29 October 2012

Jeff, IRS Auditor


Last year I wrote a blog post about my brother-in-law that generated a comment about how interesting my family is.  I realized that it's so true!  My family is super interesting.  Each Monday I'll be interviewing a family member (or dear friend).  I hope you enjoy these Meet Me Monday posts.


Jeff


Today's interview is with my cousin-in-law, Jeff.

Where do you live?
Washington State

What are your hobbies or special interests?
High School Football Referee. Not many hobbies that will pay you to have a blast and get a work out.

What is your current profession?
Accountant (Auditor)

What made you choose that line of work?
I’ve always liked numbers. There are always a ton of job openings for accountants so I figured it would be good job security also. Luckily, I ended up loving what I do also. Go figure.

When people find out what you do, what question do they usually ask you?
They usually ask what is wrong with me that I love what I do. Often they wonder if I am kidding and don’t believe that I enjoy my work. After that there isn’t much to say. Usually the conversation ends with “Nerd Alert!”

What question do you wish they would ask?  Or, what insider information would you give them?
I have a lot of inside information, but I am not at liberty to disclose it. Actually the best advice I would give is to just pay your taxes. Uncle Sam is not someone you want hunting you down. If you don’t like taxes give your senators and congressmen (and congresswomen) a piece of your mind. They are ultimately the ones who wrote the laws that require you to pay taxes.

If you had it to do all over again would you choose the same thing?  Why or why not?
I might. I love what I do, but there are so many things out there in the world to do. I can see myself getting into other things. I’ve always loved the airlines so if I had to do it again maybe I’d be a pilot. Or a football player, or a trust fund baby, or a scuba diver. Who knows maybe I’ll still “be” something else when I grow up.

26 October 2012

Merrymead Farm


A couple of weeks ago we decided to head down the road, to a local farm, for some fall fun.  The kids had a blast climbing on the fire department's trucks.  They were amazed by the huge cornfields.


We tried cider doughnuts for the first time.  They were warm, and melted in our mouths, and amazing, and I think I might go into a coma just thinking about them.  Cider doughnuts.....mmmmmm.....

The kids also got to choose pumpkins.  I don't think I've ever seen so many varieties, or so many pumpkins in one place.

25 October 2012

Stoned

I just love the stones this house is made of.  Pennsylvania = lots of stone houses.

22 October 2012

Alf, Documents Regional Manager


Last year I wrote a blog post about my brother-in-law that generated a comment about how interesting my family is.  I realized that it's so true!  My family is super interesting.  Each Monday I'll be interviewing a family member (or dear friend).  I hope you enjoy these Meet Me Monday posts.
Alf





Today's interview is with my distant cousin, Alf.

Where do you live?
Far away, Germany.

What are your hobbies or special interests?
Aquaristic, my son, family.

What is your current profession?
Regional Manager in the Documents Management Business. I lead a business unit which does document digitalizing for several customers. One of the exciting issues of my current job is that I work for the world leader in this branch (which is an American company) and I work daily with colleagues from all over the world from different countries and cultures. This international flair and being part of the “big ones” made me to choose the company I currently work for.

What made you choose that line of work?
Life was leading me to that, I just entered the doors which opened for me.

When people find out what you do, what question do they usually ask you?
Documents what?... never heard of that.

What question do you wish they would ask?  
What does a Regional Manager do? I would like that people ask me more about my job, less about the business.

If you had it to do all over again would you choose the same thing?  Why or why not?
Life’s path is a mixture of recognizing fate and taking initiative. And looking at my life now: see my wife, my son, my family. I have the good feeling, that I can provide them not a life in luxury, but without fear. I know, most of times in my life I made the right decisions.

18 October 2012

Red Brick Beauty

These local homes just don't disappoint.  This one has a gorgeous door, porch, roofline, window, dormer, double chimneys.  That's a long list!  I'd love to get peek inside this one.

17 October 2012

Hallmark Back-to-School Care Package Giveaway

My kids started a new school this year.  Not just moving up into middle school, or something like that, but a completely new school in a new state.  And it was all very fast.  The job offer came and four weeks later we were in a new house, a new city, a new part of the country and a new school.  Goosey, Dogger and Lew missed the first week of school.  Overall, they adjusted pretty well.  But, one of them did have a hard time the first couple of weeks.  By "a hard time" I mean sobbing one morning because he didn't want to go to school because he felt like he wasn't catching up on what he had missed during the first week.

It was hard.  So hard.  None of my kids have ever protested going to school before.  And my mommy heart broke a little because we did this to him.  It was a decision Craig and I made, based on what is best for our family, but the consequences are largely affecting our children.  

So, what did I do?  I slipped a little love note in his lunch that day.  One that let him know I was thinking of him and that his feelings matter to me.  He came home with a smile and the note in hand.  He said the day was still a challenge, but he was up to it.  Love that kid!

In situations like that I love that Hallmark Cards has a whole line of products geared toward encouraging kids in school.  Some of them are definitely aimed toward the younger crowd, but many of them work for teenagers and even college aged kids.  Hallmark has graciously given me a Hallmark Back-to-School Care Package to giveaway to one of my readers.

Here's what's included:

Bug’Em, a pint-sized plush that can hold cards and other tokens of
encouragement and give an unexpected lift to any youngster’s day.




 A pack of Hallmarks Kids Collection greeting cards, which feature kid-appropriate topics from managing difficult academic or social situations, to achieving a personal goal in the classroom or on the field.


A few of Hallmark’s “any day” greeting cards for kids, featuring music sensation Justin Bieber.



  Lunchbox Notes, which offer 50 ways for you to add a little love to lunchtime. (These are my kids' favorites.  They love showing the notes I occasionally send to their friends and teachers.)


How to enter:  Hallmark Cards would like to know what words and phrases you use to encourage your kids throughout the school year.  Leave a comment telling me exactly that and you'll be entered to win!

Winner will be chosen at random on October 23rd, 2012.

UPDATE:  We have a winner, Deb!!!!


*Hallmark sent me a Back-to-School Care Package to review in anticipation of this giveaway.  I was not compensated in any other manner.


15 October 2012

Christa, Former PR Professional and Mother


Last year I wrote a blog post about my brother-in-law that generated a comment about how interesting my family is.  I realized that it's so true!  My family is super interesting.  Each Monday I'll be interviewing a family member (or dear friend).  I hope you enjoy these Meet Me Monday posts.
Christa and her family.


Today's interview is with my friend, Christa.

Where do you live?
I lived lot of different places in the USA, but for the past 10 years, I've lived in Georgia with my husband and 4 kids.

What are your hobbies or special interests?
I love reading. I don't always have as much time to read as I'd like, but I enjoy it. I love that I can learn new things or be whisked off on an adventure just by opening a book. I love to make and eat desserts. I can honestly say I would be happy having treats for every meal. I know, terrible! Because I love the goodies so much, I also love to bake. I'm interested in sewing, but not amazing. I have a Mom that excels at everything or will excel at it once she learns more about it and she is always willing to help me out. Thank goodness for Moms.

What is your current profession?  What did you do before staying at home?
My current profession is Mom. I graduated from Brigham Young University in 1997 in Public Relations and worked for 2 years as the PR director at the Provo/Orem Chamber of Commerce while my husband was going to law school. I loved my job! I wrote articles for the local newspaper, did grand openings for new businesses with ribbon cuttings - yes, I was the keeper of the BIG scissors. I got to help put on functions for business leaders to learn and network with each other. It was a great job. Honestly, perfect for me. My 1st child was born in May of 1999. My Mom raised me and my four sisters as a stay at home Mom and I always wanted to do the same for my kids. It was all a part of my plan. It was a really hard for me to go from my full-time job to being a 24/7 full-time Mom, but it has been so worth it. My oldest is now 13 and we've added 3 more to that mix. There are days when I think  back on that time in my life, but I can honestly say that I wouldn't trade it (OK - most days - just keepin' it real) for anything else.

What made you choose that line of work?
Since I was born, I've always loved to talk, so when I went to college (Ricks, now Brigham Young University - Idaho) I decided to study interpersonal communications. I loved it. Everything I learned seemed to just make sense to me. I didn't mind studying and homework, because it was something I was interested in, something that I knew. After I got my associates degree from Ricks, I transferred to Brigham Young University in Provo. They didn't have interpersonal communications as a major, so I chose public relations. It was different this time, because you had to test into the PR program at BYU. I took the test and passed with flying colors - I guess anyway because I was admitted into the program. After the fact, I learned that it was a pretty competitive program to get into. Good thing I didn't know before the test or I might have been nervous. One of the classes I had to take for my major was journalism and I had to write for The Daily Universe. I was pretty terrified at first, but I learned that I love newspaper writing. I loved making my articles as short and info packed as possible. I even kind of loved the deadlines, even though it was a lot of pressure. It was such a thrill to see my article on the front page above the fold every now and again. After graduating from BYU, I knew that I wanted to work for a non-profit, but I also needed to support my husband through his undergrad and law school, so I kept my options open. The job at the Chamber of Commerce was perfect for me. I loved writing the articles for the local paper and doing the grand opening parties. I also learned about business meetings and how to take minutes.

When people find out what you did (and do), what question do they usually ask you?
When I was newly graduated, most people that were interested in PR would ask me how hard it was to get into BYU's program. The problem was that I didn't know it was supposed to be hard, so I couldn't really give them a satisfying answer. Now as a Mom with my youngest in school, some people ask me what I'm going to do with all my time. Some wonder if I'm going to get a job. 

What question do you wish they would ask?  Or, what insider information would you give them?
I don't really know what questions I'd like them to ask. I would just say enjoy each stage of your life. Work hard and have fun when you are in college. You've got a long time to be a grown up, so enjoy those last few years as a "kid". Choose a career that inspires you or at least one that you enjoy. We all have days where we think, "Why am I doing this again?" But if you have more of those than not, maybe it's time for a change. I had a blast in college. I decided to serve a 18 month mission for my church and it was an awesome experience. I couldn't have picked a better job after graduation (OK, maybe the pay could've been better :) ). I love being a Mom. I'm truly enjoying each new stage of life as my kids grow. Some days I just wish I could slow it all down or at least stop it for a moment because it all seems to be going by so fast. 

If you had it to do all over again would you choose the same thing?  Why or why not?
Sometimes I complain to my husband that I wish I was a younger Mom. He always responds by asking my what part of my life I'd like to leave out. Of course nothing! The decisions I've made have gotten me to where I am today and while I'm a busy Mom and wife, I wouldn't have it any other way!

13 October 2012

Goosey's Birthday Outing

Goosey chose to go to a zoo for her birthday this year.  While we have a large zoo near us in Philadelphia, we chose to go for a scenic drive to the Lehigh Valley Zoo.  We were so glad with this choice because it wasn't overcrowded, and it was just the right size--no one got cranky or tired!  It even had a playground.  Awesome.

Ostriches.  Creepy or funny?

The African penguins were our second favorite (after the river otters).  So cute! 
The river we forded on the way out of the zoo.  Sooooooo pretty!

11 October 2012

Winding path



The winding front walk to this home makes me smile.  "Take your time, enjoy the journey!" it says.

08 October 2012

Kristen, Food Technologist


Last year I wrote a blog post about my brother-in-law that generated a comment about how interesting my family is.  I realized that it's so true!  My family is super interesting.  Each Monday I'll be interviewing a family member (or dear friend).  I hope you enjoy these Meet Me Monday posts.








Today's interview is with my friend, Kristen.

Where do you live?
Physically, New England. But my heart belongs to any mountainous area - the ones that stick out paticularly to me are: 1 - Stanley of Idaho, 2 -  Grindelwald of Switzerland, 3 - and of course my own Wasatch Mountain Range in Salt Lake City of Utah.

What are your hobbies or special interests?
I really enjoy music - I took piano lessons growing up and for the amount of lessons I had, I really should be on a higher skill level than I am. I wish I would have practiced more. Hindsight. . . I also enjoy singing in groups, but I'm a big brat when it comes to "Ward Choir" - basically, you won't see me in one. I bought a Groupon (my guilty pleasure) for 8 musical lessons - I'm in the middle of these right now and my instrument of choice is guitar.

My strong affection towards large rocks comes with a love for the outdoors. I decided over this past Memorial Day that I, along with my dog, are going to become a member of the not terribly elite New Hampshire 4000' club. Bagged 3 of the 48 so far. Let me know if you want to join me for any hikes!

Not only trekking do I love, but there's something about being on a boat that I can't get enough of. I haven't had the pleasure of finding a friend with a watercraft and tow rope here in New England. If you want to help me remedy this please do.

What is your current profession?
My exact job title is, "Food Technologist". I technologize for Nestle in the Buitoni branch of the Prepared Foods Division. This means a great deal of Pasta.

What made you choose that line of work?
I love food, I love science. Food + Science = Food Science. I also am decent at math. . . But, if you want the longer story, here goes: My high school physics teacher encouraged our small class of 'AP' students to become engineers, "You are our future! You're the smart ones that will shape tomorrow!" Well, I didn't have any preconcieved notion about what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I applied for all the engineering scholarships and picked the department that offered me the most compensation. Civil & Environmental Engineering it was.


It wasn't until my second semester that I would take an actual CEE course. Just the intro. I'm not sure what finally made me snap - maybe it was the 7:30 am class in the freezing, bomb shell of a classroom (seriously, not even one bar on the cell phone!), or doing my entire group project by myself, or maybe it was the book we were required to read about the construction of the Panama Canal that mentioned Malaria at least once per page, perhaps the instructor starting off each lecture drilling into our minds that, "YOU are responsible for the lives of people that use your structures - here's an example of something that went horrendously wrong", possibly even receiving my graded papers back from my assigned TA that used a purple sparkly pen that left glitter ALL over any other contents of my bag - but I eventually decided that Civil Engineering was definitely NOT for me. 


I spent another year in school, still on track with the science and math that goes along with engineering, but not really feeling like anything was a good fit. I had always felt very comfortable in the kitchen and so seriously contemplated culinary school. The summer after my Freshman year of college, I went off to work on a Dude Ranch. I served meals to the guests - very glamorous, I know - and as a result worked with the chefs very closely. I saw the hours (and general demeanor) they kept and didn't want to spend my life that way either. But I was still attracted to the idea of food and had enjoyed the online nutrition classes I had taken to fullfil some general requirments. "Sure, I'll be a dietitian, that sounds like a good job." However, the University of Utah offers no such degree. I swear, you can major in bowling there, but no nutrition based program. 


I explored the neighbor to the South and the neighbor to the North. Being from Utah, I had enough LDS friends, I didn't really need to go to South. Before taking the plunge though, I visited with an advisor at the Northern school and looking over my transcripts she observed, "You look like you like math and science. If you enroll in the Food Science program you're guaranteed a scholarship." I didn't really know what food science was, but the core classes aligned with the dietetics program. Yeah, free money, sign me up. But I fell in love with my newly discovered food science. 


So, basically the truest and purest answer to this question is actually, "free money".

When people find out what you do, how do they usually respond?
You must eat a lot of chocolate. In their defense I usually respond to this inquiry with, "I work for Nestlé". I understand their thought process, as Nestlé's most recognizable brands being candy related.

What question do you wish they would ask?  Or, what insider information would you give them?
I don't wish anyone to ask me anything different. I like opening up the world of Nestlé brands to people - most of them don't realize just how far 'our' brands span. And here's the insider information, if you don't buy my products, I might lose my job. So, eat up folks. Anything with a nest and a bird family will do. Much appreciated.

If you had it to do all over again would you choose the same thing?  Why or why not?
 Definitely. I wasn't immediately in my area of choice when I started working here, but I have slyly clawed my way into a position that is more along the lines of my ultimate goal - to create delicious new products that you can buy at the grocery around the world (well, more realistically the country, but I'll take it).

04 October 2012

Local

Time for some Pennsylvania love.  We all know I love Craftsman homes.  This one is no exception--the roofline, the dormer, the porch. *Sigh*  I'm even okay with the addition on the side.  It's not the same style, but it's cute.

03 October 2012

Running a little late

Happy first day of school!  Okay, so really this was three weeks ago, but we were unpacking and organizing and etc.  The kids are actually in their fourth week of school now, but I didn't want to deprive the grandmas of first day photos.

 
 We have a kindergartner!  Lew is extra excited because in our new school district kindergartners ride the bus!

Dogger started second grade.  He was a little nervous about a new school, and making new friends.  But, let's be honest:  who wouldn't love this kid?

And Goosey.  The big fourth grader.  I gave up trying to get her to wear shoes other than sneakers to school.  She likes to run at recess.  I can't argue with that.

Three cute kids, ready to head to school.  Too bad we missed the bus on their first day.  It was five minutes early!

Ready to walk into a new adventure!  New school, new teachers, new friends!

02 October 2012

A Decade

This is what 10 years old looks like around our house.

Happy birthday Goosey!

01 October 2012

Heather, Mental Health Therapist


Last year I wrote a blog post about my brother-in-law that generated a comment about how interesting my family is.  I realized that it's so true!  My family is super interesting.  Each Monday I'll be interviewing a family member (or dear friend).  I hope you enjoy these Meet Me Monday posts.


Heather and her son.


Today's interview is with my cousin, Heather.

Where do you live?
Southern California

What are your hobbies or special interests?
Scrapbooking, singing, swimming, crocheting and loving every minute of time I get with my son.

What is your current profession?
 I am a mental health therapist, I work as the intake coordinator for The Canyon at Peace Park, a premiere dual diagnosis inpatient treatment center.

What made you choose that line of work?
The Columbine High School shootings on 4/20/1999.  I thought "how can I bring children into a world where it isn't even safe to send them to school?".

When people find out what you do, what question do they usually ask you?
They usually ask me not to diagnose/shrink them, I guess they think I automatically judge them

What question do you wish they would ask?  Or, what insider information would you give them?
I would like more people to ask how to find help, but when it comes to me "diagnosing or shrinking them" it would be interesting to share that I never judge, but I often diagnose them as soon as I meet them, I can't help it, but again I repeat, I NEVER judge, it doesn't matter what they have done, I always keep an open mind.

If you had it to do all over again would you choose the same thing?  Why or why not?
I would absolutely do it again.  I love my job, I would just take different course work so that it would be easier to get licensed in California...  Ahhhh, bureaucracy!
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