Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Next Step: In Which we Decide our Future

Well folks, we did it.  After weeks and months of back and forth with various companies and navigating three formal job offers, Marcos and I made the decision to stay here in the North Carolina Triangle area, and he accepted a job with Fidelity Investments!  He will start his training in mid-July in the area of Quality Assurance, and he will work through training with a cohort of new employees all entering at the same time.  As a large, and very stable company, Fidelity works like a machine.  There are parts of the machine that will be really great, and parts that we will have to put up with, but overall, this was the best decision for our family at this juncture of our lives.  Thank you to all of you who have been patient listeners and good advice givers as we have been working through this process!

There are a few lessons that we've learned along the way that have been so valuable.  I'm going to jot them down so that I don't forget the gems of this experience.

First of all, we have learned that we can be a really good team when the stakes are high.  One day last week my mom hung out with the kids while Marcos and I went to the local public library and shut ourselves in a glass study cubicle for two hours, to have a major brainstorm and communication session, and send out some really important correspondence.  At the end of those two hours, and through this whole process, we have felt really united as we have come together in an effort to choose the best future for our family.

Another thing we had to remember was that choosing the best out of many good options is really hard work!  At the expense of sounding like I am complaining about a blessing, I will say that having multiple job offers on the table was emotionally taxing.  For years we have hoped and prayed that when Marcos finished up schooling he would be sought out by multiple companies, but I don't think we knew how stressful it would be to move through this process.  Whew, first world problems!  But seriously, even after the spreadsheet was drawn up, and the list of pros and cons for each option were measured, we felt like there was no package that was obviously the best match for us, across the board.  If we could have morphed together the work satisfaction and camaraderie that the job at the coastal non-profit offered, plus the leadership experience and salary of the job at Infusion, plus the stability and benefits and long term pay off of Fidelity, it would have been super easy to reach our decision.  But alas.

Another thing we learned was that a job offer is so much more than just the starting salary.  At the end of the day, we had whittled our options down to two offers, and the starting salaries between the positions were $15,000 apart.  Now, in our book, that is a gigantic sum of money.  But you know what?  We chose the job with the lower starting salary.  And the reason was this: when we poured over the health premiums and benefits, took into account the generous 401-K plan at Fidelity, and their profit sharing perk, and did the math at the end, our present looked slightly better at Infusion because we had more dollars in our hand at the end of the month, but our future looked much better with Fidelity.  Ultimately, the money bonus with Infusion at the end of the month was not enough to outweigh the final difference: Fidelity pays time and a half for hours worked overtime, and Infusion told Marcos frankly that if he expected to work 40 hours a week, that would not always be possible.  That piece of information alone sent us a pretty clear message about how life would be for our family in each of the jobs.  After years of him having to do homework in the evenings as a student, we're all ready for Marcos to be fully available after 5pm, and Fidelity will make that happen.  We're pretty sure that if Marcos were a single guy with only himself to think about, Infusion would have been the right decision, but for us right now, we're all about Fidelity.

And finally, we learned that peace comes from making the right decision.  Even as close as the day before we had to make our decision, we had decided to move forward with Infusion - the exciting, new job that promised good pay and some immediate leadership opportunities - and we prayed that night for a confirmation that we were on the right track.  But Marcos woke up anxious in the morning, wanting to comb through every benefit document to make sure that we weren't missing any vital information, and feeling generally stressed out.  It wasn't until we both said, "Let's go with Fidelity" that we stopped fretting and the huge breath we were both holding in whooshed out and our bodies and minds were at peace.  Marcos has talked with both companies, and our peace still holds.

And that's where we stand!  Marcos' training will start in mid July, so after a mid-May graduation from UNC we have a few months of time before the next chapter.  Our want is to enjoy the time off and travel to some exotic destination, and our need is to work and pay our bills through those months.  Hopefully our reality will be some of each!

Family Home Evening last month.  A lesson about the parts of a computer.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lovely Son

Here is our little son, Orion.  At about 16 months he is starting to really come into his own personality, and we are (mostly) enjoying watching him blossom as a little boy instead of a baby.  With his increasing ability to communicate his needs and wishes has come a strong sense of preference, and with it, much satisfaction and of course, much frustration (we are very good at letting our kids practice being frustrated).

When she was younger, Gigi received attention from strangers for her massive amounts of hair, and Orion receives attention for being a "handsome boy".  We think he's pretty cute, but I have to watch what I say because he's basically my mini-me.  Me, but the little, attractive, boy version.

With all of the wide variety of toys that are around our house, Orion is most drawn to the trains, balls, wooden tool set, legos, wooden knife and fruits cutting set, and of course, any stray balloons.  He has a mean arm with a ball, and he is just starting to get the hang of putting trains on the tracks and pushing them around.  We let him select whatever he wants to play with, and he seems to be wired to "typical boy" things.  He is still skinny and active as ever.  I am not by nature a very laid back person, but I've noticed that I am far less jumpy about his clambering and crazy dancing, and stair climbing and movement than other people who don't know him very well.  I am sensitive to other people's discomfort when they watch him do things that are a little crazy for a 16 month old, but he seems to be aware of edges and dangers and he appears to know how to manage his body for the most part.  He doesn't put things in his mouth, and we know the areas where we can trust him and where we can't, so we manage accordingly.  

Orion has just recently shown interest in talking again (there was a brief spurt before he turned a year that lasted for about a week and then fizzled out) and we are getting into some fun communication.  He signs a few words and says a few words, and he has his head shake and nod down for his "yes" and "no", which is very helpful.  My favorite by far is his attempt at "please", which is a spastic hand motion in front of his body and his little voice saying, "Eeeeeee".  He also signs "thank you" and is great at cleaning up, so look, we already aced parenting!  Ha.  He has also started trying to beatbox, and sing (specifically, the song "Let it Go" from the movie Frozen).  Both of those attempts are not very successful, but they are so endearing.  As if we needed any other reasons to be in love with Orion.

As far as personality goes, in public he is really friendly and likes to wave at strangers.  He is still pretty happy most of the time, but as I was recently perusing a take home pamphlet from the pediatrician, I read that 16-month olds "like lots of attention, are self-centered and may be unfriendly".  Whew!  It's not just him.  Orion can be a real stinker sometimes, and he has discovered the effectiveness of pulling Gigi's hair or trying to bop her on the head with lincoln logs, or train tracks.  We are working on that one.  It has been tricky trying to discipline him, because at this age NOTHING really works well to change the behavior of such a little guy.  So much physicality, so little rationality.

And that is a little glimpse at Orion.  I'm forgetting a lot of things, but those are the major highlights of who he is right now.  Love this boy!