Sorry for the delay in posting a new update. My little sister has been berating me nonstop to post something new and since I didn't get her anything for Christmas, I thought this could suffice.
We left Phoenix last Friday and booked it to El Paso where we stayed with Paige's Uncle Frank, Grandpa Derf (Fred spelled backwards...don't ask) and cousin Marie. Saturday we got up early and pushed all the way to Houston.
Highlights from the drive included eating at a pizza hut buffet in New Mexico, reviewing an "entrance exam" on Smyth family history given to the new fiance of one of Paige's cousins, and driving for 18 hours on I-10. My favorite question from the quiz was from the essay portion: "Explain in 1000 words why you want to be a part of the Smyth family. Because I'm in love with a member of the family does not count. Please be specific."
We've spent the last few days in Houston wrapping up Christmas shopping, hanging out with friends and family and getting settled into our new home with Justin. My best friend Justin recently bought a house in Houston and has graciously offered to let us bunk down with him until we get our own place. We are going to use his place as home base during the rest of our time off. Then we'll live with him for a few more months after we settle into Houston while we save some money to get our own place.
We're spending Christmas with Paige's family then heading to Dallas to spend some time with my family next week. We will probably spend New Years in Houston.
It has been a nice change of pace to settle a bit in Houston. When we initially packed the car for the roadtrip we also had to pack our whole house at the same time. With everything going on, we ended up with more crap in our car than we would have liked. After three weeks on the road, we've figured out exactly what we need and what we don't and we're glad to have the opportunity to trim the fat. I think Emma has also enjoyed having a bit more stability. Between being on the road and not being able to exercise because of her hurt paw, she was starting to get a bit antsy. I think Paige has also enjoyed the stability as well. The simple act of getting settled in with Justin and knowing where all of our stuff is has been a surprising relief. I've had a lot of fun exploring Houston (as opposed to Houston's suburbs) for the first time and I think we're going to end up surprised at how much we enjoy the city. Houston is wildly different from Portland, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. At first pass, there seems to be a lot of things to enjoy. That being said, we're still looking forward to getting back on the road and seeing the country.
Here're a few pictures from the last leg of our trip (Las Vegas to Houston):