Friday, February 6, 2009

Cody Scott arrives!

Yesterday was a good day.  Julie flew to Utah the night before last to be with Nikki for the birth of grandbaby number two.  She timed it just right.  Cody Scott Moran was born last night about 5:30 Mountain Time.  He weighed in at 6 lb, 15 oz.  He is healthy and according to reliable sources, "perfectly adorable."  Nikki is doing well too.  I know she was more than ready for this baby to come.  

No pictures are available yet, but Julie is armed with a camera and 7 GB of memory.  When Ethan was born she came back with about 5 GB of photos and video.  I have no doubt we'll be approaching that record again.  When she gets back in a few days, I'll post some pics.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Where have you been?

Why the Blog?
One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog, is because I felt so incredibly bad for not communicating very well with our family and friends.  I have great intentions, but in the end any attempt to write a clever year-end summary of our life always seems to end up as just that.  Good intention but not anything on paper.  I'll try to rectify that from now one.

On the road again...
In the past few years, we've moved around the country quite a bit.  After living in the Atlanta
 area for 10 years, we had truly grown to love the area and the friends we had made.  It was home and the relationships we had built over the years had grown into something like family.  It
 was tough to leave Georgia.  Delta Air Lines had treated me great, and I owe a lot to them for the experience I had gained while working there.  The church had given us opportunities to serve
 that we might not have had anywhere else.  However, we felt like we had concluded our time there and we needed to move on.  Georgia was as great experience for us but we felt the need to 
move for a variety of reasons.  It was a new chapter in our lives. We left Georgia in 1997 for Utah.  I had a great opportunity with a small start up company with a friend of mine I'd known since we were 12.  It was great to re-engage with him and to take advantage of all the things that are available for members of the church that there are in Utah.  It also allowed 
us to get to rekindle a relationship with Julie's mother and step-dad, and with my sister Lisa and her family.  My grandparents were an hour away and it was nice to see them as often as possible.  The girls enjoyed being close to family and getting to know their grandparents and great grand parents.  

Unfortunately my company let most of the staff go with the collapse of the dot-com era.  We really enjoyed our time in Orem and have a lot of good friends there still, but with no work and a collapsing housing market, we looked to California.

Karli's time to shine  
Moving from Georgia was hard for Karli.  She's a true southern girl.  Utah as tough for her to make friends.  Moving to California on short notice with only me, her dad, was difficult but she 
was a trooper.  We ended up living with my parents for almost 2 years.  It was cramped and challenging, but if it weren't for my mom and dad, we wouldn't have made it.  
I owe them a lot for saving us.  Karli quickly made friends and found out that Water Polo was a game that she really could excel at.  It was a new thing, but after getting cut from the softball team (which was a  crushing blow) she decided to try something new.  A couple girls from church was on the team, and that made the transition from shortstop to the pool easier.  She was learning to play the game, but was not an outstanding player.  Then during one of the games, the goalie couldn't play so the coach stuck Karli in to play the position because of her long arms.  Surprisingly to her and the coach, she was really good at that position!  From there, as they say, it is history.  She went on to be the JV Goalie, then the Varsity 
Goalie, eventually being honored with the team MVP award her senior year.  She was also the second highest rated goalie in the history of the team.  If she could stay and play Water Polo forever, she would.  

Nikki stays in Utah
When we moved to California, it was also a transition time for Nikki.  She was out of High School, had a boyfriend, and thought she needed to stay for him.  Luckily for her and us,  that relationship didn't work.  So, if you ever see an overweight wannabe guitar slinging musician, it may have been Nikki's betrothed.  Thank heaven that didn't work out.  The last I heard he was still living at home, being threatened by his parents to get a job and looking like he crawled out from under a 
bridge somewhere.  Boy, too bad we missed the 
opportunity to call him son.  Not.   Nikki tried her hand at several tele-marketing firms in the area before she decided that it wasn't her long term goal to talk on the phone until she retired, as lovely as that sounded.  She enrolled into a Dental Assistant program and really learned what it was like to work hard and study.  A lot.  When we completed the program, she worked as a dental assistant up until the time she got married.  Shortly after that, she became pregnant with our first grandson, Ethan.  Now, she and her family live in Clinton, Utah.  Her husband, Rob, works as an engineer in the C-130 program at Hill AF Base.  Our hope is that they can move closer and live in the south so we can see them more often.  For now, we're grateful that Rob has a good job and that everyone is healthy and happy.  We'll have to settle for the time we are together and enjoy what time we have together.

Looking for a job
In 2003 and 2004, getting a job anywhere was tough.  The dot-com bubble had burst and no body had jobs.  For 18 months I searched and did what contract jobs I could find to get money.  I even was a DJ for a Cotillion group.  They taught rich 12-16 year olds how to act in a formal setting.  The rich and famous from Palos Verdes, Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills and Irvine would all come out to learn how to dance, dress, talk, and eat.  Kids with names like Regan, Swartzeneggar, were in the group.  Their parents had old money from Disney and Hollywood.  Others were rich from the boom in technology.  Josh Grobin was an alum from the class.  It was a little out of my element, but it was fun and the extra money was nice.  I tried not to let them see the old Honda I drove in, while the parking next to the elite at the Riviera Golf Club which had their share of Bentley's, Lamborghini's, Mercedes, BMW's, etc.  

Eventually, I landed a contract job at Honda.  I worked there as a Project Manager for about 18 months.  The money was good and it was such a good feeling to be working again.  I'll never complain about my job again.  Anything is better than nothing at all.  Julie and I had decided 
that California was not going to be a long term solution for us.  We couldn't afford a house when anything worth looking at was at least $700,000.  That was way out of our league, so we rented.  Renting was not building any equity and we knew we had to find something out of state.  Nissan had just announced their plan to move their Headquarters to Nashville, and wondered if this was out ticket out.  Through the help of a friend at church who worked there, he helped me set up an interview.  After a few short weeks, I was extended an offer to come on as a full-time employee in Nashville.   We've been living in Tennessee now for about 2 1/2 years.  We really love it.  The trees are beautiful, the people are friendly, the food is great, real estate is affordable... isn't that all anyone could ask for?

Julie is our rock
I couldn't have made it through all the ups and  downs we've had if it wasn't for Julie.  She is always supportive to me and is a great mother to 
our girls.  She's rolled with the moves and worked hard to make the extra income we needed it and when I wasn't working.  If anything is good about our family, it's because of her.  

Julie is not only a great wife and mother, she's also become an outstanding Credit Union manager.  She works for the Nissan credit union, which is very small and requires many hours of her time to make everything keep working.  The CEO continues to lean on her for everything from getting the corporate computer systems working to setting up payroll in addition to running the branch at the Nissan Headquarters.  It's been especially challenging these last two years, as they have transitioned from California to Tennessee.  Many times they had to work out of a suitcase in a conference room, because they didn't have a permanent office until the new HQ building was built.  Now that they are in their new home at HQ.  Although they are settled in and have a real place of business, it's still a demanding job.  Somehow she seems to find the energy to pull it off with professionalism that is envied by her boss.  I don't know how she does it.  

In addition, for the last year or so she's also taken on the responsibility as Young Women's President in our ward.  The girls absolutely love her, even though Julie keeps faining like she doesn't know what she's doing.  Obviously she's doing something right.

Keeping it fun
Along the way, we try to have fun where ever we are.  We've had trips to Zion's National Park, beaches in California and Florida, Walt Disney World and Dollywood.  We love to spend time in the Smokey Mountains.  It's is so beautiful and peaceful.  All you can see for miles is trees and endless ridges of blue mountains.   Last year we had a family reunion in Nauvoo.  It was humbling and inspiring to see and hear what are ancestors accomplished.  We hope to be able to see many more sights together as the years roll on because we believe those things will keep us close.   If it does then it's worth the effort.

This is a pretty high level view of the last 20 years.  A lot has transpired, but I don't feel any older.  Wiser but not older.  Fatter and more bald maybe (why do you think I where a baseball cap in all my outdoor photos?)

If you made it through this whole entry, you need to be rewarded for the pain you must have endured.  I hope that we will be rewarded with your continued friendship.  Please come see us or at a minimum email us to let us know how you are doing.  Believe it or not, we think of all of our friends frequently and wish we could be your neighbors always.   Thanks for being a part of our history and our future.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Gettin' Hitched

We had some exciting news this past week.  Karli is engaged to Kyle Pulido.  That's him in the Minnie ears.  (He must really love Karli.)  They have set the wedding date for May 15, in the San Diego Temple.  I hope everyone can come.  There will be a reception that evening in San Clemente.  I'll post directions later.  We're just thrilled that they are so happy.

Scott & Julie

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Day 1

This is the beginning of the Matthews Blog.  My intent is to let our friends and family know what we're up to, and shrink the miles between us.