Friday, June 1, 2012

Our Newest Chapter

Hey, everyone! It's been a couple of weeks, and I have quite a lot to share.  I'm going to start out with revealing the upcoming life change that I have been sort of talking about on the blog for a couple of month's now.  I didn't want to share it immediately because I had to take care of a couple of things first.

Things like...resigning from my job at Cadence Bank...

Which I did yesterday.

So now I can officially announce to the world that I have been accepted into the University of Alabama's accounting Ph.D. program, and I'll be beginning my duties month! Actually, for the next year, I will be acting as an adjunct professor, teaching classes and taking classes.  After that, I will be a full-fledged Ph.D. student in a four-year program.  We are SO excited about this and feel that it is truly "meant to be". 

I have shared this with some friends and family, and for the most part, the first question I get is, what about Chris? His pilot training program ends next March.  Enter, faith, hope, and luck.  Chris, to this point, has been doing really well in his training and we hope that this will increase his chances of getting his top choice for his next assignment after UPT (undergrad pilot training) graduation, which is going to be another 3-year assignment at Columbus as an instructor pilot.  They call this a FAIP (first assignment instructor pilot). (Knock on wood) most people who request this assignment get it if they have been doing reasonably well in training, because there aren't a whole lot of people who want to stick around in Columbus for 3 more years flying training planes.

The instructor position is actually ideal for Chris and me in a number of ways.  This is probably the closest to home in Auburn we will ever be, and while we are excited and anxious to begin the "glamorous" (we hope) Air Force life of moving around the country and world, it will be nice to be near our family and friends for a bit longer.  It will certainly be the most stability we will have for the next 20 years to be stationed in one place for 4+ years. Although IP's (Instructor Pilots) do get deployed, this is a lot less likely and only began recently since our current government is making our military leaner.  And, once he completes the FAIP assignment, he is a lot more likely to get his top choices for the plane he will fly for the rest of his career.

Question two...are you going to commute to Tuscaloosa? Yes and no.  Tuscaloosa is about an hour and fifteen to thirty minutes from the base.  It's not a particularly safe drive and it's really not in my best interest to spend 15 hours a week on the road when I'm taking challenging classes and teaching.  We are in the process of looking for a condo to purchase in Tuscaloosa or Northport (which is basically Tuscaloosa, but nicer).  I will keep you updated.  We already made an offer on one, but it was way overpriced and the seller wasn't willing to go below their asking price.  We are going to look again tomorrow.  The plan is to drive to Tuscaloosa on Monday mornings and drive back home on Friday afternoons, with one additional trip home during the week.

Question three...are you going to become a Bama fan? The only people who ask me this are people who barely know me.  Luckily, I am one of the (I think, few) people from the state of Alabama who can differentiate between a university and it's football team.   No, I will never ever EVER say "R.T.", don't worry.  But I will be proud to hang a University of Alabama degree on my wall.  I personally have always thought that it's tacky to have attended one school but be a fan of it's rival.  I also think if you are a passionate football fan of either Auburn or Alabama you really can't ever switch or be neutral...even if you did go to both! (Notice I said "passionate"...there are many so-called passionate fans out there, but if they say "I always cheer for Auburn, unless they are playing Bama"...they aren't passionate fans of either...and that's perfectly okay!). I would consider myself a passionate fan, though, so I have to choose one and OBVIOUSLY Auburn is where my heart is, where my two degrees are from, and who I will ALWAYS cheer for! War Eagle!

So now that I've got that out of the way...I would just like to say that Chris has been more than supportive of me, he has been so excited for me and encouraged me every step of the way.  When I was on the fence about even applying, he encouraged me, knowing that this could be my only chance until he leaves the military, and offered to put his career on hold to be a FAIP.  When I went to my interview and was told that I really needed to move to Tuscaloosa in order to be successful in the program, he immediately jumped on board and has been completely comfortable with the big financial decision of purchasing a property for me to stay in.  Many fact most couples...would not even consider a career opportunity like this that would require them to essentially live 50% of their time apart for 4-5 years.  I am so lucky to be in a marraige where BOTH dreams and BOTH career goals are important, and where we see eachothers' success and happiness as an integral part of our own. After all, going back to school is not just taking a's opening so many doors for me down the road that will benefit both of us and change our lives for the better. 

So needless to say, we are both thrilled about these changes!  If Chris does not get FAIP'd, chances are, yes...I will have to stay in Alabama and complete the program and Chris will have to move.  This is a huge risk! BUT we have to have faith that it will work out because it's now or never.  We just can't worry about that.  The fact that I'm in school will be taken into consideration when the powers that be decide whether to FAIP Chris, and it's pretty common knowledge that if you want to FAIP you are very likely to.  Nothing in the military is guaranteed, so your prayers are appreciated!

There isn't much to report on Chris because his second check ride has been delayed all week due to weather! He is supposed to go today at 1, but the weather here in Birmingham is not so pretty right now, and Columbus weather is usually worse than Birmingham's.  Unfortunately,Chris and I have barely seen eachother for the past two weeks because I have been working in Birmingham since two Friday's ago, with trips to Auburn and Gulf Shores in between.  Chris didn't come with me to Auburn, but he did come to Gulf Shores with me and my family.

Much thanks to Tammy and her friends to an INCREDIBLE launch event for my Rodan + Fields business at her house two weekends ago! As I've said before, our products practically sell themselves and all we need is the chance to show them to people.  With a 60-day money back guarantee for all of our products (and less than 1/2 of 1% of a return rate) it's easy to see why people at least want to give them a try.  I give 1/2 off a regimen for hosting an event.  I can't wait to hear how Tammy and her friends like the products!

Me with Meredith, my sponsoring partner, and Maura, Meredith's sponsoring partner. Thanks, y'all, for all the help!

Rodan + Fields has been yet another blessing in our life lately.  I am taking a bit of a pay cut to return to school...I do get paid, but it's certainly not a corporate salary.  If the success I've had for the past few weeks continues, it will make up for a lot of, if not more than, what I am giving up by leaving my job. Please pray for that, too! We are hoping to make lots of football trips this fall, and those add up, so every little bit helps!

While we were in Auburn, Meredith and I went out on the town with my sister, and who did we run into but Auburn's new Defensive Coordinator, Brian VanGorder! Chris has been showing me videos of him and I had read some articles about what a promising hire he was, so I recognized him immediately.  He was at Irish Bred Pub in Opelika winding down after a recruiting trip.  He was alone, and sat right next to us, so we wound up talking to him for a good 20 minutes, mostly about his family and his recent move to Auburn, and some about football.  He's such a nice guy! And how about that mustache and shirt? :)

Here are a few pictures of us from the beach...we cooked dinner the last night with my family and the Molnars, who joined us in Gulf Shores.  On our first day at the beach, we went to Fort Morgan, which is about 15 miles from Gulf Shores, and got to hang out with a bunch of our friends from base who were staying there.  Fort Morgan is beautiful and not as crowded as Gulf Shores, and I hope we can visit it again! Then our last day at the beach, we joined one of my best friends, Tori, and her boyfriend Bennett and the group they were with from Atlanta.  I love catching up with Tori, who I often refer to as my twin because we are so alike! We are even the same size. We lived together in college during the time that we were both in our accounting master's year, and I miss her and her closet constantly!

We bought this yummy hunk of fresh tuna at the seafod market in Gulf Shores

We turned them into tuna steaks and I seared them and I threw together a marinade out of some stuff we had around...white wine, honey, and orange.  I am still trying to master the art of cooking tuna just enough, but not all the way through, because Chris and I like it to still be raw in the middle! :)

We hit 50,000 miles on our car!

I didn't take any pictures out on the beach.  I have been bad about taking pictures lately but, let's face it, I've had a pretty hectic few weeks.  Traveling for such long times away from my home sometimes makes me feel like I am living a different person's life and I forget about my normal rituals, like blogging.  Does that make me crazy? I'm starting to think so.

Thanks, Meredith and Ryan, for keeping Mason while we were at the beach!

Here is a picture of Mason that Chris sent me last week while I was gone.  I can't wait to cuddle my wittle boy again tonight!

Another picture that Chris sent me last week was of this lovely item that came in the mail for me, finally!

Sorry that this was such a long post and mostly talked about one thing! It just feels so good to be able to let it out and tell people what's really going on! My last day of work here at the bank is June 29 and my first day teaching Audit at Alabama is July 5.  I am SO excited about finally being home with Chris and Mason and sleeping in my own bed for the first time in 15 days! I've got to come back to Birmingham next week.  I hope after that I can go back to Columbus to work, but I am at my job's disposal for at least this month and I am going to do what I can to make this an easy transition for them. 

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