Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tough Times

This has definitely been a season of trials in our family. About 2 months ago, Mike lost his job. Boo. Life has definitely been a blur since then. We've been working hard to stretch our savings, I've been working a lot more, and Mike has been around a lot! He's been working really hard at job searches and networking. Luckily for us, there have been job opportunities available for him to apply to. I'll post the results shortly, as there have been some new developments, but this has been both a time of stress and joy. Here are some of the blessings we have found amidst this trial:
1) Amy has a new found love for her daddy. He can walk into a room and she immediately starts to giggle because she wants to play with him! This is quite the contrast from her constant need to sit by me and on me. Granted, she's still Mommy's girl most of the time, but she definitely misses him when he's not here and asks for him when he's out. Sometimes I'll be on one side of the house and I'll hear hysterical laughing come from her room where they're running around and tackling each other and just having a great time! It's so cute to see!
2) Mike has learned a lot about what he wants to get out of a job. As he has been looking at jobs and realizing he would have options and wouldn't have to take the first job that jumped out at him, he's learned a lot about what he's looking for, such as the fact that he likes somewhat smaller companies as opposed to the large Lockheed Martins, and there are different technologies that he is very interested in that he hopes to be able to work with in his next job.
3) We can live off a VERY tight budget. VERY tight. We have made "budgets" before in the past, but most of the time they end up being averages of what we already spend and don't require us to watch our money at all. This time we watched it at least weekly to see where every penny went. And we learned we can do it! Yes, we had to turn down some dinner invitations and we tried to drive around less, but it is definitely doable!
4) We have learned to rely a lot on the Lord and what he wants us to do. As many of you know, we have found NO job opportunities in Arizona. This has been very hard to stomach because we love our home, our ward, our area, and being close to my family. I really believe, because the Lord knew this, that he knew he wouldn't get us to look outside the state without removing all possible options for us staying. Well, we thought, there's always Utah. We've done Utah before, it's not a big unknown, and Mike's family is there! Utah would be nice. However, the jobs in Utah just didn't sit right with Mike and to our shock we knew we weren't going to Utah. So out we venture into the great unknown (again, details coming soon). Lucky for us, the Lord knows what's going on with us and what we need.
5) We have the best friends and families ever! We have always tried to be the kind of friends that people could call on when they needed something - meals brought in after a baby, babysitters, house sitters, whatever! We have definitely put our friends and families to the test to see if they would do the same for us - and they did! Thank you so much to all of you who have watched Amy while I was at work and Mike was busy with job searches. Especially my mom who was always willing to drop everything to let Amy come play for the entire day while I put in some time at work. Thank you for those of you who invited us over for dinner or camping or games. It was so nice to get out of the house sometimes because our attempt to keep to a tight budget kept us somewhat limited to the house and nearby parks. I feel so blessed to have friends and family that are so willing to help us out when the need arose. I know the Lord blessed us by sending us all of you! Thanks again!

Oh Sugar, Where Art Thou?

So you know how they say you don't miss something until you don't have it. So true. I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes for this pregnancy - that means I'm diabetic while I'm pregnant but shouldn't be after the baby comes. What does that mean? That means once a week ultrasounds to make sure the baby's not in distress and still has plenty of fluid. It also means that I am on an 1800 calorie diet which completely eliminates sugar from my diet! What a nice surprise right before Easter - the season of Robin's Eggs, my absolute favorite! Oh the things we do for our children - he better be worth it! (I know he will be, I'm just kidding.)

You Make My Liver Quiver!

So remember the good old days of high school when school dances required you to come up with some cheesy way to ask or answer your date? My mom always tried to convince us that the best way would be to put a piece of liver on leave a note that said "You make my liver quiver. Will you go to prom with me?" Yeah, needless to say she never was able to talk any of us into doing that one.
Come to find out, the west valley has an LDS prom for the high school kids and they decided to have an adult prom the night before (after seeing all the work they put into decorations, I think that was really a good idea. They put a lot of work into it and it needed to be appreciated by more than just the high school kids). So my husband, knowing how much I loved school dances (yes, I really did. I thought they were a blast!), decided he'd take me to the prom!
I had seen the signs in the church hallway and the announcement in the bulletins, but didn't really bring it up or ask him if he wanted to go. So, imagine my surprise when I wake up to this (those are Hershey's kisses):

Yes, in the spirit of prom, Mike decided to officially "ask me" to the prom. I'm really glad this is one of the mornings Amy decided not to come into our room before I woke up because I can imagine the look on her face if she had found a trail of chocolate and no parents awake to stop her!

Of course I had to then answer in like, so here's what Mike found the night before the prom:
Now, being 6 months pregnant, my mind of course turns to the dress... Where do you find a pregnant prom dress? My mom has closets full of old prom dresses from me and my sisters (with 4 girls graduated, we went through a lot of formals). I had hoped that maybe I could squeeze into an empire-waisted dress because that would be above my belly. But, alas, no such luck. So I ended up finding an old formal skirt I had and a formal shirt from my cousin's wedding and called it good.

First things first, we had to have a day-activity - remember those? Mike had gotten some free spring-training tickets to the Royals game up in Surprise, so Mike, Amy, and I went up and lounged in the grass and enjoyed our sunny afternoon at the ballgame - which was a little warm, hence our lovely hair as Mike decided we needed to have a mini water fight with our waterbottles to cool down. And the Royals won! Mike's from Kansas City, that's why we like the Royals a little bit!

So off we went to prom. We had 5 couples in our group (yes, we had a group!). We started off at P.F. Chang's (mmm... Lettuce Wraps!) and had a really good dinner before we headed over to the prom. Our waiter asked us what the occassion was because the girls at the hostess desk were wondering. We laughed for a minute and then finally owned up to the fact that we were indeed going to Prom.
So after dinner, we headed over to the stake center for the Phantom of the Opera themed prom. Wow! It was fantastically decorated. They had built a gondolla in the hall, made the hallway into a dungeon archway, set the stage to look like the operahouse, and even built balconies and an organ! It was beautiful. So we danced the night away, had a great time with some friends, and all and all just really enjoyed ourselves. I did tell Mike that we have to go again because next year I'm going to fit into one of my old dresses!
Here's our group: Mike and his really pregnant prom date:
Stud Muffin: I had to take a picture of just the top of me so that I didn't look pregnant and fat in every picture!

Take Me Out To The Ballgame!

Mike had the opportunity to play in the city's softball league this year. Sarah Harding put together a team and asked Mike if he wanted to play. He had a lot of fun! By the end of the season they were doing well consistently, but alas, did not make it through the tournament. It was definitely a fun experience for him though!

Valentine's Dinner

This one is out of order a bit, but I do have one more Valentine's Day post. I know, I know, I've had my Valentine's Day post up forever, but I promise this is the last one. Mike and I had enjoyed our at-home valentine's day a lot, but decided we still wanted to go out to a nice V-day dinner. I had a gift card from my boss from Christmas to this really nice steakhouse called Fleming's, so we decided to try it out. We got all dressed up, dropped Amy off at the sitter's house (thanks Kimmi!) and headed out. The food was delicious and the restaurant was very formal-feeling. In this ambiance, imagine our embarressment when this happened: We cut into our steaks, after spooning our side-dishes onto our plates, only to find that we had been given the wrong steaks (I got his, he got mine). So we decided to just pass them across the table. I, being the wise one, used both my utensils and got my food from one side to the other. Mike, not as wise, decided to balance it on his fork. Flop. It landed right in the middle of the white tablecloth. So, for the rest of the night, that's where our cups sat - right in the middle of the stain to cover it up. However, every time the waiter came to refill our cups he'd pick up the cup and reveal the stain. Yeah, we laughed about it all night long. It's probably one of those "you had to be there" moments, but we found it really funny.

Thanks for a nice night out Mike! I love you!

The Results Are In...

Okay, so I definitely haven't blogged in a very long time. My mom is here painting the baby's room (post on that later) so she said I should get caught up in my blogging while she's doing that. So here we go:

After weeks of eating a lot of grilled chicken and not much other meat, the results are in for the biggest loser contest! Mike and Richard both worked very hard and sacrificed a lot of yummy food (except when they really wanted it. In that case, they decided as long as they both at the same amount then it wasn't really cheating).

Final weigh in amounts:

Richard: 181.2 lbs
Total Weight Lost: 21.0 lbs (10.386%)

Total Weight Lost: 20.0 lbs (10.905%)

Winner: Mike (by .519%)! It was a close race, but Mike did come out victorious in the end! That's my husband! Good job Mike!

Here are some before and after shots. No, Mike doesn't have a habit of wearing a tux around, but it just so happened he had two occassions that required it right at the beginning and end of the contest, so it worked out that he was wearing the same clothes.