Devereaux Devices

This is us.

1 and 5 November 18, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Temma @ 3:51 am

Every parent says this – that the days are long and the years are short. But it really does catch me off guard each time a birthday comes around. I feel a little shortsighted each time it happens. How did my baby grow another year? Or how did that first year of life just happen?

There has always been a part of me that’s sad when my children leave one younger stage behind and enter one more mature. But then as it happens I realize that they are becoming more of their true selves. I feel like I am getting to know them better and at a deeper level.

Sarah turned 1 early this October. She took her first steps a couple weeks before her birthday and, though she’s been our most cautious walker, she soon got the hang of it and ditched her bear-style crawl.

Sarah is assertive. And she has to be with 2 older brothers. She loves them despite all their craziness. She adores dogs and stuffed puppies. She loves her baby doll that was given to her by her aunt and must have it to sleep. She loves wearing her shoes any chance she gets. She has learned to say ‘cheese’ and it’s a safe bet that it’s her favorite food right now. She does not like being strapped in to her car seat or stroller. You’re asking for trouble if you make her do it more than twice in a day. Even that’s pushing it. She’s recently become enamored with her dad and rushing to him with joy when he gets home each day.

Jamie turned 5 early this month. FIVE! He really surprised me by wanting a birthday party. Since we’d only been in south Florida a couple months and Jamie had been struggling with feeling good about being in his new church and school classes I expected we’d just do something with our family. But he wanted to invite friends over to our place, play with legos and watch Big Hero 6. I never told him how easy he was letting me off :) We invited a few friends from church and school and he felt so happy after having them over and sharing that day with them. It was such a good thing to do for him.

Jamie is ever the creative, ingenuitive kid. He still loves legos and may have even referred to himself as the lego master one day while giving me advice on which legos to use for the house I was building. He is really interested to know how things work and move. He loves grabbing blank papers, crayons, pencils, tape and scissors and sitting down to do whatever art project he can concoct in the moment. Forts are also becoming his forte. Our home is perpetually in a state of stray paper shreds, legos, pillows and blankets.

Jamie is good buds with Christopher and adores his baby sister. He is constantly bursting with thoughts and information to share. And just to not leave Christopher out – he was so happy with all of the celebrations for Jamie’s birthday. He took it all very well considering he had to watch his brother get some cool gifts. After Sarah and Jamie’s birthdays he is very much looking forward to his own!



My Perfectly Imperfect Birthing October 8, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Temma @ 1:54 am

I’ve thought a lot about how my feelings and attitude towards labor and birth have changed over the course of the years. Each one of my children’s births has been very different, and unexpected factors always appear which direct the course of my labor and delivery. I feel much more open-minded and compassionate towards women who have difficult experiences in childbirth. I no longer believe that if one just tries hard enough, anyone can have an unmedicated birth.

When I prepared for the birth of my first child, I was geared to deliver unmedicated at a birthing center. I chose a group of midwives who I liked and a birthing center that felt comfortable. I paid for a home study Hypnobabies class (because I wasn’t willing to part with over $300 to go to a live class), and I watched a lot of videos documenting women successfully giving birth without using drugs or without getting episiotomies. I only surrounded myself with positive talk about the birth experience. I took a childbirth class from a respected doula, exercised regularly while pregnant, and took my prenatal vitamins and red raspberry supplements dutifully before the baby was expected to come. I didn’t get hung up about the “due” date. I knew to look at it more as a window of time and that the baby would come when he was ready. I had dreams of catching my own baby after an unmedicated labor and delivery. I practiced my kegals RELIGIOUSLY  every day.  I researched and learned all about how devastating unnecessary interventions could be to the progression of labor and delivery and to the mother and baby’s health. I talked with other mothers who had delivered without medication. In short, I prepared the best way I knew how: thoroughly. The downside to all of the research that I did and the videos I watched was I became very fearful of giving birth in a hospital or without a midwife. Everything I read and heard was centered around how hospitals and doctors are quick to use unnecessary interventions which often lead to the use of forceps, giving episiotomies, or cesarean surgery. These are reasons why I chose to deliver at a birthing center. This fear, however, did not go away. It stayed with me and proved to be very detrimental in my recovery from the way my baby’s birth actually happened.

One day before my first baby’s due date I came home after a day of work. I was a school psychologist and worked at an elementary and a junior high school. I was tired, as was the case most days, and I laid down in the late afternoon to rest with my husband. Not long after I had lain down, I felt a “pop!” and the next instance I felt a warm liquid running down my legs. I definitely was not expecting my water to break before labor started, let alone before my baby’s due date. But I instantly knew what it was and ran (or waddled) into the bathroom. My contractions felt weak and inconsistent for the first 1 to 2 hours after the bag of waters broke, but then – Oh. My. Goodness. They felt to be on top of each other and out of control. I felt out of control and like I couldn’t mentally get on top of them. I vomited several times while we were at our home and began to feel very weak from the loss of fluids. That whole labor felt like a blur even while it was happening. I didn’t realize that my labor could escalate that rapidly. I was planning on laboring at home for hours. But with my water breaking it seemed to just surge those contractions forward. We got to the birthing center around 9 or 10 p.m. and we were only there for a couple hours when the midwife became very concerned about the baby’s heart rate. (By the way, there was nothing that helped me feel more comfortable during that labor. I tried the tub, various positions – everything. Nothing took the edge off. I didn’t want to listen to any music I had pre-recorded and all of the self-hypnosis I practiced? I didn’t even get a chance to think about using it.) The midwife hooked me up to her little monitor and after an hour or so just looked at my husband and I and said, “You need to think about transferring to a hospital. Your baby’s heart rate keeps dropping down to the 80’s during contractions.” Here I was, wearing an oxygen mask, not even knowing how I was going to endure the next contraction, and my midwife was asking me to make this huge decision about whether or not we should transfer over to the hospital. And I couldn’t get a gut feeling or prompting either way about what to do, let alone think straight. Aren’t women supposed to have a mother’s intuition? I know what I was feeling at that time and it definitely wasn’t intuition. But we decided to go. We figured if our midwife was concerned enough to suggest it, we had better go.

The transfer stressed me out so much that on the drive over I felt my contractions slow down. Once I got to the hospital they continued but they were weak. My labor was stalling. Everything happened so quickly once we got there that it’s hard to remember what happened first. But I eventually got hooked up to an IV and Pitocin and we monitored that baby’s heart rate for hours to see if it would look good during contractions. Every time we turned the Pitocin down so that I didn’t have a labor-progressing contraction, his heart rate was beautiful. Every time we turned it up a notch to get my contractions strong enough to get things going, his heart rate went back down. This went on all night and into the early morning. My eyes never left the screen of the monitor the whole time. That’s when the MD came in to talk about surgery. It was my worst fear being played out. I was shaking so badly and so anxious about the whole experience that nothing seemed to make sense to me. The midwife stayed with us the entire time at the hospital until surgery was decided on and assured me that they had done everything they could to get the baby to come vaginally. When the docs pulled my baby boy out, he was as happy as could be and had the best APGAR scores out of all 3 of my babies. I was left wondering what in the world just happened. For days and weeks and maybe even months I kept thinking that I failed. My body wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough. If I had just tried harder I could have had that baby vaginally, unmedicated. This, coupled with the normal hormonal changes after birth and learning how to breastfeed (we won’t even go there right now) and take care of a newborn propelled me in to a very anxious, emotionally dark time. Looking back, I think I may have met the criteria for having postpartum depression. It was about 6 months after my first baby’s birth that I began to pull out of that difficult time.


A couple years after my oldest was born I began to look back differently on that experience and my thoughts and feelings about it. I almost couldn’t believe that I had blamed myself so much for how his birth went. Seriously? I didn’t try hard enough? I couldn’t have done anything more to prepare myself. And now I’ve learned that you can do all that you can to prepare, but the best preparation is to be open with yourself and expect the unplanned and the unexpected. I almost laugh now when I think about all of those self-blaming thoughts. I began to view my cesarean surgery as close to the ultimate sacrifice I could have made to bring that baby in to this world. And that began to help me feel strong and proud about my baby’s birth experience.  I did something that I was so afraid of doing. As I saw things in a much different light, I realized how much my ability to enjoy my newborn had been tainted by all of those self-blaming thoughts. There were definitely other factors involved in my postpartum recovery, but my regret about his birth played a huge part. Oh how I wish I could have thought differently about it all at the time!

Ok, on to baby #2’s birth. I was much more practical and realistic with this one. I chose a hospital 45 minutes away because I really wanted a VBAC  (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) – not so much that I would have been destroyed without it, but I really wanted to try for it. Although I began to have better feelings about having a C-section, I knew that a vaginal delivery is much better overall for mom and baby when possible. The hospital in town had a horrible record for VBACs so I steered clear of it. My midwives were great (which were different from baby #1 since we had moved to a new state) and the nurses were just fantastic.

My labor started (and ended) very differently with baby #2. It was SLOW to get going. I had contractions all through the night the day of my baby’s due date and then they just…stopped. It was 6 a.m. and I hadn’t slept at all. I called my midwife and she said get some sleep. They’ll probably start again later in the day. Sure enough, late that afternoon around 3 or 4 they started to go again and around 8 p.m. I was in labor. We drove the hour up to the hospital and got there around 10 p.m. My contractions slowed I think because I unintentionally held them off while on the drive up to the hospital, but as soon as I was checked in and got on the birthing ball they picked up again. As they got stronger I began changing positions. I stood in the shower for what seemed like an hour at which time my water broke. Then I walked back to the room and leaned over the hospital bed. The contractions were getting so strong and I was having a hard time allowing my body to be in the position it needed to keep them coming. I didn’t want to feel the pain! My midwife realized this and made me get in a better position.  I felt incredibly cramped in the hospital room since everything was under construction.  There was, again, nothing I could do to find any relief. Then I got in the tub, hoping the water would take the edge off. I was disappointed to find that it made me feel more uncomfortable. I got out and was checked. By this time it was close to midnight. When my midwife said I was at a 5, I mentally shut down. “I want an epidural” I said. Those ominous words! I did not feel like I could make it another 5 centimeters. I knew that it would probably go faster, but I wasn’t thinking about that. I just thought I was so worn out from the contractions and the vomiting that I didn’t feel I could make it. So I got the epidural.

For the rest of the night I didn’t sleep at all but watched the baby monitor the whole night and morning through, anxious still from what happened with our first baby. At 9 a.m. my midwife came in and checked me and said I was ready to push. Unfortunately, they had just given me another epidural dose and I was in no place to feel anything to know when to push. My midwife ordered it off and finally, about an hour after pushing with very little success, the effects of the epidural began to wear off and I could feel enough to push with my contractions. After two hours of pushing, a couple more times of retching, and one time of almost passing out, baby boy #2 was born! My midwife was incredibly patient with the whole process and even protectively held off the on-call MD who wanted to see more action faster.  The whole team cheered after he was born. Everyone was so excited that I was able to have the VBAC. I have never felt more tired in my life then when I did an hour after this baby’s birth. I could barely keep my eyes open while I was eating the food they ordered for me. The hospital was so amazing that baby boy left my arms only once for 5 minutes (after an hour and a half of skin-to-skin) and then not again after that until we took him home. I loved it. The day after I had my baby my midwife came in to the hospital room to check up on me. I felt slightly sheepish for my choice to get drugs but she was very validating when she said, “Your epidural got you your VBAC.”


Now for baby #3. After one successful VBAC I felt more confident in giving birth, but I knew to still be realistic. I told my midwives that I wanted to try again to go unmedicated, but I wasn’t going to put a ton of pressure on myself to adhere to an ideal standard that I may not be able to keep and then feel awful about it afterward.  I like a good challenge but giving birth is not the same as running a marathon. There are much fewer variables that can be controlled during the actual event of birth. Baby girl’s due date came and went and it wasn’t until a week later that I began to have any sign of consistent contractions. They were weak but they were happening more regularly and frequently. After I went in for a non-stress test one week after the baby’s due date, the midwife suggested I go to the hospital for more monitoring and to have the baby. I was at first very hesitant about this. And I was emphatic that I did not want to be induced. We all agreed that this would be a last resort, especially since I was a VBAC and it is not recommended. I always like to let the baby come when he or she is ready but I also understood that sometimes other factors necessitate helping that along. Her heart rate was borderline on one of the criteria of the non-stress tests and the midwives felt more comfortable with me checking in as soon as possible, so we agreed that we would start labor with breaking my waters if necessary instead of an induction. Our family had been experiencing a tremendous amount of stress the last 9 months but October 10th was the first day I felt like I was truly ready to have the baby, so as I was driving home to tell my husband we needed to go to the hospital, I felt good about going.

As soon as I got there I was hooked up to the monitor and for two hours the baby was blissfully fine. Both the midwife and the MD on call came in to study the monitor results and agreed – she seemed to look great. However they still gave me the option to strip my membranes.  I felt so torn! I wasn’t in active labor yet, and I knew if we went that route there was no going back. I like to let labor start on its own, yet I was having consistent regular contractions and I was already dilated to a 4. My husband and I talked and agreed that if we went home, it would likely only be a matter of a day that we’d be coming back. That, coupled with the fact that there were concerns about the baby’s heart rate earlier in the day, helped us make the decision to stay. We viewed breaking my waters as speeding labor along rather than inducing it from nothing.

So we went ahead with it and about 45 minutes later I was in active labor. I felt like I was handling it very well for the first hour. And then things started to get more intense. I got in to different positions. I got in to the tub, hoping that third time’s a charm and it would offer some relief. At first it seemed to help but then I just felt more uncomfortable and I did not like how I felt my movement was restricted. As I stood up to get out of the tub I said it again: “I can’t do this anymore. I want an epidural.” My midwife looked at me. She said something along the lines of, “Now Temma you said you want to do this unmedicated. You’re doing great. Are you sure about this?” Yes, yes. I’m sure. I began comparing this labor to my last. I felt exactly the way I did with baby #2 when I was at a 5.  I did not want to go further. My midwife asked if she could check me first and I made my way over to the bed. She told me I was at a 9! You would think I would be incredibly happy at that point. But all I could think was that I was too late to get an epidural and I would have to endure the rest of labor. So began the wailing and the insistence on getting some medication. My midwife again tried to convince me out of it but I insisted further.  Nothing felt right about my body at that point. I don’t even know how it all worked out with how far along I was, but I was given a last minute spinal and immediately told to start pushing. The nurse and midwife insisted it would feel better, but when I tried to bring my legs back it did not, and I couldn’t! As the midwife examined the baby she found that she was posterior and her heart rate began to drop. The MD on call was standing by and I later found out this was because there began to be some concern about getting the baby out. I was writhing at that point and the spinal wasn’t kicking in. I was getting no relief and I couldn’t push the baby out. It was at that point that the midwife and James (who is a saint during this entire process each and every time) both looked me in the eyes and said, “Temma, this baby needs to come. We need you to push her out right now.” And it was at that very moment that the spinal kicked in, I found some relief, I was able to get control back of my body, and I pushed. I was still able to feel each contraction and I pushed with all my might with each one. The midwife initially tried to help the baby turn, and with each push the baby began to turn more and more on her own. After a mere 20 minutes of pushing, our baby girl was born. This felt like the most anti-climactic birth because of how fast everything went (3 hours from start to finish). I did not get to hold her immediately because she appeared to have trouble breathing. She was rushed to a resuscitation team that had come in and within less than a minute, she gave a healthy cry and all was well. So. I got medication again. I’m not thrilled about it. I would love to say that I didn’t need any medication for the last two births. But, again, and after talking with my midwife at my postpartum check-up and her confirming it, I feel it was a good decision for me in my labor.

2014-10-11 18.58.38

A big takeaway for me after these experiences was that you can’t anticipate all of the variables that can occur or change during the course of labor. And you can’t always factor in how they will affect you, or how the unique combination of different variables will affect you.  Should I factor in the immense stress I had been feeling several months before baby #3 was born? I think so. I didn’t anticipate that baby #3 was posterior or how that would affect me during labor. I didn’t anticipate with my second baby’s birth that I would be pushing for 2 hours or vomiting during the entire labor and delivery. And I definitely didn’t anticipate that my first baby would experience significant distress during the contractions.

I’ve come to realize that a birth is beautiful no matter how it happens. That women are strongest when they are doing their best to make good choices for themselves and their babies. That hospitals are not evil and there are good doctors out there. For the record, I still choose midwives every time. I haven’t completely abandoned all of my prior beliefs. I do agree that doctors tend to intervene unnecessarily quicker than midwives. I do shoot for an unmedicated birth every time (unsuccessfully so far 3 out of 3 times).  And I do believe in trying to use natural relaxation methods during labor and in being connected to that birthing experience as much as possible. But I’m no longer afraid of giving birth in a hospital. In fact I really, really like it. I believe that either myself or my first son or both of us would have died if it weren’t for a well-equipped medical staff in a well-equipped hospital.

Another huge lesson I’ve learned is that you must be able to completely trust who you choose as your provider. I realized after baby #1 that if my midwife told me we needed to use some sort of intervention that I wasn’t initially planning on, I needed to be able to trust her advice 100% and know she had my and the baby’s very best interest at heart. Your provider is your advocate. This was very clear to me when baby #2 was born. She was quite protective of me as the MD on call kept hovering and trying to give me advice while I was pushing. I only listened to my midwife because she had earned my trust. And it made all the difference in that baby’s birth.

Also, it’s important for women to be as informed as possible, but to get information from varied sources. And talk to women who have different experiences. And don’t be afraid! Expect things to get wacky. Maybe they won’t, but if they do you’ll mentally be prepared. Above all, remember that each baby’s birth is in the Lord’s hands. If you’ve done what you can to prepare and make informed decisions, if you’ve kept an open mind and can be kind with yourself throughout the whole process, remember that in the end, the Lord is in control. I firmly believe now that my first was supposed to come the way he came. I don’t know why. I still am not totally sure why he struggled so much. I have some theories but I can’t be sure. But it was the right experience for both of us. I don’t regret trying to birth in a birthing center with him even though we had to transfer to a hospital. I felt like that was the right choice at the time. I have learned so much about myself as a result. I don’t judge other women for choosing different options. The fact that women are choosing different options is, in fact, great! It means that we actually have options and that women are taking in to account whatever unique circumstances in which they find themselves. Motherhood should be the great equalizer. I don’t understand why women sometimes compare on the pretense that they have it all figured out. I’ve come to understand that we have all climbed that steep learning curve. Why would I pretend that I know how everything should be done?

My overall purpose in sharing these birthing experiences is to hopefully give some woman somewhere a bit of validation if she feels her birthing experience was not as she had hoped for. I remember feeling so devastated after my first child’s birth, and if I can help someone avoid that self-blame and that same devastation, then I would feel so good about opening up about my experiences. Especially if it allows a mother to be able to enjoy her baby more. I also hope that the online birthing community will be more open about all ways of having a baby. I hope that online forums can focus on providing accurate, well-researched information that tries to be as un-biased as possible. And I hope that all women’s birthing experiences, whether medicated or not, whether at home or in a hospital, are celebrated. No just, “Yeah, that’s so great for you,” celebrated. But truly, genuinely, honestly, loved and celebrated. I love my body. I love that I could survive and recover from being cut open to birth a baby. I love that my body could heal and that I could attempt and be successful in having a baby vaginally two times after that. I love that I’ve come to learn more about my body’s capabilities and limitations. I love my body’s ultimate dependence on the Lord to help get me through each child’s birth. And I love, love, love the babies that have come to us with each birthing experience.


In Love and Loss March 25, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Temma @ 10:51 pm

Today we celebrate the life of our departed Neil – Christopher Neil Harris for those who like his full name or are otherwise unaware.  As a family a tradition has developed to share this day with loved ones with ice cream and an act of service.  We decided this year to perform our service by fundraising for Operation Underground Railroad, a charity combined with Elizabeth Smart’s foundation to rescue children who are trafficked all around the world. However, I would also like to take a moment to remember Neil and his impact on our family and me personally.

Now to be clear, I have not been one to romanticize events or people, I find that in honestly portraying people and events we learn more and are able to truly appreciate them for how and what they are.  Hopefully this provides insight into my insight, that in evaluating the impact this one individual had on me and my family I can help describe the good man he was and his genuine contribution to my life, and of course always the impact on my wife and children.

One of the first times I spent time with Neil, outside of a brief encounter with him (and Susan too) was a visit he made to Utah at the same time as his and Temma’s grandparents, Grandpa Whitey and Grandma DeeDee. They were kind enough to treat us to Red Robin.  On the drive to the restaurant Neil reminisced of loves lost, one of the great experiences of single life I am sure many can understand.  As we waited for our meals to arrive in walked one of the girls Neil had once dated and her new husband.  It was a little odd, and Neil had to take respite in wandering the mall adjoined to the restaurant.  This was the first of a little lesson Neil taught me, for all his bravado, his toughness, his shyness and his humor, the man loved deeply.  This love was much greater for his family then an old girlfriend whose name I don’t remember and it developed on greater levels for the love of his life, Susan.  But in all I remember of Neil is his deep love for people, the same people that at times made him incredibly anxious, he always had a way of making others feel loved.

Later I visited Temma’s family in Florida. She was good enough to arrange a canoe adventure on a little river somewhat near Gainesville. Neil drove and we were also accompanied by Kathleen and Wim, who were also dating at the time.  This provided added adventure because as soon as we started down the river it became apparent that Wim and Kadee had much less experience with canoe navigation than Temma and me.  Neil was a passenger on board their  canoe as they meandered about the river. Nothing they did looked intentional and they struggled to synchronize. It was funny. What made it hilarious was Neil standing in the canoe giving directions in the voice of a Muppet (like Beaker, but intelligible) as if he were the captain of the blundering ship and all was intentional.  Eventually he laughed, jumped out and swam to our canoe.  I’m sure it was frustrating at the time for the novice canoers but his good humor is much appreciated in hindsight.  Neil taught and lived good humor.  Like a good brother he teased but also used it as a way to express his love.

Neil visited us a few more times while between various assignments in the armed services, I can still remember him after returning from Afghanistan. The impact was clear and indelible, yet he remained Neil, more experienced, having seen much more and experienced the spectrum of war.  His companions spoke well of him at his funeral and his service, something we never heard of from his lips, he was never one to boast of his own good work (sometimes of his crazy cross fit work-outs).

The next visit with Neil I would like to highlight is one of the last times we saw him.  We had just moved to Virginia to attend William & Mary, which was a few hours north of Neil’s assignment at Camp Lejeune.  He took his free time and met us at our new apartment. After a two day search where we lived like nomads, we had finally found a habitable space within our budget and could leave our budget motel.  He met us there, helped us unload, helped us clean (the place was filthy, the previous tenant had not cleaned and we opted to do so in order to move in right away) and spent quality time with us.  He spent time with Jamie and our family.  We didn’t do anything exciting, no sightseeing, just unpacking and cleaning.  Neil was a true example of service.

Our final in-person visit with Neil was a good memory. We stopped by Camp Lejeune on our way to Florida.  He held and played with Jamie, always the amazing Uncle.  His impact on our only child at the time was so strong, that at Neil’s funeral Jamie saw Neil in his casket and started to ask repeatedly for “Uncle Neil.” It was a touching reminder of his impact on all his nieces and nephews.  While giving us a tour of the base in his big Ford pickup he disclosed his desire to marry Susan.  It struck me as a fantastic idea, you could tell that he was happy and comfortable in his decision even though it would be a major lifestyle change for him.  He told us as much and expressed his concern about the change but had clearly made up his mind.  Neil had struggled with commitment, but he had clearly loved Susan for some time and knew it required a change in him. What I saw as he revealed his desire to marry Susan was courage – courage to love and to change for love.

That was a great visit with Neil and will always be a cherished reminder of his final days.

In visits and in reviewing the photos of him and Susan getting hitched in Vegas, I had never seen him more content, happier or satisfied.  A certain anxiety accompanied Neil for most the time I knew him, nothing ameliorated that anxiety more than his love for Susan and subsequent marriage.  That decision changed part of his nature, made him better, strengthened his resolve and healed him emotionally.

As we all find ways to mourn and remember those we’ve lost, I hope we can remember the great benefit of our lost loved ones, and that the memorable iconic words that it is better to have loved and lost then never to have loved ring undeniably true.  My life is better from Neil’s impact, and I hope my memories may serve as a reminder why we love and the important part love and loss plays in our lives.  I know for my sake and that of my family we are better because of Neil’s love and example.

family pic with neil march 2012


Brief Update October 7, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Temma @ 8:10 pm

Since baby #3’s due date has come and gone I thought I’d make use of the extra time I’ve had to update our blog with recent pictures of our boys. We had a fun summer spending lots of time in our yard, playing in the sprinkler, and visiting parks and splash pads.
Christopher is talking a lot now, asking where everyone and everything went when they go out of sight. He loves learning friends’ and family members’ names and asks about them all the time. He recently had a doctor’s appointment and he is in the 90th percentile for height and weight! Now I feel validated when I feel so clumsy trying to carry him (in the rare moments that I do) with my prego belly.
Jamie started preschool in early September and has had mixed feelings about it. He’s developed a shyness around others and has taken a while to break out of his shell with his teacher and preschool peers though I believe he’s really starting to enjoy it. He is becoming so good at creating things out of legos and loves super heroes, Wild Kratts, running/exercising, and helping James with any projects. Both boys adore their father!
We had the opportunity to visit my brother, Neil’s, grave in August. It was good to be there again and for the boys to have that experience. My sister-in-law and her family have done such a good job keeping it up and putting flowers and toy soldiers at his grave.







Can’t Get Enough of Spring June 1, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Temma @ 4:02 pm

The weather has finally, offically, undeniably warmed up here in the valley. This is like heaven on earth for a mom of children of any age, I imagine. Having a huge yard and warm weather for our kids to enjoy really helps to offset the tiny home we are living in right now. It feels great to get out and play every day!

Some fun adventures we had in the yard today: James mowing the lawn while carrying Christopher in a hiking backpack. Image

This is how James exercises, takes care of household chores, and spends quality time with the kids while he’s not working or studying for the bar. Jamie also likes to take his little scooter and pretends to mow right alongside James. The other day he got blisters on both his thumbs from “mowing” so long and so hard! Another fun adventure we had was a game our family inadvertently  made up this evening. We put the boys on tricycles and pushed them around the yard while chasing a giant exercise ball. I pushed Jamie and James pushed Christopher and we raced each other to see which kid could get to the ball first and push it with his tricycle. I wish we had a picture of this because it was so fun and I’m sure it looked hilarious! The boys loved it and Jamie named it Race Ball. How awesome is that? 

Another game Jamie has invented over the past few weeks is equally as awesome. It’s called Undie Catch. The game goes like this: Grab a pair of (clean) undies and throw them in any direction you desire. That’s it. Maybe you should try to catch it, maybe you should just let him catch it. You never know until after the throw and he tells you what you should’ve done. “No dad just let me catch it!” Or, “Dad you were supposed to catch it!” 

We got to enjoy a long weekend visit from my sister, her husband, and their youngest little boy. It was so nice to see them, especially since I won’t be seeing her again for a few months since she’ll be having another baby boy this July! Some highlights from their visit: We ate lots of delicious food; rode a ferris wheel in a sporting goods store; visited with an aunt, uncle, and cousin in Kaysville; celebrated Memorial day together at a splash pad and then cooked out; and refereed Jamie and his cousin all weekend long (some day they’ll be really close and loving). We finished off the visit with a round of pink eye! We were happy to make new memories with them and loved their company. Wish we could see more family more often. 







Another 1st birthday! March 10, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Temma @ 10:58 pm


Our sweet boy Christopher had his first birthday and we were so lucky to get to celebrate with family this time! We had a blast celebrating with friends in Williamsburg when Jamie turned one, but it was special to have aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents at Christopher’s. We were moving in to our new home on his actual birthday, so we had a small little family celebration involving a donut and celebrated with extended family the following Sunday.

He loved his strawberry cake! He is growing and doing so many things now. He loves to wear his socks and shoes and is always asking me to put them on his feet. On Sunday we were in the process of getting him dressed for church (still in diaper) when he wanted me to put his shoes on. Of course I did so and we got a laugh out of watching him walk around in his diaper and shoes per his preference. 

Christopher is trying to talk a lot these days and says dada, mama, and uh-oh! He loves dropping his food on the floor during mealtime and he’s a bit more of a picky eater than Jamie was. Jamie is a tough comparison though and set the bar pretty high. I guess Christopher is more the norm. He loves to look at books and often brings them to me wanting me to read them to him. He promptly sits in my lap and waits for me to start reading! He loves to dance and loves music like his older brother. Christopher is such a happy, snuggly boy. We can’t get enough of him. I am loving this age! 


In other news our family found a small home to rent and are starting to get settled, at least for the time being. James is working as a clerk for a firm in Provo and really enjoying it. He still plans on taking the bar in July and then from there we’ll just see how things unfold.





Our Family this New Year January 28, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Temma @ 9:47 pm

It’s been a while since we’ve posted any news about our family so I thought I’d update the blog. We topped off a very busy summer with a very busy fall. James enrolled in 17 credits and took 6 finals in order to graduate a semester early. We knew it would be crazy and overwhelming, and it was. Because not only were we finishing law school, we were planning to move.  We decided to not really do much packing until after Christmas so that things felt normal for Jamie. The day after Christmas we began packing up what we wanted to take and selling or getting rid of everything else. James’ mom visited us for Christmas and helped us pack up before she had to head back to Texas. The boys loved having her around and it was fun to share our last few days in Williamsburg with her. 

We decided to be out of town by the 1st and travel to Colorado to visit my sister and her husband who got sealed in the Denver temple on the 4th. This meant that James and I celebrated new year’s eve with a cleaning party instead of your traditional whatever-you-do on new year’s eve party. We really don’t know because we’ve never been big in to that holiday. The next day James and Jamie drove a trailer and I flew with Christopher. I was so nervous for them to make the drive, but they did great! Movies helped the 3 year old a lot! Fortunately they arrived the night before the sealing. We had a great day celebrating with family after the sealing. And then the day after that a nasty stomache virus hit James. Poor guy! I don’t think I’d ever seen him that sick before. Actually everyone else in the house got some sort of variation of what James had and I feel like we are just now feeling completely back to normal. It was not pretty. We just took turns taking care of each other and trying to quarantine ourselves when we got sick for about a week whlie we were in Colorado. But eventually we felt well enough to finish our trip out to Utah where James’ dad has generously opened his doors for us to stay while we look for work and a place of our own. So we’re here and the boys are pretty happy now that most of the moving is over. James is working but still looking for a more legally-related job. He plans on taking the Utah bar in July. We’re still interested to know where we’re going to end up.

We’re happy to be with family, the boys love playing with their cousins, and it’s been fun to visit old friends out here. And we’re so grateful for a place to rest while we’re in transition. About a week after we arrived to Utah I was feeling frustrated with our situation and all the unknowns. But one day we went grocery shopping and on our way out of the store Jamie and I passed a man who was homeless and counting his change. Jamie asked what was wrong with the  man because it was obvious that he was not dressed or acting like everyone else around us. I told Jamie that he didn’t have a home or food, and as soon as the words were out of my mouth I got choked up because I felt how blessed our family was to have both. Even though things may not seem ideal, I’ve learned that life is rarely ideal. In fact, I’m just not sure what that even means. So life is just….life. I’ve also learned to not put off being happy or satisifed until things seem perfect. In a sense, this is as good as it gets. And obviously things are exactly as the Lord knows we need them because we’re doing the very best we can for ourselves. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support along the way! We know that many of you have been cheering us on along our journey. 

Now enjoy pictures of our family. 



ImageJamie made this adorable nativity that we displayed during the Christmas season. The angel is on the left and the star is on the right. Just in case you were wondering.


ImageJames rocked this Dr. Who TARDIS snowflake. Had to showcase it again. 

ImageImageVisting Jamestown with James’ mom. 




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