Friday, November 30, 2012

How Far We've Come

Thanksgiving this year was a wonderful and much-appreciated break from work and school; it also turned out to be a déjà vu experience.  A year ago, Caitlin and I had been dating just over two months when she came to spend Thanksgiving in Kaysville, Utah, with my extended family from my mom's side.  It was a real test of love to see if Caitlin would still want to date me (despite penetrating questions from strangers and even a 7-month-premature Stake President's interview on Celestial Marriage) after being thrown into the mayhem headfirst.  Against all odds, Caitlin survived.

Caitlin and I making the famous Orange Jello Fluff (Thanksgiving 2011)
Stake President Uncle Ray peering deep into our souls (Thanksgiving 2011)

Similarly, this year Caitlin endured another crash course--this time on the more literal 'Francis family.'   Grandpa Francis rented a cabin in the mountains outside of Heber City, Utah; all five Francis brothers, and their children and grandchildren, came.  It was a new experience even for me to be under one roof with 50-60 people--90% of whom have the last name 'Francis.'   (The phrase "Francis kids in the car!" lost all value.) The cabin was equipped with anything you could want though--hot tub, big screen projector room, air hockey table, pool table, board games, etc--and we had a great time!

Saturday evening, after leaving the cabin, we went with my immediate family to see the lights on Temple Square--furthering the repeated memories, as Caitlin and I had done the same thing as a date a year before.   The additional company this year was nice, and we had a great time!

Josh and Darcy's family had to leave early, but the rest of us bundled up and enjoyed the Temple grounds
(Temple Square, 2012)
In the end, it was fun to think back and remember what our lives were like just one year before.  "Our lives" is now simply "our life," "our apartments" now "our apartment," "our families" now "our family."  We are still doing the same things, but it is incredible how many wonderful changes have occurred between these two Thanksgiving holidays.

Temple Square, 2011
Temple Square, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving is Coming!

For Family Home Evening tonight, we set a timer for 5 minutes and made individual lists of things we were thankful for.  Then, at the end of 5 minutes, we compared our lists.  We combined our lists and added a few more; here is what we came up with!

101 Things We Are Thankful For…
1.         Each Other
2.         Loving Parents
3.         Family & Family Gatherings
4.         Friends
5.         Prayer
6.         The Gospel
7.         Jesus Christ
8.         The Plan of Happiness
9.         Temples
10.     Marriage for Eternity
11.     The Scriptures
12.     The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
13.     Missionaries
14.     Friendly Strangers
15.     A Reliable Car (even if it burns oil and its dashboard doesn't light up)
16.     Financial Stability
17.     A Place to Live
18.     A Job
19.     Days Off and Vacations
20.     The Warmth of the Sunshine
21.     Sun Rays through the Clouds
22.     Pretty Flowers
23.     Mountains
24.     Beaches
25.     Grain Fields
26.     Snowmen
27.     Hot Chocolate
28.     All Other Forms of Chocolate
29.     Blankets to Keep Us Warm
30.     The Dollar Theater
31.     Redbox
32.     Walks in the Snow
33.     Walks not in the Snow
34.     Babies with Goofy Grins
35.     Fun Animals that make Us Smile (especially baby ones)
36.     Our Bed and Pillows
37.     Dancing, Running, & Hiking
38.     Cookies
39.     Brownies
40.     Blueberry Muffins
41.     Airplanes
42.     Bubbles
43.     Warm Showers
44.     Orthodontia
45.     Insurance
46.     Smiles
47.     Chapstick
48.     Olive Garden
49.     McDonald’s
50.     Arby’s
51.     Wedding Pictures
52.     The Last Name of ‘Francis’ (so glad it isn’t a crazy weird one)
53.     Brigham Young University
54.     Scholarship Money
55.     FAFSA
56.     Our Matching Bathroom Decor
57.     The Internet (used responsibly)
58.     Our Wedding Rings
59.     Personal Computers
60.     Padding Under Carpets
61.     Our Couch
62.     Our Waffle Maker
63.     Running Water
64.     Electricity
65.     A Refrigerator
66.     A Microwave
67.     Macaroni and Cheese
68.     Happy Music
69.     Christmas & Holidays
70.     Living Apostles and Prophets
71.     A Television (even if we don’t get cable on it)
72.     Board Games
73.     Frosty’s
74.     Chicken Nuggets
75.     Berry Smoothies
76.     Costco
77.     Papa John’s Pizza
78.     Little Kids Waving
79.     The Cutest Trick-or-Treater Ever
80.     Blogs
81.     Slippers
82.     An Education
83.     Opportunity to Succeed
84.     Tall Buildings
85.     Bicycles
86.     Exciting Public Transportation
87.     Gmail
88.     Clothes to Wear
89.     Warm Towels Fresh out of the Wash
90.     Movies
91.     Reusable Water Bottles
92.     Pasta Roni
93.     Good Health
94.     Traditions
95.     Jokes & Laughing
96.     Lots of Colors
97.     Paper Airplane Competitions
98.     Laying in the Grass
99.     The BYU Duck Pond
100.Road Trips & Audiobooks
101.Counting Blessings

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Highly Recommended

We rented Arthur Christmas last night (focusing on Christmas is the only way that Caitlin can avoid emotional distress and cope with the recent snow), and it was really good!  We awarded it the coveted 'Francis Five Stars' (first production to be endowed with such an honor--possibly because I just made it up).  But it was surprisingly funny and very family-friendly, so we wanted to recommend it to anyone looking for a good way to kickoff the upcoming Christmas season!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Good News!

We have good news!  After a month or two of interviews, I received an offer from Goldman Sachs!  I will be working in the Finance Division of the Salt Lake City branch.

This is the '222 building' that will be my new home for the next few years!  We are so excited to have received an offer.  Shortly after the on-campus interview, Caitlin and I decided that it would probably be best to delay graduation a semester and aim for quality summer internship to boost my resume.  I honestly didn't even think I would get an on-site interview!  When I got a call-back to come in and interview in SLC, my thoughts were, 'Great!  This way I can see what it is like so I will be prepared for next year!'  Never did I think that I would get an offer and save myself an extra year with no income!

Probably the coolest thing about Goldman Sachs is the building (only half joking)!  First off, I am from Montana and love any building that has more than four stories.  Honestly though, you cannot help but feel important inside.  You go through the big, spinning doors to the main lobby.  Then, since I was just interviewing and not an employee, I had to go to the main desk and check in.  They printed off a card for me (with my name and a barcode on it) that I had to slide into machines to enter anything from the elevator room to the bathrooms.  (Employees have the barcode on their actual Employee ID card.)  Once I was in the elevator room, there were six different elevators--each set of two accesses a different set of floors!  I didn't even know that existed (although it makes sense, and I am sure I will love that feature when going to the 20th floor every day).  The desk below alerted the desk on the floor that I was going to of my arrival, so when the elevator opened there was a man in a suit waiting for me who greeted me by name!  (That feature probably won't exist daily as an employee unfortunately.)  Best of all though, there were several TV's on the walls playing ESPN.  It seems they are no amateurs when it comes to recruiting!  They know exactly how to impress a 23 year-old college kid! 

So now I will graduate this coming April, and Caitlin and I will be off to Salt Lake City!  We are happy about the location too--still within driving distance of both of our families.  While it certainly would have been an adventure to head back East, we aren't too sure we are ready for all that change at once...maybe in a few years!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween & Pumpkin Fun

For Family Home Evening this week, Caitlin and I created pumpkin masterpieces!  Despite the fact that we forgot to buy a pumpkin carving kit (highly recommended by the way - the mini carving saw makes life so much easier), we still managed to muster vaguely recognizable pumpkins: a kitty and a jolly gourd head.

Unfortunately, Caitlin's pumpkin had been abused before purchase.  The mushy bruise on the side (approximately the shape and size of Africa) developed about a day after we picked out our favorite ones.  This called for a last-minute design adjustment due to the predetermined optimal carving angle now being compromised.  Luckily the pumpkin's innards were still intact!

My pumpkin, however, was unblemished.

The stem is Caitlin's favorite part of a pumpkin.  I kept finding really good ones for her...but the stems just never seemed to be adequate.  In the end, though, we had two very fine-stemmed pumpkins! 

Here we are showing off our creations!  (This is where it is nice to have a 5 year-old child to pose with the pumpkins...otherwise, it turns out, you just look like a 5 year-old.) 

And the final product!  Our two new pumpkins out on the porch with our giant, light-up friend from Deseret Industries.  Apparently our decorations were enough to convince the neighbor children we were fun, because we had our first trick-or-treat'ers as an old, married couple!

Our favorite little trick-or-treat'er was so cute.  He had the stature of a mighty 2 year-old, but he was surprisingly articulate.  He was dressed in an extremely padded superhero suit--I want one.  I have no idea where his parents were (hopefully at the bottom of the stairs or something), but he was flying completely solo.  He knocked really softly--twice before we heard him--and when Caitlin opened the door, he asked in the most timid voice, "May I trick-or-treat, please?"  Caitlin bent down and asked if he would like to choose his own favorite candy.  "Yes."  Then, after getting his 3 Musketeers (good choice, might I add), he backed away slowly and gave us a little thumbs-up, saying, "Thank you very much.  Have a nice Halloween."

I think it took a year off the time Caitlin is willing to wait before having children.