James: May 2003 Archives

05/24/2003 Newsletter

James tearing up the old room
What goes up must come down (our mantra for this house)
Kitchen finished
We finally put up the molding and painted...
View more pictures from the office remodel
View pictures from memorial day


Here we are again, late as usual. It's been 3 weeks since we last wrote luckily not too much has happened since we last updated you, so this shouldn't be too long.

Most of our free time has been spent down in the basement tearing out drywall and insulation. We finally got the room completely gutted and realized that my grandfather had furred out the ceiling joists to cover up a poorly done plumbing job. We debated for a few days about how to best overcome the problem. James tired several solutions, which included using a chisel to make space in the joist for the pipe that was hanging down and then pushing the pipe up into the spaces. This didn't work too well because the chisel was fairly inaccurate and the joists are old and brittle. The second try involved using a small hacksaw and then the chisel, this worked fairly well, but when we got all the holes cut the pipe didn't have enough give to fit up in the slots. Finally James got brave (I was a little worried that we were getting in over our heads) he went to Lowes and bought new pipe and fittings and some solder. I was at work when he started so I'm not sure how smoothly it all went together, but when I got home he was mostly done and had solved our problem. He can now add "Plumber" to his growing list of handyman titles. If you check out the pictures of the office remodel, you'll see one of the pipes that he fixed. He added the elbow joint and all the straight joiners.

We have studded up two of the walls down there and only have one more to go before we start on the wiring. James has all sorts of plans for making the office as technically cool as it can be. We are excited to have this project progress, so that it will be done in time for the baby's room to be complete.

My sister Marrisse gave birth to a beautiful little girl this last Thursday. Her doctor offered to induce labor for her since her husband, Aaron, travels for his job and they didn't know when he would be home. She was induced Thursday morning and Sophia Nell Abbott was born around 2:00 pm. She was 6 lbs 10 oz., a little bit small, but not bad for being born a week early. We went to the hospital that night to see the new addition. I am always amazed at how small babies are when they are newborn. It's very strange to think that James and I will have someone that small in our own home in two months. There are a bunch of pictures of Sophia on the website (we took most of them so Marrisse and Aaron could email them out to their friends and family). She's ultra cute!

Yesterday was Memorial Day and we spent the day divided between the Crooks and the Hendersons. We went to my grandparent's gravesite in Murray in the morning, and then headed up to Heber for a Crook gathering. It was very windy in Heber, but we managed to eat our hamburgers without too many incidents. Jenni ended up with a ketchupy plate plastered to her shoulder by the wind, but the damage wasn't too bad. We talked for several hours with various members of the Crook family, there were a lot of people that I didn't know and a lot of people that James didn't even know, I guess they were from another branch of the Crook family tree. After getting slightly sun and wind burned we headed back down to Draper for a BBQ at my parents house. We had an enjoyable time playing musical baby with Sophia and stuffing ourselves (again). After the sun went down we went inside and watched "Shanghi Noon." It was a peaceful end to a long day.

That brings us current for this letter. I hope that everyone had an enjoyable Memorial Day. We love you all and pray for your welfare.

Love, Miekka and James


05/04/2003 Newsletter



If you want to read about our California trip go here. (it was too long to include on this same page).

This past week has been filled with graduations and family gatherings. On Friday we went up to Logan for Jenni's graduation. It was nice because the speakers were very brief and the ceremony was more focused on the actual rituals of graduation. As each Master student was presented they were hooded by members of their faculty off stage and then proceeded to the stage where their name and their degree were read. Jenni was quite excited to be done and we are proud of her accomplishments. After the graduation we went over to gma and gpa Baerwaldts for an open house. Jenni had invited several family members and friends and we all had a good time eating and talking. Both Jenni and James were constantly being asked, "So, what's next?" Jenni's response was always "find a job"; James' response was "nothing new" since his degree doesn't change anything in his current job. It was good to meet some of Jenni's friends who she always talks about and to be with family.

On Saturday, we woke up early and got James ready for his graduation. I had to iron his gown since it had been folded up in plastic since he got it and was ultra wrinkly. He left before me so that he could get into line with the other graduates. I drove over with my family so that we could all sit together. The University of Phoenix graduation was less formal than Jenni's, but still had it's highlights. The "invocation" was given by a Native American man dressed in a full headdress, he talked forever about his past and his family and then gave a prayer that sounded like a bunch of mumbling with the English words "graduating class" interspersed here and there. The weird part was that everyone clapped when he was done. I don't think that clapping for a prayer is very appropriate. Then they had four speakers who went on and on about different things. I must say that I mostly tuned them out. Finally they got to the naming of the graduates. It took about an hour for them to name all of the bachelor degrees. I went down to get a few pictures of James as they called his name, but I couldn't get very close and most of the pictures turned out blurry because of the zoom feature. James reveled in his three seconds of fame as he walked across the stage when his name was called. After all the bachelor degrees were presented, they began calling up the master students. While they were in the middle of hooding the Masters, half of the Bachelors got up and left. It was really rude and tacky. I'm surprised that the University didn't do anything to prevent it. One of the pictures I took is of James sitting nearly alone in a sea of empty seats during the hooding of the Masters. I am glad that James stayed and wasn't one of the disruptive, rude people who got up. I am so proud of and happy for him, he's been working a long time for this day. He's finally DONE!!

We had a lunch at my parent's house after the ceremony, it was a much more intimate get together than the open house the day before. My brother Chris grilled burgers and hotdogs and we had a simple buffet lunch. After most of the Lance relatives left my family celebrated my niece's birthday she turned 2 years old on May 2nd (Same day as mom Lance). It was funny to try and get her to open all of her presents because she wanted to play with whatever one she had just opened and didn't seem to notice that there were more. It was also funny to tease her, by telling her that it was everyone else's birthday, she would get all flustered and finally burst out "No, It's MY birthday".

Later that evening we went at the last minute to see the new X-Men movie. My sister was going with a bunch of friends and they ended up having two extra tickets so she called us. We both liked the movie and James is already talking about going to see it again this week sometime.

Today, after not enough sleep and early church, we went up to Laura's for dinner and spent the evening with gma and gpa Lance, Laura's Family and Sally and her two boys. We stuffed ourselves on bacon wrapped chicken, asparagus and fruit salad. The rest of the evening was spent singing, talking and playing a couple of party games. It was a long, but fun afternoon. (I think I needed a nap, but didn't get one).

That pretty much brings us up to date. James and I have been working hard on getting lots of little things done on the house so that we can start the big project of moving James' office. We have a goal to be totally done with it by the time John comes at the end of the month, so we have a lot more work ahead of us. After the office is finished, we will move on to cleaning and painting the nursery so that it will be ready when the baby comes. We still need to get a lot of baby furniture and accoutrements, so I've been keeping my eye out for some good deals on used stuff so that we don't break the bank. I can't imagine how people can afford to buy all their baby stuff new.

I am getting a lot bigger, but I feel really good. People keep asking me how I'm feeling, but I don't really feel different except for when the baby kicks and for the big belly. I feel like I've doubled in size since we had the ultrasound 6 weeks ago. I guess it's okay since the baby has doubled in size too, but it's still weird to get bigger so fast. I suppose I'd better get used to it since I'm only going to get larger from here.

Love, Miekka and James