A Year in Review (2020)

A Year in Review (2020)

Hello hello hello!

Well, I think we can all agree that 2020 was NOT the year we all thought it would be. With a global pandemic, a contentious election, racial injustice, a crashed economy, and the ‘In The Heights’ movie getting pushed back a full year, its been a doozy (and there are still a few weeks left!). As I think back on all 2020 has given us, it’s depressing… and it didn’t spare the Batirs. In April, we saw the oil futures plunge into the negatives for the first time in history, dashing all hope for Joe to find a job in the oil and gas industry in the near future. With his grant ending in May, we anxiously waited to see what the Lord had in store for us. The SMU Geothermal lab was able to keep Joe on until November at a reduced salary which was a huge blessing and a humbling reminder that we were some of the lucky ones. Many friends lost their jobs, had their salaries reduced, etc as the country tightened its belt. Then in September, Joe hydroplaned on the tollway wrecking his car. We definitely did not have a new car in the budget and though sharing a car was doable, it would prove tricky. But faithful friends rallied around us and offered their extra car at a price that met exactly what we had to spend. It seems that they wouldn’t be needing it anymore now that the pandemic moved his job remote permanently. A blessing in disguise for them and for us. As November approached, we watched as more and more layoffs were announced. Joe applied for the few job openings we could find but truly his options were limited. After praying and looking at the books, we decided that the best option for our family is for Joe to go out on his own as an independent contractor. We filed all the paperwork and Joe officially has his own consulting company, JoeCo Geosciences, LLC, and, by the grace of God, a few clients. With that said, 2021 will prove to be an interesting year for us as a family but we are trusting that the Lord will continue to be in control of it all. Huge shout out to our friends and our amazing family who has supported us through everything. We couldn’t have done it without you.

2020, with all its drama and mayhem, proved to be a year where we stripped everything to the bare bones. No fluff and no distractions. It has forced us to see the mundane as blessings and the blessings as privileges. But most importantly, it has shown us that we can’t take anything for granted. So as we put a bow on this present no one wanted, it’s my hope that amidst the sorrow and disappointments of this year, we can all look around and see the blessings we have in spite of it all. So from our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and good riddance to 2020.

Batir we go to EarthX!

Batir we go to EarthX!

Most people consider us a ‘granola’ family. We compost, recycle, make our own baby food, use cloth diapers, wear natural deodorant, have a urban garden, backyard chickens, etc. So obviously, us going to Fair Park to spend a day at EarthX 2019 is a no brainer. I tried to no avail to get friends and coworkers excited about this annual event, but not a lot people know what to expect. So let us show you! Welcome to a day at EarthX 2019!

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EarthX is the LARGEST ‘environmental experience’ in the WORLD! Right here in Dallas, Texas and it’s free! Usually aligning with Earth Day (this year it’s April 27th & 28th), Fair Park is taken over by planet-friendly vendors and environmental enthusiasts dedicated to helping the average earthling better understand how they can make a positive impact on the planet. PLUS, they give out a ton of free goodies to help you do so.

We started our day at Big Tex’s house. He isn’t there when the Fair isn’t going on but

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it made a great meeting place to rendezvous with my mom who decided to join us. Then we headed to the main exhibition hall which is full of over 200 vendors!

Though overwhelming, this is where you get your goodies. Joe likes to talk to every vendor and sign up for giveaways, raffles, you name it… which can take quite a while but when he comes back with free stuff, I can’t blame him! Check out the slideshow below to see just a taste of the stuff you can get throughout the park:

 

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Next, we checked out the tiny house exhibit. There are a group of tiny houses on display that people actually live in full time. As you tour their home, you can ask them anything you like from how much the house cost to how they are able to fit everything they need in such a small space. There was a family of 7 that converted a school bus into a home for $20,000! That’s crazy!

 

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Next, it was lunchtime, so we headed toward the food trucks. On the way, we passed by some goat yoga. Still don’t understand what the hype is but the yogis seemed to be enjoying it.

 

There are a ton of food options for you to choose from and they usually have a lot of vegan and veggie friendly trucks there if you are interested in trying something different. We grabbed chicken and waffles because, why not? We set up Jake’s portable highchair and let him snack on some blueberries while we munched away.

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Painted rocks from Grandma!

With our bellies full, we did a final walk around, got some free Tehuacan carbonated water (the new Topo Chico) and headed home. Since Jake is so young, we weren’t able to fully appreciate all the kids activities they have at EarthX. The entire Food & Fiber pavilion is full of arts and crafts, hands-on science experiments, and there are even animals to interact with. Another thing we love about EarthX is hearing from different vendors on new technology, cool new products, and updates on what’s new in DFW. Here are a few highlights:

 

There was this portable/instant/biodegradable grill that was really cool. For only $15/piece (2 for $20 at EarthX), this grill heats to 600 degrees in only 5 minutes and burns for almost 6 hours, allowing you to cook a full meal and have heat left over for smores. We thought this was such a neat idea for camping because it doesn’t require any clean-up. You can either throw it away or use it as kindling in your bonfire.

Coca-Cola has had a tent for the past two years showcasing what the company is doing to to be more sustainable. That’s cool and all but the thing we love about their tent is that they give away free rain barrels used from old corn syrup containers! A standard rain barrel can run anywhere from $60-$100 dollars so this freebie is definitely the best one at the convention.

We also stopped by Texas Outdoor Family’s table. Texas Outdoor Family teaches families the basic outdoor skills needed for a great camping trip. TOF is run by Texas Parks and Wildlife and after surveying the park visitors, they realized that the typical park campers are middle aged white men, which isn’t the best representation of the demographics of Texas. But camping can be intimating to families. Either they don’t know where to go or they can’t afford all the gear. So the TOF program encourages families to get outside explore all the awesome parks we have in Texas by providing all the gear you need and all the park fees for only $65 per family for the weekend. They even have a bunch of cooking supples you can pick through to make your camping trip a success. You just return everything when you are done. As avid campers ourselves, we thought this was a really neat idea.

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Overall, it was another successful year at EarthX. Tomorrow is the last day so be sure to check it out! Register online for free at their website (Earthx.org) or pay $5 at the door. And remember, it doesn’t take much to be more planet-friendly. Reducing your carbon footprint just a little bit makes a world of a difference. Happy Earth Day, earthlings!