Friday, January 9, 2009


Jeff left for Omaha on New Year's Day while the kids and I stayed behind in Georgia to sell our house.  The house did not sell until May (after the first sale fell through) so the kids finished up the school-year in Georgia.  Jeff was not liking Omaha and kept looking for other jobs.  Two weeks before our scheduled move, he landed a job in Phoenix.  Phoenix sounded better than Omaha to both of us!

We drove our belongings across the country in our cars and Grandpa Dwain drove the big truck.  We lived in an apartment in Ahwatukee while we decided which metro-phoenix area we wanted to settle into.  We ended up buying a spec home in Southeast Chandler and loved it. 

I got a 10 day vacation from my responsibilities because I was sent to the hospital after my doctor received some routine lab results where my hemoglobin was 2.4 (normal range is above 12).  Actually, I did not see it as a vacation and I felt like I was being kept hostage.  Those were the longest 10 days of my life!!  Thanks to Grandma Anna Rae for taking over my responsibilities for the duration of my "vacation".

Morgan started 2nd grade at Basha Elementary and participated in Girl Scouts.  I was not able to enroll Emily and Ian Kindergarten because the missed the deadline by 1 day.  Here is to another year in the pre-K program!  They were not happy about this at all (in Georgia they would have made the Kindergarten deadline).

We are very happy that we ended up in Arizona and not Nebraska!


I stopped teaching preschool and Emily and Ian attended the Georgia pre-K program.  Ian had a speech/language delay and he received the speech service that he needed which was incorporated into the Pre-K program.

Morgan was in first grade and loved every minute of socializing that she was able to get.  Sometimes she was chatty at inappropriate times and we usually heard about it from her before the teacher would inform us.

Jeff was laid-off from his job with one semester left of law school and no work due to the impact that 9/11 had on the economic industry.  It took a while for him to find a job and the job that he got was in Omaha, Nebraska!  

Before Jeff landed the job in Nebraska, we loaded the car with the kids and suitcases and traveled to NYC for a job fair.  Although the trip was fruitless, we sure had fun in NYC and we swung by the White House and zipped on by a few of the historical places.


I labeled this post "against the odds" because the chances of me surviving 2 DVT's (deep vein thrombosis blood clots) and several clots in my left lung for a long duration of time are very slim.  I am so thankful that it wasn't my time to leave this Earth and that I could still be a mother to our children and be a part of their lives.  

Jeff was still plugging away at school and work.  When he had some free time we would drive to Helen, GA in the North Georgia Mountains and go tubing on the Chatahoochee River.  We also had fun driving to Chattanooga to go to the Tennessee Aquarium, driving in the rural Georgia mountains to go to Burt's Pumpkin and Popcorn Patch every fall, and going berry picking in the spring in the beautiful and rural farming towns of the South.

Morgan started Kindergarten and loved to ride the bus with all of her neighborhood friends.  In Georgia we only had all-day Kindergarten and Morgan felt like such a big girl!  Although the school was behind our sub-division, they encouraged everyone to ride the bus to school because traffic in the metro Atlanta area is horrible.  It was kinda cool, the bus stopped right in front of our house!

Emily and Ian continued to go to preschool where I was teaching and they learned a lot, did fun crafts and made many friends.  We were at Emily and Ian's three-year-old check-up when I overheard two nurses talking about what had happened to the World Trade Center.  The date was September 11, 2001 and I will never forget that day and the many lives that were lost and affected.  The sense of nationalism that was present in Georgia was unbelievable.  Everywhere I looked there was an American flag (cars, t-shirts, hats, sweaters, you name it).


We had fun telling our family in California that they were "so last millennium" when the clock struck 12:00 in Georgia first!  We were so thankful that this was the year that Emily finally stopped crying and was a happy, healthy and cute little girl.  

We celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary, Morgan turned four and we had the terrible twos times two!  We also enjoyed our trips to South Carolina to visit the Chitwoods and we also loved their tips to see us.

In September I started teaching preschool three mornings a week while Morgan attended a 4-year-old class and Emily & Ian were in a two-year-old class together.  This worked out very well because I was able to earn some money and my kids were right down the hall having fun and learning new things!  I also had the opportunity to interact with adults which is always a plus.  I was also coaching the Young Women's (teens) basketball team for our church.

Jeff was still a law student and working full time.  We did not get to see him very much between work, school, and studying, but we sure did enjoy the time that he was able to give.

I will never forget the "Ice Storm 2000" which basically turned all of Atlanta and surrounding cities into a big icicle.  The kids and I were at home without Jeff and we had been without power and it was getting very cold in the house.  This is where my resourcefulness came in handy... I was so thankful that we had a gas stove!  I turned on the oven, left the oven door open, and prayed that the kids would be obedient and not touch the oven.  Luckily the oven kept us warm and we had no mishaps!


Despite many doctors appointments, visits to the emergency room, a few prescriptions and tests, Emily still continued to cry her heart out every single day. 

 In May of '99 Ian we got some great news from Ian's cardiologist!  The hole in Ian's heart was just about closed and he would not need surgery after all!!  We were so relieved.  Ian also had his blocked tear duct repaired and he was now in tip-top-shape.

Morgan started preschool in August and enjoyed playing an angel in the Christmas play.  She also enjoyed playing outside in the backyard on the swings and playhouse.  Morgan loved to play with her babies (Em & Ian)  also had a lot of fun playing dress-up and house.  During the summertime, she loved to go to swimming lessons.  Most of all, Morgan loved to play with her stuffed animals, especially piggy, in her "tea party" decorated bedroom.

In October Emily had a very serious reaction to the MMR vaccine and she had no traceable platelets in her blood.  Not that she didn't already have enough health issues going on, she was treated by a hemotologist for a few months and received some IV treatments to help her body build up her platelet level.  Emily was still crying despite the fact that I had tried everything that I could think of to help her.


In February, while I was finishing up my student-teaching, I found out that we were going to have twins!  I graduated in June of 1998 and it was really good that graduation gowns are not form fitting.  Let's just say that I filled out the gown very well as I was 6 months pregnant when I graduated.  I guess you could say that all three of us graduated that day!

Over the summer of '98 we moved to Georgia for Jeff to attend Emory University School of Law.  Wow, that was quite a climate adjustment!  It was so humid and felt so hot as I waddled around town as people stopped, starred, and pointed at me.  Several people asked me, "How many babies are you going to have?"  Boy did that make me feel good about myself!

On September 1, 1998, two weeks after Jeff had started law school, Emily and Ian were welcomed into the world.  The day after they were born, a cardiologist came into the hospital room and told us that Ian was born with a ventricular septal defect (VSD), or hole in his heart, and that he would probably need surgery to repair it.  We were also told that he would not thive and develop like Emily.  We were very sad and stressed about this news and we just wanted to take our new babies home.  When they were ready to come home we were told that they (Em & Ian) needed to be named first and that we needed to sign their birth certificates.  Just a minor detail!!  Jeff named Ian Christopher and I named Emily Amanda and then we were home free.

Shortly after we came home from the hospital, Emily started crying all of the time and Ian's left eye was constantly draining.  Despite how difficult it was to have two babies and a 26-month-old, we are so thankful for our precious babies and we just love them so much.

Morgan enjoyed being a big sister so much!  She also enjoyed swimming and her gym class at the Little Gym.  Morgan would frequently be out on the town showing off her glittery sparkly shoes, sunglasses, and purse.  She loved to have her nails painted and to wear a crown and boa as well!

The kids and I flew out to California before Thanksgiving to spend time with our family while Jeff stayed in Georgia to study for finals.  After Jeff was done with his finals, he flew out to California to join us and we returned to Georgia for Christmas.  Emily continued to cry and cry and cry and Ian's eye got worse and worse.


Much to my dismay, I had to leave Morgan during the days in March to begin my student teaching.  I did my student teaching at Jenny P. Stewart Elementary School in Centerville, Utah.  I spent most of my time there in the 5th grade and I loved it!!

Luckily, Jeff was able to arrange his schedule during his last quarter to take night classes and Morgan and daddy had some bonding time.  I think that they both learned a lot from each other and developed a special bond while Jeff developed patience.

In June of 1997 Jeff graduated from the University of Utah and his family, including his grandparents,  flew out from California to attend the ceremony and to celebrate!