Friday, December 27, 2013

The Importance of Being Content

It's been an interesting Christmas season in a lot of ways. My family (parents and siblings) are still going through a few things from Christmas, but beyond that particular event of which I will not give details here and now, I've had a lot to think about. It's been a tough financial season for my little family (husband and children). Our work situation isn't what we thought it would be and I now have 2 jobs (one is very, very part-time), and Cory has a job and is seeking a second. We've always worked through school with our kids, so we're no strangers to work. It's fine. We'll be fine. We have faith that the Lord will provide for our needs as long as we remain faithful and keep His commandments (including tithing). And we have been greatly blessed.

You know that scripture in Malachi that talks about paying your tithes and offerings and the windows of heaven will pour down more blessings than you have room to receive? Well, we have seen that. When we couldn't afford it, we were given more food than our kitchen could hold. We have had 4 gallons of milk in our freezer because we didn't have room in the refrigerator. My brother-in-law took Cory salmon fishing and stocked us up on some really delicious salmon. Our neighbors have shared what they have when they could. Aside from food, we have had friends, family, and neighbors give our kids more clothes than we have room for in drawers and closets -- including a few toys too. My children and I have really appreciated it. We drove down to Oregon to visit family for Christmas, and to be able to pay for gas, we weren't able to buy gifts for our kids. We knew that grandmas and grandpas would get the kids some things for Christmas, so we weren't worried about them getting nothing. But it broke my heart that WE couldn't get them anything. They still had plenty to open, thanks to their Aunt Kristy sharing some things she was going to give her kids, and grandma and grandpa's generosity. We're going to get the kids a couple small things at the after-Christmas sales. Olivia will probably just get a couple things to help potty training in a month or so, and we'll get Emerson....something.

Aside from giving in our own family, I was a little saddened by a few things I saw on Facebook both before and after Christmas. There was a lot of "my child wants such-and-such for Christmas -- how do I find this obscure/expensive/popular thing?" Now, I totally understand the desire to give your kids everything they want for Christmas. I understand wanting to see your kids' faces completely light up on Christmas morning. I understand not wanting to disappoint your kids. But there comes a point when enough has to be enough. When you have to say, "It's okay, you really didn't NEED that thing, and look at all the other stuff you got!" I mean, I have heard stories about kids being so disappointed in what they did or didn't get, that Mom and Dad felt the need to go get their kids MORE gifts just to appease the sad children -- or teens. It breaks my heart that we completely lose the meaning of Christmas and WHY we give gifts. It breaks my heart that we can't teach our children to be content with the things they have. Cory and I have decided (a while ago actually) that we aren't doing any Santa gifts beyond what can fit INTO a stocking. All other gifts will be from family and friends. I know that's easy to have ideals while our kids are young, and another to implement them.

One of my greatest desires is to raise my kids to be happy with what they have so that they truly appreciate when others do something kind for them. I know too many people who just expect things to be given to them, and generally, they're not happy people. There's a great deal of joy in being content; in not expecting. It took me a long time to learn to be content. I'm still working on it. And I hope that if I can get there, it will be easier to teach my children and develop that in them.... I hope.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Baby Hungry

I'm baby hungry. Like I don't have a baby...right? I have a lot of friends having or announcing babies right now. Several with twins even! I think it's more like I'm pregnancy hungry. No worries, it's not happening. (I can hear several of you already smirking and saying to yourselves, "riiiiight"... or ,"you never know...".) No really. It's not happening. We aren't having another baby until Emerson is AT LEAST 18 months old. My body needs time to heal. I need time to get into a shape smaller and better than the shape my body is currently in. I need to be healthier. I also really need to know what the next two years will bring... you know... grad school and all. If I get into my program, we'll have to plan it just so. If I don't, well, we have more wiggle room. An April baby sounds nice...

On the weight loss front, I'm down 24 lbs since coming home with Emerson. Yay! I still have about 35 to go to get back to my ideal. It's do-able. I've already passed my first goal, so double yay. 8 more until the next. It's been a rough couple weeks with sick kids, Halloween, and of course the day I decide to go back to the gym, a power transformer goes down and blacks out the majority of northern Seattle. No gym. But I finally got back today and it felt great! I ran 2.5 miles and lifted weights (an old new favorite -- your burn 15% more calories lifting weights). Thank goodness for the YMCA catering to poor people and their income-based fees. I told Cory today that I need to start going to the gym every day. Luckily they have childcare there free for members. Olivia loves having "play dates" with all their toys and the other kids, plus, I'm right there, so I don't feel terrible about leaving my kids with strangers. They have giant windows so parents can see everything that's going on. And yes, I'm that parent that checks up on my kids every 10 minutes or so. Since the kids have been sick, we haven't taken them and have had to alternate trips to the gym. It has made it a little tougher to coordinate. It might be tricky for me to go everyday too, but I really, really need it. I need to get this weight off, and fast (without going to extremes here, people). I just want to be healthier. We started by not eating out anymore. We do only when absolutely necessary (like when the power went out and we couldn't grocery shop after we ate all our food... or on the road). We cook healthy food and eat proper portions. And now, we exercise. It's going to be a good, healthy winter.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bubba is 4 months!

It has been a LoOOooooooOOOOoooooOOOOoooonng time since I've blogged. But it's Sunday, and Emerson is 4 months today, so I figured, why not!? That, and I'm so far away from my sisters and need to stay in touch with them... so I'm doing my part to keep them updated with us since we are terrible at calling.

We are all settled in our new apartment in Shoreline. The area is great. We're not too far from anything and it only takes Cory about 30-40 minutes to get to campus on the bus. His school schedule is great so far since he's not working yet. (He's supposed to have a meeting for his research lab at the end of the week... so hopefully after that he'll actually be working 10-20 hours a week. Hooray for an income!) The kids and I get to see him a lot! And I love that. We're also only 3 hours from the in-laws, which is awesome for all of us. We actually went up this weekend for Krystal's birthday (which is actually tomorrow) and to open Phillip's mission call (to Santiago, Chile!!!). Since Cory isn't quite working yet, and we really have no idea what his hours will be, I decided to find a job as well. I ended up getting hired at Macy's seasonally and started training last week. I'll finish up my training tomorrow, but won't have any real hours until November. Honestly, that's fine with me. And I should be able to get hours that coincide with Cory's school/work schedule so we don't have to leave kids with a babysitter ever. That sure would be great.

Now that we've been here a month (exactly!), and been to our ward a couple times, they finally know we exist and have been asked to speak in church. I get to speak next Sunday, and Cory will speak the following Sunday. Apparently they like to be kind to the parents of young children folk. Thank goodness for that! I like speaking in Sunday when you're brand new to a ward because it gives the ward an opportunity to get to know you without having to say your name about 50 bajillion times. You're more approachable to the more apprehensive. The ward seems SO nice already. I think we'll really love it here, which is great since we really want to try to buy a house/townhome (something!) next year and it's good to know of at least one GOOD area to look. (Renting is ridiculously expensive, and we can cut our housing expenses in HALF or LESS if we can find a house in our price range...which just makes good sense since we'll be here at least 4 years.)

On to the kiddos:

Olivia is almost 16 months now! She's chomping at the bit to go to nursery. Cory will go in there with her some Sundays because she just loves it and it's getting to hard to contain her during Elder's Quorum . In this ward, they meet in the cultural hall on the stage, so running around really isn't an option.

She is jabbering all over the place! And she's just the funniest kid. She loves to be scared. One of our favorite games is to have Olivia chase me, and I'll run around a corner and pop out yelling "boo!" as she approaches. She will say "boo! Boo! Boo!" until we play. She also LOVES "Popcorn Popping," "Do As I'm Doing," "Wheels on the Bus," and tons more. She absolutely LOVES puppies too. In the Deaf ward after our ward meets, we have to remind her not to bother the service puppies while they're working. (There are 2... so it's really hard for her.) Olivia is now down to 1 nap a day, unless she's not feeling well. I'm not so sure I'm ready for only one, but she doesn't seem to need 2, so we go with it. We also joined the local YMCA and Olivia loves to play with the other kids. She has absolutely no social fears (so far) and the second we walk in the door, she's gone. She doesn't like leaving either. She makes friends everywhere she goes. We just love our sweet and sassy little girl!

Emerson is 4 months today. He's a little string bean! We still need to get to his 4-month check-up, but we're trying to work out this insurance mess and don't have a pediatrician yet... so no stats. But the kid has abs! There is no chub on him at all! But he has the sweetest little face, is ready to smile any time, but also gets the saddest little face when he's upset. It's hard to sympathize because it's just too cute. In the past month my boy has learned to roll over both front to back and back to front. He twists every which way, so one minute he'll be on his floor gym grabbing his toys, and the next, he's 2 feet away in a completely different position and orientation. His sister did that too, so we're not surprised. We put him in his own room for the first time about a week ago, and he seems to sleep a little better. Before we moved he was sleeping through the night... a full 8 hours! Since being in Washington, we haven't had such luck. He still wakes up at least once and it's usually more like 2-3 times. It's tough, and mommy is tired. You'd think with how much he eats, he'd sleep all day! At least in the past week or 2 he's been taking really good naps. Hooray! He used to sleep for 15-20 minutes and be good for another 4-5 hours. Now we get at least an hour! I attribute that to his pooping at least every other day now. Hooray!

That's our little family so far. We are looking forward Thanksgiving at Ma and Pa Scott and Christmas at my sister Kristy's in Oregon!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

We're Not Dead!

I promise. We've just been doing a lot. Thanksgiving was great. It might be one of the last we spend in Utah for a while. Olivia had a great time at Gma and Gpa Parker's. I wish we had taken pictures... especially of Olivia sucking on a giant hunk of turkey. She did NOT want to let go. But she ate plenty of mashed potatoes, yams, and cream pies. Since she loves food, she was a very happy camper. She's to the point where if she doesn't eat cereal or some other filling solid food, she just eats and eats and eats all day... which is hard on mommy. So I'm really happy she's eating mushy foods now. Some of her favorites are bananas, of course, peaches, sweet potatoes, carrots, pears, and really anything you put in her mouth. She's not a picky eater. Messy sometimes, but not picky. She has gotten really good at not putting her fist in her mouth while eating and getting food into the back of her mouth to swallow. There have even been times where we haven't really had to wipe her down afterward. We have a smart kid. Well, on to some more exciting news... Cory and I are moving! We have some friends in our ward who are in a 2-bedroom that isn't a basement (meaning lots of windows) that costs a little less that what we're paying now. We would have to pay an extra utility, but in the end it will balance out, or be pretty close to it. It's just a little bit bigger, but having 2 bedrooms instead of 1 will really help with the clutter issue we're facing now. We just have no room to put Olivia's stuff. We've made it work, and we could totally continue to make it work, but if we're going to be here for 6-8 more months, we may as well have a little more space, right? We haven't broken it to the landlord yet. We will next week when we pay rent. But we fully intend on trying to find another tenant to fill the vacancy. It seems like the right thing to do. That's about all that's going on with us. We're looking forward to our first Christmas with Olivia. We're discovered that Olivia has some eczema, but nothing really concerning. I have 9 days left of classes until I am completely done with my undergrad work. We're almost done with grad school applications. And right now we're just working away... nothing too exciting. That's life.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

It's Been A While

Cory and I started up a photo website so we can share pictures of all our adventures with our loved ones. It's been great, but I've been updating that far more often than I've been blogging. We're well into the school semester and it's been going great so far. Cory is finally starting research on people, and that's going great too... after we worked out a few kinks in the system. Olivia still has a few rough days (and I'm sure that will always be the case), but we really couldn't have asked for a better, happier baby. School so far has been fantastic. Only taking 2 classes and actually getting about 20 hours of work a week consistently is wonderful. I've never felt so relaxed at school. Even with a baby. I love my classes. I actually understand the materials. AND, I finally took the GRE. I feel like I did pretty well. We'll see how well I really did once they score everything and give me my percentile grade. That might not be for another week. My new goal, now that I've taken the GRE and don't think I'll have to take it again, is to get my letters of recommendation and letter of intent. I've talked to, and set up appointments with various professors to write letters. What they want me to do, since apparently my 3.6 GPA isn't that great (BYU.... geez), is to write a resume, essentially, of all the experience I've had with anyone who has/had a disability, delay, or any other kind of special need. Well, I started writing a list, and it turns out to be a pretty short list... even though I do have a lot of experience compared to most people. So hopefully I can get that together by Monday when I have my next meeting with a professor. The letters will be the easy part. The hard part is this letter of intent. I have to hook these admissions boards. I need to show them my innermost desires, without being cliche about it. They need to get to know me. But I have to do all that in 500-1000 words. Yikes. My goal is to have that written in the next 2 weeks. My overall goal is to have these applications completed and submitted by November 1st. That's well before finals, well before most applicants will be submitting, and it will give them an opportunity to see that I get things done early, and I mean business. What's plan B? Well, if I can't get into any of the grad programs we're applying for, we'll go where Cory and I feel is best and I'll apply to that school again the next year. Right now our #1 school is in Buffalo, NY. It's far away, but it's a phenomenal program in what I REALLY want to do. And it offers Cory a dual Master's degree in audiology and business. The other draw to Buffalo is that the housing market is actually affordable. For us. We could probably put an offer on a house. A HOUSE! Many of the suburban homes there run in the 50k-100k range. And we're talking 3 and 4-bedroom homes! They're older, and smaller, but still! We would have a yard and I could plant a garden. Olivia could play outside, and we could potentially get a dog (after I graduate)! We would have enough space to have another baby before we graduate. Our #2 school is University of Washington in Seattle. It's a much more expensive program and higher ranked. They also have a program that really appeals to me in what I actually want to do. The drawback there is that there is no way we could get a house. No way. A condo, maybe. The big pull, though, is that it's MUCH closer to family. And we LOVE the Pacific Northwest. LOVE IT! No matter what happens, the Lord will help us go where we need to go. And we're the kind of people that grow where we're planted. We're not particularly fond of Provo, but we have grown here, and we love it for that. On another note, Olivia is growing like a weed! She's roughly 14lbs. now. She's rolling from her front to her back pretty comfortably, she can roll from her back to her front but it's harder for her, she squaks like a little bird all the time, she scoots around on her back by pushing off the ground with her heels (and gets pretty far!) and she is JUST. SO. HAPPY! She is the cutest kid. She loves her Daddy so much. She just lights up every time she sees him. He can make her laugh like crazy with just a look. It kind of makes me want another baby right this minute. I guess we'll have to wait, but I love my little family, and I'm excited to watch it grow through the years. We sure have had some fun, and there's a lot of change coming in the near future. If you want to keep up on the actions and want to see any of our photo site pictures, here's the link: The password is: trio2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Great Blessings and Revelation

Cory and I have been feverishly trying to find him a job the past several weeks. After interviews, and not hearing back from them, I started to panic. I knew he would find a job...eventually. It was the timing I was worried about. Last Friday was supposed to be his last day working on campus, so he needed a job by then. Let me just say, we have been incredibly blessed. Cory's boss on campus got the dean to approve an extended employment as a non-student. Once that happened, I panicked much less. A day or two after that, Cory was offered a job for (a genealogy research company), then a few days after that, he was offered another job at a local grocery store. So now Cory has 3 jobs for the next month until he is finished working on campus. He'll be working at Ancestry in the mornings before I go to class, and working at the store after I come home. So, essentially, we won't be seeing each other for a little while. But, it's only temporary. Once I'm finished with classes in December, we'll get to see each other again. Hooray! The next two weeks are going to be extra busy as he's training and we're getting into the new schedule. This past Wednesday I got a call from the ward executive secretary to meet with the bishop. Cory and I walked over to the church (since it's a block away now) and the bishop called me to be the 2nd counselor in the Relief Society. Oh boy. As timid as I may feel about this calling, I had a sweet reaffirmation that this calling is for me and is from God. I also got to teach RS today (they called me to sub about 3 weeks ago). It was one of those moments where I prepared, and as I stood up to teach, felt prompted to just throw all my preparation to the wind and go with the Spirit. It ended up being a wonderful experience. I'm so grateful for those tender mercies. As it turns out, The RS president originally wanted to call me to be a teacher. When she went to pray about who to call for the 2nd counselor, she wasn't even thinking of me, but felt very distinctly that I was supposed to be that counselor. I just think it's amazing. I'm grateful, excited, and am definitely going to have to rely on the Lord for this one.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Olivia's Blessing Weekend!

What a busy and beautiful weekend! Saturday, all the family drove in. Cory's family (including his sister from Missouri) and my parents (and Aunt Sue came too!) all came and set up for the weekend. I got to spend a little time with my mom and Sue. Cory and I were busy getting all sorts of food ready for the luncheon for after church. Luckily, it didn't take too long to get Olivia to sleep that night. We had to let her cry just a little bit, but she fell asleep within 10 minutes. Sunday morning, Cory and I woke up nice and early so we could get out the door by 7. We wanted to make sure we had time to get Olivia fed and dressed as well as talk to someone in the bishopric and make sure any needed paperwork was filled out. Things got a little hectic right as church was starting, mostly because when you put the address of the church into a GPS or googlemaps, it brings you straight into a peach orchard. If I had realized that ahead of time, I would have sent out directions with the baby announcements and invitations. At least mostly everyone we were expecting was there on time, and everyone turned up eventually.
The blessing was simple and beautiful. I wrote down a little of it for Olivia's baby book so she'll have some record of it. Of course, I got a little teary-eyed. It was such a tender moment.
After Sacrament meeting, Cory and I went back to grandma and grandpa's to get the luncheon set up so people would be able to eat once they arrived. The luncheon went well. We took lots of pictures and I ended up with about twice as much food as I really needed, which is great so Cory's family will have some left-overs for a meal or two. I'm so grateful for all the friends and family that came, and to the Parkers for letting us use their yard (not to mention borrowing chairs from their neighbors).
Once we got everything cleaned up (really, Cory and his brothers cleaned up most of it since I was in feeding and taking care of Olivia), we started gearing up for Aubrey's baptism. Since so much family was already there, Cory's parents just decided to have her baptism there and then, which was perfect. I'm glad we got to be there for it. Cory played an arrangement I sang to, Grandma Parker wrote a song about baptism that she sang, Joshua and Jacob gave talks, and countless others held exhausted babies. Everyone helped out and made it wonderful. Aubrey and Jared (who baptized her) changed in record time. Aubrey really wanted to be there as everyone sang Primary songs so she could sing too. She really loves to sing and wants to be in the spotlight. It's a little funny, but mostly sweet. With some lessons, I think she'll be a really good singer! After the baptism, we went back to the Parker's and hung out for a while. Cory, Joshua, Dad, and I played Rook and watched the Olympics. Olivia started to get pretty fussy, and it was late, so we headed home. Joshua and Jared came down with us so Jared could buy Cory's car from him. Since Olivia was so tired, she cried the whole way down. Jared and Joshua tried so hard to sing her to sleep. It mostly worked until they started to sing a song about Star Wars. Apparently she's not a fan. Luckily, we were 5 minutes from home by that time. It was a wonderful weekend and I feel so incredibly blessed. We have so many friends and so much family who love this little girl. That really is the best feeling in the world.