Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Love That Surrounds Us

This weekend, we had a nice balance between work and relaxation, spending time 
with family and friends.  Shawn's very best friend, also named Shawn, and his son, 
Aaron, drove to our house all the way from Florida to spend time with him.  My 
husband's face lit up at the chance to spend a long weekend with one of his oldest and 
dearest brothers.  They took care of Shawn in a way that only a best friend could: 
playing guitar while he mastered his one handed drummer technique, watching all of 
their favorite concert DVDs, and enjoying a break from this estrogen filled home.  I was 
so grateful to have these two kind hearted souls in our presence, cooking my very 
best recipes and enjoying the sounds of our music room as it became alive again.  Having 
the encouragement of these two men brought Shawn a new energy and sense 
of determination.  Their visit brought him the best kind of medicine there is: 
unconditional love and support.

In between all of the male bonding taking place, we spent Saturday night and had 
Sunday dinner with the family.  It was one of those weekends that makes me love 
summer: sitting outside with an ice cold beer and good conversation, watching the 
cousins run free through the yard without a care in the world.  My aunts all clucked 
over Shawn like the mother hens that they are, showering him with love and 
Southern mama attention.  We got home on Sunday afternoon and took a nice long nap,
 the girls completely worn out from all the playing and entertainment.  These days, taking 
a nap is one of the greatest luxuries in the world to me.  To lie down in the middle of 
the afternoon with no other agenda than to rest: it feels like the most precious gift I
 could give my body.
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It feels good to be out and about again, slowly recovering and getting back into our 
groove.  Shawn's accident has changed our lives in so many ways but one thing will 
always remain a constant: surrounding ourselves with good friends and family is where 
our hearts feel most complete.  One of my kind readers wrote me the most 
incredible comment last week: "At first I thought, she is one lucky lady to have such 
loving family members. But then I also realized - they are also lucky to have you - you 
are the love they surround".  You are the love they surround: I have repeated these 
words out loud every day since, it has become my new mantra.  When I am with 
my patients, when I am taking care of my girls, when I am feeling busy and 
overwhelmed and unsure of how it will all come together, I remember that the love I
 put out into the world will be returned to me tenfold.  The love that surrounds me will 
make me stronger and carry me through the days when I am not quite strong enough
 to stand alone.  Through all of the chaos and confusion, love will always lead me
home, bringing me closer to who I truly am.
What an incredibly encouraging thought.

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Steppin' Out Saturday

This Saturday, I stepped out for a couple of hours to see patients as the on call nurse.  I 
took care of a man who was in an accident very similar to Shawn's and we spent over an 
hour sharing our stories and healing through each other's experiences.  It's amazing 
how much taking care of my patients has comforted me through this time, given me a 
sense of purpose and put things into perspective.  After work, I scooped up my family 
and we spent the evening at my aunt's house for a Saturday night BBQ.  We were able 
to sit back and relax and visit with family, enjoy a home cooked meal and the company
 of those who love us.  
Here's what we wore:

Mama>>Dress: Billabong, Sandals: Soda//Belle>>Skirt and top: Old Navy, 
Flats: Target//Brees>>Dress: souvenir from Hawaii, Sandals: Target
This dress was purchased at a total steal from Michelle at She Said's Shop My 
Closet.  Finding a blogger friend who is the same size as you and sells her barely worn 
clothes for crazy amazing deals: priceless!!!  
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I asked Isabelle what the "A" on her purse stands for.  She answered, "Awesome.  As in: 
this outfit I picked out is awesome!!".  She never ceases to amazing me...

pleated poppy

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Sweet Friday

This week was all about finishing the birthday cake and then getting back into my 
clean eating groove.  It was full of errands and doctor's appointments and meetings and 
the never ending game of playing catch up.  This week, both girls woke up in the middle 
of the night, on the very same night, and vomited all over every surface within a
foot radius.  You would think that being a nurse would prepare me for waking up at 
3 in the morning to crying children covered in vomit, stripping beds while 
simultaneously comforting their sick little hearts.  
It does not.  
This week, Shawn felt much stronger and we spent more time outdoors.  Despite 
the blistering heat, feeling the sun on his skin raised his spirits up to soaring 
heights.  Isabelle, the biggest helper of all, learned how to fold towels and made a salad all 
by herself.  She has shown a big interest in the kitchen lately and I am teaching her 
every age appropriate skill that I can.  We are both loving having that time together.  
Brees has been busy coloring pictures, taking care of Daddy, and cutting herself down 
from two naps to one.  Both girls have grown so much this summer, my mind can't 
quite wrap itself around all the changes that have occurred.  I just want to close my eyes 
and remember them exactly as they are right now: eager and precious and energetic and
 full of love.  These really are such happy times.
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This week, I am thankful for a job that I love, the family I am so blessed to come home
 to, and the strength and energy to make sure that they are all taken care of.  It was a 
good week and we are all healthy and happy.  A person can live a very rich life when 
they remember to focus on such simplicity.  
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On Turning 33

On Monday, July 23, I turned 33 years old.  It was an incredibly special day as we 
celebrated not only my birthday, but the fact that we are together and Shawn is 
feeling better each and every day.  My family and friends filled my weekend with 
love, making me feel like the most cherished girl in the world.  My aunt hosted us on
 Friday night for a special birthday dinner, Shawn's first night out since coming home 
from the hospital.  We went to the movies, had friends over for swimming, and ate dozens
 of desserts.  My best friends, Jolie, Ashley, and Jessica, came over to visit us, bringing 
with them homemade soup, cake, hand made earrings, and my favorite beauty 
products.  My mom cried as she retold the story of my birth for the 100th time, my dad
 told me how proud he was of me, and my husband gave me the most thoughtful card I
can not stop reading.  It was a birthday filled with love and inspiration, a weekend 
spent acknowledging the friends and family I have so graciously been blessed with.





I have always loved celebrating my birthday, welcoming a new year with enthusiasm as 
I imagine all the things I will experience and the ways in which I will grow.  Who am I at 
33? What will I do differently?  I know that, at 33, I am more aware than ever of my 
courage and strength.  I believe in myself and my capabilities, fully accepting of life's
 most recent challenges and open to the ideas they will teach me.  At 33, I understand that 
I know even less than I once thought I did.  Part of me will always be headstrong 
and stubborn but, I have learned to bend with the wind, learned to calm my inner voice
 and become more open to possibility.  I know that I am constantly evolving, growing 
and changing.  Life is precious and unexpected and I am celebrating the fact that 
my family and I have been given a second chance.  






I welcome you, 33, with open and waiting arms.  Thank you for a birthday filled with
 the sounds of children laughing, dancing in the rain, best friends and beloved family.  
Thank you for crayon colored cards and ice cream in bed.  This year promises to be 
an important chapter, for that I am sure.



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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Steppin' Out Saturday: Birthday Edition

On Saturday, we stepped out for our first family outing since returning home from 
the hospital!!  Shawn and Isabelle have been hounding me all week about my
 birthday, begging me for gift ideas and making suggestions for sweet treats.  My 
birthday wish: a movie date with my loves.  My aunt kept baby Brees and we invited 
Sarah to come along for the birthday ride.  We saw "Brave", a super touching story 
about following your heart, creating your own destiny, and the importance of family 
bonds.  We made it home just as Brees was waking up from her afternoon nap and spent
 the rest of the day visiting with friends, entertaining kids, and feeling refreshed after 
our long awaited outing.  I couldn't have asked for more.


Jumper and necklace: Target//Belt: Old Navy//Sandals: AE



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Thursday, July 19, 2012



Cooking...summer veggies.  The above photo is last night's dinner.  No official recipe, 
I simply tossed in a green bellpepper, red pepper, zuchinni, summer squash, tomatoes, 
red onions, and sweet corn.  Simmer in extra virgin olive oil and then top with a 
grated cheese of your choice.  Shawn likes his over rice, Isabelle and Brees pair a bowl of 
this concoction with a grilled cheese sandwich.  Delicious!
Making...it all work.  I am accepting help when it is offered to me, learning to 
overlook the imperfections in my home, and celebrating the smallest triumphs.  If we can 
all make it out of the door in the morning clothed and in one piece, that is good enough
 for me.  I am making lists and staying organized, getting rest when I can and 
remembering to stay focused and patient.  I am a work in progress.
Working on...getting my husband better.  Getting his medicines prepared 
every morning, changing his bandages every evening, helping him to shave, and even 
giving him a haircut.  Nurturing him through this time has been incredibly fulfilling, 
has brought us closer than I ever imagined.  I have never been so grateful for being a 
nurse as I have during this time: to have the knowledge and skill set to care for him in 
an effective manner, to have the contacts and networking capabilities, to have the 
confidence to know that what I am doing is making a difference, no matter how small.  
This time has helped us to understand our vows so deeply: In sickness and in health.  


{My first experience as a barber!  Shawn was in desperate need of a haircut and so I 
went for it, right there in our bathroom, with my Dad in the background overseeing.  I 
love the look on Shawn's face in this photo: scared out of his mind!  I am happy to report 
that all went well: no skin was cut, no uneven hair lines.  Another life skill to add to 
my repertoire...}
Reading..."Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver.  She has been 
a favorite author of mine for years and this book just reaffirms my love for her literary 
voice.  This book chronicles Kingsolver and her family as they start their life anew on a 
farm, living off the land.  It is a a refreshing and inspiring journey of a family in search 
of simplicity and a deep rooted understanding of the earth.  
Listening to..."Mumford and Sons" station on Pandora.  In love.
Harvesting Kale

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