, we always thought of Houston as a "first step" in Austin's career, paving a way for us to move other places. But, after his internship with Shell we discovered that if you want the opportunity to be promoted and "rise up the ladder", so to speak,... then Houston is your home base. Forever (with the exception of ex-patriot assignments, which we still REALLY want to do).

So, anyway. We have been thinking long and hard all summer long about the future and what we really want out of it. Austin is considering lots of different paths that we might not have researched enough had we not gone through this summer. I think he is still leaning towards a career in oil and gas since he really loved the internship and the company! But, we shall see. Only time will tell at this point! :)

Overall, though... the summer was loads of fun! Austin had every other Friday off and we were able to go on some really cool trips, we managed to do quite a bit of sailing, we indulged in a lot of really great food, and of course, living near the beach was awesome! Here are some pics to try to sum it all up:

We visited tons of museums this summer, including the Children's Museum which had a mini city called "Kidtropolis" where kids could grocery shop, deposit and withdraw money from the bank, serve and eat at a restaurant, etc. It was awesome!

The Children's Museum

We ate TONS of BBQ this summer and it. was. amazing!!!

We thoroughly enjoyed the food trucks in the city!

We made it up to Dallas a few times to see Rissa and her kids! Ender, Oliver and Calum took a bath together. :)

Ender and Oliver loved having sleepovers in Ender's room every night. They stayed up late giggling almost every night. It was adorable!

We got TONS of rain this summer in Houston and there were a lot of neighborhoods that were destroyed due to flooding. We were lucky that we didn't get it too bad.

The Museum of Natural Science had one of the most incredible dinosaur exhibits I have ever seen!

My two boys in their Sunday clothes (before Calum's much needed haircut)

At the Houston Arboretum. We especially loved the GIANT snapping turtles that infested the water.

Oliver started soccer and loved it!

Oliver about to make a goal during practice

The local library had a petting zoo day with some really neat animals

We ate lots of ice-cream this summer and this picture just kills me! haha! His face is too hilarious.

The Houston water wall. It was spectacular in person to be surrounded by so much water and mist!

We had an incredible day at the beach followed by the worst camping experience of our lives (clue: thousands of bird-sized mosquitos and the inside of the tent was over 100ºF at night... no joke). 

Cousin Harrell visited us in Houston a few times and we loved getting to hang out with him a bit!

Playing at a park downtown.... where we were apparently NOT supposed to be in this water. haha. oops!

Watching a bat colony of about 250,000 bats emerge from the Waugh bridge at dusk! It was an incredible thing to experience (but the smell was terrible)!

We celebrated my 26th birthday at the beach in Galveston followed by a homemade grilled steak dinner (compliments of Austin)!

On Father's Day I granted Austin permission to finally cut the raggedy locks on Calum's hair! haha. It had been bugging him for quite a while. 

For a hand-cut job with office scissors he didn't do such a bad job! haha

Having an Iftar feast with the Qaddumi family (I taught voice and piano to Thora's grandchildren this summer).

The talking birds were hilarious at Bear Creek Pioneers park. We had to visit them a few times!

We saw dozens of alligators this summer. Brazos Bend became one of our favorite places!

We spent lots of time playing (and sleeping in Calum's case) at the beach

Playing in Galveston

These boys are such good sports!

We spent most evenings walking along the Buffalo Bayou (right by our apartment) after dinner. This bayou overflows with water during the thunderstorms and helps prevent flooding.

Oliver loved his swim lessons (and he loved his teacher, Miss Fiona, as well!). haha

Austin and I spent an evening biking around downtown Houston and getting Tapas afterwards. Life is good when he's around!

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