Thursday, September 30, 2010

Joy School

Caleb started Joy School a bit over a month ago.  I was a little nervous to let my baby (he says he’s a big boy…whatev) go to school.  After all, once he starts in 2 years, he’ll be going to school for YEARS (who’s with me?) and why did he need to start now?  Well, I went to the meeting to find out about it and felt strongly that Joy School was for me as much as for him.  Now, I know what you’re thinking.  I don’t mean that the 2 hours twice a week with only one child to manage was for me, though that is an appreciated fringe benefit.  No, I mean that I needed to be associated with the other women whose children were also in this Joy School  For the uninitiated, Joy School is a mother’s co-op preschool.  Each child’s mother teaches Joy School for a week on a rotating basis.  Five kids equals a five week rotation with each mother taking her turn at teaching.  We have 6 kids in our little “school,” and their mothers are fabulous.  I’m already impressed by these women, their skills and their ambitious drive to be stellar mothers to their children.

This week was my week to teach.  On Tuesday by 11:00am, I was EXHAUSTED!  Six children 4 and younger for 2 hours is even more tiring than it sounds!  BUT!  Today was better.  We had a great time at the playground enjoying nature—and eating chocolate rice krispie treats.

Here are the kids in action.  046

Caleb’s first time ever playing Duck, Duck, Goose. Didn’t totally get it, but loved it just the same.

  042 036 038 040 045 033

Why does Caleb have his pants down, you wonder?  Well, after filling up the pockets of his jeans with gravel from the playground, his pants were weighed down and hanging off his booty.  In an effort to remove the gravel FROM his pockets, he reached in, further pushing his pants off of his skinny bum.  So, keeping them down around his ankles made much more sense than continually pulling his sagging pants up. It’s logical.  Really.  It was also broad daylight in the middle of a public park.

Caleb ADORES Joy School.  He’s having a blast with the kids, making new friends and, despite this picture, learning more social skills.  Now, if only we could keep his pants up.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Jonathan’s health

Jonathan was in the hospital for a total of 10 days after one ridiculous discharge where we took him back about 7 hours after he was sent home.  Ten days is so much shorter than the full month that he was in the hospital last time that we are counting ourselves grateful.  Truly, last time’s experience has made this trial much easier because it is in the perspective of what COULD have happened and what in fact did happen three years ago.

So, he’s home and trying to regain strength.  I think one of the biggest hardships about this illness is that it lingers.  He wasn’t back to full health last time for a VERY long time.  The pleuracy in his chest last time lasted almost until this episode hit—but last time he had pneumonia to boot, so I don’t expect his recovery will be quite that long this time. 

He has been home for a week and a half now and has gone to work every working day since.  He comes home exhausted and sore, but, bless him, feels strongly motivated to provide for our little family and makes the extreme effort to be there every day.

But, he is still ill.  He hasn’t seen much improvement since his discharge.  His homework this week with the rheumotologist has been to lower his medication doses, but he was unsuccessful in the attempt.  The symptoms came on much stronger when he tried to lower.  He has another appointment today, so hopefully the doc will have some alternative plans/treatments to try.

We want to thank each one of your for your prayers on our behalf.  We know the Lord is mindful of us and are so grateful for the understanding that our afflictions will not last and will one day come to an end.  Thank you for your support.  Please let us know what we may ever do for you. We would be privileged to return the favor.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


As some of you may know/remember, in the spring of 2007, Jonathan mysteriously got very ill.  He was a healthy 25-year-old studying for finals when he began having severe unexplained muscle pain and weakness.  Not knowing what we were dealing with, he was taken to a Quick Care facility and from there ambulanced to the worst hospital in these the United States of America (no joke.  I’ve had better health care in rural Bolivia.  Don’t let anyone you love or even don’t like go to UMC Hospital in Las Vegas).  He was there in ICU for a week after the muscle pain spread to his respiratory muscles and was unable to breathe without an oxygen forcing mask.  He had pneumonia.  That much we knew, but we did not know what was causing the pain and weakness.

  As I was days from delivering Caleb, we were more than anxious to have him discharged from the hospital and the doctors there were happy to oblige because they didn’t know what to do for him anyway.  Ten days after admission he was released home.  Three days later, Caleb was born and the night we took Caleb home from the hospital, Jonathan was re-admitted. 

Needless to say, this was a very challenging, dark time for our family.  Jonathan felt helpless and scared that he would not become well.  He had had one attack so severe that if it had not been for the thought of his wife and baby he might have given up the painful struggle to breathe.  Gratefully, he endured the pain until the pain meds came—one hour and 45 minutes after being in level 10 out of 10 chest pain.  This shattered his confidence and terrified him that the doctors and nurses under whom he was receiving “care” would let him die—right there in a hospital bed.

For three weeks Jonathan received very strong antibiotics that made everything taste like metal.  He received a “pericardial window” where a chest tube was inserted to relieve the vast amounts of fluid that was accumulating around his heart.  Needles were used to remove the fluid from his lungs.  Finally he was receiving treatment; however, the initial concern of the severe muscle pain and weakness was not being addressed and Jonathan was beginning to waste away.  Nearing the end of his hospital stay, he was down 20-25 pounds of muscle.  His muscles seemed to be melting and no one could explain it.  He had a muscle biopsy and every possible blood test there is.  We didn’t know the cause and therefore didn’t know how to treat.  One of the most challenging days was when the hospital told him there was nothing more they could do.  He would need to be discharged to a more advanced facility—the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.  The problem?  Mayo would not accept him as a transfer.  What now?  Where do you go when you’re not well enough to go home, the hospital is kicking you out and the better hospital won’t admit you?

Probably more in desperation than in inspiration, an infectious disease specialist determined that what Jonathan had could not be infectious.  He had been on antibiotics for weeks and by then, any self-limiting virus would have worked its way through. His conclusion was that perhaps it was autoimmune.  Autoimmune disorders come from the body’s own normal immune system response.  The problem arises when the body begins attacking self instead of, or in addition to, foreign, invading cells.  Therefore, the most common treatments are immunity suppressants that dampen the body’s immune system so that it will stop attacking self.

Jonathan began taking a corticosteroid known as prednisone immediately.  We still didn’t know what he had, but finally we had a direction and a treatment worth a shot.   Within five days or less, Jonathan was discharged and significantly on the road to recovery.  He was down in the 130’s for weight, moved like a 90-year-old man and looked like a Holocaust victim the way each vertebrae in his back stuck out, but THIS was an improvement from his health in the hospital.

After a month in two different hospitals, two weeks as an outpatient at the Mayo Clinic and a visit to a specialist at the University of Utah, we still did not have a diagnosis for the sickness that nearly relieved us of my husband and child’s father.  But, this was okay.  As long as he was improving, I didn’t care what he had.

While the worst of the trial was over, this was a gift that kept on giving.  After that, we were told we were denied for coverage and would have to pay the $250,000+ in medical bills ourselves.  We very nearly filed bankruptcy.  Jonathan was forced to take a year off from school because he could not continue in his courses until he had finished the prior courses—the very classes for which he was studying when the sickness began.  It took him three months to have the strength enough to study for and take his semester’s finals and was too far behind to catch up.  He would need to resume with the following year’s class.  But perhaps worst of all, we didn’t know how to believe that good things could still happen.  Believe it or not, this book you’re reading is the nutshell version of the events that went on.  Even before this devastating sickness, 2007 had already brought us the death of a family member, a rollover high speed car accident (we left the freeway going over 70 and landed on the roof of the car), and the theft of my custom wedding ring among other challenges such as fears of our baby’s safety after he’d stopped moving in utero.  After all of this and other things, we began to feel that only bad things could happen in our lives—that we should hope for good because it was only that much more heartbreaking when the inevitable trial persisted.  This hopelessness lasted most of a year before we could finally begin to see the sunshine through the clouds.

Then, slowly, life began to turn around.  Just because something went missing, that didn’t mean it was gone forever.  Just because you felt a little anxious, it didn’t mean the worst possible thing really WAS about to happen.  I began to see hopefulness and happiness again.  Throughout all of it, I recognized Heavenly Father’s promises.  I knew Jonathan would be well.  I knew He must have had things He wanted us to learn through all of this.  BUT, years later, I still wasn’t sure what.

Well, I’m still not sure of all He wanted us to gain through those darkest months of our lives.  BUT, I do know some things and over three years later, I can honestly say I’m grateful for the lessons learned.

About a week and a half ago, Jonathan began relapsing.  The muscle pain and weakness returned.  After trying the steroids to suppress the symptoms, with no avail, Jonathan returned to the hospital.  He has been there now since last Friday.  They still don’t know what he has.  His muscles are beginning to waste again.  He is needing to endure pain and I am needing to step up things at home as well as with him to be the strength he needs me to be. 

But, I can.  I know now that I can.  My perspective has grown immensely since those first dark days over three years ago.  I know Heavenly Father did not simply lend us strength to endure, but in fact strengthened us.  I know this time around is much easier to endure because the treatments of yesteryear—when administered in an IV and in connection with powerful pain medications--are working.  It is easier—no question.  But, if this had been the FIRST time instead of the relapse, I’m certain I would not be handling it as well as I am.

So, I’m grateful for growth.  I’m grateful—not necessarily for trials—but for the opportunity and the integrity that develops in the hottest part of the fire.  I know Heavenly Father’s promises are sure and do not doubt that though Jonathan’s condition may be chronic, he will endure and be healed.  I know that the sealing power under which Jonathan  and I were married is absolute and that we have used it to weld together in times of difficulty.  I always loved my husband, but enduring trial together has made what was good and strong, enduring and unbreakable.  This is but a small moment and I feel grateful to say that because we have been asked to endure much worse, this trial is very manageable.  We are getting along fine and assured in the knowledge of God’s love, His power and His plan.

I know the strength of prayers and ask any who have read this verbose post if you would please add Jonathan and our little family to your prayers, we will all be blessed by it.  Jonathan is improving and doing quite well on his medications, but is not ready to come home to us, which is of course where we would have him be. 

In the meantime, I am so grateful.  We have a blessed life.  I’m grateful for the perspective enough to feel that as well as know it.  And maybe this trial will reveal there was more to learn, but I’m thankful for some understanding that the last time didn’t break me, but did in fact make me stronger.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


So, I bought a computer today.  A week and a half ago, the hard drive on our old buddy poofed and left us internet-less which, sadly, is a major loss.  What do we do without internet?  I’ll tell you.  Phone calls.  I have called so many organizations that I never would have directly communicated with if I had had internet. Here’s to anonymity! :)  We now have a computer that has a link on the desktop directly to my blog.  Woah.  I don’t know how to use most computer features, but making writing on my blog one step simpler MAY (or may not) increase my blog posts.  At any rate, I’m back in the 21st century if anyone wants to shoot me an e-mail.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The DOCTOR is in

Shortly after my last post, we went on our merry way to Las Vegas, NV so that the hubs could graduate. I was 8.5 months pregnant and we were all hopeful that Mr. James would not arrive in Sin City. Caleb and I spent much of the first week in my in-laws house while Jonathan prepared his presentation of research--his culminating project required for graduation. Later, I went to St. George to visit Adam and his family in their new beautiful house there. THEN, thank you very much Steve and Jen, we stayed with some friends in Henderson for the last week of the trip--me sitting and doing very little trying to avoid going into labor.

On May 7th, Jonathan presented research and did a magnificent job. Following the research presentation, there was a smaller, more intimate graduation of sorts for all of the program's graduates where professors issued "Cords and Awards." The cords were decorative to be worn at graduation and then the department had a few awards to be given out to exceptional students. There were 23 students in J's graduating program and only maybe a half dozen awards, so we were trying not to be too expectant of anything. Jonathan won two. TWO! He received, with his 2 other group mates (bless them, but in comparison, they did VERY little), the "Best Research Award." This was definitely appreciated, given how much Jonathan did for this project. Then, there was sort of a "Favorite Student" award. It was the "faculty recognition award" and it went to the student the faculty wanted to recognize for their overall success in the program. Jonathan also received this award. I had tears in my eyes as he accepted it. He has worked so hard, and it's nice to see that others have noticed.

The next day, Jonathan walked at the graduation ceremony and was hooded a doctor. Very exciting. He said it actually caught him off guard what a cool thing it was to be hooded by his department chair.

I am so proud of Jonathan. He has worked incredibly hard since I have known him, to make this accomplishment. He has woken up often before 5am to study so that he could spend time with me and Caleb after classes. He has sacrificed material things so we didn't go into excessive debt. He has given up study time on Sundays so that he could dedicate the day to the Lord and to his family. He has been a model student and tremendous husband and father. I could not be prouder of his accomplishments and that I am his wife. He is amazing.

He took his licensure exam and passed with FLYING colors. What a blessing it is to see such hard work pay off and to see so many blessings come from his diligent work and service for our family.

I love you, Jonathan!

P.S. In comments--if anyone could PLEASE explain to me how to add a picture that shows up as a picture that I can move around and know what it is rather than trying to figure out the html--PLEASE HELP! Thanks!

Then there were FOUR

After arriving home from Nevada, I was antsy to have this baby! I was so grateful he wasn't born on the road and was now fully ready for him to arrive. I started having regular, somewhat strong contractions on Sunday, May 9th. They were between 3-6 minutes apart and would be regularly 3 mins apart and then shift and for a half hour be 4 minutes apart, etc. This went on for HOURS. I had my midwife appointment the next day and was hoping it would shake things loose, but, this didn't work either. My friend Kindra recommended coconut spice chocolate chip cookies from the Cookie Shoppe in town. They were amazing, but I can't say they brought James along either. Finally, on Friday, May 14th, I decided I'd run some errands with Caleb to finish final preparations for James. I went and bought a nighgown that I could wear at the hospital after the baby was born that would cover my backside. --Word to the wise--Modest nightgowns are ugly. Can we get someone on this major oversight, please? Anyway...

While in the store, I started feeling contractions--not unusual. I had been having them steadily and strongly since Sunday. HOWEVER, THESE contractions were different and I knew it. I wasn't timing them because I was running errands. :) I finished what I was doing, and when I got back home, I started making cookies to give to the nurses at the hospital because I was quite confident I would be heading to the hospital that night.

With cookies in the oven, I sat down to eat dinner, but really wasn't able to. The contractions were getting severe enough that they were what I needed to focus on.

We got Caleb in the bath and were hoping to have him down for the night before we left so our rush to leave and the pained look on my face wouldn't freak him out. We were unsuccessful in this as well. They were getting strong and I had heard a story of a woman delivering in the car on the way to the hospital and I didn't want to repeat this. The hospital was about a half hour away, so it was time to go.

We arrived at the hospital at around 8:40pm on Friday. My contractions were intense, but bearable. I "dressed down" and then the monitors were put on and the nurse checked my progress. I was at 6 cm dilated and fully effaced. Nice. The midwife was called and told it was legit, so she needed to come in.

DISCLAIMER: The following is MY story. It's my experience and my opinion for me and in no way reflects all midwives or all OB's or all deliveries with or without an epidural.

I had decided before I got pregnant with James, that with Baby #2, I would not have an epidural. I had been induced with Caleb AND had an epidural. It was great. I could NOT feel pain really at any point after 7 cm when the epidural was administered. How can pain free be bad?! However, for me, I felt that I needed to know the bitterest of the bitter in terms of labor pain to enjoy the sweetest of the sweet when my baby was born. It was would be worth the pain to experience that moment.

At a 6, I was in pain, but still holding up well pain-wise. My midwife came in around 9:30 and checked my progress. Slow--and steady. I asked her if I could get into the labor tub. I had not been cleared for (or had been planning on) water birth, but at this hospital, there are labor tubs where I can labor but have to deliver in the bed. I chose this hospital SPECIFICALLY for this feature. My midwife told me around 9:30 that there were hardly be any point in getting in because I'd have to get right back out to have this baby. This continued for 15-30 minutes or so when I had a doozy contraction that kicked things in to high gear. Up until now, we'd been laughing between contractions. A nurse who I didn't know and had never met waltzed into the room and we sort of had a laugh at the blase attitude of labor and delivery nurses. "Who cares that you're naked? Who cares that this is the day your son is born? All in a day's work for me." After this big contraction, it took everything I had to have this baby. It was the weirdest thing. During the middle of the contraction, I could not STAND talking. ANYONE talking. Hearing voices was like fingernails on a chalkboard. The nurses were asking Jonathan questions for paperwork and he would silently whisper back answers while holding me. This was our routine. Contraction would let up. I would rest and Jonathan would field questions, get ice, etc. The contraction would come back on within 30-90 seconds. I would say, "I need you!" Jonathan would rush to my side, hold me in a hug while I moaned and labored--no words--and the cycle would repeat.

I can't explain what it felt like. Enduring. I hate to be melodramatic. I had heard of women who would shout out, "I'm dying!" in the middle of labor and always thought this was way over the top. No, you're not dying. You're having a baby. Without this way analytical, Type A side to depend on in labor, I may have easily come to this same conclusion. I have broken a leg, had appendicitis and had a kidney stone and I had not had pain that could TOUCH the last bit of labor before pushing. I've never HAD to yell out in pain before. In this case, I could not help it. all you women not yet mothers who are right now wondering why they read this post--epidurals are available and they do work.

I was out of strength, but my water still had not broken. My midwife offered to break it for me, but I was already in so much pain, I suppose I was afraid of actual delivery. How could I handle more? In hindsight, I should have had her break my water. I digress.

Around 11:10-11:15, I agreed to have her break my water. I felt the gush of warm wet and then the "AAH! I HAVE TO PUSH!" feeling. Immediately I started going into shock. My arms and legs, face and everything not in my CORE started shaking and feeling like it was out of oxygen. I was trying to breathe as much as possible because this tingly feeling all over my body was frightening. I feared James wasn't getting enough to breathe and felt if I wasn't careful I was going to pass out. I have a history of fainting and was scared of passing out while I was supposed to be delivering a baby. However, pushing and breathing don't co-exist well. My midwife kept yelling at me to push--not breathe. Pushing was such a unique experience. The pain of pushing the baby out was actually significantly LESS painful than the "transition labor" I had just endured. However, I could feel my flesh tearing as I was pushing. Because of my frequent need to breathe, James started coming out, and then would go back in. Out, then back in (Cue Marlin :D) I know that's less efficient, but the shaking and tingling in my body was unexplained to me and very frightening. Following yells from my midwife and encouragement and reassurance from my husband, AND a need for labor to end, I pushed and pushed and pushed and out came a full head of goopy hair. I could feel my midwife holding my body trying to keep the flesh together as I pushed out his shoulders, but I knew the only way to get him out was through. Tearing or not, tingling or not, it had to come to an end. With another very intense pushing set, his shoulders and body were delivered.

My body shuddered as the rest of the blood and fluid gushed out. I began to cry in relief. The sound I didn't hear, however, was James crying.

The thing I had missed most of all about Caleb's delivery was him being immediately placed on my chest after being born. I wanted this so much. In James' case, they assured me he would go straight from delivery to my arms, but such was not the case. I'm grateful for the Spirit of God that assured me my baby was okay in those first moments. Although I hadn't heard him cry, I wasn't afraid. Within very few minutes, the nurses had him rubbed down, pink and perked up. In the nurse's words, "he was shockey." The intensity of his fast and furious delivery had been just as tough on him as on me. At 11:23pm, May 14, 2010, James Jonathan arrived. 8lbs., 1.5 ounces and 20.5" long. Perfect. He was beautiful right from the start.

I was not so pretty. :) It took about 50 minutes following delivery to be sewn up. I had broken blood vessels over my whole body from the intensity of pushing--most especially on my face, neck and shoulders. I'm sure I was pushing WRONGLY. I know. All I can say is--I did the very best I could.

My father-in-law opened up a tiny window of understanding for me--and hopefully not a sacreligious one--when he compared my experience to our Savior, Jesus Christ. I in NO WAY WHATSOEVER endured anything remotely like the extent of what our Redeemer endured in performing his infinite and eternal atonement, suffering the sins and pain and sorrow of all mankind. I can't stress that enough. That said, under the pain and pressure of what He endured, He bled from every pore. The pores over my face, neck and chin as well as shoulders and back each had dots of blood (under the skin--sort of like pin prick blood blisters) where the vessels broke from the pressure of delivery. That tiny insight and the understanding that even the most pain I have ever endured is not anywhere close to His suffering, has given me more appreciation for His sacrifice for me. His is a matchless gift.

The next day, Caleb came with Grandma A and Grandpa to meet Sweet Baby James. Caleb LOVES him. He is such a sweet big brother. I thought he would be extremely jealous, but it seems the one thing he has relative patience for, is "his" baby, James. We are so blessed.

So, the breakdown. Epidurals or not. Midwives or OB's. I've decided that these choices are ENTIRELY individual. I think my reasons for going completely naturally were good and valid reasons. I think having an epidural to avoid the pain of natural labor is also completely okay. It's great, even. I think OB's can be understanding, thoughtful, kind, and background to the more important person here--the patient. I think they can be cold and unfeeling and clinical. I think midwives can be nurturing and help each step of the way. I think they can be thoughtless and heartless when annoyed by their novice patients. I think if you have a good practitioner--whether obstetrician or midwife--stick with that practitioner! As for me, I think I'm going to shop around and see if I can find a practitioner I like regardless of letters and titles. I also think I'm really glad I delivered James naturally. I needed to know I could. I needed to know I could survive it and to not FEAR it anymore. I also think next time--epidural. Yes, please. :)

So back to James: we love you. You are joy in our lives. You bring greater balance, and greater love to our family. Thank you, for being mine.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


ADVISEMENT! This post is long, but awesome and full of awesome stories and pictures and WORTH IT! :)

As some of you may know, we recently went up to Richland, WA for house hunting purposes. We had 2 1/2 days to find a house, put in an offer and get the paperwork started on our first home. It was a lofty goal, but we'd done every ounce of research we could from 2 states away and we were READY for the challenge.

We arrived at the Tri-Cities Airport on Tuesday at about 2:30 and by 3:30pm we were looking at houses. We saw 13 HOUSES in one afternoon/evening. Our agent had snacks and water in the car and we just pushed it! We saw a lot of great houses, took a zillion pictures of each, pages of notes and kept it all neatly in our 3-rin binder with page covers. Our level of organization may have been unprecedented in the history of the Becca.

At any rate, 34 week preggers Becca was THOROUGHLY exhausted by the time we finished our search at 8:45pm. I went back to the hotel and collapsed while Jonathan got us something to eat. From there, we stayed up late and went through the process of narrowing 13 to 3. From henceforth they shall be dubbed, "Best House," "Best Price," and "Best Neighborhood." Now, this is not to say that each of the others was not a good house, price or neighborhood, but these were the things that most set apart each from the others.

In the morning, without our agent, we decided to go back through the neighborhoods and decide if we could get a better sense of where we wanted to be. Afterall, we've always said that neighborhood was VERY important to us. In doing this, we felt pretty strongly about "Best Neighborhood" house and concluded that unless we went to the other houses and felt very strongly about them, this would be our choice.

We met with our agent and started out the morning at "Best House." And, it was awesome. The house really was rad. 4 bed, 3 full bath with a large downstairs bed/bath perfect for guests. The laundry room was upstairs with all the bedrooms eliminating the need for carrying many loads of laundry up and down stairs regularly. The yard was FANTASTIC on (I think) something slightly over a quarter acre. The front of the house was adorable AND it had a "Bonus Room" (separate from a living/family/ or formal dining room, all of which the house had) that could be a play room or even an extra bedroom should the need for family or guests arise.

BUT, despite this house's awesomeness, it did not inspire, and so, we moved on. To "Best Neighborhood." This was the house I thought we would put an offer on--so why was I so irritated when we got there? I'll tell you why. The house had a hot tub. Did it come with the sale? Nope. It had a swingset in the backyard. Did it come with the sale? No, sir. It had a nice fridge, washer and dryer. None of which made the cut. YET, this house was the most expensive. As some of you know, I pay full price for NOTHING. I MUST have a deal, so to pay the most for something when they weren't even giving me the whole package was seriously disturbing to consider.

We went to lunch with our agent to mull it over.

To "Best Price." This one was one of Jonathan's picks and the day previous, it had been one of our last houses and I wasn't terribly impressed. So, when we got there and I was floored, needless to say, I was surprised. I LOVED the kitchen! It also had a great yard, but what's more, immediately behind the yard was a quiet street and then a large community park. So, when the kids are littles, they can play in the good sized backyard, and then when they're more school-aged, you put in a gate in the backyard which opens them up to an entire park for a backyard. All of which is visible from the kitchen window. Love. PLUS, as its title would suggest, this house had the significantly best price, which clearly is an advantage of its own.

Conflicted. I didn't know what to do. I thought I was pretty sure about the "Best Neighborhood" house, but now I had a new host of worries. Was it irresponsible to buy a more expensive house when this house was also good and at a lower cost? Where I thought I had a decision, I now felt like I was back at square one, but without any more tricks up my sleeve for coming to a better conclusion. BTW, Jonathan felt exactly the same as I did. We were worn out, frustrated, and afraid that after everything, we'd leave from this trip no sooner to finding OUR HOUSE than when we got there.

All of this had been done with a serious amount of prayer. We truly believed (and still do) that the Lord would guide us in making this decision that would affect our family in so many ways. Jonathan looked up phone numbers for the Bishops of the two wards (for "Best Price" and "Best Neighborhood") and called them, but was able to get a hold of neither in the middle of a workday on a Wednesday afternoon.

We went back to our hotel to weigh options while our agent nervously chomped at the bit wanting us to put in our offer before the end of the day (because we were flying out the next day). After much prayer, concern, a few tears and a LOT of confusion, we decided we would go back by the houses and talk to the neighbors; find out what kind of people lived there and if we felt like we could fit in to the neighborhood. I remembered once at BYU when I was looking for an apartment (incidentally, the apartment where I lived when Jonathan and I met and started dating), that I went to the complex even though I had been there before and had rejected it, so that I could talk to the residents and see if it felt like a right fit. Because I met the neighbors, I knew it was the right place for me. I bought a contract, moved in, met the sweetheart of my life and happily married well over 4 1/2 years later. BUT, I digress. My point is, we wanted to meet the neighbors. Then Jonathan asked, "What if we meet the only punk neighbors on the whole block?" I said, "Jonathan, if it's right, God will lead us to good people."

We decided to go first to "Best Neighborhood." We drove by the house, loved how cute it was with the pink blossomed trees lining the street in front of it and admiring that it was only about 4 houses down from an adorable community park when Jonathan spotted some people getting out of their car in the driveway and thought he preferred talking to someone outside rather than knocking on their door, so we pulled over. I was finishing some things in the car, so he jogged over alone to talk to the guy about the area. The guy was a guy about our age who said, "Oh, I'm sorry, I don't live here. I'm just visiting. This is my parents' place. I'll get my mom." A pleasant looking, middle-aged woman came out and started telling Jonathan how GREAT the neighborhood was and what a great place it was to live and raise kids. About this time, I walked up and almost immediately noticed a big block "Y" in the back window of the son's car. Almost interrupting I asked, "Are you LDS?" to which she said, "Yes. I was wondering if you were. Actually, my husband is the bishop of the ward here."


They invited us into their home and spoke of their WONDERFUL ward with a large active youth, primary program and 2 nurseries. They spoke of the wonderful young families who live right there on that street with children in similar age to our own. They said how excited they would be to have us in the ward if we chose to live there.

We left their house with joy in our hearts and gratitude for the Lord's tender mercies that led us to these good people and our obvious decision.

Jonathan asked if we should go meet the neighbors at the other place at which time I said, "Why tempt God?" We had already received our answer, our witness, and now even, our sign. :)

We put an offer in on the house.

The sellers were in England and it was already the middle of the night there by the time we put in our offer here, but we woke up the next morning to a counter offer which we immediately countered and they immediately accepted.


Now, for some of you nay sayers, yes this house was the most expensive, but it was still CONSIDERABLY less than what we were approved for and is still a price range where we feel comfortable and will not overly strap our family for financial resources. AND, we didn't pay full asking price at case you were concerned.

And it's almost ours. We LOVE it already. It's funny to think how trying it was to come to the decision when now we feel like it was so obviously the right choice all along. How blessed we feel to be able to get into a house, and even more so into a house that we love in an area we feel GREAT about (literally about a half mile away from the Columbia River Temple and in great school districts). We KNOW the Lord was with us and guided us and led us to wonderful things. Our hearts are full of gratitude.

Now, without futher ado--


28 days

(This post was written 8 days ago and then I delayed posting it because I wanted to make sure everyone had seen the post about the house. Current status? T-20 days 'til due) And...OOPS... I had pics to go with but now I'm in Nevada and the pics aren't on this computer. I promise I'll post belly pics--eventually.

No, this is not a movie about rehab.

THIS! Is 36 weeks pregnant! I have 4 weeks from this day--28 days--until Mr. James is due to arrive. While it may or may not BE 28 days, my body, that feels like it's closer to 9 1/2 months pregnant than 8, will be more than ready to welcome little man into the world in 28 days.

I think it's all part of the divine Plan. We are BLESSED to be so supremely uncomfortable by the time the baby is ready to be delivered that we are willing to go through AN-Y-THING, even labor and delivery, to not be pregnant anymore.

So, I'm grateful to be uncomfortable. Maybe it will give me the strength to deliver this little guy. After all, this is the next great adventure--having a baby WITHOUT an epidural. Yup, you read that right. Assuming no complications or emergencies, I will be drug free (it's the way to be [a la many years of Red Ribbon Week in elementary school]). So, wish me luck. In 28 days (more or less) I will NOT be pregnant anymore. YAY!

Monday, March 29, 2010


Hello friends.

WOW. So. You know those tests you can take that can determine your stress level based on what is going on in your life? For instance, check any boxes that apply to you:

Are you changing jobs? Check.

Are you moving? Out of state? Check. Double check.

Are you having a baby? Yes sir! Check.

Do you live with relatives? Check. Now, this isn't a cap on my folks. It's just a matter of fact that living with other people is more stressful than having a place of your own.

Are you making a major, life-altering purchase such as--your first home? CHECK!

Anyway, you get the idea. The good news is, at least they're all GOOD major, enormous changes in our lives. I mean, we don't have to check the box that says, "death in the family," or anything. We're actually extremely grateful and excited for all that is happening, but it sure is a little nuts. Here is how it's going down.

Jonathan finishes up his last clinical affiliation this week and then has a few weeks off to study and prepare to take his licensure exam before he's licensed to practice in the STATE OF


Yep. But, I'll get to that.

Then, at the end of April we head down for the 10 hours drive to graduation with the woman who is nearly 37 weeks pregnant and the almost three-year-old in the car (yeah. Wish us luck!)

Then, Jonathan presents his research (which is currently under review for publication---way to go, hubs!!) and graduates and then we immediately bust a move back home, hoping that I do not go into labor at any time prior to returning home (at about 39 weeks pregnant). Here's hoping!

Then, baby happens!

(I'm down for the count after this, so insert me packing and preparing to move prior to baby happening.)

Jonathan takes his majorly huge, everything-rides-on-this, licensure exam (no pressure!!).

THEN, probably Jonathan will need to go up to WA, start working and sign documents on our house and the kids and I will be able to move up around the middle of June.

WHEW! As you can see, a lot of this is speculation because many of these things are not yet finalized (when we'll be in our house, when the baby is born, when J will be ready for the exam, etc.) but needless to say, the next 3 months are going to be a bit hairy. AND AWESOME!

We're working on pre-approval for a house, which our mortgage loan officer assures us should go through without a hitch and thoroughly enjoying looking at houses in our soon to be home---Tri-cities, WA! The three cities are Kennewick, Richland and Pasco, and while we're not sure which we'll end up in for sure, we like Richland the best. It is on the south-eastern side of the state and from what we hear, about 2-3 hours from Spokane. They boast over 300 sunny days a year, so don't think Seattle---this is a DIFFERENT side of Washington. We're VERY excited.

And, because you've been waiting 3 months for this post, I will spill the other beans. Our little boy has a name! Not a middle name yet--we're still working on it. BUT, little man #2 shall be known hence forth and forever as James Wright. He already seems like a good baby and we're looking forward to seeing him in the next 7 weeks or so (yup! 33 weeks along!).

As for pics. Please forgive. We did finally get a new camera, but our computer has issues hooking up to my parents' wireless connection, so we've been using my mom's laptop and I haven't wanted to upload all of the software onto this computer that is not ours. SO, look forward to pictures...later. For now, enjoy my magical story telling (BAH!) in word form only and I will submit pics as possible.

Now, suggestions for how to make all of these transitions smoother? Yes, please.