Friday, June 15, 2012


Our 11th year anniversary was last week, but we celebrated this week. Steve planned it all. He wanted to celebrate big for our 10 year, but it didn't pan out. This year he said that we were going to take time away and celebrate.
 No one likes to hear about how great someone else's kids are, how much weight they have lost, or a blissful marriage. I am not sure why, but it can be annoying. I will not tell you that things are always perfect, but I am truly so happy to be married to Steve. I think it was a perfect night.
 We left Orem at about 4:30pm and chose a place to eat. We wanted something non-chain, that was good quality but casual. We found a great BBQ place in Salt Lake called SugarHouse BBQ. We ate outdoors under an umbrella and listened to live music from an artist that played hos own stuff and some John Denver and Eric Clapton. The food, the atmosphere, and  the company were perfect.
 After that we went to City Creek- a new uppity outdoor open air mall, then over to Gateway Mall, that is an older version of the same. Then we went to the Bed and Breakfast called Inn on the Hill in Salt Lake. It is located on the side of Capitol Hill.
the Inn on the HIll is a home from the 1920's, and I loved it. We stayed on the 3rd floor of this mansion. The next morning we went down for waffles with berries and whipped cream. OJ, bacon, fruit and granola too. We ate on the terrace. We walked around the place and thought we should come back again and get a room with a fireplace in the winter.
 After checkout we went to the Church History Museum. I especially enjoyed the art work.
We stopped and looked at dryers since ours died and then headed home to relieve Kristi. That was the first night that we left all of the kids.

BBQ place

City Creek fountains
It was a great time. Happy 11 years!

These are some pictures of the Inn and the ones of SLC are from our room or the Inn balconies.

Golf Ball Lip

Trevor came into my room the other morning and said that he had a golf ball in his mouth. I was sleeping so I asked him again what he said as he whispered to me 3 inches from my face. He repeated himself and sure enough, there was definitely something going on with his lip. I could see that it was a bug bite of some sort. I gave him benadryl, but by the end of the day, it was hot and hard to the touch, and he was misreable. He saw the doctor. This time Trevor said that there is "skin and water in my lip. It is not a golf ball." He got some antibiotics and by the next day, he was a new boy. Cute thing! Bless his heart. We called him "Bug Bite" that night.

work space

While I was away I am sure it felt long to Steve and the kids. I was gone 9 days! Steve is plenty capable and very involved and helpful with the kids, so I wasn't worried that he needed help...but I know how it is. It is not that fun to do it alone. Thankfully we usually do it as a team.
 He did not complain on the phone. Not once! He mentioned that the refrigerator quit, the dryer stopped working, that everyone cycled through vomitting and or diarrhea (minus Zac), but he didn't complain. I know he wants me to succeed at school. He is being so supportive.
 When I got home, I found this in the bedroom: A converted closet into an office workspace.
 He and Kevin built/painted it and Lissa babysat. I was so touched, and I just love it!
 Thank you!

Indiana trip - solo


This post is much different from the post about this time last year. This time, the visit to family and friends in Indiana was alone. I was in the area for school, but extended my trip to see my family. I had the afternoon Saturday thru the morning on Weds to spend time with family. I also saw them the night I flew in the Tuesday before. It had been a while since I had flown. It was extremely easy and such a contract to flying with children. In fact the last time that we flew as a family, we hung our ticket stubs on  the fridge for months to be reminded that we will not fly again for a long time! If I remember right, there was poop, crying, grumpy passengers, running to catch a flight with small children, lost luggage, missing car keys, and overall anxiety, frustration, and stress involved.  The flight to Louisville was nice and uneventful. I listened to music and dozed off and on.

 Mom, Carrie and the boys greeted me at the airport. Then I was treated to Mexican food for dinner. I liked the food, but loved the company. I decided that I am much more fun without children that I am responsible for. I am going to go home and work on incorporating being fun despite having kids. It certainly is a different life without kids for 8 days, but I missed them and glad that I have children.

 Saturday , I came back to Madison and saw my brother and his family out at his house. His house is beautiful and comfortable. We then ate at the Bone Yard that Steve would have loved. Buddy knows everyone in town and he and his wife kid that he should be mayor. He is a handshaking, smiling fool, minus the fool. After dinner, I was treated to a pedicure and manicure by the multi-talented Carrie out at their house. Dad came out and visited too.

 Sunday, I went to church with mom and Buddy and his kids. Mamaw and Papaw and Aunt Donna were there too. It was nostalgic. I remembered so much of the mass. I would have liked to see the Ward in Madison, but the time conflicted and I valued being with mom and family.  After mass, we went to lunch. Mamaw treated. I was a part of mom and Aunt Donna’s Sunday afternoon routine and went to Walmart with them to peruse. Later we went out to Buddy’s for a cookout to celebrate Mason’s 11th b-day. That was a picture perfect time. We listened to country music on the back porch patio. The weather was perfect. Mom, dad, Buddy and I just sat there and talked and sand songs. After a while, we all played a game of whiffle ball. Buddy, Mom, Carrie and I took on Mason Jackson, Barron and Paw. I am not sure who even won. It was fun though. After that, we played a pick-up game of basketball in the cul-de-sac. Buddy, Mason, Jackson take on Paw, me and Barron. The other team was obviously stacked. We got killed.

 Monday it was unseasonably cool and typically rainy. Even though it was smattering rain, Mom and I ventured with the boys to Clifty Falls state park and inadvertently chose a rugged trail to hike. We saw 82 foot falls and then hiked down to the bottom and played in the creek bed. Most important to me is that we made memories. The boys were awesome, and time and again I was impressed by these good and fun boys! There was minimal whining, even from mom whose knee is bone on bone. She swears that God made it easier on the way up the trail. Good for her. I still made her ice and elevate that night.

That evening we went to Mason’s little league game. Incidentally he was the first draft pick in the league. They do a draft to ensure that no team is stacked. He did very well. He pitched 3 innings. There I was thrilled to see my Aunt Alice and Tim, also my cousin Allie and my other cousin Kelli and her family. They were at the park watching their kids/grandkids. That was fun to see them, because there is just not enough time in the day to see everyone while I am visiting. After that, mom and I grabbed Chinese. That was yummy.

 Every night mom and I watched a movie. Heaven something or another, Coyote Ugly and Breaking Dawn.  I loved that.

 Tuesday, I had a hair apt with my cousin Jenny. 20 years if experience pays off, she was able to get the orange out of my hair. Even though she is more than 10 years my senior, we always seem to find common ground. It was nice to see her. 

We then went to Barron’s t-ball practice. More people there that I grew up with- It is fun being from a small town. We had Rally’s for lunch, then went to the fountain to throw pennies. We walked downtown a while, and even shopped a little.

 The last night Buddy and his fam and I had dinner with dad and Regina. It was a nice night at Harry’s. And as a grand finale, mom and I went to the late show after a trip to Walmart and saw Snowwhite and the Huntsman, which is a new favorite of mine. Wow, I loved it!

This morning, we didn’t have the boys, so we slept in, got ready and headed to Clarksville for lunch and then on to the airport. I am in the Denver airport now.

I had such a nice time being Mandy. I am grateful for my roots.

I love my family, I enjoyed my mom and my brother and his family.

I am also grateful for the things that make me who I am now. I love my husband and kids and the experiences that I have had in life.

The Historic Downtown Madison Fountain


Dont freak out, but that is a 90 foot drop behind them!

My Indiana Boys

Clifty Falls State Park

This is my family. :)
  PS. The layover in Denver was overnight. I slept on the airport floor and froze to death. As soon as a store opened, I bought a sweat shirt. I may not ever like that sweatshirt- so much for flying as easy and stress-free on the way home. Maybe we will always drive with the kids.

Frontier Nursing University

Although I haven't blogged about it, I did apply and was accepted to go back to school to become a Certified Nurse Midwife and Nurse Practioner. I went to Hyden, Ky for orientation. I will start classses in July on-line.

I met Erin at the Lexington airport last Wednesday. I was already in the area to have lunch with my friend, Angie. Earlier in the day, I saw on the FNU Class 102 Facebook page that her flight was cancelled and she would arrive into Lexington after the shuttle to Hyden departs. I offered to pick her up. I came with the mind set to make friends, besides; I wanted a companion for the 2 hour drive into the Appalachian Mountains. Before I picked her up, I made a sign that was entirely unnecessary in the quiet bluegrass airport. Making the sign sparked my exciting and pride in a program that I knew relatively little about.

 After 2 hours of driving, we reached Hyden, Kentucky.  The campus was small and unassuming. The buildings were nearly 100 years old.  The administrative offices, our bunks, the dinning area, and the classrooms were housed in the original buildings of the Frontier Nursing Service started by Mary Breckinridge in the early 1920’s. Back in the 20’s these buildings were the hospital and the barn that housed the horses that the nurses rode to the homes in remote Kentucky... Homes that were only accessible by horseback via creek beds and trails.

 Our group was small. Just 27 of us in Class 102. We were assigned rooms, and all of them were private sleeping quarters. Mine was room 305. I hit it off with Amber, a fellow L&D nurse and midwife student at dinner and so we decided to bunk together for the company. We were fast friends.  The overall smell of the dorm was musty, and the hard wood floor creaked, like many old homes in humid climate. It was comfortable to me.

 The first night we met each other at dinner that was served buffet style on wood tables and chairs. While there was small talk, it was pretty quiet. We spoke of where we were from and a little about our families. We also sought out the others of us that were either Family Nurse Practice students or Nurse Midwife students- this is when I met Amber. After dinner, we met some faculty and staff and heard from a nurse who worked as a nurse on horseback with the Frontier Nursing Service. This is where we learned about the heritage of the FNS. It was begun by Mary Breckinridge, who saw a need in the remote underserved Kentucky Mountains. The need was for primary care, but also for prenatal/maternal/postpartum care for moms and care for new babies. The mortality rate in Hyden was very high for moms in childbirth.  The nurses provided “home health” as traveling to the satellite clinics that were established and to the hospital was difficult. The nurses would ride out on horseback in sunshine, rain, ice and snow, though creek beds, and up mountain sides in wool uniforms. They were equipped with supplies for births and primary care. Their supplies were in their saddlebags.

 Thursday was a full day. We had brief introductions to the 2 courses of term 1. Dr Laura is the Physical Assessment instructor. What stands out to me is that she wants us to breathe and succeed. She reminded us to take things one step at a time, and gave us tips to make this program work in our lives, even with children and jobs, as many of us have.  Jackie will be the writing teacher, I came away from that thinking that thesis statements are going to be the bane of my existence, also to get real comfortable with feedback on my papers. She will beat us “with love”. Eek.

 That afternoon we broke up into groups. The 7 of us CNEP students had to work together on a folly.- That is a performance/skit to perform in front of everyone. This fosters teamwork, friendship and laughs. Since the other 4 groups are all FNP students, we represented with a labor and birth scene. It was fun. I got to know the other CNEP students as we prepared. Alanna was the creative brain-child and poet of the group. Laura was the main character,the CNM.

That night after the planned events were over, we went down to the local family dollar for treats and caffeine, then we partook of the locals at the Dairy Queen. Cori drove me and Amber and Laura.

 Friday was the final day we had mini sessions with financial aid, student services, IT and our advisor. Meeting with the advisor was good, but I have to say that I wanted to throw up a few times. She was encouraging, but the reality that this is something that cannot just be sprinkled in hit me hard. It is a great commitment and likely a 4-5 year commitment. With the mandates in healthcare, by 2015, it will be required that Advanced Practice nurses have their doctorate. As a result, this program meets that goal. This graduate and doctoral stuff is not to be taken lightly. Study and sacrifice will be a must.

My favorite part of the entire stay was listening to Kitty Ernst via skype. She is an 84 year old Advanced practice nurse who pioneered the distance nurse training portion of the Frontier Nursing Service. She poured her heart, soul and finances to make it happen. She encouraged us to find out what our mission is in relation to this program of study. She gave many gold nuggets of advice. Encouraging us to step up, speak up, and never give up. She compared the schooling to transition of labor. Many who are familiar with transition in labor know that it is a difficult phase. 8-10cm. Nausea, shaking, increased need for support, feeling that “I cannot do it”- wanting to give up. I loved that analogy! Life changes are appropriately compared to “transition”. Lastly, she closed by telling us to “Go forth my child, and help mothers and babies!”

In the afternoon, we rang the bell on campus. This bell ringing signifies that a new class is at FNU. It is tradition.

Lastly, we went to the home of Mary Breckinridge. It is now a bed and breakfast. We had a nice dinner served  to us there. It was an amazing contrast to the group of individuals 2 nights before at dinner making small talk. Now it was boisterous, laughing smiles, and talking at every table.

The Rockin' CNEP Mamas

The FNP beauties


 If the goal of orientation was to foster  pride in and connection to the FNS, and also to network and create friendships in a time of transition, then mission accomplished. It was great.

Amber and me