I'm gonna quote one of Jacob's favorite songs (it's in our wedding video too!)
"Blessed is this life, I'm gonna celebrate being alive!"
I have a billion pictures to post and realllly hope that I actually do soon. But for now words will have to do.
How Jacob and I have been so BLESSED LATELY:
-Where we LIVE. We moved from our tiny studio right by the temple because.. well, it was a tiny studio. With no storage. And a swamp cooler. And it smelled weird. We sure miss living literally one house away from the temple and seeing beautiful brides and families around the grounds. And we miss being so close to cute Main street where we biked around a lot! We don't miss the closest grocery store being Rancho Grande.. or the fact that we never actually got everything put away in that dinky little place! We never really felt attached to the ward and the #1 lame thing was the distance from our parents! (Yep.. we were only a few miles further than we are now..) Anyway, NOW we live right in between our parents! But still in our own ward and stake. It's fun being in my Aunt Denise's ward! We sat by them in church until I learned the extent of my RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome.. or Rachel Lyn Stradling.. hehe). Anyway, my constant bouncing leg shook the whole bench and I asked my cousins if they noticed.. one did. Haha so I felt really bad. We live in a little quadriplex where neighbors come in all different types and sizes! As in there have been some really interesting times.. and some really great times and friendships made. We have a little backyard that we share with our nice neighbor across from us who never actually goes out in the yard, which is nice! We love our home with a huge pantry and closet space and room for our own washer and dryer! Which is a whole 'nother story of a blessing in itself! (Let's just say Heavenly Father let all other craigslist deals fall through so that we could end up with the awesome washer and dryer we now have for the cheapest price we saw out there!) We plan to live here at least until Jacob gets out of nursing school in a year and a half.
-SCHOOL. Somehow, school for Jacob has worked out perfectly. Before his mission, he honestly didn't give a ton of thought to college/career. Yet, he gave just enough! (With the help of his amazing mother). Turns out he had prerequisites from high school classes he had taken, and he took a few more online classes before he left for his mission and then got on the waiting list for nursing school! Which is.. whaddya know.. at least a 2 year wait! No time wasted!! So he got home, did one semester at MCC, and then got in to nursing school through Maricopa Community College. He's finished with the first semester and it was pretty tough, I am so proud of him! As for my school, I graduated MCC with an Associates in Elementary Ed! Yep. All I have is an Associates and I am proud of myself. To be honest, it's farther than I thought I would get before having a baby. (Due to a childhood filled with sisters getting married and having children ASAP). So at least I've got something to my name. Thinking now of BYU Idaho pathway program to get a bachelors in Marriage & Family.. if that even works with my Associates. To be honest, I haven't started looking into it yet..
-WORK. Jacob and I work together. What?! Isn't that the best thing in the world? Honestly, it's blown my mind. In the summer, before he got hired here with me, he was working restoration. Sometimes gone til 10 PM and often working lame weekends. Call me a pansy, but it made me so sad that we were torn apart so much! Even though, yes, I am very grateful for the money he made that summer to help out our savings. Soo now, we work at a law office and I sometimes forget how happy it is that I get to be with him so much, so then I kick myself in the pants. Especially now, because it's the last week of it. He starts school back up next week and we will be working opposite days. But boy are we grateful for this time we've had! And it was fun to train him. :)
-BABY GIRL. Baby girl!!!! 1 month into our marriage we decided we were ready for a baby. We'd heard plenty of lectures from friends and strangers alike to "wait 5 years until you have kids" or "at least finish school" and maybe that was right for them! But the more we heard it personally, the more we disagreed for our own family. Through prayer and peace, we were ready for a baby! So it took 5 months to get pregnant, but now I am 24 weeks with a baby girl! Oh my gosh, I can feel her kicking right now :). I threw up a lot from weeks 8ish to 16ish but that's where it came extra in handy that we worked together! I could go curl up under Jacob's desk and he could empty all the trash cans I threw up in.. About the gender: Jacob was leaning towards wanting a boy, and I towards a girl. But when we found out, it felt so right to both of us! We definitely would've been happy with either, but really: gender is a big role in Heavenly Father's plan and I know he is giving us a girl first for a reason. Name options: 99.9% Penny. We call her Penny every day. Middle name: still deciding. So far, we like either Blu or Lou. We've found awesome things at garage sales/thrift stores for her ranging from her crib to a diaper trash can to clothes to her room decor. We can't stop being excited.
-FUTURE PLANS. It's fun to think about the future. Right now, Jacob thinks he wants to go be a Prison Nurse after he gets his Associates. I think that would be cool! Not sure which prison or where we'd live but we're thinking it could be our little time away from family to learn and grow and all that jazz. We've heard being a prison nurse is an awesome job because it's regular hours (no weird hospital shifts thank GOODNESS) and it's a good variety of things to do (other nurse jobs specialize in an area then the worker often forgets the other things he/she learned in school). Plus, Jacob just likes that kind of stuff, his dad is a Sheriff Deputy. Anyway, other plans as far as his school and work we like to think about: definitely he'll go back for a bachelor's. Then he wants to look into somehow using the Russian he learned on his mission in his career. Who knows what'll happen, but it's fun to think about! We love to go on bike rides and look at homes while we dream about our future home as well. Jacob really wants a good porch. I usually am drawn towards a good color scheme of house and door. We both like cozy/colonial looking houses if that even makes sense.
-ACTIVITIES. We like to have fun together! Garage saling and bike riding are the first things that come to mind. Also, we've been addicted to the old 2-person game Mastermind lately. And puzzles. Decorating our house, and watching plenty of good movies. Sometimes we cook together but usually I just clean while he cooks. Sometimes we have friends over, which is when we deep clean the house. Jacob likes to play his guitar, and/or we learn a little duet. And sometimes I put on my old prom dress and we ballroom dance in our living room! (Okay, we've only done that once..)
In conclusion, life is wonderful. Valentine's Day is the next holiday. Springtime is coming. I love this weather. And this was the wordiest post I've ever done.