Tuesday, December 27, 2011


We had a great Christmas, and right after that we jumped straight into packing for our move. Our things were stored all over the place: 4 different locations. Monday morning we picked up the U-haul (who knew they are so expensive?) and headed for the storage unit. It was actually quite pain-free to move the stuff from the unit to the truck, since everything was already packed up. Next we headed to Katie Morphis' house, who had our king bed frame, bookshelf, and my new table. This table is amazing! It goes from seating 4, to seating at least 16. Our next stop, my friend Tracey's house, who had the antique trunk and Joe's mountain bike. We were feeling pretty good about our accomplishments by 5pm.

We took the night off, and headed to downtown Dallas for a last Benac pow-wow. 7 out of 9 kids were in town. There was plenty of yummy food, a fun wagon ride through Highland Park, swimming, and of course lots of fun cousin conversations.
Today, we had to get back to work. Joe was thinking we wouldn't have much to do, but after a full 10 hour day of working, realized that packing up stuff from all over the house takes a lot of time. Plus, we had to pack all the nooks and crannies of the moving truck in order to fit everything. I'm glad we opted to get the 20' truck! All of our belongings except the harp and a few of Joe's tools are in the moving truck, and I can't help but be a little nervous about it getting stolen. Did I say ALL of our stuff is in there? That would NOT be good to have it stolen! Maybe Joe can disable something, so if someone tries to take the whole truck, it just won't start. Hopefully we can get an early start tomorrow morning, as we have about 12 hours of driving to do to Albuquerque. With only 1 cell phone, I hope we won't lose each other. I plan to drive a little bit ahead of Joe, since I'll have the dog who needs longer breaks, and of course I'll need more potty breaks too.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


We decided to go with the security. And it feels great! Joe starts as the facility manager at the University of Utah on January 3rd. We also found a basement to rent in Midway. It's a typical rental house with hideous bathroom and all, but since it will be temporary I'm not too worried about it. The best things is that Midway only has 1 elementary school, so even if we move across town, the kids won't have to start all over making new friends.
The past week has been a week of projects. I started sewing cloth diapers, and just as I was getting into the thick of it, I bought a bunch of furniture from a barn. It must have been sitting there for years. I bought Katie Morphises dining room table which can expand to about 15 feet, but which didn't come with any chairs. So as I was looking on Craigslist, I found this barn. The dining chairs aren't exactly my style, but for $5 a piece, beggars can't be choosers. The past few days have been spent scrubbing, fixing, and painting furniture. It's been a real blessing to have access to Earl's shop with all the needed supplies, and access to Joe's skills. After the projects are getting done, I plan to do a sort of tutorial/step-by-step post.

Of course it's also almost Christmas. Everyone has been making gifts for each other, and going shopping. It's really fun now that the kids are old enough to actually think about what the other person might want, and then make something. Several of the kids have spent quality time with their grandpa in his woodshop. Others with their grandma and mom in the sewing room.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not perfect yet...

The best thing has happened and we've pretty much got 2 job offers (we don't know how good yet). HOWEVER.... now the hard part is deciding which option is the best for our family

Option 1: University facilities manager.
positives: stability, great benefits
negatives: stay in Facilities field, limited opportunity for salary raise

Option 2: Consultant company
positives: potential to make a lot of money, Joe loves consulting and would love to make a career switch, work from home 2-3 days a week
negatives: risk making very little money the first year, high working hours (60), no benefits whatsoever,

So that's what we have to figure out in a nutshell. It's so difficult! The normal Jessica wants to just go with UofU and have that security. But I also realize that IF Joe is successful with the consulting, he'll be much happier there in the long run.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

In my perfect world

In my perfect world the following 3 weeks look as following:
  • Wednesday Joe gets 2 job offers. We pick the best one for our family.
  • Next weekend Joe goes back up to Midway to look at a few rental properties. We find a great house, through networking with our friends, and rent it.
  • December 19th Joe flies back to Texas and spends a week of vacation with me and the kids.
  • We celebrate Christmas in Texas.
  • A few days after Christmas we load up a moving truck, and drive to Utah.
  • We celebrate New Year's Eve in our new rental home.
  • January 3rd the kids start their new school in Midway, and Joe starts his new job.
I can visualize all of these great things happening!! Until the job offers come in, all we can do is wait and hope and pray. Pray with us!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cloth diapers

Really? cloth diapers (CD)? What image does that bring to your mind? Maybe the pre-fold and plastic covers your grandma used? Well, cloth diapers have come a long way since then, and I'm super excited to switch from disposables to cloth (with my other 3 kids I only used disposables).
The first time I was really introduced to CD in their new shape, is a few years back when my friend Renee used them. The diapers looked so cute, and the process didn't seem too difficult. As I was perusing a home renovation blog the other day, she had a few posts about why she chose to use cloth. This put the idea back into my head, and I started researching.

When I do research, it's hard to stop! Of course I initially found a few good brands of CD, but then quickly suffered from sticker shock. $250 for 12 diapers? Sure, that might save you money over disposables, but still! I think of myself as a pretty crafty seamstress, so my very next step was to look for good CD patterns. And of course which materials are best suited for CD. And where to buy those materials. Needless to say it was past midnight before I could tear myself from the computer, which was only after I bought all the supplies to get started.

In the end I spent about $170 for the pattern, snaps, fabric, and elastic. This will make about 27 diapers. So instead of paying $21 per diaper, it comes to just a little over $6. I can live with $6 per diaper! Especially because the pattern in for a one-size diaper which should fit this baby (and any more to come) from 10-35lbs. It would probably take less than 6 months to spend $170 on disposables!

Here's what I bought
  • Pattern: One-size Cheekies $13
  • Waterproof outerlayer: PUL fabric $7.50/yd - 6 yards total in 3 different colors
  • Wicking innerlayer: Alova Suede $5.50/yd - 6 yards total
  • Absorbent soakers: Microfiber terry: $9.95/yd - 2 yards total (they ran out of stock, or I would have bought 4 yards). Another option is to buy Microfiber cloths in the automotive department of a big box store.
  • Pliers for plastic snaps $22.95 --Buy one, get second for $2-- I will try to sell the second pair on Ebay and recoup some of that money
  • 300 Snaps: 3 different colors to match the PUL colors: $5/100 snaps
  • Elastic: 3/8" braided elastic $0.38/yd - 10 yards total (this is a guess, since I haven't actually received the pattern yet)
The only additional supply I anticipate needing is thread, which I have tons of already. And of course a lot of time, which shouldn't be an issue either.

The hardest part of ordering online, is the waiting. You can't just bring it all home, and start immediately. Which is what I usually do when starting a new project. Maybe the waiting will be good for me?

Life altering decisions

Weeks just fly by, and then I realize it's been forever since I blogged. Which seems impossible with the amount of time I spend on the computer.

Joe is still in Utah, and interviewing for jobs. He had an interview with a consulting company that went well and he is very excited about. This is a big career switch, so there are a lot of uncertainties, but it also has a lot of potential. Then he is also interviewing with the University of Utah for a position that is more in-line with his pre-MBA career. We'll see how that one goes today.

At the same time as job searching, he bought himself a Jeep. And of course like all the Jeeps Joe has ever owned, this one needed some extensive work. Good thing he is so handy! When Angela put this photo on Facebook, it gave me flashbacks to the Boise days.
In the mean time the kids and I are settling into a routine at my in-laws house. The kids go to elementary school, and I try to take care of a few things while they do. The hardest thing I've dealt with is medicaid and WIC, but those are taken care of now.

This coming month won't stay routine though, as it might include making a potentially career altering decisions, celebrate the Holidays, move across several states (hopefully not in snow), and settling into a new place. Although all of this is challenging, I'm excited about the prospect of finally settling into our own place, in our chosen location, before this baby comes.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Test your patience. I dare you!

Anyone who has nothing to do, wants to be asked tons of questions, poked and prodded, and test their patience, should head to Parkland Hospital in Dallas and try to get a Rhogam shot. Sounds tempting? Maybe not after I walk you through such a day.

7.45 Drive to Parkland in Rush hour traffic
9.15 check in without an appointment, settle into waiting room and read Twilight
10.15 Register with a financial advisor and reapply for medicaid
11.00 Settle into waiting room, read some more Twilight
11.30 Blood pressure check and urine sample
11.35 Settle back into waiting room, watch Charlie and the chocolate factory
1.10 Assigned a room, and handed a paper gown to put on
1.15 Told to put clothes back on
1.20 Go over medical background with "Educator" who said some strange things that would scare any pregnant lady who didn't know any better.

Some of the things that came out of his mouth:

"Be careful when you walk, if you fall your baby could die"
"Don't eat any fish or seafood while pregnant. Autistic kids have mercury in their brain, and we don't know for sure how much mercury is in sea food. Just don't eat any while you're pregnant"
"Drink 8 cups a day, but only a sip at a time. If you drink too fast, you can throw up"

He also gave me plenty of scaring literature, which included a ridiculous list of "don't eat" foods. I've never met anybody who harmed their baby by eating soft cheeses or hot dogs!

There's so much I could say about how wrong these statements were, but instead I just nodded my head, and said okay. This was also I would have to head back home to be there in time for the kids to get back after school, and I still hadn't even seen a nurse. Luckily Earl was home, so I could stay and finish the process.

2.00pm back to the waiting room, watch Toy Story
2.40pm Sent back to the nurses room, and told to put on a paper gown
2.45 pm Examination by nurse. And then I mean, all the possible examinations you could possibly get. In Holland the midwife measured my belly and asked if I was feeling okay. Not here! Good thing I don't have an aversion to needles and probes!
3.35pm To the lab to donate 7 vials of blood. Every test under the sun will probably be run.
3.45pm The awaited moment has arrived: the Rhogam shot gets administered, and I feel somewhat like I'm getting a horse shot
4.00pm Drive back home through rush hour traffic.

And they want me to come back next week to do more tests! Diabetes, and then the week after that for another ultrasound. Have I mentioned I've already had 3 ultrasounds this pregnancy, and it's a low-risk pregnancy???

There were several instances when I considered leaving the building, driving home, calling a "normal" OB/GYN, and handing over a wad of cash, just to be put out of my misery. Instead I persevered to the end, and now feel totally deflated.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Not having a job, also means no health insurance for us. Holland has a great health care system, where all adult get mandatory health insurance for €100/ month. Kids under the age of 18 are free. This is basic health care, and if you want supplemental coverage you pay slightly more. This €100 gets you 100% coverage. No co-pays or deductibles. You visit the doctor, and at the end of your appointment you just simply leave.

The US unfortunately has no such system. Even if your job subsidizes health insurance, it's normal to pay upwards of $380/month. This will only get you 80% coverage, and co-pays for each visit. If you are unfortunate enough not to have a job, or sufficient income for insurance, there is the option of medicaid. We now officially fall into this category, so I started the process of applying for medicaid. It brings back memories of my citizenship application. Lots of forms and copies of important documents need to be submitted.

Having no insurance makes me nervous on many levels. First of all, if anything happens to the kids (like a broken arm) it could bankrupt us. Or even worse, if something goes wrong with the pregnancy, or there are complications, it's a sure path to bankrupty. Everything we've worked to build up can disappear in an instant. So even though I am hoping Joe will find a job with great health benefits soon, I have to be prepared for the worst case. So I apply for medicaid, and hope they understand our unique financial situation.

Putting a driving force behind this, is the need for a Rhogam shot. I have the RH factor, which means I need a shot to ensure my body doesn't attack this baby or the next. It needs to happen around 28 weeks, which I currently am. Tomorrow I head to the Parkland hospital in downtown Dallas to see if they can help me there. I'm feeling a little apprehensive about it, since I'm worried they won't help me, and that it will take all day.

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