Friday, December 31, 2010

Grown Ups, Almost

It's about time, I'd say! Ben and I are one step closer to being for reals grown ups. Yesterday, we purchased  our our first new bed! We had been sleeping on Ben's old full mattress and it's seen better days. It's lumpy, bumpy, squeaky and too too small! We tried our best at making it comfy with a memory foam topper, a down mattress cover, nice sheets and down comforter and duvet I love, but, it just was not working anymore.

We did some research and I stumbled across Parklane mattresses by accident. They are a local company and they offer eco-friendly beds since all of their sales are direct, they don't do outrageous markups on prices, plus, they do free local delivery and set up, which is perfect because there's no way we could get a big 'ole mattress home! Their sales staff (which were two girls) were not pushy at all and were unlike any sales people we have ever had before (in a good way!).  All was said and done in less than an hour and we are so excited to get our new bed. Right now our bed is being custom made and will be ready in about a week. Wanna see what we got?

The Birkdale. It's seriously the cadillac of mattresses! It's made from natural latex and eco soy foam with a layer of memory foam (which is full of chemicals and yuckies, but it's sooooo comfy!) and is encased in a super soft bamboo cover. It's like laying on a cloud, a perfectly supportive, soft and amazing cloud! To make the whole thing completely over-the-top, we also got two natural latex pillows. It's gonna be epic. I can't wait for it to get here! 

Oh, did I mention that we got a king? Holy moly huge, huh? Everyone who has a king says they can't ever go back to anything smaller, but I'm thinking it may be too big - but it's a struggle we're willing to take on! ;)

Now that we've got a big, beautiful mattress coming our way, we are in need of some new linens. We probably won't buy a whole set right away (after all, the actual mattress was a good chunk of change) but I've got my eye on a few that I'd love.  

I love the pintuck collection from West Elm. It's organic and not too spendy and invites you to come cozy up under it's tucks. I love it. I can't make up my mind on a color though. I love our white bedspread now, it's so easy to clean, but I really like this seagrass color
and this cactus one

Anther dilema though is our pink carpet. How do you coordinate with a sea of pink? (We will not be discussing why the heck someone would actually CHOOSE dusty-rose pink carpet today)

I could try to embrace the pink and go for something fun and whimsical like this (that I love but Ben hates)

I'm in no hurry to completely finish the bed, I'm just stoked that we've ordered a new one and I can't wait for the sweet sleep we're going to have in it!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010

Our Christmas was wonderful! It really was perfect and I am so thankful Ben and I had the day to spend together just as our little family. We woke up early, had a very yummy breakfast (cinnamon rolls, of course! This year we bought a frozen package from Whole Foods and they were delicious, I may even dare to say the best I've ever had!) and unwrapped our gifts in our jammies cozied up next to the fireplace (which was lit with candles, not a real fire) as Christmas music played in the background.

Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures from the day, but I'll hit on this topic in an upcoming post.

Ben and I have everything we need. With our spending money system, we both have enough to cover the fun expenses that come up throughout the year (for Ben it's usually music related and for me it's usually clothes). Considering that, we set a modest budget for our gifts to each other this year and both of our goals were to buy the other person something they want, but probably wouldn't buy for themselves. A little luxury item the other would love. Ben blew our budget out of the water. That boy spoiled me. I thought I'd get one "big" gift a few other small gifts, well, he got me three "big" gifts and a few smaller gifts. Rotten man!

First up were these cute PJs from the Gap that I'm so stoked on. I've told him a million time I've wanted cute pajamas, and he got me some! (Mine are similar to these with a matching top)

Then, because he's caught me a few times too many in his coziest sweatshirts, this:

Then he decided to spoil me a little with these:
 The man was very concerned about my warmth and comfort this year!

Next up was for our trips backpacking. He made this decision carefully as he wanted something that both reflected my non-sporty style and yet would still function during for our more sporty activities (he did give me the option however, to exchange them barring I did so for another pair. He wanted to be sure I had a nice pair of sunglasses, but he didn't care what pair).

I decided to keep the pair he got me. They look pretty nice and they are a beautiful mahogany color. Plus, they're polarized which is better for fishing as it allows you to better see the fish as they are swimming below (or so my sweet husband says).

He also got me this book: 

because he remembered I liked this book (which is a hauntingly good memoir. I loved and hated it at the same time and couldn't put it down):

Little things like that are such sweet statements of love. I had no idea he would remember me reading that book. I love that man.

I received a few other things in my stocking (I told you I was spoiled!) including some of my favorite candies:

and some awesome Sharpie pens for work:

I may be failing to leave out a few things, but everything he got me was so thought out and so sweet. Gift-giving is one of Ben's love language and he puts so much love into everything he buys me. Knowing that is almost sweeter than the gift itself...almost...just kidding, kind of.

Ok, now for my very favorite gift. I have wanted a Lisa Leonard necklace forever and I have debated buying one for myself, but I never did because I wanted it to be from Ben. I knew it would be more special if he picked it out for me and he put in the effort to give me something sentimental like that. Needless to say, I dropped major hints for something this year. I didn't give specifics, I just said I wanted a "special piece of jewelry" from him and changed his homepage to her website. You know, just in case he was curious! Eventually, a little blue and white polka-dot box made it's way under the tree and I just knew it was my necklace. However, the anticipation of knowing which one was driving me bonkers! However, when it was finally time to open that pretty little package (which he made me save for last), I saw the most perfect necklace. It is my very favorite design of Lisa's, which Ben had no idea about, it just happened to be his favorite as well.

The Teenie Tiny Initials necklace. A tiny S and a tiny B. So beautiful, so dainty, so understated yet lovely. It's perfect. 

I seriously can't tell you how much I love my husband. Even though we've been through some rough spots thinking about him seriously makes my heart want to explode. I love him. He's different from me in that he's not wild and mushy-gushy about his love for me, but quiet, deep, solid and steady in it. I am a better woman because he is in my life. I am so thankful he is mine!

(being silly on our first married Christmas, 2007)

Oh, and in case y'all are curious, I got Ben

This Christmas was very Merry!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Brain Dump

- I can't believe Christmas is in a week! Holy moly!

- Ben has been filming a music video with Painted Grey this weekend. Pair that with him recording last weekend, studying for finals, and me working, I haven't had a day with him in well over a week. I miss my husband.

- I am in love with cute mugs. Anthropologie has the best ones, take these for example:

so sweet! I think every girl needs her own mug, and Anthro is always the perfect place to pick up a cute gift.

- My living room currently looks like this:

I love Christmastime!

- I have one more gift to get Ben and I am up this early so I can hit Target and Bridgeport as soon as they open. I do not want to wade through all the crazies this afternoon!

- We had PICU orientation classes all week. It was so good to take a break from working and just focus on what we actually do. We had some time to talk about our more difficult experiences and work through a little of the pain associated with them. I felt so supported and encouraged. I really love my new job. I feel honored to "walk with people during their darkest days" It's a blessing.

- I'm running (/walking) a 5K in 12 days.

- Bridger is being a pill. Yesterday he pulled everything out of my work bag and scattered it around the living room. That is his way of throwing a fit and letting us know that he needs some exercise. That boy is too smart for his own good.

- I've had Pandora on Christmas music non-stop since yesterday. As long as I'm home, it will be playing.

- Our landlord replaced our oven yesterday. I can finally bake!

- The other night we were at a Christmas party and our good friends brought their little baby (cutest thing EVER). I wasn't going to ask for her, since both grandmas were there and I can be a baby hog, but somehow I got her and she proceeded to fall asleep in my arms (I've got the hip sway and back-pat down!) so I had to keep her all night. Every time someone would come up to test the waters for holding her, my response was "Oh, shh, she's sleeping." And everyone knows, you should not wake a sleeping babe. So, Auntie Stephanie got to hold the little love-bug all night. Did my heart (and biceps) good!

- I have presents to wrap and a last-minute gift to get, so I'm off. Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Geists!

Snowflake Magic Christmas 5x7 folded card
Turn your unique photos into Christmas cards with Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Pie Practice

I'm no Suzie Homemaker, but sometimes I try to be. I often fail, but sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I swing and miss, but sometimes, oh sometimes, I hit it out of the park. 

I've gotta be honest and say I had some coaching from someone fabulous. She's fantastic and I don't think I'll ever have as much skill as she does, but she's happy to share, so her kindness is my gain.

Thanksgiving was never one of my favorite holidays growing up, but ever since Ben and I started doing them ourselves, it's now one of my favorite days of the year (second only to Christmas, which I've always loved best). 

We've hosted the last three years but this year we're going to be celebrating at our friend's hose instead. I't's bittersweet because I've loved hosting the last three years, but our friends home is much more appropriate for a big group for dinner, and our oven is broke and a turkey won't fit in our toaster oven! 

Anyway, this year Ben is making his famous stuffing (of course), and I wanted to make a spectacular dessert. I have a small arsenal of options I know are good, but this year I wanted to go big. I wanted to challenge myself and got for the big guns. I wanted to make a pie. From scratch.

I had no idea how to make a pie, but I had heard they were tricky. Lucky for me, my BFF Ree was there to help a girl out. I can pretty much trust that anything she says is good is in fact, good, but with an event as big as Thanksgiving, a trial run was a must. So, yesterday, I made my first pie.

The first step to any pie is the crust. Oh man, the crust is important. It seems much more difficult to screw up a sweet filling, but the crust has little wiggle room. I referenced this recipe for directions but adapted it with some organic, whole wheat flour courtesy of Bob's Red Mill instead of regular flour and butter instead of vegetable shortening (I don't know what is better to use, but I'm trying to use as little processed/fake junk as possible). 

I mixed all the ingredients and wrapped by two disks of dough in wax paper and thought to myself, "Gee, this is easy, I don't know what the big deal is." Then, I had to roll the dough out. I quickly understood. Ha! Two attempts, a few patches and a desperate phone call to my mama later, I had a somewhat round piece of dough and I carefully placed it in my pan. 

I moved onto the filling, giving myself carpel tunnel while peeling my apples. This pie is called Scrumptious Apple Pie and it definitely lives up to it's name! I omitted the caramel and walnuts for my trial run because I forgot to buy them at the store, but I don't really think they are needed.

This pie is amazing. Let me show you...

...yeah, I know, a crappy cell phone pic just doesn't do it justice. Maybe my BFF's pic will paint a better picture...

...oh yeah baby...

...Thanksgiving 2010 is going to be good!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shutterfly Goodness

Oh my gosh you guys, I am so excited about this post!

Call me sappy, girly or silly (ummm...whatevs), but I love Christmas cards! One of my favorite things about the holidays is receiving letters or post-cards from loved ones and I happily stuff my scrolly card-holder with images of some of my favorite people, many of whom I do not get the chance to see on a regular basis. 

Life is busy and often overwhelming. Schedules are crazy and time and distance often make keeping up with those you love difficult. Yes, we maintain relationships with many people throughout the year, but the holidays are a time to purposely send love to the people closest to your heart.

Sending Christmas cards is a little way of stringing family and friends closer together and they help to create the warm and cozy feeling this season is so full of.  

The only downside to Christmas cards is realizing how little pictoral documentation of our life we actually have! Ben and I are terrible about remembering to grab our camera and even worse at remembering to use it if we actually have it! My heart dropped a little when I realized the only picture I have where we actually look nice (i.e. not sweaty and super tired from backpacking) Ben is making his "I am so done with pictures!" face and he's not a fan. Shoot!

Anyway, we WILL get some decent pictures soon, and I can't wait to get our cards ordered! This year I am going to use Shutterfly because they are awesome! They always have the cutest designs and if I hadn't gotten the itch to make our own cards previous years (probably not doing that again! My fingers were sore for days!) I totally would have used them.

These are a few of my favs:
Simple and sweet...

I really like this one, it's more modern and streamlined...

So cute...

Classic and lovely...

This one is beautimus...

This one is probably my fav...

But I really love this one...

And this one...

Ooh...and this one is so fun...

...but I love the list of names on this one...

Choices, choices, choices! 

Along with fabulous Christmas cards, they also have great New Years cards and can pretty much put your pictures anything (i.e. canvas, books, etc.)

Ok, the reason why I'm excited - I'm getting these cards free! Oh yes mam! And you know free is my favorite price! Wanna know a secret? You can get these cards free too! Yep, Shutterfly is giving bloggers 50 free cards in exchange for writing about them. Not too shabby! 

Visit Shutterfly for more information and hurry to take advantage of this awesome deal!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Warning: this post is heavy. My heart is heavy and the subject matter is a reality in my life. It may not be in yours, so please take caution when reading.

You can't really prepare for the first time you have someone die right in front of you. It's one thing to know a patient is gone before he actually takes his last mechanically-assisted breath, but when you don't expect it, you can't prepare. It's just that, completely unexpected and all you can do is react in shock. It's morbidly ironic that my good friend and I were talking about this very situation the day before. "I don't know how what I'll do when I kid I don't expect to die actually does." Well, I guess now I do.

There is a unique peace that comes with knowing a child is being called up into heaven when his body is done here on earth. When it stops responding the way it is supposed to and when you know their spirit is already sitting on Jesus' lap. Please don't get me wrong, our hearts still mourn for that baby, that son or that daughter. Parents are still forced to go home with empty arms and the grief is overwhelming. I am simply talking about how it affects my heart as a care-giver, as someone who enters that family's life for a matter of moments. I have to sometimes build a fence of protection around my baby-loving heart otherwise I would not be able to do what I do.

It's a survival mechanism to begin to prepare for the death of a patient who is brain-dead or whose heart just does not function on it's own anymore. I have to believe that better things lie in store for that baby on the other side of this life. I don't have any resources against the sudden, instant, one second we're talking and the next she is gone kind of death.

Did I cause this? Did I make a mistake? Fear, doubt and hurt fill my heart. I am reassured by the most skilled professionals that no, it was simply her time to go. Not my mistake. Her body was broken, it just didn't look as broken as it was. I didn't know she was so fragile. No one did.

I begin to doubt the care I gave her. I know I provided for her medically as best I could, but was I kind enough? Did I smile warm enough? Did she feel welcome/safe/special? Was I compassionate? I don't know. Those questions and doubts weight heavy on my mind. Not being able to communicate with her frightened mom breaks my heart. I couldn't communicate with her because of a significant language barrier and because I couldn't take my attention off of trying to save her daughter. How scared she must have been. I can't even let myself think about that, it's too much.

I knew this would happen. I didn't think so many would happen in one short time, but they say that's how it goes. Feast or famine. I'd sure like a famine right about now.

As difficult as it is to process the terrible events that sometimes happen, I know this is where I am supposed to be. I don't know why I am called to do this, but I have been called. I cannot say I have done a "good" job with any of the passings I have been involved with, but I know I was put in each one for a reason not determined by me. Sometimes I am reminded that my job is about so much more than being a nurse. It is so much bigger than providing care to my patients and their families. I am truly called to be His hands extended to people who are hurting. To patients who are sick and parents who are scared. I must be honest and say that I do not always remember the weight of that most important part of my job. Sometimes I get irritated with particular patients and short with their parents. Sometimes life's annoyances get in the way of the work I am supposed to do. Ha. Go figure. It's amazing how easy it is for the satan to cloud our sight of God's purpose in our life.

I don't know if I'll ever forget her face or the empty feeling of shock and sadness. I do know however, that there is a purpose behind it and I was placed there for a reason bigger than me. I also know I'll take lessons away from that terrible moment. My hands - His hands - are softer now, more prepared now, better now because of that tragic moment.

Lord Jesus, please help me to remember Your purpose behind my work. Please help me to love my patients with the same passion You have for them. Please help me to see the important things that need to be seen and help me to know when to act. Please work through me. Make my hands an extension of Yours. Please make my life bigger than me. I need you Jesus and Your strength, I am so weak on my own. I am incapable without You. Your are my portion and Your grace is sufficient for me. Please be with me, always. Thank You for loving me. I love You. Amen.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

"I Know"

Last week at church, while worshiping to the beautiful song "How He Loves" (originally by David Crowder), Jesus spoke to me. Sometimes He will speak into our lives and we figure it out along the way, but sometimes He gives clear, direct pictures or words and you know you just received a sweet gift. This was one of those times.

I was somewhere lost in the chorus proclaiming "He loves us, oh how He loves us" when I saw a very pregnant woman make her way down the aisle below us. I didn't intend for it to, but her swollen belly tugged at my heart, just as they often do. Right then, as soon as I looked up God gave me a picture:

A belly, my belly, swollen with life just like the woman below in the aisle. But this time it was my baby inside of me. The baby I have wanted since the moment I knew how. Me, carrying my own baby. Then He spoke so clearly: "I know."

This image and those two simple words are so powerful for me. They tell me that He knows my heart. He knows my desires and He values them too.

I've only every revealed to Ben how frustrating it is to have a friend, family member, coworker or stranger respond to my desire to be a mother with statements like "Oh, wait, don't rush. You're so young!" I know they have good intentions and they are not saying thing to discourage me, but I do become so discouraged. I feel very unvalidated. I feel like my wants are not as important as those of my husband and I feel like I get no credit for the accomplishments I have already made in my "young" life. I understand that this is dramatic and sounds a lot like whining - I'm just being honest. I also know the people saying those things to me love me (well, except for the strangers, but whatev, you know what I mean) and also want me to bring a baby into our family when the time is just right. They intend to encourage me, but they are not able to do so.

I don't need somebody to give me a reason to wait to have a baby - Ben and I have our own reasons. I don't need somebody telling me I am doing the right thing - I know I am. If I didn't feel confident that we were making the right decision, we wouldn't be on this path.

I just want someone to understand. To tell me "I know."

Jesus knew I needed to have somebody tell me they understood. He knew I needed my desires to be validated. He knows how intricately laced the desire to have a baby is in my heart.

He loves me. Oh, how he loves me.

"I know."

What a sweet gift! I was so encouraged and my heart is so full. I know I am right where He wants me to be. I am in this season for a purpose. The next season will be sweeter because of this one. I know my heart is safe with Him. He knows my heart - after all, He created every desire within it.

I am again reminded of a verse given to me in another gift from God. Five years ago (almost exactly, as it was early fall), in a dark dorm room on a dreary day in city of Nottingham, England, God clearly told me He had me right where He wanted me. My heart was longing for it's perfect partner and I was lonely and losing sight of His plan for me when He stopped me to say: "You are right where I want you to be. I have him for you, trust me. But for now, dwell here in this land and feed on my faithfulness. I will give you the desires of your heart" (Ps. 37:3-4). Two weeks later, my music lover man sent me his first email.

He was faithful then and He will be faithful again because He loves me. Oh, how He loves me. How He loves me so.

Thank you Jesus.

"How He Loves"

He is jealous for me.
Loves like a hurricane and I'm like a tree bending beneath the weight of His love and mercy. When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me.

Oh, how He loves us so.
Oh, how He loves us.
He loves us so.

Yeah He loves us.
Oh, how He loves us.
Oh, how He loves us.
Oh, how He loves.

We are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If His grace is an ocean, We're all sinking
And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way

Oh, how He loves us so.
Oh, how He loves us.
He loves us so.

He loves us.
Oh, how He loves us.
Oh, how He loves us.
Oh, how He loves.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Battlecry

I feel the need to type some deep words. To offer my soul a bit of introspective. I intended to express my thoughts on people who have to do huge, life-alterinig things for the purpose of "finding themselves" and how God will show us who He wants us to be, we just have to look. In my thoughts about my thoughts (does that make sense?), my heart started aching a little. You see, I was feeling pretty good about how I don't need a big gesture in order to find who I am - I'm doing a pretty good job just living my life and satisfied right here where I am, but when I am really honest, I'm not. I am, but I'm not. It's so difficult for me to find a balance that allows me to be present and complete in this moment yet still look forward for the one that is to come.

Ben and I have been trudging through some muck lately. I'm so thankful for who he is, even though he drives me crazy sometimes. It is such a blessing to have a partner who you can be open with. Someone I trust enough to let him see even the ugly parts of me. Painted Grey is recording their first album right now, and they are pretty sure they are going to name it "We Wage War" (which is officially a secret, but I don't think anyone reads this blog, so I think me spilling the beans is OK). The song "We Wage War" is about the wars we fight in relationships and it's pretty fitting that Ben is designing the concept for the album cover. While brainstorming for an idea for the artwork, I saw a picture of a battle field covered with the ravages of war. Wounded ground, covered with the remnants of gunpowder and artillery shells, ashy smoke rising over the dark scene, a field wrecked with the wages of war. In the midst of the pain-soaked land is a couple standing in the midst of the now still chaos holding hands. I feel like that is where Ben and I are. Yes, the battle is not as fresh and the wounds are not as open, but we are there nonetheless.

We saw Eat, Pray, Love last night and to be honest, we were a little disappointed. I was because I read the book and it was so much better, Ben was because of the reason why the woman left her husband (it was very simplified in the movie). At one point, during their first negotiations for their divorce the husband cries out to his wife something like (I can't remember the exact words) "how can you just pick up and leave the moment you decide that what we want is too different to work thorough?" Ben was so offended that the woman chose to leave her husband because they wanted different things in life. You see, my husband is so loyal. He believes I am his wife. Forever. No if's, and's or but's. We took vows and we're in this for reals. That does not mean that we are disillusioned by the perfect vision of our life we both saw as we said those vows. This does not mean that we are always on the same page or that we both want the same things for our life. It simply means that whatever the case, we are in this thing together. We do want different things, but more than anything, we want to be true to the path that the Lord put us one. The one that put us together. As we said last night, I could have married a man that wanted to have babies right away, but just because his wants would match mine wouldn't mean that he was the perfect fit for me. I have my perfect match, but we sure don't match perfectly. Does that make sense?

So now, I'm standing here in this midst of the battle we're waging. Though it's currently calm, it's real. This life, this love, is something we're fighting for. Our days aren't always easy and the heaviness of real life is sometimes overwhelming, but we're here, in the midst and we're together. Holding hands in the middle.

Together, we wage war.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Coffee Cozy

I wanted to share my new find with y'all! Check out my super cute new coffee-cozy!

While browsing the internet last week I saw a post about these cute little things and I had to have one. I always use a sleeve when I get coffee and I realize that it is super wasteful and not at all eco-friendly. Also, as embarrassing as this is to admit, I have (more than once!) grabbed someone else's coffee at work and took a swig only to realize that it wasn't mine! No good!

So, in the name of being "green", sanitary and stylish, I ordered my very own coffee sleeve.

(nothing like a sweet treat to keep my brain functioning during a Pediatric Advanced Life Support class!)

I ordered from, seller PinkGasoline. I choose the "Blooms of Hearts" pattern, but it was hard to make a decision because there were so many cute fabric choices!

This was my first experience ordering from Etsy, and I was so impressed! The girls at PinkGasoline produced a very nice product and they delivered it extremely well. I received a thank you note after I purchased my sleeve and then another note when it was shipped. What I was most impressed with however, was their speed of service. I ordered my cozy on Wednesday and it was in my mailbox on Saturday! From South Carolina to Oregon in 2.5 days! Wonderful!

I've tried my cozy on both a Venti iced drink (perfect for catching condensation) and a tall hot drink (both from Starbucks - what can I say, it's addicting and convient - we have a store in our hospital lobby!) and it fit great for both. I'm so impressed and thankful that not only will I be using less paper and not burning my hands but I will never reach for someone else's coffee again!

Here are a few other cute cozy's from PinkGasoline:

Go get one for yourself!

Friday, August 6, 2010

A New Challenge

I started my career as a nurse just wanting to work with kids. I was fortunate to start in the place where I did (Peds Acute Care). I developed a strong foundation and learned good time-management. I learned to prioritize and think critically. I became comfortable with doing what I was doing. I was good at it and I loved it. I loved knowing what to expect and how to respond to common complications. I loved who I worked with and I loved being able to be involved. Despite that, I felt like I wanted to do something more. Something a little less predictable, a little more scary. I wasn't ready though. I was afraid, intimidated. Then I wen to Haiti.

I went to Haiti with a group mostly consisting of pediatric intensive care (PICU) nurses and physicians (there were 4 acute-care people, myself included). I had the opportunity to get to know them and to see them in action. I remember a moment very clearly. I was working in the NICU (a corner of the PICU) when another patient's heart just stopped. I didn't realize what was happening right away, but Joanne (the patient's primary nurse) and Pam (the manager of our PICU) anticipated it happening a second before it actually did. All of a sudden, the two of them jumped up, grabbed the baby put her on the exam table and began CPR. I started freaking out. Shaking, goosebumps - a total mess! I could only stand there and watch in awe (it was all I could do to keep standing). They however, were so calm. At one point, Joanne looked over at me (as she continued doing compressions) and asked me, so calmly, for some epinephrine. There was no panic in her voice. No inclination of fear, just a solid grasp on what she was doing. She was so composed, so practiced, so perfect. So bad-ass.

They eventually stabilized the baby and afterward I told Pam how impressed I was and how I felt so utterly helpless during the whole thing. She simply told me, "this wasn't our first code." She made me feel ok with where I was as a nurse, and that I too, could do it in time. She even told me "we'd love to have you [work in the PICU]" after seeing my uselessness! Wow.

When I got back, I felt the urge to move. I battled with it for a while, but the Lord told me He had big plans for me. I had families to care for and a big job to do. It was time, ready-or-not, and when a position opened I took it.

It took a few months to make the transition, but it's official. I am now a PICU nurse. I started orientation on Monday. It's so different than what I am used to (partly because I'm on nights - I'm praying for a dayshift soon!), but it's good. I have so much to learn oh! I dived head first into ventilators and trach suctioning and after 3 days, I'm starting to get the basics - the very, very basics. I'm so intimidated, but in a good way.

Maybe someday, many, many days from now, I'll feel bad-ass too. :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Introduction to Parenthood, Part I

Ben's sister Hannah is in town for the summer and Ben has been anxious to get her out backpacking. Their days finally matched last week and the two of them headed to Eagle Creek with Bridger in tow (I was working so I stayed behind). I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but our dog is an adventure dog! He LOVES to be outside and you've never seen a dog so happy as Bridger when we strap his pack on and head out. He's a born trail dog!

That being said, we thought nothing of taking him to Eagle Creek (16 miles round trip). The three of us did the same hike last year and we had done a similar hike a few weeks back (Angels Rest). It never occurred to us that Bridger's feet may not be ready for such a task.

On the way out Ben started to notice that Bridger wasn't keeping up like he normally does (he's usually right behind our legs hoping that we let him be the leader), but he was smiling and tail was wagging so they carried on. Eventually, Ben became more concerned and looked at his feet. Bridger's poor pads were raw! Poor thing! They had no choice to continue on, though Ben carried Bridger's pack for the rest of the hike and went as slow as Bridger wanted to go.

They made it home just before I got home, but when I walked in the door and Bridger didn't run to the door to give me a rowdy hello, I knew something was wrong. Poor Ben, he felt so guilty as he retold me the story! While Ben researched what to do, I sat on the floor next to our sick baby and he just laid his head on my lap and let me pet him for a long time (he is normally way too playful to be a cuddle-bug). Because it was late and we didn't think a trip to the animal hospital was in order, we decided to clean his paws, slather them with antibiotic ointment, wrap them in gauze and reassess in the morning.

We set up a little cleaning station in the living room (so B wouldn't have to move from where he was laying) and tended to his feet as delicately as we could. Ben was so gentle, though nervous and was a pretty good assistant for me as I wrapped the bandage around our squirmy puppy's feet. We laughed as we were cleaning up because we felt like we had just had our first taste at the not-so-glamorous side of parenthood. Our baby was sick and we had to do something!

Well, our fumbling did the trick because Bridger was much more perky the next morning and just about back to his old self the next night.

This post may not interest many people, but I wanted to be sure to remember Ben and my first time playing doctor in our home and the time when we tended to our first sick baby.

Monday, June 28, 2010

3 Years - Long Overdue

Whew! I can't believe it's July! These past 2 months have flown by! Well, as you can read below, April was pretty much filled with Haiti and I spent a good part of May processing the experience (I have another post or two to write, but I haven't had the time to open my heart to it again, putting the whole thing in words was a heavy, healing task and I want to be sure to do it well). Toward the end of May Ben and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary. Talk about time flying! Three years?!? Holy moly!

We had decided to go away to celebrate and my heart was set on camping. I didn't care where we went or what we did, I just wanted to take our little family somewhere outdoors, pitch a tent and savor Gods goodness while surrounded with dirt and the sweet smell of campfire.

We had to be flexible, as life started to throw us some curveballs. Some snafus with our schedules came up (I had to work, Ben had an unexpected show), the forecast for every spot within driving distance showed nothing but torrential showers, unexpected bills came up leaving our finances were really, really tight (we were rationing our final bits of cash until I got paid), and to top it off on the morning of our trip, I went to Les Schwab to have a funny shake looked at (I figured the tires just needed to be rotated - some mechanics daughter I am!) and ended up with a whole new set of tires.

I must admit, both Ben and I felt very defeated. We were run down, stressed and the thought of a fun vacation seemed very unlikely. However, in the end, we decided to trudge on. We had a reservation at the McMenamins Old St. Francis in Bend and we were at least going to go for a drive and stay in a nice room on our anniversary. And, for good measure, we threw our backpacks in the trunk on the off chance the skies would part and we could hit the trail for a night or two.

I am so glad we didn't choose to stay home! We loved the Old St. Francis! It's a small McMenamins but not short on charm! We found out when we arrived that we had booked the nicest room in the house (it was the last one left), complete with a King size bed and TWO claw foot bath tubs. It was so lovely!


We took Bridger for a walk around downtown Bend and quickly got to dreaming about what it would be like to live in one of the cute houses surrounding the perfect downtown. After our walk we were took advantage of the complimentary movie and enjoyed some tots while watching Alice in Wonderland in the movie theater. After the movie we had some awesome cocktails (passionfruit margarita - yum!) and then headed back to our room and ordered room service. We took Bridger for another walk after dinner. We held hands tightly, smooched and sillily talked to each other as we enjoyed our completely refreshing break from reality. We didn't expect to feel so rejuvenated after only one evening, but we did!

Ben kept a close eye on the weather throughout our evening and much to our surprise, we found a spot calling for sun! We woke early the next morning, enjoyed a delicious breakfast and then headed just outside Sisters to Alder Springs Trail.

**I meant to finish and post this many, many days ago, but here I am, July 10th!**

Alder Springs was wonderful. There is a short (2.5 miles) hike down a desert trail into a beautiful meadow laced with bubbling brooks and sweet, green grass. It truly is a secret paradise in the middle of a dry, dusty desert. We set up camp next to the brooke and let the gentle bubble lull us into a state of utter relaxation.
Bridger was so excited to get on the trail! That dog loves being outside! We got him a little backpack so he can help carry his gear (and to hopefully tire him out - he never slows down!) and after a few minutes of total paralyzation followed by some full-blown gallops, he carried his pack like it was made for him.

(We took a day hike to where the Deschutes River met with the spring.)

Our few days away were so wonderful and we quickly forgot the stress that was involved with us actually getting away. We so needed the break from the "real world" and we savored our the time we got to spend just being together.

We are so blessed to have a strong marriage. That is not to say that it is an easy marriage (I don't think any marriage is) or that we don't have our own day-to-day struggles, but we are blessed. The past three years have been so good to us, even when times have been hard. Ben and I have both grown and our relationship has settled upon a foundation of trust, love and faith. Of course, we're only three years in and we've got a lot of years ahead of us! We'll continue to build on the foundation we've set, of course, but at this point, where we are now, we feel like we've got the hang of each other and in my husband's words "We're good."

We're really good.