Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Change"

As we all are aware, change is a part of life. You either adapt or get left behind, because nothing ever stays the same. As a child, I know I never thought I was going to grow up. I rushed life, always saying "I can't wait!" for that next big moment. This Christmas, part of me yearned for my childhood again. Then, I remembered that I shouldn't wish for anything but the present, for right now, and began to enjoy my new surroundings. Don't get me wrong, I was in the Christmas spirit, as I always am, listening to my Christmas CDs, decorating our new house, and being full of smiles. However, things were definitely different. As my dad and I discussed, I missed his traditional "week off with the girls" leading up to the holiday mania. It has been a long-standing tradition for dad and I to bake cookies...LOTS AND LOTS of cookies. The first year we decided to bake, we must have made hundreds of cookies. Each year, we learned to cut back just a little more. And this year, I didn't bake any cookies, because it just didn't feel right without dad by my side...maybe next year! I also missed going to Top of the Hill, a few minutes from my house, where one family goes all out and decorates every inch of their yard and house, even brings in Santa, and it is absolutely a tradition to go see. I missed my mommy and my sister. Just being with them, spending time with them. I missed my Nanny and Aunt Fanny. I love spending time with them on Christmas day. I really, really missed going to midnight mass at St. John's downtown with the bishop, lighting candles and singing Silent Night at midnight. I even missed the Gibbs on Christmas Eve. We have been going there with Nanny on Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember. Mrs. Gibbs, I am not sure if you should be excited about this or not, but I cried my eyes out when it hit me that I would not be tasting your awesome seafood bisque soup and homemade muffins this year! Kyle kept insisting that we would make some soup and muffins if that is what would put a smile on my face and I sobbed "but only Mrs. Gibbs can make it that good!!!! It just won't be the same if it's not cooked by her!" Poor Kyle...

However, even though this was my first Christmas away from the Gilberts and Loughlins, this was my first Christmas with the Settles and Keadles and let me tell you that it was fun!! As all of my cousins are grown up now, it was so fun to experience the joy of Christmas through children's eyes again. Lia and Julia, Kyle's cousins and our flower girls at the wedding, were so much fun to talk to about Santa and his elves. They even have two elves that stay at their house in December to create mischief (things like dumping the trash over) and report back to Santa in the North Pole about how well they reacted. On Christmas morning, Julia showed off her new Hannah Montana beauty set, Lia and Julia told us about their new Wii (and Santa even set it up for them!!), and their smiles said it all. On Christmas Eve, we went to Myma's house (Kyle's maternal grandmother) and all of Kyle's cousins, aunts, and uncles were there. We had lots of good food (my contribution was Cracker Barrel-style Hashbrown Casserole..mmmm), Julie read her annual Christmas story entitled "Change" (hence my blog post title), and we did our gift exchange. Aunt Lydia was who gave me a present and it was a BEAUTIFUL gold-trimmed plate with a picture from the wedding on it. The picture was of the backs of me, my mom, and my dad as we were beginning our walk down the aisle. She was able to capture this moment after ensuring that her girls journeyed down the aisle with baskets in tow and before going to sit down. Thank you Lydia, I LOVE IT!! Kyle got an awesome Columbia fleece coat. On Christmas morning, Kyle and exchanged our gifts to each other (we mainly stuck to stocking stuffers this year). It was so nice to wake up on Christmas and have him with me!!! Then, we went to Kyle's parents and we opened all of our presents with Rhino, Clay, Randy, and Julie. I got some really cool stuff!! Julie even found a Marley Christmas story that is in the form of a children's book! It has Marley the dog from the book & now movie Marley and Me. Julie cooked breakfast casserole (similar to my mom's strata) and Myma, Aunt Lydia, Uncle Joe, the girls, and Aunt Charlene came over. Then it was over to Nene and Papa's for lunch. Nene hides money for the grandkids and I got to take part in the fun hunt this year! My money was stuck down in the dirt of a plant! haha I took a nice 2 hour nap on their sofa, then it was time to get ready for supper at Nene and Papas again.

That night, the dreaded stomach virus hit. Julie got it first, then me, then pretty much everyone else. About 30 people in all got it throughout the families. I guess it spread like wildfire because everyone had gathered so closely over the past 24 hours. It took about 36-48 hours to get back to normal and man, I am so very glad to be back to myself!!!

I am so very thankful for my health today more than others because I have been sick on and off for 3 weeks and am finally feeling fabulous! First, I had a cold that I just blew off which was mistake #1. As an asthmatic (even with it being mild), I pretty much have to get everything checked out when I am sick. Well, with just having started work, I didn't give it much thought. Then, on December 20th, I took a quick nap before getting ready for Jenna and Johnathan's wedding (Jenna is Kyle's cousin and Johnathan was pretty much another brother growing up). When I woke up, I hardly had a voice. Not thinking much of it, I went onto the wedding and enjoyed myself completely! It was beautiful. Then, when Jenna and Johnathan were leaving the reception, everyone lit sparklers. Mind you, it was drizzling. Well, the smoke from that was enough to send me into quite the coughing fit and I could hardly breathe. So, as soon as I got home, I took my inhaler. That night, I tossed and turned all night, not able to get in a position where breathing was easy. The next morning, I told Kyle that I couldn't wait to be seen. So, we went to an urgent care center where I was told that I had asthmatic bronchitis. I started antibiotics and prednisone (steroid) and continued my albuterol inhaler. Let me tell you, the prednisone made me CRAZY!!!! I felt like there was a psycho trapped in my body. I am glad to be done those pills. But needless to say, I was better just in time for Christmas and then the stomach virus hit. So, like I said, I am THRILLED to be feeling 100%. Let's just hope that I can stay healthy into the new year!

Oh, I must say to everyone that the movie Marley & Me is worth the expensive movie ticket!! We went to see it on Sunday and everyone loved it. I bawled my eyes out, of course, but it was worth every chuckle and every tear! I was actually impressed by how well the movie stuck to the book. Now, I want to see Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler, The Curious Story of Benjamin Buttons about the man who gets younger as he ages, and the new Will Smith movie!!! Gotta love how all of the good movies come out at once.

Other than that, work is going really well. So far, I love it and I really like the patients and my coworkers!

Well, I believe that's enough of an update for now. I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season, no matter if it was full of old tradition, new tradition, or a little of both. I am wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, and safe new year!!!!!

Love you, Jen

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hello everyone!

I know, I know...I'm a slacker. Life is definitely busier now that I have STARTED WORK!!!! I am just so thrilled to be there. Everyone is really nice and helpful. I am learning so much already. I have read an article about seizures and a book all about headaches. I have a really good textbook to look through and 2 more smaller books to read, so I am definitely keeping myself busy trying to get up to speed. I am not seeing any patients on my own yet and probably will not until at least January (partially because I have no idea what I'm doing yet and partially because in the eyes of the hospital I am not yet credentialed as a nurse practitioner.....yes...that process is still ongoing).


As for other things going on, the Civic that Kyle drives (the one that I used to drive) decided that it wanted to give us problems last week and up through yesterday. Kyle kept feeling the car pull funny while he was driving and he had noticed the low tire pressure last week and had filled up all of the tires. We chalked it up to the very cold temperatures....whoops. After he got home last night, we both realized that his passenger front tire was flatter than a pancake. So, this morning we drove to Greenville a little early this morning and dropped his car off at the tire shop to get 2 new front tires. He picked it up at lunch and hopefully this will fix the issue!!! We still don't know what caused the flat, but I am wondering if that was the same tire that I had to have patched a long while back because of a nail.....oh hmm. Also, our AC/heater unit (which is brand new this year, by the way..) has decided that if the temps drop below 50 degrees outside, the unit wants to freeze up. This means that the house does not heat up above about 65 degrees when it's cold outside. BRRRR. I think God knows that we are running out of patience with this unit, because he brought the temps up to the 60s and 70s this week which gives us a few extra days to get it fixed!! yayy.


Let's see....a few requests.

1) Please pray for my "e-friends," Kayleigh and her family, that I've asked for you to think about before. Her little body is just not keeping up as well as it was and her family is now spending as much time as possible with her in preparation for the possible goodbye that they face. I just pray so hard that they will find peace in knowing that her body will not have to fight to live anymore. Instead she'll be up in heaven just having a party with all of the angels!!!

2) I also have a very general prayer for anyone going through financial troubles. For many different reasons, people are losing jobs, tightening their wallets, and just having to worry more than they should. I heard a story about a man who had lost his job a week or two ago, for no reason other than the company was FORCED to cut back. He was a strong worker, coming in early and leaving late. He made a comment as he was leaving work for the last time saying, "I just can't go home and tell my wife." I just pray that people will make ends meet and be able to find help when they need it. I pray that those who are comfortable financially will lend a hand when possible and where it is needed.


I hope that everyone is enjoying the holiday season and that we can all keep in perspective what is actually important in our lives.


Love yall,

Jen

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It was 73 degrees today and my Grandmom says "it looks like winter"...ahh the life.


Well, I made it to Florida safely yesterday! My flights were delayed a little because of the ice, but thankfully, my flights were smooth and safe once we got going. My grandparents and I have been having a great time together. We have eaten plenty, my grandmom and I got manicures/pedicures today, and I took her shopping/grocery shopping. She said it felt good to get out of the house a little bit. Both of them look WONDERFUL and they are keeping themselves busy with lots of hobbies and activities.


We went last night to see a lecture at their clubhouse. I must admit I was not too terribly excited to go, but it was really great!! The speaker was Dr. Robert Watson, a professor, historian, and most well known for being a commentator for MANY news/tv interviews, especailly regarding politics. He was actually on TV right before going to the lecture, so that was ironic. He spoke about the election and what to expect out of Obama in the next few months. Despite your party affiliation, anyone could walk away feeling a glimmer of hope as to our nation's future in a time when hope is somewhat hard to come by. Obama won that election for many reasons, but he emphasized a few main things:

1) His personality. Nobody can say that they weren't captivated by his speeches. He was always optimistic, even if he sounded naive at times.

2) He is very even keel and takes plenty of time to make decisions.

3) He is surrounding himself with people who don't even agree with him!! Some of the greatest past presidents surrounded themselves with people who challenged the president's beliefs and ideas. The president doesn't always listen to the people contradicting him, but at least he'll hear different ideas/aspects.


Anyway, no matter if we voted Republican or Democrat in November, I think one thing we all have to remember is that we're all AMERICAN. We have to rally behind this president-elect and hope and pray that this country can make a turn-around.


Now, for a very important topic: Grey's Anatomy. Let's hope that after 2 weeks, we are not in for another episode of dead people coming back to haunt live people and interns getting no punishment for their craziness. As said in my grandmom's TV Guide, "Is it time to have Izzie committed? Or have her head examined? [...] 'Izzie would have had a talking to early on' says Dr. Michael J. Hart, who commands 19 Izzie-Cristina-Merediths as head of the surgical residency program at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, a private hospital not unlike Seattle Grace. 'Obviously it's dangerous for patient care if people are doing weird things. But there's a lot you'd be concerned about. I mean, I've actually said to my residents that if they ever behave like the residents on Grey's, that would be grounds for firing.'"

..............................So there you have it. Time to make a few changes, people.


Well, we have Grandmom's doctor's appointment tomorrow, and I also hope to go see Uncle Seymour (Grandmom's brother-in-law) who is in the hospital in Miami with pneumonia if our day is not too crazy.


Love to everyone,
Jen

Monday, December 1, 2008

So thankful!

Well, it's been a while since I posted but I couldn't help but just enjoy the time that I was at home in Delaware with my family. The last time I was there it was such a whirlwind while I got ready for the wedding, got married, and then left. So, I was SO thankful to have the time to go up there and just relax with my parents and sister (and her fiance). Kyle and I left Tuesday night when he got off work at 8pm and drove through the night and arrived home at 4:30am - no traffic, no problems! Then, we napped for about 3 hours and got up and went to Philadelphia for the day. We enjoyed visiting the US Mint and got to see quarters and pennies being made. We also got some Hawaii quarters!!! :) We also went to the Reading Terminal and enjoyed a delicious lunch (altogether we got a sub, sushi, steak sandwich, soft pretzels, and an apple dumpling!) After we rolled ourselves out of there we went into the historic Macy's and the I.Goldberg's store where they have old army/navy gear. It was pretty cool! The next day was Thanksgiving and we got to enjoy a huge meal with Nanny and Aunt Fanny. It was so good to see them!! On Friday, we decided we would not be getting up at the crack of dawn so mom and I went to Christiana Mall for a little while around noon and it was insane and the sales weren't that impressive compared to the deep discounts the stores had already produced in the past month....so we left after an hour. We got to visit with the Gibbs on Friday evening and it was so great to see them! They started volunteering at the hospital which I just think is so wonderful!!! Then, our family played pictionary and watched Wall-E that night. Both were great. Of course, THE GIRLS TEAM WON PICTIONARY!!!! hehe. Stephen, Kyle, and my Dad might tell you otherwise but we kicked their rear-ends. On Saturday, we got up, packed, then hit the road at 12. We hit all kinds of traffic and unlike our 8.5 hour trip up, we got back to SC at 11pm!

I really am so thankful for the time that I had with my family and it was very tough to leave them. We had a discussion about which feels like home, DE or SC. South Carolina really has become my home, but as I was getting ready to go to Delaware last week, I kept saying that "I was going home." So, all in all, I think DE will always be a part of me and I'm not sure I will ever stop saying that.

Yesterday, Kyle and I bought our Christmas tree and set it up and decorated it!!!! It felt kind of funny not doing it with my mommy (and katy with the tinsel) like we always do but I also loved being able to do it with my husband!! It looks gorgeous and Addy, our cat, is loving it. I keep catching her with her hind legs on the ground and front paws up in the tree investigating. Who wants to bet on when the tree will be on its side?? Just kidding, hopefully that will NOT happen. We also put out our other Christmas decorations and lit our Christmas candles and it officially feels like the holidays!!!!! :)





I decided to fly down to Florida for a few days to see my grandparents. I leave tomorrow morning and will stay there until Friday morning. My grandmom was in the hospital a few weeks back and I just decided that I really wanted to see them and go to her doctor's appointment on Thursday with her and grandpop. I'm so excited to see them and spend some quality time with them. Just pray for my flights to be safe and comfy :)

Alrighty, I'm off to clean up our decorating mess and do laundry and such to get Kyle ready for a week of me not being here!!!

Love yall,
Jen

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Well, I don't have anything too interesting to write about today. As I told Randy and Julie tonight, today I took a "vacation from my vacation." I woke up to see Kyle off to work and he left at 7am and I never fell back asleep which was weird but I decided to just stay curled up in bed and read/watch tv until NOON! Go ahead, call me lazy..but just wait, it gets better. So, I knew today I had to go to Greenville Hospital to get my 2nd TB test read and I decided to stop in at Kyle's work while in Greenville to see him again (I will get into why in a minute) and he had decided to leave early! BOO. So, I went on, got my negative test read, and went back home. That is when the laziness multiplied. I crawled back into bed, watched more TV, read my book, napped, and read some more. Then, I decided I to get out of bed, so I took a bath and read my book some more. Then, I went over to watch Grey's Anatomy with Julie and we had a little "pajama party" as Randy called it when he walked in. So, that's my day in a nutshell and I am going to make an attempt at being much more productive tomorrow! And in case you're interested, I am reading The Longest Trip Home by John Grogan. This is the prequel to one of my favorite books Marley and Me. I highly recommend both - make sure you read Marley and Me before this Christmas, as they are coming out with a movie and the book is HARD TO BEAT!!!




Ok, so moving onto the reason for me stopping at Kyle's work to see him.....He was invited by his good friend Dave to go to Arkansas on a duck hunting trip. Now, if you know Kyle this just got him sooo excited! So, Dave and him left today around lunchtime and drove to Arkansas (they should just be getting there now). Dave's friend, Chad, has some property down there and just the other day, on their farm, they saw approx 7,000 ducks in one place!!!!!!!! 7,000??? That is beyond my imagination. Wow. So, Kyle will be completely & totally enjoying his outdoor man weekend in Arkansas and will return late, late Sunday night. I will definitely miss him while he is gone!! I even told him "I love you & miss you" before he even left this morning. He probably thinks I'm crazy but that's ok.


A quick update on little miss Kayleigh: they just found out tonight that she has a urinary tract infection and I just hope and pray that that is the reason for this huge setback. She was put on the ventilator today because she was having so many difficulties. I hope that with the antibiotics they put her on, she will recover quickly.


Next, I would like to say this:

Dear Grey's Anatomy,

Your show is getting entirely too strange for me. Dead people that you can touch, kiss, and even make love to? I am baffled. And who, in their right mind, would EVER dream of allowing someone to take out their appendix "just for fun?!" And who, in their right mind, would take someone up on that offer?! I mean really. Please, show writers, get your show back on the right track....and pronto.


Sincerely, Jen


Ok, I think that's all for today. Yay for Clay coming home tomorrow!! I'm sure he is very excited to regain his freedom (wear normal clothes, eat/sleep whenever he wants and however often he wants, etc), even if only for a week.


Love yall, Jen

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Second & Final Post For the Day..

Hi Everyone!! First, please make sure that you read my post from earlier today. It's very important to me..thanks! Next, I just wanted to say that I purchased gas logs today!! Yay! Mark that off my to-do list. I also bought the faucets for our master bath. Our debit card is probably very sad :( hehe.

I just got home from choir practice a little bit ago and every Wednesday and Sunday I realize how much I really do enjoy singing. Although I may not be the best at it, it is such a good outlet and stress reliever. It may seem silly but it amazes me how each group of singers (sopranos, tenors, etc) sings such different notes but yet it comes together sounding so beautiful. I guess thats why they call the notes harmonies. On December 7th, we are having a Christmas concert called "Imagine: A Christmas Worship Experience." I am SUPER-DOOPER excited about it. We have some work to do on it but with our ever-growing choir and our 20-or-so person orchestra it is sure to sound glorious :) Feel free to come listen and enjoy (everyone is invited) at Inman First Baptist, 6pm.

Ok, sort of random, but I am soooo excited for my sister! She is getting married Labor Day weekend in 2009 and I am excited to have a 3rd brother, Stephen! I know how much Kyle & I enjoyed our wedding and I am just ready for her to experience that same level of excitement and happiness! Her wedding website is: http://weddings.theknot.com/pwp/view/co_main.aspx?coupleid=9284541506290468&MsdVisit=1

Clay, Kyle's youngest brother, comes home from the Citadel on Friday. I am really excited to spend time with him! I have grown really close to Kyle's other younger brother (but older than Clay), Rhino since moving to SC and I really loveee having brothers, let me tell you! Katy, don't get me wrong, you are my one and only sister and I love you to death, but brothers (at least mine) have this spontaneous, never-know-what-to-expect, free spirit type of life that I think just invigorates me. Anyway, I think that Clay and I, and possibly Julie, are going to the mountains for a couple hours this weekend to sightsee, shop, and eat! I just realized tonight that I have choir practice Saturday morning, but hopefully we will still have time afterward to go.

Ok, that's all, I think.

Love yall!!!
Jen

Just a quick request..

I came across Kayleigh's blog (link on the right side of my page), a little girl born premature weighing in at ONE pound, several weeks ago. She is in Charlotte, still in the hospital, and has overcome so many obstacles. She has had some eye problems, breathing problems, and most recently has had open heart surgery to close a hole in her heart. Kayleigh came out of her surgery SO well and was days away from going home for the first time when early this morning she started having a lot of trouble breathing and has been put back on oxygen. I am just asking that everyone please pray for this little miracle. Pray hard and pray frequently. Her family has been through so much and they are on quite a roller coaster of emotions. I also want to thank them for letting complete strangers follow along in their daily life through the blog. It has absolutely given me a new outlook on how precious life is and how touch-and-go it can really be. I really appreciate your positive thoughts and prayers for her!!! I will write more later but I didn't feel like this could wait!

Love, Jen

ps- when I ask you to pray for something, I know that everyone reading this does not necessarily believe all the same things. So, I just ask that you pray or think positive thoughts or send best wishes in whatever way you most feel comfortable! I think Kayleigh probably likes all of those things!! Thanks :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day One...

With life crazy as it is, I decided to give myself just one more challenge. To keep family & friends updated on my increasingly busy life. First up and one of the more exciting things is that our house is SOOOO close to being done. The newest accomplishment is the beautiful landscaping.










The current "to-do" list is to finish hooking up the gas line for our fireplace, purchase the gas logs for our fireplace, rock the fireplace, install the potty in our master bathroom, and finish trim painting (door jams, etc). It may seem like a lot but that is NOTHING compared to what is behind us. For those who may not know, we bought our house as a foreclosure and Kyle, the handi-man, has been tirelessly working on it for the last year plus. Which brings me to the next thing I wanted to say. I just want to brag on Kyle for a minute. He has been so wonderful to me the entire time we have dated, been engaged, and now have been married for 3 months!!! Can you even believe that it has been that long since our wedding?!? In two days, we will have been together for 4 years. It feels so natural to be married to this wonderful man and I just look forward to him coming home everyday to spend more time with him. He is really the reason I even have a house to sleep in :) I know that he is probably more than frustrated with my job situation (which I will get into soon) but he has just been so supportive and loving every single day and for that I love him so very much. Now, I would like to list out just a few of the very impressive tasks Kyle has accomplished on our house:

1) Envisioned what this house could be if fixed and taken care of! (That was a major task in and of itself)

2) Tiled the kitchen floor himself

3) Tore down all of the fake wood paneling

4) Sheetrocked the nasty auditorium ceiling tiles in the bedrooms

5) Installed numerous fans, lights, sinks, dishwasher, oven, fridge, etc.

6) Envisioned an amazing downstairs including master bathroom, bedroom, media room, 2 HUGE master closets, laundry room, etc out of one big terrible-looking room.

7) Painted

...The list could go on and on and on. I am just so impressed by how smart and handy he is and it baffles my mind how many hours he has put into our house without a peep of complaint. I am truly blessed.


I must also thank everyone for their help in the process. Most especially Julie for painting almost our entire 1st floor. For this service we have promised her three grandchildren to the best of our abilities. Kyle and I had to paint the basement because Kyle didn't want that number to continue creeping upward. haha. Also for Rhino, Clay, and Terry for building our beautiful wood deck! To Randy, for his endless advice and assistance. There were many nights when he was driving back from working on his own subdivision at 11pm and saw our lights on and came over to see what he could help us with. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE!!


Next up is my job. I am so excited to say that I have accepted and signed an offer for a position at Patewood Medical Campus, through the Greenville Hospital System, in Pediatric Neurology. I am a certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and will be working in that capacity with three fabulous and kind neurologists. We will be adding a fourth doctor in July when she finishes all of her schooling/residencies/fellowship. I will see patients with headaches, seizures, cerebal palsy, and various other neurological disorders. Now, for the frustrating part...it is taking what seems like forever for me to start. I was offered this position in late August or early September and the credentialing process is still ongoing. Getting credentialed through a hospital is a long and tedious process, although it makes me more comfortable about the types of healthcare providers that are allowed to work for the hospital. Credentialing includes having your appropriate certification, licensure, vaccinations, employment history check, background check, reference check, etc. As of yesterday, my tentative start date was December 8th. Hopefully I will start then, if not before.


Moving on from that, I am very excited for a couple days to spend with Kyle and my family over Thanksgiving. Kyle and I are driving up to Delaware to see my family for the holiday. Katy and Stephen (her fiance) are going to be there as well and I will also get to see my Nanny (mom's mom) and my Aunt Fanny (mom's aunt) on Thanksgiving Day. I will get to see the Gibbs (next-door-neighbors that are just like grandparents) and my wonderful friends!!! I was excited to see my grandmom and grandpop (dad's parents) but unfortunately my Grandmom was in the hospital all last week with a pulmonary embolism, a clot in her lungs, so she is now unable to travel for the time being. She is home and feeling much better, but needs lots of prayers and positive thoughts for a continued speedy recovery.


Anyway, I am going to finish watching Aladdin (on ABC Family's movie countdown to Christmas!!) and then possibly do a little painting if I can get motivated. Everyone try to stay warm (mom said it was snowing up in Delaware today! Brrrr)!!

Love to everyone,

Jen