Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Honeymoon:Day 5

On our last day in Honolulu, we traveled to a farther part of the island to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center.  It was about a 2 hour drive from our hotel and it was an all-day thing, so we left pretty early!  We had been on the island for almost a week, but I just couldn't get over how breathtakingly beautiful the drive was.  The colors are so vibrant all the time.  And I know the island is a volcano, but the mountains jut up almost straight out of the earth.  Even the shadows created are a pretty color.  

One of my favorite pictures from the trip is of a single surfer, standing with his surfboard.  Everything just seems so calm and serene there.  Time isn't really a priority.  Wouldn't it be great to always live that way?

When we arrived at the Polynesian Cultural Center, we met up with our tour guide and group.  The center is so large, it's hard to get around the whole thing in one day.  It will definitely be a place we go back to when we visit again!  Our tour guide was Russian, ha!  He was very thorough though, and knew his stuff.  Throughout the day we learned about different Polynesian cultures like Tahiti, Hawaii, Samoa, and Tonga.  (If any of you have seen Summer Heights High--hysterical by the way-- Jonah is from Tonga!!)

At one of our stops, Aotearoa (New Zealand), we saw a short storytelling of the progression of the Maori people with dancing and chanting.  It was amazing and gave me chills!  We also learned to use poi balls, which were used during storytelling and as instruments for percussion.  I did okay, but my strings kept getting wound together.  These girls were going so fast with these things, it was incredible!  We also learned a game they played called Ttitorea which is played with sticks and you have to throw them at other people who have to catch them.  It is all done to music and it was so much fun!

At another stop, Samoa, we learned that they are referred to as the "happy people" because of their love of life!  (We also got from the Samoans that they are called the happy people because the men cook all of the meals which keeps the women happy.  And if the women are happy, everyone is happy ;) )  I think the Samoans have it right! :)  Here, we saw a Samoan actually climb a tree!!!  No net or ropes or anything.  He just took a running start and there he was, halfway up the tree.

At our last stop, Tahiti, we learned about basket weaving and were taught how to make our own creation!  David and I each made a fish!  We were quite proud of ourselves.

We also learned how to hula! :)  Men and women each have their own style of dancing and it was so fun to learn how to do!  And watching the performers was incredible.  Those girls can move those hips better than Shakira.

The first time it rained on our trip was on our way back from our stop at Tahiti to the luau.  It rained lightly for about 3 minutes and then the sun came back out.  It was actually a nice little refresher from walking around in the heat all day!  We got lei'ed when we walked into the luau and had a traditional Hawaiian luau feast!

I was very proud of myself for trying everything, even the poi and purple potatoes.  They surprised everyone by having anyone with a birthday in September or October to rise and everyone sang happy birthday to them!  David's birthday is October 9th, so of course I made him stand up!  He was less than thrilled, but then a pretty girl came over to him and I think he was fine after that! ;)

They also called all the newlyweds up on stage to dance to a traditional Hawaiian song!  That was so much fun, and our sweet table-mates took pictures on our camera for us.

 Our night ended with a production called "Ha! Breath of Life" and it was a wonderful story that included all of the cultures we learned about that day.  It went all the way from death to new life being born and it was spectacular.  By the time we left, it was dark and the stars were out. :)

I was sad to be leaving Oahu, but we had such a wonderful time and I couldn't have imagined ending it any other way!  Going to a traditional Hawaiian luau and learning about the rich culture was amazing.  The one thing we missed out on was going to North Shore where all of the massive waves are and all the surfers go.  The waves we saw were big enough, I can only imagine how big those really are!  But we had to save something for our next trip to Oahu!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Baby Shower!

On Sunday, David and I held a baby shower for some of our good friends.  Casey and David work together at BMW, but they were meant to be friends.  They are both so goofy and are such good company. David and I wanted to host a shower for them because they are expecting a little girl in February!  We decided to have a couples shower and let me tell you- that was the best decision we made.  Guys should be invited to more showers.  I laughed more than I have laughed in a long time!  They brought so much fun to the party!  Here is a run down of the party:

Food: We had a bunch of finger foods.  We got a lot of our food from Costco and it was delicious!  We bought some bite-size quiches, chicken salad and croissants to make little sandwiches, and some salsa, hummus, and chips.


We made a pesto pasta salad that was delicious and some punch that I had at one of my bridal showers.


For dessert, we had a cake specially made.  The very first thing Jayma bought for the baby was a rug for her room and the cake was a replica of the rug.  I think it turned out amazing!

One good thing about having guys at a party is the beer!  David and Casey have a friend who brews his own beer and has been doing it for a while so he's really good!  Fred brought a brew of his honey-wheat beer and it was perfect for the party!

Games:  What would a baby shower be without games?  We played the obvious game- you can't say baby!  We had little pink clips and had everyone wear one.  You would be surprised how much the guys got into it!  They were using all kinds of tricks to get people to say baby. :)  We also played "Animal Baby".  We had a list of animals and you had to write down the baby name of the animal.  Whoever had the most won a prize.  We gave everyone a few minutes and we had quite a few interesting answers!  "Human" was on there- one of the guys actually wrote down his children's names!  We had to give him credit for that :)  How creative!

 The last game we played was Baby Bingo.  We gave everyone blank bingo cards and had them fill in each space with a present they thought Jayma and Casey would get.  If they were smart, they wrote down what they got to fill in a space!  Talk about free space ;)  The guys were pretty serious about this game, too!

The prizes for all of the games were Target gift cards.

Party favors: For party favors, we bagged up pink and white m&m's and tied them with ribbon.  For Casey and Jayma, David and I bought a frame with a matte and had people sign their wishes for the baby.

  When little bit gets here, they can put a picture of her and hang it in her room!

Casey and Jayma really racked up on the gifts.  They got a bunch of things off their registry and a bunch of cute outfits!

One cool thing is that Jayma's mom was there via Skype!  She lives in Florida and will be arriving in Greenville shortly before the baby comes so she wasn't able to attend the shower, but the guys set it up on the iPad and she was able to "be a part" of the shower!  I thought that was pretty neat :)

Everyone seemed to have a really good time.  We are so glad!  We had a great time getting everyone together for this celebration.  :)

The shower was so much fun and I am so glad we were able to do this for two sweet people.  Casey is such a great friend to David and we just love Jayma.  She is so down to earth and they are going to be such great parents!  

The world is ready to meet you, Miss Nolynn!! :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Playing Catch Up!

My work schedule has been kind of strange lately in the sense that I have worked a couple days, had one day off, worked a couple more days, had one day off etc. and my sleeping habits have taken a big hit!  I worked Wednesday and Thursday night so when I got home today I hit the hay hard!  I set my alarm to wake me up at 12:30 but that quickly got pushed to 1:00 and then 1:30.  I think it was almost 2:00 when I actually rolled out of bed...  I hate that, especially on such a pretty day, but what can ya do?  A girl needs her beauty rest!  But now I'm playing blog catch up!  Soooo, that being said, here goes!

  • I have ruined dinner 3 times in the last few weeks.  New wife award! :)  Somehow I forgot ingredients to the same meal two times and this past week I added garlic powder to our chili instead of chili powder.  Woops.  My bad.
  • I am enjoying catching up on my DVR'ed shows!  I don't think I watch what most people on here watch.  I watch Body of Proof, Grimm, Blue Bloods, Parenthood, Bones, New Girl, and Castle.  Whew.  That's a mouthful!  I'm not a big bachelor/bachelorette fan--please don't shun me :)  And Grey's Anatomy has lost it's pizzazz for me.
  • David and I got our PB duvet in the mail on Wednesday!  We are still waiting on the shams, but can't wait to go to Lowe's and check out some paint colors now that we have something to compare to.  
  • I am really loving my iPhone!  I have recently downloaded the Starbucks app which allows me to put my giftcards on there and pay with my phone.  LOVE THAT.
I am off a few days next week so I'm hoping to get some blogging done so it won't be so long again! :)  Happy Friday, y'all! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lessons from the NICU- 6 months

As of January 20th, I will have been a NICU nurse (and a practicing nurse in general!) for 6 months!  I can't believe how fast time flies.  I was just talking to one of the doctors about how in some ways it seems like I just started, and in others it seems like I've been there forever.  I think it will be fun to re-cap some of the things I've learned over the last 6 months.  Please know though, that these are just my thoughts and may not be shared by every NICU nurse ;)
  • Half of your shift involves untangling IV tubing.  I'm convinced we should have had a class on this at school.   
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  • There are doctors you like and doctors you don't like.  And some who scare the bejeezus out of you.
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  • Losing a baby is hard.  Taking pictures, hand/feet molds is harder, and hearing the wailing cries of moms and dads is the hardest.  
  • The best cure is cuddling with another sweet baby

  • I would rather stick an IV in a 26 weeker than an adult any day! 

  • I can hold my patient in one hand and change the bed with the other.  Multitasking! And cute bedding counts. 

  • The alarms come home with you...in your sleep!  
  • I've learned who the nurses are I can go to who won't laugh at me, and the ones who will make me feel as big as an ant.  
  • I've learned to appreciate those nurses who don't laugh at me.  They have provided me with silent confidence that I do have what it takes to be a NICU nurse. 
I love what I do.  It's the most important thing I've done so far in my life.  I still get nervous every time I walk into the NICU to work, but I think I'd be worried if I didn't!  It's an incredible job to be trusted with these little miracle lives.  I saw this on a friend's facebook profile the other day and thought I'd post it.  I don't know who wrote it, but if I find out I'd love to give credit where it's due!  Hopefully it will give a little insight into my little world :)

"Who is a NICU nurse?  She spends her days behind locked doors, in an area that only a select few may enter.  Many people do not even realize her department exists.  Lights are dimmed, voices hushed and the hum of technology provides background noise.  The quiet is broken only by the cries of distressed infants and warnings of beeping alarms.  Her patients know no other environment, except the protection of their mother's womb.  They start their lives here, but many will never feel sunlight touch their skin.  She knows that the patient she holds briefly in her hand, she will hold in her heart forever.  Her tools look like they come from a child's toy box, miniature versions of the real thing.  Her day is measured in fractions of micrograms, milliliters, and millimeters, rather than grams, liters, and meters.  She can start an IV in a vein thinner than a strand of hair, but will hesitate before the forearm of an adult.  She recognizes the healing power of sleep, but sacrifices her own to show up before daylight to cover busy shifts.  She is amazed daily by the strength and will to survive of some of the tiniest, most fragile people on earth.  She cringes every time she must poke a needle into a tiny hand or foot, knowing that the result can change the course of a lifetime.  She has seen many tears of sorry, joy, frustration, pain.  Yet she holds her own in, shedding them only in private for no one to see.  She has no response when people say "that must be hard" or "I couldn't do what you do" because she knows her words are inadequate.  She just smiles and nods, thinking of all the crying babies she has rocked to sleep, all the scared parents she has calmed and the lives she has touched.  At the end of her shift, she walks out into the fresh air, with a new outlook on life daily, proud to be able to perform a job she loves.  This is what it means to be a NICU nurse."


This post is more of a vent post for me.  I don't want to use names, but this is still my outlet and a way to express myself so I'm going to do that here.  It probably won't make much sense, but that's okay.

I am an only child and a child of divorce.  I am stubborn and I like things my way.  I am defensive and I'm smart at knowing what buttons to push to tick people off.  I'm completely honest, sometimes brutally so.  And I'm also the most loyal friend you will ever have, unless you screw me over and then I don't spend another minute wasting my time on you.

These are harsh realities that I've been working out over the last few years and trying to change about myself.  I am the way that I am because of the circumstances life has put me in.  (What can I say?  I was a psych major ;) ), but I also don't think these circumstances define who I am.  Which is why I'm working to change them.  It's humbling really.  And has brought my relationship with God to a whole new level.

But, certain circumstances that have occurred recently have tried my patience to the core.   I give everyone a chance, but I don't have time to waste on people who play games and are deceitful.  I'm not sure anyone really has time for people like that.  Unless you have no option.

There are a few people who have come into my life over the last few years who have lied to me multiple times, treated me with zero respect, and feel that they can take certain selfish liberties with my family that they most certainly cannot.  I have such a hard time dealing with these people!  Every bone in my body wants to give them a piece of my mind, turn away and stop wasting my time on them!  I know I'm not the best person in the world.  I'm not perfect.  But I don't deserve to be treated the way I'm being treated by them.  I'm pissed.  I'm angry.  And I'm ready to forget them and move on.  I've tried every way I know how to treat them with respect, to try to get to know them, and to let them know "you can trust me."  But ugh.  They are not receptive to it or don't want to see it or are just so self-absorbed that it doesn't matter.

I say everyday, "I'm washing my hands of this."  But I can't.  For more reasons than I can talk about here.  But one of them is my own stubbornness.  I will not give them the liberty to say, "well she didn't try hard enough."  I keep trying, thinking that one day my persistence will pay off.  Maybe it will, maybe it won't.  But it won't be because I didn't try.  So for now, I suppose I will continue to push through the best that I can.

One other thing, I'm not complaining.  I think this is more of a written promise for me- "yes these people make it difficult, but keep pushing yourself because you're changing and you're doing well."  Even through all of this, I've met some amazing people who I am blessed to know!  I'm encouraged to be a better person when I'm around them, I can trust them, and it almost makes  all of this other stuff bearable!  Thanks for listening if you made it this far :)    

Friday, January 13, 2012

Honeymoon: Day 4

On our second to last day in Honolulu, we hiked Diamond Head.  Diamond Head was once part of the island's defense system and when we arrived, we actually saw some military personnel training.  I can't believe they train in all of that gear in the raging Hawaii heat.  They say to give about an hour and a half to get up to the summit, but it only took David and I about 30 minutes.  They have a few stops you can make along the way and look into the crater.

 Here was our first stop...

 Walking out on the ledge!

 It was still early in the morning, but already so warm!

The walk is on a rough trail and gets steeper as you go up.  Eventually, we made it to some very steep, narrow stairs and through a dark tunnel.  I think the older I've gotten, the more closed spaces scare me!  There were a lot of very winded people at the top and I didn't see any AED's or anything.  Just the nurse in me, but I was worried about what would happen if someone had a heart attack up there!  (Although, I'm sure they had some type of equipment at the bottom of the trail...)  At the top was the bunker.  You had to literally crawl out from a small opening in the bunker to get to the rest of the walkway and up to the top!  But once we were at the top, the scene was beautiful!

 Honolulu, HI  from Diamond Head.  If you look closely at the waters edge, you can see a wall in the water that created tide pools.  This is where David and I hung out when we went to the beach!

 This is the other side of Diamond Head...during the winter, humpback whales can be spotted here.  Definitely going to have to go back to see that!

 In the back on the right, you can see one of the bunkers.

 David with the beautiful city of Honolulu behind him!

 Finally, a picture together :)  We made it!

 And just to prove we actually were there....

 We had our pictures made by the sign :)

We had a fun afternoon of a doctor visit and picking up a prescription.  We still have no idea what I'm allergic to, but my chest broke out in a nasty, itchy rash at some point while we were there.  I just ignored it until it started creeping down my arms.  At that point I figured I should probably do something about it.  The doctor figures it was something I ate, but there's no telling what it was.  I ended up with a topical steroid and a prescription for an oral steroid if I needed it.  I did NOT want to go there and luckily I didn't have to- the topical worked in a few days.

Our "before dinner" pictures :)

For dinner that night, we went to a restaurant called Duke's. Duke was a "descendant" of the royal Hawaiian family and an international surfer!  This was David's favorite restaurant.  It's apparently a really hoppin' place because we had reservations and still had to wait 10 minutes to eat!
 Waiting for dinner!  You can see how shiny my chest is with that topical steroid...ugh it itched so bad.

 There was a group of women playing Hawaiian songs and they came over to serenade us at dinner!  I was hoping they would sing "Mele Kalekemaka" or "The Hukilau Song" but they didn't.  :(  It's okay because I sang them for David, ha!

 We had a lot of fun staring at our rings, haha!

Before we left on our honeymoon, our neighbor told us that on her honeymoon, her and her husband picked out something special to bring home.  Anytime they look at this, it reminds them when times are hard how much fun they had in the beginning.  David really liked this idea so we were always looking for something special to bring back.  We couldn't find anything we were over the moon about- until this night.  After dinner we decided to walk around the city.  The streets are always bustling with people and performers and the stores are open late.  David had seen this lady earlier in the week and wanted to go back and check her out.

 She had a rock and put different colored paints on the end of it.  She spelled out whatever name you wanted with different drawings that symbolize Hawaii.  There are copies of these things everywhere, but we had her make one that said, "The Bells".  It's meaningful to us and it's homemade.  Right now, it hangs above our kitchen sink- the perfect spot for an everyday reminder of how special this time was in our lives.

The finished product!  My favorite is the second "L" in our last name.  It's a hula girl ;)  Our time in Honolulu was winding down.  We only had one more day in the city!