Oh, hey. It’s me. And summer.

Long time no talk. Oops!

I am officially done with my second semester of nursing school! It wasn’t the hardest semester I’ve ever had but it was definitely the busiest. I am so glad to have a summer break (aka 12 days off) before starting our next semester, because I think that one is going to be even busier. I learned so much about nursing and gained a much deeper respect and understanding for what it is I will be doing. I think everyone could benefit from being a CNA for a day or two and seeing what it takes to take care of another human body. That is just my opinion, though!

Clinical Group!

These next 12 days are packed with a lot of my favorite things. I started break off by getting a mani/pedi since I haven’t been able to have my nails painted during clinical rotations, and it was the greatest feeling.

Today Zach and I are heading over to Michigan to explore Lansing and see SoMo in concert on Friday night. I am freaking out on both the inside and the outside and I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited for a concert before. I know that I’ve already seen him, but for some reason I didn’t realize just how much I liked him before. I should probably tone it down before Zach gets uncomfortable but I just can’t help it! Haha. I will let you know how (perfect) it is after we go!

The rest of break is filled with family, relaxation, going back to Lawrence, having backyard fires, boating, and hopefully getting a little sun before I put those scrubs back on next week. While it is much shorter than a normal summer break, I am almost thankful that it is shorter because it makes it easier to prioritize the things I want to do, and every day is going to be an adventure.

I am so excited to experience summer in Chicago, even while school is in session. It is already this beautiful, and I can’t wait to see how much life is going to be in this city. What are you doing over these next few summer months? 🙂

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Twenty-three.

Bday

Today I said goodbye to my days of being 22. This change called for a moment of reflection on my part- this last year has been absolutely amazing. My life on my first day of being 23 is completely different than it was on my first day of being 22. Here are some of my favorite memories from this last year!

  • April 2015: Second trip to Chicago to scope out graduate schools and started looking at apartments. Birthday visit from Hilary with a trip to Worlds of Fun.
  • May 2015: Graduated from the University of Kansas with my Bachelors in Psychology. Celebrated 2 years of marriage! Dad retired from the military after 24 years.
  • June 2015: Completed my first 5k (mainly for fun, but still counts!). Moved out of our lovely home in Lawrence.
  • July 2015: Trip to Arizona/The Grand Canyon. Weekend in Nebraska with my grandparents going shopping and wine tasting. Cut all of my hair off (for the last time! Lol). Trip to Boston with my Corvias Family. Trip to New Hampshire/New England with my family. This was a great, busy month.
  • August 2015: Moved to Chicago! Started my graduate nursing program.
  • September 2015: Corvias Alumni Summit in Chicago. White Coat Nursing Ceremony. First White Sox Game (vs. Royals!). Short weekend trip with Hilary coming up to Chicago.
  • October 2015: Trip to the apple orchard/pumpkin patch in Indiana. Started my blog!
  • November 2015: Zach’s birthday; went to Medieval Times. First trip to the United Center to see KU vs. Michigan State. First trip back home to Kansas for Thanksgiving!
  • December 2015: Completed my first semester of nursing school. Went to Nebraska for Christmas. Went to ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Trip to Wisconsin to go snow tubing and wine tasting.
  • January 2016: Jeffery Austin concert. Started my second semester of nursing school. Zach’s parents came to visit for the first time.
  • February 2016: First trip to the Field Museum. Trip to Milwaukee to see the Lakers vs. Bucks game. First couples dance class at Duet Dance Studio.
  • March 2016: First St. Patricks Day parade/river dyeing in Chicago! First trip for my parents to come visit and first time segwaying! First time going to Float Sixty.
  • April 2016: Parachute concert. River North Donut Festival 2016. Kaitlyn came to visit for the first time and we went to Tilt 360 for the first time as well.

This year has been so exciting. It has been extremely busy but has also been extremely rewarding. I feel more at home here in Chicago with every day that passes but I still miss Kansas and all of the lovely people. I have a few goals for my 23rd year so far:

  • Continue blogging and establish a blogging identity = a consistent schedule, a steady group of followers, and more outreach.
  • Do more journaling. I want to get back into physically writing more often as well.
  • Spend more time outside i.e. taking advantage of living a mile away from the lake.
  • Potentially start working as a CNA at a local hospital.
  • Take a few trips home and take as many weekend trips as physically (and financially) possible.
  • Take better care of myself from a physical standpoint. Reach my 10,000 step Fitbit goal more often. I also want to get back into swimming!
  • Get into the festival/music/farmers market life here in Chicago.

I’m sure this list will continue to grow, but I think it is a pretty good one for right now. Thank you to everyone who sent birthday wishes so far, I really appreciate it!

Nursing School Update!

I realize that I have blogged about many important aspects of my life…but not the one that takes up like 95% of my time. That didn’t really make much sense to me, so I definitely want to include it in more of my posts.

I’ll start by saying that I am really excited to become a nurse. I feel like I juggled so many ideas, all of them being in the healthcare field, and this is what I finally decided on- and it was definitely the right choice.

So, I’ve been in school without breaks for what, 17 years now? However, this program is definitely the most difficult that I’ve experienced so far. It makes sense that it is difficult, but I can’t say that I was expecting it to push me in as many ways as it has.

I started my first clinical rotation in March and it has been a very interesting experience. It is on a Medical/Surgical Unit and it has solidified the fact that I don’t want to work in geriatrics. While I have gotten to know some of my patients very well and have grown compassionate to them specifically, it is enhancing my desire to work with kids and making me so excited for my Pediatric rotation in a few months! My shift consists of giving a lot of meds, setting up tube feedings, administering drugs through IV and injections, taking vitals, talking with patients, giving baths, changing beds, and learning TONS from the nurses. My favorite thing about clinical so far is realizing how much knowledge I have retained throughout this program when it is go time, but my least favorite thing is wearing the plastic gowns and surgical masks when it is necessary.

The actual school part is going fine, but I can’t wait for Pharmacology to be over. It is not my forte to learn these drugs and it is even less of my forte to pronounce them. I’ve made up more words than I can even express to you and it is funny while studying but less funny when I don’t specifically recognize the drugs on the test. I know it is important but I sure can’t wait until that part is over!

We have 19 days left that consist of 1 exam, 3 final exams, a few little quizzes and quite a few clinical write ups. I can’t wait for our summer break (aka ONE week off in May), but I am definitely going to make the most out of that time.

Any nursing school friends, do you have any advice?! Fun stories? Funny experiences? I’d love to hear them 🙂

The Power of “Thank You”

Thank You

Okay. I would like to believe that while I do complain sometimes (looking at you, grad school), I also express my thankfulness on a regular basis. Whether it be through cooking dinner while Zach is doing homework or sending a friend a “good luck” text, I try to let people know that I am thankful for their presence in my life.

Chicago does not always share my values.

While my mom was here (aka the most verbal person in the world), she pointed out multiple occasions when she felt that people “just aren’t as nice in Chicago as they are in Kansas”. People don’t typically make eye contact while walking because unfortunately when you do, people will ask you for something- it might be to sign up for a fundraiser, to listen to them talk about a cause, for a few dollars, for a bus pass, for a ride, etc., but people don’t just speak to say “hi, hope you’re having a good day”. That is one of the things that I miss about Kansas, and I try to at least say hi to the people I see in the hallways at school or in the hospital to make up for that.

However, today I heard something that made me feel kind of embarrassed. I take public transportation a good deal of the time, and I remember always exiting out the front doors at KU so I could thank the bus driver. Here, that is not the case- sometimes I am actually not thankful because they drove terribly, but other times I just don’t want the awkward interaction because they aren’t always nice back. Nonetheless, a lady (probably a tourist from her touristy Chicago t-shirt), walked out of the bus today and yelled “Thank You” to the bus driver. I was sitting towards the front so I was able to hear the bus driver say, “You’re Welcome”, and then she said, “Nobody has said anything to me this whole day”.

I feel like that is something Chicago is often lacking- a sense of thankfulness. This city is beautiful and lively and I love it, but it is also so rushed, secretive, and busy. This lady probably sees hundreds of people on her bus route each day, and the fact that we are all benefiting from this service but don’t say thank you to the person who has to navigate through Chicago traffic (a feat in its own) is unfortunate and embarrassing.

So, starting today I am getting my Kansas-perspective back when it comes to being thankful, because I am thankful. I am thankful for everyone, whether it be the barista at Starbucks (like really, really thankful), the bus driver, the nurse who took an inexperienced student like me under her wing, the person who pressed the floor button for me in the elevator, I mean everyone that I interact with on a daily basis.

Imagine how much better Chicago would be if we all just took the time to thank people! I challenge you to thank every person who does something kind to you this week, and see how happy you feel afterwards; I bet you’ll be surprised!

PS- this is a perfect time to say “thank you” to all of my lovely readers- you are SO appreciated and loved. I am always in awe by my views, and you are all fantastic, wonderful people. XOXO.

A Weekend Friendship Celebration!

This weekend was a blast. One of my best friends, and college roommate, came to visit for the first time. It was our first friend to come visit, and it was her first time in Chicago, so I wanted to make the most out of our weekend. I tried to pack it full of as many fun, exciting things as possible and I think we were successful!

On Friday night, we spent some time catching up, eating yummy seafood, getting a crazy amount of Fro-Yo, and going to a comedy club, The Laugh Factory. The comedy show was slightly underwhelming but it was a cool experience. The craziest part was that it was snowing. In April. Like real snow that accumulated… Yikes.

Saturday was a busy day! We slept in a little and then attempted to go to brunch. I say attempted because I forgot how many people live in Chicago, making 11:00 on a Saturday a poor time to attempt to eat. We ended up going back to the Japanese BBQ, Gyu-Kaku, which has become one of our favorite spots. Afterwards we went to the John Hancock Observatory/Tilt 360, walked around downtown, toured Eataly and Dylan’s Candy Shop, and walked down to The Bean. We finished the day with Giordano’s deep dish pizza, comedy shows on Netflix, and a good amount of Cupcake Moscato.

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Sunday morning was spent going to Lake Michigan and Glazed & Infused. It was windy and cold, but the lake was still beautiful and the donuts were still delicious. Afterwards, we dropped Kaitlyn off at the Greyhound station and went home to nap.

It was a wonderful weekend! Seeing friends who don’t live close is always so special. I have missed her jokes, advice, and overall physical presence in my life and it was so great to spend some time with her. What are your favorite things to do with your best friend?!

Spring Break & Easter Weekend.

So my “spring break” is over. Insert sad quote/multiple crying emojis.

However, last week and this weekend were so good for my mental health. I was able to just take some time to rearrange my apartment, my closet, my schoolwork, and my schedule to really benefit the changes happening in my life. I feel like I am ready to finish out the next 6 weeks in the same strong mindset that helped me start the semester.

Zach and I went to a comedy show on Thursday night called, “Oh, Hello” with a few comedians he finds funny. It was pretty good, but being a Groupon queen, the seats we got weren’t the very best and it was kind of hard to hear everything. However, I always think just the idea of being there and being in someone’s presence makes things exciting and more interesting than if you were watching on television.

The rest of the week consisted of a few wonderful lunch dates, catching up on shows that I had totally forgot about, cleaning (less exciting but necessary!), and basically doing as little schoolwork as possible. I think that last part might be catching up to me right about now, but I do think for mental health purposes that not doing tons of homework was the right decision.

This weekend was great with one big sour spot (aka Saturday night when KU lost in the NCAA Tournament, but we aren’t going to focus on that because I don’t need to talk about how I cried serious, grown-up, big girl tears over a sport).

We spent Saturday going to Float Sixty which turned out to be amazing. The whole concept is that you get into a tub of water filled with 1,000 pounds of Epsom Salt and allow it to soothe, detoxify, and calm you for an hour. The salt makes the water so buoyant that you couldn’t sink even if you wanted to. You are totally deprived of your senses since you have earplugs in, basically can’t feel your body since the water is the same temperature as your body, and the room is completely dark, so you can’t see anything. It is a place to be mindful, to reflect, and to just allow your body to relax and it was so cool. We are going back in April and I can’t wait!

We spent the rest of that day going to Mixed Greens (yum!) and an outlet mall about 15 miles away. I say that it is 15 miles away so that I can then say it took us almost an hour to get there and you can understand the only drawback I have found, so far, to living in Chicago. However, it was a really great day, even with all of the traffic troubles.

Last, we had a really nice Easter. We went to the 11:00 church service, had donuts, took a really long nap and then did some homework. I had every intention of making this grand meal, but when we weren’t hungry at 6:00 I decided not to waste the time. Plus, holiday meals are really hard to do for two people, especially when the rest of the week is so busy and you won’t be home to eat the leftovers. All in all, it was probably a good choice.

I am thankful for this Spring break week and weekend and for the ability to celebrate Easter at church and at home. I hope you all had an amazing Easter weekend as well!

Fri-yay!

Friday Friends

Today I am trying to feel thankful for all of the amazing things, people, experiences, and opportunities in my life. With this last week having been “spring break” (I put quotes because I have an exam next week which didn’t make this the most relaxing break I’ve ever had!), I was able to spend some time with important people and do things that I have enjoyed. One thing I have heavily reflected on is friendship.

I have made a personal goal to reconnect with the friendships and people that I truly miss. Moving throughout my life has caused my friendships to be different than most that I can see in the lives of my peers, but I appreciate this. Similarly, even this move from Kansas to Chicago has strained a few friendships- some I have realized are better off, but others I don’t view that way. Friendships are so important and valuable. With the stress of adulthood and the strains that it can put on our friendships, it is easy to feel disconnected from those who once felt like family. However, if my childhood has taught me anything, it is that these natural, family-like friendships can be “picked up” right where they left off.

This time of reflection also allowed me to feel so thankful for the friendships that I have. I appreciate phone calls, making new memories, reflecting on old memories, receiving/sending random snapchats when things make me think of someone, lunch dates to catch up on life, study dates, venting sessions, and the unconditional love that I have found in a handful of my closest friendships. I also love the maturity that I have experienced where I no longer judge friendships by quantity but by quality.

What do your friendships bring to your life? What are the key factors that enhance your friendships?

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend! Xoxo.

Chicago Family Reunion!

My parents and sister came to visit me in Chicago this past weekend. It was one of the best weekends I have had here, and I miss them already!

I feel like I took advantage of my family before moving to Chicago. They were always within an arms reach (or a 99 mile drive, if we are being precise!), and I never really appreciated how great that was during my undergrad. I could go home whenever I wanted, my parents could come visit whenever it was convenient, and life was good. Aside from the first few weeks of college, I also don’t know if I’ve ever felt truly homesick until moving here as well. I love the life I have developed here, but there are days when I sure do miss being 99 miles from my family.

So, now that I know what it truly feels like to miss a group of people that much, I was ready to take full advantage of these 5 days! I was so excited to fit as much into the 90 hours they were here that I made an itinerary for each day (because I’m actually an old woman) and while we didn’t always stick to my schedule, we made the best out of every day. Every single day was a blast and I can’t wait to do it all over again soon!

We knocked out Chicago deep dish pizza on the night they drove into town, because it is really hard to wait for that! Then on the first full day, we went to breakfast at Medici Cafe, walked around the South Loop and Lake Michigan, watched KU beat Austin Peay State University and had dinner at Opart Thai House. After dinner we came back to our apartment and played games and drank wine and life was good.

On day two, we went on a Segway Tour of the city (which was awesome), walked around downtown, ate lunch at Gyu-Kaku (the Japanese BBQ from a previous post), bought our body weight in popcorn from Garrett’s, walked to the Navy Pier and the Bean, and had footlong grilled cheese sandwiches from The Scout for dinner. This day we all got around 16,000 steps and it was tiring but so much fun. This day was also finished with wine and games because that is what life is all about.

Our last full day was slightly more laid back- we went to Flo Chicago for breakfast to have their signature Fruity Pebble French Toast and sparkling mimosa flight (both were so delicious), spent some time relaxing at our apartment, went to Eleven City Diner for dinner, and watched KU beat UConn in basketball. Also, you guessed it- we finished the day with games and wine.

Overall, this weekend was amazing. I love making new memories and having new experiences in this city. This move has made me appreciate my family so much more than I ever have before, and I am so very grateful for that life lesson. Until next time, loves!

Why Marriage Should = Love.

 

So, I watched Sex and the City this weekend (for the millionth time), because it is one of my absolute favorites. I have all of the seasons on DVD but haven’t gotten around to watching all of them yet, but it is on my to-do list. I feel like there is something in each character that I can live vicariously through and I feel like I want to be a combination of each of them when I grow up. Charlotte is my favorite (because why wouldn’t she be?) but I love each of them and the sass and personality they bring to the show/movie.

However- that is not what this post is about. During the movie, I heard a conversation that struck a nerve in me. It is something I feel like I’ve heard an arrangement of a million times. It is something I’ve heard from people who don’t understand marriage, but especially young marriage:

Samantha: I can’t believe that my life revolves around a man. On what planet did I allow that to happen?

Miranda: But you love him.

Samantha: Does that mean saying his name 50 times more a day than I say my own? Does it mean worrying about him and his needs before me and mine? Is it all about the other person? Is that love?

Miranda: No, that’s marriage.

Okay. So… Let’s talk about this.

In the movie, Miranda says her comments in a very bitter tone. She says this like marriage is a compilation of those things, but that those things are all negative. I do not disagree with the thought that those are components of marriage, because I do think that they are. But I believe that they are positive attributes of marriage, and here is why.

Many individuals have a thought that you have to proclaim your independence and let everyone know that you are still as independent, and as in control of your life as ever, as often as possible once you get married. They don’t want people thinking they are being controlled by their spouse, are “whipped”, or are no longer in charge of their life, actions, and feelings. They must proclaim that they are still their own #1. However, I am a huge believer in putting my spouse’s feelings and needs before mine. Why? Because that means my needs and wants will still be first in someone’s head- my husband’s. I vowed to love my husband with a selfless love that does not keep track of wrongs or rights. I vowed to put my relationship first, no matter the circumstances. Does that mean that I no longer care about myself, my hobbies, my academics, my social life, or my personal life? Not at all. It means that I am in a relationship that I view to be so important that I would be willing to put all of those things on an equal playing field as my cares about my husband. As long as my husband places my needs and wants before his, or at the same level as his, I think this is a recipe for a successful marriage.

Second, I do believe that love is about the other person, but it shouldn’t feel like a chore. If you constantly feel badgered by your partner to put them first, and don’t do this subconsciously on your own, I don’t know if it is the right relationship for you. Love should not feel like a task. I don’t say this with thoughts that love is easy, or that there aren’t a lot of chores associated with love. It is easy to forget how much you love the person when you are doing dishes, vacuuming, putting away laundry, grocery shopping by yourself on a Saturday morning when you could have been sleeping in, proofreading term papers at 1:00 in the morning, or arguing about the same topic for the 3rd time that week. However, there should be a sense of love and appreciation for that person that overrides these subtle annoyances.

Lastly- love should equal marriage. Marriage has some rough patches. The idea that you can love someone without liking them is a serious thing. However, a healthy, successful marriage must be centered on love. Marriages can be centered on money, children, a mutual interest, convenience, or any other thing. However, all of those things will come and go in a relationship- children will age, money will dwindle, and convenience will surely go away. However, if your marriage is centered on love, I think your chances of surviving these hard times increase substantially.

I know that I have only been married for almost 3 years and have many troubles left to face. However, I think that even 3 years of marriage have taught me the truth behind these statements. Marriage is about the other person. Marriage does consist of thinking of the other person before yourself. Marriage is equating your happiness to your partner’s happiness. And- it is doing all of these things without reluctance or bitterness, like portrayed in the movie.

So, while we all have our favorite movies, characters, etc., lets remember that the statements they make are not always accurate. Or, maybe we just shouldn’t be looking for quality marriage advice from a movie called Sex and the City. Either way, it is our job as happy, healthy married couples to support marriage and to give it a good name!

Early St. Patrick’s Day Celebration!

Chicago celebrates St. Patricks Day by dying the river a (rather impressive) neon green color. This is something I had heard about and was really excited to experience for the first time! While some of these escapades could be interpreted as being extremely touristy, I am having a blast experiencing all of these “firsts”. I am constantly surprised by how much enjoyment I can get through simply walking through the city. Seeing the massive buildings, tourist attractions, diversity in the crowds, and beautiful bodies of water at each turn still makes me feel excited and blessed to be a Chicagoan.

So, this “first” was no exception! Zach and I went to the parade with two of my favorite Corvias friends, Houren and Ariana. I didn’t meet Ariana until we moved to Chicago, but we have become fast friends and a great support system for each other. Houren and I have known each other since before starting undergrad but recently connected again when we moved here and were able to spend time together with both of our significant others. They are both amazing people and give me just one more reason to be thankful for Corvias!

We started the day by going to see the river, going to the parade, and then going to lunch at Big Bowl. None of us had done any of these things, so it was a great day of firsts! Everything was great; we got a great spot at the parade, the city looked beautiful, the river was cool to see, our food was great, and the wait was a little long so we got free appetizers and desserts. Win!

Afterwards, we came home and watched KU win the Big 12 Championship which made the day even better. It was a great day shared with great friends. I can’t wait to continue experiencing these Chicago firsts!

Does your city do anything exciting for St. Patrick’s Day?