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.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Try and Tri Again

Yesterday I completed my second triathlon. I would love to say it was fun, but it wasn't. I had fun for about the first 5 minutes, thinking "yeah this is great"! Then I spent the next 2 hours waiting for it to be over. I don't think I am a triathlete. I have never been one to be very competitive. With myself or others. When I get that feeling of pain, and knowing that this is uncomfortable, I like to stop. This sport is all about pushing yourself and pushing through that pain. That's just not me or my thing. I like to go swimming. I do not care for swimming in open water for half of a mile. I like to bike. I like to ride my bike to work. I have no interest and owning a bike that is worth more than my car. I do not care to run. I don't mind a nice jog here and there, but going out for a big long run, not me. I think it took a long summer of training (last summer), a lot of personal work to come to this conclusion.  Last year was fun because it was such a statement, a exclamation mark and a culmination of when I put my mind to something.  I am very proud of the things that I have accomplished in the last year and a half. Yesterday while I was swimming, and biking, and especially running, I just kept thinking I am NOT enjoying myself. I think that was my soul telling me that I need to move on and find the next thing that is going to challenge me. I will always have the pride of accomplishing two triathlons...and in my mid thirties...but I do not care to ever complete one again!