Thursday, January 28, 2010

And the award goes to.......

Jennifer Stewart, as the "world's biggest history nerd!"

While some may think that this is a bad thing, in the land of Jen, this is a good thing, a VERY good thing.

Do you know that for almost 2 years, I have thought I was broken. My little grammy loved her job as a nurse. She looked forward to work. She used to give her vacation days to other people, who in her words, "needed them more!" This is what I have been thinking is "right."

When I got the job at SPS, it was a blessing, however, from the get go, in no way, shape or form did I love it, as a matter of fact I didn't really like it. Please tell me, why would I like getting reamed out on the phone by people who bounced checks and then yelled at me because they could not keep a checkbook?

I have only been at the Saturday Evening Post for a week, but let me tell you, "I GET IT!" I LOVE this job. This is going to sound cheesy and corny and everything in between, but quite honestly if I were doing this job for no pay, I would consider the opportunity to be around this much history a privelege. In this case, it is NOT about the money, although I won't lie at all, this helps support me and Nate. I love the history this magazine has. Quite frankly, The Post reads like a "who's who" of American history. This magazine has been published for over 100 years. It traces its roots to Benjamin Franklin. There are history treasures to be found in every corner. There is original Norman Rockwell art hanging in the corridors. Honestly, what The Post can offer is something no other magazine in history can offer.

It is also a current magazine, published 6 times annually. It is a great magazine (and I am totally not just saying this!) It has a lot to offer anyone. It has a lot of variety......and it is COOL!

It is much cooler than school because I am allowed to write about and pursue things that I am interested in!

Man, I am LUCKY to be working for this company. They won't be sorry to have brought me on board!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Working - real, big girl work.....

This is how the magnificent Hans felt about me returning to work

A dad with his three kids-and their true character

A more "edited version" - on their better behavior

This time the silence has a reason.....the reason: A JOB!!!! And, not just any job, a job at the Saturday Evening Post......the details are still being worked out - but it is a history nerd's dream. I began quite suddenly on Thursday and worked all day Thursday (without lunch, mind you - because why would I have taken lunch?) All day Friday as well. Holy Moly - I LOVE IT - however, I didn't realize that after not really "working" in about 9 months - I am exhausted (in a super-positive, very productive kind of way), but tired, nonetheless.

Yesterday we made a one day trip to see Nate's family for Christmas (yes, I realize that we are pretty much a month past Christmas!) We left at 6:30 am and got home around 10:30pm.....TIRED.

Today, I took a Jen "personal day." Not knowing what exactly this job is going to pan out to be immediately (full time or part time) I just thought I needed to give myself the day to relax and recoup to be ready for a potentially BUSY week.

It feels great to be back at WORK - and not just a mindless job I don't care about, but a job that I am passionate about. I am excited to see where this goes - but am not going to rush it unnecessarily....

I included a few pics for your enjoyment!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

These guys are future docs?!? YIKES!

For almost a year, we have been doing an "ethnic night" about once a month with two of our sets of friends. All three of the husbands (Nate, Brad, and Ken) are med-school friends. The idea is that each month we try a different ethnic restaurant to try. We switch off months who "hosts" and chooses the restaurant, and then usually we go back to one of our places and have games, or conversations, or whatever! It is sure fun and great! We LOVE this night and really look forward to it. We have had a variety of foods including Greek, Ethiopian (a really unique experience), Thai, Turkish....and a few others, but I can't recall those right this minute.

Our most recent experience was this past Saturday at an Irish restaurant. It was very fun and good....but in the midst of it I was struck with fear that we are "adults" being crazy! Haha! Well, not really - but all three of the men are in school to be doctors, dear Krista is getting her PhD....and this is what we did: We had "sugar/salt roulette"......(poor, poor Krista ended up with the salt!) And then, someone handed out gum as we were getting ready to leave, and Brad has a "bright?" idea and said "Hey, has anyone ever licked a Big Red wrapper and stuck it on your forehead, it is really hot!".....OK - my thoughts were something like "Who ever did this in the first place?" and "Tell me you guys are not actually going to do this!"

Well, you can imagine, of course they did, they are three boys and had to prove their "manhood" to one another. Ken's piece of wrapper was kind of tiny and it kept falling off, but Brad and Nate had giant red welts.......I would like to say that they conducted a "very professional, scientific, medical experiment," but that, dear ones, would be giving you a load of crap :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Man I Married :)

He has a fantastic fashion sense.....

His hair defies gravity

Hey is a very, VERY serious person

He went through a stage where he, by himself, completely supported the sweatpants industry

He knows the value of a dollar

He has alcohol issues

From the day he was born, his lifelong goal was to be a "gangsta"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wedgie Free Guarantee


I am just not about the sexy underpants. I mean, come on - they are underware for goodness sake. I know some girls are all about the sexy, cute underpants from Victoria's Secret that are like cute and lacy and about $7 a pair.....not me, when it comes to underpants, I am all about the Hanes or Fruit of the Loom multi-pack from Wal-Mart. My chief concerns are: comfort and.......well, comfort - maybe also a thin-material so I don't have tell-tale panty lines, but you get my drift.

I usually treat the ladies up top to a more "top-of-the-line" treatment, but they are all-stars, after all.....

A few months ago I needed a new pack of underware. While at Wal-Mart, a neutral colored pack of Hanes caught my attention with the label promising the "Wedgie Free Guarantee!" I was skeptical, but intrigued. Here are the facts: THEY ARE WEDGIE FREE!!! I don't know how....but they are! And I LOVE them....the only problem at this point is that I only have 5 pair. I have an entire drawer full of underware, however, everyday I dig through the 33 pair to find the "Wedgie Free" magical underpants. As laundry day drawers near, I don't have any wedgie free ones left - and this makes me very sad. Last night, it was my night to be wearing a pair of the regular underpants, and I had about 1,000 wedgies. At 2:30 am as I am trying to sleep and am very uncomfortable in these thought process was something like this "Tomorrow I am going to Wal-Mart and I am buying MORE wedgie free underpants, I cannot live like more wedgies for me!!!!" And so, today I did just that, and I am a happy girl.

All of this Wedgie Free goodness, all for about $1 a me, it's a bargain you won't be sorry for purchasing!

Haha, hope everyone got a smile out of this, my "Underware Saga......"

My little mama!

My mom cracks me up....or, as I used to say when I was a little one, she "Macks me up....."

First of all, I have kind of fancy taste. Especially when it comes to one of my true loves, PURSES! Earlier this year, in May, my mom and I went over to Cleveland to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On our way, we passed the outlet mall in Fremont, Indiana. "Oh my gosh mom, we HAVE to stop at the Coach outlet......." My dear mom's response, "Ok, what is Coach?" GASP, NO SHE DIDN'T JUST SAY THIS! We proceeded to stop and she even treated me to a darling little wristlet AND an over the shoulder small purse. I love them both! And she was so generous and really didn't say anything about the cost. What a MOM!

My love affair with Coach began in 2004....and has yet to end. I dare say that over the years, a LOT of money has gone in to the pocketbooks of Coach! I just love purses, and of course, I can't just love the cheap purses from anywhere, NOPE - not Jen, I MUST have the $100 purses with the fancy brand name.

So, my mom called me today and told me a story that was just SO funny considering the story that I just mentioned about the Coach outlet. Mom went to Target and wanted to replace a purse. She has had two purses for literally YEARS, both of them black and kind of plain, neither of which she paid more than $10 for. So when she went to Target today, she announced her shock that they wanted $29.99 for a purse, which she found CRAZY! She told me she "splurged" for a $13.00 purse and was appauled with herself. I just couldn't get over this!

She treats me to about $100 in two purses, and doesn't think a second thing about it, little Princess Jen gets the purses she wants. But then, my dear, dear mom couldn't even stomach the idea of a $30.00 purse for herself. I know she doesn't mind. I just say it because the story is funny and I am a lucky girl to have a mom like this.

And this, dear ones, is only ONE example. I could provide plenty more involving $50 jeans (Tommy Hilfiger, of course!) for the 8th grade girl who couldn't have survived with anything else (uh....I don't THINK so!)

People seem to love to spoil me, and let me tell you, I love it! And, even more importantly, I APPRECIATE IT!!

So to those of you who have spoiled me in the past, spoil me in the present, or will spoil me in the future (hint, hint....wink, wink) THANK YOU! Love you all!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Catch-up........aka: Jen got blogging LAZY

Well, I guess I have been a few days lazy at the blog. So now, I am BACK, baby! And ready for my close-up.....

Well, maybe not, considering it is in no way a photo shoot....but you know what I mean.

The week was a bit crazy and lazy, all at the same time. Sleep schedules have been off for both myself and that cute little hubby-o-mine. Then around Wednesday we actually got SNOW in Greenwood. And really, a pretty decent amount. It has officially been colder here than it was the entire time we were in Alaska. And, the snow kind of messes with Indy - they just really don't have to deal with it much here. Coming from Northern Indiana where we have the Lake-effect snow, I can tell you that this much snow wouldn't have even been cause for a two hour, it's another story. I think that it's a combo of two things: 1.) They don't really have the equipment or staff to deal with removing the snow from the roads and public places 2.) People are TERRIFIED to drive on the snow....I mean come on people, you DON'T have to go 3mph for some snow on the road. However, the good part of all this was that my little Nate got to stay home with me for a few days, which was NICE. Meanwhile, I was in a bit of a pooey mood for a few I got very little housework done.

This caught up with me on Friday, when I finally got my butt in gear and got to working around the house. What probably could have been done in a few really HARD hours of work, instead has taken me 3 days and is still far from done. This is mostly because I have time and on Friday I got in a cycle of watching CSI on Spike TV...FYI - If you are like me, you cannot only watch 5 minutes of a CSI - if you start one, you are committed for the entire one hour - and Spike plays them ALL DAY.

Yesterday, I hadn't gotten to sleep until WAY late the night before. Something like I slept in (Nate did too) and then we layed in bed until 1:30 watching How I Met Your Mother. This is something we don't really do...but It was kind of fun and nice. Comfy and cozy on a cold day in Greenwood. In the afternoon we got ready to go over and have dinner with the Klinglers - FUN! I had missed them while we were gone, and it was great to catch up and play with Micah. Holy cow, he is getting so big and fun and cute.....He LOVES Nate (and me, too, really). He is almost two and doesn't really sit still. During dinner, while I was eating, he kept coming to the kitchen and grabbing my hand - so cute - and then wanting me to come to the living room with him to play with his toys, I mean, how do you say no to that?!? (For me, of course I couldn't say no - and it was awesome.) He says "Nate" and "Jen" just clear as a bell at this point. He did not want to go to bed AT ALL when the time came - I think it was because we are just so much fun and he didn't want to miss anything. So, we even were invited upstairs for his nighttime routine...he wanted Nate to read him about 7 books, and me- 1! Haha! We also said our prayers, and he is such a good boy with his prayers! Even thinking about the night puts a big grin on my face.

This morning I began co-teaching the middle school Sunday school class at our church. I got a call from the youth director this week and he asked if I could sit-in and help teach the class as it is in a transition time - and also, the main teachers are going to be rotating in and out from week to week. He had hoped that I could be there weekly and provide some continuity. I was excited and nervous. Turns out, it was AMAZING. I loved it! I loved the kids and actually think it is the perfect age for me to work with. They are not so young that they aren't adult-like, but at the same time - I think the high-schoolers are really close to my age and I may have been a bit uncomfortable. So.....middle schoolers=perfect! Also, my dear, dear friend Clara (my other friend Susan's CUTE daughter) was in the class, and I was so glad that I knew one of the kids.....she is just so cool. I am just so excited to work with these kids on a weekly basis and pull them out of their shells. I am more than ready for the challenge and excited about it. I think there were about 7 or 8 kids there this morning, and they are a COOL group of kids! What an amazing opportunity and gift for me!

Hansy didn't feel well last night, so Nate was awesome and stepped up and took responsibility for him since I had to be up early for my "first big day!" That being said, neither of us got a good night's sleep last night. So, we did have a couple hour nap this was nice. I just HOPE I don't pay for it tonight. If I do, then so be it - you will probably all be treated to another blog entry.

Well, I suppose that is enough of the "catch-up" game for this minute! Love from Jen!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Lying by a fire=same effect as Ambien

Dan and I are kindred spirits in that we are both "night owls." However, Dan makes up for his sleep loss with a nap on their futon in the basement next to the wood stove. It is oh, so warm and toasty in that basement next to that wood stove. I didn't try a nap on the futon, knowing that I would pay for it dearly when I actually needed to sleep, but now I wish I would have tried it. I only say this because, at home, sometimes Nate and I light a fire in the fireplace. If I lay on the floor in front of it - it leads to immediate drowsiness and sleep - and this is saying a LOT for me.

Last night, I feel asleep there at 8:45 pm! Nate came over and found me sleeping, and I am sure thought I was either a.) dead or b.) he was witnessing a MIRACLE - I mean, come on....Jen, asleep without a sleep aid - and at 8:45 to boot. Nate quietly asked me "Are you actually sleeping?" I sleepily replied, "Yes," to which he responded, "ok, well go straight to bed, don't worry about your nighttime routine....." (FIY: My routine is extensive - a minimum of 30 minutes, and it tends to re-energize me when I usually get sleepy). So straight to bed I went....and fell asleep quickly.

The bad news of this story, I woke up - WIDE AWAKE at 3:45am...... I got up for a bit and read some of Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love." I began reading this book several days ago and am consuming it with vigor. I think that I find her relatable in many ways and she writes the way that I wish I wrote.

I hung out for a bit....ate a bowl of cereal around 5:00 and decided to head back in the bedroom and read a bit more. I was awake when Nate's alarm went off at 5:30. I think the boy was confused, to say the least, to see me awake. He ran on the treadmill and I did go back to sleep for a while.

Dear, dear Amber came down and put a shiny new outside on me this afternoon! Tonight I will admit I feel like a new girl with my highlights, lowlights, and spunky red color in my hair. She trimmed up my hair and went on about how LONG it had grown - and let me tell you what, it really has been growing a lot. I can tell you this because a ponytail is not only easily achieved, it is acheived without any kind of secondary restraint (ie - a headband).

Also, the angel-girl waxed my eyebrows.......thank the good Lord! After the eyebrow debacle of December, I WON'T be doing them myself, ever again!

The neighbor boy got locked outside, so his mom called and asked if he could hang out at our place for a few hours until she got home. He is in early high school.....Hansy loved him because he played with Hans a lot! It was kind of nice to have a fair amount of people in the house, keeping me occupied.

The house is a bit messy, but I have time to clean it up. Here we are, at the 5th of January, 2010. I was hopeful that the New Year would come in with a bang, you know, some kind of HUGE lightening strike. I don't think it has, but perhaps I was overly expectant.

Within the next few weeks, I need to light a fire under my bum and get some stuff in gear....but for now, in this moment, I am content to hang out with Nate and sit with Hans!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The FLEECING of a Medical Student.......

I dislike being taken advantage of. And that is what this feels like. Medical School is EXPENSIVE. Unlike undergrad, where there are forms of financial aid to pad the blow, med school is a whole different beast.

$35,000 a year.....that is how much money we are taking out, for SCHOOL ALONE. This is not to mention the fact that this year I have been unable to find a job, so we also had to take out money to live on.

Many people argue, "Well, you are going to be a doctor, you will have the means and ability to pay it back!" And while this is true, it is a bit unfair. Yes, doctors do make a good living, especially those that specialize - however, for those that do not specialize (Nate is currently thinking the family medicine route...) it is going to be like graduating from medical school in such a deep hole of debt that you can't see your way out. For bang for your buck, it is MUCH wiser to pursue an MBA and work your way to the top of a business, not be a doctor.

If this were all, I wouldn't be complaining. But I feel the need to share this little bit of info.

For people familiar with the med school process, you know that at the end of the second year, the students must take Boards to become certified and continue to the next step. Nate will be taking this in the spring.....and the cost....are you ready? Over $500 - for an EXAM! And NOT AN OPTIONAL one. Doesn't it seem like if it isn't an option it should be worked into the $35,000? Heck, make it $36,000 and it doesn't sound so bad.....$500 for an 8 hour 1 day EXAM....

Then, it gets order to do well on the exam, you need to purchase the study materials and question costs an ADDITIONAL $400!!!

Shhhhh.......if you listen carefully you can hear our credit card screaming and crying from my purse, half a house away.......

So, to recap.....basically $1,000 for 6 months of torture and awful studying. I can promise you we could have found WAY more fun ways to spend $1,000......

Dear Lord, please let us have enough money to pay our mortgage after this. Otherwise Nate will be studying in a van, down by the river........

Oh well, Nate, Hans, and I would be ok in the van down by the just doesn't seem like the most glamourous place for a future doctor, don't you think??

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I HATE jet-lag......a LOT!

Our flight(s) home was scheduled to leave Anchorage at 9:00 am. There had been some bad airport drama during our time in Alaska, so we decided that we wanted to be plenty early to the this point the attitude really was "better too early than too late!"

We got up at 5:45 and got all of our stuff from the hotel room. Val and Dan took us to the airport and we got there around 7:00. Thankfully we made it through security without any hitches, so we made our way back and waited to board the plane. We boarded at the appropriate time, however, something delayed us once on the plane. We didn't leave until around 10:00. At this point it is worth noting that I belly sometimes hates me, and I assure you the feeling is mutual. I was stressed about the trip and sad about leaving...this translates to my stomach disagreeing with me. I took a stomach med and that kind of knocked me out. Know what is NOT comfy? Sleeping on a plane. But I managed some cat-naps and read a little bit. Really the trip from Anchorage to Minneapolis was pretty painless. We had a short layover in Minneapolis and had a quick trip to Indy. We actually arrived about 10 minutes earlier than our scheduled arrival time in Indy - which was refreshing. Our great friends Brad and Krista picked us up at the airport and delivered us home (thanks guys!!!) Then Nate and I had this AMAZING (slightly stupid) idea to beat the jet-lag. We decided we wouldn't sleep at all until the NEXT night, basically deprive ourselves of sleep terribly to "recover" in only one night. The best laid plans..........

When we got home, we went through all the mail and began unpacking. I had the brilliant idea that I wanted to print all of the pics we wanted from the at 2:00 am we went to CVS for the photo lab. Then we had Steak n' Shake and went shopping at Wal-mart. Know what's empty at 3:00 am? Wal-Mart! We went and picked up our pics and then went grocery shopping at Meijer.

At this point, we were still going strong. We showered (4:00ish) and felt refreshed.

Well, without ALL the details, we were pretty fine. Nate got sleepy off and on, but I kept him going. And then around 1:00 pm......I FELT it and I FELT IT HARD....I am not even kidding. If I closed my eyes for 1 minute I was like dreaming/hallucinating! Seriously, awful! We decided to nap for a little bit. We napped for about an hour or two....then GOT TO WORK.

Are you ready for the list of things we did? It is pretty amazing.....

Cleaned the whole house, including EVERYTHING - even vacuuming
Took down all the Christmas decorations and put them away
Did ALL the laundry - all four loads, and even folded and put away

Not too darn shabby if I may say so myself!

We went to bed at around 11:00, feeling pretty satisfied with ourselves and our level of work. I feel asleep around 11:30, only to wake up at 1:00 as Nate turned off the TV and I was greeted with SILENCE. To make matters much worse, when I woke, I had NO IDEA where I was. The terror of this actually scared me awake. I watched a little bit more TV, and then fell asleep.....

Since Nate and I did all the work yesterday, we felt entitled to enjoy the day. We didn't make it to church, slept past it, but then went out and about Greenwood.

It was a great day. Nate starts the 18 1/2 grade tomorrow.

On a bad note, we DIDN'T defeat the jet-lag. It is now 2:00am and I am WIDE-awake. If it were only me, I wouldn't think much of it with my sleeping issues, however, even Nate is wide awake.....this, from the boy who is generally dead meat by 11:00pm.

He is going to be sleepy tomorrow......

Ending the Alaska vacation on a sweet note!

Well, at this point.....we are really a few days home! But, I have some blogging "catching up" to here we GO!

On Thursday morning we woke up and got around. We left the house and made our way to Alyeska Ski Resort to take the tram to the top of the mountain for a good look around from a high viewpoint!

On our way down we stopped at a neat Market in Anchorage for lunch, where dear Dan treated us to lunch! What a great guy! The lunch was fun and good.

When we got to Alyeska we did indeed take the tram to the top of the mountain and were more than rewarded with some AMAZING views. There was actually a low cloud-cover and the tram went through it and up on the top of it. The view was picture perfect, to say the least. I am scared of heights, so that made for some great photo ops.....hope you enjoy looking at those as much as I enjoyed posing for them.

At that point we went back to Anchorage where we actually stayed the night since we had an earlyish flight. We got to bring in the New Year - Anchorage style. It was very fun and they had a festival going on downtown. They actually "celebrated" the new year at 8:00 pm - I guess to bring in the New Year with the East Coast of the US. Also, I came to the conclusion that because of the limited daylight hours - Alaskans are really in "hibernate" mode and they are pretty much done with the day and ready to sleep by around 6:00 pm - so really maybe it makes sense that they bring in the New Year at 8:00! We were around the for the festival and then enjoyed the fireworks from the top of the parking garage. It made for some great views and some great memories.