Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Project

I am so excited to share my latest (or I guess it's technically my first) photo project. For a book club that I'm a part of we are reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I'm only a few chapters in and already the book has changed my life. I'm not quite ready to blog about that yet, but it will definitely be a future blog. I've found that reading this book is a wonderful relief for the every day stress that work and selling our house provide. Each day I try to come home and read the book or just ponder in my head and heart the things that I've read. I've found that doing this helps me to focus on what's happening in my life at this moment rather than always focusing on the what could have been or what the future may be. It's forced me to slow down and take some deep breaths, thus allowing me to see God's beauty and grace in the simple moments of my life.

I've decided to make a daily list of things I'm thankful for; a list of my own one thousand gifts. This will allow me to learn how to use my camera and putting these items on my blog will allow me to eventually make a photo book of all my gifts to use when I'm feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and just plain run down.

Today, February 1, 2011, during the snow (currently ice) storm of the century, when the world outside looks like this:
I am thankful for amazing friends volunteering to take your shift tonight because she lives five minutes from work and you live 30. This gives me the ability to spend the day on the couch, reading, watching Bones, and snuggling with this:
Happy snowy, icy, Tuesday everyone!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Today's Progress

Today I literally cleaned the kitchen and dining room from ceiling to floor. Phew. What a task! I think we should have taken stock in Lysol bleach wipes and Swiffer wet mops before I started this project. I would like to think that I keep a clean house until I start a deep cleaning project. Then it makes me gag. I clearly haven't done one in a long time because Skittles (our puppy) kept coughing and sneezing. Too much bleach and orange scent I guess.

The rest of the house just got a regular straighten, dust, and vacuum. Have I mentioned that I am in love with my vacuum? We used ALL of our Bed, Bath, and Beyond gift cards after our wedding to buy it, and it was worth every single one. This bad boy makes me feel clean every single time I use it. We have a detached garage so it's so incredibly helpful at getting all the dirt and leaves we bring into the house. It's also perfect for all of the pet hair and high to reach places (I am only 5' 1".) My only complaint is that it is heavy (like, 22lbs heavy.) While that isn't a big deal in our little ranch, I am concerned about how it's going to work in our two-story with a finished basement new house. The only carpeted areas are upstairs and in the basement, so I'm thinking I'll keep the nice one upstairs (where all the bedrooms are) and buy a simple one for the basement, or man cave as my husband likes to say.

And because life isn't crazy enough right now, I've decided to apply for grad school in the fall. Chris and I have had many long talks about this, and decided that I should just go for it. I'm not ready to stop being a PICU nurse yet, but we both feel like if I don't go now, I won't be going until we have had kids and they are older. I'm nervous about the money and handling working full time and going back to school. We went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University at our church last year and have paid off tons and tons of debt. All we have left is my student loan from my last year of nursing school. I was really not wanting to add to that, but grad school is uber expensive and what my company pays it what one semester costs. :/ And we all remember the stress of nursing school and that was before I had a husband and a career. I see lots and lots of prayers and coffee in my future!

A guy from our church is coming tonight at five to give us the bid for redoing our basement entry, basement steps and siderail, and the walls in our master bedroom. Can't wait to hear what he has to say! Those will be three huge steps for getting our house ready. I can't wait for February 1!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Weekend Progress and 19 Day Countdown

I'm getting so excited about moving into our new house! On Friday, a handyman came over and put new trim on the garage, new glass in the front door and a closet door on the master closet. (Yes, my husband bought this house five years ago with no closet door. The joys and simplicity of bachelorhood. :) ) It's amazing what a difference these three things have made!

My amazing parents came over on Saturday and spent the day with us cleaning and painting the basement. We live in a 100 year old house and I doubt the basement had been cleaned since then (okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but you get the idea.) My dad and hubby painted while Mom and I scrubbed, mopped, and shop-vac'd the dirt and dust away. My camera is at my mother-in-laws, but as soon as I get it back I will post pictures. It's an amazing difference. The basement needs one more sweep and mop and then that part will be crossed off our list.

These are the other things that need to be done before February 1:
-New basement steps
-New basement handrail
-One final sweep and mop of the basement
-Fix walls of side/basement entry and paint entry white
-Fix master bedroom wall
-Repaint master bedroom
-Have wood floor installed in dining room (The floor we picked is Wedge)

Here is what we've already done:
-All new electrical wiring
-New electrical box
-All new windows
-New roof
-Installed backyard patio
-All new landscaping
-Completely gutted and updated the kitchen
-Completely gutted and updated the bathroom
-Tore down the front porch and rebuilt it

Hopefully we can find someone who loves this house and much as we have so we can start creating memories in our new house!

And since I don't have my camera, here's my favorite picture off my phone from the weekend.
Happy Monday!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

26 Day Countdown

That's it. Just 26 days until we have our starter house on the market! We already have a contingent, no knock-out contract on our new house and are aching to get into it. I have so many ideas for the new house and am so excited for all the new changes. I hope to blog a LOT more this year and chronicle our first time as new homeowners together! There's also the possibility of a promotion for Chris, my going back to school to become a PNP, and perhaps starting a family?! All we know is that our New Year's resolution is to love simply, every moment.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

On Tuesday night I made these spinach lasagna rolls that I found on Gina's Weight Watchers Recipes blog. They turned out sooo good. Even my husband (Mr. I will not eat it if it's healthy) enjoyed these bad boys. They are super easy and quick to put together. Enjoy!

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 9 Serving Size: 1 roll Calories: 188 Points: 4 ww pts
  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
  • 15 oz fat free ricotta cheese (I like Polly-o)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 32 oz tomato sauce
  • 9 tbsp (about 3 oz) part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.

Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.

Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tbsp mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts. Makes 9 rolls.

To serve, ladle a little sauce on the plate and top with lasagna roll.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Backyard Fun

Chris and I have decided to stay in our house another year (to pay off my student loans) and invest a little bit more into our house. So, my mom and started the planning process last Monday, with no less than fifty of these bad boys:
I wish I had all the money and time in the world to turn these projects into our backyard reality. There are so many great ideas! To help me focus, my mom had me pick one area of the yard that had me the most trouble. I picked the back yard:
I wish I had thought to take pictures before we raked all the leaves and crap up. It was incredible the amount of random stuff we found next to and especially behind the garage. The final list included a sock, blue fish aquarium rocks, a flea collar, a cat toy, beer bottles, siding, gutter guard, a green vase with a broken bottom, the broken pieces of the vase ducked taped together, two hunter green shutters and a hose. And now a visual to give you a true idea of the randomness:
Oh, and we also found enough bricks for a small doghouse. Don't know what we're going to do with them yet, but I'm definitely open to suggestions!!!
After tons of raking, weeding, and tilling, my little corner garden looks like this:
Obviously we've still got a lot of work to do, but I'm so happy with this progress! I can't wait to add some color and more mulch! One more exciting thing that's happened is that we got bids to have our front porch redone!! At first we were just going to have the rotted boards and spindles replaced, but the more we looked at it, the more we decided to just go for it. After all, when we do put our house on the market, the front will be the first thing people see! Here's how it looks now:
I can't wait to see it with a new, white front porch, new front and storm doors and black shutters on all the windows!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

MIA No Longer

I know I've been absent for a few weeks, but with good reason, I promise.

As a PICU nurse I always knew that the day would come when I would take care of a child who's time on this earth was soon to end. Don't get me wrong, in my two years as a PICU nurse I've seen death far too many times. This time though, I was the primary nurse. And in that role, it's a whole new ball game.

Enter Alex, a 12 year old boy who has graced our ICU a few too many times. Each time he gets very sick and yet still defies every odd that gets placed in front of him. His parents have stood with him on heaven's door so many times, and yet each time, Alex remained here. So on Friday, February 18, Alex rolled through the doors with an acute GI bleed and respiratory distress. By that afternoon he was on a ventilator, with IV lines for medications, blood pressure and heart function monitoring. By the end of the weekend he was on an oscillator (an extreme type of ventilation) and his heart function was barely there. This is it whispers rang through the unit. Nope, said Alex, not yet.

And so he rallied. Again. Then on Monday, March 8, I went into his room to find him lying in a pool of blood. Through the course of the day, Alex lost 4L of blood and another 2L of abdominal fluid. For 9 hours we were doing everything we could to save this little boys life. We got the bleeding stopped, gave him and the room a bath, and allowed his parents back in the room. After many tears and prayers, they made the gut wrenching decision to make Alex a DNR. Before leaving work that night I gave his parents what I thought would be the final round of hugs. But of course, this is Alex. So it wasn't.

All night I waited for the phone call telling me Alex was in heaven. I waited the next day and the next. No phone call. I walked into work Thursday morning and there he is. Rallying once again. He's getting better his night primary says. So I spend Thursday and Friday taking care of Alex and his family. I'll be back Monday morning I said, enjoy the family weekend (Alex's siblings were coming to visit.) We will they said. See you then.

Monday morning proved to be the longest morning of my life. When I walked into his room, Alex was wide awake. He looked at me and waved. We went through our morning routine and at 1005 am, one week and one hour exactly from when he started bleeding the first time, he began to bleed again. Only this time he was a DNR. There was nothing we could do. We got his parents, who were once again faced with gut wrenching decisions. What to do? Take Alex off the ventilator? Revoke the DNR?

With tears streaming down her face, Alex's mom came out of his room and asked for the attending physician. They wanted Alex off the ventilator, all medicines stopped, and his IV lines out. It was time for him to go to heaven. We started that process at 1035. Alex went to heaven laying in his mother's arms at 1115 am, March 15, 2010.

Words cannot describe what going through this process has done to me. It was the most humbling experience I have ever had. I'm very thankful to have gone through this with a family that was out of this world amazing as well as a group of primary nurses that did everything possible for this family and child.

Prior to all of this, I was questioning my career and if this is where I wanted to stay. Taking care of Alex and his family reaffirmed in me why I'm a PICU nurse. And for that, I'll be eternally grateful.