Tuesday, December 30, 2008


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,


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,

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,