Sunday, February 1, 2015

Year in Review: 2014

A friend of mine wrote one that I enjoyed and I thought that this would be a great way to launch back into the blog. My entry will probably be too long and drawn out as I am wont to do, but here goes.

Highlights from our year:

  • Peter, of course. Born on January 14 just before 7am. I already have an account of it, but in brief he came just under two weeks early and he's been just so great. More on him later. 
  • Graduating from the MBA program: This, obviously, is very big for me. It marks the end of my scholastic career at BYU. I'm sure that I'm done shooting for degrees from BYU, but less sure that I'm actually done with school, period. The end of the program also marked the beginning of a nice stretch of about 2 months where I just hung out full time with my little. This period of time was a lot of road tripping, first on our first camping adventure down for a little over nighter to Page, AZ, seeing Horseshoe Canyon and the Bryce National Park. Then we spent several days visiting Dan and Sarah and the kids out in Reno, and from there we went up to Vancouver and spent a week or so with Amy's parents and Lisa who brought Megan and Emily with her. Then we went down to California for our last hurrah out West before moving out to Indiana. 
  • Hawaii: This one was higher on my list than it was for Hawaii, but that trip was a ton of fun for all of us. We got to spend some good time with Dave and Caitlin and we explored all of Oahu. 
  • Moving out to Indiana: Right? More on that. 
Toughest parts of the year: 
  • Moving out to Indiana: It's been great being here, but it's also been tough. It has been really tough being so far away from all of our people for one. There are things about Indiana that leave us a little unsettled - the distance, of course, but the midwesterness of everything, trying to find our place socially, and adjusting financially. 
  • The Reality of our financial situation: I capitalize that because I don't think I really knew what things were going to be like financially once we were out of the La-La-land of living off of student loans, living within our means, and knowing that we were going to be able to make ends meet. It took me a few months of looking at our finances, tracking expenses, semi-budgeting to realize that we actually were doing just fine. We aren't killing it, but we are making ends meet and I have a good career trajectory and that's been comforting to figure out. But before some time passed and being able to see some of those things come to fruition, I wasn't seeing it. 
  • The Wilderness: I'll explain. I took a survey after I got out of school for recent graduates. It asked some questions that focused on how likely you'd do a few things, which included the following - change careers in your mid-30s, move across the country away from family and friends, among other things. I guess I knew I was taking a chance once I started the MBA program, but I was sure that it would be a good move, but looking back now I realize how scary those things are. With the survey I answered that I was completely willing to do those things because I don't know if I ever really thought of the import of that kind decision. Six months into this adventure, and even before now, I'm sure that this has been the right move, but it's kind of scary to see those kinds of things play out. You just don't know when you go into it. We have had to rely on the kindness of strangers, on each other, and just take things one day at a time. It's been an experience and I think we are figuring it out. So this is the wilderness. We saw the forest, not the trees, and now after having gotten into the wilderness a little ways, we know the trees a little better and it's a little daunting. You know how it is when you go into things that are unfamiliar. People are intimidating. You don't know how you're measuring up. You just try and make a comfortable place for yourself and eventually, you do. (I don't know that I've really thought about this aspect in so much detail until just now. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you write these kinds of things out.) 
  • My boss quitting: This kind of rocked my world for a couple weeks. I signed up with UTC for a few different reasons, but one of the biggest reasons was the lady I was going to work for. And then one day she put in her two weeks and all of this uncertainty sprang up - did I make the right choice? should I look for a new job too? what is her departure going to mean for what my workload would be like? Turns out, everything is fine. 
Biggest surprises of 2014:
  • Moving to Indiana. For all of the above. 
  • Loving life on 2nd shift: Our biggest hesitation about this job was me having to work on 2nd shift. Everything else we were comfortable with, but working those hours from 2-11pm made us uneasy. Then I started just working from 1-10pm instead, and it turns out, we couldn't love the schedule more. It's now one of the things that we love most. I get to spend mornings with the kids. We can go do things as a family while the kids are still with energy, and I can come home for dinner, have a check-in with my family, and I can come home with enough time to unwind and watch a show or two with Amy. It's wonderful. Also, I have regular hours on Fridays so we get a normal weekend. Wonderful. 
  • Thanksgiving: We were able to surprise my family and friends, but then we were surprised with a nasty bit of flu or something that swept through Jane, Peter, and me. Later we found out that it went through all of the Reids, my mom, my dad's wife, her daughter and probably the rest of Southern California. It was awful. And then the trip home through Colorado. Let's end that conversation there. 
My take: I can't believe any of this. I can't believe I live in Indiana, that I live on EST when, after our experience in Michigan, I promised myself that I didn't want to live in that many time zones away again. And here I am, doing it again. I still hate it, but you figure it out. I don't get to talk to my best friend as easily as I could before. It feels like it's hard to get a Sunday night skype with our family because when they are ready to skype, we are ready for bed, and when we are ready, they are in the middle of dinner. It's annoying.

But the big redeeming factor, for me at least, is that I really do enjoy my job. Let me describe just a few things that happened last week in my work: I had suspended an employee for being insubordinate and then negotiated with the union president a discipline that wouldn't draw a grievance; I had to terminate three employees, which isn't fun for me, but it's crazy that I can play such a pivotal role in a person's life because who forgets when they got fired from a job and the person that fired them? But for me, it's just another guy that wasn't abiding by our company policies. I have to remind myself, "I am not the reason you are getting terminated, you are. Something brought you to my attention and now I have to resolve it." Kind of makes me sound hard core; I got an awesome performance review for my year-end evaluation. My boss really appreciates what I'm doing and I feel like I'm really starting to kill it at work and add some real value to the team' I arranged a retirement party for an employee who worked at our plant for 48 years. 48! And all of his buddies that have worked alongside him that whole time were there with him to celebrate; I helped another lady decide on her retirement date, which ended up being two days later, when she came in to my office and didn't even realize that she was going to be doing so when she came in; I interviewed candidates for other positions that will either launch a new career path, redirect a career path, or enable someone to develop new skill sets. Some of the things I do are hard, but what's really neat about my work is that my work touches on really pivotal moments in a person's life and I think that's really neat to be a part of. Just about every day at work is a memorable day  and I think that's what I really appreciate about what I do.

The Kids

Jane: She is developing into her own little person. By the end of 2014 she was really starting to talk and be able to express herself. Jane is a timid little girl. She doesn't reveal her personality to adults or when she is new settings, but she has a ton of personality. She loves her electronics. Lately she asks all the time to show her pictures of monkees, elephants, and orcas. From very little her favorite game was always to be chased or to be chasing. She's a wonderful mix of girly girl while also liking boy stuff. She loves dresses that twirl and loves her pink skirt where she can pretend to be a ballerina. But she also loves her construction books and loves trucks. Just loves them. Her favorite song to sing is Santa Claus Is Coming to Town. She's still a huge cuddle bug. She likes nothing more than to just sit on your lap and watch Bubble Guppies or Paw Patrol.

Peter: I was sure that Peter was going to be walking at 10 months because of how active he was and how advanced he seemed with all of his large motor skills, but his problem is that he's just too impatient. Every time we try and walk with him, or most of the time at least, it seems like he already knows exactly where he wants to go and what he wants to do and just wants to crawl there and do it. He's only just been starting to take steps on his own the last week or so. He's a very passionate child. He throws tantrums and for now at least, I think it's so funny - when he's laying on his back and kicks his legs up in the air, or when he's just so mad and starts crawling away not looking where he's going and crawls right into a wall or something. He also laughs really hard. He's just more extreme in his emotional expression than Jane was. He's also just all boy. He's rambunctious and not afraid to fall. Having all wood floors downstairs doesn't do the slightest in deterring him from crawling around to get where he wants to go. He loves to climb things and now has enough core strength to just slide down the slide on his own. He cares much less about electronics than Jane did at this age. Also, if he gets off schedule he gets really irritable. And he's not a great eater.

Looking forward to in 2015

  • Mike getting married on March 7th - It's neat to pray for someone for so long and see wonderful things come to fruition. We are greatly looking forward to meeting up with Amy's family, celebrating that wonderful occasion, and being in Arizona in the spring time (spring training!).
  • Trips! Aside from the trips home we'll be doing - the Walton Utah Vacation, going back to California - we are looking forward to warmer weather and going to Chicago for our anniversary, getting out to Nashville, St. Louis, and Lake Michigan (at least).
  • Purchasing a van? I hope it happens this year. We are ready for it. 
So here goes. 


David and Mary Walton said...

That was really great to read! What a good idea to record your life and feelings. I need to do better at that. Thanks!

Lisa said...

Fantastic. I love when you said 'that's why you write these kinds of things out'... writing it does help you evaluate things. Makes me want to do this too! Can't wait to see you guys soon.

Sarah Walton said...

Always love reading your updates:)