What have we been up to over the last year? Well, here is our 2007 in review!

In January, Jim began his final semester at BYU. Two classes (five credits each) and his Senior Project kept him pretty busy for those first few months. I became his personal secretary when it came to job interviews, and actually made the first contact that led to a job offer from Lawrence Livermore National Labs (LLNL), which we accepted! At the end of April, he officially graduated from BYU with a BS in Electrical Engineering.

The beginning of the year was not quite as exciting for me: I was still recovering from a surgery done the previous August, and was on Coumadin because I had an MI in December. In January I endured my first stress test and CT scan, only to be told that another surgery was necessary, and soon. I was still working at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center and Jim was very busy with school, so I scheduled the surgery for May 2nd – less than a week after Jim’s graduation.

The surgery went fairly well, though the recovery was much harder than expected. I was discharged in less than two weeks, but then re-admitted for another week because I was not thriving at home. Jim slept in a chair or a sofa in my room every night and rarely left my side. He would read to me and play games with me to keep me entertained. When they said I was well enough for short walks in the halls, he escorted me. He held my hand and distracted me when I needed blood draws and a transfusion. When I finally made it out of the ICU, He kept a running schedule of visitors so I would be neither lonely nor overwhelmed. I cannot express how devoted and thoughtful he was to me during those hard weeks.

So, together, we made it through May. In early June, Jim flew to Virginia for a week to participate in the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Competition with a select few of the BYU students who did this year’s senior project. They built a model plane (with about a four-foot wingspan) that flew around on autopilot and took pictures of targets on the ground and calculated GPS coordinates and all sorts of cool things. They also had to give a presentation about how they programmed and ran it all. They took 3rd place (out of about 30 groups)!

When Jim returned to Utah, we enjoyed a little over a month together before we faced our next challenge: Moving. LLNL had wanted Jim to start his job in May or June but, because of my surgery, they let him postpone his start date until late July. Two different trips to California and lots of time on the phone and Internet finally secured us a beautiful condo to rent, but we couldn’t move in until the second week of August, so Jim drove out with a car-load of computer hardware and clothes and lived in a hotel for three weeks. I stayed in Utah to oversee the shipment of our furniture and other possessions off to California, and for the last of a lifetime of visits to Primary Children’s Medical Center.

Moving was crazy, but fun. Both sets of parents visited at the same time so help unload, unpack, sort, and decorate. Later, Jim and Jon drove from Utah to California again to bring Jacqueline here. Needless to say, she did not enjoy the ride. She settled in quickly, however, and seems to be very happy here.

We feel fairly settled in, as well. We spend quite a bit of time with our friends, the Bradleys: Justin and Jim met through the MAGICC Lab (where the senior project was created back at BYU). They were both hired by LLNL at about the same time and now they work together on NIF’s “ARC” Project. Justin & his wife, Kristyn, have two little girls and we love getting together with all of them. We’re also making new friends in the ward, and we already have callings – Jim is an adviser to the Teacher’s Quorum, and we visit the Oakland Temple together as “Temple Patrons.” In the five months we’ve been here, we’ve crossed five of the eight bridges over the Bay, endured San Francisco traffic jams, waved to happy cows, and survived a 5.something earthquake – we’re becoming Californians already!

It’s been a new experience to suddenly live so far from both our families – we haven’t been lonely, though! We’ve had visits from our Hoffman parents and Peterson parents, Gayle Jeanne, Emily and Kim, and Jon. We flew back to visit Utah for my nephew Tolton’s baby blessing, and Jim flew to Portland, Oregon when our nephew, Eli, was blessed. We also spent Thanksgiving in Portland with our Hoffman relatives gathered at Joseph & Kelly’s House, and most recently we traveled through much tribulation to visit Utah yet again – this time to celebrate Christmas and my cousin Melinda’s wedding.

2007 was a pretty eventful year for our little family. It makes me think of a line from a song: “Life’s like a novel, with the end ripped out.” Our novel this year was full of excitement, danger, romance, and adventure. Now, it’s time to see what 2008 will bring!