Sunday, February 18, 2018

Keepin' On

Four weeks ago I had the immense privilege to be able to fly out to Utah on short notice to attend the temple with my family for my sister's endowment. An extra special tidbit was getting to attend my cousin's wedding in the same temple a few days later, catching up with family, meeting his new wife, and meeting his younger sister's, also my cousin, (now, 2 weeks later) fiance.

Four weeks ago I had to fly across the country with a 3-year-old and 2-month-old. !!!! But I survived. I even "lucked out" on multiple occasions; my first flight was out of Dulles, with a stop in Denver, and we would have had to leave our house before 2:30 in the morning to get there. Luckily for myself (unluckily for everyone else since there was only one other flight out of that airport that day), it got cancelled about 18 hours before departure, and I got to fly out of Baltimore on the more expensive nonstop, middle-of-the-day flight, for $0 extra. Score!

Fun fact: It is almost exactly equidistant from our home to fly out of any of the 3 major airports here: BWI Baltimore, DCA Reagan, and IAD Dulles. Each are about one hour and 15 minutes away, depending on time of day. To get to Salt Lake on Southwest, Baltimore has the only nonstop flight and is usually the least expensive, but Dulles occasionally has really good deals to get to Salt Lake, with just one stop in Denver. Reagan has never been a good option for me, but Caleb's had a conference to get to where the most convenient flight was out of that airport. Also - to get to Orlando from BWI is a short 2-hour flight, with one-way tickets usually priced around $80-90. Yes. It is always tempting.

To top off my good luck with the cancelled flight, both my flight to and from SLC had at least 8 empty seats, so I got to take Spencer's car seat on with me, giving him a safer seat, an easier way to nap, my arms a break, me better range of motion to take care of Claire's entertainment needs, and - best of all - the whole row to ourselves. Suh-weet!

We had a nice two-week visit, seeing grandparents, cousins and aunts and uncles. And Kendra (who should just be legally considered family at this point; Claire thinks she is one of her aunts). My in-laws all made a special trip to my mother-and father-in-law's home one Sunday and we got to enjoy the better part of a day together. I also was greatly spoiled by my mother-in-law with a trip to Cheesecake Factory in Salt Lake (complete with cheesecake, of course). My dad left work early that day to drive with us home, and I got to show Claire the beautiful Salt Lake temple again. My dad also got in the elevator to come down to the parking garage at just the right time and rode down with some VIPs, which caused him to fan girl a bit, but I think he held his composure. While there, Claire also got her first haircut, at a place called Cookie Cutters, where there was a mini playground inside, each chair had its own Netflix account (she picked Sofia the First, of course), and each chair was actually a racecar (much to the chagrin of all the stylists, I'm sure). Not much was taken off since her hair is still so fine, but she enjoyed the experience and it won't be hard to do it again in a few month or so.

I was terrified the whole visit about Spencer getting sick at any point, but we were all fine, and then we got home and all came down with colds, which mine is still not waning and just keeps getting worse. Thanks, Claire. Luckily (hallelujah) Spencer was only minorly sick for maybe 3 days, and was always able to eat without issue.

Spencer is 3 months old tomorrow! I've taken out all the 3-6 month clothes. He's mostly just too tall for everything smaller. A nice sister in the ward had her 4th and last kid about 10 months ago, her second boy, and has been giving me all their clothes as he's outgrown them. He's littler, so she just gave me the 3-6 month clothes last week, and I suspect that will be the last batch since he's smaller and Spencer seems to grow right on track with his age. It was such a blessing while it lasted! With that being said, I bought maybe 3 pieces of clothing the whole time I was pregnant and was given maybe 5 outfits at a church shower that were bigger than 0-3 months in size, so I've got to start purchasing clothing soon! I plan on waiting to buy too much until we move, though, or at least know where we're moving to.

That brings me to our next point: we are in the trenches of job applications!!! Just this week, I've applied to about 25 jobs or so with Caleb. We are a well-oiled machine, with me searching out the jobs during the day, getting approval from the husband for application at night, then spending the evening after the kids are in bed applying to jobs with all his info memorized and asking him for extra information when appropriate, while he works on his work projects. Neither of us are getting a lot of sleep, working until midnight or so each night the last two weeks. Let's hope I'm not screwing everything up! lol. While Utah is definitely on the table for moving, there are only so many openings, and only so many nonprofit hospitals.

If you remember, we need a job at a nonprofit for student loan debt pay-off and forgiveness. Nonprofit = forgiveness after 10 years. For-profit = forgiveness after 25 years.

At this point, we've got applications in in Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Missouri, Utah, California, Delaware and Hawaii (gotta at least give Hawaii a chance, amiright?!). When I find a job application and finish and submit it, I've searched the rest of that company's hospital system for jobs, and by doing that, Utah, Virginia and Florida have become more weighted than the other states so far.

We've gotten 3 nos so far: 2 in Utah, and 1 in Baltimore (I'm sure you can imagine how sad we are about that rejection ;D ).

A job is a job, and we will take one wherever it may be. Utah would be awesome, but until there are less specialized listings, he won't qualify for the positions, and with 2 pharmacy schools in Utah, in the Salt Lake Valley, and minimal clinical openings, they are likely to pull talent first from those schools. If we can't find a nonprofit, Caleb hopefully will be able to get a for-profit job right here, and we won't have to move until he finds a nonprofit job elsewhere.

Make sense?

I'm really feeling like a failure when it comes to doing anything with my kids or keeping house lately; I mostly just try to survive, keep up with the laundry, and we watch a lot of movies. I think Claire would really REALLY benefit from learning to read. I can't wait for the day when we live in a home above ground, where I can let her run outside and see her from a window, live in a neighborhood with sidewalks, and don't share walls with someone. My landlord moved out a few months ago to work in SC and his girlfriend was kicked out while I was in Utah, so technically we don't share walls right now, but we don't control the thermostat, or when the internet goes out, etc. Overall it's been a great place and I shouldn't complain (great deal, we're not freezing, we have cable and there's no mice), but I can't wait to be able to purchase our own home hopefully some day soon, and then deal with all the crap that comes with home-ownership. ;)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Cutie-Patootie Newborn

Taken at 15 days old, by the sister in my ward who wanted to "practice".

Pretty darn amazing for one of her first newborn sessions!

If anyone local ever wants her name just private message me. ;) heehee (not that anyone local is ever reading my blog, unless you are, hey-yoo!)





Monday, January 1, 2018

Student Loans Revisited

Remember a few months ago when I was so gung-ho about paying everything back?



YEAH!

ALL RIGHT!

LET'S DO THIS THING!

PAY ALL THE MONIES!



Yeah, I'm sure you were all rolling your eyes a bit. It's okay. I get it.

We paid for a consultation call with a well-rated guy who specializes in student loan repayment last month.

With all the numbers in front of us and put into his handy charts he ran up, it became clear that it doesn't make financial sense to pay it all off quickly.

So....we're currently on another repayment plan, REPAYE.

We're lucky in that as long as Caleb crosses his fingers, toes and eyes, fills out all the proper paperwork, works for a nonprofit hospital for 10 years of consecutive payments, and then prays really hard that it gets accepted still, the loan balance will be forgiven after 10 years. And if the nonprofit thing doesn't work out, after 25 years. But luckily, a lot of hospitals are nonprofits.

So the current monthly payment is so low that it is less than the amount of interest that accumulates on the loans in 3 days.

But it's probably still higher than some undergraduates' loan payments. LOL!

The advisor also gave us some rough estimates of how much we should invest in a separate account in order to have enough to pay the taxes on the forgiven portion in 10, or 25 years. And some other tools of where to strategically put our money to maximize the loan repayment benefits.

Good stuff, people. I highly recommend it; with as many times as I had run the numbers and researched the options, the consultation call was still useful in showing me a few new things, and also confirming what we already knew.

Unfortunately, it's not really exciting to watch someone make small payments for 10 years on a loan, so right now I'm not planning on blogging about it anymore.

The really exciting thing (for me) is that some money should hopefully be freed up with Caleb's next job, to save for a down payment on a home some day, and/or to build up some savings, maybe get a couch, you know. The basics. ;)

I consider ourselves really blessed regardless.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

December and Part of November Re-cap and also 2017.

So long time no blog. I haven't felt particularly inspired lately, and I'm not so good at typing one-handed.

I had a baby! in November. who likes to be held all the time.

{who wouldn't amiright}

So November 19, I woke up (actually was just falling asleep from being up with the 3-year-old munchkin) to my water breaking at 3:30 am.

Ta-da, I had a baby at 1:12 pm that day.

If anyone ever wants to ask, I have no problem telling you the birth story. I just feel weird typing it all out. Suffice it to say, I have no anxiety problems (yet) and don't foresee any happening from this labor and delivery. I consider myself very lucky indeed.

Also, props to the midwife who told me my second labor would be half as long as my first. First labor = 20 hours from wake up to birth. Second labor = 9 hours 42 minutes, to be exact.

I came home from the hospital on the 20th (that's 2 babies and 2 days in the hospital all together, folks, I'm apparently a great example of no concerns postpartum). Thanksgiving was the 23rd. I sent Caleb and Claire to a ward member's home for dinner, and they brought me back a plate of food. And a plate (or 2) of pie. My mom arrived on the 24th, Black Friday.

We spent 2 weeks and 2 days playing with my mom here in Maryland. She took Claire to the library, to McDonald's more than once, to the movies, to a local Christmas party at the fire station, to meet Santa, and on lots of other adventures. We ended the party by going to the National Zoo, seeing the zoo lights in the evening, and traveling to the temple to see the Christmas lights. And Cafe Rio.

Always Cafe Rio.

The rest of the month is kind of a blur. I spent almost all my time exclusively at home, save the medical appointments. It was at one of these appointments, Claire's first filling (joy), where she and I both picked up a stomach bug (probably, though you never really know).

I had the worst diarrhea in probably 15 years (TMI I KNOW but hey this is my blog), and Claire vomited and laid around and had diarrhea for 5 days, from Dec 23 to Dec 29, no joke. I am so grateful I was not pregnant during all that cleanup, and also grateful Spencer hasn't seemed to get any of the illness yet either. Also, I'm not sure if our bathroom has ever been dirtier, or cleaner. I've washed it over with bleach more times than I can count, but also, bodily fluids have been spewed everywhere more times than I can count in the last week or so.

Caleb also picked up a nasty cough.

I would say we enjoyed Christmas, which is not to say that we didn't, but it was surely the most odd one I've had.

Even more odd than the one I spent on the beach in the Caribbean. :D

That one was fabulous.

Caleb had to work. And before anyone says "waah", it's just life. Something you have to accept if you work in healthcare. Someone has to be at the hospital. If it were your family member, or you, having an emergency or admitted for a nasty illness, you'd want someone to be there.

Even so, it was a bummer. Yep.

And Claire was vomiting and laying around.

And I was exhausted from not sleeping.

So when Caleb got home from work at 4, we Skyped all the grandparents, and my 2 sister missionaries, and ate a semblance of a dinner (which really wasn't much of anything), and by that time, it was almost 8 o'clock at night, and then we opened presents. I'm pretty sure everyone in the world had opened their gifts under the tree by that time, ha!

So here I sit at the end of December, the end of 2017, and am thinking about all I want to accomplish next year.

Some moments I think I just want to survive, other moments I'm like "Hey self, let's learn French on DuoLingo and lose 25 pounds and finish all your sewing projects and move and get a job and be a super mom and donate breast milk and....."

So I think I'll just take things one moment at a time, take advantage of my highs, and stay calm during and work through the lows.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Speech

Image result for adele award acceptance

I'd like to thank my sick daughter and her sick friend for giving me a super-slow-developing body-aching cold as I enter the 39th week of pregnancy.

Shout out to you.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Riddle Me This

GMO's.

I have noticed the last few years that this topic is getting bigger and bigger....

...and I don't get it entirely.

I don't know why this is so hard for me to wrap my mind around.

I think generally, processed food is good to kick from my diet.

And I do relatively understand that GMOs are different now than what people learned about in 7th grade science class.

But every time anyone talks about getting rid of all GMOs in their diet I think of things like this:

Image result for broccoli

And this:

Image result for corn

And while I do understand that GMOs are generally created in a lab and not in the field, I really have a hard time understanding how this is much different. I'm not saying it's not. I just don't understand.

But heaven forbid I should say that kind of thing "out loud" on my own page or on someone else's. The thunderstorms of argument and moral high ground that I would be fed make me not want to bring it up.

My bigger focus has been less centered on subtracting GMOs and more centered on adding plants/whole foods.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Me Too

This week on social media, any female who has been sexually harassed or assaulted is "supposed" to update their status with a "me too", to bring more awareness to how many have been victim to this.

I don't participate in these kinds of things, period. Doesn't matter how much it matters. I don't like to succumb to peer pressure in that way.

But I thought this one was kind of odd.

Why is sexual harassment being included? I'm not sure I know anyone, male or female, over the age of 13 who has not at some point been sexually harassed. I'm not saying it's ok; it's not. But it happens. Just as I'm sure I've not met anyone who wasn't made to feel bad about their body at some point in their life, or who wasn't lied to by someone, or who was mistreated, etc. Sometimes it's stupid teenagers who don't realize the gravity of their choices; sometimes it's adults who do. Sometimes it's adults who don't get that what they're saying to me is not ok.

None of it is ok, but it does happen.

Now, sexual assault is an entirely different story. I think that would be much more educating and eye-opening if the harassment clause were removed from this social media status roundup, because I really do think most people would be surprised at the number of people who have been assaulted and have never told anyone publicly or pressed charges against the perpetrator. I have been lucky enough to not have this experience, but have way too many friends who have privately told me of their own experience with sexual assault. I don't know if I personally know any males who have experienced sexual assault or rape, but I do know that some of my husband's male friends have. One friend with this experience would be too many, but unfortunately, that number is far greater.