30 January 2009

Brown Bear, Brown Bear

As I was working on the endless task of packing up the library the other day, I found this book and immediately knew it would be a hit with Elizabeth. Boy, was I right! I probably read it 100x in the first 2 days after I found it! The first and last pages are filled with color stripes in the order of the story. Elizabeth loves to point to the colors and say "Brown bear, red bird, yellow duck," and so on down the page. She also sits and "reads" the story to herself and to Amelia. This is really fun because Elizabeth is NOT a story girl. She likes to talk about what she sees on the page much more than actually listening to a storyline.
When I did her hair this morning I picked out a white hairtie and she said "White dog!" and kept talking about it the whole time I did her hair. James has read the book to her a few times and uses funny voices for each of the characters and sometimes when she reads the book to herself she does that, too. For quite a while I was concerned because Elizabeth didn't know her colors. Then, one day she did. And they've been dear friends ever since! A good portion of what she talks about each day has to do with colors.

29 January 2009

Cool Pro-Life Ad

Love what they did with this ad.

Interview in Concord

Charlotte folks, check your e-mail. I sent the details, along with a plea for rides.
James is interviewing for a Youth Counselor position at the Youth Development Center in Concord one week from today. The euphemisms may be totally different, but the job description is the same as his current position as a Case Worker at a State School.
Wish us luck!

28 January 2009

And the rollercoaster continues

The statewide vacancy list came out yesterday. Turns out most of the promising openings are in Gainesville, 10 miles north of where I taught high school for 4 years. Housing costs are reasonable there, there's a ward and a Wal-Mart Supercenter, and James recently found out one of the supervisors there is LDS. The hospital right next to my old apartment (30 minutes from Gainesville) has a new Level III NICU. It all seemed to be falling into place.
I was on my way to storytime when James called. Voicemail from NC...not just NC but Concord...the job that is the closest to what James does now, in the location closest to Charlotte. This is the job that has a continous posting rather than a specific opening listed.
Oh, and the lady who called will be out of office until Friday.
Still going forward on the transfer request and will carry on with that plan as we see if North Carolina can pull off a last minute steal.

24 January 2009

Amelia's Laptop

Daddy set it up right at her height!


A favorite activity around here. Notice that Elizabeth wants a partner, but Amelia isn't cooperating. And, yes, that's pretty much what our living room looks like by the end of every day. We NEED a playroom (and we have an extra bedroom, but our books live there!).

20 January 2009

Wouldn't it be cool?

Just realized that I could have a 09-09-09 baby. That would just be 2 weeks early. Elizabeth is o2-04-06, so that's cool. Amelia has an airplane theme going on with 7-20-7. Hmmm...maybe I shouldn't go for a VBAC just so I can schedule a C-section on that date? Of course I wouldn't do it for that reason, but if I end up needing another C-section I'd totally think about it!

17 January 2009

Full Circle

We moved out here shortly after we found out Elizabeth was coming. Guess this is another sign it's time to move on. EDD Sep 23, 2009.

15 January 2009

Official now

Got his letter. A list will come out next week of all the vacancies in the agency and we'll see if there's anything he wants to apply for. The RiF letter attached to the application will automatically get him an interview.

It's happening

The RiF is in process. Effective Mar 1st, so better than we were expecting. James hasn't been called up to get his letter yet, because the admins' tummies couldn't hold off on lunch for an hour to finish the process.
Yeah, real leadership out here.

14 January 2009


So at Elizabeth's speech appointment this week she was coloring, because that is what Elizabeth's doing these days...she's finally taken an interest.

I asked the ECI coordinator if she'd noticed if Elizabeth was preferring one hand over the other. She said she was definitely using her left hand almost exclusively to color and pointed out that she had a perfect grip on the crayen. That made me smile, since I hadn't noticed that part. I'd been a bit worried about Elizabeth's fine motor skills.

We've suspected Elizabeth might be left handed for a long time now, but it's been very hard to be sure since she really wasn't interested in things like coloring or using utensils. Amelia, on the other hand, is clearly right handed (and already colors better than Elizabeth did a few months ago).

Of course "handedness" is a big deal for Jeppsons...coming from a family evenly split down the middle with both lefties and righties. Mom is right handed, Dad is left handed and there are two left handed boys, two left handed girls, two right handed boys, and two left handed boys.

Other than Elizabeth, any other lefties in the next generation?

12 January 2009

A glimmer of hope for the NC dream

I just found more jobs James is qualified for in North Carolina. The RiF announcement is expected to come today or tomorrow, so he's sending out as many applications as possible. We started this weekend with less desirable jobs in Texas, including the adult system, but these jobs I'm finding now in NC would be a lot better. There's one in Statesville which is about an hour from Katie and on the way to the mountains, which would be perfect if Levi and Audra move there!
So, for now, the suspense continues, but I am happy about finding some new jobs in North Carolina to apply for and these are actual vacancies, not just continual postings.
Oh, and another is in Fayetteville, which is where James' brother is.

11 January 2009

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!

So, this is really old picture, but it has a temple in it, so it's fitting, right?

01 January 2009

Ball Popper

Amelia got this ball popper from Granny and Grandpa. Both girls love it.

Update from (behind) the Magic 8-Ball

I had a Magic 8 Ball when I was in the Hunstville Institute. Told the girls to use it to answer their guy questions instead of going through three layers of "what ifs" and getting upset over guys who weren't even there.

Of course, we haven't seen the 8 Ball since the fire....

Anyway, this is what we were told Tuesday, second hand from the Executive Commissioner:

The RiF will be announced next week. We weren't told the numbers, but the JCO supervisors were, so we know 6 Case Managers are getting the RiF. Just as we originally thought.

Anyone RiFed will be offered a spot in the agency, or possibly with another state agency. One of our veterans pointed out that the "other state agencies" line is an empty promise.

Anbother veteran who had been RiFed previously mentioned that if we get relocated to another facility as part of a RiF transfer, we'd get reimbursed for the move. One of us youngbucks who did some proactive research pointed out that the reimbursement is only $500. (I was the one who quoted the policies on RiF determinations and notifications. My officemate offered to show the run down on who was where on the RiF rankings. It was almost funny that the people on the chopping block were the ones that had done the research, but the ones that should be safe did the most panicking.) We were then told that the EC stated she didn't know if they would be able to provide that benefit for us.

The Sunset Review panel will meet again on January 15th, after the new Legislature is seated. We should know by the end of January which facility, if any, will be closed. There are at least 3 on the chopping block. We're on it for purely political reasons. It has been noted that the lege gave us a budget that was short by exactly the amount needed to keep WTSS open. The EC has stated that she might decrease each facility's budget a bit to allow all to remain open. She likes defying the lege because she know the Senator behind all this is a pompous jerk.

Whichever facility gets the axe will be closed in short order. No dragging things out; it'll be done by March. Just enough time to make arrangements for prison buses to move the youths to the other facilities. Last one out, turn off the lights.

The EC's main concern for here is Specialized treatment (licensed counselors doing specialized programs such as Chemical Dependency, etc.). My officemate has his license, and can also supervise counseling interns. We can have specilized programs in place in 30 days if they'd let us. Our Superintendent went out of his way to point out these facts.

Of course, depending on how they count the Security Case Manager positions towards the RiF, my officemate may get cut. That's when things will get messy, because for him to get cut, they'd have to assign a Security CM to a dorm caseload, even though her disabilities are such that she can't do the job at all. She is already heavily accommodated in her Security CM job. She is close to retirement, and could buy out her remaining 18 months. Of course, she was also oblivious to the RiF as of Tuesday. When I explained the situation to her, she was saddened that I was on the chopping block and commented that they should keep people based on how effective they are.

Scuttlebutt from my dorm's JCO supervisor who was RiFed from our boot camp program last year was that they were given only 2 weeks to get out of housing. Of course, their facility got closed out from under them (they did it to themselves by panicking and not coming to work when there was only the slight hint that they might close).

Boils down to this: Worst case scenario is we're out of here by the end of January. The facility itself may close by March, so surviving the RiF may just be delaying the inevitable for a few months.

Still no calls for interviews, but they'll probably happen when the holidays are over and people get back into full operational mode. We know the Lord has a plan for us. We're just chomping at the bit to find out what so we can slap the details on the bug-out plan and make it happen.

On the Axia front, I start my final 4 weeks of training on January 13th, then I'll start teaching classes and getting paid. Just in time, it seems. I found this out the same time we were getting some official info on the RiF.

So, should we start taking guesses as to the whens and wheres? Don't forget I might take a RiF job offer just to buy a bit more time. Not exactly feeling very loyal at this point.