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Life’s a bit different now

As if we didn’t have enough change with our recent move to a new house, change in schools, settling into a new ward, and everything that goes along with those things . . . I recently accepted a full-time position with the District Attorney’s office. My first day was February 17, when I was sworn in by Sharen Wilson, the newly-elected District Attorney in Tarrant County.

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Judge Wilson and I go way back. I interned for her in Criminal District Court #1 back when I was in law school (circa 2007). I’m sure she doesn’t remember me, but she had obviously seen my resume and made a good show of “remembering” me when I came to be sworn-in — she really is a great politician!

I wasn’t looking for full-time work when this opportunity came knocking, although, I had thought about increasing my work load now that we were settled into the new house. I had also thought that I would need to find additional work or other activities to keep me occupied in the fall when Carter starts Kindergarten. But when Cindy Williams contacted me, asking if I would come work for her, my initial reaction was “no”! There was no particular reason why, simply being raised in a culture of Mormon women staying home with the kids and the negative stigma associated with women working full-time. I’ve never had a burning desire to be a stay-at-home mom, but I was comfortable with my life of play dates at the water park. Still, I just couldn’t get the opportunity out of my mind. It soon became apparent that I wanted to say “yes” more than I ever realized.

My first summer of law school I interned for Cindy in the CPS division of the DA’s office and she has been a mentor to me ever since. Cindy had just been promoted to Chief of the CPS division — replacing James Teel, who had been appointed as an associate judge in the Juvenile Court. So when she called, I didn’t hesitate to tell her my concerns about balancing work and family. I knew that she had small children when she first joined the DA’s office, in fact, Judge Brown had done the same thing to her when her girls were small as she was now doing to me, so she knew exactly what it was like! We spoke for about an hour about the expectations and her management style. In the end, I told her that I would think about it and let her know by the end of the week.

DJ and I talked about it, thought about it, prayed about it, and put together a plan to see if it was even feasible. In the end, we felt like this was absolutely the right thing to do. There was no doubt at all in my mind that this was the path for me.

We knew that it would be most difficult the first few months, that it would get simpler once school was out for the summer, but we were willing to make it work. And by “we,” I really mean DJ because it was going to have the biggest impact on him. He was going to have to leave work everyday by 3:30 in order to pick up Carter by 4:00. He was going to be the one making dinner and doing homework with the kids. His enthusiastic willingness to take on this role made me feel like he not only recognized, but genuinely appreciated the sacrifices that I’ve made these past six years to devote all my time and energy to raising our kids. It means a lot to me.

In my first three weeks of work we have endured three rounds of the stomach flu (Raine, me, and Carter), three snow days, three early release days, and a host of other freak events. Our new normal feels a bit like an out-of-control carnival ride, but at least it’s never boring! We have survived it all so far and I’ve found that I love my work even more than I thought I would so it’s been worth the ride.

Tiger Tug O’War

DJ challenged JP the tiger to a match during Fall Festival at the Center for Animal Research and Education.

THE Christmas Tradition

For those of you whose Christmas wasn’t quite complete without DJ’s favorite tradition, here is this year’s rough-cut version of Dominic the Donkey. I found it today as I was looking through the pictures from the kids’ camera. It was taken on Christmas Day.

Bishop Dewey

My IT department finally got around to restoring my login rights on this blog so I can post again! There hasn’t been a whole lot to post — I’m doing well just to keep up with the kid blog — but I wanted to post this photo.

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On August 11, at the ripe old age of 35, DJ was sustained as the Bishop of the River Trails Ward. Here he is with his counselors, Bryan Boyer and James Walker, shortly after they were set apart. I wanted to document how young and fresh they all looked going into this little endeavor so we can contrast how old and haggard they look five years from now!

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Grandma and Grandpa Dewey were able to leave their mission for the weekend to support DJ on his big day. I find it interesting that DJ’s mom wasn’t surprised at all when he called to tell her about his new calling — heaven knows the two of us were about as shocked as two people can be!

Updated Blogs

Hi everyone. You may or may not have noticed, but our blogs have changed a bit recently due to a switch in our hosting provider. As part of the update, the RSS feed for Raine and Carter’s blog has changed. If you have subscribed to or followed that blog you will need to update the URL for the RSS feed. The link can be found at the bottom of the right hand navigation area of the blog.

Just thought I would let you know of the change in case anyone was waiting for new posts to appear in their feed list.

Happy reading! :)

White elephant gift

We had our Ward leadership Christmas party this weekend, and one of the things that everyone looks forward to is the white elephant gift exchange. It’s always fun to see what craziness people come up with.

Kim was looking up ideas for white elephant gifts one night and came across a suggestion to record your husband singing some Christmas songs, take a picture of him in a cheesy Christmas sweater and make it into a CD. Since I have become so well known in our ward for one particular Christmas song, I thought it would be funny to use that idea for my gift. This is what we came up with. It certainly produced some laughs when it was opened.



In the news

Guess who made it in to the local news?

Kim signed up to help in a pro bono divorce clinic, and little did she know that it would be her ticket to fame. The journalists sat down at her table during the introductions, and she assumed they were clients who had wandered into the wrong room. She very politely asked them if they had checked in yet — her way of pointing out that someone at the desk could direct them to the CORRECT room — but they responded that they were journalists. Good thing Kim thinks before she speaks and didn’t just tell them they were in the wrong room. :) One lady was blind, and while Kim was waiting to receive her case file she pulled out her braille typewriter and started asking questions. It wasn’t exactly front page news, but it was cool nonetheless.

Here is a link to the article.
http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/10/23/4358551/offering-legal-help-to-needy.html

When this was first published, there was a series of pictures that went along with it. You could see Kim working with her client in one of them, but it looks like the photos aren’t there anymore.

Belize photo book

We just finished the photo book for our trip to Belize:

Click here to view this photo book larger

Photo books are the perfect gift for any occasion.

Un-Belize-able!

The first week of August we took a trip to Belize with our good friends Craig and Joni Ellis. In a nutshell, this is what we did.

  • Visited ancient Mayan ruins
  • Rode 4-wheeler’s through the jungle
  • Tubed down the river through limestone caves
  • Flew on a little puddle jumper out to an island
  • Went SCUBA diving
  • Went snorkeling with the rays and sharks
  • Here are the pictures to prove it.

    OUR House

    This is what we see when we log in to our mortgage account:

    The money has been paid, the lien has been released, and we are now the unencumbered owners of our house!

    (This was the day we moved in…we looked so young!)

    This also means that we are now 100% debt free. We don’t owe anything to anybody.

    How does it feel? GREAT!

    How great? It feels $89,264.00 great! Because that is the amount of interest we saved by paying it off in 6.5 years, rather than 30.

    The possibilities are endless now. World, here we come!!!