Just Some Things

I can’t believe it’s already mid-October.

Dylan and I celebrated our eighth anniversary on the eighth. <–That sounds surreal.

Nellie is going to be a tiger for Halloween, we found a cheap second-hand costume from Old Navy that is super cute and will be so warm and snuggly–both points that fit the bill for this North Dakotan mama. Dylan and I are still working on Ada to agree to be a tiger trainer/circus trainer. We may have ideolized (I just made that up) so well that she’s unsure she wants to be someone who’s “so mean to animals” and that “animals are meant to live in the wild and not do tricks.”

We’ve picked up our “Eat the World” Challenge again and are trying to at least get through the “Bs” before the end of 2013. Right now we’re planning our Brazilian meal and combining it with another new dinner theme (apparently, I really like theme-y things, well actually, I always knew that)–movie nights. Movie nights we watch a movie together as a family and eat dinner at the same time and have cutesy foods to match the characters/setting of the story line. The girls love it because it’s so against the grain of eating together at the dinner table. Anyhow, Brazil will be combined with movie night because we checked out “Rio” at the library this weekend and thought it would be a fun tie-in. The girls will be boggled. Minds will be blown.

Work is going great–it’s been busy up to my eyeballs but I continue to love it just as much as when I started. I’d consider myself one lucky ducky in that realm.

Dylan is half-way through his student teaching at one of the highschools in town. It’s been hard to juggle the schedules but  I guess it’s boot camp for when he graduates and becomes a teacher of his own domain. Word on the street is that he’s doing pretty awesome, but that’s no surprise here. (I can hear him rolling his eyes now. Literally, hear the movement.)

Ada has started kindergarten and she’s a rockstar. Learning her letters and phonics, she’s so excited to read. She’s been coming home with little “I Can Read”-type books and showing off her new sight-word skills. I continue to be amazed at the collective knowledge she’s gained in such a short period of time, what happened to my baby?

AND speaking of babies (no, not that), my Nellie’s one month or so away from turning 3! THREE?! In honor of the occasion she has chosen to have a “Kung-Fu Princess” themed birthday party. Thankgoodnesstobetsy for Pinterest.

Ufta.

And then there’s this whole shutdown business…

Maybe that’s a good place to stop for now.

Fear not, I will be back.

Monday Meal Plan on Tuesday *Again*

I’ve got some big news…

(NO. I am NOT pregnant.)

I got a promotion!

This is mostly why it’s been so quiet around these parts, I’ve been trying to keep it on the DL until a bit closer to my start date, but I just can’t resist anymore. Plus, we’re due for a “Monday” meal plan.

I will still be working with New Americans but now, instead of the Employment Specialist, I will be the Resettlement Coordinator for the Grand Forks office. I.am.STOK.ED. (<–So stoked I had to separate that last word into two. I know, party animal.) So instead of focusing mainly on employment for clients, I will be overseeing my sub-office (LSS is based out of Fargo), completing assurances, finding apartments, working on community relations & giving presentations, writing grants, etc. It’s a big step, a big promo for me, and I can’t wait to start.

I’ve been training on and off throughout last week and my first day will be Monday, March 18th. (It’s getting SO close.) Then after that I have a relatively quiet week to situate myself into the new position before all the conferences barrage my spring schedule (Building Bridges, LIRS/EMM—luckily for me they’re doing a tri-agency conference this year so I don’t have to worry about being gone for 2 weeks, and NDACP). It’ll definitely be a “jumping in” experience but I’m looking forward to it (anticipating it gleefully, even…there may be something wrong with me).

This change also means we’ll get to see a bit more of Dylan, which the girls and I are exceptionally excited about. Instead of being gone Thursday-Monday every other week, we’ll just be Daddy/husband-less for Saturday-Monday. Much, much, MUCH more manageable. And since this is the weekend that he works, I’m excited to see how much quicker it will pass by since it’s only three days now…

“Monday” Meal Plan 3.4-3.10

Monday 3.4
D: Tacos (because we have a ton left from Ada’s party)
Tuesday 3.5
D: Eat the World: Bosnia and Herzgovina …Seriously. We’re actually going to make it happen tonight.
Wednesday 3.6
D: Coconut shrimp soup w/cilantro
Thursday 3.7
D: Nellie & Dylan will be on their own as Ada and I will be in Fargo getting fitted for dresses for my cousin’s wedding.
Friday 3.8
B: Pancakes (I typically freeze leftover pancakes every other week that I make them so that I can use them as quick and easy breakfasts/snacks. Put 1-2 in the microwave for about 40 seconds and they’re good to go.)
L & Tea: Ada will be at Grandpa Terry’s
D: Pizza Night!
*Extra*
Feed Brucie and mix up a sponge for Sourdough 1.
Saturday 3.9* Happy birthday Sheilaaaaaaa!
B: Rhubarb cream cheese strudel
L: Peanut Sesame Noodles
D: Birthday dinner for Sheila @ Texas Roadhouse
*Extra*
Mix & raise Sourdough 1 & mix up sponge for Sourdough 2.
Prep the scones to bake tomorrow morning.
Sunday 3.10*
B: Birthday scones for Sheila
L, Tea & Dinner: Terry & Sheila’s House
*Extra*
Bake Sourdough 1 & Final raise Sourdough 2 (bake Monday morning).

Bright and shiny

Goodbye Redrum!

Goodbye Redrum!

I am pleased to announce my departure from the REduRuM that I once called my office. Hurrah for me! No, I am not leaving my job but rather participated in a fairly large, inter-office switcheroo today. I am over.the.moon about it.

Before I had about a large, walk-in-closet space and would have to crawl/shimmy/awkwardly decide front or back when passing over my clients to retrieve papers from the printer during enrollments. I would constantly bang into the two drawer filing cabinet behind my chair because it stuck out an average amount and I had a not-meant-for-my-desk-hutch that took up more than its fair share of my work area. Not to mention that I shared my little RedRuM with interns as needed. And clients were constantly waiting for their appointments by just sitting in my office or peering into my door over my side shoulder as I tried to work. Not ideal.

This move is great. Great for us all. The women who moved back into our old office space now have room for the new supervisor they’re hiring by taking the two main offices open and the traveling, once-a-week supervisor will re-home in the RedRuM. (And truthfully, it is a small space but if we wouldn’t have moved and I would’ve stayed, I would’ve just dealt with it because I like my job.)

Goodbye inconvenient and insufficient work space!

Goodbye inconvenient and insufficient work space!

Bright and shiny! And very messy...

Bright and shiny! And very messy…

Which brings me to my new, bright and shiny office! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! I may be teensy bit excited. 

I know it looks disastrous at the moment but my space has nearly tripled by this switch and now I have great space for paperwork and computer work (105+ application questionnaires may be the death of me) AND I have adequate space for clients to sit comfortably and work on applications, etc; AND I have comfortable space for an intern! AND, if that’s not good enough, I’ve got space to store kid supplies for little clients that aren’t in school yet. Needless to say because I’ve all but bashed your brains in about it, I’m excited. And happy. And excited.

Now it only they could get my NEW (didn’t I mention I also get a new, full-functioning) computer and phone line hooked up, we’d be golden…

Monday meal plan on Friday

I know, I know…disorganization reigns in my house prior to, during, and immediately after holidays. It’s a mess. BUT at least I’m attempting to get back on track, right? Right?!

Dylan works the next few days (those 40 hour weekend spurts are something that the girls and I will definitely NOT miss when he gets his first teaching gig–Dylan too, I’m sure) and will be gone for approximately two breakfasts, two lunches, and five dinners, with approximately four or five snacks. Being the Betty Crockery wife that I am (stifle your snickering, please), I usually try to make a little extra for him to take along for meals. Plus the need for snacks = baking time! Because truthfully, how many sandwiches and cans of soup does one person really want to consume in less than a week? Which, after typing that sentence, I realize it needs a hash tag to call it like it is: #firstwordproblemsfosho 

Monday Friday Meal Plan

12.28 Friday

Breakfast: Cereal and/or toast. Maybe yogurt with honey and blackberries or whatever the girls feel like that’s quick and easy since I have to work.   

Lunch: Ginger garlic chicken porridge. New recipe to try! I’m going to swap out the chicken for turkey since Dad sent us home with a bag of leftovers from Christmas Eve. Yes, I know that tomorrow is probably the last day for them…

Tea Time: Assam w/sugar & milk and cookies. Ada loves this loose leaf stuff I pick up at the international market near our house.

Dinner: Dahl for Dylan and me (deliciousness incarnate and a great pick me up for his cold). Leftovers for the girls, which might seem cruel but there’s a ton of their favorites lingering in the fridge and I hate wasting food.   

*Extras*

Cherry chocolate coconut granola. This is to DIE for. Seeeeeriously. My kids eat it for snack by the fistfuls and truthfully, I’m never found too far off. Poured in a bowl with a healthy dash of almond milk and it is my go-to breakfast of choice.

No bake chocolate chip granola bars. Every time I’ve made these they’ve disappeared within the day. Single, double, even a triple batch! Crazy good.

12.29 Saturday

Breakfast: Easy raspberry strudel. Another newbie that’s been sitting in my recipe box for far too long. If I make it the night before it’ll be easy to bake in the morning? Warm strudel and a cup of coffee with my hubby? Hopefully he’ll be feeling better so I can drag him out of bed to spend time with me before he heads off to work his monstrously long day.

Lunch: American goulash. A “newish” recipe that sounds exactly like the stuff I remember devouring from childhood. It’s one of those hotdishy recipes that I get to indulge in guiltless when Dylan works because apparently I married a food snob,

who knew?

Tea Time: Chamomile tea & leftover strudel—if there is any. Or chocolate chip cookies leftover from Nellie’s Cookie Monster cake.

Dinner: Korean ground beef, fried eggs and kimchi. SO good. Quick, delicious,comfort food that’s right up my alley.

12.30 Sunday = All day Pierogi making affair with Sheila! My tummy is I’m so excited!

12.31 Monday

Breakfast: Cereal, toast, whatever floats Dylan and the girls’ boat since they’ll be home. I’ll probably have granola.

Lunch: Leftovers, to make it easy on Dylan and to eliminate waste. Seriously, I hate, hate, hate wasting food!

Tea Time: Whatever Dylan feels like giving them—I’ll be at work.

Dinner: Skillet eggplant lasagna. New recipe to use up the lingering bags of summer stash I have in my deep freeze.

*Extra*

Ranger cookies. I’ve been meaning to try this recipe out and see if it comes close to these cookies that I buy at the grocery store because I dislike having to buy them when I could make them. Anyone else out there like that?

I’m thankful for…

Day 9: I’m thankful for my job. I love my job. Seriously. It’s such a blessing to wake up every morning and be excited to go to work with other people who really care about what they do and want to make a difference. I’m so blessed to be apart of a team, of an organization, that believes all people are created in God’s image and thus deserve to be treated with respect. I could go on and on (seriously) about my job and how it makes not being home with my girls bearable doable.

Day 10: I’m thankful for Moses. My annoying, smelly, snorting, farting, almost-5-year-old pug. As aggravated and enraged that he makes me (he is now a 3x pound convict), I can’t imagine how less snuggly my life would be.

Day 11: I’m thankful for my parents, who will drive to my house and entertain my girls and install a beautiful new sink in my kitchen for a day and think nothing of it. I’m continually reminded and inspired by their willingness to give and I’m thankful that I have been given such an example to pass onto my daughters.

Day 12: (Hey, might as well get a jump start on the week while I’m on a roll.) I’m thankful for all the men and women who have served our country throughout the years. Thank you for your willingness to serve and for all the sacrifices that you made. I cherish the freedoms that you have pledged to protect and uphold for me.

The Ever Ongoing Job Search

This is the photo that we sent Tahquitz Pines Conference Center on our resumes. We realized that this is probably our first photo all together (that we orchestrated) since being in the hospital recovery room. And it’s amazing how big Ada’s already gotten.

This week has gone by extremely fast, not only have we conferenced more with Alan from Tahquitz about the job there in California, but Dylan started his new job at LM Glassfiber and Ada spent her first night away from Mommy and Daddy (there were only a few tears…none of Ada’s however). It doesn’t seem like just a week ago that we were feeling discouraged that no one was interested in what we could offer and then, BOOM, God opened a door for us.

Katie and Dylan will be flying out to California on Tuesday morning to see the Conference Center and also talk some more with Alan and his wife, Linda. Ada and Moses will be staying at Grandma Sheila and Grandpa Terry’s. We would appreciate your prayers for safety, wisdom and peace as we embark on this part in our job search journey. It will be a time of bid decisions and it is our hearts’ desire that God would be leading when and where we choose to go. If this is the place that God wants to cultivate us as a family and as believers, this is where we want to be…please pray for the wisdom to be able to discern whatever it is that God puts on our hearts while we are there and for the peace that whatever decision it is that we make, is the right one.

California?

So we are still diligently on a job hunt. Dylan has been looking at a wide range of jobs in camping ministry and also in the secular realm of recreation and leisure (i.e. state parks). The jobs could and would take us anywhere from McGregor, MN, (sound familiar?) to Idyllwild, CA…all we have to do is to follow God through whichever door opens.

Experiencing the job search process has been a challenge. There are so many emotions that seem to cycle through our beings each time we check out a new wanted posting or send in an application. Excitement, anxiousness, hope, curiosity, frustration…and each time it seems a little tougher to continue. We know we need a job and we want a job, but we are comfortable where we are. Our families and friends are nearby, our jobs and hobbies are here, our family was created here. When we think about those things it makes it hard to motivate ourselves to push forward through the rejection to find the right open door. Because, ultimately, we know it’s out there somewhere.

So, if you think about, even though it may be hard, please pray for us. Pray that we would be diligent and patient in God’s timing so that we don’t miss an opportunity meant specifically for us. Pray that we have the courage and determination to pursue openings and the wisdom to pick out which ones would really fit our family. Please pray for our hearts that they would continue to prepare us for whatever service we will be called to. Thank you for your prayers and support; we definitely appreciate them all.

One Down, One More to Go.

So today marks Dylan’s last finals…not necessarily for forever but for a good, long while. We are excited for this chapter in our lives to begin coming to a close (Katie still hasn’t finished–it’s not a race you know) but are anxious for what the future holds. Where will we be in a year seems to be the ever looming question. Yet, we know that God’s created a perfect plan and we’ll do our best to follow along.

“Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there…The LORD had said to Abram,

“Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.”
Genesis 11:31, 12:1-4

This passage has been comforting and inspiring as we look for jobs, build our family and seek God’s will in our lives. In chapter 11, verse 31, Abram’s initial goal was to make it to Caanan, but instead they settled in Haran. He built his life there with his wife and family. They were settled and comfortable, they were happy. And yet when God called Abram to leave for his original destination, the place where God intended for him, he didn’t question. He just went. Abram knew that even though he had become settled with his family, that it was just a transitory period; one in which he would eventually have to leave. It definitely wasn’t easy but Abram trusted God and that He would not only take care of him and his family, but that life could not be lived to its potential if it weren’t Father-lead and God blessed.

It is our goal to be like Abram in this regard. We love our family and our friends (we hope that’s obvious) and we are comfortable where we are. But when the time comes that God chooses to open the door for the next chapter in our lives, we pray that we’re ready and that we will choose to be blessed by following.