Thursday, January 28, 2010

We had a bad day...

...and we reserve our right to complain about it!

You would think a trip to Philly would be nothing but spectacular for the Killion family. We had a lot planned for Tuesday, which is why I waited to blog because I wanted to post pictures.

Let's go back in time to Tuesday morning. We spent the night at the Sikahema's so we could make a quick and easy trip over the Ben Franklin into Philly.

We made a stop in Camden to check out Rutgers' law school...but there was no parking. Anywhere. And when we did find a visitors' parking lot, the sign said we needed a permit to park there! All right...but we decided that if Rutgers becomes an option, we will live in the Cherry Hill/Moorestown area and Chris will commute into Camden. (This wasn't a difficult decision to make, let me tell ya...let's live in a safe place or in the 3rd most dangerous city in the U.S. Hmm.)

Over the B.Frank into the city. I was the navigator (and I shouldn't be haha) so I told Chris to go one way when we were supposed to go the other way. Good job, Mary. We finally made it into Old City: Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, etc.

The Liberty Bell was first. And that's where our camera broke. So there are no pictures of our trip. Not one.

We saw the rest of the sites on the mall, and headed back to our car. We had an appt at Temple Law, which is in the north part of the city, so we had to get going.

Chris picks up Liz from the stroller and there's a huge wet spot where Liz was sitting. WHAT!? Needless to say, a little someone had an accident (her diaper got too full too fast). Thankfully I had an extra pair of pants for her.

We make it to Temple's campus, and once again--no parking. Anywhere! Oh but wait--we spotted a visitors' parking lot, and there were spaces. Good! We drive up to the window...and we see that it's $12 to park. Even for visitors?!

"Yes," says the attendant. "Once you're done with your appointment and visit, ask for a voucher from the front desk. Bring it back to this window and we'll reimburse you." Okay, we're fine with that.

FINALLY we find the law admissions office (which isn't in the law building, but whatever) and we get a little tour. Chris meets with the admissions director. We're ready to leave. We ask for the parking voucher from the law school admissions front desk.

"WE don't give out parking vouchers here. I don't know what you're talking about. The law school doesn't do that."

Excuse me?

We get down to the lobby of the law school and ask the front desk girl about it. "What do you want?" We repeat our question and THEN she takes the ipod speakers out of her ears. "Say that again?" Never mind, incompetent person.

We find the student building, and within the building is Parking Services. We explain our predicament, and the response is, "Sorry, nothing we can do about that."

We walk back to our car and find a different person in the booth than the one we originally met with. "Sorry you can't get your money back."

The ONLY good thing from this experience: we decided that Temple Law will NOT be getting our well-earned money because Chris decided to withdraw his application. And as soon as we stepped into our house later that night, he turned on the laptop and did exactly that.

An oasis in the midst of South Philly (good job, Husband, with the analogy!), the corner of 9th and Passyunk is heaven on earth. Caddy-corner from each other stand the most recognized cheesesteak homes in the world: Geno's and Pat's. While Jim's and Tony Luke's are good too, Geno's and Pat's is where it all began...
I got a "provolone wit" and Chris got a "wiz wit" from Geno's. Awesome doesn't even begin to describe the goodness that is Geno's. ("Wit" means with fried onions. If you don't want onions, you would say "witout." Yes, we don't use the letter H when we say "with.")

We got back onto 76 and made our way to University City, home to Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania. The law school forum was at Drexel.

Once again, not a place to park. We drove around for thirty minutes before we found a parking garage for Drexel, where ONCE AGAIN, we had to pay to visit the school. Goodbye, $14.

It was set up like a panel, very different from the other law school fairs we've been to. I walked around the building with Liz because I knew she would get restless in the meeting. Chris was able to talk to a few important people, thankfully.

At least there were refreshments. Pretty sure I had ten mini egg salad sandwiches, accompanied by three or four plates of fresh fruit...hey, I'm pregnant. Don't hate. Oh and since we paid $14 for this little "visit," I made sure I got our money's worth in food.

We got onto I-95 and made our way home. Liz slept the entire way, since it was her bedtime. Perfect! But once we got in the house, she was wide awake. Not perfect.

I took out my contacts because my eyes were so dry. I went back to the duffel bag to get my glasses...which were not there. So I'm without glasses for the next two weeks until we're back in NJ. Wonderful.

We had a bad day...and we reserve our right to complain about it!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Let's get down to business

My sister had this as her facebook status today, and the entire song (it's from Mulan) has been in my head ever since I read it. So here we go!

First item of Killion business: Chris got accepted into George Washington Law School! I jumped up and down; Liz and I yelled at the top of our lungs with joy. This is first acceptance letter of his law school applying process. I am so proud of him. He has spent hours upon hours, night after night, pouring over his LSAT study course, reading his LSAT test books, filling out applications, writing student essays--he's the man. Some of friends have asked if we will definitely go to GW, but as of right now, we're not sure. We need to hear from other schools first before we make that decision. If this is Chris's only acceptance (but I don't think it will be), then we obviously have our answer. We're going to check out some campuses within the next few weeks, in the DC and Philly area. Time will tell!

Second item of Killion business: Liz is getting on her feet and walking around! She can walk when she wants to, but often she gets very cautious and won't let go of our hands when we walk together. When we had dinner with the Willis's yesterday, she was walking like a champ! I think seeing Afton walk encouraged her a bit. (Shout-out to our Jersey friends, the Willis family, whom we LOVE!) The Clark's deserve a shout-out here too, since we see each other often and McKelle's a walking champ. Lizzie apparently needed to see two of her friends walk before she started walking herself! Our hardwood floors don't help--she's more willing to walk on carpet. Chris and I are so proud of her. Liz is great! As long as she's walking before Baby Killion #2 arrives, I'm happy. No rush for us!

Third item of Killion business: Mark your calendars--February 16. The day we find out if Baby Killion #2 is a boy or a girl! (We hope!) I'll be 21 weeks by that point, so we should have no problems. I'm leaning towards a BOY.

Fourth item of Killion business: "There's a ray of hope." ...for Wildwood Catholic, that is! There's a coalition, complete with lawyers, business representatives, financial planning, etc. to keep this school up and running. I hope, hope, hope everything works out for the students. I also hope that the diocese will listen to the Wildwood Catholic community, who in full force, stands firmly behind the school. When we go to North Wildwood in February, we are buying our very own "Save Wildwood Catholic" t-shirts and wristbands. Go Crusaders!

Here are some pictures of our whippersnapper from this week. Yes, we call Liz "The Whippersnapper" because that's what she is! Always surprising us and always being Miss Cute, no matter how much trouble she makes :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dedicated to the groups of funny

There are things on facebook which you can become a "fan" of. There are a ton of things, ranging from your favorite pizza (Sam's for me) and your favorite handbag designer. (If you know me, it's Vera Bradley all the way!)
My siblings have become fans of the funniest things! I saw the groups they are fans of and they crack me up! I wanted to share a few of them with you, along with my thoughts about such groups:

"When I see the words 'Why?' or 'Explain.' on my homework, I die a little inside."
I could always explain something in an English or History class. When they started adding the "explain" to math questions--in precal, AP Calculus, I died a lot inside. As if the math problem needed to be any more complicated.

"I get called or referred to by my whole name."
Such is the life when your last name is Jett. In grade school, there was a Mary Kay--that was her first name. Mary Kay was a good friend of mine. In order to differentiate between us, I became MaryJett, like it was one big word. I had one girl tell me that she always thought my whole first name was Mary Jett until eighth grade. My siblings are BillJett, KateJett, and JoeJett. It doesn't work so well for Julia though!

"If I could remember school work like I remember lyrics, I would be a genius."
How true is this?! I memorize songs very easily. My grades could have been so much better if I learned to memorize school information in this same way... I memorize lyrics easily, but I forget info sometimes; Chris is good with memorizing info yet bad with song memorization. Hmm.

"When I was your age, we had Kenan and Kel, not Drake and Josh."
This kind of dates me...but not too badly. Kel's love for orange soda and Kenan's facial expressions made many an afternoon funny in the midst of homework. I've watched Drake and Josh with my siblings, but it's just not the same.

"Yes, actually I do have a dollar--I just don't want to lend it to you."
I never really carried a lot of cash with me when I was young, but when I did, I'm certain I said I didn't have a dollar. I didn't like lending money to people...sometimes I still don't. (Yes siblings--especially when you want to waste it on candy or something.) :D

"Mom make me some food." "Get it yourself." "Never mind, I'm not hungry."
haha I wasn't one to ask my mom to get me food, but oh Bill was. Most times Mom was kind enough to get something for him, even though he has two legs and he is capable of using them. Every time I think of this, I laugh.

"I hate it when the conversation dies between you and the person you like."
Ohhh yes--just when you actually have a good conversation going between you and your crush, your heart breaks a little when there's that pause and nothing to say. Then the boy says, "Well I have to go" and you say you have to go too, because you don't want to be hanging around like an idiot.

"When I'm home alone and I hear a noise, I freeze and listen for ages."
Growing up, I had the lone bedroom on the first floor of my house. Everyone else had bedrooms upstairs; I was left all by myself, next to the living room. I hated all those noises that made me stiffen under my covers while I listened intently.

"I hate it when I look at the clock and there's only a minute left until my alarm goes off."
Early morning seminary students know this best, I think. My alarm went off at 5am on weekdays. If I awoke at 2am, that was a good feeling, because I knew I had three more hours of sleep. The worst feeling in the mornings was rolling over to see 4:52am on my clock, wishing that the alarm would've awoken me.

"I hate it when the one kid tells the teacher,'You didn't collect our homework.'"
I'm fairly certain I was that one kid in the first part of grade school. I was a bookworm and I always did my homework, so naturally I wanted the teacher to know I was a good student. I corrected my ways once I got older though. From the sixth grade on, I don't think I ever reminded a teacher about homework unless it was extremely important (like my senior year of college, when I reminded my professor that I had to give my report before I had Liz (four days later). The report was 100% of my grade...that's extremely important!).

"I can rap Lil' Wayne's verse in the song 'Down' like it's my job."
Ahhh I love the rap part of good songs. I'm still working on 'Down,' but I know most rap verses of my favorite songs. They are the best part of the song! I always hated it when the DJ omitted the rap portion on songs at BYU dances.

"I am instantly in a good mood when I walk into the classroom and I see a sub."

Who could not be in a good mood with a sub? Subs mean busy work or better yet, free time. Maybe I should be a sub so I can be the students' favorite part of their day!

I can't wait to see what the good people of facebook come up with next! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Farewell, Wildwood Catholic High School

The shocker came today: WCHS will close at the end of this school year.

I first heard this last night and thought, no way. It couldn't. But then my sister, in tears, called me when she left school this afternoon, where the administration told the students that WCHS will not reopen next year.

Although a shock, this didn't come as a complete surprise. Catholic's declining enrollment has been a hot topic for a couple years. When I was a senior, there were 336 students attending WCHS. This year, just five years after I graduated, there are only 194 students enrolled in the school. Why the decline? Tuition prices are most likely to blame. Many people have moved out of Cape May County too. You lose students, so what do you do to compensate for that lost money? You raise tuition. In turn, that increased tuition will further cause "lost money" because kids won't go there because it's too expensive. It's a lose-lose situation.

I am so sad. I had the opportunity to enjoy its halls and master my education there, as did my brother Bill. I simply took for granted that Kate, Joe, and Julia would get that same opportunity. I feel for Kate and those kids who now have to make a critical decision of where they will continue their education. For Katie who is currently a sophomore, these next two years of her schooling are the most important because they are the years before college. I feel for my brother Joe, who graduates from the 8th grade this year at Margaret Mace Elementary, because he was looking forward to attending Catholic. He made a ton of friends while performing in WCHS plays and now he won't go to school with them. I also feel for Julia, because Catholic will slowly become a fading memory by the time she reaches high school. Chris and I often said that if we ever moved to North Wildwood, our children would go to WCHS to get an excellent private education. That's done too.

Even though I am LDS, I attended Wildwood Catholic High School in North Wildwood, NJ because it offers the best education in my area. I LOVE that school. Sure, there were occasional days when I hated the school building, mostly because there was an AP Calculus test or a Physics lab waiting for me inside. There were those first days of my freshman year when I didn't want to go to Catholic, mainly because I missed the familiarity of grade school.

But I LOVED going to Catholic and I loved all the memories I made there. I loved the lunch table conversations, the jibes with subs, the student-teacher friendships, the fall plays, the sports, the EVERYTHING. I loved it all and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Since I have graduated, I've been able to visit a few times and I always smile because at Catholic, I created a name for myself and I made an effort to enjoy the moments I spent in its classrooms. Yes, our bathrooms were shady and our lockers rusty, but what Catholic school doesn't have those qualities?

To Wildwood Catholic High School, thank you for four years of challenge, excitement, fun, friends, for the learning, the living, and the loving. I will truly miss walking down your halls and I am sad for those who will no longer be able to do so.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year! ...and a sick Christmas?

It WAS a Merry Christmas, because we were with family. But it wasn't the Christmas vacation we expected...

We get to NJ where we discover Joe is sick; my mom and Julia had been sick a few days before we arrived. One of those 24 hour bugs, you know--the one that always comes during vacation. No biggie. We had a wonderful Christmas morning!
We opened tons of presents, including a Wii for the family.

We ate our customary WONDERFUL sausage bake and hot chocolate.

We also spoke to Elder Jett, who is doing very well in Colombia (and who has only eight months left in his mission!!).

Immediately after we spoke to Bill, we got on the Texas! We had decided rather late that we would make the trip. My family had never been to Texas so they said, Let's go! We knew it would be fun because we could show them our hangouts and our favorite places down in DFW and see the Killion family.

Two things happened. The first, and probably the most uncomfortable: Lizzie got sick in the car. Poor lady threw up three times within two hours and proceeded to scream at the top of her lungs. Second, and probably the most scary: the car started shaking. My dad felt that if he stopped fully when he reached the toll booths, the car wouldn't start again. It was that bad.

So we made a quick and necessary decision--we would stop at our place in MD and hold up there until Lizzie was better and until we could get the car fixed. So we ended up in Germantown on Christmas night. Thankfully our mechanic was able to look at the car the very next morning. Its problems turned out to be engine related. A few hours and some $$$ later, the van was set. Lizzie was in much better spirits too.

But because the drive to Texas is long (a full twenty-four hours), we knew our trip would be much too crammed because of lost time if we decided to go. So we said, Hey--we'll stay in MD and visit around the area.

Then Katie got sick.
Then Chris.
Then me.

That was all during last week. We were sick on different days, so we were able to travel despite the virus plague, and here are pictures of what we did!

We went to the Air and Space Museum in Washington.

Lizzie loved the Gravity and Air section for kids. She couldn't get enough of the big balloon!

We even found a JETT--look closely in the right corner of the picture.

We went to the Museum of Natural History.

I managed to snag a picture of the Hope Diamond, even though there were about ten million people crammed into that little space.

We went to the Sea Section, where Liz checked out penguins and we checked out lots of fish!

We walked through the Smithsonian Castle and took pictures in front of the Capitol and the Washington Monument.

We went to the temple to see the Christmas lights. We were also able to attend a harpist concert at the Visitor Center, which was really beautiful.

We traveled to Hanover, PA to visit the Utz potato chip factory. In a word, AWESOME! We're definitely going back again soon! The Factory Outlet Store was incredible. (No pictures were allowed in the factory or the outlet store.)

We went to Hershey, PA to get some chocolate!

We took the tour ride and loved every minute of it,

especially the minutes we spent at the store...

Dad's favorite section was the Reese's section, of course.

Despite our change of plans and the bouts of the virus that got each of us at one point or another, we had a good Christmas vacation--a memorable one at that! We hope you had a Merry Christmas and we hope you have a wonderful New Year! :)