Saturday, December 6, 2014

Birthday Eve

Tomorrow I turn 34.  Strange. I have finally arrived at the age I never pictured myself being. I'm not young. I'm not old. I'm in the middle. We are settled. We have established our lives. We have a community, a house, a strong marriage, two kids, a dog, careers (almost), cars and lots of responsibilities. It feels strange to scroll through my Facebook page and see all my "friends" who are also in the middle.
I was planting some flower bulbs today and became in deep mediation about nature and our place as humans in this natural cycle. With our higher intelligence we try to avoid the natural rhythm of the season but we are just as rhythmic as anything around us. There's a time to be born, a time to die, a time to bloom, a time to lay fallow, and a time to nuture.
I started this blog two whole years ago. It has been such a fun experiment with my interests and voice, thoughts and feelings. I will someday print it out in one of those nice bound books and it will be such a powerful reflection on an amazing few years. I feel like I have grown and changed more in the past two years then in any other time of my life.
I had very lofty goals two years ago and really accomplished quite a few huge BHAGs that year. Last year was a lay fallow year. I did a couple of things but didn't have a stellar year. This year I really want to find grace and a balance. A balance in between getting it all done and living a good life. I want to be present and experience all that this crazy life has to offer, focus on  rest and feeding myself. I need to strike a balance in between being fit and having a good exercise regimin and living my life. I pray to God for him to deliver me from my desire for excess. Excess food, excess material things, excess desires.  I want to have a mindset of gratefulness and Gratitude. I look forward to a beautiful spring to witness the blossoming that is my life.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Gratitude Post Day # 30 This Assignment

November 30th, 2014
Today I am grateful for this assignment. It is such a grate focus every November and helps me in my journey for mindfulness. I love that several friends do the same assignment as it really helps me see how much there is to be grateful for in this world. I hope that this assignment carries it's momentum throughout the year and helps keep me focused on what we have to be grateful for.

Gratitude Post Day # 29 Husbands Family

November 29th, 2014
I haven't seen my husbands family for almost a month but I am so grateful for them and our relationship. I'm so grateful to have a family who accepts me fully, as I am, and sometimes even likes me better than  their own 😄
There is no family tension, no family guilt trips and no resentment.  They are truly wonderful people and so grateful to have them be my children's aunts and uncles and grandparents. I am under no disillusions how rare this is.

Gratitude Post Day # 28 Colorado

November 28th, 2014
Today I am grateful for the beautiful state that we live in. I feel so blessed to be a Colorado native. We were able to go for a drive today in the mountains, a place I feel so at peace in, and am amazed at the grateness of nature. We have wonderful weather, no real bugs, minimal natural disasters and a constantly changing landscape. So beautiful to see everyday.

Gratitude Post Day # 27 Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2014
Today I am thankful for THANKSGIVING! It is my single favorite holiday. Filled with the spirit of being grateful for the blessings in your life! There is no pressure to do anything other than be with loved ones and EAT! So thankful to have such a fabulous family and be able to spend the day with them!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gratitude Post Day # 26 House Full

November 26th, 2014
Today I'm grateful for a full house. We have every bed filled and the feeling of love is pouring out the windows. We have never had this house this full and it is such an amazing feeling. So blessed!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gratitude Post Day # 25 Essential Oils

November 25th, 2014
Today I am grateful for essential oils. I have gotten turned onto them in the past year and find so many uses for them. My new favorite use I found was to block the smell of some vomit and help with the resulting nausea while cleaning it up. Love the 1001 uses for essential oils.

Gratitude Post Day # 24 Means

November 24th, 2014
Today I am grateful to have means. We are not rich in the monetary sense but we are rich in all the ways that really count. We have means to support ourselves and have a full life. Someday hopefully we can afford all of the renovations for our home and all of the vacations we want to enjoy and all the giving we want to do, but for right now I am grateful for the means we have!

Gratitude Post Day # 23 Longmont

November 23rd, 2014
Today I am grateful for the city of Longmont. We became residents on accident but have grown to love this town and all it has to offer. I wrote a whole blog post on it and all the things I love about it. I feel so blessed to live and work in this community.

Gratitude Post Day # 22 Our House

November 22nd, 2014
Today I am grateful for our home. It's not perfect, it's not all fixed up like we would like bit is comfortable, safe and ours. We were lead to this house and it has blessed us fully. I love this house and feel truly at home here.

Gratitude Post Day # 21 Meditation

November 21st, 2014
I have had a fairly successful mediation practice for the past couple of years and am so grateful for this outlet. It has taught me so much and helped me with my scattered brain and anxiety. The days I don't get the opportunity to meditate are much different than the days that start with some time in quiet contemplation.  Grateful for this gift.

Gratitude Post Day # 20 No Commute

November 20th, 2014
For many years I had a 30+ minute commute to and from work. On top of a 12 hour shift,  many of those nights,  made for long days. Today I can get to and from work in 5 minutes. I am so grateful for this amazing gift. I do miss some aspects of my commute, but all in all am so grateful I live and work in the same community.

Gratitude Post Day # 19 Modern Medicine

November 19th, 2014
I had a doctors appointment today to discuss some temporary fixes for some long term health conditions and am just so grateful for modern medicine. I'm a true believer that health is found somewhere between east and western medicine and there is validity in all options. I am grateful that I have choices of how to approach and options of how to handel chronic conditions.

Gratitude Post Day # 17 My Dad

November 17th, 2014
Today I grateful for my father. My father has grown and changed so much in the pay few years that he seems to surprise me often. He is always so willing to give me some time and help me out with childcare. Today he allowed me to do some much needed shopping and stayed with the kids while I was gone.  It is so special to see his relationship with my kids. Whatever feelings of lack I feel from my childhood are more than made up for when I see how special his grandkids are to him.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gratitude Post Day # 16 My Sister

November 16th, 2014
My sister and I never grew up being very close but have learned how to appreciate each other in the past few years.  She has grown into one of my closest friends and I am so excited to have her and her family in our home for Thanksgiving this year. I am so grateful that God put her in my life.

Gratitude Post Day #15 Logan

November 15th, 2014
Today I am so grateful to have Logan in my life. I knew he was different and a boy from the minute we found out we were pregnant. He is so full of love and wants to share it with everyone. He is hilarious and is growing into the family comedian. He adds such levity to our world. He's only two but so full of life that I just can't imagine life without him.

Gratitude Post Day # 14 Annabelle

November 14th, 2014
Today I am grateful for my sweet little girl Annabelle. The minute I became pregnant with her I knew she was special. She has such a wonderful soul. Kind, funny, thoughtful and bright. She makes me proud to be her mom everyday and I am looking forward to watching her grow into a beautiful young lady.

Gratitude Post Day # 13 Grace

November 13th, 2014
Today I am grateful for grace. I'm learning how to have grace with myself and others.  Grace to accept myself as I am, grace to accept where I am in life, grace to give myself some slack.  We hold ourselves and others to such unbelievable standards at times, I am learning the power of having some breathing room. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gratitude Post Day # 18 Lisa

November 18th, 2014
Over a year ago a wonderful woman named Lisa was placed in my life and she has been such a gift every week since.  Lisa thoughtfully and carefully cleanse my house each week. It is such a luxury that I reveal in. It will not be a forever expense in our budget but for now it seems necessary. The kids get so excited when she comes over and she could probably get done in half the time but she spends so much time playing with the kids it takes longer. She is such a thoughtful person and I am so thankful God placed her in my life.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Gratitude Post Day #12 Be a Mom

November 12th, 2014
I'm thankful to be a Mom. It is hard, thankless and exhausting but these kids surprise and amaze me everyday. They are incredibly bright, hilarious and unique individuals that make me proud. So grateful I get to be part of their world.

Gratitude Post Day #11 Veterans

November 11th, 2014
I'm thankful to be an American today.   I'm thankful to all of those who have gone before me to ensure those freedomes remain. I'm thankful to all those who currently serve in a very grey world. I'm thankful to all of those brave enough to be veterans.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Gratitude Post Day #10 Husband

November 10th, 2014
Today I am thankful for my amazing husband. He is the biggest rock in my life and keeps me forever grounded. We are a great team and I am so grateful to have him by my side in this crazy life. He is everything I dreamed a husband to be and more and shows me the depths of his love everyday. I love you and hope I make you u special as I feel each and every day!

Gratitude Post Day #9 Church

November 9th, 2014
It has been many years since I was involved in a church in an way other than holidays. My parents found and in turn introduced me to a wonderful church here in Longmont, and it has been a truly wonderful experience. I feel welcomed a encouraged every time I go. The music is wonderful and the pastor always gives me a nugget for me to think about all week. The kids are enjoying Sunday school and it gives me such a positive note to start my week on.

Gratitude Post Day #8 God's Favor

November 8th, 2014
Today  I'm grateful for God's Favor.  I was drawn to a estate sale today where I found the perfect item I have been looking to buy for the last 11 months. Instead of $70 brand new this item was $10 and in near perfect shape. God doesn't always spare me from the huge discomforts in our lives but shows me his love in answering some of the day to day prayers and desires. He is interested in and loves all aspects of me.  Wow.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Gratitude Post Day #7 Nights

November 7th, 2014 

Today I am thankful for the blessing of being able to work nights.  What other job do you get this view every morning? 

I really enjoy all of the amazing things working this shift provides . I get to have breakfast and  dinner with my family every night of the week. I make extra money just because of the hours I work and I get blessed by gorgeous sunrises.   Not to bad in my opinion.  

Gratitude Post Day #6 MOPS

November 6th, 2014
Today I am grateful for MOPS.  I sought out this organization to meet some more Longmont moms and it has been such a blessing in my life. It is something I look forward to being a part of for the next several years.

Gratitude Post Day #5 Lucky's

November 5th, 2014
Today I am thankful for my local natural grocery store Lucky's.  I have really enjoyed shopping here for well over a year and plan my weeks around double ad Wednesday.  It is a fun place to shop, all the employees are so kind and helpful, nice layout, variety of interesting products and hand down the best deals on produce and meat! This week I picked up 40# of a variety of pork, beef and chicken for under $100!  I am so thankful for this access to great prices and great groceries!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Gratitude Post Day #4 Mom

November 4th, 2014
Today I am grateful for my mom. She is probably the most unselfish person I know and is a pillar in my village. She gives so much of herself to my family that most of the time thank you doesn't seem like enough. Thank you for everything today mom. You're the best!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Gratitude Post Day #3 Girlfriends

November 3rd, 2014
Today I am thankful for girlfriends. I have recently met some really awesome local Longmont moms and am really enjoying starting and nurturing these new friendships. It's fun to have others that you can commensurate with and share our weird little world.  Thank you ladies!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Gratitude Post Day #2 Family Days

November 2nd, 2014
Today I am grateful for family days. We very rarely have days and times we all get to spend together as a family. Today was one of those magical days that we got some time to be together. Annabelle was very cuddly today and filled my cuddle bank. Because we have so few of them it makes me so grateful when we do have days like this.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Gratitude Post Day #1 Health

November 1st, 2014
I am grateful for my health. I am grateful I am able to get up each day and move on my own, go shopping, exercise and walk without assistance. There are so many out there that even the slightest activity takes a lot of effort and I am just so grateful that I am able bodied.  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My Love Letter To Longmont

Heath and I moved to Longmont over 6 years ago because it was affordable and a convenient location.  No great plan in that.  We didn't shop neighborhoods, find a house in the best school district or look at the community.  God truly orchestrated our move here and has unfolded this wonderful town right in front of us.  I believe that this is where we belong.

We feel such a sense of community here.  The people of Longmont are soooooooo nice.  The views from anywhere in town are the best on the front range, in my opinion. It's got most of the businesses you need and want and everything else is only a short drive away.   The recreation department is wonderful.  They have cool human interest classes for a good price, lots of exercise opportunities, tons of affordable activities for kids, and lots of convenient locations.

The city puts on wonderful, fun events many times per year.  Rhythm on the River is one of my favorite each summer.  It is a two day festival right on the river in Longmont.  The park was one of the heavily damaged areas by the flooding last September, and it was one of the highest priorities to repair before this event.  They host a 5K run/walk which is competitive but not intimidating. The flood took out a lot of the usual route, so they had to plan a new path this year.  It was even prettier.

This was my first 5K I had ever run (2013) and I convinced Heath to run it with me this year.  We decided that we are going to make it a family event every year.  This is right after the finish line, but right before the free pancake breakfast for participants.

The festival includes lots of local flavor.  It is mainly a music festival and has two days of any kind of music you could want.  They have lots of booths of educational, advertising and just plain fun.  The Home Depot had a free activity for the kids, of building and painting your own craft. The kids loved it!

The other city event that is a must each year is the Festival on Main.  It's a celebration of end of summer each year.  They close down at least 6 blocks of main street and have all kinds of booths, demonstrations, street performers and all of the downtown businesses are open and either giving out samples or dancing in the street.  It is so fun to bump into neighbors and friends and celebrate a beautiful night with your community.  All of the activities are free so it isn't cost prohibitive to go.  They have multiple bounce houses for kids, face painting and free concerts.  Willie Nelson's daughter was the headlining performer this year.  Not bad for little Longmont.  My favorite part of the festival this year?  Square dancing lessons.  I don't think that you will ever see another grey haired lady teaching a young man with a Slayer TShirt how to do a box step.  Priceless!

There are tons of other events during the year.  Lots of free concerts in the park, Art Walks, parades including my favorite large Veteran's Day Parade that always makes me cry, Longmont Light the Lights festival around Christmas.  If you can't find something to do for free in Longmont there is certainly something wrong with you.

One of the things I love most about Longmont is nothing was preplanned.  There is no true "nice" part of town.  There are nice neighborhoods, and newer areas of town, but everything kind of runs into everything else.  When we were house shopping we would be looking at a middle of the road house, then you would turn one corner and there would be a really nice house, and then turn the other corner and there would be a bit of a run down neighborhood.  There is no real division of community here.

We have a very fine healthcare facility.  It serves all the surrounding areas and holds the Planetree designation.  It is one of the last truly community owned hospital.  It has been a pleasure to work for them and I look forward to getting more and more involved in the organization itself.

There is no traffic.  I don't know if this topic even needs to be expanded.  I drove down to Denver several times recently and it made me appreciate this fact even more.  Usually we can get from one area of town to the complete opposite in 15 minutes.  In heavy commute time, it may take 20.

Everyone is kind and nice.  We have the best neighbors and friendly people in the park, at events and at classes.  I had a woman approach me at the library one day who recognized my kids from Itty Bitty City (another recreation department event) that Heath goes to.  She was so nice, and mentioned how our kids were a perfect mix of both of their parents.

Speaking of the library, we have a fabulous library!  Our children's department is amazing!  Great story times, fun events and great librarians.  Ms Amy is hands down the best children's librarian I have ever come across, and we are so fortunate to have her.

There is tons of local flavor.  Lots of locally owned shops, stores, grocery stores and restaurants.  We don't have to eat at chain restaurants because we have a fabulous selection of any type of food you could want. We have two awesome local breweries, Left Hand and Oskar Blues.  Heath and I have become true fans of Dale's Pale Ale.  Hard to find a time lately that we don't have a six pack in our fridge.

The city itself is great.  It was just announced recently that the local bus system is free, and will be free for the rest of the year.  I am finding more and more reasons why driving is inconvenient, many days I don't even get into my car.  We walk to and from school, I bike to work, and we walk to the grocery store.  I haven't yet, but I would love to plan a bus trip to the other side of town just to take advantage and support this great gesture.

Community.  I love the sense of community here.  I feel so fortunate to live, work and now have my children in school here.  I can't imagine anywhere better to raise a family.  I think we will continue to flourish here for the foreseeable future.

Mom Daughter Date

Today was a special treat.  Annabelle and I got to go on a mother daughter date.  My mother-in-law came up to help watch my kids while I had some mandatory classes at work.  As I was picking her up from school, I got a text message offering some more time so that Annabelle and I could hang out by ourselves for awhile.  We decided to go to a local coffee shop and have a special treat.  Blueberry Pomegranate smoothies.  Our cheeks are red because of the 90 + degree weather outside.  HOT!

Annabelle then took off with my camera

I stole it back just fast enough to snap this adorable shot

I love to see her perspective

We then took a short walk and shopped at the mid week Farmer's Market here in Longmont. 
I let Annabelle take my camera on the way.  She has quite the eye

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I love all of the brick work downtown.  Such a lovely piece of history.  I love these signs that say Longmont.  They are all downtown but so artistic for such a functional piece of equipment.  

She has quite an artistic eye

Probably my favorite of the day.  The shadow of a Mother and a Daughter.

Challenge #3

Challenge #3
Whenever I ________, I ________.
Whenever I want I can start over.
Today I am feeling optimistic.   The last two days I have really been feeling the change of seasons.  My body has slowed and I have required quite a bit of sleep.  Today I rolled, not popped, out of bed early to start my day.  This challenge made me think of how I was feeling.   I feel as though everyday is a new day and a chance to do the right thing for that day.  

Challenge #2

Challenge #2--What are some choices in your life that affected where you are now?

There have been several choices that I believe have gotten me to the place where I am today.

  • I chose to go to UNC instead of going into the Air Force.  My life would be very different today if I had gone into the military.
  • I broke up with Heath the beginning of my sophomore year of college.  If we had stayed together, and continued to date, I don't know that we would be married today.
  • I chose to date someone I knew from the beginning wasn't a good choice for me.  I was with him for almost two years, and although I did love him very truly, he affected my life in ways that I am still seeing today.
  • I made a simple choice one night to reach out to Heath after two years of silence.  If I hadn't made that choice, there is no telling if we would be together today.
  • I made a choice to go back to nursing school...I have no idea what I would be doing for work if I wasn't a nurse.
  • We made a choice to move to Longmont.  Well, please see my post Love Letter to Longmont

Challenge #1

Challenge #1
If you were forced to go back in time to the olden days, but were allowed to take 10 modern conveniences with you, what would you take?

I guess this depends on how olden we are talking about.  Prehistoric?  Dark ages?  Renaissance?  Pre-industrial era?  My answers very depending on each.  We will go with Little House on the Prairie time.

  • Electricity.  I just don't know if I am strong enough to live without it.
  • Indoor plumbing.  I can be a rustic girl, but for any length of time, I must have running water.
  • Digital music.  Having thousands of songs at my fingertips is just to convenient.  
  • Google.  I really don't know how I grew up without having instant access to information.
  • Washer/Dryer.  I love my set to much to try my hand at a washboard and tub.
I have spent a couple of days thinking about this and I can't come up with anything else that I would need to take back with me.  That makes me feel pretty good.

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Writing Challenge

I woke up today with a deep desire to start a writing challenge.  We have had a rough six weeks around here and I feel that I have let a lot of my good habits I was on a roll with go.  It seems like every 1st of the month rolls around and it is another opportunity to start over, or turn over a new leaf.  My goals for September are to:

  • Complete my morning yoga practice everyday. This morning epiphony:  include the kids!  They love doing yoga with me.  They are supprisingly good at it, and it is good for them as it is for me to stretch every day.  Plus it's something we can do together, everyday.  
  • Meditate everyday, at least for 5 minutes.  It really makes a difference and I can tell when my practice lapses.
  • Exercise everyday.  I need to be physical everyday.  It is good for me mentally and physically.  
  • Read everyday.  Reading expands your horizons.  Broadends your persective, and makes you grow and develop in new ways.
  • Write everyday.  Writing makes you think, stretches you and makes me think about things that I wouldn't necessarily think about.
I scowered the internet this morning for writing challengs.  I was just about to throw in the towel and come up with somehting on my own when I found this one.

It's a lot longer than I originally was thinking, but I thought that I would start it and see how it goes.  So here it goes, 30 days of writing.

My Mom has Cancer...again.

My Mom is a statistical anomaly.   She beat breast cancer. She beat ovarian cancer.  Several weeks ago she was diagnosed with gallbladder cancer.  What are the chances she could beat three different primary cancers?  Pretty slim...But cancer doesn't stand a chance!
My parents are always very good at being respectful when I sleep during the daytime.  I knew something was wrong when my dear husband awoke me in the middle of my sleep.  He said that my dad had called and that he was taking my mom to the emergency room.  My dad voluntarily going to the hospital is like a child voluntarily going to time out.  I knew something was wrong.  Before I even spoke to him I pulled on some clothes and headed out the door.
By the time I got to the ER, they had already run quite a few tests.  Her physician came in to discuss the results. She stated that my mother's lipase level was greater than 20,000. That was the highest that she had ever seen in her career. Not something you really want to hear a physician's say. She said that my mother's CT scan results were serious. Her pancreas was very inflamed and very angry. She explained that my mother was very sick.
My mom spent nine days in the hospital, with me her side for many of them.  My darling husband and wonderful children were so supportive in allowing me to be at my mother's bedside. We had several bumps in the road, including a middle of the night CT looking for blood clots, a trip to the ICU related to SVT (Superventricular Tachacardia) that was unconvertible (did not respond to treatment).  Her recovery wasn't fast, but typical for a serious pancreatitis. I am very proud of her that she heeded everybody's warnings and took it very easy for many weeks after discharge. The follow up CT scan revealed that the tumor was still there, and needed to come out. Surgery was planned.

I didn't have a feeling one way or the other regarding whether this was going to be a good or a bad outcome. I had several dreams that my mom didn't even make it out of surgery. Luckily, I was able to get off work and be with my family before, during and after surgery. My incredible sister flew out to be with us for the weekend. I was so impressed with my moms attitude as she headed into surgery. She was so calm facing something potentially so serious. As the surgeons had explained the week before, the surgery could be a simple gall bladder removal (laparoscopic cholecystectomy), or if the during surgery pathology and exploration looked worse than expected, it could be a multi hour exploratory and liver dissection surgery. He couldn't tell for certain what he was going to find. 45 minutes into the surgery we got word that the gallbladder was out and pathology was pending.  I think those 15 minutes were the longest of this entire ordeal.  Knowing that our life could change drastically with the knowledge they were gaining at that exact moment was a little daunting.

As the surgeon came out of the operating room, I could tell by the look on his face it wasn't good news. He said that her belly looked good and that he was very surprised but the tumor was cancerous! Luckily, all she had to have done was a simple gall bladder removal through four small puncture holes, and that her recovery from this surgery should be swift.  Butt the long term effects of having gallbladder cancer would be yet to be seen. As he explained, this type of cancer was very aggressive and very invasive. Only time will tell if she has escaped any metastasis. From all accounts it looked as though he had gotten it all and the cancer was contained in the gallbladder! Praise God!
We had to wait quite awhile for her to recover from the anesthesia, then it was change of shift on the post operative floor we were being moved to, then they accidentally gave her room away to another patient.  When we finally got to my mom's hospital room, there was one of the most brilliant, vibrant rainbows I have ever seen right outside her window.  It made the wait very worthwhile.  I posed the question to my father: what do you think this rainbow symbolizes given the storm our family just weathered?

It has been more than a month since surgery, and she is making a swift recovery.  She finally has her color back, some spunk and she is starting to feel like her old self (in my opinion).  Her follow up appointment with her surgeon ended with smiles and hugs. He said he doesn't want to see her back for at least a year.  All of the pathology came back clean, and from all accounts, at this time it appears that my mother is cancer free once again. Praise God!
The medical oncologist that will be following her did not have such a optimistic outlook. It was his suggestion that she do some chemo, or chemo and radiation to try to kill what could possible have been left behind.  After a lot of discussion, lots of prayer and some great direction from the Lord, my mom has decided to forgo further treatment and be under heavy surveillance for the time being.  What tests and schedule that will take the form of is yet to be seen, but hopefully the radiologists will get board with all of the clean reports!
How does one woman handle such adversity in life with such strength, presence and grace. I don't have all the answers but from what I do know, I am trying to emulate in my own life. She has such an amazing and beautiful presence, it's hard to believe that God does not have favorites. Mom I love you and I am so proud of the woman that you are. Thank you for fighting so hard when I was 11 and you beat breast cancer.

Thank you for showing me what grace looks like. Thank you for battling ovarian cancer, and being so strong and beautiful in my wedding.  I have wonderful memories of wedding planning while enduring chemo treatments.  I filled out my nursing school application as you recover in the hospital from having your hysterectomy because that situation finally convinced me that nursing was my calling in life.  When looking back through pictures Heath mentioned that he had forgotten that you were still going through chemo and had no hair under that beautiful wig.


Thank you pulling the strength out once more to fight through this, so that you may watch your grandchildren grow up. I am so excited to have you living so close and look forward to the multiple new memories that we will be making in the near future.

I love you mom. Thank you for being such a great role model for me to aspire to be.  I appreciate
everything you have taught me, everything you have given me, all my natural gifts and all my learned talents.  I thank you for being such a great Grammie, and loving your grandchildren.  Thank you for being a constant in my life, and I pray I can someday be half the woman you are.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Kitchen Shelves

I am so excited to write this blog. Not because I love writing so much, or because I love to blog, but because the kitchen shelves are done enough for me to write about them!  Yea!
The picture below is the far wall of my kitchen/dining room.  We moved into this house 6 years ago and the entire time this wall has been blank.  I have had a million ideas of what to do with this wall, but it wasn't until a visit from my sister a year and a half ago that it was decided.  In talking about all the possibilities she suggested shelves.  She had built some at her house and said they were super easy.  So the planning began...

I poured over blogs and looked online to see how big and what color and what they should look like.  All of this took about a year.  Wow!  When Heath had a break from school over last Christmas I asked him in my best "Honey" please tone.  He complied because he is a great husband and viola! Shelves!

We painted them white because all of our trim is white and since they will be semi permanent I wanted them to match.  We hung them higher on the wall because they are right above our dining room table so we wanted to try to avoid anybody hitting their head on them.
I just realized that I didn't take before pictures of the decor.  I searched multiple thrift stores looking for the perfect picture frames and decorations.  This took awhile to figure out what I wanted up there.  It takes some time to find stuff that you want to look at every day.  The nice part is that the shelves are permanent, but everything else is exchangeable.  
After about $10, a few more dollars in spray paint, and a fun cold night in my garage...Finished!

I loved the arc shape of this oak picture frame.  It was big enough that it would hold a 8x10 sheet of paper or the weird construction paper dimensions.  I glued on these lobster clips and tada a interchangeable place to display all of Logan and Annabelle's master pieces.  
The scalloped edges of this next frame didn't end up really popping until I painted it red.  So pleased with my choice, love how rich it looks, and it will be fun to exchange the family pictures inside as our family ages. 
I found this big black frame at Goodwill at a $1 sale.  Another great place to display the newest creation and one of my favorite pieces as I didn't have to paint it.
This little frame was cute as a grey and silver stripped number.  One of the fun parts of this project was knowing if I ruined something, or I didn't like how it turned out, I wasn't married to it.  I was only in it a couple of bucks and if I didn't like the finished project, no biggie.  The fun part was creating the piece inside.
The dots are medication caps from my work as a nurse at the hospital.  They come on all kinds of vials to keep the top of the medication access clean.  A few years ago they became popular to collect to make badge covers out of.  I brought a ton home for Annabelle to count, sort by size and color and to play with.  It was fun to create this monogram letter with something that is usually trash. 
A few of the frames I filled with a few of my favorite quotes
This is got to be one of my favorite parts.  This is one of those "that would be fun" things that I pinned on pinterest.  It is a jar with some precut paper that you can jot down fun memories, quotes, or sweet things that happen throughout the year.  The theory is that we forget so much of what happens throughout the year and this is a non threatening, non time consuming way to capture it.   I love the quote on the jar and I have already written down sweet things that I wouldn't have ever taken the time to write down in either of Logan or Annabelle's baby books.  Looking forward to the end of the year and reviewing all of these memories.
The decorating experts say to put mirrors in places such as this in order to reflect light.  It does help make the shelves feel full but not cluttered.
So that is it.  Years later and a project that I am very pleased with.  I am excited to decorate them with the seasons and completely rearrange stuff.  They were fun at Valentines with a banner hanging reading "Be Mine".  Fall will be beautiful to display leaves and Thanksgiving themed items.  I can see a beautiful Christmas garland draped on the bottom shelf.  Hmm...the possibilities are endless.  It will be fun as the kids get older to have their input and decoration ideas.  Thanks for stopping by.

Kitchen Activity Center

One cold, rainy morning this past spring I had a strike of genieous on how to entertain my kids.  We had this picture screen sitting in our basement, a gift that never found the exact right purpose.  I had seen a few posts on Pinterest about putting templates behind picture frames and hanging them up.  I thought that was neat but we didn't have to room to hang a bunch of picture frames.  Tada!  Perfect fit along a side wall in the kitchen/dining room. 
The top left has a Grocery List.  Somehow we never have that magnetic pad of paper in the right place to write down what we need from the store.  Darn kids think it is their personal drawing pad.  The second is our family mission statement (see  The third is a place to communicate the meal plan for the week.  The second row starts with a fill in the blank "I Love You Becuase ________".  A special place to leave notes for each other.  Annabelle has a place to practice tracing letters and numbers, and she really enjoys time doing her "letters".  The other 7 spaces are blank and allow for the creativity to flow.  Logan, under 2, isn't allowed to draw without complete supervision, becasue apparently dry erase markers are difficult to come off of painted walls.  
This board is been up for 6 + months now, and although a bit of an eyesore, I won't be moving it anytime soon as it is a wonderful distraction many times during the day and many days of the year.  They can share space with me while I am in the kitchen, but not be underfoot.  

I never wanted to be a Tele nurse

I remember people asking me in nursing school what kind of nurse I wanted to be.  I didn't know but I knew I didn't want to be a Telemetry nurse.  Yuck! Scary!  They were next to ICU and I didn't think I was cut out for critical care.  I had worked on Med/Tele as a CNA and wow those monitors were loud.  I didn't like the heart.  Anatomy, plumbing, electricity, way to complex for me to get.  All of those rhythms.  Knowing that a rhythm was sometimes just someones interpretation and even the experts could disagree?  And what the hell is Wenckebach?
All I could think about driving to my Progressive Care Certified Nurse (PCCN) test last month was "I didn't even want to be a Tele nurse" (said in a Dante tone).  Why do I have to take this test?  Well, I think to prove to myself that I belong here.
I spent five years on a the Med/Tele unit at the first hospital I ever worked at.  I grew up in that hospital.  My first adult job, my first step in my career.  Then I moved on (different hospital, same company).  I took a different role there, but still using my bedside nursing skills.  Then I took a leap.  A leap of faith, a leap of trust.  I didn't know how it would all play out but it was very clear to me that I belonged on the Telemetry unit at Longmont United Hospital.
Two years ago I had never even heard of the PCCN exam and certification.  When I got hired on full time it became one of my core goals to accomplish while working on this "step down" unit.  Once I started looking at the material, I realized I was in WAY over my head.
I signed up for the test in March to get myself to start studying since there was a deadline.  Those several months did not lend themselves to studying.  There was tons of distractors and hardly any time to study.  Lucky I enrolled in a review course that helped me break down the topics into sections.  I reviewed the lectures, looked up what I didn't know and couldn't remember.  I rescheduled my test once (more for childcare problems than anything) but walking into that test I was not what you would call confident in my preparation.   The only thing that was comforting to me was the fact that pass or fail it was not a win loose situation.  Worst case scenario I was out about $200.  If I failed I wasn't going to fired, put into disciplinary action,  or even be laughed at really.  If I failed I would just know what I needed to study and try again another time. 
Well, I didn't fail.  I passed by the skin of my teeth, but I passed.  It was truly by the grace of God.  There was no other explanation.   I think it was his way of showing me and proving to me that I am on the right path.  I am doing right by my family, I am doing the work I need to be doing on the shift I need to be doing it.  This job is not grand.  It is not my life's passion at this point.   It does not make me excited to come running into work.   I am fortunate that I get paid well for a job that has serious good days and allows me to feel like my work matters.  I have a nice schedule that allows me to feel like I am a part time stay at home mom. 
Last night was the staff meeting where I was honored for passing my exam.  The Chief Nursing Officer attended our meeting to personally congratulate me and give me some cool swag.  I felt very honored to be in this place at this time.  It may be a small thing but I also get my name engraved on a plaque that hangs in our hallway that recognizes all who are certified. It's kind of funny how things work out sometimes, but I guess I was meant to be a Tele nurse after all.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Annabelle's First Day

We sent our baby girl to school today
Our sweet little Annabelle.  
So big with her new school clothes, new backpack and full of life 4 year old attitude.
A lot of people were asking me last year when Annabelle was going to start preschool.  Last year at this time, preschool was so far from anything I was thinking about.  She still was such a baby.  She wasn't potty trained, she was still napping, two to three hours away from us and home two to three days a week didn't seem like a good idea.  All of the sudden one day in January, Annabelle looked at me during one of our "home" days and she actually looked board.  I was doing my best at a preschool like activity to delight and educate her and she looked at me like "is that all you got"?  It occured to me that day we would be starting preschool that fall.  We looked at all of the schools around Longmont, and finally settled on a neighborhood elementary school.  It has been totally orchestrated by God, and his fingerprints are all over us attending this school.  I am so excited for his plan to unfold before our eyes.  
We have been hyping up school all year.  She knew that after her birthday, when the weather started changing, and the leaves started falling off the trees it would be time for school.  She has asked me everyday for the past several weeks "Is it time for me to go to school yet".  We did a orientation day last Thursday.  It was a all school open house so the place was madhouse.  We finally found her classroom and had to sign in at the doorway.  I looked back to tell her to walk in and she was already across the room playing.  When it was time to go, it was difficult to convince her to leave.  
Dada had to leave this morning for his class so we took family pictures before he left.  
We got a few gems but mostly pictures like this...

Logan's new "smile" is rediculous.  He looks like he is growling.  Luke always finds a way into our pictures, not always his better half.

This is one of my favorites.  It looks like they are telling secrets.  

Annabelle was so brave.  She didn't seem nervous or scared at all.  We stood outside for a few minutes waiting to line up.  She asked me to take off her backpack because it was "too heavy".  (She had all of her school supplies in her backpack).  We said our goodbyes and my big girl just walked through the doors and didn't even look back.  Not going to lie, I teared up a little bit.

It was so strange to be home with Logan all by myself for a couple of hours.  Hopefully, Logan will nap during this time and I will have .... an hour to myself?  I think Logan will take a little while to warm up to this idea...took 40 minutes to lay down today.  Punk.  
We were both very excited to go get sissy.  Her face lite up when she saw me.  Mrs. Kathy said that she did well.  She was quiet but didn't cry.  She was sooooo tired, almost fell asleep on the way home.  She asked when she got to go back, and smiled really big when I said tomorrow.  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Kahler's Big Adventure: Part Two

Wow!  What a wet night and a cloudy day.  Nothing like driving all the way to the Teton's and not being able to  see the Teton's.  Packing up camp Wednesday morning was wet and messy.  This is my wonderful husband at work.  Soaked by the time we got the tent down.
There was no point in sticking around and doing anything as it was rainy, cloudy and cold.  We packed up and headed south on Highway 89.  We enjoyed lots of rain and clouds with absolutely no view of the gorgeous mountains just over there until we hit Jackson.  Suddenly the clouds parted and the sun was shining.  Although beautiful we drove through Jackson only stopping for gas.  The tourists were as thick as mosquitoes at a picnic.  We had had enough of crowds. The kids were awesome and  napped and played quietly and before we knew it we were halfway down the road and it was time to stop for lunch.
I love eating in local restaurants and discovering local flavor while traveling.   My husband isn't usually one to say "hey, let's try something new" and with two littles trying something unknown can usually end up in a overpriced disaster.   We drove all the way through Pinedale looking for a good lunch spot.  With no chain place in sight we drove back through looking for somewhere that looked family friendly.  Can't get more family friendly than a playground out back.  This place ended up being the perfect spot for lunch.  They were friendly, great service, great atmosphere and bonus: the food was GREAT!
The children's menu was reasonably priced, there was a great pizza buffet for Heath and me and kids under 2 ate for free, AWESOME!
After lunch the kids played on the playground for a long time and Luke got to stretch his legs.  So if you are ever traveling through Pinedale, Wyoming stop by and see the nice folks at Wind River Pizza and Pasta.
We continued down highway 191 and joined I-80 at Rock Springs.  This had to have been the most unexciting, boring stretch of the whole trip.
We vacillated between staying somewhere overnight or pushing through and driving all the way home (another 4 - 5 hours).  As we discussed it Logan made it quiet clear he was done being in the car for the day.  I had also semi promised Annabelle a pool on this trip and hadn't made good on that yet. I don't think Heath or myself were quite ready for our vacation to be over.
We did some research this time and found a reasonably priced hotel that allowed dogs, with a hot breakfast and a pool.  It was rated "pleasant" on so we decided on Days Inn in Rawlins, Wyoming.
I would agree with the ratings.  It wasn't anything special but we had a nice night.
The first thing we had to do was rip off our nasty camping clothes and put on our suites.  
Heath assured me this is normal male behavior.  Apparently no matter how old you are your parts are fascinating, and having cool air conditioned air blowing on them is awesome.
After several days of camping a not much contact with water everybody enjoyed swimming. 
 The kids loved the featured attraction. 

We made a dinner out of the rest of our car snacks as nobody was very hungry after our great lunch.  We watched America's Got Talent and called it a night early.  Annabelle was so excited to have a queen size bed all to herself, and slept so hard I heard her snoring several times.
Breakfast was indeed hot and a nice treat not to cost anything extra.  The highlight was Logan charming the pants off of one of the housekeepers.   He is so fun to watch interact with people.
Annabelle asked to go swimming again and since we had a little bit of time to spare I agreed.  They were filling the pool with a hose spraying freezing cold water but the kids loved going under the "waterfall".  Goofballs.

After we packed up we continued down I-80 back through Cheyenne.  We stopped to visit a brand new cousin we hadn't met yet.  How sweet it is to hold brand new babies.

We arrived home in enough time to unpack the car and get settled before dinner.  We feel so blessed that it was a trip with no excitement and no opportunities for us to overcome adversity.  Overall it was a great trip, rainy weather and all.  The only real tears were shed as we were less than a mile from our house when Annabelle realized we were headed home.  I couldn't have asked for four better travelers and indulging my vacation needs.  Thank you guys for being a wonderful family and making some awesome memories!

The Kahler's Big Adventure: Part One

I got home from my triathlon Sunday morning and got a wild crazy idea...let's go somewhere.  It is very rare Heath and I have more than a day off together and I realized yesterday we didn't have to be anywhere for almost four days!  I think we were all holding our breath for this time off because we didn't know what it would hold, with my Mom, the kids or anything else.  I realized that everything was going to be fine and we needed a break! Let's go...
Well, it took a few hours to convince my husband that it would be fun,  we could do it and we should do it.  Many hours later we had dusted off the camping gear, acquired a new soft roof rack and with all 5 of us, Luke included, headed north.
Because of getting such a late start we didn't get very far Sunday night.  We decided to stop in Cheyenne, Wyoming for the night.  We found a decent price hotel that accepted dogs.  For any future travelers of Cheyenne I wouldn't suggest staying at the Rodeway Inn.  Cleanliness and maintenance were not some of there core values.  Either way we all slept well and had fun being somewhere "different".
After a not-so-special continental breakfast we headed north again bound for Casper, Wyoming.  Heath and I don't eat fast food as we decided a couple of years ago it was a huge blockade in our healthy lifestyle goal.  We decided this trip that with 2 kids, and a dog in tow eating anything but fast food was going to be near impossible.  So we have been indulging our fat tooth.  We saw a Arby's after breakfast and drooled at the thought of curly fries all the way from Cheyenne to Casper.  After a quick bite at Arby's and some time to stretch our legs we embarked onto highway 20/26 due west.  Through Powder River ("was that even a town"?), Hiland (population 10), and a special treat in Shoshoni we trekked on.  Distracted by our treats we took the wrong road out of Shoshoni and ended up going through Riverton instead of Thermopolis.  I guess it was where the wind blew us.  
The kids had a great time playing
And being wonderful travelers.  Their awesome Aunt Emily made them some quiet time books.  They loved them and it kept them entertained for hours.  Thank you Auntie Em.
 We arrived into Teton National Park around 6 pm.  Since this has truly been a trip of seeing where the wind blows us, we saw the fork in the road and took it.  We ended up deciding to stay there for the night because Yellowstone was still an hour further north.  
Insert complete mind loss...  
we decided to tent camp for the night.  
The campsite was awesome, perfect for our first time.   Pull up service, right across the road from the bathrooms (no showers) and had an incredible view. 
Annabelle and Logan had a great time playing while we set up camp.
It was a great camp ground.  Grocery store, restaurant, laundromat and marina. This is the view from the parking lot of the restaurant.  
Several of my friends have taken their kids (who are the same age as Annabelle) camping and at first I thought they were crazy.  They all had very positive things to say, so that helped inspire my insanity.
Our first night of camping went AMAZINGLY!!  Heath and I were really worried that they would get cold and we came up with several contingency plans.  Once we got the kids to sleep (took 30 minutes or so to wind down) they slept the whole night.   I woke up several times to find Annabelle out of her sleeping bag and without covers.  I guess being a hot sleeper will serve her well for camping.
The kids woke up really excited.

We got up Tuesday morning with the plan to head towards and explore Yellowstone, or how Annabelle interpreted "stone park".  I am amazed that my Eagle Scout husband had never been to Yellowstone.  As he put it, the Boy Scouts didn't go to "touristy" places.  I had been to Yellowstone about 10 years before and we must have visited during a off season.  Holy people batman!  Yellowstone was PACKED!  We persevered and even braved an hour wait for Old Faithful. 
So hard to get a good picture with these monkeys!
We ended up enjoying our $30 picnic lunch (I didn't plan food for this trip, poor choice.  I didn't know a PB&J could cost $2.95) in the rain, to try to reserve a spot for the kids to see the eruption.  
After the excitement of seeing Old Faithful do her thing, we headed back to the car.  It was raining but didn't stop the kids from exploring while we let Luke stretch his legs.  Needless to say the highlight of "stone park" was in fact running up and down this hill.  Kids keep life in perspective.
We drove north from Old Faithful and explored West Yellowstone.   You could probably spend a week here and still not do the park justice so one afternoon was certainly not enough.  We wanted to see some falls and Firehole Falls fit the bill.  We were able to drive up to and get out for a short walk.  It was beautiful.
The kids had a horrible time
Logan wanted to make sure he got a good view
We drove back to Teton National Park and our campsite in lots of traffic and down pouring rain.  It amazes me how poorly some from other states, country's and cultures drive.  Absolutely no consideration for others on the road.  We were glad to leave the park and all of the craziness.  Note to time we want to visit a popular tourist destination, try to go on off or early seasons.
Once we got back to our camp site area we decided to explore it a bit better by foot. There was a really cool foot path around the marina.  We had a very nice easy hike and enjoyed beautiful views of cloud covered Teton' s.

We capped off the day by having a camp fire and roasting smores.  This was both Annabelle's and Logan's first for both.  They were both more interested in the process then in the treat itself.  They did have quite a bit of fun testing our patients in how close and dangerous to the fire they could get.
We tucked in for the night exhausted from the day.