Thursday, October 29, 2009

For the 5 people who haven't lost faith in my blogging abilities...

...I share with you the pictures of snow!!! I know, it's been well over 2 months since you have last heard from me, but here I am again. I am going to make a very concerted effort to be better at this whole thing and add to the blogosphere rather than just enjoying what others are sharing.

Apparently it is big news that Denver is getting up to 2 feet of snow over the past couple of days. I, however, have been at work a lot of this time so haven't gotten to enjoy much of it. Here are some pictures, though. We went out and played with Trucker in the snow this evening and got some video so I'm working on editing that to put it together (I have never edited video before so that may take a little bit). When I measured with a tape measure in the backyard this afternoon I got measurements anywhere from 15 - 18 inches. I'm not sure that I was all the way to the ground and I think the official measurement was closer to 2 feet, but I'll just go with what I measured. Needless to say, I didn't get snow like this growing up! And by the way, Atlanta would be shut down for days with snow like this!! But man is it fun!

View of the house from the corner

Trucker didn't quite know what to do with himself - or where to go to the bathroom - when I first let him out because the snow was so high

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Historic Denver

As most of you know, we bought this house in a state of 1980s nostalgia about 20 months ago. We had lots that we wanted to (and plenty we had to) renovate and Mike had amazing "vision" for the process. One of his biggest visions was for the main floor bathroom. While it's not the only bathroom in the house, it is the only one that gets used now since the shower and the rest of the bathroom are in two separate places in the basement (and they are quite gross looking, really). But the bathroom did not start out usable. So like it or not, we had to start from scratch. Seriously, we used the bathroom in the basement for the first 5 months we lived in the house!

The most important thing in the bathroom vision was that we chose "period" style items including unpolished (i.e. impossible to keep clean) black and white mosaic floor tile, a subway tile surround in the shower, bead board, and a pedestal sink. And what's incredible is that other than the air conditioner register and the tub we had refinished, every thing else was bought new, and most at big box stores but really did look period. The only two things we had to order special were the flooring and the glass block window.

We shop a lot at the Habitat for Humanity Home Improvement Outlets when we are looking for house stuff. On one of our visits, we saw a poster advertising a contest sponsored by Historic Denver that was looking for historic homes renovated to keep the historic feel. Our cute little bungalow was built in 1925... and we had been doing a lot of renovations... so I picked up a flyer knowing that really, only our bathroom qualified, but hey, it was worth a shot, right? When we entered the contest in May, we had to choose only 5 photos of the entire renovation. I have gazillions of pictures of this house renovation and paring down the choice to only 5 to include before, during, and after? No way! But I did my best. I wish I could remember exactly which 5 I chose to send in, but here's an example of what I may have sent in (this is even 3 more than the judging panel got and I still feel like I haven't given a good enough idea of what went in to this makeover):

We had a great time doing all of our house projects, but it would be very exciting to be recognized for our efforts as well. In doing the bathroom in particular, I learned to wear gloves when using black grout lest your patients and their families think you don't wash your hands before work, how to use a nail gun, how to use a jigsaw, and that sometimes your first paint color doesn't work out; Mike learned how to use a gas powered saw to cut through brick to re-open a window that had been bricked over sometime in the past 75 years, how to lay subway tile, piece by piece, and when to stop and let someone else doing the grouting around the tub.

I hear that the judges have made a decision, so hopefully I will have some official news to pass on in the next few weeks!

Loads of updates, starting with Moose

A lot has been going on in the past month or two so I'll definitely split our updates in to multiple posts. We are "just" getting home from Hawaii and I'm still getting pictures organized. I'm trying to learn how to use Photoshop Elements but it's kind of a lost cause at this point in time. So alas, I will have to just post them the way they actually look... ugh. In looking through all the pictures, I'm surprised that we only took about 200 shots. I figured we had taken many more than that, but I realized that there is only so much you can actually capture on film.

One big update we have is that Moose is much better. Sometime in June we took him back to the vet for one of our "every couple of weeks" visits. He had continued losing weight (his last known weigh before getting sick, from last November, was somewhere around 20 pounds and the lowest he got during the liver failure was just over 11 pounds) and his eyes were still yellow. Seeing Moose go through so much was really quite awful. There were a couple of times that he would start getting better only to get worse again. Mike and I both honestly thought we were going to lose him. Here is how we fed him for almost 3 months (he came to hate it when you walked towards him with a towel knowing he was about to be Burrito Moose):
Our first visit to the vet was April 28th and our last appointment was June 17th. We took him to the vet every two or two and half weeks for that entire time and he was getting VERY slowly better, but not much. On our June 17th visit, the doctor decided to try an injection of corticosteroids as a last ditch effort. He said he had seen once before a cat come in with hepatic lipidosis and after 10 days of seeing no improvement, decided to try steroids with good results. Because we had been seeing minimal improvement each time, the doctor kept putting off the steroids (which, can I say, was by far the least expensive med we gave him throughout the ordeal) which can have sequelae in the way of lowering the immune system or bringing on diabetes for a cat who is already on the brink, among other things. Within a day or two though, Moose was eating through any amount of food we would put out in front of him. We left him in the bedroom with his food, water, and a litter box for a couple weeks just to make sure he was the one actually eating his food (since we saw Trucker and Oliver both eat it at some time or another) and by the time the second week of July came around, we transitioned him to eating where he previously had been in the basement.

One of the things I was most worried about was having to leave him when we went on vacation if we were still having to force feed him. Luckily, Lou didn't have to learn how to force feed the cat. When we got home last week, Lou said that everyone had been eating well and I immediately checked Moose's eyes for the awful yellow color. I'm happy to say that Moose is back to normal, eating any and all food put in front of him, and snoring away just like the night I brought him home... and just to try to prove the point, compare his ears in the two pictures below:
Moose in May - very icteric ears and scrawny with no energy at all

Moose tonight - I could barely keep him still enough to get a picture. Notice the non-yellow ears

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Surprise for Me

Following the amazing dinner that my husband made for me on Friday of last week, my actual birthday, I spent the next day NOT cleaning the kitchen (this is important later) and went shopping to try to find something nice to wear because I knew that we were going to be going out to dinner and then meet up with our friends somewhere to celebrate my birthday. I knew no more than that. Mike had been telling me that he made reservations for dinner somewhere (wouldn't tell me where) then we'd go to Wynkoop for a couple of beers with everyone. For the record, we hadn't been out downtown in ages, but hey it'd be fun.

Saturday morning, Mike was working out in the yard getting the last little bit of rock cleared out and made a trip to the dump during the day. I didn't think this was at all odd because that's what he does - the man cannot stop moving if he had too! He kept telling me what all had to be done - washing the dog, mowing the yard, making planter boxes... all kinds of things that had to be done in addition to his schoolwork. I, of course, kept telling him that it would fine - we could do it all tomorrow. I thought I got him to quit doing yard work and to go do schoolwork, but somehow I don't think that was actually the case.
So I get home from a very unsuccessful (read: frustrating) trip to the mall - seriously, I couldn't even find a cute new top to wear with jeans or a skirt, nothing - with just enough time to get ready (and try on everything in my closet at least once) before it was time to leave to go to dinner. Again, I'm thinking, "Mike, why on earth are our reservations so early? It's only 5:00 and this is Denver and it's summer and no one will be there..." My questions went essentially unanswered but we ended up at Izakaya Den (owned by the same brothers who own our favorite sushi restaurant, Sushi Den and conveniently across the street from said sushi restaurant) for a fabulous dinner of sushi and Japanese and Global tapas.

While at dinner, Mike says that we need to stop by the house on the way to meet up with our friends because there is a group present for me that he left in the garage that he wanted to bring since our friends had all gone in together on it. OK, whatever - I'm still not thinking anything too odd is going on. It would have made more sense to remember to pick up the gift on the way out when we left 2 hours before, but whatever.

So we get back to the house, the garage door goes up and I notice the Christmas lights that we have strung up from our rehearsal dinner last year are lit up. I asked why and Mike said he must have been playing with them and forgotten to turn them off. So then, I'm focused on finding the present to see what it looks like (I know, I'm awful, right?) that I don't notice that Mike is trying to steer me towards the backyard. When he opens the door to the backyard from our garage, I notice that someone has put streamers and a Happy Birthday banner up on the patio. Do I notice that 15 of our friends are hanging out to the left of me? No, that'd be too easy. FINALLY, I hear "Surprise" and tons of noise makers and notice that our friends are there, there are lights all around the backyard (good thing I cleaned up all the dog messes earlier in the day), there are bins of drinks - all the makings of a party!

So can I go back to the fact that I had at least 15 people (with more arriving later) at the house and I KNEW that the kitchen had looked like a complete wreck when I left for dinner, much less the rest of the house, and I was thoroughly embarrassed. So what's the first thing I do? I head straight for the kitchen. Did I think I was going to do the dishes? I'm not sure, I just knew I had to see what it looked like. I have amazing friends though who when they first showed up to get the party started, went straight to the kitchen and washed all the dishes. Luckily, no one cared that 90% of all the clothes I owned were strewn around my bedroom and that mail was sitting on the built-ins. And if I had only spent less time on my awful shopping trip and more at home picking up the house, I would have only been embarrassed because there was a surprise party in my backyard for me!!

You can fully appreciate the green grass!!

Harper was thrilled to partake in her first surprise party

A yummy red velvet cake - Matt and Emily did an awesome job!!

A Red Plate Night

From what Mike told me, when he was growing up, his family had a red place with the words "You are special today" on it. When Mike was home in April, his mom had found one of these plates at a consignment store and bought it to send home with us. We had the first option to use the plate for my 30th birthday.

The story goes that when something big happens in your life, you get to use the red plate. Then, on the back of the plate, you write what the special occasion was and what the date was. Mike said that his family ran out of room on the plate so they have a separate piece of paper with the rest of the special occasions. There is actually an entire blog about the red plate -
go give it a visit. And if you are interested in getting one for your own family, I did a quick search and found them on eBay. The pen that comes with it seems to be a normal Sharpie, but I don't know for sure if that's the case.

For my 30th, Mike made me an amazing dinner inspired by one of my favorite meals growing up, Broccoli Chicken Fettuccine. Mike went so far as to call my mom and step dad to find out what my favorite meal was! Growing up we never had it with white sauce (unless I had it at
Scalini's, which I often did on my birthday) but Mike went all out and even made homemade white sauce! I'll say I was quite impressed!!

Below are pictures from the meal. The first one is my original plate (before we remembered we were going to use the red place). Then you'll see Mike's plate of food... interesting how organized my plate is versus Mike's plate. Finally, the red plate.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I'm coming!

I have plenty to update everyone on but I'm currently trying to get my pictures downloaded and organized. I had a wonderful 30th birthday with some great surprises - but more on that later. Stay tuned - I'll be back soon!

Friday, June 5, 2009

All I want for Christmas...

You know you are getting older when any of the following things happens:

  1. All of your birthday cards remind you how much older you are (and thanks, everyone, for that)
  2. You realize you are one of the last ones without (at least) one child
  3. You actually enjoy doing laundry (and might I say - not only do I enjoy doing laundry, I am quite particular about the way it is done - that could be a whole other post altogether)
  4. All you really want from your husband for your birthday is for the housekeeper to come back and make the house as gorgeous as it looked 9 months ago for your wedding

Yes, today is the day I'm offically older, not becuase I'm 30, but because all of the reasons listed above.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Hawaii here we come!

OK, not exactly, but things are certainly falling in to place. Our backpacking permit information got to us earlier this week. Our four nights on the Kalalau Trail will be as follows: one night at the start of the trip at the Hanakoa campsite, 2 nights on the beach at Kalalau, and one night on the way back at Hanakoa. For those counting, that is 6 miles in the first night, 5 miles the next day and two nights to relax, 5 miles back the fourth day, and 6 miles back to the car on the final day.

After 4 nights of tent and beach sleeping, we will spend 5 nights in a house in the town of Kileau, HI. The house has easy access to many beaches, a kitchen to make our own meals, and a hot tub to relax. (I think the hot tub is what I'm looking forward to the most - which is odd since I will be IN HAWAII!!) The last 4 nights we'll be near the airport, just out side of Lihue, at a resort. We haven't decided 100% where we will be staying, but it's looking more and more like the Hilton. I'm so excited about that, too, because as much as I will like being in the house, I'm also excited about getting to be in a nice resort where there is a pool, a waterslide, other people to talk to, and the beach just a short walk away.

Even if we do NOTHING other than sit around for the entire 13 days we are there, I'll be blissfully happy and relaxed when I come back to the real world. And of course, I'm sure, knowing us (or at least my husband) there will be very little "sitting around". How about I let him go off and do all kinds of things and I spend two weeks on the beach?!? Sounds good to me!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We must live in Flordia

At least that's the way it feels lately. We have had rain every afternoon for the past 4 days at least. It's quite frustrating when we are trying to get yard work finished up and host an impromptu BBQ, as well. Although I can't complain because it means that we are doing much less watering of the lawn!

Hopefully my veggies will get planted this afternoon. Mike made a raised bed that I will use as my garden. I'm really excited but honestly don't know much about gardening so will learn as I go. I am using the ideas of Square Foot Gardening and am reading the book at the same time as I am planting, so we'll see what happens. I'll keep you updated of course. The fear of one more freeze is gone so hopefully my little salad fixins will work out well. As of right now, I have green peppers, red peppers, cucumbers, snap peas, a couple kinds of tomatoes, spinach, a lettuce mix, some spicy peppers for Mike (not me), and carrots. I think there may be more, but I can't think of them off hand. And if for some reason they don't grow well, at least I tried, right?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Where have we been??

It's been a couple of weeks, I know. But we have been busy, busy, just not a lot of time to write. On top of that, I have been on night shift and that always messes with my time management skills. So on to some updates...

Moose is doing alright, but not great. We took him back last week for lab work and it showed that two labs are coming down in value, which is good, but one is going up. So he is on two more medicines now, one that he takes every 3 days and one that is every day. Needless to say he is getting better and better at taking his meds - we have to wrap him up in a town and force them down, but at least he doesn't try to bite or scratch and is resigned to the fact that he has to take them. Also, he's still not eating on his own so we are force feeding him at least twice a day, if not more. Mike and I are both ready for him to be back to himself. Last night he did actually sit with me and purr which I haven't heard for a long time.

Our sod still looks good - except for where Trucker pees (but I guess you have to deal with that, right?). And Trucker doesn't go like a normal boy dog, lifting his leg. He pees like a girl so there are big concentrated circles of urine-killed grass. We now have to start diluting the urine where he pees just after he pees to try to dilute out the nitrogen waste that causes the burning. We also just built a raised bed garden for my vegetables! Hopefully this weekend I will get them planted and we'll start seeing some veggies coming up for my own salads at home!!

Mike is starting at Metro State next Tuesday on the way towards his teaching license in special education. He has often talked about this and has decided he want to take the plunge. He will continue landscaping in the summer but will also be teaching during the school year. His program will last 2 years. As I start to understand better, I'll share info - but for now I know he has two classes this summer and 3, I think, next fall. We are both very excited.

But the biggest news to share is that we are finally going on a honeymoon!!! We are going to Hawaii at the end of July/first of August for 2 weeks. We will be backpacking on the Kalalau Trail for 4 nights, staying in a house for about 6 nights, then staying at a resort the last two. I am so excited to be able to do nothing but sit around and go to the beach! So we will do some backpacking this summer so Mike knows what he is getting in to and then we will continue making plans!

Nothing else big over here - but I must send you to my sister's blog because there are some ADORABLE pictures of my nephew, Tilden. My mom's blog has some, too. I hate being this far away from my family, but at least through the blogs I can keep up with what's going on with everyone. I'll say I never thought we'd be a blogging family, but here we are!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The random things you can do online

I was playing and found that you can post things to Blogger from other websites... so here's my Lost nickname (from the TV show). If you watch it at all, you know Sawyer is a bit of a troublemaker and always has a name for whoever he is talking about. Apparently mine would be Sunshine??

I'm just getting in to watching the show, I'm still in season 1 actually, but it's really good! I never understood the craziness around the show but I definitely do now. Every episode makes you want to watch the next one and I hear it only gets better as you get further in to the show. I highly recommend it if you ever want to get enthralled with fantasy (or if you want a reason to go visit Hawaii; the scenery is amazing!!).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I'm always the last to know

Apparently today is Nurses' Day. How did I find this out - and why didn't I already know it? Upon getting the mail today I got the nicest card from my Grandmommy and during the day I got a message from my dad. I would think that Nurses Day would be something important to share at the hospital level, too, right? If I remember correctly we got cheap plastic cups (seriously, they were disposable) and a free fountain drink at the hospital last year. I haven't heard yet what this year will bring but I guess I'll find out when I get to work tonight.

In all seriousness though, thanks Dad and Grandmommy, for remembering a day that I did not. I truly appreciate it. And if you know any nurses, make sure you thank them for what they do (me not included).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Moose update again

I don't have anything too exciting to share, but I know that people have been wondering how Moose is doing since he has been home. In the past 24-36 hours he has been moving up and down the stairs much more than he has since well before he went to the hospital. I have gotten him to eat but he's not a huge fan of the dry kibble so I have had to break down and give him tuna (which he loves) or other wet food I bought at Petco (not such a fan of). He's doing much better and sitting in the window seat, then on to the dining room chair, into the bedroom, back downstairs, upstairs again... all over his normal places. I have yet to see crazy Moose though (that's the Moose that runs around playing with toys and getting big eyes). I'm sure it's on his way - maybe even when Mike finally gets home tomorrow night!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Moose is home!

This morning, I went to pick Moose up from the hospital. I cried plenty when I took him and spent time with him and said goodbye to him on Tuesday and I cried again this morning picking him up. His lab values are starting to normalize and he is eating well - at least that is what the doctor says. He has to go back in 2 weeks for labs to be redrawn but as long as he keeps eating and drinking in the interim, we are doing well. Of course, if his lab values haven't completely normalized by then it's possible we will have to do further investigation in to why they are still high, but for now, I'm just thrilled to be taking him home.

He has already found his favorite spot - curled up in the fleece blanket on the couch downstairs (once I get a good picture, I'll post it of course). We have spent quality time cuddling and I have had to give him his first round of medicine, which he wasn't excited about. I also put out the food that the vet sent home with me and he started eating some of it. He'll probably get annoyed with me following him around with a food bowl for the next few days, but I'm not going to let him go without eating anymore!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Moose's visit to the hospital

Because crazy things can only happen when my husband is out of town for two weeks, Moose is in the hospital. Really though, we noticed that Moose was eating less, maybe losing some weight, and vomiting off and on for the past 10 days or so but he didn't stop eating completely (as far as we can tell) until this past weekend. That's when I started noticing that the bowls of food he and Oliver share were much fuller than they should be. After noticing that two different times, Mike and I decided Moose needed to go to the vet. So after taking Trucker in the morning yesterday to get caught up on his shots so he could go back to doggy day care, I took Moose in yesterday afternoon.

I started at MaxFund Wellness Center, the vet attached to the shelter we adopted Moose from but the doctor quickly assessed him and told me that he needed to go to a full service hospital to be hospitalized (after weighing him and seeing he had lost 5 pounds since November and seeing the yellowing on his skin and in his eyes - a tell tale sign of liver damage). Looking back she said the term hepatic lipidosis while I was there but I was having a hard time taking it all in and all I heard was liver failure.

So off I went to the second hospital to see a doctor who could run blood tests on site and could hospitalize as needed. It was at this hospital that I learned more about hepatic lipidosis and causes thereof. Basically, as a cat stops eating, they begin to metabolize their fat stores (which as we know, Moose has many of). The problem with this is that cats' livers cannot clear the byproducts of this metabolism so it in turn leads to a build up of byproducts (which are usually toxic) in the body leading to liver failure. We don't know why Moose wasn't eating, but for some reason he wasn't and so he moved in to this hepatic lipidosis causing changes in his activity level, vomiting, further anorexia (not being interested in eating) and perpetuating the problem. The only treatment is to get the cat to start eating again but many times, they don't want to eat because of the nausea.

So after over an hour at the hospital and Moose getting an IV, having labs drawn, and being settled in to a kennel to stay the night, I left the hospital and proceeded to immediately start researching everything the doctor told me. Needless to say, I now understand better how my families feel and know where they are coming from when they ask the basic questions such as will my child be OK and when will he/she come home. While it's not the same as a human child, for me it is - it's the closest to a child that I have. The doctor didn't sugar-coat anything - there is a possibility that Moose won't make it out of this and the first overnight stay with fluid rehydration would be needed before we could really get a better idea. The fluid rehydration would help to flush the toxins from the buildup of byproducts out of the system. The last time I talked to the doc last night he said he would call me this morning before 8 AM.

True to his word, I received a call from the doctor (I guess I should be calling him a vet, huh?) at 7:50 this morning while I was sitting with a crying baby trying to calm her. I would really NEVER answer the phone at work - much less in a patient's room - but I completely disregarded this rule today. He said, "There is good news and bad news - the bad news is that Moose is feeling much better. Why is that bad news? Because he pulled out his IV line over night." So now, Moose, being the spunky cat that he is, is starting to try to eat but no longer getting IV fluids like he should be because he pulled out his IV - just like a kid!!

I was updated many times during the day by the hospital, 4 of the 5 times by the doctor himself. At last check in, Moose was still eating, not needing to be force fed (which is often what hepatic lipidosis leads to just to clear up the disease), having no more vomiting, and being overall very vocal and wanting loads of attention. The doctor said if he keeps this up he'll be able to come home tomorrow. Unfortunately I'm at work all day tomorrow so unless they will let me come in after office hours to pick him up, I have to wait until Friday to bring him home.

I am thrilled and relieved beyond words that Moose is doing so much better today. The vet was very honest with me at the prognosis of this and even went so far as to tell me there was another cat earlier this year that did not make it. While it wasn't very good to hear while I was there, especially with my husband out of town and no one to talk to about it, I was very thankful that he wasn't saying that it would be alright when he knew that it may not be. And Moose may be a little more spry in the end due to weight loss, but I guess that isn't a bad thing either.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Dipes & Wipes!!

It may have taken a few hours - mostly remember how to grab the bobbin thread since I hadn't used my sewing machine in a while - but I accomplished my first Dipes & Wipes pouch tonite! The bag is big enough for about 3 diapers and a travel size of wipes along with a small tube of diaper cream if you wanted. On a later iteration, I'd like to make a matching changing pad so all you have to do is grab the bag and go to change the baby, but that's far off. It's not good enough to give as a gift yet (I'll just have to keep it until I have something to use it for) but it's exciting to finish a new project. Not much to write about it really, I just wanted to share some pictures:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Full and Happy

For anyone that knows me well, you know I'm slightly in love with Chick-Fil-A. Before I moved here, it wasn't out of the question for me to eat Chick-Fil-A every day for lunch. Seriously, when I moved to Denver, I specifically went to the website to find out where the closest CFA would be. And it wasn't exactly close - I have been known to drive out of my way just to have Chick-Fil-A. And before today, the closest one was almost half an hour away... and yes, I would drive that far for Chick-Fil-A. When I took Mike to Atlanta with me for the first time, I took him to the orignial Dwarf House in Hapeville where he had a good time going through the dwarf door as you can see below. I graduated from Berry College which has a strong relationship with Chick-Fil-A; Winshape Foundation is located on Mountain Campus and you can even see a picture of the Old Mill in most CFA restaurant locations.

So when Mike and I moved in our place last year, I heard rumors that there may be one opening at River Point Sheridan a mile or so from our place and have been actively seeking out the information as to when it would be opening. Lo and behold, the day arrived today!!! (And for the record, I went twice - once for breakfast and once for dinner; I know I'm crazy.) I was drawn by the big inflatable cow hanging out on Santa Fe (picture courtesy of my camera phone).

In going at breakfast time, I got the coolest travel mug ever!! If I had been more on top of it and hadn't worked last night, I would have shown up yesterday and camped out for my 52 free CFA meals. (OK, probably not, at least not without Mike, but I have done stranger things...) In talking to the staff there, they started registering the First 100 at 6 AM yesterday and by 2:00 or so yesterday afternoon all 100 were accounted for. Those are some die-hard fans, more so than me!

When I was there for dinner, I saw Dan Cathy and almost got a tour of the kitchen. I had been talking to the owner/operator of one of the other stores and she said when I was finished eating she'd take me on a tour of the kitchen which would have been very cool! But alas, we missed each other and I felt kind of silly walking around looking for her - and she had many other things going on, as well. Dan Cathy seemed very nice, talking to all of the staff and some of the patrons as well. I was quite impressed with the whole thing - just a crazy, busy day for them with tons of tons of people on hand, but they handled it well. And I thoroughly enjoyed both trips to the restaurant today. Now I just have to convince myself that I'm not supposed to be going all that often...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Glutton for Punishment

According to, a glutton for punishment is:

"someone who is eager for a burden or some sort of difficulty; someone willing to accept a difficult task. This evening, that is what I'm feeling like."

Since yesterday morning I have - in no particular order - taken Mike to the airport, pulled weeds for hours upon hours, went to the gym three times, slept for maybe 10 hours total, relaid the sod in the front yard (hope my husband remembers that he asked me to do it when he comes home and it's not as beautiful as his sodding), and picked up a night shift. That's right, I got a call at 1:30 this afternoon asking if I could work tonight because they need a charge nurse and I said sure. I had an appointment at the gym so had to go to that then came home and slept for 1.5 hours (included in 10 hours previously mentioned). So here I am... and here comes our new admission! Gotta go!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Landscaping - Part II

We made the decision to sod our back yard after weighing the pros and cons of planting seed and having to keep Trucker off it for a while among other things and decided to make the leap this week. I deluded myself in to thinking that Mike and Lou would have all the rock removed while I was at work on Monday... but not exactly. As a refresher, this is what the back yard looked like when we bought the house.

Please take note of the fence separating the yard in half, the 2x4s surrounding the yard, the lack of grass - and something you can't really see, all the rocks! In case I hadn't mentioned it before, the previous owners LOVED rocks and concrete and all things non-living.
Between when we bought the house and started the sod project a few days ago, we did a lot of pulling up of 2x4s, tearing down the middle fence, de-weeding the entire back yard, attempting to remove some of the rocks (without much luck) and odds and ends when it came to landscaping. If I had been here on Monday we would have gotten a better "Before" picture, but alas, when I asked Mike if he took a "Before" picture he said "Of course!" and this is what it was:

So basically, you can tell that Mike was very excited about the Bobcat he got to drive (as did I, actually - but I didn't do any bulldozing with it). It was fun driving it but I'm kind of glad I chose not to do any actual labor with it and simply moved it to the truck.

Trucker still hasn't figured out that he won't be allowed in the back yard for another 6 weeks, and it's a little different for us to be up early enough to walk the dog before work and what not since we are used to letting him go out in the yard. Here is a picture of Trucker enjoying the last days of playing in the dirt. Note all the rocks still left on Tuesday morning (after Mike and Lou had spent 8 or so hours the day before removing rocks already).

Mike put together a master plan over a year ago, well before our wedding (we had the rehearsal dinner in the backyard so that was his original goal). It involved some incredible landscaping and eventually we would have taken out the sidewalk and replaced it with stepping stones to get to the garage, but that portion of the plan ended up being put on hold... until the Bobcat decided otherwise.

By the end of the demo portion of the day #2 we ended up with a rock pile almost as big as Mike's truck (after a total of 4.5 tons of rock and dirt had been taken to the dumpster the day before). We haven't figured out how to get rid of this pile so it is still sitting on the concrete pad in the back.

Also, Mike really wanted me to put up a picture of what his truck looked like with the whole Bobcat rig as he was returning it the next day - so here we go:

I got to be the one to go back and forth to the turf farm. The first load I brought 1 pallet. Me the the man at the turf farm were trying to figure out if Mike's truck could handle 2 pallets and in our mixed language communication, we both decided it would.

It was an overall exhausting day. Mike and I were working at 8:30 and Lou came to join us about 1:00. We worked until almost 7:00 that night and Mike laid the last few pieces the next morning. I don't have a full yard picture yet but this is the best idea of what it looks like now:

***In more landscaping fun, someone decided today (or maybe yesterday, Mike's not exactly sure) to come steal one of our juniper trees from us. Seriously! We had 3 junipers planted next to the alley by our driveway and now there are only 2! I am absolutely speechless! Who would want to come dig up a tree? And how do you do that without being caught??

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I love Google!

OK, so I don't really love it, and I'm not for one company having Internet domination, but I really do like Google. You may be wondering how I did my header for the blog - Google Picasa. It has a collage function and so I took some photos of our family and morphed it in to a collage, re-sized it to fit the blog correctly (the right size so that you don't have to scroll across the bottom to see the whole thing - that's a huge pet peeve of mine) and voila! Picasa is also how I share albums with my friend and family.

Where do I get most of my news? Google News - it's the home page to all the Internet browsers on my computer. Need to chat with someone - open up Google Talk, or just use it from Gmail. What's even more fun is that you can have it signed in on Gmail but be "Invisible" so you can start talking only if you want to (now you know why you can't see me but I start talking to you all the same - the secret is out!!). Google Calendar is wonderful for me - it's how I keep track of my life - but also for my family. On my calendar, I have a shared calendar that has my work schedule. So they know when I'm working which is helpful since I'm on a different schedule all the time - some days on day shift, sometimes night shift. My favorite map program is Google Maps.

Another fun thing that Google has is Google Labs. They are always coming up with new programs - and some of the most random programs. And you can't forget to mention the April Fools Day jokes they always run. It never fails, I will look at the screen for a few minutes and contemplate what they are saying before remembering it's April Fools Day.

Oh, and let's not forget Blogger, without which you wouldn't be reading this mind-numbing, random blog entry. I hope you enjoyed it!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Let there be grass!!

When I was doing loads and loads of laundry yesterday (yes, this is what I do on my days off) and Mike was watering our recent landscaping, he knocked on the window at me to come outside... lo and behold, this is what I saw!! I couldn't get the pictures of the wildflowers starting to pop out to be "enlargeable" (is that even a word?) so I had to stick just with the grass photo.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The house - updated

So after asking for so long - here are updated house pictures!! (I know my sister never thought she'd see them.) Some of this was work that was done while I was in Atlanta and some are pictures from as far back as a month or two after our wedding. Enjoy!!

The new address marker and front porch light

Ugly outdoor carpet has been removed!! (I'm not sure if I even have a picture of the old stuff and I'm OK with that - it took me hours to get this much up and there is still work to be done)

The bathroom was the first room in the house officially complete!

The vent register was with the house when we bought it

Standing in the living room looking in to the kitchen

Living room completely finished - I tried rearranging the furniture a bit but the room is such that the furniture has to go where we put it to begin with

I guess "completely finished" is a little off - we still have to stain the door frame and the trim on the floor and on my "To Do One Day" list is to refinish all the built in woodwork as well

The kitchen cabinets with the crown molding installed

For trim along the floor in the kitchen we used all the leftover spacer pieces that came with the cabinets. I'm not sure why we had so many pieces but it ended up being great for us because it really ties the kitchen together. In this picture you can also see the trim around the refrigerator to the left.

The bay window is still the cats' favorite spot to watch the world go by

Following the previous owners' lead, we painted the two shorter walls an accent color (only we chose green - as you can tell, almost everything the previous owners had pink we now have green - hmm... kind of makes me wonder what the next owners will think and if they will constantly talk about the green like we talk about the pink)

The fireplace in the basement - Mike really likes rocks and I like photography. So the photograph is actually a series of photos that I took with Stitch Assist on a hike and the rocks are some that Mike has collected over time.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What a difference a day makes

We spent our days on Tuesday and Wednesday doing yard work, and good thing we didn't wait until Thursday to lay down seed - because as you can see below, we wouldn't have gotten any of it down since it had already started snowing when I woke up to go to work on Thursday morning. The seed we chose is a combination of native grasses then we mixed in a little native wildflower seed as well. It's an experiment, so we'll see how it turns out.

This is Tuesday afternoon before we really had started anything. You can't tell very well but here we have lots of dead sod (that we purposely killed off last year), bits and pieces of green grass here and there that we had to pull up along with plenty of weeds before laying down seed, and a border of lots and lots of mulch that had to be taken up as well because we were going to be seeding all the way to the sidewalk. Also note the walkway leading up to the fence (around the bay window). There was a lot of rock bordering that sidewalk. And just as we have found everywhere else we went to pull up the previous owners' handiwork - under all that border of rock was concrete with rebar - completely unnecessary if the rocks are laid correctly - and a complete pain to pull up. As I have told Mike many times - I have no desire to see concrete and rebar in landscaping EVER again.

About 24 hours later, this is what the front yard looked like. You can't tell too well, but when compared to the first picture, there is no longer a big walkway around the bay window, rather a small one just to make sure people can get around without hitting their heads (that actually isn't very apparent in this picture). The pink marker in the corner is something Qwest came to put out while I was in Atlanta. Mike said they are going to put in new lines or something? Maybe they can replace our fence since their lines will run directly on the inside of the fence line?!? I honestly doubt it though. Also note the white sky - the snow is coming!

And this is what it looked like the next day - well technically this is on Friday because it was actively snowing all day on Thursday (while I was at work, not getting to enjoy any of it). Mike measured about 10 inches and it sure is beautiful!!

But as is typical with our spring snow, it melted off yesterday and today. So now there is almost no snow to be had. It was called a blizzard, but to me, a blizzard is like what I lived through at Christmas in 2006 (see below) - at least 2 feet of snow that didn't melt off for months! But I suppose that 10 inches is pretty good, too...

December 2006

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Love your children

I know that the title of the post probably seems slightly obvious, but hear me out.

When someone finds out what I do for a living, the first question I'm usually asked is "How can you do that?" followed quickly by "Isn't it hard to see kids so sick?". My answer is always the same - kids are amazingly resilient. I learned that from day 1 of my new grad orientation. I have taken care of so many sick kids (over 150 different kids, I would think) in the past year and a half and can count on two hands the number who have passed away for one reason or another. The days that it does happen though it usually hit me hard and I have to remind myself how many more children have come on to the unit so very sick and have left our unit in days, weeks, or even months healthy, normal children. So often, kids can come back from almost anything.

My first night back after vacation, though, was not one of those - it was an extremely difficult shift. Without going in to details, I'll just say that everyone did everything right and we worked extremely hard to save a patient who did not make it. Since I have started on the unit, there has never been a situation that I have noticed hit all of us so intensely - doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, chaplains, families of other children on the unit - everyone. And I feel very lucky to work on the unit that I do. I work with an incredible group of people and we are lucky to have one another as well.

When I was a doula, a midwife once told me that the day she was no longer amazed by the miracle of birth, she would stop doing her job. On the same token, if ever there comes a day that I am not affected by the work that I do (either in a good or bad way), I need to find another job. We are given a very special opportunity to come in to a patient and family's life at a time when they are most in need of a helping hand. We nurse not just physical, but emotional aspects as well, and in turn that can affect us. And I truly hope that it always affects me. Even after the craziest day, I can come home and tell Mike about something that happened and how amazed I am at children and their ability to bounce back.

So back to the title of my post - hug your children, tell them you love them, and be so thankful for who they are. If had one of my own already, I would have come home that morning and hugged and hugged and never let him (or her of course) go.

Crazy Crazy PICU

This is a post I have been meaning to put up for about a week but just have not had the opportunity. Since I have been home from Atlanta, I have had two and a half days off - seriously! I worked Thursday/Friday/Saturday night, got home Sunday morning by about 9:00 AM then back to work Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday for day shift (so that was approximately 21 hours at home before returning to work). Then I had Friday off, worked half a shift yesterday, and a full shift today. It's really been crazy on the unit. Just to put it in to perspective a little, I hope, we have had 9 patients almost all week and our unit is considered "full" at 8 patients. Also, for most of the week, at least 8 were patients on respirators... by I digress.

Apparently the craziness started while I was on vacation. I kept getting calls asking me to work extra until they realized I was out of town for two weeks. The night I got back to work, it was a fairly full unit with 6 patients but we admitted 2 patients over night. The next night, we started with 7 and admitted 2 more (after having an awful night the previous shift - that's another post altogether). Saturday night finally slowed down in that we didn't get any admits but it was still quite busy (again with 9 patients if I remember correctly). So anyway, I won't bore anyone with the details but after being out of town for 2 weeks and at work for the past week and a half, my husband is beginning to wonder if I really exist. This week, however, I'm taking some time for myself... after possibly taking one more extra shift tomorrow, we'll see.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Back in Denver

I'm back at home... I was really having a hard time saying goodbye to Jenni and Tilden first then Mom later as I was leaving town yesterday. I wanted to just pack the baby up and bring him back to Denver. Well, I didn't really, but if that option were to ever exist, I'd bring him to Denver! Jenni and Jon will just have to visit sometime soon so Mike and I can introduce Tilden to hiking and living Colorado style!

I got home to a house that is almost 100% done, just like Mike said it'd be. The living room has trim installed that just needs to be stained. There is a doorway with trim between the living room and front bedroom but installing the door is a 2 person job so he had to wait until I got home to finish. There is trim in the front bedroom and a closet door on the closet with just 2 pieces of trim needed on that for the room to be done. The master and kitchen are both 100% done as is the bathroom and downstairs - for the time being. My dream (that may not ever actually come true) is to renovate the bathroom down there to get the shower in the same room as the rest of the bathroom and add a wall to split the big family room in to two rooms and have a full on guest suite down there (and when not in use the guest room would transition in to an office). I'm very excited that the house is so close to done now! This spring/summer we are going to finish the landscaping (which includes repairing the fence - we've had lots of wind this winter which is wreaking havoc with the fence).

I also got to go to a shower today for a girl from work. Since I started in my job 19 months ago, there has not been one single, solitary day when one of the nurses has not been pregnant. Much of the time, in fact, there have been at least two pregnant at a time. So needless to say, there were almost more kids at the shower than adults - but we won out 11 to 9. The next baby is due in April so we were celebrating. In addition to the large group gift I went in on, I also gave 3 burp cloths. Everyone really liked them and we started talking about other things that I could make as baby gifts. We talked about the nursing covers - previously talked about on this blog - as well as pacifier holders (which apparently are useful - who'd have guessed), shopping cart covers, car seat covers, and bags used specifically to hold diapers and wipes so you can just take that (or to just keep them organized in the diaper bag) called Diapees & Wipees among other names. So apparently there is quite a market out there for these things... who knew??

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Passing the Time in Atlanta

I have been in town for just over a week now and spending as much time helping out (and bonding with my wonderful nephew, Tilden) as I can. It's funny because the stuff I'm focused on Jenni says hasn't even occurred to her yet. Today, for instance, I got the monitor out to start looking at it and seeing what we needed to make it work. Jenni said that it hadn't even occurred to her yet to look at that. One of the many ways Jenni and I are different - I have to see all the new stuff, open it up, make sure it's going to work correctly as soon as I get it.

I've also gotten to spend time with family which has been nice. It sure will be hard to leave in 5 days. But I desperately miss my husband as well since he wasn't able to come with me. I talk to him multiple times a day (obviously) and he's been doing "house work" (what else is new...) and spending lots of quality time with Trucker. They were on the way to the dog park today one of the times I talked to him. I'm sure that Trucker was in doggy heaven. Of course I definitely miss my animals. I know they are being taken care of but it's hard when you go from having two animals sleeping on you every night to having an entire bed to yourself!

So here's some pictures of how I have been keeping myself busy (in addition to sewing which I have already talked about)...

Giving gifts - Blue pants courtesy of Aunt Katie

Encouraging tummy time on the activity mat

Teaching Tilden about nap time

A couple of nights ago I was also lucky enough to attend the Bris of Zachary, my friend Lindsey's son. Lindsey and I have known each other forever it seems like (at least since middle school). We worked together at Georgia-Pacific, were in each others' weddings, and on and on. In fact, it's kind of my "fault" she knows her husband - had she not started working for my mom at GP, then she wouldn't have met Bill and she wouldn't have gotten married and have two beautiful sons... but that's another story. Anyway, I did not get to go to the Bris of her first son because I was already in Denver but when it turned out that Jenni and Lindsey were due near each other I realized I may actually be in town this time - and I was. It was such an amazing experience - much different than any circumcision I have witnessed in the hospital of course - and I also have never been to a Jewish ceremony other than her wedding. Knowing how important this is in Zachary's life, as well as his family's, I felt honored to be invited to be there for the ceremony. It was also great to see all her family who I haven't seen in ages and be able to meet Zachary while I was in town!

I'm sure there are many other things I have done that I can't write about at the moment - because really, it focuses mainly on one thing! Needless to say, I have been enjoying myself. Of course, now is the time I'd be able to finally get some overtime pay... it seems the unit is overflowing with patients and not enough staff! Can't have the best of everything I suppose.