Monday, January 4, 2010

Happenings in the Schip Household

I kept coming back to my blog over and over this past month, seeing my last post and thinking "I really need to write something." I didn't know where to start though because a lot has happened, so I would put it off. Then a day or two later, the same thing would happen. So, here I am, 34 days since my last blog entry and I'm finally going to try and get caught up.

So, what HAS happened with the Schipaanboord's, you ask?

Ben, Emma, and Josh endured a day of torture on Dec. 18th. Jake is in the process of becoming a foreign service officer for the State Department and part of this process means the whole family needs to have thorough medical exams, to make sure we are healthy before we go overseas. These exams included vision screening, in-depth body exams, urine tests, TB tests, chest x-rays, immunizations, (pap smear for me... actually I get to have TWO of them because the first one didn't get the right "zone"), and the dreaded blood work. I had tried to prep the kids over the past couple weeks. I had even brought all three kids in with me when I had my blood drawn, so they could see it wasn't a big deal. On the big day I thought it would be Josh that would have the hardest time. Nope. It was our sweet 4 year old, who all morning had told me she was going to be "so brave." She was given 3 immunizations before her urine test and blood draw, and that sent her through the roof. When she had to get her blood drawn, it took Jake trapping her legs, two nurses holding one arm, and me holding the other to get the blood out of her. I about lost it when the nurse said she had put some of the blood into the wrong tube and we might have to do it again. Luckily, she didn't need to do that. The sucker and stickers didn't seem to matter to Emma in the least. She just wanted to get the heck out of there. Little did she know we had to come back after our Oregon trip to get TB shots for everyone. (Thankfully that wasn't nearly as bad. It only took 3 people to hold her down.) I think we have officially scarred and traumatized our children and have helped to create an aversion to anything medical. (Actually Ben did great and Josh did pretty well, considering he's a cautious little 2-year old.) We got the results back from the dr the day after we returned from Oregon and everyone is healthy. Josh has borderline low-iron so he's on a supplement now, but other than that they all look perfect. Whew! What a blessing.

The day after the kids' medical exams, Dec. 19th, we left for Oregon. We spent Christmas with my side of the family. Everyone was there (mom, dad, brother Justin and his wife Collette, sister Ashleigh, her husband Chad, and their two girls, and my youngest sister Whitney). This was the first time in 5 years since we were all together at my parents' house for Christmas. It was a very special vacation and we all had a great time. It would have been nice to stay another week but Jake didn't have any more vacation days. While we were there we spent time with our good friends, the Evertons, cut down a Christmas tree, spent time with my best friend, Naomi, and her husband Jeremy, saw Zach and Ksenia's new house (love it!), went to Cannon Beach and Seaside, took the kids to see the Princess and the Frog, had dinner at Kameron and Josh Dill's house (we had a great time! Thanks, Kam!!) all the girls went to the Nutcracker, we met up with Leila (my brother's daughter), and we played a lot of games, watched movies, and ate some great food (and way too many sweets!) On the car ride home, Ben told me he wanted to stay for a couple more days. I felt the same. We were the first ones to leave and it was hard to say those good-byes. We were blessed though because we had no problems on our drive back. Usually Christmas-time traveling involves scary roads because of bad weather, but we had gorgeous weather the whole drive (a couple days later though two storms hit so thankfully we left when we did.)

Jake and I and the kids rang in the New Year by getting take out at Olive Garden (thanks Mom and Whit for the gift cards!) Then we put Josh to bed and let the older two pick out their favorite game and we played them both (Castle Panic, and the Princess Memory Game). Then we put them to bed and Jake and I played Boggle and Scrabble (and of course I let him win both times... don't want to hurt his ego ;) ). We stayed up until midnight and then went to bed shortly after. Yep, not too exciting, but it still felt perfect.

Now here we are, back to school, work, and normal life.

And here are some things going through my head right now:

As of January 1st we became one of the millions of Americans who are uninsured. We had benefits until Dec. 31st through Jake's old job. We applied for individual coverage with SelectHealth in November and was told it would take 7-10 days to get coverage and here we are... still no coverage. We are told they are "embarrassed" it has taken this long. It's not a big deal for them, but it is for us now because we have now had a lapse in health insurance and my thyroid problem and Jake's cholesterol are now considered pre-existing conditions. I applied for CHIP over the weekend for the kids and hope we can get them on that quick, assuming we qualify. It's very stressful right now knowing that if anything happens to any of us, we have no coverage and this could be a financial disaster. I'm hopeful though that something will work out quickly. The Health Reform bill cannot come soon enough for families like us.

Something else on my mind: foreign service. We are at a point now where we have to think seriously about where we could be in 6 months from now and as a woman (and one who likes to be organized and have everything planned out) this is a little scary. I'm just biding my time, until we get "the e-mail" inviting us to A-100 in DC. I have to ignore my thoughts telling me to buy as many sterilite containers as I can, start researching rental management properties, packing up things we are not using, etc.

The last major thing on my mind: my health and exercise. I still have my cough. It is better than it was a month ago, but it's still there, and every morning and night I am weezy. Because of this I have only exercised a handful of times since the beginning of November when I got pneumonia and I'm sad to say I've gained 8 lbs. I thought the scale was broken when I stepped on it yesterday. Alas, it is not. So, I've reserved childcare at the gym today and I've recommitted myself. Hopefully my lungs don't hold me back too much. I'm counting my calories again and I'm going to lose these pesky 8 lbs.

Well, that's it for the Schip's... for now.


Digger said...

Best of luck getting the call (email) to join A-100. I keep a fairly substantial blogroll of Foreign Service blogs (150+) at They help you get a good slice of FS life.

Russ and Em said...

My best friend since the eightth grade just moved to DC to begin training with the Foreign Service this week. She is AWESOME!

Let me know if you would want her email address. She has been on a bunch of yahoo groups to help her prepare (she even found a great rental management agency here in Utah.)

Anyway, if you end up in DC in the next four months please let me know. She could always use more fun, liberal-minded Mormon friends!

Russ and Em said...

Also, as a family that pays for our own health insurance it is SO nice to here that at least one other family in Utah would like this Health Reform Bill to get passed ASAP!!

Dream Big Designs said...

Wow! You sure are going through a lot, but also seem happy. We love you guys and hope and pray for the best for you.

Darren and Traci said...

I love the family picture. You've had so much on your plate lately! I can't even imagine the doctors visits with kids. I don't even let them give more than 2 shots to the kids when we go to the dr and I say they have to have 2 nurses do it at the same time so they don't have to pin them down, it just breaks my heart too much.

Fun that all the family made it home for Christmas, I love when the kids get to play with all their cousins.

Sorry to hear about the insurance lapse, we almost had that happen between jobs but we went through an agent that got us a short term plan just so we wouldn't lapse since I have "pre-existing" issues that insurance companies would just love to not cover me for. Insurance companies suck!

Good luck with the foreign service thing, that will be interesting to hear about

Nancy K said...

My goodness! A LOT has been going on!

Kara said...

just been reading about a-100 so I can understand where your thoughts are. What languages does Ben speak? If you come for language training in Monterey, let us know we will come and visit you :)
funny, I kind of thought of your family as "settled", I guess instead you are feeling the need to roam the earth to bless mankind.
Hugs and health to you

Brian and Carly said...

So good to read through all this Jam and realized were not the only ones with all these ups and downs and crazy career decisions. Thanks for the post! And love the 200th positive things. Really makes me count my blessings.

Nurse Heidi said...

Wow! You've got a LOT on your plate, and some big changes on the horizon. Good luck with all of that. Come and hang out with us runner girls again when you get the time.