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October 31, 2013

how do huck and brody like southwestern PA?

After about 7 weeks here, we are learning to love our surroundings. I couldn't be more blessed with a gorgeous drive to work through the mountains, we live about 45 minutes from Ohiopyle, the great town of kayaking, yoga, and friends, and we have endless hiking trails around the give us and the boys some good exercise! It's a wonderful place for our little foursome.

Here's a little taste of what the boys have been feeling about living here.

^huck is a blur of excitement^

^can we go out again?^

Aaaaand one of the best days of their life....they got to celebrate their friend, Bruiser's, birthday! 
Not only did they look so cute in hats, they got a cake (homemade for pups) too!

^i love this^
(Thanks Mandy and Sherpa for hosting and thanks Colleen O'Neil for the pictures of the party!)

*be well- thanks for stopping by*

October 29, 2013

hands free mama blog and work-life balance

I am going to direct you first to a new blog that my dear friend, Lauren, recommended to me. 
Reading this woman's blog and her ideas of life and how we ought to be living it speak a lot to me, and I appreciate so much her writings and her intentions to bring her children into a world in a way that says no to expectations, thoughtless living, overuse of electronics, and to-do lists.

Today I am thoughtful about my time away from work. Sometimes I feel like my life is split between this type-A nurse that is so busy she hasn't peed in 8 hours, and this person who sleeps in a bit, lies around lazily with the dogs, reads, runs, does yoga, crafts, blogs, and spends quality time with loved ones.  I think I try so hard to not be so rushed and relax on my days off to balance the crazy work days.
And I feel more thoughtful today because I don't like to live such a dichotomous life. And because after today, I work the next 7 in a row, and that thought leaves me admittedly a little melancholy (but please don't misunderstand, I enjoy my job, it can just be a little exhausting. And I imagine I'm not alone in these feelings towards my work?)
So I'm asking these questions today:
What if I could take some of that peaceful presence into my work life? 
What if I didn't "save" all my enjoyable activities/hobbies for days off? 
What if I changed my perspective about work to be one
 that remembers that this profession is one that I chose? 
That I'm good at? 
That I am honored to be doing?
I work in a very fast paced emergency room in southwestern PA.  In any 12 hour shift, I may have the opportunity to meet 15-20 patients of all various ages and complaints.  There is definitely a spectrum of hygiene and health knowledge, and I enjoy (mostly) trying to connect with each person, even the most uncooperative and unappreciative of them.

Those days may require more energy and of course I am at the mercy of the patients and the flow of the ER that day.  But doesn't each day, whether at my job or at home or wherever, deserve the same amount of respect going into it?  And isn't what we do with our time outside of work that influences our energy, intention, and ideas going into the work we do?

I am thankful for my work today. 
And I am really thankful that I'm still in my pajamas with a cup of coffee, too.
I read a Bible verse this morning, Micah 6:8, that continually speaks to me about how I believe we are called to live, and I am trying to remember that verse as I think about my life, my work, and what I do with my time.

what do you do to maintain a good work/life balance?

**And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.**

Micah 6:8

October 24, 2013

tips of buying (or not buying) other people's stuff

Let's be real here.  There are just things that you should not buy secondhand for various reasons.  I've done a lot of secondhand shopping in my day, and I can tell you from experience that I've created a little list of things I refuse to buy so I just sail right past those racks.
Here's a little list of said items:

1. Undergarments. Of ALL kinds. Bathing suits, Underwear, Pajamas of any intimate nature, like Lingerie-
Believe me.  I'm a nurse.  I've seen a lot of people...intimately....don't do it.

2. White shirts.  Unless they have the tag still attached,
they are almost surely sold with starchy, yellow thanks.

3.  Anything un-washable in HOT water with detergent. This rule most often applies to hats and purses...if you don't know where it's been, nope.

4.  Work-out gear.  Let's not share sweat...

5. Electronics.  I am all for saving money and not having to have the best, newest thing when it comes to electronics, but I have not had much luck with any kind of electrical items, except for a few lamps that were already LIT in the store.  Most likely the items were donated or sold for a reason.
6. Lastly, if there is anything I am looking for specifically that I need in a timely manner and don't have time to really peruse the aisles of Goodwill, such as a dress for a wedding, I will scratch secondhand to make sure I can get what I need in time.  

 Anyone else have any advice or rules you follow when shopping secondhand?

**thanks for stopping by**

October 14, 2013

the bird that started it all

 As a kid, I always loved art class- making things, coloring, doodling cartoon characters in middle school, painting the worst self-portraits in high school (I still have one and it's so bad!). 
 I suppose as an adult, I still have that desire and need to be artistic, to use my brain in that way.  Often, I think, as a woman, it comes out in style- how I present myself, what I wear, colors for my nails or the style of my hair. But every now and then, the need to be artistic can only be satiated by a paint brush and blank canvas. Since I don't have an art studio in my house (or a house right now!), these times come so rarely.  It's really not a big deal to get my art box out and unpack some paint, but perhaps because it is so outside the realm of my usual activities, it doesn't happen often.

A few years ago, I had one of those "I need to do something artistic" days.  I unpacked my paint, squeezed the colors onto an old plate, and looked at the blank canvas, unsure of what I would actually paint.  I think I had seen some silhouette paintings somewhere and liked them or remembered them, but somehow, I came up with the idea to just paint a plain black bird on a bright blue background. 

It didn't take long, maybe an hour or two, but I decided that I really liked the outcome! I love the blue background, and the simplicity of the bird. The little painting has been transitioned from room to room throughout our old house, fitting whatever mood I had for the room in that season.  There's always been a good place for it.

This bird painting, as simple and unimpressive as it is, inspires not only my artistic side and need for "artistic days", but also a drive to make things and be inspired. It's so nice to live in a day and age when I can drive to awesome stores and shop for really great decorations and clothes and things, but it's a nice reminder to remember that we have the ability to be creative and make things that are custom to our individual styles.
 And I guess that has branched into this little blog hobby of mine.


So, this is the bird that started it all.

**happy monday**

October 8, 2013

accessories part 2: leg warmers

Being in PA for about a month now feels wonderful- it is like my body was programmed to live in this state.  However, each day the numbers on my car's external thermometer keeps creeping lower and lower.  On my early morning drive the other day, it dipped to 36 degrees! 
In an attempt to continue to be conscientious about what I buy and wear, this next little project was influenced by the dropping temps.  I don't know if leg warmers are actually in style at all, but they are definitely in my style this winter.  I found a sweater a few weeks ago in town at a thrift store for $1.25- 100% wool.  It was a XL size, so I stuck it in the dryer for a few minutes to shrink the sleeves.  Then, as unnerving at it was to cut a nice wool sweater, I cut off the sleeves at the seam, and then proceeded to put them on my legs. Glorious!
They are so warm, I barely need socks when I have them on! I'm sure they'll come into better use in a few months when it really is winter.  (As chilly as the mornings and evenings are compared to NC, I know I haven't seen anything yet...)

I've had a few weeks to try out the leg warmers and their various accessorizing skills. So far I predict they will be a highly-used accessory this fall and winter!

^great with yoga pants or tights^

 ^gray booties^

^tall boots and skinny jeans^

Also, I may be in over my head, but the rest of the sweater 
is going into another fun project! 

**happy fall and the return of the 80's**

October 3, 2013

being outside with my husband

This past weekend Seth and I celebrated SIX years being married and NINE years together.  Because the world of nursing never ends and I had to work 12 hours on our actual anniversary, we celebrated with hot wings and ice cream when I got home to celebrate (yum!).
However, being a romantic fella, Seth also planned a trip backpacking on the Laurel Highlands hiking trail, a local gem to this area.  The trail is approximately 75 miles long along the Laurel Highlands mountain range. Every few miles there are shelters and water stops to accommodate those who wish to stay overnight on the trail.  We did just that! We packed up our backpacks on Monday morning and headed out in the most gorgeous weather imaginable for early October! We hiked about 7 miles in, camped, and hiked 7 miles out.  No bears, although I was ALWAYS looking (bears are one thing that I'd LOVE and HATE to see at the same time).
We had a great time! Not only did we turn our phones off and just enjoy talking and being friends, but we also tried to relish the joy and complete oddity and beauty of the natural world.  It was breathtaking.  There is so much inspiration that God has created in this world and I couldn't be more blessed to have enjoyed it this week and celebrate a marriage to my best friend.

 ^not sure what happened to the camera here, 
but this is the only shot we had of the 2 of us^

**hope you are enjoying this fall weather**