Monday, October 13, 2014

Jane at 2 years and change

It's so crazy that we have a 2 year old now. We had a pretty quiet birthday part for Jane, seeing as how we still don't really know anyone out here. I guess it was that way for her first birthday too. Maybe we're just not big partyers. I don't know.

Our little two year old talks, runs, and loves anything to do with animals. She is incredibly shy around adults still, but is really embracing other kids now. She has no problem initiating play with other kids. Nursery was initially a bit of a struggle for her, but she loves it now. We actually pulled her out early yesterday to attend a coworker's wedding and she started crying. It's really fun to see her start actually playing with other kids and really seeking that out.

Jane talks a lot. I don't know what it's like in comparison to other toddlers her age, but she can say a lot. She sings a lot of songs to herself. It's always surprising how much she actually knows. This morning she's been singing temple, house, family, and Amy figured out that she was singing I Love To See The Temple. I'm so grateful that we have a church with a nursery where she can have those additional interactions with other kids and adults and learn things from people besides her parents. It's all so reinforcing.

She knows numbers, but I don't know if she really gets counting. She knows the context of when to count, but I'm not sure that she really understands the meaning of numbers. Colors are pretty good. She can sing the Alphabet song and can pick out certain letters. I think she's probably right in the middle of those developmental levels.

Jane loves movies and TV. I mean, just loves the visual arts. At the wedding yesterday she was the one on the dance floor the entire time.

And when I grabbed her this morning and we did our routine of daddy is still waking up so let's just watch some Curious George and Dinosaur train. she just cuddles right in and lays down with me. She's just the sweetest.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pittsburgh Video Redux

I had to redo this video because the licensing on the original version wouldn't allow me to use it. I ended up using music from The Boss because he's so blue collar to me. The funny thing about this song is that I'm really proud of it because I cut about a minute and a half out of the song because the length wasn't quite right for how long the video is and I think no one could ever tell where I made the cut unless you knew exactly how the song goes. There you go.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Job Hunt

Log this post under my own personal history. I had been meaning to write about this for a long time, but finding a job took me a lot longer than I thought it would. 

I think I've documented a little bit about the internship hunt, and later the job hunt. You get into an MBA program, especially when it's a pretty good one like BYU's, and you think that things will just resolve themselves. The primary reason that I even applied to the program was seeing the placement statistics: 95% placed within three months of graduation, average starting salary $90-100k a year. That all sounded great, right?

I elected the OB/HR track which has the most prestige within the BYU MBA program. I assumed that my previous HR experience as well as my additional MS in Psychology would make things easy for me. Every person that I talked to in the program assured me that I'd be fine. I ate it all up. 

The internship search was tricky, but I felt like I was able to get some traction and chose Ford. I had a great time at my internship, but Ford didn't feel like the right fit and so I decided I'd move on. 

I thought when I got back for my second year things would be easier. I had my top choices picked out, started out even before I got back from Michigan with my networking, and was sure that things would line up. 

You see where this is going, right? They didn't. HP, my favorite, fell through. Then the others did too. Microsoft, Chevron, Bank of America, Citi, all of them. I couldn't believe it. After the first semester, I thought something would open up. I knew companies came back all the time and was sure I'd be able to lock something down. 

It just wasn't clicking. I had some really promising leads. Citi flew me back. I felt like I nailed everything, but in the end I found out that a single line at the very bottom of my resume is what kept me from getting the job. That came from a phone conversation with the VP of HR. Then others came and went - Edwards LifeSciences, Disney, Pepsi, Applied Materials, DecisionWise, and some others. 

Between September 2013 and April 2014, I applied to at least 60 different positions which were all pretty similar - entry level HR positions for MS/MBA grad for large companies. I had about two dozen interviews, and several that went multiple stages, a few that went to final stages. 

But they just didn't pan out. 

The MBA job hunt was, for me, one of the most humbling experiences I have ever been through. It's hard to hear that many times that you're not what the company is looking for. I knew that I was a qualified candidate, but it just wasn't falling my way. My biggest problem ended up being the long duration that I had been in school for, that my experience was not really in business environments and what HR experience I had ended 6 years prior to the time that I was looking to start working. 

I should have realized earlier that would be as big of an obstacle that it ended up being. 

Throughout the year I had a number of waves of opportunities that would come and go, and then times when the tide would ebb and leave me far out from the shore of having secured a job. 

It was of some comfort to me that my experience wasn't entirely unique to me. Actually, just tonight I saw a list of my fellow classmates from the class of 2014 and noticed that there is still a large number of people looking - 5 months since we graduated from the program. 

My opportunity with UTC came up during the MBA Golf Scramble at the end of the school year. I was sitting in the clubhouse following our golf outing when I was looking at my phone at what emails had come in when I noticed that I had an email from UTC. 

I had applied about 6 months earlier for the Leadership Development Program, but had heard nothing back from the company. Someone from the Indianapolis location was calling me to see if I was interested in a different position, but that still had the basic components of what I had been looking for - big company, HR, grad degree, but entry level. 

It did. 

I was interested, but tepidly so, because it resembled so much the kind of role that I had turned down from Ford, and would also be working the evening from 1-10pm. I went ahead and entertained it because I didn't feel like I was at a point where I could be really choosy, so I went through the motions.

I had my phone screen interview and passed. I was told over the phone that I would be getting a flyback to Indianapolis. I flew out on May 1st and had a round of interviews with the entire HR staff, as well as dual interviews with six different supervisors at UTC-Indy. 

I thought it went well enough, but the more important thing was that I left feeling very impressed. I liked the HR folks that I met, and I thought the opportunity of working in a labor environment might actually be a good one. Before I left, Amy was hardly even thinking this might be a viable option, primarily because of the schedule, but I came back thinking very seriously about it. 

I liked the location from a cost of living standpoint. It would be hard to be away from family, but a great opportunity for us to establish ourselves on our own. We would be able to travel to a lot of nearby locations and explore a lot of the midwestern United States (although we did get a good chunk out of the way last summer). And from a company standpoint UTC would be able to offer me all of the things that I thought would be important for me to have as I get going in my career - good, big name company, get my hands dirty in some real HR work, and have opportunities to go to other locations that might also be really interesting to us down the line, namely, Connecticut and Charlotte, North Carolina. 

This might sound crazy too, but one other really big benefit that really appealed to me was the UTC scholar program. After one year of employment, the company will pay the way for any degree from pretty much any accredited university. At this point I think I've even already zeroed in on what degree I'm hoping to work on next year and have begun corresponding with the program director. 

Anyway, my interested had been piqued. This felt like it could be a really good option for me. After my flyback, I didn't really hear a whole lot, which didn't seem to be good or bad. I felt like I was still in process, but didn't really know what was going on. At the time I was really targeting an opportunity with Pepsi and was hopeful about that one. Then another wave came in - an opportunity with Goldman Sachs came up, an interesting role with Zions BanCorporation, and then one with Varian Medical Systems. I got contacted by a recruiter from Polaris, a manufacturing company that makes snowmobiles and other fun off-road vehicles. 

Things were moving again and Amy and I whimsically passed away our summer going on a number of different trips. It was about a month before I heard back from UTC and that I was in the running, along with another candidate. I had a follow up phone interview with the Senior Labor Manager, and then she said she would get back to me the next week. 

The answer came a few days after she said that it would, but it was worth waiting for. I finally got an offer. The trouble was wondering if these other lines I had cast were going to get bites or not, or if I should just cut bait and go with the first one that came. 

I got the confirmation from Jill while we were visiting with Amy's parents. We were both still a little wary about the second shift schedule, but the opportunity sounded right. Before going to bed one night, I told Amy that if we got a relocation package and if the starting salary hit a certain dollar amount that I thought we should take it. 

I heard again from Jill on Friday June 20th with the offer. It had exactly everything I had mentioned to Amy, down to the exact dollar amount. It's kind of crazy now that I think about it. I ended up negotiating a slightly more generous signing bonus and a slightly later start date and we took it. 

I can't believe it's already been two months. It doesn't seem long or short. I just can't believe that the time has already passed since we arrived. I think I've said this before, but I love it. I love what I'm doing. I love the people I work with, and I love the start that this job gives me in my career. 

It's hard to believe how things work out sometimes. I think as time goes on I'll be even more amazed at how things worked out like they did because I'll be better able to link what has happened this past year to the events in my life 5, 10, or 20 years down the road. 

But for now, I'm really happy. We are really happy. It's a new life for us, and we are doing our best to embrace every aspect of it. The job hunt in the end was really hard on me, but I did find and start a job within 3 months of graduating, got the great vacation following school that I was hoping for, and we are in a place where we feel we can both grow and develop both individually and collectively as a family. 

It's a nice feeling to feel like you're supposed to be where you are. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Steel City PIttsburgh


Man, we had such a great time in Hawaii. For most trips, I feel like by the end I'm kind of ready to come home and get back to my own life and stuff. That wasn't the case on this trip and every time I look back at photos or these videos of our time there, I just wish I could go back.

This was the time in our family to go to Hawaii - Jane and Peter are still both under 2 so we didn't have to pay for their flights. The upside was cost, the downside was having to hold the both of them the whole time. For Jane that ended up being torturous, but that would have been regardless if she had her own seat or not. I ended up having to hold her hold in my lap while she cried and screamed for the last two hours of the arriving flight to Hawaii. She was great in the beginning, but then just couldn't fall asleep for her nap. It was rough. Our red eye on the way back turned out to be the exact right decision though. She fell asleep before takeoff and stayed asleep even on the drive back from the airport.

Going to Hawaii with the Reids was just wonderful. Our kids mix really well with theirs and it was fun to see Jane follow Quinn around the whole trip.

My favorite parts trip of the trip - arriving at our place and seeing just how beach front it was, stepping out at night and swimming in a warm ocean, jumping off Waimea Rock, just Hawaii in general, and showing up and finding the Reids. My least favorite - maybe it was Pearl Harbor. I just don't think the day setup right for it.

Anyway, here's our video:

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Snapshot: Jane (23 mos) and Peter (7 mos)

(Consecutive weeks. I'm making a comeback, baby.)

Oh man. My kiddos are the cutest, I'm pretty sure. They are so much fun right now.

I think they're adjusting to life pretty well here. It's crazy to think that this is Jane's 4th residence since she's been born. Hopefully we don't move in the next year, but you never know.

Jane first, I suppose. She is just the sweetest little girl, and when I say sweetest, I really mean it. Not too long ago, Amy was about to breastfeed Peter so Amy went to sit on the couch, and as she did so Jane brought her a pillow (because Amy always grabs one when she's doing that), and then followed that up by pushing up the ottoman for Amy to rest her feet. She just does that kind of thing all of the time.

When Jane watches TV, she loves to come over and sit in my lap or at least right next to me. She's just a cuddly little girl. I love it so much. If I'm just holding her and her attention is on something specific, she'll unwittingly just be rubbing my hair on the back of my head or my back.

Jane is very naturally obedient. She understands direction and takes it really well, at least for the time being.

She always goes to sleep really easily, whether it's naps or for the night. She's been a great sleeper for so long, I probably take it for granted. (Although I can thank Peter for not letting me go too long in not recognizing that mercy.) She still eats mostly pretty well, but she' more distrusting of things that are unfamiliar. It seems mostly to be appearances because pretty much when she actually tries anything, she almost always likes it. Jane is just easy as can be, so naturally affectionate and sweet, and she's the apple of my eye. I can't imagine that I'll not ever swoon over her.

She's talking up a storm, although she does get shy around strangers. I'm always surprised at how many words she knows and even the way she's starting to pick up on concepts and story lines. It's the craziest thing to be watching a show with her and she gets the drama behind the story, when people are distressed, that sort of thing. That's probably normal for a toddler her age, but it still surprises me. She's able to pick up so much nuance. It's neat.

Peter is so mobile now. It's great because for most of his life, he's just not been very good when being left alone (not like we are leaving our less than 6 month old babies alone a whole lot, but you get what I mean). I feel like Jane was pretty good in this area, but Peter just has not been. With being able to get around now, he's able to busy himself so much more and be content with it. He has favorite spots - the fireplace grating, wires plugged into the wall, the peddle that opens the lid on our garbage, and more recently, the door stop that makes that twang over in the kitchen. I remember last summer in Michigan when Jane was all about that. (I can't believe I have babies that close in age that I say last summer and it's talking about a different baby.) He very much does the wounded soldier crawl, but he's getting up on his knees a lot more and doing the rocking. The hardwood and linoleum doesn't slow him down at all, which is great, because there is more of that flooring in our place than we'd probably like.

His noises have a few more consonants now. He imitates a lot more. Not like he's following dance steps or anything like that, but you just can interact more with him and there is more cognizance there now.

And probably the best part about him is just how much he lights up with people. Every time he sees someone, he freely gives the biggest grins. Everyone's first comment is something along the lines of "he just loves people," "he's such a happy baby," or "does he ever get sad?" I tell people all the time that he's just very validating and will make you feel like a million bucks. All you have to do is engage with him and he'll light up. It's amazing how a child like that can just disarm people, even ones that you wouldn't think be so easy to crack. It's the sweetest thing.

He's been going through a bit of a rough patch lately and has not been great with his sleeping patterns, not to say he's really bad, but when you're being compared to Jane when it comes to sleeping, it's hard to be good. He's a little trickier than Jane, but I think we're mostly realizing that Jane was just about as low maintenance as they come. She can be really sensitive when it comes to her emotions, but I think she's actually pretty physically tough. She rarely cries long or much when things happen to her and that's really nice.

She's come to enjoy the water a lot more. It took a summer of beaches, pools, and waterparks, but I think she's there. Peter takes to water like a fish, it seems.

I love my kids more than anything. They have changed my life completely and I'm grateful for it, although I will say that just getting out to see a movie sounds like the most exciting thing in the whole world.

They're great. They bring us much joy and I'm so happy to be a dad and feel so lucky that these ones are mine. I think that day and night.

Monday, August 11, 2014

It's Sweeping the Nation

I've been thinking about this for the last few months, but I have decided to take the plunge and start my new hobby - sweeping - as in, entering in lots of contests and sweepstakes.

Is it totally off the wall? Of course.

But is it possible? I don't know. I've been reading articles about it for a little while and truth be told, I think it sounds kind of fun and I'm interested to see what happens. It doesn't seem like it'll take too much time and with being able to enter online and use automatic fill forms to do the entries, I think it can move pretty quickly.

So starting today, I'm going for it. I've got my alternate email setup for it. I've got my spreadsheet to track what I'm entering. Then the winnings start piling up after that.

That's how it works, right? Anyway, I'm just kinda curious about it. So I'll be tracking what I'm doing and periodically I'll check in here to update what kind of progress, if any, is being made.

Here goes!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Home Sweet Home

Since Amy and I have been married, every place that we have moved into has felt like it had some amount of serendipity to it. With our first place in Pleasant Grove we felt like we had made a decision and were about to move forward with it. I had left town to go to a bachelor party for Mike Reid and Amy was going the day I left to go sign the papers for it. We didn't feel 100% about it, but it felt close enough and we felt like it was time to commit to something. She decided to check one more time that morning, found a place that was cheaper and bigger and had a deck (which we obviously wanted) and saw it on her lunch break. I remember taking the call from her while at the Smith's Gas in Mesquite, NV as she told me that she thought we should take it. Not everything was ideal about the place, but it felt like the exact place we should have been and we loved it.

Last year, coming back from internship, we were looking for places coming out of Michigan. We had about a week window to look at stuff and commit to something for the following school year. We ended up finding one after the one we had originally called on had fallen through. The place was huge compared to everything we were looking at, was really close to campus, and was a good deal to boot. That place wasn't perfect either, but we just loved it and were so happy to call that place our home this past year.

So when we come out to Indiana to find a place to call home for the next however long we would call it that, I think we both had a feeling of wanting to capture some of that previous magic in our new house. We had been looking online for weeks, but nothing was really working out and we figured we'd arrive in Indy and then find and sign on a place once we got into town.

After visiting at least two dozen places, nothing felt right. We had been neglecting to look at Craig's list much because we felt like between HotPads and PadMapper, we were seeing everything that was out there, but on Friday night in our hotel room we decided to look again. All of a sudden we were finding a lot of new places that felt like really good options. We hoped to see and maybe even apply for at least one or two places by Saturday so that we could hopefully be moving into our place either by Sunday or early in the week. We obviously didn't want to be in a hotel much longer and I was about to start work soon so time was running out, but we just weren't hearing back fast enough.

We started to settle on one place, but it didn't feel optimal to either of us, but we were ready to apply and get the ball rolling. We took a second look at the place, but then decided that we should just drive past one that we had found that looked great, but only had an email contact. I was thinking that maybe we could find a "for rent" sign out front at least and maybe get a phone number that way.

We drove down and saw the front of the house and we knew that it was vacant. We inched along in our car, even passing the house, about to take off when we decided that we could ask the neighbors next door that we had seen a few questions. They told us a little about the house was supposed to have been sold, but the buyer dropped out, and now it was for rent and how the owner would probably love a lead. She had a phone number we could call, and that was when we were told the neighbors on the other side of the house were actually showing the place. Within a few minutes we were able to get inside, look around, meet our neighbors who just really felt like great people, and we were about decided to rent the place. Amy was on the phone with the owner and casually asked if he would go lower on the rent price, which he agreed to without hesitation, and then we had decided for sure that we wanted it.

The next day, Sunday, we went to the ward we would be attending and were thoroughly unimpressed. It just felt like it wasn't the right mix of people for us and that was something very high on our list. I had talked to a few different bishops of wards where it at least seemed to feel like we would be great fits for. We raced over to attend the other ward for the other home we were looking at in the ward that sounded like the best match for us, but that one didn't feel right either. We decided then that whatever hesitations we had on the church front, this still felt like the right place for us.

It may not sound like a big deal to anybody else, but all of that really led to us feeling like this was the place we were supposed to be. I'm not one to really feel like I lead a charmed life and know that a higher power is guiding me in all that I do, but in this particular area, my only conclusion is that I feel like the Lord is watching over us. It's been a few weeks now and we have loved the area, have amazing neighbors, and love the proximity to my work. The place has required some work to make it feel like our own, but I think it's working out great and it's just a really nice to feel like you are where you're supposed to be. We had submitted at least hundreds of petitions that we would find the right place and it feels like we found it. Thank heaven for that.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Found On My GoPro

On our most recent trip out to Reno and then to Vancouver, I finally started to really take advantage of the photography features found within the GoPro camera. I used the burst feature just a little bit in Hawaii, but while talking to my brother-in-law, Dan, I learned about the wifi capabilities of the camera, the ease of downloading pictures straight from the camera to my phone, and that just made everything that much easier. It's unbelievable. I feel like I have an entirely new toy to play with.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite images from the Reno trip. I posted a few to my Instagram, but didn't want to overload people's feeds. On my blog, however, I have absolutely no qualms about doing it. So here goes!

Can you see why I am so in love with Lake Tahoe? It is the most blue, beautiful water I've ever seen. It touches your lips and you feel like you should be drinking it, it's just so pure. And it's not like I haven't experienced some pretty rad waters in my time.

I just thought those were some fun shots. I'm really looking forward to California and what kinds of things I'll be able to capture there.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Esteem As Of Great Worth

Some time ago I read these verses in 2 Nephi 33:
1 And now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.
 2 But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught.
 3 But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.
I started to think a lot about what kinds of things I might include in my plates of brass that I would be passing down to future generations. What are the permanent and enduring lessons that I would take the time to etch into metal plates so that they would be preserved for all of my posterity to read? Am I learning the necessary lessons that I should be gleaning that will be of great worth not only to myself, but to my posterity? What are those lessons?

When you start asking those kinds of questions, I can appreciate a lot more why Nephi and other writers in the Book of Mormon apologize and almost timidly offer up their words for our reading. Knowing the gravity of your assignment adds a lot of pressure and would make anybody at least a little worried about how those messages are being received. On one hand, it is usually easy to know of the impact that lessons learned have on your own life, but how can you be sure that the message remains impactful to the person receiving it in written form only. Thank goodness for the Spirit, right?

This blog for a long time was a vehicle of expression for me about so many things - sometimes silly things, sports, politics, religious things, thoughts on dating, a travelogue, and more politics.

Going forward I hope that this can be a place for me to express some of my own thoughts and help me to clarify and crystallize my own feelings about things. Some of it will still touch on some of those different areas, but I'd like to stay closer to those things that I esteem to be of great worth, as Nephi says.

For anyone who's still out there, stay tuned.

Three Word Answers

As I ease back into this blogging thing, let me start off with something easy. This is an FHE that Amy's sister, Lisa, does with her family and has all of her kids do. We have been meaning to do it for awhile and we finally got around to it about a month or so ago in one of our own FHE's and I think it's a pretty fun thing to do, and something worth revisiting as some time passes and answers change.

There are a few things on here that would already change in just the short time that has passed since we did this, but I'll get to that in a different post.

What I’m proud of today: Scripture study plan
What I’m thinking about: Ear is clogged
Who is home: My little family
Plans tonight: TV, shower, skype
Feelings about love: It’s always present
Feelings about life: I can’t complain
What I need: Full time employment
What I want: Start in August
What I have: Plenty of time
My pet peeve: Being treated indifferently
My Guilty pleasure: Sugary carbonated drinks
What you don’t know about me: Loved Paula Abdul
What I can hear: AC and typing
What I can smell: Can’t, all congested
My Style: T-shirt and sandals
My hairdo: Simple, no fuss
My outfit: See “style” above
My mood: I’m feeling lazy
The weather today: Like starting summer
Thoughts on family: My constant happiness
Thoughts on marriage: Keeps me grounded
Thoughts on beauty: All around me
Thoughts on sleep: It’s always fleeting
Thoughts on writing: Crystallizes my thoughts
My favorite thing: Besides family? Activity.
My favorite food: Still say pizza
My favorite splurge: GoPro or vacation
My favorite treat: Texas sheet cake
Ten years ago: BYU senior, clueless
Five years ago: Getting Provo bearings
One year ago: Pregnant, nobody knows
One year from now: Back from France
Five years from now: Pregnant with 5th
Ten years from now: Living happily abroad
I’m famous for: Going to school
I’ll never be famous for: Loving telephone charades
Who I am: Highly educated unemployed
Who I hope to be: Highly educated employed
What I’m thankful for: Family, free time

One of the main reasons I want to get back to blogging is for the "Thoughts on Writing" question and answer that I have posted. Writing, for me, is such a great conduit for crystallizing my thoughts and feelings on different topics. Blogging is becoming irrelevant these days, but I love it as a form of journal writing that I can be/used to be really good at. I hope to get back to it with some more regularity.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Western Michigan!

Here's another video. We did this trip with Mike and Lauren and got to see Lake Michigan, Holland, and Grand Rapids. Holland was a bit of a letdown, but we had a fun time because our company was so great.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Trip Out to Cleveland and Kirtland

Our latest video. This was a really fun trip last summer when we got to meet up with some of our dearest friends, Andrew and Jessica Mitchell. We were all kinds of excited to share with them our news about being pregnant, but little did we know that she was also expecting herself and only weeks behind us. 

I don't love this video as much as some of my others, but it'll do. Here it is!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I'm Done

Can you believe it? I'm done with school. I finished yesterday. I graduate tomorrow. It's all done. Done. Done. Done. I'll be posting more shortly. See you soon!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Favorite Part Of This Blog?

A classmate of mine told me today he was surfing my blog. This happens on occasion. This used to happen more frequently when I was more regular about posting, but as you all can attest, that is not so much the case anymore.

Anyway, he mentioned to me that he was surfing "Inclined to Recline" and I was like, oh yeah, that is my URL, huh?

And then I realized just how much I like that title. It's clever, isn't it? I think it's probably my favorite part of this blog I decided right then.

Over the last year and a half it's evolved a good amount. First, I don't post that often, which is something that I keep saying I would like to change and become more regular again. Second, I've gone to more of a journally-type blog and distanced myself a bit from politics and current events. Not that I've lost my taste for that stuff, but I have lost the taste for making it a public debate/rant.

But yeah, Inclined to Recline. I dig it. I think I'll stick with it for a bit. Readership is down, but thanks for staying with me this far. I'll try and keep up with it.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Adjustment

It's funny, last night Amy and I were talking about how fun it would be to only have Jane. It'd be so easy. She warms to people no problem so getting babysitters for her is no issue at all. We could go to movies frequently and do other things. She travels well as evidenced by our summer. She's just easy. One kid is easy to care for, especially if it's Jane. She's just wonderful.

We knew that adding another to the mix would make things more tricky. We knew that there would be an adjustment period of at least a few months. You just never know how these things go when you add kids to the mix.

The timing that we decided to go with also made it kind of interesting. Jane is still so young. To just about everyone, Jane really is still just a baby. Would it be smart to add on another baby given all of that? We still don't have any money, so it's not like that would be any easier.

The way we were talking last night, it almost felt like we were talking about having only Jane the way we talked about how it was being married without kids. Adding more to the mix just complicates things.

Regardless of whatever fantasizing we were engaging in, we still wouldn't have it any other way. It definitely is more tricky adding another child to the mix. Schedules are hard to line up. Just the logistics of getting out is trickier. We used to forget things all the time when it was just Jane, and now that happens just as often with Peter. Everything is just trickier.

But he's just the sweetest little guy. He's making more cute little baby noises now. He holds eye contact better and whether he is or isn't in reality, it really feels like he engages more. He's becoming more alive and I just love it.

I think the biggest payoff will start in about a year when Jane and Peter can play together. That relationship is sure to be tenuous at some times, but they will always have each other and there will be a growth in relationship building that will occur that couldn't have happened if we didn't have a second, let alone a second that is so close in age behind the first.

That's what I'm really excited for. This part right now is tricky. And I say all of this with a grain of salt because relatively, I still think Peter is pretty easy as far as babies go. Right now we are in the business of building our family and it comes with its challenges, but it's just so wonderful to have them both here with us now, even if there are other things, and good ones at that, that we have to forego for the time being.

Giving up good for something better. That's what it's about, right? And in my heart of hearts, I know that this is what's best.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Benefits of Travel

Recently a friend of mine had posted on Instagram a photo about his travels in LA and then asked the question, what is it that you like so much about traveling? I had a quick answer for him, but then I started thinking about it more and just wanted to expand it into a blogpost. My initial response to his question said something about how it becomes a growing experience for our little family as we get out and about and see different things. I've said this before on here, but I'll say it again, traveling becomes a real learning experience for all of us, even the babies. Jane has traveled to Phoenix once, Colorado once, Vegas twice, California four times, out to Michigan and back (and on five separate road trips while out there), up to Oregon, and flown to Mississippi and Seattle to then drive to Vancouver. You know what's even more amazing? She has done it all without the benefit of any kind of DVD player or video watching device. And until this last trip, we never even handed her our phones. She's become an amazing traveler and can pretty easily go 10 hours in the car with one or maybe two stops without ever really complaining. With this last trip to Colorado, Peter really did great. He barely made a peep, although at his age it might be even easier to travel. While it does come at a cost sometimes of sleep when we're all having to stay in the same room, or nap schedules get shifted, or whatever else, I think it's been invaluable for all of us to learn that we can pretty much go anywhere and do anything in spite of having kids in tow. It helps us as parents learn how to handle them better and gives them an opportunity to be more adaptive to their circumstances. (I won't discount what a huge benefit it is to have kids that are naturally pretty easy, but I won't say that they haven't also benefited from a little bit of coaching from life.) One other focus of our travels has been to see specific individuals. Last year we went and visited Greg and Laura in Mississippi. This past weekend we saw the Johnsons in Colorado. While both of those areas were interesting because they were mostly new to us, the real objective for each of those trips was to strengthen those relationships. We weren't really going for any objective other than just to spend time with those people, not to say we didn't end up doing fun things, but the point was spending time with them. Nothing beats having that individual time one on one with people, even being with them in the natural rhythm of their day to day lives, all of that just gives you such a better picture into their lives and helps you become better acquainted with one another. The last benefit of traveling that I'll mention is probably the most obvious one - it just does so much to get exposure to different things. I love so much that I have a wife that is so willing to endure the rigor of travel and the discomfort of being away from home in order to see and experience new places. Being in Michigan last summer was such an eye opening experience for us in so many ways. Traveling across the country and back, then all the way out and up to the Oregon coast, then down to California gave us such wonderful experiences to all share together. I don't know. I just love traveling. I can't wait to see the other new places we'll explore.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Road Trip Out To Michigan

Video of our road trip out to Michigan. This was the most daunting video project from last summer. I started with over 200 video clips and boiled them down to these 60 or so. This was a fun project though. The others should be easier from here on out.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Peter Christopher Silva

Towards the end of Amy's pregnancy whenever she would flinch or something kind of pop up, I would ask her, jokingly, "are you gonna have a baby?"

Once we got within 3 or so weeks, I began making the same joke, but in more earnestness. Cut to Monday night, January 13th. We had just participated in an FHE with a couple of other families in the MBA program. We had a nice evening and then just went home.

We were just kind of sitting around, casually talking back and forth while she sat at the computer desk, and I took a call from my best friend, Dave. Amy stood up when she noticed some amount of water that come out. I don't know of a better way to say that. I was still on the phone with Dave, joking with him about having him there for the actual experience of our baby, when as more time passed, it became more and more apparent that our baby was actually coming.

By that time it was almost 11:30 at night and we were assembling everything for our hospital trip. Although Peter's induction date was only a week and a half away, and his actual due date 2 weeks away, it still caught us off guard. We hadn't packed bags or prepared anything for the actual hospital trip. Still though, with our first trip to deliver a baby at the hospital, we already had some sense for how this would go for Amy, so instead of rushing to get out, she and I both took showers, I made her some toast, and we got Jane ready to drop her off at our friends, the Paxsons.

 We are so lucky to have the Paxsons. They were ready for our midnight call and were glad to take Jane in for the evening. Besides being so obviously accommodating, they also happened to live just right down the street from the hospital. Although Jane was now completely awake and not quite ready for us to leave, we knew she was in good hands and that she would do pretty well in spite of the jarring wake up call and displacement. (They also verified later that in spite of staying up for another hour or two, she handled everything pretty well.)

 We arrived at the hospital some time around 12:30am. Amy doesn't really have regular contractions (at least initially) so it is kind of hard for her to tell when those are coming on so getting on pitocin quickly is standard for her. She also had to run through a course of antibiotics for some strep strain she had tested positive for, so it would be a few hours before things would get going. This time, however, it didn't seem like it would take as long this time as it did last time (17 hours).

 You know what's funny? I had a lot of late nights last semester between working on school assignments and my thesis, but staying up late into the night this time around was really hard on me. I was just so tired. She got her epidural probably some time around 3 or 4am and fortunately that provided no additional complications.

From that point it was just waiting for the baby to come. It was around 6:30 or when Amy alerted the nurse that she was feeling a lot of pressure from the baby, to which the nurse replied something like, well, it looks like that baby is about ready to come. She notified Dr. Lamoreaux and the rest of the staff and then we had a baby.

 It almost feels unfair to describe Peter's birth story because it was just so easy. Amy's water broke, we dropped Jane off, and then basically took naps until she was ready to push him out. Once the pushing began it must have been like three pushes and then we had our new son, Peter Christopher Silva. At one point the doctor even told her to stop pushing because he was already starting to exit on his own.

 There is nothing like it, nothing like watching your newborn child enter into the world. This time, at least, I didn't get much more emotional beyond just a surge of adrenaline and excitement at seeing him. Like Jane, he cried a little once he came out, but he was otherwise very calm. Jane was very pale because she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, but Peter had some good color right away. It also helped his delivery that he was smaller than Jane, 7lbs 2oz, 19" long (as compared to 8lb 2oz, 20" for Jane). Peter was born at 6:51am on January 14th, 2014.

After each delivery Amy was exhausted, but the first time it was more from the delivery process. This time it was mostly just a lack of sleep. See? It's just unfair. We complain that her deliveries come in the night instead of the daytime rather than having any kind of real harrowing experiences.

This experience has been so different for us, mostly because we have done this before. With your first child everything is a little daunting - you've never had to be responsible for a child, never had to be the sole provider for all of the basic needs of a little baby, but once you have that first, you're armed with experience and it just makes everything so much easier. Another thing too is that some people will talk about their bursting love and expanded capacity for love once they meet their little baby. Amy and I don't have that. I love Jane way more than I love Peter right now, but that's because the way I (and I think I can see "we" here too) bond is through time and by meeting that baby's needs. I know I'll love him the same as I do Jane, but that's going to take some time and experiencing life together, which I'm so excited to do. (Plus, Jane is just awesome. I may never love any of my children more than her, let's be honest.)

One thing I also wanted to mention was the timing of this thing. Peter's due date was January 27th. His induction was scheduled for a Friday, January 24th. This whole time we had been saying that it would have been so nice for him to have been due just a week earlier to take advantage of a break that I have within the program from January 15th-20th. It seemed like a stretch, but it just so happened that in one of our prayers a couple night's before he was born I asked that he come a little earlier, and if possible, that Tuesday the 14th or Wednesday the 15th. When I told one of my friend's in the program about this he pointed out, "good thing that you asked." That made me think of this part from the entry on prayer in the Bible Dictionary found in our scriptures: The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. I don't know exactly if I sped up the timeline when I mentioned that in my prayer, but I am going to assume that I did. He really hears us and I'm so grateful that this worked out the way that it did.

Children are an heritage of the Lord. That is the phrase that keeps on going through my head these last couple weeks since we had Peter. My kids are my greatest blessings besides my dear wife. I can't describe how blessed we are to have them, to have our own little family. And also that Amy's experience with pregnancy and labor is so mild compared to most people's experiences. Honestly, it makes me feel that because of that great blessing, it is now incumbent upon us to have all the children that we can. There is no real reason not to. We feel that we are in a position to take care of these kids, Jane and now Peter are relatively easy to handle, and her body can bear her pregnancies, so we need to take full advantage of those blessings. Where so many people cannot for whatever reason, we can so it's on us to do it. Hopefully that makes sense.

Anyway, I love my little family. It's a wonderful life.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Strung Out Live at the HOB Anaheim

So in case you were wondering, this is what a punk show looks like. This music is not for the faint of heart. Also, it has some language.

It's totally ridiculous that I still love going to these shows, but I just do. And it's equally silly that I actually have a group of friends that all like doing this too. At one point, before the show started, we actually counted how many kids we had between all of us and had a laugh about how much has changed over the years since we started going to these shows. (The answer is 13...with two on the way. Crazy, right?)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013: Year in Review

Man, I have really fallen off, haven't I?

The thing is, blogs are by far my favorite form of social media. You can communicate so much more. Post more pictures. I feel like you get a much better sense for people and I'm a weirdo in that I will actually read everything and look at everything that people post, of the ones that I like anyway. You guys probably know who you are. So here's to hoping that I get back on the train in 2014 with blogging.

So what was this last year like for us?

Pretty amazing. We had an amazing experience over the summer getting to spend it out in Michigan and seeing so much of the country. We got to visit friends in Mississippi and head down to New Orleans. I had my first taste of spring training and we saw Mike down in Arizona. I actually finished my Masters thesis and completed that degree (post forthcoming), and I am 3/4s of the way done with the MBA program.

I didn't run a marathon this year for the first time since 2007...really? Wow. But I may run one next year (this year?) depending on where we end. In fact, I kind of fell off with running for awhile there. Granted, I wasn't running several times a week, but for about the whole summer, I didn't have any regular running schedule. I definitely missed that a lot. I did run one half, trained for another and ended up not running it. Now I'm running again and hoping to run a half in April. Maybe March. We'll see.

I also got my lowest GPA this past semester. I really fell off the end there with trying to get my thesis ready to be defended (success!). And you know what? I couldn't care less. Last semester ended up being a lot more harrowing than I thought it would be. I didn't really care for any of my classes and I was probably overloaded (18.0 credit hours, eesh), but still managed to get through it all.

We got pregnant and are now only a couple of weeks away from meeting our little guy. Jane is amazing. I mean, really, truly, just so amazing. She brings us more joy than I could have ever imagined. I can honestly say that being a parent is the greatest thing to have ever happened to me, behind marrying my wife and joining the church. It's endless how much delight Jane brings to my life. I say it every day and absolutely mean it. It's incredible. Now I'm almost nervous if Jane set the bar too high for Peter (yup). We'll see, I guess.

Still not any more clarity with the job hunt, but things are moving and I imagine will pick up again as normal work weeks start again next week.

Can you believe how much your life can change in such a short time period? Unreal.