Thursday, October 25, 2012

Our Law School Decision

As many of you know, Ryan and I struggled with our decision on where to go to law school. Ryan is a smarty pants and got into a multitude of schools.  The first school he heard back from was the University of Georgia, which he got accepted into. We were happy and eager to learn more about this university.

Ryan then received a letter saying he got into the University of Washington, his #1 choice and his stretch. He was really excited about this possibility, even calling me at work to share the good news. Thoughts of Georgia flew out the window, and I have to admit, I was torn between feeling a little disappointed and ecstatic.

A couple weeks went by, and Ryan heard back from his close second, Emory University. They had wait listed him. Bummer.

So at this point in time, it seemed like our decision would be obvious. I started telling people that we were going to move to Washington and was mentally preparing myself for the change.

However, things didn't quite click into place as I thought they would. We found out that Ryan would qualify for instate tuition in Georgia, but we weren't sure if he would for Washington. (kinda weird, right? Seeing as he is from Washington, not Georgia!). Ryan (and his mom!) had to get together a multitude of forms and documents proving why he was a Washington resident. During this time, Georgia sent Ryan a letter offering him a scholarship!

Ryan spent hours searching statistics, calculating expenses, and looking at cost of living. Georgia would be cheaper, and I would be closer to my family. He told me he was starting to learn towards Georgia, and I didn't believe him for the longest time.

The deadline for putting down a deposit was approaching and we weren't sure what to do. A week before Georgia's deadline, Washington offered Ryan a scholarship as well. I'm not sure if law schools can see eachother's offers, but right after Georgia offered Ryan a bigger scholarship.

More researching, more calculating, more uncertainty.

We decided through thought and prayer to visit each respective school. We went to Georgia and looked around. Ryan sometimes has a hard time with the south and extremely southern people. Don't get me wrong, we love us some southern charm, but camoflauge trucks, signs that say the South Will Rise Again, and confederate flags ain't really our cup o' tea. There was a lot of that in Athens. There were some really nice places too. University of Georgia had a lot of southern charm.

After leaving Athens, I knew Ryan wasn't happy with what he saw. We placed the deposit anyway, since it was only $50. In my head, I knew we weren't going to go there.

 A week later, we went and saw University of Washington. It was more of Ryan's style--sleek, urban, upscale (thanks to Bill Gates!). It was beautiful, plus my brother and sister-in-law live in Seattle! I left thinking this was a done deal. However, something was off. Ryan didn't think it was a right fit for the family. Not ready to give up on his dream school, Ryan decided he needed more time to think and placed a hefty deposit to save him a spot at the University of Washington.

People would ask where we were going all the time. I didn't know what to tell them. At this point, I told Ryan that I would support him 100% no matter what he chose.

Schools can see if you place more than one deposit. The second deposit was approaching fast for Georgia, and Ryan still hadn't paid it. They really wanted him, so they upped the scholarship one more time, an offer that Ryan couldn't refuse. Also, newer statistics came out, and Georgia looked better than Washington. So Ryan placed a second deposit on Georgia and pretty much had his mind made up at that point.

Seeing Ryan paying a second deposit, Washington emailed asking him to withdraw from either Washington or Georgia saying that he cannot hold a seat at two schools.

Goodbye Washington.

I felt really guilty. I felt like I took away Ryan's hopes and dreams of going to the University of Washington. If it weren't for me, he would be going there and would be one happy law school student skipping from one class to the next. He assured me that it was better for the family to go to Georgia. We would not go into as much debt and would have better job prospects afterwards.

But, it still didn't feel like we were going there.


During all this, Ryan decided that he was going to retake the LSAT to see if he could significantly increase his score. If he did, he would wait a year and apply to higher ranked schools. So, now that I knew we were going to Georgia, I wasn't sure anymore. There was still a chance we could go somewhere else.

As time went on, more and more people would ask where we were going, and I still had to say I wasn't sure.

While we were waiting for his score, it was getting really, really late to get an apartment in Athens. Ryan was pretty sure he did the same on his LSAT, so we flew back to Georgia to apartment hunt. We were expecting to get his LSAT score sometime during that visit and wanted to be able to sign a housing contract.

We found the perfect apartment, and I was getting really excited to live there. I was worried that while we waited for the LSAT score some other family was going to snatch up our apartment.

We decided to go ahead and sign the contract. Luckily, the landlords were going on vacation that weekend, and said they would email us the rental contract. We just needed to read it over, sign it, and then mail it back. Perfect. We would wait until Monday and then do it after we saw Ryan's score.

Monday rolled around. Ryan got his score and decided to stick with Georgia. I checked my email, no contract. The next day, same thing. I was nervous something had happened to our new little home, so I texted the lady. She replied saying she needed to change some things in the contract, but she would send it soon.

The next day, Ryan got an unexpected phone call. The dean of Emory called telling Ryan he got off the waitlist. He was accepted! Ryan kind of laughed, thinking the tuition was going to be too expensive, so we wouldn't be able to go anyway. The dean continued, explaining that they were aware Ryan was planning on going to Georgia, but since Emory really wanted him (and even had an environmental law program), they were willing to offer Ryan a scholarship to compete with Georgia's. Ryan hung up, and we talked about it.

Right about this time, our landlord sent us the rental agreement. Good thing they hadn't sent it sooner! That same day, we went and visited Emory, and it just felt right. It was a cross between University of Washington and University of Georgia. It was everything we wanted--better school, better job prospects, environmental law classes. Plus I would only be 20 minutes from friends and family.

It finally felt right.

Looking back on this whole bumpy ride, I am deeply grateful to be able to see Heavenly Father's hand through this entire journey. During the process, I felt like a yo-yo, thinking we were going one place, then something would happen, and then we would change our mind, and then something else would happen and so on and so forth. At the time, I was frustrated, but now I am grateful.

If we did not have to decide between Georgia and Washington, we would not have placed a deposit on Washington. If we hadn't of placed a deposit on Washington, we would not have received as high of a scholarship at Georgia. If we had not received that scholarship, Emory would not have given us a scholarship in order to compete with Georgia, thus making it so we could not afford the tuition. But everything happened the way it was supposed to, enabling us to be where we are now.

Also, if Ryan hadn't of retaken the LSAT, we would have gotten an apartment in Athens sooner. Or if our landlord didn't take so long writing up the contract, we would've been stuck trying to sell it to someone else. I still kind of feel bad about leading them on...but we have even better "landlords" now. :)

So that's why neither University of Washington nor University of Georgia felt right.

Now almost 3 months later, I am happy with our choice and although it was a hard journey, it was worth it.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

11 Months

Baby Boy is 11 months old!

What a cutie!

Fun Facts about 11 month old Jackson:
--In Ryan's words, Jackson "has feelings now!" He is a sensitive boy. If you tell him to stop or yell at the kitty for biting Jackson (he doesn't know we are talking to the kitty and not him), he will get sad. The other day, Ryan was changing a dirty diaper and told him, "No! Don't touch!" and grabbed Jackson's hand. Jackson stuck out his quivering lip and crocodile tears started seeping out of the corners of his eyes. It was the saddest and cutest thing I have ever seen.
--Eats all sorts of foods now--bread, chicken, smoothies, tortillas, potatoes, noodles, blueberry muffins, Cheerios, etc. He also eats a graham cracker every morning. He knows this and expects it. He also knows to go under his highchair to find stray food if I haven't swept that day.
-Jackson's a little stinker. He gets into all sorts of trouble now, especially pulling down the toilet paper! He loves to tear it up into tiny little pieces. He also loves to turn on the bathtub water by himself. This makes me nervous, so I always watch him like a hawk when he goes near a bathroom.
--Starting to walk along furniture
--Throws his head back when he laughs
--Understands the words touch, kitty, mama, dada, no, Jackson, and "come mama" (come to mama). He likes to babble back at you like you're holding a conversation with him. He also grunts and growls.
--When Jackson gets excited, he rears up like a horse. He also can run crawl. He sometimes goes so fast he falls on his face.


--Loves when I clean. He follows me around and tries to be my little helper.
-- Starting to climb up stairs. He made it up 5 stairs one time.
--Understands reactions. For instance, lately he's been saying, "Ah!" and then I'll copy him. He thinks it's so fun. He'll do it over and over again just to see me copy him.
--Has his first official church outfit. 

I see this sight every day:
Love my little boy!