This is what I have been doing since we graduated from college…
June 6, 2006, I left for Utah to go to the Missionary Training Center to learn Spanish and to learn how to be a missionary. I left Utah in August and was placed in a small suburb just outside El Paso, Texas. I lived there for 6 months and then in February I moved to Tucson, Arizona- the scariest place I have ever lived-ever!
In February and March, I was hospitalized twice for salmonella poisoning. I actually was pretty fluent by nine months into my mission. I stayed in Tucson for 12 weeks but due to safety concerns they moved me to Nogales, Arizona. Nogales is right on the border of Mexico. After 6 months I was moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico which was my favorite place in my whole mission. In November of 2007, I came home to Tennessee. While I was gone on my mission, my mother moved to Cleveland, Tennessee and I came to live with her for a while. I got a part time job as a substitute at a daycare- which was awful but paid the bills.
In February 2008, I started working for Youth Villages. I started working out with families that had children that they were at risk for being taken into state’s juvenile justice system. In May, I changed programs and started working with teenagers who were in state’s custody and were aging out (they were never adopted or returned to parent before turning 18). In September I moved out of my mother’s home and into an apartment in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In August, my husband came home from being a missionary in South Dakota. We started dating in November, got engaged in December and were married by March 2009.
On March 28, 2009, Blake and I were married in an LDS Temple in Atlanta, Georgia. We honeymooned in Savannah and loved it. We usually try to go back there since we like it so much. Blake decided it was time to go back to college to finish his degree in Physics. He worked part time at a local hotel and went to college starting in the fall. In December 2009, on my birthday, I was hospitalized for what they thought was my gall bladder but turned out to be, salmonella poisoning, yet again. This time, I ate a whole bunch of baklava from Wal-Mart, don’t judge.
We adopted a rabbit from a Mennonite farm. By adopting it I mean that we saved it from being eaten. He is still alive today and is the only animal that Clark is not afraid of. Clark helps us take care of him.
Blake started attending a University in Chattanooga. In October, I was promoted to supervisor. My office was in Chattanooga but when I was a specialist I had sessions all over the place and did paperwork from home. As a supervisor I would have to be in the office a lot more. I hated my 30 minute commute each day and Blake was wasting time driving that he could be studying and working. It just made since to move to Chattanooga.
In January, we moved to a small town that is basically connected to Chattanooga but it is older so it is cheaper and safer to live there. I finally decided to pursue my Master’s degree in Counseling at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I started the process of applying and taking the GRE, gross. I attended our five year class reunion!
I was accepted to University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Blake did an internship with Volkswagen at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville under a grant from the National Science Foundation. I don’t understand what it was about so I won’t even try to explain. He lived on campus in Knoxville and came home on the weekends. Although I missed him it was kind of fun to live on my own. I started running a lot more and we started training for a half marathon. I didn’t actually intend to run a race because I get really nervous about running in races but I just wanted to run more.
I attended my 10 year high school reunion. The kickoff was a football game at the high school. It was the first and last football game I ever attended there. The next day we had a dinner at a fancy place on the river. I remembered why I skipped school so much. I probably won’t attend anymore high school reunions.
I started graduate school in August and loved it. In November, I found out that I was pregnant. After years of not being able to have a baby, I am suddenly pregnant after finally starting graduate school. December was the absolute worse month of my life. I had one staff that was planning to take maternity leave but just before she went out on leave, another staff member that I supervised went out on leave for medical reasons. I had two staff members on leave and no one to help me cover their work with ridiculous morning sickness, all day. I literally had to do the work of three people. I worked every single day of the week all day and well into the night. I was exhausted and just really frustrated with having to do so much work.
Work got a little better this year but I got more and more pregnant. Blake graduated from UTC as an Outstanding Senior with a Bachelor’s degree in Physics. In May, Blake left to live in Oak Ridge, Tennessee for an internship with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It was something about batteries, that is all I know. Blake rented an apartment and lived in Oak Ridge during the week but came back home on the weekends. The internship was from May until August and the plan was for Blake to come home for one week for me to have the baby and then the whole family would live in Oak Ridge for the rest of the summer. Instead, I was induced on July 19th and was in labor for 16 hours before Clark was finally born at midnight on July 20th via Cesarian section. Since I was labor so long, an infection developed in my placenta and Clark had an infection. Once my placenta was gone, I no longer had the infection but Clark still had an infection and he had to be placed in the NICU until it cleared. As they were sewing up my incision, my doctor stepped away to leave on vacation and the doctor from the hospital finished the job.
Clark was pretty much the best baby ever. He came out screaming but as soon as Blake started talking to him he stopped crying. I was only able to see him for a few seconds and to touch his cheek before they took him away to the NICU. We couldn’t go see him there until 10 am the next morning. When we walked in and saw him in his little crib he smiled at us. Once I walked in the NICU to visit and a nurse was holding him and all the other nurses were surrounding him laughing and cooing at him. He was the fattest baby in the NICU at 8 pounds and 9 ounces. Most of the other babies were premature and tiny.
The day before Blake had to return to Oak Ridge, my incision started bleeding heavily. I called the nurse’s line and they asked me to come in the next day to see the doctor. In the doctor’s office they had to reopen my incision because some had burst open already from the bleeding. Having my stitches being ripped open without anesthesia was more painful than labor pains! At some point they gave me a shot in the incision of local anesthesia which never really took effect. The doctor who walked away while I was on the table said that she would have put more stitches in my incision so that it wouldn’t split. They couldn’t sew me back up so they had to pack the gaping hole with gauze, put a bandage over it and wait for it to heal back together. It took over three months. I had a home health nurse that came in to change the bandages during the week while Blake was gone and on the weekends he changed them. I was shocked that he would actually try; I thought it was so disgusting and disturbing that I never looked at my incision.
I finished out the year by turning 30.
We bought a house in January!
I found out I was accepted to the I/O Psychology program at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga!
Throughout the year, I helped plan a community event that targeted foster youth and foster parents with the country music singer, Jimmy Wayne who was a former foster youth. It took a lot of work to get everything together and to collaborate with all the other agencies in the area was frustrating but it was worth it. The youth really enjoyed it.
Blake got a new job in August at a company called Lamberti as a process technician. He was testing pharmaceutical drugs for quality control at a small lab before and it just didn’t pay enough for us to live on one income. So, when he got the job at Lamberti we spent the rest of the year paying off whatever debt we could, my car, hospital bills, etc. In December, I put in my notice.
I worked out my notice and my last day was February 2nd. I am still adjusting to being at home full time. I will start the I/O Psychology program in August. Since January, I have been taking a French class which I will probably never grasp but I am going to keep trying. I am looking forward to seeing each of you at our 10 year reunion next year!