Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Money Comes and Goes!!

So, there are a couple of exciting bits of news to share.

First, Mark had applied for a PIP (Public Interest Project) Grant of $4000 and was placed as #2 on the waiting list. One of the requirements to qualify for the grant was to have an un-paid (or at least very low-paid...I think) internship for a public practice for the summer. All of the people who were awarded the grant had to have a job lined-up by the end of classes. Mark already has his internship with the Middlesex County DA's office, so he's already set for that part. Well, there were apparently enough students who did not have that job, so Monday we heard that they awarded Mark one of those grants instead! So, we will be getting a little extra money this summer, which is very exciting since we were really hoping for that grant! He worked really hard, even spent his own money to donate items, and spent several hours volunteering in order to qualify.

Secondly, I know some people (including our parents, and maybe some of my siblings) may roll their eyes at us when I tell them about this next bit of news, but with that said, I hope you realize that I already understand the cons against what I'm about to tell you. (Does that make it sound really scary, or what? =P )

This past weekend, Mark and I designed and "purchased" a custom-made 7.1 surround sound home theater system. A friend from our ward, Phil Liddiard, is going to custom build it to our specifications, and it is going to be the top of the line quality for a small fraction of retail price. Phil is able to do all of this for cost of parts, and he's really excited to do it for us. He's done a few systems already for friends and family in Utah which he was pretty proud of. He is at the Berkelee College of Music in a sound production/engineering program...so the sound is a big deal to him. The little details of sound in music and in movies that he hears are things that most of us don't even recognize; so when he says it's going to sound amazing, you take his word for it!! He knows his stuff! He came over with several sketches of different types of systems, price ranges of what they would cost, rankings of which systems would be better than others, and we're getting the entire system (center channels, side towers, subwoofer, a receiver, and 4 side/back channels) all for what would retail as the price of maybe only one good subwoofer or 2 of the other speakers. He's even doing a custom finish on them just the way we want it to look.

This isn't what we're getting, but you can see that there are lots of options, so we're glad to be getting an "expert opinion" to help us decide what we want.

Normally we wouldn't be spending this kind of money right now, but we're only going to have a "Phil" for so long, and this is really something that we would end up purchasing at some point in our lives. So why should we wait to do it just to spend well over 3 times the amount we're spending now? Phil even said, "I wasn't expecting you guys to go all out, but you're going to have the best system I ever built! It's going to sound phenomenal!" We told Phil that we were just hoping to have it done some time around Christmas, but he said, "Oh, well I was planning on having it installed around Memorial Day Weekend!" Yeah...so our Christmas will be coming early this year, but I'm going to stick to my guns and not buy Christmas presents this year for Mark and myself. We did that last year, and I think we can do it again. Besides, this is going to be the best Christmas present ever! How do I expect to top this? (Now that we've committed this much money into it, sooner or later I'm going to have to crack and let Mark actually buy a Blu-ray player...and it most likely won't be the cheapest one we can get either! *sighs* )

Friday, April 24, 2009

Quick Catch-Up

I just wanted to write a quick post to catch-up on a few little things that have been going on, but not really worthy of a whole post on their own.

1) Mark received a letter that confirms the location of his internship this summer for the Middlesex County DA's Office. It will be at the courthouse in Waltham which will be about 20 minutes or so in the opposite flow of rush-hour traffic. So that will be nice for him. We're not doing another long-distance thing like last summer when he was in China....THANK GOODNESS!! He will also not have to worry about trying to commute over an hour each way to the DA's offices at the Cape and Islands District, like we originally anticipated. YAY for saving on gas money!!

2) Mark was looking into doing another internship along with the DA's office at a company called Axion International, which is a micro-financing establishment that was really interested in his Chinese ability. However, both the DA and Axion positions are full-time work, so he couldn't do them both at the same time, and the DA's office has a program of 13 weeks that really can't be split. So, there was no time left to do a full internship at Axion, and he will only be sticking with the one internship. We're still happy that it will be a good experience for him though. We're both hoping that he will be happy at this DA's office for the summer.

3) Mark's semester is coming to a close- last day of classes was yesterday- which means that studying for finals is at full-speed. He studies from the time he gets up until midnight everyday, trying desperately to finish his outlines fast enough so that he can really get the cramming part of studying underway. His first final is on Thursday April 30, and then he has 5 days to prepare for the other 3 tests. He has finals on May 5th, 6th, and 7th. There won't be much time for studying in between.

4) Then the very next morning (May 8th at 6:30am) we fly out to Utah for a wedding that afternoon. Mark's brain will be numb and he'll probably not remember anything that happens that day, but we're determined to be a part of his little brother's wedding anyway! :) I know that I'm getting excited to see family and friends that we haven't seen since we moved to Boston. As for Mark, I'm sure he'd be more excited if he was allowing himself to focus on the trip for longer than 5 seconds...but there's too much going on in his brain regarding the First Amendment, what types of Evidence can be admitted into the courtroom, and how frustrated he is with the amount of information there is to know about Professional Responsibility. (Poor guy!!)

So for right now, things seem to be going just fine for us. Mark may have a different perspective because he's so stressed over school, but we really have been given so many blessings that life feels really great for me. I guess the only things that would make life completely perfect is if we knew that Mark already had a job lined up, and that it was a guarantee that he would get good grades...and if there was no concern about whether I had to return to work or not when the baby is born. But...it wouldn't be real life if everything was totally perfect and going according to plan. We're going to need a few speedbumps to keep life interesting, right? I'm so grateful for the blessings from Heavenly Father and that we are able to make it through one day at a time.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Who Spilled the Beans?...oh, I guess it was ME!

I can't believe it's been so long since my last post...ok...actually I can believe it. There have been a few things going on that I would love to write about, but I couldn't really write a whole lot without spilling the beans too early.

Now, in case you haven't heard yet...

The beans are spilt, and now we can go on with our lives, and I can continue blogging without a worry of accidently letting something slip!

Now those of you who have followed my blog for a while know how badly baby fever was affecting me over the past several months. (I even tried to NOT blog about it in the hopes that it would either go away, or that I wouldn't be putting anymore "pressure" on the hubby about it.) So, naturally when I learned that I was pregnant I was excited, and I wanted to tell the world to no longer fret over my "condition." I had a really hard time coming up with anything to say that was not related to this topic. So, I just didn't blog at all!

As an example of what I mean, here are a few highlights from our past few weeks.

April 2, My Birthday
-Mark's school held the Public Interest Project (PIP) Auction to raise money for the PIP grants that students applied for. Mark and I bid on a couple items, but we lost them both...one only at the very last moment of the silent auction. I left early because I was tired. Later that night I called all the family to tell them that we are expecting!

April 4, General Conference-Birthday
-We had a few people over to watch the sessions of General Conference on Saturday, and then after the 2nd session but before the Priesthood Session we had a birthday party for me where I told everyone in attendance that we are expecting!

April 5, General Conference-Dinner with friends
-After the sessions of General Conference on Sunday, we went over to Anny Li's place to have a Taiwanese dinner in honor of Dershin's mother being in town. It was so fun to have some new dishes that I've never had before. Then they surprised me with a cake for my birthday because they couldn't come the night before, so I told them the news they missed- that we are expecting!

April 12, Easter Sunday
-Easter was a very good day at Church. I felt the Spirit in our meetings. I got to perform "His Hands" with sign language as I sang, much like I had done in my ward in Utah. I was surprised that I was actually able to get through the whole song without crying, partly because I'm pregnant and get a little more emotional than usual, but I spent a lot of time looking up at the back wall instead of into the faces of the congregation. Seeing too much emotion in the people's faces makes it much harder to perform as you get overwhelmed with the Spirit. I received several compliments, and several people told me they cried...so I guess I did a good job. That really is one of my favorite pieces, so I was so glad to be able to perform it.

That night we had the Elder Missionaries, the Tylers, and the Liddiards over for Easter Dinner. I made chicken and dumplings because that was Mark's request, and we even got out my nice China for the event. Sorry, we didn't take any pictures. I forgot about that- could it be due to that pregnancy memory loss? But it was a delightful time with our friends and to hear the message the missionaries left with us before heading to an appointment. Overall, it was a busy, yet blissful day. We truly are blessed to know of Our Savior and His Atonement for us.

April 13, Follow-up Dr. Appt.

-Mark came with me to my appointment where we got to hear the heartbeat for the first time. A few friends told me that I'd cry when I hear it, but I didn't. It did make it seem more real to me though, like it wasn't just my imagination or that it somehow wasn't going to happen. It made me more excited for the little life inside of me, but I didn't get all weepy.

Ok, so from now on I'm hoping that I will still have things to blog about that are not related to this pregnancy topic... no matter how excited I am about this!!!! =) I've decided to start another blog for the baby stuff, and that I'd talk about all that girly stuff there, and I'd try to keep this blog for stuff more main-stream - everyday within the Dahl household type of topics. If you notice that I haven't written in this blog for a while, you may want to check over at the other one in case there's an update on the "little Dahl-ling." I'm planning on keeping the baby blog private, so if you'd like to be able to view that one, please leave a comment with your email so that I can give you the permission to view it. The baby blog is at URL http://thelittledahl-ling.blogspot.com/ for those of you who are interested. Here's to hoping that I can keep up on 2 different blogs at once...a far stretch, but hopefully I can make it work!!!