Sunday, June 7, 2009

Our May Travels

We visited five states over a one week time period in May...Let me explain...

I was feeling overwhelmed with studying for my boards- so I bought a plane ticket for Ave to go with my mom to visit Kansas. This would allow Ave to see her dad, spend more time with Nanny, and see Keith and Kristan's family while I buckled down and began preparing for my BIG TEST...

It worked out PERFECTLY. I drove up and spent the night in Tulsa, Oklahoma (in order to get my test completed in the month of May rather than waiting until June when I have to start my job). I took the test Saturday and did not feel so great about it. You get anywhere from 75-265 questions. I was done after 50 minutes or so and only got 75 questions. I had no idea how I did but was quickly on the road again back up to Kansas.

We stayed in Kansas Saturday night. Our plan was to go to church and then leave after an early dinner with Keith and Kristan. I was eager to get back to Texas as we had made fun Memorial plans with our friends and for Apes' birthday that involved renting a boat and enjoying the day on the lake.

So, early Sunday night we leave. We are not but an hour and ahalf out of Kansas City- close to Fort Scott, Kansas. I am driving along and notice a deer up ahead go across the highway. I am pretty sure I slowed down at this point, everyone knows deer travel in groups...but I also try to point out the deer to Avery. Next thing I know, I hear a CRASH and my drivers side window is broken into 50 pieces and there's deer hair all throughout the car. OMG!!! I pull over. I don't know what to do! I am freaking out at this point. I call my brother- he tells me to call 911-I do that right away. I am scared to get out and look at my car for fear that this deer is still on top of my car! Avery is calm as can be and asks me a couple times, "Mom- are you mad? Are you mad the deer broke your car?"

Long story short...I'm not too horribly mad about it all, at first. I figure- its not the worst thing that can happen. Atleast we're o.k....I can spend some more time in Kansas. At this point, I'm also more concerned about finding the results of my board test than I am my car! Over the next couple days- we were able to enjoy more time with our Kansas family and friends and I realized two things 1) I passed my boards and I was a full-fledged RN-YAY!!!! and 2) My car would not be fixed in the timely manner I would've hoped for.

I end up driving my car back to Texas. No window at all- and taking it to a Dallas body-shop, where it is still getting fixed up! We spend the night in Dallas and are on the road again, the next day, to Branson, Missouri with April, Anthony, and Tanner.

I was exhausted by this point but knew we had to make the trip- and I am so glad we did! I think I was one of the last midwest born and raised folks to have never visited this fun place. We enjoyed our time there- lots of pool time, relaxing time, saw a show, and enjoyed making memories with the kiddos. I learned from this trip- that I need to travel more often! It is so nice to get away from your house and not have to worry about cleaning, cooking, etc!

So, here are some trips from our fantastic adventures. Sorry- no car pics. The image my mind of deer hair everywhere and deer flesh on my door handle is enough for me to take!

These girls are the cutest...but not very good drivers! Ave is now telling me she is old enough to drive the car- EVERY TIME WE GO ANYWHERE!

Here we are at this adorable petting zoo in Kansas. Can't wait to go there again!

Ave and Tanner

Ave riding her pony. She asked the cowboy/wrangler dude if he had any pink, sparkly ponies like her ponies at home. This guy was really nice and took Ave on a really long walk with the pony. He didn't charge me a penny for it and also gave Ave this really cute cowgirl hat that matches her pink cowboy boots, at home. He told me I could come back anytime! I didn't feel too bad about that one!

Graduation Day!

I have some major catch-up blogging to do. So, let's start with graduation day. There were a couple things that made this day SO GREAT!

The first one was the family support I received-I didn't know if both my parents were going to be there...Long story short- both of my parents were there for the big day. This was pretty amazing to me. I didn't stress how important it was to me to have them both there but my mom and dad made travel arrangements to be present.

I knew the day was going to be emotional. This has been my dream for the last seven years and the road had been long, hard, difficult, but wonderful. I didn't actually start tearing up until I walked in with my class, looked up, and saw my sister, April, crying. My sister is not an emotional person so I can only gather that Apes understood how important this goal was for me to reach...and she was proud!

The coolest thing about this day was finding Ave in the stands...She watched me, waved to me, smiled at me and I found her before I walked across the stage...I hope she remembers this day and knows how valuable an education really is.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Florence Nightingale Award

This is the best week ever. We had our final Monday. I didn't have to take it because I did well on the HESI exit exam (similar to a board test) and was happy with my lecture grade. For this reason, I was able to go up to Kansas last week, instead of studying, which made me really happy.

Our pinning ceremony took place Monday. The instructors announced the awards that the students had chosen. The final award was introduced, by my instructor from last semester, as the "Florence Nightingale Award." She stated the ward was voted on my the nursing faculty and to be given to someone who would strongly carry on Florence's vision of nursing and would represent the school. She talked about it for several more moments and then informed the class that this year's recipient would be ME! I was completely shocked and blown away by this honor. Another instructor went up to the podium to hand me my own copy of Florence Nightingale's "Notes on Nursing," a beautiful book I will treasure FOREVER. The instructor told the class that this was the most important award given to the student that the instructors would personally choose to take care of themselves or one of their loved ones. That right there means everything to me.

My favorite quote from Florence pretty much sums of my beliefs on nursing-

"Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation, as any painter's or sculptor's work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God's spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts."

I don't know if I deserve this award more than any of my other peers....But, I do know how much I love nursing. This career has taught me so much- not only how to take care and talk to others but it has helped me figure out who I really am. I've wanted to be a RN since I was 18 years old and it has been the one constant dream of mine since. I can't believe I am there.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lessons Learned

Just wanted to share this cute picture that Ave made...She was coloring one day and told me she drew a picture of her family. She asked me how to spell "mom" and "tanner."

Here we are...Two and ahalf years later...We have come so far. When Ave and I first moved to Texas, I strongly disliked having to explain our situation to others and loathed the question, "And what does your husband do?" I would see Ave watching other families interact and I assumed she was wondering where her dad was.

After all this time has gone by, I can now openly explain before anyone has to ask- "Yeah, its just me and Avery and we are pretty darn close."

Any mom will tell you that its hard. I just know that I was meant to be a mom- Avery's mom...I wouldn't trade it for anything. Our struggle has brought us together and I am the happiest and strongest I have ever been.

So, what now? It has taken me long enough but I have come to several conclusions over the last couple of weeks. I need to stop worrying so much about myself and my situation and start doing more for others. Working in the emergency room for my school clinicals has been a startling experience. If you have family support, your health, and a grasp of perspective- you can count yourself extremely lucky.

Man, wisdom does come with age...I am wise beyond my years...Its a good thing I am getting older- my life experiences will soon catch up to my age!

More Kansas Fun!

This is the best month for us but also the craziest. I was in desperate need of a quick trip to see some of my Kansas people and we were able to go up last week.

Its interesting to me to go back to a place where I have so many roots- both good and bad. I ran into one of my really good friends from high school, that just recently moved back to KS, while we were visiting Crown Center with the kids. That just doesn't happen in a place where no one knew you even existed 2 years ago.

It may have something to do with my parents moving away and now that school is coming to a close- I have this pressing need to "settle" somewhere with Ave... It is not fun moving every year and I want Ave to be able to center her life around people that care about her and are constantly present in her life.

For now, I still LOVE Texas and am excited to advance in my nursing career here. I will just always look forward to my KS trips...As you can tell from the pictures, Ave and her cousin Brittany are the best of friends. Those two girls are so cute together. Since leaving, I have been asked everyday if we are going to go back to see Brittany. SO MUCH FUN!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Explaining life to a 3 year old

I have been wanting to watch the movie, "Marley and Me" since it has been in the theater...I decided against it after I heard about the ending...So, let me clearly say, don't read this if you are wanting to watch and be surprised by this sweet family movie.

Avery and I both enjoyed the movie. As I turned it off, I was gearing up for some talks about her strong desire for a dog...Which usually go something like, "Mommy, we need to get a house, a dog, and a trampoline...O.K. Mommy?"

It turns out, this wasn't what was on her mind...This was our conversation.

Avery: "Mommy, did Marley die just like Jesus died?"

Me: "Well, Jesus died for you and me, so we can live with him and Heavenly Father again....Marley died because he was an old doggie."

Avery: "Mommy, aren't you old?

Me: "No, Mommy is NOT OLD...Just bigger and older than Avery. But doggies don't live as long as people do."

Avery: "Oh, that's good...Well, I think Marley died because he went to the doctor...That's why I don't go to the doctor when I'm sick."

I have to admit, I am glad I have a little girl that thinks...

I loved this movie and it reminded me of our family's dog, Einstein...He was a beautiful golden retriever that seriously saved our family from minor and major finding my little brother, who was lost, in the acres of land behind our house in Wisconsin...yeah, we did lose every child in our family atleast once...its a wonder CPS never got involved!

Can't wait to get a dog for Avery...Together, they can both learn to listen to me!

My favorite sport...

Baseball...One of my favorite outings in the summertime. We were able to go to a Rangers vs. Royals and had a great time. The weather turned slightly threatening with a chance of rain...but Ave did not want to go. It never actually rained and we were able to stay late and catch four songs of an outdoor concert featuring Jack Ingram. Ave is such a country girl and rocked out to the music was really not happy when I told her it was time to go...