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August 29, 2011

Why We Came To Iowa

I know I say this often, but sometimes I forget we live in Iowa. Honestly, I will wake up and think I'm in Utah. Now that we have been here for a year those moments come less often, although they are still just as surprising. Lately I have been thinking about why we came to Iowa.

Since Scott and I decided to marry one another we have known that we would eventually move when the time came to start med school, but it's hard to make a choice until you have been offered a position. Going through the application process was a little crazy. We decided to apply to any school that Scott had a decent chance of being accepted and that we were remotely interested in. When interview time started to come around we were able to get a finer taste of where we would be going and it was often a topic for discussion. 

I was able to go with Scott to an interview in Kirksville, Missouri and we had a great time. Although one of Scott's interviews that day (yes there were multiple interviews at the school) didn't go as well as we hoped, we were pleased with the people, the city, and the school. We were confident we would be moving to Missouri. Then came Scott's interview at USUHS, the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. We were very excited at this prospect and hoped for it to be the end of our application process. Another interview Scott was invited to was one that he wasn't sure he should even go to. It was an interview at Des Moines University in Iowa. Although we had options we felt were better, we decided Scott should go to Des Moines. If anything, he would have gotten to see the corn fields, right?

After not getting our first choice school (USUHS) we weren't sure where to go. Our final decision isn't too hard to figure out as we are here in Des Moines and Scott is attending DMU. Once we paid our deposit and let other offers expire we still had lots to do. Initially, our plan was to move Scott to Iowa and I would stay in Utah for six months to one year in order to finish school and keep my job. Once I started looking at apartments and really thinking about it we decided that we needed to move together. I found an apartment on Craigslist - the one I actually found was already rented by the time I called but the guy had just posted a second apartment at a different location. He sent me the details and I said we wanted it. Two days later the contract was signed and we officially had a place.

I started applying for jobs left and right, constantly looking through postings online. I wasn't having much luck at first, but while we were visiting the Oregon Coast I got a call back from McDonald's for a management position. I was so excited! We wouldn't be in Des Moines for another two months and I had an interview set up - the guy seemed very interested in my application as well. After that I relaxed a little in the job area to enjoy my time left at home.

I later applied for a position at Wells Fargo thinking it was a bank teller position. Little did I know of the large presence of (what was formerly) Wells Fargo Financial in Des Moines. The day I arrived in Des Moines, Wells Fargo called. I did a pre-screening over the phone then set my interview for the end of the week. I was asked to bring a copy of my resume to the interview, and I forgot it. I realized just as Scott was dropping me off and I freaked out. I was 99% sure there was no way I could get the job if I couldn't follow through on such a simple task. As it turns out, the interview went incredibly well. The interviewers asked if I could stay for a second interview. Um, yes. The second interview was even better, and they offered me the position right away. I accepted immediately and could not have been more joyous! Training was set for August 30, so I had just under a month to unpack and get settled. Perfect!

If I ever had or have any doubts about choosing to move here I think back to all the things that worked out for us and it still amazes me. We are definitely in the right place. A year from now Scott will be starting rotations and we have no idea where that will take us...not to mention residency. I am a believer that things will continue to work for us as long as we're keeping the important things in mind.

Taken at DMU during our first month in Des Moines.

HoJo's Birthday (For Liz)

Looking at this post, I am sure that most people will think I'm crazy. Truth be told, I am a little crazy (aren't we all?). My BFFE Liz and I took an end-of-summer road trip in August of 2007 to St. George to see a performance at the Tuacahn Theater (I LOVE that place). We stayed the night at the Howard Johnson Hotel where we discovered our little duck, named him HoJo (aka Howard Johnson), and officially made him our road trip mascot.

Here are a few of my favorite photos with HoJo in honor of his birthday. Liz - enjoy!

Shortly after HoJo's adoption - Dixie Rock.
Taking HoJo swimming.
Chinese Gardens in Des Moines

Happy Birthday HoJo!

Yes Liz, the family of ducks has grown!!!

August 21, 2011

A Saturday Round of Golf

Yes. We went golfing! By golfing I mean that Scott golfed and I walked the course. Don't worry, we brought friends and had another Saturday morning with Brad and Erica. So much fun! Scott was the only one from our group who actually had golfing experience, so he was our teacher for the day. Although I couldn't golf, I enjoyed myself very much. It was nice just to be outside in the sunshine and spending time with friends.

Scottie explaining the distances and the scorecard. I didn't listen very well.
Teacher and students hard at work. They did so well!
Putting away.
I love these pictures. Just the boys walking and talking.
Erica! I love her energy.
Brad and Erica. Don't they look great?

Now for a few pictures of my good-looking guy. :)
Check. Him. Out.
The man just looks good (especially in the new clothes).
I caught a smile! Tough to do while on the golf course.
I officially love to watch him golf.
We had to get a picture in front of the corn fields, right?
Oh Iowa...just had another one of those moments. We live in Iowa. Crazy!
Our little buddy the raccoon.
Getting a shot of these butterflies was tough. I almost had it, then one took flight!

After golf we went for lunch at Bang Bang, a Mongolian Grill. Mmm. When we moved here (a year ago) people always told me we just had to eat there. Check it off the list!

August 16, 2011

Doctor, Doctor Give Me The News...

Remember the end of June (before our trip home) when my arm was hurting? That's still happening. Initially I saw a PA at the DMU Clinic, and she got me a quick appointment with an OMM specialist. Let me tell you, Dr. Lewis awesome - he is one of Scott's favorite professors.

Way back at the beginning of July I had some x-rays and an MRI on my neck. The findings? Some of my spinal vertebrae things are fused together. Weird, but not what is causing my arm issues.

Today I had another appointment - it was hard to schedule! I was gone for two weeks, then the doc was gone for two weeks, then I had to find an open slot when I wasn't scheduled to work. Such is life. Scott couldn't come because he was training to be an Ophthalmology TA (SO awesome! I'll talk about that a little more later) so it was me, Dr. Lewis and a third year student starting his first rotation. After a brief neuro exam they determined that everything was a lot better than it was six weeks ago - definitely good news.

We then decided that I'll do some neat arm stretches and come back in two weeks to see where my pain is at. To conclude our appointment, I had a deep muscle treatment on my shoulder. Oh. Em. Gee. If appropriate words could describe the pain, I would use them. Dr. Lewis prefaced the treatment by telling me to ice it tonight and tomorrow. He also mentioned that it will bruise nicely. As of now (a good five hours later) there is no bruising, but my shoulder is still really red and painful. I wonder what tomorrow will bring, but I'm hopeful that long term this will fix me!

Other news! Scott is going to be a TA for his Ophthalmology lab at school. Being paid to go to class...I'm ok with it. :) Also, I am now the Young Women's President. Oh yeah. My schedule has just gotten A LOT more crowded and we are going with it!

Scottie teaching Liz. Just a preview to his TA job I suppose. :)

August 14, 2011

Berry Picking

Last Saturday we went to a berry farm with our friends Brad and Erica. I loved it! For the first time in a long time we got up early (early for a Saturday) and drove to Nevada, Iowa (I didn't even know that place existed!) to pick our own berries. It was a nice place, and the morning weather was perfect. As we got closer to leaving it started getting hot and humid. When we arrived, the employees had a map showing us where to go and buckets for us to put our berries in. As it turns out they have a lot of different things to pick! The first thing we picked was blueberries. Fresh blueberries? Delicious! I didn't actually like blueberries until I ate a handful of wild ones while I was in Alaska (another trip to blog about) and now I LOVE them.

After blueberries we ventured to find some red currants. I had never heard of them before so it was neat to see (and taste) them. We found our way to the raspberries but didn't have much luck so we finished the day picking blackberries. Yum! They said the raspberries will be more ripe in the coming weeks, and in the fall they will have apples and pumpkins! We are definitely going back. Aside from the berries, it was a nice morning with our friends and with each other. It was really nice of them to bring us along and pack some snacks. I had a pb&j sandwich that was amazingly good - I can't remember the last time I had a sandwich. Brad and Scott are in the same class at school and I think the four of us get along well. We definitely look forward to more time spent with them.

And now some pictures! Most of them are courtesy of Erica.
Erica picking blueberries.
Me picking blueberries.
Side note. See my awesome sunglasses? My brand new Oakley's!
Brad and Scott "picking" blueberries. Erica put it well - the boys were good sports.
We were pleased that they just walked around and carried their buckets. :)
Scottie and I.
Scottie and I. :)
Scott being a hero. A lot of the blackberries were hidden deep in the bushes.
Scott dove in to pick those yummy ones for me. :)
Our pickin' from the day.

August 11, 2011

One Year

Not to be confused with Year One.

We have been living in Iowa for one year. Scott has been in med school for one year. I have been working at Wells Fargo for one year. I could go on, but won't. As I have said many times, sometimes it still hits us: we live in Iowa. Iowa. It seems crazy.

What do I miss most about home?
Family. Most often my nieces and nephews, not going to lie.
Friends. Especially Liz. While I love leaving and listening to voicemail, I also like to talk in-person.
School. I miss it. Not necessarily the homework, but I miss UVU.
Work. APX (now Vivint) was kind of our lives. Ok it was 99% our lives.
Restaurants. Iggy's, In N Out, Los 3 Amigos, Cafe Rio, Two Jacks Pizza...mmm.

Per usual, some pictures to celebrate. :)

LOVE this picture.

Year One? Check. Year Two? Ongoing.

Seriously. We could not be more excited! Scott has officially completed his first year of medical school. Hooray! One down, how many to go? Let's not focus on that right now... :) He actually finished up just before Memorial Day, but I failed to blog about it.

Remember this post? Now that year one is behind us (I can hardly believe it!) here are the stats.

Weeks of class - 38
Number of classes -13
Number of credits - 46.5
Number of written exams - 48
Number of OMM* practicals - 4
Number of SPALs** - 4
Number of papers - 1 (best number yet!)

Last week we went to a BBQ for the first year students (we didn't go last year, kind of funny that we went this year instead). Second year's were invited as well, to mingle with the newbies and make them feel at home. We didn't plan on going but Scott had left some things at the school. We went back to retrieve said items and the BBQ was in full swing. We were hungry so we stayed a while. The burgers were top notch, and the Diet Mountain Dew (beverages were limited to that and Iced Tea) wasn't half bad either.

*Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine. Click here for my post about it.
**Standardized Performance Assessment Laboratory. Basically a patient encounter.

August 5, 2011

Dear Heat Wave, We're Glad You're Gone for the Weekend

Seriously. I could not have been happier with the weather today. Clouds, rain, a little humidity...wonderful. Right now it's only 76 degrees. Amazing how much cooler that feels! Even temperatures in the 80s feel mild compared to the heat index being in the 110 arena every day.

We have moved our bed back into our bedroom - it was occupying our living room for a few weeks - and got a new fan for the third time since we got back to Des Moines. That's right, three separate fans. The first two helped, but couldn't handle it and ending up breaking. Laaaaame. Yesterday we returned one and forgot to buy a new one. Good thing it was cool enough last night that we didn't need the fan. :)

There are some beautiful flowers just next to the parking area at our apartment. I love to see them every morning when I head to work. Here are some photos rain and shine.

They looked beautiful in the sunlight.

Then they wilted in the heat, but I love the raindrops.

August 2, 2011

Work. School. Church.

We have been back in Des Moines for just over two weeks, and here is what we have been up to!

Scott started year two of school on July 20th and has his first test on Thursday. Until now it has been pretty low key, but from here out it will only get busier each week. My dad asked when Scott's next break is. My reply? Christmas. Really though - he may have a few days off over Thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean he gets a break from studying. Crazy. I am hoping we can go to Nauvoo for Halloween though. I loved the pumpkin walk last time we were there (I blogged photos on our private blog. Not sure if there is actually a picture of the pumpkin walk though. Give me your email if you need an invite!)

It was interesting getting back into work. In the first week some guy on the phone basically called me a prostitute. Long story short, our call ended quickly after that. I have never been angrier at work, but now I think it's kind of funny how upset people get over the littlest things. Truth be told, I probably could have answered his questions but he refused to ask anything. Hmm. This week at work I am cross-training for another department. So far, so good! It's still taking calls, but instead of only talking to customers I will talk to merchants as well (who are usually much nicer).

We have had dinner with some friends, and watched their kids as well (they have great kids). We were also planning to volunteer at the Iowa State Fair Parade...come to find out it's a for-profit organization. No thanks. Maybe I will go to the parade, but not volunteer. I'm a non-profit volunteer kind of girl. We do plan on attending the state fair this year. Rumor has it, it's a big deal. And who doesn't want to see the butter cow?

This week I hope to go to the farmer's market downtown - depending on the weather. It has been deathly hot the past few weeks, most days between 110-115 on the heat index. We have a little AC unit in our living room but it doesn't do a whole lot. Needless to say, we bought a couple fans and moved our bed into the living room for the time being. We have also had some fun outings, mostly to take advantage of free AC elsewhere. :) We have also consumed a countless number of popsicles.

Last, but certainly not least, I have a new calling at church! I am now the Young Women's President. Ah! I am really excited about it. When I was in young women's it was easy to connect with the leaders who were closer to my age...I hope that holds true in our branch as well. It will be quite the calling and I am eager to serve the girls and get to know them. Tomorrow night is the first activity that I am in charge of (and running on my own since I have yet to call my counselors) and we are working on Personal Progress. Again, I am tremendously excited but also happy for any ideas for great activities, lessons, etc.

Our Trip Home: Condensed

Recap! We have been back in Des Moines for two weeks now...I think it's time to blog a little about our trip home!

As I mentioned before, the day we left was a busy one - it ended very well since we flew directly into Provo and had dinner with my family before driving to Afton, Wyoming for our Sorensen Family Reunion. Saturday we (attempted to) sleep in then went to the July 4th Parade, had a birthday party for the grandparents and a backyard firework show. Sunday we went to church, took family pictures, and heard from the returned missionaries about their missions.

Monday (July 4th) we set out for Utah with Scott's immediate family to meet up with all the Millers for a lunch reunion. It was great! Lunch was delicious, and we got to take pictures, play games, and just chat. I loved it. After the festivities we all jumped back in our cars and drove to Meridian. Lots of time in the car, but I didn't mind - I love to drive and therefore I LOVE road trips (shout out to Liz!).

While in Meridian we pursued a plethora of funtivities including (but certainly not limited to) the following: family temple trip, sleeping in, playing tennis, eating snow cones, playing the Wii, building a fire (complete with s'mores), partying at the water park, eating pizza, eating out, watching The Office, playing at Wahooz (the equivalent of Boondocks), making a music video, seeing Eric and Tasha, "hiking", walking the Boise River, and meeting with doctors to talk about school. The whole week was AWESOME. I can't wait to be back for Christmas.

Sunday we drove back to Provo, had dinner with family at grandma's house, and stopped in to see Dave and Jan. We had a lot of fun in Utah as well with friends and family alike. We had a few BBQs, went to an Orem Owlz game, ate snow cones, played golf (not me, just Scott), took the wave runners out to Utah Lake, went out to eat, did some birthday shopping, went bowling (my arm hurt terribly. totally worth it), had a slumber party with my niece and nephew, saw Harry Potter at midnight and again the next day, took family pictures, and had a reception for Cherish and Joey.

Not only did we get to spend time with lots of family members and countless friends, but we had a great time doing so. Overall, the trip was superb. I couldn't have planned it better!

July 4th Parade - Afton, Wyoming
My main goal on our trip? Get some sun. I accomplished that here.
Me and Scottie of course!
Family Photo - Sorensen Reunion
Family Photo - Miller Reunion
Wahooz! Those bumper boats are TO-DIE-FOR.
Walking around the Boise River.
The Boise River! Sad it was too high to float. Next year!
Cherish and Joey at their wedding shindig. I always love to see them.
Scottie and I at the reception. Yes I love the bangs. Thoughts? Scott isn't really a fan.
Ollie and I. We're besties.
Sam and I. SUCH a cute kid!
Chillin' with the nephews after family pictures.
Misty and I. SO glad I could see her!
Misty's cute kiddos: Gage, Hailie and Parker. They were a little distracted. :)
Mom and Hailie Jo. Their future is so bright, they need to wear sunglasses!
Aeris and Ollie at our sleepover. We stayed up until midnight!
Aeris LOVED having the towel wrapped around her head, not to mention that it was pink!
Slumber party! After Carl's Jr food and play place, we ran around outside and watched a movie.
My birthday! Making sure little Ollie didn't spit on the cake.
He thought it was hysterical that I covered his mouth, see the next photo for proof.
Proof that Oliver thought it funny when I covered his mouth. Aeris enjoyed it too. :)
Last but not least, Ollie playing some Rock Band. What a stud.