Thursday, December 10, 2009

End of Blogging Hiatus??

So I haven't been able to blog for quite some time because of one teeny tiny thing...

We had a baby on November 1!!

It's been very difficult for me to find any time to sit down and get a blog entry written. There are a couple entries I wanted to write on the baby blog too, but I just haven't been able to get there. In fact, I haven't really been able to get much of anything done at all since he was born. I seriously wonder how any mother of a newborn ever gets anything done!

These are some highlights of things that have been happening in the past month and a half that I wanted to blog about but never found the time to do so. If you're the kind who wants to know more details, then you'll just have to call me to ask about them.

  • Halloween- water broke and went into labor
  • Nov. 1- ended up having a c-section and baby Canon Michael Dahl was born
  • Canon was brought into the NICU for breathing problems and given an antibiotic
  • Nov. 2- my OB/GYN and a nurse came to visit me in the hospital and told me that they didn't know that I had delivered until I didn't show up for my appointment that day and they called to find out what happened. (YEAH! That was a shocker to me too!!! My OB didn't even know that I was in labor...no wonder I didn't see her the whole time!!)
  • While getting ready to be discharged from the hospital, I couldn't find my ring that I left on the sink. (Don't worry, it wasn't my wedding ring. However, it was special to me. It was the ring my brother and his wife gave me for my birthday when I was in high school!!)
  • Canon was discharged from the hospital 2 days after I was, and that made for a happy Nana because she was finally able to hold him.
  • Nana Brown (aka Mom Brown) stayed with us for one more week to help out with the baby. The day she left, Grandma Dahl (aka Mom Dahl) came for a week.
  • I went to church 2 weeks after he was born, and every week since. The other ladies there tell me that I'm crazy for having come to church so soon! :)
  • Mark has been working like a dog to finish up the semester. He doesn't have many finals, but there are a lot of projects for him and he was really worried that he wouldn't be able to get everything done in time.
  • Prof. Sloan FINALLY certified Mark's paper. This is an upper-classman writing assignment that needed to be certified before graduation. He's been working on that paper for over a year, and Prof. Sloan just never thought it was good enough. It's finally there and Mark can let that one burden off his shoulders. YAY!!!
  • Mark makes such a cute daddy when he's playing with Canon and lets him fall asleep in his arms.
  • We had Thanksgiving at a friend's house, and it was so nice to not have to worry about getting everything all put together this year. I love throwing Thanksgiving like I did the past 2 years, but I was so not up for it 3 weeks after having a c-section.
  • Canon has had 2 appointments with the Dr. Tuli, the pediatrician. He's growing beautifully and is perfectly healthy.
  • I brought Canon with me to attend my office's holiday party, and they all wanted to see him. Even the senior managing director wanted to hold him...which made me feel good. He's so ga-ga over babies. That night we had friends babysit while Mark and I attended the office's dinner party.
  • Mommyhood is going smoothly....ok ok....so it's rough not getting much sleep, but I love being with my little boy and to see him smile in his sleep. I love that he's so cute and likes to cuddle.

Oh...now he's awake. Gotta go!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gratitude Overdue

I haven't really spent much time online over the past week, so I didn't post this yet, but I really wanted to show how grateful I am for friends in my life. I've received quite a bit of service last week, and it was just really wonderful.

You know, so many of the pregnancy tips out there talk about accepting help when people offer, and every single month as we visit teach each other we give opportunities to serve, but rarely do we actually accept the offer of such service. I think that's because we LDS women as a whole tend to feel like we have everything under control (or at least look like it), and that there really isn't anything that others can do for us. Well, when my visiting teacher asked if there was something that she could do, all I could think was that I wish there was someone who would come help me clean up my apartment a bit. I didn't need them to do a full-out spring cleaning type of job, but just to help me get on track. I was starting to worry about the baby coming before my mom arrived, and I still wanted to have a clean apartment before she got here...added to the facts that I was still working full-time and I was so tired at nights... cleaning was such a stress for me at the time. I was beginning to feel overwhelmed. Well, last week on Tuesday my visiting teacher came over with her husband to help clean my apartment. She cleaned the bathroom while he did the dishes. Mark and I were folding and putting away laundry. She swept and mopped both the bathroom and the kitchen while he helped vacuum the living room. By the time they left, I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. It was really a special gift of service that made all the difference in the world. Thank you so much, guys!!!

Then, last Thursday a couple friends wanted to take me out to dinner. Neither one of them was able to make it to my baby shower in September, but they really wanted to celebrate with me. Since Cassie was moving to Chicago, we needed to do something pretty soon. Crystal, Cassie and I all met up after I got off of work in the Back Bay. We decided on going to The Cheesecake Factory in the Prudential Center. It was just so much fun to hang out as friends, just a night on the town with the girls. We really did have fun, even though we didn't do much other than the restaurant. Thanks for a great time ladies!

The following day was my last day at work before going on maternity leave, so the office took me out to lunch. I got to choose wherever I wanted to eat. I originally wanted to go to Uno's, but they don't really have enough room to seat a party of 15 or so. We ended up going to The Cheesecake Factory. I know, I know, I was just there the night before. It's not like I go there often, nor that I've been craving their food this pregnancy. It was just a convenience thing and I like their food. So it was fine for me. It was really nice for the office to be so congratulatory, wishing me well...and Tanya let me go home a little early. I don't really think that I could've asked for a better last day! After all the griping I've done about my job on this blog, I do have to say that I really do appreciate the job I have/had at HIG Capital. There's always the possibility that I won't be able to go back to work after my maternity leave ends, but as for now I'm planning on returning for the sake of our finances. Now, if only we can get all the stars to align to make that happen!
Life really is good. So far, I'm still pregnant, but I'm having a good time with my mom in town. Just getting ready for the show to get going!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Random Pieces of an Update

So, there are a few things going on, but not many are worthy of an entire post on their own.

I've got only one more week of work left before I go on maternity leave (unless the baby comes sooner than that). I know that the office is planning on hiring a temp for while I'm on leave, but I'm not sure when they intend to bring one in. I think they were going to wait a little while, until Tanya feels like she really needed the help to get one, but I have no idea, really. Also, my mom is coming for a visit next Saturday. Mark and I have been working to figure out how to arrange our baby's room (to keep the guest bed or not to keep the guest bed?) and get everything purchased that we're going to need for little Canon. I think we're in a place where I feel like I'm just about prepared for his arrival. YAY! I discussed all that on my baby blog, so I don't really need to go into too much detail about it here.

Mark seems to be enjoying school this semester, but it's not really what he was expecting. He's doing a clinic that requires certain classes and additional weekly projects (which is basically unheard of in law school). He only has classes Mon-Wed, and they don't start until the afternoon, but he is constantly busy with all the work he has to do. He's also still spending time applying for jobs. He's had a couple of interviews in the past weeks, and both of them were more informational- requiring him to continue his application with more documents if he's still interested. Right now, anything looks better than nothing. The law market is so horrible right now, and it looks like a good option (if it happens to pull through) is for him to join the Army JAG Corps. It would be a great (wide-range of) experience with good benefits, with the chance of being deployed for months...but there's no guarantee that would happen. In fact, there's no guarantee that he would get a job with them either. We're just still praying and searching for places to apply. It would sure be nice if Mark could have a job when he graduates!

Work for me has been a little out of the ordinary, not crazy, but busier than normal. My manager Tanya's mother passed away last week, so the duties that she usually would've performed I had to take over...including expenses. I know how to do expenses because I do a couple myself, but I don't handle nearly as many as she does on a regular basis. That required some overtime hours to complete, but I was able to get it done without too many mistakes. The mistakes I did make, caught by the accounting dept., were easy to remedy and they were understanding in that they know I don't normally do those reports. Tanya has been in and out of the office, but since it's often quite slow, it really hasn't been a big deal. I know it's a hard time for her, so I'm glad that I'm still around to be able to hold down the fort while she takes the time off that she needs. (Admittedly, it does get more difficult to go to work everyday, and I'm forbidden from climbing ladders, so I'm constantly interrupting people to ask them to help me get things off high shelves.) So far, the office hasn't burned down, so I think we're in good shape.

Oh, and one more thing... Mark is so excited for the Utah Jazz season to be starting up. Last year he really wanted to go see the game where they came to play the Boston Celtics, but it was during finals...so there was no way that he could make it. This time they're coming on Nov. 11th, and Mark just couldn't pass up the chance to see them at an away game. When he told me he bought the tickets, I told him, "Well, it's a good thing my mom will still be in town to watch Canon. That's only 10 days after my due date!" To which Mark replied, "Oh yeah! I forgot we were having a baby!" Now, I'm sure he didn't actually forget, but I'm pretty sure he forgot that the baby would play a factor in our evening plans...silly hubby! So, just in case I'm really not up for a night on the town that shortly after giving birth- I'm hoping that I will have given birth by then- are there any Jazz fans here in Boston that might like to go with Mark to the game? :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

September Catch-Up

I'm sorry to have taken a whole month to update this blog, but there have been a few things taking up my time this September.

On Sept 3rd, a couple for friends from the ward threw me a baby shower, which I discussed more fully on my baby blog. It was really nice to have so much loving support from the sisters in my ward and other friends in the area.


For Labor Day weekend, Mark and I held a party to watch the BYU football game against OU, the first BYU game of the season. We were utterly surprised to see that they really did beat OU, and it was a really exciting night. We had a large crowd, maybe about 15 people, and we served Philly Steak Sandwiches- a Dahl Family tradition for the BYU vs U of U game, but we don't even know if we will actually get that game on our cable this year. There were only a few games that we could watch, so we had to make the best of what we could get. There were also 2 other BYU games that we got on our cable TV stations out here in Boston, but I think we won 't get anymore of them. (Only if we had a satellite dish could we watch them, and we're not allowed to get a dish in our apartment building.) We can hope to see more BYU games, but it probably just won't happen.


We also went up to New Hampshire for Sunday night to visit with 2 of Mark's uncles and their wives. They came out on a trip to visit places in New England for the week, and since I had the Monday off of work, we decided that it would probably be easier for us to come visit them that time than to try to meet up for dinner on the 1 day that they decided to visit Boston...in the middle of a work week and a school night where Mark had homework. We had a lovely visit with Brad & Laura (who is also pregnant and due right around the time I'm due) and Doug & Sherri (who just had their first grandchild earlier this year). We arrived early enough on Sunday to have a dinner with them, then play a game of Quibbler (is that what it's called?) and a nice chat before bed. Then, Monday morning we went out for breakfast and Mark and I headed back home to Boston. It was supposed to be a drive just over 2 hours. It turned into about 3 hours of a drive with traffic back-ups caused by closed lanes that weren't even being worked on!!!! It bothers me when they close down a lane (especially when it brings a multi-lane road down to a one-lane one) for construction purposes that are not even being done. It seriously added about 45 minutes to our drive. Mark had homework to do, so it was a good thing that we didn't stick around too long and have to drive back through all of that during the heavy traffic hour. Sheesh!!

On Sept 19th, I took the GRE as part of my grad school application process. That is the main reason that I haven't been blogging as much over the past few weeks. I figured that if I had time to blog, then I ought to use that time to study for the GRE. Sometimes that meant that I ended not doing either, but I couldn't justify the time it took to blog and NOT study. By the end of the day, it was ok if I didn't study because I was busy doing things at work, but if I spent that time blogging, then it meant that I really wasn't doing something more pressing... Anyway, so I think I was the last person in that session to finish the test, but I didn't mind. The registration process didn't take very long, but the test being administered before mine started late, so the waiting room full of test-takers had to wait and go in one by one as the previous group finished up. I probably didn't start my test until about an hour after the time I registered to start. So, in taking my time with the instructions and tutorials, I wanted to make sure that I used the time that was allotted to me and not somehow miss something important because I was being impatient. I didn't get out of the test until about 4:35 pm.

I took the test knowing that the one school I'm applying for this year stated that admitted student's average on the GRE is about 1000 when you add the Verbal and Quantitative sections. So I was really hoping that I would be able to get about a 550 on the Verbal and something a bit higher on the Quantitative. I ended up getting only a 510 on the Verbal, but I got a 630 on the Quantitative, so I was alright with the lower score on the Verbal. Overall, I think I did just fine on the GRE. It may not be the best score that I possibly could've gotten, and I could've studied harder and longer to get a better score. However, for this year, I am satisfied and will not take it again. The only reason I will end up retaking the GRE is if I somehow will not be able to go to grad school for another 5 years, in which case the GRE score is no longer valid, or if I just don't get into a grad program at all over the next couple years and that is the only thing that I can improve to increase my chances of getting in.

Sept 26th was a busy day for me. Dershin and I are new Visiting Teaching companions, so we tried to visit 2 of our girls that morning. Then, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law threw a baby shower for me via webcams. I was not able to travel to Utah, but the family still wanted to do something for me and the baby, so they hooked up a laptop to a large tv. I will fill in with more details about that on the baby blog within the next couple of days, so if you're interested, please check over there. :0) After the shower was the General Relief Society Broadcast, and our Stake had a social with pumpkin and apple pies and apple cider. It was pretty delicious!! Int he half hour I had before the broadcast started, I called my sister-in-law Mary to talk about how she was feeling. She had just had her baby the previous day and I didn't yet get the chance to really get the details from her. (You know how sometimes people are just too tired and worn out after a baby, so I didn't want her to feel like it was a burden to talk to me if she wanted to sleep or nurse or something, but she seemed to appreciate the phone call, so I'm glad I got to talk to her briefly.) Then I went into the chapel for the broadcast.

And now, here I am at the end of September, gliding on my new chair that I got as a group gift from the Dahl Family Baby Shower, thinking about how much I time I have left before my life will be changed forever. I only have 5 weeks left of this pregnancy (according to my due date), with only 4 weeks left of work and then my mother comes into town to stay with me for 3 weeks. I know that my entire routine and schedule is going to change dramatically once the baby arrives, but I am so excited to just have a change of scene and to feel like I will be moving on into the stage of life. It will never be easy for us as things seem to be right now, but such is life. It's not meant to be easy... life is meant to challenge us so that we can grow. So...here's to the upcoming growth-spurt!! :0)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Value of Validation

This may seem like a petty or silly thing to post about, but some things happened today that really made me want to count my blessings.

First of all, I really don't ask people to give up their seats on the T, and I don't try to make nonverbal cues that would suggest that I want someone to give up their seat. However, I really do love it when people notice that I'm pregnant, catch my attention and offer it up on their own. It makes me feel like people in general are actually nice. This morning, I had my bag and three books (two of which were rather larger) that I carried onto the T. I was just getting settled against the wall with my belongings on the floor when a lady offered her seat. I was really grateful because it felt like it was going be a bumpier ride than usual. I was trying to pick up my bag (without falling over as it was very bumpy at that point) and make my way over to the seat when a man noticed the difficulty I was having. He offered to pick up my books for me so that I could just sit down. I know it's really nothing all that big, but it was the kindness of not one, but two strangers that really made my morning.

Then, today was expected to be a very slow day at work. Most of the people are out of the office (including the office manager who is my direct supervisor) with only about 4 other guys here. Not much going on, and not much to do...or so I thought. It turns out that the first email I get this morning was to change the return flight time for two of the people who are traveling today. With all the hassle that it required (because one of them had already checked-in for the return flight...not as easy to change at that point), I was able to finalize all of that in about a half hour...but it took that long to do it.

Then, one of the analysts brought my attention to the refrigerator which is NOT WORKING. The ice in the freezer was all melted, and the drinks were merely cooler than room temperature. So, I emailed my manager (even though she's supposed to be on vacation today) to ask her what I'm supposed to do. Is there a particular place that I'm supposed to call for that or anything? After trying to change the settings to make it colder didn't work, I decided that it was time to take action (with the manager's permission, of course)- to look up our options for a technician to repair the fridge.

As I was doing that, I got a request to change the travel plans AGAIN for the same people I just changed this morning. Ok...so this time it wasn't as bad because it was really only cancellations and checking availability since they can just go stand-by (which I suggested in the first place instead of changing it with a fee the first time, but oh well!), so that turned out to be a quick fix in the middle of my technician research.

After looking at a couple different websites, I chose a technician that would come right away and seemed to be a good choice. Hopefully it will all work out and that everything will be easily and painlessly repaired. I told my manager when the technician is scheduled to come in (since she's the one who will have to be here for the Saturday service call) and she responded to the email with a "great job"!

Ok, now this may seem like nothing big to you, but when I read that very simple email, I felt like I was about to cry. (Ok, that may have something to do with pregnancy horomones, so I guess I'm expected to be more emotional...) Really, I get so stressed out over the stupid little things that I do wrong at work. I feel like my manager is keeping a tally of the little things that will go against me and show that I'm a bad employee or something. I rarely am told that I did a good job on something because she would just expect that I do it right the first time... it's not like my job is very demanding. So, with this one, I felt really rewarded by her validation. I know that I probably harbor bad feelings over my mistakes more than my manager does, but I feel like I never get the pat on the back for a job well done. I don't really think that it's my manager's fault, so don't think that's what I'm saying. It's just that when I do receive a comment of validation, it really goes a long way.

You know, I realize that I probably don't give out enough compliments or validate the good works that I see around me often enough. So, if I haven't validated you recently, feel free to take this message to say that you deserve a hug, a pat on the back, or a high-five...right from me! I think you're great and you should feel good about the work you do too! GO YOU!! :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Water Fosters Growth...of MOLD

Back at the beginning of July (Tuesday after Independence Day weekend to be exact), we contacted our apartment management because we noticed that there was some ground water seeping into our basement apartment. Since then, we've been told that they were going to repair the problem outside before they do it inside because they'd just have to repair the inside again once the outside was finished. However, they need it to be dry to work outside, and since this has been a VERY wet summer here in Boston, they weren't able to really start the process until this past week or so to repair the outside. So, we've had a large hole along the bottom of our bedroom wall for over a month now. We were given a dehumidifier and a fan to help prevent more water damage, but every time we used it the entire apartment would smell really musty. Not to mention, it puts off a lot of heat, and since it's summer with no A/C, that was really hard to deal with.


What management did the day they found out - ripped out carpet's padding, cut holes at the bottom of the to assess the damage, put a fan to blow on it, then just replaced the carpet until they can do more on it later...much much later.
Last night it looked like the problem was NOT getting better. We noticed that our dresser, file cabinet, and one leg of our bed were showing mold and water damage where they touch the wet carpet. It was pretty upsetting for us, not that we can't replace the dresser and cabinet for less than $200 or anything because they were both purchased a Target since we moved here.
File Cabinet


Dresser

However, the bed was made for us by Mark's grandfather of solid cherry wood for our wedding. That's irreplaceable!

Bed leg

As for now, we moved the bed to the other side of the room, put a plastic bag under the foot that was now closest to the wet spot in the carpet, and we contacted management again about the damage we saw. Hopefully they'll work a little quicker now that we have said the word "MOLD" because they just might have to tear out that wall between our bedroom and kitchen in order to see how much damage there really is. We can't see if there's been damage done to the kitchen wall or floor because water doesn't seep up through linoleum like it does carpet. All I know is that I would prefer that things get done sooner rather than later. I'd hate for them to still be working on this when my baby comes...that's just 2 1/2 months from now. If it's taken them this long to start working on it, what confidence should I have in them now?
Usually our management company is really good and prompt when it comes to these kinds of issues, or even smaller issues like electrical outlets and things...but this time I am not impressed. Hopefully we will see some results really soon...like new wall, new carpet, and maybe if Mark knows how to play the cards right (since I have no idea how to do it) we might be able to get our rent lowered before the new lease starts next month. *Sighs*

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shakespeare...Take Two

This last week was pretty busy for us in the Dahl House. I don't really remember what we did on Friday because it was just too long ago for this pregnant mind, but Saturday had an early start with Mark getting up to go to his weekly meeting (which ended up being cancelled, but since no one announced that, a few people still showed up). When he returned, I was taking a practice test for the GRE, and he wanted to watch the movie we got from Netflix- Bolt! By the time that was over, and I had hurried to fix lunch, we had to leave to go serve at the Temple for 4 hours. Then, by the time we were finished with that, we had to go grocery shopping for a few essentials so that I can make dinner for guests we were having at 6:00pm. Turns out, I wasn't able to get it into the oven until right about when they came (they were early, but still, no where near being ready for them). Thankfully, they didn't really mind waiting around for it all to finish baking, and we enjoyed a nice meal of baked chicken with rosemary potatoes and then a game of DDR for a little entertainment. Our guests left at about 9:30 or so, and by that time I was so tired that I probably could've fallen asleep right then. Of course, I found other things to do around the house, trying to clean up a bit, and ended up going to bed later than I really should have.

Sunday morning we both were preparing lessons for Church, and just enjoying the time we had before leaving for Choir...normally we don't feel like we have much time on Sunday mornings, but it wasn't too rushed this time. We left in time for choir, attended our three meetings, and during the linger longer mingle time invited some people over for dessert that night to hang out. After rushing through our home-made chicken pot-pie with the elders who were joining us for dinner, the elders came with me to visit a friend Gloria in a nearby nursing home. I knew that we were having people coming over at 8:00, so I wasn't going to be able to visit for long, but I had been thinking about Gloria that morning and really thought I should go see her. Bringing the missionaries along with me made it feel less like I was abandoning our dinner guests and it gave them a chance to meet someone new who could use a little more company and uplifting conversation. It was really good to have them with me to see her, and she was so happy to make new friends. After our short visit, I got home at about 8:25 or so and was so happy to see that our dessert guests had already arrived and were all chatting with Mark in our living room. We really didn't do much other than talk and get to know each other...and Mark giving the obligatory demonstration of our surround sound system while praising the maker-Phil Liddiard- through the whole thing. It was well after 10pm by the time everyone had left, so again I stayed up later than pertinent.

Monday we decided to make plans to enjoy one of Boston's traditions (which we never heard about until fairly recently) by going to see free Shakespeare in the Boston Common. We gathered a group of 6 together and all met after I got off of work in the park with camping chairs, ready to enjoy a nice show. Problem was, there was no one else setting up to watch the show...after a short while Phil found a stage worker and asked if there was going to be a show. "Monday is our day off!" she replied. Ugh! The website didn't mention anything about Monday night NOT having a show...I saw "Shows Daily at 8pm, except Sundays at 7pm." So I never considered that our FHE activity would be thwarted by a "day off!" Oh well! The weather was really nice, so we decided to go get pizza for dinner and just hang out at the park. Really, it was a very fun time together...and I really hope that we find time to do stuff like that again. I think we were all at the park until around 10pm...so that was a long night too.

Tuesday, I was just exhausted, so we stayed home without doing anything terribly exciting that night. We started to watch a Red Sox game, but then decided to go to bed and read for a while instead.

Wednesday Mark just couldn't handle being in the apartment anymore. Since he's finished his internship, he's been spending his days at home and not being very productive...he's been so busy this summer, who can blame him for not wanting to still be doing schoolwork? So, he was quite bored by the time I was going to be getting off of work, so we decided to try the Shakespeare in the Common again. This time it was just the two of us, but the weather was not nearly as nice as it was on Monday. It was breezy and misting- not quite raining, but we were still getting wet... which made the breeze feel even colder. It was uncomfortable, but still bearable... so we stayed through that show. Honestly, it was pretty fun! They performed "Comedy of Errors" and put a 1930's spin on it. I'm glad we did it. If we're here next August I'd like to see the next show they do. We didn't get home until about 11pm...so AGAIN, I stayed up later than I really should be, but it was worth it.

Tonight, being Thursday, I'm glad we don't have plans. I think we're having someone coming for dinner on Friday, so this will be a night to recuperate after a long and exciting week. Can't wait to see what next weekend will look like for us. Hopefully I'll get more time to study for the GRE because I will be taking it in about a month!! AHHH!! The joys of living life to the fullest!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Let the Good Times Roll...

This weekend held a few fun festivities for the Dahl Family. Saturday morning our Ward Mission hosted a Pioneer Day Potluck Brunch. (Sorry, no pictures!) It started at 10am, but the quiche that I was bringing took me a bit longer to get into the oven than I really wanted it to, and I ended up being a whole hour late. However, there were still plenty of people there, and it looked like everyone was happy that I brought something different than the expected doughnuts and other sweet breakfast foods. I made 2 quiches, and I brought home about 1/2 a quiche of leftovers. I was told that I missed all the pioneer stories and stuff, but I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations with the people there while I ate.
Saturday night, Mark and I went to our very first Red Sox Game at Fenway Park.
We got tickets through a member of our ward because they reserved a couple sections for LDS Red Sox Night. We were able to buy 4 discounted tickets, and we brought our next-door neighbors.



We were up in the "bleacher section" and thought that our seats weren't too bad. I thought to myself that it would be very difficult to be able to see the pitches, but still fun to see the whole field. Then, a nice older gentleman came up to us and asked us if we would mind trading tickets with him. He had 4 tickets for box seats, but his 2 grandchildren were sitting in our section, and they wanted to sit by them. He wasn't really sure if the seats were really any better, but it would get us a little closer to the field, and it would help him to be by his grandkids. We obliged. It turned out that those seats were WAY BETTER than the ones we had before. We could actually see the back of the field in case a fly ball went all the way back and there was an miraculous catch (which I don't recall happening, but if it did we could've seen it.) We were right by the other teams Bull-Pen too...although, we didn't really watch the pitchers warming up much.
As it turns out, the tickets he traded us were purchased through the LDS Night too because our Church's name was printed across the bottom of those tickets too. By listening to the conversation going on behind us, we knew that we were surround by other LDS too. So...that was kind of fun...not that we actually talked to any of them, but their little kids were cute.

Both Greg and I bought a t-shirt to wear at the game (plus, I had been wanting one of my own).

The game was pretty fun, lots of things to watch in case you're not really into baseball...the vendors walking around, people in the crowd trying to start a wave, the wave that made it successfully around the stadium 3 1/2 times, the people trying to get on TV with the signs they were holding up (like "Redheads love the Red Sox"), etc. The Red Sox won, so that was another bonus to the evening.

It was really fun to hang out with Greg and Heather again because it has been a while since we really got to do much with them.


After the game we decided to walk home instead of trying to take the T. We knew that all the T's get so crowded after a game, and with how hot we all were, none of us wanted to try to squish into an overcrowded (probably stinky), sticky hot T. It took us about an hour to get home, but it felt good to get some good exercise and friendly conversation.

Sunday was a normal Sabbath of us. After our church meetings we went to the Swain's for dinner. She served a crock-pot bean soup with shredded pork shoulder and mojo sauce. I really liked it, plus it's rich in iron and protein for us pregnant ladies- YAY! We really had a fun time just hanging out and playing Ligretto, playing with Elliott, and sharing some cream cheese pie with blueberry pie filling. We probably stayed a little too late, but we were just having too much fun. Thanks Birgit and Nathan!!

Oh, and guess what!! This past weekend Mark just got a letter from the Dean at the law school that said he was given a Dean's Award for being the top student in his Professional Responsibility class. I told you Mark was awesome!! The professor selected him as the top student, and now this will be something on his permanent academic record. That's a pretty awesome honor, and we were both very happy to receive it. It looks like this last semester was really good to Mark and it just seems to get better and better. The only problem we're facing now is the fact that he's a 3L, which means that opportunities for jobs are sparse. Hopefully everything will work out though!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Just so you know...

I've got the greatest husband in the world! I'm not really going to elaborate because it's not like he did something really special for me to blog about or anything...it's just that I think he's awesome. I love him so much! Just thought you'd like to know!

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's a Wonderful Day in the Westminster Ward Neighborhood

This past weekend was truly a special treat for me. After work on Friday night I flew to Maryland to visit my friend Theresa Bailey. (Some of you may remember her from my trip back in March- see post from March 17, 2009. ) I know that I just saw her a few months ago, and really hadn't seen her for years prior to that visit, but this was a very special occasion that I just couldn't miss. Since the last time I saw her in March, my friend of 12 years had decided to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She had several struggles throughout her life, and I was so happy to be a part of this wonderful event. She wanted to do something good for herself and her daughter, and she has just been so hungry for knowledge and truth.

On Friday night, I arrived at the Baltimore airport at about 10pm, and didn't wait long before I was able to meet up with Theresa and meet her local friend Randolyn Reid. Getting back to her place was fairly uneventful (except for being pulled over for not coming to a complete stop at the blinking red light- she was just given a written warning!), and we probably stayed up a bit too late chatting. I was given the honor of sleeping in her step-mom's bed since she was out of town that weekend with the step-sister looking at colleges all over New England. It was so peaceful on their farm, waking up to the sounds of the breeze in the trees, light from the morning sun, and the light-but-not-too-heavy humidity.
Saturday we had a lazy start, with eggs, toast, and sausage for breakfast. Theresa's dad came over to hang out with us for a little bit, then we took a packed lunch, headed for a library and then to the duck pond for a picnic.


The LDS missionaries who have been working with Theresa the past couple months came by, as well as Randolyn.

Note the feathers in his pockets... Nina was collecting them for him.

Elder Thorne and I planned the musical number for the baptism the following day- "Lead, Kindly Light"- while the others took moldy bread to go feed to the ducks in the pond. Theresa had originally thought that we would go to the Music and Arts Festival that was going on in town, but when we found out that admission was $25 instead of free, we decided to pass. We went back home and played with Nina for a little bit before both of us were so overcome by the humidity and heat of the day that we both fell asleep.

Nina was patient and played by herself for a little while as we napped, but when she decided that she wanted to read a book (and since she can't read herself yet), inevitably I was the one she woke up to read to her.

After that we had chicken and alfredo for dinner, and ate it outside since the weather was so beautiful.


We did a little bit of swinging on the hammock, playing with the dogs, and then decided to go out for ice cream and bring it back to watch a movie.
video

We ended up watching episodes of Gilmore Girls (4th season) instead. I've heard of that show before, and know several people who like it, but I've never seen any of them until this time. It was pretty fun. I ate my entire pint of ice cream...which is probably not a good thing, but it was sooo yummy! We were watching until about 11:00pm, and we probably could've stayed up much later watching more episodes, but we knew we needed to get out of the house by 8:30am for Church...which meant we needed to go to sleep sooner rather than later.

Sunday was the big day, so of course we somehow didn't get out of the house until about 10 minutes later than we wanted to... and on the way to church I realized I'd forgotten my camera back at the house (but that's ok because I could take pictures with my phone!)... On the way Theresa commented on how funny it would be if the bishop, who always gives the announcements at the beginning of the Sacrament Meeting, would announce that her baptism was going to be that afternoon right after Church and that she wasn't even there in the congregation. We didn't quite arrive on time, but we walked in during the opening prayer, so we weren't too late. We sat by Randolyn and had a pleasant day in our meetings. Theresa had forewarned me that I was like a celebrity to some of the people in the ward because there were several who heard of me and were hoping that I would be able to make it down for her baptism to meet me. I even had someone say "Welcome, Kat!" before I had even been introduced to him. It was so good to see so many people who were reaching out to Theresa, excited for the day that she'd be baptized, and to see that she really does have a support group there in the Westminster Ward.

After the 3 hours of church meetings, it felt a little frantic...trying to get pictures of Theresa and the Elders before they changed into white clothes, trying to get Elder Thorne in the same room so that we could go over the musical number with the accompanist before the ceremony, and making sure that we had everything all set up nicely in the bathroom for when she would be coming out of the water. The Relief Society President was nice enough to go home and get a couple towels (why didn't I think to remember to bring towels?...maybe because all the baptisms I've done for the past 6 years have been in the temples where they provide towels! I was kicking myself for not thinking of it myself!!)



With all that was going on, as well as the font-filling taking a few more minutes, we started the ceremony a little later than scheduled, but it didn't really matter. From the moment of the opening song, the Spirit was there in the room. Theresa had picked a couple of short songs for the opening a closing numbers because she didn't want to prolong the ceremony, but I did find them quite fitting. The opening prayer was given by Elder Hardman and then Sister Reid gave a well-prepared an nicely presented talk on baptism. Then it was time for the special ordinance. I led Nina out to the font and told her to kneel right in front by where the bishop was standing. Then I made my way back into the side where she would come out of the water toward the bathroom. Theresa, contrary to what some may think, is not one who likes to be in the center of attention. She was nervous to have so many people watching her, cracking little jokes to ease her tension, questioning if they needed to do it again because her feet came up...but really she did great!



While the group waited for her and Elder Thorne to change back into their regular clothes, they showed a video of Christ's life, emphasizing His baptism. When they had both returned, we continued the ceremony with Elder Thorne and me singing what we prepared and then it was my turn to speak on the Holy Ghost. I really don't know how long I talked...all I know is that I was so filled with joy to see her sitting there. I wanted to use that moment to teach her just how special a gift it is that we can have the Holy Ghost with us as a constant companion. I honestly didn't care what her ward members would think about what I had to say...my little talk was for Theresa, and I shared my testimony with her the best I knew how. Yeah, I cried the whole time, but you'd expect that from me... let alone the fact that I'm pregnant too! :) What was important was that she appreciated what I was saying for her, and that I got to really be a part of this special day in her life.

We closed after a few remarks from her Relief Society President and Bishop Cook with the song and prayer. Then after all was said and done, Theresa was inviting several people in the group to refreshments at Randolyn's house. We had lunch there and then had to head back to Theresa's place to pack. We both had to pack because Theresa had to bring Nina to her dad's place for a couple weeks.

On the way to the airport, Nina zonked right out. I thought that I might have left my phone at her house, but I found it in my bag, so we continued on without another thought of concern.


Once we got to the airport, it was 6:04pm and I had a 7:00 flight...no worries... that is until we couldn't get the back of her truck to open up. We were pushing, and pulling, and pushing for probably about 5 whole minutes before we were able to get it unstuck. Finally we got it to open, took one last picture, and then I rushed to the AirTran counter to check-in. Turns out that it was issued through AirTran, but I was actually flying on US Airways! Oops! I had to then move to the other line, which took much longer than a line of only 1 person should really take. Security had a long line, but I wasn't worried about missing my flight. Turns out, my gate was (of course) in one of the furthest gates away, and I was getting tired from my heavy backpack. I was taking an escalator down to the next level of gates, and an airport worker asked me if I was going to LaGuardia. "Yes, actually!" I replied. "Well, you're the last one!" I guess the whole plane had boarded and I was the only one they were waiting on...good thing I was able to check-in at the right counter, huh?


It was a short ride from Boston to BWI, but there wasn't a direct return flight, so I had a lay-over in NYC. It was a pretty short connection, but long enough for me to eat dinner (packed from the left-overs from Randolyn's house), call Mark to tell him that my flight would actually be arriving 2 hours earlier than I thought it would be arriving to Boston, and to just relax for a little bit. This second plane was a much larger aircraft, but not nearly as crowded. I had the entire row to myself...I didn't know what to do with my whole 3 seats!! I tried lying down, but that wasn't comfortable, but I did lean up against the window and put my feet up as I watched the lights underneath pass by.


Looking back at it, this was really a great weekend! Theresa seemed so much happier than the last time I saw her... even though things are still hard for her with money and trying to find a job, overall she is a happier person. She has plans for trying to go back to school to become an X-ray technician and then eventually a radiologist. She's also lost 30 pounds since early March! I'm so proud of her! Watch out everybody... this lady is on a ROLL!! Woohoo!
This will be a weekend that I will fondly remember for a very long time!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Independence Day Weekend

Ok, so I better post this before I forget what we actually did!

It was so fun to have a 3-day weekend with Mark because both of us had Friday the 3rd off of work. We had talked about certain plans with a few different friends, but I guess we never actually confirmed with anyone. So when Friday morning came around, we realized that we really didn't have plans. We called around to a few friends, and we were finally able to set-up a trip to downtown with Birgit Swain and her little boy Elliot.

Mark bought a Boston Red Sox hat (which was long over-due) and we saw a few fun things downtown like:
Copper People! Colonial Militia

And a street performer who liked to balance things on his face... yes, that's a baby stroller he's balancing on his chin!

After a little wandering, we decided to make our way to the Dress Rehearsal for the Boston Pops Concert guest starring Neil Diamond. When we got to the entrance of the Hatch Shell Oval, there were really long lines. I remember going to the Pops last year, but I didn't remember there being such a long line to the actual event, and this was the Dress Rehearsal. Mark was pretty certain that we should've gotten there earlier, but I was ok with when we got there. The line was only continuing to grow before it got shorter. We were still able to set up our chairs and blankets on the lawn. We had enough space for the 4 of us...even for Mark to get in a little rest before they started!

Even Elliot got a little shut-eye!

a few fun shots from our several hours of hanging out before and during the concert rehearsal


Elliot saw someone with these light wands, and he got pretty excited. They told Birgit she could keep it since it was really cheap and they didn't care. It made him happy!


By the time we got home it was pretty late, but it was a fun time spent with Birgit. It turned out that her husband Nathan wasn't able to make it to the rehearsal as planned, but we still got to see them again the next day at a BBQ hosted by the Flandros.

Some of the guys getting to know each other...note Mark's cheesy grin!

Doug Flandro (the gracious host) and his wife Sarah

Probably one of the best pictures taken of Mark and me in a really long time


After the BBQ we invited several people to come over and watch Independence Day with us, but only the Swains were able to make it, and they had to leave before it was over to get to their plans to watch the fireworks. We decided to finish the movie anyway and go to watch the fireworks on our own. We were going to go to the top of the BU Law Tower, but Mark said that he thought it was too far away, so we should cross over to the other side of the river and watch it from Memorial Drive. I suggested crossing at the BU Bridge and then walking up Memorial, but Mark figured that since the Mass Ave. Bridge is closer to where they set off the fireworks, it would be better place to cross over and not have to walk so far up Memorial.
So our plans changed mid-stride, and we thought that we were heading in the right direction for the best spot to watch the fireworks because there was a crowd in the streets heading the same way we were.


But when the crowd started looking like this, we got a little worried.
The two of us trying to look like we're having a good time!!


It turned out that the entire bridge was cram-packed with people, and we couldn't even cross it to get to Memorial Dr. So we watched what fireworks we could from the edge of the bridge...not the greatest view in the world, but oh well!

This was what our view looked like as short people in the middle of a huge crowd!
But it wasn't all bad!

On Sunday the 5th, we had dinner with some friends from the ward (a couple I been meaning to get together with, but it just never happened before now), and then we went to pick-up our friend Anny Li from the airport. Overall, it was a good weekend, and we were really glad to have a few days to relax together to celebrate Independence Day. Plans may not have all gone as planned, but we still had a great weekend!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Home Theater System is Complete...almost

Do you remember me posting about getting a custom-made surround sound system? Well, the weekend of Fathers' Day Phil brought over our completed speakers. Since then, I think we've had about 4 movie parties so Mark can show off his new toys. It's been really fun to have them...and to watch the guys get so excited when they feel the bass from the subwoofer. Actually, we don't have it totally completely installed because Phil had made a mistake on the two back speakers' wooden frames. He put them together, but he didn't finish them to be all nice, but he brought them over so that we could use them until he finishes their replacements. He'll just redo the wooden frame and then take these back to place the electronic parts in the new perfect frames. Also, in a couple more weeks Phil will need to take back the ones he brought over so that he can put on the final glossy coat. Apparently the lacquer need to cure for 3 weeks before the final polish could be applied.

Mark also bought a media cabinet to put all the electronic stuff in. We were planning on putting the receiver under our TV stand, but it was too tall. So, the only logical thing to do would be to get something where we can stack everything, and have a door to close it so that the baby(ies) wouldn't be able to push all the nifty buttons. Mark put it all together, and it looks really nice... what do you think?
This is what they looked like when Phil was still painting them...
before they parts were put inside.
This is the "hidden" finished subwoofer. We keep it behind the couches in the corner,
so you don't notice it much.

And this is the system all set up and ready to go.


And the final product... and yes, we are watching "The Office."

So far, we have been very impressed, and we are so glad we have them. This was definitely an early Christmas for us!!