Sunday, June 29, 2008

Family picture, new wardrobes, some fun and a concern about what America's hospitals are teaching our children

Yes, we have become parents.

Those parents.

Probably your parents.

The parents who tell everyone, "hold on," right when you get home from church because they want a family picture before everyone changes into more comfortable clothes. And you know what? We like it.

And so do you. Admit it. Having a current family picture is a great thing, and it helps that we can show off our kid's cute new outfit.

(Speaking of new clothes for Clara... She has an entire wardrobe right from the get-go. Can you imagine having 30 new outfits just waiting for you when you got home some day? It would be incredible. I think we should implement "30 showers," in the same vein as baby showers, but when you turn 30, all your friends and family get together and buy you new clothes. It would be great. Thirty years old is about when you need to get rid of your high school T-shirts and punk-kid clothes and start dressing like a grown up. The only downside to this is with about half of all people (the group called "men") you would have to do a follow-up shower every 10 years or so, or the 30 Shower clothes would still be used at the 60th birthday party. NOTE: The age 30 has nothing to do with the fact that I would love a new wardrobe in about 34 months.)

All is going well for us in Heber City. We are settled in to living out of our suitcases and various boxes on the floor and loving it. Clara's doctor said everything is great for us to go to Fresno for the 4th of July, too. We have also been able to have some fun, including hauling more than 1800 pounds of bunk beds for Crystal's dad, having a cook out at the family cabin and picking up our forwarded mail from Ogden. (Yeah, we used to be cool, but remember, we're parents now.)

Here are some pictures of the cookout and the bunkbed move. Thanks to Crystal's mom for carrying so many futon mattresses. S'mores are so good!

Finally, I have a quick comment on something we saw while in the NICU with Clara. In her room, there were eight "pods" for the babies. Each one was lettered, A through H. All the pods were decorated with cute, hand-painted signs indicating their letter, and also with an animal in a Noah's Ark theme, with birds on the B sign, camels on the C, elephants on the E, etc. All of it made sense except for the A, Clara's bed. This is what her sign looked like.

A is for ... Zebra?

If Clara turns out illiterate, it is going to be on the head of the hospital. That's my decision. After all, I'm the parent.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Homelessness cont.

Poor Clara, born to a pair of unemployed, homeless twentysomethings in the middle of a hot summer. It makes me wonder if she decided to stay in the hospital longer just so she wouldn't have to deal with the streets. The above picture shows the cart the hospital gave us (I guess they were out of grocery store carts) to move our stuff from one room to another while we lived in the building so we could be close to Clara.

Kidding aside, Clara was released from the hospital today after responding very well to a five-day course of intravenous antibiotics. The inflammation in her blood system, which was indicative of an infection, dropped quickly and she ate and ate while she was in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (which means she also went through diaper after diaper ... atta girl!) After she got out of the hospital, we celebrated by going to the park and enjoying a few minutes in the shade on the grass. It was our first outing as a non-couple family, and we loved it. Clara slept for most of it and then had a picnic, courtesy of Crystal.

It was a blast to sit on the blanket and enjoy the beautiful day. After a while, we met some of my former coworkers from the paper for a delicious and fun good-bye lunch. It was fun to talk to them and I will really miss them. I was lucky to work with a lot of really great people at the paper.

Then, we drove to my parents' house and picked up a few more of our possessions and let my brother, Tanner, hold Clara. He was recovering from pneumonia (poor guy) when everyone else at home came to the hospital to meet her after she was born. We also let her lie face-down on a blanket for a while, something the nurses suggested because it allows Clara to strengthen her neck and arms in preparation for crawling in a few months. I am trying to take lots of pictures so we can remember her in this stage before she grows up.

After staying for a while in Bountiful, we drove to Crystal's parents' house in Heber City. Here, we are settling in for another bout of homelessness. Thanks to our parents and McKay-Dee Hospital, homelessness hasn't been that hard on us. We are grateful for our blessings, that's for sure.

To end, have one more picture of our little cutie.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More Clara (because that's what you really want)

On Saturday morning, we were informed that Clara had to go to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit because she had fast breathing, low oxygen saturation and increased levels of inflammation markers in her blood.
They started her on some intravenous antibiotics and gave her some oxygen to breathe. After about 6 hours on the oxygen, she was able to go back to breathing regular room air, and has been breathing slower and having 95- to 100-percent oxygen saturation ever since. Hooray for her!
As for the inflammation markers, they are down, but still a lot higher than where they should be. For that reason, it is expected she will be in the NICU for 5 to 7 more days, meaning we get to live in the hospital! Hooray for us! (not really, but really, because while not very comfortable, we can still go in every 3 hours to feed our little beauty and hold her and care for her and change her diaper and bathe her and just be her parents and never let her go, except when we have to leave) The hospital staff has really been great and we are so blessed to be able to stay here as long as they have an extra room.
While she gets the antibiotic treatments, we are trying to let all her time be spent eating or sleeping, so she has lots of energy for her little body to fight off whatever is bothering it. The thought of staying here for a week is daunting, but our families are making it a lot easier. Jordan's siblings came up this morning and brought our clothes (the hospital makes the list as Homeless Shelter #2) and lunch, and then his parents brought dinner and stuff for breakfast later. Crystal's mom is coming up Monday to stay for a while, and also stayed with us on Saturday for a few hours. Their support and the prayers of so many of you are greatly, greatly appreciated. This has been a humbling experience for us and has made us so grateful for all we have and all the wonderful people around us who love us.
We will continue to post updates (thanks to McKay-Dee Hospital Center's free wireless Internet!) and pictures as they are available. For the meantime, enjoy a couple pictures here ... one with one of the cute bows made by Crystal's sister, Maren (see the link on the right of the page for more of her awesome bows), and another of Clara smiling after being urged on by Jordan's mom.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

World... Meet Clara!

Our sweet little baby, Clara, was born Friday June 20, in Ogden, Utah. She weighs 8 pounds 8 ounces, is 20.5 inches long and has a little head full of dark hair. She is absolutely beautiful.
We are still at the hospital, but we'll post more pictures and updates soon.
Crystal and Clara are both doing well. Hopefully she'll get to meet you all real soon!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


For those of you who haven't heard our interesting life updates, as of today, Jordan and I are officially homeless! That is right, our house is sold, we are moved out and living out of suitcases and at the mercy of our families to take pity on us and let us crash with them until we move to Ohio. What's that you say? You thought we would have a home until the end of June? Well so did we!

We were supposed to rent back our house from the buyers until the end of June, but a week ago today, they changed the conditions on us and we didn't like them so we decided we would move out rather than meet the demands they were asking for. They were supposed to sign the papers on Friday but didn't get it done in time, so it gave us a little more time to pack up and move out. On Saturday we bought a trailer and packed up the house. Sunday we both were released from our callings at church. Monday the buyers signed the papers. Tuesday all the Young Men in our ward came over and loaded up our trailer. Wednesday some of the Young Women came over and helped me clean the house and we drove the trailer up to my parent's house in Heber where it will live until we drive it to Ohio. Today, Thursday, the funding went through and was recorded which made us officially homeless. Now I just need to evict Chicklet from my body and we will be set!

It was a week ago today that we found out we had to move out or submit to some really bad rental contract terms. I can't believe we got it all done! One thing I do know is that Heavenly Father truly blesses us when we do what he asks and when we try and take care of ourselves as much as possible. Jordan and I prayed about what we should do when faced with this dilemma, and it was a hard decision to make, but we know we made the right one because everything worked out, and way better than I could have planned it. Thanks again to all of you who helped us with the move and for all the prayers in our behalf. You will never know how it helped. I am still amazed that Chicklet hasn't made her grand entrance into the world yet, especially with how much stress I was under this past week and how much physical labor I did, but that is another blessing. As crazy as our life is and has been, we are living it and don't have a single complaint!

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Great Race

In 1908, there was a car race from New York to Paris. It took the racers from February to August and September to arrive and only half (out of six cars) actually finished, the American car, the German car and the Italian car (the three French cars failed in their quest). Click on the above picture for a bigger view.

The Italian car, a 1906 Zust, had quite an adventure on the race, and then an even longer one since. It ended up in British Columbia, where it was recently restored.

It had a little adventure while it was here in Ogden, so when the owners were on a recent trip across the country following the race route, they stopped here. And, luckily, they stopped at the newspaper. Which means I got to see the car and write a story about it. Check it out here!

Also, here is the site of the owners and here is another about the race (and a 100-year recreation that was canceled two months ago because China wouldn't let the racers through their area.)

Also, because I love it, I am sending you to check out the 1965 movie "The Great Race," a hilarious film based on the original race. Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate is one of my favorite all-time movie villains. Note the awesome oompa-oompa music that is Professor Fate's theme in this clip.

Check out the trailer below:

Monday, June 2, 2008

(See picture)

The picture on this post is a symbolic representation of what has happened to our big secret in the last few days. While most of you who read this blog already know about our secret, we have refrained from posting anything about it because this blog is free and open to the entire world. So, for anyone who hasn't spoken with us personally recently about our big plans, here is the news.

As of August, we will be living in Columbus, Ohio, and I will be attending The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. That means we'll be moving from our Ogden home to an as-yet-undetermined home in Columbus.

I gave notice to my editors at The Standard-Examiner Friday, and my last day will be June 20. Crazy, huh? I will miss the newspaper (and the crazy stories I get to cover, like the helicopter crash this morning, but I am excited for the future and whatever challenges are ahead.

I am also excited for 60 days of vacation, being a dad and getting to visit family in California before we move.

(PS - My bag-drawing skills are a lot better than my non-burning cat-drawing skills.)