Thursday, January 29, 2009

Trying to be the Optomist

For those of you who read yesterday's post, I apologize if I came off as a big fat complainer. I don't mean to be a downer, I really don't! So I will attempt to redeem myself with this post. (I am also deleting the previous post from the blog. Only those who have already read it will be able to see that Kat has to work really hard at being optomistic and happy-go-lucky. It doesn't come naturally!)

I still have a hard time just laughing with life instead of letting it laugh at me. All too often, I take like too seriously. Ever since I made the decision to go back to school, I've felt busier than I have been in a long time. I've been working all day, studying at night as well as cooking, and watching Mark work like a dog all the way until it's time for bed. Just thinking about what it would be like to have children on top of all that...going to school with kids...working with kids...I've come to realize that I will forever have really long days with no time to myself. If I can keep this up for the whole year, either I will be so sleep-deprived and worn out that I will just have to give up, OR I will be so good at it by the time kids come around because of all the practice I've had. Personally, I'd like to concentrate on the latter. I'm hoping that this is all just a blessing in disguise and that I will truly love being a supermom. (This is still years down the road, people! No, there's no announcement being made. This is purely speculation!)

So, what am I going to do in order to allow this uber-busy period become a blessing in disguise? I have to figure out how to take off the disguise and count the blessings as I see them. (This is more for me than it is for you, so feel free to stop reading at any point and just go on with your daily lives. If you want to read on,so be it!)

Let's see if I can count the things in my life along with which I need to laugh.

1) Mark's little brother Cory is getting married in May. This is a very exciting thing, but with trying to figure out how long we can stay, using vacation days, noting that Mark will need to start his internship, it has been a harder trip to plan than usual. I'd like to be able to stay for the whole week because I never had the chance to meet the girl (Sarah) yet. We've been living in Boston the whole time they were dating. Mark would love to be able to be there for a while longer in case he can set up a few interviews for a clerkship in the area. Once life settles down (hopefully within a week or so), Mark and I will really need to decide exactly how much time we will be able to spend and just do it!! I'm excited for the chance to go to Utah, even if it ends up being only for a weekend.

2) Ever since Mark and I instigated a new budget plan, I've been able to not spend most of my alotment. Then we decided to try to save even more by adding other things into that budget without increasing the amount- such as household items, clothing, and toiletries into that "discretionary" fund alotment. Well, it just so happens that January was not a good month for me to add those other things into my discretionary budget. I needed winter boots- $40. I needed some clothing items from Target- $20. I lost one of my leather gloves (which I've had since before we got married), so I needed to buy another pair- $13. I ran out of my discretionary funds so fast, and I even had to dip into February's budget to buy the curtains. Now, I've somehow lost one of those new gloves I just bought!! I've been putting off buying some items that we'd like until next week when it becomes February. At least we can still afford to put bread on the table and a roof over our heads.

3) Oh, speaking of our apartment- On Monday morning at 3:30 AM, there was a loud CRACK at our bedroom window that startled both of us out of our sleep. Our window just cracked from the cold. It sounded like someone threw an icy snowball at it, but I could tell that it just broke all on its own accord. I called management later that morning and someone came by to cover it and tape it up. So far we don't have a replacement window, but it's been measured and should be replaced next week sometime. At least I don't have to pay for that repair! That would be pretty costly, and I don't like the idea. We lived here last winter too and nothing like that ever happened. I thought it was pretty strange, but maybe it's just because it's such an old building and the window was just too tired from all the expanding and contracting it's been performing over the years. I think I'd crack too!

Ok, I really don't want to make this post much longer, but I just wanted to state that I do recognize that I have been blessed tremendously in my life. When I look at other people's lives, I can only imagine what they must be going through. My trials seem so insignificant. My life is really great! I know that the Lord doesn't give us trials beyond what we can handle. Maybe I'm still just like a little child who can't really handle very much. Either that or I've become so mature that these things don't even seem like trials at all. *yeah right!* Either way, I can see that I have much to be grateful for in my life- my family, my in-law family, my loving husband, my education, my desire to pursue more education, the fact that Mark and I have always been able to live comfortably with our finances, the gospel, the scriptures and modern revelation, my calling as a Sunday School teacher where I get to know the youth in our area, my amazing friends near and far, the fact that I am good friends with both my mother and my mother-in-law, and the fact that I am never at a loss when it comes to a need for a service project. Yes, life is if only I can see it as such everyday from here on out!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Life Changes in the Blink of an Eye

I haven't made an updated blog entry for a while because I haven't really had many events to blog about. However, when I thought about it, there are a few things that have changed since the last entry, proving that life can change so fast without me even realizing it.

But first, I want to remind everyone that no matter how much experience you have with something (like cooking in the kitchen), something unexpected is inevitably lurking around the corner!
And we just gotta learn to laugh with it all!

One major life-changing occurrence is that I decided that I am going to go back to school and get my Masters Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. I'm planning on starting the Fall semester of 2010. I didn't go on right after I graduated because of personal reasons, but I have thought about it several times since. The timing with Mark's schooling and how long it would take me to finish has been a major deterrent for me to go back to school. Especially because we didn't want to take out so much in student loan debt, we felt that I needed to be working full-time while Mark is in school. The other major issue has been the idea of me being a working mom. For so long, thanks to the expectations prevalent in the LDS culture, I've really had a hard time imagining myself to be happy with a career. I didn't want to spend the time and money on tuition for a masters if I wasn't going to be using the degree for an extended period of time. However, with the economy crash and the poor job market, Mark and I have come to the conclusion that he may have to settle for a job that will not pay as much as we planned. It will just be best for us to have the option for me to work to help with the family income. If I will need to be working anyway, then I would rather do something that I actually love to do. Besides, this will most likely be a much more flexible career than being an administrative assistant.

Just think, this could be in my future, not just my past!

With this newly re-formed goal of mine to continue school, I feel like I have direction and purpose in my life again. I mean, honestly, my really slow and boring days at work have been put to good use studying for the GRE. (Therefore, my days go by faster; I feel productive; and I'm actually happier at work. I've been given two new associates to support, but they haven't really increased my work-load very much. At least there's a higher potential for a full work day!) I plan to take the GRE sometime this summer so that I can get all my application materials put together by the end of Fall 2009. Granted, Fall 2010 is still quite far away, and there's always a chance that I will let something keep me from going back to school (like what has already happened a few times in the past 4 years), but it's never a bad thing to be prepared. The application process and everything will take me a long time, and I can always NOT GO if I've been accepted, but I can't GO if I haven't gotten into a program. The hard part is figuring out where to apply when I don't know where Mark can get a job during the time I'm in school.

Another part in this decision is considering the timing of having children. It's no secret that I've been wanting to start our family, especially with this baby fever I've had off and on for...oh... 3 years now! There are lots of details to be worked out in this area, so there are no announcements to be made about this... but at least we're in the planning mode. We're to the point of where we know when would be "the perfect" time, but of course there are no guarantees. God has a way to really mess up our plans when we didn't realize there was a better option. I guess we'll just have to leave it up to Him and pray that we can handle it, right?

I wouldn't mind making more outfits like this one for my own children. (This is the one I made for Christina Snyder's little boy, Christian William Snyder.)

Another thing that's been a bit life-altering, although not as life-changing as the aforementioned topic, is that Mark is looking into internship positions at District Attorneys' Offices and other state government legal areas. So far he's had a few interviews, and these positions seem to be a bit more promising than the firm job openings from earlier this school year. These positions, however, are unpaid or very low-paying jobs, so Mark will not really be able to count on making money this summer. He's accepted a position to work for the Cape and Islands District Court which is over an hour's drive away, but it will give him a lot of really good experience. He's hoping to be able to find another position a little closer so that he won't have to commute so far, but that he'll be able to get 2 experiences added to his resume. These government jobs are the ones that sound the most interesting to him, but overall they don't pay nearly as well as a firm job would pay him. That's another reason for me to go back to school.

So, after studying all day at work, and Mark still studying at night, what do I do with myself in the evenings? This past week I added something to our living room that makes it feel a lot more homey in here- I sewed curtains, and I think I did a pretty good job, if I do say so myself! Mark and I picked out the fabric last Saturday, using my gift card for JoAnn Fabrics (thanks Tiffany!), and now I have some left over to make throw pillows for our couches. Well...not the couches that we currently have. Mark really is getting sick of our couches and wants to buy some really nice leather couches that will actually go with the decor that we have, and that would be comfortable. I thought that making these curtains would appease Mark's desire for change in the look of our apartment. Apparently the curtains make him want couches even more. Ugh! Oh well, we'll see how long I can hold out on this expensive request. I caved in on the big-screen TV thing back in September. Hopefully I can convince Mark that we really can't afford couches this year...wish me luck!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Marky! Marky! Marky!

This is a blog tag that is going around in Mark's family, and I thought it would be fun to participate.

1. Where did you meet your husband? We were in Freshman Academy together our first semester at BYU, so we say that it was ASL 101, but it was quite possibly an introductory meeting of everyone in our Freshman Academy Community...really I can't tell you the exact first time we met, but we became pretty good friends that first semester of school.

2. How long did you date before you got married? We technically weren't dating the whole summer that we talked over the phone, but I grew to like him pretty fast after he came home from his mission. Once we were technically dating, we got engaged within 3 weeks and then were only engaged for that I guess that makes it only 4 months. (I wouldn't recommend that to someone on a regular's just how it happened for us!)

3. How long have you been married? Just celebrated our 4th anniversary....woohoo!

4. What does he do to surprise you? Honestly, he likes to try to startle me by sneaking up behind me, or hiding behind a corner waiting for me to walk by. I know that doesn't sound like an endearing trait, but I like the "big kid" in him.

5. What is your favorite physical feature of his? Ok, honestly I don't like having to pick only one thing as my favorite...I guess that's ok though. I really do like the shape of his lips...yeah, I know, kinda weird. I guess it's because I never felt that my mouth had much of a defined shape, and I think he has a great cupid's bow on his upper lip. Another thing though is how well he tans. I'm totally jealous!

6.What is your favorite quality? It's totally awesome the way that Mark knows me better than I know myself. He knows whether something would make me happy or not, even when I'm still trying to figure it out. He knows what I need to hear when I need to hear it, and he's really good at helping me see the good in myself. He also has a way of showing how to really enjoy life, appreciating the experiences.

7. Does he have a nickname for you? Babe or Love

8. What is his favorite food? I think Mexican foods...he likes Italian and good American (like steak, not fast food!!!), but if it were a style, I'd guess Mexican.

9. What is his favorite sport? Football is the "ultimate team sport" although he does enjoy others like basketball, a little baseball, even hockey... but college football and the Utah Jazz Basketball are the only ones he really cares to follow.

10. When and where did you first kiss? We went up to Tibble Fork Reservoir in (where was it? Highland, Lehi, or Alpine, UT?...somewhere in that vacinity!) to talk and read scriptures in his car. It was dark out, so we couldn't really see the reservoir that well, but it was something that I was waiting for ALL SUMMER, and I was so nervous. I knew it was going to happen, but my lack of experience made me afraid that I would be a bad kisser. I guess I wasn't that bad because he's never stopped coming back for more!

11. What is your favorite thing to do as a couple? I wish I could say going to the theater, but we just don't have the finances to live that way. Even though we do thoroughly enjoy that, I'd also like to go with having friends/family over to play games...but that's not really just "as a couple," now is it? Does cuddling count? We like to watch movies and cuddle, but now that Mark is really starting to "absolutely hate" our couches, that's getting less frequent.

12. Do you have children? Alas, not yet...ask me again next year and see if I have the same answer.

13. Does he have any hidden talents? Does "a talent for giving me goosebumps" count? What about making me blush in front of his parents? He's really good at preparing potatoes and grating cheese...that's why I have him do it instead of me when it comes to making dinner! :) Most of his talents are shown openly and not hidden very well.

14. How old is he? 25, but only for a couple more months

15. Who said I love you first? This was TOTALLY him. I thought of this as a phrase that you don't really say unless you really mean it...and it's special and reserved. Mark, on the other hand, used it in his moments of heavy flirting. So the first time he said it, I was kinda shocked. I just responded, "I'm more in love with the idea of being in love than I can actually say that I am in love." He brushed it off like it didn't really matter. After about a week or so, when we were at his family's cabin, he said it again, and I responded that I loved him too. His jaw dropped with a mock look of astonishment. It was hard for me to say it because I had held it back for so long, but it didn't feel like a lie, and it never will be.

16. What is his favorite music? He really likes broadway musicals, and I think his all-time favorite is either Les Miserable or Jeckle and Hyde...I think it depends on the day.

17. What do you admire most about him? Mark has this way of not letting himself get stressed out. Maybe he really does feel stress and he just handles it differently, but he just won't let things get to him. He takes it one day at a time, and he just doesn't really show when he's overwhelmed...maybe that's because he knows his limits and doesn't stress about the rest. For a person like me who's such a worry-wart and constantly stressing over things, he's really a huge comfort and inspiration to just relax. I wish I could be more like him.

18. What is his favorite color? This may sound funny to you, but it depends on what we're talking about. A car- RED, a lawn- a rich GREEN, a shirt on him- BLUE, a shirt on me- either a light PINK or RED, lights on a Christmas Tree- WHITE, a suit on him- BLACK... some of those are guesses, but there's no overwhelming favorite color. If you asked him, he still might not give you a straight answer.

19. Will he read this? Yes, he gets emails when I update the blog. The poor guy thinks that these tags are a waste of blogs sorry.... but I think they're fun sometimes. (Besides, how else am I going to brag to the whole world about how lucky I am to have got such a great catch?) I'm sure there's something on here that others will find amusing that they never knew before, so it was worth it to me.

20. People I tag... the fun ladies in my ward!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy 2009!!

So Christmas in Chicago was great...a little too short for all the stuff we wanted to cram in. We did get to go to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, though.

(Honestly, when there are about 30 or so people, there is only enough time for so many games before the day is done.) We scheduled 2 whole days of just hanging out at the church (because no house could hold this large of a group), and it still felt like we didn't have enough time to just relax. I'm grateful for that time though, and I hope it's not another 10 years before we will do it again...even though it probably will be that long.

New Years was pretty fun for us too. New Years Eve, Mark and I went to the parade downtown with our friends, the Carders.

It was SOOOooo bitter cold that we went for hot chocolate twice. We stood at the end of the parade line so that we could rush to the movie theater right after it was over. I swear the parade participants were told to walk fast or something because the whole thing was done in about 30 minutes, and last year it was well over an hour. We didn't mind though because it was so cold.
Cassie and I both got tons of necklaces thrown to us and stickers placed on our cheeks.

Then we watched the fireworks from inside the movie theater across the street. We had the best seats in the house...perfect view from the warm side the of the tall windows. After the fireworks, the four of us watched the movie Valkyre. It wasn't the most exciting movie we've ever seen, but overall we quite enjoyed the film. The reviews weren't that great, but we often don't agree with the movie critics.
After the movie we and the Carders parted ways, and we went to a party at our neighbor's place. After treats, a little Guitar Hero, and a slow stroke of midnight, Mark and I went home.
We had considered spending New Years in Ohio with Mark's Uncle to have the Dahl Family New Years Breakfast, but since Mark had too much work to do on his paper for school, we just spent it in Boston. I tried to imitate a breakfast similar to the traditional meal, but it really didn't compare at all. I really don't know how to make it, and poached eggs aren't as easy as it may sound. really was nothing like New Years Breakfast, but I tried...and it was the thought that Mark liked.

Since New Years we had only a few things to mention:
1) We cat-sat a few days for our neighbors because one of their guests was allergic to their cats. We really enjoyed having little Athena and Leonidas with us, but we realized that the cat-hair is a strong deterrent for us to want to have pets of our own.

2) Mark has applied for some more internships, mostly for judges and attorney generals' offices. So far he was invited to one interview, but there are several that have not posted their selections yet. We're continuing to pray and hope that Mark will find something that will guide him toward a full-time position that he'll enjoy for after he graduates.

3) At work I was made the assistant of 2 associates here in the office. I've been waiting for more tasks to do, and I'm so excited that I finally get the chance. I've never been a direct assistant to an associate before, so this will be a great opportunity for me to learn new things. I only have a few months left before my 1 year review, so they're going to be watching my progress very closely. Hopefully I will be able to please all of them. I was so excited because this will mean that I have more things to do. I got my hopes up because these first couple days back in the office have been really busy, and I loved it. Now today, Wednesday, it's back to the old slow day routine. Hopefully things will pick up again. I like feeling like I'm doing something useful in the office. (I know what I do is useful, but it doesn't always feel that way!)

4) Mark's made a few New Years Resolutions, and I'm still trying to come up with something that I really want to consider a resolution for myself. Mark and I are going to make a better effort of going to the Temple more often by going every 3rd Saturday of the month, but that was more Mark's than mine. I guess I can claim it too! :) I guess I've decided to read 1 book per month this year. If you know me, you know that I'm not a big reader, so this is a hefty goal, but I think I can do it... especially if I get enough slow days in the office.

What are you resolved to change in your life in 2009?