Friday, April 26, 2013

Surprise

Ding dong. I'm downstairs packing the first couple of boxes for our upcoming move when I hear the doorbell. It's no surprise because I've been expecting Alec home any minute. He's been playing at a friend's house ever since kindergarten got out before lunch. I open the door and see nothing but a bike I don't recognize, flopped on it's side in the middle of our front walkway. I'm still not surprised because I know Alec likes to hide every time he rings a doorbell AND every time someone else rings our doorbell.

I know where to look and peek my head out into the yard and turn left.

No surprise, it's Alec! He's slightly winded and beaming ear to ear.


"Hey honey! Did you ride a bike here?"

He nods his head.

"That's so fun! Where is everyone else?"

No response.

"Who else did you ride with? Paul?(his friend)"

Alec tells me yes he rode with Paul and points around the corner of our house. Paul must've heard his name because he slowly inches his bike from around the corner and smiles. I return the smile and continue to question Alec.

"Who else rode with you?"

No response

"Where is Paul's mom?"

She's at home.

"Where is Angeline? (Paul's older sister and one of our favorite babysitters)

No response. Finally I'm surprised.



But I'm still not convinced Alec is not trying to play a joke on us. (He's really been into that recently). Long story barley shortened, he and his friend rode bikes by themselves without helmets or jackets all the way home. It's like 2 miles and not in any way close to a straight shot. They had to take 7 different roads and cross a fairly busy street. And no one knew what they were doing.

I somehow find the whole situation funny (actually that is also not really a surprise since I laugh to cover up many emotions...I was even laughing and sobbing at the same time last week) and try to hold back some relieved chuckles as I took this picture of these crazy, even scary independent but usually-well-behaving-boys.

This whole thing was not scary for the mom who found out they were safe and accounted for before she even knew they were missing. It wasn't so comical for the mom who was driving around her neighborhood frantically asking everyone she saw about the whereabouts of two little boys on bikes. She was moments away from calling the police when I called her and broke into tears on the phone with me. Paul is her 5th (and a very sweet) kid and she's never had this happen before.

I guess Paul has been saying for a few weeks now that he knew how to get from his house to Alec's house and as soon as they got on the bikes Alec said, "Nows a good chance to take me home." So off they went.

Paul said he wouldn't ever do that alone, only with Alec. And they chose a specific route that wouldn't cross as many streets and even rode in the grass for a ways until they came to a safer place to cross the street.

One of my big thoughts through all of this is, wow, Alec is growing up.

I'm kind if rambling now because I'm procrastinating my real purpose for blogging tonight. I came online to write a post about how Chris' cancer is back and how heartbreaking that has been for me and how our summer/moving plans have jumped out the window and I guess I was wanting to deny the truth for one more post. I'll give more details later.

But to close, how about one more cute picture of normal life? :) This is my sweet Charlie falling asleep in the car yesterday...with a fruit leather stuck in his mouth. Just another excuse to chuckle.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Playmates

These kids are such good friends. One of their favorite games to play involves collecting random toys, some play kitchen supplies, a blanket and/or pillow and setting up a 'house' in some odd small corner of the house. Then after a while they will 'move' and cart all their belongs to some other small corner and start living there. Usually a disaster of some kind (a destructo Alec or a cleaning up mommy) will force them to relocate. It's fun to hear them use words like Mississippi, California, Utah, Canada, Brady's or Grandma's house as they play.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Job Hunt - An offer!

So we've been looking for a job. We applied to 65ish schools starting in last October and heard back from a handful. There was a little hiccup with getting the second letter of recommendation a few months late but got that secured at the beginning of the year. We had some interviews and I've back posted about those if you really want all the details.  Worried about the lack of prospects, in early March we redoubled our efforts to contact ideal schools we haven't heard from and schools we did phone interviews with throughout the winter but haven't heard back from.  No luck. No hits. Every now and then we'd get an email from a school we haven't been contacted by at all and hear that although they were impressed with Chris' credentials they were overloaded with excellent candidates and had to be extremely picky with even who they wanted to invite out to interview and they regretted to inform us that we were not able to offer us a position at that time but they were appreciative of our interest in their school. Blah, blah blah.  Its a tough market.

Chris set up an meeting with his boss here to talk about the job hunt and see about what options (if any) he'd have here. Turns out, we could maybe extend for 6 months longer IF we could find funding, but 6 months doesn't really get us more academic options.

Just as Chris got in from that meeting he was dialing home to tell me about it all when he looked at his email and found a message from the Department Chair at Mississippi State saying she wanted to set up a time to call and discuss an offer! We were so relieved to have something, and as the details of the offer came through we were pleased to see that it was a really good offer. We also like the way the Computer Science and Engineering Department is organized there in its support of new professors.  They require all new professors to apply for tenure each year (even if they're not eligible to get it) so that they have yearly formal feedback on how well they're doing. They also require more grants and more yearly published papers than BYU requires of their professors.  So this position seems like a perfect place to hone Chris' research and leadership skills. Tenure track, academic jobs are hard to come by at the moment and we are grateful to be given a chance to pursue the lifestyle and career we've always wanted.  After a few emails back and forth we settled on a final offer and after some weeks finally saw the official offer for tenure-track assistant professor.

We took some time to think about it and pray and fast and go to the temple and with no red flags we decided to accept the offer and emailed Mississippi State with our intention.  I guess the Department Chair was so excited when she got that email, she screamed and had people coming to her office to see what the fuss was about. :)  Did I mention Chris said that everyone there seemed really nice? Southern accents to boot.

So we're going to live in the heart of the south and cheer for 'State'. Go Bulldogs!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Break

The Holy Week also happened to be our Spring Break so we took some time on Friday and Saturday to do some fun things together as a family. We went bowling, ate out at McDonald's  went for a bike ride (the boys rode their bikes while I ran....it was crazy since most driveways / alleyways are still 3-4 deep in ice / slush.)  We had planned to go swimming at the Rec center sometime this week too - we even had all our swimming gear in a bag all ready to go - but the kids just had too much fun playing together at home. They didn't want to stop. Alec and Charlie played so well together, I can't even describe the great feeling their cooperative play gives the house.  It was fun to have Chris stay home from work for most of Thursday, Friday and today (Easter Monday is a holiday in Canada too).  We've had some really warm days this week, 7-11 degrees above freezing! It feels downright nice and we've taken the proactive step of putting our snow boots and snow pants in a different closet, to make some room by the back door for our rain boots and light jackets.  We're so happy to see Spring coming.

Sweet Easter

We had such a great Easter this year.  A holiday to celebrate the life of Jesus, to remember His Act(s) of service, and His promise of a life after death with a perfect, whole, never sick, resurrected body was just what our family needed.  We tried to talk about something Easter-season-related every day this week from simply talking about Christ cleansing the temple, to acting out His entry into Jerusalem and even having a mock Last Supper complete with last-minute-make-shift costumes, pillows for seats, candles, dates, figs, nuts, 'bitter herbs' (spinach drenched in lemon juice) and some meat. I had the chance to teach Sharing Time and come up with my own Easter lesson which had me reading a lot of scriptures and comparing the different accounts of the 4 Gospel writers...really interesting.
 
We were the beneficiaries of a BEAUTIFUL bouquet of flowers from Chris' cousin and his family with a sweet, short testimony of the resurrection. Coming from this family who had recently lost their youngest child, Clara, to cancer made these flowers infinitely meaningful to me.

Gwen and Charlie had a private Easter Egg hunt around 6:00AM Sunday morning. :) Chris put a stop to that and rehid some eggs for the official Easter Egg hunt about an hour and a half later.  Each of the kids had a basket on the table with some goodies in it. It was a little different this year, since Easter Sunday also was Fast Sunday for our ward. But it helped keep a peaceful feeling and we always had our empty stomachs to remind us of the real reason for the celebrations.  A fast Sunday is also just what our family needed.


After Church we had a low key day with a minimal-prep-but-still-nicer-than-usual dinner and then our traditional Easter Egg Roll. It was so cute the way the kids cheered for each other, Chris or I. "Go Alec, Go Alec!" or "Go Mommy! Go Mommy!" Charlie would even sidle up to whoever was rolling and rub their back and arm just before they rolled much like a boxer's coach. So funny. This year, the winner was...

Charlie! He won last year, so I guess you could say he successfully defended his title. His little celebration dance was pretty cute too.
Like most family activities the Easter Egg Roll slowly evolved into a "family wrestling match," a.k.a  "jump on daddy." Because my nose has been hurting me a bit (nasty sinus infection) I refrained from participating which left me available to act as photographer.

Happy Easter everyone!