Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My Masters

It's 4:50 pm on a Wednesday night. My oldest daughter is sitting in the front room singing Christmas carols. My third child is in the kitchen slowly cutting carrots for a salad, probably with a butter knife. Who knows where my second and fourth kids are? Probably watching TV or (hopefully) reading. Mike is still hard at work, finishing up an engine and cleaning up to come home. Me? I'm sitting here at my computer typing in my electronic journal, wondering what I should say.

What should I be doing? Probably reading through the slides that are talking about international tax, or working through some example problems of corporate reorganizations. However, that is the last thing I want to be doing right now. In fact, I have been tempted multiple times to just throw that shiz in the air and walk away. Yes, I have three weeks until I am completely finished and yes, it would be stupid to walk away, but dang it all if I'm not on the verge.

After all, I have a job. I think I could scrape a C out of my classes without acing all the quizzes. That's passing, right? Sure! Yet, there's this stupid work ethic that's so ingrained into me, I can't even convince myself to walk away. I NEED As like I need air. It's weird. I've been a perfectionist all my life when it comes to grades, there's just no changing that part of me. So, instead, I will eventually make my way back to my slides and my spreadsheets mumbling the whole time about how much I need a break. Trust me, I REALLY need a break. I'll mutter to myself how it's only three more weeks, three more weeks, three more weeks.

Then, three weeks from now when the dust has settled, I'll look around and realize: I have a Master's degree. How many people can say that? Like, three percent of the population, maybe? I'll be able to breathe for a minute and realize that finally, after six long years, I am done with school. I'll never have to pick up another textbook again if I don't want to. However, that joy will be short-lived as I realize that I will need to pick up my textbook to study for the CPA exams. But, dang it all if I won't at least enjoy that one little moment when I can say, "Hey, I did it. I finished a damn Master's degree. What have you done with your life?"

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My Transition (Utah Edition)

So, as anyone who knows me knows, we moved back to Utah.  This was a life decision that came on incredibly quickly, and before I even had a chance to blink, we were here.  It has been...CHAOS.  I have broken down into tears multiple, multiple times.  Don't get me wrong, I am happy to be back, but trying to get my kids and myself enrolled in school has been an absolute NIGHTMARE.  The moving part has been the easiest part.

I am excited to be back in our old home.  I miss Texas.  I wish I could move everyone I loved in Texas over here to Utah to be with me.  That would be ideal.  But, that can't happen, and that has been a hard lesson for my little Audrey to learn.  Last night she was in tears, and lots of them.  It reminded me of the conversation we had when we moved from Utah to Texas.  She felt the same way then.  It wasn't long before she had made new friends and was quite happy.  I know that will be the case here as well, but I also know it's going to take a bit longer because she is in high school now, and she was in elementary school when we moved to Texas.

Dallin is all registered for junior high and this morning I watched him walk away from me at his school and I was getting a little teary-eyed.  I keep praying that he will have fun and that he will make friends.  That is my main prayer: that he will make some really good friends that are a good influence.  But, it has always been hard for Dallin to make friends because he is very awkward socially.  I know that he will be all right too.  It's just hard for me, as a mom, not to physically walk with my kids to school every day and announce to all the other kids, "Hey, this is my kid!  This is a really cool kid!!"  I wish I could.

It has been an easy transition for Emma and Claire.  Although they miss people in Texas, they are excellent at making friends.  I know that it will be quick for them.  No problem.  As for me and Mike, well...we are good.  That's one nice thing about moving back somewhere that you lived for five years.  There are still lots of people around that you loved before and you can pick up where you left off.

There is this saying that goes, "You can't go home again."  Well, it is my goal to prove that saying wrong.  You can.  At least, I hope you can...

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My Crazy Life

When was the last time I even wrote?  It's been a really long time.  Okay, I just looked, and it hasn't quite been a year yet, so it's not as bad as I thought.  So, onto things that have happened in the last year.

We went through the beginning of school and the holidays, of course.  School was actually really busy for me last Fall.  I was the Controller in the Accounting Society which kept me really busy.  Then, I was also pledging Beta Alpha Psi, which is a national honors organization for accounting students.  Then, of course, I was taking a full load of classes.  The kids were doing very well.  Audrey joined choir and orchestra and was in the drama club.  Dallin was in choir and enjoying his final year of elementary school.  Emma and Claire are constantly outside playing with friends and loving being so close in age.  The holidays came and went and we were busy as always.

In February, I started my internship at MCG and experienced my first "tax busy season".  It was very exhausting, working 60+ hours a week, not to mention the hour-long one-way drive every day.  I was pretty much non-existent to my family during that month and a half.  It kinda sucked, but it was a good chance for me to see what my future will be like.

We were trying to make a lot of life decisions about where we were supposed to end up because we still didn't feel completely content.  It still felt like we were just here staying for a little while and that eventually we would wake up and be home.  We were just having trouble figuring out where home was.  I tried to get a job in Oregon at Grant Thornton.  That didn't pan out, which bothered me at the time, but after doing my internship, made me grateful.  Big companies are not for me.

Mike got an offer at the Cat dealer in Oregon, but they were only willing to pay him $26 per hour, which is a full $5 per hour less than what he is making here.  He was pretty bummed out to have to turn that down, but we thought maybe that was because he was supposed to get the management job here that they had been promising him for over a year that he would get.  My internship was extended for the summer, so I have been continuing that two days a week, and spending the rest of the time with the kids.

I was also called as the Girls' Camp Director which really took a lot out of me.  It was months of preparation, fundraisers, trying to motivate girls that didn't want to be motivated... But, it was awesome because I got to know the girls and I got to spend some really great time with Audrey.  It was a nice bonding time for us.

Mike ended up not getting the job, and he was really upset.  To add insult to injury, we tried to sell the house in Utah, and the people who wanted to buy it wanted us to pay closing costs and replace the furnace and the AC, which added up to us bringing $11,000 to the table.  We couldn't afford that, so we told them no and they pulled out of the contract.  So, we were now stuck with an empty house, two house payments, and no idea what to do.  So, Mike called his old boss in Utah to see if there was any position available that he could have.  Turns out there is, and we both are pretty okay with the idea that we are going to move back into the house, fix it up, and then sell it ourselves after I get my Master's degree.

So, here it is June 30, and we are planning to move August 5th or so.  Our life constantly moves in a giant whirlwind.  I wonder if we'll slow down someday and just stay put?  I'm a bit bittersweet about the whole thing.  I am really going to miss the wonderful friends I have met here and I am sad I won't be able to be VP and President of BAP in the fall and spring.  I was elected to that position, but now if we move, I can't do either.  Also, there is a chance I will have to stick around to finish up my last three classes while Mike and the kids go back to Utah.  So I will be stuck here in Texas all by myself for three and a half months.  I don't relish that idea at all because I know how much I will miss the kids--and Mike, of course.

I'm hoping it won't come to that.  I have asked my counselor at school if there is any way I can take the last three classes online, and she is going to look into it for me.  However, if there isn't anything that can be done, I will be staying here by myself.  Luckily, my friend, Sarah, has said I can live with her at her house.  But, I will miss my babies.

So, yeah, that is my crazy, crazy life.  I'm tired.  Can I take a nap now?

Friday, November 28, 2014

My Feelings of Abandonment

There are days when I wonder if Heavenly Father has just completely left me alone.  He has given up on me or something.  That's the only thing I can think of, because for the past three days Emma has been very sick.  She says that she is in a tremendous amount of pain in her chest after she eats or drinks, so she refuses to do it.  I have taken her to two different doctors now, and both are telling me the same thing.  Have her eat, drink, rest, blah, blah, blah.  Yeah, how do I do that when she refuses and starts screaming that it hurts and runs to the bathroom to puke what little she's already eaten because she ends up gagging herself?  I can't force her to eat.  I have prayed and prayed and prayed for answers, for guidance, for something.  NOTHING.  Literally.  N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

Have I been abandoned?  The doctors keep brushing me off.  "She looks fine," "There's nothing wrong with her," "Keep giving her antibiotics for the possibility that she has pneumonia and 'encourage' her to eat and drink."  They even did a chest x-ray and a urine analysis.  They ran a flu test and a strep test.  Both negative. Encourage her?  Okay, I'm encouraging her.  I'm begging her.  I'm crying, I'm throwing laundry baskets, I'm threatening to let them put a needle in her arm, but she still won't because she's too afraid to eat or drink because it hurts.  WTH?!

Which brings me back to my original question: Have I been abandoned?  Why won't Heavenly Father give me SOME sort of little clue?  Why won't he help me figure out how to get my daughter to eat or drink to alleviate the sunken cheeks and dry, bleeding lips?  Why won't he let the pain in her chest subside long enough to allow her to eat something?  I guess this is the question that any parent asks God when their child is very sick.  And, yet, my child is very healthy for the most part, and for that reason and many others, I am truly blessed.  I know that I need to focus on that.  I know that I need to quit thinking that I am being abandoned, and start having some faith.  But, I DO have faith--that's the thing!  I KNOW with every fiber of my being that if Heavenly Father wanted to, he could heal her right now.  I know that he can do anything he wants to do.  I just don't think he WANTS to do anything, and I need to figure out what kind of lesson he is trying to teach me through my child.

Okay, I am done now.  Any of you that are a little less frustrated than I am, please keep Emma in your prayers.  She could really use them.  Oh, and yes, I've had Mike give her two priesthood blessings so far.  Nothing.  What am I missing?

Although it was a very rough time, we finally found out what was going on with Emma after we had her checked into Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth.  She had esophagitis, which is essentially cold sores and canker sores all up and down the inside of her esophagus.  She couldn't eat or drink anything, so she was severely dehydrated.  She stayed in the hospital for four days.  I know that Heavenly Father is always watching over me, even when I think he's not.  She is healthy again, we were able to pay for most of the medical bills without any trouble, and it hasn't come back.  I am tremendously blessed.  It's just hard to see that when one is in the thick of their trouble.  I am grateful I was able to get through it relatively unscathed, and that my baby is all better.

Monday, August 18, 2014

My Exhaustion

I am tired.  I think this has been the sentence to describe my life since I started going back to school in 2010.  It seems like all I ever do is clean or study, neither of which I am ever very excited to do (especially cleaning).  The studying has been paying off, though.  I have gotten straight A's the past two semesters in an attempt to bring up my pitiful 2.9 GPA, which is COMPLETELY unlike me.  I guess moving to a new state and trying to get situated and then being sick for three months straight will do that to even the best of students.  Not that I am necessarily the best of students, however.  I mean, I am going to UTA, not Harvard or Yale or somewhere like that.

Either way, being tired seems to be the way I describe my life all the time.  Some might look at it as being lazy, but not me.  And, not only am I physically tired, I am truly MENTALLY tired!!  My brain has been fried recently, especially now that I am nearing the end of my Bachelor's Degree path.  Wow.  That's kind of a big deal for me.  I have this fall semester, consisting of 4 classes all squeezed into two days a week, which I am going to LOVE!  I can't wait to only have to drive two days a week.  Then, in the Spring semester, I have the internship in Plano which I am BEYOND excited for!  Then, in the summer semester of 2015, I will be taking three more classes which serve as a bridge to the graduate program and I will be DONE with my Bachelor's degree!  I can't wait.  It has been such a long time coming.  Of course, that won't be the end of my school journey, but at least I will have a degree in hand and I will finally be able to start a career.

Even though school always seems to consume my life and my conversations, I promise there is more that is happening for me and my kids.  The kids have spent a very boring summer in the house with Audrey babysitting while I go to school, so they are actually excited for school to start--I think.  I wish I could have taken them somewhere fun for the summer, but it just wasn't in the cards for us and I don't think it will be in the cards next summer either.  I will make it up to them at some point, but for now this is the way life is.

Mike is working hard as usual.  It is especially daunting for him in the heat of the summer, but according to long-time locals, this summer has been an especially mild one.  Ouch.  If that's the case, I would absolutely HATE to be here during a "hot" summer.  That is one of the reasons that Mike and I have been seriously tossing around the idea of moving again.  Texas just hasn't felt like home yet and we have been here over two years.  But, we have to stay a little longer, and only time will tell what will happen in the future.  In the meantime, we will try to make the best of our situation, count our blessings, and crank up the AC.

Friday, June 20, 2014

My "It's Not Fair" Face

     There are days--and I have no doubt that everyone has them--that I wish I could be anyone but me.  When I was young, there was this book called "It's Not Fair!" and it was all these pictures of kids comparing their lives to other people's and telling why what they had wasn't fair.  I really can't do the kids' faces justice because the drawings were hilarious, but they would always have a scowl and their lips would be sticking out very far, like a duck beak.  My siblings used to tease me that I looked like them, and now that we are older, we all laugh about it.  I've looked all over the Internet, but I can't find it anywhere, and I certainly can't remember who the illustrator was, so onto my point.
     I don't know if just women do this, but I find myself comparing myself to other people all the time.  "Oh, I wish I had Caradon's gorgeous, thick hair instead of my thin, limp hair."  Then there is, "I wish my teeth were as white as Samantha's," or "I wish I was as thin as that girl," or "I wish I could wear that outfit."  It's sad that I find myself comparing my weaknesses against everyone else's strengths.  But, doing this got me thinking...are there people out there wishing they could be like me?  Is there someone out there wishing that they had kind, well-behaved kids?  Is there someone out there wishing they had a really hot husband who also cooked, scraped the dry skin off their feet, and thought his wife was beautiful?  I'm sure there is, and sometimes I wish that person would say something to me.  It would be nice every once in a while to hear something good from someone who isn't required to think you are amazing.
     Because I feel that way, I always try to do the same for other people.  Every time I see someone with beautiful hair, or really great style, or a fabulous handle-bar moustache...I tell them!  It certainly never hurts, and they usually respond with a smile and a "thank you!"  Hopefully, what goes around will come around and more people will be willing to pay compliments instead of moping with their "It's Not Fair" face, just wishing they were somebody else.  I'm going to work on that--try to see my strengths more often and when I look in the mirror, no more pouting.  I'll just have to see the good things and maybe someday I'll believe them.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My Internship

          It has been too long since I have posted anything in my blog.   I am sure any of you who actually read it (maybe 2 or 3 people?) are wondering if I gave up.  I haven't.  I just have had a lot on my plate these past few,, years?!  It's been a while!  Well, here I am now, probably a lonely post until the next one.  Who knows when that will be?  Anyway, on to my story!

           As all of you know, I have been in school since May 2010.  I have been working my little tooshy off, but it's been a really slow process.  Once we moved here to Texas, I decided I would plow through it as fast as I could.  So, that's what I've been doing.  There have been a few bumps and snafus along the way, but for the most part I have done really well.  All of this studying is in planning to try to enter the accounting world with a career that I love, Bachelor's, Master's, and CPA in hand.  Well, part of that process is to get an internship for some real-world experience.

          The whole process started back in February.  I went to the school's Firm Night.  This is where all the accounting firms in the area (including some from the "Big Four") come to meet potential candidates.  I had signed up for speed networking--essentially a speed dating process, I assume, although I have never done one of those.  Anyway, I had to sit down at a table with recruiters and discuss in four minutes or less why I would be a good candidate for their company.  Needless to say, I was terrified.  By the end of the night, however, I had become an old pro at explaining my resume in a nutshell.  After it was all done, I went back to life as normal.

          Three days later I received an email from a small firm in Dallas saying they had been really impressed with me and wanted to pursue an internship for me at their company.  I was excited, but still wanted to explore other options.  So, I logged onto the school's career site and started submitting my resume to various companies--or at least, that's what I wanted to do.  Being that my GPA was an abysmal 2.9 (long story--definitely one for another post), I couldn't apply with anyone from the Big Four.  I was sad about that, but at the same time, I don't know if I would want to work for one of them.  I had heard horror stories about working 100-hour workweeks and being a number in a herd of minions.  Being that I am a mom to four very active children, I wanted a mid-sized firm.  So, I applied to two more.

         At this point, I had three potential internships.  Both of the ones I applied for chose me to do a campus interview.  If that went well, I would then have an office visit with other interviews during that time which would be the final step before receiving an offer.  To make a long story short, my campus interviews went well and I was asked for an office visit to all three firms.  I went to the first one that had pursued me, and to make another long story short, they offered me an internship, withdrew it saying they weren't sure if I could give them the time they would need and they didn't think I could handle the commute.  Then they called me back a few weeks later saying they would actually like to offer me an internship after all.  Of course, I had already washed my hands of them, so I very politely told them no, thank you.

          One of the companies invited me to a social event at this place called Top Golf.  It was a driving range of sorts with three levels facing out to goals.  The point was to try to hit the golf ball as far as one could and make it into the various targets.  Here is what the building looked like:

You can't see the goals, but they are on the left.  The building is just open platforms facing the green.  It's way cool.  It was a lot of fun to be there and the people were all really nice.  I had decided right then that this was the firm that I wanted to go to.

A few weeks later, I went to their office for an office visit.  Again, a lot of fun.  Everyone was very friendly and the office was really pretty.  I had enjoyable interviews and a nice lunch.  I had a great feeling when I left that I would get an offer, but obviously I wasn't sure.

A few days later I went to the office visit of the other firm I had applied to, LGT.  It was a really great day as well.  The firm was smack dab in uptown Dallas, so it was very fancy.  Maybe even a little TOO fancy for me.  As much as I would like to think that I could fit in to the hardcore business world, I need some place where I can be me and not worry about keeping up appearances.

Long story short again, I did not receive an offer from the third company (LGT), but I did receive one from MCG which I was ecstatic about since this was the one I wanted anyway!  My internship will start in February of 2015 (super long way away, but that gives me a chance to take my tax accounting class to get me familiar with what I will be doing) and go until May.  I. Can't. Wait!  Here is a picture of the building:
Sorry, it's a little grainy, but it sure is nice!  It even has a gym on the first floor that we can get free membership to!   Maybe it will encourage me to get back to my running days' figure! =-)