A Sabbatical State

 - by Eric

I’m back-dating this post to fill out some major gaps in our poorly-kept family blog in 2013. While working at Adobe, once every five years, each employee is granted about a month of work off to do whatever they want,  whether it be a personal project, personal development, or extended vacation time with absolutely no expectation of availability from the company during the hiatus. It’s a fantastic idea, one that I fully endorse and support.

Usually these sabbaticals are taken in pursuit of some grand vacation or side project, but mine was a bit different. Instead of focusing on one solitary project, I split the time up into multiple weekly activities.

The first week consisted of dedicated family time with the 4th of July celebrations and everything going on with that. Nothing too exciting, but definitely a relaxing time to be had by all. During this time, I also started work on a fun little side project that I had been wanting to do for some time now. I never have enough time to play with the violin and enjoy music, so I thought I would make a cover music video, complete with a violin descant. A lot of brainstorming and initial work happened during this week, too.

The second week of the month focused on Scout Camp and swim lessons for the boys.  Being able to go to the pool every day and work with them to get comfortable in the water is something that means a lot to me given my storied past with learning to swim. And then of course in my new capacity as the Young Men’s president, I got to go up and have some fun supporting the boys working to get cool merit badges like shotgun shooting, boating, and aeronautics.

I wish I could have gone skeet shooting, too!

The third week was dedicated to recording, filming, and editing my cover video of Backwards by Matthias. I had been following his work for some time on YouTube, and I was really impressed with his skill and desire to create clean, enjoyable content. This video ended up encapsulating many aspects of expression from my life, including my time spent in Taiwan and attempts to broaden my creative horizons with video editing. All in all, I’d say it was quite the cathartic experience. You can watch the end result here:

The fourth week consisted entirely of a family reunion and trip to Disneyland. It was a lot of fun to include Daniel in this trip as well as let Sam enjoy the experience more as a four-year-old. I am sure we will have a whole separate blog post about that experience, so I won’t go into many details here. Suffice it to say, everyone in the family had a lot of fun, and we are so very grateful that Granny and Grandpa Hansen made it all happen for us!

The last week of July and first part of August was spent with more Young Men’s President duties. I spent all day Monday and Tuesday providing Priesthood support at the Young Women’s Camp up at Mutual Dell. I’ve never been so involved in YW Camp before, so I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. The girls seemed to enjoy how dedicated us adult males were in learning how to make wristbands and painting rocks during craft time, and we all had fun trying to outperform each other with progressively unique tricks on the zipline.

The YW sure know how to do breakfast!

On Wednesday, we loaded up the truck and packed up my car with bikes and boys to head down to Moab, UT for the high adventure. It was an incredible three days of biking, rafting down the Colorado, and hiking up canyons. It also justified the purchase of my new mountain bike in June, so now I have less of an excuse to get out on the awesome trails around our neighborhood.

Troop 1336 hiking up a canyon in Moab, UT

All in all, it was a very hectic month, and while a lot of it was spent in either family activities or volunteering efforts, I feel like it was time well spent.


Quick Catch-up post (Vacations, Reunions, and Moving)

 - by Eric

So…yeah, it’s been awhile, I know. We haven’t written not for lack of trying, but more for lack of time. I’ve also been really hesitant to write in fear of divulging too much information. I’ll give a recap of the events in this post and then will let Brittny write the novel-lengthed version later.

The fact of the matter is, we’ve been looking for a change. In my work, I had been feeling like my talents and abilities were suffering from atrophy and under-utilization. Since I knew I wanted to progress in my career path, I feared that if I stayed in my current position for too long that I would lose familiarity with the skills necessary for me to continue progressing. At the same time, the contract on our condo was coming to a close, and the landlord said that they wouldn’t except a month-to-month arrangement. We also weren’t any closer to going to China.

So I started looking at various opportunities. Picking up from where we left off in June, we had a chance to go see our good friends the Phillips in San Antonio, TX. It was really good to see them and also get a chance to check out Cody’s workplace, USAA. They have an excellent campus as their main Headquarters are located there in San Antonio. The city was very interesting in that it is a very large place in terms of population, but it doesn’t feel crowded at all. Everything is just fifteen minutes away, whether it be Sea World, the commercial district, or some other friend’s residential area. Brittny and Sam were able to accompany me in my interview, which was really nice for me and them. We spent the whole weekend, and Sam got reacquainted with Chandler. They became fast friends.

Brittny and Sam at Sea World

The very next week I had scheduled an interview in San Diego, CA. Since that wasn’t too far off from Thousand Oaks, we decided to make it another family trip. Sam was sort of a pickle on the car ride down, but he got tuckered out after ripping our portable DVD player to shreds!

Our little techie!

Sam’s finally at a stage where he can stand to be around other people, even if his parents aren’t there. This is a very good development, especially in the eyes of his grandparents. His grandpa Anderson had recently decided to raise chickens, and Sam loved chasing the “bock bocks” around the yard. Again, another fun trip, but very tiring.

Not to mention the fact that we still were not decided on what we wanted to do when the end of our contract came around, so before we left for the annual family reunions, we had to pack up our house and put everything into storage. What a chore! Especially since we didn’t know where we were going to end up at that point! Not to mention my work laptop was going on the fritz:

My screen did this almost daily!

So off we went to Wyoming for an Anderson reunion, camping at a KOA one of Brittny’s relatives owned. It was a fun time to meet more of Brittny’s family and show off our cute little boy! He really enjoyed the swimming pool there:

After that weekend, we pretty much went straight back to California, but this time for a Hansen family reunion. First, just the immediate Hansen’s got together and went off to Disneyland for an entire day. That was a lot of fun, but unfortunately I don’t have my video camera right now, so I can’t upload pictures or videos from it. It will probably be its own post, anyway.

For the rest of the week, we had a Lyon (my mother’s side) family reunion, which was a ton of fun. Sam got to play with most of his cousins, and Brittny got better acquainted with my huge family. Brittny also took initiative and helped out with organizing some of the events–mainly a series of “minute-to-win-it” type of games. She did really well, and it was fun to get more involved.

One of our favorite days that week was going to the beach. About halfway through the day, someone thought it would be a fun idea to bury Sam halfway in the sand, and the funny thing is that he enjoyed it! I think he enjoyed the attention more than anything else, but it was cool to see him have such a fun time.

Coool Dude!

All these vacations took us well into August, and after all was said and done, we had to come home–that being a temporary apartment set up in the basement of my parents’ new condo in South Jordan, UT. Since we still didn’t know where we were going to end up, there wasn’t really much we could do. We are so grateful that my parents let us move in temporarily while we try to find more permanent accommodations. Fortunately, many new opportunities have arisen in recent weeks, and hopefully I will have more good news for you soon. Until then, back to the grind…