Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Trying to concentrate.

... and it's not going so well. So I'll blog instead and maybe that will allow me to move on with my work day.

We spent the last 10 days in NY visiting family, making the BIG announcement about the baby to both sides of our family, and then spending 6 days in a gorgeous lake house in the Adirondacks with some of our best friends.  This is the 4th year that we've done this "friends" vacation and it is one of my favorites.  Lots of hiking and bonfires, relaxing, catching up and just being with some of my favorite people in my favorite place in the world, ADK.

We all destressed and disconnected from technology and really enjoyed the quiet of being in the mountains. And now we are all having culture shock getting back into work and technology and meetings and beeping reminders to GO GO GO.

I'm trying my best to go back into the flow of work but there is a little nagging reminder in my head that is constantly pulling my concentration away from my work... this new baby.  Emily has decided we should call it Gus rather than "it" or "the baby". So Gus it is, until April at least!

My parents were excited, Jim's were as well, but the best reaction was our friends and our neighbors.  Those are the people who know just how much I wanted this baby and thought that with the way life was rolling that it would never happen for us.  We told our next door neighbors, who are very close friends, yesterday and the screaming that ensued was really really fun!! Emily told her friends at school yesterday and put it up on the Daily News board in her classroom so the cat is really out of the bag in our little town. A little earlier that I would have liked for so many people to know but Emily was so excited I couldn't bear to tell her she couldn't say anything.  I'll be 13 weeks on Saturday so officially in the 2nd trimester.  According to our OB after the ultrasound at 10 1/2 weeks and seeing the heart beat we have less than a 1% chance of miscarrying at this point so hopefully all continues well!

Monday, September 10, 2012

We're Expecting!

I have been waiting to post this news for so long that it almost feels unbelievable to me.  I wanted to wait until after our first ultrasound and to be at least at end of the 1st trimester to make sure all was good with the little one. And it appears to be so! While this blog is really more of a journal for me than anything else I was still hesitant to put anything out there before we saw a heartbeat. Which we got to see this morning along with a tiny face and two little arms and legs moving around. :)

The newest member of our family will be joining us in April, official due date is April 6th.  Some days I'm excited, some days I'm terrified, most days I'm a mix of both.

The first trimester has been going well.  Morning sickness that is really just low-level nausea for most of the day has been tolerable.  The incredible need for sleep is still there but I can actually make it through the day at work without yawning and trying to find a covert spot to nap (empty conference room with a couch please!). I do make up for it on the weekends though with a ridiculous amount of sleep, usually 12 hours total each day.  10 hrs at night plus a nap.

We'll tell Emily sometime this week now that things are confirmed.  We'll be traveling to NY for a vacation at the end of the week and swinging through our hometown on the way so the timing worked out that we'll get to tell both sets of parents in person!

And that's all I have to report for now, kind of anticlimactic but that's because I've had 6 weeks for the news to settle in. If I would have written this post the day I found out it would have been full of tears and drama as mainly I was scared out of my mind when I saw those 2 lines.  "What have we done?!" I'll never sleep again I thought.  And I may not.  But I survived it with Emily, it's not forever.  I'll make it.  I just think that having been through almost 9 years of parenthood already I know exactly how hard it is and how much effort it takes to raise a child right, or what I consider to be right. I sure hope I have the stamina to do it again!

Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day...

First Day of 3rd Grade

Last Monday was Emily's first day of school as a 3rd grader.  Wow.  I swear she just started kindergarten yesterday.  Really.  And now she's bigger than most of the kids at the bus stop and even though there were a few first day butterflies, life as a 3rd grader is pretty good.  She knows her school and how things work inside and out so not too much to be nervous about.

We dropped off school supplies during an open house last week so she got to pick her desk and see her classroom.  This is her first year with a real desk and full-sized chair rather than a table with 3 other kids and a little kid plastic chair. Ahhh... she's growing up.

I try to make the first day of school special because so often we're running just to make the bus on time in the morning.  I got up early and made home-made waffles which was a nice start to the day.  Luckily Jim wasn't working so he got to walk with us to the bus stop on the first day. Emily looked adorable in a new jean skirt and cute top, but her favorite item hands-down was her new shoes.  Nothing special just a pair of brown leather mary-janes with a flower on them and some cute embroidery details.  But she LOVED them and they totally put a little pep in her step that morning.

3rd grade is the first grade that I really have any detailed memories of.  I remember my teacher and some of the things she taught me, we learned cursive that year which I loved and multiplication.  I also vividly remember the arts & crafts our teacher worked on with us and I think that's the first year I really remember being excited about that kind of thing and wanted to do them well.  My teacher, Mrs. Mullin, was a friend of my mom's (my mom is also a teacher) and she lived just a few blocks from us and so I think that connection also helped cement that year in my memory.  I hope the same for Miss Em!

Sending my little pumpkin good wishes for a wonderful school year. And as she says, she'll be my little pumpkin forever... as long as I don't carve her. :) Gotta love that 8 year old sense of humor.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Weather Angst

Emily is terrified of weather lately.

Be it rain, any cloud that isn't perfectly fluffy and white, or wind of any kind.  The girl is just SURE that some kind of inclement weather is going to turn into a tornado and she is terrified. I'm doing my best just to be calm and reassuring without reacting too much to her drama.  It usually involves tears and refusal to go wherever she was supposed to be headed for the day and the need for her blankie.  At 8 years old... really?  Let's hope this is a phase.  Please. A neighbor whose son is  a year old and had similar fears told me that in 2nd grade they do a tornado drill and show them a film that describes how to identify potential funnel clouds forming and that wind is an early warning sign of tornadoes.  Apparently that scares A LOT of the kids and the timing seems right on for when this fear started.  Nice, thanks school.

We've had our fair share of storms over the past few weeks so we now have her sleeping bag stashed in my closet so that if something develops in the night we can just let her sleep in our room.  It's easier and everyone gets more rested than trying to convince her it's safe to sleep in her room alone.  This too shall pass, right?

On the home front, things are particularly pleasant right now. Jim's job is still going very well. He has 2 more weeks of orientation/precepting and then he's completely on his own.  He's been working up to a full patient load over the last few weeks and doing fine, just using his preceptor to double check a med here or there if there's a complicated dosage calculation or high risk med.  But he should be good to go.  He is so happy lately it's almost comical.  Yesterday for example he picked up Emily from summer camp, which ended at 3, and brought home her best friend who was also there so they could play and her friend was going to stay over for dinner.  They had a blast.  Jim had a dance party going for the girls in the kitchen and they were hanging off of him like little monkeys.  He was loving it!

Hoping the storms stay away from the weekend so we can break-in the new fire-pit Jim built last week in the backyard.  Time for hot-dogs and s'mores! Happy summer weekend all.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Finally time to slow down a bit.

April through the beginning of July were absolutely crazy.  Every weekend I was either away or planning to be away and needing to pack/unpack/organize for the upcoming event.

This past weekend was the first real down time I've had in months and it felt amazing.  Jim was working this weekend so Emily and I puttered around the house a fair bit but I felt really productive.  It was ungodly hot for the past week, with highs over 100 and humidity making the head index somewhere between 110-115.  Forget about going outside.  Saturday after some chores around the house we spent the afternoon at the YMCA indoor pool.  Best move of the weekend.  No sunscreen and no crazy heat to deal with.  Sunday after more chores (I think I tackled every pile of paperwork lying around the house and lots of cleaning) the heat finally broke, highs only up to 88, so we decided to brave the outdoors.  We went to a local botanical garden that is just gorgeous, a nice place for me to play with the "good" camera, not just the usual point and click or my iphone camera.  And there is  a huge children's garden with a tree house, suspended boardwalk and water garden.  We spent 4 hours just wandering around enjoying the not too scorching weather and each others company.

I feel so much more organized today back at the office, like I finally have my head screwed on straight so it's time to get back at it. Lots of deadlines are looming this week.

Small update on Jim, he's on week 6 at his new job and still absolutely loving it.  It's so nice to see him come home with a smile on his face even after 13 hours on his feet at the hospital.

We made a budget for the month of July, the first one ever, honestly how crazy is that.  And that too makes my mind rest, knowing that we have double the income coming in for the first time in 4 years and have planned where it all goes makes managing the finances so much less stressful.  Here's to a relaxed but productive week!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Camping Trips and Orientation

So I'm on my own for 3 days… Jim and little one headed off on a Daddy & Daughter camping trip along with my brother and his daughter Ava who is also 8.  I'm hoping this will become a nice tradition for the 4 of them.

We went on our usual "School's Out" cabin camping weekend with friends this past weekend at  local state park.  We stayed for 3 days and 2 nights.  Had gorgeous weather and a great time.  We all rated this 3rd annual trip as our best yet.  Best park, best cabin, best weather!  We got home on Sunday afternoon and then did a quick assessment of what needed to be washed and repacked to send them back out for 2 more nights.  It wasn't actually as bad as I thought it would be to have the 2 outings back to back. Everything was already out and semi-packed so it actually worked out nicely.

Now… the 4 of them are in for some rain today and tomorrow morning so we'll see how chipper they are when they return!

Jim finished up his weeklong orientation at the hospital last week, and starting Thursday he's on the SIMCU for 3 shifts a week of precepting.  I think he has 9 weeks of on the floor with a preceptor (a current RN ) before they turn him loose on his own. Last week was nice as we thought about real money finally starting to roll in for the first time in 4 years, but the orientation was… well…. orientation.  Tolerable, not super exciting.  So on the floor precepting should be much more fun and challenging for him.

Once we make it through June we should have some downtime together.
But this coming weekend Jim is working 7am-7pm Saturday & Sunday
Next week I'm in Boston from Wednesday through Sunday for work
Then the following week I'm headed up to Cleveland on Wednesday to help with prep for my parents 50th anniversary part that weekend and won't be back until Monday evening of the following week.

All good stuff, but a busy month for sure!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Day 1

I swear I'll take a break from this monotonous kind of blogging soon, but I like getting things out of my head. It helps me focus on what I need to do now.

So today is Jim's first day of orientation.  He is orientation all week, 1 day at the corporate headquarters for the hospital system, 1 day back at the college of nursing in the auditorium space, and 3 days of computer system training back at corporate.  Next week he'll move into working 3 12-hr shifts on the floor per week.  I am SO jealous of this schedule.  But also really glad for us as a family.  During his training he has no night shifts and I don't think he has to work weekends either.  So that should make for a nice summer with lots of time for family outings.  Everything we've been missing for the past 3 years.  Trips to the zoo, park, beach, pool....

I can't wait to catch up tonight and hear how it went.  Although I have a feeling this week probably won't be all that exciting... paperwork for benefits, payroll info, getting his new badge etc.  Kind of like the first day of class where you get your syllabus and find your seat but don't really get into anything interesting yet.

Being a numbers nerd I have been running the numbers like crazy trying to figure out what our new budget will look like, and tackling the "to do" list of items around the house that need to be repaired, fixed, updated, etc.  Emily's college fund to be reactivated and his 403B to be activated.  All the things we put on hold for the last 4 years have to get back up and rolling. Oh, and don't forgot that student loan repayment starts this month.  But if I have the numbers crunched right and we keep our lifestyle similar to what it is now, we should be able to pay off his student loans completely in the next 12-months, 6-months if we go nuts and do nothing else but put the extra income towards student loans. Yay for paying off debt!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happy x2!

2 good pieces of news to document.  They officially offered Jim the RN position in the Surgical ICU/Step-Down Unit.  Starting.... MONDAY!  Holy crap.  Exciting!!! But... lots of arrangements need to be made for that timing to work.  School ends for Emily next Tuesday and I didn't sign her up for any childcare for the remainder of next week or the following week, figuring she and Jim would have some down time together.  I never anticipated they would want him to start that soon. Since it's a transfer and role change within the same hospital system he doesn't have to give the standard 2 weeks notice, HR has already cleared the immediate move with his current supervisor. I am so excited for him to be starting his career, and on a critical care floor with an awesome group of RNs as well.  Awesome!

Then this morning I had my yearly review which went extremely well, all positive, lots of movement upward in the company, plans for my next five years and what my path within the company will be. Plus a substantial bonus that I was NOT expecting!  Yay!

So I think there will be some serious celebrating happening this weekend.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Long Weekend

The weekend around our house was BUSY.  We got a ton done around the house.  My favorite part of spring is getting my flowers in place on the front porch and the back deck, and all the plants in place in our tiny vegetable garden.  I am 90% done.  The flowers looks gorgeous, Emily helped me pick them out and I'm really pleased with the choices, they look so pretty.  The deck especially.  Emily choose yellow and orange zinnias that I totally would have passed by and I love how they look.

We spent a lot of time, or Emily did, playing with neighbor friends.  It was oppressively hot so pretty much every time we were outside it involved a sprinkler or pool and Em lived in a bathing suit.  She got her first sunburn which I feel bad about.  It's just on her shoulders and I think it was either outdated sunscreen from last year or that we didn't reapply soon enough.  She was outside all day and we used SPF 50 and reapplied at around noon. We gave her some baby aspirin and have been using aloe with lidocaine on the burn. I have very fair skin and burned often when I was younger, my dad is fair skinned Irish and also burns like crazy.  He developed a very serious melanoma about 4 years ago that was luckily caught before it metastasized and was treated surgically but it made me even more judicious about using sunscreen every time she's out.

Had an interesting experience with a neighbor kid who has always been off in terms of behavior.  This child is 5 maybe 6 and is pretty badly behaved but I see her mom trying her best to reign her in.  She is sassy and talks back, uses words and a tone of voice you would never expect for a little girl.  Sometime the look in her eye is worse than the words that come out of her mouth.  There's a lot of anger in that little girl.  When she does come over to play we keep a strict on her and I'm very quick to give her a single warning and tell her we don't talk that way to our friends and any more means she's going home.  I had had that talk with her already when she was being sassy and rude to another neighbor friend that was over, a 4 year old. Sheeesh, who is rude and sassy to a 4 year old.  This girl.  Then I was inside starting dinner and Jim and another Dad where in the backyard supervising the pool/sprinkler activity.  Emily and this little girl where on the deck, which I had a clear view of out of the kitchen window.  I saw that Emily was practicing her baton twirling (her latest obsession) and this little girl was grabbing for it repeatedly.  I knew this would not end well.  After trying multiple times to grab the baton from Emily she held Emily's shoulder and pulled back her right hand, and balled up her first to punch Emily.  I just about burst out of the kitchen to stop her. I've NEVER seen a little kid, let alone a little girl, pull back to punch that way.  I was totally appalled.  I told her "You're done, put on your shoes, you're going home NOW."  She looked at me and said "Emily scratched me."  WHAT?!!!  I watched the whole thing out the window.  I walked her home, had a long chat with her mom and after talking with Jim I think it's going to be a long time before we let this little animal over to play again.  Even supervised. So completely unacceptable. I did get from talking to her Mom that she picks up the behaviors from her father who has a short temper and tends to punch the walls or table or something when he's frustrated.  Nice right?  Definitely putting some serious distance between the 2 kids. And of course her mom apologized but no punishment.  I saw the little girl running around playing in her own backyard in the pool all afternoon, no apology was required... Had that been Emily she would have been marched back down to apologize in person and than would have been in the house without friends, screens, etc. for the rest of the day at the very least.  Argh.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Interview Update

So Jim had his interview today, and it went really well.  He interviewed with the RN Unit Manager and RN Clinical Manager who co-manage a Surgical ICU and Surgical Step-Down Unit.  He said he got a really great vibe from both of them, in particular the RN Clinical Manager he said seemed really engaged and excited about her work, which generally translates into the overall staff vibe.

The position is officially part-time, but they said that even their part-time staff are generally working full-time hours by picking up additional shifts.  The part-time thing might be a nice situation actually.  He'd have 10 weeks  of training where he'd be working full-time hours anyway, and then he'd have a lot of flexibility to float to other depts or pick up other hours as he wanted to. They only have to work every 3rd weekend, his current floor they work every other weekend. And they have a rotation for nights where they get put on nights for a week every 6th week at the most.

They asked him to come in and shadow for a 4 hour shift and get a feel for the floor, the rapport between the surgeons and the nurses (which apparently is very different than interactions between medical dr's and nurses, surgeons and nurses collaborate more intensely on patient care which Jim would love) and then let them know how it went.

Fingers crossed for this opportunity being a good fit on both sides!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Yay for Monday!

So Jim is home, and my mood has definitely improved.  After a crazy week of him prepping for his trip to Nicaragua and then him being gone and me playing the single parent role for a week, it is so good to have him home!

He got back late Saturday night, Em and I picked him up from the airport.  I recognized his backpack from the other side of the baggage claim area as we were walking in and so did Em, she bolted, ran across the baggage claim area and tackled him.  The group Jim was traveling with thought that was quite a welcome home greeting. She missed her Papa no doubt!

So we've been just catching up, letting him try to get some rest, and talking about his experiences from the trip.  He took over 600 photos in the 8 days he was gone.  From hiking a volcano to spending a day on a private beach on the Pacific side of Nicaragua, he had some gorgeous shots of the local landscape.  Also several days of more health care related things, visiting a local orphanage and working on PT with the kids who were physically and mentally handicapped.  He spent a day in the local woman's hospital and helped care for new babies, post-partum moms and high-risk pregnancies. The pictures of the kids are just amazing, from babies to toddlers to school-agers their eyes are just so gorgeous.  You just want to scoop them up through the photos and smooch them.  Gorgeous kids who are so happy with so little. We sent a backpack stuffed with toys and goodies that Jim took to the after school program that the organization runs and Jim said it just about caused a riot the kids were so excited.  The backpack went to a child that had just received a scholarship to attend 7th grade.  The government only offers education through the 6th grade and then it's only from 9 until 12 noon each day. So going to school beyond that is a huge privilege for them.

Jim finally got around to listening to his missed voice mails on his cell on Sunday evening and found he had 2 from the nurse manager of the surgical ICU at the hospital he currently works in, wanting him to come in and interview for an RN position.  That was a FABulous way to wrap up the weekend!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Post Weekend Let Down

I am definitely feeling down today and all I can chalk it up to is that the past weekend was so full of excitement and fun that there was nowhere to go but down.  Kind of like the day after Christmas when you were a kid.

So Jim's pinning was Friday evening, Graduation was Saturday afternoon and then my niece's graduation from college was Sunday morning with a party in the afternoon for both her and Jim. It was a whirlwind of a weekend but so good to get to see so many family and friends and celebrate! Jim graduated with honors, Cum Laude, and as part of Sigma Theta Tau, the National Honor Society of Nursing. I am so proud of him!

On Saturday evening we drove to Dayton (about an hour from where we were in Columbus) so we would be there and ready for my niece's graduation from my alma mater on Sunday morning.  I LOVE being back on campus, the University of Dayton is such a beautiful place, especially in the spring.  After the party I convinced Jim and Em that we need to drive by campus on the way back to Columbus and walk around to see all the changes that had happened in the last year.  UD graduation is in their arena which isn't on campus so we had to make a trip specifically to walk around.  We stopped at the book store and get Emily a t-shirt, then found they'd installed a new fountain on campus, the kind perfect for a little kid to take their shoes off and run around in on a hot day.  It was 84 and gorgeous out so we spent a half hour just letting her play and enjoying a mental break after such a hectic weekend before we headed home.

Today it's back to the grind of work and school.  Jim is working 4 days in a row this week to make up for having to take next week off for his trip to Nicaragua.  He works 2nd shift so that means we'll be sleeping in the same bed but never up when the other is.  Hate weeks like that.

On a happier note, here are some of my favorite photos from the weekend.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Waiting, and why I stink at it.

I am an impatient person.  I have been patient for the last 4 years while Jim was in school. But now that he has graduated and passed his boards I feel like each day that passes without a job offer, or really even a nibble of interest, is an eternity.  I'm sure it feels worse for him.

He had an interview last week with the Unit Mgr who runs the unit he currently works on as a PCA.  According to Jim the interview went well.  But.  The position they interviewed him for begins in June, and they haven't even posted the job online yet, meaning they can't officially offer it to him even if they wanted to.  And sooooooo my stretched thin patience is being tested.  And I'm trying not to constantly pester... did you hear anything today?  How about this afternoon?  How about in the last hour, anything?

I'm taking off from work early to pick up my niece, who is a freshman at Ohio State (2 minutes from my office) and take her home with me.  My parents are driving in from New York and will be at our house by the time I get home.  Em's first communion is tomorrow! Then a big party with her cousin the next day.   The weather isn't planning to cooperate, chilly and rainy.  Not great for wearing a sleeveless white dress but whatcha gonna do? Guess we'll throw her winter parka over it and hope it's warm in the church at least.

Next weekend is Jim's graduation, and another niece's graduation from college.  That should be fun.  My parents will be back for Jim's graduation on Saturday and then after dinner we're all driving to the town where my niece's graduation is happening going out to dinner together and we're all staying over in a nice hotel near the university.  Pool time for Emily! She can show off her new swimming skills to my mom and dad, she's quite the little fish.

So I wonder if he heard anything in the 10 minutes it took me to write this post.... I should text and ask.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


To all parents of grade school kids, are you with me on the fact that there is just TOO MUCH paper coming home from school with your child?  It's not just worksheets and drawings, it's permission slips, and reading logs, progress reports, report cards, Scholastic Book Club flyers, a weekly newsletter to parents, updates from the principal, info from the after-school program, the after school program reading log... 'TIS CRAZINESS I say. 

Some days I can barely get the kitchen table cleaned off so the 3 of us have room to eat.

I suppose it doesn't help that I'm also trying to get Emily signed up for activities over the summer so there are forms for those, plus medical release forms, and your 3 contacts in case of an emergency, oh yes, and then there are the forms for religious education classes next year, and a sign-up form for a group activity at church school next Sunday.... It is making me crazy.  Oh wait, then there's the sign-up forms for the next session of swim lessons at the YMCA. And next year's Food Action Plan from the school for her tree nut allergy and after school program to be filled out in triplicate.

I have this genius idea that if I had more time I would spearhead, I think that there should be an on-line database for the medical forms and emergency contact info on-line for each community.  A parent fills this out ONCE and then the school, after-school programs, YMCA, daycamps, summer camps and churches can all access the forms for the child in a centralized place when you give them a secure password.  Then if you change your child's pediatrician you only have to change the on-line form and all the places that utilize that form are instantly updated.  It's genius right?! Google Docs would be great for this. Someday I'll get on that. But for now I've got to get back to filling out permission slips.


Random Thoughts

So, a minor job update, Jim has his first interview tomorrow!

It's on the MICU floor he currently works on as a PCA so if he hadn't been asked to interview there I would have been REALLY surprised.  With the hiring freeze in place at the hospital system this is probably his one opportunity to be employed before the end of June.  So even though he would prefer NOT to work for the management on his current floor if they offered it to him he'll really have to consider it. He is also branching out and applying at one of the other major hospital systems just to get a feel for the interest level and pay differential between a not-for-profit and a for-profit.  He currently works for a not-for-profit Catholic hospital system.

The 6 month grace period on his student loans is up in June. Since he only took 10 credit hours during the spring semester he hasn't been considered a full-time student since December.

Emily's First Communion is in less than 2 weeks now.  Only 2 1/2 weeks until Jim's graduation and about 3 1/2 weeks until he leaves for Nicaragua. Life is rolling on!

Monday, April 9, 2012

NCLEX results!

.... and he passed!!! I really didn't have any doubt but it's nice to know for sure. So Jim is now a board certified BSN-RN. He got the results on Monday and then the official certificate showed up in the mail on Saturday. Here's hoping the next news I have to share is that he's nailed a job in his preferred dept, either ER, ICU, MICU or CICU, sense a theme? He likes drama, and lots of it to keep him on his toes!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


The NCLEXs (state board exams) are finally scheduled for Jim. This Friday at 7:30am. The timing sucks a bit because he has to work 2nd shift the day before, which means he's usually not home and asleep until 1am at the earliest. Makes for not much sleep before taking such an important exam. I am completely confident he'll pass with no trouble. It takes 2 business days to get the results so we should know by Wednesday of next week!

I have quite a few mental countdowns going on, here's the list:

Jim's NCLEXs: 3 days
Emily's First Communion: 31 days
Jim's Pinning: 37 days
Jim's Graduation: 38 days
My neice's college graduation from my alma mater: 37 days
Jim's medical mission to Nicaragua: 45 days
Parent's 50th Anniversary Celebration: 94 days
Friend's Adirondack Vacation: 171 days

Friday, March 9, 2012

Change of scenery needed.

I think a weekend away is in order. And an adults only weekend away at that. We generally take a long weekend trip around spring break as a family, when the cabin fever has hit such a fever pitch that we just need to see different scenery. We've gone to Cincinnati a few time and Indiapnapolis since they're both a 2 hour drive and we hit the local kids hot spots, children's museums and parks, that kind of weekend away. I'm thinking of seeing if my brother would be willing to take Emily for a weekend so Jim and I can run away somewhere. I'm envisioning a nice hotel room, pool & spa, maybe go hiking, find an art museum to wander around and let someone else do all the dishes and cooking for 2 or 3 days. A nice getaway and chance to reconnect.

... time to send my brother an email.

Jim update, he will be done with his community service hours on Tuesday of next week. He volunteered this week at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank and the Salvation Army Headquarters. He seemed to have really good experiences with both, and of course they'd love him to come back. No one turns away a hardworking volunteer! Next up, get those NCLEXs scheduled!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Last Day

I have had this countdown on my iPhone going for a year now. Started at 365 days, I remember vividly how odd it was to watch the time pass. 100 days left felt momentous. 50 days left felt like it was right around the corner. And today is Joe's (or as he is really known, Jim, I outed him here, but who cares, I think I'm over the fake names!) last exam. He has his Acute 407 Nursing Exam today, then right after he has to take the NCLEX predictor exam. The NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) are the state boards you have to pass to be licensed as an RN. The predictor exam is just to give you an idea of either how confident to be in your ability to pass this exam or to scare the pants off you and force you to go study 24/7 until your scheduled exam date.

We spent some time on Saturday getting together all the info needed for his application for the NCLEX. He had to have his photo taken and his application notarized and then submitted to the state, including $75 for the privilege of being tested. Hopefully the state will get all the info they need from his college indicating he completed the 4-year BSN program soon and he'll have his exam date scheduled for some time in March.

So let the applications begin! And the studying for the NCLEX. And the celebrating! Jim has tomorrow off, no school, no studying, no work.

On Wednesday he's spending the entire day at the Ohio State House for the Annual Nurses at the State House Day. Clever event title, no? Basically it's an opportunity to hear politicians talk about health care and their position and offer nurses the opportunity to present their concerns directly to political leaders. Jim is not a very politically motivated guy but the opportunity to have some face time and network with those who are was pretty appealing. His college offered to pay for his spot at the event (they invited 8 students to attend) so it seemed like a no brainer.

And now I try to get some work done while I wait to hear how he did on his exams... tick tock tick tock.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

If you don't like it, just wait a month, it'll change.

That appears be the way of the world in my office. Constant reorganizations, shifting of team members. It's becoming... a bit much. I mean seriously, we used to just joke if you didn't like your job or your team just wait a month and it will change. Now it is every 2 weeks a new org chart is submitted for a new dept. I'm having a hard time keeping track of who I need to congratulate on a new role and who I need to remember to touch base with before they leave the organization. ENOUGH. ENOUGH. ENOUGH. I have reached max capacity for change. Seriously.

On the home front, Joe has 6 days left of school. SIX. Yikes.

Plus we are in the middle of planning some big events for April, May and June of this year.
Hold on to your hats, here's the agenda:

April 28, Saturday: Little One's First Communion
April 29, Sunday: My niece's first communion in a city an hour away, followed by a combined party for the 2 of them
May 4, Friday: pinning ceremony for Joe's nursing school graduating class
May 5, Saturday: Joe's Official Graduation Ceremony
May 6, Sunday: my niece's college graduation in a town an hour away
May 12-16: Joe in Nicaragua on a medical mission trip
June 21-25: Me traveling for a Design Conference in Boston
June 31: my parent's 50th anniversary celebration (4 days of fun and frivolity, but hosted by me and my 5 siblings so lots of work & planning to do)

I'm exhausted just thinking about all the fun. Not to mention that all of these events involve having various family members staying at my house, which means I need to play hostess on top of it all. O. M. G. At least these are all good things, but YIKES.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Is back on the agenda for Joe! For 5 days in May he'll be heading out on a mission trip with fellow Nurses, senior nursing students, MDs and medical students. The Professor organizing the trip purchased the plane tickets over the weekend and get a great deal, so it's officially on. I blogged about this trip in more detail here. I'm nervous to have him gone but so excited for him to experience this trip. By May he'll have graduated and most likely taken and passed the NCLEXs so he'll be traveling as a certified BSN, RN. I KNOW he'll get so much out of giving back!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Taking Back My Living Room...

AND my kitchen, AND my office.

I swear, the one small(ish) person in our home has somehow completely taken over the space. There is a fort in the living room that has taken over at last 25% of the space, the ottomans from the family room have been moved into the remaining space and set with placemats, coasters and pretend menus to transform the remaining space into a restaurant by this same little person. There's also a double stroller for dolls that somehow got ditched here after taking some babies for a stroll. You can't even WALK in this room to get to the thermostat and turn up the heat or feed the fish. It's ridiculous and it's driving me crazy. So that is my overriding mission for this weekend, I will TAKE BACK MY SPACE.

And if I accomplish my coup on the living room I'll attempt to regain control of the kitchen table from the piles of artwork, craft supplies, library books and school papers. Phase 3 will involve moving barbies out of the office and getting the myriad of half done and mostly forgotten art projects stealthily moved to the bottom of the recycling bin for Monday's trash pick-up.

Oh and don't let me forget that Little One needs to get booted out of the guest room and back into her own bedroom. Sometime during the week she decided she missed her old nursery (which we turned into the guest room) and I decided to let her sleep there for one night rather than continue arguing. Somehow one night turned into the whole week. Sheesh. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Now what?

Busy day. Busy week. Busy mind. Full heart. And still the pull to add another little munchin to my family remains.

I am as professionally fulfilled as I could ever imagine possible right now. I'm in a place that as a new graduate 15 years ago (ugh that makes me feel old) with a degree in Visual Communication Design & Marketing newly under my belt I couldn't even have imagined.

Joe is 26 days and counting away from his last day of class. It feels so strange to think that chapter of our lives will be wrapping up. Joe studing, Joe going to class, Joe too tired or busy to do family activities, Joe working... again. Those constant refrains will end in 26 days. Whatever will we do with ourselves?

I feel like I have spent the last 4 years peering down a dark tunnel, knowing that if we just put our heads down and powered through good things would meet us on the other end. Then the light at the end of the tunnel started to glow. And now it is absolutely BLINDING, and I kind of wish for the safety of that tunnel again. It was safe, and small, and I knew what to expect. Now a whole new world is opening up to us, full of possibilities, experiences to be had, traveling to do... I don't know where to start!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 1

Today starts a new chapter for me professionally. Last week I accepted a promotion to Art Director.

I've mentioned before that I knew changes and a dept reorganization were coming soon but it really caught me off guard last week. I was prepped for my usual bi-weekly meeting with the VP of my dept., but when I walked into her office our HR rep was there and a whole lot of paperwork was on the desk. Now, if I hadn't been told multiple times over the past few months that good things were coming I think I would have had flashbacks to being laid off over 2 years ago. But this situation was obviously more positive. A nice flashy new title with a significant salary increase, 10 additional days of vacation, and let's not forget the pressure to live up to increased expectations. I still manage the same group of employees but there will be 3 new hires in the future that will help make my job more doable and allow me to concentrate my time and efforts on putting out good creative work.

We also ended up purchasing a new vehicle 2 weeks ago. We replaced Joe's ailing pick-up with a 2007 Hybrid Toyota Highlander which I am LOV-ING. My promotion eases some of the concern I had financially about taking on a car payment for the first time in 5 years.

So the year of big changes begin. Knock 2 items of the list, new car, new job... Hopefully other positive changes are not too far behind!