Month: November 2011

Hang on for a new ride

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I can’t believe it.

I didn’t think it would ever happen.

Hang on to your hats, people.

You can now officially call me a coyote.

And my alma mater jackrabbit its rolling over in its grave.

If it was dead. And had a grave.  (Obviously I’m a little dramatic about being a jackrabbit.)

Anyway, it’s official folks. I’m going back to school!  I kept waiting for some major roadblock so that I could wimp out and not do this very crazy thing but everything has worked out so smoothly. And I have complete peace that this is where God is leading.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had gotten accepted but still had alot of questions.

I called the admissions guy who had called me about getting accepted and it turns out they had me down for a student living on campus and going to school full-time at the main campus (1.5 hours away from me).

Was that maybe my roadblock? As Caleb would say, “NAH!”

So he – the admissions guy – got it all fixed and then the next day I got a call from the Nursing Program from the campus in my town to set up an appointment to meet with my advisor and get registered for classes. I didn’t have to wait too long and was able to meet with her yesterday.  (I’ll tell you about that meeting in a bit.)

One concern I had was my gpa from my sociology bachelors degree. It had to be at least 2.7 in order to apply for the Nursing program. I knew it’d be close but I just wasn’t sure. Turns out all the schools in the state have this thing called the world wide web and all the records are online now. The admissions guy had given me my student id and so I was able to register and get signed in to their computer system. Which means I was able to see my classes and gpa from my bachelors degree.

2.79 baby.

(Which I learned later was a fluke because you’re not suppose to be able to register for the website until you’ve registered for classes. Thank you Lord for that little fluke!)

Obviously I have alot of work to do to get accepted into the nursing program because I’ll be competing against all those young whipper snappers. If all my classes transferred I would still need microbiology and two classes of anatomy before nursing classes and so that’d give me an opportunity to raise my gpa.

The next concern I had was financial aid. We have absolutely no extra money to put towards school. Since they used 2010 income tax information, when I was working full-time and getting paid alot more, I didn’t get any grants and I was worried I wouldn’t get much for loans either.  On Friday when I pulled into the driveway to check the mail I thought to myself that maybe I’d get my financial aid award letter that day. With everything going on with my back and Thanksgiving I hadn’t even thought about it for days. Turns out, it was in the mailbox!  And we did get the financial aid we need! Woo hoo!

Speaking of my back, if you’ve read the past few posts you know that last week Saturday morning I woke up in alot of pain and pain radiating down my leg. I hadn’t had a flare up in a long time and so it was very frustrating but also discouraging because I wondered if this was my “sign” that I shouldn’t pursue nursing.  I saw my amazing chiropractor Monday and Tuesday last week and it helped alot and she reminded me that I need to consistently do my exercises even when I’m feeling good and quit bending over to pick up after the kids for goodness gracious. Bend at the knees. Left with your legs. Sit up straight. Blah blah blah. (I have degenerative disc disease so it’s something I’ll always have to deal with.)

I asked her honest opinion about going to nursing school. She kinda laughed at me and said if it’s something I’m feeling called to do then just do it. For the most part I can stay on top of my back issues and I’ll just have to a little selective of what positions I would take.  I realized her laugh was in love and that I just need to quit worrying about it and quit trying to think of an excuse.

My meeting with my advisor went great yesterday! She was so nice and encouraging and said probably half of her students are in the “same situation” I am. Which means they are old, tired, and haven’t been in school in a very long time.

All of my classes transferred and will count towards my major! How sweet is that?!  It’s sweet in that it will only take me about 2 years to get my degree but it also means my first three classes, Anatomy 1, Anatomy 2 and Microbiology are going to be really hard. And the test I have to take to get into the Nursing Program isn’t going to be a walk in the park either. She encouraged me to get a tutor for my first class this Spring, Anatomy 1, because it involves alot of chemistry.

Let me tell ya, I’ve been dreaming about studying chemistry for I don’t know how long. Or not.

I was hoping to do as many online classes as possible but my advisor encouraged me to take these first three classes as actual classes since they will be a little more difficult.  This Spring I’ll take my Anatomy 1 as a regular class Monday and Wednesday from 1:00-2:30 with lab on Wednesday from 2:30-5:00.  And then I’ll take English Lit as an online class. There are four classes that I need for generals for my BSN, English Lit being one of them.  Since taking Anatomy 1 and Microbiology together would be torture, we decided to go with a little easier class.

Easier? Ya, it’s also been 15 years since I took any type of English classes. I read the syllabus for the class and almost fainted.

I’m probably as nervous as I am excited.  I’m thankful for everyone who has been so encouraging. I’m amazed at how everything has fallen in to place to smoothly. And I’m praying like crazy that my 38 year-old brain doesn’t let me down!

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Where all the crazies live

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I wasn’t going to take part in any of the black Friday shopping.

(Do you hear a “but” coming?)

But. Those ads just sucked me in. I had finished most of our Christmas shopping online but still needed a few things.

So at 9:30 pm on Thanksgiving day, Princess, Prankster and I headed out to find some good buys at Wally World.  Along with the other 150,000 people in our town.

Jeez louise I figured it would be crazy but I had no idea.  I actually grabbed a pretty good parking spot and we made our way inside to find our places. I hunkered down at the kids’ pj’s, Princess was at the kids’ comforter sets and Prankster was, well, I don’t know where Prankster was.

At 10 pm the madness began. And all the crazies got crazier. …

Pushing. Yelling. Deadly glares. (No mean lady I’m not trying to take your place in line, I’d just like to pass by so I can remove myself from this fire code breaking nuthouse.) People throwing product to other people. All in the name of saving a few dollars. Which I probably burned in gas as I waited to get out of the parking lot.

We got home a little after 11 pm and even though I wasn’t really tired I made myself go to bed because 5 am would be here soon.

I had to work at 8 am on Friday morning but I couldn’t resist stopping off at Menards before work. They had some great bargains. I got there about 5:40 am and the long was pretty long. When the doors opened and I got into the store there were four carts left. Everyone was walking nice and calm and staying in line to get their cart and I grabbed mine.

Grabbed, as in I had both hands on it and was beginning to walk away with it. Out of no where this huge older guy comes up and grabs it from me. I say, “Excuse me sir, this is my cart.” He doesn’t even look at me or say anything, just continues to pull the cart away from me. So I say a little louder, “EXCUSE ME,” and I was about to say, “this is mine” when I just couldn’t do it because that sounded really selfish.  So he pulled the cart away from me and me being the pushover nice person that I am just let him.  Not that I could have stopped him anyway because he really was huge, but that turkey caused me to spend less money not get all the deals I wanted.

We’ve been needing to get two more booster car seats for Pat’s vehicle and they had them for $20 each. Unfortunately since I didn’t have a cart I couldn’t get those. We also wanted to get a space heater they had on sale but I didn’t think that was going to happen either.  Thankfully I had brought along one of my big gym bags and I had some place to put most of the stuff.

It was pretty crazy but not quite as crazy as Wally world was earlier. I snagged most everything on my list but because of my cart quandary I had to give up a few of the small things too.  I was going to just send Pat back to try to get the heater and and a luggage set (that’s definitely absolutely not a Christmas gift). But last minute the heaters were going fast and so I decided that if I can survive childbirth and manage to somewhat successfully get my two toddlers dressed and fed each day, then I can manuever my overstuffed gym bag, a large heater and the luggage.

First I got the luggage and put some of the smaller things inside the luggage. And then I went and got the heater and tried pulling it with the tape on the box until the tape broke.  So then I kicked it the rest of the way across the store to the registers.

Unfortunately I had parked about a mile away and I was a little concerned about getting all my door busters to my car. Thankfully the Menards staff is amazing and I didn’t even have to ask before someone offered to keep my stuff at the door so I could pull my car up.

As I was driving away I saw the big old mean cart stealer guy walking to his car. It absolutely did not cross my mind to roll down my window and yell something at him like, “YOU’RE MEAN!”  And then it absolutely did not cross my mind that that would be ridiculous to say. And so I ran him over.

HA!  That really didn’t cross my mind. Really.

So all and all my black Friday shopping experience was successful.  Except for the fact that I was super tired, my patience was tried, I was pushed and shoved a couple dozen times and based on the reports of friends I could have probably just got all my deals during normal business hours.

But where’s the fun in normal, right?

Of more turkey and lights

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(Thanksgiving 2011, part 2)

On Friday we celebrated Thanksgiving with Pat’s family.

I had the pleasure of working at 8:00 am and Pat had the pleasure of taking care of the kids, cleaning up the house and getting food ready.  Some days I really love my job!

Pat’s mom did most of the cooking though and as soon as I walked in the door a little before 5:00 pm they were all seated at the table and ready to eat!

After the meal and before dessert we decided to go on a walk around the block. Angel thought this was the coolest thing ever. I guess it served its purpose because when we got back everyone had room to have dessert!

Our town has a parade of lights every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving. So our plan was to relax a little after eating and then go down to the parade.  Since it was so nice out the parade was packed but we managed to find a good parking spot and then a good spot to watch the parade.

Except for the two shorties who still couldn’t see and so for most of the parade they ended up having a pretty good view.

Here’s a group shot.

The kiddos might have been having a blast…

Two of our nieces and I had discussed kidnapping Princess and taking her to the Breaking Dawn movie after the parade. But she was a party pooper and didn’t want to go. Although I guess telling her about our plans defeats the whole purpose of kidnapping!  Oh well, it was probably a smarter idea to go home and go to bed. Which is exactly what we did!

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving and every day we give thanks to God for His abundant blessings and for providing all we need!

You know it’s thanksgiving when you’re eating cheesecake at 9am

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(Thanksgiving 2011, part 1)

I’m still coming out of the turkey, sweet potato and non-bread stuffing coma that I’ve been in the past few days.

We had a great Thanksgiving this year. I ended up having to work Wednesday night shift, Friday day shift, Saturday 1:30-10 pm and Sunday night shift. But that was ok. I’m thankful for my job!

My family all came on Thursday to our house (except my sister who couldn’t make it). We had a real busy week and I had some wacko thing going on with my back and so when I went to work Wednesday night at 4 pm I still hadn’t cleaned the house or made any of the food like I’d hoped to make.

Take note friends. I didn’t super clean my house this year even though we hosted not one but two Thanksgiving meals. In fact on Friday when I got off work I went into the kids’ bathroom to find towels and kids’ clothes all over the floor. Not only did I not care, but I just left them there and went and ate my turkey.  It’s not that I don’t care anymore. I think I’m maybe chilling out just a bit and hopefully it’s true that no one will really notice anyway.

So Thursday morning I was up early to get cooking. And of course the kids were up early too but unfortunately I couldn’t think of anything for them to help me with so they watched a few extra cartoons.  I tried having them help me peel potatoes with two of my really dull peelers but they couldn’t do it.  After I got all the potatoes peeled and cut I had them put them into the bowl and since we made about 8 lbs of potatoes that kept them busy for awhile.

One piece in the bowl. One piece in their mouth.

That was really hard work and so at about 9:00 am we had a snack break and sampled Daddy’s cheesecake.  He was busy making the pumpkin pie and cheesecake for me. Yum.  After dessert Pat also made the sweet potatoes. I don’t know if it’s because he’s so sweet or what, but man does he make good sweet potatoes.  Perhaps it’s the pound of brown sugar and 4 cups of marshmellows melted all together?

After cheesecake and Angry Birds I sent the kiddos and Pat on their way – to clean the bathroom – so I could finish up what was left.  My parents got to the house about noon and my brother and sister-in-law about one.  I wasn’t sure what time everyone was arriving and so I thought we’d eat at three.

I also wasn’t sure how to cook the bird. I think this might have been the first time I’d cooked a turkey all by my lonesome. Thank goodness for the world wide web. Although by the time I read 184 ways to brine and cook the turkey I might have been a little confused.  I settled on this brine idea and Pioneer Women’s instructions for cooking the bird.  The other dilemna was that we only had a 12 lb turkey and PW’s instructions was for a 20 lb.  Unfortunately I guessed wrong and put it in the oven a little too late.

While we waited for Mr birdy to get done Angel enjoyed the company of my brother and sister-in-law. Leana painted Angel’s nails and then they spent the next hour or so trying to convince Jim to let them paint his nails. Party pooper wouldn’t let them!

Mom played a game of cards with the kids. Caleb pouted because he didn’t want to pick a card. And then pouted again when he didn’t win.

Enjoying pop in fancy glasses.

Notice the paper plates and plastic ware. Did I mention I chilled out a little this Thanksgiving? In the past this would greatly bother me.

Caleb and Papa hanging out. Papa stealing a plate of his German potato salad.

Me and my girl.

At about 2:00 I took out the turkey for a little butter basting and I realized my pan had a hole in the bottom as juices were spilling out all over. Nice. Pat had went running (UH?) and my mom and dad were at the store. Thankfully my brother Jim came to the rescue and we found another pan to put under the turkey.  Serves me right for buying my turkey pan at the dollar store.

When I checked the temperature at 2:00 it was only at 120. Ooops. I guess we weren’t going to eat at 3:00. I cranked it up to 375 (per PW) and it didn’t take quite as long as I thought. We were ready to eat by 3:30!

I also have to tell you about my gluten free stuffing. I wasn’t going to make anything special gluten free but then I got an email from Wheat Belly with some recipes and the stuffing sounded so good. I couldn’t find all the ingredients at Wally World at one in the morning the day before Thanksgiving and so I modified it a bit.

Here’s the recipe I received in my email from the Wheat Belly blog.  I modified it in that I couldn’t find porcini mushrooms so I just used regular portebellas and button mushrooms. I also couldn’t find the roasted red peppers so I used a little extra green pepper. And Wally World didn’t have any of seasonings so I think I just randomly picked some that sounded good.

It turned out really yummy and I’m sorry I don’t have a picture. You’ll just have to trust me.

Princess and Prankster joined us around 4:00 pm just in time for dessert and a early birthday party for Princess since we won’t be able to be with her on her birthday coming up in a few weeks.

Unfortunately my brothers had to leave right after we ate and my parents left around 6:00 pm.  But not before my parents took a ride on my brother’s motorcycle.

Once everyone left I had really wanted to go the Muppets movie but no one was really up for it and so we, along with the majority of the population, collapsed in a thanksgiving food induced coma.

Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow!