Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Beginnings

Emo backstory of my decision to go back to school (for nursing, if ya didn't know).

I can't claim to have a life long dream of being a nurse or anything.  I came to the decision to make nursing my new profession first in an emotional drug induced state while having Ava and then logically 8 months later.

When I was having Ava, I felt extremely affected by the nurses who took care of me (and her).  The whole time I was thinking what a great job they had and how I would love it.  Frankly, I had never stayed in the hospital as an adult so I did not know what nurses really do.  I was so surprised mostly by the amount of educating they do with patients, their tough love attitude, and the affect they can make on people's lives, and of course the schedule. 

So...I got to thinking that maybe I should do a career change.  Then I looked into what I would have to do to make that happen...and I stopped thinking about it.  As Ava got older, every weekend reminded me of how much I miss with her when I'm working all, I  started thinking about it again and hashed out the logistics.  Then I waited until it felt right and made a final decision to go for it.

"It's a long way to go, a hard row to hoe." 
That John Lennon lyric always plays in my head when I think about the next few years.  If things go perfectly, it will look like this.
-1 year or science pre-reqs...must get 4.0 (taking A&P 1 and 2, chemistry this semester, working
  full time, nbd)
-June 2012-apply for 2 nursing schools' accelerated programs
-Jan 2013-hopefully start nursing school
-12-17 months later-finish nursing school

Getting into nursing school is extremely competitive.  That makes me nervous, lotta pressure.
What it looks like, feels like to be a non-trad student.
1. Geek Chic glasses make you look like a serious student and have an obvious impact on your
actual intelligence.
2. Northface coat keeps you warm while you walk around campus and run to catch your lightrail
train. It also makes you look Coloradoey.
3. New iPhone 4S shows you have a real job and can afford a new iPhone 4S...except it actually
means nothing since all the kids have them these days. It's a serious upgrade from the orange
Kyrocera phone I had in college. Mostly it's great entertainment during the shortest moment of
downtime (a perfect opportunity to obsessively check facebook or gmail-duh!)
4. Book bag with current place of employment embroidered on it shows company loyalty in the office during the day and makes you look like an uber non-trad in the evening as you roll into class and pull out a brand new five-star notebook and pre-purchased textbook and lab manual. Don't worry, back up pens, kleenex, and snacks fit perfectly in the side pocket....pearl necklace and gyms socks sneak around in the bottom from this bags every other day gym bag duty. 
*Upgrade happening in March when "hopefully" I get a surpise red, monogrammed Cambridge
Satchel for my bday.
5. Nalgene keeps you hydrated in a 3.5 hour class.
6. Baby toys in your first day of school pic shows you are definitely a non-trad.

I surprised even myself as I embraced my non-trad position by asking the professor how to be successful in the class, if the tests come from the book or lecture, and what percentage of the class usually get an A, and where I could find a soft copy of the syllabus-you know, to print out and keep track of how many points I need for an A and how points are earned.

Yes, I'm going to be great at college this time too...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Christmas is so great.  We were able to spend a lot of time with our increasingly chaotic families this year.  It is wonderful chaos of babies crying, wrapping paper everywhere, noisy baby toys, attempted naps, and happy grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

I got to host Christmas with the Gomperts!  I went with a frosty natural theme.
Place setting close up.
Following dinner, Lindsey wrangled the kids for the Christmas story reenactment.  This is a fun tradition that was part of Marc's childhood as well as mine.
Lots of fun new toys to play with!
We went to Freeburg for Christmas.  Life doesn't get much better than this.  Marc and I could not get enough of these little precious(es?).  I like it best when they're bundled together.
Babies holding babies.  It's so hard to get 3 sub 1 year olds to pose nicely for a picture.  Doesn't Ava look proud of herself for sitting in that just-her-size chair and holding Margaret (that's Peggy for short, thanks to uncle Jonas).
On Christmas day, lots of family and Shook fam friends came over.  There were presents, lots of food, and Ava's 1st 1st birthday party.  Included in Mom's awesomely pretty and whimsical Christmas decor this year was the "Angels Having a Party" themed dining room.  Christmasy, yet appropriately pink to host a baby girl birthday party.  Owning 4 sets of real feather, life-size angel wings would make me really happy.
Smash cake!  She's not that into smearing cake.
This was Joney and Erin's last unmarried Christmas.  We're all looking forward to the nuptials on June 15, and managed to fit some wedding crafting/wine drinking into the Christmas mix.
A highlight of all highlights was when Santa came!  Peggy and Nordoo had a few failed attempts to see Santa, so Santa came to them.  Look at Nolie Santa loving his grand babies.  Ava was terrified of Nolie Santa, but keeping a yarn pom, and later a cookie in her mouth seemed to help!
Sweet moment during birthday present opening (and a little bit of a cookie tummy, pardon me).
Opening birthday presents and getting one last wear out of her fancy Christmas dress.
 Twin love, Lucas and Jamie love, Grandma love.
 Finally, an impromptu photo shoot of most of the Schafale girls (we're missing a few, and Ava was napping).

Whew.  Time goes so fast.  Next year all the babies will be running around, there will be more chaos.  I just can't wait.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, Ava!

Turning one is a big deal.  The idea of a Sugar Plum Fairy party may or may not have been hatched before Ava was even born.  Christmas baby+girl baby=you do the math for a party theme. 

What better to celebrate a sweet girl's first year of life than tulle, pink, purple, silver ribbon, snowflakes, mice kings, and candy topiaries, with a few nods to the Nutcracker to hold it all together.

Thank goodness Mom was here all week to execute most of the crafting needed for the party vision/watch Ava/drink wine every evening/make and eat cookies with me.

Here's the birthday girl in her Nana-made no-sew tutu.  Luckily Baby Gap has a ballerina collection out right now so I was able to find ballet shoe tights, and her onesie with ballerinas on it.  Hard to see.  
 White chocolate cherries with a Cookies and Cream Kiss face, add ears and a crown and you've got a mouse king.
 Wooden clothes pins painted as ballerinas, pipe cleaner arms, pearl tiara, tulle skirt.
 Desserts on the snow covered counter, yarn poms, snowflakes, ballerinas hanging from above, cookie stand with mice, candy topiaries, cake (made by Mulberries).
After sending the cake shop a picture of a similar cake, I had to go back and forth with them all day while they decided if they could make it.  The low probably came when they told me the ruffles in the picture were made of fondant and I had to tell them that Martha Stewart made that cake and managed to do it with buttercream.  Oops.  All of that aside, I'm so happy with the finished product (they figured out the buttercream).
 Some of the food set up
 Did I forget to mention the cascade from ceiling to table?
 Candy topiaries
 Party people
 Christmas tree turned Sugar Plum Fairy tree
There were lots of presents and cousins helping open presents...
 A pretty birthday crown made by moi-a newly formed Marc Gompert family birthday tradition, a lazy eye from Marc in the only picture of the 3 of us (hehe, Marc)...
Most importantly, there were Nanas loving on this sweet girl...
Grandparents holding baby girl cousins...
 Lots of good friends...
More good friends...
 Tutu bottoms...
 Big girl steps...
 And at the end of the day, a very happy little one year old Sugar Plum Fairy, properly spoiled on her big day!

Monday, December 5, 2011

What's Been Going On Lately?

A lot.  I'm going to recap it all for you right here. 

In November, Ava and I went to St. Louis to visit Lucas and Jamie's new twin baby girls!  Let me tell you...two babies are four times as sweet as one.  Margaret and Nora could not be more precious!  Marc and I can't wait to see them at Christmas!   
Jonas, Erin and I all helped give the girls their bath.  Here's Jamie making being a new mommy of twins look easy.  That's Nora girl getting her hair brushed.
Their daddy helped with bathtime too. 
Here's Margaret all wet.  They will both have the prettiest blue eyes, just like their parents.
Ava looked like a giant compared the them.  These girls are growing so fast and already weigh over 8 pounds!
Awww.  In between all the baby loving we had a good time planning Jonas and Erin's wedding-over a few glasses of wine, visiting with Grandma and Grandpa, Grandma Shook, Kathy, and eating lots of dad's cooking.
We had a great Thanksgiving in Nebraska with Marc's parents. 

Ava has a few "party tricks" now.  The one she's doing below is indian girl.  I taught her to ay ay ay ay ay like a little indian...specifically for Thanksgiving.  She did me proud.
I made head dresses for every one.  It was important that Ava had a head dress on her first Thanksgiving, and why should she have to wear one alone?  It was fun, I'll probably do it again next year...or maybe I'll figure out how to make pilgrim hats.
After lunch we took a walk and paparazzi mom came out (again).  Can't help myself.  Can you see 2 teeth on top...there are actually 4 on top now.  That's the reason somebody didn't sleep all Thanksgiving weekend.  Actually, a lot of somebodies if you count Marc and me who took turns staying up with a fussy teether. 
So, it's been busy lately with a lot of baby time, family time, up at night time (thought we were done with that!), holiday time, it's all a good time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Baby Daddy

Ava and I are both very lucky to have a wonderful daddies. 

I could just go on and on about childhood memories with my dad-coaching my softball team, taking me to pitching lessons, teaching me how to show goats for 4-H (holding Daisy's head nice and high in the pic below), showing me how good the crunchies at the bottom of pan-fried meat are (definitely do judge me), teaching me that garlic, butter, and salt are necessary in any dish, making my high school friends and me toast with butter AND peanut butter, never calling anyone by their name (Jordan=Taylor, Marc=Schnuckums or Marc with a C), a birthday call every year from "the president" saying birthdays are cancelled, giving the best speech at my wedding reception, telling me I'm just building character when things don't go right.  Like I said, I could go on and on.

Fam-Never noticed Caddie at the edge of the woods behind me!!  I think it's Cadums, right?
A few nights ago I was downstairs listening to Marc upstairs with Ava.  He was brushing her hair saying, "you're so pretty with your hair brushed, you're such a big girl with your hair parted so pretty."  I was beside myself in the best possible way listening to that precious moment.

Marc notoriously did not want a baby girl.  "Can a girl throw a football?" "Can she wear hoodies?" "Ugh, the teenage years!" I don't think he's looked back since the moment she was born.  These two are in their own little daddy-daughter club that is the sweetest thing I've ever seen.
Daddies do fun things like put you on their shoulders to look around while mommies run around trying to take decent pictures, find just the right pumpkin, keep white tights clean in a muddy field, keep both shoes on, keep the flower in the right place on the headband, wipe a runny nose, think about what to have for lunch, make things overly complicated, find a bathroom.
Daddys buy you fun pajamas with glow in the dark skeletons and candy tummies for Halloween. 
Daddies love to get you dressed up in their favorite team's colors and logos to watch games together.  They scour the internet to find infant sized gear for you. 

Mommies makes sure there are ruffles on the bottom of your game day bloomers and your team outfit is coordinated and properly girly....they also make sure that when the game gets close you are fed and have a clean bottom.  Sometimes big games make even the best daddies forget things like that.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Crossfit Update-Month 1

 It's been a month since my first crossfit post.  How many burpees, pull ups, squats, 400m runs have I done in the last month?  I cannot say...a lot.

I've been going at least 3x per week, sometimes 4.  I've also snuck into Bally's a few times for a pure cardio session on the stair climber-you know, the one with real stairs.  I love that thing.

I won't be entering a bikini contest anytime soon, but overall I'm happy with the results after a month.  I have been eating really well, except on the weekend.  KBG will appreciate that I made a 9x13 of 7 layer dip a few weekends ago and managed to eat the entire thing over 2 days.  There has also been chili, lots of chili (involving lots of cheese!).  On a snowy day, what are you supposed to do?
Crossfit is definitely not for everyone.  I have bruises on my legs and after days where we jump rope I always have welts on my arms.  Workouts are a race with everyone else in the class and I almost alway finish last.  The other people are ridiculously fit and complete fitness snobs.  Example: they wear shirts that have a picture of a girl on a treadmill with the word FAIL.  They drink protein shakes and take tons of fish oil, they don't eat carbs.  They have 6 packs...all of them (except me, see below).

Let me outline this evening's workout as an example of what goes down over an hour:
-Stretching + 300m brisk jog
-Pre-workout workout
    1. 20 pass throughs=a full P.E. sit up with soft 8lb ball overhead, throw ball to partner when coming up
      from sit up
    2. throw a 20lb ball over your head backwards across the room
    3. with 20lb ball locked overhead lunge back across the room
    *repeat 3 times
-Now we're ready for the REAL workout!
   All workouts are "for time" in one way or another.  Most are complete as quickly as possible.  Like this 
   one tonight:
   For time:
   -50 burpees (chest must hit ground, clap must be over head with feet off the ground)
   -100 ball slams (20 lb ball starts over head, bend down and slam at heels, pick up bounce, back up 
     overhead).  This turns out to be hard to do 100x.
   -150 squats (butt must be BELOW knees)
I mean, it's not easy.

I lost an inch off my butt, inch from my stomach, and .5 from my thighs, and 4 lbs.  Overall, I things are much more toned than before and I'm feeling good.

Here's a low cal, low carb cheers to all of you who are also putting in your hours at the gym and staying healthy.  I know most of us are thinking about it almost all the time (because we've all talked about it together a million times). :)

I may never have a waist again.  My stomach may alway look like a biggest loser contestant's post weight loss (know what I mean...what happened to my skin??).  I got this little 10 month old out of it and that makes me really happy!  4 teeth!