Sunday, September 29, 2013

things i learned in september

1. I don’t have a favorite season, rather a favorite time of year. And September just so happens to be that time of year. Its the perfect balance between summer and fall, both of which I do love. You can hold onto warm summer weather, but there’s the chill at night. You get beach trips, and football all at once. Its pretty heavenly. I think we should add a fifth season. Sautumn, or Fall-mer, or… ?

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2. God answers prayers in the most unexpected, incredible ways. After praying on something for almost five years, we finally have our answer. He is the Great Provider. Sometimes I just need to be reminded that I am not in charge. That He is at work for some bigger more beautiful plan and I just need to trust, and enjoy the process.

3. I learned that Instagram isn’t just for social media. Sometimes I just sit down and browse through my over 800 pictures on Instagram. It reminds me of little moments in our life that are so fleeting. I’m thankful for instagram. It makes me more aware of those moments, allows me to document them really quickly, and then have the ability to go back and pour over the images. Anyone else feel that way? -

4. I really love baking. I kind of find it therapeutic. Although my jeans don’t really love me baking. This month I invested in my first KitchenAid Mixer. I’m already obsessed. Landon and I made chocolate chip cream cheese cookies within the first hour of owning her. imagesCA9J8O0X

5. Raising a toddler is no joke. However, raising a toddler is way fun. I’ve never played with so much play doh, mega-blocks, or cars in my whole life. And I’m loving every minute of it. Our days are typically ended with a trip to the park in our neighborhood. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to swing on a swing set. Having a baby is tough some days, but it is so fun to relive your childhood through your child.

6. I learned there’s nothing better than riding through the country with the windows down and radio up to make you feel sixteen again. (Which is something I already knew, but the cooler temperatures have allowed for it lately so its a nice reminder how much I enjoy it)

7. I learned I absolutely have to take time for myself each week. Otherwise, I’m a raging lunatic by the end of the week. I cannot do it all, despite how much I try. And that’s okay. Thank God for grace. Which is a whole other post in itself.

8. I learned that there’s a part of my soul that was made for country living. As much as I resisted moving to this little nothing town that we live in, I kind of enjoy it now. The old barns, hay bales, and wide open spaces grow on you after a while. And while I love city living and all it has to offer, I’ve realized that my spirit needs the space to breathe, and living in the middle of nowhere certainly offers that.

9. I learned that coffee really does make mornings better.

10. I learned that sometimes its okay to unplug, to not capture every second of every day, to put down the camera, phone, or ipad and just be.

11. I learned how sweet it is when your child calls you “mama” for the first time. Yes, my sweet boy has made me wait 21 long months to hear that word, and now? I never get tired of it. It really is the most incredible thing to hear.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

I am an oncology nurse.

I am an oncology nurse. I didn’t choose this profession, it chose me. Early on in my nursing school days, I had no clue what area I wanted to work it, but I knew what I didn’t want to work it. Oncology, and Babies. They were soft professions, they were mushy, and emotional, and expected. I wanted to be different, I wanted to stand out, challenge myself, and be a nurse that could stand her ground with any physician any day. And I certainly couldn’t be that in oncology and pediatrics. Or so I thought.
When I got to my senior year, I was assigned my final rotation. I was anxious, and eager to learn, but I can’t say I was excited when I found out I was placed on an adult oncology unit and a hospital over 45 minutes away. I dreaded the long commute and long 12 hour shifts. I dreaded oncology. Surely this wasn’t where I was going to work, so why in the world was I going to waste my time for 9 weeks on a unit I wanted nothing to do with? 
My preceptor’s name was Sam. She was petite and bubbly, but hardworking and a spitfire. The girl knew her stuff. I loved my preceptor, I may not have loved my unit, but I loved my preceptor. And let me tell you, that can make or break your experience.
A couple weeks in, I had the pleasure of taking care of an elderly woman. I honestly cannot even remember her diagnosis, I don’t even think it was cancer related now that I think about it. She was simply on the unit because there was no other place for her to be in that small town hospital, and she was dying. Sometime that afternoon, I remember her daughter coming out to the nurses station where I was sitting (of course with my luck, my preceptor had stepped away at that moment). I could tell by the look on her face that it had happened. I had no clue what to do. After asking another nurse sitting near by she said “well, go in and make sure its for real, listen for breath sounds, feel for a pulse, confirm her passing.” And so I did.
I hoped the family couldn’t see me shaking, because I felt like every piece of me was going to collapse into the floor when I walked into the room. I tried as hard as I could to put on my big girl pants and be strong, supportive, and compassionate all at the same time. When I entered the room, you could have heard a pin drop. Her husband was by her side holding her hand, watching me. All eyes were on me as I took my stethoscope and listened to her lungs, then felt her small frail wrist for a pulse. I nodded to them confirming her passing, saying I was so sorry, and told them I’d give them privacy to spend some time with her saying goodbyes. I went out and paged the doctor to let him know, only to find that the daughter had followed me back out of the room. “Ma’am? My dad would like to lay with her if he could. Could you help us move her over in the bed so he can lay next to her for a few minutes?” My heart sank. While some may find this unnerving, I found it to be the most sweet, loving gesture in the world. I remember thinking, I hope my marriage stands the test of time and our love is that strong, even in the end. It was one of those moments you experience in a movie like The Notebook, but this time, it was real, and right in front of me.
I went in, gently slid her over in the bed, and watched him crawl up next to her as he had done for the past sixty years of his life. It was one of the most profound moments of my life. I spent the rest of my shift marveling over the moment that I was witnessing. Watching this husband grieve, and being as supportive as I could during the hardest moment of their lives. When it was time for shift change, the family gave me hugs and thanked me for what I had done. I found this strange, why in the world would you thank me? Its my job. It’s what I’m supposed to do. Moreover, its what I want to do. I left the hospital that night, and about fifteen minutes into my drive home, I broke down. The emotion of the day finally catching up with me. I wasn’t sad, I was moved. And right then, I knew why God had placed me on that oncology unit. He was showing me exactly where I was supposed to be.
That moment stuck with me, and I soon realized as I applied for new graduate nursing jobs that oncology was actually where I needed to be. I submitted my application to one of the largest hospitals in the state, known across the country for its oncology program. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it at the best place possible. I graduated in December, passed my boards and accepted a job on an adult hematology/oncology unit in January, got married in April, and started work a week after our honeymoon. Four and a half years later, I cannot imagine being anything other than an oncology nurse. It has been the most eye opening, challenging, emotional, and life altering job I could have imagined for myself. People assume the “hardcore” nurses are ED or ICU trauma. Well, they couldn’t be more wrong. I have been a part of situations in my four and a half year career that I never would have imagined. There have been times in my nursing career that I have made life altering decisions, been a part of code situations, and held the hands of family members scared out of their minds. Oncology nursing has been the absolute most rewarding, challenging thing I could have ever hoped for.

This week I made a decision that will be a life changing one. Not only for myself, but for a patient who desperately needs a stem cell transplant to save his or her life. This week I joined Be The Match, which is the National Marrow Donor Program. I literally signed up online, they mailed me the kit which I completed and mailed back. It took about five seconds of my time and a quick swab of the inside of my mouth. Just like that, I am part of a program that helps save thousands of lives every year. With September being Blood Cancer Awareness month, I can’t think of a better way to honor those who battle leukemia, both patients and friends. Go to www.bethematch.org for more information.

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 “I am a Nurse. I didn’t become a nurse because I couldn’t cut it in med school, or failed organic chemistry, but rather because I chose this. I work to maintain my patient’s dignity through intimate moments, difficult long term decisions, and heartbreaking situations. I share in the joy of newly born babies and miraculously cured diseases. I share in the heart break of a child taken too soon, a disease too powerful, a life changed forever. My patient is often an entire family. I assess and advocate. Sometimes I wipe bottoms, often I give meds, but that isn’t the extent of what I do. There are people above me, and people below. I work closely with both, without them, I could not do what I do well. I chose this profession and love almost every minute of it. I know I am not alone and I appreciate all of the nurses who work alongside me. Many of them have shaped me into the nurse I am. Someday I will shape others into the nurse they will be. This wasn’t my plan B, it was my plan A, and I would gladly choose it again.”
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

This morning started out just like any other morning. I finally woke up after hitting the snooze button a few too many times, threw on a clean pair of scrubs, put some make up on and brushed my teeth. I went into Landon’s room to wake him up, waited for him to squirm and stretch, and finally sit up in his crib before stretching his sleepy arms for me to pick him up. I carried him downstairs, sat him on the counter and handed him a squeeze yogurt while I warmed up his pancakes. John was still here this morning. Josie has been having back problem so he stuck around to give her her cocktail of pain medicine and a steroid, made sure she’s okay and helped me out with Landon. I finished the last minute prep for our lunches, loaded the car, and buckled Landon into his carseat.  Then I went back in, grabbed my coffee, keys, iphone, and sunglasses. John was backing out of the driveway and out of sight before I really realized it. As I slid into my seat, I buckled my seat belt, checked my phone (why I don’t know), and finally turned the key and started backing down the driveway. It took a second for it to register what was on the radio. But immediately my heart sank.

“Where where you when the world stopped turning, on that September day…”

I immediately recognized the Alan Jackson song and it registered that this morning is not just any other morning. It is the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our nation.

Of course I remember exactly where I was. I was fourteen. Fourteen. I was just a kid, I couldn’t even drive, I was sitting in biology class. Its funny to me, because I feel like it just happened yesterday, but that girl? That girl seems like a lifetime ago. Now I’m a mom. That’s how long its been, a fourteen year old girl is now married and a mom. Surely it hasn’t been twelve years.

I glanced at the clock once I got to work and realized it was just about the time the first plane hit. So this is what it was like that morning.

Everyone was just going about their lives. Packing lunches, waking up sleepy kids, rushing to get out the door. That’s how it started. They dropped their kids off at school, daycare, or the sitters house, and went to work…just like any other morning. They had no idea what was about to happen. They had no idea when they clocked in at work they were walking into what would be the scene of one of the most tragic events in our nation’s history. They had no idea, because it started out like any other morning.

That sits heavy on me.

And I think that now that I’m a mom, it sits heavy on me in such a different way. For the moms who dropped their kids off and went to work in the WTC, for the moms who dropped their kids off at school at Sandy Hook Elementary, for the moms that woke up that morning ready to run the Boston Marathon.

As moms we want nothing more than to protect our sweet families from the evil that undoubtedly exists in this world, we want to wrap our arms around them tight and keep them safe. But what do we do when we can’t?

I’ve thought a lot today about the mamas affected by these events while I’ve watched from the safety of my little home. I’m sure they would give ANYTHING to have “just any other morning” with their kids. To wake up and it all have just been some nightmare. The truth is that twelve years later, while the rest of the world has kept on going, there are moms out there that are still trying to catch their breath and get by day to day, grieving from the events that they have endured.

So this anniversary, I’m remembering those mamas, those mamas who may have lost their husbands, or those mamas who lost their lives. I’m remembering, that 12 years later, there are mamas out there that are still trying to get used to life post-9/11. There are kids out there that are still adjusting to new normal of not having a parent at moments when they need them the most. There are families who would give anything to wake up and have things be just like any other morning.

I hope that every. single. morning. I remember how lucky I truly am to have those mornings. That there in the rushing and craziness there is a blessing. That packing a lunch (as much as I groan about it) is a blessing. That watching my son eat breakfast while sitting on the countertop is a blessing. I will gladly take it like this. I will gladly let my life be filled with these mornings.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

DIY Ruler Growth Chart

  Growing up, my mom always used to measure our height on the back of the door that led down to the basement in our house. For years, you could see our growth and my mom’s scribbled handwriting marking the date and our age. It was always so much fun seeing who was taller at what age, and was especially fun when I finally passed my sister in height. Granted, she’s only 5’1 (and a half, if you ask her) but it was still a huge victory to finally say that I was taller than my big sister. And you better believe I’ve never let her forget it!

When I was in eighth grade, my parents moved into a new home. While I was excited to have a new room, and more space, I look back and wish we could have taken that door with us. It held so many memories, and was such a part of our childhood, and now its in a house I will never revisit.

Now that I’ve had Landon, I want the same memories for him. I want to have him stand up tall against the wall and measure how big he is from year to year. And down the road, I hope he has a sibling to have that same rivalry with. Here’s the kicker though, I refuse to mark on a door frame because if we ever move, those markings will be left behind just like mine from my childhood. Not to mention we rent our house right now and I’m not sure the owners would appreciate our markings on their walls.

A few months ago I saw the DIY ruler growth charts that are all over Pinterest and the blog world. I immediately knew that was the solution to my dilemma. A ruler that I could hang on the wall and measure my babies, but when we move, it can move with us. This weekend we finally put the finishing touches on our ruler, and I am so proud of the results. I also can’t wait for it to be marked on over the years to chart my kids milestones.

First we went to Lowe’s and bought a 2x6 piece of wood that is 6 feet long. It really is personal preference what size board you use, but I felt like this was a good size for what we needed. Luckily we had some dark stain laying around the garage to use, so we didn’t need to purchase any. It literally took me about 2 minutes to stain the wood. Be careful not to make it too dark, because you won’t be able to see your marks when you finally start measuring your kids.

After the stain was dry, we used a measuring tape to start marking our inch-marks. I started the ruler at the six inch mark to allow for the baseboards in our home. John helped me with this step. Using a lot of painters tape, he taped off the hashmarks and painted the lines black. Then, went back and used the stencils to paint the numbers. After one coat of poly, it was finished! We’ve decided to measure Landon on his birthday, so it is a yearly event to see how much he grows. So, I have to wait until December for our first measurement. In the meantime, I’m searching for the perfect place to hang our ruler in our home.

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I wish I had taken a few more pictures of the whole process, but really it was so easy to do. I’m so excited for the way it turned out, and cannot wait until December to measure Landon for the first time!

Linking up with Life Created


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Saturday Mornings are for…

for sleeping in, and pancake breakfasts with all of our stuffed animals.

for an extra cup of coffee, cartoons, and pajamas as long as we want.

for mega blocks, and fort building, and having no idea where my iphone is.

for silly giggles, and tickle monsters, and belly laughs.

 

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Five on Friday

Hey Y’all! Hope everyone has had a wonderful week. I’m so glad its Friday, and even more glad to be linking up with Christina and the rest of the girls for Five on Friday. I figured today I’d change it up a bit. So here’s Five on Friday : Home Edition.

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Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been scouring the internet searching for paint colors, light fixtures, and decor ideas for our home that we will start building this spring. When I picture this home, I picture tons of natural light, bright white, and touches of coastal rustic-ness.  Here’s a few of my favorite things I’ve found recently and plan on using in our home. Searching for this stuff makes me BEYOND excited to get the show on the road and finally be in a home to call our own.

 

1 Ballard Designs  Duron 3 Light Lantern

I think this light is absolutely gorgeous- I love a lantern, and love the character they bring to a room instead of a normal chandelier.

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2. Pottery Barn Sienna Paisley Blue Duvet Cover

This is our current bedding, and I am still in love with it even four years after buying it. I love the colors, and cannot wait to decorate our master bedroom around it finally. Its held up so well and is still just as gorgeous as it was when purchased.

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3. Double Bowl Farmhouse Sink

When we started dreaming of building our own house, we of course started dreaming of our “must haves.” My one splurge and one thing in the house that I hope for is a double bowl farmhouse sink. A big ol white sink, in my white kitchen. I have no idea why I love these sinks so much, but I do. Maybe its like the lantern, its something different, and adds character.

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4. When I picture our master bathroom, this is kind of the inspiration I look for. Not necessarily the paint color, or the built in (even though they’re both great). What I really love about this bathroom picture is the shutters over the tub instead of the frosted glass windows that are normally installed. I want real light streaming in, not filtered light through a not so attractive frosted glass. I love the idea of using shutters for privacy while still allowing light. This is a must.

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5.  Last but not least, I am LOVING this gallery wall going up the staircase. The downstairs of our floorplan is fairly open, and doesn’t have many walls. So I’ve decided the perfect place for a gallery wall of family photos is going up the stairs. This one is probably one of my favorites I’ve seen.

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While I’m not ready for summer to end, I can’t help but get excited for the seasons to pass and bring us that much closer to starting this labor of love.

Happy Weekend!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Landon / 20 Months

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write up this 20 month post for a while, and its quickly turning into 21 months. It seems like lately, you are changing so fast and learning new things each day, and I can’t quite keep up with it all. Call it writers block, or call it just plain busy. Whatever the reason, I haven’t been able to make myself write yet. To be honest, I think sometimes I can’t find the words to adequately express the emotions my heart experiences on this rollercoaster of motherhood. You, sweet boy, are the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I don’t want this time to go by without some sort of documentation, so I’m going to do my best to describe you at age twenty (ish) months.

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I’m pretty sure the biggest word that comes to mind when I think about you is independent. Fiercely independent. You are a little man on a mission, and often push my hand away if I’m trying to help you, or insist you do things your way. You have made it clear that you can climb steps (up and down) all by yourself and do not need to hold my hand. You have refused to drink out of a cup with a lid, proving that you are a big boy and can drink out of a real cup with no sippy lid or straw. And to cut your food into little bites for you? Forget it, you are a big boy and will pick it up and bite it like the rest of us. You do things your way, that’s for sure, and are sure to let us know. While it makes me so so proud to watch you do things on your own, it also adds to our share of battles. Lord help me when you are a teenager, I’m sure I’ll be gray headed and haggard looking from sleepless nights thanks to you.

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You are such a silly boy. You LOVE to play, and giggle, and be tickled, and play chase. One of my favorite things right now? When something is yucky, you say “eeeee” and make the worst face in the world. We have no idea where you learned it, but it makes us laugh every. single. time. You love being outside, you love swimming, and you love your play kitchen and cooking. Last week I caught you pouring a cup of water into your pot on the stove, “turning it on” and telling me that it was hot as you stirred. Maybe you’ll be a chef one day?

You are curious, and serious, you study and take it all in. Which I’ve been told is much how I was at your age. Your vocabulary is coming along slowly but surely, but you won’t talk or say a word until you are good and ready. Everything is in your time. Maybe this is God’s way of inadvertently continuing to teach me that life does not operate on my own timeline. I’m pretty sure its a battle I’ve been learning since I was in my teens, him trying to teach this heart of mine to be patient. And you? You are part of that same plan of His, I have no doubt. You would think I would have learned by now, but apparently this will be a lifelong journey of learning patience.

 

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You give me a run for my money, you test my patience, and everyday I am learning how to be a better mommy for you. (For instance, as I type this you we are trying to explain to you why you can’t play outside at 9pm at night). But sometimes in the most frustrating of moments, when I can’t possibly hear you fuss one more second, or flail your arms or stop your feet, you surprise me in the biggest of ways and walk up and plant the biggest, sweetest kiss on my cheek. I think in the past couple weeks we have finally entered into the “parenting stage” of this whole thing. Up until now you’ve been easy, as long as you were fed, changed, and sleeping you did great. But now that you are a toddler, you require discipline, guidance, and a little more than just hugs and kisses from mommy. Its as much a learning process for myself as it is for you, and I have no doubt we are just getting started.

No matter what we go through, or how many tantrums you throw, just know that I love you. And nothing will change that.

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