Friday, December 13, 2013

Oh heeeey!

hello internet!
I've missed this little bloggy space! I'm doubting that anyone will come read this, considering I haven't even logged on since August. But anyway, I'll give you a little update.

LIFE IS GRAND!
Nursing school is incredible. I'm working harder than I've ever worked. My brain feels stretched and challenged and full. Let me give you one piece of advice: never think that nurses are stupid. I can only speak for those with a BSN (the degree I'm working towards), but holy cow, come sit in my pathophysiology class for one second and you'll see. Wow. I really hate that I grew up in a culture thinking that nurses were "lesser" somehow (not by fault of my family, but just society in general- "you should be a doctor, you should be a lawyer, etc… no acknowledgment of what academic prowess it takes to be a nurse). The depth of knowledge gained in nursing school is pretty incredible, and trust me, if you ever end up in the hospital, the NURSE is your soldier on the front lines of whatever you're dealing with. Good doctors and NP's/PA's love the nurses on their team, because without them, nothing gets accomplished. I am SO PROUD of my new career and feel that this is exactly what I was meant to do. I absolutely love being a part of the medical community and nursing specifically. There are many paths for being in health care (I considered PA school for many years) but nursing, and this specific route of education, is a perfect fit for me.

Going through an accelerated program with 3 kids and a husband who is also a student is definitely challenging, but nothing to cry over. There were weeks that I didn't get much sleep and had a ton of work, but overall a good balance was achieved. I treat school like a job: drop the kids off in the morning, go to class/lab/clinical, use my lunch or other down time to study or work on whatever is due, pick up the kids, forget about school until they go to bed, and then do whatever leftover studying is necessary. It is hard but good- I love to work, so for me it's not too bad. Especially when my husband also has to sit there and study… every night is a study date on the couch! I don't watch TV anymore so I might as well spend my time learning. I know, big nerd alert here!

The kids are doing great in school this year! All the teachers are fantastic, and each child is excelling and having fun. It's just life as usual, and not as traumatic as I thought it would be with them having to go to a couple hours of after-school care. They thrive in the environment. When we get home, we all just play outside or have some quality time together. They are AWESOME kids and I'm so glad to be their mama! They are the best cheerleaders too, and I've practiced a LOT of physical assessment skills on them ;). I told them not to worry though… I won't practice giving shots on them!

I miss running a lot and seeing my friends… definitely can't see friends as often, but they've all been very understanding. I've been able to squeeze in a run about 2 times a week, 3 if I'm lucky. But I feel out of shape from sitting in a lecture hall all day, and then exhausted from being on my feet for 8-12 hour clinical shifts, because I'm out of shape! ha! endless cycle… and next semester will be double the work, so I'm preparing for the worst. This too shall pass… sigh…

Of course not everything is totally perfect around here- the house is dusty, we eat trader joe's pizza a lot, laundry is done less frequently, etc, etc… but it's okay. We've had some highs and lows (lost a dear friend to cancer) this semester, and through it all, we've been sustained. We are very thankful. Now it's Christmas break and time to take some deep breaths. I hope you all are well and living life to the fullest- after all, we only have ONE!
the President giving a speech for the graduate school commencement 

Duke Chapel

Duke provides beer/wine during orientation. Good move, Duke. 

after the professional schools' convocation 

random pic of the kids breaking rules on an early fall day (it's SO cold here now!!) 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Maine, etc

This is my last weekend "off" for 16 months. That's nuts! I am in an accelerated program so it will go fast. I'm preparing myself to study ALL the time. This semester I'll be taking stats, fundamentals of nursing, foundations, physical examination/assessment, and pathophysiology. Technically I have 4 classes plus labs (so some combo of the above- still trying to figure out where i'll learn what), and clinicals. I am SO EXCITED. Also already tired just from orientation, so this should be interesting... coffee coffee coffee!

So this blog will be about remembering the glory days of summer, where we just traveled as a family and had FUN without having to memorize/study/go to class every day. Have I told you that Zach has NINE classes this semester plus clinicals? DUDE. That's why he'll have "Dr." in front of his name... and I won't... I'm FINE with that :).

So... MAINE! It was beautiful and cool (temperature) and invigorating. Zach's dad and stepmom have a wonderful house up there, and we got to hang out with them and their awesome kids. it was a blast!
we arrived in Boston, got our rental car, and headed for Maine! 

woot woot! 

Ready for our first hike! 

we could walk to a lot of places from the house, so we went through town to the trailhead 

headed for the top! 

blueberry picking! 




this was a public beach just a short walk from the house

yes, those are the kids swimming in the collld water! 

lobsta

loved hiking on the beaches


there was a great co-op where we could get cheap lobster and bring our own bread/wine/etc

and check out the docks


we loved hiking around the tide pools


another hike overlooking a huge lake

of course we bribed Sam to keep hiking... with fake nasty cheez wiz! I haven't seen that stuff in years... hilarious! 
The end... Maine was fabulous! We came home and went straight to the beach for our final week of summer. I took a break from the camera and have zero pictures from that- only good, relaxing memories. I will rely on those memories to bring me sanity for the next year :). I'll update here as often as I can... I covet your prayers and good juju as I launch into this new and crazy journey!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

we're back

We've been home for a few days now, but no rest for the weary (happy) travelers... kids started school already! Here is a little (big) post to recap our travels. Next summer we will go to zero places (well, maybe a weekend trip or two, and my kids will beach it with my parents), so this summer was super special. Next summer I will be in class or at a hospital every day, all day. Almost. Anyway, we savored this time away. It was fantastic! I'm considering what to do with this blog. As you probably know, I have a whole lot more to say than what I've said here lately. I love to write, and I love to write honestly. Sometimes, though, it's good to be quiet. Sometimes I don't want to invite the criticism or even the praise. So we'll see. It could become my "therapy" as I work my way through school over the next 16 months. Is anyone still reading? I know I have 3 friends reading and some parents and grandparents. So that's good. :)

Moving along to the trip recap:

#1: Nags Head, OBX, NC, with our dearies, the Duncans.
view of the sound, from Manteo

silly boys on our deck. Fearing the storm! :)

beautiful mornings

gorgeous afternoons

Amazing evenings

and so much fishing. ALL the time. They loved it! 
#2: After five glorious days on the OBX, we drove up to see my sister Em who lives outside of DC. She's not really my sister but mostly is. Anyway, her kids and my kids are "fake cousins" and we couldn't love them more... they are the best!
Em had to work, so Zach and I took her three kids and our 3 kids into the city. Because we are brave, and insane. 

It was already 10000 degrees

These kids are awesome. It was so hot and they were so willing to walk and see all the cool sites. 

in awe

the dude himself

cute kids, grand memorial (WWII)

After another massive walk in 1000 degree heat, we arrived to see Mr. Jefferson


hot

amen sister

This was special. I have one African child and two white children. Emily's three children are biracial (she is biracial and her husband is white). Our families would have a MUCH harder time existing if not for our powerful civil rights leaders. 

This is the one pic I took of Em's pool (out the bathroom window). Thank the dear lord baby jesus for this pool after our long hot days... 

SAM :)

The next day we tried to be inside for a longer time. YAY air and space museum! 

Then we got to see my good childhood friend, Jordon! He's a big shot in the Government... 

And he works right across the street from the Prez. So he walked us over to see the residence. Not to shabby.  

The next morning we went to see this

And the new Air Force memorial, which is my favorite, because I grew up at the Air Force Academy. And this was designed to look like it. LOVED it. 

good kids! :)

Saluting lessons with Aunt Emily. Who is a badass Colonel in the USAF

then we went to Old Town and had lunch

pretty girls

I may be okay with having 6 kids, but only if I got to add those specific kids to my brood. Love them :)

Then my friend Sally from college stopped by to say hi! Hooray! She is a teacher in DC. 

Oh yeah! And I forgot to mention... saw one of my college roomies and my co-maid of honor in our wedding, Susan! She lives up there too. We both have three kids. WHAT??? :)

That night Zach and I got to go have fantastic Ethiopian food in the city. 

WITH my cousin John and his lovely wife Flo. What an amazing evening! 

And the next day we had to leave. We may have cried a bit. It was the BEST four days. The best. We love our DC family and friends!!! 

Okay this post is getting too long... next destinations will be documented soon. Hope you all are well! Happy Wednesday...