Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Mourning

Lots of people have been asking me about Christmas coming up and how that is affecting me. I figured it was deserving of it's own post.

My parents and siblings will attest to the fact that I have always been an extremely passionate and emotional person. Especially when I was little, I would cry about everything. I have conscious memories about being around 7 and trying to go an entire day without crying.

But along with my emotional side was the huge imagination I had. I think this had something to do with being the youngest and my older siblings being too cool to play with me! I would talk to myself and make up stories to play out. I even remember riding my bike outside while imagining a sports announcer filming me and announcing to the world that I was the only person in history who could ride their bike without hands. :) Good times!

Well even for a girl who could live in the world and be so oblivious to reality, grounding myself for Christmas was easy. I LOVED Christmas more than anything! It was so magical to me. Our family's Christmas was loaded with traditions and even up till last year, if anyone tried to break one of those traditions, I would get upset! For example, in our house, on Christmas morning Brie and I would "wake up" and go and get everyone else to meet at the top of our stairs. Down below the banister was the family room where the Christmas tree was set up, but because Santa didn't want us to see the presents early, he would pin huge sheets across the room opening so we couldn't see. Once all of us siblings were lined up in age order (youngest first of course!) my dad would go downstairs, and film us walking down and into the family room to find out if Santa came. Our stockings would be placed on the couches and wherever our stocking sat, we sat with it. Then we would open presents one by one; again in age order until all the presents were opened. And finally, we could open our stockings all at the same time. We had a lot of other traditions too, but you get the point!

Ever since Thanksgiving, the radio stations have begun playing Christmas songs. At first I was excited about this. But after a few songs, I began to sense resentment in myself. I was so annoyed that Christmas was coming without my being ready. I didn't decorate our apartment or watch Christmas movies either. Why? Because as I thought about Christmas, I thought about all of our family traditions. Jonah would be the youngest in the family this year. He should get to take the spot I enjoyed for nine years until my first niece joined our family. I had imagined him loving Christmas the way I always had. I had imagined him doing a talent on Christmas Eve to get his "cousin exchange gift". I had imagined him loving the paper and boxes his presents came in more than the presents themselves. I had imagined being a parent this Christmas. With all of these expectations not coming into fruition this year, I sincerely considered skipping Christmas.

But last Sunday evening our church put on their annual 1st presidency Christmas devotional. And I'm not sure if it was exactly what President Uchtdorf said or just the spirit I was feeling while he talked, but I felt so strongly that I was missing it. More than anyone... more than ever...Ransom and I should be celebrating the birth of Jesus. I finally realized that Christmas is not about the traditions or even about being with family. It is a simple celebration that Jesus was born. And because Jesus was born, suffered and died, our lives do not end at death.

What a healing moment that was for me!

Don't get me wrong, it's certainly anything but easy. But the thought is now bearable. We aren't going to stick with all of our traditions growing up because I think that would be too hard. Some people in our situation have said buying the presents you would buy for your child anyway and then donating them helps. But just the thought of walking through the baby aisle right now and looking for things Jonah would be playing with is too much. Maybe next year. As for the question of a stocking; I couldn't make up my mind. I didn't want to see an empty stocking with his name on it Christmas morning but at the same time, I didn't want to see a full one never get emptied either. So instead, this year I am needle-pointing Jonah a stocking with the nativity scene on it and will not be setting it downstairs. I think just knowing he has one is enough.

I know I'll still have some hard moments during the holidays, but just focusing on their true meanings has given me new reasons to celebrate.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Husband Hard at Work


(Football on one screen, basketball on another screen and our movie on the big screen!)


If I didn't post a picture, no one would believe me.





(Note: In Ransom's defense, this is not an everyday occurrence!)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thanksgiving Break Part 2

Well despite our troubles getting out of Phoenix, we did finally make it to LA. We spent our first night at Mike's parent's house and had a really yummy lunchtime Thanksgiving feast. (I've always wondered why lots of families have Thanksgiving dinner at 1pm... maybe so the women can take the rest of the day to relax?) But anyway, the lunchtime feast was perfect because right afterward, we got back into our car, fought the LA traffic all the way to San Diego, and finally made it to our good friend's family's house. Ransom and Mike used to be roommates with three brothers from the Johnson family so we know them all quite well. When we got there, we were thrown right back to the kitchen to prepare another Thanksgiving feast! Ransom was in absolute heaven! 2 turkeys, 2 candied yams, 2 sets of homemade rolls, 2 mashed potatoes and 2 salads (okay, honestly Ransom wasn't all that thrilled by 2 helpings of salad, but I sure was!) It was so nice to spend Thanksgiving with such a big and fun family! And honestly, participating in a different family's traditions really helped my apprehensions about celebrating such a traditional holiday without Jonah.

The next day we decided to go to the beach. Oh how I miss the ocean! Not that I even touched it (I was absolutely freezing from the moment we left Arizona until we got back) but it was soo beautiful to simply look at!





We had a blast on our trip! I'm SO grateful for such great friends who invited us to come! Thanksgiving would have been pretty pathetic at our apartment, just the two of us (especially with only one of us actually liking turkey!)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thanksgiving Break part 1

Oh Thanksgiving, 2010. Way too much fun.

We decided to journey to LA and San Diego this year to spend the holiday with friends and their families. Good thing to; turns out the weather in Utah and WA would have been absolutely impossible to drive through.

We began our journey by diving up to Phoenix to go to the temple (i LOVE the Mesa temple, by the way!) and to pick up Mike. We got out of the city at about 2:30 but when I say we got out of the city, I don't mean we literally made it out of Phoenix. That would have been too easy. No, instead we made it almost out of the city. Because, as it always happens, a special, "can't wait until after Thanksgiving" construction project turned our four lane freeway into one. Oh the joys of quadrupole the traffic and 1/4 the lanes.

About an hour or so later, we had merged into two lanes. Only one merge left to go. And that's when it happened. The Arctic Fox. The driver of the white camper appropriately named, The Arctic Fox decided that enough was enough. Even though our last merge wasn't for another 10 miles, he was fed up with the people still taking the left lane and didn't want them cutting him any more. So what did he do? He decided to go ahead and drive in the MIDDLE of the two lanes and therefore block anyone else from passing him!



I've never seen anything like it! He drove at 15 miles per hour for 10 miles in the middle of the road! But what was even more amazing was that no one behind him even honked. Sure, some tried driving on the shoulders (and were subsequently caught by the police a few miles down the road), but other than that; nothing.

Mike, Ransom and I placed our bets about what this driver would look like. We guessed absolutely male, driving alone or with other males, 60's to 70's and very, very cranky. But once we passed the construction and got to take a look for ourselves, we found a 30 something white guy with what looked like his mom in the front seat. It was priceless!

This post was way longer than I planned... I'll have to follow up with the rest of Thanksgiving break later!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Common Sense

Found this sign hanging up the in the waiting area AFTER eating in a restaurant in San Diego...



Seriously? How about instead of the sign, you just stop serving those things known to the State of California to cause cancer and other reproductive harm!? Makes me wonder what I might have eaten during pregnancy.

Dear Cancer,

You suck.


Sincerely,

Brooke

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lizy the Lizard

So yesterday I am minding my own business on our couch when out from the corner of my eye, I see a flash of movement near our curtain. It took me a while to figure it out, but one my eyes adjusted to the light, I saw a little lizard crawling up the curtain!!

Now let me take a step back. A few weeks ago, there were like five days in a row where Ransom and I would be coming or leaving home and whenever we got to the door, we would see a little lizard scurrying away from our door at seriously lightening speed! Obviously it freaked us out that this little guy was so interested in trying to get inside, but we figured he was just barely too big to fit under the crack of our door. Wrong. So very wrong.

So now this little lizard friend is crawling up my curtain. I have obviously jumped onto our coffee table (which, let's be honest, he could have crawled up too if he wanted) and instead of figuring out how to get him out, I'm trying to find a way to get to my camera. Like a kid playing Lava Monster (tell me you played that as a kid!) I am hopping from table to couch to love seat to chair until I finally reach my purse on the kitchen table. But once I got out my camera and made my way back to the coffee table, my little friend was no where to be seen. I am freaking out at this point. I grabbed a bowl with the intention of using it as some sort of cage (I would love to know what would have happened if I actually succeeded in caging him!), and started throwing things at my sliding glass door until sure enough, my friend appeared.

Honestly, he is kinda cute! And I'm certainly not one to be afraid of lizards in the great outdoors, but when he and I are contained in a small space and he can run faster than I can blink, it makes for a very squeamish Brooke.

So long story short, Lizy and I managed to come to an agreement. He will never tell anyone how ridiculous I was with one leg on the couch, the other on the wall reaching through the blinds and opening the sliding glass door, and I will never pull the tail off another lizard again.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Update

I'm thinking this post will just need to be a catch-up. I'm way behind...

When we graduated from BYU, we were really surprised when they sent us a wallet sized laminated copy of our diplomas... I couldn't think of a single situation where I would need my diploma at a second's notice. Well, until a few weeks ago when Ransom entered in a 3 on 3 grad student basketball tournament. They were really good, and I'm not gonna lie, Ransom was awesome! And they would have gotten 2nd place if the girls organizing the tournament would have had any idea how to put together a bracket. I almost went over to them with the pocket-sized diploma with the degree "Recreation Management" centered on the paper, flashing it like an FBI badge, knowing they would have taken one look at my degree and bowed down to my superiority in knowledge. I'm so glad my degree offers me real life application.




Now remember my post about the maintenance crew smashing our sliding glass doors? I can't prove it, but I just have to assume they also had something to do with this...



At least the neighborhood kids enjoyed it.

And the next weekend I had had enough sitting around. Ransom had to study (but that's not new) so I called up these girls (and baby Sam) and we drove up Mt. Lemon. Such a fun day trip! We drove through up and up and up until I was pretty sure we had left Arizona and landed in the great NorthWest! So many evergreens; I was in heaven! We stopped and had lunch in the cute little pizza parlor and then drove back down.



And then this past weekend, Mike drove down from Phoenix and we decided to explore more of the greater Tucson area. We found a trail leading up to a river. Or, what used to be a river and now is a small pond with spilled oil. Still fun!






We've had a fun few weeks in Tucson. It's so nice to be able to actually go outside again! You know, now that's it's only like 75 degrees.

Coming soon is our Thanksgiving road trip to LA and San Diego... which is where I'm currently writing from.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! I know we ALL have something to be thankful for! :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One Year Ago Today

This morning, I woke up a little before our alarm. I felt... strange. And suddenly I realized why. It was exactly one year ago today that I woke up a little before my alarm to take this...



...and was absolutely overjoyed; although completely shocked.

I realized that for the next year there are going to be a lot of "exactly one year ago today's" and I'm not sure how exactly to handle them. I'm sad because anniversaries remind me of what is missing in my life BUT at the very same moment, they remind me of what I DO have. I have the ability to get pregnant which I know not every woman is able to say. I have a perfect son who I will never have to worry about. I have knowledge of where he is that many of the parents in our support group would be healed so much to know. Basically, I have so much. And at times like the holidays, where it is SO easy to focus on my have-nots, I'm trying to count my have's instead.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Apparently I have no shame

Ransom has banned me from blogging again until I reveal my true self to the blogging community.



I'm not happy about this.


Let me preface by saying, I only get the hiccups like maybe twice a year. Which is a good thing... because they sound like this.



They literally have the magnitude to cause a whiplash! Apparently my hiccups have stage fright however, so this video really doesn't do them justice. But you can get the idea with the second clip; because ransom did some secret filming. So embarrassing.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mr and Mrs Ryan Wells

My freshman year of college, I met this girl, Kelsey, who I thought was almost too hopelessly in love with her boyfriend, Ryan. I've never seen a couple so cheesy! Despite my initial feeling about their relationship, Kelsey and I became great friends and ended up living together for our sophomore year as well. I realized how pure her and Ryan's relationship was and I too began rooting for them. But tragedy struck the day that Ryan left for his 2 year mission to Mexico. I remember being genuinely worried about Kelsey's health the day he left. I've seen many, many girls send off their missionaries vowing to wait for them, but never in my life have I seen any girl half as loyal to her missionary as Kelsey. She wrote him over 2000 letters and emails! While I know some people might argue that in doing this she distracted Ryan from the work of his mission, both Ryan and his mission president have attested that her encouragement helped Ryan become an amazing missionary.

Ever since I told Kelsey and my other old roommates I was pregnant, and that I would be moving away from Utah before we had him, we began planning the day when they would get to meet Jonah; at Kelsey and Ryan's wedding. We talked about it all the time and I even bought Jonah a little sweater-vest suit to wear at the reception. You can imagine then, how hard it was to go through Jonah's clothes, find that suit and realize that I would have to make the trip by myself.

At the end of August, Ryan finally returned home and proposed to Kelsey within the week! Two months later, was the big day, and even though I feared it, I decided I wasn't going to let my grief get in the way of the celebration. I asked Jonah to come on the trip with me; even if he couldn't wear his suit. From the moment I left our apartment, I felt like Jonah was by side and even though I wasn't getting to show him off the way I had imagined, I felt peace just knowing he was with me.

All throughout the weekend, I felt Jonah was by my side. Even during the wedding ceremony (which if he were alive, he wouldn't have been able to go to). It was such a blessing. My sweet friends were wonderful about it too and let me share stories and pictures. I assumed everyone would be so excited about the wedding and forget who we had planned would be there, but they didn't. I have such thoughtful friends.

I am so glad I didn't back out of going; thinking it would be too hard, because I gained a new insight about Jonah that I wouldn't have otherwise. I believe that Jonah is a missionary right now. And that just as Kelsey and Ryan were finally reunited after what felt like an eternity, so will Jonah and I. I got to see the sheer joy in Kelsey and Ryan's eyes as they were sealed together for eternity and I know that relatively soon, I too will have that look in my eyes when I am handed back by sweet baby boy, knowing that we will never be separated again. I am so grateful to Kelsey for being such a great example of patience. And also for taking the time of her separation to not only wait, but to better herself. Now I know what being reunited looks like, and it has helped motivate be to be the best self I can for my little boy.

I'm so glad I went to Utah and got to witness the most beautiful wedding I've ever seen! I am so happy for Kelsey and Ryan and am grateful for their examples! Congratulations Mr and Mrs Wells!




Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thriller

I pulled up at a stoplight and had to turn my head to figure out which car beside me was blasting "Thriller". It turned out to be an easy ID.




Notice this woman is at least 60.

Tucson never fails to surprise me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Eegees

Ever since we moved to Tucson, we've heard about this famous fast food place, eegees. Their claim to fame started with their frozen fruit drinks and now also includes their ranch fries. Apparently this restaurant has only made it in Tucson; they tried to grow into the Phoenix area and couldn't do it. Well, after hearing the locals brag and drool over the place for months, we decided to try it out...


We brought Becca and Mike along for the trial run.

I really need to put this delicately so as to not be disowned by the few Tucson native friends I have made, but I don't get the craze of this place.
The frozen fruit drinks are a mix between an icee and a snow cone (you need a spoon) and there's not much too them. I felt like I was just eating cold sugar and food coloring. We made the mistake of all getting a small instead of sharing and not one of us finished. We didn't try the ranch fries either; mostly because they look like those frozen accordion fries from Safeway with sour cream and baconbits on top. Anyways, before I say too much I'll just end by saying, sorry Tucson, but I don't get the hype.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

San Fran!

I know I'm totally behind... San Fran was like 3 weeks ago. But it was too much fun to pass up a post! Besides the wedding, my favorite part about it was that for the first time in like 8 years (and the first ever time for me), all 7 of Ransom's siblings were all together in one place! Minus a few nieces, nephew and Jonah, the whole family was there. It made the trip so much more fun!

A lot of Ransom's siblings had never been to San Fran so of course we did the touristy things. We started out with the pier which was extra fun/noisey because it was also fleet week in the city. We could barely hear each other will all of those jets practicing over the harbor.

One of my favorite things about ocean cities is the large amount of salt water taffy. You better believe I stocked up on one of my favorite treats. I was especially pleased to find some that were fat free! My tongue literally hurt for days after discovering that little tidbit of knowledge.

Anyway, we had lots of fun walking the pier. I was totally prepared to be absolutely freezing after spending the past 3 months of my life in 90s to 100s but I was pleasantly surprised by the San Fran weather. I only wish I would have packed anything besides jackets.


My personal favorite part of the pier was the thousands of sea lions basking in the sun. For whatever reason, these docks are the ONLY acceptable ones to these creatures and it was hilarious watching them play king of the dock.


We had so much fun and the wedding was beautiful! It's so nice to have another sister-in-law! I only had one minor Jonah breakdown the whole trip which I thought was pretty good considering the content of the weekend. It doesn't seem fair that what is supposed to be the happiest times can be the hardest times. It's those celebrations and family gatherings that tend to make missing someone even harder. They make the void seem so much more obvious. I'm sure the weekend would have been so much harder if I didn't feel like Jonah was with us. I had hoped he wouldn't miss out on the family coming together and I really think he didn't. I am so grateful for him! What a special little guy he is!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Finally!

Thanks to the lovely hard water in Arizona, for the past 2 months, our dishes looked like this...

But thanks to this...

Our dishes now look like this...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Avenged

Alright, I admit it, I made a mistake.

This afternoon I took my 3 loads of dirty clothes out to our apartment laundry room and was dismayed to find that all 6 washing machines were taken. 3 were in use and 3 were done, but the wet clothes were still inside. Although annoyed, I decided to come back later. An hour later, I went back in and all 6 machines were open. I happily started my three loads and set my alarm for when to switch them. When I cam back, all six dryers were taken. Again, 3 were in use, and 3 had clothes in them, but were done. Seeing as it took up to an hour for this same person to switch their clothes from the washer into the dryer, I didn't know how long it would take them to remove their clothes. And what was I supposed to do with my three wet loads?
Now I'm not very proud of this, but I decided to take the three machines full of done, dry clothes, and place them on the clean counter nearby. (When I was in BYU housing, people did this ALL the time. And as annoying as it is when it's your clothes, you learn to set a timer and promptly get your clothes out when they're done.) Anyways, apparently this is NOT the culture of Tucson. When I returned to get my clothes from the dryer a few minutes too early, I found that one load of my clothes was sitting on the counter, wet enough to lead me to believe that they had been removed halfway through the cycle, another load was siting in the dryer with the door half open, not drying and letting the timer run out, and the third was still going. Lovely. I know it was inconsiderate of me to remove someone's clothes for them, and maybe I deserved it. But really? I hope this anonymous victim feels avenged. I kind of do too, because when I returned home to hang dry the rest of our clothes I found these:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Just What I Needed to Start the Weekend Right!

Have you ever walked into your house all alone and thought, "it feels different in here..."? Well this morning, I walked in after dropping Ransom off and working out and felt that way. Then I noticed it was warmer inside and there were lots of reflections of light in places I had never noticed before. Then I saw it:

I immediately ran back outside thinking someone had broken into our apartment and was still inside. From the outside I got a better look


The landscaping crew was sitting outside in the shade near our apartment, so I went over and asked them if they had seen what happened. One of them spoke up and while almost giggling replied, "oh yeah... um, yeah, well when I was mowing the lawn beside your place I think a rock bounced off the blade and hit your door." Seriously!? Now don't get me wrong, I don't blame them for the rock, but are you seriously going to just relax in the shade and not tell anyone about it? What if we had left for San Fransisco yesterday and the door was opened the entire weekend! I walked over to the office to tell them about it and they called the glass repairman to come and fix it today. For now, I am packing for our trip (which I have to leave for in an hour and a half)in a 90 degree apartment with bugs and flies coming and going at their leisure. Perfect way to start our San Fran weekend! (but I'm not bitter!)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Luella


On Sunday I got to talk to my dad for a little while. He was telling me about a cool experience he had had while researching his family history. He told me about a picture he has of his great-grandma holding his grandfather in a white dress. His great-grandmother had only had this one child before she died of appendicitis at the age of twenty-nine. For whatever reason, a few days ago, my dad called the cemetery where she was buried and asked them to go look at her gravestone. When they went out there, they discovered that buried right next to my great-great grandmother was her baby girl, Luella, who had lived less than a year. It turns out that the picture of my great-great grandmother holding a baby in a white dress was actually of Luella; but no one had known about her.

One of the many reasons I've been writing about Jonah's story is the fear that this same situation would happen to Jonah. I was afraid that over the years, the people who knew the details of Jonah's life would pass away, and with them, Jonah. I didn't want to be one of the few people who Jonah could live through. What if something happened to me and Jonah became like the secret baby, Luella? I just couldn't handle that.


I'm now 72 pages into my book, and I've finally gotten to the point where Jonah is about to pass away. I have been procrastinating writing this part for about a week but last night, I knew I had to just keep going. It is SO hard to relive every detail of that day. I wish I could just skip to the peace I felt afterward and pretend that day didn't happen. But at the same time, I recognize that it is very therapeutic. I know that once I write it all down, I can let go of that part of Jonah's story a little bit. I'll know that that day, along with Jonah's whole story, is recorded on paper and will be passed on to anyone who wants to read it; regardless of what has happened to me.

I'm so glad that Luella was discovered. Now she can be sealed to her parents and her story can be passed down. It's funny how I never used to care about family history...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mesa





The Mesa Arizona temple! Isn't is beautiful?

A few weeks ago, Ransom and I drove up to visit with our good friends (Ransom's old roommate and his girlfriend) and while we were there, we decided to visit the Mesa temple. It was really cool to see a new temple (at least new for us)!

In other news, Ransom and I played a word associate game for Family Home Evening last week. Basically you get a list of things like: animal, car, season, place, etc. and you have to say what your spouse would be for that category and why. My personal favorite was Ransom's answer for my season: "football, because I love watching football almost as much as I love watching you." hmmm... I think someone has sports too much on the brain. And we don't even have cable...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Landmark

I've been working on my book for 3 weeks now and I am on page... 40! It's slowly coming together, but man it's hard work!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Self Employed

I found the answer to my lack of employment! I'll just employ myself!

When Jonah passed away, I knew there was a reason that he was sent to us first, leaving me without any children in the home and too much time on my hands. He could have just as easily come 2nd or 3rd or whenever and I would have still had kiddos to take care of. But, he didn't and I knew there was a reason why I was given more time for myself.

After lots of prayers trying to figure out what it was that I am supposed to be doing with this time, I am still unemployed and I don't think that is a mistake. So, I'm going to take this along with other promptings I've felt, and write a book for Jonah.

I have had this idea for a couple months but I didn't really think I had anything more to say than has already been written by so many other mothers. But I do. I have a lot of feelings and whether or not I ever pursue its publication or anything, I know that later I'll be so grateful for writing it when my future children can read about their big brother.

I know it would be great to make an income for our family, but if I don't do it now, I'll never do it. And what better time to write than when it's still fresh in my mind?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So Blessed!

As most people might imagine, the hospital expenses for having a child with such critical needs adds up realllly fast! In just the two and a half days Jonah spent at Seattle Children's hospital, he acquired a bill of over $68,000! Though we cut it extremely close, we qualified for our new insurance policy by a single day! I can't imagine the stress we would be under right now if we didn't have this policy! All we are responsible for Jonah's bill is his $5,000 deductible. And for my bill, just $2,250 of the $16,000 I acquired. Still a lot of money...

But, being students and making nothing this Summer, we applied for the Seattle Children's financial aid. A few weeks after Jonah passed away, we got a letter in the mail saying that they had accepted our claim and would not hold us responsible for any expenses the insurance company didn't pay. What a blessing!! Unfortunately however, Jonah also acquired a $8000 bill at UW during his hour stay before being transported! I have been on the phone with both hospitals and my insurance company almost daily trying to make sure our deductible is fulfilled at Seattle Children's instead of UW so we don't have to pay that $5000. So far, I think it's working and we might be able to walk away from Jonah's hospital bills without paying a cent of his bill and only having to pay for mine.

Now for the other amazing blessing! Right before we became pregnant, we signed up for 2 Aflac supplemental insurance policies. Basically, you pay into them every month, and then if ever you spend the night in the hospital or have a surgery, they send you a big check. We were really excited about these policies back in October when we signed up for them, but the only contingency is that for a maternity stay, you need to have had the policy for 10 months. We became pregnant about a month too soon to qualify. But, we felt like we should keep the policies just in case our baby had any complications since the plan would pay for any NICU stays, etc. I am so so glad we felt we should keep them. Not only did Aflac pay us a huge sum for Jonah's stay and surgery, they also sent us a large check for MY stay; something they had absolutely no obligation to do! We received $3,700 for me and $4,500 for Jonah. I share the amounts only because I would highly recommend Aflac to anyone who is thinking about becoming pregnant soon!

We could have began law school with debts higher than we could imagine, but instead we have made money that will keep us afloat until I find a job! We are SO blessed!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Just One Breath

On Tuesday night I was going through all of the cards we had received when Jonah passed away and found this poem that the receptionist at the funeral home had written for us. I had totally forgotten about it, and when I reread it, I felt Jonah.

Just One Breath

In just one breath I took in the world,
and lived the life I was meant to live.

In just one breath I beheld your love,
and gave to you all that I had to give.

I gave you hope, compassion and more,
I gave you all of me.

But just one breath is all I was granted,
and then I had to leave.

Forget not the joy of creation,
and to each-others hearts do cling.

For just one breath I was granted,
but to me it meant everything.



Though Jonah was granted 2 days of breaths, in the grand scheme of things, his life on earth does seem as short as just one. I love this poem, and I love that little boy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Week Four

It's week four in Tucson. I can't believe it. I have really liked it here so far. While it is extremely hot, we have gotten some nice thunder storms and rain. Sometimes I still feel like I'm in Washington. Ransom is still doing really well in school and he loves what he is learning. He's already been thinking a lot about what he wants to do when he graduates. He has some big dreams :) I love how motivated he is. But, I guess only time will tell how many of those big plans are still around when that time comes.

As for me; I am doing well. I've been making friends with Ransom's law school friends and their wives. It is SO nice to have women in my life again! I almost forgot how far Ransom is from being a girl until I was finally around one this weekend! :) We just speak a different emotional language!

It has also been really nice having people over so they can see the pictures of Jonah we have up and ask who he is. I love when he comes up! It is so hard having no one know that I am a mom. When people look at me they assume that I am a happily naive newlywed. No one thinks to ask if I have children because they assume that if I did, they would be with me. So unless a person comes to my home, they never really get to know who I am; and that hurts.

But life goes on and people have come over. I just can't wait until more people know than don't.

My job search is still continuing. I have applied for 4 more jobs at U of A and sent my resume to the Boys and Girls Club and the Jewish community center :) We'll see about those soon I hope...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On the Hunt

Oh, how I wish someone would just hand me my dream job. Here I am in the middle of my third week of searching and all I have are three scam responses from Craigslist to show for it. I hate to say it, but I feel I have just about exhausted all the resources I have. I have checked out: AZ state jobs, Craigslist multiple times a day, Tucson city jobs, LDSjobs.com, U of A employment opportunities, and BYU alumni employment postings. Nothing. Well, that's not entirely true. If I wanted to get a job working fast food, I could. But isn't this precise problem the reason I went to college? hmmm. I'm trying not to get down on my self, and I haven't given up hope, but oh how I wish someone would post a job that is actually up my alley. Activities director, if you were wondering, is the job title I crave.

I spent all of today revamping my resume, cover letter, list of events I've put on, tournaments I've organized, etc. Tomorrow I have big plans to visit the LDS employment office. Hopefully they can give me some pointers. But in all honesty, I think I just need to go to every nursing home, assisted living facility, community center and hotel I can find and convince them that they need me! :)

oh dear...

I think this little guy will help me

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jonah's Chest

Now I won't even pretend that I'm crafty, but I am pretty proud of my most recent attempt! Seattle Children's sent me a box of all of Jonah's things after he passed away. We got his binkie, his hospital gown, his hat, hand and foot prints, locks of hair, and his blanket. I wasn't sure what to do with these things or the many cards and emails we received from friends and family, the bow from his casket and the teddy bear that I hold when I'm sad I can't hold him. Finally, I decided I wanted to make him a nice chest to hold everything so that we could have it out all the time as a nice decoration, and then when one of us wanted to look through his things, it was all together. I looked for a few weeks trying to find an affordable, yet nice, unfinished chest. Finally, Ransom's mom found us the perfect one! I wish I would have thought to take a before shot, but after 3 days of staining and painting, here is the finished product :)




Saturday, August 21, 2010

Arizona

I've been seriously slacking in the blogging department. But, I did move a couple of states away which tends to take up some time! Tucson is not what I expected. For some reason, I was expecting guns constantly shooting, sirens non-stop, and the feeling of not being able to leave our apartment. Ha, not the case! Tucson is a normal city. Not any scarier than downtown Tacoma, WA. I actually love it so far. Sure its been between 100-110 every day, but other than that, it is pretty nice.

Ransom started school officially on Thursday and loves it.

(I still cannot believe he allowed this picture to be taken!)

I love hearing about the cases he is reading and arguing with him on what the judge should have ruled. It's pretty fun. As for now, we've had lots of time together but I am well aware that that wont always be the case.

Our apartment is a townhome not much bigger than our Utah apartment; except it's two floors. As of yesterday, we are finally all set up and decorated.


Recognize the new couches? :)

I love the kitchen; it actually comes with a dishwasher!


But, my favorite part...


WALK-IN CLOSET! Finally, no more sliding closets that come off the track with any resistance!

I recognize that it's not much, but when you go from our old apartment to this one, it feels like a palace!

In other news, Jonah's doctor called yesterday. They had gotten the autopsy results in and were calling to explain them to us. It turns out that Jonah did have brain cancer. His tumor is called a medulloblastoma; a cancer which forms a tumor in the cerebellum. It can be operated on and treated with standard cancer treatments; but when a child under the age of 3 gets it, those treatments are very dangerous. Jonah's tumor had apparently metastasized into his brain stem and was bleeding into itself. This is what took his life. I did a little research about it and apparently medulloblastomas are most common in children 5-7 years old. I couldn't find anything about these tumors developing in utero. Seattle Children's (which is in the top 3 children's hospitals) had only had 2 cases in the past year of infants with tumors developing in utero and they were not the same as Jonah's. So, needless to say, what happened to Jonah is extremely rare. But, the best news is that so far as research has explored, medulloblastomas are not genetic. One article I came across did show that children who had it were more likely than the control children to have immediate family members with cancers such as leukemia, etc, but this finding was not very significant. While this news does bring comfort about the likely health of our future children, it doesn't completely calm my anxiety.

Since I had a c-section, we are not supposed to get pregnant again for 12-18 months. I really didn't like getting this news. I know it's for my own safety but it still makes me feel... I don't know... less like a woman I guess. It probably would have been for the best emotionally to wait this long anyway, but but being told we can't is an awful feeling. But since there is nothing I can do about that, my next task is to find things to do to keep me busy. I've been looking for jobs on craigslist, and now that the apartment is all set up, I'll be more aggressive with that. If any of you have any ideas of things to keep me busy, I'd love to hear them! :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

All my life, I thought only of Jesus' pain when thinking about the atonement. Not until yesterday at Church did the thought come to mind to consider Heavenly Father's pain in sending him. I know how painful it is to loose a son. But, I did not choose for Jonah to die. Heavenly Father chose his only son's death. God was willing to go through that agony and guilt and helplessness because Jesus' sacrifice was the only way I could become worthy enough to live with Jonah again. I don't think I could have chosen to let Jonah suffer and die; even if it were the only way to save the rest of humanity. I know I could have volunteered my own life for the task; but to let Jonah? I just don't think most parents could do it. I think I'm too selfish to ever make that decision. Heavenly Father went through SO much pain to send Jesus here knowing that he would suffer greater than any human can and then die. But, he did it. I think the only thing worse than Heavenly Father's pain in choosing Jesus' death, is having that sacrifice be in vain. While I won't pretend to know how hard Heavenly Father had it in sending Jesus here and watching his suffering, I do know how painful it is to loose a son. And because of this knowledge, I refuse to let Heavenly Father and Jesus' pain be taken for granted by me.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What a Nice Surprise!

When we designed Jonah's gravestone, they told us it wouldn't be ready for 6-8 weeks. We were sad because we knew that meant we probably wouldn't see it in person until Christmas break. We have visited Jonah's plot a few times since his burial and all there was to show his place was the cut up grass. Yesterday we went down to place a planter of pansies at the plot, and to our absolute surprise, his gravestone had been set! We were so grateful to be able to see it before we leave!



The words at the bottom, "many happy memories we will make" are from the blessing Ransom gave Jonah just before he passed, promising him that when we are reunited we will make many happy memories together as a family. We are really pleased with the way the marker turned out. It is so nice to have a place to go and think of Jonah. We just love that little boy so much!

On Friday night, we went with Ransom's family to the Relay for Life in Sumner, WA. Relay for Life is a really cool event honoring cancer survivors, people who have passed from cancer and those funding research to cure it. Ransom's mom is a cancer survivor and is very involved with the event. She made a luminary bag in memory of Jonah that was placed around the track with other bags. When it got dark, the candles in the bags were lit and made a beautiful memorial. There was also a nice slide show that Jonah's picture was included in for those who passed away from cancer. Jonah was the only baby I saw which made me happy to know that very few people have had to deal with such a trial. Children really shouldn't get cancer.






It's getting to be about that time for our big move! Ransom is leaving this Saturday! I can't believe the end of summer is almost here! It went by really quick for me! I'm a little nervous for Arizona and becoming a law school widow, but I'm also excited to make new friends and settle into a new place. I think it will be fun! I've been looking on Craigslist for jobs, but no one in the recreation department seems to be hiring :) I hate to settle for a job where I don't actually need a college degree, but I guess in this economy, you take what you can get.

Before our big move, my parents really wanted to get us out on the sail boat one last time. We ended up sailing under the Narrow's Bridge which I thought was pretty cool! It was a really hot and sunny day and we had a lot of fun. We even spent the night on the sail boat which was quite a feat for us!





Life is going well. We are really just taking it day by day. Some days all I want to do is look at pictures of Jonah and cry, and others we are up for hanging out with friends and having a good time. I have a lot of faith that those sad days will become less and less frequent, but for now, it's just the way it is. I wouldn't trade my experiences with Jonah for anything. And, if I had to do it all over knowing what would happen, I would, because we know we'll have him again and I am so excited for that day.