February 17, 2013

1 + 1 + 1 = 3

To all of you out there who thought it would never happen..... Well... it has.

Nate Scott and Ester are having a baby.

I guess I am supposed to tell you all how it has gone so far... Were we surprised? Well I sure was. Scott kept telling me I was pregnant and urging me to take a test, but in all honesty, I think my defiance was stemming from fear. I was afraid it would come back positive.... and then what?! I don't know how to be pregnant.......

19 weeks later I still don't know how to be pregnant.

We were both very excited when we found out there was a bun in the oven, but less than a week later, the morning sickness set in. That wasn't so exciting. In fact... I have heard Scott say more than once "I want my Ester back!" I'll be honest.... It has been awful.  I always knew it would not be fun- puking every day.... but boy was I in for a HUGE surprise. Everything made me nauseated. Everything. I threw up anywhere from 2 - 5 times per day and got really good at puking quietly while at church and work.

Had this blog entry been written back in January, it would be riddled with tales of vomit chunks and pain. However, I am happy to say the nausea has SIGNIFICANTLY decreased and vomiting is a rare thing these days. Definitely one of the hardest parts has been the low blood sugars. I find myself running in the 30's and 40's (normal is 60-100) and have had to enlist Scott's help on more than one occasion to bring me out of unconsciousness. That has definitely been a new and scary part of life, but one that we are learning to deal with.

Most of you know that Scott and I both have a strong prevalence of spina bifida in our families. This, along with my diabetes has put me as a high risk pregnancy. This has meant we have been blessed with LOTS of ultrasounds. We actually found out the sex of our little guy at 16 weeks because of the "high risk" nature of the pregnancy. I have seen more doctors and spent more time in the hospital over the past 19 weeks than probably my entire life combined. But it's all for a good cause.

Scott and I had a Valentine's Day to remember this year, when he was able to feel the baby move for the first time. It really is incredible now to feel his movements and kicks- sort of makes it feel more.... real.

Well.... I don't really know what else to say.... Life is good. We are so excited and definitely recognize the enormous miracle and blessing that this little life already is in our lives. We are thrilled to be having a boy and hope we can be the kind of parents that we so desperately want to be.

Thank you to everyone for the love, prayers and support.

We look forward to July 13th with each passing day!

December 17, 2012


What could be better than arriving in paradise?

Let me tell you.

Arriving in paradise after a 7 hour layover that turned into an 11 1/2 hour layover due to plane problems, with no food, no sleep and very little comfort.

That and the fact that my dad picked us up at the airport at 3:30am holding 4 BEAUTIFUL leis that had been made by a woman in his ward. So sweet.

Scott (Nate) and I enjoyed a wonderful vacation full of family, relaxation, creepy crawlies, sunshine and water. Lots of water. Salty and fresh.

Since we were in Hawaii last year, we were able to really just sit back and relax with my parents and Ben, which was super awesome. We didn't have to worry about getting in all of the "tourist stuff"- since we had done that so recently.

We accomplished our number one goal within the first 2 days: Go to Ted's Bakery and buy/eat a haupia pie. CHECK. We also got to dress up like angels and sing "silent night" at the Polynesian Cultural Center as people payed a pretty penny to float down the river and listen to us. Cool, I suppose.
Scott cried each time he had to get out of the pool.

It was definitely way too short of a trip, but one we are so grateful we were able to have.

Until next year!


October 28, 2012

[Insert great title here]

Once again my goal to update the blog more frequently has failed. Oh well... I'm over it.

My word of the day: dogs.  Dogs are great. Dogs are nuts. Dogs are.... well.... Dogs. Many of you know Scott and I recently added another husky to our family. She will be number three in a long line of sad experiences losing huskies. We just keep telling ourselves "third time's the charm".... And we paid twice as much for her, which in some psychotic way makes us think she will be more healthy and not die in a freak rabies accident or suffer from a probable brain tumor causing an abnormally awful epileptic disease.

Let me introduce Vixen Tennessee... The newest member of the Biggs clan.
She has been an adventure from day one. We actually decided to pick her up from the breeder earlier than anticipated because she had been attacked by a bigger dog and the breeder was not sure she would even make it. This terrified us and kind of threw us (ok, just me) into a frenzy of feeling like we needed to rescue her. The first day home she started pooping out piles of round worms... They looked like mounds of angel hair pasta. yummy. (I still have a hard time eating anything in the pasta family without thinking about that.....) We immediately got her an appointment with my uncle James- the world's greatest vet. He took a look at her stool sample and informed us that she had more parasites than any dog he had seen since vet school and that if we had not brought her in, she would have died in a couple of weeks. Soooooo..... needless to say, we were grateful we took her in. And even more grateful that we picked her up from the breeder early- otherwise she really would have been in trouble.

Since then, she has grown INCREDIBLY fast and has more energy than any dog I've ever seen. She is way more active than Bono and definitely more crafty. It only took her a day to figure out how to climb our incredibly steep staircase and two days to figure out how to go back down them. We absolutely love her.... even though she likes to chew up my squash and eat our grape vines. She also has an immense fascination with our bunny Blue.... And he with her.  She sneaks into his cage at every opportunity and sits there nibbling on his ears. Still not entirely sure about that.....

Anyway... enough about the dog.

Next subject: Nursing school.

I am practically DONE. I just have one more 4 hour shift to go. It has definitely been a learning experience, and one I am very grateful for. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the nursing profession, before being licensed, you are required to complete what is called a "preceptorship". It is essentially a 135 hour internship at a hospital designated by the school. Originally, my hope was to be placed on either a pediatric or labor and delivery floor. My VERY last choice was surgical. Well... guess where they placed me. Yep, you guessed it. Surgical. And not only that, but they moved me from McKay Dee, where I had done all of my previous clinical hours and placed me at a completely new and different hospital- Ogden Regional. I knew NOTHING about their charting system or facility. This definitely made me nervous and took me far outside of my comfort zone. But of course, as Scott reminded me on numerous occasions, there is always a reason for everything.

Looking back, it is clear that this preceptorship has been a major blessing for me. It has taken my confidence to a whole new level and made me realize that I can do it. I can be a successful RN. The nurse I was placed with has been an RN for 9 years. She is a charge nurse on the unit and has taught me many important things. She trusted me from the very beginning and pretty much threw me head first into the fire. She has allowed me to take control of all of the patients and pretty much run the show in the way I felt was best. Two days ago she had to write my final evaluation and she spoke with my instructor, telling her that I have been the best student she has ever had. I think that statement alone gave me the confidence boost I needed to finish out my experience. As silly as it sounds, I don't think starting a successful IV will NEVER get old. Makes me feel AWESOME.

One more item of business.... Everyone needs to VOTE! No excuses. Get out there and make a stand. VOTE people... VOTE.


July 26, 2012

Confessions of an Ester....

Confession time:
   About once every 9-12 months I have a breakdown. And by breakdown I mean: I cry. Yes, I know... Ester cries. But I don't just mean that I shed a tear or two... I mean.... I REALLY cry. And most of the time it is completely random and over something very odd... like... fireworks... or a baby bird. You just never know when it's gonna hit. So here is my story of this year's breakdown....

   It all started July 24th, 2012.... Seemed like a regular day in the life of Ester Biggs... I got up after a total of 3.45 hours of sleep the night before (which seems to have become somewhat of a habit of mine lately....) followed by realizing that Nate Scott is still in California with his family and I'm here.... because of work.... (curses).... However, my day improved as I had 6 texts on my phone from family members saying we were going to a Pioneer Day Chuckwagon Breakfast. YYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!! (Chuckwagon Breakfasts.... it's what we Ballam's do.....) So needless to say, I hopped out of bed and dressed in a flash... and boy was the lack of sleep worth it... the food was chuckwagon-breakfast-worthy indeed.
    Next, my dad took me on an "adventure" to Walmart (eek) where he purchased me an outdoor dining set for our backyard. (yay). And he would not take "no" for an answer (not that I said "no".... If I've learned anything in the past 25 years, it is to never say "no" to my dad.... he will just go ahead with his hair-brained-scheme anyway...) Then I got to help Ben choose his missionary suit. (good times). Finally I went home and took a quick nap before heading off to see the new Batman movie. At this point my day had been pretty regular... nothing too emotionally crazy to amount to a total breakdown YET......
   Then batman rolled around......... WHAT?! I LOVE batman! Alright, actually it was my brother Ben that "rolled around".... Now, call me crazy (seriously... call me crazy)... but for the first time in my LIFE, I had an honest to goodness panic attack. It came out of NOWHERE! But as I was sitting there in that dark theater, preparing for the movie to begin (and throughout the film as well), all I could think about was what I would do if some crazy guy threw a smoke bomb into the theater and started shooting random people. My first thought was that I would jump in front of Liv and protect her from his ravaging bullets. But then Ben arrived at the theater and I realized I would just have to scream at John and make sure he got Liv covered and then I could grab Ben and throw him under a seat with me hiding him. It was seriously WEIRD....... I had it ALL planned out. And guess what?! I have NO idea what happened in the movie. All I could think about was the fact that Scott would KILL me if I got murdered (especially because I told him he could NOT go see batman in California because I was afraid he'd get shot). OK, so now that you all think I am NUTS.... Here is the rest of the story... still no tears yet.... So about an hour and a half into the movie, Ben decided the movie was too violent for his tastes, and since I was so insanely upset over my irrational fear of being blown up, I decided to take him home. But once we left the theater we realized we were both pretty upset so we decided to go to the zoo to cheer ourselves up. Love the zoo. Perfect way to overcome disastrous emotions. At this point, I have not started the crying, but can start to feel it coming on...... But the zoo did the trick..... for a while anyway....
   Finally, the family and I went to the UFOMT "Pioneers and Patriots" concert. It was fantastic. Beautiful music and touching commemorations of the pioneers and the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom. This got me REAL close.....
   After the show I went to my parents house for a bit and sat with them on their back deck to watch the fireworks show. It was a lovely event.
   Then around 11:00 I decided it was time to let them go to bed and head on home. As I pulled into my driveway, I remembered that it had been exactly one year to the day since Scott and I were burglarized. This was not a comforting thought. All of those terrible feelings started coming back and seriously freaking me out. But once again........ the tears were kept under wraps....
    After doing some laundry and eating my second meal of the day (honey nut cheerios), I got a call from my man. About 3 minutes into the conversation........... I lost it. The end. It happened... Over the bloody phone, it happened! Poor Scott.. if there is anything uglier than an Ester bawling, it has GOT to be an Ester bawling over the phone. Yikes. So bless his heart for not leaving me then and there.... come to think of it.... he didn't call me today......... oh crap.
   So........ That was it. Of ALL the things that happened to me that day that really could have brought on the waterworks... it was a phone call from my Scott. Thank you, my love, for being okay with your wife being somewhat emotionally-female and crying once a year for no reason that she can logically explain.
P.S... If anyone so much as HINTS at the ending to "The Dark Knight Rises", you can be SURE it will be the very last thing you ever do.

June 22, 2012

The Best of 2012 (january- june)...

I had a horrible realization today when Scott asked me to update our blog and I saw that my last entry was in January?! Whoa... Where did the past six months go? Well... let me tell you.

In January, Scott and I took Ben to the Israelsen cabin to ring in the new year. It was Ben's first time on a snowmobile, and hopefully not his last.

In February we cooked ourselves some lobster tails, steak and Gorgonzola ravioli for Valentine's Day, complete with a delicious mango lassi drink (I know, kind of a strange combo, but BOY was it good). I also surprised Scott with two tickets to Italy. Yes, he was very surprised.

In March we went through the hardest trial thus far in our marriage- we had to say goodbye to our baby Bono. For those of you who know us at all, know that Bono was our pride and joy. He was our gorgeous 2 1/2 year old Siberian husky. We raised him from a puppy, and just after his first birthday, he had his first grand mal seizure. He continued to have seizures and was soon put on phenobarbital, which mellowed him out to the extend of him seeming more like a 12 year old dog rather than a 2 year old dog. There were so many wonderful things about Bono that we miss each and every day: the way he ran around the yard with his tail between his legs, the way he LOVED to go hiking and camping, the way he never barked, the way he would growl in the morning when he was so happy to see us, the way he would shake at 4 am to make sure we knew he was still there, the way he hated swimming, the way he loved our nieces and nephews, the way he would poop in the back of the truck JUST because he knew how bad Scott hated it, the way he would "visit", the way he would curl up in a tight little ball, the way he would cuddle with his stuffed animals, the way he would stop to smell the flowers, the way he made us feel safe, the way we could trust him with our chickens and bunny, the way he loved bear lake just as much as we do, and the way he chose the cabin to be his final resting place.
  That last day that we spent with Bono could not have been more perfect. We took him on a beautiful walk and he seemed the happiest he had been in years. Then after a 15 minute long seizure with Scott there by his side comforting him, and me crying uncontrollably, our sweet Bono went to join Scott's first dog Maya in heaven. We would like to think he passed away peacefully and that he didn't have to suffer through that last awful seizure. And we will be forever grateful that we were able to be there with him, and that we could be in a beautiful place like Bear Lake.  We buried him under his favorite tree at the Ballam cabin and plan on having a little plaque made in his honor.  I know I probably sound like the biggest loser every to be going on like this over a dog.... but he was our baby. He was our first son. And for those of you who have ever lost a dog, you will understand how hard it can be. It has been three months now since he died, and quite honestly it feels like it has been years. We miss him terribly, and not a day goes by when we don't talk about Bono and our love for him. He was a special dog. He was our sweet companion, and now our beautiful angel. We miss you B-diggity.
Another part of March was the cruise to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Fun times were had by all! The highlight of the trip (besides all of the glorious food, whale watching and snorkeling) was the para-sailing!!  Then poor Tennessee ran away and was found over two weeks later still alive! Talk about a major miracle.

In April I finished my first semester of my second year of nursing school. Which means I am ALMOST done. The end is in sight. I got to go to the Wyoming State Hospital and do a clinical there with crazy cowboys and schizophrenics. I did an activity called "voices" where I got to experience what it is like to be a "voice hearer". It was an incredibly eye opening and humbling experience for me. Scott also got a hive of bees, which has turned out to be a very fun thing for both of us (even though I have already been stung once).

In May- I turned 25. HOLY COW. A quarter of a century down. Scott threw me a lovely birthday party and my sweet, sweet friends and family joined us for an evening of pasta making and frivolity. Scott and I also had the incredibly opportunity in May to take that trip to Italy. My dad was kind enough to let us tag along with him for 2 weeks as we traveled to Florence, Verona, Luca, Rome, Venice, Cinque Terre, Pisa, and my very favorite - Pistoia. My family and I lived in Pistoia for 4 months when I was 18- which needless to say was a great time in my life. It was wonderful to be able to go back there and see the wonderful people we grew to love so dearly, but the best part of all was the fact that I was able to take the love of my life to all of those special places and see the expression on his face when he got to experience the joy of Italia. Of course, our dear Italian friends all adored Scott. :) How could they not?!

I also gifted Scott the chance to learn to fly a helicopter. He thought that was pretty cool :)

In June Scott and I both started working full time again and have had a total of TWO days this month when neither one of us has had to work. We are looking forward to this weekend, however, because we will get two more whole days of NO WORK. We also have spend a LOT of time working to renovate our back yard. Scott built a super awesome deck out of pallets and I bought him a grill to live on it. We also threw a big surprise 40th anniversary party for my parents last weekend and had the whole family there to celebrate with us. Another wonderful piece of June was when Ben received his mission call to HAWAII!! He will be leaving August 12th, and as excited as I may be for him..... I can't think too hard about him leaving because all this saline solution starts to leak from my eyes. Not good.

 Well folks... looks like I've got you all up to date on the life and times of Nate Scott and Ester Biggs. If you lasted through the enormity of this blog, I am unbelievably impressed. Well done.

See you next year.

December 31, 2011

Christmas = Family, Fun, Happiness

Well hello out there! (Assuming there are people out there who actually read my ramblings)......

I figured I should probably write a post about Christmas, seeing as how it has always been my favorite holiday.... And also seeing as how this year definitely did not disappoint.

For the past 3 years, my sweet Nate Scott has agreed to stay in Logan for Christmas (the 1st year because we were getting hitched two days later; the 2nd year because his parents were on a mission; and last year because if we had gone to California, we would have been the only sibling in my family to NOT be on the same "Christmas rotation"), so NATURALLY it was about time we spend the glorious holiday in California with the Biggs family.

I will never forget the first Christmas that my older brother brought his new bride to Christmas and she cried the entire time. I remember thinking.... "I don't blame her. I would DEFINITELY be crying if I was with some other dude's family on Christmas". I sort of shrugged it off and figured it would never happen to me. Not because I wasn't ever going to get married... but because by the time that happened, I would have figured out some way to convince my man that the ONLY place to be on Christmas was in the Ballam home.

Well........... my plan didn't exactly pan out as planned. In fact...... it worked out a WHOLE lot better. I'll be honest... I had the same mind frame about spending Christmas with another family up until about September of this year. And then all of the sudden, as if the magic Christmas fairy hit me over the head with her magic Christmas fairy dust- I was 110% okay with going to California for Christmas. It was crazy. I started telling Nate Scott that I was excited about it and it was VERY obvious that he thought I was completely lying. In fact, I don't think he really believed me until I sat him down 3 weeks ago and DRILLED it in to him that I was in fact, very excited and not sad in the least about the fact that we were going to be with his family. Honestly, I don't blame him for not completely believing me- seeing as how it was a complete miracle in itself that I was feeling the way I was. I could barely believe MYSELF!

ANYWAY................ In preparation for the big day (Christmas Eve/Day- its all one huge celebration in my family) we got as many of the Ballam clan as we could together (everyone except Nick and his family) and had our typical tradition-filled Ballam Christmas Eve party. It was different of course- but still a wonderful evening.

Then we all went our separate ways- The Chris Ballam's to Highland; the Nick Ballam's already in Maryland; the Espinosa's to Arizona; the Blair's to Centerville; and the Biggs' to California.

It was a WONDERFUL week full of family, food, games, ice skating (which I technically didn't get to do thanks to my stupid back/herniated disc), Victorian Christmas in Nevada City, movies, a wonderful trip to the temple, people watching at the mall, sledding, and so much more. The family was sweet enough to let me throw in a couple of my own traditions (having baked gouda on Christmas Eve and Aebleskivers on Christmas morning)- which made it feel even more like home. The only problem about the trip was that it was WAY TOO SHORT.

The car ride home got pretty excited around Elko when I came down with the worst stomach flu I have EVER had and poor Nate Scott (sorry about the name thing... I really don't know what to call him anymore) had to stop the car every 20-30 minutes so I could get out and empty my system. Bless his sweet heart. I am quite sure he drove way over 90mph those last few hundred miles so he could get me home quicker.

But stomach flu aside, this Christmas was one I will remember forever and always be grateful for. I guess I lucked out big time to have such wonderful in-laws. And a special shout-out goes to that magic Christmas fairy that changed my childish heart and mind and helped me realize that it doesn't matter WHERE you spend the holiday.... as long as it is with those you love. And that is certainly how it happened for me.

November 23, 2011

Bridals/Groomals with Amanda and Ryan....
I had a hard time narrowing it down. Lots of favorites again this time.