Our Family Decade in Review

Decade in Review

I was recently on the blog of a friend’s sister-in-law who also happens to be someone Jeremy worked with at the Canon Center at BYU (don’t you love playing the 7 degrees game?) and saw a recap she did on the last decade of her life now that it’s 2010.

I think general overviews of life are good things in their own right. My mom has worked hard to be an excellent journal-er. My childhood Sunday afternoons were filled with the clickety-clickety sounds of Mom’s typewriter getting its workout. However, we always tease mom that her journal is going to be the Book of Alma (the longest of the books in the Book of Mormon) of our family history.

So, though I love the amount of detail that can be captured in a single blog-post, I thought a recap of the entire last decade might be fun as well.

2000- I started my second semester of Junior year in high school. By mid-point in the semester, my dad had decided I was spending to much time messing around (with boys) and needed to think about just leaving for college already. We’d missed the deadline for fall applications, so we submitted one for Winter (January) 2001. Midsummer I got my letter of acceptance and called big sister Evelyn to celebrate. That fall I went with my parents to pick up my brother Brian off his mission in Russia. It was an interesting (and kind of frightening) experience, but it was also therapeutic for me as his departure two years earlier had left a gaping hole in my life that needed a greater understanding for me of the work he had been doing to help fill it. That last semester in high school was fabulous. I completed all my classes with flying colors including second semester English and History through Saturday school. Then we packed me up to go to BYU.

2001- I got to BYU with only my Arizona fleece jackets. We’d ordered me a wool peacoat but it was yet to arrive. It was that semester I decided never to take an 8 am class again–it’s just too cold and dark. Evelyn and I had tons of fun hanging out with each other, and dating other boys. The best thing we did was get involved with the Polynesian Club Luau, and learned hula dances and participated in the huge performance! Then I went home to get a summer job, and Evelyn had to graduate. While working that summer I met my Jacob. That fall I returned to school to live in the dorms with a friend from high school. I found the transition very hard, as many of the girls were on their first time away from home ever, and I just didn’t mesh well with all that staying out until 4 am, watching boys throw up on the grass trying to do the “gallon-challenge”, seeing how many people you can actually fit into a minivan (21-I believe it was).

2002- I decided to get a job in January. I worked at Cosmos, a little grill and ice cream place. I worked the 9pm-12am shift and loved it. The little tape would ticker out the orders that had been placed and I would challenge myself to have as many orders at a time on the grill as I could (I took over the grill because the other girl literally would work on one burger at a time and would sit there and watch it cook while the orders stacked up!) And then one Sunday afternoon in the dish room. . . I met Jeremy.

Things went well. I was planning on doing a study abroad that summer, but we decided that if we felt the same way about each other after I got back and we dated a bit more, then we would probably get married. My summer in Austria was a great experience. So good that even though all the heartfelt letters exchanged and growing our relationship did during that time, that I had decided I wasn’t ready to settle down yet. The rest of the year was a mess. Boys were jerks and I was trying to decide on a new major. But there were a few occasions, when desperate for. . . a ride to the airport or a shoulder to cry on. . . Jeremy and I found each other again.

2003- Life was decent. I jumped into the Marriage, Family, and Human Development major program with enthusiasm. Jeremy and I saw more and more of each other, and I began to see my life unfold ahead of my eyes–a happy life, a good life, a life that felt right. And then Jeremy broke up with me. In all fairness, I had broken up with him the year before, so he deserved a chance to have a little time to figure things out for himself. So I told him I’d wait.

That summer we became unofficially engaged as Jeremy worked lifeguarding in his hometown, and I worked as a sports and dance camp counselor at BYU. Then at the end of the summer, we both went down to see my family in Arizona and became officially engaged. Then I left to do an internship in Washington DC. It was hard for us–but I’m glad I did it. It’s one of those things that I can pull out in my mind to reassure myself I would have value to the greater working world if I was out in it. I did have some great experiences with it and even sat in a congressional hearing with Hillary Clinton.

2004- Jeremy and I spent an intense month and a half together trying to make sure we were making the right decision, and they were married on Feb 13th. .(that’s President’s weekend for anyone who’s wondering–no clue what this “Lover’s Holiday” you’re referring to is.) Later that summer we took a honeymoon to France to revisit some of Jeremy’s mission stomping grounds–though not many of them because parts of Paris can actually be quite ghetto.

That fall I finally broke down after the longest stretch I’d been without seeing my family, and underneath all the pressures of trying to be a new little homemaker/student/worker, and we flew home one weekend. A few weeks later we found out I was pregnant. I tried really hard to not be a total pregnant bum, but it was hard. After 4 hours of work than 4 hours of class a day, all I wanted to do was lie on the couch all night and eat otter pops–they made my heartburn feel better.

2005- I got a 3/4 time job tutoring at an elementary school and finished up my last class via independent study. I graduated that semester with a huge belly that was almost obscured by my cap and gown. Except when I stood sideways. Owen was born in June after a bit longer wait than we expected–but we made it. Motherhood was quite the adjustment. Nursing was endless and I watched countless hours of HGTV while Owen would sleep-nurse.

Jeremy finished up all but one of his required classes that fall so we got packed up and moved down to Arizona to live with my parents.

2006- Jeremy finished his last psychology class via independent study, took landscape architecture classes at UofA and applied to 7 master’s programs. I got registered and started substitute teaching. I missed my little baby while I was gone. He was at the age where he was growing up so fast. We got an acceptance to Kansas, and eventually a roundabout acceptance to UofA.

We decided we’d rather go where they were excited to have us, so we moved to Kansas. A few weeks after moving there I had an early miscarriage and dove into that little known before trying to have children world of all the fertility difficulties that everyone around you has actually had–just never mentioned before. Jeremy started his program and a part-time job and it was intense. I started to wonder what the purpose of having an eternal companion was if by the time you died you’d never even spent enough time together to know who each other were.

2007- Having moved into a second apartment in our complex, we were distressed to find out that our newly acquired neighbors were smokers, and we were able to reap the benefits of all their smoking. The end of February told us that I was yet again pregnant, but when I started bleeding after a week again we assumed another miscarriage. Another week of blood work and then an ultrasound which led us to suspect an ectopic pregnancy. I went in immediately for laparoscopic surgery. My mom flew in that night to help tend to me and my toddler. While in town my mom helped us look for a new house with no health-compromising second-hand smoke.

Three weeks later we were in our new little house. Grateful and excited for a little more room of our own. That summer we were excited and scared to find out I was pregnant again. The week and a half after we found out I was pregnant before it could be confirmed to be a uterine pregnancy were paralyzingly hard for me to deal with. After some questionable bloodwork and before I was scheduled to leave town we had a super-early ultrasound in which we could see a yolk sac in my uterus. No fetal pole yet, but my tube was clear, so it was enough to lead to a family celebration. The baby grew normally and I had a great belly by the time of Logan and Carolyn’s wedding in December.

2008- This was the year of Jonas’ birth, which was easy and uncomplicated. Jeremy was accepted for an internship position in Salt Lake City. So at the end of the semester, we packed our little Accord full and drove west. We enjoyed our time in SLC and enjoyed it’s a more convenient location to family members who we got to see numerous times over the summer. Then we came back to finish Jeremy’s last year of master’s program.

2009- Jeremy worked hard on his thesis on edible landscapes, and looked around for job possibilities. Unfortunately, there were none. His college normally has job-placement ratings in the mid-’90s. This year it was like 4%. Jeremy and my parents along with my freshly returned from Russia brother Mark came to visit for graduation. We still didn’t have a real plan.

We considered a few options and decided that Jeremy would pursue a Ph.D. in Environmental Land Planning and Design. Another three-year program. Jeremy and I had talked a few times over the years about a Ph.D., but I had generally vetoed it reasoning that we needed to actually start making money at some point in our life. But after getting used to the idea (which took me a long time) it really will be a great blessing for us and makes sense to do at this point in our lives rather than later as I had always suggested.

At the end of the summer, we found out we were pregnant with baby #3. More bleeding followed by ultrasounds showed that this was going to be a viable pregnancy but was just going to be “complicated.” But we’re experts of that by now. Jeremy got started with his Ph.D. classes and we all adjusted to our new –similar but not quite the same as before– life.

We’re grateful for our house and the fact that having it already made this transition easier for us. We’re excited about the new opportunities that will come based on Jeremy’s increased education. We’re excited for baby boy #3 who will be joining us shortly.

I’m generally pleased with the last decade of my life. I’m glad about my college experiences. I’m glad for the time I spent out on my own. And I’m glad for the time that Jeremy and I took to come to each other, not jumping into marriage before either of us was ready. I’m so grateful to have Jeremy in my life, and can’t imagine being happier any other way. I’m also grateful for the difficult times which have helped me to grow and develop into hopefully a better person.

I don’t know what the next 10 years will bring. 1 + (?) more children. A “real” job or two. A new house or two. A new town or two. Schools for the boys. Owen will be entering teenagerdom. Hopefully better mothering and homemaking and wife-being skills for me. We’ll just have to see.