Monday, November 29, 2010

The Big Catch Up Post

I am completely aware that I have been a terrible blogger these past couple of months - I am sorry for the lack of updates on our family! Our lives went from stable and predictable to craziness overnight.

Let's take a look at the last 2 months...

It all started out with some bad news at the end of August ... I got laid off from my job with ProfitKeeper in Mesa, Arizona on a Tuesday morning with no notice. My job was literally outsourced to India and unbeknownst to me, I had been training my Indian replacement during my last month of employment. This was a major problem for our family because Brandon was still out of work, which means we immediately had no income or health insurance. This is not good news for anyone, but this was especially stressful to us with me being 5 months pregnant.

About a week later, we got some more bad news. We went back for the second anatomy ultrasound and the technician thought our baby's head looked small. She did some measurements and decided her head was measuring two weeks behind her body. We were referred to a high risk ultrasound facility to take more detailed measurements of her skull plates. Needless to say, we did not need this stress added onto our already stressful situation. We worried and prayed and finally went in for our appointment. Thankfully, the doctor there said she looked perfect and although she was a little petite, she was consistently petite all the way around. This took a huge weight off our shoulders and we are so blessed to have our healthy baby girl developing as she should.

September was spent on the job hunt and I sent out hundreds of resumes to any job opening I could find in Arizona. I did this for a month and got zero calls back. Very discouraging. One day, I decided (mostly for fun) to apply to jobs near our family in Southern California. Almost immediately, I got a call back for an accounting position at Perricone Juices - a natural juice company five minutes from our home town. I completed a phone interview (again, mostly for fun) - I didn't think I'd really get the job.

While we were in Lake Havasu with our friends, I got the call that I had passed the phone interview portion and would be interviewing in person the next week. Wow! I wasn't expecting that. I still didn't think I'd get the job because I was visibly 5 months pregnant.

We went home to California so I could interview and we could visit family. The interview went really well, probably because I didn't think I'd get the job anyway, so I wasn't nervous. While we were home that week, we went to Bennett's fire station pancake breakfast. The sheriff's helicoptor made an appearance which absolutely thrilled Maddie to pieces. She couldn't stop touching it and was so excited to be inside the "he-copter".

I hadn't heard anything about the job interview, so we packed up to head back to Arizona. We were about 20 minutes into our trip, when I got a call asking me to come in for a second interview/training the next day and to show me where I would be sitting. We pulled off the freeway to have a family meeting about all this craziness. We decided that our family needed to go where employment was and maybe there was a reason why I was not able to find an Arizona job after a month of applying and I was able to find a job on day one of the California job hunt. We had always planned to move back closer to family, but we certainly hadn't envisioned it happening like this!

While we were making plans on the side of the 10 freeway, this train came by which delighted Maddie. She kept telling us the train was "very loud."
Derrick the Dare Devil watching the pennies he laid out get flattened by the train. I circled him in the picture - that's him squatting next to the train and Brandon yelling at him to back up. Why are boys so dangerous?
So, after our roadside meeting, we turned our road trip around and headed back to Yucaipa. I went in the next day for my second interview/training and met with the owners. And I got the job! I trained for a few hours and was told my health benefits would start day one of employment. This was a huge blessing because most employers make you wait 90 days and this company normally has a 6 month waiting period. So, when I left, they let me know they would mail me out an offer letter. I couldn't believe how lucky I was to find employment so close to where we wanted to live, but there was so much up in the air too. We are planners and we don't move out of state over a weekend, but that's exactly what we did! I got my offer letter on a Thursday and we packed up as little as possible and drove back to California that Saturday, so that I could start working Monday.

That last week at home was bittersweet for us. It was so strange leaving our home of 5 years with no notice and without taking any of our belongings, since we moved in with Brandon's parents. We were also sad to leave all of our Arizona friends. We made the best friends we could have asked for during the last 5 years. We had regular Sunday dinner parties together, we went to the lake, we watched football games, and as we started having children, our kids played together. We will miss seeing them regularly, but we are excited to be with our families so much more now.

I especially was worried about Maddie. Everything in her life changed overnight without notice and without explanation - she had to leave the only home she's ever known and everything familiar to her. I took some pictures that last week of her playing. She loves this magnetic dress up doll set from her Great Aunt Joy and she was content to play with "dolly" in her Pottery Barn armchair for almost an hour.
This was her favorite spot in our Arizona house - her uplholstered arm chair. This picture breaks my heart. She's so comfortable in her home with her blankie and in her chair. She fell asleep watching Mickey Mouse and Pluto cartoons before bedtime. I just feel awful that she had no idea all this change was coming in the next couple of days.
She asks me regularly to "go home and see Darla" which just rips my heart out. She's old enough to miss her old home and the familiarity of it, but she's too young to understand why all this change had to happen. I'm probably being overly emotional because I'm pregnant, but I just hate creating chaos in my baby's life. She is the same old silly Maddie and is having lots of fun being adored and doted on by all of her extended family in Southern California. She is definitely not lacking love and attention. We are lucky to live with Brandon's parents during this transition time until we find something more permanent, so she has live in grandparents who love to watch her learn and play. Plus, her other grandparents are just up the street and are always thrilled to see her for visits too. We have bath time at Grandma Eatough's a few times a week - what a treat to be so close to so much family!

In other good news... Brandon was also able to find employment with Titan Telecom a week after I started my job. It is super hard, labor intensive work that we thought we had left behind after we went to flight school and started down the aviation path. He is such a good man providing for our family and doing whatever it takes to make sure we are moving forward. He leaves at 4am every morning and drives through ridiculous LA traffic to climb cell phone towers all over Southern California. He works hard all day and we don't see him until 8 or 9pm. Maddie misses him, but she gets to say goodnight to him most nights. I know they miss each other a ton- they became best buddies the whole last year while Brandon was able to stay home with her. We are so lucky to have such a hardworking daddy.

On the weekends, the boys have gotten some fun time in to ride their dirtbikes up in the mountains. These tough guys are Brandon in the back and Derrick in the front. They get to spend lots of brother time together with Bennett and their dad and they have lots of fun. 

During all this chaos, Halloween came and went. Maddie wanted to be a bumble bee again, which was fine with me. She wears her bee costume around the house regularly shouting, "Maddie's a bee!", so she didn't mind dressing up in the same costume 2 years in a row. I only have one picture of her in her costume - this was at the ward Trunk or Treat. She had lots of fun bumbling around and joining her cousin Jasmine in swiping cookies off the dessert table. 

After the Trunk or Treat, Maddie and Jasmine decided to cook up some trouble in Grandma Milloy's kitchen. Jasmine found a bag of Sun Chips, held it upside down, and they both enjoyed a late night snack together. Oh, these two trouble makers...

The actual night of Halloween, Bennett and Gwynne hosted family dinner at their new beautiful home in Redlands. 

While we were there, they announced Gwynne is 4 months pregnant with their first baby! We are beyond thrilled to see their sweet baby. A week later, they found out they are expecting a girl. We feel so blessed that our baby girl will have a girl cousin so close in age - based on due dates, they'll be less than 3 months apart!

As usual, we got to enjoy two Thanksgiving dinners this year! We had dinner #1 at my parent's home where they had a deep fried turkey and a Cajun oven roasted turkey. I loved seeing my Grandma Eatough's serving dishes being used. We always had the Eatough Thanksgiving dinner at their home, but now that they are enjoying Thanksgiving together in heaven, we get to remember them with the same mashed potato bowl and other serving dishes that have been a Thanksgiving fixture since I can remember. And I always love to see peanut butter balls (an Eatough tradition) on the Thanksgiving table. Maddie tried a bite of everything on the table, but only ate rolls and crackers. Oh well, at least she tried new foods. She also ate her first peanut butter ball this year and loved it.

Dinner #2 was at the always beautiful Ridge home. Everything was very low stress and relaxing. We did a potluck style dinner and everyone brought something to share. It was nice that one person did not end up with the bulk of the cooking duties. We had a great time eating yummy food and enjoying everyone's company. One of my favorite Milloy Thanksgiving traditions is when everyone stands in a circle before the prayer and expresses gratitude for the blessings they have in their lives. It brings such a sweet, peaceful spirit to Thanksgiving and gives everyone an opportunity to be thankful.

Laura, Bryant, Gwynne and Bennett at the kids table.... just kidding! 

Maddie and Aunt Jessica AKA Jeka in Maddie language 

Maddie being my Maddie... 

David's parents brought their sweet dog Sophie to Thanksgiving dinner and Maddie was beside herself. All she wanted to do was kiss Sophie all night long. Poor Sophie just wanted to rest. I think we need to get this girl a dog. 

One of our favorite things about California Saturday mornings is getting doughnuts. We have lived in Florida and Arizona and no one makes doughnuts as good as Southern California. Brandon and Maddie have a standing daddy-daughter date on Saturday mornings to go get doughnuts in their pajamas. She loves rainbow sprinkle cake doughnuts, which she calls dah-nuts. As you'll see in the video below, she eat the frosting and sprinkles off the top and then throws the rest away. It's a good thing she likes to brush her teeth. She has a raging sugar tooth just like her mom.

Through the last couple of crazy months, I inadvertantly stopped documenting my pregnant belly. I just realized I haven't taken a picture since I was betweeen 3 and 4 months. Now I am 7 months pregnant and quite a bit rounder. Sorry for the grainy picture, it was a dark picture that needed to be lightened up.

I am very proud of the fact that I can still wear my wedding ring at this late stage of pregnancy. My fingers were like sausages by the six month mark with Maddie. I am attributing this success to starting out a little thinner than I did with Maddie and eating more healthy foods. Or it could just be a lack of swelling because I'm not 7 months pregnant during the Arizona summer. I choose to think it's the first explanation. :)

So, that's what's been going on with the Milloys! We are looking forward to settling down somewhere before our baby girl arrives early next year and hopefully having a quieter 2011. As we enter this 2010 holiday season, things are different, but we are still very blessed. We are both employed, our growing family is surrounded with loving extended family, and we are all healthy. What else could we ask for?