Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fruit Kabobs

Potlucks. We have them a lot at work, mostly because cafeteria food is gross and leftovers are boring. And they're great for workplace morale.

Well, we had another one earlier this week. It's really easy to bring a bag of chips, box of crackers, bottle of soda, or another pre-packaged food. Really easy. And cheap. But unhealthy.

I wanted to take something somewhat healthy, but I also wanted it to be fun. Someone else was bringing the main dish, so... Fruit? Vegetables?

Once again, pinterest pulled through. No surprise there. [check it out if you haven't already. you won't be sorry.]

Fruit Kabobs. They would be super fun for little kids, but they're also fun for big kids.

Just as a side note... delicious fresh fruits in Nebraska are:
    A) hard to find
    B) kind of expensive
    C) totally worth it

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Dress

That's right... I said "YES!" to the dress!

With the help of my amazing mom and three fabulous friends, I picked out my wedding dress! I had looked at many, many options online and in bridal magazines, and I picked a few of my favorite styles. From those photos, I had my *dream* gown in my head but I wasn't sure I'd ever find it, so I kept an open mind.

Last Wednesday morning, the four of us met for coffee and a little catching up, then we ventured over to the first store to look at dresses. We had intentionally picked a Wednesday for shopping, so the store was all ours. The bridal consultan picked out several of my favorite dresses, and we began the trying-on adventure.

Some of the dresses earned a quick yay or nay, but three dresses really stood out. I tried all three on again, and two were my absolute favorites. One of them was a dress I had my eye on from the beginning, and the second was one I almost didn't even try on. But after trying on veils and considering bustling options, I made my decision.

And I confidently said "YES!" to the dress! 

...but you'll have to wait 10 months to see it ...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Our -->First<-- Thanksgiving Feast

One downfall perk of being a nurse is that I have to get to work major holidays. Each year we find out which holidays we'll be working, and at first it's a little bit of a bummer. I've always spent major holidays with my family, enjoying delicious meals and sharing in laughter.

But since becoming a nurse, I spend at least one holiday each fall/winter with my hospital family. We eat turkey together and share in laughter, and we share these special days with patients and their families as they are also away from home.

This year I worked Thanksgiving. I was bummed that I would be missing my mom's and my grandma's turkey dinners. I was able to spend some time with family earlier in the week, but still... no turkey for me.

However, when I got off work and went over to Mike's house for a surprise dinner (which I thought would be frozen pizza or mac-n-cheese), I found him putting the finishing touches on.... Our Thanksgiving Feast! He made turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, and crescent rolls. It wasn't even purchased from Boston Market.. he made it himself!

It was absolutely delicious, and we [of course] ate entirely too much. I didn't miss turkey dinner after all!

Just another reason I'm so thankful for such a wonderful fiance. What a lucky girl I am!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

An Unlikely "I Do"

Marriage. It's a beautiful thing.

Many girls imagine their dream wedding for years. They picture it in a church, at a scenic outdoor venue, or even on a beach. But in a hospital? Not so much.

When I got to work I learned that we would be having a birthday party, a wedding, and a renewal of vows -- all on our unit at the hospital.

Who said the Oncology floor is depressing?

We had an older gentleman who was likely celebrating his last birthday.

We had a couple who had been dating for years, who decided to tie the knot while they could still both declare their love for one another.

And we had a couple who had been married for 30 years who decided to renew their vows and declare their love for each other, once again.

They were all beautiful celebrations of life and love. Our staff came together with these families to witness these declarations. We got them gifts and flowers, ordered them special dinners, and gave them a separate place to celebrate. We shared tears, hugs, and smiles. For a short time, we weren't their nurses. We were their friends.

When faced with the reality that death is an imminent thing,
you look for any reason to celebrate.
As Oncology nurses, we find those reasons.
We celebrate life.


For the second year in a row, my friend Kate hosted a Halloween Bash at her house. We had appetizers and snacks, chili, and of course... Birthday Cake!!  And all the while wearing our wonderfully creative costumes!

Kate and I aren't huge fans of individual costumes, so we planned for months what we were going to be. Ok, so maybe Kate planned for months. I planned for a week. And the boys are always up for whatever they can be without doing anything.

So what were we, you ask? Here's a picture. See if you can tell.

Brother, Joe Papa, Me, Kate, Mike

Can you tell???

If not, you're either not a child of the 80's and 90's, or you have no imagination. We were trolls! You know, the little plastic troll dolls with no clothes, sparkly bellybuttons, and crazy hair. See it now? Of course you do.

We had a FABulous time, as always.

Halloween Night, we handed out candy at Kate's house. We dressed as princesses (because quite frankly, it was easy to throw on a tutu and crown) and ate homemade mac-n-cheese. And ran out of candy at 7:45pm. Oops, sorry kids!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Second Half

As I discussed before, I'm a Goals kind of person. I need goals to stay on track. Especially when it comes to working out. So again this year, I set a goal to run a half marathon. I retrieved my online training program once again, put it all on my calendar, and got to work.

And ten weeks later, it was time for the Half.

Kayla and I ventured to Kansas City to run their annual Half Marathon. We took along Kasey (Kayla's little one) and Jill, who was a trooper and came along to watch Kasey while Kayla was running. Even though it was two days, it was a very fun girls' weekend.

We drove the three hours, chatting and gossiping, and catching up on life. And Kasey slept the entire time. Once we arrived, we got settled in our hotel room (that we booked the night before), picked up our packets, and went to Plaza for dinner. We took in our fair share (and then some) of pasta and cheesecake. De-LISH!

The next day Kayla and I ran our 13.1 miles, then Jill and Kasey met us at the finish line.

And we succeeded! Kayla ran her first post-baby half marathon, and I beat my previous half marathon time. Both great feats for a fall Saturday.

Girls' Night Out at the Cheesecake Factory: Jill, me, Kayla, and Kasey

Kayla and I anticipating the start of the race... and trying not to freeze!

2 hour and 8 minutes later... The Finish Line!


86 Miles Later....

After last year's 86-mile relay run, I swore I wouldn't do it again.

Apparently I lied.

We ran it again.

This year was the fourth annual Market to Market Relay Run, that begins at Omaha's Old Market and finishes 86 miles later at Lincoln's Haymarket Park. It's a team relay, with each leg of the race being three to five miles. Each runner runs an average of three times, and each team has a van that rushes the next runner to the next checkpoint. And of course, each team has their own costume.

Last year we got second place in the women's division, coming in just four minutes slower than the winning team. And for an 11-hour race, four minutes is pretty minimal. This year our goal was to win, but it didn't happen. The competition was much stiffer... and some of our teammates decided it was time to have babies! We ended up in 7th place in our division, but we had a great time anyway.

About two hours into the day. Finishing my first leg and handing off to Theresa.

Waiting at a checkpoint. The Dashing Divas on the Run (minus Kayla, who was running):
Me, Amy L., Theresa, Eric (our rockstar driver), Shannon, Mallory, and Katie.

Kayla and I just after I finished my first leg.

Kayla, me, and Theresa waiting at another checkpoint.

All done! Eleven hours later at the Finish Line Shindig at Haymarket Park in Lincoln.

(I couldn't walk for the next three days.)