Friday, January 3, 2014

Utah - Take Two

Ok, so we are back in Utah. We have returned so I can finish my degree on campus instead of online. Here's the scoop:

April 2012 - Matt graduated and I was pretty much done, so I walked in the graduation. The classes I had remaining were offered online through BYU Independent Study, which was the best option for us because if I wanted to stay and do them on campus, we would have to stay for another year and a half at least, as the classes weren't offered during the same semesters. So we moved to Tri-Cities, where Matt's job is located. He had been working for them online, but it was time for him to be in the office so he could start doing more 3D animation, which is hard to do remotely. We were excited to move - I was way way down in the dumps and ready for a change of scenery.

August 2012 - We moved to Tri-Cities. I started working like crazy (as a high school coach and in the Aquatics Dept at CBRC), and then I found out I was pregnant! So between getting ready for a baby and working 60 hours a week during the girls swim season, I was very busy. I needed to work to save up $$ for baby and to afford the online classes. The drawback with doing Independent Study is that you can't qualify for Pell-Grants or Subsidized Loans, so all tuition is out of pocket. Which means that I really couldn't afford to do all of my remaining classes at once, nor did I have the time, because I had to work so much.

November 2012 - Girl's HS season ends, so I dropped down to 30-40hr weeks at the Racquet Club. I began 2 of the 5 courses online. It is very slow going (they still aren't done...)

May 2013 - I had Jude! This isn't exactly relevant to this specific post, but I just thought I'd throw it in there :)

August 2013 - I randomly felt like I should check the course catalog and see if BYU is offering my 3 remaining courses in Winter.
So I did. They were all offered. With no conflicting times. And in a way where I would only have to go to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. AND since we had the baby, I would qualify for almost a full-tuition Pell Grant. Also, rent is half the price in UT. And so is cost of living as a whole, really.

November 2013 - After a lot of struggle with admissions, advisement, and registration - to the point at which I wondered if this was all worth it - I found out that everything was good to go, and I could register!

January 2014 - We are here in UT and I start classes next week!

Q: What about your jobs?
A: My job/my bosses are awesome. They are very supportive and are allowing me to leave work for this time, and return in May. Matt's situation at his work is equally awesome. They are allowing him to work remotely again for these few months.
Q: How long will you be in UT? What are you doing afterwards?
A: We will be here until the beginning of May, at which point we will return to Tri-Cities, and we will go back to our jobs there.
Q: Where are you living?
A: We are renting my best friend, Dani's, basement apartment in the house she and her husband live in. We are in Orem, about 10 minutes away from campus.
Q: What about your apartment in Pasco? And all your stuff?
A: Unfortunately, we had to give up our apartment. We had already fulfilled our lease and were month-to-month, so it wasn't complicated at all, but it was still sad. We packed up everything we could fit in Matt's parent's mini van and drove that here. We are storing our remaining stuff at their house.
Q: What are you getting your degree in?
A: In April, I will successfully have my BS in Family Studies - Human Development emphasis. It is a social science, exploring emotional, physical, social, and cognitive development. My particular focuses are on family structure and media's influence on behavior and family interactions.
Q: What do you plan on doing with your degree?
A: I love being a mom, and I plan on raising my children, first and foremost. While they are still too young for school, I plan on starting a small, private preschool. Then, when they are older, I would like to be a school counselor or academic advisor.
Q: What about Jude?
A: I will only be in class on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30-1:20, and then in the evening from 6-7:15. During the first segment, we have a nanny who will watch Jude. And during the evening class, Matt will watch him. In total, I will be away from him less than when we were in Tri-Cities and I was working about 20 hours a week during the HS season, and 10-12 hours a week off-season.

I have gone back and forth with this decision - and I have felt very very guilty and selfish as I've uprooted our whole family to come back for just one semester. But we prayed about it day in and day out for months, and I just felt like I should keep pursuing this option, even though it wasn't easy. There were a lot of hiccups and I remember a day that I just though I would give up. And then I watched this incredible message, and I knew that this was the right thing to do. And as we came into town yesterday, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that we are in the right place. I am so excited to be on campus again, I know that I learn better this way, and I know that I am capable of having the best semester of my college career. Wish us luck!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Jude's Birth Story

May 21st, 2013. Well there I was. Large and in charge... and 1 week overdue. I had been at a 1 and about 95% effaced for 5 weeks and that's as good as it was getting. My OB (who, by the way, is FANTASTIC), was humming and hawing and trying to tell stubborn ol' me that he wasn't sure if we would see much more progress. I had been trying EVERYTHING. I cannot even tell you how many miles I had walked, stairs I climbed, midnight tangos we had *ahem* danced... etc!! Nothing was working, and this little kid of mine was holdin' on for dear warm-womby life in there!!

So the time came. Dr said I needed a kick start. I said "no way, José! I want to do this on my own. No meds." (Well maybe I didn't say it like that, but he got on the same page pretty fast). So we discussed ways that we can help start the labor without using pitocin. Stripping membranes wasn't an option, because I had tested positive as a carrier for Group B Strep. So he suggested cytotec. I had heard not great things about this drug on some crunchy granola birth things I read/watched, but all were about using cytotec to induce labor when the woman wasn't dilated or effaced. I was ready to go, I just needed a little boost into labor. Matt and I prayed about it, and felt like we should really trust our doctor. I chose him because he has a reputation of less intervention and of being pro-unmedicated birth. This was important to me. So he called the hospital to see when they could have me come in. He said that they were just going to give me a little bit (25 mgs) of cytotec and then I was to walk and walk and walk the hallways. He was pretty confident that I would start dilating and that my own oxytocin would kick in and and start those contractions up in a big way!

We checked in to the hospital at 8:30pm.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The New Me

 How can it be that I am shadow of my old self, yet an entire different being, bright and new?

How is it possible that I can be ashamed of my scarred and soft body, yet stand in awe at the power and strength it possesses? How can it be that my once quick and strong, yet clumsy hands have become gentle and tender – my athletic body has transformed into a sleep-deprived dance of grace, with limbs loose and waving in desperation for a moment of rest.

My scheduled-to-the-minute days have turned into to a Helter Skelter collection of yawns and giggles and tears and quick glances and long stares that hold the whole world and heaven in my living room. My days drag by, but time slips past me, quicker and quicker as I grasp frantically after it. I am overcome by weakness and shortcomings, but have a deep and resounding might that exhausts and invigorates me.

My name. It has been on the lips and in the ears and in prayers and on papers in the hands of teachers and professors, coaches, peers, lovers, friends, family, and strangers. It has been lost in the cracks of the floor, and yet hung on a banner that blows in the fierce winds of change, as it takes shape into a foreign, yet natural identity:


Back Again - This Time with a Baby

My last post was on May 22nd, 2012. One year to the day before our lives changed forever. Our sweet little boy, Jude Malcolm Merrill, was born on May 22nd, 2013.

Our blog will be taking a big shift -- first of all, I hope to post more often than once a year. In fact, I was thinking about trying to post once a week, as a reward for finishing a week of online classes. It's my online break -- and my way to share with family and friends the wonderful new adventures  of the Merrill family. I will try to keep the blog full of variety, but let's be honest... we'll be seeing a lot of Jude.

Posts to come in the month of August:
- An update on our lives in Pasco, WA
- Jude's Birth Story
- Life since Jude's arrival
- Adventure in Canada (we'll be spending a weekend in Nanaimo with David and Chelsy)

SO! Stay tuned, I'll probably post on Saturdays or Sundays. I'll make one more post today... A little reflection piece I've written.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A New Life...?

Well moving day is fast-approaching. That's right, Matt and I are moving. Here are some things that have happened in the last little while:

- We graduated!! (Well Matt graduated and I'll be OFFICIALLY graduated when I finish a couple of online classes). We both walked in the April 2012 Commencement ceremony and are so thrilled to be done with the crazy student life.

- Working working working. Matt is working for the same company, Vivid, and will continue to do so after we move to it's headquarters in August. He does graphic design for them, and will do writing and editing for a separate part of the company called Imageworks as well. I am still working as a swim coach for OTAC and am dreading the day I leave. I LOVE my job! I am also working retail at Poco Loco swim shop where I sell swim equipment. I will only work at that job until the end of June (that will be a good day, haha!)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Technology: Friend or Foe?

Oh. My. Goodness.

I've been working all day at the swim shop and it's been soooo sloooww! So you know what that means, I should be working on my homework. Right? Well that is technically the right answer. Well here's the deal. I have an addiction. I really do think that there is something wrong with me!

I can't stay off of Pinterest. I can't stop thinking of all the fun crafty things I'll probably never do (let's face it, I lack the crafty skills...). I also check my facebook at least several times a day. Bad News Bears!

Let's take it one problem at a time. Pinterest: I love the idea. I love that I can get inspiration from people all over the internet on pretty much anything you can think of. I have pinned countless crafts, but it goes so much further than that. I post funny quotes, cute animal photos, hairstyles (please, I NEVER have time to do my hair!), places I want to go, fun activity ideas for kids, etc etc etc. So why, as a 22 year old student with 19.5 credits and 2 jobs, do I think I will have time to do any of this stuff, let alone pin the ideas!?

Don't get me wrong, I really do think that I'll use some of these ideas, some of which are just downright genius, sometime in my life. It's great to have them to refer back to at a later date, say... when I'm graduated and actually have kids and a sewing machine and more than 5 mins spare time!

So... a goal is in order? I think yes. I will, from here on out, try to limit my pinterest time to 30 mins a day. That's it. I think I can, I think I can! Cross your fingers for me as I battle this strange strange addiction.

I'll save my facebook insights for a different post. But in conclusion, I've been thinking a lot recently about technology and its impact on me. I love it! I love my iPhone, my Macbook Pro, my iPod, (I'm a Mac girl apparently), Netflix, my wii, etc. But I remember when I was a swimmer and swam 20 hours a week and didn't have time for any technology. I loved my body, I loved simple things like a good night's sleep, a good meal, and a hot shower. When my husband and I were in India and Paris without any phones or much technology at all, we interacted so much more with each other and others around us. We depended on other people more and made lasting relationships, as opposed to cyber relationships. Now that I'm so involved in technology, I think that I don't live in the real world enough.

As I reread this post, I decided that maybe I should take a hiatus from technology as soon as I can (which might be after graduation for homework reasons). I think it will do my body, mind, and soul some good as I reconnect them by disconnecting myself from "fake life."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Goodbye India. Hello.... Paris?

So we leave Wednesday night. Wait, we leave Wednesday night!? That's in two days. That's in too few days.

Don't get me wrong, I am VERY excited to see family and friends that I miss very much. I'm even excited for dollar theater date nights again! AND I can't wait to move into our new apartment. But India.... Oh India. How I will miss India. I can't go on and on about it though because I think I'll start crying here in this little Internet room in Delhi. That would be embarrassing. So let me just say, I think the worst of leaving is over. I said goodbye to our Ahma-la. I said goodbye to my Rogpa babies. That's all I can say without getting too emotional.

But here we are in Delhi. I love Delhi, interestingly enough. Delhi is... in your face. Always. You can never forget that you're in India when you're in Delhi. Even when you find the Hollywood movie channels on the T.V. in your hotel room. But Delhi doesn't take long to grow on me. It was hard at first, coming from the fresh mountain air and rolling hills of McLeod Ganj down into the beast's belly. Delhi Belly. But Delhi has some charm. Dusty, sweaty, power-outage charm. For example, last night I ate one of the most delicious meals while sitting on the roof-top restaurant, looking over the city and up to the sky, where hundreds of kites were being flown in the breezy dusk air. I fed some Thai fried rice and chicken to a stray cat, who enjoyed sneaking up next to me and playing with my scarf. I had the incredible company of my best friend/husband, and we watched the sun set and drank fanta and hot lemon with honey. Hindi and Punjabi music blared out into the night, as well as sounds of the street and crowds of Main Bazaar.

So this is the Delhi I've come to love. Just in time for us to leave. But, looking forward and having a positive attitude... we are going to Paris!! Man oh man is that going to be great. I'm trying to finish planning it all out, and I can't wait to see all the amazing sights and eat all the amazing food. Paris will be a crazy difference from here, but it's all part of the adventure. And then it's back to home, back to work, and back to school. We will graduate in April and start saving saving saving in order to come back as soon as we can. Our goal is 2013.

Well this is pretty much my last post from India. I'll try to keep this blog up, regardless of class requirements. Thanks for following, and can't wait to see you all!