Merry Christmas 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Stringing Christmas Lights

stringing Christmas lights

Settling Into Life in Detroit

blue berkley bullock homeOur family has been in Michigan for a few weeks now, and I feel like we’re settling into normal life. Well, as much as possible.

November was a month of transition. Packing, driving cross country, starting a new job, finding my way around, and trying to catch my breath. We were fortunate to be able to stay with the Mero Family in Plymouth for a few weeks, who we knew from our time in Michigan back in 2008. We did the one-car double-commute thing for two weeks, where we’d leave Plymouth, drop Taylor off at the airport in Romulus, I’d drive to work in Troy, and then go back to Plymouth. It was 120 miles round trip, and very exhausting and time consuming. I flew back to Salt Lake two weekends in a row to pack, attend a going away party, and get some last visits in with friends and family. On the second trip back, Rosie returned to Detroit with me.

I began working as an SEO specialist at Moncur Associates, a digital branding agency. I will be focusing on SEO, but working with the social media team to integrate social and content strategies for our clients. It’s been an interesting transition to go back to SEO after doing full-time social media at my last job, but I know that my social media experience makes me a better SEO, and vice versa. When I began working, the office was in Troy. Three weeks later, the office had relocated to Southfield. It’s a convenient location to my house, and a pretty snazzy contemporary office.

wooden dining room setOn the last day of November, we got the keys to our new house in Berkley. Our house is a cozy blue 1920’s bungalow with a white porch, squeaky wood floors, and a good backyard. Berkley is a suburb 11 miles north of downtown Detroit. I know this because we live off 11 Mile Road. When we drove out from Utah, we packed as much as we could into the cars. Because we had to coordinate the moving truck with Taylor’s company, we knew it would be a while before our stuff was delivered. Right now, the estimated arrival date is December 30th.

Our Black Friday was spent furniture shopping. We got some fantastic deals, and purchased a dining room set, couch, and beds. Other than our new furniture and the miscellaneous STUFF we’ve purchased on our multiple Target/Meijer/Costco/Walmart runs, the house is otherwise empty. It will be nice to have all of our dishes, kitchenware, dressers, linens, decorations, and clothes, but for now…we have enough to get by.

7 foot artificial christmas treeWe debated over a real vs artificial Christmas tree this year. I was set on getting a real tree…until I went shopping for a real tree. I don’t consider myself OCD at all, but I started getting frustrated at the “fresh” trees I saw in tree lots. Most were severely asymmetrical and patchy, and really didn’t look very pretty. The ones that were full and looked nice had very sharp needles. Four lots later, I gave in to Taylor’s pleadings and got an artificial tree. As a consolation, we bought a lovely fresh fir wreath. With the tree set up, full of lights and ornaments, this alone has helped our house feel like a home.

Christmas will be simple this year. Taylor will be on a 4-day trip, so Rosie and I will be on our own. Luckily, many new friends and people in our ward have invited us to celebrate with them, so we’ll have ways to be merry in our new city.

I’m Moving to Michigan

detroit map pinLast night I updated my Facebook status, and mentioned our family’s move to Michigan at the end of the post. The general reply?

“Whaaaat? No! You’re Moving? Did I miss your announcement?!?”

Although I’ve been talking about our upcoming move for several months, I guess it’s never been official because I didn’t make a big to-do on social media.

So here’s the official announcement. Through the months of November and December, our family is moving back to the Detroit area. Taylor and I are driving out one car full of stuff on November 3rd, and the moving truck will probably come the first week of December once we’ve found a place to live. In the mean time, I’m going to stay with a family from our old ward for the days I’m in town. I’ll be in Salt Lake at various times through the next 5 weeks, but it’s going to be pretty busy with packing and moving preparation.

michigan mitten map print

To address the fact that it’s DETROIT I’m moving to: Yes, I know the city is bankrupt. Yes, I know the winters are cold. Yes, I know that it’s far away from Utah. Yes, I know you don’t like X sports team. But I’m okay with it. Our family needs this. And we’ve lived in Michigan before, so we know what to expect.

Taylor was transferred to Detroit back in March. He’s been commuting to Memphis for the last 4 years, but it hasn’t been too terrible because he could jumpseat on FedEx flights. Since he’s been based at DTW, he’s been dealing with two big stressors: living in a crashpad and commuting back and forth on standby. Both Detroit and Salt Lake City are Delta hubs, which means that a lot of passenger traffic gets rerouted at the last minute. He thinks he has a way home, then gets bumped. Or has to route through another city. It’s enough to take his 2-4 days home down to 1-3, and sometimes he’s home less than 24 hours before he’s gone another week. He’s hating crashpad life: 15-25 pilots sharing a hotel room full of crappy bunkbeds and one bathroom. Seven months of that torture has been enough to consider a career change. I don’t want him to quit his dream without giving life in Detroit another try.

michigan leavesRight now I’m being considered for a few different jobs, and will be flying out to Detroit for interviews in a few days. I’ve been job hunting for months, but earlier in the year didn’t turn out to be the right time to move. Now it is, and we’re being proactive. It’s scary to put moving expenses on a credit card and not know when I’ll have work, but sometimes a leap of faith is necessary.

It’s going to be difficult to leave Utah. We have such a strong support network for friends, family, neighbors, and former coworkers. We’ve been back in Utah 4 years, and it’s feeling harder to leave than when we left in 2006. But don’t you fret…we’ll still be back to visit. We’re planning to come back from Christmas.

Want to see us before we leave? On Saturday, November 16th, I’m going to hold a going away party open house. The location will be determined soon, but you can keep tabs on the event on the Facebook event. Hope to see you there!

 

Nine Years

taylor and nicole bullock anniversary

9 years
8 cars we’ve roadtripped in
7 days a week of “Taylorsmiles”
6 months from 1st date to marriage
5 years to finish college algebra and get your degree
4 states (Utah, California, Michigan, Georgia)
3 domiciles (DTW, ATL, MEM)
2 surgeries (and another one this week)
1 borrowed Toad the Wet Sprocket CD

From 2004 to 2013, I’ve spent 9 years at your side. Even when we’ve had to live and work across the country from each other, you never feel too far away. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been worth it to have you as my best friend and husband. Happy anniversary, Taylor.

My Funny Valentine

taylor collage

Eight and a half years.
Four states.
Six moves.
Adventures galore.

And I still get excited every time you walk into the room.

So many people said that meeting a guy I met on the internet wouldn’t work out. So many people said it was a bad idea for a newly-divorced single mom to be dating, let alone falling in love and getting married again. I’m glad we took chances. I’m glad you’ve been able to follow your dreams. And I’m glad that I borrowed your Toad the Wet Sprocket CD.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Tay.

Wordless Wednesday: Rosie’s TARDIS Nook Tablet

nook tablet with tardis decal

Bullock Family Christmas Card 2012


One hundred Christmas cards are in the mail, but I couldn’t send them to everyone. So instead, I’m posting it online for all my readers to see. Don’t you feel lucky?

I failed to write a Christmas letter to go along with our cards, so I’ll give a little update on what our family has been up to this year.

20121211-095732.jpg

Our family moved from Midvale to Lehi, Utah, this year, which was a fairly easy move after the 4 cross-country moves we made between 2006-2009.

Taylor is in his 5th year as a first officer pilot for an east coast-based regional airline. He’s been based in Memphis this year, and commuting to and from Salt Lake City can be tough at times. There is a FedEx base in Memphis, and pilots are able to jumpseat on the FedEx planes, so he often “FedExes himself” to work. When he’s not in the air or waiting around an airport, he likes to keep tabs on all the recent movies, TV shows, and video games, and is trying to reteach himself how to play the guitar.

20121211-095814.jpgRosie has been growing up faster than we can keep up with. She is turning into an amazing and eclectic young lady in so many ways. Rosie is in 6th grade and turned 12 years old in September. She loves being a Beehive in Young Womens, and is enjoying the countdown to being an official teenager. This summer, she was in Murray Community Arts’ production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and has a strong interest in theater (just like her mom). She got to see stage productions of “Les Miserables” and “Wicked” this year, and has the soundtracks on heavy rotation on her iPod. Her number one obsession right now is Doctor Who, which her Pinterest account will attest to.

20121211-095745.jpgMy year has been focused on regaining my health. I opted to have weight loss surgery as a tool to get my weight under control. So far this year, I have lost over 120 pounds, and I intend to keep working hard to lose the rest of my excess weight. Professionally, I am working as the social media manager for DegreeSearch.org, and am on the board of Social Media Club of Salt Lake City. My leisure time often revolves around blogging and social media events, and my trips this year included Charlotte, NC for Type A Parent Conference, New York City for BlogHer, and Atlanta for the Obesity Help weight loss conference. I’ve had a lot of success with my blogs this year, including some appearances on TV and mentions in the newspaper.

20121211-095657.jpgThe highlight of our year as a family was our trip to England in October. The three of us met up with our friend Clint, and we had a fab adventure together. We spent 4 days in London, seeing the sights, sampling the culture, taking lots of pictures, and meeting up with old friends.

Next, we rented a car and drove north to spend some time out of the city. We spent a day in Liverpool, a day in the Lake District, and ended our time in England in Manchester. When standby flights were full out of Manchester, we found out that we could get back to the US in business class on standby the next day from Dublin, so we hopped an Aer Lingus flight to Ireland for a day. We only got to spend a few hours in the city of Dublin, but it was fun to experience a little of the land of my heritage.

We would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year in 2013. Cheers!

Wordless Wednesday: Santa’s Little Helper and Rosie the Red-Nosed Reindeer

nicole and rosie by Justin Hackworth

Social Media And The Digital World Of Teens

Last week, I was featured in the Deseret News, one of the local newspapers in Salt Lake City, discussing kids, social media, and online safety. I’m pleased that people like what I have to say about keeping your kids safe online, because it’s such an important issue for me.

Libby, the producer from KSL News, gave my contact information to Lois Collins at the Deseret News after my Digital Divide interview on KSL Browser 5.0 aired. I spent some time with Lois on the phone, answering questions and discussing my opinions and advice on social media, online reputation, and safety for tweens and teens.

We talked about results of the Pew Internet And American Life Project (co-researched by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University). It was nice to be able to discuss the subjects as both a social media professional…and as the parent of a 12 year old daughter. Later in the day, photographer Jeffrey Allen came to my house to get some pictures of Rosie and me for the news story (whose photos I’ve posted here in this blog post).

From the news story:

Bullock has found online is a fun world for mom and daughter to do things together and learn about each other. She likes to see what her daughter “pins” on Pinterest. When she was using Instagram with vacation photos, Bullock said she helped Rosie set up her own account.

Bullock describes her daughter as responsible online and sensitive to things like vulgarity. They’ve had discussions about what might come back to haunt them when they apply to colleges or for jobs.

That’s an issue Bullock thinks about for herself now more than she did in the past. When she worked in a different field, she said, “I was more liberal (posting) about how I spent my weekends. She asks herself — and prompts her daughter: “Is this something you are comfortable with anyone in the whole world finding out about you? Forget privacy settings. If a friend’s privacy settings let the information about you out, would you care?” she asked. “It could be around forever.”

I think that as more kids gain access to smartphones, laptops, and other portable digital devices, this subject wil become more important for families to discuss together. I found this infographic on the subject helpful.

The digital world of teens

What are your thoughts on the subject? What do you allow your kids to do on electronic devices or online? Are you comfortable with your kids actions in the digital world?