Monday, December 28, 2009

Icccee

Driving in ice is no fun.

Especially in Texas, where they don't sand/salt the roads until after a major problem.

At work last Thursday I had the opportunity to witness an entire winter storm/blizzard through our beautiful new windows. The storm passed before I left for home, but the snow and ice had already been sticking to the roads for several hours. When I got to my car in the parking lot, I first had to borrow a window scraper from a nurse from Colorado, because my Texas ice scraper apparantly didn't stand a chance against this particular brand of stuck ice. After my windows were de-iced, I slooowwly made my way out of the parking lot and onto the main road before the freeway.

As I was pulling up to the stop-light before turning onto the freeway, I attempted to stop. Attempted being the key word. I pressed the breaks, pumped the breaks, slammed the breaks.... nothing. I just thought, "I'm going to hit that car in front of me." And that's exactly what happened. My first real accident.

The guy I hit pulled across the intersection and then walked back to my car. I attempted (note that verb again) to step out of my car to talk to the guy and assess the damage on my car. However, I soon realized the ground was too icey to even stand up in that area. The guy I hit said there was no damage to his car (he had an SUV with a metal bumper), and also motioned for me not to try to stand (I must have looked unstable). I asked him if I had damage, and he said my headlight & bumper were cracked. (After I got home 1.5 hours later, I checked myself and he was right... also the hood is bent). So we didn't exchange insurance information since I was obviously at fault.

I slowwlly turned onto the freeway access road and continued home. I have to say, that was probably the most terrifying 90 minutes of my life. Nothing like driving an hour and a half in icey conditions after just experiencing first hand what it feels like to be out of control on said icey roads.

But I survived!!

Now to figure out what to do with my car...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

This year I am thankful for:
  • God and His blessings
  • My wonderful husband, I couldn't have married a better man for me :)
  • Our new house
  • Especially our kitchen and the jetted tub :)
  • My job, working with sick/premature babies and supporting their parents.
  • My coworkers, who get me through the day at work.
  • Living close to both of our sets of parents, and all of our siblings (and sister-in-law :)
  • Our two adorable cats, Hobbes and Lucy.
  • Two engagements, my brother (engaged in Austria to an Austrian) and a good friend (engaged in Italy to a Virginian).
  • My husband's good job with a good company.
  • The fact I don't have to work nights or weekends, which is almost unheard of for a new RN grad :)
  • The three Thanksgiving meals I got this year... one at work (since I worked the actual day of Thanksgiving), one at my parents house that night, and then leftovers from Alan's aunt's house :)
  • And did I mention my amazing husband, Alan? :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

True Love

Alan bought me dinner tonight so I wouldn't have to cook or even warm up food after working four 12 hour shifts in a row.

Me
: Teriyaki Chicken Bowl?! You're my most favorite person ever!

Alan: You're welcome.

Me: Do you know what would make you even more my most favorite person?

*I start putting my feet up on the couch*

Me: If you gave me a foot massage.

*Alan starts walking away*

Alan: ...she loves me enough.

I never did get my foot massage :( However I did get yummy, much needed food! :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chickens & Vets

Yum, yum... this will be our dinner tonight! (Once Alan gets home). I found this recipe on this blog. Hopefully it's good.. I've never cooked an entire chicken before, lol.
Also, this morning the cats and I took a trip to their favorite place, the vet. The poor vet almost got his hand bitten by our little Hobbes when he tried to give Hobbes a pill to swallow. But everyone involved is fine. :) Here are the cats resting from all the vaccinations (both pictures taken just now):

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Meeeetings

My day so far:

8:00 - Rolled out of bed
8:20 - 8:40 - Jogged in the backyard while watching Smallville
8:40 - Got ready to go into work (on my day off)
10:00 - Town Hall Meeting (would have been a better time to roll out of bed ;)
11:30 - Staff Meeting
1:00 - FINALLY back home.. thinking, what happened to my day off??

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Journey Towards Our Engagement

Yes this is a little late, after being married a year and a half (and coming up on our 2 year "anniversary" of being engaged) to post this, but I want to have our dating life as part of this blog. This story was written by me for our wedding website early last year:

Alan had been coming to my church off and on for 4 years. (He was a member of a smaller church in the area with basically the same beliefs). I hadn't seen him for a while, so I messaged on AOL instant messenger on Friday night, February 2, 2007. We ended up talking for 3 hours and I told him he should visit our congregation again sometime. He agreed, but I didn't think he'd come for at least a few weeks.

The next day, he came to our church service. I had always thought he was really cute and sweet, but I'd been dating another person when he visited before. I wasn't going to hang out with the group that night, but I wanted to spend time with him.. so I went with him and our group to On The Border and to my house afterwards. On The Border made us wait 2 hours to get our food, but I didn't mind because I wanted more time to talk to Alan. I was upset that he didn't sit next to me when we finally got our table, but I learned later he thought I was still dating someone else at the time. Afterwards, our group went to my house and we played Pictionary and Cards.

At this point, I already liked Alan a lot. He came to church again the next weekend, and he asked me on our first date on Monday, February 12. He asked me to eat at Chili's and go bowling with him on the following Thursday, February 15. Of course I agreed, and I was really excited about the date. He picked me up at 7 and dropped me off at 10, which impressed my mom. We continued to date over the next few months, and on April 3, 2007 we decided to become boyfriend and girlfriend. :)

We continued dating, and I fell in love with his laid back personality, his jokes, and his sweetness (even if it was coated with sarcasm, which I also liked). We began talking about the possibility of getting married in the future. During the summer we traveled to Galveston and Oklahoma with several of our friends, and saw each other often. We had a great time dating each other, and we both wanted to marry each other. On Thursday night, November 8 at Lake Arlington, Alan asked me to marry him, and of course I said yes :)
April 2007 - Our first dance together.


June 2007. Me and Alan on the beach in Galveston, TX


July 2007 - Turner Falls, OK

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ramblings

I am looking out the window here at the hospital (yes, I'm blogging at work... I'll get to that), at 6:15pm and it's already dark outside. That threw me off guard! Boo to going back to Standard time. And this morning, sunrise was still 30 minutes off as I was driving to work. I do not like missing all of my daylight hours. :( I love the long days of summer :)

I have time to blog here at work because I am only taking care of ONE baby today. He is in isolation because he has (or had) a "superbug" that we don't want the other babies to catch. So, lucky him, he has his very own nurse. He is a cutie, and I've been able to spend a lot of time holding him (unfortunately I don't think he gets held very often)... but one sleepy baby is not enough to keep me busy for 12 hours! (I'm sure I would be busy for that long if I had a baby of my own at home.. but there are other things to do there.. and this baby sleeps all the time, lol). So this has been a looong day, but also a nice break from all the craziness that can happen around here :)

On a side note, my husband has been earning lots of brownie points lately. I also worked yesterday (I don't usually work Sundays), and I got home to all of the laundry done AND hung up (he always does the laundry, but sometimes we hang it up together), and he had ordered a pizza for us (not the healthiest meal, but I didn't want to cook, lol). Then this morning, he got up at 6am (as I was leaving) to take out all the trash, and he deep cleaned our cat's litter box (big job). I married a good one <3

Friday, October 30, 2009

Southern (& Hispanic) Hospitality

This week my work schedule is Monday, Thursday, Sunday.. which gave me more time (3 days) during the week to do my own thing. So what else to do than try some new(ish) recipes for me and have people over?!

Last Sunday night we had Alan's side of the family over for dinner. I made them a Mexican dinner to represent my Hispanic side to all of those white folk ;) My Grandma on my dad's side makes WONDERFUL tamales.. she actually used to sell them. That is one of the main things I remember about her & about visiting my grandparents in Arizona when I was growing up, so that's what I decided to make. This was my first attempt at Tamales, but I think they all got eaten, which is a good sign.

The Menu was:

Green Chili Tamales (For the record, these are the easiest kind of Tamales to make, which makes them a great place to start)

Mexican Rice

Black Beans (Alan's mom kindly made this for us.)

Chips & Guacamole

--

Tonight we had over my parents, brother & sister-in-law for our weekly Friday night dinner. :) (My mom usually hosts it since Virginia & I are usually working Fridays). I decided to make Chicken & Dumplings, because my Grandma (on my mom's side) used to make this for us all the time when we visited!

The Menu:

Chicken & Dumplings
Corn on the Cob
Salad
Tamales (Extras I had frozen - I wanted to see what my family thought of them)

Dessert:
Blackberry Cobbler with Ice Cream

I love having people over and cooking meals for them, even though I am very much a work in progress when it comes to cooking.

The other thing I made this week that I would really recommend is a Homemade Pizza. This was my first attempt at making it, and it was delicious. I froze half the dough, so next week I should be making a second pizza, yay :) My schedule next week is crazy.. but hopefully having the dough already done should make that an easy meal.
--
As you can see, I get a lot of my recipes online. The internet is awesome :) I really recomment www.mex-recipes.com -- it is the best site I've found for Mexican food, the rice & guacamole recipes are very tasty.

I have special spots for my laptop in our kitchen, because it is almost always up with a recipe when I am cooking. Here's the laptop on the island, lol: (This is soon after we moved in.. there are different decorations now above the cabinets)


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Travels


visited 24 states (48%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Italia 2009

This year for the Feast we went to Sabaudia, Italy... both mine & Alan's first time in Europe!! We had a GREAT time and it really made me want to travel more.


On the beach the first day with Tonya & Virginia. This was Tonya pre-engagement :)

Alan and I. View from our balcony. (The lake is in the background, but hard to see in this picture)

We lost our tour guide, so I was hopelessly lost in Pompeii...but I love how confident I look in this picture, lol.



Me next to a rare clothed statue in the Vatican.


Alan & I on top of the mountain we climbed!

Alan is very excited.


The group (minus Virginia taking the picture) in front of the Colosseum.

Next, Alan & I would both really like to go to Australia, but I think that is going to wait several more years. We have to wait until we forget about the plane ride :)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Books, Books, Books

My Current Favorite Books:

The Host
The Twilight Series

Books I'd like to Read Next:

The Time Traveler's Wife
A Wrinkle in Time
Ella Enchanted (I read this as a kid, but would like to re-read it)

Currently Reading:

My favorite parts of The Host

---

Update: 10/28/09
I've read all of the books above, and I'm now out of things to read! A Wrinkle in Time was not as good as I expected, it took me a while to finish it. I read The Time Traveler's Wife on the plane to and from Italy... it was definitely a tear-jerker.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Chronic Babies

Almost sounds like a juxtaposition... "Chronic Babies." Babies shouldn't be old enough to have a chronic condition already!

But that's what we call our babies in the NICU that were born 3-4 months early (about 24-26 weeks gestation) and continue to have medical problems that prevent them from going home as they approach their due date. The most common problem they deal with is their premature lungs. Premature babies are born without all of the branches of their lungs fully developed, and the lungs do not grow as well once they are out of the womb, leaving the baby without enough surface area to transfer oxygen to their body. They are also born without Surfactant, a molecule that keeps the lungs open when they breathe out, so their body doesn't have to reopen our lungs every time they inhale (This is so much work that their bodies would just shut down.) The only way these extremely premature babies survive is by giving their mom's steroids before the baby is born (which helps the baby make surfactant) and by giving the baby surfactant directly into their lungs when they are born.

Of course no medical breakthrough is as good as the babies developing fully in mom's belly. These babies usually need extra oxygen (via nasal canula of bubble CPAP) for months, and often even after they go home.

And that is why I am so exhausted this week! I have been taking care of babies with Chronic Lung Disease this week, and they are a handful!

They are not happy about having something on their face giving them oxygen, so they will knock it off, and their oxygen saturation will decrease to 50% (usually when I am busy taking care of another baby), so I will have to quickly save the baby (who doesn't want to be saved based on the fight she puts up) and go back to what I was doing.

These babies as a general rule don't like to be touched at all, because throughout their little lives, they have associated touch with painful medical procedures. :( This makes even taking a temperature or changing a diaper a struggle, because the baby will fight (and they are strong) and cry (loudly). After I finish my cares on one of these babies.. I wrap them up nicely and give them a pacifier and calm them as much as I can before moving on.

In the Pod I was working in this week, 3 out of the 6 bed spaces had these chronic babies. So all day we heard the beeping of the monitors when the oxygen saturation dipped... on 3 different babies. I went to sleep last night hearing those beeps in my head. Beeeep beeeep beeeep. Lol.

At the end of the day though, I enjoy taking care of these babies. You really get to know the babies. I love it when (after nothing at all will calm them down) I pick them up and they cuddle into me, and instantly settle down. That melts my heart every time.

Monday, May 18, 2009

1st Anniversary

Today, Alan and I flew back today from our 1 year anniversary trip to New York/Canada to see Niagara Falls and a baseball game in Toronto. 

I am blessed to have married a wonderful man like Alan! :)

While we were visiting Niagara Falls (walking on planks that werebuilt near the bottom of one of the smaller falls), Alan took a video that I think shows a funny/good example of a wife hesitantly trying to submit to her husband ;)

video

Notice I did not wholeheartedly submit to that ;) This video was taken on what they call the "Hurricane Deck." As you can see the water is coming down pretty strong, but what you can't see is that the water is freezing too!!

A few other pictures from our trip:

Geared up for our "Maid of the Mist" boat tour of Niagara Falls...

...where we road a boat like this. :)

At a Blue Jays/White Sox game in Toronto, Canada.

All in all, it was a good trip, but it was definitely great to be home again!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Traveling Dave

Today, my younger brother David came over for the afternoon. We ate lunch, went over some of his college information, played ping pong (I'm not sure who we decided was finally "champion of the world"... it seemed to go back and forth), and explored our new neighborhood on the bicycles Alan's brother gave us. Good quality time with the bro! 

But it will be the last time I see David for about 2 months :( He is going to Austria for the summer to spend some time with a certain lady he knows over there ;) So another thing we did today was set up a blog for him while he's traveling. His new blog is here:  thetravelingdave.blogspot.com.

3 unrelated side notes:

1. I'm sad the Mavericks lost tonight, but at least the Nuggets didn't sweep the series.
2. At least the Rangers won, even though me, Alan, Jeremy & Sherry left that game early today.
3. Tomorrow is My & Alan's ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY! Woohoo. Unfortunately we are both working, but on Friday we will be flying out to New York. :)

Wendel the Kindle

My husband is one of the best gift-givers I know. He picks up on what people like/things that interest them. 

I love to read, and I had been reading a lot leading up to my birthday this year, but Alan was aware that I was frustrated I couldn't get anything done while reading. (When we can all get housework done while watching TV!)  

So, for my birthday this year, Alan bought be the new Amazon Kindle 2:

It's an e-book reader with e-ink that doesn't strain your eyes (and you can read outside, which you can't do if you download e-books to your computer), you can download books wirelessly, and my favorite feature... it will read your books to you, so I can get stuff done while I 'read'!! We thought it needed a name since it reads to us, so we named it Windel the Kindle ;)

I would never have bought this myself, because it's expensive, but I thought it was a very thoughtful gift from Alan! Thanks hubby <3 

Monday, May 11, 2009

Update

I am exhausted today, but I feel like blogging. It has been a few months since my last update, but it feels like more because of all of the changes we've been through! Here are some of the highlights that have happened over the last few months (in rough order).

  • Someone broke into our apartment. They stole some money, checkbooks, passports and jewelry.
  • I had a stressful, emotional week at work that involved some tears on my part.
  • We started looking for a house before our apartment lease expired.
  • We chose and closed on a home.
  • Before we moved out, a fire destroyed a building in our apartment complex (our apartment was thankfully unharmed)
  • We moved into the new house.
  • Deep cleaned the apartment and turned in the keys.
  • Set up the new house! (Still finishing up decorating, and one of the guest bedrooms is still full of boxes... it's a work in progress!)
And finally, yesterday we had a Mother's Day Lunch for my mom and Alan's mom. We had my family over and Alan's parents.  We ate, talked, and played pool/ping-pong. It was great having everyone over, enjoying themselves. After yestday, then staying up late watching Survivor (guilty pleasure), and then getting up early and working 12+ hours today, I am exhausted. Tomorrow, it's work again, and then one day off to pack for our one year anniversary trip to Buffalo, NY/ Canada! 

So a busy few months in the life of the Orr's! 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sad Day

Today at work, one of the babies I was taking care of died :( 

She had begun to get really sick, so after several interventions we transported her to a higher-acuity hospital. She was coding when she got there, and died shortly thereafter.

It is emotionally draining to go through this. I am really glad I have at least 2 days off to cool down. I just feel bad for the family :(

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bible Reading Program

My family (brothers, sister-in-law, parents, husband) and I have decided to begin reading the Bible from cover to cover on a set schedule. We are planning to use the schedule and the commentary from the Bible Reading Program from our church, the United Church of God. Here's the link:

http://www.ucg.org/brp/brparchive.htm

I am really excited about starting this with my family! I have not been good about studying the Bible lately, and having a plan to read through it is exciting. My dad and I actually read through this program for about a year and a half, but that was 7 years ago, and I was interrupted with dating, college, etc. I don't think it will do any harm to re-read some of it :) My brother Daniel set up an online Google Spreadsheet for us, so we can check off when we have read that days' scripture & commentary -- and everyone can see that we've checked it off. That way we have some accountability to each other!

I am hoping this will be a great tool to help us learn a lot about the Bible, and be able to discuss the Bible together, since we will be reading the same parts at the same time.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year - 2009

Fireworks, good cheer, but long shadows as world hails 2009

Most of the New Year's headlines were negative towards 2008 as being one of the worst economic years the country and the world has seen in decades. 

While this is true, 2008 was probably the best year of my life (and the most full of life-changing events). Here is a brief overview:

For the first 4 1/2 months of the year, I was engaged to a wonderful man <3

(One of our engagement pictures taken January, 2008 by Kami Flavin)

I was also finishing up Nursing School, which I graduated from on May 8, 2008. I was so glad to be done with college forever!! (Unless something possesses me to go back.) I went to the Pinning Ceremony instead of the Graduation Ceremony. The speakers played a short clip I had recorded thanking everyone for helping me get to that point. My parents pinned a Nursing pin on my on stage. It was really nice. 

(My future in-laws, my future husband, me and my parents at my Pinning Ceremony)

6 days later, on May 14, 2008 I got married to the best man ever. The wedding was beautiful and I loved sharing it with my closest friends & family. I was most excited about spending the rest of my life with Alan <3 


For our honeymoon we went up to Wyoming near The Yellowstone National Park. :) It was beautiful.




After the honeymoon, we started our life together in our apartment. We had most of our stuff set up before the wedding.

I had 3 weeks to be a housewife before I started my first "real" job as a Graduate Nurse at a Neonatal ICU. So I enjoyed setting up/decorating the kitchen and the rest of the apartment.  And of course spoiling my new husband with homemade meals when he got home. I had waited a long time to be a wife and have my own apartment, and it definitely lived up to my expectations ;)

(The first meal I made Alan after we got married. Isn't he adorable? <3)

On June 9th, I started my new job. I wasn't an RN yet though.. I still had to pass the licensing test.  So I stressed/studied over that until I took the test a few weeks later. When I finally took it, It was the worst experience of my life. I was sure I had failed it, and I knew the computer knew if I passed or not.. but I had to wait DAYS for the results.  I don't think I'll ever forget the feeling of dread I had waiting for those results.. but I PASSED. Thankfully! I became an official Registered Nurse on July 1, 2008! I was in orientation in the NICU until about 6 weeks ago.. and I have been on my own since then. I still love my job. I love helping the smallest and sickest babies "finish cooking" and getting them ready to go home with their families. 

Also in June, we adopted our two kitties, Hobbes and Lucy. Lucy is cuddling with me in my lap right now & being a sweetheart.  (As I was writing that, Hobbes got in my lap too, haha) No human babies in 2008 though ;)

(Me, our babies, and a book. I still have my work scrubs on. I thought I could stay awake long enough to get some reading in.. but I was wrong, lol)


(Lucy and Hobbes (younger) taking a nap on the couch... It's a hard life)

In October we went to Jamaica with Daniel & Virginia. Our first Feast together as a married couple.


(The four of us on the snorkel cruise)

All in all, it's been a great year filled with a lot of blessings. I am looking forward to what 2009 will bring. Unfortunately, Alan and I slept right through New Years this year because we are an old married couple ;) And because I had to be up at 5:20 for work! I did get my New Year's kiss later though ;)

***Correction*** Alan brought to my attention that he did wake me up at midnight to give me a kiss. I must have been out of it. So we didn't entirely sleep through New Year's after all ;)

Here's to everyone having a great 2009!