Name: Nicholas James
"Nick"names: Nick (from anyone but his mom), Nich (from Rachel), Da (from Alexa)
Age: 29
Height: 5'9"
Eyes: Hazel
Hair: Light Brown
Heritage: Danish and English
Education: Ph.D. Candidate in Physics and Astronomy
Occupation: Graduate Student, Research Assistant, and Part-Time Tutor
Favorite Things to do: Goof around with Rachel, Tickle Aly, Geek out over the latest pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope
Favorite Outdoor Activity: Water/Snow Skiing
Favorite T.V. Show: The Big Bang Theory
Favorite Color: Blue 
Favorite Food: Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Favorite Sport: College Football

My story starts way back in the far-off land of Provo, Utah. I was born there while my parents were both students at Brigham Young University. I grew up from age 5 onward in Keizer, Oregon. I played baseball, soccer, and basketball as a kid. In high school I was pretty much your classic nerd - I was editor of the school paper, president of the debate club, and had braces on my teeth pretty much the entire time. The only non-nerdy things about me in high school were that I worked in the summers on a farm moving irrigation pipe and did a lot of hiking and camping.

After high school I followed in my parents footsteps and went to BYU. After a semester there I was called on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to Joao Pessoa, Brazil. In case you don't know where that is, here's a little map:

View Nick's Mission in a larger map

My mission was hard, discouraging, hot (I served in one town that regularly hit 115 degrees), and one of the greatest experiences of my life. I learned that with God's help and a hefty dose of faith, I could do anything. I absolutely love the Brazilian people. Here's a picture of me in a church service in Brazil:

Yeah, it was tough place to live for two years. I mean, just look at what I had to deal with everyday:

After my mission I went back to BYU where I met the lovely Rachel Sullivan. We lived in neighboring apartment buildings and before long my roommate was dating her roommate, so we saw each other pretty often. After a while I asked her out and she said yes. We had a couple dates but nothing too serious until she asked me to the winter formal dance. I took that to mean she was pretty interested and we had a great time, but afterward she seemed uninterested in me. I decided to get to the bottom of this mystery and just flat out tell her that I liked her and wanted to go out with her. When I did that she flat out shot me down. You could hear me crashing and burning for miles as she told me she thought of me as just a friend and the usual things girls say to try to let guys down easy. That wasn't what I had been going for but we were still friends and I started moving on. I took a few other girls out on dates and generally tried to get on with my life.

A couple months later, seemingly out of nowhere, Rachel started to get really flirty with me. I figured it was all in my head and ignored it. After a while she said we needed to talk and when we did she told me that she really did like me and wanted to date me. I was dumbfounded but I managed to say something eloquent and suave like "sure". The rest is history. We dated for about 8 months, were engaged for 5 more, and were married on April 28th, 2006 on a beautiful day in Portland, Oregon.

After getting married we lived in Provo for a year until we both graduated with our Bachelor's degrees, then we moved to Colorado for graduate school. I am currently working on my doctorate in Physics and Astronomy. If you care to learn any more about that you can check out my professional website. I love physics and astronomy and I love to teach, so my dream job is to be a professor of physics and astronomy someday.

Being married to Rachel has been absolutely wonderful. She brings so much joy into my life. I am pretty much as practical and nerdy a person as you've ever met. I have a system for sorting my shirts in my closet, I read physics textbooks for fun, and I can't do anything without making a spreadsheet to plan it out first. Rachel is spontaneous, fun-loving, and free-spirited. She helps me enjoy life.

In 2011 our lives got turned upside down with the addition of our daughter Alexa through the love and unselfishness of her birth parents Ray and Melissa. I love being a father.  I love the craziness, the goofy fun, watching Alexa learn and grow, and maybe most of all the quiet moments where she just sits on my lap. I can't imagine my life without Alexa and I am anxious to meet the rest of my children someday. 

When I'm not goofing around with Rachel and Alexa or geeking out over the latest pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope, I like to read, water and snow ski, go hiking, and watch college football. I very much enjoy working with the Boy Scout Troop in our ward and can't wait until we have a little boy I can take on camp-outs and help with pinewood derby cars and merit badges.