November 24, 2002

Well, Matt has a job, finally. I started at Essential Science Publishing as a supervisor in mid-October after losing hope of finding a decent paying job in Orem and surrounding areas. I've decided that people around here go to school and then never leave, so there are a bunch of over-qualified people taking low-paying jobs and loving it, because they are in "Zion." Well, I'm here too. And now looking to go to school, too, so I can't complain. But I don't plan on staying forever. Anyway, at the start of October, with the apartment construction stuck in neutral and the savings dwindling rapidly (and don't even ask about the bills), I searched and searched, but only found crud-for-pay jobs in my field that would match my experience. "Would have done better to stay in Tucson," I thought. Then Kari's cousin's wife, Mari, contacted me and stated her parents run a small publishing company in Orem, only five minutes away from where I live, and they had been needing help. Well, I was unsure, but I knew I needed something, and I also knew that I was tired of being a case manager. Ugh! Can we all say "Burnt out!" really loud? So anyway, I contacted her parents and after some deliberation on both sides (theirs and mine) Mari's parent's offered me a job, and here I am. I actually am really enjoying myself and have learned a lot. Getting good experience, too. I worried that I wouldn't be very good at supervising, but it isn't so bad.

Moving on, Elijah is still growing fast. Haven't weighed him in a while, but he is big enough to be in a booster seat. His old infant seat was just too small. Everyone living here swears that Elijah is, well, so cute, so advanced for his age, so active, so charming . . . I could go on. He laughs a lot, sits up on his own, says "dada," "mama" and "baba" with ease. He hasn't quite figured out what they mean, but he knows we like it when he says them. He can walk forward and backward in his walker. He turns over without hesitation (big change from before, when he would get upset just being on his stomach). He is also on the verge of crawling, can even get himself up on his hands and knees without help. He still prefers to stand, but cannot do that one alone, unfortunately. He also has the greatest smile, soon to be complimented by a couple of stubborn teeth that have been the recent bane to his existence. None of us can wait until those two bottom teeth decide to come out, because he does feel significant pain as they move. Yes, he is the apple of my eye. As I get to know him, I know he was someone I knew before, someone I loved to be with and someone with whom I want be in this life.

Kari is working at Hickory Farms twice a week. Her mom is manager there. Kari worked at the one in Tucson when we first met. I remember going over to visit her, watched her close shop, when we first got to know one another. Kari would rather stay home with Elijah, who definitely needs his mom, despite all the other people around who are willing to give him love and attention. She and I are slowly starting to rebuild our wardrobes, now that we have money coming in again. I got to buy some birthday stuff for myself, even (didn't have the money to before).

Kari and I switch off weekly teaching the gospel principles class, and although it gets in the way sometimes, she and I enjoy it. I have worked a couple times with Chris (Kari's dad) in Logan, UT, at football games, setting up and taking down the broadcast equipment. First time, I was a tech, second time, I was audio, which I enjoyed a whole lot more. I'm still not a huge fan of football, but talking to Chris, he sounds about the same. "It's just a stupid game," he says.

Kari and I have spent many weeks working on our secret Christmas project and finally finished, recently. It was a lot of work, but fun. Won't say any more until after Christmas. We plan to go to Oregon after Christmas for a week, so we can see the Mortensons and Marteeneys. We are hoping that my parents and youngest sister, Karyn, are able to come, but that is up in the air for now. My parents are working on buying a house in Cedar City and that has taken their extra money. We are keeping our fingers crossed. Either way, at least Elijah will meet his cousins. He is a little too young to care, yet, but he will, some day. Kari hopes Elijah can know his cousins the way she does hers. They all get along and hang out. In fact, Kari's cousin Jenna and her husband came over to watch Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. I'll say this now, I wasn't expecting much. I wasn't fond of the Phantom Menace, except a couple of scenes. Despite Hayden Christiensen's wooden (over) acting, this one was much better. Yes, Kari and I avoided it until now. But I was pleasantly surprised.

Kari's childhood friend Heather and her husband Matt have moved back into the area. We sometimes hang out with them. Last week, we went up to Salt Lake to eat at Joe's Crab Shack. There was one in Tucson, just across the street from where Elijah was born. Kari's been wanting to go there, but we never did until then. She loved it. Kari and Heather swap baby sittings, when there is no one else available.

Oh, I'm also in the midst of applying for grad school. Fun stuff. Anyway, that's about it for news. A lot has happened, but we just keep plugging away at life.

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