Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Year In Review

Even though I don't post a lot in my blog anymore, I still like to try to reflect on my year and oh what a WONDERFUL year it has been! Honestly it's probably one of the best years that I've ever had.

January marked the downhill slide of schooling for me. I started my microbiology clinical rotation in North Platte and finished the rest of my rotations in McCook. Being in McCook allowed to me finally officially move "home" and was the first time I was able to live with Josh full time. Previously I was able to come home on the weekends, so it was such a nice change to spend more time with him. Clinical's were tough and required a lot of time but the end was near at the beginning of May!

The last week of school was intense. We had a couple of exams to take every day, a paper to write, resumes to complete, study questions to do, and a final exam over a random 500+ questions. To say it was a relief to be done with it all is an understatement!

I am so proud to say that I came out on top and graduated the MLT program with my associates degree AND the 4.0 GPA that I had strived for the entire 2 years! I proved to myself that not only do I have the ability to stick with it even when it seems impossible, but I'm able to do it above and beyond what I ever expect! This was a huge milestone for me and it'll be something that I'll always look back on and never regret. I'd like to say I'm DONE with school - but never say never... I may get the itch to get my bachelors one of these days. Yikes!

I took the weekend after graduation to relax, regroup, and prepare to hit the books incredibly hard for the next week. I scheduled my ASCP board exam a week after graduation. I wanted to do it while the material was still fresh in my mind. I also didn't want to drag it out too long because I knew the longer I waited, the more I'd freak out about passing... I was already nervous enough! That Monday I crammed like crazy for the next 5 days studying everything I could possibly know about microbiology, blood bank, hematology, urinalysis, immunology and everything in between. Early mornings and late nights led to exhaustion but it was ALL worth it!

I took my test on Saturday morning before heading to Lincoln for a couple family birthday celebrations. Taking that test was one of the hardest things I've done! I nearly had a panic attack a few different times after beginning it and I had to excuse myself about 20 minutes into it just to regroup and reassure myself that everything was okay, regardless of the outcome. I remember thinking the entire test that there was NO WAY I was going to pass. It was HARD and I kept getting the questions I least prepared for.

After answering the final question I had to take a few minutes to compose myself. I clicked through the next few screens and started to shake. The moment I hit the button that would preliminarily tell me if I passed or not I swear my heart just stopped. It seemed like minutes passed before I saw the word "PASS" come across the screen! I started shaking even more and I got the biggest smile on my face. I DID IT. It was finally over with. I was official. I was so giddy the next couple of hours, I couldn't get over how amazing it felt!!

But once the adrenaline wore down I was so exhausted and while the time in Lincoln was very fun, I couldn't wait to get back home to get some well deserved sleep and relaxation.

However there wasn't a whole lot of time for relaxation because the first part of the next week I finally started my first "big girl" job as an MLT. I had a wedding to pay for and desperately needed money as my savings had completely run dry. It's awesome working alongside with my mentors and those who encouraged me to go back to school to advance my career. I've learned SO much since becoming a tech and I'm excited to see where it takes me in the future.

Shortly after graduation Josh's aunts threw me a wonderful bridal shower! It made everything feel so real and I felt so special and loved that day. Josh and I got wonderful gifts and the place was decorated so nicely. So many details put into the decorations.

My mom, Tina, and Karen also threw me a small bridal shower. It was so thoughtful and really enjoying spending time with those close to me!

In July my sister-in-law, Beth, threw me a bachelorette party and holy cow was it fun! It was a small family affair as just my mom, Beth, and mother-in-law, Rita were able to go, but it turned out perfect! We went to Lincoln and met up at Corky Boards. We each picked out a design and painted our own signs while enjoying some wine and music. I would LOVE to go back sometime, I really enjoyed it!

We then went to our hotel and enjoyed snacks and drinks during happy hour while we had a chance and then went to our room, played a few games, and took some fun photos of which most I probably shouldn't post.

The night ended with food from Buzzard Billys, drinks from various places, and a nice big slushy from the Rail Yard to close it all out.  So thankful that Beth planned such a fun time for me!

Then brings August - probably the BEST month of the year. On August 12th Josh and I got married! I need to do a blog post just about our wedding day, so I won't get too long winded here. But I will say it was such a perfect day. One of my best friends flew in from Utah, against all odds, to help me through the days leading up to the wedding and she was a God send! I honestly would have lost it if it weren't for her and those days wouldn't have been very enjoyable for me. But the day of everything came together so perfectly; I had my girls by my side, the weather just barely cooperated, and I married my best friend. 

The Monday after we tied the knot Josh had to return to work so we didn't get the chance at a honeymoon right after. But we did plan a small one in September and it was wonderful! We stayed in Omaha for the first 2 nights. The first day we went to the zoo and spent roughly 7 hours walking around, feeding the giraffes, taking the skyfari, touching the sting rays, eating zoo food, and getting sunburnt. I have to say that the best moment at the zoo is when I discovered a SLOTH! These are by far my favorite animals. I got so excited I cried. 

The second day of Omaha we explored downtown and ate at some good restaurants. I tried my very first oyster at Shucks, I can't say I'd order it if given the opportunity but it wasn't bad. On the way to our next stop in Lincoln, we stopped at the outlet malls outside of Omaha and shopped for several hours - a well deserved treat! He was such a trooper letting me shop until I dropped.

The next two nights were spent in Lincoln. We went to the Rutgers Husker game, walked around the Haymarket, ate at Rodizio's and Buzzard Billy's, and Blue, and overall had a wonderful time. The game was miserably hot so I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have, but it's become a tradition for Josh and I to go to one game a year. Thankfully we WON this game and we're exited to go to one next year with the new head coach!

To end September we added a new addition to our little family and gave Loki a feline companion. We adopted Thora and she's been so much fun to have around. She is certainly a little terror at times, but she is also the sweetest kitty and loves snuggles. Her and Loki get along so well and can't be separated. 

In November I did about the most adult thing I feel like I've ever done - I bought a brand new car! I've been needing a car for quite some time. My old taurus just wasn't liking to start up in the cold temperatures and since I drive so much to and from work, I was really needing something reliable. I had driven a friends Honda Fit a few years ago and completely fell in love with it. Josh went with me to Janssen Cool Honda and we test drove a few different models. He agreed with me that the fit just had that perfect feel to it and the price was more than right! I didn't walk in there planning to buy, but everything fell into place that day and I drove home in a brand new (only 60 miles on it!) 2016 white Honda Fit, appropriately named Wanda. I LOVE it so much and I am so, SO proud of myself for being able to finally buy something! I am so appreciative of Josh and his support!

2017 didn't come without challenges, as most years don't. But this has been a hell of a good year for me and I am so excited for 2018. Another year of chances, opportunities, and moments to cherish. I really don't know what the upcoming year will bring - I have hopes but no big plans, so my goal is to just roll with what I'm given and to make the best of it all.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Day 8 - Technology

T e c h n o l o g y

Holy cow where would we be without it?! Honestly, our world has become so tech-driven that it's extremely difficult to function without it. I am incredibly thankful for technology from the computer I'm writing this on, to my cell phone so I can communicate with my friends and family, all the way to the technological advances in healthcare! I, like nearly all others, have really become dependent and take advantage of technology that we don't realize how great we really have it!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Day 7 - Purchase

P u r c h a s e

No, no I didn't just get a new car, but it was really hard for me to come up with something to be thankful for today based off of the word "purchase"! I really haven't purchased anything within the last several months so I had to dig deep. I am going to be in the market for a new vehicle very soon since the weather is getting quite chilly. My poor car has been there for me through a lot, however it's starting to wear down. It's been sputtering for awhile now and, like me, doesn't care for these freezing temperatures. Since I drive, on average, about 300 miles per week for work, having a reliable vehicle that will start for me and get me from point A to point B is a must. 

So today I'm super thankful for the ability to be able to have a steady income so that I am able to save money back every paycheck to go towards a nice, new vehicle. (or at least new to me!) I am thankful to not have to scramble around for every penny and 'settle' for a used car that isn't really what I want. 

I've really loved the Honda Fit cars! I've driven one a few times and love how they drive, the mpg, and how much space they have for being a compact car. I'm open to other options, though! 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Day 6 - Warmth

W a r m t h

It was a little chilly today with a chance of snow tonight and even colder temps tomorrow! Perfect to be thankful for everything warm. There's just something about a long warm bath that makes everything better and bonus points if you have a book in hand and a good candle to set the mood! I take a lot of baths, especially when I'm cold. Doesn't matter if it's first thing in the morning as I'm sipping my coffee and waking up or the last thing I do in the evening to help relax me before bed. Thankful to have heat and to have a bathtub to warm up and relax in!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Day 5 - Excitement

E x c i t e m e n t

My oh my how thankful and excited I am to FINALLY have my first practice slipper done! My grandma told my mom that the only thing she wanted for Christmas was for me to crochet her some slippers. When grandma asks for something special like this I can't disappoint! I didn't realize how time consuming it would be for me when I accepted the challenge. I tried two other rather difficult patterns before settling on this one which I could actually do. It is far from perfect, but I still have another slipper to try before digging into the pair I'm actually going to gift her. 

I fell in love with crocheting in January this year. I was elbows deep in my microbiology clinical rotation at GPH. My mind would run a million miles a minute worrying if I set a culture up right, identified an organism correctly, or worried if I missed something important on a gram stain. I couldn't fall asleep at night so I decided to give crocheting a shot. We were lucky enough to have a snow day during our rotation, so Britt and I ventured to Hobby Lobby to get some yarn and start a crocheting project that day. I taught myself from YouTube videos (thanks YouTube!) and have grown to love it more and more! I have another Christmas gift I want to crochet after I finish these and then I'm going to attempt to make a small lap throw. 

Definitely thankful for this hobby that keeps my hands busy and my mind clear.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Day 4 - Friendship

F r i e n d s h i p

Oh how I wish I could travel in time and take a picture with my friends! Like everyone, I've had many friends come in and walk out of my life, even recently. But there are those select few who remain in your life forever, no matter the circumstances. I have several friends I could outwardly express thanks to, but Christine and Emily are my number one besties! I have been friends with Emily for 10-ish years (give or take a few) and Christine for about 8 years. I've celebrated with them, laughed with them, and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning with them. In their own ways they've seen me through thick and thin and we've supported and held each other through THE toughest moments. 

These are two of the strongest women I know and I'm so, SO grateful I can call them my friends! It's such a shame that they live states away. I have the ability to pick up right where we left off with both of these ladies, even if it's been several years since we've had a proper conversation. 

Thanks to you two WONDERFUL and POWERFUL women for who you are and for your everlasting friendship to me - I value it dearly! xoxo

Friday, November 3, 2017

Day 3 - Morning

M o r n i n g

I am so thankful for routine..... especially my morning routine! Every morning I set my alarm 15 minutes early to sip on my coffee as I wake up and mentally prepare to tackle the day. I used to be a night owl but as I've gotten older I have come to enjoy appreciating the few extra minutes or hours I get when I get up early. During the week I'm up at 4:45 and out of the door by 6. That extra 15 minutes really makes all the difference in my outlook for the day. I don't feel rushed and it's a few minutes of peace I get completely to myself. I'd really like to incorporate some yoga into my morning routine to help get the blood flowing and start the day off on a healthy note. I just struggle to muster up that much energy right when I hop out of bed ;)

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Day 2 - Comfort

Co m f o r t

I am so lucky to have 2 very sweet animals who sense when I'm upset, sad, happy, or excited. They are both still in the puppy and kitty stage so at times their need to play overpowers their sweet side, but they are so loving and know when you need to be comforted the most! Snuggling up with them after a long day or first thing in the morning is the best! They have a way of making me forget about some of my stressors. They make our home nearly complete and I'm so thankful we adopted these furballs!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Day 1 of 30 Days of Thanks - Person

P e r s o n

Today I am thankful for my husband, Josh. For everything that makes him up to everything that he makes me what to strive to be. I fell, and remain, in love with his fun and quirky personality, dry sense of humor, and kind and compassionate heart. I'm grateful that after a long day he is the one I get to come home to at night. Even when we aren't talking or doing anything together, just being in his company makes everything complete. I'm so thankful that he supports my hobbies, my ideas, my talents, and my crazy hours at work and on call. I couldn't ask for a better man to spend the rest of my life with! He will always be my person.

30 Days of Thanks

Ahh November - a month of

             cooler temperatures

                         cuddling to keep warm

                                   apple cider

                                             pumpkin spice

                                                       being thankful

I've done one form or another of the 'gratitude challenge' in the past, but it's been quite awhile and I wanted to take it on again. It's easy to just come up with something off the top of my head at 10pm at night when I've forgotten to think about it - so I wanted to try being a little more creative, something I've really been lacking. 

Thanks to Pinterest, I found a list that I really like of 31 things to be grateful for. Each day for the month of November I'll post with a picture and blog of that days 'word'. I can't gauretee that each photo will be of one I took that same day (because lets face it, I DO forget and life is busy), but I want to try! 

If you want to join me, here is the list that I'll be using:

If you choose to do it to, have fun with it! I'm looking forward to sharing just a few of the things that make my life full.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Monday Sorrow

Impromptu blog post in response to the tragedy unfolding in Las Vegas. As usual, I was typing up a facebook status, but it turned into something more than "just" a status.

My husband woke me up this morning and embraced me with a hug telling me there was a mass shooting in Las Vegas last night. I read a few headlines online and left it at that. I avoided turning on the news until about half an hour ago. It leaves me not only heartbroken but truly sick.

My heart goes out to everyone... those directly affected, families, first responders, nurses, doctors, blood bankers, techs, etc. I can't imagine the chaos that has ensued. I'm sure most are on autopilot, unable to sleep or relax thinking about all the trauma they just witnessed. Thinking about the people they just saved, those who are fighting for their lives, and some that they worked tirelessly to save but just couldn't hold on.

I can't help but think about those in my own profession, laboratory technologists, technicians, and phlebotomists who are racing to get the blood that they need, get it tested STAT and turn results around as quickly as possible so that the providers are able to provide the care that they need. And all those blood bankers activating mass transfusion protocols to transfuse more units than a body can hold.

It's so incredibly sad some people have the ammunition like this to cause such sorrow. What can be SO terrible that you need to take innocent lives of others to justify your own feelings? I will never understand it. And unfortunately we never get the answers or closure that families and friends so desperately need because the one who causes so much violence ends up taking his/her own life or the only way to get them to stop is to take their life. It's sad this has to be the outcome.

Our world is so volatile right now and everything is so uncertain. As my husband and I think of starting a family, a small voice in the back of my head makes me question if I want to bring a child into such an unstable world. I hate that I even have to think about that. But there is so much fear that surrounds our everyday life. Fear of unobtainable health insurance, potential war, riots. Fear of traveling and exploring this world, of enjoying entertainment outside your own front door.

Most of us don't let that fear paralyze us and prevent us from living our lives. And we shouldn't... but in a time where we have to add things like regular "active shooter drills" into our schools and work places, it's hard to not be worried about our future children's futures. I wonder what they will end up knowing? A world of violence and hate or one of compassion and love? I can only hope that we can raise them with the later instilled within them deep down to their very core, but our society far too often demonstrates the complete opposite.

I hope that they are able to grow up and follow their dreams. To live their lives without fear of social conformity and ideals. I hope they are able to express themselves, stand up for themselves, and be exactly who they are meant to be with acceptance and support from everyone around them. And I pray with everything I have that Josh and I are able to raise them with love in their hearts in a world surrounded with hate.

These are just some of my thoughts in a nutshell on this gloomy and terribly sad Monday. Please join me in not only thinking about and praying for everyone involved with the horrible events but also for our country and its leaders.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Old and the New

Has it been a long time or what!? Every new beginning starts with a little old and a whole lot of new.. and that new comes in the form of a different look for my blog and (hopefully) a whole bunch of posts to record this new life as a wife! ;-)

After getting married last month (I know, a lot has changed!) I contemplated starting a completely new blog. I've had an itch to write again and my husband has supported and encouraged me to get back into it. Since a new journey has begun, I wanted to start fresh. But as I struggled to figure out what I wanted to call it and what I wanted to write about, I realized that this blog has shaped me and it encompasses a huge part of who I am. Abandoning this blog and starting another seems almost like erasing a very important chapter in my life, something I'm not willing to do.

As I was trying to get a feel for what this blog became, I took the time to skim though some of my writing throughout the years. I thought back to how on earth it even began.  When I graduated 8th grade a very special lady gifted me a purple journal. That summer, for the first time, I started writing. Most weeks I journaled almost every night. I finished my high school years with 3 journals complete; one for my freshman year, one for my sophomore year, and one that encompassed my junior and senior years.

After starting my second semester at the U, I remember sitting in the HC building one morning waiting to head off to my first class. I'd been feeling stressed out with living in a new state, being a new college student, and dealing with Spencer's health struggles. Without much thought to it, I picked up my computer and quickly made a Blogger account, a blog, and wrote my very first post. I had no idea if I'd keep up with it, I honestly didn't really expect to, but I thought it might help me with expressing myself.

This blog became so much more than I ever expected it to be. It was my place to vent, my safe spot to express my fears, and my place to share some of the best memories that I'll cherish forever. It not only helped me, but it also helped so many other women who have went/are going through similar hardships and celebrations as myself which is not something I ever expected to happen. That reason within its self is enough for me to continue with what I started 7 years ago.

This blog ended up telling the story of my young adult life and the many complex emotions and events that made me who I am to this day. The young woman that I was on January 22nd, 2010 has grown into such a beautiful, loving, and complex women who just happened to have a very rough past, but who has an incredibly bright future ahead.

As I start this new chapter in my life with my wonderful husband and ridiculously nutty dog, I won't erase and forget what made me, me. Instead I want to continue to record the memories, the celebrations, the struggles, and the heartbreaks. I want to remember as much as I want to live this "new" life to the fullest.

"In the end, she became more than what she expected. She became the journey, and like all journeys, she did not end, she just simply changed directions and kept going." R. M. Drake