Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I am seriously considering becoming a vegetarian!

While driving the 800+ miles on our vacation, I came across something very disturbing...10+ raccoons as road kill.

I have always been an animal lover, and I just can't stand the site of any animal being mistreated or suffering. But, I thought...such is life, road kill happens...even by me!

So, when Eric and I got back we were caught up watching this show on Animal Planet called "Whale Wars." From the perspective of the crew of the Steve Irwin, the Japanese whalers are taking advantage of the UN's decision that if you are doing research on whales, and one dies, you can sell the meat...and there is a time frame & # that this is allowed to happen to. So, they throw rancid butter & flour bombs onto the decks of the processing ship so any meat that touches the decks is unsellable...and it keeps them from continuing whaling.

After thinking about this for awhile I recalled that I have never been fishing...and I don't think I could if it wasn't catch & release. I really even hate to think about how slaughter houses function...even the most "humane" breaks my heart....but I like meat.

I'm going to continue to think about this for awhile, b/c it really does bother me. But, I don't know if I could stick to the restrictions. I've got some soul searching to do. Right now I am very torn.

Where to start....mmmm....

Eric and I had a great time in Orlando, even though we were both quite ill by the end. We vowed that we would do all the fun things we wanted to...not just Disney. And, I have to say that we are now done with Orlando for quite a few years.
We started with Wonder Works, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. If you have kids over 3, you should definitely go. They have lots of weird exhibits/games/things to do
...and I spent about 30 minutes straight making giant bubbles.
Even though I may look like I am pregnant in these pix, I swear I'm's just not a flattering shirt!

Yes, we already know we are really big need to remind us.

Next, we headed to Medieval Times where they put on a pretty awesome show!! Each person is seated in a specific section that corresponds with the Knight you cheer for. Our guy wasn't too bad, at least he waited to die until he fought the really bad guy, but he kicked butt at the games!

Here is our dinnerware...and no silverware, but we made due. The food was worth the price!!! I gave most of mine to Eric b/c they just kept bringing more.

He tried to get a shot of me with my crown on, but the guy next to us didn't get one, so I selflessly gave him mine ;o)

Everyone is pimpin' their colors

We only took pix @ Animal Kingdom b/c it is my favorite!

In the distance is the Tree of Life that which houses "It's tough to be a bug!" which is an awesome experience if you haven't been!

And we did the safari where we got to see all the great animals.

And, just to close this picture filled post is a hibiscus that I passed and couldn't help taking a picture of.

We had a great time, and are both recovering from being sick.

Happy New Year!!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Seriously surprising!

Bedtime Stories was a great movie. I have always been a huge fan of Adam Sandler, and was very surprised that Disney would have a movie with him in it...but it is also a Happy Madison production (Sandler's company).

It is great for kids and adults alike!! This is one I would recommend seeing in the theater!!

The amazement of the circus without all the animal cruelty!!

I absolutely LOVED the La Nouba show (Cirque du Soleil) at downtown Disney...and not just b/c of the half-naked, really buff guys...everyone was extremely talented and entertaining.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect, and I was very surprised that they served popcorn, pretzels, and drinks in the lobby...especially when the nose bleed seats were $80!! Some people behind us in line were saying that they changed the dates of their entire vacation to accommodate available tickets for the show. Eric and I bought our tickets about a week in advance....but it is much easier to find 2 seats together than most groups of +4!

The entire show was mesmerizing. There was always something catching your eye. Even when one group of performers is the main event, there are people moving around the stage performing their own little routines & interactions. I was also impressed with our seating...we were in the upper tier, but it still wasn't very far from the stage...and some of the acts use the aisles, so keep you arm & legs inside at all times ;o)

Eric said that our next vacation needs to be in conjunction with seeing another Cirque presentation. They have permanent shows in Orlando, Las Vegas, & New York. But they also have traveling shows throughout the US. If you haven't seen a show, you are most definitely missing out....what are you waiting for....check out the website!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Threatdown: Orlando Edition

These were the major threats to my vacation in Disney/Orlando:

5. Male Strippers...taking 5 minutes to pay their $35 grocery total @ Wal-Mart using all $1 bills...thus causing my ice cream to melt, and a really weird guy insisting on talking to me in line. This guy didn't look like a typical male stripper....but I have heard of some female strippers being overweight & ugly, so why not male ones? Well, he was either a stripper or a waiter...I am guessing, to the fact that after he handed the cashier his stack of ones, he grabbed the bag with the wine, and left the other two at the register.

4. Self-absorbed Teenagers...that take a picture of themselves in front of every object they stick in the lines of each ride, while posing inquisitively out into the open space (which is really filled with thousands of people being herded like cattle to the slaughter). This one kid literally took 50 pictures of himself while we waited in line for one of the rides...and had his little brother take even more....all the while holding up the line (that wasn't really moving anyways....but still!!).

3. People completely unaware of their surroundings...I will give you 3 examples. 1) The retarded people standing 2 inches away from the person at the RedBox while they enter in their personal information. 2) The retarded people that stop in the middle of the walkway, blocking walking traffic in both directions, while they look at a map...or just stop to stare at something. 3) The SUPER retarded people that drive more than 5mph under the speed limit...they are more dangerous than those that speed!!!

2. Cute capris...I have a pair of Apple Bottom jeans (I know I have ghetto booty...but I embrace it!!) I bought last year, and since the weather was nice I wore these on Christmas day when we went to Animal Kingdom. I had my cell phone in my back pocket, and we started making our way to the front of the park b/c a parade was about to start, when I reached in the pocket of said capris, and realized my phone was missing. My heart sank and I almost started to cry. I love these jeans, but things do have a tendency to fall out of the back pockets (I think it has to do with my huge butt...). Thankfully as soon as the phone was found they brought it to Guest Relations and I was able to retrieve it. And, I promptly sync'd it with my laptop to keep all my info backed up.

1. Germs...Eric started coughing the first few days of vacation which didn't bother me...until the hacking came. I have worked really hard in Nursing School to build up the stomach for poo, urine, & vomit...but mucus is beyond disgusting for me. I was literally fighting back my lunch for most of the vacation. Then, I started coughing...and sore throat...which ended up with a headache from Hades. So, as stated in my prior post, we left a day early and hit up the ER on the way home. I do have a sinus infection, and the antibiotics make me very sick to my stomach...but it is better than having the constant throbbing headache.
**This pic of me making the silly face is courtesy of Eric...we were stuck b/c of a parade, and I was getting he thought it was the perfect time to snap a shot. Plus, I was wearing the super awesome Tshirt that I bought from TAMN that says LOLOMGWTFLDSBBQ and I had a chick that was working one of the rides (who happened to attend BYU-I) stop me so she could figure out what it said. This actually happens all the time, and it cracks me up watching people try to figure out what it means!!!**
More updates from my adventures later...I know you just can't wait!!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

We are jumping ship, and heading home

We have one more night here in Orlando...but we decided to head home a day early. We are done with Disney (for a few years), and we are both getting pretty sick.

Our vast stash of Ricola's has dwindled, and we are getting any better. Eric has been coughing up some seriously nasty stuff, going on 4 days, and my sore throat has turned into what might be a raging sinus infection.

Here are my "allergy eyes," as I like to call them....and they aren't going away. We will probably hit up Eglin Hospital on the way home...but over all it was a decent trip.

Oh, and I really really really miss Koa. I know...I'm lame!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's beginning to Feel a lot like MY kind of Christmas

Eric and I left the foggy mid-60s of Northwest Florida this morning at 6am...and I am still recovering. We hit the road after a nice breakfast at the best restaurant around, Waffle House!!

We are now checked-in, and have already purchased our groceries for the week, to include Christmas dinner. Our Wal-Mart pizza is in the oven & we busted open the Mallomars as an appetizer....mmmmmm...
Did I mention how much I love this weather!!! It is going to sit in the high-70s to 80s all week, except one day....utter bliss. My fellow Floridians can second that motion I'm sure. There is nothing like sweating in a crowd with screaming children during this festive season!! Honestly though, I am so excited!!

We have been saving our money for quite some time to do some of the things we have always wanted. Monday night we will get to go to Medieval Times, then hit some days at Disney early in the week...then Christmas Eve we got tickets to see La Nouba (Cirque du Soleil), and I am so excited.

I won't have pix til we get back b/c we forgot the cable to load them on the computer. But until then, have a very Merry Christmas...and I will be checking out your blogs throughout the week!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Just when you think you can't be outdone...

Eric and I have always been impatient when it comes to Christmas. We have yet to truly make it to Christmas Eve without opening presents. Hopefully once we have kids, we will be guilted into setting an example, and actually wait to open our presents.

That being said, I thought that I was going to really out do him this year in the gift giving. I picked out an XBox game that he really wanted...I even threw a fit in the store about how he didn't need anymore games, to throw him off the scent ;o). I wasn't sure when we were going to open presents since we will be in Orlando for Christmas, but last night he came into the room and said, "so, you get this (and handed me the plain wedding band I asked for this year), and I will open one, okay?" I was so excited b/c I hated not wearing a wedding ring during my clinical rotations...b/c mine was soldered. So, I gave in and let him pick one...and he picked the Lego motorized AT-AT (Starwars....but I did NOT pay that much!!!) and was thrilled...and spent about 5 hours last night working on putting it together.

Well, we also work out together at the gym...I run & use the stationary bike while he lifts weights. He bought me an iPod 3 years ago for Christmas...but he kind of high-jacked it last year when he really started working out on a regular basis. So, I told him that I needed one that was really for me...and honestly...forgot about the request. Also...little back story...while Eric was deployed to Iraq I bought him the *new* iPod mini (which broke about a year ago, and why he stole mine) and had it laser engraved with: To: Eric AKA Sexy Beast. He gets a kick out of this nickname ;o)

So, we planned on hitting the gym tonight, and when we got home from running some errands he kept hinting about wanting me to open a present that "you can use now!" I finally gave in, and this is what I found:

He ordered it online so he could get it engraved, and had it shipped to my buddy Vanessa's house so I wouldn't open it. (I have a bad track record of opening things I am not supposed to, even when told that I shouldn't open ANYTHING that comes in the mail) I wanted to cry. He is so incredibly thoughtful.

Once I lost the weight 2 years ago, and started feeling like a real woman, he started referring to me as his "trophy wife." I'm not saying that my husband is better than anyone else's...I am just lucky to have someone that gets me.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Old habits die hard!

...and I can finally breathe!!! I have been in hiding the past few days as I have been couped up in my office studying to retake my Pediatric HESI (its a conspiracy that I will explain later), and for my Final today.

There are a few bad habits of mine that are very hard to break....namely, Procrastination. I started out this semester in a serious funk when it came to grades. I received an 84 on my psych test, then failed the next two exams with a 70 & 74. I have slowly climbed up off the ground and amazingly enough I passed my final this morning with an 85!!! Since I made a C last semester I had given up all hope of scoring any higher this time...but with some hard work...and without too much procrastination, I cleared that bottom hurdle of the B by 5 points! WooHoo!!!

This feat was accomplished even after my husband called me to tell me that someone "broke into" our truck last night and stole the GPS....& all my Bath & Body Works lotion and bath salts we got from our BN Christmas party...right before I went in to take my final. So, he didn't feel like making the report so I called the police when I got home and the police officer was very friendly. Apparently, it is a group of girls (hence the lotion & bath salt theft....and leaving the wireless DVD headsets) who were ID'd early this morning as someone caught them in the act. They are getting the warrant for their arrest as I type, and I plan on prosecuting!!!

Also, as many of you know....I lack patience when dealing with the public. Just yesterday I turned around in Sacrament meeting and told the little boy behind me that he was being too loud (he was unsupervised at the time and was playing with a wind up car, using the hymnals for ramp jumps). But I was in such a good mood today that I didn't get upset or put off by the fact that the line at the post office was out the door, or that the lady behind me was oblivious to "personal space." I waited patiently and thought about different blog topics. AND I wished the clerk a Merry Christmas with a smile. Like I harp on my Sunday School class...approach each situation with love!!! It really works...if I could only stay consistent.

We recently re-arranged our bedroom b/c I was sick of only having the bed accessible on one side (it was up against the wall). It has moved about 4 feet away from the wall...but Koa will only jump up on the far side. Maybe he thinks it is an optical illusion b/c he won't jump off that side of the bed either....and it is the side closest to the door! But, like I said, old habits die hard!

It's going to take me a few days to catch up on past few days of missed blogs...but my B was so incredibly worth it!!! Nursing Process 4, here I come!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Enabling my addictions

There are a few things that seem to monopolize my time...its really not my fault...I have an addiction...and am no longer in the stage of denial.

1. Eric. I just can't say no to spending time with him. We spent so much of the first 4 years of our marriage with him deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Singapore, get the picture. So, I often drop the books just to run errands with him, but I love just being around him. Allison said, C's get degrees!
2. Blogging. I love having a place to put my random thoughts...and when I hear that distinct beep on my phone with an email notifying me that someone took the time to leave a comment...I really get excited. It's nice to know that I am not completely crazy...sometimes ;-) Like it says on my sidebar...I really am a comment whore. At least I am not in denial.
I also like to blog stalk...quite frequently. I have found some pretty awesome people out there, and enjoy hearing different points of view and experiences. Yea for diversity!

3. Guitar Hero. Eric and I are extremely competitive...and this is so my type of game, and the one thing I can actually beat him at, sometimes. And I get to dress up my chick in awesome clothes, and spend money I earn from gigs to buy killer shoes...its a win win! AND, I am listening...and I have never heard before or never appreciated the skill it takes to play ;o)

4. Books A Million. I never imagined that I need so many books that weren't available at the student book store on campus. It all started with getting a few study aids...and now I keep about 20 or so books on my wish list waiting til I can make my next purchase. This is how I got tangled up in Twilight (it really isn't my fault Kristina!!)
5. Regal Crown Club. There isn't a lot to do socially when you don't drink, and you really shouldn't Eric and I used to go to the movies every once in awhile, until we discovered a card that gave us all the power. We get rewards in the form of free popcorn, drinks, and movie tickets every time we buy tickets or go to concessions. We started with only one card, now we each have one so we can get the max amount of points. Plus, we really like movies...but I make Eric see the scary ones, and the ones that look stupid alone. I don't like to pay for movies that should have gone straight to DVD!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Things are looking up

It is no secret that I have really been struggling with grades this semester. Before I started the Nursing Program my GPA was a 3.81, and after 2 semesters of nursing it has fallen to a 3.67 (this is with taking an additional 11 credits worth of A's)...but Nursing Theory is 6 credit hours, so getting a B or *cough* C, really hurts your GPA. Our program also, intelligently, utilizes a 7 point grading scale...which makes things quite a bit more difficult.

Going into my 7th exam on Monday I just kept praying, "please Lord, let me be able to recall all the information I have studied, and understand what the question is asking." (our exams are like no other...they have 4 right answers, and you have to pick the most correct one)

I tried to pace myself, not rush, and really think about what the questions were asking. When I finally hit "submit" my heart started pounding during the 5 seconds it takes to display your score....and I almost started crying when I say my grade... 88!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I utilized a new study technique (and quite a few more hours) and it really paid off. My highest grade up until that point was on the 1st Psych test, and was an 84. And I am not joking when I say I almost started crying...I had to tell myself, "suck it did good...keep it together, you still have the review to do!!" And, one of my instructors even took the time to congratulate me on the grade b/c she knows how much I have struggled this semester (my failing grades were a 70 & 74). So, Homer take it away

It is also no surprise how proud I am to be married to not only my best friend, but also to a man in uniform. He would never ever call himself a hero...but he is my hero, in so many ways...and it is nice when he gets a little recognition of his 12 years in service. He just called me on his way back from dropping off the Ranger Students (or as they call them "Stud") at Ft. Benning, GA and the guys stopped to eat at Logan's for dinner...I will set my jealousy aside for now. So, when they sat down a man came up to them and asked to shake their hands and thanked them for their continued service. And when they were waiting for the check the waitress walked up to the table and told them their bill was taken care off, but the person wanted to remain anonymous. He has never asked for recognition, or special treatment...and that is what I respect about him most. People have a tendency to feel they are entitled to special treatment based on numerous circumstances...which in my opinion...has seemed to get out of hand.

I also had my very last clinical day of the semester today....YEAH!!!! I was supposed to be on the Pediatric floor...but there weren't any patients, so the other student and I went to IV Therapy b/c they had numerous outpatient procedures that needed to be done. They were swamped but I had the opportunity to access a port using a Huber Needle:
This is, of course, enlarged...but the port is inserted under the skin for patients that need frequent IV therapy...and I had only done this in the skills lab before, so yeah!! It is so hit or miss when it comes to skills that you actually get the chance to perform in the clinical setting before you graduate...I was in the right place at the right time. I didn't get an opportunity to do a pediatric day in the hospital, but I was able to practice a skill.

Thanks for letting me share the small joys in my life!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Finding the real meaning of Christmas

I started a little tradition last year with my nieces and nephews: Reading with Auntie Mary (that's what I like to call it)

It all started with my nephew Dalton. He decided that "Auntie Mary" was imaginary b/c he always heard about her, but didn't remember seeing her. This got me thinking. I couldn't afford to visit family as much as I would like to...but I wanted my nieces and nephews to know who I was and how much I loved them! So, I picked my favorite children's book, "Love You Forever,"

and bought each family a copy and made a DVD of me reading it to they can read along with me at their house...and prove to Dalton that I wasn't imaginary!! My SIL told me how she thinks the kids will one day fight over who gets the DVD when they are truly melted my heart.

This year I have decided to send out "Mud Pie Annie." And although they will be getting the book before the DVD this year...I know they will appreciate this heartfelt gift more than more least I hope so.

I also had to debate about what to get my nephew, who just turned 15, and his step-sister that is about the same age. So, although they may not appreciate it now...I am giving them their choice for a charitable donation in their name...not a large one, but I really don't think they need more stuff, and it empowers to make a difference where they see fit.

I am truly blessed to live in a warm (when I have the thermostat @ my preference), safe home, a car to get me wherever I need, and plenty of food & clothes. And I don't need more stuff. I have already purchased very small, but functional gifts for my extended family that I knew they will use and won't sit in a box or on a shelf.

I was telling my brother about some of my favorite now I am going to tell you! First here is a website that you can search for various organizations that provides you with a rating based on how they use the money (how much they pay directors vs how much gets distributed to the cause). And here are some I want to highlight

  • Fisher House: this is like a Ronald McDonald House for military families to stay in while their soldier is receiving medical care...they are an amazing organization with a very high rating. The 5K I do every year raises money for the Fisher House that will be breaking ground very soon outside of Eglin AFB, where we are currently stationed. After being able to participate in the Casualty Response Team for our last unit...this organization holds a special place in my heart!
  • Heifer International: this allows you to purchase livestock, bees, etc that will be sent to poorer areas of the world so they can be more self sufficient and pay it forward to others in their community with the offspring of your donation.
  • Kiva: gives small loans to people internationally to help them grow, and has over a 95% return payment many banks can say that!

The last two organizations were featured on a blog/forum that I find interesting, and I really wanted to share.

There are also hundreds of US organizations and many more local organizations that need help. Just wanted to throw it out there...and trying to spread love during this wonderful Christmas season.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

What you've all been waiting for ;o)

I finally have the pictures for Kelsey's bachelorette party 2 weeks ago. No worries, I won't post anything too crazy!

And today is Kelsey's wedding day...congrats girlie, and don't sweat the small stuff!!!

We had a blast and everyone was a really great sport, especially the bride!
Kayleigh, Kim & Jen
Jen spinning Kim while playing Pin the Junk on the Hunk
Kim, Kayleigh, Kelsey, Vanessa & me
One of the only gifts I can show you ;o)
She was such a great sport!!!
Jean & Kayleigh are ready to go & donned the appropriate name tags
I think the shots were finally starting to hit Kim
Jen, Kim & V
Kelsey was having a blast!
V & me
Kelsey & V got up on stage and showed everyone the real way to shake it to "Baby Got Back" (do you see the dollar bills?)
Domenica & Kayleigh
Shakina, Megan & Michelle
Brenda, Michelle & Shakina
We all had a great time & everyone made it home safely!! Thanks for a great night ladies!!!